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Gospel of John - Chapter 17 - Lesson 1

Posted on July 12, 2016 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus

 

The highest earthly spiritual authority for the Jews was the High Priest; and for Christians, Jesus is the chief apostle and intercessor. The unnamed author of Hebrews declares this truth in Hebrews 3:1 “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus…” Here Jesus is identified as Chief Apostle, High Priest, Chief Intercessor, and the Son of God. In the seventeenth chapter of John, we find Jesus sharing His last supper with His disciples and as their High Priest praying a prophetic prayer for Himself, His disciples, and all present and future believers.

 

The MacArthur Bible Commentary:

This chapter (John 17) is transitional, marking the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of His intercessory ministry for believers (Hebrews 7:25).

 

John 17:1 (ESV) When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,

 

Jesus’ hour had finally come. After sharing with the disciples that their sorrow at His leaving would be turned to joy and they could take heart during persecution from the world because He had overcome the world, Jesus looked up and prayed. God’s purpose for the Son looked as if He were defeated. Nothing was glorifying about the position of Jesus naked and exposed on the cross. I know this was ultimate victory, but it didn’t look like victory at the time. We know Jesus was conquering sin because we know the rest of the story. The faithful eleven apostles must have really questioned His sacrifice and death at the time. Jesus knew the truth of what He had taught earlier:

 

John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

 

He knew that His death was necessary to atone for the sins of those who would come to Him, and that this ultimate demonstration of His love would draw people to receive and trust in Him as their Savior. Afterward, He would be resurrected and returned to His full glory in Heaven.

 

John 17:2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

 

Salvation begins with the Father. Jesus had taught several times that He did not come to speak or teach in His own authority but was granted authority by the Father. God gave Jesus authority to grant eternal life in the presence of God to all those the Father had led to Him. The Father, through the Holy Spirit, draws men to begin a relationship with Jesus. All a person must do is surrender to that call. It cannot be earned because it is a free gift from the Father.

 

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

 

Eternal life originates with God the Father, but He gave Jesus the authority to bestow that gift of eternal life. Jesus defines eternal life as knowing God in an intimate relationship. God does not want us to know about Him with intellect or head knowledge, but yearns for us to know Him personally. John 17:3 is the scriptural definition of eternal life. Eternal life is not something that happens someday when we die. It begins as soon as we come into an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus and, through Him, with the Father. We can have peace knowing we are in right standing with God, not because of anything we have done, but because of everything Jesus accomplished for us by His death on the cross.

 

John17:4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

 

The work the Father had given Jesus was completed by His death on the cross. Prior to His death, He was to cultivate the disciples in order to share His message with the world. He was to introduce men to the Kingdom of God so that after His death and resurrection, they would be drawn to the Father. Because of His teaching and the time invested in the disciples, they would in turn point others to the Father.

 

John 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

 

Jesus was eager to go back home. He was ready to return to His royal privileges. Jesus completed His earthly purpose, ascended to heaven and is now able to enjoy the next level, His glorified purpose. Jesus went from the cross, to the resurrection, to sitting down at the right hand of God, taking His position as High Priest, our chief intercessor. Now He exercises His kingly and priestly authority. So Jesus, who is God, continues levels of purpose and fulfillment; and we can believe that when we get to heaven, we also will continue in our next level of purpose, being active and engaged in eternity forever. Remember, the eleven were present and listening to this prayer. This would remind them of Jesus’ deity and that He was deserving of glory and worship.

 

Q – Jesus no longer walks beside us on this earth. Does that mean He is far away? Certainly not. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, He is with us at all times. God is only a prayer away. Are you troubled about events in our world? Jesus told us there would be trouble, but take heart in the fact that He is at the right hand of God’s throne interceding for us. We have a High Priest who has experienced all we go through as men and women, so we have confidence He is advocating for us. Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. We can have peace in the middle of turmoil when we cast our cares on Him. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 15 - Lesson 1

Posted on June 21, 2016 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Abide in The True Vine

 

John 15:1 (ESV) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

 

Jesus now gives his disciples and us a portrait of Himself as the source of life and of those who are in relationship with him as recipients of this life. Jesus gives this in agricultural terms they would understand. Jesus was authentic, the real deal, God’s only Son. Jesus’ stating that He is the TRUE vine indicates that there were false teachers trying to pull people away from following Jesus, teachers who indicated they were the way or knew a better way. We encounter that today with the myriad of religions and cults claiming to have a clear path to their version of paradise. But as we learned in John chapter 14, Jesus is the ONLY way. This is the last of the seven I AM statements of Jesus found in the book of John, a clear claim of deity. Jesus is the true vine, and the Father is the one who cares for the vine along with all its branches. He supplies all we need in order to thrive.

 

John 15:2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

 

There are branches on vines that do not bear fruit. On tomato vines these are called “suckers,” and they must be removed to allow more nutrients to go to the fruit bearing branches. We liked this explanation of the branches to be removed:

 

The MacArthur Bible Commentary:

The picture is of the vinedresser (i.e., the Father) getting rid of dead wood so that the living, fruit-bearing branches may be sharply distinguished. This is the picture of apostate Christians who never genuinely believed and will be taken away in judgment, the transforming life of Christ has never pulsated within them.

