John 3:9-11, 14-15, 17-21

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Trusting and Expectant

Scripture

     9 Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”
     10-12 Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?
     13-15 “No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.
     16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
     19-21 “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”

Lectio Divina

Read – before you read the passage, understand that Jesus ha just told Nicodemus (a scholar and teacher) that he must be “’born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God” (verse 8). But Nicodemus is confused. Now read the passage silently.

Think – Read the passage again, aloud this time, putting yourself in the place of Nicodemus standing on the rooftop in the moonlight, receiving Jesus’ words.
     1.  Which words or phrases stand out to you? Consider these:
          *Everyone who looks up to [the Son of Man], trusting and expectant, will gain real life, eternal life.
          *”God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending God’s Son merely to point an accusing finger…[the Son] came to help, to put the world right again.”
          *Anyone who trusts in [the Son of Man] is acquitted.
          *God-light streamed into the world.
          *Anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.
      2.  Why?

Pray – Talk to Jesus about any phrases that confused you. Talk to him about the phrases that captivated you.

Live – Sit quietly before God. Put yourself n the place of Nicodemus gin – possibly lying in your bed each light, going over these words Jesus said to you. Which words will you drift off with tonight?

Lectio Divina study is taken from The Message: Solo by Eugene Peterson.

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Luke 24:1-12

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Looking For the Living One in a Cemetery

Scripture

1-3 At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared. They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in. But once inside, they couldn’t find the body of the Master Jesus.

4-8 They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words.

9-11 They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up.

12 But Peter jumped to his feet and ran to the tomb. He stooped to look in and saw a few grave clothes, that’s all. He walked away puzzled, shaking his head.

Lectio Divina

Read – read the passage carefully, paying attention to the various characters and their responses to the events of the story.

Think – Which disciple or follower of Jesus do you most identify with in this passage? What is it about that person that reminds you of yourself?
     Read the passage again, this time putting yourself in that person’s position. What are your thoughts and feelings as you hear that Jesus is alive again? What runs through your mind as you see others’ response? What do you wonder about? Where do you go when you hear the news?  What questions do you have?

Pray – Now picture the risen Jesus approaching you later that day, inviting you to spend time with him. How do you interact with him? What do you say? Talk to him about what all of this has been like for you.

Live – Reflect on your prayer time. You might again consider the person in the story you hose and why, or you could think about how your understanding of faithfulness and discipleship was deepened or changed. Write down anything that seems significant.

Lectio Divina study is taken from The Message: Solo by Eugene Peterson.

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Luke 17:11-19

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Returning to Say Thank You

Scripture

11-13 It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14-16 Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.

17-19 Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.”

Lectio Divina

Read – Read the passage, focusing especially on the questions Jesus asks.

Think – Not only are lepers deformed by their disease, but Old Testament law also excludes them from community with others. Ten men come to Jesus with this horrific skin disease. These men are physical and relational outsiders. When Jesus heals them, he also helps restore them to their communities.
    When have you felt like an outsider and then experienced god’s restoring you to community with others an with God’s self? Do you tend o be like the nine, who asked for God’s help and didn’t return, or are you like the one who returned to say thank you, and why?
     Think about your last several requests to God in prayer. Have you turned around and come back, shouting your gratitude for how he has answered your request and bless you in the process? Why or why not? What need to happen in your life for you to remember to return when God answers your prayers?

Pray – Make this prayer time one of intentional thankfulness. Consider your recent requests to God (being specific). Return now and thank God for answering those requests, big and small.

Live – every time you make a request, turn around and shout your gratitude.

Lectio Divina study is taken from The Message: Solo by Eugene Peterson