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.
This week we hear of the seven “I Am” sayings by Jesus in the gospel of John. The first-- I am the bread of life.
Bread was the essential diet in middle eastern culture. Bread was easily produced in a farm economy and an important commodity where food could be exchanged for goods. Jesus declared he was the bread of heaven, that what he provided was essential to life and that it was available to everyone.
According to John, the crowds followed because of the fish and loaves from the meal of a miracle and missed the real gift in their midst-- the bread of heaven that feeds a staving soul.
When the crowd discovered that Jesus would not continue to feed them with a miracle supply of food but wanted to teach them about the meaning of faith in God. many of them abandoned Jesus and went another way. We know that then and now God’s ways are not like the ways of humanity and God will not allow us to manipulate him for our purposes.
We also learned this week of Jesus’ trip to Jerusalem where he challenged the thinking of the religious leaders. When Jesus refused to confirm to their way of thinking about how religion should work, they sent temple police to arrest him. However, the temple police were unable to seize Jesus because his time of sacrifice had not arrived.
The opposition to Jesus would continue to grow among the religious leaders in Jerusalem and Jesus retreated back to Galilee where the bulk of his ministry was performed.
Finally, we learn of the power of forgiveness that is offered to a woman caught in adultery. The community plan of action was to stone her and ignore the man not mentioned in the story. The woman’s misfortune was also used as an attempt to discredit Jesus by placing him in a no-win situation by asking Jesus if he disputed the law of Moses that called for stoning.
Jesus shined the light on the sin of all humanity and asked whoever was free of sin tocast the first stone. The forgiveness offered to the woman by Jesus helps us to see how change is possible when given another chance.
What Jesus did in this week’s reading was to show us how God is always making a way for us if we are willing to receive what God has to offer. Lent brings us face to face with God’s gracious gifts as we journey with him. He is the one who is always making a way even during a pandemic.