Jesus Cares about Us in Our Difficulties- John 11

Any experience we have in this life can be an opportunity to learn from Jesus about himself, God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and ourselves. John brings that to our attention in chapter 1:

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. He did so through his teachings and miracles. Even in our worst of times, Jesus is at work. in our lives.

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Last week we explored Why Jesus Sometimes Delays while looking at the account of Jesus and Lazarus. Jesus received word that Lazarus was sick, but Jesus waited two days before he left where he was to go to Lazarus. He told the disciples

“Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

After Jesus arrived in Bethany where Lazarus lived with his sisters Mary and Martha, Jesus not only comforted Mary and Martha, he taught and sought to build Martha’s faith through the ordeal and his interaction with Mary showed his great compassion..

We see Jesus teaching Martha even in her grief.

Martha came out to meet Jesus expressing some faith.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus responded knowing what he was about to do.

“Your brother will rise again.”

Martha thought of the resurrection on the last day.

“I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus revealed a truth about himself to her;

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”

He called out the faith in her.

“Do you believe this?”

Martha responded with faith.

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Martha went and got Mary. Mary ran out to Jesus.

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

Then we see the compassion of Jesus. Jesus is not some detached unemotional guru like we see in movies. He deeply cares about what happens to us even though the hard times somehow fit into his big picture plans for us and others.

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. Where have you laid him?” he asked

and the shortest verse yet very powerful

Jesus wept.

When we go through difficult experiences, we need to trust Jesus. It helps to know that Jesus cares deeply about us. Yes he has the big picture of how everything fits into God’s plan, but do not mistake that for Jesus not caring. He has the eternal perspective. He knows this life is temporary for us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

No One Can Take Us From Jesus Because He Is God The Son- John 10

In this section of John 10 we see the continued conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders, but we also see some wonderful truths for those of us who have chosen to believe in and follow Jesus. This section culminates with Jesus making a clear claim to his Deity. This is the second passage in John that we see this. The first was in John 8 that I covered in Jesus Reveals A Huge Truth About Himself.

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Even after all of the miracles Jesus had performed, the religious leaders persisted in asking if he was the Messiah- Promised One.

“How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

They asked. But they were not ready for the answer.

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.”

Jesus was not concerned with winning friends and influencing people as seminars will extol. He was and is interested in one thing- the truth. The truth- the religious leaders did not belong to Jesus. They were not his sheep.

Jesus went on to share some wonderful truths for his sheep. His sheep are anyone who believes in Jesus as their Savior.

He knows us. We can have relationship with him.

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

He gives us eternal life.

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish”

No one can take us away from Jesus.

 “no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Why cant anyone take us away from Jesus?

“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

Jesus always referred to God as Father. His father. But Jesus did not leave it at that. He added something that is a clear indication of Jesus being God the Son.

“I and the Father are one.”

Here Jesus is claiming the truth that Jesus and the Father are one in perfect unity. Jesus is a co-equal member of the Holy Trinity. How do we know Jesus was making this claim? Look at the reaction of the religious leaders.

Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him

“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

The question is whether we want to follow Jesus who gave his life for us when he died on the cross and defeated death for us, gives us eternal life, and relationship with God, OR do we want a religion.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Gives Life Full Meaning- John 10

In John 10, Jesus continues speaking to the Pharisees, religious leaders, he was speaking to in John 9 when he told them they were guilty of sin. Last week’s post- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished– deals with that part of the conversation.

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In this part, Jesus uses analogies to teach spiritual truths about himself, the analogies of gatekeeper, sheep and shepherd. Jesus begins with a statement to get the attention of the Pharisees.

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees”

Though he is addressing the Pharisees directly, there were others around to hear what Jesus had to say and what he says is recorded for our benefit to understand some important truths about Jesus.

Jesus contrasts the thief with the shepherd.

“anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.  The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.”

The thief tries to get at the sheep by jumping the fence and does not want to come to the gate because the gatekeep will stop him. The shepherd comes to the gate.

Sheep are not very bright animals. They are helpless and unable to defend themselves. They get lost easy. They need the constant guidance and protection of the shepherd. No offense, but in this analogy we are the sheep. Without Jesus, we are lost and stumbling around spiritually.

