He has seen the Father

Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father.
Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. -John 6:45-47 NRSV

Jesus absolutely knew who is was when he walked the earth. His teaching and his ministry seems to emanate a confidence that stems from knowing the Father in a way that is unlike anyone who has ever professed to know Him.
So it is not surprising that such a one would be so confident concerning the means of having has eternal life.

So what do you think Jesus means when he speaks of coming to him? Is he just saying that one just needs to say a prayer? Is believing all about answering an altar call? Or is it something much deeper? Perhaps eternal life is just that. Life that begins today. Belief that emanates the life of God ... a life that resembles the life of Christ Jesus.

Endow us today Lord with a heart that believes and a life that emanates your presence in our hearts.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

Whose father and mother we know?

Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
[John 6:41-45 NRSV]

Growing up in the church I thought that I knew all about God and religion. Then in my mid-twenties I began to realize how little I knew of the bible and Jesus Christ. I was confronted with the fact that faith was more about a relationship than a religion. Such is the quandary that man young people find themselves in. Familiarity is not the same as knowledge.

Such is the case of those who saw Jesus grow up in Nazareth. They believed that Joseph, not God, was his father. So it was difficult for them to accept the idea that he was from heaven. Yet there were some among them who got past this. Some of these were allowing themselves to be drawn by the Father. Some were allowing their hearts and not their heads to lead them. Some had both heard and learned the truth about who Jesus really was. These things are true even today.

Help us Lord to not allow familiarity to keep us from being drawn to you. Give us a heart to trust you today.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

Never be hungry ... never be thirsty

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.” -John 6:35-40 NRSV

This passage speaks to me of the satisfaction that a believer finds in Christ. Our deepest hunger is filled and our inner thirst quenched when we respond to the calling of the Holy Spirit. I can relate to that. In April of 1976 my life was changed when the Holy Spirit came, filled me and satisfied the longing in my soul. Everything changed.

Yet the truth is that some rejected Christ. And today people reject the calling of the Spirit. In this passage we learn that the invitation is to whoever comes and whoever believes. We understand that it is God's will to raise believers to eternal life. Knowing this is the source of great hope for those who believe in the One who has come down from heaven.

Lord, you are the One who has come down from heaven. We believe in you. Fill us afresh with your Spirit.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

The true bread from heaven.

So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” -John 6:29-34 NRSV

The question has been asked for many years. Are we human beings or human doings? Are we known for who we are or for what we do? In this passage people were more interested in what Jesus was doing than with who he was. These wanted manna from heaven and did not realize that the true Manna from Heaven was standing before them.

Even today we all suffer from an unhealthy fixation on earthly bread and so often lose sight of the heavenly variety. In our quest (and our prayers) for signs from God we set ourselves up and miss the true bread from heaven. By focusing on the carnal we lose sight of the delicious bread of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, patience, perseverance, faithfulness and temperance. These qualities are all about who we are in God and not about what he can do for us.

We honor and celebrate you Lord. Teach us to daily receive the Bread that comes from Heaven.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

This is the work of God ...

They said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” -John 6:25-29 NRSV

It seems that there has always been a tension between faith and works. James writes about this declaring "faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead". So it is interesting that Jesus here tells us that the work of God is actually believing in himself. The idea challenges me. I want life to be all about what I do and not what I believe. In truth, it is a bit of both.

The ministry of Jesus teaches us that belief always leads to works. Apart from the amazing healings and miracles done at the hands of Christ, no one would understand that God had come to plant earth. Yet in this passage the Lord reminds us that the work of God is not all about signs and wonders but about believing. It is the food that endures for eternal life.

Lord, help us to to embrace faith and find the food that endures for eternal life. Please transform us as we believe in you.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

It is I; do not be afraid.

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going. -John 6:16-21 NRSV

Ever wonder what the message is in passages like this? I mean, what are we to make of Jesus walking on water, calming seas and stopping winds. Perhaps it is simply an illustration of his sovereignty and power over the forces of nature? Or maybe it is an illustration of his desire to save and protect the ones that he dearly loves?

