Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 19 then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar. Psalm 51 (ESV)
This is a Psalm written by King David. He was a broken, guilt ridden and repentant man whose
transgressions were great. He was caught in sin and he tried with all his might to cover it up, but when his
sin was exposed he was called out for his wickedness. In this Psalm I find there are two lessons in this Psalm.
The first lesson is, if you continue in sin long enough, it will catch up to you. The second
lesson is a reminder of the many privileges you have as a follower of Jesus Christ, when you acknowledge
and repent from your sins.
You are privileged, because through Jesus…
privileged because you are forgiven and cleansed by Jesus Christ.
19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” 25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. John 8:19 – 28 (ESV)
The leaders still think Jesus is speaking in human terms, so they ask who his father is. Jesus replies, “If
you knew me, you would know my Father also.” Jesus equates knowing the Father to having spiritual
insight of who Jesus is. If they truly believed, followed and understood the scriptures they would know
that Jesus is the promised Messiah. If the leaders truly knew the Father, then they would know Jesus is
Jesus’ time or hour had not come, so they couldn’t arrest him because it wasn’t the appointed time God
had set for Jesus. In this passage Jesus speaks of his still future death and resurrection. He is going to be
crucified, buried and will rise again. When he rises from the dead he will ascend to heaven and no one
can go with him. Yet those who repent and believe will not die in their sins.
The Jews did not know what Jesus was talking about once again as they say, “Maybe he is going to kill
himself since he says we can’t go with him.” Jesus tells them that they cannot understand what he is
talking about because they persist in thinking that Jesus is talking in human terms. He informs them that
he is not speaking in these terms, instead he is speaking in Spiritual terms and they cannot understand
what he is saying because they are not inclined to spiritual things.
They are even more confused, so they ask who Jesus is. These guys are blinded to the Spirit of God and
they are obviously clueless as to what Jesus is talking about. He tells them he is exactly who he has
claimed to be from the beginning. Nothing has changed, he is still the Son of God; but they can’t
comprehend this because they do not even know the Father.
I’ve often wondered if these Jewish authorities ever came to accept that Jesus was the Son of God. I
believe they did when He was lifted up on the cross of Calvary and glorified by the Father. I imagine
many of the leaders realized all the words Jesus spoke and the actions he did were from God the Father.
Even though many of the religious leaders Jesus spoke to didn’t accept his words, many others noticed
that He spoke with such authority that they did believe and respond in faith.
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” John 8:12 - 18 (ESV)
Jesus is questioned about his authority and his claims. He is on trial once again with the Jewish leaders.
They have tried over and over to use his own words against him and prove that he is not who he claims to
be; they have tried to prove that he is a fraud, but unfortunately for them, Jesus has witnesses to back up
his claims, it’s just not who they think it is.
The “I am” statement in John 8:12 is the second of seven “I am” claims Jesus makes in the Gospel of
John. In this passage Jesus says, “I am the light of the world” and this is significant because this was
during the Feast of the Lights and during the evenings of this celebration a light was carried and it
represented the “light of God”. So, when Jesus makes this claim, He is claiming to be the light of God.
Light in Scripture represents something that exposes or consumes darkness and reveals what is hidden.
The light also symbolizes the giving of life and being a guide or a path. In the Old Testament God led the
Israelites by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire or light at night. In John’s Gospel light is
synonymous to life, revelation of the truth and of salvation.
Jesus also claims, “The one who follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
Followers of Jesus are called to walk in the light, because we have the light of life who is Jesus in us. In
Jesus is life and the life is the light of the world. This means that in Jesus we have salvation, guidance and
abundant life here on earth. We no longer walk in the darkness, because the darkness has been exposed.
We now walk in the illuminated light of Jesus with the Holy Spirit as our guide.
The Pharisee’s tried to use Jesus’ words against him, and according to Jewish law one must have two or
more witnesses for a testimony to be validated. The Jews said Jesus’ claims were invalid because he was
testifying of himself and no one else had come forward.
