Dec 07/06 - John 21:25
Jesus did many things that were not recorded. And spiritually - as we see in the Book of Acts - He continues to do them through His Holy Spirit. The acts of Jesus will continue at least until the Second Coming and may continue throughout all eternity.
This brings us to the end of the Blog on The Gospel Of John. Tomorrow we will begin a new Blog - watch for it! God bless.
Dec 06/06 - John 21:24
John identifies himself as the author of the Gospel of John. He wrote of the things he had witnessed. Jesus chose His disciples to be witnesses. They were to write and tell of what they had seen and experienced. We, too, are witnesses of the acts of God. We can tell of what God has done in our lives. Personal testimony is very powerful in leading others to know Christ.
Dec 05/06 - John 21:20-23
After learning what would happen to him, Peter wanted to know what would happen to John. Jesus basically responded, "It's none of your business." We need to be careful not to become busybodies. Nosiness only leads to strife and jealousy. We are to be content with our own relationship with Jesus.
Notice that the reply of Jesus gave rise to the false idea that John would not die before the Second Coming. It was a case of people getting half a story and inventing the other half. We need to be very careful to have the complete story before we open our mouths...and even then there are many times when we should just keep our mouths closed.
Dec 04/06 - John 21:18-19
Jesus went on to tell Peter how he was going to die. I don't know if I would want that kind of information! Tradition says Peter was crucified upside down because he did not feel worthy to die the same way Jesus had died. Notice, then even our death - and the way we die - can give God glory.
Nov Dec 02/06 - John 21:15-17
The Greek language has different words that we translate with the English word: "love." It is interesting that in this passage there are two different words used for love. The first two times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, He used the Word agape - God's love. Each time Peter answered he used the word which means human friendship. Basically, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with God's love and Peter answered that he was His friend.
The third time Jesus came down to Peter's level and asked if he was His friend and Peter affirmed it for the third time. Christ tried to bring Peter up to His level of love but Peter wasn't ready for that yet so Christ came down to met him was he was at.
Nov 30/06 - John 21:12-14
I wonder if the physical appearance of Jesus was changed after the resurrection. First, the disciples had to recognize Him by the scars - He certainly still had those. The disciples on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Him until He prayed. Now He was recognized by a miracle. Just a thought.
Nov 29/06 - John 21:10-11
Just because Jesus was there was no reason to be careless or wasteful. They took care of the fish and even counted them: 153. Sometimes people use "being led by the Spirit" as an excuse to give into emotionalism. Yes, we can be emotional, but that doesn't replace organization. We need balance: excitement with responsibility.
Nov 28/06 - John 21:8-9
The rest of the disciples brought the boat to land dragging the net behind them. When they got to the shore Jesus had already prepared a meal for them. Jesus always looks after us. When we are tired and discouraged, Jesus comes to refresh us.
Nov 27/06 - John 21:7
The miracle opened John's eyes. Only one Person could do that. Peter jumped overboard to swim to Jesus. The net full of fishes seemed like a small thing when Jesus was present. The greatest of miracles fades when our love for Jesus grows. Suddenly what He does for us is not as important as simply being with Him and enjoying His presence.
Nov 25/06 - John 21:6
Jesus instructed the disciples to put the net on the other side of the boat. The disciples were tried and discouraged after a long night of fruitless fishing. What difference would it make what side of the boat the net was on? Now an unidentified stranger tells them the put the net on the other side. What does He know about professional fishing anyway? Nevertheless, the disciples obeyed this mysterious Stranger. Miracle of miracles, they caught so many fish they couldn't bring the net up! Sometimes it is obedience when we are feeling at our lowest that releases God's miracles in our lives.
Nov 24/06 - John 21:4-5
After the disciples had had a hard, frustrating night of fishing - fishing was their profession not a recreational activity - Jesus appeared to them. He was on the shore and they did not recognize Him. Sometimes when we are busy or frustrated Jesus appears. He is gentle and kind. He helps us to refocus and put things in perspective. How many times when He calls are we too busy to hear His voice?
Nov 22/06 - John 21:2-3
Peter was a fisherman by profession. He knew Jesus was alive but nothing much was happening so he went back to fishing. Sometimes during lulls we return to old ways. Waiting quietly and patiently is hard - especially for people of action. Peter and the rest of the disciples had had a fast paced three and a half years with Jesus. New adventures had been around every corner and yet Jesus had been there to direct and take responsibility. Things were quiet now as they moved toward a new phase in their lives. In the near future, the Holy Spirit would direct them from within and they would have to take responsibility themselves. God often gives us a time of rest before He moves us into something new.
Nov 21/06 - John 21:1
Jesus revealed Himself many times after His resurrection. There is no possibility of a mistaken identity. Many different people at different times witnessed to the fact that Jesus rose from the dead.
Nov 20/06 - John 20:30-31
The gospels are not a biography of the life of Jesus. He did many things which were not recorded. The Holy Spirit moved the gospel writers to select certain incidents from the life of Jesus to prove points He wanted to make. We have everything we need within the gospels and the rest of the Word of God. There is no need to look to "missing" gospels or writings on the life of Jesus. Every writing, regardless of its antiquity, must be judged by the Word of God - not the other way around!
Nov 17/06 - John 20:29
Thomas physically saw Jesus, but the vast majority of believers from the creation of the world until now have never seen Him physically. Blessed are those who believe without seeing. Yet, even here, there is nothing to be proud about for we only believe because God has granted us the gift of faith. The work of salvation begins and ends with God.
Nov 16/06 - John 20:28
There is no indication that Thomas ever put his hand into Jesus' side. He had seen the risen Lord and that was enough. He fell down and worshipped. When we really see Jesus, we don't squabble over words or doubts. Doubts vanish when we see His face and all we can do is worship.
Nov 14/06 - John 20:26-27
Jesus came to the disciples when Thomas was there. He knew what Thomas had said without having to be told. Instead of condemning Thomas, Jesus offered him the evidence he needed. The holes were still in His hands, feet and side. As we said yesterday, Jesus gave evidence to a sincere person. Testimonies down through the ages give abundant evidence of the fact that God will prove Himself to those who seek the Truth.
Nov 13/06 - John 20:24-25
Thomas has the reputation of being Doubting Thomas. Actually all the disciples doubted until Jesus showed Himself to them. Thomas was an honest man. He wasn't going to pretend if he wasn't convinced of the resurrection. God will respond to honest doubt and sincere questions. He will ignore people who just use questions to try and justify what they have already determined to believe. We should have the same approach. People that have serious questions and doubts should be answered to the best of our ability. On the other hand, we don't need to waste time in endless debates with those who have already chosen not to believe.
Nov 11/06 - John 20:23
This is a hard verse to understand. We must remember that it comes right after the giving of the Holy Spirit. They are going to be following these instructions under the direction of the Holy Spirit. It was not permission to be independent and power-driven. We see an example of this when Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead by God at the word of Peter for lying to the Holy Spirit. The reason why much of the church - including myself (to be honest) - doesn't experience more of the demonstrated power of God is because we don't have the same close relationship with the Holy Spirit that the apostles had. This isn't the Holy Spirit's fault - He doesn't change. It is our responsibility.
Nov 10/06 - John 20:22
Jesus did not send them out own their own. He empowered them with the Holy Spirit. Although Jesus breathed on them here, they did not receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit until the Day of Pentecost. Jesus did not expect them to do things on their own. On their own they would fail, but with the Holy Spirit living and working in them, nothing would be impossible. The same is true of us today. Jesus does not expect us to operate on our own or in our own strength. If we are to be successful, we must work under the power of the Holy Spirit.
Nov 09/06 - John 20:21
Jesus commissioned them. He had had a mission from His father which He had successfully and faithfully completed. Now their mission was beginning and it has come down through the generations to us. Jesus sends us into the world to do His will and expand His Kingdom.
Nov 08/06 - John 20:20
Even through Jesus had a resurrection body, it still bore the scars of our sins. The body of Jesus may be the only body in Heaven with scars. His scars confirmed to the disciples that it was indeed Jesus and not a ghost or an impostor. Imagine their joy when they realized that Jesus was alive!
Nov 07/06 - John 20:19
Apparently, with His resurrection body, Jesus was able to walk through closed doors. At least some of the physical laws did not apply. One day we too will have resurrection bodies. It will be interesting to see all the things we will be able to do.
The disciples were hiding in fear. They thought the Jews were going to be coming after them next. Nobody wanted to end up on a cross. In the midst of this fear, Jesus came and ministered peace. In times of fear Jesus can come into our lives with His peace. There is nothing that can separate Him from us. In fact, He has promised never to leave or forsake us.
Note: We are coming near to the end of the Gospel of John. If you have a suggestion as to which New Testament book you would like to see blogged next, please let me know via the contact button.
Nov 06/06 - John 20:17-18
Notice how Jesus includes us in relationship with God: My Father, your Father, My God, your God. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus we can enter into the same relationship with God that Jesus had. God looks over and cares for us the same way He looked after and cared for Jesus. There is no longer a wall of separation between God and us. We can boldly - but not irreverently - enter His presence.
Note: I will be away from the computer for a few days so there will be no new blogging until early Nov. God bless.
Oct 28/06 - John 20:14-16
The angels did not tell Mary what had happen to the Body of Jesus. Instead, she turned and saw through her tears the back of a man, Who she assumed was the gardner. He asked why she was crying. She did not recognize Him until He spoke her name. Often, in our distress, Jesus comes to comfort us. We may not recognize His gentle touch. But when He speaks to our hearts, we know He is there. Then even the darkest winter days turn to bright summer days. No darkness can touch His presence.
Oct 27/06 - John 20:11-13
Mary was in such distress that the sight of two angels did not even impress it. Even if the angels had taken human form she could have wondered how they got past her into the tomb. When we are in deep distress our mind is only on one thing. Nothing else seems to matter. Just because we love the Lord doesn't mean we won't face dark days. In fact, sometimes because we love the Lord we go through the valley of the shadow of death.