I do wonder what it would have been like to have been in that boat way back then. Struggling with the winds and the waters the disciples look up and see the image of a man walking towards them. I think fear is the normal reaction in times like these. Jesus calming words reminded them, and us today, that we do not have to be afraid when life is treacherous. In such times of trial we can rest in knowing that He is with us and will save us in the end.

Help us to not be afraid Lord Jesus. Teach us to recognize your presence in the storms of life.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

This is indeed the prophet ...

When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.” When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. -John 6:12-15 NRSV

I wonder why Jesus asked his disciples to gather up the leftovers. Perhaps these fragments were simply a reminder of this amazing miracle? It reminds me of how there always seems to be residual effects of the working of God. Changes in our lives seem to be a part of that testimony. When we look back we are reminded of His working in our lives.

I think that the ministry of Jesus was scattered with events like this where people, amazed by what he did, wanted to make him their king. Hurting and oppressed people always want an earthly Messiah. They always want fleshly answers to their prayers. Yet the Lord understood that his kingdom, and our kingdom, is not of this world.

Cause us to seek first your kingdom Lord. We pray that it would come today in our lives.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

Blogroll Update

If you have a blog and regularly read this blog I would love to add you to my blogroll.

Five barley loaves and two fish ...

Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. -John 6:7-11 NRSV

It is true, when some people see obstacles others see opportunity. Not sure what Andrew was thinking when he mentioned the fish and the bread. He seemed a bit hesitant yet Jesus saw past that and began to do something that no one ever could have imagined. I cannot imagine what it was like to see the loaves and the fishes multiplied.

This passage speaks to me this morning about my need to see past what I see and believe for things that I cannot imagine. I need to think with my inner being instead of my outer one. I must reject fleshly thoughts of earthly solutions. Like Andrew, I need to offer what I have to God and trust him to take care of whatever needs I may have.

I give you my meager loaves and fish today Lord. I give you what I have and trust you to meet all of my needs.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” -John 6:1-7 NRSV

Jesus fame is spreading. People are hearing about the healing of the man by the pool of Beth-zatha and how Jesus has challenged the religious leaders about healing on the Sabbath. Large crowds follow him in hopes that they might get a glimpse of a miracle. People so want to see a miracle. Their lives are hard and they want to know that God is alive.

Philip is such a person needing to see the power of God. One needing to see life with inner eyes. Needing to see things invisible to his outer senses. Jesus challenges him but Philip can only see a solution with his head. I so resonate with Philip. I rarely factor the power of God into my answers. I so want to see a miracle but cannot get past earthly thinking.

Open the eyes of my heart Lord that I might see you and understand your workings in my life.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

I know that you do not have the love of God in you.

I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” -John 5:41-47 NRSV

There is a verse in Deuteronomy (15:4) that speaks to Israel and says that there should be no poor among them. This verse and many others in the Jewish scriptures were pretty much ignored by the first century Jewish teachers. Of these Jesus indicted with words like hypocrite. And in this passage he tells them that they do not have the love of God in them.

In truth, our twenty-first century Christianity sometimes looks a bit like the faith espoused by the Jewish leaders that Christ confronted. Many times our faith is focused on personal piety and our giving is directed at church buildings, salaries and programs. And in all this one has to wonder where the love of God for the poor is. How can we say that we love God and not care for the least among us? Have we just become a people who rationalize away our bad behavior?

We open our hearts today Lord. Fill us with your Spirit. Fill us with your love. Break our hearts for the least among us.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

You refuse to come to me to have life.

The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent. “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. -John 5:36-40 NRSV

I sometimes wonder how learned and intelligent people such as the Scribes, the Pharisees and the Sadducees missed it so badly. These purportedly had a keen understanding of the Hebrew scriptures yet did not recognize God himself when he came to them. It speaks to me of how things like religious pride and self-righteousness can spiritually blind us. And as Jesus puts it, this unbelief keeps the true and living Word of God from living within.

In my view there is not a lack of evidence that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. I cannot envision a greater divine representation than the image of God that we see in the Jesus that is described in the gospel accounts. He is matchless. His teachings, compassion and miracles stand alone in history. Yet it is not rationality that is at issue but a stern refusal to believe. Like those religious Jews, many today are blinded by their refusal to see the obvious.