Jesus verifies that his testimony is true because of his firsthand knowledge of heaven. He knew who his
Father was, He knew his place of origin and they could not understand or comprehend this. They were
judging him based on human standards. Jesus says, “You judge according to the flesh and I do not judge
anyone.” This could and probably should read, “I do not judge according to the flesh.” The Jewish
leaders judge to bring condemnation but Jesus judges to bring salvation. Jesus’ judgment is true because
he judges in accordance with the Father.
Jesus also takes on the witness question. Yes, two witnesses are needed to verify his claim and Jesus does
this when he says, “I bear witness and the Father bears witness” of who I am. The witness of God always
trumps human witnesses.
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. John 1:19 -28 (ESV)
John the Baptist’s ministry and life were devoted to pointing people to Jesus. He knew his place in life.
He had a humble and strong spirit to him. He was not self-promoting, he was a Jesus promoter. He had
no agenda of his own, he had God’s agenda in mind. He was more concerned with people being right
with God through preaching a message of baptism of repentance and forgiveness of sins. His purpose was
to show people a new way of life and a new relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
The religious leaders were all about keeping the rules, conformity and power. Their ministry and lives
were solely about enforcing the law and being pious. Their “religion” was about doing, not being. They
were into self-promotion and power by imposing rules and regulations on people based on their
interpretations and beliefs of the Law. They wore lavish clothes and had conceited attitudes. They had
little concern for God’s agenda; they were more about God changing his agenda to fit their plans. There
was no talk of repentance, forgiveness or submission to God. It was all about enforcing and keeping the
rules. Their righteousness was based on keeping the rules.
When I look at these two groups, I am reminded of how these attitudes are still among us today.
Unfortunately, there are pious rule changers who focus more on “doing for Jesus” rather than “being in
Jesus”. They depend on tasks and “being a good person” as their evidence of being a Christian. They
attend church on a semi regular basis, they try to be moral, and they will put some money in the offering
plate when it comes around. There is little to no change in heart; they are the same person they have
always been and maybe there is a little compartment in their life for God, on Sunday or when they are in a
Fortunately, there are believers today who have devoted their lives to Christ’s promotion and preaching
the message of repentance, forgiveness and submission to Jesus Christ. They understand that their faith is
not a result of keeping rules and pointing out the sins of others in a self-righteous manner. They are
submitted to Jesus, the one who has shown the way to the Kingdom. A heart changer receives a new heart
when Jesus becomes their Lord and Savior. They don’t just become better versions of themselves, they
become new creations in Christ. The old has passed away and the new has come.
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:19 - 29 (ESV)
We don’t know a lot about John the Baptist. We do know that John was of priestly descent. His father
was a priest and his mother was from the line of Aaron (Moses’ brother). Both were righteous before
God. (Luke 1:5,6). He was strong in Spirit. He was a person of energy and strength; quite charismatic
you can imagine. He lived in the desert (or wilderness) for most of his adult life until his public ministry
began. He was an odd-looking fella clothed in camel hair and a belt and ate locusts and wild honey. In his
public ministry he preached baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. He had disciples. He prepared
the way (or was a witness) for the coming Messiah.
The religious leaders sent some priests and Levites to question John the Baptist. They were sent to ask
John about who he was. This was not a casual “Who are you?” question. These leaders were coming to
find out specifically if John was the Messiah, Elijah or the Prophet.
At this time Israel was under Roman leadership and they had lost their sense of independence. There was
a profound sense of anticipation and hope for the Messiah to come and deliver the nation. The Jews
believed that Messiah was coming to set Israel free from captivity and to establish his Kingdom through
the Nation of Israel.
John, however, fervently denies that he is the Messiah. He acknowledges that he is neither Elijah, nor the Prophet. He does say that he is the fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3, “I am the voice crying out in the wilderness, ‘make straight the way of the Lord.’” He is the one who is laying the foundation for the One that all of Israel is awaiting, the Messiah.