Oct 26/06 - John 20:3-10
Peter and John had to check out Mary's story for themselves. Who would want to move the Body of Jesus? John was the faster runner so he got there first; however, Peter was the bold one so he entered the tomb first. How confusing. The clothes Jesus had been wrapped in were neatly folded. What had happened? John believed but still their eyes were closed to the Scriptures which predicted the resurrection. This is one reason why we must pray the God will open spiritual eyes. Unless God opens our eyes we cannot understand the Word of God. We know the words but the meaning is hidden. This does not mean the Word of God is indefinite or open to private interpretation. It has definite, concrete meaning, but unless the Holy Spirit opens our eyes we either fail to see it or consider it foolishness. This again underscores the point that we are powerless until God, in grace, reaches down to us. May God open our eyes to His Word.
Oct 25/06 - John 20:2
When Mary saw the stone rolled away from the tomb she knew Jesus was not there. The most natural thought was that someone what moved the Body to a different location. In desperation, she found Peter and John to tell them about the missing Body. Like Mary, we usually look to a natural explanation instead of a supernatural one. This is why some people have so much trouble believing the miracles recorded in the Bible [including Creation]. Their minds cannot think past the natural and see a supernatural answer.
Oct 24/06 - John 20:1
Mary Magdalene loved Jesus. Mary had been delivered of many things and so her devotion to Jesus was great. As soon as it was possible she went to attend to His body. What a heartbreaking time she must have had. The more we love Jesus the more we will want to be identified with Him and the more we will want to be with Him and with His people.
Oct 23/06 - John 19:41-42
The body of Jesus was placed in a new, garden tomb. It may have been intended only as a temporary resting place since they were in a hurry because of the Passover. It was a dark day. All the hopes of the disciples and followers of Jesus had been dashed and were buried with Him. It was a day of mourning, of helplessness, of wondering what would happen to their shattered lives. We all pass through such dark days. Disaster has struck. The future seems black. Don't give up. The resurrection may be around the corner! Life can spring from death. When all seems impossible, remember, with God nothing is impossible.
Oct 20/06 - John 19:38-40
Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus were both secret disciples during the lifetime of Jesus. At His death they showed their true beliefs by courageously asking and caring for the body of Jesus.
Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus hid their true beliefs because of fear. Jesus did not reject them for that. Jesus worked with their weaknesses until they were strong enough to stand. Jesus does the same for us. He does not despise us for our weaknesses. He looks at our heart. And He, through the Holy Spirit, works with us to conquer our weaknessess. If we will be faithful, the time will come when our weakness will be our strength.
Oct 19/06 - John 19:31-37
Like all hard-heared legalists, the Pharisees missed the big picture while worrying about details. They had just committed the greatest crime of all time and they were concerned about dead bodies being left out on the Sabbath.
Hanging on a cross the victim would have to push up on his legs in order to be able to breathe. Breaking the legs of the prisoners would cause them to suffocate. The legs of the thieves were broken but since Jesus was already dead they did not break His legs. This, and the piercing of His side, fulfilled ancient prophecies which further confirmed that Jesus was Who He claimed to be.
Oct 18/06 - John 19:30
When Jesus declared "It is finished," He meant exactly that. The work of redemption was complete. There is nothing left to be done by anyone. Christ did it all and He completed it. We can do nothing to add to what He has done. We can never earn redemption, we can only accept what has been done. This is the good news of the Gospel: Christ has already paid the price of your sins. Repent and yield to Him and nothing can separate you from God. There is nothing you can do or have to do. It is finished. Legalism always crushes people and mocks God because it tries to add to the work of Christ.
After Jesus had accomplished redemption, after He had taken the full wrath of God against sin in His own Body, He chose to die. No one took the life of Jesus. He gave His life voluntarily. In fact, Jesus was a Man Who could not be killed. The wages of sin is death. Without sin, there can be no death. Jesus was sinless; therefore, He could not die. It was only as He chose of His own will to take our sin on Him that He could die. The fact that Jesus was able to "give up the ghost" and die shows that our sin had been put to His account.
Oct 17/06 - John 19:28-29
After Jesus knew He had completed His mission, He made a personal comment. The One Who was the Living Water, was thirsty. The first priority of Jesus was successfully completing His mission - seek first the Kingdom of God. All other considerations were secondary. We need the same attitude. The Kingdom of God is first. The glory of God is our top priority. Only after we have looked after our responsibilities for the Kingdom can we turn to more personal matters. This does not mean we ignore our family or work responsibilities. In fact, to ignore them is to hurt the Kingdom of God. God gets glory and honour when we are the best spouse/parent/employee we can be. Our motive and mission should be God's Glory not personal benefit or advantage.
Oct 14/06 - John 19:25-27
Jesus was the eldest Son. Sometime during His life Joseph had died and Jesus had taken over the responsibility of looking after the family. This was on top of His intensive ministry. Jesus did not abandon His responsibilities for His ministry. Now, on the cross, He knew He would no longer be able to care for His mother and so He arranged for His closest friend, John, to look after His mother. Jesus did have other physical brothers but they were not believers. This shows that the spiritual connection was more important than the physical one. He would rather have a close friend - who could care for His mother's spiritual as well as physical needs - look after her than a unbelieving family member. Membership in the Kingdom of God is a closer relationship than natural relationships.
Oct 13/06 - John 19:23-24
The soldiers, after they had finished their brutal work, divided what little possessions Jesus had - his clothes - between them. They divided what they could and gambled for His seamless coat. In doing so they unconsciously fulfilled an ancient prophecy.
Many Christians today and throughout history have had everything they owned stripped from them because they followed Christ. They have been tested to the ultimate to see if they loved this present world more than they loved Christ. We may think we know how we would respond is such a situation, but until we have been tested it is only a theory. A test shows where our heart is really at. Some Christians are so tied to this world that they won't even miss a sports game to attend church. Sacrifice is a part of the Christian life. Not everyone is required to make the same kind of sacrifice but every Christian will face sacrifices, decisions, and tests. As we rely on the Holy Spirt and set our face to serve God we will emerge victorious even as the Cross ended in the Resurrection.
Oct 11/06 - John 19:19-22
Pilate had had to give in to the Jews about crucifying Jesus. Now he took a little revenge. He proclaimed Jesus to be King of the Jews and refused to change the sign which was written in three languages. The Jews had won the major victory but they had to put up with Pilate's barb.
Even though Pilate meant the sign as an insult, it was a true declaration. Jesus was King of the Jews, and more than that, He was/is the King of the Universe. All will bow the knee to Him. This is another example of God taking something meant for evil and using it for His purpose. God can speak to us even through our enemies.
Oct 10/06 - John 19:17-18
The King of Glory died between two thieves. Christ was stripped of every honour, of every dignity. His shredded body was hung naked between two criminals. It wasn't the nails that held Him to that cross. At any moment He could have called all the forces of heaven to His side, He could have healed His tattered body instantly. It was love for His chosen ones that held Him to that tree. From the beginning of time to its end His vision stretched and He stayed the course.
There are times when God asks hard things of us. Let us stay the course. Let us preserve. Let us hang on. God never asks anything of us that He does not give us the power to do. With the commission comes the authority.
Oct 05/06 - John 19:14-16
The Passover was when the lamb was slain for the covering of sins so in God's timing The Lamb of God was slain for the forgiveness of sins on the Passover.
The chief priests show that they had already abandoned God by declaring that they had no king but Caesar. They were submitted to the world. To them religion was subordinate to the State. They claimed to follow God and His word through Moses but in reality they rejected God for Caesar. In about 40 years their chosen god was going to consume them. When we reject God we end up being consumed by whatever false god we have chosen to replace Him.
Oct 04/06 - John 19:12-13
Now Pilate was ernest in trying to release Jesus. But the Jews had a "trump card." They said if Pilate let Jesus go then he was opposing Caesar's interests. Pilate had already been in trouble with Caesar. One more problem and his life was in danger. The Jews knew this and knew they could make sure Caesar found out about it. Under this pressure Pilate gave up. Our enemies will not fight fair but we must act honourably at all times anyway. No matter what tricks they use, God is still in control.
Oct 03/06 - John 19:10-11
Pilate thought he had power. He believed his authority came from the Roman government. He was wrong. Ultimately all authority comes from God. Those who abuse His delegated authority are going to answer to God Himself one day. Jesus knew Pilate was powerless to harm Him apart from the will of God. We can stand in any circumstance of life and know that no power can ultimately hurt us and no power can hurt us in this life apart from the will of God. This; however, did not excuse Pilate's actions. He was still fully responsible for his acts before God. Although Jesus assigned greater responsibility to the Jews who instigated the whole situation that Pilate found himself trapped in. This just illustrates the Calvinistic point that God is totally in control of all things and yet we are responsible for our actions.
Oct 02/06 - John 19:9
Pilate is nervous. Is Jesus a god or not? You don't want to pass judgment against a god or the son of a god! But Jesus would not answer him. Jesus did not have to defend Himself. Sometimes we are so quick to defend ourselves and we feel we need to prove ourselves right. This comes from pride and lack of confidence. Jesus suffered from neither. He knew Who He was. He didn't have to prove it. When we are confident in who we are in Christ, we don't have to prove anything to anyone. We can be calm and choose when to speak and when to be quiet.
Sept 29/06 - John 19:7-8
Finally the chief priests come out with the real problem. Everything else had been deceptive and manipulative. Jesus had claimed to be the Son of God [even His enemies recognized this unlike some cults today]. This was blasphemy... unless it was true! Of course, this charge frightened Piliate who was part of the Roman culture believing in gods and divine emperors. If he condemned a god to death...what consequences would come back to haunt him? He felt himself caught between a human mob and and possibly vengeful god. What was he to do? When we do not operate on Godly principle fear can easily dominate and control us. The man with a clear conscious before God has nothing to fear in this life.
Sept 28/06 - John 19:6
Pilate's hopes were disappointed. The Jews were more insistent than before. Pilate gave up. He was the judge but he was not going to have a mob revolt on his hands. In this world we will never have perfect justice. Sometimes we will have to deal with corrupt officials. But God is watching and He will see justice in the end if we will trust our case to Him.
Sept 27/06 - John 19:4-5
After Jesus had suffered the torture of the Roman soldiers, Pilate brought Him out before the Jewish crowd again. He hoped that seeing Jesus like this would move them to compassion and at least he could spare His life. Again Pilate was to be disappointed. Hard-hearted legalism has no compassion - as evidenced here and throughout history. When the law is removed from its proper place and made into a method of salvation cruelty to dissenters becomes a natural expression. This is why true Christians who preach salvation by the grace of God only will always be persecuted by false Christians, humanists, and all other religions. True Christianity is the only religious system in the world that is not at heart legalistic.
