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.
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 strength 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.
The final reading leading up to Easter covers the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
The trial gives us insights into Pilate’s reluctance to prosecute Jesus although he gives in to political pressure applied by the Jewish leaders. The conviction of Jesus is not just a religious event but a political event as well. The power structures of the day that desired maintenance of the status quo work together to hand over an innocent man to death.
There may have been a different outcome if there was no death penalty. Far too often the death penalty has been used to put the innocent to death because of politics.
The crucifixion of Jesus demonstrates how cruel humanity can be. The purpose of crucifixion is to maximize pain, humility and suffering. Jesus is made to carry the instrument of his death to the place of death. Much like John Brown riding to his execution sitting on the coffin he was to be buried.
Jesus is nailed to the cross and placed between two thieves. The soldiers gamble over his garments and a spear is plunged through his side. After hours of prolonged suffering, Jesus dies. Upon Jesus’ death he placed in a borrowed tomb and his body buried according to the customs of the day.
The pronouncement of the resurrection does not come with a declaration of Jesus’ return from the grave. What occurs is a rumor that the body of Jesus has been moved. It is not until later that day that Jesus begins to show up to his followers to prove that he is alive. First to Mary and then to the disciples.
There are four post-resurrection appearances by Jesus in the gospel of John--by far more than any other gospel. In each post-resurrection appearance Jesus is comforting, teaching and providing something for the disciples to do. The followers of Jesus are not just to celebrate his victory over the grave nor simply wait for his return. There is work to be done after the resurrection by Jesus’ followers.
This is our time to work for Jesus. May we be found doing the work he expects of us until he comes again. Let’s celebrate the resurrection but also be busy doing the work that must be done.