Jesus IS the WAY

Eyewitness: pp. 224,225
Eyewitness Stories: John 13:33-14:11
New Living Translation: John 13:33-14:11
In Your Bible: John 13:33-14:11

The time had come, Jesus told the disciples he was leaving and wouldn’t be with them much longer. He gave the disciples a new commandment – love one another. When two disciples, Peter and Philip, questioned Jesus pointedly about his going away, he answered in-directly and then directly. Jesus IS the WAY.

Going to Leave Them

For about three years Jesus taught and worked with the disciples he chose. Yet they were still unsure of who he was. During the last days before his crucifixion he had to reassure what they did know about him. “My students,” Jesus said “I cannot be with you much longer” (John 13:33a Eyewitness Stories).

Then the robust disciple Peter, asked “Sir where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I go you cannot follow. But you will later” (John 13:36,37 Eyewitness Stories).

Know Me

Jesus tries to quell their disappointment by saying he’d already prepared a place for them, and they knew the way. But Thomas boldly admitted his feelings. “No we don’t,” Thomas said. “Sir, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way”? (John 14:5 Eyewitness Stories).

Jesus told them, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you really have known me, you will know who my Father is. From now on you know him and have seen him” (John 14:6,7 New Living Translation). No argument about it, Jesus IS the WAY.

Prayer: Father, thank you for your Son who leads us into your loving hands.

Questions: When did you stop questioning that Jesus is the ONLY WAY to the Father? How did that understanding strengthen your faith and your witness?

A Farewell Command From Jesus

Eyewitness: p. 224
Eyewitness Stories: John 13: 33, 35
NIV: John 13:33-35
In Your Bible: John 13: 33-35

After eating the Passover Supper, Jesus told his disciples he was going away. This was a tender time and a confusing time for the disciples. It included a farewell command from Jesus.

How Jesus Loved

Jesus was about to enter a journey alone, and it grieved his heart. He wanted to impart his love to the disciples in way they could show the world.

Jesus loved his disciples:

  • Selflessly – His desire was to give of himself and all he had to those he loved
  • Sacrificially – There was no limit to what his love would give
  • Understandingly – He knew their weaknesses and he still loved them
  • Forgivingly – They had no failures that he would not forgive

Show Your Love

Jesus stated clearly the priority of this command. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV John 13: 34,35).

This new command

  • It is from the Master – and a fundamental command of the Kingdom of God
  • It tells his disciples to love as Christ loved
  • It is the reputation of a follower of Jesus – noted love for one another

These verses in John Chapter 13 are heady ones. Many of the verses require meditation and contemplation to reveal their impact. Yes, the farewell command from Jesus shows his love.

Prayer: Father, thank you for loving me so much. Help me love others as you love me.

Questions: How does this command make a difference in how we think, speak, and respond in daily life? When we respond to situations by following Jesus’ final command to love one another, the results may astound us. Compare those results to times you felt the command was too difficult.

God’s Way

Eyewitness: pp. 215,216
Eyewitness Stories Matt 25:45,46
New Living Translation (NLT): Matt 25:37-39
New international Version (NIV) Matt 25:34
In Your Bible: Matt 25:31-46

Of the many parables Jesus told, this one about the sheep and the goats is considered the most vivid.* It speaks of end times happenings and rewards for those righteous who submitted to and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord. It’s a guide on how to lead a Christ-like life. Simply stated, it is God’s way to meet man’s needs.

Son of Man Returns

The parable starts with when the Son of Man’s return to earth – truly a key event. He will separate people from one another – good (believers) from bad (non-believers). The shepherd separates sheep from the goats.

The parable divulges why they were separated. Speaking to the sheep:

  • I was hungry – You fed me
  • I was thirsty – You gave me a drink
  • I was homeless – You took me in
  • I had no clothes – You gave me clothes
  • I was sick or in prison -You cared for or visited me

“The righteous ones [sheep] will reply, ‘Lord when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing. When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’” (Matthew 25:37b-39 NLT).

Listen to your Heart – Help

The answer to the question means a lot, especially when you see the simplicity of it . . .[the Lord says,} “I assure you, when whenever you helped one of my needy people, you did it for me” (Matthew 25:40 Eyewitness Stories).

How do we do this? We help those in need. God wants believers to serve out of love not self-expectation. The Lord was direct when he spoke about this. We need to listen to our heart and respond as Jesus would!

Inheritance from the Time of Creation

The parable explains the believer’s reward for doing these simple things for the right reason** . . . Come [sheep], you who are blessed of my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world (Matthew 25:34b NIV).

That’s an amazing revelation about what was prepared ahead for those who believe and follow Jesus’ commands and teaching! It shows God’s way to meet man’s needs.

Prayer: Father, thank you for your far reaching plan. Help me see the needs of those I can touch for you.

Questions: How do you think God shows you ways you can help others needs? Does it happen immediately as you see it or does it become clear later?

* The Daily Bible Series, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, p. 327.

** Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1960, pp1336-1338.

Be Prepared

Eyewitness: pp. 212,213
Eyewitness Stories: Matthew 25:1-13
NLT: Matthew 25:1-13
In Your Bible: Matthew 25: 1-13; Ephesians 5:18

The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids (five wise and five foolish) tells us to be ready to greet the bridegroom. Jesus warns us, “ . . . you should always be prepared, because you do not know the day or hour of my return” (Matthew 25:13 Eyewitness Stories). Yes, be prepared for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Old Jewish Custom

Bible commentators* explain this wedding custom. Days before the marriage, friends and family gathered at the bride’s home waiting with anticipation the groom’s arrival. The bridesmaids would even go into the streets, waiting. At night they would need oil lamps.

When the groom did arrive, it was often late at night. He would send a messenger to announce his coming. Then only the bridesmaids who prepared extra oil to refill their lamps could go into the dark to meet the bridegroom.

Oil of the Believer

The bridesmaids heard a shout at midnight, “Look the bridegroom is coming! Come out and welcome him” (Matthew 25:6 NLT). Jesus praises the wisdom of the five bridesmaids who had extra oil to refill their lamps – they were ready.

This parable refers to the believers’ readiness – constantly being filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Be wise and let the Holy Spirit guide you, as you anticipate his coming. Yes, be prepared for the Kingdom of Heaven.

* The Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of Matthew Vol 2, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1958, Wm Barclay pp. 319-321.

Prayer: Father, thank you for sending the Holy Spirit. Remind me to always be prepared for Jesus’ return.

Questions: What are you doing to prepare yourself for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you anticipate his return? Are you ready?