Sept 25/06 - John 19:2-3
The Roman soldiers hated the Jews. Here was an opportunity for them to take out their frustrations on this "King of the Jews." They made a crown of thorns and drove it into the head of Jesus. They dressed Him up in royal robes and mocked Him. They beat Him up and pulled out His beard. His body was a bloody mass of ripped flesh. Although Scripture is silent on this point, some say that Roman soldiers were in the habit of raping their prisoners. We don't know if this happened to Jesus but is a possibility. We do know that He suffered in every way we suffer but without sin.
We have a Saviour who totally understands everything we face. We can come to Him knowing He is on our side. We have a Lord Who has purchased the right to our total and complete obedience. If we understand the cost of our salvation, obedience will no longer be an issue. We may fall into temptation or be deceived but we will never hard-heartedly commit sin.
Sept 23/06 - John 19:1
When Pilate's plan failed, he had Jesus scourged. Many strong Roman soldiers died on the whipping post. The man who held the whip knew how to inflict damage. The whip could take a strip of flesh 3 feet long off a man's body. The Bible tells us that the body of Jesus was like a plowed field. In many places His bones were laid bare. Jesus suffered pain in every area - physically, mentally, spiritually - to a degree that no one else ever has. No matter what we may face in life, Jesus has gone before us. He understands.
Sept 22/06 - John 18:39-40
Pilate played the politician. He knew Jesus was innocent. He knew it was the Jewish leaders who were behind this arrest. He knew the general population had enthusiastically welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem a few days before. He thought he had a plan that would release Jesus without turning the Jews against him. If he simply released Jesus [as a just judge would have] then he would have an angry mob on his hands and later face the backstabbing of the Jewish leaders. He thought if he offered the crowd a choice between Jesus and a convicted murderer/robber they would choose Jesus. Then he could release Jesus and the chief priests could not complain because their own people had made the choice. But he gambled and lost. The chief priests had control over the crowd and so they made the choice for Barabbas. [It is possible that the crowd that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem had been composed mainly of Jews visiting for the Passover and this crowd was more of the actual Jerusalem residents.]
Sometimes we try to be too smart. We should not risk compromising the Truth with political tricks. We need to stand firm on the Word of God, do the right thing, and take whatever consequences may come our way.
Sept 21/06 - John 18:38
Pilate, as the civil judge, was a disillusioned man. Truth was not something he recognized anymore - if he ever had. Nevertheless, he knew Jesus was an innocent man and sought to release him. Sometimes those who deal with law - judges, lawyers, police officers, even innocent people or bystanders who know the legal system - become disillusioned. In humanistic law systems that is understandable. These people may have high ideals and good motives but all humanistic law systems lead to injustice. We need a return to Biblical Law. True, we will never find perfect justice before the coming of Jesus but the closer we organize our societies to Biblical Law, the closer we will come to a truly just society.
Sept 20/06 - John 18:37
Jesus never denied being a King. In fact, He confirmed He was a King and by saying His kingdom did not originate on this earth, He was also claiming authority over every earthly kingdom. Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. He never lost sight of His true position even when He was stripped naked and His shredded body was hanging on a cross. The events of this world could never change Who He is. In the same way, we are now children of God. No event, circumstance, or problem can ever change that. All emotions and appearances may be screaming the opposite, but faith holds on to the Truth.
Only those who are called by God can hear with understanding the words of Jesus. To everyone else they are foolishness or wise sayings but not the commands of the Living God King Who requires all to bow the knee before him.
Sept 19/06 - John 18:36
This verse has been misused to claim that Jesus said His Kingdom was not in this world. The escapists love to think they are not responsible for the condition of this earth. What Jesus said was that His kingdom does not originate on this earth. His authority and power is from above, not granted by any earthly power. The Kingdom of God is to cover the earth and bring everything into subjection to the Kingship of Jesus Christ but it is not of this world. The escapists will one day stand before God and discover that they were indeed responsible for how their actions - or lack thereof - affected this world.
Sept 18/06 - John 18:33-35
Pilate asked Jesus whether He was the King of the Jews. Jesus did not answer him directly but turned the question back to him. Like a good politician, Pilate evaded the question. Even through Jesus was on trial for His life He never lost an opportunity to challenge people to reality. How many opportunities do we let go because they are inconvenient? We need to keep our eyes and hearts open at all times.
Sept 16/06 - John 18:29
Pilate went to find out what the charges against Jesus were. These harden legalists wouldn't even tell him. They knew they had no evidence of any wrongdoing. When Pilate tried to tell them it wasn't a Roman concern their real desire came out. They wanted Jesus crucified. If all they had wanted was the death of Jesus they could have dragged Him out and stoned Him to death like they were later to do to Stephen. But, no, they wanted the despised death of crucifixion. They wanted to be sure that no one ever looked up to Jesus again. If He could die like the scum of the earth in both Roman and Jewish eyes then no one would ever want to be associated with His Name again. The movement would end.
Little did they know what would happen. The death of Christ transformed the image of the cross from a cruel, shameful instrument of death into one of redemption and eternal hope. God turned their intentions around and accomplished the exact opposite. As we saw in the Genesis Blog, Joseph experienced the same thing. Yes, there will be people who come after us with the express intent of injuring or destroying us but as we submit to God, He will take their actions and work His good out of them. God will always have His way in the end.
Sept 15/06 - John 18:28
Legalism dulls the mind. Here the Pharisees were committing the greatest crime possible and yet they were worried about defiling themselves. They were so wrapped in tiny details that they missed the overall picture. They claimed to be looking for the Messiah but when He came they crucified Him. Legalism always blinds those involved in it. All legalists can see is their petty concerns. They will attack anyone who differs from them. Love and legalism can never walk together.
Sept 14/06 - John 18:25-27
Peter had thought he was safe because of his original lie. Not so. He continued in the place of temptation and lied two more times, denying Christ, to protect himself. The general instruction of Scripture is to flee temptation [expecially sexual temptation]. Don't stick around. If it is possible to leave, leave. Don't get caught in the trap of arguing. An argument begun is usually an argument lost. Better to be thought a coward than to be a coward. It is the wise man who foresees temptation and avoids it. In the war against sin we must be wise.
Sept 13/06 - John 18:22-23
This was an illegal trial right from the start including striking a prisoner. They had no intention of giving Jesus a fair trial or of looking at the evidence. It was little more than a mob lynching with the farce of legality.
There are times when we will not get justice in this world. Sometimes people are just out to get us and there is no way out. At times like that we have to commit ourselves to our faithful God, trust Him, and leave the results in His hands. When we get to eternity we will likely understand...and certainly in God's court there will be justice.
Sept 12/06 - John 18:19-21
Jesus did not have secret teachings or doctrines. He explained things to His disciples but the information was available for everyone. Secret teachings or an elite who hold secret knowledge is a good sign of a cult. Christianity has always been open for anyone to examine it. It is founded on integrity. New converts aren't told one thing while veterans really believe something else. There is building on knowledge but nothing that contradicts former teaching. Human nature likes to think it knows something someone else doesn't. That is pride. Christianity is about building us all up in the knowledge and relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sept 11/06 - John 18:17-18
When Peter was questioned by the girl at the door, his courage fled. He was surrounded by enemies, people who were torturing Jesus, and he responded out of fear. Then, instead of leaving the place of temptation, he continued on. He thought his deception would keep him safe and he wanted to be close to Jesus and see what would happen.
Ungodly deception always gets us into trouble. And it is impossible to have fear and faith at the same time. One will always drive out the other. Being a disciple of Jesus can be dangerous. We have to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to give us the grace of God in time of need. We don't have to fear the future. Faith knows that God will give us the grace we need when we need it, if we will turn to Him.
Sept 09/06 - John 18:15-16
Peter and John followed at a distance when Jesus was taken away. John had connections in the in High Priest's house so he got in without any difficulties. When he saw Peter left outside he spoke to the girl who kept the door and Peter was let in although they both apparently went their separate ways inside. John's act of kindness actually led Peter into the place of temptation. John had the best motives but it put Peter where he denied Christ three times.
We have limited sight. We can do things with good motives but it can bring harm to others. Also, others who sincerely try to help us can end up hurting us. We need to be aware of our human limitations. We need to humbly recognize that we don't know the outcome of our actions. We have to place our trust in God. He alone can guide us into the right decisions and keep us from harm. We have to be careful not to shift blame when we are responsible for something bad happening and we have to be quick to forgive when others unintentionally hurt us. We have to be very careful to live our lives according to Scripture to the best of our ability by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As a side point, in modern times the thing that most often hurts people while trying to help is the civil government. They have abandoned Biblical principles and so as they try to solve problems they only create worse problems. Every "solution" that isn't firmly grounded on the Word of God only hurts more. Whatever problem the government tries to solve - poverty, economics, crime, etc. - it was only made worse.
Sept 07/06 - John 18:14
Caiaphas, the unbelieving High Priest, had made a great prophecy. He had said the Jesus should die for the nation. Of course, Caiaphas did not realize what he had said. We need open ears because we never know through whom God is going to speak to us. He can use the most unlikely sources [including a donkey]. God can speak through non-Christians even through they are not aware of what they are doing. God can even speak through us even when we are not aware of it at the time.
Sept 06/06 - John 18:11-13
For everything there is a season. Self-defense certainly is not wrong in the normal course of life. But in this case Jesus knew there was a higher purpose. He willingly submitted to the will of the Father. Like a lamb He went to the slaughter.
Sometimes the will of God does not appeal to us. Nevertheless, we need to willingly submit to it. It only hurts us if we fight and argue with God, but to show a willing obedience reveals character strength. God is always more interested in who we are becoming than in our comfort level.
Sept 05/06 - John 18:10
Peter was ready for war. He was one of two disciples who carried swords. He had a big heart and he was going to defend his Lord. Of course, he wasn't much of a fighter. He tried to cut off Malchus' head and only got his ear.
God doesn't need us to defend Him. He is more than capable to taking care of Himself. Sometimes we get so uptight thinking we have to defend God against the mockery or attacks of the heathen. God is in control, He isn't worried, He laughs at the raging heathen. Of course, there is a place for apologetics and standing for the Truth. We stand on the Word of God and we are to be capable of explaining our beliefs. But we need balance. We are ambassadors for God, not His protectors.
