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May 09/06 - John 11:54-57
Jesus was Divinely protected until His time to die came. However, that did not mean He acted foolishly. When there was a "contract" on His life, He withdrew.
We are not to tempt God by acting irresponsibly. We are to take reasonable precautions while at the same time realizing we are protected by God. We walk through this world with wisdom and security.
May 08/06 - John 11:49-53
Sometimes we think God can only use Christians for His purposes. Here God used the murderous Caiaphas to prophesy the death of Jesus and the redemption it would bring. Caiaphas didn't have a clue as to what he really said. His thoughts were simply on removing Jesus from the scene permanently. God even used a donkey on one occasion. We need to keep our ears open. We never know from where God is going to speak.
May 06/06 - John 11:45-48
The Pharisees were afraid of losing their position and of war with Rome. They thought the solution to all their problems was to destroy Jesus. Like all worldly wisdom, the "solution" created bigger problems. In fact, because they rejected and crucified the Messiah, within 40 years they would lose a war with Rome and be totally destroyed.
May 05/06 - John 11:41-44
Jesus operated by perfect faith. He knew what God wanted. He had absolutely no doubt as to what was going to happen. His prayer was more to inspire the people around Him to faith than a request. When others see and hear us successfully operating in faith, they will be pointed to God - some will be inspired in their own lives, others will be repulsed because they don't want to face God.
Lazarus heard the voice of Jesus and came out of the grave still wrapped in grave clothes. This is like the miracle of new birth. We were dead in sins until we heard the voice of Jesus calling us out. We came out of the worldly grave into new life. Often, through, we are still wrapped in the grave clothes of worldly thinking and need to be consistently renewing our minds through the Word of God so the grave clothes will fall off.
May 04/06 - John 11:38-40
Martha, ever the practical one, was still thinking of the future instead of the present. However, Jesus was not limited by her vision. When we get God's perspective, we won't be limited by what others see as impossible. If God said it, then He will provide a way - even if it means raising the dead or walking on water.
May 03/06 - John 11:33-37
Jesus was not controlled by His emotions but He did have and express them. Emotion is not wrong unless we let it get out of control or we live by our emotions instead of by the Word of God.
Even here Jesus is criticized. No matter who we are or what we do, someone is going to criticize us. This is one reason why it is so important is be moved by the Word of God not by the opinions of man.
May 02/06 - John 11:28-32
Mary, also, was confused. She knew Jesus had the power to heal her brother. Why hadn't He come when He was called? Why doesn't God answer our requests immediately? We often face the same confusion. It all seems so clear to us. Why can't God see it? The fact is, God does see it but He also sees a much bigger picture than we are ever able to. Answers to prayer that are delayed or denied are only because there is something greater at work that we don't know or see. Then it becomes a time of trust on our part.
May 01/06 - John 11:27
Martha held onto what she knew to be true. Sometimes, when we are going through painful situations, all we can hold on to the basics. We don't understand but we stand firm in what we do know.
Apr 29/06 - John 11:25-26
Jesus not only has the power of life and resurrection, but also He IS the resurrection and the life. It is a part of His very being. For the Christian, death is not the end of life. It is only a doorway into a greater life. We have nothing to lose in this world for we are working with eternity in our hearts. We can risk it all for Christ and enter eternal life and that more abundantly. If we really grasp this point, fear will be a thing of the past.
Apr 28/06 - John 11:23-24
Jesus made a direct statement of faith. Lazarus was still in the tomb...four days dead. Nothing had changed, yet Jesus declared what was about to happen. It was only a matter of minutes before Jesus was proved to be a true prophet or a false prophet. When a person speaks for God, they need the faith that they have indeed heard from God. Then nothing shall be impossible.
Martha's mind, like ours many times. was limited. She thought Jesus was comforting her with statements about the resurrection of the righteous at the Second Coming. She didn't consider it could happen right at that point in time. It is easier to believe in something in the future than the present. It is easier to believe God will heal or can heal than to believe that He is going to heal right now. When we get to the "right now," we are putting it to the test. Either it works or it doesn't. We would much rather not test it because we are afraid it won't work. True, we need a Word from God first so as not to act in presumption, but when we have the Word we do not need to fear the test.
Apr 27/06 - John 11:17-22
Martha went out to meet Jesus. She was disappointed that Jesus had not come when He was needed. Jesus operates on His own time table. He has compassion but He will not allow compassion to move Him from the Will of God. He has the big picture in mind and He sees not only time but eternity.
Apr 26/06 - John 11:15-16
We often think of Thomas as the doubter. Thomas was a dedicated disciple who loved the Lord. While he tended to be a negative thinker, he was committed to the death. We need to have the same commitment to follow Jesus wherever He may lead and whatever it may cost.
Apr 25/06 - John 11:11-14
Jesus knew Lazarus was dead - in fact He had waited until Lazarus was dead because He wanted a resurrection not a healing. Sometimes God waits until the very last moment before He acts. We may even think it is too late, that the situation is beyond redemption but with God all things are possible. Even a stinking dead body can come to life! Let us not put anything past God.
Apr 24/06 - John 11:7-10
Jesus was not driven to action by human need, neither was he motivated by fear. The fact the Pharisees had tried to kill Him did not prevent Him from returning. The sole purpose of Jesus was to discover and obey the will of God. That is to be our sole purpose as well. It doesn't matter if we are in the "ministry" or if we are a dish washer, executive, or home maker. Following God's will in life is the one priority. When that is in the right all else will fall into place. We will not be moved by need, manipulation, or fear. Our eyes will be on God and we will accomplish what He wants us to do. We will met the needs God put on earth to met.
Apr 21/06 - John 11:5-6
Although Jesus loved Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, He did not immediately rush to their aid. Jesus was not moved to action by human need. The eyes of Jesus were on the Father. He obeyed His Father's will regardless of personal cost or feelings. We can get so wrapped up in meeting the needs of others that we lose sight of what God wants us to do. Our priority has to be the will of God, not human need. God is the One Who will balance all things out...and we are not His only workers. It is not our job to save the world, only to be submissive and obedient.
Apr 20/06 - John 11:4
Lazarus, the friend of Jesus, was seriously sick. Jesus did not automatically know about it. He heard about it the same way you and I learn about things. When He heard it, the Holy Spirit quickened within Him the knowledge that Lazarus would overcome the sickness in a way that glorified God. Sickness is an attack of the enemy, but, like any other attack, God may allow it for molding our character, increasing our spiritual strength, and receiving more glory in Satan's defeat.
Apr 19/06 - John 1:1-3
As a human being, Jesus had friends. There were people He was close to. Even among the 12 disciples there were 3 who were especially close. Sometimes we forget that Jesus had real relationships and emotions.
Apr 18/06 - John 10:34-42
The Old Testament had referred to judges as "gods" not because of any divinity but because they represented applying the Word of God in the current situation. The point of Jesus was that if humans working for God could be referred to as gods how much more should He Who came from God and was God have the right to be called the Son of God. Again Jesus laid out the challenge before them: I have proved Who I am so believe on Me. They would not. Those who refuse to believe on Jesus do not do so from a lack of evidence. They do not want His total Lordship over them so they are willfully blind.
Apr 17/06 - John 10:30-33
The Jews who heard Jesus speak clearly understood that He was claiming to be God. Why some cults can't see that is a mystery. Jesus was either God or He was insane or He was a liar. There are no other choices. I know which choice I take.
Apr 14/06 - John 10:28-29
Eternal Life comes from Jesus alone. Obviously Jesus is not talking about physical death. Physical death [See What Is Death?] is only a doorway into another world...a world of wonder or a world of pain [See Hell: God's Justice]. Those who know Jesus enter the world of wonder and beauty. No one in this world can stop them. Their destiny is secure in Christ. They are double protected by the Son and the Father.
Apr 12/06 - John 10:22-27
The Jews confronted Jesus demanding He end the debate. His reply was that the evidence had already been given but they were not willing or able to see it.
The world may debate over Jesus. He is not concerned. The heathen rage but they cannot dethone Him. All who are His will come to Him, those who are not will debate and argue all the way to Hell. It takes a sovereign moving of the Holy Spirit on our hearts before we can truly see. Left to ourselves none of us seek after God. Only as God calls us can we come. If we have the desire to come to God that is the sign that He has called us. His sheep hear His voice. They are drawn to Him even though they may have many questions. Let us pray for a mighty moving of the Holy Spirit on the hearts of men.
Apr 11/06 - John 10:19-21
Again the Jews were divided about Jesus. The evidence is there for those who would see. When we allow preconceived ideas and hidden agendas to influence us, we will be blind to the Truth.
Apr 10/06 - John 10:17-18
No one took the life of Jesus away from Him. Jesus could have stopped the agony of the cross at any time. He was in control. But if He had saved Himself, He would have lost us forever. There was no second chance at this. Everything depended on one life, one act, one decision. Jesus was willing to voluntarily endure because of His love for us. And the Father loved Him for it. He loves us too as we are willing to endure pain and stress for the sake of our love for Jesus.
Apr 07/06 - John 10:16
Jesus alluded to the salvation of the Gentiles. He died not only for His Jewish sheep but also for the sheep of every race. He then united them into one fold. Never again is there to be a division. From now to eternity the true people of God are united in one body. Those who try to separate Jewish believers from Gentile believers now or in any future age are introducing division into the Body of Christ.
Apr 06/06 - John 10:14-15
We know Jesus the same way Jesus, while He was on earth, knew the Father: Faith. Jesus lived a walk of faith. His relationship with the Father was based on faith in the Word of God that He studied. He communicated by prayer and followed the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is the same with us. Jesus is our example of how to have a relationship with God.
Apr 04/06 - John 10:11-15
Jesus came to give His life for His sheep. We can rest in confidence that Jesus is looking after us. He is not looking after someone else's sheep. No, we belong to Him. He will do whatever it takes to protect and provide for us. Sometimes the devil comes and stirs our emotions and circumstances [like Job]. He whispers that Jesus doesn't know, doesn't care, or is unwilling to help. He is a liar. Jesus is the good Shepherd. Certainly hard things happen in life but He is in control to work them out for a greater good. After all, this life is only a training ground for our eternal purpose. Training is often difficult, but it is necessary if we are to be a success in the long run. Let's get the big picture, and trust Jesus where we cannot see.
Apr 03/06 - John 10:10
Ultimately Satan is the thief. He lies about God's goodness and brings out his fool's gold claiming it is real gold. His glitter looks great but it is all a magician's trick. When the smoke fades we find ourselves slaves in the trade market of sin.
Jesus gives life - real life. It is not always easy and it doesn't make false claims but it is a joyous life. It is a life of fullness and satisfaction without anything missing...and in the end it leads to heaven where life will be perfected and then continue forever.
Apr 01/06 - John 10:7-9
Jesus is not only the Shepherd, but also He is the Gate. There is only one way to God. It may sound proud and closed-minded but it is the truth. To say otherwise is to offer false hope and callously allow others to go to the terrors of hell without warning.
Mar 30/06 - John 10:4-6
Those who truly know their God are not deceived by the many strange voices in the world. Cults, false prophets, and wolves in sheep clothing prowl on every side. Those, like Mary, who sit at the feet of Jesus know His voice. There is a danger in spending a lot of time studying cults and false beliefs. We can tend to focus on the wrong things. If we spend our time studying and knowing God we will automatically recognize the enemy's lies when they come.
Mar 29/06 - John 10:1-3
Jesus knows each one of us by name. Sometimes in the struggles of life it is easy to think we are alone and forgotten. Not so. Jesus calls us by name. He is intimately concerned with our lives and if we will listen to Him voice and follow Him, he will lead us to fresh pastures.
Mar 28/06 - John 9:39-41
The Pharisees were not deceived. They knew exactly who Jesus was. They also knew - before His disciples - that He was not the kind of Messiah they wanted. Like many today, they wanted a Messiah who would fit a worldly image of success and overthrow the Roman Empire replacing it with a new Jewish Empire. Jesus had no intentions of doing any such thing - so they rejected Him. We have to be very careful that we don't allow our vision and our goals to override God's vision and God's goals.
Mar 27/06 - John 9:35-38
The man had experienced Christ but his knowledge was lacking. God will see that anyone who is honestly seeking Him will find Him. God loves to reveal Himself to searching hearts.
Mar 25/06 - John 9:28-34
The Jews believed that God only listened to the prayers of the righteous. The formerly blind man tried to use their own logic to convince them. They would not listen. Logic and common sense will never convince a hard heart, they will only enrage it. Only after the Holy Spirit softens a heart is it willing to listen to reason.
Mar 24/06 - John 9:17-27
A personal testimony is powerful. The Pharisees tried to shake this man's conviction - even his parents refused to back him up - but they failed. He had experienced the love and power of Jesus. Nothing could move him. When we have personally experienced God, we will be able to stand firm in the face of opposition. We may not be able to explain it but we know what happened to us.
Mar 23/06 - John 9:12-16
The real issue the Pharisees had was that Jesus healed on the Sabbath day. Like all legalists they were more concerned about details than Truth. They would have made good modern lawyers debating over technical details and unconcerned with justice. It is not that details are not important, but they have to be in the big picture of Truth and justice. The Pharisees had elevated their traditions above the word of God. Anytime we place anything above the Word of God we are in serious error. We may still sound religious and deceive the gullible but God is not fooled.
Mar 21/06 - John 9:8-11
It was unheard of for a man born blind to be healed. Some people even thought he was only a person who looked like the blind man.
God is the God of the impossible. Nothing is too difficult for Him. We need to raise our vision and our faith. We can accomplish anything that God wants us to because we have His power backing us up.
Mar 18/06 - John 9:6-7
We are people who get stuck in formulas. We like to have steps 1, 2, 3... In other words, we like to be in control. We like to know if we do certain things other things will automatically happen. Jesus never used formulas. Almost every recorded time He healed someone, He did it differently. He allowed the Father to be in control. We are to follow His example. Forget formulas, listen to the voice of the Shepherd. We are involved in a living, growing relationship, not a stale, scientific experiment.
Mar 17/06 - John 9:4-5
There are seasons in life. When God opens a door we need to move in and advance the Kingdom. The door may not always be open. Hudson Taylor saw an open door in China and moved in faith to bring the gospel to millions who had never heard. That door did not remain open forever. The communists shut it but because of the work of Hudson Taylor and others many Chinese came to know Christ and were able to carry on underground. The same is true in people's lives. There may be times when they are more ready to hear the gospel than at other times [often it seems to be the time that is most inconvenient to us]. We need to be sensitive to the season and work while it is light. Who knows when the darkness is coming?
Mar 16/06 - John 9:1-3
Jesus and His disciples walked passed a man born blind. The disciples didn't see a man in need. All they saw was an interesting theological problem. The Jews believed that sickness came as a result of sin. Now, if a man was born blind, who sinned? Was it the man's parents or was it the man before he was born or was God looking into the future and judging him for acts not yet committed?
Theology is important but we have to be careful that we don't become hard. It can be easy to get lost in theories and miss having compassion on people in need. As my Pastor likes to say, 'If its not practical, its not spiritual." Proper theology provides the solid foundation from which we can act.
It is easy to be judgmental. The fact is sometimes sickness is caused directly by a person's sin. But that is not true in every case. There are many causes for sickness. We need to bring healing and compassion not condemnation. Also, if a person is not healed immediately it doesn't necessarily mean there is a lack of faith. There can be many reasons why healing doesn't come right away, but that doesn't mean we stop believing in Divine healing.
Mar 15/06 - John 8:56-59
Many Christians, caught in a fantasy interpretation of Scripture, are more interested in the land of Israel today than Abraham ever was. Abraham looked for the city of God and anticipated the arrival of the Messiah. He looked for the day Christ would come and remove sin. His delight was in the spiritual reality that the physical promises represented. He was not fooled as to the ultimate way the promises would be fulfilled.
When Jesus used the term "I AM," He was taking the covenant name of Jehovah to Himself. He was claiming to be Jehovah. The Jews recognized exactly what He was doing - and wanted to stone Him for it. Cults and other groups who said Jesus never claimed to be God have not read the Scripture with a clear mind. Jesus many times claimed to be Jehovah. Either it was true or He was a deceiver and a madman.
Mar 14/06 - John 8:54-55
Sometimes we get the picture of Jesus being a weak, mild, feminine person. This may be the Hollywood version but it is not the Biblical version. Jesus was the perfection of all virtues. He could be strong and direct when the situation called for it. He would look those Jewish leaders - who could condemn a man to death - in the eye and call them liars and children of the devil. He knew when and how to confront. We sometimes think that "turning the other cheek" is the only possible Christian response. Different situations call for different actions. There is a time to turn the other cheek and there is a time to confront and fight.
Mar 13/06 - John 8:51-53
Those who follow Jesus never taste of real death. Death, as we talk about in the report What Is Death?, is separation. Once we come to Christ as Lord and Saviour we are united to God. We have entered into the One Who is Life. We can never again be separated from God - we can never die. Yes, our body will grow old and we will be separated from it. But this is only temporary. We will be reunited with our body - with all the imperfections taken out - at the Second Coming of Christ.
Mar 11/06 - John 8:46-50
Jesus challenged them: Prove Me wrong or believe Me. The challenge has rung out through all the ages. Many have tried to discredit Jesus. They claim He was a madman or try to downgrade Him to a mere man or prophet. They try to prove His words wrong. All attempts have failed. The question remains: if the words of Jesus are true, what don't more follow Him? It isn't because there is any real doubt as to the claims of Christ. It is because in sinful rebellion we want to go our own way. We want to create our own world, master our own destiny, and be our own god. Our childish fantasy will be crushed at the judgment seat of Almighty God unless we repent now. Our unconditional surrender is the only term acceptable.
Mar 10/06 - John 8:37-45
Jesus brings up an important point in this section of Scripture which is often overlooked by modern Christians. The Jews, who were the natural descendants of Abraham, were counting on the natural relationship to save them. Jesus came right out and told them that were not the true children of Abraham. Natural descent has never saved anyone - in any era [to believe such is to have two or more ways of salvation]. Those who have the faith of Abraham are the true children of Abraham regardless of national heritage. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you are a children of Abraham and entitled to the blessing of Abraham. [We study this in detail in The Covenants.]
Jesus went on to identify who their father really was...the devil. We belong to whomever we follow. In the ultimate picture that are only two leaders; Jesus and satan. Which one is our father? Whose spirit do we allow to live though us? Are we trusting in our works, our national heritage, or other natural means? Then we are following satan. Are we trusting in and obeying Jesus Christ as the only way to the Father? Then we are children of God. Where do we stand?
Mar 8/06 - John 8:34-36
Sin is a slave master. Even as Christians, if we flirt with sin, we will be gripped in its iron fist. However, Jesus has set us free from sin. If we will come to Him and walk in the faith of what He has done, we can be free from any sin. There is no sin which can hold a child of God who knows who He is in Christ. When sin defeats us it is because we have yet to learn who we really are in Christ in that particular area of life.
Mar 7/06 - John 8:33
The Jews were resting on the fact that they were Abraham's natural descendants. They believed God was on their side simply because they were Jews. It was a false hope. Natural heritage has never determined right standing before God. It has always been a matter of faith in the work Christ. In the Old Testament they were looking forward, through the sacrifices, to what Christ would do on the cross. In the New Testament, we look back to what Christ did do on the cross. It is the same faith in both eras. There has never been and never will be any other way to God.
Some Christians today have the same view of the Jews that the Jews of Jesus' day had of themselves - they think Jews are special to God simply because they are Jews. This would make God a respecter of persons. It also downplays the importance of the Cross. If there is any other way to God other than the Blood of Jesus, then the death of Jesus was unnecessary. Does God love Jews? Yes. But He also loves every nationality. The only division God makes is between saved and unsaved. There is no national favouritism - nor will there ever be again. From now to all of eternity the church, redeemed by Christ, is the only people of God.
Mar 4/06 - John 8:32
Jesus is the Truth. His words are true. As Christians, any area of life in which we are in bondage is an area in which we have not yet discovered the truth. We may know the truth intellectually but victory comes when we "know" the truth in our hearts. Often it is trials and temptations which take truth from the head to the heart.
Mar 3/06 - John 8:31
Christianity has too many converts and not enough disciples. Converts agree to the facts but are uncommitted. A disciple is totally committed to following the Master. For them there is no turning back. They listen and obey every Word of Jesus - which includes the entire Bible since Jesus is the Word in the flesh. Jesus never commanded that we make converts - only disciples. Let us determine to be true disciples.
Mar 2/06 - John 8:28-30
Jesus gave them a hint as to how He was going to die. It was in dying on our behalf that His words would be proven true.
Jesus could testify that He only did the things which pleased the Father. This should be our goal as well. As little children, who love to please their parents, we should find our joy in pleasing God. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we should be working on eliminating sin in our lives and doing things which glorify God. Glorifying God doesn't mean something unnatural or "super-spiritual." It is simply living our everyday lives according to God's standards - and going immediately to get forgiveness when we fail.
Feb 28/06 - John 8:25-27
Jesus was again challenged as to who He was. He could have said many things but He limited Himself to what the Father had told Him.
We often feel that we have to answer every question, that we are responsible to convince people of the gospel. The pressure can crush us. We are responsible for one thing: to do what God tells us to do. No more, no less. We are responsible for obedience, God is responsible for results. This releases us from a lot of unnecessary pressure. We don't have to know everything, just do as we are told.
Feb 24/06 - John 8:21-24
Anyone who doesn't trust in Jesus as Lord and Saviour will die in their sins. To die in sin is to be eternally separated from God and from everything that is good. It is to voluntarily walk into eternal darkness, loneliness, and misery. If we truly understand hell, we would not wish it on even our worst enemy.
Feb 23/06 - John 8:19-20
The only way to know the Father is through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to God. Those who claim to know God but reject Jesus are deceived or outright liars. Jesus is the perfect and only true representative of the Father. And when we look to Jesus, the Father Himself witnesses within our heart that Jesus is His Son. We then have a double witness, Jesus and the Father. And now, in the New Testament era, we have a third witness - the Holy Spirit. These Three all agree in their testimony of the nature of God and the work of the God/Man Jesus Christ.
Feb 22/06 - John 8:17-18
Jesus did not come into the world to judge the world but to extend the forgiveness of God. Yet on everything He had to do, He relied on the Father. If Jesus needed to look to the Father for everything how much more do we need to depend on God for everything. We cannot succeed or even survive if we try to be independent.
Feb 21/06 - John 8:13-16
The Pharisees had failed in tricking Jesus with the woman but they were not going to give up. They accused Jesus of being a self-promoter. Yet only Jesus truly knew where He had come from and where He was going. He could give honest testimony on His own behalf.
Jesus was not promoting Himself out of pride, like many do today. In fact, many times He refused promotion and recognition. Even in our courts today we allow a person to testify in their own defense. Jesus stated clearly and honestly Who He was/is. There is plenty of supporting evidence. The question is: Will we believe Him or not?
Feb 20/06 - John 8:12
Jesus is the Light of the world. When we look to Him the blinders fall off our eyes. We begin to see things as they really are. Satan's illusions are shattered. The Truth is revealed. Let us determine to follow Jesus no matter what. It is better to know and walk in the Truth - even if we don't always like it - than to live in a fantasy world.
Feb 18/06 - John 8:10-11
In order for a criminal case to be presented, according to Law, there had to be two witnesses. Now that the Pharisees had left, there were no witnesses. No one was around to press charges except Jesus. Jesus, Who knew the truth of the matter although not a witness, refused to press charges. Case dismissed. That did not mean the woman was innocent. Jesus gave her strict instructions to change her ways as He granted her the forgiveness of God.
