REVELATION 5 – The Lamb upon the Throne

John the Apostle received instructions to record what Jesus revealed to him in a book (Revelation) during his exile to Patmos (AD 96), including this chapter on the Lamb receiving the scroll in the throne room. Note that Revelation chapters 4 and 5 is one thought, one vision.


Revelation 5:1-14

1  Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2  And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3  And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4  and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.

5  And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 6  And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7  And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.

8  And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9  And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10  and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

11  Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12  saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13  And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14  And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Observation and reflection questions

  1. John shifts his attention from the worship of him on the throne (chapter 5) to a scroll. What does John record to indicate the importance of this scroll?
  2. Why would John weep so much? Why could this scroll be so important?
  3. An elder announces that there is one worthy to open the scroll. Note what John records about the Lamb. What do we learn about the worth of the Lamb from each of these attributes?
  • Lion of Judah:
  • Line of David:
  • Amidst Throne:
  • Seven Horns:
  • Seven Eyes:
  • Takes the Scroll from God:
  • A Lamb that is Slain, yet standing in Heaven:
  1. Note at the response of those around the throne – who does what? What do you learn about Him from the worship of the Lamb?

Personal Reflection questions

  1. Christ is recognized as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, yet he is worshipped as the Lamb who was slain.
  • How would this way of the Lamb have comforted the persecuted church in the first century?
  • How would this way of the Lamb have challenged the expectation of the persecuted church for deliverance from the Roman persecutors?
  1. Consider Philippians 2:5-10 that speaks of Christ’s example of meekness and obedience. How does this way of the Lamb challenge your response in conflict and hardship today?  Do you have examples of how the way of the Lamb have resulted in godly outcomes to difficult times?

Prayer and Worship

In prayer declare 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 today:

“But I know [His] grace is sufficient for you, for [His] power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”




Healing the Brokenhearted 2 – the Great Exchange

The aim of this devotional study is to personally reflect on Christ’s substitution for our suffering and provision for our restoration.


Isaiah 53:3-5

3  He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  4  Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  5  But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement [punishment] that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.


  1. When you read this Old Testament prophesy of the Messsiah (about 700BC), what event do you think it refers to?
  2. Reading verses 4 and 5, what is the core message the prophet wants to convey?
  3. According to this Text,
    1. what did the Messiah suffer? [hint: look at the verbs / action words]
    2. what did we gain from the Messiah’s suffering? [hint: look at the nouns]
    3. what was our behavior and condition at the time of the Messiah’s suffering?
    4. for whom was the Messiah’s substitutionary suffering?

Personal Reflections

Transgression: breaking a law/ sinning while fully aware of one’s actions.  Deliberate or conscious sin.

Iniquity: “bend in the spirit”, some spiritual flaw which manifest as bad habit, character fault, addition, etc.

  1. Considering that I am body, soul and spirit (cf 1 Thessalonians 5:23), what does this Text say the Messiah’s substitutionary suffering had accomplished:
    1. for my spirit (verse 5)
    2. for my soul (i.e. mind, will and emotions; verses 4 and 5)
    3. for my body (verse 5)
  2. Consider the statement in verse 6.
    1. What does that suggest about my own state at the time of the Messiah’s substitutionary suffering?
    2. What does it suggest about God’s intent and commitment for my own healing?
    3. What does it suggest about my responsibility in earning this healing – current and future? [hint: what do I have to do to get it?]

Application and Prayer

Jesus, the Messiah has through his vicarious suffering [on your behalf] obtained healing for your spirit, soul and body.

  • Regarding your spirit: Which iniquity was Jesus, the Messiah, crushed for that you are still in bondage for?
  • Regarding your soul: Which grief, sorrow, anxiety or confusion are you still suffering from which Jesus, the Messiah, was punished for?
  • Regarding your body: Which sickness or disease are you still suffering from which Jesus, the Messiah, was wounded for?
  1. Thank God for the gift of healing through Jesus’ suffering.
  2. Confess your belief that Jesus’ suffering was enough for your need.
  3. Pray as the Spirit leads for your complete healing.
  4. Tell a friend about this.

