From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 10/21:

Two men are praying in the temple: 1) A Pharisee – “God, I thank You that I am not like other men – extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.” 2) The tax collector – “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”

Which one do you think was justified by God? The tax collector! – “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Therefore Jesus tells His disciples to come to Him as humble as little children – “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

A rich man asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him to keep the commandments: “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

The rich man, feeling pretty good about himself and his deeds, responds saying that he already does all of those things. However, Jesus knows that he is still clinging to this world. So Jesus says, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” Then the rich man leaves sorrowful, for he did not want to give up his great possessions.

Jesus warns about the love of material possessions – “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” So the disciples begin questioning who can be saved. Jesus responds, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

Peter says to Jesus that the disciples have left all to follow Him. And because of that, Jesus says “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.” Jesus requires His disciples to hold loosely to everything else in this world in order to follow Him. 

However, the Pharisees are not interested in following Jesus — they want to destroy Him. So the Pharisees test Jesus by questioning Him on the topic of marriage and divorce. Jesus makes clear that marriage is designed by God as a union between one man and one woman. He says that the Lord allowed Moses to permit divorce because of our hardened hearts. However, this was not the Lord’s original plan. Since divorce is a result of our sinful nature, “He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

“They said to Him, ‘Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?’ He said to them, ‘Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.’”

Hearing how marriage is a binding commitment before the Lord, the disciples wonder if it would be better for them not to marry at all. Jesus responds, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”

Keep reading. (Luke 18:9-14, Mark 10:1-12, Matthew 19:1-12, Mark 10:13-16, Matthew 19:13-15, Luke 18:15-17, Mark 10:17-31, Matthew 19:16-30, Luke 18:18-30)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 10/20:

Jesus tells Martha that she will see the glory of God if she believes. Then Jesus prays, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Afterward Jesus cries into the tomb, “Lazarus, come forth!” When Lazarus comes out of the tomb, “many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. But some went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did.”

The Passover was near and the Jews “spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, “What do you think – that He will not come to the feast?’ Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him.”

On Jesus’ way to Jerusalem, ten outcast lepers cry out to Him, “‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ So when He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.” The lepers are healed by grace through faith, which is evidenced in their obedience to go to the priests who could not naturally heal lepers. The priests are to examine the lepers and offer sacrifices on their behalf in order to pronounce them clean according to the Law of a Moses – “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest. And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall examine him; and indeed, if the leprosy is healed in the leper, then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field’” (Leviticus 14:1-7).

This is a beautiful picture of what Jesus is about to do on behalf of unclean sinners. He is going to lay down His life, shedding His innocent blood as the final sacrificial Lamb so that we may be washed clean and given new life under the blood of Christ. One of the lepers healed by Jesus was overwhelmed with gratitude for the cleansing and new life that was given to him. So he, a Samaritan, came back to Jesus “and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks.” The Samaritan did not take for granted the grace shown to him like the other nine healed lepers did. So Jesus responds to this man’s show of gratitude by saying, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” 

We end the reading with Jesus explaining the coming kingdom of God to the Pharisees. He says that first the Son of Man “must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation”, speaking of His imminent crucifixion on the cross. However, Jesus explains that He is coming back one day. And when He comes again, it will be like in the days of Noah and the flood and the days of Lot and Sodom. The people will be going about their usual business with no regard for the Lord when the judgment comes. 

Since the coming judgment is inevitable, we are not to be like the people of this world who are only focused on themselves and not the Lord. With the parable of the judge and the widow, Jesus urges us to be persistent in our prayers, trusting that the Lord hears and that He will act on behalf of those who love Him in His perfect way and in His perfect timing. Jesus says if an unjust judge will answer the request of a persistent widow, how much more do you think a completely just God will do for the ones He loves – “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

Will he find that kind of faith in you? Keep reading. (John 11:38-57, Luke 17:11-18:8)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 10/19:

Today Jesus tells the multitudes it is going to cost them their lives to follow Him – “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple… So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

Again Jesus reveals His heart for the lost with stories about a lost sheep and a lost coin. Once the sheep and coin are found, the owners rejoice greatly. Jesus says, “likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” To further illustrate the joy that occurs when a lost person is found, Jesus tells another story about a prodigal son who wasted all of his inheritance on harlots. When the son finally hit rock bottom and humbly returned home, the father celebrated with a feast for the son. When his brother heard about the celebration he said to his father, “Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.”

