Jesus in John's Gospel          

A Bible Study

Jesus - The Word 11-14
John the Baptist and the first Disciples 16-8,15-51 323-36
Nathanael - a Man without Guile 143-51
At a small Jewish Wedding 21-11
A Lesson in the Temple 212-17
Miraculous Signs 218-25
Nicodemus and New Birth 31-21
More about John Baptist 322-36
A Woman, a Well and a Welcome 44-42
Jesus Heals a Sick Son 443-54
Anger at the Cripple who Walks 51-15
Jesus Answers Criticism 516-47
Food for 1000's - Jesus for King! 61-15
Jesus goes to Struggling Disciples 616-21
Living Bread Offered - and Refused 622-59
The Feast of Tabernacles 71,2
Peer Pressure and God's 'Right' Time 73-16
Jesus Teaches at the Feast 717-52
Right Judgements - Don't Be Deceived 724
Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah 725-44
The Trap Fails 81-11
"I am the light of the world" 812
"My Testimony is Valid" 812-20
Further Testimony 821-30
Sons or Slaves? 831-59
A Bold Blind Man 91-41
Safety for the Sheep 101-21
Jesus at the Feast of Dedication - Hanukkah 1022-42
Raising of Lazarus 111-57
Jesus Anointed at Bethany 121-11
Jesus enters Jerusalem 1212-16
Last Public Teaching and the Response 1217-50
When was The Passover / Last Supper ? 131-2a
Power - Humility or Betrayal 131b-38
Jesus goes to prepare a place 141-11
I am coming back to you 1412-31
Satan is Prince, but not King 1430,31
"I am the Vine" 151-11
Love one another as I have loved you 1512-15
Chosen by God, Persecuted by men 1516 - 167
The Promised Presence of the Holy Spirit 168-15
Leaving - for a little while 1616-24
Jesus Prays 171-26
The last 20 hours of Jesus on earth/TD>  
The Trial of Jesus 181-1916
The Crucifixion 1917-42
The Resurrection of Christ 201 - 2125

These notes are intended to give some inspiration and background knowledge for:
      Personal Bible reading
      Group Bible study
      Sermon preparation
Based on the notes used for a group Bible Study in Falmouth 1992-1994 (updated 2017).
They are not intended to be read as a narrative,
It is suggested that only a few screens are read at a time.
Many of the statements and questions require some thought, prayer, meditation or discussion. Maybe even action!
The Psalmist's direction, "Selah" (pause and reflect) should be often applied.
Some of the questions asked are answered, and some only you can answer.
There are many references. Please read them all.

Jesus - The Word.   11-5, 9-14         [Contents]

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  11-5

John starts by taking us back before the dawn of time. 'In the Beginning'.
He had been instructed by the only one who was there - God himself.
      God began by creating the universe, by speaking it into being.
      Man may wish to deny this truth, but it does not stop it being true. 2 Pe 33-5
In the Word is life. and that life was the light of men.
      The Word reveals God to the soul of man.
      Without him his soul is in darkness.
      God's plan was to bring light to a fallen world that knew only darkness.
God created 'things' - all matter, atoms
      He combined them into molecules to make metals, water, chemicals etc.
      He created the whole vast universe with nuclear powered solar systems.
            and within it a very special planet - 'earth'.
      He designed and made life - trees and flowers; then fish, birds and animals.
      Finally he made man with a soul - alive and filled with light, like himself.
      God and man walked together through the garden in complete harmony -
            until the devil deceived Adam and Eve and darkness fell upon them.
Men who walk in darkness will always deny that God created all things.
      With all the knowledge that man may acquire he will never be able to create,
            he can only transform matter.
Only God can give man a holy reason and purpose, the 'logos' of life.
The light still shines in the darkness of a fallen wicked world that hates it.
      But nothing and no one can ever extinguish the Light of God.
      It was 'in the beginning' and it will shine for all eternity.  Rev 2123

The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  19-14

Seeing the very Son of God on earth, why didn't men recognise who Jesus was?
      All people are born without the light of God's revelation.
Most men are deceived and reject both the origin and purpose of Jesus.
      Some see him as a good man, a good example to follow.
      Some see him as only one of the prophets.
      Only a few see the truth, seek Jesus, and believe on him as Saviour.
            These come to believe and are born into a new family, God's family.
            Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.  Joel 232

Most Jews failed to recognise Jesus; and so have most of 'Christian' England.
But some Jews were waiting patiently, earnestly.
      e.g. Zechariah.  Lu 168-79  also Simeon and Anna.  Lu 225-38
Why did it take me so long to believe?  It was certainly not God's fault!

Most amazingly, it was the choice of God to come to rescue us.
      To pay in full the just redemption price set by God.
      To forgive rebellious, repentant men, and to live with us for ever.
Surely this is grace beyond all comprehension.

Beware of pretence; welcome honesty.
The Light divides those who love it from those who reject, distort or run for cover.
Glory and truth are only seen by the grace of revelation.
Jesus, the Word, is the true manifestation of God.
      Seek him, learn from him.
This was the reason why John wrote this gospel.

Having introduced Jesus, the Word, the Light of the world,
      he presents the first witnesses:

John the Baptist and the first Disciples   16-8,15-51 323-36         [Contents]

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  16-8

John was born six months before his cousin, Jesus,
the son of the righteous priest Zechariah and Elizabeth.  Lu 15-25, 57-80
Israel was under Roman dominion:
and like today, righteousness and hope were rare.
But there were some like Anna and Simeon,
who believed the Messiah would come - very soon

Why was John sent?
He testifies to Jesus as the One who already was at the beginning of time.
To witness that God himself was walking on the earth - now!
"Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man." C.Wesley
The 'Light' that John witnessed to, would bring much joy;
      many would rejoice, though some would not be so pleased!
He was filled with the Holy Spirit while in his mother's womb!  Lu 114,15

John testifies to Jesus as the One who was at the beginning.
Why didn't man recognise who Jesus was?
      All men are born corrupt and without the light of God's revelation.
Most men in their deceived arrogance reject this, and thus also reject Jesus.
      A few see this truth and it's consequence and seek Jesus.
      They come to believe and are born into a new family, God's family.
The Jews failed to recognise Jesus; and so have most of 'Christian' England.
      Some Jews were waiting earnestly.  Zechariah Lu 168-79   also Simeon and Anna
      Why did it take me so long to believe? It was certainly not God's fault.

The most amazing thing is that it was the choice of God to come to rescue us.
      To forgive rebellious man and to live with him for ever.
      Surely this is grace beyond all comprehension.
Beware of pretence; welcome honesty.
The Light divides those who love it from those who run for cover.
Glory, grace and truth are only seen by revelation.
      Jesus is the true manifestation of God. Seek him, learn from him.
      This was the reason why John wrote this gospel.

John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'" From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.  115-18

John saw Jesus as 'before' or greater than himself - in honour, wisdom, glory and power.
He also knew that though Jesus was born ~6 months after John,
he was God and existed before he created time, space and matter!

What 'fulness of grace', what blessings did John receive
      in the wilderness near the Jordan valley?
      It was not a 'good' job with a comfortable, married life-style.
      In the harsh wilderness he received truth and the Word of God.
            We usually learn more during days of trial than in days of ease and plenty.
      He learned that the Messiah had come!!
      The long-sought Saviour who would rescue men from sin.  129
      In the Law, God revealed the best way for men to live.
            All honest men admit they had not been able to keep it.
            So how can a man become righteous and please our Creator?
            Only Jesus Christ can bring to men the grace and truth that saves.

What was the major theme of John's message?
Baptism followed practical repentance for forgiveness of sins.  Lu 33  Math 31,11
He was consistent, honest and clear - but not always very polite!  Lu 37

Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ." They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No." Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?" John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'" Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?" "I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie." This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.   119-28

John became famous; all Israel had heard of his preaching.
The Pharisees were curious and had to check out if he was the Messiah.  Lu 315
John was irritated by their questions. To him it was irrelevant who he was.
He had nothing to say about himself.
He didn't even claim to be a prophet, let alone the Prophet.
      He was just 'a voice' - but what a voice; it was heard all over Israel!
His purpose was not to attract more and more followers,
      but to prepare any who would listen for meeting the Messiah.
How did he make men ready?
      He revealed the enormity of their sin.
      He told them of sin's consequence and the need to repent.
            Not proudly, but as one beggar who has found bread to another beggar.
He did not claim to be God's representative on earth.
He considered himself not even worthy of a servant's feet-cleaning task.  127  330
      No false modesty here; for John was no weakling.
He was not a reed shaken by the wind.  Lu 725
      nor a well-dressed "yes-man" in a king's court.
      He was God's man, with God's message.  Lu 111-17 32-18
God entrusted him with power to attract huge crowds and to sway them,
      but it did not corrupt John or change his message.
The Messiah is coming very soon. Repent now or die!  Math 32
His message was true, vital and urgent - not for half-hearted followers.
Jesus said that John the Baptist was 'the Elijah who was to come'.  Math 1114
      He heralded the coming of Messiah. Mal 45

Within a year John would lose his freedom,
      he would also lose his head, but he would not lose his heart!  Math 143-11
Like the two Moravian missionaries who chose to become slaves on a West Indian Island
      in order to preach Christ to the slaves who laboured there.
Or the two healthy Christian men who decided to go to a Leper colony - to stay -
      never allowed to leave.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."  129-34

How did the people react to John's message - then and now?
a) John is a real 'nutter', only the Messiah, only God, can take away sins.
b) "Oh no, not again, he's always on about sin - what about love?"
c) Afraid or Embarrassed - so change the subject, or tell the latest joke.
d) Intellectual diversion. "Really, how interesting, what is sin? Why a Lamb?"
e) "What do I have to do? How? Please, tell me now!" - The truth at last?
Perhaps I can now know the forgiveness of God, and be accepted by him!

God is the Remover of sin as well as the Giver of blessing and strength.
When was I first aware of sin against God?
We do 'wrong' against others, but as David said in  Ps 514
      "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight."

What is the consequence of sin? Is it really death?
God told Adam that when he ate from the forbidden tree they would die.
And they did; although they still went on walking and talking,
      but their relationship with God was broken; and that is death.
Sin cannot just disappear like a common cold.
Sin needs to be 'surgically' removed and redeemed.  Heb 922  1 Jn 17 - 22
Does God ignore my wilfulness, greed, half-truths, lust, impatience, and pride?
What sins really matter? Are some worse than others?

Jesus is clearly concerned about all our sins.
But he was crucified to defeat the principle of sin, from which all wickedness springs.

John saw the Holy Spirit descend like a dove (Math 316) and remain.
It was true, Jesus really was the Son of God, the Messiah was here!

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"  135,36

The previous day John had cried with great urgency - "Behold the Lamb of God ..."
      But there was no response.
So he cried again, louder!, "Behold the Lamb of God ..."
Preachers, be encouraged; never give up if folk do not seem to hear first time.
John and Andrew left John Baptist and followed Jesus, and John rejoiced!
There was no jealous denominationalism in this man's heart.
Is our church the best for everyone?
Is it the only one that proclaims the truth without any error?

When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi where are you staying?" "Come," he replied, "and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.  137-39

Jesus was aware of them following, he takes the initiative, "What do you want?"
They replied, "Where are you staying?" They wanted more than a 5 minute chat!
What are our goals? What do we long for?
Why did they call Jesus 'Rabbi'?(= a teacher) They had not yet heard him teach.
Jesus didn't deny the title. The temple guards saw it to be quite justified.  Jn 746
"Come and see." A typically Jewish reply that arouses curiosity.

Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two       who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.  140-42a

Andrew hurries to find Peter. What does he say?
We've found the Messiah! (= God's anointed King)
Not exactly one of your everyday statements.
What would you do if someone said, "The Messiah has come"?
Nothing!  Because he would not be the Messiah!  Math 245, 23,24

Andrew's greatest work was to bring Peter to Jesus.
c.f. John Wesley at the church in Aldersgate St, London. Later he testified,
"One read from Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans ..." etc
Naturally we focus on Wesley, forgetting the "one un-named" who warmed his heart.
Andrew was happy to play second fiddle to Peter, as John Baptist did to Jesus.
Neither were resentful at another's eminence.
Andrew was often busy introducing others. Also  Jn 68  (boy) 1222 (Greeks)
Many disciples are won by private invitation + public preaching.

Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 323-25

Why didn't John also follow Jesus?
Diligent to his God-given task - many had not yet heard his repeated message.
He did not seek an easier, more pleasant work.  Math 2426

John may well have been an ex-member of the Essene Community at Qumran.
They emphasised washing, righteousness and had a yearning for the Messiah.
He left to follow the call of God to preach and evangelise.
Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran reveal much about the Essenes.
They were a religious Kibbutz, a monastic, agricultural community.
Lived in cool caves in the rugged, lime-stone mountains beside the Dead Sea.
Devoted to prayer and ritual cleansing (baptism) before and during meals.
Cared for orphans, very strict, women only tolerated to continue sect!
Taught that the faithfulness of God is forever.
If persecuted, told to remember it is not last battle.
"Repent and be baptised", "The Kingdom of heaven is at hand" are Essene expressions.
They thought it almost impossible to live a righteous life in Jerusalem or Jericho.
      Needed to be separate.
      They hated the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.
Essenes did 3 years novice training and then become a member of the community.
John probably did his training there, but then God revealed to him his mission.
      The people 'out there' also need to hear.
      They are not ready and Messiah is coming soon! Now is the time ...

Many were still coming to John to be baptised. Why?
He preached a baptism of repentance, which is not usually the top attraction!
But it did appeal to those with a tender conscience;
      those who desired the forgiveness of God.

What is the significance of Baptism today?
It is a witness of what Christ has already done,
      both on the Cross and in giving them a new heart.
It is not the instrument of cleansing. (as with the Essenes)
We cannot be "Baptised into membership" - whether C of E or Baptist or ...
Many testify to their decision for Christ or desire to follow Christ,
      but few testify to huge relief of forgiveness of sin.
In The Pilgrim's Progress Christian's load of guilt fell off when he came to the cross,
      not when he decided to leave 'The city of destruction'.
Not surprisingly many also find it difficult to keep to their decision.  Josh 2418,19
It is the same impossibility as earnest Jews who tried to keep the Law - and failed.

They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan - the one you testified about - well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."  326

News of the greater success of Jesus disturbed John's followers - Why?
They were loyal to John - maybe some followers succumbed to petty jealousy;
      anxious because 'their group' was dwindling.
Few of John's disciples had 'heard' his testimony that Jesus was the Messiah,
      though he constantly repeated it.
Do we hear only what we want to hear?
Do we love to hear of Messiah's reign,
      but are deaf to warnings about tribulation, persecution and deception?
John wasn't disturbed at the success of Jesus. He was delighted!
His disciples should have rejoiced at the fulfilment of John's ministry.

To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less. The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who as accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."  327-36

What are the chief characteristics of John the Baptist?
John was filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb.
He was bold, truthful, faithful to his Lord, and remained humble.
He cared far more that his disciples believed and followed Jesus
      than that they joined and stayed in his 'church'.
He had heard the testimony of heaven to Jesus, "This is my beloved Son."
He knew that 'the Lamb of God' had come; he had seen the 'Dove descend'.
He insisted on repentance; and a change of life-style to prove it.

John's testimony was 'earthy' (331).
Jesus spoke of heaven because he was from heaven.
It was not evil because 'earthy', only limited - we see through a glass darkly.
John was like the night stars that disappear before the rising sun,
      as a candle is light in the darkness, but cannot compare with the sun-light.
He was like "Simeon and Anna who blaze in history as the flame of a match
      blazes before it passes responsibility for the light to the candle."  John Wilson 12/86

John said, and meant, that "He must increase and I must decrease."
Do we find it easy to say 'I must decrease' ? Why not?
This is the objective of all good leaders who give effective training,
      and also of parents for their children (who must 'increase' to independence).

He describes Christ correctly (because the truth was revealed to him by God).
1. A mere man like me can only receive what God gives him, but he is God!
      Jesus came from above, therefore his testimony is true.  331
      Jesus witnesses to what he has seen and heard there. First class information!
2. I am not the Christ, the Messiah - but he is!
3. I am the Friend, not the Bridegroom. 329
      Whole purpose of 'Best-man' is to aid the union of the Bride and Groom
      (but the aim of a rival is to gain the bride for himself!)
4. Cared nothing for the honour and praise of men.
5. The Christ has come! He is my joy. My purpose is now complete.
6. Jesus is the Son of God. 327,35
7. Jesus is the Lamb of God - the necessary sacrifice.  129,36

The other gospels tell us of:-
John in Prison .  Math 11
What Jesus said about John.  Math 117  1713 2126
John beheaded.  Math 14
John's baptism.  Act 15  1116  1825  194

Nathanael, A Man Without Guile  143-51         [Contents]

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me." Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false." "How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you." Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."  143-51

Jesus finds Philip. He knew who to call.
      Not Philip the deacon (Act 63) who preached in Samaria + Ethiopian  Acts 8
Philip the apostle fails test of how to feed 5000. 65 Who wouldn't?
He tells Jesus some Greeks wanted to see him.  1220-22
He desired to see the Father.  147-11
Now he immediately goes off to tell his friend Nathanael. Evangelism at its best.

'The One Moses wrote about in the Law'.
Where did Moses speak about the Messiah?  Lu 2427
      Testified to what would be said in the future.  Heb 33
      Instigated the first Passover - saved by the blood of the Lamb.
      Led Israel out of the slavery of Egypt - longed to be free from slavery of sin.
      Gave Israel God's Covenant - the Law. God's best instructions that all fail.
      The Law condemns and reveals the need for a Redeemer.  Heb 722 822
      Three major Jewish feasts that each point to Jesus the Messiah
            And create an ongoing hunger for him.
But Messiah would come from Bethlehem, not from Nazareth.  Mic 52
Philip didn't argue; he just said, "Come and see." He came.

'Nothing false', no guile, no pretence.
      What a desirable testimony from the all-seeing Saviour.  Ps 322
Nathanael was amazed that Jesus knew him. How could he; so he asks.
      Jesus tells him that he had 'seen' him under the fig tree.
      Only Nathanael (and God) knew what he had been praying there.
            Opening his heart to God, yearning for the Messiah that very morning!
He made the snap (and true) verdict on slim emotional evidence.
      "You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!"
Jesus then quotes Jacob's vision at Bethel (but Jacob was not without guile!)
      Like Jacob, you too will soon have a far better revelation.
            i.e. Angels ministering to the Son of Man on earth.
      And your evidence will then stand any trial.

Nathanael is called Bartholomew in other Gospels.  Math 103

Each of these 4 apostles left home and followed Jesus.
      Where is our home?
      Do we choose security or prefer to be 'Pilgrims and strangers'?  Heb 1113-16
The cost of discipleship; how much are we willing to pay?

At a small Jewish Wedding   21-11         [Contents]

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee.
Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.

Cana is 10 miles N. of Nazareth, 80 miles or 5 days journey from Bethany.  128
'Third' day. Most Jewish weddings are on Tuesday (the third day).  Gen 110
Jesus would not have been invited by phone two days before.
It was a long-planned, family wedding. Jesus and disciples were invited.  21  143
He did not 'gate-crash' or bring extra guests and so cause the wine to run out, as some have suggested.

When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine." "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied.  23,4a

In Israel the Bridegroom's mother is responsible for wedding arrangements.
Mary (the mother of Jesus) was the sister of the Bridegroom's mother,
      according to one of the Coptic gospels.
Mary's sister was Salome. (Combine  Jn 1925  Math 2756  Mk 161)
Joseph is not mentioned here or anywhere later - he had probably died earlier.

Mary had learned by much experience that her Son could always be relied on.
He had always proved faithful, dependable, unselfish.
And she wasn't just biased!
She instinctively turned to Jesus for help - do we?

AV "Woman, what have I to do with thee? ...
RSV "O woman, what have you to do with me? ...
Living "I can't help you now ...
Good News "You mustn't tell me what to do ...
Phillips "Is that your concern or mine? ...
Weymouth "Leave the matter in my hands ...
NIV "Why do you involve me? ...
Amplified "Dear woman, what is that to you and to me? ...

Problem - what is Jesus saying? In English "woman" sounds rude. Also  Jn 1921
But Jesus was never rude or evasive.
He would certainly have honoured his mother.
The expression is literally, "What to me and to you?"
      or "What is there in common between me and you?"
      or "My thoughts are one thing and yours are another"
      i.e. No-one can ever tell God when or how to perform miracles.
It could be paraphrased:
      "Mary, please don't worry, you do not yet understand what is going on;
      but my Father has plans - for now and for later - leave it to me."
It is a mild correction as in "I must be about my Father's business."  Lu 249

"My time has not yet come."   24b

'My time ...' When was, or is, this time?  Jn 76 1223
The hour for a miracle had come,
      but 'My hour' when, not wine, but his own blood would flow, would be later.
'Wine' flowed at Calvary and sweeter wine will flow at the wedding of the Lamb.
It flows now as we 'remember the body and blood' looking forward with hope.

His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so.   25-8

Mary had no idea what Jesus would do, but she was confident in her Son.
"Do as he says ..." is always good advice. And the servants were obedient.
Mary showed both meekness and faith.
It is for us to fill the water pots, it is Christ who makes the water wine.
See 2 Kg 41-7

6 stone water jars. Being hewn stone, they were large and expensive static troughs.
      (Maybe the family had fallen on hard times).
Empty because the water had been used to wash the guests feet.
Filled to brim. 6 x 25 = 150 gall
Ceremonial law required washing before meal and between courses.
Water cannot wash away sin; but wine, the blood of Jesus, can!
Far more wine than needed - No need can ever exhaust God's supply.
God's grace is never lacking; nor is any sin so great that it cannot be forgiven.

Jesus did not command or strike the water, he just willed its change.
"The Creator of all matter exercised his Lordship over it;
      the modest water saw its God, and blushed."   W. Temple

Is Jesus concerned with everyday needs or only the eternal? Both.
The Son of God was not too great or too heavenly to pay taxes to men.
      Peter catches a fish with a coin for both of them.  Math 1724

Hospitality is very important to Jews.
To have no wine would be a terrible humiliation.
Jewish Rabbis say that without wine there is no joy.
But they hasten to add that it is a disgrace to be drunk.
Jesus is not a severe, austere killjoy; he loved to share in happy rejoicing.
Yet we are warned against frivolity and mirth. Fun can be a difficult area.
One believer can do without risk to his faith what another cannot do.
We each need to be sensitive to each other's needs.
"Happy is he who can use his Christian liberty without abusing it."  Spurgeon

And the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."   29,10

If possible see the Riding Lights video drama of Wedding at Cana ("100% Proof").
Jews at Passover and Tabernacles dream and hope that the Messiah would come.
Here he is: at the wedding, and the miracle is achieved almost unnoticed.
Jesus fulfils all the best dreams of man.
John's gospel tells us what Jesus did once 2000 years ago,
      and he tells us what Jesus is always doing.

Village wedding starts with an evening feast, followed by the marriage.
Then they dance around the whole village under the canopy with torches and crowns.
      (as also with the Law at Simchath Torah, the 8th day of Tabernacles).
The Bride and Groom stay home for 7 days of festivities.
The wedding scene from the musical "Fiddler on the Roof" gives some idea of the festive, communal attitude.
Jesus gladly shared in this happy time.
Jews know how to enjoy such occasions.
Christians are often less certain how to rejoice with freedom and righteousness.

For believers the best is still to come ... the wedding of the Lamb.
One day there will be a greater marriage feast than the one at Cana.
Christ will be the Bridegroom and not just a guest - the wine will not run out.
The blood of Christ shed for the forgiveness of my sin will never lack quantity or quality!

Christ honours the state of marriage.
      c.f. today's practice of 'co-habiting' or unmarried 'partners'. (= fornication)
There is a time to fast and a time to feast. Jesus did both - not neither.
He was unwilling to make stones into bread for himself, but this was different.

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee.
He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.  211

In a humble Galilean village home, the Lord of Glory performed his first miracle.
No vast crowds or great occasion - just family and a few 'local yokels',
but the wine was the very best that God could make - 'very good'. Gen 1
God didn't give second best because it was just a simple home and only a few people.
The disciples caught a dazzling glimpse of who Jesus was.

There are 10 miracles recorded in John's Gospel.
The first and the last were performed 'on' Jesus, rather than 'by' Jesus.

    1.  The Word became flesh.  110-14
    2.  Water into wine.  21-11
    3.  Official's son at Capernaum healed.  446-54
    4.  Invalid at Bethesda for 38 years healied.  51-15
    5.  5,000 fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish.  65-13
    6.  Came to disciples walking on water.  619-21
    7.  Man born blind sees at Pool of Siloam.  91-12
    8.  Lazarus raised from the dead.  111-44
    9.  Disciples' net filled with large fish.  211-11
  10.  Resurrection of Jesus.  201 - 2125

A Lesson in the Temple   212-17       [Contents]

After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days. When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.   212,13

Why was the Temple built?
God said, " ... make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them."  Exd 258
They offered daily sacrifices and kept the annual feasts, and many longed for the promised day
      when the perfect sacrifice would be provided.  Gen 2214  Jn 856

There is a slight problem at to when this incident occurs:
1) Matthew, Mark and Luke only record the crucifixion Passover.
      Mark and Luke dovetail the cleansing in with other events in the last week.
2) John records 3 Passover's  (213 64  1155) and puts this incident in the first one.
      Probably more interested in what and why happened, rather than when.
3) But Jesus may have cleared the Temple twice - note Jn 1157
      Previous cleansing may have encouraged Pharisees to try to arrest him
            when he came again to the temple at Passover.
Feeding 4,000 and 5,000 are both in Matthew and Mark, but neither give any indication that it had happened before.
This problem does not infer any inaccuracy in scripture, just that we do not know the answer!

In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"   214-16

'My Father's House'. Who does that make Jesus? What a claim!
(see chapter on "Whose Son was Jesus?")
What made Jesus so angry?
The Temple trade profaned the Holy Place and exploited the people.
Temple Tax of ½ shekel 2 day's wages (£80 today). Jesus paid it. Math 1724
Sacrifices brought were inspected (at a price!) - and always found to be imperfect.
So people had to purchase an 'official' sacrifice at double the normal price.
Sacrifices had to be purchased in 'temple' shekels, plus 18% exchange charge.
Couldn't use impure foreign currency or even normal Jewish money.
The High Priests were very rich!
      (e.g. Luxury house of Caiaphas has been excavated under the Old City)

His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."   217

Jesus drove them out with zeal and holy indignation.
No-one dared to stop him! Was this because they had a guilty conscience?
Jesus is Lord. In heaven and on earth.
      e.g. Taken to the cliffs at Nazareth but walked away through crowd.  Lu 428
            Soldiers at Gethsemane drew back and fell to the ground.  Jn 186 and 1836
What action did Jesus take?  Different for each abuse.
      Sheep and cattle were driven out.
      Coins were scattered, but not taken.
      Dove sellers were told to remove them - they were not released.
No one lost anything.
The point was well made, even if the lesson was not learned.
The "House for all nations" was built to include the Gentiles.  Mk 1117
However, they were not allowed nearer than this market to pray.
      i.e. any seeking Gentile was unlikely to find God in this corrupted court.
Are seekers ever put off from our church? This would also make Jesus angry.
Other applications:
1) Worship can lose reverence due to clutter and distractions.
      How may we show the pure reverence that is in our hearts and remove the clutter?
2) Sacrifice without sincerity is useless.  Hos 813 Is 117  Ps 5116
      The Lord loves a cheerful giver, not a reluctant or selfish one.

What is our response?  Indifference, rebellion, excuses (everyone does/has ...), or ??
What is the clutter?
Worldly ambition, anxiety, popularity, possessions, unworthy traditions, etc
If Jesus found it necessary to cleanse the stone Temple,
      how much more important that our bodies should be kept clean.  1 Co 619

Christ, with controlled anger and power delivers this unforgettable lesson.
Jesus rightly has this authority. Do we gladly or grudgingly acknowledge it?
What will Jesus do when he comes again to judge the earth?  Rev 616,17
The Jewish leaders were offended when their corruption and greed were exposed.
How are we offended?

Miraculous Signs   218-25         [Contents]

Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"  218

The religious leaders did not ask Jesus why he had cleared the Temple.
Perhaps they knew why: or maybe didn't want to know!
They only asked by what authority he had done so.
They demanded a sign to prove his identity.
4 of the 7 expected signs of the coming Messiah were:
      Healing a leper.
      Healing one born blind.
      Able to cast out a dumb spirit (Pharisees had to name the evil spirit).
      Raise the dead.
Some still asked for a sign; but to others the Temple clear-out was a sign!
"Only zeal of Messiah could do this."  217
Graciously, Jesus does offer them a sign. One they don't expect.

Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture nd the words that Jesus had spoken.  219-22

This sign was only of value to believers.
      and then only after the event. c.f. common reaction "I want proof now!"
Destroy this temple (my body) and in 3 days I will build another (a permanent dwelling) .
The sign he offered would remain a mystery for another 3 years.
Preachers, teachers, parents take heart. The good seed is not wasted.
Evidence is misquoted by accusers in  Math 2661 and 2740.
Apostles later reminded leaders that Jesus said he would rise from the dead.  Act 42,10 530
Building of Temple had lasted 46 years. (19 BC to 27 AD. Jesus died 30 AD)
Like many 'grand' buildings, It was magnificent but useless!
      (and would be destroyed in 70 AD)
Jesus himself fulfilled the purpose of the Temple - no more sacrifices needed.
A new way to God was opened or built for all men, Jews and Gentiles.
Your (not my Father's) house is left to you desolate.  Lu 1335
Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast,
      many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.
But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.
He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.  223-25

Miracles are always attractive! But how often do they lead to faith and salvation?
What did these men believe?
Believed Jesus was more than an ordinary carpenter, and followed him.
      Until his sayings became too hard to accept.  660
      Then they fell away.   666 (This is one of the saddest verses in scripture.)
Jesus knew that their 'believing' was shallow. He always knows what is in a man.
When life's tragedy's strike or persecution comes or we see some other 'sign',
      are we distracted or easily persuaded to change course?
Job remained true, but Jesus later warned the disciples that the faith of many
      would quickly evaporate or their love would grow cold.  Math 2413a
'Stony-ground hearers' heard and rejoiced. But it did not last.  Lu 813
If attraction is based on the sensational, it is usually temporary and unstable.
Faith comes by hearing, not seeing. Ro 1017
And that hearing must change the heart, not just titillate the emotions.

In Cana God revealed his glory.  211 What do you see as glory?
Healings and miracles?  Jn 450 29
Lazarus walking out of the tomb?  Jn 114,40
Casting out demons?  Lu 938
Walking on the water or stilling the storm?  619
It can be seen in these miracles but the glory of Jesus is much more:
Jesus, the light of heaven.  Rev 2123
Jesus hanging on a cross, bearing my sin! Behold the Lamb of God.  129
Jesus risen, enthroned.  Act 755  Heb 716  Rev 196,7
Jesus bringing judgement against all the wicked.  Rev 1911, 1,2
Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus, and it changed his life.  1241 Is 6

The disciples believed in Jesus.  211 223
But Jesus could not trust them then. Later he would.  Jn 17  Math 2819
Am I glad that Jesus knows all my heart?  Yes! It is both frightening and a great relief.

Seeking Signs

The Jews demanded signs. Why do we also seek signs?
To increase popularity? As proof of ministry? ("signs following"),
Love of the spectacular? Reputation of our church or ourselves? (see Rev 31)
Or do we long for the glory of Jesus?
And especially, do we have an urgent compassion for the person in need?

Sign seeking can be an excuse for unbelief! Math 164 (after feeding 4000)
"An evil and adulterous generation looks for miraculous signs ..."
      but none will be given, except Jonah! (i.e. resurrection)  Math 1240
'Jonah and the whale' is usually relegated to Sunday School,
      like Noah and the Ark (a rejected sign during all the years of its building)
When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased,
      because for a long time he had been wanting to see him ...
      he hoped to see him perform some miracle.  Lu 238
      and it would have had same effect as seeing the magician, Paul Daniels,
      amazement, but not repentance before Almighty God.
Many Jews (and Charismatics!) demand to see miraculous signs.  1 Co 122

The apostle John uses the word 'semeion' = sign (power + purpose),
      rather than 'dunamis' = power (amazed but no nearer to God)
He desired people to respond to God, not just stand open-mouthed.
Jesus would become King, not by victory over the Romans, but by dying on a Cross!

Signs abound throughout scripture, in God's dealings with men of all ages,
      in the history of the Jewish and of Gentile people.
These many signs meet with many different responses:-

1. Signs that led to following Jesus
Water to wine. 211 but see also 62

2. Signs that did not lead to faith
The Lord said to Moses,
"How long will these people treat me with contempt?
How long will they refuse to believe in me,
in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?"  Num 1411

Even after Jesus had done many miraculous signs in their presence,
      they still would not believe in him.  1237 1524  Math 1120-23 163  Lu 1627-31
How many in England today are convinced by the miracles of Jesus?
Even some Bishops aren't!
In the U.K. we have probably been privileged above every other nation on earth.
God has given us the scriptures, a heritage of faith and endless opportunity to hear,
      but sadly we have ignored God's offer of mercy through Jesus Christ,
      and scorned his Commandments thinking we know better than our Creator!

3. Signs demonstrating that God is Almighty
God rescues and he saves;
      Israel from Egyptian slavery and then from their army.
      Daniel from lions and his friends from fire.
      David kills Goliath. Delivers him from Saul. etc
The expression "... then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord."
      is used 62 times in Ezek 6-33
But did the exiles in Babylon learn that God is Sovereign?
      and that it was God who had brought Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem?
      Exd 101,2 1212  Josh 2417  Jer 4429  1 Sam 5,6  1 Sam 17  1 Kgs 1838,39  Dan 627

4. Signs that point to Christ, the Redeemer
Isaac said, "The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"
Abraham answered, (prophesied) "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." ...  Gen 227,8
God provided a ram. But Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide.  Gen 2214
      Again prophetically, he did not say God has provided, but, God will provide.

God instructs Israel to keep the Passover, the Law, the daily sacrifices. etc
They each reveal the need for a Saviour to come.  Exd 12, 20-33  Deut 16
"The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ".  Gal 324
      It shows us the impossibility of pleasing God outside of Christ.

One day a Better Sacrifice would come!  Heb 7-10
Unlike Cain, Abel brought the best, but knew that it was not good enough.
He longed for the day of the Messiah who would be.  Gen 44  Heb 114
Adam and Eve were given garments of skin to replace fig-leaves.  Gen 37,21
      (An animal had to be sacrificed to cover their shame).
God showed them that one day there would be a 'better sacrifice'.
Ruth was redeemed by Boaz, not for land, but to be his bride.
Hosea the prophet bought, and saved, his own wife who had become a harlot.
Joseph was rejected and unjustly sentenced: yet God raised him up to save many.
Melchizedek brought bread and wine and blessed Abraham.  Gen 1418,19
Noah's Ark was covered inside and out with pitch. Gen 614
But the Hebrew word for pitch here is 'Kaphar'.
      elsewhere it is always translated atone, cleanse, appease, forgive etc.
Noah saw the pitch as the atonement that saved him, he looked forward to the day of the Redeemer;
      just as we look back and remember the bread and wine,
      and it reminds us of the body and blood of Jesus that saves us.
All these signs, and many more, each point to Jesus, the Messiah Redeemer.

5. Signs that are the fulfilment of prophecy
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."  Is 714
Jesus said to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."  Lu 421
Jesus fulfilled many prophecies.  Math 215 216-18 816,17 214,5  Lu 1831-33 2444-46  Jn 1318,19 1936 and many more.

6. Covenant signs
And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you,
a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds,
and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. ..."  Gen 912-16

13 years after Abraham believed God and he credited it to him as righteousness,
"You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you."  Gen 1711
God told him that Circumcision is a sign, (like baptism) a witness of what has already happened.

Say to the Israelites, "You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come,
so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy." Exd 3113

7. Signs of God's hatred of sin
God scatters the people of Babel for their arrogance.  Gen 114,5,8,9
God destroys the whole world in a flood for their wickedness.  Gen 65-8
      (Only Noah and his family were righteous and saved)
God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah for the outcry of their sin.  Gen 1820,21 1924
      also Josh 71,4,21,22  Jer 253-11 Ezek 2414 Is 611,2

Some may find the severity of these judgements surprising.
And especially if we remember that God has not changed!
God gives us signs in our evil generation, and they should be taken seriously.
In The Pilgrim's Progress, Christian fled the City of Destruction.
He sought God after being given a tract by Evangelist, which said, "Flee from the wrath to come!"
In the Nazareth synagogue (Lu 416-21), Jesus didn't read the second half of Is 612
Not because it was not true, but that the time for judgement would come later.

8. End-time Signs
There are some gaps in God's revelation which leads to much speculation.
      But there is also much detail. Let us speak of what is known; the rest is 'wait and see!'
The mystery of God will be accomplished.  Rev 107  Dan 129
a) Disasters in the world. Natural disasters and man induced.  Math 246-8
Hopes will be dashed when all experience the beginning of the 'birth-pains'.
Many who were taught that only 'Revival' was ahead will be disappointed.
Disillusionment, wickedness causes the 'love of many to grow cold'.  Math 2412
b) Persecution in the church.  Math 249,21,22  Rev 137, 15   Dan 725 127
But he who endures will be saved.  Math 2413  Rev 1310 1412
Do not receive the mark of the beast.  Rev 1316,17 149,10
c) False pretended peace.  Dan 927  Math 246  Lu 1942  Jer 1411-16  1 Thes 53
d) Darkness. Literal, or maybe the darkness of universal wicked leaders.
As in the days of Noah, know that one day it will be too late.  Gen 716
Men went about their normal business and missed seeing God's signs.
e) Abomination that makes desolate now on the Temple Mount.  Math 2415
On the mosque of Oman (Golden Dome) is written words from the Koran
which deny that Jesus is the Son of God.
"People of the Book (Christians) do not transgress the bounds of your religion.
Speak nothing but the truth about God. The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was no more than God's apostle
and his word which he cast to Mary: a spirit from him. So believe in God and his apostles and do not say `Three.'
Forebear, and it shall be better for you. God is but one God. God forbid that he should have a son!"
      (Koran sura 4:171 also sura 9:30 10:68 17:111 19:33 19:88 23:91 etc)
f) God is still very much in control of the end-time events.
6 Seals opened by King Jesus! Rev 6.
Then 7th Seal and the 7 warning trumpets.
Satan is defeated and Babylon falls - at last! Rev 148 18
7 bowls of God's wrath. O God, "You are just in all these judgements"  165 153

9. False signs, many deceived.
Jesus warned the disciples that many will be deceived.  Math 244,11,25
The church today needs to hear this, and hear it very carefully.
Deceit is never easily perceived.
How will many in the church be deceived?
a) Refuse to see the tribulation signs as God's warnings.  Rev 1610,11 920,21
Church will not escape the Tribulation.  Math 249,22  Rev 137,10b  Dan 721,25
b) Fail to realise that Satan will also perform miracles and healings.  Rev 133,14
c) The deceitfulness of riches, comfort and easy living.  Mk 419 1023  Jer 613
d) Flattery, false prophets. Telling us what we want to hear - peace, revival ...
      Ro 1618  Jer 811 also see Jer 379  James 122  1 Jn 18
e) 'Dominion now' and 'Replacement theology' in which world-wide revival
propels the Church into world power. They claim all God's promises to Israel,
but none of the warnings! and say Israel has no special part in the 'end time'
plan of God. But it is the Anti-christ, (not the Church) who will be in control at Christ's return.
f) People gradually believe 'strong' leaders and their emotions or experiences more than the complete Word of God.  Ps 197-11  Rev 2218,19

Each of these is highly dangerous - be warned!!  Rev 1614  Dan 825
Satan will attempt to mimic and counterfeit all God does. It will appear genuine.
The Beast and the false prophet of Rev 13 are highly seductive and powerful.
We all need to learn to discern. Failure to do so will be catastrophic.

There have been 3 main seasons of miracles since creation:
1) at the Exodus. 10 plagues, Passover, Red Sea divided, Manna etc
but they did not lead to faith among Israelites.  Num 1420-24
2) in the days of Elijah and Elisha. But it was also of Ahab and Jezebel
There was much wickedness. School of prophets, but no great revival
3) in the days of Jesus and the Apostles. The early Church was established
and was persecuted. There was no national repentance.  Jn 666
These will be a 4th season of signs and wonders in the last days.
But these will deceive many. Please take great care.

Note especially the prophecy in  Joel 21-9
The Lord promises to pour our his Spirit on all flesh. When is this to be?
Peter in Acts 2 says that it was fulfilled then. True.
But it will also be fulfilled in the last days. Why specially then?
With worldwide aggressive persecution, and Tribulation
the saints will need the Spirit to prevent us from falling.
There will not be a great revival and there is no pre-Tribulation rapture. Sorry!

(see 'Signs of His Coming',  and  'Danger in the church Today')
(Use arrow Back to return here)

Nicodemus and New Birth   31-21       [Contents]

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council.  31

'A man of the Pharisees' - Who were they?
Elite brotherhood. (Never numbered more than 6000)
Believed in the resurrection and that God ordered national events.
      Sadducees, rich land-owners, believed neither!)
            to them the Temple Services and Sacrifices most important)
      Scribes were the experts in the Law, the theologians, judges and secretariat)
Pharisees had much influence and popular support 150 years previously.
      but by 30 AD they had become more political and social - and despised.
Similar to the 'Liberal' Church today after the Reformation and the Puritans.
Jesus said that many were hypocrites; but some were genuine and earnest.
Like Wesley and Oxford Holy Club who sought real, practical holiness.
But they believed they could achieve this by their own endeavour.
Saul of Tarsus also thought this before he met Jesus on the Damascus Road.
Each had to admit failure and their need to meet the Saviour.
      They had to find that only Jesus can make the wounded, sinful spirit whole.
The Pharisees dedicated their whole lives to trying to keep the law - personally.

What was the Law?
Moses gave the Torah - Gen. to Deut. (613 Laws - 248 positive, 365 negative)
After the exile to Babylon, Ezra explained the Law; and the people rejoiced!
Neh 8. Why such emphasis on the Law?
They believed that failure to keep law, (especially the Sabbath laws),
      had caused the tragic 70 year exile to Babylon - and didn't wish to repeat it.
7th day was a Sabbath for man, and 7th year was a Sabbath for land.  Lev 254
"If in spite of this you still do not listen to me ...
I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you.
Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. ...
All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the Sabbaths you lived in it."  Lev 2627,33,35
"He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, ... until the kingdom of Persia came to power.
The land enjoyed its Sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested,
until the seventy years were completed in fulfilment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah."  2 Ch 3620,21

So from Ezra on, every detail of the Law was explained.
This 'Oral Law' later became the Mishnah 200 AD and Talmud 400 AD
Eventually there were 1500 Sabbath Laws! - the Jewish Midrash.
Not unlike today's complex Sunday trading laws (even the revised laws)
The Rabbi's explained the Laws, and the Pharisees tried to enforce them.
Nicodemus was one of the 72 wealthy members of the Sanhedrin.  (310)

He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."   32

Nicodemus was not a stereotyped "Baddy", but an earnest seeker.
He was not biased, and having seen the signs, he knew God was with Jesus.  32
Unlike most of us, Jesus did not despise Nicodemus because he was a Pharisee.

Why did Nicodemus go to see Jesus?
There was no chance for a serious, undisturbed talk with Jesus during the day.
An enquirer today would probably not start asking the vicar after a service
      but would seek an evening appointment to speak with him.
The wonder is not that he came to Jesus by night, but that he came at all!
The Law was his "schoolmaster" - and it brought him to Christ.  Gal 324 (KJV)
The Law was good but it was difficult to learn: and even more difficult to keep.
Nicodemus had spent all his life at the task.
However hard he tried he could not keep all of the Law all of the time.
The Law was not the answer - not for him, (or for anyone);
      it has no compassion and no forgiveness, only condemnation.
      Do this and don't do that ... If you fail then ...  Ro 320 Deut 11,28-30
Nicodemus, like thousands of ordinary honest Jews, admitted that he had failed.
So how could he win God's approval? Perhaps Jesus might know.

In reply Jesus declared,
"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."  33

Second of 25 occasions in John that Jesus declares 'I tell you the truth ...'  
      = "Verily, verily I say unto you ..." in AV.    (67 separate occasions in Gospels)
Not the usual Rabbinical uncertainty - Rabbi X says ... and Rabbi Y says ...
Nicodemus desired to be in Kingdom of God.
So Jesus tells him that he cannot even see it unless you are born again.
How can he be born again?

"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"  34

'Born again' is not a modern evangelical term, but is at least 2500 years old!
Nicodemus knew what being born again meant.
It described any of six occasions:
      1. Gentile to Jewish conversion,
      2. When crowned king (Nicodemus didn't qualify for either of these)
      3. At Bar-mitzvah (ceremony for all observant Jews at 13 years
            when they become 'a son of the Law' and spiritually responsible)
      4. When Married (Nicodemus was a member of Jewish Council 31
            and was therefore married. c.f. Roman Catholic Church)
      5. When became a Rabbi (so Nicodemus was at least 30 years old)
      6. Teacher of Rabbis (so he must have been over 50. "Israel's Teacher" 310)
Nicodemus was already born again in every way he knew.
He does not ask how can I be born again, but how can I be born again when old?
His question asked what other form of new birth there yet remained for him?
So Jesus told him.

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."   35-8

'I tell you the truth' is repeated from  33
You must have both water birth (of the flesh) and of the Spirit.
Nicodemus was born of the flesh, an honest, practising Jew, a son of Abraham.
But this is not enough. He required new birth by the Spirit.
How, when, and where was a mystery to him,  just like the wind (same Hebrew word 'ruwach')

"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.  39

Nicodemus wanted to know. He seems almost desperate now.
Jesus did not say, "Sorry, I can't tell you, it's a mystery!

"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things?"   310

Although Jesus seems quite harsh, the Son of God never despised the searchings of an honest, open heart.
Nicodemus, you're a teacher, you ought to know!
What does the Tanach (the O.T. Jewish Scripture) say about this?
We Christian ought to know too, but do we?   e.g. Ps 5110 Ezek 3626
Nicodemus is humbled, but there is no proud retaliation - so Jesus continues.

"I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven - the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."  311-15

'I tell you the truth ... '  Third time.
What was Jesus saying to him in these verses that was so important?
It is true because no man taught it to me,
I knew it from the beginning. ('We' = Father and I)
You see, Nicodemus, I came down from heaven.
I am the Messiah you long for!    Selah!

But understand this, Nicodemus,
the Messiah, "The Son of Man must be lifted up ... believe in him ..."
They looked at Moses' snake because they were sick and needed healing.
Nicodemus, you are sick and you cannot heal yourself, (let alone others)
You are ignorant and yet you try to teach others!
You rightly say that I am "a Teacher who has come from God."
      And that, Nicodemus, is exactly who I am!

New birth is God's gift to those who believe that Jesus has done for us
      what no man can do for himself, no matter how hard he tries.
"He paid the debt he did not owe; because we owed a debt we could not pay"

What did Jesus do?
He was born and lived without sin, then he gave his life as a perfect sacrifice.
He fulfilled all the requirement of the daily sacrifice in the Temple and the Passover Lamb.
I can never win God's approval by what I do.
By the good I do or the laws I keep etc
I will always break some and be guilty.  Ro 310
Nicodemus knew this and cried. Jesus heard this man's cry, so he came from heaven;
      he showed himself to be the true answer to the problem.
Christ 'lifted up'. Christ crucified!

God's action and man's response.
Jesus must die. 314
Man must believe and so also die (to sin and to himself).  315,16,18  Gal 220

It was not by the blood of man (Jewish birth) but by the blood of Christ.
It was not the obedience of man (keeping the Law), but the obedience of Christ.

To be born again is not the same as turning over a new leaf, or even sincere resolutions.
These might lead to a reformed character but never to a re-born one.
Looking to Moses, the tabernacle, the pole, or even the ground in shame, will not pardon.
Believing is the continuing, 'heart-looking' to Jesus, crucified in my place.

Did Nicodemus come to believe?
We are not told here but from  Jn 745-52 and 1919 it would seem so.
Why did he seem so slow to believe?
Ask, how long did I resist, excuse myself or think that the cost was too high?