Sept 04/06 - John 18:5-9
The mob had expected Jesus to be running or hiding. When He boldly met them they were so surprised that they fell to the ground. Jesus then asked that they let His disciples go. He did not automatically assume that His disciples would escape. There was no fatalism here. He knew the will of God and took actions to fulfill it.
Sometimes we are tempted to sit back with the attitude that if God wants it done, He'll do it. Nothing gets done that way. God has designed the earth so that things happens as man and God work together. He did not have to do it that way, nor is He bound by it, but He has chosen to work that way. He has made mankind partners in what He is doing. A lazy attitude on our part is unGodly.
Sept 02/06 - John 18:1-4
Jesus was a Man born to die. Nothing in His life or the life of the universe would have mattered if He had failed in the ultimate purpose God had for Him - the Cross. It was not a pleasant mission but it was a vital one. The destiny of the entire creation hung on His actions for those agonizing hours. Not only that but also Jesus knew in advance all that He was to suffer. Jesus never wavered, never shrank back in fear, and never tried to avoid His mission.
We often look for the easy way out. Jesus could have done that way back at the beginning of His ministry during the Temptations. He could have avoided going to the garden this time and simply melted into the countryside. The easy way out is not always - or even often - the right way out. We have to be a people who know the will of God and stand on principle regardless of the consequences. The Cross wasn't the end, it was only the doorway to something far greater.
Aug 31/06 - John 17:24-26
When we suffer pain or setbacks often the first thing we do is question God's love for us. Jesus, knowing He was facing the greatest suffering possible, affirmed that He knew God loved Him. God had loved Him before the foundation of the world and nothing He suffered in life would change that love. We need to walk in the same confidence. God chose and loved us in Christ before the foundation of the world and nothing we go through in life will ever change that love. We can face even the worst circumstances knowing God's love surrounds us. One day we will be where Jesus is and behold His glory. It will be a time of rejoicing with pain and sorrow forever removed. Let us hold to the faith that God loves us no matter what happens.
Aug 30/06 - John 17:19-23
Jesus did not only pray for His immediate disciples but also He prayed for everyone who would believe on Him until the end of time. His desire was that we would be one. One with God and one with each other. We become at unity with God and each other as we allow God's Word to dwell in us bringing obedience to His desires. As the world sees us operating together in obedience to the Word of God it will know that God is real. We become the image or ambassadors that the world can see. How they react to us then depends on how they react to God. If the Good News of Jesus Christ strikes a cord in their hearts then they will welcome us. If they want to continue in their rebellion then they will ignore or try to silence us. Either way they will know God is real.
Aug 29/06 - John 17:18
Jesus was commissioned by the Father to accomplish a certain task in this world. Now He has commissioned His disciples to accomplish a certain task in this world as well. The Great Commission is one of the most famous sections of Scriptures and yet many misunderstand what their commission really is. Jesus did not tell us to go a make converts. He ordered [yes, ordered] His disciples, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to make disciples of all nations. Now, of course, one must be a convert before one becomes a disciple but our commission does not stop with conversion. We are to teach people to live ordered, self-disciplined, God-honouring lives. This is done by teaching the Scriptures including Biblical Law. Not only must we teach people, but also we are commissioned to teach nations. Governments must submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as well as individuals.
Jesus completed His assignment. Our assignment will be completed when entire nations are yielded in all things to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the rule of His Law contained from Genesis to Revelation. It may take us another 30,000 years or so but it must be in the final stages of completion before Christ returns. Let us not sit back, let us get to work.
Aug 28/06 - John 17:17
To be sanctified is to be set apart. We are set apart from the world and set apart to God. We are sanctified by God's Word of Truth. It is as we study and obey the Word of God that we are set apart to God. The devil has a world of lies to draw us into his system. But the Word of God reveals things as they really are. The Word of God shatters the illusions of the master deceiver. We must know and stand on the Word of God at all times regardless of what our senses are telling us. We grow in sanctification as we grow in the the experience of the Word of God.
Aug 26/06 - John 17:13-16
Jesus gave His disciples the Word of God and prayed that they would be kept from evil. Many Christians today are hoping and praying to be taken out this world. Their minds are focused on the rapture and escaping the alleged tribulation. This is not what Jesus wanted for His disciples. He wanted us in the world [how else is He going to transform it?] but not of the world. Christians should not be seeking escape, but Biblical solutions. When Jesus returns He wants to find us working not waiting.
We were of this world before we were converted. Now, although we are still in the world, we are not of the world. In other words, our source of authority and power come from out of the world. We are no longer of the satanic system but we are of God's system. We have been taken from the Kingdom of Darkness and placed in the Kingdom of Light. The two kingdoms struggle for dominance on the earth. Only one will win. Fortunately, Jesus has already won the decisive battle. We know the Light will drive out darkness.
Aug 25/06 - John 17:11-12
We are kept by the name of God. What does it mean to be kept by the name of God? We often glibly end our prayers with "in the name of Jesus," but what does it mean? A name - especially in the Bible - represents a person. To do something in a person's name is to do it in their authority. Jesus kept His disciples in the full authority of God. Satan wanted all of them but he has no authority over the people of God. He was given one that the purposes of God and Scriptures might be fulfilled. Except for the intervening authority of God, all of them would have been destroyed. Except for the authority of God on our lives, we, also, would be destroyed. If we think we have a chance of standing up to demonic powers - who would love to crush us - on our own, we are pridefully self-deluded. It is only in the gracious authority of God that we can stand. But, when we stand in God's Name, we can be totally confident that no power in heaven, earth, or hell can touch us.
Aug 24/06 - John 17:6-10
Notice that Jesus was selective. He knew the people who God the Father had given Him. He worked with them, He focused His ministry on them, He revealed God to them, and He protected them. A look at the ministry of Jesus will show that He did not neglect the multitudes but neither did He cater to them. He did not seek their support or approval. He knew that only those given to Him by the Father would last.
In our ministry we cannot do everything. We cannot minister to everyone. It is important to find those that God has given to us and care for them. God has not given us responsibility for everyone but He has given us responsibility for someone[s] - Hint: it usually starts with our family. We don't ignore other needs as we have time and ability to meet them but our focus has to be on those God has specifically given to us. They are the ones we should be pouring our life into.
Aug 23/06 - John 17:5
Some cults teach that Jesus was merely a man. Jesus plainly states that He existed before His incarnation. Not only did He exist before His birth on earth but also He was covered with the glory of God making Him equal with God. He laid aside His divinity when He came to earth. He had to take the fact that He was God in faith as He walked this earth. But when He had completed His mission and returned to the Father, He was took up His robes of Divinity again. Now only was He now clothed with the glory He had before but also, having defeated the devil and all his forces, He was given a Name which is above every name. Jesus is worthy of all praise, devotion, love, and commitment.
Aug 22/06 - John 17:4
Jesus finished the work that God had given Him. Paul could make a similar statement near the end of his life, although he was converted in mid-life. God has a work for each of us to perform. Satan tries to distract us with the cares of this world and the desires of the flesh. We have to focus on our mission. We are under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of our mission should be a top priority - right after developing our relationship with God. We must not allow our eyes to be clouded. How we finished the race is more important that how we started.
Aug 17/06 - John 17:3
Eternal life is knowing God. The most important activity in the world is developing a relationship with God. Sometimes we get caught up in what we want or in doing things for God, but our focus should be on knowing God. While knowing God includes things like Bible study and prayer, it also includes living a life in obedience to the word of God. Adam would learn more of God as they worked together to exercise dominion over the world...and so will we.
Aug 16/06 - John 17:1-2
This is a strong statement against the view the Jesus died for all men. Jesus specifically said He had power over all men but that He would only give eternal life to as many as the Father had given Him. This brings us back to the fact that God chooses us, we don't choose God. Left to ourselves everyone of us would run into Hell. It is only the mercy of God that any are chosen to escape the dark destiny. We don't know who is chosen and who is not, so we witness to all but we leave the results to the Holy Spirit. He is the One Who uses our life and/or our words to drawn those the the Father has chosen to Jesus. Looking at the situation from the side of having been saved, we should be eternally grateful that God chose us. We should be will to do anything to show our thankfulness.
Aug 15/06 - John 16:33
The word of Jesus, which includes the entire Bible, gives us peace and comfort when we are in right relationship to Him. In times of trouble and confusion we can run to the word. It is our strong tower. For example, who hasn't mediated on Psalm 23 and received peace from it. By the way, Psalm 23 was written by David when he was hiding in a cave thinking he was going to be killed the next day. It is a supreme example of faith and peace in the face of extreme stress.
Here we have a promise of Jesus that most of us would like to forget: you shall have tribulation. I haven't heard this one claimed too often! Nevertheless, it is a fact. This world is a battle ground on which we are tested and developed. The rewards in our lives as we go through the heat of battle will last for eternity.
We can be cheerful and confident as we are in battle because Jesus as already over the world. Because He has overcome, we also will overcome - if we stay the course.
Finally, Jesus stated He had overcome the world hours before He went to the cross. Jesus entered the greatest conflict of history with the total confidence that He would win. He was able to sustain Himself because He knew He could not lose not matter what the enemy threw at Him. Likewise, we are in Christ and we cannot lose even if we are left hanging with our body ripped to shreds on a cross. Victory will come in the morning if we do not surrender.
Aug 12/06 - John 16:29-32
Now the disciples thought they understood. Jesus knew they had good intentions but did not yet have the strength to carry them out. In a few short hours they would all abandon Him. At His moment of greatest need, Jesus knew He would be alone...but not truly alone for the Father was with Him up until the last minutes on the cross. Then Jesus would know the horror of being truly alone...abandoned by everyone.
Sometimes when we need them the most our friends and the people we trust let us down. Sometimes we go through tough times alone. But not really alone, for the Holy Spirit abides with us. And because Jesus was abandoned by the Father, we will never by abandoned by God.
