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    • September 16, 2016 11:23 PM EDT
    • THANK YOU BABY BOY....I LOVE JOHN'S HEART FOR OUR JESUS!!!!

    • September 16, 2016 11:23 PM EDT
    • AMEN CINDY LOU!!!!!!

    • September 12, 2016 3:36 PM EDT
    • Amen momma! That is a great message.

    • September 10, 2016 7:01 PM EDT
    • Amen Faithy powerful message from  the heart of Jesus heart and  John heart !

    • September 9, 2016 2:00 AM EDT
    • JOHN 2

       

      OPENS WITH CONVERSION AND CLEANSING

       

      Verses 1-5 tells us Jesus (politely) replies to His mother's request to provide more wine at the wedding in Cana.

       

      "On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine. " Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come. " His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it. "

       

      Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding:

       

      This is the FIRST of many stories suggesting that Jesus was always welcome among those having a good time. Jesus did NOT spoil the good time. He enjoyed it!

       

      They ran out of wine:

       

      DID YOU KNOW...this was a MAJOR social faux pas and cause for GREAT embarrassment?

       

      WHY?

       

      To fail in providing adequately for the guests would involve social disgrace. In the closely knit communities of Jesus' day such an error would NEVER be forgotten, and would haunt the newly married couple all their lives.

       

      Additionally, wine was a rabbinical symbol of joy. Therefore "to run out of wine would almost have been the equivalent of admitting that neither the guests nor the bride and groom were happy.

       

      They have no wine:

       

      IT HAS ALWAYS BEGGED THE QUESTION FROM OTHERS WHO READ THIS PASSAGE...Why did Mary ask Jesus to do something?

       

      Mary was no doubt earnestly anticipating Jesus' day of demonstration, for it would be a day of vindication for her. Yet she would not force the issue, leaving the matter with Jesus.

       

      Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me?

       

      Jesus refers to His mother with a term of RESPECT "WOMAN" NOT IN DERISION AS SOME WRONGLY SAY. But He does not call her "mother. "

       

      WHY?

       

      Jesus wanted to emphasize that there was a different relationship with her now.

       

      Whatever He says to you, do it:

       

      The recorded words of Mary are few. However, it is good to pay attention to her words that are recorded.

       

      WHY?

       

      Because they consistently GLORIFY Jesus, NOT Mary herself. If only we would obey Mary's direction, whatever He says to you, do it.

       

      AND DID YOU KNOW...AS SOME THEN AND NOW FALSELY TEACH, THAT EVERYONE HAD TO GO THROUGH MARY TO GET TO JESUS....WRONGLY TEACHES PEOPLE to regard Jesus as hardhearted, and Mary as tenderhearted. AND IT ELEVATES MARY, A MORTAL FLAWED BUT BLESSED WOMAN WRONGLY AS EQUAL TO JESUS CHRIST. THIS IS PURE AND SIMPLE BLASPHEMY. AND TOTALLY ALIEN FROM WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS AND TEACHES US ABOUT OUR JESUS AND HIS INTERACTIONS WITH PEOPLE, GREAT AND SMALL.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...Some traditions WRONGLY say that this was John's wedding, and he left his bride at the altar after seeing this miracle. It's a pleasant idea, BUT NO WHERE AFFIRMED OR CONFIRMED IN THE BIBLE, NEITHER BY JOHN HIMSELF.

       

      AND FAR WORSE...DID YOU KNOW THAT Mormons take this idea an absurd step further declaring this is Jesus' wedding. Of course, this against the plain meaning of this passage and all of the gospel records of Jesus. JESUS REMAINED PURE...A VIRGIN AND UNKNOWN SEXUALLY BY ANY WOMAN. THIS TOO IS BLASPHEMY.

       

      EVEN MORE OBSCENELY, SOME TEACH THAT JESUS MARRIED THE ***** MARY MAGDALENE. THE BIBLE CLEARLY REFUTES THIS...AND SO THOSE WHO SAY AND TEACH THIS ARE WILLINGLY SPEAKING BLASPHEMY.

       

      Verses 6-12 tells us Water is converted into wine.

       

      "Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water. " And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast. " And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!" This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days."

       

      Six waterpots of stone:

       

      Jesus began this miracle by using what was at hand. He could have supplied more wine any number of ways, but He started with what was there.

       

      According to the manner of purification of the Jews:

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      DID YOU KNOW...The waterpots are connected with the system of Law, because they were used in ceremonial purification.

       

      Fill the waterpots with water:

       

      The servants under the direction of Jesus were in a unique place of blessing for this miracle. Jesus wanted the cooperation of men in this miracle. He could have filled the pots Himself, or just as easily created the liquid in the pots. But He knew that if the servants shared in the work, AND OBEYED JESUS' INSTRUCTIONS, then they also shared in the blessing.

       

      The servants did NOT do the miracle, as some religiosities wrongly teach. Their efforts alone were completely insufficient. But because of their obedience to Jesus, they shared in the joy of the miracle.

       

      The servants were especially blessed because they obeyed WITHOUT question, and to the fullest (they filled them up to the brim). This means that the miracle would be fulfilled in the greatest measure possible. If they were lazy and only filled the waterpots half full, there would have only been half as much wine.

       

      Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast:

       

      This took faith on behalf of the servants. Imagine how angry the master of the feast would be if they brought him water to taste! Yet in faith, they obeyed the word of Jesus.

       

      You have kept the good wine until now!

       

      When Jesus made wine, it was good wine. It does NOT mean that it had a particularly high alcohol content, but that it was well-made NEW wine.

       

      Some go to great lengths to show that what Jesus made here was really grape juice. While some find that line of thinking convincing, it is not the opinion of the author. Good wine is good wine, not good grape juice. It is true that wine in that day, as commonly served, had a much lower content of alcohol than modern wine. But it was still wine.

       

      This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee:

       

      This beginning of signs in the Gospel of John is a miracle of conversion, from the OLD ways of law, ceremony and purification to the NEW life of Jesus.

       

      How did Jesus actually do miracles?

       

      He did them in MANY different ways. Here, Jesus did NOT say a word or blink an eye. He merely exercised HIS WILL and the miracle was done.

       

      Moses turned water into blood, showing that the Law results in death (Exodus 7:17-21).

       

      But Jesus' FIRST miracle turned water into wine, showing the gladness and joy of His new work.

       

      This acts out what John said in John 1:17: "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."

       

      We could say that the water is like a relationship with God under the Old Covenant, and the wine is like a relationship with God under the New Covenant throught His Son, Jesus Christ.

       

      WHY?

       

      1. The wine was AFTER the water, the New Covenant is AFTER the Old Covenant.

       

      2. The wine was FROM the water, the New Covenant is FROM the Old Covenant

       

      3. The wine was BETTER than the water; the New Covenant is BETTER than the Old Covenant.

       

      Manifested His glory:

       

      According to John 2:1, this miracle happened on the THIRD day. John is hinting at the idea that Jesus shows forth His glory on the THIRD day, and that His disciples believe in Him when they see His glory.

       

      His disciples believed in Him:

       

      Of course they believed before, but now their belief was DEEPENED and re-expressed. This is typical in our Christian lives. God does something great in our lives, and we believe in Him all over again.

       

      Verses 13-17 tells us Jesus drives out the moneychangers and sellers of expensive "approved" sacrificial animals.

       

      "Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" Then His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up."

       

      The Passover of the Jews was at hand:

       

      Jerusalem would be crowded with thousands of visitors coming at Passover. The temple mount would be particularly crowded, and Jesus saw many doing business in the outer courts of the temple.

       

      When He had made a whip of cords:

       

      When Jesus drove those doing business out of the temple courts, He did NOT do it in a flash of anger. He carefully took the time to make a whip of cords, and thought carefully about what He would do.

       

      He drove them all out … poured out the changers' money and overturned tables:

       

      Why did this offend Jesus so much?

       

      The outer courts of the temple were the ONLY place where Gentiles could come and worship. This area (the court of the Gentiles) was made into house of merchandise.

       

      Matthew, Mark, and Luke each describe another cleansing of the temple Jesus performed, towards the end of His earthly ministry. In both cases, the presence of these merchants in the temple courts SPOILED the ONLY place Gentiles could pray. In addition, their dishonesty made their presence ALL the worse.

       

      John began with a miracle of conversion (changing water into wine). Then he shows Jesus with a work of cleansing (the cleansing of the temple).

       

      This is ALWAYS how Jesus works in His people: conversion, then cleansing.

       

      Verses 18-22 tells us Jesus speaks of a new temple, and its destiny.

       

      "So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. " Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said."

       

      What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?

       

      This was NOT necessarily a bad question.

       

      WHY?

       

      Anyone who drove out the merchants from the temple courts claimed the authority to do it. The Jews wanted to know if Jesus REALLY had this authority. The PROBLEM is that they DEMANDED A SIGN from Jesus to prove it.

       

      Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up:

       

      Jesus speaks here of the temple of His body. He probably even gestured to Himself as He said this. Jesus KNEW that these religious leaders would attempt to destroy His body, but He also knew that they would NOT succeed.

       

      ONCE AGAIN, JESUS' OWN WORDS TELL US THAT, CONTRARY TO WHAT SOME RELIGIOSITIES TEACH, THAT SAY JESUS DID NOT KNOW HE WAS GOD'S SON, AND DID NOT KNOW ALL THINGS, AND HAD TO BE TAUGHT BY RABBIS AND LEARN OF HIMSELF, GOD'S WORD, BEFORE HE WAS OLD ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND WHO HE IS...WHEN GOD FINALLY REVEALED TO HIM WHO HE WAS.

       

      THIS PASSAGE RIGHT HERE, ALONG WITH AN OCEAN OF OTHER BIBLE PASSAGES CONFIRM THAT JESUS ALWAYS KNEW WHO HE WAS, HE ALWAYS KNEW, FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, THAT THE CROSS WAS NECESSARY AND WOULD BE IN HIS FUTURE AND HE WILLINGLY ACCEPTED THAT LONG BEFORE HE LEFT HEAVEN.

       

      AND WE KNOW...The body of Jesus is STILL a temple, confirmed to us in Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5.

       

      I will raise it up:

       

      Who raised Jesus from the dead?

       

      Jesus says that HE WILL raise Himself, despite the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses and other religiosities claim. This was a claim no mere man could make, a claim repeated dramatically in John 10:18.

       

      Verses 23-25 tells us Jesus does NOT entrust Himself to the adoring crowds.

       

      "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man."

       

      Many believed in His name when they saw the signs:

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      Jesus KNEW that this was thin, SUPERFICIAL belief in Him. It was NOT based on anything other than an admiration of the spectacular. Knowing this, Jesus did not commit Himself to them.

       

      MORGAN says it well, "If belief is nothing more than admiration for the spectacular, it will create in multitudes applause; but the Son of God cannot commit Himself to that kind of faith. "

       

      He knew what was in man:

       

      HOW PRECIOUS IS THIS CLOSING REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST....FROM THE VERY BEGINNING.

       

      JESUS KNEW:

       

      1. SOME WOULD BELIEVE FOR A TIME...WHEN THEY SAW THE SPECTACULAR...THE MIRACULOUS...BUT IT WOULD FADE.

       

      2. SOME WOULD BELIEVE FOR A TIME...WHEN HE TOUCHED AND HEALED THEM.

       

      3. SOME WOULD BELIEVE FOR A TIME...WHEN HE PROVIDED FOR THEIR NEEDS.

       

      4. SOME WOULD BELIEVE FOR A TIME...WHEN HE TAUGHT AND PREACHED THE ACCURATE KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.

       

      5. SOME WOULD BELIEVE FOR A TIME...WHEN HE SPOKE TO WHAT THEY WERE THINKING AND SAYING AND DOING.

       

      6. BUT JESUS ALWAYS KNEW, AND THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT CONFIRMS THAT FEW THANKED HIM FOR HIS PROVISIONS AND HEALINGS.

       

      7. FEW WOULD GIVE JESUS THE CREDIT FOR THEIR HEALINGS AND BLESSINGS AND PROTECTIONS AND PROVISIONS.

       

      8. AND JESUS KNEW FEW WOULD RECEIVE HIM AND CALL HIM LORD, SAVIOR, MASTER AND FRIEND.

       

      Yet Jesus still loved the multitudes, though he would not commit Himself to them. We can love people without entrusting ourselves to them. Even though God knows exactly what is in us, He still loves us powerfully.

       

    • September 16, 2016 11:20 PM EDT
    • SOLA SCRIPTURA JONATHAN....  :)

    • September 13, 2016 5:52 AM EDT
    • Amen

    • September 13, 2016 5:52 AM EDT
    • Amen

    • September 12, 2016 9:05 PM EDT
    • YOU ARE MOST WELCOME JONATHAN!!!!! IT IS ALL OUR JESUS WORD AND NONE OF ME!!!!!

    • September 12, 2016 9:01 PM EDT
    • YOU ARE MOST WELCOME BABY BOY!

    • September 12, 2016 6:02 PM EDT
    • Insightful work Faith! Thanks.

    • September 12, 2016 3:34 PM EDT
    • Great bible study momma. Thanks for giving it!

    • September 9, 2016 2:03 AM EDT
    • GOSPEL OF JOHN.

       

      JOHN 1

       

      JOHN MACARTHUR SAYS OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN...

       

      "Although the author’s name does not appear in the gospel, early church tradition strongly and consistently identified him as the Apostle John. The early church father Irenaeus (ca. A.D.130–200) was a disciple of Polycarp (ca. A.D. 70–160), who was a disciple of the Apostle John, and he testified on Polycarp’s authority that John wrote the gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia Minor when he was advanced in age (Against Heresies 2.22.5; 3.1.1). Subsequent to Irenaeus, all the church fathers assumed John to be the gospel’s author. Clement of Alexandria (ca. A.D. 150–215) wrote that John, aware of the facts set forth in the other gospels and being moved by the Holy Spirit, composed a “spiritual gospel” (see Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History 6.14.7).

       

      Reinforcing early church tradition are significant internal characteristics of the gospel. While the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) identify the Apostle John by name approximately 20 times (including parallels), he is not directly mentioned by name in the Gospel of John. Instead, the author prefers to identify himself as the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (in John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20).

       

      The absence of any mention of John’s name directly is remarkable when one considers the important part played by other named disciples in this gospel. Yet, the recurring designation of himself as the disciple “whom Jesus loved,” a deliberate avoidance by John of his personal name, reflects his humility and celebrates his relation to his Lord Jesus. No mention of his name was necessary since his original readers clearly understood that he was the gospel’s author. Also, through a process of elimination based primarily on analyzing the material in chaps. 20, 21, this disciple “whom Jesus loved” narrows down to the Apostle John (e.g., 21:24; cf. 21:2). Since the gospel’s author is exacting in mentioning the names of other characters in the book, if the author had been someone other than John the apostle, he would not have omitted John’s name.

       

      The gospel’s anonymity strongly reinforces the arguments favoring John’s authorship, for only someone of his well known and preeminent authority as an apostle would be able to write a gospel that differed so markedly in form and substance from the other gospels and have it receive unanimous acceptance in the early church.

       

      In contrast, and against the teachings of then and now teachers of apocryphal/gnostic gospels produced from the mid-second century onward were "falsely" ascribed to apostles or other famous persons closely associated with Jesus, yet universally rejected by the church. And the fact that all of the Bible is God breathed, God inspired, and God taught, if the apocryphal/gnostic gospels had been VALID AND TRUTH, ALMIGHTY GOD WOULD HAVE SEEN TO IT THAT THEY WERE INCLUDED IN THE BIBLE....THAT THEY NEVER HAVE BEEN....TELLS THOSE OF US WHO TRUST THE BIBLE AND OUR JESUS CHRIST THEY DID NOT COME FROM GOD NOR WERE THEY AUTHORIZED BY HIM NOR WERE THEY IMPORTANT TO US, THEN AND NOW.

       

      John and James, his older brother (Acts 12:2), were known as “the sons of Zebedee” (Matt. 10:2–4), and Jesus gave them the name “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). John was an apostle (Luke 6:12–16) and one of the 3 most intimate associates of Jesus (along with Peter and James—cf. Matt. 17:1; 26:37), being an eyewitness to and participant in Jesus’ earthly ministry (1 John 1:1–4). After Christ’s ascension, John became a “pillar” in the Jerusalem church (Gal. 2:9). He ministered with Peter (Acts 3:1; 4:13; 8:14) until he went to Ephesus (tradition says before the destruction of Jerusalem), from where he wrote this gospel and from where the Romans exiled him to Patmos (Rev. 1:9). Besides the gospel that bears his name, John also authored 1–3 John and the Book of Revelation (Rev. 1:1).

       

      Because the writings of some church fathers indicate that John was actively writing in his old age and that he was already aware of the synoptic gospels, many date the gospel sometime after their composition, but prior to John’s writing of 1–3 John or Revelation. John wrote his gospel ca. A.D. 80–90, about 50 years after he witnessed Jesus’ earthly ministry.

       

      Background and Setting

       

      Strategic to John’s background and setting is the fact that according to tradition John was aware of the synoptic gospels. Apparently, he wrote his gospel in order to make a unique contribution to the record of the Lord’s life (“a spiritual gospel”) and, in part, to be supplementary as well as complementary to Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

       

      The gospel’s unique characteristics reinforce this purpose:

       

      First, John supplied a large amount of unique material not recorded in the other gospels.

       

      Second, he often supplied information that helps the understanding of the events in the synoptics.

       

      For example, while the synoptics begin with Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, they imply that Jesus had a ministry prior to that (e.g., Matt. 4:12; Mark 1:14). John supplies the answer with information on Jesus’ prior ministry in Judea (chap. 3) and Samaria (chap. 4).

       

      In Mark 6:45, after the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus compelled his disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee to Bethsaida. John recorded the reason. The people were about to make Jesus king because of His miraculous multiplying of food, and He was avoiding their ill-motivated efforts (6:26).

       

      Third, John is the most theological of the gospels, containing, for example, a heavily theological prologue (1:1–18), larger amounts of didactic and discourse material in proportion to narrative (e.g., 3:13–17), and the largest amount of teaching on the Holy Spirit (e.g., 14:16, 17, 26; 16:7–14). Although John was aware of the synoptics and fashioned his gospel with them in mind, he did not depend upon them for information. Rather, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he utilized his own memory as an eyewitness in composing the gospel (1:14; 19:35; 21:24).

       

      John’s gospel is the ONLY one of the 4 that contains a precise statement regarding the author’s purpose (20:30, 31). He declares, “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (20:31).

       

      The primary purposes, therefore, are two-fold: evangelistic and apologetic. Reinforcing the evangelistic purpose is the fact that the word “believe” occurs approximately 100 times in the gospel (the synoptics use the term less than half as much). John composed his gospel to provide reasons for saving faith in his readers and, as a result, to assure them that they would receive the divine gift of eternal life (1:12).

       

      The apologetic purpose is closely related to the evangelistic purpose.

       

      John wrote to convince his readers of Jesus’ TRUE identity as the incarnate God-Man whose divine and human natures were perfectly united into one person who was the prophesied Christ (“Messiah”) and Savior of the world (John 1:41; 3:16; 4:25, 26; 8:58).

       

      He organized his whole gospel around 8 “signs” or proofs that reinforce Jesus’ true identity leading to faith. The first half of his work centers around 7 miraculous signs selected to reveal Christ’s person and engender belief:

      1) water made into wine (2:1–11).

      2) the healing of the royal official’s son (4:46–54).

      3) the healing of the lame man (5:1–18).

      4) the feeding of multitude (6:1–15).

      5) walking on water (6:16–21).

      6) healing of the blind man (9:1–41).

      7) the raising of Lazarus (11:1–57).

      8) the miraculous catch of fish (21:6–11) after Jesus’ resurrection.

       

      Historical and Theological Themes

       

      In accordance with John’s evangelistic and apologetic purposes, the overall message of the gospel is found in 20:31: “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”

       

      The book, therefore, centers on the person and work of Christ. Three predominant words (“signs,” “believe,” and “life”) in 20:30, 31 receive constant reemphasis throughout the gospel to enforce the theme of salvation in Him, which is first set forth in the prologue (1:1–18; cf. 1 John 1:1–4) and reexpressed throughout the gospel in varying ways (e.g., 6:35, 48; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11–14; 11:25; 14:6; 17:3).

       

      In addition, John provides the record of how men responded to Jesus Christ and the salvation that He offered. Summing up, the gospel focuses on: 1) Jesus as the Word, the Messiah, and Son of God; 2) who brings the gift of salvation to mankind; 3) who either accept or reject the offer.

       

      John also presents certain contrastive sub-themes that reinforce his main theme. He uses dualism (life and death, light and darkness, love and hate, from above and from below) to convey vital information about the person and work of Christ and the need to believe in Him (John 1:4, 5, 12, 13; 3:16–21; 12:44–46; 15:17–20).

       

      There are also 7 emphatic “I AM” statements which identify Jesus as God and Messiah (John 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5).

       

      Interpretive Challenges

       

      Because John composed his record in a clear and simple style, one might tend to underestimate the depth of this gospel. Since John’s gospel is a “spiritual” gospel, the truths he conveys are profound. The reader must prayerfully and meticulously explore the book, in order to discover the vast richness of the spiritual treasures that the apostle, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:13), has lovingly deposited in his gospel.

       

      The chronological reckoning between John’s gospel and the synoptics presents a challenge, especially in relation to the time of the Last Supper (John 13:2). While the synoptics portray the disciples and the Lord at the Last Supper as eating the Passover meal on Thursday evening (Nisan 14) and Jesus being crucified on Friday, John’s gospel states that the Jews did not enter into the Praetorium “lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover” (John 18:28). So, the disciples had eaten the Passover on Thursday evening, but the Jews had not. In fact, John 19:14 states that Jesus’ trial and crucifixion were on the day of Preparation for the Passover and not after the eating of the Passover, so that with the trial and crucifixion on Friday Christ was actually sacrificed at the same time the Passover lambs were being slain in John 19:14.

       

      The question is, “Why did the disciples eat the Passover meal on Thursday?”

       

      The answer lies in a difference among the Jews in the way they reckoned the beginning and ending of days. From Josephus, the Mishna, and other ancient Jewish sources we learn that the Jews in northern Palestine calculated days from sunrise to sunrise. That area included the region of Galilee, where Jesus and all the disciples, except Judas, had grown up. Apparently most, if not all, of the Pharisees used that system of reckoning. But Jews in the southern part, which centered in Jerusalem, calculated days from sunset to sunset. Because all the priests necessarily lived in or near Jerusalem, as did most of the Sadducees, those groups followed the southern scheme.

       

      That variation doubtlessly caused confusion at times, but it also had some practical benefits. During Passover time, for instance, it allowed for the feast to be celebrated legitimately on two adjoining days, thereby permitting the temple sacrifices to be made over a total period of four hours rather than two. That separation of days may also have had the effect of reducing both regional and religious clashes between the two groups.

       

      On that basis the seeming contradictions in the gospel accounts are easily explained. Being Galileans, Jesus and the disciples considered Passover day to have started at sunrise on Thursday and to end at sunrise on Friday. The Jewish leaders who arrested and tried Jesus, being mostly priests and Sadducees, considered Passover day to begin at sunset on Thursday and end at sunset on Friday. By that variation, predetermined by God’s sovereign provision, Jesus could thereby legitimately celebrate the last Passover meal with His disciples and yet still be sacrificed on Passover day.

       

      Once again one can see how God sovereignly and marvelously provides for the precise fulfillment of His redemptive plan. Jesus was anything but a victim of men’s wicked schemes, much less of blind circumstance. Every word He spoke and every action He took were divinely directed and secured. Even the words and actions by others against Him were divinely controlled confirmed to us in John 11:49–52; 19:11.

       

      JOHN 1 OPENS WITH:

       

      THE WORD AND THE WITNESS OF JOHN, THE 4TH GOSPEL.

       

       

      Why are there four gospels? Each gospel presents a different perspective on the life of Jesus, and we need all four to get the full picture.

       

      John was probably the LAST gospel written, and written in view of what the previous three had already said. This is one reason why John is so different from Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

       

      There are significant events in the ministry of Jesus that Matthew, Mark, and Luke include that John leaves out, including Jesus' birth, baptism, temptation in the wilderness, the agony in Gethsemane, the Ascension, demonic confrontations, and parables.

       

      The first three gospels center on Jesus' ministry in Galilee. John centers his gospel on what Jesus said and did in Jerusalem.

       

      Each of the gospels emphasizes a different origin of Jesus.

       

      1. Matthew shows Jesus came from Abraham through David, and demonstrates that He is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament (Matthew 1:1-17).

       

      2. Mark shows Jesus came from Nazareth, demonstrating that Jesus is a Servant (Mark 1:9).

       

      3. Luke shows Jesus came from Adam, demonstrating that Jesus is the Perfect Man (Luke 3:23-38).

       

      4. John shows Jesus came from heaven, demonstrating that Jesus is God.

       

      However, it is wrong to think that the Gospel of John completes the story of Jesus. John makes it clear that the story of Jesus can never be completed (John 21:25).

       

      Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the three synoptic gospels. Synoptic means "see-together" and the first three gospels present Jesus' life in pretty much the SAME format. The first three gospels focus more on WHAT Jesus taught and did; John focuses more on WHO Jesus is.

       

      HOW?

       

      1. John shows us who Jesus is by highlighting seven signs (miracles) of Jesus. SIX of these miracles are NOT mentioned in the first three gospels.

       

      2. John shows us who Jesus is by allowing Jesus to speak for Himself in SEVEN dramatic I Am statements.

       

      3. John shows us who Jesus is by calling forth witnesses who will testify about the identity of Jesus. FOUR of these witnesses speak in the FIRST chapter alone.

       

      4. John is a gospel written for a specific purpose: that we might KNOW AND BELIEVE. A key verse for understanding the Gospel of John is found at the end of the book, in John 20:31, which says, "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."

       

      5. The Gospel of John has even helped SCHOLARLY SKEPTICS to believe. The oldest surviving fragment of the New Testament is a portion of John 18, found in Egypt and dating well before 150 a. d. indicating wide circulation by that early date.

       

      6. The Gospel of John is a BELOVED gospel. It has been called "a pool in which a child may wade and an elephant may swim."

       

      Commentator Charles Erdman says: "Its stories are so simple that even a child will love them, but its statements are so profound that no philosopher can fathom them."

       

      Verses 1-2 tells us The ORIGIN of the Word (Logos).

       

      "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God."

       

      In the beginning refers to the TIMELESS ETERNITY of Genesis 1:1: In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth. John essentially says, "When the beginning began, the Word was already there. " That is, that the Word predates ALL time or ALL creation.

       

      John makes it clear that the Word is NOT just the beginning, but the beginning of the beginning. He was there in the beginning, before anything was.

       

      In the beginning was the Word: Word translated the ancient the Greek word Logos. The idea of the logos had deep and rich roots in both Jewish and Greek thinking.

       

      Jewish rabbis often referred to God, especially in His more personal aspects, in terms of His word. They spoke of God Himself as "the word of God. " For example, ancient Hebrew editions of the Old Testament change Exodus 19:17 (Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God) to "Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet the word of God. " In the mind of the ancient Jews, the phrase "the word of God" could be used to refer to God Himself.

       

      The Greek philosophers saw THE LOGOS as the power which puts sense into the world, making the world orderly instead of chaotic. The logos was the power that set the world in perfect order and kept it going in perfect order. They saw the logos as the "Ultimate Reason" that controlled all things.

       

      Therefore, in this opening, John says to both Jews and Greeks: "For centuries you HAVE been talking, thinking, and writing about the Word (the logos). Now I will tell you WHO He is. " John meets both Jews and Greeks where they are at, and explains Jesus in terms they already understood.

       

      And the Word was with God, and the Word was God:

       

      With this brilliant statement, John 1:1 sets forth one of the most basic foundations of our faith - THE TRINITY. We can follow John's logic:

       

      1. There is a Being known as the Word.

      2. This Being is God, because He is eternal (In the beginning)

      3. This Being is God, because He is plainly called God (the Word was God).

      4. At the same time, this Being does not encompass all that God is. God the Father is a distinct Person from the Word (the Word was with God).

      5. So, the Father and the Son (the Son is known here as the Word) are equally God, yet distinct in their Person. The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father. Yet they are equally God, with God the Holy Spirit making one God in three Persons.

       

      In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God:

       

      What about the Watchtower's New World Translation here? This Jehovah's Witness translation reads like this: "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was A god. "

       

      Their translation is used to DENY the teaching that Jesus is God.

       

      In answer to this approach to Greek grammar and translation, we can only refer to the multitude of other times in the New Testament where "God" appears without the article. If the Watchtower were honest and consistent, they would translate "God" as "god" every place it appears without the article. But it seems that this grammatical rule only applies when it suits the purpose of backing up THEIR OWN RE-CREATED doctrinal beliefs of the Watchtower.

       

      In the main resource the Watchtower uses to establish their claim (The Kingdom Interlinear), the Watchtower quotes two well-known Greek authorities to make them appear to agree with their translation.

       

      But they both have been misquoted, and one of them, Dr. Mantey has even written the Watchtower, and demanded that his name be removed from the book! Another "scholar" whom the Watchtower refers to in their book The Word - Who Is He? According to John, is Johannes Greber. Greber was actually an occult-practicing spiritist, and NOT a scholar of Biblical Greek.

       

      Dr. Julius R. Mantey says, "A GROSSLY MISLEADING TRANSLATION. It is neither scholarly nor reasonable to translate John 1:1 'the Word was a god. ' But of all the scholars in the world, so far as we know, none have translated this verse as Jehovah's Witnesses have done."

       

      DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY says, "The deliberate distortion of truth by this sect is seen in their New Testament translations. John 1:1 is translated: ' … the Word was a god,' a translation which is grammatically impossible. It is abundantly clear that a sect which can translate the New Testament like that is intellectually dishonest."

       

      He was in the beginning with God again makes the point that the Father is distinct from the Son, and the Son distinct from the Father. They are equally God, yet they are separate Persons.

       

      Verses 3-5 tells us The work and nature of the Word.

       

      "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."

       

      Without Him nothing was made that was made:

       

      The Word created all created things. Therefore He Himself is an UN-CREATED Being, as Paul says in Colossians 1:16.

       

      In Him was life:

       

      The Word is the source of all life. The ancient Greek word translated life is "ZOE", which means "the life principle," NOT "bios", which is mere biological life. This life is the light of men, speaking of spiritual light as well as natural light. It is NOT that the Word "contains" life and light; He IS life and light.

       

      Therefore, without Jesus, we are dead and in darkness. We are lost. Significantly, man has an inborn fear towards both death and darkness.

       

      And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it:

       

      Did not comprehend can also be translated did not overcome. The light can not lose against the darkness; the darkness will never overcome it.

       

      Verses 6-13 tells us The revelation of the Word.

       

      "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

       

      There was a man sent from God: John the Baptist bears witness of the light, that all through him might believe.

       

      The world did NOT know Him:

       

      How can it be? How can it be that God came to the same world He created, to the creatures made in His image, and the world did NOT know Him? It shows how deeply FALLEN human nature has rejected God.

       

      But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

       

      Though some rejected this revelation, others received Him and thereby became children of God. They became children of God through a new birth, being born … of God.

       

      As many as received Him:

       

      The idea of "receiving Jesus" is Biblically valid. We need to embrace and receive Him unto ourselves. As many as received Him is just another to say those who believe in His name.

       

      Those who received Him are born of God, but not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

       

      Here, John reminds us of the nature of the NEW birth: it is God's sovereign gift to man, NOT man's achievement.

       

      Verses 14-18 tells us The Word became flesh.

       

      "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me. '" And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him."

       

      And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us:

       

      This is John's most startling statement so far. It would have amazed both Jewish and Greek thinking to hear that the Word became flesh.

       

      WHY?

       

      The GREEKS had a generally LOW view of God. To them, John says the Word became flesh. The ancient Greek gods such as Zeus and Hermes were simply super-men; they were NOT equal to the order and reason of the Logos.

       

      The JEWS had a generally prohibitive view of God too. To the Jews, John says the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Jews had a hard time accepting that the great God revealed in the Old Testament could take on human form. John says to the Jewish thinkers, "the Word of God became flesh."

       

      We beheld His glory:

       

      John testifies to this as an eyewitness, even as John the Baptist testified. John could say, "I saw His glory, the glory belonging to the only begotten of the Father."

       

      Though, the word "BEHELD" is stronger than the words "saw" or "looked". John tells us that he and the other disciples carefully studied the glory of the Word made flesh.

       

      John bore witness of Him and cried out:

       

      The one announced by John the Baptist - Jesus Christ - is the Word made flesh. He brings a different order than the one instituted by Moses (For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ).

       

      It is an inexhaustible supply of grace (grace for grace) and truth, contrasting with an order of rigid laws and regulations given through Moses.

       

      No one has seen God at any time:

       

      Jesus, the Word, is the perfect declaration of the unseen God. The Father and the Son belong to the same family, and Jesus has declared the nature of the unseen God to man. We do NOT have to wonder about the nature and personality of God. Jesus has declared it with both His teaching and His life.

       

      AND THIS REMINDS US ALL...TO BEWARE OF THOSE WHO SAY AND PROCLAIM...I WALK WITH GOD. I TALK TO HIM FACE TO FACE. HE VISITS ME. HE EATS BREAKFAST WITH ME. HE COMES TO ME FOR ADVISE AND GUIDANCE. ANY WHO SAYS ANY OF THE ABOVE..DO NOT KNOW THE BIBLE AND ITS TRUTH. NO ONE HAS SEEN GOD THE FATHER.

       

       

      Verses 19-28 tells us John tells us WHO John the Baptist is & his testimony.

       

      "Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ. " And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not. " "Are you the Prophet?" And he answered, "No. " Then they said to him, "Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?" He said: "I am 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Make straight the way of the Lord,"' as the prophet Isaiah said. " Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him, saying, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?" John answered them, saying, "I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. " These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing."

       

      John the Baptist is emphatic:

       

      I am NOT the Christ. For John the Baptist, it was unthinkable that attention would focus on himself, because he was not the Messiah. His job was to point to the Messiah.

       

      Are you Elijah?

       

      It might be easy for the priests and Levites from Jerusalem to associate John the Baptist with Elijah because of his personality and because of the promise in Malachi 4:5-6. If he is the forerunner of the Messiah, then is he Elijah?

       

      In a sense, John the Baptist WAS like Elijah, ministering in his office and spirit (Matthew 11:13-14 and Mark 9:11-13).

       

      Are you the Prophet?

       

      This refers to God's promise through Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15, promising a prophet to come. Based on this passage, they expected ANOTHER Prophet to come.

       

      I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness:

       

      John the Baptist sees himself as the advance man of the great King. His baptism was a preparatory cleansing for the King. The idea is, "get cleaned up, get ready for a royal visit!"

       

      DID YOU KNOW...The Jews in John the Baptist's day practiced BAPTISM. It was an outgrowth of ceremonial washings. But the Jews of that time typically reserved baptism for GENTILES who wanted to become Jews. So to submit to John the Baptist's baptism, a Jew had to identify with the Gentiles. This was a genuine sign of repentance & one most Jews and Jewish leaders called blasphemy and heresy.

       

      I baptize with water:

      John the Baptist's baptism was negative. It cleansed, but it gave nothing to help someone keep clean. Christian baptism illustrates both our death with Jesus and our rising to new life with Him.

       

      Who sandal strap I am not worthy to loose:

       

      Untying the strap of a sandal (before foot washing) was duty of the LOWEST slave in the house.

       

      Among Rabbis and their disciples, there was a teacher-student relationship that had the potential for abuse. It was entirely possible that a Rabbi might expect unreasonable service from their disciples. One of the things which was considered "too low" for a Rabbi to expect from his disciples was the untying of the Rabbi's sandal strap. John says he is unworthy to do even this for Jesus Christ.

       

      Verses 29-34 tells us John the Baptist tells us who Jesus is.

       

      "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me. ' I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water. " And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. ' And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God."

       

      Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

       

      THINK ABOUT THIS....

       

      At the VERY dawn of His ministry, Jesus is greeted with words that REMIND Him of his destiny: His sacrificial agony on the cross for the sin of mankind. The shadow of the cross was cast over the ENTIRE ministry of Jesus.

       

      For He was before me:

       

      John the Baptist was actually born before Jesus - and John would know this from Luke 1. So, when John the Baptist says He was before me, he refers to the eternal pre-existence of Jesus. John knew very well that Jesus was God.

       

      Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit:

       

      God gave John the Baptist the sure sign to know the Messiah. He would be the one on Whom the Holy Spirit descended upon from heaven. John is a reliable witness regarding who Jesus is, because he has had confirming evidence from God.

       

      I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God:

       

      John the Baptist gives his solemn testimony:

       

      This Jesus is the Son of God. He is the Son of God in the sense shown in John 1:18: the One who perfectly declares the nature and personality of God the Father.

       

      The gospel of John emphasizes John the Baptist's role as a witness, NOT a baptizer. Witnesses give testimony as to what they have seen and experienced, in an effort to establish the truth. Beyond that, they are unreliable, and operate on hearsay.

       

      Witnesses are NOT neutral - they are committed to the truth of their testimony, or they are unreliable witnesses. John knows that John the Baptist is a reliable witness, and knows who Jesus is because of what he has SEEN with his own eyes.

       

      Verses 35-39 tells us The TESTIMONY of the FIRST TWO of John's disciples begin to follow Jesus.

       

      "Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?" He said to them, "Come and see. " They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).

       

      Behold, the Lamb of God!

       

      John already said this of Jesus in John 1:29. Did he say this every time he saw Jesus? It was a vivid reminder of Jesus' destiny at the cross.

       

      And they followed Jesus:

       

      John did NOT care about gathering disciples after himself. He was perfectly satisfied to have these disciples leave his circle and follow Jesus. It fulfilled his ministry; it did NOT take away from it.

       

      Come and see:

       

      Jesus invited John and Andrew to be a part of His life. Jesus did NOT life a cloistered, ultra-private life. Jesus taught and discipled others by allowing them to live with Him.

       

      Now it was about the tenth hour:

       

      This was such a memorable occasion for writer that he remembered the EXACT hour that he met Jesus. This is a subtle clue that one of the two disciples who came to Jesus from John the Baptist WAS the apostle John himself.

       

      Verses 40-42 tells us Andrew brings his brother, Simon Peter to Jesus.

       

      "One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone)."

       

      He found his own brother:

       

      THINK ABOUT THIS...

       

      THEN AND NOW...IS IT NOT the nature of Christian experience that those who enjoy the experience of JESUS CHRIST desire to share their experience with others.

       

      You shall be called Cephas:

       

      In giving Simon a new name (Cephas or Peter, meaning A Stone), Jesus tells Andrew's brother what kind of man he will be transformed into. At the time, and throughout the gospel, Peter may have looked like a "rock" on the outside, but was really anything but a rock. But before Jesus is done with Peter, he will be a stone of stability for Jesus Christ.

       

      We have found the Messiah:

       

      This Andrew's testimony about who Jesus is. He KNOWS that Jesus is the Messiah.

       

      Verses 43-44 tells us Jesus calls Philip to follow Him.

       

      "The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me. " Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter."

       

      Follow Me:

       

      There is nothing dramatic recorded about the call of Philip. Jesus simply says "Follow Me," and Philip does.

       

      Verses 45-51 tells us Nathaniel OVERCOMES prejudice to follow Jesus.

       

      "Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote; Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. " And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see. " Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you. " Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these. " And He said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

       

      Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets wrote:\

       

      This is PHILIP'S testimony as a witness of Jesus Christ. He declares that He is the Messiah and Savior predicted in the Old Testament.

       

      Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

       

      With this, Nathanael prejudices himself against Jesus. If Jesus comes from Nazareth, that is all Nathanael cares to know about Him!

       

      Come and see:

       

      Instead of arguing against Nathanael's prejudice, Phillip simply invites him to meet Jesus for himself.

       

      Under the fig tree, I saw you:

       

      It is possible Nathanael liked to pray and meditate on the things of the Lord under the shade of an actual fig tree. But under the fig tree was a phrase Rabbis used to describe meditation on the Scriptures. Nathanael was spending time with the Lord, meditating on the Scriptures, and Jesus tells him "I saw you" there.

       

      Nathanael gives his testimony regarding Jesus:

       

      You are the Son of God, the King of Israel.

       

      You shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man:

       

      Jesus promises Nathanael a greater sign than he has seen before. But what does He mean by the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man?

       

      This probably connects with the dream of Jacob in Genesis 28:12, where Jacob saw a ladder from earth to heaven, and the angels ascending and descending upon it. Jesus says that He is the ladder, the link, between heaven and earth. When Nathanael comes to understand that Jesus is the mediator between God and man, it will be an even greater sign (you will see greater things than these).

       

      This seems like rather obscure reference, but it was extremely meaningful to Nathanael. Possibly, it was the very portion of Scripture Nathaniel meditated on under the fig tree.

       

      Son of Man:

       

      The idea behind this phrase is NOT "the perfect man" or "the ideal man" or "the common man. " Instead, it is a reference to Daniel 7:13-14, where the King of Glory coming to judge the world is called the Son of Man.

       

      Jesus used this title often because in His day, it was a Messianic title FREE from political and nationalistic sentiment. When a Jewish person of that time heard "King" or "Christ" they often thought of a political or military savior. Jesus emphasized another term, often calling Himself the Son of Man.

       

      This section of John shows FOUR ways of coming to Jesus:

       

      1. Andrew came to Jesus because of the preaching of John.

      2. Peter came to Jesus because of the witness of his brother.

      3. Phillip came to Jesus as a result of the direct call of Jesus.

      4. Nathaniel came to Jesus as he overcame personal prejudices by a personal encounter with Jesus.

       

      This section shows us FOUR different witnesses testifying to the identity of Jesus. How much more testimony does anyone need?

       

      1. John the Baptist testified that Jesus is eternal, that He is the man uniquely anointed with the Holy Spirit, that He is the Lamb of God, and that Jesus is the unique Son of God.

      2. Andrew testified that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ.

      3. Phillip testified that Jesus is the One prophesied in the Old Testament.

      4. Nathaniel testified that Jesus is the Son of God and the King of Israel.

       

       

    • September 12, 2016 8:55 PM EDT
    • YOU ARE MOST WELCOME BABY BOY!

       

    • September 12, 2016 3:38 PM EDT
    • Great bible study momma!

    • September 9, 2016 1:52 AM EDT
    • JOHN 3

       

      OPENS WITH THE GOD'S GIFT AND NEW BIRTH

       

      Verses 1-3 tells us Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night.

       

      "There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him. " Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

       

      Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews...

       

      Nicodemus was one of those impressed by Jesus' signs (John 2:23), and a member of the ruling Sanhedrin. He was religious (of the Pharisees), educated (Nicodemus is a Greek name), and influential (a ruler). Nicodemus comes to Jesus as a representative of all men (John 2:23-25), and he represents what is high and best in men.

       

      This man came to Jesus by night...

       

      Why did Nicodemus come by night?

       

      Perhaps he was timid, perhaps he did not want the Sanhedrin to know what he was doing or perhaps he wanted an uninterrupted interview with Jesus.

       

      No one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him...

       

      Is this statement of Nicodemus true?

       

      Can someone not from God do miraculous signs?

       

      The answer is "Yes," according to 2 Thessalonians 2:9 and Revelation 13:13-14.

       

      Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God...

       

      Jesus' reply to Nicodemus shatters the Jewish assumption that their racial identity - their old birth - assured them a place in God's Kingdom.

       

      Jesus makes it plain that a man's first birth does NOT assure him of the kingdom - only being born again gives this assurance.

       

      AND WE REMEMBER FROM PREVIOUS STUDIES, It was taught widely among the Jews at that time that since they descended from Abraham, they were automatically assured of heaven.

       

      In fact, some Rabbis then and now, taught and teach that Abraham stood watch at the gate of hell, just to make sure that none of his Jewish descendants accidentally wandered in there.

       

      Most Jews of that time looked for the Messiah to bring in a new world, in which the Jews would be pre-eminent. But Jesus came to bring new life, in which He would be preeminent.

       

      Born again...

       

      The ancient Greek word translated again (anothen) can be also translated "from above. " This is the sense in which John used this word in John 3:31 and in John 19:11 and 19:23. Either way, the meaning is essentially the same. To be born from above is to be born again.

       

      Verse 4 tells us Nicodemus answers: How can this be?

       

      "Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"

       

      How can a man be born when he is old?

       

      Nicodemus' reply may not be out of ignorance, but from thinking that Jesus means "turning over a new leaf. " His question may be "How can you teach an old dog new tricks?" One way or another, Nicodemus clearly does not understand Jesus or the truth about the new birth.

       

      In His description of new birth, Jesus recalls a familiar theme from Old Testament promises of the New Covenant (Deuteronomy 30:1-6, Jeremiah 23:1-8, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Jeremiah 32:37-41, Ezekiel 11:16-20, Ezekiel 36:16-28, Ezekiel 37:11-14, 37:21-28).

       

      These passages essentially make three promises in the New Covenant:

       

      1. The regathering of Israel.

      2. The cleansing and spiritual transformation of God's people.

      3. The reign of the Messiah over Israel and the whole world.

       

      In Jesus' day, the common teaching among the Jewish people was that the FIRST TWO aspects of the New Covenant had been ALREADY fulfilled.

       

      WHY?

       

      They saw Israel regathered - at least in part - after the Babylonian exile. They saw strong spiritual movements like the Pharisees, which they believed fulfilled the promise of spiritual transformation. All they waited for was the reign of the Messiah.

       

      That's why Jesus' statement about the new birth was so strange to Nicodemus. He thought that the Jewish people ALREADY had it; they certainly were NOT looking for it. They only looked for a triumphant Messiah.

       

      Verses 5-8 tells us Jesus EXPLAINS the new birth.

       

      "Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again. ' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

       

      Most assuredly … you must be born again...

       

      MOST ASSUREDLY IS EMPHATIC...Jesus is emphatic in saying that man does NOT need reformation, but a radical conversion by the Spirit of God. We must be born of water and the Spirit.

       

      What does it mean to be born of water?

       

      We know from John 3:10 that whatever being born of water is, it should have been familiar to Nicodemus from the Old Testament.

       

      1. Some have WRONGLY BELIEVED AND TEACH THE thought born of water means to be BAPTIZED. Water here may represent baptism, but there is no real Old Testament foundation for this.

