John 1-12 The Gospel of John is like a pool that is “shallow enough for a child to wade and deep enough for an elephant to swim.” As we enter into the Thanksgiving holiday, we are thankful to be swimming with elephants in the Gospel of John. In the past two years, we have explored chapters one to twelve of this Gospel. And, what we have seen is the unparalleled majesty of Jesus. Indeed, no one has ever said the things he said, and no one has ever done the things he’s done. And, through it all, we’ve discovered how thankful we are for who Jesus is and what he has done! “We give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his steadfast love endures forever” (Ps 136:1). Join us this Sunday as we review some of the highlights from the first twelve chapters of John, while combining the service with elements from our typical Thanksgiving service.
John 12:23-50 Two weeks ago, we saw Jesus enter Jerusalem, the text we associate with Palm Sunday. Jesus publicly claims kingship, but in an upside-down way. He rides on a donkey demonstrating his humility, gentleness, and desire for peace. That text ended with some Greeks saying they wanted to see Jesus, meaning they want to know what Jesus is all about. In response, Jesus gives his final public appeal for belief in him and his kingship, our text for this Sunday. This is love’s last appeal, summarized best in the phrase “a grain of wheat” (John 12:24). Join us this Sunday as we explore the final public appeal from Jesus in the book of John.
1 Peter 1:6-9
John 12:12-22 Jesus now enters Jerusalem as the great king. However, he rides on a donkey, not a war horse. He is not surrounded by an army or by captured slaves, and yet, the crowds still lay down palm branches and shout “Hosanna.” They think he will be a national liberator. Yet he rides in on a donkey, fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy as one who brings “peace to the nations,” not who conquers the nations (Zech 9:10). Indeed, here comes our king, and he will be a kind of king the world has never seen. Join us this Sunday as we celebrate Palm Sunday in October.
John 12:1-11 In John 12, Jesus goes back to the place of hostility, to Bethany near Jerusalem, where he has an intimate meal with his friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. In the middle of dinner, Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with very expensive perfume, worth an entire year’s wages. Out of extravagant love, joy and thanksgiving for Jesus, Mary acts with abandon in her worship of him, and she fills the entire house with the aroma of life. Authentic worship of Jesus, our Savior and King, is never merely private. It always spills over onto others. Join us this Sunday to explore this amazing scene.
John 11:45-57 This week we see the fallout of the raising of Lazarus, and it is not good. The Religious Authorities meet to decide the fate of Jesus. And what we see are defining characteristics of “religion,” and they are ugly: a desire for power, a desire for control and a desire to exalt self. John interprets the response of the Religious Authorities by pointing us in the right direction, we are not children of religion, rather we are “children of God.” Over against the ugliness of religion, we are invited into a beautiful relationship of love as children of a good, good father.
John 11:1-44 This week we come to the climactic deed of Jesus’ ministry. We’ve seen Jesus stand before plain water, then turn it into wine. We’ve seen Jesus stand before lameness and blindness, then heal a lame man and a blind man. We’ve seen Jesus stand before thousands of hungry people with five loaves and two fish, then multiply the loaves and fish to feed all of them. Throughout the Gospel of John, he has shown his authority over all of creation. Now he stands before death and says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” He then calls a dead man out of the grave, and the dead man actually walks out. Come Sunday as we explore this astonishing text.
John 10:19-42 In John 10, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.” Throughout the chapter, he also says repeatedly that his sheep hear his voice in order to know him and follow him (v 27). But, is it really possible to hear Jesus’ voice today? For the first group of disciples, it was obviously possible. They literally heard his voice, and they literally followed Him down the road. But, is it possible for us today? Come this Sunday as we finish the Good Shepherd discourse by focusing on hearing Jesus’ voice.
This Sunday is Freedom Sunday where we are joining with over 1500 churches around the world to deepen our understanding for God’s heart for justice and renew our commitment to fight modern day slavery around the world. In our text, Isaiah exposes the hypocrisy that so often plagues the people of God that prevents us from experiencing his presence and then he entices us with the indescribable joy that opens up to us when we enter into God’s work of justice. It’s not as difficult as you might think!
John 10:1-18 It is amazing how the language of shepherd and sheep still connects across cultures and across generations. Even in the hyper-high-tech world of California, the image of shepherd and sheep has not lost its captivating power. This Sunday we will continue our studies in John where Jesus claims, “I am the good shepherd.” He then explores the relationship he has, as the good shepherd, with his sheep. Join us as we study this famous discourse and appropriately respond by taking communion together as his sheep.
John 9:1-41 This week we enter back into the Gospel of John in chapter 9 with the healing of the blind man. In one of the most brilliantly told narratives in all of Scripture, Jesus reveals what it means that he is the light of the world. Not only does he shine his light into physical darkness but also into spiritual darkness. Not only will this blind man see physically, but even more importantly, he will see spiritually. The eyes of his heart will be opened to clearly see who Jesus is. So, how are your eyes? Have they been touched by the grace and truth of Jesus?
Mark 8:22-26 When do people start looking like trees? When Jesus isn’t finished working on you. This Sunday, we will be taking a look at one of the most unusual miracles Jesus ever performed during His earthly ministry — a miracle that reminds us that He isn’t finished with us, that there is more to see, and that He can open our eyes in ways no one else can. “Jesus, the Great…Ophthalmologist?” (or “Is Your Vision 2020?”)