Tag Archives: Jesus

Wednesday with John — Eyes to See

John 19…So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
The chief priests of the Jews have their victory!  Pilate has agreed to the purposeful destruction of Jesus. In this place of death there are three men being crucified but Pilate chooses an inscription for only one — “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The Jews object to the wording but Pilate will not change what he has written in Aramaic [Hebrew], Latin and Greek.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
The Sovereignty of God allows Him to select anyone He chooses to complete His plan to identify Jesus.

What does it say about people?
God choses those who complete His plan to identify Jesus even if they happens to be someone who is only a powerful, pragmatic pawn of providence.[a]  

Is there truth here for me?
There’s a repeated pattern of “three” in the Bible that relates to God’s own identity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It begins in the book of Genesis.  God had completed a perfect creation as He spoke the life of man into being, “let us make man in our image, after our likeness”…and it was good…for a brief time.  Remember some of the other threes?  The iconic three of faith, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Jesus’s three temptations, and Peter’s three denials?  Three times Pilate saw something in Jesus that made him unable to declare Jesus’s guilt but still he accepted the crowd’s hysterical condemnation of Him.  Pilate put that controversial sign the Jews objected to on Jesus’s cross — “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” — but is unwilling to defy them to save Jesus’s life.  People would read what Pilate had written in three languages; words that would either cause them to mock the man they saw pinned there or shock them into the realization that the sin of mankind had once again ruined any hopes they might have pinned on Jesus.  But there is another three to this story!  In three days Jesus will be the visible evidence of God’s miraculous intervention to restore people to His perfect creation. 

[a] Pilate

 

Wednesday with John —

John 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Jesus’s brutally beaten body has been clothed as a grisly parody of a king to be brought before the crowd again.  Pilate asks a troublesome question; is this your king?  But the Jews have finally made a real charge against Jesus that frightens him: “He has made himself the Son of God.”  Pilate pleads with Jesus to defend Himself.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
When Jesus finally speaks, His words seem more like assurance to Pilate than a defense of Himself.  “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.  Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

What does it say about people?
The only person in this story that isn’t trying to manipulate this situation is Jesus.

Is there truth here for me
Pilate is “even more afraid” and hoping the crowd will release both Jesus, and him, from this death sentence because “every Roman of that day knew of stories of the gods or their offspring appearing in human guise.”[a]  

[a] Leon Lamb Morris

Wednesday with John — Shared Identity

John 17:20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Jesus prays that the truth He’s spoken to “these” He’s kept in the Father’s name will endure for “those who will believe in me through their word.”  He’s giving each of them a part of His own “glory” to unite them with the Father “even as we are one” so “the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”  

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus is asking the Father to grant their shared one-ness to those who “may believe that you have sent me”… in the future. 

What does it say about people?
It’s not unusual that people want to establish their identity with one another.  It’s exactly what Jesus prayed for us.  What is unusual is the ways we’ve chosen to do it.

Is there truth here for me?
Jesus’s trust is complete; that if “these” people [us] can experience that one-ness with each other they will confirm the reality of His ministry to the world.  The Father is going to answer that prayer by choosing to make His followers “perfectly one” in a very distinctly unique way…because of their shared identity with Jesus.

Sunday with John — Separated

John 17:11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified[set apart] in truth.  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Jesus is guarding all those He keeps in the Father’s name so that while they are in the world His joy might be fulfilled in them.  For our sake He has dedicated Himself to giving us the truth that sanctifies and separates us from influence of the evil one.  

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus is going to His Father.  He has faithfully spoken the Word of truth to those the Father has declared His.

What does it say about people?
This world is a proving ground for the people of Jesus to define their identify in Him as separate from the lie of the evil one who says the world is his.

Is there truth here for me?
The world is not the left-behind place the devil would like us to believe it is.  The Father has never given up control over His creation and His world.  From Day One of Creation, the world was been a place of separation: the light from the darkness, Heaven from earth, land from seas, day from night and man from beasts, “and God saw everything he had made and behold, it was very good.”   But it wasn’t nirvana.  God wasn’t creating a puppet world.  It’s the devil’s lie that in this world we are under his control.  God’s choice for the free “will” of man was to show them the clear separation between the devil’s lie and the truth that Jesus is the way we “also may be sanctified in [His]. truth” because we are “not of the world.”   

Sunday with John — Connection

John 14:8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Philip is unable to comprehend the connection between his belief in Jesus and the truth of Jesus’s connection to the Father.  Jesus cannot comprehend how these faithful disciples who have heard His words and seen His works still cannot see the separation between their belief in Him “Lord show us the Father, and it is enough for us” and the truth He has already taught them, “I’m am in the Father and the Father is in me.”  Addressing that separation is the last part of their preparation for the future. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater than these will he do…Because I am going to the Father”…I will give you “more” than the comfort of belief, you will have the truth of the Father “glorified in the Son” who will always respond “If you ask me anything in my name.”

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? 

What does it say about people?
The same “Lord” Philip is now speaking to is the one he recognized in John 1:45 as “him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote.”  What Jesus is confronting Philip with is he hasn’t yet made the connection that He is also the “Father” Philip is asking Him to show them.  

Is there truth here for me?
A relationship with Jesus is the foundation of our belief but that belief receives it’s power through its connection to the truth of Jesus’s identity as God.

Wednesday with John – Obedience

John 12:44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandmentwhat to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
It isn’t the still small voice this time, “Jesus cried out!”  Listen up…I am the Light God has given for you to believe and see Him.  I’m not your judge, the Word God has given me to speak will be your judge. My commandment is to say and speak His Words in order “to save the world.”  “His commandment is eternal life”…yours!

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus assurance to Himself is His obedience to His father’s commandment…“For I have not spoken on my own authority.” Of course that‘s His assurance to us too.

What does it say about people?
Is there anyone alive who can’t hear Jesus’s frustration in the words of that first phrase “And Jesus cried out”?  Is there any believer alive who doesn’t know first-hand the frustration of longing for someone we care about to believe, hear and accept the truth from Jesus about life from God’s viewpoint of forever?

Is there truth here for me?
This exercise of answering these questions each post is where I often learn the most.  I want to assure God of my commitment to Jesus so I write.  I want to assure you of the reality of Jesus so I write.  There is another truth I saw this morning about why I spend so many hours each week writing. I saw Jesus assuring Himself because of His obedience.  I write every day to assure myself I am obediently learning to be like more like Jesus and writing to you challenges me to find the truth.a  I have one prayer before I press “publish” each time.  Lord do not let your Word be voided by my thoughts.  If there is error, correct me and let it be so obvious to the one who reads that it compels them to find the truth in your Word.

a So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 2 Peter 1:12 NIV

Sunday with John — Need

John 12:37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” [Is 53:1] 39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” [Is 6:10] 41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. 42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
The Sovereign Lord has set guidelines to control what is seen, heard and believed by every heart.  John records some of the most difficult Words in the Bible from Isaiah; that God will withhold Himself from those who’s heart’s desire would only lead them to abuse His Grace. God alone knows exactly who to reveal Himself to.  He alone knows the hearts that have created a lord of their own ideas to give them what they want.  Those hearts are not interested in wanting God who desires to give them what they need “for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
God sets the rules. His heart’s desire is to accept confession and heal but His perfect and timeless knowledge knows the reality of each heart.

What does it say about people?
It’s possible to know the reality of the Lord enough to know what His heart’s desires are, without understanding He knows the truth of what your heart wants and acts accordingly to preserve the integrity of His Grace.

Is there truth here for me?
I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard the phrase “wants versus needs.” Usually it’s been cherry-picking that phrase in relation to accumulating “stuff.”  John and Isaiah have thrown Grace into that picture. Can I accept admitting my need for Jesus is part of the gift of Grace rather than a crutch or weakness?  Can you?  Now I think I see what Isaiah saw; when I confess my need for Jesus, the wants of my heart change and I experience the reality of “the glory that comes from God”…His Grace for my need…Jesus.

Sunday with John – Evidence

John 12:9 When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
Jesus and Lazarus are attracting too much attention. The people have heard of the power of Jesus’s life to destroy death and come to see for themselves.  They’ve believed. The chief priests have also seen…and believe death will preserve their power and have “made plans” to destroy life. 

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus is there.  He is part of the large crowd.

What does it say about people?
People have heard of Lazarus having being raised from the dead.  They have seen Lazarus.  He’s the confirmation of what they’ve heard and they are “going away and believing in Jesus.”

Is there truth here for me?
The phrase “going away” is what has alarmed the chief priests.  Going away…from obedience to a powerful, well-developed and highly refined legal system designed to be their evidence that God verifies them. “Many of the Jews are going away” to follow this man, who the priests have identified as an itinerant outlaw, because they have believed Jesus is their evidence that verifies God.

Sunday with John + Abundant

John 11:38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
The mourners are standing around at the tomb.  The tomb is the physical evidence of  the separation between life and death.  There’s been a proper burial so for Jesus to ask for the stone to be taken away seems shocking.  There are rules that must be observed once the tomb is sealed. These mourners are about to see Jesus challenge the power of death with the glory of God…life.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus has promised Martha that belief would let her see the glory of God.   Jesus prays aloud for the crowd.  They need to hear and understand the miracle Jesus is about to do is undeniable proof for them that He has been sent by His Father to overcome the defilement of death with God’s glory…life for Lazarus.

What does it say about people?
The people have come to mourn Lazarus.  There’s an unusual backstory here; moving that stone away is risky business.  Jewish law stated mere nearness to a corpse could render a Jew unclean [Numbers 19] and sometimes the tomb stone would be painted white as courtesy alert for passers-by to take a wide berth because the defilement of death was catching and one person could pass it to another. 

Is there truth here for me?
“Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb.”  It wasn’t the mourning of Lazarus that troubled Jesus, it was that death had the power to defile life that was meant to represent the glory of God.  Jesus came to this open tomb to prove He was both the Power of God that could raise Lazarus and the Glory of God, who by a simple two-word command “unbind him” could overcome the defilement of death with abundant life.

Wednesday with John + Decreed

John 9:27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
The confrontational debate continues between the ex-blind man and the Pharisees. The healed man confronts these authorities with his own questions. “Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”  We know so little about this man but he has some extraordinary knowledge about God, sinners, and worship the Pharisees find irritating.  “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him… If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”  His words identify what his heart has experienced just as the words of the Pharisees identify the experience of theirs; “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us? And they cast him out.”

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
How odd that this passage points out such a controversial truth.  God reveals Himself more in the man who responded to Jesus but has not yet “seen” Him face to face than from the response of his accusers who claim to be God’s experts.

What does it say about people?
The Pharisees have responded to this man’s restored sight with disbelief as a way to discredit Jesus…and therefore God.  Who is more in need of “sight” now: the man who was blind but now sees what he doesn’t know OR the Pharisees who think they already know what they really don’t see?

Is there truth here for me?
I understand the imagery in this passage and those Pharisees because, God forgive me, I was born to love the rules more than the people who break them.a

† Original sin has decreed we are all truly born blind.
† Life has decreed we teeter between two options; sin and salvation.
† Jesus has decreed He came so we might see.
† I have decreed “I have been crucified with Christ.
It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me!
Ω The Word has decreed
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
Amen!

a https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-making-of-a-modern-pharisee