'Believing' is far more than believing that God exists, or a decision to follow God.
Several times the Israelites said,
"We will do everything the Lord has said, we will obey."  Exd 193-8 243,7,8  Josh 2414-27
Each time they said that they would follow, but each time they failed.
Joshua even told them that they were not able to obey, but they remained self-confident.
So Joshua built a heap of stones as a witness; against them.
Perhaps it is still there somewhere in the Negev, a consistent witness
      to men who have struggled down this way for centuries.
Holiness requires the forgiveness of God; and God alone can forgive sins.  Mk 27
Jesus can pardon me for he paid the required price.
Christian, in Pilgrim's Progress, fled from the city of Destruction because he feared the impending judgement.
He decide to leave, but he still had the burden (of the consciousness of sin) on his back.
He passed the Slough of Despond, met Mr Legality and Worldly-Wiseman (who told him of an easier way, which nearly killed him!)
Eventually he arrived at the Wicket Gate and was let in. He was entertained at the Interpreters house,
where the truth began to dawn. From there he set out on the way of salvation, still carrying his burden.
Then he came to the Cross. Only then did his burden fall off his back.
He also received the new clothes of righteousness and a scroll from the King he now served.

What do we learn from this?
Zeal and/or giving everything I have, can never atone for my sin; never, ever.
At best it will be a very inadequate expression of gratitude of one
      who knows that Jesus has graciously redeemed him.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  316

Love is always costly.
We know so little of all the pain that we have caused our Creator
In Noah's day "The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth,
and his heart was filled with pain."  Gen 66
"As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city he wept over it ...
if only you had known on this day what would bring you peace."  Lu 1941

What did God do?
"I asked Jesus, 'how much do you love the world?'
He replied, 'This much.' and he stretched out his arms and died."
He paid the highest conceivable price. He could not have paid any more.
Did he get 'value for money'? It does not seem so to me but
Jesus says to each of us, 'Nothing and no one is more precious'.

PAID ON THE NAIL by Graham Kendrick 1974

If you heard that your life had been valued
And a price had been paid on the nail,
Would you ask what was traded, how much and who paid it,
Who was he, and what was his name?

If you heard that his name was called Jesus,
Would you say that the price was too dear?
He was held to the cross, not by nails but by love;
It was you broke his heart, not the spear!

Would you say you are worth what it cost him?
You say no, but the price stays the same.
If it don't make you cry, knock it off, pass it by,
But remember the day when you throw it away
That he paid what he thought you were worth!

Who does God love and desire to save?
      The world  Jn 316  Lu 734  -  The best and the worst
      David + Manasseh  2 Kg 21 2 Ch 3313  -  Kings, good and bad
      Saul + Mephibosheth 2 Sam 9  -  Strong and Crippled
      Enoch + Rahab Gen 524  Jms 225  Heb 1131  -  Righteous and Wicked

"... that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life"   315,16,18,36

What does it mean to believe in him?       [Contents]

Believing is much more than being convinced that God exists.
Even to know that Jesus loves us is not by itself sufficient for salvation.
      Satan knows that God loves the world: and cannot understand why!

To believe means that I know that:
1. I am guilty
      I desire to be good but fail. I cannot keep Law.
      (My tender conscience is awakened.)

2. The Death sentence on me is both just and eternal
      See God's judgement on my sin. Jms 210 Gen 217
      (Earnestly ask, "what can I do to be saved?")

3. I cannot pay
      I cannot win approval, no good works can earn it.
      (Desperation drives me to the Saviour)

4. Christ alone can and has paid the price in full
      Trust the Lamb of God, the only true Redeemer.
      (Relieved and grateful)

"Guilty, vile and helpless we, spotless Lamb of God was he ... What a Saviour!"
It must always lead us on to trust, love and obey our merciful Redeemer.
Only this can save a man - it has been so from the days of Abel,
      and it will remain so until the day when Jesus comes again.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.  317,18 (also 524)

"No condemnation now I dread ..." Now that's Good News!  Ro 81  Heb 1019
We are only confident because of what Christ has done is complete and effective.
But beware of presumption. Sin always has a big price tag - for someone!

What Jesus says here will surprise many today.
He clearly says that those who do not believe are condemned already.  318,36
Is this our theology?
We see God as loving Saviour, but what about as condemning Judge?  Rev 192
We will never hear the Just Judge say of any of us - "Not guilty"
God must always say "Guilty " -  but to the believer he adds,
      "Another has completed the just sentence for your sin for you"

Jesus, the Messiah, preached as Prophet, died as Priest and rose as King.
Consider Math 24, 25.  Each story that Jesus told has a dramatic end!
Consider the end for each of them.
      Wicked servants. 2451
      5/10 Virgins. 2512
      One talent man. 2526,30
      Goats. 2541

A man reaps what he sows. Ro 25,8
If he insists on loving darkness, then one day he must bear the consequences.
Note that Jesus says here than men are not condemned because of wicked deeds,
      but because they did not believe in God's one and only Son.   Also Heb319

Believers are not condemned because Jesus is our Redeemer and our Advocate.   2 hymns:-

Arise, my soul, arise,
Shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding Sacrifice
In my behalf appears:
Before the throne my Surety stands;
My name is written on his hands.

Five bleeding wounds he bears,
Received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers,
They strongly speak for me:
"Forgive him, O forgive" , they cry,
"Nor let that ransomed sinner die!"


Before the throne of God above,
I have a strong, a perfect plea;
A great High-priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heaven he stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

"BUT men loved darkness instead of light ..."  319

It is an enormous 'but' !

The greatest sign of the times today is that there is no shame in sin.
      e.g. Socially acceptable for youngsters to live together.  Fornication = love
      Sodomy = being 'Gay'
      Divorce, abortion, corruption (everyone does it!)
      Arrogance - "I'll decide what is right and wrong, Society has no right to tell me
            and God, well, you must be joking."

Why don't all men believe?
Because they love their evil deeds more than Christ.  319
There is no fear of God. They think that sin has no consequence;
      and everything is free, even sin!
As someone said, "The greatest misfortune of men does not consist in their being subject to sin, corruption and blindness;
but in their rejecting the Deliverer, the Saviour of the world, the Son of God."

"The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world ..."  19
God graciously offers to each of us the opportunity and the choice.

A man's reaction to Christ reveals what is in him:
      Guilt, excuses, preferring darkness, fear of exposure, anger or
      Honest, transparent, hope, seeking and finding, gratitude.

We mustn't hesitate to tell any and all that God loves them.
That he died for all, and that God hates wickedness, and all who persist in it are hell-bound.
To be economic with the truth may be convenient now, or even benevolent,
      but it will not change the result on the day of Judgement.
However desirable; it is not true that all will be saved.

Note that it is not for any man to judge another;
      those whose deeds are obviously evil, or not so obvious!

More about John Baptist   323-36       [Contents]

Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.)  323,24

John the Baptist was ~ 30 miles north of Jericho.
Why didn't John also follow Jesus?
Diligent to his God-given task - many had not yet heard his repeated message.
      "Behold! The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world ... I have seen the and testify that this is the Son of God."  Jn 129,34
So John continued.
      He would not be diverted to easier, more pleasant work.

An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing.  325

John may well have been an ex-member of the Essene Community at Qumran.
They emphasised washing, righteousness and had a yearning for the Messiah.
He left Qumran to follow the call of God to preach, evangelise and baptise.
Dead Sea scrolls reveal much about the Essenes.
They were a religious Kibbutz, a monastic, agricultural community.
Lived in cool caves in the rugged, limestone mountains beside the Dead Sea.
Devoted to prayer and ritual cleansing before and during meals.
      Practised baptism as a means of being cleansed by God.
      Although truly baptism is a single act of witness that God has already done -
            forgiven their sin.
Essenes cared for orphans, very strict, women only tolerated to continue the sect!
Taught that the faithfulness of God is forever.
If persecuted, told to remember it is not last battle.
"Repent and be baptised" and "The Kingdom of heaven is at hand"
      were both common Essene expressions.
They thought it almost impossible to live a righteous life in Jerusalem or Jericho.
      Needed to be separate.
      They hated the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.
Essenes did 3 years novice training and then became members of the community.
John probably did his training there, but then God revealed to him his mission.
      The people 'out there' also need to hear.
      They are not ready, and Messiah is coming soon! Now is the time ...

Many were still coming to John to be baptised. Why?
He preached a baptism of repentance, which is not usually the top attraction!
      But it did appeal to those with a tender conscience;
            those who earnestly sought the forgiveness of God.

What is the significance of Baptism today?
It is a witness of what Christ has already done;
      both on the Cross and in giving the believer a new heart.
It is not the instrument of cleansing. (as with the Essenes)
      We cannot be "Baptised into membership" - whether C of E or Baptist or ...  Ro 63,4
Many testify to their decision for Christ or their desire to follow Christ,
      but sadly very few testify to the relief of knowing that their sin is forgiven.
Churches should be friendly but not ignore the God declared consequence of sin
      and the need for Jesus to be crucified for atonement (propitiation). 1Jn 22 (KJV)
In Pilgrim's Progress Christian's load of guilt fell off when he came to the cross,
      not when he decided to leave 'The city of destruction'.
Not surprisingly many also find it difficult to keep to their decision.  Josh 2418,19
      It is the same impossibility as for earnest Jews who tried to keep the Law -
            and inevitably failed.

They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan - the one you testified about - well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."  326

News of the greater success of Jesus disturbed John's followers - Why?
Loyal to John, but some of his followers with petty jealousy.
Only a few of John's disciples 'heard' his oft repeated testimony that Jesus was the Messiah,
      though he constantly repeated it
Do we hear only what we want to hear?
Do we love to hear of Messiah's reign,
      but are deaf to warnings about tribulation, persecution and deception?
John was not disturbed at the success of Jesus; he was delighted!
      His disciples should have rejoiced at the fulfilment of John's ministry.

To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less. The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands."  327-35

These disciples didn't see the bigger picture.
John was only the messenger, the forerunner;
      Jesus was the Messiah, the Lamb of God.
So he had to tell them again.

John's testimony was 'earthy'.  331
Jesus spoke of heaven because he was from heaven.
It was not evil because 'earthy', only limited - we see through a glass darkly.
John was like the night stars that disappear before the rising sun,
      or as a candle is light in the darkness, but cannot compare with the sun-light.
He was like "Simeon and Anna who blaze in history as the flame of a match blazes
      before it passes responsibility for the light to the candle."  John Wilson 12/86
John said, and meant, that He must increase and I must decrease.
Do we find it easy to say 'I must decrease' ? Why not?
This is the objective of all good leaders who give effective training,
      and also of parents for their children (who must 'increase' to independence).

He describes Christ correctly because the truth was revealed to him by God.
1. A ordinary man like me can only receive what God gives him, but he is God!
      Jesus came down from heaven, therefore his testimony is true.  331
      Jesus witnesses to what he has seen and heard there.  First class information!
      I am not the Christ, the Messiah - but he is! Jesus is the Son of God.  327,35
2. I am only the Friend, not the Bridegroom.  329
      Whole purpose of 'Best-man' is to aid the union of the Bride and Groom
3. John cared nothing for the honour and praise of men - nor did Jesus.
4. The Christ has come! He is my joy. My purpose is now complete.
5. Jesus is the Lamb of God - the vital, promised sacrifice.  129,36
      Only he can forgive sin and give us 'new birth'.

John was also sent from God.  16
He taught what he had heard from God.
He was bold, truthful, faithful to his Lord, and humble.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him.  336

There are only two alternatives:
      either eternal life or the eternal wrath of God.  336
We can begin life now by believing,
      or remain in a state of condemnation and tremendous peril.
'Rejects' is a much stronger word than 'not believing'.  336
God can offer the world no greater gift than his Son, yet most refuse him.

God's wrath 'remains' (not comes) upon all unbelievers.  Jn 336
We all need 'propitiation' (atonement) for our sin.  1Jn 22a (KJV)
At Calvary Jesus won for us the appeasement of God's wrath.
The word 'wrath' is only used once by Jesus and once by John Baptist.  (Math 37)
In considering this verse we hesitate because wrath is a rare subject today.
But it remains true.
(Judgment occurs 70 times in OT and 58 times in much smaller N.T.)
There is a difference between 'Judgment' and the 'final Judgment'.
Jn 522,27 939 1247,48 also Is 61,2 c.f. Lu 419

Some like to think that God cannot condemn anyone (not his nature);
so they need not consider the implications of this part of God's character.
But John here makes the true situation painfully clear.
The gospel without Judgement is deficient - it is either sentimental or proud.
And worse, it makes the Cross totally unnecessary.  How insulting.
The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.  Prov 19
Fear leads to seeing in a right perspective. It is more than respect or awe.
It sees the reality of the wrath of God and of hell - and it quakes.
Christians are saved for heaven and from hell.  It makes us doubly grateful!

Other Gospels tell us of:
      John in prison.  Math 11
      What Jesus said of John.  Math 117 1713 2126
      John beheaded.  Math 14
      John's baptism.  Act 15 1116 1825 194

A debtor to mercy alone,
      of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with thy righteousness on,
      my person and off'ring to bring.
The terrors of law and of God
      with me can have nothing to do;
My Saviour's obedience and blood
      Hide all my transgressions from view.

The work which His goodness began,
      the arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen,
      and never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
      nor all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo,
      or sever my soul from His love.

My name from the palms of His hands
      eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains,
      in marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
      as sure as the earnest is giv'n;
More happy, but not more secure,
      the glorified spirits in Heav'n.

A Woman, a Well and a Welcome  44-42       [Contents]

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.   44-6

Some history of the Samaritans:
They were a remnant of Israel, not a religious group like the Sadducees.
Sychar is a village 3 miles east of Shechem (the principal town of Samaria)
      about 30 miles north of Jerusalem and 30 miles south of Nazareth.
The area is packed with history (like most places in Israel).

God appeared to Abraham here.  Gen 126
The land was bought from Shechem by Jacob after Peniel.  Gen 3318,34
Shechem raped Dinah, so he and brothers were killed by Simeon and Levi.
Joseph went to his brothers at Shechem, who sold him to Midianites.  Gen 3713
Jacob gave the land to Joseph. Gen 4821,22
Joshua assembles tribes at Shechem. Renew covenant - decide to serve God.
      Builds stone of witness that they are not able to!  Josh 2419
Joseph's bones were buried at Shechem (400 years later).  Josh 2432
Rehoboam gathers Jews, but rejects elders advice, kingdom divides.  1 Kgs 12
Israel with 10 tribes in North; Judah and Benjamin in South under Jereboam.
After a chequered and evil history Israel is defeated by Assyria in 721 BC
Assyria exiles most Jews from Israel and re-populates area.  2 Kg 1724-
Few remaining Jews largely assimilated with new population, and thus despised.

Judah is exiled to Babylon in 605, 597 and in 586.
In 537 they return to Jerusalem. Ezra 46-24 (Zech 3,4)
Zerubbabel refuses the Samaritan offer of help to rebuild Temple.
In 446 they complain to Artaxerxes about Nehemiah re-building Jerusalem's walls.
They build their own Temple on Mt Gerizim. (Blessing) Deut 2712
They refuse to join the Maccabean revolt against Greek Antiochus in 167 BC.
Hasmonaean's (from Judah) destroy the Samaritan temple in 128 BC.
Not surprisingly there was much mutual distrust, and even hatred.  848
Yet Samaritans responded well to Jesus and later to the Apostles.  Act 84-8, 14-17
Shechem has become the modern city of Nablus,
      which the Rabin government gave to the Palestinians in Oct '95.

The Son of God did not make journeys for fun.
      Each had a specific purpose and was in obedience to the Father.
The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing,
      because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
      He 'had' to go to Sychar in Samaria to save the Samaritan woman + others.  44
      Just like he 'had' to cross the lake to set 2 Gadarene demoniacs free.  Math 828
      He was needed in Nain to raise the widows' son.  Lu 711
      He delivered the daughter of Canaanite woman near Tyre. Math 1521-28
      He didn't go to Centurion's home, but still healed his servant.  Lu 71-10
      And finally he set his face towards Jerusalem and the Cross.  Lu 951 1250
      Each and every time Jesus completed his allotted purpose.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)   47-9

Jesus was tired and thirsty - one of many instances that show his humanity.
John emphasises both the Sonship and the humanity of Jesus.
This is a good example of resting without being idle, or feeling guilty.
A Rabbi would never talk to a woman in public (except his wife),
      especially a foreign woman; his reputation would be ruined.

Jesus was thirsty (everyone needs an extra 2 pints/day during Israeli summer).
He asks for water because he has no bucket, and as a means of 'bridge-building'.
He that 'flung stars into space' asks an adulterous woman for water!
He didn't force a religious conversation, nor did he immediately rebuke her sin.

Her response was honest, polite, straight-forward and without hostility.
      She was totally mystified.  Samaritans had no dealing with Jews.
      (c.f. today's denominations. Do we respond like this?)

"If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."   410

What (who) is the gift of God?  Can it be he who had asked for a drink!
Here and consistently throughout his Gospel, John shows us who Jesus is.
Living water.  Jer 213 1713 Jn 738  Rev 717
Living = constant running water, a stream.  c.f. this well (90 feet deep)
      a wadi or a 'Disappointing stream' that only flows after significant rain.

"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"  411,12

How can you give any water? let alone more or better water?
No man is better than our forefather and local hero, Jacob!
But she reveals her interest in living water - whatever or wherever that might be.
      Jesus has aroused the longing of this needy woman for something better.

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."   413,14

Jesus does not answer her question about Jacob,
      nor does he contest if the Samaritans are Jacob's descendants.
He just tells her about this living water that quenches thirst.
      How can it lead to eternal life?
      Can there really be no more thirsting in this weary world?
It is not Jacob's water, but Jacob's life; the life God gave him at Peniel.
He leaned upon his staff for the rest of his life,
      but he never had to wrestle all night again.  Gen 3222-29  Heb 1121
Jesus offers her 'eternal life' - a clear Messianic claim.  Is 357
The manna only satisfied for one day,
      but Jesus, the living bread or water satisfies for all eternity.  647-51

The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."  415

Then my water-carrying days will be over!   (little concept of what was on offer)
      Is this a 'cover' for her most dissatisfying life (now with her sixth man!)
She ignores the reference to 'living' water and eternal life.
The first stirrings of the heart towards God are often with mixed motives.
A 2 year old's grammar is imperfect too! He has to learn.
She had to learn. So do we!

He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."  416

What's that got to do with it?  Jesus immediately knew her desire.
He didn't say, "Well let's pray!" He quickened her guilty adulterous conscience.
J C Ryle wrote:
"There is an absolute necessity of conviction of sin before a soul can be converted to God.
Never does a man see any beauty in Christ as Saviour, until he discovers that he is himself a lost and ruined sinner."

"I have no husband," she replied.  417a

Technically correct, but definitely an economy of the truth!
      Though probably not intended to deceive.
No man really sees himself truthfully until he sees himself in the presence of Christ;
      and then he is appalled at the sight!

Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."  417b,18

Jesus states the truth: he did not condemn her.
Nothing can be hidden from him, God knows all.
Yet Jesus is gentle and kind to her.

"Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain,
but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."

Like Nathanael, she realises that Jesus is different! He knows!  Jn 148
She attempts no excuses.
She desired some religion, but does not know where to worship or to seek God?
This is not a red herring. The Samaritan temple was destroyed in 128 BC.
Jesus sees that she is now near to crying, "What can I do to be saved?  Act 237

Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth."   421-24

'Woman' = 'Dear lady' (see 21-11  'At a Small Jewish Wedding')
God as 'Father' - a totally new idea for her (and for all Jews).
The Samaritans had no foundation or assurance that God received
      their prayers or worship, because it contained too much falsehood.
      Their words of intention did not match what they did in practice.
Formal religion can at best only give temporary hope or encouragement.
Salvation is from the Jews, God bless them!
All God's revelations (including the Scriptures) have come from the Jews!
The Passover was about to be fulfilled and the veil torn in two.
      Also Pentecost when Jews offer 2 leavened loaves on single sheet.
      i.e. Jews and Gentile sinners made one with God.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away
      have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
 Eph 211-13
The Temple system is now superseded;
      and so is the Church system. i.e. 'going to Church to meet God'
You don't have to go anywhere to meet or worship God.
Worship in 'spirit' = heart worship, not formal, ceremonial worship.

False worship is:
1. Selective.
      Chooses only what it wishes to know about God.
      e.g. God is Father and ignores that he is also Judge.
2. Ignorant.
      Hope must have its reason to be safe.
      Believers are confident to come before Almighty God.  Heb 1019
3. Superstitious.
      Worship out of fear, not gratitude.
      Tries to appease God, and to earn salvation.

When the Father seeks, he finds!
Jesus in effect says to her,
"Dear lady, God desires your worship more than you desire to worship him."

The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."  425

She did not understand.
Why should salvation come from the Jews who hate us?
Who is this 'Father' we shall worship?
But she desired 'living water'
      she admitted her guilt,
      she saw that formal religion was no help,
      she looked forward to the Messiah.
However, she saw no immediate relief; because no Messiah had yet come.
She was uncomfortable and perplexed; if only he would come soon!

Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."  426

Same as  Jn 858 "Before Abraham was, I am." (also Heb. Exd 314)
Only God can reveal this.  Math 1617
And Jesus graciously reveals himself to this 'foreign', ignorant, sinful woman.
What a bomb-shell!
Revelation doesn't require intellect, only a quickened conscience and a thirst.
Most of the Scribes were too "righteous" to admit they were needy sinners!
Her question, "Are you greater than Jacob?" is now answered; it couldn't be earlier.
See the wisdom, the kindness and the mercy of Jesus in dealing with a sinful soul.
He never despised her - not for her wickedness nor her ignorance.
Like Rebecca and Rachel: she had no idea what would happen as she did her daily duties;
      how this day her life would be so totally changed by God himself.
It seems that Jesus never did get his water to drink!  428
      but the woman was saved, and many others too.

Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman.   427a

What an inopportune moment! But it wasn't.
Interruptions are sometimes God's plan,
      and not the intrusions on our plans, that they often seem to be.
The disciples are surprised to find him talking with a woman, and a Samaritan at that!
How little did they know of the heart of God and his desire to save sinners,
      both Jew and Gentile sinners.  (Act 1014)
Tax collectors, harlots, publicans etc were his friends.  Lu 529,30 734 152
All who are not too proud to admit that we need to be saved.
In the eyes of heaven, a successful church is one where sinners are welcome.
Jesus was too great to care about greatness, popularity, or social traditions.

"No one asked (her) what do you want?" or "Why are you (Jesus) talking to her?"   427b

Disciples were too embarrassed to talk to her, and too afraid to criticise Jesus.
Had they learned by then that Jesus always had his reasons?
When do God's actions seem strange to us? And why? What do we do?
      e.g. Unjust governments, accidents, healing etc

Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did ..."   428,29a

She left her jar;  her mind was now taken up with more important matters!
Like the Galilean fishermen or Matthew or Saul.  Phil 38
Immediately she became an evangelist with a testimony (albeit incomplete)
So also was that of Andrew  Jn 141   or Philip  Jn 145
But like them, she confined her argument to 'Come and see',
      plus 'the man told me all I ever did'
      and that was saying something for this colourful, dissatisfied, humble lady!
Can we also say 'come and see'.
See What? Where?

"Could this be the Christ?"  429b

If only the Messiah could have come now, here, to us in Samaria, they cried.
Jesus tells them and shows them that he is the Messiah, their Messiah!

They came out of the town and made their way toward him.   430

This woman did not have the intellect of Nicodemus,
      but she was far bolder and more effective in her witness.

Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something." Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?"   431-33

Like Martha, we are often over concerned with the incidentals of life,  Lu 1040
      or are insensitive to the changed situation.
Lord, see what we've done for you. We've brought the food you asked for.
      Why aren't you pleased?!

But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about. My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labour."   434-38

Of course Jesus had to eat normal food, but he also ate the food of obedience to his Father.
      Continually not spasmodically.  638 1421,23 1249
And right now he needed to finish the work (not eat).
Many more besides this one woman of Sychar will be saved in the next 2 days.
In the continuing challenge of evangelism self-sacrifice is not easy, but is often essential.
For Jesus this work was not a duty, but a joy.
And now, high in heaven, Jesus still delights to save sinners.
If few desire the narrow way that leads to eternal life, let us not be discouraged in our zeal.
We long to see effective preaching; but beware of, and always distrust the praise of men.

The harvest of eternal life in Samaria was unexpectedly early. Miraculous grace!
      Farmers normally have to wait 4 months after sowing.
And in such a surprising field too!
Look, the town people are coming.
Who worked so hard and who sowed? The Prophets, John Baptist, this woman.
Who reaps? You do!
The disciples would not be idle during the next 2 days!
      Nor would they be later - see Act 84-8,25
Here the Sower and reaper rejoiced together.
Sometimes some have to sow in tears, while others reap in joy.  Ps 1265,6

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did."  439

What did they believe?
Jesus was a true prophet, a real Rabbi sent from God.
A man with true revelation - he told me everything I ever did. (a slight exaggeration!)

So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.   440

So he did. 2 days with the Son of God! How gracious.
Sychar was not the same place afterwards.
God always feeds the weary, hungry, thirsty soul.
Ps 1467 Math 2535 Jn 635  Is 4029 504 Jer 3125  Math 1128  Lu 2429

And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world." 441,42

'Now we have heard for ourselves ...'
This is the essential testimony of every Christian.
We begin by believing what someone told us;
      but there must come a time when we believe God, not just a man.
What had they heard?
First it was only the woman's testimony.
Now they knew Jesus to be Saviour, the forgiver of sins, the Lamb,
The Saviour, not just of the Jews, but of the Samaritans - and of the world!
They were no longer rejected, but included.
      "Full atonement, can it be?       Hallelujah, what a Saviour!"
Jesus is not just prophet, or psychologist, an example; but primarily, he is Saviour.
This woman, often thought to be 'beyond redemption' was saved.
Anyone can be!
And she was no longer despised.  Nor did she continue her wickedness.
How do we know the detail of the conversation with Jesus? The woman told us.

Note the development of her knowledge of who Jesus was:
You are a Jew  49
Sir  411
Are you greater than our father Jacob?  412
You are a prophet  419
I know that Messiah is coming  425
Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he!"  426

The Samaritans saw no miracles, yet they believed.
Later they would see miracles too.  Philip in Samaria.  Act 84-8
Many received the Holy Spirit.  Peter and John also preached there.  Act 825

Jesus Heals a Sick Son   443-54       [Contents]

After the two days he left for Galilee. (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honour in his own country.) When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at Passover, for they also had been there. Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine.  444-46a

A prophet has no honour in his own country.
      e.g. Jeremiah.  Jer 1118-23 Moses.  Num 14, 16  Joseph.  Gen 37
Is this "Familiarity breeds contempt"?
Did Jesus, who created all things, regard Nazareth or Jerusalem as his own country?
Jesus was welcomed in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, but he was crucified there less than a week later!
The crowd that welcomed him was probably not the same as those who cried, "Crucify!"

Jesus did not go or leave anywhere because he was popular or unpopular.
Where did he go? Wherever his Father directed; however he was received.
He went to Jerusalem, then back to Cana, and Galilee,
      but not to Nazareth after events of  Lu 428 and  Math 1353-58

Jesus was welcomed here, as in Sychar, but not in Jerusalem.
What was the basis of his welcome? Not yet because of saving faith.
Story about what had happened at the Wedding at Cana was well known.  21-11

And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.  446b,47

This nobleman walked 20 miles to beg the local village Carpenter to heal his son!
Position or riches cannot protect against sickness or death.
Riches often hide a bag-load of trouble. Pray for, but do not envy such men.
How hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Math 1923
But this man did not hide his need, and he did come to believe!
Leaders and Pharisees need Christ as much as tax men, fishermen or Samaritans.
The young die as well as the old. None of us know when. Are we ready?
Affliction benefited this man's soul. It led him to Christ.  Ps 11971
Beware of murmuring in the school of trouble.  Heb 1211

"Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."   448

And probably not even then!
This remark was made more to the hopeful crowd than to the nobleman.
He was not irritated or proud. He only has one objective - his son's life.

The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies." Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live."  449,50a

Compassion for healing was not conditional on saving faith.
Jesus did not have to go to Capernaum, his word was sufficient.
What about the many promises or warnings of God?
Will they also be fulfilled, and as promptly?
When can each of them be applied?

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living.< When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, "The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour." Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his household believed.  450b-53

The Nobleman believes the word of Jesus concerning son and departs. The time is 1 p.m.
Faith in God's word is much more than a wistful longing that it may be true.
His servants tell him that his son is better. He asks when? How? Suddenly, at 1 p.m.!
He and all his household believed. Not presumptuous nor ungrateful.
But I expect he was ridiculed at Herod's court.
This is one of the very few cases where faith has been cultivated by signs.

This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee.   454

There are no records of any other miracles at Cana.
These two mighty miracles here did not lead many to faith.  Math 1123,24
Neither curiosity, wonder, or even expectation are saving faith.

John records the 2nd of 7 miracles that we may believe that Jesus is the Son of God,
      and that believing, we may have life in his name.  2031

If the miracles here did not lead to faith, what did?
The few who heard and believed the word of the Son of God.
      e.g. Nobleman, Jairus, Centurion, 4 friends etc

Anger at the Cripple who Walks   51-15       [Contents]

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews.   51

Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Not the Passover.  (213 64 1155)
He kept all the feasts (Passover, Weeks, and Tabernacles)  Lev 23-26 Lu 241
Jesus worshipped his Father. We do too, "not because we must, but because we may."
What Jewish feasts or laws should we keep? Tradition .v. freedom.

Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie - the blind, the lame, the paralysed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.   52-5

Bethesda (Heb. Bet esda = place of mercy, outpouring)
Its position is uncertain. The 5 porches have not yet been found in Jerusalem.
Great expectation for miracles and for Messiah's coming at each feast.
How much do we long for his coming? Are we too comfortable in the West?
      Does sin, pain, injustice etc affect/increase our longing, our hope and actions.

Verse 4 is only in Latin Vulgate.
That day someone better than the "moving waters" came!  Math 1241,42
An Angel moved the water. Was it real or superstition? God is very gracious.
      c.f. Lourdes, many false claims, but some modern 'great expectation' healing.
      Like Pope John Paul II shot in 2008 claimed 'Mary guided the bullets'.
God sometimes uses strange ways:
      Handkerchiefs are used for healing and deliverance.  Acts 1912
      A stick makes the Marah waters sweet.  Exd 525
      Another stick makes an axe-head float.  2 Kg 65
      Spittle and earth mixed to heal a blind man.  Mk 823

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"   56

He who sees us all as we are, has one primary question: Do you wish to be healed, to be saved?
Have we given up hope or are we content to remain as we are?
Hope deferred makes the heart sick.  Prov 1312
Jesus knew all his weary history; both the disease and the cure!

"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me." Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."   57,8

He wanted healing, but didn't see how it could ever happen to him.
See the compassion of Christ for the neglected, poor, sick and helpless;
      What about the arrogant, proud, strong, self-sufficient?  Naaman. 2Kgs 5
A long-term incurable (38 years) is not a problem for Jesus in this third miracle.
      (as distance wasn't a problem in healing the Nobleman's son.  443-54)

How can we be like Christ and help the helpless?
Nations (Jews, Israel) can also be without help or care.
"But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,
      ... because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares."
 Jer 3017

He enables the cripple to have faith to believe his word.
The Son of God commands, he doesn't give advice or form a committee!
      "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk"  Jn 58
      "Go, your son will live"  Jn 450
      "Fill the jars ... Now draw some out ..."  Jn 27,8
      "Lazarus, come out"  Jn 1143
      "Quiet! Be still!" Mk 439

At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.   59a

The man obeyed. No 'but ...'
A preacher can easily tell the sheep from the goats. (not as in Math 2531-46)
      The sheep nod their heads saying, ",, ..."
      And the goats say, "Butt, butt ..."!
This man's healing was immediate and complete.
      c.f. today when healing ministry is so often 'hit and miss'.
All his nerves and muscles were instantly restored. He even knew how to walk!

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath.  59b

What is the 4th Commandment?  Law of Moses concerning the Sabbath
      Keep it holy ... Do no work.  Exd 3114,15 352
The problem is what does this mean?  How do we apply this law.
We may despise the Pharisaic interpretation: but is ours any better?
What are our motives?
Do we rest on the Sabbath to enable better work during the week?
Or do we work for six days to enable a good Sabbath rest?
Do we bless God for the Sabbath? Or see it as an imposition, a restriction?
Answering 'what does it mean?' is much easier if we want to keep God's Law.

And so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."  510

'Jews' in this verse are the leaders, priests etc (not the common people).
Whose law forbids carrying a mat? The laws of man or the Law of God?
Jesus ignored the Oral Law (became Mishnah) with it's 1500 laws concerning the Sabbath.
      39 classifications of work. Neh 1319 and Jer 1721 forbid carrying burdens.
      But merchandise to sell is not the same as a mat no longer needed to lie on!
      Did they expect the healed man to just leave his mat there and go home?
God rested on the Sabbath, but that did not mean he was idle.
What does he do?  God heals!
"The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."  Lu 65
"The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."  Mk 227
Men always use, bend, or ignore 'the law' to achieve what they currently want.
God gave the Law for our benefit.
Jesus fulfilled the Law; he did not abolished it.  Math 517

But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, "Pick up your mat and walk." So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?" The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.  511-13

The man had not the slightest idea who had healed him!
I just obeyed! He seemed to have authority. He had! for I am healed.
Many men in this world do not know who it is that gives them so much!
The authorities asked who he was, not out of wonder, but from the desire to accuse.
      c.f. Gratitude. How did he do it?  What did he say?  When?
      or even 'My Aunt Ethel has terrible arthritis, perhaps she could be healed ...'
Jesus just slipped away.  Why?
What about all the others who needed healing?  Now wasn't the time to continue.

Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.   514,15

Sin was probably the cause of this man's sickness.
Jesus had to remind him of it in order to warn him against careless complacency.
Sickness or pain is a sad condition; but Hell is far worse!
It was not a "big-stick threat" but a compassionate warning to an erring Jew.
Sickness and sin are sometimes connected; like righteousness and prosperity.
Sin sometimes has physical consequences; but not always. See Job 4-37
His telling the Jews that it was Jesus was not intended to harm his healer.
He was trying to be helpful: ignorant of their malicious intentions.
Long for that day when there shall be no more pain or even sin.  Rev 204 2117

This man could do nothing to heal his sickness.
So it is with our sinful nature; there is nothing we can do to change it.
      Only the Lord God can reveal the truth to us and enable us to cry for mercy.
      Only the Lord God can give us a new birth, new life and complete forgiveness.
There is no better Sabbath activity as we remember that he who created all things
      and created life should also restore, re-create and redeem men.

As J C Ryle wrote:
This is just one among many examples of our Lord Jesus Christ's kindness and compassion.
He is full of undeserved, unexpected, abounding love towards man. "He delights in mercy."  ( Micah 7: 18)
And as it is with sickness, so it is with recovery. Renewed health should send us back to our post in the world
with a deeper hatred of sin, a more thorough watchfulness over our own ways,
and a more constant purpose of mind to live for God. Far too often the excitement
and novelty of returning health tempt us to forget the vows and intentions of the sick-room.
There are spiritual dangers attending a recovery! Well would it be for us all after illness
to grave these words on our hearts, "Let me sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto me."

Jesus Answers Criticism   516-47       [Contents]

Jesus had just healed a man, an invalid for 38 years,
      but the people didn't share the man's joy. Why?

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."   516

What law had Jesus broken?
      Not the 4th Commandment which forbids 'work' on the Sabbath.
Governments and even churches love to enlarge the rule book -
      it enhances their power and influence over other people.
For the Jews it was the 'oral law' that Jesus had broken, not God's law.
      About 80 years after the return from exile in Babylon,
            Ezra correctly taught that their exile was due to breaking the law. 2Ch 3621
            So the Law was emphasised to avoid a repeat.
            But they introduced some 1,500 laws concerning the Sabbath!!
            These 'oral laws' later became the Mishnah and the Talmud ~ 250 AD.
Jesus rightly ignored these man-made laws, and they hated him for doing so.
How did Jesus respond to this fierce criticism?

For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.   517

Why did Jesus heal this invalid?
1. He had real compassion for him.
2. He had power to heal. His command /touch never failed.  100% success.
3. Almighty God's work of redeeming grace, care, protection doesn't suddenly
      cease because it is the Sabbath. He doesn't shut his eyes and stop governing his creation.
      Jesus 'saw' what his Father was doing and 'worked' with him.
Jesus realised their hostility was misplace, so he taught them the truth:

Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him. "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.  518-30

"Truly, truly ..." or "I tell you the truth ..."
This expression precedes an important statement by Jesus 69 times in the Gospels,
      and 3 times in this passage.  519,24,25
See 'I tell you the truth',   (Use arrow Back to return here)
If only men would 'hear' God's truth.

First, the Facts

1. Jesus is the Son of God.
He refers to God as his Father 9 times.  517,18,19,20,21,22,23,23,26
      and 9 times that his is God's Son.  519,19,20,21,22,23,25,26,27
      'Son of Man' 527 = Messiah  Dan 713,14
There is no doubting that he was making a clear definite claim;
      and this was not lost on the crowd.
Nowhere else in scripture is the identity of Jesus so clearly revealed.
Jesus is either God, or he is the most terrible blasphemer.
Jesus is God's Son by birth, not the son of Joseph. Virgin birth of Jesus.
All believers are children of God by adoption.
      'Born again' by God's gracious work to change our natural sinful nature.

2. Jesus does nothing on his own.  519,30
All three of the Trinity existed from the beginning, all are equal and are one.
They have complete unity of mind, purpose and action.
      If only we could always be the same. And likewise in the Church.
Jesus did not lack the power to act alone - he did not wish to, not ever,
      not even in Gethsemane.
We can hardly begin to understand these mysteries of God.

3. Jesus reveals the plan of God.  520
Greater things will be revealed than healing a cripple of 38 years,
      greater than Solomon's wisdom, or Jonah's preaching.  Lu 1129-32
      Greater than raising the widow of Nain's son, Jairus' daughter, or Lazarus.
Father will see his Son crucified as agreed and planned from the beginning.
Father would raise him up from the tomb to reign for all eternity.
Not only was Jesus raised, but all believers are raised with him.  Eph 25-7

4. Jesus will be made Judge.  522,27
His judgement will be totally just.
There IS a judgement for everyone.
The Law given to Moses will accuse; only God can judge.
      Only he does not have mixed motives, is not deceived and knows all.
Some see Father as stern Judge and Jesus as loving Saviour.
      But Jesus and the Father are always in complete agreement; no debate.

5. Salvation depends upon hearing Christ.  524,25,28
'Hearing' is not just listening or reading, but believing the revealed word,
      and then trusting and obeying it.  Math 724
The 'dead' will hear and live. The walking dead, not the coffin dead.
      Prodigal was dead and is now alive.  Lu 1524  Eph 21,6,13  Col 213
The voice of Christ awakens us; revelation by his Spirit.  Math 1617  Jn 1526 1613
Faith comes by hearing the word of God.  Ro 1016-21
What we hear and believe is vital - not just that Jesus came to earth.
      Must believe I am a sinner, under death sentence, I can do nothing,
            and Jesus bore the punishment I deserve.

6. Salvation depends upon believing the Father who sent Jesus.  524
Believing why Father sent his Son to be crucified.
Everyone is found guilty of sin; and the soul that sins shall surely die.  Gen 217
Father says the 'wages of sin is death'.  Ro 623
Father reveals one and only way of escape that satisfies his just justice.
      A perfect sacrifice; the promised 'Lamb of God'.  Gen 228,14  Jn 129
Jesus is not a signpost or just an example to follow, but was sent to be our Redeemer.
      The Law is 'a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ'.  Gal 324
On the Cross Jesus cried out, "It is finished."  Jn 1930
      The price to be redeemed was paid in full.

7. Father is honoured by honouring his Son.  523
Jesus honours his Father by obedience.
Unitarians, JW's, Muslims ... all dishonour Father because dishonour the Son.
      If Son is not honoured, Father is despised.
      Humanists and some others even despise both!
We can honour both Father and Son by believing and obeying them.

8. Life with Christ.  521,24,25
Eternal life and the kingdom of God now - at least in part.
Confident in the redeeming work of Christ, we have life with him.  Ro 81
Father draws men to come to the Son.  644
'Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.'  521
Spirit gives life in full measure.  2 Co 36

9. The time is coming and has now come ...  525,28
The time when Jesus would take upon himself the punishment we deserve.
      And the time is coming when he will return to establish his Kingdom.
Opportunity for forgiveness and life with Christ is now.
Tomorrow may be too late. No second chance after physical death.
He who believes is not condemned; not now, not ever.  318 524
The opposite of eternal life is not death (oblivion), but condemnation for ever.

10. One day all will be amazed.  528
Again this refers to both his 1st and his 2nd Coming.
All without exception will rise and hear the voice of the Son of God!
'Some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.'  Dan 122
The judgement of the Son is final; there is no court of appeal.
He who was once despised and rejected is now King and Judge.
May we be confident and unashamed at his coming.  Heb 1019

            Jesus thy blood and righteousness
            My beauty are, my glorious dress,
            Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed,
            With joy shall I lift up my head.

Jesus never diluted his teaching or stopped healing to gain popularity.
Throughout this incident Jesus had called God his Father.
The Jews considered this blasphemy and so desired to murder him. 518
Having presented the facts, he now presents the evidence:

The Evidence

If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. There is another who testifies in my favour, and I know that his testimony about me is valid. "You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. "I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.  531-38

Self testimony is not valid.  531
Father testifies concerning his Son.  532,37
      also "This is my beloved Son ..."  Math 317 175
John Baptist testifies truthfully; "Behold! The Lamb of God ..."  Jn 129
      But Jesus didn't rely just upon the testimony of men
Miracles can bear a mighty witness  536
Jonah raised from dead.  Math 1240 164
Death and resurrection of Jesus still to come.
      But they were not part of John's ministry; yet many flocked to hear him.
Miracles of Jesus 100%, no failures.
      And death and resurrection of Jesus still to come.
Jesus said the Scriptures testify about me.  539  Lu 2425-27, 45-47
      Moses testifies Jn 546 Lu 2425-27, 45-47 Historical evidence in exodus from Egypt,
            sacrificial offerings, and Feasts that each revealed the future plan of God.
Thus the irrefutable evidence that Jesus is the Son of God
    is given by the witness of the Father, by miracles and by the Scriptures.

The Sad Conclusion

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?  538-47

Having brought the evidence, men deliberately refuse to come to Jesus. Why?
Jesus gave the answer while talking to Nicodemus:
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  319,20

Jesus knows the hearts of all men completely.
Some men desire men's praise, their acceptance and popularity.  544
      The zig-zag road of convenience and no fuss that leads to death.  Math 713
In today's evil world, Jesus remains largely despised and rejected.
"Unbelief does not arise so much from want of evidence, as from lack of will to believe."  J C Ryle.
Most men remain either deaf, hostile or indifferent.

'Indifference' by Studdart Kennedy

When Jesus came to Golgatha they hanged him on a tree,
They drave great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary;
They crowned him with a crown of thorns, red were his wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days and human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to Birmingham they simply passed him by,
They never hurt a hair of him, they only let him die;
For men had grown more tender, and they would not give him pain,
They only just passed down the street, and left him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do,"
And still it rained the wintry rain that drenched him through and through;
The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,
And Jesus crouched against a wall and cried for Calvary.

But anyone, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  Joel 232
Scripture is silent as to the response of the Jews on this particular day.

Food for 1000's - Jesus for King!   61-15       [Contents]

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias).  61

From Capernaum to Bethsaida is about 5 miles by land and slightly less by sea.
Jesus crossed the lake by boat privately to a solitary place.  (Math 1413)
To Bethsaida (Lu 910), the home of Philip, Andrew and Peter.  144
Tiberias was built in 20 AD by Herod on a graveyard, therefore unclean to Jews.
      Ultra modern and very "Roman".
Vespasius destroyed all other Galilean towns except Tiberias.
Later, the Gentile readers of John knew Galilee as Sea of Tiberias.
      (Now called Kinneret. Quaker writer erroneously called it 'the Syrian Sea')

And a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Feast was near.   62-4

Miracles always draw a crowd. Why ?
Curiosity, love of excitement, hope of 'healing'. Same today.
Previous miracles at, or near Capernaum.
Water to wine at Cana wedding. 21-11
While Official was at Cana, his son in Capernaum was healed.  443-54
Drove out an evil spirit. Mk 125
Heals Peter's mother-in-law. Mk 131
Healed many that evening after Sabbath ended. Mk 132,33
Centurion's servant healed. Lu 71-10
Jairus's daughter raised from the dead. Lu 88-56
Woman with 12 year bleeding healed. Lu 843-48
Paralytic with 4 friends healed and forgiven. Mk 21-5
7 demons cast out of Mary Magdala. Lu 82
      and others not far away - e.g. Widow of Nain's son raised etc

Greek suggests THE mountain - a distinctive place.
Disciples here means the 12 + large crowd that followed.
Second Passover. Probably did not go to Jerusalem because of hostility.
Galilee is always beautiful, but especially so in April. Green grass, flowers.  610
Later in the Summer it is too hot to teach outside all day.
Jesus has compassion on the crowd - like sheep without a shepherd.
Protects, feeds, heals, cares for them, with them day and night.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"   65,7

Jesus anticipates 'the problem' as the crowd was 'coming toward him'.
He asks Philip - a local. Tests him.
Other tests by Jesus:-
      He acted as if he were going further. Lu 2428
      He was about to pass by them.  Mk 648
      Will you also go away?  Jn 667
      Phoenician woman with possessed son.  Math 1521-28
Philip has no answer. He had worked out the size of the problem!
      It is far beyond the common purse and all the local resources.
He did not yet see the size of the resources of the Son of God.
How would we have answered?
3 precedents of multiplied food.  1 Kg 1714  2 Kg 442-44  Exd 164

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"   168,9

Andrew (also a local), makes a spontaneous suggestion (like Peter),
      but then he suddenly sees how ridiculous it is!
Barley was mostly used for animal feed and by the poor who couldn't afford wheat flour.
The 'Loaves' were almost certainly small buns.
      And the fish may be dried or pickled, sardine size. Still very common.
The (ever-hungry) teenage boy was willing to give it all!

Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.  610,11

Jesus knew what to do; and does it. No doubt, no dither, no maybe.
He sees what his Father is about to do. Jn 519,20 is not some vague theory.
He uses no emotional build-up, there is no band, nothing obvious.
To the crowd it seemed an ordinary, orderly distribution of food.
Most were not aware of the miracle until afterwards.
Like the wine at the Cana wedding.
They sat down in groups of 50 or 100. (imagine enough food for even 50!)
      (More than stretching a dinner for 4 into for 8. This was stretching 1 into 5000!)
He just blessed the bread and gave thanks and ... distributed it.
They never asked where all the food was coming from.

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.  612,13

It sounds like they were even offered second helpings!
Certainly, no one was in the least hungry.
12 full baskets is much more than the initial 5 loaves. Proof, if needed.
Bread and fish were both multiplied. Mk 648
'Eaten enough' ('Filled' in AV) = full to bursting!
Why did Jesus do what he had refused to do earlier in the desert?  Math 41-4
      This food was not for his own satisfaction.
In this miracle something was created from nothing.
Men can transform oil into perfume, or sand into computer chips,
      but creation is far, far beyond the ability of men.
Only Almighty God can create, and with such little fuss!

This is the only miracle that is recorded in all 4 Gospels.  Math 14  Mk 6  Lu 9

After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.   614,15

He must be the longed-for Messiah King! or at least Elijah.  Deut 1815  Mal 45
Let's make him King! !
With Jesus as King there'd be no more hunger, no more Tiberias, no Roman taxes!
They did not desire the rule of God, but sought to possess a king.
"Come on boys - Jesus for King!"   What arrogance! What impudence! How can mere man force God to do anything?
How could they expect God to do everything they wanted?

Do we want Christ's gifts without his cross?
Do we desire his expectation of our obedience?
Do I ask God for strength to do what I want to do, or for what God wants?
Do I desire God for what he so generously gives;       or can I honestly say with Job,
      "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord."

It is easy to be more concerned about Roman domination than with sin,
      or about world pollution instead of the personal pollution of my heart!
As this event shows, man's resources are meagre and his motives are often faulty.
During his time on earth, the true King's only crown would be of thorns.  192
Jesus refused all the misguided honour of man.
      and he rejects all the arrogant efforts of man to use God for their own ends.
Jesus Christ is the Sovereign King from the beginning, and for ever!  1213 1919
What do men desire from their king?  What does Jesus offer as king?
      How different these are - both then, and now.
      Note that democratic governments are elected; kings are appointed.
When Israel wanted a king, the Lord gave them a serious warning.
      Their kings would take, take, take ...  1 Sam 810-18
      But they refused to heed the warning; and paid a huge price.
The exiled prophet Ezekiel used the term shepherd, rather than king.
      He contrasted the evil shepherds with the Good Shepherd.  Ezek 34

"Jesus as King" the people cried ...
      but it was the wrong time, the wrong way and for the wrong motive.
So Jesus withdraws.
One day he will return as 'King of kings and Lord of lords'.  Rev 1916
What a great day that will be.

