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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


November 2019

John 5: 19-29: More gigantic claims.

John 5: 19-29: More gigantic claims.

19 Jesus gave them this answer: ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him.24 ‘Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.28 ‘Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out – those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.NIV


Following the healing of an invalid man on the Sabbath day, Jesus spoke of His unity withy the Father. The Father had healed the man, and Jesus’ work of healing on this occasion gave expression to His oneness with the Father. The Jews got the point and saw that Jesus was claiming equality with God (18). That gave them even more reason to want to kill Him. But this was just the starting point. Jesus had even more things to say about His essential unity with the Father. He can only do what the Father does (19) so whenever we see Jesus at work, that is God the Father at work. And, indeed, to honour the Son is to honour the Father (23). If we don’t honour Jesus we can’t honour God. 

We need to get this message:

The Father heals the sick on the Sabbath, and so the Son does – for they are one (16-18);

As the Father raises the dead, so Jesus has the power to raise people both spiritually and physically – for they are one (21, 24, 25, 26, 28 and 29);

As the Father judges all, so does Jesus – for they are one (22, 23).

”The relationship of our Lord to the Father was such that he felt himself competent to fulfill all the functions of the Divine Being. Is it God’s prerogative to raise the dead? It is also Jesus Christ’s…Is it the divine right to be the judge of man? It is also the Redeemer’s right…Is it the peculiar attitude of God to be the fountain of life, so that life, inherent, underived, and perennial, is ever arising in his nature, sustaining here an angel and there a hummingbird? This is also an attribute of our blessed Lord…The entire sum of the attributes of Deity are resident in the nature of the Son of man. But though although all divine attributes were his, and might have been called into operation, he forebode to use them, that he might learn the life of dependence and faith, the life which was to become ours toward himself. He did nothing apart from the Father…No vine ever clung more closely to its trellis, and no child to its mother, than he to the Father. See Gal.2:20; Heb.12:2” F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, pp.461,462.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, as you walked through life in total dependence on your Father, so enable me to keep my heart and eyes fixed on you. I need you every hour, every minute, every second (and milli-second!)

John 5:10-18: That’s gratitude for you.

John 5:10-18: That’s gratitude for you.

10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, ‘It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.’11 But he replied, ‘The man who made me well said to me, “Pick up your mat and walk.”12 So they asked him, ‘Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?’13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’ 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defence Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.’ 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. NIV

I still smile at the memory of some words I read in a commentary years ago: ‘The man healed by Jesus appears to have been an unpleasant character!!’ He certainly wanted to avoid any flak coming his way and was happy for them to train their sights on Jesus (10, 11 and 15). He showed them where to aim their fire (15). If he did repent of his sins, we have no clear indication of it. Yet the Lord had been so good to him.

It appears that the healed man’s illness was connected in some way to sinful behaviour (14). Sin is ultimately destructive to the human body. It is not good for your health. It is for our own good that Jesus asks us to leave our sinful burden at the foot of His cross. That’s not the main reason, of course, but it is a reason.

Religion shows its worst face where it just cares about rules and regulations and not the needs and struggles of real people. The key to understanding all this anger towards to Jesus lies in the fact that the Lord performed the miracle on the Sabbath day. It led to the man carrying his bed on the Sabbath, and these clerics interpreted that as work (9b, 10; see also 16). Even worse, Jesus said the man He healed was in fact healed by His Father  in heaven (who was also working on the Sabbath day), and so He was expressing His oneness with God (18). That’s what they took Him to mean, and they were correct to do so:  ‘It was not his own deed, but the Father’s in him and through him. If, then, they condemned it, they were in direct collision with the Infinite One from whom the Sabbath law had originally come.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.461.

This is one of the massive claims made by Jesus about His own identity. He did not think that He was just a man. How about you? What’s your view of Jesus? As C.S. Lewis argued, Jesus is who He says He is, or He is a psychiatric case (on the same level as someone saying he’s a poached egg), or He is the devil from hell. But we must not come out with any patronising nonsense about Him just being a good man. He has not left that option open to us.

John 5:1-9: ‘Do you want to be healed?’

John 5:1-9: ‘Do you want to be healed?’

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie – the blind, the lame, the paralysed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, NIV

It’s a fair question: ‘Do you want to be healed?’ Some people, I am convinced, ENJOY bad health. There can be comfort zones in sickness. Pastors sometimes wonder whether certain people who expose their problems (and sins) really do want to be healed. Or do they just want to vent, have a jolly good moan, get things off their chest, without ever having to go through the trouble of changing? There is also the even bigger question of, ‘Do you really want Jesus in your life at all?’ Do you want Him to re-connect you to God? Or does that appear just too pricey, not to say inconvenient? 

