March 21, 2021

The Gospel

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.


When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So there was a division in the crowd because of him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.


Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not arrest him?” The police answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!” Then the Pharisees replied, “Surely you have not been deceived too, have you? Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law—they are accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them, asked, “Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?” They replied, “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.”

John 7:37–52 (

The Offering

From Heather Stephens


I wonder at what point in his life Jesus knew what the end of his story was going to be. Did the first breath he took here on earth include the knowledge of what his last breath would be?

As we grow up, there is an increasing amount of pressure to figure out what we are going to do with our lives. We are asked as a child what we want to be when we grow up. In high school, we start agonizing over what our college major will be or what other path we might take. A lot of us by the time we reach our thirties and forties still question whether we made the right lifetime career choice, feeling as if we somehow locked in our answer. We spend our entire life trying to figure out why were even here on this earth.

There is something comforting in thinking about Jesus knowing his purpose and the ending scene of his life. It would have told him when to seek out John the Baptist and why he needed to disappear into the wilderness before he started his ministry. It would have given him the courage to speak up and time to think about exactly what he wanted to say to the world. But it would have also put such a grief in his heart as he stared up at his mother, knowing that she would one day stare up at him.

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