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!

   

John Chapter 4. I wanted to explain again, in case some of you are just joining this study, of why I chose this title for the study of John’s Gospel when this question appears nowhere in it. This is the question that Jesus asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” after He asks the disciples about who are people around saying that He is and this conversation appears in the other three Gospels but not in John. The reason why I chose this title is because people today, much like people back then, have really no clue to who Jesus Christ really is. This goes for believers and unbelievers alike. We think that He was a good teacher, or a prophet, or a good man, and someone we should mold our lives around but Jesus Christ was and is much more than that. Jesus Christ is God who came to earth in the form of a sinless man and John makes that abundantly clear in his Gospel. Also this is the question that we all will have to answer when we stand before Him one of these days. One of my favorite verses in The Bible, and I have several of them, comes from Philippians where Paul says…

(9) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, (10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, (11) and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. … Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV

The way that I view this is that you will be bowing one of two ways…either in fear because you don’t have a relationship with Christ or in respect and admiration because you do! So John’s Gospel gives the answer to the question who Jesus really is and that is why I chose this particular title for this study. So we’re in John Chapter 4 but before I get into this study, let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word and bless this time we are spending in it. Father, as we look into this story of a woman thirsty for something more than water, let its lessons stick with us and help us to understand more who Your Son Jesus Christ really is. Lord, we also pray that this will show some that no matter how low that they may have sunk in life, no matter what they may have done, that there is forgiveness and room for them in Your Kingdom as well.  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!

Are you satisfied? Before you answer, chances are you’re not. During this past Super Bowl, advertisers spent roughly 5.4 billion dollars on ads betting on that you aren’t. We live in a very materialistic, money hungry, and power hungry culture. Materialism begins at an incredibly earlier age now. I work in an airport and I see this every day! I saw a mother goofing around on her i-phone. She had her baby, maybe one or two months old, strapped onto her in front in one of those “papooses” that are so popular with mothers now. Anyway, as she was doing whatever she was doing on the i-phone, the baby’s eyes were fixed on the phone screen absolutely mesmerized! His (or her) eyes were glued to that phone screen! I also see babies in strollers looking at other babies being pushed in perhaps better strollers than the one they are in and you can tell by the look on their face that they would rather be in the other stroller! Some of these things are Cadillacs now! LOL! The point is, we start to feel unsatisfied at an early age, feeling we need more, and that feeling basically continues throughout life. We say to ourselves, “Gee if I could only have that car, then I’ll be truly happy and satisfied!” or “Gee if I could only buy that house, then I’ll be truly happy and satisfied!” or “Gee if I could only get a raise, then I’ll be truly happy and satisfied!” or “Gee if I could only marry that girl (or guy), then I’ll be truly happy and satisfied!” and so on and so on. The thing is that nothing in this world brings us to that point of true contentment. We are always looking for more! It’s really only when we truly accept Jesus Christ into our hearts and lives that we feel that satisfaction and happiness because we all need spiritual satisfaction.

In John Chapter 4, we are introduced to two such people, first, a woman looking for so much more than water, although our Lord needs to make her aware of that fact and then an official looking for a miraculous healing. The women at the well is a long story and it can’t be covered in one post but for this one, I’m going through the first 14 verses which basically introduces us to this woman and her encounter with Jesus and then in the next post, I’ll backtrack and cover portions of this passage to make other points so let’s get started and as always, the text link for the chapter and the audio are included for you to follow along or you can do it the “old fashioned way” and actually open a Bible! LOL!

John 4

Let’s look at the passage I’ll be covering in this post…

Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (2) (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), (3) He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. (4) But He needed to go through Samaria. (5) So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. (6) Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. (7) A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” (8) For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. (9) Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. (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.” … John 4:1-14 NKJV

In these verses, we are basically being introduced to this woman. She is nameless and the only things that we know about her is that she was from Samaria and she was an extremely troubled woman. She was a woman in the wrong place with a bad past. She came looking for a well of water and instead, found a fountain of grace. This is the longest conversation that Jesus has with anyone that is recorded in the Gospels. The first two verses have been covered in a previous post so no need to cover them here so let’s start in verse 3. …

vv 3-6 – (3) He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. (4) But He needed to go through Samaria. (5) So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. (6) Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