But sheep do know one thing- the shepherd’s voice. Jesus said:

 “the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

If we know the voice of Jesus, we will not follow anything or anyone else. We need to know his voice which comes through prayer and study of the bible.

The Pharisees did not get it, so Jesus explained it for them by saying He is:

The gate- the way to enter

The shepherd- guides and protects the sheep

and Jesus contrasted himself with

the thief- comes to steal and destroy

a hired man- runs away at the sight of trouble leaving the sheep alone and helpless

In contrasting himself with the thief, Jesus shares this beautiful truth:

 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Because of Jesus, we can have eternal life and also have relationship with God now. We can have a life full of meaning.

Jesus also pointed to why he came which was to die for us and defeat death for us by saying:

“I lay down my life for the sheep.”

and

“I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”

The question is do we want to follow Jesus the one who gave his life for us and wants to give us eternal life and a life full of meaning or do we want to follow religion?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished- John Chapter 9

The old saying- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished- comes to mind when I think of the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders throughout John. Chapter 9 is a classic example. No only did the religious leaders have conflict with Jesus, they were also abusive to the man Jesus healed and the man’s parents. Imagine being healed of being blind at birth only to have authorities be abusive towards because you were healed.

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What did Jesus do to cause such a reaction by the religious leaders? He healed the blind man on the Sabbath. I know. It sounds ridiculous but such was the case. The man Jesus healed was brought before them.

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

They had the man’s parents brought in to confirm the man was born blind, but when his parents were asked how the man could not see, they replied ask him he is an adult. The reason they answered this way was fear.

His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.

The religious leaders asked the man again what happened. The poor fellow naively made the mistake of asking them the one question that would infuriate them.

He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

The religious leaders responded.

“You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

The poor fellow couldn’t leave well enough alone.

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

His reward?

To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

Jesus talked with the man revealing to the man who Jesus is. The man came to faith in Jesus which we saw last week in Jesus Healed A Man Who Did Not Know Jesus.

Jesus then said.

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

The reaction of the religious leaders was predictable.

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?

Jesus pulled no punches.

Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

The contrast between the compassion Jesus showed the man who was born blind and the disdain he had for the hypocritical religious leaders was palpable in John and this passage is one example of that..

Think about the compassion of Jesus. Let it be a prevailing thought for the day. When we come to Jesus in humility seeking help from him, his compassion is overwhelming.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Knew His Mission All Along- Theme in John

Cynthia of cynthiaswarroom.home.blog requested I expand more on a theme in John of my time/my hour has not yet come. First I want to say as a teacher I love it when people ask questions like this.

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To understand this theme of my hour/my time has not yet come, we need to remember how John begins in chapter 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

The Word we see referenced here is Jesus. Jesus is the creator. All things were made threw him. He existed for all eternity before entering time being born as a baby.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth

Jesus knew his mission for coming was to be our Savior. He stated this when talking with Nicodemus in John 3:

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

Jesus knew he was here to die on the cross for our sins and to defeat death for us through his resurrection. He knew there was an appointed for his crucifixion. So when Mary asked him to intervene during the wedding feast in Cana in John 2, Jesus first replied:

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

Jesus was letting Mary know he had a mission and the time for that had not yet come.

John understood this as he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That is why we see the theme repeated such as in John 8:20

Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.

While Jesus was talking with his disciples in John 13, he let them know:

 “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

Before Jesus was arrested, he told the disciples in John 16:

Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

Before Jesus was arrested, put through a farce of a trial, tortured, and crucified, he prayed in John 17:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.”:

Jesus is our creator. He came to be our Savior and knew all along what the mission and plan was. It was for him to die on the cross for us, so we can be forgiven and receive relationship with God and eternal life. He came intentionally with that purpose always in mind.

When Jesus died for us, it was God’s plan all along. Jesus knew this, which is why he referred to his time/his hour and why John records it. It shows the intentionality of his sacrifice for us. His hour/his time was the appointed time for his death on the cross on our behalf.

Question- If Jesus would come knowing all along what would happen, is he someone you can trust?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Reveals A Huge Truth About Himself- John 8

Normally my posts for Study of John are on Tuesdays but due to blogger error, I scheduled a post for yesterday meant for today. In case you missed it, it is A Woman In Danger Meets Jesus.

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As we continue in John chapter 8, we see the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders become more intense. However, the repeated theme in John of my time or my hour has not yet come shows up again in John 8:20:

Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.

In John 8:12 Jesus proclaimed:

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

This drew the Pharisees, religious leaders, attention. They were ready to debate. Thinking they could gain the upper hand they brought about the need for witnesses. Keep in mind Jesus had a purpose behind everything he said and did while on earth.

The Pharisees argued:

“Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”

Jesus’ response opened up the dialogue that would lead to a major revelation about Jesus.

“I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”

Jesus claimed God the Father as his supporting witness. At other occasions he would refer to John the Baptist or the miracles Jesus did. Jesus intentionally brings up the Father as his witness to lead the conversation to where he wanted it to go. The Pharisees thinking they had Jesus due to rumors surrounding his birth asked::

“Where is your father?”

Jesus answered:

“You do not know me or my Father,”

Jesus made a statement to the Jews who believed him:

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

This drew the immediate reaction of:

“We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

They prided themselves on being descendants of Abraham.

Jesus replied:

“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”

Jesus is making a clear distinction between his Father, God the Father, and their father.Their response was an attempted dig at Jesus because of the controversy surrounding his birth, the rumors of being illegitimate

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

Jesus did not back down:

“If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.”

Jesus then lowers the boom:

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. “

After more interaction, Jesus tells them:

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

The Jews thought they had the upper hand but it was all leading to Jesus revealing a huge truth about himself.

“You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

The conversation comes to the point Jesus was getting to. He revealed his Deity by claiming for himself the title God used when he revealed himself to Moses by saying I AM.

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

How do we know that is what Jesus was claiming? Look at the response of the Jews.

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

They sought to stone him which was the punishment for blasphemy.

So what was the major revelation about himself that Jesus was getting to and guiding the conversation to?

Jesus is God the Son. He is a coequal member of the Holy Trinity-Father. Son, and Holy Spirit.

We see repeatedly in John that Jesus speaks of a distinct other person- The Father and of himself The Son. We will see in later chapters Jesus refers to a third distinct person- Holy Spirit.

The question is the same as Jesus Peter when Jesus asked,”Who do you say that I am?”

Who do we not only say but believe Jesus is?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Woman in Danger Meets Jesus- John 8

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

It may seem odd to begin a study of John 8 with a quote from Genesis about God creating mankind. However, something important to note is that God created mankind in his image- male and female. Women are equally image bearers of God with men.

In John there are three salient accounts Jesus interacting with women in ways that ran counter to the culture of the time. In all three accounts we find Jesus caring for them as the Creator/Savior reaching out with grace for them. We saw the first account several weeks ago in A Troubled Woman Meets Her Savior.

Today we look at a woman in danger meets Jesus. In John 8 we find the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, religious leaders, brought a woman who was caught in the act of adultery in front of Jesus and the people around him. Interesting that the woman was brought before Jesus but the man was not perhaps underscoring that women were second class citizens compared to men at that time.

Trying to trap Jesus they stated the law said she should be stoned to death and asked what he had to say.

Jesus’ response was to ignore them and bend down and write in the dirt. It is quite possible the woman was on the ground and could see what Jesus was writing.

They persisted, so Jesus stood up and said:

Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

He bent down and wrote in the dirt again. The accusers and the people around left one by one.

Jesus stood up and asked he where her accusers were. He asked her:

Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

When she replied no one, Jesus told her:

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The woman was literally in danger of being stoned to death. She could have been only moments away from death when they brought her before Jesus. Instead she experienced the grace of Jesus.

Jesus did not tell her it is okay. He told her he did not condemn her and also to leave her life of sin. When we come to Jesus, we are no longer under condemnation, but he does work to change us and our lives.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:1

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Responses and Reactions to Jesus- John 7

Last week we saw the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders begin to grow in John 7. John 7 is full of differing reactions/responses. Some wondered if Jesus could be the Messiah or perhaps the prophet to come. The religious leaders increasingly viewed Jesus as a threat to their ‘authority’.

Some of the people were aware the religious leaders were trying to kill Jesus:

At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 

The reason they had not arrested or killed Jesus yet or at that time is because:

 At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.

His hour, his time had not yet come. Jesus was aware of the hour that was coming, but it was not at this incident. Jesus knew he was here for a purpose. In his writing, John mentions hour/time not yet come repeatedly.

Many people wondered if Jesus was the Messiah:

“When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?”

Others wondered if he was the prophet Moses spoke of:

On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”

The religious leaders sent guards to arrest Jesus, but: they didn’t because they were amazed by Jesus.

“No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.

Nicodemus tried to speak up:

Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked,  “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”

Then the religious leaders showed they were actually the ignorant ones who did not know the word of God by saying:

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

How can I say that? You know the popular verses from Isaiah 9 at Christmas time about Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Almighty God, etc?

Well Isaiah chapter 9 begins with:

but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan

Galilee is mentioned as being honored right before the verses about Wonderful Counselor….

They claimed to be the educated and wise ones but they missed a simple verse at the beginning of the chapter about the Messiah.

So who do we think Jesus is?

What is our response/reaction to Jesus?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Conflict Between Jesus and Religious Leaders-John 7

Last Tuesday we began our study of John 7 by looking at Jesus’ half brothers prodding him to go to Judea for the Feast of Tabernacles but their motives were true That post was Jesus Understands Family Problems

Part of Jesus’ response to his brothers is a repeated theme in John:

My time is not yet here

Jesus knew all along that he was here to die for our sins. It was the plan. He also knew his time had not yet come at that point.

Jesus did end up going without telling his half brothers. When he arrived, he began to teach in the Temple Courts. The Jews were amazed at his teaching saying:

“How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”.

Consider the irony of that question. They were wondering how Jesus could have such great understanding without having been taught. Jesus is the creator. The whole of the Old Testament points to Jesus. When the Jews would teach things such as the promise of the Messiah, they were teaching about Jesus.

Jesus tells them his teaching comes from the Father. He makes a point about motives in teaching:

Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.

Then Jesus lets them know he knows they are seeking to kill him:

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

They responded with their version of-Are you crazy?

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

Jesus responds by pointing out their hypocrisy of being upset that Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath.

Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath?

It is in John 7 that we really see the conflict build between Jesus and the religious leaders. They viewed Jesus as a threat to their ‘authority and power’ and Jesus did not placate them.

We will look more at that conflict next Tuesday.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Understand Family Problems- John Chapter 7

Sibling rivalry can cause problems in family relationships. Jealousy can set in if one sibling gets more attention or has more talent in an area. Now imagine having Jesus as your older half brother. Jesus had half brothers and sisters who were born after he was. Can you imagine being compared to Jesus?

To understand the first part of John 7 we need to look at Mark 3. In Mark 3:20-21 we read:

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

His own family, his mother-Mary, and his half brothers went to take charge of Jesus thinking he was crazy. They did not believe Jesus to be Messiah. Even Mary who had been visited by the angel Gabriel was in on the attempt to “take charge” of Jesus.

Then we read in Mark 3:31-34:

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus did not respond to his mother or half brothers. He corrected the thinking of the people by saying those who do the will of God are his family. I imagine that stung a little for his family.

We don’t have much of a record of Jesus’ half brothers or sisters as far as whether they came to faith other than James. We know Mary did because she was in the upper room with the disciples at Pentecost.

So in John 7:3-4 when his brothers said:

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.”

It was entirely disingenuous because we also read in verse 5:

 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

Jesus ended up going after his half brothers did without telling them.

This is an encouraging passage for those of us with family problems. Jesus understands dealing with family problems. His own half brothers did not believe in him, mocked him in this passage, tried to take control of him in Mark chapter 3.

Jesus understands and provides relationships and friendships with fellow believers. They can become our chosen family. I shared about chosen family a few months ago- Chosen Family.

If you have family problems, Jesus understands.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.