Study through John

This is a weekly Christian Blog we are currently studying through the Book of John.

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  • The Last One Standing (John 7:53,8:1-11)
    The Last One Standing (John 7:53,8:1-11)
    The Last One Standing (John 7:53,8:1-11)

    The Passage

    This week we will study John 7:53,8:1-11. So let’s read the passages, [[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 condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]”

    The End of the Feast of Booths

    In John 7:53,8:1-11, we see that the Pharisees are testing Jesus, trying to get Him to incriminate Himself, so they could bring charges against Him. The first thing we see is that they each went to their own homes, this is likely referring to the religious leaders and officers, although, it could also be referring to the crowds. Either way, we know that the Feast of Booths was over and everyone was returning to their own homes. We see that Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, likely to be alone with the Lord. He may have spent the night in prayer knowing what was coming the next morning or He could have gone there to rest. The next morning Jesus went to the Temple early, all the people came to Him and He sat down and taught them. The Feast of Booths probably caused the crowd size at the temple to be larger than normal. Jesus sat down to teach, this is how the Jewish Rabbis and teachers would teach during this timeframe in history and this shows that Jesus had authority. We will study what John recorded of these teachings next week. 

    Inspired Word

    I think we can not go any further without addressing what your Bible may say; when you open this passage some say, “[The earliest manuscripts do not include 7:53–8:11.]”. According to textual critics, this passage seems to only be found in the later manuscripts of John that have been discovered. Many may think that talking about the concern of this passage is not necessary when they are studying this passage, but I think it is important to understand where the concern is coming from. This is not to sow seeds of doubt, but because I want you to be informed about this passage. This is one of two passages where there are any concerns, in the entire Bible {The other is Mark, 16:9–20}. However, most scholars agree that this passage is the inspired Word of God. What many scholars disagree on is where this passage was originally placed in the book of John. I think this is probably the place this passage is supposed to be because when you read these chapters without these verses, you will see that there is a more abrupt change from chapter to chapter than John usually has. But, we have to keep in mind that the Bible was not written in chapters, but in movements, and this also makes sense in this movement of John. In conclusion, this passage is the inspired Word of God and is exactly where it needs to be, and is trustworthy. As usual, if you have concerns, do your own research, to do this, I recommend reading both scholars and textual critics both for and against this section being in the book of John.

    The Test

    We then see that the religious leaders brought a woman caught in the act of adultery. They thought they would be able to trap Jesus in His words. It was not about justice or grace, it was yet again about getting rid of Jesus, or trying to prove that He was not the Messiah. They tried again and again, to bring charges against Him, and they did eventually kill Him, but only because God gave them the authority to because that was God’s plan from before the beginning to redeem humanity. They were not able to catch Him in His words or prove that He was not the Messiah because He was the Messiah. The woman being caught was most likely a setup, since there was no mention of the man and the religious leaders seemed to put much thought into this test. From man’s perspective, there was no right answer to the religious leader’s question, that would not give them a charge to bring against Jesus. If He said to stone her as the law called for, then He would be setting Himself against Rome and would be liable to answer for her death, whereas if He said to spare her, then He would have been going against the law of Moses. The latter is what they expected Him to choose, they did not see another option, but Jesus did. They saw an impassable test, one that in their minds would only have two foreseeable outcomes, Jesus being killed or being locked away. They were never able to bring a legitimate charge against Him and He passed every test they gave Him.

    Jesus’ Response 

    In response, Jesus bent down and started writing in the dirt, it is uncertain what He wrote. They asked Jesus what should be done for the second time. He tells them to let the one who is without sin throw the first stone. It then says that they left from the oldest to the youngest. There are two theories as to why the oldest went away first. The first one is: that the older ones recognized they had sinned and that there was no way to win, so they walked away. The second is what Jesus wrote on the ground was about them, from the oldest to the youngest. I agree with the first one more because, when God wrote with His finger in the Bible, it was about the law and judgment based on the law. The times when God wrote in the Bible with His finger are, the Ten Commandments, and in Daniel 5, when God writes on the wall that the King of Babylon has been found wanting (Exodus 24:12, Daniel 5:24-28). Both were to convict the people of their sins (Romans 5:20). I think what Jesus wrote on the ground, had something to do with the religious leader’s sins and/or the coming judgment.

    Where Did Everyone Go

    Once the religious leaders and the crowds were gone, Jesus asked, “woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”. She said, “No one Lord”. He then said,  “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more”. So, what does this show us about Jesus’ character? First, let’s cover what this does not mean, so many when reading the Old and New Testaments think that the God of the Old Testament feels and acts differently than Jesus. I have thought this way sometimes, as well, but when looking at the text of the Old Testament, it is easy to get wrapped up in the judgment of God and miss all the grace that is everywhere within the Old Testament. In the same way, it is easier to see the grace in the New Testament, than it is to see the judgment. Now we see what it does mean, Jesus is standing there as the only Man never to have sinned. Also, He is God, one of the two beings this lady had sinned against, God and her husband. Jesus had the right to condemn her. Caught in the act, there was no uncertainty, there was no way to plead innocent, she was guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. She was in her sin when the religious leaders brought her to Jesus. The religious leaders cared nothing for this woman, who to them was just a pawn, in their war against Jesus. Jesus saw her for who she was, someone whom He knit together in her mother’s womb, someone He knew before she was ever born, an image-bearer made in the image of God, and a daughter who had gone astray, whom He was going redeemed by taking her sins, upon Himself on the cross (Psalms 139:13, Jeremiah 1:5, Genesis 1:27, Galatians 3:13). 

    The Call

    We are just like the woman in this story, while we were in the depths of our sins and rebellion against God, Jesus came and died for us, so we can be with Him forever (Romans 5:8). All sin is rebellion against God because by sinning we are saying, we know better than God and want to be in His place. No matter what you have done, if there is breath in your lungs, you can come to know Him. Just like the woman in this story we all deserve death, which is the punishment for our sins (Romans 6:23). But God, rich in mercy, came taking all our sins and our punishments upon Himself on the cross. He is the only One who can redeem us (John 14:6). He is the only One who can tell you that there is no condemnation for you. In the meantime, before we get to go and be with Him, we need to go and sin no more. Not to earn salvation, but because we already have it and desire to be more and more like Jesus every day and not grieve the Holy Spirit. So this week, if you do not know Jesus, know that even if you are drowning in your sins, He is calling to you. He wants you to accept Him. If you would like to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins (repent means turn away), and believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and God raised Him from the dead, then confess Him as Lord and Savior of your life (Romans 10:9). As for us as Christians, remember what Jesus did for you, what He pull you out of, and praise Him for being such a good and gracious God. He deserves all honor, glory, and praise.

  • Rivers of Living Water (John 7:37-39)
    Rivers of Living Water (John 7:37-39)
    Rivers of Living Water (John 7:37-39)

    The Passage

    This week we will study ‭‭John‬ ‭7:37-39‬‬‬‬. So let’s read the passage, “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.”

    What the Parable Meant

    In ‭‭John‬ ‭7:37-39‬, we see that it was the last day of the Feast of Booths. We see that Jesus lifted up His voice 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.’” We see that what Jesus wanted to leave the people with the gospel. He presented the gospel to them, giving them something to ponder and discuss on their journey home. The Feast of Booths is a pilgrimage feast, which means that the Jewish men would have to travel up to Jerusalem to celebrate it in accordance with the law (Deuteronomy 16:16). This means that people from all over Israel and the world would have been there to celebrate the feast. Jesus was inviting everyone at the feast into a relationship with Him. If you remember the Samaritan woman at the well, she received a similar call. Both of these calls to accept Jesus were given as parables, this is one of the more straight-forward parables. We see that this parable is about salvation and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is telling us that anyone who believes in Him would receive the Holy Spirit. Because at this time, Jesus had not yet been glorified, so the Spirit had not yet been poured out. But now that Jesus has been glorified, all believers receive the Holy Spirit.

    Salvation is for Everyone

    Jesus came first and shared the gospel, then the Spirit was poured out after He ascended to Heaven. The gospel was first for the Jews, at these pilgrimage festivals Jesus would be able to offer salvation to almost the whole Jewish Nation at once (Romans 1:16). Salvation was then and is still open to anyone who believes. It was first for the Israelites, which is why Jesus spent almost all of His time in Israel sharing the gospel with the Jews. The truth is that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). That is why we all need a Savior and salvation is what Jesus is offering each of us today. He is offering us eternal life with Him, because without Jesus, the punishment for sin is death. Jesus came and died in our place and anyone who accepts Him, will have their sins cast as far as the east is from the west. If you would like to accept Him as Lord and Savior of your life and live forever with Him, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins (repent means turn away), believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and God raised Him from the dead, then confess Him as Lord and Savior of your life (Romans 10:9).

    Rivers of Living Water

     Christians now have the Holy Spirit, which means that all Christians have rivers of living water. Living water means several things, one is that we have the Holy Spirit who seals us to eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13). Normal water is a sustaining substance which gives us life. That is the same thing the Spirit does, it gives us eternal life. Jesus did not say that you would get a glass of living water, no, He said that you would have rivers of living water. A river does not just provide life to one person or one’s family, but to an entire community. Now, I am not saying that your belief covers anyone except yourself. But, I am saying that your faith should be a blessing, that helps others come to the living water, even for generations. Now a river does not produce its own water, it gets water when it rains and from springs, and without that a river dries up into a stream. This is also true of our rivers of living water, its source is from above and is from God, which will never stop providing living water. Without prayer, fasting, and reading God’s word your river will shrink, yes you can receive water from other places like sermons and other Christians, but that is after it already came through someone else’s river. Whereas, if you go to the word of God or pray, then you are going to the Source of all living water, which is not marred by other people’s worldviews. Because what does running water do? Running water removes debris from the river bed and over years it will remove much of the river bed. This is the same thing that happens in your heart, it will wash away the junk and give you a new heart, but instead of overtime, He gives you a new heart the second you accept Him. He will continue to wash away the junk over your lifetime (Sanctification). Maybe some of you are thinking that sometimes junk washes downstream, yes that is true of rivers, but it matters where the water comes from, in the case of the rivers of living water, it comes from the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. That is why it is important to be careful what you let flow into your river. Because where your heart is there your treasure will be also (Matthew 6:21).

    Who are you Glorifying?

    We are not supposed to become the river, that is not what Jesus said, no, Jesus said that out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water. It’s Who is in our hearts that matter and Who causes the rivers of living water to be there. When some Christians receive the Holy Spirit, they want to glorify the signs that accompany the Spirit or they want to receive glory for themselves, when it is not them that do the signs, it is the Spirit. As Christians, we need to be careful not to glorify ourselves through gifts of the Spirit or through our testimony, when these things are supposed to glorify God, not ourselves. The Spirit seals us forever, changing us and making us more like Christ every day. So this week, know that Jesus is inviting you into a relationship with Him, where you can live with Him forever. Remember, that Jesus said, it was better for Him to leave, so that He could send the Helper. As Christians we should share the gospel with everyone and know that we have the Holy Spirit guiding us. So, today get in the Word of God and pray so that your rivers of living water are coming from the source of all living water.

    Check out the other blogs in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • Who are you Glorifying? (John 7:14-24)
    Who are you Glorifying? (John 7:14-24)
    Who are you Glorifying? (John 7:14-24)

    The Passage

    This week we will study John‬ ‭7:14-24. So let’s read the passage,“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.””

