ALL-CHURCH FOCUS 2018 DEVOTIONAL

September 13th, Day #26 - John 12:36b-50

Start here

“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” John 12:46

 

What or who have you been putting your trust in to light up your life, other than Jesus? 


Invite Jesus into those areas for His light, His rescue, and His wisdom to flood in like dawn’s morning light!

Game on

Read John 12:36b-50

 

Can you remember a time when you received some really good news? Maybe when you received your college acceptance letter or when you heard that a good friend was coming to visit. What was your reaction? I usually start to jump and shout, “I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it!” 

 

It takes most of us a minute or two to accept that what seemed impossible has happened. In today’s reading, the Jewish crowds, in spite of all that they had seen Him do and heard Him say, are having a hard time believing that Jesus was their long-awaited Messiah. While there’s nothing more important to believe, we also face hurdles of trust in our everyday lives, too.

 

Consider this question as you read, “What areas of your life do you need to entrust to Jesus?”  Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you as you ponder His word.

your move

Let’s look to what God wants to say directly to you today through John 12:36b-50

 

Scripture: Which verse or phrase spoke most powerfully to you? Why do you think that is?

 

Observation:  What would you say was Jesus’ purpose on earth according to this passage?

 

Application: Where in your life have you seen God show up repeatedly, but are still having a hard time trusting Him with that particular place in your heart?

 

Prayer: Talk to Jesus about where your level of trust in Him is. Share with Him the areas where it is easiest to trust Him. Then, share with Him the areas that are most difficult to trust Him with. When you are ready, surrender those areas to Jesus, asking Him to take over control and watch Him work over the next week!  

bonus round

In 12:42, John recalled: "Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue..." What exactly was a synagogue? Why would that stop people from following Jesus if He truly was the Messiah? Let's explore more about synagogues in Jesus' day to understand what was going on here! 


A synagogue was a local meeting place and assembly of the Jewish people during late intertestamental and NT times.

 

Jewish tradition claimed that the synagogue was begun by Moses, but the OT does not support this claim. Local worship was discouraged during most of the OT because it often was associated with pagan practices. Worship centered on the temple in Jerusalem. Psalm 74:8, written late in OT times, may refer to local places of worship destroyed when the temple was destroyed. Some translations use the word "synagogue" of these places, but we have no other certain knowledge about them. The synagogue of the NT era had its roots in the time after Solomon's temple was destroyed and the people of Judah went into Babylonian exile. Local worship and instruction became necessary. Even after Jews returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple, places of local worship continued. By the first century they were called synagogues.

 

Synagogues existed wherever the Jews lived. While the temple stood until A.D. 70, it continued to be the center for sacrificial worship. Faithful Jews continued to go to the temple for the appointed feasts. They also participated in local synagogues. During Jesus' time there was even a synagogue within the Temple itself. This was probably the place in the Temple where the twelve-year-old Jesus was talking with the teachers (Luke 2:46).

 

Most communities of any size had at least one synagogue; some had several. Jewish sources indicate that a synagogue was to be established wherever there were as many as 10 Jewish men. A synagogue had to be located close enough for faithful Jews to attend without breaking the Sabbath by exceeding the distance the rabbis allowed one to walk on the Sabbath day. A typical service consisted of recitation of the Shema ("Listen, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One."), prayers, Scripture readings from the Law and the Prophets, a sermon, and a benediction. Luke 4:16-21 is a good example of a first-century synagogue service.

 

Local elders had oversight of the synagogue. They appointed a ruler of the synagogue, a layman who cared for the building and selected participants in Sabbath services. The ruler had an attendant, one of whose duties was to deliver the sacred scrolls to those reading the Scriptures and return them to their special keeping place (Luke 4:17, 20).

 

Jesus customarily went to the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16). After beginning His public ministry, Jesus frequently taught and preached in synagogues (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; Mark 1:39; Luke 4:44). Early in His ministry, Jesus healed a man in the synagogue in Capernaum (Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37).

 

Jesus often encountered opposition in synagogues. Luke 4:16-30 tells what happened in the synagogue of Nazareth (cp. Matt. 13:54-58; Mark 6:1-6). Jesus' preaching and teaching aroused strong negative reactions. Luke 13:10-16 tells of Jesus healing a woman in a synagogue on the Sabbath, bringing an angry reaction from the ruler of the synagogue. Jesus, in turn, rebuked the man for his hypocrisy.

 

Jesus warned against the hypocrisy of those who paraded their righteousness in the synagogue. He warned against giving and praying in order to be seen and praised (Matt. 6:2, 5). He also rebuked those who sought the chief seats (Matt. 23:6; Mark 12:39; Luke 11:43; 20:46). As opposition to Jesus increased, He warned His disciples of a future time when they would be persecuted in their own synagogues (Matt. 10:17; 23:34; Mark 13:9; Luke 12:11; 21:12).

 

*This resource an excerpt from The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), page 1544-1545. Article by Robert J. Dean and Chrles W. Draper.