Wednesday, October 15, 2014

John Chapter 15

"Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10 ESV.

"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 does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so have I 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 be in you, and that your joy may be full.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.  These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but 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 also keep yours.  But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.  If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.  Whoever hates me hates my Father also.  If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.  But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: 'They hated me without a cause.'

But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.  And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning."  John 15, ESV.

Explanation for John 15:1-17;  15:7-10;  15:13;  15:18-19;  15:22-24;  15:26-27 from The MacArthur Study Bible, ESV, pages 1573-1574.

"15:1-17  Through this extended metaphor of the vine and branches, Jesus set forth the basis of Christian living.  Jesus used the imagery of agricultural life at the time; i.e., vines and vine crops (see also Matt. 20:1-16; 21:23-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 13:6-9; 20:9-16).  In the OT, the vine is used commonly as a symbol for Israel (Ps. 80:9-16; Isa. 5:1-7; 27:2-6; Jer. 2:21; 12:10; Ezek. 15:1-8; 17:1-21; 19:10-14; Hos. 10:1-2).  He specifically indentified himself as the "true vine" and the Father as the "vinedresser" or caretaker of the vine.  The vine has two types of branches: 1) branches that bear fruit (John 15:2,8), and 2) branches that do not (vv. 2, 6).  The branches that bear fruit are genuine believers.  Though in immediate context the focus is upon the 11 faithful disciples, the imagery also encompasses all believers down through the ages.  The branches that do not bear fruit are those who profess to believe, but their lack of fruit indicates genuine salvation has never taken place and they have no life from the vine.  Especially in the immediate context, Judas was in view, but the imagery extends from him to all those who make a profession of faith in Christ but do not actually possess salvation.  The image of non-fruit bearing branches being burned pictures eschatological judgment and eternal rejection (see Ezek. 15:6-8)."

"15:7-10  True believers obey the Lord's commands, submitting to his word (14:21, 23).  Because of their commitment to God's word, they are devoted to his will, thus their prayers are fruitful (14:13-14), which puts God's glory on display as he answers."

"15:13  This is a reference to the supreme evidence of expression of Jesus' love (v. 12), his sacrifical death upon the cross.  Christians are called to exemplify the same kind of sacrifical giving toward one another, even if such sacrifice involves the laying down of one's own life in imitation of Christ's example (cf. 1 John 3:16)."

"15:18-19  Since Satan is the one who dominates the evil world system in rebellion against God (14:30), the result is that the world hates not only Jesus, but those who follow him (2 Tim. 3:12).  Hatred toward Jesus means also hatred toward the Father who sent him (John 15:23)."

"15:22-24  they would not have been guilty of sin.  Jesus did not mean that if he had not come, they would have been sinless.  But his coming incited the severest and most deadly sin, that of rejecting and rebelling against God and his truth.  It was the decisive sin of rejection, the deliberate and fatal choice of darkness over light and death over life of which he spoke.  He had done so many miracles and spoken innumerable words to prove he was Messiah and Son of God, but they were beligerent in their love of sin and rejection of the Savior.  See Heb. 4:2-5; 6:4-6; 10:29-31."

"15:26-27  when the helper comes.  Again, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit (7:39; 14:16, 17, 26;  16:7, 13-14).  This time he emphasized the Spirit's help for witnessing--proclaiming the gospel.  See note on 16:7."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  We thank You and glorify Your name above all.  Thank You for Your sacrifical gift of salvation.  I pray that You would protect Your people from plagues and all that is happening around the world.  I say these things in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

John Chapter 14

"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."

Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is 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 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. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.

These things I have spoken to you while I am still 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 that I have 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 hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 'You heard me say to you, I am going away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here."

Explanation for verses 14:1; 14:2-3; 14:6; 14:7; 14:15-31; 14:17; 14:18-19; 14:26; 14:27; 14:30 from The MacArthur Study Bible, pages 1571-1572.

"14:1 Instead of the disciples lending support to Jesus in the hours before his cross, he had to support them spiritually as well as emotionally; This reveals his heart of serving love (cf Matt. 20:26-28). troubled. Faith in him can stop the heart from being agitated. See not on John 12:27."

"14:2-3 I go to prepare. His departure would be for their advantage since he was going away to prepare a heavenly home for them and will return to take them so that they may be with him. This is one of the passages that refers to the rapture of the saints at the end of the age when Christ returns. The features in this description do not describe Christ coming to earth with his saints to establish his kingdom (Rev. 19:11-15), but taking believers from earth to live in heaven. Since no judgment on the unsaved is described here, this is not the event of his return in glory and power to destroy the wicked (cf. Matt 13:36-43, 47-50). Rather, this describes his coming to gather his own who are alive and raise the bodies of those who have died to take them all to heaven. This rapture event is also described in 1 Cor. 15:51-54 and 1 Thes. 4:13-18. After being raptured, the church will celebrate the marriage supper (Rev. 19:7-10), be rewarded (1 Cor. 3:10-15; 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:9-10). and later return to earth with Christ when he comes again to set up his kingdom (Rev. 19:11-20:6)."

14:6 This is the sixth "I am" statement of Jesus in John (see 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 15:1, 5). In response to Thomas's query (14:4), Jesus declared that he is the way to God because he is the truth of God (1:14) and the life of God (1:4; 3:15; 11:25). In this verse, the exclusiveness of Jesus as the only approach to the Father is emphatic. Only one way, not many ways exist to God, i.e., Jesus Christ (10:7-9; cf. Matt. 7:13-14; Luke 13:24; Acts 4:12)."

"14:7-11 From now on you do know him. They know God because they had come to know Christ in his ministry and soon in his death and resurrection. To know him is to know God. This constant emphasis on Jesus as God incarnate is unmistakably clear in this Gospel (v. 11; 1:1-3, 14, 17, 18; 5:10-23, 26; 8:58; 9:35; 10:30, 38; 12:41; 17:1-5, 20:28)."

"14:15-31 In these verses, Jesus promises believers comfort from five supernatural blessings that the world does not enjoy: 1) a supernatural Helper (vv. 15-17); 2) a supernatural life (vv. 18-19); 3) a supernatural union (vv. 20-25), 4) a supernatural teacher (v. 26); and 5) a supernatural peace (vv. 27-31). The key to al of this is v. 15, which relates that these supernatural promises are for those who love Jesus Christ, whose love is evidenced by obedience."

"14:17 Spirit of truth. He is the Spirit of truth in that he is the source of truth and communicates the truth to his own (v. 26; 16:12-15). Apart from him, people cannot know God's truth (1Cor. 2:12-16; 1 John 2:20, 27). dwells with you and will be in you. This indicates some distinction between the ministry of the Holy Spirit to believers before and after Pentecost. While clearly the Holy Spirit has been with all who have ever believed thoroughout redemptive history as the source of truth, faith, and life, Jesus is saying something new is coming in his ministry. John 7:37-39 indicates this unique ministry would be like "rivers of living water" Acts 19:1-7 introduces some Old Covenant believers who had not received the Holy Spirit in this unique fullness and intimacy. (Cf. Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; 1 Cor. 12:11-13."