Could it be that this man was making an excuse for remaining in his invalid condition? (6). It may not be fair to ask this, but you can’t help but wonder. Whatever, out of this great heaving crowd of human need, it would appear that Jesus homed in on just one man and set him free. So we see Christ’s sovereignty in the work of healing.

You may have heard the joke, ‘How many counsellors does it take to change a light bulb?’ The answer is, ‘Only one. But the light bulb has really got to want to change!!’ There is something in that.

‘Are you a withered soul? Healing and wholeness are in Christ for you. Receive from him the power that waits to flow through your wasted muscles. Believe that it is passing through you. And act accordingly. Spring to your feet, roll up your bed, and carry that which has so long carried you.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’,p.461.

John 4:43-54: Lord over space.

John 4:43-54: Lord over space.

43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honour in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay ill at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.48 ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders,’ Jesus told him, ‘you will never believe.’49 The royal official said, ‘Sir, come down before my child dies.’50 ‘Go,’ Jesus replied, ‘your son will live.’The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he enquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, ‘Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.’53 Then the father realised that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.’ So he and his whole household believed.54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee. NIV

Sometimes, when we pray we don’t get the wording exactly right. This Royal official ‘begged’ Jesus ‘ to come and heal his son, who was close to death’ (47b). Again he pleaded, ‘Sir, come down before my child dies’ (49). His urgency is understandable, but he thought Jesus had to be in his home; that He had to enter the same room as the child in order to heal him. The wording of the ‘prayer’ wasn’t exactly right. But Jesus saw the man’s heart and did the work of healing anyway (50). This is a miracle of healing at a distance. Jesus is Lord over space.

When we start to pray about a matter, we may well need to persevere through discouragements (48). After the man’s initial plea, it looked like Jesus Himself was putting him off. At least, His words didn’t sound promising. But things were not how they appeared. The nobleman persevered and received the object of his intercession. It is, however, a reality to contend with that faith often has to persevere through discouragements; through seeming barriers and obstacles. Ronald Dunn observed that when we start to pray in earnest about a matter, things regularly ‘drop by worse on the way to better!’

This is a story, then, about praying and persevering. It is also about timing (52, 53). This ‘coincidence’ was really a ‘God-incidence’, and it brought people into the Kingdom.

It is fundamentally, of course, a story about believing.The essence of faith is to take Jesus at His Word (50).You go about your business, trusting that His Word is true, even when you have no evidence. Faith is the evidence (Hebrews 11:1). F.B.Meyer shares an interesting insight on this:

”It would appear…that he went to some inn or caravansary on his way back, because there would have been ample time between the seventh hour (one o’clock in the day) and nightfall to get from Cana down to Capernaum. Why should he hasten! The boy was living, doing well, since the Master had said so. He was sure of it and thanked God for it and gladly took the opportunity of a quiet night’s rest, to sleep off the effects of long watching, intense anxiety, and the swift journey to Cana. When his servants met him with the news that the boy was healed, he inquired at what hour the change had taken place, merely to corroborate his own conclusions.” F.B. Meyer, Devotional Commentary, p.461.

Prayer: ”Give me the faith which can remove, and sink the mountain to a plain.”

John 4:31-42: Real satisfaction.

John 4:31-42: Real satisfaction.

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’32 But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you know nothing about.’33 Then his disciples said to each other, ‘Could someone have brought him food?’34 ‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, “It’s still four months until harvest”? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.37 Thus the saying “One sows and another reaps” is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labour.’39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I’ve ever done.’ 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.42 They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.’ NIV

You may remember from verse 8 that ‘His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.’ When they returned, they naturally wanted Jesus to ‘eat something’ (31). I’m sure they knew that he was ‘tired…from the journey’ (6). They were being kind and caring. But Jesus sized the moment for a teaching opportunity (32). He wanted to convey the deep inner satisfaction He felt from doing the will of God (34). The disciples were confused because they took His words in a materialistic fashion (33) – much as the Samaritan woman had done previously (11-15).

Someone preaching on this passage said something like this: ‘Imagine an artist at work in his studio. At lunch time his wife brings him a drink and some sandwiches. When she returns to collect the empty’s a little while later, it’s barely been touched. Her husband is so absorbed in his work.’ That’s a good illustration. Obviously, it has stayed with me. Jesus found unparalleled satisfaction in doing ‘the will’ of the Father. That particular day it involved a ‘witnessing conversation’ with a deeply dissatisfied woman. And what a chain reaction it set off (39-42) It’s been suggested that when Jesus said, ‘I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!’ (35), He was pointing to the Samaritans streaming across the fields towards them (40). There was a contrast to be drawn between the natural harvest, still four months away, and the spiritual one right before their eyes (35).

