Posts with the tag “john”
by Darren Parker on November 27th, 2022
We are at the end of John's gospel. We have unpacked chapter 21 in our sermon this week, and I just want to focus on one verse. In verse 22 Peter asks Jesus a question. He wants to know if John is going to live forever or until Jesus returns? And Jesus answers “if I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:22).
by Darren Parker on November 20th, 2022
Jesus prayer for us in this chapter is amazing. That on the night before his most challenging day Jesus should turn his prayers towards others is yet another example of God’s love for the world. Not only does Jesus pray for the disciples who are about to desert him and hide away for fear of the Jews, he also prays for us – for you and me. What is more he continues to intercede for us in the heavens (Romans 8:34). We unpack Jesus’ prayer in this week’s sermon.
by Darren Parker on November 13th, 2022
We are working our way through the gospel of John. John has led us through Jesus’ ministry over three years, and then concentrates on the last week and we have now reached the last evening before Jesus’ crucifixion. John shows us that Jesus is the Word made flesh and that Jesus brings God close and is God. But here in this passage, he demonstrates to us that Jesus brings us to the Father, and that we can have direct access to the Father because Jesus takes away the barrier of sin through his death and his resurrection and he is now ascended and at the Father’s right side, and makes it possible for us to approach the Father with confidence. (See Hebrews 4:16 and Hebrews 10:19-22). It’s so encouraging that we get to come straight through, even if we’ve messed up – definitely when we’ve messed up! (Romans 8:1). We can come, knowing that our sins are forgiven and we are adopted as sons and daughters (Romans 8:14).
by Darren Parker on October 30th, 2022
Even in the midst of persecution they are to preach the gospel of grace. What is more he reminds them that the Holy Spirit is also on mission.
by Darren Parker on October 23rd, 2022
I love that in a few short statements, we are provided a most incredible framework to view life. Simple in one sense – enormously profound in another. There is a Gardener. There is a Vine. There are branches. Each have a place, a purpose, a role. There is only one Gardener. There is only one Vine. There are numerous branches. Too numerous to begin counting. And all three parts are linked.
by Darren Parker on October 16th, 2022
In the message this week we're looking at 19 verses packed with powerful promises, and I encourage you to read the whole passage and let God speak all of these truths into your life. However for this devotion we will stop up at the second promise of this passage, found in verse 13-14 where Jesus says: 'You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it'
by Darren Parker on October 9th, 2022
Jesus is having a conversation with his disciples Philip and Thomas, unpacking some of the mysteries he has shown them. In the previous chapter the disciples have just heard that where Jesus is going they cannot come. Which prompted this exchange. Thematically John’s Gospel points us to Jesus being the promised Messiah and the Son of God by believing in him and inheriting eternal life with the Father. The interesting thing here is that Jesus isn’t blunt, he is gentle and subtle with his disciples and us, revealing himself slowly. He gives us strong hints as to where he is going (back to the Father/ heaven) and what he is doing there preparing a way for us to join him. Yes, there is a place for us all in heaven, if we accept Jesus. I love how the work has all been done at the cross but the onus is on us to receive him. Salvation cannot be earned but is a gift that is freely given.
by Darren Parker on October 2nd, 2022
This weeks message follows on from the extraordinary act of service Jesus performs earlier in John 13, where He washes His disciples feet. It quickly becomes quite dramatic however, when Jesus declares that one of them will betray Him (which is then immediately fulfilled by Judas Iscariot). The big idea I discuss in this message is that even though Jesus knew Judas (and also Simon Peter in a slightly different way) were going to betray Him, that didn’t stop Him from being close to them, loving them, and pouring into them. We might not be subject to the same kinds of betrayal that Jesus was, but we can also categorise people depending on what they can do for us, whether they are like us, or whether we think they are “good” or “bad”. Tim Maton described the foot washing act as indiscriminate, and this should give us pause for thought.
by Darren Parker on September 25th, 2022
Some Christians continue to take Jesus’ instruction literally, including Eastern Orthodox and Mennonite traditions. While I think Jesus’ foot washing example gives us principles rather than rituals, it might still be a useful exercise in Life Group one day. I must admit, though, I find feet quite ugly, especially mine. They tend to take a bit of a battering from daily life. Then there’s athlete’s foot, verrucas, black nails, bunions, and ‘toe jam’! Toe jam is like belly button fluff but more grimy, damp and smelly! Sorry, but perhaps that’s Jesus’ point. I found having my feet washed harder than washing someone else’s. But we must learn to receive acts of service, as it helps us die to self-sufficiency, and we mustn’t deny others the blessing for serving well.