    The Appearance

    We saw last week that Jesus had not yet appeared publicly at the Feast of Booths, because the Jews wanted to kill Him. Now, this week we are in John‬ ‭7:14-24, and we see that it was about the middle of the feast, when Jesus started teaching in the temple. But now Jesus appears publicly and no one lays a hand on Him. The Jews marveled at Jesus, because He knew so much, even though He had never studied. I wonder how they knew He had never studied, was it because He used different terms than everyone else in that day would have used, or was it because they had looked into Jesus’ up-bringing to see if He had been to school. Either way, they somehow knew that Jesus was extremely wise, but had never studied, this is another piece of evidence that Jesus is God. In Acts, when the disciples received the Holy Spirit, the people said something similar about the disciples (Acts 2:5-13, Acts 4:13). The people in Acts asked how are these men speaking our languages when they are unschooled Galileans and what made them so wise? They were wise because they had been with Jesus and were filled with the Holy Spirit. If the disciples were wise because they had been with Jesus, what does the Bible tell us about why Jesus is so wise? Jesus said in this passage, it is because His teaching is not His own, but is from the One who sent Him. 

    How is He Wise?

    So why is Jesus so wise? It is because He is God and is from God. This is similar to how the disciples were wise because they had been with Jesus. Jesus tells them that anyone whose will is to do the will of God, they will know where Jesus’ teaching is from and whether He is speaking of His own authority. What do you believe about Jesus? Do you believe that He is God? If not, why not? All throughout the gospels, it clearly states that He is God and Man and that there are no other options as to who Jesus is. I encourage you to nail down who you believe Jesus is, one great way to do this is by reading through the gospels and praying that God will reveal Himself to you. If you are ready to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, trusting that He is who He says He is, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins (repent means turn away), believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and God raised Him from the dead, then confess Him as Lord and Savior of your life (Romans 10:9).

    Who are you Glorifying?

    Jesus then tells us that anyone who speaks of 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. This is a reference that calls back to John 5:19-29 when Jesus says, He only does what He sees His Father doing. This also shows us something new about Jesus’ relationship with the Father. We see that Jesus is not seeking His own glory, but glory for the Father who sent Him and that there is no falsehood in Jesus. Also, if you speak of your own authority, then you seek your own glory. This is why as Christians, it is important for us not to speak of our own authority, because we should not be seeking our own glory, but seeking to give glory to the One who sent us. We should stick close to the Bible because that will keep our roots in the authority of the One who sent us, because when we do, we will not seek our own glory, but rather glorify Him. Because as Christians, we have all been commissioned by Jesus to carry the gospel unto all the earth and to be a part of the world, but not of it. If we seek our own glory, it will fade in probably seconds to years after what we do, but if we point to Jesus, we will be participating in the glory that never fades and that will never end. In John 17:6-26, we see that Jesus is not only praying for His disciples, but also for us, we are the ones that He refers to in verses twenty through twenty-one. We are the ones who would believe through the disciple’s words. I can not wait till we get to study this together, I hope you will stick around until we get there. If you have never read Jesus’ prayer in John 17:6-26, or if it has been a while, I encourage you to read it today and remember that Jesus is praying it over us, as well as His disciples. Because this is one of the many times when we see Jesus commissioning us to shine His light into all the world and to be seeking to glorify Him instead of ourselves. 

    Judge with Right Judgement

    We see that Jesus asked them, did not Moses give you the law? And yet none of you keep it. As to testify to the fact that everyone had sinned, He gave evidence to that by saying, the Jews wanted to kill Him. Jesus took the law and magnified it, by saying that, if you merely hated someone in your heart then you have committed murder (1 John 3:15, Matthew 5:20-21). The crowd then says that Jesus has a demon. They also claimed they were not trying to kill Him. There are two views of this, the first is that they were not the same Jews that wanted to kill Jesus, but the ones who were there to celebrate the feast. The other view is that they were lying, which would prove Jesus’ point that no one has kept the law. We then see that Jesus tells them that they marveled when He did one sign, but they hated Him because He healed someone on the Sabbath. Yet, they would circumcise a boy on the Sabbath to keep the law, but to make a man whole was against the law in their minds. Jesus said that they care less about people and more about the law when the law was made for people (Mark 2:23-28). Jesus then says, they should not judge by appearances, but instead judge with right judgment. This is the same today, we should not judge by appearances, but with right judgment, which only comes from the only true righteous One, Jesus Christ. We can do this by drawing close to Him in prayer and reading His Word. So this week, know that Jesus is worthy of all honor and glory. Also, know that Jesus is who He said He is and that you should trust Him with your all. Meditate on His authority and do His will, because when you do it will glorify the One who sent us. Also, read John 17:6-26, which goes along with this passage and should encourage all Christians to glorify Jesus and share the gospel.

  • Stumbling Block or Cornerstone (John 7:1-13)
    Stumbling Block or Cornerstone (John 7:1-13)
    Stumbling Block or Cornerstone (John 7:1-13)

    The Passage

    This week we will study ‭‭‭‭John‬ ‭7:1-13‬‬‬‬. So let’s read the passage, “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.” 

    The Feast of Booths

    In John‬ ‭7:1-13‬, we see that Jesus was in Galilee, but He would not go about in Judea yet, because the Jews wanted to kill Him. It then says that the Feast of Booths was at hand, which is just a way of saying that it was almost time for the Feast of Booths. The Feast of Booths was a feast where the Jews remembered their fathers living in tents in the wilderness, by living in tents and making food offerings to the Lord as their fathers did (Leviticus 23:33-44). It was a time when they remembered all that the Lord had done for the Israelites in the wilderness. The feast happened in the seventh month and was like the sabbath, in that no one was to do ordinary work. Now, this was an issue because Jesus had to go up to Jerusalem in Judea, even though the Jews wanted to kill Him. The Feast of Booths is a pilgrimage feast, which means Jesus had to go up to Jerusalem to celebrate it, according to the law, which He had to perfectly fulfill to be the Messiah (Deuteronomy 16:16, Matthew 5:17-18). 

    The Brothers

    We see that Jesus must have been visiting home or His half-brothers came and looked for Him within Galilee. Because we see that 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.” We see His brother were mocking Him or setting a trap for Him, you could make the case for both. When you think about it, their unbelief makes perfect sense, if your sibling claimed to be God or the Messiah, you would probably think they were not in their right mind. Especially, if Mary and Joseph never took what they heard, from treasuring in their hearts to teaching Jesus’ brothers who their brother really was. Then there was even more reason for them to think He was crazy. We see in Mark 3:21, that His family came to take charge of Him, because they said He was out of His mind. They did not believe, and this could be their way of mocking Him by telling Him to go be with His disciples and show yourself publicly to everyone and perform signs. But in the back of their minds, just like everyone else, they wanted to see signs, and would like for Him to overthrow Rome and be king, so they could have the king’s ear. 

    Joseph?

    I think when you realize that His brothers would have probably known that the Jews were seeking to kill Jesus and that if He appeared publicly they would kill Him or try to expose Him as a fraud, which would justify the brothers unbelief. Sounds familiar, brothers who he was only half related to, trying to prove that he was crazy or kill the favorite son, who had a higher purpose, hmmm where have I heard that before? This is supposed to make us remember Joseph in Genesis, when he had dreams and his brothers hated him because he said they would bow down before him (Genesis 37–50). This is what the Jewish readers might be thinking of because Joseph was claiming that they would bow down to him as an earthly leader, but Jesus was proclaiming to be God and the Messiah, which meant that they would have to bow down to Him as their forever King and the Creator of everything. This would not only have made His brothers not believe in Him, but likely made them hate Him, just like Joseph’s brothers. Realize that the Jews thought of God as close, yet out of reach. That is why it is so hard for many to believe in Jesus, because they were expecting a Judge that would be above them, which would be almost out of reach. Yet, Jesus seemed to be just a Jewish man, who came from Galilee, who was friendly to all and who had done some incredible signs (Isaiah 53:2). I think that looking back it would be so easy to criticize the brother’s unbelief, but when you imagine yourself in their place, you may understand their disbelief. 

    Stumbling Block or Cornerstone

    Jesus responded to their traps and mocking by saying, “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.” We see He is telling them that He is not going down to the feast yet, because His time had not yet fully come. He then says the world hates Him, because He testifies of their evil. Jesus still does this today, and the world still hates Him because of it. We do not like it when people point out our sins. That is what Jesus is doing today: He is convicting us of our sins. In 1 Peter 2:7-8, we see that Jesus is either a stumbling block or He is your cornerstone, which will He be to you? We need to understand that we are all sinners and that we have made mistakes and rebelled against God. At this point in John, Jesus’ time had not fully come, but it would and He would give the authority for the Jews and Romans to kill Him. Because only His blood would be accepted by the Father, as a covering for everyone’s sins. And Jesus wants you to accept Him, that was His purpose for coming, so that you might believe in Him and have everlasting life with Him. If you would like to accept Him as Lord and Savior of your life, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins (repent means turn away), believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and God raised Him from the dead, then confess Him as Lord and Savior of your life (Romans 10:9).

    Where is He?

    Jesus tells them to go up to the feast, however He would not go, because His time had not yet come. We will discuss His public appearance at the Feast of Booths next week. We see that His brothers went up to the feast, and that Jesus remained in Galilee for some time, then He went down to the feast privately at first, before He made Himself known. The Jews were looking for Him, saying where is He, but no one spoke of Him publicly for fear of the Jews. Many thought and discussed privately who they thought He was, some thought He was a good man, while others thought He was leading them astray. Everyone at the feast was seeking Him and they would continue to, until He revealed Himself to them. That is what we should all be doing this week, we should be seeking Jesus with our all. He promises that if we do, we will find Him. Also, we should know that His brother’s desires for Him to be known to all were not bad desires, but they were seeking it for all the wrong reasons, and doing it for their own gain. Jesus said that it is our job to take the Gospel unto all the earth, so that everyone may come to know Him.

  • Jesus is the living bread (John 6:41-59)
    John 6:41-59
    John 6:41-59

    The Passage

    This week we will study ‭‭‭‭John‬ ‭6:41-59‬‬‬. So let’s read the passage, “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.”

     You can Trust Jesus

    In ‭‭John‬ ‭6:41-59‬, we see that the Jews are grumbling about Jesus saying that He is the bread that comes down from Heaven. The Jews were grumbling over this, because they knew Jesus’ family and they thought this meant He could not possibly be the Messiah. This is something we see throughout Jesus’ ministry, because people thought that no one would know where the Messiah came from. This belief is contradicted by many verses in the Bible, where it is written that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, or where it says He was of the line of David, how could anyone verify that, if no one knew where He would come from (Micah 5:2, Isaiah 9:7, 2 Samuel 7:12-13)? This is something that still happens today: we don’t grumble as much about how He could have come down from Heaven or His words, although there is still plenty of that, but more often people search the Bible for contradictions to prove that Jesus is not who He says He is. Many want to bring up that there are 400,000 differences in the ancient copies of the Bible. What they neglect to mention is that we have so many ancient copies and that all those differences still make the copies 98.5% accurate and that the 1.5% are predominantly grammatical or spelling and all the copies were hand copied. As for contradictions, people think are in the Bible, they can all be solved by digging a little deeper. If you have questions about the Bible you are most certainly not the first person to have them, one place I go when I have questions is www.gotquestions.org, they always have great answers that are Biblically based and are very easy to understand. The Bible is trustworthy, people have gone through it for millennia, trying to prove it wrong, but none have, in fact, many end up proving themselves wrong and accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives. 

