Posts with the category “letters-to-the-prison”

Letters to the Prison - Week 151
by Nick DeYoung on February 3rd, 2023
Hello, everyone.  Last week, we began to examine the “discussion” Peter and Jesus were having about whether Jesus should or should not be washing Peter’s feet.  One must wonder:  Which act is harder to fathom…  the Son of God deciding to wash the disciples’ feet?  Or one of the disciples questioning and correcting the decision?  Either way, both things are happening as we continue our study.  Jesu...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 150
by Nick DeYoung on January 27th, 2023
Hello, friends!  We’ve begun our study of John 13 and already something profoundly astonishing is happening:  Jesus --the One who claims to be God in the flesh… eternally existent and all-powerful… come to sacrifice himself to save sinners… claiming all eternal authority over everything… all of which he himself created for his own glory—has decided to spend some of his final moments… before his la...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 149
by Nick DeYoung on January 23rd, 2023
Hello, everyone.  We’re continuing our study of John.  If you need a Bible, ask for one!  As we move into chapter 13, it is important to remember that John has committed 7 chapters (John 12-19) of his Gospel to covering the events of one week –one of the most important weeks in human history.  Further, the next two chapters we study are going to cover what happened during the course of one meal…  ...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 148
by Nick DeYoung on January 11th, 2023
Hello, everyone.  We’ve been studying John 12 for 13 weeks.  Thanks for hanging in there!  We’re about to examine the last few verses.  In them, Jesus lays out some stunning claims about himself and about the reality of our circumstance as humans and as Christians.  Take a moment to read John 12:47-50:If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge ...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 147
by Nick DeYoung on December 30th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  Last week, John observed that the unbelief of the people who rejected Jesus despite all his miraculous works was providential – a part of God’s plan to bring his offer of redemption to all people.  This raised, as we saw, some alarming questions about our own beliefs… and our responsibility for those beliefs.  We could linger on these questions for a long time, but both John and ...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 146
by Nick DeYoung on December 27th, 2022
Last week, Jesus reminded his audience (and us) to “believe in the light” (John 12:36).John makes an observation about belief and how important it is in the verses that follow:Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, -John 12:37This brings us back to what we observed last week:  For those who don’t believe, there isn’t enough proof in the world.  Jesus stood...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 145
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, friends!  We’re taking a long tour through John 12.  Last week, we saw this:So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”-John 12:34The crowd clearly recognizes that Jesus is claiming to be the Christ… and that he identifies himself as the “Son of Man.”  They also unders...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 144
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  Last week, Jesus said something profound that we should examine more closely:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”     -John 12:31-32It would take a long time to unpack everything Jesus has said here.  Here are a few key points:“Now,” like Jesus’ use of th...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 143
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We’re continuing our study of John 12.  Last week, Jesus claimed that his highest purpose is to glorify God’s name and the Father affirmed this purpose and responded –audibly:“I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”-John 12:28God’s ultimate purpose to glorify himself is a profound reality…  and perhaps not easy to swallow for some.  Even the most devout believers can g...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 142
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We’re continuing our study of John.  If you need a Bible, ask for one!  Jesus has challenged his listeners –and us—to follow and serve him.  Doing so honors God the Father, according to Jesus.  And then, something profound happens.  Look what Jesus says:"Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour....  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 141
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We’re studying John 12.  Jesus has just challenged a group of Greeks (and us) with his 17th “truly, truly” statement:Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  -John 12:25What does the first part of this mean?  Are we supposed to be miserable forever?  Keeping for eternity a life that we hate?  Forfeit a life that we ...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 139
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We’re grateful for this opportunity to consider God’s word with you.As we continue our study of John 12, we see in verse 16 yet another glimpse of the retrospect nature of what John has written.  He acknowledges that Jesus’ disciples (including himself) “did not understand” many things about what Jesus said and did, at first --like riding into Jerusalem on a young donkey—but reme...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 138
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We’re hoping you’ll join our study of John.  If you need a Bible, ask for one!  Last week, we saw Jesus remind everyone gathered around him that he was going to die soon.  Yet there was Lazarus –a man whom Jesus had raised from the dead—sitting with him.  That’s quite the contrast.  Add to that the contrast between the apparent way Mary was thinking and how Judas (Iscariot) was t...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 137
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We want to encourage you:  Prayerfully consider what we can individually and personally sacrifice at Jesus’ feet.  What can we give up or give away or give to him that would honor him?  Ask God carefully and be prepared for a surprising answer!We’re considering John 12.  Last week, Jesus said something unusual in answer to Judas Iscariot’s unusual question about Mary’s unusual sa...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 136
