The Helper – John 16

Jesus’s continued farewell discourse in chapter 16 adds to His warning of the persecution they will face noting that they will be put out of the synagogues. Then the shocking statement that people will kill His disciples in the belief that they serving God by doing so. Indeed, one who will do that very thing (Saul of Tarsus) will become an apostle.

He acknowledges their coming sorrow that He is leaving, but says that He must go for the Helper – the Holy Spirit – to come and guide them. “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment” – means that many who do not believe will be given hope because of their repentance. In verse 21, Jesus makes the analogy of a woman giving birth (“she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world”). The statement that their sorrow will turn into joy means that once Jesus is resurrected and the Holy Spirit comes, their full realization of what has been born will replace their sorrow with joy (compare verses 20-21).

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

John 16, John 17, John 18, John 19, John 20

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Vinedresser – John 14-15

Jesus continues His farewell discourse in chapter 14 by softening the blow a bit after having told His chosen ones that He is leaving them. Verse 2 is translated in ways in some versions that confound the meaning. The King James says it in such a way as to make people think they will have their own mansion in heaven. The ESV (and NASB) simply says “In my Father’s house are many rooms (dwelling places),” not intending to convey that space is small, but to drive home the point that we are going to live with God – not separated from Him. Jesus is telling them that they will follow Him, and He will prepare a place for them.

Thomas points out that since they do not know where He is going, they do not know the way. Jesus then said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In Acts 9:2, Christians are for the first time described as belonging to “The Way,” a term which is repeated in scripture as well as by secular historians (such as Josephus Flavius). It is hard to imagine that the term did not come from these words of Jesus.

The vineyard references in chapter 15 are deeply embedded in the Old Testament as a symbol for Israel, especially in two vineyard songs in Isaiah (Isaiah 5:1-7 and Isaiah 27:2-6). But Israel failed in bearing fruit. God as the vinedresser is taken from the first vineyard song. In that passage, God is depicted tending His vineyard, but the vineyard produced wild grapes (unrighteousness). Jesus is the true vine, and His disciples are the branches. The fruit is the outward signs and effect on the world of the Christian life in those branches. Those who do not bear fruit are not abiding in Jesus – not being true disciples, perhaps just going through some of the motions. Verse 7 (“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”) is another important point to remember about prayer – but abiding in Him means that our prayers reflect His will.

As Jesus again commands them to love each other as He has loved them, He tells them they are His friends,not just servants; and because of that He has made known to them the things of the Father, and the Holy Spirit will come to guide them. He also warns that just as He was persecuted they will also be persecuted. The “word that is written in their Law” Jesus referred to being fulfilled in verse 25 comes from Psalm 69:4 and Isaiah 35:19.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

John 11, John 12, John 13, John 14, John 15

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Preparing for the End – John 12-13

In chapter 12, John’s account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem during the final days, we get some more details, including the account of Mary anointing Jesus (verse 3). Some commentators get this confused with a similar event in Luke 7:35-39, but that is a different woman and occasion. Verse 7 seems to mean that Mary had kept the ointment to use to prepare Jesus for burial – but this was the time to use it. In verses 4-6, we learn from John that Judas had been stealing money from the money bag he was charged with carrying. 3oo denarii would be almost a year of a laborer’s wages. The expensive nard (from spikenard) was imported from northern India.

John quotes Isaiah 53:1 in verse 38, and Isaiah 6:10 in verse 40, as he notes the continued unbelief of many despite the signs Jesus had given them. In verses 44-50, Jesus tells them that He has come to save the world – those who are not blinded by the hardness of their hearts. Those who reject Him are rejecting God and the light that He has sent into the world. Even miracles will not convince those who are bent on self-deception.

