The Benefits of the Cross

June 24, 2017

The death of Jesus was an atoning sacrifice that paid the price for our sin (Mark 10:45; Rom. 3:24; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).  This means our sin, which offends God, is actually removed from us (i.e. expiated) and put on Christ (John 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:26), and He was judged in our place, the innocent for the guilty (Rom. 5:6-8; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18).  The death of Christ was a voluntary act of love, as Jesus gave His life for us (John 10:14-18).  As a result, the Father is forever satisfied (i.e. propitiated) because Jesus paid for our sin (Rom. 3:24-26; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2), and the Christian will never be condemned (Rom. 8:1).  The blood of Christ is the coin of the heavenly realm that pays our sin-debt and forever satisfies God’s righteous demands for sin.  In addition, the death of Christ removes God’s wrath (Rom. 5:9), reconciles us to the Father (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-19), produces lasting peace (Rom. 5:1; Col. 1:20), forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:13-14), eternal life (John 10:28), the gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:17; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9), a life of purpose in serving Him (Col. 3:23-24), and a future in heaven (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). 

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John 19:17-30

June 24, 2017

The Central Idea of the John 19:17-30 is that Jesus is crucified and died.  After being condemned by Pilate, Jesus was made to carry His own cross (John 19:17).  Jesus was crucified with two other men (John 19:18) who were identified by the other Gospel writers as criminals (Matt. 27:38; Luke 23:32-33).  Pilate wrote an inscription that was placed atop the cross that read “The King of the Jews.”  The Jewish leadership protested and asked it be changed, but Pilate refused (John 19:19-22).  The Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus then divided His garments and unwittingly fulfilled prophecy (John 19:23-24).  John mentioned four women at the cross (John 19:25), and the unnamed woman was perhaps Salome, John’s mother.  “John was Jesus’ cousin on his mother’s side. As such, he was a logical person to assume responsibility for Mary’s welfare.”[1]  Jesus then requested John care for Mary, which he did (John 19:26-27).  Jesus, knowing His atoning work was finished, stated He was thirsty and was given wine (John 19:28-29).  Jesus then declared “It is finished” and gave up His spirit and died (John 19:30).  The Greek word τετέλεσται tetelestai was common in Jesus’ day.  “Papyri receipts for taxes have been recovered with the word tetelestai written across them, meaning ‘paid in full.’”[2]  The idea is that Jesus’ death paid the price for our sins. 

 

[1] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository NotGes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), John 19:25.

[2] Edwin A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 340.

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Dealing with Injustice

June 17, 2017

God the Father was in complete control of the circumstances surrounding the trials and crucifixion of Jesus (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28).  Though unjustly attacked, Jesus knew He was doing the Father’s will (John 6:38; 10:14-18; 12:27; 18:11) and did not retaliate against His attackers (1 Pet. 2:21-23).  Unlike Jesus, Christians are capable of sin (Eccl. 7:20; 1 Pet. 4:15), and we should accept our punishment when we do wrong (Acts 25:11).  But like Jesus, there are times when we will experience unjust persecution (1 Pet. 3:14-17; 4:12-19).  We must start with the realization that there are times when God sovereignly permits His people to suffer or die (see Acts 5:40-41; 7:54-60), and other times allows them to escape (Acts 9:23-25).  If possible, the believer can avoid unjust suffering such as when Jesus walked away from His attackers (John 8:59; 10:31, 39), or when Paul avoided stoning (Acts 14:5-6) or an unjust trial (Acts 25:1-12).  However, when there is no escape, the Christian must bear up under such hardships with an attitude of faith, trusting the Lord sees what’s happening and will act as He determines best.  Stephen is a good example of a believer who trusted God when being violently attacked (Acts 7:58-60).  Certainly God will avenge the innocent (2 Thess. 1:6-7); however, there may be times when He surprises us by showing grace and mercy to those don’t deserve it, such as the grace shown to Paul when he was persecuting the church (Acts 9:1-6; Gal. 1:15-16).  By faith, the Christian who suffers unjustly is not to retaliate (Rom. 12:17-19; 1 Pet. 2:21-23), but is called to love and pray for his enemies (Luke 6:27-29), and to bless them (Rom. 12:14; 1 Pet. 3:8-9), if perhaps God may grant them saving grace (2 Tim. 2:24-26). 

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John 19:1-16

June 17, 2017

Pilate had Jesus scourged, perhaps to evoke an emotional appeal from the unbelieving Jews who wanted Him killed (John 19:1-5).  However, they were not moved to pity, but erupted in further hostility, demanding Jesus be crucified because He made Himself out to be God (John 19:6-7).  An emotional appeal is never enough to turn the sinful heart to Christ.  It is faith in Jesus (and not feelings) that leads one to salvation and a life of service to the Lord.  Pilate became afraid at what he heard and took Jesus into the Praetorium for further questioning, but Jesus gave no answer (John 19:8-9).  Pilate then sought to challenge Jesus, saying he had the authority to release or crucify Him (John 19:10), to which Jesus answered that he would have no authority except it had been given to Him by God (John 19:11).  Pilate sought to release Jesus, but was threatened by the Jews who said they’d report him to Caesar as a traitor to Rome (John 19:12).  Pilate yielded to their unjust demands and handed Jesus over to be crucified (John 19:13-16).

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Jesus: The King and His Kingdom

June 10, 2017

God is sovereign over the affairs of mankind and He rules over His creation (Ps. 103:19; 135:6; Dan. 2:21; 4:34-35).  God promised David that he would have a son who would rule over an earthly kingdom forever (2 Sam. 7:12-13, 16; Ps. 89:3-4, 35-37), and that son would rule in righteousness (Jer. 23:5-6; 33:14-15).  God revealed that Jesus is the son of David who will rule (Luke 1:30-33).  Jesus offered the kingdom to Israel (Matt. 4:17; 10:1-7), but the majority rejected both Jesus and His offer, so Jesus began to denounce them because of their rejection (Matt. 11:20), and eventually pronounced judgment upon the nation (Matt. 23:37-39).  Though the kingdom was rejected, the Davidic promise still stands, and Jesus will bring in the kingdom at His second coming (Matt. 19:28; 25:31; Rev. 19:11-21; 20:4).  The millennial kingdom will become an eternal kingdom (1 Cor. 15:24-25; 2 Pet. 3:13).