       

      2. Some have thought that born of water refers to our PHYSICAL birth, since we come forth from a sack of water. This approach is more attractive, but does NOT it simply state the obvious? However, it does make a good parallel with the idea of that which is born of the flesh in John 3:6.

       

      3. Some have thought that born of water means to be born again by the Word of God. In other passages of Scripture, water represents the Word, as we are washed by the water of the word (Ephesians 5:26).

       

      4. Some have thought that born of water means to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, the living water of John 7:38-39.

       

      5. Some have thought that born of water means to receive the water of cleansing prophesied in Ezekiel 36:25-28 as part of the New Covenant. This is the approach has the most weight (though it is a tough call), because of its firm connections to Old Testament prophecy - which Jesus says Nicodemus should have known to understand these things.

       

      That which is born of the flesh is flesh...

       

      Without the new birth of the Spirit, all works of righteousness are tainted by the flesh. Yet, everything that a Spirit-led man does can be pleasing to God.

       

      Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born again"...

       

      Again, Nicodemus did marvel at this statement, because he - like most all Jews of his time - believed they already had the inner transformation promised in the New Covenant. Jesus wants him to take hold of the fact that he does NOT have it, and must be born again.

       

      We should NOT forget whom Jesus said this to. Nicodemus was a religious leader and a Pharisee. By all outward appearance, he was already transformed unto God. If Nicodemus must be born again, what about you and I?

       

      The wind blows where it wishes...

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      Jesus' idea to Nicodemus is "You do NOT understand everything about the wind, but you see its effects. That is just how it is with the birth of the Spirit. " Jesus wanted Nicodemus to know that he did NOT have to understand EVERYTHING about the new birth before he experienced it.

       

      Verses 9-13 tells us Jesus responds to the question "how can these things be?"

       

      "Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven."

       

      How can these things be?

       

      Nicodemus is STILL confused. He is so set in his thinking that the new birth has already happened to him and all of faithful Israel, that he has a hard time thinking out of that "box. " Jesus needs to keep explaining.

       

      Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?

       

      Jesus chides Nicodemus for NOT being aware of the need and the promise of the new birth, because these are plainly laid out in the Old Testament.

       

      Nicodemus KNEW these passages well, but believed that they had ALREADY been fulfilled in regard to the new birth. But he should have known better!

       

      If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

       

      A simple look at earthly things - like the illustrations Jesus used, and even a look at his own life - should have made Jesus' point plain to Nicodemus. If he can NOT see that he needs this spiritual transformation, what more can Jesus tell him?

       

      No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven...

       

      Jesus "makes it clear that He can speak authoritatively about things in heaven, though no one else can.

       

      Verses 14-15 tells us Jesus and the brazen serpent.

       

      "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

       

      As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness...

       

      How can the serpent of Numbers 21:4-9 be a picture of the holy Jesus?

       

      Serpents are often used as pictures of evil in the Bible (Genesis 3:1-5 and Revelation 12:9).

       

      However, Moses' serpent in Numbers 21 was made of BRONZE, and bronze is a metal associated with judgment in the Bible, because bronze must be made by passing through the "fires" of judgment.

       

      So, a bronze serpent does speak of sin, but of sin judged. In the same way Jesus, who knew no sin became sin for us on the cross, and our sin was judged in Him. A bronze serpent is a picture of sin judged and dealt with.

       

      We would have wanted to diminish our sense of sin, and put the image of a man up on the pole. Our image of man might represent "both good and bad" in man. But a serpent is more apparently sinful, and shows us our true nature and true need of salvation.

       

      In addition, if the serpent lay horizontally on the vertical pole, it is easy to see how this also was a visual representation of the cross. However, many traditions show the serpent being wrapped around the pole, and this is the source for the ancient figure of healing and medicine - a serpent, wrapped around a pole.

       

      In the Numbers 21:4-9 account, the people were saved NOT by doing anything, but by simply LOOKING to the bronze serpent. They had to trust that something as seemingly foolish as looking at such a thing would be sufficient to save them, and surely, some perished because they thought it TOO foolish to do such a thing.

       

      As it says in Isaiah 45:22: "Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other." We might be willing to do a hundred things to earn our salvation, but God commands us to ONLY TRUST in Him - to LOOK TO Him.

       

      Remember that even though Jesus bore our sins, He NEVER became a sinner. Even His becoming sin for us was a holy, righteous, act of love. Jesus remained the Holy One throughout the ENTIRE ordeal of the cross.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...LIFTED UP is a term later used to describe both Jesus' crucifixion (John 12:32) and His ascension (Acts 2:33). Both meanings are in view, His suffering and exaltation. Jesus was lifted up in BOTH ways.

       

      Should not perish but have eternal life...

       

      The idea behind ETERNAL LIFE means much more than a long or never ending life.

       

      Eternal life does NOT mean that we live the life of fallen humanity, we just live it forever.

       

      Instead, eternal life also has the idea of a certain quality of life, of God's kind of life. It is the kind of life enjoyed in eternity.

       

      Verses 16-21 tells us God's gift of salvation and sin's condemnation.

       

      "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

       

      For God so loved the world...

       

      John 3:16 has long been celebrated as a powerful, succinct, declaration of the gospel. Of the 31,373 verses in the Bible, it may be the most popular single verse used in evangelism.

       

      We learn the object of God's love...

       

      For God so loved the world.

      God did NOT wait for the world to turn to Him before He loved the world. He loved and gave His only begotten Son to the world when it was still the world!

       

      We learn the expression and the gift of God's love...

       

      He gave His only begotten Son. God's love did NOT just feel for the plight of a fallen world. God did something about it, and He gave the most precious thing to give: His only begotten Son.

       

      We learn the recipient of God's love...

       

      Whoever believes in Him. God loves the world, but the world does not receive or benefit from that love until it BELIEVES IN JESUS, the gift that the Father gave.

       

      REMEMBER THIS...Believes in means MUCH MORE than intellectual awareness or agreement. It means to trust in, to rely on, and to cling to.

       

      We learn the intention of God's love...

       

      Should not perish. God's love actually saves man from eternal destruction. God looks at fallen humanity, does NOT want it to perish, and so in His love He extends the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.

       

      We learn the duration of God's love...

       

      Everlasting life. The love we receive among people may fade or turn, but God's love will never change. He will never stop loving His people, even unto the furthest distance of eternity.

       

      JOHN GIVES US HERE THE 7 WONDERS OF JOHN 3:16

       

      1. God--The Almighty Authority

      2. So loved the world--The Mightiest Motive

      3. That He gave His only begotten Son--The Greatest Gift

      4. That whoever--The Widest Welcome

      5. Believes in Him--The Easiest Escape

      6. Should not perish--The Divine Deliverance

      7. But have everlasting life--The Priceless Possession

       

      What Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:7 (You must be born again) refuted the popular Jewish idea of the way to salvation. Now Jesus refutes the popular Jewish idea of the scope of salvation is refuted: for God so loved the world...NOT JUST THE JEWS.

       

      The Jews of that day rarely thought that God loved the world. They thought that God only loved THEM. The universal offer of salvation and life in Jesus was absolutely revolutionary.

       

      This is the condemnation...

       

      Jesus came to bring salvation, but those who REJECT that salvation condemn themselves. We never need to leave the reason for anyone's condemnation at God's door. The responsibility is theirs alone.

       

      LOST REJECTING MANKIND...CHOOSES THE LAKE OF FIRE ETERNITY.

       

      Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil...

       

      What keeps people from belief in Jesus and salvation?

       

      It is sin, or is it unbelief? Really it is both, because people will NOT believe because they love their sin.

       

      This cuts right through many of the "intellectual" excuses or dishonest doubts some proclaim.

       

      Many opponents of Christianity have a vested interest in fighting against the truth of Jesus, because they love their sin and do NOT want to face it, or face a God who will judge their sin.

       

      When we think of the love of sin that sends people to hell, we often only think of notorious sin. But the simple demand to be lord of my own life is enough of a sin to deserve condemnation before God.

       

      Everyone practicing evil hates the light...

       

      How do people hate the light of God's truth?

       

      Some express their hatred by actively fighting against it, and others express their hatred by IGNORING God's truth - by saying to Jesus "You are not worth my time."

       

      Verses 22-30 tells us John the Baptist final testimony of Jesus in the preeminent place.

       

      "After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. For John had not yet been thrown into prison. Then there arose a dispute between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purification. And they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified; behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!" John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent before Him. ' He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease."

       

      All are coming to Him!

       

      John the Baptist's disciples seem alarmed, but it did NOT bother John one bit. John the Baptist, would NOT allow envy or the fickle crowds make him forget his mission: to announce that the Messiah had come, and then to step back.

       

      The friend of the bridegroom...

       

      John is the "best man" at the "wedding" between Jesus and Jesus' followers. In the Jewish wedding customs of that day, the friend of the bridegroom arranged many of the details of the wedding and brought the bride to the groom.

       

      Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled...

       

      John the Baptist lost his congregation - and he was happy about it! John was happy because he lost his congregation to Jesus.

       

      He must increase, but I must decrease...

       

      This should be the motto of EVERY Christian, especially leaders among God's people. Jesus should become greater and more visible, and the servant should become less and less visible.

       

      Verses 31-36 tells us John's testimony about Jesus.

       

      "He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

       

      He who comes from above...

       

      John wants everyone to know where Jesus came from. Jesus is different from everyone else because He came from heaven. Not only is Jesus different, but He who comes from heaven is above all - Jesus is greater than everyone else.

       

      He whom God has sent speaks the words of God...

       

      Jesus is a uniquely reliable revelation, because He has the Holy Spirit without measure, in contrast to the previous prophets.

       

      He who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him...

       

      Because Jesus is the man from heaven, there is a heavy price to pay for rejecting Jesus. If you reject the Son, then you receive the wrath.

       

      The wrath of God...

       

      The word does not mean a sudden gust of passion or a burst of temper. Rather, it is the settled displeasure of God against sin.

       

      The wrath of God abides...

       

      It abides in this world, because there is there is NO "statute of limitations" on sin. It abides into the next world, because those who reject Jesus can NOT offer a perfect sacrifice acceptable to God. The wrath of God abides until it is satisfied by receiving the perfect payment Jesus made on the cross.

       

      We might say that John 3 is a "must read" chapter of the Bible. There are FOUR prominent "musts" in John 3.

       

      1. The Sinner's must: you must be born again (John 3:7).

      2. The Savior's must: so must the Son of Man be lifted up (John 3:14).

      3. The Sovereign's must: He must increase (John 3:30).

      4. The Servant's must: I must decrease (John 3:30).

       

    • September 9, 2016 1:42 AM EDT
    • JOHN 4

       

      OPENS WITH A SAMARITAN WOMAN AND A NOBLEMAN MEET JESUS

       

       

      Verses 1-4 tells us Jesus travels from Judea to Galilee, passing though Samaria.

       

      "Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria."

       

      When the Lord knew … He left Judea:

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      JESUS KNEW, ACCORDING TO OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY AND HIS FATHER'S EXACTING TIME...that the time was NOT yet right for a confrontation in Jerusalem, so Jesus returned to Galilee.

       

      He needed to go through Samaria:

       

      Although the road through Samaria was the shortest route to Galilee, pious Jews avoided it. They avoided it because there was a deep distrust and dislike between Jews and Samaritans.

       

      WHY?

       

      THE BIBLE AND SECULAR HISTORY CONFIRMS...When the southern kingdom of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians, they took almost every captive, exiling them to the Babylonian Empire. All they left behind were the LOWEST classes of society, because they did NOT want "that type" in Babylonia. These Jews that were left behind intermarried with other peoples who slowly came into the region, and the Samaritans emerged as an ethnic and religious group.

       

      Because the Samaritans had a historical connection to the people of Israel, their faith was a combination of law and ritual from the Law of Moses, and various superstitions. Most Jews in Jesus' time despised the Samaritans, even more than Gentiles - because they were, religiously speaking, "half-breeds" who had an eclectic, mongrel faith.

       

      Why must Jesus go through Samaria?

       

      Because there were people there who needed to hear Him.

       

      Verses 5-9 tells us Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well.

       

      "So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink. " For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans."

       

      Being wearied from His journey:

       

      John records Jesus' weariness. THESE TWO WORDS....BEING WEARIED...TELLS US THAT OUR JESUS GENUINELY SUBMITTED TO AND RESTRICTED HIMSELF AND HIS BODY TO OUR HUMAN LIMITATIONS.

       

      It was about the sixth hour:

       

      THE SIXTH HOUR...WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT THAT JOHN RECORDS THE TIME?

       

      This woman came for water at an UNUSUAL hour and ALONE. Typically, women came for water earlier in the day and in groups.

       

      FOR THE MOST PART...SOCIAL OUTCASTS HAD TO WAIT UNTIL THEY WERE SURE THE ACCEPTABLE WOMEN HAD ALREADY COME AND GATHERED THEIR WATER...THE ACCEPTABLE AND HONORABLE WOMEN OF THAT DAY HAD SPECIAL, COMFORTABLE, COOL AND COMFORTABLE TIMES OF THE DAY FOR GATHERING WATER...

       

      Jesus said to her:

       

      WHY IS THIS SO SHOCKING?

       

      WE NEED TO REMEMBER, IN THAT TIME AND TIME, AND BY STRICT RABBINICAL LAW AND TRADITION, a rabbi would NOT speak to or with a woman in public, even his own wife.

       

      It was also VIRTUALLY UNKNOWN for a Jewish person of that time to ask a favor or accept a drink from a Samaritan's cup. Jesus' request genuinely surprised the woman.

       

      How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me:

       

      Immediately, the woman was impressed by the friendliness of Jesus. This was probably the FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE she had ever heard a kind greeting from a Jewish man.

       

      Verses 10-15 tells us Jesus interests the woman in living water.

       

      "Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. " The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. " The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."

       

      IF YOU KNEW the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, "Give Me a drink":

       

      Jesus draws the woman into conversation, making her curious about the things of God (the gift of God), about who Jesus is (who it is who says to you), and about what He can give her (He would have given you living water).

       

      Living water...

       

      DID YOU KNOW...In ancient times, they called spring water living water because it seemed "alive" as it bubbled up from the ground. At first glance, it might seem that Jesus tells this woman about a nearby active spring. But Jesus makes a play on words with the phrase "living water," because He means the SPIRITUAL water that quenches our spiritual thirst and gives life ETERNAL.

       

      Are you greater than our father Jacob:

       

      It is hard to tell if the woman asks a sincere question, or if she is a cynical critic. All depends on the tone of her voice; but WHAT IS IMPORTANT HERE is that she DOES come to belief at the end.

       

      Verses 16-26 tells us Jesus directs her from her sinful life to true worship.

       

      "Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here. " The woman answered and said, "I have no husband. " Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly. " The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship. " Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. " The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things. " Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He. "

       

      You have had five husbands:

       

      THIS TELLS US THAT THOUGH JESUS LIMITED HIS PHYSICAL BODY, HIS WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE WAS ALL KNOWING, ALL SEEING, AND STILL ALL UNDERSTANDING. Jesus READ THIS WOMAN PERFECTLY AND USED HIS HEAVENLY WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE IN ministering to this woman. We should all PRAY AND ASK JESUS TO ALWAYS GUIDE AND EMPOWER US BY HIS HOLY SPIRIT WHEN WE MEET, DEAL, SHARE OUR JESUS WITH OTHERS.

       

      And the one whom you now have is not your husband:

       

      Why did Jesus bring up such an embarrassing issue?

       

      Because the issue of her sinful life must be confronted. This woman had to decide what she loved more: her sin or the Messiah?

       

      Our fathers worshipped on this mountain:

       

      In bringing this issue up, it seems that the woman is evading the issue with her reply. It is possible that this was a genuine source of confusion and a stumbling block to her, but it is more likely that this simply was an evasion.

       

      If she offered an argument here, Jesus did NOT take the bait. Jesus was more interested in winning a soul than in winning an argument.

       

      You worship what you do not know:

       

      WHY DID JESUS SAY THIS?

       

      The Samaritans believed that Moses commissioned an altar on Mount Gerazim, the mountain of blessing - this was their justification of they system of worship on that mountain. But like all faith that try to combine elements of different MAN-ALTERED, MAN-CREATED, AND MAN REVISED religions, JESUS THEN AND NOW, SAYS IT PERFECTLY...they worship what they do NOT know.

       

      God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth:

       

      HERE IS AN IMPORTANT TEACHING AND COMMAND...Jesus establishes the basis for true worship: it is NOT of places and trappings, but in spirit and in truth.

       

      WHY?

       

      1. To worship in spirit means you are concerned with the spiritual realities, NOT outward sacrifices, cleansings and trappings.

       

      2. To worship in truth means you worship according to the whole council of God's word, especially in light of the New Testament revelation.

       

      AND DOES NOT THE BIBLE, OLD TESTAMENT AND NEW TESTAMENT CONFIRM THIS?

       

      DAVID WORSHIPPED AND SANG PRAISES AND WORSHIP TO ALMIGHTY GOD IN THE DESOLATE PLACES, AS HE TENDED SHEEP, DID HE NOT?

       

      PAUL WORSHIPPED AND SANG PRAISES AND WORSHIPPED JESUS IN PRISON, DID HE NOT?

       

      MANY RELIGIOSITIES THEN AND NOW, FALSELY TEACH, PREACH, AND PROCLAIM THAT GOD IS ONLY PRESENT IN CHURCHES, BUILDINGS, OR MAN CREATED PLACES OF WORSHIP AND BEFORE IDOLS CREATED WITH MAN'S HANDS...RIGHT HERE JESUS TELLS US WORSHIP, PRAYER, AND PRAISES BEGIN IN THE HEART AND CAN BE LIFTED FROM ANYWHERE...AND EVERYWHERE!

       

      I who speak to you am He:

       

      Though this woman was a sinner, Jesus revealed Himself to her.

       

      CONTRARY TO FALSE RELIGIOSITIES THEN AND NOW...Jesus reveals Himself to sinners...men, women, and children alike...to those the world says are unacceptable...to those the world considers weeds, ...to those the world considers low class.

       

      JESUS BLEW THE MINDS OF THE RELIGIOUS AND SOCIAL ELITISTS OF THAT DAY AND TODAY...HE SPOKE TO WOMEN...THAT WAS TABU. JESUS SPOKE TO HEATHENS, PAGANS, TO GENTILES...WHO WERE CONSIDERED LOWER THAN DOGS. JESUS LOVED AND HUGGED AND SPOKE TO CHILDREN...ALL OF THESE THINGS WERE UNHEARD OF IN HIS DAY...AND SADLY SOME STILL FEEL THE SAME WAY TODAY. SOME SADLY BELIEVE THAT GOD ONLY CARES FOR AND SAVES THE JEWS...OR THEIR OWN MAN-CREATED RELIGIOSITIES....BUT OUR JESUS SPOKE TO, TOUCHED, LOVED, AND EAT WITH AND VISITED THE LOWEST AND THE INVISIBLE IN THAT DAY. HE WAS POLITE BUT HE WAS NOT IMPRESSED BY RELIGIOUS, SOCIAL, AND GOVERNMENTAL ICONS.

       

      Verses 27-38 tells us The woman tells her neighbors; Jesus teaches His disciples.

       

      "And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why are You talking with her?" The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" Then they went out of the city and came to Him. In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat. " But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know. " Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps. ' I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."

       

      THE JEWISH DISCIPLES MARVELED... THEY WERE SHOCKED THAT JESUS WAS TALKING TO THE HEATHEN HALF JEW/HALF GENTILE AND WORSE A HEATHEN WOMAN...WHO WAS CLEARLY AN OUTCAST AMONG THE OUTCASTS...AND HE ACCEPTED AND DRANK FROM HER OWN CUP...THAT WAS JAW-DROPPING TO THEM.

       

      My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me:

       

      Jesus was right. There is nothing more satisfying than doing the work of God.

       

      Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! The disciples can now reap a harvest immediately, and they reap it from seeds they did NOT sow.

       

      Jesus sowed the seeds, and they had the opportunity to reap. Many times, this is how the work of God happens - one sows, and another reaps also confirmed to us by Paul himself in 1 Corinthians 3:6-8.

       

      Verses 39-42 tells us MANY Samaritans believe on the Savior of the world.

       

      "And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did. " So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."

       

      He told me all that I ever did:

       

      The woman was amazed not only that Jesus knew the facts of her life, but REMEMBER THIS...THIS JEWISH MAN...WHO TOLD HER HE WAS HER SAVIOR...AND HER MESSIAH COME TO EARTH...LOVED HER....LOVED HER EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW ALL THE FACTS OF HER LIFE AND HEART.

       

      YOU KNOW THIS FALLEN, SELF-CENTERED, POLITICALLY, RELIGIOUSLY, AND SOCIALLY CORRECT AND FADIC AND EVER CHANGING WORLD TRIES TO TELL US TO FEAR GOD AND OUR JESUS. THEY TEACH, THROUGH THE WHISPERS OF LOST MANKIND AND SATAN, THAT if someone knew all that I ever did WRONG, KNEW OUR FAILINGS, KNEW OUR SHAMES, SORROWS, AND SINS....they could not love us - and sadly with mankind that is true, but NEVER WITH OUR JESUS....OUR Jesus loved this woman. OUR JESUS KNOWS US ALL TO THE VERY SOUL...AND HE LOVES US JUST THE SAME.

       

      We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world:

       

      The people of this Samaritan village came to faith in Jesus as the Christ. John's implied question to the reader is, "So what do you think of Jesus?"

       

      THIS SECTION TELLS US OF JESUS HEALING THE NOBLEMAN...THIS IS THE SECOND SIGN.

       

      Verses 43-48 tells us Jesus comes to Galilee and is greeted by a request.

       

      "Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee. For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast. So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe."

       

      A prophet has no honor in his own country:

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      Galilee was Jesus' country - where He grew up. Because these people felt so familiar with Jesus, they did NOT honor Him the way they should have. In this we recognize that they really were NOT familiar with Jesus; they REJECTED WHO HE WAS, if they HAD ACCEPTED AND HAD KNOWN WHO HE REALLY WAS, they would have honored Him all the more.

       

      AND WE LEARN SOMETHING IMPORTANT HERE FROM JESUS AS WELL...There is such a thing as a FALSE familiarity with Jesus; a dangerous feeling that we know ALL about Him. Such a dangerous feeling leads to a lack of honor towards Jesus.

       

      Having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast:

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      It was customary for the Jews in Galilee to go to Jerusalem for the feasts (fulfilling Exodus 23:14-17). This particular time they remembered all that Jesus had done in Jerusalem.

       

      What did Jesus do that they remembered?

       

      1. His turning of the merchant's tables in the outer courts of the temple (John 2:13-17).

       

      2. Jesus predicted His own miraculous resurrection (John 2:18-22).

       

      3. Also, Jesus performed many other unspecified signs during this time in Jerusalem (John 2:23-25).

       

      Unless YOU PEOPLE see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe:

       

      THIS IS ANOTHER IMPORTANT TEACHING AND WARNING FROM OUR JESUS OWN LIPS.

       

      THEN AND NOW, WE HAVE ALL HEARD AND HAD PEOPLE PROCLAIM MIRACLES AND STATE THAT MIRACLES AND SIGNS AND WONDERS CAN ONLY COME FROM GOD.

       

      BUT JESUS AND HIS WORD TELL US THAT SATAN AND THOSE WHO KNOWINGLY AND WILLINGLY, AS WELL THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW THE WORD OF JESUS AND HIS WORD FALL FOR AND BELIEVE THAT ALL SIGNS, MIRACLES AND WONDERS CAME FROM GOD...WHEN THEY CAN VERY WELL....LIMITEDLY OF COURSE...COME FROM SATAN AS WELL.

       

      WE SEE IN MANY FALSE RELIGIOSITIES AND FALSE CHURCHES TODAY....PROCLAIMING FIRE FALLS FROM HEAVEN, THEY WAVE FLAG TO SIGNAL TO ANGELS AND TO GUIDE THEM TO APPEAR IN THEIR CHURCHES, AS WELL THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT FIRE JUMPS ON ALL PEOPLE WHO BEGIN TO SPEAK GIBBERISH, VIBRATE, BARK, LAUGH, AND ROLL AROUND ON THE FLOOR. I SAW ONE VIDEO WHERE GOLD DUST POURED FROM THE AIR VENTS IN THE CHURCH AND PEOPLE HOWLED SWAYED, AND PASSED OUT SAYING GOD SENT GOLD DUST HOLY SPIRIT POWER TO FALL ON THEM.

       

      FAMILY OF JESUS...BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST...DO NOT BE DECEIVED.

       

      RIGHT HERE Jesus rebukes those who depend on signs and wonders BEFORE they will believe. It might seem that Jesus was harsh towards this man who wanted his son healed, but He encountered many in Galilee who were ONLY interested in His miracles - He therefore questions this man accordingly.

       

      AND REMEMBER...2 THESSALONIANS 2:9 Signs and wonders can also have no HEAR effect on a person, and Satan can also use lying signs and wonders to deceive.

       

      NOW MAKE NO MISTAKE...Signs and wonders FROM God are obviously good things, but they should NOT EVER SOLELY form the foundation of our faith in Jesus Christ.

       

      We should NOT EVER depend on them to "prove" God to us. In themselves, signs and wonders cannot change the heart.

       

      HOW DO WE KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE?

       

      REMEMBER Israel saw incredible signs at Mount Sinai and even heard the very voice of God (Exodus 19:16-20:1), yet a short time later they worshipped a gold calf (Exodus 32:1-6).

       

      Verses 49-54 tells us Jesus heals the nobleman's son.

       

      "The nobleman said to Him, "Sir, come down before my child dies!" Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your son lives. " So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, "Your son lives!" Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. " So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, "Your son lives. " And he himself believed, and his whole household. This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee."

       

      Sir, come down before my child dies!

       

      The nobleman's plea comes from deep need, but did he ask in light of what Jesus said in John 4:48? It is as if He perfectly understood what Jesus just said was not meant to discourage signs and wonders in themselves, but to discourage a CARNAL dependence on them.

       

      He was a nobleman, a man of high standing and stature. How little all his standing and stature seemed to be when he was at his point of need. Sometimes Jesus brings us low so we will come to Him with this kind of deep need, and find that the ground is ALWAYS level at the cross.

       

      Go your way; your son lives:

       

      Jesus severely tested this man's faith, forcing him to believe in Jesus' WORD alone. But the man BELIEVED Jesus at His word and departed. All Jesus gave him to trust in was His word, but real faith is simply that - taking Jesus at His word. What difference would it make in our lives if we really believed what Jesus says?

       

      Your son lives:

       

      Why did NOT Jesus use any dramatic effects in this healing?

       

      Many long to see dramatic effects in God's work; and sometimes God provides them. But to REAL FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST AND HIS WORD, WE COME TO KNOW AND BELIEVE THAT SIGNS AND WONDERS AND MIRACLES ARE NOT NECESSARY TO OUR BELIEF AND OUR FAITH.

       

      AND THE BIBLE SHOWS US, AND WE SEE IT TODAY AS WELL, Many times, dramatic EMOTIONAL, FEELINGS AND TEMPORARY effects in healing spur weak and ignorant faith; a mature faith in our Jesus Christ and His word, commands, and promises does NOT need them.

       

      WHY?

       

      BECAUSE WE KNOW IF WE ARE NOT HEALED IN THIS LIFE REGARDLESS IF WE LIVE WITH ILLNESS OUR ENTIRE EARTHLY LIVES...WE ARE PROMISED ETERNAL PERFECTION...AND WHEN WE REALLY THINK ABOUT THIS AND CONSIDER IT...WHAT IS EVEN 100 YEARS OF TRIAL, PAIN, STRUGGLES, AND ILLNESS IN THIS LIFE...COMPARED TO FOREVER AND FOREVER IN PERFECTION WITH OUR JESUS.

       

      And he himself believed, and his whole household:

       

      The miraculous power of Jesus developed greater faith.

       

      And he himself believed:

       

      Did NOT this man believe before? Maybe he did, but now his faith is deepened by his personal experience of God's power. He asked believing in Jesus, without seeing it. He took Jesus at His word and went back home, and that TRUE BELIEF AND FAITH IN JESUS WORDS...NOT IN HIS MIRACLE...BUT IN HIS WORD ALONE...led to more faith. We can take God's past blessing, His Word, and His promises as ABSOLUTELY TRUE.

       

      It is essential that we believe JESUS AND HIS WORD if we want to see His work done. There are definitely some people who are not healed or blessed simply because they lack faith.

       

      And his whole household:

       

      The whole group was touched by this nobleman's faith and God's power working through it. It is wonderful that these Jews from the region of Galilee believe; but they would not unless Jesus performed signs, and they were slow to believe even then.

       

      AND WHAT WE SEE IN JOHN 4 IS POWERFUL AND SOMETHING FOR US TO THINK ABOUT...

       

      DO WE SEE OURSELVES AS SAMARITAN CHRISTIANS OR ELITIST NOBLE GALILEANS?

      WHAT DO I MEAN?

       

      THINK ABOUT IT...These Jewish Galileans pale in comparison to the despised Samaritans who BELIEVED on Jesus WITHOUT a sign - they believed at HIS WORD.

       

      JOHN 4 GIVES US THE SECOND SIGN. AND THE REASON JOHN GIVES US SAMPLES OF JESUS AND HIS WORD AND HIS LIFE AND HIS PROMISES ARE GIVEN BECAUSE OF JOHN 20:30-31.

       

      "All of them are given that we might believe."

       

      AND THE SAMARITANS AND THE NOBLEMAN AND HIS HOUSEHOLD IS GIVEN TO US TO BUILD OUR FAITH AND TRUST AND BELIEF IN JESUS CHRIST AND HIS WORD ALONE.

       

    • September 9, 2016 1:26 AM EDT
    • JOHN 5

       

       

      OPENS WITH A HEALING AT THE POOL OF BETHESDA

       

      Verses 1-4 tells us The pool of Bethesda.

       

      "After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.

       

      A feast of the Jews...

       

      We do NOT know what feast this was, but it was probably one of the major THREE feasts in which attendance was required.

       

      A pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda...

       

      This pool has been excavated in the area just north of the temple mount, and found to have five porches, just as John says. It is also right next to a church from the crusader period that has fabulous acoustics.

       

      For an angel went down … whoever stepped in first … was made well...

       

      Perhaps this hope of healing was real, and God honored a release of faith. Or, as we now have more of the original ancient manuscripts of the New Testament. We have learned that this is section is NOT PRESENT in the original manuscripts of John. That is was later ADDED by a scribe, who most PROBABLY knew of the superstitions of this pool and the hopeful legend of that day that a GREAT multitude of sick people believed in.

       

       

      WHAT WE DO KNOW IS THERE ARE MANY UNUSUAL OCCASIONS OF HEALING IN THE BIBLE.

       

      1. The purified pot of stew (2 Kings 4:38-41)

      2. The healing of Naaman by washing in the Jordan River (2 Kings 5:10-14)

      3. The healing of the man who touched the bones of Elisha (2 Kings 13:20-21)

      4. Healing of those who have the shadow of Peter upon them (Acts 5:14-16)

      5. The healing of those who have Paul's handkerchiefs upon them (Acts 19:11-12)

       

      WHAT WE DO KNOW IS THAT God can and does do things in unexpected ways. But something is NOT necessarily from God simply because it is unexpected or unusual.

       

      Verses 5-6 tells us Jesus questions a lame man.

       

      "Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?"

       

      Do you want to be made well?

       

      His question may seem rhetorical, but Jesus knew that NOT every sick person WANTS to be healed, and then that some are so discouraged that they put away all hope. Jesus is dealing with a man who may have his heart withered as well as his legs. Jesus builds the faith of this man.

       

      WHY WOULD ANYONE WISH TO REMAIN ILL?

       

      IN THAT DAY AND TIME, THE LAME, THE ILL, AND THE SICK WERE ALLOWED TO BEG AT THE CHURCHES AND AT THE GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS, AND AT THE MARKET SQUARES.

       

      THEN AND NOW, SOME PEOPLE SPEND THEIR LIVES LIVING OFF OF OTHERS AND REFUSE HELP AND HEALING...CONVERSELY SOME REMAIN HOMELESS AND HELPLESS AND ILL IN DESPAIR AND WITHOUT HOPE.

       

      BUT I WATCHED ONE INVESTIGATIVE REPORT WHERE THEY WERE DOING A STORY ON THE HOMELESS, THE HELPLESS, AND THE INDIGENT IN NEW YORK CITY. AND AS IT HAPPENED THE NEWS CREW HAD DONE AN INTERVIEW EARLIER IN THE DAY WITH A VERY WELL KNOWN AND LONG TIME CRIPPLED FILTHY BEGGAR...AND THEY RETURNED LATER IN THE DAY, AND TURNED THE CORNER, JUST IN TIME TO SEE THIS "SUPPOSE" HOMELESS CRIPPLED BEGGAR, PICK UP HIS WHEELED CART, AND PUT IT IN THE TRUNK OF A VERY NICE NEW CAR AND THEN WALK BACK TO THE PASSENGER DOOR AND GET IT AS IT DROVE AWAY. FURTHER INVESTIGATION, SHOWED THIS PROFESSIONAL BEGGAR TO BE VERY WELL OFF AND NOT CRIPPLED AND NOT HOMELESS AND NOT DESTITUTE.

       

      AND SO IT WAS IN JESUS DAY...WE NOTICE, JUST AS HERE, THAT JESUS ASKED THE LAME MAN IF HE WANTED TO BE MADE WELL.

       

      SOME PEOPLE WHO HAD BEEN BLIND, LAME, AND ILL DID NOT WANT TO BE HEALED, BECAUSE FOR JESUS TO DO SO, MEANT THAT THEY WOULD BECOME RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN LIVES. THEY COULD NO LONGER DEPEND ON FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND THE KINDNESS OF OTHERS TO PROVIDE FOR THEM, GIVE TO THEM, AND SUSTAIN THEM. THEY WOULD NO LONGER BE ALLOWED TO SIT AND BEG AT THE MARKET, THE COURTS, AND THE CHURCHES AND THEY WOULD BE LEFT TO WORK AND CARE AND PROVIDE FOR THEMSELVES OR STARVE.

       

      Do you want to be made well...

       

      Jesus asked this same kind question on THREE other occasions.

       

      1. He asked it when John and James asked, through their mother, to be "top guys" in Jesus' administration (Matthew 20:21, Mark 10:36);

       

      2. He asked it when two blind men cried out to be healed (Matthew 20:32, Mark 10:51, Luke 18:41).

       

      3. He asked it when Jesus invited His disciples to come follow Him (John 1:38).

       

      This is an entirely fair question. So much of our petition and intercession before God is hampered because we have so little idea of what we really want.

       

      It is reasonable to wonder if this man really wanted to be healed. One commentator points out: "An eastern beggar often loses a good living by being cured of his disease."

       

      As bad as our current situation is, at least we are familiar with it. We know it. It WILL NOT surprise us. We can be more comfortable in our present misery than taking the steps we need to be free.

       

      For example, there are some women who on the one hand desperately want their husbands to be saved - yet on the other hand, they dread the idea because they know it would bring so many changes into their relationship.

       

      In 1993, it was reported that a small order of Franciscan nuns in Prague decided to subsidize their convent by opening the downstairs of their facility - formerly an underground detention center used by the Communists to imprison and torture their enemies - as a hotel. For $33 a night, you could stay in a former prison cell. The proprietors say they try to achieve a middle ground between comfort and authenticity in the "hotel. " Many people are really looking for just that - a comfortable prison cell.

       

      Verses 7-9 tells us The man replies and Jesus heals him.

       

      "The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me. " Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk. " And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath."

       

      Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool...

       

      The man's answer is basically, "Yes, I want to be made well, but I do NOT see how this can happen."

       

      CALVIN speaks well of his response: "The sick man does what we nearly all do. He limits God's help to his own ideas and does not dare promise himself more that he conceives in his mind."

       

      J. B. Phillips wrote a famous book about this problem, titled Your God is too Small. For many of us, we create a small God in our heads a God who is limited by whatever "box" we try to put God into.

       

      Rise, take up your bed and walk...

       

      In this miracle, Jesus does it all. In this case, He could not say to this man what He said on some other occasions: your faith has made you whole (Matthew 9:22), because Jesus took the initiative. This shows us that the New Testament describes many different ways people MAY be healed.

       

      1. The elders of the church can anoint someone with oil, pray for them, and they MAY be healed (James 5:14-16).

       

      2. God's people can lay hands on each other in prayer, ask God for healing, and people MAY be healed (Mark 16:17-18).

       

      3. God MAY grant someone a gift of healing - either that they are directly healed, or have the power to minister healing to another as the Holy Spirit wills it. (1 Corinthians 12:9).

       

      4. God may grant healing in response to the faith of the person who desires to be healed (Matthew 9:22).

       

      5. God may grant healing in response to the faith of another on behalf of the person who is healed (Mark 2:4-5, Matthew 8:13).

       

      6. God may heal through medical treatment (1 Timothy 5:23, James 5:14 with Luke 10:34).

       

      But in this case, NONE of the above methods involving human participation are used. Sometimes God just sovereignly heals. He takes the initiative, He does the work.

       

      Why did Jesus choose this man to heal?

       

      Why did Jesus not heal the others there who were sick or crippled?

       

      God's ways in such matters are often past our finding out, but perhaps Jesus used a REAL man and a REAL healing to paint a picture for us. From the days of the early church, some Christians saw an allegorical purpose in this account. In the thinking of some Christians:

       

      1. The man represents Israel

      2. The five porches represent the law

      3. The 38 years represent the time of Israel's wilderness wanderings

      4. The waters represent baptism

       

      In this thinking, the allegory might go like this: "All Israel waited for the Messiah, amidst the law. They were afflicted for thirty-eight years and could not enter the Promised Land. With the waters of baptism nearby, Jesus came and brought salvation to Israel."

       

      DID YOU KNOW...In early Christian art, a man emerging from baptism was often shown carrying a bed on his back.

       

       

      Verses 10-13 tells us The Jews ignore the miracle and take offense because Jesus healed on the Sabbath.

       

      "The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed. " He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk. '" Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?" But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place."

       

      The Jews therefore said...

       

      Throughout his gospel, John uses the term "the Jews" in the sense of the Jewish leaders, NOT every Jew in Jerusalem.

       

      It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed...

       

      Carrying a bed (actually a sleeping-mat or a bedroll) was in fact a violation of the rabbis' interpretation of the commandment against doing work or business on the Sabbath. It was not a breaking of God's law of the Sabbath, but BREAKING THE RABBI'S ALTERED, the human interpretation of God's law.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...This devotion to the rabbis' interpretation of the Sabbath law still goes on today.

       

      An April, 1992 news item: Tenants let three apartments in an Orthodox neighborhood in Israel burn to the ground while they asked a rabbi whether a telephone call to the fire department on the Sabbath would violate Jewish law. Observant Jews are forbidden to use the phone on the Sabbath, because doing so would break an electrical current, which is considered a form of work. In the half-hour it took the rabbi to decide "yes," the fire spread to two neighboring apartments.

       

      Who is the Man who said to you, "Take up your bed and walk"?

       

      YOU NOTICE, The Jewish leaders did NOT want to know who healed the crippled man. THEY DID NOT CARE THAT THE CRIPPLED MAN HAD BEEN HEALED. THEY WERE ANGRY AND OFFENEDED THAT ANYONE WOULD TELL HIM TO BREAK THEIR TWISTED IDEAS OF THE LAW AGAINST THEM AND ON THE SABBATH DAY.

       

      Verses 14-15 tells us Jesus WARNS the healed man of a GREATER danger.

       

      "Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you. " The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

       

      Afterward Jesus found him...

       

      WHY?

       

      Jesus found him because He was concerned for his spiritual health (sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you), not just his physical health. Living a life of sin is worse, and will bring a worse result, than being crippled for thirty-eight years.

       

      The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus...

       

      We might deride this man as a notorious tattletale, but his violation of the Sabbath tradition could be punished by excommunication or death.

       

      Verses 16-18 tells us Jesus defends His Sabbath actions.

       

      "For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working. " Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God."

       

      And sought to kill Him...

       

      The anger and hatred of the Jews is hard to explain, apart from seeing that it has a real spiritual root. They do NOT like Jesus, and therefore they do NOT like God the Father (but also said that God was His Father).

       

      The absolute devotion to the traditions of man surrounding the Sabbath can NOT be understated.

       

      WHAT DO I MEAN?

       

      AN AMAZING AND BIZARRE AND SAD EXAMPLE OF THIS IS FOUND ALL THE WAY BACK IN Deuteronomy 23:12-14 tells Israel to practice good sanitation when their armies are camped. Ancient rabbis DECIDED TO applied the same principle to the ENTIRE city of Jerusalem, which they regarded as "the camp of the Lord. " When this was combined with Sabbath travel restrictions, it resulted in a prohibition against going to the bathroom on the Sabbath.

       

      My Father has been working until now, and I have been working...

       

      In our terminology, Jesus would say: "My Father works on the Sabbath, and so do I. " By this Jesus makes it clear that He is equal to God the Father, and reminds us that God does NOT take holidays.

       

      This answers the objection raised by a hostile (and ignorant) critic of Christianity. I saw this statement written in an anti-Christian tract: Just say "no!" to a god who claims to be all powerful, but then requires a nap after only six days of creating (Genesis 2:2).

       

      This objection betrays the lack of understanding on behalf of the writer. The Bible clearly says that God does not need sleep or rest (Psalm 121:3-4, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep). The rest of God on the seventh day was given for MAN'S benefit, not God's, demonstrating a pattern of rest necessary for man's well being.

       

      But also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God:

       

      This bold claim to deity was NOT missed by the enemies of Jesus. They knew clearly that when Jesus said that God was His Father in this unique way, He declared Himself equal with God.

       

      AND JUST AS THE JEWS OF THAT DAY UNDESTOOD WHAT JESUS MEANT...THAT HE AND GOD ARE ONE. Today, Jehovah's Witnesses are among those FALSE RELIGIOSITIES THAT DENY THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST AS THE SON OF GOD AND AS EQUAL WITH GOD.

       

      Verses 19-23 Jesus explains His work as The Son and His relationship with God, The Father.

       

      "Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him."

       

      The Son can do nothing of Himself...

       

      Jesus, God the Son, does nothing independently. He is fully submitted to the Father's will. But this submission comes by choice, NOT by coercion or by an inferior nature.

       

      The Father loves the Son...

       

      The relationship between the First and Second members of the Trinity is not one of master and slave, or not of employer and employee, but of Father and Son, united by love.

       

      Even so the Son gives life to whom He will...

       

      The Son has the same power as the Father, including the power to raise the dead.

       

      But has committed all judgment to the Son...

       

      The Son has the same authority as the Father, including the authority to judge all. This is a prerogative of God only, and another demonstration of the deity of Jesus.

       

      That all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father...

       

      This is a further claim to deity. If the Son were not God, then it would be wrong to honor the Son just as they honor the Father. It also means that if we do not honor the Son, we do not really honor the Father either.

       

      There are many FALSE RELIGIOSITIES that pretend to honor God but they dishonor Jesus, who is the perfect revelation of God the Father. In this, they demonstrate that they do NOT honor God the Father at all.

       

      Verses 24-30 tells us Jesus: power in submission.

       

      "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me."

       

      He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life...

       

      Jesus lifts Himself far above the level of any mere man. Think of it: "Hear My word and have everlasting life. " This is either the babbling of an insane man or the words of God Himself. There is no neutral ground to be found here.

       

      YOU EITHER BELIEVE JESUS IS ALMIGHTY GOD IN HUMAN FLESH OR YOU MUST REJECT THEM BOTH.

       

      YOU CAN NOT BELIEVE IN GOD BUT REJECT HIS SON JESUS CHRIST AND HOPE TO SPEND ETERNITY IN HEAVEN. JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY TRUTH, THE ONLY LIFE, AND THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN AND ALMIGHTY GOD.

       

      MANY RELIGIOSITIES, THEN AND NOW SAY, THERE ARE MANY PATHS TO GOD AND TO HEAVEN. THAT IS A LIE STRAIGHT FROM THE MIND, MOUTH, AND EVIL HEART OF SATAN HIMSELF.

       

      Life in Himself...

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      None of us has life inherent in ourselves. Our life is derived from our parents, and the fragile environment around us. Jesus claimed that His life was derived from no one; it is inherent and un-created. Theologians call this quality of self-existence aseity recognize that God alone possesses it.

       

      As Jesus explains His deity to the Jews in this chapter, it is evident that He did NOT claim identity with the Father as one person, but asserted His equality to God the Father and His relationship of love with the Father. Jesus and the Father are not the same, but they are equal, just as John 1:1 demonstrates.

       

      In this, He counters both the "Jesus Only" doctrine which confuses the Father and the Son (anciently known as Sabellianism, and held today by groups like Oneness Pentecostals).

       

      He also counters the "Jesus is not God" doctrine (anciently known as Arianism, and held today by groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses).

       

      Those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation...

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      IT IS A VERY CHILLING THOUGHT, IS IT NOT? Even as those who embrace Jesus will need resurrection bodies to enjoy the glories of heaven, so those who reject Him will need resurrection bodies to endure the terrors of Hell.

       

      RIGHT HERE JESUS DEBUNKS THE FALSE RELIGIOSITIES WHO BELIEVE ALL GO TO HEAVEN, THAT THERE IS NO HELL, AND THAT DEATH IS NOT THE END AS AGNOSTICS AND ATHEISTS BELIEVE. THESE BODIES OF CHRISTIANS WILL ALL DIE, IF WE DIE BEFORE THE RAPTURE, BUT WE ARE ASSURED PERFECT GLORIFIED BODIES THAT CAN LIVE IN HEAVEN, AND THOSE WHO REJECT JESUS, WILL ALSO HAVE THEIR DEAD BODIES RAISED TO ENDURE THE TORTURES OF THE WAITING PRISON OF HELL AND ULTIMATELY THE LAKE OF FIRE ETERNITY.

       

      My judgment is righteous...

       

      Jesus is qualified as a completely righteous judge, because His power is in submission: I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge.

       

      Verses 31-32 tells us Self-testimony was not reliable in a court of law; but Jesus has far more than His own testimony regarding who He is.

       

      "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true."

       

      If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true...

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      This principle is established by Deuteronomy 19:15, which says by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established. Jesus has just told the Jews that He is God, but His testimony alone is not enough.

       

      There is another who bears witness of Me...

       

      In the following passage, Jesus calls forth THREE absolutely credible witnesses who will testify that He is equal to the Father. But these enemies of Jesus WILL reject these witnesses and their testimony.

       

      Verses 33-35 tells us The witness of John the Baptist.

       

      "You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light."

       

      He was the bright and shining lamp...

       

      John was a true witness of Jesus, but the religious leaders did not receive the testimony of John the Baptist regarding the identity of Jesus.

       

      Verse 36 tells us The witness of the works of Jesus.

       

      "But I have a greater witness than John's; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish; the very works that I do; bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me."

       

      A greater witness than John's … the very works that I do...

       

      EVERY aspect of the works of Jesus TESTIFIED to the deity of Jesus.

       

      The very works that I do; bear witness of Me...

       

      The majority of the miraculous works of Jesus were simple acts of compassion and mercy, done for simple, needy people. In this, these works … bear witness to the heart of God. The Jews looked for a miraculous Messiah, but they did not look for One who would express His miraculous power in simple acts of compassion and mercy and love. They wanted a Messiah to use miraculous power to bring political deliverance to Israel and to DESTROY all the enemies of Israel. And make them the HEAD OF THE WORLD.

       

      Because Jesus' miraculous works did NOT fit in with what they thought the Messiah would do, they did NOT receive this witness of Jesus' works.

       

      Verses 37-38 tells us The witness of the Father.

       

      "And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe."

       

      The Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me...

       

      When did God the Father testify to Jesus?

       

      In virtually every work and word of Jesus, God the Father testified to Jesus status as the Son of God. But specifically, the Father testified of the Son in Old Testament prophecy, and at the baptism of Jesus told to us in Luke 3:22.

       

      But you do not have His word abiding in you...

       

      They will not receive the testimony of the Father, because they do not have His word abiding in them. They can NOT hear God the Father audibly, or see Him, but they have His word. They are guilty because they do NOT abide in the word that God gave them.

       

      Verse 39 tells us They REJECT the testimony of the Father through the Scriptures.

       

      "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me."

       

      You search the Scriptures...

       

      It is the Scriptures (here used in the sense of the Old Testament) which speak of Jesus. Significantly, they searched the Scriptures, but they did not have His word abiding in them. We can know the Bible without having His word live IN us.

       

      JESUS IS TELLING THEM...THEY MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE HEAD KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S WORD, BUT THEY REJECT HIM AND GOD BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE THE WORD LIVING WITHIN THEIR HEARTS.

       

      Verses 40-44 tells us The reason for their unbelief.

       

      "But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?"

       

      But you are not willing to come to Me...

       

      They are NOT willing, and they are NOT willing because they do NOT have God's love. They are MORE concerned with man's honor, not the honor that comes from God (do not seek the honor that comes from the only God).

       

      That you do not have the love of God in you...

       

      We see that these reasons essentially have to do with THE HEART, NOT WITH THE MIND. People like this may hide behind intellectual excuses, but the bottom line is that they have a heart problem with Jesus, not a head problem.

       

      If another comes in his own name, him you will receive...

       

      Here, Jesus prophesies the coming day when the Jewish people will, for a time, embrace the Antichrist who comes in his own name. Anytime a person rejects Jesus, it leaves them open to tremendous deception by Satan.

       

      Verses 45-47 tells us They reject the testimony of the Father through Moses.

       

      "Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you; Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"

       

      If you believed Moses, you would believe Me...

       

      These religious leaders rejected Jesus because they rejected God's word through Moses. Moses accuses them, because Moses wrote about Jesus and they will NOT receive the testimony of Moses.

       

      For he wrote about Me...

       

      Where did Moses write about Jesus? In many pages, but here are a few:

       

      1. The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear. (Deuteronomy 18:15)

       

      2. Then the Lord said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live. " So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. (Numbers 21:8-9)

       

      3. Jesus was typified in the rock that gave Israel water in the wilderness (Numbers 20:8-12 and 1 Corinthians 10:4).

       

      4. The ministry of Jesus was shown in almost every aspect of the seven different kinds of offering that God commanded Israel to bring (Leviticus 1-7).

       

      5. Jesus and His ministry were shown in the Tabernacle and its service. One place where the New Testament makes this connection is with the word propitiation in Romans 3:25, which speaks of the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant.

       

      6. The law of the bondservant speaks of Jesus (Exodus 21:5-6 and Psalm 40:6-8).

       

      7. No wonder Jesus could say Behold, I come; in the scroll of the Book it is written of Me (Psalm 40:7). He could teach a Bible study where beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:27)

       

      JESUS TELLS US VERY PLAINLY WHY MAN REJECTS HIM AS THE SON OF GOD, AS THE MESSIAH, AS THE SAVIOR OFFERED FOR THE SINS OF ALL MANKIND.

       

      THEY MAY HAVE HEAD KNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE AND CAN QUOTE IT...NOTHING IMPRESSIVE ABOUT THAT...SO COULD SATAN HIMSELF.

       

      THEY MAY HAVE RELIGIONS, RITUALS, ROTE PRAYERS, POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE BUT THEY KNOW NOT WHO THEY WORSHIP...THEY ARE NOT WORSHIPPING ALMIGHTY GOD, BUT ARE WORSHIPPING THEIR FATHER THE DEVIL.

       

      THOSE WHO COME TO JESUS, COME TO HIM FOR RELATIONSHIP AND ARE HUNGRY AND THIRSTY TO KNOW HIM BETTER...TO LOVE HIM MORE...AND TO SEE TO BECOME LESS LIKE THE WORLD AND MORE LIKE HIM.

       

      THOSE WHO COME TO JESUS WANT JESUS CHRIST. THEY LOVE HIM. THEY WANT RELATIONSHIP. BUT MOST DO NOT WANT JESUS CHRIST AND REJECT HIM BECAUSE THEY WANT AND KNOW AND LOVE THE WORLD AND ALL THE PUNY, USELESS MAN-CREATED RELIGIOSITIES THAT CAN DO NOTHING FOR THEM, BUT ARE MANAGEABLE, AND ARE NOT GREATER THAN THEY CAN DEAL WITH.

       

    • September 9, 2016 1:19 AM EDT
    • JOHN 6

       

      OPENS WITH THE BREAD FROM HEAVEN

       

      Verses 1-4 tells us A crowd gathers to Jesus near the Sea of Galilee.

       

      "After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near."

       

      Then a great multitude followed Him...

       

      In this miracle, Jesus went out to a deserted place to be alone (Luke 9:10), yet the crowds followed Him there. In spite of this imposition, Jesus still, who was selfless and came to serve and not be served...was forever tireless as He ministered to the multitude with great compassion.

       

      They saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased:

       

      Luke 9:11 tells us that Jesus also taught this multitude, something that John does NOT specifically mention.

       

      BUT WE CAN KNOW...WHETHER IT IS ALWAYS STATED AND RESTATED OR NOT...THAT JESUS DID NOT ONLY GO AROUND TOUCHING, HEALING, RAISING THE DEAD, FREEING THE DEMONICS, BUT HE ALWAYS SPOKE TO MOST ALL PEOPLES AND TAUGHT THEM AND GAVE THEM HIS FATHER'S WORD.

       

      The Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near...

       

      DID YOU KNOW...John is the only one of the four gospel writers (all four describe this miracle) who tells us this took place near the time of the Passover. Perhaps this great multitude was made up of Galilean pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem.

       

      AND WE KNOW FROM HAVING READ OF MOSES, THE ISRAELITES AND OF THE PASSOVER, it is associated with the Exodus and God's sustenance of Israel in the wilderness. Jesus will sustain this multitude in their small "wilderness" with bread from heaven - both literally and spiritually.

       

      Verses 5-7 tells us Jesus asks Philip a question.

       

      "Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little."

       

      Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?

       

      Why did Jesus ask Philip this question?

       

      Maybe because he was from Bethsaida (John 1:44) and this is near where this miracle took place (Luke 9:10).

       

      He said this to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do...

       

      Jesus also lets His followers participate in the work of the Kingdom, even when He has things planned out. And we know even as Jesus was teaching and touching and outreaching to the multitudes...He was TESTING, TEACHING, SHOWING, AND PREPARING THE DISCIPLES TO TRUST HIM, BELIEVE IN HIM, AND KNOW THAT ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE FOR THOSE WHO LOVE JESUS AND ARE CALLED TO HIS PURPOSES TOO. AND HE WAS ALWAYS TEACHING AND PREPARING THEM FOR THEIR MINISTRIES WHEN HE WOULD GO HOME TO THE FATHER. JESUS HAD A PURPOSE FOR ALL THINGS HE SAID AND DID, AMEN?!

       

      Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient...

       

      Their problem is in two parts as Philip sees it with only his limited human eyes and mind.

       

      FIRST, they do NOT have the resources to feed the multitude.

      SECOND, even if they did have the money it would be IMPOSSIBLE to purchase enough bread to feed them all.

       

      Philip's MATHEMATICAL knowledge of the situation was accurate and impressive (two hundred denarii is more than six month's wages), but his knowledge was useless in getting the problem solved.

       

      Philip thought in terms of money; and how much money it would take to carry out God's work in a small way (every one of them may have a little).

       

      We often limit God the same way, looking for how God's work can be done in the smallest way, BY FOCUSING ON OUR OWN HUMAN LIMITATIONS, OUR SOCIETAL, GOVERNMENTAL TECHNOLOGICAL AND PERSONAL LIMITATIONS AND NOT ON THE INFINITE ABILITIES OF OUR JESUS IF WE ASK IN FAITH BELIEVING AND TRUSTING IN HIM.

       

      Verses 8-9 tells us Andrew's help.

       

      "One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"

       

      Five barley loaves...

       

      DID YOU KNOW...Barley was always regarded as simple fare, more often fit for animals than for men.

       

      What are they among so many?

       

      There is NOT much to work with here, but God does NOT need much.

       

      In fact, God does NOT need any help - but He often deliberately restrains His work until He HAS our participation.

       

      Verse 10 tells us Jesus commands the group of 5000 to sit down.

       

      "Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down. " Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand."

       

      Make the people sit down...

       

      Jesus here takes authority as the Lord; as a loving shepherd, He makes His "sheep" to lie down on green pastures. He fulfills Psalm 23:1-2: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

       

      The men sat down, in number about five thousand...

       

      Jesus administered everything in an orderly way. Creation shows us that God is a God of order and organization.

       

      Verse 11 tells us The 5000 are fed.

       

      "And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted."

       

      Jesus took the loaves … He distributed them to the disciples...

       

      The miracle resided in the hands of Jesus, NOT in the distribution. Little is much in His hands.

       

      Bread comes from grain, which has the power of multiplication and reproduction within itself. But when it is made into bread, the grain is crushed, making it "dead" - no one ever multiplied wheat by planting flour. But Jesus can bring life from death.

       

      Verses 12-13 tells us Gathering up the fragments of the feast.

       

      "So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost. " Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten."

       

      Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost...

       

      The disciples gathered the leftovers at the command of Jesus. Jesus is generous, but not wasteful.

       

      Should the disciples have anticipated what Jesus could do, or should do in this situation?

       

      There was enough evidence both in the Old Testament and in what Jesus had already done to give them a confident expectation of what Jesus would do here.

       

      Old Testament passages WARN against doubting God's provision:

       

      PSALM 78:19, "Yes, they spoke against God: They said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?"

       

      2 KINGS 4:38-34 is an example of God multiplying barley loaves, though this is on a much greater scale.

       

      Yet, Jesus used His disciples even though they did NOT understand - they got to participate in the miracle.

       

      Jesus demonstrated to them the GIVING character of God - the same character God desires to build within us.

       

      Proverbs 11:24 says, "There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty."

       

      This bread was multiplied as it was "scattered."

       

      Verse 14 tells us Jesus as the Prophet predicted by Moses.

       

      "Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."

       

      Truly this is the Prophet...

       

      The Prophet they expected was predicted by Moses.

       

      REMEMBER MOSES PROMISED IN DEUTERONOMY 18:15, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear."

       

      When they had seen the sign that Jesus did...

       

      The way Jesus provided bread in the wilderness reminded those men of Moses in the wilderness, and his promise of a coming Prophet. It is true that Moses provided bread in the wilderness; so does Jesus. But Jesus goes on to explain that He is FAR MORE than a new Moses.

       

      Verse 15 tells us The people attempt to make Jesus their earthly king.

       

      "Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone."

       

      They were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king...

       

      This miracle really impressed the crowd and fueled their revolutionary hopes. But Jesus refused to further His kingdom this way. Instead, He departed again to a mountain by Himself alone. Jesus was more interested in being with His Father in heaven than in hearing the applause of the crowd.

       

      They wanted to make Jesus king because they thought He was the Messiah they wanted.

       

      The Jews expected that when the Messiah came, He would renew the giving of manna. This crowd was willing to support Jesus so long as He gave them what they wanted - bread.

       

      Make Him king...

       

      This was a political title. The crowd was willing to support Jesus because they wanted to use Him to throw off the yoke of Roman oppression and free them and make the JEWS the rulers and leaders of the world. They wanted what Jesus could DO FOR THEM. What Jesus could GIVE THEM. They did not want Jesus for who HE is.

       

       

      Verses 16-17 tells us The disciples go out on the Sea of Galilee.

       

      "Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them."

       

      His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat...

       

      Matthew and Mark tell us that Jesus made His disciples get into the boat (Mark 6:45). He knew exactly what He was doing when He put them into this boat on the Sea of Galilee at this time.

       

      It was already dark...

       

      Several of the disciples were fishermen, all accustomed to fishing on this very lake. It did NOT bother them at all that they would be rowing across the lake at night

       

      Verse 18 tells us The wind disrupts their efforts to cross the Sea.

       

      "Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing."

       

      Then the sea arose...

       

      The wind alone was bad enough, but the wind also whipped up the waters, making for troublesome seas.

       

      In the first storm (Matthew 8:24), Jesus was present with them in the boat. But in this storm, He asks them to trust his UNSEEN care and concern for them.

       

      In Mark 6:48 we read that Jesus watched the disciples as they rowed across the lake. His eye was on them ALL the time...even though they DID NOT AT FIRST KNOW IT.

       

      Verse 19 tells us Jesus comes to His disciples, walking on the water.

       

      "So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid."

       

      When they had rowed about three or four miles...

       

      We do NOT sense the same fear in the disciples as with the first time Jesus calmed the seas. Here they seem simply frustrated, because they are doing what Jesus told them to do, but it is so hard, and it does NOT seem to be going anywhere.

       

      Their frustration is evident in their lack of progress.

       

      Matthew 14:25 tells us that this happened in the fourth watch of the night, sometime between three and six in the morning. So, they rowed hard for perhaps six to eight hours, and had only come a little more than half way across the lake (three or four miles).

       

      We so often feel that when we are doing the work of Jesus, it should be easy. After all, is NOT Jesus helping us? But sometimes, God tells us to do something and allows it to be hard as we do it.

       

      They saw Jesus walking on the sea … and they were afraid...

       

      Mark 6:49-50 tells us the disciples were afraid because they thought Jesus, walking on the water, was a ghost or a spirit.

       

      If anything, the disciples were NOT ready for any kind of supernatural help. The knew what Jesus commanded them to do, they set out to do it, but without any help from the Lord. So they are surprised, even afraid, to see supernatural help on the way.

       

      This is a perfect picture of us when we try to do God's will, but do it our way without seeking and relying on God's help.

       

      Jesus provided reminders for them of His supernatural help.

       

      Undoubtedly, they took with them at least some of the twelve baskets of leftover bread (John 6:13), yet they were still shocked when the supernatural help came.

       

      Verse 20 tells us The calming words of Jesus.

       

      "But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid."

       

      It is I; do not be afraid...

       

      For Jesus, it was enough to announce His presence. He came to bring supernatural help and comfort to His people.

       

      Jesus would NOT turn a stone into bread to satisfy His own hunger, but he WOULD multiply loaves and fishes to feed a hungry multitude.

       

      Jesus would NOT cast Himself off the pinnacle of the temple to glorify Himself, but he WOULD walk on the water to bring comfort to His disciples.

       

      God's presence is ALL that we need, and we should expect it, though not in a way that we would necessarily expect.

       

      We know from Matthew 14 that after this, Peter asked Jesus if he could come out and walk on the water.

       

      Verse 21 tells us Jesus brings them to their destination.

       

      "Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going."

       

      IMMEDIATELY the boat was at the land where they were going...

       

      Jesus, bringing His supernatural help, was able to miraculously overcome every obstacle that frustrated the disciples.

       

      Jesus rescues the disciples from futility. Jesus wants us to work hard; but He never wants us to work in futility. On this occasion He came to rescue the disciples from futility, not from fear.

       

      The disciples were in this uncomfortable place because Jesus told them to cross the lake. We will face trials when we set out to do what Jesus tells us to do. Jesus knows this. He understands it. We should never be deceived into thinking that if we were really right with God, everything in life would be easy.

       

      All the time the disciples struggled, Jesus watched over them. He watches over us at all times, and prays for us even when He seems distant. Jesus knew exactly what was going on, and He was monitoring their progress across the lake. He saw them straining at rowing, yet let them work at it for a good long time.

       

      In this miracle, Jesus reassured us at the precise point where they needed to be reassured. The disciples had just seen Jesus turn down an offer to be king; they might have thought that this was why He came and why they were following Him!

       

      Despite that disappointment, Jesus came to them full of majesty and power, reminding them that He is still quite in charge even though He won't receive a king's throne based on popular opinion.

       

      Verses 22-27 tells us Jesus responds to their first question: Rabbi, when did You come here?

       

      "On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone; however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks; when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You come here?" Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him."

       

      You seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled...

       

      They asked Jesus WHY He came, but Jesus did NOT answer that question. Instead, He tells them why THEY came - because they wanted more "wonder bread" from Jesus.

       

      They admired Jesus only because of what He gave them materially. They were not moved by full hearts, but by full - or empty - stomachs.

       

      God the Father has set His seal on Him...

       

      A seal was a mark of ownership and a guarantee of the contents. They should have confidence in Jesus because God the Father has "guaranteed" Him.

       

      Verses 28-29 tells us Jesus answers their second question: What shall we do, that we may work the works of God.

       

      "Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."

       

      What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?

       

      Those who questioned Jesus seemed sure that if only Jesus told them what to do, they could please God by their works of God. For these people, as with many people today, they WRONGLY BELIEVE salvation is found in the right formula for performing works that will please God.

       

      This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent...

       

      Jesus first and foremost commands us not to do, but to trust. If we want to do the work of God, it begins with trusting Jesus.

       

      How would you feel about a child that obeyed you perfectly but did not trust or love you?

       

      God wants our obedience to Him to grow out of a relationship of loving trust.

       

      If the work God wants us to do is to believe in Him whom He sent, does it mean that God is unconcerned about what we do for Him?

       

      No, faith is NOT a substitute for works. Faith is the foundation for works that really please God.

       

      Verses 30-33 tells us Jesus answers their third question: What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do?

       

      "Therefore they said to Him, "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat. '" Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

       

      Our fathers ate the manna in the desert...

       

      Jesus' questioners are trying to manipulate Him into providing daily bread for them, just as Israel had from God during the Exodus. They even know how to quote Scripture ("He gave them bread from heaven to eat", Psalm 105:40).

       

      My Father gives you the true bread from heaven...

       

      It is as if Jesus is saying, "What other work will I do? This is the work: to give you the word of God and salvation in and through Me. This is the spiritual bread you must feast on to have life."

       

      For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven...

       

      Jesus is trying to lift their minds above earthly things on to heavenly realities - to an understanding that He is needed for spiritual sustenance, just as bread is necessary for physical survival.

       

      Verses 34-40 tells us Jesus answers their fourth request: Lord, give us this bread always.

       

      "Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always. " And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

       

      Give us this bread always...

       

      When we are hungry, we feel as though food will answer all our problems. It's the same way with almost all other practical difficulties we find ourselves in. Just as Jesus tried to lift their understanding above their material, physical needs, so we need to have our minds lifted.

       

      I am the bread of life...

       

      In Jesus' answer, He tries to lift up their eyes from bread and on to spiritual realities. They need to put their confidence in Jesus instead of in bread.

       

      Jesus is worthy of their confidence, because:

       

      1. He perfectly satisfies our spiritual hunger (He who comes to Me shall never hunger)

      2. He receives all who come to Him (All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out)

      3. He isn't interested in His own agenda, but His Father's (not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me)

      4. He will keep those who come to Him safe (all He has given Me I should lose nothing)

      5. The destiny of those who believe in Him is eternal life (everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life)

       

      Verses 41-46 tells us Jesus explains why they reject Him.

       

      "The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven. " And they said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, 'I have come down from heaven'?" Jesus therefore answered and said to them, "Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God. ' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father."

       

      No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him...

      The Jews thought that they were all chosen by God by virtue of their old birth, because they were Jews and had Jewish blood. Jesus makes it clear that God must draw them before they can come to God. Everyone who responds to the Father will respond to the Son.

       

      We like to feel as though we are in charge and that we give ourselves to God. In truth, He calls and we come. This understanding of God's initiative in salvation should makes us more confident in evangelism, knowing that God is drawing people, and we can expect to see those whom the Father draws come to Him.

       

      Verses 47-59 tells us The true bread from heaven.

       

      "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. " The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?" Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever. " These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum."

       

      I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever...

       

      Jesus spoke in a figure of speech. The metaphor of eating and drinking was common in Jesus' day, and pointed to a taking within one's innermost being.

       

      Some have taken these words more literally, and applied them to communion. From this, the Eastern Orthodox practices the custom of infant communion. They believe infants will not be saved unless they partake in communion.

       

      Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead...

       

      The spiritual bread Jesus offers is even greater than the manna Israel ate in the wilderness, because "eating" the bread from heaven Jesus offers brings eternal life.

       

      He who eats this bread will live forever...

       

      Jesus offers us heavenly bread for eternal life, but we must eat it. Faith in Jesus is not compared with tasting or admiring, but with eating. We must dig in! Jesus says that we must have Him within us, and we must partake of Him.

       

      Seeing a loaf of bread on a plate will NOT satisfy our hunger.

      Knowing the ingredients in the bread will NOT satisfy our hunger.

      Taking pictures of the bread will NOT satisfy our hunger.

      Telling other people about the bread will NOT satisfy our hunger.

      Selling the bread will NOT satisfy our hunger.

      Playing catch with the bread will NOT satisfy our hunger.

      Nothing will satisfy our hunger and bring us life except actually eating the bread. He who eats this bread will live forever.

       

      Verses 60-66 tells us MANY disciples turn away.

       

      "Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?" When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe. " For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father. " From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more."

       

      This is a hard saying...

       

      This refers to that which is hard to accept, NOT to what is hard to understand. No doubt, they did find Jesus' words somewhat mysterious, but it was the parts they did understand that were really disturbing.

       

      Jesus was demanding a complete allegiance to Him, and demanding that everything else - including literal bread - be put in second place.

       

      Does this offend you?

       

      Jesus did NOT preach just to please His audience. If that was His concern, He would have instantly taken back what was just said, seeing His audience was offended.

       

      Jesus did NOT take it back. He challenged and confronted them even more.

       

      What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?

       

      Jesus is saying, "If all this has offended you, what will you think when you see Me in glory, and have to answer to Me in judgment?"

       

      Better to be offended now and to get over it, than to be offended then.

       

      It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing...

       

      This could well be the "theme statement" for this whole discourse of Jesus. He continually calls us to put our heart and focus, on spiritual realities, NOT fleshly things.

       

      Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father...

       

      Jesus REBUKED their own, carnal, fleshly motivation in following Him. If they do not seek Him by the Spirit instead of seeking Him as a walking bakery, then they have NOT come to HIM at all.

       

      Of those who come to God in the flesh, as these came to Jesus, it can be said that they do NOT come to God at all.

       

      Instead, they are coming to a false god, a "gimmie" god. They do NOT come as it has been granted to him by My Father.

       

      From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more...

       

      Once Jesus effectively discouraged EVERY fleshly motive for following Him, MANY stopped following.

       

      If we could do the same thing - effectively discourage every fleshly motive for following Jesus - how many would stop following Him in our churches today?

       

      Instead, many churches encourage people to follow Jesus for fleshly motives, promoting Jesus as a "product" to "fix" our life - just like bread will fix your hunger.

       

      But those who come to Jesus under such a sales and marketing approach will either come to God in Spirit and in truth, or it will be revealed that it was NEVER been granted to him by My Father to follow after Jesus.

       

      Verses 67-71 tells us The disciples stand as examples of willingness to follow even if they do NOT understand it all.

       

      "Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. " Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve."

       

      Do you also want to go away?

       

      What a scene!

      Scores of disciples after the flesh leave Jesus, and He asks the twelve if they will go also. He searches the motives of all that follow Him, INCLUDING the twelve.

       

      Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life...

       

      Peter does much in the gospels to make us sigh; but here, as he speaks for the twelve, he shines brightly. His focus is where it should be - that Jesus has the words of eternal life, not "You have the bread that fills our stomachs."

       

      If we have not come to the place where we look to God and say, "Where else would I go?" even in hard or confusing times, then we have not come very far with Jesus.

       

      It also reminds us that following Jesus, though at times hard, is preferred above every alternative. Following Jesus is the hardest way to live - except for all the others.

       

      He spoke of Judas...

       

      The simple, spiritual devotion of the disciples to Jesus makes Judas' apostasy that much more horrible.

       

    • September 9, 2016 1:17 AM EDT
    • JOHN 7

       

      OPENS AT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES

       

      Jesus goes up to Jerusalem in secret.

       

      Verses 1-5 tells us The contempt of the brothers of Jesus for Him.

       

      "After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to Him, "Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world. " For even His brothers did not believe in Him."

       

      He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him...

       

      It was NOT a lack of courage that made Jesus stay in Galilee, as some wrongly teach, but an awareness of the Father's perfect timing - and it was not time yet to die.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...The Feast of Tabernacles was a joyful, week-long celebration, when families camped out in "booths" to remember God's faithfulness to Israel during the wilderness wanderings.

       

      Go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that you are doing … If you do these things, show Yourself to the world...

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      Essentially, Jesus' brothers are telling Him to "take Your stuff to the big leagues. " They say, "If You really do have all this miracle power, why do you NOT go to Jerusalem and make Yourself really famous?

       

      His brothers therefore said to Him...

       

      The brothers of Jesus never seemed to be supportive of His ministry BEFORE His death and resurrection, (confirmed in Mark 3:21) but that changed AFTER His resurrection, (confirmed to us in Acts 1:14).

       

      Verses 6-9 tells us Jesus' reply: we are of different worlds.

       

      "Then Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world can not hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come. " When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee."

       

      I am not yet going up to the feast...

       

      Some compare this statement with what it says in John 7:10 (He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret) as if they caught Jesus in a lie. Schopenhauer, the German philosopher of pessimism, pompously said: "Jesus Christ of set purpose did utter a falsehood. " But Christians have observed for centuries that if Jesus said He would not go publicly as to attract attention (as His brothers wanted), but that did not preclude Him from going up privately.

       

      My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready...

       

      Because Jesus was completely submitted to the will of the Father, the timing of God the Father was important. But for Jesus' brothers, who were not submitted to God's will in the same way, any time was fine!

       

      In Jesus' life as well as our own, the Father's timing is just as important as His will. Many stumble because they sense they know God's will, but they move ahead of His timing. This is a sure recipe for frustration.

       

      Verses 10-13 tells us Jesus goes up to a Jerusalem that is abuzz with rumors concerning who He is.

       

      "But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, "Where is He?" And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, "He is good"; others said, "No, on the contrary, He deceives the people. " However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews."

       

      Some said, "He is good"; others said, "No, on the contrary"...

       

      Then as well as now, Jesus divides people. Those who heard Him and knew Him could NOT remain neutral. They decided one way or another regarding who Jesus was, either good or a deceiver.

       

      Verses 14-18 tells us An Objection: Jesus is NOT educated; He is His own authority.

       

      "Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying, "How does this Man know letters, having never studied?" Jesus answered them and said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. "If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him."

       

      Jesus went up into the temple and taught...

       

      Though Jesus avoided a grand entrance, He now teaches boldly. He never shrank back from proclaiming the truth.

       

      How does this Man know letters, having never studied...

       

      The Jewish leaders knew that Jesus had not studied or been a disciple under a prominent rabbi (as Paul studied under Gamaliel, Acts 22:3).

       

      AND RIGHT HERE...WE HAVE THE TRUTH THAT SHUTS DOWN THE FALSE RELIGIOSITIES AND FALSE TEACHERS AND FALSE DOCTRINES WHICH SAY JESUS HAD TO BE TAUGHT THE BIBLE. HE HAD TO BE TAUGHT HEBREW TRADITION. HE HAD TO GO TO SCHOOL TO LEARN UNDER WISE RABBIS...

       

      JESUS CHRIST IS ALMIGHTY GOD IN THE FLESH...HE ALWAYS KNEW HE WAS JESUS CHRIST IN THE WOMB, AND HE NEVER HAD TO GROW INTO THE KNOWLEDGE OF WHO HE WAS...JESUS ALWAYS KNEW WHO HE WAS.

       

      My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me...

       

      Jesus does NOT point to His credentials, but to His doctrine. It is as if He says, "I do NOT have a seminary degree, but judge Me by My doctrine. " If the Jewish leaders listened carefully to the doctrine of Jesus, they would know that it was all rooted in the Old Testament Scriptures, and that it was from God.

       

      My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me...

       

      Jesus was an eloquent, gifted teacher, who was taught by His Father. His authority was not from any man, but from His Father.

       

      Verses 19-24 tells us another Objection: Jesus is a Sabbath breaker.

       

      "Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?" The people answered and said, "You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?" Jesus answered and said to them, "I did one work, and you all marvel. Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."

       

      Why do you seek to kill Me?

       

      Because He healed a man on the Sabbath, the rulers wanted to kill Jesus (John 5:16). The multitude did NOT know this, but the Jewish leaders did - though they denied it.

       

      If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken...

       

      JESUS TRIED TO REASON WITH THEM AND SHOW THEM THE IDIOCY OF THEIR OBJECTIONS. If it is permitted (even commanded) to do a negative work (such as cutting away the flesh in circumcision) on the Sabbath, why not a work that brings wholeness?

       

      Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment...

       

      If the rulers and the people would only do this, they would embrace Jesus instead of contesting and rejecting Him.

       

      Verses 25-29 tells us another Objection: if the Messiah will appear suddenly and unexpectedly, how can Jesus be the Messiah?

       

      "Now some of them from Jerusalem said, "Is this not He whom they seek to kill? But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from. " Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, "You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me."

       

      When the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from...

       

      The crowd, in their partial knowledge of the Old Testament, and its twisted teachings from priests was convinced that the Messiah would come suddenly and spectacularly.

       

      You both know Me, and you know where I am from...

       

      This first sentence of Jesus' reply may well have been sarcastic. They thought they knew where He was from, but they were unaware of His heavenly origin.

       

      I am from Him, and He sent Me...

       

      The crowds may be confused about where the Messiah comes from, but Jesus knew exactly where He came from. Jesus was not a confused man, wondering if He was really the Son of God, as so many falsely and wrongly teach then and now.

       

      Verses 30-36 tells us The leaders try to seize Jesus because many believed in Him.

       

      "Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. And many of the people believed in Him, and said, "When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?" The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. Then Jesus said to them, "I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come. " Then the Jews said among themselves, "Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What is this thing that He said, 'You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come'?"

       

      Because His hour had not yet come...

       

      Until the time was right, no one could lay a hand on Jesus. There would come a time when Jesus would say that His hour had come (John 12:23). Until that hour, Jesus could NOT be touched.

       

      I shall be with you a little while longer...

       

      Jesus assures the officers that came to take Him that He will go away, but only at the appointed time - at His ascension.

       

      Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks...

       

      Through His followers, Jesus did in fact go to the Dispersion and teach the Greeks - but the time for that was later.

       

      What is this thing He said...

       

      Even though His words were misunderstood, they echoed in the mind of His hearers.

       

      Verses 37-39 tells us the great invitation: If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

       

      "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. " But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."

       

      On the last day, that great day of the feast...

       

      DID YOU KNOW...At the Feast of Tabernacles, water was poured out daily at the altar to remind everyone of the water God miraculously provided for a thirsty Israel in the wilderness.

       

      Let him come to Me...

       

      Jesus boldly calls people to Himself, claiming that He can satisfy the inner thirst in man.

       

      Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water...

       

      The water of the Holy Spirit not only goes in, it also comes out. Not only does the believer receive blessing, but he becomes a blessing to others.

       

      This is the contrast between two contemporary religious movements of Jesus' day.

       

      1. The Qumran (KOO-M-RAHN) sect had no outflow, becoming stagnant and dead.

      2. But Christianity emphasizes outflow, extending life and blessing to others.

       

      For the Holy Spirit was not yet given...

       

      The word given here is added by translators. More literally it is "for it was not yet Spirit. " John tells us that it was not yet Pentecost and the days of the Spirit.

       

      Because Jesus was not yet glorified...

       

      John speaks of Jesus' coming ordeal at the cross as being glorified, and that it must come before the power of Pentecost. Calvary is the necessary prelude to Pentecost, and the cross is seen as glory, not shame.

       

      Verses 40-43 tells us Jesus brings division among men.

       

      "Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, "Truly this is the Prophet. " Others said, "This is the Christ. " But some said, "Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?" So there was a division among the people because of Him."

       

      This is the Prophet … This is the Christ...

       

      Some say one thing, others say something else about who Jesus is. But everyone had an opinion. One can not be confronted with Jesus and remain neutral; feigned neutrality is rejection, the same as open hostility.

       

      Will the Christ come out of Galilee?

       

      Their rejection of Jesus was based on their ignorance. They did NOT know Jesus really was born in Bethlehem.

       

      So there was a division among the people because of Him...

       

      There is a real sense in which Jesus is a divider of men. Because we cannot be of two opinions about Jesus, some will be for Him and others will be against Him.

       

      AND REMEMBER...Jesus repeated this idea in Matthew 10:34-36: "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to "set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law"; and "a man's enemies will be those of his own household."

       

      Verses 44-49 tells us An attempted arrest.

       

      "Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him. Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why have you not brought Him?" The officers answered, "No man ever spoke like this Man!" Then the Pharisees answered them, "Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed."

       

      Some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him...

       

      The arrest was unsuccessful, but it was NOT because the arresting officers were incompetent. It was because the time was NOT right yet.

       

      Because the Pharisees hate Jesus, they despise anyone who embraces Him...

       

      Are you also deceived? Have any of [us] believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.

       

      Verses 50-52 tells us Nicodemus', a Pharisee, small stand for Jesus.

       

      "Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, "Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?" They answered and said to him, "Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee."

       

      Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing...

       

      Nicodemus tries to reason with the Jewish leaders, warning them of judging Jesus hastily, without really defending or standing for Jesus.

       

      Are you also from Galilee...

       

      Galileans were objects of Judean scorn, and the **** of Judean jokes. To the Jewish leaders from Judea, nothing good could come from Galilee. They believed Galileans were ignorant, backwoods, peons and unworthy of their wealthy, wise, educated, and iconic Pharisees.

       

      Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee...

       

      ON THIS POINT THE ELITIST-MINDED, HIGHLY EDUCATED PHARISEES WERE WRONG TOO. HAD THEY REALLY SEARCHED AND LOOKED THROUGH THE SCRIPTURES, THEY WOULD HAVE KNOWN, In fact, a prophet had risen from Galilee.

       

      JONAH, who was a type of Jesus Christ came from Gath Hepher, which was three miles north of Nazareth in Lower Galilee (confirmed to us 2 Kings 14:25).

       

    • September 9, 2016 1:08 AM EDT
    • JOHN 8

       

      OPENS WITH JESUS: THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

       

      DID YOU KNOW THERE IS A TEXTUAL QUESTION ON John 7:53 through 8:11.

       

      From manuscript current evidence, it seems unlikely that this portion (7:53-8:11) was part of the original text of John's gospel, or at least in this place.

       

      WHY?

       

      1. The majority of ancient Greek manuscripts omit this section

      2. Many later manuscripts mark this section with asterisks

      3. One group of manuscripts inserts it after Luke 21:38

      4. A few have this section after John 21:24, and one has it after John 7:36

       

      All this shows that ancient scribes were ignorant of its exact position, but were anxious to retain it in the gospel records. They knew it belonged, but they did NOT exactly know where.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...Some ancient Christians omitted this story of the adulteress brought to Jesus for judgment, not so much because of the textual evidence, but because they thought it made Jesus appear to condone sexual immorality.

       

      At the same time, the character of the story makes it seem obvious that it is genuine, and most scholars note that it is historical and factual.

       

      Verses 7:53-8:6a) A woman is brought to Jesus, caught in the act of adultery.

       

      "And everyone went to his own house. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him."

       

      Brought to Him a woman caught in adultery...

       

      WHY?

       

      They set a trap for Jesus. If Jesus says, "Let her go," then it seems that He breaks the Mosaic Law. If he says, "Execute her for the crime of adultery," then Jesus seems harsh and He breaks Roman law, because the Romans had taken away the RIGHT of Jews to officially execute people for religious offenses.

       

      Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned...

       

      Did they really execute people for adultery in Israel?

       

      It is true that adultery was a capital offense under Jewish law, but the rules for evidence in capital cases were extremely STRICT. The actual act had to be observed by MULTIPLE witnesses who agreed EXACTLY in their testimony. So, as a practical matter, virtually FEW DOWN THROUGH BIBLICAL HISTORY were executed for adultery, since this is a private sin. And the Mosiac Law required BOTH to be killed. The man and the woman caught in adultery...NOT just the woman!

       

      This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him...

       

      These wretched men TRIED to use this woman as a weapon against Jesus.

       

      Scribes and the Pharisees ALWAYS wanted to pin Jesus to the wall with some theological question that He could NOT extricate Himself from; and, therefore, discredit Himself in the face of the people.

       

      They were ALWAYS trying to trap Him in His words. And they FELT they had really developed the ultimate trap this time. They caught a woman in an act of adultery.

       

      In fact, I would NOT be surprised if they actually got the man to do it to her just to create the trap, because the man does NOT show up. We do NOT know who he is. He may have been part of the trap. But they ripped this woman out of an adulterous relationship, and they shove her in front of Jesus right in the middle of the temple with all the people around Him.

       

      They cared nothing for true righteousness, for it is evident that they set her up. They claim that this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act - yet they do not bring the guilty man before Jesus. It's possible that the man was one of their own number, and was simply setting the woman up as a pawn in their conflict with Jesus. But regardless, BOTH should have been brought to Jesus...NOT just the woman.

       

      They see clearly the sin in others, but are blind to the sin in themselves.

       

      They are acting holier than thou furious about this sin against God. This woman has been caught in the act of adultery.

      Very serious.

      The law of God was very clear about that. Leviticus 20:10 says, "The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, even who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and adulteress shall be put to death."

       

      They did NOT keep all the law, by the way.

      The man was NOT there.

      They just kept the part they wanted.

      They had a double standard, you see.

      They did NOT mind abusing a woman.

      They would NOT touch a man.

      So they were NOT really self-righteous.

      They were just trying to trap Jesus. But, nonetheless, the law says she should die.

       

      AND REMEMBER...They were adulterers themselves. Back in Matthew 5:28, Jesus told them they were adulterers. He said to them, "You are adulterers, because every time you look on a woman to lust after her in your heart, you've committed adultery."

       

      And Jesus went on in Matthew 5:31 to say to these Pharisees and scribes, "And every time you divorce your wife for other than proper grounds and remarry another, you cause her to commit adultery, and you commit adultery, too. Your adultery is prolific."

       

      And now they ARE TRYING TO ACT sanctimonious, "We caught this woman in adultery, and Moses says she has to die." If they really believed Moses, they'd have executed each other...They only wanted to trap Jesus.

       

      Now, what is the dilemma? The dilemma is simply this. The people held up Moses. The people held up the law of God, and so had Jesus. Jesus said, "I'm not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill the law." The people had lined up behind Moses. They had lined up behind the law of God, and so had Jesus.

       

      If Jesus says, "Don't stone her," and, by the way, they had the rocks poised. They were really pressuring. If Jesus says, "Don't stone her," they would've said, "Aha, He is not of God, for He defies Moses' law, and we all know that God gave Moses the law." So if He says, "Don't stone her," then He violates Moses.

       

      On the other hand, if He says, "Stone her,"...then He's going lose His reputation as a friend of sinners. Then they're going say to Him, "How come You didn't stone all the rest of those sinners that You were eating with? How come You pick Your sinners to stone, and how come You pass Yourself off as some great humanitarian with compassion on the diseased and ill, and how come You're supposed to help the bruised and the brokenhearted and the poor? What kind of love is that?"

       

      You can see the dilemma.

       

      By the way, this is NOT a local issue. This is the most profound moral issue in the entire universe. They hit it right on the nose. They had Jesus in a dilemma that is the ultimate dilemma in all of theological thought.

       

      It is this: How does God harmonize His justice with His mercy? It is the epitome of all theological dilemmas. If God is a God of righteousness and a God of justice and a God of judgment by His holy nature, she must die. If God is a God of love and of grace and of kindness and of mercy and forgiveness, she must live. But how in the world can you harmonize those two things?...That's the dilemma.

       

      The Old Testament, Isaiah 45:21 says, "God is a just God."

       

      Amos 3:2, God says, "I will punish you for all your iniquities."

       

      And yet the Bible says in Micah, "He forgives...our transgressions."

      That's a paradox.

      How can God be a God of justice...and forgive sin?

      How can He be a God of love and punish sin?

      You know what the answer is?

      Human wisdom has NONE.

       

      Just to ease your heart and mind. There is NO ANSWER in human wisdom. This is the ultimate theological dilemma.

       

      Verse 6b tells us Jesus ignores them, as if He never heard them.

       

      "But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear."

       

      As though He did not hear...

       

      Why did Jesus ignore them?

       

      Some think it was because He despised them; others say that He was embarrassed for the woman's sake. Still others say that He was horrified at what these men did to her. Most believe rightly that Jesus KNEW it was a setup...and this poor woman a pawn to be sacrificed in their holier than thou plots to trap Jesus.

       

      Wrote on the ground with His finger...

       

      What did Jesus write?

       

      No one can know for certain. He may have listed their names or their sins; or simply doodled; He may have followed Roman judicial practice and wrote out His sentence before He pronounced it.

       

      Or, He may have written out a passage like Exodus 23:1: "Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness."

       

      Jesus simply held his peace, remained unruffled by them, because he knew their hearts and plans, and he allowed them their self-righteous lies, strutting and seemingly holier than thou righteousness because he KNEW they would hang themselves with their words and actions.

       

      Verses 7-9 tells us Jesus passes sentence upon the woman - and her accusers.

       

      "So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. " And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

       

      WHY?

       

      DID YOU KNOW...In Jewish law, witnesses to the capital offense began the stoning. When Jesus said, He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. He was really saying, "All right, let's execute her. But let's do it right. One of the witnesses to her act of adultery HAS to have a hand in her execution. So who among you is the one who witnessed this crime, but only brought to Me the woman, not the man?"

       

      IN OTHER WORDS, Jesus makes it plain - whoever the witness is, whoever the one who has the right to cast the first stone is, he is as guilty as the woman taken in adultery, because of his hypocrisy for not bringing the adulterous man with her.

       

      Went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last...

       

      Many think that Jesus was writing on the ground an account of their own sins, beginning from the oldest to the youngest, and this explains the order of their departure.

       

      Now, that isn't even the question, but that's the right answer. "First one of you without sin, go ahead, throw a stone," and you know what He did after that? He stooped down and started in the sand again and just let them stand there as their faces went red with fury & embarassment as all the crowded temple watchers looked on.

       

      They KNEW each other, you see, and they knew what each other were like. You know what they did?

       

      "They were convicted by their own conscience."

       

      THINK ABOUT THIS...If you were convicted of sin by your conscience in the presence of Jesus Christ, what would you do?

       

      Would you run to Christ for forgiveness? I would.

       

      BUT What did The Pharisees & Scribes do?

       

      They ran away, the very opposite thing.

       

      That was the BIGGEST problem with the Pharisees & Scribes.

      They NEVER wanted to face the reality of their OWN sin, because they believed themselves to be ABOVE SIN.

       

      As soon as they were convicted, instead of falling down and saying, "Oh, forgive me," they went out one by one, and it says they began with the oldest.

       

      Who stayed?

      The woman.

      Wouldn't you think that she'd have run away with everybody else?

      No, she stayed. She WAS convicted of sin.

      They were convicted of sin.

      They reacted against Christ...but SHE STAYED.

       

      Verses 10-11 tells us Jesus challenges the woman to sin no more.

       

      "When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord. " And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

       

      Has no one condemned you? With her accusers gone, there was no one left to condemn the woman, and Jesus Himself did not condemn her.

       

      REMEMBER ROMANS 8:1, "In the same way, there is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus."

       

      ODDLY ENOUGH, DID YOU KNOW...Some SO CALLED BIBLE SCHOLARS debate whether or not Jesus actually forgave the woman.

       

      WE KNOW what He knew in His heart. He knew full well that He would die on a cross for her adultery. He knew that. That was the only way. The only reason He could give her forgiveness was because He would bear in His own body her sin. It's the only way, and He knew it.

       

      That's why I say every time Jesus healed somebody, every time Jesus forgave somebody, He experienced the bitterness of the anticipation of the cross. That woman's sin would NOT go unpunished. It would be placed on Christ, and He would die for her adultery.

       

      That is being a friend to sinners, isn't it?

       

      WE look at Jesus Christ, and He's willing to die for our adultery. He's willing to die for our lies. He's willing to die for our curses against His own name. He's willing to die for our inequities in life. He's willing to die for the foul thoughts and deeds and words that have come out of our mouth. He's willing to die for every sin we have EVER committed or ever will...and He says to US what He said to the woman, "I do NOT condemn you anymore."

       

      This woman WAS redeemed that day. She stayed to seek the forgiveness of sin. They left, and Jesus gave her what the law could NEVER give her...FORGIVENESS AND REDEMPTION.

       

      That's just what He says to us, isn't it? In Christ, our sin is FORGIVEN...PARDONED....PAID FOR. I don't condemn you anymore, but go and do NOT sin anymore...JESUS friend of sinners knew He'd bear her sin on the cross.

       

      Verse 12 tells us Jesus, the light of the world.

       

      "Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

       

      I am the light of the world...

       

      DID YOU KNOW...Light was an important symbol in the Feast of Tabernacles. During the feast, many emblems and ceremonies THE COURT OF THE WOMEN WAS FILLED WITH CANDLELABRAS THAT SHINED DIAMOND BRIGHT AT NIGHT...TO remember the pillar of fire that gave light to Israel during the Exodus at night. And the light cloud that sheltered and kept them cool during the day. Now, Jesus takes this important symbol and simply applies it to Himself: I am the light of the world.

       

      I WAS ISRAEL'S PILLAR OF FIRE BY NIGHT AND I WAS ISRAEL'S LIGHT CLOUD BY DAY. I AM NOW THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD...NOT JUST ISRAEL.

       

      He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness...

       

      Jesus, being the light of the world, brings light to those who follow Him. If we are not abiding in Jesus, we are NOT in the light.

       

      The other important picture of light in the Bible relates it to God's Word...

       

      PSALM 11:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

       

      PSALM 43:3 says, "Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me."

       

      Since Jesus is the Word (John 1:1), it makes perfect sense that He is also the light.

       

      Verses 13-20 tells us The identity of Jesus, according to the testimony of two witnesses.

       

      "The Pharisees therefore said to Him, "You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true. " Jesus answered and said to them, "Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me. " Then they said to Him, "Where is Your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. " These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come."

       

      Jesus just proclaimed that He WAS, IS AND EVER SHALL BE the light of the world, but the Pharisees could NOT...WOULD NOT see it. When you can NOT see the light, it simply means that you are blind. A seeing man does NOT need someone to prove the light, he simply sees it.

       

      Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true...

       

      Jesus points out the He is qualified to give testimony about Himself.

       

      1. Jesus can testify about Himself because He, not they, has view of eternity: I know where I came from and where I am going.

       

      2. Jesus can testify about Himself because He, not they, judges righteously: You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.

       

      3. Jesus can testify about Himself because His testimony is fully supported by God the Father: My judgment is true; for I am not alone.

       

      4. Jesus has more than only His testimony about Himself. He also had the testimony of God the Father in perfect agreement...

       

      Where is Your father?

       

      The Pharisees intended this as a deeply cutting VILE insult to Jesus. They refer to His virgin birth, and to the rumors that it was NOT a miraculous conception FROM GOD, but an illicit one...IN WORDS OF TODAY...JESUS YOU ARE A ******* BORN.

       

      You know neither Me nor My Father...

       

      In referring to Jesus' parentage, the Pharisees thought they had some special "intelligence" or scandal on Him. They must have thought, "Watch how He reacts when we reveal what we know about Him. "

       

      But Jesus made it clear that they do NOT know anything about Him, or His Father at all. They believed themselves godly, biblically educated, holy, righteous, pious, the elite of elite religious that others should emulate...and Jesus reads them perfectly. They are NOT godly and do NOT know Almighty God at all.

       

      Verses 21-24 tells us TWO destinies: Jesus will go to glory, they (unless they turn) will die in their sins.

       

      "Then Jesus said to them again, "I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come. " So the Jews said, "Will He kill Himself, because He says, 'Where I go you cannot come'?" And He said to them, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

       

      This is a devastating statement. This is a characterization of the leadership of Judaism in the time of Christ. AND SADLY, IT IS THE SAME OF THE MAN-CREATED RELIGIOSITIES OF TODAY.

       

      WE HAVE AN OCEAN OF PHARISEES IN THE PULPIT TODAY. THEY SAY I AM EQUAL TO GOD. I AM GOD...LITTLE G. JESUS COMES TO ME FOR ADVICE. JESUS NEEDS MY COUNSEL. I SAVE. I HEAL. I REDEEM. I AM GOD'S PROPHET...PROPHETESS. I AM. I UNDERSTAND GOD. I KNOW ALL THERE IS TO KNOW OF GOD AND JESUS. I AM EQUAL TO JESUS.

       

      JESUS SAYS...They did not know God at all. Still true of those who reject the Savior. So that was the answer, devastating answer. They are hell bound.

       

      I am going away … Where I go you cannot come...

       

      Jesus knew He was going to heaven. Because of their hatred against Him, Jesus could say that His accusers were not going to heaven they were hell bound. Where He was going, they could not follow. No one...absolutely NO ONE who rejects Jesus Christ will enter heaven, they are hell bound.

       

      Your ignorance is confirmed. It’s willful, and it’s the product of your unbelief in the face of the revelation.” We know how extreme their rejection of Jesus was because they attributed what He did to Satan.

       

      If we follow Jesus on earth, we will follow Him to heaven.

       

      If we express NO DESIRE AND NO INTEREST to follow Him on earth, what would make us think we will follow Him to heaven?

       

      THIS IS THE THEME FROM DEUTERONOMY WITH MOSES TO REVELATION WITH JOHN.

       

      THERE ARE ONLY TWO CHOICES...MANKIND HAS TWO CHOICES.

       

      ACCEPT JESUS OR REJECT HIM. HEAVEN OR HELL. ETERNAL LIFE OR ETERNAL DEATH. No neutral ground, no purgatory, no waiting place.

       

      DEUTERONOMY 30..."I call heaven and earth to record this day against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose...CHOOSE.

       

      JOSHUA 24:15..."Choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

       

      JOHN 3:18..."He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already."

       

      REVELATION 22:17..."And the spirit and the bride say, 'Come.' And let him that heareth say, 'Come.' And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

       

      Will He kill Himself?

       

      This is another FILTHY insult against Jesus.

       

      WHY?

       

      In Jewish teaching, NOT BIBLICAL TEACHING, the lowest and blackest levels of Hades were for those who committed suicide. Now, the Pharisees try to twist Jesus' words to imply that He will commit suicide and therefore be damned eternally to hell himself.

       

      Because he said where I go you can't come,'" and they're laughing. This is humor to them. This is funny. "Oh, he's going to commit suicide." They believed since he is going to kill himself He is going to hell and we are going to Heaven.

       

      Jesus QUICKLY CORRECTS THEIR ERROR...YOU ARE FROM BELOW...I AM FROM ABOVE. YOU ARE HELL BOUND...I AM HEAVEN BOUND.

       

      If you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins...

       

      JESUS GIVES US 4 ELEMENTS THAT WILL GUARANTEE THOSE WHO WILL DIE IN THEIR SIN.

       

      1. SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS...The first way to guarantee that you'll die in your sin and not go to the Father's house, not go to Heaven, not be where Jesus is the first thing is to just be convinced that you do NOT NEED to be saved. Just be convinced that you ARE all right. You have NO NEED of a savior. You are a good, moral person.

       

      2. TO BE EARTH-BOUND...Buy into the world systems. Satan-origin religiosities, all things of this earth opposed to Jesus. Choose the world over Jesus.

       

      3. UNBELIEVING...Choosing to reject Jesus and His word. Reject The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

       

      4. WILLFUL IGNORANCE...Hearing, reading, studying and knowing the evidence the truth of The Gospel of who Jesus Christ is and what by love and grace HE did for mankind...then dismiss it as fairy tales.

       

      People are born in sin (Psalm 51:5), Since all sin must be dealt with, those who die in their sins will have to pay for their sins beginning in the waiting prison of hell and then eternally in the Lake of Fire.

       

      But if we have our sins dealt with now, on this side of death, by trusting in whom Jesus is and what He did to save us, we can avoid dying in our sins.

       

      If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins...

       

      ALMIGHTY GOD AND JESUS CHRIST DO NOT SEND ANYONE TO THE WAITING PRISON OF HELL AND AN ETERNITY IN THE LAKE OF FIRE...MAN CHOOSES IT.

       

      Verses 25-30 tells us Jesus proclaims His dependence on and obedience to the Father.

       

      "Then they said to Him, "Who are You?" And Jesus said to them, "Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him. " They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him. " As He spoke these words, many believed in Him."

       

      Who are You?

       

      This question of the Pharisees comes from a combination of willful contempt. Though Jesus has told them over and over who He is, they will continue to ask until they get an answer they can use to condemn Him.

       

      I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him...

       

      So, if the Pharisees have a hard time with Jesus, they really have a hard time with God the Father.

       

      When you lift up the Son of Man...

       

      The "lifting up" Jesus describes has nothing to do with "exalting" Jesus in any way; it has to do with "lifting up" Jesus off the ground on a cross. When Jesus is crucified, they will see the perfect obedience of the Son to the Father. AND THEY WILL KNOW HE IS I AM, THE MESSIAH, ALMIGHTY GOD IN HUMAN FLESH.

       

      The Father has not left Me alone...I always do the things that please Him...

       

      Jesus is bold enough to say these words to His adversaries - essentially challenging His enemies to find something He does which does NOT please God the Father. And His enemies are silent! This is a remarkable testimony to the sinlessness of Jesus.

       

      The Pharisees and Scribes could not find ONE MISSTEP, ONE LIE, ONE SIN in all of Jesus life and ministry. They lied and said he blasphemied God because Jesus said He and Father were one.

       

      I always do those things that please Him...

       

      It is easy to say, "I always do the will of the Father" when you are only debating theological points. It is another thing entirely to "always do the will of the Father" when it means going to the cross. The cross will prove the obedience of Jesus.

       

      As He spoke these words, many believed in Him...

       

      Jesus' message of His unity with the Father was so well received by some because His life was consistent with the message. Unlike the Pharisees, one could see that Jesus was close to God. The Pharisees cultivated an OUTWARD PIOUS image of intimacy with God, but it was evident they were not. They twisted God's word to the people. They lied about God's word and His warnings and His promises. They ignored Old Testament prophecy of Jesus. They taught that they were the righteousness of God, but their lies, greed, self-centeredness, lack of love, care, and compassion proved over and over and over again...that they did NOT know God or Jesus and His word at all.

       

       

      Verses 31-32 tells us Jesus offers discipleship and freedom to those believing in Him.

       

      "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

       

      If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed...

       

      Jesus was not content to win a debate with these questioners. He wanted to bring them to salvation - and the only way that could happen is if they would abide in His word.

       

      There is NO other way. To be a follower of Jesus - the Word made flesh - is to abide (to live in, to dwell in, to make your home in) His word.

       

      When we abide in His word, and are His disciples, then we shall know the truth, and the truth make you free. The freedom Jesus talks about does NOT come from just an academic pursuit of "truth" in general; but from BELIEVING, FEEDING ON, AND ABIDING in His word and being His disciple.

       

      There is nothing like the freedom we can have in Jesus.

      No money can buy it, no status can obtain it, no works can earn it, and nothing can match it. And tragically, how few Christians really walk in it! It can never be found except by abiding in God's word and being Jesus' disciple.

       

      Verses 33-36 tells us Jesus answers their protest that they are already free.

       

      "They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, 'You will be made free'?" Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

       

      We … have never been in bondage to anyone?

       

      TALK ABOUT ARROGANCE AND BLIND IGNORANCE. NEVER BEEN IN BONDAGE...REALLY? Free and always have been? What about Israel's bondage under Egypt, under Persia, under Syria, and now under Rome?

       

      Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin...

       

      Sin in this passage is in a verb tense indicating a habitual, continual action. The person in habitual sin is a slave of sin.

       

      A slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever...

       

      Slavery to sin is the worst kind of slavery, because there is no escape from ourselves. A Son must set us free, and the Son of God sets us free and brings us into the household of God.

       

      If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed...

       

      Freedom does NOT consist in the word "freedom," or in words, but in relationship to Jesus Christ, through abiding in His Word, and being His disciple.

       

      Verses 37-41a tells us They prove themselves to be unlike their father Abraham.

       

      "I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father. " They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father. " Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father."

       

      Jesus will admit that they are Abraham's descendants - but Abraham is NOT their father in a spiritual sense. After all, when messengers from heaven came to Abraham, he RECEIVED them (Genesis 18). But these men reject the one sent from heaven.

       

      What, specifically, proves them to be unlike Abraham? My word has no place in you. Again, the emphasis is made on abiding in the word of Jesus, and doing so because we understand His unity with the Father.

       

      I speak what I have seen with My Father...

       

      Jesus reminds them that what He does is consistent with His Father, and what they do is consistent with their father (you do what you have seen with your father). But who is their father? Jesus will shortly explain.

       

      Abraham is our father...

       

      Jesus disagrees. He WILL agree they are DESCENDENTS of Abraham, but NOT CHILDREN of Abraham because they seek to kill Jesus, when Abraham embraced Him. They are doing the deeds of your father...SATAN.

       

      Our spiritual parentage is what determines our nature and our destiny. If we are born again, and have God as our Father, it will show in our nature and destiny. But if our father is Satan or Adam, it will also show in our nature and destiny - just as it shows in these adversaries of Jesus.

       

      Verses 41b-47 tells us Jesus reveals the identity of their true father.

       

      "Then they said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father; God. " Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God."

       

      We were not born of fornication...

       

      Again, they try to VILEY insult the parentage of Jesus. The implication is, "We were not born of fornication, but we do NOT know about You, Jesus. "

       

      The issue comes back to spiritual parentage...

       

      You are of your father the devil. Because they are the spiritual children of the devil, they do the things he does - lie and murder.

       

      When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources...

       

      Jesus gives us some insight into the character of Satan. The lie is inherit to the devil's character, and he is the deceiver most dangerous of all - the deceiver that is deceived himself.

       

      Which of you convicts Me of sin? Again, Jesus gives His enemies - who hate Him so badly they want to kill Him - an opportunity to declare some sin in Him - and they cannot! This is another remarkable testimony to the sinlessness of Jesus Christ.

       

      You do not hear, because you are not of God...

       

      Jesus presses home the point of spiritual parentage, which is evident by the way that people act, and will determine people's destiny.

       

      Verses 48-50 tells Jesus answers the charge that He is demon possessed.

       

      "Then the Jews answered and said to Him, "Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?" Jesus answered, "I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges."

       

      Do we not say rightly...

       

      The enemies of Jesus are frustrated, and exasperated. They have been unable to make Jesus look bad, and even more have believed on Him (John 8:30). So they launch their last volley: You are a Samaritan (one of the most despised races, the half-breed Jews) and have a demon (is demon possessed).

       

      I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father...

       

      Jesus' desire to honor God and His personal humility disprove any charge of demonic possession. Since those who have Satan as their spiritual parent will have some of the characteristics of Satan, they will have an evident pride and self-seeking - things that are ABSENT in Jesus.

       

      Verses 51-59 tells us Jesus' unity with God the Father and Abraham's witness of it.

       

      "Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death. " Then the Jews said to Him, "Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, 'If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death. ' Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom do You make Yourself out to be?" Jesus answered, "If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, 'I do not know Him,' I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad. " Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am. " Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

       

      If anyone keeps My word he shall never see death...

       

      This is another remarkable claim that only makes sense if Jesus is God, and is one with God the Father. Jesus promises eternal life to those who keep His word.

       

      Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead...

       

      This claim delights the Pharisees opposing Jesus; they believe they finally have Him! How can Jesus promise such life - shall never see death - when Abraham himself could never make such a promise! Does Jesus claim to be greater than Abraham was? Whom do You make Yourself out to be?

       

      It is My Father who honors Me...

       

      Jesus does claim to be greater than Abraham - but it is not an honor He takes to Himself. Yet they do not recognize this honor, because they have not know Him.

       

      Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad...

       

      Not only is Jesus greater than Abraham, but Abraham himself acknowledged this! Jesus declaration of this brings back the accusation "How could you know Abraham rejoiced in You? Were You there?" To which Jesus replies, "Yes!"

       

      Before Abraham was, I Am...

       

      This is the THIRD TIME in this chapter Jesus uses the phrase I Am (John 8:24, 8:28), and here in John 8:58.

       

      I Am...

       

      In using the phrase I Am (John 8:24, 8:58, 13:19) Jesus used a clear divine title belonging to Yahweh alone (Exodus 3:13-14, Deuteronomy 32:39, Isaiah 43:10) and was interpreted as such by Jesus' listeners (John 8:58-59).

       

      The best proof what Jesus meant by claiming to be the I Am is found by seeing the response of His listeners...

       

      They took up stones to throw at Him. They wanted to stone Him for blasphemy, for claiming to be God.

       

      The remarkable theme through this whole chapter is expressed strongly at the end...

       

      Jesus is in perfect unity with God the Father, because He Himself is God. Those who reject Jesus reject Him because their "spiritual parentage" is not of God.

       

      Our spiritual parentage is of the utmost importance - and it is revealed by our response to Jesus. Who is your spiritual father? You prove it by your actions as well as claiming it by your words.

       

       

    • September 9, 2016 1:02 AM EDT
    • JOHN 9

       

       

      OPENS WITH JESUS GIVES SIGHT TO A MAN BORN BLIND

       

      Verses 1-2 tells us The disciples ask a question.

       

      "Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

       

      Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

       

      The disciples regarded this man as an unsolved riddle; but Jesus regarded him as a suffering person needing relief.

       

      We often suspect that where there is a more than ordinary sufferer, there is a more than ordinary sinner; the disciples believed this to be so to the extent that they wondered if this man was a most remarkable sinner - one who personally sinned before he was born!

       

      Verses 3-5 tells us Jesus responds to the question, without answering it.

       

      "Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

       

      Neither this man nor his parents sinned...

       

      Jesus' response was "I'm not here to answer such questions, but to do the work of God in alleviating such suffering while I can."

       

      This is an answer consistent with the spirit of the book of Job. Sometimes, God intentionally leaves us without knowledge regarding the source or reason behind pain.

       

      It is possible that John 9:3 could be punctuated like this: "… nor his parents sinned. But that the works of God should be revealed in him, I must work …"

       

      Why do such bad things happen?

       

      Generally, because we live in a fallen world, a world willing to serve Satan and sin.

       

      While it is day...

       

      If we neglect our opportunities for service to Jesus NOW, they may be lost forever.

       

      Verses 6-7 tells us The man is healed.

       

      "When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing."

       

      He spat … and He anointed the eyes...

       

      WE NOTICE IN THIS MIRACLE, Jesus took all the initiative. The blind man did not come to Jesus and ask to be healed, Jesus came to Him. Still, He expected the blind man to respond in faith (Go, wash in the pool of Siloam).

       

      So he went and washed, and came back seeing...

       

      This was a completely UNIQUE miracle in the Scriptures. From Genesis to John, no prophet, no priest, or no apostle EVER gave sight to blind eyes but Jesus did this type of healing more than any other miracle.

       

      Since healing blind eyes is the work of the Lord, Yahweh, Jehovah, it shows that Jesus is God.

       

      PSALM 146:8, "The Lord opens the eyes of the blind."

       

      DID YOU KNOW...Opening the eyes of the blind was a specific work of the Messiah.

       

      ISAIAH 35:5, "The eyes of the blind shall be opened."

       

      Made clay with the saliva...

       

      Why did Jesus use clay and spit?

       

      Jesus often varied His methods of healing so they could never be "formularized. " As well, we can see that Jesus is using the dust of the ground and clay to do a work of creation in man, just like in Genesis.

       

      Not many people would appreciate having mud made with spit rubbed in their eyes. Some would look at how Jesus did this miracle and object, saying that it was offensive, inadequate, or even harmful to rub mud made with spit in a man's eyes.

       

      In the same way, some feel that the gospel is offensive.

       

      It is true that it offends man's pride and human wisdom.

       

      1 CORINTHIANS 1:21 reminds us, "But it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe."

       

      In the same way, some feel that the gospel is inadequate.

       

      But have all the psychiatric and political and social programs in the world EVER DONE more good that the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ?

       

      In the same way, some feel that the gospel is harmful, that the free offer of grace in Jesus will cause people to sin that grace may abound.

       

      But the gospel changes our life for the good and the pure, not unto wickedness.

       

      Verses 8-12 tells us The neighbors REACT to the healed man.

       

      "Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, "Is not this he who sat and begged?" Some said, "This is he. " Others said, "He is like him. " He said, "I am he. " Therefore they said to him, "How were your eyes opened?" He answered and said, "A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to the pool of Siloam and wash. ' So I went and washed, and I received sight. " Then they said to him, "Where is He?" He said, "I do not know."

       

      Others said, "He is like him. " He said, "I am he": It seems too amazing to believe, but the man convinced them that he was in fact healed from congenital blindness.

       

      A man called Jesus...

       

      At this point, the man knew very little about Jesus. He didn't know anything more about Jesus than His name, and that He healed him.

       

      Verses 13-16 tells us The healed man is brought to the Pharisees.

       

      "They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see. " Therefore some of the Pharisees said, "This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath. " Others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" And there was a division among them."

       

      Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes...

       

      Jesus took the initiative in this miracle, and could have done it on any day He chose.

       

      Then why did Jesus do this miracle on the Sabbath?

       

      Jesus did this to challenge the petty traditions of the religious leader, traditions that they elevated to the place of binding laws.

       

      Therefore some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath"...

       

      To the Pharisees, Jesus could not be from God because He did not line up with THEIR traditions and prejudices.

       

      IS IT NOT THE SAME TODAY...MANY RELIGIOSITIES HAVE SPRUNG UP OVER MAN'S HISTORY, BECAUSE THEY DID NOT LIKE THE BIBLE AND JESUS AND HIS TEACHING THAT THEY WERE NOT PLEASED WITH OR COMFORTABLE WITH...SO THEY CREATED RELIGIONS THAT SUITED THEIR TRADITIONS, BELIEFS.

       

      Verses 17-23 tells us The Pharisees question the man's parents.

       

      "They said to the blind man again, "What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet. " But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" His parents answered them and said, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself. " His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."

       

      He is a prophet...

       

      In John 9:11, all the man knew about Jesus was His name. Here, the healed man now proclaims that Jesus is a prophet. He grows in his understanding and proclamation about Jesus.

       

      By what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know....

       

      The Pharisees COULD NOT AND WOULD NOT even bring themselves to believe that the man who said he was born blind was actually born blind. Therefore, they questioned the man's parents and asked them if he was born blind and how he was healed. In their reply, the parents carefully avoid controversy, because of the threat of excommunication (the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue).

       

      Verses 24-34 tells us The healed man holds his own when interrogated by the Pharisees, resulting in his excommunication.

       

      "So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, "Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner. " He answered and said, "Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see. " Then they said to him again, "What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?" He answered them, "I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?" Then they reviled him and said, "You are His disciple, but we are Moses' disciples. "We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from. " The man answered and said to them, "Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing. " They answered and said to him, "You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?" And they cast him out."

       

      Give God the glory...

       

      This command to the healed man may be an admonition to tell the truth (as in Joshua 7:19), or a command to deny any credit to Jesus in the healing.

       

      One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see...

       

      The man born blind DOES NOT know everything about Jesus, but he does know how Jesus has touched his life. This is an irrefutable argument. How can they argue against what Jesus did in this man's life?

       

      Relying on what we personally experience with Jesus is about the only way to deal with people who are so prejudiced. No one can effectively argue against "though I was blind, now I see."

       

      Do you also want to become His disciples?

       

      The healed man both mocks their prejudiced rejection of Jesus, and proclaims himself to be a disciple of Jesus (do you also).

       

      Why, this is a marvelous thing...

       

      The healed man says this about their unbelief, not about the miracle of Jesus. It as if he tells the Pharisees, "Your unbelief and ignorance in the face of the evidence is more of a miracle than my cure!"

       

      We know that God does not hear sinners...

       

      REMEMBER Isaiah 1:15 and Psalm 66:18 indicate that God does not hear the sinner. Therefore, the claim that "we know this man is a sinner" is false according to the Scriptures. The blind man is no theologian, but he offers a well-reasoned argument according to the Scriptures, but if falls on deaf ears.

       

      And they cast him out...

       

      The excommunication of the blind man turned out to be a good thing, because it prevented him from trying to live in two worlds. Being "put out" of our old group is undeniably painful, but it is usually spiritually helpful.

       

      AND THIS SHOWS US THAT WHEN WE SPEAK JESUS TRUTH THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO REJECT IT, DENY IT, MOCK IT, OR CAST US FROM THEIR PRESENCE AND THEIR FELLOWSHIP IS ANSWER OF ALL THOSE WHO REFUSE TO BELIEVE.

       

      I DARE SAY, THAT MOST OF US, ONCE WE COME TO JESUS AND BELIEVE ON HIM TO BE OUR LORD SAVIOR MASTER AND FRIEND AND BEGIN TO STUDY AND LEARN HIS WORD, HIS TRUTH, HIS TEACHINGS, AND HIS COMMANDS...WE GAIN DISCERNMENT AND WHEN WE THEN QUESTION, CHALLENGE, OR SEEK TO CORRECT IN LOVE THE FALSE TEACHINGS WE HAVE HEARD IN CHURCH, BIBLE STUDIES...AND WE SPEAK OUT AGAINST THEIR TEACHINGS AND SEEK TO GIVE THEM THE TRUTH...THEY DO NOT WANT TO HEAR IT...THEY REJECT IT AND REJECT US...

       

      Verses 35-38 tells us The healed man believes on Jesus.

       

      "Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you. " Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him."

       

      When He had found him...

       

      The man whom Jesus healed was rejected by the religious community, but now Jesus made it a point to FIND HIM, MEET HIM AND RECEIVE HIM. It hurts to be rejected by others, but it should be enough to be accepted by Jesus.

       

      Do you believe in the Son of God?

       

      Jesus calls on the healed man him to fully believe, and he does. When the healed man declared his loyalty to Jesus by sticking by Him before the hostile Pharisees, he was rewarded when Jesus revealed more of Himself to him (You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you).

       

      Jesus dealt with this man differently than most.

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      JESUS MET his physical need first, then allowed him to endure persecution, then called him to a specific belief. Are we willing to allow Jesus to deal with people differently today?

       

      And he worshipped Him...

       

      When the man worshipped Jesus, Jesus received the worship. This is something that NO man or NO angel in the Bible does.

       

      The healed man has an increasing awareness of who Jesus is.

       

      - A man called Jesus (John 9:11)

      - He is a prophet (John 9:17)

      - A man from God (John 9:33)

      - The Son of God, worthy of worship (John 9:38)

       

      Verses 39-41 tells us Jesus distinguishes between the blind and the seeing.

       

      "And Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind. " Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, "Are we blind also?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see. ' Therefore your sin remains."

       

      That those who do not see may see...

       

      Those who admit their spiritual blindness can find sight in Jesus. But those who see may be made blind - that is, those who falsely claim to have spiritual sight will be made blind.

       

      Are we blind also?

       

      The Pharisees sneer at Jesus, confident in their own spiritual sight - which was blindness, because they could not see the Son of God right in front of them.

       

      If you were blind, you would have no sin...

       

      If the Pharisees would admit to their spiritual blindness, they could be forgiven and set free - but because they say "we see," their sin remains.

       

      John 9 paints a picture of how Jesus heals blind souls.

       

      - We are all spiritually blind from birth

      - Jesus takes the initiative in healing us from blindness

      - Jesus does a work of creation in us, not reformation

      - In this work, Jesus calls us to be obedient to what He commands

      - Jesus commands us to be washed in the water of baptism

      - We become a mystery to our former associates, not even seeming to be the same person

      - We display loyalty to Jesus when we are persecuted, boldly and plainly testifying of His work in our lives and confounding others

      - We pass from little knowledge to greater knowledge, and this brings us to greater worship and adoration

      - We never know the name of this man born blind. Jesus is the important One; a true disciple is content to remain anonymous if his Lord gets the glory.

       

    • September 9, 2016 12:58 AM EDT
    • JOHN 10

       

      OPENS WITH JESUS' CONTRAST BETWEEN THE GOOD SHEPHERDS AND FALSE SHEPHERDS.

       

       

      Verses 1-2 tells us Jesus is the true, legitimate shepherd, who enters in the way that is proper and prepared (by Old Testament prophecies).

       

      "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep."

       

      A thief and a robber...

       

      The Pharisees have shown that they ARE ungodly leaders of Israel by their excommunication of the man born blind. They avoided the proper entry to the kingdom of God (some other way), therefore they are suspect.

       

      He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep...

       

      Shepherd was a common Old Testament picture of a leader of God's people, whether good or bad, confirmed to us in Isaiah 56:11, Jeremiah 31:5.

       

      Verses 3-6 tells us The sheep and their shepherd.

       

      "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. " Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them."

       

      To him the doorkeeper opens...

       

      DID YOU KNOW...In towns, sheep from many flocks were kept for the night in a common sheepfold, overseen by one "doorkeeper" who regulated which shepherds brought and took which sheep.

       

      He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out...

       

      The shepherd calls the sheep BY NAME, showing that the shepherd has A PERSONAL connection with the sheep. The shepherd LEADS them, instead of DRIVING them, showing His loving care for the sheep.

       

      For they know his voice...

       

      In the common sheepfolds of ancient times, the shepherd merely gave his distinctive call and his sheep came out from the others, following him out of the sheepfold. Sheep ARE experts at discerning their shepherd's voice.

       

      INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, During World War I, some Turkish soldiers tried to steal a flock of sheep from a hillside near Jerusalem. The shepherd, who had been sleeping, awoke to find his flock being driven off. He could NOT recapture them by force, so he called out to his flock with his distinctive call. The sheep listened, and returned to their rightful owner. The soldiers could NOT stop the sheep from returning to their shepherd's voice.

       

      He brings out his own sheep...

       

      Here, Jesus speaks of calling his own sheep from the fold of Judaism. He WILL call out a remnant that will believe in Him, confirmed to us in Romans 11:5.

       

      Verses 7-10 tells us The true shepherd PROTECTS AND PROMOTES life; the false shepherds TAKE AWAY life.

       

      "Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."

       

      I am the door of the sheep..

       

      Is Jesus the door, or is He the one who has the right to enter through the door?

       

      BOTH things are true of Jesus.

      When Jesus speaks of the door in this passage, He refers to a different type of sheepfold, one used out in the fields, not in the towns.

       

      A "field" sheep pen was an enclosure for sheep with only one entrance. It might be a cave, a stone or mud-brick structure, and it might or might not have a roof.

       

      I am the door...

       

      LAST YEAR, CINDY LOU, DID A BIBLE STUDY/DEVOTIONAL WITH A PICTURE OF THE SHEPHERD BEING THE DOOR. OF THE SHEPHERD LYING DOWN AND SLEEPING BEFORE THE ONLY ENTRANCE AND THE ONLY EXIT TO THE SHEEPFOLD TO BE EVERY VIGILANT AND PROTECTIVE OF HIS SHEEP.

       

      In a "field" sheepfold, the shepherd actually laid his body across the entrance, to keep the sheep in and to keep out the wolves. The shepherd was in fact THE door.

       

      All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers...

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      Thief implies deception and trickery; robber implies violence and destruction. These TAKE AWAY life but Jesus GIVES life and He gives it abundantly.

       

      Verses 11-15 tells us The good shepherd will lay down his life for the flock.

       

      "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep."

       

      The GOOD shepherd gives His life, even dies to protect and to save for the sheep.

       

      The BAD shepherd thinks the flock exists for his benefit.

       

      - The good shepherd sacrifices for the sheep

      - The good shepherd knows his sheep

      - The good shepherd is known by the sheep

       

      The faithful pastor will, as an under-shepherd, display the same characteristics as the Good Shepherd.

       

      1. He will sacrifice for the sheep.

      2. He will know the sheep.

      3. He will be known by them.

      4. He will be a shepherd and not a hireling who does not care about the sheep.

       

      INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH...DID YOU KNOW...

       

      The title "pastor" translates the same ancient Greek word used here for "shepherd". It is a title that is only rightfully EARNED, not granted or assumed.

       

      Verse 16 tells us Jesus speaks of other sheep.

       

      "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd."

       

      Other sheep I have which are not of this fold...

       

      These "other sheep" are Gentile believers, not of the fold of Israel.

       

      There is ONE flock and ONE shepherd in Jesus; but Jesus DOES call His sheep from more than one fold (group of people).

       

      There will be one flock...

       

      The early Christian Bible translator Jerome, when translating his influential Latin version mistakenly translated one fold instead of one flock in this verse. His Latin Vulgate reading is the erroneous foundation for a FALSE doctrine of Roman Catholic exclusiveness.

       

      Verses 17-18 tells us Jesus claims to have power over life and death.

       

      "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."

       

      Therefore My Father loves Me...

       

      ANYONE can lay down his life; ONLY Jesus can take His life up again. Because Jesus has the power to take up His own life, it is evidence of His unique relationship with His Father.

       

      That I may take it again … I have power to take it again...

       

      In this sense, we can say that Jesus "raised Himself" from the dead. He had the power to lay down His life, and He had the power to take it up again.

       

      INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH...It does NOT surprise us that Jehovah's Witnesses DENY that Jesus could take His own life up again. But we are VERY SURPRISED, VERY SADDENED, surprised to see Copeland, Hagin, Price, Prince, Meyers, Crouch, Jakes, Osteen, Hinn, White, Murdock, and others teach that Jesus was a helpless victim in hell, saved only by the intervention of God the Father.

       

      This command I have received from My Father...

       

      The death of Jesus was completely voluntary, but it was NOT an indirect suicide in any sense as many falsely teach. It was part of a plan to submit to death and then to emerge from it victoriously alive, according to the command … received from God the Father.

       

      Verses 19-21 tells us Jesus is accused of being demon-possessed and insane.

       

      "Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. And many of them said, "He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?" Others said, "These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"

       

      He has a demon and is mad...

       

      Jesus made such radical claims about Himself that people divided over Him. Some believe He was whom He said He was. Others believed that anyone who claimed to be God as Jesus claimed must either have a demon or be mad.

       

      William Barclay was right when wrote, "Either Jesus was a meglo-maniac madman, or he was the Son of God."

       

      By what we know of Jesus, is it fair to say that He was a madman?

       

      1. The words of Jesus were NOT the words of a madman; instead, they are supreme sanity.

       

      2. The deeds of Jesus are NOT the deeds of a meglo-maniac; instead, they were utterly unselfish.

       

      3. The effect of Jesus is NOT the effect of a madman; instead, He has changed millions for the good.

       

      These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?

       

      Miraculous works like opening the eyes of the blind can be a valid testimony, but only in concert with faithfulness to the word of God.

       

      These people were right in looking at both the works and the words of Jesus.

       

       

      Verse 22 tells us Jesus was at The Feast of Dedication in wintertime.

       

      "Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter."

       

      WHAT IS THE FEAST OF DEDICATION?

       

      This feast (Hanukkah) celebrated the cleansing and re-dedication of the temple after three years of desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria (in 164 B.C., the time of the Maccabees).

       

      Verses 23-29 tells us Jesus tells who He is and why they do NOT believe it.

       

      "And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch. Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, "How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly. " Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone ****** them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to ****** them out of My Father's hand."

       

      The works I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me...

       

      The works Jesus did said that He was from God, and that He was true to His word.

       

      You do not believe, because you are not My sheep...

       

      Jesus carries on the same "spiritual parentage" theme seen in John 8. Their lack of belief betrays the fact that they are NOT the sheep of Jesus NOR HIS FATHER.

       

      Neither shall anyone ****** them out of My hand...

       

      We would expect that the Good Shepherd would take good care of His sheep. The sheep are safe and secure in hand of the Good Shepherd.

       

      AND THIS ANSWERS THE QUESTION WE OFTEN HEAR, CAN SATAN AND THE LOST WORLD EVER ****** US OR TAKE US AWAY FROM JESUS GRASP.

       

      THE ANSWER IS NOT EVER!

       

      Verses 30-33 tells us Jesus declares His unity with the Father.

       

      "I and My Father are one. " Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God."

       

      I and My Father are one...

       

      This is AN IMPORTANT statement regarding the deity of Jesus and the nature of the godhead.

       

      I and My Father refutes the "Jesus Only" doctrine (anciently known as Sabelianism).

       

      Ones refutes the teaching that Jesus is NOT God (anciently known as Arianism).

       

      Opponents of the deity of Jesus say that the oneness Jesus had with the Father was only a unity of purpose and mission - even as a husband and wife or father and son may have a unity of purpose of mission, and still they are not the same person.

       

      This, however, misses the point.

       

      WHY?

       

      FIRST, we never argue that the Bible teaches that the Father and the Son are the same Person - they are one God, but distinct in Person.

       

      SECOND, it misses the most obvious point: that even true unity of purpose and mission between a husband and wife or father and son exist only because they are each equally and totally human. You can NOT really speak of even a unity of purpose and mission between a human and a dog; is NOT the distance between God and man even greater?

       

      Even if the unity described by Jesus was merely a unity of purpose and mission (and it is more than that), even that would only be possible if the Father and Son were equally and totally God.

       

      The Jews took up stones again to stone Him...

       

      Some would lessen the power of I and the Father are one by saying it only refers to a unity of purpose and will. But how could a statement like that be considered blasphemy by the Jews who heard Jesus say these words?

       

      The Jews of Jesus' day see clearly what the Jehovah's Witnesses and others seem to miss: that Jesus clearly claimed to be God (because You, being a Man, make Yourself God).

       

      Jesus wanted us to be one as He and the Father are one, confirmed to us in John 17:11, 17:21.

       

      Such oneness can NOT exist without an equality of essence, and all believers have this equality, confirmed to us in Galatians 3:26-28), even as the Father and Son have this equality.

       

      Verses 34-39 tells us Jesus reasons with them on the basis of Scripture (quoting from Psalm 82) and His works.

       

      "Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods"'? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him. " Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand."

       

      Is it not written in your law, "I said, 'You are gods'"...

       

      The judges of Psalm 82 were called "gods" because in their office they determined the fate of other men. Also, in Exodus 21:6 and 22:8-9, God calls earthly judges "gods."

       

      If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came...

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      Jesus is saying "If God gives these unjust judges the title 'gods' because of their office, why do you consider it blasphemy that I call Myself the 'Son of God' in light of the testimony of Me and My works?"

       

      Jesus is NOT, as so many false religiosities claim and teach, taking the statement "you are gods" in Psalm 82 and applying it to ALL humanity, or to ALL believers.

       

      The use of gods in Psalm 82 was a metaphor - and Jesus is exposing both the ignorance and inconsistency of His accusers here.

       

      Verses 40-42 tells us Many believe on Jesus.

       

      "And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed. Then many came to Him and said, "John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true. " And many believed in Him there."

       

      And many believed in Him there...

       

      Despite the influence of the Pharisees who were blind (as shown in John 9) and were bad shepherds (as shown in John 10), many people still came to Jesus.

       

      THIS SHOULD ENCOURAGE AND REMIND US....God's work goes on, despite the opposition of man and Satan.

       

    • September 9, 2016 12:55 AM EDT
    • JOHN 11

       

      OPENS WITH JESUS RAISES LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD

       

      Verses 1-3 tells us A request is brought to Jesus.

       

      "Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick."

       

      Mary … her sister Martha … brother Lazarus...

       

      Jesus had a close relationship with this family, and it was expected that if He miraculously met the needs of so many others, He would meet their need also.

       

      Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick...

       

      DO YOU NOTICE...They do not state their request, but they do not need to. Where there is a true bond of love, there is no need to request a favor; it is enough to make the need known.

       

      Verses 4-6 tells us Jesus responds with a delay.

       

      "When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was."

       

      This sickness is not unto death...

       

      Lazarus was already dead when Jesus said this; but He knew the end result of this would be the glory of God, not death.

       

      He stayed two more days...

       

      In John's gospel, there are THREE times when someone near and dear to Jesus makes a request of Him (the other two are His mother at Cana, and His brothers on their way to Jerusalem). In each of these three cases, Jesus responded in the SAME way.

       

      1. He first refused to grant their request, then He fulfilled it after asserting that He does things according to the timing and will of God, not man.

       

      2. Through His actions, Jesus demonstrated that His delays were NOT denials. They would bring greater glory to God.

       

      Verses 7-10 tells us Jesus courageously decides to go to Judea and Jerusalem.

       

      "Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again." The disciples said to Him, "Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?" Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."

       

      Let us go to Judea again...

       

      THINK ABOUT THIS...Jesus could have raised Lazarus from a distance, could He not? But Jesus was willing to go to Judea and minister to Lazarus and his family, even though it was dangerous to go there. Jesus walked in the confidence of someone who really trusts God.

       

      Are there not twelve hours in the day?

       

      Jesus' disciples were shocked that He would return to the region of Judea when He was a wanted man there. But Jesus makes it clear that He still has work to do. The twelve hours probably refer to the time allotted by the Father for Jesus' earthly ministry.

       

      If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble...

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      During these hours NO harm could come to Jesus and the disciples, but now they must work before the night of Jesus' passion.

       

      Verses 11-15 tells us Jesus tells them plainly of Lazarus' death.

       

      "These things He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up. " Then His disciples said, "Lord, if he sleeps he will get well. " However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him."

       

      Lazarus is dead. And I am glad...

       

      Jesus could be glad, even in the death of a dear friend, because He was certain of the outcome. Moreover, Jesus KNEW that Lazarus would live with Him forever in Heaven too.

       

      Verse 16 tells us Thomas' bold faith.

       

      "Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him."

       

      Let us also go, that we may die with Him...

       

      Thomas expresses what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. He is willing to go with Jesus, even if it means dying with Him. Thomas may not have understood it at the time, but we can know today that if we die with Him we will surely be raised and be glorified with Him.

       

      Thomas, like the other disciples, did NOT understand all that Jesus said or meant. But what he did know was enough to make him willing to die with and for Jesus.

       

      Here is a sufficient rule for Christians, those who love Jesus and call Him Lord, Savior, Master, and friend to walk by in this life, whether our faith be dim or clear; mature or a babe in Jesus...follow Jesus...come what may. THAT IS SHEER LOYALTY our Jesus approves and expects of us.

       

      Thomas, who is called the Twin...

       

      DID YOU KNOW...SOME SAY THAT EARLY CHURCH tradition says that Thomas was called "The Twin" because he looked like Jesus, putting him at special risk. If any among the disciples of Jesus were potential targets of persecution, it would be the one who looked like Jesus.

       

      Verses 17-22 tells us Martha greets Jesus as He comes to Bethany.

       

      "So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Then Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You."

       

      He had already been in the tomb four days...

       

      Why did He wait four days?

       

      INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH....DID YOU KNOW...Jesus did this in light of the Jewish superstition of that day that said a soul stays near the grave for three days, hoping to return to the body. Therefore, it was accepted that after four days there was absolutely NO hope of resuscitation.

       

      Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died...

       

      Martha plainly states her disappointment in Jesus' late arrival. Even if she does NOT show total confidence in Jesus at this point, her honesty with Jesus is refreshing.

       

      Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You...

       

      Martha is NOT confident that Jesus will raise her brother, rather she says that she still believes in Him despite the disappointment. Can we say the same thing?

       

      Verses 23-27 tells us I am the resurrection and the life.

       

      "Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again. " Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. " Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."

       

      I am the resurrection and the life...

       

      With this statement, Jesus overthrows everything thing BRAIN TRUST SCIENTISTS AND RESEARCHERS HAVE EVER KNOWN AND BELIEVED about Thermodynamics and the law of entropy and the way things work in this world. For a long, long time, death has ruled over men like a tyrant. This is not the land of the living, but the land of the dying. Once something becomes a closed system, such as a dead body, no heat can come back to it or flow from it ever again. Dead is dead and there is NO coming back with the full capability of heat received and heat flowing out....

       

      JESUS proved that all wrong. Lazarus was DEAD...no more blood flow...no heat coming in or flowing out...he was a cold dead corpse 4 days in the grave...it was IMPOSSIBLE for him to come back to life, in any form, much less as much alive and life breathing and touchable and warm as before his death.

       

      Humorists and philosophers have understood the basic fear of death, and the basic dilemma of death.

       

      "Neither in the hearts of men nor in the manners of society will there be a lasting peace until we outlaw death. " (Albert Camus)

      "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying." (Woody Allen)

       

      He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live...

       

      Jesus is the champion over death. While the ancients feared death, the Christian can only fear dying. The believer will never die, but simply make an instant transition from an old life to a new life.

       

      Think about how grand the claim of Jesus is here. I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. Who but God could possibly say such things?

       

      Do you believe this?

       

      Jesus challenges Martha not to debate or intellectual assent, but to belief.

       

      Verses 28-32 tells us Mary's regret.

       

      "And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, "The Teacher has come and is calling for you. " As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, "She is going to the tomb to weep there. " Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."

       

      Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died...

       

      Lazarus had two sisters, Mary and Martha. Martha has already spoken to Jesus regarding the death of Lazarus, but now Mary speaks for the first time. Her words are remarkably similar to what Martha told Jesus (John 11:21).

       

      My brother would not have died...

       

      This is one of the places in the Bible where we wish we could hear the tone of voice and see the expressions on the face. This could be a noble statement of faith, saying that if Jesus were here they have no doubt at all that He would have healed Lazarus. On the other hand, it can be seen as a criticism of what seemed to be the tardiness of Jesus.

       

      Verses 33-38a tells us A deeply moved Jesus comes to the tomb.

       

      "Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see. " Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!" And some of them said, "Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?" Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb."

       

      He groaned in the spirit and was troubled...

       

      Coming to the scene of Lazarus' tomb, Jesus intensely groaned in the spirit. In the ancient Greek, this literally means "to snort like a horse," implying anger and indignation.

       

      It means that Jesus was NOT so much sad at the scene surrounding the tomb of Lazarus. It's more accurate to say that Jesus was angry. Jesus is angry and troubled at the ravages of the great enemy of man: death. He WILL NOT settle for this domination of death much longer.

       

      CALVIN says it well, "But, "Christ does not come to the sepulchre as an idle spectator, but like a wrestler preparing for the contest. Therefore no wonder that He groans again, for the violent tyranny of death which He had to overcome stands before His eyes. "

       

      Jesus saw her weeping … Jesus wept...

       

      The contrast between the tears of Mary and Martha and the tears of Jesus is insightful.

       

      Weeping (the word used for Mary in John 11:33) is a word that describes loud wailing.

       

      Wept (the word to describe Jesus' expression of grief in John 11:35) is another word that indicates a quiet weeping. Jesus is greatly moved, but not out of control.

       

      Jesus wept...

       

      This shows that Jesus is NOT unfeeling, nor stoic, but with strong feeling He prepares to strike a blow against death, the enemy of God and man. Jesus is a passionate enemy of death.

       

      To the mind of the ancient Greek, the primary characteristic of God was apatheia: the total inability to feel any emotion whatsoever.

       

      The Greeks believed in an isolated, passionless, and compassionless God. That is NOT the God of the Bible. That is NOT the God who is really there. Our God, our precious Jesus loves, cares, has compassion, and deep deep feelings for us...so much so that He could weep at the grave of Lazarus.

       

      1. JESUS WEPT because of the disbelief of the blind Pharisees that followed, sneered, jeered, laughed, and openly mocked Him his entire ministry on earth...and HE knew their hearts were stone and that they would NEVER see the truth...and they WOULD die in their sins, and because of their PIETY, FALSE TEACHINGS, AND FALSE BELIEFS that they proclaimed, they were and would lead MANY MANY MANY DOWN THE WRONG PATH...THE BROAD PATH...THAT LEADS TO THE WAITING PRISON OF HELL...AND THEN THE LAKE OF FIRE FOR ETERNITY.

       

      2. JESUS WEPT because HE knew LAZARUS was dead, safe, and enjoying the bosom of Abraham and because Jesus HAD TO OBEY HIS FATHER AND PERFECTLY FULFILL PROPHECY, THAT HE WOULD BE CALLING LAZARUS BACK INTO THIS FALLEN WORLD...and Lazarus would have to face earthly death again.

       

      3. JESUS WEPT because of His followers that still had doubts and still believed Jesus was either unable or limited in what He could do.

       

      4. JESUS WEPT because HE KNEW soon He would face horrific torture and death and be laid in a grave very soon.

       

      Verses 38b-40 tells us Jesus commands the stone to be removed.

       

      "It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, "Take away the stone. " Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days. " Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?"

       

      Take away the stone...

       

      Everybody thought this was a strange thing for Jesus to ask. After all, Martha knew by this time he had begun to decay and smell awful.

       

      People probably thought that Jesus was so taken with grief that He wanted one last look at His dear friend Lazarus.

       

      By this time there is a stench...

       

      In any case, the condition of the body provides an irrefutable confirmation of Lazarus' dead state.

       

      If you would believe you would see the glory of God...

       

      Jesus is fully capable of this miracle without the belief of the Martha or Mary. But if they would not believe, then they would never see the glory of God. They could see the end results and be happy in that, but they would miss the glory of working together with God in the accomplishing of His plan.

       

      Verses 41-44 tells us Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

       

      "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me. " Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."

       

      He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!"...

       

      Jesus simply calls forth; others whom God used to raise dead bodies in the Scriptures often used far more elaborate procedures. BUT JESUS JUST CALLED THEIR NAMES AND THEY WERE INSTANTLY ALIVE, AWARE, AND CALLED BACK FROM THE DEAD...

       

      Lazarus, come forth!

       

      Jesus speaks to a dead body as if Lazarus lived, because He is God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did (Romans 4:17).

       

      This is how Jesus can call forth the person dead and defeated in sin and deception to a new life in Him. He is still calling the dead forth from their tombs today!

       

      BUT WE LISTENING, BELIEVING, AND OBEYING HIS CALL?

       

      And he who had died came out...

       

      REMEMBER THIS...Jesus fought death at Lazarus' tomb, and plundered the grave, serving it notice that shortly He would completely conquer it. This was "coming attraction" for what would happen at the empty tomb of Jesus.

       

      His face was wrapped with a cloth...

       

      AND REMEMBER THIS...Lazarus was NOT resurrected, but resuscitated. He arose bound in grave-clothes, for he would need them again; Jesus left His grave-clothes behind in His tomb, never again having need of them EVER AGAIN.

       

      Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go. "

       

      Jesus did not miraculously whisk the grave-clothes off of Lazarus, but He asked attendants to do so. He did what only God could do, and looked for men's cooperation for the completion of Lazarus' deliverance.

       

      Verse 45 tells us the FIRST REACTION: FAITH AND BELIEF IN JESUS.

       

      "Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him.

       

      Many of the Jews … had seen the things Jesus did, believe in him...

       

      This was undeniably an impressive work of God, and for many it helped them put their trust in who Jesus said He was by seeing what He did.

       

      Verses 46-57 tells us the SECOND REACTION: DISBELIEF.

       

      "But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, "What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation. " And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish. " Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples. And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. Then they sought Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, "What do you think; that He will not come to the feast?" Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him."

       

      Everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away our … place...

       

      Their fears revealed a complete misunderstanding of the motives of Jesus, who had NO political ambition, whatsoever.

       

      The Romans will come and take away both our place and nation..

       

      In ironic fact, this rejection of Jesus resulted in the political ruin and ultimate destruction of the nation.

       

      AND WE SEE THE TRUE CONCERN AND HEART OF THE SANHEDRIN, THE PHARISEES, SADDUCCES, AND THE SCRIBES, DO WE NOT?

       

      THEY WERE NOT CONCERNED ABOUT THE SAVING GRACE OF THEIR FOLLOWERS.

      THEY WERE NOT CONCERNED ABOUT THE SOULS OF THEIR CONGREGATIONS.

      THEY WERE NOT CONCERNED THAT THEIR FOLLOWERS HEAR THE REAL TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE.

      THEY WERE NOT CONCERNED FOR OR SEEKING THE MESSIAH.

      THEY WERE CONCERNED WITH THEIR ICONIC STATUS, THAT THEY WOULD LOSE FOLLOWERS, THAT THEY WOULD LOSE FACE WITH THE JEWS AND THE COMMUNITY THAT REVERED THEM AND THEY WOULD BE A LAUGHING STOCK TO THE ROMANS.

      THESE JEWS WOULD LOSE MONEY, WEALTH, AND STANDING...

       

      It is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish...

       

      Caiaphas gives an unconscious and involuntary prophecy, but it is attributed to the office, not the man (being high priest that year he prophesied).

       

      Then from that day on they plotted to put Him to death...

       

      Before, it was mostly lesser religious officials who wanted Jesus dead. But now, ALL the men with REAL political and religious power have decided to murder Jesus. The time is short until the end - or, the beginning, if you will.

       

      Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews...

       

      Again, Jesus did not do this out of fear, but because His hour had not yet come (as in John 7:30). The hour had not yet come, but it was soon to come.

       

      THIS IS THE SAME TRUE HEART OF ALL FALSE RELIGIOSITIES TODAY...THEY WANT THEMSELVES TO BE LIFTED UP, HONORED, APPLAUDED, SENT OCEANS OF MONEY TO FEED THEIR EGOS AND THEIR ICONIC STATUS...THEY, AS JESUS TOLD THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF HIS DAY AND TODAY...YOU DO NOT KNOW MY FATHER AND YOU DO NOT KNOW ME AND MY WORD...YOU WILL DIE IN YOUR SINS.

       

    • September 9, 2016 12:51 AM EDT
    • JOHN 12

       

      OPENS WITH THE HOUR HAS COME

       

      Verses 1-3 tells us A banquet at Bethany. Lazarus eats, Martha serves (without complaining), and Mary anoints the feet of Jesus.

       

      "Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil."

       

      There they made Him a supper...

       

      Less than a week before His crucifixion, Jesus attended a dinner in His honor at the home of Simon the Leper (Matthew 26:6 and Mark 14:3). His friends Martha, Lazarus, and Mary were also in attendance.

       

      Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus...

       

      In the midst of the supper, Mary gave a remarkable gift to Jesus. It was NOT unusual to wash the feet of a guest, but it was unusual to use very costly oil of spikenard to do it, and remarkable to wipe the feet with her hair.

       

      Mary's gift was remarkably humble.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...When a guest entered the home, usually the guest's feet were washed with water and the guest's head was anointed with a dab of oil or perfume. Here, Mary used this precious ointment and anointed the feet of Jesus. She considered her precious ointment only good enough for His feet.

       

      Mary's gift was remarkably extravagant.

       

      WHY?

       

      Mary, the sister of Martha & Lazarus used a lot (a pound) of a very costly oil of spikenard. Spices and ointments were often used as an investment because they occupied a small space, were portable, and were easily negotiable in the open market.

       

      Judas believed this oil was worth 300 denarii (John 12:5), which was worth a year's wages for a working man.

       

      Mary's gift was remarkably unselfconscious.

       

      Not only did she give the gift of the expensive oil, she also wiped His feet with her hair. This means that she let down her hair in public, something a Jewish woman would rarely (if ever) do.

       

      In all of this, Mary is a study of devotion to Jesus. "The life of Mary is painted for us, in three memorable pictures, in each of which she is at the feet of Jesus.

       

      Verses 4-8 tells us Judas objects to Mary's rich gift.

       

      "Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always."

       

      Judas Iscariot … who would betray Him...

       

      In a short time Judas would betray Jesus, and his betrayal is so much darker when contrasted with the light of Mary's devotion to Jesus. No doubt, Judas objected to Mary's gift because he was convicted by her simple and powerful display of love.

       

      DID YOU KNOW....This is the only place in the New Testament where Judas is mentioned as doing something evil other than his betrayal of Jesus, and even this was done in secret. Judas successfully HID the darkness of his heart from everyone EXCEPT Jesus.

       

      Judas teaches us that outward appearances can be deceptive. Many people have a religious facade that hides dark evil and dark secret sin.

       

      Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred, denarii...

       

      Judas had a sharp sense of financial values, but no appreciation of what God valued. He thought this was too much love and devotion to show to Jesus.

       

      If we are extravagant in our love for Jesus, He will not criticize us; that is what Judas did. Are we like Mary, extravagant in our love for Jesus, or are we like Judas, criticizing others who are?

       

      She has done this for the day of My burial...

       

      Mary knew something that the disciples did NOT understand YET. She KNEW that Jesus was going to die, and so she was compelled to offer this extravagant gift of devotion to Jesus. Mary had more insight than others because she spent time at the feet of Jesus.

       

      AND THINK HOW PRECIOUS THIS ACT WOULD BE TO JESUS...THE FRAGRANT OIL WAS LONG LASTING...AND ITS SWEETNESS AND AROMA WAS ONLY MADE MORE SO, WHEN THE SKIN IT WAS ANOINTED WITH BEGINS TO SWEAT...SO WHEN JESUS WAS BEATEN....HE BREATHED IN THE OIL THAT SAID...REMEMBER YOU ARE LOVED...WHEN HE WAS STRIPPED NAKED AND LEFT WITHOUT WATER AND FOOD AND COMFORT IN THE HIDDEN JAIL...THE FRAGRANT OIL HE BREATHED IN REMINDED HIM THAT HE WAS NOT ALONE...HE WAS LOVED. WHEN HE HUNG ON THE CROSS, IN THE HEAT, WITH ALL THE HECKLERS, MOCKERS, AND SNEERING PEOPLE, HE SAW HIS MOTHER MARY, MARY AND MARTHA, AND LITTLE JOHN...AND DESPITE THE SICK SMELL OF BLOOD, PAIN, AND ONCOMING DEATH...WHEN HE PUSHED AGAINST HIS NAILED FEET, AND TWISTED HIS HANDS IN ORDER TO CATCH A BREATH...HE SMELLED THE FRAGRANT OIL...THAT SAID...I LOVE YOU...

       

      Verses 9-11 tells us The plot to kill BOTH Jesus and Lazarus.

       

      "Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus."

       

      The chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also...

       

      DID YOU KNOW...The chief priests were mostly Sadducees, and the Sadducees did NOT believe in the resurrection. Lazarus was a living example of life after death, and having him around was an embarrassment to their theological system. For them, there was only one solution to this embarrassing problem - to put Lazarus to death also.

       

      On account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus...

       

      This made the problem of the chief priests worse. Lazarus was drawing people to Jesus and in the opinion of these religious leaders he had to be stopped.

       

      Verses 12-16 tells us The crowd greets Jesus as a coming King.

       

      "The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' The King of Israel!" Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: "Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey's colt. " His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him."

       

      Hosanna! "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!"

       

      This large, enthusiastic crowd greeted Jesus with words from the Messianic Psalm 118:25-26. The cry Hosanna! meant "save now," and on this day the crowd received Jesus as a triumphant Messiah.

       

      The King of Israel...

       

      This shows that the crowd, in shouting "save now!" had in mind political salvation from the oppression of the Romans. But Jesus showed that His purpose was peace by riding a donkey, in fulfillment of prophecy (the cited passage in Zechariah 9:9).

       

      Took branches of palm trees...

       

      DID YOU KNOW...Palm branches were a symbol of Jewish nationalism since the time of the Maccabees. This was a patriotic rally, and the crowds looked to Jesus as a political and national savior, but NOT a spiritual savior.

       

      RIGHT HERE....JOHN TELLS US WHY THE CROWDS WHO ARE CHEERING HIM NOW, PROCLAIMING HIM AS MESSIAH, SINGING HOSAANA...TURN ON HIM WITHIN HOURS...THEY EXPECTED JESUS TO UTTERLY DESTROY THE YOKE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE...FREE THE NATION OF ISRAEL...AND MAKE THEM RIGHT THEN THE HEAD OF THE WORLD...THEY WERE ONLY INTERESTED IN POLITICAL AND SOCIATAL FREEDOM AND LIBERATION AND SALVATION...THEY WRONGLY AND FALSELY BELIEVED AS JEWS THAT THEY WERE ALREADY ALL HEAVEN BOUND AT EARTHLY DEATH...SO THEY WANTED TO REIGN OVER THE EARTH....AND THEY WERE NOT INTERESTED IN SPIRITUAL SALVATION.

       

      Verses 17-19 tells us The crowds come after Jesus, to the dismay of the leaders.

       

      "Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!"

       

      For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign...

       

      The crowds adored Jesus because they believed that the raising of Lazarus from the dead established Jesus' credentials as a conquering Messiah.

       

       

      BRUCE says it well, "One who could summon a dead man back to life would certainly be able to deliver the holy city from the yoke of Caesar. "

       

      Look, the world has gone after Him! The popularity of Jesus was offensive to His enemies. It made them feel that they were accomplishing nothing. It makes us happy to see the enemies of Jesus frustrated.

       

      Verses 20-23 tells us the Greeks (GENTILES) come to meet Jesus.

       

      "Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus. " Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus. But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified."

       

      Sir, we wish to see Jesus...

       

      REMEMBER Jesus previously said that the time was NOT ready (John 2:4 and 7:6). He took the seeking interest of Gentiles as the signal that now the hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.

       

      The fact that His hour had not yet come had delivered Him from violence before (John 7:30, 8:20). Now that the hour has come, it is time for Jesus to make the FINAL sacrifice.

       

      Jesus never really responded to the Greeks here, but He would on the other side of the cross. So that these Greeks, as well as others, could receive the new life He offered, then Jesus must die (be glorified) first.

       

      The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified...

       

      Jesus did NOT mean that He would be glorified in the eyes of men. That just happened at the triumphal entry. The glorification Jesus pointed to here was being glorified on the cross. Something the world could ONLY see as disgraceful humiliation, Jesus saw as being glorified.

       

      Verses 24-26 tells us Jesus explains WHY He is willing to face death.

       

      "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor."

       

      Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies...

       

      Just as a seed will never become a plant unless it "dies" and is "buried" so the death and burial of Jesus is NECESSARY to His glorification. Before there can be resurrection power and fruitfulness, there must be death.

       

      Loves his live … hates his life...

       

      We are called to hate our life in the sense that we disregard it, but in the sense that we freely give it up for God. Our life is precious to us, but only because it is something we can give to Jesus.

       

      Jesus focused our hatred of life when He said hates his life in this world. We are to disregard our life in this world, seeing instead that we are mere pilgrims and sojourners, with our home in heaven instead of earth, reaffirmed to us Hebrews 11:13-16.

       

      If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me...

       

      If we are Christians, we must follow Jesus in this path of others-centered and heaven-centered living.

       

      This path will lead us to the way of the cross, but it will also take us to the resurrection glory of the empty tomb.

       

      Verses 27-28a tells us At the CRUCIAL hour, Jesus expresses His resolve.

       

      "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name."

       

      My soul is troubled...

       

      Jesus received this crucial hour, yet it troubled Him because He KNEW what the agonies of the cross would involve...HE ALREADY HAD SEEN AND KNEW EXACTLY WHAT HE WOULD FACE.

       

      And what shall I say? "Father, save Me from this hour?"

       

      Knowing this was the crucial hour, Jesus could NOT ask to escape the hour, because for this purpose I came to this hour. The cross, which had cast a shadow over the entire life and ministry of Jesus, would now become a reality in the life of Jesus.

       

      Verses 28b-30 tells us The Father testifies to Jesus in a voice from heaven.

       

      "Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again. " Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him. "Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake."

       

      Then a voice came from heaven...

       

      This is the THIRD audible Divine testimony to Jesus' status as the Son of God, after the Divine voice at His baptism and His transfiguration.

       

      This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake...

       

      Jesus did NOT need this confirmation, but it was for the benefit of the onlookers, especially the disciples.

       

      Verses 31-36 tells us Jesus plainly proclaims His death.

       

      "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. " This He said, signifying by what death He would die. The people answered Him, "We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?" Then Jesus said to them, "A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light. " These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them."

       

      Now is the judgment of this world...

       

      DO WE UNDERSTAND THIS?

       

      The world system WAS judged by its treatment of Jesus at the cross. The cross NOT only judged the world it also defeated Satan (now the ruler of this world will be cast out). The defeat of the world and Satan was God's victory and the victory of the people of God.

       

      Colossians 2:14-15 VIVIDLY describes the defeat of Jesus at the cross: "Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it."

       

      If I am lifted up from the earth...

       

      The verb used for lifted up (the ancient Greek word "hypsothenai" has a deliberate DOUBLE meaning. It means both a literal elevation (as in being raised up on a cross) and exaltation (being raised in rank or honor).

       

      We do NOT "lift up" Jesus with our praises in the sense He means here. He was lifted up on the cross, and we proclaim that fact to the world. We lift Jesus up by preaching Christ, reaffirmed to us in 1 Corinthians 1:23.

       

      We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever...

       

      The people had been taught ONLY the passages from the law (the Old Testament) which speak of the triumph of the Messiah. They were virtually UNAWARE of the passages that speak of His suffering (such as Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53).

       

      This crowd who greeted a political conqueror with such enthusiasm did NOT want to consider His sacrificial death. It did NOT fit in with their idea of what a Messiah should be.

       

      A little while longer the light is with you … While you have the light, believe in the light...

       

      We must believe on Jesus while the light IS there, because it WILL NOT last forever, as many false teachers and false gospels wrongly proclaim.

       

      God's Spirit will NOT always strive with man (Genesis 6:3), and we must answer His call while it rings TO us.

       

      Verses 37-41 tells us John EXPLAINS their unbelief in light of Old Testament prophecy.

       

      "But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?" Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them. " These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him."

       

      Although He had done so many signs before them, they did NOT believe in Him...

       

      RIGHT HERE John is answering the question "If Jesus was so great, why did NOT everybody believe on Him?" John reminds us that this was prophesied in these two quotations from Isaiah.

       

      Therefore they could not believe...

       

      It is possible to harden your heart to the place where you can not believe. Therefore we must believe while there is light.

       

      He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart...

       

      WE NEED TO REMEMBER THIS....There comes a place where God will strengthen us in our decision, whether for Jesus or against Jesus. Ultimately, before God, we get what we want, and those who push Jesus away will NOT have to endure eternity with Him.

       

      Verses 42-43 tells us Some of the rulers have a FEEBLE belief in Jesus.

       

      "Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."

       

      They did not confess Him...

       

      Though some of the religious leaders believed in Him, they would NOT publicly proclaim it, because they were afraid to loose their position. This love of the praise of men is deadly, and keeps many from a life fully committed to God.

       

      Lest they should be put out of the synagogue...

       

      Is it possible to be a secret follower of Jesus?

       

      Only temporarily; either the secrecy will cancel out the belief, or the belief will cancel out the secrecy.

       

      AND WE KNOW IT IS PURE TRUTH...BECAUSE JESUS SAID HIMSELF IN MATTHEW 10:32, "“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.”

       

      Verses 44-50 tells us A FINAL appeal to belief: Jesus makes a last, passionate appeal to the multitude.

       

      "Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him; the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak."

       

      Then Jesus cried out and said...

       

      DID YOU KNOW...These are THE LAST words in John's gospel from Jesus to the public. In this last speech to the multitude, Jesus emphasized the themes of all His previous preaching in John.

       

      He who sees Me sees Him who sent Me...

       

      Jesus stressed His unity with God the Father.

       

      I have COME as light into the world...

       

      Jesus stressed His own truthfulness, and the need man has to follow Jesus.

       

      I do NOT judge Him...

      Jesus stressed His love and acceptance for the sinner; yet the word that I have spoken will judge Him - there are inescapable consequences for rejecting Jesus.

       

      I have NOT spoken on My own authority...

       

      Jesus stressed His own submission to God the Father. His authority flowed from His submission to God the Father.

       

    • September 9, 2016 12:49 AM EDT
    • JOHN 13

       

      OPENS WITH JESUS, THE LOVING SERVANT WASHES THE DISCIPLES' FEET

       

      JOHN MACARTHUR SAYS IT PRICELESSLY OF THIS CHAPTER OF JOHN.

       

      "We live in a very proud and egotistical generation. It is now considered acceptable and even normal for people to promote themselves, to praise themselves, and to put themselves first. Pride is considered a virtue by many. Humility, on the other hand, is considered a weakness. Everyone, it seems, is screaming for his or her own rights and seeking to be recognized as someone important.

       

      The preoccupation with self-esteem, self-love, and self-glory is destroying the very foundations upon which our society was built. No culture can survive pride run rampant, for all of society depends on relationships. When all people are committed first of all to themselves, relationships disintegrate. And that is just what is happening, as friendships, marriages, and families fall apart.

       

      Sadly, the preoccupation with self has found its way into the church. Perhaps the fastest growing phenomenon in modern Christianity is the emphasis on pride, self-esteem, self-image, self-fulfillment, and other manifestations of selfism. Out of it is emerging a new religion of self-centeredness, pride--even arrogance. Voices from every part of the theological spectrum call us to join the self-esteem cult.

       

      Scripture is clear, however, that selfism has NO place in Christian theology. Jesus repeatedly taught AGAINST pride, and with His life and teaching He constantly exalted the virtue of humility. Nowhere is that more clear than in John 13.

       

      John 13 marks a turning point in John's gospel and the ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus' public ministry to the nation of Israel had run its course and ended in her complete and final rejection of Him as Messiah.

       

      On the first day of the week, Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph to the enthusiastic shouts of the people. Those people nevertheless misunderstood His ministry and His message. The Passover season had arrived, and by Friday He would be UTTERLY rejected and BRUTALLY executed. God, however, would turn that execution into the great and final sacrifice for sin, and Jesus would die as the true Passover Lamb.

       

      He had come unto His own people, the Jews, "and those who were His own did not receive Him" (John 1:11). So He had turned away from His public ministry to the intimate fellowship of His disciples.

       

      Now it is the day before Jesus' death, and rather than being preoccupied with thoughts of His death, sin-bearing, and glorification, He is totally consumed with His LOVE for the disciples. Knowing that He would soon go to the cross to die for the sins of the world, He is still concerned with the needs of twelve men. His love is NEVER impersonal--that's the mystery of it.

       

      In what were literally the last hours before His death, Jesus kept showing them His love over and over. John relates this graphic demonstration of it."

       

      Verse 1 tells us Jesus and His disciples at a LAST meeting before His arrest.

       

      "Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end."

       

      Jesus knew that His hour had come...

       

      Jesus lived His life in anticipation of this hour. He knew when it had not yet come (John 2:4). Up to this point, Jesus enjoyed a unique protection because His hour had not yet come (John 7:30, 8:20). Now, Jesus knew that His hour had come. He spoke of this awareness in John 12:23-27 and even said that for this purpose I came to this hour.

       

      Indeed, His hour had come. Jesus' public ministry is over. In close to 24 hours, Jesus will hang on the cross. This is the beginning of the end, and Jesus will use these last precious hours to minister to His disciples.

       

      That He should depart this world to the Father...

       

      The cross is not specifically mentioned in John 13:1, but casts a shadow over almost every word. We see the shadow of the cross over His hour had come. We see the shadow of the cross over loved them to the end. But we also see the shadow of the cross over depart this world. It is phrased softly, but there is an iron-hard reality underneath the soft cover. Jesus would only depart this world through the cross.

       

      Having loved...

       

      Surely, Jesus had loved His disciples. He led them, taught them, cared for them, protected them. What Jesus had given them already was more than any other teacher or leader could EVER give his followers.

       

      Having loved His own...

       

      There is a love Jesus has for all people, and then there is a love for His own. It is NOT so much that Jesus' love is different, but the dynamic of the love relationship is different. The love of Jesus for His own is greater, because it has a response, and love answers to love.

       

      Jesus has done some things for all men. He has also done all things for some men - His own who were in the world.

       

      He loved them to the end...

       

      Jesus had loved His own. But He had NOT finished loving them. He would love them to the end. The idea behind the phrase to the end is "to the fullest extent, to the uttermost."

       

      To the end means to the end of Jesus' earthly life. Though the disciples gave up on Him, He never gave up on them. Though they stopped thinking about Jesus, and were only thinking of themselves, He never stopped thinking of them. Whose problems were worse - Jesus' or the disciples'? Who was concerned more for the other? He loved them to the end.

       

      To the end means a love that will never end. Jesus will never stop loving His own. It isn't a love that comes and goes, that is here today and gone tomorrow.

       

      To the end means a love that reaches to the fullest extent. Some translations have "He loved them to the uttermost. " Jesus poured out the cup of His love to the bottom for us.

       

      Verses 2-5 tells us Jesus washes the disciples' feet.

       

      "And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded."

       

      BRUCE clarifies ancient manuscripts. "'Supper was now in progress' is a preferable reading to the variant 'Supper having ended,' chiefly because the sequel (verses 12-30) makes it plain that supper had NOT ended. The point is that supper had already begun when Jesus rose from the table and began to wash the disciples' feet."

       

      JOHN MACARTHUR says it well, "Everyone in that culture faced the same problem. Sandals did little to keep dirt off the feet, and the roads were either a thick layer of dust or deep masses of mud. At the entrance to every Jewish home was a large pot of water to wash dirty feet. Normally, foot washing was the duty of the LOWLIEST slave. When guests came, he had to go to the door and wash their feet--not a pleasant task. In fact, washing feet was probably his most abject duty, and only slaves performed it for others. Even the disciples of rabbis were NOT to wash the feet of their masters--that was uniquely the task of a slave.

       

      As Jesus and His disciples all arrived in the upper room, they found that there was no servant to wash their feet. Only days before, Jesus had said to the twelve, "Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave" (Matthew 20:26-27). If they had given mind and heart to His teaching, one of the twelve would have washed the others' feet, or they would have mutually shared the task. It could have been a beautiful thing, but it NEVER occurred to them because of their selfishness. A parallel passage in Luke 22 gives us an idea just how selfish they were and what they were thinking about that evening.

       

      The devil having already put it into the heart of Judas...

       

      Judas was led by the devil. Before this chapter is finished, John will show us the extent of Judas' depravity. Luke 22:1-4 describes how Satan entered Judas shortly before this.

       

      It may well be that a better translation is the devil had already made up his mind that Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, should betray him. Satan was looking for a man to betray Jesus, and had probably been "cultivating" Judas for a long time. But now the choice was made. Judas was his man.

       

      JOHN MACARTHUR says, "Love...in Deed and Truth"

       

      How could anyone reject that kind of love? Men do it all the time. Judas did. "During supper, the devil [had] already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him". Do you see the tragedy of Judas? He was constantly basking in the light, yet living in darkness; experiencing the love of Christ, yet hating Him at the same time.

       

      The contrast between Jesus and Judas is striking.

       

      And perhaps that is the very reason the Holy Spirit included verse 2 in this passage.

       

      Set against the backdrop of Judas' hatred, Jesus' love shines even brighter. We can better understand its magnitude when we understand that in the heart of Judas was the blackest kind of hatred and rejection. The words of love by which Jesus gradually drew the hearts of the other disciples to Himself only pushed Judas further and further away. The teaching by which He uplifted the souls of the other disciples just seemed to drive a stake into the heart of Judas. And everything that Jesus said in terms of love must have become like chafing shackles to Judas. From his fettered greed and his disappointed ambition began to spring jealousy, spite, and hatred--and now he was ready to destroy Christ, if need be.

       

      But the more men hated Jesus and desired to hurt Him, the more it seemed He manifested love to them. It would be easy to understand resentment. It would be easy to understand bitterness. But all Jesus had was love--He even met the greatest injury with supreme love. In a little while He would be kneeling at the feet of Judas, washing them.

       

      Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands...

       

      This was NOT, as many wrongly teach, that it was something that Jesus came to know JUST at this hour. Several years before in His ministry, Jesus said The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. (John 3:35) But this means that at this particular time, and in this particular circumstance, it was important that Jesus knew the Father had given all things into His hands.

       

      It was important because of the hour. Jesus is about to face the agony of crucifixion and the terror of standing in the place of guilty sinners before the righteous wrath of God the Father. At the same time, Jesus went into this situation as a victor, NOT as a victim. He could have backed out any time He wanted to, because the Father had given all things into His hands.

       

      It was important because of the circumstance. Jesus is about to lower Himself, literally stooping in humble service to His disciples. But as He serves in this humble way, He does not do it from weakness. He does it from a position of all authority, because the Father had given all things into His hands.

       

      And that He had come from God and was going to God...

       

      Jesus did NOT only know His authority, He also knew His relationship with God. He knew His identity, as one who had come from God, and as one who was going to God. Knowing His past with God the Father, and His future with God the Father, what else could He do but glorify Him in the present?

       

      At this critical moment, at this evening before the torture of the cross, Jesus does NOT think of Himself. He thinks about His disciples. Truly, this is loving them to the end. After all, Jesus' disciples treated Him badly - and were about to treat Him even worse, forsaking Him completely - yet He loved them.

       

      Jesus completely gave Himself to washing their feet. Look at how thorough He was in this work. First, He rose from supper. Then Jesus laid aside His garments, which had to remind Him of what waited in just a few hours, when He would be stripped of His garments and be crucified. Jesus then took a towel and girded Himself. Finally Jesus poured water into a basin. If Jesus wanted to just display the image of a servant, He would have had a servant or one of the disciples do all this preparation work. He then would have quickly wiped a damp cloth on a few dirty feet and consider the job done. That would give the image of servanthood and loving leadership, but Jesus gave Himself completely to this work.

       

      This was an extreme act of servanthood. According to the Jewish laws and traditions regarding the relationship between a teacher and his disciples, a teacher had NO right to demand or expect that his disciples would wash his feet. How much more unthinkable was it that the Master would wash His disciple's feet?

       

      And to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded: As Jesus went around the table, washing and drying the feet of His disciples, it was a dramatic scene. Luke 22:23 says that the disciples entered the room debating who was greatest. By what He did, Jesus illustrates true greatness.

       

      This was more awkward than we might think. First, because of the sandals they wore and the roads they walked on, the feet would be dirty. Second, the disciples would eat a formal meal like this at a table known as a triclinium. This was a low (coffee-table height), U-shaped table. The guests would sit, and their status at the meal was reflected by how close they were seated to the host or leader of the meal. Because the table was low, they did NOT sit on chairs. They leaned on pillows, with their feet behind them. This meant that dirty feet could be unpleasantly close to the table during the meal. So the unwashed feet were conspicuous.

       

      In all of this, Jesus essentially acted out a parable for the disciples. Jesus knew better that actions speak louder than words. So when He wanted to teach the proud, arguing disciples about true humility, He did NOT just say it - He showed it. And He showed it in a way that illustrated His whole work on behalf of His own.

       

      1. Jesus rose from supper, a place of rest and comfort

      2. Jesus rose from His throne in heaven, a place of rest and comfort

      3. Jesus laid aside His garments, taking off His covering

      4. Jesus laid aside His glory, taking off His heavenly covering

      5. Jesus took a towel and girded Himself, being ready to work

      6. Jesus took the form of a servant, and came ready to work

      7. Jesus poured water into a basin, ready to clean

      8. Jesus poured out His blood to cleanse us from the guilt and penalty of sin

      9. Jesus sat down again (John 13:12) after washing their feet

      10. Jesus sat down at the right hand of God the Father after cleansing us

       

      We know this whole lesson did "stick" powerfully. Decades later, when Peter wrote to Christians about humility, he put it like this: Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility (1 Peter 5:5). More literally, Peter wrote: "wrap the apron of humility around yourself. " Surely, what Jesus did here stuck in his mind, and in his heart.

       

      Verses 6-11 tells us Jesus overcomes Peter's objections and washes his feet.

       

      "Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You washing my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this. " Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me. " Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you. " For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean."

       

      You shall never wash my feet! Knowing the layout of a typical table and Passover meal, we have reason to believe Peter was seated at the far end of the U-shaped table from Jesus. Probably, Jesus came to Peter last of all. Perhaps Peter thought, "All these guys missed the point by letting Jesus wash their feet. He wants us to protest, and proclaim that He is too great, and we are too unworthy, to have Him wash our feet!" So, Peter makes this dramatic statement.

       

      At the same time, Peter clearly felt uncomfortable with having Jesus perform such a humble act of service for him. This example of the servant's heart of Jesus made Peter and the others look pretty proud by comparison.

       

      If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me...

       

      If we do not accept the humble service of Jesus to cleanse us, we have no part with Him. Jesus does not wash our feet literally, as He did for the disciples. But He did humbly die on the cross to cleanse us, and we must receive it.

       

      This foot washing is a powerful lesson in humility. But it is more than that. The deeper meaning here is that there is Jesus has NO fellowship with those who have not been cleansed by Him.

       

      Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!

       

      Peter, in his request to be fully washed, is still reluctant to let Jesus do as He wants. Peter wants to tell Jesus what to do. Jesus - though the servant of all - is still God's appointed leader. He WILL NOT allow Peter to monopolize this situation, and set things on a wrong course.

       

      Sometimes we show a servant's heart by accepting the service of others for us. If we only serve, and refuse to be served, it can be a sign of deeply rooted and well-hidden pride. "Man's humility does not begin with the giving of service; it begins with the readiness to receive it. For there can be much pride and condescension in our giving of service.

       

      Verses 12-17 tells us Jesus explains what He did, and calls His disciples to follow His example.

       

      "So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

       

      Jesus plainly and powerfully says that this is the attitude that must mark His followers, especially the leadership of the church.

       

      You also ought to wash one another's feet...

       

      Some false religiosities TRY to fulfill this with foot washing ceremonies. Surely, if it is done with the right heart it can be a blessing, but Jesus was NOT talking about a ceremony here.

       

      MORRIS says it well of these FALSE religious services, "Every year they hold a theatrical feet-washing, and when they have discharged this empty and bare ceremony they think they have done their duty finely and are then free to despise their brethren. But more, when they have washed twelve men's feet they cruelly torture all Christ's members and thus spit in the face of Christ Himself. This ceremonial comedy is nothing but a shameful mockery of Christ. At any rate, Christ does not enjoin an annual ceremony here, but tells us to be ready all through our life to wash the feet of our brethren."

       

      There is profound meaning in Jesus' words, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." You see, the typical Jewish mindset could NOT AND WOULD NOT accept the Messiah humiliated.

       

      EVEN IN Peter's mind, there was no place for Christ to be humiliated like this. He must be made to realize that Christ came to be humiliated. If Peter could NOT accept this act of humiliation, he would certainly have trouble accepting what Jesus would do for him on the cross.

       

      There is yet another, more profound, truth in Jesus' words. He has moved from the physical illustration of washing feet to the spiritual truth of washing the inner man. Throughout John's gospel, when He dealt with people, Jesus spoke of spiritual truth in physical terms. He did it when He spoke to Nicodemus, the woman at the well, and the Pharisees. Now He does it with Peter.

       

      He is saying, "Peter, unless you allow Me to wash you in a spiritual way, you are not clean and you have no part with Me." All cleansing in the spiritual realm comes from Christ, and the only way anyone can be clean is if he is washed by regeneration through Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5).

       

      NO ONE has a relationship with Jesus Christ unless Christ has cleansed his sins. And NO ONE can enter into the presence of the Lord unless he first submits to that cleansing.

       

      Peter learned that truth--he preached it himself in Acts 4:12: "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." When a man puts his faith in Jesus Christ, he's clean, and not until then.

       

      Wash one another's feet...

       

      We, like the disciples, would gladly wash the feet of Jesus. But He tells us to wash one another's feet. Anything we do for each another that washes away the grime of the world and the dust of defeat and discouragement is foot washing.

       

       

      If you know these things, happy are you if you do them...

       

      The theory of being a servant is NOT worth very much to the blind, dismissive, sense of self and entitlement in the world then and now. But the practice of being a servant pleases God and fulfills our calling.

       

      Verses 18-21 tells us Jesus reveals He will be betrayed by one of the twelve. Jesus sends Judas away after favoring him.

       

      "I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me. ' Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. " When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me."

       

      Lifted his heel against me means "has given me a great fall" or "has taken cruel advantage of me. " To the eastern idea of hospitality, for one who eats bread with Me to lift up his heel against Me was GREAT betrayal and GREAT treachery.

       

      Jesus knew which of the disciples were truly cleansed by redemption. Furthermore, He knew what Judas' plans for the evening were: "For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, 'Not all of you are clean'". That should have pricked the heart of Judas.

       

      Judas KNEW what He meant. Those words, combined with Jesus' washing his feet, constituted what would be the LAST loving appeal for Judas not to do what he was planning to do. What was going through the mind of Judas as Jesus knelt washing his feet? Whatever it was, it had NO deterring effect on Judas.

       

      Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me...

       

      By revealing the traitor, Jesus shows that He ALREADY KNEW JUDAS WOULD BETRAY HIM. HE IS TELLING US THAT HE IS IN TOTAL CONTROL of these events; He is NOT BLIND-SIDED; HE IS NOT being taken by surprise, as some wrongly teach. There are some false religiosities that teach and believe AT THIS POINT, IS WHERE JESUS SUDDENLY WENT FROM HUMAN MAN, AND GOD FILLED HIM WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THAT HE WAS THE CHOSEN SON OF GOD...BUT THEN OTHER FALSE RELIGIOSITIES TEACH, THAT THE JESUS WHO WAS CRUCIFIED...WENT BACK TO BEING JUST A HUMAN MAN...THAT THE REAL JESUS CAN NOT, AND DID NOT SUFFER AND DIE.

       

      JOHN 13 FOREVER PUTS THE LIE TO THESE FALSE TEACHINGS AND BELIEFS.

       

      Verses 22-30 tells us Judas departs.

       

      "Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus' breast, he said to Him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it. " And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly. " But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, "Buy those things we need for the feast," or that he should give something to the poor. Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night."

       

      Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke...

       

      Peter's question to John (the disciple whom Jesus loved) may have been prompted by a desire to take preventative action. Peter could NOT discreetly ask Jesus, so he asked John.

       

      Leaning back on Jesus' breast, he said to Him...

       

      At a special or ceremonial meal like this they would lay on their stomachs around a U shaped table, leaning on their left elbow and eating with their right hand.

       

      It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it...

       

      The giving of the dipped bread designated special honor, like a toast; it was a mark of courtesy and esteem.

       

      Jesus showed great love to Judas, giving him the chance to repent. Had Judas repented, his past intention would have been secret before the disciples.

       

      Earlier at this dinner, the washing of feet displayed a degree of sacrificial love and service not seen before the cross. Now, the giving of the dipped bread to Judas showed the height of love for enemies, previous to the cross.

       

      There we see Jesus and Judas--the epitome of opposites: the Perfect One and the absolutely wretched; the best and the worst. The purity of Jesus and the vileness of Judas, by contrast, became very obvious.

       

      Judas was an ULTIMATE tragedy--probably the GREATEST tragedy that ever lived. He is the perfect and prime example of what it means to have opportunity and then lose it. He becomes all the more terrible because of the glorious beginnings he had. Judas followed the same Christ as the others.

       

      THINK ABOUT THIS...WHEN PEOPLE SAY IF JESUS APPEARED BEFORE ME, TALKED WITH ME, PROVIDED MIRACLES IN MY PRESENCE...THEN I WOULD BELIEVE.

       

      JUDAS PROVES THAT DEMAND OR PRECEDENT TO BE A TOTAL LIE.

       

      For three years, day in and day out, he occupied himself with Jesus Christ. He saw the same miracles; heard the same words; performed some of the same ministries; was esteemed in the same way the other disciples were--yet he did NOT become what the others became. In fact, he became the very opposite. While they were growing into true apostles and saints of God, he was progressively forming into a vile, calculating tool of Satan.

       

      For three years, he moved and walked with Jesus. Initially, he must have shared the same hope of the Kingdom that the other disciples had. He likely believed that Jesus was the Messiah. He too, had left all and followed Jesus. Certainly he became greedy, but it is doubtful that he joined the apostles for what money he could get, because they never really had anything. Perhaps his motive at the outset was just to get in on this Kingdom that Jesus would bring and he being a disciple would one day become wealthy, powerful, and on top of the mountain.

       

      Whatever his character at the beginning, he gradually became the treacherous man that betrayed Christ, a man who had no thought for anyone but himself, a man who finally wanted only to get as much money as he could and get out.

       

      Greed, ambition, and worldliness had crept into his heart, and avarice had become his besetting sin. Perhaps he was disappointed because of unfulfilled expectations of an earthly Kingdom. Maybe he was tormented by the unbearable rebuke of the presence of Christ. Surely it created a great tension in his heart to be constantly in the presence of sinless purity, and yet be so infested with vileness. Perhaps, too, he began to sense that the eye of the Master could see who he was and what he was. Or it may be that all those things had begun to eat at him.

       

      Whatever the reasons, he ended in absolute disaster, the greatest example of CHOSEN LOST opportunity the world has ever seen. On the night he betrayed Jesus, he was so prepared to do Satan's bidding that Satan was able to enter him and take COMPLETE control of him. A few days before this in Bethany, he had met with the leaders of Israel and bargained for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave--about twenty to twenty-five dollars. Now his evil deed comes to full fruition on the eve of the crucifixion.

       

      Jesus and his disciples (including Judas) were in the upper room. The vile traitor was sitting there, having already made his bargain to betray Jesus for money. He had already initiated the plan, and now he had returned to spend these moments with the disciples, looking for the right moment to betray Jesus' presence to the Jewish leaders.

       

      Jesus had revealed in verse 10 that He knew Judas's heart, saying, "'You are clean, but not all of you.' For He knew the one who was betraying Him" (vv. 10-11). Judas had been sitting there all through Jesus' wonderful lesson on humility and washing of the disciples' feet. Jesus had even washed his feet. He sat there, the wretched hypocrite, letting the blessed Lord wash his feet, while in his head he was plotting the betrayal of Jesus, hardly able to wait until he could LEAVE and get his hands on the thirty coins.

       

      Even though Jesus KNEW what Judas was about to do, He washed his feet. It was only one example of the marvelous love of Jesus Christ and the way He reached out to Judas. The measures He took to win Judas even at this LATE hour made His love all the more wonderful. One would think the experience of having Jesus wash his feet would be enough to break any man's heart. But not Judas's, so cold was he. He was determined to sell the Master to the executioners.

       

      From verses 18 to 30 the dialogue centers on Judas himself. This is the final confrontation between Jesus and Judas, leaving only a kiss later on.

       

      It is important to understand WHY Jesus brought up the subject of His betrayal at this point. Unless He had in some way prepared the disciples for what was about to happen, it could have had a serious, adverse affect on them. If Judas had suddenly and without warning betrayed Jesus, the disciples may have concluded that Jesus was NOT all He claimed to be; otherwise He would have known that Judas was like this, and He never would have chosen him.

       

      WHAT ARE THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES OF JUDAS BETRAYAL OF JESUS?

       

      PSALM 41:9, PSALM 55:12-14 & 20-21, ZECHARIAH 11:12-13.

       

      Judas, through his life of treachery, supplies sinners with a solemn warning. We learn from the example of Judas that a person can be very near to Jesus Christ, and yet be lost and damned forever. Nobody was ever closer to Christ than the Twelve. Judas was one of them, and he's in hell today, because while he may have given intellectual assent to the truth, HE KNEW THE WORD, HE KNEW THE TRUTH OF WHO JESUS WAS, HE COULD QUOTE SCRIPTURE..he NEVER embraced Christ with heartfelt faith.

       

      Judas was NOT deceived; he was a phony. He understood the truth, and he posed as a believer. Furthermore, he was good at it--the cleverest hypocrite we read about in all the Scriptures, for no one EVER suspected him. He had everyone fooled except Jesus, who knew his heart.

       

      And mark it, wherever God's work is done, there are impostors like Judas. There will always be hypocrites among the brethren. The favorite trick of Satan and those he employs is to "disguise themselves as servants of righteousness" (2 Corinthians 11:15). The devil is a master at making his work look good--and he is busily at work among the Lord's people.

       

      Judas departs - into the night.

       

      Verses 31-32 tells us Jesus saw the cross as supreme glorification, NOT supreme humiliation.

       

      "So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately."

       

      It is emphasized in these two verses: glorified … glorified … glorified … glorify … glorify. Five references to glory in two verses! Jesus saw the cross in terms of glory, instead of humiliation.

       

      Verses 33 tells us Jesus plainly reveals His soon departure.

       

      "Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, 'Where I am going, you cannot come,' so now I say to you."

       

      I shall be with you a little while longer … Where I am going, you cannot come...

       

      This would have been like an earthquake to the disciples. They had literally left everything to follow Jesus, and expected to be high-ranking officials in His government when He took political control of Israel as Messiah. They have followed Him for three years, enduring a lot, and now He says, "I'm leaving you"?

       

      Jesus will explain this dramatic statement and comfort the disciples concerning this all the way through the end of John 14.

       

      Verses 34-35 tells us In light of the coming storm, Jesus tells of a new commandment.

       

      "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

       

      A new commandment...

       

      The specific ancient Greek work used here for new here implies freshness, or the opposite of outworn, rather than recent or different. It is NOT that this commandment was just invented, but it will be presented in a new, fresh way.

       

      That you love one another...

       

      Whereas the Old Testament demanded that men should love their neighbors as themselves, the New Law is that they should love the brethren better than themselves, and die for their friends.

       

      As I have loved you...

       

      The command to love was NOT new; but the extent of love just displayed by Jesus WAS new, as would be the display of the cross. Love was newly defined from His example.

       

      By this all will know that you are My disciples...

       

      Love is the mark of the fellowship of true believers, and all other criteria are strictly secondary.

       

      Verses 36-38 tells us Peter's denial of Jesus is predicted.

       

      "Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward. " Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake. " Jesus answered him, "Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times."

       

      I will lay down my life for Your sake...

       

      Poor Peter! He would have died for Jesus right then but he later failed because his devotion was based on emotion.

       

      Emotion in vital to the Christian walk, but it can NOT EVER be its power or foundation.

