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One of the hardest subjects that people have to confront, is the subject of death. I had to recently confront that last year when my mom died on March 13th. It was probably for the best though. She had had a stroke back in 2009 and had been suffering for ten years or so. I knew she couldn’t have been happy in that condition. I’m sure she’s ecstatic though now because she is truly back home now! That said, her death was very difficult, and still continues to be sometimes, for me because I had to wrestle with a lot of feelings because we didn’t have the greatest of relationships.

Prior to her death though, I had confronted death a few times. Actually, 5 or 6 times! Before you get the wrong idea and call “America’s Most Wanted”, let me explain! LOL! The first time was when my roommate in the Army died in a car accident in Germany. Then there was the time my best friend committed suicide which was very troubling for me. Then perhaps one of the most strangest was when my roommate died in his sleep when I was staying at a homeless shelter in California. Woke up the next morning and found him dead apparently, they say, from an overdose. Then I ran across my co-worker dead in the back office after drinking himself to death. I have accidentally stumbled upon two other dead bodies as well. One had apparently been shot and the other was dead in his car probably from a heart attack. I was beginning to think I was the Grim Reaper! LOL!

Seriously though, people die differently. They not only die differently physically but also mentally, that is with different attitudes, and a lot of it depends on whether someone is a believer or not. Voltaire, one of history’s best known atheists, often stated that “by the time I’m buried, the Bible will be non-existent.” His last words were: “I am abandoned by God and man; I shall die and go to hell alone.” Contrast this with Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a believer and beloved preacher and author, on his deathbed: “I can hear them coming!” He sat straight up in bed and asked: “Don’t you hear them? This is my coronation day. I can see the chariots, I’m ready to board.” Thomas Paine, one of America’s great patriots, in his book: “The Age Of Reason” ridiculed the Christian religion. He slowly lost his friends. He left America and while in England came to a premature death. On his deathbed he said to a friend “I would give worlds if I had them, if the ‘Age of Reason’ had never been published. Oh Lord help me. Christ help me. You stay with me. It is hell to be left alone. If ever the devil had an agent, I have been that one”. George Washington, a believer, said before he died, “Doctor I am dying but I am not afraid to die” and then added, “It is well”. Michelangelo said, “I die in the faith of Jesus Christ and in the firm hope of a better life”. Contrast this with Sir Francis Newport, Newport cigarettes are named after him, an obvious unbeliever who said when he died, “Oh eternity! Oh eternity! Oh the insufferable pains of hell forever, forever!”. Get the picture? People with a relationship with Jesus Christ are generally not afraid to die and sometimes even welcome it whereas unbelievers tend to die bitter, full of regrets, and fear of what lies in store for them.

There are best ways to die and worst ways to die and in this passage that we are going to look at as we continue in Chapter 8 of John’s Gospel, Jesus spells this out clearly to the people in the crowd that He is addressing and to us as well. A lot of ground to cover and this time, we will be looking at the passage verse by verse instead of just looking at one or two and generalizing the rest like in the last post so let’s get started! 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 this time in Your Word again. Bless this time and make it fruitful. We put away all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening in Jesus’ name…Amen!

John 8

Let’s look at the passage for this post…

(21) Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.” (22) So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?” (23) And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. (24) Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (25) Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. (26) I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” (27) They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. (28) Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. (29) And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” (30) As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. … John 8:21-30 NKJV

So far in John’s Gospel if you have been paying attention, John has been telling us that we fall into an “either/or” category. You’re either this way or that way. You’re either born again and entering the kingdom of heaven or you’re not born again and not entering the kingdom of heaven. You’re either going to be in the resurrection of life or the resurrection of damnation. You’re thirst is quenched with living water or you’re dying of thirst and here in Chapter 8, you’re either in the light or you’re in darkness. This passage continues Jesus’ “I am the light of the world” discourse, the beginning of which we looked at in the previous post. Jesus is addressing a group of Pharisees and a crowd of people going back and forth in the temple area paying their temple tax. Jesus had just saved a woman from being stoned to death and now He is addressing a group of “holdovers” telling them, in a cryptic way, the worst ways to die and the best ways to die. We’ll look at the worst ways to die first. The first one is in sin looking at verses 21 & 24…

vv 21 & 24 – (21) Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.” (24) Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Notice that Jesus uses the word sin in its singular form in verse 21 and then in verse 24, He uses it in its plural form sins. In verse 21, Jesus is talking about our nature. We are sinners by birth. We are born in sin. In verse 24, Jesus is talking about the expression of that nature. A dog barks and pants because that’s its nature. That’s what they do. It’s an expression of that nature. I can do the same thing, and trust me, I have a lot of fun with this on my job with dogs sometimes at the airport, but it doesn’t make me a dog! LOL! Same thing with people. We commit sins because we are sinners. It’s an expression of our nature. How did we become that way? Thank Adam and Eve for that. When Eve took that fruit off the forbidden tree and took a bite out of it and then gave it to Adam and he took a bite out of it as well, we became “dead on arrival”. They doomed all of mankind from then on. We are their descendants. Paul gives a great explanation in Romans Chapter 5. He says…

(12) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— … Romans 5:12 NKJV

Here’s a practical explanation and I have done this many times. Picture yourself on the shores of a beautiful lake or pond. There is no wind and the water is completely still almost looks like a giant mirror. Who hasn’t been seized with the temptation of picking up a rock and skipping it across the water?! LOL! Someone has to do it! Might as well be you! LOL! Anyway, so you pick up that rock and skip it across the water. Now what was once a beautiful, serene, mirror-like image becomes marred as tiny waves form and spread out. It was the same way when Adam and Eve sinned against God. They marred God’s image within mankind.

So what is the solution to spiritual death? A spiritual birth! To be born again! Jesus says that unless we are born again, we will not see God’s kingdom. The way we become born again, is to accept God’s solution to the sin problem…Jesus Christ. In fact that is what The Bible is truly all about…the fall of mankind and God’s plan to fix it and Satan’s attempts to thwart that plan! So that’s one of the worst ways to die…dying of sins unrepented and unatoned for. The second worst way to die is in self righteousness. Look at verse 22…

v 22 – (22) So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”

When Jesus said to them in verse 21 I am going away and where I am you can not come, He was speaking of going back to the Father in heaven. However, the Jews thought that Jesus meant that He would literally kill Himself. In Jewish culture back then, those that committed suicide would be condemned to hell. In fact according to Josephus in his writings claimed that the darkest places in Hades (hell) was reserved for those that took their own lives. They thought Jesus meant that He would kill Himself and therefore, would go to hell and of course, they wouldn’t be following Him there. Get the picture? Jesus was going to hell and they were not. They were being self righteous. Mind you, these are religious people that are saying this. They were scribes and Pharisees, the religious elite. Self righteousness is goodness that substitutes itself for the new birth. Many of us Christians fall into this trap. It’s the thought of, “We’re Christians! We’re going to heaven and everyone else is going to hell because they’re not!”. If you want to know how far away someone is from God, listen how they talk about how good they are versus everyone else! In Proverbs 30, Solomon says…

(12) There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. … Proverbs 30:12 NKJV

I thought this proverb was about judgemental unbelievers but it turns out Solomon meant self righteousness and hypocrisy in religious people in this proverb. Jesus also condemned self righteousness and hypocrisy in religious people as well…

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.  Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. … Matthew 23:27-28 NKJV

The bottom line is everyone needs forgiveness both believers and unbelievers and we don’t become suddenly perfect when we become believers. We think we do though because we start comparing ourselves to others and we work really hard to be good. In other words we work to appear righteous before God. The fact is though that God doesn’t accept our righteousness but the righteousness given to us through His Son Jesus Christ. This is not what I think but what Jesus said…

(20) For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. … Matthew 5:20 NKJV

When Jesus said this, it sent shock waves through the crowd because the scribes and Pharisees were to believed to have been the religious elite and if they couldn’t enter the kingdom of heaven, who could? What Jesus is saying here though is external righteousness will not gain access to heaven without internal reality. The only righteousness that God will accept is the perfection He gives us through the acceptance His Son Jesus Christ. …

(21) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. … 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

The last of the worst ways to die is in worldliness and for that we go back and look at verse 23…

v 23 – (23) And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

The word for world is the Greek word kosmos. From it, we get the word cosmos. John uses it 77 times in his writings. It doesn’t mean the earth or the people in it. It means the world’s system. It means an ordered system of values, ideas, activities, and people opposed to God, under the control of Satan. Right now, God is not in control of our world. In 2 Corinthians, Paul says…

(3) But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, (4) whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. … 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV

When Paul says the god of this age, he means Satan. Satan, right now, is the god of our world. In the Book of Job though, we find that God limits Satan on what he can and can not do in our world. However, my belief is that the more the nations of the world and its people, as a whole, oppose God and turn away from His Son Jesus Christ, the more and more that leash that God has on Satan gets longer and longer. When mass shootings, incredible disasters and other seemingly unbelievable evil things happen in our world, our first response is to question God. How could a God of love allow this to happen? That’s the question we ask. The question we should be asking though is how do we continue to allow things like that to happen? We live in a nation with, as a whole, mostly worldly Christians. Christians who care more about their comfort and their entertainment than they do about matters of the kingdom of heaven. Here are some good examples. Have you noticed that church services on Sundays are mostly scheduled around football games? How many churches hold Sunday afternoon or evening services for those who can’t make Saturday evening services? Have you noticed that Halloween is treated with more importance and celebrated more than Christmas and Easter in our country now? How we continue to allow idolaters to pour into our country from Third World nations just because we hold more reverence to what it says in the US Constitution than what The Bible says? A right by the way totally misinterpreted from the way the founding fathers meant the freedom of religion to be. These are just some of the examples of worldliness in the church. Jesus warns about worldliness. In Luke, Jesus says…

(33) Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. (34) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. … Luke 12:33-34 NKJV

Jesus is mainly talking about material possessions here but the fact of the matter is treasure can be anything that you put ahead of God and His Word. When you care more about worldly things such as material possessions, entertainment, sports or other things than matters of the kingdom, that my friends is your treasure and where your heart is and not with God. It’s worldliness and even John warns about worldliness  in in his writings…

(15) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. (17) And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. … 1 John 2:15-17 NKJV

There is a fine line here. Yes as Christians we are to keep from getting caught up in the world but we don’t sit on the sidelines and allow a government or it’s leaders who are opposed to God remain in power. As Dante said, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a time of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality.”

We’ve looked at the worst ways to die and now let’s look at the best ways and for this, we need to go back and look at verse 24 to start with…

v 24 – Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

There’s three words you need to pay close attention to. The first word is the word if. It is a transitional word telling us don’t want to wind up this way, then do this. It tells us there are other options. The next word of importance is believe. The first and foremost best option and best way to die is belief in Jesus Christ…to believe in Him. So what does that mean? To believe in Jesus Christ? Christians say they believe in Jesus but do they really? To find out if someone truly believes in Jesus, ask them who Jesus is. If the answer is anything other than God in human flesh, then you don’t believe! That’s not my words. Those are Jesus’ words! Take a look at verse 24 carefully again…”for if you don’t believe that I am He, you will die in your sins”. The other word you need to pay attention to is the word He. If you notice in the text, the word is italicized. Why? Because it wasn’t in the original text. It was added by the translators later on. It originally read “if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins”. See those two words, I am? They are the Greek words ego eimi. Loosely translated they mean “that’s it” and “no other”. They are very emphatic words. This is important because if you look at the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, you will see that the phrase or the words ego eimi appear in Exodus Chapter 3 when God is speaking to Moses. …

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

They also appear further on in Deuteronomy 32 verse 39. Look what it says…

(39) ‘Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand. … Deuteronomy 32:39 NKJV

Again in the Septuagint, those words, ego eimi, appear again. Let’s move on now to the next few verses. …

vv 25-27 – (25) Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. (26) I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” (27) They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.

The Pharisees then ask Jesus, Who are you?. It wasn’t an informational question. It was a statement that they were asking. When Jesus told the Pharisees if you do not believe that I am, ego eimi, the text in Exodus 3 and Deuteronomy 32 is what came to their mind and they knew exactly what Jesus was saying…that He was God! This is why they ask Who are you?. The translation is really “How dare you!”. This is something that continues to infuriate the Pharisees the more Jesus presses the issue as we will see as we continue further along in the chapter.

Verse 26 is a bit of a mystery to the Pharisees especially how Jesus ends it. Jesus is telling them that He has a lot of things to say about them and judge them with but that is not the reason that He had come into the world. He didn’t come into the world to judge people at least not yet. Jesus will do that when He comes the second time. The Pharisees get a bit confused when Jesus tells them but He who sent Me is true and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him. Their minds were getting more and more clouded as Jesus spoke to them. They were saying to themselves, “First he is telling us that he is God and now he is telling us that someone else sent him? Who is he?”. This is why John adds in the text that they did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.

So one of the best ways to die is in the firm belief in Jesus Christ and one of the ways to know you have that firm belief in Him is the second best way to die…to have confidence in His work. Look at verse 28…

v 28 – (28) Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

When Jesus says when you lift up the Son of Man, it didn’t mean lifting Him up in praise and worship. He meant His crucifixion. Jesus always knew what His ultimate mission would be…to die on the cross. Remember back in John Chapter 3 what He said? …

(14) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, (15) that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. … John 3:14-15 NKJV

Which is why the many occasions we read in the Gospels where Jesus is about to be stoned or thrown off a cliff, Jesus was probably saying to Himself, “Ain’t nothing but a thing!” because He knew that He would ultimately die on the cross. So when we talk about “lifting up” Jesus in our worship, we’re literally saying, “Let’s crucify Him!”.

So Jesus was telling the Pharisees and those in the crowd, “When you put Me on that cross and raise Me up, then you will know who I am!”. Notice that those words I am, ego eimi, appear again. Notice again that the word He is italicized because, once again, it was not in the original text. Looking now at verse 29…

v 29 – (29) And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”

All these statements that Jesus made showed the close relationship that He had with the Father. He was never alone because the Father was always with Him. The only time that the Father may have abandoned Him was briefly on the cross when Jesus cried out, “My God My God why have you forsaken Me?”. Jesus was taking the punishment for the sins of mankind and, as many scholars believe, experiencing the pains of hell and separation from God so for those who believe in Him wouldn’t have to.

The reason why the Father never left Jesus alone because He always did those things that please Him. It was proof of Jesus’ sinless nature. No human being could possibly make that claim! Human nature has been and always will be to do those things that please us not God! The last best way to die is to be fixed on Jesus’ word as we look at verse 30 and finish out the passage and this post. ….

v 30 – (30) As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.