"14:18-19 I will come to you. . .you will see me. First, he was referring to his resurrection, after which they would see him (20:19-29). There is no record that any unbelievers saw him after he rose (see 1 Cor. 15:1-9). In another sense, this has reference to the mystery of the Trinity. Through the coming and indwelling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Jesus would be back with his children (John 16:16; cf. Matt. 28:20; Rom. 8:9; 1 John 4:13)."

"14:26 will teach you all things. The Holy Spirit energized the hearts and minds of the apostles in their ministry, helping them to produce the NT Scripture. The disciples had failed to understand many things about Jesus and what he taught; but because of this supernatural work, they came to an inerrant and accurate understanding of the Lord and his work, and recorded it in the Gospels and the rest of the NT Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. :20-21). See note on John 16:7."

14:27 Peace I leave . . . Not as the world gives. The word "peace" reflects the Hebrew "Shalom," which became a greeting to his disciples after the resurrection (20:19-26). At the individual level this peace, unknown to the unsaved, secures composure in difficult trouble (cf. 14:1), dissolves fear (Phil 4:7), and rules in the hearts of God's people to maintain harmony (Col. 3:15). The greatest reality of this peace will be in the messianic kingdom (Num. 6:26; Ps. 29:11; Isa. 9:6-7; 52:7; 54:13; 57:19; Ezek. 37:26; Hag. 2:9; cf. Acts 10:36; Rom. 1:7; 5:1; 14:7)."

14:30 the ruler of this world. Judas was only a tool of the "prince" who rules the system of darkness--Satan (6:70; 13:21, 27). no claim on me. The Hebrew idiom means that Satan had nothing on Jesus, could make no claim on him, nor charge him with any sin. Therefore, Satan could not hold him in death. Christ would triumph and destroy Satan (Heb. 2:14). His death was no sign that Satan won, but that God's will was being done. (John 14:31)."

Let's pray: Dear Lord Jesus, Please give Your believers Your Peace and please show the unbelievers how they could have Your Peace if they want it. Thank You Lord. I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Book of John Chapter 13

 (A Little Note:  Hi All,  I have not been able to post regularly because my mom is very ill.  We had to put her into hospice.  Please pray for my mom and my family as we go through this journey.  Thanks much.)

"Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.  During supper, when the devil had 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 back to God, rose from supper.  He laid aside his outer garments and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.  He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?"  Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand."  Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet."  Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!"  Jesus said to him, "The one who has bathed does not need to wash except for his feet, but is completely clean.  And you are clean, but not every one of you."  For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "Not all of you are clean."

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you understand what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, 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 also should do just as I have done to you.  Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.  I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen.  But the Scripture will be fulfilled, He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.  I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me."

After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me."  The disciples looked at one another uncertain of whom he spoke.  One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus, of whom he was speaking.  So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, "Lord, who is it?"  Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it."  So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.  Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him.  Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."  Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.  Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what we need for the feast," or that he should give something to the poor.  So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out.  And it was night.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.  If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.  Little children, yet a little while I am with you.  You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you.  Where I am going you cannot come.  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?"  Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward."  Peter said to him, "Lord, why can I not follow you now?  I will lay down my life for you."  Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me?  Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times."  John 13, ESV

Explanation for verses John 13:1-17:16, John 13:4-5, John 13:10, John 13:23, John 13:27, John 13:31-33, John 13:34, John 13:36,  from The MacArthur Study Bible ESV, pages 1569-1570.

"13:1-17:16  in these remaining chapters before his crucifixion, the record looks at Jesus' devoting himself to his own disciples.  While chs. 1-12 center on the rejection of Jesus by the nation (cf. 1:11), chs. 13-17 center on those who did receive him (see 1:12).  Beginning in ch. 13, Jesus moved completely away from public ministry to private ministry with those who had received him.  Chapters 13-17 were spoken by Jesus as a farewell on the night of his betrayal and arrest to communicate his coming legacy to his followers (chs. 13-16) and pray for them (ch. 17).  The cross was only one day away."

"13:4-5  The dusty and dirty conditions of the region necessitated the need for footwashing.  Although the disciples most likely would have been happy to wash Jesus' feet, they could not conceive of washing one another's feet.  This was because in the society of the time, footwashing was reserved for the lowliest of menial servants.  Peers did not wash one another's feet, except very rarely and as a mark of great love. Luke points out (22:24) that they were arguing about who was the greatest of them, so that none was willing to stoop to wash feet.  When Jesus moved to wash their feet, they were shocked. His actions serve also as symbolic of spiritual cleansing (John 13:6-9) and a model of Christian humility (vv. 12-17).  Through this action Jesus taught the lesson of selfless service that was supremely exemplified by his death on the cross."

"13:10 wash, except for his feet.  The cleansing that Christ does at salvation never needs to be repeated--atonement is complete at that point.  But all who have been cleansed by God's gracious justification need constant washing in the experiential sense as they battle sin in the flesh.  Believers are justified and granted imputed righteousness (Phil. 3:8-9), but still need sanctification and personal righteousness (Phil. 3:12-14)."

"13:11-12 Not all of you are clean.  This verse refers to Judas (6:70), who was soon to lead the mob to capture Jesus (18:3)."

"13:23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.  This is the first reference to John the apostle, the author the Gospel (see introduction: Author and Date).  He specifically mentioned himself at the cross (19:26-27), at the empty tomb (20:2-9), by the Sea of Tiberias (21:1,20-23), and in the next-to-last verse where he is referenced as the author of the Gospel (21:24)"

"13:27 Satan entered into him.  Judas was personally possessed by Satan himself in his betrayal of Jesus.  See note on v. 2."

":31-33 glorified.  With Judas gone, the final events were set in motion.  Rather than looking at the agony of the cross, Jesus looked past the cross anticipating the glory that he would have with the Father when it was over (see 17:4-5; Heb. 12:2)"

"13:34 A new commandment. . . as I have loved you.  The commandment to love was not new.  Deuteronomy 6:5 commanded love for God, and Lev. 19:18 commanded loving one's neighbor as oneself (cf. Matt. 22:34-40; Rom. 13:8-10; Gal.5:14; James 2:8).  However, Jesus' command regarding love presented a distinctly new standard for two reasons: 1)it was sacrifical love modeled after his love ("as I have love you"; cf. John 15:13), and 2) it is  produced through the New Covenant by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jer. 31:29-34; Ezek. 36:24-26; Gal. 5:22)."