Feb 17/06 - John 8:6-9
In ignoring them, Jesus was giving the Pharisees an opportunity to retreat. They were too self-confident to see their trap was about to backfire. Pride goes before a fall.
Jesus confirmed the penalty of the Law. The woman deserved death; however, Jesus insisted that the whole Law be kept. Only people innocent of a particular crime could press charges for that crime, otherwise they would be condemning themselves as well. Jesus told the Pharisees that in order to execute the just sentence of the law on the woman they had to be innocent of adultery [not sin in the general sense]. They all knew they were just as guilty as the woman. Not wanting Jesus to execute them for adultery, they left the woman and departed.
Feb 16/06 - John 8:4-5
Like most people who try to abuse God's Law, the Pharisees only used the parts they wanted to. The Law actually said that both the man and the woman who committed adultery should die. Since this woman was "caught in the act," the Pharisees had to have known who the man was and yet they left him.
One of the things this shows is the unBiblical attitude toward women the prevails in heathen society. The Israel of Jesus' day was a mixture of heathen culture and Biblical tradition. Legalism had turn them from God's path even as it does to people and churches today.
Feb 15/06 - John 8:1-3
Jesus was popular enough that the Pharisees could not simply arrest Him. They would have had a riot on their hands. They had to find something that would turn the crowd against Him.
They thought this woman was the key. As far as they knew there was no right answer to their question. If Jesus said, "Release her," He would have violated the Law given by God and would have been guilty of sin. If He said, "Stone her," He would have been unjust to the woman in the eyes of the crowd by enforcing a law which had long since fallen into disuse. Either way the Pharisees would be able to work the crowd against Jesus.
Feb 14/06 - John 7:50-53
Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus secretly, tried to convince his fellow Pharisees to keep an open mind. He did this by asking a question. Questions are often the best way to make people stop and think. It is less confrontational than making dramatic statements.
In this case, it didn't work. The majority of the Pharisees had already made up their minds. They had chosen their course and all the facts in the world were not going to change their minds. Once someone had firmly made up their mind it is often a waste of energy to try and get them to change.
Feb 13/06 - John 7:44-49
Even the temple guards, who had gone to arrest Jesus, were confounded and failed in their mission. The Pharisees were contemptuous of what they considered to be the ignorant crowd. The Pharisees though no one know as much as they did, so they were the only ones who could be right. Many times common sense triumphs over knowledge. The experts can become so focused they miss the obvious. Even experts need to be humble and listen.
Feb 11/06 - John 7:40-44
The words of Jesus bring division - not division within His own people who are united to Him. Division comes to those who are on the outside looking in. They are divided among themselves and they are divided against those who have already chosen Christ. This division can cut across families, friends, businesses, and even nations. We have to choose with whom we are going to stand.
Feb 10/06 - John 7:37-39
Anyone who comes to Christ will be satisfied. No one is turned away thirsty. All will receive as much as they are willing to drink. Part of our problem is that we are willing to settle for so much less than God wants to give us.
Those who have a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ have been given the right to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is an ongoing experience that happens after salvation. It first happened on the Day of Pentecost. The Living Water of God can flow out of us to met the needs of those around us.
Also note, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was evidence that Jesus was glorified. It was only because the Death and Resurrection of Jesus was successful that the Holy Spirit could come as He did.
Feb 9/06 - John 7:333-36
Jesus let the Jews know the window of opportunity was short. When God makes an offer we need to take advantage of it immediately. Delay can cause the offer to be withdrawn.
Instead of focusing on the fact that Jesus was with them now, they grabbed onto the fact that they couldn't follow Jesus when He left. It confused them. They wondered if Jesus was going to a foreign country. Their minds were focused on earthly possibilities. We need to have our vision expanded, but we also need to focus on the clear teaching of the Word instead of focusing on the confusing or the controversial.
Feb 8/06 - John 7:31-32
When walking with God, we are totally protected. Nothing can hurt us. If something "bad" does happens it is because God has allowed it for a higher good. When we understand this we will be able to rejoice even in difficult circumstances.
Feb 7/06 - John 7:25-30
The crowd finally clued into Who was speaking. It was this Jesus that the Pharisees wanted to kill.
Jesus was so natural [sorry no halo] that people were deceived by appearances. They knew His home town. They knew His parents. They knew He was a hard-working business Man. It was all so natural. How could this Man claim to be God? Sure He did miracles but God? He opposed the established and respected religious rulers of the day. How could He be anything more that what He appeared to be? They needed spiritual eyes. They need to look beyond the appearance and see the reality. Their minds were fogged with Satan's lies. It is the same today. People debate Who Jesus was/is. Those with spiritual eyes see the truth and enter into eternal life. Those who get lost in appearances stumble blindly into Hell. And some, like the Jewish leaders, know exactly Who Jesus is but refuse Him and so run intentionally into the fires of Hell.
Feb 4/06 - John 7:21-24
Why did the Jewish leaders hate Jesus so much? Because He broke their precious traditions [but never the Law of God]. Legalism hardens the heart and kills the spirit. Legalists pay attention to unimportant details and miss the big picture.
In the case of Jesus, it was specifically their extra Sabbath laws being broken that really upset them. Jesus gave them an example of how they themselves broke the law without blame. He then challenged them to think clearly instead of with a mind fogged with hate and prejudice. But there is no reasoning with legalists.
Feb 3/06 - John 7:19-20
No one can keep the law. If anyone could keep the law then the death of Jesus would have been unnecessary. On the other hand, that doesn't mean the law is unimportant [see Life Line course].
The crowd still had not figured out that this was the Man the Jewish leaders wanted to kill.
Feb 2/06 - John 7:14-18
Jesus went into the temple to teach, although He was not recognized at first. He looked just like a ordinary small-town Person, looked down on by the Big City people.
Anyone who is truly seeking after God will recognize the teachings of Jesus as coming from God. Jesus never sought to lift Himself up or to promote Himself. He always looked for the glory of God. When we see preachers, teachers, evangelists, etc., who are big on promoting themselves we need to be very cautious. Their goal, and our goal, should be to promote Christ. We leave it in the hands of Christ if He wants to give us position in this life or if he wants us to live in relative obscurity. The point is not our position, but Christ's glory.
Feb 1/06 - John 7:10-13
Jesus was a controversial Man in His lifetime...and He has been ever since. There will always be those who believe and those who doubt until the Second Coming shatters all doubt. Only then (and at death) it is too late to change sides. Now is the Day of Salvation - don't miss it.
Jan 31/06 - John 7:6-9
It is important to know God's timing. Jesus knew, all of His life, that he was walking a thin line. One false step and the destiny of humanity would be lost forever, which included dying before or in a different way than was God's plan. Jesus had to know God's will every moment of the day. We are no different. True, the fate of the world doesn't hang on our shoulders, but we need to know God's will for our lives every step of the way. We cannot afford to be careless or casual. Christianity is to be joyful but it is also serious.
Jan 30/06 - John 7:1-5
Jesus was a marked Man. The Jews wanted to kill Him, yet no one could touch Him until the Father said the time was right. We are protected from all harm as we walk with God unless God has a higher plan.
Even the natural brothers of Jesus had doubts. Often the hardest people to convince - or the last to see our potential - is our own family.
Contrary to some teachings, Mary did not remain a virgin all of her life. After Jesus was born she had a normal marriage to Joseph.
Jan 27/06 - John 6:70-71
Jesus knew - before Judas did - that Judas would betray Him. Jesus gave Judas every opportunity to "make good." He even allowed him to be the treasurer. But Judas was never able to get his eyes off of this world and onto spiritual things. That is why, when he realized Jesus was not going to be the physical King he hoped for, he decided to sell Jesus. He had invested 3 1/2 years of his life in Jesus and he wanted to get something out of it. Do we often feel like the time, work, and money we invest in Jesus is never going to pay off? Are our eyes on the natural or the spiritual? If they are only on the natural, we had better be careful. We could fall as Judas fell.
Jan 26/06 - John 6:67-69
This teaching of Jesus was so confusing that many of His followers left him. As I have pointed out many times before, Jesus was not looking for the approval of the crowds. To Him doing the will of the Father was the most important thing even if it drove people away from Him. When we enter into a true ministry of God, our eyes are to be focused on God Himself. It is easy to compromise in order to appeal to the multitude. We can "justify" it in so many ways, but the bottom line always is the will of the Father.
That is not to say the desertion was not discouraging. Jesus felt the same emotions we do. He turned to the twelve He had picked as His close disciples and asked if they were going to abandon Him as well.
Peter responded with that classic answer. He had faith that Jesus was the Messiah. He knew that there was no hope in Anyone else. Without Jesus life would be empty and useless. So he clung to Jesus even though he was as confused as everyone else. When we get that same vision nothing will separate us from Christ. We may be confused, in pain, or fearful but we will not leave Christ. We know life without Christ is just a fantasy which will be shattered at death. We would rather have the Truth - even if we don't like it - than live a lie.
Jan 25/06 - John 6:64-66
Jesus know that not all His followers were true believers. Anytime a project or ministry is successful there will always be those who go along for the ride. They have enthusiasm but a low level of commitment. They will "jump ship" when the going gets rough or something else catches their eye. God is looking for people who will be faithful whether they understand or not.
Jan 24/06 - John 6:63
Our focus is to be on the things of the Spirit. It is from God that life comes and that all of life is upheld. We cannot judge things just as our eyes see them nor can we depend on the things of this world. That is why it takes faith. We have to believe in the Word of God even when it would appear to be false. For example, We believe that God loves us, even when our emotions and circumstances are screaming that He has abandoned us or is against us.
The life of the Spirit is imparted with Words. This is powerful. The Word of God is how the Spirit of God infuses life into us [which is made possible by the blood of Jesus]. It is vital that we know the Word of Truth.
Our words are also spirit. They are the outpouring of our spirit to other spirits [our listeners]. Unfortunately, our words do not always represent life. Many times our words bring the spirit of death and destruction.
Jan 21/06 - John 6:60-62
This teaching of Jesus confused even His own disciples [at this point He had many disciples besides the 12]. Again, notice that Jesus did not explain His teaching. But He did tell them that if they were offended at what He had said, He would not be able to share further things with them. The Holy Spirit trains us in steps. When we are able to handle one step, He begins to lead us to the next step. If we stumble at a step, then we work on it until we master it. It's like no one begins studying math with algebra. Everyone starts with what the numbers are, then moves to addition, then...
Jan 19/06 - John 6:52-59
If you think following Jesus when He walked on earth would have been easy, you have not understood the gospels very well. Jesus often said confusing things which His listeners did not understand...and He didn't offer explanations. [This teaching sounds positively cannibalistic.] The Jews certainly did not understand Him. Even when Jesus walked this earth, following Him was a matter of faith and working through times of doubt and confusion,
Looking back at it we can understand that Jesus was talking about believing in the Sacrifice He would make at the Cross. The only way to God is through the blood of Jesus Christ. It was his broken body and rivers of blood that cleansed our sins. Through Him we have peace with God and eternal life in His presence. If we reject it, we are dead forever [see report: What Is Death?].
This is not some limp mental/verbal acknowledgment of the facts either. This is a life-changing experience. We have to partake. In other words, we have to make it our life. It is not part of our life, it is not just something we believe, it must become something that IS our life. We follow Jesus without compromise, without looking back, without wishing we were still "in the world." When we fail, we come to Him for forgiveness and then press on. We do not give up. We grow on.
Jan 18/06 - John 6:48-51
The manna in the wilderness, like a lot of things in the Old Testament, was a picture of a spiritual reality. It showed the body of Christ being freely given to provide for the needs of His people. The physical picture had a temporary benefit, the spiritual reality has an eternal benefit. Those who do not partake of the true Manna have none of the benefits.
