Category Archives: John’s Gospel
This is one of those sections that when I first look at it I have to ask myself, how am I going to teach that? It first seems like there isn’t much to say, but as I prayerfully read it themes start jumping out at me. As I study it I start to see that there is a lot more here than originally meets the eye. The bible tells us that Jesus talked in parables so that some would not understand. The bible does that also, when we look at a piece like this or a genealogy and forget that it is the inspired word of God, then we do not realize that God is talking to us through the scripture.
So the first thing happening here is Jesus’ disciples are baptizing followers and so is John. I know that it says Jesus was baptizing, but John makes sure we understand that it was not Jesus but His disciples in Chapter 4.
(although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples),John 4:2 (ESV)
So let’s picture what is going on. John is baptizing at Aenon near Salim. More than likely we are talking about some springs (Aenon means springs) near the city of Salim. While it is disputed exactly where this is if you look at a map you can see the the two areas Aenon and Salim listed next too each other a little east of the Jordan river a little past the halfway point between the Dead Sea and the Seas of Gaillee.
We see a disciple of John talking to some Jews who have recently been listening to Jesus preach. They brag about his preaching and talk about His baptism. They argue over the differences in John’s baptism and the Jewish purification rites. The Jews had regulations on what made a person unclean and therefore needing purification by washing.
Last time we studied a nighttime meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus, Today we will finish the dialogue that was started then. We discussed what it means to be born again and Nicky was having a hard time understanding it. Let’s move on and see what Jesus has to say.
“Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
The first thing that jumps out is that Jesus is speaking in the plural. We speak, we know, we have seen, our testimony. This is because Jesus is showing the Trinity; The father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All three persons of the Godhead are part of the New Birth. The last example Jesus gave was how the Holy Spirit works like the wind. You can’t see it, but you see its effects. Nick does not understand this earthly example so how can he understand the things of Heaven.
The Son of Man
Now Jesus is going to try and make it even simpler for Nicodemus. No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. That clears it right up. Right?In Chapter 7 of the book of Daniel, he is having vision at night and he sees the end of times. He sees Satan cast into the lake of fire and the books opened up.
Then behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)
He sees God on his throne and suddenly on the clouds appears one that appears to be an ordinary man, yet God gives him all authority and glory. No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. With this verse Jesus just said I have been sent from heaven, because I am the one that God the Father is giving all glory to. I am the Son of Man Daniel prophesied about. Nicky would have caught and understood this reference.
Tonight we are studying John 2:23-3:12. Last time we discussed Jesus clearing the animals and merchants out of the temple complex. Tonight we are going to move on to a middle of the night meeting by a man named Nicodemus and Jesus. As you noticed when I read the verses I’m including the last 3 verses of chapter 2 with this section in chapter 3. Let me start by saying that the original Greek did not have chapter and verse separations. The Chapters were added by Stephen Langton in the 13 century. The verse separations did not come into being until the Geneva Bible in 1560. Unfortunately there are a few places where I feel the chapters break up a subject and this is one of them.
I feel that these three verses are important to understand the dialogue being said between Jesus and Nicodemus. So back to verses 23-25. Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
The thing I’m wanting us to see here is that Jesus knows our true motives. We saw this a few weeks ago when Jesus told Nathanael He saw him under the fig tree. In John 6:61 and John16:19 we see where Jesus knows the very thoughts and questions in a persons mind. We can deceive man but we can never deceive God.
It’s funny in a sad way how a person will go to great lengths to impress people but forget about God. If I told you that we were going to follow you around with hidden video cameras for the next week, you would not see them but you would know that you were being filmed at every moment of the day. Oh and we also need you to wear these special sensors so we can read your thoughts.
We are then going to put all this together and let your friends, spouse, boss, pastor and every one we can find watch it and hear your thoughts. You would be a nervous wreck. Think about it. How often would you try to curb your mind if you knew the person you were having an evil or lustful thought about could hear it. When you look down on the homeless man and think , “the slob should get a job”, or the black man and think to yourself; “criminal”. The addict that you call a “stupid fool”. Jesus calls these the least of these and when you think this way about them you are thinking that way about Him (Matthew 25:45).
But see, Jesus hears all of these things. Jesus sees our every deed and hears our every thought, yet we are not afraid to continue on as we were. We are more afraid of man than God.
Jesus knows our hearts!
2 Temple Clearings
Today we are in the second chapter of John verses 13-22 and we are going to cover the clearing of the temple by Jesus. Now here is where we come to the first controversy between the synoptics and John’s gospel. The problem is simple; John is recording this happening at the start of Jesus’ ministry. Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15-19, and Luke 19:45-48 record it happening at the end. The simple solution and the one I believe, along with many others is that there are 2 temple clearings one at the beginning and one at the end of Jesus’ ministry. I will mention some of the reasons some scholars speak out so strongly against two temple clearings, but I am going to mainly focus on the fact that there are 2.
If you want some reading on this E. Randolph Richards has an article from the Trinity Journal of Theology  that goes into 25 pages of more depth than I’m going to cover. I will use some of his argument without going into too much depth.
-  Luther, Macarthur, Ironside, Morris, Carson, Lightfoot and others ↩
-  Gerald Borchert calls the idea of two temple clearings “a historiographic monstrosity”( Gerald L. Borchert, vol. 25A, John 1-11, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 160) ↩
-  http://www.tiu.edu/files/divinity/connect/trinityjournal/TJ_pgs_19-43_Spring_2008.pdf ↩
John 2:1–12 (ESV) — 1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. 12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.
We have finally made to the second chapter of John. We will be looking at the first 12 verses. This is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
John starts off Jesus’ ministry with a wedding. Theologically this is symbolizing the new covenant and how the church is the bride of Christ. We could spend hours just looking at the symbolization of the wine and blood of Christ and the wedding and the church. I will touch a little on the symbolization but I’m going to concentrate on the text and what is happening here.
In chapter 1 of John we learned that Jesus has been baptized and John the Baptist has prophesied that Jesus is the Messiah and will take away the sins of the world. Jesus has started gathering his disciples and according to John at the time of this wedding, he has John, Andrew, Peter, Phillip, and Nathanael. Chapter 1 ends with Jesus in Bethsaida on the banks of the Jordan River and he is heading to Galilee and specifically Cana which is about 22 miles away. So let us now go to John 2
We will be covering two encounters with Jesus and 4 people today. Last time we studied John and Andrew spending the day with Jesus. They had told Him they wanted to be his disciples, but He has not yet gathered them together to follow Him. So Andrew spends the day with Jesus and He tells Him you have to come meet my brother Peter. He is a great guy. He runs the family fishing business. He is the coolest big brother of all. So Andrew tells Jesus, “Stay here I’m going to go get him and bring him back.”
Andrew finds his brother Peter and he is like, “dude come on you got to meet this guy he is the Messiah, you know the Christ.”
So let’s talk about those two words now; Messiah and Christ. How many think that Jesus’ last name is Christ? It isn’t. People did not have last names at this time like we do. You would be referred to by your father’s name or where you lived[ref]Surnames as we know them did not come into being until much later in most countries.[/ref]. For example Dustin would be called Dustin son of Scott or Dustin of Jacks Creek. The bible often refers to son of as Bar which is Aramaic for son of, So it would say Dustin Barscott. Jesus would be referred to as the son of Joseph. An example of this would be in Matthew 16:17. Jesus calls Peter, Simon Bar-Jonah or Simon son of John.
Christ is the Greek word for the Hebrew word Messiah. It is a title. When we say Jesus Christ we are saying Jesus the Messiah. And Messiah means one who is anointed. The one God sent.
-  Unless your translation translates it “Son of” for you ↩
John 1:29–39 (ESV) — 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” 35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
Today we will be in John 1:29-39. We will refer back to the Old Testament books of the law several times to make sure we have the same imagery in our head that the original hearers would. The two things we will focus on the most today will be the phrases; “Lamb of God” and “What are you seeking?”
This section of scripture starts out with the author saying the next day. If you were here for the last lesson you already know that the day before this the Pharisees or Jewish religious leaders, which we compared to the ones who try to control the church, sent the priest to find out what John the Baptizer was doing. He informed them that the King or Messiah was coming and they should prepare as he was doing. If you weren’t here you can quickly read verses 19-28 and see the conversation.
We can assume John the author was there that day since he gives us so much information on what was said. So this is the next day, John and Andrew are listening to their teacher the baptizer when he looks up sees Jesus and says, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! He goes on to remind them that this is the man he was referring to the day before. The one that he said he was not even worthy to be a servant for.
-  See verse 40 to see where it tells us this is Andrew. The other is assumed to be the author since he knew the details and did not feel it was important to tell us who the other disciple was. ↩
And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”
These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
We are now to the testimony of John the Baptizer. Before we get started I want to help you get an image of John in your head. We have to look into the other Gospel accounts to get that picture because John the author doesn’t give us details about John the Baptizer, because he expects the readers to already have encountered John in the other gospels and also he doesn’t want to overemphasize the Baptizer because he is just a messenger.