The father responded, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.” The father’s response illustrates that it doesn’t matter how far away from God you are in any given moment. The Lord will rejoice over anyone who humbly repents and turns to Him, regardless of past sins.

We end the reading with two different stories about two different men named Lazarus. The first story gives us some insight into heaven and hell; the second story glorifies the Son of God.

First Lazarus – There is a rich man who enjoys all his earthly possessions and ignores the suffering beggar named Lazarus who lies at his gate. When both men die, Lazarus goes to heaven where he is comforted by Abraham, and the rich man burns in hell. The rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to him for some relief from his torment, and Abraham responds, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.” Therefore, now is the time to seek the kingdom of God through a relationship with Jesus Christ because once you die, it is too late.

Second Lazarus – Jesus’ friends, Martha and Mary, have a brother named Lazarus who is very sick. Jesus says, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” So two days after Lazarus dies, Jesus goes to his tomb in Bethany. There He is first greeted by Martha, and Jesus assures her that her brother will rise again. Jesus says to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” 

Although we are all guaranteed to die, only those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior will rise again to eternal life in heaven.

Tomorrow Jesus will raise Lazarus from the grave, proving that He has power over death which can only come from the Lord. Keep reading. (Luke 14:25-17:10, John 11:1-37)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 10/18:

The only way for salvation is through Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who calls His sheep by name “and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” Jesus says He is the door to life. “If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved… I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for His sheep… Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again.” And soon Jesus is going to lay down His life for His flock. 

At the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, the Jews question Jesus about whether or not He is the Christ. So Jesus responds, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

Jesus says, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”

Jesus grieves over the people in Jerusalem who are rejecting Him and ultimately rejecting the kingdom of God – “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” 

Jesus desires for all to repent and turn to Him for salvation before it is too late, before your death or His return. Judgment is inevitable for those who ignore the word of God and reject His Son Jesus. Remember the flood, when Noah, a preacher of righteousness, warned the people for decades of the coming judgment and no one responded except for his seven family members who entered the ark with him. When God finally shut the door of the ark, it was too late for anyone on the outside to be saved. Jesus will soon compare His return to the days of Noah – “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:36-39). 

However, God is patient with us, not wishing that anyone should perish, desiring that we all repent and follow Him (2 Peter 3:9). Tomorrow Jesus explains what it will cost to be one of His followers. Keep reading. (John 10:1-42, Luke 13:22-14:24)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 10/17:

Jesus warns us to be alert because one day He will return – “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Jesus instructs us to be doing the will of the Lord while He is gone. He says that punishment will be worse for the ones who knew the will of the Father and chose to ignore it than for those who never knew – “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” The Lord will hold those that He entrusted with much in the way of gifts, knowledge, and responsibilities to a higher standard.

Judgment is going to come swiftly upon the unbelievers and on those who are falsely professing Jesus’ name with no life of obedience, which is a sign of their false belief. But to the ones whose hearts are surrendered to Him, Jesus says, “stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are awaiting their master to come home.”

Jesus warns that believers and unbelievers will be divided, and this division will split even blood-related families. Just like Jesus told the Jews that their salvation is not based on their bloodline to Abraham, our salvation is not based on any relationship other than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus continues to heal on the Sabbath. Today he heals a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years and a man who was blind from birth. But once again the Pharisees are angry that Jesus “worked on the Sabbath”. So when the unbelieving Jews ask the formerly blind man’s parents who healed their son, the parents avoid answering the question “because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.” 