 

God will never cut off and burn a true believer, one chosen by the Father whose life is surrendered to Jesus. However, He will prune believers. He will remove things from our lives that would keep us from fulfilling His purpose for us. That may be a sin, a habit, a possession, or even a person. His goal is that we will bear more fruit just like I pruned the suckers in order to have more and better tomatoes. What is the fruit Christians are supposed to bear? We are to produce the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) within our own lives; and we are to cultivate new believers, make disciples of them. As we allow the Holy Spirit to mold us into people bearing His fruit, we will draw others to us and be able to teach them to grow in Christ – and the fruit will remain and be multiplied.

 

John 15:3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

The disciples, the eleven faithful, had listened to Jesus with the intent to obey. In John chapter 13, Jesus had told them they were all clean except the one who would betray Him. This would indicate that Judas Iscariot never truly believed in Jesus as the Son of God. Therefore, the listeners who truly believed what they heard were cleansed by the words of Jesus.

 

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

 

If a branch breaks off the tomato plant, it dies and, of course, does not make any tomatoes. Anyone in this world who is not connected to Jesus is a dead man or woman walking around. They are not connected to the vine, to Jesus, to life. Once a person experiences salvation, they are permanently grafted into the vine. It is impossible to bear fruit if the branch is not connected to the vine to receive the nutrients carried from the roots through the stem. If one is not truly IN CHRIST, surrendered to Him, it would be impossible to consistently exhibit the fruits of the Spirit or to cultivate new believers. Without Jesus, we are powerless, limp, and lifeless. The lamp just won’t turn on unless it is plugged into the power outlet (switching analogies). However, if you abide in Jesus, you can do everything God has called you to do.

 

John 15:6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

 

Where you abide is where you make your home, where you dwell, where you reside. We can only abide in Christ if we truly trust Him for salvation, for life, for everything. The non-believer is not in Christ. They cannot abide. The people who reject Christ become the rejected branches thrown into the fire. Hell is not a popular subject, but it is real.  Hell is not propaganda to scare people or make-believe; it is a real place. People choose to end up in Hell when they choose not to trust Jesus.

 

John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

 

Take a look at this verse in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition:

 

John 15:7 (AMPC) If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

 

This does not mean the believer can ask for frivolous or self-indulgent things. The person who is truly in this kind of intimate relationship with Jesus will not be praying for “me, me, me” but will be asking with the intent of pleasing the Father and bringing a smile to His face. Children are born to be a blessing to their parents and naturally seek to please them. As children adopted into the family of God our desire is to please Him. Many people, even believers, fail to realize that following God’s commands is for their benefit as well. If we solely go God’s direction, we will be happier than we have ever been because it is what we were created for. When we are truly abiding in Jesus, having an intimate relationship with Him, we will ask only for the things that will bring glory to God. Therefore, God will answer those prayers with the best action for us.

 

John 15:8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

 

We prove to be Jesus’ disciples when we are acting in line with His will. When we are obeying His word, bearing the fruit of changed lives, and helping others to do the same, we bring glory to our Father in Heaven. As His children, that should bring us great joy!

 

Q – Are you abiding in the Vine? Do you have the life of Jesus flowing through you? If not, or if you are not sure, please contact us via the Contact/Prayer Requests tab on this website. We would love to pray for you and answer any questions you might have. This tab generates an email that is private and seen only by us, Susan and Susie. If you are already a believer, submit to the Lord’s pruning in order to bear much fruit!

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 13 - Lesson 3

Posted on June 9, 2016 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Jesus Predicts Judas’ Betrayal

John 13:21 (ESV) After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

 

Jesus had alluded to His betrayal when He quoted from Psalm 41:9, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.” What Jesus had just revealed to the disciples hurt His heart, His human side, even though as God He knew these things must be. Therefore, He was “troubled.” In case the disciples did not pick up on His meaning, He then made it clear by announcing that one of them would betray Him.

 

John 13:22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.

 

The disciples were looking at each other and wondering, “Okay…which one of us is He talking about?” The Gospels of Matthew and Mark both record the disciples asking Jesus, “Is it I?”

 

Matthew 26:21-22 And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?”

 

Mark 14:17-19 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?”

 

They were not pointing fingers to their brothers. They first asked Jesus about themselves. I believe they were acutely aware of their human frailty and realized it could be any one them. It is amazing that the disciples had enough spiritual knowledge at that time to humbly look at themselves and wanted to make sure they would be true to their Lord and Savior. This shows that they had grown enough to look at themselves honestly first and their brothers second. Considering at times they were concerned about which one of them would be “first” in the kingdom or sit at Jesus’ right hand, the humility displayed at that time was evidence of their growth.

 

John 13:23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus' side, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.

 

The disciple whom Jesus loved is how John always referred to himself in his gospel. John was seated at Jesus’ side. Peter told John to ask Jesus who He was talking about, who was the culprit, the guilty party?

 

John 13:25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?”

 

John leaned back against Jesus, evidence of his intimate friendship with the Master. John may have even come in close to whisper when He asked the Lord who the betrayer would be.

 

John 13:26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

 

To those of us reading this account centuries later, it seems Jesus made the answer pretty clear when He said it would be the one He gave bread to after He had dipped it. Then He immediately handed it to Judas Iscariot. He did exactly what He just told them He would do.

 

John 13:27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

 

Satan, the evil one, filled Judas as soon as he received the bread. Jesus released Judas to go and betray Him to the authorities for which Judas would be paid thirty measly pieces of silver. He told Judas to commit this act against Him quickly. Jesus, of course, knew HIS TIME HAD COME.

