Imagine Seeing The Miracles of Jesus Firsthand- John Chapter 21

John concludes his book with these words in John chapter 21.

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

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John had front row seats to most of Jesus’s miracles. He saw Jesus turn water into wine. He saw Jesus walk on water. He saw Jesus heal countless people. He saw Jesus bring Lazarus back from the dead. He saw Jesus die on the cross and saw him after his resurrection.

Try to imagine being there and witnessing all of these things. Now try to imagine being in heaven in the presence of Jesus. It is difficult for us to imagine heaven because it is a realm of existence so far above us, but we can know for sure we will be there if we trust in Jesus and ask him to become our Savior.

This post concludes my series on John. I hope it was helpful.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Peter’s Bumbling Gives Us Hope- John 21

Do you ever have that feeling of -ugh I did it again when messing up? Last week we looked at Jesus restoring Peter in- Peter Restored Gives Us Hope Too.

Jesus did restore Peter but he also let Peter know how Peter’s earthly life would end when Jesus said:

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Notice after Jesus let Peter know how Peter would die, Jesus said- Follow Me. Jesus was letting Peter know who is Lord and what our role is which is to follow him no matter what happens in this life.

But Peter who had a propensity for saying and doing the wrong thing responded with what about him in reference to John.

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

Peter ignored one obvious thing which was only days before Peter denied Jesus but John was at the cross.We see that in John 19:

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Jesus’s response again reminds us that he is Lord when he told Peter:

Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

The good news is in considering Peter’s ministry as a whole. Jesus continued to work through Peter and the other disciples. Peter wrote two epistles in the bible. He was a leader in the early church. That is good news for us because no matter how much we bumble and stumble at times, Jesus never gives up on us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Peter Restored Gives Us Hope Too- John 21

Peter blew it. Jesus told Peter that he would before he did. Jesus told Peter that Peter would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. Peter did exactly that and the other disciples knew it.

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After his resurrection, Jesus spoke with Peter in front of the other disciples. He asked Peter a question three times. Peter do you love me.

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Through this brief conversation in front of the other disciples, Peter was restored. He had denied Jesus three times and in this encounter professed his love for Jesus three times.

This should give us hope when we fail. Jesus restores, gives us another chance, and never gives up on us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Ghosts Don’t Eat or Cook- John Chapter 21

The details of John 21 show that Jesus was in a physical body after his resurrection. The disciples were on a boat fishing when Jesus showed up and cooked breakfast for them. But he got their attention before they had breakfast with him.

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 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

Jesus was setting it up for them to realize it was him based on another occasion when the disciples were fishing. In Luke 5 we read.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon“Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

On that occasion they had caught nothing all night, but Jesus told them to let down their nets and they had a haul of fish so large it took two boats to handle it.

So after his resurrection, again the disciples have caught nothing. Jesus told them where to cast their net and this time they also had a huge haul of fish.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

The disciples realized it was Jesus. They came ashore and found Jesus had breakfast ready for them.

When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”  So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.  Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.  Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 

Jesus cooked for them and served them their breakfast. Luke records another occasion after the resurrection that Jesus ate with them.

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”  They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence

Ghosts, I don’t believe there are any, do not cook or eat. Jesus did both after his resurrection. Jesus was resurrected in his physical body just as those who believe in Jesus will one day in the future.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Purpose of Jesus’s Miracles- John Chapter 20

John chapter 20 ends with John telling us why he recorded the miracles in his writing.

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Jesus performed miracles so those around him would come to believe in Jesus. John recorded the resurrection of Jesus, the feeding of thousands with a few fish and a few loaves of bread, Jesus walking on water in the midst of a storm, Jesus changing water into wine, the healings etc.

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What also grabs my attention is how Jesus interacted with those others would not. How Jesus showed his character by how he treated people.

People like the Samaritan woman at the well who had been married several times and was living with a man who was not her husband. I wrote about that in A Troubled Woman Meets Her Savior.

People like the woman caught in adultery. I wrote about that in A Woman In Danger Meets Her Savior.

People who lacked understanding even though they were leaders like Nicodemus who I wrote about in A Conversation In Secret Reveals Why Jesus Came.

