Friday, August 28, 2020

Journey Through John

 

Journey Through John

Below are links to scripture and messages from our Journey Through John. 

John 1

John 1 – Part 1

John 1 – Part 2

John 1 – Part 3

John 1 – Part 4

Behold the Lamb of God

Calling Disciples

 

 

John 2

John 2 – Part 1

John 2 – Part 2

 

John 3

John 3 – Part 1

John 3 – Part 2

John 3 – Part 3

 

John 4

John 4 – Part 1

John 4 – Part 2

John 4 – Part 3

John 4 – Part 4

 

John 5

John 5 – Part 1

John 5 – Part 2

John 5 – Part 3

 

John 6

John 6 – Part 1

John 6 – Part 2

John 6 – Part 3

John 6 – Part 4

 

John 7

John 7 – Part 1

John 7 – Part 2

John 7 – Part 3

John 7 – Part 4

 

John 8

John 8 – Part 1

John 8 – Part 2

John 8 – Part 3

John 8 – Part 4

John 8 – Part 5

 

John 9

I was blind but now I see

Introduction to videos

John 9 – Part 1

John 9 - Part 2

John 9 – Part 3

John 9 – Part 4

John 9 – Part 5

John 9 – Part 6

John 9 – Part 7

Food for Thought:  Looking a Blind Man in the Eye.

 

 

John 10

John 10 – Part 1

John 10 – Part 2

John 10 – Part 3

John 10 – Part 4

 

John 11

John 11 – Part 1

John 11 – Part 2

John 11 – Part 3

John 11 – Part 4

 

John 12

John 12 – Part 1

Palm Sunday Message (Part 2)

John 12 – Part 3

John 12 – Part 4

 

John 13

John 13 – Part 1

John 13 – Part 2

John 13 – Part 3

 

 

John 14

John 14 – Part 1

John 14 – Part 2

 

John 15

John 15 – Part 1

John 15 – Part 2

 

John 16

John 16 – Part 1

John 16 – Part 2

 

John 17

John 17 – Part 1

John 17 – Part 2

John 17 Part 3

 

John 18

John 18 – Part 1

John 18 – Part 2

John 18 – Part 3

 

John 19

John 19 – Part 1

John 19 – One Liners

 

John 20 and other accounts of resurrection

John 20 – Part 1

John 20 – Victory in Jesus

Who is going to roll the stone away?

Why are your crying? 2020

Woman why are your crying? 2016

Blessed are those…

Resurrection from a different perspective

Do not be afraid

 

John 21

John 21 – Part 1

John 21 – Part 2

 

 

Wrap up and Review

The Seven I Am metaphors of John’s gospel

Jetting Through John – Review or Prologue

 

7 I Am Metaphors in John

 

The words I am are powerful words.  They are how God’s people were to know that Moses was sent by God.  The words I am move boats across water or cause armed guards to fall backwards

They are words that use God’s name to precede ours.  Who are you?  I am Tom or I am Jane or I am whatever name your parents gave you.

These are words that identify God and help us to understand our identity and they are more than we can comprehend in a single serving.  Jesus gave us 7 I Am metaphors to help us understand him and his Father in heaven and what it is to have life in him.

Let’s briefly consider each of these I Am statements.

I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35-51)  Jesus used this one several times in a single pericope.  Bread sustains physical life. Christ offers and sustains spiritual life. Think to the fourth chapter of John’s gospel.  Jesus said he had food that his disciples didn’t know about.

His food was to do the will of his Father. His food was to finish the work he was sent to do.  Jesus still ate meals but his real sustenance was in doing his Father’s will.

Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Jesus and his commands to us sustain us.  We are to receive him and his commands with the same enthusiasm we have for the fellowship meal.  Will we be nourished?

 I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12) To a world lost in darkness, Christ offers Himself as a guide. John has a recurring theme of light and darkness.  While Jesus was in the world, he was the light of the world.  We as his disciples are charged to be the light of the world.  You can be the salt of the earth while you are at it.

Will we walk in the light?

In chapter 11 of John’s gospel, when the disciples are concerned about going back to Judea and Jerusalem because the Jews there wanted to kill Jesus, he told them that if they walked in daylight they would not stumble.  If they walked in his light, they would be protected.

I am the door of the sheep.” (John 10:7-9) Jesus protects His followers as shepherds protect their flocks from predators.  If every sheep and shepherd go through the gate, everyone is protected.  Visual a small or narrow gate that offers only one way in or out.  Only the thief would climb the fence to steal or kill or destroy.  Jesus is the gate and the gate is the way, which will come up in chapter 14.

Will we by receiving him also receive his protection?

