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!

 

   

Well  we’re finally in chapter 5 after spending nearly 3 months covering chapter 4. I wonder how long it will take to get through chapter 5! LOL! Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word and thank You for being such an awesome God. Thank You for the mercy and grace that You have poured out on all of us even though none of us are deserving of it. Father as we open up Your Word now, we put away all distractions. Our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening.  In the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

Do you know the meaning of the words sin, mercy, and grace? To unbelievers, they have no meaning and absolutely no significance to them but as Christians, we better know them and we better realize the significance of them to consider ourselves truly saved! In this post on the 1st part of chapter 5, we will look at all three of them through the story of the healing of a man at a pool by Jesus. We’ll also briefly take a look at something that plagues Christianity as it did back in Jesus’s day…legalism. We’ll be looking at not only what it is but also what it isn’t. 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.

John 5

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

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. (2) Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. (3) In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. (4) For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. (5) Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. (6) When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” (7) The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” (8) Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” (9) And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. (10) The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” (11) He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ” (12) Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” (13) But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. (14) Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” (15) The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. (16) For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. … John 5:1-16 NKJV

Let’s take this passage apart now and look at it more closely. …

v 1 – After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

There is some length of time that passes between the end of Chapter 4 and the beginning of Chapter 5 even though the text says after this. John does not cover the events during this time because they are covered in the synoptic Gospels. The feast of the Jews takes place after Jesus’s second visit to Cana. Jesus had met a nobleman there that had came from Capernaum who had a dying son there which Jesus healed. We don’t know what feast this was. According to God’s commandments, there were three feasts that were mandatory for all Jews to attend. They were The Feast of Tabernacles (Booths), The Festival of Weeks, and Passover. Each of these were held in Jerusalem but the feast that John is probably talking about here is Passover. Jesus, being a Jew, would of course have been there. This is important to note because Jesus being God could have claimed an exemption from being there, After all, He is the one who instituted the Passover to begin with but He was teaching the importance of attending religious gatherings. As the writer in Hebrews says…

(24) And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, (25) not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. … Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV

John’s Gospel is the only one that tells of this miraculous healing that takes place here.

vv 2-4 – (2) Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. (3) In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. (4) For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 

The Pool of Bethesda was located near the Sheep Gate. The Sheep Gate was appropriately named because this is where people would bring their sacrificial animals through, mainly sheep, to be offered as sacrifices by the priests in the temple. It was about 2 to 3 feet deep and it was mainly used as a place for people to wash their animals, again mainly sheep, before being offered as sacrifices. Up to the 19th century, it was believed that this pool didn’t exist but archaeological finds during that time proved otherwise.

Bethesda in Hebrew means place of mercy but this pool was anything but. The pool had five porches and John tells us that there were a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed. It wasn’t a place of mercy. It was a place of misery and despair! According to the famed Jewish writer Josephus, there were close to 300 of these poor individuals at this pool on a daily basis but this was Passover with millions in attendance so this pool area could have had close to over 3000 of these people when Jesus was there. The King Jimmie translates these people as impotent folk which basically means to be feeble by any sense. These people represent us all in our sinful condition.

These people would hang around the pool area waiting for the moving of the water. Apparently it was believed that an angel would show up and stir up the water and the first person to get into the water was healed of whatever infirmity that he or she had. Most Bible commentators believe that this was actually some type of underground spring that would bubble up and cause this stirring of water. Now whether or not if a person actually was healed when this happened is unknown. What probably happened is one of these people got into the water one day when this happened and was somehow healed, through God’s mercy, and instead of giving the glory to Him, it got around that these waters had some type of magical healing powers and people thronged there. This is much like today’s “faith healers” and the obsession of the Virgin Mary sightings in everything from clouds to potato chips!

vv 5-7 – (5) Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. (6) When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” (7) The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

With the thousands of others, lay a man who had a condition that prevented him from walking. The text says that he had been suffering from this condition for thirty eight years. This probably meant all of his life. Verse 6 says that Jesus saw him lying there. The word saw is the Greek word idon which means to look intently. Jesus just didn’t look casually at the man as if to say “Gee what a shame!”. He looked intently at this suffering man with concern as He did at all of the suffering people there in the pool area. The way Jesus looked at the man and all of the others there is the way He looks at all of us in our sinful condition. There is some life application here. We Christians look at things too casually. If we looked at things more intently and with concern like Jesus does with this man, then we would not allow our country to be overrun by people from pagan nations intent on destroying the foundation of Christianity on which America was founded on nor allow our government to turn America into the idolatrous, pagan, and immoral country that it has become!

There must have been something that attracted Jesus to this man. He must have saw that this man had faith to be healed to make a direct challenge to him. Being God, Jesus had the foreknowledge of this man’s condition and how long He had been in that condition. The way Jesus challenges this man is highly unusual. Jesus asks him…Do you want to be made well?. If you look at the question on the surface, it’s insensitive. Why wouldn’t someone who has been in this kind of condition for that many years not want to be healed? There are three reasons why He asks this question though. The first one is to draw the people’s attention to Him to show that He is the answer not the water that the man and the other lame people were trying to get into. The second reason was to see how serious the man’s faith was to be healed. The most important reason why though was to show the man how helpless he was to help himself.  This is the way all of us are in our sinful condition. We are powerless to help ourselves. Nothing that we can do, no good deed, no level of comfort that we try to seek for ourselves can help us. Only turning our lives over to Jesus Christ and submitting to His will is the only cure for our sinful condition. So Jesus asks all of us this question…”Do you want to be made well?”. He will not cure us if we don’t want it though. If you look throughout the Gospels, Jesus never healed anyone unless they expressed a desire and had the faith for Him to. He never imposed His will on anyone. Only when people came to Him humbly realizing they were powerless to help themselves that He did anything for anyone.

The man however doesn’t exactly come out and say that he wishes to be cured but he does admit to Jesus that he is powerless to help himself by saying…Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me. It was a pitiful excuse but Jesus took the response as a cry for help and a confession of helplessness from the man.

vv 8-9 –  (8) Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” (9) And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.  

Jesus gives the command to the man Rise, take up your bed and walk and instead of coming up with another pitiful excuse explaining why he couldn’t, he does what Jesus commands. Jesus never gives us a command without giving us the power to obey it. The man’s bed was not an actual bed like the ones that we sleep on though if it were, it probably would have been a sight to see! LOL! The man’s bed was likely a pad or a light mattress. It is important to note here that this was not a gradual healing over a period of time. This was an instantaneous healing. As Jesus spoke the words to the man, the man’s body was immediately getting life and power back into it. All the man had to do was have the faith to believe he was healed which he did when he obeyed Jesus’s command to get up and walk. What a thrill it must have been for him after so many years of suffering to be healed from this condition! There was a problem though as we look at the last part of verse 9,,,,And that day was the Sabbath…Dah dah D…A…H! LOL!

vv 10-13 – (10)  The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”  (11)  He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ”  (12)  Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”  (13)  But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.

Instead of being happy for the man and celebrating his miraculous healing, the Jews confronted the man and told him, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” The Jews were the Pharisees. The Pharisees can be more or less described as the Jewish religious police. I covered their history back when I did the study of the Book of Jeremiah here in this blog but in a nutshell, they were formed during the Hebrew captivity in Babylon. They started out with the best of intentions offering teaching, help, and comfort to the Hebrews while they were in Babylon but after the captivity and God restored them back into the land, over the years afterwards, they became very legalistic and very hypocritical much like the Catholic priests of today. Jesus at one point calls them out on this fact in this well known passage from Matthew…

(23) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. … Matthew 23:23 NKJV

Now in defense of the Pharisees, they were just enforcing one of God’s laws regarding the Sabbath. God commanded in Exodus 20…

(8) “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (9) Six days you shall labor and do all your work, (10) but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. (11) For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. … Exodus 20:8-11 NKJV

Disobeying this command was one of the reasons why God sent the Hebrews into captivity in Babylon. So understandably they said amongst themselves, “You know what? This is never going to happen to us again so let’s make sure it doesn’t!” and they became God’s “guardians” of the Sabbath. The problem was that over the years after the captivity, they had “tacked on” so many things that were considered breaking the Sabbath that by the time that Jesus shows up on the scene, there were well over 300 things that you couldn’t do on the Sabbath! Now mind you, these were man made rules and certainly not God’s rules. What God meant was simply don’t work. That meant the kind of work you would be paid for. Simple enough but they took this to extremes. For instance, you couldn’t look into the mirror on the Sabbath! Here was their rationale behind this stupid rule. If you looked in the mirror on the Sabbath and saw a gray hair, you would be tempted to pull it out and if you did, that was labor! You couldn’t wear false teeth on the Sabbath! Yep, back then incredibly they had false teeth and here was the rationale for this. If they fell out of your mouth, you would be tempted to pick them up and put them back in your mouth and then you would be bearing a burden. In Jeremiah, the Lord says…

(21) Thus says the LORD: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; (22) nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. … Jeremiah 17:21-22 NKJV

So they considered this to be bearing a burden. According to their law bearing a burden meant carrying anything that weighed more than a combination of two dried figs so according to their law, this man carrying his mattress or pad was a no no on the Sabbath. He was not only bearing a burden but he was also traveling another no no on the Sabbath according to their law.