 

John 13:28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.

 

Once again, the disciples seemed clueless. Osmium heads! (In case you missed the earlier lesson – osmium is denser than lead.) They did not understand what Jesus wanted Judas to do quickly. Jesus was talking about the most intimate betrayal only hours away, a kiss, but they still did not realize Judas was the betrayer. They failed to notice that Jesus handed the bread to Judas right after His statement that he would hand it to the betrayer! Since Jesus was the Bread of Life, Jesus was handing not only a morsel of bread, but Himself over to the betrayer. Since this exchange flew over their heads, the disciples tried to postulate what Jesus intended for Judas to do. Since he was treasurer for the group, they thought Jesus sent him on an errand to buy items needed for the feast or on an errand of mercy to buy something for the poor.

 

John 13:30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

 

So as soon as Judas received the bread from Jesus’ hand and was told to do what he was going to do quickly, he slipped out into the darkness of night. Darkness has the connotation of foreboding, evil, and sinfulness. The evil of Satan had entered Judas’ sinful heart, and he hurried to carry out his dastardly deed. Judas made the choice to allow the Enemy of God, Satan, to have his way with him. He gave in to the temptation rather than resisting evil in the name of Jesus. But he was also God’s instrument to bring about His plan of redemption – JESUS’ TIME HAD FINALLY COME.

 

Q – Jesus once again demonstrated His deity through the display of omniscience (knowing everything) when He predicted that the one who took the dipped bread from His hand would betray Him. The disciples did not understand it immediately but would recall it in the gospel accounts later. Jesus knew exactly what was to unfold over the next few hours, but He told Judas to leave the meal and betray Him. His death was not simply a tragic accident, or just history’s most notable betrayal – it was a conscious choice Jesus made to die in our place. His death opened the door to Heaven through the greatest act of love ever demonstrated. He did this for you. Do you believe this to be true? If you have not already done so, surrender to His mighty love and His right to control your life. You will never regret it!

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 12 - Lesson 6

Posted on June 2, 2016 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Jesus Came as the Light

 

John 12:44 (ESV) And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.

 

The Jews saw Jesus as competing with the Jewish Religion and with the true God. However, Jesus explained many times in many ways the He and the Father were One. Part of the Shema (the prayer that Jews recite in morning and evening prayers) was “Hear, O Israel, The Lord is your God, the Lord is One,” so I can see why some would be confused about God and His Son being equally God. However, that is exactly what the promised Messiah was to be – God’s Son who is equally God. Jesus came to fulfill God’s original intention. The Lord is one – He is not fragmented. There is not a god of the moon, god of the flowers, god of fertility, etc. as pantheistic religions believe. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, even though they have different roles or jobs, have one unified purpose. They are drawing to themselves a holy people, newly created by grace, to not only serve them but to be one with them as family. Christianity is unique in that we have a risen Savior rather than a dead founder and in the fact that God desires to be our perfect Father, that we become sons and daughters of our God. In claiming deity, Jesus was pointing out that if a person sees Him, knows Him, that person sees and knows God. He was the Messiah sent to be sacrificed as the perfect Lamb in order that we might be freed from slavery to sin to have that family relationship with our Holy God.

 

John 12:46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

 

Jesus is the spotlight on the path to the Father. Jesus came into the world as a beacon to draw men out of darkness and show them the safe way home like a lighthouse guides the ships to harbor. When we step into the light by trusting Jesus, He cleanses us from the darkness of sin.

 

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

 

Walking in the light Jesus provides not only gives us fellowship with God but enables us to have fellowship with other believers, our brothers and sisters in His family. Darkness is a euphemism for sin. Even in movies or TV shows, if someone walks into a dark alley, the ominous music begins to play, and we know something bad is going to happen. Jesus is the opposite of the darkness. He is perfect good and drives out darkness for those who trust Him.

 

John 12:47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

 

The time when Jesus will judge was not yet, and is not yet; but it WILL come soon. Jesus came so that those the Father chooses and the Holy Spirit draws could avoid judgement. As was said earlier in John 3:17 (NIV) “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Jesus’ purpose while He ministered on earth at that time was to die for sinners and draw them to a relationship with the Father. Jesus entire mission was to die as the perfect Lamb in order that those who believe would be saved by His grace and freed from the tyranny of sin. His mission was to be lifted up in order to draw people to Him and make them part of the Father’s forever family.

 

John 12:48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

 

On the last day, those who have not believed in Jesus will be judged by the Scripture. Jesus was the Word (Scripture) incarnate, so His words will judge them. Those listening to Him would eventually be judged for rejecting His words, and those who have heard or read the word of God, the Bible, will be judged based on the word. To reject the Bible is to reject Jesus.

 

 John 12:49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

 

The IVP New Testament Commentary:

Since Jesus' teachings come from God and offer eternal life, a rejection of these teachings is itself condemnation, for it is a rejection of God and his offer of life.

 

When a person does not believe or negates the Bible, that person is rejecting the very word of God. It is like snubbing your nose at God’s invitation to become a part of His family. It is as if a person is thinking in their mind that they are so good they have no need of God. Even as believers, if we pick and choose portions of the Bible to live by and ignore the verses we don’t like, we are being disobedient to God. Taking the Bible as an a la carte menu? I don’t think so! We need to study the whole counsel of God and ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to obey what we learn.