Stewardship 13 – relationships

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the stewardship of your relationships.


John 17:1-26

1  When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2  since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3  And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4  I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5  And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

6  “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7  Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8  For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

9  I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10  All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11  And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12  While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

13  But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14  I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15  I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

17  Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18  As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19  And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20  “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24  Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

25  O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”


Note 1: This prayer of Jesus in the night of his arrest is very rich. Today we will study it in terms of Jesus’ stewardship of his disciples, for in this prayer Jesus gives account of his work on earth and prays for his disciples who will remain.

  1. Jesus prays to the Father for his disciples who will remain in the world. Briefly summarize:
    1. What do you learn of Jesus’ relationship with the Father in this prayer?
    2. What do you learn of Jesus’ relationship with his disciples in this prayer?
    3. What do you learn of Jesus’ relationship with the world in this prayer?
  2. Jesus prayed “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” (v4). Let’s consider His work:
    1. What had Jesus taught his disciples (as seen in this prayer)?
    2. What had Jesus done for his disciples (as seen in this prayer)?
    3. What does Jesus pray for his disciples (as seen in this prayer)?

Application and Prayer

A great component of Jesus’ work on earth was the teaching of and modelling for the disciples – his relationship with them.

Jesus gave account to the Father of “those you have given [entrusted] to me.”

  1. Reflect on your relationships and note the key relationships you believe God has entrusted to you, for their benefit and God’s glory.
  2. As is easily seen in marriage and parenting relationships, it is so easy to miss the main goal of the relationship in the business of life. Take a moment in prayerful reflection and write the main purpose God has in assigning these people / these relationships to you.
  3. If you were to give account of these people/ relationships the way Jesus prayed in the text above, what would you say to the Father? Do that now – give an account of the top relationships God entrusted to you and pray for grace to steward these relationships “for His glorious purpose”.
  4. Consider the people you will interact with today – what will you do to glorify God in your interactions?

Five Fold Ministry 4

The aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding and appreciation of the gift of the evangelist.


Acts 8:1-16

1  And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.  2  Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 3  But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.

4  Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.  5  Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.  6  And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did.

7  For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.  8  So there was much joy in that city.

9  But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.  10  They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” 11  And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.  12  But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13  Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.

14  Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15  who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16  for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.


Note: Philip was one of the first seven deacons appointed by the apostles (Acts 6:5), and is elsewhere explicitly called “Philip the evangelist who was one of the seven” (Acts 21:8).  This account above follows directly after the execution of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

  1. Philip went to “evangelize” (share the “evangeli” or “good news” or “gospel”) in Samaria.
    1. What accompanied the spreading of the gospel? (verses 6-7, 13)
    2. What was the “good news” Philip preached? (verse 12)
    3. What was the result of the preaching of the gospel by Philip the evangelist? (verses 8, 12-13)
    4. What did the church leaders do after the good reception of the gospel by Philip’s preaching? (verses 14-16)


  1. What is the natural ministry inclination of an evangelist?
  2. What do you suspect would be the natural frustration of the evangelist with a local church?
  3. If Jesus gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry… what do you think should the evangelists equip the members in the local church to do?
  4. Considering the text above, what is the church’s relationship and responsibility to the evangelist and his/her gift?

Application and prayer

  1. Have you been equipped by an evangelistic ministry to share your testimony and share the gospel conviction and power? If not – decide to today to “be equipped for the work of the ministry!” Ask your church leaders to help and pray that God will lead you to be equipped to share his gospel.
  2. Do you have evangelists functioning in your local church? If you know them, ask the Lord for more grace and boldness and a platform to teach and inspire in the church. If you do not know any, pray to the Lord for these gifts to raise or add these gifts in your church.
  3. Lastly, ask the Lord to infuse you with boldness and passion to share the good news of Jesus where you go today. Whom will you share it with?


Overflowing Joy 1

The aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding and desire to experience Godly joy.


John 2:1-11

1  On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  2  Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.

3  When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4  And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5  His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

6  Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7  Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.  8  And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.

9  When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom  10  and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

11  This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.


Note: the 6 stone jars filled with water would translate to about 750 bottles (565 liters) of wine today!