"13:36  you cannot follow.  His work was nearly finished; theirs was just beginning (Matt. 28:16-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47.  Particularly, Peter had a work to do (see notes on John 21:15-19).  Only Jesus, as the sinless sacrifice for the trespasses of the world, could go to the cross and die (1 Pet. 2:22-24).  Also, only he could be glorified in the presence of the Father with the glory that he possessed before his incarnation (see John 12:41; 17:1-5)."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I sometimes don't know what to pray for.  I'm sure I am not the only one.  All I can say is thank You Lord for Your loving gift of salvation that even though we are sinners You still loved us enough to die for us. You conquered death!  Those who receive Your gift of salvation are saved and it is only because of Your death on the cross and then Your resurrection.  For someday our time will end on this earth and those who truly receive You will follow you to heaven and our forever with You is really all that matters for the world is not our home.   In Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

John Chapter 12

"Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.  So they gave a dinner for him there.  Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table.  Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair.  The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.  But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?"  He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.  Jesus said, "Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.  For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me."

When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.  So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.  So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!"  And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just 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 had been written about him and had been done to him.  The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness.  The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.  So the Pharisees said to one another, "You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him."

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.  So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."  Philip went and told Andred; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.  And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.  If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

Now is my soul troubled.  And what shall I say?  Father, save me from this hour?  But for this purpose I have come to this hour.  Father, glorify your name.  Then a voice came from heaven:  "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."  The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered.  Others said, "An angel has spoken to him."  Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not mine.  Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.  And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."  He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.  So the crowd answered him, "We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever.  How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up?  Who is the Son of Man?"  So Jesus said to them, "The light is among you for a little while longer.  Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going.  While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may becomes sons of light."

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.  Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

"Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"

Therefore they could not believe.  For again Isaiah said,

"He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them."

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.  Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

And Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me.  And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.  I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.  If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.  The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.  For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment--what to say and what to speak.  And I know that his commandment is eternal life.  What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me."

Explanation for verses 12:1-50; 12:3; 12:12-19; 12:24; 12:25-26; 12:27; 12:31; 12:35-36; 12:37-40; 12:41; 12:42-43 in John Chapter 12 from The MacArthur Study Bible ESV, pages1566, 1567, 1568.

"12:1-50  This chapter focuses on the reactions of love and hate, belief and rejection toward Christ, leading to the cross."

"12:3 a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard.  The term used for "pound" actually indicates a weight around three-fourths of a pound (approximately 12 ounces).  "Nard" was an oil extracted from the root of a plant grown in India.  anointed the feet of Jesus.  Since those who were eating reclined at the table, their feet extended away from it, making it possible for Mary to anoint the feet of Jesus.  The act symbolized Mary's humble devotion and love for him."

"12:12-19  This section marks Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  It is one of the few incidents in Jesus' life reported in all four Gospels (Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-38).  By this action, he presented himself officially to the nation as the Messiah and Son of God.  The Sanhedrin and other Jewish leaders wanted him dead but did not want him killed during the Passover time because they feared stirring up the multitudes with whom he was popular (Matt. 26:5; Mark 14:2; Luke 22:2).  Jesus entered the city, however, on his own time and forced the whole issue in order that it might happen exactly on the Passover day when the lambs were being sacrificed" (1 Cor. 5:7).  In God's perfect timing (see John 7:30; 8:20), at the precise time foreordained from eternity, he presented himself to die (12:23; 10:17-18; 17:1; 19:10-11; cf. Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; Gal. 4:4)."

"12:24  As the sown kernel dies to bring forth a rich harvest, so also the death of the Son of God will result in the salvation of many."

"12:25-26  Not only is the prinicple of death applicable to Jesus (see v. 24) but it is also applicable to his followers.  They, too, as his disciples may have to lose their life in service and witness for him (see Matt. 10:37-39; 16:24-25)."

"12:27  Now is my soul troubled.  The term used here is stong and signifies horror, anxiety, and agitation.  Jesus' contemplation of taking on the wrath of God for the sins of the world caused revulsion in the sinless Savior (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21)."

"12:31  the ruler of this world.  A reference to Satan (see 14:30; 16:11; cf. Matt. 4:8-9; Luke 4:6-7;   2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 6:12).  Although the cross might have appeared to signal Satan's victory over God, in reality it marked Satan's defeat (cf. Rom. 16:20; Heb. 2:14)."

"12:35-36  Jesus said to them.  A final invitation from Jesus was recorded by John to focus on his theme of believing in the Messiah and Son of God (see 20:30-31)."

"12:37-40  In these verses, John gave the scriptural explanation for such larage scale, catastrophic unbelief on the part of the Jewish nation.  The explanation was that the unbelief was not only foreseen in Scripture but necessitated by it in v. 38, John quotes Isa. 53:1 and John 12:40 he quotes Isa. 6:10 (see Rom. 10:16), both of which stress the sovereign plan of God in his judicial hardening of Israel (cf. Paul's argument in Rom. 9-11).  Although God predestined such judgment, it was not apart from human responsibility and culpability (see John 8:24)."

"12:41  Isaiah. . . saw his glory and spoke of him.  This is a reference to Isa. 6:1 (see notes there).  John unambiguously ties Jesus to God or Yahweh of the OT (see note on John 8:58).  Therefore, since 12:41 refers to Jesus, it makes him the author of the judicial hardening of Israel.  That fits his role as judge (see 5:22-23, 27, 30; 9:39)."

" 12:42-43  The indictment of vv. 37-41 is followed by the exceptions of vv. 42-43 (see 1:10-11 vs. 1:12-13).  While the people seemed to trust Jesus with much more candor and fervency, the leaders of Israel who believed in him demonstrated inadequate, irresolute, even spurious faith (see note on 2:23-25).  The faith of the latter was so weak that they refused to take any position that would threaten their position in the synagogue.  This is one of the saddest statements about spiritual leadeship, for they preferred the praises of men above the praises of God in their refusal to publicly acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and Son of God."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I just pray for softened hearts and eyes that see the truth of the Jesus of the Bible.  I ask for Your wisdom and favor and protection. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

John Chapter 11, I Am the Resurrection and the Life...

Continuing in the Book of John. . .

"Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.  It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair,  whose brother Lazarus was ill.  So the sisters sent to him, saying, "Lord, he whom you love is ill,"  But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness does not lead to death.  It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it."

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.  Then after this he said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."  The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking 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 anyone walk in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."  After saying these things, he said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him."  The disciples said to him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover."  Noe Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep.  Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you my believe.  But let us go to him."  So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."

Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.  Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, the many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother.  So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.  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 from God, God will give you."  Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."  Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."  Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who 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 coming into the world."

When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you."  And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him.  Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him.  When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.  Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.  And he said, "Where have you laid him?"  They said to him, "Lord, come and see."  Jesus wept.  So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"  But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?"

Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb.  It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.  Jesus said, "Take away the stone."  Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days."  Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?"  So they took away the stone.  And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me."  When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lazaurs, come out."  The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth.  Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.  So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, "What are we to do?  For this man performs many signs.  If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."  But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all.  Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish."  He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.  So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.

Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephriam, and there he stayed with the disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves.  They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, "What do you think?  That he will not come to the feast at all?"  Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him."  John 11, ESV

Explanation for John 11:1-57; John 11:1; John 11:4; John 11:14-15; John 11:25-26; John 11:27; John 11:49; John 11:50; John 11:51; John 11:52; John 11:53.  From The MacArthur Study Bible pages 1563-1566.

"11:1-57  As ch. 11 begins, Jesus stands in the shadow of facing the cross.  The little time that he had in the area beyond the Jordan (cf. Matt. 19:1-20: 34; Mark 10:1-52; Luke 17:11-19:28) would soon come to an end.  John picked up the story (John 11:55-57) after he moved back into the area of Jerusalem, and his death on the cross was only a few days away.  In those last few days before his death, the scene in John's Gospel changes from hatred and rejection (10:39) to an unmistakable and blessed witness of the glory of Christ.  All the rejection and hatred could not dim his glory as displayed through the resurrection of Lazarus.  That miracle evidences his glory in three ways; 1) it pointed to his deity; 2) it strengthened the faith of the disciples; and 3) it led directly to the cross (12:23).  The chapter can be divided as follows: 1) the preparation for the miracle (11:1-16); 2) the arrival of Jesus (vv. 17-36); 3) the miracle itself (vv. 37-44); and 4) the results of the miracle (vv. 45-57)."

"11:1 Lazarus.  The resurrection of Lazarus is the climactic and most dramatic sign in this Gospel and the capstone of Jesus' public ministry.  Six miracles have already been presented (water into wine [2:1-11], healing of the official's son [4:46-54], restoring the impotent man [5:1-15], multiplying the loaves and fishes [6:1-14], walking on the water [6:15-21], and curing the man born blind [9:1-12].  Lazarus's resurrection is more potent than all those and even more monumental than the raising of the widow's son in Nain (Luke 7:11-16) or Jairus's daughter (Luke 8:40-56) because those two resurrections occurred immediately after death.  Lazarus was raised after four days of being in the grave with the process of decomposition already having started (John 11:39).  Bethany.  This Bethany is different from the other "Bethany across the Jordan" in 1:28 (see note there).  It lies on the east side of the Mount of Olives about 2 miles from Jerusalem (11:18) along the road leading toward Jericho.  Mary. . . Martha.  This is the first mention of this family in John.  John related the story of Mary's anointing of Jesus in 12:1-8, but this reference may indicate that the original readers were already familiar with the event. Cf. Luke 10:38-42."

"11:4  the Son of God may be glorified.  This phrase reveals the real purpose behind Lazarus's sickness, i.e., not death, but that the Son of God might be glorified through his resurrection (cf. v. 4; see note on 9:3)."

"11:14-15  The resurrection of Lazarus was designed to strengthen his disciples' faith in him as the Messiah and Son of God in the face of the strong Jewish rejection of him."

"11:25-26  This is the fifth in a series of seven great "I am" statements of Jesus (see 6:35; 8:12; 10:7,9; 10:11, 14).  With this statement, Jesus moved Martha from an abstract belief in the resurrection that will take place "on the last day" (cf. 5:28-29) to a personalized trust in him who alone can raise the dead.  No resurrection or eternal life exists outside of the Son of God.  Time ("on the last day") is no barrier to the One who has the power of resurrection and life (1:4) for he can give life at any time."

"11:27  She said to him.  Martha's confession is representative of the very reason John wrote this inspired Gospel (cf. 20:30-31).  See Peter's confession in Matt. 16:16."

"11:49 Caiaphas.  Caiaphas became high priest c. A.D. 18, being appointed by the Roman prefect Valerius Gratus.  His father-in-law was Annas, who had previously functioned in that same position from c. A.D. 7-14 and who exercised great influence over the office even after his tenure (see 18:12-14).  Caiaphas remained in office until A.D. 36 when, along with Pontius Pilate, he was removed by the Romans.  He took a leading part in the trial and condemnation of Jesus.  In his court or palace, the chief priests (Sadducees) and Pharisees assembled "and plotted together to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him" (see Matt. 26:3-4)."

"11:50 one man should die for the people.  He only meant that Jesus should be executed in order to spare their own positions and nation from Roman reprisals, but Caiaphas unwittingly used sacrifical, substitutionary language and prophesied the death of Christ for sinners. Cf. 2 Cor. 5:21 and 1 Pet. 2:24."

"11:51 he prophesied.  Caiaphas did not realize the implications of what he spoke.  While he uttered blasphemy against Christ, God parodied his statement into truth (cf. Ps. 76:10).  The responsibility for the wicked meaning of his words belonged to Caiaphas, but God's providence directed the choice of words so as to express the heart of God's glorious plan of salvation (Acts 4:27-28).  He actually was used by God as a prophet because he was the high priest and originally the high priest was the means of God's will being revealed (2 Sam. 15:27)."

"11:52 gather into one the children of God.  In context, this had reference to believing Jews of the dispersion who would be gathered together in the Promised Land to share the kingdom of God (Isa. 43:5; Ezek. 34:12).  In a wider sense, this also anticipated the Gentile mission (see John 12:32).  As a result of Christ's sacrifical death and resurrection, both Jew and Gentile have been made into one group, the church (Eph. 2:11-18)." 

"11:53 from that day on.  The phrase indicates that their course of action toward Jesus was then fixed.  It remained only to accomplish it.  Notice that Jesus was not arrested to be tried.  He had already been judged guilty of blasphemy.  The trial was a mere formaltiy for a sentence already passed (Mark 14:1-2)."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  Thank You for Your sacrifical death and resurrection.  That those who believe in You should have eternal life.  This is just so nice.  I wish people could see how lovely, awesome and wonderful You are.  I pray that the truth found only in Jesus would touch the hearts of those who do not believe--so that they may believe and have eternal life. I pray for wisdom.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

John Chapter 10, I Am the Good Shepherd, I and the Father are One.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.  But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the gatekeeper opens.  The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.  A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."  This figure of speech Jesus used whith them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to 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 comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd.  I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  And I have other sheep that are not of this fold.  I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.  So there will be one flock, one shepherd.  For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to take it up again.  This charge I have received from my Father."

There was again a division among the Jews because of these words.  Many of them said, "He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?"  Others said, "These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon.  Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"

At the time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem.  It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.  So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? 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 bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater that all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.  I and the Father are one."

