We’ve created an acrostic to help us remember some key points to turn this time of study into a time of spiritual growth and personal healing.
Digging deeper into these books will reveal truths that will change the way you view healing, and most important draw you closer to our Heavenly Father. May God bless you as you commit your time and heart to study His word.
Read John 9
“No fault” illness
Today, we read John’s recollection of an occasion during which Jesus, while traveling with His disciples, comes upon a blind man. The scripture says that “Jesus SAW a man blind from birth.” The disciples, being eager to learn, asked Jesus who had caused the blindness. In a “matter of fact” manner, Jesus answered that neither the blind man nor his parents were to “blame” for the blindness; rather, his blindness was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. This fellow had been blind since birth and the scripture refers to him as a man. So, he had been blind for a long time. Notice that Jesus did not seem apologetic that the man had been blind for a long time, He simply declared that the man’s ultimate purpose was about to be fulfilled. Once the blind man followed the strange instructions Jesus gave, he then had vision! This man couldn’t possibly have imagined that we would be reading about him over 2,000 years later!
If we find ourselves asking, “Why am I suffering this way?”, He may whisper that it is ultimately for the purpose of glorifying Him.
Read John 10
The GOOD Shepherd
Of all the animals God could have chosen to analogously represent His children, He chose sheep. There’s no animal much dumber than a sheep! (Go ahead and research sheep yourself.) We can safely assume, then, that if He refers to us as sheep, He knew we could do little on our own! He wants us to rely solely on Him. He explains to us in this chapter that He is our Good Shepherd…not just our shepherd, but our GOOD Shepherd. If God calls something good, we should take Him at His word. Jesus said, “I came to give you life, and not just “regular” life, but ABUNDANT life! (See verse 10.) Who doesn’t want ABUNDANT life as the Creator defines it?
It’s also important to realize that if we don’t allow Him to be our Good Shepherd, then apparently we’re subjecting ourselves to our enemy (see verse 10 again). The choice is 1) Good Shepherd who will lay down His life for us, OR 2) the enemy also known as the one who comes to STEAL, KILL, and DESTROY! Luckily, we don’t have to be very smart to make the choice to follow the Good Shepherd.
So, sometimes when we’re going through a difficult time, we may just need to lighten up on ourselves a little bit. We can’t figure everything out ourselves, and He never asked us to. Recognize that He has made Himself available to us, because we absolutely need Him, and we can rely solely on Him as our Good Shepherd to meet all our needs.
Read John 11
He’s Never Too Late
The three siblings: Lazarus, Mary, and Martha were all friends of Jesus prior to Lazarus’ fatal illness. In fact, the scripture tells us plainly that Jesus loved all three of them. However, notice that He didn’t prevent them from suffering. Undoubtedly, as Lazarus’ condition worsened, the more distraught the three became. The sisters desperately sent word for Jesus to come quickly. Notice Jesus’ reaction to the call to come. Jesus told the messenger that the sickness was for God’s glory. Jesus further explained to his disciples that Lazarus would die but that his death would benefit them because it would cause them to believe! Not only did Jesus not go to Lazarus, but he travelled toward Judea again, even though the religious leaders had threatened to kill Him if He came back there. Scripture tells us that God’s ways are often not like our ways. Many times we can not possibly understand why things happen the way they do. But, at all times, we are told to trust Him and Him alone.
Jewish burials take place as quickly as possible after death, so Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days by the time Jesus finally arrived at his friends’ home. They went straight to the tomb and despite Mary’s fear of the smell, Jesus commanded the tombstone be rolled away and Lazarus to come forth. That’s exactly what Lazarus did!
We are not always kept from pain, suffering, and heartache. In fact, the scriptures tell us that we will suffer. In this world, we will have troubles. But, He has overcome the world and ultimately, His children will come out of the tomb to live with Him forever.
