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New Testament - Today we read one of my favorite chapters in the Bible - John 15. I cannot tell you how much this chapter means to me and I hope to you as well. John 15 takes place just after the Last Supper, the night before Jesus dies on the cross, so this is one of Jesus’ last teachings to the disciples – and to you and me. It is so beautiful. My quick personal story on this chapter is that I have only preached verbally once – and it was when I was in Bulgaria several years ago on a short-term mission trip. Our team ended up going to a small Roma church – and I mean small – in a village outside of the capital city of Sofia. As we drove up to the village where the church was located I saw rows and rows of grape vines in and around the village. I knew I would be preaching that evening – each person on our team took a turn every night. And initially I was planning to preach from a Psalm – but, when I saw the vineyards I quickly decided to preach from John 15, and it turned out to be so beautiful. I literally ended up outside of the church – all of us could not fit in the tiny 1 room church - under some grape vines preaching from John 15. God showed up. I cannot even remember what I said, but God moved. I pray that as you read John 15 today God moves for you as well. John 15 is something special. (John 16 & 17 are something special as well. . .)
Today in John 15 verses 12 & 13 we read these words of Jesus' - “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Why would Jesus give us such a command as this? Why would Jesus give this command the night before he died on the cross? How did Jesus show his love for us? Do you agree that there is no greater love than laying down one’s life for his friends? Did Jesus do this for you and me? If we are to love each other as Jesus loved us, how do we do this? When we look at Jesus’ life and how he lived it, what might we be able to model in our lives? When we look at Jesus laying down his life for us, how might we be able to “lay down our life” for our friends? Do you love others as Jesus loved you? Below is a moving painting by Spanish Baroque era painter Francisco de Zurbaran from the year 1635 titled "Agnus Dei":
Worship Video: Based on the painting above titled "Agnus Dei," here's the song sung by Michael W. Smith:
Do you know our Agnus Dei? Click here and meet the Lamb of God!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you have received the Spirit of Truth - the Holy Spirit - within you, through your faith in Jesus. Pray that you will love Jesus and keep his commands. Pray that you are rejoicing because the Holy Spirit lives with you and is in you today!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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