 

Q – We are striving to faithfully share the word of God with you. As you read the Bible along with us, you are either believing or rejecting what it says. Are you trusting Jesus or are you rejecting His word? Remember, rejecting the Word of God is the same as rejecting God’s invitation to eternal life as a part of His loving family. Please do NOT reject the word of God! The opposite is also true. Believing the word of God, trusting in Jesus, is accepting that invitation to freedom from a life of sin and freedom to become a part of God’s forever family.

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 12 - Lesson 2

Posted on May 24, 2016 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

The Triumphal Entry

 

John 12:12 (ESV) The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

 

Palm branches were plentiful due to the date palms in Jerusalem. Palm fronds had become a nationalistic symbol of the anticipation and expectation of the Messiah’s reign. Hosanna meant “give salvation now.” This praise word was found in Psalm 118:25 which was a part of the Hallel sung each morning in the temple during the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Dedication, especially the Passover. The crowd was wanting the Messiah, the One who comes in the name of the Lord, to take on rulership, kingship, right then. But that time had not yet come. Jesus’ purpose at that time in history was to die for His people in order to free them from slavery to sin rather than to lead them to war to free them from slavery to Rome. The time for Him to rule as an earthly King is still in the future even though He is and always will be the King of kings.

 

John 12:14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;

behold, your king is coming,

sitting on a donkey's colt!”

 

Jesus chose to ride in on the foal of a donkey in order to fulfill the prophesy quoted here which is found in Zechariah 9:9. The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) also record what is referred to as “The Triumphal Entry.” This is one of the few events that is mentioned in all four gospels. This proves that it has great significance. It was a direct fulfillment of messianic prophesy as you can see by reading Zechariah 9:9 below:

 

Zechariah 9:9 (ESV)Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!

Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold, your king is coming to you;

righteous and having salvation is he,

humble and mounted on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

 

The people rejoiced and shouted praises as Jesus entered Jerusalem, but the atmosphere would change soon – His time had nearly come. The people were proclaiming Jesus as their King, but they did not understand that this King of theirs would have to die to fulfill His divine purpose.

 

John 12:16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.

 

The disciples did not see that one and one made two while Jesus was riding the donkey; but after Jesus’ resurrection, the magnitude of His manner of arrival dawned on them. They realized the whole foal of a donkey thing was a fulfillment of prophesy in Zechariah 9:9 and the shouts of “Hosanna!” were quoting Psalm 118:25. Since their first “audiences” would be Jewish, being able to prove Jesus was the Messiah foretold by the prophets would be a most useful witnessing tool. We are wondering as we write this whether some of the teaching time Jesus had with his disciples was spent having them learn all the Old Testament prophecies that applied to Him. Seems plausible. The word does not tell us.


John 12:17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.

 

The people who had seen Jesus raise Lazarus were talking to others about Him, and word traveled fast even without Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. So the people who came out from Jerusalem to meet Jesus did so because they had heard He raised a man from the dead. They were eager to see who this Man was who had done all these miraculous things. They wanted to verify for themselves whether what they had heard could be true.

 

John 12:19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

 

The Pharisees went into hyper egotistical jealous mode, and continued to fear that Rome would see this as a rebellious uprising. The fact that the people were shouting “Hosanna” and calling Jesus “King” added fuel to their fears. The plot to kill Jesus intensified among the Pharisees even as His popularity grew among the common people.

 

Q – Jesus fulfilled well over 300 Old Testament prophecies concerning the messiah. Have you examined the evidence that Jesus is the Son of God? It is historically documented that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person living on the earth at a specific time in history. The biblical accounts bear witness that He was both God and Man. The testimonies of those who have surrendered their lives to Him are strong evidence that Jesus Christ is alive and well and continuing to rescue people from the quicksand of sin in order to adopt them into His forever family. Weigh the evidence. Surrender your will to His and be forever changed and completely satisfied!

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 11 - Lesson 5

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 10:00 PM Comments comments (0)

The Plot to Kill Jesus

 

John 11:45 (ESV) Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

 

The people had just witnessed Jesus raising a man from the dead! So, yeah, many of them believed. Some went to the Pharisees. Tattletales! Just because they persisted in their blindness for their egos’ sakes, they refused to believe and gave the Pharisees fuel for their “blasphemer” campaign against Jesus. The Pharisaic sympathizers negated the miracle and still saw Jesus’ claim to be one with God as false. How could they not believe Jesus was God when He had just called Lazarus out of the tomb he had been in four days?! In addition to being spiritually blind, they seemed to be a bunch of lead heads (really dense); or if you are a science nerd, osmium heads.

 

John 11:47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”

 

The Jewish leaders were not worried about the nation or their people but were concerned about their position of power and clout being taken away by the Romans. The Romans allowed their captive nations to have some control over their own governance. If Jesus were recognized as the true king of Israel, the Jewish Sanhedrin would have to acquiesce to Him in political matters. OR Rome could see the people’s support of Jesus as a rebellion and take away all rights. Therefore, the Chief Priests and Pharisees would have no power. They feared the loss of their prestige and ruling authority, and that would be an odious prospect to them. So getting rid of Jesus seemed to them the expedient political move in order to retain their power and their grip on the people. They were accustomed to being the puppet masters of the people even though to some extent, they themselves were puppets of Rome.