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John 18:28-40

June 10, 2017

The Jewish leadership brought Jesus before Pilate and declared Him an “evildoer” who deserved to be put to death (John 18:28-32).  The hostile Jewish leadership felt compelled to bring Jesus to Pilate because the Romans did not permit them to kill anyone through their own system of jurisprudence.  The Jewish leadership sought religious purity by not going into the Gentile courtyard, yet their actions to lie against Jesus and to seek His death reveal defiled hearts given over to sin.  Had the Jews killed Jesus by stoning, it would have resulted in broken bones, which would have contradicted biblical passages that said none of His bones would be broken (Ps. 34:20; cf. 22:16-18; John 19:36-37).  Thus, in their sin, the Jewish leadership accomplished the will of God by turning Jesus over to the Romans that He would die by crucifixion rather than stoning (Acts 2:22-23; 4:27-28).  It is generally true that hasty trials are born out of lax morals.  Pilate would not kill Jesus on the grounds of Jewish laws pertaining to blasphemy (see Mark 14:55-64; cf. John 19:7); so the Jewish leadership manufactured new charges against Jesus that would have upset Rome (Luke 23:1-2).  Pilate then asked if Jesus was a King as the Jewish leadership said (John 18:33).  Jesus confirmed that He is a King, but His kingdom did not originate from this world and everyone who accepts divine truth accepts Him (John 18:34-37).  Pilate did not perceive Jesus as a threat to Rome and declared Him innocent (John 18:38; cf. 19:4; Luke 23:14-15).  Pilate should have released Jesus right away; however, he sacrificed justice by keeping Jesus under arrest and offering to release a known criminal, Barabbas, in His place.  The Jewish leadership rejected Pilate’s offer and kept demanding Jesus be crucified, while Jesus kept quiet (Matt. 27:12-14; 1 Pet. 2:21-23).

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Our motivation for obedience to God

June 4, 2017

Jesus loved the Father (John 14:31) and submitted Himself to do the Father’s will (Matt. 26:39-44; cf. Rom. 5:19; Phil. 2:5-8), which included enduring the illegal trials of His accusers, as well as the eventual beatings and crucifixion.  It was prophesied in Scripture that Jesus would suffer and die (Gen. 3:15; Ps. 22:16-18; Isa. 50:4-7; 52:14; 53:3-12; Matt. 26:67; Mark 10:32-34).  As Christians, we are called to a life of obedience to God; which means learning and living His Word (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:2). Obedience marks the life of the one who claims to know and love God (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3-5).  Obedience to God also means embracing unjust suffering, just as Christ did (1 Pet. 1:19-24; 3:14-17; 4:19).

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John 18:1-27

June 4, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus is betrayed by Judas and brought before Jewish authorities for trial.  Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane knowing Judas would come there with Jewish and Roman soldiers to arrest Him and take Him to the Jewish officials to be tried (John 18:1-16). Annas—the high priest—questioned Jesus about His disciples as well as His teaching (John 18:19), perhaps to learn how many disciples He had and if there were any secret teachings he did not know about. Jesus declared He’d spoken openly and requested His captors question those who’d heard His messages (John 18:20-21). A Jewish officer struck Jesus because of the way He answered the high priest (John 18:22), and Jesus challenged his right to strike Him (John 18:23). Jesus was then sent to Caiaphas for further questioning (John 18:24). It was during the trial that Peter denied the Lord three times (John 18:17-18; 25-27). John did not reveal Peter’s curses (Matt. 26:74), Jesus’ look (Luke 22:61), or Peter’s bitter weeping (Matt. 26:75). 

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The Doctrine of Sanctification

May 20, 2017

To be sanctified (Heb. קָדָשׁ qadash Grk. ἁγιάζω hagiazo) means to be set apart.  God’s essential nature is holy; therefore, He is set apart as righteous (Lev. 11:44-45).  In God’s creation, sanctification has the idea of being set apart for special purpose.  In the OT, sanctification included certain days (Gen. 2:3; cf. Ex. 20:8), people and animals (Ex. 13:2), the nation of Israel (Ex. 19:6), and everything associated with worship, including the altar, its utensils, the laver for washing, and those who executed the priestly ceremonies (Ex. 40:10-13).  In the NT, we are said to be positionally sanctified in union with Christ (1 Cor. 1:2; Heb. 10:10, 14), experientially sanctified because of our obedience to God’s Word (John 17:17; 1 Pet. 1:14-16), and will be eternally sanctified when we leave this world and enter heaven (1 John 3:1-3; Rom. 8:29-30; Jude 24-25). 

 

Positional and eternal sanctification are accomplished entirely by God (monergism).  However, experiential sanctification is a collaboration (synergism) in which God directs and empowers us to be set apart from the world to do His will (John 17:17; 1 Pet. 1:14-16).  The means of experiential sanctification is by learning and living God’s Word (John 17:17; Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:1, 11-14; Col. 3:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18), and walking in dependence on the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18, Gal. 5:16, 25).  The place where sanctification occurs is in Satan’s world (John 17:14-16; cf. 15:19). 

 

Believers live in a world that is currently under Satan’s control.  Like Joseph in Egypt, or Daniel in Babylon, we serve as God’s ambassadors to a fallen world that is hostile toward us.  Some Christians seek to avoid worldly conflict by withdrawing from it, pursuing monasticism; whereas others avoid conflict by embracing the world and its values.  Biblically, we are to be in the world, in regular contact with unbelievers, graciously lovingly and living God’s will in opposition to the world’s values, and sharing Christ with those who will listen.  We cannot change the world, but we can avoid being forced into its mold by learning and living God’s Word, and sharing the Gospel message that others might be saved out of it.  God Himself will eventually destroy Satan and his world-system and will create a new universe.  Until then, “according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:13). 

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John 17:1-26

May 20, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus prays for: 1) the Father to be glorified through Jesus’ obedience and return to heaven (John 17:1-5), 2) the disciples’ walk with the Father, their protection from Satan and his world-system, and their sanctification in truth (John 17:6-19), and 3) for future believers’ unity, and that we will see Jesus’ glory in heaven (John 17:20-26).

Jesus knew His “hour” had come, and though suffering lay ahead, He was concerned about the Father’s glory and the wellbeing of the disciples.  Jesus spoke about eternal life, which is forever-life in relationship with God (John 10:28; 17:3).  In contrast, eternal-death is forever separation from God in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:14-15).  Jesus glorified the Father on earth by doing His will (John 17:4), and anticipates returning to His heavenly glory after His ascension (John 17:5).  While on earth, Jesus revealed the Father to the disciples, who were given to Jesus as a gift (John 17:6, 9).  The disciples accepted, understood and believed Jesus’ teaching that He was from the Father (John 17:7-8).  Jesus specifically prayed for the disciples and was glorified in them (John 17:9-10).  He asked the Father to keep them in His name, just as He had guided and guarded them (John 17:11-12).  He requested they may have joy in a hateful world controlled by Satan (John 17:13-16).  He prayed for their sanctification which is related to their divine mission (John 17:17-19), and the mission, unity, and future home of those who would believe in Jesus through their teaching (John 17:20-26).

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Summary of the Upper Room Discourse

May 6, 2017

Jesus knew He was about to be betrayed and face illegal trials, mockings, beatings, crucifixion, and the wrath of God for our sin.  He also knew His disciples would be shaken by these events and would scatter and hide in fear (John 16:32; cf. Matt. 26:56; John 20:19).  Because He loved them, Jesus prepared them for the trials ahead (John 13:1; 16:33).  He instilled knowledge that would result in fruitful lives after His resurrection when their faith was strengthened.  Jesus taught His disciples to model humility and forgiveness (John 13:1-17), to love as He loves (John 13:34; 15:11-17), to know they have a home in heaven prepared for them (John 14:1-6), to pray to the Father in His name (John 14:13-14; 16:23-26), to expect the coming of the Holy Spirit after His departure (John 14:26; 16:7-15), to abide in fellowship with Him that they may bear fruit (John 15:1-10, 16), to expect hatred and persecution from the world (John 15:18-27; 16:1-4), to anticipate grief and joy (John 16:16-22), to accept that Jesus will return to the Father (John 16:5, 10, 28; cf. 13:1-3), to realize they are loved by God the Father (John 16:27), that the disciples would fail Him as He went to the cross (John 16:32), and to know that Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension will finalize victory over Satan and his world-system (John 16:11, 33).  As a result of these truths, the disciples who lived by faith would have an unshakable peace and courage while living in a hateful and hostile world (John 16:33). 

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John 16:16-33

May 6, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus summarizes His discourse (begun in John chapter 13) by explaining His death, resurrection, ascension, and victory over Satan’s world-system. At first, the disciples were confused about what Jesus was saying (John 16:16-18), and He eased into an answer concerning His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, because He knew it was difficult for them to accept (John 16:19-22, 25). Major life changes can be challenging. He also explained the importance of prayer after His ascension back to heaven, as the disciples would need to look to the Father to accomplish His will (John 16:23-24). The Father loved them and was glad to answer their prayers because they had loved Jesus and believed in Him (John 16:26-27). Jesus finally clarified Himself concerning His leaving them to go back to the Father (John 16:28), and the disciples were confident they understood Him (John 16:29-30). However, Jesus’ answer concerning their abandoning Him (because of persecution) implies they did not fully grasp the magnitude of His words (John 16:31-32). Jesus closed His discourse with the proleptic statement that His disciples would know peace because He has overcome Satan’s world-system (John 16:33). 

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John 16:1-15

April 30, 2017

Jesus warned His disciples of future persecution so they would not stumble and fall away from the faith when it came (John 16:1-4).  Jesus also revealed that He was going to leave them and go back to the Father (John 16:5), and this caused them sorrow (John 16:6).  Jesus explained that it was to their advantage that He leave (John 16:7), for His departure would inaugurate the future ministry of the Holy Spirit, Who will convict the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11).  Jesus had other things to reveal to the disciples, but the coming Holy Spirit would be the One to communicate that knowledge (John 16:12-15).

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John 15:18 - Satan’s World System

April 22, 2017

Since the Fall of Adam, God has temporarily granted Satan permission to govern this world (Matt. 4:8-9; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 6:12; 1 John 5:19).  Satan, and those who follow him (both demons and people), are ultimately under God’s sovereign control, and even their evil plans and actions are used for His good purposes (Gen. 50:20; Ps. 76:10; Job 1:6-12; Acts 2:22-23; 4:27-28; Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 12:7-10).  Satan governs by means of a system he’s created, which Scripture calls the κόσμος kosmos.  The world, or world-system, consists of those philosophies, values and practices that influence humanity to think and behave contrary to God and His Word. 

  • "The kosmos is a vast order or system that Satan has promoted which conforms to his ideals, aims, and methods. It is civilization now functioning apart from God-a civilization in which none of its promoters really expect God to share; who assign to God no consideration in respect to their projects, nor do they ascribe any causality to Him. This system embraces its godless governments, conflicts, armaments, jealousies; its education, culture, religions of morality, and pride. It is that sphere in which man lives. It is what he sees, what he employs. To the uncounted multitude it is all they ever know so long as they live on this earth. It is properly styled “The Satanic System” which phrase is in many instances a justified interpretation of the so-meaningful word, kosmos."[1]

Satan’s world-system is not changeable and cannot be modified to conform to God’s will.  At the core of Satan’s world-system is a directive for mankind to function apart from God.  Worldly-minded persons embrace Satan’s system and love their own because they share the same values of selfishness that exclude God.  By promoting the gospel and biblical teaching, Christians disrupt Satan’s kingdom by calling out of it a people for God.  When a person comes to Christ for salvation, they are transferred from Satan’s kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s Son (Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13-14), and become ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).  The lifetime of worldly thinking that shaped our values and behaviors are not suddenly eradicated at the moment of salvation.  Rather, God calls us to be transformed in our thinking by renewing our minds and living by faith in His Word (Rom. 12:1-2).  Though Christians have the capacity, we are not to love the world (John 16:33; 17:14-16; 1 John 2:15).  The Christian who loves the world makes himself the enemy of God (Jam. 4:4).  Those who love God and His Word share a mutual love for each other.  By learning God’s Word, Christians can identify worldly conversations and either avoid them or disrupt them by interjecting biblical truth.  This should be done in love and grace (Eph. 4:15; Col. 4:6), not by argumentation (2 Tim. 2:24-26).  When we learn God’s Word, obey His commands, and show love to others, we are rebelling against Satan’s world-system and sowing the seeds of spiritual insurrection in the lives of those who live and walk in Satan’s kingdom.  

 

[1] Lewis S. Chafer, “Angelology Part 4” Bibliotheca Sacra 99 (1942): 282-283.

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John 15:18-27

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus warns His disciples they will be hated and persecuted because He has chosen them out of world (John 15:18-20).  There is no rational excuse for those who hate Jesus and reject Him as Savior.  Jesus’ words and works testified to His being the Messiah sent from God the Father (John 15:21-25).  The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus and the Father would send, would testify of Him (John 15:26), and believers who walk with Christ will bear witness as well (John 15:27).

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John 15:1-17

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus commands His disciples to abide in Him that they might bear fruit (John 15:1-10), and His primary command is that they love one another (John 15:12, 17). Jesus presented Himself metaphorically as the true vine and His Father as the vinedresser (John 15:1). The metaphor originally referred to Israel as a divinely planted vine that should have produced the fruit of obedience, righteousness and justice; but instead, it produced bloodshed and a cry of distress (Isa. 5:1-7). Jesus is the true vine in that He obeyed God and bore the fruit that Israel should have produced. Jesus spoke of no fruit, fruit, and more fruit (John 15:2), which implies stages of productivity in the life of an obedient believer. Jesus also explained that every branch that does not bear fruit is taken away (John 15:2). The Greek verb αἴρω airo—translated takes away—can mean either to take away (John 20:2) or to raise up (John 8:59). The former is a picture of judgment, whereas the latter a picture of encouragement. The former seems consistent with the language of the text (John 15:6). The metaphor of fire is a picture of judgment, which can occur in this life (1 Cor. 11:30; 1 John 5:16), as well as the next (1 Cor. 3:10-15), but it is not a judgment that results in the loss of salvation, which is guaranteed by Christ (John 6:37; 10:27-29). Jesus explained that those who abide in Him will produce fruit. To abide in Christ means the believer stays with Christ and obeys His word (John 15:10). Fruit is the outward evidence of inward spiritual health and is produced for the benefit of others. Fruit comes in the life of the believer who walks with Christ (John 15:4). Good fruit refers to one’s character (Gal. 5:22-23), good works (Col. 1:9-10), good words (Prov. 10:21; 11:30), and praise to God (Heb. 13:15). The fruit of an abiding believer is seen in a transformed life (John 15:2; cf. Gal. 5:22-23), answered prayer (John 15:7), an attitude of joy (John 15:11), and love for others (John 15:9, 12-13, 17). Jesus commands His disciples to love each other (John 15:12), and He identifies self-sacrifice as love’s greatest expression (John 15:13); something Jesus would model for them. Jesus loved His disciples by example (John 13:1-17), by teaching (John 13:18-17:26), by ensuring they were provided for after His departure (John 14:16-17), and by dying as their substitute (John 18-19). Our love for others is modeled on Jesus’ love for us. 

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John 14:23 - God’s Love to Us

April 22, 2017

God is love (1 John 4:8), and He demonstrated His love for us through His Son, Jesus, who humbled Himself to do the Father’s will (Mark 10:45; Phil. 2:5-8).  God loved us and gave His Son to die for us (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:10).  He loved us while we were helpless sinners who were in a state of hostility toward Him (Rom. 5:6-10).  He loved us while we were dead in our sins, under wrath, and living in disobedience (Eph. 2:1-3).  The benefits of God’s love for those who believe include: forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7), eternal life (John 10:28), the gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:17; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9), justification before God (Rom. 3:24-28; 8:33-34), peace with God (Rom. 5:1), spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3), union with the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18), the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Eph. 1:13), deliverance from the domain of darkness (Col. 1:13), citizenship in heaven (Philip. 3:20), a future resurrection body (1 Cor. 15:50-58), and a future home in heaven (John 14:1-3).  The more we understand and accept His love for us, the more our lives will respond in thankful-obedience to Him (John 14:15, 21, 23-24, 31; 1 John 2:3; 5:3), and will manifest love to others (1 John 4:11, 19-21), even our enemies (Matt. 5:44-45; Luke 6:27-28; 35). 

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John 14:15-31

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus reveals that those who love Him will obey Him, just as He loves and obeys the Father (John 14:15, 21, 23-24, 31). Jesus was leaving His disciples, but He was not leaving them defenseless.  He would request the Father to send the Holy Spirit in His place to help the disciples continue in His will (John 14:16-18).  The disciples would see Jesus after His resurrection, and this would prove Jesus’ words that He and the Father are closely united (John 14:19-20).  Jesus reiterated that those who love Him will keep His commandments (John 14:21).  Judas (not Iscariot) was confused that Jesus would not disclose Himself to the world (John 14:22), most likely because he understood Messiah would be a public figure (see Matt. 24:30).  It appears Jesus did not answer Judas’ question, but stayed on course concerning loving-obedience and the coming ministry role of the Holy Spirit (John 14:23-26).  Jesus provided relational peace with God (John 14:27; cf. Rom. 5:1), which gives mental peace (Phil. 4:7).  Jesus reiterated that He was going back to the Father (John 14:28a; cf. John 13:33; 14:1-3), but their lack of love kept them from rejoicing over this news (John 14:28b).  Jesus explained that His prophetic words—after they came to pass—would strengthen their faith (John 14:29).  Satan’s powerful forces were marshalled against Jesus to attack and crucify Him; however, Jesus declared that Satan had no legal claim on Him (John 14:30).  Lastly, the world would know Jesus loved the Father because of His obedience to Him (John 14:31).

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John 14:1 - Dealing with Adversity and Stress

April 22, 2017

The events leading up to the cross—and Jesus’ words about leaving them—had shaken the disciples and Jesus knew it.  Their souls had become troubled and Jesus sought to stabilize them by strengthening their faith.  The word troubled translates the Greek verb ταράσσω tarasso, which means “to cause inward turmoil, stir up, disturb, unsettle, throw into confusion.[1]  The passive form of the verb means they had received troubling circumstances into their souls.  The pressures of life are inevitable and none of us are completely impervious to them.  Even Jesus—in His humanity—was troubled when facing the cross (John 12:27; 13:21); however, He was sustained by keeping focus on the Father’s will (John 4:34; 5:30; John 6:38; cf. Matt. 26:39), and there was joy in the midst of the trial (Heb. 12:2).  Each believer is responsible for what he/she allows to enter their heart (Prov. 4:23).  Adversity is unavoidable, but how we handle it is optional.  The believer cannot always control negative circumstances, but neither does he/she have to be controlled by them.  God’s Word—applied by faith—provides a shield for the soul that can stabilize the believer in times of adversity (Eph. 6:16; 1 Pet. 5:8-9; 1 John 5:4). Mental and emotional stability is obtained when the believer looks to God (Prov. 3:5-6; Isa. 26:3-4; Jer. 17:7-8), learns His Word (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18), walks in dependence on the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:16, 25), lives by faith (Heb. 10:38; 11:1, 6), becomes thankful for adversity (Rom. 5:3-5; Eph. 5:20; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Jam. 1:2-4), develops a discipline of prayer (Col. 4:2; Phil. 4:6-7; 1 Thess. 5:17), and learns to focus on God in everything (2 Cor. 10:5; Phil. 4:8; Col. 3:1-2).

 

[1] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 990.

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John 14:1-14

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus comforts His disciples by telling them He’s going to prepare a place for them in Heaven, that He is the Way to get there, and that they should believe in Him and pray in His name. Jesus had been rejected by the leaders of Israel (John 11:57), and He’d told the disciples He was going to die (John 12:32-33; cf. Matt. 17:22-23; 20:17-19), that one of them would betray Him (John 13:21), that He was leaving them (John 13:33), and that Peter would deny Him three times (John 13:38).  All of this troubled the disciples.  Though Jesus is facing the cross, He seeks to comfort His troubled disciples by having them look to Him in faith.  Jesus also points them to the future in heaven, where He is going to prepare a place for them and will return to take them there (John 14:1-4).  Thomas asks about the way, and Jesus declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).  The early church was called the Way because of its identification with Jesus (see Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22).  Philip asks to see the Father—a theophany—and Jesus explains that if one has known Him, he also knows the Father.  This is because Jesus and the Father are closely identified, and the works of the Father can be seen in Jesus (John 14:7-11).  Jesus then points out that because He is going to the Father, that His disciples will perform greater works than He’d performed, and that whatever they asked in His name, that He would do for them (John 14:12-14).  To pray in Jesus’ name means to pray according to His will (see 1 John 5:14-15).

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John 13:34 - To Love Like Christ

April 22, 2017

Love is an act of the will that obeys God and seeks His best in others.  God commanded the Israelites to “love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5) and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18).  Jesus provided a new commandment to love as He loves (John 13:34-35; 15:12).  Jesus’ love modeled obedience to the Father (John 14:31), commitment to His disciples (John 13:1), and humility and sacrifice for the undeserving (John 13:1-17; 1 John 3:16).  Christian love is modeled on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ (Matt. 5:44-47; Luke 6:32-35; John 13:34; 14:15; 15:12; 1 Cor. 13:4-8a; Eph. 5:1-2; 1 John 3:23; 4:10-11).

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John 13:18-38

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus focuses on glorifying the Father and teaching the disciples to love one another. While eating with His disciples, Jesus identified Judas as the one who would betray Him; a betrayal that ultimately served God’s purpose for Jesus to go to the cross and die a substitutionary death.  Judas was the consummate hypocrite, for none of his friends suspected him of evil intent.  For years, Judas accepted Jesus’ gracious provision for him, but not His love. The Giver of grace found no place in the heart of Judas.  Jesus called Judas to walk with Him, knowing he would betray Him (John 6:70-71), and He protected his identity throughout His years of ministry, permitting the disciples to have false assumptions about him, right up the end (John 13:21-22).  If the disciples had known Judas’ true identity, it’s possible they would have turned against Judas, much like Peter turned against Malchus (John 18:10).  After receiving the morsel of bread, Satan entered Judas and both set their wills against Jesus; however, Jesus was in control of the situation, using both to bring about the cross.  After revealing Judas’ identity to John, Jesus sent Judas out to betray Him (John 13:27).  Jesus sought the Father’s glory by doing His will (John 13:31-32; cf. John 17:4), and teaching the disciples to love one another as He had loved them (John 13:31-35).  Peter seemingly ignored Jesus’ words about love and expressed a concern about His going away.  Jesus graciously comforted Peter by stating that he would be separated only for a short time and would be joined to Him later (John 13:36).  Peter then claimed he would die for the Lord, but Jesus explained that Peter would actually deny Him three times (John 13:37-38).

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John 13:17 - The Glory of Humility

April 22, 2017

In relation to God, Christian humility is not a sense of worthlessness, but unworthiness of the Lord’s love and blessings (Eph. 2:8-9).  In relation to others, humility is not thinking less of self, but more of others (Philip. 2:3-4).  True Christian humility is voluntary—or self-imposed—as the believer surrenders his personal desires in loving service to others for their spiritual and material benefit.  Humility has the notion of child-like dependence, as Jesus taught His disciples (Matt. 18:3-4).  The greatest display of humility is found in God the Son who left His glory in heaven (Phi. 2:5-8; cf. John 17:5), became a man (John 1:1, 14; Heb. 10:5), became the servant of others (Mark 10:45; John 13:1-17), and ultimately “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phi. 2:8).  The glory of humility is seen at the cross (John 12:23, 32-33), where Jesus gave His life as an atoning substitutionary sacrifice for others (Rom. 5:6-10; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:18).

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John 13:1-17

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus provided an object lesson for the disciples that demonstrated forgiveness and humble service to others.  Jesus was under great pressure, knowing He was about to suffer crucifixion (Matt. 26:37-38); yet, He kept focus and demonstrated love and humility toward the disciples.  Jesus willingly laid aside His garments and put on the garments of a slave in order to teach humility.  No one forced Jesus into service, but rather, He humbled Himself and became the servant of others (Mark 10:45; Philip. 2:3-8).  Laying aside His garments and taking the towel of a humble servant was analogous to God the Son coming into the world and taking upon Himself humanity.  The Christian learns humility by looking to Christ.  Jesus’ object lesson is a picture of forgiveness and humble service to the undeserving.  Jesus stated to His disciples, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).  Here, the Lord instructed His disciples to forgive and humbly serve each other (cf. Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-13; 1 Pet. 5:5).

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John 12:42 - When Believer’s Hide

April 22, 2017

Because of persecution, there have been times, and are times, when God’s people hide (κρύπτω kruptoto hide) themselves, or are hidden by others.  There appear to be both just and sinful reasons for hiding.  By faith, Moses’ parents hid him from Pharaoh (Heb. 11:23).  Obadiah hid one hundred prophets of the Lord and provided food and water for them (1 Kings 18:1-4).  These were true prophets, for a false prophet would not have been afraid of the public hostility of Ahab and Jezebel.  It is recorded that Jesus “hid Himself” (κρύπτω krupto) from an attack by the Jewish leadership (John 8:59).  Certainly there was no sin in Jesus’ action.  In contrast, it appears Elijah, in a state of irrational fear, ran for his life and hid in a cave (1 Kings 19:1-10).  He thought he was the last prophet in Israel and was unaware of 7000 faithful Israelites who had not bowed the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18).  It would seem these 7000 believers were concealing their faith for fear of persecution; otherwise, Elijah would have known about them and not thought he was the last of God’s prophets (1 Ki. 19:10).  Some of the Jewish leadership in Jesus’ day had “believed in Him” (John 12:42a); however, “because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue” (Joh 12:42b).  These believers chose to hide their faith for sinful reasons, because “they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God” (John 12:42-43).  One could argue that Peter was hiding from persecution when he denied the Lord three times (Matt. 26:33-35, 69-75).  Scripture reveals Joseph of Arimathea was “a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one (κρύπτω krupto) for fear of the Jews” (John 19:38).  However, after the crucifixion, he exposed his faith for all to see, and apparently did not fear oppression.  Spiritual maturity and strong faith leads the believer to overcome fear and to live confidently in God’s will, seeking God’s glory over personal protection.

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John 12:37-50

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus’ signs and teaching hardened those who were negative (John 12:37-41, 47-48) and softened those who were positive (John 12:42-46). Jesus had performed many signs as a witness that He is Messiah; however, no amount of evidence would suffice for those who were negative to Him and His message (John 12:37).  Isaiah too had experienced negative volition concerning the message God gave him for Israel (Isa. 6:8-13; 53:1; John 12:38-41).  Though most did not believe in Jesus as Messiah, there were some who did, even among the rulers, though they loved the approval of men more than God (John 12:42-43).  Jesus’ final public words revealed that to believe in Him was the same as believing in the Father who sent Him (John 12:44-45).  Jesus came as the Light into a world of darkness and those who believe in Him are transferred to His kingdom (John 12:46; cf. Col. 1:13-14).  Those who reject Jesus’ words will, eventually, be judged by those words (John 12:47-50). 

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John 12:21 - The Doctrine of Providence

April 22, 2017
  • "Providence is normally defined in Christian theology as the unceasing activity of the Creator whereby, in overflowing bounty and goodwill (Ps. 145:9 cf. Mt. 5:45–48), he upholds his creatures in ordered existence (Acts 17:28; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3), guides and governs all events, circumstances and free acts of angels and men (cf. Ps. 107; Jb. 1:12; 2:6; Gn. 45:5–8), and directs everything to its appointed goal, for his own glory (cf. Eph. 1:9–12)."[1]

God’s providence refers to His wise and personal acts, whereby He creates and controls circumstances in order to direct history according to His predetermined plan, all for His glory and the benefit of His elect.  People live in the flow of history, and are moved by the circumstances God controls.  The Lord “does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Dan 4:35).  God is good and “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11; cf. Ps. 103:19; 135:6; Dan. 4:35), and “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28).  By His sovereign will God created all things in heaven and earth, and sustains and directs them as He desires.  God “is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17).  The Lord knows all things at all times.  He knows when a sparrow falls to the ground (Matt. 10:29), and the ever-changing number of hairs on our head (Matt. 10:30).  He knows our thoughts before we think them (Ps. 139:2), and our words before we speak them (Ps. 139:4).  He knows our wickedness (Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21-22), and chooses to love us by grace, in spite of our sinfulness (Matt. 5:45; Rom. 5:6-10; Eph. 2:1-9).  Some He elects to purpose, even from the womb (Jer. 1:5; Gal. 1:15).  Because God is righteous, all His actions are just.  Because He is loving and good, He directs all things for the benefit of His elect.  The wicked are also under God’s sovereign control, and He uses them for His own ends (Prov. 16:4).  God’s sovereignty, expressed through His providential control, produces confidence in those who know He is directing all things after the counsel of His will.  The growing believer knows “it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).  Where the Bible is silent, the believer seeks to discern God’s will through His providential direction as He guides people circumstantially.  The growing believer takes great delight in knowing God is in control of His creation and is directing all things according to His providential plan.

 

 

[1] J. I. Packer, “Providence” in New Bible Dictionary, ed. D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard and D. J. Wiseman, 3rd ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 979.

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John 12:20-36

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus recognized His hour had come for him to glorify the Father by going to the cross.  Jesus was rejected by the Jewish leadership (John 5:18; 10:33; 19:7), and would soon be rejected by the majority in Israel (John 12:34, 37).  However, there were many Jews who did believe in Jesus (John 12:10-11, 42), and it appears Gentiles were drawn to Him as well (John 12:20).  Philip and Andrew came to Jesus and told Him the Gentiles wished to see Him (John 12:21-22), and this led Jesus to speak about His death which would glorify His Father (John 12:23).  It appears Jesus’ death hinted at the provision of salvation for Gentiles who would form part of the body of Christ, the church (see John 10:16; Eph. 2:11-19).  Jesus spoke paradoxically about dying to live, and sacrificing to benefit (John 12:24-26).  The sacrificial death and humiliation of the cross would result in God’s glory and salvation to others.  People who love God first and value the things He values will, by comparison, hate the values of this world.  Though the cross was difficult to face, Jesus knew He was in God’s will, and sought the Father’s glory (John 12:27; 28a).   The Father publicly affirmed Jesus’ course (John 12:28b), though others did not understand the Father’s revelation (John 12:29; cf. Rom. 1:18-21).  Divine revelation does not always lead to illumination, as God must open the heart to understand it (Luke 24:44-45; Acts 16:14).  God’s revelation was for the benefit of those who heard it, because it affirmed the Father’s will concerning the cross.  Jesus then explained that judgment was upon the world (John 12:31), and this refers to Satan and his world-system which is hostile to God.  Satan defeated himself when he tried to defeat Jesus.  Jesus then explained that He was going to die by crucifixion (John 12:32-33); however, those who heard Him were perplexed, because dying on a cross did not fit their preconceived ideas about the Messiah, whom they believed would live forever (John 12:34).  Jesus then pressed upon His followers to walk in the light of His presence while they had it (John 12:35), explaining that those who believe in Him will become children of light (John 12:36; cf. John 8:12; Eph. 5:8-10).  God’s unseen providential hand was controlling the circumstances in the life of Christ to bring Him to the cross for His glory and the benefit of others.  It was God’s providence that put the Lord Jesus on the cross to be crucified by the hands of godless men (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28).  Jesus died a substitutionary death, even for those who crucified Him (Rom. 3:25; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).

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John 12:1 - Divine Perspective

April 22, 2017

God is sovereign (Ps. 115:3; 135:6; Isa. 46:9-10; Dan. 4:35), controlling kings and nations to do His will (Prov. 21:1; Dan. 2:21).  Though God never creates evil, He can does control those who do (John 6:70-71; 19:10-11; Acts 2:22-23; 4:27-28).  In sovereignty, the Father has elected some to salvation (John 6: 64-65; Acts 13:48; Eph. 1:4-5), illuminating them to the Gospel (Acts 16:14; cf. Luke 24:45-46), and providing forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7), righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21), and eternal life (John 10:28).

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John 12:1-19

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus welcomed Mary’s adoration for Him, as well as the praise of those who welcomed Him as the King of Israel. Jesus enjoyed a meal with friends at Bethany several days before He went to Jerusalem for the Passover (John 12:1-2).  It was during supper that Mary expressed adoration for Jesus by pouring a costly perfume over His feet and wiping them with her hair (John 12:3).  Mary was at Jesus’ feet three times: first, learning His word (Luke 10:38-42); second, seeking comfort when her brother died (John 11:31-32); and third, showing adoration by anointing His head and feet before His burial (John 12:1-8; cf. Matt. 26:6-7).  Judas and Jesus both saw Mary’s actions and had totally different responses.  Judas became angry (along with the other disciples; see Matt. 26:6-9), perceiving Mary’s actions as wasteful, and being a thief, he felt deprived of stolen profits he might have obtained, had the perfume been sold (John 12:6).  Jesus welcomed Mary’s action, seeing it as an expression of adoration for Him, her Messiah and Savior.  The pleasant aroma of Mary’s selfless adoration could not overcome the stench of selfishness in Judas’ heart.

  • "When she came to the feet of Jesus, Mary took the place of a slave. When she undid her hair (something Jewish women did not do in public), she humbled herself and laid her glory at His feet (see 1 Cor. 11:15). Of course, she was misunderstood and criticized; but that is what usually happens when somebody gives his or her best to the Lord."[1]

Jesus entered Jerusalem according to prophetic promise (Zech. 9:9).  Many in Jerusalem welcomed Jesus as the King of Israel (John 12:12-15), though not as Savior.  The disciples did not perceive the prophetic significance of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, but they understood later, after His resurrection (John 12:16).  Some who had witnessed the resuscitation of Lazarus were testifying of Jesus and many came to believe in Him (John 12:17-18; cf. vss. 9-11).  The Pharisees perceived the crowds’ response to Jesus as contrary to their selfish authority (John 12:19). 

 

[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1, 339.

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John 11:43 - The Doctrine of Resurrection

April 22, 2017

The Bible reveals both resuscitation and resurrection.  Resuscitation means a person who has died is brought back to life but will die again (see Matt. 27:50-53; Luke 7:15; 8:53-55; John 11:43-44; 12:9-11).  Resurrection means a person will be brought back to life with a new body and will never again experience death.  Jesus was the first Person to be resurrected (John 20:1-18; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Rev. 1:5).  In the future, Jesus will resurrect Christians at the time of the Rapture (1 Cor. 15:51-53; 1 Thess. 4:14-17), OT saints (Job 19:25-27; Ezek. 37:21-25; Dan. 12:1-2; Matt. 19:28), saints who were martyred during the Tribulation (Rev. 20:4), and finally all unbelievers at the end of the Millennium (Rev. 20:5). 

What happens between death and resurrection?  Some teach that when a person dies, the soul enters into a state of unconscious sleep, unaware of anything, until the time of future resurrection.  However, the Bible teaches that the soul separates from the body at death (Eccl. 12:7), and continues in a state of consciousness.  Examples include Lazarus and the Rich man (Luke 16:19-31), and Moses and Elijah who appeared alive at Jesus’ transfiguration (Mark 9:1-4).  Further, when talking to the thief on the cross, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).  Since the thief was going to die physically, Jesus must have been referring to his soul, which has consciousness after physical death.  This reality is promoted by Paul, who preferred to be absent from his body in order to be present with Christ (2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23).

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John 11:37-50

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (7th sign) with the result that many believed in Jesus as Messiah, but the Jewish leadership rejected Him and decided to kill Him. Jesus knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead; yet, his death, and the pain it caused Mary and Martha, troubled Jesus (John 11:30-38).  Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead for God’s glory (John 11:38-40), so that others might believe in Him as Messiah (John 11:41-45).  However, some who witnessed the miracle rejected Jesus and went to inform the Pharisees, who felt compelled to kill Jesus for political reasons, because they viewed Israel as their nation rather than God’s (John 11:46-57).  Though hostile to God, Caiaphas unwittingly prophesied as an act of divine sovereignty, as God spoke through a sinful man to a sinful audience (John 11:49-51).  The reality was that God was in complete control. 

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John 11:29 - Women in the Life and Ministry of Jesus

April 22, 2017

The Gospels give prominence to certain women in Jesus’ life and ministry.  There are unnamed women that Jesus healed: Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:30-31), a widow who had lost her son (Luke 7:11-15), a woman who had been crippled for eighteen years (Luke 13:10-17), and a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years (Mark 5:22-29).  There are unnamed women who were impressed with Jesus: the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42), a woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears (Luke 7:36-50), those who traveled with Jesus and funded His ministry (some are named and others not; Matt. 27:55-56; Luke 8:1-3), and those who followed Him after His arrest (Luke 23:27).  Those specifically named include: Mary, Jesus’ mother (John 2:1-11; 19:25-27), Joanna and Susanna (Luke 8:3), Mary and Martha of Bethany (Luke 10:38-39; John 11:1-44; 12:1-8), and Mary Magdalene who was the first to see the risen Lord and report His resurrection to others (John 20:1-17).  

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John 11:1-29

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus sought the glory of God (John 11:4), which would be accomplished through raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:11), and increasing the disciple’s faith (John 11:14-15).  Jesus learned from Martha and Mary that their brother Lazarus was sick (John 11:1-3).  Lazarus’ sickness and death was included in God’s plan and would result in His glory (John 11:4).  Jesus delayed several days before going to Bethany (John 11:5-7), but His delay was not a request denied.  Jesus’ disciples were concerned about His going near Jerusalem; however, Jesus was not concerned, because He was walking in God’s will (John 11:8-10).  Jesus revealed that Lazarus had died, and though this is sad news, He knew Lazarus’ resuscitation would strengthen their faith (John 11:11-16).  Jesus arrived in Bethany four days after Lazarus had died (John 11:17), and found many had been comforting Martha and Mary (John 11:18-19).  Martha came to Jesus (John 11:20), and He comforted her with reassuring words that pointed to Himself as the Resurrection and Life (John 11:21-26), and she expressed faith in Jesus that He is the Messiah (John 11:27).  Finally, Martha went to Mary and said, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you” (John 11:28).  The Savior of the world had come to Bethany and called Mary by name, and “she got up quickly and was coming to Him” (John 11:29). 

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John 10:28 - Eternal Security and the Life of Faith

April 22, 2017

When one believes in Jesus as Savior, he/she is born again and given eternal life (John 3:16-18; 10:28).  Eternal life is a gift, given by the Lord Jesus Christ, to those who trust Him as Savior (Rom. 4:1-5; 5:6-10; Eph. 2:8-9).  Eternal life means we are eternally secure in our salvation, since it rests entirely in God’s ability to save and keep us saved.  “Eternal security is the work of God that guarantees that the gift of salvation, once received, is forever and cannot be lost. The concept of eternal security emphasizes God’s activity in guaranteeing the eternal possession of the gift of eternal life.”[1]  Believers may sin (1 John 2:1), and though they may suffer severe punishment (Heb. 12:5-13), even to the point of death (1 John 5:16-17), their salvation is never in jeopardy (John 10:28; Rom. 8:1; 38-39).  Those who are given eternal life are called to a life of righteousness (Tit. 2:11-14), in conformity to God’s word (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:16-17), and in the power of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16; Eph. 5:18-21).

 

[1] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 379.

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John 10:22-42

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus’ works reveal Him as the Christ, and He gives eternal life those who believe in Him (John 10:28). Jesus words and life affirmed His divinity, but many rejected His claims, taking offense when He made Himself equal with God the Father (see John 5:18; 8:59).  Jesus pointed to His miracles as proof of His Messiahship (John 10:32, 37-38).  When the Jews took exception with Jesus’ claim to deity, He challenged them with Scripture.  Psalm 82:6 was an address to Israel’s judges, who served as surrogate voices for God to His people, and were thus called “gods”.  “They were called ‘gods’ not because they were actually divine, but because they represented God when they judged the people. The Hebrew word for ‘gods’ (elohim) is literally ‘mighty ones’ and may be applied to important figures such as judges.”[1]  The argument is from the lesser to the greater.  If the OT referred to human judges as gods, then it stands with greater reason that Jesus could refer to Himself as God and not be in conflict with Scripture, especially since His ministry was in harmony with the Father’s plan.  The unbelieving Jews rejected Jesus’ claim and sought to arrest Him for blasphemy; but Jesus eluded them again, for it was not yet His time to be taken.  Jesus then went away, beyond the Jordan, to the place where He began His ministry (see John 1:28-29), and there encountered many who believed in Him (John 10:40-42).  John the Baptist—who performed no miracles—was used greatly by the Lord because he pointed others to Christ for salvation.

 

[1] William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 1528.

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John 10:11 - Pastors and Teachers

April 22, 2017

In the Old Testament, God is referred to as the Shepherd who leads, feeds, and protects His people (Isa. 40:11; Ps. 23:1-6; 80:1; 100:1-3; Ezek. 34:10-16).  Under the Mosaic Law, God appointed human leaders who shared His values and modeled His behavior, to lead His people (2 Sam. 5:1-3; cf. 1 Sam. 17:34-37; Jer. 3:15).  However, throughout Israel’s history there have been many false shepherds who devoured God’s people and gave nothing in return (Isa. 56:9-12; Jer. 23:1-4; Ezek. 34:1-10).  In the midst of such poor leadership, God promised He would raise David to shepherd Israel in the future (Ezek. 34:23-25; 37:24-28).  In the New Testament, Jesus is called the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14), the Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20), and the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4), who provides (John 10:7-9, 11, 14, 16-17) and instructs His people (Mark 6:34).  In the Church age, God has appointed under-shepherds (i.e. pastors) to lead, feed and protect His people (John 21:15-17; Acts 20:28-32; Eph. 4:11-14, 1 Pet. 5:1-2).  Pastors are appointed by God (Acts 20:28; cf. Eph. 4:11).  They are referred to as eldersbishops, and overseers (Acts 20:17, 28; Tit. 1:5-7; 1 Pet. 5:1-5), who work within the church, and with the church, serving as examples, and not “lording” their authority over others (1 Pet. 5:3).  Pastors are servants, doing God’s will and serving others in truth.

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John 10:1-21

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus reveals Himself as the Door of the sheep and the Good Shepherd who calls and leads His elect into a relationship with Him.  Previously, Jesus sought the man who had been healed of blindness and brought him into His fold (John 9:35-38).  The elect turn to Jesus and follow Him because they know His voice and respond positively.  Jesus is both the Door as well as the Good Shepherd who calls His sheep by name and leads them into a relationship with Him.  “The scene pictures Jesus’ calling every individual whom the Father had given Him to follow Him out from the other non-elect Jews.”[1]  Jesus reveals that there are false shepherds who selfishly seek to lead others astray (John 10:1, 8, 10), causing only harm, and fleeing when danger appears (John 10:12-13).  In contrast, Jesus lays down His life for the sheep that they might have life in Him (John 10:14-18).  Previously, Jesus presented Himself as the Bread of life (John 6:35), the Light of the world (John 8:12), the I AM of Abraham and Moses (John 8:58), and here presents Himself as the Door of the sheep (John 10:7), and the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14).  Later, He will present Himself as the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25), the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6), and the True Vine (John 15:1, 5).

 

[1] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Jn 10:3.

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John 9:1-41

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus reveals Himself as Messiah by healing a blind man (John 9:1-7; cf. Isa. 29:18; 35:5). Jesus healed a man who had been blind from birth, and this stirred the Pharisees to provide an answer to those who witnessed the miracle.  The Pharisees asked four times how the man came to be healed (John 9:10, 15, 19, 26), but their questions did not originate from an honest inquiry, for they were deeply biased.  The man healed of his blindness was not intimidated by the Pharisees, and demonstrated consistent biblical rationales in his discussion.  Jesus allowed the man to have his confrontation with the Pharisees and came to him after he had been excommunicated from the synagogue.  The man lost the support of the synagogue, but gained Christ.  Religious pride kept the Jewish leaders from seeing/accepting the miracles Jesus performed as signs that He is the Messiah. God controls infirmities as well as healing (see Ex. 4:11; Ps. 146:8).  There are cases in Scripture where God did not heal people and used sickness or hardship to his advantage (1 Sam. 16:14-16; 2 Ki. 13:14; 1 Cor. 11:27-30; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Phil. 2:25-30; 2 Tim. 4:20).  Sickness and disease are not always about sin or discipline.  We live in a fallen world and we experience sickness and disease because of Adam’s sin. 

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John 8:30-59

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus reveals Himself as the Son of God who liberates enslaved sinners, those who trust in their flesh. Jesus had been speaking primarily to hostile Jewish unbelievers (John 8:21-24), but John reveals that many believed in Him (John 8:30-31).  Jesus’ strong language in John 8:30-59 raises questions about His audience, which can be viewed three different ways: first, the faith of those who “believed” was superficial and their hostility shows they were never saved; second, there was a mixed group of believers and unbelievers (see John 8:30-31, 48), and Jesus primarily spoke to the latter; and third, those who “believed” exercised genuine faith, and their hostility is a demonstration of carnality (like that of other believers; see Matt. 16:13-23; 26:33-35; 58-75; Acts 5:1-10; 1 Cor. 3:1-3; 11:17-30).  Jesus revealed that being a biological descendant of Abraham does not automatically make one a child of God; rather, Abraham’s spiritual descendants (see Rom. 2:28-29; 9:6, 8; Gal. 3:29) are those who have believed in Christ (John 1:12-13; Eph. 1:5; Gal. 3:26).

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