Jesus goes to Struggling Disciples   616-21       [Contents]

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them.  616,17

Jesus sent disciples away by boat in profound emotional shock:
      stunned after seeing God create so much food before their very eyes!
They didn't know what to think, or how to react.
Besides, where was he now?  What was he doing?

A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.   618

Jesus did not make it easy for his disciples.
      How else could they learn to be strong?
They had served the broken bread:
      but only after their helpless impotence had been contrasted
            to the creative power of the Son of God.
Now it was blowing a gale and the waves threatened their lives.
If you were in their position, how would you feel?

Few of the disciples died of old age in a comfortable bed.
Stephen, James (John's brother), Paul and Peter were each martyrs.
      "You will be my witnesses ..."  Act 18   Witness = Gk Martos
Almighty God is not afraid to test us sometimes.
      It is foolish to say if it's rough, then we will know it is not what God wants;
            and test guidance by 'if the door opens easily it must be God's will!'

Now the apostles were alone in a dark storm in a small open boat.
Tired, no sleep  (Math 1425   - 4th watch is 3-6am)
      And after an exhausting day emotionally and physically.
Only 4 were fishermen:
      and just when he was needed most, Jesus wasn't there.
Is Jesus only with us when the sun shines?

When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified.   619

The all-seeing compassionate God was well aware of their plight.
Suddenly Jesus was there, he appeared out of the storm - walking on the water!
His feet walked on it as firmly as on the Temple steps, or the Bethsaida hill.
It is not surprising that their hair stood on end.
What was God trying to teach them?

But he said to them, "It is I; don't be afraid." Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.   620,21

The disciples were terrified!
What fear did Jesus wish to dispel? All fear? No!
Some fear stimulates what is good.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Prov 17 910 1533
      also Ps 11110  Job 2828  Is 112 336  Mic 69
Fear enables us to see in a right perspective who God is, and who or what I am.
      A guilty, forgiven sinner before the Almighty and righteous God.
Like the Law, fear can be 'a signpost that leads us to Christ.'  Gal 324 (AV)
"And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you
but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him,
to serve the Lord your God with all your heart ..."  Deut 1012 (and Mic 68)
"Should you not fear me ..."  Jer 522
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  Prov 37
Fear of the Lord is a great antidote to pride.
      Even the proudest man trembles in an earthquake or a storm.
      When at the mercy of someone greater, the "houdini spirit" melts.
It is also a help in temptation.  How so?
      There is little preventative social pressure against crime in a mobile society.
      But God sees every action and knows every thought.
      In due time, all men 'reap what they have sown'.  Gal 68
See "The Plight of Man and the Power of God" by Dr Lloyd-Jones.

What should we NOT fear?
Anxiety concerning future, the unknown, hunger, debt, failure, war, old age, pain, disease,
      loss of popularity, reputation, loss of security (divorce), children's safety or their future,
      persecution, responsibility, guilt concerning the past (when forgiven).
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment."  1 Jn 418

99 times in the scriptures we are instructed 'not to be afraid'.
See 'Fear Not',   (Use arrow Back to return here)
e.g. "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.
The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."  Exd 1413,14
"Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."  Gen 151
"Don't be afraid, for I will surely show you kindness ..."  2 Sam 97
      2 Kg 616 196  Ruth 311  Ps 461,2  Is 442-8  Jer 175-8  Hag 24,5  Lu 219 850 etc
Many times the reason for not giving in to fear is that God is with us.
      e.g. Is 4110 431  Jer 4627  Ps 915  Lu 1222  Math 1028

Living Bread Offered - and Refused  622-59       [Contents]

For the disciples, the storm was over and very soon they landed safely.
What did the disciples feel after the last 24 hours?
It was just the beginning of their training!
They would learn to face far worse difficulties and pain than this!
These two miracles were a great preparation for his teaching next day.

The crowd at the Capernaum synagogue were mystified.
Jesus never answered their question as to when or how he crossed the lake.
If only curiosity, then it was of no value for them to know.
He turns their attention to the main issue - food!  Food that lasts.
      (Like the 'water' given to woman at Sychar so that she never thirsted again)

The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"   622-25

The crowd were mystified; Jesus had disappeared.
They searched for him; they not only wanted to make him king,
      but many were excited by the extraordinary - like men always are.
Jesus warned us, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!"
      And he went on to tell them, "One greater than Solomon is here."  Math 1239-42
Only rarely do miracles lead a man to cry to God for mercy.
      Seldom do they cause a man to seek God for forgiveness.
When they found Jesus he told them about seeking eternal life;
      about 'living bread that lasts for ever.
      Not about how he got there walking on water.  Such is the wisdom of God.

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."   626,27

This important statement follows their unanswered question.
Jesus cannot be deceived.
He knew, and knows all our mixed motives. Never pretend with God or men.
Desire to be like Nathanael - without guile, transparent, honest, real.  147
Their motive? Hungry (greedy) for easy (miraculous) food but not hungry for eternal life.
Something 'for free' is nearly always attractive.
He tells them plainly that they need to seek eternal life.
      And he tells them he is willing to give it to them - free with God's approval.
      (Note: God would also provide for their legitimate material needs.)
What was Father's 'seal of approval'?
Jesus was 'born of the Holy Spirit', then 'sealed' at the start of his ministry.  Lu 322
The Holy Spirit's principal work is to reveal the truth of God.  Jn 1526  1613-15
God's servants are also 'sealed'.  Rev 72 Ezek 94
      But beware of the false mark (sealing) of the beast.  Rev 1316 149-12 162
What was the response of the people to his 'direct' statement?

Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"  628

Man always tends to think he can earn salvation and gain God's approval.
This is mostly a hangover from his continual striving for success on earth,
      or the foolish notion that he can do anything he sets his mind to.
Hard work and skill are not to be despised;
      but there are some things (like salvation) that no man can ever achieve.

Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."   629

Christ alone does the work.  Man only needs to repent and believe.
      Repent is to see sin as the Most Holy God sees it - offensive.
            And something that his justice demands to be punished.
            True repentance leads to a heartfelt hatred of sin.
      Believe what?   Who?   How?
                  (see John 3 on Nicodemus and New Birth.  Jn 3)
Believing has the following essential elements:
1. I have disobeyed God, offended him, sinned; and can offer no excuse.  Ro 323
      As Benjamin Franklin said, "Never ruin an apology with an excuse."
2. God has decreed that all sin deserves death.  Gen 217  Ezek 1820
3. There is nothing I can do to avert this death sentence.  Gal 216  Eph 28,9
4. Jesus has paid the price for me: he died in my place that I may live!  1 Pe 318
Simple! - But not easy when opposed by natural pride.

Why do men find it so difficult?
Most discount the consequences of sin. God just forgives.
      That there is no cost, no punishment - not now, nor in the past or later.
They say that the little sins we all do certainly don't deserve death - it can't really be that bad?
      I've always done my best - never done anyone any harm - not as bad as ....
      Only some sins deserve death (the ones I haven't committed!)
God offers man the free gift of salvation;
      though free, it is conditional upon real repentance and a pleading for mercy.
Men will try the many false ways to achieve forgiveness -
      better parents, good education, improved law and order, other religions etc
      But all are 'broken cisterns' and will fail until finally
            God reveals that a dead man can do nothing to earn his salvation.
Like the Lawyer who asked, "What good thing must I do to get eternal life?"  Math 1916
But earnest Jews asked, "What must we do to be saved?"  Act 237 1630
      and they, like the Philippian jailor, went on to believe.  Act 1634
The Cross is always the place of either division or reconciliation with God.
As J.C.Ryle said, "The greatest thing they had to do was cast aside their pride,
      confess their guilt and need, and humbly believe."
This is "the work of God" c.f. "the works many men think that God requires".

So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat'."   630,31

Their forefathers ate manna for 40 years.
Every day God provided and every day they ate a miracle!  Exd 16
      Not collected on the Sabbath. Only Fridays 'double portion' of manna did not go bad on second day.
They had also seen:- Plagues in Egypt only on Egyptians, Red Sea parted, Bitter water made good,
      Quail to eat, Water from the rock, ... etc.  But they still did not believe.
Why don't we learn?  Why must history forever repeat itself?
Even if surrounded by miracles, man will not believe the truth of Almighty God.
      Math 2743  Lu 1631  1 Co 122
The men of Capernaum in effect said,
      True, you've made some bread once - as in Sinai,
      but we need more proof than that!
They did not yet realise the true presence of Almighty God was with them.

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."   632,33

Again Jesus reveals an important truth.
'It is not Moses ...'  The Sinai manna was given by God
      in the desert it only lasted one day.
      'but my Father ... gives you the true bread', not made from wheat flour.
      The true bread - eternal life - that lasts for ever!
Jesus clearly claims that he is the bread that comes down from heaven.
What a claim!  No mere man can say this truthfully (but some have tried to).
This bread "Gives life to the world" - not only to the Jews.

"Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread."   634

Yes, yes, we don't mind where it comes from, or who gives it to us,
      just feed us, like you did yesterday on the mountain.
      Life will then be secure, easy. No longer on a knife-edge.
      No longer will we have any anxiety concerning sufficient rain.
      and then there will be no more Roman tax, or war, or back-breaking work ...
The Samaritan woman asked for this too.
      "Give me this water so that I won't be thirsty ... "  415
They did not know what they were asking, or what Jesus was offering.
Jesus wanted to give them (and us) something much better -
      Himself!  The bread of eternal life.
Bethlehem (house of Bread).  Heb. Beth = house of, and Lehem = bread

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life."  635

First of seven "I am the ..."
Jesus is ... Who benefits?   John's Gospel
Bread of Life Hungry 635,41,48,51  
Light of the World Lost, fearful 812 95
Door (Gate) Seeking 107
Good Shepherd Vulnerable 1011, 14
Resurrection and the Life   Bereaved 1125
Way, Truth and Life Lost 146
Vine Lonely 151, 5

also  "Before Abraham was born, I am!" 858
Jesus (the 'I am') was, is and always will be, all these.

Jesus then tells them more about this true bread of life.

He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.   635-37

'He who comes to me will never go hungry'
      is similar to 'whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.'  414
Jesus again makes clear that his offer is eternal, not temporary.
"Come to me" - do not just know about me.  539,40
Hunger for Jesus himself; and not just for all his abundant gifts.
      "My goal is God himself, not joy nor peace
       Nor even blessing, but himself, my God:
      'Tis his to lead me there, not mine, but his,
       At any cost dear Lord, by any road."

What does it mean to come to Jesus?
It is much more than an commitment to follow Jesus.
Some evangelicals make 'new birth' too easy;
      and are surprised when their so-called converts fall away.
To 'come' must be the same as to 'believe'.   see notes on 629   See sermon on   Forgiveness',   (Use arrow Back to return here)'
Also Mary c.f. Simon.  Lu 736-50
Mary came to Jesus hungry and repentant.  She left forgiven.
Simon invited Jesus to his house; but not into his heart.
      Sin was not yet a burden to him. He was interested in Jesus.
            But there is no hint that he was pleading for mercy.
      So far as is known, he never sought forgiveness.

Will those born-again and forgiven ever be hungry again? (or thirsty?  414)
We will never suffer the same acute, desperate hunger.
      But we will continually need pardon for sin.  Ro 724  Math 56
Always feed on this living bread,on God, his strength, direction, protection and grace.
Bread (or rice) is a staple food for all, everywhere - so is Christ.
      for rich/poor, wise/ignorant, young/old, Jew/Gentile,
            in every generation and every state of man.

This word of Christ is of the greatest relief to all burdened by sin, whether at conversion, or later.
The mercy and love of Christ stands true and steadfast - for ever!
No good resolution or helpful advice can relieve the stricken conscience,
      but Christ will do so - effectively and gladly.
      And then the day of weeping will become a day of joy.
We deserve to be cast out - like the leper.  Lev 1345,46  Lu 512,13
But Christ's promise stands true and secure for ever,
      'whoever comes to me I will never drive away'.   637
See how great is the offer of Christ to this unresponsive crowd.

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."   638-40

Jesus repeats the purpose of God in his being 'sent' to save.  Lu 1910
He also gives reassurance to all who wonder that God can still loves them.
All who have been given to Jesus, he will raise up to life.
All believers are part of the Bride, given to the Bridegroom by the Father.  176
All men are raised. Believers are raised to life; but unbelievers remain in condemnation.  318 524
We must 'look to the Son'. No-one else can save.  146  Math 1127

At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said,
"I am the bread that came down from heaven." They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph,
whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?"

The Samaritan woman was eager for the Messiah, but in Capernaum, it seems that they only grumbled.
"Is this not Jesus ..." has a latent sneer in Greek. (Ryle)
They thought Jesus was illegitimate - 'We all know when they were married!'
We've known him for over 30 years; they said,
      seemed a 'deep' boy, not surprised he became a Rabbi
      But to be God.   No! Definitely no, he can't be God.
            The Messiah will not come like that.
Our pride is so easily offended by simplicity and humility - especially that of God!
More than 'poor chap; he must be suffering some fantasy';
They were angry because they were confused.  The miracle worker had dashed their hopes.
They approved of his moral teaching and example, also his dignity and kindness.
      but thought it 'negative' to talk about sin and death and atonement!
Similarly today they say the Cross is an excellent example of self-sacrifice;
      but fail to see it as a vital and continuing necessity for our redemption.
The recent Bishop of Durham, Dr Jenkins, denies the virgin birth and the resurrection - not logical, he says.
      True, it isn't logical, but it is truly miraculous!  The vital plan of God.
Judas became disillusioned with Jesus;
      a Messiah who wasn't going to oust the Romans, was not the Messiah.
Both of these concluded that Jesus certainly didn't come down from heaven.
He was born in Bethlehem, but conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit.

Short break - this discourse would continue later in the synagogue.  659

"Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered.  643

How quick they were to complain.  Exd 1524 162 172 321
But be warned - so are we.  Exd 3210,33-35  Num 111 114,33 121,10 etc

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.   644,45

It is the Holy Spirit awakes our dead conscience:
God makes us hungry, and it is the Father who chooses us!  1516
      but I don't gain any 'Brownie points' for my just being hungry.
My repentance is of far more consequence than 'my decision'.
Religion without repentance will always be popular.  e.g. Devon chuch with 520 members.
Man may be impressed, but God is not!
Faith with this foundation will certainly fall in the day of trial, if not before!
Father does not force us - He whets the appetite!
While Martha worked; Mary listened - intently.
      And Jesus said, "it will not be taken away from her."  Lu 1038-42
Father teaches us.   How?
Experiences, example, preaching and most importantly, by the scriptures.
They are available to all, and are essential to all.  19
And all the scriptures are vital and relevant - not just the 'nice' bits.

No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.   646

Jesus repeats his credentials, his true origin.
I have seen the Father, I know him, I came from him - we are one.
No other man can ever truthfully say this.

I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven.   647-50

Third of four vital statements from the Son of God in this chapter.
      (each start with, 'I tell you the truth')
You might think that such an offer would be eagerly received.
But it wasn't then,  -   and isn't now.
It is debated upon; but like the seed sown, only a little falls on good ground.
The manna came down from heaven; so did Jesus.
But Jesus is far, far superior to manna (miraculous though it was).
Manna sustained life for just one day; Jesus offers life for eternity.
Jesus himself is the bread, and with him is forgiveness and eternal life.
Almighty God was standing there in their very midst.
      One 'greater than Solomon' was speaking to them!  Lu 1129-32
This truth was shown to Martha when Lazarus died.  Jn 1121-27

If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"   652

How can anyone eat his flesh? Ridiculous!! The dispute moves up 2 gears!
How do we eat this bread?
We remember that Christ died for us; not as an example to follow,
      but as the perfect, vitally necessary, once offered sacrifice for my sin.
He did not give his life in vain!
Now Jesus reveals more of this great truth.

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."   653

Unless you eat you are dead! And you will remain so!!
Now Jesus adds drinking his blood to eating his flesh.
If taken literally, it sounds absolutely horrible!
      So is the Roman Catholic belief in transubstantiation (a repeated sacrifice).
            Remember many were burned at the stake for challenging this.
            The RC's have yet to repent of this gross error.
            They also only allow the priest to drink the wine,
                  and practice 'reserving the sacraments'.
In the crowd there must have been some who were searching.
      Some were earnest in their quest for eternal life.  So Jesus continues.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.  654-58

'Whoever eats ... drinks ... remains in me and I in him.'
What a promise! What a privilege! What a gracious assurance!
'Whoever' - the offer is open to everyone - Jew and Gentile, rich and poor ...
Yet these disciples found it 'hard'.  660,61  And they continued to grumble.

He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.   659

This teaching finds the same response in 'religious' churches today.
Those who think they know; and find it hard to learn something new.
"You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
But thankfully there are exceptions.

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you?  660,61

An honest question.  Yes, it is hard.
But how desperate are we for forgiveness and life?
Do we seek intellectual understanding of the words,
      or do we long with all our being for Jesus, the 'pearl of great price'?
How easily are we roused or offended?
Do we grumble at every difficult circumstances, or over what someone said?

What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.   662,63

What if you were to see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!?
What if you were like Elisha, and saw 'Elijah' ascend to heaven.
      (in a whirlwind, not a chariot.  2 Kg 211)
Jesus again speaks of his origin; and now also of his destiny.
He tells of his resurrection after 3 days.  Math 1239-42
Jesus would be crucified, but he would rise from the dead.

Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.  664-66

No man spoke so clearly as Jesus, yet only a few believed.
The Holy Spirit is the revealer, the one who enables us to see the truth.
To believe and become a disciple is dependant on God's enabling.
Man likes to think that he controls, that it is he who takes the initiative.
"The master of my destiny and the captain of my fate!"
The 'one lost sheep' could no more find his way home than we can.  Lu 154-6
It needed the Good Shepherd to go and find him.
The lost sheep only had to want to be picked up and carried home.

At this time many turned back.
      Surely, this must be one of the saddest verses in scripture.
How it must have hurt Jesus, even if he was not surprised.
It was their moment of opportunity - and so many missed it.

You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)"   667-71

Jesus seeks confirmation from the 12; not for his benefit, but for theirs.
Peter's answer was spot on!
Jesus alone has compassion, holiness, and the power to save.
Jesus chose them, they did not choose him.  1516  Ps 7867-72
Chosen from the foundation of the world!  Eph 14  Math 2534  Rev 138 51
Given to Jesus by Father, and none are lost, except Judas.  1318
Jesus chose Judas. It was not a mistake; he knew he was a high risk.
Aren't we all?!   Let us pray that none of us will not be deceived.

Jesus had given the men of Capernaum good evidence.
More than 10 miracles, including raising the dead!   (See notes on 62-4)
They had no reason not to believe, ... but many excuses!

The Feast of Tabernacles  71,2       [Contents]

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, ...  71,2

Why did they hate him so much?   It was 'Without reason!'  1525
Later "Crucify him!"   Pilate asked, "Why? What evil has he done?"  Math 2723  None.
      The people thought that Jesus was illegitimate.  He wasn't.
      He came from Nazareth - 'nothing good from Nazareth' or Galilee.  146 741
            He was born in Bethlehem.
      Did not keep 'Oral' law (later = Mishnah) - especially many Sabbath Laws.
      But, unlike them, he truly kept all the Laws of Moses - the Torah.
            And more than the Law!  Math 522, 28, 32, 34, 39,44 ....
            He also fulfilled the Law.  Math 512
      He was a threat to the 'system', their corruption and their power.
            He cleared the Temple and spoke with authority.  Jn 214-19
      Jealous of all his powerful miracles, (healing, deliverance, power over nature)
            See list of miracles',   (Use arrow Back to return here)'
            and his public popularity (c.f. the authorities were mostly despised).  Mk 1237
Jesus challenged both their conscience and their hypocrisy.  Math 23
Jesus stayed away from Jerusalem - except for the Feasts.
Why did Jesus go to this feast?  The Law commanded it. Lev 231
      So Jesus would have gone unless Father specially said not to.

What is this feast?  Lev 2333-43  Num 2912-38
What happens immediately prior to Tabernacles?   Vital to know.
      New Year (Rosh Hashana) and then Feast of Trumpets for 9 days.
      The Trumpets sound an alert, a warning!  "He who has ears to hear ..."
            It is 9 days of repentance and restoration.
      On the 10th day is Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement,  a day to receive God's forgiveness.
5 days later is the Feast of Tabernacles,
      a time of great rejoicing for God's mercy and forgiveness,
      a time of appreciating the very presence of Almighty God.

In our modern world we love to celebrate,
      but where is the repentance that must come before the rejoicing?
For our health's sake, it is better to eat the main course before the pudding!
Without the Feast of Trumpets, there is no experience of Yom Kippur,
      and without Yom Kippur there is no Tabernacles.

When is the Feast of Tabernacles?
Passover is the beginning of months, on the 14th of the first month (Nisan) in March/April Exd 121,2
      (Jewish months always begin at the new moon)
Jewish Calendar New Year - is on the first day of 7th month (Tishri) in Sept./Oct.

Rosh Hashana (New Year) and Feast of Trumpets

Shofar (Ram's horn) is blown.  Lev 2324   Why?
1. Call to repentance.
      God's warning, be alert. Especially in the Last days.  Rev 86-921 1115-19
2. Reminder of Covenant
      Jews remember when Abraham offered up Isaac and a ram was substituted.  Gen 22
3. Confounds Satan.
      At Jericho. "Commander of the Lord's Army" appears, walls collapse when horns blown.  Josh 513-620
      Gideon defeats Midianites with 300 men. Trumpets blown, God brings confusion. Judges 7
4. Regathering of Israel, resurrection of the dead,
      Book of Life opened in heaven.  Is 2713  Ezek 2033-38
      All must now seek forgiveness; soon it will be too late.  1 Thes 416  1 Co 1550-54
      9 days of heart searching and repentance, ends on 10th day with Yom Kippur.
      The Day of Atonement, the receiving of God's forgiveness
      and the lasting assurance that the price has been paid in full.

Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement

The Day of Atonement, the receiving of God's forgiveness and the lasting assurance that the price has been paid in full.
God said to Noah, "Make yourself an Ark ... and coat it with pitch inside and out"
The word 'pitch' here in Gen 614 is the Heb. Kaphur
It is translated Atonement, Ransom or Cover on all the 72 other occasions. Only in Gen 614 is it translated 'pitch'.
This is correct, it was pitch. But the pitch represented the atonement.
Like the 'Body and Blood ...' we remember, Noah saw the 'pitch' and was saved.

God gave Jesus a Cross - so that the world would have a Saviour Redeemer,
      "a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world".
Yom Kippur (or Kaphur) is a day of fasting. National and individual atonement for sin.
      "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin."  Heb 922
But as the old hymn says:
      Not all the blood of bulls and goats on Jewish altars slain,
      Could give the guilty conscience peace, or wash away it's stain.
      But Christ, the heavenly Lamb, takes all our sins away;
      A sacrifice of nobler name, and richer blood than they.
      Isaac Watts

The High Priest offered a bull and a ram for his own sins.
      He had to wear clean garments.  Lev 161-4, 11-14
      The bull was burned outside the city.  Heb 1311-14

Then he took 2 Goats. Lev 165-10, 15-22
      First goat was sacrificed.
High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, sprinkled the blood on atonement cover
      and pleaded with God before the mercy seat.
The waiting people were relieved when he returned alive - God had accepted the sacrifice.
Jesus returned alive after his perfect sacrifice was accepted.  Heb 911-1018

He laid his hands on head of the second goat (Scapegoat or Azazel) and confessed the sins of the people.
      The goat taken out into the desert and left.
      "So far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."  Ps 10312
            also Is 118 538 Jer 3134

Today Jews remember at Yom Kippur that God seals the books.
      Sealing, not to hide but to authenticate and prove God's authorship.
So they seek the atonement of God and forgiveness on this day of judgement.
They seek to be reconciled with God and also with neighbours and to practice charity.
      Much anger and feuding is thus averted.
      But remember salvation is never gained by our own efforts.  Ps 243,4
They read Jonah. We cannot run away from God, or from our sin.
      Jonah and Nineveh repented - and were spared.
Yom Kippur ends with blowing the Shofar to herald the coming of the Messiah.

Final fulfilment is when Israel mourns for her sin
      and is saved by the mercy of God.  Zech 1210-131  Ro 1126,27

Tabernacles (or Booths)
God's Command.  Lev 2333-44  Num 29 Deut 1613-17  Neh 8-10 Zech 14
During the 7 days of joyful feasting Jews remember:
      God's merciful deliverance from slavery of Egypt, from false gods and from sin.
      Their restoration after Babylon. Neh 810-17
      God's faithful provision during 40 years in Sinai -
            water, manna, quail, and clothes/shoes that did not wear out.  Deut 295
      Also God's continued provision down the years; and for this year's harvest.
God's protection and power over Egypt, Amalek, Midianites, Amorites etc.
      He enabled them to defeat their enemies (and the enemies of God).
God's presence in pillar of fire / cloud, his glory in the Tabernacle (Ark).
      God dwelling with men brings rejoicing. It cannot do anything else!
      This was always God's gracious plan.
            Gen 38,21  Exd 258 2945  Jn 1423  Math 2820b

Jews look with great longing for their Messiah.  Is 35, 40  Jer 31  Ezek 38, 43, 47  Zech 12-14 etc
Much rejoicing after forgiveness of Yom Kippur.

The feast begins on the 15th of Tishri with a special Sabbath - Sabbath laws apply.
      (It is not often a Saturday. Jewish months always begin at the new moon.)
Instructed to bring produce of the land; none to come empty.  Deut 1616.
      Even Kings to bring their gifts, and to bring the best - like Abel.  Gen 44
      c.f. today children bring gifts at harvest, but adults often bring nothing!
Instructed to include the Levite, sojourner, poor, widow.  Deut 1614  Neh 810
      Who do we 'include' at church or at home for a meal?
Zech 14  is read on 1st day. This describes life during the Millennial reign of Christ.
Sacrifice of Bulls (one less each day), 13 + 12 + 11 .... + 7 = 70  Nu 2912-38
      i.e. 70 Nations of the world, the Gentiles.
      Will we Gentiles continue to ignore this feast until the Millennium?

Dwell in Booths for 7 days.
Flimsy walls - temporary dwelling as when they left Egypt.
      We remain "A Pilgrim People".  Heb 1113-16
Roof of branches enough to give shade, but space to see the stars.  Gen 155
Inside decorated with fruit and thanksgiving.
Branches of Citrus (fruitful and fragrant), Palm (fruitful), Myrtle (fragrant) and Willow (neither)
      are bound together and waved.
Seek God for the day when the trees of the field shall clap their hands.  Is 5512

Let them make for me a sanctuary that I may dwell in their midst.  Exd 258
The Word became flesh and 'tabernacled' among us.  Jn 114
Now the dwelling (tabernacling) of God is with men.  Rev 213
      Same Greek word (Skenoo), and same Living Word !
This objective of God is the very centre, the heart of the meaning of this Feast.
If only we had the same desire to dwell with God, as he has to dwell with us.

Hoshana Rabba = Day of Great Hoshana (= save us now, or salvation) is the 7th Day of Tabernacles.
On each of the 7 days of the feast:
      Water from Siloam is poured into a golden basin (Jesus pure gold).
      Wine is also poured into same basin.
      Water and wine together then poured into pipes which run down to Kidron.
            (Jesus with Roman spear.  Also Ezekiel 47 the river of life)
Washing away of sin, and the pouring out of the Spirit.
People cried "Hosanna (= 'save us now'), to the Son of David" (see 1213)
"On the last and greatest day of the feast, (7th day)
      Jesus stood and said in a loud voice,
      'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
      Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said,
      streams of living water will flow from within him'."
 Jn 737-39
Jesus rightly claimed that he was their Messiah who had come to save.

During the feast worshippers brought lights to illuminate the Temple.
The golden candle sticks were lit to represent the Shekinah Glory of God.
      i.e. the Presence of God seen in the cloud by day and in the fire by night.
      Exd 2416,17 4034,35  Lev 923  Ps 33 268  Is 42-6  Hag 29  Zech 25  Jn 114 211 1722  Rev 2123
When Jesus spoke again to the people he said, "I am the light of the world.
      Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  Jn 812

Jews finish reading Zechariah and return to  Gen 11
      (Zechariah is the last book in the Jewish Tenach (Bible) see  Math 2335
      We have re-arranged the order of the 39 OT books.)

For ever led, protected and provided for - living with God. What a privilege!

Where did Jesus come from?  727,41 819,41 So many got it wrong!

Peter on Mt of Transfiguration sees God's Shekinah Glory and blessing.  Lu 933
      Tabernacles! It must be! Its happening!
But God says, Peter, listen! and you will hear what my order is:
      1st Passover - Lamb must be slain - born of water and blood.
      2nd Pentecost - First fruits, born of the Spirit.
      3rd Tabernacles - final ingathering, Bride ready (we wait with longing).
Trumpets are sounded, Branches waved
Jews strike the Arba'ah (willow branches) 3 times to shed all its leaves (sins)

Sing Hallel  Ps 113-118 (also at Passover) e.g.
11826 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
1164- Save me .... God is merciful, righteous and gracious ... return, O my soul, to your rest.
11812-17 They (my sins and my enemies) surround me like bees ...
      the Lord is my strength and my song, he has become my salvation.
      Hark, glad sounds of victory in the tents of the righteous. (and  Is 2414)
11822 Stone which the builders rejected ... this is the Lord's doing
114 When Israel went forth out of Egypt, Judah became his sanctuary.
      Tremble O earth at the presence of the Lord ...
            the sea fled, Jordan turned back, water came from the rock,
      manna from heaven, shoes and clothing did not wear out.

8th Day - Simchath Torah (= Rejoicing over the law) Another Sabbath day (as first day of Tabernacles)
No-one seems to be sure of what is symbolised on this last day.
Could it be the day on which the saints, the Bride, is presented to the Bridegroom?
1) Presiding Elder reads Deut 33,34 and then Gen 1.  Genesis is called "The Bridegroom of the Torah".
2) When Torah is carried into Jerusalem, above it the wedding canopy on 4 poles.
3) When Torah is held up, people dance round it, exactly as Bride dances around Bridegroom at their wedding.
4) A feast is eaten, just as at a wedding.
5) Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day - sign of covenant relationship; I will betroth you to me for ever.  Hos 219,20

One day the Bride will be ready, free from sin and complete.
Then the Bridegroom will come for his Bride,
      and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will begin.  Rev 196-10
Maybe this is the mystery.
Meanwhile the ceremony continues as we await that great day.

To marry is (in God's sight) to stay together and live together for ever.
So it is with God - Better than booths!

A Rabbi, was once asked about the 8th day; he said,
"God is like a King, who at the end of the feast said,
      'stay with me but another day, I hate to see you go.'"

The feast ends, the rejoicing fades, booths are taken down, and Jews return home.
Many are disappointed, aching - the Messiah has not yet come -
      perhaps next year!

The time will come when Messiah will return.
Then all the saints will surely rejoice - Jew and Gentile.
The tribulation ends with God's judgement of the wicked and the removal of all sin!
      Rev 1820 191-8   and the 'Hallelujah Chorus'!

Should we Gentiles also celebrate Tabernacles?
      Or is it only for O.T. Jews?
      God has invited the Gentiles. Zech 1416
      Yet Tabernacles is the only Jewish feast that most Christians don't keep!

How shall we celebrate Tabernacles?
It is much more than a Harvest Festival.
It is a celebration for God's forgiveness in Christ, and his joyful dwelling with his creation.
It is possibly also the Birthday of Jesus.

When was Jesus born?
Not at Christmas! Adaption of an old pagan festival.
Now successfully re-paganised and commercialised.
Jesus may well have been born at the Feast of Tabernacles in 5 or 6 BC
      (Herod died in 4 BC and he killed all babies less than 2 years old)

Peer Pressure and God's 'Right' Time  73-13                   [Contents]

Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do."  73

Jesus' brothers were going to the Feast - 'You ought to go too ...'
Are we pressured by friends / peers, church customs, public opinion?
      How pressured?   by appearance, beliefs, morals, habits ...
Is peer pressure always bad ?  No!   Most 'heros' are good.
      They can be a good example to try to follow.
      The fear of public exposure, humiliation can deter evil.
      Sadly public shame in our 'anything goes' society is becoming rare.  Jer 615
      But the fear of God is always better than the fear of man!  Math 1028
His brothers acknowledged that Jesus had performed several miracles.
      But they did not yet believe in him.  75
      Why not?  They didn't realise he was only a half-brother,
            that Almighty God was his father, not Joseph.
      This was a very big ask; though they knew he was a 'good' man'.
      Let us plead earnestly with God for our unbelieving relatives.
Jesus knew the cost of being different, isolated.
      This Jew was the last to be rejected.
      He drank deeply this bitter cup for us.  Math 2638,39 2746
      So did Abel, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Jeremiah.
All our hearts are hard and unresponsive unless God intervenes.  Jn 644
James (Gal 119) and Jude (Jude 11  Judas of Math 1355) would later believe.

"No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." For even his own brothers did not believe in him.  74,5

Brothers tempted Jesus with wrong motivation.
      Great opportunity to build up your public, political and religious image!
      If you really are the Messiah, go to Jerusalem, don't hide in Galilee.
Jesus immediately recognises the character of Satan.
      Similar to third temptation 3 years earlier.  Math 43-6
Jesus made wine, walked on water, healed and delivered out of compassion;
      never to further his own reputation or popularity.
Tragically, many men of God, great and small, have fallen prey
      to this lure of power, popularity and success.

Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right."   76

When was the "right time"? It depends what for?
'Right' time to come  Gal 44, to die  Ro 56, to judge  Rev 1415, to return Act 1516
At this moment His right time (to die) had not yet come.  Jn 24 730 820
"the time has come ..."
      to repent.  Mk 115
      Father will glorify his Son.  Jn 171  (also Mk 1441)
"the time will come ..."
      when the dead will hear.  Jn 525
      when you will be scattered.  Jn 1632
      when Bridegroom will be taken away. (Ascension of Christ).  Mk 220
      when he will unexpected return. (2nd Coming of Christ).  Mk 1333
In the plan of God there is:
      a time for revival and a time for judgement.
      a time for waiting and a time for action.
      a time for weeping and a time for rejoicing. etc  Ecc 31-8
His brothers had yet to discern the timing of God's plan of redemption.

"The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil."   77

'Hate' is a strong word! (much more than dislike)
Why didn't they rejoice in One who obviously did so much good?
What did Jesus say that was so evil about the world?
      Proud man says, 'I don't need God (or maybe sometimes only a little help)
      and I don't need salvation (my good deeds outweigh the bad)'
            Scales of Justice  c.f.  Cross.
Why does the world hate Jesus today?
Why are we so easily offended by Jesus?
Man hates to be told he is evil. (he thinks there is good in all men, specially in me!)
      Some will admit to being a sinner or need help, but not to being helpless.
      Their conscience is pricked: but enjoy sin!, so do not wish to change.
The Cross of Christ remains 'the sword' that divides.  Math 1034  Lu 234
      It divides the helpless and thirsty from the proud, stubborn and self-indulgent.
Our task is not to try to make God popular with men,
      but to reveal that God desires to make men acceptable to himself.
Who decides what is evil? (a major problem today)
      Only God.  And his standard remains unchanged by time or by men.
            And it is very different from our definition of righteousness.  Is 558

"You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." Having said this, he stayed in Galilee. However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.  78-10

Jesus resists peer pressure.
He rejects temptation to 'put on a show'.  Jesus went to the feast privately,
He did not want to precipitate the events planned for 6 months time,
      at the last Passover.

Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, "Where is that man?" Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, "He is a good man." Others replied, "No, he deceives the people."   711,12

What were the reactions of the crowd to Jesus? ('the crowd' = Jews gathered for the feast)
      "Where is that man?" Curious? searching? or waiting to pounce?
      "He is a good man." Who is considered good, and why?  Math 1917
      "He deceives the people." All men do this, but Jesus never did!  c.f.  Rev 1314  Math 244
            also Math 2763 'that deceiver' or 'he deceives' implies contempt.
      "When the Christ comes will he do more miracles than this man?"  731
      "Surely this man is the Prophet."  740
      "He is the Christ."  741
What they said revealed more about their hearts than it did about Jesus!  Lu 234,35

No one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews.   713

'Jews' = Pharisees and leaders who still had much power and influence.
They were able to create fear even in the strong. (e.g. Nicodemus  Jn 32 1242)
What about today?  Who can cause us to fear?
      Dictatorships / Democracies, (where Christians are one of the minority).
      'Strong' charismatic men in the Church.
      Church in N.Korea, Syria, Iran, Nigeria ... under continuous threat.
How may we develop courage and learn discernment?
Much regular and earnest prayer and reading Scripture.       Also support those under persecution.

Jesus Teaches at the Feast   714-52         [Contents]

Not until halfway through the Feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews were amazed and asked, "How did this man get such learning without having studied?"  714,15

Jesus taught in the Temple courts (still clear of money lenders etc?)
Jesus was often called Rabbi.  Jn 138, 49 32 431 625 92 118
      Rabbi was more of a description like 'Teacher', than a title like 'Priest'
Not told here what he taught or what gave rise to their astonishment,
      but they were equally surprised much earlier -  Lu 246, 47 also later.  746
Crowd was amazed because Jesus taught with authority and accuracy.
      Not maybe this, maybe that ...  Math 728, 29
      Note, we need to beware of zealous dogmatism.
Jesus could read and write (Lu 416  Jn 86) but he had had no 'official' training c.f. Paul. Act 223
How had he learned?
      Jesus is the Son of God; so it is not surprising that he taught the truth!
      When aged just 12 he amazed the Temple leaders.  Lu 247
      He also learned by revelation, morning by morning.  Is 504 And by obedience.
Daily learning from Scripture and obedience to it is vital to keep us 'in Christ' and to save us from deception.

Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees.  What and who were they?  (Math 37 520 161-12 2145 23)
Scribes = 'Teachers of the Law', the lawyers of the day.
      Meticulous in copying the scriptures, but not so good at obeying them.
Pharisees = the established 'Church' of the day but only a few were priests.
      They added to the Law - Mishnah, church tradition, many rules etc.
Sadducees = ruling aristocracy, High Priests and politicians, 'House of Lords'.
      They subtracted from the Law -
      Like Liberal thinkers today who are sceptical of resurrection, virgin birth and miracles etc.

Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me."   716

His teaching was authentic and true because of who he was, The Son of God, 'sent by God'.
Jesus is the truth and is honest; c.f. Satan, "the father of lies".  844
He sees and knows all the truth about God - and man!  Yet he still loves and forgives all who cry to him.
He speaks only the truth; he does not guess or vaguely hope or pretend.
Jesus said what he knew and what he did not know. Math 2436
Men should do the same - especially concerning 'the last days'!

If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.  717

How can we know if we are being told the truth?
      Believers will have the witness of the Holy Spirit.  1420-24  Ro 213-15  1 Jn 56-8
      Privilege of reading God's Word - ALL of it. Learn to trust this. What God says is always true.
            Bible is not a book for endless debate, but the means of knowing the truth.
      Fact is always better feelings; Scripture is better than emotions!
      Too many commentaries will lead to confusion. Nearly all are biassed.
But beware of the following:
1. 'Bible flipping' e.g.  Math 275  then  Lu 1037 Judas hanged himself ... go and do likewise!
2. Taking verses out of context. Is 24 c.f. Joel 310  Swords into plough-shears or plough-shears into swords.
3. Only reading our favourite passages; the 'nice' bits.
4. "God has told me to ..."  We may be mistaken.
God's revelation is given to anyone who is single-minded, earnest and humble.
God tests our sincerity by making obedience part of the process of knowing him.
God is not fooled by our religious appearance.  See Is 58
God teaches us by our hearing and obeying.  Math 724,25
     By faith and works as James teaches us.
            This is not salvation by works, but being fruitful by zeal and the endless grace of God.

He who speaks on his own does so to gain honour for himself, but he who works for the honour of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.   718

Jesus did not seek honour for himself; and he didn't get it!
      But now he is rightly crowned with the highest honour.  Heb 27-9
Do we seek our own honour or that of our church rather than for God?
Are some activities, meetings to boost the Church's image / name/ reputation?
      e.g. 'The Church needs your support for this meeting.'
      It shouldn't be 'Behold the Church' but "Behold, the Lamb."
Jesus again says that he was sent by God, his Father.
Jesus always sought to honour his Father, not himself.
Leaders of false sects and false prophets invariably magnify themselves.
Respect for one another is most desirable; but the honour and praise of men is always dangerous.
Jesus was so pleased to meet Nathaniel, 'a man without guile'.  147

Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?   719

Why does Jesus introduce the Law of Moses into the discussion?
Every 7 years the Law of Moses was read at the feast of Tabernacles.
They heard and honoured it. But did they (or we) obey it?
      We may only keep part of the Law too. The laws we like and approve.
      The rest we conveniently ignore or excuse saying:
            'We are not under law but under grace' or 'Jesus superceded the law'.
Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfil it.  Math 517
No man has ever been made righteous by keeping the law. Not able to keep it.
Jesus said, Father and I gave you the law of Moses 1500 years ago, it is my teaching. I keep it all; you don't.
      Even now you are disobeying the 6th commandment, in that you are trying to kill me.
His accurate accusation is immediately denied.
      But no one can fool the Son of God. They had lied.  71,25
      They revealed their deceived hearts and where their teaching was from.
In contrast to Jesus revealed his true origin and where his teaching was from.

"You are demon-possessed," the crowd answered. "Who is trying to kill you?"   720

They thought Jesus was beside himself, mad ...
Many different groups were each saying something different.
'Crowd' are not aware of the Pharisees' murderous intentions, or are in 'denial mode'.
Beware of coming to snap decisions that are often difficult to change.

Jesus said to them, "I did one miracle, and you are all astonished. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath. Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath?   721-23

The 'one miracle' was the lame man healed at Bethesda.  52-9
You happily circumcise a baby of the 8th day if it is a Sabbath.
Why do you are angry if I heal a man on the Sabbath. Why?
God was not idle on the Sabbath. The day of rest does not mean doing nothing.
No one else had been able to heal him in 38 years.

Right Judgements - Don't be deceived    724         [Contents]

Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.   724

How do we judge what is true or right or the will of God?
What criteria do we use to discern? What part do the following take, if any?
      Feelings, vested interest, success, popularity, ease, motivation(s) ...
Personally, I do not like semi-literate, repetitious 'happy clappies' in worship,
      but that does not make them wrong.
It is often better to make a considered judgement.
      Do not pride yourself at being a quick judge of character.
      Only God knows the heart of man; we mostly see just the appearance.  1 Sam 167
      Only God sees the whole of a man's life. We can't know what he will become.
Strive to make right judgements, and not 'judge others' (critically).
Note how God makes right judgements.  They are so different from ours.
He loved the deceitful Jacob who hung on his mother's apron strings,
      and he hated Esau, the popular, strong, successful, macho-man.
Why was God right? (This is an impertinent question!)
      Jacob wanted God and treasured the covenant given to grandfather Abraham.
      Esau despised it.  Jacob wanted to be changed.  Esau refused.
      Jacob prevailed in his desire for salvation and God's approval.
      God blessed Jacob at Paddan Aram.  Gen 359
      Yet he limped for the rest of his life after Peniel, his wife died,
            Joseph his son was 'lost', he endured famine and finally exile.
      Blessing is not me having a good time, but is a continuing life with God.
God knew the end of Jacob before he was born!  We don't.

What is the basis of wise discernment and good judgement?
Scripture is the principle touchstone.
Prayer. What to do, or not do? Wait or act now?
Conscience. (Note that feelings or reactions that can be unreliable)
Don't ignore 'gut-feeling' or feminine intuition, even when without reason.
Prophecy. Usually used for confirming rather than initiation.
Circumstances. Try to avoid 'door-pushing' if it works or is easy, it's right.
      Gideon used 'fleeces', but it is not the best way.
Friends. Listen to good advice, but always test it. It may be well-meaning.
Faith. Keep what God has revealed, even if unpopular or difficult.

The true story is told of a young Christian man who could not decide if it was 'right' for him to marry a girl he loved.
In desperation he said to God, "I'll toss a coin. If it's heads I'll ask her to marry me.' He tossed and it came down tails.
"O.K.," he said to God, "Let me be sure; let's make it the best of three!" The next two were heads.
He is now happily married to her.
The ways of God and man are strange.

Deception and Warnings the Church Needs Today

For 'right judgements' it is essential that we are not deceived.
Jesus repeatedly warned Watch out that no one deceives you.  Math 244,11,24
It is so easy to be deceived - especially if unaware or careless of the danger.
      Gen 313   2 Thes 23,11  2 Tim 312,13  Rev 133,14 1920
God tells us clearly what is right and wrong.
      Modern man thinks he can ignore God with impunity.  He is deceived.
Even many in the Church can lack discernment; how can this be?

1. Failure to discern is fatal. Every word of God is flawless.  Prov 305
If men choose to believe only the parts they agree with, they will be deceived.
Such arrogance before Almighty God is unbecoming and highly dangerous.
It has been so from the beginning. "Did God really say ..."  Gen 31
It remains Satan's most successful means to deceive even Christians.  e.g.
      a) Almighty God declares that homosexuality is an abomination.  Lev 1822
            And repeats this in the NT - Ro 126,27  1Co 69,10  1Tim 18-10 Jude 7 .
            So why does Archbishop Welby strongly support civil partnerships
            and refuse to declare that homosexuality is a sin? Fears unpopularity?
      b) God's covenant with Abraham in Gen 121-3 1518 and 178
            is both eternal and unconditional,
            yet most of the church do not see that Israel today
            remains at the centre of his plans. It has not 'replaced' Israel.
            See 'Israel and the Church in the Last Days'.,   (Use arrow Back to return here)
      c) Many claim God is judge in the OT, but all love in the NT.
            The truth is that he is both in both.
            The Cross is God's Judgement upon my sin (= propitiation).
            Rev 6-19  is God's judgement upon wickedness in the 'last days'.
            Seeing this truth makes Rev much easier to understand.
      d) Many 'so-called successful' churches try to make God popular with men
            instead of proclaiming that it is we men who need changing!
            Jesus said, "You must be born again."  Jn 33
            Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."  Math 417
            We need the mercy of God and the undeserved forgiveness.
            We cannot become Christians by just choosing to follow Jesus.  Josh 2419
            All men require much more than a little help; we need to be rescued.
            The truth that all men are born with a sinful nature remains an affront to man's pride.

All Scripture is the accurate Word of God concerning the past, the present and the future;
concerning the nature of God and of man. None can be discarded or changed.
And none should be added. e.g. tradition, experience, revelations.

2. Idolatry remains attractive. But do men worship idols today? Yes!
      Muslims worship the black Kaaba stone in Mecca.
      Buddhists and 'New age' believe God is in everything and worship it.
      Almighty God reveals what is behind idolatry:
      Covetousness is as idolatry.  Col 35 and
      The love of money is the root of all evil.  1 Tim 610  In short, 'greed'.
      Men worship idols hoping to get something for nothing.
      Christians worship God for who he is, Creator and Redeemer.

3. It is a deception that all signs and wonders are of God. They aren't.
      False signs by the Beast and his winger.  Rev 133,13 1614 1920  2 Thes 29,10
      Also some signs are from God, but many will say they can't be!  Joel 230,31
      And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth,
      blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness,
      and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
      Miracles because compassion of God + lead to repentance.  Math 1120

4. False Prophets will deceive many, warns Jesus.  Math 244,11,24
      Such men and women will have charisma and power;
            if they use Scripture, it will be selective.
      What will be their message and why will apparently godly men deceive?
      For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but
      having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit
      their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and
      wander off into myths.  2 Tim 43,4  also  1 Tim 41  Jer 531  Lu 626
      The message will predominantly be easy, popular, low cost, successful.
      Bunyan's 'The Pilgrim's Progress' gives an excellent account of this.
      A good Chinese testimony, "I enter by narrow gate."