 

John 11:49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.”

 

The Jews had it all wrong. Jesus had no desire to set up an earthly kingship at that time. The Truth was right in front of them displayed simply and beautifully, but they did not want to believe in Jesus because they would have to give up the creature comfort that believing lies had afforded them for years. Caiaphas, looking from the perspective of fearing Rome, proposed that it was better to kill Jesus than risk losing their identity as a nation because Rome might think He was leading a rebellion.

 

John 11:51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

 

Caiaphas had no idea that he was spouting Biblical prophesy. God placed those words in his mouth. Jesus was to die for the those who would believe in Him as the Son of God in the nation of Israel but not only in the nation of Israel. He would die for all those Gentiles who would believe in Jesus as the gospel spread to other nations. He did not die for political gain but to save them from something far worse than the Roman Empire. He died to save them from the sin that separated them from God. Jesus died on the cross in order to bridge the gap between humanity’s sin and a holy God. All those who trust Him, the believing ones, find Him to be the way to eternal life with the Father. Caiaphas did not understand the enormous truth of his prophetic words.

 

John 11:53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.

 

Caiaphas fueled the fire of the Jewish council. He had the plan that Jesus should die “in order to save the nation,” and all they had to do was find a way to execute this plan. In reality, they all wanted to cling to their prestigious position of power, so they plotted to kill the one they saw as a threat. They wanted to make sure that their own positions stayed securely intact.

 

John 11:54 Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples.

 

His time had not yet come! So He got out of Dodge, or Jerusalem in this case. Ephraim was far enough away to be safe, but close enough to return easily for Passover. Jesus spent time feeding and nurturing His disciples for the days ahead when He would not be with them, at least not in the touchable, tangible “I can see you, laugh with you, eat with you,” sort of way.

 

John 11:55 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56 They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

 

The time for Passover, one of the three most important feasts of the Jews, was near. People were speculating whether or not Jesus would dare to come to Jerusalem for the feast. It was all the talk around the temple and at the water wells. People were watching for Him around town. I wonder if they were watching for Jesus in order to warn Him about the Pharisees or because they wanted to report Him to the Pharisees since He had a bounty on His head? I am sure there were people on each side of the issue – true followers of Jesus and “haters” as the younger crowd says, those who desired praise from the ruling crowd. The chief priests and Pharisees had issued a verbal wanted poster with Jesus’ name on it. Going back to your western roots again? Yes. The point is, they made it clear that if a person knew where Jesus was, they were to report back them so they could have Him arrested. They asked the people to rat Him out.

 

His time had not yet come, but it was getting closer!

 

Q – Looking back from our perspective in history, we have a difficult time understanding how people could see a miracle the magnitude of raising Lazarus from the dead and not believe. However, have you ever known of someone who was miraculously healed of a terminal disease? How many people search for a logical, scientific explanation of such things rather than glorifying God and attributing healing to Him? What about the miracle of a completely changed life? God is still at work. May we recognize His hand and give Him the credit He deserves.

 

Gospel of John - chapter 10 - Lesson 4

Posted on May 8, 2016 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Jews Want Jesus Stoned

 

John 10:31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.

 

In the previous passage, Jesus had said that He and the Father (God) were One, so the Jews picked up stones to execute Him. The Jews believed Jesus to be committing blasphemy because He was declaring Himself to be God. The sin of blasphemy was punishable by death.

 

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the English Language:

BLAS'PHEMY, noun An indignity offered to God by words or writing; reproachful, contemptuous or irreverent words uttered impiously against Jehovah.

 

Blasphemy is an injury offered to God, by denying that which is due and belonging to him, or attributing to him that which is not agreeable to his nature.

 

John 10:32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?”

 

Jesus advocated for Himself by pointing out that the miracles He performed were proof that He was who He claimed to be. Also, every sign He had performed was for the benefit of people, never to harm them. He always worked for the good of the people, never to cause injury. Jesus’ claiming to be God would be blasphemy only if it were not true. Since He was and is truly One with God, He had committed no sin!


John 10:33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

 

The Jews were blinded by their own hardness of heart and haughtiness. They could not bring themselves to admit that Jesus was the Messiah, so they just stayed on their same track of denial. They were like a record (vinyl) with a scratch the keeps playing the same line over and over and over. The Jews had been trying to entrap Jesus so they would have valid reason to kill (murder) Him and be rid of His challenges to them forever. Every time Jesus spoke, His eloquence concerning the Father embarrassed the Jewish leaders because it exposed how little they really understood. The teachers of the Law needed a remedial course in Messianic prophesies.

 

John 10:34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

 

We cannot explain verses 34 and 35 any more clearly than the statement quoted below:

 

Reformation Study Bible:

10:34–38 In the Old Testament, human judges could be called “gods” because they were viewed as acting in God’s place in dispensing justice. The Hebrew word ’elohim is used not only to refer to the one true God but also to denote false gods, angels, and, very rarely, men exercising divine functions. Jesus’ argument may be understood as follows: “Rather than taking offense because this word is used of Me, you should examine My credentials that prove My Father has sent Me into this world.”

 

Following is the Old Testament verse Jesus was quoting:

 

Psalm 82:6 (ESV) I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you…

 

Jesus made the point that mortal men could be called sons of God, so why should the spiritual leadership get all up in arms with Jesus in particular. They certainly should not have had a problem since His wondrous works (the miracles) showed that He was THE Son of God.

