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 Reading continues what is commonly referred to as the “Discourse Narratives of Jesus.”
It is the longest continued teaching by Jesus without interruption found in scripture. In the Discourse Narrative we hear of Jesus’ prayer for the disciples and his prayer for the church as he prays for those who will come to believe in him because of the words of others about him.
The Discourse Narratives end with the trip to the Garden of Gethsemane and the betrayal of Jesus. Gethsemane is just below Jerusalem and from the garden persons could easily see a crowd leaving the city with torches during the night. There is no question that Jesus saw the crowd with torches and spears headed in his direction, but he did not retreat, and waited upon them.
Jesus does not resist being betrayed because it is a part of the plan of redemption.
Whereas much is said about the betrayal by Judas who led the soldiers to arrest Jesus, we should not forget the betrayal by Peter. Peter warms himself by the fire of the opposition and when noticed denies knowing Jesus not once but three times. It is not the betrayal of those who are on the margins of the relationships that grieves us most, it is the betrayal of those closest to us that brings the greatest hurt.
We would do well to remember that in our day Fred Hampton, the leader of the Black Panther Party in Chicago, was betrayed and murdered because his chief of security cooperated with a government-sponsored plot to eliminate him.
Even in betrayal Jesus demonstrates the grace of God by securing the freedom of the disciples. If you are looking for me, then let these go free. Then Jesus displays grace in the healing of a solider by replacing his ear after it was cut off by Peter. Grace is always present even in places of pain and grief.
The reading closes with a choice that confronts all of humanity – what will we do about Jesus? Will we accept him and his claims upon us or will we ask for an alternative such as Barabbas- the thief? Remember our enemy, who always works against us, is called a thief and a liar. Be careful to choose wisely.