Another problem on questioning this man in verse 12, Who is the Man who said to you, “Take up your bed and walk”  was they wanted to question and stone, which was the punishment for breaking the Sabbath, the one who instituted the Sabbath in the first place!

Here’s a question that always gets asked by believers…what about today? Are we required to keep the Sabbath today? Depends on how you look at it. It was, and still is, one of the original Ten Commandments so in regards to that, you can say yes. However, Jesus makes no reference to keeping the Sabbath whatsoever in the Gospels nor is there any referring to it in The New Testament. The only reference to it is made by Paul in two passages regarding legalism. In 1 Corinthians…

(16) So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, … Colossians 2:16 NKJV

And in Romans…

(5)  One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.  (6)  He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. … Romans 14:5-6 NKJV

The Sabbath was from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. After Christ’s resurrection however, Christians celebrated the Sabbath on Sunday. Now it’s pretty much blown off altogether in America. However whether you do or you don’t or what day(s) you choose to  observe it is your choice. Before moving on, what is legalism exactly? Simply put it is adding anything to the finished work of Christ on the cross for the basis of salvation. What legalism isn’t however, is confronting people with Biblical truth which many Christians seem to think it is. Coming out against idolatry and immorality in our country or actually doing something about them is not legalism! 

The healed man had no idea who had healed him or where Jesus had gone because Jesus had left because He was drawing a crowd. Why did Jesus split? Two possible explanations. He wanted to get away from the Pharisees so they couldn’t seize Him and question Him and perhaps, stone Him. All throughout John’s Gospel, we see the phrase, His time had not yet come. That time was Jesus going to the cross. Jesus was on a timetable and this wasn’t His time. The other explanation, and the reason I believe why, is because Jesus wanted to draw attention to the miracle and not to who performed it. There’s some life application we can apply to this as well. When we give or offer to serve in whatever capacity, we should make that the focus of people’s attention and not have the focus of the attention on us. Jesus says in Matthew…

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. (2) Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. (3) But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, (4) that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. … Matthew 6:1-4 NKJV

Let’s move on and wrap this up…

vv 14-16 – (14) Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” (15) The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. (16) For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.

Presumably, Jesus waits for the crowd to thin out and then goes back to find the healed man who no doubt is praising and giving thanks to God for his miraculous healing. My guess is that he was also telling others about it even though he didn’t know who had healed him. Jesus tells him that he has been made well but then He tells him, Sin no more. Apparently this malady that this man suffered from could have been the result of some form of sin in his life. Not every illness is because of sin though. This is the second time the word sin appears in John’s gospel but the first time that Jesus uses the word. It is the Greek word hamartano which means to miss the mark. it is an archery term basically. Let’s say that you and I are given a bow and 10 arrows. All the arrows that you shoot hit the bullseye except for the last one. Guess what? You missed the mark! Now I shoot my 10 arrows and I’m really bad! LOL! Only one of my arrows hits the bullseye and the rest sail off to who knows where! LOL! I too have missed the mark only worse than you did! LOL! So what’s the point here? The point is you may have been a better shot than me but we both missed the mark and that is how God views all of humanity. Sorry folks but in this age of self-importance and touting human accomplishment, all of humanity has missed the mark! We are all sinners! Some of us just sin less than others but we are all still sinners! We as humans have a sinful nature. We are born with it! In Romans, Paul says…

(10) As it is written: “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE; (11) THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS; THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD. (12) THEY HAVE ALL TURNED ASIDE; THEY HAVE TOGETHER BECOME UNPROFITABLE; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, NO, NOT ONE.” … Romans 3:10-12 NKJV

In Isaiah, the prophet says…

(5)  You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways. You are indeed angry, for we have sinned— In these ways we continue; And we need to be saved. (6) But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. … Isaiah 64:5-6 NKJV

In America though there is no such thing as sin anymore. No sinners either. We have victims and freethinkers instead. Gone are the fire and brimstone messages on sin and its consequences in churches and instead it’s all about Jesus’s love for everyone. Yes He does love everyone but there is a price to pay for sin without God’s forgiveness. How do we get that forgiveness? By grace. Grace is undeserved favor. Let’s go back to the archery example. Suppose someone was to gather up the arrow that you shot that missed the bullseye and gathered up all of mine that missed as well and stuck them into the bullseye. That’s what you call grace. We didn’t deserve it but someone had mercy on us and did that for us and that’s what God did when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross. He did it for all of us so we could be forgiven of our sin but only if we accept that free gift of grace!

Jesus finds the man in the temple who was probably no doubt praying and thanking God for the miracle that had just happened to him. Perhaps he was also in the temple praying for forgiveness because he had broken one of the Pharisees precious laws on the Sabbath. The point is, the man was in the temple where he should have been. Now Jesus tells him to Sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you. Notice that Jesus doesn’t say “Sin as little as possible” but “Sin no more”. Jesus is making it quite clear how He views sin. Any form of it is intolerable and unacceptable to Him especially sinning under grace. People who are saved should not return to their former way of life. Some Christians seem to think that they can do whatever they want after they are saved but Paul cautions about this way of thinking. In Romans, Paul says…

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  (2)  Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? … Romans 6:1-2 NKJV

Bottom line people who think they can do whatever they want after coming to Christ to be saved probably aren’t!

So what could be worse than the affliction that this man suffered from all of his life? Try eternal damnation which is probably the point that Jesus is trying to make here as well.

The man immediately goes out and tells people that Jesus is the one who made him well. His witness for Christ begins almost immediately without fear or repercussions and he doesn’t disappear into a synagogue for years of teaching. He wants people to know right away who is responsible for his new condition. He tells them what he knows and what no can question…his testimony! You don’t need years in a seminary to tell others about Jesus. To put it in the words of the slogan of Adidas…”Just do it”! If you don’t have a testimony, then get one!

Some have believed that the man went out and told others to deliberately put the Savior’s life in danger. That thinking though is absolutely ludicrous! The text does say that they sought to kill Jesus from then on because He had violated the Sabbath but there is no evidence in the text that suggests the man had anything to do with it.

We covered a lot of ground and to close this out, let’s summarize. We as believers have to be merciful. Showing mercy to others does not mean that we compromise Biblical teachings and condone others sinful behaviors and idolatry though and sinning under grace is a no no . The most important takeaway here though is that we are all sinners and if you haven’t experienced the saving power of Jesus Christ to be forgiven of your sin, you need to do that today! I love what F.B. Meyer said in his commentary on this chapter…

Are you a withered soul? Healing and wholeness are in Christ for you. Receive from Him the power that waits to flow through your wasted muscles. Believe that it is passing through you, and act accordingly. Spring to your feet, roll up your bed, and carry that which has so long carried you.

Let’s pray…

 

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the wonderful gift of grace that You have given us in sending Your Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross so that we can all be forgiven but only if we accept that free gift. Father, help us to live more holy and productive lives pleasing and acceptable to You. As Paul says in Romans to present our bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to You which is our reasonable service for such a wonderful gift of grace. Lord, help us to be more like You to be more merciful to others especially to those who don’t know You and help us give our testimony to them to help them realize Your wonderful power to change lives. Help us change lives today! In the name of Jesus we pray…Amen!

