Archive for the ‘John’ Category

John 21:18-25

In John 21:18-25 Jesus gives Peter the promise that he’ll stand in his faith til the end. “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” Jesus promises Peter that his life will end in utter faithfulness, that in the end Peter will make a faithful stand for Jesus and be crucified.  He may have denied Jesus three times before this, but now Jesus makes it clear that he will stand in his faith to his own death on a cross. If Peter’s principle of life once was a self-reliance, from now on his principle of life will be the cross.

History shows that Peter was also crucified, but he demanded it not be the same way as Jesus so they crucified him upside down.  Peter was faithful to the very end. “This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God. And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”  Jesus wants Peter to know that he hasn’t disqualified himself, but is a beloved disciple.  But Peter was focused on the wrong thing.  He was worried about John. “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”

Jesus gets after Peter for his worry about John. Jesus’ words apply to us. Instead of worrying about what He will do or is doing with other believers, our focus should be on His command to follow him.  That’s the focus. “Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” We can’t get caught up in comparing ourselves to anyone else.  What Jesus cares about is what we do with what we know we need to do to be a Christ Follower.  “So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” We need to focus on how we follow Jesus, not worry about comparing ourselves with others.

John finishes his book making a couple key observations.  First, this book is a testimony of accuracy around the life of Jesus.  It is truth! “This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.” John was there and experienced it first hand.  But he also is honest and tells us there was much more that he didn’t capture.  “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” God’s works have no end, and the events are to continue as we obey Jesus’ command to follow Me. And so the journey continues…….

John 21:15-17

In John 21:15-17 Jesus has a very intimate interaction with Peter.  Jesus had met with Peter individually on the day of His resurrection, but a public restoration was also needed.  You’ll recall that Peter denied knowing Jesus three times on the eve of the crucifixion.  So Jesus is now rebuilding the important relationship they had together before that series of events. “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Jesus waited until the entire group had finished eating before He takes Peter on a journey to discover their relationship again.

Jesus began by asking a simple question: do you love me more than these?  It seems like a strange questions He asks Peter to compare his love for Jesus with that of the other disciples.  Remember that Peter had earlier claimed a very deep and all consuming love for Jesus.  Peter answers as you would expect. “He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” But Jesus response was maybe not what was expected.  For Peter to follow through with his love for Jesus, he must give himself to the service of God’s people.  It isn’t enough to say he loves Jesus.  Love needs to be lived out.

Jesus goes on to probe again. “He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” The first time Jesus asks about Peter’s love He tells him to ‘feed my lambs’.  This time Jesus instructs Peter to ‘tend my sheep’ which is a deepening responsibility in the service of the people around him.  But wait, there’s more. “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

This time Peter doesn’t really like the question.  After all he’s answered it twice already.  What really grieved Peter was the three-time repetition of the exact same question focused on his love and commitment to the Savior, because it was a plain reminder of his previous three-time denial on the evening Jesus was being arrested before His crucifixion.  It’s painful stuff.  Jesus allowed Peter a three-fold public affirmation of love to replace a three-fold denial, and gave him a three-fold challenge to serve those in his patch by feeding and tending to those around him.  That’s how we show our love for Jesus.  We serve people just as He did.  We show love as we love others.  That’s how Jesus knows any of us love Him!

John 21:7-14

In John 21:7-14 Jesus had just told the disciples to cast their net on the other side of the boat and all of a sudden after a night of catching nothing their nets were full to capacity.  John immediately puts two and two together recognizing Jesus.  “That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.”  John figured it out first, but Peter took the first move.  He jumps into the water and heads for Jesus on the shore.  Peter wasn’t waiting to help the rest of the crew drag in the fish they had just caught.  He was off immediately to see Jesus.

The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.” The rest were left behind to drag the fish into the boat.  Jesus was on shore and had a fire started so He could cook them breakfast.  “When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.”  Jesus is often seen eating with His disciples after His resurrection. This is a picture of intimate, friendly fellowship. Remember that He has just risen from the dead days earlier, and while they may have thought He was a ghost or something else, He is going to eat with them.

There is plenty of speculation about the number 153.  Scholars have argued it for centuries.  The truth is that all we know for certain is that 153 stands for the number of fish that they caught! We must always be careful of manufacturing “hidden meanings” in the Word of God. “Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn.” There were multiple miracles that happened when Jesus told them to cast the net on the other side of the boat.

  1. They caught fish at all
  2. There were many fish in the net – 153 in all
  3. The net was overloaded yet didn’t break
  4. They managed to get them all ashore

Once they got the fish on shore, “Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” There seems something unusual about the appearance of Jesus after His resurrection. Possibly it was a result of the beatings He endured at the cross, the scars of which remained at least in part. “Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.”  But Jesus was intent on serving them. “Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.” Third time in a charm for Jesus to be with His disciples and show them the victory!

John 21:1-6

In John 21:1-6 Jesus has revealed Himself twice to the disciples and now He chooses to do it again. “After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way.” He goes to their roots, as many were fishermen by trade before they followed Him, so he meets the disciples while they were doing their day jobs to which they had returned after His death.  We don’t know for sure why they had gone back to their boats. If they wanted to give up on the business of serving Jesus, it was bad; if they were providing for themselves and those near to them until Jesus told them what to do next, it would be fine.

Peter seems to be leading the charge as he usually was. “Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together.” He was with a half dozen of his disciple brethren.  Peter tells them he’s going out. “Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.” It was late in the day, and they were going to try and catch some fish. No matter what their reason was for returning to their fishing boats, their own efforts were futile. There was nothing in the nets.

They have been in the boats all night and caught nothing.  Jesus approaches as the sun is coming up, but they don’t recognize Him. “Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” He engages wiwth them and asks the obvious question.  Catch anything?  Of course He knew they had not, but He asks anyway. “They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So what’s the obvious thing to tell a set of fishermen who have fished all night without success?  Tell them to drop the nets again, only on the other side of the boat.

When you are unsuccessful at fishing, you don’t welcome questions about your progress. Jesus asked anyway. It’s interesting that there is no record of them questioning the direction Jesus had given.  Remember, they still haven’t recognized Him as the Savior.  But they followed His suggestion anyway. “So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.” All night with no luck.  Jesus comes and tells them to cast their nets on the other side and now, the nets are so full they can’t even bring them in.  Talk about a change of outcome.  It’s what happens when we are aligned with God’s plan.  Doing things His way always yields nets full of fish.

John 20:24-31

In John 20:24-31 Jesus has just revealed Himself as the risen Savior and released the Holy Spirit on them.  And He gave them the authority to impact the people they touched.  But one of the Twelve was not there when Jesus came, and Thomas is really struggling with Jesus as the resurrected king.  “But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.” He hears from the rest of the bunch that they had seen Jesus, and he just isn’t buying their story.  He has to see some evidence himself before he will believe.

Thomas, whom we often call doubting Tom, wants physical evidence. “But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.” Thomas is merely an unbeliever who will not accept the testimony of others. He throws down the gauntlet and wants proof.  So the doubting continues.  But then Jesus makes another appearance.  “Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” The proof begins when Jesus enters the room through locked doors.  No opening the door, just walk right through it.

Jesus takes on Thomas’ doubt head on.  He challenges Thomas to stick his finger into the wounds from the crucifixion.  “Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.” Jesus wants to make sure Thomas’ doubt is addressed so he can truly believe. Jesus repeats Thomas’ demands back to him word for word. This must have been very impressive to Thomas, and very convincing. Jesus also plainly commands him to cease his unbelief and to start believing.  And it works.  Thomas believes. “Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”

Jesus makes a point that faith shouldn’t always require us to see things. “Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.” There is a special promise blessing given to those who believe. The faith of Thomas is the climax of the book: Jesus has triumphed over sickness, sin, evil men, death and sorrow; now He conquers unbelief. But wait, there is more. “Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.” John captured the story of Jesus so that we can have life, and have it abundantly.

John 20:17-23

In John 20:17-23 Jesus has risen and just revealed Himself to Mary.  He gives her the task of going and telling the rest of His Followers that He has come alive. “Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.’” Jesus is pointing out a difference between His relationship with God and the disciples’ relationship with God. We can have a direct and meaningful relationship with God, but it isn’t anything like being God’s Son.  So Mary goes and tells the rest what she experienced. “Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: “I saw the Master!” And she told them everything he said to her.”