Jan 17/06 - John 6:46-47
God is a Spirit. We cannot know Him unless He reveals Himself. He is so great and wonderful that it is beyond our comprehension. In fact, for anyone to completely understand God they would have to be as great as God. Impossible. We will be forever learning new things. And only through Jesus is the Father revealed. There is no other way.
Jan 16/06 - John 6:43-45
Jesus was not concerned with the grumbling multitude. He had confidence that those who God had called would come to Him. The rest would not come no matter what He said or did.
All will be taught by the Father. Who is the "all?" Every human being? No, "all" who truly seek the Father will be taught by Him and come to Jesus. This illustrates the importance of using context to define words instead of jumping to our own conclusions.
Jan 13/06 - John 6:41-42
Nothing about Jesus stood out as extra-ordinary [other than His miracles and teachings]. The Jews knew where He was born and who His parents were. When Jesus claimed to be Someone more than He appeared to be, they complained and doubted. [Contrary to some cults, this shows that Jesus did claim to be more than a Man.]
There are some people who will not believe anything they cannot see. If something is presented that goes against what they perceive to be the facts they automatically reject it. Certainly, we are not to be gullible but there are also many things we cannot understand. Jesus presented evidence of Who He was but because they didn't want what He offering, they doubted. Doubt is often just an excuse to avoid dealing with an unwanted reality.
Jan 12/06 - John 6:38-40
Jesus reveals His divine nature by saying He came down from heaven. He was pointing to the fact that He did not originate on earth like the rest of us.
Also, we see the total submission of Jesus to the Father. His own will was unimportant. It was doing the Father's will that was vital. The commitment of Jesus to the Father should be mirrored in His people's commitment to Him.
What is the Father's will? To give everlasting life to all who believe on the Son. The will of the Father will be done.
Jan 11/06 - John 6:37
This is a very strong statement of the doctrine of eternal security. Everyone, whom God chose before the foundation of the world to receive salvation, will come to Jesus. And those who come will be accepted. You, as a Christian, are a gift from the Father to the Son. The Son is not so rude as to reject any gift of the Father, nor is He so careless as to misplace or lose any gift of the Father. You are safe and secure in His hands.
Some may ask: If everyone God has chosen is going to be saved, why do we need to witness and preach the gospel? That is a very good question and I know of no one who can completely explain it. The fact is, God has chosen to give us the privilege and responsibility of spreading the gospel. Somehow, in the mystery of the plan of God, He - although in total control - has given us a vital part to play. We cannot avoid it without incurring guilt. Yet we can operate with confidence that the Message will be effective in God's timing to those He has chosen. We don't present the messages with fear, compromise, or by trying to trick people with unrealistic promises. We present the message with love and compassion but also without compromise. We are not afraid to tell people to count the cost - for there is a cost.
Jan 10/06 - John 6:34-36
As soon as this socialistic, carnal crowd heard about free food again, they immediately wanted it. They were all for Jesus as "Lord" as long as He was giving them what they wanted. Somehow they, like many modern Christians, had gotten the concept of "lord" reversed. The Lord [Master, King, Ruler] is the One Who gives the orders. Their pretended interest and dedication did not fool Jesus. He knew the true condition of their hearts.
Jesus clearly identified Himself as the spiritual bread of life. They were looking at the temporal bread, Jesus was speaking of the spiritual bread. Jesus meets our every need. When we come to Him we always go away satisfied. Jesus should be the first Person we turn to.
Jan 09/06 - John 6:32-33
God, not Moses, had given the manna in the wilderness. That bread had sustained them in good health all through their wilderness wanderings.
Like many things in the Old Testament, manna was a picture of something God was going to do in the New Testament. Jesus is the true manna. He was sent down from heaven in order to give His life for the world. Bread is useless unless it is eaten. So knowing about Jesus and His work on calvary is not enough. One must actually partake of Christ through salvation.
Jan 07/06 - John 6:30-31
When they thought they could get the power of God easily, they were excited. As soon as Jesus told them to do something they did not want to do, they resisted Him. Now they wanted Him to prove Himself. He had just fed 5,000 + people with 5 barley loaves and 2 fish! What more did they want?
People who are only chasing power or a "free lunch" will always be disillusioned with true Christianity. God demands responsibility, commitment, and submission. There is no such thing as Christian socialism.
Jan 05/06 - John 6:28-29
The crowd, with their eyes on their stomachs, wanted to know what they had to do in order to do the same things as Jesus. All they saw was power to consume on their own desires. Some people seek God from selfish motives. They want power without cost, commitment, or submission. It doesn't happen that way.
Jesus cut right to the core. The basic, primary, main "work of God" was to believe in Jesus Christ. If they weren't willing to make that the center of their life, then nothing else would matter. This is a good judge for us as well. Many deceivers come, some even in the name of Christ, but when we strip away all the fancy words and actions do we find someone who truly believes in the Jesus Christ of the Bible? Are they humble and submissive? Are they operating for the Kingdom of God or for themselves? I don't care how much a person reads the Bible [the devil knows it very well], prays [the Pharisees were very good at that], or sees visions and angels [both Islam and Mormonism began with demonic angels of light], I want to know: What do they believe about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jan 04/06 - John 6:27
Jesus instructed them to value eternal things over earthly things. How often do we fall into the same trap? We work and sweat to gain something that is going to break or lose it's value. Instead of putting our effort into the things which will last forever. Don't misunderstand me, it's not wrong to have nice things. The question is, where is our heart? Are we seeking the kingdom of God and putting our effort there or we only trying to satisfy our own desires?
Jan 03/06 - John 6:22-26
Jesus presented the people with a puzzle. They knew He had not left with His disciples, they knew He had not used any other boat, but also, after a search, they knew He was not on their side of the lake. The logical thing to do was to find the disciples. Jesus would probably not be far away. Sure enough, He was with His disciples.
They asked Jesus how he crossed the lake. Jesus ignored the question. Sometimes we feel we have to have an answer for everything or that we are somehow obligated to answer every question. Jesus didn't. His purpose in life wasn't to satisfy the idle curiosity of the multitude.
Jesus was not deceived by them. He knew their true motive. They weren't after Him because His miracles had convinced them He was the Messiah. They just wanted their physical needs met. Many Christians today seek Jesus for the same reason. They view Him as a giant Santa Claus to met their every whim. They want Him for what He will do for them. But when the road gets narrow, when Jesus starts talking about discipleship, commitment, and sacrifice, they are gone. Jesus is not deceived. He knows those who are truly His.
Jan 02/06 - John 6:16-21
What a fright the disciples had. There they were struggling in the middle of the lake against a terrible storm and then they see someone walk on the water. Life with Jesus was always exciting, not always comfortable. You never knew what was going to happen next. How exciting is our life with Jesus?
How could Jesus, as a Man, walk on water? By faith. If there is a good reason for it, physical laws can be suspended. With God anything is possible. We need to expand our thinking. When walking into a situation our first question should not be: What is possible? Our first question should be: What does God want to accomplish here? If we know what God wants we can have faith that He will supply whatever resources are needed.
Dec 30/05 - John 6:14-15
This miracle convinced the people that Jesus was the promised Prophet/Messiah. In their vision of the Messiah He would now destroy the Roman Empire and rule as a King in Jerusalem. Plus, He could give them free food! They were going to try and force Jesus into their mold. Instead of submitting to their ideas or arguing with them, Jesus simply left the scene.
The multitude is always interested in anyone who gives them free things. In our day, people turn to the government demanding it look after them. They enthrone the civil government making it their god. They sell their freedom for temporary "free" benefits.
Dec 29/05 - John 6:10-13
Jesus gave thanks for the little they had. Often we look at our need and grumble...and miss the potential miracle. We should be grateful for what we do have.
After Jesus prayed there were no more loaves and fish than before He prayed. The disciples had to move out in obedience with that tiny bit of food. There always seemed to be just enough for the next person...and so on until they reached the end. Then they looked back at what was accomplished.
So it often is with us. We step out in faith and obedience to God. Things seem to be on the verge of failure, there is never enough...we move ahead one stumbling step at a time. Then at the end we look back and are amazed at what was accomplished.
Dec 28/05 - John 6:7-8
Phillip immediately saw the impossibility of the situation Jesus had presented. His eyes were on the problem. They simply did not have the resources - that was the bare fact. It never occurred to him that the One Who owned the earth was standing beside him. Don't condemn him. We do the same thing when we are presented with hugh problems.
Andrew was a little better. At least he looked around to see what they had to work with. The first step in solving our problems is to see what we already have. It may not be much but God can work with it.
Dec 27/05 - John 6:4-6
Part of being a disciple is undergoing tests. It is a learning experience as we grow from knowing about God to knowing God. Jesus tested Philip with a question. There was a potential problem, what was the solution? Jesus was never in doubt as to what He was going to do but He wanted to give Philip a chance to figure it out. As we move into discipleship we will experience the same thing. God wants to develop our thinking until we are thinking like Him. He wants us to leave our carnal, limited sight behind and begin to see from His unlimited prespective.
Jesus was not responsible to feed the multitude. They had come of their own accord. Nevertheless, it was an opportunity for ministry. Jesus was interested in both the spiritual and physical aspects of a person. Sometimes we get unbalanced. We can become so concerned about people's spiritual health that we forget they have very real physical needs. Or we can see the physical needs and become so wrapped up in them that we forget we are dealing with eternal beings who have spiritual needs as well. Jesus was perfect balance. Sometimes the ministry God gives us will focus on one need or the other and we need to co-operate and encourage counter-balancing ministries. We are not in competition but working together in building the Kingdom of God.
Dec 26/05 - John 6:3
Jesus ministered to the multitude, but He spent time with His disciples. The disciples were amazed by the miracles of Jesus but they wanted more. They wanted Jesus Himself. They were not satisfied with what Jesus did for them - they wanted relationship with Him. They were learning that Who Jesus was was more important than what He did. They were on the journey to learning to love and follow Jesus even if He did not do anything for them.
As we move toward the new year, it is a good time to consider where we fit. Are we in the multitude who attend church out of routine, habit, emotion, or to be amazed? Or are we willing to follow and obey Jesus even if He lets us go though hard times? Will we serve Jesus for Who He is or do we abandon Him with things get rough. Are we lovers or whiners?
Dec 22/05 - John 6:1-2
The multitude followed Jesus because He impressed them with His miracles. If Jesus had only wanted worldly fame and/or power, He would have encouraged them. But Jesus was not interested in pleasing the multitude. He wasn't looking to gather a following. He wasn't out to boost His own self-image. Jesus wanted disciples not admirers.
We need to be careful that we are working for the glory of God and not our own glory. To build long-term commitment is needed. What kind of people are we working with: disciples or the star-stuck multitude?
Dec 20/05 - John 5:45-47
The Scribes and Pharisees prided themselves on their knowledge and obedience of the Law of Moses. They considered themselves to sit in the seat of Moses and thought they were his heirs. Jesus showed them they were self-deceived. Moses - as well as the entire Old Testament - pointed to Jesus Christ as Messiah. To reject Jesus was to reject Moses and all he stood for as well.
Many cults and heresies reveal themselves in their reaction to Jesus. They may claim He is God but not Man, or Man but not God, or just downplay or ignore Jesus altogether. If they don't believe in Jesus then they are not Christian no matter how moral or good they may sound.
Dec 19/05 - John 5:41-44
Jesus came in the power and authority of the Father. He did only those things which pleased the Father. Yet He was rejected because He did not do things the way those around Him thought He should. He did not play politics, He was not politically correct, He didn't care what those around Him thought. His focus was totally on doing the will of God. He could not understand why others were more interesting in being popular with men than with God. Their terrible short-term vision was destroying their lives. They were trading eternal treasures for a few minutes of stolen glory.
We do the same thing when we comprise our Christian faith or principles in order to fit in with our friends or to gain some advantage. Jesus would have us follow Him. The path may not be popular. It may lead to a cross. The question is what do we value more: A comfortable life for our short time on earth or living in the pleasures of God's presence forever.