    How to Live Forever with Him

    Jesus answered their grumbling by saying, not to grumble because no one comes to the Father unless the Father draws him and on the last day He will raise him up. This is one place many get the idea of predestination and I would say, yes except for the fact that He said, the will of God is for everyone to come to Him (John 6:40, 2 Peter 3:9). Not some, but all, that is why I believe that the Father calls everyone who hears about Him, but it is up to them to accept (Romans 10:17). He then quotes Isaiah 54:13, to back up His claim, not that He needed to, but so that they might believe. He then says that everyone who hears and is taught by God accepts Him. He tries to teach everyone who hears, but not everyone will listen and believe. He says not that anyone has seen the Father, except for the one who comes from the Father, which is Jesus. He continues by saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” When Jesus says, “Truly, truly”, we should all listen up, because Jesus is about to say something that is of utmost importance. In this case, Jesus tells us how to live forever with Him, He says that all we have to do is to believe in Him. If you would like to have eternal life with Him, all you have to do is to, admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins (repent means turn away), believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and God raised Him from the dead, then confess Him as Lord and Savior of your life (Romans 10:9).

    Bread of Life

    Jesus then tells them that He is the Bread of Life. Back in Jesus’ time and even in the Middle East to this day, bread is more of a necessity. Because bread was not a side dish, but often an important part of their main course. It was their life-giving substance, that’s what Jesus is saying, He is the life-giving substance, of eternal life, as well as during this life. He is the only way to have eternal life! But, He also wants to be the center of this life, not just a side thing you do on the weekends, but your everything, you’re all! Jesus says, “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.” This is a parable, Jesus is not literally saying to eat His flesh and drink His blood. He is saying that anyone who believes in Him, eats the bread of life. This is part of His bread of life parable: anyone who believes in Him will live forever, that is how to eat the bread of life (His flesh), how to drink His blood, and how to drink the Living Water that will cause you to never thirst again (John 4:7-15). Yes, it did foreshadow communion (Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper), but not in the way some think, which is that communion literally becomes the blood and body of Jesus. It instead foreshadows what we do to remember, what Jesus did for us, so we could live forever with Him (Luke 22:19). We see that the Jews grumbled about this too, but they missed the fact that this was a parable and the meaning behind it. Jesus would not contradict Himself in conversation or ever, by saying the only way to live forever with Him is to believe in Him and then saying that they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood to live forever with Him. It is a parable representing our belief in Jesus, that is backed up by the fact that He says that we will abide in Him and He in us. 

    The Greater Bread

    Jesus continues by saying He lives because of the Father and that anyone who eats this bread will also live because of Him. That is Jesus’ entire reason for coming, so that we might believe and have eternal life with Him. He says that the bread He offers is the bread that comes down from Heaven and is greater than that of what their fathers ate in the wilderness and died. The bread that their fathers ate in the wilderness, that Jesus is talking about, is manna, but also the Old Testament covenant (Mosaic covenant) (Exodus 24:6-8, Exodus 30:10, Hebrews 9:20-25, Hebrews 7:19-26). Which could only cover your sins for a year, but Jesus came to take your sins and cast them as far as the east is from the west (Psalms 103:12, Hebrews 7:19). That is why Jesus’ bread is greater than that which their fathers ate, because when He forgives your sins, He will forgive them forever, so you can live forever with Him. So, this week if you do not know Him, accept Him today, do not wait, we are not promised tomorrow. Also, this week get in the Word of God, read it, and know that it is trustworthy. Next time you take communion, remember what He did for you, so that you can live forever with Him. Also, know that Jesus does not want to be a side thing, that you only claim on the weekends, Jesus wants to be your all, your everything! 

    Check out the other blogs in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • The Food that Endures Forever (John‬ ‭6:22-40‬‬‬)
    John 6:22-40
    John 6:22-40

    The Passage

    This week we will study ‭‭‭‭John‬ ‭6:22-40‬‬‬. So let’s read the passage, “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 work 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 whom 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.””

    Right to the Real Question

    In John‬ 6:22-40‬, we see that some of the crowd from the feeding of the five thousand realized that there was only one boat and that Jesus had not gone with the disciples. So the crowd went to Capernaum seeking Jesus and when they found Him, they asked Him, “when did you come here”. Jesus responded by saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves”. We see that Jesus did not respond to their question, but instead addressed what they were truly seeking. This is something we see all throughout Jesus’ ministry, He has the ability to cut through what people say, to what they really want because He knows them better than they know themselves. There are two reasons I think He is able to do this: the first is His omniscience (Hebrews 4:13); the second is that He knitted all of us together and gave us His image (Psalm 139:13, Genesis 1:27). 

    Not the Gift but the Giver

    When Jesus says truly truly we know that He is about to reveal something that we should all pay attention to. In this case, we see that Jesus was revealing something about who He is, how to live forever with Him, and why the crowd was seeking Him. Jesus said, the reason they were seeking Him was not because of the signs He did, but because they ate their fill of the loaves. I think this is something that still happens today, we would rather have the gift than the giver. This is especially prevalent in several doctrines in the church today, we will look at two of these, quickly. The first is the prosperity gospel and the second is fire insurance. The prosperity gospel’s message is that when you accept Jesus into your heart or increase your faith, everything in your life will be easy, you will have no more problems, and you will be wealthy. That is why, when faith based on the prosperity gospel is tested it will crumble, because it is based on our understanding of what is best for our lives, so when something happens that we consider unfair, we start to question the existence of God. The truth is that when you accept Jesus, it may not be easier, it may even get harder, but He will be with you and He gives you peace and comfort. The other is fire insurance which is less of a doctrine and more of a reason why some people accept Jesus. Fire insurance is the tactic of making people believe by scaring them into accepting Jesus because if they don’t, they will burn in hell forever. This is not untrue, but is not a tactic that I think we should employ, because it makes it difficult to have a flourishing relationship with Jesus. I think there is also a danger in going too far the other way and never talking about hell. 

    Food that Endures Forever

    Jesus continues by saying, not to work for the food that perishes, but to work 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. The crowd then asked a really good question, that we should all be asking, which is, “what must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answers them by saying, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” This is the same today, that the work of God is to believe in Jesus. See that is what Jesus is explaining, the way to have eternal life with Him is to believe in Him. If you would like to accept Him as Lord and Savior of your life, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins (repent means turn away), believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and God raised Him from the dead, then confess Him as Lord and Savior of your life (Romans 10:9).

    We Want More Signs

    The crowd asks Jesus, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?” The people always wanted another sign, they had just seen the bread multiply to feed them and He had just miraculously crossed the sea. The truth is that no matter how many signs you see, they will not cause you to have faith, because faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). That is why no matter how many miracles the Jews saw, they did not believe because they had already made up their minds about Him. Both of the signs written in John 6 were signs that point to one thing, it pointed to the fact that Jesus is God. Both had a different symbolism, but both pointed to the same conclusion. The Jews picked up on part of the symbolism in loaves and fish. Yes, it did point to the manna in the wilderness, but it was not saying that Jesus was the new Moses, it was revealing that He is God and that He was trying to draw them to Himself. The other sign in John 6 is Jesus walking on the water. There is so much symbolism that points to Him being God in this miracle. But, I will point out two, the first of which was the Spirit hovering over the waters at creation (Genesis 1:2) and the second was the crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus. It pointed to the fact that He was greater than Moses and is God (Hebrews 3:1-6). Both of these signs were meant to call you to the fact that He is God. The Jews did not come seeking anything, but more of what Jesus had already given them; they were looking for provisions and blessings instead of what Jesus came to give us, which is eternal life with Him. It is so easy to get wrapped up in what Jesus gives us, that we miss the ultimate gift He came to give. Don’t miss His real reason for coming and dying for you, because you are looking for blessing and provision, that is the whole point of this entire passage. Jesus’ signs are pointing you to His real reason for being here. It is not about provision, but mankind’s restoration back into the family of God through Jesus. God knows what you need long before you ever think to need it, so trust Him, He knows what you need (Matthew 6:25-34). 

    Bread of Life

    The Jews continued by saying, “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from Heaven to eat.’” See Moses had become everything to the Israelites and they thought that it was Moses who gave them all that God did for them in the wilderness. Jesus tells them that it was not Moses who gave them manna, but it was His Heavenly Father who gave them the true bread from Heaven. Jesus is the true bread that comes down from heaven and the Bread of Life, who takes away the sins of the world, and whoever comes to Him shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Him shall never thirst. It is a similar picture as at the well, with the Samaritan woman, He said, come to me and I will give you living water, and you will never thirst again (John 4:1-26). They had already eaten His bread and were hungry again, so they knew Jesus was not talking about physical food, but the crowd could not figure out what food He was talking about. Next week we will discuss more about this food, but for now, know that Jesus is the Bread of Life, who was given for you, so you can live forever with Him. 

    Don’t Wait

    Even after all of this, the crowd still did not believe in Him. See no man can come to Jesus unless the Spirit draws them, and all that come to Him, He will never cast out. Jesus did not come to do His own will, but the will of Him who sent Him. And the will of the one who sent Him is that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, so that He will raise them on the last day. This is why Jesus came, because He wants to know you and have a relationship with you, so that you can have eternal life with Him and He will raise you on the last day, if you believe in Him. So, today if you have not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, what better time than now, there will always be a temptation to wait, but know that we are not promised tomorrow. Accept Him right now, no matter where you are, you do not have to be in a church, you do not have to wait until you clean your life up, Jesus is calling you just the way you are, that does not mean that you can continue sinning, but once you come to Him, He will put new desires into your heart. Also, this week know that God’s ways are higher than ours and that we may not understand everything, but He is in control, and He will be with us no matter what. So, trust Him with your all!

    Check out the other blogs in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • I Am He, do not be afraid (John 6:14-21)
    I Am He, do not be afraid (John 6:14-21)
    I Am He, do not be afraid (John 6:14-21)

    The Passage

    This week we will study ‭‭John‬ ‭6:14-21‬. So let’s read the passage, “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 at the land to which they were going.”

    The Realization

    In ‭‭John‬ ‭6:14-21‬, this passage is John’s account of Jesus walking on water. This miracle occurs right after the feeding of the five thousand. We see that when the crowd realized where the food had come from, they wanted to make Jesus king. This likely confirmed what many were thinking, that Jesus was the coming Messiah or a prophet. They realized that all the bread and fish came from a young boy’s small lunch and it seemed to come from nowhere. This made them want to make Jesus king, which was not a bad desire, but they wanted Him to be an earthly king, when that is not what Jesus came to earth for. What the Israelites and disciples fail again and again to realize was that Jesus did not come to overthrow earthly authorities. One reason this was such a widespread belief was because there was a prophecy at the time, that said the Messiah would come as a judge-like authority to overthrow Rome. This prophecy prevented people from believing in Him, because He was not the Messiah they were expecting. That is the danger of prophecy that comes from man’s wishful thinking and ideologies, instead of from God. Jesus came to set them free of two more pressing authorities in their lives that had ruled over them long before the first empire was established. These authorities go all the way back to Genesis chapter three, when mankind first sinned and ever since we have been enslaved to sin and death (Romans 6:20, Hebrews 2:14-15, Genesis 3). 