It would seem that some people that were listening to Jesus’ words in the crowd believed in Him. We don’t know if this was a true, firm belief or just people paying lip service to Jesus because John doesn’t really say. Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth, He had thousands of followers but only eleven true disciples. I say eleven because Judas later turns on Jesus so he can’t be considered a true disciple. This verse come to real fulfillment when Jesus is crucified. One person that comes to mind is one of the criminals who is hanging on a cross next to Him who tells Jesus, “Lord remember me when you come into Your kingdom” and Jesus tells him, “Today you will be with Me in paradise”. Another one is the Roman centurion witnessing how Jesus dies and says, “Truly this was the Son of God!”. Then later on in Acts Chapter 2 during Pentecost when Peter is addressing the crowd and tells them, “you, by your wicked hands, have taken Jesus and crucified Him and slain Him along with the Gentiles. But God raised Him from the dead because death could not hold Him”, The Bible says that they were “cut to the heart” and they ask, “What must we do?” and Peter tells them, “You must repent”. The Bible then says that thousands believed that day.

The point is that Jesus is speaking God’s words to this crowd and Jesus’ words to them pointed His world to them and us. When we become Christians, we are no longer part of this world. We have a new position. In John 17, Jesus says…

(14) I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (15) I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. … John 17:14-15 NKJV

If you are a true believer in Christ then the world hates you because you are not one of them and they despise you for it. They hate the words of Jesus and everything about The Bible because deep down, they know it’s true. It’s called conviction!

So to quickly wrap this up because I’ve gone longer than I wanted to, the best ways to die is to believe in Jesus, have confidence in His work, and be fixed on His word. Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for your sins so you wouldn’t have to. There are just two options that you have. You can either die in your sins or accept Jesus into your heart and your life and have Him take your sins away from you. One last point, go back to verse 29. See where Jesus says to the crowd, The Father has not left Me alone? The same is true for those of us who are in Christ. As we go through the many trials we face in life, God is with us too and the best way to get through these trials we face in life is to have God on your side and you can only do that through His Son Jesus Christ. Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for the many blessings that You bestow on us. We not only thank You for the blessings but also the trials which give us strength. We pray that You would keep us from falsehoods and lies and give us neither poverty or riches but give us just what we need in our daily lives. Father we thank You for Your Son Jesus Christ and His words that give us strength and hope in these troubled times that we are facing. We have the comfort in knowing that with You in our hearts and by our side Lord, there is nothing that we can’t face and that these troubling times will be the closest that we get to hell. We pray Lord that others would come to know that peace and comfort as well in Jesus’s name we pray…Amen!

It’s the Christmas season again, a season full of bright lights, so it’s very fitting that we’ve come upon this passage in John’s Gospel. Besides summer, Christmas is one of the brightest times of the year. There are all sorts of bright lights…Christmas tree lights, city holiday lights, home decoration lights, candles…but none of them shine brighter than the light of Jesus Christ! In fact, the light of Jesus Christ is so intimidating to people at Christmas time, that they want to shut it out completely and prevent others from enjoying His light as well!

In the Gospel of John, Jesus makes seven very profound and emphatic “I am” statements. We already looked at one of these back in Chapter 6…”I am the bread of life”. Now here in Chapter 8, we come to another one of these statements…”I am the light of the world”. Everything on earth needs light to survive. Nothing would grow and everything would die without it including us. The same can be said about light spiritually. Without the spiritual light of Jesus Christ, we can not grow spiritually and we will spiritually die as well!

Light can be very intimidating though. Have you ever walked into a brightly lit room after being in the dark, or have someone shine a flashlight in your eyes? It hurts a bit doesn’t it? Your eyes need time to adjust to the sudden brightness because they got used to being in the dark and your first reaction is, “Get that light out of my eyes!”. This is the way many live their lives…in spiritual darkness…and when that spiritual darkness is threatened by the light of the Gospel, there is immediate rejection to that light and here in Chapter 8, we see this. In prior posts, I have gone verse by verse looking at the passages but for this post, I will be generalizing the whole passage and focusing on key verses in it. A lot of ground to cover so let’s get started! As always, the text link for the chapter and audio are included so you can follow along but before we get started, let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word and this time that we are about to spend in it. Bless this time and make it fruitful. I have a very special prayer today for my Brothers and Sisters in Christ for this Christmas season and going into the new year. I pray You bless them financially with stable jobs; I pray You protect and improve their health; I pray You protect their families from all harm. Build a wall about them and protect them. Help them to feel Your presence, love and forgiveness daily in their lives so they can serve You! Father thank You for bringing the Lord Jesus Christ into our lives and lastly Lord, if there is anyone who is not saved or needs to re-examine their life and put the focus more back on You, we pray that they come to You today! Now as we look at Your Word, we put away all distractions. Our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen!

John 8

Now let’s look at the passage for this post. …

(12) Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (13) The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.” (14) Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. (15) You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. (16) And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. (17) It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. (18) I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.” (19) Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.” (20) These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come. … John 8:12-20 NKJV

This takes place in the treasury of the temple as John notes in verse 20. We don’t exactly know if this takes place immediately after the woman who was caught in adultery is saved by Jesus or if this takes place sometime afterwards. From the way verse 9 reads, we are led to believe that everybody had left leaving Jesus alone with the woman. However, this would seem to take place on the same day since John makes no mention of another day. The way this passage reads, it would seem there were some people, Pharisees, still around after Jesus’ encounter with the woman. It is highly likely that the woman was still there as well when Jesus encounters these remaining Pharisees. Jesus wastes no time getting in their face with this discourse looking at verse 12 which is the verse that I will pay the most attention to in this post. …

v 12 – (12) Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

The Feast of Tabernacles is over but there are still a lot of people in the temple area because there is something else taking place. Remember back during the Tabernacles feast when the priests were pouring water from their pitchers and Jesus cried out “Whoever thirsts let him come to Me and drink!”? Well there is some background going on here as well. The Feast of Tabernacles is over but on the very first night of it, there is a celebration called The Illumination of the Temple. It took place in the court of women where they would light up four huge candelabras which were as high as the temple walls. The cups on those candelabras held 65 gallons of oil apiece. Huge wicks came out of them so when they were lit up, it lit up everything not just the temple but pretty near all of Jerusalem as well! There is a picture of what it probably looked like below.

This took place in the court of the women, where Jesus was teaching at the start of Chapter 8. The court of the women is also where the treasury for the temple was. It had collection boxes in the shape of trumpets where the people would pay the required one half shekel of temple tax so when Jesus was teaching there that day, there was a lot of foot traffic, people walking in and out of there paying their tax. The Pharisees had just accused a woman of adultery whom Jesus cleverly saves by exposing their own sins. When Jesus tells the people, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life, there is an immediate reaction. There are three groups in this story or rather one person and two groups. There is Jesus Christ, Himself. Then there is the Christ followers that Jesus mentions in this verse…those that follow Him and then there are the Christ haters who pipe up immediately after this claim that Jesus makes. The Illumination of the Temple represented God’s representation as a pillar of fire when the Hebrews were in the wilderness…

(21) And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. (22) He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people. … Exodus 13:21-22 NKJV

The term light, was specifically referred to describe God so the Pharisees and the other people knew that Christ was making the claim that He was God and this of course, enraged them. They thought that Jesus was committing blasphemy, the crime that Jesus would eventually be wrongly convicted of and that He would be crucified for. The Jewish rabbis knew that the Messiah would be described as light. In Daniel Chapter 2, Daniel, praying, says…

(22) He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. … Daniel 2:22 NKJV

There are several other passages throughout The Old Testament referring to God as light. Too many to list here but these are some of the notables…

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? … Psalms 27:1 NKJV

(19)”The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory. … Isaiah 60:19 NKJV

(3) When His lamp shone upon my head, And when by His light I walked through darkness; … Job 29:3 NKJV

(8) Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The LORD will be a light to me. … Micah 7:8 NKJV

God is light and Christ is the image of the invisible God. I believe that the very first prophecy in The Bible of Christ is not found in Genesis 3:15 but in Genesis 1:3…

(3) Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. … Genesis 1:3 NKJV

Notice that Jesus says that He is the light of the world not just to the Jewish people. He was sent to be a light to the non-Jewish peoples (Gentiles) as well. Jesus by calling Himself the light, conveyed two things. First, describing Himself…His excellence and His true glory. The second thing is what He would be to all mankind for those who wish to receive and accept Him. This did not sit well with the Pharisees who believed that the Messiah would come strictly for the benefit of the Jewish people.

Jesus then continues His discourse, He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. There is a catch for Jesus to be a true light in our world…we have to follow Him. Following Jesus means to trust, obey, and accept Him and submit to His guidance in our lives. It is not good enough to just gaze upon the light of Christ with our eyes. He must be a light for our feet also. Going back to that pillar of fire that the Hebrews were following in the wilderness. God appeared that way for them so they wouldn’t have to stumble their way through the dark. This is true if we are following the light of Jesus Christ. We aren’t stumbling our way through the darkness of life. The way is lit up for us. We face life with confidence and purpose. This is not true for people who do not have Christ in their lives though. They stumble through life and they are prone to following many things, anything, that will help them navigate through life. They also have an underlying fear of what lies ahead after this life. It’s hard to live your life blindfolded and yet so many people do because they don’t have the light of Jesus Christ to guide them through life.

The sad truth though is that people love to live in darkness. Jesus knew this as well. Going back to John Chapter 3, Jesus says…

(19) And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (20) For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. … John 3:19-20 NKJV

Those of us who do come to Christ, however, experience a total behavior reversal. We’re not self centered. It isn’t all about us anymore which is totally against what today’s culture teaches us. Today’s culture teaches us to get what we can out of life and step on anyone who gets in our way. Look out for number one in other words. Schools teach kids and the mental health profession teaches people to do whatever they feel or be whatever they feel. Advertising slogans in ad campaigns are the same way most notably, Nike with their “Just Do It”. Yep…just do it! Doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong or who it hurts. This was the sentiment echoed by Obama during his eight years of destroying the United States and continues today as well with his Socialist Democrat co-horts!

Moving on though, we’ve looked at two of the groups represented in this passage. We’ve looked at Christ through Himself and the Christ followers now we come to the third group in this passage…the Christ haters. Not going to go into great detail with the remainder of this passage because this will be covered in future posts as we go through the rest of the chapter so I am just going to summarize the rest of this passage. These are the supposed “lovers of God”. As Jesus is telling the people that He is the light of the world, the Pharisees are flashing back to the passages of their scriptures and the Illumination of the Temple ceremony and what it represented and realized that this guy, who they only saw Jesus as…a man, was claiming to be their God! That of course did not sit well with them and they pipe up immediately. You bear witness of Yourself and Your witness is not true, verse 13, the Pharisees argue back. The Pharisees now bring up a legal point by reminding Him that He is testifying about Himself. According to their scriptures and their law, it was required to have two or more witnesses before something could be considered to be true. A person’s own testimony without witnesses was considered to be biased.

In verse 14, The Lord recognized that usually it was necessary to have two or three witnesses. But in His case, His witness was absolutely true because He is God. The miracles that He had performed up to that point; turning water into wine, the healing of the man at the pool, feeding of the 5,000; all of that and more, proved that. Jesus then tells them that He knows where He came from, that would be heaven, and where He was going, that would also be heaven. Jesus never doubted what His mission was on earth. He knew why He was there, what would happen to Him, and what would happen afterwards.

To finish out the passage, Jesus tells them that they judge according to the flesh meaning that they judged by outward appearances but also that He judges no one…at least not yet. The purpose of His mission the first time was not to judge men but to save them. When He returns, He will be our judge and that judgement will be true because He is God. Jesus does not judge by human standards. He will judge by what is in our hearts and our motives. A look at one more verse…verse 19. …

v 19 – (19) Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”

When the Pharisees asked Jesus, Where is your Father, it wasn’t for informational purposes. It was asked to taunt Him. By this time, rumors had been flying that the birth of Jesus was an illegitimate birth. There’s a good chance that when they asked Jesus this question they were looking around the crowd scornfully. The fact is that the Pharisees did not know Him or His Father. No one can know God the Father except through Jesus Christ. Thus, their rejection of the Savior made it impossible for them to honestly claim that they knew and loved God. I will go into further detail of what all of this means in future posts on this chapter because this discourse continues throughout the chapter.

I want to close this post with two points. The first one is that we, as believers in Christ, are the light of the world as well! Follow me here for a second before you get bent out of shape. While Jesus was here on earth, He was the light of the world and He said so, quite a few times. Look at what He says though as we flip back to Matthew and chapter 5 down to verse 14. Jesus says…

(14) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. … Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV

Jesus is telling us now that He is gone, we are to be the light to this world. How do we do this? Number one by our actions. It has been said that people who do not believe in Jesus either have never met a Christian or they have met a Christian. Do you get this? Either we don’t tell or show others the love of Christ or they are repulsed by our behavior and our actions because they know we are Christians. In other words, actions speak louder than words. Want people to become Christians? Then we need to start acting like one! We can’t just gaze upon the light of Christ, we must show that light to others!

The second point is when Jesus is loved and accepted, He becomes light to you but when He is spurned and rejected, He becomes darkness to you. Going back to the pillar of fire that guided the Hebrews in the wilderness that was celebrated at the temple every year, on the Hebrews side, that pillar of fire lit up the way for them. They didn’t have to stumble around in the darkness. In Exodus 14, it points out though that same pillar of fire became a buffer between them and the Egyptians who were chasing them and trying to hunt them down. Look at what the text says…

(19) And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. (20) So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. … Exodus 14:19-20 NKJV

By the way, guess who the Angel of God is. None other than Jesus Christ! Same cloud but different effect depending on the point of view. Light to those who follow, darkness for those who don’t. The question you need to ask is what side of that cloud do you want to be on? If you don’t know Jesus Christ, if you’re on that dark side of the cloud, you can change that today and what a better time to do it than the season celebrating His birth! Just pray this simple short prayer. Remember it really doesn’t matter what you say. What matters is that what you say comes from your heart!…

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

If you prayed that prayer with your heart, then you are saved and are assured eternity in heaven and if you did, I would love to hear from you! Just a simple, “I prayed the prayer!” is all you have to say and I will know what you mean! Just e-mail me at admin@gettingintogodsword.com. I truly hope you prayed that prayer!

Heavenly Father,

We thank You for the light of Your Son Jesus Christ, the true and only Light of the world. We pray Father that during this Christmas season and into the new year, that Light would shine and open up hearts that do not know Him. Father we also pray that for those of us who are in Christ, that we would learn to walk more in that Light and not just gaze upon it.  In the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen!

What do you suppose is the most interesting, fascinating, and perhaps, the most important thing ever written? If you’re from England, you might say the Magna Carta. If you’re from Israel, you might say the Torah. Those of us from America will probably say the Declaration of Independence and/or the U.S. Constitution. Christians would probably say The Bible while Muslims would say the Koran. All of these have a valid argument depending on your point of view but besides The Bible, I also believe perhaps the most interesting, fascinating, and perhaps, the most important thing ever written was some scribblings in the dirt on some temple stones 2000 years ago by Jesus Christ. It is the only time the Gospels ever record Jesus writing anything down and it disappeared probably almost as quickly as He wrote them down but it has puzzled commentators, pastors, and all of us who know this account in John’s Gospel that we are about to look at, for centuries. What did Jesus write in the dirt on those stones thousands of years ago? Whatever it was, it helped save the life of a woman both physically and spiritually which is why this could have been the most important thing or things ever written. We are going to take a look at some possibilities but the important thing is that this is not the focus of this passage that we are about to look at in John’s Gospel. The focus is how Jesus deals with hypocrisy and the love and forgiveness that Jesus shows this woman and all of us who come to Him in true faith. Let’s get started and as always, the text link and the audio for the entire chapter are included so you can follow along but before we do, let’s go to the Lord in prayer…

Father,

Thank You for the word of God that does the work of God in the hearts of the people of God. We come, Lord, and we bring ourselves. We bring our attention, our minds, to engage in the words that we hear, the words that we read, the thoughts your Holy Spirit is going to give us, the questions we’re going to be wrestling with– some hopefully that will be answered. And as we bring ourselves, we do so, Lord, because that’s our reasonable service. That’s the smartest thing to do. It’s the wisest thing to do. Because we remember Paul wrote, in view of God’s mercies, present your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable which is your spiritual act of worship or reasonable service. Lord, we put away all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to hear Your Word. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen!

John 8

Let’s look at the passage that we will be focusing on for this post. …

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. (2) Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. (3) Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, (4) they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. (5) Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” (6) This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. (7) So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (8) And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. (9) Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. (10) When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (11) She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” … John 8:1-11 NKJV

This passage continues a pattern that we find in John’s Gospel…an incident and then a message. Back in Chapter 5, there is an incident, the healing of a man at the pool of Bethesda, followed by a message from Jesus regarding it. The same in Chapter 7. There is an incident and then a message and the same here in Chapter 8. There is an incident and Jesus delivers another message regarding it. This passage, commonly called “The Woman Caught In Adultery”, is one of the most misinterpreted, misapplied, and mishandled in The Bible. This account does not appear in any of the other Gospels except in John and some say it never happened and these are Bible commentators mind you! This passage also has raised a lot of questions as well. The questions raised are…

1) Who was the woman?

2) Where is the man?

3) What did Jesus write on the ground?

4) Was Jesus too lenient with the woman?

We will look at each of these and provide answers to some of them. Let’s look at the passage in more detail. …

v 1 – But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

Here we have an unusual beginning to this chapter because proper grammar does not start a sentence with the word but and it shouldn’t start a chapter either. Proper grammar places this sentence at the end of Chapter 7 and verse 53. The verse should read “And everyone went to his own house but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.” So why the chapter break here? First, you have to ask the question “How did the Bible get divided into chapters?”. Here’s a short synopsis of that because I don’t want to dwell on this. When the books of the Bible were originally written, they did not contain verses or chapters. The reason why it was done was to find Scripture much easier. The chapter divisions of the Bible were developed by Stephen Langton, an Archbishop of Canterbury around 1227. The Wycliffe Bible of 1382 was the first Bible to use the chapter divisions. From then on nearly all of the translations use these chapter divisions and for the most part, they are properly placed and flow together quite nicely with a few exceptions and this chapter in John would seem to be one of them. However, I think Mr. Langton might have had a reason for the odd placement of this chapter division. Verse 53 of Chapter 7 ends with John saying, “And everyone went to his own house.” The Feast of Tabernacles was over so everyone went back home. So you’re probably thinking, “Yeah so what’s the big deal? Everyone goes back home when the day is over.” Look how John emphasizes the beginning of Chapter 8 though…But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. I think this is done for two reasons. The first one was that John was pointing out that Jesus was basically homeless! I’m sure you’re saying to yourselves, “How do you know that?!” From Jesus’s own words! If you flip back to Matthew and Chapter 8, we read…

(19) Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” (20) And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” … Matthew 8:19-20 NKJV

Luke records this in his Gospel as well. Jesus was pointing out to the scribe, “You sure you want to do this? I have nowhere to go! Are you sure you want to follow Me and live like that?”. The idea is that it is a metaphor showing there is a cost to follow Jesus a cost that many people don’t want to pay.

The second reason why John emphasizes about Jesus going to the Mount of Olives is that while everyone else went back home to enjoy themselves or to rest after the feast, Jesus went back to the Mount of Olives probably to pray. Throughout the Gospels, we notice that Jesus was constantly in prayer and this is where He mainly did it. Again back in Matthew, it says…

(23) And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. … Matthew 14:23 NKJV

We also have this example from Luke…

(12) Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. … Luke 6:12 NKJV

What we learn from these passages is that Jesus had one heck of a prayer life! The Mount of Olives, again, was probably His favorite place to pray. I remember when I first came to the Lord, I had a certain place where I liked to pray. It was on a train platform far away from the other commuters with a great view of the open sky between the trees in the heavily wooded area. I would always pray there in the mornings before going to work. Let’s move on now. …

v 2 – (2) Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.

Besides praying, Jesus also loved to teach. He also must have liked to hike a lot too! LOL! The temple wasn’t far from the Mount of Olives but He had to walk down the side of the mountain and across the Kidron Valley and then back up to the city where the temple was located. The text says and all the people came to Him. This probably doesn’t mean everyone in the city was there. These were the people that were there hoping that Jesus would show up and preach another sermon again. These people were probably not true followers though but what I like to call “lookie-loos” sort of like people who drive by accidents just to look at what’s going on. These people were curious to see Jesus and hear what He was talking about though John doesn’t tell us what that was. Notice the text says that He sat down and taught them. It is interesting to know that in those days, teachers, rabbi’s, would sit down and preach while the people stood. When they sat down to teach, it showed that they had authority and that they also intended to be there for quite some time doing it. So Jesus is sitting there teaching and now we come to another incident. …

vv 3-4 – (3) Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, (4) they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.

As Jesus is sitting there and teaching, there is a major commotion as the “religious” people drag probably a screaming woman and place her in the area where Jesus is teaching. They made her stand, set her in the midst, in the middle of the crowd probably facing Jesus. I tend to believe that she wasn’t standing though but rather thrown into the middle of the crowd. First question, who was the woman? John doesn’t say but the woman could have been Mary Magdalene. To settle that debate, Pope Gregory I announced in 591 AD that the woman caught in adultery, the woman with the sinful past who washes the feet of Jesus in Luke 7, and the sister of Martha and Lazarus were all Mary Magdalene. We do know from Scripture that Mary Magdalene had seven demons cast out of her, Mark 16:9 & Luke 8:2, and demon possession is believed to be the root cause of why this woman committed adultery by some commentators. She was at the foot of the cross, and she was the first person to see the resurrected Jesus. She is one of the most mentioned women in the Gospels so it stands to reason that yes this woman could have been Mary Magdalene. Either way, it’s not important who she was.

The second question that is important is where is the man? The Pharisees and the scribes tell Jesus that she was caught in the very act. To be caught in the very act though, you need two people. They had the woman but where was the man? The “Law of Moses”, as they put it, was very specific that both the adulteress and the adulterer were to be put to death. In Leviticus 20, it states that. ….

(10) ‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death. … Leviticus 20:10 NKJV

Not only that, no one could be convicted of a crime without a witness so again, where’s the man? Another far fetched idea is that there was no man and the woman was part of the plan to trap Jesus but I doubt this scenario. This was probably a case of the woman getting the blame and the man getting off scot free. Moving on to verse 5…

v 5 – (5) Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”

Adultery was one of the biggest crimes that demanded death the others being murder and idolatry and other forms of serious sexual immorality. I have an issue with what these “religious” people say to Jesus though. They tell Him, Now Moses, in the law, commanded us. Stop right there! First of all it was God’s Law and God commanded not Moses! The Law was passed from God to Moses who then gave it to the people. God was the law giver not Moses. He was God’s spokesperson and, as I recall, not an adequate one at first. However, the Jews, even to this day, hold Moses in such high esteem like he’s God. Throughout the Gospels it’s “Moses said this”, “Moses said that”, “Moses commanded this”, and “Moses commanded that”. Perhaps maybe that was one of the things that Jesus was writing on the ground…”I commanded you not Moses!”.

Getting back to the verse though, the “religious” people tell Jesus that the penalty for someone caught in adultery is death by being stoned. Then comes the trap question…But what do You say?. They were right. Deliberate participation in serious crimes like adultery required death. However, nothing said that the participants in adultery had to be stoned. In fact I found out listening to a message preparing for this study that there was another preferred way to put a person to death. According to the Mishna, a written commentary of the Torah, most would actually receive death by strangulation. The condemned man or woman would be placed in about three feet of manure (punishment enough I think! LOL!) and a soft cloth would be tied around their neck followed by a harsh cloth and then rope. The reason for the soft cloth was to symbolize divine punishment. They didn’t want to leave any human evidence that it was done that way. Soft cloth, harsh cloth, rope tied around the neck, two people at each end, and they would pull as hard as they could until the person died. Apparently the Mishna describes how to do this in great detail. Just a bit of trivia for you. The question they put to Jesus though is a question to trap Him. If He said, “No don’t stone her”, Jesus would be accused of going against the Law of Moses which would be considered blasphemy and therefore would require Him to be put to death. However if Jesus said, “Yes I agree! Stone her!”, it would go against His teachings of love and forgiveness and discredit Him as a friend to sinners. Not only that, the people were under Roman occupation and they had been stripped of their right to execute capital punishment so if Jesus had said, “Yes! Stone her!”, He would have been going against Roman law and therefore, be arrested and convicted by the Romans for breaking Roman law. Jesus knew this was a trap though and He had a unique way to respond to this trap as we move on. ….

vv 6-8 – (6) This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. (7) So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (8) And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

Jesus knew that their question was a trap. He also knew the thoughts and actions of these religious hypocrites. Instead of saying anything at first, Jesus stoops down and begins writing on the ground with His finger. Now comes the question…what was Jesus writing on the ground? John doesn’t say and no one really knows except possibly for the people who were there and as I said in the opening, what Jesus wrote probably disappeared almost as quickly as He wrote it. It is believed though that what Jesus could have been writing on the ground the first time, because we know by the text that He did it twice, was the 6th, 7th, and 10th commandments…thou shalt not murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, and thou shalt not covet. In fact in the Talmud, it expands the 10th commandment of coveting specifically to include your neighbor’s wife further emphasizing the commandment regarding adultery. He could have also been starting to list the sins of the people pressing this issue. After continuing to badger Him, Jesus stands up, and makes this statement…He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. Jesus then stoops back down and resumes writing on the ground. Now this time, it is highly believed by many commentators that Jesus is listing the people who were accusing this woman of adultery of committing it themselves. He was probably writing the names, the times, and the dates of when they occurred. Here’s the reason why. As I mentioned, the Romans stripped the rights of the Jews to execute capital punishment so believe it or not, many of the Jews used this to commit adultery especially the Pharisees and the scribes…the very same people who were accusing this woman of it! When Jesus bends down and begins writing on the ground again, many commentators believe that He is now listing the people who had committed this very sin that they were accusing the woman of. There is a very interesting prophecy in Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 17:13, it says…

(13) O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You shall be ashamed. “Those who depart from Me Shall be written in the earth, Because they have forsaken the LORD, The fountain of living waters.” … Jeremiah 17:13 NKJV

The translation in the International Standard Version of the same verse, it says Those who turn aside from you will be written in the dust.

So here’s the scene. You have these so-called religious people and others in the crowd, probably with stones ready to throw in their hands, waiting from a response from Jesus so they can stone this poor, terrified woman to death! Jesus, however, doesn’t say yes. He doesn’t say no either. What He does say probably shocked everyone there. Jesus says He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. Jesus turns this legal issue into a spiritual issue now. The Greek word for sin is anamartētos. It means to be faultless or without error. Another Greek word that describes what Jesus means here is the word hamartanō. It means to “miss the mark”. So what Jesus is saying to the people and her accusers is “Those of you who are anamartētos, faultless and without error in thought and deed, throw a stone at her!” Jesus wasn’t saying the woman shouldn’t be stoned but what He is doing here is appealing to the consciences of her accusers and the people whether they were fit to carry it out. Moving on to verse 9 now…

v 9 – (9) Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

One by one, convicted by their conscience and perhaps what Jesus was writing on the ground, the people began to leave some of them dropping the rocks they probably had in their hands. John mentions that it started with the oldest one of them there down to the youngest. Why the oldest? The older ones had probably more to remember and feel guilty about than the younger ones did. They were much wiser as well. In one of Hollywood’s biblical epics of Jesus’s life, I can’t remember which one off the top of my head “King of Kings” I think, where this part is portrayed after Jesus says “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone”, it shows a younger guy raising his arm up to throw a rock and much older man who stops him and shakes his head at him! LOL! Let’s finish out the rest of the passage now…

vv 10-11 – (10) When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (11) She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

With Jesus and the woman alone now, Jesus points out to the woman that everyone had left and that no had dared to pass sentence on her something which probably shocked this woman figuring she was going to be stoned to death! When Jesus asks the woman if anyone had condemned her, she answers, No one Lord. The word Lord used here, probably means Sir. A few translations actually use this word rather than Lord. When Jesus addresses her, He uses the term woman. It is a term of respect and He was trying to restore some dignity back into this woman who had been humiliated by this whole ordeal. Jesus extends further grace to this woman by telling her, Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more. Jesus was the only one who had any right to throw a stone at her and He didn’t! What love and forgiveness our Lord shows here! Jesus doesn’t exactly let her off the hook though. He gives her a warning…go and sin no more. Jesus gives this woman a second chance to turn her life around. It is called repentance. He doesn’t tell the woman, “Go and sin as little as possible”. God can not tolerate sin in any form. We are not perfect as human beings but to go out and deliberately sin is not the sign of a truly saved person. In Romans, Paul says…

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

Notice also Jesus tells the woman not to “sin”. He didn’t call it a “disease” or a “hang-up” or an “alternative lifestyle” or a “mistake” or any of the other euphemisms that so many people use these days to make excuses for their or others sinful actions. Basically what Jesus was saying to this woman was, “Stop the lifestyle that is destroying you!”. He is giving this woman a second chance and don’t you think that we all need that? A second chance? A do over?