Dec 17/05 - John 5:37-40
Studying the Bible is important but it is not what gives life. The Pharisees, scribes, some scholars and professors, cults, and even Satan himself, have a very good knowledge of Scripture. If they reject Jesus, they have rejected life. All the knowledge in the world will not save them. Only when we know Jesus does the Word of God become alive to us.
Dec 16/05 - John 5:31-36
A person whose only conformation of who he is his own word is suspect. Many, through the years, have claimed to be the Messiah and some have even gathered a following of people. But if you examine their words, they have really just been testifying of themselves.
Jesus had other witnesses on His behalf to support His claims. John the Baptist was one. He testified that Jesus was the Christ. Everyone - even those who disliked him - had recognized that John was a prophet from God. On a human level that was a strong witness. But Jesus did not rely on human witnesses. God the Father Himself had testified on the behalf of Jesus. Also the things that Jesus was enabled by God to do witnessed of Who He was for those with open eyes.
This brings up an interesting side point. The works of Jesus were considered as witnesses. In Biblical Law you need two reliable witnesses to be able to convict a person of a serious crime. In many cases there may not be two human witnesses to the crime. This verse would indicate that the witnesses do not need to be human beings. A witness could be DNA evidence, fingerprint evidence, etc. Naturally the defense counsel would examine the evidence and how it was gathered to confirm or disprove] its reliability.
Dec 15/05 - John 5:30
The Father gave the authority to judge to the Son but the Son totally relied on the Father for how to judge. There was no spirit of independence here! Jesus was completely submitted to the will of the Father but that didn't make His authority or power any less. True authority is always under authority. God does not have any independent agents or operators.
Jesus could only complete His mission of redeeming the world because He was totally submitted to the Father. He learned during His 33 1/2 years to place the Father's will above His own. It was tested in a thousand ways and He passed each one and so He was able to lay down His will in the Garden. If we put our will above God's will in even the little things of life, we will not be able to complete our personal mission. We will not be ready for the big tests.
Dec 14/05 - John 5:28-29
Jesus instructed His listeners not to be surprised at the spiritual resurrection His words would cause because, in the future, His voice would also cause a physical resurrection. The difference is that the spiritual resurrection is only for those who truly "hear," while everyone will experience the physical resurrection.
There are some today who try to insert several physical resurrections into the "end times." Jesus is plain. There is one physical resurrection. He speaks and both the good and the bad are raised. The only difference is in their eternal destination.
Dec 13/05 - John 5:26-27
The Father doesn't have life so much as He IS life. We have life given to us as a gift. With God it is a natural part of His being. This same original "unbegun" spring of life is in the Son. To know Jesus is to know life and to truly live. To reject Jesus is to walk in the darkness of death.
The term "Son of Man" appears often in the gospels. I have always taken it as a reference to the humanity of Christ and many times in the Old Testament it is used when God talked to His prophets. One authour I read stated that Jesus was referring to Dan. 7:13 where "one like the Son of man came...to the Ancient of days" and therefore is actually a claim of divinity. Certainly worth considering...
Dec 12/05 - John 5:25
Jesus walked among the living dead. They were physically alive but spiritually dead. Those who heard His words would be spiritually resurrected immediately [and have a physical resurrection at the end of time]. This is not talking about natural hearing. Everyone around Him heard Him speak. In some cases His Word just bounced off spiritual coffins. In other cases, they really heard what He said and new life began.
The same is true today. The Words of Jesus go out though the Bible and Godly people sharing the Truth. Those who really hear have new live birthed within them. It is important to note that we are not responsible to make people hear. We share God's Truth and the Holy Spirit uses it to search out the hearts that are ready to live.
Dec 10/05 - John 5:24
Keep in mind that death basically means separation [see 104 - What Is Death?]. When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father we have passed from death to life. We are no longer dead [separated] to God but we have entered into an eternal relationship with Him. One day we will meet physical death and be temporary separated from our body. However, we will never again be separated from God.
Dec 9/05 - John 5:23
Jesus is to be honoured even as God the Father is to be honoured. Often you can spot a cult by how they treat Jesus. Even the Scribes and Pharisees, who claimed to love Jehovah and were experts in the Old Testament, who condemned because they rejected Jesus. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus. Any other claims are lies.
Dec 7/05 - John 5:20-22
The relationship between the Father and the Son is one of love and perfect unity. There are no secrets, no hidden agendas, in the Godhead. They work together to accomplish the eternal covenant [see Covenants]. And though it all, Each seeks the honour of the Other.
This is the kind of relationship Christ died and rose again to have with His church. It is not a relationship of equals - it can never be that - but it is to be a loving relationship in unity of purpose and action.
Dec 6/05 - John 5:19
Jesus claimed equality with Jehovah revealing Himself to be God. On the other hand, He did not operate independently. He was submitted to His Father. He only did what the Father told Him to do. And He did it in the way He was told to do it.
The world prizes independence and creativity. Jesus was neither independent nor creative in that sense. He was totally committed to following instructions. As Christians we are to have the same dependence on the Holy Spirit. We are to look to Him and follow His every instruction. It begins by studying and obeying His written Word, the Bible. If we won't do that we are only deceiving ourselves as to our commitment. Our actions may look creative to the world looking on from the outside but inside we know we are only following instructions. When we try to be independent from God, we end up in trouble everything.
Dec 5/05 - John 5:17-18
God is actively involved in the world and in our lives. He rested from His acts of creation but He is not inactive or distant in managing the affairs of life.
Jesus claimed to be equal with Jehovah God of the Old Testament. This was, in fact, a claim to Godhood. There are some cults today that teach Jesus never claimed to be God. The people who actually heard Him speak believed He was claiming to be God. If it was a false impression then Jesus should have corrected them. He never did; therefore, they had correctly understood what He was saying.
Dec 3/05 - John 5:15-16
The healed man was either naive or more afraid of the Jewish leaders than he was thankful to Jesus. Sometimes we do good with the best motives and we get hurt by the very one we are helping. It is a sad fact of life. It hurts but we don't let it stop us from helping people. We don't let bitterness and anger destroy our spirits. We operate in forgiveness and keep growing in God.
Dec 2/05 - John 5:14
There are several reasons why sickness may come our way. Sin is one reason. In the case of this man...it was sin. Sin is destructive and its consequences can pop up in different areas of our life including our health.
This is also another reason why Jesus wanted to make sure this man was ready to be healed. If he did not abandon his sin he could have ended up in worse shape. Sometimes we think we are helping people, but if they are not ready for it we can actually be hurting them. They have to want the healing, or deliverance, or salvation, or whatever for themselves. Us wanting it for them does no good.
Dec 1/05 - John 5:11-13
The Jewish leaders grilled the man on who had authorized him to break their traditions. The man didn't know! Some ordinary-looking Man had come up to him by the pool and healed him. Jesus had not even bothered to tell him His Name. He healed the man and disappeared into the crowd. Jesus was in to doing the will of God and He never sought publicity.
If someone had done this today, they would have called the media, made sure they got the picture spread all over the place, probably started healing meetings... Not Jesus. He wasn't out to prove Himself. When you see someone with a lot of self-promotion, it's time to be cautious. Real people of God are humble, waiting on God for promotion. They can live with publicity and they can live without it. Their focus is on doing the will of God whether it is popular or not and whether it is recognized or not.
Nov 30/05 - John 5:8-10
Jesus instantly healed the man. The man was then told to take his mat and walk...which he did. The Jewish leaders were upset that this man was breaking one of their legal traditions. They had absolutely no compassion for the man or excitement that, after 38 years, he was healed. Legalism always leads to hardness of heart.
Legalism strains at gnats and swallows camels. This is the direction our Western legal systems are heading. Technical details out weight justice. Even the details are rapidly becoming based on satanic humanistic law rather than Biblical law. Before long we won't have to fear invasion from an external foe...we will have destroyed ourselves from within.
Nov 29/05 - John 5:7
The man answered the question by implication - "I'm here trying to get well but it is impossible." He was locked into a single solution. In 38 years he had undoubtedly tried everything the medicine of his day could offer [and he could afford]. This pool was his last hope. He focused on it but in his heart he knew it was hopeless. He had no friends to help him and so he could never reach the pool first.
Many times we are like this man. We have a serious problem in some area of life. We focus on what we see as the only solution...or the only solution that is left after everything else has failed. Faith doesn't focus on solutions. When we have done everything we can, faith looks to God. It doesn't tell God how to do things. God is wise enough to come up with His own solution. We just trust Him and follow His instructions. Don't let the "only" solution from a human perspective blind you to all of God's possibilities. Don't limit God.
Nov 28/05 - John 5:5-6
Jesus learned that the man had been an invalid for 38 years. When Jesus walked this earth He laid aside His Deity. He had to learn. He needed to be guided and directed by the same Holy Spirit Who guides and directs us.
Then Jesus asked the man if he wanted to get well. What a seemingly stupid question! The man had been sick for 38 years. Who would not want to get well? Truth be told there are sick people who do not want to get well...not really. They enjoy the sympathy . They like having people do things for them. They want to avoid the responsibilities that would be theirs if they were well. So actually finding out if someone wants to be well is a pretty smart thing.
Nov 26/05 - John 5:1-4
Critics of the Bible used to point to this and say there was no such place in Jerusalem. It has since been found. Considering that the Bible has never been proved wrong, it would be wise to give it the benefit of the doubt in areas where we don't have complete knowledge.
There is some debate about the angel stirring the water. Did this actually happen? The Jews believed that it did. Scripture could simply be recording the commonly held belief. Either way, it wasn't helping this man.
Nov 25/05 - John 4:50-54
It may have been a crisis which brought the man to Jesus, but Jesus did not abandon him. He met his need. When the man had the word of Jesus, he left. Later his faith [and that of his family] was boosted when he realized his son was healed at the exact time Jesus had spoken.
Often we get locked into time/space thinking. Our faith is limited by the physical world. We need to raise our vision. Our God is Master of all. He is limited by nothing. Time, distance, space mean nothing to Him.
Nov 24/05 - John 4:46-49
A nobleman came begging Jesus to heal his son. Like any loving father would have been, he was desperate for his son. He was driven to Jesus by his need.
The response of Jesus seems harsh to our ears. The man is beside himself with worry and Jesus criticizes his lack of faith. Apparently, the man was not there because he really believed but because it was a last chance. Jesus knew the man would never have sought Him out if not for a crisis in his life.
The man does not allow the response of Jesus to deter him. He continues on with his request. Jesus wanted to see how serious he was.
Many times God must bring a crisis into our lives before we seek Him. Sometimes it brings us to the salvation experience. We are confronted with the reality that unless God intervenes in our lives disaster is inevitable. The fantasies and hollowness of the world is stripped away. Even as Christians, we get comfortable or start flirting with the world and it takes a crisis to get us back on track. It is much better to pursue God out of love than to seek God only when we get into trouble. But God will use whatever means He needs to in order to bring us to Him.
Nov 23/05 - John 4:45
At first Jesus was welcomed. They had seen His miracles. They wanted Him to "perform" for them. But Jesus was never influenced by public opinion. Sometimes it was for Him and sometimes it was against Him. His eyes were always on the Father. Likewise, we should study to know and practice the Truth and not be swayed by the opinion of others. The results are then left in God's hands.
Nov 21/05 - John 4:43-44
It is often true that those who know us best are the last to believe in us. Ideally, the family should be our biggest encouragers and supporters. Many times the opposite is true. They see all our faults and they are familiar with us. It becomes harder for them to look past all of that and see our potential. It is especially damaging when parents cannot look past the faults of their children and discourage them instead of encouraging them. So what if they try and fail? If they have proper encouragement they can get up and try again. But what if they are discouraged from even trying in the first place? God forgive us.