John comes from Godly parents. His father was a priest named Zechariah. His mother was a godly woman named Elizabeth. She also was from the priestly line being able to trace her family back to Aaron. (The brother of Moses.) Elizabeth also happens to be related to Mary the mother of Jesus. While the bible doesn’t tell us their age it does tell us that they were elderly and Elizabeth was barren. So for what ever medical reason Elizabeth was unable to bare children, plus she was at an age were it was impossible.
One day dad Zechariah went to the temple to burn incense. This was a special privilege that rotated around. This is where you would go into the Holy of Holies and burn incense. Only a priest properly purified could enter. If the priest did something wrong then he would die and have to be drug out of the temple by ropes, since no one else could enter to retrieve him. As Zechariah is doing his duties an angel appeared.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”)
16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
I started to group these verses with 19-34 since they are very similar and at first look I felt I would be giving the same message twice. Upon further thought I decided that there is too much that need to be broken down here to group it with the message on John the Baptizer. This is still part of the prologue and it deals more with Jesus than John. Try to keep with me since we will be talking about two John’s today. John the Baptizer and John the author of the gospel we are studying.
As I stated last time, in this opening prologue John is trying to counter heresies that are creeping into the church and some of John the Baptizers followers are more concerned with him than Jesus. John is trying to point out that the Baptizers role was just to introduce Christ and people should not get hung up on who he is or was.
It’s kind of interesting how this still happens today. Some mega preachers have become like rock stars and people get so excited to hear them.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
This is the beginning of John’s Gospel. It is usually referred to as the prologue. If this was a paper being written for a college class this would be called the thesis statement. John is telling us in a simple summed up way exactly what he is going to write in the rest of his gospel. To me this introduction is some of the most beautiful verses in the bible. It tells us that God came and dwelt with us so that we could have life. These verses tell us who Jesus was and what exactly He did for us.
Many believe that this was a hymn that was written by John and added here. Songs were often used to teach, since the catchy rhythms will get stuck in your head. Either way this is the beginning of John’s gospel and contains in a few verses the truth of Jesus.
As I prepared this it is kind of hard to figure out exactly how much I want to discuss here. So much information is given that it could be broken down in so many ways. James Montgomery Boice spends 15 chapters in his commentary on John breaking these verses down. When John Piper preached a series on John in 2008 it took 5 sermons to get through the prologue. John Macarthur spent 3 Sundays trying to get through the beginning of John. So there is a lot that is covered in a few verses here. If you try to outline these verses you come up with 7 points. So I want to try and move swiftly through this but I want you to realize there is a lot here for you to prayerfully study.
So let’s dive in. In the beginning was the Word. We are going to start with the word Word. In Greek it is Logos. John writes in a very deep and theological way, where the more you study and understand the words used the more meaning you will find. We need to also notice that in verse 14 John helps us see that “the Word” is referring to Jesus. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, 
To the Greek reader the word was an impersonal creative force and source of wisdom and reasoning. Heraclitus came up with this philosophy. He was A Greek philosopher whom lived between 535 B.C. and 475 B.C. He established this term Logos and also made the famous statement you cannot step into the same river twice. Plato, another Greek philosopher that you probably have heard of often quoted Heraclitus and also expounded on this idea behind Logos being the source of reasoning and creator of the universe. Plato went on to say that maybe someday God would send forth a word, Logos that would explain everything clearly., When a Greek reads these opening verses talking about the word, to them this is screaming out, “Yes, God sent Jesus to make everything clear!”
To the Jewish reader The Word was very significant. To them the word would be the very voice of God. It could be spoken through a prophet or it could be in scripture. To understand how significant John’s use of the word to describe Jesus was we have to look at the Aramic Targums and Jewish tradition. In the Hebrew scriptures the proper name of God is the tetragrammaton YHVH. We pronounce it Yahweh, sometimes it is said Jehovah as in the English translation of the American Standard Version. If you ever notice as you read through your English translation sometimes LORD is in all capitals. If you were reading your bible in Hebrew the word there would be Yahweh, where if it was Just the L capitalized it would be Adonai. Adonai would also be the word used in Hebrew scripture readings. Rabbonic law allowed only the high priest to use the word Yahweh during certain services.
We are going to go through the book of John. Each week we will go through the verses that seem to stay with the same subject. But before we get started looking at the scripture I think it’s very important that we understand who exactly wrote the book, when it was written, what was going on at the time, and why did the author feel he needed to write the book. Without understanding some of this it is hard to accurately interpret the text.
All that being said we are going to cover the specifics of who, what, when, where and why but more importantly we are going to look into the heart of the man that the bible calls the beloved disciple. We are going to look at a zealous young man following God and an elderly preacher pleading with his congregation not to abandon the faith to false teachers.
The bible contains 4 books referred to as gospels. They are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are referred to as the synoptic gospels because they are very similar. They look at Jesus’ life in a similar way. John leaves out many of the things that the others record for example: John does not tell us about Jesus’ birth or baptism, he does not give us any of the parables, there is no ascension mentioned. Plus there are many things such as Peter walking on water that John does not go into as much detail about. While he tells us about Jesus coming to the boat he doesn’t tell us about Jesus telling Peter to come out on the water.
On top of this John adds a lot of stuff, such as the changing of water to wine, meeting with Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, the raising of Lazarus, and several discourses not included elsewhere. So why is this gospel so different?
In January I will be starting teaching through the Gospel of John. All my spare time right now is being dedicated to preparing for that. The series on John I was doing I will be discontinuing. I will be posting my manuscripts on here once I get started though. I’m praying on doing another series of short post on another book of the bible but I want to wait and see if its possible for me to find the time to do that.
I appreciate everyones Patience as this blog lies dormant for the next month. I also seek prayers for me and the people who will be coming. I also ask for prayers that God will lead me to a place to hold these lessons, since I have not yet acquired a place in Jackson yet.
The last thing in the text about the followers of Jesus before He heads out to the apostles is in vs. 14-15 After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. That statement needs to stay in our minds as we proceed forward. So in verses 22-24 the crowd of followers has awakened. They realize that the disciples have taken a boat across the sea and Jesus is nowhere to be found. More boats show up so they go to find the disciples, more than likely thinking, “Surely, they will know where Jesus went.”
I love how in verse 25 they find Jesus and being unaware of how He got there they ask Him, “When did you get here?” Jesus skips the small talk and gets to the heart of the matter. In verse 26 Jesus answers “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”
Jesus who knows the heart of man is asking them, “Why are you looking for me?” So the question today is, why are you following Jesus? Jesus next tells them, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
What we need to make sure we are seeing here is that back up in verses 14 and 15 it tells us their purpose for following Jesus. When they refer to the prophet has come they are referring to Deuteronomy 18. This Old Testament verse is where Moses tells the Israelites that someday a prophet like him will come and they are to listen to him. They just saw the miracle of Jesus feeding five thousand with 5 fish and 2 loaves. They are thinking back to Moses and the bread (manna from heaven). They did not have to work for food it was given to them by Moses. (It actually was given to them by God but as we will see in a minute they see it as being given to them by Moses.) Jesus also was able to give them food without them doing anything.
They are following Jesus for what He can give them. They ask what must they do to do the works of God and Jesus tells them to believe in Him. In turn they ask, what sign can you give us? Is that not amazing? They have just seen the miracle of the feeding of five thousand and now they say prove to us you can perform miracles. Then they give a hint as the type of miracle they need to see.
They tell Him that their forefathers ate manna in the desert so what can He do in comparison to that. This same problem exists today for the church. Many follow Jesus just as this crowd did. They will go through the trouble of following Jesus as long as they think they can get something. When things get hard or it is not convenient to follow Jesus they turn away just as we see these men are going to do (John 6:60).
Even when Jesus tells them that the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life, they respond by saying, “Give us this bread.” I’m going to stop there today to keep this post from becoming overly long and I will continue with the Bread of Life statement next time.
Yet John does have some significance that needs to be looked at. The first thing that I’m going to point out is that Matthew and Mark both talk about Jesus climbing into the boat and the wind dying down(Matthew 14:32, Mark 6:51). John tells us the disciples had rowed for 3 to 3 and half miles, when Jesus walked out to them. We see in the other gospel accounts that they landed their boat at Gennesaret. A straight course which they would not have taken because they would want to get a little ways off the shore would be at least 4 miles. Since we don’t know exactly where they launched their boat from the distance could have been a little farther.
John tells us that when Jesus got in the boat they were immediately at the shore. It strikes me interesting as soon as Jesus was with them, they were where they were going. It kind of reminds me where Phillip was taken by the spirit as soon as the Ethiopian was baptized.
The other thing in this passage is that John shows by leaving out some details he put it here not so we would know what happened, (since he knows we have already heard about it from the other gospels) but to point something out to us. It’s reminds me of the wedding at Cana where only the servants saw the miracles. John wants us to see that this was a special miracle (especially Peter walking on the water) for those who truly serve Jesus. I believe the next section we will study will help strengthen that view.
I point this out to say that there are many in church today that realize there was a Jesus and that He was sent by God. They understand that he died for their sins. Yet the only reason they go to church is for what it can do for them. They do not serve in any of the church’s ministry yet they constantly seek more ministries that can serve them. The seek positions in the church not so they can help others but so they can have power and prestige.
So Jesus goes up on the mountainside and sets with His disciples when He sees the crowd getting closer, He asks, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” First notice that Jesus was with those who believed in Him. He was teaching and disciplining those who love Him when he saw unbelievers that had a need and He wanted to know what the disciples were going to do about that need.
Philip immediately thinks there is nothing that they can do for such a large crowd. He thinks of the money they would have to spend to help these people. Philip is not thinking that He is with Immanuel (God with us) and nothing is impossible. Andrew on the other hand jumps in with a solution. There is a boy here with 5 loaves and two fish. Granted he doesn’t know how that could possibly help so many people but he knows that he serves an amazing God.
The parallel here today is , are you a person or church that looks at the overwhelming need of the community and say its hopeless or do you look to the heavens and say this is what we have God, what can you do with it?
Jesus tells the disciples to organize everyone into groups and He thanks God for providing for their need. How often do we look at impossible circumstances and thank God for providing before we even see Him do it? That is what happened here. Jesus knew God would meet the need that they had to supply these followers with food. Sometimes we must believe God is going to provide without any idea how He is going to do it.
Afterwards Jesus had the disciples gather the leftover bread and it filled 12 baskets. God not only provided for the needs of this crowd but He gave even more abundantly than was needed. We as a church should always seek how to serve our community. How can we show the love of Jesus to a lost and dying world? We should always know that if we are seeking to be the hands and feet of Jesus, he will provide.
Jesus starts by acknowledging that for a Jews’ testimony to be found true it must have two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15). The first witness Jesus calls on is John the Baptist. John proclaimed that the Kingdom of Heaven was near and that Jesus was the Lamb of God come to take away the sin of the world.
Jesus tells the Jews that he doesn’t need Human witness, but John was sent so they would believe and be saved (John 5:34). The statement that John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and they chose for a time to enjoy his light was to let them know that the hope that John spoke of they have forgotten about.
Next Jesus moves up and says that there is a witness much greater than John. Jesus states that the works He is doing testify that God sent Him. Jesus is reminding them that the reason He is on trial is because of the miracle He just performed. A miracle that only God could do!
Then Jesus tells them that the Father Himself has testified to Him, but because God does not reside in them they cannot hear. Jesus then calls the fourth witness. The scriptures testify to Jesus (Luke 24:27). Jesus is asking how can they study the scriptures looking for eternal life yet they miss that the scriptures are pointing to Him.
Jesus finishes by telling them that He is not seeking their praise. That if they truly loved God they would accept the witnesses He has provided. They are looking so much for someone that if someone came on their own authority they would accept them, but they are missing the one God has sent.
Now Jesus brings His last witnesses and puts them on trial. Jesus tells them that Moses will accuse them, because he prophesied of Jesus and they are ignoring it.
After Jesus healed the paralytic the Jews started to persecute Him. Their complaint was that Jesus was healing on the Sabbath and that meant he was breaking the law. Jesus responded to this accusation by saying, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” This made them even angrier , because now not only was Jesus breaking their religious law, He had made himself equal with God.
Jesus responds to this anger by telling them that He only does what He sees His Father do. I’m going to unpack this here because a lot is being said in that simple statement. In Jesus’ time a son would follow in the footsteps of his father by becoming an apprentice and eventually taking over the father’s occupation.
Just like Peter, Andrew, John, and James all fished with their fathers. Jesus was a carpenter like Joseph. This was the common thing in that day. So first Jesus states that God is His father and then tells them that He is in the same business as His dad.
Then to make sure that they didn’t misunderstand Him he breaks it down further for them. The father gives life, so will the son. Then to add the topping to the cake, Jesus tells them that the Father has given responsibility to Judge people to Him.
What Jesus is basically saying is that God is now putting Jesus in charge. It’s no longer a system of law that Jews must follow to please God, it will now be that they must give honor to this man standing in front of them telling them that He is the Son of God.
Jesus finishes by telling them that He is the way to eternal life, not only for them but all the dead in their graves will live by His voice. Jesus has just took a bunch of men who were mad at him for working on the Sabbath and given them a whole lot to think about.
Jesus goes to a place of sickness and picks the worst case. Compare this to our world today. There is sickness everywhere: addictions to drugs, alcohol, and sex; Idolatry of money and fame. The list could go on and on. The thing to see is that none of this is too hard for Jesus. Jesus could have picked a simple case and healed them. What we are seeing is Jesus can heal anyone no matter how bad their condition is.