  1. John states that this is the “first of signs” Jesus performed. It is the first public sign he did after his ministry began.  Is it also strange to you that the first sign Jesus did was a healing or deliverance etc?  Why did Jesus do this miracle?
  2. What would have happened if the wine ran out?
  3. What is the nature of the miracle?
  4. How was each of these people benefitted from the miracle?
  • His mother
  • The bridegroom and his family [hosts of this feast]
  • The disciples
  • The guests
  1. What do we know the quality and quantity of the wine made?


  1. Why do you think Jesus bothered to make wine at a wedding? What does that say about his character and his relationship with his family?
  2. Everything in John’s gospel is deliberately written to also add symbolic message; what is the symbolism and message of this miracle? (hint: what is usually associated with celebration and wine? And think of the quality and quantity of wine made…)
  3. Everything in John’s gospel is written “so that you may believe” (John 20:31). With that in mind, what then the motive of inserting this account?
  • relating to his disciples?
  • relating to you the reader?
  1. Jesus demonstrated at the wedding that he came to give joy in greater quality and greater measure than we can expect or duplicate.
  • Have you experienced this joy Jesus promised before? Where and when?
  • Would those around you call you a joyful person?
  • Do you experience this joy Jesus promised daily? Why / why not?


In prayer today, take time to unburden yourself before the Lord as Peter wrote “cast all your cares on Him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) and then pray with David “Restore to me the joy of your salvation…” (Psalm 51:12)

Setting the Captives Free 2

The Aim of this devotional study today is to reflect on the deliverance ministry of Jesus, and learn from his discernment and authority.


Luke 4:16-21, 33-41

16  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.  17  And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

18  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20  And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21  And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

33  And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34  “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God.” 35  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36  And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!”

37  And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

38  And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. 39  And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.

40  Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them.  41  And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.


Note: the reference to “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” refers to the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25)– every 50 year the Lord commanded that all Israelites rest that year, and that all Jewish slaves be set free, and all property return to the families and clans to whom it belonged originally, thus everyone bound in debt was restored.

At the beginning of his ministry Jesus was given this portion to read from Isaiah’s scroll his home town Nazareth.  Then he sat down and everyone listened as he should teach.  But all Luke recorded Jesus said was “This text is fulfilled in [me].”

  1. List the ministry of Jesus according to Isaiah’s prophesy quoted above. (v16-21)
  2. Regarding the quotation from Isaiah: note the two references to “liberty” those who are oppressed, plus the reference to the year if Jubilee. What does that suggest of the importance of deliverance I Jesus’ ministry?
  3. Reading the rest of the chapter we note a few other instance where Jesus commanded sickness and evil spirits to let people go – a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy of Jesus’ ministry. List the instances of deliverance recorded above.  What do you learn from that?
  4. How did Jesus exercise his authority over demons?


  1. As “modern, educated” people we tend to rationalize everything. If you were with Jesus when he performed these miracles of healing and deliverance – do you think you would have “rebuke(d) the fever” out of Simon’s mom or even recognized the man in the synagogue was demon-possessed, or that the demons were speaking through people who were set free?
  2. If Jesus were to walk with you in the course of your every-day life, where would he set people free from demonic oppression, temptation or possession? Or perhaps even you?


Jesus once said he only did “what he saw the Father was doing.”   Pray to the Lord for this gift of discernment – to see what He is doing or wants to do in your life, and where he wants to set you or those around you free from oppression.

Setting the Captives Free 1

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on Jesus’ compassion over oppressed people and his authority over demons.

This 3min video dramatization will greatly add to your Bible reading today (



Mark 5:1-20

1  They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.  2  And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.  3  He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4  for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him.  5  Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.

6  And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7  And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”  8  For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9  And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10  And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country.

11  Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12  and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13  So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

14  The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15  And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16  And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17  And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.

18  As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19  And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”  20  And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.