Read John 12
Purpose in Pain
Thus far, the book of John has covered a time span of about three years, the length of Jesus’ earthly ministry. But the rest of the book takes place over about 7-10 days. It’s the week leading up to the annual Passover Festival and Jesus and His followers are headed back toward Jerusalem to “celebrate,” as was their custom. Upon entering the city, Jesus’ fame had caused the people to gather in anticipation of His arrival. The scripture describes the “hero-like” welcome He received with palm branches being placed in the path of the little donkey He was riding and the crowds being excited to see Him. Sadly, however, we see that the people likely flocked to Jesus solely for His miracle working power, because the scripture says that most people still didn’t believe His message. Not being deterred from His purpose, Jesus continued to proclaim, “Whoever believes in Me does not believe in me only, but in the One who sent me…and those will be rescued from the darkness.” Belief = Rescue.
Jesus was fulfilling His purpose even though the weight on His shoulders was getting so heavy. In verse 27, “Now my soul is troubled,” He said, “and what shall I say: Father, save me from this hour?” It’s so magnificent that by reading His Word, we are privy to Jesus’ audible cry “Is there another way, Father?” The time of His great suffering had begun and He knew it was going to get much worse. Yet, He laid down His will for the will of the Father so that all of us could be rescued, brought into the Light, and receive eternal life! Jesus was not spared from pain and suffering in fulfilling His purpose, and neither are we.
Read John 13
WWJD (What would Jesus do?)
John, of course, being with Jesus continuously throughout His ministry, had first-hand knowledge of Jesus’ pain and suffering. He could have given us a minute by minute account of being with Jesus. In today’s reading, we see that as Jesus and the disciples gathered for the evening Passover Meal, John describes Jesus as being in great pain, anguish, and heavily-burdened. The atmosphere had turned somber and everyone could tell that Jesus had really important things to say. Let’s join them at the supper table.
Notwithstanding the great suffering Jesus was experiencing, and the voluminous amount of information He wanted to impart into those at the table with Him, John records the most humbling experience, which we know took place only hours before Jesus was to be crucified.
Despite His pain, and despite knowing what He was soon to face, the scripture says Jesus took the time and energy to get in the floor, on His precious hands and feet, and begin to wash the dirty feet of those with Him. A pin drop would echo as He knelt to the floor. Stop what you’re doing and visualize yourself in the room.
Of course, in those days and in that arid region, foot washing was a daily practice; but, it was the job of a servant/slave, not the Honored Guest. It’s hard to imagine the shock the disciples felt when they realized what Jesus was doing. Even though some protested, He washed the feet of them all, one by one. Then He imparted a mind-blowing attribute of His true identity. He, as our Master, had come to be our “Servant”! He explained to them that we must do as He had done. Serving others was absolutely required. Servanthood is a vital part of being a Christ-follower! Reading this aloud is followed by the echo of a pin drop.
Read John 14
The Comforter Has Come
We could study the last few chapters of John for the rest of our lives and there would still be more treasures to find. For instance, look at the life-changing instructions Jesus gave in John 14:1 when Jesus looked into the eyes of those at the supper table and said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me.” Imagine sitting there. If we turn our face toward Him, He’s speaking the same words to us. He’s telling us to rely on Him, believe His promises, and to NOT be stressed out! These are not the cliche words of our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.—these are the words of JESUS CHRIST, the One who IS before the beginning of time and IS throughout eternity. He’s a reliable and capable source upon whom we can surely rely!
Later in the chapter, Jesus lets us know that He is also providing the ability to do what He has said for us to do. See verses 25-26. When we feel so overwhelmed that is seems impossible to “believe, trust, and not worry” we must remember that He has provided Himself as Holy Spirit to enable us to do so. He gives us the promises AND the ability to trust in the promises.
Read verses 23-24 to find another priceless principle. Jesus told them that if they loved Him then they would obey His teachings, and as a result He and The Father would dwell with them. Having our Heavenly Father dwell with us would certainly improve our quality of life, wouldn’t it? So, we should follow His teachings. But, can we follow His teachings if we haven’t read them? Not really. Simply put, in order to have constant relationship with The Father and The Son, we must study and apply the teachings of The Word.