Ponder and Pray: John 5-7

Ponder: Each Wednesday we share nuggets of truth from the weekly reading and a few questions to ponder, but they are meant simply to awaken your minds, not to limit your study. John 5, 6 and 7 are full of beautiful truths about Jesus and reflections on how humanity responded, and continues to respond, to the Son of God. We encourage you approach all study of God’s Word, including these chapters this week, with this primary question:

  • What does this section tell me about the Trinity — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? If you started a list of the names, words, and phrases used to describe our God, this is the time to add to the list. In her podcast teachings, Jamie Harms has encouraged you to watch for the “I am” statements Jesus spoke during His ministry. This week we’ve come to one in 6:35.
  • After we see who Jesus is, we can better see who we are in Him. How will I finish this sentence this week? Because Jesus is                         , I know that I am                           .

While you could easily spend all your time in God’s Word answering these questions and reflecting on how you should respond to these truths about God, you might want to explore a few more questions this week.

In chapter 5, Jesus asks a man lame for 38 years, “Do you want to be healed?” In essence, have you grown so accustomed to a life of dependence on others that you want to stay this way? Jesus heals this man on the Sabbath, much to the shock of the religious leaders and much to the joy of the man. After the healing, Jesus finds the man in the temple and encourages him that this moment marks a turning point in his life. His identity is no longer in his disability but as one rescued by the Son of God.

  • Am I leaning into my identity as a child of God, as one now well? Or am I living paralyzed by my past and the things that have characterized my life? 
  • What is one step I can take today to lean into my identity as a child of God?

In 6:28, people in the crowd who had witnessed Jesus feed thousands of men, women, and children with five barley loaves and two fish asked Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” The answer wasn’t a checklist for a doing, rule-following people guided by religious leaders who had amended the original law given by God as a gift. No, instead Jesus was calling for a simple belief that He was the One sent by God (v. 29). He desired their confidence in Him, neither good works nor short-lived awe in miraculous things He did. He wanted their hearts.

  • Do I struggle to accept God’s grace through simple belief? What do I try to add to the simple gospel message or expect of God in order to believe?

In chapter 7, Jesus quietly slips into Jerusalem for the Feast of Booths. For those of you following a read-through-the-Bible plan this year, you probably just finished learning about this festival in Leviticus 23:33-44. God instructed the Israelites to construct and to live in shelters once a year to celebrate the harvest and to point to God as the giver of all good things. The weeklong festival included daily sacrifices and concluded on the eighth day (the great day mentioned in John 7:37) in which the priest, followed by a joyous crowd, would pour water from the Pool of Siloam into the basin near the altar in the temple. The day, known in English as the Great Hosanna, reminded the people of how God had physically saved His people on multiple occasions during their desert wanderings by providing water.

  • Keeping in mind the study last week in chapter 4, how does Jesus respond to this annual ritual (vs. 37-39)? Who does He say He is?
  • How can this truth about Jesus encourage me today?

Pray: Dear Father, You sent Your Son to earth with Your authority to heal, to teach, and to judge — and You did it all because of Your love for me when I was still Your enemy. Thank You for being patient with me, for seeking me, and for giving me life eternal. Forgive me for the times I’ve tried to work my way to You or expected You to prove Yourself through signs and wonders. Thank You for being the bread and water that sustains me. Keep me from the things of this world that promise but fail to give me life. I love You, Lord.