Devotionals-John Chapters 9,10,11,12, 13
by Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D.
Scripture: “After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me’” (John 13:21, NIV).
Observation: This displays God’s ability to know all things that are going to happen in the future. Jesus knew Judas was going to betray Him, He knew Peter was going to deny Him, and He knew what type of death He was about to experience. Jesus knows our future- He knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, one year from now, even 20 years from now. He is the Creator of all things, including time both past and future.
Application: Many people get worried and anxious about future possibilities and their minds become filled with “what if” statements. It can be helpful to know that Jesus already knows if our “what if” concerns are going to happen or not. Therefore, when our mind begins thinking anxious “what if” thoughts, let us pray to Him regarding our anxiety and trust that He knows what will happen. So whenever you feel anxious do all that you can control, pray to God for His favor, then have peace knowing whatever happens is for His will and purposes.
Prayer: Lord, help me remember that you already know my future. Let me turn any and all anxiety over to you and trust in your will being done.
Scripture: “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God” (John 12:42-43, NIV).
Observation: It’s so easy to be more concerned with what others think of us than what God thinks of us. It’s easy to struggle with this for fear of disapproval, ridicule, or rejection. The temptation to deny Christ for fear of persecution, torture, or death would be even stronger.
Application: God wants and deserves to be honored – no matter what the cost. The Scripture above reflects how disappointed He was with the “leaders” who denied Him. However, He also has mercy if we deny Him and repent as He did towards Peter who denied Him three times. It’s so easy to be hyper-focused on the circumstances around us and lose sight of what’s most important. Pleasing God and living for the Creator of the universe is ultimately the most important goal to live for.
Prayer: Lord- forgive me for all the times I loved praise from men more than praise from you. Light a fire in my spirit to praise you above all else.
Scripture: “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My father will honor the one who serves me” (John 12:26, NIV).
Observation: What does it mean to follow and serve Christ- the ultimate goal for all believers? For starters, we can’t serve Him without fully knowing Him first. How do you serve something you aren’t very familiar with? You can’t. Therefore, to serve and follow Him we must first get to know Him intimately. Then, once we get to know Him well we’ll develop clearer discernment on how to serve and follow Him.
Application: The more we serve Jesus the more God will honor us- sounds like a promise well worth pursuing and keeping. How much do you connect with Jesus on a regular basis? Which areas of your life are you serving Him faithfully already and which areas are you not? What’s keeping you from serving Him more in those areas where you aren’t? We must commune with Him regularly and ask for His light to shine on the areas where we are still honoring our sinful nature rather than His glory.
Prayer: Lord, help my #1 goal in life be to honor and follow you with all that I say, all that I think, and all that I do.
Scripture: “Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3, NIV).
Observation: The verse goes onto say that the cost of the nard was equal to about a year’s wages, yet she lavishly used it on Him to show her love, thankfulness, and devotion. Jesus had just raised her brother Lazarus from the dead in the weeks preceding and this must have been one of the main reasons Mary was expressing such deep gratitude and devotion to Him.
Application: We must remember all that Jesus has done and continues to do in our life. We must remember all the times He has helped us, comforted us, directed us, and loved us. We must continually acknowledge the ways He has blessed us and thank Him in sincere and lavish ways- after all- without Him, we wouldn’t be here and we’d have no hope for the future.
Prayer: Thank you so much Lord for all you have done and continue to do for me and through me. I’m forever grateful for your presence and activity in my life.
Scripture: “When Jesus saw her weeping…..He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled….Jesus wept” (John 11:33-35, NIV).
Observation: In response to her brother Lazarus dying, Mary ran out to meet Jesus and fell at His feet weeping and saying that if only He had been there sooner her brother wouldn’t have died. Then, in response to her sorrow and pain, Jesus Himself –God of all the universe- wept. What an amazing sight of His compassion, mercy, and tenderness towards our pain and suffering.
Application: We must model Jesus in all ways of life, including this example of how He responded to Mary’s pain by feeling her pain. All too often, we offer solutions and try to fix other people’s problems and troubles instead of just sitting with them. We become uncomfortable with their distress and therefore try to look for an easy answer rather than just being present with their feelings. When our partner or close friend is hurting, the first thing to do is empathize with what they are going through to provide comfort and support just as Jesus did with Mary.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for this beautiful example of your compassion towards our pain, please help me extend the same compassion to others in my life when they are struggling.
Scripture: “… I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die …” (John 11: 25-26, NIV).
Observation: This is Jesus speaking to Martha in response to her wanting Him to bring her dead brother Lazarus back to life. Jesus intentionally stayed away longer than needed before coming to visit the sick Lazarus so God could be given even greater glory – shows that often when our human strength and hope is fully exhausted is when God shows up the most.
Application: God sometimes allows significant tragedy in our lives so He is given glory – when all hope seems lost is often when He shows up the most- when it’s clear He is the reason for the turnaround. Therefore, the weaker we are and the more hopeless the situation becomes is the most probable time for God’s intervention and care so that His glory is clearly seen by all.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the hope of this passage of living forever with you and knowing that when I’m weakest is when your strength shows up the most.
Scripture: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved…” (John 10:9, NIV).
Observation: This is Jesus speaking shortly after the blind beggar had received his sight and was thrown out by the Pharisees for giving Jesus honor for the miracle. There was much discussion in that moment on who Jesus was and then He steps up and clearly claims His purpose and position. He is the gate-the ultimate path into Heaven-only through Him can our sins be forgiven and can we enter eternal paradise with God.
Application: Christianity stands out among the major faiths of the world in many ways and one is its view that humanity is fallen. Other faiths believe people are inherently good, while Christianity believes people are inherently sinful, which fits the data. All people are prone to drift away from God’s holy standards, which is why we need a Savior to forgive us and cleanse us. The more in touch with our sinful bent we become, the more we realize how much we need a Savior.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for showing me my tendency to drift away from Your holiness and how much I need you Jesus as my Savior….thank you for being my gate!
Scripture: “How then were your eyes opened? They demanded. He replied, the man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash, so I went and washed, and then I could see” (John 9:10-11, NIV).
Observation: This blind man answered honestly when asked about the miracle in his life that had occurred with his vision. He didn’t leave out parts of the story he thought would be controversial. He didn’t modify the story so that it would sound more acceptable to the listeners. How much do we as believers dilute what God has done in our lives when asked because we fear the judgment of those asking? How much do we leave out details of God’s activity in our lives so others will still view us as “normal?”
Application: We must answer honestly when people ask us questions. We must focus more on honoring Him and giving Him glory for what He’s done than on fearing how others will respond. Short, honest testimonies are often most effective at inspiring and convicting others too.
Prayer: Lord, please forgive me for all the times fear of other’s reactions has influenced how much I’ve honestly shared your activity in my life. When asked, let me speak truthfully about your work to give you the praise you deserve.
Scripture: “When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you? Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit, Elisha replied” (2 Kings 2:9, NIV).
Observation: Elisha was the student of the great prophet Elijah and was there with him when Elijah was taken to heaven. Elisha could have asked for anything materially or things for his gain but instead he asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit-most likely so he could be used by God in the same amazing ways as Elijah had been.
Application: It’s so easy in our modern culture of materialism, pleasure, and individualism to pray for our joy, our wants, and our comfort- it’s much rarer to selflessly pray for God to work through us more, to use us more, and to glorify Him more. These should be the main prayers we offer to Christ so our spiritual life is focused on what we can give rather on what we can get. This principle also applies to romantic relationships where people tend to be much more focused on what they can get rather than on what they can give.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the self-centered bent to my prayers and please help me be more selfless oriented for your glory moving forward.