The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.  Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?"  The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God."  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 Scripture cannot be broken--do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?  If I am not doing works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe in the works, that you may know and understand that the father is in me and I am in the Father."  Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained.  And many came to him.  And they said, "John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true."  And many believed in him there."  John Chapter 10

Explanation for verses in John Chapter 10 from The MacArthur Study Bible, pages 1561-1563.  Verses John 10:1-39; John 10:7-10; John 10:9-10; John 10:11-18; John 10:11; John 10:12; John 10:16; John 10:17-18; John 10:26-27; John 10:28-29; John 10:30; John 10:34-36; John 10:35; John 10:38.

"10:1-39 Jesus' discourse on himself as the "good shepherd" flowed directly from ch. 9, as Jesus continued to talk to the very same people.  The problem of ch. 9 was that Israel was led by false shepherds who drew them astray from the true knowledge and kingdom of Messiah (9:39-41).  In ch. 10, Jesus declared himself to be the "good shepherd" who was appointed by his Father as Savior and King, in contrast to the false shepherds of Israel who were self-apopointed and self-righteous (Ps. 23:1; Isa. 40:11; Jer. 3:15; cf. Isa. 56:9-12; Jer. 23:1-4; 25:32-38; Ezek. 34:1-31; Zach. 11:16)"

"10:7-10 I am the door.  This is the third of seven "I am" statements of Jesus (see 6:35; 8:12).  Here, he changes the metaphor slightly.  While in 10:1-5 he was the shepherd, here he is the gate.  While in vv. 1-5, the shepherd led the sheep out of the sheepfold, here he is the entrance to the fold (v. 9) that leads to proper pasture.  This section echoes Jesus' words in 14:6 that he is the only way to the Father.  His point is that he serves as the sole means to approach the Father and partake of God's promised salvation.  As some Near Eastern shepherds slept in the gateway to guard the sheep, Jesus here pictures himself as the gate."

"10:9-10  These two verses are a proverbial way of insisting that belief in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God is the only way of being "saved" from sin and hell and receiving eternal life.  Only Jesus Christ is the one true source for the knowledge of God and the one basis for spiritual security."

"10:11-18  Jesus picked up another expression from vv. 1-5, i.e., he is the "good shepherd" in contrast to the present evil leadership of Israel (9:40-41).  This is the fourth of seven "I am" statements of Jesus (see vv. 7, 9; 6:35; 8:12).  The term "good" has the idea of "noble" and stands in contrast to the "hired hand" who cares only for self-interest."

"10:11  lays down his life for the sheep.  This is a reference to Jesus' substitutionary death for sinners on the cross. Cf. v. 15; 6:51; 11:50-51; 17:19; 18:14."

"10:12  sees the wolf coming. . .flees.  The hired hand likely represents religious leaders who perform their duty in good times but who never display sacrificial care for the sheep in times of danger.  They stand in contrast to Jesus, who laid down his life for his flock (see 15:13)."

"10:16  not of this fold.  This refers to Gentiles who will respond to his voice and become a part of the church (cf. Rom 1:16).  Jesus' death was not only for Jews (see notes on John 10:1, 3), but also for non-Jews whom he will make into one new body, the church (see notes on 11:51-52; cf. Eph. 2:11-22)."

"10:17-18 take it up again.  Jesus repeated this phrase twice in these two verses indicating that his sacrifical death was not the end.  His resurrection followed in demonstration of his messiahship and deity (Rom. 1:4).  His death and resurrection resulted in his ultimate glorification (John 12:23; 17:5) and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (7:37-39; cf. Acts 2:16-39)."

"10:26-27  This clearly indicates that God has chosen his sheep and it is they who believe and follow (see notes on vv. 3, 16; cf. 6:37-40, 44, 65)."

"10:28-29 The security of Jesus' sheep rests with him as the good shepherd, who has the power to keep them safe.  Neither thieves and robbers (vv. 1, 8) nor the wolf (v. 12) can harm them.  Verse 29 makes clear that the Father ultimately stands behind the sheep's security, for no one is able to steal from God, who is in sovereign control of all things (Col. 3:3).  See notes on Rom. 8:31-39.  No stronger passage in the OT or NT exists for the absolute, eternal security of every true Christian."

"10:30 I and the Father are one.  Both Father and Son are committted to the perfect protection and preservation of Jesus' sheep.  The sentence, stressing the united purpose and action of both in the security and safety of the flock, presupposes unity of nature and essence (see 5:17-23; 17:22)."

"10:34-36  Quoted from Ps. 82:6 where God calls some unjust judges "gods" and pronounces clamity against them.  Jesus' argument is that this psalm proves that the word "god" can be legitmately used to refer to others than God himself.  His reasoning is that if there are others whom God can address as "god" or "sons of the Most High," why then should the Jews object to Jesus' statement that he is "the Son of God" (John 10:36)?"

"10:35 Scripture cannot be broken.  An affirmation of the absolute accuracy and authority of Scripture (see notes on Matt. 5:17-19)."

"10:38 believe in works.  Jesus did not expect to be believed merely on his own assertions.  Since he did the same things that the Father does (see notes on 5:19), his enemies should consider this in their evaluation of him.  The implication is, however, that they were so ignorant of God that they could not recognize the works of the Father or the One whom the Father sent (see also 14:10-11)."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for being our good shepherd and for protecting Your flock.  I pray that those reading Your words would see the truth.  I pray that You would reveal Yourself to them.  I say these things in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Monday, July 7, 2014

John Chapter 9

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.  And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"  Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.  We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."  Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva.  Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent).  So he went and washed and came back seeing.

The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?"  Some said, "It is he."  Others said, "No, but he is like him."  He kept saying, "I am the man."  So they said to him, "Then how were your eyes opened?"  He answered, "The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.'  So I went and washed and received my sight."  They said to him, "Where is he?"  He said, "I do not know."

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind.  Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.  So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight.  And he said to them, "He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see."  Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath."  But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?"  And there was a division among them.  So they said again to the blind man, "What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?"  He said, "He is a prophet."

The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind?  How then does he now see?"  His parents answered, "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.  But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes.  Ask him; he is of age.  He will speak for himself."  (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put our of the synagogue.)  Therefore his parents said, "He is of age, ask him."

So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, "Give glory to God.  We know that this man is a sinner."  He answered,  "Whether he is a sinner I do not know.  One thing I do know that though I was blind, now I see."  They said to him, "What did he do to you?  How did he open your eyes?"  He answered them, "I have told you already, and you would not listen.  Why do you want to hear it again?  Do you also want to become his disciples?"  And they reviled him, saying, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.  We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from."  The man answered, "Why, this is an amazing thing!  You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.  We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.  Never since the world began has it been heard than anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind.  If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."  They answered him, "You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?"  And they cast him out.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"  He answered, "And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?"  Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you."  He said, "Lord, I believe, and he worshiped him.  Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind."  Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, "Are we also blind?"  Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains."  John 9 (ESV)

Explanation for John 9:1-13; John 9:2; John 9:5 and 6; John 9:13-34; John 9:17; John 9:30; John 9:34, John 9:35-41; John 9:35 and 36; John 9:39; John 9:40; John 9:41.  From The MacArthur Study Bible (ESV) pages1559, 1560, 1561.

"9:1-13 Jesus performed a miracle by recreating the eyes of a man who was born with congential blindness (v.1). Four features highlight this healing:  1) the problem that precipitated the healing (v.1);  2) the purpose for the man's being born blind (vv. 2-5); 3) the power that healed him (vv. 6-7); and 4) the perplexity of the people who saw the healing (vv. 8-13)."

"9:2 who sinned.  While sin may be a cause of suffering, as clearly indicated in Scripture (see 5:14; Num. 12; 1 Cor. 11:30; James 5:15), it is not always the case necessarily (see Job; 2 Cor. 12:7; Gal. 4:13).  The disciples assumed, like most Jews of their day, that sin was the primary, if not exclusive, cause of all suffering.  In this instance, however, Jesus made it clear that personal sin was not the reason for the blindness (see John 9:3)."

"9:5 I am the light of the world.  See note on 8:12; cf. 1:5, 9; 3:19; 12:35, 46.  Not only was Jesus spiritually the light of the world, but he would also provide the means of physical light for this blind man."

"9:6 made mud with saliva.  As he had done when he originally made human beings out of the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7), Jesus may have used the clay to fashion a new pair of eyes."

"9:13-34 This section in the story of the healing of the blind man reveals some key characteristics of willful unbelief:  1) unbelief sets false standards; 2) unbelief always wants more evidence but never has enough; 3) unbelief does biased research on a purely subjective basis; 4) unbelief rejects the facts; 5) unbelief is self-centered.  John included this section on the dialogue of the Pharisees with the blind man most likely for two reasons: 1) the dialogue carefully demonstrates the character of willful and fixed unbelief, and 2) the story confirms the first great schism between the synagogue and Christ's new followers.  The blind man was the first known person thrown out of the synagogue because he chose to follow Christ (see 16:1-3)."

"9:17 He is a prophet.  While the blind man saw clearly that Jesus was more than a mere man, the sighted but obstinate Pharisees were spiritually blind to that truth (see v. 39).  Blindness in the Bible is a metaphor for spiritual darkness, i.e., inability to discern God or his truth (2 Cor. 4:3-6; Col. 1:12-14)."

"9:30 The healed man demonstrated more spiritual insight and common sense than all of the religious authorities combined who sat in judgment of Jesus and him.  His penetrating wit focused in on their intractable unbelief.  His logic was that such an extraordinary miracle could only indicate that Jesus was from God, for the Jews believed that God responds in proportion to the righteousness of the one praying (see Job 27:9; 35:13; Ps. 66:18; 109:7; Prov. 15:29; Isa. 1:15; cf. John14:13-14; 16:23-27; 1John 3:21-22).  The greatness of the miracle could only indicate that Jesus was actually from God."

"9:34 would you teach us?  The Pharisees were incensed with the man, and their anger prevented them from seeing the penetrating insight that the uneducated, healed man had demonstrated.  The phrase also revealed their ignorance of Scripture, for the OT indicated that the coming messianic age would be evidenced by restoration of sight to the blind (Isa. 29:18, 35:5; 42:7; cf. Matt. 11:4-5; Luke 4:18-19)."

"9:35-41 While vv. 1-34 dealt with Jesus' restoration of physical sight in the blind man, vv. 35-41 featured Jesus bringing spiritual "sight" to him."

"9:35 Do you believe. . . ?  Jesus invited the man to put his trust in him as the One who revealed God to man.  Jesus placed great emphasis on public acknowledgment of who he was and confession of faith in him. (Matt. 10:32; Luke 12:8). Son of Man. Cf. John 1:51; 3:13-14; 5:27; 6:27, 53, 62; 8:28."

"9:36 sir.  The word here is the same for "lord," but it should be understood not as an indication that he understood Jesus' deity but as meaning "sir".  See also v. 38.  Since the blind man had never seen Jesus (v.7) nor met him since he went to wash in the pool, he did not recognize Jesus at first as the One who healed him."

"9:39 For judgment.  Not that his purpose was to condemn, but rather to save (12:47); Luke 19:10); saving some, nevertheless, involves condemning others (see notes on John 3:16, 18).  The last part of this verse is taken from Isa. 6:10; 42:19 (cf. Mark 4:12).  those who do not see.  Those people who know they are in spiritual darkness.  Those who see.  Refers in an ironic way to those who think they are in the light, but are not (cf. Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31)."

"9:40 Are we also blind? Apparently Jesus found (v. 35) the man in a public place, where the Pharisees were present listening."

"9:41 your guilt remains.  Jesus had particular reference to the sin of unbelief and rejection of him as Messiah and Son of God.  If they knew their lostness and darkness and cried out for spiritual light, they would no longer be guilty of the sin of unbelief in Christ.  But satisfied that their darkness was light, and continuing in rejection of Christ, their sin remained.  See note on Matt. 6:22-23."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord, I pray for those who are in spiritual darkness, but think they are in the light.  I pray that their eyes would be opened and instead of being spiritually blind that they would see.  I pray that Your words would speak the truth to their heart so that they may find the joy and freedom of salvation in You, Lord Jesus.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

John Chapter 8, The Truth Will Set You Free

[The earliest manuscripts do not include 7:53-8:11]
explanation for the verses John 7:53 through John 8:11 from The MacArthur Study Bible ESV page 1556.
"7:53-8:11 This section dealing with the adulteress most likely was not a part of the original contents of John.  It has been incorporated into various manuscripts at different places in the Gospel (e.g., after vv. 36, 44, 52, or 21:25), while one manuscript places it after Luke 21:38.  External manuscript evidence representing a great variety of textual traditions is decidedly against its inclusion, for the earliest and best manuscripts exclude it.  Many manuscripts mark the passage to indicate doubt as to its inclusion.  Significant early versions exclude it.  No Greek church father comments on the passage until the twelfth century.  The vocabulary and style of the section also are different from the rest of the Gospel, and the section interrupts the sequence of John 7:52 with 8:12ff.  Many, however, do think that it has all the earmarks of historical veracity, perhaps being a piece of oral tradition that circulated in parts of the Western church, so that a few comments are in order.  In spite of all these considerations of the likely unreliability of this section, it is possible to be wrong on that issue, and thus it is good to consider the meaning of this passage and leave it in the text, just as with Mark 16:9-20."

53[[They went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.  Early in the morning he came again to the temple.  All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.  The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.  Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.  So what do you say?" This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.  Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."  And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.  But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus stood up and said to her, "Woman, where are they?  Has no one condenmed you?"  She said, "No one, Lord."  And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."]]