Jesus had been in the south, that was Judea, where He had met Nicodemus and now He goes north heading to Galilee but the text says that He needed to go through Samaria. Why? Because Jesus knew that people in Samaria needed to hear the Gospel too! To get to Samaria after leaving Jerusalem though, you have to head northwest and uphill to get to Galilee that way, not an easy trip especially on foot. Not to mention, that Jews avoided Samaria completely which I will cover why in just a bit. Very simply put, Jesus did this for the same reason that Jesus needed to go to Galilee in Chapter 1…for a divine reason to accomplish a divine purpose. In Chapter 1, Jesus needed to go to Galilee to meet Philip and Nathanael and here in Chapter 4, Jesus needed to go to Samaria to meet this unnamed woman at this well. Sychar is only mentioned here so it’s exact location is not really known but some believe it to be actually be Shechem because this is where the parcel of land that Jacob bought described in Genesis 33:18-19. Verse 6, shows the humanity of our Lord saying that He was wearied from His journey. Like I said, it was a long journey and all on foot and Jesus was tired and more than likely hungry and thirsty when He got there. John says that this was the sixth hour. Most commentators believe that John tells time in his Gospel by Roman time unlike all the other Gospel writers so this makes it probably around 6:00 in the evening or it could possibly be noon if you go by Hebrew time but really, the time doesn’t matter. It’s what happens next is what should be the focus and not the exact time.

vv 7-9 –  (7) A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” (8) For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. (9) Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

So about 6:00 pm (or noon whichever time you prefer), this Samaritan woman comes to the well where Jesus is sitting tired from the journey from Jerusalem. She is alone probably to avoid the other woman in the village because we will find out that this is a sinful woman. No doubt that this was probably a daily ritual for this woman but this time, she’s about to get much more than water! Jesus asks the woman for a drink. Was Jesus setting the woman up, looking for a response from her? Most definitely although He probably was thirsty as well since He was human. In verse 8, John mentions, For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. I did a post a year or so ago (could have been longer) where I stated my belief that the disciples were very young, probably teenagers, and used one of the reasons why because they were always preoccupied with food! Where to get it, how to get it, and how much to get! Grown men don’t generally have this preoccupation with food. Of course, in their defense, they were all probably hungry from the trip.

Back to this Samaritan woman though. When Jesus encounters this woman, she has been basically been beaten up by life. She has lost any hope of things in her life to get any better. I know the feeling myself because this is the way I felt when I had my “encounter” with Jesus. She also has some “skeletons in her closet” as well which we’ll see in a future post. The reason why I say this, that she’s a beaten woman, is because how the woman responds to Jesus’s request. You can hear the sarcasm in her voice, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?”. Can you imagine talking to Jesus, our Lord, that way? Of course she doesn’t know who she is talking to, the Lord of the universe and her Creator, but she soon will!

John gives a brief editorial at the end of verse 9 saying, For the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. There is a reason for this but to understand why, you have to know their history. They had a history for 700 or 800 years of doing worship the wrong way. It all started with Solomon. After his reign, we all know the kingdom split… two tribes, Judah and Benjamin formed Judah to the south controlled by Rehoboam and the other eleven tribes formed Israel to the north controlled by Jeroboam. Jeroboam had this idea that Jerusalem was too far for the people to worship at the temple so he set up two golden calves…one up in Dan the northern part of Israel and the other one right in the middle of Samaria. Because of this, God punishes the nation of Israel, which includes Samaria, by having the Assyrians invade the nation and take the people captive and take them to Assyria. This happens about 722 BC. What happens after the captivity, is that Samaria is repopulated with a mixture of people so now you have Jews and Gentiles (non-Jewish) people living in the country with their own gods and goddesses and their own worship system. You also have intermarriages happening as well. Does any of this sound familiar? Kind of describes America today doesn’t it? Anyway, these people become outcasts more or less. In fact after the Babylonian captivity when Nehemiah comes back to rebuild the temple and the wall in Jerusalem, the Samaritans wanted to help in the rebuilding process but are denied because they are not “true” Hebrews. This rivalry gets so bad, that the Samaritans set up their own temple in 330 BC on Mount Gerazim in Samaria. This is right in Sychar, where Jesus is talking to this woman. Like I said though that Jesus knew that people needed to hear the Gospel in Samaria so He chose the more direct route, albeit the hardest, instead of going the long way around and totally avoiding the area like most Jews did and John wants us to know that the people needed the Gospel in Samaria as well as the people in Judea. Moving on now. …

vv 10-14 – Jesus answered and said to her, (10) “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.”

Jesus now takes the conversation in a different direction. He goes from asking a simple request to a more spiritual level and meaning. Living water is not like water from a well. It’s not stagnant. It keeps flowing. There are many references to flowing or moving water in The Bible. In Psalm 42, David says…

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. (2) My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? … Psalms 42:1-2 NKJV

And also in Isaiah, the prophet says…

Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation. … Isaiah 12:3 NKJV

In the study of Jeremiah that I did here, it says…

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. … Jeremiah 2:13 NKJV

None of these passages are remembered by this woman and what Jesus says to her goes, phew!, right over her head very much like the conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus. To paraphrase what Jesus is telling this woman is, “If you knew who this is that is talking to you, you would ask Him to save you!”. She doesn’t get it though and thinks that Jesus is literally talking about water and wells. The sarcasm in the woman’s voice is still evident in verse 12 where she asks, “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?”. My first thought after reading this was, “Uh yeah! He’s God and Jacob is not!”. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus authority was always being challenged, putting mortal men above Him. The Pharisees and the Sadducees would always confront Jesus with things like, “Well Moses said blah blah blah now what do you say?”, as though Moses was above Jesus. Abraham was another one as well as in this example from John 8…

Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?” … John 8:53 NKJV

Actually, little has changed today. Mortal men, and women, are being put above our Lord in today’s world. People fall all over themselves to get a glimpse at the pope and care more about what he says than what Jesus says in The Bible. Mary, Jesus’s mother, is another mortal who is held in very high regard second to Jesus. She is prayed to and worshiped by millions all over the world. The Book of Revelation says it best. There are several times when John falls at the feet of angels and the angels tell him, “See that you do not do that! Worship God!” The only one worthy of listening to and worshiping is God! No one else! However in America today, we’ve taken all of this to a new level and have taken God completely out of the picture. America, for the most part, now believes and practices secular humanism where man is supreme and has no want or need for God. The result is that our country is steeped in immorality, idolatry, and violence. When we as human beings think that we know what’s best for us and take God completely out of the picture, it’s a recipe for disaster! In Jeremiah, in another favorite passage of mine, it says…

(9) “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (10) I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. … Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV

Bottom line, America is reaping what we are sowing! We like violence so much? We support paganism and idolatry? We triumph immorality? We don’t want God in our lives? God is just giving us what we want!

Back to the passage though. Jesus tells the woman, If only you knew. He is implying that she didn’t know. The woman is like Nicodemus. Remember when He told Nicodemus, “You must be born again!”. Remember his response? “How can a man be born again? Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time?” Phew! Right over his head! Same here with this woman. When it comes to spiritual matters, most people are the same way…phew! over their heads. Why? Because it’s foolishness to them! Paul says in 1 Corinthians…

(14) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. … 1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV

Believe in Jesus and have faith and trust in Him? That’s just pure stupidity! Science has all the answers! That’s what the majority of people think and believe. 

You can use verse 13 as a rebuttal for any earthly pursuit that you may have. “If only I had money!”. Drink of this water and you will thirst again! “If only I could marry that girl (or guy)!” Drink of this water and you will thirst again! “If only I could live in a nice house!” Drink of this water and you will thirst again! And so on and so on. No earthly pursuit will provide satisfaction, comfort, and true peace until you give your life to Jesus Christ! We live in a “if only” syndrome and we keep looking for things over and over again that we think will provide true satisfaction for us but we keep missing the mark until, we have a true, meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. Having Jesus Christ in your life though doesn’t mean you will then have a rosy, trouble free life, far from it actually, but you will be able to see things more clearly, make better decisions, and be able to handle life’s troubles a lot better than those who believe that man has all the answers to life. This has been my experience since coming to true faith in Jesus Christ. It hasn’t been an easy road but when obstacles come along, I don’t panic and get all depressed like I used to do. Hard to explain but true Christians feel a sense of inner peace and nothing that happens around them takes that away. I heard a great saying a month back. 2018 had just begun and I was listening to a message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. He said, “Pessimists stay awake and watch the new year come in to make sure the old year goes away. Optimists stay awake and welcome the new year in. Christians go to bed knowing that God is sovereign and has everything under control!” That’s the kind of peace that I am describing here. So pursue earthly pursuits and you’ll thirst again but drink in Jesus and you’ll never thirst again!

In closing, there are a lot of differences between Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman. He’s a man; she was a woman. He was a Jew; she was a Samaritan. He was a Pharisee; she had a rival religion. He was a politician; she had no status. He was a scholar; she was uneducated. He was highly moral; she was immoral, as we will find out next post. He was named; she was nameless. He came at night; she came at noon. He sought Jesus; Jesus sought her. Nicodemus proved that no one is too righteous to need Jesus and the Samaritan woman proved no one is too low to not be loved by Him. I work as a shoe shiner in an airport. My job is to lure customers in by playing on their vanity. That’s how I make my money. I watch passengers walking back and forth when it’s slow, eyes on the floor, looking at their footwear and seeing whether or not they need a shine if they are wearing shoes or boots. “Shoe shine! Shine ’em up!”, I yell out. A lot of guys will tell me, “I’m good!”, meaning, not interested. I tell them, “If you think that’s good, than you’re good but you know what, they could be so much better!” That’s the way it is with Jesus Christ in your life! Most people are going through life following one pursuit after another and saying to themselves, “I’m good!”, like those guys at the airport do, but you know what, you could be so much better! “Shine up” your life with Christ today! Let’s pray…

Father,

As I close out this post, that is my prayer that if anyone who is reading this and doesn’t have Your Son Jesus Christ in their lives, walking around thinking, “I’m good”, when they’re really not, that they would drink of that spiritual rock which is Jesus Christ and never thirst again! Father, bless our homes and our families. Thank You for all Your blessings and also the trials that we may go through. Strengthen us and guide us in the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

   

Skip’s Bible Study wrap up….

Posted February 3, 2018 By admin

So how did you do? Were you able to do the whole 30 day study? I have to admit that I started it with the greatest of intentions to stick with it but things came up what with my work schedule, catching up on my own Bible study here and other things, that I wasn’t able to complete it! LOL! I saved the emails so I have every intention to go through it again and actually do it! I hope that Skip was able to open the New Testament up to you in ways that you haven’t seen it before. Check out his other full teachings on the books of the Bible at his website!

admin

First of all, congratulations on completing the 30K 30-Day Challenge.

I hope and pray you have a greater grasp of Scripture and a deeper relationship with God because of it. Not only that, but I hope this challenge has ignited in you a love of the Bible that you’ll take into your everyday life.

So what’s the next step? Here are a few ideas of what you can do now:

1. Start a small group in your home and continue studying the Word with other believers.

2. Get your copy of my book The Bible from 30,000 Feet and the accompanying workbook, and go through them with a friend.

3. Go through the 30K 30-Day Challenge again with family or friends.

Investing yourself in the Word of God is the best thing you can do for your personal walk with the Lord. As God Himself said, “[My word] shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

Happy studying.

In His strong love,

Skip Heitzig


A final word from Skip…

If you want to stay connected to God’s Word and continue to learn His truths, I encourage you to:

You can also find much more at connectwithskip.com. I’d love for you to keep in touch.

May God bless you as you continue to study the rich truths of His Word.

In His strong love,


   

Revelation: Your Future Home

When the tribulation is finished, God’s wrath and judgment will be over, and Jesus Christ will return to the earth.

Revelation 19 describes this second coming of Jesus, the culmination of the gospel. After that will come the binding of Satan and the millennium, where Jesus will set up His kingdom on earth, ruling and reigning for 1,000 years. Then there will be one final uprising that will be quelled, the great white throne judgment of unbelievers, and, finally, the eternal state.

The eternal state is the end of the end, the ultimate phase. Heaven and earth will be destroyed, and new ones will take their place, with the capital city of New Jerusalem. Revelation 21-22 describes it: That which is ruined will be restored. The curse of sin will be removed, and there will be no more sorrow, tears, pain, or death. Most importantly, you’ll be with God forever.

I hope that surveying the New Testament, especially this last book, has not only whetted your appetite to the riches of God’s Word but also awakened you to the reality of your future home—eternity with the Lord.


Think It Through

Read Revelation 19:11-16. What will Jesus’ second coming be like?

Read Revelation 21-22. What about your eternal home most inspires and motivates you here on earth?

Reflect on the past thirty days. What have you learned about God’s Word? About the New Testament? What are the biggest lessons you’ll take with you into the future?


Listen and Learn

When the Antichrist is revealed during the Great Tribulation, at first, he will be seen as a peacemaker. But later he will set himself up to be worshiped. Find out more as Skip continues his short flight over Revelation.
Listen Now

Land and Explore

Forever is a long time, so it makes sense that you understand and prepare for it. To learn more about heaven and eternity, check out Pastor Skip’s series From the Edge of Eternity.
Listen Now

A Word of Encouragement

Revelation has a special blessing for its readers: “Blessed [or happy] is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (Revelation 22:7). How do you keep the book of Revelation? By choosing to live in the light of eternity, rather than the temporal world. And what’s the blessing? In seeing Jesus clearly, and in reading the end of the story and knowing He wins.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the last thirty days I’ve spent in the New Testament, and thank You that I know how the story ends. I pray by Your grace that I would continue to immerse myself in Your Word, and that by so doing I would continually choose to live not for this world, but for eternity.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Stay connected to Pastor Skip and God’s Word through teaching series, books, devotionals, and more at connectwithskip.com.
Visit Skip’s Website

   

Revelation: What’s in Store

Written by the apostle John, Revelation is a book of prophecy that describes what will happen in the end times. But Revelation isn’t just meant to be a bunch of revelations about the future; it’s mainly the revelation of one particular person: Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:19 gives us the outline of the book: “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” The vision of Jesus that John had in chapter 1 is “the things which you have seen.” “The things which are” refers to John writing to seven real-life churches in chapters 2-3. And then “the things which will take place after this” is chapters 4-22.

More specifically, Revelation 6-18 and part of 19 describes the tribulation period on the earth, when, after the rapture, God will judge a Christ-rejecting world through three sets of intense judgments: seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. At the end of the tribulation, which will be the worst period of history mankind has ever seen, Jesus will return.


Think It Through

Read Isaiah 2:12; 13:6-9; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1; Joel 1:15; 2:1-11; Zephaniah 1:15; Matthew 24:21-22; and 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3. What are some of the characteristics of the tribulation, also called the day of the Lord?

To what does Revelation 12:1-5 refer? Compare and contrast it to the prophecy concerning Jesus in Genesis 3:15.

Jesus Christ is not just the main subject of Revelation, but of the whole Bible. How does Revelation 13:8 reveal this truth?


Listen and Learn

In Revelation, Jesus addressed seven churches about their works, both good and bad. In a quick flight over this book, Skip shows us there are historical and timeless applications for Jesus’ statements.
Listen Now

Land and Explore

If you’re interested in learning more about the book of Revelation, download Pastor Skip’s free fourteen-message series about the end times called What’s Next?
Listen Now

A Word of Encouragement

The word revelation means to take the veil off or to make something clear, and this is the idea I want you to get in your mind about this book. A lot of people think Revelation is shrouded in mystery and hard to understand. But it’s not—it’s meant to clearly reveal Jesus as the glorified Judge of all the earth and the coming King.

Prayer

Father, thank You for the revelation of Jesus Christ as revealed in this book. Thank You that even though this world is only going to get worse, eventually it will all lead to Jesus returning to this earth. Help me to keep my eyes on You in the meantime.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Check out Israel: Learning from the Land, a documentary about Israel’s history and role in the end times that also features on-site teachings from Pastor Skip.
Get Your Copy

   

If you go into just anybody’s home, you will likely see pictures in frames hanging on the walls. The pictures you see are likely members of the family or landscapes or maybe even religious pictures. Most people still rely on a trusty nail to hold their pictures on the wall. Why? Because a nail won’t break and will hold up the picture frames securely in place. If you use something else like a thumbtack or tape, chances are it won’t hold and the picture frame will fall. Jesus Christ is the nail that holds everything in place and without that nail, everything falls apart as evidence to what is happening in America today.

In this last passage that closes out Chapter 3 of John’s Gospel, John, the disciple (or John The Baptist depending on whose viewpoint you want to take), makes this point abundantly clear and that is that Jesus Christ is the nail that holds everything in place and that He is the nail that we need to rely on. Turn in your Bibles to John Chapter 3 and verses 31 to 36. As always, I’ve included the text link and audio for the chapter so you can follow along but before we get started, let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word that brings truth and light into our lives for those of us willing to receive it. As we look at these last six verses in Chapter 3 of John, Father let this truth sink in that Jesus Christ is the nail that holds everything in place and that He is the only one that we need to rely on and nobody or nothing else but Him. 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 3

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

(31) He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. (32) And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. (33) He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. (34) For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. (35) The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. (36) He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” … John 3:31-36 NKJV

There is a difference of opinion on who is speaking here. Most believe that John The Baptist is continuing his thoughts from verses 27 to 30. However, some people believe that John The Baptist words end after verse 30 and this is now John the disciple and the writer of this Gospel’s words and he is sort of giving an editorial here in verses 31 thru 36. I believe this is the case as well and here’s why. The reason why many people, including most Bible commentators, believe this is still John The Baptist speaking is because of where the quotation marks begin and end. They begin in verse 27 and end in verse 36 leading one to believe that these are still John The Baptist’s words. However, the original text found in the King James Version has no punctuation so that leads some to believe that after verse 30, John The Baptist is done speaking. Also if you take a closer look at this passage, it looks and sounds very similar to John the disciple’s other writings. Compare the above passage to this passage from 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

The styles are very similar. One last point to make about this before moving on. When you make a profound statement like John The Baptist does in verse 30, “He must increase but I must decrease”, you don’t need to add anything further to it. You’re pretty much done saying else. Therefore, this is why I believe that this is John the disciple’s comments here and not John The Baptist’s. This is John the disciple explaining why John The Baptist is saying that Jesus must increase and he must decrease and why we need to trust and rely on Jesus and Him only. Let’s take a closer look at this passage now. …

v 31 – (31) He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

John speaks of why Jesus Christ is supreme and why He is so unique in verses 31 thru 36. First here, John speaks of Christ’s origin…heaven. No one in The Bible, not Moses or any of the prophets, or anyone else on earth can claim that they came from heaven. The only one that can make that claim is Jesus Christ because He is from heaven. Jesus is God in a human body. Going back to John 1:1, it says…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … John 1:1 NKJV

And then way down in verse 14 in the same chapter…

(14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. … John 1:14 NKJV

Can’t make it any more clearer than that! One thing you will find out in John’s Gospel is that John doesn’t give a bunch of cool stories about Jesus and then makes his point. Nope, he gets to the point right away! He says, “Look Jesus is God and here’s why!”.

Jesus Himself says that His origin is from heaven. In John 6:32, Jesus says…

(32) Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. … John 6:32 NKJV

And continuing further down in John 6, we have these words from Jesus…

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. … John 6:38 NKJV

Let’s stop for a moment. Another reason about the uniqueness of Jesus Christ was that He was the only one born with the distinct purpose to die. Jesus Christ didn’t come to tell a bunch of cool stories or to make people feel good about themselves. He came to save people from their sins and the way He would do that is to suffer a brutal death by being nailed to a cross. When John The Baptist points Jesus out. he says, “Look! The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”. A lamb was a sacrificial animal sacrificed in the temple for the forgiveness of sins. Basically, Jesus’s mother Mary “had a little lamb”! He who comes from above is above all , this statement that John makes points out the supremacy of Jesus. In other words, John is saying, “The buck stops here!”. There is no one higher than Him! Not Moses nor the prophets…no one! This is evidenced by the next comment that he makes…he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. Let’s move on. …

vv 32-33 – (32) And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. (33) He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.

The next thing that John points out about why Jesus is unique is what He proclaimed to our world. Look at the first part of verse 32…And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies. His testimony came from heaven, in other words, John is telling us that He was there! He saw it all! Everything you read in The Bible, Jesus knows firsthand because He was there from the very beginning! Remember how the Pharisees and the Sadducees would try to trip up Jesus with things from the Scriptures? Take divorce for example. They told Jesus that Moses had permitted it but take a look at what Jesus told them…

He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. … Matthew 19:8 NKJV

Perhaps the statement that best illustrates the point that Jesus was there from the beginning and therefore, spoke with authority, can be found in John 8. Again in this chapter, the Pharisees are arguing with Jesus about who He really is and check out what Jesus tells them…

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” … John 8:58 NKJV

This statement right here points out to us that Jesus IS God! People say, “Well Jesus never said He was God!”. Oh really? What about this verse? The statement, I AM, was what God told Moses to tell the people if they asked who sent him. I will delve into this verse further when we get to Chapter 8 in this study but I have to tell you after mulling this verse over for some time after truly reading it, I came to the conclusion, as you should as well, that Jesus is God in human flesh!

The next part of verse 32, and no one receives His testimony, is (what I believe to be) a statement of possible sarcasm or frustration from John. It’s a statement that shows what I believe is unbelief and bewilderment from John about why people were so unreceptive to Jesus. It was like John was saying, “What is it going to take for you to realize that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God!”. The statement that no one received Jesus’s testimony is not exactly correct though because verse 33 says…He who has received His testimony. This must mean that some people did. This is true because in Chapter 4, we will be looking at one who did…the woman at the well. Others did as well but for the most part, most people did not. A lot of people are like the Christians today in our country. They hung around Jesus because He did a lot of cool stuff and said a lot of cool things but when He probed deeper into the hearts of the people or when the going got tough, they bailed! 

Verses 32 and 33 were true back then and they still are today. Some people will accept Jesus but for the most part, people don’t want anything to do with Him! The main reason why is explained in verse 33…He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. God is truth and the world can’t stand it! Their excuse is and you hear this all the time…”I just can’t believe in The Bible because it has so many contradictions!”. Here’s a fact for those people though…THE BIBLE HAS NO CONTRADICTIONS! What it does though is contradict people’s way of life and they can’t handle that! The Bible exposes the truth on how people lead their lives. It exposes the sinful nature that is in all of us and we can’t stand it! There’s a story in the Book of Acts of Stephen, a disciple of Jesus, addressing the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council, and he is going through the history of the Jewish people up to that point and how they were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus. He ends his speech with this statement…”You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit as did your fathers, so do you!”. What happens? Did they walked up to him, slap him on the back, shake his hand and say, “Right on brother!”? No, the text says that they were cut to the heart and they gnashed their teeth at him and then they stoned him! The Scriptures produce conviction in people and that is what they can’t handle! Let’s move on. …

vv 34-35 – (34) For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. (35) The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.

Jesus was not a man which the Holy Spirit was given to. He had a full, unrestricted flow of the Holy Spirit. Jesus wasn’t a vessel of the wisdom of God…He was a fountain! The prophets were given the Holy Spirit by measure. They had certain degrees of Him but Jesus had the Spirit without measure. The prophets were messengers who brought “letters from heaven” so to speak but Jesus was an ambassador. He spoke as no other prophet did although He was mistaken to be a prophet by some of the people. All fullness of the Godhead was in Jesus. He spoke as no one on earth had or ever will!

In verse 35, is the first of seven times that John will use the phrase, The Father loves the Son, in his Gospel. Jesus shared a unique relationship with God that no one else could. Whereas the prophets were just merely servants of God, Jesus is God’s Son and God took delight in Him as we see in these two examples in the Scriptures…

Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, … Proverbs 8:30 NKJV

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

Even through the humiliation of the torture and the crucifixion which Jesus suffered because of the sins of mankind, The Father still loved the Son.

The rest of verse 35 speaks of Jesus’s dominion. The Father not only loves the Son but The Father has also given everything into His hand.  This also ties into verse 31…He who comes from heaven is above all. What this means is that Jesus is Lord of all…Lord over everyone and everything! He owns it all! He owns it all because He made it all. He sustains and maintains the universe. In Hebrews 1, the writer says…

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, (2) has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; … Hebrews 1:1-2 NKJV

And in Colossians 1:17, Paul says…

And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. … Colossians 1:17 NKJV

Because The Father has given everything into His hands which makes Jesus Lord of all, that means you belong to Him as well! You belong to Him whether you are believer in Christ or not. He owns you and controls you. Everything we have belongs to Him…our possessions, our families, our finances etc. We are just stewards of what the Lord blesses us with in life. You’ve heard of this saying, I’m sure, “God is my co-pilot”. You will see this on bumper stickers on people’s cars. Really? Do you really think that you are in control and God is just “along for the ride” giving you guidance here and there? BZZZ! Wrong! He is not your co-pilot…He is the pilot! As a matter of a fact, you aren’t even in the cockpit! LOL! One last thing about Jesus’s dominion. Because He made it all, He has the right and the authority to end it all! We see this in Revelation 5 which in part says…

And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, … Revelation 5:9 NKJV

Because Jesus has the right and the authority to end it all, John makes a point and gives a warning to close out the chapter in verse 36…

v 36 – (36) He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

This last point that John makes is that Jesus determines our destiny. His reception by us will determine what happens to us. This verse, more or less, is John emphasizing what Jesus said back up in verse 18. There are many types of people in this world…black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, Arabic etc. There are many types of religions in the world…Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam etc. There are those who don’t believe in any religion as well. However, with all the different types of people, religions, and cultures that are in the world, John makes this point…there are only two types. There are those who believe in Jesus and those who do not. Those who do will have everlasting life. Those who do not will not have everlasting life and John says the wrath of God abides on him. You see, we live in a culture that says that all you have to do is do good and you’ll be a good person. That’s not what The Bible says though. The Bible says that we were born dead in sin. In Ephesians, Paul says that we were dead in trespasses and sin.

Notice that John uses present terms in this verse. He who believes in The Son has everlasting life. John doesn’t say “will have everlasting life”. No, he says has everlasting life. That means once you truly accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have everlasting life! It’s a done deal! However if you don’t, John says that the wrath of God abides on him. That word abides is also present term. Translated it means that the wrath of God remains on those who do not believe and accept Jesus Christ unless they change that decision. 

As we read this verse, we should realize that this is really God and not John speaking. So if God is speaking through His Son, why aren’t people listening? From this verse we learn that our eternal destiny depends on what we do with the Son of God. If we receive Him, God gives us eternal life as a free gift. If we reject Him, we will never enjoy everlasting life, and not only so, but God’s wrath already hangs over us, ready to fall at any moment. Notice that there is nothing in this verse about keeping the law, obeying the Golden Rule, going to church, doing the best we can, or working our way to heaven.

In closing, John is saying in this passage that we have been looking at that there is no use putting your energy and effort into anything or anyone else other than this one “nail” which is Jesus Christ. The fact is that this world, and America in particular, is populated by a whole lot of “dead” people…”dead man walking” so to speak. This not only applies to unbelievers but also to supposed believers in Christ as well! These are the “believers” that the Lord will say to them…”I never knew you! Depart from Me you who practice lawlessness!”. Doesn’t have to be this way though. This is what the rescue of Jesus Christ is all about! It is God’s grace in forgiving us if we put our trust and rely on His Son. After all, God put all His eggs in a basket by allowing and relying on His Son to hang on a cross to save us all. Now, shouldn’t we accept that free gift of forgiveness by accepting and trusting in and relying on Jesus? Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for allowing Your Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross to forgive us all, those who are willing to accept Him. Thank You for showing us through John why Jesus Christ is so unique and so supreme and why He is the “nail” that will never break. So unique because He came from heaven; so unique because He spoke like no else ever had or ever will and so supreme because He made and controls everything. Lord, we pray that You would help us to rely and trust on You more and more each day, our reception of You, and that if there are those who haven’t done that, haven’t put their trust in that “nail” that will never break, that they will do so today…right now! Thank You Lord for all the blessings and yes all the tribulations as well that help us to become stronger believers in relying on You in the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

   

2 and 3 John and Jude: The Believer’s Expression of Love

The book of 2 John is one of the most neglected books in the Bible. In it, John warned of the danger of compromising truth in the name of love, which the church had done by being hospitable to itinerant false teachers. He instead instructed that love and hospitality must be regulated by the truth.

While 2 John says don’t show hospitality to false teachers, the tiny book of 3 John says do show hospitality to true, faithful teachers. In other words, if you really love the truth, then you’ll love and accept anyone who stands up for it.

The book of Jude is essentially a warning to the church to fight the right war: against false teachers but for the truth, building up the faith.

To sum it up, these three little letters tell you how to express your love: 2 John warns you to be careful showing love and hospitality to false teachers, 3 John instructs you to show love and hospitality to faithful teachers, and Jude says you should lovingly warn everyone when it comes to the truths of the gospel.


Think It Through

How can you tell a false teacher from a faithful one, according to 2 John 1:7, 9-11?

What example of love, truth, and hospitality did the believer Gaius set in 3 John 1:3-8?

Read Jude 1:3. How can you contend for the faith without being contentious (see Ephesians 4:15; 1 Peter 3:15)?

List the characteristics of true love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Which one(s) have to do with truth? How can you balance love and truth in your life?


Listen and Learn

The little book of 2 John is one of the most neglected in the New Testament. In this message, Skip shows us how John warned believers to guard against false teachers, specifically those who say that Jesus didn’t come in the flesh.
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Land and Explore

Want to learn what it means to contend for the faith and confront false teaching? Download this free teaching series from Pastor Skip called Jude: Acts of the Apostates.
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A Word of Encouragement

Christian love has been greatly misunderstood. Unbelievers tend to think it means tolerating anyone and anything. But if your love has no boundaries based in truth, then it isn’t really love. True love requires that you love the truth.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for 2 John, 3 John, and Jude. Since You said that Your Word will not return void but will accomplish the purpose that You’ve sent it for, I pray that having been exposed to it I indeed would be changed by it. Help me to balance love and truth in my interactions with other people, whether believers or unbelievers.

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Today’s Resource

Did you know some of Pastor Skip’s teaching series are available as audiobooks on Audible? Check them out today.
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