Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gospel of John - Examine the Witnesses

Chapter 9 – the witness of the man born blind who could now see – “Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.  If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

Throughout the Bible, many great miracles are recorded – those that effect nature, physical healing's, dead individuals being raised from the dead, and more.  But never had a blind person been given their sight.  Of all the miracles that Jesus performed the greatest sign that He was the promised Messiah (Christ) was this one.  Isaiah chapter 35 is just 10 verses long, but it has a great deal to say about what will happen when the Messiah comes.  The religious leaders knew this, in particular v5-6, “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.  Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.”

They refused to believe in Jesus because He didn’t follow their rules.   But a man who had been healed like no one before him, made this very honest statement, “One thing I do know, I was blind, now I see.”

What will you do with Jesus?   John wrote his gospel to help you answer this question.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Gospel of John - Examine the Witnesses

Chapter 8 – the witness of the adulterous woman – “Woman, where are they?  Did no one condemn you?  And she said, “No one, Lord.”  And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way and sin no more.”

She and her lover deserved death under the Mosaic Law.  She was brought by the religious leaders to Jesus to test and trap Him.  His response to their badgering, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”   Slowly they all dropped their stones and left.  The only one qualified to throw a stone was Jesus and He told her to go and sin no more.  Imagine you are the woman.  You’re thinking to yourself, “How can I live such a life?  I’m very good at sinning and I can’t live a life without sin.  It’s impossible for me.  Then what did Jesus mean?  What did He want me to understand?”

Though we’re not specifically told, I believe the woman stayed to listen to the interchange between Jesus and the Jewish leaders.    And in doing so, she found the answers that Jesus wanted her and us to understand:

  • v24  That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.”
  • v31-32   “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
  • v34-36 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.  A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Gospel of John - Examine the Witnesses

Chapter 7 – the witness of the temple guards sent to seize Jesus – verse 46, “Never did a man speak the way this man speaks.”

Siblings of Jesus didn’t believe Him (v5).  Others considered Him a good man, an instigator who leads the people astray (v12), demon possessed (v20), the Messiah (vv26-27,31, 41), and the Prophet (v40).   Even the officers sent to seize Him had their own observation.   What about you?  

At this moment the Feast of Booths (tents) was being celebrated.  According to Michael Card:

                 “at the conclusion the high priest would take a pitcher of water from                                         the pool of Siloam and lead a procession of the people back up the                                         hill to the temple and there pour out the water on the ground                                                   commemorating Moses striking the rock in the wilderness and the 
                  provision of water for the people of God.  At this moment the priest 
                  would proclaim, “With joy, you will draw water from the wells of salvation,"
                  a passage from the prophet Isaiah (12:3).

It is very probable that at that moment, Jesus cried out, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’”   (John 7:37-38   NASB)    We all know what thirst is like and the desire to quench / satisfy our thirst.   Jesus is inviting us to come to Him to find the satisfaction that this life cannot provide.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Gospel of John - Examine the Witnesses

Chapter 6 – the witness of the fed but still hungry multitude – verse 28, “They therefore said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may do the works of God?”

They had witnessed and experienced Jesus feeding 5,000 plus of them with 5 loaves and 2 fish that He had blessed, with enough left over for each of the Apostles to have a sack lunch.  Jesus demonstrated in a physical, tangible way His claim to be “… the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”   But they did not have an eternal perspective.  Instead they just wanted a “meal ticket” for the rest of their physical lives.    They wanted to continue to be “religious” and looked for instructions on how they could work to please God.   And Jesus answered their question in verse 29, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He has sent.”

Before many turned and left Him, Jesus offered a further invitation in verse 40, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

So what’s it going to be for you?  Follow the unsatisfied multitude or follow the One who delivers on His promises?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Gospel of John - Examine the Witnesses

Chapter 5 – the witness of a lame man – verse 6, “When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?””

This is a key question.  Some people would rather remain as they are – hurting, struggling, emotionally scarred, lacking purpose and fulfillment, looking for change, tired of making the same bad choices.   Perhaps you can insert another excuse.   Yes – excuse!  Like the lame man Jesus asks each of us, “Do you want to get well?”  Now the immediate application in this passage was to allow the man to walk.  But later in verse 14 Jesus said to him, “Behold, you have become well (physically); do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may befall you (spiritually).”  (Clarification added in parenthesis)

Jesus makes the point that our sin separates us from God and that separation will be eternal. If we’re honest with ourselves, we know we cannot live a life without sin.  A life without any sin ever would please God, but since we’re  incapable of this we must  respond to his question, “Do you wish to get well?”   To the Jewish religious leaders who needed to be made well, but refused, Jesus said:

“I tell you the truth; those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life.  They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have passed from death into life.  … The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that He sent me.  And the Father who sent me has testified about me Himself.  You have never heard His voice and seem Him face to face, and you  do not have His message in your hearts, because you do not believe me – the one He sent to you.  You search the Scripture because you think they give you eternal life.  But the Scriptures point to me!  You refuse to come to me to receive this life.”  (verses  24, 36a-40)

Jesus is inviting you to make a wish.