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  So the Pharisees said to him, "You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true."  Jesus answered, "Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.  You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.  Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.  In your Law it is written that the tesitmony of two people is true.  I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me."  They said to him therefore, "Where is your Father?"  Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father.  If you knew me, you would know my Father also."  These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

So he said to them again, "I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin.  Where I am going, you cannot come."  So the Jews said, "Will he kill himself, since he says, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?"  He said to them, "You are from below; I am from above.  You are of this world; I am not of this world.  I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins."  So they said to him, "Who are you?"  Jesus said to them, "Just what I have been telling you from the beginning.  I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him."  They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father.  So Jesus said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and the I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.  And he who sent me is with me.  He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him."  As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  They answered him, "We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone.  How is it that you say. 'You will become free'?"

Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.  I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father."

They answered him, "Abraham is our father."  Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.  This is not what Abraham did.  You are doing the works your father did."  They said to him, "We were not born of sexual immorality.  We have one Father--even God."  Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here.  I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.  Why do you not understand what I say?  It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.  You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.  Which one of you convicts me of sin?  If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?  Whoever is of God hears the words of God.  The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God."

The Jews answered him, "Are we not right in saying 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.  Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge.  Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."  The Jews said to him, "Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, 'If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.'  Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?  And the prophets died!  Who do you make yourself out to be?"  Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing.  It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, He is our God.  But you have not known him.  I know him.  If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word.  Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day.  He saw it and was glad."  So the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?"  Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."  So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple."  John 8  ESV

Explanation for John chapter 8 verses 8:14-18, 8:21-30, 8:23, 8:24, 8:31-36, 8:32, 8:34, 8:35-36, 8:51 From The MacArthur Study Bible ESV, pages1557-1559.

"8:14-18 These verses give three reasons why Jesus' witness was true: 1) Jesus knew his orgin and destiny while the Jews were ignorant even of basic spiritual truths, making their judgment limited and superficial (vv. 14-15); 2) the intimate union of the Son with the Father guaranteed the truth of the Son's witness (v. 16); and 3) the Father and Son witnessed harmoniously together regarding the identity of the Son (vv. 17-18).

8:21-30 Jesus revealed the consequence of the rejection of him as Messiah and Son of God, i.e., spiritual death (v. 24; cf. Heb. 10:26-31).  These verses reveal four ways that ensure people will die in their sins and, as a result, experience spiritual death:  1) being self-righteous (John 8:20-22); 2) being earthbound (vv. 23-24); 3) being unbelieving (v.24); and 4) being willfully ignorant (vv. 25-29).  The Jews who rejected Jesus displayed all four of these characteristics.

8:23 You are from below.  The contrast here is between the realm of God and that of the fallen, sinful world (i.e., "from below").  The world in this context is the invisible spiritual system of evil dominated by Satan and all that it offers in opposition to God, his word, and his people (see notes on 1:9; 1 John 5:19).  Jesus declared that his opponents' true kinship was with Satan and his realm.  By this domination, they were spiritually blinded (see 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:1-3).

8:24 unless you believe.  Jesus emphasized that the fatal, unforgivable, and eternal sin is failure to believe in him as Messiah and Son of God.  In truth, all other sins can be forgiven if this one is repented of.  See notes on 16:8-9.  I am he.  The word "he" is not part of the original statement.  Jesus' words were not constructed normally but were influenced by OT Hebrew usage.  It is an absolute usage meaning "I AM" and his immense theological significance.  The reference may be to both Ex. 3:14 where the Lord declared his name as "I AM" and to Isa. 43:10, 13, 25; 46:4; 48:12).  In this, Jesus referred to himself as the God (Yahweh--the Lord) of the OT, and directly claimed full deity for himself, prompting the Jews' question of John 8:25.  See note on v. 58.

8:31-36 These verses are a pivotal passage in understanding genuine salvation and true discipleship.  John emphasized these realities by stressing truth and freedom.  The focus in the passage is upon those who were exercising the beginnings of faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God.  Jesus desired them to move on in their faith.  Saving faith is not fickle but firm and settled.  Such maturity expresses itself in full commitment to the truth in Jesus Christ resulting in genuine freedom.  The passage has three features: 1) the progress of freedom (vv. 31-32); 2) the pretense of freedom (vv. 33-34); and 3) the promise of freedom (vv. 35-36).

8:32 the truth.  "Truth" here has reference not only to the facts surrounding Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God but also to the teaching that he brought.  A genuinely saved and obedient follower of the Lord Jesus will know divine truth and both freedom from sin (v. 34) and the search for reality.  This divine truth comes not merely by intellectual assent (1 Cor. 2:14) but saving commitment to Christ (cf. Titus 1:1-2).

8:34 Truly, truly.  See note on 1:51.  everyone who commits sin.  The kind of slavery that Jesus had in mind was not physical slavery but slavery to sin (cf. Rom. 6:17-18).  The idea of "commits sin" means to practice sin habitually (1 John 3:4, 8-9).  The ultimate bondage is not political or economic enslavement but spiritual bondage to sin and rebellion against God.  Thus, this also explains why Jesus would not let himself be reduced to merely a political Messiah (John 6:14-15).

8:35-36 The notion of slavery in v. 34 moves to the status of slaves.  While the Jews thought of themselves only as free sons of Abraham, in reality, they were slaves of sin.  The genuine son in the context is Christ himself, who sets the slaves free from sin.  Those whom Jesus Christ liberates from the tyranny of sin and the bondage of legalism are really free (Rom. 8:2; Gal. 5:1).

8:51 never see death.  Heeding Jesus' teaching and following him results in eternal life (6:63, 68).  Physical death cannot extinguish such life (see 5:24; 6:40, 47; 11:25-26).

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for the gift of salvation.  The truth shall set you free is a wonderful gift from You Lord.  Thank You isn't enough to say for all You have done for us.  I lift up those reading the Book of John and I pray that You will reveal Yourself to them so that they can also find the truth and be set free.  In Jesus' name amen.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

John Chapter 7--Rivers of Living Water

"After this Jesus went about in Galilee.  He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.  Now the Jews Feast of Booths was at hand.  So his brothers said to him, "Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing.  For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly.  If you do these things, show yourself to the world."  For not even his brothers believed in him.  Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always here.  The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.  You go up to the feast.  I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.  After saying this, he remained in Galilee.

But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.  The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, "Where is he?"  And there was much muttering about him among the people.  While some said, "He is a good man," others said, "No, he is leading the people astray."  Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.

About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching.  The Jews therefore marveled, saying, "How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?"  So Jesus answered them.  "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.  If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.  The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.  Has not Moses given you the law?  Yet none of you keeps the law.  Why do you seek to kill me?"  The crowd answered, "You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?"  Jesus answered them, "I did one work, and you all marvel at it.  Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath.  If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because  on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well?  Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment." 

Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, "Is not this the man whom they seek to kill?  And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him!  Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?  But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from."  So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, "You know me, and you know where I come from?  But I have not come of my own accord.  He who sent me is true, and him you do not know.  I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me."  So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.  Yet many of the people believed in him.  They said, "When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?"

The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent the officers to arrest him.  Jesus then said, "I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me.  You will seek me and you will not find me.  Where I am you cannot come."  The Jews said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him?  Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?  What does he mean by saying, 'You will seek me and you will not find me, and, 'Where I am you cannot come'?"

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."  Now this he said  about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

When they heard these words, some of the people said, "This really is the Prophet."  Others said, "This is the Christ."  But some said, "Is the Christ to come from Galilee?  Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?"  So there was a division among the people over him.  Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why did you not bring him?"  The officers answered, "No one ever spoke like this man!"  The Pharisees answered them, "Have you also been deceived?  Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?  But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.  Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, "Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?"  They replied, "Are you from Galilee too?  Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee."  John Chapter 7 ESV

Explanation for verses in John 7:37-39, from The MacArthur Study Bible page 1555.

"7:37On the last day.  This suggests that this occasion occurred on a different day than the controversy in vv. 11-36.  If anyone thirsts.  A tradition grew up in the few centuries before Jesus that on the seven days of the Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles, a golden container filled with water from the pool of Siloam was carried in procession by the high priest back to the temple.  As the procession came to the Water Gate on the south side of the inner temple court, three trumpet blasts were made to mark the joy of the occasion and the people recited Isa. 12:3, "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation."  At the temple, while onlookers watched, the priests would march around the altar with the water container while the temple choir sang the Hallel (Ps. 113-118).  The water was offered in sacrifice to God at the time of the morning sacrifice.  The use of the water symbolized the blessing of adequate rainfall for crops.  Jesus used this event an an object lesson and opportunity to make a very public invitation on the last day of the feast for his people to accept him as the living water.  His words recall Isa. 55:1.  thirsts. . . .come. . . .drink.  These three words summarize the gospel invitation.  A recognition of need leads to an approach to the source of provision, followed by receiving what is needed.  The thirsty, needy soul feels the craving to come to the Savior and drink, i.e., receive the salvation he offers.

7:38 living water.  The water-pouring rite was also associated within Jewish tradition as a foreshadowing of the eschatological rivers of living water foreseen in Ezek. 47:1-9 and Zech. 13:1.  The significance of Jesus' invitation centers in the fact that he was the fulfillment of all the Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles, anticipated, i.e., he was the One who provided the living water that gives eternal life to man (cf. John 4:10-11).

7:39 he said about the Spirit.  The impartation of the Holy Spirit is the source of spiritual and eternal life.  See note on 16:7."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I pray that those who read Your Scripture will seek to receive You.  You are the living water and only You will quench our thirst forevermore.  Thank You so much for your gift of salvation.  I say these things in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Monday, June 9, 2014

John Chapter 6

"After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him. "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?" Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost." So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said. "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!"

Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was in the land to which they were going.

On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has "set his seal." Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him who he has sent." So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave 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.”  They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever 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 whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”  They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How does he now say, “I have come down from heaven?”  Jesus answered  them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.  And I will raise him up on the last day.  It is written in the Prophets, And they will all be taught by God.  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.  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.  I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.  This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, 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 feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever feeds on 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 whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died.  Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”  Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”  But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?  Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.  The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  But there are some of you who do not believe.  (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)  And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.  So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”  Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve?  And yet one of you is a devil.”  He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.”  John Chapter 6 ESV

Some explanations for John Chapter 6 is from The MacArthur Study Bible ESV,  verses John 6:1-14, John 6:16-21, John 6:22-58, John 6:53-58.  Pages 1548, 1549, 1551.

“6:1-14  The story of the feeding of the 5,000 is the fourth sign John employed to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God.  It is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels (Matt. 14:13-23; Mark 6:30-46; Luke 9:10-17).  Since John most likely wrote to supplement and provide additional information not recorded in the synoptics (see introduction: Background and Setting), his recording of this miracle emphasized its strategic importance in two ways: 1) it demonstrated the creative power of Christ more clearly than any other miracle, and 2) it decisively supported John’s purposes of demonstrating the deity of Jesus Christ while also serving to set the stage for Jesus’ discourse on the “bread of life” (John 6:22-40).  Interestingly, both creative miracles of Jesus, the water into wine (2:1-10) and the multiplying of bread (6:1-14), speak of the main elements in the Lord’s Supper, or communion. (v. 53).”

“6:16-21  The story of Jesus’ walking on the water constituted the fifth sign in John’s Gospel designed to demonstrate the writer’s purpose that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God (20:30-31).  The miracle demonstrates Jesus’ deity by his sovereignty over the laws of nature.”

“6:22-58 Jesus’ famous discourse on the bread of life.  The key theme is v. 35, i.e., “I am the bread of life,” which is the first of seven emphatic, “I AM” statements of Jesus in this Gospel (8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1,5).  This analogy of Jesus as “the bread” of  life reinforces John’s theme of Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God (20:30-31).  Although John records Jesus’ miracles to establish his deity, he moves quickly to Jesus’ discourse on the spiritual realities of his person in order to define correctly who Jesus Christ was, i.e., not merely a wonder-worker but the Son of God who came to save mankind from sin (3:16).  This discourse took place in the synagogue at Capernaum (6:59).”

“6:53-58  eat. . . drink.  Jesus’ point was an analogy that has spiritual, rather than literal, significance: just as eating and drinking are necessary for physical life, so also is belief in his sacrificial death on the cross necessary for eternal life.  The eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood metaphorically symbolize the need for accepting Jesus’ cross work.  For the Jews, however, a crucified Messiah was unthinkable (cf. Acts 17:1-3).  Once again, the Jews, in their willful and judicial blindness, could not see the real spiritual significance and truth behind Jesus’ statements.  Moreover, Jesus’ reference here to eating and drinking was not referring to the ordinance of communion for two significant reasons: 1) communion had not been instituted yet, and 2) if Jesus was referring to communion, then the passage would teach that anyone partaking of communion would receive eternal life.”

“6:60-71 These verses constitute the reaction of Jesus’ disciples to his sermon on the “bread of life.”  As with the crowds’ response in Jerusalem (ch. 5) and in Galilee (ch. 6), the response of many of his disciples was unbelief and rejection of him.  John lists two groups and their reactions: 1) the false disciples’ reaction of unbelief (6:60-66), and 2) the true disciples’ reaction of belief (vv. 67-71).  After this sermon, only a small nucleus of disciples remained (v. 67).”

Let’s pray:  Dear Lord Jesus.  I pray for those who are in the group of unbelief.  I pray that the truth will set them free.  I say these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Please pray for me as my mom has been ill and this has been a difficult time.  I haven’t been very consistent with posting my blog because of this.