We come to you Lord Jesus. You have the words of life. We open our hearts to believe and to hear your voice.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

I have a testimony greater than John’s.

You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s. -John 5:33-36 NRSV

I recently read a book that asserted that Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist. One cannot read passages such as these and accept that view. Jesus esteemed John but certainly did not see him as his teacher. And of course, the Baptist saw Jesus as one who was greater than he was. He said that he was not worthy to loose the sandals of Christ.

In this passage and many others Jesus did not shrink back from proclaiming his true identity. He called his testimony greater than human. Even greater than those of a prophet. He said that his words led to salvation. In the sermon on the mount he clarified the words of Hebrew scripture. His testimony rings out today as unique in all of history.

Help us to hear your testimony today Jesus. Open the ears of our hearts to hear, and listen to, what you are saying to us.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

There is another who testifies on my behalf ...

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me. “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. -John 5:30-32 NRSV

The presence of the Holy Spirit in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ is so subtle. The workings of the Spirit seems different than in our lives. Probably because the connection is so strong in Christ. I love how Jesus describes this connection as one of hearing and doing. Hearing and judging. Of doing the will of the one who sent him.

Interesting that Jesus does not speak about how he has studied the scriptures and bases his judgment on what is written there. Perhaps in doing this he is giving his hearers an admonition to listen to the testimony of their heart rather than leaning on the understandings of their head? And maybe that is the testimony that is essential to be saved?

Help us Lord to hear the testimony that rings clear in our hearts.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

The hour is ... now here ...

Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life. “Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. -John 5:24-29 NRSV

The question that pops int my mind as I read this passage is whether Jesus is speaking of a future resurrection of bodies in the grave or if he is speaking more to the spiritually dead who are standing in front of him. I tend to lean towards the latter as Jesus seems to indicate as much when he says that the hour is now here when these things will happen.

I love how Jesus speaks about having life in himself. In truth one cannot give what they do not have. He could not give life if he was not, as John later puts it, the way, the truth and the life. Also interesting how Jesus is given the authority to judge based on the idea that he is both Son of God and Man. Jesus truly understands what it is like to be human.

Help us Lord to discern the times and live the life that you have given us to the fullest.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

But has passed from death to life ...

Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life. -John 5:21-24 NRSV

Jesus Christ is the life giver. In a later passage in John he speaks of giving followers an abundant life. Life is the issue. Not just a better life but a different life. A life transformed as we are born from above. An eternal life that survives our fleshly death. A life full of God. A life that experiences and gives a divine flavor of love.

In contrast much is written these days about judgment. Some even speculate about what the images in the book of Revelation mean. Some envision a judgment of believers in heaven. I love how Jesus says here that believers do "not come under judgment". It is a concept that may not agree with some theology but it is what Jesus said.

Thank you Lord Jesus Christ. You have given us life and rescued us from judgment.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

Only what he sees the Father doing ...

Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. -John 5:19-20 NRSV

Isn't it interesting how Jesus responds to religious leaders who condemn him for healing on the Sabbath? He does not argue the fourth commandment, or some point of Mosaic Law, with them. In a sense, he sets himself above such dialog and asserts that his authority does not come from things written in the Law and the the Prophets but from heaven.

In this Jesus teaches us about our need to know, and be led by, the Holy Spirit. It is really not enough to know the scriptures with our heads. We must know the Word of God (i.e. Jesus) before we can understand the words of God. And in knowing Jesus we find a relationship based on his love fore us and his revelation of what he is doing to us.

Open our hearts Lord that we might believe and join you in all that you are doing around us.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

My Father is still working ...

Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.” For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God. -John 5:14-18 NRSV

Up to this time in history God had been known by many names but nothing as intimate as Father. The Jews took exception to Jesus calling God by this name because they felt that it made him equal to God. Yet Jesus did not seem to embrace a proprietary view when he taught us to pray "Our Father". I love this name because it reveals God's desire for an intimate relationship with each of us. Gone are the days of fear. Now is the time when we in a whisper cry out Daddy.