by Darren Parker on September 18th, 2022
As he spoke these words Jesus surely had in mind an event that had taken place some fifteen hundred years earlier and is recorded in Numbers 21:4-9. The people of Israel had recently been delivered from slavery in Egypt but now they started to grumble against God and stopped trusting him. In judgement God sent swarms of snakes amongst them and many people died.
by Darren Parker on September 11th, 2022
This week we get back into John’s gospel after our summer break. We remind ourselves that John is writing his gospel to help his first readers, and us, see who Jesus was and is. John structures his gospel around 7 signs and 7 “I am” statements. The purpose of these two groups of 7 is the same. Look at what Jesus did (the signs) and listen to what Jesus said about himself (The “I am’s”) and make a decision about the man that they reveal. Our passage this week is reflecting the response of a particular group of people to the seventh of the signs – the raising of Lazarus.
by Darren Parker on July 31st, 2022
Today we’re going to focus in on Jesus’ interaction with two sisters. Jesus is returning to Bethany to see Lazarus, who he has been told is sick. On his approach he is met by Martha and Mary. By this stage Lazarus has died, and they happen to approach him one at a time. You can read this story of Jesus comforting Martha and Mary in v17-37. Remember, these two sisters are grieving the same person at the same time. They both even say the same thing to Jesus as they approach him. Martha in v21, Mary in v32, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” This is a statement of grief, hurt and faith. Can you feel it? Do you recognise it? Have you ever prayed a prayer like this? “Lord, if only…”
by Darren Parker on July 24th, 2022
If you have noticed anything over the last few weeks you will have noticed the numerous references to sheep. Sheep and Shepherds are a key motif and illustration throughout scripture. Israel was a nation of shepherds. Shepherding and pastoral care – literally looking after your flock – were hard wired into the minds of the people that Jesus was speaking to. Yes he was a carpenter and his disciples were a mix of fishermen, tax collectors and revolutionaries (zealots), but their common history was shepherding. Sheep, lambs, goats, were all vital for the nation’s economy and for the nations worship. It is almost as if God created sheep to teach us about leadership and our relationship with God!
by Darren Parker on July 17th, 2022
Jesus chooses to call himself the true shepherd, and that sums up so much: a close and personal relationship between himself and his followers, the certain security that we can have in him, the dependency in his guidance, his companion, his profound care for us and most of all his sacrificial love.
by Darren Parker on July 10th, 2022
This week our passage revolves around a healing miracle. One of the seven signs in John’s gospel that is meant to cause us to stop and look at Jesus and ask the question, “who is this man?” It is also a passage that gives us opportunity to ask some questions about healing itself. Later in the gospel (John 14) Jesus will say to his first disciples, and to us, that we will see even greater miracles than were seen in his own ministry. What then does this passage tell us about healing? It does not give us a full theology of healing, that was not John’s intention, but it does raise the subject for us, it should provoke us.
by Darren Parker on June 26th, 2022
In this devotional we are going to look at just a few verses and one particular aspect of Jesus’ teaching, the devil! In our passage Jesus makes reference to the devil in his challenge to religious leaders who have allowed there dependence on religious tradition to become a stronghold of deception in their lives. He is exposing the fact that when we are deceived to the point of missing the truth about God, it is the father of lies (the devil) who is ultimately behind that deception.
by Darren Parker on June 19th, 2022
These are the wonderful words spoken by Jesus, to a woman who moments earlier had stood in abject humiliation and terror, awaiting judgement and probably brutal execution for the charge of adultery that had been brought against her. I encourage you to read the story for yourself – John 8: 1-11. It contains the classic line that has made its way into our popular vocabulary, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7).
by Darren Parker on June 12th, 2022
Jesus makes this incredible invitation to us. We can come and drink from him and rivers of living water will flow from within us. John helpfully clarifies this. He notes that this is the Holy Spirit given to those who believe in him. An amazing invitation which points to a life of satisfaction and eternal significance.