 

John 10:37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

 

Jesus was saying, “If you can’t take my word for it, examine my deeds.” If His works were not of God, they would have a valid reason for their unbelief. The words of their arguments held nothing substantive. Everything Jesus was doing WAS from God. It was authentic. He IS the Truth. The accusations of the Pharisees were empty blustering, having no merit. Uneducated, common people were able to see that God was working through Jesus and recognized Him as the Messiah because of His miracles. It was obvious to them that God was in Him and He was in God. His intimate relationship with the Father was evident in both His words and deeds.

 

John 10:39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

 

His time had not yet come! Again! How did Jesus always manage to escape from mobs of people pursuing Him? Because God is sovereign and had not given Him into their hands…yet.

 

John 10:40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.

 

Jesus may have needed to clear His head after so many encounters with the nay-sayers. We forget that although Jesus was fully divine, He was also fully human. It was certainly safer across the Jordan and farther away from the Pharisees. John the Baptist had done the prep work on the other side of the Jordan, telling the people about the One who was to come after him. The people realized everything John the Baptist had said about Jesus was valid. It became clear to the people that this man, Jesus, that John pointed them to, was truly the Messiah. They noted that John himself performed no miracles, but Jesus did many signs. Many of the people who heard Jesus teach became believers.

 

Q – Do you believe Jesus was and is who He said He was? If you are already a believer, our hope is that your convictions are strengthened and that you are better able to present the good news to others. If our Bible study has touched you in any way, we would love to hear from you either in the comments, on Facebook, or by contacting us on the Contact Us/Prayer Request tab which is visible only to us and not the public.

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 8 - Lesson 5

Posted on April 19, 2016 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Abraham’s Offspring?

 

John 8:37 (ESV) I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.

 

Of course these Jewish religious leaders were biological descendants of Abraham. Genealogies being very important in the Jewish culture, these men would be able to track their family tree back to their forefather Abraham. Jesus did not dispute that fact. However, Jesus also knew that they did not believe God like their patriarch Abraham had believed.

 

Romans 4:3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

 

John the Baptist had already pointed out that their physical relationship to Abraham would not save them from the wrath of God:

 

Matthew 3:8-10 (NASB) Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore, every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

 

These men who claimed Abraham as their father sought to kill the promised descendent of Abraham through whom the Jews and all the nations would be blessed! Abraham’s belief was counted to him as righteousness. The faith of Abraham made him right with God. The Pharisees and Sadducees were physical descendants of Abraham, but they did not follow his spiritual heritage. They claimed Abraham as their father but did emulate His closeness to the Lord. They followed rules, but had no relationship. Abraham was their claim to fame, empty notoriety. They were name-droppers. They claimed to know God but did not recognize Him in the words of His only begotten Son.

 

John 8:38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

 

Jesus’ Father is God who is in Heaven above. Jesus taught the things He had personally heard and witnessed while in Heaven with the Father. Since the religious leaders had claimed to be Abraham’s children, was Jesus saying they did things Abraham had told them? NO! Jesus implied that these Jews were NOT emulating their father Abraham’s example. Therefore, they were not behaving as God the Father directed either.

 

John 8:39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.”

 

The Jewish leaders were a perpetual broken record. I wonder if they thought Jesus was “slow” or “dense” because they kept saying the same thing over and over again. Or were they senile and forgot what they had told Him. They kept falling back on their Jewish heritage rather than admitting that each of them individually was lacking in the faith required to trust God. They were claiming what Abraham had done, and were not taking into account their personal accountability. As if, they, like spoiled children, could ride on his coattails forever. This would be like me saying that because my father was an engineer working on F-111 and F-16 airplanes, I would be qualified to do the same without learning any of the required math and science myself.

 

John 8:39b Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.”

 

Jesus pointed out once more that these men were not behaving in any way, shape, or form as Abraham would. If Abraham was their father, they needed to shape up or ship out. Jesus confronted them again with the fact that they wanted to kill Him even though He spoke under the authority of God Himself. Jesus boldly addressed the fact that they had murder in their hearts. All He had done was to share the truth of God with them. As we have noted before, the miraculous signs Jesus performed validated that He was from God. Once again, He accused them of “doing the works your father did.” He made it clear their father could NOT be God. Their claim to the SPIRITUAL lineage of Abraham was not legitimate.

 

John 8:41b They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.”

 

So the Jews came back with a dig questioning the legitimacy of Jesus’ own birth. They made the assumption that Mary was unfaithful to Joseph since she was already pregnant when they married. Jesus had said all along that God was His Father. They claimed that God was their Father, that they were in relationship with Him. But there is no relationship to the Father without relationship to the Son. If they were truly children of the living God, they would have recognized His Son and followed Him.

 

John 8:42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.

 

Not only would they recognize the Son if God were their Father, they would LOVE Him. If they were truly children of God, they would not only have recognized and followed Jesus but would have wanted to be taught by Him since His authority was much higher than theirs. However, they did not understand Him. The theological knowledge of Jesus dethroned the religious leaders as if they were babies in need of milk instead of being able to be leaders in the temple. They could not bear to hear His words because it would mean admitting that He was closer to God and had more knowledge of God’s ways than they did.