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, friends.  We’re so grateful for the opportunity to consider God’s word with you.  Be sure to thank the people who make these letters available.  We’re studying John 12.  Last week, we considered what Mary’s sacrifice meant for her.  John records some very interesting information about Judas Iscariot and his reaction to Mary’s sacrifice:•But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was a...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 135
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  Last week, as we opened our study of John 12, we saw an “ordinary” family –Lazarus and his sisters—acting according to their beliefs by faithfully and openly serving Jesus…  hosting him and feeding him even though the authorities were looking to kill him.  And yet, we see that there are things about this family and what they do for Jesus that are not “ordinary.”  Lazarus, for exa...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 134
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We’re so glad you’ve joined our study of the Gospel of John.  Last week, we saw that Jesus left the area of Jerusalem after raising Lazarus from the dead, and after the religious leaders in Jerusalem started plotting his death.  Jesus won’t stay away from Jerusalem for long, though.  In fact, the very next verse shows that, though some time has passed, the time for all Jews (incl...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 133
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We hope you join our study of John.  If you need a Bible, ask for one!  Last week, we began to examine a stunning thing Caiaphas, the High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem, said about Jesus --stunning and quite ironic, given the sort of man Caiaphas is.  So, the source of the statement is established… a criminally corrupt leader of the religious community.  But what does the sta...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 132
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We want to encourage you:  Firmly establish in your heart and mind exactly what it is you believe about Jesus… and then act accordingly.  Pray that we would do the same.We’re seeing, as we study the tail end of John 11, that the “Council” that is trying to determine “what to do about Jesus” is doing precisely that –acting according to their beliefs about Jesus.  In this case, the...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 131
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone!  We’re so glad for the opportunity to consider God’s word with you.  We’re studying John 11.  If you need a Bible, ask for one!Last week, after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (so almost-casually… “Lazarus, come out!”), we began to see that there were two responses to what Jesus did:Belief… DUH.  Seriously.  Right?  Who wouldn’t believe that Jesus is exactly who he says he is a...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 130
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone. We’re so glad you’ve joined our study of John 11.  Last week, Jesus raised a dead man to life. We say that so casually.  But pause for a moment and consider the gravity of what we just read about.  It’s the sort of thing we could sit with our whole lives and never get to the bottom of everything it means for us.  It's just so hugely important.Jesus was almost “casual” about it him...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 129
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We’re studying John 11.  Last week, Jesus made an astonishing claim:•“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”-John 11:41-42Here, Jesus claims that God always hears him in such a way that God inevitably fulfills everything Jesus ever asks of him...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 128
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We’re continuing our study of John 11.  Last week, we saw Jesus “deeply moved and greatly troubled…” even weeping (John 11:33, 35).  This would be consistent with what Isaiah prophesied about him (Isaiah 53:3).  For further reading, check out the “servant” predicted in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and consider how Jesus fulfills what Isaiah predicts.  Meanwhile, we’ll continue our study of...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 127
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  Be sure to ask for a Bible if you need one.  We’d love it if you joined our study of John.Remember a few weeks back, we talked about “polite” people who go to funerals and say things like “well, they’re in a better place.”  What if we did the opposite?  What if we wailed and cried and carried on as if the person was gone forever… with no hope?  How would that go over?  That’s wha...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 126
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We’re continuing our study of John 11.  Last week, we considered one of the most important conversations in the history of mankind:  Martha’s confession of faith in response to Jesus asking the main question:  Is Jesus who he says he is? (John 11:25-27)As we continue, we see Martha fetching her sister Mary to go and meet with Jesus (John 11:28-32).  Some key things to consider ab...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 125
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  If you need a Bible, ask for one.  We’re continuing our study of John 11.  Last week, we began to examine one of the most important conversations in the history of mankind.  It’s so important that we should read it again (and again):•Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and beli...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 124
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone!  Join our study of John’s gospel.  Last week, Jesus casually told Martha (whose brother, Lazarus, had died four days ago) “Your brother will rise again” (John 11:23).  What a simple, casual, yet confidently authoritative statement to make.  A person just doesn’t say something like that in a moment like that unless they have supreme confidence that it’s true.  Martha believes Jesus...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 123