    His Kingdom is not of this World

    We see all throughout Jesus’ ministry, He tries to explain that He is a king, but that His Kingdom is not of this world. Jesus did not want to be king of an earthly kingdom, because He was already the King of everything. In the Garden of Eden mankind chose to take God off the throne of their hearts and placed themselves in His place, because we thought we knew better (Genesis 3:5). What Jesus did at Golgotha, shows you that He loved you so much, that He died to have a relationship with you (John 3:16). Then in the garden where they buried Him, He showed that not even death has power over our God and that any who trust Him will be given eternal life with Him forever (John 3:15, Romans 10:9). What Jesus died for was to pay your wages, because the Bible says that the wages of sin is death and we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23, 6:23). Jesus did not want to be an earthly king, but today, He is inviting you to make Him King of your heart. If you would like to live with Him forever, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins (repent means turn away), believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and God raised Him from the dead, then confess Him as Lord and Savior of your life (Romans 10:9).

    Crossing by Boat

    We see that Jesus perceived they wanted to make Him king and that they misunderstood who He was, so He dismissed them and withdrew to the mountains by Himself to pray (Matthew 14:23). Mark tells us that Jesus told the disciples to get into the boat, then Jesus completely withdrew from everyone (Mark 6:45). Because His disciples likely wanted to see Jesus made king, just as much as the crowd if not more (Acts 1:6, Mark 10:37). So, when evening came the disciples started across the sea by boat. The passage tells us that it was dark and Jesus had not come to them, which makes me think that they waited until it got dark before departing, not wanting to leave Jesus. Mark tells us that when the disciples were halfway across the sea, the wind picked up and the sea became rough (Mark 6:47-48). Matthew says that the boat was being buffeted by the waves because of the wind (Matthew 14:24). We know that in modern times the waves, on this sea, often get as high as five or six-feet during storms. These waves were probably about three-foot, since they were only buffeting the boat instead of threatening to sink it. The disciples knew that Jesus had power over storms, since He had already calmed a storm, but this time Jesus was not with them (Mark 4:35-41). It says they were rowing, so I do not think they were as scared as they were before, which shows the growth in their faith in Jesus. 

    Walking on Water

    The passage continues by saying when they had rowed three or four miles, that Jesus came walking on the water and when He came near to them, they were frightened because they thought He was a ghost (Matthew 14:26). Which in my opinion, testifies to the heightened supernatural activity during Jesus’ life. I think this means that spirits manifested more often back then. The Greek word used in Matthew for ghost is phantasma (φάντασμα), which does not mean what the world thinks of as a ghost, which is a soul that is stuck in limbo. According to the Bible, there is no such thing as stuck in limbo, you are either separated from God in hell or you are with God in Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8, Luke 23:43). What has a better connotation in our language is the word spirit, which is an angel or demon. There are two reasons I think that there is so much supernatural activity in the New Testament: The first is that Jesus’ coming caused the supernatural world to be more active; The second is that their worldview allowed for supernatural activity, unlike our post-enlightenment worldview which is so scientific-based and says that everything is physical. Their thinking was less physical and more spiritual, whereas ours is more physical and less spiritual, it is not bad for us to have a more scientific worldview. Because as Johann Kepler said, “science is thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” But, we need to realize that the world is not just physical, but also spiritual and there are things that science cannot explain. 

    Do not be Afraid

    Jesus calls out to them, “It is I; do not be afraid”. The words, “It is I” is the Greek word Eimi (εἰμί), is translated as, I Am and is a call back to the name of God gave to Moses for Himself (Exodus 3:14). Jesus is literally calling Himself God in this instance. Many people say and believe that Jesus never claimed to be God and that He was just a good man. This is literally one of many times that Jesus claims to be God or to be God’s son. Eimi is also the same word that is used in John 14, Jesus’ I am statements, and also the same words that Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane, that caused the soldiers to fall back (John 18:6). Jesus is literally telling them, I Am He, do not be afraid. I think this made them remember the time when He calmed the storm and made them realize that if God is with them, then who can be against them? It then says that they were glad to take Him into their boat and immediately they were at the shore, where they were going. They were at least two miles from their destination, but yet, when Jesus got into the boat, they were immediately where they were going. I have done an entire blog on this, link right here https://www.wbem.org/2021/03/21/miracles-we-miss/ or https://youtu.be/lu3fAXFMNMs. So this week, know that Jesus is the Messiah and God, and that you should put your trust in Him today, because we are not promised tomorrow. Also, this week pray that God will open your worldview more to the things of Him and show you that not all things are physical and that the spiritual is just as real as the physical world.

    Check out the other blogs in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • He is waiting (Study of John 4:43-54)
    Study of John 4:43-54

    Study of John 4:43-54

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    The Passage

    This week we are going to study ‭‭John‬ ‭4:43-54‬. So let’s read the passage, “After the two days he departed for Galilee. (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast. So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.” ‭‭John‬ ‭4:43-54

    The Danger of Complacency

    In this passage, we see that Jesus departed from Samaria to Cana in Galilee where He had performed His first miracle turning water into wine. We see that the Galileans were there in Jerusalem when Jesus was performing miracles at the feast, so when they heard He was coming they came out and welcomed Him. They wanted Him to do miracles in Galilee as He had done in Jerusalem. The Bible reminds us that Jesus said, His hometown would not honor Him. The reason is that the people could not think of Jesus as any more than the child they grew up with. That is one thing that many people who have attended church for most or all of our lives struggle with. We too often go to church or to our quiet time with an attitude of having to or because we always have and so we keep doing it out of habit. We should remember that we have the privilege of meeting with the King Of The Universe, the One who creates everything and holds everything together. We get to be a part of what the angels seek to look into (1 Peter 1:12). But we so often neglect our relationship with Jesus and make it a small thing in our lives. 

    The Official’s Request

    The passage then goes on to tell us that there was an official from Capernaum that heard that Jesus was in Galilee. His son was ill and at the point of death, so he came down and asked Jesus to heal his son. We can do the same today. We can come boldly, but humble to Jesus and ask Him for our needs and tell Him the things that are in our hearts. Jesus responded to the official, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” Jesus would later say, “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign” (Matthew 16:4 worth reading in its entirety and pondering). This was not someone who was just seeking a sign, he needed his son healed. He would not believe without a sign, but this was someone probably seeking out any and all ways of keeping his son alive. Jesus knew this and saw the way the official took the rebuke. The way he did not turn away, offended that he had been rebuked by a Man who was below his worldly wealth and authority class. This shows that the official was aware that the Man he spoke to had more authority than he did. It is not clear whether he knew that Jesus was the Messiah, but he obviously believed that He had the power to heal his son. Maybe he thought he was a prophet like the Jews were always talking about. The official, realizing this, asked Jesus, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” We see that he believed that Jesus could heal his son and was willing to humble himself and come ask for his son’s life. 

    Our Mediator

    It is the same today, we cannot send anyone else as our spiritual representative or to intercede for us. Jesus is our mediator and He is the only one who can intercede for us (1 Timothy 2:5). I think too many want the church to intercede for them and to grow their relationship with Jesus. Going once a week to hear a sermon and maybe praying and hoping that will nourish their relationship for the week all the while living the rest of the time not giving God another thought. There are so many reasons why this will not work. The first is that no man or group of men can nourish your relationship with Him. Don’t get me wrong, others in the church can intercede on your behalf and others can definitely help build up your faith, but God wants us to come boldly to His throne ourselves and commune with Him, not just always having someone else lead us. Have you ever had a friend who has another friend that is always with them when you see them, but that friend has no interest in being friends with you? I think that is what it’s like to just come to God through your pastor and church. God wants you to thank Him for all He has done and is doing for you, tell Him your needs, the anxieties of your hearts, worship Him, and have your own relationship that does not revolve around another person (Hebrews 4:16, 1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 7:7, 1 Thessalonians‬ 5:16-18‬). The second is that if you only eat once a week you would not be very healthy, even if it was a thanksgiving feast or a meal perfectly prepared to pack the most nutrients into a single meal, it is the same way in our relationship with Jesus. If you would like to grow in your relationship with Him you need to place yourself where you can grow closer to Jesus by getting in His Word (the Bible) and communicating with Him in prayer. The Bible tells us that all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It also tells us to Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded (James 4:8). These are not the only ways to grow your relationship with God, but these are a few that the scripture prescribes. 

    Limitless Power

    We also see in the official’s response that he thinks two things about Jesus’ power. The first is that once his son dies there is nothing Jesus can do. The second is that the official thought that Jesus’ power was limited by distance and to heal his son Jesus had to go to his son.  Neither one of these are true of Jesus’ power. I think too often we do the same thing: we put Jesus in a box thinking He is powerless in certain areas of our lives. We may not say it, but we think it and sometimes even believe it. Because it is so hard for us to comprehend that God is truly limitless, not bound by the same things we are bound by. He created time, space, and distance, so He is not bound by them (Matthew 19:26, Genesis 1:1-31, 2 Peter 3:8). The other things that bind us are the results of the fall, that were not in His original plan for the world (Genesis 3, 11:1-9). Our God is truly limitless and that is a beautiful thing. Yet it is a little scary because I can not even start to understand or even imagine what it feels like to live forever and to “physically” be with God in heaven (Titus 1:2, John 14:6). But then I remember who He is and the promise He has made and that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and I am no longer afraid, but in awe of His majesty (Hebrews 13:8). 

    Father And Son Get Life

    Jesus then tells the official to go, your son will live. He believed Jesus’ words and as He traveled he met his servants they told him that his son had recovered trying to relieve their master’s anxiety because they did not realize that Jesus had already done that. He asked his servants when his son started to recover and they told him that it was the exact hour that Jesus had said his son would recover and so he and his entire household believed. That day not only did his son get to live, but the father also got the gift of eternal life from Jesus, along with his entire household. Today God wants to do the same thing, He wants to give you eternal life with Him. I hope that if you have not already received Him that you will accept Him today. If you would like to accept Him into your heart all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life (Romans 10:9).  So this week we know that Jesus is our one and only mediator and that He is far more powerful and limitless than we can imagine and that He still answers prayers and requests to Him. Also, get in the word of God and pray and seek after Him this week, so that you will be able to know that you are closer to Him today than you were yesterday. I want to encourage you to be like the father in the passage and come to Jesus and ask Him to give everyone in your family, not physical healing, but the healing that only Jesus can bring, the gift of eternal life with Him. Check out the other blogs in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • The Samaritan Harvest (John‬ ‭4:27-42)
    The Samaritan Harvest

    The Samaritan Harvest

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    The Passage

    This week we are going to study ‭‭John‬ ‭4:27-42‬. So let’s read the passage, Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:27‭-‬42 

    The Jar Left Behind

    In this passage, we see Jesus has just finished telling the Samaritan woman who He was. This was right as His disciples were coming back from buying food and they marveled that He was talking to a Samaritan woman. We see that the disciples were probably about as shocked as the woman was. But the Bible tells us that no one asked Him why He was talking to her. Because they did not realize that He came for all, not just the Jews. That He loves and wants to know all, this was something the disciples struggled with all throughout both Jesus’ and their own ministry. Because the truth of the gospel is for all and that is something we must remember. When the woman finally understood and believed who He was, she was so excited that in her hurry she left behind her jar, but she may have also left it as a gift for Jesus and His disciples. We who desire to tell the whole world should do the same and leave behind all that slows us or is cumbersome in sharing the gospel. We should turn away from the things of this world and seek after Him and Him alone. This is not just for those of us who have recently come to know Him but for all Christians. 