Notice in verse 6 that Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to get well?” This seems like a stupid question at first, but let’s think about it. Let’s turn the mirror on ourselves. Do you want to give up your addictions, idolatries, greed, and selfishness? Whatever your pet sin is, do you want to get well? How hard are you trying? Have you picked up your mat? When Jesus asked you, “do you want to get well?” Did you scream, “Yes, Heal me!” Or did you do like this man and give excuses on why you can’t get well.
That’s what is happening here. The man is giving excuses on why he can’t get well. He is use to his problem and the attention it gets him. He doesn’t have to try harder because everyone knows he has to have their assistance. He does not want to give up his sickness, because it is a part of him. Just as our sickness is a part of us. “Yes Lord, I want to give up my lusts. Yes Lord, I want to give up my greed. Yes, Lord, I want to give up my selfishness, but no Lord I don’t want to give up my sin. It’s who I am!” Ask yourself, do I want to get well.
Jesus doesn’t force the man to choose healing. Jesus does not reach down and pick the man up. Jesus simply says, “Pick up your mat and walk.” Jesus simply tells us if you will give up on your sickness. If you will give up your crutch and come to me, I’ll help you. This man then picked up his mat and walked. Jesus healed him and showed him that there was a savior.
I’m going to skip down to verse 14. We see that Jesus sees the man again and says to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” Jesus will give us healing, but we must repent. We are only saved when we believe and repent. If we want to get well Jesus will give us the power, but we must choose healing. We must choose to actually follow Him
Jesus is receiving the reception of a celebrity as He goes around Galilee. They are telling each other, “Yes, this is the man that turned the water into wine at the wedding!”(John 2:7-10) “I saw him at the Passover feast in Jerusalem performing many miracles(John2:23), he even chased the money changers out of the temple.” (John2:15)
While in Cana a man from Capernaum shows up, he had heard about Jesus and wanted to see if it was possible that Jesus could heal his son. Let’s put our selves there. Jesus is standing among the crowds when suddenly this government official pushes his way through the crowd and with tears in his eyes drops to his knees and begs Jesus to come with him and heal his son. Jesus looks at the crowds and responds, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.” The man looks up with the tears streaming down his face, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jesus looks down at the man smiles and says, “You may go. Your son will live.” (John 4:48-50) Just imagine the ride back home. The bible says the man took Jesus at his word but verse 53 shows he still had his doubts. The man was making the trip back home thinking to himself the one man who might could help wouldn’t even come and see. He wipes the dust stained tears off his face as he sees men approaching. He realizes it is his servants. Fear strikes him as he prepares for the bad news, but instead they tell him your son will live. The end of verse 53 tells us the he and his entire household believed.
There are many things to see here but the first thing I want us to look at is the contrast between the woman in Samaria and this man. While there was corruption among the Herodians, they still were Jewish people. These are the people that God had promised he would send a messiah to. They had the temple, the prophets, the knowledge, and everything to make them the very people who should be awaiting Jesus. The Samaritans were a mixed race people hated by the Jews. They only had the law and not the prophets. Yet all it took for them to believe was a woman that had been trapped by sin for a long time announcing that the messiah was here. (John 4:39-42) Those who have sinned much, love much. (Luke 7:41-47)The thing to see here is that those trapped in sin have an easier time seeing the grace of God, while those trapped by religion look for what God can do for them.
The next thing I want to notice is that it said the man and his entire household believed. When an unbeliever comes to Christ, the joy he receives should stand out and lead others to Christ.
The disciples see Jesus doing something and they do not question it. They do not go up to him and say, Jesus we don’t like the way you are doing this. They don’t try to convince Him that this woman is a lost cause. They wait till he finishes talking to her and then they try to get Him to eat.
Jesus response to them is that He has food they know nothing about. This throws them off because they know He didn’t have any food. They are discussing this among themselves when Jesus says “My food, is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
Jesus was just letting them know that sometimes meeting the needs of others and serving God is more important that worrying about what we want at the moment. It is easy for us thinking of the things we need to get done and forget that God may have placed someone there who needs us. It might be someone that normally because of social or class norms we wouldn’t reach out to. But that is our food! The will of God should always be what we feed on.
Jesus finishes up by comparing telling people about Him to raising crops. He is saying the seeds planted these people are just waiting to be harvested. When we look around us we sould see others as Those whom God has planted a seed in all they need is that last bit of work to get them out of the fields.
Jesus tells us others have done the hard work and we need to enjoy the benefits of that work in this case the prophets and John served to be the way God planted the seed. Jesus just showed up and spoke to a woman in compassion and it led to many in the town being saved.
As you go through your week are you looking over the fields and harvesting the fruit God has planted?
At about noon Jesus stops at Jacob’s well and rest while his disciples head into town to buy food. This is when the women we know as the Samaritan woman comes to the well. This is an odd time since women normally went to the well early in the day (Exodus 1:15-18) or late in the evening (Genesis 24:11). This suggest that this woman did not want to be seen by the other women, probably because of her known promiscuity (John 4:18).
As she is getting her water Jesus does an amazing thing and asks her for a drink. This is amazing first because the Jews and Samaritans are enemies. The Samaritans were mixed blood descendents of the Jews after the defeat of the northern Kingdom of Israel. They had caused problems for the Jews when they tried to rebuild the walls after the return from exile. Rabbinic law actually said that drinking after aSamaritan women would make a Jew ceremonially unclean. So Jesus is stepping across race, culture and religious lines.
Her response was amazement and Jesus answered back that “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” She responds asking how when he doesn’t any way to get water pointing out that the well is to deep for running water (this is what she would have understood living water to mean, Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit and she is not understanding that.) and basically questioning who He thinks He is since he couldn’t be greater than Jacob.
Jesus explains to the woman that the living water he offers leads to eternal water and that a person will never thirst again after it. The woman desires the water and Jesus tells her to bring her husband back.
The woman says she has no husband. Jesus then shows her who He is with the statement, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” Jesus is just showing her that He knows who she is that He looked pass all of this, when He spoke to her. Feeling convicted of her sin she turns it to a theological discussion.
It’s amazing how we will try to cover up our sin by our religious knowledge. Jesus tells her that that will not work God knows when we our worshipping to be religious and when we are worshipping in Spirit and truth. Jesus then tells the woman that He is the messiah.
The woman’s response to meeting Jesus is what ours should be. She goes out and tells everyone she can about Jesus. This leads to many Samaritans believing and being saved.
This section shows us how to be compassionate as I’ve stated in another post on this section. It teaches that race and culture lines do not matter. It shows us that our response should be to go and share the gospel.
The Holy Bible : New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), Jn 4:10.
I think we can safely assume that this argument was about baptism. This section starts off talking about baptism and immediately after we hear of the argument it goes back to baptism. So my guess is a Jewish person, probably a Pharisee like Nicodemus is trying to understand why Jesus and John are baptizing Jews. It also should be mentioned that Jesus was not baptizing himself but His disciples were (John 4:2).
So after this discussion John’s students go back to him and they are worried. They are afraid that this man Jesus is going to get a bigger following than John. I think today’s application on this is the church and it’s constant concern for other churches getting more members. I have heard church members talk about not wanting to work with a church on something because they are afraid they may lose some members. What we must realize is that God sees one church and one denomination. It should thrill us when we hear about a church growing. The angels are throwing a party so why aren’t we(Luke 15:10).
If you read the rest of this section with that in mind it will help you see that each of us are just a part of announcing that Christ has come. We should seek to be humbled and made small as we proclaim this news to the lost. We should be thrilled for the groom (Christ) when we hear of another coming to Him. Be it an individual or a growing church.
I have to recite this from the KJV because it was so burnt into my memory that I have a deep love for the phrasing of this verse in that translation. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus is pointing out to Nicky that He is the true and not created Son of God and if you look upon His work on the cross and believe that His death gives you life and forgiveness, then you will have it.
Again it’s important that we keep the symbolization of the serpent, sin, and forgiveness I mentioned in the last post in mind here. This section is teaching us that Christ’s death on the cross is what brings cleansing, forgiveness, eternal life and allows us to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Now we move on to verses 17and 18. Keep the reference point in mind that God is telling us how He loves the world. Today we live in a world where it is considered offensive to say that if you don’t believe in Jesus you will go to hell. The misunderstanding people have is that Jesus is here to condemn them. When you say something about Jesus they think you are condemning them and judging them. That is not what Jesus did on the cross. I have heard so many fundamentalist preachers teach a graceless gospel where everybody but them are going to Hell. That is not what Jesus taught.
Jesus never condemned a sinner. Think about this for a moment. Jesus asked the woman caught in adultery , “Has no one condemned you?” In Matthew 9:2 Jesus does not condemn the paralytic but tells him his sins are forgiven. As Jesus eats with sinners at Matthews house He says He is there to heal them of their sin(Matthew 9:12-13). The Samaritan woman in John 4, Jesus does not condemn. Jesus did not condemn any sinners in the bible. That is what the church wrongfully does.
