The gospels devote a disproportionate amount of attention to Jesus' final journey to Jerusalem. More than a third of Matthew, almost half of Mark and nearly two-thirds of Luke are devoted to the period after Jesus "set his face to go to Jerusalem," (Luke 9:51). What follows takes several months before Jesus enters the last week of his life, which occurs late in these gospels. But in John's gospel, Jesus enters the last week early, and almost half of the gospel is spent there, on the characters and events in the final days of Jesus. Several of these events are not mentioned in the other gospels (i.e. visit of the Greeks, washing of the disciples' feet, the Olivet Discourse, and the high priestly prayer), yet John devotes large portions of the second half of his gospel to them. In these events, Jesus touches several nerves, raises several questions and calls for commitments in places that resonate with us today. When he speaks to them, he is speaking to us, calling us further in to the life of Christ. What follows is a collection of these sayings from John 12-13, with implications for our lives today.

The Devout Life

Week 1 “The House was Filled with the Fragrance”

Today Jesus is in Bethany (which means “house of the poor”), in Mary and Martha’s home, at a dinner in his honor.  During the meal, Mary pours a pint of alabaster, an expensive and potent perfume, onto the feet of Jesus and wipes them with her hair.  This simple act of devotion creates controversy even outrage among Jesus’ disciples who…
February 18, 2018
The Devout Life

Week 2 “If it dies”

After some Greeks came to see Jesus, he knew that “the hour was at hand” and spoke a proverb that is as true for our lives as it was for his.  Indeed, it seems written into the very code of life: “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains a single seed, but if it…
February 25, 2018
The Devout Life

Week 3 “Now my Heart is Troubled and What Shall I Say?”

As the Greeks appear, Jesus sees forward into his impending death and it is as though two roads appear, one called “Save me from this hour” and another called “Glorify your Name.”  Jesus himself appears standing at the fork, where the roads diverge, and from here he says, “Now my heart is troubled and what shall I saw?”  There is,…
March 9, 2018
The Devout Life

Week 4 “While you have the Light”

When the crowd protested Jesus’ promise that the Messiah would die (“be lifted up”), he encouraged them to follow and he warned them to remember that they would not always have the choice: “Walk in the light before darkness overtakes you.” After this, he hid himself. To many, this was an exchange between Jesus and his inquisitors. But what if…
March 11, 2018
The Devout Life

Week 5 “I have set you an example”

Just before the Passover, Jesus gathered his disciples for their last meal together. In this solemn act, found only in John’s gospel, he “got up from the table, took off his robe and wrapped a towel around his waist,” (NLT). Then, after washing their feet he said, “Do you understand what I have done for you . . . I…
March 18, 2018
The Devout Life

By this everyone will know you are my disciples.

In the middle of his last meal with his disciples, Jesus predicts that one will betray him and another will deny him. He is right both times. We have all experienced the sting of betrayal or rejection, even from those closest to us. But in between these, Jesus offers a better way to respond: “As I have loved you, so you must love…
March 25, 2018