    The Testimony

    She went into town and told everyone to go and see a man that told her everything she had ever done and then asked them, could this be the Christ? She had just met Jesus; she did not have all the answers, but she knew where Jesus was and she knew she wanted everyone to know Him. This is what we should do when we come to Jesus, we should want everyone else to know Him. We do not have to have all the answers, we just need to lead them to Jesus, this can be by telling them about Him from the Bible or by inviting them to church. We need to remember the power of what Jesus did for us. What led the other Samaritans to Jesus was not her perfect presentation, her elegant words, or her persistence, it was the story of her experience with Jesus that drew the Samaritans to go to Jesus along with the working of the Holy Spirit in each of them. There are three possible reasons why she told them to come to see a man who told her everything she had ever done. The first is that she felt like her sin defined everything she had ever done. The second is that Jesus and the Samaritan woman’s conversation about her sins was not completely recorded. The third is she knew that Jesus told her of her deepest sins and so He knew her fully. 

    What Food?

    We then see that the disciples are talking to Jesus while the Samaritan woman is telling her town about Jesus. The disciples are urging Jesus to eat and Jesus tells them that He had food that they did not know about. This makes the disciples question each other, thinking that one of them brought Him food, everyone was probably looking at Peter, James, and John, Jesus’ inner circle within the disciples. Jesus then said to them that His food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work. This shows Jesus’ love for the Samaritans that His food was doing good for them. The disciples did not think that Jesus would spread the gospel among the Samaritans, showing that Jesus desires things for us that are greater than even His disciples or we could fathom. The reason why Jesus made this work His food was because it was the work of the One who sent Him. His entire purpose for being here was to bring people to Himself and this was of great satisfaction to Him. And today He desires to know you and have a personal relationship with you. He came down from Heaven, became a man, and died on the cross for our sins, became the one and only forever sacrifice for our sins so that we could live forever with Him. If you would like to start your relationship with Him, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life (Romans 10:9). 

    The Harvest

    Jesus then goes on to tell them not to say “There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” He is telling the disciples that this is where the fields are white and ready for harvest and they will reap even though it was the Pentateuch and the Holy Spirit that sowed the seeds. This is the same today, we may help sow or we may help reap and I believe that in our world today the fields are ripe for harvest. It may not be where we expect, but in some places, the ground is ready for sowing, and in others, the fields are ready for reaping. So, we must be looking and listening for the prompting of the Spirit as to where we need to help reap and where we need to help sow. We then see that many believed in Him because of the Samaritan woman’s testimony, but more believed in Him because of Jesus’ word and that Jesus stayed with them for two more days. This is something we must keep in mind that our words are sometimes adequate for sharing the gospel, but His Word always fulfills the purposes for which He sends them out to do (Isaiah 55:11). The last verse in this passage tells us that the Samaritans told the woman that it is no longer her words that caused them to believe for they heard for themselves and believe that He was truly the Savior of the World. So this week, know that He has sent us just as the Father has sent Him into the world and that our mission is to go unto all nations and make disciples. Also, know that no matter what you have done or who you are, He wants to know you and He also can use you to reach the world. 

    Check out the other blogs in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • Thirst no more (John 4:1-26)
    Thirst no more (John 4:1-26)

    Thirst no more (John 4:1-26)

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    The Passage

    This week we are going to study John 4:1-26. So let’s read the passage, “Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” ‭‭John‬ ‭4:1-26

    On His Way

    Let’s start off with verses 1-4 in this passage we see that the Pharisees find out that Jesus’ disciples have been baptizing more disciples than John did. This made the Pharisees nervous because they thought he was a false teacher, but now the one who John pointed to was attracting more disciples than John had. Jesus did not stay in the Judean countryside because it was not yet His time and He had much to teach His disciples and they were not yet strong enough to endure persecution. The most likely reason Jesus was not baptizing may have been the same reason Paul said he was glad he chose not to baptize, because they would brag and think that they were better than everyone else because of who baptized them (1 Corinthians 1:13-17). Jesus decided to go to Galilee where He could teach and heal. It says that He had to pass through Samaria. The Jews would not go through Samaria but would go out of their way to avoid it. Many think that the reason was that He wanted to reach the people of Samaria. 

    Living Water

    While going through Samaria they stopped near Sychar where Jacob’s well was and Jesus was wearied from His journey, so he sat down beside the well. Then a woman from Samaria came up to draw water. There are several things we can learn about her right from the start, she comes at the heat of the day alone and she does not have a servant. We see she is not popular and probably persecuted, because she did not come with the women who would come in the morning and she is poor because she has to do it herself. Jesus asked her for a drink of water likely because He needed a drink, but also because He knew that she needed the living water that He had. She asked Him why a Jewish man spoke to a Samaritan woman and wanted something from her. This was so shocking to her because Jews and Samaritans despised each other. The Samaritans were descendants of Jews that married gentiles, which in Jewish eyes made them worse than the gentiles. Jesus then tells her that if she knew who He was she would ask Him for a drink and He would give her living water. He is offering us living water also because the God of the universe came and died to redeem us because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We can ask for living water because God does not wish that any should perish but all should have eternal life (John 3:16). If you would like to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life (Romans 10:9). 

    Metaphors

    She, just like Nicodemus heard Jesus speak of heavenly things with earthly metaphors and neither one of them understood them. So she asks where He would get that living water and that the well is deep and He had nothing to draw it with. She also asked if He was greater than their father Jacob who gave them this well and drank of it himself. Yes, He is greater than Jacob and Jesus knew Jacob. Jacob merely dug the well, but God provided the water. Jesus then tells her that anyone who drinks water from this well will thirst again, but anyone who drinks the water that Jesus gives them will never be thirsty again. Anyone who lives in the law of the Old Testament would only be redeemed for a time but anyone who accepts Jesus as Lord will be redeemed forever. The woman of Samaria then asked Jesus for the living water so that she would not thirst again. Jesus then asked her to call her husband. She responded to the question by saying she had no husband; Jesus said that it was true that she had no husband. Jesus then went on to say that she had five before and the one she was now with was not her husband. This is to say that she was in active sin and yet Jesus still had a divine appointment with her and wanted her to know Him. She tells Him that surely He is a prophet. He does not expect us to clean up our acts before coming to Him, He meets us where we are. 

    Where Should We Worship

    There are two views I think are most probable of why the conversation goes where it does next. The first is that she is trying to redirect the conversation away from her sin to something else. The second is that she saw that He was a prophet and wanted to know the answer to a question which she was wondering about and He had something more for her to understand. She asked Him about where they should worship in Jerusalem where the Jews worship or the mountain where the Samaritans worship. Jesus tells her that a time is coming and is now here when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will she worship the Father but we will worship God in Spirit and truth since God is Spirit. So many of us today want to call the place where we gather on Sunday our places of worship as if they are the only places where we should worship or can worship. God no longer dwells in places built by men but in the hearts of men (Acts 17:24-25). We have to remember that God dwells in us and that we can worship Him wherever we are. She then tells Him that she knows the Messiah is coming and that when He does He will explain all things. Jesus then tells her, I who speak to you am He. This was the first recorded time that Jesus tells someone that was not an Israelite that He was the Messiah. This is good news for the gentiles, He came not only for the Jews, but for all. In this passage, know that the Father is seeking true worshipers to worship Him in Spirit and truth. So this week know that if you are reading or listening to this that just like He wanted to know the Samaritan woman, He wants to know you and have a relationship with you. Also, remember to worship God in Spirit and truth and know that we can worship Him anywhere. Check out the other blogs in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • He must increase, we must decrease (John 3:22-36)
    He must increase, we must decrease

    He must increase, we must decrease

    He must increase, we must decrease

    He must increase, we must decrease

    Listen or read

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    The Passage

    This week we are going to study John 3:22-36. So let’s read the passage, “After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized (for John had not yet been put in prison). Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” ‭‭John‬ ‭3:22-36

    The Countryside

    In this passage, we were told that Jesus goes to the Judean countryside after being in Jerusalem. He stayed there and was baptizing. We see that Jesus consistently goes away from the crowds, to be out in the country or to be by Himself, along with anyone who was able to follow Him. I think there are four reasons, we can see why Jesus may have gone into the countryside or wilderness throughout His ministry. The first reason was likely to be alone with His Heavenly Father like He did after His baptism (Matthew 3-4) before He went to the cross (Matthew 26:36), and many other times throughout His public ministry (Luke 5:16). The second reason could be that He wanted to explain to His closest followers, what the parables meant. This may not be the reason why He went this time, but it was certainly why He went at other times, as Jesus explained in Matthew 13:10-17. The third reason may have been to keep the Jews from killing Him before it was a time (John 11:53-54). The fourth reason may have been for a specific reason or person such as in Matthew 8:28-34 where Jesus goes and casts demons out of two men and into the pigs. I am not saying these are all of the reasons why He would go into the countryside or the wilderness, but just a few. I am just saying these are some of the reasons we see that Jesus would go out into the countryside. I think that we can do the same thing and it is important for us as Christians to take countryside time with God, in the scripture, and with our families. The second one is not as applicable because we do not speak in parables, but we can know how to answer others’ questions and how to share the gospel. We cannot apply the third one because we do not know others’ thoughts or when it is our time to die. The fourth one can be applied because God does have people He puts in our path to help or to share the gospel with. We may not know about these ahead of time as He did, but God still sets up the meetings, and we need to be looking for them. 

    The Discussion

    This passage also tells us that John the Baptist was baptizing. John’s disciples and a Jew were discussing purification. So to resolve the discussion they took it to John and asked him why Jesus was baptizing and why many people are going to Him. I think this tells us that this discussion may have been about what Jesus was saying that contradicted the additional rules that had been placed on the Jews by their leaders which were not a part of God’s law. Which were not based on scripture, we see this a lot when Jesus is with the Pharisees, such as in Mark 7:1-20, when Jesus was discussing hand washing with the Jews. So John responds to the question of why Jesus, the one to whom John bore witness to, was now baptizing and all were going to Him. He told them a person cannot receive one thing unless it is given to him from Heaven. By telling them that they were exalting John above his pay grade and that they did not understand who Jesus was. He tells them that he has already explained to them that he is not from heaven and is not the Christ but that he came to point to the Christ. That his knowledge of who Christ was, was from heaven but that he was not. 

    Friend of the Bridegroom

    John then goes into an analogy about the friend of a bridegroom. He says that the one who has the bride is the bridegroom and the friend of the bridegroom rejoices at the bridegroom’s voice. John is comparing himself to the friend, Jesus as the bridegroom, but who he is referring to as the bride. If you have grown up in church or been in church for some time you may already know, He is saying that all the ones who are going to Jesus, are the bride. The church is the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-33). John then tells them in the same way his joy is complete seeing them go to Jesus and that Jesus must increase and John must decrease. That is something we as Christians need to realize that we are like John except we are telling them that Jesus is coming again and that all should repent and come to Him. See we so often make it about us, we forget that people are not to look to or follow us but to seek Jesus. He must increase and we must decrease. This story is not about us, we get the precious gift of not only being grafted into God’s forever family, but also being grafted into His forever story. Notice that I said grafted, we are not the main character, we are merely extras, but we are extras that the main character loves and wants to be with forever. 

