INTRODUCTION - Why are there 4 gospels? It gives a picture of Christ through 4 perspectives - John was written many years later and wrote about who Jesus was, not just what He did. Read John and you will KNOW Jesus - Book of John is quite unlike the other 3 Gospels 1. John missed out certain things - John said nothing about the Christian story, baptism of Jesus, temptation of Jesus, dealing with evil spirit, garden of Gethsemane, Lord's supper, ascension 2. John put certain things in - 7 miracles not found in the other 3 gospels 3. John shifted the emphasis - Most events took place in South - Judea/Samaria while the other gospels in the North - Jerusalem - Shift of time. Most events took place in Jesus' earlier part of ministry while the other gospels later part - Different emphasis of people. Multitudes were often mentioned in other gospels but John; a man came by night, a woman at the well. Individuals with personal encounters 4. The teaching of Jesus is very different - Other Gospels in parables. No parables in John but long meaty sermons instead - Deep teaching, long discourses. Not focusing on Christian behaviors but Christian beliefs - Great statements are found. Like I am the resurrection, bread of life, etc....
Why the difference and change? 1. The period which this book was written. Much later 90AD. Means John had thought about/meditate about Christ for 60years 2. The person by whom it was written. John was in the inner circle of 12 and of 3 and he was the closest to Jesus. Sat next to Jesus. - John was the disciple whom Jesus loved. John had a much deeper revelation and love for Christ - John is so much interested in what Jesus did than who He was - So the 7 miracles point to who Jesus was 3. The purpose for which this book is written - 20:30-31 - To help people believe that Jesus is the Messiah and have life in His name. (Believe and live) - To point people to the One who can fix the mess in our hearts and save us - Believe and live in continuous tense. Meaning go on believing and living. Great book for even believers
4. The place where it was written - Ephesus (Turkey) - Problem at Ephesus - They have 2 higher views of John the Baptist and 2 lower views of Jesus - John wrote this Gospel to bring Jesus high - Why 2 lower views of Jesus? - Influenced by Greek thinking that separates the natural/supernatural, spiritual/natural, temporal/eternal, human/divine - So the wrong belief was that Jesus can't be all human and God or He was a super angel.
SCRIPTURES : John 1:1-4
STUDY - Writing biography is always a challenge. Where do you start? How much to cover? Or how far back do you talk about? - There are 4 biographies of Jesus in the Bible - Mark focused on 3 years of Jesus' ministry to show Jesus is the son of Man - Matthew decided to go way back to Jesus birth and genealogy - to show Jesus is the King of the Jews - Luke went all the way back to Adam to show that Jesus is the Savior of the world - John came along to show Jesus is the Son of God. So where should he begin? Go back right at the beginning of the Bible Gen1
- Christ already existed right at the beginning - v1 talks about the eternity of Jesus, personality of Jesus, diety of Jesus - Jesus was with God meaning He was face to face with God a Person - Because God is a Person, we can say God is love - And God is always a Father because He always has a Son - And Jesus was God Take any of these 3 things about Jesus, Christianity will not hold - If there's no eternity in Jesus, He can't give you eternal life - If there's no personality in Jesus, he can't be a friend and savior - If there's no deity in Jesus, He can't forgive your sin because only God can do so - It's because of these 3 things that Jesus can do for us no other man can do
One Word - It's the word "Word" - Why did John not used Jesus but used word? - 2 purposes 1. The name Jesus was only given to him when he was born in Bethlehem. It would be funny to say Jesus was there in the beginning 2. John wanted to give Jesus a title that described Him exactly what He was. But why word? 2 explanations - It means connecting link between 2 people - a word expresses 1 person and enters another - Jesus is the communicating link. God expresses the One Jesus and Jesus enters our lives
- This book was written in Ephesus - 600 yrs before, there was a Greek Philosopher call Heraclitus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraclitus - He asked is there any meaning, logic, pattern to the changing world? Is there any logos (reason) to it? - Look at the chaos in the world. Is there any meaning to it all? - He concluded that there must be! He searched and studied and he couldn't find what's the LOGOS (meaning, pattern, logic) - Man is still searching for the meaning till today - logy : the study of meaning of the different fields...
- Many centuries later Philo studied under Heraclitus - He knew his bible OT and knows there is a logos - He saw that God created the world by speaking words - He doesn't think the logos is in nature. God gave the word and nature came into being.
- John then explained that he know this Word that they are looking for. This logos is God - Christ upholds all things and in Him all things hold together. He is the Word Col 1:17, Rom 11:36 - When we study science and nature, we are studying Christ! - Everything we can see in life on earth, Jesus is the reason of it all - Before Jesus step on creation like the sea, tree, He made it all first! He was always there
- The Word became a human being - The meaning (logos) that man sought for came in appearance as a human being - It's a Person that we need to know in order to make sense of everything in life
SCRIPTURES : John 1:4-18
STUDY - One question that puzzles scientists is where does life come from? - The most basic life cell is the most complex organism with materials and codes that are beyond imagination - Science is no where near finding life - Because in Him was life. Jesus gave life. Every living thing owes its life to Jesus. - Jesus gave Himself the title I am the Life on 2 occasions in which He confronted physical death. He's not talking about spiritual life but physical > Lazarus resurrected
LIGHT - In what sense is the life of Jesus a light to men v4 - Jesus is not talking about physical light. He's not the sun.
1. Light conquers darkness. - Men are living in darkness - mental and moral - Mental : They cannot distinguish what is real and true - Moral : They cannot distinguish what is right
- Mental darkness : Why is it that the greatest brain cannot figure out that God exist? - Moral darkness : When the world is getting darker and more perverted. Wrong becomes right. Inherent human moral darkness manifest increasingly - And all the mental/moral darkness cannot snuff the light of Christ out. It's the other way. Darkness will be lit up - His light takes away the mental confusion and moral weakness. His light shines. - No one can equal that light nor extinguish that light. 2. Light causes divisions - Light cuts the darkness. - John said Jesus was in the world and the world couldn't recognize him but the world didn't recognise Him v10 - Sadly people don't want the light. When Jesus shines into us, we run back to darkness (Ill: centipedes under rock) - While others when they see the light they run to Him and receive Him (Ill: Running into summer sun) v11-12 - When we received the Light. 2 things happen 1. He changed our status v12 - We become children of God and God is our Father when we come into His light through believing in Him 2. He changed our state - Your state is changed by being born again spiritually. Not physical birth of blood v13 - Babies are born unwanted or wanted. Some are born of the will of flesh but some deliberate decision of man v13 - When you believe in Jesus, we are born of God and He wanted us. We are starting a new life all over again
- When Jesus shines and someone stepped into that light, that person steps into the divineness of God through Him who made it possible by being human and walk among us - The word became flesh and dwelt among us - That's John's account of the Christmas story is the Word became flesh (human being) - Hymn: Glory be to God on high - And we beheld His glory when He walked here on earth as a fully man
Grace and Truth - Jesus shares His grace with us - v16: Of His fullness we received grace instead of grace - ILL: Milk bottle - Empty bottle put out at door. The next door it's full again - When Jesus gives us His grace, when it's used up again, it's full again! It keeps coming! - If not, we cannot never be like Christ. But Christ gives His grace to be like Him - v17: The law came with demands. But Jesus came to supply grace and truth - Jesus is saying, "I will help you" Don't try to be this and that. Let me put it in you. That's grace operating! - v18 : Grace enlightens us. We can't see God. But we get to know Jesus, we will get to know God
SCRIPTURES - John 1:19-34
STUDY - John was a man who gave his whole life just for one person to enter centre stage and he didn't fail - Son of a priest, young man who stepped into ministry preaching repentance and baptising people - Drones of people came to listen and eventually got baptised by him. Why? - For thousands of years, Israel had been in trouble/invasion ever since the days of King David - Greeks/Egyptians/Syrians/Romans came and overran them - They were looking for hope and saw scriptures that God will send them man to help them - Book of Malachi said that God will send Elijah back to them because it says that God will send a Prophet to them - And God will send them a Messiah, the Anointed One. So they were looking for the One - And for 400 years God was silent before John the Baptist came into the scene - And so we reach a generation who knew not prophecy or God speaking directly...
- So when they listened to John, they heard God - His message was simple. You are all dirty, I'll wash you - People realized that they were dirty inside and people wanted this. Why? Because the King is coming. Get yourself ready for Him
What did John the baptist thought about himself first? - v6-8, John the Baptist wasn't the light, a pointer to the Light - v15, John said Jesus was before Him even thought John was born 6months earlier - God revealed to him through the wilderness
- John was nicknamed the Baptist. Nicknamed characterized us - A baptist is someone who humbles himself and exalts Jesus - He didn't want to talk about himself. He just said I'm not I'm not when asked. But Jesus said, look to me I am I am - John instead told them not who he was but what he was. He's just a voice. v23 - Make straight the road means to fill up the potholes and make the road fitting for the arrival of the King - John was quoting Isa 40:3, all that you are looking for is coming. Application: We become the voice for the King
- The priest did baptize but never a Jew but for a Gentile. For the Gentile was consider dirty - Gentiles who want to join Judaism will have to be baptized - Pharisees said John you are not the priest and why are you baptizing Jews who belong to God already - John said Jews or Gentiles need to be cleansed to get ready for the King - John diminished himself to point not to himself but to Jesus - He mentioned he was unworthy to even untie the sandals of Jesus, a humbling act done by a servant which he count himself not even worthy to do - This shows how John was diminishing himself but exalting Jesus the One to come - (Another perspective is that untying the sandals is an indication of a willingness to marry the dead man's wife. Deut 25:5. Meaning John doesn't want to claim being the bridegroom but Jesus is the rightful Bridegroom and the Church His bride
- The next day Jesus came and John said He's the One the Lamb - Today we used lamb as a harmless little child. But in Bible times, Lamb is used as an adult lamb, strong - Lamb today we know as a live animal but bible times is portrayed as a dead sacrificial animal as the Jews see it sacrificed in the temple, an animal die of a violent death - Jesus will die a violent death. Actually both John and Jesus die violently. John was beheaded. But John's death accomplished nothing but Jesus' death brought redemption and took away sin of the world! v29 - No one can REMOVE the sin of the world except Jesus - And John said he'll baptized in water to wash of sins but Jesus came to both remove sin and fill us up with the Holy Spirit, something better - Jesus didn't just come to empty us of sin but to fill us up with something better the Holy Spirit. - Don't just take away what's wrong but put in what's right - And John understood the coming of the gentle Holy Spirit on Jesus and remain on Him
SCRIPTURES: John 1:35-51
STUDY - Jesus' ministry started low (Jordan river) but going to finish high, started small (2 disciples) but to finish big, started with no big structure but 1 bringing another 1 (God's strategy. Find God and find someone else to follow Him) - John started the Church by pointing the 2 disciples to follow the Lamb of God - Jesus' followers increased while John's disciples decreased. John was a big-hearted enough man to see the transference of disciples happened
- v35: The disciples first glimpse of Jesus the Lamb. One good intensive look is enough to satisfy and to make us follow Him for nothing else do - The 2 disciples followed Jesus and 'unfollowed' John - Jesus asked the disciples, "WHAT are you looking for?". Application: What are we looking for when we come to Church - People come to Church looking for all kinds of things - Excitement, community, etc but not for salvation in Jesus - The disciples just wanted Jesus' address. And Jesus say "Come let's travel together and see" - Application: We should be an open book (That's a big challenge for people who value privacy) - The disciples' question became a quest to discover Jesus - v39: John was able to remember it's 4pm. When we have an encounter with Jesus, we can remember! - These 2 disciples had no idea what they are going to encounter with Jesus for the next 3 years but the important thing was they went with Jesus
EVANGELISM AND DISCIPLESHIP PICTURE - v40 Peter didn't reject his brother Andrew, bringing him to Jesus. Peter was open - The greatest thing we can do is to bring someone to Jesus and this act will help this person forever and ever - Jesus had sight, insight, foresight, oversight v42 1. He looked Peter over. He looks hard at us. 2. He had insight. He said Simon is weak, unreliable 3. He not only had insight but foresight. He said, "Simon you are going to be a rock, someone stable" 4. He had oversight. He is the one who gave Peter his new name. - Peter's temperament was changed by Jesus over the next 3 years. Don't say we won't change. We can't help it. No. Jesus can change us
From Jordan to Galilee v43 - The pattern of a disciple is to follow and then find just like Philip - Healthy walk with Jesus is to both follow and find - The act of giving it away benefits us in great ways (Illustration: Those who teach benefit more than the student)
- v43: Jesus said "Follow me". It's Jesus who initiates the calling not our own desire - Jesus said come with me. Come is a demand. With me is an offer. - The presence of Jesus being with us is the key to life. (Having someone with you is always comforting/assuring. Eg: while doing evangelism)
- Nathaniel. A man who did something that's very rare today. He thought, meditated and sat quietly under a fig tree - Try spending time alone with God - Meditation is to think about God and not emptying your mind - Nathaniel must have thought about the person Jacob whose name was changed to Israel in his meditation - Jacob a supplanter and Nathaniel thought to himself why should God choose a man like that to bless him who is deceitful? - Jesus saw him and said that this is a real Jew who is honest, not deceitful - And Nathaniel accepted this complement from Jesus. He's honest to accept this. Nathaniel asked honestly "How did you know?" - Jesus said He was watching... - Application: Christian meditation though done alone but yet Jesus is with us
- Philip said something about Jesus "Messiah from Nazareth, Son of Joseph" which Nathaniel didn't find that it lined up with scriptures he knew v46 - Philip just said "Come and see". Great answer. When someone cannot reconcile Jesus, the best is to tell him to "Come and see" (Come try it out) - Nathaniel acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God when Jesus was able to know him so privately without even knowing him before
- v51: Jesus most likely telling Nathaniel that he saw Jacob's dream of angels descending and ascending from Heaven on a ladder. Gen 28:12 - Jesus added Nathaniel will see the same but now Jesus is that ladder (IE: Jesus is the bridge from us to God, from earth to heaven) - Jesus releasing a future event to Nathaniel which of course to us who are reading scriptures - So Nathaniel found the story of Jacob coming true and it's through Jesus
SCRIPTURES: John 2:1-12
STUDY - Weddings in the middle east go up to 7 days. So it's quite common to run out of refreshment - This story may be superficially narrative but there's truths revealed in it
- There some interesting things happening here that may be seen as an embarrassment for Jesus 1. Jesus spent time socially to be with people even though He was just launched into His ministry - Difference between John the Baptist and Him. John went fasting and Jesus went feasting - And Jesus enjoyed people and vice versa - We shouldn't be embarrassed that Jesus spent time socially with people. He's not a killjoy
2. Jesus provision of the wine and drinking wine - Huge amount of alcoholic wine provided at the wedding - John the Baptist total abstainer of wine but Jesus was not - Self-control of wine and not go into drunkenness is good - So it's not about not drinking wine but about self-control - Even so, not drinking wine may still be appropriate in certain situation so as not to stumble another Christian who has a conviction to abstinence
3. The way Jesus spoke to His mother - Woman why are you telling me what to do? - The word woman is not a degrading word. It's common term used - But why did Jesus say it that way to His mother? - First, it's understandable for Jesus' mother to go to Jesus to take care of things which in this case the wine - Understandable because Jesus now had been the one taking care of the household as Joseph at this point was not around anymore - But Jesus understood what His mother was really asking for, that is "Jesus, reveal yourself to them who You really are." - It's the mother's pride working out here. To show all the relatives who you are - His mother had believed in Him as the Messiah. That's a notable point
- Jesus replied His time hasn't come. - He takes instruction not from an earthly mother but His heavenly Father who will determine exactly what He does - The mother's pride will not deflect me from what my Father's will is for me
4. Jesus used such extraordinary power on such ordinary need like wine for guests - What a little thing to do with His power. Why? - Didn't the devil tempt him to turn stone into bread, somewhat similar to the turning of water to wine but yet He refused - What's the difference here that Jesus responded to a physical need but not at the wilderness when He was tempted? - The problem is not with the turning of stone to bread but to do it to satisfy His own need. - If Jesus had yielded to this temptation to weld His power to do that to satisfy His own need, then it's probable He may fail His mission to the Cross. - For when the physical pain is too great, He may just have stepped down from the Cross with His power to meet His own need. - So Jesus won't use His power for His own need - But when it comes to meeting other peoples' needs, He'll gladly do so
- Now let's look at this story a little deeper to study Jesus for Jesus is consistent. Who He is here is who He will be consistently
1. Jesus honors marriage - The fact that he attended a wedding attests to that
2. Jesus helps people when they are in trouble - When the social crisis in the wedding happened, Jesus came to solve the problem
3. Jesus rewards obedience - Mary said 1 right thing. Do what He tells you - The people had to take the 6 jars of water to the water which is like an insult at the wedding - The situation changed as the act of obedience is committed
4. Jesus blesses abundantly -180 gallons of wine produced! God gave more - Not only in quantity but also in quality of the wine - Jesus gave us abundantly by giving His all through His death. (Quantity and Quality) - v10 The best wine came on last. Just like we taste the best last (The return of Christ, the coming of Kingdom of Heaven)
5. Jesus stimulates faith - v11 The disciples who saw all these believed in Him - Faith is built progressively as we encounter Jesus progressively
- John calls miracles first of the signs (ie: Signpost) - This miracle points to a person and a thing - It points to Christ
Water to to Wine Explanation 1. The sediments of wine at the bottom and water mixed when it was poured out - But it's not wine jars that were used 2. So drunk that guest couldn't tell the difference 3. Jesus and Mary slipped out to buy wine - What length people can go to to explain away the miracle
- It also points to Christianity - The jars were there for ceremonial washing. There were a symbol of Judaism - Jesus changing of the water to wine can be symbolized as the moving from the external act of self-cleansing to the internal work of God, giving the Spirit (pun wine) whom only He can do
- Jesus will not drink wine with us now. But at the marriage supper of the Lamb where He's waiting for us - At the cross, when wine was offered to Him, He didn't do it. At breakfast with the disciples, He didn't drink wine - Let's wait in hope for the day to come when we will drink wine with Him again in glory
SCRIPTURES: John 2:13-22
STUDY - Show a picture of a crazy/angy lamb - If you love Jesus, you must know Him as He really is - This passage disturbs a lot of people about who Jesus was. It's like it's not like the Jesus I know
3 things we see in Jesus that may not be something we know about him and puzzling us
1. His use of physical force - At the end of Jesus' life, the whip was upon him meted by someone else - But here we see Jesus using the whip and very possibly whipping the people
2. His display of anger - Usually when we lost control and burst in anger, it has negative damage - Here Jesus was angry! The Lamb of God He can be filled with anger - Revelation, we will see Jesus coming in blazing eyes
3. His attitude of spiritual intolerance - It's widely thought that tolerance is a Christian virtue - That we can accept anything so as not to provoke and look nice - Here Jesus exploded in intolerance and drove everyone out of the Temple
- Why do we see what Jesus was doing here? Background - Month of April - Millions will travel and camp outside Jerusalem - Every year for 1400 years Jews celebrate Passover - It's a thanksgiving celebration to remind themselves what God had done for them - It's good to always thank God for what Christ has done for us 2000years ago... - 2 things needed when they went into the temple - money (temple tax) and animal - 75000 pound per year. You need to change it into a Jewish shekel - An animal - if you are rich lamb, poor pigeon - Priest examined them to be without blemish - You can imagine the priest says your animal is no good, you buy this one. And price is 20x what you paid outside the temple - The sadduccess was on behind this. It's all about money! - Jesus saw all these happening inside the temple of God and He was filled with fury.
- There could be 4 reasons why Jesus was so angry
1. Convenience made him mad - Why inside the temple? Because it's the most convenient place - Some of us 'practise' our religion from convenience
2. Exploitation made him mad - By monopoly due to human shortages (Evilness of our hearts) - You turn the house of God into a den of thieves!
3. Nationalism made him mad - House of God should be a house of prayer but with such filth and noise, how to pray there?!?! - My Father's house is supposed to be a house of prayer for all nations!!!
