Series – 6 Decisions That Will Change Your Life
Sermon – The Decision to Surrender
Scripture Readings: John 12:12-15, John 10:1-6, 14-18
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. . . . For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.” (John 10:14-15, 17-18)
Monday April 15 — John 13:1-38
During supper with his disciples, Jesus got up from the table and washed their feet. Peter’s response is a clue that this was an extraordinary event. In a world of unpaved roads and open-toed footwear, washing feet was essential, but it was usually done by servants, not by the master or host. Jesus sets an example for all of us. Even though we may not wash dirty feet, Jesus calls us to serve others with the same kind of love and humility. What do you think about Jesus’ example? Do you prefer to serve or be served? Are you willing to follow Jesus’ example?
• Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for your Son, Jesus. Grant me courage to follow his example and be your servant in the world. Amen.
Tuesday April 16 — John 14:1-15:17
Chapters 14 through 17 in John’s Gospel contain Jesus’ final instructions to his disciples. In this section, he prepares them for his departure — for when he will no longer be with them in the flesh. Jesus reassures his disciples that he will come again and take them to their heavenly home, and that God will send the Holy Spirit to be their Advocate. The ultimate promise is found in John 14:3. It is similar to the promise made in Matthew 28:20, which is that the living Jesus Christ will be with us. Always. How do Jesus’ words in this section of the Gospel provide you comfort and peace? Which promise is most comforting to you?
• Prayer: Promise-Keeping God, I long to be in your presence. Send the Holy Spirit into my life to guide and comfort me all my days. Amen.
Wednesday April 17 — John 15:18-16:33
The promise of the Holy Spirit is a central theme in Jesus’ final discourse. Five different times he tells his disciples that the Holy Spirit will be their Advocate and will teach them everything they need to know. When the Holy Spirit is present in their lives, Jesus’ disciples will continue to experience his presence and will be empowered to continue his ministry. The Holy Spirit will be the source of the disciples’ continued learning and growth as they follow and serve Jesus in the world. How do you experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life? How is the Holy Spirit helping you to learn and grow?
• Prayer: Gracious God, open my heart and mind to receive and trust in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit today. Guide my life. Amen.
Thursday April 18 — John 17:1-26
After teaching his disciples, Jesus prays for them and for everyone who will believe in him through their witness. He prays for the Church universal. He prays for us. He prays that we, the Church, will be in the world but not of the world. He prays for our unity, the unity of the Church, “that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23). Do you believe that God will answer Jesus’ prayer? If so, how do you see his prayer being answered in your life? Do you see signs of love? Do you see signs of unity? Are you helping to answer this prayer?
• Prayer: Merciful God, forgive me when I fail to love my brothers and sisters in the Church. Use me to help answer Jesus’ prayer for unity. Amen.
Friday April 19 — John 18:1-40
John’s entire account of Jesus’ life and ministry has been moving toward the events described in chapters 18 and 19. John 18:4-5 are critical verses. They fulfill the promises Jesus made in John 10:17-18. Jesus’ life is not taken from him. As the Good Shepherd, he lays it down “of [his] own accord” (John 10:18). As the suffering servant, he freely offers himself for the sins of the world. This is the ultimate sign of God’s love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). Have you accepted the gift of God’s love? Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe that Jesus is the way to eternal life?
• Prayer: Eternal God, thank you for the promise of eternal life through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. Today, I believe in Jesus. Amen.
Saturday April 20 — John 19:1-42
On the cross, we see the paradox of the Gospel. The man who was crucified was — and is — the King of the Jews. God’s Messiah was not an earthly leader. He was not the kind of king the people wanted (see John 6:15) or expected. He was the suffering servant, the sacrificial “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Spend time today thinking and praying about what Jesus’ death means to you. Allow the darkness of his death help you prepare for the light of Easter.
• Prayer: God of Love, I can’t comprehend the depth of your love. I am ready and willing to follow and serve the crucified Messiah. Amen.