    The Seal

    The passage then goes on to say that John is earthly, therefore he speaks in an earthly way, but Jesus is from Heaven and is above all. Jesus bears witness to what He has heard and seen. It then tells us that anyone who accepts His testimony sets a seal that God is true. Anyone, that includes us, for the last two-thousand years people have received His testimony and have set their seals that He is true. Not only in accepting His testimony, but also by the way they lived their lives. To quote Gamaliel, a high priest presented with what to do with the apostles when they would not stop teaching in the name of Jesus. Gamaliel tells the men of Israel, “So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice,” Acts 5:38-39. We still see that Christianity is alive and thriving today, so I believe that it was from God. We are going to skip down to the last verse and come back to the others. The passage continues by telling us that Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. See if you really believe that Jesus is the Son of God you will obey Him. If you would like to be grafted into God’s forever family all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life (Romans 10:9).

    Everything into His hands

    Let’s go back to the other two verses we skipped 34 and 35, For he whom God has sent utters the word of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given everything into his hands. This is so reassuring that God has given everything into Jesus’ hands. This shows us that not only does Jesus have the whole world in His hands, but also everything that was ever created. This means He has you in His hands and He will be with you always! And on top of that, He will send the Spirit, part of Himself to dwell within you. Only one time before has man been this close to God and God wants you to be a part of what He is doing in the world. So this week, remember what He did for you and know that you must decrease and He must increase. Live your life in such a way that makes Jesus known to those around you. Also, remember to have your countryside time with God this week, you may not have to go to the countryside just get alone and be with God.

    Check out the other blogs in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • Light into the darkness (John 3:16-21)
    Light into the darkness
    Light into the darkness

    Listen or read

    Light into the darkness, This week we are going to study John 3:16-21. This passage has one of the most famous Bible verses of all time, but I very rarely hear the other verses in this passage discussed.  So, let’s read this passage together, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John‬ ‭3:16-21‬

    In this passage, Jesus is still speaking to Nicodemus about salvation. He did not hide who He was from Nicodemus, but rather told him exactly who Jesus was and why He came. Nicodemus was the one that prompted the most famous verse of all time. This is not the last time we will mention Nicodemus, he is mentioned several more times and followed Jesus from a distance. Jesus explains the gospel to Nicodemus and explains the response of all people to it. Most of us probably know the first two verses and can quote them from memory, but have we ever really stopped and thought about the words. The God of the universe that created everything, loved the world so much that He sent His son which was a part of Himself (John 1:1). Keep in mind that He designed a perfect world, but we as humans corrupted it in the fall (Genesis 3), we rebelled against the one who made us. Just like the man in the story who wanted his inheritance now so he could squander it on unrighteous living, we want our way, we thought we knew better than the one who created us. But yet, just like the father in the story when his son came back to ask for a position as a servant he instead gave him his rightful place as a son, the place he forfeited (Luke 15:11-31). He loves the world so much that He was willing to come down as a man and die in our place so that we could live forever with Him. While we were still in sin, He loved us, died for us, and wants to have a relationship with us (Romans 5:8). 

    We as humankind are known for killing God’s messengers (Mark 12:1-12). So when they saw Jesus coming into the world, they instantly thought He was here to condemn them, so they plotted to kill Him and did. But, if God did not give them authority, then they would not have even been able to touch Him (John 19:11). He came to tell us that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have life with Him forever. The whoever in this passage is not just the ones who are perfect because none are, every human has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). It is not just for some people, it is for all. His coming saved the world, but we all have to choose during our lifetime whether we believe Jesus is who He said He is and whether He died to pardon us. But, if you do not believe you are already condemned because you have not believed in the name of the Son of God. 

    We all probably realize that the thing we are told we cannot have is one thing we desire. Think of the account of Samson, he wanted the women he was told he could not have. It is the same today as in the day of Jesus. Jesus the true light of the world came down and the world preferred the darkness because their evil deeds were hidden by the darkness. It is the same day, I have heard several say they are waiting till they are older or until a certain point in their lives to accept Him as their Savior, most of them just want to remain in the darkness. Not thinking about that we are not promised tomorrow and for some there may be no tomorrow. As for us as Christians, we need to realize that Christianity is not just for when you die, it is a relationship between you and God today and forever. God graphs you into His forever family. See because even the darkness knows that if you come into the light your deeds will be exposed. But what they forget is that God sees all that is in the hearts of all men and all their deeds are recorded that you cannot hide anything from Him (Ecclesiastes 12:14). This is both scary and comforting to me because He also knows all my sins, but it is comforting that He is so close. 

    God, yes the same God that created everything and holds everything together wants to know you and have a relationship with you. If you would like to start your relationship with God all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life (Romans 10:9). As Christians, we should realize that it is not our job to save anyone because we cannot, our job is to plant and water the seeds and then leave the rest to God, just like farmers do, they can plant, water, and fertilize, but they cannot make them grow. It is the same with faith we can plant the seed and water them but we have to leave it to the Spirit for it to grow. This week remember what He did for us while we were still deep in our sins, He died for us because that is how much He loves us (Romans 5:8). Also, pray and thank God for what He did for you on Calvary. We also have to remember that our entire purpose here is to plant seeds and water them and show love to one another, so this week challenge yourself to plant at least one seed by telling someone about Jesus and many more by the way you live your life.

    Check out the other blogs in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • Born of the Spirit (John 3:1-15)
    Born of the Spirit
    Born of the Spirit

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    This week we are going to study John 3:1-15. So, let’s read this passage together, “Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” ‭‭John‬ ‭3:1-15‬

    In this passage Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews comes to see Jesus at night. There are two possible reasons why Nicodemus came at night, one reason is that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night to hide the fact that he went to see Jesus, another reason may have been because of all his responsibilities and this was the only time he could see Jesus. Nicodemus probably saw Jesus’ miracles, maybe while Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Passover. But, whatever Nicodemus saw convinced him that Jesus was from God. Nicodemus came seeking answers to why Jesus came and who He was, Nicodemus may have even thought that Jesus was a prophet or the Messiah. These are the same questions we will ask this week: why did Jesus come and who is He? Each of us has to choose who we think Jesus is and why we think He came. Think about it, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time, since we have been tracking the sale of books over 5 billion copies have been printed. The Bible is also the most accurately preserved ancient document in human history. The Bible is all about Jesus and even time itself is separated by Jesus’ coming. So, we need to at least take a little time and learn who He is and why He came.

    Nicodemus came to Jesus not seeking political answers, but he was seeking why Jesus came and probably seeking answers to his own salvation. Jesus knew this and told him that no man can enter the Kingdom of God without being born again. He then told him how to be born again, He said, what is flesh is flesh and what is Spirit is spirit and that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must be born in the flesh and then again into the Spirit. See all men are born into sin, it is in our nature since Adam and Eve fell in the garden (Genesis 3, Romans 3:21-26, Psalms 58:3). When we are born physically we are born into the flesh. God created a perfect world, but He gave man free will and we chose to sin and then the world was broken (Genesis Ch 1-3, Galatians 5:13, Joshua 24:15). But God, rich in mercy, sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins and rise again on the third day breaking the chains of sin and death forever (1 John 4:9, Romans 6:6, John 8:36). No matter who you are or what you have done, He died for you and wants to know you (John 3:16-17, Galatians 3:28). The punishment for sin is death and separation from God forever (Romans 6:23). 

    The great news is that just because you were born as flesh into a broken and sinful world does not mean you have to remain in it and take the ultimate punishment for your sin, because someone has already taken your penalty, your debt is paid (1 Peter 2:24, Colossians 2:13-14). Jesus took your punishment of all the wrath of God so that you could live with Him forever (Romans 5:9). Jesus has called everyone not wanting any to perish, (2 Peter 3:9) which is apparent when studying the gospel of John, he called everyone from the religious elites like Nicodemus to the beggars to come to know Him. He is also calling you right now. If you would like to accept the free gift of salvation, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life (Romans 10:9).

    See when we accept Jesus into our hearts we are born into the Spirit and the Holy Spirit comes into your hearts and you are sealed until the day of redemption (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 4:30). See just like Nicodemus, it is hard for us to understand being born again, but we have to understand that Jesus was using earthly metaphors for Heavenly things. We see this throughout His earthly ministry, especially in the parables. By doing this, He allowed the Spirit to reveal who He was (1 Corinthians 2:10-13, John 14:26). Next week we will continue to study through what Jesus said to Nicodemus. 

    Today, if you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior do not wait. We are not promised tomorrow. We need to remember that Jesus did not recommend for us to share the gospel, He commanded us to share the gospel with all, it is our purpose as Christians (Matthew 28:16-20). 

    Check out the other blog in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • Our temple cleaned (John 2:13-25)
    Our temple cleaned
    Our temple cleaned

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    Our temple cleaned, This week we are going to study John 2:13-25. So, let’s read the passage, “The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple, he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” ‭‭John‬ ‭2:13-25 

    In this passage, Jesus goes to Jerusalem for the first time in His public ministry, for Passover which He attended every year and mostly in Jerusalem, as was required by the Law (Exodus 23:17). We can almost be certain that this was not the first time there had been merchants and commerce happening in the temple, while Jesus was there. It was the first time since His baptism and since He had begun His public ministry. This is why He had not driven out the merchants and money changers before this point. One reason Jesus did this was that it was prophesied that He would clean the temple in Maliach 3:1 and Psalms 69:9. 

    Another reason He did this was that it needed to be done, because the temple had become a house of trade. Which is obvious when looking at this passage we see that the priests who had their own temple guards (Luke 22:52), which they arguably could have stopped (John 19:11) Jesus from kicking out the merchants. But they did not, which shows that they could see that there was corruption in the temple. The merchants probably got a license to sell in the temple from the Chief Priest. They probably started off with a little price gouging, when compared to the prices that were charged outside the temple. Then they slowly started marking up and marking up to see what they could get away with without getting kicked out. They probably started giving out certificates that the product was perfect for sacrificing. Then they may have even started to try to convince those who brought their own sacrifice that theirs was defective, so that they would need a new one. The corruption was pretty obvious to anyone who came into the temple. They probably did not even care why they were there, but rather only what they bought and it is likely that on top of the taxes that the priest also received a considerable sum from all sales in the temple. 

    Jesus knew what was in the hearts of the priest, merchants, and money changers. He knew without even seeing the corruption of the temple. So, what Jesus did was not mean and His anger was righteous and it needed to be done. Is it wrong to sell stuff in our modern churches as some do? I think it depends on your motives. We also have to remember that the temple was where God dwelled, up until the veil was torn when Jesus died. Making God’s dwelling place men’s hearts, for all who would receive Him. Our bodies are now the temple, we have to remember that if you are a Christian you are the temple, not the church building, it is just a place of meeting where God only dwells if we are gathered there in His name. It is the body of the church that is more comparable to the temple, than the building of the church. When Jesus comes into our lives, He does not just want to dwell with everything else that has made residence in our hearts, He wants to drive everything out that is not of Him. But just like the priest, we have the power to stop Him from kicking them all out. We may try to smuggle one thing in and hide it in the back of our hearts. He knows your entire heart and you cannot hide anything from Him. 