Aug 11/06 - John 16:23-28
We ask the Father directly for what we need to fulfill His will in our lives and our world. Our joy is full as we ask and receive. It is not to fulfill selfish ambition or to act in pride. It is a joyful relationship...we grow, we learn, we do God's will. The Father loves us because we love the Son He loves. The Father wants to answer our prayers. If there is a problem it is on our side. Sometimes we think of God as a miser who only gives what He has to. Not so. God is a Father Who loves to give. He wants to work with us in accomplishing His grand goals for this planet. Christians need to get out of the doom and gloom mentality and begin asking and working for the full revelation of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Aug 10/06 - John 16:16-22
The disciples were confused. Jesus knew they didn't understand. Patiently He explained, but there are things which cannot be understood until they have happened. After the resurrection the disciples would be able to look back at the dark days of the crucifixion and rejoice...but when they were going through it there would be sorrow, fear, and doubt.
There are things that we cannot understand until we have gone through them no matter how much they are explained. We may understand the theory but experience seals it to our hearts. This is one of the purposes of trials and troubles - to move things from our head to our heart. At the time it is very painful, but after we have gone through it we have the joy of victory and closer relationship with Jesus.
Aug 9/06 - John 16:12-15
The Holy Spirit comes not to promote Himself but to glorify Jesus. When Jesus was on the earth He glorified the Father. Even in the Godhead each Person works for the benefit and honour of the Other. As Christians we are to work for the glory of God. Anytime we see someone or organization that is into a lot of self-promotion danger signs should be going off. That is not how God operates...and it is not how His true servants operate.
Aug 8/06 - John 16:8-11
The Holy Spirit reproves the world of sin. This is why the world hates the disciples of Christ. Their very existence brings conviction. It makes the world uncomfortable to know there is a God Who has a standard for them to live up to. They will cling in blind faith to evolution and humanism, they will enter gross sin to try and prove they are independent, and they will try to destroy all Who would remind them of the Truth.
The Holy Spirit both teaches us of the righteousness of God and works that righteousness in our lives. Because of the Blood of Jesus we stand righteous before God. The Holy Spirit works that righteousness into our daily lives on this earth.
The prince of this world is judged. The Holy Spirit is the evidence not only of the victory of Christ but also the final coming judgment on Satan and on all who follow him. The day will come when evil and all who are associated with it, by being outside the Blood of Christ, will be judged and sentenced to Hell [see report on Hell].
Aug 7/06 - John 16:7
As much as we would like Jesus to be physically present with us, it is much better that He went back to heaven. Until He ascended the Holy Spirit could not come. It was important for the Holy Spirit to come to fill us. The Holy Spirit or Comforter now works directly with us to help us and to conform us to the image of Jesus.
Aug 3/06 - John 16:4-6
When Jesus was physically present with the disciples, all they had to do was follow orders. Jesus looked after them. Now Jesus was leaving. They would have to begin to do things for themselves. Responsibility can be a scary thing [which is why many people want the government to look after them from cradle to grave]. Also, they loved Jesus and would miss Him. Some skeptics have called Christianity a crutch. They know nothing about it. Christianity takes the crutch away and teaches people to stand on their own with the power of God. It teaches people to take responsibility. It forces us to grow up.
Aug 1/06 - John 16:1-3
Religion is a deadly thing. People who are caught in religion will be cruel, unkind, legalistic, and even murderous. Religion is man's attempt to reach God. True Christianity is God reaching down to man. The two are incompatible. In fact Jesus pointed out that people in religion would think they were doing God a favour by murdering Christians. Saul - later the apostle Paul - certainly thought so. He was very sincere and was trying to earn his place before God. One of the primary ways he thought he could do that was by violently stamping out Christianity. Nothing has changed. People who love God have even been asked to leave "Christian" churches because they would not conform to dead religion. Religious people fight physical wars in the name of Christ, Christians fight spiritual war in the power of Christ. It is a sad thing that many times the greatest opposition to the work of God comes from within the Christian community.
July 31/06 - John 15:27
The Holy Spirit witnesses to us of Jesus, and we, in return, witness to those around us. We tell of the Word of God, the things we have seen, and the things we have experienced. Actually, the Holy Spirit empowers us to be witnesses. The disciples were good witnesses because they had been with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry. We are witnesses of all the works of God in our lives.
The word "witness" has a strong meaning. It needs to be understood in its Old Testament usage. A witness was not only one who testified of the truth [which is the way we think of it], but also a witness was actively involved in exposing evil. In most capital cases, the witnesses had to lead in the execution. So our witness for the Truth is not just a passive telling of what we know, but it is to be an active promotion of the Truth including exposing and destroying evil.
July 29/06 - John 15:26
The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, could not come until Jesus ascended to the Father's right hand. Jesus was then able to send the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us. He will never lie. As the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit has all the characteristics of the Father and the Son.
July 28/06 - John 15:23-25
Judaism is a false religion. It claims to follow God, but it rejects Jesus. Any religion which rejects, downplays, or takes away from the glory of Jesus is a false religion no matter how much they claim to love God or how well they know the BIble. You cannot love God and reject Jesus. Many Christians have a "romantic" view of modern Jews that is not Biblical. It is tied into false end times beliefs. The current conflict in the Middle East will feed many of these false beliefs. When the crisis is past many will forget that their prophecies have failed and simply wait for the next "event."
We must be careful not to fall into the opposite error of despising the Jews [or any other people, for that matter]. God loves the modern Jew, but no more or less than He loves any other people. God desires all men to come to salvation...and the only way of salvation - now and forever - is through the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
July 27/06 - John 15:22
The words of Jesus exposed the sin of the world. Before they could plead ignorance. Now there was no excuse. Now, if they refused to repent, it would be plain to all that they were in deliberate rebellion. The clearer the revelation the more the guilt if it is rejected. That is why nice people who attend church and/or have a great influence of Christianity around them, but have not bowed the knee to Jesus Christ, are in for greater judgment than drunken, offensive bums who have never heard the Gospel.
Note: If you are enjoying this blog be sure and recommend it to your friends [or link to it if you operate a web site]. :)
July 26/06 - John 15:18-21
The world system and those who support it hate Christianity. This is why humanism is so opposed to Christianity. Christians who are trying to get a "fair hearing" in humanistic institutions - including public schools - are going to be continually disappointed and discover they have wasted their resources. The humanists know they are in a fight-to-the-death, no-surrender war, Christians are compromising because they think they can have peace with the world system. It is time we woke up. There can be only one victor in this struggle.
July 25/06 - John 15:17
Jesus does not give suggestions. He does not present options other than obedience or disobedience. If we are truly redeemed disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we obey His orders whether we like them or not. We don't judge whether we think it will work out in our best interest. We don't argue or question. When we know the Word of God, we obey. If we think that God tolerates insubordination in His ranks, we are self-deceived.
July 24/06 - John 15:16
Here is a clear statement of the sovereignty of God. If He does not call us we would never come to Him. In our sinful ways we would reject God every time. For the Christian this is a great encouragement. God specifically chose you and called you into His family. Not only did God choose you, but also He commissioned you to bear eternal fruit. He has placed all of heaven's resources [part of the Blood Covenant] at your disposal if you need them in fulfilling your God given assignment. If you walk with God, you cannot fail. At times it may look like failure - the Cross didn't look like success - but it will be success. Walk into your world with confidence. You are personally commissioned by God.
July 21/06 - John 15:14-15
Here we get back to the original plan of God with Adam. God wanted a friend. God is total and complete within Himself needing nothing but He wanted a friend. Together with Adam and his descendants God would work to explore and develop the earth...and perhaps the universe. It is not that God would discover anything Himself - He already knows everything. He would have the joy of a father working with and training his sons and daughters. It was designed to be a very rewarding experience for everyone. Sin, of course, interrupted this bringing rebellion, independence, and death. Now Jesus has brought us back to where we can be friends of God working with Him in His great plans for this universe. It is not a master/servant relationship but a Father/son relationship where we enjoy working together and being together.
Again notice, there is a condition. We cannot be friends of God if we do not obey Him. Rebellion was the original sin and we can not walk with God - any more than Adam could - if we walk in deliberate rebellion. And again I would like to point out that the commands of Jesus are everything from Genesis to Revelation. All of the Bible is for us today. We cannot chop it up into different "eras" and claim to be following the commands of Christ. To follow this in more detail take the e-mail courses Life Line and Covenants.
July 20/06 - John 15:13
Jesus demonstrated the greatest love by laying down His life for His enemies. We were all in defiant rebellion until Jesus shed His blood and called us to Himself. Now we are to lay down our lives for Him because He is now our greatest Friend. Laying down our lives may involve martyrdom but for many it is constantly choosing His will over their own will on a daily basis. We can lay down our lives for the Lord even if we live to be 100 years old. Sometimes it is easier to die for Christ than to live for Him.
July 19/06 - John 15:12
All the commands of the Bible can be summed up in this verse. Love each other as Jesus has loved us. All the laws of the people are just explanations and examples of how we love each other. When you are on the right side of the law [under the Blood of Christ], the law is a great thing. It tells us how to love like Jesus loved. For the Christian, the study of the law is exciting, not boring or legalistic. Just think, there are some Christians who try to do away with it! For greater detail see the Life Life e-mail course.
July 18/06 - John 15:11
What is one of the great purposes of bearing fruit and obeying the commands of God? To have His joy. We will never be satisfied and fulfilled when we are following our own path. It is only as we walk the way of the Lord Jesus that we can have true joy. We accomplish what He has for us and life is exciting. When we truly walk with Jesus, we will not be bored. Our life will blossom with the good things of God and our joy will be complete.
July 15/06 - John 15:9-10
Wow...Jesus loves us the same way the Father loves Him. Isn't that great. There is no doubt that the Father loved Jesus and valued Him about all things. In the same way Jesus loves us and values us above all things. Before you get too excited through, let me point out that because the Father loved Jesus, He sent Him to the cross. It was through the cross that Jesus entered into the glory of His Father. Because we are treasured and loved by Jesus doesn't mean we won't have problems or pain in this life. Sometimes the way into all that God has for us is through the doorway of pain. We don't have to fear it because we know the love of Jesus will carry us through.
Also note, we abide in the love of Jesus by keeping His commandments. Jesus is the Eternal God so His commandments are everything from Genesis to Revelation. Christians who try to distort the Scripture by applying to others ["that was only for Israel"] or try to time shift it ["that only applies in the Old Testament or the millennium"] are not abiding in the love of God. The love of God is to follow all His commands.
