December 9, 2018 Compelling Proof

Compelling Proof

“‘There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already
know’” (Heywood, 1546). [“In 1738 [this saying] was used by Jonathan Swift in his ‘Polite Conversation’ and [was] first attested in the United States in the 1713 ‘Works of Thomas Chalkley’” (ibid).] But, God first penned these words in the writings of Jeremiah (5.21, Bible, 627-586 BC).

These conclusions were true in Jesus’ day, too, as is presented in John 10.1-42, and became the separation between the debaters in verses 19-21. How could some what others could not? Simply answered, the “blind” could not overcome their personal ‘logical argument as to source’. This argument was their default, since they could not contend with the ‘logical argument as to content’, for another human “proof” stood before them — the seeing blind man (John 9.1-7).

Jesus’ most compelling proofs of His divinity are “‘the works that I do in my Father’s name’” (John 10.25). These “‘witness about
Me’” (ibid)! [So do ours!] In a similar setting, Jesus had declared that He was doing in the flesh what He saw Father “Jesus” doing in the Spirit (John 5.19-20; John 1.1, 14; Luke 1.31; Matthew 1.21; Acts 4.12). The Name “Jesus” gave the Son the authority to do in the flesh what He saw God do in the Spirit (Matthew 28.18-20; Luke 10.17, 19).

Was this what God intended in His declarations in Exodus 34.10 and Deuteronomy 18.18? Thus, Jesus offers compelling proof that God came to earth; 1 John 4.1-4! Such “proofs”, also, affirmed the Apostles, Stephen, and Paul in the Acts (2.42, 3.6, 3.16, 4.30, 5.12, 6.8, 8.7, 8.13, 9.34, 9.40, 11.23-26, 13.12, 14.3, 14.9, 14.19, 16.18, 19.11, and other miracles in Acts; also see 2 Corinthians 12.12). The Name “Jesus” is compelling proof of the authority and power of God today (1 Corinthians 1.24)!

Even though Moses’ writings pointed to Jesus, some Jews were “the most deluded,…who choose to ignore what they already [knew]’” (Heywood, 1546). They could not understand the “figure of speech which Jesus used with them” because they did not accept His Name, ‘Jesus’ (John 10.6; John 8.43).

In John 10.1-18, Jesus presents three important facts for the Jews and us to understand:

1.The ‘sheep’ (believers; John 1.12) that belong to Him listen for and only respond to His voice…God’s voice (John 3.8; remember that the Greek word for wind is the same as for spirit). Other voices are deceptive and cause the sheep to run away (John 8.44; 1 John 4.1-4). Does Jesus infer that the Jews had changed what Moses wrote into a philosophy by adding thousands of more ‘commandments’ (Romans 2.12-29; Matthew 23.1-36)? Jesus’ teachings were consistent with the Law and Prophets (Matthew 5.17-20).

  1. Jesus’ ‘sheep’ enter and exit through His “door” to “find pasture” (John 10.7 & 9). A ‘future’ view of this is John 14.6: we exit this present world to enter and find pasture with our Heavenly Father. A ‘past-present’ view of this is John 3.3 & 5: we add to our ‘fleshly’ capability a ‘spiritual’ capability; i.e., we are born a second time and become capable of seeing both ‘with’ and ‘through’ our eyes (like Nicodemus in John 2.23-3.8).
  2. Jesus ‘sheep’ can rest securely in knowing that He will never abandon them (Psalm 27.1& 118.6). He will, even, give up His life, under instruction from God, to defeat an enemy who attacks the sheep (John 10.11-18; Hebrews 2.14-15). I understand Jesus’ expansive comment in John 10.16to mean the Gentiles, as He was training the disciples to witness to them (Matthew 28.18-20).

You cannot explain Jesus’ deeds apart from accepting His Word!

References
Bible. English Standard Version. www.olivetree.com.

Heywood, John. 1546. Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings. www.actualfreedom.com.au.

Kelly, Jack. October 23, 2017. Jesus’ Seven ‘I AM’ Statements in John.

https://gracethrufaith.com.

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December 2, 2018 Light for the Blind

Light for the Blind

“The WHO [World Health Organization] estimates that in 2012 there were 285 millionvisually impaired people in the world, of which 246 million had low vision and 39 millionwere blind. Of those who are blind 90% live in the developing world” (Epidemiology). To imagine the world of the 39 million totally blind, just close your eyes and consider that the darkness would be there when you opened them.

Jesus brought sight to a man who was born blind at least 30 years earlier, in John 9.1-7 (Bible). Note that the man “received” sight, as he states in verse 11, even though he had become accustomed to his blindness. Offers of sight and other “salvation” are only offers until they are “received”, as John 1.12 states and Acts 3.16 and 4.12 testify. The Spirit knew the beggar would receive sight from Jesus and, thus, crossed their paths, which happens in the Kingdom of God (John 3.8). No malady is permanent when the remedy can be received.

But, according to Jesus’ statements in John 9.39-41, the sighted man became blind once more. Perhaps an analogy will illustrate. You may be old enough to remember the “3-D glasses” distributed at some “picture shows” in days gone by that seemed to reveal a third dimension to the characters on the screen. You were able to see “through” the eyes, not just “with” them. Jesus is, here, repeating what God said in Isaiah 42.19, which concept Jesus had already discussed with Nicodemus (John 3.3 & 5 concerning the events of John 2.23). William Blake’s famous poem discusses this problem of sight:

“This life’s dim windows of the soul

Distorts the heavens from pole to pole

And leads you to believe a lie

When you see with, not through, the eye.” (Blake)

Christians are meant to be “blind”, as Jesus states, and our blindness is caused by His “light”, as He infers in John 9.5. We are reminded, here, of the writer, John’s description of the “Word” in John 1.4 & 9. When we “receive” Life from the Word by believing in the Name “Jesus” (John 1.12), we “receive” Light to accomplish the missions variously assigned, as can be understood from reading in sequence Judges 13.12, Jeremiah 1.5, and John 3.27. Apostle Paul’s experience with Light from Life illustrates this (Acts 9.1-19). The Light gives us knowledge sufficient to fully complete the assigned tasks.

But, Jesus says this Light may dim, in John 9.4-5. “Night comes” when the Light from Life diminishes with encroaching “darkness”. This is readily seen with the approaching Winter Solstice, as the daylight becomes shorter in the Northern Hemisphere. Jesus warned about this encroaching spiritual darkness in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6.22-23). satan actively works to replace the “mask” that plunges into darkness, as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 4.3-4, and Jesus in Matthew 13.18-22. Work to keep the Light on! We need it to do our best work.

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world”, Jesus is quoted in John 9.5. Obviously, Jesus was not speaking about His physical presence. Rather, He was speaking about His “Word”, His name “Jesus”, which the world wants unspoken. As long as “Jesus” is spoken, there will be “Light” in the world (Acts 4.12)! Paul writes about the power of “Jesus” is 1 Corinthians 1.18-20,24; 2.4-5; & 4.20.

The “power” of “Jesus” may be illustrated in the following.

It is important to note here that countries with primarily Protestant Christian cultures have, historically, added $29,784 to per capita GDP, versus those with Jewish cultures adding $19,320, Roman Catholic cultures adding $9, 358, and Islamic cultures adding only $3,142. (Asmus & Grudem, p. 120).

The Light of “Jesus” explains the difference. Keep the Light in the world!

References:

Asmus, Barry; Grudem, Wayne. 2013. The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution. Crossway. Kindle Edition

Bible. English Standard Version. www.olivetree.com.

Blake, William. Quotes. www.goodreads.com.

Epidemiology. Google. www.worldblindunion.org.

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November 18, 2018 The Word “Word”

The Word “Word”

This Bible study focuses upon Jesus’ use of the word “word” in John 8.31-32. My curiosity comes in remembering that the writer John has summarized his Gospel about Jesus in chapter one. More specifically, John is the only Gospel writer to discuss the “Word” as being with God and being God, in John 1.1-18. God, the Word, put on an earth-suit to reveal Himself to mankind (John 1.14Hebrews 2.14-15). He made the Universe and is the complete Source of all human knowledge (Nash, p. 67). So, it seems likely that John will use “Jesus” and “Word” interchangeably, since they are the same.

This is important for the reason that our salvation depends upon accepting the person of God and not His writings. Paul discusses this in Galatians 3.21 where he states that there was no Law that gave eternal life. None of the 613 laws given by God, including the Ten Commandments, promises eternal life. The Law was given to keep Hebrews from adopting the ways of the nations they were driving out (Leviticus 18.1-30) and to point to the need for a Savior, which God would provide (Isaiah 7.14). God intended for the Jews of the Exodus to become a Nation of Priests to prepare the world for His arrival (Exodus 19.6) to bring salvation (John 3.16).

The interchangeability of “Jesus” and the “Word” are demonstrated in Revelation 19.13. The rider on “Faithful and True” (verse 11; John 1.17) is Jesus, Who is called “The Word of God”. “Jesus” is the “Word” that was given to identify God while He was on the earth (Matthew 1.21& Luke 1.31).

So, when Jesus says “to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples’”, He was encouraging them to hold onto His name “Jesus” (John 8.31). He had previously warned the disciples that “‘you will be hated by all for my name’s sake’” (Matthew 10.22). Thus, Jesus says that true disciples do not give up His name; see Matthew 13.18-23.

Paul warns all, that might give up the saving name, “Jesus”, that they cannot return to its saving power again. In Hebrews 6.4-6, he writes:

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

That is, each person only gets one chance at John 3.16. S/he cannot follow Jesus for awhile, switch to Allah until the contrast becomes obvious (Acts 17.26-27 & 1Corinthians 1.22-25), and, then, accept John 3.16 again. This same logic is not true, however, about waffling on the interpretation and understanding of a verse until it becomes clear over time. Thus, the “Word” “Jesus” is of tremendous importance and is to be “hallowed” (kept holy; Matthew 6.9) and not to be used in “vain” (not believing in its authority and power; Exodus 20.7).

The word, “Word”, is the crux of the confusing misinformation, disinformation, and straw man argued by the Jews. I believe that Jesus uses “word” in John 8.31, 37, 43, 51, and 55 to connect John 1.1 to John 1.14 to Matthew 1.21 and Luke 1.31. That is, the Word is God from the beginning of time. This Word became born for the reason Apostle Paul explains in Hebrews 2.14-15. And, this Baby was given the name “Jesus” because He is part of the Trinity of God. The God-head is named “Jesus”, as Jesus acknowledges in John 17.12 and John 14.24 band Paul infers in Philippians 2.9-11 and Hebrews 13.8.

The Psalmist expresses the same understanding of the use of the “word” in Psalm 107.20, where he speaks about the “word” delivering from destruction. That is what the “Word” Who took on flesh did for whoever would accept “Jesus” (John 1.1 & 14; John 3.16). The 70 disciples returned proclaiming the power of Jesus’ Name to deliver from daily demons, in Luke 10.17. Notice Jesus’ authorization to them and to us in verse 19. The Centurion (Matthew 8.5-13) and Syro-Phonecian woman (Matthew 15.21-28) released the power of the Name Jesus without even speaking it. So, Jesus declared their faith ‘great’! They spoke an understanding of the power of the Word Who took on flesh (John 1.1 & 14). Perhaps, Psalm 103.20 and Mark 16.20 picture these actions and instructs you to speak “Jesus” with faith (not in vain)!

Additionally, Jesus’ teaching in John 15.1-11includes a similar explanation of the “word” in verse 7: “‘If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.’” Abiding in Jesus (John 15.7) and abiding in His “word” (John 8.31; not meaning His teachings) are the same. That is, Jesus is the Word, and the Word is Jesus, from John 1.1&14. In John 12.44, Jesus confirms this point, and, in verse 48, warns that the Word will judge all who deny Him. Notice the affirming dialogue of Son and Father in John 12.28 and how the adoring crowds agree on Palm Sunday, in Matthew 21.9.

Also, “abiding in” is the same concept as being baptized “into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28.19; see John 17.21, too). Jesus states this in John 17.12: “’I kept them IN your name, which you have given me’” (my emphasis). How does Revelation 12.11 extend “kept them in Your name” to us?

So, why would the Jews hate the “word”? Because satan was “thrown down to the earth” from his place in Heaven (Revelation 12.9; and would be “cast out” of earth by Jesus—in John 12.31–into the Pit of Hades, Isaiah 14.12-15) and was leading that generation of ‘blind’ Jews as he had led previous generations, beginning with the Jews in the Wilderness that rejected their God-given, that is, ordained, role in Exodus 19.6. Jeremiah 13.10 explains how this devolution began and continued throughout the generations and continues today, as Paul states in 2 Corinthians 4.3-4.

Blindness might, also, explain why the word “word” was not capitalized, as in John 1.1. For example, it is accepted practice not to capitalize the first letter of pronouns for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Perhaps they included “Word” among these pronouns. Or, the translators did not consider the perspective I bring in this study.

References
Bible.

English Standard Version.www.olivetree.com.

Nash, Ronald. 1982. The Word of God and The Mind of Man. P&R Publishing. Phillipsburg, NJ.

The Word “Word”

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NOVEMBER 11, 2018 Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

There is a saying that frames this topic well: a text without a context is a pretext. That is, someone with an agenda will only tell you enough to persuade you to do what they wish. Television and radio advertising for political candidates is a sufficient example.

Thinking is critical and, seemingly, a lost art. Critique today is mostly against one’s personal opinions, and these opinions from, even, unreliable sources, mostly relative to contemporary social media. Frequently, our surface thinking accepts the misinformation (unintentional distortion) and disinformation (intentional distortion) without considering the complete file of information necessary for understanding. Then, too, there are the “straw-man” arguments that cloud the true issue, as in “do it for the children”.

Note the source of misinformation, disinformation, and straw man arguments in the following speech given by legendary ABC Radio commentator Paul Harvey on April 3, 1965:

If I were the Devil . . . I mean, if I were the Prince of Darkness, I would of course, want to engulf the whole earth in darkness. I would have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, so I should set about however necessary to take over the United States. I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.” “Do as you please.” To the young, I would whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”. In the ears of the young marrieds, I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution them not to be extreme in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct. And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to say after me: “Our Father, which art in Washington” . . .

If I were the devil, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull an uninteresting. I’d threaten T.V. with dirtier movies and vice versa. And then, if I were the devil, I’d get organized. I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing and less work, because idle hands usually work for me. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. And I’d tranquilize the rest with pills. If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects but neglect to discipline emotions . . . let those run wild. I would designate an atheist to front for me before the highest courts in the land and I would get preachers to say “she’s right.” With flattery and promises of power, I could get the courts to rule what I construe as against God and in favor of pornography, and thus, I would evict God from the courthouse, and then from the school house, and then from the houses of Congress and then, in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and I would deify science because that way men would become smart enough to create super weapons but not wise enough to control them.

If I were Satan, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle. If I were the devil, I would take from those who have and I would give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And then, my police state would force everybody back to work. Then, I could separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines, and objectors in slave camps. In other words, if I were Satan, I’d just keep on doing what he’s doing. (Harvey)

Manipulators prey upon our lack of time or willingness and/or access to complete information. For example, consider the slippage in critical thinking from a recent survey of Christians.

Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research teamed up again this year to conduct a study concerning America’s core theological doctrines, and the results show that evangelicals are “deeply confused.”

The 2018 study examined 34 beliefs based on interviews with 3,000 Americans defined by Lifeway to be evangelicals to discover what they “believe about God, salvation, ethics, and the Bible.” Overall, the study reveals that American evangelicals hold beliefs that are contrary to the historic Christian faith.

Stated Chris Larson, president and CEO of Ligonier Ministries, “It’s never been popular to talk about mankind’s sinfulness or the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ. But at a time when a darkened world needs the light of the gospel, it’s disheartening to see many within the evangelical church confused about what the Bible teaches.”

Results indicate that 69 percent of evangelicals think that the smallest sins do not deserve eternal damnation, 58 percent believe that regular church attendance can be replaced by worshipping alone or with one’s family, and 59 percent believe that the Holy Spirit is a force and not a person. The study also revealed that 52 percent believe people are basically good, and 51 percent believe God accepts the worship of all religions, including Islam. (Survey)

This was true in Jesus’ day, also. How He handled such is instructional for Christians today. Notice how He handled the misinformation, disinformation, and straw man of the Jews who questioned him in John 8.12-59 (Bible).

The word, “word”, is the crux of the confusing misinformation, disinformation, and straw man of the Jews. I believe that Jesus uses “word” in John 8.31, 37, 43, 51and 55to connect John 1.1 to John 1.14 to Matthew 1.21 and Luke 1.31. That is, the Word is God from the beginning of time. This Word became born for the reason Apostle Paul explains in Hebrews 2.14-15. And, this Baby was given the name “Jesus” because He is part of the Trinity of God. The God-head is named “Jesus”, as Jesus acknowledges in John 17.12and Paul infers in Philippians 2.9-11and Hebrews 13.8.

The Psalmist expresses the same understanding of the use of the “word” in Psalm 107.20, where he speaks about the “word” delivering from destruction. That is what the “Word” Who took on flesh did for whoever would accept “Jesus” (John 1.1 & 14;John 3.16). The 70 disciples returned proclaiming the power of Jesus’ Name to deliver from daily demons, in Luke 10.17. Notice Jesus’ authorization to them and to us in verse 19. The Centurion (Matthew 8.5-13) and Syro-Phonecian woman (Matthew 15.21-28) released the power of the Name Jesus without even speaking it. And, Jesus declared their faith ‘great’! They spoke an understanding of the power of the Word Who took on flesh (John 1.1 & 14). Perhaps, Psalm 103.20 and Mark 16.20 picture these actions and instructs you to speak “Jesus” with faith!

Additionally, Jesus’ teaching in John 15.1-11 includes a similar explanation of the “word” in verse 7: “‘If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.’” Abiding in Jesus (John 15.7) and abiding in His “word” (John 8.31; not meaning His teachings) are the same. That is, Jesus is the Word, and the Word is Jesus, from John 1.1&14. In John 12.44, Jesus confirms this point, and, in verse 48, warns that the Word will judge all who deny Him. Notice the affirming dialogue of Son and Father in John 12.28 and how the adoring crowds agree on Palm Sunday, in Matthew 21.9.

Also, “abiding in” is the same concept as being baptized “into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28.19; see John 17.21, too). Jesus states this in John 17.12: “’I kept them IN your name, which you have given me’” (my emphasis). How does Revelation 12.11extend “kept them in Your name” to us?

So, why would the Jews hate the “word”? Because satan was thrown down to the earth” from his place in Heaven (Revelation 12.9; and would be “cast out: of earth by Jesus—in John 12.31—into the Pit of Hades, Isaiah 14.12-15) and was leading that generation of ‘blind’ Jews as he had previous generations, beginning with the Jews Wilderness that rejected their God-given, that is, ordained, role in Exodus 19.6. Jeremiah 13.10 explains how this devolution began and continued throughout the generations and continues today, as Paul states in 2 Corinthians 4.3-4. Consequently, we might expect their misinformation, disinformation, and straw man arguments to distract away from the central issue.

John 8.48 is an example of misinformation and disinformation. “You are a Samaritan” is misinformation, and “have a demon” is disinformation. These and similar comments have been used by satan earlier in other Bible passages to confuse the other Jews listening to the dialogue. Conversely, Jesus exposes and condemns the Scribes’ and Pharisees’ misinformation and disinformation in His Seven Woes in Matthew 23.1-36, Which do you identify? How did Jesus respond?

But, let’s focus on straw-man of Abraham. Jesus acknowledged that Abraham was their physical father, in John 8.56but crippled this argument, in verse 39, by reminding them of God’s acclaim of Abraham: faith in God resulting in obedience to Him. Paul explains in Galatians 3.6-9and Romans 4.16what is illustrated by Abraham’s actions (his “works”) in Hebrews 11.8-10. James (2.21-24)emphasizes the importance of behaviors from thinking that is directed by the right mindset. Thus, Jesus continues in John 8.40that Abraham would have acknowledged Jesus as Savior and made Him Lord. He looked for the day of his Seed (John 8.56; Galatians 3.16)!

The Jews may have been physical progeny of Abraham but were not his spiritual progeny. Rather, Jesus rightly identifies satan as their father in John 8.44, recognizing that their lies about Himself were the lies that satan had repeated since deceiving their fore-fathers from accepting and obeying God’s ordained role for them. Notice Jesus’ other descriptor for satan: he murdered, as in the prophets (Matthew 23.30 & Luke 11.47-51). Jesus may have been foretelling of their murder of Him.

It is ironic that the Jews’ disdain for truth (John 1.17) even deceived their response to Jesus’ explanation to believers about the Source of truth; that is, the Name “Jesus” (the Word; see earlier paragraph). 
See John 8.33: we “have never been enslaved to anyone”. Roman soldiers were their current masters; Assyrians, Babylonians, and Egyptians had been the masters of their fore-fathers. Jesus’ reply in verses 34-35 is their disdain for the Name above all others (Philippians 2.9-11) provides only momentarily pleasure. Paul writes about this by contrast in Romans 6.16.

Dr. R. G. Lee’s sermon title seems an appropriate conclusion to this matter. During his years as pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, he preached “Payday, Someday” (Sermon). Mankind can listen to satan’s agents’ speaking just enough truth to cover their misinformation. And, mankind can, even, accept the disinformation lie without searching out the truth. Further, mankind can give in to the emotion of the straw-man argument without looking for what it is hiding. That is, a text without a context is a pretext!

Only the Holy Spirit knows for sure; ask Him (John 16.13-15; John 14.26; Romans 8.14)

Only when mankind abides in the name Jesus (John 8.31) will we experience the freedom of truth and “never see death” (John 8.51).

1 Peter 1.22-25!

References
Bible. The Holy Bible. English Standard Version. www.olivetree.com.

Harvey, Paul. April 3, 1965. ‘If I Were the Devil’ (Warning for a Nation)

Sermon. SermonAudio.com.

Survey. November 2, 2018. Study ShowsAmerica’s Evangelicals Are ‘Deeply Confused’. www.factn.org.

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October 21, 2018 Symptom or Cause?

Symptom or Cause?

One of the challenges we face is distinguishing between symptoms and causes. For example, a declining business profit is a symptom, not a cause of business failure. The failure occurred with customers migrated to other providers for perceived or real reasons. Likewise, the recent national uproar over a judicial nominee was only a symptom of a deeper ideological divide.

An ideological difference was the cause of the symptoms charged by the Jewish religious leaders against Jesus: Jesus healed on the Sabbath, and Jesus made Himself equal with God (Bible, John 5.18). John had previewed such disagreement in John 1.17: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” The Jewish leaders were unwilling to admit what Apostle Paul states about the “guardian” purpose of the Mosaic Law in Galatians 3.15-29.

Jesus’ rhetoric in His dialogue with the Jews, John 7.14-24, deals with both of their complaints. In verses 19-23, Jesus reveals their duplicitous behaviors of holding Him to a standard they were unwilling to keep: “Yet none of you keeps the law.” Then, Jesus illustrates the narrowness of their thinking in His contrast of their circumcising a man on the Sabbath with His healing the “man’s whole body”, referring to the paralytic at Bethesda Pool (John 5.1-17).

Jesus alludes to the cause in John 7.16-18. If the Jews were listening to God, then they would know that His words are the same as God’s. Thus, Jesus was not speaking from His authority but with God’s. This is reference to God’s calling upon their ancestral fathers in Exodus 19.6. His accusers continued to rebel against God’s intention that they be a “nation of priests” to the world. Their disdain for God had devolved into advocacy for satan, as Jesus accuses in John 8.44.

Do we observe this in society today? That is, has a personal unwillingness to discover and nurture God’s calling caused some persons to become accusers of God for their plights? Paul discusses this in Romans 1.18-32. John the Baptist infers this in his answer in John 3.27. Jonah’s story confirms my conjecture and offers his remedy. God’s tether only extends so far, as Solomon discovered to his regret (Ecclesiastes 12.11.13; 1 Kings 11.1-11). Proverbs 19.3and 21.30state that God is not at fault; only man. So, are you fulfilling God’s calling on you (Jeremiah 1.5)?

John 7.24is Jesus’ conclusion in His rhetoric against the Jewish religious leaders’ two accusations: “‘Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.’” How do His words speak to John 1.18, about manifesting God, and John 3.8, about God leading Christians in the Kingdom of God?

Jesus’ dialogue with His half-brothers in John 1.1-10about attending the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles/Booths (Succoth) offers insight into Jesus’ understanding of the pervasiveness of the symptoms that reveal their cause. How do John 1.10-13 and John 3.19-20 explain His statement in John 7.7: “‘The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil’”? The pervasiveness of symptoms that had captured Jesus’ brothers is revealed by the following from Pursue God:

  • God’s original commands were the 613 laws of Moses (called “Torah”) that guided the ancient nation of Israel.
  • The Mishnah was an oral tradition of commentary on the Mosaic Law that introduced additional, man-made rules that “built a fence” around the Mosaic Law so people wouldn’t even come close to breaking God’s commandments.
  • The Pharisees were concerned with keeping these additional commandments and especially with having the outward appearance of keeping them. (Rules)

However, Jesus reminded the Samaritan woman that true worship is not in observing rules of man but is the truth of God that flows like living water from within Christians (John 4.23; John 7.37-39; John 3.8). Our activities of worship are symptoms of the cause emphasized in Jeremiah 9.24. Isaiah 64.4, indeed!

References

Bible. English Standard Version. www.olivetree.com.

Rules. The Torah and Mishnah.www.pursueGod.org.

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October 14, 2018 Pushback

Pushback

Simeon was correct: Jesus would grow up as “a sign that is opposed” (Bible, Luke 2.34). Who opposed Jesus and why? Are their arguments similar to those cast against Christians today, as Jesus said to expect, in Matthew 10.16-26? Notice in verses 19-20that in such occasions, we are to depend upon the work of the Spirit of God in the Kingdom of God, as He blows first one way, then another (John 3.8Isaiah 30.21). What can we learn from Jesus’ use of such moments that prepares us for expected opposition to “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1.27)?

John 5.16-18 tells us the two reasons the Pharisees opposed Jesus. These two reasons illustrate that truth is unwelcome when it opposes the unrighteous circumstance of money and power. This is seen, in Jesus’ context, as the contrasts in John 1.17. Apostle Paul explains the purpose of the Law and its complement in the coming of Christ in Galatians 3.23-29 (Leviticus 18.1-4, 24-30).

The Pharisees and Sadducees had expanded the code of God through Moses in condemnable ways, similar to Islam, as in ceremonial washings and such regulations which they, themselves, were unwilling to observe (Matthew 23.1-36).
 John the Baptist had already condemned this “brood of vipers” for standing behind Abraham’s robe to, supposedly, give credibility to their acts (Matthew 3.7-9; Luke 3.7-8). Jesus would defeat that argument in a later exchange (John 8.39-47).

The Spirit of God was leading Jesus in the previous and current encounters with the Jewish religious leaders. The Spirit was confronting them because of Exodus 19.6

John 5.17 & 19-21 are another illustration of the Kingdom of God that Jesus discussed with Nicodemus in John 3.1-8. Jesus is living out verse eight as He says in John 5.19-20. Paul joins Jesus (John 17.18) in reminding us that we are to be led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8.14) to work in the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 2.10).

The remainder of Jesus’ encounter with the Pharisees in John 5.21-29 is understood from John 1.14 & 16-18 & 31-34 and 1 John 4.1-6. This was Spiritual Warfare. The Pharisees did not want the Messiah to appear! High Priest Caiaphas explained this to the Sanhedrin, that “‘everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away…our place’” (John 11.45-50; 18.14); money and power!

So, Jesus spoke truth in declaring that He, now, was the Judge (John 5.22-29; Acts 17.31). That is, the Name above all names (Philippians 2.9-11) walked the Earth now as the plumb line of veracity. Receiving His Name would bring life (John 1.12;Acts 4.12). Not receiving His Name would mean a continuation of death throughout eternity (Ephesians 2.1-3 & John 3.16-21). satan has been trying to diminish this truth since before Jesus’ birth, as John writes about in Revelation 12.1-6. Paul writes about this in Romans 1.18-32 and 2 Timothy 3.1-6; see, also, Leviticus 18.1-30. Contemporary “morality” is nothing more than the old immorality that satan recycles (2 Corinthians 4.3-4).

John 6.26-69focuses on the real issue: our choice of “bread”. This is understood from two perspectives. First, Jesus reveals the true motives of the 5,000+ who had participated in the Kingdom- of-God miracle by having their physical hunger satisfied with morsels of blessed bread and fish (John 6.1-14 & 22-26) and had come for more. Their motives were the same as Nicodemus (John 3.1-2) and the Samaritan woman (John 4.13-15). Such reveal the “soul” directed by the “body” (1 Thessalonians 5.23); that is, behavior directing thinking, instead of the mindset driving thinking (Mark 12.30).  John warns about this (1 John 2.15-17).

Jesus second perspective presumes the mindset driving thinking but questions the proper mindset. In John 6.48-58, Jesus uses hyperbole to make His point: consume My “grace and
truth” (John 1.17)! “Grace and truth” are more important than what your fathers “ate…in the wilderness” (John 6.49). These are more important than the Judaism taught by the Pharisees’ inculcation or the Greek philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and others. Paul would describe these as “elemental spirits of the world” (Colossians 2.8-10).

Many of these aberrant teachings and lifestyles are promulgated by contemporary philosophers and their disciples over various media. Among the teachings are 10 Schools of Philosophy and Why You Should Know Them:

Nihilism: leading among angst teens; nothingness.

Existentialism: leading among angst undergraduates; no purpose.

Stoicism: practiced by people in high-stress environments; accept what you cannot control; it will pass.

Hedonism: pleasure/happiness is the one thing of intrinsic value.

Marxism: a method of critiquing a consumerist society for reducing everything to a commodity; anti- capitalism because of labor theory of value.

Logical Positivism: base everything on logic and empirical evidence for verification.

Taoism: based around ideas of humility; a focus on the individual, simplicity, and naturalness; fused with Buddhism and birth of Zen.

Rationalism: cannot trust senses; knowledge primarily from reason and thought, not empirical evidence.

Relativism: views are relative to perspective; no absolute truth or moral facts; cannot critique another culture.

Buddhism: suffering has a cause that can be overcome by meditation; many schools; some pantheon of gods; some karma and reincarnation as part of life; mindfulness in West is aligned. (Hendricks, 2017).

Jesus said we should expect pushback from adherents of these and other mindsets (Matthew 10.22 & 25). Our pushback will be from the Spirit of God as we encounter them by pushing back with truth in the Kingdom of God (John 3.8). Ultimately, satan does not want John 3.16 & 14.6 and Acts 4.12known outside (or inside) the church! “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5.16). How does Revelation 12.11 give Christians assurance of victory? Is this like Genesis 1.28?

References

Bible. English Standard Version of the Bible. www.olivetree.com.

Hendricks, Scotty. 2017. 10 Schools of Philosophy and Why You Should Know Them. www.bigthink.com.

Pushback 181007
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2018. www.sozoclass.com.

September 30, 2018

Do You See What I See?

This Bible study addresses the questions below through our consideration of John 4.46-5.47. The Holy Spirit has, so far, defined “grace” (John 1.14-18), in Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus about “signs”, as the works of the Spirit of God in His Kingdom in the lifestyles of Christians (John 2.23 {a “baffling wind”} contrasting John 3.2 {“supernatural” evidence}; Strong’s). Jesus told Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well of their need to accept Him as Messiah (John 4.25-26, 39-42) for entry into the Kingdom of God (John 3.3“see”, 5“enter”).

Both of these occurrences present the Kingdom of God as Jesus described it in John 3.8: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Bible; see Acts 2.2, also). Strong’s clarifies that the word “wind” in the Greek is the same word as “spirit”. Thus, Jesus describes the action which Paul writes about in Romans 8.14.

The two healings in John 4.46-5.17 continue this revelation of the grace of God (John 1.17-18) working in His Kingdom (Exodus 34.10). Before continuing with these illustrations, consider Jesus’ emphasis of the importance of the Kingdom of God, in Matthew 6.10a and 6.33. Our ‘behavior’ (verses 33 & 10b) should result from our ‘thinking’ (verse 10a) about the events of daily life from a ‘mindset’ of glorifying God (verse 9) in all that we say and do (our ‘behaviors’). Paul writes similarly in Colossians 3.17 & 23-24 and 1 Corinthians 10.31: do whatever we do in Jesus’ name, as an expression of worship of Him, for His glory!

So, why does Jesus complain about the father’s request in John 4.46-48? How does Jesus’ response to satan’s temptation about hunger, in Matthew 4.3-4, explain His complaint? Are both an illustration of the struggle for our thinking, expressed above? Would Jesus express the same complaint about us today? This is the struggle between the ‘mind’ (mindset) and ‘emotions’ (fleshy behaviors) for the ‘will’ (thinking) that we discussed in Twice Born (Painter, 180916).

How is the father’s request like Nicodemus’ inquiry, in John 3.2, and the Jews in John 2.18? His answer to the Jews in John 2.19 and Paul’s discussion of this issue in 1 Corinthians 1.20-25 lead us to what understanding? What light is shed upon this in John 4.23-23?

“After this there was a feast of the Jews…” (John 5.1), which may have been Shavuot or Pentecost, a celebration of first fruits of harvest, or Sukkoth or Booths, a celebration at the end of the Fall harvest, or, as John 6.4 suggests, the next Pesach or Passover. [Jesus celebrated His first as Messiah in John 2.13-23. This would mean that about a year has elapsed. Jesus has been at “work” (John 5.17).] Jesus’ encounter with the paralytic at Bethesda Pool in Jerusalem is the important context for seeing the Kingdom of God in action again. Remember from John 3.8, Jesus has been led to turn water into wine (John 2.6-11), to cast the merchants from the Temple (John 2.13-17), to teach Nicodemus about the Kingdom of God (John 3.1-8), to offer the Samaritan woman “living water” (John 4.7-15), and to heal the official’s son (John 4.46-54). The Spirit (John 3.8) now directs Jesus’ attention to one paralytic, among those invalid at the Pool (John 5.2-9).

How are the actions of the father (John 4.50) the same as the paralytic (John 5.9), although the father did not learn the result for 24 hours? How does Peter and John’s experience with the paralytic at the Temple gate provide an answer? See in Acts 3.1-16 & 4.12 this example of life in the Kingdom of God after Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1.8-9). What is the explanation of healing in each scenario? How were Jesus, Peter, and John fulfilling Matthew 10.7-8? How does Hebrews 11.6 explain Jesus’ statement to the paralytic in John 5.14 and complement our answers to these questions?

John 5.22-24 restates truths presented in John 3.16-21 and explain what reason the Jews wanted to kill Jesus (John 5.18)? What further insights are given in John 5.44, 8.44, and Mark 7.8-13? Are these reasons those offered by the lost today?

How do John 5.19-21 and John 5.36 explain John 3.8 regarding the Kingdom of God?

Could Jesus be inferring His name in John 5.24, “whoever hears my word…” (writer’s emphasis)? What insight does Jesus add in Mark 4.21-25? How is this related to Jesus’ principle in John 4.23? How does John 1.17 explain this?

Seeing “signs” as a “baffling wind” (Strong’s re John 2.23) versus just the “supernatural” (ibid, John 3.2) and as “living water” (John 4.10) requires that we see through not with the eye (Blake). Connect the stories of Jesus back to His purpose in coming; John 1.18. Remember that Jesus came to pay for our sins on the Cross AND to reveal the Kingdom of God to mankind (John 3.8; Matthew 10.7-8). Do you see what I see?

References
Bible.

English Standard Version. www.olivetree.com.

Blake, William. Quotes. www.goodreads.com.

Strong’s. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

Do You See What I See? 180923

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2018. www.sozoclass.com

September 16, 2018 Welling Up

Welling Up

We sometimes use this term to describe the filling to overflowing of our eyes with tears, in sorrow or with joy. This gradual filling may be illustrated by Solomon’s Proverbs 4.18 (Bible), where he pictures our righteousness as the light of dawn reaching its zenith about noon. Jesus uses this term in John 4.14 to describe our sanctification; that is, our increasing knowledge and faith, ideally, reaching His level, as Paul describes in Ephesians 4.13.

The context for this teaching is, perhaps, as unexpected as that with Nicodemus in Chapter Three of John’s gospel (Painter). Jesus explains His encounter with Nicodemus in John 3.8 as being directed by the Spirit of God. In Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman, in Chapter Four, we can infer the same Source of leadership, in John 4.1-7. We are, thus, reminded of the importance of our submission in Romans 8.14. Jesus’ encounter tells us why.

John MacArthur writes about the context of John 4.10: “Jesus used the woman’s need for physical water to sustain life in this arid region in order to serve as an object lesson for her need for spiritual transformation” (MacArthur). In verse 13, Jesus tells her that water from Jacob’s well is only a short-term satisfaction to her physical body. He continues the contrast by telling her that His “water” for her will never need replenishing. And, He says that the “water” from this “gift” can be hers by receiving Him as Messiah (John 1.12; 4.10, 25-26, 29-30, 39).

Jonathan Cahn helps us to understand this “gift”. He explains that, in ancient times, because the groom did not see his bride from the time of their engagement until the wedding day. However, he would send her a gift, called a mattan, between the dates “to assure her of his pledge, [as] a guarantee of his faithfulness, [and] a promise of things to come” (Cahn). Then, perhaps, he connects this to Jesus’ statement to the Samaritan woman and us: “The Spirit is the Mattan of the Bridegroom’s love for the bride [of Christ]” (ibid).

Jesus describes the giving of this “gift” in John 14.15-17. Notice there that the Spirit already “dwells with you”, as in John 3.8 evidencing the Kingdom of God, and “will be in you”, as in the coming Day of Pentecost (Acts 2.1-4). This Spirit of God is the “gift” of God and gives “living water” (John 4.10; 7.37-38).

Jesus tells her, “‘The water that I will give [to “‘whoever drinks of the water’”] will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life’” (John 4.14). It is the Holy Spirit Who sanctifies us by teaching us God’s word (John 17.17; 1.17) and by reminding us what Jesus said and did (John 16.13-15; 14.26; 5.19-20; 12.49). This sanctification grows us into Jesus’ measure of knowledge and faith (Ephesians 4.13).

Jesus describes “welling up” in Matthew 13.52 as someone who remembers with joy past experiences of walking with the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God (John 3.8) and being led by Him into new experiences (Matthew 13.44-51; Romans 8.14; 1 Corinthians 12.1-11). After all, the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11.2).

In His concluding comments to the woman, Jesus reminds us that true worship is with our spirits, not our bodies; John 4.23-24. The body simply follows the leading of the spirit in this dance of worship; as in John 6.63. And, Isaiah 66.2b reminds of Jesus’ emphasis on God’s word as truth in John 17.17(1.17). So, may our thinking be directed by a proper mindset and be evidenced through righteous behaviors (Romans 12.1-2).

References

Bible. The English Standard Version is used by the writer. www.olivetree.com.

Cahn, J. 2016. The Book of Mysteries. FrontLine. Lake Mary, FL.

MacArthur, J. MacArthur Study Notes. www.olivetree.com.

Painter, M. L. September 2 & 9, 2018. Twice Born. www.sozoclass.com.

Welling Up 180916
Praise God!!! Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com.

 

September 9, 2018 Twice Born

Twice Born

The dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus reveals God’s love for mankind and His expectations for Christian maturity. Both aspects are revealed in the closing verses of Chapter Two, John 2.23-25 (Bible). Verse 23reveals Omnipotent God expressing what He had stated earlier, in Exodus 34.10. The study question is: how do Jesus’ statements about experiencing the Kingdom of God relate to Nicodemus’ questions and this verse 23? The second aspect asks the same question about verses 24-25, which reveal the Omniscient God. Additionally, the Omnipresent God is there with Jesus.

John 3.16 is a, perhaps too, familiar verse to Christians. We may be inclined to consider it solely and/or to display it on placards without considering the context of verses before and after. So, please stop and read John 2.23-3.21 before proceeding with this study.

The Omniscient God

Considering this second aspect first will help to frame the other. Apostle Paul understood the struggle between the flesh and spirit to control our thinking. In 1 Thessalonians 5.23, he states that we are “spirit and soul and body” comprising one “whole” person. He properly places the soul between the opposing forces, spirit and body, for the soul, that is the mind, will, and emotions, is where the mindset struggles against the flesh, to dominate our thinking. His personal description of this struggle is his discussion in Romans 7.7-8.11.

Paul’s thoughts in Romans 7.21-23explain what Jesus understood in John 2.24-25. He would, later, discuss this dilemma in Matthew 13.18-22, revealing the schemes that satan uses to intimidate submission to the flesh. Jesus’ statement in John 5.44 regarding the Pharisees gives one illustration. Paul would add others later in Galatians 5.19-21.

So, with this background, we can appreciate Jesus getting right to the point with Nicodemus in John 3.3: you must be born again (John 3.5-6)! Perhaps, John 9.4-5 expresses Jesus’ sense of urgency expressed here. There is no time to waste!

Mankind needs reconciliation to God now (2 Corinthians 5.20)! Jesus may return for us at any moment, after which time there will be no acceptance of God’s Savior (Revelation 4.1-2). You notice, in Revelation 4.2, that John was “at once in the [Holy] Spirit’s power” (Amplified Bible).

Thus, Jesus continues to explain ‘twice born’ in John 3.16-21 and might, in our day, have turned the light switch off and on to explain His response to Nicodemus’ confession in John 3.2. Jesus understood the “we” to include all of the Sanhedrin. Their unwillingness to confess this, however, would lead Jesus, later in John 8.44, to inform them of their obvious choice of the flesh over the spirit. He makes a concluding statement of this in John 15.24; they hate both the Son and the Father — the definition of sin.

The Omnipotent God

What if, however, Jesus heard Nicodemus’ statement, “‘no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him’” (John 3.2), as a query about the “signs” mentioned in John 2.23, which he might have witnessed earlier that day? If a query about the “signs”, what does Jesus mean by “‘unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’” (John 3.3)?

It is important for this understanding to note the difference in the Greek word “signs” used by Nicodemus (John 3.2) and “signs” used by the Holy Spirit through writer John in John 2.23. Nicodemus meant “indications”; that is, of Jesus’ divinity; similarly in 1 Corinthians 1.22 and Hebrews 2.4. But, John meant “a baffling wind”. And, the Greek word for “wind” is also used for “spirit”. Thus, Jesus answers Nicodemus by describing the Spirit of God in John 3.8. Luke describes similarly in Acts 2.2the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost: a “mighty rushing wind” that “filled the entire house where [the disciples] were sitting.”

Could Jesus’ discussion in John 3.5-13 frame His earlier “signs” as a result of “seeing” (verse 3, Greek for discern and Hebrew for experience) and
“entering” (verse 5, Greek for go into) the Kingdom of God? And, could the Kingdom of God simply be wherever God, the Spirit, directs us in our daily walk to do His will (verse 8, Isaiah 30.21, Romans 8.14)? This view seems supported by Matthew 10.7-8 and Luke 10.1-9, 17-19.

Jesus’ declaration in John 3.16 is, obviously, that new birth; i.e., the acceptance of Himself as the promised Messiah. This is our “access by faith into this grace [i.e., “gift” (Easton’s)] in which we stand”, as Paul states in Romans 5.2. Paul’s “into” is the same Greek word used by Jesus in Matthew 28.19: “baptizing them in [or into] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Note that Christians “stand” in the Kingdom of God now! Remember that Jesus said to pray for “Your kingdom come” in Matthew 6.9, perhaps more completely through us. Only as we surrender completely to Jesus can the Kingdom of God be seen more fully through us, as Paul pleads in Ephesians 5.1.

Jesus’ commentary to Nicodemus in John 3.16-21is both a declaration of God’s love for people and a contrast between people who receive Jesus as Messiah (John 1.12) and those who will not. People in the Kingdom of God have life (verse 16; John 1.4a) and light (verse 21; John 1.4b-5, 9) that contrasts those who have chosen to remain in darkness (verses 19-20). The latter are condemned, but the former are saved because they have “believed in the name of the only Son of God” (verse 18).

Have Christians become satisfied with the annual presents from being “born of water” (John 3.5) and are missing out on the “signs” (John 2.23) that are available to those who are born of “the Spirit” (John 3.5)? Acts 11.25-26 is the first occasion when persons of the Kingdom of God were called “Christians”, meaning “followers of Christ”. Was Jesus encouraging Nicodemus to become a “follower of Christ” and evidence this by “signs”?

Miracles are a revelation of God that draws unbelievers and believers to Him (John 1.18). This was Peter’s experience in Acts 3.1-16. This was Paul’s experience in Acts 14.8-18, 19.11-12, and 28.7-10. What would happen in your church if “signs” of the Kingdom of God became evidenced through you and other Christians in your community? Contrary to Nicodemus, you have been “born again” to “see” and to “enter” the Kingdom of God (John 3.3, 5-6).

Being partially in the power of the Kingdom of God is the struggle between the spirit and flesh for control of the soul (mind, will, and emotions) that Paul evidenced (Romans 7.7-8.11) and advocated for dominance by the spirit in 1 Thessalonians 5.23. Jesus knew that this was the struggle within every person (John 2.24-25). Are you missing out by giving in to the flesh?

It is the struggle that William Blake famously describes in the following:

“This life’s dim windows of the soul 
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
 When you see with, not through, the eye” (Blake).

References
 Bible.

English Standard Version. www.olivetree.com.

Blake, William. Quotes. www.goodreads.com.

Easton’s. Easton’s Bible Dictionary. www.olivetree.com.

 

August 26, 2018 Exodus 6:3 Again

Exodus 6:3 Again

Let me begin by framing this study of John 2.1-22 (ESV) as representative of Jesus’ developing our mindset on God throughout the remainder of John’s Gospel. This is the reason the Word (John 1.1) took upon Himself flesh (John 1.14) to reveal the Father/ Creator to mankind (John 1.18). Our challenge is to know and understand God (Jeremiah 9.23-24) through the specific seven miracles and other teachings of Jesus, among the many (John 21.25), which the Holy Spirit refreshed in John’s memory during the 60 years from the time John personally experienced Jesus (1 John 1.1-4).

The study of John 2.1-22 prompts the following questions:

  • Why do you think the Holy Spirit begins with Jesus’ first miracle of turning water
into wine?
  • What did Jesus’ objection, “My hour has not yet come” (verse 4), mean?
  • What did Mary expect Jesus to do (verse 5)? What or Who might have prompted her to engage Him in the bridegroom’s troubles?
  • How did Jesus’ solution “manifest His glory” (verse 11)? What is the connection of this to John 1.18?
  • How many disciples were with Jesus at this wedding?
  • Why did Jesus object to merchants’ enabling worshippers in the Temple with their 
offerings?
  • Why did Jesus justify His actions with, seeming, hyperbole?
  • To what past and future events was Jesus referring and why (verse 19; Jonah)?
  • What was the reaction of His disciples?

The Wedding Feast

On the “third day” after Jesus’ baptism and calling of Andrew and Simon/Peter as disciples, (John 1.26-42) and on the same day that Jesus called Phillip and Nathanael as disciples (John 1.43-2.1), Jesus left Bethany (or Bethsaida, perhaps) for Cana in Galilee, to attend a wedding there with his mother. At the wedding feast, Jesus replenished the exhausted supply of wine with pure, Heavenly wine (John 2.1-10).

Jesus’ objection but obedience to Mary’s request (John 2.3) is understood in the following:

The phrase [“My hour has not yet come.”] constantly refers to Jesus’ death and exaltation (John 7:30 8:20 12:23, 27 13:1 17:1). He was on a divine schedule decreed by God before the foundation of the world. Since the prophets characterized the messianic age as a time when wine would flow liberally (Jeremiah. 31:12; Hosea. 14:7; Amos 9:13–14), Jesus was likely referring to the fact that the necessity of the cross must come before the blessings of the millennial age. (MacArthur, John 2.3)

As I was prayerfully reflecting upon Jesus’ objection, I was reminded that Jesus will be our Bridegroom in the New Earth (Revelation 21.1-22.14) and will celebrate our wedding feast! It was a pleasing thought that Jesus might have expressed melancholy, too, in His statement.

The study title, Exodus 6.3 Again, suggests another understanding that might be communicated by the Holy Spirit through this, Jesus’ first miracle. This OT verse is a pivot by God to Moses that will evidence the hitherto unacknowledged characteristic of God’s Omnipotence: LORD! God had revealed Himself to earlier generations as El Shaddai or God Almighty (Psalm 91.1) providing for their various needs. And, while God Almighty would continue to provide manna (Exodus 16.14-15; Joshua 5.12) and resilient cloths and sandals (Deuteronomy 29.5) for the wandering Jews until they crossed the Jordan River opposite Jericho, He would reveal His Lordship by driving from the Promised Land the peoples whose lifestyles were profaning it (Leviticus 18.24-28). In Cana, Jesus reveals God Almighty (John 1.18) by providing wine for His needy celebrants…and only the best! He would, next, demonstrate God as LORD of the Temple and of life.

Cleansing the Temple

At Jesus’ first presentation of Himself at the Feast of Passover (Deuteronomy 16.16-17) in Jerusalem as Messiah, His indignant behavior, expressing His mindset, drove out the Temple merchants, which He might have seen there during earlier annual, family visits. They were, now, abhorrent! The four disciples understood that Jesus’ words (John 2.15 & 16) and deeds were probably from God reminding them of David’s Psalm 69.9: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

Jesus had demonstrated His “zeal” on one other recorded occasion, when at age 12, He questioned and answered the teachers in the Temple; Luke 2.46.

What did Jesus’ answer announce to those who heard Him (John 2.19)? This reply would be repeated to accuse Jesus at trial (Matthew 26.61, Mark 14.58) and would become a derision from the onlookers at the Cross (Matthew 27.40, Mark 15.29-30). But, was this Jesus’ ‘poking the bear’, so to speak? Was this announcement of His resurrection an initial statement of certainty that He would triumph in the end over their threats and, eventual, crucifixion of Him? Would Jesus’ second “loud cry” from the Cross (Matthew 27.50; Mark 15.37) declare His victory over satan’s evil system, like the male lion announcing his successful night of hunting? Jesus’ pronouncement would be a repeat of Omnipotent God declaring in arrears and in advance His victory over all of the gods of Egypt, in Exodus 12.12. Jesus IS Lord (Luke 2.11, Romans 10.9, Joel 2.32a, Philippians 2.11)!

MacArthur writes about the 46 years construction of the building (verse 20):
In 20/19 b.c. Herod the Great began a reconstruction and expansion [of the Temple completed by Jews returning from Babylonian captivity in 516 b.c.]. Workers completed the main part of the project in 10 years, but other parts were still being constructed even at the time Jesus cleansed the temple. Interestingly, the finishing touches on the whole enterprise were still being made at its destruction by the Romans along with Jerusalem in a.d. 70. The famous “Wailing Wall” is built on part of the Herodian temple foundation. (MacArthur, John 2.20)

John 2.11 & 22 tell us the reactions of the disciples to these two events. How were their mindsets changed? Remember that only four disciples were present with Jesus at the Feast and would have been among others experiencing His resurrection. They already knew Jesus was Omniscient (John 1.35-51). What characteristic of God did they learn in Cana and Jerusalem? What is your reaction? How will this study increase your faith and change your lifestyle? How do these two illustrations change your mindset about Jesus?

References

ESV. English Standard Version of the Holy Bible. www.olivetree.com.

MacArthur. MacArthur Study Bible Notes. www.olivetree.com.

Exodus 6.3 Again 180819

Praise God!!! Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com.