All People

Re:Verse passage – Joshua 2:1-21 (day four)

It is strange enough that women are listed at all in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1. But these five women (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary) have something else in common – they all have some form of sexual scandal in their history. Rahab herself was an outsider to the people of Israel. That in addition to her profession gave her two reasons to be killed by these men. Yet God found her faithful, and used her to bring about triumph for Israel, and eventually the Messiah himself. Rahab’s story, and Jesus’ family tree, make it clear – God’s plan includes all people.

Rahab saw the majesty and power of God, even with limited knowledge of him, and her faith caused her to act. Later, in the epistle from James, he uses Rahab as an example of faith lived out, “In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:25-26). 

May our faith always lead us to action, following the example of God’s unexpected servant Rahab.


Re:Verse passage – Genesis 50:15-20 (day four)

I’ve always thought of Joseph as one of the most earnest characters in the Bible. He is sincere in his walk with the Lord, and you can count on him to say exactly what he means (with varying degrees of tact). He is serious and purposeful as he goes about the Lord’s business.

His brothers, on the other hand, are manipulative and jealous. They’ll lie and cheat to get what they want. Because of them, Joseph’s life was riddled with bitter trials. But for every trial, God turned that situation around into a blessing for Joseph. Because Joseph remained faithful to God and walked in obedience, he saw the restorative power of God’s hand. When Joseph looked back on his life, he saw the blessings and faithfulness of God, rather than the trials and unfairness of his family.

When the time came, Joseph was able to forgive his family. God had shown him his restorative power his entire life, so how could he not choose restoration now? This kind of grace is only possible when we walk closely with the Lord, the One who promises to restore the years the locusts have eaten.

Faithful Resolve

Re:Verse passage – Genesis 22:1-18 (day four)

Can you imagine what was going through Abraham’s mind when God asks this of him? We don’t know all of Abraham’s thoughts here, or how he came to terms with this command from God, but we do know that he came to a place of faithful resolve. Look at the language he uses –

In verse 5, Abraham states in faith that Isaac will return, “Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.” Again in verse 8, Abraham has faith that God will provide, “Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

Abraham was fully prepared to obey the Lord, and equally full of assurance that God would provide. Abraham had walked with God and knew these things to be true: God is faithful, trustworthy, and good. He had faith that somehow, this command from God would further testify to these truths.

How is God calling you to obey? You can do it in faith knowing that he is faithful, trustworthy, and good.


Re:Verse passage – Genesis 6:5-22 (day four)

Stories like this often make us think of the anger and wrath of God, and understandably so. But when we read the story of Noah in light of New Testament, it’s the compassion of God and the love he has for his people that really shines through. The people on earth were hurtling themselves towards destruction, and God intervened.

John 15 says this, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit…As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me…If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”

God didn’t just trim a branch in this story of Noah, he uprooted the whole tree, so to speak. But we know that God is always dealing compassionately with his people, even when they’re hurting themselves through sin. Noah abided in the Lord, and he withstood the painful, difficult pruning. We, too, can abide in the Lord, knowing he’ll tend to us compassionately.

Tend My Sheep

Re:Verse passage – John 21:15-25 (day four)

I love the symmetry that we see between this passage and where we started in chapter 18. Peter denies Jesus three times, and now, in Jesus’ kindness, Peter gets to affirm his love for him three times. Jesus deals with Peter’s shame and fear so tenderly. He fully restores him.

What great timing it is that we’re studying this passage as we begin the season of Lent. As we spend this season in prayer, repentance, and drawing closer to the Lord, let’s put ourselves in Peter’s shoes. When the Lord asks, “Do you love me?” – what is our response? Have you denied Jesus in one way or another? Well, Jesus offers restoration to you, just like Peter.

Just as Jesus’ restoration for Peter is offered to us, his command to Peter is  given to us as well: “Tend my sheep.”

How are you tending to his sheep? What does it look like for you to respond to what Jesus is asking of you? How might you focus on that during this Lenten season?


Re:Verse passage – John 21:1-14 (day four)

What do you do after life is turned upside down? How do you go about the daily-ness of life when your whole world has changed? Maybe you’ve experienced this before. Whether the change was good or bad, you go through life in a fog for a little while, and it’s difficult to return to normal routines.