The leaders also asked by what authority he was baptizing? According to theologian D.A. Carson, “Their
interest is in what authorizes John’s baptismal practices. It is not that baptism is unknown. Some Jewish
groups practiced ‘proselyte baptism’, i.e. proselytes were baptized in the process of converting to
Judaism… Candidates baptized themselves. One of the things that characterized the baptism of John the
Baptist is that he administered it.” He continues, “They want to discover by what authority John is
baptizing Jewish people as part of the preparation for the Kingdom of God he is announcing. Looking
around for an adequate authority to sanction so extraordinary a practice, they wonder if he is an (end
 Carson, D.A. (1991) The Gospel of John p. 145 Grand Rapids, MI: William Eerdmans Publishing Company
6.There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light 9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:6 - 13 (ESV)
Today’s devotionals serves as background information to help you through the next few devotionals. I think it is important to look at the hierarchy and order of the religious leaders of the time of Jesus. The order is a little complex as the religious leaders were closely tied in with the government. There are many levels to the priesthood, and they are as follows…
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. John 5:1 - 15 (ESV)
We read in the Gospels that whenever Jesus heals someone, he not only physically heals but he also heals
spiritually. When Jesus meets with the lame man at the Pool called Bethesda, he has a conversation with
him about being made well, or whole again. The man makes the excuse that he can’t because he is too
far away from the pool. Jesus gives him an alternative to the pool by healing him by merely speaking.
Once the man was physically made well, from his infirmity, Jesus adds that the man must stop sinning.
This could imply his infirmity is related to his sin but is not definite and it does not mean that all
infirmities are related to sin. Jesus tells the man to stop sinning because he needs to go and pursue
holiness, so when the Day of Judgment comes nothing worse will happen. After this encounter the man
goes back to the Jews and tells them Jesus healed him.
There are many similarities of Jesus’ encounter with the lame man at the pool as with his conversation
with the Samaritan woman at the well. In both instances Jesus gives restoration to the individuals and
deals with sin. In this instance I have two observations we can apply in our everyday relationship with
 The Pool called Bethesda means the house of mercy or the house of outpouring. It was a well-known place of healing. It probably was not actually a magical pool that healed people but was most likely a place that traditionally people thought to have powers to heal.
29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:29 – 36 (ESV)
In this passage John shows that he is NOTORIOUS upset or threatened by Jesus’ ministry, hrye is ecstatic about what is going on. He gives an analogy by comparing himself to the best man in a wedding. If you have ever had the privilege of being a best man, then you know exactly the point John the Baptist is making. The best man knows that the wedding has absolutely NOTHING to do with him. He is there to assist, rejoice and celebrate with the groom and his upcoming marriage.
Jesus is the bridegroom and the bride is the Church. The “friend of the bridegroom” is John the Baptist. John not only says he is joyful, but his joy is COMPLETE (A.K.A. he can die a happy man). John says in 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John was not making a noteworthy quote he was declaring truth. According to author and theologian R.C. Sproul, “He (John) was called to go before Christ, and once he had announced Christ, then John was to go into the background that Christ might emerge in the fullness of His leadership as the appointed Messiah. ‘It is necessary,’ John said. ‘It’s not optional. This must happen. It must take place. I must decrease. He must increase.’” We all would do well if we lived by and believed this proclamation.
If you and I make it a point to promote Jesus and not promote ourselves then we would see increase. Our job in this world is to promote Jesus and not promotion of self. Verses 31 and 32 appear to be the reflective words of John “the Evangelist” (the author) and serve as an explanation as to why Jesus must increase, since he is from above, and ultimately above all. John the Baptist speaks of earthly things thus he does not have the same authority as Jesus, so it is imperative that Jesus increase and John decrease. Those who do receive Jesus’ testimony do so by accepting that his Word is indeed the Word of God and that God is the one true God. In closing John re-iterates the theme of this chapter: Jesus is the Son of God; all things are given to Him by the Father. Anyone who believes (Commits unto, trusts, places confidence in, has saving faith) in Jesus has eternal life. Whoever does not believe or does not obey will not have eternal life and will face the wrath of God.