    When thinking about Jesus driving out everything that is in our hearts that is not of Him, if you do not fill it with things of Him, then the ones that were driven out will return and will bring with it seven worse than it (Matthew 12:43-45). If the priest did not fill the temple with things of God, then the men who were running the shops and money changing stations would go out and talk to their friends looking for a job and then the more corrupt would come and fill the stalls where the others were. Whereas, if the priest decided not to allow them back in and put God there, then when the seven worse came to put up their stands, they would not find a place and would be kicked out by the temple guards. The same is true in our hearts when Jesus comes in and drives out our old sinful behaviors and habits and anything that is not of Him, we need to fill those places in our hearts with things of Him and when the habits come back to find a place in our hearts, they will have no place and the Guard of our hearts will kick them out.  

    In the passage, the Jews were stirred up and asked Jesus what sign He gave them for driving the merchants out. He did not immediately give them a sign, but He did perform miracles in Jerusalem and many believed in Him because of them. In other words, what the Jews were asking was who gave Him the authority to do anything in their temple. This shows you right there what their god was; it was not God in the flesh standing right in front of them, they were saying this was their temple not Gods’, they were their own gods. This is the same thing that many of you want to think about your own body/temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) that it is your own, when it is not, what authority do you have over it? You cannot control anything, a microscopic organism shut down the whole world. How long will it take you to realize your life is not your own, it is a gift that we can squander or use for a greater glory for His kingdom. 

    Jesus tells the Jews in response to their question that they can destroy this Temple and that He would rebuild it in three days. They said that it was not possible, they did not realize that they were talking to the one who holds the whole world together (Colossians 1:17) and created everything both seen and unseen in 6 days (Genesis 1). Rebuilding even the temple that took 46 years to build, would be a breeze for Him. But, that was not the temple He was talking about, He was talking about His body which they would kill, which He would raise from the dead three days after being killed. Which is great news for us because in dying, He gave us the way to live forever with Him, taking the punishment for our sin forever. If you would like to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life. 

    So, this week ask God to come and clean your temple/heart to drive/take all that is not of Him out of your temple/heart. Remember also that He knows your heart, which is both an amazing and a terrifying thought, you cannot hide anything from Him, we all try, but none of us ever succeed. He is the King of all and loves you more than anyone ever could, but He is just (Deuteronomy 32:4) and wants you to come to know Him as your Lord and Savior. So make sure you have done that today, it is the most important decision you will ever make. 

    Check out the other blog in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • Water into wine (John 2:1-12)
    Water into wine

    Water into wine

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    This week we are going to study John 2:1-12. So, let’s read the passage, “On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. After this, he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.” ‭‭John‬ ‭2:1-12‬

    In this passage Jesus performs His first recorded miracle, turning water into wine. One thing that was immediately obvious to me was that Joseph (Jesus’ earthly father) is not mentioned in this passage. Many think that Joseph died sometime between when Jesus was twelve and thirty years old. We are also not sure how many of Jesus’ disciples attended the wedding, but there were at least four. One thing we must realize about weddings back then was that they were a multi-day festival. Also, that it would be a disgrace on the families and especially on the bride and groom if they ran out of wine. The wedding was likely a wedding of one of Jesus’ close friends or relatives. So Mary, not wanting the bride and groom to be disgraced, came to Jesus expecting Him to help them. Many think that this was not the first time Jesus had done a miracle, which is supported by the passage in John 2:11, which tells us this was the beginning of the miracles Jesus did in Cana. Mary knew very well who Jesus was and likely knew of His glorified powers. 

    We can do the same thing Mary did in this passage, we can come to Jesus and ask Him for what we need or want. This was not the only thing Jesus and Mary talked about at the wedding and certainly, Mary would not just talk to Jesus when she needed something. It is the same for us, that we should not just bring our needs and wants before Jesus, but we should also talk to Him all the time, not only when we want or need something. Before we pray we should remember who Jesus is and remember to thank Him for all He has done for us. Mary probably pulled Jesus aside, likely to the kitchen or over to where the servants were serving wine, and told Him they were out of wine, trying to keep it quiet, not wanting to disgrace the bride and groom. Jesus’ reply to His mother is often seen as disrespectful when it is not. Mary came to Jesus with a problem only Jesus could solve before the party found out. So Jesus replied to His mother as God’s Son and not as her son. We see that after Jesus asked what this had to do with Him. She told the servants to do what He told them and left. She did not take offense to His answer but instead prepared for Him to do something. This is the same thing we should do: we should ask and then prepare for God to move on our behalf. 

    I now want us to think about what Jesus meant by saying, My hour has not come, the second part of this reply to Mary. Most of us likely think that this means that Jesus was not planning to start doing public miracles yet. For once He started doing the public miracles and signs, then it was only a matter of time before the Pharisees would kill Him. I think that this is perhaps what this means and I like the way The Chosen pulled this together with the time Jesus was at the temple in Season 1 Episode 5. Also, if you have not watched The Chosen you should check it out, it is great. It would also make sense that maybe He was not planning on performing this miracle, but saw that it would grow the faith of His disciples (John 2:11). This is how I thought until I studied this passage this week. Now I think that it was more likely that Mary came to Jesus as the wine was running out and He said His hour has yet not come because the wine had not run out yet so that no one would think that He mixed the wine with water. When the wine was completely gone then His hour came and He told the servants to fill the stone pots with water to the brim and turned the water to wine. It was probably the best wine ever made, finely aged and perfect. This shows us that sometimes we need to wait for His answer because when we wait others get to see His glory.  

    Then He told the servants to serve it to the master of the feast. Who was most likely like a wedding planner today or maybe the person just overseeing that night or could have been the honored guest of that night. The master of the feast said that it was better wine than what they had been serving before that point, which was unusual because most of the time once people had drunk freely and were less sharp they served the wine that was lower quality. This shows that this was not in fact grape juice as some today claim, it was wine similar to what we have today. Be careful of those who teach otherwise, because if they can bend on one point then they can bend on others. I am not saying to leave or not to listen to them, just know that it was real wine, but it is a sin to become drunk. I do not think most of us realize the volume of water He turned into wine, it was roughly 120-180 gallons of wine. That is enough wine to fill the average American bathtub 4 times. Many think this was way more than was needed for the party, but we do not know how many people were at the festival or how much longer the wedding was going to last. Some think that it was likely too much to be used at the wedding and that it was a gift to the newlyweds to help them start their lives. 

    One thing many do not think about when studying this passage is that Moses’s first public miracle was also turning water into something else and that was water into blood in Exodus 7:14-25. I think it was worth looking at especially since many think that the day Jesus did this miracle was on Maimonides the day that Israel remembers the signs that Moses did in the wilderness. Moses brought the law which we could not fulfill, just like the water that turned into blood in the Nile which they could not drink, whereas Jesus turned water into wine, wine which we could drink just like the grace that Jesus brought. It allows us to be able to live with Him forever. It is a cup we can drink. But, just like the wine we should not drink to excess, when we come to Jesus we should not continue to sin, but we should drink of His living water and thirst no more and no longer sin. When we do sin, we do not lose our salvation, we grieve the Holy Spirit. If you would like to live with Him forever all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life. 

    So this week remember to pray and thank God for everything He has done for you. Also, remember that Jesus brings grace for everyone, that none should perish, but all should live forever with Him. Also, know that if you are a Christian when you gather together in His name He will be there. 

    Check out the other blog in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • Ladder from Heaven (John 1:43-51)
    Ladder from Heaven

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    Ladder from Heaven, This week we are going to study John 1:43-51. So, let’s read the passage, “The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” ‭‭John‬ ‭1:43-51

    In this passage, Jesus calls more of his disciples to follow Him. They were from the same city as Peter and Andrew, so I wonder if Peter told Jesus about Philip or if it was Jesus’ intention from the beginning? When I read this I can not help but think of the men who wanted to follow Jesus, but wanted to do something else first or did not want to live like Jesus in Luke 9:57-62. I wonder how long Philip waited to find Nathanael? Whether he waited a night or went at once because he knew Nathanael had been looking for the Messiah his entire life. I do not think we can know the answer to that. This is one of the few times when Nathanael and Philip are mentioned in the Bible. 

    One of the things I find most interesting about the calling of Philip and Nathanael is what Jesus calls Nathanael. He calls him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Why do you think that He called him this? Is it because Nathanael was a man who was known for being truthful or was it what he wanted to be called, who he strived to be, either way, Jesus knew him. I do not think we can know, but no matter why Jesus called him that, we know that Jesus knew who Nathanael was and wanted him to follow Him and be a part of what He was doing. Just like He wants you to be a part of His story, you have two options at this point, you can choose to follow Jesus and give your life to Him or like the men in Luke 9:57-62 who decided not to follow Jesus because they were not willing to give up their homes and lives to follow Him because they loved their possessions more than they loved God. We have to choose, everyone who has lived and will live has and will have to choose whether they will follow Jesus or deny Him and follow their passions and desires. What you choose is a choice each of us has to make for ourselves, no one else can choose for us. If you would like to follow Jesus all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life. 

    We also see in the next verse that Nathanael was sitting under a fig tree and was probably alone before Philip brought him to Jesus. This is when Nathanael says that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus tells Nathanael that he believed because He saw him under the fig tree. Just like Nathanael, God sees you and wants to have a relationship with you and loves you more than any other being ever could. But because of our sin, we are separated from Him, but the good news is that we do not have to be separated from Him, we can choose to follow Him today. Jesus then told Nathanael He would see greater things than these. He told him he would see heaven open and the angels ascending and descending on the Son of God. I think that maybe while Nathanael was under the fig tree he was thinking of the account of Jacob’s dream where there was a ladder to Heaven and angels were ascending and descending in Genesis 28:10-19. This was Jesus telling Nathanael that He truly knew him and that He was the ladder that connects Heaven and Earth and He was worth trusting, and that Nathanael should stick around and he would see and experience things he would have never even dream of.

    So this week, remember that God knows you and wants to have a relationship with everyone, and just like Philip we should go get our friends, and bring them to Christ. Also, know that Jesus created everything and what he has in store for us is far greater than we could dream or imagine. And that Jesus is the only ladder that connects Heaven and Earth and is the only way to be with God forever.

    Check out the other blog in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • Jesus’ Baptism (John 1:29-34)
    Jesus' Baptism
    Jesus’ Baptism

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    Jesus’ Baptism, This week we are going to study John 1:29-34, this passage is about John the Baptist baptizing Jesus and identifying Him as the Messiah. So, let’s read the passage, “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”” John‬ ‭1:29-34‬ 

    This passage tells us about John the Baptist identifying Jesus to all his followers as the Messiah. It is also about John baptizing Jesus and seeing the Holy Spirit come down and remain on Jesus. Many people think that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit at Baptism. I think there is some evidence that this is true, but I think that there is more evidence that He was filled with the Spirit from birth. There is some compelling evidence for this, we are going to look at one in Luke 2:41-52, when Jesus was twelve years old He was left at the temple, listening and asking the teachers questions. It says that they were amazed at His understanding and questions. These were not the average teachers either; these were the best of the best teachers who taught in Jerusalem; this went on for three days before He was reunited with His earthly family.  But the mainline I want to point out is in Luke‬ ‭2:52,‬ “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”‭‭ ‭I think that this shows that He was still connected with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Even when Jesus was on the earth, He was one with the Trinity and was still a part of it, even when in His fleshly body. At Jesus’ baptism, it is one of the only times in history where it is recorded that the Trinity was physically there and able to be seen and heard by all around them (Luke 3:21-22). I encourage you to research and come to your own conclusion on when Jesus was filled with the Spirit. 