  1. In studying this section describe what you observe about all these key characters as Mark reports relays this account – noting the five key sections:
  • The man in need of deliverance (verses Mar_5:1-5).
    The confrontation between Jesus and the demons (verses Mar_5:6-10).
      The perishing pigs (verses Mar_5:11-13).
      The swineherds and the people to whom they report (verses Mar_5:14-17).
      The cured man’s request and Jesus’ reply (verses Mar_5:18-20).
  • 2. Considering the five main paragraphs and their key characters above,
  • Who was pitiful? Who was merciless?  Who was merciful?
  • Who was powerless? Who was overpowered?  Who was most powerful?
  1. What do you learn about demons from this account? What are they like?  What do they like?  List the characteristics that are mentioned here.
  2. What do you learn about Jesus’ compassion for people oppressed by demons?
  3. What do you learn about Jesus’ authority over demons?

Application and prayer

What is the thing in this life that you fear, or that is too powerful for you to control?  Do you believe that Jesus is more powerful than it?  Then praise Jesus as the One who has All Authority, pray against this challenge in Jesus’ Name as you feel the Holy Spirit leads you.20

Salvation 15

The Aim of this devotional study is to reflect on Jesus’ substitutionary death for you and me, and respond appropriately.

This short video by Judah Smith will help to reflect on today’s text.


Matthew 27:15-26

15  Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted.  16  And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.

17  So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”

18  For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.  19  Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.”

20  Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.

21  The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”

22  Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!”

23  And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

24  So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”

25  And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

26  Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.

Observation, Application and prayer

In which ways can you identify with guilty Barabbas being freed and innocent Jesus taking his place on the cross? Spend some time in reflection, prayer and worship to the God of grace.

Salvation and the Spirit 2

The aim of this devotional is to grow in understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit in our (ongoing) salvation.


Genesis 2:7  then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

John 20:19-22  On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.  21  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Observations and reflection

Note: As mentioned in previous studies, the Gospel authors recorded the life and teachings of Jesus while many times hinting at Old Testament accounts to bring out greater significance to what Jesus was doing or saying.  Most Biblical commentators link these two passages above, convinced that John hinted back at the creation of man in this section.

  1. John repeated refers to the Holy Spirit as life-giving (John 3:3-5, 6:63, 7:38-39 etc). With that in mind, what do you understand happened with the disciples in John 20:22?
  2. Why did Jesus need to breathe his Spirit on the disciples?
  3. This happened after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Why did Jesus not do this before his crucifixion?


  1. Could you point to one instance in your life when Jesus “breathed his Life-giving Spirit into you”? What changed that moment?


Spend some time worshipping Jesus with this truth from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians 15:45  “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam [Jesus] became a life-giving spirit.”

Now pray for someone on your heart who is still dead in their sins, that he/she would meet Jesus, the Life-giving Spirit.

Salvation 4

The Aim of this devotional study is to increase your appreciation and hope for Christ Jesus’ work of salvation.

This short sermon jam of Judah Smith will greatly enhance this Bible Study:


Ephesians 1:3-14

3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4  even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5  he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6  to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9  making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10  as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12  so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

13  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.



Note: you will notice very clear correlation between Ephesians and Colossians since they were written in the same time, to similar congregations who shared a similar challenges by the same man, Paul.

  1. Read through the passage and list the benefits we have in God because of Christ’s saving work in our lives.
  2. Write down what you understand with these phrases Paul uses to describe Christ’s work of salvation in our lives:
  • Blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places:
  • Chose us:
  • To be holy and blameless:
  • Predestined for adoption as sons:
  • To be the praise of his glorious grace:
  • Has blessed us in the Beloved:
  • Redemption through his blood:
  • Forgiveness of sins:
  • Unite all things in him:
  • Obtained an inheritance as sons:
  • Predestined according to his purpose:
  • Sealed with the Holy Spirit as guarantee of our inheritance:
  1. What does Paul mean with the phrase “hope in Christ”?


  1. Reflect on what you know of Scripture (and even what is above). What are you sure of is yours eternally because of what Christ has accomplished for you.  What is your inheritance in Christ – what do you hope for in the life to come?


Pray the following five things for yourself and your small group (or someone you love) the first prayer of Paul for the Ephesians:

Ephesians 1:17-21

17  [I pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18  having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20  that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.Seal