5. Ecumenical enticement will trap many into falsehood.
      Rome remains under many vital errors.
            See '23 Roman Catholic Errors',   (Use arrow Back to return here)
      The Pope has said he regrets the Reformation (cost to Rome is huge),
            but he has yet to repent for the burning of many protestant martyrs,
            nor has he admitted that Rome did anything wrong !!
      They say "In the spirit of love, let us forget the past."
            But without repentance there is no forgiveness of sin.
      Many Protestants are not aware of the Reformation events
            and are careless of the cost to our forebears when Rome was strong.
      Read 'Foxe's Book of Martyrs', J C Ryle 'Our debt to the Reformation'
            'The Reformation in England' by J H Merle d'Aubigne (2 vols).

Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah   725-44         [Contents]

At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, "Isn't this the man they are trying to kill? Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Christ?   725,26

Much public concern; they could not be neutral about Jesus.
The people asked the right question - 'Is Jesus the Christ?'
      Many came to the wrong conclusion.
      And the Authorities even wanted to kill Jesus.  71  Math 1214

But we know where this man is from; when the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.   727

In early life Jesus was a carpenter in Nazareth in Galilee.  Math 2111
      But he was also the son of David from Bethlehem.  Lu 24  Math 21-6
Confusion. Later they said they did not know where he was from!  928,29
Prophecies concerning Messiah's origin:
1. He will come suddenly.  Mal 31
      Jesus had not come suddenly, so was not Messiah.
      But  Mal 31 refers to his second coming.
2. He would be born in Bethlehem, as prophesied.  Mic 52 Math 25
      Jesus was conceived and brought up in Nazareth so presumed born there.
      They could easily have discovered that he was actually born in Bethlehem.

When we don't want to know we 'will deliberately forget.'  2 Pe 35
      Or we will distort the truth; pick verses (out of context) that agree with us.
      *** Ignorance is usually willful! ***   and it is never bliss!
      If we desire to know and honestly seek, God will reveal himself, the truth.
They presumed to know where Jesus was born; but they were wrong.  Why?

Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me."   728,29

Great variety in the life and character of Jesus.  Not bland, nor inconsistent.
There were times when Jesus was silent.  Is 532  Mk 1461  Lu 239
      and times when he raised his voice.  Jn 726 216,17 737  Math 2746,50
How frustrating for Jesus.  They didn't understand, or even want to.
      No one could say that his words had not reached their ears!  Math 1310-17

They tried to seize him

At this they tried to seize him, but no-one laid a hand on him,
      because his time had not yet come. ...
Some wanted to seize him, but no-one laid a hand on him.  744

See They Plotted / Wanted to kill him.,   (Use arrow Back to return here)

As previously, they had the will, but not the power.  Lu 429,30  Jn 820 859 1039
Jesus did not die on the Cross because he was the victim of Satan's power.
He chose when and how to lay down his life.  No one took it from him.  1017,18
It was God's initiative, God's plan and God's timing.  Math 261-5   as also in 77
Why is this important?
Satan's power is strictly limited. "He has no hold on me."  1430,31
God rules.  Many mysteries as to why xxx happens.  Ro 828-39  Jn 1518-21
It is encouraging for us to know that no sorrow, sickness, persecution, poverty,
      pain, or suffering can come upon us unless God sees fit. Consider Job 121
In the last days of the Tribulation, it is the Lamb who breaks open the 7 seals,
      when the Beast and his False Prophet are temporarily in power.
It is then that the saints need (and are given) endurance and patience.   Rev 1310b 1412  Dan 721-27
Indeed, God will shorten those days for the sake of the elect.  Math 2421,22

Still, many in the crowd put their faith in him. They said, "When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man?"  731

Not everyone rejected Jesus; some heard, believed and were saved.
For others, the many miracles were impressive and bordered on proof.
      They saw, like Nicodemus, that to do them he must be from God.  32 933

Wrong Conclusion of Jewish Leaders

The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.   732

The leaders thought the crowd was on their side and their awaited opportunity had come.
But the Lamb of God had to be the offering at Passover, not at Tabernacles.

Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why didn't you bring him in?" "No one ever spoke the way this man does," the guards declared.   745,46

The guards told the truth. Jesus is indeed unique in every way.
He combined power and simplicity; courage and tenderness; truth and prudence.
The Pharisees waited for an opportunity from day 4 to day 8 of the Feast.
      But none came.  It was not God's time.
The Guards felt the power of the Son of God, so not able to obey their masters.

"You mean he has deceived you also?" the Pharisees retorted.   747

They were angry that their plans had been thwarted. Most people are!
Anger and pride often lead to ridicule and mocking - and poor decisions.

"Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law - there is a curse on them."   748,49

'Rulers' = Sadducees.
'This mob...' Reveals their contempt and arrogance.  Lu 189-14 530-32 1 Co 127-29
They even conclude that there must be curse on 'the mob'.
      But in reality the curse was on them.  Math 71-5
      Later they would encourage the crowd to shout,
            "His blood be on us and on our children!"  Math 2725
            God would answer this by 2,000 years exile from the promised land!

Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, "Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?"   750,51

Nicodemus may have been slow in his search for the kingdom,
      but he never denied Jesus (Peter) or betrayed him (Judas).
Leaders did not know the Law either.  Or at least they were ignoring it.
As yet no accusers, no witnesses and no direct questioning.  Deut 1915-19

They replied, "Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee."  752

True.  Nathaniel said the same thing.  146
But these rulers sought to ridicule - again.   Nicodemus had only sought justice.
Pharisees angry because Sanhedrin had been thwarted by a man from Galilee!
How do we react when made to look silly?
Where do the best things come from?  From Bethlehem, and from heaven!

Wrong Conclusion of the People.    735,36, 40-43

The Jews said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? What did he mean when he said, 'You will look for me, but you will not find me,' and 'Where I am, you cannot come'?"   735,36

They did not know that Jesus, the Son of God, had come from heaven;
      it never occurred to them that he was about to return there.
      And heaven is not a place anyone can just walk into.  Math 713,14  Lu 1626
Jesus would not go to the Greeks; but Paul would do so, and not secretly.
No one can enter the kingdom of heaven unless born again. 33,5

On hearing his words, some of the people said, "Surely this man is the Prophet." Others said, "He is the Christ." Still others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.  740-43

A prophet.   But not the messiah, only his forerunner, John, Elijah, or... Lu 919
The Christ   Some responded like Peter. Lu 921,22
                    Most Jews expected a Messiah sometime.  Jn 425  Dan 925
                    But what would he look like?
                    What would he do?
Origin          Thought Jesus was born in Nazareth, not David's Bethlehem.
                    Hope had been disappointed too often. Given up.
Awed          Arresting officers of the guard returned overwhelmed.

The people were divided.  They nearly always will be.
      It is prophesied.  Lu 214 1251  2 Co 215,16
The Cross of Christ will always be the great divide among men. It is the ultimate test.
Thankfully condemning conclusion of today may be changed tomorrow.
      But do not presume on tomorrow or any great change thereon.

The Conclusion of Jesus

Jesus said, "I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come."   733,34

These could well be described as the most solemn words in Scripture.
      Not able to find God and Not able to enter heaven.
      The alternative condemnation and eternal agony is horrific.
The time is short. Who knows when it will be too late to believe?
"True repentance is never too late, but late repentance is seldom true." J.C.Ryle
Pharaoh, Saul and Judas each said, 'I have sinned'. The thief was just in time.
"Hell itself is truth known too late."  Jer 1111  Ezek 818  Hos 56  Amos 812
Jesus said, "Where I am", not 'was' or 'will be', "You cannot come".
      Why not? 'A great gulf fixed' Lu 1626
Surely a loving God would not say that? Yes, he did!
Only the redeemed will walk on the way of holiness.  Is 358,9  Rev 218 2215
It is a most frightening warning, which all men would be wise to heed.

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.  737-39

Most thirst after anything and everything, except salvation.
"There is no clearer proof of the utter corruption of human nature,
      than the careless indifference of most people about their souls." J.C.Ryle
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst ..."  Math 56
The invitation is open to all, without exception.  Rev 216 2217
The only requirement is thirst.
The only solution is simple - "Come to me and drink."
Come, while you can. It is available and free.  Is 551-7
Nothing hindered the woman of Samaria.  Jn 410  What hinders us?
Christ is never a disappointment.  Jn 414  Is 4117-20
For 7 days during the Feast, water from Siloam was poured out.
      Had the ritual pouring brought assurance of God's effective cleansing?
      Did any know real freedom from the guilt and power of sin?
Men try so many ways to find peace with God, but all else fails.
      "As the scripture has said ..."  Is 356,7 5811  Ezek 471-12  Zech 1421b  Rev 221-5

The Trap Fails  81-11       [Contents]

This event is not found in oldest Greek NT, nor commented on by Chrysostom or Tertulian.
But the oldest is not necessarily the most accurate.
It is in Latin Vulgate, in Coptic, Persian and Ethiopian versions,
      and is commented on by Augustine, Ambrose and Jerome.

Then each went to his own home. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.  753 - 82

The people went to their homes; but the Son of God had no home and may have often slept under the stars.
At Tabernacles the nights are still quite warm. Not unusual to sleep in the open.
Jesus and his disciples did so on Mt of Olives at Passover 6 months later in April.

Jesus taught in the Temple. It was the normal means of learning.
      No books and few scrolls. Reading and writing were rare.
      As he was teaching the following incident occurs.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group And said to Jesus,"Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.  83-6

The Trap:
Its Purpose
      Sought to discredit Jesus asone who openly broke the Law of Moses;
           therefor not righteous, and certainly not the Son of God.
      Moses commanded that adulterers should be stoned;
            but Rome forbade them to.  Jn 1831
      Which do we obey? God or Rome? also  Lu 2022-25

Its Weakness
      Sentence rarely carried out because this crime was so common!
      Only brought the woman.  Law said the man must also be stoned.  Lev 2010
      Perhaps the man was one of them or their friends.  Hos 414
      Adultery Law applies if either are married or betrothed.  Deut 2222-24
      Bullies always pick on the weak for their victims.
      Motivated by self-interest, not justice or righteousness.
      Did not desire to exalt the Law.
      Pharisees had not the slightest concern for the woman; they seemed to enjoy humiliating her.
      They desired a harsh punishment for others, but not for themselves.
      Offended by Math 2131  "Here's one that will not enter ahead of us!"

God's Answer:
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  86b-9

What did he write? We don't know.
Jesus was not doodling, nor playing for time.
      It certainly had a purpose and was probably connected with what he said.
      It may have been.  Jer 1713 or  Hos 414
            or possibly the names of ladies her accusers had had affairs with!
Law required that both the man and the woman are stoned.  Lev 2010  Dt 2222
Phinehas honoured God and the Law, and God honoured him.  Num 256-13
Law required 2 independent witnesses. But they had all gone.
      6 months later this would be a problem at a far greater trial.
      God is witness to all we do or even think.
Jesus knew well their hypocrisy.
      Not one of them was innocent (maybe even of the same crime!)
They weren't interested in justice, only in condemning Jesus.
One simple sentence shamed them into withdrawing.
Voting normally started with the youngest to avoid pressure by elders.
They had all left: God had quickened their consciences,
      but they were still unwilling to repent before the Son of God.
A tender conscience is painful but valuable; esp. if made sensitive by Holy Spirit.
      While it cannot save us, it's use is never to be despised.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."   810,11

Jesus did not pretend that she was innocent. She wasn't.
Jesus did not condone her sin. Nor weaken the 7th commandment.
Jesus spent much time with publicans and sinners.  Lu 189-14  Math 910-13
God's passionate desire is to have mercy and to forgive: not to condemn.
      But there must be more than remorse (hope to escape the consequences)
      Need to repent. "Leave your life of sin." c.f.  Lu 750 848
Fear of punishment for sin can keep some sin at bay.
Far better is the work of God that writes his Law in our hearts,
      and causes us to even hate the sin we once enjoyed.
God loves us as we are, but he will not leave us as we are - thankfully!
Jesus then continued with his teaching.  812

"I am the light of the world."  812         [Contents]

This is the 2nd of the 7 statements that John records - 'I am the ...'
      (See notes on 635 for a list of these)
Jesus reveals the truth of Almighty God; light shining in the darkness. 14-9
     Without Christ men are in darkness, totally blind, undirected and lifeless.
     He came to open our eyes, to see him and his glorious purpose for us;
           and believing in him to be born again to eternal life.

Light c.f. Darkness  (like matter and anti-matter; darkness is not 'nothing')
C.S.Lewis said, "I believe in th sun not because I can see it,
      but more because it enables me to see everything else."
In the beginning God separated them. Literally and Spiritually.  Gen 13-5
Abraham suffers thick darkness after believing.  Gen 1512 156
      God triumphs. (arguably the greatest day in Abraham's long, eventful life)
Jesus at cross. Darkness for 3 hours.  Lu 2344  Ps 221
      But then he triumphed - His perfect sacrifice was accepted.
God separates the Israelites and the Egyptian army at the Red Sea
      darkness will spread over Egypt - darkness that can be felt ...
      Yet all the Israelites had light ...
 Exd 1021-23
      Many references to 'thick darkness'.  Exd 2021  1Kg 812  Ps 972  Joel 22
            Some refs' to where God is hidden; others to the darkness of sin.
      In Rev 12 Satan longed to see the fledgling Israel destroyed (he still does!).
            the Woman is Israel and her seed is Christian believers.
God defeats Satan and all darkness.  Rev 127-9  Rev 1919-21 209b,10

This claim of Jesus implies that the world needs light! Why?
See, darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness is over the peoples.  Is 602
      It still does today,
      notwithstanding all of man's achievements in modern science and medicine.
There is no end to war, feuds, greed, pride, poverty, sickness and starvation?
Without the Light of Christ, man will always stumble in the dark.
      In the Scriptures God has given us the best and only way to truly live.
            (and sometimes even with the Light, we still stumble)
      Without Christ it is like a 'nuclear winter'
            that is long, cold, dark, lonely, hungry and hopeless.
What the sun is to our solar system, so Christ came to be to our souls -
      The source of all light, warmth, energy and life on earth;
            but in heaven it is the glory of God that shines, not the sun.  Rev 2123
      The central and only pivot (there cannot be two pivots).

Jesus may have been referring to the sun which had just risen,
      or to the golden candlesticks in the Temple, (at its best only a symbol)
      or the 'Shekinah glory' that will truly lead all who follow.
      or the Light of Righteousness c.f. darkness of sin and immorality.

Many false 'lights'.
Jesus repeatedly warned us of this deception.  Math 245, 11, 24   e.g.
Liberal theology ignores unpopular truth/Scriptures.  e.g.  Lev 1822 2013
      Usually blind to desperate plight of man and the need for God's mercy.
      Virgin birth, vital sacrifice on cross and resurrection often marginalised.
      They rarely see the desperate plight of man, nor the need for God's intervention.
      Jesus was 'seeker friendly', but he still began "Repent ...!"  Math 417 53,4
Ecumenical pursuit that ignores errors and Reformation murders;
      and demands no repentance of them.
      e.g. scriptures in English, transubstantiation, Papal infallibility ...
      See '23 Roman Catholic Errors'   (Use arrow Back to return here)
Zeal and good works without the gospel to achieve approval by God and men.
All other gods, other faiths - Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism etc
      all can only offer afalse hope.
      'Multi-faith' that proclaims all faiths are wheel-spokes leading to the same god.
Also falsehood of Replacement Theology, Revival, Prosperity gospel etc

To follow Christ is to be a on-going learner, a disciple who seeks, believes and trusts.
      Faith has confidence in the word of Christ and what he has done for us.
As Jesus offered superior water to the Samaritan woman,
      so here he offers superior light to reveal his truth,
      overcome the sin and the moral darkness of of all men.
      not just Pharisees (who add to law), Sadducees (who subtract from law).

Jesus is also:
Guide to Traveller, Leader of Blind, Fountain to thirsty, Shepherd of Sheep ...
      teacher, protector, healer, advocate, hope builder ...

In what manner is Christ "the light of the world" ?

1. Vision, c.f. blindness.
A Jewish man who went blind over 5 years, tried hard to retain in his mind
      what his wife looked like. But the clear memory faded.
Communication. This same man did not know when his children smiled.
Unless born again no man can 'see' or know God.  33
Testimony of conversion and then the continuing grace and forgiveness.
      Not all like Paul on Damascus road.
      But all believers can say, "Once I was blind, but now I see."
Man blind from birth.  Jn 9 (3rd major conversation in John)
      Now begin to see so that the Light of the world is revealed.  95,33, 39
            (Jesus was revealed to him and to the world - literally and spiritually)
With you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.  Ps 369
What do we 'see'?
      Truth about God.  His Power, Faithfulness, Justice and Compassion.
      Truth about man.  The true history of Israel, the Church and ourselves.

2. Growth
Nearly all plants need sunlight for photosynthesis. So we too need light.
Not just theory. We need God himself.  Is 601-3, 19-22  Rev 223-6
The Kingdom of God ... is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Ro 1417
How is this learned?  Ps 197-11   Discipline and obedience.  1 Pe 113-15
      'Morning by morning'.  Is 504

3. Holiness.
Earnest desire to be good (not just win approval). Evil no longer attractive.
Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint.  Prov 2918
Without holiness no-one will see the Lord.  Heb 1214
As a shepherd leads his sheep to new pasture, so Jesus nourishes our souls.

4. Exposes sin
Our conscience is made more sensitive; and the consequence of sin more real.
The Cross and the blood of Christ are ever more precious.  Prov 311, 12  Heb 922

5. Spiritual Guidance
How and where may we 'see' signposts?
My thoughts are not your thoughts ...  Is 558,9
Trust in the Lord ... and lean not to your own understanding.  Prov 35,6
Your ears will hear a voice behind you saying "This is way, walk in it.  Is 3021
Guidance is promised.  Is 3021 (Note that this leads to righteousness - idols thrown away)
Major decisions and daily living.  Ps 258, 9 328
Our 'guidance' is not infallible.  In this life all are 'learners'.
The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth ...  Jn 1613

6. Wisdom
"Right judgements".  Jn 724 And right motives, ambition.
How may I please God, instead of pleasing myself. Not, "what's in this for me", but how may I serve?
Meekness will enable our minds to be renewed.  Ro 122
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Prov 17 910 1427

7. Inspiration, Purpose, Goals.
Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.  Lu 951
Let us run the race ... fix our eyes on Jesus ...  Heb 11 then  Heb 121
Our minds set on what the Spirit desires.  Ro 85

8. Hope. Confidence in Christ
In what he has done (perfect sacrifice).  Heb 1019 928  1 Jn 17  1 Pe 118, 19
In his Advocacy and continued intercession for us.  Heb 725  1 Jn 21

9. Prophetic words and Lives
Abraham, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel ... Zech, Peter, Paul, John ...
God does nothing without first revealing it to the prophets.  Amos 37
Imagine how impoverished we would be without these prophets sent by God.

10. Promise is to all Believers.
Not just to Jews, but also Gentiles.  Is 426, 7 496  Lu 232
Promise of Light, not darkness. Life, not death.
Much more than imitating or following a good example (Guru's do that),
      but trusting, believing, having the life of Jesus himself within us.
Permanent promise. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.  Jn 812
He has given us his life that we may live!
The light of Christ will not be extinguished when a believer dies.
He who we now see dimly, we shall then see in all his fullness.
Amen, Come Lord Jesus.  Rev 2220

How may we see the Light of Christ?  Only by revelation.
Light is God's gracious, continuing gift to the hungry, poor, and thirsty.

"My Testimony is Valid  812-20         [Contents]

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." The Pharisees challenged him, "Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid."  812,13

The Jews were right to question this statement by Jesus.
Many charismatic gurus, before and since, have made similar claims.
      Joseph Smith(Mormons), Muhammad (Islam), Charles Russel (JW's) etc.
Blind to their need of redemption, they came to the wrong conclusion.
      Jesus was not light, but only a threat, trouble. Like English Bible in 1536.

Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards ..."  814,15a

Why was Jesus so different from all other men in all history?
He was the only man who has ever lived who knew from experience
      where he came from, and where he was going - from and to heaven!
How did they get it so terribly wrong?  They judged by human standards.
      How else could they judge?  724   Answer - try reading OT with open eyes.
Jesus was of humble appearance, without human grandeur and self importance.
      Seemed so 'ordinary'. Yet he said, "My kingdom is not of this world ..."  1836
Shortly before Passover he would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, and weep!
      This is not the action of your average king.  But then he wasn't!
      And this coming to earth was as Saviour; later it would be as King.

What was the evidence by which they may have known the identity of Jesus?
Prophecy and History
      Born in Bethlehem. Herod's murder of the 'Innocents'.
      Questions and answers in the Temple.  Lu 241-50
      John Baptist testimony at Jordan.  Lu 315-19  Jn 119-36
Miracles (over 20 up to this time - See Miracles of Jesus   (Use arrow Back to return here)
      Water to wine, Official's son healed, Bethesda cripple walks, 5000 fed etc
      Most of these would be well known.
      "No-one ever spoke the way this man does."  746
      His testimony was true.  536-40
Law keeper
      Not Sabbath breaker.  Kept Law of Moses, but not the Mishnah
      Jesus never broke the law - in thought, word or deed.  Math 517

I pass judgement on no-one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.   815b,16

Now was not the time for final judgement.
As when preaching at Nazareth, Jesus stops before the end of  Is 612  Lu 416-21
But the day will come when Is 612b will also be fulfilled.  Rev 165-7 1911
For every man there is a day of opportunity;  and a day of judgement.  530
      A time to repent and a time when it is too late!
When Jesus spoke these words it was not the day of Judgement for the world.
He came to seek and save those who were already condemned.  316-18
When Judgement Day comes his pronouncement will be just.

Meanwhile his assessment is accurate, because the Father tells him.  1 Jn 57-12
      Again he claims that God is his Father, not Joseph.
So when a little later he says, "But I have much to say in judgement of you."  826
      it is not a contradictory statement.
This doesn't refer to the final judgement, but to his revelation of their current sin.
He said that some of Scribes and Pharisees were hypocrites. Math 23
      And his judgement was correct; they were.
Note that the Son of God can do many things that we cannot.
      Unlike Jesus, our hearing of the Father and the Son is somewhat imperfect.

In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.  817,18

"I am one who testifies ..." Gk is emphatic. i.e. the 'I AM'.  Exd 314 Jn 859
It is yet another undeniable claim to be the Son of God.
The Jews would immediately realise this. And they were not impressed!>
      They did not recognise him.  110-13

Then they asked him, "Where is your father?"  819a

They did not ask 'who' ...  Not a serious question as in  Jn 148-11
      But they asked with the same sarcastic contempt as at Calvary.  Math 2739-43
The question "Where is God?" can be asked in various ways:
      a) Because we desire him.
      b) In contempt - 'don't be so ridiculous'.
      c) In tragedy or suffering. (when usually also ask why?)
Many people desire to know who or where God is.
'Reveal yourself (or maybe even 'Save me') ...  and I will serve you.'
This is not the way of salvation, though God may sometimes use it.

"You do not know me or my Father," Jesus replied. "If you knew me, you would know my Father also." He spoke these words while teaching in the temple area near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his time had not yet come.  819b,20

He tells them plainly that they did not know who he was.
And this leads to a major problem; their eternal future!
Jesus deals with it directly , honestly and with great compassion.
      See 821  'Where I go, you cannot come'

Throughout his ministry Jesus told them who he was. He wanted them to know with certainty.
During the Last Supper he said,
"Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language,
but will tell you plainly about my Father. ... I came from the Father and entered the world;
now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father."

What would they be told plainly?
He again emphasises his relationship with the Father;
Note that Jesus refers to God as his Father x83 in John's Gospel.
      See Who was Jesus in John's Gospel?   (Use arrow Back to return here)
      Jesus told the truth; he was certainly not a compulsive, deceived liar.
      Jesus, the Son, reveals the Father.  Math 1127

Beware of men who speak only of God, but not of Christ, the Redeemer.
He is the Just, and also the Justifier of every sinner who believes in him.
If God is only a God of Love, then sin has no consequence,
      and a crucified Saviour is not necessary - what an insult!

The experience for many men today is that their experience of their earthly fathers
      is so distorted that it hides the beautiful reality of our heavenly Father.

Jesus was much more than a man in whom the Spirit of God dwelt.
He was not just a brave man, a martyr, or even a great example to follow.
He was and remains, the Son of God, not the son of Joseph.
Why is the virgin birth so important?
Only the Son of God, the Messiah, could be the perfect sacrifice we all need.

Many, then and now, fail to realise who Jesus was and why he came.
      This inevitably leads to a huge problem ...

The valid testimony of Jesus was that they crucified him in accordance
with Scripture, and that he rose from the dead for our forgiveness.  Jn 218,19
This stands as his valid witness for all the world to see.
It is like no other testimony; it is the light of life.

Further Testimony  821-30         [Contents]

Once more Jesus said to them, "I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come."   821

Jesus repeats a most awe-ful truth three times
You will look for me, but will not find me;
     and where I am you cannot come.
You will look for me, and you will die in your sin.
     Where I go you cannot come.
If you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be,
     you will indeed die in your sins.

There cannot be a more terrifying and horrendous prospect!
But what is man's response?
      a) Repentance
      b) Partly accept but then distraction or procrastination (Sower parable)
      c) Refuse to 'hear'. Hard, cold heart that rejects truth. Content without God.
      d) Too difficult, too unpopular, so ignore it. Only live for the present.
The God of Love and Justice will not pardon everyone.
Many will die, unpardoned, condemned already, because they have chosen to reject
      the repeated offer that God has made.  318,36
            Is 652 (Ro 1021)  Ezek 1832  Hos 11  2 Pe 39
They are deluded by Satan, the mass murderer and arch deceiver, who says,
"You will not die ..." you will just be wise, like God!  Gen 34  1 Pe 58

What happened to the actual people Jesus spoke to?
35 years later Jerusalem was destroyed and exile in AD 70 (also 135 AD).
      And for 2000 years the Jews have known constant ridicule and persecution.
      Now in the faithfulness of God we see Israel returned to their own land.

All unbelievers will die in their sin, including most in supposedly 'Christian' U.K.
      This is by far the greatest disaster that can befall man.
      One which drives us in the compassion of Jesus to seek the lost.

Jesus says it is even possible to seek him, but not find him.  821  Amos 812  Micah 34
How can this be when he said that 'all who seek shall find ...'?  Math 77
Some seek with wrong motive. James 43
Some only seek a solution to some difficulty or danger, but they do not seek God.
Some fail to repent of sin and see how horrible it is in the sight of God;
      they only seek to escape the consequences of sin and the mess of their life.
Some seek God for his blessings; like men who worship idols.
      So when life becomes easy, they cease to seek Jesus.  Deut 429 610-12
      Jeroboam 1 Kg 148    Jehu 2Kgs 1028,31
"My goal is God himself, not joy nor peace, nor even blessing, but himself, my God."

"Seek the Lord while he may be found ..."  and never stop seeking him.  Is 55  Jer 2913

There can come a day when it is too late.
      Lu 1322-30  Prov 123-33 Gen 716b  Heb 1216,17
Note. True repentance is never too late. No sin is too great to be forgiven,
      but unbelief bars the door to mercy.  Jn 318, 36
See how John's "Gospel of Love" also contains these terrible verses.

"Nothing seems to anger wicked men as much as being told
      that they cannot go to be where Christ now is."   Melancthon

"The whole unhappiness of the Jews (and all men) was not that they had sinned,
      but to die in their sins."   Augustine

This made the Jews ask, "Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, 'Where I go, you cannot come'?"   822

1st reaction - "Will he kill himself ? ..." i.e. Suicide. Way off beam!

But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world."   823

Jesus was very much in the world, but not of it.  1714-17
He repeatedly reveals his origin.  But few believed he was from heaven.
      Most thought he must be exaggerating or crazy.

"I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."   824

Jesus repeats this awful statement.
No-one could say they weren't warned.
Compare this with the modern idea of a benevolent God,
      who always forgives 'everything and everyone'.
Jesus did not condemn the guilty adulteress,  811
      but he sternly warned the Scribes and Pharisees.  Math 23
What is the judgement of mere men beside that of God?  Lu 125

"Who are you ?" they asked.   825a

Regrettably this question is not an honest enquiry;
      it could be paraphrased, "Who on earth do you think you are?"!
      As in 819 it is mocking, "Where is your Father; go on, show us!"
It was also said to Moses, "Who made you prince and judge over us."  Exd 214
Jesus does not retaliate nor did he give an oblique political answer!
He tells them repeatedly who he is.
Who is Jesus?  A correct answer is vital for our future, our eternal future.
No doubt this is why John made it the central theme of his Gospel.
There is no disagreement that Mary was his mother, but who was his Father?
From his earliest days Jesus knew that Joseph was not his father.  Lu 248,49
Many think Jesus only made one or two direct claims to being the Son of God.
      e.g. In the Temple 1024,33 and also when before the High Priest.  Math 2663,64
But John records 83 times when Jesus refers to God as his Father.
      See Who was Jesus in John's Gospel?   (Use arrow Back to return here)
Starting in 216 John tells us that Jesus was angry with the traders in the Temple,
      "How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"  (See Lu 249)
Even if we are a little vague as to these many claims to 'Sonship',
      the Jewish leaders were not: and they were deeply offended.  518 1033
      They were in no doubt as to his claim.  197
So, how did Jesus answer the question, "Who are you?"

"Just what I have been claiming all along," Jesus replied. "I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from him I tell the world." They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father.   825b-27

Jesus had been continuously making the claim that God was his Father, and now he confirms this.
To us, with hindsight, his claim may not seem so extraordinary, but to the Jews it certainly was.
      but to the Jews it certainly was.   It seemed to be a clear case of blasphemy.

So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be ..."  828a

They would know in just 3 month's time!  Or would they?
'Lifted up' is a fulfilment of Moses lifting up the serpent to bring healing,
      and it clearly shows that Jesus knew how he would die - and why.  Math 2612

"... and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him." Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him.  828b-30

Many times Jesus said that he worked in perfect unison with his Father.
      519,30  638  716  1249,50  1424
If only we could say the same. So often I grieve him and crucify his Son again -
      angry, impatient, stubborn, lazy, my thoughts are not his ......
      He does assure us that one day we will be like him.
      No wonder Jesus commanded us to remember what he did for us,
            remember, remember that Jesus paid the price in full.
Father was always with his Son, and he promises to always be with us who believe.
      Nothing can separate us.  Nothing and no one.  Ro 838,39
            Unless we deliberately reject him.
Let us learn to obey and even please him - it is possible!

God is totally reliable and eternally faithful.
      He doesn't change his mind (he doesn't make mistakes, he knows everything).
He promised a Messiah, a Saviour, a Redeemer; now he was here.
These men were slow to realise the identity of Jesus.
      Did we respond at once to hearing the Word of the Son of God?
      Jesus did not lose his patience with them, or with us.

Jesus did not wish his disciples to be in any doubt as to who he was.
Some would 'hear', but sadly, many would not.

It should be noted that although God revealed who Jesus was to the disciples,
      for many months they still failed to realise why he came.  Math 1615-23
They wanted a triumphant Messiah far more than a sin-bearing Redeemer.
For many this still remains a tragic failure;
      they see him more as an example to follow that as a Saviour who forgives.
Even believers who are longing for the return of Jesus as King;
      few expect that in doing so he will first judge the world's wickedness!
      That is why so few understand the book Revelation or the prophesies of Daniel.

Sons or Slaves?  831-59         [Contents]

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ...  831a

Jesus now speaks to the Jews who believed.
      But we shall see from their reaction that their belief was at best only partial.
      What did we believe at the beginning?
When did the Apostles become saved believers?
      When they began to seek righteousness and truth?
      When they repented, were baptised and became John's disciples?  123
      When Jesus called them and they decided to follow him?  137-51
      When the Father revealed that Jesus was the Christ?  Math 1616,17
      After they saw the many miracles?  e.g. Cana  211
      When Jesus sent them out or when they returned?  Lu 91-6
      When Jesus assured them at the last supper? 13-17
      After the crucifixion and resurrection when Jesus 'breathed on them'?  2022
      At Pentecost when they were filled with the Holy Spirit?  Act 21-4
What does this tell us about salvation and being saved?
      It is of vital importance what we believe:
            1. I am a sinner.
            2. Just punishment for sin is death.
            3. I cannot pay the price.
            4. Jesus alone can and has bourne the punishment in full.
He is saved only when he pleads to God for mercy
      and knows the relief of forgiveness through sacrifice of Jesus.
But sadly many, if not most, modern testimonies lack this vital element.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  831,32

What is this teaching, this truth that sets us free?
Jesus is the Light of the dark, sinful world - that is dead to God.
Jesus is bread to the hungry, and water to the thirsty, effective and lasting.
The sacrifice of Jesus is the only possible remedy for sin - that's why he came.
      I can never earn God's forgiveness.
What would the truth set them/us free from?
The Roman domination they were suffering under?
The civil law and the law of Moses, with all the additions of the 'Oral Law'?
Do we desire freedom from addiction to drugs, alcohol, nicotine,
      gambling, gluttony, sex, power, temper, pride, laziness, demons, war,
      computer games etc ?
Jesus sets us free from both sin and its consequence, from its guilt and its power.
      See hymn 'Rock of ages'.
No man can stop sin paying its wages.
No man can set himself free from either death or sin.  Lu 418  Ro 622,23
Only Christ can set us free and shatter sin's dominion. We all need Jesus.

They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?"  833

It is true that these Jews were descendants of Abraham,
but historically they had been enslaved first in Egypt and then in Babylon.
      (Many had also been under the dominion of Philistines, Moabites,
      Midianites, Assyrians and Selucids)
How short is the memory of man, when it suits him.
Even now they were under the dominion of Rome, though not technically slaves.
It was the reply of a proud, deceived heart.
Like the British who so arrogantly thought they once 'ruled the waves.'
The cry that God loves to hear, is:
      "Who will rescue me from this body of death?"  Ro 724
      "What must we do to be saved?"  Acts 237
    "God be merciful to me, a sinner."  Lu 1813

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever."   834,35

I tell you the truth - another emphasis that a vital statement follows.
Everyone is a slave to sin because all are descended from Adam.  Gal 322  Ro 323
      So to be released from slavery you must be 'born-again' 33,5
"Blessed are those who mourn ..." and long to be set free.  Math 53-6
Jesus longs for a family of eternal sons.

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father."  836-38

Only the Son can free us from the guilt, the power and consequences of sin.
Man always hopes to find an alternative, usually by doing lots of good deeds.
      But he always fails.
Only Jesus can set us free.  2 Pe 217-22

In The Pilgrims Progress, 'Christian' went on pilgrimage because his burden was heavy, he saw no way of being rid of it. But he had to leave his family who ridiculed him (they would follow him later). 'The City of Destruction' was not a good place to live. His first problems were to go through the 'Slough of Despond', and to escape from the city of 'Legality' in order to pass through the 'Wicket Gate' that Evangelist had shown him. His heart was quickened to hear the 'Interpreter' before journeying along the 'Way of Salvation'. Only then did he find the Cross. There his burden fell off, and he was given clean clothes and a scroll that he would need in order to enter the Celestial City after crossing the river.

The people Jesus was speaking with did not realise who he was.
      So Jesus had to tell them that although descended from Abraham
      they wanted to kill him. In which case Abraham could not be not their 'father'.
      They disagreed.

"Abraham is our father," they answered. "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does."   839-41a

"We are all Jews, the sons of our father Abraham," they answered proudly.
Jesus tells them the truth that although descendants of Abraham,
      they are not sons because they are not like their father Abraham.
Abraham had prophesied God's plan of salvation and eternal life,
      but these people spoke against Jesus who was fulfilling that truth.
They were deeply offended; and as is often the way, they ceased to debate.
      They became insultingly offensive.

"We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself."  841b

We are not illegitimate children, (Not like you are! they implied)
A gross distortion based upon ignorance.
In the long history of man, only once has a virgin conceived.
It was a most special occasion. God was the Father of Jesus, not Joseph.
These so-called 'believers' now claimed that God was their father!
      (one better than Abraham, whom they had previously claimed)
Today some think that they are Christians because they go to a 'good church',
      or have Christian parents, or they don't do anyone any harm etc.
All these common claims are equally invalid!
Beware of benevolent universalism. 'God in everything', 'we are all his children'.
It sounds good; but Jesus replied, that we are either children of God or children of Satan.
      A guaranteed bombshell !
But he had again told them the truth, even if they didn't want to hear it.

Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."  842-47

They thought they knew better than the Son of God!
Jesus was able to tell them the truth because of who he was and where he came from.
He now adds that it is Satan, not God, who is their father!
The double proof was that they desired to kill him,
      and their inability / unwillingness to hear the Word of God.

Who was the first man to die?
It was Adam, not Cain. And his death spread to all men.  1 Co 1522
What was Satan's first lie?  'You shall not die'.  Gen 34
      Sinning is nice, it's even beneficial, it makes you wise!
Satan still deceives countless millions into thinking that all is well with their souls.

The Jews answered him, "Aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?"  848

The debate is totally lost, so abuse is now total!  c.f.  1 Pe 223
The Samaritans were a mixed race from 722 BC.  (See notes on  41)
(To call a Jew a Samaritan is to insult him for being of mixed race).
To accuse God of being demon-possessed is the ultimate insult, which has dire consequences.
      see Math 1222-33
Their presumption and proud boast reveals no fear of God, no humility.
They had misunderstood all that Jesus had said about bread,
      about freedom, thirsting, sin, death, and his Father.

"I am not possessed by a demon," said Jesus, "but I honour my Father and you dishonour me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."   849-51

Jesus did not retaliate, he just stated the truth.
To all who believe, his words of assurance are like 'honey'.  1 Co 1554-57
But to those who did not believe, it was the last straw! They exploded!

Down the ages, ecclesiastical murderers could burn books and even martyrs,
      but they could never extinguish the Truth.
See 'Fox's Book of Martyrs' and books on the Reformation in England.
It is a sad reflection on the health of the Church that so few read Christian history,
      especially concerning the Reformation and printing the Bible in English.
Those who died in the flames, or who now die in Iranian or Chinese jails,
      will live in a more glorious resurrection.

At this the Jews exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?"   852,53

Angry and blind, they refused to believe the carpenter from Nazareth ...
They no clue as to who Jesus was, the truth he proclaimed and why he came.
What an opportunity offered,   -  and missed.

Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word."   854,55

Jesus did not respond that he was greater, he simply repeated his identity.
"My Father ... God, ... I know him ... I am not lying like you."
Now that is plain speaking!
These argumentative people were so different from Abraham.

"Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."   856

This is surely one of the most exciting verses in scripture.
There was old Abraham rejoicing in Jesus in about 1900 BC !
      How can so many think that the OT is boring.
Herein lies the greatness of Abraham - he sought, and found, Jesus.
The provider of the perfect lamb for the sacrifice for his sin.  Gen 228,14
He was not so stupid as to think an old ram would be sufficient.
He said, "On this mountain, (one day) God will provide."   And he did.

God waited nearly 2,000 long years. Then he came himself.
God's son, his only son, whom he loved.  Gen 222  Math 317
To any who have not walked the same road as Abraham it must seem very foolish;
      yet it remains the very pinnacle of God's wisdom.  1 Co 122-30

"You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"   857,58

Here was a man not only claiming to have seen Abraham, but to have lived before him.
And he also claimed the name of God 'I AM', that was revealed to Moses.  Exd 314
For the third time in this conversation, Jesus emphasises the truth.  also  834,51
His claim was unmistakable.  Either highly blasphemous or incredibly true.
If the former, then they were right to be offended and stone him.  Lev 2416
If the latter, it was the day of opportunity to meet with God himself.  Is 551-7
It reveals the huge gulf between who Jesus was, and who they thought he was.
      Few, if any of them, would be willing to admit their slavery to sin;
            or their need for a Saviour, a Redeemer, a perfect sacrifice.

At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.  859

Jesus did not run away from danger.   He commanded the situation.
The time to lay down his life had not yet come. But it soon would.
It was not the first time that they would not be able to seize Jesus, nor the last!
      Lu 429  Jn 518 730 820 1039 184-8
It is God who holds the sands of time.
God orders the affairs of men and nations.
God determines the beginning and the end; and the middle!
This may raise many questions as to why this tragedy, or why that government?
But the questions and the mystery do not alter the truth of it.
What about those who are persecuted, maybe martyred?
God has not lost control! No, not at all.
Consider Joseph, Jeremiah, Daniel, Job, Stephen, ... Ridley, Latimer, Tyndale ...
      and many, many others now in the God honoured hall of martyrs.
We do not know why some are martyred, while others are spared.  Ro 835  Jn 1430
But all such men and women echo what Jim Elliot said,
      "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose."

A Bold Blind Man  91-41         [Contents]

This is the sixth of the seven miracles that John records.
      (first five - Wine, nobleman's son, bread, walks on water, cripple)
When the Jews saw the lame walk, blind see, dead raised, good news preached...
they would know that prophecy was being fulfilled.  Math 115  Is 355,6 611-3 427

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  91

The man was begging on Temple steps in Jerusalem.
What went through the mind of Jesus?
"Father, this man has never seen anything that we have made,
      no Spring flowers, no mountain grandeur, nor the smile of a child.
Is now the time to open his eyes?"
Instantly, Jesus knew the answer - Yes! Now! Hallelujah!
But his disciples were on quite a different track.

His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"  92

What a comparison.
Who's to blame? Who can I sue? Revenge! What compensation can I get?
Isn't that the common reaction today?
Though we excuse our reaction by saying, 'So that it doesn't happen again'.
Implication of disciples question is that it must be the parents fault.
So why should son pay? Unjust.
Much of life is unjust. And much is just!
None of us deserve justice; we can hope.  God is very patient with us.
We say, 'He had it coming to him ...' until the same thing happens to me!
Much suffering in this world; we must learn to hate sin and its effect.
God did not create the world like this. And it will not end like this.  Ro 512 818-25
Even if blindness (or AIDS or ... ) was the result of man's personal sin,
      it did not stop Jesus 'weeping'.
This man never asked for anything (Jn 56 c.f. Math 2029-34)
He didn't know who Jesus was, why Jesus was here, nor for how long.
With Jesus the blindness was not to be the subject of a theological debate;
      the man was the object of the compassion, the glory and the power of God.
See how different the mind of God is from that of men.
      Job, in his calamity did not sin; and later met with God.
He said, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, the name of the Lord be praised." Job testified to what Paul later wrote, "In all things God works for the good of those who love him,
      who have been called according to his purpose."  Ro 828

"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."   93

This does not mean that his parents had never sinned,
      but that their sin was not the cause of their son's blindness.
Sorrow and suffering are often the opportunity
      for man to respond to God's offer of mercy and grace.
There is no quick answer to the problem of pain.
But I know of two families who became Christians following the untimely death of their baby.
      Neither were due to sin or neglect.
      The Lord Almighty met them in the depth of their sorrow.
In the healing of this blind man, God's work would be seen by all.
Satan rejoiced during his years of blindness.
He did not know that God's plan was for Jesus to heal him!

"As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."   94,5

The "day" is short. Soon the three-year ministry of Jesus will be ended.
The "day", (the moment, or the age) of opportunity will pass all too soon.
      Lu 1837  Jn 136  Mk 214 648  Is 556
God's timing is always perfect, though it may often seems strange.
One day in 38 years.  Jn 55   Woman bleeding for 12 years.  Lu 843
Man with shrivelled hand. Lu 66 Long term sickness of our friends.
This man, blind from birth. He had never seen light. But very soon he would see the 'Light of the World'!
He would not have heard Jesus' earlier conversation in the Temple.  812 859b

Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.  96,7

Jesus used different means at different times.  Mk 823  Math 2021
Why clay? Possibly a reminder that God originally created man from clay.
Siloam = sent.   Is that why Jesus told him to go there?
The blind man and the Messiah were both 'sent'.
How did he find his way to Siloam? Approx 1/2 mile from the Temple.
The man obeyed. c.f. Naaman.  2 Kg 510-14 see also Math 2128-32
Why do we obey?  Fear, respect, or for the reward.
Naaman had none of these motives to start with.
The obedient blind man probably had all three.
He not only saw, but he had instantly learned how to see (normally takes years)
Returned home (to parents?), not to the Temple.

His neighbours and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" Some claimed that he was. Others said, "No, he only looks like him." But he himself insisted, "I am the man." "How then were your eyes opened?" they demanded. He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see." "Where is this man?" they asked him. "I don't know," he said.  98-12

In these verses we see the reaction of people to seeing God at work!

Some amazed "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg."  98
Some sceptical "He only looks like him."  99
Some incredulous "How then ..."  910
Some offended "It was a Sabbath."  914
Blind man "I am the man (who can now see)."  99

Neighbours all asked how did it happened - like neighbours always will.
He tells them very simply. No embellishments; just simple facts.
It is an example of an excellent testimony! with a good result.
      "Where is he?" they asked.

The fact of what happened was very public, and could not be denied.
It was considered a very special miracle for a man born blind to be healed.
Definitely a case for the Pharisees to pronounce on.
Political leaders often feel obliged to comment on matters they know little about!

See also  Act 31-11. Man crippled from birth.  Peter and John knew what to do.
      And it had much the same results. Brought before Sanhedrin for investigation.

The Pharisees Investigate

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath."   913,14,16a

One of the many times that the Pharisees saw God's miracles,
      but refused to see that Jesus was the Messiah.
What put them off?
According to the Mishnah, Jesus was a Sabbath-breaker,
      but Jesus kept the 4th Commandment and all the Law of Moses.
How do we keep the Sabbath?
Is our Church tradition much like the 'extras' of the Mishnah?
What divides Christians? All churches add tradition to theology;
Priestly robes, Church buildings, what we wear, how we worship ... etc
Jews worship at home on every Shabbat (Sabbath),   and for Seder meal (Passover supper).
      They also worship and hear teaching at synagogue.
Commanded to keep Sabbath holy.  Heb 49-11  To enter God's rest.
What was the purpose of this rest?
Sabbath not meant for idle pleasure, nor to profit business,
      but to worship God and appreciate his creation.
Sunday rest is not so that the other 6 days are more productive,
      but the other 6 days are to enable the Sabbath to be holy and restful.
Like Israelites collecting a double portion of manna on Friday to enable Sabbath rest.  Exd 164-3
On this Sabbath, God's rest was to bring healing and restoration.  Mk 223 - 36
The Pharisees did not appreciate this.

They Investigate the (ex) Blind Man

Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. "He put mud on my eyes," the man replied, "and I washed, and now I see." But others asked, "How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?" So they were divided.   915,16b

First they asked him what happened.
But some did not like what they heard!
Their minds were made up, and did not wish to be confused with facts!
Others were impressed.  Probably Joseph  (Math 2757), Gamaliel  Act 534 223),
Nicodemus (32 751) and maybe others? 1242
Be careful not to lump all Pharisees into one large hypocritical group.
Note. Not all divisions are evil; a majority vote or even unanimity does not guarantee a right decision!

Finally they turned again to the blind man, "What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened." The man replied, "He is a prophet."   917

Who asked this question?  Either group.
Some respected the opinion of the ex-blind man,
      Others only desired that he incriminate himself.
The healed man shows the beginnings of faith.
It was based on what Jesus had done; not what he had said.
"He is a prophet."  917  c.f. "The man they call Jesus ..."   911

The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man's parents.  918

Refused to believe the man was born blind, so sent for parents. Why?
They hoped that they would refute that Jesus had healed their son.
'There's none so blind as them that don't want to see.'!
Proud intransigence and prejudice.
      c.f. meek, open-minded Bereans.  Act 1711,12
How do we react to new teaching or practice? Check it out? or throw it out?
Do we investigate the Scriptures or rely on what other books or other men say?
      The question here is which 'other men' do you choose to believe?
      Scripture is the only reliable source of truth; and not a matter of interpretation.
No man meek like Moses.  Num 123
Moses remained meek because he never ceased to search, and find.
      c.f. the scathing atheist, Voltaire, who said, "If in the market of Paris,
before the eyes of a thousand men and before my own eyes, a miracle should be performed,
I would much rather disbelieve the 2000 eyes and my own 2, than believe it."

They Investigate his Parents

"Is this your son?" they asked. "Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?" We know he is our son," the parents answered, "and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself." His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."   919-23

Perfectly reasonable questions.
Is this your son?   Yes.
Was he born blind?   Yes.
How can he now see?   You ask him.

The second question is important because the healing of a man who was blind from birth
      was one of the seven signs of the Messiah for the Jews.
"Was he born blind?" is a straight objective question,
      but the addition of "You say" tries to introduce the idea of doubt.
The parents were good witnesses until the third question, then they falter.
But they were probably not at the Temple or at Siloam.
So their evidence was second-hand ('hearsay' and not permitted in law).
Fear of the Pharisees made them careful and defensive.  also 713
A Jew becomes 'of age' at Bar mitzvah aged 13 .

They return to questioning the healed man.