I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:11-14) Jesus loves and protects all who belong to him.  Everyone who had been entrusted with the shepherding of Israel before fell short.  Jesus is the model of shepherding.  His sheep know his voice.

Will we know his voice?

As we are talking shepherds, I’m going to make a little rant here.  I see a lot of scripture abused on the internet.  Scripture is twisted or rewritten to fit the desired narrative. That’s the age that we live in.  Sometimes, I am compelled to comment.  Here is one of those cases.  It’s from Luke 15.

Have you seen the one about how Jesus leaves the 99 to find the 1?  Did you have any problems with that?

Jesus tells the parable. He is not in the parable. What difference does it make?

Besides manipulating the scripture to fit the desired narrative of the one who posted it; it ignores the literary tool selected by Jesus. The parable helps us understand the things of God by setting it alongside the things people understood in the world.

The shepherd in the parable is your basic human shepherd. Even he would leave the 99 in the open country to search for the lost sheep. If the human shepherd would do this, how much more will your Heavenly Father search for those who are lost?

How great the celebration in heaven when the lost one is found and home again.

Trust that Jesus knew what he was doing when he told this parable.  He is the Good Shepherd after all.

“I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) Martha thought that resurrection was a date on an eternal calendar.  She was probably right, but resurrection was standing in front of her.  Resurrection, life, and life eternal are in Christ. 

These bodies will wear out but we will live.  We will live.

Ask ourselves the same thing that Jesus inquired of Martha.  Do you believe this?

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) The disciples wanted to see the Father.  C’mon, they had followed Jesus for 3 years.  If anyone should be entitled to a glimpse of the Heavenly Father, it was them. 

Jesus explained that if they had seen him, they had seen the Father.  Jesus was in the Father and the Father in him.  You want to know the Father, then know me.  That’s the essence here.

Everything is through Jesus.  Everything that was made was made through him.  Everything that we need comes through him.  Everything that we hope for is in his name.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Will we trust in the Lord with all of our heart?

I am the true vine.” (John 15:1-5) You know those disconnect notices that we gave out a few years ago and I still use about once a week.  They pose the question to their readers, “Are you connected to the body of Christ?”

Jesus asks us if we remain connected to him.  Are we a teachable spirit?  Have we taken his yoke and do we learn from him?

Do we really want to know the Father?  Then we must be prepared for him to do some pruning.  He will prune away everything that does not produce good fruit.

We have made it through John’s gospel.  If you check out my postings online, you got a high speed flyover of the entire gospel this week.  These 7 I Am metaphors are also a good way to retain much of what you have learned.

I am the bread of life.  Will we be nourished?

I am the light of the world. Will we walk in the light?

I am the door of the sheep. We will receive his protection?

I am the good shepherd.  Will we know his voice?

I am the resurrection and the life. Do you believe this?

I am the way, the truth, and the life.  Will we trust in the Lord with all of our heart?

I am the true vine.  Will we stay connected and do we trust our Father to prune us so that we may produce good fruit?

Those are the 7 I Am metaphors. I find them a fitting way to conclude what has been a 5-month journey.

John told us that his gospel did not contain everything that Jesus did, that it was enough for us to believe and by believing have eternal life in Christ.

So let us believe and have life.

Let us live as his disciples and produce good fruit.

In a world of deception, let us know his voice.

Amen.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Jetting Through John

 

 For those who have been on our weekly Journey Through John since April, this will be a review.  For those who just happen upon this message, it may serve as prologue to your journey.  Let’s begin in the beginning.

Read John 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.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John began his gospel in the beginning. John puts his own Genesis executive summary at the beginning of his gospel.

We are introduced to John the Baptizer and the next thing you know it’s Merry Christmas.  The word became flesh and dwelt among us.

John goes straight to adulthood.  There is no temple time at twelve in Jerusalem.  There was no temptation in the wilderness.  John the Baptizer sees Jesus walking towards him and declared, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

Jesus began calling disciples.  We see Jesus calling fishermen but don’t get the lakeside stories.

Read John 2

The next thing you know, Jesus and his disciples are attending a wedding in Cana.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, is there as well and breaks the news to Jesus that they have run out of wine.

That right there should have been a lesson about inviting so many fishermen to a wedding, but somehow that lesson is overlooked.

Jesus told his mother that his time had not yet come but she just told the servants to do whatever Jesus said.  You know the story.  It’s water to wine, right?

No!  It’s water to the best wine ever.  For those keeping score at home, that’s miracle #1.

Jesus didn’t stay in Cana very long.  Soon he was off to Jerusalem and found his Father’s house being disrespected. The surrounding areas had been turned into a marketplace.  He made a whip and started turning over tables.