Don't you love how Jesus replies to those who would stop him from healing on the Sabbath? His words are indictment against the rules that Jewish leaders had imposed on those who followed them. This is true of anyone who follows Jesus. Our mission is not to follow words written by men but to discern what God himself is doing and follow him in it.

Teach us Father to rely more on you and not upon others. Help us to hear and follow the small voice that shouts within us.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

It is not lawful ...

Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. -John 5:9-13 NRSV

A common theme in the gospel accounts is how Jesus incensed the religious leaders by healing people on the Sabbath. As I write this I can hardly believe what I am writing. Supposed followers of God who are more interested in following rules than seeing a man (who was sick for 38 years) healed? This is the dark conclusion of those who follow rules.

And yet there are still so many people in the world who prefer this sort of religion. Following the rules always seems to be the safe path to take. Until one day, like these religious leaders, you find yourself fighting the One who you purport to follow. It is a not so subtle warning for us when we choose to follow rules of the head rather than the ones of the heart.

Help us Lord to trust you and follow with all of your heart and not lean on religious rules.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

I have no one ...

Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. -John 5:2-9 NRSV

Does it not break your heart that this man suffered with an illness for thirty-eight years? Are you not moved by compassion when you hear of stories like this one? Like many today, this man was beat down and had no one to help him. Loneliness, the long struggle of waiting to be whole, consumed this man and so many who suffer with chronic illness.

The words "I have no one" should haunt us and cause compassion to rise within each of us. Would that our mission would be one of seeking out the lonely and those who have battling for so long all by themselves. Perhaps this is the sort of love that would make a difference? Maybe our friendship is the way lonely people would be made whole again.

Help us Lord to be a friend to those who suffer. Give us hearts to befriend the lonely and the unlovable. Amen.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him ...

The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, “Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.” The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he himself believed, along with his whole household. -John 4:49-53 NRSV

How do you think you would have reacted if Jesus refused to come back to minister to your dying son? Some would have gotten angry and lashed out. This father's reaction was to believe what Jesus spoke to him. I find this amazing. Yet in another sense convicting because I am not sure that my response would have been one of believing Jesus.

It is so easy to read a passage like this and not let it sink in. The official responded by trusting Jesus. And, in a sense, he was trusting the word of Jesus regardless the outcome. It speaks to me of my need to trust the Lord with all of my heart when I so want to lean on what my head is telling me. It also tells me that I need to leave healing with God.

Help me Lord to walk away from this moment of prayer and simply believe what you are speaking to me.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

Sir, come down before my little boy dies.

Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” -John 4:46-49 NRSV

I can so understand the desperation in this man's voice. It reminds me of a day in March of 1990. My first wife Ellen had a heart attack and kidney failure at age 39 and she was in the intensive care unit at our neighborhood hospital. Things were tense in her room and she was not breathing strong enough to get oxygen to her extremities. As the doctors began to prep her for a ventilator I told them all that I wanted to pray first. They stopped what they were doing and I cried aloud an awkward prayer of desperation. I felt a presence come into the room. Her oxygen levels increased and a ventilator was not needed. I believe that God heard my desperate cry for help that day and helped Ellen.

I am desperate today Lord. My body is hurting and life is hard. I cry out to you for help.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

In the prophet’s own country

When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country). When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival. -John 4:43-45 NRSV

Familiarity is something that many deal with. The word itself seems to have it's root in the word "family". It is said that "familiarity breeds contempt". It is sometimes difficult for some to honor a person who one has known all of their lives.

Consider Jacob's son Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers. His brothers listened to Joseph speak of his dreams of leadership and nothing but contempt grew in their hearts. When they had enough they did a terrible thing.

Sometimes children raised in religious families develop a contempt for their religious environment, leaders and family. Children are very insightful and when they see a bit of hypocrisy they often react with a bit of contempt.

The sad thing about familiarity is how it cuts you off from faith. Familiarity with people and organizations can sometimes obscure God and skew our impressions of Him. And many times if takes an unfamiliar face to bring faith to the surface.

Lord, help me to be an unfamiliar and welcoming face for someone today.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.