       

      We see a different Peter when his walk is no longer built on emotion, but on the work of Jesus on the cross and the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

       

      Till you have denied Me three times...

       

      Poor Peter! He would have died for Jesus but he could NOT stand being laughed at for Jesus' sake. To him, a servant-girl's tongue was sharper than an executioner's sword.

       

      JESUS SHOWS US AND TEACHES US SO MANY CRUCIAL LESSONS IN JOHN 13.

       

      Jesus took the opportunity to elevate them and encourage them to keep their eyes on their calling and on their ministry, where they belonged.

       

      We need to be aware of that truth as well. No matter what Satanic opposition we run into, no matter how frustrating the work becomes, nothing can lower our commission. Some will face so much opposition that they begin to wonder if they are in the right place.

       

      Opposition is to be expected. Anything we do for God is going to meet with opposition. If every missionary looked at a mission field and said, "Oh, they might not believe me over there;" we would never get anything done. Just because it's going to be difficult, and just because there's going to be opposition does NOT lower our calling. We are Christ's ambassadors in the world. Those who reject us reject Christ, so regardless of what happens, we stand with Him. That's as high as you can get.

       

      When a believer moves out into this world, he represents Jesus Christ.

      Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:20, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."

       

      In Galatians 4:14, the apostle Paul says, "You received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself."

       

      And that's the way everybody ought to receive a believer. When a man rejects our witness for Christ, he rejects Jesus and he rejects God. That's how strategically important believers are. And that is Jesus' point in John 13:20.

       

      Notice that He uses the word "whomever." That refers to ambassadors of Jesus Christ in EVERY age, including those of us who represent Him today.

       

      Have you ever heard someone use hypocrites as an excuse for NOT following Christ? People often say, "There are too many hypocrites in the church for me." Or, "Well, we do NOT go to church, because we went when I was nine and we saw a hypocrite. Have NOT been back in forty-two years!" That will be a pathetic excuse when they rattle it off to God in the day of judgment.

       

      But it is true that there are too many hypocrites in the church. They ARE everywhere. And one hypocrite is one too many. But the fact that some are hypocrites does NOT diminish the glory of God or lower the high calling of every true child of God. One betrayer among the apostles did NOT tarnish the commission of the rest.

       

    • September 9, 2016 12:40 AM EDT
    • JOHN 14

       

      OPENS WITH THE DEPARTING JESUS AND HIS RELATIONSHIP TO THE FATHER

       

      Verses 1-4 tells us Jesus assures a future reunion in His Father's house.

       

      "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know."

       

      Let not your heart be troubled...

       

      Although He is leaving them bodily, it is NOT forever. Jesus is confident that He will meet Peter and the rest in His Father's house

       

      Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me...

       

      Even though there was good reason why their hearts might be troubled, Jesus tells the disciples to challenge their troubled hearts with FAITH in the Father and the Son. They did NOT have to give into the emotions of fear and despair - they really could let not your hearts be troubled.

       

      I go to prepare a place for you...

       

      You only prepare a place for someone if you are confident of their arrival. Jesus could only say this to the group after Judas had left. He would NOT go to prepare a place for Judas - at least not a place in His Father's house.

       

      Many mansions...

       

      In light of the ancient Greek, "mansions" is better translated "dwelling places. " The noun "mone" (connected to the verb meno, "stay" or "remain") means "a place to stay. " But in light of God's character, it is better to translate it mansions. Whatever dwelling place God has for us in heaven, it will be as glorious as a mansion.

       

      To receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also...

       

      The entire focus of heaven is being reunited with Jesus. Heaven is heaven not because of streets of gold, or pearly gates, or even the presence of angels. Heaven is heaven because Jesus is there.

       

      Take comfort; even as He prepares a place for us, He prepares us for that place.

       

      Verses 5-6 tells us Jesus is the EXCLUSIVE way to the Father.

       

      "Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

       

      I AM the way, the truth, and the life...

       

      In light of soon events, this declaration is a paradox.

      WHY?

      Jesus' way would be the cross.

      He would be convicted by blatant liars.

      His body would soon lie lifeless in a tomb.

      Because He took that way, He IS the way to God; because He did NOT contest the lies we can believe He IS the truth; because He was willing to die He becomes the channel of resurrection - the life to us.

       

      NO ONE comes to the Father except through Me...

       

      Is Jesus the only way to God?

      An often-heard disagreement with Christianity is "Jesus and Christianity are fine, and it is great that you have a way to God. But I have my own way, and the Muslim has his, and the Buddhist has his. ALL roads lead to God if we are sincere in seeking Him."

       

      If a Christian objects to such a statement, they are often met with the reply, "What right do you have to send me to Hell just because I do NOT believe in Jesus the way you do?"

       

      But the Bible tells us that Jesus is the ONLY WAY to God.

       

      How can we say this?

       

      We begin with the basic truth that Jesus is at least a way to God.

      Was He a true or a false prophet?

      Was He at the very least an honest man?

      If Jesus is a true prophet - or at least an honest man - then what He said about Himself is true.

       

      Therefore, Jesus is the only way to God.

       

      Simply put, IF Jesus is NOT the only way to God, then He is NOT ANY way to God.

      IF there are many roads to God, then Jesus is NOT one of them, because He absolutely claimed there was only one road to God, and He Himself was that road.

      IF Jesus is not the only way to God, then He was not a honest man; He was most certainly not a true prophet.

      He then would either be a madman or a lying devil. There is NO middle ground available to us.

       

      Sometimes people object and say, "I believe Jesus was an honest man, and I believe He was a true prophet. But I do NOT actually believe He said those things about Himself in the gospels."

       

      OR

       

      "I believe Christians ADDED those things in later on all by themselves. "

       

      But there is no objective reason for a person to make a distinction between "Jesus really said this" or "Jesus really did NOT say that. "

      We have NO ancient texts showing us just the supposedly "true" sayings of Jesus. Any such distinction is based purely on subjective reasons - "I personally do NOT think Jesus would have said that, therefore He did not say that - later Christians just put those words in His mouth."

       

      If it is all up to personal opinion - if we can determine what Jesus said or did NOT say on our own whims - then we can just throw out the gospels period.

      It really is an all-or-nothing deal.

      Either we take the words of Jesus as recorded by these historically reliable and accurate documents, or we throw it out all together.

       

      To take it a step further, it is NOT enough to merely believe in Jesus.

      Shockingly, that is NOT narrow enough!

      The Bible also tells us the atoning work of Jesus on the cross was the ONLY way salvation could be accomplished.

       

      In the Garden of Gesthemene, the night before His death, Jesus prayed if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me (Matthew 26:39).

       

      Jesus asked the Father if there was any other way to accomplish the salvation of man other than His atoning work on the cross, other than Him drinking the "cup" representing the wrath of God poured out upon Him in our place, let it be so.

       

      But there was NO other way.

       

      Even the demons could admit the truth that Jesus was the Son of God (Matthew 8:29); but they did NOT submit to Jesus or believe in His atoning work on their behalf.

       

      The idea that ALL WORLDLY MAN-CREATED religious beliefs are equally valid, and ALL that matters is that we be sincere in our beliefs is so absurd that people would only apply it to religion.

       

      If you thought you were a cow - sincerely, of course - and insisted that you should stay outside and eat the lawn, men in white coats would take you away.

      Why won't they allow you to be sincere in your beliefs?

      Because they objectively know you are wrong.

      Why do we apply the same muddled thinking to religion?

       

      But is Christianity bigoted?

      Certainly, there are some who claim to be Christians who are in fact bigots.

      But Biblical Christianity is the most pluralistic and tolerant of other cultures religion on earth.

       

      In fact, Christianity is rather pluralistic - it is the one religion to embrace other cultures, and has the most urgency to translate the Scriptures into other languages.

       

      A Christian can keep their native language and culture, and follow Jesus in the midst of it.

       

      An early criticism of Christianity was the observation that they would take anybody! Slave or free; rich or poor; man or woman; Greek or Barbarian.

       

      All were accepted, but on the common ground of the truth as revealed in Jesus Christ. To leave that common ground is spiritual suicide, for both now and eternity.

       

      Verses 7-11 tells us Jesus again explains His unity with and dependence on the Father.

       

      "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him. " Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us. " Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves."

       

      Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me..

       

      Jesus' gentle rebuke might well be spoken to many church-goers today. After all our time with Jesus, do we really know Jesus?

       

      He who has seen Me has seen the Father...

       

      No image or material likeness could depict God, but a person could - the person of Jesus.

       

      This forever finishes the idea some people have that there is a "bad God" in the Old Testament that Jesus somehow calmed down and made nice so we could be saved.

      If you want to know what God the Father is like, look at Jesus - the same love, compassion, mercy, and goodness which is evident in Jesus is evident in God the Father.

       

      Exodus 34:5-9, among other passages, shows this nature of God the Father in the Old Testament.

       

      Verses 12-14 tells us When Jesus departs to the Father, His work will continue on earth.

       

      "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."

       

      The works I do he will do...

       

      Jesus did not expect the disciples to disband after His departure, but to carry on the work in even greater magnitude.

       

      Greater works than these he will do...

       

      This promise seems impossible; yet after Peter's FIRST sermon there were more converted IN THAT ONE SERMON than are RECORDED during Jesus' ministry.

       

      Greater is NOT "more sensational" but greater in magnitude. Jesus will leave behind a victorious, working church, not a cowering one.

       

      THERE ARE MANY FALSE RELIGIOSITIES THAT TAKE THIS TO MEAN MORE SENSATIONAL MIRACLES...MORE AMAZING...BUT WE NEED TO REMEMBER JESUS PERSPECTIVE....GREATER MEANS THEY WILL REACH AND PREACH AND BRING TO JESUS MORE PEOPLE THAN HE DID.

       

      Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do...

       

      In My name is NOT an Aladdin's lamp of prayer; it signifies both an endorsement (like a check) and a limitation (requests must be in accordance with the character of the name). We are coming to God in Jesus' name, NOT in our own.

       

      THOSE THAT PREACH, TEACH AND PROCLAIM...I SAVE, I HEAL, I PROPHESY, I DISCERN...ARE NOT OF GOD MUCH LESS JESUS CHRIST. AND THEY HAVE WILLING TWISTED AND RE-CREATED THIS VERSE.

       

      THEY ARE NOT EQUAL TO GOD. THEY DO NOT HAVE THE MIND OF GOD. THEY DO NOT ADVISE GOD. AND THEY DO NOT REALLY KNOW JESUS OR HIS WORD...OR THEY WOULD REMAIN HUMBLE AS JESUS WAS AND LIFT ALL THINGS IN JESUS HANDS AND TO HIS DECISION AND ACCORDING TO HIS WILL...HIS WAY...AND HIS TIMING.

       

      That the Father may be glorified in the Son...

       

      True prayer in Jesus' name always has this goal. Since that was Jesus' passion, to pray in the name of Jesus means the prayer will have the same passion. Surely, this is prayer God will answer!

       

      Verses 15-18 tells us Jesus promises to send The Helper His Holy Spirit.

       

      "If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you."

       

      If you love Me, keep My commandments...

       

      This is a fair measure of our love for Jesus. It is easy to think of loving Jesus in merely sentimental or emotional terms. It is wonderful when our love for Jesus has sentiment and passion, but it must always be connected to keeping His commandments, or it is NOT love at all.

       

      I will pray the Father...

       

      God even works in us so we may love Him more perfectly.

       

      John 14:16 is one of the verses in the Bible that shows the underlying theme of the Trinity. The word TRINITY is not found in The Bible many say, but that is foolishness to reject The Bible for the lack of one modern word. TRINITY MEANS 3 IN ONE. AND THE BIBLE IS FULL OF THE TRIUNENESS OF GOD. HERE IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF IT....God the Son prays to God the Father that He might send God the Holy Spirit to us.

       

      He will give you another Helper...

      Helper translates the ancient Greek word "parakletos. " This means "a person summoned to one's aid," and may refer to an advisor, a legal defender, a mediator, or an intercessor.

       

      Another Helper: The word "another" is the ancient Greek word "allen," meaning "another of the same kind" not another of a different kind. Just as Jesus shows the nature of God the Father, so the Holy Spirit - being "another of the same kind" - will show the nature of Jesus.

       

      Essentially, the Holy Spirit is sent to empower and help the believer live the Christian life.

      The greater work described in John 14:12-14 is impossible without the empowering described in John 14:15-18.

       

      That He may abide with you forever...

       

      Jesus will give the Holy Spirit that He (a person, not a thing) may abide in us permanently, not temporarily (as in the Old Testament).

       

      Whom the world cannot receive...

       

      The world can not understand or receive the Spirit, because He is Holy and true.

       

      I will come to you...

      Jesus again promises to come again (previously in John 14: 3). This was a broad promise fulfilled by His resurrection, by the sending of the Spirit, and especially by the promise of His bodily return to this earth for first the rapture of the church and then at the end of the Great Tribulation.

       

      Verses 19-24 tells us After His departure, Jesus will only be manifested to hearts that love Him and honor His word.

       

      "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. " Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?" Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me."

       

      You will know … he who loves Me … who has My commandments...

      Trusting, loving and obeying Jesus are all dependent on each other.

       

      If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word...

      If we love Jesus, it will be shown in a genuine love for His word - and not a love that just admires His word, but obeys it - keeps His word.

       

      Verses 25-27 tells us The departing Jesus leaves TWO gifts: the Holy Spirit and His peace.

       

      "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

       

      The Helper … Peace I leave with you...

       

      Jesus had no fortune to bequeath His followers, but He gives them gifts that can NOT be bought - the presence of the Holy Spirit and the presence of peace.

       

      How many a defeated lives would buy the power of the Holy Spirit if they could?

      How many distraught souls would buy the peace of Jesus?

       

      These can NOT be bought, can NOT be earned, but Jesus gives them as gifts to His people.

       

      KEMPIS says it well, "All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace. "

       

      Let not your heart be troubled...

       

      These gifts do NOT grant us EXEMPTION from the storms of life, but promise us the power and the peace to WEATHER any storm.

       

      Verses 28-29 tells us Jesus' departure to the Father is a happy thing.

       

      "You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you. ' If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father,' for My Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe."

       

      If you loved Me, you would rejoice...

       

      This was hard for the disciples to believe; but Jesus' departure really was best. It was best for Jesus, best for the disciples, and best for the world. Jesus wants the disciples to realize this, and so says, "If you loved Me, you would rejoice" at His return to God the Father.

       

      My Father is greater than I...

      The Father is greater than the Son in position, not in essence or being. If Jesus were not God in essence, it would be absurd for Him to compare Himself to God in position. In what sense is it any kind of revelation for a mere man, or even an angel, to say, "God is greater than I"?

       

      Verses 30-31 tells us Jesus goes forth willingly, not as one who is being overwhelmed by Satan.

       

      "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here."

       

      The ruler of this world … has nothing in Me...

       

      What an amazing statement!

       

      Jesus declares that Satan has absolutely NO hook, NO foothold, NO toehold of deception in Him. Satan is NOT pushing Jesus to the cross. The Jewish political and religious leaders do not DRAG Jesus to the cross. The Roman government did NOT rule and condemn Jesus to the cross.

       

      OUR JESUS goes in WILLING, loving obedience to God the Father, and out of love for fallen humanity.

       

    • September 8, 2016 11:53 PM EDT
    • JOHN 15


      OPENS WITH THE DEPARTING JESUS TEACHES HIS DISCIPLES ABOUT LIFE IN HIM


      Verses 1-3 tells us Jesus: the true vine, they must still abide in Him and bear fruit..


      "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you."


      I AM the true vine...


      Jesus may have said this in view of, or as they passed by, the great golden vine on the front of the temple.


      DID YOU KNOW...This vine symbolized the nation Israel, because the vine is a familiar Old Testament symbol for Israel in Psalm 80:8-9, but is often used in a negative sense in Isaiah 5:1-2,7 and Jeremiah 2:21.


      In contrast, Jesus is the true vine. We must be rooted IN Him, not Israel, if we will bear fruit for God.


      Every branch in Me...


      The branches that are taken away were never properly abiding in the vine. The ones that bear fruit are cleansed (not "removed" by pruning), and that through the Word.


      Every branch that bears fruit He prunes...


      This word for prunes is the same word translated cleanse in other places. They used the same word could apply to either "pruning" or "cleansing" in ancient Greek.


      You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you...


      The word of God is a cleansing agent. It condemns sin, it inspires holiness, it promotes growth, it reveals power for victory.


      Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away...


      Boice believes that the ancient Greek verb airo, translated here as "takes away" is more accurately translated "lifts up. " The idea is that the Father lifts up unproductive vines off of the ground (as is common in vinedressing), that they may get more sun and bear fruit better.


      Verses 4-8 tells us The VITAL relationship between the branch and the vine.


      "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples."


      Abide in Me, and I in You...

      Fruit bearing is IMPOSSIBLE without abiding; but it is inevitable with abiding. The quality and quantity of the fruit may differ, but the fruit will be inevitable.


      The purpose of the branch is to bear fruit. People do NOT raise grape vines to look at the pretty leaves. They take the trouble to cultivate, plant, water and tend the vines so that fruit can be enjoyed. In this sense, we can say that fruit represents Christian character, such as the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.


      Fruit also implies inherent reproduction. Virtually every piece of fruit has seeds within it, seeds that are meant to reproduce more fruit.


      If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered...


      What was Jesus saying here?


      There are basically THREE views regarding what this passage says about the believer's position in Jesus.


      The FIRST view believes cast out branches are ones who, though once true believers, end up in Hell for a lack of fruit. They were once saved, but are now cast out.


      The SECOND view is that the cast out branches are pseudo Christians who never really abided in Jesus, and therefore go to Hell (like Judas).


      The THIRD view sees the branches cast out as fruitless Christians who live wasted - burnt up - lives (like Lot).


      He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit...


      There is an easy way to avoid being one of the cast out branches. They are the ones who do not abide in Me, said Jesus. If we abide in Jesus, we have full confidence and assurance.


      Real fruitfulness is only determined over an extended period of time. "Genuine conversion is not measured by the hasty decision but by long-range fruitfulness.


      This principle is CONFIRMED in the Parable of the Soils in Matthew 13.


      You will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you...

      Answered prayer is a privilege of close abiding; we find our prayers in tune with Jesus' will.


      By this My Father is glorified...


      The purpose of fruit-bearing is to bring glory to God, NOT man. If people look at our lives and praise us for the glorious fruit, something is wrong. The whole purpose is the glorify God.


      Verses 9-11 tells us The LINK between love and obedience.


      "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full."


      If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love...

      We know that we abide in God's love by obedience, not by our mystical experiences.


      These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full...


      When we fail to abide in Jesus' love, and thereby fail to keep His commandments, then we do NOT have the fullness of joy He promises to those who DO abide in His love and obedience.


      CARSON says it well, "No one is more miserable than the Christian who for a time hedges in his obedience. He does not love sin enough to enjoy its pleasures, and does not love Christ enough to relish holiness. He perceives that his rebellion is iniquitous, but obedience seems distasteful. He does not feel at home any longer in the world, but his memory of his past associations and the tantalizing lyrics of his old music prevent him from singing with the saints. He is a man most to be pitied; and he cannot forever remain ambivalent. "


      It BEGINS with abiding in the love of Jesus; much of our low level of Christian living comes from not be persuaded of the love of God for us. This is, in part, what kept Israel out of the Promised Land at Kadesh Barnea reminded to us in Deuteronomy 1:27.


      If you keep My commandments...


      The foremost commandment to obey is love one another (John 13:34), and while Christians are ready to describe the delights of love in the new heaven and new earth, we often still hoard our resentments, animosities and bitterness down here. An old poem puts it well:


      To live above with those you love: Undiluted glory.


      To live below with those you know: Quite another story.


      That My joy may remain in you...


      When we think about the joy of Jesus, we understand that it is NOT the same as what we often think of as "happiness" or "excitement. "


      The joy of Jesus is NOT the pleasure of a life of ease; it is the exhilaration of being right with God, and consciously walking in His love and care. We can have that joy, and have it as an abiding presence.


      That your joy may be full...


      This is the result of abiding in Jesus' love, and obedience flowing from that abiding relationship.


      Verses 12-17 tells us Jesus speaks of the extent of His love that they are to imitate.


      "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another."


      That you love one another as I have loved you...


      They are commanded to love in a particular way, according to the way Jesus loved (as I have loved you).


      What was the love of Jesus like?


      Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends...It is a love that will lay down its life for others; it is a love that treats servants as friends.


      The difference between a servant and a friend is not between diligent obedience and disobedience (or even casual obedience).


      The difference is between understanding and not understanding. Because friends have a close relationship, they understand while servants do not.


      You did not choose Me, but I chose you...


      It is love based on Divine election; love that takes the initiative. Jesus introduced this thought right at the point where the disciples might feel proud that they are the friends of Jesus, bearing great fruit for God.


      Verses 18-25 tells us The disciples can expect persecution from an antagonistic world.


      "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master. ' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause. '"


      If the world hates you...


      The blessings of fruitful living, union with Jesus, joy, and answered prayer are contrasted with the threat of persecution.


      You know that it hated Me before it hated you...


      As Christians, we can face the worst, recognize that Jesus has been there first, and then press on ahead.


      This spirit is reflected in the dying words of William Borden, who gave his life for Jesus on the mission field: "No reserve; no retreat; no regrets."


      They hated Me without a cause...


      There is no just cause for the world to hate Jesus and His followers they way they do. Instead the world hates because its sin is exposed, and because they know not the Father or the Son.


      Verses 26-27 tells us The witness of the Holy Spirit and the disciples.


      "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning."


      And you also will bear witness...


      Christians must not think Jesus has left them in this world for no other purpose than to endure hatred. Joining with the Holy Spirit, they are witnesses.


      He will testify of Me … you also will bear witness...


      Without the witness of the Spirit, the disciples' witness would be powerless; without the disciples' witness, the Spirit would be restricted in His means of expression. God intends to work with man in partnership.


      He will testify of Me...


      Everything the Holy Spirit does is consistent with the testimony of the nature of Jesus. His job is to tell us, and to show us, who Jesus is. If spiritual phenomenon occur that are NOT consistent with the nature of Jesus, it is NOT the Holy Spirit doing it. He is the One who will testify of Jesus in ALL that He does.

       

    • September 8, 2016 11:49 PM EDT
    • JOHN 16


      OPENS WITH THE DEPARTING JESUS' FINAL TEACHING


      Verses 1-4 tells us The REASON for Jesus' warning: certain persecution.


      "These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you."


      The time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service...

      HISTORY HAS SHOWN US THIS TRUTH...Some of the worst persecutions have been done in the name of God, even though God remains unknown to the persecutors. The Holy Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition are just TWO of the MOST horrific...but there are many more. ISIS, ISIL, proclaim they are on a HOLY MISSION from God...Allah, but they do NOT KNOW GOD AT ALL.


      These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble...


      Jesus did well to forewarn, because it comes as a great shock that a gospel so glorious is hated so passionately.


      Verses 5-7 tells us Jesus explains the benefits of His departure.


      "But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you."


      Because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart...

      The disciples could only see the sorrow of Jesus leaving; but Jesus' departure was an essential step in their growth as disciples.


      BERNARD says it well, "The braver and more perfect disciple is he who can walk by faith, and not by sight only.”


      It is to your advantage that I go away...


      This had to be hard for the disciples to believe! When a loved one is going to die, we often think it is the best to let death take its course. There is the body, wracked with cancer. We say, "It will be better for them to go, and to stop the suffering. It is to their advantage to go away. " But when someone we love is dying, we do NOT think that it is to our advantage that they go. We want them to stay, but realize it may be for their best. But notice what Jesus says here - it is NOT for His advantage, but He tells His disciples, it is to YOUR advantage that I go away.


      After all, if the disciples really understood what was about to happen, it would be even harder for them to believe.


      - To your advantage that Jesus is arrested?

      - To your advantage that Jesus' ministry of teaching and miracles is stopped?

      - To your advantage that Jesus is beaten?

      - To your advantage that Jesus is mocked?

      - To your advantage that Jesus is sentenced for execution?

      - To your advantage that Jesus is nailed to a cross?

      - To your advantage that Jesus dies in the company of notorious criminals?

      - To your advantage that His lifeless body is laid in a cold grave?


      Jesus knew this would be hard for them to understand...


      But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. When Jesus has something hard to tell us, He knows it is hard. He understands. We may still need to hear it, and we may wish He would back away from it, but He WILL NOT. He will tell it to us, and tell it to us in love.


      Is God doing a work in your life that you do NOT understand?

      Has sorrow filled your heart? God is NOT mad at you. He is NOT punishing you. He wants to show you how all this is to YOUR advantage.


      Jesus would not let their sorrow go unchallenged...


      Nevertheless. This is one of the great words of the Bible, nevertheless. It means, "despite all of that. " Yes, Jesus knew they were filled with sorrow because of what He has told them. But, despite all of that He wanted them to know that it was to your advantage.


      Jesus wanted them to TRUST HIM in something hard to understand...


      I tell you the truth. Jesus did NOT say this because He lied most of the time. He said this because He wanted them to make a concerted effort to TRUST HIM at this point. Trust in God, belief in Jesus, has something to do with OUR will. We make decisions to trust Him, and Jesus wanted them to trust that all this was to your advantage.


      Jesus wanted them to know He had a plan...


      For if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. They could NOT understand His plan.


      Sure, it's easy for us with 2,000 years of hindsight to say, "Well, do NOT you understand? When Jesus went away, He then sent the Spirit of God, which has a broader and more effective ministry in all the world! There now! Can't you see it?"


      They could NOT see it.

      They did NOT have a clue what Jesus was talking about.

      But Jesus knew what He was talking about.

      He knew how it really was true that is was all to your advantage.


      THINK ABOUT THIS...


      It was better because Jesus can be with EVERY believer ALL the time.


      Jesus promised us in Matthew 18:20, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. "


      That was not a promise He could keep after flesh, but only after the Spirit.

      He HAD to go away for that promise to be made true.


      AND THINK ABOUT THIS...


      If Jesus were present bodily on this earth, there would be some Christians who would be overjoyed - those in His immediate presence. But for most Christians, they would have the overwhelming sense that Jesus was not with them, not that He was. Truly, it was all to your advantage.


      It was better because now we can understand Jesus better. If Jesus were present bodily on this earth, there would be no end to His words for us.


      We would NOT have a Bible; we would have the library of congress! Secretaries would follow Him constantly to record His every word. It would all be written down and preserved. We would have all of it, and the mass of it would be just plain unmanageable! Truly, it was all to your advantage.


      It is better, because now we can have a more trusting relationship with God.


      If Jesus were present bodily on this earth, there would be a great challenge to our walk of faith.


      Paul said, in 2 Corinthians 5:15, “Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.


      God wants us to walk by faith, and not by sight, and if Jesus were here bodily, there would be great temptation to walk by sight, and not by faith. Truly, it was all to your advantage.


      It is better, because Jesus' work is better understood as He is enthroned in the heavens.


      If Jesus were present bodily on this earth, it would be confusing to us. Would we see Him suffer any more? Of course not, because His sufferings were finished at the cross.


      There is no more need for atonement, because He did it ALL at the cross. But if would be hard for us to see a Savior who never suffered when we are in distress; it might make us think that Jesus was unsympathetic. But He does care! God did NOT want us to struggle with this dilemma, so Jesus is no longer bodily on this earth. He is enthroned in the heavens. Truly, it was all to your advantage.


      Look at the disciples before Jesus left.

      Confused. Thick headed. Afraid. Selfish and self-centered.


      Look at them after Jesus left, and after the Helper had come.


      They are wise, surrendered, bold, and giving.


      Truly, it was to your advantage that Jesus left!


      Verses 8-11 The work of the Holy Spirit in the world.


      "And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged."


      He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment...


      Sin is the truth about man, righteousness is the truth about God, judgment is the inevitable combination of these TWO truths.


      He will convict...


      Men can not come to an understanding of sin, righteousness and judgment apart from the Holy Spirit. In its insanity, the world regarded Jesus as a sinner, itself as righteous, and it ended up pronouncing false judgment on Jesus Himself.


      Because they do not believe in Me...


      It is unbelief, the rejection of Jesus, which proves one to be a sinner.


      Verses 12-15 tells us The work of the Holy Spirit among the disciples.


      "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you."


      I still have many things to say to you...


      Jesus frankly admitted that His own teaching was incomplete, and anticipated the further instruction of the church by the Holy Spirit. This statement of Jesus leads us to anticipate the formation of the New Testament.


      Jesus Himself refutes those who say "I'll take what Jesus taught, but not what Paul or the others taught. " Paul and the other New Testament writers taught us the many things that Jesus spoke of.


      He will guide you into all truth...


      Today, the Holy Spirit continues to personally lead us into truth, but never in opposition to the Scripture, because God's supremely authoritative revelation is closed with the New Testament.


      He will not speak on His own authority … He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you...


      The Holy Spirit's ministry is revealing Jesus to us. He has many different ways, and many different gifts He uses to accomplish this, but the purpose is always the same: to reveal Jesus.


      Verses 16-18 tells us Jesus tells them of His immediate, brief departure.


      "A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father. " Then some of His disciples said among themselves, "What is this that He says to us, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'; and, 'because I go to the Father'?" They said therefore, "What is this that He says, 'A little while'? We do not know what He is saying."


      We do not know what He is saying: Where for us, all is clear, for them all was mysterious.


      Verses 19-22 tells us Jesus explains of coming sorrow being turned into joy.


      Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, "Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'? Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you."


      Your sorrow will be turned into joy...


      God's work was not to replace their sorrow with joy, but to turn sorrow into joy, as He often does in our lives.


      Joy no one will take from you...


      No one could refute their joy-filled testimony of the resurrection; and they endured death on account of that joy. It could NOT be taken away!


      Verses 23-27 tells us Jesus promises greater joy regarding their coming access to God after Jesus' departure.


      "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God."


      Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you...

      Because of Jesus' great work, we have unlimited, undeniable access to God through Him.


      CALVIN says it well,"This is a remarkable passage, by which we are taught that we have the heart of God as soon as we place before Him the name of His Son. "


      For the Father Himself loves you...


      Jesus makes it clear that the Son is NOT persuading an angry Father to be gracious; but His work provides a righteous basis for God's graciousness.


      Verses 28-32 tells us The disciples proclaim their faith; Jesus places it in perspective.


      "I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father. " His disciples said to Him, "See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God. " Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me."


      Now we are sure...


      The disciples do not claim complete understanding, but that they have a ready confidence in Jesus.


      You will be scattered...

      Jesus warns the disciples that their faith will be shaken before it is finally cemented.


      Each to his own, and will leave Me alone...

      Jesus loved these men for what they were, with full knowledge of their shortcomings; yet He anticipated great works and courage from them on the other side of the cross.


      Verse 33 tells us The triumphant conclusion to Jesus' farewell discourse to His disciples and to all of Jesus' teaching before the cross.


      "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."


      That in Me you may have peace...


      In this, Jesus offered His followers peace. He made the offer in the most unlikely circumstances. At that very minute, Judas met with Jesus' enemies to plot His arrest. Jesus knew that He would be arrested, forsaken, rejected, mocked, humiliated, tortured and executed before the next day was over. We think that the disciples should comfort Him - yet Jesus has peace, and enough to give to others.


      Jesus did not promise peace, but He offered it.


      He said, "you may have peace. " A person can follow Jesus, yet deny themselves that peace. We gain the peace Jesus offered by finding it in Him. Jesus said "that in Me you may have peace. " We won't find real peace anywhere else other than in Jesus.


      Jesus made the way to peace with God...


      ROMANS 5:1 confirms, “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”


      Jesus made the way to peace with others...


      EPHESIANS 2:14 confirms, “For Jesus is our peace, who has made the both one and broken down the middle wall of division between us.”


      In the world you will have tribulation...


      In this, Jesus made the promise of tribulation. Peace is offered to us, but tribulation is promised! When we become Christians we may bring fewer problems upon ourselves, but we definitely still have them.


      Understanding this removes a false hope.


      Struggling Christians often hope for the day when they will laugh at temptation and there will be one effortless victory after another. We are promised struggle as long as we are in this world; yet there is peace in Jesus.


      Your current area of struggle may one-day pass away, but after that there will be new territory to conquer for God.


      Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world...


      In this, Jesus proclaims the truth of His victory. It's an amazing statement from a man about to be arrested, forsaken, rejected, mocked, tortured and executed. Judas, the religious authorities, Pilate, the crowd, the soldiers or even death and the grave cannot overcome Him. Instead, Jesus can truly say, "I have overcome the world."


      MORRIS says it well, "This statement, spoken as it is in the shadow of the cross, is audacious … He goes to the cross not in fear or in gloom, but as a conqueror. "


      Knowing that Jesus has overcome the world brings us good cheer.


      It is the foundation for our peace in Him. We see that Jesus is in control, we see that although He leaves He does not abandon, we see that He loves, and we see that the victory is His. We can be of good cheer indeed!


       

    • September 8, 2016 11:46 PM EDT
    • JOHN 17


      OPENS WITH JESUS’ PRAYER TO GOD


      John MacArthur’s introduction to this chapter is priceless and powerful. “This is unique among all the portions of Scripture because it is the prayer of our Lord, the Son of God, to the Father. It deserves careful attention. In all honesty, one could be lost for a lifetime in this chapter. It’s truths are so far-reaching, so high, so wide, so deep, so elevated, that it’s almost impossible to extract yourself from the chapter, or from any verse, or even any phrase. The words are simple enough and direct enough, but the truths are really beyond comprehension. The best we can do is touch the edges of these great realities that are in this chapter.

      For us, this is a capstone of four other chapters: chapters 13, 14, 15, and 16. Those chapters record the words of our Lord to His disciples the night of the Passover on Thursday night of Passion Week, the night before His crucifixion. That night, He spent hours upon hours with His disciples. First the Passover meal, then Judas was dismissed. He instituted the Lord’s Supper at that point. He continued to teach them.


      They left the upper room. They have walked to the city of Jerusalem. And as they’re walking, He continues His instruction to them, full of promises, full of pledges, and full of warnings, and full of threats. He tells them that He is leaving, He will die, He will rise, and He will go back to the Father. He is promising them everything they will ever need. All the resources of heaven will be at their disposal through prayer. They will know the truth because He will send the Holy Spirit who will bring them the truth.


      He is promising them peace and love and joy and every virtue. But as He stands on the brink of His own death, the disciples are afraid, worried, full of doubt, anxiety. They can’t even imagine a world without the Lord they had been with for three years. The deeper they go into the night, the greater their fears become. Our Lord is endeavored to allay those fears, and even bring them joy by making all the promises that are contained in 13, 14, 15, and 16. But they’re hard-pressed to embrace them because all they can think about is Him leaving, Him dying.


      But all that instruction, all that promise, all that warning is now past, and chapter 17 is a prayer that He prays to the Father, and what He prays to the Father is that the Father would fulfill all the promises He has made, that the Father would bring to fulfillment all the work that He has done. This is a prayer that is remarkable because it demonstrates the humiliation of Christ in a unique way. He is, after all, God, who made everything that is made; and without Him was not anything made that was made. He is God who upholds the entire universe by the word of His power, according to Hebrews 1. He is God who will come to reign and establish His rule in the earth, and then in the new heaven and the new earth forever. He is God. He is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Consummator of the universe.


      But in His incarnation set aside his prerogatives, and submitted Himself to the Father. And so in an act of that submission, He prays that the Father will fulfill everything He has promised. As such, He gives us the most magnificent example of the need for prayer. If the Son of God who controls all things, if the Son of God who is the ruler over all things, if the Son of God who is sovereign over all things, if the Son of God who knows all things, who has all power is in a position of depending on God to fulfill all His words, how much more are we dependent on God?”


      And now we have this lengthy chapter running all the way down 26 verses. Every single word comes from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ and is part of a prayer to the Father. This chapter has been called the Holy of Holies of Scripture. It is the most elevated, the most glory-filled chapter in the Bible. It is, of course, the prayer above all prayers. But it is also the chapter above all chapters, because it alone is where we see the communion between the Son of God and the Father.


      Here, we are ushered into the throne room of God. Here, we eavesdrop on the communion, the eternal communion between the Son and the Father. The veil is drawn back. We’re admitted into the Holy of Holies. We approach the inner communion of the Trinity. The secret place of the Most High God is opened for us. Here, we need to remove our shoes and listen, and humble ourselves with reverent hearts because we are on the holiest of all ground.


      You say, “Well, now wait minute. What about the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name,’ and so forth? What about that? Isn’t that the Lord’s Prayer?” It’s called the Lord’s Prayer, but it’s not the Lord’s Prayer. It is a prayer that Jesus taught the disciples to pray. It is a pray that He said, “Pray this way.”


      But He did NOT pray that prayer. He could NOT pray that prayer. He never prayed that prayer, because that prayer says in part, “Forgive us our trespasses, our sins.” He told us to pray that way. He didn’t pray that way. That was the disciples’ prayer. That’s our prayer. That’s a pattern for our prayer.


      The great Philip Melanchthon, friend of Martin Luther, gifted theologian during the Reformation, gave the final lecture of his life; and in that final lecture, he lectured on this prayer. Part of what he said I quote: “There is no voice which has ever been heard, neither in heaven or in earth more exalted, more holy, more fruitful, more sublime, than the prayer offered up by the Son of God Himself.” Plain words, yet incomparable majesty. Simple words, yet profound mystery.


      This prayer really marks the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, but it also looks forward to what followed His earthly ministry, and that was His heavenly ministry. And His heavenly ministry was a ministry of interceding for His people at the very throne of God. Jesus could have prayed silently as He always had. The New Testament could have been assembled and this left out. But Jesus was NOT silent that night. He prayed openly, and there’s every reason to believe that the disciples heard this prayer, and it’s recorded by the Spirit of God through the apostle John so all of us can hear it as well. Why? Because it is a model of what He is now doing, interceding for us.


      Look, we have four gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John – to tell us of the 33 years on earth what He did during those 33 years. We have four books. We have only one chapter to tell us what He’s doing now, and has been doing over the last 2,000 years, and will do until redemption is complete. Here is the ONE glimpse into the Christ who has been exalted and ever lives to make intercession for us. This is what Jesus is doing NOW.


      Now, the prayer is divided into three parts. The first five verses, Jesus prays for Himself. And then starting in verse 6, He prays for the apostles that are with Him on that very night. And then He closes the chapter by praying for all believers through all the future. But starting in verse 6, everything He prayed for the eleven, He prays for all His people through all history. So He starts by praying for His own glory, and then He prays for the glory of His own people.


      It is that interceding prayer that holds us until we stand before Him in heaven. It is this intercession that is the reason why nothing will ever separate us from the love of God, which is ours in Christ Jesus.


      The Bible is filled with great prayers. We are impressed with Solomon's prayer (1 Kings 8), Abraham's prayer (Genesis 18), and Moses' prayer (Exodus 32), but this prayer is by far the GREATEST recorded in the Bible.


      Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said:”


      A person's innermost being is revealed by genuine prayer; this is an unique opportunity to see the nature and heart of Jesus. In this prayer, Jesus will touch on many of themes developed in this gospel: glory, glorify, sent, believe, world, love.


      Jesus lifted up His eyes when He prayed.


      This is a posture that we do NOT usually associate with deep prayer. We tend to bow our head and close our eyes. This shows us that we should never confuse the non-essential customs of prayer with the essential aspects of prayer.


      Verse 1b tells us Jesus asks to be glorified.


      "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,"


      Father, the hour has come...

      What hour?

      What time was it on the redemptive clock? The hour was the crux of history; literally, the crux of eternity. It was the event of forever, and the event of time; the event of the ages, the crossroads. Two eternities were about to meet: eternity past and eternity future, and they would meet at the cross. The hour had come in which the Son of Man, the Son of God, would end His humiliation, would terminate His labors; and He would do that by becoming the sacrifice for sin. And the application of that sacrifice would extend backward through all of human history to every person who had ever believed, and forward through history to every person who would ever believe. He would, in that moment, become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. It was the hour that fulfilled the divine design, when before the foundation of the world, God ordained that Christ be crucified; and before the foundation of the world, God wrote down the names of those for whom His crucifixion would be, an effective sacrifice for their salvation. It was the moment when all the pre-time, pre-creation, divine purposes of God reached an apex.


      It was also the moment in time that had been long awaited. It was the hour when ALL prophecies of salvation were fulfilled, when ALL promises of salvation were fulfilled, when ALL the specific prophecies of Messiah were fulfilled, when ALL the types and ALL the symbols were fulfilled. It was the hour of which the prophet spoke and every godly person longed to see. It was the hour of triumph over the prince of this world. It was the hour of dismissing the old and ushering in the new. It was the hour of salvation, when all that God had promised in salvation was then made possible: no, made actual. Christ actually died for all who believed throughout ALL of human history going back and going forward. It was the hour of the cross.


      Here is it, the all, the everything, the climax, the glory hour; to blot out the power of the curse, to reconcile sinners to God, to illuminate the obscured spiritual kingdom. This is the hour. God planned that hour from eternity past. Peter said that on the Day of Pentecost: “This has all happened by the pre-determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” This was God’s plan from the very beginning.


      REMEMBER OUR STUDY OF ISAIAH. Go back to Isaiah 53, it’s all laid out in detail there, Jesus not only TOLD Isaiah what would happen. He SHOWED ISAIAH hundreds of years before it came to pass.


      So Jesus’ prayer, given deep into the night are we, Thursday night. Now midnight has past. It is in the dark of Friday morning, the day He was crucified. He is outside the wall of Jerusalem. He is on the edge of the Kidron Ravine, through which a brook of water flowed - at this time of year - mingled with the blood of the tens of thousands of animals that were being slaughtered in the temple. It would run down the back slope of the temple and into that Kidron Brook. He would literally be stepping over the symbol of His own blood being offered as the true and only acceptable lamb.


      He’s headed to the Mount of Olives just across that Kidron Ravine, and the Mount of Olives has a garden in it called the Garden of Gethsemane.


      Glorify Your Son...


      Jesus prays first for Himself, but His petition is anything but selfish. His concern for Himself is actually a concern for the glory of the Father...NOT for Himself.


      The hour has come … Glorify Your Son...


      It is the cross (see John 12:27-33, 13:30-33, 21:18-19) that will glorify the Son. The cross is utter humiliation to the world, but an instrument of glorification in God's eyes.


      Are we willing to embrace the glory of God, even if the world sees it as humiliation?


      That Your Son also may glorify You...


      How does the cross glorify the Father?


      The Son glorified the Father by revealing in the act the sovereignty of God over evil, the compassion of God for men, and the finality of redemption for believers.


      Verses 2-3 tells us Jesus speaks of the source and nature of eternal life.


      "As You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."


      You have given Him authority over ALL flesh...


      Jesus claims awesome authority, "authority to determine the ultimate destiny of men.


      That He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him...


      Jesus Himself is the great and exclusive channel of eternal life.


      And this is eternal life, that they may know You...


      Eternal life is found in an experiential knowledge (ginosko) of God, and revealed in Jesus Christ.


      Earthly Life is active involvement in an environment; death is the absence of that active involvement.


      Eternal life means that we are alive and active to God's environment.


      If our lives are NOT dominated by God and the spiritual environment, we have the same life as animals, and are dead to God and His environment.


      All life comes from Christ - all life, including eternal life. He is the giver of eternal life. All life comes from Him. Biological life comes from Him. Spiritual life comes from Him. Eternal life comes from Him. And He says, “I give that eternal life, that is what I do, to all whom You have given Me. All that You have given Me, I give eternal life.”


      I just need to stop there for a minute and say that phrase “all whom You have given Me” appears SEVEN times in this prayer. That is a defining statement regarding believers, you and me, and all believers since the work of Christ was applied. All believers – listen – have been given to Christ from the Father.


      We’ve said things about that through the years. It’s a stunning, stunning reality. What is the Father doing? The Father is gathering a bride for His Son. Through ALL of redemptive history, ALL of human history, the Father is gathering people who will make up the ONE bride for His Son. That’s why when you get to the end of the book of Revelation, you go to heaven. It’s a bridal city, and there’s a great bridal festival, and the whole city is adorned for a wedding. When all the saints of ALL the ages are gathered together in heaven, it is a marriage.


      All of redemptive history is the Father gathering a bride for His Son because He loves His Son, and He wants His Son to have a bride who will serve Him forever, love Him forever, honor Him forever, glorify Him forever, and even reflect His character, so that – listen – salvation is not a whimsical thing that is designed by people, or that is even determined by individuals. If you are a believer, it is because God GAVE you to Christ, and He gave you because He CHOSE you, and He chose you before the foundation of the world, the Bible says, and He wrote your name down. SEVEN times it refers to believers as those whom the Father gives the Son. It is completely wrong to think that that decision is left to us.


      Verses 4-5 tells us The request is again stated, full of faith: Glorify Me.


      "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was."


      So what is eternal life?


      Here’s the answer: “‘This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.’” Are you ready for this? Eternal life is the perfect knowledge of God and Christ; that’s eternal life. That’s what it is. That is the definition of eternal life. It is NOT a quantity of time; there is NO time as we know it. It is a quality of existence.


      If you can understand it this way, understand it as one moment - one moment in which you have perfect knowledge of God, perfect knowledge of Christ; at the same time, perfect love. To know God, to know Christ, is to love them. The word “know” in the New Testament with regard to salvation carries the connotation of “intimate love.” Not to have eternal life means to NOT know God, NOT know Christ, NOT know divine love. It means to be ignorant, cut off from the life of God - blind, dead.


      To have eternal life is to know God and to know Christ. And some day, some day, to know God and to know Christ perfectly; and then to love them with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, even in its glorified capacities. So when we get to heaven, it’s just going to be one moment in which we are consumed with a perfect knowledge and a perfect love of God and Christ. That’s eternal life.


      Right now “we know in part,” right (1 Corinthians 13)? “We know in part.” We know God. To some degree, we know Christ. We love God, we love Christ. But when eternal life reaches its perfection, we will both know God and Christ, and love God and Christ perfectly, comprehensively, completely. And we will be consumed in such exhilarated joy that we can NOT comprehend even the most meager part of that.


      So the Son says, “Glorify Me, because I’m the One, who being glorified, will give eternal life to the ones You gave Me. This is Your plan, Father. And in order to fulfill it, glorify Me because of who I am, the life-giver.” And then, secondly, He says, “Glorify Me because of what I’ve done.” Verse 4: “‘I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You’ve given Me to do.’”


