(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: John Ch. 12 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv. 1-19) During the dinner with Jesus, we saw that:
- Martha: Served as usual, but this time without distraction or complaint (Luke 10:40)
- Mary: Took expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, displaying her love for Jesus; the whole room was filled with fragrance because of her act. Some people did not understand her action, but Jesus said it was in preparation for his burial.
- Judas: The one who said that Mary should have sold the ointment and given to the poor! But John pointed out that Judas was a thief, he had no intention of helping the poor, but wanted to take the money for himself.
- Jews: Came to see Jesus where he was having dinner, and they also wanted to see Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
- Chief priests: Planned on putting both Jesus and Lazarus to death.
John specifically mentioned Lazarus, saying “on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.” Although we had never heard from Lazarus himself, because of his resurrection, many people gathered to see Jesus (v.9), to believe in Jesus (v.11), and to welcome him as he entered Jerusalem (v.18). Lararuz, who hadn’t spoken a word, served as a powerful testimony of Jesus.
How do you bring people to Jesus if you were not able to speak? May your resurrected life be a testimony to make others see, believe and welcome Jesus.
(vv. 20-36) Here John spoke of some Greeks, who probably had been converted to Judaism, came to Jerusalem during the feast. They must have heard of Jesus and wanted to hear his teaching. Because his time was coming, Jesus said to them “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
I have never grown wheat. However, just a few days ago, our family had a melon. I put the leftover melon seeds into a pot, and it didn’t take long before they were sprouting. Those who have grown melons from seeds would have seen the vitality of the seeds when they emerged from the soil. Sometimes you would find the remains of the seed shells, blown away by the wind, or eaten by the bird or simply rot in the soil. When the seed sprouts it no longer looks like a seed, but turns into a plant with flowers and fruits. This was designed by God from the day of creation, and has never changed, manifesting God’s glory. Jesus said it was his time to be glorified, referring to his death. Because if he had not died first, he would not have emerged with a new life. Jesus said, “and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
The glory of Jesus comes from the fulfillment of God’s will. Similarly we can glorify God when we fulfill God’s will by the death of our old self. Jesus said, “whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” If we put a melon seed in an empty bottle, it remains forever a melon seed. But if we follow God’s will, fall into the earth and die, our lives would grow into a plant with countless seeds. May our new lives bear fruits and glory God!
(vv. 37-50) In these last verses, Jesus spoke in front of the crowd for the last time, where he summed up with the relationship between the people and the light. When it comes to Jesus, you have two choices. As spoken by the prophet Isaiah, “he has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”
- Believe: Accept the light and walk out of darkness. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me.”
- Deny: Deny with a heart of stone, despite that Jesus had performed so many signs. Jesus said, “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”
God, not men, governs all things. We should humbly obey his will and believe in Jesus. While you still have the light, believe in the light, seize the moment to believe and follow the Lord!
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)