‘These Samaritan fields are ripe. It’s harvest time!…Without lifting a finger, you have walked in on a field worked long and hard by others.’ The Message.

There is nothing more satisfying for a Christ-follower than to point people to Jesus. And if you see success in some form; if people respond positively, better still. But all evangelism is team work, whether we are sowing or reaping (and in a lifetime you’ll probably do a bit of both.) The bottom line truth, of course, is that God gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:7). So to Him belongs all the glory.

‘No single individual can claim credit for the success of any spiritual mission. The harvest belongs to the sower as much as to the reaper. It is possible that the others referred to the long line of prophets who had prepared the way, of whom John the Baptist was the last.’ Donald Guthrie: ‘New Bible Commentary’, p.1035.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I not fail to play my full part in your harvest.

John 4:27-30: Evangelistic musings.

John 4:27-30: Evangelistic musings.

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, ‘What do you want?’ or ‘Why are you talking with her?’28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done. Could this be the Messiah?’ 30 They came out of the town and made their way towards him. NIV

Here are a couple of thoughts about evangelism that have occurred to me whilst reading today’s passage:

  1. Sometimes effective evangelism takes place where someone is prepared to break the mould and part from convention. They may take flak for it. They run the risk of being misunderstood and misrepresented. But they go for it, believing it to be the right thing to do. The disciples were ‘surprised to find him talking with a woman’ (27). That reflects the general Jewish prejudice at the time. Rabbis were not permitted to speak to women in the street (not even their own wives!) and they considered any conversation with a woman to be a hindrance to the study of the law. The disciples, as men of their time, were embarrassed by Jesus’ actions. But His going out on a limb led to a huge spiritual breakthrough. So all our human traditions need to be tested at the bar of truth. Our customs – general ways of doing things and culturally accepted norms – must not be allowed to rule; we cannot afford to permit them to choke off our witness. In short, I’m saying that there are ways of doing evangelism that may earn you the disapproval of others. Someone said to D.L. Moody: ‘I don’t like the way you do evangelism.’ His reply: ‘And I don’t like the way you don’t do it!!’
  2. Might we not consider more fully the place of questions in our witness? (29). The Samaritan woman aroused curiosity in others by her question. She herself was not fully convinced that Jesus was the Messiah (in spite of His declaration in verse 26), but she knew He was special and very much hoped that He was. Nevertheless, her question got others searching out the truth for themselves. I’ve been thinking a lot of late about the importance for leaders of asking good questions. Often, it is more effective to lead by asking than telling. I’m not saying that there isn’t a gospel to tell and explain. There most certainly is. But might we not also make good use of some well thought through questions (as well as those that may occur in the inspiration of the moment?)

Prayer: Lord God, please give me Paul’s willingness to ‘by all means’ win some. May I not be afraid to pioneer new approaches as your Spirit leads.

John 4:15-26: Acceptable worship.

John 4:15-26: Acceptable worship

15 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’16 He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’17 ‘I have no husband,’ she replied.Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.’19 ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.’21 ‘Woman,’ Jesus replied, ‘believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.’25 The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’26 Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you – I am he.’ NIV

Augustine was right when he observed that God made us for Himself, and our hearts find no rest until they rest in Him.

This Samaritan woman wanted what Jesus was offering (15). True, she interpreted His words in a materialistic way, but Jesus could see the deeper thirst in her heart.

However, before anyone can have their spiritual desires satisfied, they must first repent of the sins standing between them and God. So Jesus brought up a touchy subject, but it had to be addressed (16-18). Someone said, ‘She had lived with a passing parade of men.’  This is the story of ‘the bad Samaritan’! Jesus’ words precipitated a crisis in the conversation and brought things to a head. He showed that He knew the hidden depths of her life. He knew about her desperate attempts to find meaning and satisfaction in (I imagine) successive disappointing relationships. It was this supernatural knowledge of her that so deeply impressed her (29), even if there was a certain hyperbole in her comments. No doubt this was not her only sin. She may have had far worse sins tarring her soul. But this was certainly her idol (whereas in the case of the rich young ruler it was wealth.) So Jesus pointed out the idolatry that had to be banished, if she was really to be satisfied with her Messiah (25, 26).

