God is Love – 1 John 3-4

1 John 3 begins by speaking of the difference between what we see in each other now, and what will be when we are in our spiritual “bodies.” Verse 2 says that “when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” He speaks of brotherly love again, but he makes certain to let us know that having love for our brothers and sisters is not a passive order. In verses 17-18, he says “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

In Chapter 4 , John continues to speak of love, with the famous “God is love” passage. Don’t be confused by the passages about spirits. John is not speaking of supernatural beings, but of men and (most importantly) false prophets.

/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 21, 1 John 1, 1 John 2, 1 John 3, 1 John 4

___________________

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.

 

 

 

 

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Back at the Sea of Galilee – John 21

In this final chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus appears to seven of the disciples that have gone fishing on the Sea of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee). Appearing to them 100 yards from shore at daybreak, they did not recognize Him until they cast their net out where He told them – and then were unable to haul it in, so great was the catch (verse 6). John must have at once been reminded of the similar incident in Luke 5:4-6, as he exclaimed to Peter that “It is the Lord!”

Verses 15-19 is the “feed my sheep” conversation between Jesus and Peter.  Much has been written and discussed about the two different Greek words for love (agape and phileo) that are in the text.  But the two words are used interchangeably in the book of John, and even throughout the Septuagint.  It is no more valid to make something different of this than the two different words this very same text uses for “feed” and even “sheep.”  There are only two things of significance.  One is that Peter denied Jesus three times; and though it grieved Peter (verse 17) that Jesus asked him whether He loved Him a third time, Jesus knew that it would also be somewhat of a comfort to Peter later.  The command to him to “feed my sheep” came from “the Good Shepherd” Himself (John 10:11,14) for Peter and the other apostles, and is carried forward to all elders to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you” (1 Peter 5:1-4, Acts 20:28).  With verses 18-19, Jesus foretells Peter’s being bound and led to his own 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 21, 1 John 1, 1 John 2, 1 John 3, 1 John 4

___________________

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.

 

 

 

 

Flogged, Crucified, Buried, and Risen! – John 19-20

Chapter 19 has the long detailed account of Jesus being scourged and crucified. The text which details his death does not to communicate as much about his agony through this process as we might think. There are secular descriptions of crucifixion that explain in great detail the very real torture that people endured through such a death. John instead puts the fous on how it fulfilled the prophecies and, of course, God’s will.

When death finally comes, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus take command of his body for burial. It is fitting that two members of the Jewish rulers that had been so against him were His disciples. Notice in verse 39 that the amount of myrrh  and aloes that Nicodemus brought amounted to about 75 pounds!

After the resurrection in chapter 20, Jesus – as He had told the disciples in Matthew 26:32 that He would meet them there – would be with them at the Sea of Galilee, and at a mountain that He directs them to.  But several other events occur before and after this, the details of which are interspersed throughout the gospels in Matthew 28 and Luke 24.  And events in a single chapter are in some cases separated by days, and even weeks, as Jesus remained for forty days before the ascension.)

In the evening of the day of the resurrection, verse 19 tells us, the disciples had the doors locked where they were “for fear of the Jews.”  But Jesus comes and stands among them.  This is not to imply that the risen Lord was now some disembodied spirit.  But a locked door was certainly no challenge to the Lord, who had raised the dead.  He showed them His hands and His side’ and in verses 21-23, John gives his account of a foretaste of the Holy Spirit to come to them when He leaves.   Verse 23 confirms what He told them in Matthew 18:18.

The “doubting Thomas” verses are next as Thomas was not with the others on the above occasion.  When the others told Thomas they had seen the Lord, he said “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”  Eight days later, Jesus again enters where they are locked in and He has Thomas do exactly those things.  When Thomas acknowledges Him as the Lord, Jesus says “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Though there still remains one chapter in the gospel of John, he ends this chapter by stating that Jesus did many wondrous things that were not written in his gospel.  But he says it was written “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

/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.

 

 

 

 

Meeting Pilate – John 17-18

In chapter 17, Jesus prays first for himself (verses 1-5), for His disciples (verses 6-19), and then for all believers to come (verses 20-26). He states in verse 4 that He has glorified God on earth “having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (meaning that He did not fail to setup His kingdom as some have claimed – or anything else for that matter). He gave up the glory that He had with God since before the world existed (verse 5), and now asks God to glorify Him in His presence (after the resurrection), which will also achieve the result of the Son glorifying the Father.

As He prays for His disciples, He notes in verse 12 that He has guarded them and not one has been lost other than “the Son of destruction” (Judas) – which fulfilled the Scripture (Psalm 41:9):

“Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”

Verses 6, 11 and 26’s use of God’s name is the manifestation of His character and will that Jesus made known to them through His teaching and His actions. In verses 20-26, He prays for all who believe in Him, so that they may be with Him to see the the glory that He had “before the foundation of the world” (for all eternity). Those who believe know that God sent Him. They will know God through the Son; and the love God has for His son will be in them through Jesus.

Having finished the Farewell discourse, including His prayer, Jesus and His disciples went across the Kidron brook into a garden in chapter 18. John does not identify Gethsemane as Matthew and Mark do (Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32). But he does say in verse 2 that Judas knew the place where Jesus would be because He often met there with His disciples. And we know from several scriptures (Luke 21:37 and Luke 22:39, for example) that it was His custom to go to the Mount of Olives at night. Knowing that this was the time, Jesus came forward to the soldiers and officers of the Pharisees that Judas had brought. Much commentary has been written about verse 6 (“When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground”) – but we just do not know exactly what happened there. Clearly however, this was a significant response that we would not have expected from Jesus’ captors. But it really does seem appropriate for the Son of God at this hour in His life.

Verses 15-17 contain the account of Peter’s denial. Though we are not told, the “other disciple” mentioned in verses 15-16 is probably John himself (the disciple that Jesus loved – as in John 20:2). John is the only one of the four gospels that gives us the account of Jesus going first to Annas. He had been High Priest from 6-15 A.D., but had been deposed by Valerius Gratus, the former Roman prefect of Judea (Josephus Antiquities 18.26, 34, 95). But the position stayed in the family – currently his son-in-law, Caiaphas. Since the position had traditionally been one that was life-long, Annas was still considered a High Priest by many Jews. Jesus was then taken to Caiaphas. John does not record the events of that encounter, but the synoptic gospels do (Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:53-65, and Luke 22:66-71). It was Caiaphas that had suggested that Jesus should die back in John 11:49-51.

From there, Jesus was taken to the praetorium – the Roman governor’s residence – to appear before Pilate. In verse 31, Pilate wants them to “judge him by your own law.” But the Roman government had supposedly taken away the Sanhedrin’s right to capital punishment (though clearly they exercised exceptions to this, as with Stephen in Acts 7:57-60), and they wanted Him put to death. Besides, as verse 32 reminds us, it was the Roman method of execution that would fulfill the scripture (Isaiah 52:13, John 12:32-33). When Pilate speaks with Jesus asking what He had done and whether He was a kink, Jesus lays aside all doubt as to what type of Kingdom He had come to establish in verse 36:

“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Pilate still tries to avoid the responsibility for their blood lust, but he lacks the courage to go against the crowd. So he offers to free either Jesus or the known criminal Barabbas, no doubt thinking they would choose the latter.

But such was not to be. Jesus took the place of all of us, including Barrabas.

/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 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.