Fear of man is a major stumbling block to professing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. As Solomon wrote, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25). However, unlike his parents, the man who was healed by Jesus can not deny Him. So he responds to the religious leaders, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

Jesus comes to open the eyes of the blind to truth and light. Whoever trusts in Jesus and proclaims Him as Lord and Savior will have eternal life. But those, like the Pharisees, who hear the truth and reject Him, will forever remain in darkness. Keep reading. (Luke 12:35-13:21, John 9:1-41)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 10/16:

Today Jesus once again faces accusations of casting “out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of demons.” Jesus explains that He is stronger than Satan because He casts out demons by the finger of God. However, if that person is delivered from a demon but not filled with Jesus, he can end up in an even worse condition –  “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” So if our hearts aren’t filled with Jesus, they will be filled with corruption and evil. 

Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” And he rebukes those seeking a sign. He reminds them of the people of Nineveh, who heard Jonah’s message from the Lord and the Queen of the South, who visited Solomon to hear the word of God and to see His works. He says that these Gentiles were more open to receiving the Lord than the religious people who are standing right in front of the Messiah. Jesus declares Himself greater than any of the prophets or kings before Him. However, the people are blindly rejecting Him.

Jesus says that just as you wouldn’t hide a lamp, the word and works of the Lord should be on display to benefit others. However, the people are spiritually blinded to Jesus’ teaching. He says, “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.” Spurgeon explains this statement by saying, “If you do not see Jesus, it is not because He has hidden himself in darkness, but because your eyes are blinded.” But once the Lord has lifted the veil and you see Jesus, your heart will be transformed and your whole body will shine brightly.

When a Pharisee is appalled that Jesus didn’t wash His hands before eating, Jesus continues to explain that a person’s heart is what matters, not the external  – “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. Foolish one!” Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for being all about the show with the best seats in the synagogues, publicly tithing, and greetings in marketplaces but showing no justice or love of God. Jesus is unimpressed with their fake outward performance. They may have everyone else fooled, but they can’t fool Jesus, the One who matters. 

Jesus warns His disciples, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known… do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”

“Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” So we all have a choice to make — confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, or deny Him. 

We end the reading with Jesus encouraging His disciples to seek the kingdom of God. He comforts them by saying that His Father knows the needs of all, and He will lovingly provide for your needs if you seek Him – “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.” Therefore, keep reading and seeking the kingdom of God. (Luke 11:14-12:34)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 10/15:

Jesus says, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The only source of truth that we have is the word of God. And truth is what releases people from the bondage of sin and the enemy.

But the Jews say they have never been in bondage because they are descendants of Abraham. Jesus responds, “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you… If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” 

Jesus explains to them who their father is – “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

There are only two walks of life: one of faith in Jesus (the righteous) and one of unbelief (the unrighteous). There is no in-between. You either belong to God, the Father of truth, or to Satan, the father of lies.

The unbelieving Jews ask Jesus if He is greater than their father Abraham. “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’” Jesus calling Himself “I AM” is Him once again declaring to be the eternal God that existed before the life of Abraham. Remember I AM is the same name that God used to describe Himself to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). Therefore, the Jews know that Jesus referring to Himself as I AM is the same as Jesus calling Himself God, which infuriates them. So “they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”

Then Jesus sends out seventy disciples two by two and says to them, “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” When the disciples return full of joy, they say, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” Jesus responds, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

We end the reading with Jesus once again teaching the disciples about prayer. “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone?… If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” 

The best gift anyone can receive is the Holy Spirit, the Helper, who seals the believers’ salvation, sanctifies us, provides wisdom, convicts us of sins, empowers us to be bold witnesses, and gifts us for the work of the ministry! So if you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and received the gift of the Holy Spirit and eternal life, repent of your sins and ask to be saved, and salvation will be given to you. Then you too will have your name written in heaven, just like the disciples we read about today. 