July 15/06 - John 15:8
It is God's desire that we bear fruit. He wants us to prosper in all we do. God is on our side; however, we must abide or we will fail. We prove we are the disciples of Jesus - Jesus never asked for converts - by the fruit we bear. Everything works together to make one beautiful picture. Miss one piece and the whole picture is ruined. We abide, we bear fruit, and thereby show we are disciples. We are dependent ones, not independent ones. Human pride seeks independence from God, Christian meekness seeks dependence on God.
July 14/06 - John 15:7
The key to asking and receiving is abiding in Jesus. As we abide in Jesus we know His will and we do His will. In these circumstances we can ask for whatever we need, knowing that God will supply it. God never has a supply problem. We can have whatever we need to accomplish our mission in life, if we will only ask.
July 13/06 - John 15:4-6
The only way we can accomplish anything worthwhile in life, as far as God is concerned, is by abiding in Jesus. It is a growing relationship as we live in Him and He lives in us. If we act on our own, even with good intentions, we are in rebellion. Our responsibility, like Jesus while He was on earth, is to obey - not to act on our own. If we fail to abide in Jesus we are a dead branch which will end up in the fire. All God's children bear fruit. Bearing fruit does not necessarily mean we lead tons of people to salvation. For some it will include that, but not all. Bearing fruit is having the fruit of the Spirit manifest and growing in our lives. Yes, it will impact those around us. We will influence society, but as branches it is not our duty to judge the fruit but to abide in the vine. If we abide, then God is responsible for the fruit.
July 12/06 - John 15:3
The Word of God cleanses His people. As we learn and apply it, it washes the filth and crud from our lives. This is one, of many, reasons why we need to be people of the Word. We should know the Bible better that anything else. Often Christians know more about their favourite sports or movie stars than they know about the Word of God. Study wearies them. This, by the way, is one of the results of humanistic public education. Students are not trained in how to study or advanced in reading. The purpose is to keep them from the Word of God. The early Puritans would train their 3 - 4 year old children to read so that they would be able to read the Bible for themselves.
July 11/06 - John 15:1-2
Jesus is the Vine though which the Holy Spirit flows to bring life to all the branches. The Father oversees the whole process with great care.
There are branches [people, institutions, nations] which appear to be connected to the Vine but they bear no fruit. Jesus said that His people were identified by their fruit not their appearance. These people may have a great show of Christianity but no real substance. The life-giving, fruit-producing power of the Holy Spirit does not flow in their branches. Sooner or later, the Father will cut them off and they will be no more.
The branches which are alive with the Holy Spirit will be pruned. This trimming process [through trials and tribulations] is not usually a pleasant process, but it is necessary for the branch to bring forth more fruit. The long-term goal is that we would be loaded with the fruit of the Spirit to bring the love and healing of God to a hurting world. For a side benefit we will be rewarded for God's work in our lives in heaven.
July 10/06 - John 14:30-31
The power of Satan is in sin. Satan had no hold on Jesus because Jesus was sinless. Satan tried, he tempted, he poked and prodded but he could not get Jesus to sin so his slimy hands kept slipping off.
We stand before God in the righteousness of Christ. That is why Satan can no longer accuse us in heaven. There is no sin in our lives he can get ahold of. We stand pure and innocent before God. The Holy Spirit is at work in our lives on earth to bring them into our standing in Heaven. Satan attacks us on earth at our point of sin. As we grow in obedience to the Word of God [sanctification] Satan has less and less places to grab hold of us. He will tempt and try us but we have to decided to obey or disobey. The Holy Spirit has guaranteed that we will never be tried beyond our ability to stand with His help. If we walk in deliberate sin we open ourselves to all kinds of Satanic attacks. We'll end up in the same position as Lot.
July 08/06 - John 14:29
The reason why Jesus told His disciples about things that were future was to inspire their faith. Many - if not most - of the things made no sense to them when they first heard them. Later, after the death/resurrection of Jesus and Pentecost, they could look back and understand. Somethings we just have to "treasure in our hearts" the Word of God until understanding comes.
No prophecy - including "end times" prophecy - is given to satisfy idle curiosity or for sensationalism. God always has the purpose of building faith. When we can look into history and see the prophecies fulfilled [as with Daniel and most of Revelation] our faith is built up. We can then have full confidence in the prophecies of the Second Coming which will be fulfilled when Christ returns. Those who use the newspaper to interpret the Bible undermine the faith of thinking Christians. Their views are constantly changing with current events. They get so excited about the next development that they fail to see how all their interpretations have failed in the past. But the world and thinking Christians see it. In their rush to turn the Bible into a modern "chills and thrills" horror story they undermine the authority of the Scripture.
July 06/06 - John 14:28
Jesus told His disciples that if they really understood what He had said they would be happy instead of sad. A new era was dawning. The Old Covenant system, which was only a shadow or picture of the New Covenant era, was passing away. The new and final stage in God's plan of redemption had arrived. They would be the first ones to experience the new relationship with God made possible by the death and resurrection of Christ. It was a time to rejoice.
Sometimes our darkest days, when viewed from God's perspective, should be days of rejoicing. This is why we are told to be constantly praising and rejoicing. God is at work. The disciples, when they grasped this principle, were able to sing and rejoice in the midst of all their persecutions.
July 05/06 - John 14:27
The world's peace is very fragile. It depends on circumstances. If everything is going well, then they can be at peace. The peace that comes from Jesus is a peace that will be with us in the midst of the storm. Everything may be raging around us and we can still be at peace. This peace is based on our faith that God is in total control. No matter what happens we have the confidence that God is working all things out for our good. Because of that confidence, we have peace. If we lose our peace it is because at some point we believe that Satan is more powerful than God. The disciples many times failed at this point but now the Holy Spirit was going to be inside of them [and us]. The Holy Spirit would be able to bring the peace of God into their lives.
July 04/06 - John 14:25-26
The Holy Spirit lives within us. He is the One Who reveals spiritual things to us. Without Him we would have no understanding of Who God is or how the world operates. He uses many methods in teaching us including the Bible, circumstances, other people, etc. It is as we learn to hear His voice we will discover that His lessons are everywhere. One of the important reason for Bible memorization is that the Holy Spirit will be able to make it alive and bring verses to our memory when needed. We can't remember something we never knew!
July 03/06 - John 14:21-24
Do you really want know Jesus? Do you want to prove your love for Him and experience His love for you? Contrary to the beliefs of many churches and Christians, knowing Jesus is not primarily based on emotion, prayer, or Bible Study. Jesus Himself defines love for Him as obedience to His Word - which is the entire Bible. Love is manifest in obedience. That is not to say that we won't have emotion but emotions go up and down. Even John the Baptist hit emotional lows. Prayer and Bible Study are also important parts of the Christian life but if they do not translate into a lifestyle of obedience they are merely self-deceptive. We love Him because we obey Him and do our best to expand obedience to His Word in our own lives and in our sphere of influence and authority.
As we do this, we are in turned loved by Jesus and the Father. They come to us and we develop relationship together. Obedience is the key, which is why Scripture says rebellion is like witchcraft. Rebellion and disobedience to the Word of God is obedience to Satan. We will always be obeying someone. The question is: Are going to obey God or Satan? The answer to that question shows our true heart.
The commandments and sayings of Jesus are the entire Bible. There is a group of Christians today who try and divide the Scripture. They claim the Old Testament [or at least many parts of it] is not for us but for natural Israel. They are giving into Satan's wildest fantasy by making the Word of God of no effect in our time. No wonder the humanists have been so successful. Of course, the Old Testament must be understood in the light of the New Testament but all of it is for us. God does not change. His standard of righteousness in the Old Testament is still His standard of righteousness in the New Testament. Those who down play the Old Testament are in for a fearful day of reckoning. We deal with this in much more detail in the e-mail courses: Life Line and Covenants.
July 01/06 - John 14:20
When the Holy Spirit comes He makes these complicated sounding relationships make sense. We come to understand that Jesus is in the Father. We also know that we are in Jesus and He is in us. There is a real unity that takes place between us and God. We don't become God. We can never cross the Divine/human barrier. Nevertheless, in Christ, we are united to God and in a very real sense become one with Him. This is what God intended at the very beginning with Adam and which is now possible through the Blood of Christ.
June 30/06 - John 14:19
The world no longer sees Jesus for He is not physically present. Everyone saw Him for 33 1/2 years. But we see Jesus through the Holy Spirit whom He has given to us. It is impossible to really know Jesus apart from the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
We know we have eternal life because Jesus is alive. The resurrection confirms to us that we also will live after death. Death is only a doorway into a [for us] better world.
June 29/06 - John 14:18
Jesus promised not to leave them [or us] comfortless. Once again we see the unity of the Godhead. How does Jesus come to us? He comes to us through the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus just as Jesus reveals the Father. The Holy Spirit is so closely identified with Jesus that His coming can also be considered Jesus coming.
June 28/06 - John 14:16-17
Jesus has said He is leaving. Now He promises that He is not going to leave them alone. Another One will come and this One will live within them so that He will never leave them. This is the great mystery and wonder of the Holy Spirit. God actually lives within and yet He is a Gentleman. He does not forcibly control us - although it is well within His power to do so.
We also see the unity of God. The Son prays for us, the Father sends the Comforter [Holy Spirit], and the Holy Spirit comes to live within us. There is no division in God. It is His desire that there should be no division in His body either.
June 27/06 - John 14:15
Loving Jesus is not some intangible emotional experience. It is very practical. We prove our love by our obedience. Disobedience only proves we love ourselves more than Jesus. There is no excuse for disobedience. Anyone who claims to love God and walks in deliberate disobedience to His commands is a liar. They are self-deceived. Their actions reveal their true love.
What are the commandments of Christ? Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Second Person in the Trinity. The entire Bible is the command of Christ. We cannot limit this simply to the Gospels. Everything in the Bible comes from the King of kings and is to be obeyed. Christians who would do away with the Old Testament as "not for today" are in for a dreadful shock. Yes, there has been a change in the way many things [like the sacrifices] are administered but the Word of God is always the Word of God in every era. For a detailed explanation of how this works take the Life Line e-mail course.
