No Room At The Inn

Posted December 26, 2018 By admin

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. … Luke 2:7 NKJV

We all recognize this verse. It is from the nativity story, which is told largely in part in Luke 2. It is the story of how God incarnated Himself into the person of Jesus Christ the greatest gift to the world. Can you imagine turning away an expectant father and his pregnant wife who is about to give birth! How much do you want to bet that the people who turned them away were “believers” and “lovers of God”! This verse is not only part of the nativity story but also is a commentary of the world today! The world today largely in part turns away Jesus Christ. It has no room for Christ. America has sadly joined the world in this regard as well. With the pagan influence that is growing in America unchecked and a generation that rejects any belief that America was founded on the principles of The Bible and Christianity, our country too has no room at the inn. The war on Christmas has gone to such ridiculous and extreme lengths that it is nearly forbidden now to make even the slightest reference of what the true meaning of Christmas is. So what does this mean? Does this mean America is doomed with no way out? Taking a phrase from Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”, if these shadows remain unaltered then it is guaranteed. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Just as Scrooge was offered reclamation, we are offered that same chance as well. It starts with you, if you haven’t given your life to Jesus Christ, you can change that today! In Revelation, Jesus says…

(20) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. … Revelation 3:20 NKJV

Giving your life to Jesus, giving Him “room at the inn”, will change your life and who knows, may change America’s as well!

Merry Christmas!

   

We are taking our final look into Chapter 6 in John’s Gospel. For those of you who may not be aware, my mom passed away and went to be with the Lord on March 13th at the age of 81 after nine long years from a blood cot that was found on her brain. It was about nine years ago that they operated on her to remove it but in so doing, my mom was basically left incapacitated. She spent the final years and especially the last few months of her life in misery and unable to communicate with anyone so in that regard, it’s a relief that she is gone so she didn’t have to suffer anymore. Over the last few weeks since learning of her passing, I’ve been wrestling with my feelings over the news. My mom and I did not exactly have the greatest relationship when I was growing up and it also continued well into my adult years. In fact, I basically cut off all contact with my family for many years, around 10 years I think, and it was only within last 20 years or so that I reestablished contact with them. I made a trip back to Orlando, where my parents now live, but unfortunately it wasn’t in enough time to say goodbye to my mom something I deeply regret. Although I made up with my mom years ago, I regret the time that I missed with her and the rest of the family because of my stubborn ways. Proof that just because you give your life to Jesus Christ doesn’t mean that everything you’ve done or said prior to that gets totally erased in this world. We are totally forgiven by God but there are still consequences for our actions. A lesson to be learned.

Okay, on with our study. Like I said, we are wrapping up Chapter 6 in John. Hypocrisy is one of the biggest sins in Christianity. The root word of hypocrisy is hypocrite. The word hypocrite ultimately came into English from the Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor” or “a stage player.” Did you know that the hypocrisy found in most Christians is one of the biggest obstacles preventing unbelievers from coming to faith in Christ? We Christians talk the talk but we don’t walk the walk, at least most of us. There are some that do. This gets noticed by unbelievers and prevents them from coming to faith in Christ! I saw this at a young age. I can remember going to Catholic services on Sundays. If you are familiar with the way a Catholic service is conducted, there is a part of the mass where the priest will say, “Let us offer each other the sign of peace”. You would then turn to the person next to you and the person behind you and shake their hand and say “Peace be with you” or something of that nature. However I would notice that after the service was over and we were leaving, people would literally be trying to run people over trying to drive out of the church parking lot! That’s hypocrisy! The recent priest sex abuse scandal, that’s hypocrisy probably at it’s worst! James put it best when he says in James 1….

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. …. James 1:26 NKJV

In this passage, “not bridling the tongue” means any type of behavior inconsistent with the way we are supposed to have as saved Christians not just what we say. 

In this final part of Chapter 6 and this passage that we will look at in this post, Jesus is dealing with a hypocritical crowd. The people are following Him but for the wrong reasons. They’ve witnessed a miracle and they want more. Jesus knows this, that they are more interested in what He can do rather than who He really is, and He begins to “thin out the herd” so to speak. Let’s get started with our study and as always, the text link for the entire chapter and audio is provided so you can follow along. Before we get started though, let’s pray…

Father,

Thank you for the word of God that does the work of God in the hearts of the people of God. We bring our hearts, our minds, and our attention to the words that we will be reading, the thoughts that Your Holy Spirit will give us, and the questions that we will be wrestling with which will hopefully be answered and some truths that might be hard to swallow. We pray that you would feed us and teach us, but more than that equip us to be vessels to speak your word, to share truth, to encourage others, to have knowledge, but then, Lord, to act on it. We ask this is in Jesus’s name…Amen!

John 6

Let’s look at the passage that we will be studying here. For context purposes, we’ll pick it up a couple of verses before the passage…

(57) As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. (58) This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” (59) These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. (60) Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” (61) When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? (62) What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? (63) It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (64) But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. (65) And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” (66) From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. (67) Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” (68) But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. (69) Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (70) Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (71) He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve. … John 6:57-71 NKJV

Let’s look at the passage more closely now…

v 60 – (60) Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”

Whenever you see a therefore in The Bible, you need to find out what it is “there for”. Jesus has just told the people that eating His flesh and drinking His blood will grant them eternal life. He doesn’t mean this literally of course and an argument ensues because the crowd just doesn’t get it. In this passage, John says many of His disciples. By this time, Jesus had a whole lot more people following Him than just the original twelve. They were following Him for the wrong reasons though. They weren’t true followers. John uses the word disciples because anyone who professed to following Jesus and believe in His teachings was considered to be a disciple. It didn’t mean that they were true believers though. These “disciples” now say amongst themselves This is a hard saying; who can understand it?. When they say that what Jesus was telling them, it wasn’t because it wasn’t easy for them to understand per say but more that it was very offensive for them to receive. The word hard, as used here, is the Greek word sklēros which means harsh or severe. In the King Jimmie, the word understand is replaced by the word hear. In other words, they didn’t like what they were hearing. They were basically saying, “We can’t stand here and listen to this anymore! It’s offensive to us!”. The same can be said about the church today. Talk about the Savior’s love but don’t you dare talk about sin and the consequences of it or about how Christ died for it! That is God’s people’s complaint these days about why The Bible is such a bloody book and why churches have to talk about the blood of Christ. In 2 Timothy though, Paul warns about the falling away of God’s people…

(3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; (4) and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. … 2 Timothy 4:3-4 NKJV

Charles Spurgeon, a famous preacher back in the 1800’s, put it best where he said that a ministry without the blood is lifeless!

Moving on to verse 61…

vv 61-65 – (61) When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? (62) What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? (63) It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (64) But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. (65) And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

In verses 61 and 64, is evidence that Jesus knows the thoughts and actions of people. Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this and Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. Further down the passage in verse 71, Jesus actually calls out Judas, not by name though, as His betrayer. If we as professed believers think that we can pull the wool over Jesus’s eyes by pretending to be believers, think again! Jesus knew exactly what the “disciples” were complaining about. They were complaining about His claim that He had come down from heaven and that they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood to gain eternal life so He asks them, Does this offend you?, knowing full well that it did! It offends people today as well. Christ’s claim to exclusivity of access to God offends many Christians today. It is offensive for them, as well as unbelievers, to hear that Christ is the only way to heaven and to think any other way is an automatic ticket to hell. A good example of this is everybody’s hero, Oprah Winfrey, a professed Christian, when asked if she believed that Jesus Christ was the only way to heaven replied no and that there were many ways she believed that person could gain access to heaven. She’s not the only one either. Ask a professed Christian the same question and most of them will either, one, change the subject or two, will answer no. This is a good way to find out if one is truly saved or not because if they don’t answer with an emphatic, unwavering “yes” then they aren’t! Perhaps we should be asking this question more to our church leaders!

Moving on now in verse 62, the people had taken offense because Jesus said that He had come down from heaven so now He asks what if they see Him go back there. He was speaking of His resurrection. It was sort of a trick question. The people thought He was talking about literally eating His flesh and drinking His blood so now Jesus poses this thought…how can you do that if I’m not here! Of course He wasn’t talking about literally eating His flesh or drinking His blood and in verse 63, Jesus points this out again to the people by telling them that flesh cannot grant eternal life only the spirit, meaning the Holy Spirit. In other words, what Jesus is saying here when He says that the flesh profits nothing, is that human achievement does not grant eternal life. Only belief in Him and until they accepted and truly believed that, then they did not have eternal life.

In verse 64, John says that Jesus knew from the beginning who would believe in Him and who wouldn’t. What did John mean by this? From the beginning of this discourse with the crowd? Jesus knew this from all eternity being God of course so John could have possibly meant that but he probably meant from the beginning of Jesus’s ministry on earth. It wasn’t so much that these people who did not believe couldn’t because they didn’t understand but because they were unwilling to understand. Jesus would become a “stumbling block” and a “rock of offense” to them and it still holds true with people today. This is exactly what the Lord foretold through Isaiah. Jesus would have a twofold effect. In Isaiah, the prophet says…

(14) He will be as a sanctuary, But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense To both the houses of Israel, As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. … Isaiah 8:14 NKJV

However, further on, Isaiah also says…

(16) Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily. … Isaiah 28:16 NKJV

Paul summarizes both trains of thought nicely in Romans…

(33) As it is written: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STUMBLING STONE AND ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND WHOEVER BELIEVES ON HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME.” … Romans 9:33 NKJV

It was true of the people back then and it is true of people today.

What follows in verse 65 is Jesus re-emphasizing what He said in verse 44…no one comes to Him unless granted by God. Jesus makes this statement because of the crowd’s continuing disbelief. This also puts emphasis on the fact that we do not deserve nor can we earn salvation. The people thought that just because they were Jews, God’s chosen people, that they automatically had a ticket to heaven. In today’s society, the belief is just because you are a participant in life you are granted that ticket no matter what your belief system might be. In verse 65, Jesus says think again! Let’s move on now to verse 66…

v 66 – (66) From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

After this, many of Jesus’s disciples walked away and stopped following Him. The word disciples really shouldn’t be used here. It should read many people because they were never truly disciples. They were never true believers! They were following Jesus because of the miracles. They loved His works but hated His words. Many people can bluff their way through life pretending to be believers but eventually, true motives are discovered. Here’s a real good example of this. Remember right after 9/11 how the churches across the country were packed full of people and how everyone got so “spiritual”? As time went on and the events of that day got further and further away and people began to forget (boy did we forget!), church attendance got less and less and all that spirituality disappeared. Why? Because more and more people were convicted by what they were hearing in churches and what they were reading in The Bible which totally conflicted with their lifestyles and most, not all, turned away. Jesus did not meet this crowd’s expectations. They were looking for a king, a liberator to free them from Roman oppression. When it was clear to them that He wasn’t going to do that, many turned away from Him. When Jesus doesn’t meet our expectations, we turn from Him as well. It is the reason why I spent most of my adult life away from the Lord. He didn’t meet my expectations. 1 John, John says about these type of followers…

(19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. … 1 John 2:19 NKJV

Doubting one’s faith from time to time is normal and to be expected but this speaks of a pattern of continuing to fall away. Hypocrisy will always be exposed. In Hebrews, it says…

(13) And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. … Hebrews 4:13 NKJV

Not everyone walks away from Jesus and His words though as we move on and finish out the passage…

vv 67-71 – (67) Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” (68) But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. (69) Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (70) Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (71) He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve. … John 6:67-71 NKJV

I don’t think Jesus was surprised or upset or disappointed that the people walked away. He knew they would. Apparently though from what we read in this passage everybody was gone except for the twelve disciples. Jesus asks an honest point blank question to His remaining twelve disciples…Do you also want to go away?. He asks this question to test them. Did they really believe in Him and His words or were they just there for the show like the crowd? Peter speaks up, probably almost immediately, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. He then follows that up with the statement and the answer that Jesus was testing them for…Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Peter makes a bold statement here. He also uses the word we speaking for all twelve of them and Jesus corrects him and says that not all of them feel that way. He knew that one of them, Judas Iscariot, would eventually betray Him, a point that John brings out in this passage. Jesus doesn’t call him out by name but the statement that Jesus makes is His way of telling Judas, “Think about what you are going to do!”. Even though Jesus knew that Judas would eventually betray Him, He did give Judas several opportunities to back out of it and become a true disciple. That’s important to note because if Jesus did not give up on Judas then we should not give up on anyone as well. ALL people are worth the chance of salvation not just those we like and love. It’s just up to them whether they accept it or not. The statement that Peter makes is not exactly true. After Jesus is arrested, Peter will deny knowing Him and the disciples will flee and go into hiding except for John who is right there when Jesus is crucified. The statement that Peter makes though is what He truly felt in his heart at the time. As I said we all go through momentary lapses of faith and that’s what happens to Peter and the others. Judas however, never felt this truly in his heart though. There are a lot of “Judases” in the church today. It’s like, “I’ll follow You now but the moment You do something or say something that I don’t like, I’m out of here!”.

So here are the takeaways from this passage that we have been looking at. True words are hard to hear. Not necessarily because we don’t understand but because we can’t tolerate it. It offends us and contradicts our way of life. Jesus’s death on the cross for sin offends a lot of people many of those who are in the church. True motives will be discovered. Not all people who profess belief in Jesus Christ and His teachings are true followers of Him. The moment He doesn’t meet their expectations, they bail. The last thing though is that true disciples will never leave. True disciples have devotion and loyalty and they would never think of leaving. Yes there are momentary lapses of faith that we suffer but it’s not long term and we usually bounce back with even a stronger faith than what we started with. There is a sense of satisfaction in us who believe in Jesus and also a sense of conviction. I have said it before and I will say it again…true Christianity is NOT a religion. It is a RELATIONSHIP! You either have it or you don’t! For those of you that don’t, you can have it today. All you have to do is ask Him! Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You again for this time spent in Your Word. Help us Lord to strengthen our resolve to worship You in spirit and truth not just once or twice a week in a special building but in our homes, on our jobs, in our schools and then help us to go out and find and convert others to do the same. As we put a lid on this chapter Lord, help us, strengthen us, to become true disciples. Lord, take care of all who have passed away and now are in Your loving care, especially my mom. Let her know that even though we didn’t see eye to eye on many things and fought a lot, that I love her and will miss her very much. Finally Lord bless us, bless our families, our communities and our nations wherever we may live. On this Easter weekend, we pray that more people would come to faith in Your Son Jesus Christ and we pray this in His name…Amen!

   

Quick…what is the topic that sells the most books? You’ll be very surprised at the answer! It isn’t anti-Trump propaganda or any other Democrat Socialist propaganda. It isn’t sports, automobiles, science, romance, or even sex. It’s cooking! It’s true! There are more cook books published, sold, and read than any other books. Not only that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the largest category of establishments in America are eateries. Eateries…restaurants, bistros, fast food joints etcetera. Given our society of today, I would have thought that adult bookstores and adult video joints would be the most. Apparently though, we love eating more than anything else!

Which is perhaps why the Lord Jesus Christ used food analogies so much when talking to people and we find so many of them in The Bible. It was something that they, and we, can relate to. We are in the middle of looking at just one of those…”I am the bread of life” passage. One of the other most famous “food” passages can be found in Revelation in Chapter 3 down in verse 20 where Jesus says…

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. … Revelation 3:20 NKJV

Yes, Jesus knows that we love to eat and probably, so does He since that He loved to talk about it so much! LOL!

Anyway, this next part of Jesus’s sermon to the people reinforces the verses that we looked at in the previous post so this post will be an “altar call” post. It will be the first of quite a few that I will be doing as I move along in this study of John’s Gospel. An, “altar call” post is where I give you, the reader, a chance for you to accept Christ if you haven’t done so already and I hope and pray that you will take the opportunity to do so if you haven’t already. Since most of this passage that we’re going to look at this time was covered in the last post, I’ll be summarizing and zeroing in on only a few verses so let’s get started! As always, the link for text for the entire chapter as well as the audio is included so you can follow along. Before we get started though, let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

We thank You for Your Word and the truths found in it. Father, we come before You with open hearts, open minds, and open hands to mold us as a potter does with clay to make us more and more into the image of Your Son Jesus Christ. Father help us to think the way He thought and feel the way He felt and do what He did. Help us open up Your Word to a nation and a people and a generation that for the most part doesn’t want to hear it. Too many of us, Your people Lord, look at this country through rose colored glasses and say, “We’re okay”, “our country’s okay” when nothing could be further from the truth. We’re not okay…our country, America, is not okay. It is failing and it is failing because Your church has failed You! We are not walking with You in our daily lives and we are not doing what You have commanded us to do. Help us change that Lord. Help us to become more like You. Lord we pray for the victims of the recent storms and tornadoes. Be with them and strengthen them as they try to put their lives and homes back together in the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen!

John 6

Let’s look at the passage for this post. It is quite long but like I said most of it will be summarized. …

(41) The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” (42) And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” (43) Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. (44) No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (45) It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT BY GOD.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. (46) Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. (47) Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. (48) I am the bread of life. (49) Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. (50) This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. (51) I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (52) The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” (53) Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. (54) Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (55) For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. (56) He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. (57) As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. (58) This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” (59) These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. … John 6:41-59 NKJV

What we are looking at here in this passage is the first of many serious objections to what Jesus is telling people and His response to them. It’s not that they didn’t understand what Jesus was telling them. They were slowly beginning to get it. It was conviction and resentment towards Jesus and what He was telling them. We see this starting in verse 41…the Jews complained about Him. They were saying amongst themselves, “Hey! We know this guy! We know his parents Joseph and Mary! We know that he was born in Bethlehem! He didn’t come from heaven! We know this guy!”. Here is an interesting fact that you may or may not know about Bethlehem by the way. The name, Bethlehem, is Hebrew for “house of bread” or “place of bread”. Bethlehem was the breadbasket of the world back then. It’s where grain was grown and where the wheat fields were. How ironic is it that Jesus, “the bread of life”, was born in Bethlehem…”the place of bread”! All part of God’s plan! Too bad the crowd couldn’t grasp the significance of it!

Again in verse 43, Jesus reiterates to the people no one comes to Him unless the Father chooses him. We looked at this in the last post. Two doctrines or concepts are being presented here…election and choice. It is called prevenient grace. I didn’t cover this phrase in the last post but what it basically means is that before man can seek God, God must seek him. God draws people and enables them to make their own choice and believe in Him. Even today, this frustrates people and many use it as an excuse not to turn to Jesus. The argument is “What if God didn’t choose me?”. How do you know that if you don’t make that move and accept Him? To put an end to this argument and to make this concept easy for you to understand is that God chooses EVERYONE! It is your choice, your freewill, though to choose Him or not! Here’s a very important point and you need to let this sink in if you are an unbeliever…light rejected is light denied! The more you turn away from Jesus, the more He will harden your heart towards Him and His teachings and at some point, it will be impossible for you to come to Him! A lot of people think that they can come to Christ on their deathbed but the fact is, is that many of them don’t get that chance! The more you turn away and scoff at the Good News of the Gospel, the harder it will be for you to understand. This is basically what is happening to this crowd. They are scoffing at what Jesus is telling them. If they can’t understand the simplest things that Jesus is telling them now, the harder it is going to be for them to grasp and accept the meanings of more difficult things that He will expound to them later and we are going to see this more and more as we go along in this study. This was prophesied in Isaiah. If you turn back to that book and to Chapter 6 down to verse 9, it says….

(9) And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ (10) “Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed.”

This was true back then and it still holds true today. The more you turn away, the more likely you will never turn back! Let’s go to verse 45 and look at verses 45 and 46 a bit closer. …

vv 45-46 – (45) It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT BY GOD.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. (46) Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.

Having stated that no one can come to Him unless God draws them to Him, Jesus now explains on how that is accomplished. Jesus starts by quoting another passage from Isaiah…

(13) All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children. … Isaiah 54:13 NKJV

God draws people to Jesus through His Word. He reaches people’s hearts with it. Quick without thinking what is the most valuable and treasured possession that you have? Your car? Your home? Maybe it’s a person. Perhaps your children? Your wife or husband? Your parents? If you are a believer, you should have answered The Bible. Why? Because at some point in your life, you heard or read something in it that made you realize that you needed Jesus Christ in your life! God drew you to Him! Not only that, it should be what you turn to, to bring comfort and reassurance in troubling times. This verse in Isaiah brings up this point. God’s Word will bring peace to you, your family, and God’s Word will bring peace and healing to America!

In verse 46, Jesus points out that just because man is taught by God doesn’t mean that they have seen Him. No one has seen God the Father except The Son. Jesus is the only one who has seen Him because He came from God. What the crowd was totally oblivious to is that they were actually seeing God in the person of Jesus Christ! What a thrilling time it must have been to have the Creator right there in their midst! To verse 47 and a look at the next two verses…

vv 47-48 – (47) Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. (48) I am the bread of life.

Verse 47 is the shortest, clearest explanation of the Gospel and the way to salvation that there is in The Bible. Salvation has nothing to do with church membership, how good you may think you are, how much money you give to charities, what your family’s religious history is, whether or not you were baptized as an infant or whether or not you are circumcised or uncircumcised. The only thing that matters is belief. A true and honest belief in Jesus Christ. Salvation is not based on what we do. It’s not about works because the truth is we are so flawed as human beings that there is nothing that we could possibly do to earn salvation. That is not a popular message these days but it’s a stone cold fact. Salvation is a gift from God but it requires for you to take that first step and accept and believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus uses the phrase most assuredly. In the King Jimmie, it is translated as verily, verily. In the NIV, I believe it translates as truly, truly. Whatever version you like to read, it means it’s fact that you can count on it. What Jesus is telling the crowd, and us, is that if we believe in Him, we are guaranteed eternal life. There is no doubt about it! In verse 48, Jesus again says I am the bread of life.

Jesus then talks about manna again, the physical bread, that God provided their forefathers in the wilderness. He points out to the crowd that even though they ate it, they eventually died. The manna only sustained life physically not spiritually. Jesus, the true bread of life provided that. Now we look at verse 51…

v 51 – (51) I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

Jesus now gives a much more cryptic message to the crowd. What is Jesus talking about in this verse? He is making a statement regarding His death on the cross. This is the first time in John’s Gospel where Jesus mentions His ultimate mission in coming to the earth…His death on the cross to save mankind from sin. This is not the Messiah that the people were expecting. They were expecting a king or a warrior. They were expecting someone that would save them from Roman oppression not someone who would save them from the oppression of sin. Even today, people want to think of Jesus as the sweet infant in the cradle in Bethlehem not a Savior who went to the cross for them, shed His blood for them, all of it so we could be saved from our greatest need…sin! That is mankind’s greatest need but people didn’t want to hear that back then and they still don’t want to hear about it today! It can’t even be talked about anymore in the church. A look at one more verse. …

v 54 – (54) Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

This is part of Jesus’s response to yet another argument from the crowd. They were arguing amongst themselves asking, How can this Man give us His flesh to eat not realizing Jesus was referring to His death on the cross to save them from sin. However, it does not mean what the Catholics believe. There is a doctrine taught in the Catholic church called transubstantiation. The word means to change substance. This is where it is believed at Communion, the bread and the wine are literally transformed from one substance to another that they literally become Christ’s flesh and blood at the Eucharist. This totally goes against what The Bible teaches though. For one thing when Jesus says what He says in verse 54, the Last Supper hadn’t even occurred yet. It would also mean that communion would be the way to salvation. Again that’s contradicting Jesus when He says several times in The New Testament that all you have to do is accept Him and believe in Him to be saved. It would mean salvation through works which defies Biblical doctrine of grace through faith. What Jesus means by this statement is to believe on Him. If you compare verse 47 to this saying in verse 54, this is definitely what Jesus meant. In verse 47, Jesus says he who believes in Me has everlasting life. Now here in verse 54, Jesus says whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has everlasting life. There is absolutely no argument what Jesus meant. He meant believe on Him…case closed! 

So now in closing and before I get to the part of this post where I give you, the reader, the chance to accept Christ into your life if you haven’t already, what does that mean? To believe on Him? It means to believe in Jesus with all your heart, body, mind, and soul! We don’t just pull out Jesus when it is convenient for us. Too many of us Christians are what I like to call “Out of the box Christians”. We pull Jesus “out of the box” on Sundays and maybe the occasional Wednesday. We pull Jesus “out of the box” on Christmas and Easter. We pull Jesus “out of the box” when times are hard. In other words, we pull Jesus “out of the box” when it is convenient for us and we don’t live with Him in our hearts every single day of our lives. We also only read and believe the parts of God’s Word that only suit our purposes and shy away from the parts that don’t suit our purposes and convicts us. Most Christians won’t even read The Old Testament saying that it doesn’t apply anymore. While it is true that we are under a new covenant and the old covenant is no longer in effect, ALL of The Bible applies especially the Books of the Prophets. Most Christians can’t handle Jesus being anything more than cute, cuddly, child in a manger. Jesus hanging on a cross, bleeding, and dying for mankind’s sin and Jesus as the avenger in Revelation, Christians can’t handle that and those messages are being lost in today’s churches much like it was with this crowd that Jesus addresses here. To accept, believe, and trust in all aspects of Jesus is eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ so take Him all in!

Without Jesus Christ, we have reason to be worried. Without Jesus Christ, we should be fretting. Without Him, we have no hope, no future, no forgiveness, no eternal life. But when we come to the cross of Calvary where Jesus died for our sins, when we ask for forgiveness on the basis of his blood shed there, when we pray to him, asking him to become our Savior and Lord, He saves us and sets us free. He gives us peace. Have you received him as your Savior? Are you living in His peace? Today is the best day you’ve ever had to give your life to Him and to cast on Him your every care. You have the chance to do it now! Just pray this simple short prayer. Remember it really doesn’t matter what you say. What matters is that what you say comes from your heart!…

“Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you. Amen.”

If you’ve prayed the above prayer with a sincere heart, then you are saved. The next step is to start going to church, getting baptized to publicly profess your faith, and reading the Bible and learning God’s Word. I pray with all of my heart that you prayed the above prayer! Please let me know if you need any help with your new “walk” with Christ!

   

When I was a kid, my mom would make sandwiches for me for school lunches and regular lunches. We used Wonder Bread. I think it was the only bread around at the time. There could have been other brands but my mom always bought Wonder. Anyway, I can remember how good and tasty the sandwiches were and the bread made all the difference.  It even made the sandwiches that I didn’t like taste better. I had forgotten about how good sandwiches tasted until I bought a loaf of Wonder Bread about a week or so ago and found out that the bread is just as good now as it was back then!

This brings to mind a question. How would you like a bread that is good for you, never goes bad, and is satisfying? This bread that I am talking about is not a physical bread. There’s no such thing. The “bread” that I am speaking of is Jesus Christ. Once you “eat” this “bread”, you will never want or look for anything else again! The “bread” that is Jesus Christ will make all the difference in your life!

There are seven statements that Jesus makes in the Gospel of John that begins with the words “I am”. There’s “I am the light of the world”; “I am the door”; “I am The Good Shepherd”; “I am the resurrection and the life”; “I am the way, the truth, and the life”; “I am the vine” and the first one that appears in this chapter that we will be looking at…”I am the bread of life”. These seven statements that Jesus makes appear in none of the other Gospels except for John’s. The reason is because of the viewpoint that John is trying to convey to his readers and he makes no mistake about who Jesus Christ is. He is none other than God in human flesh!

This sermon that Jesus gives the crowd is quite long so we will be looking at it in 3 parts. The reason being is that it is just too long to cover in one post so I will be doing it in 3 shorter posts. Let’s get started and as always, the link for text for the entire chapter as well as the audio is included so you can follow along. Before we get started though, let’s pray…

Lord,

We give thanks to You for You are good and Your mercy endures forever. Thank You for Your Word and the time we have to spend in it. Show us Your ways and teach us Your paths for You are the God of our salvation. Lord, our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say through Your Word. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! We ask this in Jesus’s name…Amen!

John 6

Let’s look at the passage we’ll be examining in this post and for context purposes, we’ll start a couple of verses up from verse 30. …

(28) Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (29) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (30) Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? (31) Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD FROM HEAVEN TO EAT.'” (32) Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. (33) For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (34) Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” (35) And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (36) But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. (37) All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. (38) For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (39) This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. (40) And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” … John 6:28-40 NKJV

Now let’s look at the passage more closely. …

vv 28-30 – (28) Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (29) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (30) Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do?

Jesus continues His discourse with the people whom He had just performed a miracle…the feeding of the 5000 or rather, about 15,000 actually. The following day, they went seeking Jesus. There was nothing wrong with the crowd doing this. There was a high anticipation that the Messiah was coming and they might have been remembering the words of Moses in Deuteronomy when he said…

(15) “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, … Deuteronomy 18:15 NKJV

Their reasons for seeking out Jesus were hypocritical though and Jesus calls them out because of it. The question that the crowd asks in verse 30 is very hypocritical. They had just witnessed a sign the day before when Jesus fed them all and yet, they were asking for another. This is also typical of unbelievers and Christian skeptics. They want to see a sign first before they will believe in Christ. Having true faith though is believing before seeing.

When Jesus did a miracle or sign, it was a setup for a lengthy discourse of the message behind the miracle or sign and that is portrayed throughout John’s Gospel. So there’s a sign, or signs, then a sermon. For instance all the signs that Jesus does in Chapter 2, the water being turned into wine, the overturning of the tables in the temple, and the healings that are described by John are all a setup for the discourse that Jesus gives to Nicodemus in Chapter 3 of what it means to be born again. In Chapter 4 when Jesus reveals the details of the Samaritan’s woman’s life at the well, it is a setup for a discourse with the woman about drinking living water. Then in Chapter 5 when the man is healed at the pool of Bethesda, another sign or miracle, it was a setup for Jesus to give the crowd a fourfold discourse on just who He was. Now here in Chapter 6 after the miraculous feeding of this enormous crowd, He is about to give them a discourse on the bread of life…accepting Jesus into their life. There are others as well but we will cover them as we get to them.

vv 31-33 – (31) Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD FROM HEAVEN TO EAT.'” (32) Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. (33) For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

When the people tell Jesus our fathers ate the manna in the desert, what they are referring to is the food that God provided the Hebrews when they left Egypt and is talked about in Exodus. Nobody really knows what manna really was. Even the word manna literally translates as “what is it?” in Hebrew. The closest description of what it was we find in Exodus 16…

(31) And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. … Exodus 16:31 NKJV

So it was basically “donuts” from heaven! LOL! It fell from the sky and people gathered it up every morning except on the Sabbath. They were told to gather a certain amount except on the day before the Sabbath when they were told to gather up twice the amount because there would be none the following day because of the Sabbath. The only catch is that they had to eat it before the evening because if they didn’t, it would go bad. God provided this for forty years not Moses which the people claimed and Jesus points out to the people in verse 32. He also points out to the people that the manna that God provided the people in the desert only sustained life physically. It did nothing for the well being of the people’s spiritual life. Notice the word life in verse 33. It is the Greek word zōē. There are three forms of life. The first is bio. It means physical life. We get the word biology from it. The second is psuche. This is our consciousness, our thought life, and our personality. We get the words psychology, psychoanalysis, and psychotic. The third, and what Jesus generally meant when He used the word, is the word zōē. It means eternal life or your spiritual life. 

vv 34-35 – (34) Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” (35) And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

Here we have two different trains of thought being portrayed here. The statement that the crowd makes, Lord, give us this bread always, is not a statement of faith in Jesus. They have absolutely none. They are asking for physical bread to feed them whereas Jesus wants to “feed” them with something way better…bread for eternal life. This is similar to Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in Chapter 4. When Jesus offered the woman living water, she was thinking about real water not the spiritual water that Jesus was offering her. Jesus is pointing out to the crowd that they shouldn’t be seeking out food that perishes but seeking the “food” that will give them eternal life. Much like the Samaritan woman though, the crowd misses the point too.

Notice the words that Jesus uses in verse 35, I am. This term is Christ’s claim to deity. When Moses went to check out the burning bush on Mt. Horeb in Exodus, Moses has an encounter with God. Turn over to Exodus and Chapter 3 and down to verse 13. …

(13) Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” (14) And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” … Exodus 3:13-14 NKJV

Now when Jesus makes the statement, I am the bread of life, the crowd realizes exactly what Jesus is doing. He is claiming equality with God! It won’t be the last time that He uses the words I am and the more He uses them, the more the people, especially the Pharisees, will turn against Jesus especially when Jesus tells them in Chapter 8, “Before Abraham was I AM”. What the people don’t understand though is that it would be absolutely ludicrous and sinful to make these statements unless there was some evidence and truth behind them. In fact in Deuteronomy, Moses warns the people against such things. …

(1) “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, (2) and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—’and let us serve them,’ (3) you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (4) You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. … Deuteronomy 13:1-4 NKJV

The penalty for such blasphemy was to be stoned by the people, something that they try to do to Jesus later on by the way. However, the people totally misunderstood what was happening with the miracle that Jesus had did the day prior. He wasn’t enticing them to go after another god or gods. He was telling them to love God and giving them evidence that He was in fact, God. In verse 35, Jesus emphasizes to the crowd the same point that He made to the Samaritan woman at the well…that He is their answer for their spiritual hunger.

v 36 – (36) But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.

Jesus is clarifying the purpose of His ministry. Spectacular miracles and free food are not the point of His mission on earth. Today’s Christians, especially in America, have this misconception of what Jesus’s ministry is. There is an immense belief that if you have faith in Christ that you will see miracles and you will have nothing but good fortune in your life and if you don’t, it means that your faith isn’t strong enough or that you don’t have any at all. The fact is that nowhere in The Bible does it say that if you accept Christ that life will be nothing but a bed of roses. In fact if you truly have faith, the exact opposite generally happens. There is a saying, and you probably have heard it, that Satan never rocks the cradles of sleeping saints. The more faith you have and the stronger it becomes, the more obstacles get thrown in your way to shake you from that faith.

Our focus should never be on miracles and “free food”, the worldly things in life, but the eternal things. In Matthew, Jesus points out…

(19) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; (20) but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. … Matthew 6:19-20 NKJV

How many Christians actually live by this statement and believe it though?

In verse 36, Jesus points out that the crowd has seen more than enough—in the form of miracles—to realize the truth He is explaining. And yet, the people stubbornly refuse to believe. Instead, they ask for even more miracles, as if that would finally convince them.

v 37 – (37) All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

This is a very important verse in The Bible because it displays two doctrines…election and responsibility. The first, election, is that God “chooses” those who will be saved. Who are the chosen? Anyone who comes to Jesus and truly believes in Him. The second is responsibility. It is your choice to come to Jesus. He will never force you to come to Him. It is strictly your decision. No one can make it for you and, like it or not, despite what people are taught to believe these days, we humans are sinful and wicked from birth. Despite that fact though, God loves us and does not want to see anyone of us suffer eternal damnation. Here’s a fact that you may or not know but hell was never meant for man. In Matthew, Jesus says…

(41) “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: … Matthew 25:41 NKJV

You hear this question all the time…”How can a loving God send anyone to hell?”. The fact is though that God doesn’t do that. You do that based on your decision not to come to Him. In 2 Peter, it says…

(9) The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. … 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV

It is also because He is a kind, loving God that He must allow this. Just as He rewards obedience to Him so He must render justice for disobedience. Once we come to Jesus though, we are guaranteed salvation. Nothing can take that away from us. We have His guarantee and assurance…and the one who comes to me I will by no means cast out. Let’s move on and finish out the passage. …

vv 38-40 – (38) For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (39) This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. (40) And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Once again, Jesus has committed blasphemy in the minds of His critics by saying that He has come down from heaven. This is the second time that Jesus has said this to the crowd. The first time was back in verse 33. It would be absolutely ludicrous for a normal person to make this claim but again, Jesus is not a normal person. He is in fact God incarnate and John makes this point throughout the Gospel. Jesus could act independently but His own will always lined up perfectly with the Father’s. He could never go against the Father’s will. The will of the Father was that everyone who came to Jesus would be saved. The words nothing and it used in verse 39, refers to believers. The last day in Christian terms is when those who believe in Jesus will rise and meet Him in the air and be taken to heaven to be with Him forever otherwise known as the rapture. Although the word rapture does not appear in The Bible, the concept of it does. Paul refers to it in 1 Thessalonians where he gives us a brief description of it…

(16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. … 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV

The phrase that Paul uses, caught up, is the Greek word harpazō which means to snatch away or to seize. Jesus also makes reference to it as well in Matthew 24…

(31) And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. … Matthew 24:31 NKJV

The word elect in this passage from Matthew 24 are the believers that Jesus talks about in verses 39 and 40 in John 6. We have Jesus’s reassurance from His own mouth that all who believe in Him will be with Him for all eternity. Paul backs up what Jesus tells the crowd in verse 40 of John 6 again in 1 Thessalonians. Going back up to verse 14 in 1 Thessalonians, Paul says…

(14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. … 1 Thessalonians 4:14 NKJV

That completes the first look of this long discourse that Jesus has with this crowd. Here’s the takeaways from this post. First, the “bread” of Jesus will save you but coming to Jesus has to be your choice. No one can make it for you. There is no “two for one special”. Just because you come from a family of believers, it doesn’t give you a free pass into heaven and your parents can’t decide for you just because they have you baptized at birth. On the flip side of the coin, the decision can’t be made by forcing someone to go to church against their will either. Parents are most guilty of this with their children. They think that if they make their children attend church that it will save their kids or score “points” with them with God. Newsflash…it doesn’t work that way! You can educate your child(ren) the importance of coming to the Lord and studying The Bible but it all comes down to their decision. Same thing goes with your friends and family members. The entrance is not really a gate. It’s more like a turnstile where everybody goes through one at a time. God will never force that decision upon you. However He will throw you a “life preserver” every now and then in the form of some type of hardship to maybe make you realize that you need Him and my advice to you is the next time that happens to take it! So the “bread” of Jesus saves. The second point is that that this bread will satisfy you! When you come to Jesus, He will satisfy and fill that hunger and longing that we all have. You can have money, power, friends, whatever, and still feel empty and lonely inside. Solomon was the king of Israel and had it all but he was empty inside and he wrote a book about it, Ecclesiastes, where he writes over and over again…”vanity, vanity, all is vanity!”. Nothing on earth satisfies like Jesus! Third point, and I’ll close out this post with this, is that this bread will secure you. Jesus says three times in this text that we have been looking at in John that I will raise Him up on that last day. Why does He do that? To give the crowd, and us, an ironclad guarantee that if we take that step and sincerely and honestly come to Him in true repentance, that is turn from our sin, that we have a guarantee to be with Him forever! The bread of Jesus Christ…saves, satisfies, secures! Let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

I have a very special prayer today for my Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I pray you bless them financially with stable jobs; I pray you protect and improve their health; I pray you protect their families from all harm. Build a wall about them and protect them. Help them to feel Your presence, love and forgiveness daily in their lives so they can serve You! Father thank you for bringing the Lord Jesus Christ, the true bread from heaven, into our lives and lastly Lord, if there is anyone who is not saved or needs to re-examine their life and put the focus more back on You, we pray that they come to You today! In the holy, precious and saving name of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray…Amen!

   

Happy New Year to all! Did you make your new year’s resolution(s)? Better yet, are you still keeping them if you made them? LOL! The new year brings in a lot of uncertainty considering where we are at as a nation and as a people here in America. One thing that is certain and unchanging though is the Word of God. The Bible is truth. Not my truth, God’s truth. If you don’t want the truth or don’t like the truth, then don’t read it or better yet, read only the parts that you’re comfortable with, the parts that “make you feel good”. That is the problem with America right now. Christians nitpick God’s Word and only want to read and hear what they want to and totally ignore the rest. If Christians would actually sit down and read it and apply it, then we would realize what needs to be done to bring this country back around to God. In Matthew, Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers” not “Blessed are the peacekeepers”! Enough said about that.We’re starting a new year and we are still in John’s Gospel and I can tell you right now that we will be in it for the entire year and probably will be next year as well unless the Lord comes back God willing!

Did you realize that it’s possible to do the right thing but do it the wrong way or with the wrong intentions? For example for most of my young adult life, I worked in telemarketing. Did it for over 30 years and was pretty good at it. Anyway, most of my years being a telemarketer, I spent doing fund raising for different organizations but mostly for police and fire organizations. Besides raising a lot of money for their causes, I in turn made a lot of money for myself. Yeah they do pay people to fund raise or at least they did back then, I wasn’t really concerned though about how much I was raising for the causes as much as I was concerned about how much was going into my pocket. I was doing the right thing, a good thing, but had the wrong intentions. Here’s an example of doing the right thing but the wrong way. A missionary was leaving the United States to board a plane to go to a foreign country to do mission work. They got arrested because they failed to have the right documentation. That’s what the officials said. They lacked proper documentation. Turns out the missionary was illegally in the United States, an illegal immigrant. Missionary work is very noble, honorable, and important work but you have to do it the right way. You have to pay attention and follow the immigration laws as a believer. A better example of doing the right thing the wrong way comes from The Bible in 2 Samuel. David decides to bring back the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. The ark had been in Abinadab’s house after being sent away by the Philistines after they had captured it. The ark was to be carried only on poles and only by certain people but for reasons known, probably only to him, David decides to have the ark brought to Jerusalem on a cart accompanied by Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab’s sons. As the cart heads to Jerusalem along the way, the ark begins to fall out of the cart and Uzzah grabs it to keep it from falling out and God strikes him dead right on the spot. It was forbidden for anyone, even the priests, to actually touch the ark and even though Uzzah was trying to prevent the ark from falling out of the cart, he is instantly struck dead for touching it. David was doing the right thing in having the ark brought to Jerusalem because it belonged there but had it moved the wrong way.

It is also possible to be following Jesus the wrong way or with the wrong intentions. In this passage that we will be examining in this post, we will look at a group of these kind of people and Jesus calling them out for it.  Another short passage so most of it I will be summarizing. As always, the text link and the audio for the entire chapter are included so you can follow along.

John 6

Let’s look at the passage we will be studying in this post…

(22) On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone— (23) however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks— (24) when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. (25) And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” (26) Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. (27) Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” (28) Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (29) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” … John 6:22-29 NKJV

This takes place the very next day. It is the exact same crowd that were fed with the loaves and the fishes the day before. They are trying to find Jesus again but not to become true followers of Him. They are looking for Him because they are looking for another miracle. They want a show. Let’s look at these verses a bit closer now. …

vv 22-24 – (22) On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone— (23) however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks— (24) when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

It is now the day after the one in which the five thousand were fed. The multitude of people are still in the area northeast of the Sea of Galilee. They had watched the disciples get into the small boat the previous evening, and they knew that Jesus had not gone with them. Only one boat had been available at that time, and the disciples had taken it. So you have this huge crowd that goes to the shore looking for Jesus. They can’t find Him and they are wondering what happened to Him. Even though they knew that Jesus hadn’t gotten into the boat with the disciples, they are still trying to figure out where He had gone and how. They aren’t even thinking that He might have walked on the water. Would you? People can’t walk on the water…only God can do that and the crowd isn’t even considering that possibility. When they get to the shore, there are all sorts of boats there now which John makes a big deal emphasizing. Question…where did these boats come from? Probably from the storm. The storm was so fierce that it may have blown all of these boats ashore. So now there are a whole bunch of “water taxis” which the people pile into and begin setting out to find Jesus which they find Him in Capernaum. That’s a good thing right? People seeking Jesus? Not really as we read on…

vv 25-26 – (25) And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” (26) Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

The people find Jesus at Capernaum and they are scratching their heads with curiosity and asking Him when He had gotten there. Notice that Jesus doesn’t answer their question directly. Jesus never responded to curiosity directly. He wanted to find out what was beneath that curiosity. Remember when Jesus confronts the rich young man in Matthew? Turning to Matthew 19…

(16) Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (17) So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” … Matthew 19:16-17 NKJV

Jesus asks the rich young man why he is calling Him good to find out if the young man believes Him to be God or just some good person. Jesus also wants to know if this is a true follower or just a follower. After telling the young man to sell what he has and follow Him, Jesus finds out that the young man doesn’t want to do that and therefore, isn’t a true follower. Same thing with this crowd. They should have recognized Jesus as God and the Messiah after the feeding on the mountain but they come seeking Jesus not to become true followers but because they want Jesus to perform another miracle and Jesus knows this and this is why He tells them…Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. In John 2, John points out…

(23) Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. (24) But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, (25) and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. … John 2:23-25 NKJV

Moving on now. …

v 27 – (27) Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

This is one of my favorite verses in John’s Gospel. It is full of deep and rich meaning. John’s Gospel doesn’t contain any parables but this verse comes very close to being one. When Jesus says do not labor for the food which perishes, He doesn’t mean don’t work at all (sorry Democratic socialists! LOL!). We all need to work to survive and God never intended for man not to. When God created Adam, He put him to work in the Garden of Eden. In fact, Paul even goes so far as to say in 2 Thessalonians…

(10) For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. … 2 Thessalonians 3:10 NKJV

What Jesus meant is not for working for a daily living to become an obsession. I would add this would not only include work but anything that becomes an obsession that doesn’t strengthen our mission as Christians to spread The Gospel and to strengthen the church. Those should be our obsessions. Everything else is meaningless! This would include sports watching, pursuit of material things, social media, etcetera etcetera. There is nothing wrong with having entertainment and buying things because we should enjoy the fruits of our labor but when these things become an obsession, it is unhealthy. We should, however, work tirelessly to know the Word of God. This is why Jesus says to the crowd to labor for the food which endures to everlasting life. Our bodies are more than physical. They are also spiritual. This is why without Christ in our lives, our lives will always feel empty because we will always feel we need something more. God instills this spiritual hunger in all of us. The Bible says that man does not live by bread alone but by every word of God. A few years back, there was a song. If you’re a fan of Christian contemporary music, you might have heard it. It was by a group called Plumb and the song was called “God Shaped Hole”. Part of the lyrics, from the chorus I believe, went…”There’s a God-shaped hole in all of us”. This is fact. There is a God-shaped hole in all of us and nothing outside of Christ can fill it. Not drugs, alcohol, sex, material things, money, power…nothing except Christ! God has set His seal on Him. When you set your seal on something or someone, it means that is true and can be trusted. God has approved Jesus Christ because He is God’s representative…God in human form. Let’s move on to the last part of this passage. …

vv 28-29 – (28) Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (29) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

This question asked by the crowd wasn’t a question posed to Jesus seeking knowledge on how to follow Him. It was hypocritical. They had no intentions of following Jesus and, outside of the miracles, wanted nothing to do with Him. Many Christians are like this today. They profess to love and follow Christ but looking at how they live their every day lives and what they are interested in, tells a much different story. There was nothing wrong though with the fascination that this crowd had for Jesus. Different things motivate us to seek Jesus. I’ve told the story many times about the Korean woman who basically led me Christ. It’s part of my testimony. I left out a part of the story though…my first motivation. It was to try to get closer to her not to get closer to the Lord. It was the reason why I finally agreed to go to the church that she belonged to albeit a different congregation which at that time, I didn’t know. I figured we would go and I would sit with her maybe even hold hands. Imagine my surprise when she told me that she wasn’t coming in with me! LOL! Oooops! LOL! Then I figured well at least I’ll see her when she picks me up to take me back home after the service is over. That didn’t happen either. In fact, I never saw her again. I am convinced to this day that she was an angel because I never saw her again after that day, her phone was disconnected, and no one in her congregation knew who I was talking about. The point that I’m trying to make here is that my initial motivation for seeking Jesus was to seek a girlfriend but it didn’t end there. The more I attended church and read God’s Word, the more I became fascinated with who Jesus was and my motivation changed to actually following or trying to follow Jesus and not just play acting. This is what this crowd was doing…play acting. 

There is this overwhelming belief that in order for God to love us and to be saved and go to heaven, that we have to work for it in some way. That is what religion teaches. In order to please God, you have to do certain things and say certain prayers or whatever. It’s all about what you have to do and not what about what He has done already. That’s what true Christianity is about. It’s about what Christ has done and not what we have done. It’s a relationship and not a religion. Salvation comes first and then the works follow as proof of that salvation. Salvation comes by first accepting and believing who Jesus Christ is, His finished work by dying on the cross for all of us and then becoming a true follower of Him. In Ephesians, Paul says…

(8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (9) not of works, lest anyone should boast. … Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV

In closing, the takeaway from this passage that we have been looking at is it doesn’t matter if your motivation(s) coming to Christ aren’t exactly sincere at the time. People come to Christ for all sorts of different reasons. What matters is where your motivation takes you afterwards. Do you grow in your faith and become a true follower of Jesus or do you just play act following Jesus like this crowd was doing? As we start this new year, make your new year’s resolution to follow Jesus more or if you don’t follow Him at all, start following Him today! Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word and the truths found in it. Father as we embark on a new year, may we learn to grow more in our faith and become more and more like Your Son Jesus Christ. Lord we pray for our nation, our families, our friends, our neighbors. We pray for a true revival in America and not just lip service. Give us the knowledge and the power through Your Word to become peacemakers and not just peacekeepers. Lord, we have no idea what this new year will bring but we know that You do. Your hands are on the controls and we rest in the comfort of that. Father we pray that if there are people who are reading this study who don’t know Your Son Jesus Christ, that don’t have a personal, meaningful relationship with Him. that they would come to Him today and start the new year with a fresh new life in the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

 

   

Let’s pray before we get started…

Father,

Thank You for this time again in Your Word. As we look at this story of this sudden storm that comes upon the disciples, may it bring comfort and some type of explanation to those of us that may be suffering hardship.  Lord we know that You and You alone are in control and that we know that everything works out according to Your purpose. Bless this time in Your Word, make it fruitful by opening up our hearts to what You want to reveal to us through it. Father, we put aside all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say to us. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

When I was a kid, I was terrified of storms, thunderstorms mainly. This fear carried into my teen years. We had moved into a three story house and my room was on, you guessed it, the third floor! LOL! We didn’t exactly live in a tornado prone area but one could hit, they can hit anywhere given the right kind of conditions, but thunderstorms during tornado watches made my hair stand on end…especially late at night when I was in my third floor bedroom! LOL! I pictured myself being carried away to the land of Oz like Dorothy! LOL! It didn’t help any that my mom was absolutely terrified of storms and I think she helped solidify that fear in all of us kids in a way. I decided to begin studying storms and tornadoes, what causes them, and to make a long story short, overcame my fear.

The “storms” in our lives are the same way. They are frightening and we can’t wait for them to end but when you come to learn who is in ultimate control of them, Jesus, it helps us get through those hard times in life. No matter how hot the fire that we are thrown into, Jesus has His hand on the thermostat. I believe this to be true for not only believers but also for unbelievers as well. As the famous saying goes…this too shall pass.

What we have here in Chapter 6 is an actual storm that the disciples have to deal with but there is also some life application and a truth that might make some of you a little uncomfortable. Besides this passage in John, we will also be looking at a similar passage in Chapter 6 in Mark and also looking briefly at the Book of Job so put bookmarks there. Unlike the last couple of posts where we looked at large passages, this passage is short only 6 verses but there is a wealth of information in them so let’s get started. As always, the text link and the audio for the entire chapter are included so you can follow along.

John 6

Let’s look at the passage that we will be studying for this post…

(16) Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea,  (17)  got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them.  (18)  Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing.  (19)  So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid.  (20)  But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”  (21)  Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going. … John 6:16-21 NKJV

This story is told in all four of the Gospels. What John doesn’t talk about in his version, is covered in the other versions. The only other one that we will be looking at in detail is found in Mark 6 so we will be flipping back and forth between the two and we will also be looking at a small part of Matthew’s version along with parts of the Book of Job. Let’s look at the passage more closely now…

vv 16-17 – (16) Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea,  (17)  got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them.

This takes place right after Jesus feeds the thousands of people on the mountain. We know this because of what Mark writes about in his version…

(45) Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. … Mark 6:45 NKJV

The people were following Jesus but for the wrong reasons. They wanted to make Him a king to free them from the Romans going back to John and verse 15…

(15) Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. … John 6:15 NKJV

Before you say, “Aha there’s a contradiction here!”, there is no contradiction. It’s just a different interpretation or perception of the facts. By what Mark writes, he is trying to make a point which I’ll get to in a minute. When the disciples get into the boat and sail off, it is dark and Jesus had not come to them. Where was He? He was up on the mountain praying. We know this from what Mark writes in verse 46…

(46) And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. … Mark 6:46 NKJV

This passage in John that we are looking at is the picture of the Christian life and in a way, life in general for us all not just believers but unbelievers as well. The darkness represents what it is like on the stormy sea of life. The darkness in a believers life is the turmoil that we go through when we experience trouble in our lives and we think that Jesus is not with us. However, I believe that the darkness can also represent the absence of Christ in an unbeliever’s life. Either way, I believe that Jesus prays for us all not just believers but also unbelievers as well. Jesus may not be physically on the scene but He knows what is going on in our lives and He is praying for us or interceding for us. In Luke, Jesus tells Peter…

(31) And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. (32) But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” … Luke 22:31-32 NKJV

In Hebrews it says…

(25) Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. … Hebrews 7:25 NKJV

So no matter what we are faced with in life, Jesus is praying for us moving on now…

vv 18-19 – (18) Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. (19) So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid.

I’ve never been out on the water in a storm but I’ve seen enough films and footage of boats caught in storms to know that it can’t be pleasant. It’s been said that when you get caught in a storm on a boat, you can become very disoriented. The text says that the sea arose. Notice the word arose. The Greek word for it is diegeirō. The word means to suddenly arouse like waking someone up who has been sleeping. In other words, the sea went from from a dead calm to a raging sea with huge waves at the snap of a finger. Apparently, the Sea of Galilee gets these sudden storms where the winds will sweep down from the mountains and whip up the waves. The disciples had rowed about three or four miles from shore and, from a human standpoint, were in grave danger. Looking at verse 47 of Mark Chapter 6…

(47) Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. … Mark 6:47 NKJV

Here’s an interesting question…did Jesus know there would be a storm? The answer is yes He did! He not only knew that there would be a storm but, going back to verse 45 of Mark 6, the text says…

(45) Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. … Mark 6:45 NKJV

See that? Jesus made them get into the boat! The King Jimmie version uses the word constrained. It is the Greek word anagkazō. It means to compel or to force. He commanded them to get into the boat knowing full well what was in store for them. When Jesus goes back up the mountain and begins praying, He is praying for the disciples safety and He is also praying for the strengthening of their faith. The disciples were facing a literal storm but there is life application here as well. When we come to Christ, there is an overwhelming belief that there are no more troubles and that our lives become smooth sailing. In fact, there is a belief that if you do have any kind of adversity whatsoever, it is because your faith is not strong enough or you lack it completely. News flash…that is a bunch of bologna! A life that is full of nothing but blessings and good times is not much of a life at all! Hard times in our lives build character and the Lord knows this too. Like it or not, sometimes the Lord will throw adversity our way to do just that…build character. Job is a good example. Remember him? Job was the richest man. In one day, he lost all of his livestock, his help, his house, and even his offspring and eventually, his health. Who caused all of this? It was actually God. Turn to Chapter 1 in the Book of Job and down to verse 6…

(6) Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.  (7)  And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”  (8)  Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”  (9)  So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing?  (10)  Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.  (11)  But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”  (12)  And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. … Job 1:6-12 NKJV

Over to Chapter 2 and we see the same thing again…

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. (2) And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” (3) Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” (4) So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. (5) But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” (6) And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” … Job 2:1-6 NKJV

I covered this in the study of Job. Satan may have caused these misfortunes but God allows it and notice that God has full control over the situation at all times. In both of these instances, Satan was on a leash and not allowed to go any further than God allowed him to. Why did God allow this to happen to Job? Because a faith that is not tested is not worth anything. Adversity not only tests faith but it also builds perseverance and character. After Job quits complaining to his friends, and his friends insult him by saying it’s all his fault that he has this misfortune (great friends huh?!), Job comes to realize this…

(23) But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. … Job 23:10 NKJV

So here’s the takeaway before we move on…be careful of the attitude you have when faced with hardship. This is when you become the most vulnerable to walk away from Christ. I know this firsthand having did the same myself when I was younger. In Hebrews, it says…

(5) And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “MY SON, DO NOT DESPISE THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD, NOR BE DISCOURAGED WHEN YOU ARE REBUKED BY HIM; (6) FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE CHASTENS, AND SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” … Hebrews 12:5-6 NKJV

Any parent that does not discipline their child is not a good parent and we see the results of the lack of discipline of children in our nation today. We have nothing but a bunch of whining. spoiled adults who think they should have anything they want! God is a loving parent and He disciplines us and tests us. He loves us too much to leave us the way we are! It’s hard to have this attitude when we are going through hardship but we must have faith and ask ourselves what we can learn from the adversity and not so much looking for a way out of it and always remember that the Lord has His hand on that thermostat and comes to us in His timing. Going back to verse 19 of John Chapter 6, it says that the disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat. Jesus did not come to them immediately when the storm hit. He waited. In Mark 6, Mark says….

(48) Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. … Mark 6:48 NKJV

The night was divided into four watches. Watch number one was from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Watch number two, 9:00 pm to midnight. Watch number three is from midnight to 3:00 am and finally watch number four is from 3:00 am until 6:00 am. So Jesus probably put the disciples into the boat around sunset and they got hit by the storm probably around 9:00 pm when they were three or four miles away from shore and too late and too far to turn back so the disciples were stuck out there for hours before Jesus comes to them. The text says He (Jesus) saw them straining at rowing. It is humanly impossible for anyone to see anything or anyone three or four miles away even if you are standing on top of a mountain without some type of magnifying device such as binoculars or a telescope. Let’s not forget, there is a raging storm going on as well which cuts down the visibility even more. Ever been driving during a heavy windblown downpour of rain? You can’t even see the car in front of you let alone three or four miles away. You can see quite clearly that far away though if you are God and this proves again that Jesus was and is indeed God! Further proof that Jesus is God, He came to the disciples walking on the sea. All four of the Gospel accounts of this record this fact. Jesus comes to the disciples at the last possible moment when they are exhausted and can’t row anymore. This is much like it is when we are faced with some kind of trial or tribulation. When we think that we are at the end of our rope and can’t take anymore, Jesus comes and “rescues” us but His aid is conditional. Let’s look at the rest of this passage in John. …

vv 20-21 – (20)  But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”  (21)  Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

Notice what the disciples do when they know that it is Jesus…they willingly received Him into the boat. It was like “Thank you Jesus! Welcome aboard!”. The best thing that you can do when faced with storms in life is to welcome Jesus into your life and keep your eyes focused on Him! There’s a little detail that John omits from his account of this event which involves Peter. Turn to Matthew 8 and down to verse 25…

(25) Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. (26) And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. (27) But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” (28) And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (29) So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. (30) But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” (31) And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (32) And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. (33) Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” … Matthew 14:25-33 NKJV

I found it rather odd that John omits this considering throughout his Gospel, when you read it, you get the idea there was a friendly rivalry between John and Peter and John takes “jabs” at Peter throughout it but for some reason, he left this out. The point is that Peter was fine as long as he kept his eyes on the Lord. When he took his eyes off of Him and paid more attention to the storm, that’s when he began sinking into the water. When we begin to focus more on the situation that we are in rather than fixing our focus on Jesus, we too will “sink”! Notice that Jesus immediately solves the problem when He shows up. John says at the end of verse immediately the boat was at the land where they were going. Not only was the storm gone but it would seem like Jesus whisked them away and onto dry land. 

So in closing, here’s the takeaways from this passage. Life is full of adversity whether we cause it or not, whether we are believers or not. Life is unpredictable. We can make plans in life and it’s good to make plans but just remember that God has editing rights. There’s this bumper sticker that many people have. I’m sure you have heard of this saying before. The sticker says…”God is my co-pilot”. With all due respect if you have one, you might want to get rid of it. God is not your co-pilot…He is the pilot! Honestly, you are not even in the cockpit! You are back in coach! LOL! The disciples went on a boat ride that they weren’t expecting put there by Jesus who knew exactly what would be happening. As the disciples were sailing along, a sudden storm arose. As we are sailing along in life, sudden “storms” are going to come our way too. The important thing is when those “storms” do arise, that we do the most important thing…get Jesus into the boat! Is He in yours? Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for all the blessings that you bestow on us and our families. We thank You even for the trials and tribulations, those sudden “storms”, that make us better and stronger individuals. Father, we pray not for lesser storms but for stronger sails to weather the storms that come our way. Give us wisdom to learn from adversity and Father we pray for those who haven’t welcomed Your Son Jesus Christ into the boat, that they would welcome Him into the boat today! For it’s in His name we pray…Amen!

Please note that I will be taking a brief hiatus from this study during the Christmas season and will be posting the next post for this study around the end of January.

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Who doesn’t love picnics? I do! The sweltering sun. That unexpected thunderstorm that forces you and your guests to run around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to save everything from getting ruined. Getting clocked in the head trying to teach your kid how to play horseshoes. Sharing your food with flies, ants, and everything else that happens to be flying and crawling around at the time. Breaking the record for the 100 yard dash running away from a bumblebee that thinks that barbecue chicken drumstick that you are holding in your hand looks just as good and tastes just as yummy as you do and wants some of it too! LOL! Ran into a tree by the way doing that when I was a kid but not at a picnic. LOL! Ever been to a picnic that runs out of food? I’ve never been to one but I’m sure it happens. In this passage that opens Chapter 6, we look at a picnic of sorts that has a never ending supply of food thanks to a boy and Jesus.

I don’t know if they still do this but remember when McDonalds had an option when you ordered a meal and you could “super size” it? Get a larger order of fries or a larger drink? Well here in this passage that we are going to look at, Jesus takes a boy’s lunch, five loaves of barley bread and two small fish, and “supersizes” it for about 10 to 15,000 people. Yeah it is known as Jesus feeding the 5,000 but it was considerably more which I will explain why in just a bit. Large passage again and a lot of ground to cover so let’s get started. As always, the text link and the audio for the entire chapter included so you can follow along but before we get into the study for this post, let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the word of God that does the work of God in the hearts of the people of God…for those of us who wish to follow You in truth and in spirit. We give thanks to You, Lord, for You are good and Your mercy endures forever. We thank You Lord for all of Your abundant blessings upon our families and yes, even our country even though it may seem like things are falling apart. Lord we know that You and You alone are in control and that we know that everything works out according to Your purpose. Bless this time in Your Word, make it fruitful by opening up our hearts to what You want to reveal to us through it. Father, we put aside all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say to us. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

John 6

Let’s look at the passage that we will be studying for this post…

After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.  (2)  Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.  (3)  And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.  (4)  Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.  (5)  Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”  (6)  But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.  (7)  Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”  (8)  One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him,  (9)  “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”  (10)  Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.  (11)  And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.  (12)  So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”  (13)  Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.  (14)  Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” …. John 6:1-14 NKJV

This is the fourth sign that the disciple John talks about in his Gospel. The first sign was turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana. The second sign was the healing of a nobleman’s son. The third sign we looked at in the last chapter…the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda. Now we have the fourth sign here in Chapter 6…the feeding of the 5,000. Of all of the miracles that Jesus performs, this is one of them that is told about in all four of the Gospels. Of all of the miracles that are told in The Bible, this is one of them where some Bible commentators find that they have to give their “This is what really happened” theology as though Jesus needed help doing this and was incapable of doing it never mind the fact that He healed the sick, caused blind people to see, and deaf people to hear. This feeding of so many people was too much for our Lord to pull off by Himself so these commentators feel they have to give it an explanation. One of them is that when the boy pulled out the barley loaves and the small fish and gave them to Jesus, the people there felt guilty and began sharing their lunches that they had brought. The text doesn’t support this though. Another really hilarious one says that Jesus and His disciples backed up into a cave where everything was and began handing the food out that was stored in there beforehand. This is more of an atheist’s point of view probably. Nothing in the text though supports anything short of a miracle being performed as we look at this passage more closely now…

vv 1-3 – After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.  (2)  Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.  (3)  And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.  

It is not really known how much time has passed between the end of Chapter 5 and this event. After these things indicates that an amount of time had passed long enough for Jesus and His disciples to make their way across the sea of Galilee which was also known as the Sea of Tiberias. It was named that because the city of Tiberias was located on the western bank and the city was named after the Roman emperor Tiberius. The city was the capital province of Galilee. In verse 2, John says that a great multitude followed Him. It is important to note though that the people were not following Jesus because they believed in Him. They were following Jesus because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. In other words, they followed Him to see Him perform more miracles. John makes more emphasis that people didn’t follow Jesus because they actually believed in Him, though some did. Jesus didn’t base His ministry on numbers. He based it on sincerity and authenticity. Back in Chapter 2, John tells us…

(24) But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, (25) and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. … John 2:24-25 NKJV

The same can be said today as well. People want to see some kind of sign or miracles to justify God’s Word and God never takes those people seriously. Faith should be based on God’s Word alone. It should be good enough alone without all the “bells and whistles”. If people would take a serious look at the events happening around them right now, it perfectly justifies that God’s Word is coming to fruition anyway. When Jesus arrived, He and His disciples went up on the mountain which probably means just a hilly area in the Galilee area. Perhaps this is where the “food in the cave” theory comes from! LOL! Moving on…

 vv 4-6 – (4)  Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.  (5)  Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”  (6)  But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.  

This apparently happens near the time of Passover, a feast of the Jews. Passover was one of the feasts instituted by God in The Old Testament. It was a feast celebrating the Hebrews freedom from slavery by the Egyptians. However by this time, it had become just a ritual devoid of the original meaning, kind of like how Christmas has become in America, which might be the reason why John says that it was a feast of the Jews. Perhaps everyone could have been heading there. In verse 5 when Jesus sees all of these people, He doesn’t get annoyed or tries to avoid them. His main concern is for their well being, in this case, food, a favorite subject of the disciples by the way! LOL! Jesus is concerned for our well being as well something that most of us seem to forget. In Matthew during the Sermon on The Mount, Jesus says…

(25) “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? (26) Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? … Matthew 6:25-26 NKJV

(30) Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? … Matthew 6:30 NKJV

When Jesus asks Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”, He wasn’t seeking information. He was testing Philip to see if he had the faith to believe that He would provide it. When Jesus asked Philip this question, his reply should have been, “Lord, I put this in Your capable hands because I know that You will provide it for them!”. Verse 6 is the verse that people will use for the argument that this was a pre-planned event but what it means is that Jesus knew that He was going to pull off another miracle! Moving on now…

vv 7-9 – (7) Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” (8) One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, (9) “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”

denarius was worth about a day’s wages. Philip’s reply is more along the lines of thinking like a human being. He was probably calculating the figures in his head and thinking to himself, “Nope! Ain’t gonna happen!”. Another disciple is brought into the scene now…Andrew. What do we know about Andrew? Not much really. He didn’t write any Gospels. There are no letters in The Bible written by him. He didn’t preach any great sermons either, at least not recorded ones anyway. The only thing that we know about Andrew, besides being one of the disciples, is that he was Simon Peter’s brother. What we do know about Andrew is that he brought people to Jesus. He was responsible for bringing his brother to Jesus. In the other Gospels, it is said that Jesus called both Andrew and Simon Peter but John tells us what really happened in his Gospel back in Chapter 1. We know from that chapter that actually the first two disciples that followed Jesus were John and Andrew after John the Baptist pointed them to Jesus…

(35) Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. (36) And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (37) The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. … John 1:35-37 NKJV

After they join Jesus, it is then Andrew that grabs his brother Peter…

(40) One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. (41) He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). (42) And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone). … John 1:40-42 NKJV

It is Andrew that will help connect a group of Greeks seeking an audience with Jesus in Chapter 12. People who point others to Jesus are regarded highly by the Lord even though they may not be well known or popular. Many people have heard the the name Dwight L. Moody. He was a great Chicago preacher. A church is named after him there. But how many people know the name Kimbell? He was the guy that witnessed to D.L. Moody in a shoe store and led him to Christ. We’ve all heard of Martin Luther, the guy who translated the New Testament from its original language but how many people have heard the name Phillip Melanchthon? He is the guy who encouraged Martin Luther to do that! Everybody has heard of Billy Graham the famous evangelist who just recently passed but how about Mordecai Hamm? He’s the preacher who led Graham to Christ back in the 1930’s. These examples are all “Andrews”…people who lead others to Jesus. Christianity in America could use “Andrews” today!

Andrew notices that there’s a lad here with five barley loaves and two small fish and tells Jesus. The boy is only mentioned in John’s Gospel. Matthew, Mark, and Luke don’t mention him. I have a theory of my own about why the boy is mentioned in John’s Gospel and not the others. I think the boy might have been John himself! This is why. Most commentators believe that John was the youngest of all of the disciples. He could have been as young as 13-years-old when he met Jesus many commentators believe and I believe that all of the disciples were young not much older than 20-years-old. So the boy could have been John himself. Whoever he was, the boy is poor. How do we know that? Because he brought barley loaves. Barley was the grain of the poor during that time. When it says loaves, these are not huge loaves of bread that you may be thinking about. They were probably round and flat, like pita bread, about the size of a small pancake, and the fish weren’t big either. They were probably two small sardines, a spread to give the bread some flavor. It was little “Johnny’s” lunch! LOL! I can just picture his mom running out the door of the tent that morning after her son, waving the lunch and yelling, “Don’t forget your lunch!” LOL! She probably had absolutely no clue what was about to become of her son’s lunch as Andrew hasn’t a clue either because he tells Jesus, but what are they among so many referring to the bread and fish. He is another one who miserably fails the test as did Philip because they both forgot to add one important factor…Jesus! Let’s move on. …

v 10 –  (10) Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

Jesus tells his disciples (They are all there not just Andrew and Philip. Those are just the two that are mentioned) Make the people sit down. This didn’t mean that the people actually sat down. Maybe some did but this meant more of a lying down or reclining position. Back in those days, people seldom sat up to eat. When they ate a meal, they normally laid on one side of the body while they ate. Jesus also picks a place with plenty of grass. Again, Jesus is concerned about the people’s comfort. He wanted them to have a nice, clean, comfortable place to enjoy a meal. John tells us that the men sat down, in number about five thousand. In The Bible when people were numbered, it generally meant only the men. For some reason or another, the women and children weren’t numbered. The reason is probably because the men were counted for military reasons. Anyway, there were about five thousand men who sat down but when you factor in the huge number of women and children that must have been in this crowd, the numbers were more like 10 to 15,000 people total! 

vv 11-14 – (11)  And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.  (12)  So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”  (13)  Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.  (14)  Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

However big the number of people whether it was 5,000 or 10,000 or 100,000 or a million, it wasn’t too big for Jesus to take care of! After Jesus took the loaves and the fish, He gave thanks. There’s some life application here. Of all the times that we Christians forget to pray, it is before we sit down to eat that ranks number one. I am guilty of it myself but the fact is that if Jesus gave thanks for the meal that was about to be eaten, then we too should give thanks for the meals that our Lord graciously provides us. 

So after He had given thanks, Jesus gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wantedIt is not exactly known when the miracle actually takes place because John doesn’t tell us but notice that Jesus doesn’t do it alone. He enlists the service of others, in this case, His disciples. It’s not that He wasn’t perfectly capable of carrying this out on His own. Jesus was more than capable but He wanted His disciples to take part in it as well. There’s a saying, “You do what you can do; I’ll do what I can do; and the Lord will do what we cannot do.” By the time Jesus gives the loaves and fish to the disciples to hand out, it had been miraculously multiplied and the people had as much as they wanted. When the Lord pours out His blessings on us, it is what we need and then some! A good example of this is what the Lord says in Malachi regarding tithes….

(10) Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. … Malachi 3:10 NKJV

David knew this to be true about the Lord’s blessings when he says in Psalm 23…

(5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. … Psalms 23:5 NKJV

Too often we as Christians think to ourselves…”My cup leaketh under”!

After everyone was more than filled up, Jesus tells His disciples to gather up all of the leftovers so that nothing is lost. There’s some life application to apply here. The Lord’s gifts and/or blessings should never be wasted. Much is made about the twelve baskets and how they are supposed to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. I prefer a literal explanation though. How many disciples were there? Let’s see…1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11…uh 12! How many baskets were there? Let’s see…1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11…uh 12! Common sense tells us one basket for each disciple. What was going on here is that Jesus not only supplied the people with food but also food for His disciples for the next day.

As we can see, no man made explanation can explain away what happened on this mountain that day because it was truly miracle! Even the people acknowledged this by what is said in verse 14…This is truly that Prophet who comes into the world. They wouldn’t have made this remark if they were only guilted into eating their own lunches like some commentators think. However, this remark that was made did not mean that the people had true faith. They were waiting for a savior to liberate them from the Roman Empire. They were not looking for or expecting a Savior that would liberate them from their sins.

So to wrap up this post, here’s the takeaways from this passage that we have been looking at. First, problems do not escape God’s view. Jesus saw the need of the people and fulfilled that need. There’s another Psalm by David, Psalm 37, that we should always remember no matter how bad things get for us…

(25) I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. … Psalms 37:25 NKJV

Our problems never escape the Lord’s view but He will always give us what we need not what we want.

The second is that what seems like insurmountable situations will test our faith in God. Philip and Andrew saw a big problem and a small God when they should have seen a small problem and a big God. What do you see when times get tough?

The third takeaway is that God involves people in His plans. You and I may consider ourselves insignificant and unimportant but this is not the case. A little boy with 2 small fish and five loaves of flat bread is nothing by itself but when you add Jesus into the picture and the sky’s the limit! Things that may seem insignificant and people that may seem important to us can be used by God in ways that we can’t possibly imagined! Again, it all comes down to what you see…a small God or a big God.

The fourth and final takeaway is that provision is abundant in God’s time. Jesus not only provided as much as the people wanted but also food for His disciples for the next day as well. When we put ourselves in the Lord’s hands and put our trust in Him, He will provide more than we need! He provides and it’s abundant in His time. Doesn’t mean that we will eat gourmet dinners every night but He will provide more than enough of what we need. I’ll close with this from Paul from Ephesians…

(20) Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, (21) to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

   

We are in John Chapter 5. Yeah still in it, LOL, but hopefully, this post will end our look into this chapter. Whereas we looked at a small passage in the last post, in this one, we will be looking at a much larger passage, 17 verses actually, so this will not be a verse by verse look. What I will be doing is centering on a few verses and summarizing the rest.

Here’s a question…why do you believe in God? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, why do you believe what you believe? Before you answer by pulling out some verse or verses from The Bible, put it aside for a second and tell me why you, myself, or anyone for that matter, should believe in God. The reason why I ask this is because when you approach unbelievers with this subject or if they ask you why, chances are, they are not going to understand your answer if you pull something out of The Bible. Now you can use an obvious reason that none of this; the earth, life, human life, none of it just happened by chance even though that is the garbage that is taught in schools and colleges these days. You could also use another logical reason by saying that you’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to believing God. Both of these are good, valid answers. However the best reason to give someone about why they should believe in God is something that they can witness for themselves…a changed life yours and others that you know who believe around you that they know as well. When I say a changed life, I don’t mean that you go to church more or you give money to the church and/or volunteer your time to the church. It means your ideology has changed, in other words your beliefs on what is right and what is wrong has changed. Your former lifestyle is dead and buried the moment you were saved. In 1 Peter, Peter writes…

Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, (2) that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. (3) For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. (4) In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. … 1 Peter 4:1-4 NKJV

It’s something called your testimony and all believers should have one. In this rather large passage that closes out Chapter 5, Jesus gives His “testimony”. He brings forth “witnesses” to prove who He is and why they, and all of us, should believe in Him. A lot of ground to cover again so let’s get started. As always, the text link and audio for the chapter is included so you can follow along but before we get started, let’s pray…

Father, 

Thank You for the word of God that does the work of God in the hearts of the people of God…for those of us who wish to follow You in truth and in spirit. We give thanks to You, Lord, for You are good and Your mercy endures forever. Lord we pray that as we look at this passage, it will give us clear and concise reasons why everyone should believe and we can relay that message to an unbelieving country and unbelieving world. Bless this time in Your Word, make it fruitful by opening up our hearts to what You want to reveal to us through it. Father, we put aside all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say to us. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

John 5

Let’s look at the passage for study in this post…

(30) I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (31) “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. (32) There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. (33) You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. (34) Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. (35) He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. (36) But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. (37) And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. (38) But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. (39) You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. (40) But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. (41) “I do not receive honor from men. (42) But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. (43) I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. (44) How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? (45) Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. (46) For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. (47) But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” … John 5:30-47 NKJV

This is Jesus’s final part of His discourse to the Jewish religious leaders after a mercy healing that He performs at the pool of Bethesda that occurs on (gasp!) the Sabbath. From this point on, Jesus will be in the cross hairs of these religious leaders as we read back up in verse 16…

(16) For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. … John 5:16 NKJV

Jesus never bowed down to the “political correctness” of that time. When He saw someone with a need, He fulfilled that need. When He saw hypocrisy, He called people out on it and when He saw immorality, He called it what it was…sin! We believers should never compromise with the political correctness of our time either!

One of the main reasons though why these religious leaders were so infuriated and so intent on killing Jesus was because of this discourse with them and making Himself out to be God. Going back up to verse 18…

(18) Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. … John 5:18 NKJV

This discourse in verses 15 through 47 doesn’t have a well known name like “The Olivet Discourse” (Matthew 23, 24, & 25) or “The Upper Room Discourse” (John 14-17). In fact, I don’t think it even has a name and if it doesn’t, this one names it appropriately…”The Don’t You Know Who I Am Discourse”. Jesus was being accused by the religious leaders for breaking the Sabbath by healing a man and He was just pointing out to them who came up with the Sabbath in the first place! The first verse that we will take an in-depth look at will be verse 30. …

v 30 – I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

When Jesus said I can of Myself do nothing, He didn’t mean that He couldn’t do anything on His own accord. He meant that when He acted, He was working in perfect harmony with the Father. In other words, they are one and the same! That phrase in verse 30 is where critics and false teaching will point to and say, “See Jesus says that He’s not God!”. However, it proves the exact opposite. False teaching uses this verse to support the claim that Jesus Christ was not God since He could do nothing on His own and therefore proves He was just a man and not God. When Jesus said I can of Myself do nothing, He didn’t mean that He was physically unable to act on His own but morally unable to. Jesus was a man and was perfectly capable to physically to do anything whether or not it was in God’s will, just as we are. Jesus could only do the things though that God did as well. He acted on the will of the Father and therefore, proves that Jesus was, and is, God. His one and only ambition was to do the will of the Father and please Him.

In the remaining verses of the chapter, 31 through 47, Jesus now begins to bring forth witnesses to His deity. God’s law stated that in order to pass adequate judgement on someone, it had to be based on the testimony of two or three other witnesses. Jesus produces not two or three witnesses but four. His first witness is John the Baptist in verses 32 through 35. Jesus does point out that His claim to be God just didn’t come from the testimony of men. The claim would amount to nothing if that were the case. John The Baptist knew who Jesus was though and he told people who He was. John The Baptist and Jesus were believed to have been cousins. John The Baptist’s mother was Elizabeth who was a relative of Mary…Jesus’s mother. John The Baptist and Jesus literally grew up together and during that time, John was able to watch and study his “cousin” very carefully and intently and was able to come up with the inevitable and undeniable truth that Jesus was indeed God in human form. John became the burning and shining lamp as he feverishly pursued a ministry in pointing others to Jesus and Jesus gives him credit for it in verse 35. Jesus also points out how the people rejoiced in John’s ministry and were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. John, the disciple, does not mention John The Baptist’s imprisonment by Herod and his eventual beheading so it is possible by this time as Jesus is talking with these Jewish religious leaders that John The Baptist is already dead. Jesus could have possibly been referring to John The Baptist’s imprisonment and death when He said that they were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. Jesus was puzzled though how they were willing to accept John The Baptist and not the One that he preached about…Jesus. Calling John The Baptist a burning and shining lamp was a tribute to him by Jesus and a true praise coming from God. We as believers should also be known as these!

There were many other human witnesses other than John The Baptist as well. There were Jesus’s disciples. In 2 Peter, Peter says…

(16) For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. … 2 Peter 1:16 NKJV

John, the writer of this Gospel, tells us in 1 John…

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— (2) the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— (3) that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. (4) And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. … 1 John 1:1-4 NKJV

There were also the many people who Jesus performed healings and other miracles too. All of these people are witnesses to the deity of Jesus Christ.

In the end of verse 34, Jesus tells the leaders, but I say these things that you may be saved. Jesus was proving the love He had for them even though He knew deep down in their hearts, they wanted to kill Him. This is the message that John is trying to get through in his Gospel. He wants you, the reader, to believe in Jesus Christ and be saved. The word believe is the central theme in John’s Gospel. The word shows up 98 times in it. John writes…

(31) but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. … John 20:31 NKJV

Here John shows us the love that Jesus has for all of us, even these religious leaders who were blind to who He really was and wanted to kill Him.

The next “witness” that Jesus talks about is His works in verse 36…

v 36 – But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.

What works is Jesus talking about here? What we’ve been reading here of course. He had just healed a man that had been sick for 38 years and couldn’t walk. He was talking about the miracles that were happening around them. That’s a word that is thrown around loosely these days…miracle. Every time a baby is born…”Oh it’s a miracle!” or when the sun rises or sets…”Oh it’s a miracle!”. No it’s not! Those are things that happen naturally every single day! A miracle is when natural law is suspended by supernatural forces. There are 34 miracles that are told of in the Gospels that Jesus performed and probably a whole host of others that aren’t in the Gospels. Now to be fair, it was wise for these leaders to question this miracle. They were just following what it says in Deuteronomy 13 where it says…

(1) “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, (2) and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—’and let us serve them,’ (3) you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (4) You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. (5) But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst. … Deuteronomy 13:1-5 NKJV

In other words, look at the message behind the miracle. The leaders were blind to the messages behind the miracles that Jesus performed in part, I believe, because they were jealous that they couldn’t do this themselves. There are many cases in The Bible of people that performed “miracles” but they were different and even some had evil intentions behind them. The miracles that Jesus performed were much different though in four ways. First, He had the power in Himself to do them whereas others were given the power to do them. Second, He not only had the power in Himself to do them but He could also pass that power onto others like His disciples. …

(14) Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, (15) and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: … Mark 3:14-15 NKJV

And then third, the miracles that Jesus performed were foretold by the prophets who prophesied about the coming of The Messiah. Fourth, and lastly, they were unique in scope, character and number. So what about today? Are miracles occurring today? Actually, yes, especially in nations where The Gospel is banned. So many people in countries where Christianity is forbidden under penalty of death are coming to Christ in creative New Testament like ways. God gets His message through to people where The Gospel is not allowed. A Muslim cleric is reported to have lamented on Al-Jazeer-a television that 6 million Muslims a year are converting to Christianity. Take this story of conversion that you can’t chalk up to sheer coincidence that Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque in New Mexico told his congregation while teaching on this chapter. …

Mariam Asal, an Islamic evangelist for 7 years, she was teaching women verses from the Koran. She was teaching them prayers so they’d live an obedient Islamic life and she was on track, says the source, to become a female Ayatollah, a Shiite religious and political leader. Well, that was then. What happened after that is her mother came down or exhibited severe M.S.—multiple sclerosis. Got so severe one day she said I prayed to Allah. I’ve served you for many years of my life. I’ve given you my youth and this is what you’ve done for me? I read that. I thought, that’s interesting. I know a lot of people here who, not necessarily in this church, but in America, who pray that same kind of prayer. Well, her mom’s health deteriorated. She became disillusioned with God, disillusioned with everything, and she decided that she and her mom would commit suicide together. They’d kill themselves. They’d get everything ready and, I don’t know if it was television or radio, but some broadcast was on on one of those two sources, and as they were getting ready to commit suicide, this voice over the airwaves said, are you trying to kill yourself today? And it was a message being broadcast into her language about the gospel. She called the station. She received Christ as her Savior. She then took her mother to get an MRI sometime later and it was completely negative—no signs at all of multiple sclerosis. She knew Jesus healed her mother. It confirmed her own faith and led her mother to Jesus Christ as well.

I have heard about stories like this in America as well. I can use my conversion as an example and the results of it. I have heard that by the time a person reaches 50 years of age, the odds of them turning to Christ are slim and next to none and yet, I did. My conversion occurred after I too was seriously thinking about cashing it in, committing suicide. I was walking to work one day and was picked up by a Korean woman who had converted to Christianity. Her adopted name was Sarah. Long story short, she eventually convinced me to go to her church after picking me up day after day and taking me to work and talking about her faith. She was different than any other Christian that I had known. After coming to Christ, I wanted to thank her. She attended the Korean service after the regular service at the church. Many churches do this. It helps defer the cost of rent and other expenses. Anyway, I hung around one Sunday waiting for her to come but she never showed up. I did this for several Sundays afterwards but still no Sarah. I called her phone number but it was disconnected. Finally one Sunday, I asked some of the members of the Korean congregation where Sarah was and what happened to her. They told me that they didn’t know who she was. This wasn’t a big congregation either and yet, nobody knew who I was talking about. I’ve never seen her since that first day that she dropped me off at the church. I am convinced that she was an angel! Also after coming to Christ and being saved, I was able to stop smoking and I am still smoke free after 8 years! I had tried many times and many ways, unsuccessfully, to quit. The most I ever went was 6 months that is until…I turned to Christ. I prayed about it and read my Bible and His power made me able to quit! So yes, He is still performing miracles today!

The next witness that Jesus brings forth is the witness of the Father in verses 37 & 38. 

vv 37-38 – (37) And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.  (38)  But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. … John 5:37-38 NKJV

In the first part of verse 37, Jesus could be referring to the time that He was baptized by John The Baptist. The Father’s voice is audibly heard three times in the Gospels. The first time was when Jesus was baptized…

(17) And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” …. Matthew 3:17 NKJV

The second time is during the transfiguration where the Father tells Peter…

(17) While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” … Matthew 17:5 NKJV

The third time is when Jesus is praying…

(28) Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” … John 12:28 NKJV 

The reason why the Jews had never heard His voice is because they were unbelievers which is explained in verse 38…because you do not have His word abiding in you. God spoke through His Word. The Jews had the Scriptures yet they did not believe what had been written about Jesus by the prophets and therefore, did not believe in Him. God still speaks to us today through His Word, The Bible, but too many of us are too preoccupied with our lives and our hobbies to read it and therefore, do not hear Him as well. Which brings up this point…if you are a believer, does His Word abide in you? Now I’m about to say something that will probably make some believers uncomfortable and maybe even angry but His Word does not abide in most believers either. When church services are structured around football games every Sunday, His Word does not abide in us! When we pull out our Bibles only on Sundays, the occasional Wednesday, or when we need to “feel good” about ourselves, His Word does not abide in us! When we live our lives under a bushel basket for fear that the light of Christ will get out because it’s not politically correct or acceptable to be a Christian anymore in America, His Word does not abide in us! When we allow Democratic socialists to take over our government, our judicial system, and to turn what used to be a God fearing nation into an immoral, pagan, Third World nation dumping ground, His Word does not abide in us! That’s right…I said it! The point I am trying to make here is that if we are Christians only when it’s convenient or when it suits our needs, His Word does not abide in us! Enough said on that.

The last witness that Jesus brings forth as proof of His deity, are the Scriptures looking at verse 39…

v 39 – You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

The first part of verse 39 could be taken as a command or as a statement of fact. Either translation is acceptable but the bottom line is because the Jews thought that they read the Scriptures, they thought they had eternal life. The problem was though, they didn’t really know them because everything in them pointed to Christ. There is a belief today that The Old Testament no longer applies and that it shouldn’t even be read anymore and totally disregarded because we live under The New Testament. Nothing could be further from the truth because everything in The Old Testament is about the coming of Christ. Also The Old Testament serves as a warning to us about the fate of a nation whose people turn their backs on God. Reading The Bible will not grant you eternal life. Only knowing its author will. The more you read The Bible though, the whole thing not just the parts that are uncomfortable or inspirational, the more you will get to know the author. One more passage to look at and we’ll wrap this up dropping down to verse 45…

vv 45-47 – Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. (46) For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. (47) But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

The Jews held Moses in such high esteem and still do to this day. On the list of the most influential Hebrews in history, Moses comes in at #2. Moses is the one that wrote the first 5 books of The Bible…Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy known as The Torah. They claimed that they read and followed the writings of Moses and yet, they totally missed one of the key points that Moses wrote about…the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. Turn to Deuteronomy and Chapter 18. Moses in Chapter 18 writes…

(15) “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, … Deuteronomy 18:15 NKJV

Let’s stop there for a second. When Moses told the people Him you shall hear, he wasn’t making a statement of fact. He was making a command. He was telling the people, “A prophet is coming. Him you must listen to!”. This actually translates better in the NIV by the way. Drop down now to verse 18…

(18) I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. … Deuteronomy 18:18 NKJV

So Jesus shows up on the scene. He’s not only foretold by Moses but by several other prophets as well. Is He listened to? No! For the most part. He’s labeled a fraud and a blasphemer, labels that have followed Him to this very day by the way. The point is that they didn’t know the Scriptures and they didn’t follow what Moses told them although they claimed they held him in such high esteem and Jesus points out this fact to them.

To wrap this up, people claim to be very spiritual these days but they approach it as one going to a salad bar. It’s like they say, “I’ll take a small order of Christianity…hold the guilt because I’m on a guilt free diet. I’ll top that off with a little Hinduism and Buddhism because that’s really cool. I’ll take a side of Islam too because that’s politically correct and I’ll spice it up with New Age and humanism…you know to spice it up a bit.” The fact of the matter is people really don’t know what they believe anymore or why they believe it. The fact is there is a God and He would tell you to believe in Jesus. I would testify that. My fellow believers would testify to that. The Bible would testify to that and even God the Father testifies to that! Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word, one of the greatest witness of truth and light for those of us who choose to believe it. The truth is out there, right in these pages of Your Word and in the words that You gave so many writers of it, of who Your Son Jesus Christ is. We don’t have to ask “Who will ascend up to heaven to bring it to us?”. It is not beyond the sea that we have to have someone bring it to us. It is in the very pages of The Bible, Your holy Word, if we would only take the time to read it. Lord, bless our homes, our families, and our country…God bless America! In the saving name of Christ we pray…Amen!

   

From the moment we are born, sometimes way before, our future begins to be planned. At first, our parents handle the details of that. Once we begin to go to school though, we share in the responsibility of it too. By the time we finish high school, we have a pretty good idea what we want to do with our lives and, unless you’re a Democratic Socialist Party snowflake that believes that everything should be handed out to you without working for it, we take the reins and begin to take steps to accomplish that. For some of us, marriage and kids of our own are in those future plans so we begin to plan for that. As we get older, we plan for our retirement and then the older we get, our funeral as well. The point is, we are always planning for the future that is, while we are here on earth but what about afterwards? What about our spiritual future? Yes, there is something else after we are gone from this world. We go on whether you believe that or not. I don’t just say this…the Lord Jesus Christ says this! In this post, we are going to take a look at a small passage, the words of Jesus, that should serve as a warning to us all! Small passage, a lot of ground to cover so let’s get started! As always, the text link for the chapter and audio are included so you can follow along but before we get started, let’s prepare our hearts to receive God’s Word…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word. Father, Your Word speaks truth and is powerful and it convicts those who read it or even hear it. We thank You for allowing us to continue living in a country where we are still allowed to read it and hear it even though we live in a society that wants to silence it! Bless this time in Your Word, make it fruitful by opening up our hearts to what You want to reveal to us through it. Father, we put aside all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say to us. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

John 5

Let’s take a look at the passage for this study…

(25) Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.  (26)  For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,  (27)  and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.  (28)  Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice  (29)  and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. … John 5:25-29 NKJV

If you are just joining this study of John’s Gospel, what we have here is a continuing discourse by Jesus to the Jewish religious leaders after healing a cripple man who had been suffering from his affliction for 38 years. The Jewish leaders were accusing Jesus of breaking one of their laws regarding the Sabbath. This discourse, which begins in verse 17, is Jesus backing up His claim of who He really is. He will actually do this several times which John records in his Gospel because it is the overwhelming theme of it…that Jesus was and is in fact God!

When someone makes an outlandish claim, rest assured, there will be fireworks. I know this firsthand because when I was a kid, I made a claim that I was a king in a past life. I made this outlandish claim in a social studies class which we were all studying world religions and the subject came up about reincarnation. Of course I had no evidence to back up this ridiculous claim other than an excuse for maybe why I was picked on so much by the other kids. Yeah, I was pretty screwed up back then! LOL! Anyway, whereas I had absolutely no evidence whatsoever to back up my outlandish claim, Jesus backed up all of His claims by everything He did…all the miracles and healings. This infuriated the Jews and it is a reoccurring theme throughout the ministry of Jesus where they would constantly confront Jesus with this question…”Why, being a man, do you make yourself out to be God?”. Because of Jesus’s claims of divinity, and because the Jews couldn’t disprove them, it would move Jesus closer and closer to the cross because in their eyes, He was committing blasphemy.

In this short passage, Jesus tells them and us three sobering truths…

*Everyone dies

*Everyone will be judged

*Everyone will be resurrected

It is absolutely amazing the attitude that most people have when it comes to the subject of hell, including many Christians. It is a word that is used and abused in many of our daily conversations. There are many TV programs and movies about hell and one of these TV programs that actually portrays Lucifer as some type of misunderstood person and a hero! Why such a cavalier attitude about it? Because most people believe that it does not exist but did you know that Jesus talks about hell more times in The Bible than He does about heaven? Why? Because He knew it existed and He knew what takes place there. After all, He created it! He talks about it more than heaven because it is a warning to us to make us take heed so we don’t wind up there. Here’s the kicker though…He never intended for man to go there. In Matthew, Jesus says…

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: … Matthew 25:41 NKJV

More about this in a bit but now let’s take a closer look at these three truths in this passage from John that Jesus tell us about. First…everyone dies. Look at verse 25…

v 25 – (25) Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to know that everyone dies. Rich, poor, male, female, young, old, famous, obscure…everyone dies. There are only two people since the beginning of mankind on this earth that did not die…Enoch and Elijah. Enoch is briefly mentioned in Genesis…

(21) Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah.  (22)  After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters.  (23)  So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.  (24)  And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. … Genesis 5:21-24 NKJV

Now you might be saying to yourself now wait a minute that’s not true because the text says God took him which is a term or phrase that is used sometimes to explain a sudden death of a loved one. However if you read the whole chapter and read all the names listed and you will read the words…and he died. All except for Enoch. The other person is Elijah, a prophet of God. Elijah disappears in front of Elisha in a chariot that is taken up to heaven by a whirlwind. This is told in 2 Kings 2…

(11) Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. … 2 Kings 2:11 NKJV

So out of the billions of people that have lived on this planet, these are the only two that escaped physical death. We too will all eventually die unless we who are believers are still alive when Christ comes back and takes us back to heaven.

The word dead in verse 25 is the Greek word necros. From it, we get the word necrosis which is a process that the body goes through when we die. It speaks of physical death. In the last post, I made mention that there was a dual meaning to verse 25 that it also meant that those who were spiritually dead and would hear the Gospel would have a new spiritual life. I think that Jesus is speaking here about physical death though and that everyone who has died will hear His voice and live. I’ll explain why in just a bit. Now we come to the second truth that Jesus talks about in this passage…everyone will be judged. Look at verses 26 and 27…

vv 26-27 – (26)  For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,  (27)  and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.

I covered these verses in the last post but in this one, we are going to look at them from a different perspective. Jesus is referred to many terms in The Bible. He is referred to as the Son of God meaning He is part of the Godhead, the Holy Trinity, and is equal with God The Father. We saw how He is in many ways in the last post. Here in verse 27, Jesus is referred to as the Son of Man. What does that term mean? Very simply that God, came to the earth in the form of a Man in Jesus Christ. He is one of us…human. Everything that we feel, He knows because He is a Man. When Jesus is referred to as the Son of Man, it generally refers to the cross but look at what else it means in verse 27…He has the authority to execute judgement. This is the God of The Bible that nobody likes, believers and unbelievers alike…the God of judgement! Ask somebody who they think God is and they’ll tell you that He is a kind, gentle God who loves everyone but you’ll seldom hear that He is also a God of judgement. However, if you read The Bible, it’s full of judgement. In fact the word judge and all forms of the word, when applied to God, appears 450 times. First, God judges Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Then God judges the entire world by The Flood. He judges the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for immorality and idolatry, a coming judgement that awaits America. He judges Pharaoh and Egypt with a series of plagues because he refuses to end the slavery of the Hebrews and let them go. God judges Saul and Hophni and Phineas and the house of Eli. Later, He judges the nations of Israel and Judah with the Assyrian captivity and the Babylonian captivity. During the captivity, God judges King Belshazzar and the nation of Babylon for blasphemy in the famous writing on the wall in Daniel 5. That’s just to name a few. There are a whole lot more. A lot of people will say, “Well that’s the God of The Old Testament!” as if there was any difference between the two, but let’s look in The New Testament. In Matthew, Jesus judges Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Chorazin saying that it would be better for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah than for them because they had heard His words and seen the miracles and did not repent. He judges Jerusalem with tears in His eyes because they failed to recognize their Messiah and predicts the coming destruction of the city in 70 A.D. Let’s go further in The New Testament. In Acts, Herod is struck dead for his boasting of superiority and comparing himself to God. Ananias and Sapphira are judged for holding back funds and lying about it and they are struck dead as well. In Revelation, the book is full of judgement when Jesus comes back to judge the entire world. Because Jesus was born a man, this makes Him the perfect judge and gives Him the authority to do so. Besides His attributes of love and forgiveness, this is one of my favorite attributes…His judgement. I honor it and I respect it!

The word  judgement is the Greek word krisis which means judgement or court. We get the word crisis from it. What Jesus is basically saying in verses 25-29 is that there is a coming crisis. Despite what most people think, death is not the end. There is a coming judgement where we will all be evaluated, Hebrews 9:27 says…

(27) And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, … Hebrews 9:27 NKJV

More on this in just a second but let’s look at the rest of the passage and the last truth that Jesus talks about in it…everyone will be resurrected.

vv 28-29 – (28)  Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice  (29)  and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

No doubt that the Jewish religious leaders were amazed as Jesus spoke because He tells them do not marvel and then He tells them another startling truth…that everyone will be raised to life again and those who do good will undergo a resurrection of life and those who are evil will undergo a resurrection of condemnation. Verse 29 is often misinterpreted as salvation being dependent on what one does during their life but good works are a result of salvation. It is the proof whether one is saved or not. The only thing that guarantees salvation is believing and giving one’s life to Jesus Christ…period! If one does that, then the good works will naturally follow. These are the ones that will be raised to a resurrection of life. Those who don’t, unbelievers, those that consistently turn their backs to Jesus, will be raised to a resurrection of condemnation. When Jesus talks about an hour is coming, He is not talking about a certain 60 minute time period but rather a certain time period. In Revelation, we read that there are two resurrections which are a 1000 years apart from each other. First, the righteous dead are resurrected looking at Revelation 20…

(4) And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  (5)  But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. … Revelation 20:4-5 NKJV

After the 1000 years are completed, then the unrighteous dead are resurrected and everyone is evaluated. It is important to note though that the judgement of believers is entirely different than the judgement of unbelievers. If you are a believer and trust in Jesus Christ, you will never be judged based on your sins because Jesus took care of that when He went to the cross. Not to get ahead here, but when Christ uttered the words on the cross, “It is finished”, He didn’t mean that His suffering was finished. The phrase is the Greek word tetelestai. Loosely translated, it means done, completed, repaid. The debt of sin, my sins, your sins, everyone’s sins was taken away by Christ but you have to believe in Him and accept Him. In Romans, Paul says…

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. … Romans 8:1 NKJV

The judgement that believers will be faced with will be judgements of rewards, or lack of them, based on our service to the Lord. We will stand before the Bema Seat of Christ or Judgement Seat of Christ. …

(10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. … 2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV

The word for the judgement seat is the Greek word bematis 0r bema. It means raised step. It was the place in town where speeches were given and judgements and laws were passed out. The judgements for unbelievers is entirely different but the bottom line is that when we stand before God, believers and unbelievers will be judged on one thing and only one thing…whether we accepted Jesus Christ or not!

We as believers should be excited at the prospect of resurrection. Some may ask why the new body? I don’t know about you but I’m dying for a new one! As I get older, I find that I’m becoming more and more tired, I don’t have the same energy level that I had when I was younger, and I am in a lot more pain than when I was younger. So what will our new bodies be like? No one really knows. I’d like to think that it will be like “The Tomorrow People”. It was one of my favorite shows that I used to watch in the 1980’s on Nickleodeon and it was recently remade a couple of years ago but with a modern day twist which aired on the CW network for one season. It was a show about people with the powers of telekinesis, telepathy, and teleportation. These people were supposed to be the next step in human evolution. The fact is though that Jesus had these powers when He was resurrected. Paul gives us a glimpse of what our new bodies might be like in 1 Corinthians 15 which tells us that our resurrected bodies will be very similar to Christ. Whatever our new bodies are like though, it has to be way better than they are right now though! LOL!

Here’s an interesting question though…why will those bound for hell need new bodies? Well just like the believer will need a new body to enjoy eternal bliss, so the unbeliever will need a new body to endure eternal punishment. To give you an idea of what awaits the unbeliever, turn to Revelation, the last book in The Bible, and to Chapter 20. The Bible teaches that there are two resurrections that are separated by a 1000 years. What we have in the final verses in Chapter 20, is a courtroom scene but this is not for believers but for unbelievers as we read starting in verse 11…

(11) Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. (13) The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. (14) Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. … Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV

So to close this out, here’s the takeaway of all of this. Believers go from spiritual death to spiritual life to physical death to eternal life. Unbelievers go from spiritual death to physical death to eternal death! What side of the coin do you want to be on? Jesus actually sums this up best in Matthew…

(30) He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. … Matthew 12:30 NKJV

If you accept Christ, then you are for Him. If you don’t and you continue to reject Him, then you are against Him! I’d rather play it safe and be for Him! Listen, true Christianity is not a religion…it is a relationship! You are either have it or you don’t! There’s no halfway point! Let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

As we read these sobering words, these words, straight out of mouth of Jesus, may we as believers all take good look inwardly at ourselves and ask ourselves…do I have a true, meaningful relationship with Jesus? When we stand before Him, will we hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord!” or will He say, “Depart from Me! I never knew you!”. Help us to reach out to people who do not know Your Son Jesus Christ with these truths so they too can enjoy eternal life instead of eternal death. Father, thank You for all that You give us, not only the blessings in our lives, but also the trials and tribulations that come our way that make us stronger. Bless us, bless our families, and bless our country in Jesus’s name we pray…Amen!

   

Who is Jesus Christ? A teacher? A good “example” for us to follow? If you answered anything else but God, then you clearly don’t know who Jesus is! But don’t feel bad because ever since He came to this earth, people have been mistaking who He actually was. Throughout the Gospels, we find examples of the misidentity of Jesus. Some said He was John the Baptist. Others said He was a prophet like Elijah or Jeremiah. Many of His own people saw Him as Israel’s deliverer from the Romans and tried to seize Him to make Him a king. All of these assumptions were wrong. Even Jesus’s own family didn’t know who Jesus was at first. Remember what they said?…”He’s out of His mind!” Even today, so-called “experts” are featured on TV programs (usually around Christmas and Easter) with some “new bombshell information” explaining who Jesus was.

John makes it perfectly clear though who Jesus was and is…He is God. He is God who stepped out of heaven and came to earth in the form of a man. The only proper answer to the question, “Who is Jesus Christ?”, is that He is God in human flesh and until you come to that realization, you are not a true believer of Him and you are not saved! The central theme of the 879 verses that make up John’s Gospel, is believe. He wants you, the reader, to believe that Jesus is God and this is also the reason why I have titled this study “But who do you say that I am?”, even though this question does not appear in John’s Gospel, because we will all have to answer this question eventually and we better have the right answer!

A lot of people say, “Jesus never claimed to be God!”. These people have never read The Bible or didn’t understand what they were reading because throughout the Gospels, especially John’s, Jesus makes this claim throughout and in this passage that we will be looking at in this post, is Jesus’s first claim of who He is! A lot of ground to cover again so let’s get started.  As always, the text link for the chapter and the audio are included so you can follow along. Before we get started though, let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your Word. Father, bless this time in Your Word, make it fruitful by opening up our hearts to what You want to reveal to us through it. Father, we put aside all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say to us. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

John 5

Let’s look at the passage that we will be studying in this post…

(16) For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. (17) But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” (18) Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. (19) Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. (20) For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. (21) For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. (22) For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, (23) that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. (24) “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. (25) Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. (26) For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, (27) and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. (28) Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice (29) and come forth— those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. … John 5:16-29 NKJV

For context, we pick this up back in verse 16. Jesus had just healed a man by the pool of Bethesda and the day that Jesus performed this healing just happened to be on the Sabbath. Instead of being happy that a man who had suffered for many years, 38 John tells us, was miraculously healed, the Jews were more concerned that Jesus had broken one of their precious laws regarding the Sabbath. This discourse by Jesus takes place presumably almost right after Jesus heals the man or about a day or so afterwards and it is presumably when Jesus is brought before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council, to explain His actions. What follows here in this passage is another reason why the Jews wanted Jesus dead…His claim to be equal with God. Besides being God’s plan all along, there were two main reasons why Jesus was crucified…His violation of the Sabbath and His claim to be God. This is Jesus’s first lengthy discourse on His claim of deity that John records in his Gospel. John points out here, through Christ’s own words, seven ways how He is equal with God….

1) He is equal in working (v 19)

2) He is equal in knowing (v 20)

3) He is equal in resurrecting (v 21 also with vv 28 & 29)

4) He is equal in judging (v 22 also with v 27)

5) Equal in honor (v 23)

6) Equal in regenerating (vv 24-25)

7) Equal in self existence (v 26)

Again for those who claim that Jesus never claimed Himself to be God, this should put this argument to rest because these are the words out of Jesus’s own mouth. Let’s take a look at these qualities more closely now. For the context purposes of this post, I’ve included vv 28-29 but we will examine these verses in the next post a bit closer with a different focal point. Let’s take a look at the passage and examine these qualities more closely.

vv 16-18 – (16) For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. (17) But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” (18) Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

As we have already covered previously, verse 16 explains one of the reasons why the Jews wanted to kill Jesus but now Jesus is going to give them another reason by what He says in verse 17…My Father has been working until now, and I have been working. What exactly did Jesus mean when He said this? We all know that the earth was created in six days and on the seventh day, God rested. By the way that term rested didn’t mean a literal rest. God didn’t say, “Boy am I tired! I’ve had such a hard week! I think I’ll take some time off!” What it means when we say that God rested means He was done with His work. It was done…complete. However when sin entered the world, thanks to Adam and Eve, God’s rest was disturbed. Now He began working tirelessly to try to bring back man into communion with Him. Jesus was part of God’s plan to do this. Jesus was God’s plan of man’s redemption and now Jesus had come to spread that message, the Gospel message, to them. He was showing them that God’s love, mercy, and grace wasn’t just confined to six days a week but all seven of them! God never rests. He is always working. In Psalm 121, in verse 4, we read…

Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. … Psalms 121:4 NKJV

Jesus was working with His Father to prove this and He infuriated the Jews by telling them so. Verse 18 is one of the strongest verses in The Bible to make the case of Jesus’s claim to deity. You can say all you want that Jesus never claimed to be God but verse 18 proves that not to be true because even His enemies made the connection! When Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, He didn’t mean like it does today where God is everybody’s father and we are all children of God. When we are born, we have the human nature of our parents. We begin to take that on the moment we are conceived. This is what Jesus is saying that He has the divine nature of God therefore making Himself equal with God.  His enemies knew exactly what He meant because they wanted kill Him even more! What now follows is the ways Jesus claims equality with God. He continues His discourse on how He is equal with God in working. Look at verse 19…

v 19 –  (19) Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

Jesus was so linked with God that He couldn’t act independently. He didn’t mean that He didn’t have the power to act on His own but that He was so connected and united with God that He could only do the things that He saw His Father doing. Kind of a poor example but this will kind of give you an idea what Jesus is saying here. If you’re a dad and you have a son have you ever noticed that your son will try to imitate you? Even try to dress like you? Mothers who have daughters I’m sure you’ve noticed the same thing with your daughters. The same thing, more or less, applies here. Jesus “imitates” God’s love, mercy, and grace by not only by the healing of this man at the pool but throughout all of the Gospels as well by the miracles that He performed. Just as the Father does, so the Son does. The reason why is because God communicates with Jesus so He is equal in knowing what the Father wants Him to do as we move on to verse 20. 

v 20 – (20) For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.

The word loves (or loveth in the old King Jimmie version) is the Greek word  phileō (pronounced fil-eh’-o). It is a term of affection or endearment like a parent loves a child and as the parent who loves their child will show them how to conduct themselves, so God shows Jesus, His Son how to act in kind. Jesus shows God’s love, grace, and mercy throughout the Gospels. He had just healed a man who had been lame for 38 years and He promised greater works than these, that you may marvel. Soon, Jesus would be resurrecting the dead, verse 21, feeding thousands, making the blind see, the deaf hear, and the demon possessed well again. However, Jesus would ultimately demonstrate God’s love by going to the cross and dying for all of our sins. Jesus now claims equality with God by resurrecting looking at verse 21…

v 21 – (21) For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.

There are two meanings to this verse. One is literal. Jesus would literally raise people from the dead. He would raise Lazarus in John 11, a daughter of a religious leader in Mark  5:22-43, the son of a widow in Luke 7:11-14 and He Himself will be resurrected as we all will be one day after we die. The second meaning is spiritual. Take a look at this verse from John 14 which is one of the most well known but controversial verses in The Bible…

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. … John 14:6 NKJV

We will take a look at this verse much closer when we get to Chapter 14 but in a nutshell besides claiming absolute exclusivity, Jesus is also enforcing this verse in Chapter 5. Let me explain. Giving our lives to Jesus Christ can only be accomplished by not only our will to come to Him but His will also. In 1 Peter it says…

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. … 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV

Despite what people think, God is not some angry God waiting to pounce on us the first chance He gets! He wants all of us to come to Him through a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ. When we come to Jesus,  we are in a sense accomplishing not only our will, but His will as well. The opposite is true however. If you reject Jesus, you are also rejecting God and He will firm up your decision or as the Bible puts it, hardening your heart. This was never more evident than in the Book of Exodus and what happened to Pharaoh. God gave many chances for Pharaoh to repent but he refused or hardened his heart. He did this so many times that we begin to read that God hardened his heart. God didn’t purposely do this. He was just reinforcing Pharaoh’s decision. Just as Jesus was able to heal physically, He was, and still is, able to heal spiritually which is what we all really need! In Hebrews, it says…

(25) Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. … Hebrews 7:25 NKJV

As we move on, Jesus is equal with God because He is able to judge. Look at verse 22…

v 22 – (22) For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,

We’ve all heard the saying, “No one can judge me but God!”. This is true. No one can judge us but God. God has absolute knowledge and perfect righteousness. Jesus has these qualities as well therefore, He must be God! Jesus is able to discern the thoughts of men and determine the motives in their hearts. The Jews believed that God would in the future raise the dead, punish those who disobeyed His laws and reward those who obeyed them and yet He was standing before them having all of the aforementioned qualities and they didn’t recognize Him! The New Testament teaches us that Jesus has the power of judgement of not only of man but of nations and the entire world!….

(17) because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” … Acts 17:31 NKJV

(10) But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (11) For it is written: “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS TO GOD.” (12) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. … Romans 14:10-12 NKJV

(15) And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, (16) and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! (17) For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” … Revelation 6:15-17 NKJV

These are just a few examples in Scripture to make this point. Moving on, Jesus is equal with God in honor looking at the next verse, verse 23…

v 23 – (23) that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

This verse clearly dictates that Jesus Christ is God. God is given the authority to Jesus to raise the dead and judge the world so Jesus by saying this, in effect is saying…”I am God!”. This verse is one of the most important statements in The Bible of the proof of deity of Jesus Christ. In The Bible, we are taught to worship God, not several, just one…the only One! In Exodus 20:3, it says…

(3) “You shall have no other gods before Me. … Exodus 20:3 NKJV

This is one of the Ten Commandments probably the most important one. So if Jesus was another god, by what He is saying here in verse 23 of John 5, would make Him guilty of blasphemy! Problem was though Jesus by saying this was proving He was God and they didn’t recognize it then and people still don’t recognize it today! There are many people today, many of them Christians, who claim to worship God but refuse to recognize the deity of Jesus Christ! Most Christians today believe there are two gods…the one in The Old Testament and the one in The New Testament. The one in The Old Testament is the one filled with wrath and anger but the one in The New Testament is the one filled with love for everyone that is going to take everyone back to heaven with Him. That is the trash that is being fed to church goers these days and if that’s the way you feel, then I truly feel sorry for you because there is no difference between the god of The Old Testament and the god of The New Testament because they are one and the same! Jesus Himself said…

(17) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. … Matthew 5:17 NKJV

I tell people constantly that if they really want to know where God’s heart is and why America is in so much trouble today to read the books of the prophets and what happens to a nation of His own people that turns against Him! If we as a nation are not honoring the Son then we are not honoring the Father and the same can be said of us personally as well! If you don’t honor God and Jesus then you really don’t honor either! Let’s move on. Jesus is equal with God in regeneration looking at verse 24…

vv 24-25 – (24) “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. (25) Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

By the way, whenever Jesus says Most assuredly or Verily, verily as it reads in the old King Jimmie version, He is saying, “Hey listen up! Check this out!”. It means, in other words, that we need to pay close attention to what He is saying and heed His words. Verse 24 is one of the most beloved and most clearest explanation of the way to salvation that is in The Bible. Very simple, cut and dried…I say to you (this is Jesus talking to each one of us in a personal way); he who hears My word (hearing His word means not only hearing it but also receiving it, believing it, and obeying it); and believes in Him who sent Me. Let’s stop right there for a moment. Is it enough to just to profess a belief in God? Many people claim to believe in God but have never been truly converted. What do I mean by that? Ask some people if they believe in God and you get an emphatic “Oh yes!”. Ask them how they feel about Jesus Christ though and they will dance around the issue. One has to believe not only in God but that He sent His Son Jesus Christ into this world to be our Savior. The way He is our Savior is the work He accomplished on the cross at Calvary which took away our sins and made us righteous before God but only if we accept it and believe it. Let’s move on. Has everlasting life. Again, let’s stop right there. Jesus doesn’t say “will have everlasting life” or “may have everlasting life”. No…He says HAS everlasting life. Has means you already have it! No worries. no questions, or thinking about it! Once you truly accept the Lord Jesus Christ into your life, it’s a done deal! It is not just a life that goes on forever but a better quality of life! And shall not come into judgement. My friends, those should be the most reassuring and comforting words if you are a true believer in Jesus Christ! This means your past is wiped clean! Whatever you did, or will do because let’s face it, we’re not perfect even after we come to Jesus though we should never intentionally sin, will never come into judgement. There is no double jeopardy to use a court term meaning you can’t be tried again for the same crime or crimes. We have already been found innocent by the work of Christ on the cross. Believers will be judged on a reward system but not on guilt or innocence. Paul makes this clear…

(11) For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (12) Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, (13) each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. (14) If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. (15) If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. … 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 NKJV

But has passed from death into life. If we have accepted, believed, and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have passed from spiritual death into spiritual life. Before this, we were spiritually dead because of our sins. We were dead to God and out of fellowship with Him. However, after we are converted, that all changes. We have total fellowship with Him now and become possessors of a divine life.

Verse 25 begins again with most assuredly, I say to you, the third time Jesus uses it in this chapter. Again, Jesus is saying something that we need to pay attention to. What is Jesus talking about here? Who are these dead that will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live? Jesus might have been talking about the people that He would literally raise from the dead like His friend Lazarus but the people that Jesus is talking about here is what we’ve been looking at in verse 24…those who respond to the Gospel. Those who respond to the Good News (which is what Gospel means by the way) of Jesus Christ and accept Him as their Savior are no longer dead in their sins and have been raised to a new life. Moving on to the last verse that we will take an in depth look on in this post, verse 26, and the last point of Jesus’s equality with God…self existence.

v 26 – (26) For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,

Just as God the Father is the source and giver of physical life, so God the Son, Jesus Christ is the source and giver of spiritual life. God the Father has granted Jesus to have life in Himself. …

(45) And so it is written, “THE FIRST MAN ADAM BECAME A LIVING BEING.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. … 1 Corinthians 15:45 NKJV

(3) For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (4) When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. … Colossians 3:3-4 NKJV 

This statement that Jesus makes in verse 26 is another statement that makes Jesus’s equality with God quite evident. No man can make this claim that he has life in himself. I have said this before and I will say it again. There are too many Christians out there who believe that there are two Gods…one of the Old Testament and the one in the New Testament. This is a dangerous and foolish assumption to make, to put it politely. If you want to know what God looks like, what He feels, what He wants, you look at Jesus and vice versa.

Verse 27 just reinforces the statement made in verse 22 that God has granted all judgement to Jesus. In the next post, we’ll look at verses 28 and 29 more closely but suffice to say, Jesus makes the claim that everyone will be granted eternal life but it is up to us to decide where we will spend it! Know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, no peace! Know Jesus, know life. No Jesus, no life! Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for these truths that come out of the mouth of Jesus Himself. Father strengthen us and help us to honor You and Your Son more and more each day by living honorable and pleasing lives that are honorable and pleasing to You. Help us to reach out to people who do not know Your Son Jesus Christ with these truths so they too may enjoy the peace and the life that we enjoy in Jesus’s name we pray…Amen!