 Sproul, R.C. (2009). St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: John p. 52 Lake Mary, FL., USA: Reformation Trust Publishing.
22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison). 25 Now a discussion arose between some of John's disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ John 3:22 - 28 (ESV)
Jesus and his disciples traveled to the countryside in Judea and the disciples baptized people (John 4:2).
This concerned the disciples of John the Baptist (vs. 26). A discussion arose between John the Baptist’s
disciples and a Jew over the rite of purification. We don’t know the details of this discussion, but I am
sure it was over the significance of baptism and how it was administered. There was most likely talk
about the distinction between John’s baptism and the act of ceremonial cleansing. The essential factor in
John’s baptism was the prior requirement of repentance. We also do not know the motivation of the
Jewish man who was talking to John’s disciples. It could have easily been to stir up jealousy between
John’s disciples and Jesus’ baptizing ministry. I speculate that this man could have said to John the
Baptists disciples, “What are you guys going to do about this Jesus guy and his disciples infringing on
your ministry? Isn’t baptizing your business? Isn’t this what you are called to do? These men have no
right baptizing people.” This conversation concerned John’s disciples because they went to their teacher
and voiced their concern. They said, “Teacher, everyone is going to Jesus to be baptized and fewer are
coming to us!” They were concerned because they thought they were supposed to be the authoritarians of
baptism and here comes this other band of disciples doing their job.
John’s response was not what his disciples were expecting. He says, “You guys know I am not the
Messiah. You have heard me say my job is to prepare the way for the Messiah and that is what I have
done.” He is not upset because he knew his place in this part of history. John’s role in the Gospel
accounts were small but extremely significant. He was a promoter of Jesus (The voice crying out in the
wilderness) and not for himself or for his ministry. It wasn’t up to him to convince people to get his
baptism; his primary job was to point people to the Messiah. This is not a very good marketing strategy
by today’s standards. John’s church growth marketing strategy was, “Don’t come to me, because I am
just a voice crying out in the wilderness. Go to Jesus, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
 Carson, D. A. (1994). New Bible Commentary : 21st century edition. Rev. ed. of: The new Bible commentary. 3rd ed. / edited by D. Guthrie, J.A. Motyer. 1970. (4th ed.) (Jn 3:22). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press.
12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:12 - 20 (ESV)
Jesus’ cleansing of the temple has significance for us today. This account in John was written as a sign to show that God wants pure worship from us, and sin will not be tolerated. Jesus isn’t just speaking against the sin of profiting from God in the Temple, He is speaking against sin in the body altogether. The place of worship, the Temple, had become a den of thieves and it was in desperate need of a cleansing and purification.
The Church is the Body of Christ. We are the Church and God does not tolerate deliberate sin to be present in His body. Of course, there will always be sin present in the church and in our lives, because sin is ever present in us as humans, but when the Church or believers openly accept or welcome sin in the Body of Christ and refuse to deal with it (i.e. looking past it or not wanting to confront it head on) then there will be consequences and God will clean house. This truth is comforting to some and simply terrifying to others.
In I Corinthians 6:19, 20, Paul writes, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple (emphasis mine) of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.” The building you enter Sunday mornings is not the church. We are the church and if the people of Christ turn a blind eye to sin amid His people, then God cannot bless the body.
I have seen God clean house before, and it can be ugly, but it can also be a beautiful thing. I don’t write this to scare you or to make you feel as though you are the cause of judgment. I tell you this because God has called us to be His children, His representatives and His dwelling place. He desires for us to be a holy body and we cannot be holy on our own. We can only become holy through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. I pray that God would search our hearts and our lives and that He would do a spiritual “house cleaning” in our lives, so that He may bless our lives and bless the Church in ways that we could never imagine.
Understand this, God is not against you and He is not waiting in the dark corners ready to punish you and expose your sins to the world. God is for you and He wants to have a relationship with you and with His Body that is unhindered by sin, so let’s seek His forgiveness and repent of the sins we know of that are present in us today.
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