identity of christ
Along with the many topics Jesus teaches about throughout His ministry, He also teaches very clearly about Himself -- who He is, why He has come, His identity as God, His relationship with the Father. The Gospel of John beautifully records many of these teaching passages.
There are many in the world today who would try to dismiss Jesus as merely a good teacher, a moral example, or maybe a prophet. To do so is to go directly against Jesus’ own words about Himself. To this point in the Gospel of John, we have seen Jesus call himself as the only Son of God (John 3:16), refer to God as His father (John 5:18), and claim that His authority is equal to that of God (John 5:19-29). Jesus has called Himself “the bread of life” (John 6) and the “light of the world” (John 8). He’s even made a statement about His own eternal nature: “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
Jesus’ words about Himself don’t stop there. In this week’s reading, Jesus begins to make clear that He must be killed (John 12:27-36) and that He is the means to salvation (John 12:44-50). He speaks of Himself as “the good shepherd” (John 10:1-21), one with the Father (John 10:22-42), the resurrection and the life (John 11:25), the way, the truth and the life (John 14:1-14), and the true vine that brings fruit to all those who abide in Him (John 15:1-17). Hearing Jesus say these things intensifies the Pharisees’ desire to put an end to His life, but it also leads some to proclaim as Martha does, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.” (John 11:27). Seeing Jesus as He reveals Himself should lead us to the same confident proclamation that Jesus is the Savior of the world.
NEW TESTAMENT VISUALIZED
Our family ingredient is Service. The days were counting down. Jesus knew that His time here on earth was drawing to a close. Just as a teacher begins to analyze before a big test whether their students are ready, Jesus takes these last days to further prepare His disciples and demonstrate to them the character of His Father. They would need to know how to be like Him. The passage for today’s devotional clearly illuminates one of the basic principles of Jesus’ teaching: serve one another.
In biblical times, everyone except the very rich walked as their means of transportation. This, coupled with the fact that there were no systems for sanitation or waste removal and baths were infrequent, led to the inevitability of dirty feet. When visiting the home of those who were more well off, the lowliest servant had the task of washing the feet of those who came to visit. At the Last Supper, no one wanted that humble or inferior role. Jesus Himself reminds His disciples about the importance of serving one another. He washes their feet. One of the highest goals for your family to strive toward is learning to act and serve in the name and example of Christ.
- How does it say that Jesus showed the full extent of His love to His disciples?
- How does Peter react to having Jesus wash his feet?
- As a child, often times your parents and others serve you in different ways. What are some of them? Why do they do these things for you?
- What are some ways that your family could serve others when you see something that needs to be done?
Activity 1: Serving Others
Make individual coupon books with ideas for serving others this week. Brainstorm options. On small pieces of paper write, “I choose to serve you by…” and leave space for your child to write or draw picture of a way he/she will serve someone else. Staple them all together into a book. Try to use all your coupons. Added fun: encourage your children to do their service in secret and see if everyone can guess at the end of the day who served them.
Activity 2: Pretend Play
Children learn through playing. Have your child grab stuffed animals or dolls, a washcloth and empty plastic bowl. Have child pretend to wash their doll’s feet like Jesus.
Activity 3: Pretend Play
Pray for opportunities this week to serve others. Ask God to show your family how you can go above and beyond this week to serve in a way that will uniquely speak of Jesus’ love. Enjoy!
Source for all 3 activities: Watermark Community Church
Small Group Discussion
- What commands are there to obey? What examples are there to follow? What promises are there to claim?
- What happens when people read the Bible? The Bible transforms people into followers of Jesus because truth is revealed, the veil is lifted, and people see Jesus. Therefore, statements such as, “Jesus is the truth,” or, “Jesus is the Word,” or, “Jesus is the light of the world,” gain new meaning. Seeing Jesus only happens when people behold Him in or through the truth He speaks. How has the light of the gospel changed you? How has it changed those with whom you have shared it?