Let’s look at who He did condemn . Who did Jesus look at and say, you are going to burn in Hell? Look at Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. Or 23:33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
Jesus only condemned those who think they are righteous. Jesus does not condemn sinners, He came to save them. Now this isn’t to say that sinners are not condemned. Verse 18 tells us that if you do not believe in Jesus you are already condemned. We are under God’s curse. We do not need to be condemned, we already are. Jesus isn’t here to tell us we are going to Hell. He is here to show God’s love and grace and let us know that if we believe in Him we are saved.
Verses 19-21 just further states this by saying man is evil and because we are ashamed of our deeds we do not want to hear about Jesus. When we accept the cleansing and filling of Spirit we become a new creation with the heart of God and we can then step into the light. Then our lives show that what we have do we do through the Spirit of God.
It’s unfortunate that the chapter break is here at verse 21 because it really needs to be included in this section. All of this is immediately after Jesus clearing the temple. These verses 23-25 are talking about “unsaved believers”. That is people who believe in Jesus but don’t trust in Him and this is what Nicodemus is when he goes to Jesus. He admits in verse 2 that he knows Jesus was sent from God, but he denies the authority that Jesus has.
Nicodemus has gotten curious about Jesus and goes to Him. It’s kind of funny how this conversation starts in verse 2-3. Nicodemus comes in telling Jesus what a powerful servant of God He is being able to perform miracles and stuff. Jesus knowing what is truly in his heart though, cuts him off. Jesus immediately turns to what is on Nicodemus’ mind. Nicodemus has come to ask a prophet when will the kingdom of God come and free them from Roman rule.
Let’s try to put ourselves in Nicodemus’ place for a minute. You are a teacher of the law. You are living in a city surrounded by pagan Caesar worshipping Romans. Every decision about the land promised to you by God is controlled by pagans. You hate these vile, violent, and offensive people. You look forward to the time of the kingdom of God. It will be a time when God will take control and remove these pagans and God will rule here. You pray for it daily. You make tons of rules so that you can live righteously and force others to obey them in hopes that this will please God and He will deliver you.
Then one day after 400 years without the voice of a prophet, a man shows up and with a whip chases greedy men from the temple. Then this man goes into the courts and performs miracles and healings.(John 2:23) You look to the heavens and asks God if this is a prophet that can tell you when this kingdom will appear? You feel unexplainably drawn to this man.
You listen to the other Pharisees and they are talking about this man. “How dare He stop our temple markets?” “How dare He build up followers that listen to Him more faithfully than us? How dare He claim God as His father? You are embarrassed for believing that Jesus was sent by God so in the evening you sneak off and go to talk to Him. But then when you start talking to Him, He knows your very thoughts. He knows the prayers that you have only shared with God.
You stare startled as He emphatically tells you, that you must be born again to see the kingdom of God. You don’t understand. How can one be born again? As you wrestle with this he states with the same emphasis that you must be “born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” How can this be you ask. Jesus asks you, how can you not understand this when you are a teacher?”
I want to switch gears here and take a moment to talk about this being born of water and spirit. There seems to be much confusion over what it means. It is not baptism. The Jews knew what baptism was. It was used when converting people to Judaism and some crazy man on the banks of the Jordan was doing it to Jews, but to Nicodemus this would not be something that could or should make sense to him. Jesus tells him in verse 10 that the Old Testament explains Water and Spirit.
Let’s go to Jeremiah 31:15 and try to make sense of this. Jeremiah makes a prophecy of Jesus. We see the fulfillment of this prophecy in Matthew 2:18. Jeremiah is speaking of a new covenant(Jeremiah 31:31) that Jesus will make with Israel. Now go to Ezekiel 36:25-26 to find the understanding of water and spirit. Verse 25 says I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean and verse 26 says I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.
This being born again is putting faith in Jesus Which cleanses us from the guilt of our sin (Jeremiah 33:8) and fills us with the Holy Spirit so that we can live by God’s law. Now for us today we know of the cross. So our faith is in the fact that Jesus came and lived a sinless life and died as a perfect sacrifice so that He could suffer God’s wrath for us. It also includes faith in the resurrection of Jesus on the third day and that we will be raised with Jesus.
Now Nicky would not have known of the cross during the conversation but Jesus gives him a clue. In verse 14 Jesus mentions the bronze snake that was lifted up and says that He shall have to be lifted up just as the bronze snake was. Nicodemus would have immediately thought of the people that had been bit by the serpents in Numbers 21:8-9. They were dying but when they looked upon the bronze snake on the pole they would be forgiven and live.
I love this symbolism. We have been infected with the poison of the serpent’s lies but when we look upon Jesus on the cross we can be forgiven and live. Nicodemus would have saw this symbolization immediately at the crucifixion and would understand the prophesy Jesus made that night.