      That second phrase means He’s looking at the cross. He sees beyond it now, hours away - it’ll be over - and He sees beyond it. “‘I have glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You’ve given Me to do.’” What was the work He gave Him to do? Sure, live a sinless life, absolutely. But “‘the Son of Man has come not to be served, but to give His life a ransom for many.’”


      I have finished the work...


      Jesus, with divine confidence and assurance, sees the work on the cross as already finished.


      Even so, God sees the work of transformation and perfection as already completed in us, BEFORE the fact.


      The glory which I had with You before the world was...


      This prayer could not come from Jesus if He were NOT Yahweh Himself, equal with the Father. In Isaiah 42:8 and 48:11, Yahweh proclaims that He shares His glory with no one. If the Father and Son share their glory, they must BOTH be Yahweh.


      With these words, in verse 4, He’s looking past the cross: “I have done the work. I have given My life a ransom for many. So, Father, because of who I am, because of what I’ve done, give Me the glory I had with You before the world was.” The Father answered that prayer. He died later that day, rose on Sunday, forty days later ascended into glory - took His place at the throne - and He EVER lives to make intercession for US.


      Verses 6-8 tells us Jesus speaks of His mission among the disciples and their reception of it.


      "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me."


      Having taught and encouraged the disciples as much as He could on the eve of their despair, Jesus now does the great thing...He commits them to the Father in prayer.


      I have manifested Your name to the men...

      Jesus did not simply teach about the name (character) of God, He manifested (displayed) that character.


      "God is love" or "God is holy" must be lived as well as believed. Jesus did BOTH for His disciples, and led them into both believing and living what was right before God.


      They have kept Your word...


      When we think of all the failures and disappointments from the disciples, this is a kind assessment of Jesus. He generously judges His disciples.


      They have known surely that I came forth from You...


      They may NOT understand everything, but they BELIEVE in the Divine origin of Jesus and His teaching.


      We all know it’s going to happen with the eleven. When Jesus is arrested, they’re going to scatter in fear. Their faith is going to be shaken. Their hearts are going to be even more grieved than they have been. But though His suffering is infinitely greater than theirs, though His suffering infinitely outweighs theirs, His love for them causes Him to pray this prayer.


      Verses 9-10 tells us Jesus directs His prayer.


      "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them."


      When Jesus says I do not pray for the world it is NOT out of unconcern for the world's plight. It was because of a focus on HIS OWN disciples. He was praying for the instrument He was creating, through which He would reach the world.


      Temptation’s going to come and it’s going to come fast. It’s going to come that very day in the garden. It’s going to overwhelm them. It’s going to cause them to run and Peter to make denials. Our Lord must overpower all of that and bring them to glory, and that’s why He intercedes.


      As we look at verses 6-10, He identifies the people He’s praying for, the disciples. Down in verses 11-19, He has more to say in this prayer about them. But He first identifies them in verses 6-10, and He identifies them from the divine side and from the human side. Here we face the interplay of that great mystery of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. It’s presented here in its beauty and its simplicity if also in it’s profundity.


      He’s praying for those who are marked by belonging to God and being given to Him from God, and who are marked on the human side by believing, obedient faith. Those two always go together.


      All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine...


      Anyone can say to God the Father all mine are Yours but only Jesus could say and Yours are Mine.


      I am glorified in them...


      No one should be glorified in the believer other than Jesus. Leaders have a tendency to glorify themselves in their followers, but it should ONLY be Jesus.


      Verses 11-12 tells us Jesus' first request for the disciples: Father, KEEP them.


      "Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled."


      What is the world?

      The world is the evil anti-God, anti-Christ, satanically ruled system of evil and sin, composed of demons and all the unredeemed human beings who oppose God, who belong to Satan, and who live in the kingdom of darkness. Within the realm of darkness, there are some sinners who belong to God. “They were Yours – ” Were, not are, were “ – even when they were in the world, they were Yours, and You gave them to Me out of the world.”


      So God, for His own glory, made an uninfluenced choice. He CHOSE some people and they are His, even though they are NOT YET saved. They were predestined for justification, they were predestined for adoption, they were predestined for heaven because they were chosen BY God.


      There are people throughout all of human history who are born sinners in the world, engulfed in sin, spiritually dead and blind and ignorant, but they are God’s; and in God’s time, He plucks them out of the world, then they become love gifts to His Son. The Father chooses, the Father gives; the Son receives, the Son keeps, and the Son raises, and NO ONE is lost.

      Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me...


      The basis of Jesus' request is rooted in the name (character) of God. God is glorified by completion of His work in us.


      Our continuing on in Jesus is NOT left to our own efforts alone. The world, the flesh, and the devil are so mighty, so pervasive, and so seductive, we could NEVER keep ourselves in our own efforts. If we stay with Jesus, it is because Jesus has prayed for us "Father, keep them."


      So if God planned to get us to glory and Christ promised to get us to glory by interceding for us at the right hand of God, “Who is ever going to separate us from the love of Christ: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, perils, sword?” Paul had, all in his life, experienced all of those things. No, we’re going to be overwhelmingly conquering through the one who loved us


      While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name...


      Jesus KEPT the apostolic band together and safe during His earthly ministry. He prays that this "keeping" would continue.


      None of them is lost EXCEPT the son of perdition...

      There was ONE exception to Jesus' work in keeping the disciples, Judas. This is because in fulfillment of the Scriptures, Judas was the son of perdition, the one destined to evil and destruction.


      The son of destruction, "the phrase denotes an abandoned character, one utterly lost and given over to evil."


      Verses 13-16 tells us Jesus elaborates on the FIRST request: keep them in My joy and away from the evil one.


      "But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 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. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world."


      That they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves...


      God's purpose is to multiply joy in our lives, NOT to subtract it. The world, the flesh, and the devil would tell us something different, but God wants joy fulfilled in our lives.


      The joy of Jesus is always just a faint flicker in the worldly believer; real joy comes from ABIDING in Him.


      I do not pray that You should take them out of the world...


      This prayer of Jesus cautions us AGAINST seeking refuge in Christian isolation; in modern day monasteries. Then and now, there are false man-created religiosities that teach, believe, and proclaim that TRUE PIETY AND TRUE GODLINESS AND THE VERY BEST are those who REMOVE THEMSELVES from the world, people, and LIVE ISOLATED, SOLITARY lives be it in a MONASTERY, TEMPLE, MOUNTAIN, CAVE, OR SHUT IN IN THEIR HOMES..


      JESUS STATES IT VERY CLEARLY AND VERY DIFFERENTLY OF THOSE WHO LOVE AND FOLLOW HIM...Our goal is to be in the world, but not of it, or of the evil one; even as a ship is to be in the ocean, but not allowing the ocean to be in the ship.


      They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world...


      Would we have said this about the disciples at this point?


      No we would not.

      Jesus is showing us RIGHT HERE that we do NOT have to be perfect to be unworldly.


      I can’t comprehend what it must have been like for them to hear this, that they are loved by God as the Son of God is loved, that they are the concern of His own heart cry. He is interceding for them. But not just for them, because in verse 20 He says, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone – ” these eleven “ – but for those also who believe in Me through their word.” They’re going to preach the gospel, and they’re going to be used to write the New Testament. “And I’m praying for all who will believe through that revelation.” Praying for them all. And He prays for us out of incomprehensible and infinite love.


      Verses 17-19 tells us Jesus' SECOND request for the disciples: sanctify them.


      "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth."


      Sanctify them by Your truth...


      Sanctify means to be SET APART for God's special pleasure and use. It implies holiness, being set apart from the corruption of the world and for God's use.


      Jesus did NOT just leave the disciples to sanctify themselves. He prayed for their sanctification. This process, as the keeping process, is NOT left to us alone, as some religiosities falsely teach, believe and proclaim; it is a work of God in us and through us.


      They’re in the world, Father. The world is dark, the world is demonic, the world is dangerous, the world is deadly.” He already told them back in chapter 15, verse 18, the world would hate them because it hated Him. He told them in verse 20, the world would persecute them. He told them again in verse 23 that they would be hated because the world hates Him and hates the Father. In chapter 16, He told them in verse 2 they would become outcasts and they would become martyrs; they would lose their lives. This is a dangerous place for the children of God. They can’t survive without divine support. The temptations of Satan are powerful, overwhelmingly powerful, and they NEED divine protection.


      So our Lord then, began in verse 11, starts to ask for some specific things by way of our protection.


      Number One: Spiritual security. Spiritual security. “They’re in the world – ” He says “ – and I come to You.” And He’s talking, obviously, about His ascension. “I come to You. Holy Father, keep them, keep them, keep them.”


      Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth...


      The dynamic behind sanctification is TRUTH. The word of God read, heard, understood and applied.


      As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world...


      The thought of service is sandwiched by sanctification. We are set apart for service, NOT for mutual admiration.


      Verse 20 tells us Jesus broadens the scope of His prayer for us too.


      "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;"


      I do not pray for these alone...


      Jesus prayed for His eleven disciples, but He also had the heart and the vision to pray beyond them. He prayed for those who WOULD COME to faith by the testimony of these disciples. He prayed for us.


      Those who WILL believe in Me through their word...


      This shows that Jesus expects that the disciples' eminent failure would ONLY be temporary. Others would hear from them, and come to belief in Jesus through the testimony of the disciples.


      Jesus went to the cross KNOWING His work would not be for nothing; He was NOT "hoping" on the disciples.


      Verse 21 tells us Jesus prays for a oneness among ALL believers, even as among the original disciples.


      "That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me."


      That they all may be one...


      Jesus envisions that great multitude before the throne of God, of every race, tongue, class and social strata; and prays that they may overcome their different backgrounds and understand their unity in HIM.


      That they all may be one, as You, Father are in Me, and I in You...


      Jesus did not pray for uniformity, or institutional unity among ALL RELIGIOSITIES as they taught then and even more so today. ONE UNIVERSAL RELIGION...ONE UNIVERSAL CHURCH...all BELIEFS IN THE WORLD BONDED TOGETHER...was NEVER what Jesus meant. Jesus was REFERRING TO a personal dynamic of unity, bringing together JESUS’ BRIDE...JESUS’ FAMILY...JESUS’ CHURCH. NONE OF HIS BRIDE, HIS CHURCH ARE BUILDINGS, NOR RULES AND RITUALS, BUT HIS CHURCH IS JESUS FAMILY...the Church's rich diversity OF ALL...WHOSOEVER WILL COME...WHOSOEVER WILL CALL UPON JESUS.


      AND HISTORY, ESPECIALLY RELIGIOUS HISTORY has proved uniformity seeks to unite wheat and tares; it can NOT be done. Unity of institutions does NOT insure unity of the Spirit.


      We must believe that this prayer was answered, and that the church is one. Our failure is in failing to recognize and walk in that divine fact.


      That the world may believe...


      The stakes of the unity Jesus prayed for are high. The spiritual unity of Christians is linked to the way the church represents Jesus to the world.


      THERE ARE MANY MAN-CREATED RELIGIONS AND BELIEF SYSTEMS THAT BELIEVE IN JESUS....BUT IT IS THE JESUS OF THE WORLD, OR OF THEIR CHOSEN ISM, THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUE JESUS CHRIST, AND HE IS THE GREAT I AM, YAHWEH, MESSIAH, SAVIOR OF THE WORLD FOUND IN THE BIBLE AND IN THE BIBLE ALONE...


      That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You...


      The foundation of our unity is the same as the foundation of unity between the Father and the Son: equality of person. We are all on the same ground at the cross.


      Verse 22 tells us Jesus prays that the church would be marked by glory.


      "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:"


      The glory which You gave Me I have given them...


      There should be a shared glory among believers, the glory of the present Christ. A focus on Jesus in our presence and on HIS Word alone will promote unity.


      If we have the glory that the Father gave the Son, remember that it was a glory that often appeared humble, weak and suffering, and was ultimately displayed in sacrifice.


      Verses 23-24 tells us Jesus prays for a unity founded in love.


      "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."


      I in them, and You in Me...


      There is a unity of compromise, or of fear or coercion. BUT Jesus wanted a unity of love, and common identity in Jesus.


      I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am...


      Jesus asks for the consummation of the unity - a promise of togetherness with Him that we can be sure of.


      Jesus' strong desire and prayer for His followers was that they be kept, sanctified, and unified. Do we share the same desires? Or are our desires taken more from this world than from Jesus' heart and His Word?


      Verses 25-26 tells us The triumphant conclusion to Jesus' prayer.


      "O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."


      I have known You...


      As He is about to approach the cross, Jesus is full of faith and triumph. The battle is still ahead, but He goes forth as a conqueror.


      Though the whole world said that He was wrong, He knew that He was right. WE SEE THE TRUTH OF OUR JESUS AND HIS THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS RIGHT HERE...Jesus' mind is not clouded by confusion or fear.


      There are those who teach and proclaim that at this time of night, that Jesus Himself went from being The Son of God, instantly in His heart and mind, to just a human man again. Why? Because they say the REAL Son of God could not be killed. He could not die. So The Son of God left this human body, and this Jesus became just a man who could die.


      That the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them...


      When you think about heaven and you think about Jesus. When you think about heaven, what do you think about? You think about Jesus. What do you think about?


      Kind of an olive-complexioned man with long hair and a nice robe with a rope around His waist maybe. Or maybe, you come out of a Catholic background, when you think in your mind about Christ, you see Him on a cross, because you saw that so long in your life. You can’t sort of get rid of it. Or maybe there are a few of you who even when you were kids saw Christ coming out of a tomb in a picture or something, and maybe He had a glowing light around His head or halo, and that’s the Jesus you think of. Or maybe some of you had a picture in your house of Jesus hanging somewhere – supposed to be Jesus – and you grew up with that, and that’s your view of Him.


      You can forget all of that. That isn’t even close; that is not even close. When you see Him as He is, you will see Him the way He is described in Revelation 21.


      There’s one light in infinite heaven - it’s Christ. That’s beyond comprehension. “All the peoples will walk by its light. Kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime, there will be no night.”


      There’s one light. God lights up infinite heaven with one lamp, and that lamp is Christ - full display, full display. The glory of the eternal Son, incomprehensible to us. We will see Christ in all His glory - limitless. Unlike Moses, who saw a little bit of glory when God tucked Him into a rock, we will see the full, blazing glory. And we will not be consumed, because we will be holy.


      Some day when you walk into heaven, whether you go by rapture or by death – we’re all going to go there – you’re going to see such glory radiating from Christ that He’s the only lamp in the infinite, eternal heaven forever. And that glory coming through Jesus Christ, which you will see face-to-face, that glory coming through Christ will demonstrate to you how much the Father has eternally loved the Son to give Him such infinite glory.


      The Father loves the Son, and all of redemption is to get us to heaven so that we can see how much the Father loves the Son. We are loved as well. We are loved into heaven, so that we can see how much the Father loves the Son. We will see His staggering, incomprehensible glory; and we will know the fullness of the Father’s love for Him. We will spend forever praising and honoring our Savior and redeemer as we behold His glory.


      We will see the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus Christ in lighting the eternal heaven. We will see that glory and know that glory as a manifestation of divine love. We will be swept up in that glory. We will become reflectors of that glory. That glory will shine on us and off of us. We will radiate that glory through all of heaven, and we will also swim in that same love. We will be loved by the Father the same way He loves His eternal Son.


      The prayer concludes with the great secret of Christian living - Jesus and His love indwelling the believer. J esus Christ is even now praying us into Heaven. Why? Jesus wants us who love him to know NOW....I LOVE YOU... I AM PRAYING FOR YOU. I AM PRAYING YOU, THOSE WHO LOVE ME, AND ARE MY FATHER’S GIFT TO ME. I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS. HANG ON. ABIDE IN ME. LIFT YOUR HEAD. I LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH, AS DOES MY FATHER. ONE SWEET DAY YOU WILL SEE ME AS I REALLY AM...

       

    • September 8, 2016 11:41 PM EDT
    • JOHN 18


      OPENS WITH JESUS' BETRAYAL IN THE GARDEN AND HIS ARREST AND TRIAL


      ONCE AGAIN, JOHN MACARTHUR’S INTRODUCTION TO JOHN 18 IS POWERFUL. “The eighteenth chapter of the Gospel of John is one of the really thrilling chapters of the Bible because it is an historical narrative that reveals in depth the excellencies of Jesus Christ in a way that few others, if any, do. It is rich, powerful, and insightful. Beginning with chapter 18 are the FINAL events of the life of Jesus Christ. This is the climax. What has been doctrinal in chapters 13 to 17, is historic in chapters 18 to 21. We are about to enter into the historic narrative of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the CLIMAX of His life.


      Jesus Christ was born to die. It greatly concerns me that the "Jesus movements" of today are based on human principles and not on divine principles. Many of these movements say that Jesus was a wonderful person who, through one or another series of circumstances, got Himself crucified. This is the idea that the movie Jesus Christ Superstar and the book The Passover Plot advocate. This is the kind of thing constantly parroted by critics and liberals alike. But the Word of God clearly tells us that Jesus Christ was NEVER trapped, tricked, or surprised -- He was NEVER a victim. He went to the cross of His OWN design and His OWN will because He was born for that express purpose.


      Jesus Christ came into the world to die. That was the purpose for which He was born.


      As we begin John 18, we come to the climax -- the ascent to the cross. If you are a Christian, this is YOUR moment. For every Old Testament and New Testament saint, the cross is the pinnacle -- the PEAK of history. Every redeemed man looks to this peak for his salvation.


      In the life of any man, there could be no more debasing, shaming situation than to be arrested as a common criminal, to be betrayed by a friend, to be marched off, to be beaten, and then to be crucified. But we know that even though this is the account of the betrayal and the arrest of Jesus, John will give conclusive evidence that Jesus is God because this is HIS purpose. And guess what we discover as we begin to study the eighteenth chapter?

      What should be shame, what should be a pathetic, degrading, humiliating, brutal kind of narrative turns out to be an unequaled presentation of the MAJESTY of Jesus Christ.


      There are FOUR preeminent features in John 18:1-11 that show us the supremacy of Christ. What could be a humiliating thing, as He is arrested as a common criminal, turns out to be glory.


      The FOUR features that I want you to see are:

      1. His Supreme Courage.

      2. His Supreme Power.

      3. His Supreme Love.

      4. His Supreme Obedience.


      The wretchedness, injustice, and hellishness of Satan's plot to kill Jesus begins to unfold in chapter 18. But instead of Christ being degraded as the devil intended, we will see Him exalted to the highest heavens. We will see His unbounded magnificence burst open in a series of tremendous truths concerning His incomparable person.


      HIS SUPREME COURAGE


      His courage is seen in His determination to go to the cross. It is a very courageous thing when a man is willing to die for a cause -- to be martyred for a truth that will not be rejected by people. That is noble. But to purpose in His mind to go to a cross knowing it means that all His purity and sinlessness will be violated, that He will bear the sin of every man who ever lived, and that He will be abandoned by the God with whom He has been face to face throughout all eternity, that kind of courage is infinite and supreme beyond anything a mere human being could accomplish. As Jesus sets His face to go to the cross, He is undaunted, and without hesitation He moves directly in that direction. He is not trapped, He is not tricked, and He is not surprised; He purposes to do this because He has to die for those who will receive and believe Him. So we see infinite courage -- not a cowering Christ, not a hiding Christ, not a running Christ, but One who sets Himself to die.



      Verse 1 tells us Jesus enters the garden.


      When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.”


      Over the Brook Kidron...


      When Jesus went from the city of Jerusalem, and crossed the Brook Kidron, the brook was red from the blood of thousands of Passover lambs. This would have been a vivid reminder to Jesus of His soon sacrifice.


      There was a garden...


      The last time there was a battle like this in a garden, it was the garden of Eden. Jesus enters this garden as a second Adam, ready to do battle with Satan. The first Adam waited for Satan to come to him, but this Adam takes the initiative.


      DID YOU KNOW...


      It had been Jesus' custom throughout the years of His ministry to spend His evenings on the Mount of Olives in this Garden. The gardens on the Mount of Olives belonged to the rich people of the city because the dwellings in the city were situated very close together -- there wasn't any room for gardens. Evidently, Jesus had known an individual who perhaps had given Him the key to the gate of this Garden. So, He retired frequently at the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. John 7:53-8:1 says, "And every man went unto his own house. Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives." This was HOME to Jesus -- where He could be alone with the Father and rest from the trials and the conflicts of the people. And on this occasion He again went to the Mount of Olives and gathered His disciples and took them with Him.


      DID YOU KNOW...


      As Jesus was leaving Jerusalem on this night, it was Passover season. And at the Passover season, thousands of pilgrims would move into the city from all over the land. So Jerusalem was bulging with people. And they were all there to offer sacrifices in the Temple. Lambs were being slain incessantly during those days. In fact, thirty years after Christ, historians tell us that there were 256 thousand lambs slain at the Passover in Jerusalem. You can imagine the mess that slaughtering that many lambs on one altar in the Temple would create -- blood running everywhere.


      Well, the Jews had provided for this problem. They had built a channel which ran from the Temple ground, which sat immediately above the valley of Kidron, down into the brook Kidron. All of the blood would run down this channel into the brook. Undoubtedly, as Jesus was leaving the city of Jerusalem on that last night, He stepped across the brook and saw that brook red with the blood of all the lambs that were being slain for the sins of the people. His own coming sacrifice must have become very vivid in His mind.


      So, Jesus continued up the other side of the valley and came to the little Garden called Gethsemane (meaning "oil press"). Since it was the Mount of Olives, one would expect to find an olive press there, and there was -- a wooden olive press.


      Jesus and His disciples gathered to this place where they had been many times before, Judas also knew where they were gathered. But Jesus knew that Judas knew this, and Jesus knew that Judas knew He would go there because He had gone there EVERY night for the last few nights. It was His place of prayer and retirement. So, as Jesus entered the Garden with His disciples, Judas has already betrayed Him and is gathering the force to confront Him.


      TWO TYPES/KINDS OF PROPHECY:


      There are two kinds of prophecy in the Old Testament: Verbal predictive prophecy and typical prophecy. An example of verbal predictive prophecy is Isaiah 9:6: "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given...." This verse gives a detailed verbal prophecy of Christ's coming. Typical predictive prophecy is a prophecy in types. In other words, every Old Testament sacrifice was a picture of Jesus Christ -- a prophecy that a final sacrifice would come. That is typical prophecy.


      There are some men in the Old Testament who are TYPES of Christ (i.e., by their very life they typified Christ). One such man was David, which we have already studied in 1 & 2 Samuel. REMEMBER In 2 Samuel 15:12-14, David was betrayed by his own friend Ahithophel, and David had to escape. When David escaped, he went out of the gate in Jerusalem, down the slope, across the Kidron, and up to the Mount of Olives with his faithful followers (vv. 23, 30). Ahithophel and David in this incident become a perfect picture in the Old Testament of what was to come when the true Christ -- the real King, David's greater Son -- arrived. So, Jesus Christ fulfills the typical Old Testament prophecy seen in the incident involving David and Ahithophel. And Judas becomes one even more treacherous than Ahithophel.


      THINK ABOUT THIS:

      The main reason Jesus went AGAIN TO THE GARDEN was to make it easy for Judas and the soldiers to arrest Him. He mapped out this scene before the world began. The Old Testament details what Judas was going to do not only in the typical prophecy of Ahithophel's situation, but in very accurate verbal prophecy (e.g., Ps. 41:9; 55:12-14). Zechariah 11:13 even prophesies the fact that the chief priests would use the thirty pieces of silver to buy the potter's field. Jesus went to that Garden because He was FORCING the confrontation that would result in His death.


      ALSO...


      1. If Jesus had allowed Himself to be arrested in the middle of Jerusalem, there would have been an insurrection and a revolution that would have torn apart the city and perhaps might have ended in the killing of the disciples, because Jesus was popular. Jesus wanted to make it easy.


      2. Jesus also wanted to prove to the disciples that He was NOT a victim. He could have gone by Himself to the Garden, had the disciples stay in Jerusalem, and by word of mouth they could have heard Jesus had been captured. But their faith would have gone down the drain and they would have seen Him as a victim. So Jesus says, "Come with Me. You are going to see how it really is." So He gathers them together and takes them with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane so that in the quiet and solitude of that place the arrest can occur without any disturbance and revolution. As a result, the disciples can stand there in that calmer atmosphere and watch what happens and see that Jesus is NO victim, but a victor. In addition, they can also be protected by Jesus.


      3. The leaders of Israel had wanted to get Jesus many times, but they FEARED the people. Jesus, by going to the Garden, eliminated the problem of their fear and made it very easy to arrest Him. And He took His eleven along just so they would see that it was a voluntary surrender.


      Verses 2-6 tells us An arresting army confronts Jesus.


      And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking?" They answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth. " Jesus said to them, "I am He. " And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground.”


      A detachment of troops...


      DID YOU KNOW...


      Judas went to the chief priests and Pharisees, worked out his deal, and they in turn brought the police and the Romans into the picture. So here comes the mob -- Jewish leaders, Gentile soldiers, and Jewish Temple police. Now, you wonder how many there were altogether. It's hard to know exactly, but we do have an idea.


      The Roman Cohort...


      The Greek word speira referred to a Roman cohort, which contained a MINIMUM of SIX HUNDRED men. There are some historians who feel that as many as twelve hundred could be in a cohort, yet a detachment from a cohort might have been as small as TWO hundred men. But let's assume that there were six hundred Roman soldiers. They all came from Fort Antonia, which was butted right up against the Temple ground. And they were professional soldiers -- like none other in the world.


      The Temple Police


      In addition to the Roman cohort, there was a large group of the Temple police, perhaps ONE OR TWO hundred.


      In addition, there were the chief priests and the Pharisees. They ALL came after Christ with Judas out front. What a compliment that was to Jesus when they had to send that MANY to pick up one Galilean carpenter and His friends. Now, they were also aware of the popularity of Jesus, and I'm sure that the Jewish leaders wanted these forces to be sure that if they were attacked, they would be able to defend themselves.


      Then there was their Equipment...


      "...cometh there with lanterns and torches and weapons."


      Historians tell us that at that time of the month, there was a full moon. Jerusalem would have been brilliantly lit up by that full moon and they would have had NO need for the torches and the lanterns to see their way up the Mount of Olives. Historians say that this indicates that they evidently felt they would have to search for Jesus who would be hiding somewhere in the nooks and crannies of the hillside. So, they came with torches to search for the Light of the world and with swords to fight the Prince of peace. What an insult! What a cruel misinterpretation of who He was! And Judas was leading the mob. What a vile, sick, tragic, sinful person he was!


      In recent years, people have said, "Well, Judas was REALLY a good guy. He just made a mistake in trying to force Christ into setting up the Kingdom and freeing them from Roman slavery & rule. He was trying to do a good thing, but he was just misguided."


      THAT IS A LIE.


      The Bible says that Satan entered into him (John 13:27). Jesus said, "...Good were it for that man if he had never been born" (Mark 14:21b). He was vile, he was the lowest of the low, he was a hypocrite beyond the bounds of hypocrisy.


      As Judas approaches Jesus leading this huge mob, he feels secure. After all, he didn't believe that Jesus was God. And when Judas arrives in the Garden, the Bible tells us in the other Gospels that Judas went up to Jesus and (according to the Greek construction) kissed Him REPEATEDLY (Matthew 26:49; Mark 14:45; Luke 22:47-48).


      Now, you can fathom a betrayer pointing out the victim, and you might be able to conceive that he might quickly give the victim a kiss and then take off, but to believe that he would linger and repeatedly kiss Jesus Christ and remain is absolutely inconceivable. There is no way that you could conceive of a man being that debased and unfeeling to do something like that...but he does. All he had to do was point to Jesus, but not Judas. The same spirit of mental confusion and sin and the same kind of possessive control by Satan that made him a traitor, also added to this devilish refinement of a kiss. And this is an unheard-of combination. In all of history you will never find a disciple's kiss coupled with a traitor's sign. It does NOT exist. This combination occurs to forever make Judas alone stand out as the black spot on humanity.


      DID YOU KNOW...


      Judas's cunning mind degenerated into brutal stupidity. Inferiors kiss the foot or the hand. Servants, slaves, and suppliants asking for pardon kiss the foot and worshipers kiss the hem of a garment. But familiarity is revealed when someone kisses the face of another. It reveals the warmth of love and affection. So, Judas's evil is intensified by the kiss. His feigned innocence was a weak attempt to conceal the reality of what he was, and possibly to let Jesus think that he had just gone out of the upper room for a little while and now was back with them again. It is bad enough to betray a friend; it is even worse to sell Jesus Christ. But the most foolish thing in the world is to think you can kiss God in mockery and get away with it.


      The saddest part of Jesus' betrayal is not that He endured only one Judas kiss, but He has endured a million since then. People who exalt Him to the skies with their public lips, but WILL NOT live for Him in their hearts or lives. People who talk about all of His greatness NEVER receive Him as their Savior. What is that but a Judas kiss -- polluting the Son of Man's face today as Judas did two thousand years ago.


      "Jesus, therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth..."


      John WILL NOT let an opportunity go by that shows us that Jesus is God. He is omniscient -- He knows everything. He knew exactly what was going to happen, and He did NOT wait for His enemies to get Him. He was NOT hiding behind an olive tree; he went out the gate and met them when they were on their way in. Christ was so humble and so willing in His self-sacrifice. Jesus initiated the confrontation, not Judas. Judas did NOT even have an opportunity to open his mouth.


      Jesus went out of the gate to meet them as they were coming to get Him. In His omniscience, He had seen Judas make his deal, He had seen them all leave Jerusalem, go down the hill, and then up the Mount of Olives. Then He walked right out and met them. This is the majestic courage of Jesus Christ. What magnificent boldness He displayed in going to the cross for us!


      Whom are you seeking …


      They answered Him, Jesus, of Nazareth...."


      They are just simply parroting their orders. They have NO recognition of Him as Christ, or Messiah, or God. They just give His name and where He's from in order to identify Him. They only know that they have been commissioned to GET Jesus of Nazareth.


      Now when He said to them, "I am He,".


      DID YOU KNOW...The "He" isn't present in the Greek. So Jesus just says, "I am." Whose name is that? It is God's name.


      "...And Judas also, who betrayed Him, stood with them."


      Why is Judas still there?


      He has his money, why doesn't he just go? I think he is still there for TWO reasons:


      1) Revealing Satan's Rule: Judas remains in order to show what happens when Satan rules an individual. The activity of sin is senseless, incoherent, and stupid.


      2) Revealing Judas's Reversal: Jesus wanted us TO KNOW that Judas was there because Judas was in on this arrest. Judas was also part of the plan, and he had NO power over Jesus. There might be a tendency to think Judas was a big hero because he marched in with the army to capture Christ. But Jesus wants us all to know that Judas is just a part of the plan, standing there with the soldiers.


      So we have seen the supreme courage of Christ. In a moment that Jesus could have been debased, He is revealed as having majestic courage. He is determined to go to the cross, so He goes right out and meets His foe.



      They drew back and fell to the ground...”


      Jesus wanted us to know Judas was there to show that Judas had no power. All Jesus had to do was say His name and they all went down. The other Gospels dwell on Jesus' agony -- on His knees on the ground in anguish. But NOT in John's Gospel. Jesus is standing and the whole Roman army is on the ground.


      The disciples saw that Jesus had power over them. He wanted them to know, He wanted us to know, He wanted Judas to know, the whole Roman army to know, and all the Jews to know that HE WAS IN CONTROL. He was laying His life down; nobody was taking it away from Him. He just said, "I am," and a thousand people went down.


      Now, one Bible commentator said, "Well, evidently someone fell in the front and everyone else lost their balance." That is a typical line of reasoning. Jesus said, "I am," and the entire group went down. Now, they were soldiers. They weren't stupid, standing one inch behind each other. They were in some kind of formation. They knew what they were doing. They fell down because of THE POWER of His word. All He had to do was say His name, the name of God, and they collapsed on the spot.


      There He was, a single, unarmed, lonely figure, and they were an army, equipped and manned for war, and He simply spoke His name and they collapsed. There flowed from Jesus such commanding power and authority that they could not even stand up in His presence.


      This was another sign recorded by John to show us that Jesus Christ was NO victim; He was the majestic victor in control of everything. And I think He revealed His power most of all for the delight and faith of the disciples, who would see that He was NOT a victim.


      When Jesus declares who He is (I Am), the soldiers fall back. While it is impressive, it is still a pretty humble display of Jesus' power - after all He could have destroyed them all with fire from heaven. He could have destroyed them to dust with a word. Jesus often shows His majesty in ways that speak of humility.


      AND THINK ABOUT THIS...Revelation. 19:15a tells us it is the word of God that is powerful; it is the word of God that will judge and condemn men; and it is the word of God that is incisive. So the Bible says He will judge by the word out of His mouth. And this army, this mob, these priests, tasted just a sample of His judgment power and they fell helpless at His feet.


      Verses 7-11 tells us Jesus WILLINGLY goes with the arresting army.


      Then He asked them again, "Whom are you seeking?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth. " Jesus answered, "I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way," that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, "Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none. " Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?"


      They have just picked themselves up off the ground and they say, "Jesus, of Nazareth" again, like nothing ever happened. Unbelievable is the stupidity and the blindness of sin!


      DO YOU NOTICE...The Bible does NOT even indicate that anything entered their minds about what Jesus had done. Perhaps they thought that someone fell in front. Even the Jews make NO comment about the fact that He named the name of God when He said, "I am." The stupidity of sin is unbelievable!


      BUT ARE WE ANY BETTER THAN THEY?


      Look at our life. How many times did Jesus knock US down and still WE did NOT believe? Now, as a Christian, how many times have we been belted to the ground because of sin, and picked ourself up and done the same thing again?


      The same thing goes on today. People come to church, hear the Word of God, walk out, and forget it. They might go through trauma, tragedy, and disasters in their lives, but when those are over, they still have the same unbelief they had before.


      So, the cohort parrots their orders: "Jesus, of Nazareth." And Jesus wants them to state their orders emphatically. Why do you think He asked them TWICE?


      The JEWISH PRIESTS AND LEADERS would have loved to have gotten their hands on ALL of the disciples, so Jesus makes the MILITARY cohort repeat their orders twice so that from their own mouths they state that they have NO RIGHT right to the disciples. This was His master plan. In order to make sure of the disciples' safety, He had them repeat their orders twice that they were after Him alone and had no business with the disciples. So Jesus PROTECTS His own.


      Let these go their way...”


      This is a SUCH A LOVING, PROTECTIVE AND powerful scene. The enemy is on one side, the disciples are on the other side, and Christ is in the middle. Jesus Christ is NOT the kind of shepherd who rescues the lamb when it is half eaten by the wolf. He is the kind of shepherd who gets IN FRONT to meet the wolves before they attack the flock. In John 10:12, He talked about the true shepherd MEETS the wolves.


      Take Me, let these go....is ALSO the same sacrificial love that takes Jesus to the cross for us all. In bearing our judgment for sin, He said the same thing to the Father's justice.


      "Then Simon Peter, having a sword [Gk. machaira = dagger], drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus."


      Here is impetuous Peter. It is not enough that Christ has protected him; now Peter draws a knife and starts cutting into the crowd. You can imagine the Lord saying, "After all I have just gone through to get you off the hook, and now you are doing this!" The Bible says that Peter cut off his right ear, but you should know Peter well enough to know that he was NOT aiming for an ear. Nothing would have made him happier than to see the man's head rolling down the hill. So, Peter wanted to move into the army -- he felt invincible. After all, Christ was right beside him. He probably figured, "If I get into trouble, the Lord will just say, `I am.'" So he felt secure and invincible in the presence of Christ and drew the sword and whacked off an ear. Fortunately, Malchus had fairly good reactions. And then, in a beautiful demonstration of His protective love, Jesus recreated his ear -- gave him a new one (Luke 22:51).


      "Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath; the cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?"..."


      In other words, "Peter, put that thing away. Don't you realize what I'm trying to do?" Now, I admire Peter's courage, but I can't say much for anything else he does. Peter found out later that night that he wasn't as great as he thought. By the time the night was over, he was crying his heart out after having denied Jesus.


      I wonder how many times the Lord has had to say to us in effect, "Why don't you get out of My way so I can do My work?" He says, "Peter, this is what we have been planning since the beginning of eternity. Now just stand aside for a minute and let it happen."


      Verses 12-14 tells us Jesus is lead away to Annas.


      Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year. Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.”


      Annas was not the official High Priest; but as father-in-law to Caiaphas, he was the "power behind the throne."


      Jesus had two trials -- a religious trial and a civil trial. His religious trial was with Israel, His civil trial was with Rome. In terms of Jesus' execution, nothing could be done without Rome. Israel could decide that He should die, but Rome had to execute Him because the Jews had no right to take a life since they were under Roman bondage.


      According to John 18:19, Annas is called the "high priest." Now, the question that always arises is: "How come Annas is called the high priest and so is Caiaphas? Can there be two high priests?" Technically, according to God's design, no. But by this time, Israel had deteriorated so much that they had problems of this nature. There were not only one or two high priests, there may have been others who had the right to be called high priests. But Annas was THE POWER behind everything.


      It is very likely that Annas legitimately had the right to be high priest. He may well have been in the line of Aaron. If that was true, then he did have the right to be high priest. In fact, he was officially high priest during the years A.D. 6 to 15 -- the childhood years of Jesus. But in the year A.D. 15 he was pressured by the Romans to bail out of the office of high priest because they wanted it to be a puppet office, and Annas was too powerful to be used as a puppet. I suppose that Rome felt somewhat threatened and insecure with a man as powerful as Annas running the show permanently until his death, because in the Old Testament, a man was high priest for life. In order to work with the Jews, Rome felt they needed to put a puppet in as high priest, so they would appoint the high priests. Technically, they weren't legitimate.


      Annas was so powerful that when he was removed from office, seven of his successors were relatives: Five were his sons, one was his grandson, and Caiaphas was his son- in-law. So he may not have been high priest officially, but he WAS running the show.


      The office was bought. It was a matter of intrigue, corruption, contention, and bribery. Annas was so rich that he just continued to buy the office of high priest. Consequently, he was always in control. So this was why Annas was involved in Christ's arrest. Caiaphas was simply Annas's puppet.


      You say, "Why did they have concessions in the Temple?" They were concessions for the sale of animals for sacrifices. When people came to make their sacrifices, they first entered into the outer court of the Temple called "The Court of the Gentiles." In this court, concession booths had been set up for the exchange of money because the people had to pay a Temple tax. Anyone who possessed foreign currency had to have it exchanged. Annas also had a monopoly in the sale of sacrificial animals because the Old Testament law required that any sacrifice be without spot and blemish in Exodus 12:5).


      So a man would leave his field and go to the Passover bringing his own sacrifice -- carrying a little lamb under his arm. Annas had stationed inspectors of sacrifices in the court. Each sacrifice had to pass the inspection before it could be offered. Naturally, nobody's sacrifice ever passed. As a result, the suggestion was made to obtain an approved sacrifice for sale at a certain booth in the Court of the Gentiles. And it would usually be sold at five times its actual value. In addition, anyone attempting to change their money found themselves cheated about five to one. So, Annas had a real good thing going. As history has indicated to us, at least one Passover time they sacrificed a quarter of a million lambs. That was a lot of money. Annas made his money in extortion. In fact, the entire Temple ground became known as "The Bazaar of Annas."


      The Jews hated Annas. The Talmud says of Annas: "Woe to the house of Annas! Woe to their serpent's hiss! They are High Priests; their sons are keepers of the treasury; their sons-in-law are guardians of the Temple; and their servants beat the people with staves." They had a monopoly; they were in control of everything. So, the Talmud gives us an indication of the Jewish hatred of Annas and his house.


      WHY AM I INCLUDING ALL THIS? TAKE A GUESS who had twice messed up Annas's operation? None other than Jesus. At the beginning of His ministry, He entered the court and chased everyone out (John 2:13-17), and then did it AGAIN at the close of His ministry (Matthew 21:12- 13). This did not make Him very popular with Annas.


      If the Jews wanted to get an indictment of Jesus, they naturally would go to Annas for these two reasons: one, he was the brains behind the machinery even though he wasn't officially the high priest; and two, he had a DEEP HATRED for Jesus. If anyone could come across with some powerful indictments, Annas certainly could.


      But Annas was about to meet his infinitely superior match. Annas hated Jesus because he had been hit right where it hurt -- in the moneybags. He hated Jesus because He represented to him something threatening to the security of his office. Caiaphas was scared that Jesus was going to take over, start a revolution, and he would lose his job. He was purely a paid politician.


      NOW CAIAPHAS...


      Caiaphas, who was the high priest that same year. Now Caiaphas was he who gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people."


      Now, Caiaphas had been plotting Jesus' death all along. These purchased politicians are scared all the time. They know that they never obtained the office by their ability to begin with, and they know that they only hang on by a thread. So Caiaphas is scared to death, but he loves the prestige of his office. Then Jesus moves in and sways the people. He is popular. It was less than a week ago that the people were screaming, "Hosanna!"


      In John 11:47, Caiaphas met with his cronies and they talked about the tremendous problem of Jesus just prior to Jesus' triumphal entry. They had heard about Him raising Lazarus from the dead. Verses 49-50 Caiaphas is saying, "If we don't get rid of this Jesus, He's going to mess up the nation, we're going to have a revolution, and the Romans will come down and wipe out all of us. So what we ought to do is kill Jesus and save the nation."


      Caiaphas HATED Jesus too. And of course Judas had already consulted with them and set up the arrest. So we have seen the beginning of Jesus' mock trial.


      Verses 15-18 tells us Peter's first denial.


      And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, "You are not also one of this Man's disciples, are you?" He said, "I am not. " Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.”


      At this point, John and Peter are the only TWO of the eleven who follow Jesus at his arrest. John who knows the high priest gains entrance for them both, and follows Jesus inside, but Peter remains outside the gates. Peter is full of contradictions. He was bold with a sword in his hand, but a coward before a servant girl.


      Verses 19-24 tells us Jesus stands before Annas.


      The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine. Jesus answered him, "I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said. " And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, "Do You answer the high priest like that?" Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?" Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.”


      Annas asks about Jesus' disciples, perhaps because out of fear or jealousy. Jesus does not mention His disciples at all, protecting them to the end.


      Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them...”


      In saying this, Jesus was NOT being uncooperative, only asserting His legal right. There was to be NO formal charge until witnesses had been heard and been found to be truthful.


      DID YOU KNOW...It was the High Priest's duty to call forth the witnesses first, beginning with those for the defense. He was innocent until proven guilty. In a sense, their law was like the Fifth Amendment, in which NO man could condemn himself by his own word. The burden of proof was on the court. These basic legal protections for the accused under Jewish law were NOT observed in the trial of Jesus.


      There also was a rule that there was NEVER to be any striking of a prisoner -- no display of emotion before the judge. Well, they violated all of that in His entire trial.


      There was another rule that from the end of the trial until the execution, there had to be an interval of at least two days. And that rule was broken.


      Another rule was that a trial could not be held at night, and they broke that one.


      The ENTIRE trial was rotten from beginning to end. Historically, the Jews have claimed that the trial of Jesus was legal. It was NOT legal; it was illegal in EVERY way you look at it. They wanted His death so it was decided that He would be murdered. For them, it was only a matter of trying to figure out how they could justify it.


      This begins the mockery of this indictment and arraignment before Annas. He had no right to ask Jesus that question. Annas says, "Well, why don't You tell us about Your disciples and Your doctrine." He wanted Jesus to talk about a planned insurrection or about heresy. Then they could say, "You're planning a revolution," or, "You're a heretic," and they would have justification for the trial.


      Maimonides, the great Jewish medieval scholar, said, "Our true law does not inflict the penalty of death upon a sinner by his own confession." That was part of the Jewish law, and the Roman law agreed. They had to have witnesses. Jesus did not have to prove Himself innocent, they had to prove Him guilty. So Annas violated the principles of Jewish justice when he questioned Jesus.


      "Jesus answered him, I spoke openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why asketh thou Me? Ask them who heard Me, what I have said unto them; behold, they know what I said."


      In other words, "Where are your witnesses, Annas? This is not how the trial is supposed to be conducted." Jesus probed and found the core, and in dynamic, devastating words, indicted Annas. They wanted to finish the trial in the middle of the night when there weren't any witnesses.


      Eventually they did come up with some witnesses, but they were false witnesses (Matthew 26:60-61). Jesus said, "I haven't taught any secret doctrine to any small group who would want to cause a revolution. Everything I've said has been for public consumption." Jesus is not being uncooperative; He is simply saying, "I want a legal trial."


      "And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers [Temple police] who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest Thou the high priest so?"


      Here is a typical henchman looking for a promotion from Annas. Now, the Greek word for "struck...with the palm of his hand," is rhapisma, and can also be translated, "struck with a stick." Since it is evident that the Temple police carried sticks or clubs, it is more likely that he hit Jesus across the side of His face with a club. Again, this was not only unkind and ruthless, but illegal. Never was it legal for someone to strike a prisoner.


      But there is something even more significant about this verse. Micah 5:1 says, "...they shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek." That officer was fulfilling prophecy. Micah called Jesus, "the Judge of Israel." Annas was playing judge, but Jesus Christ was the real judge.


      "Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou Me?"


      It was an outrage to strike a prisoner, but Jesus calmly, with no anger or vengeance, says, "If I've done something wrong, where are the witnesses? If I haven't, why are you hitting Me?" That is powerful. He was so calm, so dignified, and so much in control in comparison to the frustrated henchman and the frustrated Annas.


      "Now Annas had sent Him bound unto Caiaphas, the high priest."


      Annas now sent Him to Caiaphas. Now the trial before Caiaphas was a mockery. It also took place in the middle of the night. During the time that Jesus was before Annas, the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas gathered together to carry on the mock trial. They wanted it at night before the people would know about it so they could have Him convicted and turned over to the Romans by morning. Then they would all later mingle in the crowd when Jesus stood before Pilate and cry, "Crucify Him," and bring about His death. It was an illegal gathering in every way -- a gathering of false witnesses, and just a part of the plot.


      They couldn't find any evidence against Him, so finally two men agreed He said that He was going to destroy the Temple (Matthew 26:60- 61). They tried to convict Him on that, but they could not. Finally, they asked Him, "Are you the Messiah?" And He said, "Yes, I am the Messiah" (Mark 14:61-62). Then the high priest tore his clothes and screamed, "Blasphemy!" The people began to spit all over Jesus, and they pushed, shoved, and slapped Him in the face and said, "Tell us who slapped You, Prophet?" So they abused Him (Matthew 26:65-68).