In closing, here are the takeaways from this passage. First of all, we see how tough sinners are on other sinners. Many of us carry the belief that our sins are not as bad as others. The fact is sin is sin in any form and God condemns it. Second, we see how the Law treats sinners. The Law sets the standards but doesn’t cleanse the soul. The Law identifies sin and what is required but there is no absolution in the Law. Which brings us to the final takeaway…we see how Jesus treats sinners. Jesus doesn’t pass any kind of judgement on the woman. He doesn’t claim her to be innocent but He doesn’t condemn her either. The righteousness and mercy meet with Christ with these words that He tells her…Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more. Those who ask the question, “Was Jesus too lenient with the woman?”, do not know or understand the love and forgiveness that can be acquired by a relationship with Jesus! In Romans, Paul says…

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

What this woman did not know is that in a few short months, Jesus would be taking away her sin and everyone else’s by going to the cross. That is where righteousness and mercy really meet in Christ is at the cross. Jesus was perfect and sinless and a perfect substitutionary atonement. He died and took the punishment that the woman that all of us should have taken. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul says…

(21) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. … 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

If you have come to that point in your life, where you know that something is missing in your life, and you need and want forgiveness and you don’t know Christ, you can change that right now! Just pray this simple short prayer. Remember it really doesn’t matter what you say. What matters is that what you say comes from your heart!…

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

If you have prayed this prayer and you have truly meant it in your heart, then you too have found the righteousness and mercy that can only be found with a relationship with Jesus Christ!

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross and do what we in our flesh can not do…live up to Your perfect standards. We love you Lord and we pray that others will come to know You today. As we live out these end days Lord that we are in, I pray for us, Your people, that we would grow stronger in Christ and growing up in Him and not just growing older. Father, we pray that no one would resist Your Holy Spirit. Bless our lives and our country and we pray this in the saving name of Jesus…Amen!

One of the definitions for the word “excuse”, when it’s used as a noun, is “a reason put forward to conceal the real reason for an action; a pretext”. Billy Sunday, an evangelist during the early 1900’s, put it this way. He said, “An excuse is a skin of a reason stuffed with a lie”. That being said poses this question…why do so many people refuse to turn to Jesus when given the opportunity or opportunities to do so? People give a variety of excuses for not turning to Christ. They are worried what their friends or family might think or say. Fear and persecution are driving factors given the climate in America today and its fear and persecution of Christians. After all, who wants to be a part of that?! One of the biggest excuses though is hypocrisy. Again you can’t argue with that one either. There is a lot of hypocrisy in Christianity today. In fact, it’s been said that Christians are the worst enemies of Christ. Hypocrisy was one of my main excuses for not coming to Christ when I was younger. All of these… fear, persecution, hypocrisy, or whatever the reason, is all just a cover-up though to protect the real reason about why people don’t turn to Jesus…He contradicts people’s lifestyles! You’ve heard people say over and over again how there are so many contradictions in The Bible. In fact people will go out of their way to find them! Here’s a newsflash for you though…there are no contradictions! What it does though is contradict people’s lifestyles and this is the real reason why people turn away from Christ! “What? I’ve got to do what? I’ve got to give up what? Uh-uh! No thank you!”. Jesus is well aware of this motive for turning away from Him as well. Back in Chapter 3 in John’s Gospel, Jesus says to Nicodemus…

(19) And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (20) For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. … John 3:19-20 NKJV

To finish out Chapter 7 of this study, we turn our attention to the people’s response to the altar call that Jesus has just made to the people. Some people respond positively but most of them respond negatively coming up with some pretty lame excuses! Let’s get started and as always, the text link for the entire chapter and the audio are included so you can follow along. Before we get started though, let’s go to the Lord in prayer…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word and this time that we are about to spend in it. Bless this time Lord and make it fruitful. Lord we pray that this particular study in John’s Gospel will open eyes and hearts of those who don’t know You. Lord, we put away all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to hear Your Word. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen! 

John 7

Let’s look at the passage for this post which is considerably larger than the last passage we looked at. For context purposes, we start back up in verse 37 again…

(37) On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. (38) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (39) But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (40) Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” (41) Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? (42) Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” (43) So there was a division among the people because of Him. (44) Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him. (45) Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?” (46) The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (47) Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? (48) Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? (49) But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” (50) Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, (51) “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (52) They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” (53) And everyone went to his own house. … John 7:37-53 NKJV

The final part of Chapter 7 takes place on the final day of The Feast of Tabernacles or Booths on the day that a big feast is held called the Shemini Atzeret. We looked at the rituals that take place during this feast in my last post so I’m not going to go into any detail about it here but as the priest is pouring the water out of the pitcher, Jesus cries out to the crowd, “If anyone thirsts…” etc etc, and the crowd is stunned by His words because in essence, Jesus is claiming to be God! We looked at verses 37 to 39 in the last post and I just included them here for context purposes and you’ll see why in just a second. Now let’s look at verses 40 through 53 in greater detail. …

v 40 – (40) Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.”

The reason why I included verses 37-39 in this post is because of the first word that we read here. It is the word therefore. Whenever you read the word therefore in The Bible, you have to see what it’s there for! What it’s there for, is because of what Jesus says in verses 37 and 38. He says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  When Jesus said this, it caused a major commotion because this man that was standing before them and crying out was claiming to be God! It was not only this saying by Christ that was causing a commotion but everything else that He had said during the time that He was there at the feast which is what the phrase when they heard this saying really means. Now begins the opinions from the crowd. The first one we read which many in the crowd said is truly this is the Prophet. Notice the word prophet is capitalized. The crowd was flashing back to what Moses had said and what we read in Deuteronomy 18…

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

During the time of Jesus, the hope of the arrival of the Messiah had reached a fever pitch. Remember back in the first chapter of John which introduces John the Baptist? The Pharisees ask him, “Are you the Prophet?” which John the Baptist replies, “No I am not”. The people were looking for the Messiah’s arrival and now Jesus is here at this feast saying all of these marvelous, glorious, and mysterious things and they begin to wonder, “Is this the Messiah?”. Some of the crowd have already come to this conclusion as we look at the next verse. …

vv 41 – 43 – (41) Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? (42) Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” (43) So there was a division among the people because of Him.

There was some in the crowd that said, “Yep this is the Christ no doubt about it!”. Let’s clear up a misconception before we move on. The term Christ was not Jesus’s last name! Jesus did not come from the Christ family living on such and such street in Nazareth! A lot of people seem to believe this though when they put the letter “H” between the words Jesus and Christ! That is blasphemy! The term Christ is a title not a name. The term Christ is the Greek word Christos which means anointed one or the Messiah.

Some of the crowd though disagreed saying, Will the Christ come out of Galilee?. They knew Jesus lived in Nazareth and there was nothing in the Old Testament prophecies that said that the Messiah would come from Galilee. They even say amongst themselves, Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?. They were right though. The Christ would come from Bethlehem and from the seed of David. If they had taken the time to search Jesus’s background further though, they would have discovered that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and He was from the seed of David on Mary’s side of the family. This was God’s way of getting around the curse that is announced in Jeremiah 22…

(28) “Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol— A vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, And cast into a land which they do not know? (29) O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the LORD! (30) Thus says the LORD: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.’ ” … Jeremiah 22:28-30 NKJV

Ever wonder why there are two genealogies of Jesus? This is the reason why. The genealogy that we read in Matthew shows the lineage of Jesus through Joseph giving Him the legal right to the throne of David through David’s son Solomon, thereby proving Jesus to be the Messiah. As legal Son of Joseph, the Lord fulfilled that part of God’s covenant with David which promised him that his throne would continue forever. But Jesus could not have been the real son of Joseph without coming under God’s curse on Jeconiah, which decreed that no descendant of that wicked king would prosper. The genealogy in Luke traces the bloodline of Jesus through Mary and another one of David’s sons, Nathan. As the real Son of Mary, Jesus fulfilled that part of the covenant of God with David which promised him that his seed would sit upon his throne forever. And by being descended from David through Nathan, He did not come under the curse which was pronounced on Jeconiah. This genealogy proves Jesus to be the Son of God.

Back to this passage in John’s Gospel so now we have a back and forth ensuing among those that believe that Jesus is the Messiah and those that didn’t. Moving on now…

v 44 – (44) Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him.

Some of the people were angry at Jesus for what He had been saying. Why? Nothing that He had been saying was threatening or insulting. He had said sweet and gracious things. One reason was for blasphemy. Here was the man Jesus claiming to be God and that was blasphemy in their eyes. I think the real reason though might have been conviction. The things that Jesus had been saying was sinking in and as the saying goes “cutting them to the heart”. Most people confronted with something that causes conviction in them will fight back either verbally or physically. In the Book of Acts, the apostle Stephen is lecturing or rather making a statement to the Jewish rulers defending himself from a charge of blasphemy. It is a rather lengthy statement but he ends it with one of my favorite passages in the book. Turning to Acts and Chapter 7, Stephen says to them…

(51) “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. (52) Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, (53) who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” … Acts 7:51-53 NKJV

What was the response from the Jewish rulers and anybody else who was in earshot of this statement? Did they stand and clap and whistle and yell, “Attaboy! You tell us!”? No we read that they stoned him! Why? Because they were convicted by his words which is also probably happening here to the crowd and Jesus. The one thing though is that even though some of the people in the crowd acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah, John makes no mention of any of these people becoming followers and disciples. It was a statement of fact not faith. Many Christians are that way as well. They acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God but they don’t surrender their lives to Him.

Some people wanted to take Him, literally grab a hold of Jesus. This actually happens several times in The Gospels. In Luke, Chapter 4, Jesus is grabbed and led to the brow of a hill where they wanted to literally throw Him off a cliff. He evades them though just as He does here as we read but no one laid hands on Him. Why? Because Jesus’s time had not yet come which was His crucifixion. Jesus was on His own timetable not man’s. Moving on now to verse 45 and looking at the next few verses…

vv 45-49 – (45) Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?” (46) The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (47) Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? (48) Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? (49) But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”

The Pharisees and the chief priests had heard enough and they wanted Jesus silenced! It would seem, if you read between the lines, that the Pharisees and the chief priests were not even at the feast but in their council chambers. Going back to John 7:32, we read…

(32) The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. … John 7:32 NKJV

The fact that the Pharisees and the chief priests may not have even been at the feast was rather odd considering this was a holy mandatory feast. Wherever their location, the officers that the Pharisees and the chief priests had sent to arrest Jesus, come back empty handed which doesn’t sit to well with them! They begin to wonder if they too have been taken in by what Jesus had been saying. They ask the officers why they didn’t bring Jesus to them. Their words are probably the most memorable coming from the mouths of what is presumed to be unbelievers…No one ever spoke like this Man. These officers had probably heard a lot of men speak and teach and captivate an audience but there was something about what was coming out of the mouth of Jesus that made them prevent them from what they were sent out to do. Which brings to mind about what Peter says in 1 Peter about the conduct of Christians out in the world. He 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

and also in 1 Peter…

(15) 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; (16) having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. … 1 Peter 3:15-16 NKJV

Because Jesus was speaking with such grace, authority, and wisdom, the officers actually were convicted and ashamed to arrest Him. Again, John makes no mention though of any of these officers being converted.

The Pharisees are furious because the officers do not have Jesus with them and accuse them of being deceived as the crowd had been. Their argument was have any of  the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him. This was a terrible argument. It was not only a tragedy that the ruling class and the priests failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and believe on Him but it was clear that they also wanted to keep others from believing on Him as well. This is going on in the world today and especially in America. Those who do not want to come to Jesus and be saved try to prevent others from doing so. I was reading an article the other day where it has been determined that The Bible has been deemed, and I quote, “incompatible with humanity”! Really? It would seem that we, for the most part, have become incompatible with the teachings of The Bible something that everyone is going to have to find out the hard way! Moving on though, the Pharisees then say that anyone who believes in Jesus is accursed because they do not know the law meaning the teachings of the Scriptures. The same thing is happening today in America where we have these Democratic Socialist politicians quoting passages from The Bible and taking everything they quote way out of context. They accuse Christians of being cruel and heartless when it comes to illegal immigrants by quoting a passage out of Matthew 25. The passage that I am referring to is Matthew 25:31-46. They have absolutely no clue to what this passage really means! Most recently, Cory Booker quoted Micah 6:8 at an LGTBQ townhall hosted by the Communist News Network, CNN, which had absolutely nothing to do with the question he was asked! Incidentally, Cory Booker claims he is a Christian and yet supports gay marriage! Many Christians today are just like this. It’s called “dalmatian theology”. They pick and choose which part or parts of God’s Word suits them or their lifestyle. They’ll say, “Yep I love this, the way Jesus talks about love and forgiveness but let’s not talk about this, the judgement for those that don’t accept Jesus and let’s definitely throw out the Old Testament that shows what happens to a nation and its people who accept idolatry!”.

It was the Pharisees and not the people who were out of touch with the Scriptures. You can almost detect the Pharisees disdain for these people, these “deplorables” if you will, that believed Jesus to be the Messiah. In the King Jimmie Version, this crowd is translated as this people or in Greek houtos ochlos which loosely translated means “this rabble”. A good translation for this verse would be, “How dare these deplorables say this man Jesus is the Messiah when we know He is not!”. Not all of them feel that way as we move on to verse 50 and finish out this passage and Chapter 7. …

vv 50-53 – (53) Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, (51) “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (52) They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” (53) And everyone went to his own house.

One of the Pharisees, Nicodemus, speaks up now. We were introduced to Nicodemus back in Chapter 3. He came to talk to Jesus at night and Jesus gives him the “born again” discourse. After this meeting with Jesus, it would appear from what we read in this verse that he had accepted Jesus and was saved and now Nicodemus comes to His defense. If you love the Lord, you defend that love! You don’t hide it from others because it might to be too inconvenient or uncomfortable at the time! Nicodemus uses a simple argument and one backed up by the law that they spoke so highly about knowing. I think there was a bit of sarcasm in Nicodemus when he says this to his colleagues, sort of calling them out…Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?. Under Jewish law, it was forbidden to condemn someone before hearing their side. No civilized nation should condemn anyone before hearing them. Even though it was forbidden under their law, this is exactly what the Jewish rulers and religious leaders were trying to do to Jesus.

Now in verse 52, the Pharisees turn on one of their own. They accuse Nicodemus of being deceived by Jesus as well. They chide back to Nicodemus, Are you also from Galilee?. They assumed, wrongly of course, that Jesus was from Galilee. Being from Galilee in those days was not exactly a badge of honor and being from Nazareth which is in the Galilee region, and where Jesus lived at the time, was even worse. Back in John Chapter One, when Philip invites Nathanael to check out Jesus, his response was, when Philip tells him that Jesus is from Nazareth, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”. If you lived in the Galilee region during that time, you were considered kind of like a hick! The Pharisees then tell Nicodemus probably one of the stupidest misinformed statements possibly in The Bible…Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee. Really? Let’s see there was Jonah and Nahum. They were from Galilee. Elijah, definitely one of the heavy hitters of the prophets, he was from Galilee. So was Hosea and Elisha, five total all from Galilee. This is a prime example of not knowing what we’re talking about! This statement ranks right up there with another statement that the Pharisees will make in the next chapter that we will look at where they say, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been in bondage to anyone.” Really? I guess the 400 years of slavery in Egypt doesn’t count? Or the 70 years captivity in Babylon? That doesn’t count as being in bondage? It was clear that the Pharisees did not know the Scriptures or their own history! We come to the end of Chapter 7 with the Feast of Tabernacles coming to an end as everyone went to his own house.

So this brings a close to a very long and detailed look at Chapter 7 of John’s Gospel and I have a question for you if you still haven’t accepted or trusted in Christ…what’s your excuse? What fallacy is preventing you from coming to Jesus? Many people say, “I have to clean up my act and then I’ll come to Jesus”. No! You come today! Psalm 95 says…

(6) Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. (7) For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: (8) “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, … Psalms 95:6-8 NKJV

The fact is that the excuse that people use not to come to Christ is to cover up the real reason…rebellion. That is what is going on in America today. People view Christianity as a serious threat to their freedoms and lifestyles that must be crushed whatever it takes! This is why the Democratic Party is so popular because they promise to drive God out of America! In closing, on the lighter side, I love the show “Young Sheldon” on CBS. It’s a great show with a great cast and even though I’m not exactly thrilled with the atheistic attitude that Sheldon has, I heard the best explanation for coming to Christ on one of the episodes and it doesn’t come from The Bible. It comes from a scientist named Blaise Pascal. Sheldon was quoting something that Blaise Pascal had said. The full quote of Pascal’s is…

“Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.”

In other words, believing in Jesus will cost you nothing. Not believing in Him though could cost you everything! Let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

As we bring this chapter of John’s Gospel to a close, we pray for all the lost souls in our country that haven’t accepted Your Son Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Lord we believe in You and we know that belief is not false and we thank You for Your grace and mercy that You show to anyone that comes to You in faith. Lord we love You! Thank You for all the blessings, and even the hardships, that we have in our lives. Help us to become stronger more convicted believers in You and help lead others to You that do not know You and we pray this Lord in Your Name…Amen!

A few years back, the company Sprite had a catchy slogan for their soft drink. They may still use it, I don’t know, but you probably have heard it…”Obey your thirst”. It’s not only a catchy, re-memorable slogan, it is also a matter of fact where your body is concerned. Face it if you don’t drink anything, you will eventually die. It is not only important to drink but it is also important what you drink. For instance when you’re hot and thirsty, you don’t drink alcoholic beverages because they will just increase your body’s dehydration. You need water or something to boost your electrolytes if you’re really dehydrated like Gatorade or Powerade. I found out the hard way a few years back about how important it is to keep properly hydrated when you are outside on very hot days. I was working in construction back then and during lunch, instead of drinking something to boost my electrolytes or water, I drank a soda, an energy drink soda. Not going to mention the brand because it’s not important and I don’t want to get sued! LOL! The point is, these type of drinks do nothing for dehydration. In fact, I found out, that it worsens it. To make matters worse, I was so involved in working that I wasn’t drink much water. After a few hours, I fell out with severe heat cramps because my potassium levels were dangerously low. I had to drink a couple containers of Gatorade and eat a banana for my body to regain proper function again.  The most important fluid your body needs is water. It regulates body temperature, helps process food and flushes out waste. It keeps all of our body tissues in good working order so it’s important to drink lots of it. You are supposed to drink a gallon or two every day so I’ve heard.

Satisfying spiritual thirst is the same way. It is very important what you “drink” to satisfy that thirst. We have a lot of spiritually thirsty people in America today who are trying to satisfy their thirst with the wrong things; money, sex, power, status, material possessions, etcetera; instead of drinking and taking in the spiritual water of Jesus Christ even though it is offered to them time and time again. Many so called believers in Christ are just as guilty of this as unbelievers. In Jeremiah, God tells Jeremiah…

“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

In Chapter 7 in John’s Gospel, we have been examining different types of spiritually thirsty people and also a group of people who resent Jesus for offering the solution to that spiritual thirst. In the last post, we left off with the beginning of what may be the greatest altar call that Jesus makes in the Gospels. He is calling out to these spiritually thirsty people and in this post, we are going to take a very close look at this altar call that Jesus makes. Unlike the last few posts where we have looked at larger passages, a much smaller passage here, just a few verses, but a wealth of spiritual knowledge in them so let’s get started! As always, the text link and audio for the entire chapter is included so you can follow along but first, let’s prepare our hearts to receive God’s Word…

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your Word and this time that we are about to share in it. Bless this time and make it fruitful. Lord we live in troubled times right now in our country. It may be affecting our lives in our homes, our schools, our jobs, maybe even inside the church but we turn to you Lord because it is You that will help us in times of trouble because the help of man is useless and You will tread down our enemies! Lord as we look at this passage of Your altar call that You made thousands of years ago, let us not forget that this altar call is still open and still available to those who are willing to accept it. Lord, we put away all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to hear Your Word. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen!

John 7

Let’s look at the very small passage for this post…

(37) On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. (38) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (39) But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. … John 7:37-39 NKJV

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

vv 37-38 – (37) On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. (38) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

This takes place during the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. The Feast of Tabernacles lasted seven days but it was followed on the eighth day by another feast called Shemini Atzeret. This is when this probably takes place. In order to understand the significance of what is happening here, you have to know what is happening in the background that God’s Word doesn’t tell you about. I did a lot of research on this and hopefully I got it right. Like I said, the Feast of Tabernacles lasted seven days. Every day of the feast, in the morning, the people would head up to the temple area, the courts, where they would be met by a priest. They would be carrying in their left hand a piece of citrus fruit symbolizing the fruitful land that God had given them. In their right hand, they would be carrying branches from three different trees…a palm branch, a willow branch, and a myrtle branch. That symbolized the 40 years of wandering around in the wilderness before they got into the Promised Land. They were singing songs as they were heading up to the temple, probably the Psalms of Ascent which is Psalms 120-134. The priest would meet them and he would have a golden pitcher full of water. They all go from the temple area to the Pool of Siloam where the priest would take the pitcher and dip it into the Pool of Siloam and they would all head back to the temple area. They would then recite the Hallel, Psalms 113-118. The priest would then take the pitcher of water, walk around the altar, and pour it out onto stones of the altar while the people sang out in unison a passage from Isaiah 12…

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

The pouring out of the water symbolized God’s provision of water from the rock in the desert when they were wandering around the wilderness which is told about in Exodus and again in Numbers. So you get the picture. This is done for the seven days of the feast. Now we come to the eighth day, the last day, that great day of the feast. This is the Shemini Atzeret. It is spoken about briefly in this passage from Leviticus…

(36) For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it. … Leviticus 23:36 NKJV

The water ritual is done again but this time, the priest walked around the altar seven times before pouring the water out. Why seven times? Because they marched around Jericho seven times before they actually entered the Promised Land. On the sixth time around, the priest was met by another priest carrying a container of wine. Water and wine. Wine symbolic of joy. God has given us joy—refreshment! Then the priest with the pitcher of water would ascend the steps of the altar. As he would get up and start walking, every step the people shouted louder and louder. And then he would pause at the top and lift the pitcher of water up slowly and with every little millimeter of movement the crowd shouting would get louder and louder and louder until the pitcher was at the very top that that priest could reach, then there was a hush over the crowd. Then the water would get poured out. This ceremony is called the Hoshana Rabbah, the great HOSHIANA, which translated means “save now”. This will give you an idea of what is going on in the background of this passage. So now as the priest is pouring out the water, Jesus cries out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Can you imagine the uproar this must have caused?! The priest had just poured out the water as an appeal to God to provide water for the people, and Jesus, as if to answer the prayer, tells the people to come to Him for water. What a radical statement and shocker to the crowd! Jesus was claiming to be God Himself!

The text says that Jesus stood and cried out. The word is krazō  in Greek. It means to scream or call aloud, or to shriek. No megaphones back then and Jesus knows that there are lots of spiritually thirsty people out there so He wants to get His point across about what these people need to do! Notice that Jesus says anyone. Didn’t matter who they were, what race they might have been, whether they were God’s “chosen” people or not or anything else. He meant what He said…ANYONE! It still applies today as well! But there are a couple of conditions. First, you have to have a burning desire. Jesus says anyone who thirsts, the Greek word for it is dipsaō . There are three stages of dehydration in case you didn’t know. First, what happens is what is called dipsea which is just common thirst. If you don’t satisfy that in time, you go to the second stage which is called hyperdipsea. This is extreme bouts of thirst. That’s critical and if you don’t do something about that, you go into the third stage which is called polydipsea. This is where you have a sustained thirst where you will drink anything. Someone who is suffering from this will drink ocean water even though it is loaded with salt.

We have people today who suffer from hyperdipsea only in a spiritual sense. They will “drink” anything to get satisfied. They try to satisfy their spiritual thirst with the wrong things; money, sex, power, status, material possessions, drugs, alcohol, etc. My question is how is that working out for you? Never seems to be enough doesn’t it! A person who is suffering from hyperdipsea who is drinking ocean water to satisfy that thirst is poisoning their body because as I said, ocean water contains salt, which in large amounts, poisons the body. The same thing can be said for people who “drink” anything to satisfy their spiritual thirst. It “poisons” the body too.

The second condition is found in verse 38. Look what the text says. Jesus says…He who believes in Me. You have to believe that Jesus is the only way to satisfy that spiritual thirst, that He is the only one who can save you and grant you eternal life with the Father in heaven. Everyone believes that John 3:16 is the most important verse of The Gospel. We all know it but in case you don’t, this is what John 3:16 says…

(16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. … John 3:16 NKJV

However before that verse has any bearing on your life, you must believe what Jesus says in John 14:6. Jesus says in John 14:6…

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

So if you don’t believe John 14:6, John 3:16 means nothing to you and will not have any affect on your life whatsoever. I’ll take it back even a step further and what I truly believe is the most important verse of The Gospel and it isn’t found in any of The Gospels. It’s what Paul says in 1 Timothy. Turning there and in Chapter 1 down to verse 15…

(15) 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

What Paul is saying here is that no one is a bigger sinner and need of saving than he is. This is of course is not the case because this describes EVERYONE! Believers and non-believers alike fit this category. He is just admitting this and believing this. Notice that Paul says that he “is” and not “was” chief of sinners. Even after coming to Christ, Paul still carried this belief in him and we who come to Christ should as well but many of us don’t. How many Christians can say deep in their hearts that this their favorite verse and they truly believe this? This has become my favorite verse, though I have to remind myself of this from time to time. After all, I’m not perfect! None of us are! My customers ask me from time to time though what my favorite verse is and I rattle this one off to them and I get puzzled looks from them! LOL!

Now we come to the third and final condition. Jesus says back again in verse 37 in our passage, come to Me and drink. There has to be some kind of action on our part. We have to come. We have to put our human pride aside and admit that we are sinners, the chief of sinners, if you will and then we have to do something about it. We have to come to Jesus because we believe that He is the only way out of our fallen condition. Coming to Him is not enough though. We must drink that is to accept Jesus into our hearts, our souls, and into our lives. If you are suffering from thirst and you just walk up to a glass of water sitting on a table, and then just look at it or admire it, and not drink it, it will do nothing for you! You have to pick up the glass of water and drink it for it to do any good for you.

By Jesus telling the people let him come to Me and drink, He was telling the people that He was the way to salvation and not the ceremonial law that the Pharisees strictly enforced. This of course threw the Pharisees into a fit who held the ceremonial law sacred. The ceremonial law could do nothing though it was a sign for something better to come. The Law was given for one purpose and one purpose only…to show people how fallen their condition really was. No matter how many lambs and other animals were sacrificed year after year, it could never pacify the people’s conscience or pacify God. Now Jesus comes along and tells the people, “You don’t have to do this anymore! Come to Me!”. In Hebrews, it says…

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. … Hebrews 10:1 NKJV

Going to verse 38 of our passage now and looking at that more closely, Jesus says He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. We must not just believe in Christ but have a belief in Him that fits what The Bible says about believing in Him. In other words, we don’t make Jesus into what we want Him to be or what we think He should be. There is this overwhelming belief that Jesus is this loving, all forgiving God that will come back and take everyone to heaven. Nothing in The Bible claims this! If you think this way, may I suggest that you read Revelation! Yes, Jesus is a forgiving and loving God but we must come to Him on His terms not ours! We must come to Him as a true fallen, broken, sinner and in repentance and trust and believe in Him. This statement that Jesus makes here to the people probably made them flashback to what God said to Isaiah. Isaiah 55:1 says…

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. … Isaiah 55:1 NKJV

They knew what Jesus was telling them…He was telling them that He was God! By the way if you have a pastor or religious leader at your church that tells you that salvation depends on giving to their church, pull out this verse! LOL! Another good verse to rattle off to them, and one of my personal favorites, is what Peter tells Simon the magician in Acts…

(20) But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! … Acts 8:20 NKJV

Ouch! LOL! That’s a different topic altogether but I thought I would throw that out there. We should be cheerful givers not forced givers!

Throughout the Old Testament though it was taught that people who accepted the Messiah would not only have their own needs supplied but they would also be a blessing to others. This is the way it is supposed to be for us as well. When we come to Christ, we are not supposed to be a reservoir, taking everything in and giving nothing out, but a fountain spewing our faith to others and letting them share in the blessings that comes when one accepts Christ into their lives. The promise that Jesus makes here in verse 38 is that we will not only be blessed but we will become a blessing to others! It has been said that if one claims to be living with the Holy Spirit in them and is not sharing that with others, then the Holy Spirit is not there! Now to verse 39 to wrap up this passage. …

v 39 – (39) But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The living water that Jesus talks about in verse 38, is in fact, The Holy Spirit. The people who had accepted and believed in Jesus at this time did not receive The Holy Spirit but Jesus was not yet glorified. Now what exactly does that mean? It means that Jesus had not been crucified and gone back to heaven yet. He hadn’t gone to the cross yet and fulfilled His mission. In about six months or so from this feast, Jesus would be crucified and after three days, be resurrected. After some time afterwards, He would then go back to the Father in heaven. When that happened, His followers received The Holy Spirit. That happens in Chapter Two of Acts, the day of Pentecost, about 50 days after Jesus’s resurrection.

So to wrap this post up, here’s the takeaway…no one is too good for damnation and no one is too bad for salvation. Turn back to Matthew and to the passage of the Parable of the Two Sons which begins in verse 28. Jesus says, addressing the religious leaders…

(28) “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ (29) He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. (30) Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. (31) Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. (32) For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him. … Matthew 21:28-32 NKJV

The Lord interpreted the parable. Tax collectors and harlots were like the first son. They made no immediate pretense of obeying John the Baptist, but eventually many of them did repent and believe in Jesus. The religious leaders were like the second son. They professed to approve the preaching of John, but never confessed their sins or trusted the Savior. Therefore the out-and-out sinners entered the kingdom of God while the self-satisfied religious leaders remained outside. It is the same today. True self professed sinners receive the gospel more readily than those who profess to know Christ but never really admit to themselves that they are sinners. Giving to charities, being raised by religious parents, going to church, or rattling off Bible verses ad nauseam doesn’t get you into heaven. Only trusting and believing in Jesus does that! The question is do you? If not this is your chance now.

Now, this is a moment of invitation to you if you do not have Christ in your life. If you are rejecting Christ, you too do not have that much more time. When Christ comes and the curtain is drawn, time is up and there will be no second chances! It doesn’t have to be this way though. Nothing that we can say, nothing that we can do will be acceptable to God unless we accept His Son Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior who died for our sins. He paid our sin debt and He, and He alone, is the only way to salvation. Jesus says in John 14:6:

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

All you have to do is ask Him to come into your life! In Romans 10:9-13, Paul says:

“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” … (Romans 10:9-13 NIV)

Now just pray this simple short prayer. Remember it really doesn’t matter what you say. What matters is that what you say comes from your heart!…

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

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

There are things in life called “once in a lifetime” opportunities. They are what they say they are. One shot to take advantage of it and if you don’t, they are gone forever. Friendship, marriage, a dream job, a dream vacation can be listed as some of those things. My once in a lifetime opportunity came many years ago when I had the chance of a promising career in radio broadcasting. I was young and irresponsible back then and the result was I got fired from the radio station for being late one too many times and I have never been able to have a crack at being a broadcaster since then.

Salvation can be listed as a once in a lifetime opportunity as well. The reason why is because if you are presented an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as your savior and you don’t take advantage of it, you could die the very next day and that opportunity is gone forever and you will be doomed to eternal life in hell. Now to be perfectly honest, most people do get several opportunities to accept Christ but they don’t take advantage of them. They hear the Gospel message time and time again and time and time again, they turn away from it and perhaps, lose their once in a lifetime opportunity for salvation!

In this passage in Chapter 7 that we are going to look at in this post, Jesus is confronting a group of these kind of people. They have seen the miracles that He has done and they have heard what He has been saying but they are still deaf and blind to the truth of who He really is. They are offended by what Jesus has been saying and doing and they want Him arrested if not killed! This passage is a warning that Jesus gives the people about turning down His message and His discourse and the feast culminates with perhaps what might be the greatest altar call that Jesus gives in the Gospels. That altar call we will look at in greater detail in the next post but let’s get started! As always, the text link and audio for the entire chapter is included so you can follow along but first, let’s prepare our hearts to receive God’s Word…

Heavenly Father,

We thank You for Your Word, the Word that does Your work in the hearts of Your people who truly believe! Father, we pray as we look at this passage of Jesus’s warning to the unbelievers in this crowd, that those unbelievers who might be reading this post will open their eyes, ears, and hearts to the truth and accept Your Son Jesus today! Bless this time in Your Word and make it fruitful. We put away all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to what You have to say. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

John 7

Let’s look at the passage for this post…

(25) Now some of them from Jerusalem said, “Is this not He whom they seek to kill? (26) But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? (27) However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.” (28) Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. (29) But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.” (30) Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. (31) And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?” (32) The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. (33) Then Jesus said to them, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. (34) You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.” (35) Then the Jews said among themselves, “Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? (36) What is this thing that He said, ‘You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come’?” (37) On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. … John 7:25-37 NKJV

Again, Jesus is at the Feast of Tabernacles, a feast that celebrated how God provided for the Hebrews during their 40 years of wandering around in the wilderness. He had been teaching the people and many took offense to it since He had not studied under any of their rabbi’s. At this point, this is probably about six months away from the crucifixion. The Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot, took place in October during the fall. The next big feast, Passover, six months away in April, Jesus will be arrested, brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin and Pilate, and crucified. In this passage, Jesus is being confronted and is addressing His “haters” and some doubters as well. Let’s examine this passage a bit closer now. …

v 25 – (25) Now some of them from Jerusalem said, “Is this not He whom they seek to kill?

Apparently, word had gotten around that the Jewish rulers wanted Jesus dead. Jesus knew of this as well. Going back up to verse 19 of this chapter, Jesus tells the people…

(19) Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” … John 7:19 NKJV

I forgot to go into some detail regarding this verse in the last post, something that came to me after I had already published it so I’ll briefly do it now. The Law, is The Ten Commandments of course, as well as the 300 or so other ones listed in Leviticus! LOL! The fact is no one keeps the Ten Commandments! If you say you do, then you are a liar and you have broken the one regarding lying! It is impossible in our sinful nature as human beings to keep the Law. Now true most of us do not murder, do not commit adultery and we honor our parents. We probably follow all the “biggies” but everybody has lied at least once in their lives about something or another and everybody, everybody, covets. It is in our human nature and if you break just one of God’s Laws just once, you have broken all of them! In James, he says…

(10) For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. … James 2:10 NKJV

Jesus goes as far as to say if you even THINK about it, you’re guilty of breaking the Law. Here’s what Jesus says about adultery…

(27) “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.’ (28) But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. … Matthew 5:27-28 NKJV

Now let me ask you something…which one of us guys is not guilty of this? LOL! Seriously though the fact is that the Law was not given to keep. It was given to show us that it is impossible to keep! It was given so we could recognize sinful behavior. In Romans, Paul says…

(7) What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” … Romans 7:7 NKJV

That’s not to say that we as believers should just do whatever we want just because we have accepted Jesus into our lives which many of us believe that we can do. Again in Romans in the chapter before, Chapter 6, Paul again says…

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? (2) Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? (3) Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (4) Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. … Romans 6:1-4 NKJV

Anyway, this is something that I forgot to cover in the last post and I thought it would be a good time to cover it now. Moving along now…

vv 26-27 – (26) But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? (27) However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.”

The people in the crowd could not understand why the Jewish rulers were allowing Jesus to speak so boldly and doing nothing to Him. They began to wonder if the rulers had come to believe that Jesus was in fact the Messiah. In verse 27, the crowd reasons amongst themselves that when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from. There was a belief at the time that when the Messiah came, it would be a sudden mysterious appearance. Kind of like a “Ta Da!” moment. However these people knew that Jesus had come from Nazareth and they knew His mother Mary and, who they thought to be, His father Joseph and His brothers and sisters. Yes, contrary to Catholic doctrine, Jesus had brothers and sisters. They were more like half brothers and sisters. In Matthew, we read…

(55) Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? (56) And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” … Matthew 13:55-56 NKJV

They knew everything that there was to know about Jesus at the time or so they thought. If they truly knew their scriptures, they would have known that the Messiah would be born a baby in Bethlehem and grow up to be a man. Jesus would, however, have His “Ta Da!” moment in a few short months when He would say to His disciples, “Hey go get me that donkey in the next town” and He would ride into Jerusalem on it! Moving on…

vv 28-29 – (28) Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. (29) But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.”

Jesus then cried out as He taught in the temple. Jesus raises His voice probably louder than He had throughout this discourse with the people. He not only raised His voice to be heard but mainly because He was grieved and concerned because of the hardness in the people’s hearts to what He had been saying. Even though Jesus doesn’t say it here, it was definitely a whoever has ears, let him hear moment.

When Jesus tells the people you both know Me and you know where I am from, He isn’t acknowledging the fact that they believed Him to be the Messiah. He was saying that they just recognized Him to be a man. They knew He was from Nazareth and they knew His mother and brothers and sisters but that’s all they knew about Him. They did not recognize Him to be God. Jesus again, acknowledges this fact in the rest of these verses. For the people out there that say “Well you know Jesus never claimed to be God”, here it is right here in these verses! This is key to the answer whether someone is a saved Christian or not. If you do not believe that Jesus is God then I am sorry but you are not saved! There are a lot of so-called Christians out there that just believe that Jesus was just a good man or a good teacher someone to model their lives after but they do not acknowledge nor believe that fact that He is God. Salvation will come down to the question that Jesus asked His disciples…Who do you say that I am?.

Jesus came from Nazareth but He did not come of Himself. In other words, Jesus did not come to this world to do His own will. He came here to do His Father’s will and His Father they did not know. They knew God in name only but they did not know the nature of God. They knew of Him but they did not know Him. Their religious traditions overshadowed the true knowledge and love of God. Henry Ward Beecher, a preacher in the 1800’s put it best commentating on this passage…

Men know where they are going when they follow a principle; because principles are rays of light. If you trace a ray of light in all its reflections, you will find that it runs back to the central sun; and every great line of honesty, every great line of honour, runs back towards the centre of God. And the man that follows these things knows that he is steering right Godward. But the man that follows policies, and worldly maxims, does not know where he is steering, except that in general he is steering toward the devil.—Henry Ward Beecher.

The fact is, people reject Christ because they don’t understand or know God’s nature of His love and forgiveness. “You mean all I have to do is believe and I’m forgiven?”, they’ll think, “Nah can’t be that easy! Have to do something else!” or they try to find a more logical, scientific explanation for everything. Remember “Velma” the girl with the glasses on the “Scooby Doo” cartoons? She would always say and look for logical explanations to solve mysteries. This is the way people who reject God are and while Velma was right in the cartoons, people are not when it comes to God! On the flipside of the coin, we Christians don’t know God either though we claim we do. We talk about the love and forgiveness of God but seldom do we talk about the price of shunning that love and forgiveness. We also believe that somehow God is more “advanced” and compassionate now and has changed His mind and that the Word of God has become outdated and no longer applies. We have become secular Christians putting stock more in the U.S. Constitution (most of the freedoms in it taken way out of the context of the way our founding fathers meant it to be by the way!) than in the Word of God. We have forgotten about what The Bible says about allowing paganism and what happens to countries who practice it. We’ve forgotten what The Bible says about immoral practices and those who practice them and we’ve forgotten about what The Bible says about allowing a government that encourages and enacts laws favoring all of this. We think that God has become more tolerant now and talk more of His first advent rather than His second when He will come back to avenge Himself upon His enemies and those who have shunned His love and forgiveness. Yes it’s true, we are living in an age of grace and by all means we should encourage people by telling them about the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ but we also need to remember that this age of grace is coming to an end and people need to know that as well.

Getting back to the passage now, verse 29, Jesus points out to the crowd that but I know Him, for I am from Him and He has sent Me. Jesus is pointing out that He and God are one in the same! He was always there from the foundation of the world. Back in Chapter 1 of John, we read…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. … John 1:1-3 NKJV

Jesus was there when the world was created. We can go even further back, in Genesis…

(3) Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. … Genesis 1:3 NKJV

This is not only the creation of the physical form of light but I also believe it to be the first mention of Christ in The Bible since Jesus is referred to as “the light of the world” several times.

vv 30-31 – (30) Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. (31) And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?”

The crowd may have been confused about the things that Jesus was saying but the Jewish religious leaders weren’t. They knew that Jesus was claiming to be God and the Messiah and they considered that to be sheer blasphemy. They considered Jesus just to be an ordinary man because they knew His family. They were totally in the dark though about where Jesus got His powers to heal and perform other miracles from. They actually accuse Jesus of getting His powers from Satan or Beelzebub at one point…

(22) And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.” … Mark 3:22 NKJV

Because of the things that Jesus was saying, they sought to take Him. In other words, they wanted to arrest Him but no one laid a hand on Him because His hour had not yet come. Jesus was on His Father’s timetable not man’s. The hour described here of course is His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. Until then, no one could do nothing against Him. Jesus at one point even manages to slip through and get away from a crowd that had seized Him and wanted to throw Him off a cliff! Talk about an escape artist!

Not everyone however felt this way because John says that many of the people believed in Him. There’s a saying that says, “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck”. Not to compare our Lord and Savior to a duck but you get my drift. These people heard His words and saw the miracles and put two and two together and realized that Jesus was exactly who He claimed to be. There could be some doubt though whether this belief was genuine or not. The reasoning was could someone else, if he were the Christ, perform more miracles and show more signs than Jesus had. Their reasoning was no and therefore they believed Him to be the Messiah. Moving on to verse 32…

vv 32-34 – (32) The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. (33) Then Jesus said to them, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. (34) You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.”

The Jewish rulers, the Pharisees, didn’t like what the crowd was saying about Jesus. They were jealous of Him and the attention that they were giving to Him. They were afraid that more people would listen to Him and follow Jesus. Under the climate that they were living in at the time, their belief of this could be justified. They were under Roman occupation and there was some fear that a movement of following Jesus would be seen as a threat to Rome. There is proof of this in the Scriptures. In John Chapter 11 after Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, it says…

(47) Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. (48) If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” … John 11:47-48 NKJV

The real reason why they hated Jesus though was probably jealousy.

The statement that Jesus makes in verse 33 is probably directed at the officers who tried to arrest Him. They were also directed to anyone else within earshot. Jesus knew what His ultimate fate would be which is why He says I shall be with you a little while longer. What Jesus says next, and then I go to Him who sent Me, only angered the Pharisees further. Notice that Jesus says I go meaning that this was freedom of choice not driven away by force. It was voluntary. He would finish His mission on earth and then He would go back to God. It would seem that when Jesus says, I shall be with you a little while longer, He was comforting Himself knowing that He only had a very short time left in this world with these people. It grieved Jesus of the hardness of heart and unbelief in most, not all, of the people He ran into. This is the attitude that we should have as true Christians. We should have absolutely no ties or desires to be in this world any longer than the Lord wants us to be. I’ve made the joke several times that if Jesus was to come back today that He would have to drag Christians kicking and screaming back to heaven because we have way too much desire to be in this world than to be with Him. Yes we should enjoy ourselves while we are here. There is nothing wrong with that but we should not become obsessed with that enjoyment and forget where our real home is. I love reading the Psalms. I read at least one every day. I was reading Psalm 73 the other day and this passage caught my eye and substantiates my argument about having no ties or any desire to be in this world any longer than we have to be. In verses 25 and 26 of Psalm 73, it says…

(25) Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. (26) My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. … Psalm 73:25-26 NKJV

Jesus then tells the Pharisees and the other non-believers in verse 34 You shall seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come. There would come a time that the Pharisees and the other unbelievers in the crowd would seek out Christ. They would need a Savior but because of their unbelief, they would be separated from Him forever. These are chilling and prophetic words to all who shun Christ’s love and forgiveness. There will come a time when you too will seek out Jesus but you will not find Him and you too will be separated from Him forever. The more you harden your heart to the message of the Gospel, the more the Lord will solidify that decision that you have made until it will be absolutely impossible for you to change it. Please note that the words Jesus says you cannot come meaning to be with Him in heaven is voluntary. It is because “you will not come”. In his commentary on this verse, Matthew Henry says it best…

Those who hate to be where Christ is, in his word and ordinances on earth, are very unfit to be where he is in his glory in heaven; for indeed heaven would be no heaven to them, such are the antipathies of an unsanctified soul to the felicities of that state. … Matthew Henry

Let’s move on and finish out the passage. …

vv 35-37 – (35) Then the Jews said among themselves, “Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? (36) What is this thing that He said, ‘You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come’?” (37) On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

It is quite obvious from these words from the Jews that they didn’t have a clue to what Jesus was referring to. They had no idea that Jesus was talking about going back to heaven and instead thought that He meant that He was going on some kind of preaching tour. The Dispersion that the Jews are talking about here is the “Diaspora”. These were Jews scattered about the world for various reasons. It actually exists today because as we all know that not all Jews live in Israel. These were Jews that were living in Greece.The people thought that Jesus was going to teach them or perhaps maybe even the Greeks themselves. In verse 36, the Jews again show their blindness of unbelief by sarcastically repeating Christ’s words in verse 34. The passage ends with perhaps one of the greatest altar calls made in The Gospel which we will look at in greater detail in the next post of this study.

In closing there is a passage in 2 Corinthians that emphasizes taking advantage of an opportunity to accept the message of The Gospel. It’s found in Chapter 6 verse 2 where Paul says…

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. … 2 Corinthians 6:2b NKJV

We don’t know what will happen tomorrow or for that matter, moment to moment. I remember a few years back riding home on the train after work getting off the train and seeing a guy who seemingly was fine when he got off the train collapse all of a sudden without absolutely no warning. Turns out, he suffered a fatal heart attack and died right there on the ground before the paramedics arrived I had heard the next day. I can’t remember if this was before I accepted Christ or not but I think about it now from time to time wondering if this guy knew Jesus or if he had passed on an opportunity to accept Him and now, it was too late! Here one minute and the next…gone! Don’t make that mistake if you don’t know Jesus! Accept Him today! Let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

As we bring this study on this passage to a close, we thank You, for those of us who have accepted Him, the gift of Your Son Jesus Christ and the sacrifice that He made for all of us and we thank You for Your Word that helps lead us to Him. Father, we don’t know how much time each and everyone of us has on this earth but we take the comfort in knowing that we are on the way to a far better place than we are right now. Father we pray that those who are reading this and don’t know Your Son Jesus Christ, that they would come to know Him and accept Him today and not miss, perhaps, their once in a lifetime opportunity. We pray this in the name of Your precious Son Jesus Christ…Amen!

I hate religion! I hate it if someone says, “Oh, you’re a religious person!”! I do not practice a religion and I am definitely not a religious person! What exactly do I mean by these statements? If you are a true believer in Jesus Christ then you know exactly what I am talking about here. True believers in Jesus Christ do not practice a religion and we are not religious people. What we have is a relationship with Him like a child has with a parent. We do things to please Him again not unlike a child tries to please his parents. That is what true belief in Jesus Christ is…a relationship. You either have it or you don’t and there is no middle ground!

86% of the world is religious. Religion is man’s attempt to please God. Religion is doing certain things during certain times of the day and certain times of the year all in a futile attempt to please God. It is a system of a series of rituals rather than a meaningful one on one relationship with the Lord. Here’s another thing that might surprise you…God hates religion! Whether you want to believe this or not, there is only one religion in the world…Judaism. It is the only one that God instituted for His people. All the rest are man-made! True Christianity is not a religion. Like I said it is a relationship. I’m sorry but if you’re a Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, Lutheran or any of the other Christian sects, you are basically practicing a man-made religion! These religions, except possibly Baptist, believe you have to work for your salvation. True Christianity believes that work is already done and all you have to do is believe it and accept it!

We began Chapter 7 in the last post looking at groups of people who were forming their own opinions of who Jesus was. Jesus had secretly gone to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, one of the feasts that required mandatory attendance, and now the people had located Him and, in this passage that we are going to look at in this post, He begins to teach the people. Let’s get started and as always, the text link for the entire chapter and audio is included so you can follow along. Let’s prepare our hearts to hear God’s Word by going to Him in prayer…

Father,

Thank You again for this time in Your Word. As we look at the difference between religion and having a meaningful relationship with Your Son Jesus, may our hearts and minds be open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening. In the name of Jesus we pray…Amen!

John 7

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

(14) Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. (15) And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” (16) Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. (17) If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. (18) He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. (19) Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” (20) The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?” (21) Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. (22) Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. (23) If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? (24) Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” … John 7:14-24 NKJV

Now let’s look at this passage a bit more closely. …

vv 14-16 – (14) Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. (15) And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” (16) Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.

Jesus is in Jerusalem for The Feast Of Tabernacles, one of the three mandatory attendance feasts. The Feast of the Tabernacles celebrated when the Hebrews were in the wilderness for 40 years and dwelt in makeshift tents or booths and how God provided for them. For one week out of the year, they would re-enact this, so to speak, by putting up lean-to’s and tents. They would go about their business during the day but at night, they would camp out under the stars.

The first thing you notice about this passage is that when Jesus gets to Jerusalem, He doesn’t do it with fanfare. He doesn’t heal people. He doesn’t go there proclaiming Himself a king. What He does is He goes to the temple and teach the people. It is the Greek word didaskō which means to teach or instruct. 36 times in the Gospels, Jesus is mentioned teaching people and Jesus is called Teacher, the Greek word didaskalos, 47 times. Jesus was majorly into doctrine and teaching people. Doctrine should also be important to us as well if we truly follow Christ. If you don’t think that doctrine is important, this is what God thinks about it…

(6) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. … Hosea 4:6 NKJV

This is the problem with the Church in America today. The Church no longer wants to hear the truth. They want a show. They want to feel good about themselves. Want to know why America is steeped in paganism, idolatry, immorality and growing persecution against Christians? Because the Church in America allows it instead of doing what God commands us to do in His Word!

Verse 15 sounds like a compliment when in fact it really was derogatory. Their statement wasn’t…”How can He?”. Their statement was…”How dare He!”. The word for letters is the Greek word gramma or grammata. It is where we get the word grammar from. In this case it means the Scriptures, rabbinical teachings basically The Old Testament writings. They took offense that Jesus was teaching people having never studied under their rabbis. I’m sure a lot of people who read my blog posts wonder how I can conduct a written Bible study when I’ve never been to a seminary or any kind of religious course. First of all, these are not my thoughts or opinions. Before I put together these Bible study posts, I read the passages very carefully over and over again. I read several commentaries on those passages and take bits and pieces from them. I also listen to messages by pastors on those passages and again take bits and pieces from them. Second, and probably most importantly though, as I am reading and putting these together, the Lord will put certain things on my heart to add to these posts and I always back up my writings with God’s Word because that speaks louder than I ever could! It doesn’t matter how old you are or how smart you are. Anyone can teach the word of God because the more you read it, the more God opens up to you. There is no such thing as reading The Bible too many times or reading it enough. Some of the examples of what I am talking about are these first from Jeremiah when God is recruiting Him…

(4) Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: (5) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” (6) Then said I: “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” (7) But the LORD said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. (8) Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,” says the LORD. (9) Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. … Jeremiah 1:4-9 NKJV

In the New Testament, Paul says to Timothy…

(6) If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. (7) But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. (8) For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. (9) This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. (10) For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. (11) These things command and teach. (12) Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (13) Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. (14) Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. (15) Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. (16) Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. … 1 Timothy 4:6-16 NKJV

The world is often amazed and will take offense to anyone who can teach and preach the Word of God having absolutely no real religious training.

In verse 16, Jesus tells the people, My doctrine is not Mine but His who sent Me. Now here with this statement, you could make a strong argument that God and Jesus are not one in the same. Why didn’t Jesus say “My doctrine and the One who sent Me” or just “My doctrine”? Simply put, Jesus was humbly submitting Himself to God the Father. He was telling the people that these words were not taught but through divine revelation. God had promised a prophet and that He would put His words in His mouth. In Deuteronomy, Moses said to the people…

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

and also again in the same passage, God tells Moses…

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

When Jesus spoke these words to the people at the feast, they should have instantly flashed back to these verses in Deuteronomy and what Moses had told them if they truly knew the Scriptures. In reality, it was the people and not Christ who were scripturally illiterate!  Moving now to verse 17…

vv 17-18 –  (17) If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. (18) He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.

Jesus’s words here are proof again that if one is willing to truly seek God with their heart, soul, and mind that they will know whether or not the doctrine being told to them is truly from God or just the person’s because God will reveal that to them by revelation through His Word. It’s called researching the Scriptures something that these people obviously didn’t do. The same can be said today of the Church. In one of my favorite passages, in Acts it says in part…

in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. … Acts 17:11b&c NKJV

The Church today is willing to swallow any kind of doctrine hook, line, and sinker! It is mainly because Christians want to be politically correct and not rock the boat but the other reason is because the Church today is scripturally illiterate! A perfect example of this are the Methodists who allow women behind the pulpit and gay preachers, both forbidden in The Bible, and the Catholic doctrine that forbids priests to marry and confessions of sins to a priest along with the other do’s and don’ts of their religion. Paul warns of false doctrines and believers being swayed by them in 1 Timothy…

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, (2) speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, (3) forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. … 1 Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV

Also in 2 Timothy where he says…

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

There are other examples as well throughout The Bible but they are too numerous to list here but these are the most well known passages. Moving on…

vv 19-23 – (19) Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” (20) The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?” (21) Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. (22) Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. (23) If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?

Religion is harmful because it causes people to kill others in the name of their religion. Islam is prime example of this as well as the Crusades of long ago. The Jewish leaders were willing to kill Jesus in the name of religion even though God forbid them to. I have a theory of why they wanted to do this. I can back it up scripturally but again it’s only a theory. If you remember, God sent the Hebrews into captivity for 70 years in Babylon. One of the reasons why was because of the people’s violation of the Sabbath and because they were swayed by false prophets and bad rulers. So here comes Jesus now healing people on the Sabbath and saying, “Follow Me”. What I think they did was flash back to the time where Moses tells them and this is in Deuteronomy 13…

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

Fearful of God’s judgement again, they take everything out of context here that Moses told them and decide, “Hey! He’s got to go!”. What the people weren’t hearing was that Jesus wasn’t telling them to follow false gods but to follow God. Again this is just a theory but I think this is what was running through the people’s minds at the time.

In verse 20, the people tell Jesus You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill you?. Can you imagine telling the God of the universe, our Creator…”You have a demon”? They will do this several times throughout the Gospels. Again the people mentioned here are the Jewish rulers, the Pharisees, and probably not just the ordinary people. The question posed to Jesus about seeking to kill Him is probably a question of guilt more than informational. It’s like, “Uh-oh He knows!”.

The one work that Jesus is talking about in verse 21 is the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda that was covered in Chapter 5. Jesus heals a man who had been lame for 38 years and then tells him to pick up his mat and walk. It is witnessed by the Pharisees who throw a fit because the healing and the man carrying his mat were done on the Sabbath and both were forbidden by their law. They marveled not because of the miracle but that Jesus did it on the Sabbath. In verse 22, Jesus points out to them that they circumcise a man on the Sabbath according to the law of Moses which wasn’t Moses law but God’s. According to God’s law, a male had to be circumcised on the eighth day after birth and if that eighth day after birth fell on a Sunday, it still had to be performed. It had been practiced by the fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob etc out of necessity. In verse 23, Jesus points out that the people were willing to do something out of necessity on the Sabbath, mutilate a baby boy, then why have an objection to something done out of mercy on the Sabbath, making a man who was suffering for so many years completely whole. Let’s move on to the last verse and wrap this up. …

v 24 – Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

Verse 24 is a command from Jesus to judge. It would seem here that Jesus is contradicting Himself. In Matthew, part of His “The Sermon On The Mount” discourse, Jesus says…

“Judge not, that you be not judged. … Matthew 7:1 NKJV

This verse is often taken out of context because most people, including most Christians, don’t know what Jesus means here. Jesus is not saying that we shouldn’t judge. The fact is, we are judged all the time! We are judged by our employers. We judge our friends. If we’re parents, we judge our kids & our kids, in turn, judge us! LOL! If we’re teachers, we judge our students who also judge us and so on and so forth. Let’s face it…life is full of judgement! We judge or are being judged every single day of our lives! So what did Jesus mean when He told His disciples not to judge others? Jesus meant not judging others on two principles:

1) Judging to tear others down instead of judging to build them up. Jesus explains if you read on in the same passage from Matthew…

(2) For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. … Matthew 7:2 NKJV

2) hypocritical judgement – For example telling someone it’s wrong to steal when you steal yourself! Again, Jesus explains as you read on…

(3) And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? (4) Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? (5) Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5 NKJV

“Do not judge” is not a blanket statement against all criticism of others. I mean if you’re heading down a road of spiritual darkness, wouldn’t you want someone to let you know that you are? I know I would! We just have to make sure that we’re not on the same road!

Jesus tells the people not to judge according to appearance but judge with righteous judgement. This means not to judge someone’s motive behind anything that they do. That is God’s job not ours. We cannot tell what is in someone’s heart but God knows and that is the way that he judges us not by our actions but the motive behind them. In 1st Samuel, it says…

For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” … 1 Samuel 16:7b NKJV

So in closing, here is the difference between just being religious and having a true meaningful relationship with the Lord. It has to do with the differences between fundamental religion and the Gospel. Religion emphasizes the outward but the Gospel emphasizes the inward. It’s kind of like the movie “The Wizard of Oz”. The wizard looked mighty and fearful but when Dorothy’s dog Toto pulled back the curtain, there was just this little old man pulling levers and pushing buttons. Same thing with believers. Just because someone carries a bible around with them and spouts biblical verses ad nauseam, does not mean they are a true follower of Jesus. Jesus says by their fruits you will know them. Look at a person’s actions and how they lead their lives when the church spotlight is off of them. That determines whether or not they have a saving relationship with Jesus. The next thing is that religion emphasizes prohibition, what you can’t do, but the Gospel emphasizes freedom. Religion says you can’t. The Gospel says you can! Further on in the Gospel of John in Chapter 8, it says…

(31) Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. (32) And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” … John 8:31-32 NKJV

Notice the key word here though abide. It’s not enough to just believe in God’s Word. You have to follow God’s Word. The way you follow God’s Word is to read God’s Word…all of it not just the parts we like. The third thing is that religion puts up barriers but the Gospel tears them down. Where Jesus was teaching in the temple was known as the court of the gentiles. It’s where anyone could go even Jewish women. There were other courts there but you couldn’t go there unless you were a Jew. If you did, you would be killed. That’s why Jesus chose to teach there because it opened His message up to everyone and that is who the Gospel is for…everyone! Paul says in Galatians…

(28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. … Galatians 3:28 NKJV

Remember what Jesus said in Matthew?…

(28) Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. … Matthew 11:28 NKJV

That’s a message that should unify and bring comfort to everyone who wants it! The last thing is that religion says you have to work your way but Jesus says “I am the way”! Religion says if you are good and you pray and you confess your sins to a priest and you don’t eat meat on certain days and you help old ladies cross the street or many of the other “ands” that many religions require then you will get to heaven. Jesus says just believe in Me and you’re there! Again further on in John’s Gospel…

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

Again this should be another message that unifies and brings comfort to everyone who wants it! Not to belabor this point because I want to save it for another time but I think you have to believe John 14:6 first before John 3:16 will have any benefit for you! Finally and to close this out, it’s not hard to discern the truth and what’s not… just read God’s Word! Before I became saved, I had a belief that God was the human body and The Bible was its owners manual. In some regards I still believe that in that The Bible is our owners manual. It teaches us what is the truth and what is not, how to take care of our bodies, what pleases God and what doesn’t, and makes us have a more, closer and deeper relationship with Him the more we delve into it. In this day and age, there is no reason for Christians not to be into God’s Word. No one’s life is that busy that you can’t sit down and read it every day especially with all these smartphones and i-phones. Instead of downloading useless apps, download an app that has The Bible. There are a lot of them out there and read the whole Bible not just the parts you like! Instead of reading “The Mueller Report” and worrying about whether President Trump is guilty of colluding with Russia or not, start colluding with God! President Trump is not your ticket to salvation! LOL! Let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

Thank You again for Your Word and the freedom that we have to read it and talk about it…a freedom that we all take for granted. Lord in this day and age, there are so many voices out there telling us what is the truth and what is not but Lord we have Your Word which is the ultimate truth. Lord, I pray that Your people would not only read it but also apply it to their lives and the life of this nation. Father we pray for all of the broken, lost people out there who are following useless religions struggling to find peace, comfort, and meaning behind them when all they have to do is to turn to Your Son Jesus Christ who You sent to this earth to die on a cross so we can enter Your Kingdom unhindered and nothing that we can do or say can ever replace that…or belief in Him and that wonderful work and it’s in that wonderful, glorious name of Jesus we pray…Amen!

Turn in your Bible to John Chapter 7. I found out something interesting listening to a message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque as I was preparing for this study on this passage that we will be looking at in this post. What is the foggiest place in the world? Surprisingly, it’s not any of the obvious places that would come to mind like London or San Francisco. It’s not even Seattle. It’s a place called Grand Banks which is located in Newfoundland. It has on the average, 206 foggy days out of the year! Just a bit of trivia for you.

Fog is really a cloud because it is formed the same way as clouds are, from droplets of water. Fog can be dangerous because it drastically reduces vision depending on how thick it is and sometimes without warning. This can be extremely dangerous while driving. You can’t tell how close you are to the car in front of you which is why fog ranks right up there with the cause of most weather related car accidents. In fact, a few years back, there was a 200 car pileup in India that injured hundreds of people and killing several. The cause was fog.

The truth is though the foggiest place is not a place on this earth. It is in the human heart especially when it comes to the perception of who Jesus Christ is. Like driving in a fog, that can be very dangerous because depending on your perception of who Jesus Christ really is, it can condemn you to an eternal life of damnation! Not my words, His!

Here in Chapter 7, there is “fog” that has settled on people’s hearts concerning Jesus. We have a fog of unbelief, his brothers, and a fog of hatred, mainly the Jewish leaders. There are also a lot of the people looking at Jesus through the fog not with hatred or unbelief but their perception of who He is. “He’s a good man,” they say. Others will think He is a good teacher. This is about as far as they will go though. They don’t truly have belief in Jesus and who He really is. These are the perceptions that many professed Christians have today…dangerous perceptions!

In Chapter 7 though, we see the start of animosity towards Jesus that will continue to grow. They don’t like Him or His actions or His words and they especially don’t like who He claims to be. Let’s get started with our study and as always the text link for the entire 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 this time again in Your Word. Father as we look at these verses in John’s Gospel, we put all distractions aside. Our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say to us. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening. Lord, bless this time in Your Word in Jesus’ name we pray…Amen!

John 7

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

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. (2) Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. (3) His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. (4) For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” (5) For even His brothers did not believe in Him. (6) Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. (7) The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. (8) You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.” (9) When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee. (10) But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. (11) Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?” (12) And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” (13) However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews. … John 7:1-13 NKJV

Let’s look at this passage closer now. …

vv 1-2 – After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. (2) Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand.

John starts out the chapter with the phrase after these things which we ask, “after what things?”. We would assume that it would be after the events of Chapter 6 but actually, six months have passed since the events of Chapter 6 and where we are at now in Chapter 7. How do we know this? Go back to John 6 and to verse 4…

(4) Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. … John 6:4 NKJV

Now we read here in verse 2 of Chapter 7 Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. Passover was a feast that was in the spring or our March or April and the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths, takes place in the fall or our October. The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates when the Hebrews left Egypt and how they lived in tents and makeshift dwellings in the wilderness. Between Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles is about six months so the things that John is referring to are the things that take place during this six month time period. What are they? The time period are the events of Matthew Chapters 15 through 18 and the parallel Chapters 7 through 9 of Mark. They fill in the gap between Chapter 6 and the start of Chapter 7 in John. Basically what Jesus is doing during this time period is spending time with His disciples, teaching them and also trying to make them realize who He really is. The crowds that were following Him are gone now so it’s just Jesus with His twelve chosen disciples. He tells the meanings behind the parables to them. He goes to Caesarea Philippi where Jesus asks the question, “Who do men say that I am?” They rattle off a variety of opinions…a teacher, a prophet, some say John The Baptist, all of these which are wrong. Jesus then poses this question to them…But who do you say that I am?”. Peter is the one who replies correctly, “You are the Christ the Son of the Living God!”. This is a question not found in John’s Gospel but I chose the question for the title of this study because it is a question that we will all have to answer and John’s Gospel is the undeniable proof of Peter’s answer to Jesus’s question. During this time period, the transfiguration will take place which is described in Matthew 17. The feeding of the four thousand takes place and several healings take place as well…many of them on the sabbath. 

Jesus did not go to Judea and instead stayed in Galilee because the Jews sought to kill Him. The Jews that John speaks of here are the Jewish rulers and religious leaders. Jesus doesn’t avoid Judea because of cowardice or fear but because His time had not yet come something that Jesus will say in verse 6 of this passage. What “time” was that? His crucifixion. More on this in a bit. Moving on to verse 3…

vv 3-5 – (3) His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. (4) For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” (5) For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

Here is further proof that Jesus had brothers. There is a belief that is taught that Mary, after giving birth to Jesus, was whisked away to heaven having completed her earthly work. There isn’t much mention of Mary after Jesus’s birth in the Scriptures but where there is, it totally refutes this doctrine. She is mentioned in Matthew when the magi (wise men) visit Christ to present Him with their gifts. Then we have this passage also in Matthew which not only mentions Mary but proof that she had children after Jesus. …

(46) While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. (47) Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” … Matthew 12:46-47 NKJV

John also mentions her as being in Cana for the wedding which Jesus turns water into wine which we have already looked at and she will be mentioned again by John as being there at the foot of the cross when Jesus is crucified.

These brothers that John mentions here were not true brothers of Jesus since their father was probably Joseph while Jesus was immaculately conceived. Some say they were distant cousins but I prefer the literal translation of the word. Their names were James, Joseph, Simon (not Simon Peter) and Judas (not Iscariot). Whoever or whatever they were, it proves that proximity to Christ does not denote one’s belief in Him. There will be a point though where they will become true believers. James goes on to pastor the church at Jerusalem and writes the Book of James and Judas, or Jude, goes on to write the Book of Jude. At this particular point in their lives though, they are not believers.

In this passage, the brothers are literally ridiculing Jesus. They are telling Him, “Look if you are who you say you are, then make yourself known to the people!”. Why did they want Jesus to go to Jerusalem? There are a variety of reasons. For one thing, they had seen how most of the crowds had quit following Jesus and they figured this would get His popularity back. This is probably doubtful though. Another reason, they, like everyone else, were awaiting the arrival of the Messiah, someone who would free them from the oppression of Rome, and they wanted to force Him to reveal Himself to the people as such. Again, probably not because John says in verse 5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him. Another reason could have been for personal benefit. They figured if He was the Messiah, they would have a special place on staff, riding on His coattails so to speak. There is another reason though, a much darker one and probably the real reason why they wanted Him to go…so He would be killed! Now follow me on this. Jesus was the oldest of them. Not only was Jesus the oldest, He was sinless. He was perfect! He was every parent’s dream…to have a perfect child! Can you imagine what it must have been like to have Jesus as a brother? Can you imagine the animosity that they must have felt towards Him? In every family, there is always some type of friction between siblings and while most don’t resort to killing or wanting to see their sibling killed, we know that it can and does happen. Take for instance the story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis. They were so jealous of Joseph because of his dreams and what they saw as favoritism shown by their father Jacob towards him, that they conspired to kill him. The brothers were envious of their brother Joseph and you can bet that Jesus’s brothers were even more envious of Jesus. It is quite possible that they wanted to get rid of Jesus and tried to coax Him to go to Jerusalem in hopes that He would be killed. Let’s move on. …

vv 6-9 – (6) Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. (7) The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. (8) You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.” (9) When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee.

Jesus tells His brothers My time has not yet come. Jesus’s life was always on a timetable and we see this throughout John’s Gospel as in these examples…

(30) Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. … John 7:30 NKJV

(20) These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come. … John 8:20 NKJV

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. … John 13:1 NKJV

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, … John 17:1 NKJV

That timetable or hour was the time of His crucifixion. The whole purpose of Jesus’s life was moving towards the cross. In Galatians, Paul says…

(4) But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, (5) to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. … Galatians 4:4-5 NKJV

Jesus tells his brothers your time is always ready. What does He mean by this statement? As of this point in the lives of the brothers, they were not believers. That would eventually change but not at this particular point in their lives so they were children of the world not children of God. When you are a “child of the world”, you do things and go places according to your desires not according to God’s will. You are following your own desires and passions and not God’s plan for your life. This was the case with Jesus’s brothers. They could come and go at will because they were following their own desires and passions. Jesus however was living in accordance to His Father’s will and on a strict timetable and He wasn’t ready to make Himself known in that way just quite yet no matter how much His brothers goaded Him. That time would come though. In fact, that time is predicted in Daniel. Flip back to the Old Testament to the Book of Daniel and Chapter 9 down to verse 25…

(25) “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.  (26)  “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. … Daniel 9:25-26 NKJV

Sir Robert Anderson, one of the heads of Scotland Yard during the 1800’s, found this prophecy fascinating and decided to do an investigation on it. His findings are in the book that he wrote titled, “The Coming Prince” published in 1894. You can actually find the book on line for free. Anyway going by the first part of the prophecy, which is actually verse 24, and by the Hebrew translation of the word “weeks” which means weeks of years, he went by the historically factual date that the command was given by King Artixerxes to rebuild Jerusalem which occurred on March 14th 445 BC. He then counted from that time 483 years, 360 days a year according to the Babylonian calendar, 173,880 days, and arrived at the date of April 6th 32 AD. What happened on that day you ask? Oh, not much really, just the exact date that Jesus told His disciples to go get a donkey and He rode into Jerusalem, “Palm Sunday”. Five days later on April 11th 32 AD, He was crucified or “cutoff”. So much for a “fairytale” huh?! Which makes me wonder why we celebrate Easter sometimes in March since we have the exact date that the resurrection occurred which would have been April 13th. Moving on to finish up this passage…

vv 10-13 – (10) But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. (11) Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?” (12) And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” (13) However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews.

After the brothers departed to go to the feast in Jerusalem, Jesus goes there in secret, kryptos is the word in Greek. It means without a big show or fanfare. He goes there because He wanted to not to mention that attending the feast was mandatory but He does so in secret. There are different groups of people when He gets there. One group are His enemies, the Jews who sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?”. These are the people that want to kill Jesus, the religious Jewish rulers. They notice that the brothers of Jesus are there so they are wondering where their brother Jesus is. There are two other groups there also. One group is in favor of Jesus and the other is not. These two groups of people were looking for Jesus because of the miracles that they heard, or perhaps saw, that Jesus had performed and they were hoping for a repeat performance. John says that there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. These two groups though are looking at Jesus through the fog so to speak. One group is saying, He is good while the other group is arguing No on the contrary, He deceives the people. Neither group sees Jesus for what He truly is…He’s God! No one in their right mind would go around telling people “I am God and if you don’t believe that, you will die in your sins” unless they were in fact God. Jesus not only said that He was God but also gave proof that He was. John, in this Gospel, gives overwhelming proof of the identity of Jesus Christ.

So in closing here’s the question…how do you see Jesus Christ? Are you too looking at Him through the fog? Do you think He’s a deceiver? Perhaps you think He’s a good teacher, someone to model your life after? The only answer and the correct one is what Peter says back in Chapter 6…”You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” If you are a professed follower of Jesus Christ and not seeing Him in this way, then you are not a true believer! In order for John 3:16 to have any meaning and effect on you, you must first believe John 14:6! …”I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. I’ll end with what famous author C.S. Lewis wrote. He writes…

“Either this man was and is the son of the God or else He is a mad man or something worst. You can shut Him up for being a fool. You can spit at Him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.”

I don’t know about you but I think I’ll take my chances, fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God! Let’s pray…

Father,

We live in a world where so many people have different opinions on who Your Son is. They see Him through a fog. Some even don’t see Him at all. Just like this passage we have been looking at, there are people who see Him as a good teacher, a good person. Others think He’s a deceiver of people. Lord, we thank You for this Gospel of John who proves undeniably who Jesus is. We pray Lord, that those people who don’t see Him and know Him in that way, would come to know Him today. Thank You our Lord and our God! In the saving name of Christ we pray…Amen!

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

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

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

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

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

Father,

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

John 6

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

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

Let’s look at the passage more closely now…

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

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

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

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

Moving on to verse 61…

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

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

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

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

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

However, further on, Isaiah also says…

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

Paul summarizes both trains of thought nicely in Romans…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Father,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heavenly Father,

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

John 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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