by Darren Parker on May 29th, 2022
In our text today we simply see Jesus in conversation with people, and we've got so much to learn from him through the answers he gives to the different questions he is faced with. I'll be focusing this devotion around only one verse, verse 8b, so I will encourage you to spend some time on your own later, letting Jesus speak to you through the rest of these conversations too.
by Darren Parker on May 22nd, 2022
When Jesus describes Himself as the Bread of Life, he’s making two very clear connections. The first is that the feeding of the 5,000 is not just about the miraculous act, but about the one who performs it. Remember, in this sermon series we’ve been really pressing into the idea that miracles are signs that don’t point to themselves but are meant to point us to Jesus. The Jews got caught up in the idea that Jesus provided food for them once, and therefore He could be relied on to keep giving them food on demand. While we do experience (and should expect) miraculous provision from God, we must never forget that signs and wonders should always lead us directly to Jesus Himself. Jesus does not allow us to make Him a foodbank or jukebox, but as a God to be worshiped.
by Darren Parker on May 15th, 2022
There are parts of scripture which have worked their way into our very culture, not just as Christians, but also as a culture. The feeding of the 5,000 is one of those narratives. Maybe it is the drama of it that makes it so relatable. Maybe it is because if touches on one of our most basic needs – food! It is one of the only narratives that appears in all four of the gospels (Why not have a look at the other versions found in Matthew 14, Mark 6 and Luke 9). In the sermon this week we focused on the miracle itself – this was a real event, it really happened and it is amazing. As with all miracles in John it reveals to us the character of Christ – he is fully God, and God is the God of creation and provision.
by Darren Parker on May 8th, 2022
This week we’ve been looking at John 5:16 onwards. We find in these verses Jesus’ response to being challenged, persecuted, criticised for healing a man on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day didn’t like what Jesus had done but also hated the fact Jesus was claiming His equality with God. They wanted to get rid of Him.
by Darren Parker on May 1st, 2022
After a few weeks out of sequence we’re now back in John 4. So far John has shown us how The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We’ve seen John the Baptist point to Jesus and the calling of the first disciples. Jesus turned water in to wine and cleared the Temple. He’s taught Nicodemus and John the Baptist testified about Jesus, again. Then Jesus met the woman at the well in Samaria and a whole town encountered Jesus. Our stories today pick up where we left off in John 4.
by Darren Parker on April 10th, 2022
This year we’re working our way through John’s Gospel. And this Easter we’re jumping ahead to look at the how John tells the story of that first Easter week. This week we’re in John 12; next week we’ll explore John 20 and Jesus’ resurrection. There are two stories in this week’s passage. v1-11, tell the story of Jesus being anointed by Mary at Bethany. v12-19, of Jesus’ triumphal entry in to Jerusalem. For this week’s devotion we’ll focus on the first of these two. As we start, it is worth noting that this story is part 2 of 2. It follows on from the events of John 11 where Lazarus is raised from the dead. It’s a tremendous event, and here in John 12 they’re throwing a party to celebrate!
by Darren Parker on March 27th, 2022
There’s an undeniable cause and effect taking place here. Last week, we looked at the beginning of John chapter 4. We were introduced to a lady, who by all accounts had made some poor choices in life. She’d given herself to a string of unhealthy relationships and now found herself on the side-lines within her community. Shame and isolation went before and behind her. Until she meets with the only man who could ever truly see her, know where she’s been and know how to restore her: Jesus. Running back to her people, they obviously see and hear the impact of this encounter and want to savour some of it for themselves too. The second half of John 4 shows us what the domino-effect of the Gospel can result in: one person receiving leads to many people receiving.
by Darren Parker on March 20th, 2022
In this week’s message we unpack a beautiful story where Jesus engages with a woman who is not just from an outcast tribe (the Samaritans), but who herself is an outcast within her on community. Because of her life choices she resorts to fetching water when no-one else is around, and yet Jesus intentionally times his journey so that He can speak to her, and show her a glimpse of who He really is. Read the verses slowly and re-acquaint yourself with the remarkable dialogue of the story.