As I read through John and also the other three gospels, how Jesus interacted with people grabs my attention. The reason is those interactions show me what God is like. As John wrote in John chapter 1:17 says

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Jesus came to make God known to us. Not a mere intellectual exercise of knowledge, Jesus made God known to us in a relational way so we can have a relationship with God.

The miracles are recorded so we may have faith in Jesus. The interactions are added so along with the miracles we can know what God is like..

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

While Dying On The Cross Jesus Said- John Chapter 19

When someone is dying, they tend to share what is most important to them. Family is often a chief concern for those who are dying. I have witnessed that myself as I visited people in hospice care.

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While Jesus was dying on the cross, he looked down at his earthly mother Mary and his disciple John and said:

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,”  and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

In that time and culture, a widow was taken care of by her oldest son who in this case was Jesus. Normally if something happened to that son, she would go live with the next oldest son, so why did Jesus give her over to the care of his disciple John?

In John chapter 7 we read

Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

This would have been about six months before Jesus was crucified. His own brothers mocked him. For Mary to be a part of the soon to be fledgling church, she would need to taken care of by someone who believed in Jesus. Also Jesus knew that John would outlive James his half brother who eventually came to faith. We have no record of his other half brothers or sisters coming to faith.

So Jesus while dying and in excruciating pain, made sure Mary was taken care of.

From Luke Chapter 23 we read about the criminal who came to faith in Jesus while the criminal himself was dying on a cross next to Jesus.

 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus assured the criminal that he would be in heaven with Jesus. The criminal had no time to try to earn his way there, no time to do good works. It was only by faith in Jesus.

In John 19, we read what Jesus said when he died.

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

It is finished. Jesus was not referring to his suffering. He was referring to his mission which was to die for our sins, so we could be forgiven and receive eternal life. Mission Accomplished.

So while dying and in terrible pain, Jesus had the presence of mind to take care of Mary, forgave a criminal dying next to him, and then let the world know he accomplished what he came to do.

Jesus loves us, loves you, so much that he left heaven to come to earth as a human baby to become our Savior. The criminal dying next to him was granted forgiveness and eternal life, which shows that no matter how guilty we are or feel, we too can receive forgiveness.

Is Jesus someone you want to follow?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Details of Jesus’s Death and Burial Prophesied About Hundreds of Years Before- John Chapter 19

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah prophesied about the suffering of Jesus over 700 years before Jesus came. These verses are from Isaiah 53.

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Jesus was crucified. He was nailed to a cross and hung on the cross until he died. It was a brutal death that would normally take a few days. Jesus could have stopped it, but he allowed it to happen out of his love for us.

 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

Pilate, who had his doubts about crucifying Jesus, had a sign put on the cross as perhaps a jab at the Jewish leaders.

 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.  Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 

The Jewish leaders wanted it changed. But Pilate would have none of that.

Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

Even a small detail about the death of Jesus was prophesied about hundreds of years before he came in Psalm 22.

All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me.
 They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.

. The soldiers at the cross cast lots for his garment.

 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”

The soldiers came the break to legs of Jesus and the two criminals crucified beside him. They broke the legs of the two criminals, but when they came to Jesus, he had already died, so they pierced his side to let the blood flow out.

But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 

This fulfilled Zechariah 12:10 also written hundreds of years before Jesus came.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son”

Even the burial of Jesus was prophesied about in Isaiah 53.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Jesus’s body would have been thrown into a common grave with the two criminals. but Joseph of Arimathea intervened and got a new tomb for Jesus.

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.  He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 

We see just from these verses that the death and burial of Jesus was in God’s plan all along. It was not some surprise and God had to quickly come up with Plan B through the resurrection. It was intentional on Jesus’s part to come and die for us.

Think about how much God loves you that he had this plan, The fact that details surrounding the death and burial of Jesus were prophesied about hundreds of years before he came is a faith builder.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Tortured, Rejected, and Sentenced- John Chapter 19

Isaiah 53:7&8- He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?

Isaiah was written over 700 years before Jesus came. The Jews were looking for the promised Messiah, the king who would sit on David’s throne. Isaiah 53 speaks of the suffering servant. In these verses we see references to Jesus being tortured and eventually killed.

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Pilate’s wife sent him a message we see in Matthew 27

While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

Perhaps this was on Pilate’s mind as he tried to deal with the situation. The Romans were superstitious people and yet viewed the Jews as being backward and difficult. In an attempt to diffuse the situation Pilate had Jesus flogged.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

They flogged, whipped, Jesus with a cat of nine tails which was a whip with nine leather straps with sharp pieces of rock etc at the end. The soldiers mocked him. The robe they put on him would have stuck on because of the blood from his back. The crown of thorns caused Jesus to bleed from his scalp.

Pilate had Jesus brought out and said:

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 

But the reaction of the chief priests and their officials was:

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

Pilate replied

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The chief priests answer?

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

This freaked Pilate out which is not surprising due to the Romans beliefs in many gods.

“Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.  “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus finally replied

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

Pilate tried to set Jesus free but the religious leaders persisted in a peculiar way.

 “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.

Interesting because the Jew despised the Romans and wanted them out of Israel. They had no love for Caesar or the Romans. Pilate presented Jesus to them saying here is your king. The religious leaders who despised Caesar and the Romans answered.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

Pilate gave in and consented to have Jesus crucified.

Think about what Jesus endured. Think about how he suffered. Then think about the truth that he went through all of that, the farce of a trial, the torture, the rejection, because he loves you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Who Will We Choose?- John Chapter 18

Last week we looked at Pilate questioning Jesus in What Is Truth? Today we look at Jesus willingly undergoing humiliation that happened through two events, his mock trial and the people choosing Barabbas.

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After his arrest, Jesus was taken to the High Priest. The irony of Jesus being God in the flesh standing before the High Priest who was supposed to lead the people to worshipping God, you know as in Father, Son, Holy Spirt, does not escape me.

Annas was the father of Caiaphas who took over as High Priest from Annas. When Jesus was asked about his teaching and his disciples, his answer was basically that he had nothing to hide..

Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.”

The response? Jesus was slapped in the face. A side note- imagine being the person who slapped Jesus in the face only to appear before Jesus on his throne. False religion demands respect from us without earning it.

When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

Jesus did not back down even though he knew what was going to happen.

 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”

Later on after Pilate questioned Jesus, Pilate tried to find a way out of the whole thing by offering the people a chance of who to free, Jesus or Barabbas a rebel.

“I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

The choice of the crowd that was there?

They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

Isaiah prophesied about this over 700 years before Jesus came in Isaiah 53.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Jesus willingly allowed himself to be humiliated and rejected publicly because he knew it was part of his mission which was to suffer and die for us. He did so because he loves us that much.

The question is who do we choose? Who do you choose? Jesus? or something else?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

What Is Truth? John Chapter 18

In our times of confusion the question Pilate asked Jesus in John 18 is so fitting. We are living in a time that ‘truth’ seems to depend on who shouts the loudest and who controls which media channel one watches. Depending on the issue, it seems that truth is not as important as opinion. Who do we look to in midst of all this confusion?

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When Pilate questioned Jesus, he first asked

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus replied with a question

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

Pilate wanting nothing to do with the situation responded.

 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

Jesus replied in his typical way of not answering the question he is asked but rather revealing the truth he knows.

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Pilate thinking he was getting somewhere made the statement

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus switches the subject again to reveal more about himself

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Pilate’s reaction is what we all feel during our time

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

Standing in front of Pilate was Jesus the creator of the universe, the eternal Son of God. Standing in front of Pilate was Jesus who said in John 14

 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”

There are issues in our time that we may never know the full truth about in this life, but there is someone we can look to in the midst of confusion who is the truth-Jesus.

Jesus never changes in his character as we read in Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Jesus who suffered under Pilate did so willingly because of his love for us. Jesus chose to suffer and die for us. He could have stopped it but didn’t. That is how much Jesus values and loves us. In the midst of confusion, start by looking to Jesus. He loves us. He never lies. He always guides us. We can trust him.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.