Re-Investigate the (ex) Blind Man

A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God," they said. "We know this man is a sinner."  924

Sanhedrin try to intimidate him, they desperately wanted to turn his evidence against Jesus.
Praise God, yes; but do not say anything good about Jesus.
      (Note even the evil Spanish Inquisitors also professed to give glory to God.)
"We know ..." they said.   But they did not know!
      They refused to recognise the signs of the Messiah come down to earth.
      To these powerful elite Jesus was an embarrassing troublemaker;
            not the Lamb of God come to take away their sins.
What would you have said before a court of seventy Pharisees?
The healed man gave a remarkably astute reply.  It cut through all their prejudice and hypocrisy.

He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"  925

This was the vital evidence that they were seeking to discredit.
His faith may seem feeble and doctrine confused, but his testimony was good:
      I was in the dark, but now I have the light of God.
      I was fond of sin, but now I hate it.
      I love Jesus who has forgiven me completely.
Faith without feelings is a bad sign. Feelings without faith will certainly deceive.
How do we sift evidence?
Do we read only what we will probably agree with?
      Meetings, books, tapes, videos, newspapers, T.V. programmes etc.
      But being 'broad-minded' is not an excuse to fill our minds with rubbish.
      Always remember the Bible is the only book that is wholly true.

Then they asked him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" He answered, "I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?"  926,27

'What... How ...?'
They asked these questions mainly in order to pick holes his evidence,
      but some asked because they really wanted to know what Jesus had done.
Unlike his parents, their son was bold; he even taunted them!
      "Do you want to become his disciples too?"
But they were not interested in his healing after over 30 years of blindness!
      only in some legal wrangle about Sabbath laws.
The healed man considered that he had become a disciple of Jesus now.
The Sanhedrin thought so too; and took what they thought was appropriate action.

Then they hurled insults at him and said, "You are this fellow's disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from."   928,29

Not all of them hurled insults; just the vocal majority!
It revealed what was in their hearts.
They claimed a better pedigree than others; 'God speaks to us through Moses,
      but this man Jesus only speaks for himself.'
Here they displayed their lamentable ignorance and stubborn deafness.
They didn't even know where Jesus came from: Bethlehem, Nazereth, Heaven!

The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."  930-33

His boldness knew no end. He seemed to almost enjoy the argument!
"God does not listen to (unrepentant) sinners."  Jer 1111  Ezek 818  Ps 6618
"He listens to the godly man ..."  e.g. 1 Kg 18 Elijah on Carmel + James 516
Same conclusion as Nicodemus (this man, Jesus, was from God).  Jn 32
      c.f. "By what authority do you do these things?"  Math 2123-27
The (ex) blind man was learning fast.

To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!"   934a

They had no answer to his true statement; so only personal abuse remains.
The wisdom of a poor, (ex) blind man confounds all their aassumed wisdom.
"Not many wise, ... mighty, ..."  1 Co 126  Math 1125  Mk 1023  Lu 418
It is not a sin to be poor (or rich): but it is to be either covetous or arrogant.
Back where it all began - "who sinned?"
We are ALL steeped in sin from birth, but few are willing to admit it.
It made necessary the Advent (coming) of Jesus
      and the concluding 'event' - the crucifixion, the one perfect sacrifice.
He "came into the world to save sinners."  1 Tim 115
"I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."  Lu 532

And they threw him out.  934b

Never again allowed into the Synagogue, or to bring his offering to the Temple.
Man loves exclusiveness (if inside); God seeks to include, and to save.
Excommunication and persecution are not the new weapons of tyrants, even ecclesiastical ones!
The synagogue is the centre of Jewish life and to be barred was a serious loss.
Maybe this man would soon learn that the man who healed him would soon,
      also lay down his life for him.

Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him ...  935a

Jesus was not satisfied with only his physical healing.
He had compassion for this poor, rejected Jew.
"I will restore you to health and heal your wounds," declares the Lord,
      "because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no-one cares."  Jer 3017
We do not know this blind man's name;
      but God does, and it is written in the Book of Life.  Is 431

When he found him he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" "Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him." Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you." Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshipped him.  935b-38

Son of Man (x78 in Gospels = Messiah). (A.V. = Son of God)
Why did God call Ezekiel 'son of man' ? (x93 in Ezek.)
What was the main message of Ezekiel? (same as the ministry of Jesus)
      1. God is sovereign - 'Thus says the sovereign Lord ...'  x 210 in Ezek.
      2. Just judgement or receive the offer of undeserved salvation.
            Only two possibilities open to all men (no half-way house)
      3. Sees Glory (of God) leaving the Temple, and then the glory returning.
            Dry Bones + Jn 2022. River of Life + Jn 414. Also Dan 713

The man desired to know who this 'Son of Man' was.
So Jesus tells him that he is this 'Son of Man'.  And he believes!
'The Light of the World' had brought light to his eyes and now also to his soul.
Meanwhile where were the Pharisees?
Still there, and still blind!  So Jesus speaks to them ...

Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.  939-41

What is the 'judgement' here?
Not final Judgement when the verdict is announced, but there is a present 'judgement'.
      The Truth is seen sorting out who's who.
Then and now, the majority of men are unaware that they are totally deluded.
The same fire can both melt wax and harden clay.
The Pharisees asked Jesus if he thought that they were blind.
Not a real enquiry, but a sneering, sarcastic remark.
What areas are we blind to? (difficult to answer!)
What happens to unrepented sin?
      It is not forgiven; it remains, and so do the consequences.
What happens to men who admit their blindness?
      They have a longing to see, and it may lead to a thirst for God.
One of those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, who are meek (long to learn)
      who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Math 53-6
This man could not deny his physical blindness.
When healed he was not slow to admit his spiritual blindness too.
He desired to believe.  He had received complete healing,
      and now also the forgiveness of God. What relief and gladness!
It is the same for all who call on the name of the Lord.  Ps 1161-6 Joel 232 (Act 221)

The Gate and the Shepherd for the Sheep  101-21         [Contents]

The context.  Jesus had healed a man, blind from birth - sign of Messiah.
At the end the Pharisees were shown to be blind and guilty.  941
They were the false teachers of religion.
      And they aren't confined to Jews of 2000 years ago.

"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.  101

This is the 15th "I tell you the truth ..." (Verily, verily ...) in John's gospel
      Jesus always tells us the truth, but these are each specially significant.
The 'sheep pen' is the kingdom of God and the Gate is Jesus.  107
      The Pharisees were blind because they neither saw who Jesus was,
            nor why he came. They were thus 'thieves and robbers',
            and would not enter heaven or inherit eternal life.

"The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, he goes on ahead of them, his sheep follow because they know his voice."  102,3

The first to enter is the Shepherd;
      he opens and leads the way.  Ps 6817-20  Eph 48  Ro 63,4  Deut 318
The watchman is a mighty angel set to guard the entrance - not St. Peter!
The trusting, pleading sheep follow their Master's call.
He calls us each by name.  Exd 3317  Ps 1474  Is 4026 431 453
How do we recognise his voice?
      The Holy Sprit reveals the truth of God's Word.

When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice.  104,5

There have always been many false, deceiving shepherds - beware.
      They speak the vain ideas or hopes of men.
      Wise sheep will run away from such popular, alluring words.
      They nearly always magnify a personality rather than the Shepherd.
False prophets and wolves often advise the "Broad, easy way".  Math 713-17

The listeners didn't understand what Jesus was telling them:

Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."  107-10

Jesus makes it clear; he is the Gate. There is no other way to be saved.  146
What other ways do men try?
      Good works, like Freemasons.
      Church going, keeping traditions, penance / indulgences, 'Religion' .
      Other faiths.
Each steal the truth of Jesus, kill faith in Jesus, or destroy the seeds of life.
The Gate is open now; but one day it will be shut to all men for ever!
      Gen 716b  Lu 1626
Far too many leave it until it is too late. Sudden death, or just grow too old.

True sheep go in and out and find pasture, they are given life to the full.
There is a battle between the Shepherd and the Robbers.
      The Shepherd loves his sheep, but the Robbers hate them,
            or at least only values them for he can sell them for.
This is not a cosy story about a good Shepherd and his happy, well-fed flock.
      as is often depicted (and correctly so in Is 4011).
But here, God reveals the continuing open war for the souls of men!

Jesus continues with this battle theme with a slight change of subject:
      he is now the 'Good Shepherd', and the robbers are now wolves.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  1011-13

The wolf attacks the sheep; he scatters and if possible kills them.
      The hired hand abandons the sheep and runs away from danger.
In contrast the Shepherd lays down his life for his beloved sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me– just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.  1014-16

All the sheep know the Shepherd, and are known by him.
      None are too insignificant, or too anything.
      Each sheep is known and most precious to the Good Shepherd.
            See Ezek 3411-16 and Math 1812-14

Who are the 'other sheep'? The Gentiles.
      They too will listen and be made one flock and the one Shepherd.
      Jew and Gentiles will be reconciled; and both chosen.  Ro 1011-13 1125-32

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.  1017,18

No one took the life of Jesus; he chose to lay it down.
      The rebellious Jews did not take his life, nor did the Romans.
            Father commanded, Jesus agreed and obeyed.
            No one else has ever had this authority - only Jesus.
See what this unique act achieved - "It is finished!"
      The price was so high and I am so insignificant.
It was no accident, but reveals the God's only salvation plan.

Some thought Jesus was mad, others didn't know what to think.
Later many would seek, believe and be saved -
      Sheep that are forgiven by Saviour they know and are made safe for ever.
      Such is the amazing grace of God.

      I'm under the blood of Jesus, I'm safe in the shepherd's fold.
      I'm under the blood of Jesus, safe when the night grows cold,
      Safe when the nations crumble, safe when the stars grow dim.
      I'm under the blood of Jesus, and I am safe in him.

Consider the following example of 'hearing' in the Song of Solomon.
There is no scripture that tells more poetically, or more passionately the love of our Saviour,
      and our stumbling response.  i.e. How we hear

      (The Christian or Bride's words are in italic,
      the Saviour and the Watchmen are in normal type)

      BRIDE (to be)
17 Tell me, you whom I love, where you graze your flock First signs of real desire for God
How beautiful you are, my darling ...
Like a lily among thorns ...
Our Saviour clearly sees what he will make us,
not what we are now.
28,9 Listen! My lover! Look, here he comes,
leaping ... bounding ... like a gazelle ...
Look! There he stands ... gazing through the windows
Her heart leaps too!
But is paralysed by fear or ??
He remains outside. Rev 320
210-13 Arise my darling, my beautiful one,
and come with me. See, the winter is past ...
Come!  An Invitation. Is 551,3
Now is the moment of opportunity
216,17 My lover is mine and I am his ...
Until the day breaks ... turn, my lover, and be like a gazelle
False assurance. I desire you - but not yet!
31-4 I looked for the one my heart loves; ... I will search for him.
When I found him. ... I held him and would not let him go.
The search begins. God fulfils his promise;
the soul that seeks shall find.
Jacob at Peniel.  Gen 3222-32
Oh, how beautiful.
Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
How delightful your love ... my bride. ...
You are a garden locked up, a spring enclosed ...
Her eyes are beautiful, but veiled
      (as at wedding).
Not yet free to respond.
416 Blow on my garden, ... Let my lover come into his garden. Sees her own need, and desires to change.
52 I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My lover is knocking:
Heart in greater earnest now.
52 Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove,
my flawless one. My head is drenched with dew.
But the Saviour remains outside all night.
      (Dew falls in the evening)
53 I have taken off my robe - must I put it on again? Some objections still remain.
55,6 I arose to open ... my hands dripped with myrrh.
I opened for my lover, but my lover had left; ...
I called him, but he did not answer.
Old habits die hard.
She tried to win approval by false appearance,
      but God knows her heart.
It is not the way of salvation;
      so Saviour leaves.
She is chastised by watchmen.
59 (Watchmen) How is your beloved better than ours?  
510 My lover is ... outstanding among ten thousand.
His head is purest gold ...
Provoked by watchmen into a declaration of love.
61 (Watchmen) Where has your lover gone? They become interested.
62 My lover has gone down to his garden. World is seen now as his garden;
      not mine.
64 You are beautiful, my darling, as lovely as Jerusalem ... Saviour maintains truthful words of great affection.
711,12 Come my lover ... let us go early to the vineyards to see
if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened.
At last they go together,
and find the sweet scent of salvation,
and the love and fruitfulness of God.
85 (Watchmen)
Who is this coming up from the desert
leaning on her lover?
They return together.
Now she knows her total dependency.
c.f. Jacob, leaning on his staff.  Heb 1121
or Mary at the feet of Jesus.  Lu 1039
813 You who dwell in the gardens
let me hear your voice!
Jesus desires to hear us. (and we desire him).
Not just on "our Sundays
      and the dog-ends of our time."
814 Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle ...
Life with God
Freedom and joy on a tough mountain-side.
United in purpose and destiny.

Let us learn to first desire and to hear our Saviour and then to gladly obey him.

Jesus at the Feast of Dedication - Hanukkah  1022-42         [Contents]

At the feast of Dedication ...   1022a

What is the background to the Jewish feast of Hanukkah?
The story of the victorious Maccabe rebellion against evil.
One of the great 'Little David triumphs over the giant Goliath' events of history.
'Never in the history of human conflict was so much owed by so many ...' Churchill

When Alexander the Great died in 323 BC the Greek empire divided into 4 as prophesied by Daniel.  Dan 76 88,22
Ptolemy in Egypt, Seleukos in Babylon, Antipater in Greece, and Lysimachos in Thrace.
150 years later (170 BC) Selucid Antiochus IV fought Egypt, and largely won.
2 years later he again went to Egypt to complete the victory.
But Rome (Leanus) met him and told him to go home!  He did, deeply humiliated.
On his way he vented his anger on Jerusalem.
He destroyed part of city, killed many women and children,
      removed the golden candlesticks (Menorah) from the Temple,
      erected an image to Jupiter (Zeus) and sacrificed pig on the altar,
      and he forbade Jewish feasts, circumcision, Sabbath etc
He called himself 'Epiphanes' = god or the coming of god.
When Apelles came to Modin 3 miles north of Jerusalem to enforce pig sacrifice,
      one priest agreed, but he was killed by the outraged Mattathias Maccabee.
His 5 sons, led by Judah Maccabee, then led the uprising.
Against all odds they won the resulting guerilla war against Antiochus.
The Jews cleansed their polluted Temple and re-dedicated it.
The Temple Menorah was lit with enough oil for only one day, but it lasted for 8 days,
      by which time a new supply had been consecrated.
This occurred in mid Dec. (25th Kislev in 164 BC)
The Prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled.
"At the appointed time he will invade the South again,
but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before.
Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart.
Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant.
He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.
His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice.
Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.
With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant,
but the people who know their God will firmly resist him."
 Dan 1116-32

This feast is a true and much loved part of Jewish history. (Like Queen Esther)

Jesus was in the temple area, walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews gathered round him saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."  1023,24

Jesus celebrated Hanukkah 4 months before his last Passover and crucifixion.
'In Solomon's Colonnade' i.e. under cover from winter rain. (mid Dec.)
'The Jews' = locals + some in Jerusalem for feast + religious leaders
Same question as in 825, who are you?
Unrepentant man always wants more 'evidence' before believing.  Mk 1532

"I did tell you but you do not believe."  1025

Those who asked had not been with him or would not or could not hear.
Jesus had told them plainly many times who he was.

Who was Jesus? What had he told them?

John What Jesus (and others) said The Respone
129 John - "Behold the Lamb of God ..." John and Andrew follow
141 Andrew - "We have found the Messiah." Peter follows
145 Philip - "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law." Nathaniel believes
211, 23 Saw miraculous signs Disciples believed
216 "How dare you turn my Father's house into a market." "Prove your authority"
316 "God ... gave his one and only Son ..."  (to Nicodemus)
327--36 John  (the Apostle) - "The one whom God has sent ...
      whoever believes in the Son has eternal life"
426 "I who speak to you am he."  (the Messiah) Samaritan woman believes
442 "... now we have heard for ourselves." Many Samaritans believe
51-45 Jesus heals lame man. Then, "My Father is always at his work."

Father and Son work together. Son gives life.

Tried to kill him.  518
Refuse to come to Son. 540
61-15 Feeds 5000. "Surely this is the Prophet." Tried to make him king.
626-66 Eat food that spoils or food that endures to eternal life.
"I am the bread of life."
Many disciples turned back
669 Peter - "We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."   
715-20 How did this man get such teaching?
"It comes from him who sent me."
"You are demon-possessed."
725-30 When Christ comes no one will know where he is from.
"I am from him (God) and he sent me."
Tried to seize him
733-44 "I go to the one who sent me. ... Where I am, you cannot come." Where can this be?
737 "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink." "He is the Christ"
"How can Christ come from Galilee?"
812,13 "I am the light of the world." "Your testimony is not valid."
823-30 "I am from above ...
I told you that you would die in your sins;
      if you do not believe that I am he."
"Who are you?"
They did not understand.
Many put their faith in him.
842-48 " ... I came from God and ... he sent me ..." "You are a Samaritan
      and demon-possessed."
858,59 "Before Abraham was born, I am!" They picked up stones to stone him.
933,34 Man born blind healed -
"If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."
"You were steeped in sin at birth;
      how dare you lecture us!"
937 "You have now seen him; in fact he is the one speaking with you." "Lord, I believe."
101-10 "I am the gate."  Shepherd enters fold with sheep;
       others enter by another way to steal (sheep).
They didn't understand.
1011-18 "I am the good shepherd and I lay down my life for the sheep. ...
This command I have received from my Father."
He is demon-possessed, raving mad.
Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?

Jesus had told them many times who he was, but few believed him.
      Why didn't we believe sooner?

The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.  1025,26

They did not yet believe, or they did not ever believe?
Only Jesus can answer this.  God alone is judge.
      But we can, and are obliged to state the truth of  Jn 318, 36

A man may claim to believe, but still not be saved !
      It depends on what he believes.
      Does he believe who Jesus was, and is?  Maybe.
     However Satan believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
      He knows that Jesus came to earth and was resurrected.
            But this does not and cannot benefit him.
           Nor will this truth, on its own, benefit any man one jot.
      The vital truth is, does he believe why Jesus had to come and be crucified?
            Why only the perfect 'Lamb of God' could pay the price for my sin?
      What truth we believe is of the very greatest importance.
            see chapter on 'Nicodemus and New Birth'  316
Why was Jesus so blunt?   It was intended to challenge; to make men say,
      "O wretched man that I am, who will rescue me ...?"  Ro 724
      To be his sheep we must acknowledge our extreme poverty
            and our on-going need for the redeeming Saviour.
Why do so many not believe and are not his sheep?
      Three answers are found in Math 131-23
            Immediate rejection, only temporary emotion, easily distracted.
      God's way is found in Math 53-10
            We first need to be 'poor in spirit',
            to admit our sin and 'mourn' its consequence.
            Thus to be 'meek', and eagre to listen to Jesus, 'hungry' to hear his truth.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  1027

'Listen to' here implies and requires obedience.  Math 724-27  Jn 1415
Why do the sheep follow the 'Good Shepherd' ?
      They love to hear his voice.  Lonely without him, without hearing his word.
Many study philosophy or psychology hoping to find the way.
Others study theology hoping to find the truth.
Some diligenty study the scriptures hoping to receive life.  Jn 1415
But fail to find their dream because they refuse to come to Jesus.
      Only in Jesus will a man find The Way, the Truth and the Life.  539
"He who has ears to hear, let him hear ..."  Math 1115 139 1343 Lu 1435
      All scripture is true and points to Jesus.  Lu 2425-27
On Dartmoor or on the Welsh hills, sheep are left out all summer.
      Generally they graze and drink happily and without much danger or loss.
      But in Judea sheep are totally dependent on their shepherd.
            Food is sparse, water must be drawn, and there are many predators.
It is a great privilege to have Jesus as our Shepherd.
We belong to Jesus because we are the Father's gift to his Son.
      The Son paid the required redemption price.
      We are his calling (he calls us each by name).
      He continually desires to feed, sustain, protect and finally to honour us.
Such is his consistent grace and faithful love.

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;   1028

What a gift!  No man can ever give such a gift; though many have tried.
The great multitude that no-one can number witnesses to this truth.  Rev 79-17
'They shall never perish'. God and I are inseparable!  Ro 835
Can we do what we like then? Certainly not!  Ro 61,2
It is a modern fallacy to say, "Love God, and do what you like." see Heb 64-12
Beware!   Men can rejoice in the gospel of God,
      But then choose to abandon 'the Way'.  Jn 666  Heb 612
      Also parable of the sower. All the seed rejoiced, but only one bore fruit.
      Believers can become careless, lazy, even deceived for a season,
            but this is not the same as deliberate rebellion.
Through faith and patience we inherit what God has promised.  Heb 612
Remember those who "were still living by faith when they died."  Heb 1113
"They did not receive the things promised; they only saw and welcomed them from a distance."
      (And not just because they lived before Christ. Many OT men were saved).
This word of Jesus is a rich and precious promise on dark days.
      And especially to all who suffer persecution.  see Heb 135

No-one shall snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all;
no-one can snatch them one of my Father's hand.

God is not like the politicians, world leaders, or even many marriage partners,
      who renege on their promises when it suits them.
No-one shall snatch them out of my hand.
      No man, no angel, no demon, not even Satan himself ...
      though each may well try to steal or destroy the faith of God within us.
Neither Satan nor any man or super-power can match the power of God
We are completely safe in the hands of King Jesus.  Know it, feel it, live it.  c.f. 922
      However we need to be on guard against carelessness or presumption.
When God seems far away, why does he seem to be so?
      We often think that if God is with us, life should be easy!
            When life is difficult God sometimes feels distant and deaf.
What is the truth?  "I am with you ALWAYS ..."  Math 28 20
      This is the unfailing, faithful promise of Almighty God.
He is never fickle, unreliable, easily distracted or weak.
We may lose property, wealth, job, health, even our lives,
      but the Shepherd of Israel keeps our souls totally secure.
The Saviour's final call to Mr Ready-to-Halt in The Pilgrim's Progress, was:
      "He whom you have loved and followed,
            though upon crutches, expects you at his table."
At a wedding, the father gives the bride to the bridegroom. 176
      And they are then together for ever.

I and the Father are one.  1030

Father and Son are totally agreed about Everything!
      And in particular about the safety of the sheep.  176-12
God's kingdom is not divided!  (Even if, sadly, the church is.)
      Many times God's enemies have been defeated because fought among themselves.  Judges 712, 22  2Ch 2022,23

Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him,  1031

How tragic.  He was hated by many, without reason.  1525 77
      Though Jesus went about doing good  Acts 1038
      The Jews of those days were not alone in missing the day of opportunity.
They tried to stone him. see chapter 'Sons and Slaves'  859
Let us willingly drink the cup of rejection, patiently and without surprise.  1518

But Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"  1032

35 great miracles of Jesus are recorded in the Gospels.  6 of the 7 in John had already taken place:
      Ch 2 Water to wine - Cana.
      Ch 4 Official's son - Capernaum.
      Ch 5 Invalid for 38 years healed - Bethesda, Jerusalem
      Ch 6 Fed 5000 - Bethsaida
      Ch 6 Walks on water - Galilee
      Ch 9 Man born blind healed - Temple, Jerusalem

Many have tried to deny the miracles of Jesus, or to 'explain' them away.
But they are ' ... from the Father' - this phrase comes again and again.

Why did Jesus ask this question?  That they might see their deep prejudice, and repent.
But his miracles made the leaders jealous.
      And jealousy wrecks havoc with our reasoning.
Old age can also bring down the shutters on new thought or practice.

We are not stoning you for any of these, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.  1033

If Jesus had not been the Son of God, it would have been right to stone him.  Lev 2416
But he wasn't a mere man. The Son of God had condescended to become a man.
      "Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man."  C.Wesley

Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'? If he called them 'gods', to whom the word of God came - and the Scripture cannot be broken -."  1034,35

The quote which Jesus made rested on the one word 'gods'.
See the honour Jesus accorded to Scripture, and its total accuracy.
We may not understand everything, but everything written is true.

What about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me because I said, 'I am God's Son'?  1036

Some think Jesus was vague in his claims; but he was very direct and clear.
The Jews were certainly not in any doubt about who he claimed to be!

Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles that you may know that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.  1037,38

His miracles were undeniable, and are proof of his claim.
He never failed to heal.  His teaching was 100% accurate.
He repeats his claim, 'I and the Father are one'.  1030
At very least believe that God the Father is in me.

Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.  1039

They tried, and once more they failed - how frustrating for them!
But it was still nearly 4 months before God's appointed time.

Then Jesus went back across the Jordan, to the place where John had been baptising in the early days. Here he stayed and many people came to him.  1040,41a

It is a wild area. Limestone desert except near the river.  Jn 323  Mk 14
Jesus preached the same message as John.  i.e. repentance and forgiveness of sins.  Math 32  417
Too harsh for those who loved the luxury and convenience of city life (and death!).

They said, "Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true." And in that place many believed in Jesus.  1041b,42

True ministry does not always require miracles as proof. ('signs following')
Many testimonies today are wonderfully true;
      but regrettably, many claims are grossly exaggerated before a gullible public.
      And use miracles to prove that all their ministry and teaching is 'of God'.

All preaching should be expounding Scripture, rather than man's ideas.
      Too often it just starts with a text to give an appearance of being genuine,
            but what follows denies what God has written.
It should result in believing who Jesus was, what he did and why he came.

Jesus said that there was no greater prophet than John, and that included Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah and Daniel.
No one else had ever been able to say,
      "Behold! the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"  129  (NKJV)
This perfect Lamb, this Messiah (Yeshua, Saviour) is here,  NOW!

Many believed.

Raising of Lazarus  111-57         [Contents]

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.  111,2

Jesus was at the river Jordan.  Bethany is 20 miles uphill near Jerusalem.
It is shortly after Hanukkah.  1022 see also 1154,55
Jesus had been teaching about the Good Shepherd who lays down his life;
      how he had power to lay down his life and to take it up again.  1011-18
John had earlier taught here about the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
Mary is Gk. form of the Hebrew name Miriam = exalted or myrrh of the sea.
      She was the sister of Martha and Lazarus. (not Mary of Magdalene, Galilee)
      Earlier Mary had chosen the 'better' part.  Lu 1038-42
Now Jesus reveals Martha's faith and causes it to grow - fast!
A man who was asked whether he preferred Mary or Martha replied,
      'Martha before dinner and Mary after dinner'!
This most outstanding miracle of Jesus is recorded only in John.  (see 2125)
Sickness and pain is not because God is displeased, it can even be for our good. How?
      It promotes prayer, fortitude, character, compassion;
      it encourages a heightened hope of heaven, for it sees life here as only temporary.

So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."  113

Their message to Jesus was a simple statement - Lazarus is very ill
They did not demand a miracle, or anything.  c.f. 25
Jesus loved this family as was later shown.  But they did not presume this relationship.  as in Jn 25
Who was Lazarus? Not mentioned elsewhere in the N.T.
      Contrast with Lazarus in Lu 16 parable couldn't come back to life on earth.
Lazarus is the Gk. form of the Hebrew Eleazar = help of God.

When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.  114-6

A most unexpected reply. God often does the unexpected. e.g.
      He chose Jacob instead of Esau, parted the Red Sea, made an axe head float.
Jesus always spoke the truth and this prophecy was no exception,
      'This sickness will not end in death'.  And it didn't end in death
The Glory of God was certainly seen - and many began to believe.

Jesus deliberately allows Lazarus to die.
He loved them (not just a little) - soon we will see him weeping.
Wise and loving parents do not give their children everything they want.
      And when they do give, it is not always immediately.
The love of God is strong. He allows trials and testings for our good.
      e.g. Job. 3 in Babylon furnace, Jacob with Laban, David in wilderness,
      Moses in Midian, Abraham waits for Isaac, Elijah and drought etc.
      Jesus had to wait for the right time to come as Redeemer.
      It would be better for him to leave the Apostles.  1416,18
With Lazarus, Jesus hears Father say "wait!"  So he did.
      But it was difficult and easily misunderstood.  Heb 58
      He continues the ministry for two days, as if nothing was happening in Bethany.

Then he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea." "But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?" Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight?  A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."  117-10

The disciples may have forgotten all about Lazarus; but Jesus hadn't.
They saw only danger in Jerusalem. (Bethany only 2 miles east of Jerusalem)
      It was a dangerous place for Jesus.  Lu 951 1334  Act 21 Zech 121-9
Christians are often called to walk where they are afraid to.
Our God always knows the best way, even if it is not the most comfortable!
We are never asked to walk alone or where he has not already walked.
Jesus meets their fear with a proverb; and he leaves them to draw the obvious conclusion.
The '12 hours' of Jesus' ministry (Gethsemane to Calvary) had not yet started.
He would not stumble then, or ever.
Both he, and the disciples were quite safe - for the time!  94 + Lu 1332,33
Jesus did not walk in darkness - he always had his Father's light.
So do his followers.  812
Now it was time to start on the journey to Bethany.

After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. And for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."  1111-15

Jesus knew that Lazarus had died, so he told them.
'Our friend ...' Jesus confirms the relationship expressed by Martha.  113
Asleep is a good word for death to those with an assured hope of resurrection.
      (Cemetery = Gk. for 'sleeping place')
Why go now, when it's too late?
Jesus told them the plan of God  -  where they were going,  and why.
      They seemed slow to hear.  What makes us slow?
The death of Lazarus is an apparent contradiction with  114
Some may have thought that Jesus said that he would not die; but now he had.
Jesus did not say he would not die, but that it would not end in death!
What did disciples make of that?
It is hardly surprising that they did not yet understand what Jesus was saying.
Jesus knew his Father would raise Lazarus from the tomb;
    and thereby be greatly glorified in this event. So he was glad.
And he knew it would help many to believe and be saved. He was more glad.
      But note that it did not stop him weeping with them.  1135

Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."  1116

Was Thomas melancholic?
Even after conversion the sanguine may remain sanguine.
      and the impetuous (like Peter) may remain impetuous.
      After 3 years with Jesus, Peter remained impetuous, Thomas despairing.
      Change is usually gradual.  But God will patiently complete the task.
      And thankfully, God has not made us all the same.
Was Thomas willing to die with, or for, Jesus in Jerusalem?  Mk 1431
      Did he think death the end of all our troubles - Impatient for heaven!
      Did Thomas have a remarkable hope of resurrection!  c.f. 145
      It seems that he has no idea of God's great plan for him.
      At the right time it would be revealed to him.
Note.  Thomas who was once afraid to go to Bethany with Jesus;
      willingly went to India alone, facing untold dangers.
Christians on earth are not perfect saints but converted sinners.
      (this is not to excuse my weakness, but to help prevent failure and depression)

Death can be a mournful subject, but it does not have to be.
The following is the testimony of a great man of God facing death.

"David Watson - A Case for Healing?"   A precis of a BBC Radio 4 interview broadcast on 19/4/83
(Interviewer in italics)

David was born in Yorkshire, then spent his early years in India. He returned to Bedford in 1939. His father was in the Army and died during the war when David was 10 and he only has fleeting memories of him. As a Christian Scientist he refused medical help for bronchial pneumonia. His mother was a nominal Anglican so David was baptised and confirmed but became increasingly disillusioned with Christianity. He then joined the Army and became an outspoken atheist, because the Church seemed irrelevant and all the Sects bogus. He was still searching when he went to Cambridge for 5 years. A friend gave him 'The Imitation of Christ' and then helped him to seek Christ. David was soon born again and became most enthusiastic about having faith in Jesus. He became a curate at Gillingham and then returned to Cambridge. While reading Acts, and the Sermon on the Mount, David realised how poor he was in the Spirit. God rewarded his thirst and filled him with the Holy Spirit. He described the experience as "God's Kiss".
A malignant ulcer in the colon was discovered Jan. '83. This was removed in an excellent operation, but the surgeon discovered that inoperable cancer had spread to his liver. David was given between 1 and 2 years to live.

How did this discovery affect your faith?
Faith remained but there were also times of panic. There was much unfinished work that I enjoyed. Suddenly I had to come to terms with death. It changed from theoretically being willing to go to heaven and wanting to stay on earth, to wanting to go to heaven but willing to stay on earth. I had to learn what I had taught, 'that the best is yet to be'.

Do you pray for healing?
Yes. And many friends are praying for my healing. I believe I am being healed, but I may be wrong. I do not know - there is no evidence yet from the scans. If God does not heal me then I am confident that the work he wants to do through me is complete, and I can look forward to heaven. Several men of God laid hands on me in Guy's Hospital; there was a great sense of the Lord's presence; their trembling hands and warmth in my body. While not conclusive, this has often proved to be signs of God's healing in the past. Many from different parts of the world have said, 'this sickness is not unto death' and 'The most important thing is that I want the will of God more than anything else.' God's desire is to heal, but more than that I cannot say. If God does not heal, then I trust that the vision of heaven without pain, injustice, sin, that I so much desire cannot come soon enough.

Why should God suspend his natural laws for you?
God is currently healing many people throughout the world; though less in the cerebral West. God is constantly at work in his world.

If healing does not happen, is that because of a lack of faith?
Certainly there needs to be faith, but it doesn't have to be on the part of the sufferer. Generally faith for healing is very small but when there is real expectation then men are healed. We often hesitate because of the fear of raising false expectations and then causing deep depression when not healed.

If you are not healed, what about those who are now praying for you?

God has a development plan for each of them. They may be angry or disillusioned with God for doing nothing, or even for allowing it in the first place. Realism in prayer and relationship with God will grow. If I only praise him when the sun shines, my faith is shallow. 'All sunshine makes a desert'.

In spite of your faith, death is not something you dance a jig about.

No, it isn't. I am not afraid of death, but I am afraid of the process of dying. I am afraid of pain. But finally to wake up perfect on the resurrection morning is a wonderful prospect. The main worry is for my wife and children. I have had to put everything on an open palm. Everything, and not just theoretically. Jesus said, "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it."  (Lu 924

Have you caught up with it emotionally?
This takes time. I have preached it for years; now I have had to meditate on it. Worship has been most helpful. I have listened to hours and hours of worship tapes. Earth's reality loses its strong grip.

Has this illness changed your priorities in life?
Yes. I had come to the point of loving God's work even more than God. Now I love the Lord more and more. I want be with him above everything. I still love writing and preaching but I want and trust that the God will be the first priority in my life. Then I can enjoy everything else, even knowing that they might be snatched away at any time, as they may be.

Do you have any regrets?
I have allowed so many other things to dominate my life. Toiling, without resting in God. It has sometimes been 'my work'. God does not want us to hold on to regrets; but to release all the "if only's", and to know his love for us as we are.

What is heaven going to be like?
The best vision of heaven has been in praise and worship when time has seemed to stop, and being with God is such love and joy, well-being and shalom. That is truly a foretaste of heaven.

After a further nine months of writing and preaching, David died on 18/2/84.

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem. And many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.  1117-19

Jesus had deliberately taken four unhurried days to journey to Bethany.
Burial was always within 24 hours.
A good crowd was there. They had come to give sympathy in death.
They had no idea that they would soon witness the power of God over death!
For a week after death, the Jewish bereaved are not allowed to cook.
      Their friends and relatives bring food. It is an excellent and practical custom.
      God such simple acts of kindness.  see Math 1042  Ecc 72,4
Some would even receive salvation and life!
"Kindness will not take us to heaven, but it is a healthy employment for our hearts."

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died."  1120,21

Quite true, he would not have died.
How could she know his death was God's surprising, and much better plan?
Martha, ever a lady of action, went out to meet Jesus.
What she said was not to criticise his delay.
      It was a plain statement of fact.  It was hope disappointed.
      It seemed Jesus had ignored their plea for him to come.
      Her heart had longed for Jesus to arrive.
            'if only ...' then it would have been so different. 'But ...'

But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask. Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."  1122-24

What did she mean by this question?
It was one of those profound remarks, made hardly realising what she had said.
      c.f. Abraham 'God will himself provide the offering, my son.'  Gen 228
Jesus immediately builds on this and shows her what to ask for.

Martha had not heard what Jesus had prophesied at the Jordan.
Many had probably comforted the sisters with the hope of his rising again.
Such future hope needs a sure, God assured, basis.  And Martha had it.
God's promise of eternal life is more than a vague ideal without foundation.
Martha is practical and beautifully honest.
      She stated what she believed - nothing more, nothing less.
She was more certain of the future than the present. (usually it is the reverse)
Her brother had died, and that was that.
      The only hope now is for when Messiah comes.
Easier to believe for great things in the future than for the simple present!
Jesus had to bring her mind to the present - to the Son of God
      who now stood before her with all God's power and compassion.

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"  1125,26

5th of the 7  'I am the ...'
What a statement! 'I am the resurrection, and the life.'
Much, much more than any previous priest or prophet had proclaimed!
It was too much for Martha.
      (there are few people who even with hindsight can grasp such a truth)
In effect Jesus said, 'The man standing before you, your friend and teacher
      is the Almighty God himself, El Shaddai, (Gen 171).
      I hold the keys of all life and death.
      I can allow him to die and I can raise him up - Now!'
Martha didn't have 1/2 hour to think about a reply, it was spontaneous.
Jesus was not like many modern reporters, 'How do you respond to this?'
      He asked the much more positive question, "Do you believe this?"

"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."  1127

A staggering expression of faith. Well done Martha!
Martha did not say (as I might have done), 'But Lazarus believed and he died.'
Martha knew who Jesus was! Flesh and blood did not reveal it to her.  Math 1617
It must have thrilled the ears of Jesus.
Faith must be founded on two pillars - Love and Known truth (scripture)
      Faith without love is cold and unresponsive.
      Faith without known truth is unstable and liable to be led astray.
Generally women are stronger on love and men stronger on knowledge.
Both are needed and valued.  Here Martha reveals both.

And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. "The Teacher is here," she said, "and is asking for you."  1128

'The Teacher' = 'Rabboni' (Lu 1038-41 also Mary Magdalene 2016)
Jesus wanted to see Mary. He knew her need.
"What - in my state? ... with tears still pouring down my face ... what a mess ..."
      Yes! "Just as I am ..." and just as she was, she went to see Jesus.
Four days had not yet eased the pain.
Even if she had faith; time had not yet affected its gentle cure.
Mary was devastated, and very lonely.
Jesus knew that, and he brought the effective strength and kindness of God to her.
It was not out of duty or custom. He wanted her to know that he loved her.
      (there is nothing impure in this compassion as some have wickedly implied)

When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.  1129

Instantly and willingly she fulfilled his request.
She went to Jesus, not waiting to dry her tears or tidy her face.
Are we as quick to do what Jesus says?

Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.  1130,31

A little detail of an eye-witness. Jesus stayed where he was;
      he wanted Mary to come to him before going to the tomb.
Many followed Mary; they did not walk with her.
      But they did care. They were weeping too (1133)
They had not followed Martha when she left.
      Keeping busy can hold tears at bay, (for a while).
Mary needed a different special care.

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."  1132

Obviously this had been a much repeated phrase of the sisters in last four days.
She fell at his feet, overcome with emotion. (Martha didn't)
We are not told what Jesus said to her,
      but we may be sure it was wise, sensitive and comforting.

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. Jesus wept.   1133-35

Although Jesus knew that Lazarus would be raised,
      it did not prevent the great emotional distress.
God Almighty cried because the men and women he loved were crying!
Many of us find it hard to express such emotion. Jesus, a Jew, didn't.
Weeping was certainly not lack of faith or vision of the future.
It is not wrong or weak to cry; and it is not brave not to cry -
      just 'British', and stupid!
Jesus hasn't ceased to be a man, nor has he ceased to weep with those who weep.
There are two other occasions we know of when Jesus wept.  Lu 1941 Math 2638
      (Jesus is only once recorded as rejoicing!  Lu 1021)
He gently moves towards the solution, asking, 'Where is he?'

Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"  1136

Even the Jews remarked on it.
      (and they are well known for expressing their emotion - in dance or tears)
This confirms that the initial message was right, 'The one you love ...'

But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"  1137

Similar to what both sisters had said to Jesus.
'If he had been here it wouldn't have happened',
      but with an added and possibly more critical note.
It is without the, 'but I know that even now God will give you what you ask'.

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.  1138

At the sight of the tomb, the pain caused the tears to flow again.
They also came to a (small) problem. The tomb was sealed.
With tears streaming down his face, Jesus commands ...

"Take away the stone," he said.  1139a

It was a most surprising command! They had no idea what Jesus intended.
The men could easily move the stone, so he told them to do it.
But they could not bring Lazarus back to life. God alone had to do that.
It prompted a natural, if disappointing, reaction from Martha.

"But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days." Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"  1139b,40

Jesus stills Martha's ever practical objection.
Our faith does rise and fall; even if we do not wish it to.
      'What you believe on the mountain top, do not doubt in the valley.'
Emotions are not wrong, but they should not be allowed to blur the truth.
With us, as with Mary and Martha, faith was tangled up with unbelief.
Faith (the assurance of things hoped for) is emotional + intellectual,
      a mixture of heart and mind, 'the pillars of love and known truth.'
How much better when, 'I believe, and one day I shall see,' replaces
      'I cannot believe unless I first see.'
What is the best remedy to maintain a healthy faith?
Whatever the past, let us be determined to know more of Christ.  Phil 310-14
      His coming, his life, death and resurrection, his priesthood and advocacy,
      his power and compassion, his faithfulness and truth, his justice, mercy and grace.
Note. Math 1358 (No miracles because of unbelief) did not apply here.

So they took away the stone.  1141a

Now for the moment of truth!
Some of the young men 'addressed' the stone; others whispered to each other,
      'What on earth's he doing? ... Can he? ...'

Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."  1141b,42

Jesus takes the initiative. He emphasises that he and the Father are one.
And that it was God, his Father, who sent him to say and do these things.
'The Father who raises the dead will show greater things than these.'  520,21
      (i.e. a greater miracle than healing the invalid of 38 years)

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"  1143

The dead man (somewhat startled!) heard and obeyed!
Jesus' motive of compassion was not just for Mary and Martha now.
He has compassion for all men, always.
God really does have the power of life; and the power to defy death.

The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."  1144

God commands and without hesitation ...
All the cold, coagulated blood flowed again, immediately warm.
      All the putrefied flesh was restored.
His heart, lungs, brain, and organs each started to function perfectly.
His soul returned - willingly?!
Did Jesus think, I will be doing the same soon ?
At the last great day he will again give the command
      "and the last trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed. ..."  1 Co 1552-57
Then not just one mortal man will be raised, but all the dead in Christ.
"I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come
      when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God
      and those who hear will live."  525

Again we are told nothing of the immediate reaction.
Nor of the re-uniting of Lazarus with his sisters.
Nor the gasp of the crowd, who had just witnessed the power of God.
Nor anything about Lazarus, the evangelist!
Only that many put their faith in Jesus.
Now, all the added distress had been worthwhile,
      God had achieved his purpose - faith, forgiveness and eternal life.
The reason for the delay was 'explained'.

The prophecy of Jesus is always perfectly fulfilled.
Nowhere is Jesus seen as both God and man more distinctly.
Man in sympathy and God in power!
It was incontrovertible proof that Jesus was the Messiah.
Here in Bethany, he 'told' them plainly! 1024
Lazarus was the second to rise from the dead after 3 days.
      Jonah was the first.  Jesus makes this clear in  Math 1239-41
      Jesus was also raised after 3 days, and the 2 witnesses of Rev 11 will be

This miracle prepared the minds of at least some of the Jews for the resurrection of Jesus,
      and reveals man's need for both the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.  1145,46

Once again 2 reactions:
But this time many believed, and some went and told the Pharisees.

Remember the futility of their mocking at the cross.
'Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross,
      that we may see and believe.'
 Mk 1532
Jesus did not come down from the cross, but he did rise from the tomb!
And they (most of the leaders and people) still did not believe.
Why did they reject the evidence? (remember we did too at one time)
      Proud. They thought they knew best. Better than the Son of God!
Maybe we do not yet see how corrupt the heart of natural man really is.

Observe how true the story of Dives and Lazarus is.  Lu 1619-31
'If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets (they thought they did)
      they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'
They didn't believe when Lazarus was raised; nor when Jesus rose.

Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. "What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."  1147,48

'Chief priests' = ruling Sadducees. (Political power)
They admitted that the miracles of Jesus made their own efforts look tawdry.  They were!
And it was not just one miracle, but many.
Raising Lazarus from the dead and the healing of a man born blind were both signs of the Messiah.
They asked, 'What happens if everyone believes that Jesus is the promised Messiah?'
Truly afraid that they might lose their Temple and their nationhood.
All too soon their fears were to be realised - in AD 70 and 135.

What else were they more afraid of?
      The collapse of their own regime, their life-style and prosperity.
      They saw Jesus as a threat to this.
      Such is always the heart of man that has not received the grace of God.
What was the missing ingredient?
      Their own personal need of God, of his forgiveness.
      They seemed to have no longing for God himself.
      Some may have lived another 40 years and seen the loss of the Temple,
            and the slaughter and enslavement of Jews; and then died.

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation.  1149-51

Prophets are not always righteous. e.g.
      Saul, Balaam and even his ass!, and now Caiaphas. also Act 1617
God's ways are remarkable.
If Jesus had not died, then no Jew could be saved; no one could be forgiven.
Caiaphas was a Sadducee with contempt for the dithering Pharisees;
      He knew exactly what to do!! And later he did it.
      See Riding Lights video of Caiaphas, "For the good of the Team".
Caiaphas never realised the awful truth of what he said.  c.f. Math 2725
High Priestly or Papal infallibility was as foolish then as it is now.
Honourable justice often conflicts with political expediency.
His words were later fulfilled, but not as he either wished or expected!

And not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one."  1152

Jew and Gentile united. Both one in Christ Jesus, the Jewish Messiah.
Jesus has achieved this reconciliation!  2 Co 517-21
      Though looking at the vast array of denominations, you wouldn't think so!
      Gentile Christians have done little to cause Jews to be jealous.  Ro 1111
            e.g. Vatican has only recognised the nation of Israel in June 1994.
            British Catholic Church organised the Crusades.
            We expelled the Jews 1290 to 1656,
            and Jews not allowed to be MP's until 1835.

Note well our privilege of being 'grafted in'.  Ro 1117-24
It is not Jews being reconciled to us Gentiles,
      but we to Israel; the children of Abraham, of faith and promise.
Perhaps the greatest work of the Messiah will be to gather together
      all the believers from various nations and divisions.
I yearn for the practical evidence of the Keswick motto "all one in Christ Jesus".

So from that day on they plotted to take his life.  1153

For some, admitting miracles did not lead to repentance, but to murder!
Just like Cain, the first murderer, who was motivated by jealousy.
      "The kings of the earth take their stand ... against the Lord ...
      The One enthroned in heaven laughs."
 Ps 22,4 (and he also cries!)
      "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill. ...
      He said to me, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father ...
      Therefore, you kings, be wise, be warned ...
      serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling."
Ps 26-11
Kings have persecuted believing ministers, missionaries and common people,
      but it has always led to a growth in those 'born again'.
In the history of this country (UK), the Church has martyred more men than the state.
Sincerity or zeal is not necessarily proof of re-birth.  e.g. Saul. James 39,10

From then on they plotted against Jesus,
    they just had to find the right way, the right time and the right place.
But it would be God's time etc, not theirs. "Not during the feast ..."  Math 265)

Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the Jews. Instead he withdrew to a region near the desert, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.  1154

Probably beyond Jordan, where he was when he heard that Lazarus was ill.
He passed through Jericho on the last journey.
      Bartimaeus (Lu 1835-43)  Zacchaeus (Lu 191-10)  and Bethany (Jn 121)
A few weeks of quiet teaching, before the final ordeal.

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover."  1155

See 2 Ch 3017-20  Hezekiah's heart longed for the same things as Jesus.
Outward ceremonial cleansing is far less important than heart cleansing.
How often do minor matters steal the position of central importance?  Num 91-10

They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple area they asked one another, "What do you think? Isn't he coming to the Feast at all?" But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone found out where Jesus was, he should report it so that they might arrest him."  1156,57

They could have sought Jesus for a better reason!
They probably did not have any jurisdiction outside Jerusalem.
So Jesus stayed first beyond Jordan and then at Bethany or Mt. of Olives.