Chapter 13 begins the second half of the Gospel of John, and the first chapter of what is known as Jesus’ farewell discourse. As the Feast of the Passover approaches, Jesus knows that His time with the twelve is short. This was a time and a land where people would walk very long distances on sandy, dusty, and often considerably unsanitary roads wearing sandals. It was the custom then for people to arrange ahead of time to have water available for the washing of the feet of their guests. Washing the feet of another person was the work of servants. So when Jesus began washing their feet, Peter at first objected. But Jesus told him “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” They do understand His humbleness because He has been teaching them for a long time, but they will not fully understand this act until after His crucifixion. But He does want them to think about it – so they will recall that it was important to Jesus.

In verse 12, when He had finished, He said ““Do you understand what I have done to you?” There would be no point to that question unless there was a deeper meaning to what was done. That meaning is in verse 16 (“a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.”). He is their teacher and He is the one who is “sending” them into the world. He did this to serve them. They should serve each other according to their needs. The words from verse 16 will be repeated to them in John 15:20, and they have already heard them in Matthew 10:24. On both of those occasions, it was to tell them to expect to be treated as He was by others. Here, it is to teach them to serve others.

Then Jesus told them that one of them would betray Him. In verse 27, when He tells Judas to do it quickly, the others still do not realize what is taking place. He then gives them their “new commandment” in verses 34-35 to love each other as He has loved them, as He takes this opportunity to say goodbye for now. Peter, still not understanding, declares that he will lay down his life for him. But Jesus breaks the terrible news to him that he will deny Jesus three times.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

John 11, John 12, John 13, John 14, John 15

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Raising Lazarus – John 11

When Jesus received word that Lazarus is ill, he obviously knew that he was going to die. So some Bible versions are confusing in verse 4. The New American Standard has the best translation – “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Verse 6 may mean that Jesus wanted to give the sisters time to mourn after the death of their brother before He arrived to raise him – all the more effective when the Lord’s power over death is demonstrated. Verses
9-10 are difficult to understand. The most likely meaning is that since He is the light of the world, those who seek to kill Him will not be able to do so until his “day” – His time among them – is over. His disciples do not understand in verse 11 when He says “Lazarus has fallen asleep,” so He tells them plainly in verse 14 that he has died, and that He is glad for their sakes, so
that they will believe. Their witness of Him raising Lazarus will be a powerful memory for them.

After He raised Lazarus, the Jews that did not want to believe that He was the Christ went to the Pharisees to tell them what had happened. Their concern about people believing in Jesus as the Messiah was based on the same misguided expectation that the coming of the Messiah would mean he would be a powerful political and military leader. A Messiah that would lead believers in a revolt against Roman rule would result in the coming of the Romans to crush it and remove the leaders (and thus, the Sanhedrin itself) from any position of power. Caiaphas, the high priest of that time (about 18 – 36 AD), proposed that killing Jesus would be best for them all (verse 50). His prophecy in the following verses was unknowingly very foretelling of His resurrection and its effect on God’s people.

Jesus did not walk freely among the Jews after that (verse 54); and in verse 56, many were wondering if He would come to the Passover feast at all. Of course He would – He always followed God’s commandments.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

John 11, John 12, John 13, John 14, John 15

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Good Shepherd – John 9-10

In chapter 9, Jesus passed a man who was born blind, some of Jesus’ disciples ask a question in verse 2 that seems strange to most of us now – “who sinned, this man or his parents…?” But this mistaken belief about sin and suffering was not uncommon; and we see in verse 34 that the religious leaders that opposed Jesus held the view that the man was born in sin. We know differently, and Ezekiel 18:20 specifically says otherwise, so they should have known as well. Jesus corrects them, letting them know in verses 3-4 that his disability will be used for the glory of God.

We know (and have already read of specific examples) that Jesus could have given the man his sight without even touching him. Some writers have postulated several theories as to why He used the mud that He made from His spittle, before sending the man to the pool of Siloam to wash. Some see a symbolic connection between the scripture’s use of the Verb for the word “anoint” to describe how Jesus applied it to his eyes (“Christ” and “Messiah” mean “anointed one”). Others see Jesus purposely making mud (or clay) using his spittle as an analogy to kneading dough, in order to challenge the Pharisees. But we really do not know. There was purpose in everything that Jesus did; and as this was once again on the Sabbath, the point He was making no doubt had its desired effect at that time on those around Him – and the religious leaders that it angered.

At any rate, there is division among these religious leaders at one point (verse 16); and his parents are sent for, and questioned. They confirmed that the man was their son and that he had been born blind. But despite the previously mentioned division, the leaders had made it known that anyone who said that Jesus was the Christ (Messiah), they would be put out of the synagogue. So the man’s parents in verses 21-23 seem to be disingenuous as to knowing how he gained his vision; and they pass the buck back to their son. The blind man is interviewed by the Pharisees and other religious leaders for the second time, and was “cast out” of the synagogue for his comments in verses 30-33. He found it amazing that they did not know where Jesus came from.

In chapter 10, Jesus gives us the “I am the good shepherd” sermon (verses 10-18). In verses 22-39, he stirs up even more anger, starting with “I and the father are one.”  And by the end of the chapter, he tells them in no uncertain terms that he is the son of God.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

John 6, John 7, John 8, John 9, John 10

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Before Abraham Was – John 8

John 7:53 – John 8:11 is another of those few passages that are in dispute. Again, no doctrine is changed whether you believe the passage is authentic or not. The earliest manuscripts do not contain  the passage, so the ESV puts it in brackets.

Jesus says several notable things in this chapter that are often  quoted, such as “I am the light of the world” (verse 12), and “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (verse 32). And let’s not forget about him telling the Jewish leaders present in verse 44 that “you are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.” But he really set them off in verses 48-59, where he ends up saying “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” This passage completely blows away any argument that Jesus never said he was deity.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

John 6, John 7, John 8, John 9, John 10

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Bread of Life – John 6-7

In the sixth chapter of John, perhaps the greatest of Jesus’s miracles occurred – the feeding of the five thousand. Of course, walking on water was not a small feat by any means. But his “Bread of Life” sermon was quite remarkable. When speaking to the Jews about “eating his flesh” and “drinking his blood,” most (including the twelve) would not fully understand it until later. One meaning is obvious to us as a reference to the Lord’s supper – which he had not yet instituted. The other would be understandable to those who could discern his parables.

In chapter 7, the scribes and Pharisees sent officers to arrest Jesus, But it was not time yet. Don’t miss verse 24, which says “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” God have us minds to be able to judge what is right and what is wrong by way of His word. The “judge not” verse that everyone is so fond of using to excuse every sort of sin does not, in fact, do so.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

John 6, John 7, John 8, John 9, John 10

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Stirring Up Water – John 5

Chapter 5 is a great example of how John offers proof of the deity of Christ. But for some people, one of the most striking things about the chapter is the fact that verse 4 is missing from some translations. There are a great many reliable manuscripts that do not contain the verse – and the ESV does not contain it either. The controversial verse omitted says

for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred the water: whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had

It just does not seem consistent with the way the Lord chose miracles to be performed during the time of the Jesus’s ministry. But to complicate matters further, verse 7 is in all the manuscripts, and it reads:

The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.

Once again, the good thing about these sorts of irregularities is 2) there are very very few of them and b) none of them matter as far as doctrine is concerned. Nobody’s salvation depends on verse 4.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

John 1, John 2, John 3, John 4, John 5

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Living Water – John 3-4

Verse one of chapter 3 says that Nicodemus, the Pharisee, was a “ruler of the Jews,” which would make him a member of the Sanhedrin – the Jewish governing council. In fact, one of the other two places he is mentioned is in John 7:50, as there is division among them concerning arresting Jesus. Nicodemus states his belief that Jesus is sent from God because of the signs that he did, confirming that Jesus did many more miracles than were written in the gospel, as John states in John 20:30-31. Nicodemus seems to be trying to understand what Jesus means by being born again in a physical manner. But Jesus is speaking of being re-born by the Spirit by way of baptism (Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:12-13).

English: Christ and the woman of Samaria at Ja...

English: Christ and the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s Well (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The phrase “God so loved the world” is verse 16, followed by the other references to the world are often overlooked in their significance – not only for salvation being open to all, but the declaration of God’s love for all the world, not just the people of Israel.

In order to get to Galilee from Judea, one had to either go through Samaria or cross over the Jordan to go around it on the east side. A strict Jew would do the latter to avoid being defiled by setting foot on Samaritan soil. After the Assyrians captured Samaria, the Assyrian king brought foreigners from various places in to settle in 722 BC (2 Kings 17:24). Some Jews remained and intermarried with these foreigners, and the animosity between this mixed race of people and the Jews grew strong over time.

I chapter 4 Jesus, who had come to seek and save the lost, would naturally not avoid these people. As He approaches Jacob’s well, verse 6 indicates His humanity by saying that He was weary from the journey. Jesus intentionally turns the subject of the conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well to her “husband” in verses 17-19. His thorough knowledge of her history is enough to convince her that He may be who He says He is in verse 26, when Jesus makes a rare admission that He is the Messiah. After she told others, many came from the town and believed by their own encounters with Jesus that He was the “Savior of the world” (verse 42).

When His disciples return in verse 31, Jesus gives them a lesson about sowing and reaping in the kingdom in verses 34-38. He points out that the sowers and reapers can rejoice together now, as new believers are brought into His kingdom.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

John 1, John 2, John 3, John 4, John 5

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Word and His Miracle- John 1-2

John’s gospel is both previewed and summarized in chapter one by the message that Jesus is the Son of God. reference to Jesus as “the Word” has meaning throughout the Old Testament. Two of many examples are seen as God brings things into existence by His very Word (Genesis 1:3), or accomplishes whatever His purpose may be by His Word, which He sends out (Isaiah 55:10-11). The Greek word “logos” is what is translated as “word,” and it had a special meaning to the Greeks of the day. It signified the bridge between the transcendent, or spiritual, to the physical. john’s use of it here is quite appropriate in light of the aforementioned passages.

Jesus meets John the Baptist

Jesus meets John the Baptist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John moves later in the chapter to the testimony of John the Baptist. In verses 29-34, this John identifies Jesus as the “Lamb of God” – which they would not yet fully understand – and gives evidence of his own special revelation from God, concerning His son. In verses 19-23, John the Baptist,appearing before the priests and then the Pharisees, denied that he himself was the Christ, or Elijah. “The Prophet” that they ask him about could be a misunderstanding by them of the promise of a “new prophet like me” to lead them, which Moses spoke of in Deuteronomy 18:15-16. He leaves no doubt in verse 23 though, that his baptism is to prepare the way for the Messiah, as he clearly states that he is the one referred to in Isaiah 40:3. The chapter ends with Jesus calling the first of His disciples, some of which He undoubtedly already had a relationship with.

The event of the wedding at Cana in chapter 2 is where Jesus performed His first miracle. Some make reference to this as an argument for social drinking, but it would be safe to say that the Lord would not be providing a means for people to become drunk with wine. For Jesus to have done so would have been a sin (Habakkuk 2:15); and the point of this scripture is found in examining the miracle (or sign, as John refers to it) itself. There were six stone jars, each holding 20-30 gallons. Note that verse 7 says that He had the servants fill the jars to the brim with water – nothing could have been poured into them afterward, and Jesus never touched them. Running out of wine at a wedding feast would be particularly awkward.

Addressing His mother as “Woman” in verse 4 would seem disrespectful to people today, but such was not the case in the language of the day. It was a term of respectful distance. Note that the anger is righteous anger, as Jesus drives out the merchants and money changers. The temple area spoken of here would be the surrounding area of the temple itself that would be used for worship as well by worshiping Gentiles. So these traders would be disrupting that worship. In verse 18, the Jews present questioned Jesus as to what His authority for doing this was. He answered “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Of course, they did not understand that He was talking about His own body – not the temple He had just cleansed. But verse 22 confirms that His disciples would remember after the crucifixion.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

John 1, John 2, John 3, John 4, John 5

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.