More teaching from Jesus tomorrow, so keep reading. (John 8:21-59, Luke 10:1-11:13)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 10/14:

Hostility toward Jesus begins to increase today, starting with His own brothers who do not believe that He is the Messiah. They try to get Jesus to prove Himself by telling Him to leave Galilee, where He is safe, and go to the Judea to attend the Feast of Tabernacles, also called the Feast of Booths, which is a Jewish celebration remembering God’s faithfulness to His people in their wilderness journey from Egypt to the promised land of Canaan. His brothers say “‘For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.’ For even His brothers did not believe in Him.”

Jesus’ brothers can only see ministry success through a worldly view by the popularity of the masses. They are currently spiritually blinded to true ministry success, which doesn’t involve Jesus being elevated on a platform — Jesus is going to be lifted up on a cross. However, Jesus knows that His time to lay down His life as the final sacrificial Lamb of God has not yet arrived. So He sends His brothers ahead and says, “I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.”

“Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.” The Samaritans incorrectly believe that Mount Gerizim is the one location you should go to worship the Lord. Therefore, they built a temple there instead of Jerusalem where the Jews worship. And although the Samaritan temple was destroyed by John Hyrcanus long before the arrival of Jesus, the Samaritans still worship on Mount Gerizim.

When the disciples see this rejection, they suggest that Jesus rain fire down on the Samaritans and kill them. But Jesus says no, “for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” Jesus always desires for the lost to repent and turn to Him to be saved so they may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and eternal life. 

We see that Jesus is not bound to this world when a man asks to follow Him, and He responds, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Jesus knows this world is not His home. He has been sent here on a rescue mission by His Father.

When Jesus arrives at the Feast of Tabernacles, about the middle of the Feast, He goes to the temple and teaches. The Jews have been complaining about Jesus, with some saying He is a good man, others saying He is a deceiver, and some even saying He is demon-possessed. However, Jesus holds firm to the truth that He has been sent by His Father. He says, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.”

Jesus says, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.” The people are confused because they don’t realize He is speaking of heaven. Only those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior will go to heaven (John 14:6). That is why “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Forty days after Jesus’ resurrection, He will ascend to heaven to sit at the right hand of His father; and ten days after Jesus’ coming ascension to heaven, on the Day of Pentecost, the Lord will pour the Holy Spirit upon His people.

There is division among the people about whether Jesus is the Christ. The Pharisees hold firm to their belief that Jesus is not. “Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, ‘Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?’ They answered and said to him, ‘Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.’ And everyone went to his own house.” 

The Pharisees are wrong. They are so blinded by their hate and their desire to take Jesus down that they negate the actual historical facts. According to an excerpt from Easton’s Bible Dictionary, “This saying of theirs was ‘not historically true, for two prophets at least had arisen from Galilee, Jonah of Gath-hepher, and the greatest of all the prophets, Elijah of Thisbe, and perhaps also Nahum and Hosea. Their contempt for Galilee made them lose sight of historical accuracy.’” (Alford, Com.)

So the Pharisees are still trying to find a way to destroy Jesus by catching Him breaking the Law. They throw an adulterous woman at His feet to see if Jesus will stone her per the Law (Leviticus 20:10). Unlike the Pharisees, Jesus does not tear down others for his own personal agenda. He came to restore the lost. So Jesus rebukes the Pharisees, restores the woman, and responds to the crowd, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Keep reading. (John 7:1-9, Luke 9:51-56, Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 9:57-62, John 7:10-8:20)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 10/13:

A man brings his demon-possessed son to Jesus for healing after the attempts made by His disciples failed. Jesus says to the man, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” In response, the man cries out to Jesus in tears, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” This man has some faith, but he trusts that Jesus will strengthen what little faith he has; which I’m sure increases while watching Jesus miraculously heal his son.

After Jesus heals the boy, the disciples ask why they couldn’t. Jesus says, “Because of your unbelief, for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” The more time we spend praying to the Lord, the more we rely upon Him to work in our lives, which strengthens our relationship with God and grows our faith.

While Jesus and His disciples were staying in Galilee, “Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.’ And they were exceedingly sorrowful.” But the disciples were not sorrowful for long because soon their attention turns back to themselves and their best interests. They begin fighting with one another over who will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. So Jesus says to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Then Jesus takes a little child and says, “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus explains that His mission is to “save that which was lost.” To illustrate His mission, Jesus tells a story of a man with a hundred sheep, but one goes astray. Jesus says that the man will leave the ninety-nine sheep to go after the one lost sheep, and if he finds it, “he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

No one is too far from God! In Charles Spurgeon’s sermon One Lost Sheep, he encourages us to go after the lost as Jesus did:

“Go after them, for so our shepherd did. He braved the mountain’s slippery side. I do not suppose the shepherd had any greater love for mountain tracks than you have, but up the rough tracks He climbed, for the sheep’s sake. Go after sinners into their poverty and wretchedness, until you find them. 

“Here is one thing to cheer you. If you should win such a soul as that, you will have more joy, a great deal, than in saving those for whom you regularly labor—more joy over that lost one than over the ninety and nine hopeful ones. It will be such a support to your faith, such a boost for your joy, such a bright light to your labor to have won such a specially guilty one. I should not wonder but what you will talk about it for many a day, and it will be a source of strength to you when things are not quite as you would desire. Such converts are our crown of rejoicing. May I especially recommend that you make a trial of this extra sheep-seeking? If you do not succeed, you will have done no harm, for you will have copied your Lord and Master. But you will succeed, for He is with you, and His Spirit works by you.”

We end the reading with Jesus instructing us to go to a brother or sister in Christ and reconcile with them if we have been offended. He also says we should offer unlimited forgiveness to one another – “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” And later Jesus’ brother James will write, “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).

More teaching from Jesus tomorrow, so keep reading. (Mark 9:14-29, Matthew 17:14-21, Luke 9:37-43a, Mark 9:30-32, Matthew 17:22-23, Luke 9:43b-45, Matthew 17:24-27, Mark 9:33-37, Matthew 18:1-6, Luke 9:46-48, Mark 9:38-41, Luke 9:49-50, Mark 9:42-50, Matthew 18:7-35)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 10/12:

Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” They respond that some say He is John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and some say one of the prophets. Then Jesus, testing their faith, asks, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter responds, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” So Jesus says to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

The confession that Jesus is the Son of God is the rock on which the church will be built. Soon in the story, after the resurrection of Christ, those who believe in Him as the Son of God and receive the power of the Holy Spirit will begin gathering together to worship as the church, and they will be called Christians (Acts 11:26).

“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day… Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?’” 

Following Jesus in this dark world is not easy. He never says it will be. But it is so worth it. Nothing this world offers can satisfy the longings of your heart and give you the peace you desire besides an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior. Paul will later write about this peace to the new Christians:

  • “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:16). 
  • “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
  • “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).  

We end the reading with Jesus taking Peter, James, and John up on a high mountain where Jesus is transfigured; His face is like the sun and His clothes white as the light. Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus, talking with Him “and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.”

When Jesus is alone again, the disciples ask Him why the scribes say Elijah must come first. Jesus responds, “‘Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.’ Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist” (Malachi 4:5-6, Matthew 17:11-13).

Just as they killed John the Baptist, Jesus soon will be turned over to the cruel hands of men who will crucify Him. However, this is all part of God’s original plan that He laid out for us at the beginning of this story in Genesis 3:15. After the fall, God gave Adam and Eve a promise that He was sending them a Savior, and He gave them a picture of that promise when He killed an innocent animal and used the skin to cover the guilty, Adam and Eve. Jesus’ death, as the final atoning Sacrifice, will be sufficient to remove our sins and cleanse us for a right relationship with the Lord, which was broken back in the garden. Jesus will lay down His life, as prophesied throughout this entire story, to give us new life and to restore us to His Father. 

More teaching from Jesus tomorrow, so keep reading. (Mark 8:22-30, Matthew 16:13-20, Luke 9:18-20, Mark 8:31-9:1, Matthew 16:21-28, Luke 9:21-27, Mark 9:2-13, Matthew 17:1-13, Luke 9:28-36)