John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

 

Jesus called them the devil’s children! Since they were too prideful to see what He was subtly saying, He just stated it point blank. The fruit does not fall far from the tree, so their murderous thoughts toward Jesus were in keeping with the fact that spiritually they were being led by Satan. The father of lies is who inspired them to bear false witness against Jesus. Satan caused the accusers within the Sadducees and Pharisees to make false claims about Jesus. One example follows:

 

Mark 3:22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

 

Since the teachers of the law did not believe Jesus and were blinded to the truth that He was the Son of God, they discouraged others from believing by telling lies about Him.

 

John 8:45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

 

Jesus was calling the teachers, the religious leaders, deaf to the words of God. He once explained this deafness and blindness to His disciples to help them know why they could understand many of the parables but others could not.

 

Matthew 13:11-15 (MSG) He replied, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it. I don’t want Isaiah’s forecast repeated all over again: ‘Your ears are open but you don’t hear a thing. Your eyes are awake but you don’t see a thing. The people are blockheads! They stick their fingers in their ears so they won’t have to listen; They screw their eyes shut so they won’t have to look, so they won’t have to deal with me face-to-face and let me heal them.’

 

Those who truly belong to Jesus and, therefore, to God the Father are able to understand the truth. The Jewish religious leaders were not able to understand Jesus’ words because they had “form-ship” but no fellowship. They mechanically obeyed the Law but would not admit their inability to do so perfectly. So they completely missed out on the fact that Jesus was the Savior they needed in order to overcome sin and the world. God had their bodies, but what He desired and required was their hearts; and He did not have their hearts. Their bodies were surrendered, but their hearts were not. They fulfilled ritualistic observances but completely failed in the area of loving God with all their hearts, souls, and minds which is the first and greatest commandment. When you break the first commandment, you’re done. You’re sunk before you begin swimming. That’s why Jesus had to come.

 

Q – Are you an excellent rule follower? Do you choose the moral high ground because it was drilled into you by your parents? But are you missing out on the joy of loving and being loved unconditionally by Jesus who died for you? Only His Holy Spirit living within you can transform you into the person God wants you to be. Stop striving, and start trusting!

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 8 - Lesson 3

Posted on April 14, 2016 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Not of This World

 

John 8:21 (VOICE) So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.”

 

Jesus was still talking to the Pharisees and told them that the destiny they created for themselves through their unbelief would be carried out – they would die in their sin. They would be unable to follow Jesus where He was going (Heaven) because they had no trust, reliance on, or relationship with Jesus.

 

John 8:22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?”

 

Thinking merely of the physical, here and now, once again, the Pharisees wondered if Jesus was planning to commit suicide. They realized death was a place they could not immediately follow, but they missed the point that Jesus was saying they could not abide forever with Him in His home. He was returning to His Father’s house, and they could not follow because, as we will learn later, Jesus is the only Door. They did not know that because of their lack of relationship with Jesus, their unbelief, He would not be preparing a place for them in His Father’s house. Those places are reserved for those who place their trust in Jesus as the Son of God.

 

John 8:23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

 

Jesus clarifies that the Pharisees were from this world (earth), but He was from another world called Heaven. The Pharisees were spiritually empty, bankrupt. Since they refused to believe that Jesus was the Son of God, they could not possibly trust Him as their Messiah and Savior. The only way to escape dying in their sins and permanent separation from God was to put their trust in Jesus and accept His salvation invitation. They did not have the relationship of adoption into the family of God.

 

John 8:25 So they said to him, “Who are you?”

 

Reading this passage helps me to further understand why elsewhere Jesus called the Pharisees “blind guides.” Jesus had told them in many ways that He was the Son of God. They just couldn’t “see” it. They may have been saying, “Who are YOU? A mere carpenter’s son from Nazareth telling us, the religious aristocracy of Israel, that we are not able or welcome to go where you are going?” In other words, “Who do you think you are?”

 

John 8:25b Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.”

 

As we said before, Jesus had been telling them, sometimes in no uncertain terms, that He was the Son of God from the very start of His earthly ministry. Jesus was proclaiming the Father’s agenda, not His own. By claiming to have been sent by God, Jesus was implying that He had been WITH God. As a matter of fact, Jesus was there on divine assignment, a mission from God. The Pharisees did not understand. Jesus told them He had much to say about them (the Pharisees) and much to judge. Foreshadowing…See Matthew 23:13-29 for the “woes” Jesus pronounced on the Pharisees and teachers of the Law.

 

John 8:27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father.

 

How clueless could they be? They must have had heads of granite because nothing of spiritual consequence or substance penetrated. Since they had made up their minds NOT to believe Jesus, they could not understand His words. Understanding only comes when God opens up a person’s mind. God left them blind. They had His word in the Old Testament but refused to believe that Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophecies.

 

John 8:28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”

 

By lifted up, Jesus was talking about the crucifixion. So He was explaining that they would not know who He was until after they murdered Him and God raised Him from the dead. Even then, most of them would refuse to believe because they would not admit they had been wrong. Most of them remained hard-hearted and obstinate.

 

Jesus always spoke under the authority of God because, in reality, He and the Father were and still are One. Therefore, Jesus could state that God had not left Him alone. Obviously, the Father was not physically there beside Him (observable to the Pharisees), but they were One in Spirit. As the God-Man, Jesus perfectly obeyed the Father in order to be the sinless sacrifice to die in our place.