We have to walk a thin line. We cannot allow the discouraging words of those who know us to stop us from trying. Nor can we allow the "fans," who don't know us as well, to tempt us into thinking more highly of ourselves than we aught to. Unless we are particularly famous, the first problem is much greater than the second. The answer is to walk before God in humility, doing what He asks us to do with all our strength and leaving success or failure in His hands.
Nov 19/05 - John 4:39-42
The woman had opened the door. Many entered. Others wanted more evidence. They got it from Jesus Himself. Then they believed. God will answer people with honest questions but He will ignore those who are only using questions to try and justify not believing. God gave us minds. He expects us to weigh the evidence and to count the cost. People who "jump in" without thought or cost often leave just as quickly...or stay and cause problems.
Notice how flexible Jesus was. He was needed so He stayed an extra two days. No high level pressure. No resentment because His schedule was interrupted. Flexibility is a part of Christian life. God often brings opportunities when it is not convenient for our schedule.
Nov 18/05 - John 4:36-38
This is a team effort with Jesus as the Commander-In-Chief. The reapers tend to get all the credit from a human prospective. The sowers are often forgotten and yet if not for their hard - often discouraging and unrewarding - work there would not be a harvest to reap. Sometimes missionaries and others can labour in a field for years - maybe even a lifetime - and see little or no results. They can think their life work has been in vain. But they are sowing. In due season the harvest will be ready and God will send in the reapers. We have to keep in mind that we work for the "team" and not for ourselves.
Nov 17/05 - John 4:35
We need to be careful we do not become locked into traditional thinking. Many times we simply assume things about people or situations based on past experiences. Sometimes we need fresh eyes to see things as God sees them.
Nov 16/05 - John 4:31-34
Once again the disciples were confused by Jesus. Jesus explained that He drew His strength and satisfaction from doing God's will. This should be the joy of all God's children. It should be our highest goal to discover and fulfill the will of God for our lives. This, of course, is not a one time event. It is daily walking in the will of God, allowing the Holy Spirit to flow through us, and taking advantage of the opportunities God sends our way.
Nov 15/05 - John 4:28-30
This woman was excited now. She left her waterpot and rushed back into the city. Yet, in her excitement she used wisdom. If she had simply said, "I've found the Messiah!" she would have been laughed at. What would a woman know about the Messiah - especially a woman like her. So she began with the fact that a Stranger had been able to tell her about her life. That got their attention. Then she presented her conclusion and it was at least worth checking out. We often need to use wisdom in our presentation of the Gospel.
It doesn't appear that Jesus got His drink, but something had happened that was more important than His physical needs. I wonder how often we miss opportunities because we are so focused on our own needs - or desires - that we can't see past them.
Nov 14/05 - John 4:26-27
The disciples were surprised at Jesus talking to a woman. Rabbis, of Jesus day, paid no attention to women. Women were not even allowed to testify in court. And as for actually teaching one...that was far beneath their dignity. The disciples were to learn that following Jesus could be embarrassing as tradition and ungodly social taboos were broken. Why this Man would actually eat with hookers and organized crime figures - and they would have to tag along! Even today, following Jesus can lead to uncomfortable situations.
Nov 11/05 - John 4:25
The woman had faith in the Messiah even though she was outside the Jewish nation. Jesus seemed to find more faith in outsiders than in the Jewish community. Let that be a lesson to us. It is possible to become so familiar with Christianity that we actually decrease our faith! It becomes routine and then unappreciated.
Jesus clearly identified Himself to this woman. Only His disciples had such a clear revelation - and maybe they didn't even have it at this point.
Nov 10/05 - John 4:23-24
God is a Spirit. He does not have a physical body. He does not need anything - especially anything physical. He made it all and He can make or destroy anything at will. Under the Old Testament system there was a specific place [the temple] for worship and very detailed ways in which worship had to be conducted, although even then the heart attitude was the critical issue.
God is looking for true worshippers. People who will worship Him from the heart without ulterior motives. True worship is not simply an act but an entire lifestyle. A life lived according to the Word of God is more an act of worship than all the songs, speaking in tongues, and emotional experiences combined. Now, don't get me wrong, I believe in singing and praise, I believe in speaking in tongues, and I believe in emotional experiences [in balance], but if they do not come from a life submitted to God, His Word, and His leadership, then they are not "in truth" and are worthless. Too many people divorce "worship" from their practical life as if they were two unrelated compartments. True worship will impact how we deal with our spouse, our children, our boss, our finances, our....
Also, God is not seeking worshippers because He needs it. God has no needs. He is total and complete within Himself. Our worship of God is more for our benefit than His, although He certainly gets pleasure form the developing relationship it represents.
Nov 9/05 - John 4:21-22
Jesus let the woman know that soon the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile would be broken down. Before long, the necessary types and shadows of the Old Testament would be replaced by the glorious reality of the New Testament.
The Jews - and some Christians today - thought that salvation was FOR the Jews. Jesus states that is was FROM the Jews. The Jewish nation was the instrument God used to bring the Messiah to the world. Salvation was never intended to be limited to one small nation. Salvation was always meant to include both Jew and Gentile.
Nov 8/05 - John 4:18-20
Jesus showed the woman that she had no secrets from Him. It was not done in a condemning way but simply a statement of fact. It was a fact she needed to confront.
Some feel the woman was trying to evade the question or the fact of her sin. Certainly some people try to hide or evade their sin with a religious front. In this case, I think the woman was sincere. She had been searching for answers - answers she had not found in human relationships. She was seeking for a Divine Husband in all the wrong places. Human relationships can never replace or satisfy our inborn desire for a divine relationship. Now here is an obviously knowledgeable religious Man Who is willing to talk to a "mere" woman and answer her questions. Its almost too good to be true and she needs to get some things settled in her mind.
Nov 7/05 - John 4:14-17
The woman decided she wanted what Jesus was offering - although she still misunderstood the nature of it. Jesus, instead of jumping up and making her recite the Sinner's Prayer, required her to confront her sin. Until we are ready to face and abandon our sin, we are not ready for salvation. Jesus will be Lord or He will not be Saviour.
Notice, Jesus did not start out by revealing her sin. He first got her interest and established a friendly relationship. Then He was in a position to challenge her - gently but firmly - to bring her through conviction to genuine repentance.
Nov 5/05 - John 4:13
As Christians the Living Water of God should flow out of us. Unfortunately many times we allow our "well" to become polluted. Out of our mouths flow death and destruction bringing hurt and pain in its wake. If that has been the case, we need to repent and get the life-giving water of the Holy Spirit flowing again.
Nov 4/05 - John 4:11-12
Jesus had gotten this woman's curiosity going. Here was an ordinary-looking Jew sitting by a well without even the means of getting Himself a drink...and He was offering her Living Water! Curiosity can be a powerful tool - it even got Moses to turn aside!
Often we get so caught up in trying to answer questions that we miss the curiosity opportunity. Throw out "teaser" questions - make people think. The woman realized that if Jesus could do what He was claiming, He would have to be greater than their hero: Jacob. Christianity has nothing to fear from honest, thinking people.
Nov 3/05 - John 4:10
Although Jesus was hungry, thirsty, and tired, He did not miss an opportunity to present the Gospel. Jesus was a Master at taking everyday things and using them to illustrate spiritual principles. In this case it was a simple thing like water. We need to constantly keep our eyes open for natural opportunities. It is not something we "force" up but what can flow out of our lives. We need to be sensitive to people - some are ready, others are not.
Nov 2/05 - John 4:8-9
The Jews had no friendly relations with the Samaritans, but they did have business relations when they needed it.
This woman is shocked that Jesus would even speak to her. Many Jewish rabbis considered it beneath their dignity to speak to a woman. Not only was she a woman but also she was a Samaritan woman. Jesus never saw race, sex, colour, or social status. He saw lost people in need of God's love.
Nov 1/05 - John 4:7
The fact that this woman was coming at this time of day showed she was no ordinary housewife. She had chosen a time when the well would be deserted by the other women. Samaritans were outcasts from the Jews and this woman was an outcast of the outcasts. Her lifestyle and reputation had left her alone.
Why did Jesus as her for a drink? He was thirsty. It had been a long, hot walk. He was now sitting beside some cool, refreshing water with no way to get it. Jesus was not affected by prejudice or pride. He wanted a drink and He asked for it. Jesus was not some "superhuman" Person. In His humanity He experienced all the discomforts and emotions that we do. That is why He is able to be an understanding and effective High Priest.
Oct 31/05 - John 4:5-6
A thousand plus years after Jacob and Joseph lived the people still knew where their property was. Even the wars and the Babylonian Captivity had not erased the memory.
We in North America have lost something important by not having long roots. Even families often move from community to community unable to put down roots. Spiritually our roots are in Jesus and can be traced right back the beginning - 6,000 years of roots! No matter how "uprooted" we may be in the natural, we can still have strong and generational roots spiritually.
Oct 29/05 - John 4:4
Why did Jesus need to go through Samaria? It was certainly the shortest route to His destination but it was a way that was usually avoided by the Jews. His disciples probably cringed as He started down the path which would take them through Samaria. Perhaps His purpose was to bring the gospel to the Samartians although I would suspect that was a side benefit since the Jews were to have the first opportunity of hearing and accepting the Gospel. In any case, He was directed by the Holy Spirit to take this route specifically.
Most times God seems to allow us to make daily choices in the things we do and the places we go. There are times; however, when He wants things done is a specific way or at a specific time. We need to be sensitive and obedient to that. We may or may not ever find out the reason why He wanted it done that way but that is His business, not ours.
Oct 27/05 - John 4:1-3
The Pharisees had their spy network. They had kept a suspicious eye on John the Baptist. They soon learned that Jesus was the "new" threat to their power.
Jesus left the area rather than be led into a premature confrontation. He knew the time was not yet right. It is important to know the times and seasons of life and the will of God.
Oct 26/05 - John 3:31-36
John the Baptist had a great revelation of Who Jesus was. He used that revelation - not in pride - but to further teach the people and promote Jesus. When God gives us a revelation - or we even think we've gotten one - it is easy to feel proud. We can get the idea that we are better than others, that we know more than they do. [The revelations to Paul were so great he needed a special messenger of Satan to keep him humble.] That is not the reason for revelation. God intends us to share it in humility with the body of Christ to build everyone up. We also need to be submissive to those in authority [especially our Pastor] as they judge to see if we have indeed heard from God. And we need to accept correction without getting "huffy" and offended.
The just, consuming, all-encompassing wrath of God against ever sin hovers over everyone. The only ones protected are those covered by the blood of Jesus Who has already suffered the full wrath of God on our behalf. Everyone else is just one breath away from the eternal fires of Hell. The danger is tragic and unavoidable but they walk on in ignorance mocking the only One Who could save them. Pray their eyes are open to the Truth before they plunge forever into the horrors beyond death's vail.
Oct 25/05 - John 3:22-30
Again we see the humility of John the Baptist. He did not strive after a position that was not his. He knew his ministry would shrink and eventually disappear in the light of Christ. He was faithful to do his job without envy. Not only was he not jealous but also he was joyful. He rejoiced in the success of Jesus even though it cost him personally. He had the joy of the "best man" at a wedding and he was content with that. Just think how much could be accomplished for the kingdom of God if everyone had the attitude of John the Baptist.
Oct 24/05 - John 3:19-21
It is interesting that when someone steps out to do good all kinds of opposition emerges. Many times the opposition is from people who have no interest in the project at all! It is not that the project effects them personally one way or the other. They don't want to do good and they can't stand to see to someone else do it. Nehemiah faced exactly the same thing. He worked for good and people who had absolutely no interest or business in his activities bitterly opposed him. In today's society many times the role of opposer is taken up by the civil government - which should give us an idea of what is behind a lot of government [see Rev. Davis' book: The Kingdom of God and the Civil Government in the bookstore].
