Tag Archives: disciple

Through the Bible, August 14

Reading: No scheduled reading

Thoughts and Reflections: Today is the regularly scheduled day to catch up on your reading for the second week of August. Please take advantage if you’ve fallen behind. Otherwise, below are some thoughts for your consideration for today from this week’s readings.

  1. Jesus knew that His leaving earth would pose an extremely difficult adjustment for the apostles. So, in the upper room, Jesus repeatedly spoke of the Holy Spirit that would come.  He called Him the “Helper,” the “Spirit of truth,” and “guide” (14:26; 15:26; 16:13).  Jesus knew they would need not only this reassurance but also all that the Spirit would provide.  Jesus would not leave the twelve “as orphans” and neither will He leave us without providing every spiritual need (14:18).
  2. Never underestimate the value and power of God’s written word. We may think that we are somehow disadvantaged as ones having never literally heard Jesus preach or been an eyewitness to one of His miracles.  But John says that what has been written is sufficient to produce faith and this faith leads to life (John 20:31-31).
  3. One may wonder why John included some of the information that is found only in his Gospel. For instance, he tells of the “restoration” of Peter (21:15-23).  Perhaps by the end of the first century (the time this Gospel was written) some Christians had begun to think or speak poorly of Peter because of his denying Jesus.  There’s not any way to really know this for sure, but it certainly seems a possibility.  And what encouragement we receive from this—we too, in spite of our failings and mistakes, may also be restored to the Lord.

Devotional Thought:

What a Disciple Needs

The hours Jesus spent in the upper room were brief by comparison to the three years of His ministry.  Though the time was short Jesus had much to accomplish.  This was His final opportunity to prepare these men for the events of the coming days they could not begin to comprehend, not to mention the coming years and their world-changing work.

Notice what Jesus did during this final evening with the twelve.  Hear what He taught.  Observe His emphasis.   See His concerns and intentions.

  • He washed their feet showing the supreme role of service (13:1-20).
  • He identified their love for each other and the bearing of much fruit as the means by which the world could identify them as His disciples (13:35; 15:8).
  • He comforted them, in view of His impending departure, with the assurance of His return (14:1-4).
  • He affirmed His role as the only means to God (14:6-7).
  • He promised the coming Holy Spirit who would provide for them the infallible guidance they needed to fulfill the Master’s mission (14:16-17; 15:26-27; 16:13-14).
  • He warned them of the world’s hatred (15:18-23; 16:2)
  • He prayed for them, that God would guard them and that they might be sanctified (17:6-21).

Other matters were undoubtedly discussed.  These, though, help us see the things Jesus knew His disciples needed.

Do I not need the same?

Could You Be Found?

Devotional Text: Acts 21:4

When Paul’s ship landed at Tyre to unload its cargo, Paul sought out the disciples in that city (Acts 21:4).  I wonder how he accomplished that?

It’s possible that he knew personally some disciple from Tyre—after all, he knew a lot of people—and just sought out that person.  But maybe not.  How could he have done it?  He didn’t have an address for the church building because there was no church building.  He couldn’t “Google” it, look up the church’s website or even something as archaic as looking in the phone book or yellow pages.

I’m guessing the only way he could find them is to ask around which would have required that this group of people were known around town. They were known because they were doing the things that followers of Jesus were supposed to be doing.  Maybe it’s because of the good they were doing for people in need; maybe because this was that odd group that didn’t worship at the altars of the popular gods of the city; maybe it was because of the great care and love they had for each other.  Whatever it was, Paul was successful in seeking out the disciples.

How is that we as disciples of Jesus can be found where we live?  Is it for all the wrong reasons?  Or, maybe a better question is it for any of the right reasons?  Is it because we have a dedicated assembly place with good signage?   Is it because we have a good website or yellow pages ad?  While there’s nothing wrong with these, those aren’t exactly the reasons why Jesus said His disciples would be known.

Being known for who you are as disciples isn’t the same thing as people knowing where you meet.

If someone were seeking the disciples where you live, could you be found?  And better yet, how so?

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

What is Jesus to You?

Devotional Text: Luke 22:11

What is your favorite title/name/designation for Jesus?  There are so many in Scripture: Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah, Savior, Good Shepherd, Great Physician, King, Bridegroom, Bread of Life, Light of the World, Lamb of God, etc.  Some are more prevalent than others, but it certainly isn’t that one is more important, necessarily.  They all go together to help round out and complete our understanding of who Jesus is.

An interesting one is found in Jesus’ instructions to the disciples whom He sent into Jerusalem to make preparations for the Passover meal they would eat together.  He told them to look for a particular man and tell him, “The Teacher says to you…” (Luke 22:11).  There it is, “The Teacher.”  That sufficiently identified Jesus to this person.  It’s also how He was also designated on other occasions as well (see Luke 8:49; John 11:28; 13:14).

