A Story to Tell

Re:Verse passage – John 20:1-18 (day six)

“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” John 20:17

We are not sure what to make of this. Is Jesus alluding to some mystery about his glorified body? I believe it is far simpler than that. It might have sounded something like this,

“Mary, you need to let me go; I still have work to do, and so do you. Now go tell my disciples…”

Could it be that is what Jesus intends for us to understand? That we can’t stay in the garden holding onto him. That we have a story to tell.

“Now, go and tell…”

Body

Re:Verse passage – John 19:38-42 (day six)

This is a remarkable little story of two men coming out of the shadows to honor a man they secretly admired. With much at stake, and not a lot of time before sundown, they tend to the broken body of Jesus. As much as possible they honored Jesus’ body with the sacred traditions that accompanied the dead.

It is in this moment that we most clearly see Jesus’ humanity; a broken body, wrapped, and placed in a rich man’s tomb.

Jesus’ brokenness (in his crucifixion) is not what made him human; he became broken in his body so we could become whole, complete, and incorruptible in ours.

 

Testimony

Re:Verse passage – John 19:31-37 (day six)

(This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe.[a]) John 19:35

How else would we know apart from the testimony of the Apostles? All the gospel writers, but especially John, longed for us to believe. He knew, and so did Jesus, that what was required was the reliable testimony of others (John 17:20). All along the road to the cross, John wanted us to see how Jesus fulfilled the prophets, he wanted us to see that the cross was God’s plan all along, and he wanted us to see that Jesus really suffered, and really died.

It was important for John to make clear there was no way Jesus could have survived, thus the spear, and blood and water. He wanted to leave no doubt as to the outcome of the cross.

Why? Simply, so that all who read his testimony would believe that it is not a sham, but in fact it is the real deal; to those being saved the message of the cross is the power of God to save sinners (1 Corinthians 1:18).

To the Very End

Re:Verse passage – John 19:28-30 (day six)

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. John 13:1

This is the preface to Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, but it also captures, at least in part, Jesus’ sentiment when he declared “It is finished.” He had been faithful to the very end to care for the men the Father had entrusted into his care. In fact he says as much in his high priestly prayer in John 17.

Why does it matter? Have you faithfully loved all the people entrusted into your care? I, for one, am thankful Jesus’ righteousness becomes my own (2 Corinthians 5:21). He loved his neighbor as himself to the last breath of his life.

 

King Jesus, Come Quickly

Re:Verse passage – John 19:17-27 (day six) 

The sign was a deterrent. Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews was more than just an opportunity to stick it to the Jewish leaders, Pilate was also conveying a message, Caesar is King, and never forget it!

Although, more subtle and less dramatic, our contemporary culture is no different in its messaging:

Jesus has no dominion here; we have no king but Caesar.

Truth is, those in power today, (whether on the right or left) would find a way to crucify him all over again. They already do. He is too much a threat to their power and control.

One day, the resurrected Jesus will subject all earthly powers and authorities under his feet. There will be no ambiguity or confusion; King Jesus will be on the throne.

Blessing

PRe:Verse passage – John 19:1-5 (day six)

The King of Moab had commissioned Balam to curse the Israelites, but God wouldn’t have it; instead he couldn’t help but bless them. (Numbers 22-24)

The words spoken in these five verses accomplish the same thing. While the soldiers intended to mock Jesus, they proclaimed him king. While the religious leaders, declared him guilty, Pilate couldn’t help but proclaim his innocence. And when he finally presented Jesus to them, he unknowingly prophesied “Look, here is the man,” a veiled reference to his incarnation.

Jesus is the true Israel; faithful and righteous.

And by his stripes we are healed.

He’s Got the Whole World

Re:Verse passage – John 18:33-40 (day six)

His accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. 29 So Pilate, the governor, went out to them…John 18:28b-29a

The Apostle John captures significant drama for us in this narrative. The religious leaders, worried about being defiled, especially in light of the Passover festivities, where unwilling to risk missing out by entering Pilate’s courtyard. This forced Pilate to go out to them several times in the process of questioning Jesus and rendering a verdict. Between chapters 18 and 19 Pilate alternates at least six times between Jesus and the religious leaders.

John is intent on capturing more than drama, but aims to illustrate that Jesus is a whole world problem. He more than a Jewish problem, or a gentile problem; the whole world is intertwined in its culpability. Furthermore, the whole world must respond to the Truth; it has no choice.

A Little Self-awareness Goes a Long Way

Re:Verse passage – John 18:15-18, 25-27 (day six)

If Peter teaches us anything, it is that we are terrible predictors of our own behavior and choices. Even though Jesus told him what would happen in advance, and even though Peter was adamant that he would never abandon Jesus, in fact he insisted he would die for him before denying him, when put in an unexpected situation Peter did the unexpected. Not once but three times he denied he was a disciple of Jesus.

Here’s the point, don’t take your sinful flesh for granted. You can make wonderful and wild proclamations (like Peter), and still fall flat on your face. When it comes to your own sinful nature, be self-ware, be watchful, be ready, be sober minded, be humble. You can never have too many safeguards or accountability.

John Mark

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 5:7-14 (day six)

…and so does my son Mark. 1 Peter 5:13

Most scholars agree this verse refers to John Mark, the very same that abandoned Paul and Barnabas on one of their missionary journeys. Paul was so put out, he refused to travel with John Mark again. Yet, here you see him again as a protege to Peter. Paul would even later affirm John Mark (2 Timothy 4:11).

John Mark is the perfect case study for standing firm in God’s grace (1 Peter 5:9,12). At first it seems he doesn’t have what it takes when things get challenging, but the rest of the story paints a different picture. Through those challenges, along with other trials I’m sure, John Mark perseveres, grows, and bears lasting fruit, eventually writing the Gospel According to Mark.

Don’t count yourself out because you’ve stumbled here or there; get back up and stand firm in God’s grace! He has a purpose for you yet!

Serve the Lord with Gladness

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 5:1-6 (day six)

Serve the Lord with gladness. Psalm 100:2

God is gravely concerned about the quality of your leadership. I’m writing to  pastors, or any other kind of shepherding church leader. The Psalmist gets to the heart of the matter, serve the Lord with gladness! 

Serving the Lord from a dutiful heart honors the self, not God; it exalts the human will, not a magnificent and glorious God.

BUT a glad heart rejoices and delights in God. The overflow of a heart like that can’t help but lead a shepherd to gladly give himself away in service to others.