The Jews were not happy about this and wanted a sign from Jesus so they might accept his authority.  Jesus told them to destroy this temple and he would rebuild it in 3 days.  The Jews thought he meant the temple it had taken 46 years to build.  Jesus was talking about his body.

To be fair, not even his own disciples understood this until after his resurrection.

Read John 3

People who know very little of the Bible, often know at least parts of this chapter.  This is the Nic@Nite chapter.  Nicodemus, a Pharisee, came to see Jesus at night.  Nicodemus started with small talk.  Jesus cut to the heart of the matter.  You must be born again to live in my Father’s kingdom.  You should understand this as a teacher of Israel; yet you don’t.

This discussion brings us to the words that our denomination calls the gospel in miniature.  In these parts, we don’t separate the coupling of these verses.

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.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

The chapter wraps us with a discussion of John’s mission and that of the Son of God.  This was before John went to prison.  John was still baptizing but many were now following Jesus.  John reminded people that he was not the Christ.

The chapter ends with an affirmation of belief in Jesus and life.

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

If we jump ahead a little, we find that we are already dead unless we believe in Jesus.  Then we pass from death to life.

Read John 4

Jesus left Jerusalem for Galilee but went through Samaria.  He arrived a Sychar and rested at Jacob’s well while the disciples went into town looking for food.  It was about noon.

A woman came to the well to draw water.  Jesus asked her for a drink.  That was unexpected.  A Jew asking a Samaritan, a Samaritan woman at that, for a drink.

The conversation led to Jesus talking about living water and never having to thirst.  This sounded appealing to this woman who came to draw water in the heat of the day.  She asked Jesus for some of this living water.

Jesus replied:  Go call your husband and come back.

That was the last thing this woman wanted to hear.  She hoped to get off easy by telling Jesus that she had no husband, but she had yet to realize the identity of the other party in her conversation.

Jesus told her he knew that she had no husband.  She had gone through 5 husbands and the man she was shacked up with now was not her husband.

That upped the ante.  This woman wasn’t going to get away with any half-truths here.  It would be best to change the subject and talk about religious things.  This guy was obviously a prophet.

So she started talking about where to worship and Jesus set the record straight so the woman just noted that the Messiah will make it clear when he comes. That should keep the conversation focused somewhere other than her life.

Jesus told her, I’m here.

There is an OMG moment for sure.  The woman left her water jar and headed back to town proclaiming to have seen the Messiah.  Some believed because of her and come to see Jesus.

They later changed their tune and stated they believed because they have seen Jesus.  People are fickle like that.

In the course of this part of the chapter that takes place in Samaria, there are a couple verses worth noting for further consideration.

The first is that Jesus declared that those who truly desire to worship God will do so in both spirit and in truth.  Their worship will be genuine not geographical.  It’s not the geography that counts.  It is the genuine reverence for God in the believer’s heart. 

The next is when the disciples return from rounding up lunch in town.  They asked Jesus if he wanted some food.  He said that he had food they knew nothing about.  What could that be?

Jesus told his followers that his food—his sustenance—is to do the will of his Father.  His bread is to complete his mission.  Yes, Jesus needed calories like all of us do, but his true food was to finish the work that he was sent to do.

Later Jesus would tell his followers that he was their sustenance.

Jesus continued to Galilee.  There was a royal official whose son was sick, perhaps near death.  He pleaded with Jesus to come with him to Capernaum and heal him.  Jesus, after scolding the crowd around him for their unbelief—always wanting miracles but not believing—told this man that his son was healed.

He said, you may go your son will live.

The man’s servant met him as he was going home and told him his son had recovered.  Further dialogue revealed it was at the exact time that Jesus told him his son would live.  Miracle #2.

Read John 5

Jesus returned to Jerusalem after a while and went to the pool of Bethesda which is by the Sheep Gate.  The pool was surrounded by shaded areas where disabled people would gather.  If the water stirred, they believed the first one in would be healed.

Jesus spoke to a man here who had been paralyzed for 38 years.  Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be well?”

That was a straight-forward question for which you might expect a yeah buddy or you betcha or even a simple yes.

But the man explained how he can never get to the water in time.  Somebody always beats him to it.

Jesus cut to the chase.  Pick up your mat and walk.”  The man complied immediately.  He was healed.  John does not note that this was the third recorded miracle but that it was the Sabbath.

The religious leaders seeing the man carrying his mat on the Sabbath condemn him instead of celebrating the miracle of healing that was done in this man.  There will be more of that to come.

When the religious leaders figured out this was Jesus who healed the man, they confront him about healing on the Sabbath.  Jesus replied:  “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.

The Father who at the creation of the world set the model of work six and rest one is now working all the time.  So too was Jesus.

The religious leaders had already decided to persecute Jesus.  He was a trouble maker for sure and now he was talking about doing the work of his Father in heaven and that his authority came from the Father and that people needed to believe in him.

Jesus told the people that they were already dead.  Only by believing in him would they pass from death to life.

Read John 6

Jesus headed out to the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  This was across the water from Capernaum.  A very large crowd followed Jesus.  They knew that there was something special about this man and they wanted to know more.  Had they known that they were going as far as they did, they might have packed a lunch.  One kid did.

In dialogue with Phillip and Andrew, Jesus takes the two fish and five loaves, gave thanks, and distributed the food to the people who were now seated in groups.  The disciples collected up more leftovers than what they had at the beginning.  Chalk up another miracle.  This one was in the midst of thousands of people.

Jesus knew that the people wanted to make him king then and there, so he headed up a mountain all by himself.  The disciples headed out in the boat and started making their way to Capernaum.  I’m presuming that this is what Jesus told them to do and not that they just forgot to take Jesus with them.

The disciples were in the boat about 4 miles from shore.  It was stormy weather.  They were without their Master.  I’m sure there was some interesting discussion aboard that boat not recorded in the gospel.

The disciples saw someone walking on the water towards them.  It was Jesus.  How did they know it was him?  Because he told them.

Jesus said, “It is I.”  In the Greek, that includes the words Egō eimi.  Big things happen when Jesus speaks the words, I Am.

Jesus got into the boat and the next thing they knew everyone was ashore at Capernaum.  There are one or two more miracles right there.

Things got a little tougher in this next part.  Jesus gave the first I am metaphor—I am the bread of life.  Then he told people that this bread is the real sustenance they need.  Manna from heaven was consumed but belief in the One whom God sent brings eternal life.

The more Jesus explained the more difficult it was to understand.  Many departed.  They had their free lunch the day before and this day was just graduate level instruction and they wanted none of it.

Jesus looked at the 12.  He asked, you guys want to bug out too?

It was Simon Peter who answered for the group.  Where would we go.  You have the words of eternal life.  You can pick on Peter all you want to for the things he said and did, but he nailed this one.

You have the words of eternal life!

Read John 7

In this chapter we get a glimpse of Jesus and his brothers.  Evidently, his brothers were not convinced that Jesus was anything other than the older brother who got to use the bathroom first when he was home.  They taunted him to go the Jerusalem during the festival and make a name for himself.  The brothers knew that the religious leaders were gunning for him.

Brothers, you gotta love ‘em.

Jesus did go to Jerusalem by himself, keeping a low profile and just listening to what people were saying about him.

Jesus did not keep a low profile for long.  He began teaching and many were amazed that he knew so much without formal education.  Who could know all of these things and not be a graduate of Oklahoma State University?

There was only one answer. Jesus learned everything directly from his Father.

The religious leaders and the God-fearing Jews who tried to keep the law had their feathers good and ruffled.

Jesus confronted them.  You wave your Moses and the Law flag proudly but none of you can keep the law.  You get excited and upset and indignant of me healing on the Sabbath but if one of you has a son and the eight day falls on the Sabbath, you can rest assured that he will be presented for circumcision.

Jesus commanded the people to stop judging by mere appearances.  That should sound familiar.  God sees the heart.

The more Jesus taught, the more people became confused and divided. 

He is a prophet. Maybe even the Messiah.

 But how can the Messiah come from Galilee?

He promises living water—the Spirit of God.

Some knew that Jesus was tipping over their apple cart and they wanted to seize him and try him for blasphemy then and there, but he slipped away.

We know why.  His time had not yet come.

The temple guards who let Jesus slip away were chastised by the religious leaders.

The guards could only say, We’ve never heard anyone talk like him.

That had to get the goat of the Pharisees.  They were supposed to be the ones who amazed people with their teaching.  The Pharisees would be bested a few more times before all was said and done.

Read John 8

You know this story.  The religious leader wanted to trap Jesus, maybe get him to ignore the law or show him to be heartless in complying with the law.

In any case, a woman who was caught in the act of adultery was brought before Jesus.

Whach ya gonna do? C’mon Jesus, are you gong to tell us to stone her?

Jesus could have out lawyered these yahoos in an instant.  Where’s the man?  According to the Law of Moses by which you want this woman tried and sentenced to death, both should be tried and stoned.  Where’s the man?

Jesus was not confrontational.  He said let the person who has never sinned throw the first stone.  Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.

Oldest to youngest, rocks started hitting the ground and the crowd hungry for blood began to depart until all were gone.

Jesus said to the woman, who is there to condemn you?

None, sir.

Jesus said, then neither do I.  Now go and sin no more.

Much discussion followed between Jesus and the religious Jews.  Some believed and some did not believe and opposed him.

Jesus called them out.  You are playing for the wrong team.  You think you are serving God but you serve the devil as if he was your father.  Ouch!

Then out of this whole discussion, we find these words that echo in our hearts today.

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

Jesus went a couple more rounds with the self-righteous Jews who claimed Abraham as their father and thought that this alone sets them right with God.  Jesus, broke out those two words again—I am.  This time he said:  Before Abraham was I am.

They want to seize Jesus right then, but he slipped away.  Again, we know why.  His time had not yet come.

Read John 9

 I’m not going to spend much time here as I spent a lot of time when we went through this chapter.  This was during our online only time.  I’ll just say that a man born blind turned the tables on the self-righteous Pharisees when Jesus healed him.  OBTW—it was on the Sabbath.

Catch up with these written and video messages if you need to:

John 9

I was blind but now I see

Introduction to videos

John 9 – Part 1

John 9 - Part 2

John 9 – Part 3

John 9 – Part 4

John 9 – Part 5

John 9 – Part 6

John 9 – Part 7

Food for Thought:  Looking a Blind Man in the Eye.

I will touch on one point often overlooked in this chapter.  It’s about the blind man sitting on the side of the road for his entire adult life, but when he was healed, people did not recognize him. How could this be?

They probably never really saw him.  They knew he was there and quickly proceeded past him surely in some discussion of world-saving importance.  They didn’t want to look his way.

 

They didn’t want to look a blind man in the eye for if they did, they might just be compelled to compassion and mercy.  They might have seen another person—someone made in the image of God—and they would have been compelled to mercy.

 

That might have cost them money or time.  It would have taken them off their path of urgent demands and out of their comfort zones.  It might have given them eyes to see and left them without excuse for not showing mercy.

 

How was it that the people that had walked by the blind man hundreds or thousands of times on their way back and forth on that road over the past decade couldn’t tell if it was the same man who could now see? They never really saw him.

 

Just as the priest and Levite walked on the other side of the road in the parable of the Good Samaritan, most of the people who had walked by this man daily wished the road was wider and that they could walk on the other side as well.

 

Fortunately, this doesn’t happen today.  Actually, it happens much, much more but we have become more subtle about it.  We find ways not to see the blind man on the side of the road.

 

Programs and movements lump people into groups and categories and divide them according to the whims of the program or the movement instead prompting the power of compassion to jump into action.  Programs have metrics.  People need relationship.  Programs let us keep our distance.  Mercy makes connections.

 

See a man not a movement.

 

Look the blind man in the eye and be led by the Spirit.  Do not surrender the Spirit that God placed inside of you to something that voids the relationships he intended for you.

 

Build God’s kingdom in this age one relationship at a time.  Be known by your love not your membership.

 

Love one another.

 

Meet people where they are but lead them to life for God has given life to us thorough relationship with him

Enough for chapter 9.  Watch the videos if you need an extended review.

Read John 10

Jesus beats up the Pharisees a bit in a couple metaphors but they don’t get it.  For people who made their living being smart, they were dull when it came to knowing God.

We get two I Am metaphors here, which I will save for the next service.  For this fast-paced review remember that the sheep know his voice.  What’s that mean?

We who follow the Good Shepherd know his voice.  We won’t be deceived by the enemy.  We won’t be deceived by the world.  We know his voice because we live in his word and are in continual prayer.

The sheep know his voice.  If you are struggling to know the voice of your Master, spend more time in the word.  Spend more time in prayer.  Find good study partners—as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Know his voice!

We also have a memory verse that we should hone until it is a part of us.  It’s John 10:10 and many of you know it already.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

The religious leaders and Jews who held the law in such high esteem, even though they could never live by it, wanted more from Jesus.

Jesus told them that he had given them enough but they just wouldn’t believe.  The people were divided.

Jesus told those who did not believe that they were not his sheep.  They refused to see the works of the one whom the Father sent and surely did not believe his words.

These people wanted to seize Jesus right then, but as you know so well, his time had not yet come.  It was, however, time to get out of town for a while, so Jesus and his disciples headed to the Jordan where John the Baptizer had begun his ministry.

Read John 11

Jesus had some friends.  It wasn’t just he and the twelve roaming the country-side.  It wasn’t just those who showed up and went away when things go tough.  Jesus had some friends.  We know of three for sure:  Lazarus, Mary, and Martha of Bethany.

While at the Jordan, Jesus received news that Lazarus was very ill.  Upon hearing the news, Jesus was so compelled with mercy that he decided to wait a couple of days before doing anything.  Jesus told his disciples that the sickness would not end in death.

But after a couple of days at the river, Jesus told his disciples that they were headed back to Judea.  Lazarus was dead. They couldn’t believe it.  People wanted to kill Jesus there.  Did he forget?

Jesus told his followers that if they walked with him they walked in the light and would not stumble.  They didn’t understand but would go with him anyway.

Thomas gave us his version of it is a good day to die.

Jesus arrived in Bethany but was met by Martha before he reached the home.  If you had only made it here sooner.

Martha was distraught.  Oh, you could have healed him.   

We see something similar with Mary, but it was Martha who received the next I Am metaphor.  You know it.

Jesus said 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. Do you believe this?”

To Martha, resurrection was a someday date on God’s calendar.  Jesus told her that resurrection was standing right in front of her.  Relationship with God and the Son he sent into the world was what resurrection was all about.

These bodies will give way but you will live.

We also see that Jesus was fully human.  Even knowing what he would do next, Jesus cried at the loss of his friend and the hurt he was witnessing.

We know this hurt when we lose a loved one.  We believe with all of our hearts that the one whom we lost is with the Lord.  He or she has no more pain.  God himself will wipe the tears from our loved one’s eyes; yet we still cry and hurt and long for the one we lost.

It’s the shortest verse in the Bible.  Jesus wept.

But it was on to the tomb.  Jesus prayed to his Father so that some gathered there might believe.  His prayer was for the benefit of the witnesses of what came next.

The girls did not want the stone rolled away.  Their brother had been in there long enough that there would be a smell.  What purpose could this serve?

But the stone was removed and Jesus called for Lazarus, and only Lazarus, to come out.  Lazarus—a living Lazarus—exited the tomb.  Jesus told the crowd to get him some new clothes.  You might think that would have gone without saying, but Lazarus was a guy.  Hey, I’ve only worn these for 4 days.  I can wait until laundry day.  Yes, I took some liberty with that one.

Some believed in Jesus and some decided it was time to kill him.  It was time to take this trouble maker out.

It is here that we get some prophecy from the Chief Priest, Caiaphas.  He was surely speaking from a political perspective, but what he spoke was surely the will of God.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs.  If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all!  You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

Jesus would die for many, but the one who prophesied had no idea he spoke the words of God.

The religious leaders had put the word out that anyone who saw Jesus was to report him to them right away.

Read John 12

You know the first part of this chapter.  Jesus is anointed for his burial with a perfume called Nard.  It took place in Bethany at a dinner held in his honor.  Many other Jews were in the town.  Some heard Jesus was there.  Some were there just to catch a glimpse of Lazarus.  It’s not every day you get to see a dead man out and about.

Some were there because they were sizing up how to trap and kill Jesus.

The action moved from Bethany to Jerusalem.  It was not a subtle entry.  Jesus rode into Jerusalem and the people shouted.  Many of them had seen the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  Many had spread the word of the signs given by Jesus.

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

The Pharisees were frustrated.  Something had to be done. One thing that had to be done was that Lazarus had to be killed as well.  You just can’t have evidence like that walking around.

Some Greeks came to see Jesus.  He didn’t have time for them.  Why?  His hour had come.  The next several hours would be an intimate time with his disciples before Jesus would go to the cross.

The people were still divided as to who this Jesus was.

Read John 13

It was time for post graduate school.  Jesus would have his disciples drinking from a firehose in his hours before the cross.

He began by washing the feet of the disciples.  Nobody was ready for this, especially Peter.  But by the end of the lesson, Jesus had demonstrated that service would be at the heart of their ministries.

The action moved quickly to the departure of Judas.  Why?  His betrayal of his Master was essential to kick starting this processing of sending Jesus to the cross.

Jesus had been telling his disciples all along that he must die.  They didn’t really buy into that one.  It must have been like a parable that was too hard to understand, but now the time had come for Jesus to bring glory to God by giving his life.

Peter wanted none of this this.  At least Peter was consistent in his first responses.  Peter would die to save his Master so he really didn’t want to hear what Jesus had to say next.  Before the rooster crows in the morning, you will have denied me three times.  Ouch!

It is also in this part of John where we get those words so close to our hearts.  They remind us that our discipleship is best exhibited in loving one another.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Love one another.  Let us never be pulled off course from this command.

Read John 14

You have to love the words that begin this chapter.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.

The disciples believed in Jesus, but they wanted to see the Father.  Jesus explained that if they have seen him, they have seen the Father.  Jesus is in the Father and the Father in him.  He wants the same sort of relationship between himself and his disciples.  He explained it this way in yet another I Am statement.

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

The disciples had already professed Jesus as Lord, Master, and Messiah.  They believed him to be the Son of God.  They believed, but they thought Jesus was holding something back.  They thought that after all this time, they should get to see the Father.

Jesus told them that they had seen him and that those who sought the Father would find him only through the Son.

Jesus continued this teaching.  If you love me then keep my commands.

That’s straightforward but what about when you are gone?  What will we do?

Jesus told them that the Holy Spirit would come to be with them.  This is the Spirit of God—the Advocate, the Comforter, the Counselor, the Helper, and the Spirit of Truth.

Jesus told his closest friends that they would not be orphaned.  When the Spirit came, those things that were hard to remember or understand would become crystal clear.

Jesus told his disciples that this was a good trade for them.  The Spirit would be with them as they went into the world.

The chapter ends with the disciples leaving the room in which they dined.  Perhaps on their walk, they passed a vineyard.

Read John 15

The vine and the branches are the metaphor.  Yes, it’s another I Am metaphor.  It’s about connection and continued relationship.

If you are in right relationship, you will obey the commands of your Master.  You will love one another.  You can only bring joy to your Father in heaven by remaining in good relationship with him.  He will prune away that which does not produce fruit.

If we live the way that we are called to live, it is pleasing to God, but it also brings us joy.  Jesus wanted to make our joy complete.  These few men would be the first to experience this joy.

Jesus told his disciples that he no longer called them servants.  They knew the will of their Master.  He now called them friends.

This section includes one of the widely known verses in the Bible.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Jesus would lay down his life for all of us.  The disciples too in time would give their lives.  We are called to give our lives if required.  We are to love one another as Christ loved us and he loved us all the way to the cross.

The chapter concludes with these simple words:  love one another.

Read John 16

OK guys.  Reality check.  Things will be tough for you for a while, then they will get better.  You will do incredible things once you have received the Spirit, but for now, get ready for some tough times.

When the Spirit comes pay attention.  The Spirit will guide you in all truth.

Jesus continued.  Things will be tough for a while. You will be scattered.  You will weep and mourn but like in birth pains, when the child comes everything turns to joy.  Hang in there.

The chapter concludes with a verse of continued assurance.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Read John 17

This chapter is a prayer by Jesus.  Within this prayer also is the definition of eternal life.  Again we find eternity like resurrection defined by relationship.

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Jesus affirmed to his Father that he has done his will and prayed for the men he prepared to take the good news of salvation to the world.  This brings glory to God.

Jesus was about to leave the world but his disciples were not.  Jesus prayed for their protection.  They would remain in the world to fulfill their commission to take the good news to the world.

Jesus prayed for us, those who would believe somewhere down the line.  Jesus prayed for us.

Read John 18

It was time to get this show on the road.  The disciples had crossed the Kidron Valley and were in a garden.  The disciples came here often enough that Judas knew where to find them.  He brought soldiers, Pharisees, and delegates from the Chief Priests.

Jesus took charge of the action and asked, “Who are you looking for?”

Jesus of Nazareth was the reply.

I am he.  These words by Jesus caused the lynch mob to fall back onto the ground.  There’s the power of those I Am words again.

Jesus knew he had to go to the cross so he asked again if they were looking for him.  They were and Jesus said, here I am but leave the others alone.

Peter wasn’t going to give up his Master without a fight.  He grabbed a sword and cut the ear off of an unarmed servant.  Jesus had to go to the cross, so he told Peter to put the sword away.  Jesus would drink the cup given to him by his Father.

The night continued—yes, this was at night.  That’s when they hold kangaroo courts.  Jesus was brought before Annas and Caiaphas, apparently in their homes.    The Jews wanted to kill Jesus but couldn’t muster up a real charge, so they took him to Pilate.

Concurrent to the kangaroo court that was underway, Peter denied Jesus three times, and then it was dawn.

Pilate didn’t want anything to do with this man.  The religious leaders couldn’t even tell Pilate what he had done.  They just said that we would bring him to you if he wasn’t guilty.

Jesus did not say anything to Pilate that would give him reason to proclaim his innocence and tell the Jews to leave him alone.  Jesus was on a mission that required him to go to the cross.

In the course of his discussion with Pilate, Jesus noted that his kingdom was not of this world.  Pilate would have no authority over him unless it was ordained by God, and here that authority was for the purpose of sending Jesus to the cross so he might be lifted up.  Stoning by the Jews would not fulfill this essential element.

Pilate made an appeal to the crowd to set Jesus free in accordance with the local custom negotiated.  The crowd asked to free the murderer Barabbas instead.

Read John 19

The absurdity of the kangaroo court held by the Jews is matched by the fact that the Roman governor put up with the pettiness of these people and would send Jesus to the cross.

Jesus was flogged.  The soldiers mocked him.  Pilate brought him before the crowd as if to say, is this not enough punishment for an innocent man?

The crowd still shouted crucify.  He claimed to be the Son of God.  That part scared Pilate.  He was probably ready to release him but others shouted he claimed to be a king and we have no king but Caesar.

Realize these are Jews saying these things, surely prompted by their religious leaders, but haters of the Roman Empire nonetheless. Some of these could have been the same people who only days earlier were crying out Hosanna.

Jesus carried his own cross up to the Hill of the Skull.  Pilate had a sign posted that read:  JESUS OF NAZARTH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

That upset the religious leaders and they asked that Pilate do some editing to say he claimed to be the King of the Jews.  In the only exercise of any gumption on Pilate’s part that we see anywhere, he replied:  I have written what I have written.

Before dying on the cross, Jesus made provision with John for the care of his mother.  Then, all things accomplished, Jesus said:  It is finished.  Everything required by the law and the prophets was accomplished and Jesus died on the cross.

The bones of this Passover Lamb—the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world—would not be broken as was the custom if those crucified were still alive at quitting time.

Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus.  They couldn’t leave him on the cross with night coming.  Pilate granted the request and Joseph and Nicodemus put the body in a new tomb and prepared it with 75 pounds of spices.

There are two things of note here.  First, Joseph was a believer but in secret.  We don’t know about Nicodemus.  He was a Pharisee and had respect for Jesus as a rabbi, but did he believe that he was the Son of God?  We don’t get that answer.

Read John 20

 Finally, we get to chapter 20.  Chapter 19 might have been rough for many, but now it’s time to have the resurrection revealed.  Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early on the first day of the week.  The stone was not covering the entrance.  She saw no one inside.

She reported to the disciples that someone had taken the body.  That was surely her assessment for she had talked to no one at the tomb.

Peter and John raced to the tomb.  John won the race but stopped at the entrance.  Peter caught up and went directly inside.  The only thing there was the head cloth and burial cloth.  The scripture said that they believed but did not understand. 

So, they went back to where they were staying.

Mary returned to the tomb.  She was crying and encountered two angels and then later Jesus.  She did not know it was Jesus until he spoke.  She returned to the disciples once again with a report.  I have seen the Lord!

That same day, the disciples were in a locked room and Jesus entered saying peace be with you.  That’s a cool trick right there—entering a locked room.  He breathed the Holy Spirit on them.  It might take about 7 weeks to do it’s work to prepare these men for their ministries, but Jesus delivered the Spirit to them at this time.

OBTW—Thomas wasn’t there and he would not believe without some solid forensic evidence.  He got what he asked for a few days later when Jesus once again entered a locked room and told Thomas to touch whatever he needed to in order to believe.

That wouldn’t be necessary.  Thomas proclaimed, my Lord and my God.  Seeing was believing.

This is one to put into permanent storage in your brain housing group because it’s about us.  Jesus was talking to Thomas but this is about us.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed!

The chapter concludes with John’s words for us.  He said that you may not have everything that Jesus did recorded for you, but you have enough to believe he is the Son of God and in so doing come to life through him.

You have enough!

The resurrection was big time but these two statements at the end of this chapter are powerful even in our time.

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed!

 

You have enough to believe he is the Son of God and in so doing come to life through him.

Read John 21

What can follow this?  How do you wrap up this gospel?  Jesus reinstated Peter for one thing.  Following Jesus telling several of his disciples who had gone fishing for the night without a catch to cast their net on the right side of the boat and that filled the nets beyond their capacity, John recognized it was the Lord talking to them.

Jesus was on the shore and had some fish on the fire.  He asked Peter three times if he loved him.  Peter affirmed his love three time.  We generally interpret this as the reinstatement of Peter after his denials.

Jesus instructed Peter to follow him and not to be concerned with what he had called the other disciples to do.

John noted that if everything that Jesus did was recorded the world would not be a big enough library to hold all the books.

We must remember though, that we have what we need to believe and know life in Christ.

I have titled this review Jetting Through John.  It’s a high-speed fly over at 10,000 feet.  It didn’t cover everything, but hopefully covered enough to keep your hungry and searching in God’s word for your sustenance.

Amen.