Perhaps this is best understood in connection with a disciple.  We’re familiar with that designation of followers of Jesus.  Literally disciple means “learner”.  A learner needs a teacher. For all of Jesus’ disciples He was “the Teacher”.

Is He for me?  Am I actually instructed and guided and informed by Him?  Is my thinking shaped by what He says?  Or is Jesus “only” a loving, caring, compassionate, and, yes, powerful personality in my life?  If I’m a disciple I must be a learner.  If I’m a learner, I must have a teacher, that being Jesus.

Does calling Jesus “the Teacher” have any real meaning for me?

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

August 24 Bible Reading: Luke 14-15

Chapters 14 and 15, after telling of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath, constitute another lengthy section of teaching.  It includes parables of the wedding feast, the great banquet, along with the trio of parables on the lost coin, sheep, and boy (prodigal son).  In addition is Jesus’ instruction on the cost of discipleship.

For today’s daily devotional CLICK HERE

For August week 4 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For August’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

What a Disciple Needs

Devotional Text: John 13:1

The hours Jesus spent in the upper room were brief by comparison to the three years of His ministry.  Though the time was short Jesus had much to accomplish.  This was His final opportunity to prepare these men for the events of the coming days they could not begin to comprehend, not to mention the coming years and their world-changing work.

Notice what Jesus did during this final evening with the twelve.  Hear what He taught.  Observe His emphasis.   See His concerns and intentions.

  • He washed their feet showing the supreme role of service (13:1-20).
  • He denoted their love for each other and the bearing of much fruit as the means by which the world could identify them as His disciples (13:35; 15:8).
  • He comforted them, in view of His impending departure, with the assurance of His return (14:1-4).
  • He affirmed His role as the only means to God (14:6-7).
  • He promised the coming Holy Spirit who would provide for them the infallible guidance they needed to fulfill the Master’s mission (14:16-17; 15:26-27; 16:13-14).
  • He warned them of the world’s hatred (15:18-23; 16;2)
  • He prayed for them, that God would guard them and that they might be sanctified (17:6-21).

Other matters were undoubtedly discussed.  These, though, help us see the things Jesus knew His disciples needed.

Do I not need the same?

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

Consider John

Devotional Text: John 19:26

Think about the apostle John for just a moment.  Even in the two chapters of today’s reading, we learn what a remarkable disciple this was.

• He’s called “the disciple whom He loved” (19:26).  This isn’t the first or only time, but what an insight to this man close relationship with Jesus (see also 13:23; 20:2; etc.)

• He is the only one of the apostles to make an appearance at the crucifixion (19:26).  We know of no other who braved an appearance.

• He, along with Peter, immediately ran to the tomb when Mary reported it to be empty (20:3).

• He is the first disciple to believe without having yet seen the resurrected Christ (20:9).

Just as John says there were many other signs performed by Jesus not recorded in this gospel (20:30), there are many other notable and admirable features of John’s discipleship not recorded in just these two chapters.  These, though, are sufficient in themselves to impress us with this “son of thunder”.  No wonder Jesus loved and trusted him.  His example encourages and inspires us to follow Jesus more closely, to love Him more dearly, and to believe in Him more deeply.

Thank you, John.

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

Don’t Let a Good Relationship Go Bad

Devotional text: John 6:24

It all looked so good, but turned out so badly.  The fact is our relationships, even with Jesus, can quickly and easily go wrong.

What was good?  Upon seeing His signs (healing the sick and feeding the multitude) a very large crowd followed Him and even concluded that He was “the Prophet who is come into the world” (John 6:2, 14). At this point everything was exactly as it should be—but not for long.

They immediately wanted to forcefully make Him a king, based on their mistaken ideas about God’s purposes for the Messiah and His people (John 6:15).  The next day Jesus told the crowd their interest in Him really wasn’t motivated by the signs they’d seen, but by the fact that He had fed them (John 6:26).  He encouraged that their concern be for “food that endures to eternal life” instead of “food that perishes” (John 6:27).  They didn’t embrace that encouragement, to say the least.  Instead of following Him more closely as a result of His further instruction, many “turned back and no longer walked with Him” (John 6:66).

Just because some people began by “seeking Jesus” (John 6:24), it doesn’t mean, by any means, that they would end up being His disciple.  All the elements were present for the best outcome: the signs to induce faith, the instruction to clarify understanding, the encouragement from Jesus to get priorities straight.  But all was for naught.

That’s just how it is with following Jesus, though, isn’t it? For us to be blessed as God wants to bless us through His Son, we have to follow Him all the way.  We have to get past the initial “rush”.  We have to accept correction in our thinking and understanding.  We have to make His priorities our priorities.  We have to understand what Peter confessed, if we turn away from Him we have rejected eternal life (John 6:68).

We would do well to ask, exactly which direction is my relationship with Jesus headed right now?

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE