October 26, 2016-John 5:16-23

v.16-18

There is the event, and then there is both the interpretation of it and reaction to it.  Sometimes these are one and the same.  As we begin in verse sixteen the Jewish leaders were mad because he was healing on the Sabbath and persecuted him.  Jesus just responds, my Father is working and so am I.  The Jewish leaders now wanted to kill Jesus, not just for breaking the Sabbath, but calling God his own Father, made them equal with God.  I would not argue that if we thought any man on earth believed they were equal with God, the might be a little out there, perhaps today we might not be willing to kill them.  The difference is Jesus’ claims were true.

  1. 19-23

Jesus continues to justify himself with the point that He is doing what He sees the Father doing, and the Father and Son do the same things.  At this point we may want to tell Jesus he is getting himself into more trouble, the Jewish leaders knew he was making himself equal with God, and this explanation is only going to make them angrier.  Jesus says it is the Father’s love for the Son that he shows him all he does.  Oh, and by the way you haven’t seen anything yet.  The Father and Son both raise dead and give life (foreshadowing to Lazarus’ and Jesus’ being raised).  In verse 22 Jesus states that it is not God who judges, but has entrusted that to Jesus.  To honor Jesus is to honor his Father, because he sent him.  It is an additional dig that Jesus is saying it is not God that will judge you but me.

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October 19, 2016-John 4:43-5:15

v.43-47

After the two days, he left for Galilee.  He was once again on his way.  He arrives in Galilee and is welcomed.  They had seen what he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover feast.

Once more he returned to Cana in Galilee where he had turned the water to wine.  He was returning to the place of his first sign.  Remember a sign is there to point us to something.  Did people take notice of what Jesus had done?  There was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum.  Time and place can be very important but people are always the context and the ministry.

When this man heard that Jesus had arrived at Galilee he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.  Is there anything we would not be willing to do to try to help our children, we don’t like to see them suffer and we certainly don’t want to think we may have to bury our children.  This man is powerful, but in matters of life, death, and eternity he is powerless.  Have you ever felt out of control, or as if something was beyond your control?  What do you do when you feel this way?

v.48-54

Jesus responds with this, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.”  Do you think Jesus was harsh in what he said to the man?  Were his comments for the man directly or for the Jews at large?  What is the contrast to the Samaritans who believed on the testimony that was giving them?  What skepticism is present in religion?

The man begs Jesus to come before his child dies.  Jesus tells them man, “You may go.  Your son will live.”  Hmmm…what is Jesus saying, the man would have to leave without Jesus to see if this were true, but what if Jesus were just trying to get rid of him.  Do we trust Jesus?

The man took Jesus at his word and left.  While he was still on the way, he had come along way, his servants met him with the news his son would live.  Faithful to put his son’s life in the hands and words of Jesus.  He asked when he started to recover, and they answered yesterday at the seventh hour.

The man realized that it was the exact hour that Jesus gave his word, from better than a day’s journey away that his son was healed.  Who can do that?  Who has the power to do that?  What an act of grace.  So, he and all his household believed.  His faith and trust in Jesus came before his belief in Jesus.  He had to trust Jesus to leave and then finds that Jesus is trustworthy and can believed.  We not only take Jesus at his word, but because he is the Word.

This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, have come from Judea to Galilee.  What are the signs pointing to?  Who needs proof, and who lives by faith?  Is this what you would expect or do we expect that the Jews would live by faith and the others need proof?

Chapter 5

v.1-5

Sometime later Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festival.  There is a pool near Bethesda surrounded by five covered colonnades.  Notice that in most Bibles verse 4 is not included in the text but will usually appear in the footnotes.  It makes a good Bible fun fact for friends.  Many of the disabled would lie there.  One who was there had been an invalid for 38 years.  We don’t know if that was his whole lifetime or if he was not born that way.  Either way, it had certainly been a long time that the man was sick.  Perhaps looking for a for a way of getting healing, or sympathy we do not know for sure.

v.6-11

When Jesus sees the man there and learned he had been this way for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”  HUH?  When I was younger, I used to think, this is one of the crazier questions that Jesus ever asked someone.  I always thought, if someone or myself, had been sick for a long time we would certainly want to be well.  As the years, have gone by I now realize that not everyone wants to be well.  In fact, for some who have been sick for so long, they may not know any other normal.  The man tries to state the fact that he doesn’t have help to get into the healing pool, and that others always get there before him.  Jesus notices this out-of-the-way man and helps him.

Jesus said to him, “Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk.”  At once he was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.  It was the Sabbath and they saw the man who had been healed carrying his mat and he was rebuked for carrying his mat.  What is the irony that the greatest thing that could have happened to this man is overshadowed by religious legalism?

V.12-15

They asked him who healed you?  He doesn’t know.  He turns around to point him out but Jesus had slipped out of sight.  Later Jesus finds him, Jesus has a way of finding us, and says I see you are well, stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.  What is worse, a disability or being separated from God?  Then he tells the Jewish leaders it was Jesus that made him well.  This is the third sign.

October 12, 2016-John 4:1-42

v.1-3

The Pharisees heard, but did not really go much themselves to investigate things.  The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.  When the Lord learned of this he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.  Remember that The Pharisees already did not like John so the fact that Jesus was gaining more ground than John was not something that would make them happy.  Again what do we do with the glory people me heap on us, do we give it to God or do we seek it for ourselves?  When we try to possess it we will always be jealousy of others.  Why do we think that Jesus may have gone back to Galilee?

v.4

Now he HAD to go through Samaria.  Why do you think Jesus HAD to go through Samaria?  I believe it is because he had a divine appointment.  The Jews in Jesus’ time had a distain for the Samaritans and did not like them because of their ethnic background.  They were so hated that if a Jew had to go on a route that would take them through Samaria that they would not walk through Samaria, but around to not have to actually walk through that region.  There were paths worn around the border of the land were the Jews would not even walk through there, as if somehow the dirt in Samaria may be dirtier that someone else’s dirt.  But Jesus stirs the stink by saying that he HAD to go through the place that devout Jews would avoid at all costs.

  1. 5-6

Jesus comes to the town of Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.  Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus was tired from the journey, sat down by the well, it was about the sixth hour.  This was a central place that would have been known to the people of the region and Jesus stops at the well at the sixth hour of the day.  The sixth hour is noon, the hottest part of the day.  Very few people would come to the well that time of day who would want to possibly get warmer water because of the heating of the day.

V.7-9

A Samaritan woman came to draw water in the warmest time of the day.  Jesus speaks to her kindly asking her for a drink.  The disciples had gone into town to buy food.  Interesting that the disciples went into town, some of the maybe didn’t want to be there and Jesus has his divine appointment with this woman and asks her for a drink.  What are we thirsty for and who do we ask for a drink?  The woman quickly notices the irony that he is a Jew and she is a Samaritan woman, and he just asked her for a drink?  The text says because Jews do not associate with Samaritans.  This was out of the norm.  We can get so comfortable with the things that separate each of us that it can make us uncomfortable when those boundaries are challenged.

v.10-15

Jesus answers her, if you knew the gift of God and who was asking, you would have instead asked him for a drink and he would give living water.  She responds practically that you have nothing to draw the water with and the well is deep.  Where can you get this living water?  In other words, you asked me for a drink, if you had a bucket you would have gotten in for yourself.  BOOM!  Then she gets snooty with him asking if he is greater that Jacob who gave the well and drank from it, as did his sons and his flocks and herds?  WOW, she assumes to know something about Jesus, my interpretation may be wrong, but it seems like she is not asking but implying.

Jesus tells her anyone who has this water will never thirsty again, and beyond that the water will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.  Well if it is that good then give me some then, so I won’t have to come back here.

  1. 16-18

Go get your hubby.  I don’t have one.  That’s right, you have had five and now have a live in that you are not married to.  That is true.

v.19-24

Sir, I can see that you are a prophet, so let’s talk about something else, anything else.  Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim we must worship in Jerusalem.  Jesus redirects her from the place of worship to the person of worship, and from the place of worship to the posture of worship.

It is neither here nor there, but the true worshipers will worship in spirit and truth, for they are the kinds of worshipers the Father seeks.  Did we know that God seeks worshipers and a certain openness and posture?

v.25-26

Woah!  She might be thinking that she should not have switched the subject from herself to worship.  Then she says, I know the Messiah is coming and when he comes, he will explain everything to us.  Jesus then reveals that he is the Messiah.

v.27-30

The disciples return like they have caught Jesus doing something he shouldn’t be.  The Bible says, they returned and were surprised to find him talking to a woman.  But they didn’t ask him anything even though they had questions.

She leaves the water jar that she came there with, because that was the important task she had come to do, but know something had changed.  She went back to the town, to the people who had perhaps looked at her funny, or judged her for her past.  She has no fear after encountering Jesus and goes back to the people of the town to tell them about Jesus.  She says, “He told me everything I have ever done. Could this be the Christ?”  Perhaps they could have said to her, who doesn’t know what you’ve done, but they didn’t.  They were so shocked that they listened to her and came out to see Jesus.

v.31-38

Meanwhile back at the well… “Rabbi, eat something.”  He says, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”  HUH?  The disciples are more confused about what is happening and how he could have gotten food.  They ask each other if someone could have brought him food?  He then explains to them that there are more things that nourish person than just the food that they eat.  “My food, is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”

He explains that with earthly eyes we might look around and say the harvest is still four months away, but he asks them to look again and see the harvest before them.  Harvesting the crop of eternal life, so the sower and reaper may be glad together.  There is now reaping without sowing, and both are pleased with the outcome.

v.39-42

Many of the Samaritans believed because of her testimony.  Did the disciples share the testimony of Christ when they went to look for food?

They wanted Jesus there and welcomed him in contrast to the Pharisees who did not want Jesus around.  He stayed two days and many more came to believe because of Jesus’ words.

They said to the woman, we no longer believe just because of your testimony, but we have heard for ourselves, and we know that he is the Savior of the world.  Their experience of Jesus matched the testimony giving by the woman.

October 5, 2016-John 3:22-36

v.22-26

Image that while doing good things for the Kingdom, and argument developed and the disciples of John go to him.  Interesting the argument was over ceremonial washing but their greater concern was that people were going over to Jesus.  Often times we struggle to express what the actual issue is.  We will make it be over something else.

v.27

John replies in typical John fashion “A person can receive only that what is given them from heaven.”  This is a moment for much consideration here.  A person can only receive that which has been given them from heaven.  What do any of us have (money, life, health, and family) that has not been given to us from heaven?  When we look at this as a perspective for of all of life, it is easier to let go of things that we believe we own or can control.  Things like money, life, health, and family.  It is not what I earn but what God gives, it is also what the Bible describes as grace.  Grace is then the essential theme throughout the whole of God’s word.

v.28-30

John continues telling them you have heard me say I am not the Messiah but was sent ahead of him.  The church (the Bride of Christ) belongs to the bridegroom (Christ) so how can I be jealous.  How can we try to own or possess what belongs to our Lord?  We are friends in attendance, waiting and listening, and full of joy when we hear him speak.  This this describe our church life and our prayer life?  Are we attentive, waiting, listening, and full of joy to hear Christ’s voice?  John continues that the joy is his and is complete.  Is our joy in having our way or in hearing from Christ?  John is fully aware of himself in light of Christ and gladly steps out-of-the-way.  Verse thirty is a challenge for me, “He (Christ) must become greater; I must become less.”  It is hard to allow Christ to become greater if we must become less.  But becoming less, doesn’t make us worth(less) or life meaning(less).

v. 31-33

John asserts again Jesus’ worthiness because of where he is from.  The one from heaven is above all.  He speaks of what he has seen and heard and no one accepts his testimony.  Many times people do not accept the testimony, because we want proof and don’t want to live by faith.  How can we understand?  The one who does accept Jesus’ testimony is speaking truth of God, it is like the AMEN or agreeing with God.

v. 34-36

When God sends someone it is to speak HIS WORDS not our own, and God’s Spirit is upon them.  God loves His Son (Jesus) and has placed everything in his hands.  How can John or we take anything away from Jesus if God has given and placed that authority upon him.  How can I be upset if God who gave for His purposes chooses to fulfill His purposes through me by then asking me to step aside for His glory?  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but to reject the Son is to reject God and his provision for us.  It is as if saying that God’s Son is not sufficient, and God’s wrath remains when His Son is rejected.

September 28, 2016-John 3:9-21

v.9-15

How can this be?  Good question Nicodemus.  Too often we ask the same types of questions wanting to know how rather than living on faith.  Jesus tells him, I’ve tried to share this with you in earthly terms to help you understand the kingdom things and you don’t believe, how will you believe when it takes greater faith to understand heavenly things.

The Son of Man must be lifted up like Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness.  What could this mean?  What does this have to do with life?

v.16-18

God’s love for the world is what compelled him to give His, that whoever believes in him won’t die but have eternal life.  What is belief?  Is it just about what we claim to know?

God is not trying to condemn the world but to save the world.  Condemnation is our current condition and failure to accept the gift given to us in Jesus just leaves us there.

v.19-21

This is the verdict, Light has come, but people loved darkness instead of light because it was what they were already walking in darkness.  Those that do evil have light, because it exposes the evil they do.

Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.  Is this also speaking to Nicodemus coming to him in the middle of the night?  Is it also describe the arrest and trials of Jesus?  What are your thoughts?