by Darren Parker on March 13th, 2022
In this week’s message we got to focus on John the Baptist, who is Jesus’ cousin. John spends time telling us about Jesus, the real Jesus of the Bible so we can see him in his true form. We take a closer look at what he was doing with his disciples and why it has significance for us today. In the verses, we first look at the exchange between one of John’s disciples and a Jew. This exchange reveals to us that Baptism is a key step in our walk with Jesus. Baptism is done out of obedience as Jesus was baptised himself and call us to do the same. The act of baptism is dripping with symbolism and remains an important step for all believers to take.
by Darren Parker on March 6th, 2022
The passage we’re exploring this week through our service, Life Group Guide and devotions is John 3:1-21. It’s the first time we meet to Nicodemus in John’s Gospel. He’ll turn up a couple more times before the end, but this is his most famous moment. While there is so much that could be said about this passage, I want to focus us on to the most well known verse in this section, John 3:16. Let’s savour it together, a bite-sized chunk at a time.
by Darren Parker on February 20th, 2022
Listen to these mind blowing words from 1 Corinthians 6.19-20: 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.
by Darren Parker on February 13th, 2022
Well in my message I focused on John 2:1-11, which is Jesus’ first recorded miracle, the wedding in Cana where he turned water into wine. It’s such an iconic episode in the life of Jesus, and even through it’s only 11 verses, you could easily study just this one miracle for weeks on its own, such is the richness of the symbolism and so multi-layered is the story.
by Darren Parker on February 6th, 2022
I was slightly frustrated when I came to this passage. John’s gospel includes some incredible moments in Jesus life, but on first look this appears a bit of a filler passage. But then I read it again, and again, and again. In effect, I meditated on the passage. Through that repetition I found real joy and inspiration. I caught sight of the texture of these verses as they described real people having real encounters. John the Baptist willingly releasing followers (disciples) to follow Jesus. Yet another example of John the Baptist’s humility and prophetic calling. Five different men deciding to follow Jesus. Friends inviting friends, brother inviting brother. John the gospel writer refusing to name himself in the narrative as he stays true to his vision for his gospel – to point people to Jesus.
by Darren Parker on January 30th, 2022
We seem to be in the middle of a pandemic of apologies. Barely a day goes by without a new demand for an expression of remorse from someone in power for their failings. The trouble is that many of our leaders seem to have perfected the art of “apologising” without acknowledging that they have actually done anything wrong; “It wasn’t that serious…, I misunderstood…, I wasn’t told it was wrong…., I was misled…”. It may be more honest if they had confessed; “I was arrogant..., I was deceitful…, I was greedy…”. But we all prefer to present our most shameful actions as understandable mistakes rather than acknowledge them for what they are. The Bible speaks of such things plainly; it calls them “sin”. It makes it clear that they are the root cause of our fractured relationships with the Holy God who created us and the darkness that engulfs the world as a result.
by Darren Parker on January 23rd, 2022
John’s Prologue serves as an introduction in the same way a movie trailer prepares us for a film. Here John is introducing us to a whole bunch of material that he’ll unpack for us through his eyewitness account of Jesus’ life that follows. At the end of these verses we’re left with a tonne of questions, and that’s just the way he wants it. John is inviting us to follow him into the rest of his Gospel. He wants to invite you to explore the claims of Jesus. We’re going to have great fun doing just that in the weeks and months to come. There is so much compressed into these verses. But I’d like us to consider just half a verse together today. It’s the start of John 1:14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
John - Introduction
by Darren Parker on January 16th, 2022
Recently I went to the cinema to watch the latest Spider-Man movie. Don’t worry, I’m not going to drop in any spoilers! It was a really good movie and once again Spider-Man proved strong enough to save the day and overcome the bad-guys. In almost every scene we could see his super-human abilities. His incredible powers that no ordinary person possesses. Despite his desire to be seen as an average teenager, Peter Parker is not an average teenager. He is a super-hero. Sometimes we unhelpfully make super-heroes out the men and women we see in the Bible. We picture them as some kind of next level Christian with super-Christian abilities, their Holy Spirit senses tingling at every turn, always able to overcome and always having pure heroic motives. However, as we begin our journey through the Gospel of John, it’s important to understand who it is that’s giving us this account of Jesus’ life. John, the disciple of Jesus, who wrote this gospel didn’t have a very impressive list of credentials…