The disciples have had a life changing experience across just a few days. Their Lord was put to death, and most of them fled for their lives. Then, all of a sudden, they hear the news that he might be back – Jesus might be alive. He appears to them not once, but twice, giving them proof that he indeed died and rose again. How do you move on after that? What does life look like?

Well, in chapter 21 we find them fishing. Life may be turned upside down, but you still need to eat. I imagine they were in a sort of fog on the boat, mindlessly casting their nets unsuccessfully. Then, Jesus appears. He provides a miracle, and light cuts through the fog. As soon as Peter realizes this, he dives straight into the water, wasting no time getting to his Lord. The same man who deserted Jesus is now running to him with reckless abandon. The Light has made things clear.

When life is foggy – run to Jesus with all your strength. He’s already there, cutting through the fog.


Re:Verse passage – John 20:24-29 (day four)

This story has earned Thomas the nickname “doubting Thomas” for quite some time. It is often said with the intention of being a tad derogatory toward him. And yes, Thomas expresses doubt that Jesus is alive. But look at what Jesus does in response! He comes back, walks through another locked door, and ministers to Thomas, giving him exactly what he needs. He doesn’t chastise him or belittle him. He knows Thomas’ heart, and he comes back for him.

Jesus is the good shepherd. When one of his sheep is missing, too grief stricken to know what to do, he comes back for that sheep, and gives it exactly what it needs. Jesus doesn’t despise our feelings of doubt, and I don’t think he would have called Thomas by his unfortunate nickname. Rather, he draws near to us in our doubt, and just like with Thomas, he gives us the gift of his presence.


Re:Verse passage – John 20:19-23 (day four)

The breath of God is more powerful than we could ever imagine. In Genesis, man gets his very life from God’s breath. Psalm 33 proclaims that the breath of God created the heavenly host. Job tells us that the breath of the Almighty gives understanding. Here, Jesus simply breathes, and the disciples receive the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God himself, the third member of the Trinity, imparted through breath.

It’s by this Holy Spirit that we can participate in life with God. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to live in a new way. Right after he breathes the Spirit onto them, Jesus starts talking about forgiveness. Of all the ways that the Spirit changes our lives – Jesus chooses to talk about how the Spirit empowers us to forgive. Overcoming unforgiveness is one of the most powerful ways the Spirit acts in our lives. Are you having trouble forgiving someone who has wronged you? Take it to the Lord. When you walk with God, he has given you his Spirit through a simple breath. Through that Spirit, forgiveness is possible.


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

When we look at Jesus’ life, we find that every moment was filled with intention. Nothing was haphazard. Always look for who is around at the turning points in Jesus’ life. When Jesus is born, the angels first bring the news to poor shepherds working in the pasture over night. These men were often looked down upon in society, yet the good news of Jesus’ birth was brought to them first. Give this some thought – why them?

Now, at the resurrection, at the most significant moment in human history – look who’s there. The resurrected Jesus first reveals himself to women. The first person to witness about the resurrected Savior was a woman. Women, too, were treated poorly in society. They weren’t allowed to participate in the synagogues, they didn’t have any social or economic power of their own. And yet, it is to them that Jesus reveals this good news. Why them?

Jesus keeps interesting company. The people around him aren’t who you’d expect. And now, we’re included in that wonderfully weird company that he keeps as well. Why us? Why does he draw near to us? In response, we can follow the example of the shepherd and the women – we can go and tell.


Funerals evoke all sorts of emotions. We feel sad as we miss our lost loved one. We might feel angry at ourselves for things left unsaid. We might feel relief that the person is free from pain. We might be fearful as we consider a future without that loved one. We experience these darker emotions at funerals because they remind us of the darkest part of the human experience – death.

But can you imagine what Joseph and Nicodemus felt at this funeral? This surely isn’t how they thought it would go. They would have never thought that their Savior and Messiah would be left alone at his death. They wouldn’t have imagined that they would have to come out of hiding in order to be both pallbearer and undertaker to their King. As they gently took care of Jesus’ body and laid him to rest, I’m sure this felt like the darkest moment in their entire lives. Almost as dark as Genesis 1:2, when “darkness hovered over the surface of the deep.” Thankfully, the Light they knew could not be extinguished. As John says in the beginning of his gospel, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:5).