June 26/06 - John 14:13-14
In the Bible, even to some degree today, a person's name is their authority. To ask in the name of Jesus does not mean simply tacking "In the Name of Jesus" to the end of our prayers. It is not commanding God to preform our will. We operate in the authority of Jesus when we are doing what He has commissioned us to do. As we live in the will of God, we have the authority of Jesus. As His representatives on earth, operating in His authority, we can request whatever we need to fulfill our mission and it will be done. We should not be shy to ask for the things we need to accomplish God's will on earth. We can live in confidence that we will have what we ask for.
June 24/06 - John 14:12
Up to this time, with few exceptions, the disciples had watched Jesus doing the miracles. Now Jesus was leaving and they were going to carry on...including doing the miracles.
Jesus said they would do greater miracles. Jesus raised the dead. What could be greater than that? Some have suggested that it means a greater amount of miracles since all His followers would be doing them. The effects would be much greater. Or perhaps Jesus was looking beyond the physical. His disciples - through all the ages after His death and resurrection - have been able to lead people into the ultimate New Covenant relationship with the infilling of the Holy Spirit. That was a miracle Jesus could not do for He had not yet ascended to the Father. Think of it. God Himself living permanently inside His people. How great!
June 23/06 - John 14:10-11
Jesus did nothing of Himself. He listened to and completely obeyed the Father. That is why Jesus was the perfect revelation of the Father. In the same way, we are to listen to and obey Jesus. Then when the world looks at us they will see Jesus and the Father. Let us, through the power of the Holy Spirit living within, work at reflecting the beauty of Jesus.
June 22/06 - John 14:8-9
Jesus experienced all the emotions we do. He knew what it was like to be frustrated with people. He had been explaining that He and the Father are One and that to see Him was to see the Father. And then Phillip comes up with the statement: "Show us the Father." Jesus may have thought, "What do you think I've been doing for the last three and half years!"
Our emotions are not wrong, even emotions like anger and frustration. What makes them right or wrong is how we handle them.
June 21/06 - John 14:7
As we learn more of Jesus we also learn more of the father. God is united. To develop a relationship with Jesus is to enter into the Father's presence as well.
June 20/06 - John 14:6
Here we have the famous statement of Jesus which many of you have probably memorized.
Jesus is the Way, the only Way, to the Father. All other religions fail because they are man's attempts to reach God. Sinful man can never appease the anger of a Holy God. Impossible. Jesus is God reaching down to man. There is no other way. We take God's way or we perish.
Jesus is the Truth. All the riches of knowledge and truth are bound in Him. After all, He created the entire universe, Who is going to understand more? School systems which leave out Jesus have left out truth. Religions [and public schools are the large religious centers in North America] which ignore Jesus or present a rival way to God are founded on lies. They and their followers will be destroyed.
Jesus is the Life. Those outside of Christ are zombies - the living dead. They move and appear to be alive but at the center they are dead. From the center, death, like cancer, will spread until they are consumed. Only in Christ can we find true life...and then we will never die.
Again no one - Jew or Gentile - comes to God outside of Jesus Christ. This is an unqualified statement. Everyone from Adam to the end of the world comes to God through Jesus Christ. One of the great heresies of modern Christianity is to believe that God works with different people in different ways in different eras. No, Jesus Christ is the only way to God. There never was nor will there ever be a time when people are saved by belonging to a certain nation or any other method. The Old Testament saints looked forward to Christ, we in the New Testament era look back to Christ. It is the same Christ either way.
June 19/06 - John 14:4-5
Thomas and the other disciples were thinking only on a physical plane. If they didn't know where Jesus was going, how could they know the way? They were like two-dimensional people living in a three-dimensional universe. We do the same thing. We need to expand our thinking. In God, there are things and experiences right around the corner that we never imagined! Let's shake our limited, two-dimensional thinking. With God all things are possible.
June 17/06 - John 14:2-3
These verses are often applied to our life with Jesus after His Second Coming. They are certainly true in that respect; however, considering Jesus spoke these words just hours before His arrest, He may have had something else primarily in mind. His death and resurrection would purchase for us unrestricted access into the Father's presence - which was where Jesus was going Himself. Jesus died to pay the price of our sin, and then He rose from the dead to bring us with Him into the presence of God.
June 16/06 - John 14:1
The disciples had just received some shocking news. Jesus was leaving. They couldn't come. They were confused and scared.
Jesus knew they trusted God the Father. He tells them to put the same trust in Him. God is not divided. He is trustworthy.
In times when we are scared and confused, when all seems dark around us, our only sane choice is to trust God. Focusing on God will still raging emotions and troubled hearts. A good way to begin prayer, even when we are in desperate trouble, is with thankfulness and consideration of how great God is. There are no problems too big for our God.
June 15/06 - John 13:36-38
Peter had a great heart. He was genuinely willing to lay down his life for Jesus. But Jesus knew he did not yet have the strength of character to follow through on his intentions. In the end, Peter did have the strength for we are told he was martyred by being crucified up-side down.
We cannot always trust to people's sincerity. They simply may not have the ability to follow through. We all have weaknesses. We must place our trust firmly in Jesus. He is the only One Who will never fail at any point.
June 14/06 - John 13:33-35
The mark of the Christian is love. There are many things which are important, but love is the key that makes them work. This love is not like the world thinks of love. It is not primarily emotional, and certainly not sexual. The love of the Christian, while it may have emotion, is based on a steadfast commitment to follow the ways and teachings of God. It is self-sacrificing for the benefit of others. It is the decision to keep all the commands of God with our whole heart. When we act toward others the way God commands us to, whether we feel anything or not, we are acting in love.
June 13/06 - John 13:31-32
After the goat had been separated from the sheep, Jesus began to instruct His disciples. Some teaching is general - everyone was able to listen to the parables of Jesus. Some teaching is specific to those who have proven themselves serious about the things of God. This is not "secret" teaching, such as many cults have, but instruction to the faithful. It was all built on the revealed Word of God which was/is available to everyone.
The death of Jesus glorified both the Son and the Father. From the human point-of-view, it was a painful, shameful death of defeat. From God's point-of-view, it was the ultimate display of love. Often God views our life and situation far differently than we do. Sometimes what we view as defeats, God sees as victories. We need to get God's perspective.
June 9/06 - John 13:22-30
Although Judas was identified as the betrayer, the other disciples did not understand what Jesus had said. Judas left to do his dirty work, and Jesus spend His last few hours teaching His disciples. Everything Jesus said in Chapters 14-17, Jesus said knowing He was about to be arrested and crucified. Jesus' concern was always for doing the will of the Father, which in this case was preparing His disciples for what was about to happen, over His own interests.
June 8/06 - John 13:21
Jesus knew Judas would betray Him from the beginning but He loved Judas as much as any of His other disciples. It hurt Him when it came to the time that Judas would actually betray Him. We are often taken by surprise when a friend betrays us. Knowing in advance what would happen did not decrease the pain, if anything, it increased it. Jesus knows how we feel when those we have trusted turn viciously against us. It may be a spouse, a business partner, or friend with whom we have a close relationship. We can run to Jesus for comfort. He feels the sting of it with us. We may feel alone and abandoned but we are not. Jesus is here.
June 7/06 - John 13:20
There is a chain of representation. It is easy to say we love Jesus, but if we are not loving our Christian brothers and living in submission to the authority God has placed over us, then we are only deceiving ourselves. Our love for Jesus is proved by how we treat others.
June 6/06 - John 13:18-19
Although everyone heard the words of Jesus, His words did not apply to all of them. Anyone can read the Bible, but only those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour have the right to claim and apply it's words.
Scripture had predicted that Jesus would be betrayed by a close friend. Jesus knew who that was. We may fool others as to the condition of our heart, but we will never fool Jesus. Better not to have known the Way than to pretend to be in the Way.
The prediction of Jesus was to stir faith in the true believers after the events had come to pass. Predictive prophecy [which is only a small part of prophecy] is never for sensationalism. Biblical predictive prophecy is much abused today as people with itching ears seek the newest "revelation." The purpose of predictive prophecy is to stir faith or to warn people to be prepared not to waste millions of dollars and countless hours on the same Jewish fables that Jesus and Paul attacked.
June 5/06 - John 13:12-17
The Kingdom of God is based on service. If we are too important to serve, we are too important for God.
Success in any area of life is based largely on service. Successful husbands serve their families well. Successful teachers serve their students well. Successful businesspeople serve their customers well, etc.
Through service also comes authority and control. A person has a certain amount of authority and control over the people he serves. Humanistic governments have long recognized this principle. This is why they want to serve by providing welfare, education, the currency, etc. They want the power that goes with service. And the church has let them do it because they have been ignorant of the principle behind service and they have been too lazy or preoccupied to do the hard work of service. Thank God it is changing. More and more Christians are putting their shoulder to the plow.
June 3/06 - John 13:11
Those who have come to Christ and surrendered their lives to Him are clean. Those who, like Judas, are just putting on a show for personal gain are unclean. One day the unclean will be exposed and judged.
June 2/06 - John 13:6-10
Peter knew Jesus was the Messiah, the Great One. It was embarrassing to be served by One he admired so much. He should be the one serving. At first he refused, but when Jesus told him it was necessary to belong to Him he not only submitted but also wanted everything washed! Peter had a great heart. He wanted Jesus more than anything. We need to have the same heart after Jesus. Sure Peter failed many times, just like us, but he clung to Jesus. We need to grap ahold of Jesus and never let go no matter what.
We have been cleansed by the Blood of Jesus. We are redeemed from this world. But will still live in this world. We still face the corruption of this world. This pictures that relationship. The feet are where a person comes into contact with the dirt of the world. We need our "feet" [lives] constantly cleansed by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God as we come in daily contact with the sin of this world.
June 1/06 - John 13:3-5
Because Jesus knew within Himself Who He was, He could do the lowest job of the common slave. His ego was not threatened, His pride was not wounded. When we know who we are in God and draw our worth from Him, we will be able to do any job joyfully. It is when our worth or self-image is based on what others think that we are afraid of doing something they would think is beneath our dignity. Fear of man enslaves, fear of God liberates.
May 31/06 - John 13:2
Satan tempted or put in the heart of Judas the idea of betraying Christ. However, Judas had already opened the door to Satan by his greed and embezzlement. Sin cannot be controlled. When we open the door to sin, we never know where it will stop. One thing leads to another until we are trapped in sins we never imagined we would commit.
