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Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 40: True Repentance and Faith in Christ

This entry is part 40 of 42 in the series

"Bible Narratives Devotional"

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Week 40: True Repentance and Faith in Christ

Weekly memory verse:

John 6:40 – “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Weekly hymn:

“I Sought the Lord” (free download)

Weekly catechism:

To whom should you preach the gospel?
I should preach the gospel to all people in all nations to the end of the earth.

Day 196: Jesus Declares His Deity

Reading: John 5:1–47

Notes

Verse 1. Feast. John often organizes his narrative around specific Jewish feasts, but this is the only case in which he does not specifically name which feast was taking place.

Verse 2. Sheep Gate. This was likely a small gate in the north wall of Jerusalem, near the northeast corner (see Neh 3:1, 31, 12:39).

Verse 3. Lay. This pool may have been fed by intermittent natural springs that caused the water to stir, and it may also have contained minerals that had medicinal value.

Verse 18. Equal with God. This passage is one of the clearest declarations of Jesus’s deity. He claims to be equal with God in his person, works, power, judgement, and honor.

Summary

Jesus is God, which he clearly displayed through his miracles and declared through his teaching. Therefore, Jesus had the authority to forgive sin, heal the sick, and even supersede even the Law. Those who believe in him will receive eternal life, but those who reject him will be condemned.

READ
Theme and Purpose of "God Himself Is With Us"

Discussion Questions

  1. Why were the Jews upset with Jesus?
  2. What are some ways Jesus declared his deity?
  3. What are some ways Jesus displayed his deity?

Day 197: Jesus and His Apostles are Rejected

Reading: Mark 6:1–29, Psalm 127–128

Notes

Mark 6, Verse 11. Shake off the dust. This was a gesture that symbolized rejection of further contact based on the people’s reaction toward them and their message.

Verse 13. Herod. This was Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, son of Herod the Great.

Summary

Jesus brought a message of forgiveness for those who would repent and believe in him, and yet most of the people rejected his message and that of his apostles, even though their message was confirmed by many miracles. The result of such rejection was condemnation.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did the people of Nazareth reject Jesus even though they were astonished by his teaching?
  2. What did the response of the people to the apostles’ message reveal about most of the people of Israel?
  3. How are Herod’s acts further illustrative of the rejection of the Jews?

Day 198: Jesus Feeds the Multitudes

Reading: John 6:1–21, Psalms 129–130

Notes

John 6, Verse 10. Five thousand. This was the number of men; adding women and children, the total may have been near 20,000.

Verse 19. Walking. This miracle further confirmed Jesus’s deity and power over the physical world.

Psalm 130. This psalm encapsulates one of the most complete expressions of true repentance in all of Scripture, and the promise of forgiveness for those who do repent.

Summary

Despite the large crowds that followed Jesus, the feeding of the multitudes is another case of the people rejecting Jesus for who he really was. They clearly followed him out of desire for physical satisfaction or political revolution. Jesus wanted them to repent and believe.

READ
Mark 10:46: Where Was Jesus, and How Many Were Blind?

Discussion Questions

  1. In what ways did the people demonstrate that they did not truly believe in Jesus as the Son of God?
  2. Why were the people attracted to Jesus?
  3. What are some aspects of true repentance found in Psalm 130?

Day 199: Jesus Is the Bread of Life

Reading: John 6:22–71

Notes

Verse 22. Crowd. This is the same crowd that Jesus had fed the day before.

Verse 53. Eat . . . drink. Jesus is speaking figuratively here, rather than literally. He is also not speaking of the ordinance of communion here, which he had not yet instituted. He is drawing a parallel between the necessity of eating and drinking for physical life with the necessity of accepting his death on the cross for spiritual life.

Summary

Jesus’s second encounter with the crowd in Galilee further confirms their ultimate rejection of him as the Son of God. Even though he had displayed his power to them and declared to them his deity, they nevertheless demanded greater signs. Jesus was clear: those who would repent and believe in him would receive eternal life, yet because of the obvious hardness of their hearts, only those whom the Father drew would do so.

Discussion Questions

  1. How did the people demonstrate that they did not truly believe in Jesus?
  2. What did Jesus mean by insisting that his people must eat his flesh and drink his blood?
  3. How did the apostles’ own reactions demonstrate the fact that God must work to bring people to faith in him?

Day 200: Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection

Reading: Mark 8:27–9:1; Psalms 131–132

Notes

Mark 8, Verse 29. This is finally a clear declaration of faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

READ
Questions for Bryan Chapell on Christ-Centered Worship

Verse 30. Tell no one. As had already been clear, Jesus knew that the Jewish people who were attracted to him were so only out of a desire for political deliverance. In contrast, God’s plan for Jesus was the cross, which brought spiritual deliverance.

Chapter 9, Verse 1. See the kingdom of God. This refers to what comes next in the narrative of all three synoptic gospels, the Transfiguration, which provided a foretaste of the glory he will display at his second coming.

Summary

Despite all of Jesus’s teaching and display of power, most of the people of Israel simply desired physical prosperity and political freedom, and thus they ultimately rejected Jesus as the true Messiah. Only a small few, epitomized in Jesus’s apostles, truly believed that he was the Son of God.

Discussion Questions

  1. How did Peter’s confession clearly demonstrate faith in Christ?
  2. Why did Jesus need to suffer and die?
  3. How is true belief in Christ described in this passage?
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Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

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