The hatred is both unreasonable and intense. We see this illustrated in Scripture in the trials of Jesus and Stephen. Their adversaries refused to listen to reason and common sense but with blind hatred carried out their plans against innocent people. It can often be seen in the lives of martyrs - both past and current. Many of you may have faced this as well - from friends, employers, or even strangers - to a greater or lesser extent. Don't be discouraged. Hold fast. You may want to study the book of Nehemiah for encouragement.
Oct 22/05 - John 3:17-18
At His first coming, Jesus came to make and offer the way of salvation. The justice of God looks at Calvary and is satisfied. Through Jesus we can now move from being enemies of God to being friends of God. Our cost? Unconditional surrender. Jesus paid the price but we must believe - which involves the action of submission to His Lordship.
At His second coming, Jesus will be the Judge. Both the righteous and the wicked will be judged. One will be eternally rewarded and the other will be eternally punished.
Oct 21/05 - John 3:16
This is perhaps the most well-known verse in the Bible. Many Christians have it memorized. And no wonder, this verse is rich in meaning.
God loved the world. That by itself is amazing. After the world had rejected Him and bowed to His arch enemy, He still loved the world. One would have thought that with a word He would have destroyed all that is and began again. The world, by the way, includes the entire creation not simply human beings.
He gave. Love gives. It is not selfish. God gave His Best. His only and greatly loved Son. His love for the world caused Him to give His Son over to torture and death. As a parent, would you give over your child to a cruel death in order to save someone who hated you? I would not, but God did.
The only thing required is that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have to accept Him as the substitute sacrifice on our behalf. If we do then we move from death [See What Is Death] to life. If we don't then we will pay the price for ourselves - an eternity in the flames of Hell with no hope of escape. One way or the other we will exist forever. God gives so much and asks so little [See The Making Of A Blood Covenant].
Oct 20/05 - John 3:11-15
This is the only time I know of that the snake - usually a symbol of Satan - is used to represent Christ. In this case it showed that Jesus was made sin for us. He was to be lifted up on the cross for the world to see. Those who could see what was really happening on a spiritual level and believed would then be able to enter eternal life. One of the reasons why we have so many uncommitted Christians is that they have never seen the horror of sin nor understood the price that was paid to free us from it. I doubt any of us will ever understand it to its full measure.
Oct 18/05 - John 3:9-10
Nicodemus was still confused. He was man who studied and knew the Old Testament extremely well. He was an expert in the Word of God and yet these first principles were confusing him. Jesus was surprised that a man of such knowledge would be so ignorant of what the Old Testament was really talking about. This just underscores His point that unless a person is born again he cannot understand the things of God. There are many "theologians and preachers" in the world today who have a great head knowledge of the Word of God but it has never reached their hearts. Nicodemus was, at least, sincere and persistent in his search for the Truth. The other Pharisees - like liberal scholars today - simply used their knowledge to try and discredit the Truth.
Oct 17/05 - John 3:5-8
Jesus went on to explain what He meant. A person must be both physically and spiritually alive to enter the Kingdom of God. No one can will themselves to be born. It is an act of God. Once we are born; however, we are responsible to press into the Kingdom of God with all our being. God doesn't want us just sitting on the borders.
The true Christian is like the wind to the ungodly. They can see and feel the immediate effects of his life with God. They don't understand where he is coming from or what is going to be the end result. It is all a mystery. Being born again is entering a new world. It doesn't separate us from the physical world but it lets us see the reality behind the curtain. We can see and experience life as it was always meant to be.
Oct 15/05 - John 3:4
Jesus was talking of spiritual things - using a natural illustration - and Nicodemus was trying to understand it strictly on a natural plane. It was confusing.
We cannot blame Nicodemus. Many Christians today do the same thing when they read the Old Testament. Although the Old Testament was real history and it's promises had a natural aspect, in it God was drawing a natural picture of the spiritual reality that would come with the New Testament age. Some Christians are confused not seeing the true and ultimate spiritual fulfillment that was pictured in the Old Testament.
Oct 14/05 - John 3:3
The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom. The Jews - and some Christians - were looking for a physical kingdom centered in Jerusalem. Jesus let Nicodemus know that a person doesn't even have the ability to perceive the real kingdom of God until they are converted. They may have a lot of head knowledge but to really "see" the kingdom of God requires more than that.
The spiritual kingdom of God does indeed impact out physical universe but it cannot be controlled or entered from the physical realm.
Oct 13/05 - John 3:1-2
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a ruler among the Jews. He was a man of influence, yet he came to Jesus by night. Was this because it was the only time they could get together, or was he afraid of the consequences of meeting with Jesus? Would he be shunned by his peers if he went to Jesus for instruction? Scientists who believe in creation [and others] face this dilemma. If they come out in the open with their beliefs they may be fired, denied promotion, be shunned and laughed at by their peers, and may have their articles - even on unrelated topics - rejected by the scientific journals. It is a very real persecution. Notice, Jesus doesn't refuse to meet with Nicodemus because of his fears. Jesus always mets us where we are at. We never need to fear rejection by Him.
Nicodemus also gives us important evidence that right from the beginning of the ministry of Jesus the Pharisees knew He was the Messiah. Their opposition to Him was not from ignorance or a desire to protect the innocent from a fraud. They knew, but because Jesus was not the type of Messiah they wanted they with deliberate choice rejected Him. They wanted a Messiah to give them power and an earthly kingdom centered at Jerusalem. Many Christians today are looking for the same thing the Pharisees were...and they will be just as disappointed. We need to get our eyes off of carnal interpretations of Scripture and on to the Great Commission.
Oct 12/05 - John 2:23-25
The miracles of Jesus drew many people to believe in Him yet He did not put His trust or confidence in them. If He had then He would have been influenced by the whims and desires of the crowd. He knew how unstable and self-seeking they were. Jesus never conducted opinion polls. His eyes were on His Father and whether that made Him accepted or rejected by man did not matter. We need to develop the same heart attitude. Our will is set to do the will of the Father and how others react to that is of secondary importance. If we allow the fear or approval of man to become the most important thing in life then we will never follow in the true steps of Christ.
Oct 10/05 - John 2:22
While Jesus did not explain everything He said and did, it all had a purpose. In this case, it would strengthen the disciple's faith after the resurrection. Jesus had a long-term plan and laid His foundation well. We should do the same.
Oct 8/05 - John 2:18-21
The Jews demanded a sign from Jesus. Jesus never "preformed" on demand. He did not let people [or even their needs] motivate Him.
He gave them a sign that they could not understand and He did not explain it [Although they did remember it at His trial]. Jesus often said things He did not explain.
Ironically, the physical temple, which was still under construction, was only completed a few years before it was destroyed in AD 70. With the death and resurrection of Jesus, the earthly temple would have no reason for standing...and never will again.
Oct 7/05 - John 2:16-17
The zeal of Jesus for the physical temple reveals at least two things:
First, it pictures His zeal for the spiritual temple - His church. Jesus is not sitting in heaven feeling half-hearted about His church. He is tender and caring for His people and furious with anything or anyone who would defile them.
Second, it shows that we should be respectful in church. Too many people treat the house of God like any other building. True, the physical building is not nearly as important as the people themselves, but it still deserves respect for what it is.
Oct 6/05 - John 2:13-15
Jesus cleansed the temple in this way twice in His ministry. He did it here at the beginning and then He did it again at the close of His ministry.
Anger in itself is not wrong. It depends on why we are angry and how we express it. Jesus was angry at the fact that religion had been turned into a business and that sincere and innocent people were being cheated in the name of God. It burned within Him. This was not what God intended. Jesus was harsh on those who abused His people.
Sometimes we are presented with a mild, feminine picture of Christ. We need to study the Word of God to get a balanced picture of Jesus. He was what human beings were designed to be. Like Adam, before the Fall, He was the image of perfection.
Oct 3/05 - John 2:12
This verse would indicate that Jesus had brothers since His "brethren" went with Him on this occasion as well as His disciples. Some believe that Mary remained a virgin all her life. There is no Scriptural reason for this. She was a virgin when she gave birth to Christ but there is no reason to believe that she did not have normal relations with her husband afterward. Sex within marriage and God's boundaries is a beautiful and uplifting thing. Although Jesus had a supernatural beginning, He grew up in a "normal" family.
Oct 3/05 - John 2:9-11
The master of the banquet was greatly impressed with the wine. When Jesus does something, He never goes half-way. It is always the best and/or more than what we expected.
Why was this the first sign? Perhaps because it is the first miracle He does in our lives. He takes the tasteless and ordinary water of life and turns it into the bubbling and life-giving wine of the Spirit.
Sept 30/05 - John 2:8
The servants took the water to the ruler of the feast. This was an act of faith. Can you imagine what the ruler of feast would have said [or done] to them if they presented him with water to taste? It would not have been a pleasant scene. Yet they followed the instructions of Christ without question and without knowing what the consequences would be. They were not disappointed. We will never be disappointed either if we are obedient. If we try to reason things out and make understanding a condition of obedience then we may end up being embarrassed or worse.
Sept 28/05 - John 2:6-7
Jesus used something common and nearby to perform His first miracle. Often our eyes are far away and we miss what God wants to do. When we need a miracle, we need to look at what we have not moan about what we don't have. God always starts with what we have.
The servants obeyed Jesus and filled the water jars to the brim. They were whole-hearted. They did not fill them half-way or just as full as they thought was necessary. They went right to the brim. God is looking for a "brim full" people. People who will always put out their best effort at home, at work, at church, everywhere...
Sept 26/05 - John 2:5
The mother of Jesus instructed the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do. Through this story she also instructs us. We are to do whatever Jesus asks us to do. It may seem foolish to the natural mind but ours is not to question why. Ours is to obey. If we would walk the path of discipleship we must learn to do whatever He tells us without complaint or hesitation. It takes trust and faith.
Sept 24/05 - John 2:3-4
At the reception they ran out of wine. This was a major disaster. In the beliefs of the day [not Biblical] it meant there was going to be a curse on the marriage. What could they do? The mother of Jesus had confidence that her Son could solve the problem, although exactly what she had in mind I don't know.
The respectful reply of Jesus could have a couple of different meanings. It could mean that it wasn't really the time of miracles. He was just preparing the foundation of His ministry. Or it could mean that it wasn't yet His turn. In a Jewish wedding the bridal couple were blessed by the guests beginning with the oldest and going to the youngest. Jesus was a young man of 30. He could have been saying that it wasn't His time to bring a blessing at the wedding.
Some Christians go weird here and start making excuses for Jesus and wine. Many North American Christians especially have a real problem with the idea of Jesus drinking wine. The Bible nowhere forbids drinking wine. It forbids drunkenness - not drinking wine is one sure way to avoid drunkenness. Personally I do not drink alcohol in any form but that is personal conviction not Biblical command. We have to be very careful not to make personal convictions into Biblical commands.
Sept 23/05 - John 2:1-2
Believe it or not - after over a month - we are finally out of Chapter One. It's a good thing we are not in a hurry. :)
Three is the number of the resurrection - new life. It is fitting that Jesus began His ministry by attending a wedding on the third day. Two lives were becoming one and a new life was beginning.
Presumably it was a family member or friend who was getting married as both Jesus and His mother were invited.
The fact that Jesus attended the marriage shows His endorsement of marriage as an institution even through it wasn't God's will for Him personally. Jesus always supported marriage and family life.
Sept 22/05 - John 1:51
This is an obvious reference to Jacob's Ladder. Jesus had an "open heaven" over Him. The angels would come to minister to Him, especially after draining confrontations with Satan. As we walk with God, He sends angels to minister to us as well. Some people spend a lot of time thinking about angels. From my point of view, we should spend our time thinking about Jesus and let Him decide how He wants to respond.
Nathanael, although he started with doubts, had gone forward with an open heart. The result was a further revelation. One of the key principles in the Kingdom of God is: When we use what we have, we will be given more.