May 30/06 - John 13:1
Jesus was the Person to Whom the Passover lamb pointed. It was only fitting that He be offered as the Perfect Sacrifice during the feast of Passover.
Jesus knew the time was fast approaching for His death. He knew, from studying the Old Testament, the details of His death. He fully recognized the pain and suffering He would have to endure, but He also knew what was at stake and the reward that would follow. Death was not the end, He would go to His Father. Sometimes we can get overwhelmed with the pain and suffering of life, but this life is not the end. Something greater is coming. We, too, at the right time will go to be with the Father. The pleasures of eternity will be ours if we will faithfully pursue God's will for our lives now.
Jesus loved and cared for all those the Father had given Him. Even on the Cross, in incredible agony, he cared for His mother. As long as we are on this earth, we are to care for those God has given to us. Only death releases from responsibility. Even then we should have provided for someone to look after those who relied on us. A husband especially should make sure his wife is taken care of. In some countries this involves a life insurance plan and making sure she knows how to manage the finances. In other countries it may be - like Jesus and His mother - providing for another family to take her in and care for her.
May 29/06 - John 12:47-50
The first time He came, Jesus did not come as a Judge but as a Saviour. However, those who reject His words will be judged at the Second Coming. Our lives will be measured according to the Word of Christ. Only those who are "in Christ" will stand. All others will be condemned and swept away.
Jesus was not creative. He knew the Father's words and methods were perfect. He communicated and followed them exactly. We are not called to be creative in the sense of doing things our own way. Our mission is to be faithfully obedient to the revealed Word of God.
May 27/06 - John 12:44-46
Jesus is the perfect expression of the Father. We can discover what God is like by knowing Jesus.
Also, those who claim to love the Father, but reject Jesus are self-deceived. If you don't love and believe in Jesus, neither do you love and believe in the Father. Any religion which rejects Jesus is a false religion. For example, some Christians have been deceived by Judaism. They think because Judaism relies on the Old Testament that it is a Godly. Judaism rejects Jesus and is therefore a false religion leading people to Hell.
May 26/06 - John 12:42-43
These are a couple of sad verses. Many did believe in Jesus - even among the rulers - but they knew they would be cast out of the synagogue. The synagogue was not only a religious center, but also it was the center of their social life and standing. To be outside of the synagogue would have been to be forever despised, rejected, and ignored by their family and friends. It was indeed a high price to pay - and for them the price was too high. The cost of following Jesus is never more than we can pay, but it may be more than we are willing to pay. How much do we value Him?
May 25/06 - John 12:37-41
The ability to believe on God is based on faith which is a gift from God. All of us, left to ourselves, seek after our own ways and reject the knowledge of God. It is only God's grace that turns us from our God-hating, self-destructive ways. Miracles do not bring faith. If God's gift of faith is not on us we will simply explain them away or ignore them. That is one reason why we will never reach this world through natural means [or compromise]. It must be a work of God. Let us pray that the grace of God for saving faith will be multiplied in our day and our generation.
May 24/06 - John 12:32-36
Again the crowd was confused but Jesus merely wanted them to trust Him. Many times we have to trust God when we don't understand. In fact, if we understand then we don't need faith and it is faith that pleases God.
May 23/06 - John 12:31
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. In the Old Testament period Satan had authority, given to him by Adam. No longer. The devil is cast out. The work of Christ on Calvary has destroyed his authority. Revelation 12 dramatically shows this. Satan may make war but he does it as an impotent usurper. He has no power or authority over any of God's people or over God's creation. It is the responsibility of Christians to declare and bring into practice the victory of Christ. Christ won the victory, we don't have to compromise with the world in order to maintain it! Jesus Christ is King. Everything is to be uncompromisingly governed according to His Word [Law].
May 22/06 - John 12:29-30
God spoke with an audible voice and the people thought it was thunder. The more discerning among them wondered if it was an angel speaking. Why did they not hear the plain voice of God? Their minds were too caught up in the things of the world or with preconceived ideas to discern the things of the Spirit - even when it was revealed in the physical realm. Even today, the problem is not that God is not speaking but that we are not listening.
May 20/06 - John 12:27-28
Jesus did not want to face the cross any more than you or I would have wanted to. He knew the pain and suffering that would be His. He also knew that it was His mission in life...a mission on which the entire creation depended. Because Jesus was willing to lay aside His own desires for the glory of the Father, the Father was glorified. And Jesus was also honoured.
Our main purpose in life is to glorify God. There are many ways in which this is accomplished, but every way involves putting God's will above our own will. As we surrender our will, the Father is glorified. He will then lead us in the best possible path for our eternal benefit and His glory. It is then we will find real satisfaction and enjoyment of life even if we must pass through the valley of the shadow of death.
May 19/06 - John 12:24-26
Jesus could have hung onto His life and continued to perform miracles and help people. In fact, He would still be physically with us today since death cannot kill a sinless Person. But Jesus knew His death was necessary and would accomplish an infinitely greater good.
God gives us our life as an investment for eternity. It matters not where we are born or if we are rich or poor. If we will invest our life wisely be obeying and serving Jesus - even if it means an early death - we will have eternal rewards. If we squander our life on what we think is best to our natural eyes, we will be the losers in the long run. Invest wisely - eternity is forever.
May 18/06 - John 12:20-23
Some Greek converts had come to the feast at Jerusalem. While there they sought out Jesus. The disciples may have been excited. This was a sign that the ministry of Jesus was becoming international. Maybe now their dreams of the Messiah would come true. Remember, the disciples still pictured the Messiah as a world ruler who would destroy the Romans and make Israel the center of the world. Maybe the time was near!
Jesus also saw it as a sign, but a sign of something different. The time was close when He would suffer, die, and raise again. He really would become a world ruler, but first in the spiritual realm and then, through His people, the rulership would impact and control the physical realm. Jesus Christ is reigning and ruling right now. It is our responsibility to make His reign effective over the entire earth. This is done as the gospel spreads, converting people and nations who are then taught and trained in how to live pleasing to Jesus. Jesus did not die in vain. He is right now Lord of lords and King of kings. We, though the Holy Spirit, are to make the Kingdom of God seen and experienced on this earth at this time.
Those who hold the Jesus will not rule until He is physically present on the earth have the same vision of the Messiah that the Pharisees and Jews did. Even the disciples shared that common idea until after the day of Pentecost. It is a carnal vision based on Jewish fables, not the one presented in Scripture.
May 17/06 - John 12:17-19
The Pharisees were as jealous and angry with the success of Jesus as ever. They would not have minded if it had been them getting the attention. If we are successful there will always be someone who resents it...but that should not hold us back.
May 16/06 - John 12:12-16
The people celebrated the entrance of Jesus on a donkey into Jerusalem. Conquering kings often rode white horses into their home cities. The King of kings, humbly rode a donkey. Pride has no place in the Kingdom of God.
Many things that the people and the disciples did were spur of the moment actions. Only later did they realize that they had fulfilled Scripture by their actions. This shows that God is in total control of even the smallest details of life. We can live in the confidence that nothing escapes God's notice or control.
Some fools claim the Jesus knew the Old Testament prophecies and then manipulated His life to fulfill them. This is, of course, nonsense. There are so many Old Testament prophecies - some of which are totally out of human control - that no one could fake fulfilling them all.
May 15/06 - John 12:9-10
Raising Lazarus from the dead wasn't just about helping a friend. Many of the Jews believed on Jesus because of the testimony of Lazarus. So many of them believed that Lazarus made the chief priest's "hit" list as well as Jesus. Miracles are not just about us, they are to have a wider influence. We always have to keep in mind that God, not us, is the center of the universe.
May 13/06 - John 12:7-8
There will always be poor in this world. Why? The blessing of the law of God eliminates poverty, but the law of God will never be perfectly followed in this world. Sin, which bring poverty in every area of life, will always be a factor. As the gospel of Jesus Christ spreads and the law of God is followed, poverty decreases. Humanistic methods of simply "throwing money at the problem" do not work. This does not mean that we don't help the poor. The Bible is very clear - God blesses those who have compassion on the poor, but it must be done in the right way.
The poor can to be divided into two categories: deserving and undeserving. The undeserving poor are those who are poor through their own choices. They are lazy and will not work or they are foolish and waste all their money. They are to be allowed to reap the consequences of their actions in order to learn. The deserving poor are people who are poor through no fault of their own. They have been born in poverty, or lost their jobs, or have been oppressed by men or governments, or for some other reason have fallen into poverty. They are honest, hard-working people who need an opportunity to work themselves out of poverty. They know that emergency aid is short term and they want to be able to provide for themselves. These are the people who need our help.
There are those who criticize churches which build nice buildings or Christians who have an abundance of material possessions. There is nothing wrong with building beautiful buildings or having great possessions as long as the poor and the things of God are not neglected. In everything there must be balance. In this case, God reserves for Himself the right to judge if we are in balance or not. We are not to judge others. We look at our own life and decide if we are in or out of balance.
May 12/06 - John 12:4-6
I think this was the turning point for Judas. He had believed Jesus was the Messiah. Like every other Jew, he expected the Messiah to ride into Jerusalem, destroy the Roman Empire, and make Israel the world power...and he was in on the ground floor! He began to suspect, perhaps before the others, that Jesus was not that kind of Messiah. The response of Jesus here was the final proof he needed. He had invested 3 1/2 years of his life in this Man. Now was the time to "cut his losses."
Anyone who only serves Jesus for what they can get is going to be disappointed. The time will come when they will be disillusioned and quit.
May 11/06 - John 12:1-3
Mary loved Jesus. She gave her best to serve Him. Her eyes were on her Lord and she didn't care what those around thought. As long as Jesus was pleased, that was enough. When we reach the point where our eyes are focused on Jesus alone, we won't be moved by what others think or draw back because the cost is too great. When we are in love with Jesus, nothing else matters. That doesn't mean we forsake our responsibilities. Just the opposite...we fulfill our responsibilities even better because we know it pleases Him.
Some humanists try to read something sexual into the relationship of Jesus and Mary. They are the blind leading the blind. Deep, committed love does not have to be sexual. Jesus was a pure, single man all of His days. There is nothing wrong with marriage - and sex within marriage - but that was not part of God's plan of Jesus. Fools are best left to their folly.