    So why was Jesus baptized, if he did not receive the Holy Spirit at that point? I think that asking this question is kind of like asking why did God rest on the Seventh-day after He created everything? It was not because He was tired, because our God is all-powerful and does not need to rest (Jeremiah 32:17). It was to set an example for the Israelites to follow so that they would be set apart from the world. Jesus was not Baptized because He had to be, but because He was setting an example for us to follow, so we could be set aside from the world and point people to Him. When some are asking whether they have to be baptized, they really should be asking the question the Ethiopian Eunuch asked: look there is some water, what prevents me from being baptized? (Acts 8:26-40). Baptism is not a weird thing for only the religious zealots or pastors. It is for all who are saved by the grace of Jesus, when you are baptized it is a symbol of your old self being buried and raised to new life in Him symbolizing to all around you that you are a new creation and that Jesus is Lord of your life. Baptism is not for unbelievers and it is not what saved you, it is merely just a symbol that you are surrendering your life to Jesus.  One of the last things Jesus told them before his ascension, he told them to go make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, so baptism is obviously very important. 

    In this passage, John the Baptist calls Jesus the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. John is telling everyone that this is the one we have been waiting thousands of years for, the one that the whole Old Testament points to. John understood that Jesus came to take away the sins of the world and that all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Therefore we need a Savior to save us because the penalty for sin is death. We all need Jesus to save us from death and being separated from God forever. John the Baptist then tells us that He baptized with water, but Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit. See Jesus came not only to save us, but once He left He was able to pour out the Holy Spirit on all who believed in his name. You can accept Him as your Lord and Savior today, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life.  

    So this week, know that baptism is not what saves you, but is the symbol for the world to see. I want to encourage you that if you are saved and have not been baptized, to think about what is preventing you from being baptized? Find a local church and ask to be baptized and remember to invite your family and friends especially if there are ones who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

    Check out the other blog in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • Be Prepared to Give an Answer (John 1:19-28)
    Be Prepared to Give an Answer (John 1:19-28)

    Be Prepared to Give an Answer (John 1:19-28)

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    This week we are going to study John 1:19-28, this passage is about John the Baptist. So, let’s read the passage, “Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally, they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ” Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.” John‬ ‭1:19-28‬ 

    John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin, the Pharisees sent priests and Levites to ask John who he was. The Pharisees were the religious elites, who thought the Old Testament was about Laws and rules and focused on that instead of Who the Old Testament was about. The messengers went to Bethany, at the side of the Jordan to question John. They wanted to know if he was the Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet, John told them he was not any of these and was completely honest, and gave answers freely without resentment. They then asked him who he was, instead of giving him options of who they thought he might claim to be. Because they had to tell the Pharisees who sent them his answer. John answered them I am, “A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” When John said this, he was quoting from Isaiah‬ ‭40:3‬. 

    This perplexed them, because they did not understand why he was baptizing, if he was neither Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet. John said he was baptizing with water, but there was one you do not know who stands among you, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. See John was telling them that he was coming to prepare the way for Christ. Who was greater than him, he was just a witness for Jesus’ coming. John’s baptizing was a sign of repentance, it was a public profession that you were changing your mind and waiting on the coming Messiah (Acts 19:4). Most of us reading this will probably know that Jesus came a little over two thousand years ago and died on a cross for our sins and rose from the grave breaking the chains of sin and death for all who believe in Him. If you do not believe in Jesus and are not sure where you would go if you were to die today, you can be sure today, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life.   

    The last thing Jesus tells us to do is to go unto all the world and share the gospel. John was told to say that the Messiah was coming. But we are commanded to tell everyone that Jesus came to die for them. You, just like John have a calling and that is to point people to Jesus, no matter who you are or what you’ve done, if you have accepted Him, this is your calling. We do not have to leave our jobs to share the gospel, God may call us to do that, but he may also call us to live in such a way that it points our coworkers to Christ. See, John lived his life where he did not depend on anyone but God, he ate locusts and honey in the wilderness and wore camel hides for clothes. He was homeless on earth, just like Christ was, which put him in a place where he could spend all his time pointing people to Christ. 

     1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” This is what John was doing in the passage, he was giving the religious leaders an answer for who he was and what he was doing. But, these messengers were not wanting to know who he was, they were just wanting to find fault in John, so they could stop people from following the message of the Messiah. He explained that he was sent to point people to Christ. We should know what to say when someone asks who you are, why you have hope, and why you live the way you do. So, think about what you will say when you are asked, if you have not thought about your answer, you may not be able to answer in a way that you can effectively share the gospel. Always remember that when you are giving a defense or answering a question about how you live and the hope that is within you, you should do it with gentleness and respect. Also, we need to examine our lives and make sure that we are living lives that look different from the world, so we can be a light to the world around us.

    So this week,  know that every Christians’ calling is to share the gospel and like John, we should be the voice crying out in our workplaces, schools, everywhere we live and hang out. Remember to think about how and what you will tell people when they ask you why you have joy, or why you live the way you do. Please read the first chapter of John with us and join the conversation in the comments. 

    Check out the other blog in this series A Study through the Gospel of John

  • The Word Became Flesh (John 1:1-18)
    The Word Became Flesh

    The Word Became Flesh

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    Last week I let you know we were going to start with John and study through the book of John together. This week we are going to start with John 1:1-18. But first we need to give you some background on who John was and the purpose of the book of John. John the son of Zebedee was the one who wrote the book of John. John was also the only gospel written by someone in Jesus’ inner circle. The other gospel writers received some of their information from the three in the inner circle, but John was the only one who recorded certain events that the inner circle experienced. The events were from John’s own perspective and not from someone else’s. Also, by being in the inner circle he knew Jesus in a different way than the other disciples did. His gospel was not written to a  particular group, but instead he wrote it to everyone, believers, nonbelievers, Jews, and Gentiles. One of the main things that is unique about the Gospel of John is that it tells the reader the story of the world from beginning to end, but keeps the focus on Jesus throughout the whole book. Throughout the book, John almost always refers to himself in the third person. John was also different from some of the other gospel writers, in that he did not start at Jesus’ physical birth, but rather started by showing you that Jesus has and will always exist. The book of John is always a good place to grow in your relationship with God, whether you are just starting or have been in Church your whole life. But enough background, let’s get to the verses. 

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” ‭‭John‬ ‭1:1-18‬ 

    Throughout this passage whenever John refers to the Word he is talking about Jesus. The word John uses for Word in Greek is Logos, which in this passage means that Jesus is the Divine Expression of God, when we look at Jesus we see God.  In the first verse of John, he and the Holy Spirit start with who Jesus is: He is God and yet was with God in the beginning. See when God made the world Jesus was there, you may say you do not see Jesus mentioned in Genesis, but He is mentioned in Genesis 1:26, he said “let us create man in our image.” We also see the Holy Spirit in Genesis 1:2 and the Spirit of God was hovering over the deep. The next verse in John starts to explain more about the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). We see that though They are different, They are the same, that Jesus made all things and nothing was made without Him. See God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit are the same, but yet different, you don’t have to understand it, because it is impossible for a finite being to understand a God that is infinite. In John 1:4-5, he tells us some of the characteristics of Jesus: that he is life, the light of men, and that darkness could not overcome His light. 

     John then tells us about John the Baptist who was Jesus’ cousin. He tells us that God sent John the Baptist, who came before Jesus to bear witness that Jesus (the true light) was coming and that all might believe through him (John 1:6). When did  God tell John the Baptist that the Messiah was coming and that he was to be the voice crying in the wilderness? The Bible tells us he jumped in Elizabeth’s womb when he heard the voice of Mary who had Jesus in her womb (Luke 1:42-44). So that says to me, that Jesus had something about him that made John think of God, that Jesus had this before he was even born. John the Baptist had knowledge of God at that point and Jesus and John were connected through the Holy Spirit even before birth. Which means that sometime before this point, John had been given a mission from God that he was able to understand even before he was born. Would that not be such a blessing to know your mission or purpose of your life, before you were even born. God has a plan for each and every life born and unborn (Jeremiah 29:11) and it is up to each of us to fulfill it or ignore it. We probably were not given the plan that God has for us as He did John, but if we seek it He will show it to us. 

    Alright back to John 1 verse 10, which says that Jesus was in the world and the world was made through Him. But the world did not know Him. He came to His own people and they did not accept Him. Jesus was the one that the whole Old Testament was about, but the people who knew the most about it missed the whole point of it, but instead focused on laws and rules.  Which they thought if they could keep they would be their own messiah, but no man could fulfill the law (Romans 3:23). Every person except Jesus has missed the mark, whether that is by miles or milmeters. If you break any of the law you are guilty of breaking it all and the penalty is death and eternal separation from God (James 2:10, Romans 6:23). So God sent his son, Jesus who was both God and man. He fulfilled the whole law, so that anyone who accepted Him, who believed in His name (Matthew 5:17-20), was given the right to become children of God. To become children of God all you have to do is accept the free gift that God wants to give you. All you have to do is  to  admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life. 

     Verse 13 tells us those who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God. John is explaining the idea of rebirth, you are not physically born again, but born of the spirit. We are connected to God through the Holy Spirit and there is nothing or no one who can separate us from Him and that includes yourself. Now John covers Jesus’ birth in verse 14: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. See God really came down and dwelled with us, but He lived like a man minus the sin, but had the knowledge, righteousness, glory, and truth of God. Verse 15 tells us that John the Baptist cries out, “This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me”. This tells us that John knew and believed exactly who Jesus was and was not afraid to tell everyone. Verses 16 and 17 tells us that the law came through Moses, but Grace and truth comes through Jesus Christ. See God gave Moses the law, so that they could try to adhere to it and be saved, but no one could and in fact the presence of the law caused even more sinning (Romans 5:20).  Verse 18 tells us no one has ever seen God, so Jesus came to make Him known. This means that when we study Jesus we are studying God and the characteristics of God. One of Jesus’ goals for coming to earth was to make God known to the world and He wants to know you. In fact, He so wants to have a relationship with you, that He was willing to die for you. So often as Christians we seem to look at going to church, praying, and reading our Bibles as chores, when really they are not, instead we should be excited to have real conversations with the Creator of everything, who so desperately wants to know us that he was willing  and did die to do so. 

    So what does this mean? It means that God came down to us a little over 2000 years ago and showed us who God is by making Himself known to all of us through Jesus Christ and that anyone who believes in Him will be saved. Know, that there is only one way to Heaven and that is through Jesus, so many voices want us to believe that there are multiple ways to find God. Jesus makes clear that there is only one way to find God and that is through Him (John 14:6). I also want to encourage you that if you are not sure that you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior to make that decision today. Remember that God has given us all a purpose and our purpose as Christians is to lead others to Jesus. Remember, that reading the Bible, praying, and going to church are ways we commune with God and he was willing and did die to have that ability. What are we willing to give up to be with Him? Please Remember to read through the first chapter of John with us as we talk about it this week.

    Check out the other blog in this series A Study through the Gospel of John


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Weekly Biblical Encouragement, Cas Medlin, WBE, bible study, study through John, biblical encouragement, weekly encouragement, cross-shaped hole, Christian reviews on frozen 2, Christian encouragement, encouragement biblical, no longer slaves to sin, no longer a slave to sin, biblical definition of encouragement, open jail cell, the cross-shaped hole, the cross-shaped hole, lamb of god merch, limitless god, A Study through the gospel of John, John, Bible study,

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