The fact that Jesus makes a woman the first witness of His resurrection is significant. The law courts of that day would not recognize the testimony of a woman, but Jesus did. This was a significant opportunity for her to shout it from the mountaintop. “Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.” The disciples were very gun shy of the religious leaders, fearing they would come after them next since they had successfully gotten rid of Jesus (at least they thought they had).

How did Jesus enter the room? We can’t explain it, but apparently resurrection bodies are not subject to the same limitations as our present bodies. We are told of five appearances in scripture of Jesus on the resurrection day:

  • to Mary Magdalene
  • to the women
  • to two on the road to Emmaus
  • to Peter
  • and here to ten of the disciples, Thomas being absent.

The Gospel of John tells of two of these five appearances. But the cat is out of the bag and Jesus is resurrected and now communicating with His Followers.  “The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.” Jesus is reconnecting with His people, and they are finally getting it.

Jesus quickly goes beyond the simple greetings.  After their desertion of Jesus on Friday, the disciples were probably expecting words of rebuke or blame. Instead, Jesus brought a word of peace and offered reconciliation to Himself. “Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?” Jesus offers His Followers the gift that was promised – the Holy Spirit.  And equally important He tells them the power that comes with the Holy Spirit at work in them – that they are empowered to even forgive sins.  A new life is ahead for the disciples, and Jesus is getting them started!

John 20:10-17

John 20:10-17 has Jesus out of the tomb discovered by Mary and some other women who notified Peter and John that went and verified that He was not there.  They hadn’t really figured out what had happened, but they went home. “No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.” That is, all except Mary.  “But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”

Mary was there dealing with the grief of losing Jesus.  The angels appear, and she engages with them.  This is one of the few places in the Bible where someone encounters angels and they are not stricken with fear. It shows that Mary was so grieved at the loss of Jesus that she was unaffected even by an appearance of angels. She answers their question of why she is weeping from her heart. “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.” There is still a complete disconnect between what Jesus had been telling His followers, and the tomb being empty.

Jesus is there and speaks to Mary. “Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”  Jesus is seeking her heart.  And she lays it out there.  She wants to take care of Jesus’ body the proper way. “She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.” Her assumption of Him being the gardener made since, as Jesus hadn’t revealed Himself yet.  But then He does.  He speaks to her in the way that connects and she immediately recognizes Him.  “Jesus said, “Mary. Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”

Her immediate response was to run to Him and grab on.  But Jesus stops her from that. Jesus had only to say one word, and all was explained. There is no other one word interaction that has as much impact and emotion as when He called out her name.  But she isn’t allowed to latch on as He was still in a state of ascension. This shows that the resurrection body of Jesus was different, yet similar to His pre-resurrection body. It was definitely real and tangible, and Jesus was not a phantom.  “Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.  Mary’s reaction was to hang on, but Jesus wants her to go and tell the others so His resurrection could come to reality!

John 20:1-9

In John 20:1-9 Jesus has been crucified and laid in a tomb.  It is early, and Mary goes to the tomb to check on the body. “Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance.” Other gospels tell she was not the only woman to come to the tomb that morning. At least three other women accompanied her. But Mary was the one who ran back and told the disciples about the empty tomb. “She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”

There is confusion as the body is gone.  Mary wasn’t wishing for a resurrection, and then hopefully imagined it. She had no thought of resurrection yet, and believed the body has been stolen. “Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in.” Peter and John, who calls himself ‘the other disciple’ take off running to the tomb.  John is faster and gets there first.  He peers in from the outside and sees the grave clothes laying there, but no body.

Peter finally gets there a bit behind John, and true to his nature, he heads right into the tomb.  “Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself.” He tinds that the cloths were still orderly and neat. I was as if the body “evaporated” out of the grave clothes. The neat, orderly arrangement of the grave clothes showed that this was no grave robbery and that something absolutely unique had happened in that now-empty tomb. Jesus didn’t rise and fight with the cloths He had been wrapped in.  God merely brought Him to life and left the clothes behind to show it happened.

John then decides to enter the tomb too.  “Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed.” Upon seeing the grave clothes and how they lay on the “bed” of the tomb, John believed that Mary’s report was true, and that something awesome and incredibly unique had happened. But so far, all we have is an empty tomb. Jesus is not where He had been placed a few days earlier. The apostles never emphasized an empty tomb, but a risen Lord. They knew Jesus had risen because they saw and touched the resurrected Christ.

John 19:38-42

In John 19:38-42 we finish the chapter on Jesus crucifixion. Customarily, the bodies of crucified criminals were left on their crosses to rot or be eaten by wild animals. But the Jews did not want a display like that during the Passover season.  The Roman soldiers were known to grant the bodies of executed men to friends or relatives for proper burial. So a couple of religious leaders who had secretly followed Jesus ministry come and ask for Jesus’ body. “Afterwards Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jewish leaders, boldly asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus’ body down; and Pilate told him to go ahead.” He has new found boldness now for some reason.

But it wasn’t just Joseph of Arimathea that wanted to take care of Jesus.  Another secret followers named Nicodemus came bringing spices to put with the body. “So he came and took it away. Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night, came too, bringing a hundred pounds of embalming ointment made from myrrh and aloes.”  Joseph and Nicodemus followed the burial customs of that day – the best they could, considering that they had very little time because the Sabbath was almost there.  “Together they wrapped Jesus’ body in a long linen cloth saturated with the spices, as is the Jewish custom of burial.”

Guzik writes “Joseph and Nicodemus served Jesus too late. Not too late to fulfill prophecy, not too late to be of thoughtful service to Jesus. But too late to satisfy their own timid hearts; too late to escape the painful regret of what they might have been and what they might have done for Jesus. May we never wait to give ourselves fully to Jesus.” The reality is that we are all sinners and timid like these two.  We may seek the truth about Jesus, but knowing about Him is not enough. We must know Him.  We must believe in Him.  We must make Him our own Savior and when we do He also becomes our Lord.  Following Jesus requires action.

A rich man like Joseph of Arimethea would probably have a tomb that was carved into solid rock; this tomb was in a garden near the place of crucifixion. “The place of crucifixion was near a grove of trees, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because of the need for haste before the Sabbath, and because the tomb was close at hand, they laid him there.” The tomb of Joseph of Arimathea that Jesus was laid in was close to the place of Jesus’ crucifixion. Tombs like this were very expensive. It was quite a sacrifice for Joseph of Arimathea to give his up – but Jesus would only use it for a few days!

John 19:28-37

In John 19:28-37 has Jesus on the Cross fulfilling the last prophecies before He dies an earthly death.  The time has come, and Jesus is now going to give up His place as a man to take on the place of Savior and Lord. He tells the soldiers that He is thirsty. “Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures said, “I’m thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so a sponge was soaked in it and put on a hyssop branch and held up to his lips.” Jesus didn’t accept a pain-numbing drink at the beginning of His ordeal (Mark 15:23), but now He accepts a taste of greatly diluted wine, to wet parched lips and a dry throat so He can make one final announcement to the world with a “great cry.”

Jesus makes the announcement that He has completed what God had sent Him to do. “When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished,” and bowed his head and dismissed his spirit.” Jesus’ final word is the cry of a winner. Jesus had finished the eternal purpose of the cross. It stands today as a finished work, the foundation of all Christian faith, as He paid in full the debt for our sin. No one took Jesus’ life from Him; He, in a manner unlike any man, gave up His spirit. Death had no righteous hold over the sinless Son of God. He stood in the place of sinners, but was never a sinner Himself. So He could not die unless He gave up His spirit.

It was the day before Sabbath, and the leaders didn’t want the three they had crucified hanging on the Cross for another day. “The Jewish leaders didn’t want the victims hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath at that, for it was the Passover), so they asked Pilate to order the legs of the men broken to hasten death; then their bodies could be taken down.” In order to cause death to come more quickly, they want to break legs and speed up the agony. They did exactly that with the other two men who were crucified on either side of Jesus, but when they came to Him, they saw there was no need as He was already dead having given up His spirit earlier.

This fulfilled a prophecy of His death in scripture as they didn’t do what was intended and did not break his legs. “So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus; but when they came to him, they saw that he was dead already, so they didn’t break his.” This was not how things normally went. But in doing this, the soldiers unknowingly fulfilled prophecy. “However, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and blood and water flowed out. I saw all this myself and have given an accurate report so that you also can believe.The soldiers did this in fulfillment of the Scripture that says, “Not one of his bones shall be broken,” and, “They shall look on him whom they pierced.”

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