40 DAYS READING THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
Welcome to our Lenten Devotional Series of reading through the gospel of John. The gospel of John is different from the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke in that John shares stories about Jesus that are unique to the gospel of John. Only John tells us about the wedding miracle, a woman at a well and the brother of two sisters raised from the dead.
The gospel of John is written to help us see the humanity of Jesus and how Jesus is touched by the things that impact us. However, John also reminds us that Jesus is divine as well and, in his divinity, will use his power to aid us.
Each day we will read an assigned passage from John and will have Sunday as a rest day or to catch up on missed readings. At the end of each week, I will post a reflection of the readings for the week with key takeaways from persons of faith in our times.
In addition to reading the gospel of John, I am requesting that persons give one dollar each day during Lent. The dollar a day gift will be used at the end of Lent to support a mission project that will show our ongoing witness to the gospel. You may give your gift online, by cash app, by mail or drop off at the church. Please indicate your gift is for Lent.
Finally, for those who so desire, join us in a Daniel Fast during these 40 days. (Click Here for More Info)
I pray that our Lenten journey together through Bible reading, giving, prayer and fasting will further unite us as a congregation toward a common cause and a common goal--to be drawn near to Christ.
Let’s begin the journey with a prayer of commitment:
Lord, my desire is to be drawn closer to thee. I know my tendencies to do the things that please me and require less of me in terms of sacrifice, surrender, suffering and service. So, grant me the strengthen I need to honor my commitment to you. May I learn what you have waiting for those who will offer themselves to you and trust you to lead in paths of higher potential. Make me ready for the journey because of the promise of your presence. Amen
DR. RICKY A. WOODS
FBC-W SENIOR MINISTER
John in 40 Days (Ash Wednesday- Easter)
Tips for Bible Reading Success
- Set a time and place where you will do your reading
- Place your Bible someplace visible as a reminder.
- Print out the Bible chart and track your progress by marking off readings as you complete them.
- Make no exceptions! Vow to do it no matter what!
- If you blow the last tiP, then just start over where you left off. Pick up on a light day or on Sunday.
- Think of this as a gift to God. Have fun giving it and share your story with others. Your accomplishment may inspire them.
This week’s reading presents us with two opposing responses to Jesus and provides additional evidence that he is the Messiah.
The Samaritans rejoice and believe in Jesus because of the testimony of the woman at the well. Many more Samaritans come to believe in Jesus after spending time with Jesus and hearing him for themselves. The Samaritans are viewed as religious outsiders, excluded from Judaism because of mixed marriages and disputes about religious shines. However, it is the religious outsiders who are quick to accept the evidence that Jesus is the Messiah.
This is not the case with the Jews. When Jesus heals a man who had been crippled for 38 years, the Jews take exception that the healing takes places on the Sabbath. The Jews in John’s gospel are always presented as the opposition to Jesus. The keepers of the law are more concerned with rules than with transformation. No matter what Jesus will do going forward, the Jews will oppose him. No amount of healing, no miracle and no teaching will change their minds.
It is because of the religious opposition that comes from the Jewish leaders that Jesus retreats and does most of his ministry in remote locations. The feeding of the multitude with a single lunch occurs away from the city and masses in a remote location.
The feeding of the multitude and Jesus walking on water are additional signs to both disciples and the crowd that Jesus is the Messiah.
Will we accept the evidence?
The first week’s reading in the gospel of John introduced us to key characters and actions that would be repeated throughout the gospel story.
John the Baptist affirms that Jesus is the Messiah and although John has a religious following, he is clear on his role. He must decrease and Jesus must increase.
The gospel of John also presents us with an important theme to understanding the gospel--the invitation to come and see. The gospel provides what is referred to as signs and the signs are evidence to the claims of Jesus. The signs help us to see who Jesus is for no one can do the things he does unless God is with him.
There are multiple signs in this week’s reading. There is the sign of Jesus seeing Nathanael under the fig tree. There is the sign of Jesus cleansing the temple. There is the sign of Jesus turning the water to wine at the wedding in Cana. Each sign provides unique insight to the ministry of Jesus and its impact upon humanity.
The first sign demonstrates Jesus’ understanding of others as in the case of Nathanael. The second sign reveals the place of authentic and unencumbered worship where Go--not things--are central. The third sign affirms the importance of love and the celebration of community.
Understanding, worship and affirmation are the building blocks that John uses to introduce us to new ways of experiencing God’s love. The age of rules has passed and the dawn of grace has come.
Our reading concluded with the story of Nicodemus and perhaps the most quoted passage of scripture in the entire Bible- John 3:16-- For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Whereas we celebrate the witness of that love on Easter, we learn of the journey of that love on the way to the cross during Lent.