4. Misappropriation made him mad - Using something for the wrong purpose - You have taken my Father's house as a marketplace
- And by what authority Jesus did all these? v18 - Jesus gave them 3 answers
1. He's the Son of the Father - The Son has the right to tell the servants of the Father what to do
2. He's the Messiah of Israel - The Scriptures prophesied that the Messiah will come and clean up the House with zeal. (Psa 69:9) - He will put the priests and the people right for God to enjoy His House
3. He's the Temple of God - I have the right to deal with this temple because I am THE TEMPLE - The Jews didn't understand that Jesus about the 3 day raising up of the Temple - Jesus raised His own Temple in 3 days - The Temple : Built by Solomon, rebuilt by Ezra/Nehemiah and rebuilt by King Herald. What did they build the temple for? - For God to live. This is where God's Presence dwells - Jesus is now saying, You destroy me, you destroy this temple (Veil torn into 2) but I will raise up a new dwelling place for you - Now God is dwelling in me. If you want to see God, pray to God, come to me... - He has the authority to clean up the temple of every human heart - The Temple of God is in us because Christ is in our hearts. So we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor 6:19-20 - Is our body a playhouse/hotel or a temple that God lives? - Jesus must come to cleanse our temple for God to enjoy dwelling in it
APPLICATION - Our faith must not be done out of convenience or fitting into our plan rather than God's - Am I only living to get out the most out of others? Exploitation? Then my temple is not fit for God - Am I only concerned for my own nation or for all nations to come to Him? - If I am the temple, then everything in my life should be sacred and be used appropriately for the pleasure of God
Response - ILL: Recently, lots of fire cases in Singapore - Seek the Fire of the Holy Spirit (Gift to us) to burn up the filth in our temple -Let this TEMPLE (Christ) takes care of your temple
SCRIPTURES - John 2:23-3:21
STUDY - Many people believed in Jesus but He wouldn't believe in them - He knows in them whether faith is real or not - The problem with these people's faith is this. They only believe Him by the signs they see. So it's a faith by sight not by believing - Miracles took place in the material realm. The miracles that Jesus performed were all physical. - It transformed the recipient of the miracle physically but may not be internally in the heart - For real faith to come, it must come from inside
- Since the miracles performed were all in this world, they only believed Him for things about this world and not believe Him about the next world - And that's the faith that Jesus was looking for - A man may say I believe in Him but we must ask him why... - Jesus is concerned with faith on the inside and not first the outside - That's the problem with many people. They want to see change on the outside on other people, their husbands, wives, etc. - But what matters is are we changed ourselves from the inside. It's the internal that needs to be changed. There has to be faith inside - So we should ask, Lord change me NICODEMUS - This man wanted to go deep with Jesus. This rabbi wanted what Jesus got - Nicodemus was getting no where in his pursuit even as a public teacher and looked up to by the whole nation - He knew nothing about the power of God and the Holy Spirit despite his great knowledge about God
- He went in the night to seek Jesus, not wanting others to know he needs help - Jesus received him just as he was and talked with him - Nicodemus' conversation showed everything about Christianity important truths
- What was N's religion? ==> Good deeds. So it's relevant to many people for many are just trying their best - Supposed you die tonight and God ask you "Why should I let you in?". This exposes whether you are coming to God by your deeds - Nicodemus was like that. He tried very hard and taught others to but no where near having any assurance getting to God - There's no joy in that because you are never sure. This is very similar to the major faiths in the world
- v2 N asked how come the power of God is working in you Jesus and not in me? - Even before N asked a question, Jesus knew what's in his heart and answered him already. v3 - Jesus said 4 things N needs to know
1. Regeneration (Radical change/Rebirth) - The unborn child waiting for his new birth cannot interact with the world around it - When she's born, then she starts to be able to interact with this world. She can see, feel and experience and understand this world - Likewise, we have to be born spiritually to be able to see, interact and understand this spiritual world that exists - Jesus tells N that he has to be born again to see the Kingdom of God. He needs another experience
- N didn't understand because he thought it about the physical birth - N said, "I'm too old to change and start all over again. v4" But with God, all things are possible - N inferred he wished he can start all over again. Jesus revealed that N can
- v5 : Possible Meaning? > water is the water bag water. Born physically then spiritually in the Spirit > water is the baptism of John the baptist. Meaning start be cleansed by water of John's baptism and start cleansed from bad and good deeds
- And N said how can this be possible? It's beyond him. v9 - N couldn't understand that we can be born of the Spirit even though we can't see it. It's not physical - Jesus jabbed at N for not understanding even as he's a teacher of Israel! - So reality is, things need to be unlearned and relearned about God! - The only way to enter the Kingdom of God is to be born again
2. Revelation - We need someone who knows what he's talking about to talk to me - Meaning we can trust someone who had first experience before - v11 We can believe in Jesus because Jesus experienced Heaven/Hell v13 - If we don't believe in Jesus about life here, we won't believe Him in the hereafter v12
3. Redemption - N knew about the bronze snake. An object of God's redemption from the Israel's sin - Israelite bitten by snakes, looked at the bronze snake and they will be saved (How it works, we can't explain it anymore we can explain the wind) - Likewise, John revealed that God hung Jesus on the Cross like the Bronze snake. When we looked to Jesus, we are saved - God didn't remove the snakes just as he didn't remove the sins and got everyone saved - Why? If He removed sin, meaning He doesn't judge sin, then He's not just. - But God gave the solution of redemption, that whoever who turns and looks at the object of Redemption (Savior) is saved - God is both Just and the Justifier!
- v16 1. Mightiest motive - God loved 2. Greatest gift - Only Son 3. Direst danger - Man perish 4. Widest welcome - Whosoever 5. Easiest escape - Believeth 6. Longest life - Everlasting
4. Retribution - The greatest sin is to throw God's gift back into His faith and not believed - A man who doesn't respond to this story/welcome this message is a man who is evil. No other explanation - There's something in his life that he loves more than God. v20 - He's already condemned - What about those who never heard about Jesus - If they are God-seekers/fearers, they live by the pursuit of God and truth v21, and they will come to the light - Cornelius had never heard about Jesus before. But when Peter preached Jesus to him, immediately he clicked and responded to Jesus. He's the one I'm been looking for
Conclusion - Don't worry about those who had not heard about Jesus. God will deal with them fairly - Worry for those who had heard and don't respond
Are we regenerated? Do we know the revelation directly from Jesus? Do we believed the redemption offered by Jesus? Do we reject this gift? Then God will just let us be and face the retribution....
SCRIPTURES: John 3:22-36
STUDY - There are 2 sides to Christianity. The inside and outside. - Some are just content with doing the outward Christian behavior - Some are just concerned what's on the inside and views that the outside doesn't matter - Inside and Outside is important
- Here Chapter 3, the inside comes first. Faith comes before the outward response of baptism - A few verses before, Jesus told Nicodemus that he has to be born of both water and Spirit. (The outward + the inward)
2 things we see here v23 1. Baptism needs a lot of water for full immersion. Aenon = fountain. There's a lot of fountains there. Salim = peace. Peace due to presence of water 2. People came as a response. They decided to want to be baptised
2 Titles given to Jesus 1. Jesus was a baptist - Title went back to John who obeyed God to baptize people to cleanse people of their sins - Jesus continued the ministry of John and both were baptizing people at the same time, 5 miles apart! - The only difference is everyone was leaving John and going to Jesus. This created a division where the focus became who was the baptiser - The focus should be on the baptism and not the baptizer - We then saw the greatness of John the Baptist who said he must decrease and Christ must increase - It points to the understanding that God is the One who is drawing people and gave us our ministry. Not us - John reminded them of what he said to them that he was not the One but Jesus was
2. Jesus was the Bridegroom - There are 250 names given to Jesus in the NT - And John here gave Jesus the title Bridegroom - IE: Jesus is a lover - Jesus seeks to live with us forever and He comes and woos us - John said that he's only the bridegroom's friend (Best man's function) - Best man's job in modern day today is to get the Bridegroom to the wedding on time - But in those days, the best man is to get the Bride ready for the Bridegroom - Between the betrothal and the wedding, the best man was to ensure the holiness of the Bride - It completes John's happiness to see more people are going to Jesus than to him. It's the Bride going to the Bridegroom! - Application: We should set our hearts to bring His Church to Him - I MUST decrease and Christ increase
John gave 4-5 loving thoughts about Jesus that is worthy of our exaltation
1. John is born of this earth but Jesus came from Heaven - Jesus is above all therefore we most highly exalt Him
2. John's message is 2nd hand but Jesus is first hand - Jesus tells us what He's seen and heard in Heaven Himself - Yet nobody believed Him even thought He talked about Heaven/Hell/God - But those who did proved that God is true - Meaning if you don't believe what Jesus said means you are saying God is a lier
3. Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit without any limit - Holy Spirit is there at Jesus' baptism, anointing Him - There at the temptation sustaining Him - There at every miracles performed - There at the resurrection where Holy Spirit raised Him up - We are limited but Holy Spirit isn't
4. John said, "God so loved His own Son that He gave Jesus everything" - Jesus had all the authority over all things in His Power - In Him, we share in this power
5. Therefore the human race will be divided over Jesus - Those in Christ have life and those not have not - Those not in Christ face the wrath of God that was already on him. It just remain in him as long as you do not have Christ
Secret of Christian Life - He must increase, I must increase - Too crowded to have Jesus and also Me inside me - Only one should take residence - For example, if I try to achieve to achieve holiness we'll fail - But let Him rule and lead me to holiness. IE let me decrease and He increase ==> Success - So it's not about pushing ourselves but is to allow Jesus to increase and let Him have the centre stage
- And it all starts with our baptism - What are we saying in baptism? > I must go and He must come > I must be buried and He must be raised > I must make and break with my life and let Him start His life in me - And baptism is a way that God is helping us to decrease so that He can increase
SCRIPTURES : John 4:1-42
STUDY - Jesus interacts with different kinds of people. Nicodemus and this Samaritan woman were vastly different in background and moral status - Jesus moved from Jordan a Jewish territory to Samaria Sychar a non Jewish place, where well dug by Jacob was there
Background of Samaria - 500yrs before this happened, Jewish taken into exile and intermarry with the locals. Half breeds call Samaritans - And pure Jews will not accept the half Jewish Samaritans and they never mix ever again and hated each other - And Jews will skirt around on their way to Galilee to avoid going to Samaria and here Jesus intentionally went there
- Jesus was tired and thirsty (showing his humanity) and He rested at the well - Samaritan woman came out at noon (No one will do that. She didn't want to meet anyone) to draw water
- Samaritan woman's Side to stop her conversation with Jesus (but she couldn't) - Jesus' Side progressively went deeper and deeper with her in the conversation - He began with a simple request, then a statement, an offer, a direct challenge, accusation, demand for something from her, finally His claim over her - Every step Jesus took in the conversation went deeper into her heart
- Jesus began the relationship by making a request (something He shouldn't do ethically.) - Jesus bypassed cultural and racial barrier to talk to her. (Jews don't talk to Samaritan and careful with woman too) - But to help a person, we sometimes have to risk that - Jesus never really did get that drink from her. She got suspicious of Jesus whom she knew not supposed to speak to her - Jews and Samaritans never share utensils/cup - S' woman was indifferent. And Jesus made a statement, if you know who's is talking to you, you would be the one talking to him first - And when you asked, you will be given living water (Spring water instead of stagnant (dead) well water) - Her skepticism got her to reply Jesus in a logically way where she could only see her world materially - Jesus with nothing in his hands had no way to get this living water for her. - Her conversation stopper was to further challenge Jesus whether He possessed wells and thus greater than Jacob - Jesus continued by making an offer to her. She will never be thirsty again drinking living water from Him - Hard for us city dwellers to understand thirst with the convenience of water from taps - Jesus' offer is an offer of permanent supply of living water from within inside the heart (Holy Spirit John 7:38) - I believed in deep skepticism, the S' woman laughed it off & said "Oh great. Then give me this living water and I won't have to come to draw water" - Then Jesus began to get serious and issue a challenge to her. Bring your husband Jesus said - The conversation took a turn that she didn't like. She gave a half truth response saying she has no husband but she had 5 and currently one is not - And S' woman acknowledged Jesus' divine insight and diverted the situation with a religious question on true worship - Jesus entertained her since she asked. He said He's right and she's wrong in worship for salvation came from the Jews (Jesus) - He went further to reveal to her that worship comes from our spirit to His Spirit. So it's beyond locality and the material world - Jesus introduced God as the Father v23. Our worship should stem from a relationship and from a place. So we can worship everywhere - God is Spirit and Truth
- v25: The S' woman brought to centre stage a truth of the Jews that is the coming of the Messiah who will reveal all things. - Perhaps things that the S' woman couldn't understand now - And Jesus replied, "I am" (IE: He's God and so He has revealed Himself as that Messiah) - The S' woman had the first 5 books. So she knew what Jesus meant. She's dealing with God directly now
- Jesus finished the job whom His Father had Him do - Jesus brought the S' woman to that place of revelation/encounter and now this woman is proclaiming Jesus - So Jesus was satisfied and full now by doing the will of His Father. The disciples didn't understand this for they still thought of physical hunger - Jesus mission was to do the will of the Father and that will was to reveal God the Father to the lost. - And He illustrated this further using Harvest as the analogy. And each play their part in the sowing and reaping - It was only January and there's no harvest yet. So where is the white field ripen for harvest???? - But Jesus was always pointing to spiritual truth. He wanted them to look at the crowd of people coming whom the S' woman proclaimed Christ to - That's the Harvest ripe to be reaped! Jesus sowed into the woman's heart. The disciples reaped the rest. - The crowd came. They urged Jesus to stay. Jesus continued to teach. Many more believed when they heard first hand from Him. v42 - Meaning some already believed just purely from the word of the S' woman
- One woman simply said "Come and see..." v39 - Everybody's faith goes through 2 stages - They came because of someone who tells them - Then they believed because they themselves personally encounter Jesus that Jesus is INDEED the Savior of the world - Not just the Jewish Messiah....
Gospel-centered Points 1. Jesus willingly went to the Samaritan, so in His love Jesus is willing to come to us 2. Jesus endured thirst so that we may never thirst again
SCRIPTURES : John 4:43-54
STUDY - We all have 5 senses, smell touch sight, etc - The most used is the sight. Our sight gives us our beliefs of the existence of things - And we have relied on the belief through sight even more when TV was invented - Because TV gives us access to reality (Illustration: See actual footages of man sent onto the moon)
- So here the contrast between the Samaritans and the Jews was that the Samaritans believed without seeing Jesus while the Jews needed a sign - "Seeing is believing" is what the world has embraced - But here the passage is all about believe without having to see
BACKGROUND - V43-45 Jesus quite literally moved from one place to another - Sounds like nothing much. But Jesus was moving from an easy place to a difficult one. Takes lots of strength and character to do this - He moved from Samaria that welcomed His message and believed without seeing. Now He's back to His own country Galilee - And He himself said it's tough. v44 - Sometimes, God wants you to move to the toughest of tough places to do His work - Eg: Acts 8 : God moved Philip from Samaria with all kinds of signs and miracles into the desert just so to minister to 1 man Eunuch - And many times, the most difficult place of all to be a Christian is where you are known best because they know you all
- v43: Noticed it's a prophet that is not welcomed. But immediately after that verse. the Galileans welcomed Him, having SEEN all things He did in Jerusalem at the wedding feast - POINT: All over the world, humanity welcomes miracle-workers all the time. Because that's visible. But not prophets. - A prophet proclaims a message. He speaks. He doesn't "perform" - But sometimes, it's exactly these kind of places we must go to proclaim - And we see Jesus here doing both - "Performing" with Proclaiming
v46 - A nobleman (prominent figure who follows the King). He travels a lot - He's troubled for he has a son who is sick for a long time and it's deteriorating - He came to know the miracle worker Jesus was in town and quickly went to Him - Tragedy can strike anyone anytime rich and poor
- The nobleman's faith passed through 3 phases
1. He had faith in the Presence of Jesus - This man believed that Jesus could heal his boy but by physical touch - So he needed to get Jesus to come - 2 things his faith is lacking - First, distance prevented the power of God from operating. Second is death. - He thought if I don't get Jesus to physically come or if my boy dies... That's the end! And he was both wrong - He believed that Jesus' power is limited by physical distance/natural death - v48. Jesus almost feel 'frustrated' with the nobleman that he needed to see the physical to believe - Why don't you just believe by hearing but see me physically touch the boy
2. He had faith in Jesus' Power - Jesus then replied for the nobleman to go back to his son instead of He come - For He said the son was already living. It's done - Now Jesus set up a situation for the son's father's faith to grow - The father can either believed in Jesus' words without seeing the healing physically done or don't. - He believed Jesus and turned around and walked away back home. (Magnificent statement) - The word of Jesus is as good as his act - This is Jesus' 2nd miraculous work and in both case, Jesus just used words - In the water to wine miracle, he just said "Fill the jars up". He didn't physically touch the jars or whatsoever! - POINT: He says it, I believe it. That settles it! = Faith - The man had faith. The act of walking home is the demonstration of his belief
3. He developed faith in the Person of Jesus - He only reached home the next morning. Not sure why. Maybe he was still at work or he could be just at peace and rest - And when he arrived, his servants said his boy was getting better! - The nobleman wanted to get down to facts exactly when the 'getting better' happened to ascertain whether it's pure coincidence or work of Jesus - And it was exactly the time Jesus spoke the healing over the boy! - He and his whole household believed v52 - Didn't the nobleman believed already. Now his faith has progressed. He believed in the Person of Jesus personally, completely, deeply - And his household who had never seen Jesus, interestingly they believed too for they saw the outcome of His words
SCRIPTURES : John 5:1-16
STUDY - 1888 an ancient church was renovated in Jerusalem that revealed a wall with picture of John 5 - So they began to excavate the spot and found the pool Bethesda exactly as described in this passage - It must have been a pitiful scene with all kind of people sick and probably poor there, looking for a refreshing touch of hope of healing from this pool - People had long believed that water is a source of health. - However here, it was not a normal way of healing that the sick were looking for. - Indeed a celestial one when an angel would stir the water and first to step in would get well. Very bizarre!
- You can imagine a horrible scene looking down at humanity filled with frustration, helplessness and selfishness. - Interesting to note that the blind who couldn't see when the water will be stirred, the lame could see but can't get into the pool on their own - The sick probably jostling to be first. The shouting and the shoving... - And Jesus entered into such a scene - And here we are told of a man sick for 38 years. Lived longer than Jesus - And Jesus healed that man amongst the rest. It's just not true that Jesus healed all - In this situation Jesus just healed one and left quickly - Why did Jesus just healed this one?
- Here Jesus knew this man had been in this condition for a long time. - And He asked perhaps the most redundant/insensitive/silly question, "Do you want to be made well?" Of course! - Instead of answering Yes I do or No I don't. This man's reply was "I can't" - He has accepted his own circumstance of not being well and resigned to it and saw no hope or any chance of his situation changing - The problem with this man is that his will is paralysed not just his body being paralysed - This is the greatest problem/obstacle when the will is crippled to live with hope - The paralysis of the will produce the victim mentality! Pity response, "I can't help it! I'm just a victim of my circumstances" - The reversal must happen. To be able to think that we must not be beaten by our circumstances - This man had settled into this kind of life for the past 38 years. He believed his life has no hope for the better.
- And Jesus came not just healing a physical handicap. He came to heal a paralyzed mind - 3 things he told the man to do himself to make him break out of this paralyzed mindset 1. Get up 2. Take up 3. Walk - Jesus can heal a paralyzed mind and that's even more powerful! - Jesus comes to challenge our will to break out to believe the impossible
- And when Jesus tells us to do something, we can do it by His strength. v8-9 - But our will can still not believe and disobey - Jesus commands us. But when He's demanding something out of us, He offers us His strength too - He's asking for an assertion of our will in obedience to His will. This is the perfect balance between the wills - He didn't just pull the man up Himself. He declared but he expected the man to believe and act on it - The man must have felt something different about his body when Jesus commanded him to get up which caused him to respond
- v10: This is the clash of 2 religions - religion of letter/Spirit, regulation/life, form of godliness but no power/real power - When human religion meets divine truth, there's an explosion and it all happened on the Sabbath day - God gave the Sabbath to prevent man that is so wrapped up in his work that he forgets God's work - NT Christians are no longer under the Sabbath's law for Christ fulfilled this law so that we do not need to be under this for our Lord's rest is enough - Rest - To cease from our work and do His. That's rest
- v10: The Jewish leaders accused the man for sinning by breaking the law of Sabbath - But he deflected and said it's Jesus who told him to do so - When Jesus found him again at temple, He also told this man to stop sinning but for a different reason. If not, something worse may happen to him - Is there a connection between sin and sickness? Yes. Always - Not every sickness is due to the sin of the person who is sick - But every sickness is due to someone's sin according to the bible - It could be due to the person's sin, someone else's sin or satan's sin - It's due to sin that causes the outcome of sickness here on earth
Why did Jesus make this statement to go sin no more or worse may happen to him? - It's possible that this man really did something sinful 38 years old that made him sick for all these years - But looking at Jesus' statement that reads like "Don't continue to sin or else something worse will happen" suggest of something recent... - But a paralyzed man can't do much things sinful right? But what about the attitude of envy/mental sloth when he saw others healed at the Pool? - What Jesus might be really saying is that this man is really weak-willed. He had let his sickness conquer him. - Jesus inferring to now walk in the strength and the grace of the Lord looking to Him now and not settle in your own weakness - Sinning in John's Gospel is the sin of unbelief. - The worse happens when we don't place our faith in Christ for the judgement of God on our unbelief eternally far outweighs any physical here on earth. - Now having that encounter with Jesus, this man knows Jesus' power and authority as God. So he was challenged to stop sinning by believing - If he persist in his indifference to Jesus, he risks incurring the judgment of God, which matters far more than that of the religious authorities.
- Jesus heals here not because this man had faith in Him. This man didn't even know who Jesus was in the first place! - Jesus heals simply because it's the Father's work v17, 19, 21
SCRIPTURES: John 5:10-47
STUDY - What offended the Jews that they had to crucify Him at age 33? It's the thing that Jesus did - The thing that offends is religion and the practices observed being violated - Jesus was persecuted for He had violated the religious law that the Jews upheld - the Sabbath - It's true that Sabbath was a part of God's law instituted by Him where we are told to rest because He rested - So Jesus was questioned why He did work when Sabbath stated the command to rest
Jesus said 2 things in response
1. God doesn't stop work because of Sabbath v17 - I'm only doing what God is doing. God is working on Sabbath, so do I - We must understand that God was doing 2 kinds of work both in the 6 days, and on the 7th day - In the 6 days, God was working for himself for His benefit and satisfaction - He made the creation and derived such joy out of it - The 7th day came and still going because there's no 8th day - On the 7th day, He stopped working for Himself and still resting from that and now doing work for others now and still doing for us and looking after us - So Jesus says my Father is still working now. - So on a Sunday (Sabbath), we rest from working for our own benefit but work to serve others. (Sunday is not an idle day!) - Go serve/visit others - That's the kind of rest God wants for us. To seize from working for ourselves and work for others - Jesus said they have twisted/misunderstood the 4th commandment. - They see it as being idle. Doing nothing. So Jesus explained the real meaning/purpose of it
2. Jesus calls God my Father who is always at work - Jesus committed blasphemy! - Claiming that He is equal with God because He is God only Son as He claimed God is His personal Father (MY) - The Jews hated Him for this - It's not only what He did, trampling on the religious law of Sabbath, But also what He said that He is God's Son. That's blasphemy!
- Now we understand why He did what He did, 3 times in the rest of the passage He said, "I tell you the truth" - In Aramaic, this phrase means Amen... Amen Amen. Meaning "It's true, it's very true"... - Comparatively speaking, it's easy for Jesus to heal the sick for the Father created our bodies and therefore can heal our bodies - And He can heal as He hears His Father's instructions - And He can even raised the dead for His Father raises the dead - He was clearly speaking in 2 senses - the physical and spiritual - Whoever believes in Jesus after hearing His word has been resurrected v24. It's a daily phenomenon everywhere on this earth - Jesus had been entrusted with all judgement. God is not going to judge the world. His Son will - God started the work, Jesus will finish it by being the Judge and all who honor Him honors God
- When you bury a person into the grave, that's not their last resting place v29 - One day even the dead will hear Jesus voice and come out and receive their judgement (Daniel 12) - This verse demolishes 3 views about death
View 1 - Death is the end - It's not true. Jesus said the dead can hear His voice
View 2 - Death brings all to heaven - Some will rise and some to damnation
View 3 - Our bodies will annihilated - Jesus never taught that - Jesus will raise everyone with a new body and judge all and we live with that body forever either in God or suffer apart of God - The idea of no hell no damnation is not Jesus' teaching
- v27 Jesus was given the authority to judge as the Son of Man - Jesus the Son of Man who had experienced all humanity is all qualified to judge man. - And man cannot say God you don't understand what we are going through - God living a sheltered life (Illustration story) http://a-story-time.blogspot.sg/2008/04/god-leads-pretty-sheltered-life.html
v31-40 - It tells us here 3 ways God testify the truth about Jesus. Jesus cannot testify about himself. It's invalid
1. John the Baptist - Jesus said John was the lamp burning and shining - It's light a electric torch lighting up a spot. Lighting up Jesus - If we study what John the Baptist had said, why don't we believe in Jesus - John was the forerunner
2. Miracles - Jesus healed the blind, lame, deaf - It authenticate Jesus authority of being sent by the Father
3. Scriptures - The Jews believe the Holy Scriptures brings eternal life - But they still couldn't see the truth as they reject Jesus as the One giving life. They refuse to come to Jesus - They were looking of a system, a way of life, something to do to get eternal life. Unfortunately they are not looking for a person - The OT reveals Christ in bits and pieces. We can miss them unless we try to piece all of them together by digging diligently
- With all these 3 things they have, Jesus asked why they still don't believe????!!! - It's because the people's will had a problem and that's the saddest part - The truth about Jesus is that He is the only Son who can do whatever the Father willed to do - It's not the problem with the head that examines the evidence. It's the will/heart. Jesus said they were not willing to believe v43 - Illustration : Singapore 60s they were not willing to come to be X-ray for tuberculosis treatment. They could have been treated and healed
- 65 false Messiahs that the Jews accepted in their history but not Jesus!?!?! Why? - Jesus said 3 things why
1. They don't really love God - Because people who don't love God are not interested in Jesus
2. They have social pride - They were more concerned with the reputation with man than what God thinks about them v43 - Our own social reputation will deter our willingness - Christ is not popular so we will not be if we believe Him. So will we
3. They have intellectual pride - They don't believe everything. They decide what to believe and what not to believe - Isn't that so true of us today? - Jesus said Moses will accuse them because Moses whom they believed wrote about Him. v45-46 - Deut 18:15 - God is going to send a Prophet just like Moses and listen to Him - Moses said that just before he died and now Jesus is here - So now we have social pride and intellectual pride. It ends up with one word - SELF - We don't want to believe so we can't
- Who is in the dock to begin with? Jesus - He was being accused - Who is in the dock at the end? His accusers - Jesus at the end will be the Judge and everyone will be judged - You see, it's not who we think of Jesus but how Jesus think of us that ultimately matters
- May we never hear this from Jesus "I know you. You don't love God. You love your reputation. You choose however you want to believe" - This state is called lost. We are lost people. We need his saving grace
SCRIPTURES: John 6:1-21
STUDY - The bible is as hard to believe as believing in Alice in wonderland (6 miracles b4 breakfast) especially the miracles recorded - Towards miracles, you can dismiss them, explain them away or accept them as true. - What is a miracle? It's mind controlling matter directly - Eg. Pick a book up. Use hands. That's matter controlling matter. But if you just speak it into being, that's mind over matter - Making matter do something that matter can't do on it's own
2 categories of miracles 1. Healing miracles - Which we now has come to accept. - Even we recognise psychosomatic linkages to our sickness where the problems with the mind contributes to our sickness - Diseased mind - Dis-eased mind. Mind that is not at ease causing sickness - There are sickness linked to jealousy, lack of peace, guilt, etc. - If the mind can bring sickness, then the mind can also possibly bring healing ==> Faith Healing etc - So how much more Jesus' mind can effect a miraculous healing (Eg: Chapter 5 - Healing of the man lame for 38 years
2. Altering natural events supernaturally - Calming the storm, cursing fig tree to death - Jesus showed perfect control of matter that has no mind of it's own. So such matter can't communicate or has a will to submit naturally - And it's these that's raising question about miracles
Let's see whether the miracles were credible? And also the people's reaction to the miracles
Feeding of the 5000 - Philip reacted and said statistically, logically this is impossible. v7 - That's how people react to miracle today. I've calculated and concluded that this is impossible - Now let's look at the crowd. They walked 5miles to see Jesus. They were hungry and tired and wanted food - They were dominated by any political power, now celebrating Passover full of nationalism, hoping to be freed from political power - What they want is a King to set them free. Now they see Jesus performed such power, they want Him to be King
Jesus walked on water - It was dark, stormy night - The disciples were about 3-4 miles on the lake for Capernaum - They saw someone walking on water and they were frightened for they thought they saw a ghost! - Their reaction was normal!
- These reactions from these 2 stories were entirely credible for we would have reacted in the same way - Now let's look at Jesus who caused the miracles
- We see a consistent picture of the character of Jesus. It's totally credible - 5 things we see of Jesus here
1. His knowledge of people - He always knew what was wrong with people before somebody told him - Jesus knew everything we are inside - He knew the people were hungry and the other instance the disciples were afraid - He knows that today we are hungry looking for purpose or needs. He knows today what we are afraid of. Death, lack, etc...
2. His concern for people - Jesus cares. Others may know about us but may not care - Jesus said we got to do something no sooner he knows that they were hungry - Jesus said Don't be afraid no sooner he he knows they thought they saw a ghost
3. His authority over people - Have you ever tried to separate a small boy from a picnic lunch? - That needs a certain authority - He then seated the men down. And then He ordered for the leftovers to be collected - Therefore His authority over you can relieve the need that you got - Let Him take authority over your life
4. His generosity toward people - Jesus gave and gave and kept breaking the bread to distribute - Many can testify till today how Jesus had gave to our lives!
5. His freedom from people - Could you resist an important offer of greatness when the crowd wanted to make Him King? - Few could resist that. But He walked away - He could have got Himself to Jerusalem being crowned a human King. - But 10 days later, He knew the Father wanted Him to be crowned with thorns - He was completely free to do God's will
- From the people and Jesus we can see it's credible, now we see the credibility of the miracle itself - To create something out of nothing (small amt producing itself to feed 10000, that's impossible!) - No man can do that. Within those hands, new bread comes out - Walking on water, no man can counter gravity and the tension of water - Jesus was canceling the law of nature - If Jesus was just a man then we cannot believe these as possible - But if Jesus said who He was as God, then it's possible because only God can do that - Only God who created these natural laws can change the laws - So is Jesus God or Man? He is both!
- The first miracle that Jesus did in us is that He gives us a new heart and life - We don't come to Jesus with our hearts cleaned up. He created in us a clean heart and life - We have been born again! - The Jesus who took old bread and created new bread, it's the same Jesus who takes the old life in us and make it new
- To believe that God created a new life in me, then looking at these miracles is totally credible for Jesus is both God and Man.
SCRIPTURES : John 6:22-71
STUDY - What happened the day after the miracles performed? - The crowd was intentionally waiting for Jesus but perplexed not finding him - When they went over to Capernaum and found Him there, they were puzzled how he managed to get over without their knowledge! v25 - Jesus knew what they want when they came looking for Him. They wanted food - What ensued was a series of questions by the crowd and a list of answers by Jesus
- Crowd asking 4 questions making 4 demands, typical of what Man wants throughout history Here are 4 demands of unredeemed human nature
1. Demand for Satisfaction - Pursuing own personal needs being met - The first question is when did you get here - Jesus' reply exposes their heart real question. The crowd wasn't really interested in how he got there - He was dealing with their heart whom He knew what was really going on inside v26 - He knew they must be a bit crossed for Jesus came over this side without your knowing - Jesus said why are you so concerned about breakfast? (A deeper question for us modern people that we are so concerned abt food!) - Why do we labor for food that spoils so quickly? Take food that lasts! And from Jesus - Man is not just about a body but a soul that needs feeding - Jesus rebuked them of their wrong values
2. Demand for Good works - Man always is looking for something to do to get eternal life - v27: The food that will last is a gift from God. He GIVES that. Not by working for it like for physical bread - The hearers focused on the wrong thing. They focused on the what must they do to WORK for it rather than hearing that Jesus will GIVE to them - Physically they were prepared to accept a free meal, but spiritually they were not - Tell them that eternal life is free, to them this is too good to be true - Jesus replied that the first work that must be done is to believe in Jesus v29 - 3. Demand for visible proof - What are you going to do to prove it? I want to see it to believe - v30: They just experience the miraculous feeding the day before and now they are asking to see a sign! - Maybe they didn't personally see the miraculous feeding either because they were too far from Jesus when he broke the bread or they were busy eating - They compared Jesus' miracle with Moses' miracle in the wilderness. - They said the miraculous bread was from earth and only happened 1 day while Moses gave manna from heaven and for 40 years continuously - They were undermining Jesus' sign. How dare they talk like that to Jesus! Jesus wouldn't give this kind of bread to them - He said Moses gave bread but not the real bread. The real bread has 2 qualities that the manna didn't have v33
1. The real bread is personal. It's He not it. - Moses gave you it. God gave you Him Jesus 2. The bread Moses gave only sustains life. The Bread that God gave in Jesus gives life - Try feeding earthly bread to a dead person! It won't respond. But Jesus gives life
- Without really understanding what's this all about, just like the woman at the well saying give me this water, they simply say give me this bread now
4. Demand for immediate result - Give me this bread. Come on. Right now - Jesus won't. v35. I am the bread. U come to me - In other words, humans need to respond to this free gift. - Christianity is about coming to Christ in belief - As long as you come to me, the RESULT is always that we'll be filled. - Jesus also talked about the CAUSE of the coming to Him. It's because the Father draws the person v37 - You can only come to Jesus because the Father draws you - Why is it that some come some don't? The answer is the Father needs to draw. It starts from Him initiating this - The Father draws, we come, Jesus receives. - v40 This Bread that Jesus gives will raise us up on the last day. Normal bread can't maintain our physical body for life
- Well now that was Jesus addressing the crowd and responded to their 4 demands - From v41, the Jewish crowd grumbled now to each other about Him over all these that they saw - Their first question concerned their spiritual origin. How does He come down from Heaven as He claimed - But they don't know that His Father was God and not Joseph - He kept mentioning the FATHER. - Eat this flesh and you will live. Very bizarre statement of Jesus. - And He gave this bread to the World. Moses only gave the manna to the Jews - The Jews got very angry with the statement that Jesus said He gives his blood for them to eat. That's cannibalism - Jesus went further. You too will drink my blood and get eternal life - This is even more offensive because Jews don't drink blood. It's against the law. - But the only way to eat the flesh and to drink the blood is when the animal died - Jesus was getting them to think deeper that He's going to die so that they may have LIFE. But they weren't interested and weren't listening - Jesus is saying the LIVING Father will give life to us in 2 stages. - He gives life to the Son and then the Son gives life to us when we eat his flesh and drink his blood
- Then He addressed the 3rd group. The disciples - They were numbered some hundreds. At this point the disciples were too confused with Jesus' teaching - They couldn't understand. They lost Jesus' sermons. Too difficult hard saying. It's too difficult, so can't believe, so can't follow - Hard sermons shouldn't become an excuse for us to stop pursuing but should make us want to learn. Then we'll grow - And Jesus was pleading with them to hold on. He was telling them you need the Father's help. - No one comes to Me unless the Father helps. v65 - Our lack of understanding should get us to ask the Father for help to understand Jesus' words that are full of life and Spirit.
- The saddest portion of Book of John is what resulted from this whole thing - v66: Many disciples no longer followed Him - You can't turn away from Jesus. You can only turn BACK. You can't stand still. You either go on or turn back. There's no other direction - Jesus was left with 12 - Jesus felt disappointed and discouraged deeply. It showed Jesus is human - Looking sadly at the 12, He asked them whether they wanted to go too? - v67: The word "YOU" meant a personal address from Jesus - Peter as usual sincerely said, "We have no one else to go to!" - Peter's response introspective provided a perspective for us. When we truly know Jesus, we wouldn't choose anything else - Peter was convicted that Jesus gives life and He is the Holy One of God. He wouldn't go anywhere else - He may not be able to explain but He had experienced it. (Come to know) - Noticed the order v69 I believe and then know. Peter believed first and then come to know.
- Jesus knew everything of the hearts of His 12. One will betray Him and the rest will follow Him all the way. - Jesus knew hearts... He knew what the 10000 who followed him were thinking. Likewise He knew the 12 - The reason those 10000 people followed Jesus was because of his feeding miracle. - They wanted to use Jesus. But the remaining 11 disciples would be saying "Lord use us" and the Lord exactly did - That is how we should be talking to our precious Lord. Use us Lord for Your Kingdom
SCRIPTURES : John 7:1-31
STUDY - One of the discovery of a Christian is that people do not want to become a Christian as passionately as you do - This passage started off not with a good response of the miracles Jesus did but bad. Jewish authorities wanted to kill Him
- 6 barriers/reasons/difficulties why people don't want to come to Jesus Breakdown of Chapter 1-13 : Jesus talking to people privately 14-31 : Jesus now in public addressing them at the Festival of Tabernacle
- The Feast of Tabernacle took place in Autumn - A memorial of the days when the Jews were living in tents in the wilderness and finally came into the Promise Land - So that the Jews would never forget the blessings that received in the wilderness as well as in the promise land - So it's on this backdrop that Jesus continued working. He only had 6 mths left before His death. - The Jews wanted to kill Him. So He skirted Judea to avoid this not because He's a coward but because He knew His time has not yet come - When we look at the Cross, we may see Jesus as the victim but Jesus was the Master of it all. He decided how, when, where He would die and for what purpose
1st Group - PEOPLE WHO ARE TOO FAMILIAR WITH JESUS BUT NEVER HAD FAITH IN HIM - Mary had sons after Jesus. Now His younger brothers was telling him what to do in their ignorance of God's timings and plans - What did Jesus' brothers think of Jesus? - They told Jesus to go to Judea together with them to show Himself to be known - It's a display of jealousy to provoke their brother Jesus. Because they didn't believe in Jesus because they grew up too familiar with Jesus - Familiarity is not faith. Though you may be with Jesus yet you may not have faith. v5 - v7 When you don't believe in Jesus and follow Him, the world will not hate you. Even being religious and good will not get the world to hate you - But whoever goes around telling them about Christ and how bad they are and how much they need Jesus, the world will hate you
POINT: Are we too familiar with Jesus but yet never really believe in Him?
- Remember James the half brother. He didn't believe at first - He wrote the book of James and talked about the tongue - How the tongue expresses unbelief. See the connection of what He learnt and received from his experience with the Lord?
2nd Group - PEOPLE WHO WILL NOT LISTEN HONESTLY TO WHAT JESUS SAYS BECAUSE THEY ALREADY MADE UP THEIR MIND - Even though Jesus was not in Jerusalem, the Jewish leaders were already talking about Him not to seek Him to believe but to kill Him - Jesus was a threat to their institutions, religion and security - They were questioning Him "Why did you do all these things? You are not God" - These were questions of unbelief therefore their hearts were already closed even before Jesus came - They haven't even sincerely, with an open mind hear what Jesus had to say about Himself as He opened up Scriptures - They didn't even study for themselves about Jesus in the Scriptures but just from 2nd hand information from others
3rd Group - PEOPLE WHO WILL DISCUSS/DEBATE HIM BUT WILL NOT DECIDE ONE WAY OR THE OTHER - The rest of the people (crowd) had not finally decided - Some said He's a good man, probably because of the good He did. Healing the sick, feeding the people v12 - Therefore some would have said He's a bad man, trying to say He's a God. He must be a liar, fraud, etc v13 - But no one dare to come up publicly to make a stand firmly - Discussion/Debate must lead to Decisions - Because they feared the consequences of it if they did decide
4th Group - PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT WILLING TO DO WHAT GOD WANTS WILL NOT UNDERSTAND THAT JESUS IS GOD'S MESSENGER - Some people said He was a liar because He said He wouldn't go to the Feast but He did. - Jesus said He won't go at the beginning but not halfway through - So He went and started teaching and the hearers were amazed at His teaching without having being 'properly' taught - Only Rabbi properly trained in their recognized religious schools were qualified to teach the people - Jesus came with no known theological training and He said His training was from Heaven. It came from God directly & not from other rabbi trainers - If you truly want to do what God wants v17, you will find out that what Jesus was saying is true - When you truly want to obey God a little at time, you will get to know more and more - The pathway to Jesus is obedience not education - Jesus accused the Jews of not being able to understand because they have not yet obeyed the little that they do know - For Moses gave the 10 commandments, v19 yet they don't obey the Law. They wanted to kill Jesus. - What moral authority do they have to judge my teaching?!?! You are not morally fit to do so - If God shows you 1 thing today and you are obedient, then you will know whether it's true or not and you will be shown more...
5th Group - PEOPLE WHO ARE HYPER CRITICAL, JUDGING OTHERS MORE STRICTLY THAN WE JUDGING OURSELVES - He moves on and the crowd says He's mad. He's accusing people of wanting to kill Him. But who's trying to kill Him? - The crowd had no idea that the religious leaders were already plotting Jesus' death - Jesus reminded the crowd of that 1 miracle of healing that man who was paralyzed on Sabbath - He questioned them that if they can circumcise a boy in fulfillment of the law of Moses on Sabbath (while breaking this law) and create pain in the boy's body for a few days - Why are you angry with me for breaking the Sabbath law by bring healing to the man's body?!?! - So Jesus ask them to judge properly
6th Group - PEOPLE WHO HAS AN UNWILLINNESS TO KNOW JESUS INTIMATELY - The crowd is still debating whether Jesus is the Messiah or not - The word Messiah bears no meaning to the Gentiles but to the Jews, this word gets them excited - Some in the crowd questioned by now after Jesus had publicly revealed Himself, why the authorities are not taking action against Him - Unless they really concluded He's the Messiah. But they know where He came from. He's Jesus from Nazarene. - The Messiah is supposed to be someone no one knows where He's from - Jesus said to them, "Do you really know me?" You talked as if you really know me - The crowd really don't know Jesus. Jesus had the mystery in Him for they don't know He was sent by God - Warning : We can be so busy being religious that we have no real relationship with Jesus
SCRIPTURES: John 7:32-52
STUDY - Socrates said if ever a perfect man comes into the world, he would be murdered. Our world is so evil - That perfect man came and Jesus was the man and murdered - Jesus was only 33 and 6 more months He's going to die - People will be thinking what they are going lose or what they are going to do before they die but Jesus was looking already beyond His Death and what He's going to do - Where is He going after His death? v33-36 Jesus talked about this and that generated lots of discussion because it's confounding
- There are 2 groups of people here - Pharisees and Sadducees - Pharisees (Far eye see) believed in the resurrection. - The Sadducees (Sad u see) don't. And they were the ones who say like when a woman had 5 husbands. When she dies, who will she be with? - Both of them can't understand about the after life because their eyes are only fixed on here and the now. - The only world they were living for or interested in is this one on earth - Sad thing is these P&S didn't have the moral authority to go where Jesus was going even though they talked about after life a lot - To His followers, He says I am going to come to receive you. To others, He says where I am going, you cannot come
- So the P&S though having opposing views, were together going against Jesus - Jesus was sought to be arrested by His enemies but He cannot be held down for He will be gone - Even if I go beyond the reach of my enemies, I will be within the hearts of my friends - By this Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit given to those who follow and believe in Him
- It was the Feast of Tabernacles. - They will come and live around Jerusalem for 8 days remembering their days living in tents and survived. 2.5mil people - Every day during the Feast, High Priest will leave the temple carrying an empty container and to the Pool of Siloam - He will walk back to the temple with the container filled with water and pour that out - To remember the grumbling of the people without water and Moses struck the rock and water gushed out and the whole race survived - To also ask for God to provide rain for their crops for next year - To remember that their Messiah will come to give them refreshing water - As Moses gave them bread and water, they too know that when their messiah come, their messiah will give them Bread and Water. - John 6 - Bread, John 7 - Water - On the 8th day, Jesus stood up and said if anyone is thirsty come to me I'll give him water to drink and you won't be thirsty again - Jesus was still thinking about His future to give the Holy Spirit to His followers - Illustration: Farm Pump with Lever > Underneath of pump is water source but no matter how you pump you won't get the water > Pour a bucket of water on the pump to prime it first. Then it will start out streams of water will be pumped out
- That's exactly the picture of the giving of the Holy Spirit - Take a drink and streams of result. We need to drink of Him and then we can pour out. Christian life is not self-drinking. We need Him - There are 3 conditions to pouring out. We need to be primed first 1. You believe in Jesus 2. You must be thirsty 3. You must drink
- They need to wait 6 months for Jesus to die for the giving of the Holy Spirit but now we don't need. Holy Spirit is already given through Christ - But not everyone will drink because not all are thirsty because not all would believe - Thirsty in the Bible always mean someone who is desperately dry. If I don't drink I'll die! - Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah by pointing them to the symbolic act of pouring water at the Pool of Siloam
- The Jews were always looking for the Prophet like Moses and a King like David (Messiah's profile) v40-41 - But Jesus didn't come from Bethlehem where King David's descendents come from, the people said v42 - How can Messiah come from Galilee? Galilee not the place looked to... Can anything good come out of Galiliee???? - It's terrible mistake to judge a man by his background instead of his destiny. What matters is where they are going to but where he came from - Jesus came exactly from Bethlehem but He didn't tell them. Because God had no room for snobbery. He didn't want them to now take notice of Him because of His background - In fact, great man came from Galilee! Jonah, Hosea, Nahum all came from Galilee! Capernaum named after Nahum - And so these people closed their mind to Jesus because of social snobbery
- v 45: The guards who were sent to arrest Jesus couldn't do it. An incredible mutiny here! - The guards never seen any man spoke like Jesus. He's not ordinary man! - Come all ye who are heavy laden and I'll give you rest.... Eat my flesh... Drink from me.... No one talked like this! - The guards came back and said "Jesus defeated us with His words!" - The pharisees filled with PRIDE couldn't listen to this and concluded the guards were deceived too. v47 - The pharisees were so sure that they who "knew" the law didn't believe in all these nonsense of Jesus - Only those who knew nothing of the law like the mob would even believed Jesus. The pharisees were arrogant and closed. v49 - They believed the mob was cursed as they were deceived
- But one Pharisee was there... Nicodemus actually behaved differently from the rest of the pharisees! - He spoke up. He said it's only fair to give a hearing to Jesus - It was a bold attempt from Nicodemus to try to get the Pharisees to listen to Jesus - Nicodemus was shamed by the rest of the Pharisees v52
- In his heart Nicodemus could have remembered this scene at the Sanhedrin when the day he, with Joseph of Arimathea went to retrieve Jesus body - John 19:38-40 - He spoke for Jesus but didn't speak openly to profess his faith in Jesus at this moment in the presence of the Sanhedrin. Why? - Only when someone come to drink of Jesus and receive new life from Him, then the boldness to believe in Him comes - We don't know whether Nicodemus really came to faith. He probably did by his actions with Joseph of Arimathea - But there's one pharisee who came certainly to faith - Paul - One who didn't believe before and called for the arrest of every Christ's followers but became an apostle and messenger of the Gospel - He was on his way to arrest Christians, with letters in his hands but instead, was filled with the Spirit when Ananias laid hands on Him. Acts 9:17
- It's not where you came from that's more important than where you are eventually going
SCRIPTURES : John 8:1-12
STUDY - This account was missing in some manuscripts - Why? Because of fear. Because it makes adultery looks alright. Because it makes justice not executable, like we can condone sin - Why then it's included. Because it is true. No one can fabricate a story like this. - It fits the character of Pharisees and Jesus as we know them - This story reveals in Jesus a wisdom so profound, a tenderness so delicate, a hatred for sin so intense, an insight to human nature so searching - It shows that Jesus main concern is neither to punish the wrongdoer nor to let him off but to put him right. And He did it with such wisdom - Perfect blending of justice and mercy. A perfect wisdom displayed of a escape from a trap by the pharisee
- It's still the Feast of Tabernacles where people have come to celebrate and they were living in tents - It's very likely the situation that the adulterous act was found out when someone mistakenly went into a wrong tent - Look at these men who drag the woman to Jesus - According to the law, both adulterous couple should be brought to justice but only the woman was shamed. Injustice displayed here - Why they bring her to Jesus? Because they were not interested in the woman at all, or the morality of the situation at all. - They were using the woman as a trap against Jesus
- Why a trap? Because whatever He said bound to offend one group or the other - Eg: Sinners - He was known as a friend of sinners. He will be judged by them for condoning the stoning - Eg: Jews - He was also known as a Jewish rabbi and so violating the law will not look good on Him - Eg: Romans - They forbid capital punishment and here Jesus faced with the stoning to death of this woman - They had been completely cornered - The only time we were told that Jesus ever wrote is here. He stooped down and wrote on the ground - But we don't know what He wrote. Not essential
There are 4 reasons why Jesus wrote 1. Jesus was just disgusted at the situation 2. Jesus was buying time to pray to respond rightly 3. Jesus' act of writing with His finger reminded those who came to judge that God is the ultimate law giver and Judge. Exo 31:18, Dan 5:4-6 - Now the judge became the ones being judged - He was saying, "Whichever one of you had not done the same thing (adultery), cast the first stone - He knew their hearts that they had no right to judge for the very thing that they were also guilty of - There was only 1 difference between the woman and those men. The men had never been found out and so they thought they can judge
- After Jesus said this, the old men were the ones who left first - The woman stood there. She stayed. Why? - How did this woman feel to be at the brink of death by stoning - She must have felt that Jesus was a different man. She saw justice and compassion in Jesus at the same time - She was released
- Jesus was both qualified and not qualified to stone her - He was without sin but on the other hand, he was legally not bound to stone her because it must be done by a witness but Jesus wasn't there - So Jesus didn't break the law and yet can avoid stoning the woman. How wise of Jesus. - Jesus now said I do not condemn you. She was let off - But forgiveness is just not letting a person off. It's also about making things right. - So Jesus added the famous statement, "I release you "Go" but I restrain you. Don't do it again" - It's grace that's operating now. Jesus came in truth and grace
- This story must have happened if not v12 doesn't make sense - Jesus became the light in the woman's moral darkness - It's interesting this Festival is also called the Festival of light - 14 feet high candlelabra in the court of the women in the temple - It burns for very long and lit up the temple and the streets and hills around Jerusalem - And Jesus having just witnessed this example of the darkness of human life, looking at the lights He said, "I am the light" - Those candlelabra was put up there for the purpose of reminding them in the wilderness the pillar of fire by night - The pillar was their guide and Jesus said He's the light He'll lead you. If you follow me, you will not be in such a mess again
- How do you know the woman would not sin again? You see Jesus was thinking about this. And He said follow me and you will be alright - Light does 2 things. It hurts and it helps - Bright light hurts the eyes. (Illustration: When you first come out of a dark place into a very bright place) - Physical light hurts the eyes but moral light hurts the conscience - When you first come to Jesus, the Light hurts for it exposes your dark world and the dissatisfaction it brings
- Light helps you to know where you are and will guide you to where you are to go - Keep moving with Jesus because Jesus is on the move. Keep close to Jesus (Illustration. 2 Persons moving with only 1 with the lamp) - John's Gospel always mentioned Light and Darkness. Chapter 1, 3, 9, 12:35 - John talked about the place of light and darkness. - Jerusalem on a hill surrounded by Kidron Valley and Gehenna valley - From Kidron, you can see the surrounding - From Gehenna, it's so deep that you can't see anything, the sunlight can't reach - It's a place Judas hung himself at this field there - Rubbish was thrown there where worms feed on the rotten rubbish - The Candlelabra light couldn't reach for it's too deep down - When Jesus described Hell, He said it's the Valley of Gehenna, a place where fire goes on burning, worms go on eating, weeping and wailing, lights don't shine - Jesus said follow me and you'll never see it yet see a glorious light so bright - Jesus could see man going that path of utter darkness and He is asking people to come to the Light
SCRIPTURES : John 8:13-59
STUDY - Those who thinks the Jesus was only a great Teacher didn't study what He said properly - Jesus used I 82 times here. No religious teacher had talked about Himself so much - He claimed He decides the eternity of man and He has the power to forgive. It's either He's mad or He's God Himself
- Why do you accept something as truth?
1. The Consistency of Recognized Truth - The pharisees challenged the credibility of Jesus' words as He was His own witness with no others v13 - Why do we believe someone words as true while we don't for some other people. (Eg: Why do we believe our teachers/doctors?) - Why do you believe someone else's words??? 2 reasons A) If you have enough knowledge of subject already, you will recognize the person is an expert or not B) If you hear someone else talking about the same thing independently - So Jesus here was saying that the Pharisees didn't know enough about Him and so didn't recognise truth v14 - So the Pharisee judged in a human way with not enough knowledge at all! v 15 - So the least a person could do is to read and study about Jesus first before they form a conclusion - That's why so many people dismissed Jesus
- Not only this, Jesus had an additional witness - His Father - The problem with that is that the Pharisees also didn't know His Father well enough too! v19 - Now that's an insult when they questioned Jesus, "Where is your father?" - The rumor that Jesus was an illegitimate child
2. The Consequences of Rejected Truth - Eg: When politician warned the unsustainable demand of increasing wage, this will drive up inflation. Consequence: It came true - Here Jesus mentioned the consequence of rejecting His Truth. Consequence : Dying in our sins, and not being with Jesus if we don't believe Him - v21-24 - The final consequence of eternal separation and the gates of heaven shut on us - Jesus used an unusual phrase in v24, 28. I am who I am
3. The Confirmation of Received Truth - If you receive truth and act on it, you will experience the essence of the truth - Illustration: Cut glass underwater with old scissors - Jesus said obey my truth, you will experience the truth v31
- 2 things will happen if you obey what Jesus said 1. You will have real freedom v32 - Not in your mind but really doing it, living it, and you will experience freedom 2. You will reflect your fatherhood. - You will love the Son v37 but they were plotting to kill Him - So Jesus said they are children from the devil - They were behaving like the offsprings of the devil, believing in lies and speaking lies v44 - v46: Jesus challenged them to prove that He's guilty of any sin - A man who doesn't accept Jesus words as truth is calling Him a liar - But if what He said is true, then we will have to face the consequence of all that's true that He said
4. The Continuity of Revealed Truth - Truth is always true - Man's ideas will change. But truth doesn't (Eg: Matter can never be destroyed but now we know it can be and turn to energy) - Jesus finishes by telling the continuity of the truth - If a man believes the truth that Jesus told, he will never die v51 - The pharisees couldn't believe in this for who doesn't die?!?! Even Abraham their great father of faith died - And Jesus said he was before Abraham v58 - He is I am. He's always the beginning, He's God - He who believes who Jesus says He is will be truly free!
SCRIPTURES: John 9:1-41
STUDY - Jesus seemed to always get into trouble when He helped people - Here we have a great miracle of a man born blind. Quite unique - This is of a congenital condition. - When this blind man was healed. 7 concerns/reactions we see
1. Disciples primarily concerned with the question of suffering (Why did God allow suffering?) - The disciples got into a philosophical discussion with Jesus on the theology of suffering - Who caused this suffering? - They were right to believe that all suffering is due to sin (They asked who sinned?) but wrong to say that it's due to either man or parents - Jesus' response is to stop seeing suffering just as a platform for debate and reasoning but see it as an opportunity to do something. v4 - There will come a time where the suffering will end and no more work need to be done - Jesus gave a unique answer to why does God allow suffering. In order that His power to be made manifest - God's power and purpose can be seen more clearly in a world made up of suffering than one that doesn't v3 - God allowed suffering. See this as an opportunity to bring glory to God in suffering Point : Don't debate... Do something
2. Blind man concern was not intellectual but practical. He was blind and wanted sight - Jesus did an extraordinary thing for him. He spat - Spitull can be used to hurt or HEAL. When Jesus spat, it was to heal - It's often seen that Jesus gets the one being healed to do something or cooperate to see the full manifestation of the healing - In this instance, He asked the blind man to go to Pool of Siloam which was about 1/4 mile away to wash - It does 2 things here 1. It tested that man's faith 2. It convinces himself of the desire to see because he has to decide to go through the trouble and humiliation to do it - Jesus did it so quietly that after the blind man was healed, he wouldn't have seen Jesus' face and so avoided Jesus being endangered for the Jews were looking for Jesus to stone Him
3. Those who are concerned with sensation and interest was only emotionally - v8 - The blind man's neighbors weren't sure the blind man's identity after he got healed. Maybe his eyes looked so different now - But soon, the neighbors went from what had been done to the blind man to who had done it. v12 - If Jesus would be recognized by the blind man, a large crowd would have followed for just the desire to see sensation. But that's just passing only
4. The Pharisees were interested in a list of dos and don'ts. v13-17 - There are often 2 big dangers of religions. Too big an emphasis on the dos/don'ts or the either extreme where there's no standard - The Pharisees belonged to the former - 1281 things the Pharisees will not do on the Sabbath. One of it is you can't make an ointment. Jesus manufactured an ointment from spit and open His 'clinic' on Sabbath. - Here they see Jesus both performing a miracle and breaking the law at the same time - And they focused on the secondary thing and crowd out primary thing. They can't rejoice a man was healed. Rather they got mad for a man-made law that was broken - It revealed a lot inside their heart - They were determined to prove that the blind man had identified wrongly that it was Jesus who healed him - They called for the parents and embarrassingly, the parents were more concerned with their safety than siding their son. v20-23 - The parents were fearful. Fear leads people to do irresponsible things.
- v24-27 - The Pharisees summoned the blind man again and coerced him to acknowledged that Jesus is a sinner which they think is the truth - The blind man who was truly touched by the Lord, now filled with courage and even became sarcastic v27 - A truly transformed person by Jesus moves with such courage and risks even being threatened, fearing God than men - In the whole chapter, there's no mention about the feelings of this blind man. We don't know whether the blind man was happy, fearful or sad... - The blind man just expressed facts about his encounter with Jesus. So it was very objective while feelings can be very subjective - The blind man's testimony stuck to pure facts and focused on the before (once i was blind) and after (now i can see) - A testimony should stick to facts and stick to 2 facts. Once and Now... - They argued and argued and finally the Pharisees threw him out. v34
- v35. Jesus knew this man and waiting for this blind man - No matter how much you have lost because of Jesus, Jesus is for you and have you - Jesus now is not only just concerned about his physical blindness but also his spiritual blindness - v38 When a man completely believes, he is completely whole and worships - Jesus said something. I've come so that everybody who's blind can see - v39 Jesus is the light of the world and He came to judge. Light is a double edged thing. It illuminates so that we can see. It also blinds - Illustration: You in a car can see the road ahead from the headlights. You against the car will be blinded by the headlights. - v40-41. Jesus wasn't blaming them if pharisees were blind in the first. But they claimed they can see God but yet not believe - There's something more tragic than someone who can't see. It's a person who won't see
- This chapter began and ended the same way discussing the issue of who's sin is of the blind man - It began that it's not the sin of the blind man. It ended by Jesus saying the pharisees were guilty for their blindness - You are guilty for your blindness because you closed your eyes to the truth - The simple truth is when Jesus came to the world some people are better off than they were before. - The blind see, the lame walk, dead man could rise - While others become worse off. Those who think they can see became blind.
SCRIPTURES: John 10:1-18
STUDY - Understanding the setting of Ch10 is very important to grasp the meaning of what Jesus was saying - It's set in a rural countryside agricultural background not city - And this setting is about shepherding sheeps and many bible characters looked after sheep. Moses, David - And in looking after sheep, you learn to look after people for people are like sheep - And it's the shepherding in the East not in the West. It's different. Shepherding in the East is dangerous, not easy. Shepherd has to be a fighter - He has to look for still water and a bit of green pasture. Sheep can't drink troubled water. Its nostrils too near its nose - So we need to get the setting and only then we can get the sense - But there's not only a general setting in ch10 but also a particular setting
- It continued from Ch9 and 8. In ch8 we find a black sheep and ch9 we find a blind sheep - And both shepherd by bad shepherd - The black sheep they throw out. They wanted to stone the woman in adultery the black sheep - The blind sheep they also throw out because now he can see and His sight was restored in unacceptable ways the Pharisees said - So the Pharisees had done some bad shepherding and against this backdrop, Jesus said I'm the good one
- It is the only real parable in John's Gospel - Why did Jesus tell parables? > To plant truth in their mind. Possibly > To stab the conscience. Tell the story in such a way that put people into the story (David coveting the ewe lamb when he had a fat lamb already) - To get them to change to repent
PARABLE v1-6 - There is a contrast - the good and the bad - Jesus dealt with the bad first - the thief who comes sneakily, stealthily to steal - The shepherd comes in openly instead and his heart is to protect and tend - The sheep may not belong to 1 shepherd in 1 fold. So the sheep will follow the particular shepherd's voice as he leads them out of the fold - The shepherd has a relationship with all his sheep and leads them
- Jesus explains the reason He was telling this very ordinary parable by being very personal - He was saying "He is the gate, He is the Good Shepherd" v7, 11 - From a parable we turn to a portrait of the Shepherd - Contrast here again. Between Life and Death. Life of the sheep, death of the shepherd v11 - Jesus makes it clear that this story is an allegory - He makes clear those who comes before Him as Messiah who promise peace and security, is not the shepherd but thieves and robbers. They are after power and position - He was referring to those self appointed leaders of Israel who didn't come through Jesus (Gate) to us. Don't pay attention to them. - Jesus is the Gate and sheep who comes through Jesus will be saved v9. The sheep will come in and ALSO go out through Him to feed in pasture - The shepherd is with his sheep coming in to the pen and going out to the pasture.... He didn't remove us from interaction with the world but Jesus is with us in the world - We are secure in this relationship with our Good Shepherd, having full life in Him v10
- How far is the shepherd willing to see his sheep gets this life? All the way even to death v11 - It's not uncommon for shepherd in middle east to die looking after his sheep, fighting with wild beast - A good shepherd is willing to go all the way to protect the sheep because the sheep are his. A hired shepherd won't do that v12 - Just like a parent to his own children - The Pharisees are like the hireling. They will only care for his sheep up to a point because they see this as just a profession (A gentle warning to pastors) - A good shepherd knows and cares for the sheep and the sheep knows him. v14 Dual relationship - v16 Jesus referring to bringing people beyond the Jews to Him. Sheep includes Jews and Gentiles - v17 Jesus willing chose to lay down His life and His Father loves Him for that - And Jesus has the right to receive it back again as endorsed and commanded by His Father - That's the assurance we the sheep have of our shepherd
- In all these, Jesus is saying to put our trust in Him. In others, thieves and wolves we will be disappointed - The Good Shepherd cares, knows, dies, rise again
SCRIPTURES : John 10:19-42
STUDY - 1944 Korean Grang hue lit. Someone gave him a picture of Jesus made up of dots - When you come close to the pictures, the dots are made of letters and words of the John's Gospel - Reason: Divine instructor gracious Lord, forever near. Teach me to love thy sacred word - The most important thing about Jesus wasn't what He said or did but who He was
- There are 5 possibilities when Jesus said who He was 1. He was joking 2. He was lying 3. He was insane 4. He was misunderstood. He never claimed to be divine 5. He was truthful - Some say He was a maniac, others say He's the Messiah. Others say He's just a man
- They say He's a demented person. He's mad due to a demonic influence. v19 - Why they say that? Because He talked about suicide, laying His life down - He talked in a delusional way. He can pick up his life again after death - But whatever they say, they all couldn't agree on this about Jesus. Because crazy people don't benefit mankind. They are destructive . v21
- Between v21 and 22, some months have lapsed. It's now Dec in year AD29 - They were celebrating Festival of Dedication 165 years after Antiochus Epiphanes (168BC) desecrated the Temple - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dedication Maccabeus, fought Antiochus, cleansed the Temple and restored it. Found a bottle of oil and relit the Temple - Happens somewhere near Christmas timing and houses will be lit. - So the Jews were waiting for THE Messiah of the like of Maccabeus and so asked Jesus if whether He was that Messiah. v24
- It was a direct question but Jesus didn't give a direct answer due to the political fever in this festival v25 - If Jesus said yes, He will be hailed as a political rebel - Jesus came to free them from sin while the people who want to be freed from evil inflicted by others. We are always blaming other people - Jesus said that He already told them about Him and what He did but they were unbelievers! - He told them 2 things. When He talked to them and performed the miracles, there were no response because there is no relationship v26 - Why is that people have been told so much about Christ but yet still have no response towards Him??? Because they are not Jesus' sheep - When there is a relationship between us the sheep and Him the shepherd, a wonderful "They and I" happens > They listen to His Voice. I know them > They follow Him, I give them eternal life > They will never perish, I will secure them. Relationship is unbreakable because it's Jesus who got me (Persevering Faith given by the Savior to the Believer) - Isn't that wonderful? No one can snatch Jesus sheep out of the Father's hand. Jesus and Father are 1 - Hymn: I know not why this wondrous grace - Explanation v30: Jesus is saying He and His Father are 1 in nature, essense and function
- The Jews picked up stones from the surrounding as the Temple was still constructing and stoned Him for blasphemy - They were quoting their own law Lev 24:16 that those who claimed to be God shall be stoned to death - And Jesus skillfully replied to get Himself out of this life-threatening situation. "What have I done to deserve stoning?" - They said, "It's not for what you've done but what you've said. You call yourself God" - Jesus dealt with it in a very unusual way. It is written in your own law that you are 'gods' Psalms 82:6 - You can't fault me when you didn't object to your own bible calling yourself 'gods'! - What's the context of this that's taken from Psalms 82:6 - It's concerning the judges who sit in courts in Israel. It's God warning them to judge rightly as representatives of divine justice - he's like god to that man in the dock who receive the sentence of life or death - The principle Jesus is teaching is a person that's appointed by God for a particular task here on earth becomes like god to the people for whom he's sent to. - It doesn't mean he's god as a person. He's acting as god as His representative - Since the religious leaders took no issue of the judges being acting as gods, then Jesus challenged them why he was being faulted for acting on behalf of god and accused of blasphemy - Even as Jesus was acting on behalf of god, they can call Him according to their law as He became God's representative - Jesus was speaking to unbelievers. He was accepting their premise that they see Him as a mere man and argue that he is not wrong to be called god as a man when He is sent to represent Him - So there's no ground to stone Him. - Of course, when He speaks to believers, He would say it differently as they believe He is the Son of the Living God already - And so the religious people dropped the stoning but tried to seize Him but he escaped
v40-42 - Jesus came back down to where it all began - Jordan River, the place that God said He's his beloved Son - 3 years was over, with much miracles done... And now the question is "Who is He?" - And it's mentioned here that John did no miracles and just talked about Jesus - John was a great man though he did no miracles because he just told the truths about Jesus and pointed people to Him. He just became that voice - 3 things that John said about Jesus that's true 1. Jesus is the bearer of sin (Dealing with our past) - John said I can deal with your past sin by washing it away. But Jesus can take your future sin away - It's one thing to lead people to repentance, it's another thing to remove their sin 2. Jesus is the Baptist (Helping us in our present) - John baptised people in water. External cleansing. But Jesus filled us with living water inside with the Holy Spirit 3. Jesus is the Bridegroom - Because Jesus is the Son (Preparing us for our future) - John said he's only a servant. Watch out for the Son coming for you to consummate the relationship with you in glory in future
SCRIPTURES: John 11:1-44
STUDY - This chapter is filled with rich emotions - The last miracle recorded in John - The 7th of the 7th miracle and like the first miracle, it's set in a domestic setting - There are 3 things that every human goes through and does Jesus have the last say to these 3 things - Diseases - the suffering diseases bring - Death - the sorrow that death brings - Decay - the final outcome of decay we all end up
- Jesus had no property here no earth. No home, no where to lay his head, born in a borrowed stable, died in a borrowed tomb - But there was one home He was welcomed. The home of Mary Martha Lazarus, just outside Jerusalem - We all heard much about Mary and Martha but not Lazarus. We know Jesus loved him
- There are 2 naive ideas as Christian beliefs 1. One bad people fall sick. Good people won't - It's a view held by 3 persons in the OT, Job's comforters Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar - They told Job that he can't be godly because the godly won't fall sick - But these 3 persons have too simple an attitude towards sickness and diseases 2. As soon as the person believes sufficiently, Jesus will heal their sickness - It's without a doubt that Martha/Mary believed Jesus can heal their brother - But Jesus deliberately allowed Lazarus' death to go on even when both sisters had faith in Him Point: Even though we know Jesus heals, it's too naive a view to say that only bad people will fall sick and if you have enough faith, you will be healed instantly. Such a view causes too much mental and emotional pain - Jesus can conquer diseases/death/decay but it is within the will of Jesus to use the conquest of these things for the Glory of God
- The health and happiness of human beings is not Christ's first concern. - His first concern is what kind of actions will glorify the Father and help His children develop faith in Him - v3 Martha/Mary just gave the information to Jesus that their brother was sick. - They let Jesus decide what He should do and not demand Jesus to be there right there - Lesson: We don't decide for God or demand God what to do. We trust Him to do within His will - And Jesus delayed his coming deliberately. He could even speak healing from a distance but He didn't do it. Many times healing is not instant - Why? Because in God's sovereignty, some things are more important than healing instantaneously. - It's His Glory and purpose manifest in His own ways here on earth that is far more important than our healing - We are here for 2 reasons according to the Westminster's Confession - to glory God and enjoy Him forever - The glorifying comes before the enjoying...
- v4 Jesus had a higher aim than human happiness. His aim was God's glory - He not only had a higher aim but also a longer view. Let's think where all these will lead to. It's life and not death - Jesus is delaying so that it all lead to glorifying God - That's the purpose of our lives, sick or well, healed or not healed, your purpose is to glorify God
- This delay relieved the disciples but 2 days later Jesus shocked the disciples to want to go back to Judea - It's not the most ideal thing for Jesus to go back for He will be stoned - Jesus reply was enlightening. Are there not twelve hours of daylight v9 - His point is that His life will go on exactly the length God willed it. So don't worry - Psalms 139 - God counted the number of days before we were born - v9-10. This applies for only to those who walk in the daylight. Walk in the light of God. Let Him guide you. You won't stumble before the sunset - v11-12 Why did Jesus used the phrase fallen asleep which the disciples mistook as literal. They think sleep was good for Lazarus will get well later - Jesus actually meant Lazarus was dead when He used fallen asleep - He paralleled natural sleep with death for one day we all will wake again like how it happens when one sleeps
v17 - Both sisters started with the common sentence "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died" - After which both their responses went on a totally different tangent when Jesus finally came. - They represented 2 different reactions of people during bereavement. Those who talk and talk and those who say nothing but weep - Jesus dealt with them differently. For Martha, He talked a lot but with Mary, He just wept
MARTHA - Martha, confused in her mind, - Martha had a stronger faith than Mary - She said, "Even now I know God will give you what you ask" - Jesus pressed her to challenge her faith by saying that He will raise Lazarus - Martha knew this as being raised in the last day as she was taught that all will rise at the end. She saw this as Jesus consoling her - She wanted something more out of Jesus for she believed Jesus had the power to raise her brother now - Jesus said He is the Resurrection and Life. He raises and also gives life. - Who dares to say that unless He's God?!?!?! - Martha believed by the statement she made, acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah, Son of God - Martha had faith.
MARY - For Mary, Jesus' response was more emotional for Mary was more emotional - Jesus had 2 emotions. v33 1. Deeply moved - snorted like a horse with anger, Indignation - He didn't weep at first. He was disgust. Strange emotion. Why? - Here the Son of God, angry because this kind of scene need not have been. That family broken like this by Satan - The Son of God looking at the world that was never meant to be this way. - In the end, God will restore the earth and wipe away tears - Jesus was angry with Satan. 2. Jesus sobbed v38 Why? - His love for Lazarus when He saw his dead body cold and dead
- All of us will one day return back to dust. We die decay and smell. v39 - Jesus here had power over decay - Jesus told the people to take over the stone. He's always telling people to cooperate with Him. How lovely that He asks us to be co-workers v39 - But the real test is when God tells us to do something that defies our logic. (Martha logically is concerned about the odor for she just saw death still) - But Jesus once again reminded Martha that if she believed, she'll see the glory of God - v41 Jesus already had prayed and at this point He was just thanking God that God heard Him - But nonetheless, Jesus vocalized His prayer v42 - Jesus was concerned with 2 things by what He did here - the glory of God and the faith of man. - By vocalizing His prayer, He attributed glory to God for this miracle and activated the faith of man towards GodThe
- v43 Lazarus come out! Jesus not only spoke to the dead body. He was speaking down down down to call back the spirit and rejoin spirit to body - Jesus said take off his grave clothes and let him go home. Don't treat him like an exhibit or swamped him with many questions. Just let him go home - The Bible always discourages the contact with those who are near death to find out. Just trust Jesus as the resurrection and the life. Just have faith
- This act of Jesus kickstarted the plans of the Jews to kill Him - Jesus brought back Lazarus' life in exchange for His own
SCRIPTURES: John 11:45-12:19
STUDY - The raising of Lazarus was a crisis for Jesus because this event kickstarted the plot to kill Jesus - Throughout Lazarus was often mentioned. - Council meets to plot to kill Jesus and they are discussing Lazarus - There was a supper at Bethany and a crowd came to see the resurrected Lazarus - High Priest decides to kill Lazarus too - The triumphant entry of Jesus and the crowd was large because of Lazarus - They heard and seen the miracle and that caused the crowd to gather - Lazarus was a key figure in the whole saga. - POINT: When your life is transformed by God, crowds will be drawn to see
- We see such a lovely act of raising Lazarus can be ruined by the evilness of human heart. - Likewise, the same for Mary's lovely act of pouring perfume on Jesus' feet and ruin by Judas' comment - What we see is this. As we come nearer and nearer to the Cross, human nature is revealed at both its best and worse - We see envy, fear surfacing
3 scenes 1. Court room - Jesus' death was mentioned 2. Dining room - Jesus' burial was mentioned 3. Open slope on Mt of Olives - Jesus' resurrection was mentioned - The theme of the Gospel in this portion. 1 Cor 15:1-4
COURTROOM - A miracle has double effect. Some believed some don't even when proof is given - High Priest were Sadducees that don't believe in resurrection - It blew them away when Lazarus was resurrected. It didn't fit into their theology and so they plotted to kill Lazarus as well - Some were afraid of losing their position in their religion if the Romans see religious unrest. v48 - We may behave like that if we are put in this situation.
- Seeing what trouble may brew, Caiaphas said something politically right. To sacrifice one man Jesus rather than the whole nation of Israel is better. - While Caiaphas was speaking, God was speaking through Caiaphas of the death of Jesus for His nation and for other people v51 - What was meant for political expediency, God used it to pronounce His redemptive plan - The Sanhedrin already decided Jesus should die even before trial was opened to give a fair hearing to Him. - That's what they did to our Lord Jesus. That's what we did to our Lord Jesus - They put Him to death unjustly. We put Him to death unjustly
DINING ROOM - It was 6 days before Passover. It's a reminder of a lamb sacrificed for the angel of death might pass over. v12 - He came to stay in the home that meant so much to him. Martha's home - To show honor, usually host will anoint guest with oilment and wash feet - Mary took her very expensive perfume and did that - Nard came from aromatic herb up in himalayas mountains. It's 1 year's wage - She let her hair done and wash wipe Jesus' feet. It's an act of extravagance. Love is lavish - This aroma from the perfume would have stuck on Jesus even as He went through His ordeal of crucifixion
- Against the background of this generosity, is greed. Judas here was calculating, concealing and coveting - He was weighing the value of the perfume and saw how much money was wasted. He was selfish and was not love - He was concealing. He was not really interested in helping the poor with the money. He dip money in the treasurer bag. He was greedy - The world cannot understand what is spent for the Lord. They view that as wasteful and foolish because they don't love the Lord - But Mary loved the Lord. She kept the perfume for Jesus - Why do Christians throw away good careers or future to follow Jesus and do His will? Because of love
SLOPE OF MT OLIVES - 2 million people will come at this Passover - They are singing Hosanna - Save us now - Jesus is coming and the whole crowd turned up - All their hopes pinned on one person who could save them as King and liberate them from the oppression of the Romans - The tragedy of this scene is that Jesus spoke to them something which they didn't want to hear - Jesus spoke to them through sight. He rode in on a donkey's back - In that donkey Jesus was giving the most profound lesson. - But because they missed the message of the donkey, they got so disappointed when in a few days time they saw this hailed savior crucified - Jesus came in a donkey in a prophecy fulfilled in Zechariah - The Savior comes lowly and to bring peace - The real peace comes when we are set free from ourselves and not from others - Even the disciples couldn't understand this not until after the resurrection
- The Pharisees continued in their envy when their plot to kill Jesus wasn't working - They said something they don't know the significance. - The whole world is going after him - Looking at this passage, Caiaphas unknowingly processed Jesus' death for the lives of many. Mary preparing for Jesus' burial and now the Pharisees projecting the response of the world going after Jesus. - It's the most profound way how the Spirit of God works in and through man - Point: Behind all these earthly events, God is busy working out His sovereign plans.
SCRIPTURES - John 12:20-50
STUDY - Jesus said 3 times that His hour has come - It was an hour when His life ends and our eternal life starts - Jesus had patiently waited for this hour to come (He answered His mother before his hour has not yet come John 2) - Jesus here went direct without the use of parables. He was plain
- There are 4 principles here
1. RENUNCIATION - It started with a little request made by the Greeks to see Jesus. What a lovely request - However Jesus saw this request as a temptation, a diversion from His mission - These were Greek invaders living those days that shot out from Alexander the Great - They settled in the Southern part of Galilee in the 10 cities or in Greek - Decapolis which was under the Roman rule - Jesus had visited that area. He had delivered a demon-possessed man. Mark 5. He fed 5000 people - And now these Greeks wanted to see Jesus. They knew that Jesus wasn't appreciated by his own Jewish countrymen - Jesus did not go and see them and go with them. His hour has come to be glorified - The principle of multiplying oneself by death is stated here - To go with the Greeks, Jesus would only benefit some. To die, He would bless many many more - There's a contrast here of direction and motion - The Greeks wanted Jesus to go with them. Jesus here said to stay here with Him, follow Him, served Him - It's not about what we want Jesus to do for us. It's about what He wants of us - It's always about submission to the will of God - Jesus is not interested in coming with us. He wants us to come to Him and serve - And our Father honors those who serves Him
2. REDEMPTION - Jesus was going to die physically very soon. He experienced the emotional struggle with this as a human v27 - But He chose to say "Father glorify thy name" rather than save me - And God spoke v28 - When God can get a man to glorify His name even though he's suffering, indeed God is glorified
- Look what Jesus' death achieved 1. It looked as if Jesus was on trial and being judged but in fact the world was being judged v31 2. It looked as if Jesus was being overthrown and cast out but in fact it was the devil v31 3. It looked as if the Cross was the end of the road and people will be scattered thereafter but in fact as Jesus was lifted, draws all man to himself v32
- The crowd asked Jesus what it means for the Son of Man to be resurrected for their understanding is that their messiah will live forever - Jesus didn't answer them directly but instead said that He'll only be with them for a little while longer. Believe in Him while there's light - For where Jesus is not, there is darkness
3. REJECTION - Why do people reject and not believe Jesus? - Isaiah gave the answer 700 years before v38 - God has blinded the lost eyes. He has closed their minds - Why would God do that? - He gave them what they decide they want. They want to reject, He allowed their blindness and hardening - The more truth is preached, the more we draw near or the more we are closed up
- There are 2 kinds of rejection He mentioned - closed minds and closed mouths - The people who believed inside but did not let their profession of faith come out! v42 - Rom 10:10 Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth - Faith is expressive! The world must see it - They didn't verbalize their faith because of fear of man. - A true believer is one who let his faith out publicly
- Jesus preached His last sermon here. v44 1. To see Jesus is to see God. To listen to Jesus is to listen to God 2. He came to save not judge the world. But one day judgement will come when we have decided not to believe Him - Let those who are given the grace to hear this message make that decision to come and believe and follow. - Lest they face the consequence of judgement on that Day.
SCRIPTURES : John 13:1-17
STUDY - There are 3 pictures here. - A picture of Jesus. A picture of what He did for His disciples and a picture of what He wanted His disciples to do for others
A PICTURE OF HIMSELF (UNLIMITED LOVE AND POWER) - Jesus knew when, where and how He's going to die. Very interesting because we don't - More than that, He knew where He was going after death. He knew He was going to the Father - And He knew that He came from there. That was His original home. v3 - We have here a picture of His love without limits unlike humans - Every human love will crack. When it reaches that breaking point, it turns to hate - But Jesus loved them to the end despite knowing that in their midst one of them would betray Him and go to hell - Praise God there is no end. It's an endless and everlasting love
- He also had power without limits, given to Him by His Father v3 - Unlimited power given to Jesus with unlimited power is the greatest blessing to us. Because that equals service - We need both in perfect combination - With all that love and power, only Gospel of John tells us what He did with that. He demonstrated service and humility
A PICTURE OF WHAT HE DID (SERVICE) - What Jesus did was very ordinary as it was done at every meal. But it was who did that was extraordinary - When guests who were invited arrived at the house, 2 slaves will be stationed at the door - The second lowest slave took off the sandal and the lowest slave wash the feet which by then were caked with mud - It's interesting John the baptist said he's unworthy to take off the sandal. He's not worthy to be the 2nd bottom slave - He didn't mention the bottom one - This meeting was secretly arranged and so there wasn't any slave to do this job - So they looked around but couldn't find the slave so they just set down with their smell feet - Nobody would do it for each other. That's the context
- We have a picture here of utmost humility - Some people think humility is really getting out of the limelight. Like blending like a wall paper - But humility at times is putting yourself right in the centre. It's the motivation behind that tells whether you are humble - And that's what Jesus did here. He drew attention from everyone but it was humility - Jesus stripped his body voluntarily. He was stripped by forced later when He was cruxified. What a contrast! - He stripped himself first and in a loin cloth only. That's how a slave dressed. - Can you imagine what the disciples had felt? "I wished I've got there first" - See, we don't ourselves humbling before the Lord but we cannot stand the Lord humbling Himself before us. It hurts - And here's a glimpse of how Jesus saw himself. The Lord who had unlimited power got down on his needs to express his humility - Jesus always started by doing something for us and not the other way around
- Peter was uncomfortable. He didn't like His Lord to treat him like that - Peter is extreme. He swings from one end to the other, a sign of immaturity - He said it's either none or all. Jesus you either don't wash me or you wash every part of me - Too proud to serve others, now he's too proud to be served. He didn't do it for others first. Now he wouldn't let others do it for him - Jesus answer, "Unless I wash you, we can't be in fellowship" - And Peter just had to be special. He wanted to be washed every part. It's so typical of Peter - his lack of submission to Jesus' ways
- There's a deeper lesson here. Once you have been bathed, you don't need to again. You just need a daily washing to keep fellowship with the Lord - When you come to Christ, you have a total bath. You are totally cleaned - But in our daily life, we picked up dirt as we walked through life. But we are never totally dirty again. - v11. But there was one who was not totally clean. Even the cleaning of one part of his body - the feet won't get him clean. - He knew who had not his heart cleaned out by Jesus - Judas - POINT: You can't have the daily forgiveness or daily cleansing until you have the total bath. - That's why the Lord's prayer is for Christians only. It's a daily prayer asking for daily cleansing. Forgive us our trespasses A PIC OF WHAT HE EXPECTS US TO DO - Jesus wanted to change the thinking of his disciples - He wanted to change 2 things - what Lordship is - You want lordship then this is how you achieve it. You become the least. - And they called Him Lord and Master and rightly He was. And then looked at what He did. That's how the Master and Lord behaved - And therefore He had given them an example. No task is too menial for a Christian to go and meet the needs of others - Jesus is really interested what we do for one another than what we do for Him
- It doesn't only mean helping each other physically but meeting each others' spiritual, emotional, mental needs - Whatever Jesus had done for all of our needs, then go likewise to do for others - It's the Christian responsibility to serve each other in response to the Lordship of Christ - What a lovely picture!
SCRIPTURES: John 13:18-38
STUDY - There are 13 people here. 12 disciples plus Jesus - In 24 hours, the best person and the worse person sitting at the table at this meal will be dead. - Ch 13-17 all happened in one night. - Ch 13 gave us a very poor picture of the disciples who refused to wash each others' feet. There's betrayal - And it ended with a rich picture of Jesus praying for the disciples - It started with a picture of Jesus started low by washing the disciples' feet but it finishes off as a high priest interceding for us
- Divided into 3 sections, talking about Judas, Jesus, Peter - And in each section, Jesus made a general statement about the situation, a specific prediction that's going to happen and gave also a direct command
JUDAS - It shakes you as you read about Judas - One of the 12 apostles never made it to heaven - He's been with Jesus, held treasurer position and yet never made it - You can get as near to Jesus as Judas and yet lost due to evilness of our hearts that is the platform for the work of Satan
- Jesus made a general statement. He expected enemies. Not only enemies outside but traitors within - Jesus quoted Psalms 41:9 v18 - This verse mentioned the turning against of someone. Turning against here means kicking with the heel. It's a dirty act. - Jesus was saying that not only David had this experience of betrayal. The son of David Himself would have this experience - The person who had been eating bread with me was going to kick me from behind not in front - Jesus knew the destruction of the morale of the disciples upon knowing this - So Jesus said that He's telling them now so that they won't get surprised when it happened. And that their faith in Him will be even more firm. v19 - It's lovely that Jesus took time to prepare the disciples to help them to be confident in Him and also in themselves that they will be His ambassadors
- Then Jesus gave a prediction here. - He looked deeply troubled here. - And He made it even clearer here that his quotation of scriptures Psalms 41:9 literally meant someone within the room was going to betray Him - The disciples looked at each other puzzled and at a loss, thinking who would that be - It's a natural human response that everybody looked at everybody else in suspicion - And Peter opened his big mouth as usual. He told John to ask Jesus who is it - Jesus answered with an action. He passed the dipped bread to Jesus
- Then Jesus responded very quickly with a direct command to Judas - What you are about to do, do quickly - Why did Jesus say that to Judas? - He was hampered by the presence of Judas. He was about to teach the rest of his disciples whom He considered them His own - He was about to teach about the Holy Spirit, the coming Kingdom, unity etc - And when Judas was around, He didn't use the word Father. When Judas left, He used Father and He called the rest His children. v33 - The rest of didn't understand what Jesus called Judas to do. But John knew after 60 years later when this book was written. - When John ended this portion saying it was night v30, it felt like he was saying Judas went out into darkness
Let's answer these 2 mental questions
Mental Question Predestination and free will - Was Judas a tool in God's hand in fulfilling His will of Jesus' death? - Jesus had known all along who will betray Him. So why still choose Judas? - Does this mean that Judas was a robot? no. - Foreknowledge doesn't make a man do a thing - God knew but man still is responsible for his own act - And in His foreknowledge used this as part of His plan
Moral Question - If Judas was free and responsible for the betrayal, how could he had lived with Jesus without being detected for the past 3 years? - v26, When Jesus offered the dipped bread to Judas, that was a cultural show of affection. Judas had one last chance to repent and not betray - But Judas didn't. Satan planted evil thoughts to him in culmination to the act of betrayal. When Judas decided on the betrayal, Satan entered him - The sequence is such that humans have a weakness, Satan tempting, humans give in to the temptation, Satan marches right in - Jesus realized Judas had reached the end of his moral road. So Jesus asked him to go and do what he had intended to do quickly - Remember Judas. He actually shared in the Lord's supper and yet can betray Jesus. A sober reminder that this can happen to any one of us
JESUS - After Judas had left, the whole atmosphere had lifted - Now, Jesus emphasized the glory of God and the glorification of God - What Judas did was disgraceful but NOW glory.... in the glorification of the Son of Man
- He then now made a prediction. - He's going to leave his disciples - And Peter's heart was really troubled - And Jesus' concern was after He's gone, his disciples will stay together - The disciples stayed close together in the 3 years because they had Jesus with them - If Jesus would have left them, they would have scattered - So Jesus said He got 1 important thing to say to them before He's gone, that is to love one another - This is a special love that Jesus wants them to have. Not just a love for God and for neighbor. - Loving God and neighbor was a familar OT command. But Jesus now says a NEW command I give to you - to love fellow believers. - It is your attitude toward your fellow Christians - Jesus gave this commandment. It's a commandment. - Some people thing that you can't force or command any one to love because it's so subjective or 'feely' - But this love is a kind of expression of loyalty to one another and so commanded by Christ - ILLUSTRATION: When a couple says the marriage vow. They will not respond like "I feel I will honor my vow". They simply obey and say "I will" - The badge that Jews wear is circumcision. The badge that Christians wear is the love for one another - This is the only sign Jesus gave us to convince the world that Christ is our Lord - When the non Christians come into the midst of believers and see how believers really do love one another, it's a powerful testimony. - The non Christians are convinced. They really are. - How did Christ demonstrate this love to them. - He never criticized them to anyone else. That's his love. - He was loyal to them till the last ditch. So loyal that He rebuked them in love - He told them their faults to the face but never in front of anyone else - As I have loved you, so you must love one another... - His love was patient for them. He tried to teach them things but they didn't get it. But Jesus didn't replace them all
PETER - But Peter still didn't get it. He was concerned about the separation part, that Jesus was leaving - Jesus replied that where He was going Peter was yet ready to follow - Peter took that as a personal insult. His heart was all ready to die for Jesus - That's the problem we have. Our words run ahead of our deeds - What we say to the Lord may not always line up with our actions - Hymn - Take my life and let it be. Consecrate it unto thee - Jesus then made a specific prediction that Peter would disown Him instead - Jesus knew Peter's heart at that point in time. He was not ready to go all way out to stand with Jesus - At the slightest trouble, Peter would be seen running off - That's exactly what Jesus had predicted. Peter indeed denied Jesus after Jesus got arrested. - Peter didn't say anything further according to Scriptures, which was unusual given his rambunctious nature - It was definitely uncomfortable to hear such words from Jesus. Peter might have been dumbfounded - Situation looked tense with such exchanges. Jesus said He's going away and no longer going to be with the disciples - And furthermore, they cannot follow. Atmosphere was depressing - Jesus ended by acknowledging the hearts of the disciples and told them to let not their hearts be troubled. John 14 - John 14 was the assurance to Peter when he discovered how weak he was
- This entire ch13 seemed depressing, looking at how not ready the disciples were with their existing character flaws and undiscerning hearts - But we can still draw tremendous encouragement from it! - It's yet again the narrative of grace where God takes the weak and makes them strong and ready for His use
SCRIPTURES: John 14:1-11
STUDY - John 14 deals with the greatest human disease and that is of the heart. - Heart troubles reflects quickly the state of the mind and the state of the soul - The cure for heart trouble is trust, believe - But believe in what? You can believe in anything and anyone - It's not simply believe in God. Most believe in God and still have heart troubles - Believe in God and also IN Jesus. That's the combination - Jesus always tell the truth. So we can trust Him! - That's what got Jesus into trouble! He would not let people go on living in falsehood and thus heading to destruction - v5 One of the powerful ways to learn is to ask questions! - If the disciples had not asked, we won't have John 14 - Peter, Thomas then Philip asked questions
- Let's look at the questions. The key words are Father and I - He's saying trust us. Trust my Father and trust me and you will overcome worry - Peter question concerned the Where - Place. Where are you going Jesus (Heaven) - Thomas question concerned the How - How are we going to get there? - Philip question concerned the Person we are going to live with? - These are the 3 deep questions that we all need to know about the afterlife
- Jesus already assured Peter the separation would not be forever. But Peter was still troubled because he couldn't understand - And he was just told by Jesus that he wasn't ready to follow! - But 30 years later, he was ready. He was crucified in Rome upside down. It's grace fueling him - Jesus in his wonderful compassion healed the worry Himself. He was doing the comforting while He was going through His own afliction - Then He told them 2 things 1. He's going to prepare the Father's House for them 2. He's coming back and take us home. - He's going away is to prepare the place for us. So don't worry. - He's preparing the place for His people in Heaven. And He's preparing His people for the place here on earth
- In the Father's House, there were many rooms. - There's ONLY 1 House but many rooms. Only 1 place to come home to - The word room reminds us of Jesus' birth, where Joseph and Mary had no room - Jesus told Peter not to be sad for He was preparing a room for him. - Jesus doesn't lie!
- Thomas was worried now. And he spoke out. He contradicted Jesus' statement. Jesus said they knew how to get to that place He talked about - Thomas said they didn't know. So who's right? Jesus was - Jesus then gave a answer that has no parallel with other religions - Other great man of other faiths would show you the way, reveal the truth to you or give you the life - But Jesus said He IS the way/truth/life - To know the way/truth/life, we just need to get to know Jesus - And so therefore Thomas supposed to know how because he knows Jesus. Apparently, he did not fully know - Noticed the word "THE" used 3 times by Jesus. He's not just one of the ways. He's the way, the ONLY way. v6 - That's why we got to go tell the world as there's only 1 path to God. - He made the most exclusive statement that can ever be made. No one comes to the Father except through me - Therefore, no such thing as all roads lead to God - So if you have Jesus, you have everything you need in life. If you haven't got Jesus, you've nothing to help you. NOTHING
- v8 Philip asked show us the Father. Who's Father right? - Philip was expressing a human desire of who God is - Looking at Jesus will show us who Father is - The Father and Jesus are so close that they are living in each other - Or look at what Jesus had done, they are looking at the Father
- So you don't need to be troubled for Heaven is a surety. And don't worry, you know how to get there - It's through Jesus for He is THE way/truth/life - And we know how our Father looks like for the intimacy with Jesus is intimacy with our Father
SCRIPTURES : John 14:12-31
STUDY - One thing the disciples was clear was that Jesus was leaving. They were anxious, disturbed and upset - Loneliness was a terrible thing. And Jesus set out to comfort them to cope with these emotional moment - Because God cares for the lonely. God has a special concern for those who are left alone - Imagine a while later these 11 will witness the horrific death of their 33 year old young leader - Instead of comforting Jesus, they were being comforted by Jesus! Ironic! - Jesus was not comforted by no one! He asked for ministry, to pray for Him while He agonized over what He's about to go through. - The disciples fell asleep instead. Only the angels ministered to Him.
- How did Jesus comfort the disciples. His departure was sure. But He also assured that's He'll be back! And bring them with Him - And while waiting for His return, He comforted them further by saying He'll never leave them alone. He's sending someone else to abide in them - v18 Jesus will not leave them alone or left as orphans. (That's the greek meaning of alone)
- Jesus could see through what's in their hearts and what their concerns were. - They are 3 things they were going to miss. 1. They are going to miss his power 2. They are going to miss his presence 3. They are going to miss his peace
POWER - Jesus didn't just sympathize with people in need. He released power and delivered them - The disciples saw all these - The disciples even shared in this power. Jesus sent them out 2 by 2 and they were similarly effective in the ministry of power to the people in need - So will all these power be gone when Jesus departs? Jesus said the power is going to go on. v12. That's His first claim - v12 sometimes is simply too big for our faith. Lord we believe but help our unbelief - And if that's not enough, Jesus said GREATER works will we do than He!! - And Jesus went on further to make yet another astounding claim. Whatever we ask IN HIS NAME, He'll do it! - That's a very big promise in the area of prayer. There's no limit in what Jesus cannot do! - But He did set 2 limits - the outer limits and the inner limits - Outer limits - Whatever and Anything - Inner limits - For God's Glory and In His Name - In His Name doesn't mean to end with a formula but it's saying to our Father that it's your Son Jesus speaking - So we got to ask Jesus what are you praying for? Because we can't be effective in our prayer if Jesus isn't praying with you - The blank cheque has to be crossed with these 2 lines - For God's Glory and In His Name - So Jesus started comforting them that His power will continue
PRESENCE - He was leaving them and He knew it and He told them He'll not leave them alone - This is the first time He mentioned a 3rd person - the Holy Spirit - He's another Helper - v16. Greek means someone whom you call besides you. Someone advocating and defending you. - So we call upon the Holy Spirit to stand by you - The world however cannot accept (take up in order to carry away) the Holy Spirit because it does not know him. - The Holy Spirit remains a "mystery". All over the world the Holy Spirit is moving but we can't really see Him- - But believers know the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is inside us - v18-20 - The doctrine of the trinity shown. Holy Spirit, Father, Son in us. - v23 - In the beginning of the chapter, Jesus said He would go back to Heaven and prepare a place for us - While we can anticipate that, Our Father is right now building His home in us! How comforting. He will never leave us - God never leaves any gap! And all these are established in the realm of God's love - God's love is expressed in assuring us of His continuous Power/Presence/Peace
- And our reciprocation of love is expressed in obedience to Jesus' teaching. Anyone who loves Jesus will obey His teaching. v23 - We don't obey either because of ignorance or forgetfulness. We don't know or we know but forget. - Therefore we need to be taught and be reminded - And Jesus assured them not to worry because the Holy Spirit whom Father sends will teach and remind them. - The Father love us. He'll teach us remind us through His Holy Spirit. He will make His home in us. We will never be alone again
PEACE - Wherever Jesus was He brought peace. He's in control of every situation - This is the peace that Jesus had as compared to the peace that the world is looking for. - The world can't find peace that's why she's longing for peace - The world's definition of peace is very dependent on external circumstances - But the peace Jesus gives is dependent on God around and in you - Jesus had nothing tangible to leave to the world - His clothes were taken away from Him, his Body he left with Joseph of Arimathea, His Spirit went to God, his mother was bequeathed to John - What has He got left? The only thing He said He leaves with us is HIS PEACE - No one can leave you Peace. They can leave you money, possessions but not peace
- There are 3 ingredients that make up Jesus' peace
1. Peace that depends on a Heavenly Destination - He could have said He is going to my cross or my death but He said He's going to my Father. v28 - When we die, we can have the peace because we know that our destination is home with our Father
2. It's peace of moral freedom - v30 the ruler of this world has no hold or nothing on Jesus. So there's no guilt or condemnation - No man on earth can say that the devil has nothing on them - The devil tried to have a foothold on Jesus by tempting Him but the devil didn't succeed - Jesus is complete free from Satan's hold - But for man, we are under sin and therefore have no moral freedom to live with a clean conscience! - That's why we need Christ in us to free us
3. Peace from a loving obedience - There are too many things that run our lives and take priority and precedence - But for Jesus, He only allowed His Father to run and dictate His life. - He walked in obedience to His Father. And therefore He had peace
- With this 3 ingredients, you can say "Rise! Let us go. We can face anything now" - So after the Lord's supper, He told them "Let's go" - With all that the disciples were feeling, He assured and comforted them by revealing His nature of His Power, Presence and Peace with them - He told them everything they need to know to face the future without anxiety. - But the disciples probably didn't get everything - But 60 years later, Apostle John guided by the Promised Holy Spirit in Him recalled everything and recorded it all for us
SCRIPTURES: John 15:1-17
STUDY - One of the reasons why Jesus was a good teacher was he used good visual aid and paint pictures in your mind (fig trees, door) - In John 15, he painted the last picture beyond his time was up. - The vine was ordinary and yet Jesus had a clear objective of using that to illustrate a powerful truth - They had already finished the Lord's supper at the upper room at the top of the hill of Zion Jerusalem - And were going down to Kidron Valley and Garden of Gethsemane. - They would have to pass by the temple gate and at the gate were the vines of 6 feet of golden grapes. It's a magnificent sight - Anyone who would be grateful to God will seek permission to provide a golden grape to the golden vine - The grape vine is a symbol of Israel. 2 man carrying a pole with gigantic cluster of grapes is their tourist symbol - It's a picture of the big grapes in the promise land. It went on in their coins in the Macabees age
- Jesus using this illustration said He's the real vine. He will be the one who's going to give God the grapes He wants - And it's in Jesus that God will be able to pick the grapes that He's looking for so long - If you look at history of Israel's lack of fruitfulness, you see God scattered His people for 2000 years. - What use is the grape vine to the Gardener when it's not producing the grapes He wants. - So the lesson is if you want to give God fruits, you got to remain in Me says Jesus
There are 2 lessons here 1. Your union with Christ is the decisive factor whether God gets what He wants in you 2. Your unity with Christians ie how branches rightly related to each other is vital in productivity of the vine. That's common horticulture knowledge - 2 tools the Gardener needs - hoe and knife - Hoe keeps out unwanted things. No weed - Sharp Knife - to get the fruit He wants
- God has to use the knife on us on the time to get what He wants. To produce good fruits - Disturbing and challenging thoughts yet it's a blessing - There are 2 things that Jesus says here, one negative and one positive - Negative: You need to be pruned by God. Some thing taken out - Positive: You will be productive in the vine - That's how the christian life is - There are 2 sorts of pruning because they are 2 kinds of branches - Some produce leaves but no fruits. No use. They draw from the plant but are wasteful. They are cut out so that other branches get their nutrients - They are not only useless but a handicap for the rest of the plant, therefore they must go - Some produce fruits but not very much. God in His love and tenderness cuts them down to almost nothing - By doing so, the branches become more productive
- How does God cut us down? - v 3 by the word He spoke to us. It's sharper than any 2 edged sword - Whom the Lord loves he chastises - The only function of the vine (Jesus) is to connect up the branch and the fruit, to transfer the sap from the branch to the fruit. v4 - Jesus makes 2 profound statements about the branches 1. It's barren by itself v5 - You can cut a branch and plant it and it will grow. But it will only produce leaves and not fruits. It must be connected to the Vine - You can do a lot of things for yourself and live a good life BUT you can't do anything for God without Jesus (Vine). 2. The branches are useless for any other purpose - They are wood. But you can't use them as a stick because it's so bent and twisted - You can't use as firewood because they don't burn well - You can't use as material for furniture as it's not tough enough - The branches in the vine has no use at all!!! - v5 It's the constant remaining in the vine that the branch is productive - It doesn't matter that you are connected to Christ 20 years ago, are you connected to Him today? Remain is present active verb - Unless you make your home in me (Ch 14), then there's is no productive fruitful life - Looking at the positive side, if we do abide In Him, there's a fruitfulness in our lives v5, a glorified God v8, joy in us v11, prayer answered v7
- v6: If a branch does not abide, it's cut out, thrown away, withers and burn - The question is can a person be in Christ get so out of touch with Christ that he can be eternally lost? - 2 possible answers
1. If a Christian produces no fruit at all, this person has never been a true Christian at all - The text doesn't seem to suggest the branches were never in the vine at all. They had but now cut and thrown out 2. For Christians who produces no fruit, they are considered of little use for God and also for man - v6 says men gather the branches - 1 Cor 9 This is exactly what Paul meant that he might be disqualified even after having preached the Gospel - We may not be of very much a positive testimony to bring people to God - Jesus is saying very solemnly, if you are not producing fruit, men regard them of no value of no account - Jesus is talking about things in this life now, here on earth - God has not sent them to eternal lostness but such have considered been useful here on earth
- In every grape there are pips. And all the nutrients come into the grape pips from the vine making the grape good - Not only that, the pips enables the grape to reproduce itself - God not only desire fruits that are tasty and good for consumption but also fruits that can reproduce themselves in others and winning others - So in the vine, fruits of inward righteousness and outward reproductivity are produced
- v12-17 There's a profound truth here - A common but mistaken assumption that provided my relationship with Christ is alright, everything else is alright - You may be abiding in the vine and yet you may be in a wrong relationship with other Christians - If abiding in Christ automatically ensures my right relationship with ours, Jesus would not have told us to love one another - You noticed how entangled the branches of the vine can be. Entanglement is common just like in our relationship with one another. - That's why loving one another has to be intentional and Jesus commanded us to do so - Loving one another means laying down one's life, beyond convenience and comfort for the sake of the other person. v13 - It's prepared to say my life is yours and I'm willing to spend it away for you - It's possible that one is selfishly cultivating his spiritual life in Christ, drawing life from the vine but not caring about the other branches - So Jesus wants the sap of his life in us to flow to others
- Jesus also wants this love to be a trusting love - Jesus called His disciples friends. He was prepared to share intimate things with them - v16 Predestination. If a man goes to hell, it's his own responsibility and his own decision alone. But if he goes to heaven, God chose Him - We just thank God that He chose me - Inside the middle of the word Predestination is destiny. We are chosen for a destiny to bear much fruit - Jesus chose us to be in the vine to bear much fruit and that the fruit will last - Fruit, more fruit, much fruit, enduring fruit.... - Where Christians lined up with one another in love, their fruit will last - v16b, And Jesus had given us everything from the vine to have enduring fruit in us - Whatever you (Plural) ask in Jesus' name, Father will give
- So answered prayer is mentioned twice in this chapter - One is when you remain in Christ and two when you love one another. That's the secret - You can expect your prayers to be answered when you are in communion with Christ and in unity with one another
- The whole point of it all is the Gardener should have some fruit from us - We are His Garden. May He have in us what He desires today and everyday.
SCRIPTURES: John 15:18-16:15
STUDY - Jesus turned the subject from love to hate - 3 relationships that we must get right - with the Lord, with other Christians, with the world - How lovely, if we will go straight right with Jesus upon conversion. But if that's so, then who will convert everyone else?
- One of the battles we have is to go on living in this world that doesn't belong to Jesus - The reality of living in this world is full of troubles (Tribulation) - Tribulum - Threshing tool that adds pressure and the feeling of being thrashed 2 things Jesus mentioned about being in the world 1. You will experience social hostility 2. You will experience spiritual help
1st Reason for Experiencing Social Hostility - You don't belong to the world anymore
- World - Godless society reigned by Satan himself in which we have to live - It includes spheres of education, business, arts, family, etc... - That's why there's so much trouble - When you walk in Christ and His ways, the world doesn't like you. The world hates you. v18 - Charles Spurgeon: When you become a Christian, how much of the world do I have to give up? Not to worry. The world will give you up - The challenge is how to still stay in touch with the world while living on a totally different set of value system - Kingdom system - In the teaching of Jesus about the world and the Kingdom, they cannot mix. You are chosen out of the world into His - Value, affection, belief system all totally different. So they are of opposing ends - Illustration: A hen that looks different will be pecked to death by the others. - Just like how some are obstracized in the office because they are different in the Lord
2nd Reason for Experiencing Social Hostility - There is no reason! It's irrational v25 - People dislike the good in the Christians. It's irrational - They first hated Christ, therefore they hate Christians and hate God the Father too v23 - The world is in a state of enmity with God
16:1-4 : How this enmity will show itself? It comes from religion and religious people - 2000 years it has been like this where other religion has no place for Christ 1. They have no fellowship with you 2. They will try to kill you and think it's a service to God (Eg Holy war in history) 3. They don't know the Father/Christ even though they are religious, God seekers - It has been consistent till today that Christianity is hated by the world. Opposition is there - So there can be a few responses 1. Retaliation - You treat me bad, I'll do the same to you 2. Isolation - You want nothing to do with them 3. Adaptation - You will behave according to how you will be accepted to fit in 4.Christianization - You will follow the forms and rituals of Christianity 5. Evangelism - You will become a witness. A tall order and that's why the Holy Spirit was given. He will prove to the world as we partner with Him
The Spiritual Help that we will experience through the Holy Spirit - Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth. He leads us to truth and any others are wrong - His task is to prove the world wrong and Jesus right v8
- How is the Holy Spirit going to do it? - Through testimony - The few gifts of the spirit are vocal in nature. God uses verbal declaration to reveal Himself - The tongue can do a lot - And the Holy Spirit wants to fill that tongue with His truth - We will testify about Christ inspired by the Spirit of truth. And we can testify because we have been with Jesus. v15:26
- v4-16: Jesus said a very profound thing. It's better for him to go and the Holy Spirit come - ILL: We announce Jesus will be here in our service next sun. Good? No. It's better that the Holy Spirit is here this sun and next and next We announce Jesus will go home with you to have lunch with one of you. Better? No. It's better that the Holy Spirit is with all of you at lunch - So it's better because His Spirit has a universal presence than Jesus who only had a universal presence - It's far better to have a internal presence than an external presence of Christ where the Holy Spirit is inside me
- The Holy Spirit will actually do 2 things to the world
1. Convict them that they've been wrong v8 - Hardest thing to do is to persuade someone that they are wrong. Even harder for oneself to persuade he himself is wrong - The world has his own idea of what sin, righteousness and judgement are.
SIN - They see sin as all the evil done by others in the world. It's always about them. Remove them and you remove sin. It's never about himself - But people do not realize that sin is indeed about themselves. They themselves are sinners because Jesus defined sin as not believing in Him - It's the refusal to believe in this truth and become indifferent about it. - Only the Holy Spirit can change that in a man's heart
RIGHTEOUSNESS - Righteousness is a word the world doesn't like or use - To the world, righteousness is a man trying to do his best - You tell them that it's possible for a man to be perfect and the world wouldn't believe it. But it's true. Jesus did. He was righteous - And Jesus was accepted into heaven and went to the Father because He was perfectly righteous. v10 - Man may think that based on their goodness or righteousness, they are going to heaven. But only Jesus is perfectly righteous and accepted - And the good news is now Jesus made His righteousness available to us to go there too - And the Holy Spirit convince a man that he can't get to heaven because he's not righteous - We need to be convince of the gravity of sin and the possibility of righteousness - And we need to be convinced that when those 2 meet, judgement must take place
JUDGEMENT - Many people are not convinced that judgement will not come. But judgement is certain for at the Cross, God begins to judge the world - And Christ was judged on behalf of the world - The cross tells us that God takes sin seriously - Only the Holy Spirit can convince a man of the certainty of judgement and the need to turn to God
2. The Holy Spirit leads you to Jesus after convicting you of sin, righteousness and judgement, and thereby a need for Him - His convicting work is not to hammer people down but to lift them up by leading them to salvation - He guides and leads people to all truth rather than pushing them - Many times, we get illumination in our hearts when we see truth from the word. That's the Holy Spirit working in us - The Holy Spirit's work is sweet - He not only gives you a testimony for the world, not only convinces you that the world is wrong, he also teaches you that Jesus is right and open your eyes to his glory. v14 - Father gave everything to Jesus, Jesus everything to Holy Spirit and HS everything to us. v15
- The more you are a true witness of Jesus, the more people will not like you and the more you don't belong to this world. - But the sweetest assurance is that this is the sign of the life of Christ in us - And we have the faith and confidence to know that the world is wrong and we are on the right track in Christ
SCRIPTURE : John 16:16-33
STUDY - Ch 16 came nothing short as a huge feat because everything was recorded from memory - Jesus taught this somewhere while walking through the Garden of Gethsemane and while the disciples were confused and anxious from His words - But He promised them the Holy Spirit who will come and teach them all things and bring to remembrance 16:24 - And 60 years later, John recorded them from memory which such clarity
- Jesus was fond of speaking parables/riddles. - And here the disciples couldn't understand what Jesus was saying when He said In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’ - Here Jesus used the analogy of child birth where there's a period of anguish/pain and also a moment of joy when the baby is born - He likened His disciples' grief to that and encouraged them that the day will come when they will be filled with joy - He was describing a timeline where He would be crucified and then die and resurrected again - This was what seeing Him no more and then would see Him again meant - So Jesus was saying that the disciples would be filled with joy again while they had to grief now
- Not only that they will be filled with joy, they will have a direct relationship with God the Father - Christian prayer is not Jesus asking on our behalf. v26 It's us going direct to the Father - And we can go directly to Him to ask in Jesus' name - It is direct access to God the Father because of the name of Jesus - ILL: It's like possess the blank cheque of a very wealthy man with his name on it - APPLICATION: Have that kind of boldness to go to God direct and use Jesus' name - We can do that because the Father loves us v27 because we love Christ
- There are 2 things that turn the disciples' sadness into gladness 1. Jesus will be alive again 2. Jesus had beaten death through His death and resurrection - These 2 realities will complete our happiness for now we can have open access to our Heavenly Father in prayer
- Now the disciples were beginning to understand Jesus' plain language v29 - Jesus stated plainly his origin and his destination, which the disciples really understood. v28 - And their understanding led them to believe Jesus that He came from God based on such plain explanation of Jesus v30 - But what is the meaning of believe? - Strongs 4100 : To place confidence in the object of belief - Jesus challenged the depth of their belief. v31 (IE: Don't speak too soon) - It's one thing to believe, it's another to act on what you believe - Jesus foretold that the disciples will be scattered when Jesus dies. Is that what belief will lead to? - This reveals 2 things 1. Human flesh is weak. The mind believes one thing, the flesh can't match up when pressure comes v32 2. Pressures and troubles will come from the world because of Christ. v33
- But Jesus doesn't just leave us there. He promised to bring peace to us in the midst of all these. - He said take heart. Cheer up. He has overcome the world - What a perfect friend Jesus is. He knows how weak we are and how much we will fail Him but He picks us up again
SCRIPTURES: John 17
STUDY - ILL: Messenger given instruction to enter King George VI room and saw him kneeling and praying. And feared and trembled and withdrew - King George's response after his prayer, "If ever you find on my knees, remember there is room for you by my side"
- It's all inspiring to hear a king on his knees and talking to the King - It's even more inspiring to hear the King of kings talking to His Father - Here we see a longer prayer of Jesus to His Father and in this prayer He poured His whole soul - He asked for 3 things. This is the true Lord's prayer 1. That He Himself may be glorified 2. That his apostles may be sanctified 3. That believers every where may be unified
- The prayer was made about midnight. The day has come for Christ to die - Maybe at the outer courtyard of the Temple area (Where the High Priest offers prayers for the people) - And here we have the Great High Priest offering prayers for us - Jesus almost looked like He was deliberately showing Himself to take over the High Priest role - The High Priest each year will enter the Temple, prays for himself, for his fellow priests and the people of God, then goes out and sacrifice a lamb - Jesus did the same thing and sacrificed Himself as the Lamb - That's why many call this chapter the high priestly prayer of Jesus
1. That He Himself may be glorified - It's a strange way to start a prayer. God give glory to me?!?!?! - For us to say this will be so inappropriate - But Jesus' motivation for glory to Him was so that He could give glory to God. That should be the attitude - Give this to me and I'll give this more to you... - And He has hidden this glory for the past 33 years and He knew the hour has come v1 - Only once the 3 disciples Peter James and John had a glimpse of this glory at the Mt of Transfiguration - Now Jesus was asking for that glory that was there in the beginning of time. The bright glory that was so bright that blinded Paul Acts 9 - And glory is in the death/cross/humiliation. And glory is in the life to be given to those who don't have life - Jesus used the authority given to Him to give life unlike many who give the opposite
- v2 God gave people to Jesus so that Jesus can give life to them. It's God initiating this work of life giving first - We came to Jesus because God started that first - v3 What is life? The world has all kinds of definition but life is when we have a relationship with God and Jesus - to "know" me - is always used in sexual intimacy. To know God is to be so intimate as in husband-wife sexual intimacy - So Jesus said bring glory to Him in the death He had to go through and in the life He will give by the authority given to Him, to those whom God brings to Him
2. That his apostles may be sanctified - Jesus now turned to tell God about the apostles whom God had given to Christ - God knows everything already. But it's His desire that His people come to Him to talk to Him in prayer about these things He already knew
So Jesus tells the Father 2 things about the apostles
1. What He has done for them v6 - Jesus introduced the Father, His message to them - God's normal way of getting us to know Him is through words
2. What they had done with Him - Jesus said they have received the word, believed and obeyed the word v6-8 - This is the way the word of God gets right into your heart, hearing, believing and obeying
- Now Jesus made 2 amazing statements 1. I am not praying for the world v9 - Why? Surely God loves the world? - The best thing you can do for the world is to pray for those who do belong to God in the world so that they can go and reach the world - Pray for the believers to win people. In praying to win people, the believers who are going are the ones who actually need our prayers most - Because very often, the blockage between the world and God is God's people
2. All I have is yours, and all You have is mine v10 - Jesus' assurance and confidence is that these apostles are actually God's and He will take care of them - And therefore He can bring His concern for them to His Father - v11 Jesus is going back to His glory in 24hours time and Jesus had concern for the apostles - The kind of concern a parent has for his children going overseas to study - So Jesus prayed to the Father to keep them safe for very soon He couldn't do so anymore. - While Jesus was with them, He kept them safe. Now He asked His Father to take over. v11 - He kept them safe by the name of Father v11. He kept praying in that name - Kept = To protect, to put them behind a high wall to keep them safe and secure - Jesus lost not one during the 3 years except one who was destined to be lost.
- Jesus wanted them to be kept in 2 ways 1. From evil 2. For good - Sanctified means set apart, usable by God set apart from evil and for good - The world is an evil place and evil is personal. v15 - Evil is not a thing but someone. Jesus always mentioned evil as a person. Even the Lord's prayer says deliver us from the Evil One - Not withdrawal from the world but to be protected from the evil one - It's so much easier to isolate yourself from evil world rather than living victoriously in it - But Jesus wants us to be right inside the world but protected from only one person - Evil One - So Jesus sent us into the world. Jesus was our example. He was sent by God into the world too and was kept by His Father - And for his disciples, He set Himself apart first so that the disciples can be set apart
3. That believers every where may be unified - It's through the apostles' message that people come to know Jesus v20 - What's our Lord's concern for all the future believers? Unity - Unity is not to be confused with uniformity and union - You can't organize unity among Christians. Very tough - So what is this unity that our Lord is praying for? - It's unanimity - hearts/mind/will that act alike spontaneously. There's harmony whether together or separate they are acting the same - This is the kind of unity that the world must see. And this has been answered and still ongoing - A Christian who glories in Christ and set himself apart for Christ, he will have the mind/will/heart that will act in unity with other Christian to glorify Christ - And the world can see that we Christians are one. And that becomes a very powerful testimony
- v24, It's not only a unity here on earth among the believers but there'll be a unity in Heaven with Jesus - v25, the world doesn't know God, but Christian knows Him - And Christ's words was that He will continue to make God known to us so that the love of God for Christ will be in us that we also love Christ and be One in Him.
SCRIPTURES: John 18:1-27
STUDY - Judas, Annas, Peter, Jesus - First 3 were ordinary men who had done something very wrong. - Examine these 3 characters to find ourselves in them
JUDAS - The arrest of Jesus happened at the garden - Judas started well. He was one of the apostles, sent out to proclaim the Gospel. He lived with Jesus, was the treasurer - But he was greedy and that was his downfall. His ambition was not to please the Lord but to get money - And this can happen to anyone - The devil entered into the heart of Judas as he went so low and it's the road to no return. Ch13
- Judas knew so little about Jesus - Why? Look at what he brought to Jesus. A detachment of 600 armed soldiers to arrest him. - They came in torches. There isn't any need for that as it's Passover (full moon). - Judas assumed Jesus was hiding so need light to find him - All the things that Judas brought with him showed how little he knew about Jesus while he was with him - There isn't any need to bring so much people, armed and with torches... Jesus would have willingly be arrested... Jesus knew his suffering - And Judas chose a kiss to identify Jesus. What meant to be an intimate act became a horrible act of betrayal - Judas sold his soul actually when he sold Jesus out for 30 silver coins - Both men died not too long apart from each other. Jesus died and was going to His Father. Judas died into damnation - Jesus and Judas will meet again once more at Judgement Day. Jesus will have to say to him "Depart from me". It will be a terrible moment
ANNAS - Annas is like the God-father. - He was high priest from AD7-15. Normally he will be high priest for life - But he was removed by the Roman empire, so he appointed all 4 of his sons but all got removed - So now he appointed his son in law Caiaphas to be the high priest - And this whole family was wealthy, unscrupulous and the family was nicknamed "hissing vipers" - They made their money out of religion and turned the temple into den of thieves - And no one dared opposed him for he rule the religious arena with an iron hand - It was Jesus who dared to oppose him and Jesus became his enemy. So he plotted and planned to get rid of Jesus - So can you imagine how Annas felt when Judas came knocking at this door and said how much is this worth to you? v3 - And when the Roman soldiers finally arrested Jesus, he would be elated for his obstacles is finally out of his path - This was Annas and at the same time supposed to be the representative of God
- It was a rather strange way how Jesus answered the high priest and sounded rather rude - But Jesus knew exactly what He was doing - They were trying to make Him confess that He had done wrong so that they can pass Him to Pilate - In the Jewish law, the charged is not supposed to give his account in defense but rather summons witnesses to give - The high priest was doing something illegal in order to quickly get rid of Jesus - Jesus deflected this and said everything was done in the open. Not so for them, the high priest and Annas - Jesus was slapped but Jesus didn't retaliate. Violence belongs to the evil world - ILL: A modern Jewish lawyer tried to re-open the trial of Jesus to acquit Him. This was admirable but irrelevant anyway - One day Jesus Himself will re-open this trial and Annas will be judged by Jesus personally
PETER - 2hours ago he pledged he would die for Jesus - That's true because he did more than the others for Jesus - He was the only who sticked out for Jesus and fight. - He courageously cut off the soldier's ears and ready to come against the 600 armed soldiers - Jesus told Peter to put the sword away. Thanks for trying but that's not the right way - We see Peter rashed and impulsed to want to be on God's side but he went on the wrong direction
- He went close just outside the temple gate. He went all the way to show his loyalty - But then his courage failed. - It's the little unexpected, sudden thing that gets us than the big thing - Peter was ready with the sword to face the soldiers but not with the question of the servant girl - Worse, the 2nd time he was asked by the relative of the soldier whose ear he cut off, he denied knowing Jesus again. v26 - The cock crowed. It was illegal for the cock to crow but more like the trumpet sounded 3am in morning - Step by step Peter lost his courage - Peter realised his denial, it broke his heart and he broke down when he knew he let his Lord down Matt 26:75 - When Jesus confronted by the soldiers say I am He, while Peter being confronted, said I am not - Imagine the guilt and shame he must have felt for denying his Lord - Peter would meet Jesus again after Jesus' resurrection. - Peter really loved Jesus even though he let Jesus down. That's why it hurts - But Jesus would restore him eventually
JESUS 1. He knew everything that was going to happen and was utterly calm v4 - The soldiers were not so calmed when He said I am He
2. He chose to die v8 - He willingly go with those who came after Him and request to let the disciples go - He had 2 hours from Upper room to Gethsesane. He could have gone back to Galilee. He did not - Why did He restrain Peter from fighting? He chose to die because He knew it was the Father's will - Our human nature is to avoid suffering, pain due to human self preservation but Jesus chose to go through it - Not even His own disciples will stop Him. He could have also called down the angels to come
3. His concern for other people - Wouldn't you be concerned if you are about to go through the suffering - But He was concerned for others than Himself - His last miracle was to heal a ear Malchus. - It may be very possible that 60 years later when John retold this story, Malchus is already a follower - Why was Jesus so concerned even for a slave? - He asked to let His disciples go. My life for these... This is how He concerned for people - That's the heart of the Gospel... Take my life so that others may live - It's always His concern. Is this our life? For this is His life
- This chapter shows a picture of humanity - Some people like Judas did evil and paid the price - Some people like Annas did evil and seemed to get away with it - Some people like Peter followed Jesus but seemed like made such a mess of it and seemed so weak and cowardly - And it seemed that Jesus is also failing but it's not. He came through as He fully obeyed God's will
- Do you realise that you won't know Judas, Annas and Peter not because of Jesus - One day we will all stand before Jesus and be known either for having a relationship with Jesus or not - And everyone will be judged based on the existence of that relationship or not
SCRIPTURES : John 18:28-19:16
STUDY - There are several things unusual about the trial of Jesus - It took place at an unusual time where trials are rarely held. It was early morning - It took place in an unusual place - half outside and half inside the building so that the trial judge was literally in and out - Reason that this trial was held in such a manner reveal the hypocrisy of the chief priests - First it was the day before Passover and they wouldn't want to defile themselves in a gentile building - Yet they have already defiled themselves by filling their hearts with malice and hatred for Jesus - And they put their fellow Jew Jesus in defilement by pushing Him into the Gentile building - What an irony. Many times we put so much weight on our religious pursuits that we ignore the weightier matters. Rituals over righteousness - So they are saying now that they can't come in so that they can stay clean before God and can partake in the passover.
TRIAL - First trial divided into 5 sections - Pilate and Jews outside - Pilate and Jesus inside - Pilate and Jews outside - Pilate and Jesus inside - Pilate and Jews outside - Pilate was doing all the right thing until the fifth time he went outside again and allowed the Jews to decide - It wasn't that he's unfair. He listened to both sides but he eventually sided the Jews
Pilate and Jews outside - Pilate was probably a bit edgy due to the early morning disturbance - He did right by asking what wrong did Jesus do? - The Jews replied to the effect, "Of course, he had done something wrong, if not we won't bring him to you" - The Jews actually intended in their hearts to sentence Jesus without a need for any trial - Pilate won't do it without a trial. He pushed it back to them. "Alright, if you said Jesus had committed a crime, you tried Him by your law" - The Jews actually really wanted to kill Jesus. They had already thought of death as the sentence for Jesus - And to use the Romans to kill Jesus was a "perfect" strategy - They will not violate their own Jewish law, though they had no qualms stoning and killing Stephen later on. - They were hypocrites - They wanted the Romans to take the political responsibility of killing Jesus while fulfilling their desire - And all these fulfilled how Jesus was to die exactly.
Pilate and Jesus inside - Pilate first question to Jesus was whether he's the King of the Jews and inciting a rebel against the Roman government - Now, Rome had installed a puppet king Herald and so they are not so worried. But now here we have someone who is labelled as king - Jesus replied Pilate's question with another question. Who told you to ask me that? - Jesus cleverly nailed Pilate. Pilate was supposed to make his conclusion based on evidence found as a judge - Now he only heard this accusation as 2nd hand information from the Jews - It's like saying, "Pilate, do I need to teach you how to do your job? You are supposed to make your conclusion whether I'm the King based on evidences presented to you. Do you have the evidences? If not, why am i here?" - Pilate being caught off guard, pushed the ball and said it's the Jews who started this - So being ignorant, Pilate conveniently asked Jesus what he did wrong - Jesus calmly replied that He's accused as a King. - If he is a military one, he would have come in war and gathered his troops against Rome and resist the arrest of the Jews as well - But he assured Pilate he's not. His Kingdom is not of this world with the usual worldly agenda of conquest - Pilate selectively concluded that Jesus is some sort of a King when Jesus' reply used Kingdom. - Jesus said, "I didn't say, you say I am a king" - He then revealed his purpose to Pilate that he came to give truth and His kingdom is established on truth - Pilate being a Roman was not interested in truth unlike the Greeks. They are pragmatic conquerors - And Pilate missed the greatest moment as Truth was standing right in front of him - We have moments of encounters with truth in our life and how tragic we let it pass many times - Pilate responded, "What is truth?" He wasn't interested. He didn't even wait for an answer. - His response was one of disdain. Immediately, he went out to face the Jews again
Pilate and Jews outside - At this point, Pilate was very sure that Jesus had no wrong in him - He went back out to the Jews and it's at this point that he began to be weakened. - It's sad to see a man slide into cowardry - Pilate proposed to release Jesus as a political convict by using a Jewish custom. And so asked the Jews who they wanted Matt 27:16-17 - He cleverly enabled himself to release Jesus whom he found no guilt and at the same time appeased the Jews by labeling Jesus a guilty convict - Pilate was a man who just want to make everyone happy - But instead of agreeing to release Jesus, the Jews wanted to release another convict Barabbas instead! And Pilate's plan foiled - Who is Barabbas? His first name is Jesus also. Matt 27:16-17 - So this Barabbas full name meant Jesus son of the Father (bar Abba). What an irony - And the crowd wanted to release Barabbas the robber instead.
- And so Jesus was taken and flogged, whipped with the cat-tail whip - He became the sacrificial lamb. - But the difference is, no sacrificial lamb was ever tortured before the sacrifice. He was the first and tortured to such an extent! - Ch19 : He was completely humiliated - Pilate brought Him out to try to appease the crowd again for he had punished Jesus and still trying to maintain his stand of finding no guilt in Jesus - Again Pilate is making one compromise after another - The crowd wasn't satisfied. They wanted to crucify Him even after Jesus was already punished something that Pilate found no guilt in - Pilate didn't want to do it for he found no reason to. And passed Jesus back to the Jews for them to crucify Him - The Jews gave the reason that deserved death as punishment under Jewish law - Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and by that, capital punishment was warranted - Pilate a Roman was very superstitious - Upon hearing this, Pilate was afraid. Why? He was feeling the threat of the gods coming on him if truly Jesus was the son of God - He went back in again to Jesus
Pilate and Jesus inside - Pilate even more fearful, asked Jesus where He came from? - Jesus kept quiet. Why? Was it to add more fear to Pilate - The only reason was because if Jesus would have answered that He's the King, He would probably be assisted to escape and wouldn't die - Jesus did what He needed to do to fulfill His Father's will that is to be up there on the Cross - Pilate got really agitated. He emphasized his authority over Jesus - And Jesus in this case replied that Pilate's authority was limited and would not have an effect on Jesus unless it was allowed by God - So in that sense, Pilate carried a lesser guilt than the Jewish high priest who brought Jesus to Pilate - Pilate knew he was stuck with this situation and was flabbergasted. - He desperately wanted to waste his hands clean from having Jesus' blood in his hands. He really wanted to release Jesus
Pilate and Jews outside - Pilate was the only governor born as a slave, rose through the ranks, gained the favor of the Roman emperor to be where he was - Pilate was being emotionally threatened by the Jews by being questioned of his loyalty to Caesar - Anyone who claims to be King was opposed to the Emperor and Caesar was accused of not being on the Emperor's side - So now Pilate's position was threatened and he continued to accede to the Jews' demands - He brought Jesus out to a hysterical crowd, shreking and yelling to crucify Jesus - Pilate made a fatal statement in a question, "Shall I crucify your King?" IE: Is that what you want? - When a leader asked the people what they want, he has lost his leadership - And the chief priests further played into the situation by affirming their loyalty to Caesar as their only King - That's a lie as the Jews had always wanted their Messiah King. They were playing a political game here, scoring political points - And so Pilate gave Jesus over to them to be crucified - And He ordered to write an inscription Jesus in the King of the Jews. - Chief priests advised him not to as this would anger people - Pilate in a final attempt to be independent stood firm and said this remains - 1928 proof of Pontius Pilate's existence was found
SCRIPTURES: John 19:17-42
STUDY - Pilate handed Jesus over and ordered the cruxificion. - Usually a criminal sentenced to crucifixion will carry a cross beam on his shoulder, paraded all the way to the crucifixion site - The parade is led by a centurion, many guards and also one carrying a plague with the crime written on it - It was a dreadful moment. Jesus was crucified 9am in the morning - Nails pierced into his wrists. - I don't think we like to see anyone tortured and to be killed in such a gruesome, bloody and humiliating way - Jesus was hung with 2 other criminals, numbered with the transgressors - Pilate believed in his heart of hearts that Jesus is King and also the thief next to Him who believed He will come back as King - Even His clothes was taken from Him. The object of his dignity robbed - Psalms 22 vividly and accurately described Jesus' death. This was the prophecy of Jesus. David never had gone through such things
6 things about the story of the Cross - 3 things that Jesus said on the Cross and 3 things that happened to Him after his death - A man's dying words are remembered long beyond his death. - A young man 33 years, who chose to die must have very important words for us to remember
1. Woman this is your son, son this is your mother - The woman stayed with Jesus while the men ran, among them Mary His mother - Among them relatives of Jesus - Out of 12 disciples, 5 were His relatives - Nearest and dearest to Jesus played a big part in His life - Now Mary His own mother looking at Jesus with a sword piercing His side. - She meditated on His miraculous birth and His chosen destiny and the words of Simeon Luke 2:35 about the sword piercing her own heart - It's this very moment that her heart was pierced to see her own son on the Cross - In the last 3 years, Jesus was however deliberately pulling away from His mother. He was preparing her for His death - And Jesus seemed to have completed His separation. Mary ceased to be His mother - And He committed His mother to John - It seemed Jesus told John some specific things because immediately John told Mary away - It showed 2 astonishing things about Jesus. 1. He honored all human obligations 2. Even though He was suffering, He was still concerned for others
2. I'm thirsty - It's said about mid day and the only time He said something that's about his own suffering - Crucifixion makes you extremely dehydrated - It tells us 2 things about Jesus here - It tells us about Jesus' humanity - They even mocked Him by giving Him vinegar. It makes things worse. The One who can give living water now thirsts for water. What a humiliation - It tells us about His Hell. Jesus went to hell on the Cross - Hell was portrayed as a very thirsty place
3. It's finished - Took place 3pm in the afternoon - This statement may mean different things to different parties there - To the soldiers, it's a finished job - To the crowd, the entertainment finished - To the Jewish leaders, the plot finished - To Pilate, his dilemma finished and hopefully he can sleep without nightmares - To Jesus' mother, her relationship with her son finished - To the disciples, their hopes of their idea of a conquering victorious Kingdom through Jesus finished\ - But Jesus meant nothing of all these - He meant at the age of 33, He had done and completed everything God had called Him to do. None of us can say that - What satisfaction Jesus must have felt then - Of course His ministry went on until today. But the work of atonement for men and conquest over Satan was done - Then He said He dismissed His Spirit. That means He choose His hour of death. Why? - Usually it will take even up to 7 days to die of suffocation from a typical crucifixion. But Jesus just took 6hours. - They will break the legs to speed up the death but Jesus died without this act. This fulfilled prophecy - Why? At 3pm, it was the Passover hour for the lambs to be slaughtered and sacrificed and offered up for atonement - Jesus became that sacrificial lamb
3 things that happened after Jesus death
1. They came and broke the legs - It's a way of hastening death. They broke the legs of the 2 thieves but when they came to Jesus, He was already dead - It was predicted before that not a bone will be broken of the Messiah
2. He was dead before his bones could be broken to end his life - The Messiah is to be a sacrificial lamb whose blood is shed for the atonement of sin - The blood and water that came out was an absolute truth that Jesus was already dead v34 - Scriptures said that they shall look on Him whom they pierced. The plan came to pass
3. The body was buried - Normally the crucified will have his body left on the Cross to be devoured by vultures or thrown to the Valley of Gehenna where Judas was thrown - But He was buried instead in a tomb, with the dead of the rich. Scriptures fulfilled again that He will be buried with the rich - Finally the 2 secret disciples had the courage to step out and do something for Jesus, at least for Him who was dead. Isa 53:9 - God had already laid on Joseph of Arimathea the rich man's heart to set aside a tomb for Jesus - If the story ends like this tonight, then the tomb will just become a place of visit, a point of pilgrimage for Christians for a dead great man - But now the tomb is empty!!! - And the message of Christianity is the victory over death by our suffering King Jesus
SCRIPTURES : John 20:1-18
STUDY - It was not until the resurrection of Christ that we set aside Sunday for worship - The Jews did it on Saturday, Muslims on Fridays, Romans used to set aside 2 days in a month to do that - But Sunday became the Holy Day for Christians, the word which holiday was derived from.
- Christianity began at a cemetery and that's where everything else came to an end - It began with some woman coming to the tomb between 3am and 6am - Jesus must have risen between 6pm and midnight of Sat, which still fit into the description of the 1st day of the week - Sometime between 12 midnight to 3am, the angel came and rolled away the stone - Sometime between 3-6am, the woman came before first light to start preparing their ceremonial tribute to Jesus
- This chapter divided into 2 parts. The evidence of the grave and the experience at the garden - Both are needed to understand the resurrection. You need the evidence to convince your mind and experience to touch your heart
EVIDENCE OF THE STONE ROLLED AWAY - The stone would have weighed at least a ton and a quarter, circular in shape, easier to close but difficult to open due to the groove - It was sealed and guarded by soldiers. - These woman loved Jesus and wanted to do their part to embalm Jesus - Now she saw seal broken, stone rolled away, soldiers gone - Angel rolled away the stone
EVIDENCE OF THE GRAVE CLOTHES - The bible documented in detail Mary ran to tell Peter and John, Peter first and then John - There must be an eyewitness to even precisely recounted John being the younger one ran faster and reached the tomb earlier than Peter - Peter being the bash one as usual ran in first while the reflective John stayed outside the tomb - You really cannot make out a story like this - Dead body will be wrapped in 40 yards of linen and head will be wrapped separately too and mixed with herbs to prevent the smell - John was the first man to believe that Jesus resurrected - The way the linen collapsed showed that Jesus body was not stolen but somehow His body evaporated and the linen collapsed nicely
- John then pointed out a pathetic truth that speaks of man. v9 We have the Scriptures but yet didn't understand it - Scriptures says Psalms 16:10 that God is good and when he sees a good man He will not let this good man see corruption - That's exactly what's happening to Jesus. He had to rise in 3 days for the 4th day is when a body decomposes - Psalms 16:10 was quoted again in Acts 13:35 where Paul preached at Antioch. - He told the people that Christ was the Holy One who did not see corruption of His body - So we can read our bibles and yet not understand. We need to merciful work of the Holy Spirit to understand
- So there we have it. The evidences of the stone rolled away and the grave clothes. - Something that should not be touched but was touched. Something that should be touched but wasn't touched.
- Now there's a switch in this narrative - Emphasis of things to people. From men to women
MARY MAGDALENE - She was demon possessed by 7 evil spirits and it was Jesus who set her free - Can you imagine the gratitude she felt for Jesus. No wonder she was filled with grief - Only this part of the story was told in John's Gospel. It must have been that Mary told John about this - She saw the 2 angels in the tomb. This woman is familiar with the spirits because of her past. She probably could recognise the angels - Mary was weeping which she should have if she understood what must happened. - Her answer to the angels showed that she did not know or understand that Jesus had resurrected - She glanced over her shoulder and saw Jesus whom she thought was the gardener and she was asked the same question
- At this time, Jesus was very tenderly doing 4 things for Mary (and for you too)
1. He wanted to transfer her from emotion to thought 2. He wanted to change her from ignorance to knowledge 3. He wanted to get her from sense to faith 4. He wanted to get her from self to others - If we are able to journey through these 4 steps, then we step into the wonderful joy
1. He wanted to transfer her from emotion to thought (feeling to thinking) - How? By facing her with a question - Her eyes were full of tears, overcame by emotions. - Jesus asked why? whom are you seeking? Of course, He knew Mary was looking for a person that's Him - He got her to start thinking and paused from her emotional turmoil a little while - Her thought process was to find Jesus and determined to take him away to serve His body out of love
2. He wanted to change her from ignorance to knowledge - Jesus responded in 1 word that gave him away - He say Mary in Aramaic which is Miriam. And immediately Mary recognised Jesus his Teacher and responded in Aramaic "Rabboni!" - At that instant, Mary's ignorance turned to knowledge. Her sorry to joy! - If only we walk in knowledge of the Lord, we will be walking in deep-seated joy even in the midst of trials
3. He wanted to get her from sense to faith - At this point, Mary must had been holding on to Jesus by the feet like what she had done before - She was not going to let Jesus disappear again - But Jesus told her to stop clinging on to Him. He must go so that He can then send the Holy Spirit who will be with her forever - He's teaching her that her relationship with Him must be one of faith and not senses, one of divine and no longer physical - A relationship with Christ that is now based on faith, not feeling not sight - while He's not physically around but the promise of the Holy Spirit with us keeps His Presence ever real in our lives.
4. He wanted to get her from self to others - Mary was saying "I want you all to myself" - But Jesus said go and tell others - Don't just hang on to the precious relationship you had with me. Go and share it - Noticed for the first time Jesus called his disciples "brothers" - Because of the new created relationship of adopted sonship of the disciples who believed Him - It's in this relationship that defines how we relate with God. He's now our Father
What does the whole resurrection of Jesus mean? 1. God is good! - Because if God is good He cannot let a good man die and see corruption 2. Jesus is God's son - Resurrection is the vindication of that 3. The Cross is full perfect sacrifice for the sins of the whole world 4. Satan is defeated - Satan did his damnness against Jesus on the Cross to put Him down - At the resurrection, Satan is defeated. 5. Death is vanquished 6. God has begun His new creation (us)
SCRIPTURES: John 20:19-31
STUDY - This narrative began with fear and end in faith. Fear locks you out and you say "Don't come near me" - The disciples were now in fear - There were 13 including Jesus originally. Now left 10 in this instance. Jesus, Judas and Thomas were missing
- There 2 causes of their fears 1. Jews (Fear of men) - Why were they afraid of the Jews. Because of the Cross. Their leader was dead. They know they will be next in the list. - Because of the tomb. They were accused of stealing Jesus' body away. - You can't shut Jesus out. Even if the door is locked (v19), Jesus can come through - You don't have to be afraid of Jesus for His first word is Shalom, Peace
- And peace was what the disciples needed at that moment and Jesus provided that - In fact, Jesus now can effect that because He has finished His task given by His Father - And this peace comes with knowing and experiencing the facts of His resurrection. - This is not hallucination or the disciples wishing they could see Jesus again. - A person with hallucination usually sees an image of someone with the same state as he was last seen - Jesus looked different now. Completely whole but only now with his pierced hands and sides to show.
- Besides giving them peace, Jesus also gives them power - the Holy Spirit - 3 keys words 1. Sent - Get out of the world to share the peace. - As Father sent Jesus, Jesus sent the disciples to continue His mission - God had only 1 son and sent Him out to be the missionary. Now Jesus sent all His brothers out
2. Spirit - Jesus gives them the HS to help them as they are sent out - Jesus blew on the disciples the HS to give them a sign about the coming of the HS on the day of Pentecost - But His breathing is of no use without us receiving. We must want to have the HS
3. Sin v23 - Mission of the church to the world is to primarily deal with sin and forgiveness - Jesus did not mean man has the power to forgive sins - He meant that whoever's wrong we let go, we don't hold them. Whoever's wrong we hold on to or have problem with, we still hold on to that person. - Jesus saying this to give them perspective of how they are to deal with the people who will oppose them because of Christ's message. - Jesus' point is to let go and move on. Don't hold people down for their wrongs upon you.
v24-29 - Thomas the twin (Didymus). Nothing mentioned abt the other twin - Thomas - literal mind and loyal heart (wants to see him to prove he resurrected / John 11 if Jesus die, I'll die with him) - Thomas missed the blessing when Jesus appeared. He wasn't there (Be at every platform where God's presence and the Church fellowship is. Come to church, etc) - Forsake not the assembling of the saints. Otherwise, they are always just hearing other's blessings and not experiencing it themselves
- Thomas mind can't cope with Jesus' death - Thomas can't trust his ears abt the news of Jesus resurrection. He can't even trust his eyes. Unless I touch...
Four good things about Thomas 1. He's honest. Truthful about his doubts 2. He's reasonable. He demanded evidence. Rational faith 3. He's discerning. He knew the resurrection was crucial. He had to have the body 4. He's sincere. I will never believe until i see. He actually meant I love to believe. He longs for the resurrection
v26-29 - A week later. Dejavu. Same thing happens again but now Thomas was there - Jesus asked Thomas to feel his hands and stop doubting but believe - It shows that Jesus was in the room all the time when Thomas doubted. Jesus heard Thomas - Jesus is listening now what we are saying, doing and thinking - Jesus must have believing disciples and convinced. So if it takes showing his wounds, he did it for Thomas for him to believe - Bible didn't record Thomas authenticating Jesus' wounds. He just passionately acknowledged Jesus. - v28 : My Lord (How can I be talking to you like that!) and my God (for a jew to say my God to a person is quite something)
- Jesus wished Thomas believed based on what he heard than see. (That's how we are to believe, by faith) - Happier are those who have not seen but believe the word and testimony
- v30 - There are many more miracles and works of Jesus unrecorded. But John had said enough to achieve 2 things 1. Belief - If you can't believe that, it means you have closed your heart and mind - You have to put the "my Lord" in to personalise your belief 2. Live - And walk in life in His name. - The only point of reading John's Gospel is to find our Savior, believe and live......