Like a rabbit caught in the headlights, she got twitchy. She tried changing the subject (19,20), with a dash of flattery thrown in for flavouring. In effect, it’s been suggested, she said, ‘What about all these denominations?’ (Roger Fredericksen suggests that in dealing with people’s questions, we have to reckon with ‘the RH factor.’ Is it a ‘red herring’ or ‘a real hindrance’? When you start to talk seriously about stuff that needs cleaning out of a person’s life, don’t be surprised if a few red herrings get tossed in to the conversation.)

There was an ancient dispute between Jews and Samaritans about WHERE to worship. Jesus said it’s not about the WHERE but the HOW (21-24). True worship acknowledges that ‘God is spirit’, and it is offered ‘in spirit’ (or ‘in the Spirit) ‘and in truth.’ In order to worship God, the adoration must flow from human spirits led, inspired, acted upon by the Holy Spirit, and it must all be in accordance with revealed truth.

Prayer: Lord God, may I worship you in just the way you want me to. And thank you that someone like me – a sinner by nature and practice – can worship you.

John 4:1-14: Futility.

John 4:1-14: Futility.

“Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptising more disciples than John – although in fact it was not Jesus who baptised, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’ (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)10 Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’11 ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?’13 Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’NIV

Wilfred Owen wrote a beautiful little war poem, full of pathos, and called it ‘futility’. It’s one of his shorter works, but it says so much. Reading Jesus’ words in (13), I call to mind the Old Testament book of ‘Ecclesiastes’. It too speaks of ‘futility’: the ‘vanity’, the emptiness, of everything we pursue in this life (‘under the sun’) in order to find meaning. King Solomon had everything you could want in this world. He had money, sex (oodles of it!!) and power. He found by personal experience that apart from God it was all ‘meaningless’. F.B. Meyer has said that you could write the words of verse 13 over all worldly amusements: ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again’ (13).

Jesus did not ‘have’ to go through Samaria as a geographical necessity. He could have taken another route. But there was a divine necessity about this trip. The Father had scheduled an appointment with a deeply ‘thirsty’ woman. She had found that this world does not satisfy, and she was ready to ‘drink’ what Jesus offered her.

Notice the simple relevance of Jesus’ approach. It starts with a shared understanding and need for water (7). But skilfully, carefully, Jesus went gradually deeper in the conversation, arousing her curiosity, drawing her in, whetting her appetite. Michael Green once said that in personal evangelism we have to row our gospel boat around the island of a person’s life, and determine which is the best place to ‘put in’. When you read the gospels you see that Jesus had no pre-packaged, pre-programmed approach. He was led by the Father.

By the way, can you see the irony in (12)? We know the answer, even if she doesn’t – yet!!

Prayer: Father God, please organise my schedule for today – and every other day. And help me to never make tiredness an excuse for avoiding people, and failure to serve.

John 3:22-36: God gives the growth.

John 3:22-36: God gives the growth.

“22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptised. 23 Now John also was baptising at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptised. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan – the one you testified about – look, he is baptising, and everyone is going to him.’27 To this John replied, ‘A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, “I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.” 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.’[a]31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[b]gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” NIV

Never forget the principle enunciated clearly in (27) – a man can have only what is given him from heaven. God gives the growth, so why do we act like He doesn’t? Why do we place so much store by people who seem to be experts at producing growth and telling ‘how it’s done!’?

We need to remember this especially when other churches and leaders SEEM to succeed more than we do. How we handle the success of others is a real test of character. Dallas Willard makes the point that one practical out working of the doctrine of the Trinity will mean that pray for other church leaders and root for them. We will want their success.

John’s disciples seemed to complain about the growth of Jesus’ ‘church’, but John himself was delighted with the news. He recognised the total superiority of Jesus to himself (31-36). He realised that more and more he would have to retreat into the shadows, whereas Jesus’ place was in the spotlight (30). He likened his role to that of the ‘best man’ at a wedding (28, 29).The best man needs to be efficient (and John was very good at what he did), but he must not steal the show. He cannot court the limelight. He wants to see the bride and the groom come together. It would be terrible if he were to run off with the bride. John was watching the ‘bride’ run to her Beloved, and nothing could give him more pleasure. This was what he lived for. The bride and Groom were coming to centre-stage, and he would be able to slip out through the back door.

‘What a blessing it would be if we could enshrine in our hearts this immortal maxim: ”A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven!” What we have is God’s gift; let us hold it reverently. What another person has is God’s gift to him; we have no right to find fault with his dealings with another of his servants. Our orbits are distinct; all we have to do is shine our brightest where he has placed us, confident that he knows best.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.459.

Prayer: Help me Lord to see your glory in the gifts you share with others. Let me feel neither jealous or discouraged. Let me be content to be the best version of me that I can be. It will be because of you, and to you be all the glory.

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