Jesus Anointed at Bethany  121-11       [Contents]

There is a similar incident in each of the Gospels. Were they all the same event?
Math 26 and Mk 14 are the same, but Lu 7 and Jn 12 give many different details.
      [M M = Matthew and Mark Lu = Luke Jn = John]
  M M Lu Jn
Where? Bethany   Bethany
Whose Home? Simon the Leper Simon, one of the Pharisees  
Who? A woman A woman who had lived a sinful life Mary
What used? An alabaster jar
of very expensive perfume
An alabaster jar of perfume A pint of pure nard,
an expensive perfume
How Used? Poured on his head At his feet ...
wiped them with her hair ...
and poured perfume on them
Poured it on Jesus' feet
and wiped his feet with her hair
Criticism? Disciples,
"Why this waste ... ?"
Simon, "If this man knew ...
what kind of woman she is ..."
"Why wasn't this perfume sold ... ?"
Why done? To prepare me for burial.
(but the reason was not known
to the woman)
She loved much (because
"her many sins had been forgiven")
For the day of my burial
When? Two days before Passover "After this Jesus travelled about
from one town ... to another"
Last week

Consideration of this suggests that 'the anointing' was a single event :-

Simon the Pharisee (Lu) = Simon the Leper (Math and Mk) (now healed).
      Neither are mentioned elsewhere.

The meal was in the home of Simon (Math, Mk and Lu).
Jn says it was in Bethany, but not whose house.
He adds that Mary and Martha served, which suggests that it was not their home.

John tells us her name was Mary, (the sister of Martha) but not her shameful past.
Math, Mark and Luke do not name her. Only Luke says she had been a prostitute.

She could have anointed both his head (Math and Mk) and his feet (Lu and Jn).

The disciples (Math and Mk), Judas (Jn) and Simon (Lu) criticised the waste.
      Criticism is very infectious.
      Judas may have been the chief critic,  together with Simon.
      John was emphasising how Judas was corrupted by money.
      Luke was comparing Simon with Mary.

Only Luke tells us of her motive - love and gratitude for being forgiven.
The woman would not have known that she was anointing Jesus for his burial.

'Next day' in Jn 1212 could mean next day after arrival at Bethany
      (not after the anointing);
      and the anointing (122-11) story in parenthesis.
      i.e. as an incident that occurred in Bethany during the last week.

The context of Luke's account of the anointing is vital.
In Luke 7 after the Centurion's servant was healed and the widow of Nain's son raised,
comes the remarks about the ministry of John Baptist and the ministry of Jesus.
'The Son of Man came ... a friend of tax-collectors and sinners.'
What could be a more perfect example of this than a prostitute who finds forgiveness?
So Luke includes it there, although the actual incident occurred some time later.
The "after this" of  Lu 81 (which is clearly not in the last week of Jesus' ministry)
then refers to after the earlier events of Ch 7 and not after the anointing illustration.

It seems therefore that each of the narratives describe the same event,
      which occurred on the Tuesday evening of the last Passover week.
It is simple to resolve all the apparent differences.
The one anointing was for his burial, just 2 days later.
      (on Thursday evening. see notes on "When was the Passover?" 131)

The Saviour is a friend of sinners whom he came to save.
Forgiveness always gives birth to extravagant love.
'God so loved the world ...' that he gave extravagantly too.

The Anointing described in each of the 4 Gospels.

Math 262,6-15
(Jesus said) "As you know, the Passover is two days away - and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified." ... While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, A woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor." Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." Then one of the Twelve - the one called Judas Iscariot - went to the chief priests and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" So they counted out for him thirty silver coins.

Mk 141,3-9
Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away ... While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly. "Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Lk 736-81
Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is - that she is a sinner." Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. "Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he cancelled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt cancelled." "You have judged correctly," Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.

Jn 121-8
Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. "Leave her alone," Jesus replied." It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."

Jn 111,2
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.  121,2

Jesus came to Bethany 6 days before Passover and stayed there.
Passover was probably on Friday (started Thursday evening);
      So Jesus arrived at Bethany on the Sabbath.
            (Lazarus raised from the dead about 3 months earlier.)
Jesus obeys all the Law of Moses,
      but not the Mishnah (the Oral Law, a development of Ezra's Shabbat laws)
Math and Mark tell us that the dinner and anointing was 2 days before Passover.
Did they realise the urgency of the day?
That the prophesied time was at hand?
From the days of Abel many had longed and waited for this moment.

Simon was a Pharisee from Bethany, who had been healed of leprosy.  Math 266
He invited Jesus to a meal. Martha, the lady of action, served.
Not at home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus -
John specifically mentions Lazarus also at table;
this would be unnecessary if it was in his own home.
Lazarus ate with them, so he was raised a normal human being.
Simon is interested, but didn't want to appear too keen. Feared his reputation.
He didn't greet Jesus or even give him water to wash.
I imagine their conversation was probably somewhat awkward.

Enter one emotional woman! And she was a local with a reputation!
(John gives us her name, but not her profession. Jn 123)

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages. He did not say this because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. ... You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.  123-6, 9

John names her - but not previous sinful life.
      She may have been alive when John wrote, and he would not wish to shame her.
Nard = Nardostachys Jatamansi from the Himalayas. So very expensive.
      Fragrance is similar to cinnamon.

Mary wept and kissed and dried and perfumed his feet.
She washed his feet with tears - more than Simon did with water.  Lu 7
      She dried them with her hair.
            In their society only a prostitute would let her hair down in public.
      Jesus welcomed her easily, tenderly. He knew her well.  Lu 1038-42
      He was a prophet and knew all about her. But he didn't reject her.
This was no ordinary offering. "a years' wages"  (126) i.e. ~£20,000 !
      Are we afraid of the extravagant expressions of love and gratitude?
The whole house smelt, and would do so for weeks!

Simon was obviously acutely embarrassed by the ex-prostitute.
      His house would reek of perfume for months, and the story for even longer!
      He didn't yet understand that Jesus came to save sinners.  Lu 527-32
      He certainly could not be a prophet, let alone the Messiah.
How gracious of the Lord of Glory to say, "Simon, I have something to tell you."
Rabbi Jesus told him a simple little story about the two forgiven debtors.  Lu 740
      Then he asked Simon a question. Nothing difficult. Simon answers correctly.
      But the story is most profound and could change his eternal destiny.
      Jesus then applied it with great accuracy to the current situation.
      Simon, she has done this because she knew I had forgiven her.
            She was so grateful that all her sin had been taken away.
      Simon, do you want to know this too?
            Is this why you asked me to dinner?
            Do you realise that you're a debtor too, even if your sins aren't so obvious?
Sadly there is no record of Simon's response.
      Even the words of the Son of God were often rejected or ignored.  Jn 635-37

Matthew and Luke tell us that the disciples were critical as well as Simon.
      They murmured, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" Lu 520-25
      Jesus lovingly corrects them.  Math 2610-13
      They all learned from the experience and told this story.
            All except Judas. He refused the correction.
                  He immediately went to the Chief Priests to betray him.  Math 268-16
            How can Judas, who had seen and heard so much, respond like this?
            He said he cared for the poor, but he cared more for his own gain.
            Like Sanhedrin, who said they cared for the nation,
                  but they actually cared far more for themselves.
            Media and many politicians often say that they care for children;
                  but when in power, they seldom seem to do very much about it.

"Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial."  127

Jesus would not allow any of them to criticise Mary,
      when she had done something so lovely.
      Something no one else would have the opportunity to do.
'It was intended ...'  Father had arranged for this.
Jesus would not let this beautiful expression be neutralised or forgotten.

Perfume that once helped her old 'trade' is used as a love gift for forgiveness.
God is in no way offended. He sees the great work of redeeming grace
      and her sin is forgotten, removed as far as the east is from the west,
      it is 'Buried with Christ', and Mary is raised with him,
      she is clean and beautiful, 'whiter than snow'
      and having the sweet fragrance of Christ, who declared:
"I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world,
      what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."  Math 2613
Far from being offended; Jesus was delighted.

Mary is told to go home in peace.
This was real peace. Peace with God.
The peace Jesus longed to give to all Jerusalem - then and now. Lu 1942
Mary left knowing for sure she was forgiven, loved and even respected - by God!
Jesus was delighted. And all heaven was rejoicing. Lu 1510
Not forgiven because anointed Jesus, but anointed him because she was forgiven.
"Your faith has saved you". Lu 750
"Without faith it is impossible to please God ..." Heb 116

Repentance by Paula Worth

I kneel as the woman long ago
Knelt at Jesus' feet.
Silently my spirit weeps ...
With my tears I would wash the feet of Jesus.
Repentance flows from my heart,
The fragrance of my broken spirit
Rises to Him as sweet perfume;
The vessel emptied, poured out to Him,
The good and bad together, My offering ...
With my tears I would wash the feet of Jesus.
Gently He lifts me up,
Forgiveness is in His touch,
"Those who have been forgiven much, love much ..."
With my tears I have washed the feet of Jesus.

Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead."  129

Bethany was suddenly very popular.
Curiosity is universal;
      miracles and the extraordinary are always popular - or almost always.
Some were not so pleased with the miracles of Jesus!

So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.  1210,11

If you are set to murder one person, why not make it two!
      If caught and convicted, the sentence is the same.
      If the evidence is inconvenient - Destroy it (or him).
But Lazarus had done no wrong.
      He had not incited the crowd, or become a popular evangelist.
      His sin was just to live again; to walk and breathe!
Many were impressed.  They were glad to follow Jesus. They did so next day.  See 1213
But they did not yet have any clear idea that the Messiah had to die!  Lu 2426

Jesus enters Jerusalem  1212-19         [Contents]

Each year thousands had entered Jerusalem, especially at the feasts.
Jesus had entered several times: but this time was very special and significant.
The event is also told in the other 3 Gospels.  Math 211-11  Mk 111-11  Lu 1928-48
      They add the instruction for 2 disciples to go Bethphage or Bethany and get the unbroken colt.

The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.  1212

It was on later called 'Palm Sunday', 5 days before Passover (Friday).  121 + 12
Many went to the feast - thousands still do - Why?
      To remember their history as God's 'chosen people'.
      To remember God's deliverance from Egypt.
      To give expression to their longing for the promised Messiah to come.

This feast was to be a very special one - though most did not realise it.
The Lamb of God himself would be sacrificed.
It was to be God's long-awaited moment.  Gen 2214
      About 2,000 years from Abraham, and 3,500 years from Adam.
A flying rumour went round - Jesus would be there too! Great excitement.
What would happen at this feast?
      Whenever Jesus went to Jerusalem something always happened.
      If they had known what, they might not have been soeager.

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!"  1213 (and Ps 11825,26)

Why palm branches?
Stands for grace and righteousness.  Ps 9212  Rev 79
Also Hasmonean's chose a Palm as their emblem. e.g. on coins.
      Palm branches stood for deliverance from the evil Selucid dynasty.
People longed for deliverance from Roman domination.
      And for an end of the Pharisaical corruption.
Their Messiah would end all wrong, all hardship, all injustice.
      Maybe Jesus was the one who would deliver them.
'Hosanna' = Save us now
They shouted part of Hallel.  Ps 113-118
      Also read at Tabernacles on 7th day Hoshanna Rabba (=Great day of salvation)
      Jews sing and wave palm branches.
The crowd was definitely in festive mood.

Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt."  1214,15

What distinguishes this King from all the other Jewish kings? (or any other king)
      Other kings love riches, power, fame and privilege.
      Jesus sought none of these things.
Read Zech 99-11  Donkey c.f. war-horse.
Peace to the nations c.f. chariots (and  Lu 1938)
Prisoners will be freed by the blood of the covenant.  Is 611
Jesus fulfils this, and every prophecy about himself.

How will he come next time?   And why?   Very different.
 Act 19-11  Rev 1911  Zech 12-14  Math 2430,31  Heb 927,28
Both of the Messiah comings bring a dividing sword.  Lu 234,35  Math 1034
Both comings different from what was expected; yet exactly as promised.
      Perfect sacrifice for sin and establishment of eternal Kingdom of God.
Both are precisely on time; God's time.
At the 2nd Coming Jesus will separate the righteous from the wicked,
      those who refused to believe in him in their day of opportunity.  Math 2532
He will establish the eternal righteous kingdom of God on earth (for 1000 years)

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.  1216

The disciples only understood the 'riding on a donkey' significance later.
How often do we miss the truth when told the first time?
God's word and actions always fit together when understood.
      All the prophecies concerning the future will do so too.

Jesus went through much in this last week.
So many people were both deaf and blind, and there was so little time left.
Even his own disciples seemed unaware of what God was doing.
Jesus was lonely in anticipation of his coming suffering and death.  Lu 1941-44

The crowd cheered "Hosanna to the Son of David".  Math 219
True, but the timing was wrong.
      This time Jesus came as 'The Suffering Servant', the Son of Joseph.
      Next time it will be as Son of David, the King of Kings.  (see next section)
What's the difference?
The crowd would soon see.

Suddenly they come over the Mt of Olives and there below them was Jerusalem.
The procession stops, the singing stops, there is silence.
They hear the sound of a man openly crying.  Not just a little tear rolling down his cheek.
Jesus is weeping. Why?
On a day of rejoicing like this, why?
If ever there was a time to rejoice, it was now.
      'Jesus, what are you doing? Please don't spoil the party'.
Jesus did not cry out of self-pity concerning the 'cup' he was about to drink.
His heart ached because even 'his own' did not know how to receive real peace.
Jesus wanted them to know the only way there can be peace with God,
      total forgiveness and reconciliation, not just the absence of war.
      Much better than 'Peace Movement' today, who know nothing about salvation,
            or 'Peace Now' in Israel, who will give anything for peace on paper.
      So many seem so blind. God says there cannot be lasting peace.  Dan 926b
Let the nations seek peace; but let them also know that the Son of God,
      who knows the hearts of men warned us that there would war to the end.
"The treaties of men are motivated by fear, and honoured when convenient."
'My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.'  1427
Not surprisingly, the peace that God offers is far better than man's peace.
      It is eternal and indestructible; but the centuries would yield many martyrs.
This is the third time in about two months that we know Jesus wept.
Many men say only women weep; they can't control their emotions.
How proud. How foolish. When God himself weeps - for us!  Ps 568  Ezek 94  Amos 66

Son of Joseph - Suffering Servant
      (Joseph, the son of Jacob; notthe husband of Mary)
Betrayed by brothers into the hand of Gentiles. (Midianites and then Egyptians)
Joseph was 'Buried' in pit and 'Resurrected', Sold for 20 pieces of silver.
      Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces.
      Sentenced with 2 criminals; one who lived and one who died.
      Pharaoh's butler and baker; Jesus died with 2 who both died.
Taken from the place of condemnation to place of exaltation in one day.
Married a Gentile bride.   Bride of Christ is all redeemed, Jews and Gentiles.

Son of David - King of kings
Conquering King who set up the new Kingdom.
Prepares for the building of the Temple.
At 1st coming of Jesus he rides on a donkey, at the 2nd Coming he will ride on a white horse.  Rev 1911

On the Mt of Olives the disciples asked Jesus when he would restore the Kingdom.
      i.e. when will you come as the Son of David?
On Palm Sunday the crowd began singing the Hallel.
They shouldn't have waved palm branches, that was at Tabernacles - this was Passover.
      Peter mistook the right timing on the Mt of Transfiguration,
            he wanted to build 3 Booths. (right idea but the wrong time)
They didn't want to know about a Suffering Servant, only a conquering King.
They did not cry 'O Lord save us'  (Passover), but 'O Lord grant us success'  (Prosperity)  Ps 11825
The mistake they made is repeating itself today in the Restoration movement.
Jesus has only fulfilled the Son of Joseph ('Suffering Servant') prophecies.
Soon he will return as King of Kings and fulfill all those that remain.

Many rejoiced as he rode in on a donkey;
      but how many wept with Jesus when they saw Jerusalem?  Lu 1941,42
How many had the same compassion and longing.
How many today weep for our greedy, corrupt, unjust, wicked nation?
The 180,000 abortions/year. The 1 in 2.3 marriages that end in divorce.
The 30% illegitimate births. The approval of homosexual clergy etc
Some are so occupied trying to make the church popular
      that they refuse to expose wickedness - judgmental.
      Jesus did not compromise like this.
Others are so caught up in triumph and boosting our optimism for revival
      that they never weep with Jesus.
It is good to sing and dance, to rejoice and be encouraged, to quicken faith;
      but I long also to witness just one evening at 'Spring Harvest' (or elsewhere)
      when the 1,000's will hear God weeping,
      and weep with him, pleading with God for mercy.
For he who wept at his own victorious entry to Jerusalem, must often still cry.
The hardness of the people and especially the religious leaders of his day
      must have been heartbreaking for Jesus.   Sadly it still is!
There is only one way to receive peace with God.
Jesus was about to show the world what it was.
In less than a week, he who created the world by his word of power,
      would be hanging dead from a cross at Golgotha,
      outside the beloved Jerusalem -
      but only after he had cried, "It is finished!"

The next time Jesus enters Jerusalem the story-line will be very different!
Zech 121-9 141-9  Rev 1911-21

Last Public Teaching and the Response  1217-50         [Contents]

Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!"  1217-19

The approaching crowd from the Mt of Olives was also seen from the Temple.
      They did not like what they saw but could do nothing about it.  Esth 611
Jealousy can quickly ferment to hate, and hate to murder, (Cain Gen 45)
      it must be rejected and quickly nipped in the bud.

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus."  1220,21

Now this is a wise response that must have greatly pleased the Saviour
Even some 'seeking' Greeks had come to Jerusalem for Passover.
'Greeks' = proselytes or maybe Greek Jews, like Luke.  Act 25-11
They had heard about 'the Prophet from Nazareth'  (11)
Their purpose in coming was to worship God, not just have a good time.
They were keen, earnest, more than curious. Joel 232  Jer 2911-14a
Philip, Peter and Andrew were all from Bethsaida.  144
Philip is a Greek name. There were many Greeks in Galilee.
He had introduced Nathanael to Jesus some 3 years earlier.  145-51
Later he would introduce the Ethiopian, and many others.  Acts 84-8,26-40
Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
Jesus was probably in the inner court of the Temple.  Lu 1947
(and therefore not accessible to Gentiles)

Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."  1223,24

His reply seems to be to Andrew and Philip, not to the Greeks.
'The hour has come'. This is the key and the urgent phrase of this passage.
Even the Gentiles are beginning to seek Messiah.
His reply was once again urgent, important. 'Verily' or 'I tell you the truth'.
What was so important about this time?
Jesus was about to be that grain of wheat that was deliberately sown on the earth to die,
      It would produce much seed - the whole multitude of believers.
His glory would be like no other King.
      At his coronation ceremony he was scourged.
      His throne was not comfortable, but it was elevated - he was hung on a cross!
      No-one bowed before this King; he was mocked and cursed.
      His king's robes were removed;
            he was hung stark naked on the Cross, shamed before all men.
      His king's crown was not velvet, gold and jewels, but platted thorns.
      The sceptre of power in both his hands was not of gold, but iron nails.
      His glory required his death.

The other gods were strong, but you were weak.
They rode, but you did stumble to a throne.
And to our wounds only God's wounds can speak;
And not a God has wounds but you alone.
  Edward Shillito

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me.  1225,26

As the Master, so also the servant. We must also 'die'. (Baptism) Ro 64
To be saved, all must die and be born again.  33-15
Take up cross daily; never be ashamed of it.  Lu 923  1427  Gal 612
How can we hold onto this life?
Do we foolishly think that our good deeds will win approval?
What are we afraid of, or unwilling to let go?
Jesus was willing to leave all the glory of heaven,
      to be humiliated and misunderstood by his creation, and to suffer.
Nothing distracted him from what he came to do.
The chief hallmarks of 'following' are faith and obedience.
How is obedience learned?  Heb 57-10
As Soldier to General, Servant to Master, Scholar to Teacher and Sheep to Shepherd.
Many will follow if promised ease, prosperity, power, happiness, a place on the winning side.
But who will follow if the way is seen to be painful, slow, lonely, costly, and uphill?
Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.  Math 714

Note also:
A Christian's knowledge may be small, his infirmities great, and his hope dim;
      but he can still believe Christ and earnestly serve him.
The servant is where his Master is. Jesus is not always in Paradise.
      He is most often found in the sufferings of men; as a friend of sinners.
Discipline and holiness rarely receive much acclaim from men.
Most prefer happiness now and holiness later, instead of the reverse.
Holiness is usually sidelined, ridiculed and opposed.
Remember, Father will honour those who serve him now, whatever the cost.
There is a reward.  Lu 620-26

Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? "Father, save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour."  1227

'Now' implies a sudden, shooting pain.
Why was Jesus so troubled?
      He knew what was coming - and it wasn't the praise of men!
      He was troubled by the terrible prospect of crucifixion.
      But much more it was the huge burden of bearing all of man's sin.  Is 536b, 10
Sin is so repugnant to God.  Gal 313  (and Deut 2123)  2 Co 521
His own Father, whom he loved so much, would forsake him!  Ps 221
'What shall I say'? It was time to endorse the decision.
His human nature saw the agony of the cross;
      his divine nature felt all the just punishment for sin.
But the determination of our Saviour is here revealed; there is no hesitation.
His sacrifice was no accident; no-one else could redeem us.
These words bring much comfort - Jesus has borne all our sin.

"Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again."  1228

Jesus longed that men would praise and gloryfy his Father,
      instead of ignoring him or even cursing him.
How had Father glorified his name in the past?
      His eternal power and glory can be seen by all in creation.  Ro 120
      His glory was seen on earth when tabernacled among us.  114  Heb 13
      His appearance was so ordinary, yet men had seen his miracles.
      Men had heard the real truth of God as never before. "Verily, verily ..."
How will Father glorify his name again?
      Very soon they would see the willingness of Love to pay the price.
      In heaven Jesus is now seated with the Father and deservedly crowned with glory.  Heb 29
      In heaven the triumphant Lion appears as a Lamb.  Rev 55,6
      He will come again with glory.  Glory already received.  Math 1627 2430 2531
The glory of God can also be seen in his choosing Abraham and the Jewish nation:
      in making an eternal, unconditional covenant with him and his descendants,
      in God's continued faithfulness, kindness and justice,
      in the 10 plagues in Egypt, their release from slavery and Red Sea crossing,
      in the provision and the leading in the wilderness,
      in the giving of the Law,
      in the judgement of Canaan, the gaining and then living in the promised land,
      in the judges and many great prophets sent to assure, reveal and to warn,
      in the just 70 year exile to Babylon due to wickedness,
      in the 2nd exile in AD 70 / 135, and their return today after some 2,000 years,
      and it will be seen in the restoration of a new righteous Israel.
      God has not given up; his glory will again be seen in Jacob in the land of Israel!
      There is no doubt about this.  Is 1110 403-5 613  Rev 55,12  Jer 30,31,33 etc
      See Israel and the Church in the Last Days   (Use arrow Back to return here)

The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.  1229

As on Mt Sinai all heard the noise. Exd 199, 16-19
Only Jesus heard what was said; as only Moses heard on Mt Sinai.
See also  Ps 18  Jer 2530,31  Joel 316  Rev 196-8

Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out."  1230-33

Third time the voice of God from heaven was heard on earth.  Lu 322 935
Each time it was for the benefit of those with Jesus.  They were told who Jesus was!
Each time Satan was defeated.
      At his Baptism and the following fast and temptations.
      At the Transfiguration - Law and Prophets which both point to Christ.
      And now the confirmation that Jesus is the redeeming 'Lamb of God'.
How did the people benefit when they did not seem to hear what was said?
      They would remember Sinai, and that they had not kept the Law.
      Thus they were under God's judgement, and had reason to fear.
      They had broken their promise, their covenant with God.  Exd 198

Judgement is not only of rebellious people, but of Satan.  Col 213b-15
Where will Satan be driven out from? and when?
      From the world.  And from all the hearts of the redeemed.
      Each in it's turn.  Eph 612  Rev 127-17 1919 - 2010
Adam by eating of the tree was cast out of Paradise.
The second Adam by dying on the tree casts Satan out of the hearts of men,
Now is the time for salvation when in each repentant believer Satan is defeated.
      and soon he will also be out of the whole earth for ever!

But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.  1232,33

The type of death (crucifixion) was also no accident.
It was designed by men to give the victim the greatest and longest pain.
      (a minimum of 2 days and sometimes as long as 5 days)
The death of Jesus achieved its divine purpose.
'Guilty' and a death sentence that had been correctly pronounced upon all men.
      It had to be totally fulfilled. There can be no easy 'let-off'.
      No 'let's just ignore sin, forgive/forget it' or 'not talk about it'.
Whenever redemption is seen, the heart of man is 'drawn'
      by the undeserved love and kindness of God.
'All men'. Now, all men from all nations could be drawn to God.
This is not universal salvation, for not 'all' men will repent, believe and be saved.
What surprised Jacob at Peniel, and gave it its name?  Gen 3230
      That he had seen God face to face, and yet he had not died.
      Few men have this respect for God,
            and few see that each of us deserves to die.
Same prophecy as 314 with Nicodemus.
It was not the sinless life of Jesus, nor his miracles that give life; but his death!!
Today, Christ is lifted up and seated on the throne beside his Father.
      But it is his first 'lifting up' on the Cross that 'draws' us to him.
2,000 years has proved the enduring truth of this prophecy.
      And there are still more who will be 'drawn'!
The Lion, who opens the seals, appeared to John as a Lamb slain.  Rev 55,6

The crowd spoke up, "We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'?  Who is this Son of Man"?  1234

The crowd knew that 'being lifted up' meant being crucified.
How can the Messiah die?  Surely he can't be Messiah if he dies!  Lu 2335-39
It seemed to contradict scripture, and the Law.  e.g. Is 515,6 527-10 Jer 235,6
      But there are other references.  e.g. Gen 228,14   Is 53
We prefer to hear what is hopeful and encouraging.
      It is very easy to use Scripture selectively.
      We like to hear Blessings, but not Corrections - or even responsibilities.
In contrast to the modern 'good in all of us' idea, the truth is very different;
      natural man is totally corrupt.  Jer 179
      he deserves to die and must be 'born again'.
The people were confused.  Like many today, even popular theologians.

Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light."  1235,36a

What, or who is this light?   Jesus, as he stood before them, was  'The Light of the World'
So ordinary, yet God, Saviour and Redeemer.

'Now' (1231)  '... while you have the light'   shows how urgent the situation is.
The opportunity does not last for ever.  Grasp it now. Keep it. Never let go.
Beware, for darkness (Satan's deceit), old age, accident etc  can easily overtake a man.
      Then suddenly it is too late.  Gen 716b  Math 2511-13
Remember it is never for us to say that X or Y has missed the opportunity.

When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.  1236b

Why did Jesus hide?
Men might try to make him king.  They had tried once before.  615
His kingdom was not of this world.  1836
      Though one day soon he will come and establish his kingdom on earth.
The proclamation written on the Cross was true; "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews".
But Jesus did not want the kingship of men at that time.
      First he had to be the promised perfect sacrificial Lamb of God.
      Only then could he establish the eternal and righteous kingom of God.
      Men so often mistake the timing of God's promises.  Saviour now, King later.

Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. This was to fulfil the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn - and I would heal them."  1237-40

The miracles that Jesus did were perfect;
      he never failed to heal, and no demon could refuse his command.
Why did they not believe when they saw the perfect miracles of Jesus?
      They rarely led to true faith, Not then - or now.

If it is God who blinds us, how can anyone see?
Does this seem unjust?
We may not understand, but the following may help us have a right perspective.
God desires that all men would be saved.
God has the right to choose or reject whoever he wants.
What governs his choice?  This must remain a mystery.
      It is not arbitrary, but just and righteous.
It seems to influenced by :-
1. If we have a humble or meek heart. Often through failure, hardship or personal need.
      A desire for God and for him to make us good.  Math 53-6
2. God seems to have a special place for the poor and needy.
      "But I will restore you ... because you are called an outcast,
      Zion for whom no one cares."  Jer 3012-17

Understood or not, Isaiah's prophecy was, and still is, being fulfilled.

Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.  1241

Did Isaiah really see the glory of the day of Jesus?  Yes, he did!!   Like Abraham  856
      Both these men spoke accurately what they saw and heard.
      Not wishful thinking, nor the vain or vague ramblings of human imagination.
But many did not see because God had blinded them.  1240

Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.  1242,43

Many, not just some, believed. And leaders too!
But ... Where else could they go?  There was only one Temple and one local synagogue.
      Not all had the clarity and courage of the man who was born blind and healed.
Beware of the praise of men. It is infectious and highly toxic!
Fear can immobilise men; told we must maintain peace and never 'rock the boat'.
Today the cost of believing in Christ in Jewish and Muslim families is high.
      Pray for their courage and determination.
Tragically, church leaders have not always encouraged true faith.
      They have encouraged people to 'follow' Jesus, or to ask him into their life,
            instead of calling on them to repent and believe in Jesus for forgiveness.
      Testimonies that include the joyful relief God's forgiveness are rare;
            yet this is the sole reason why Jesus came and had to be crucified.
            It was not to just give us an example of how to live a righteous life.

Then Jesus cried out, "When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me."   1244,45

Jesus did not whisper this to a few sympathetic hearers!
You who have begun to believe, 'a greater than Solomon is here!'  Math 1238-42
      One greater than even Abraham, Moses or Elijah is here. God is here!
      The Father is the One who sent me   see also 133 733 829 1320 1521
You believe why was Jesus sent to earth by the Father.
      To be the vital Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice
            that is the only means by which he can forgive us,
            to bear the just punishment that our sin deserves.

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.  1246

The Light of God gives vision, understanding, revelation, guidance.
      This remains his consistant, certain promise.
But without new birth and the abounding mercy and grace of God,
      The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.  Jer 179

As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.  1247,48

The just Judgement Day comes later.  815,16,26  Rev 61 151 165,7 192
Each man is judged by his own words.  Math 2524  Rev 1611,21
Jesus came to Save the sin-condemned world -
      all who plead for mercy and believe his word, and know why he came.

For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.  1249,50

And I desire to do the same.
Why are men so selective in what they think the Father is saying?
Every word of God is flawless.  Prov 305
Lord, grant us ears to hear your Word and a heart determined to obey it.

When was The Passover / Last Supper ?  131,2a         [Contents]

It was just before the Passover Feast. ...  The evening meal was being served, ...  131a,2a

Passover traditions change over years.
It began as a family meal. Exd 1221
Then Jews went to Jerusalem and sacrificed their Passover lamb in the Temple.
      This was followed by a Seder meal, though for many it could not be at home.
Now it is a family meal again, but without a sacrificed lamb - only two lamb bones.
The Seder has four cups and is a full meal.  (not one sip and a thin wafer in church)
      1. Freedom            (from slavery in Egypt - and from sin)
      2. Redemption       (Passover Lamb was killed - cleansed by the blood of Christ)
      3. Chosen people   (God chose the Jews - all believers are chosen)
      4. Hope                  (Look forward to God in the future - and the coming of the Messiah)

John says Last Supper was 'Just before' instead of 'at' the Passover Feast.'  131
      He also uses the phrase 'The evening meal ...' instead of 'the Passover meal'.  132
This raises a question. Was the 'Last Supper' the Passover Seder meal;
      or was it a 'special' meal on the previous day?
      Math 2617  Mk 1412  and Lu 227 indicate it was the Passover.
      John clearly shows that the 'last supper' was the day before.  131
He did not write this to confuse us. And the scripture is accurate.
      Somewhere we seem to have got it wrong. Where?

There is much evidence for the Last Supper being on Wednesday
      and the Passover Preparation and Crucifixion on Thursday:

1. At the trial of Jesus before Pilate, the Sanhedrin "wanted to be able to eat the Passover.'  1828
      So they had not yet eaten their Passover meal.  Confirmed by  Math 2762
            which says next day (after crucifixion) was the one after Preparation day.
            i.e. crucifixion was on Preparation day and day after crucifixion was Passover.

2. At the trial 'It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week ...'  1914
      On Passover preparation day, Jews remove all leaven from the house.
            They bathe to ensure ceremonially clean.
            They kill the Passover lamb 'between sunsets' on 14th Nisan
      There is no 'preparation' required for the normal Jewish Sabbath.
      In Jn 1930,31 After Jesus had been crucified and said, "It is finished,"
      John repeats, "Now it was the day of Preparation."
            i.e.  The final true Passover Lamb of God had been slain. (Laid down his life for us)

3. "... the next day was a to be a special Sabbath."  1931
      i.e. not the usual Saturday Sabbath but a special one.
      No work is allowed on the first day of Passover, it was a 'Sabbath'.  Lev 233-8

4. Jesus said, "As Jonah was 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of a huge fish,
      so the Son of Man will be 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth."  Math 1240
      Part Friday and Sat is only 2 days - Jesus had risen before dawn on Sunday.
      Even if this is counted as a 3rd day, he was dead for only 2 nights (Fri+Sat)
      This specific statement by Jesus requires him to have been crucified on Thursday.

5. With the Passover on Friday, Seder meal Thursday evening, Thursday Preparation
      day when Passover lambs slaughtered and Jesus crucified. Then the
      'Last supper' would be Wednesday evening. While not a 'proof', it would be a very
      meaningful coincidence in the perfect plan of God, if Jesus was crucified at the same
      time as all the Jewish Passover lambs were being slaughtered.

6. Joseph buried Jesus in his tomb on ‘Preparation Day’
      just before the special Sabbath of Passover was about to begin.  Lu 2354

7. The chief Priests declared on Preparation day, (the 14th Nisan),
      whether any selected Passover lamb was Kosher.
      Ironically it was the gentile Roman Governor Pilate on Preparation day
            who declared that Jesus was innocent, kosher-clean, to the Priests!  Lu 234,13

8. Dead Sea scrolls have revealed much about the Essenes at Qumran.
      They believed that they alone kept alive the true Jewish faith.
      Sought real holiness - by repentance  Math 32 417
      Also required repeated ritual cleansing.
      John Baptist and Jesus, cried ,"Repent and be baptised."  Lu 32  Mk 14,14  Act 238
      John and Andrew were disciples of John Baptist.  135-42
      Essenes believed and longed for the coming kingdom of God and the Messiah.
      Hated hypocrisy of the Temple Passover (Jesus cleared Temple.  Lu 1928-44)
            The usually celebrated feast on a different day to keep it pure.
            So Essene Passover was quite possible a day earlier than the official Passover.
      Very few women allowed in their community.
      The Essenes had a guest-house in Jerusalem.
      Jesus told disciples they would see a man carrying the water (an Essene monk).
            Lu 228-13  Mk 1412-16
      Peter and John also told they would find a guest room furnished and ready.
      Maybe the 'Last supper' was an Essene Passover meal.

9. Jewish months always start at new moon, so according to moon cycles,
      if the crucifixion was in AD 30 or 33,
      then 1st Nisan was on a Friday. Passover starts on the 15th Nisan.  Lev 236   (also Friday)
      Preparation day and the slaughter of the Passover lambs on Thursday afternoon, 14th Nisan
      Jewish days start at sunset, so normal Seder meal on Thursday evening. (Essenes on Wednesday evening)

10. Jesus called the 'Last Supper' - Passover.  Mk 1414  Lu 227,8

This weight of evidence from scripture suggests at least the possibility that:
      Orthodox Passover was Friday, 15th Nisan, with Seder meal on Thursday evening.
      The Essene Passover was on Thursday, with the meal on Wednesday evening
           and this is was the Passover Jesus celebrated in the Jerusalem guest-house.
      His trial was on Thursday morning, with crucifixion the same afternoon.
      Jesus was crucified at the time the Passover lambs were being slain.  1 Co 57

Reluctant to challenge the scholarship of years, but this seems the most likely sequence of events.
Scripture is seen to be accurate (which it always is). The different Gospels accounts are reconciled.
      'Tradition' is probably wrong on this occasion; it never is infallable.

Note: What matters most is not when; but what Jesus did, and why he had to do it.

Also: The Passover lamb was a year old ram - not cuddly, woolly animal; but in the prime of life and strength.
Jesus is no easy push-over (doing for us just what we want).  Neither was the willing Isaac.
God never is. His plans are always completed in full and on time. Mk 142

Power - Humility or Betrayal  131b-38         [Contents]

Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.  131b

'The time had come' - at last!
Jesus would return to his Father; having shown the full extent of his love for us.
'Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.'  1513
But Jesus did so - and 'while we were still enemies (sinners)!'  Ro 58
In these final days we see the whole purpose of God coming to earth.
And Jews from all over the world would witness it too.
Jesus did not come to be an 'example setter'; then and now, the Law sets an impossible standard.
It brings guilt and a longing for relief.
Jesus came to be the Redeemer, the Reliever of guilt.
      "There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin,
      He only could unlock the gate of heav'n and let us in."

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.  132

About Judas:
He was the only apostle not from Galilee. Is - Karioth = man from Karioth.
      Karioth is either near Arad in the Negev or a few miles East in Moab.
He is linked with Simon the Zealot in  Math 104 and Mk 318,19 (Listed in pairs)
Some have cited Judas' disappointment that Jesus had no intention of fulfilling
      the zealot hope of over-throwing Rome as a reason for betraying him.
      (i.e. the anticipation of a 2nd victorious Maccabean rebellion)
Plausible, but Scripture does not say he was a zealot, nor found elsewhere.
      Not linked with Simon in Lu 615,16
John reveals his longstanding problem with money.
He was one of the twelve sent out to preach, to heal and to deliver.

No Christian leader, nor any of us, are immune from possibility of falling.
Beware! Be consciously and continually dependent on Jesus.

'The devil had already prompted'; Judas was already so critical of Jesus he contemplated betrayal.  Math 2614-16
To what extent was his action premeditated, carefully thought out?
To what extent was it a spontaneous reaction?
'Then Satan entered Judas ...'  Lu 223 Judas allows this (he welcomed him).
If we fall in temptation it is usually both premeditated and spontaneous.
How I think today will greatly affect what I do tomorrow.  1 Co 105
What I am today is partly the summation of all the yesterdays.

What were Satan's tactics? Where was the weakness he exploited?
Judas was treasurer and he used some funds for himself.  126
There were no auditors, only trust among these followers of Jesus.
Earlier at the anointing of Jesus by Mary, it was not only Judas who said, 'Why this waste?'   124-6  Math 268
      All disciples were indignant, so was Simon the (ex)Leper.  Lu 739
      But Judas was the only one who refused to accept correction.
Why was he jealous of the extravagant generosity of Mary?
Judas did not seem to know about forgiveness.
A selfish heart never knows the joy of giving more than the 'minimum' (as a duty).
Judas went to chief priests.  Math 2614-16
Not motivated by ideology, but by greed - 'What will you give me ...'
Maybe not just money, but as a loner he tried to 'buy' popularity (with the authorities).
Later remorse made him return the money.
But he found that the chief priests were not interested in him or the money.
      Remorse + disenchantment leads to his suicide.
Humiliated, angry, greedy, jealous - a nasty list!
30 silver coins (= 120 denarii or 4 months wages)  Math 2615
      Also = the price of a dead slave. Exd 2132
Jesus died as an obedient servant, to become the Saviour of all.
Jesus knew that Judas had previously gone to the chief priests.
What was his reaction?
      Where was Judas seated at this last supper?
      John on right and Judas, not Peter, on his left.  1323-26
This strange seating arrangement causes the disciples to argue over who was the greatest.  Lu 2224-30
But this gospel shows us who was really the greatest.

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.  133-5

Jesus had all things under his power. Such as ?
Chief priests, Pilate, 12 legions of angels, Judas, wind and wave, diseases, demons, Satan, everything ...
      yet he willingly became a servant.  Math 2653
Judas was not forced to betray, he was allowed to choose.
Unlike men, Jesus never abused his power.
Never did he strive for greatness; yet he is rightly greater than all.
What a contrast to the disciples.
The desires of men have not changed.

God says, 'Behold my servant ...'  Is 5213 421
And here is Jesus, the Son of God, being a servant.
He took a towel ...
      "You can't do that;." Not right, not dignified, not done ...
            Besides what will the people think?

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus replied, "You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand." "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."  136-8a

Peter's respect for Jesus made him reluctant to let him wash his feet.
John Baptist was reluctant too.  Math 314   So would we be.
The 'Servant' was also the only Son of God.  Math 317  Gen 222

What was Jesus doing that Peter did not understand?   Explained in 1312-16
Jesus knew that pride, and the love of power would be the cause of so much damage to his church down the ages.
It has always been a vital lesson to learn -
      but sadly it is one that is so often forgotten.
Peter dares to contradict the Son of God, but Jesus is not offended.
What makes us say 'No' to God?
      Do we always have to understand before we obey what God says?
      One day we will understand the many strange ways of God. They will not seem strange then.
      Let us learn to trust him now. He does know what is best.
How can we show kindness to others, even if it is inconvenient or humiliating?
What menial tasks can we do that do not earn public esteem or 'Brownie points'?
There is no more noble or difficult task than being a good mother of children.
      c.f. 'Just a house-wife'. This expression reveals the poverty of man's values.
This life's work may not bring riches or fame,
      but there is no task more exacting, and no work is more honourable.
      Like Mrs Wesley who taught all her children to cry softly before they were 2!

Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!" Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you."  138b-11

The head may be wrong while the heart is right. (and vise-versa)
Peter's heart was right - the thought of losing the friendship of Jesus was awful.
      If this is what is at stake, then wash my hands and head too!
But he still did not understand. Later he would.  1 Pe 55  Phil 25-8
Jesus does not yield to either extreme of misunderstanding.
He teaches them a lesson in humility by example that they would never forget.
How is this lesson connected to betrayal by Judas?
Pride refuses to learn. It is offended by the truth.  2 Tim 43
Pharisees and many others were offended by Jesus.
They did not like what he said, and were jealous of what he did.
Why are most men still offended by the cross of Christ?
Why does it remain the great divider of men?  Pride c.f. Math 53-10
Jesus even washes the feet of Judas.
    But Judas refuses to learn - He goes off to the chief priests, again.  1327
Why is 'the servant lesson' so important?
      If I fail to learn it, sooner or later I will also betray the Saviour.
      So Jesus would not be diverted from teaching this vital lesson.

This example of 'feet washing' probably does not require a literal observance.
It is primarily an illustration.
There are many practical ways that leaders and the led may display humility.

For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.  1311

'who was going to betray him' Gk. is present tense = 'who was betraying him'
It was not one irresponsible, impulsive act; but on-going and considered.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.  1312-17

Jesus knew that they did not understand, so he asks them, and then he proceeds to explain.
Jesus was rightly their teacher and Lord: he was God!
He was a very good teacher too!
What was the example that God set?   Humility and servant-hood.
How many men are prepared to be servants?
Our hearts are so easily puffed up with pride - even the disciples were.
      But "he who exalts himself ..."  Lu 147-11  (Note whole parable)

It is easy to be reluctant to do menial work.
There are always more volunteers to do honourable work.
It is one thing to know this; and another to avoid the corruption of power.
'I tell you the truth ...' 8 of the 27 times in John are during the Last Supper.
'... No servant is greater than his master'.
Today Papal visitors are all required to kiss his feet.
      Jesus, the Son of God, did not expect this; so why should the Pope? !
Power politics in religion and church government are legion.
Every denomination has largely failed to learn this lesson.

What governs our actions? (and hence our character)
What we think. Premeditated. What we feel. Impulse.
Both our heads and our hearts must be taught by the Spirit.  Jer 3133
How is this achieved?
      By our wills; its decisions and practice.  Gal 516 67 Phil 38 48 Col 312-17
      By the renewal of our minds. Ro 122
      We will be blessed by doing these right things.

I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: "He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me." I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He.  1318,19

Refers back to end of 1310 'You are clean, though not every one of you.'
Jesus did not by-pass guilt or sin, but he did not wish to impose guilt when they were not guilty.
He sought to discomfort the comfortable; the smug, proud, self-satisfied,
      and to comfort the uncomfortable; the distressed, repentant.

Jesus also confirms the accuracy and reliability of scripture.
      Ps 41 (quoted here) shows that even righteous men can be betreyed.
      Jesus' concern is that they may know who he is, not who his betrayer is.

I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me."   1320

What does it mean?
Not if I am not welcomed, that 'they' have not welcomed Jesus.

Many men had not welcomed Jesus, and therefore had not welcomed God.
The disciples who had welcomed Jesus, had welcomed God.
Those who would welcome the disciples (and their preaching of Jesus) would welcome Jesus and also welcome God.
Jesus was preparing them for their future ministry.

After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me." His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant.  1321,22

It is not wrong or weakness of faith to be troubled.  1133 1227
Why was 'the man of sorrows' troubled?  Is 533   It was certainly not self-pity.
Jesus still loved Judas.
Even though he did have 30 silver coins in his pocket.  Math 2615
We may be sure he did not add them to 'the common purse'.
While heaven rejoices over one sinner who repents,
      heaven also laments over every person who refuses God's gift of salvation.

Jesus now tells them plainly that he will be betrayed, and by one of them.
Up to this moment the disciples had no idea that one of them was a traitor.
But Jesus knew.
He had known for a long time, but that only increased the sorrow.
How did Judas remain:
      unaffected by being asked to sit next to Jesus?
      unmoved by seeing Jesus troubled?
      unchanged by the example of 'servant-hood'?
      and unashamed when publicly told  he was the 'one will betray'?
Maybe Judas thought that he had been able hoodwink Jesus.
      Quite pleased with himself.  And quite wrong!

One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, "Ask him which one he means." Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon.  1323-26

What did Peter intend to do when he knew who the betrayer was?
Note that the disciples asked 'Is it me?' not 'Is it xxx?'  Math 2622
There is a world of difference between these two questions.

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. "What you are about to do, do quickly," Jesus told him, but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.  1327-30

Jesus did not tell Judas to betray; he already had.
His instruction was that he carry out his decision quickly.
Jesus did not publicly humiliate Judas.
Peter and John were told privately, the rest thought he had gone shopping.
Only later did it become known to all of them.
How close Judas had been to Jesus here;
      soon there would probably be a large, un-crossable and eternal gulf.  Lu 1626

When he was gone, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.  1331,32

What is glory?
      Victory in battle. The courage, skill, and determination that brought it.
      Brightness, golden colour (sunset), riches, coronation of monarch.
      Freedom, Life and Light. c.f. slavery, death, darkness and boredom.
'At once'. Now was the hour for the Son of Man to be glorified.  12
"I have glorified it (the Father's name) and I will glorify it again."  1228

When was his Name glorified in the past?
      Creation of the world: stars and sun, light and land.
      Birth of a child.
      Birth of Jesus, the Son of God.  'Our God contracted to a span ...'
      God's appearance to Abraham, Jacob, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel ...
      Shekinah glory with Moses in the tabernacle.
      When Lazarus walked out from the tomb.
      When yeast makes the daily bread to rise.

And when in the future?
      Messiah crucified.
      Resurrected Christ seated with his Father.
      In heaven the triumphant Lion appears as a Lamb.  Rev 55,6
      When each sin is overcome by the blood of Christ.

In heaven, the Son is glorified in the Father; seated with him.
On earth, the Father is glorified in the Son,
      Who was born and grew as a visible man.
      The Lord also appeared on earth at other times:
      Walked in the garden with Adam and Eve.  Gen 38
      Enoch walked with God.  Gen 624
      The Lord came down to Babel - and scattered the arrogant people.  Gen 115
      The Lord (and Melchizedek) appeared to Abraham.  Gen 127,18  171  181
      The Lord appeared to Isaac at Beersheba.  Gen 2624
      The Lord appeared to Jacob at Bethel and Peniel.  Gen 2813  3230  359  Exd 62
      The Lord strikes the first-born of Egypt.  Exd 1229
      Joshua meets the Commander of the Lord's army.  Josh 513
      Gideon commissioned by the Lord.  Judg 614,23
      The Lord walks with Daniel's 3 friends in the fiery furnace.  Dan 325

How did the Crucifixion bring glory to the Father?
      It reveals God's wisdom and power.  1 Co 123-25
      His faithfulness to Abel Gen 44 Heb 114   and to Abraham Gen 228, 14  and to Moses as Passover Lamb.
            God kept his promise that Jesus would be the Lamb of God.
      His holiness. Full redemption price had to be paid. No other way.  Is 358-10
      His love. Father and Son were agreed in plan and purpose.
            Like Abraham and Isaac  Gen 221 Lu 951 Jn 828,29
Crucifixion reveals the glorious compassion, obedience and patience of Jesus.

My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  1333-35

Jesus did not shrink from telling them that he must go on alone - without them.
What he had to do, no sinful man could do, or even help him with.
      Note this separation is only temporary. c.f.  821 sin's permanent separation
He tells his disciples they must not betray, but learn to love each other.
Beware of the criticism and gossip that betrays and destroys communion.
Why a 'new' commandment when Lev 1918 commands us to love our neighbour?
      Maybe because it was (is) so rare.

What often happens when an outstanding leader leaves?  There is a power vacuum.
      Then either a struggle for succession or no one wants the job (fear of failing to match predecessor?)
So Jesus gives them the best antidote - to love one-another.
This is a great aid for protection against the thirst for power.
We will never be perfect on earth, but love covers a multitude of sins.  Pr 1012 1 Pe 48

But the instruction to 'love one another' is lost in the statement that he was leaving.
It brought sudden panic and insecurity.  How could they manage without him?

Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later." Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."  1336,37

There were still great gaps in their knowledge of what Jesus was about to do.
Peter was amazed. Surely he could go to any place on earth that Jesus went to.
      How could he be left behind?  He was strong, courageous, confident.
There was much he had to learn: but he did learn it - albeit painfully.
Jesus taught him - starting now!

Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!  1338

What lesson did Peter have to learn here?
      The intentions of a godly heart are not always fulfilled.  Ro 718 - 84
      Though strong, he was also weak. He did not yet realise it, but Jesus did.
      Within 9 hours Peter, the rock, would deny knowing Jesus 3 times.
Much later he would do as he said, and lay down his life for Jesus.  2118,19
      He was probably crucified in Rome under Nero in about AD 65.

Jesus goes to prepare a place  141-11         [Contents]

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  141-3

Seems to conflict with 1321 when 'Jesus was troubled in spirit'.
Jesus trusted his Father perfectly, but he was still troubled about being betrayed.
What was it that now troubled the disciples, which Jesus wanted to relieve?
      Jesus was leaving them; and they could not follow him.  1336b
      They were afraid. What would they do? Who would lead them?
      They relied upon Jesus. And he had become their friend.
It is not wrong to be troubled.
But Jesus did not want the trouble to overwhelm them; at no time did it overcome him.
How did Jesus relieve their troubled hearts?
      1. He told them that Father could be trusted. And so he can be!
      2. He was going to prepare a place for them. Temporary grief, but future secure.
      3. He would come back to them and would then remain with them always.
When would Jesus come back to them?
      At the tomb (to Mary). 2018
      In the upper room - Jerusalem. 2019 and 2026
      By the lake side - Galilee. 214
      At Pentecost (50 days later) - Jerusalem. Act 24
      In death.
Why did Jesus leave them?
      He had to die for us, alone. No man could help him do this.
Jesus did return to them. He kept his promise - he always does.

What promises are applicable now, to us? And when?
General promises: e.g.
      Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.  832
      I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry,  635 413
      Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
            but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for the wrath of God remains on him. 336,18
Specific promises:
      I am going to prepare a place for you 142
      This sickness will not end in death. 114 also 811 450
No fixed rules. But there are guidelines.
Scripture should never be taken out of context.
Ecc 31-8 There is a time for plough-shears and a time for swords.  Is 24 Joel 310
Use all of scripture, not just one part. (the part we like or want)

What do we know about heaven, the place prepared for us? Rev 21 and 22.

NOT in the Kingdom

Sea - divides nations.  211
Loneliness - God himself with us.  213
Tears, death, pain - no parting.  214
Thirst - no longings unfulfilled. 216 2217
Unbelievers, murderers, immoral, falsehood, idolaters, liars.  217,27
Anti-Semitism - Jews are honoured.  2112
Poverty - or grinding injustice.  2118-21,26
Temple - Lamb of God completed work.  2122
Darkness - and no need for sun.  2123,25 225
Enemy or war - city gates always open.  2125
Hunger - variety of fresh fruit.  222
Sickness - leaves keep you healthy.  222
Curse - no more temptation to sin.  223

IN the Kingdom

New Heaven and new earth.  211,5
Holiness. Called the Holy City.  212,10,27
Pure as gold and with jewel foundations.  2118-21
The Bridegroom and his Bride.  212,9
With God for ever.  213,7
Glory of God shines brightly.  2111
The King (and High Priest) are seen.  223,4
The throne of God and the Lamb.  223
The Redeemed.  2214
All are marked with the name of God.  224
The Tree of Life.  2214
The River and the Water of Life.  221,17
Unending Fruit.  222
Leaves to heal the nations.  222

"Behold I am coming soon!" "The Spirit and the Bride say 'Come!'"  227,17

Heaven is home!
There we are loved for what we are, not for our abilities or what we can give to the church.
Heaven is permanent; live in stone houses, not tents.
Many houses; there is room for all sorts (except unbelievers and wicked).
The battle is over; we will never again even be tempted to sin!
Best of all; Christ will always be clearly seen, worshipped, obeyed and enjoyed.
He will lead us 'home' 143 where we will be both known and expected.
We do not have to find our own way without map or compass. He leads us.
Our names are written in the book of life, the King's invitation list.
      The sealed scroll of Rev 5 is the will of Jesus; which he alone can open.
For a will to be effective the one who makes it first has to die.  Heb 916-22

(Jesus said), "You know the way to the place where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  144-6

On this occasion it was Thomas, not Peter, who spoke for them all.
They did not realise that Jesus was about to lay down his life,
      though he had told them. 315 828 1011-18 127 1224 1232 129
Or that he would be resurrected and return to heaven.
Do not despise their lack of knowledge. We have the benefit of hindsight.

Many think they know the way; like Formalist and Hypocrisy in Pilgrims Progress.
      But they climbed over the wall and did not enter by the way of salvation.
Also Ignorance, who refused to hear the truth.
Any man who climbs in by another way is a thief and a robber. 108

By what other ways do men try to enter heaven?
The most common are:
1. Humanist. There is no God. Men have inbuilt 'goodness' and ability.
      It only has to be found and released. After death - nothing! No heaven.
2. God is within everything and everyone.
      Good in all religions, just different ways to God. (New Age)
      Many cults and religions play on the often desperate desire of men; they make false promises.
            e.g. Muslims who die killing Jews are given assurance of heaven.
3. Trying to earn God's approval by doing good.
      But no Jew has ever been able to keep all the Law,
            and no Gentile has ever been able to fully follow the example of Christ.
4. Other gods (idols) - Budda, Hindu, Islam, etc
      All are a false satanic deception, and conceived by man.

Jesus is the ONLY way.  Act 412  And that way required his crucifixion.
The death of Jesus was not an unhappy accident but a planned necessity.
It may sound arrogant for us to say this in today's 'New Age' climate.
      But it was none other than the Son of God himself who told us this truth.

"If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."  Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."  147,8

It was clear that the revelation of the true identity of Jesus had not yet dawned.
The disciples still did not really know who Jesus was; and he tells them - again.
It was now Philip's turn to ask. What was his request?
      We've seen you, but who is the Father? Show him to us, then we will know.
Sounds reasonable enough, but it earned a mild rebuke from Jesus.

Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves." 149-11

They had followed Jesus for over 3 years.
They had heard his undoubted wisdom and seen his remarkable authority.
They had witnessed at least 32 major miracles. (incl. 3 raised from the dead!)
How much more evidence did they need?
Ex-blind man said, 'If this man were not from God, he could do nothing'.  933
But Jesus was much more than 'from God' (like prophets), he was God!
It is not more evidence that men need, but more humility.
We have to:
      acknowledge that we are 'poor in Spirit' because dead before God.
      'mourn' the fact that there nothing we can do about it.
      be 'meek' and teachable of the truth concerning the Saviour.
      'hunger and thirst for righteousness'.  Math 53-6

Jesus did not leave them floundering in the unknown.

I am coming back to you  1412-31         [Contents]

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.  1412-14

What had Jesus been doing during his ministry on earth?
What are 'the greater things' that he will do?
The Disciples wrought miracles, but they were not greater miracles than Jesus did.
But through the great mercy and grace of God many more were saved.
      e.g. 3000 at Pentecost and many more over next 2,000 years!
      Many are still being saved especially in Asia and Africa, China and N.Korea.
      Numbers are very problematic, often have to remain secret.
      In the West some numbers are declining, and severely as a % of population.

Jesus is not doing nothing at Father's right hand.  Heb 725 1 Jn 21
We have an effective Advocate. Imagine what it would be like without him.
      Before the throne of God above, I have a strong, a perfect plea;
      A great High-priest, whose name is Love, who ever lives and pleads for me.

There are now surer hands uplifted on our behalf than even Moses.  Exd 1711

What may we ask for?  Is it really 'anything'?
      It must be for the good of our souls, or that of others.  James 516b
      It may or may not include health, prosperity or avoiding persecution.
It is not an invitation to use God as a slot machine to get all that we want,
      especially when it is 'just for me'.  James 43
In my name means in accordance with the will of God and for the glory of God.

      'Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.'  Ps 8110 1079  Math 77,8  Lu 638
      'Seed faith' giving can never be used as a lever to try and persuade God.
            This makes the motive one of selfish greed, which will not be rewarded.
Sometimes You have not because you have not asked.  James 42b
      Or maybe we have not asked for our friends or neighbours.
Note: When he asks (for wisdom) he must believe and not doubt ...  James 16

Jesus was delighted to send them another Counsellor.  1416
Why did Jesus suddenly tell them this?
What has it to do with his going to prepare a place and his coming back to them?
Although he was going away; the lines of communication would not be broken.
The departure of Jesus would not leave them leaderless and impotent.
      The disciples had already been sent out in his name.
      They had healed and cast out demons, and they would continue to do so.

The most important thing in prayer is to diiscern the will of God.
      Then we can pray in faith; we can ask, knowing that God will do it.
Consider Elijah, how he 'prayed earnestly that it might not rain'.  James 517
      But he had first sought and learned that this was to be God's plan
            to deal with the growing national evil, led by Jezebel and Ahab.
At Carmel he prayed for fire.  And he was able to destroy the 450 prophets of Baal.  1 Kg 1836-38
Sadly Jezebel's 400 prophets of Asherah, though invited, were absent!  1 Kg 1819
Afterwards he prayed that it would rain.  1 Kg 18 41-45
Again, he already knew it was God's plan, for God had told him.  1 Kg 181
Note. He was not praying for pleasant weather,
      but for the life of God in Israel and an end to Baal and Asherah worship.

If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth.   1415-17a

A Counsellor is one who advises/guides. His advice is voluntary, not enforced.
      But it is a foolish man who ignores God's advice - yet many do.
Do we wilfully disobey or just carelessly do not bother to seek God's way?
      Maybe we even think we know better than Almighty God!

How do we hear the Spirit of truth?
      Scriptures - learned line by line, daily seeking his revelation.
            They bring truth, inspiration, vision, dreams, hope, assurance.
      What we see; the ordinary, and sometimes the extraordinary
      Friends, and occasionally even our enemies! can reveal the mind of God.
      By obeying. This is not putting the cart before the horse,
            but is an integral part of the learning / testing process.

The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  1417b

Why doesn't the world seek God's counsel?
      and why doesn't the world obey him?  1 Co 214
They do not recognise that God is the Almighty, the Lord of Hosts.
By not admitting any personal need;
      modern western culture instructs us to always think well of ourselves.
            By denying God, the truth that before him we are all guilty sinners is totally rejected.
      Thus they do not see how all men need to be rescued and be born again.
      At best they might see Jesus as a good example of how to live,
            but are blind to our need to be redeemed by a compassionate Saviour.
Like Pharaoh Rameses II, they arrogantly say,  'Who is the Lord, that I should obey him?'  Exd 52
      And we know the end of that great deliverance story!

But this same mighty God lives with Believers.
Not as a Sunday visitor, or someone available on a smart phone when in a crisis,
      but as a constant friend, King, Advocate and Guide.  Is 3021  Jer 3133,34
God has kept his promise of sending us the Counsellor ... the Spirit of truth,
      and of writing the New Covenant in our hearts. Is 3021 Jer 3133,34
God has kept his promise of sending us a Counsellor, and of writing the New Covenant in our hearts.
He is not our conscience; but he quickens it, to both confirm and to warn.
The little we now know reveals how much more there is yet to learn.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  1418,19

It is unthinkable that God should reject his own children.
He is not like man for whom self-interest too often takes priority.
To the world, Jesus came and died; the only way to see him (again) is to be born again.  33

See "The Listeners" by Walter de la Mere:
      "Is anyone there?" said the Traveller, knocking on the moonlit door;
      And his horse in the silence champ'd the grasses of the forest's ferny floor:
      And a bird flew up out of the turret, above the Traveller's head:
      No head from the leaf fringed sill lean'd over and look'd into his grey eyes,
      Where he stood perplexed and still. ..."
            (the listeners are then described as grey phantoms; shadowy, dead, unresponsive)
      "Then he suddenly smote on the door, even louder, and lifted his head:-
      'Tell them I came, and no one answer'd, that I kept my word,' he said. ..."
            (Incidently the eyes of Jesus are brown Jewish eyes, not grey Anglo-Saxon eyes)

To the world, the Traveller came and went.
But to all who mourned, who sought, who believed in the Son, have eternal life.  316,36
We ride away with him to live with him in his righteous Kingdom.

In the U.K. today the welfare state cares for children who are orphaned;
      but consider the plight of those in Bolivia or Bombay, in Syria or N.Korea.
The Lord has a particular love for the orphan, the widow and the poor.
      Deut 2417-22  Ps 1469  Is 117  Jer 3012-17  James 127

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  1420

Then the Spirit will reveal, the truth will dawn: Jesus is the Messiah, God is incarnate (on earth as a man).
The Son and the Father are one.
Now he promises something more: what?
      His disciples would be one with him too.
It is most regrettable that our many denominations show that we still have much to learn.
When is 'on that day'?   Partly now, but finally fulfilled only when Jesus comes a 2nd time.
How can we know that we are one with Christ?   Jesus tells us so.

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.  1421

Our oneness with God is proved by our obedience.
The obedient man loves, and is loved by God.
Faith without works is dead ... they must work together.  James 217,22,26
Obedience and good works are proof of the salvation of God.  James 219,24

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.   1422-24

In this verse Judas = Thaddeus = Jude, the writer of the epistle.
'But ... why ...?'  This is not the reply of acceptance - even if  'Lord' is inserted in between!
What did Philip (and probably all the others) not comprehend?
No one can 'see' until they first admit that they need a Saviour.  33,19  Math 53,8
They still did not yet appreciate that Jesus was the Son of God,
      nor God's plan to forgive required a perfect sacrifice.  (not surprising)
We may look for 'a better life' in wrong direction and for wrong things.
      e.g. power, signs, sex, money etc  1 Co 122,23 Lu 225

The disciples still thought that the Messiah would set them free, like he had in their long past history. i.e.
      God 'rescued' Abraham out of Ur and its religious astrology cult, took him to Canaan.
      There he promised to give him the Land. 2000 BC
      Under Moses, God set them free from Egyptian slavery. 1280 BC
      Under Joshua, God defeated the Canaanites. 1240 BC
      David expanded the kingdom. 1000 BC
      God returned the Jews from Babylon. 537 BC  under Joshua and Zerubbabel. (also Ezra and Nehemiah. 440 BC)
      God enabled the hated Antiochus Epiphanes to be defeated by the faithful Maccabeans in 164 BC.
Surely God's Messiah would now defeat the equally hated Romans.
But  no, for their worst enemy was not Rome, but Satan and the slavery to sin.

So Jesus repeats what he said. 1426
      At least the disciples remembered what he said!
When they later understood, then the question was also answered.
'The world cannot accept him ...' and therefore cannot see him. 'But I will come to you.'  1417,18

3 of the Apostles did not understand and queried what Jesus said.
So the Saviour made a special promise to each of them!
      Thomas - 'we don't know where you are going.'  145
            'I am the way, the truth and the life.'  146
      Philip - 'show us the Father.'  148             'He will do even greater things than these.'  1412
      Judas - 'but ... why ... not show yourself to the world.'  1422  
            'If anyone loves me he will obey my teaching ...
            my Father will love him ... and we will make our home with him.'  1423

All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  1425,26

Sometimes I wonder, 'will I ever learn?'   Why do I so quickly forget what God has so patiently taught me.
'Will the mysteries and the will of God ever be clear?'
      Yes! Jesus here pledges that he will teach us 'all things'.
      The Holy Spirit will remind us, teach us, and reveal all that we need to know.  222 1216 739  2 Pe 112
There are so many promises here that arouse our hope and faith in Jesus.
      Not to make life more comfortable, but to make it more useful.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.  1427-29

Peace is not presumption. Nor is it the absence of war.
"The peace of God that transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."  Phil 427a
What sort of peace does the world offer?
      Many false prophets and deceiving spirits speak of peace.  Jer 614 811  Is 4822 598 Ezek 1312
      Examples of false prophets in this century?
            League of Nations, Neville Chamberlain, Camp David, PLO, Iran ...
            What next?  What has Almighty God revealed?
            War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.  Dan 926
All the laws and treaties of men lie broken in the path of history.
All nations have defence forces, but they have not stopped wars.
We have democratic laws and police, but they do not prevent crime.
      'There is no peace, says the Lord, for the wicked.'  Is 4822 5721
To trust in man is like hanging a coat on a peg that breaks.  Is 2225
      or leaning against a wall which then collapses.  Is 3013
"The treaties of men are founded on fear and honoured when convenient."  PJW

But the peace of God - now that is different!  What a contrast.
      1. What God has said is reliable. He always keeps his word.
      2. What God has done is effective. His sacrifice was both perfect and complete.
            By this means Jesus has forgiven our sin and reconciled us to God.

What is the Peace of God?
      Jesus said that when the disciples received the Holy Spirit then you will know, and remember what I said.
      They did remember, they did believe, and they did know the peace of God that Jesus had earlier offered.
      And so may we who believe.
God will certainly do what he has promised.
      The Lamb of God did come, he did die, he did rise, he did come again to them.
      Now he does plead for us, and he will come again to judge the world!
Such is the generous gift and the grace of God!

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  1427b

The disciples were afraid - not for the first time, or the last.
How did they (and how do we) overcome fear?
      "Heart trouble is the commonest disease in the world.
      No class or condition of men is exempt from it.
      No door-lock can keep it out.
      Many of the holiest saints find this world a vale of tears.
      Faith in Jesus is the only sure medicine."   J.C.Ryle.   Is 261-5

What do we fear most?
      Future, rejection, death (me or loved one), pain, failure, darkness,
            own children's injury, loss or not receiving salvation ...

Best antidote for fear is God's Word, "I am with you - always"
God always keeps his promise, even when circumstances make it seem otherwise.
See notes on 620

Satan is Prince, but never King  1430,31 You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.  1428,29

Jesus repeats that he is going to leave them (temporarily).
He tells them that he will return and he will break Satan's grip.
Death will have no dominion over him.  Then they will believe.

I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. Come now; let us leave.  1430,31

Jesus calls Satan 'the prince of this world'. He is.
Daniel also saw him as such. Dan 1013
Also Jn 1231 Note context was when Jesus tells them he will be 'lifted up',
      and would 'draw all (believing) men to himself'.
Satan is prince, but he is not king - and never will be.
Jesus is King. There are no other kings.
But we should never under or over estimate the power of Satan.
Soon there will be a new heaven and new earth. There is no place for Satan there.
Satan is a prince, soon to be condemned to the abyss and then to the fire for ever.  Rev 20
      He will never become king.

A 'Prince' will destroy the Temple sacrifice ... Dan 8(1)11-14
Antiochus Epiphanes did so in 167-164 BC
Satan would later try to destroy Jesus - the Lamb of God. He failed.
He thought that he could defeat Jesus because he became a man.  What arrogance!
Has Satan learned from his defeat in 164 BC or at Calvary?
      No, he will try yet again.  Rev 1614,16 1919,20
'He will take his stand against the Prince of princes'.  Dan 825
But the next defeat will be total and permanent.  1611 Dan 121-7 Rev 2010
Meanwhile he will try to destroy all he can.  1 Pe 58,9
He can never create; only destroy.

Why did Satan have no hold on Jesus?  Though a man, he was also God.
      He was totally without any sin.  Jesus never yielded even once to temptation.
God wants us to be righteous too, so Satan will have no hold on us.

Affliction for the Christian can sometimes be because of sin.
      (which then gives Satan an entry, a hold over us)
But sometimes it can be the best plan of God!
Consider Job.  He lost his possessions and family, then he suffered boils.
      But Satan could do nothing to righteous Job except by God's consent.
      Indeed it was God who initiated it.  Job 18-12 122 23-7 210
      Job remained righteous.
      He contested his 3 friends who tried to make him admit that his downfall
            was because of some undisclosed wickedness.
      Job never said he was without sin, only that his downfall was not the cause.
Satan can point to the sins of even Noah, Abraham or David, Elijah or Isaiah.
When David repented of his terrible sins in Ps 51,
      Satan could not even point to his forgiven sins, they were washed away.
      God even said that David was "a man after his own heart!"  1 Sam 1314
But in Jesus there was no sin.
His sacrifice was 'for sins not his own'.  Heb 727

Only Jesus can loose us from Satan's grip; and keep us free.  Heb 724,25,28
But most men think they are already free; and have never been in bondage.  833
      How foolish, how deluded.  Gal 322
It is a good and refreshing testimony that tells of the great relief of being set free
      from the guilt and power of sin,  and of receiving God's forgiveness.
Christian's burden fell off his back when he came to the Cross;
      not when he 'decided' to go on pilgrimage.

Jesus is the one perfect sacrifice, the Passover Lamb.
He is the good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.
He came for this one purpose; and he faithfully achieved it.
He did what had to be done, and which no one else could do.
He alone sets us free from Satan's grip;
      a bondage far worse than any Egyptian, Babylonian, Roman, or Muslim slavery.

I am the Vine  151-11         [Contents]

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  151-11

The Vine, the Olive and the Fig are often used as a symbol of Israel.  Gen 4922 Ps 80
But Israel was a vine that was sometimes unfruitful or bitter.  Is 51-7  Jer 221  Hos 101  (Ezek 177 )
U.K. has squandered the inestimable privilege of Christian opportunity.
      But we have now become largely unfruitful and bitter.
            Consider humanistic Education, blasphemous Media, ungodly Laws
            (Abortion, Sunday trading, Marriage, Divorce, Homosexuality, Multi-faith)

Jesus is the true vine.
He is also the true Bread . 632,33
      the good Shepherd.  1011,14
      and the thirst-quenching Water.  414
What fruit did he bear?   He was:
      Wise, honest, true. As a boy  Lu 247 and later Jn 746
      Patient in the face of provocation.  841  Lu 2020,26 2264 2337
      Compassionate.  Lu 739,47 152  Jn 811
      Powerful to restore.  450 1143  Heb 716  Act 224,27
      Righteous, Sinless.  Lu 234,22,38  Heb 914
      Obedient.  1510 1431 1018 519-21
      the redeemer of a multitude of believers that cannot be numbered.  Rev 79,10

The 'fruit' that Jesus bore was primarily in his wholly righteous character.

The N.T. only refers to fruit in this connection; not to evangelistic success.
      e.g. Gal 522 "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
            faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

Father is the Vinedresser. What does he do?
      Branches repeatedly without fruit are completely cut off.
      Even fruitful branches are pruned to be more fruitful.
      Planted in fertile soil and given fertiliser, water and protection.
What is the purpose of pruning a vine?
      To make and keep a tree healthy, the right shape (obedient) and fruitful.

How are vines (or apple trees) normally pruned?
Crossing branches Denominational/personal differences removed
Inward branches Continuous introspection is cut out
Diseased/Dead branches Evil (not ill-health) are cut out
Wrong direction (shape) Independence and doing 'own thing' is discouraged
Too much growth A big successful church may have much activity ,
      but little righteousness and truth

This detail on pruning and its application may be true and even helpful,
      but it is best not to press such analogy too far.

What matters is: Why did Jesus tell them this parable?
1. The bond between Christ and his believers is close, strong and essential.
      If separated from Christ, a vine branch is dead and useless.
      A believer has no cause to doubt God's gift of eternity in heaven.
      No-one can ever say that the sacrifice of Christ is not good enough to save me.
      God may prune us, but the emphasis is not so much on the pruning (the trials) by which he does this,
            but on the added fruitfulness.  Heb 1210,11
      The main requirement is for real dependence upon the life (or sap) of Jesus.
            c.f. the natural independence and self-reliance of all men.

2. Judas Iscariot was a dead branch that was about to be cut off.  156
      The consequence of not remaining in Christ is truly terrible.
            Note also those whom Jesus judged in  Math 24,25  Lu 1624
      Judas appeared to be a follower; but he was not.
      For some attending church the relationship with Christ is only outward and formal.
      Baptism and church membership are not proof of salvation.
      "What a man is on his knees before God, that he is, and nothing more."

Gk for 'prunes' = purges (KJV) or cleans
How were they 'already clean'?  1310 153
      By the creative word of God that brings life to the dead.  Eph 526  Ro 1017

The natural consequence of this close, enduring relationship is be fruitful.
Jesus is loyal, truthful and faithful.  Heb 135
But how could disciples 'remain in Jesus'?  154,5,6,7,9
It must have seemed a strange saying to them:
      Jesus had just told them that he was about to leave them.
      He had told them that he would not leave them as orphans.  1418
      And that he would return to them, and stay with them.  1418b, 20b, 23b

How may we remain in Jesus? and Jesus remain in us?
      The more we know of God, the more we don't know!
      The greater our experience of God, the more we acknowledge our continual and great need of his grace.
Three principal areas of temptation are - Money, sex and power.
      That's why many convents pledge - Poverty, chastity and humility.
Another major temptation is pride, self-sufficiency and presumption.
      c.f. real, practical and heart-felt dependency on Jesus.

Consider Moses.
One of the greatest men of God, ever; yet he remained meek.  Num 123
One of the few powerful men who saw that he always needed to go on learning.
But the learning was not easy.
      In Exd 176 he was told to strike the rock.
      From his days in Midian as a shepherd, Moses knew how to strike a 'plug'
            and unlock the water stored-up in the limestone rock.
            The miracle was that this time it was enough for over a million men + animals.
      On a later occasion he was told to speak to the rock, not strike it.  Num 208
      But speaking required faith - a new way, not the old, well known way.
      Why was Moses forbidden to enter the Promised Land?   Because he was disobedient.
            (it was not because he was angry with the people, God was too!)
Faith may well require that the road we set out on is unknown, and with few signposts.
      But we shall hear the voice of God. Is 3021
See the examples of Abraham, of Gladys Alywood and Jackie Pullinger.
Though Moses was denied entry into promised land; he did enter later.  Lu 930
      Such is the mercy of God.
Note that forgiveness does not always mean that there is no punishment.
What did Jesus, Moses and Elijah talk about on the mountain?  Lu 931
      The sacrifice of Jesus that enables the mercy of God to flow.
      Jesus fulfils the purpose of both the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah).
      The Law was to reveal the necessity of Christ.  Gal 324 Ro 77b
      The Prophets longed for Messiah, Redeemer, for Righteousness and Justice,
            and they obediently gave to the people the vision they had seen.

To remain in Jesus as branches in the Vine we must first depend on Jesus. How?
1. Disciplined daily prayer, and also often through the day.

2. Daily Bible reading.
      "Prayer is talking to God, reading scripture is God talking to me."
      This will change and renew our minds and fill us with the truth.  Ro 122
      All Scripture is accurate, reliable and enduring.  Math 518 2435

3. Practice the presence of God.
      God is no closer on Sunday, in church or a garden.
      Consider a sign seen on a caravan, "Home is where you take it".
            Wherever we go, God goes.  Math 2820 Gen 2815 Is 4110 Jer 119
      Try to be aware of his presence always.
      It will encourage in weakness, inspire in need, and strengthen in temptation.
      Take time to meditate, using scripture.
      Ask often, "what would Jesus do in this situation?"

4. Acknowledge my real dependence on Jesus.
      Jesus did not say apart from me some of you can do much, or even a little,
            but apart from me you can do nothing! (of eternal value).  155
      No fruit (righteousness) without Jesus. The branches rely on the Vine.  154

5. Obey Jesus. Eagerly and completely.  159,10 1 Sam 1522 (Exd 178-15)
      No compromise. Don't think I know better.
      This is not salvation by works.  Nor is it 'obey me, or else ...'
      God is not harsh.  Trying to gain salvation good works is harsh because it is impossible.  Math 2524
      Good works that result from salvation may not always be easy,
            but they bring joy to Jesus and they will complete our joy.  1511
      Joy sometimes has to wait until the morning.  Ps 305 1265,6 Heb 122
            Jesus had to endure the next 18 hours!

6. Be sensitive and quick to repent.
      Give me a 'sensibility of sin'.  (see hymn 'I want a principle within ...')
      Be quick to detect and quick to repel all sin. Keep short accounts.
      Do not let the sun go down on your anger, nor on any sin.  Eph 426
            See how quick Jesus is to forgive; but never forget what it cost him.

7. Weep and rejoice with God, be honest, be 'at home' with God.  1423  Rev 320

8. 'Remaining' in Christ is vital if we are to be effective in prayer.  157
      The Word of Christ must be at the forefront of our mind and purpose,
            else we shall certainly ask wrongly.  James 43
            Or we may not even have asked.  James 42b

Through all our life, our dependence and gratitude to God becomes greater.
True for Apostles, and true for us.  That is why Jesus told them this parable.

Love one another as I have loved you  1512-15         [Contents]

How could Jesus prepare the disciples for the days ahead?

My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  1512-15

It is the 'as I have loved you' that makes this a tall order!
Love is not an easy option, an 'all joy' solution.
      There is a price. Sometimes we shrink from the payment.

What did Jesus pay in order to love us?
      He was born into poverty. He left all honour, glory and authority in heaven.
      He learned patience and obedience for some 35 years.  Heb 57-10
      He cared for his mother and family after Joseph died.
      No family of his own - but later he would be given his Bride, the new Jerusalem.
      Many followed; but few 'stayed the course'.  One apostle betrayed him.  666
      Many refused to follow. Most of the religious leaders rejected him.  Math 2214
      The disciples were so slow to learn.  Lu 2425
      He bore our sin and the agony of separation from his Father.  Math 2746
      He learned obedience and suffered much physical pain.  Math 2618,19
            This was our just punishment, not his.
      His suffering has not ceased: see what has been done in the name of Christianity.
            Persecution of the Jews, of Protestant martyrs, and of missionaries.
            'Official' formal, lifeless religion; Salvation by 'good deeds'.
            Many deceived - revivalist replacement theology, Church triumphant now.
            Cross diminished by 'only love, no judgement' popular theology.
            Denominational and personal divisions.
In all this, and probably much more, Jesus is caused much anguish.
We have battered his love and severely tested it.
      But amazingly he has paid the penalty for all our sin in full!
'For the joy that was set before him he endured the Cross.'  Heb 122

We need the new covenant written in our hearts.  Jer 3133,34
Christians must make every endeavour to obey this command to love each other,
      however hard, whatever the price. It applies to us all.
How do we love our enemies?  Math 543  Lu 2334
Who are our neighbours?  Lev 1918  Math 2237-40  Lu 1027-37
      "To dwell above with those I love, one day that will be glory,
      To dwell below with saints I know, well, that's another story!"
A challenge, a command: it requires continued determination and humility.
May God give us all the grace.
Without this 'Christ-like' love we are a disobedient, discordant noise.  1 Co 131
The love of Jesus is the standard by which our love must be judged.
      There is no room for complacency!

Jesus calls us friends, not servants.  1514   What a privilege!
God says even to us foolish, sinful people, "Will you be my friend?"
God calls Abraham his friend.  Is 418-10
What he revealed to him was good (Gen 123 154,5)  and bad (Gen 1513 1817,20)
      Ditto with Jeremiah.  Jer 258-11 c.f. 3131-37 3226-44    or Daniel.  Dan 227-45 418-37 721,22 917 - 1213
Revelation was sweet to taste (at first sight)
      and bitter in stomach (where digested), but a prophet must still prophesy.  Ezek 33,14 Rev 109-11
Mary had the great privilege of bearing Jesus,
      but she also constantly bore the accusation of having an illegitimate child.
In those days it was most shameful, not like today, when 67% (2016) of all births in UK are illegitimate.
God's revelation is not always 'nice'.  Sometimes it is 'Good News' and sometimes it is appalling:
      There is the 'Good News' of forgiveness and love, but we cannot ignore the 'Bad News' of judgement.
For the prophet and for believers, privilege + responsibility must remain together.

What are God's plans for the U.K.?
Revival or judgement?   There can be no doubt as to what we deserve.
God hates divorce.  Mal 216
      And Abortion (murder) of 180,000/year.  Exd 2016
      Also injustice, greed, 'economies of the truth',compromising church leaders.

Jesus told the disciples everything needful; though not all in the first five minutes.
      There was no hidden agenda, no secrets.
Some things even Jesus did not know; and he honestly told them so.  Math 2436
      We should do the same: and not pretend.
Many things are a puzzle to us. e.g.
      Why does God allow ... ?
      Why do wicked men prosper and so many powerful leaders are evil?
      Why are only a few healed?
      Why is the Church so divided?
Are the 'End days' when Jesus breaks open the seals now very near?
If anything is important and we need to know, then diligently seek God's answer.
If not, be patient. God will one day reveal today's mystery.
      And it is likely to be surprising.  e.g. Hab 15 Dan 102 Hos 12 214 Ezek 326
God always reveals his plans to those who are earnestly waiting for him.  Amos 37 Lu 225,36

There is nothing that Jesus would not do for his friends.  Ro 58

Chosen by God, Persecuted by men  1516 - 167         [Contents]

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.  1516,17

When we first follow Jesus it may seem to us to have been our choice,
      but in reality it is God who graciously choses us.  Col 312 1 Thes 14 2 Thes 213 Eph 14,11
It is obvious that I should desire God and choose to serve him,
      but the amazing part is why should he want me?

'Chosen' for salvation  c.f.  'appointed' for particular ministry (i.e. Apostles).
The Apostles were appointed to bear eternal fruit. And they have.
The Gospel has been preached: the Word of God has prospered for 2000 years.
What was about to happen that would test this command to love one another?
The Church has always grown in times of persecution.  e.g. China today.
In England we are most grateful to the martyrs of the Reformation,
      who gave to us such a legacy of the truth.
      God's Word in the English language,
      that delivered from many of the Roman errors.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  1518,19

What is 'The world'? (used here 5 times)
      Unbelievers, unsaved. Both Jews and Gentiles.
Why does the world hate us?
      God's righteousness is a threat to their conscience.
Cain hated Abel,
      Ishmael hated Isaac,
            Esau hated Jacob,
                  Joseph hated by his brothers.
                  Arabs hate the Jews, and so does the World and especially the U.N.
                  If God's choice of the Jews seems strange;
                  his choice of me is even stranger!

People hate someone else to be 'chosen', especially when it seems illogical.
Rejecting God the world now more often despises us; they think we are 'nutters'.

Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.  1520,21

If we are not personally persecuted / despised for loving Christ,
      remember those who are - and do not be surprised.
      Jesus Christ will always be a challenge to false, evil religions -
            Islam, Hindus, Buddhists, Communists and even Humanists.
The world will treat Christians in the same way they treated Jesus.
If they see him as a challenge, they will fight against him - and his servants.
Let us see persecution as an honour!!

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.'  1522-25

Miracles themselves rarely bring about conversion; but they leave their witnesses without any excuse.
Many will try to deny them. e.g. Virgin birth and resurrection as well as healing.
There is 'no reason' for this hatred by the world.  What has God done to deserve such a reaction?
'Why? What evil has he done? ' still rings unanswered around the world.
Sadly, it reveals the on-going wickedness of man.
What makes a man guilty of sin?
      Creation and the truth of the Word of God.
      No one can say Almighty God has not warned us.
      The sacrifice of Christ is no secret;
            neither is the necessity for the Cross.

When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.  1526,27

What is the principal task of the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit?
      To 'testify about Jesus'. How? When? Vital importance!
When we have heard, our task is to share the 'Good news', the truth.
      'You must testify'.
      This is a command of God; it is not just for missionaries!

All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you. Now I am going to him who sent me ...   161-4

'Vine' and 'Branches' tell of relationship with Christ.
'Love one another' tell of relationship with each other.
'You must testify' and 'persecution' tell of relationship with the world.

Jesus did not indulge in giving comfort through false expectations.
      He does not want disciples who had not 'counted the cost'.
Why have Christians been persecuted throughout the last 2000 years?
      'In fact everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.'  2 Tim 312
The Gospel is either a personal relief or a personal threat.  How?
      Wickedness is exposed - men have to admit their sin and shame.
      We have to admit we are wrong - some find this very difficult.
      All men have to change their lifestyle.
            We must leave our comforts and passions to become holy.
      Holiness is always a challenge. The flesh wars against the spirit.  Gal 429 517
      We have to relinquish our desire for power, position, and privilege.
Persecution has often been in the name of religion.  e.g. Act 269-11
      The excuse is often made that tradition or religion is threatened.  Mk 75-8

Beware of 'belief' that is popular, and of costless church membership.
Remember that zeal is no guarantee of truth.
      e.g. The religious Saul had to be changed by God to be the believing Paul.
Real Christianity is centred on the Cross, God's plan to enable forgiveness.
      Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  Heb 922
      Many churchgoers believe that Jesus was crucified, an example of love;
            but fail to see it was the only and vital means for us to be redeemed.
The world is happy to ignore the Cross on which Almighty God died!
      They don't see Jesus as the Son of God.
      And especially deny the Cross as God fulfilling his promised plan.
            It seems to be so stupid, so unnecessary!

The result of this division is what Jesus warned them of here - persecution!
      It is the hall-mark of a man converted to Christ.
However unpleasant or unjust, never fear the outcome.  Gal 67,8
Jesus did not want them to be surprised or offended at this injustice.

They needed to see the Cross as the plan of God, not an unexplained disaster.
They would be filled with grief, but it must not overwhelm them.
The warning and the promise of God stand secure.  Math 511,12
While Jesus was with them, he took all the 'flak' from the Pharisees,
      but soon they would also have to bear it.
      They would remember his words and his prophecy, and see their accuracy.
      Then their faith would grow, and they would bear persecution with courage.
If Jesus had not left them, there would be no Advocate in heaven for us.
      Job 1619-21 Heb 725 1 Jn 21 Ro 834

Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.  165-7

Jesus had clearly told them that he was going; but where was he going?
      To "my Father's house". 142
To the disciples it was more important to know that he was leaving them.
      Where he was going seemed unimportant - unless they could follow him.
      "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"  145
So Jesus told them that HE was 'the Way'.  146
      He was going to 'his Father's house' to prepare a place for them.

In every part of this 'Last Super' conversation, Jesus reminds them that
      'He and the Father are one'.  7 times in 1518 -164

The implication of the question is that the disciples were so filled with grief
      that they did not know where he was going.
Who wouldn't have been?
How does Jesus comfort them?
      His answer is easier for us to see than it was for the disciples.
      He gave them another 'Verily' emphasis - It would be for their good!
      Neither the Advocate nor the Holy Spirit are geographically restricted.

The Promised Presence of the Holy Spirit  168-15         [Contents]

To whom does God send his Holy Spirit?
      to the Jew first and then to the whole world.  Ro 29,10  Act 25-12, 36-41

The greatest problem the world has always faced is the conquest of sin.
      Who does it affect? Everyone. All have sinned.   Ro 39
      When did it start? Adam. When you eat of it you will surely die.   Gen 217
      What is the consequence of sin? The wages of sin is death.   Ro 723a
      Is there any way of escape? Yes! The gift of God is eternal life.   Ro 723b
But how can a man, any man, receive this most precious gift?
It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit who reveal the natural awful state of all men
      and God's gracious rescue plan offered to all men; but only a few to cry,
      "God be merciful to me, a sinner."  Lu 1813  Math 714
      Throughout the Old and New Testaments he is the Revealer of God's plan
            to redeem men by offering himself the required perfect sacrifice for sin.
      The Holy Spirit revealed Jesus to Abel, Noah, Abraham, all OT prophets,
            and finally to John Baptist,
            "Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world."   129
      God makes himself known to all who call upon him:
            Abel, Enoch, Moses, Joshua, David ...
            Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.  Joel 232
      Also to Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar, Ruth and Rahab ...
      The Feasts and sacrifices were designed to reveal Christ,
            God's promised rescue plan.

In the New Testament the first part of God's plan was completed,
      Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.   Math 118-21
      Their agreed plan of salvation for man from before the dawn of time!

Jesus reveals him as 'the Counsellor', when his own sacrificial work is 'finished':
      The Holy Spirit is promised.  1416,26 1526 167
      He will teach you all things.  1426
      He will testify about me.  1526
      He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgement.   168
      He will guide you into all truth.  1613
      The Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.  1615
Named 'The Spirit of Truth', the One who reveals Jesus, the Word of God.
      1416,17 1526 1613-15  1Thes 15
He enables us to 'hear' and understand; he brings faith and assurance.
      Prophetic truth is revealed - the now, and the yet to come.
      The highlight of Pentecost is not wind, fire and tongues,
      but the souls of 3,000 earnest Jews who were saved!
      He revealed to them their need and caused them cry
            "What must I do to be saved?"  Act 237
      This is the evidence of the 'even greater things' that will be done because
            I am going to the Father and we will send the Spirit to you.  1412
Likewise, when the 72 returned to Jesus in triumph, Jesus said to them,
      I saw Satan fall ... however, do not rejoice that the spirits are subject to you,
            but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
 Lu 1017-20
      Miracles reveal God's compassion and power.
            But his gracious plan is to rescue, to save, to redeem sinful, guilty men.
            And it is the Holy Spirit who reveals this.

The Holy Spirit also 'seals' us. Our salvation in Christ is sure.  Eph 113,14 430
      Faith is more than hope; it is the revealed assurance of God.  Heb 111
      The Spirit guarantees our redemptive inheritance.  His Word is true.

Sanctification is the practice of living by the Spirit.  Gal 516-26
      Jesus prayed, 'I have given them your word ... they are not of the world ...
            sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.'
He equips with power to live and preach repentance and forgiveness.  2429
      Disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke the Word of God boldly.  Act 430
He transforms and renews our minds.  Ro 122 55  1Co 127-11
He enables men to discern will of God and guides in all matters, big and small.

The Holy Spirit Convicts When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: In regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.  168-11

Why does Jesus send the Holy Spirit?
      The answer Jesus gives is not popular - but it is true.  It has 3 aspects:

1. He Convicts of Sin
Some have tried and failed. Others maybe have not even tried!
The awful truth is that by nature we are all guilty sinners.
      How different from what modern psychologists try to tell us.
As the old hymn says,
      "Guilty, vile and helpless we, spotless Lamb of God was he;
      Full atonement!, can it be?  Hallelujah, What a Saviour!"

Guilty because men refuse to believe the written Word of Almighty God.
      That the Scriptures reveal all his truth, have full authority and accuracy.
      That men don't believe God has declared that the just penalty for sin is death.
      That only Jesus crucified on the Cross can redeem us.
Without this conviction of sin, no man will cry to Jesus for salvation.
There can be no hope of forgiveness and heaven unless we believe why Jesus came.
      But by believing many will be saved by the blood of Christ.  Rev 79,10
Of what sin does the Holy Spirit convict?
      Many sins:- pride, greed, lust, etc but primarily of not believing in Jesus.  169
      Many who admit to being sinful and try to live a good life; but inevitably fail.
      We are condemned not for what we have done, but for not believing.
            318  336  540  628,29  640  1125 1246  Mk 1616
      Jesus said we must believe.  What do we need to believe?
            1. That I am a sinner.
            2. Consequence of sin is death.
            3. No man can pay this penalty (because not perfect).
            4. Only Jesus can pay the penalty for me.
Why was the rich man in Lu 16 is condemned?
      Because he was content without God. He had no conviction of sin.
            He saw no need to believe in Jesus and had no desire for God.
      Many follow this way, but there is a high price for such folly.
One day the Jews will mourn their rejection of the Messiah.  Zech 1210-14
      On that day a fountain will be opened ... to cleanse them from sin.  Zech 131

2. He Convicts of Righteousness
He reveals that God's righteousness in heaven where there is no sin.
      All my righteousness is like filthy rags ...  Is 646
Without Christ we are separated from God; we cannot see him, or know him.
      Between us there is a great gulf fixed that no man can cross.
The Holy Spirit convicts, but also reveals the truth that when Jesus rose,
      Father accepted his offering because he was righteous.
We are different and have nothing to offer:
      "Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling."

      The holy Spirit reveals God's gift of righteousness to all who believe:
      "Jesus thy blood and righteousness, my beauty are my glorious dress,
      Midst flaming worlds with these arrayed with joy shall I lift up my head."

      God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,
            so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Co 521

3. He Convicts of Judgement
While we live on earth God offers all men the opportunity to repent.
When we die the just judge declares "Guilty".
      Only then does even an earthly judge declare the sentence.
      If it is a believer that stands before him, our Advocate will declare
            that the just death sentence for this man has already been paid in full !
      For Satan and all unbelievers there can be no such pardon.
      All who unbelievers stand alone condemned before the Judge.  Jn 318, 36

The Holy Spirit convinces all believers
      that Christ by his death and resurrection is the victor over sin and death.

"Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross."  Col 212-15

But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.  Gal 322

Also  Eph 24-9  Heb 1019-23  Heb 1222-24

The Holy Spirit convicts us of :
Sin of all men Convinced of our awful plight,
      and my total inability to 'rescue' myself.
      of Jesus
Only the sinless Jesus could enter Father's presence.
      He defeated Satan and removed the sting of death - sin.
Just Judgement
      of Sin & Satan
Though aware of God, he is condemned
      Because did not believe in Jesus.
      He refuses to hear the Holy Spirit, or receive his conviction.

How do men react to the 'conviction' of the Holy Spirit?
      Either condemnation with Satan or merciful Redemption with Jesus.
There is no happy (or unhappy) medium.
Come Holy Spirit and cause me to hear you above all else and all others.

What are Satan's most successful deceits?
a) Man is o.k., and is getting better. But listen to the News to hear the evidence!
b) More possessions will lead to more happiness. But man is never satisfied.
c) God is love, and so he will never judge anyone, not now nor later.
d) Man can choose to follow Christ, for a life of love, peace and joy;
      with varying degrees of help from God.
      But this denies our need for the Cross to pay the just price for our sin.

I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  1612,13

See how Jesus tells them what they need to know at just the right time.
We need to be patient in preaching or witnessing to friends.
We can only bear so much at any moment. What limits this?
      We only hear something at the 'right time' - when God reveals it.
How we are told and who tells us?
      Sometimes we are too tired or are distracted.
      Need to develop an open, enquiring heart; always wanting to learn.
      Like when learning physics; weneed to learn some maths first.
The disciples were filled with sorrow and confused about his leaving them.
      Only later they would understand; taught by the Spirit of Truth.

What does the Spirit of Truth say when he comes?
      He give us the Word of God by the pen of 40 different men over 1,500 years,
            yet there is complete harmony with accurate history and prophecy.
      Some think they can chop bits out - especially of the O.T.;
            the parts they don't like or the bits they disagree with.
      Others think it is incomplete or has been superseded. e.g.
            Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon and Mohammad's Koran.
ALL scripture is true, complete and from God; it is confirmed by Jesus,
      even the parts that remain a mystery.
      Math 517,18  2 Tim 316,17  2 Pe 13, 20,21  Rev 2218,19
Scripture is God's Truth revealed to man. e.g.
      He "Declares the wonders of God."  Act 211
      "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  Act 221
      "Salvation only in Jesus - the stone you rejected!"  Act 48-12
      The Spirit spoke to individuals:
            Peter  Act 53    Stephen  Act 7    Philip  Act 829    To Prophets  Act 1127
            At Antioch Act 132   and to Jerusalem Council Act 158
Like Jesus, the Spirit also speaks what he hears.  828,29 1249 1431
      He speaks concerning the past, present and future; like those in  1 Ch 1232
Note: the last NT book is 'the Revelation of Jesus to John'.
      It is often wrongly called 'the Revelation of John'.

Jesus kept his word; the Spirit did guide them into all truth.
      He did so throughout the O.T.
      He did so while Jesus was with them, and in the early Church.
      And thankfully he still does.

What will the Holy Spirit do?
Difficult to separate from the above.  But what he says, he also does!
He guides, he leads us into all truth.  This must remain an on-going process.
'All' does not mean all scientific knowledge,
      but all things required for salvation, personal growth and evangelism.
He taught the disciples the meaning of the OT commands, events and prophecies.
He taught them about why Jesus acted as he did.
Jesus also said, "Later you will understand"; and they did.  1216  137
He taught them (some of) 'what is yet to come.' (but not all things!)
He did not reveal a system or theology,
      but he revealed the person of Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah.

He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.  1614,15

He will bring glory to Jesus. How?
By revealing that Jesus was the truth and spoke the truth clearly.
      He was not vague or uncertain.
      "You have heard that it was said ... But I tell you that ..."  Math 522,28,32,34,39
The Spirit reveals that he was the Son of God, yet humble and obedient;
      poor and despised, yet totally reliable and powerful. e.g.
      When with Martha "Your brother will rise again."  1123
      The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He did too.  1018
      "When I am lifted up ..." He was.  1232 219 640,51
      Was the woman at the well disappointed?  41-42
      Did the blind man who washed at Siloam only see with one eye?  91-41
      Did the lame man by the pool require months of physio to walk?  51-15
      Was the widow of Nain outraged when Jesus stopped the funeral?  Lu 79-17
      Were any left hungry when he fed them on the Mt.?   61-15
      Did any of the demons he cast out question his authority?  Math 816 51-13
      Did John Baptist doubt the identity of his cousin?  Jn 129
He shows us that Jesus alone is the reliable Truth.  146  Math 167
      But many only hear Satan, the Deceiver, the father of lies.  842-47  Jer 810,11

How would they be able to see Jesus after he was dead and buried?
      Resurrection is no make-believe, but the fulfilment of prophecy.  Math 1621  Jn 1123-27
Martha longed that Lazarus could come back to life.
      Jesus told her that he had power over death;
      He proved it by raising Lazarus,
            and later he showed that he was also the resurrection and the life.
      It is always easier to say something or claim something than to actually do it.
When an invalid's friend lowered him through the roof
      Jesus first said to him, "your sins are forgiven."
      The Pharisees questioned his authority to say this.
      Jesus answered this by asking which is easier, to forgive or to heal?
      He then did the more difficult (seemingly impossible); and healed him.
      Thus he showed that he had power to forgive as well as heal.  Lu 517-26

Heaven and earth will pass away, but the word of Jesus, revealed by the Spirit,
      is reliable and will never pass away.  Math 2435

Leaving - for a little while  1616-24         [Contents]

In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.  1616

Why did Jesus have to leave them?
      Only the righteous may enter the presence of God, and live.  Gen 2816,17 3230
      Only when Jesus had paid the price of sin to the full,
            and so made many righteous, could he lead them into heaven.
In the days of Moses the people would die if they tried to climb up the mountain.
The veil of the Temple was a merciful provision to prevent an intruder's death.
At the death of Jesus, the veil was torn in two, a new way had been opened.  Heb 1019-22
By leaving them, he was able to save them. Only then he could return and lead them home.

Ps 24 asks one basic question.  Who can ascend the hill of the Lord?  Who can be sure of entering heaven?
How does David answer his own question? (and that of many others)
Has anyone but Jesus clean hands and a pure heart?
The author, David, knew that he didn't.
He knew he had been guilty of both adultery and murder.
Who but Jesus could open the ancient doors (of heaven)?
Many jokes about Peter at the gate of heaven; but Jesus is the door-keeper.  Jn 107
'Knock and it will be opened' but there is a condition.  see Math 417
Who else is mighty in battle?
Single-handed Jesus defeated the old enemy - sin and death!  1 Co 1555-57 Ps 1610

Single-handed he crushed the head of Satan (his power).  Gen 315
The very principle of resurrection is enshrined in God's creation.
All seed must be sown in the dark ground; there it dies, and brings forth life!  1224
      Jonah 117 + Math 1238-40     Zech 1210 + Jn 1937
They would see Jesus again - his crucifixion would not be the end.
This grave was also the 'ancient door' to eternal life with God in heaven.

It is not surprising that the disciples found this hard to understand.  209
      But very soon they would understand - and then they would tell the world.

Some of his disciples said to one another, "What does he mean by saying, 'In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,' and 'Because I am going to the Father'?" They kept asking, "What does he mean by 'a little while'? We don't understand what he is saying." Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, "Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, 'In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me'? I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world."  1617-21

How long is a "little while"?   It depends!
3 days        Crucifixion to resurrection. their joy would be great but short lived.
                  In another 40 days Jesus would leave again at the Ascension.  Act 19
7 weeks     Crucifixion to Pentecost. The permanent presence of Christ.  Eph 219-22 Math 2820 Heb 1222-24
2000 yrs    Crucifixion to his coming again in power and great glory.
                  The disciples expected this to be very soon; not in 2000 years!

'A little while' seems so long, especially if you are in pain.  Ro 823
Jesus has the courage to tell them the truth. 'You will grieve.'
      But your grief will turn to joy; and the grief will be quickly forgotten.
      (Like a mother when her baby is born she forgets the anguish.
What other comfort can you give to a person in grief?
      Only that the pain is temporary, and they are not alone in it.
Hope in his Word is not vague or uncertain; it is the sure promise of God.
Jesus had to suffer.   'For the joy that was set before him, Jesus endured the cross.'   Heb 121,2
The pain was but for a moment, the joy was for ever and shared with all believers.  Is 6517-19  Rev 213-5

So with you: now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 1622

Jesus has 2 major concerns at the last supper.
      To comfort their sorrow
      To replace their ignorance with Truth.
He ministers to both these needs.
If comfort is without faith it will fail the endurance test.
If faith is without comfort it will become cold, harsh, impersonal.

What was the basis of his comfort?  How would he bring it to them?  Was he successful?
Jesus tells them the truth ("verily, verily" again).
The sorrowful event will take place. He would be crucified, he would die.
But that same event will be the very thing that will bring you joy.
      The sorrow becomes joy;  it is not replaced by joy.
      Resurrection does not replace crucifixion - both are vital.
You cannot be a Christian and not be grateful that Jesus was crucified.
      It is only by that event that we can become Christians.
No one can take your joy away, because no one can nullify the Cross.
No man can separate us from the love of God in the risen Christ.  Ro 838,39
In this world there is sorrow, there is trouble: 1633
      but there can also be forgiveness, joy, peace, and hope.  Ro 818-27 2 Co 46-18

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.  1623,24

Did, or has, 'that day' come?   Yes, but no.
      There remains a thirsting, a longing for that day.  Rev 2217 216
      There is still a time for fasting, and for asking, for pleading with God.  Mk 219,20
Why would they no longer ask anything?
      The Holy Spirit would come and stay with them.
Their greatest sorrow, almost despair, was the impending departure of Jesus.
      When he came back they would not have to ask him to stay!  414 Jer 3134

In the next sentence Jesus says, 'Whatever you ask ...'  Seems contradictory, but isn't.
'Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.'
      This does not make us like spoilt children, always getting what we want.
What does it mean to pray in the name of Jesus?
      To learn what is his will, first hear what he is saying, then to ask.
      Prayer often includes "Lord, I don't know, please tell me."

What would they ask for?   What currently gives heaven the greatest joy?
      That on earth a sinner repents, dies and is born again.   Lu 157
      The parable of prodigal son and rejoicing father,  follows that of the 99 safe and 1 lost sheep.

Do not spend too much time in prayer asking God to make life easier.
      (especially my situation; but also for that of others)
Ask God for courage, effective witness, fruitful ministry, to be 'overcomers'.
      Act 429,30 Jer 17,8, 17-19 Rev 27,11,17,26 35,10-12,21
A little girl was once seen observing a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis.
      She could not bear to watch it struggle so much, so very carefully she cut away the hard skin.
      Very soon the butterfly was free; but it never flew!
      It needed the struggle to get the blood to enter its wings.
It is hard to watch friends make mistakes; but sometimes you have to let them do so.
We need to know when to give expression to love and compassion,
      and also when it is best (though painful) to withhold it.

The most vital lesson in effective prayer is to first learn what the will of God is.

'Complete joy' comes through 'the prayer of a righteous man'.  Why?
      Because it is 'powerful and effective'.  James 516
Was Elijah glad to spend over 2 years at Cherith and then a year at Sidon?  No.
      But how else could the God of mercy send rain again to the earth?
Joy and prayer are linked.  1 Thes 516,17  Phil 44-7
Prayer makes Jesus my goal, his honour and his praise on earth.

Jesus knew all too well what the next 20 hours would bring to him.
      Yet it was the sorrow of his disciples that he sought to comfort, not his own.

Joy in this world will never be 'complete';  later it will be !

Jesus Prays  171-26         [Contents]

Jesus prays for himself, for his Disciples and for all Believers.
To Jesus prayer was both natural and necessary. So also with us.
Prayer is a discipline, a pleasure, in emergency and with compassion.

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ...  171

'Looked towards heaven'.   Which direction?  Up?
Where is heaven?   Where is the kingdom of God?
      It is around us, above us and within us.  Rev 212 Lu 1721

1. Jesus prays for himself

Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.  171-5

'Father ...'
His prayer is based on a permanent, powerful, communicating relationship.
No mere man could pray like this; (except he blaspheme most terribly)
The author and the speaker must be Divine.
'The time has come'. At last!
God had been 'waiting' a long time for this moment.
      It was the 2nd of the 3 major points in history of the world.
      Not Nebuchadnezzar, 1066, the Industrial Revolution or man on the moon,
            but Creation, now Crucifixion, and finally his Coming again.
Our forebears got one thing right. Years are measured BC or AD.
Apart from 'The Lord's Prayer' when else do we know what Jesus prayed?
      Raising of Lazarus.  1141-43
      After warning unrepentant cities, thanks Father for revelation.  Math 1125-30
      In the Garden. Hoped for another 'Way'; none. Learned obedience.  Math 26  Heb 58
      On the Cross. 'Forsaken', yet 'finished work'.  Math 2746-50

In this prayer, what does Jesus ask or say?
      He asks for his glory to be restored and glory for his Father.
How did Father answer this request?
      Yes, he was lifted up to heaven, but he was also lifted up on a cross.
How can Christ being crucified bring him glory?
      It completed the work he came to do. But it is surely a strange answer!
How did John see Jesus in heaven?  As a Lamb slain.  Rev 56
What would we think if any other man asked God for glory?
      His motive is likely to be selfish, power hungry etc
            e.g. Erdogan of Turkey desires to be the modern Saladin or Nebuchadnezzar.
            also many other political and industrial world leaders, etc
Jesus saw and felt the groans of his beautiful, but spoiled, creation.
He knew what it could be and would be like when he redeemed it.
He had come to enable this.
      "Thy kingdom come, O God, thy rule, O Christ, begin. ..."
He had 'completed the work'.  174 1930
And he eagerly longed for the final judgement and restoration.
Jesus was given authority not for selfish gain, but in order to give eternal life. 172,3
Power to overthrow sin and enable man to know God,
      now and later in the new heaven and the new earth.

Very few men are not corrupted by power.
      Moses - 'No man meek like my servant Moses.' - so rare.  Num 123
      Billy Graham - see review in Time magazine on his 80th birthday.
With Jesus, power, authority, and judgement are never abused.
      Unlike all other men, he could ask for glory. His motive is pure.

      Your will be done, O God of Life,
      On earth as it is in wild heaven;
      Where those in poverty are freed and fed,
      Where martyrs sing and mourners dance,
      Where debts are off and death is dead
      And power is safe with the Lamb of God.

      Garth Hewitt

Father has given Jesus all authority. How? When?
      In Creation at the beginning.
      Over the elements - wind, wine, bread, fig tree.
      Over men - drove them out of the Temple.
      Over disease - leprosy, blind, lame, deaf.
      Over Satan - all demons cowered and fled before Jesus.
      Over death - Widow of Nain's son, Jairus' daughter, Lazarus.
      Over sin - power to forgive.  Lu 523
      and "to open the Kingdom of heaven to all believers".   Te Deum 10
"Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard:
the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured,
the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor."
 Lu 722

Jesus - born of the virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit - was with the Father 'before the world began'.  175 11
A mystery indeed, but true!
Only to the proud heart does our inability to understand diminish its truth.

2. Jesus Prays for the Disciples

I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.  176-8

Father and Son talk together.  The disciples are privileged to 'overhear'.
Jesus revealed the Father to disciples.  Math 1127 (also Father reveals Son.  Math 1617)
Father's gift to his Son is a bride. (as also in marriage service)
Jesus rehearses some surprising truths about the disciples. i.e.
1. They obeyed your Word. How? Responsive to correction. (except Judas)
2. They accepted that 'the words' came from Father.  (Even if not understood at the time)
3. They knew with certainty that Jesus came from the Father.
4. They believed that Jesus was sent, - and why.  (The planned purpose of redemption)
God never sends anyone (especially his Son) without a good reason.
Disciples may have been weak, but the Saviour saw they had faith.
Even if it was small, Jesus did not despise it.
What Jesus said of them is a good foundation for any Christian.

I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.  179,10

Jesus prays for them.
      What a privilege! And he prays for us - continually.  Heb 725
At this moment his focus was on the 11 Jewish disciples, not on the world.
      This can be a great offence to the world.
      Many unbelievers and those who follow in the line of Ishmael, Esau, Ammon and Moab (Lot's grandsons)
     deeply resent that God should choose others ahead of them.  Ro 910-21
      (Later he would pray for other believers)
Jesus and his Father shared all things. c.f. possessiveness of men.
How can they or we bring glory to God?
      The 72 came back rejoicing at effective ministry.  Lu 1018,19   But note 1020
      Obedience brings glory.  Rev 153,4
      Seen in a changed people.  Is 401-5 Ro 818-21
      And in confessing that Jesus is Lord.  Phil 211 Col 34

I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name - the name you gave me - so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.  1711,12

In leaving the disciples what was the one over-riding matter of concern?
      It was not 'the joy that was set before him', but the disciples' protection.
How did Jesus protect them? And what from?
      Jesus never leaves us alone.  Heb 135
      Protected by the 'Good Shepherd'.  101-16
      Kept safe by the mighty power of his Name.  Phil 210
How else are we kept safe?
      Many angels walk this earth as well as evil spirits.
            Dan 622  Gen 1910,16 Math 282-7 Act 519,20 103 2723 Rev 21,8, etc
What are we kept safe from?
      From sin and deception:  1 Co 1013
      But beware of carelessness (presumption) and compromise.  Deut 49 Josh 225 Eph 515 Math 2641
We must resist Satan.  James 56b-8a
      'The roaring lion' is chained, but he is still dangerous.
"All things work together for good ..."  Ro 828 - even our foolish decisions.

How often are we aware of God's protection?   And how often unaware of it!?
      As children how often were we aware of the protection of our parents?

'That they may be one'.
God's desire is that the church may be one.
With all our denominations and divisions, we have failed badly here.  Why?
Attempts at 'church unity' are mostly futile - they rarely address the root problem.
      Independence, power, worship style, pride, success, buildings, deception ...
But it must grieve Jesus terribly.

Only one 'lost'.   Judas was given opportunity to repent: but he chose not to.
Jesus specially chose him to sit next to him at Last Supper.  1323
Warned by Jesus. 132-5,10,21   And in Scripture.  Ps 419
Scripture fulfilled - it always is!
If Jesus so honoured Scripture (OT), why are many so critical of it today?

I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  1713,14

Going back to his Father, 'now'.   Jesus was in no doubt of either his death or his resurrection.
Who in the O.T. believed in death and resurrection?  
      Abraham - Heb 1117-19 David - Ps 4915 Elijah - 2 Kg 210

Jesus wanted the disciples to have his joy;  "the joy that was set before him".  Heb 122,3
      Even if, or rather when, the world would then hate them.
Why did the world hate Jesus; and later his followers?
      'Light' exposes the evil; Christians are a severe challenge to their conscience!
            Satan hates God, Christians and all God's creation.
            He spreads his hatred whenever and wherever he can.

What is the most precious gift that Jesus gives us?   His Word.
How much do Christians value it?  Is it read, memorised and trusted?  
      Or is it just something to be argued about?  
      The source of so much controversy?
Naturally, the world hates the Word -
      Communists, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, Liberals ...
      Bibles (and its translators) were burnt in 16th Century by RC church.
      Others either add or subtracts bits to support their deception.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  1715,16

Why not take the disciples out with him and spare them all the hatred and pain?
      They would certainly have welcomed such a plan!
      The world remains a harsh place. Many have often wished to be taken.  Ps 556
But God's plan was for many of the world to be saved and transformed.
      If removed, then no martyrs, no evangelism, no 'Fruit', and no 'Bride'.
The easiest way is rarely the best way.  2 Tim 28-10 Heb 1210,11

'The Evil one' could also be translated as just 'Evil'.
      Same word as in the Lord's prayer , "deliver us from evil."
Protect them with a wall of fire.  Zech 25  2 Kgs 615-17

What does it mean to be 'not of the world'?
      Convents and monastery's try to 'get out of the world and it's evil', but fail.
      It may be useful to withdraw from the busy world occasionally.
            S.Taliot Monastery in Jerusalem has 10ft high wall. The nuns never see anyone.
3 saints in O.T. whose prayer is NOT granted.  Each ask 'to be taken out of the world.'
      Moses  Num 1115    Elijah 1 Kg 193-5   Jonah 43

The Puritans hated sin and wickedness. They sought and founded a new world.
      Unfortunately the U.S. has fallen a long, long way from its initial ideals.
Puritanism today is generally despised.
      Were they too extreme, or have we become too lax?
Wesley brothers and the 'Holy Club' at Oxford sought to live a holy life.
Daniel learned to live a righteous life even in Babylon. But it cost him.
The 'World' is capable of 'good deeds' - without believing.
      e.g. Bob Geldof raised over £10m for the Ethiopian famine.
      Christianity is more than compassion or having different moral standards.
If born again, we have 'died' to sin and are risen with Christ.  Ro 611
Jesus and the Kingdom of God is within us.
Therefore ... keep commandments with a new heart and a certain hope.
Jesus repeated, 'They (his disciples) are not of this world ...'


Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.  1717-19

What does it mean to be sanctified?
      To make holy, separate, free from sin; pure. From Latin sanctus = holy.  Sanctuary = 'Holy Place' - separate.
The desire of Jesus is that we should be holy, righteous, humble, patient, true, clear, faithful and obedient.
      Like Jesus.
During the next month try making a list of the characteristics of Jesus.
      e.g. Jesus is adventurous, generous, radical, courteous ...
      He is not boring, rude, effeminate, insecure, flippant ...

How can we live a holy life, and be different from the world?
      Many Christians do not want to be too different!
      Many like the (legitimate) pleasures of this world, and are comfortable here.
      They don't like the idea of being 'Pilgrims and strangers.'  Heb 1113
So what does it mean to be a holy person?  Do you have to be a missionary or a minister or a monk?
      Or can you be a holy house-wife, teacher, solicitor, builder, farmer ... ?
      I hope so, else there is not much hope for us!
When Paul writes to the church at Corinth (and they had their problems too!) he says,
      "... to those sanctified in Christ, and called to be holy ..."  1 Co 12
Holiness must be the great desire of all Christ's servants.
      A desire that God is glad to grant.  We shall be holy, like him.  1 Jn 31-3

Common problems:
Holiness must be real, of the heart, not exterior appearance.
In the Song of Sol 52-6 the Beloved knocked at the door for a long time
      but when the bride eventually answered, he had gone. Why?
      It wasn't impatience. She came with her hands full of good works (myrrh).
      Salvation can never be bought or earned.
Consistency: do not put on 'Sunday smile'.
      Be the same at home, at work, at church and on Monday.  1 Thes 523,24
      Beware of the becoming 'Law-makers' and imposing it on others,  especially the 4th Commandment,
            "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy."  Exd 208
Who decides what action is holy? and on what basis?
When all around us (in the church) do something, it is hard to say, "for me it is not right."
      But am I willing to be different?
Today discipline is often a dirty word.  Many seek happiness and revival, having a 'good time' ... now.
We live in an age of 'Freedom' and 'Rights' c.f. Obedience and Responsibility.
"Wrong views about holiness are generally traceable to wrong views about human corruption." J.C.Ryle

How may we become holy people?
The Law and commandments of God are much underestimated.
They are "Sweeter than honey and more precious than gold."  Ps 197-11
Not an awful grind, but a new covenant written in the heart.  Jer 3133
"If you love me you will obey me" - willingly.  1415 1510
Seek, Learn, Rehearse, Rejoice, Meditate, Delight . . .   Ps 1199-16
Men may not agree with our arguments, but they cannot deny a godly life or testimony.

Some helpful suggestions. Read the Word, Pray, Watch, Obey (persevere)
Hearing God's Word brings salvation: it also sanctifies.  Ro 1017 Lu 1128 Eph 617 1 Jn 214
Christ gave himself that his Bride may be holy.  Eph 525-27
      Note the context. It is a challenging command!
Never forget that holiness remains wholly by grace; it can never be earned.

Why is holiness so important?
"Without holiness no man shall see the Lord."  Heb 1214
There is no easy way to holiness.
To "hunger and thirst after righteousness" is the only indispensable condition of being filled.  Is 551-13
      See 'Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Holiness' by Stuart and Jill Briscoe.  And 'Holiness' by J.C.Ryle
Ryle writes, "I have had a deep conviction for many years that practical holiness ...
is not sufficiently attended to by modern Christians.
Politics, or controversy, or worldliness have eaten the heart of lively piety in too many of us. ...
The immense importance of 'adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour'
and making it lovely and beautiful by our daily habits and tempershas been far too much overlooked ...
sound doctrine is useless unless it is accompanied by a holy life."

What is practical holiness?

a) It is the habit of being of one mind with God (i.e. with his Word)
      It is the habit of agreeing with God's judgement,
            hating what he hates, loving what he loves,
            and measuring everything in this world by the standard of his word.
            (instead of by the futility of our own 'wisdom').  1 Co 118-25

b) A holy man will endeavour to shun every known sin and to keep every known command.
      He will have a greater fear of displeasing God than of displeasing the world.
      Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
            but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
 Ro 122
      What we read and watch/see will greatly affect our spiritual life.

c) A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ.  He will therefore:
      Bring every thought captive to Christ.  2 Co 105
      Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
            Bear with each other and forgive ...
 Col 312,13
      Be unselfish and continually deny himself in order to serve others.  Mk 834
      Persevere, finish the work God has called you to.  James 12-4
      Be lowly-minded and humble.  (the opposite of proud, unteachable, arrogant)
            Math 53-6  Num 123  Ps 259
      Not retaliate under undeserved insults.  Math 2729, 42 Is 537 1 Pe 39
      Generosity in spirit and finance.  2 Co 89       Continue constant in prayer.  Lu 612 928 111 181
      Always be a faithful witness to the truth.  Lu 128-10
      Hold all earthly things lightly.  Lu 211-4   c.f.   Math 1916-22
      Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness  Math 633  Heb 1113-16

Justification and Sanctification

The Lord Jesus has undertaken everything that our souls require:
      1. To deliver us from the guilt of our sins by his atoning death (justification),
      2. To deliver us from the dominion of our sins (sanctification).

            Rock of ages cleft for me,
            Let me hide myself in thee!
            Let the water and the blood,
            From thy riven side which flowed,
            Be of sin the double cure;
            Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

Salvation and redemption are totally God's gift.  Eph 1 13,17 28
Holiness and sanctification are also offered by his grace,
      but we must work, strive for it.  Phil 212
      It requires both Resting and Striving.  Heb 49-11 1 Tim 48-10
Our sanctification is totally dependent on that of Jesus.  Act 2618 Ro 1516
"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."  Phil 212
      =  "Work out what God has worked in."   (Salvation Army Captain in Falmouth)

Justification and Sanctification are alike in that:
a) Both proceed originally from the free grace of God.
b) The root of each is Christ, the giver of both pardon and holiness.
c) Both begin at the same time.

Justification and Sanctification differ in that:
a) In justification our own works have no place at all.
      In sanctification our own works are of vast importance,
      God bids us fight and watch and pray and strive and take pains and labour.
b) Justification is a finished, the work has been completed by Jesus Christ.
      Sanctification is eminently a progressive work as long as a man lives.

"Justification is God seeing me in Jesus.
 Sanctification is God seeing Jesus in me."  (Oswald Chambers)
"Christ, our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption."  1 Co 130
What is the great desire of Christ for his Bride?  Protection, Holiness, Oneness.

3. Jesus Prays for Other Believers

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  1720-23

We believe because they (the disciples or their descendants) told us the Gospel.
How do we tell others?
      By the 'message' of our lives as well as by our words.  1 Co 420
      The 'power' is not to dominate, but simple proof that the grace of God is true.
      Hymn: 'Jesus, the name high over all'. What does Jesus ask for these other believers?   Unity, respect, love.
      Not just minor agreement on minor matters, or an annual 'Unity service'
      but to be one as Jesus and Father are one - harmony of objective and action.
Unity is not always doing something the same way. (i.e. style of worship)
The healing, preaching, and talking of Jesus varied considerably.  He never got in a rut.
      Each was right at the time for the particular person. c.f. ministry today.
Jesus raised dead by touching coffin  Lu 711-15
      and by command Jn 1138-44
He healed blindness by touch Math 929  by spitting Mk 822-25  and by washing Jn 97
He healed by remote command Jn 446-52   by touching the leper  Lu 512,13
      and the woman who secretly touched his garment corner.  Lu 843-48
He preached on the Mt. to crowds  Math 51   with woman by the well.  Jn 47
      in the home  Lu 736-  and in the Temple / Synagogue  Mk 1235 121
He prayed in private  Lu 918  in public Jn 1141   and with disciples  Jn 13-17
Salvation was seen and grasped by many Old and New Testament saints in different ways.
      Abel saw his own best but still imperfect sacrifice was insufficient.  
      God provided Abraham with a ram for sacrifice, later he would provide a Lamb.
      Noah was told the 'pitch' inside and outside the Ark was atonement.
      David knew forgiveness for God grated his plea for a clean heart.
      John sees 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world'.
      Mary pours out tears and perfume in gratitude for forgiveness.
      With the Samaritan woman and with Nathaniel, Messiah reveals their past life.
Such variety, no one 'right' way.

What was to be their objective of witness?
      That the world may know that Jesus was sent for one purpose: to be Saviour, Redeemer and Messiah.
      That the world may know that God loves all men - in the same way as the Father loves his only Son.
He does not wish that any perish.  2 Pe 39
      But sadly, all who refuse to believe him will do so.

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.  1724-26

Jesus greatly desires us to be with him,
      even with all our foolish ways and marred character.
This desire of God may seem surprising, but it is the truth.
Let no man say or think that God cannot really love him,
      or that he is unforgivable, inadequate, or too insignificant.
Jesus also wants us to see his glory.  Why?
      Many prophets saw the glory of God in a special way. e.g.
            Isaiah saw the Lord seated on a throne ... Is 61-7
            Heard truth the whole earth is full of his glory. Creation; not man's mess!
            "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined!" Knew truth, repented and forgiven.
24-26Isaiah, Moses, Ezekiel each saw glory before being sent out.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit are from everlasting to everlasting.  Jn 11-3,10
They existed before the earth was created. (whenever that was)
The world does not know the Father; most men do not wish to, or are unaware that we can do so.
Jesus had promised his return, and also to dwell within us.  1417,20,23

Fantastic privilege of Jesus Christ being in us!  and of our being 'in Christ'.
      As "Water in the bucket and the bucket in the ocean."
Alive, loved, redeemed, adopted, given gifts, reconciled etc
This is so much more, so much better that God being 'an occasional helper!'
The mystery of 'Christ in me'. Col 125-27
He comes not as a passing guest,
but as the best, permanent, faithful and never failing friend.
He is the Life in us, who were once hopelessly dead.
Precisely how, when, where I cannot say.
But it is the truth because Jesus said so!

What is the Privilege of being 'in Christ'?
Rom 611 1 Co 1522 2 Tim 11 Rom 623
Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. ...
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. ...
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise
of life that is in Christ Jesus, for the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Once we were dead,
separated from the God we now love.
Adam and Eve hid; then were evicted.
Jesus brings life; with him we re-enter 'Eden'
We live in the presence of God
Rom 839
(Nothing) ... will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Love of God
Security, loyalty, faithful, protected
Eph 17 Eph 213
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins ...
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away
have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Redeemed, bought, brought near
Rev 59 1 Co 619,20
The Life is in the blood. Lev 1710-14
New birth is new blood stream, a new nature
a new inheritance. Ezek 3626 Ps 5110
Sin and the just death sentence are transferred
Bull + goat + Azazel + ram. Lev 162-31
Eph 432
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.
Being forgiven is on-going
And it is conditional - 'as we forgive others'
Eph 14 Eph 15 Eph 111
For he chose us in him before the foundation of the world to be holy ...
In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ ...
In him we were also chosen, have been predestined according to the plan ...
Chosen and Adopted
Why me?
c.f. Picking teams at school - merit or popularity
Security of real love
Adoption is complete and permanent
2 Co 120
For no matter how many promises God has made,
they are "Yes" in Christ. ...

"Come Holy Spirit, and utter in me the total 'Yes' of Jesus."
Every promise is based on faith and trust.
God always keeps his word.
Abraham did not receive what was promised,
he saw it and greeted it from afar. Heb 1113,39
One of the chief lessons of Scripture.
Eph 13 (+Phil 419)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual
blessing in Christ.
Not easy pain-free place of joy and peace.
Heb 1135b-39
Jacob limped, bereaved, hungry, exiled,
yet God blessed him. Gen 359
Phil 47
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Peace of God
What is our dream of peace?
no war, no disharmony,
no conflict of interests.
Peace 'Not as the world gives ...'  1427
Confidence c.f. fear.
Especially at the end
Col 210
And you have been given fullness in Christ,
who is the head over every power and authority.
Of what? Grace  116 Love Eph 319
Everything  Eph 123
Overcomes fear of failure, rejection ...
2 Tim 312
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus
will be persecuted,
If we aren't, many are.
How much do we care? Algeria, Sudan
1 Pe 510
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Called to Glory
Peter knew what it was to be weak
He lived in the promise of 'I will restore'
Lu 2224-37
2 Co 214
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ
and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
Not a power-game, but a character
that overcomes darkness with light.
I desire that all men may see
something of Jesus, even in me.
Triumph is Christ saying to us,
'Well done ..'
2 Co 517 Eph 210
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone,
the new has come! For we are God's workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, ...
New Creation
Created, re-born.
Not 'turning over a new leaf'
Created for a purpose, not ornamental
Some are famous,
but most are unknown to history
see E.Blunden 'Forefathers'
2 Co 519
That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
not counting men's sins against them. ...
Requires guilty party (both sides usually)
to say 'sorry, I was wrong'.
Joy of restored relationship
Once forgiven, God forgets my sin, so must I
Eph 27
In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches
of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
What is kindness?
Like grace, it is undeserved
Proof of friendship, inclusion
Kindness enfolds, makes one
Gal 328 Gal 56
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus. ...
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
All One
Basis of honour. Lu 213
Desire to honour others more than ourselves.
Respect. I don't always know best
Know God's purpose and fulfill it together
As Jesus did this with his Father
1 Co 12 (+Phil 11) 1 Pe 514
To the church of God in Corinth,
to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, ...
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
The Church
I am not the Bride, the Church is
I am not the tree nor even a branch, but a twig!
Together we are 'in Christ'

See The last 20 hours of Jesus on earth
This is a NIV combination of all four Gospels. Use back arrow to return here.

The Trial of Jesus  181 - 1916         [Contents]

Kidron = "Winter torrent"
Adam fell in a garden; Jesus prayed, was buried and rose in a garden.
John records the 'Last Supper' prayer, but not the garden prayer.

They needed torches to see the 'Light of the world'!
Temple guards. Lu 2252 Jn 732,45
'Jesus knew what was going to happen'. How?
He knew the Scriptures:-
Gen 228  Jn 129 856   Ps 11826   Lu 1334,35   Ps 22
Is 611,2 Lu 418-20 Ps 694 419 Jn 1525 Dan 713,14
Is 534 Math 817 Zech 137 Math 2631 Mk 1326
Jonah 117 Math 1240 Is 5312 Jn 1918 Is 537
Ps 11822 Math 2142 Is 533 Jn 193 Lu 239

Jesus did not run away - quite the reverse.
Perfect submission to the will of God.
The office of Priest was to Teach, Pray, and to Sacrifice for the people.
How was he so calm? Only after the agony of prayer and trust in Father.
Note from Judas how far and how fast a disciple may fall - be warned.

'They fell to the ground' - before the only Son of God.
Shows again that Jesus was the master in control. God always is!
It was not the time chosen by man, but by God. 1327 Math 263-5
It is very likely that there was some vital 'behind the scenes' collusion between the High Priest and Pilate:
1) It would have been disastrous for the High Priest to have Jesus on remand throughout Passover week.
      He had to have the assurance that Pilate would not re-try the case and so delay execution.
2) This would account for the considerable delay between Judas leaving and arrest.
      Time for teaching (Jn 14-16), prayer (Jn 17), hymn, a walk of about 2 miles to the Mt. of Olives
      and for the disciples to fall asleep 3 times. 3 hours (minimum)
Even in such a moment, the Good Shepherd cared for his sheep.  1028,29
This was the 2nd time Peter had tried to thwart God's plan.  Mk 832,32
Later he would blush with shame at every remembrance of it, and his triple denial.
Zeal undirected by God is often very foolish.
But God is thankfully in the business of forgiveness and restoration.

Mere men can only arrest God if he is willing! c.f. 2 Kg 616
Having fallen to the ground and witnessed the healing of Malchus,
the soldier's hearts were still unimpressed and hard.
'They had a job to do'; 'Only obeying orders'.
Annas was High Priest in AD 6; deposed by Romans in AD 15. Lu 32 Act 46

'another disciple' = John. Peter was obviously a friend of John.
The girl's question was not a particularly challenging one.
How easy it is to be caught 'off guard'. Take care.
One small 'slip' makes the next 'slip' much easier.

No false or secret teaching by Jesus  (although he did not always explain parables).
Find a witness - if you can! They couldn't, so became violent - as men often do.

The third and final challenge.
But Peter was quite blind to his fulfilling Jesus' word.
His pride was dealt a mortal blow. Perhaps for the good!

Officials had not eaten Passover, so not Thursday, but Wednesday.  (See notes 131)
Sanhedrin were more concerned with petty purity than 'weightier matters'.  Math 2323 Act 1028
'What charges ... ?' Pilate decides not to 'rubber stamp' the Jewish trial.
Goes back on his word to Caiaphas. (see notes on 186-11 above)

Pilate was a coarse, tactless, obstinate soldier; not a political 'governor'.
Married daughter of Tiberius Caesar. (by 3rd wife)
Went to Judea in 26 AD. Unusual privilege of taking his wife.
In 7 years he had caused 3 Jewish revolts.
1) Took ensigns (standards of the Roman legions) with images of Caesar into Jerusalem at night.
      Jews besieged Caesarea for 6 days. No effort to negotiate.
      Surrounded demonstrators with army and threatened to kill them.
      Jews refused to go. Pilate capitulates and removes ensigns.
2) Pilate raids Corban fund for the good work of providing safe water for Jews in Jerusalem.
      But fund was for religious purposes only.
      Sends in soldiers disguised as civilians. Many deaths - and complaints.
3) Puts shields in Herodian Palace. Strong objection ignored.
      Jews protest to Tiberius. Pilate reproved. His reaction is typical.
      Good opportunity to make the Jews get themselves into a mess!
      'You judge him'. They had. Death!  But it was illegal. Only Rome could carry out the sentence.
      Strangely, they wanted some semblance of Law, but mostly death.

One of the charges of the Jews was that Jesus claimed to be king.
It clearly did not threaten his Roman authority. So this intrigued Pilate.
But he wouldn't admit that it wasn't his idea.
'What have you done?' c.f. This is the charge; do you plead guilty or not guilty.
But Jesus answers Pilate's first question about kingship.
Pilate almost acknowledges the kingship of Jesus.
So Jesus takes him on a step. Do you wish to hear the truth?
Pilate balks. His question 'What is truth?' is an evasive cop-out.
No time for philosophy. He does not even wait for an answer.
Jesus did not come to this earth with an army carrying swords and shields.
Truth can be sharper than a sword. And it can bring life instead of death. See Lu 2340-43
Criminals and 'Ploughboys' often know more of Jesus than the rich, the famous and the wise.

Pilate had received his wife's message. (maybe while Jesus was with Herod).
Jews allowed to chose who to release at the feast.
So why did Pilate employ a tactic he was bound to lose?
Pilate was not given to thinking clearly until it was too late.

Pilate thought a flogging would appease the Jews. Again it failed.
Pilate knew about brute force, but not about politics or diplomacy.
No regard for whether Jesus actually deserved flogging.
Justice was not part of his thought or practice either.

Pilate brings out Jesus; after his flogging and mocking in robe + crown.
Crowd had one will. And strangely it was God's will!
Jesus was not inextricably caught by the evil power of men.
Satan arrogantly thought he was defeating God.
But he was wrong, so very wrong.
Jesus willingly submitted to this - and to much more yet to come.
Why was Pilate so afraid?  Was it wife's dreams?  Or superstition?
      Alexander the Great put much store on omens and signs.
      He examined the organs of animals to help in 'battle decisions'.
      Romans were more concerned with what was done; Jews with dreams, and Greeks with wisdom.
Had Pilate heard of the raising of Lazarus or the triumphal entry just a week earlier?

This time Jesus refuses to answer Pilate. Not pique or retaliation.
If Jesus told him, he would not believe.
Pilate thought he had power, 'the whip hand' that Jesus had just felt!
"I lay down my life... No one takes it from me." 1015b,18
"He has no power over me ..." 1430b
Jesus knew what neither Pilate nor anyone else knew: (though it is in Scripture)
He and Father had planned and agreed all this from the beginning.
Caiaphas was more guilty: he should have known better. Pilate only a Roman.
One day Pilate, Caiaphas, Herod et all, will stand before Jesus and be judged.
What a sobering thought!

It is amazing what men will say when it suits them!
Pilate with all his Roman authority was defeated by the Jews.
They threatened a report to Tiberius which would certainly have cost him his job.
The price was too high. He caved in, again. Prov 2925 Math 2017
About 5 years later he slaughters some Samaritans on Mt Gerizim,
and had to stand trial for it in Rome. He probably committed suicide.

Immediate execution - no court of appeal.
What happens when soldiers 'take charge'?
Cruelty, injustice, worst of human nature revealed.
Peer pressure is not new, nor limited to teenagers.
Scourge was designed to hurt and wound. Many died from it.
Jesus didn't. He even managed to carry his cross some of the way.
And he bore it all to free us from the guilt and power of sin.
I am the one who deserved to be crucified, not Jesus.
At this very time, all the selected Passover lambs were about to be slain.
      (assuming crucifixion was on Thursday. see chapter 'When was the Passover')

Like the 'Good Shepherd' who leads his sheep. 104 812
Learn 'line by line' the truth of God's Word.
Even world events make more sense; learn to see the hand of God in the affairs of all men.

The trial of Jesus was highly irregular:-
1. The Witnesses should have arrested Jesus.
2. Prosecution witnesses did not agree on charge or evidence.
3. Trial before Annas was at night. (not allowed for capital offences)
      but the trial before Sanhedrin was at daybreak.  Lu 2266
4. Flogged by Pilate without being proved guilty of any crime.
5. Death sentence should be carried out on the following day.

The Crucifixion  1917-42         [Contents]

They did not wish to see Jesus die on the way (after flogging),
      so they made Simon carry the cross for the last part.
'Here they crucified him ...' A simple, unembellished statement.
But a fact that has opened the Kingdom of God to all believers, from all nations and throughout all ages.
"Since the world began, the sun never shone on a more surprising spectacle both for angels and men." J.C.Ryle.
See how dire are the consequences of sin that requires such a sacrifice.
See how great a love our Saviour has that he was so willing to pay.
There is no evidence as to whether the cross was , T, or Y (tree).
Tradition allows only one shape; but it may be wrong.  Act 530 1039 etc
Cross (or at least it's cross beam) must not too heavy to carry nearly 1 mile.
Not nailed through palms but through wrists.
      Gk. word in Jn 2027 means 'hollow', but is translated hands.
Totally naked and with others to maximise the indignity and identify Jesus with the worst criminals.  Is 5312
Darius I (Persia) crucified 3000 political opponents in Babylon 519 BC.
Alexander Jannaeus (Judean king) crucified 800 Pharisaic opponents in 88 BC.
Romans crucified many 1000's of Jews in 70 and 135 AD.
Constantine abolished it in 337 AD just before he died.

Pilate was greatly intrigued by Jesus being a King.
Knew he did not threaten Rome; but where was his kingdom?
Notice should have been a statement of the crime he was found guilty of .
Pilate rightly wrote, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews".  1837 1921
In Hebrew it is "Yeshua HaNazarie v Melech HaYehudim"
      or (from right to left) H W H Y
Is this why the Jewish leaders complained to Pilate?
Only those who have believed and obeyed him as King in this world will find him their Saviour on the Last Day.
Pilate refuses to change the accusation. It was his only victory over the Jews!
Math + Lu add that Jesus was mocked by chief priests, soldiers and one of the criminals.
He did not retaliate or defend himself, but He said "Father, forgive them ..."
One of the two criminals was saved.

Scripture is always fulfilled. But not always when or how we expect.
Soldiers would not have known the Jewish scripture. Ps 2218

Jesus always cared more for others than for himself.
'Dear woman' (NIV) c.f. 'Woman' (KJV) also 24 421 810 2015
In UK 1948 1 in 10 homes occupied by single person, now it is 1 in 4.
"It is not good for man to live alone".  Not just husband / wife relationship.
Mk adds that Jesus was crucified at the 3rd hour (09.00).
Math + Lu add that there was darkness from 6th to 9th hour. (12.00 to 15.00).
At 9th hour, the Temple veil was torn in half (Heb 1019-23), the earth shook,
      tombs were opened, and the sun shone again.
Mary needed, and was given, the support of John. She should be honoured.
      She is redeemed but not 'immaculate', she should not be worshipped.
      Nor can any prayer to her (or other saints) be of any help to us.
      To say that Jesus is too busy is an insult. Jesus alone is our Advocate.

"My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth."  Ps 2215 6921 Lu 1624
Crucifixion and the torments of hell are both accompanied by a extreme thirst.
To all who believe is given the water of life, in abundance.  47-14 Rev 2217

What was 'finished'?
The 'full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice'.  Heb 1011-14
Never again would Passover lambs have to be killed.
      (Today at Passover lambs are not killed: two lamb bones are displayed).
The Law's condemnation now had an answer.  1 Co 153 Gal 216
The O.T. types and figures were completed; God himself had provided.  Gen 228,14
His sufferings were over and Satan's head was bruised.  Gen 315
No one took his life, he laid it down. He 'Gave up his spirit'.  Ps 2231

The value of this sacrifice of Christ can only be appreciated if we also believe in the Last Judgement.
We see what we are saved from, as well as what we are saved for.
Any man who is concerned about the Judgement would, like Christian in The Pilgrim's Progress,
      'flee from the wrath to come'.
But alas, most are more concerned with their situation in this world, now.
Universalists dislike the whole concept of judgement; it seems so alien to a God of love.
Some may admit to there being good and evil, but they say that all punishment must be remedial.
Some believers have difficulty too; they say that the judgement is now,
      for it is by believing now that a man passes from death to life,
      so they ask, how can there also be another judgement later?

What is the Last Judgement?

It is NOT the time when our future is decided;
      but the great and public event on which our destiny is announced.
It will bring great glory to God, who is just, faithful, merciful and gracious.
All kings and rulers, the rich and famous, all will bend their knee before him.
Jesus will be the judge: he will judge all men, the righteous and the wicked.

Righteous are given a crown of righteousness on that longed-for day.  2 Tim 48
God will judge both the righteous and the wicked.  Jer 2531 Ecc 317
God will pronounce judgement in favour of the saints.  Dan 722
Father judges no-one; he has entrusted all judgement to the Son.  Jn 522
All will appear before the judgement and receive his due for things done in the body.  2 Co 510
Believers build on the foundation of Christ, using gold, silver ... wood, hay ...  1 Co 311-15
      The wood and hay are burned up on that Day, Believers may suffer loss, but will be saved.
We die, then await judgement on that day.
Christ sacrificed once to take away sin and will appear a 2nd time to bring salvation to those waiting.  Heb 927,28
Believers will be confident on the day of judgement. (but not presumptuous) 1  Jn 417

Then the redeemed will appreciate the new heaven and the new earth.
No more sorrow, pain, war, bondage, tears, unfulfilled longings or weariness.
God will be our light. We shall be free at last.
"Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven" for ever enjoying the glory and presence of God.
We look forward to the Day of Judgement.

'Special Sabbath'.
John makes it clear that this was not the normal Shabbat.  1828 1914, 42
      but a 'Passover' Sabbath. Lev 237 (see notes on 131)
Crucifixion normally lasted 24 - 48 hours, but sometimes up to 5 days.
Jesus' legs were not broken. Scripture (Ps 3420) fulfilled.
His side was pierced to prove he was already dead.
No one can say Jesus was not dead when he was buried. (Roman soldiers knew how to kill)
Blood and Water poured out from the side (heart) of Jesus.  Ps 79
We are born of water and blood (as normal birth) and testify with the Spirit to new birth.  Heb 919 1 Jn 56-12
What will they do when they look upon the Pierced?
      Mourn.  Zech 1210 131 Math 54
      Mourn for sinfulness
      Mourn because we are both helpless and hopeless.
      Mourn for causing the death of the innocent Son of God.
Few will admit this.
For those who do and who believe in Jesus, he did not die in vain.
The day will come when many Jews will see, and mourn and believe.

Some today are buried with great honour and expense,
      but were never 'buried with Christ' while they were alive.  Ro 64
Rich Dives was buried; Lazarus seemed to have been too poor.  Lu 1622
How was Jesus anointed?
      Partially by Nicodemus - the women were too late on Sunday morning!
      Principally by Mary at supper in Bethany two days earlier (Tuesday).
But he was laid in the borrowed tomb of a rich man.   Is 539

Throughout these last hours it is amazing how many prophecies were fulfilled and in such exact details.
'Assigned' a grave with the wicked (i.e. with the 2 criminals).  Is 539a
'and with the rich ...' (i.e. actually laid in Joseph's tomb).  Is 539b
The soldiers 'divided his garments among them' (given 1 each).  Ps 2218a
and 'cast lots' for the one single-piece tunic.  Ps 2218b
'All my bones are out of joint.'  Ps 2214
'My strength is dried up ...  they have pierced my hands and my feet.'  Ps 2215,16

Joseph's fear did not stop him from going to Pilate.
He did not consent to his death - Sanhedrin not unanimous vote.  Lu 2351
How bold are we with non-Christians?  Especially when they are likely to mock us?
Nicodemus' contribution was not a small pot of ointment. (see also Jn 2)
Both men revealed considerable courage.
What do we learn from this?
      Do not despise the small beginnings of faith.
      Nor pretend that it is more than it is (like a child's 1st steps).
      False generosity is as dangerous as ignorant criticism.

The tomb was very small - just big enough for two + the body.
Where was this garden (with tomb) and Golgotha (1917) ?
      Near and outside the city.
      Church of Holy Sepulchre or Gordon's Calvary or Silwan?
            (see Atlas of Jerusalem for the position of the different city walls)
The Garden tomb just outside the Damascus Gate is very beautiful today; so is our salvation;
      but Calvary was very, very different for the willing Jesus.

It is vastly more important to believe why Jesus died than to know where he died.

The Resurrection of Christ  201 - 2125         [Contents]

The events of this resurrection day have never ceased to reverberate.
Visible proof that Jesus had risen and had finally conquered sin and death.
It has changed the hearts and lives of thousands of Christians down the ages.

Any comments on the story as told seem to detract, rather than add to the impact.
Please read  'The Last Hours - a Combined Narrative.'

One can note:-
the strength of the angels; their violent actions throughout the history of man.
the high emotion of Mary Magdalene.
the despair of the two on the way to Emmaus.
the willingness of the guards to be bribed.
the slowness of the disciples to believe.
the reinstatement of Peter.
the disciple's desire for a restored 'political' Israel.
the continuing patience of Jesus as he instructed them.
would they ever be able to take the Gospel to all the world?   etc.

But the one fantastic fact is that although Jesus was crucified, dead andburied,


The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, is King of Kings, for ever.

He has triumphed over sin and death.   Hallelujah!


1 - 2125         [Contents]

The events of this resurrection day have never ceased to reverberate.
Visible proof that Jesus had risen and had finally conquered sin and death.
It has changed the hearts and lives of thousands of Christians down the ages.

Any comments on the story as told seem to detract, rather than add to the impact.
Please read  'The Last Hours - a Combined Narrative.'

One can note:-
the strength of the angels; their violent actions throughout the history of man.
the high emotion of Mary Magdalene.
the despair of the two on the way to Emmaus.
the willingness of the guards to be bribed.
the slowness of the disciples to believe.
the reinstatement of Peter.
the disciple's desire for a restored 'political' Israel.
the continuing patience of Jesus as he instructed them.
would they ever be able to take the Gospel to all the world?   etc.

But the one fantastic fact is that although Jesus was crucified, dead andburied,


The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, is King of Kings, for ever.

He has triumphed over sin and death.   Hallelujah!