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We’re continuing our study of John 11.  If you need a Bible, ask for one!Last week Jesus, having informed his disciples that Lazarus was already dead (John 11:14), decided nevertheless to go to his friends in Bethany near Jerusalem.  We see in John 11:17-20 that, when Jesus arrives, Lazarus had already been dead for four days.  We also see the presence of “many Jews” with Mary an...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 122
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello!  We’re so glad that we’re able to come and worship God with some of you in person.  We’re considering John 11.  In verses 11-13 the disciples are clearly confused about the severity of Lazarus’ condition, but Jesus sets them straight:•Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”         ...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 121
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We’re studying John 11.  Last week, we saw Jesus doing the unexpected.  Do we expect that Jesus will do the unexpected in our own lives?  Maybe we should!  Why?  Because, as we will see in this chapter, God’s good and loving plans for us go far beyond anything we could ever imagine or expect for ourselves.  His ways are higher (Isaiah 55:9).On the way to seeing God’s good and lov...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 120
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone!  We’ve been so grateful for the opportunity to meet with some of you in person.  We’re also grateful for the chance to study God’s word with you remotely.  It’s never too late to start studying God’s word.  Join us!  We’re in John’s gospel, chapter 11.In John 11:4, Jesus said something unexpected:  Lazarus’ terminal illness is for the glory of God.This week, Jesus does something u...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 119
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone!  We’re grateful for this opportunity to consider God’s word with you.  If you need a Bible, ask for one!  And be sure to thank the people who make them available.  We’re continuing our study of John and starting chapter 11.In the first three verses, we’re introduced to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus who live in a town called Bethany (not to be confused with the “Bethany across the Jord...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 118
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello!  We’re continuing our study of John 10.  We’ve spent the last two weeks considering the example of how Jesus interacts with his enemies in a loving effort to help them understand the truth about him and who he claims to be.  And yet, despite all his efforts:•Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.    -John 10:39This is a dire condition of the heart of Jesus’ enemie...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 117
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone!  We’re continuing our study of John 10.  But before we move on:One more thing to consider about how Jesus interacts with his enemies:  Everything Jesus says and does is carefully and wisely tailored to encourage his enemies to embrace the truth… so that they can have eternal life and peace with God… and live forever in his kingdom… and Jesus does that because of his perfect, etern...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 116
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Greetings!  We hope these letters are encouraging you.  Know that we are praying for you.  Pray for us, too, please!  We need it!  If you want to join our study and need a Bible, ask for one!We’re continuing our study of John 10 and the conversation between Jesus and the people who want to stone him to death.  Read that sentence again.  Jesus, the One who claims to be the Almighty and only righteo...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 115
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone!  We’re so glad to be back in face-to-face fellowship with some of you.  We’d like to encourage you to pray for those around you.  Ask God to draw them to himself… and maybe we’ll be able to worship God together with them, also!  Pray too that God will open the doors to other prisons soon!  We miss the rest of you!  Last week, as Jesus was appealing to those who were seeking to sto...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 114
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone!Last week, we considered Jesus’ stunning claim: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).  Oddly, there are people today who seem to think that Jesus never claimed to be God.  They apparently never read this part of the Bible.  Look what happens next:• The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which o...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 113
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We were so thrilled to see some of you in person in St. Johnsbury and to be able to sing praises to God and consider his word together.  It is so important to meet together, and we love meeting with you.  We’re looking forward to more opportunities in the future!Meanwhile, last week, we encouraged you to join us as we sit with three profound verses and consider what they mean for...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 112
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone!  We’re continuing our study of John.  Last week, Jesus explained the problem:  People don’t believe him because they aren’t part of his flock (John 10:26).  This week, we see Jesus’ promise to the people who, because they hear his voice and follow him (John 10:27), are counted amongst his sheep:•I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out ...  Read More
Letters to the Prison - Week 111
by Nick DeYoung on December 16th, 2022
Hello, everyone.  We’re grateful for this chance to study God’s word with you.  Last week, we caught a glimpse of the stunning relationship Jesus the Son has with God the Father.  We’re about to see another mind-blowing view of this relationship.  To begin, we see in John 10:22-24 that the conversation between Jesus, the man born blind, his disciples, and some of the Jewish leaders has ended and s...  Read More

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