Sept 21/05 - John 1:47-50
Although Nathanael had a negative outlook, he had an open heart. It didn't take much to convince him that Jesus was the Christ. In fact, Jesus seemed a little surprised that it took so little to turn him around. If we have open, moldable hearts God can teach us and will use us. It is when we are opinionated and hard-hearted that we are in real trouble.
Sept 20/05 - John 1:46
Nathanael was locked into negative thinking. Nothing good, in his opinion, had ever come out of Nazareth so nothing ever would. He was missing future potential because of past failure. We often fall into the same trap. We stereotype people or things into our image of them and have a hard time expanding our vision.
Philip was wise. He didn't waste his breathing arguing the point. He simply invited Nathanael to come and see for himself. Arguing rarely convinces a person who has already made up his mind on something. Much better to allow them to put their belief to the test.
Sept 19/05 - John 1:43-45
Some disciples were brought to Jesus, others He went looking for.
Jesus is the center and the object of the Old Testament. The Law, the prophets...it's all about Jesus. Some people error today by thinking it was all about a specific nation. No, the nation was only the vehicle - Jesus was always the goal.
Sept 15/05 - John 1:40-42
Andrew couldn't keep this good news to himself. Here -right now! - was walking among them the One everyone had been waiting for since God first gave the promise to the fallen Adam [Gen. 3:15]. What excitement! What joy! They had a lot of misconceptions as to what it actually involved but they knew they had arrived at the point in history on which all history would depend.
Sept 13/05 - John 1:38-39
As you read through the Gospels noticed how often Jesus asked questions. It certainly was not to gain knowledge, although in His humanity He had to learn things. Often questions were meant to draw people out, to make them think, or to express their faith. Too often we are so busy giving answers that we don't help people learn. People learn by discovering things for themselves, by being made to think, and by a little hard work. Many times we need direction and help on the road to discovery but when everything is simply given to us we tend not to value it and forget it quickly.
Andrew and the other disciple were not in a rush. I'm sure after hearing John's testimony their minds were overflowing with questions. Instead of blurting them all out, they simply asked where Jesus was staying. They knew the importance of relationship building. They were not just coming to Jesus to have Him solve all their problems and then to continue merrily on their way. No, they were laying the foundation for a lifetime of relationship and learning.
Many times Christians try to use God like a casual sex partner. They want instant gratification and then to go on their own way and do their own thing. God is not interested. He desires the sustainable and growing intimate relationship of marriage. God will not be used and abused. We come to Him as Lord and Saviour - with our whole lives and permanent relationship in mind - or we are only living in a religious fantasy world of our own making. God isn't there.
Sept 12/05 - John 1:35-37
John was not even afraid of losing his disciples to Jesus. Too often "ministry" becomes a personal business. There is pride and jealousy as to who is bigger or more successful. There is struggle for power and the protecting of "territory." We are afraid to simply follow orders and let Jesus do the building. We are afraid that God's vision for our lives might not be as great as our own plans. Step outside the world of church politics and outside the petty ministry jealousies and pride. Step into the world of Jesus...a world of simply following orders and trusting God for the results whatever they may be.
Sept 10/05 - John 1:32-34
John was given a sign by which he would recognize the Son of God. Jesus looked like every other Jew. There was nothing special to set Him apart...and no halo! People then, as now, believed on Him because of faith not because of sight.
Jesus was endued with the power of the Holy Spirit [the same power which is available to you and I today] to fulfill His ministry. Up to that point He lived the life of a poor Jew struggling to make a living under Roman oppression. It is likely that Joseph had died and Jesus was the main supporter of His mother, sisters, and brothers. He knew what it was like to work long, hard hours to make ends met. He knew the struggles of the worker but He never acted in resentment or bitterness - for He was without sin. Before He began His ministry He had to prove that He could walk through all the ups and downs of life without sin. Just think, only one little sin - at any point - and the human race would have been doomed to hell forever. This was the second opportunity [Adam failed], and it was the last one. Failure here would be final.
Sept 9/05 - John 1:29-31
John quickly identified Jesus as the Lamb of God. The lamb was the sacrifice for sin on the altar. John was declaring that God had now provided Himself with the Perfect Sacrifice. All knew the lamb would have to die - without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
The sin of the world would no longer be "covered." It would be taken away. Notice, "the sin." There are many sins but what is The Sin? The sin is rebellion against God. It is our seeking our independence. That Sin gives birth to all the other sins. Jesus came to restore our fellowship with God. He came to forgive and take away our rebellion. We are no longer rebels but faithful sons.
Sept 8/05 - John 1:26-28
John knew it wasn't about him. He knew he wasn't the star but one of the support cast. God has a place for all of us. Some positions may seem more glamorous, but what is important is that each of us does his job unto the Lord to the best of his abilities.
Sept 6/05 - John 1:24-25
John, Jesus, many Church leaders, and lay Christians have faced more intense opposition from religious people than from pagans. Satan worms his way into the church. He then implants his ideas and agents to try and destroy the church from within. Even today many church leaders do not themselves believe in the basics of Christianity. Genuine disciples are attacked and sometimes even asked to leave churches by fellow "Christians."
Sept 5/05 - John 1:22-23
When undergoing questioning by the Pharisees and religious rulers, John answered with Scripture. Jesus did the same thing. There can be no better reply than Scripture properly applied. This, of course, means we have to study in order to know both the Scripture and the correct context.
Sept 3/05 - John 1:19-21
John was an honest man who knew his place. He did not have to defend himself or pretend to be greater than he was. He could recognize his position and fulfill it to the best of his ability. He was not envious or jealous because he was not given the "star" position. How often are we envious because someone has, in our eyes, a more important or recognized ministry or ability. It is God Who gives as He will. Our job is to do the best where we are and with what we have been given. Those who strive and fight for power or position are usually those least able to handle it. The way to success in the Kingdom of God - no matter what position we have - is humility not pride.
Sept 2/05 - John 1:18
God is beyond our limited comprehension. It is only because Jesus has come and shown us what God is really like that we can have any knowledge of Him at all. When we look at Jesus, we see a true picture of God.
Sept 1/05 - John 1:16-17
When we become Christians the fullness of Christ lives in us. We don't get little bits and pieces! Christ in His fullness lives in you. You have everything you will ever need to live and do whatever God puts before you. Our problem is usually letting go enough to let Christ's life shine through us.
Some have used verse 17 to say the Law passed away when Christ came. That is not what the verse says. The Law - God's holy and unchanging standard - was given through Moses. Through Jesus we receive the power of God to live up to the standard. It is not a legalistic work of the flesh but a relaxing, glorious work of God [more details on this are in the Life Line course.]
Aug 31/05 - John 1:15
John witnessed to Christ's eternal nature. Physically John was born first and so in the natural course of events he should have had the priority. But Jesus had always existed - even before His physical birth - so He is the supreme One.
Aug 30/05 - John 1:14
God took on a human body. Amazing! God, Who is pure, limitless Spirit, limited Himself to a frail human body capable of feeling all the aches, pains, and emotions that our bodies/minds feel. We will never be able to understand the greatness of the love of God or the depth of the cost He had to pay.
It was because Jesus was willing to take a human body that we are able to understand as much as we do about God. By looking at Jesus we can see what God is like.
Aug 29/05 - John 1:12-13
While the majority rejected Jesus Christ, there were some who accepted Him. They are taken out of the family of darkness and placed in the family of Light. They are born again into a new world. They are a new creation. They then have the power to develop into mature sons of God. This does not mean, as some cults teach, that they become or are becoming God. Jesus is the ONLY begotten Son. Those who are His are adopted sons. They will never become God but they can mature to shine forth the characteristics of God - love, joy, peace, etc.
This born again experience is by believing on the name of Jesus. This is not an intellectual belief, although it includes that. It is a knowledge born in the heart/spirit which accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. This faith is not something which can be inherited [of blood]. It is not something which we can make up or force ourselves to do [will of the flesh]. It is not something that others can make us do or do for us [will of man]. Just as a baby cannot choose to be conceived, we, willfully entrapped in sin, cannot choose to be born again. It is a work of the mercy and grace of God from beginning to end.
Aug 27/05 - John 1:10-11
Jesus made the world and yet when He came in Person He was rejected. The world did not want Him. His own nation - Israel - refused Him. Their leaders, who were experts in the Law, knowingly refused Him. He was not the kind of Messiah they wanted. They were happy in their sins playing religion. They only wanted someone to free them from the external bondage of the Romans.
The world today - and unfortunately some Christians - cries, "We will not have this Man to rule over us." Some Christians even resurrect the old unscriptural, Jewish fantasy about the Messiah reigning from a physical throne in Jerusalem. The answer of the church is: "Jesus is Lord. Surrender unconditionally now or be destroyed without mercy later. Now is the day - the only day - of Salvation."
Aug 26/05 - John 1:9
Jesus alone is the true Light. Notice that He gives light to everyone who comes into the world. The ungodly are without excuse. There is enough "light" that everyone should know God is there. On Judgment Day no one will be able to say, "I never had a chance."
This does not excuse us from witnessing and sharing the Gospel. The Holy Spirit uses our efforts to remove the veil of darkness with which Satan has entrapped the human race. The Light can then be perceived.
Aug 25/05 - John 1:7-8
John was to witness to the Light of the Lord Jesus Christ. In one way, we are all called to a John the Baptist ministry. All of us are to witness to the Light. The darkened, sin-filled world is to perceive the Light and Love of God though us. We are not the Light but the Light shines through us. It may be in a dramatic way or it may be simply as we go about living quiet lives committed and submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Trouble comes in when we confuse ourselves with the Light. If we get proud and think we are so important that God's couldn't get along without us, then we are headed for a fall. We are humble witnesses of the Light, we are not the Light Itself.
Aug 24/05 - John 1:6
John the Baptist was a man sent from God. God had formed and chosen him for the honour of announcing and preparing the way for the Messiah before he was even born. If you are a child of God, you are also sent by God for a specific purpose. God has chosen you for that mission before the world began. You are unique and whatever that job is, you are the one specifically designed to do it. Only you. It is only as we become true disciples, totally committed, that we will find and fulfill our mission. If we are flirting with sin seeking to find fulfillment for ourselves we will end up in frustration and depression and miss the wonders God has for us.
Aug 23/05 - John 1:4-5
Jesus does not so much have life as He is life. As the Word of God He is not some dead, immaterial word but the life-filled, exciting Word of God. He is alive and they would be able see his physical form. He perfectly expresses the Word of God.
His Word - His life - shines out into a dark world but, unless the Holy Spirit is at work in a life, dead, lifeless hearts have no positive response. You can do anything to a dead body and it will not react - the same is true of a dead spirit. Salvation is a work of God from beginning to end. Jesus is truly the Alpha and Omega.
Aug 22/05 - John 1:3
Jesus is revealed as the Creator of the universe. As the Word of God, He spoke the worlds into existence and by His Word He maintains them.
Everything that was created came from Jesus. Satan cannot create anything. There is no such thing as original evil. All evil is only something good taken and twisted or perverted from its original intention. For example, God designed sex as a beautiful and loving relationship between a man and a woman married to each other. In it's original intention it is holy and pure. Satan takes it and twists it into all sorts of evil, harmful shapes.
Aug 19/05 - John 1:1-2
John begins his Gospel by going back to the very beginning to introduce Jesus Christ as the Word. In the beginning the Word already existed - we see the eternal nature of Christ. We see the Trinity because the Word was with God. And yet we also see there is only one God for the Word was God.
Words are how spirits operate. Your words reveal your spirit and the words you believe and accept are built into your spirit and become a part of who you are. Even so, God is Spirit. The Word reveals Who God Is. And as we take that Word - consume it and make it a part of who we are - we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Note: A certain cultic group in their "bible" translates verse one as: "...the Word was a God." This is not a correct translation of the original. The word "a" is inserted only in an attempt to make Scripture fit with what they have already chosen to believe. For a deeper look read the report: Is Jesus Jehovah? under 600 Cults.
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