   

Open up your Bibles to John Chapter 4. This is our final look into this chapter. Hands up if you have had anything bad happen to you. It can be a sickness, a sudden death of a family member or friend, a tragedy like a car accident, loss of a job or whatever. If you haven’t, give it time because something will. It’s a part of life. Bad things happen to us all. Doesn’t matter if you are a non believer or a believer or a good person or a bad person. In Matthew, Jesus says…

for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. … Matthew 5:45b NKJV

So what gives? Why does God allow bad things to happen? Why does He allow some people to recover from terminal illnesses such as cancer while allowing others to die? In this post, we are going to take a look at possible answers. I say possible because only God ultimately knows why. A lot to cover here so let’s get started. Not only will we be looking at this passage in John but put a bookmark in Chapter 50 of Genesis as we will be looking at a few verses in that as well. For those of you that don’t know where that is, that is the first book in your Bible and the chapter right before the second book Exodus! LOL! Before we get started though, let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for continuing to allow us to live in a country where we can still read and study Your Word. Father, Your Word is unchanging no matter what Your opponents in our country might think. Father, we pray for justice for those who want to change or silence Your Word in our country! We want to take the time now also Father, to pray for the families suffering from brutal tragedies at the hands of senseless and heartless individuals. Banning guns are not the answer the only answer is for a nation who has abandoned You to turn back to You. Thoughts and prayers are not enough though. We need true repentance and firm action in America and rid the land of all of the paganism, idolatry, and immorality that runs rampant in it and the politicians who support it and even encourage it! But now Father, we want to put all distractions aside and turn our attention back to Your Word. Our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening in Jesus’s name we pray… Amen!

John 4

Let’s take a look at the passage in John’s Gospel that we will be covering here…

(43) Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee. (44) For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. (45) So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast. (46) So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. (47) When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. (48) Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” (49) The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!” (50) Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. (51) And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!” (52) Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” (53) So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household. (54) This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee. … John 4:43-54 NKJV

Now let’s take a closer look at this passage…

vv 43-45 – (43) Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee. (44) For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. (45) So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast.

This takes place right after Jesus’s meeting with the outcast Samaritan woman at the well. The Samaritans begged Jesus to come stay with them for a few days. A far cry from the reaction of His own people who wanted nothing more than to get rid of Him! After hanging out with the Samaritans for a couple of days, Jesus left and went to Galilee. Verse 44 can be confusing to some because the text says that Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. What Jesus said is found both in Matthew 13:57 and Mark 6:4. Jesus was from Galilee. In fact, Jesus was from Nazareth which is in Galilee. What the verse probably means is that He went to another city besides Nazareth. Anyway one is always welcome more in another place than the place they are actually from which is what John could have meant as well. Certainly this was the case with Jesus who was welcomed more by the Samaritans and others instead of by His own people!

Whatever part of Galilee it was, Jesus was welcomed by the people there. These people were Jews and they had gone down to Jerusalem to worship and had seen the mighty works that Jesus had done there. It is important to note that Jesus was not welcomed as the Son of God by these people though. It was more out of fascination and curiosity.

v 46 – (46) So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.

Now Jesus departs again heading this time back to Cana. This is the second time that the people of Cana are honored by a visit from Jesus. The first time was when He and His disciples and His mother attended a wedding and turned the water into wine at the feast after the wedding. A nobleman was there who had a sick son. The term nobleman is simply an official to a king. The only king at this time was Herod Antipas the son of Herod the Great who ordered the murder of all of the children who were two-years-old and younger in Bethlehem. Jesus brought the Gospel to first a Jewish teacher (John 3), an outcast Samaritan woman, and now an official to the Roman government. The Gospel is for everyone who wants it! 

The nobleman leaves his sick son behind in Capernaum to seek out Jesus in Cana which brings us to the first reason why bad things happen…it drives us to Christ! Look at verse 47…

v 47 – (47) When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.

The nobleman’s son wasn’t just sick. He was dying so the nobleman hears that Jesus is in Cana. No doubt he is already aware of the miracles and wonders that Jesus had been performing and probably thought to himself, “Man! If I could just get Him to come here and see my son! He can make him well again!”. The nobleman makes the trip to Cana, finds Jesus, and doesn’t just ask Him but more or less begs Him, implores Him to come back to Capernaum with him. It’s the Greek word erōtaō which basically means a begging request. If you have ever had a sick and dying child then you know how this nobleman felt. You will do anything to make your child well again! In times of desperation, when people have nowhere else to turn, people will turn to God. As the saying goes, “there are no atheists in foxholes”! However, this nobleman doesn’t believe in who Jesus actually is but rather in His power. What Jesus will do now is give this man a “faith lift”!

vv 48-49 – (48) Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” (49) The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”

Jesus’s response to this man’s request is surprising to some who read it. Kind of shatters the “gentle Jesus meek and mild, look upon this little child” viewpoint that a lot of us think Jesus as! It is quite possible that even this nobleman first thought to himself, “Boy this Jesus is a really rude guy!”. If you look throughout the Gospels though, Jesus says some surprising and even some downright insulting things! Remember the woman from Canaan who begs Jesus to heal her daughter from demon possession? Jesus tells her, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs”! Wow! Talk about rude and insulting, at least, that is the first reaction we have when we first read this until we read the woman’s response and realize what Jesus really meant by the statement, the fact that He was sent to save the nation of Israel who wanted nothing to do with Him for the most part so He turned to outsiders who exhibited faith in Him. What about the man at the pool of Bethesda in John Chapter 5 that we will be covering in the next post? Remember what Jesus said to him? “Do you want to be made well?”. Well, duh, I don’t know, I guess that’s why I’m here! LOL! There was a reason though why Jesus asks him this though, because He was trying to get the man to exercise his faith. And who can forget when Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees, “You hypocrites!” and, “brood of vipers”! So yes Jesus does say surprising things but there is a reason why and such is the case to this nobleman. 

Jesus’s statement isn’t really directed to the nobleman though because by this time, a crowd had gathered around. It’s really directed to the nation of Israel in general. Unless these people saw signs and wonders, they would never believe and the fact is that even after they saw the signs and wonders, they still refused to believe that Jesus was in fact, the promised Messiah! The same can be said about us. We are also looking for signs and miracles before we truly believe in Christ. Jesus wants our faith to be based on what He says though and not on what He does.

Notice how the nobleman addresses Jesus, Sir. The fact is that the nobleman was an official to King Herod and outranked Jesus but here, the nobleman puts himself under Jesus and giving Him authority over him! Do we do the same? Another reason why bad things happen to us is for our faith to strengthen in Christ looking at verse 50…

v 50 – (50) Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.

Faith is like a muscle. It must be exercised or else it will grow weak. The nobleman didn’t specifically have faith in Jesus of who He was but in His power. He wanted his son to be well again and he didn’t care about where that source came from. The nobleman wanted Jesus to come back with him but Jesus says, “Uh, Uh, you go!”. He wanted to see how deep this faith of this man really was whether it was superficial or a truly deep enriched faith.

There are three responses to our prayers to the Lord from Him…yes, no, and wait. We love it when the Lord responds with a yes to our prayers but what about when He says no or wait? Our response generally is. “He didn’t answer my prayer”. Uh, yes He did! “No” is an answer and so is “wait”. God answers prayers according to His purposes not ours! A good example of this can be found in the story of Joseph in Genesis. Go to that bookmark that I said to put in Genesis 50 in my opening. Joseph’s story is told in Chapters 37 and 39 thru 50, about a quarter of the book of Genesis is devoted to Joseph. I am going to do a study on him in the future because Joseph is an amazing parallel of Christ but his story in a nutshell is that Joseph’s brothers are jealous of him so he is sold to some traders. He is then sold to the Egyptians and becomes Potiphar’s helper but he’s thrown into prison being falsely accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife. In the prison, he interprets the dreams of two men, both of which come true, one is hanged and the other is restored back to Pharaoh’s service. Joseph tells the one who is freed, “Don’t forget about me!” but the man of course does. Then Pharaoh has a dream which no one can interpret, actually, two of them, and the guy who was freed has a light bulb come on his head and tells the Pharaoh, “Hey I know someone!”. Joseph is fetched out of prison, tells Pharaoh, “This is a sign from God. There’s a famine coming! You need to prepare for it!”, and Pharaoh figures who better to help him with this than Joseph, so he promotes him to be second in command. The famine comes and Jacob sends Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to buy food. When they arrive, Joseph recognizes them and throws them in jail accusing them of being spies. After “playing” around with them for a while, he reveals who he is to his brothers. Whew! Talk about his story being told in a nutshell! LOL!  By the time we get to Chapter 50, Joseph’s father and his brothers and their families are living in Goshen having being invited there by Pharaoh. Jacob then dies and the brothers become very paranoid again as we pick it up in verse 15 in Chapter 50…

(15) When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” (16) So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, (17) ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.” ‘ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. (18) Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” (19) Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? (20) But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. (21) Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. … Genesis 50:15-21 NKJV

What I want to focus on in this passage is verse 20. Genesis 50:20 is one of the most famous verses in The Bible. Genesis 50:20 is a companion verse to one that we all should know as well…Romans 8:28…

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. … Romans 8:28 NKJV

In all honesty, I can not believe that Joseph had this attitude the whole time he went through all of these hardships that he suffered. He was a man with human feelings, feelings that we all have. I’m sure there were sometimes that Joseph began to lose faith and wonder why God was not answering his prayers, or so he thought. The point is that he didn’t lose his faith. He basically said to himself, “I don’t understand this God but You must have a purpose for all of this so I’ll wait until you reveal that to me!”. By the time Joseph says what is in Genesis 50:20, he finally gets it! He is telling his brothers, “Yeah you did me wrong but if all of this didn’t happen to me, all of these far greater things wouldn’t have happened either!”. What’s the point and what does this have to do with this study on this passage in John? Simply this….be careful what you call bad because what we may consider is bad happening to us actually can be for the better for us! God is more interested in our spiritual growth rather than our physical comfort! Job realized this as well. Through all of the whining and crying after all of the hardships that he had suffered, he still had faith in God…

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

The point is that bad things will happen to us. It’s a part of life but don’t lose faith because of it and if you haven’t given your life to Christ, don’t use it as an excuse not to come to Christ! Let’s move on now and finish this passage and the chapter in John out…

vv 51-54 – (51) And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!” (52) Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” (53) So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household. (54) This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

When the text said that he went his way in verse 50, it doesn’t mean that the nobleman made a beeline out of there right away. Capernaum was about 20 miles from Cana, a day’s trip on foot back in those days, so what the nobleman actually did was went back to where he was staying in Cana, got a good nights sleep, and THEN set out for Capernaum. How do we know this? Because of what the servant says in verse 52 after telling the nobleman that his son was alive. Question…why did the nobleman wait so long to leave? I think I would have left right away myself. Could it have been a case of hesitation on the nobleman’s part in believing Jesus’s promise? I don’t think so. The nobleman left with a promise from the Lord…Your son lives. The nobleman said to himself, “You know what? I believe in that promise! I’m going to get a good night’s rest and then head out in the morning”. When the servant meets him as he heads back to Capernaum and tells him the exact same thing that Jesus told him,Your son lives!, it doesn’t surprise the nobleman one bit. What this does do is solidify the nobleman’s faith in Christ. When the text says that he himself believed, it was a much different form of belief than what the nobleman originally had and his whole household became followers of Christ as well! John ends the chapter saying that this was the second sign that Jesus performed in Galilee.

To close this out, we have spent a great deal of time in Chapter 4. So what are the takeaways from this chapter? Here they are…

* No one is too far gone for Jesus’s love

* Jesus wants true worshipers of Him not fakes

* Never stop praying because there is unbelievable power in prayer

Let’s pray…

Father,

As we close out this chapter, it is only fitting that we end it in prayer. Father we pray that Your unbelievable power would come upon us to become powerful worshipers of You. Lord we love You and we love Your Word and the lessons that we learn from it. Lord we pray that if there are people out there who are suffering from tragedies, tragedies that have kept them from coming to You, from having a true, meaningful relationship with You, that they would end that today and give their lives to You in the saving name of Christ we pray…Amen!

   

We are in John Chapter 4. For the last 3 posts, we have been looking at Jesus’s remarkable and life changing meeting with this woman at a well in Samaria. We will be taking a final look at this meeting in this post.

Most kids are fascinated with farming and farmers. I know I was. We all sang “Old MacDonald Had A Farm” when we were kids and some of you may even remember the “See It Say It” toys that pictured animals on it, most of them found on farms. It would point to an animal, a cow for example. You would pull the string and the toy would say, “The cow goes…” and then you would hear the sound of a cow mooing. It was a way to learn about animals when we were little.

Back in 1862, back when the federal government actually did things to benefit the people of this country instead of themselves, the Homestead Acts were enacted allowing people to own land and from this, farming was born. Farming used to be an important part of America’s economy but according to research, it only makes up 1% of our economy today. In 1935, when the amount of farms hit their peak, there were a little over 6 million farms in America but today just a little over 2 million. Hard times have hit farmers quite a bit because of government regulations and other things. Farmers will tell you though if you want to do it they give this description of it…long days, hard work, happy people. It’s a great way of living.

Evangelism, sharing our faith with others, can be described in the same way…long days, hard work, happy people. Sharing our faith with others can be compared with farming. We plant a seed when we share our faith with others, they in turn become followers of Jesus Christ and plant more seeds by telling others and the “crop” continues to grow and grow and grow! Evangelism is not easy work. It’s hard but the results can be extremely rewarding and personally satisfying. When you lead someone to faith in Jesus Christ, it is the most exhilarating and rewarding thing that you will ever do in your life! 

In this passage that we are about to look at, which wraps up Jesus’s meeting with this woman, Jesus uses the same terminology with His disciples comparing evangelism with farming. He talks about “fields” and “sowing” and “reaping” and “harvest”…all agricultural terms. The focus on this passage is no longer on the woman but what the woman does after her encounter with Jesus and on His disciples. Let’s get started and as always, the text link for the chapter and the audio are included so you can follow along but before we get started, let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word and bless this time we are spending in it. Father, as we wrap up this look into this story of a woman thirsty for something more than water, may we be encouraged and strengthened to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ yo those who desperately need to hear it! And now Lord, our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord, for your servants are listening in Jesus’s name we pray…Amen!

John 4

Let’s take a look at the passage that we will be covering in this post. Picking it up from verse 23…

(23) But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (24) God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (25) The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” (26) Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (27) And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” (28) The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, (29) “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (30) Then they went out of the city and came to Him. (31) In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” (32) But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” (33) Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” (34) Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. (35) Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! (36) And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. (37) For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ (38) I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” (39) And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” (40) So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. (41) And many more believed because of His own word. (42) Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” … John 4:23-42 NKJV

Some of this passage, I covered a few posts back so I will be summarizing certain parts of it and focusing on others. We covered verses 23 and 24 in the last post. Jesus is telling the woman about the way to properly worship clearing up some of the confusion she may have had but now, Jesus makes a remarkable confession to this woman which I want to take a quick look at before moving on.

vv 25-26 – (25) The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” (26) Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

There was a growing anticipation, even among the people of Samaria, of the coming of the mashiach, the Messiah. This woman was well aware of the Scriptures and was waiting for the arrival of the Messiah as well. Imagine the shock and joy this woman felt when she finds out that the person that she had been talking with was indeed the Messiah! While I was preparing for this post, something caught my attention about this passage that I hadn’t noticed before after reading and listening to John’s Gospel about a gazillion times. The woman at the well is the only person that Jesus reveals Himself as the Messiah to in the Gospels. For the most part, Jesus let people determine that for themselves but the woman at the well is the only one He says, “Yes, I am the Messiah”. He tells people throughout the Gospels that He is God (far more important) but only to this woman does He reveal Himself as the Messiah…the promised deliverer and savior of the Jewish nation. As Jesus is talking with this woman, His disciples return from their quest of, what else, food! LOL! They were always preoccupied with food! LOL! I picture a bunch of chubby teens running around with Jesus! LOL! I covered verse 27 a few posts back so we’ll move on to verse 28…

vv 28-30 – (28) The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, (29) “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (30) Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

Verse 28 describes what one does when they have truly been affected by an encounter with Jesus…the woman left her waterpot. In other words, she dropped what she was doing and ran to tell others. Why would this woman do this? Why would she leave behind her waterpot when the reason why she came to the well in the first place was to get water? Because what she found instead was so much better than the water she came to get…she had an encounter with the Savior of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ! Verse 28 also symbolizes leaving our old ways of life behind us when we have a true conversion to Christ. In 2 Corinthians, Paul tells us…

(17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. … 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

The next thing that this woman does after leaving the waterpot behind is that she goes back into the city and begins to tell others about Jesus. Again, when you have a true encounter with Jesus, you are not only changed forever but you can’t keep your mouth shut about it! One of the biggest questions that we ask ourselves is what is our purpose in life? What is our purpose while we are here for the short time that we are here on this earth? Very simple…preach Christ! It is not to seek riches, power, or fame. It is not to indulge in every pleasure and temptation that comes our way. We are to preach Jesus to others and glorify Him by leading our lives for Him not for ourselves. We may be blessed from time to time by the Lord but we use it for His glory not ours! Leading our lives for Christ and not for ourselves is really the best way to preach Christ to others. In 1 Peter, Peter says…

(11) Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, (12) having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. … 1 Peter 2:11-12 NKJV

Now the truth is we don’t know if this woman was truly converted or not from her meeting with Jesus because the Scriptures really don’t say, I think she was, but it is obvious that her meeting with Jesus affected this woman in a powerful way! What the woman told the people affected them as well because the people start heading out to see Jesus (verse 30).

vv 31-34 – (31) In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” (32) But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” (33) Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” (34) Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

The disciples concern for Jesus was not a false concern. They were truly concerned and worried about Jesus. It had been a long journey and they wanted Him to eat to regain His strength. Jesus was not only God but He was also a man and therefore had the same need for food and water as they did. However Jesus was focused on something way more important than food…He was focused on winning new worshipers of His Father! In verse 32, Jesus tells His disciples, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” Notice the emphasis on the words “I” and “you”. Why would Jesus say this to His disciples? To peak their interest. Remember when we were kids, we would say to another kid, “I know something that you don’t know!”? It was usually followed by…”Nah, nah, nah,nah, nah!” LOL! The response from the other kid was usually, “What? Tell me!”. It peaked their interest and they wanted to know more. The same thing here with what Jesus is telling His disciples minus the “Nah, nah, nah,nah, nah!” LOL! It peaked their interest but unfortunately what Jesus tells them goes, phew!, over their heads because they are still preoccupied with food. They start questioning amongst themselves if anyone had brought Him something to eat. At this point, I can picture our Lord shaking His head in disbelief and maybe even chuckling to Himself! LOL! He was trying to share something spiritual with them and all they could think about was food! So Jesus begins to clarify it more to them. His food was to do His Father’s work trying to save people from their sin, a work that would ultimately culminate by Jesus going to the cross, but for now, He was basically performing evangelism. The life application we can apply from this short passage is what are we interested in? Sadly, we Christians today are more interested in furthering our own kingdoms rather than furthering the Kingdom. We are more concerned about seeking pleasures in this world rather than seeking to save lost souls!  Moving on to verse 35…

vv 35-38 – (35) Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! (36) And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. (37) For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ (38) I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

Jesus now tells the disciples in verse 35 what was probably a well known proverb of the Jews. He was telling them though that the time to do God’s work was now not later. It is believed by many commentators that what is going on in verse 35 is that the people from the city were approaching Jesus and the disciples, probably dressed in white robes or some type of white clothing, and He was pointing to them and saying basically to the disciples, “Go get ’em boys!”.  Jesus talks about fields and reaping and sowing. These are all farming terms but He was also speaking to them in parables. What is Jesus talking about here in this passage? When Jesus talks about fields in the parables, He was talking about the world. The seeds that are sown is the Word of God in people and the harvest is the results of that. Basically, this passage is Jesus talking about evangelism. Evangelism is hard work and very little of the Christian population actually participates in it. In Matthew 9:37, Jesus says…

(37) Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.
(38) Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” … Matthew 9:37

Evangelism is hard work but the results are happy people on both sides of the coin and that is what Jesus is conveying to His disciples, and us, in verse 36. There is no greater joy in life than when you lead someone to accept Christ. I have sown many “seeds” myself since coming to Christ, mainly in this blog but I also share my faith with others on a daily basis. I only know of three though that I actually prayed with to receive Christ. That was during VBS a few years back when three of my kids stepped forward to do that. When that happened, someone could have laid a million dollars in front of me and it wouldn’t have mattered because all that mattered to me right then was those kids’ decision! We do have to be careful though not to take credit for the success we have in evangelism because it’s not us doing the work in the people…it is God. We are just the laborers. In 1 Corinthians, Paul says…

(6) I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. (7) So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. … 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 NKJV

We may not see immediate results from the labor but we keep on sowing the seeds because if we don’t see the results now, we will definitely see them in heaven! It is important to note that in verse 36, Jesus is not teaching salvation through evangelism as some misinterpret. What He is saying is that the fruit of it continues on into eternal life.

vv 39-42 – (39) And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” (40) So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. (41) And many more believed because of His own word. (42) Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

Many of the Samaritans came to faith in Christ that day just on the simple statement that the woman made to them…”He told me all that I ever did”. Sometimes that’s all it it takes, one statement, one comment, that is made by us to someone who doesn’t know the Lord to change someone’s life forever! One thing is for sure in this passage is that the Samaritans gave Jesus a better welcome than most of the Jews ever did. They urged Jesus to stick around and He did for a couple of days. Those that were not convinced by the woman’s testimony now were hearing Jesus’s own words and teachings and many more believed as well.

So there you have it. That wraps up this very long look into this story of the woman at the well. There are three important takeaways from this story. The first one is no one is too far gone to be saved by Christ. You hear it from people all the time as an excuse not to accept Christ. They say, “You don’t know what I’ve done. There’s no way that Jesus could love me and save me!” He does and He can! The second one is that Jesus is looking for authentic worshipers not fakes and the third one is that telling others about Jesus is important and it also proves that we are authentic worshipers. Too many of us are Christians only in name only. We are Christians on Sundays, maybe the occasional Wednesday, and on Christmas and Easter but the rest of the time, we are Peter by the fire saying “I don’t know Him!”. We don’t want people to even know we’re Christians! And then some of us are just spiritually fat. We keep taking in the Word of God but nothing comes out. So here’s a challenge…talk to just one person this week. Share your faith with one person this week. Tell them what Jesus has done for you in your life. Plant that seed. It may not take right away but someone else could come around and water that seed and it could grow and grow and who knows what the results of that seed that you planted could be! Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for this story of this woman at the well who, when she came looking for water, found something and someone more refreshing and more satisfying than water…she found Jesus! Lord, we pray that we will not forget the lessons that this story teaches that You are looking for true worshipers in spirit and truth and that it is important that we share our faith with others. More importantly, if anyone is reading this who doesn’t know You Lord, that they would be encouraged by this story and realize that there is nothing that could keep You from the love and salvation that You offer them and come to know You today! In the saving name of Christ we pray…Amen!

 

 

   

If you have your Bible handy, open it up to John, Chapter 4. This will be the first of two more posts regarding Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well who is simply referred to in Scripture as “The Woman at the Well” because we don’t know her name. It’s not important but her encounter with our Lord is very important. In this post, we are going to look at 5 verses briefly covered in the last post but these will be looked at in greater detail and then in the next post, we’ll finish out this remarkable, life changing encounter that this woman has with Jesus. 

Tell me if this has ever happened to you. It happens to most people at some point who work. It actually happened to me a few weeks back at my job. You are scheduled to work but something comes up. You may be sick or a family emergency or you simply just want to play “hooky”! LOL! By the way, the latter not being the case with me a few weeks back! Anyway, you make arrangements with a co-worker who isn’t scheduled to work that day or doesn’t mind working an extra shift, to cover you for the day. In my case, it was done through my boss who found someone to cover the shift that I had requested to be covered. You tell your co-worker who is covering for you, “Oh thank you and if you ever need me to cover for you sometime, just let me know!”. Then comes the time when you have to “pay the piper” so to speak, where your co-worker comes to you and expects you to honor your commitment! LOL! Doesn’t it always seem like it comes at a time when you have other plans that day or simply at a bad time?! LOL! So now you begin to find ways to back out of that commitment you made! By the way, in case you are wondering, I honored my commitment with my boss by working a few days later on a day that I was supposed to be off. Anyway, why am I bringing this up and what in the world does this have to do with this study? It has to do with not being authentic, not being truthful, deceitful. We’re saying something and making a promise that we really don’t mean to keep! 

Christians can be this way when it comes to worship. We know and recite Bible verses. oh we sing and raise up our hands and claim that we love Jesus but deep down, it’s just a ruse because we are more committed and rooted to things in this world! We are not being authentic or truthful. We are being deceitful. We claim to serve the kingdom of God but in reality, we serve to further our own kingdoms and this is what Jesus is calling out and we’ll also be looking at what worship is and what it isn’t in these verses that we will be looking at in this post. Only 5 verses but a lot of ground to cover so let’s get started. As always, the text link for the chapter and the audio are included so you can follow along but as always, before we get started, let’s pray…

Father, 

Thank You for Your Word and thank You for allowing us to be free to live in a country, or in countries, where we can read and study and meditate on Your Word. Father, as we open up Your Word and look at these four verses, help us learn and help clear up any confusion that we may have about what it truly means to worship You. We put away all distractions now Father and our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen!

John 4

Let’s take a look at the passage we’ll be studying in this post. We’ll be focusing on verses 19 through 24 but for context purposes, let’s go back up a few verses to verse 13…

(13) Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, (14) but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (15) The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” (16) Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” (17) The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ (18) for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” (19) The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. (20) Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” (21) Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. (22) You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. (23) But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (24) God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” … John 4:13-24 NKJV

We’ve already covered the fact that this Samaritan woman doesn’t have a clue to what Jesus is referring to when He talks to her about this water that will never make her thirst again. She thinks that Jesus is actually talking about actual water and she is basically telling Him, “Hey I’m thirsty! I want to know where I can find this water! Where’s the well? Show me where it is!”. So now Jesus turns the focus on this woman’s real issue…her sin. He tells her, “Go call your husband” and she replies, probably sarcastically, “I have no husband“. Jesus then replies to her, and I’m paraphrasing here, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband because you’ve had five of them! And to top it off, you’re living with a man right now that isn’t your husband!”. So now to verse 19…

vv 19-20 –  (19) The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. (20) Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

As I pointed out in the last post, the first thing we do when hit with something that convicts us is deflection. In other words, we try to change the subject. If I have a customer who is an unbeliever, they will do something, anything, to change the subject if I say anything or they hear anything remotely related to God or Jesus. Most of them will get on their cell phones and then I just drop the subject because there’s no use wasting time trying to share the Gospel with them further. Here with the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus, she is basically trying to do the same thing…trying to change the subject. She is using a deflection tactic because she has been hit with conviction but there’s something else that is going on here too. She’s beginning to realize that this person that she is talking to is not an ordinary man! She is thinking to herself, “He knows everything about me! How does He know these things? He must be a prophet!” and she tells Jesus so in verse 19. The woman may be trying to change the subject but in verse 20, there is probably some confusion that the woman has regarding worship. She makes the comment, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” In the last post, I outlined why the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans so I’m not going to rehash that again. The mountain that the woman is referring to is Mt Gerizim. There is some history regarding this mountain. As I pointed out, the Samaritans were half breeds and not considered true Hebrews. They interbreeded with outside races which brought idolatry and paganism into their worship system. When the Jews came back from captivity, they began rebuilding the wall and temple in Jerusalem and the people from Samaria wanted to help but were denied because of their perverted worship system. The Samaritans in retaliation tried to stop the building of the temple and the wall by first a letter and then an army. This retaliatory revolt was led by Sanballat. Turning to Nehemiah 4:2, we read…

But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. (2) And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish—stones that are burned?” … Nehemiah 4:1-2 NKJV

When intimidation didn’t work, the Samaritans said we don’t need your temple and built their own which happened to be on Mt Gerizim. It was built by Sanballat in case you didn’t know. The temple was destroyed around 129 BC by the Maccabean ruler John Hercanus. Mt Gerizim is the mountain where the blessings were shouted from in Deuteronomy 27  was also the mountain that the Samaritans believed to be the mountain that Abraham took his son Isaac to be sacrificed on which is told in Genesis 22 and not Mt Moriah. So at the time Jesus shows up in Samaria, this temple is gone but sacrifices were still made on Mt Gerizim and Passover was celebrated there as well and still is to this day actually. So this woman has some confusion. Where is the proper place to worship? Is it in Jerusalem or Mt Gerizim? Other reasons why she is confused is because of her sinful past and also her upbringing. These things can also shape our belief system. One last thing before moving on. When we are faced with something that makes us feel uncomfortable in our lives, the idea is not to run from it or change the subject. The idea is to confront it and deal with it! Moving on now…

vv 21-22 – (21) Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. (22) You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

Jesus tells the woman, and us here in verse 21, that the place of worship is not important. What is important is who we are worshiping. I grew up in a Catholic household and it was mandatory that we all went to church on Sundays. There was just no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It was like going to church was the way to make God happy and worship Him in my parents eyes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying don’t go to church. I believe everyone should go. Sometimes though, especially in this day and age in our society and culture, you can’t go because of work or other legitimate reasons. Going to church is not the only way to worship God. We can worship Him in our homes, in our schools, and on our jobs. We worship Him by the way we lead our every day lives. That’s the way to worship God! The building or location is not important…the Person is! In Acts 7, Stephen addressing the Jewish council says…

(48) “However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says: (49) ‘HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS MY FOOTSTOOL. WHAT HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME? SAYS THE LORD, OR WHAT IS THE PLACE OF MY REST? (50) HAS MY HAND NOT MADE ALL THESE THINGS?’ … Acts 7:48-50 NKJV

Paul reemphasizes this further in Acts 17 when he is addressing the Areopagus in Athens…

(24) God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. (25) Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. … Acts 17:24-25 NKJV

Tell me if this has ever happened to you. It’s happened in almost every church I’ve ever walked into. You walk in and scout out a good place to sit. You walk over and sit down and then someone shows up and gives you a look like, “That’s my seat that you’re sitting in!”. Sometimes, they will even say it! They say to you, “That’s the place where God speaks to me!”. Really?! If that’s the only place where God speaks to you, maybe you’re worshiping the wrong god! LOL! God speaks to me every day everywhere I go and in everything I do not just in church and the way He speaks to me, and all of us for that matter, is through His written Word…The Bible. God is not confined to a building, a seat, or a pilgrimage. In Jeremiah, it says…

“Am I a God near at hand,” says the LORD, “And not a God afar off? … Jeremiah 23:23 NKJV

The Samaritans had many paganistic systems of worship and Jesus is condemning this in verse 21. She was worshiping, and the rest of the Samaritans for that matter, what they didn’t know. Their worship of God was confusing, twisted, and perverted much like Christianity has turned into today with the numerous denominations and their doctrines. It is no wonder that so many people turn from Christ with all the do this and don’t do thats of legalism and the political correctness that has crept into the worship of God. The latter may be drawing people to Christ but for the wrong reasons and certainly not to the Christ of The Bible because not all roads lead to heaven! Jesus tells the woman, we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. What Jesus is telling the woman is that the Jews were chosen by God to be His messengers. A lot of people have this misconception of the phrase chosen people when referring to the Jews. If you think that the phrase chosen people means that God highly favors them, think again! Look at their history. It’s hardly favorable. What that phrase really means is that God would use the Jews and the Jewish nation to show the rest of us how He would judge the other nations and its people. Honor God and follow His commandments, they would be blessed. Don’t honor God and follow His commandments, they would face God’s wrath and harsh judgement. This is why Israel is the center of the world and no other nation because everything begins and ends there. It is also through the Jewish nation that the Messiah would emerge. Jesus eludes to this here as the passage continues…

vv 23-24 – (23) But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (24) God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Jesus now tells the woman in verse 23; but the hour is coming, and now is; that He is the fulfillment of the New Covenant. In Jeremiah, God tells Jeremiah…

(31) “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— (32) not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. (33) But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (34) No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” … Jeremiah 31:31-34 NKJV

The worship of God would no longer be confined to a temple with countless sacrifices of animals made by priests. Now true believers would be able to worship God  in spirit and truth. Because of the Jewish people rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, this covenant now applies to everyone who accepts Jesus and not just Jews. But this is conditional because we must worship in spirit and truth. What does this mean? It means with sincerity and from our hearts without deception. In other words, don’t fake it. There is a quote that I have heard and maybe you have heard it too. It was made by Gordon Dahl and he said…

“Most middle class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, and to play at their worship. 

For most Christians in America, Jesus is only given “face time” on Sundays for a couple of hours, on holidays such as Christmas and Easter, and maybe for a couple of hours on Wednesdays. The rest of the week and time is ours to do what we want to do and we don’t want to even hear the words Jesus or God! I find it absolutely amazing how Biblically illiterate most Christians are in our country given the advances in technology that we have today. There are smart phones, computers, i-phones, tablets, i-pads, i-pods, laptops etcetera, all of which people can download Bibles and commentaries onto them and read them in their spare time and hardly any of us do! I deal with thousands of customers a year on my job and some, actually most, claim to be believers of Jesus Christ but you would hardly know it by talking to some of them. They claim to be believers but when I dig a little deeper into spiritual matters while conversing with them, it becomes quite obvious that they really aren’t very well spiritually educated. They are more interested in the things of this world such as football games or basketball games and try to steer me onto those subjects (and find me quite an oddball when I tell them that I have next to no interest in those sports! LOL!), their work, or other worldly pursuits. Another thing with many believers is they have a much more different viewpoint of who Jesus Christ is! Here’s something I did a few years back when I first started working as a shoeshiner at the airport. The first company that I worked for, we were required to have some type of reading material at our stands so our customers could read something while we were shining their shoes or boots like a newspaper or magazine. Along with the newspaper (which hardly anyone ever picked up to read by the way), I had a copy of  The Bible sitting in plain view. I had the page bookmarked and the passage from Romans, Romans 10:9-10, highlighted in it. The idea was so customers, who may not be believers, would pick it up and read it. It was my way of evangelism. Anyway, I did this for quite sometime almost a year. Of all the so called believers, only one guy, just one out of all the people who were customers at my stand that claimed to be believers in Jesus Christ, only one actually picked up The Bible and read it! That told me something. It’s no wonder why Christians are swayed by every false doctrine that comes their way because they are not firmly grounded in the Word of God! I’m not saying that we have to spend every moment of our free time with our noses in a Bible but as believers, we need to set aside some time out of our day to spend time in God’s Word and prayer. If we did, then we would come to the realization that there is more to the Word of God than John 3:16! 

In the last part of verse 23, Jesus says for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. This is what God really wants…followers who worship in spirit and truth…authentic worshipers! I came upon this while reading a commentary on the Book of James from William MacDonald’s “Believer’s Bible Commentary”. In it, he writes…

“Any behavior inconsistent with the Christian faith is worthless. The story is told of a grocer who apparently was a pious fraud. He lived in an apartment above his store. Every morning he would call down to his assistant, “John!”
“Yes, sir.”
“Have you watered down the milk?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Have you colored the butter?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Have you put chicory in the coffee?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Very well. Come up for morning “devotions!”
James says that such religion is useless. What God is looking for is the practical type of godliness which takes a compassionate interest in others and keeps one’s own life clean.”—-William MacDonald —-Believer’s Bible Commentary

Some Scriptural examples to back this up in worshiping in spirit and truth, in Malachi 1:6-8…

(6) “A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ (7) “You offer defiled food on My altar, But say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the LORD is contemptible.’ (8) And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the LORD of hosts. … Malachi 1:6-8 NKJV

And continuing in Malachi 1:12-13…

(12) “But you profane it, In that you say, ‘The table of the LORD is defiled; And its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’ (13) You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ And you sneer at it,” Says the LORD of hosts. “And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; Thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?” Says the LORD. … Malachi 1:12-13 NKJV

In verse 24, Jesus tells the woman that, God is Spirit. This means again that God is not confined to a building or a certain place. He is everywhere and because He is everywhere, common sense should tell you that He knows everything which means, everything you do and why you do it! You can’t pull the wool over God’s eyes! In Galatians, Paul says…

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. … Galatians 6:7 NKJV

Jesus then wraps up the rest of verse 24 by re-emphasizing the end of verse 23 those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth

In closing, there are many confusing worship systems out there. The worship of Jesus Christ is not confusing though. There are only three things that you have to do and they are summed up this way…acknowledge, accept, and repent. Acknowledge that you are a sinner. Accept Jesus Christ into your heart and your life. Repent, turn, from your sin and your past life. That’s it! There’s no need to go through a bunch of rituals because Jesus Christ’s death on the cross cleared the way for us to come to God through Him but it must be true and sincere worship. God is seeking such to worship Him. God loves the adoration of His people. We have to ask ourselves is He receiving that from us? Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for the Word of God that does the work of God in the hearts of those of us who worship You in spirit and truth. 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. Bless us Lord, 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!

Happy Easter everyone and God bless you and your families!

   

In the last post, we looked at verses 1 thru 14 which was a brief look at Jesus’s encounter with this Samaritan woman who came looking for water and found so much more. In this post, we are going to look at another large passage but we will also be looking at some of  the verses covered in the last post but from a different angle and then in the next post, I’ll cover some of these other verses with a different viewpoint.

Here is an interesting fact that you may or may not know. Did you know that it is estimated that about 51% of the world’s population has tasted Coke, Coca-Cola? It is bought and sold in just about every country in the world. How is that possible? Simple, a very smart marketing campaign which I don’t think they even knew what the end results would be and how far its outreach would be. Remember this slogan, “Things go better with Coke”? Don’t know if they still use it but it worked. This means your neighbor has probably tasted Coke but does your neighbor know Christ? There’s a good chance that they don’t! So why is that? Because many Christians don’t have a “marketing” strategy or the one they have is a poor one or they simply don’t even bother to come up with one. Things may go better with Coke but they go really better with Christ and we have to somehow make that point clear to people that we come in contact with on a daily basis. There are millions of lost people in America, and also perhaps in the country you live in for those of you who are reading this that don’t live in America, who are searching for something more, some type of meaning and purpose in life, and it is our duty to tell people what that is…the Good News of Jesus Christ! If we don’t, then we are not showing people the love that we Christians claim to possess. Yes it’s true that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink but at least you lead them to the water!

In all fairness, the reason why many Christians don’t tell people about the Good News of Jesus Christ is that they are afraid to or they flat out just don’t know how to. In this passage that we will be looking at in this post, we get some tips from our Lord how to do this as He talks with this Samaritan woman. We have a lot of ground to cover here so let’s get started! Open your Bibles to John Chapter 4. If you don’t have one handy, as always the text link for the chapter and audio are included here for you to follow along. Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for this time again in Your Word. Bless this time Father and make it fulfilling. Thank You for the Word of God that does the work of God in the hearts of those who love and understand the power of it. Father, we pray that You would help do a work in all of us and help us all to reach out to others with the Good News of the Gospel. And now Lord, our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord, for your servants are listening in Jesus’s name we pray…Amen!

John 4

Let’s look at the passage for that we will be studying in this post. Starting back up in verse 10…

(10) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (11) The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? (12) Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” (13) Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, (14) but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (15) The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” (16) Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” (17) The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ (18) for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” (19) The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. (20) Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” (21) Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. (22) You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. (23) But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (24) God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (25) The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” (26) Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (27) And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” (28) The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, (29) “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (30) Then they went out of the city and came to Him. … John 4:10-30 NKJV

Like I said this is a large passage and I will be doing things a little bit differently with this. Instead of taking each verse one by one and going through it like I have been doing, this time, I will be looking at the entire passage as a whole and highlighting certain parts of it like I did with the study on Jeremiah.

Going out and telling the Good News of Jesus Christ is much like going fishing. You need a hook and bait to catch the fish. Then you cast your line into the water, the fish takes the bait and the hook and then you reel him in. I got to be perfectly honest with you, I hate fishing and here’s why. It’s rather humorous albeit very painful. When I was a kid, I lived in Baldwinsville, NY, for a few years, right by the beautiful Seneca River. In the spring and summer months, I would hang out at Mercer Park which was right on the river. One day my friend and I wanted to go fishing. He had a fishing pole but I didn’t have a fishing pole so being the brainiac I was at that age, about 11 or 12 years old, I decided to try to make one! I wasn’t alone in this endeavor because my friend helped me. Anyway, the first thing we did was to look for a strong, sturdy, and flexible stick. It had to be all three because we were after carp. If you know what they are, they are very large and heavy fish. We took the stick back to his place and into the garage. Being the brainiacs that we were instead of using fishing line, we used heavy string! LOL! My friend found a fishing hook and some sinkers in his dad’s tackle box and we proceeded to tie the hook to the string. After tying the hook to the string, again being the brainiac I was, I threw the stick with the string and the hook behind me over my shoulder and then threw the stick forward as though I was fishing and the hook caught me right in the middle of my back! OUCH! LOL! Luckily my friend was able to get it out while I howled in pain! Needless to say, never been fishing after that! Anyway, painful childhood memories aside, the way to lead others to Christ is much like fishing. In Matthew, we read…

(18) And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. (19) Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” … Matthew 4:18-19 NKJV

So first, we have to become true followers of Christ. Jesus says Follow Me and we can’t do that if we are more interested in following earthly pursuits. Then we pray that He will lead us to others that need Him.

Any fisherman will tell you that the most important thing to catch fish is bait. You can have the most expensive rod on the market but if you don’t have the bait, that rod is completely useless. Whether it’s live bait, like a worm, or an attractive lure, you need to attract the fish so they’ll take the bait and get hooked. In verse 10, Jesus “baits” the Samaritan woman. Looking at verse 10 again…

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” … John 4:10 NKJV

Even though what Jesus tells her goes completely over her head, as evidenced by the woman’s response in verses 11 and 12, her curiosity and interest has been piqued. She’s taken the “bait”! Now we can’t use or say something profound like this, but we can say other things to people when given the chance. Here’s an example. Let’s say you are in a grocery store and in the checkout line. In the checkout line, there are usually magazines or newspapers on the racks. There are bad headlines on them, a shooting as well as other tragedies, and someone in front of you remarks, “What is the world coming to?” and you respond to them with something like, “Seems to me like the world is right on schedule!”. That is going to elicit some type of response from that person and then you can proceed to share the Gospel with them.

You also can use other “bait” and do so without saying a word. For example, wearing Christian inspired t-shirts. I actually have one that says on the front of it, “Satan Sucks!” and on the back of it, “Jesus Saves!” with a red cross underneath symbolizing the blood that Jesus spilled for us all. It turns heads when I wear it, even Christians, and definitely a conversation starter. Another way to “bait” is through music. This is a favorite tool of mine to use. I play a lot of contemporary Christian worship music while I am working and I have a “captive” audience while shining passenger’s shoes and boots. Sometimes, I will even have messages playing from some of my favorite preachers such as Greg Laurie, Skip Heitzig, and others. Again, captive audience not going anywhere! That method worked for me and played a major role in being saved and I figure if it worked for me, maybe it will work for others. Besides, God’s Word can say way more than I ever could!

The most important way we as Christians can attract people to Jesus Christ though is through our actions. What we do, what we say, how we react to others, and how we react in certain situations tells others if we are true followers of Christ or not. In Luke, Jesus says…

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? … Luke 6:46 NKJV

Our actions as Christians can either attract people to the Gospel or turn them away from it. Not only are the day to day actions important but the ones that are the most important, and people take notice of the most, are our actions in times of adversity. It’s so easy to praise God in times of joy and blessings but what happens when we lose a job or a loved one suddenly dies, or that news from our doctor’s appointment isn’t good? It’s times like these that we are most under the scrutiny of unbelievers and how we react to those times is very important. If we continue to praise and worship the Lord, people are going to say to themselves, “What’s up with that? I want some of that!”.

The thing though is that we need to have a plan and put it into action when we have the opportunity to share the Gospel with others. In 1 Peter, Peter says…

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; … 1 Peter 3:15 NKJV

It has been said that no Christian should be content to go to heaven alone and yet, many of us seem to perfectly content to do so. Look at what Jesus says to the Samaritan woman in verse 14 again because there is a key point that we need to take notice of. …

but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” … John 4:14 NKJV

Jesus tells the woman that after she takes Him inside of her, she will become a fountain of water springing up. Jesus doesn’t tell the woman, “Now after you take Me inside of you, you will become a stagnant pond. Just go about your business now and don’t tell anyone that I talked with you!”. Unfortunately, if you are a King James reader, the word well is substituted for the word fountain but the idea is still there. To paraphrase this, Jesus is telling us that we are not to become a stagnant body of water always taking in but never giving out. Our faith should be an explosion that touches everyone in some way that we come in contact with!

We also have to confront people with Jesus in a positive way and not go “club fishing”, trying to beat the fish with a club. Going back to that example in the checkout line at the grocery store and that person who is looking at the bad news headlines on the newspapers and magazines on the racks and saying, “What is the world coming to?”, some Christians respond this way: “I’ll tell you what the world is coming to! The world is going to hell and so will you too if you don’t accept Jesus!”. That is what you call “club fishing”! That approach may work on some people but for the most part, it will repel most people to accepting Christ and cause resentment of people who do! Going back to that passage in 1 Peter, Peter tells us to always have an answer to others about our faith but we are to do it with meekness and fear. In other words, respectably. 

This doesn’t mean that we are to “sugar coat” the Gospel or ignore the real problem with all of us…sin. Looking at verses 16 through 18…

(16) Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” (17) The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ (18) for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” … John 4:16-18 NKJV

Jesus now shifts the conversation and focuses on the true issue in this woman’s life…her sin. In order for us to truly accept and be followers of Jesus Christ, we must acknowledge that we are sinners and we must come to Jesus with our sin in repentance. Only people who know they are truly lost can be saved. Jesus confronts this woman with her sin issue in a kind, non-threatening but honest manner. Jesus knew there was a reason why this woman chose this time of the day to come to that well to get water and that was probably to avoid the other woman in the village because she knew that she was living in sin. She probably had been searching for “Mr. Right” all of her life but was unable to find him and now she had found a man but figured, “I’ll just live with him. Why bother getting married! He’ll just leave me like the others!”. Jesus knew this was the problem in this woman’s life and He wanted her to acknowledge that. There is a passage in 1 Timothy that is another favorite passage of mine where Paul writes…

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. … 1 Timothy 1:15 NKJV

Not many Christians out there will list this verse as one of their favorites but my belief is that if we don’t believe this in our hearts, that we are chief sinners, then we are not truly saved!

The woman’s response to Jesus’s remarks are the same by anyone confronted with conviction…deflection! The woman quickly changes the subject by talking about worship in verses 19 and 20. Conviction is the real, true reason why people do not come to Christ! It is the reason why they say there are “contradictions” in The Bible. I know because I used to be this kind of person. When hit with a cutting personal truth in their lives, rather than swallowing their pride and acknowledge it, they will “cut and run” which is basically what this woman is doing here. I will be covering this portion of the passage in the next post but Jesus tells the woman that the place of worship is not important. What is important though is the authenticity of the worship…God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthIn other words, don’t fake it!

The last thing that I want to point out in this passage, and I’ll close this post with this, is that we have to guard against being selective when sharing the Gospel. Skipping down to verse 27…

(27) And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” … John 4:27 NKJV

What I believe is going on here, as well as most Bible commentators do, is that there is resentment in the disciples that Jesus is talking to this woman. She is not only a woman but she is also a Samaritan and the Jews just didn’t deal with them. The same thing is going on today in our culture. We Christians are being too selective on who we want in the kingdom of heaven with us and who we don’t. It’s so easy to share the Gospel with our friends and families and others that we like but how about with a person who is a homosexual? How about with a person who is white if you are black or if you are white, how about with a person who is black? How about with people who are different faiths like Muslims or Hindus? The list goes on and on. What about those people? The funny thing is that Jesus didn’t “hang out” with righteous people. He hung out with tax collectors, prostitutes, Samaritans etcetera etcetera. When confronted by the so called “righteous” Pharisees, Jesus said…

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” … Luke 5:32 NKJV

James talks about showing partiality in his letter. In James 2, James says…

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. (2) For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, (3) and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” (4) have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? … James 2:1-4 NKJV

Here’s something that I bet you didn’t know. I didn’t even know this until very recently. Mahatma Ghandi the famous Hindu scholar almost became a Christian. What stopped him? Christians! It seems that he became fascinated with the Gospel and Jesus Christ. He thought that Christianity was the answer to India’s caste system. He said that he was going to church one Sunday for instruction on Christianity and baptism and he was stopped at the door. He was refused a seat in that church and the person at the door said, “Go and worship with your own kind.” He left that church never to return to another church in his life. And he wrote in his autobiography, “Well then, if Christians have caste differences, I might as well remain a Hindu.” Because of one biased and prejudiced Christian, Mahatma Ghandi lost faith in Jesus and entry into God’s kingdom! How soon we forget that we were once in need of saving ourselves so when we come across others we don’t particularly care for, we become all righteous and selfish! The question that the disciples really should have been asking themselves was not why Jesus was talking to this Samaritan woman but why He was talking to them!

And that’s what we all, who are saved, should be asking ourselves. Why Lord? Why did you pick me to save? When coming upon someone who doesn’t know Jesus, who may have a different lifestyle than ours or a different race or religion than ours or may look different than we do, we need to be remember the first two lines of that famous hymn by John Newton…Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! Jesus saves all because Jesus loves all and He wants us to take that message to the rest of the world! So let’s do it! Let’s become “fishers of men”! Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for this time in Your Word. Lord, we thank You for showing us Your love through this story of this lost, sinful Samaritan woman and showing us that you love us, everyone, regardless of race, religion, lifestyle, no matter what we’ve done or said even though none of us are worthy or deserving of Your love. Help us Lord and give us the strength and courage to take this message to others who are lost and need to hear it! In the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen!