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Showing posts from October, 2015

The Father Who Bruises the Son

Scripture

Today's full reading is John 18:1-14
Jesus commanded Peter, 'put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?'
John 18:11Observation

Jesus is clear. What's happening to him is from the Father.

He rebukes Peter on that basis: 'this has come to me from the Father.' Jesus trusts his Father and desires to do what the Father sent him to do. His rebuke of Peter is a question that sounds a little like 'do you know better than my Father?!'

Jesus is incredulous. The Father is in charge of all things and is over all things. The Father has given his Son this 'cup' and now the Son must drink it.

The cup he mentions is the same cup he was agonising over in the Garden of Gethsemane. The cup is the wrath of the Father, the cross and the abandonment Jesus will experience by his Father. Having already asked for 'another way' Jesus is now convinced that this is the only way. It is certainly the way his Father wants him to t…

The Father: An Overview

Scripture

Today's reading is the whole of Jesus' prayer in John 17. Since the Father is mentioned throughout the prayer we're not going to focus on one specific verse but instead provide a birds eye overview of some of the themes Jesus draws out. Take some time now to read the chapter, making some observations of your own and then come back and go through it with me.

Observation

Verse 1 - Knowing the Father is eternal life.  This is something that is so exciting it demands a whole extra blog. You can read that blog here if you want to.

Verse 5 - The Father and the Son were together in glory (majesty and splendour) before the world began.

Verse 6 - The Father gave the Son his disciples. He gave the Son those people who are right now believing in him and following him. It can therefore be said that the disciples or believers belonged to the Father since you can't give something you don't have.

Verse 8 - The Father sent the Son. Jesus wasn't acting just out of his …

The Father Who Is Eternal Life

Scripture

Today's Bible verse is:
'Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to all those you have given to him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.'
John 17:1Observation

'This is eternal life' Jesus says, and surely whatever follows next must get our full attention.
This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent. Eternal life, that is never ending, full blooded, never giving up, never running out, enhanced life in HD, that sort of life comes from and is found in knowing the Father and the Son. Not just knowing about them, not occasionally firing off a prayer to them when we're in need but knowing them. God is a person after all.

This sort of knowledge is less like knowing a recipe or knowing a map and more like knowing my wife. I know her …

The Father Who Loves Me

Scripture:

Today's Bible reading is John 16:25-33
The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf, for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father. Observation

I don't know if you've had this experience before, there's every chance that I'm just a little odd, but as I sit here writing this my heart is beating fast at the truth contained in these words. I feel as though an answer to a question I've wondered about for some time has at last arrived.

It's a question Amy and I were discussing together recently: 'since the Father loves the Son so much (and it's clear from John's gospel that he loves him a lot), does he actu…

The Father to be known

Scripture
Today's reading is John 16:1-15. Our verse for the day is verse 3:
And these they will do because they have not known the Father nor me.
John 16:3Observation

The reason, Jesus says, that people (and indeed do) persecute disciple of his is that they do not know the Father. We might have been tempted to say it was because of other things: pride, jealousy, the devil or even a whole manner of things. For Jesus however it's simple: they don't know the Father. They think they're pleasing God, but they don't even know him. Serving God is one thing but knowing him is what really matters. Because you can't actually serve him and do his will until or unless you know him.

Know the Father. When you know him, you'll behave differently. It is knowing the Father and not simply knowing God that counts. Sin comes from not knowing the Father. Prejudice comes from not knowing the Father. Jealousy comes from not knowing the Father.

The Father Is Generous

Scripture

Today's Bible reading is John 15:1-17

'All that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.'
John 15:15 The Son brings us into his confidence. He tells us, or at least he told them who later passed it on to us, all that he heard or hears from his Father.

About the Father we learn that he is a speaking Father who taught and instructed his Son clearly.

The Son is not treated like a servant but a friend. He is told about his Father's business. His Father hasn't kept him in the dark. This then is how the Trinity behaves. God speaks and share with his own. Those who might be outsiders he brings in. Servants become friends and Sons who are invited into and share ownership of the family business. Then, following on from this specific mention of the Father is the next time he's mentioned:

Whatever we ask the Father in Jesus' name. he gives to us.

We've been brought into friendship with Christ so that we bear fruit, lasting fruit and receive fro…

The Father To Obey

Scripture

Today's reading is John 15:1-17.
'If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love, just as I have kept the commandments of my Father and abide in his love.'
John 15:10Observation

'I love you!' we might declare to God, or sing in a song,
'Then keep my commandments, do as I say.' He'd perhaps say back to us.

For Jesus there is a close link between loving God and doing what he says. To obey someone shows that you trust them. Jesus wants us to do what he has done. He obeys his Father and so abides in his love.

Do I want to know God more? Do I want to rest in God? Do I want to rest in God? Do I want to experience his love in an ongoing never ending way? Then I must obey him. Obedience doesn't always come from a place of love, we obey for many different reasons. But love is not love if it doesn't look to obey and honour the object of its affection.


The Father who wants fruitfulness

Scripture

Today's full Bible reading comes from John 15:1-17.
By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
John 15:8 If we've learnt anything from this devotional study it's that the Father is always wanting to glorify the Son and the Son is always wanting to glorify the Father.

So when the Son says 'my Father is glorified when you bear much fruit' he's essentially saying 'bear as much fruit as possible.' and fruit (whatever it is) is clearly something good, something that I'd want.

Again we see the round about and constant Other affirming nature of the Godhead:

Glorify my Father by bearing fruitProve to be my disciples (thus glorifying the Son) The Son says 'glorify him', the Father says 'glorify him!' each about the other.
This is good for us too for since God is Other-centred and outwardly life giving we benefit from him when he is glorified by and in us. As a result of the 'glorify-h…

The Gardening Father

Scripture

Today's full Bible reading is John 15:1-17
'I am the true vine and my Father is the vine dresser.' John 15:1Observation

This is quite a clear 'here's what the Father's like' sort of verse. The Father is the 'vine dresser' or sometimes the translations say 'the gardener'.

He is as actively involved with his people as a vine dresser or gardener is with his plants. Daily a gardener waters, prunes and shapes his plants and depending on the season of the year he treats it differently. In winter the vine gets very little attentions from a gardener apart from perhaps some protection from the frost. In spring time there is weeding and shaping, in summer there is watering and gathering and in autumn there is preparing for winter.

As a vine dresser he knows the vine, knows its needs and is committed to the vine's wellbeing. The vine after all is Christ, not us; that is perhaps a useful idea and one for us to stay with for a while. I am/w…