      Verses 25-27 tells us Peter denies Jesus twice more.


      Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, "You are not also one of His disciples, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not!" One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, "Did I not see you in the garden with Him?" Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.”


      Peter is in the same place he had been in verse 18. What is Peter still doing there? John has stayed close to Jesus and watched everything that is happening, but all through this time Peter has been denying Jesus while standing with unbelievers. Once you become enmeshed in the world, it is hard to leave.


      It is Luke 22:60-62 who brings these two scenes together. For as they led Jesus out from Caiaphas, He passed Peter just at the moment the **** crowed. Luke 22:60-61 says, "And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spoke, the **** crowed. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter...."


      If you have reached a place in your life where you are fooling around in the world, you need to look into the face of Jesus Christ and remember what life was like when you were abiding in Him. This message is the look of Jesus Christ at you. You ought to go out and weep bitterly and make your relationship with Him right if it's wrong.


      There are so many things that Peter teaches us. We learn that the believer is weak. We learn the danger of self-confidence. We learn the consequence of prayerlessness (Peter should have been praying in the Garden instead of sleeping -- he might have been ready for the danger of evil company; Matthew 26:40-41). We learn the power of fear. We also see the beauty and the majesty of Jesus Christ.


      Other gospels emphasize Jesus' trials before the Jewish Sanhedrin; John emphasizes His trial before the Roman authority - Pontius Pilate.


      Pilate was characterized in his day as "naturally inflexible and ruthless in his conceit" and he was charged with corruption, violence, and extortion.


      In times past he had shown great insensitivity to Jewish religious traditions and concerns, and the Jews had complained to Rome about him before.


      The emperor Tiberius was suspicious of conspiracy, and not in any mood to tolerate any kind of disloyalty, so Pilate the governor was on thin ice.


      Now, the Roman court opened at sunrise and closed at sunset. The Jews brought Jesus there as soon as they could.


      John 18:28 says, "Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment; and it was early...."


      This was the place where the Roman garrison was kept (likely Fort Antonius, which ***** up against the Temple in Jerusalem). Now, the Holy Spirit indicates that "it was early" in order to remind us that this was a hurry-up operation. The Jews wanted to get Jesus into the hands of the Romans for execution before the people could find out what was going on because many of the people were enamored with Jesus Christ. So the whole mob arrives at the hall of judgment just as the dawn is breaking, and they are ready to hand Jesus over for a judgment on execution.


      An interesting insight is in verse 28b: "...And they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover."


      The Jews were hypocrites. Here they were NOT willing to enter this Gentile hall so they would not be defiled, yet at the same time they WERE ready to execute the Messiah. They had their priorities a little backwards.


      Beginning in verse 29, John introduces to us SEVEN magnificent characteristics of Christ and weaves them through the narrative. We see Christ exalted in SEVEN ways:

      1. The Perfect Man.

      2. The Prophetic God.

      3. The Preternatural King.

      4. The Preincarnate One.

      5. The Proclaimer of Truth.

      6. The Personal Savior.

      7. The Proven Faultless.


      All of these things exalt Christ. And all the way through this would-be humiliating situation, Christ is constantly exalted. So, let's see the majestic Jesus in Pilate's judgment hall presented.


      Verses 28-32 tells us Jesus is brought to Pilate.


      Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. Pilate then went out to them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this Man?" They answered and said to him, "If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you. " Then Pilate said to them, "You take Him and judge Him according to your law. " Therefore the Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death," that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.”


      You take Him and judge Him according to your law...


      Pilate would rather not take the case; yet the Jews want him to take it so that they can lawfully have Jesus killed.


    • September 8, 2016 11:33 PM EDT
    • JOHN 19


      OPENS WITH JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO BE CRUCIFIED


      Verses 1-4 tells us Pilate HOPES to satisfy the mob by having Jesus whipped and mocked.


      So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck Him with their hands. Pilate then went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him."


      So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him...


      Pilate already declared Jesus "not guilty," so to scourge Him now was a GROSS injustice. In doing this, perhaps Pilate thought he could help Jesus, and that the mob would be satisfied with the scourging and mocking.


      Scourged Him...


      The brutal act of scourging had FOUR purposes.

      FIRST, it was used to beat the prisoner as a form of punishment.

      SECOND, it was used to extract a confession from the prisoner.

      THIRD, in cases of crucifixion it was used to weaken the victim so he would die more quickly on the cross.

      FOURTH, as a tool to extract a confession, the Roman solider would beat the victim harder and harder until they confessed their crime. Because Jesus had nothing to confess, the blows NEVER lightened on His back.


      DID YOU KNOW...Scourging was a LEGAL preliminary to EVERY Roman execution, and only women and Roman senators or soldiers (except in cases of desertion) were exempt.


      In regard to crucifixion, the goal of the scourging was to weaken the victim to a state just short of collapse and death.


      As the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck the victim's back with full force, the iron balls would cause deep contusions, and the leather thongs and sheep bones would cut into the skin and subcutaneous tissues. Then, as the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss generally set the stage for circulatory shock. The extent of blood loss may well have determined how long the victim would survive the cross.


      The severe scourging, with its intense pain and appreciable blood loss, most probably left Jesus in a pre-shock state. Moreover, hematidrosis had rendered his skin particularly tender. The physical and mental abuse meted out by the Jews and the Romans, as well as the lack of food, water, and sleep, also contributed to his generally weakened state. Therefore, even BEFORE the actual crucifixion, Jesus' physical condition was critical.


      I find no fault in Him...Pilate repeats his former finding not guilty.


      Verses 5-6 Pilate presents Jesus to the crowd.


      Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold the Man!" Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him."


      Pilate's word's behold the Man were filled with pity for Jesus, contempt for the mob, with fear and panic over his own role in this worsening situation.


      As the world accepts Pilate's invitation to behold the Man, it has seen the Man of men, the Perfect man, the unattainable Ideal of ALL humanity.

      Crucify Him, crucify Him!

      The reaction of the crowd shows how powerful the hatred of God can be in unregenerate man, though that hatred may be veiled in indifference.


      You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him...


      For the third time, Pilate pronounces Jesus innocent of all charges.


      Verses 7-11 tells us The Jews reveal the TRUE nature of their charge against Jesus.


      The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God. " Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, "Where are You from?" But Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, "Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?" Jesus answered, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."


      Because He made Himself the Son of God...


      The pretense is over. No longer are they trying to accuse Jesus of being "King of the Jews"; their real objection is that He claims to be God.


      He was the more afraid...


      When Pilate learned the true nature of the charge, instead of being angry with the Jews, he was more afraid of Jesus than ever. This demonstrates the stature and dignity Jesus maintained throughout this whole trial.


      Do You not know that I have power...


      Pilate still did NOT understand the true nature of power. He believed that He had real power; but Jesus makes it plain: You could have NO power at all against Me unless it have been given you from above.


      The one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin...


      Jesus sees through the mob mentality and the political maneuvering to see the hand of God in these circumstances.


      Verses 12-16 tells us Pilate gives into the pressure and sentences Jesus to death.


      From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar. " When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King!" But they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!" Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away.”


      So he delivered Him to be crucified...


      Pilate fully knew what was right and just, but he chose wrong so that he might keep his job and manner of life.


      ERDMAN says it well, "You may do today exactly what Pilate did. He is simply an example of a man who lacks decision of character, who does not possess the courage of his convictions, who tries to compromise with wrong, who disobeys conscience through fear of personal loss. "


      We have no king but Caesar...


      The multitude began by wanting a POLITICAL Messiah to deliver them from Caesar's oppression, but in rejecting Jesus, they now EMBRACE Caesar.


      Verses 17-18 tells us Jesus is crucified.


      And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.”


      They crucified Him...


      John spares the gore, only mentioning the fact of Jesus' crucifixion. This was because the agony of crucifixion was well known to the people of Jesus' day. In a addition, the true ordeal of the cross was more spiritual than physical.


      Jesus was made … sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) and the wrath of God we deserved was poured out upon Him. This is a type and degree of suffering that is simply incomprehensible.


      Verses 19-22 tells us Pilate writes an inscription meant to GALL the Jews, but was TRUE beyond his knowing.


      Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'He said, "I am the King of the Jews. "'" Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."


      Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews...


      The religious leaders among the Jews objected to this title. They felt it was false, because they did NOT believe that Jesus was the King of the Jews. They also believed it was demeaning, because it showed Rome's power to humiliate and torture even the "King of the Jews."


      What I have written, I have written...


      Now Pilate has the courage to stand up to the Jewish rulers. Sadly, it is on a rather unimportant issue because Jesus will still be crucified.


      Verses 23-24 tells us Soldiers DIVIDE Jesus' clothing in fulfillment of prophecy.


      Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be," that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: "They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. " Therefore the soldiers did these things.”


      Took His garments...


      Jesus came all the way down the ladder FROM HEAVEN to accomplish our salvation. He let go of absolutely everything - even His clothes - becoming completely naked, and poor for us, so we could become completely rich in Him.


      The tunic was without seam...


      DID YOU KNOW...Jesus' seamless tunic reminds us of His role as our great High Priest, because Exodus 28:31-32 tells us that the High Priest wore a seamless garment.


      That the Scripture might be fulfilled...


      It may seem that Jesus has no control over these events. Yet the invisible hand of God guides all things, so that specific prophecy is specifically fulfilled.


      Verses 25-27 tells us Jesus ENTRUSTS His mother Mary, into John's care.


      Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”


      This shows that even to the end, Jesus thought and cared for others. If there was ever a moment when Jesus deserved to be self-focused, this was it. Yet He remained others-centered to the end. And He wanted to make sure Mary was loved, cared for, and protected by the one disciple He knew who not only loved Him but loved Mary. I think it is terribly sad and revealing, that NONE of Jesus’ half brothers or half sisters were there, and the only man disciple to be there was John.


      Many have asked why did Jesus give His mother Mary to John?First, Jesus was the oldest son, and it was He that became head of his family when Joseph died, according to God’s will and Jewish custom.


      And even as He was dying, bearing man’s sin and God’s wrath, Jesus selflessly cared for those whom He loved. Evidently since His earthly father, Joseph, was already dead. The Lord could NOT commit Mary into the care of His half brothers, the children of Mary and Joseph, since they were NOT yet believers, confirmed to us in John 7:5. They did NOT become believers in Jesus until AFTER His resurrection, confirmed to us in Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians. 15:7, though the James referenced in that verse may be the apostle James). Therefore Jesus entrusted Mary to John; he became as a son to her in Jesus’ place, and from that hour he took her into his own household. This may seem a very mundane thing to be concerned about in the hour of His greatest sacrifice, but the beauty of the Savior’s love and compassion for His widowed mother, in the midst of His own excruciating pain, reflects His love for His own.

      And that Jesus knew He could NOT trust them to suddenly care for His mother, so HE gave His mother to the one person whose love for Him never wavered, never failed, and whose love and sweetness and care for Mary was complete.


      Verses 28-30 Jesus' great proclamation and death.


      After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!" Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”


      I thirst...


      Jesus did NOT accept a pain-numbing drink at the beginning of His ordeal told to us in Mark 15:23, but now He accepts a taste of greatly diluted wine, to wet parched lips and a dry throat so He can make ONE final announcement to the world with a "great cry."


      It is finished!


      Jesus' final word (tetelestai in the ancient Greek) is the cry of a WINNER. Jesus had finished the eternal purpose of the cross. It stands today as a finished work, the foundation of all Christian peace and faith, paying in full the debt we righteously owe to God.


      Actually, the Lord shouted those words with a loud cry. It was a shout of triumph; the proclamation of a victor. The work of redemption that the Father had given Him was accomplished: sin was atoned for cofirmed in Hebrews. 9:12; 10:12;), and Satan was defeated and rendered powerless (Hebrews. 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18–20; 1 John 3:8). EVERY requirement of God’s righteous law had been satisfied.


      1. God’s holy wrath against sin had been appeased, confirmed to us in Romans. 3:25; Hebrews. 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10.


      2. Every prophecy had been fulfilled.


      3. Christ’s completion of the work of redemption means that NOTHING needs to be nor can be added to it. Salvation is not a joint effort of God and man, but is entirely a work of God’s grace, appropriated solely by faith, confirmed to us in Ephesians.2:8–9.


      WHAT OTHER PROPHECIES WERE FULFILLED?


      1. Led to Slaughter


      2. Hurried to Death


      3. Bore His Cross


      4. Suffered Outside the City


      5. Crucified


      6. Numbered with Transgressors


      7. The Soldiers and Jesus Garments


      8. The Superscription nailed to the cross


      So, John picked out EACH of these little details of prophecy to show the ABSOLUTE accuracy of EVERY event that occurred at the cross of Jesus Christ. Old Testament prophecies given to prophets, hundreds if not thousands of year in advance were fulfilled PERFECTLY AND PRECISELY BY ALMIGHTY GOD. This proves that Jesus Christ is NO ordinary man, and that He is NOT a victim, but that Jesus Christ WAS, IS and EVER SHALL BE God in human flesh, moving step by step on the plan that He Himself established.


      At some point before He died, BEFORE the veil was torn in two, BEFORE He cried out it is finished, an awesome spiritual transaction took place. God the Father laid upon God the Son ALL the guilt and ALL the wrath our sin deserved, and Jesus bore it in Himself perfectly, totally satisfying the wrath of God for us.


      As horrible as the physical suffering of Jesus was, this spiritual suffering - the act of being judged for sin in our place – REMEMBER TOO....SUDDENLY HAVING ALL OF HEAVEN STOP SINGING AND GO TOTALLY SILENT AND HAVING HIS FATHER TURN HIS BACK ON HIM was what Jesus really dreaded about the cross. This was the cup - the cup of God's righteous wrath - that He trembled at drinking (Luke 22:39-46, Psalm 75:8, Isaiah 51:17, Jeremiah 25:15). On the cross, Jesus became, as it were, an ENEMY of God who was judged and forced to drink the cup of the Father's fury. He did it so we would NOT have to drink that cup.


      Isaiah 53:3-5 puts it powerfully: “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”


      Bowing His head...


      This speaks of a peaceful act, like laying down on a pillow to sleep. This was NOT hanging the head in defeat.


      Gave up His spirit...


      NO ONE TOOK Jesus' life from Him; He, in a manner unlike any man, gave up His spirit. Death had NO righteous hold over the sinless Son of God. He stood in the place of sinners, but was NEVER a sinner Himself. So He could NOT die unless He gave up His spirit.


      As Jesus said, in JOHN 10:17-18, “I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”


      JESUS CHRIST gave up his life because He willed it, when He willed it, and as He willed it.


      THINK ABOUT THIS...That Jesus still had the strength to shout loudly shows that He was NOT physically at the point of death. That He died sooner than was normal for someone who had been crucified, confirmed to us in Mark 15:43–45, also shows that He gave up His life of His own will.


      Verses 31-37 tells Roman soldiers confirm Jesus' death.


      Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be broken. " And again another Scripture says, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced."


      They did not break His legs … one of the soldiers pierced His side...


      This was NOT according to custom. But in doing this, the soldiers unknowingly fulfilled prophecy. This again is complete assurance that God IS in control of these events.


      Immediately blood and water came out...


      These TWO great cleansing elements pour forth from the crucified Jesus.


      Verses 38-42 tells us Jesus is lovingly buried by two hesitant followers.


      After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.”


      Asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus...


      DID YOU KNOW... Customarily, the bodies of crucified criminals were left on their crosses to rot or be eaten by wild animals. But the Jews wanted NO such horror displayed during the Passover season, and Romans were known to grant the corpses of executed men to friends or relatives for proper burial.


      Bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury...


      Joseph and Nicodemus followed the burial customs of that day - the best they could, considering that they had very little time because the Sabbath drew near (Luke 23:54).


      Joseph and Nicodemus served Jesus TOO late. Not too late to fulfill prophecy, not too late to be of tender service to Jesus. But too late to satisfy their own timid hearts; too late to escape the painful regret of what they might have been and what they might have done for Jesus. May we never wait to give ourselves fully to Jesus.


      The garden tomb in which no one had yet been laid...


      A rich man like Joseph of Arimethea would probably have a tomb that was carved into solid rock; this tomb was in a garden near the place of crucifixion. The tomb would have a small entrance and perhaps one or more compartments where bodies were laid out after being somewhat mummified with spices, ointments, and linen strips. Customarily, the Jews left these bodies alone for a few years until they decayed down to the bones, then the bones were placed in a small stone box known as an ossuary. The ossuary remained in the tomb with the remains of other family members.


      The door to the tomb was typically made of a heavy, circular shaped stone, running in a groove and settled down into a channel, so it could not be moved except by several strong men. This was done to ensure that no one would disturb the remains.


      John 19:42 specifically tells us that the tomb of Joseph of Arimethea that Jesus was laid in was close to the place of Jesus' crucifixion (and the each of the two suggested places for Jesus' death and resurrection bear this out). Joseph probably did NOT like it that the value of his family tomb decreased because the Romans decided to crucify people nearby - yet it reminds us that in God's plan, the cross and the power of the resurrection are always permanently and closely connected.


      Tombs like this were very expensive. It was quite a sacrifice for Joseph of Arimathea to give his up - but Jesus would only use it for a few days!

       

    • September 8, 2016 11:26 PM EDT
    • JOHN 20


      OPENS WITH AN EMPTY TOMB AND A RISEN JESUS


      Verses 1-2 tells us Mary Magdalene comes upon Jesus' tomb, finds it empty.


      Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."


      Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early...


      Other gospels tell she was not the ONLY woman to come to the tomb that morning. At least three other women accompanied her. But Mary was the one who ran back and told the disciples about the empty tomb.


      They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb...


      Mary was NOT wishing for a resurrection, and then hopefully imagined it. She had NO thought of resurrection yet, and believed Jesus’ body has been stolen.


      Verses 3-10 tells us Peter and John investigate the empty tomb.


      Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.”


      The other disciple...As a matter of author's humility, John does not refer to himself directly, but only as the other disciple.


      Stooping down and looking in...


      Arriving first at the tomb, John was looking in (the ancient Greek word blepo meaning "to clearly see a material object"), and he saw the grave clothes still in the tomb (saw the linen cloths lying there) and JOHN BELIEVED.


      He saw the linen cloths lying there...


      Peter, going in, then saw (the ancient Greek word theoreo meaning "to contemplate, observe, scrutinize") that the cloths were still orderly and neat. I was as if the body "evaporated" out of the grave clothes.


      The neat, orderly arrangement of the grave clothes showed that this was NO grave robbery and that something absolutely unique had happened in that now-empty tomb.


      The other disciple … he saw and believed...


      After Peter went into the tomb, John went in. He then saw (the ancient Greek word eido meaning, "to understand, to perceive the significance of") and then John BELIEVED.


      Upon seeing the grave clothes and how they lay on the "bed" of the tomb, John believed that Mary's report was true, and that something awesome and incredibly unique had happened.


      So far, all we have is an empty tomb. But the apostles never emphasized an empty tomb, but a risen Lord. They knew Jesus had risen because they saw and touched the resurrected Christ.


      Whatever happened to the grave clothes? Is the Shroud of Turin for real? Is it Jesus’ shroud?


      The evidence thus far indicates the probable conclusions that the shroud IS ancient (perhaps from the first century), and it appears to be a man, crucified, but we need to remember crucifixion was well known, and WAS used in all of the Roman empire, and VERY common in that day as the most used form of execution of the Roman Empire. The Roman empire was VAST! but John 19 tells us the truth, Jesus was NOT wrapped in a shroud, which is a long, one piece wrapping cloth that they were basically rolled into until fully covered and in that day, only the prominent dared to approach the Roman leadership and request the body of their friend or family member, most ALL criminals crucified were left to hang on the cross until the wild animals and birds and weather rotted and decayed them and then they were dumped in a common grave, with no ceremony or covering at all, other than the dirt poured over them.


      Radioactive testing and and cloth carbon dating, and enzymes testing of modern technology analysis proves so far that it is NOT a fake or a hoax, but with even the amazing advances in DNA and enzyme testing, the shroud contain NO residual signatures of the burial mixture used by Jews alone at burial to speed up the decay process NOT preserve the body, but to HASTEN the process, so that after a few years there was NOTHING left but the bones that could then be put in an ossuary, a stone box and stored in the family tomb.

      And we remember from John 19:25-27, John, Mary Jesus’ mother, and Martha, Mary’s sister, and Mary Magdelene were the ONLY ones of Jesus family and followers who witnessed Jesus crucifixion and were right there where Jesus could see them, as He hung on the cross. Joseph and Nicodemus are mentioned and they appeared AFTER Jesus was dead.


      DID YOU KNOW...Myrrh was a liquid and aloes was a powder; the two were mixed together. Joseph brought fine linen (Matthew. 27:59). The women helped Joseph wrap EACH limb and the torso of Christ's body with the fine linen strips, and then provided a special napkin for His head.


      The testing and markers show NOTHING of the mixture that John tells us in John 19:38-42. John says they bound Jesus in STRIPS of cloth, with 100 pounds mixture of myrrh and aloes. So I trust John’s accounting.


      What they do BELIEVE is that the image on the shroud is of a crucified male, bearded, 5'11" in height, weighing about 175 pounds. His physique was muscular and well built, and he is an estimated age of 30-35 years.


      BUT WE WHO STUDY GOD’S WORD, AND REMEMBER EXODUS 20:3, “YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME”, AND WE KNOW GOD SAW THE BEGINNING AND THE END OF ALL THINGS, AND GOD WOULD NOT PRESERVE ANYTHING SUCH AS GRAVE CLOTHES, JESUS CLOTHES, HIS SANDALS, OR HIS CROSS OR GIVING THE EXACT BORROWED TOMB LOCATION, BECAUSE THE LORD DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE BEHIND ANY RELIC THAT WOULD TURN WORSHIP OF HIS PRECIOUS SON TO THINGS TO BE WORSHIPPED OR USED AS THE VIPERS IN THE COURT OF THE GENTILES USED TO CHEAT, LIE, AND DECEIVE.


      HISTORY TELLS US THE ROMAN EMPIRE DID NOT FALL UNTIL 476 A.D. THAT IS 476 YEARS AFTER THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST, AND HISTORY TELLS US THAT The Roman Emperor Constantine established himself as the head of the new church, THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH around 313 A.D., 313 YEARS AFTER THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST, which made this new "Christianity" the official religion of the Roman Empire. The Roman Catholic religion says that Jesus commited Peter to be their first pope during the life of Jesus on earth. That is not validated by any scripture in the Bible. Peter never even went to Rome, much less became their first pope. Pope was crucified upside down by the Roman government, but he was NOT in Rome.


      History tells us the first actual Pope in Rome was probably Leo I (440-461 A.D.), although some claim that Gregory I was the first official pope (590-604 A.D.). This ungodly system eventually ushered in the darkest period of history known to man, properly known as the "Dark Ages" (500-1500 A.D.). Through popes, bishops, and priests, Satan ruled Europe, and Biblical Christianity became illegal and true Christians, followers of Jesus Christ and His Word were tortured, imprisoned, and killed.


      SO WE SEE THAT ROMAN CRUCIFIXION CONTINUED FOR 476 YEARS, AND SO THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WAS BIRTHED IN PLENTY OF TIME TO HAVE SEEN CRUCIFIXIONS AND CROSSES, AND THE CROSS BARS OF AN OCEAN OF PEOPLE. THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH CLAIMS TO HAVE JESUS ROBES, HIS SANDALS, HIS CROSS, HIS CROWN OF THRONS, AND HIS BURIAL CLOTHES, AND MANY A DECEIVER IN THIS SYSTEM EVEN TO THIS DAY OFFERS TO SELL TRINKETS, AND MICROSCOPIC SLIVERS OF JESUS CROSS TO THE DECEIVED AND THE MYSTICISM MINDED....BUT WE WHO KNOW THE BIBLE ARE NOT DECEIVED OR DRAWN IN BY SUCH FRAUD AND DECEPTIONS OF MAN RULED AND LED BY SATAN HIMSELF WHO ENJOYS DECEIVING AND MAKING A MOCKERY OF OUR JESUS AND WHAT HE DID FOR US AT CALVARY.


      Verses 11-13 tells us Mary, stricken with grief, sees two angels in the empty tomb.


      But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."


      She said to them...


      DID YOU NOTICE AS I DID THE WONDER IN THIS PASSAGE? This is one of the FEW places in ALL of the Bible where someone encounters angels and they are NOT stricken with fear. It shows that Mary was so grieved at the loss of Jesus, SO FOCUSED ON FINDING OUR WHERE HER JESUS WAS, that she was unaffected even by an appearance of angels.


      Verses 14-16 tells us Mary meets Jesus.


      Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away. " Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher).”


      I will take Him away...


      It's possible that Mary was a large, strong woman and was physically capable of carrying away the body of a dead man. It is more like that she was simply so filled with sorrow and devotion that she is NOT thinking through her plans carefully.


      Jesus said to her, "Mary!"


      YOU NOTICE...Jesus had only to say ONE word, and all was explained. Never was a one-word utterance more charged with emotion than this.


      With a single word, Jesus opened Mary’s eyes. He merely spoke her name, “Mary!” and in a flash all of her doubt, confusion, and sorrow vanished. Recognizing Jesus in that moment, she turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). Rabboni is a strengthened form of “Rabbi,” and was used as a title to express great honor and supreme reverence (Mark 10:51). Overcome with a profound mix of joy and relief, Mary fell at His feet. Like the other women had done (Matthew. 28:9), she clung to Jesus, prompting Him to say to her, Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Having found Him again beyond her wildest hopes, she did not want to lose Him. Her physical grasp symbolized her desire to secure His presence permanently. But He would be physically present for only a brief time, forty days (Acts 1:3), after which He would ascend to the Father. How much knowledge she had of what Jesus had promised in the upper room is not known. But perhaps she had been told by the apostles that He said He was going to the Father to send the Holy Spirit (14:16–18; 16:7), so He said nothing about that, only that He could not stay, but must ascend.


      Verses 17-18 tells us Jesus sends Mary to tell the disciples.


      Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God. '" Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.”


      Do not cling to Me...


      Why didn't Jesus want Mary to touch Him?


      Actually, the ancient Greek construction of this phrase "means to stop an action already begun rather than to avoid starting it. Mary was holding on to Jesus and did not want to let Him go.


      This shows that the resurrection body of Jesus was different, yet similar to His pre-resurrection body. It was definitely real, viewable, touchable, and tangible, and Jesus not a phantom.


      AND REMEMBER THIS...SOME WRONGLY TEACH THAT JESUS DID NOT WANT TO BE TOUCHED BY MARY LEST SHE DEFILE HIM. BUT WE KNOW, Jesus was not protesting that Mary should not touch Him lest He be defiled, but was admonishing her not to detain Him because He would see her and the disciples again.


      I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God...

      Go to My brethren and say to them...


      The fact that Jesus makes a woman the FIRST witness of His resurrection that HE speaks to is significant.

      WHY?

      The law courts of that day would NOT recognize the testimony of a woman, but Jesus did.


      This also argues for the historic truth of this account. If someone HAD fabricated this story, would they make the FIRST witnesses to the resurrection women, who were commonly (if unfairly) regarded as unreliable witnesses?


      Verse 19 tells us Jesus appears in their midst.


      Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."


      We are told of FIVE appearances of Jesus on the resurrection day: to Mary Magdalene, to the women, to two on the road to Emmaus, to Peter and here to ten of the disciples, Thomas being absent. The Gospel of John tells of TWO of these five appearances.

      When the doors were shut … Jesus came and stood in the midst...


      How did Jesus enter the room?


      John wants us to see that the risen Christ was NOT limited by closed doors. THIS REMINDS US AND ENCOURAGES US THAT LOVE JESUS CHRIST AND CALL HIM LORD, SAVIOR, MASTER, AND FRIEND, THAT ONE SWEET DAY, OUR resurrection bodies are not subject to the same limitations as our present bodies.


      Peace be with you...


      After their desertion of Jesus on Friday, the disciples were probably expecting words of rebuke or blame. Instead, Jesus brought a word of peace, reconciling peace.


      Verses 20-23 tells us The risen Jesus ministers to His disciples (more than the ten are gathered here, according to Luke 24).


      When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you. " And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."


      He showed them His hands and His side...


      Jesus gives assurance to the disciples about who He is and that He really has risen from the dead..He wants them to KNOW He is NOT A GHOST, A VISION, OR A MASS DELUSION AS SOME BLASPHEMOUSLY AND OUTRAGEOUSLY TEACH AND PROCLAIMED THEN AND NOW.


      As the Father has sent Me, I also send you...


      Jesus gives His disciples a mission, to continue His work on this earth.


      Receive the Holy Spirit...


      Jesus gives His disciples the Holy Spirit, bringing new life and the ability to carry out their mission. Many people see the connection between this breathing on the disciples and when God created man, and breathed the breathe of life in him. This is a work of re-creation, even as God breathed life into the first man. This is where the disciples ARE born again.


      If you forgive the sins of any...

      Jesus gives His disciples authority to announce forgiveness and to warn of guilt, as authorized by the Holy Spirit.


      This lays down the duty of the church to proclaim forgiveness to the penitent believer, and the duty of the church to warn the unbeliever that they are in danger of forfeiting the mercy of God.


      As part of their witness to Him, the disciples would have His authority delegated to them. “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them,” Jesus told them, but “if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” This verse has been misinterpreted by Roman Catholics to mean that the Roman Catholic Church has had the apostles’ authority to forgive sins passed down to it. But Scripture teaches that God alone can forgive sins (Mark 2:7; cf. Dan. 9:9). Nor does the New Testament record any instances of the apostles (or anyone else) absolving people of their sins. Further, this promise was not made to the apostles alone, since others were also present (Luke 24:33). What Christ was actually saying is that any Christian can declare that those who genuinely repent and believe the gospel will have their sins forgiven by God. On the other hand, they can warn that those who reject Jesus Christ will die in their sins (8:24; Heb. 10:26–27).


       


      This was not new information to the disciples, since the Lord had spoken very similar words long before in Caesarea Philippi: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19).


       


      Here Jesus spoke of the delegated authority of believers. He told Peter, the Twelve, and by extension all believers, that they had the authority to declare who is bound in sin and who is loosed from sin. He said believers have the “keys of the kingdom,” the realm of salvation, because they have the gospel truth that saves (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18–25). Christians can declare that a sinner is forgiven or unforgiven based on how that sinner responds to the gospel of salvation.


       


      The church’s authority to tell someone that he is forgiven or that he is still in sin comes directly from the Word of God. In Matthew 18:15–20, the Lord taught His disciples (and by extension all believers) that if a professing believer refuses to turn from his or her sin, even after being privately confronted (vv. 15–16) and publicly rebuked (v. 17), then the church is commanded to treat that individual as an unbeliever. Those within the church have both the authority and the obligation to call the sinning brother back to repentance (vv. 18–20), and to let him know that because of his blatant disregard for the Word of God, he has subsequently forfeited fellowship with the people of God. The reality is that he may not be a child of God at all (John 8:42; 14:15; 2 Cor. 13:5; 1 John 2:3–6).


       


      Believers have the authority to do this because God has given them His Word as the supreme standard by which to judge. Their authority does not come from anything within them; it is not founded on their own personal righteousness, spiritual giftedness, or ecclesiastical position. Instead it comes from the authoritative Word of God.


       


      That which the Scriptures affirm, Christians can dogmatically and unhesitatingly affirm; that which the Scriptures denounce, Christians can authoritatively and unapologetically denounce. Believers do not decide what is right or wrong, but they are to declare with boldness that which God has clearly revealed in His Word. Because the Scriptures present sin as an affront to God, His people must be faithful to confront it. Insofar as their judgment corresponds to the Scriptures, they can be certain that it harmonizes with God’s judgment in heaven.


       


      When people reject the saving message of the gospel, denying the person and work of Jesus Christ, the church has divine authority, based on the revealed Word of God, to tell them that they will perish in hell unless they repent (Luke 13:1–5; John 3:18; 1 Corinthians 16:22). Conversely, when people profess faith in Christ as their Savior and Lord, the church can affirm that profession, if it is genuine, with equal confidence—based on passages like Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”


      The church’s authority comes from THE SCRIPTURES ALONE. Because Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians. 1:22; 5:23), the Word of Christ (Colossians. 3:16) is the supreme authority within the church. When believers act and speak IN ACCORD with His Word, they can do so knowing that Jesus stands in agreement with them.


      Verses 24-29 tells us Jesus convinces the previously absent disciple, the skeptic Thomas.


      Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord. " So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe. " And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing. " And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

      Unless I see … I will not believe...


      Thomas is an unbeliever who will not accept the valid testimony of others.


      Do not be unbelieving, but believing...


      Jesus explicitly repeats Thomas' demands back to him. This must have been very impressive to Thomas, and very convincing.


      Do not be unbelieving, but believing...


      Jesus also plainly commands him to cease his unbelief and to start believing


      My Lord and my God...


      Both Lord and God were titles of deity, and Thomas boldly and explicitly assigns these titles to Jesus. Jesus accepts these titles, and did not tell Thomas, "Do NOT call Me that."


      Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed...

      There is a SPECIAL promise blessing given to those who believe. The faith of Thomas is the climax of the book: Jesus has triumphed over sickness, sin, evil men, death and sorrow; now He conquers unbelief.


      Thomas is a good example in many ways.

      1. He refused to say he understood when he did not.

      2. He refused to pretend to believe when he did not.

      3. And when he did understand and believe, he went all the way and properly called Jesus Lord and God.


      Verses 30-31 tells us the SUMMARY statement of the book.


      And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”


      Jesus did many other signs...


      John admits that he presents an incomplete collection, written for a purpose.


      One collects everything possible about a dead prophet; it is all one has of him. But one only tells enough of a living person to introduce one's hearers to him.


      John knows, trusts, and believes without waivering that a personal relationship with Jesus will reveal more to the believer.

       

    • September 8, 2016 11:22 PM EDT
    • JOHN 21


      OPENS WITHTHE RESTORATION OF PETER


      Verses 1-3 Peter and six other disciples return to fishing.

      After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing. " They said to him, "We are going with you also. " They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.”


      Now, in John 21, we have an encounter between Jesus and Peter. Let me just give you a little background. If you were to read the 28th chapter of Matthew, you would find out that Jesus had said after His resurrection - and He had appeared to the disciples a couple of times. He said, “Go to a mountain – ” Matthew 18:16, “Go to a mountain and stay there. Wait for me, and I’ll come.” He told the disciples. So they did. Verse 2 tells us there was Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, sons of Zebedee, who would be James and John, and two others. No doubt, Philip and Andrew. So they all go to the mountain. They’re with their leader, Simon Peter. This sets up for us a scene that is very instructive in this regard to loving the Lord Jesus Christ.


      The first thing I want you to see is the FAILURE of love. Now, remember, in Matthew 18:16 they were told to go and wait in the mountain.


      I believe he was saying, “I’m going to go back to my old profession.” He was given a simple command, “Wait in the mountain until I get there.” He disobeyed it. We don’t know what was in his mind, but the fact is he disobeyed it. They also said to him because he was a leader, “We’re going with you.” They all left the mountain. I mean they have just instantaneously disregarded the very simple and direct command of the risen Jesus Christ, whom they’ve already seen on two occasions. They know He’s alive.


      Now he was going back to his old profession. Here was the failure of love. All the verbalization in the world was meaningless. When given a simple command, a simple priority, “Do this because I’ve asked you to do it,” he couldn’t hold onto that. He abandoned that, he was impatient, tired of sitting and waiting and his love went right down the proverbial drain. Disobedience to a simple command.


      He’d caught fish all his life. He probably knew where they were in the Sea of Galilee. He could probably follow the movement of the fish pretty well at any given season at any given time of day, but he couldn’t catch them now.


      You see, the thing he thought he could do, he couldn’t do anymore because God had put His hand on his life and was in control. This is the beginning of the lesson. So we see the failure of love, but happily we see then the restoration of love. This is good to know because all of us have failed. All of us have said, “Oh, we love the Lord with all of our hearts, soul, mind, strength. Oh, we really love the Lord Jesus Christ.” We may sing those songs, and we sing them with emotion. We feel sort of sentimental about singing them, but we have failed because we have gotten our priorities all fouled up.


      Verses 4-6 tells us Jesus directs their work.


      But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No. " And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. "So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”


      Jesus was on the shore and the disciples didn’t know it was Him.” By the way, they NEVER knew it was Jesus after His resurrection unless He revealed Himself TO them. There was some transformation in His person. There was some glory that was His after the resurrection that caused His identity to be somewhat veiled until it was disclosed to them. And so they did not know by looking at Him who it was, although they were only a hundred yards or so off the shore. That may have contributed to their inability to distinguish Him.



      Verses 7-14 tells us The disciples eat breakfast with Jesus.


      Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught. " Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast. " Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?"; knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.”


      Now, this is the restoration of love. Listen, no matter how my love has failed, no matter how your love has failed, there is restoration. I want you to notice one thing out of this text. There are many thing we could say, but this one thing I want you to note. The restoration was initiated BY the Savior who was offended. You understand that? It was the offended Savior who initiated the restoration and it will ALWAYS be that way.


      We fear sometimes that as Christians who know they have failed to love as they ought to love will drift away from the Lord, and they feel some anxiety or shame about coming back. What we ALL need to realize is that WHAT IS SHOWING US...Jesus IS EAGER for them to come back. And when they get to the shore, He does NOT have a whip to beat them with; He has breakfast for them. You understand that? That is the HEART of the restoring love of OUR JESUS CHRIST.


      So we see the failure of love, and then we also see the restoration of love, and I’m happy for that because I’ve been out on the sea a lot of times when I should have been in the mountain. I’m always glad when I come to the shore, and Jesus is NOT not there with a whip. He’s there with breakfast. He’s there to have a meal with me. That’s the way it is with the one who restores. That’s what it says in Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.”


      Nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ, even our own disobedience. Even our own lack of love from time to time can NOT violate that love, which is unending on His part, and which reaches out to bring us back and bring us back and bring us back.


      I’m glad for Peter’s eagerness. I mean he just dove in and swam. He wanted it right. He knew. His conscious was pricked the moment he knew it was Jesus Christ. He had no business being out there on the water when he was supposed to be in that mountain, and he knew he was out of line. But the reason he was such a useful man to Jesus Christ was because as fast as he would fail, twice as fast, he would be restored. When you look at your life, John shows us Jesus heart and it is not that you have never failed that makes you useful to God. It is that when you do fail, you are in a hurry to be restored, AMEN?


      It is when you fail and you keep failing and you become complacent about that failure, and you do NOT desire that restoration to be what God wants you to be, and you find yourself comfortable with some shallow kind of Christianity that avoids the real priorities of God’s kingdom: that’s when you should be worried, for that’s when God finds little use for you. It’s not that you do not fail. It’s that you fail and hurry back to the place of blessing.


      So we see they’re there having breakfast. Not only did He prepare the meal, but He served it. Isn’t that something? He serves them. He didn’t sit down and say, “Now, I’m the King, and you’ve disobeyed me. Now, you guys bow before me.” I mean there’s such a beauty about this. He not only makes them breakfast. So the Lord makes breakfast. They come all around, and instead of Him demanding them to serve Him, He serves those loveless, disobedient disciples. It makes my heart glad because as often as I have failed to love Him, He not failed to love me to the point where when I come back, He serves me.


      Verses 15-16 tells us Jesus inquires about Peter's love.


      So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. " He said to him, "Feed My lambs. " He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. " He said to him, "Tend My sheep."


      When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah.’” He calls Peter by his OLD name because he’s acting like his old self.


      The primary mark of the redeemed has always been love for God. The Shema, the great Old Testament confession of faith, declares, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy. 6:5). Later in Deuteronomy Moses exhorted Israel to manifest that love by obeying God’s commandments (10:12–13; 11:1).


      When Daniel poured out his heart in prayer for his people, he addressed God as “the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Daniel 9:4).


      After the exile Nehemiah echoed Daniel’s prayer: “I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Nehemiah 1:5).


      The theme of loving God was also on the heart of David, who wrote, “I love You, O Lord, my strength” (Psalm. 18:1).


      The New Testament also teaches that love is the mark of a true believer. When asked to name the greatest commandment of the law, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).


      In 1 Corinthians 8:3 Paul wrote, “If anyone loves God, he is known by Him.” On the other hand the apostle warned, “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed” (1 Corinthians 16:22).


      Only those who love God receive eternal life (James 1:12) and inherit the kingdom (James 2:5).


      Peter wrote in his first epistle, “Though you have not seen Him [Christ], you love Him” (1 Peter 1:8). Love is also the driving, compelling force that motivates Christian service (2 Corinthians 5:14).


      Peter learned the hard way what it means to REALLY love Jesus Christ. He had vociferously declared his unfailing devotion to Him more than once. At the Last Supper, “Simon Peter said to [Jesus], ‘Lord, where are You going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You’ ” (John 13:36–37).


      A short while later he boldly proclaimed, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away” (Matthew 26:33).


      Yet when the chips were down, Peter’s self-confessed love failed and he openly denied three times that he even knew Jesus. His vaunted courage proved to be nothing but empty talk when facing a threatening situation.


      Peter’s failure highlights the biblical truth that obedience is the essential evidence of genuine love. In John 14:15 Jesus put it plainly: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” In verse 21 He added, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me” ( John 15:10).


      In 1 John 5:3 John echoed the Lord’s teaching: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome,” while in his second epistle he added, “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it” (2 John 6).


      Jesus knew that if Peter was to play the crucial role in the early church that He had chosen him for, he would NEED to be restored.


      Peter NEEDED to understand that although he had forsaken Christ, Christ had NOT forsaken him (Romans. 8:31–39).


      We KNOW The Lord Jesus HAD evidently already appeared to Peter privately (Luke 24:34; and 1 Corinthians. 15:5), but Scripture does NOT record any details of that meeting. Whatever may have happened in Peter’s personal encounter with the risen Lord, since his denials were public knowledge, he needed to be publicly restored. The other disciples needed to hear Peter’s reaffirmation of his love for Christ and Christ’s recommissioning of him, so they would be willing to loyally support his leadership.


      Do you love Me more than these…


      Jesus strangely asks Peter to compare his love for Him with that of the other disciples.


      It is possible that "these" refers to the fish and a fisherman's life. Jesus could be asking Peter if he is willing to give up fishing again to follow Him. But Peter had claimed a superior love (Matthew 26:33). Does he still have this proud estimation of his devotion?


      Do you love Me more than these … You know that I love You…


      Feed My lambs … Tend My sheep…

      For Peter to follow through with that love for Jesus, he must give himself to the service of God's people.


      Verse 17 tells us Jesus asks Peter a third time: Do you love Me?


      He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You. " Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.”


      Do you love Me … Lord, You know all things…


      This time, Jesus asks if Peter does in fact have a friendly devotion (phileo) to Jesus. Peter leaves the question with Jesus' omniscience.


      Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time…


      What really grieved Peter was the three-time repetition, because it was a plain reminder of his previous three-time denial.


      Jesus restores us by causing us to FACE squarely our point of failure, then challenging us to set our eyes on the work ahead.


      AND THINK ABOUT THIS...JESUS MADE PETER FACE HIS SHAME, HIS SIN, HIS FAILURE, HIS PAST, AND HIS PUBLIC DENIAL..


      WHY?


      WE HAVE ALL BEEN HIT WITH OUR PASTS...OUR HURTS, SHAMES, SADNESS, SORROWS, GUILT, AND FAILINGS BY SATAN AND MAN...WHO DO NOT FORGET...EVER. BUT JESUS KNEW PETER NEEDED TO FACE IT, AND THEN HEAR JESUS FREE HIM, AND REDEEM HIM OF IT, SO THAT SATAN AND THE WORLD COULD NOT DESTROY, HURT, OR PULL PETER DOWN IN FUTURE BY HIS PAST FAILINGS.


      WE NOTICE...Jesus does NOT ask "are you sorry?" nor "will you promise never to do that again?" "Jesus Christ asks Peter, and each one of us, not for obedience primarily, not only for repentance, not for vows, not for conduct, but for a loving, forgiving, faithful heart; and that being given, all the rest will follow.


      Jesus allowed Peter a three-fold public affirmation of love before ALL THE DISCIPLES to replace a three-fold denial, and gave him a three-fold challenge to feed My sheep.


      Verses 18-19 tells us Jesus' call on Peter's life.


      "Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish. " This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me."


      When you are old, you will stretch out your hands…


      Jesus promises Peter that his life will end in utter faithfulness, that in the end Peter will make a faithful stand for Jesus and be crucified.


      And carry you where you do not wish…


      If Peter's principle of life once was a self-reliance, from now on his principle of life will be the cross.


      JESUS GIVES PETER AND US THE MOST IMPORTANT, ALL ENCOMPASSING WORDS: FOLLOW ME.


      At long last Peter has learned that he can NOT follow Jesus in his OWN strength and has realized the hollowness of affirming his own loyalty in a way that relies more on his own power of will than on Jesus’ enablement.


      Likewise, we should soundly distrust self-serving pledges of loyalty today that betray self-reliance rather than a humble awareness of one’s own limitations in acting on one’s best intentions [2 Corinthians 12:9–10].


      Peter remained obedient to the Lord’s commission for the rest of his life. His ministry from that point forward involved not only proclaiming the gospel (Acts 2:14–40; 3:12–26), but also feeding the flock the Lord had entrusted to him (cf. Acts 2:42). Nearing the end of his ministry many years later, Peter wrote,


      Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:1–3)


      Verses 20-23 Peter asks what about John?


      Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?" Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me. " Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?"


      If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me…


      Jesus' words apply to us. Instead of worrying about what He will do or is doing with other believers, our focus should be on His command to Follow Me.


      Jesus did not say to him that he would not die.


      DO YOU SEE THE POWER OF MISUNDERSTANDING AND RUMOR?


      Rumor had it that the Lord had prophesied that the beloved disciple, John, himself, would be alive when He came again, and John is anxious to make it perfectly clear that Jesus had only spoken hypothetically about such a possibility.


      Verses 24-25 John’s conclusion to this gospel.


      This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.”


      The disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things…


      It is both a testimony of accuracy and incompleteness.


      JOHN GIVES US JESUS AND HIS HEART, HIS CARE, AND HIS LOVE. JOHN’S ENDS WITH REMINDING US God's works have no end, and the events are to continue as we obey Jesus' command to follow Me….COME WHAT MAY.