 

John 8:30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

 

The Pharisees’ hearts may have been hardened, but many other people who heard Jesus’ words, saw the light and believed. And as we will see much later at least a couple of Pharisees also believed. Some of them experienced a softening of their hearts through the grace of God and were convinced.


Q – If you were to die today, could you follow Jesus where He went? If you have entrusted your life to Jesus, believed He is the way to Heaven, you would instantaneously be in His presence as soon as you breathed your last breath on earth. Do you have confidence in that truth?

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 8 - Lesson 2

Posted on April 12, 2016 at 11:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I AM the Light of the World

 

John 8:12 (ESV) Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

 

This is the second of Jesus’ “I AM” statements in the book of John. You may recall that earlier Jesus had stated “I AM the Bread of Life.” The way He structured these sentences indicates that He was clearly claiming to be THE I AM, that He was claiming to be God. Since the timing of this statement was still at the Feast of Booths, the people would have definitely recognized this as a messianic claim since the following passage was read during the Feast:

 

Zechariah 14:5b-8 (MSG) Then my God will arrive and all the holy angels with him. What a Day that will be! No more cold nights—in fact, no more nights! The Day is coming—the timing is God’s—when it will be continuous day. Every evening will be a fresh morning. What a Day that will be! Fresh flowing rivers out of Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea, half to the western sea, flowing year-round, summer and winter!

 

The passage from Zechariah is a prophecy concerning the New Jerusalem. There will be no need for the natural luminaries (sun, moon, or stars) because God will be the only light source needed. Jesus was claiming to be THAT light. “Follows” in this passage can be defined as “to be in the same way with,” or in other words to be in unity with, in tune with. This would not be a half-hearted, person who followed out of curiosity, but one who had dedicated himself to following Jesus, the true believers. To this type of person, Jesus promised they would walk in light rather than darkness. Darkness is usually symbolic of evil and depravity. Light represents goodness, peace, joy, tranquility – all the things provided by a relationship with Jesus. The light of life is Jesus Himself because He is the only way to everlasting life. Meaningful, productive, purposeful life!

 

John 8:13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.”

 

That’s what they always say. Same old song and dance, and I can’t even dance! Previously as we studied in John chapter 5, Jesus had pointed out that He, His Father, the miracles, John the Baptist, and even Moses all bore witness that He was the Son of God! Yet here are the Pharisees once again saying His testimony is not true because there are not two witnesses. Actually, because it is not corroborated by the Pharisees.

 

John 8:14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.

 

Jesus knew where His true home was, but they didn’t. And unless they came to know Him as the Truth, they would not understand that He had come from Heaven and was going back there. After all, these guys didn’t even have His earthly birthplace correct since they kept assuming He was from Nazareth in Galilee rather than Bethlehem of Judea. They didn’t have a clue!

 

John 8:15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.

 

The Pharisees were judging according to the outward, but the Lord judges according to the heart.

 

1 Samuel 16:7b For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

 

Jesus does not pass judgment based on the five senses. If He does make a judgment it is heavenly and revelatory. Christ will ultimately be the judge of all, but His judgment is unclouded because he knows all the facts. Since He and the Father are One, His judgment is perfect. Jesus and the Father judge together, so they are two witnesses as well as the perfect judge.

 

John 8:17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”

 

As we have noted previously in our comments on John chapter 5, two witnesses were required to prove a person’s guilt or innocence. In this case, they wanted two witnesses to prove whether or not Jesus was telling the truth about Himself. Jesus is one witness and the Father is the other witness. If they worshiped the Father wholeheartedly they would be able to perceive that Jesus was the Son of God. The miracles He performed were also God’s witness on His behalf. The miraculous healings He performed could be authenticated by the people who received them, and the Pharisees had interviewed some of those who experienced healing but refused to accept their testimony. We will see another example of that in John chapter 9, so stick with us.

 

John 8:19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?”

 

Once again, the Pharisees were thinking in fleshly terms. You would think they would have a clue about spiritual things since they were the religious leaders of Israel, but it appeared they had none. They were wanting Jesus to produce an earthly Father. They still did not understand that He was speaking about God.

 

John 8:19b Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

 

Jesus was pointing out that the Pharisees had no relationship with Him or His Father. If they trusted in Jesus, they would have had the light to see that His Father was God, Yahweh. And had they truly known Yahweh, they would have recognized His Son! There was an obvious family resemblance, after all! They were so busy trying to force everyone to follow traditions that they did not focus on knowing the Lord God. They were trying to squeeze people into the mold of liturgical conformity rather than teaching the people to have a relationship with God as their Father. They missed the fantastic message that Jesus had come to make an intimate relationship with the Creator of the universe possible for sinful men and women!

 

John 8:20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

 

Jesus was speaking boldly in the enemies’ camp, yet was not arrested. He was in the territory of the Pharisees, claiming to be God which they thought was blasphemy because they did not believe Him, but they left Him alone. His time had not yet come. Where have we heard that statement before? Repetition highlights importance, and John reminds us over and over that God sovereignly protected Jesus because “His time had not yet come.”

 

Q – Have you ever heard the Hank Williams song, “I Saw the Light?” Jesus is the Light, and His Holy Spirit illumines the word of God that we might understand. Are you beginning to see things more clearly? If not, pray and ask the Lord to shed His light on the passage for you.