Archive for the ‘John’ Category

John 1:43-51

John 1:43-51 has the story of Jesus continuing.  Jesus had just met up with Andrew and John, who both had brought their brothers to meet the Master.  Now Jesus is moving on to Galilee, and we see the same type of interaction.  “When he got there, he ran across Philip and said, Come, follow me”.  Philip was from the same hometown as Andrew and Peter – Bethsaida – which is interesting in itself.  But Jesus runs into Philip in the course of life and says three simple words to him: ‘Come follow me’.  Sometimes we are looking for a call from the Lord that is complete with bells and whistles and bright lights.  Jesus doesn’t necessarily work that way.  He simply asks us to come and follow.

It is interesting what Philip does after he meets Jesus.  “Philip went and found Nathanael and told him, We’ve found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It’s Jesus, Joseph’s son, the one from Nazareth”!  Philip doesn’t pause, or wonder, or stop at Go and collect $200 (a Monopoly illustration for those who play that game).  He meets Jesus, and just like Andrew, he went and got someone else who needed to meet the Christ.  He didn’t keep the relationship to himself.  He didn’t get what he could from Jesus before sharing him with another.  He met, learned and believed who He was and immediately, without any hesitation, got his friend and dragged him to Jesus.

Guzik says this chapter shows us four ways that people come to know Jesus:

  • Andrew came to Jesus because of the preaching of John.
  • Peter came to Jesus because of the witness of his brother.
  • Phillip came to Jesus as a result of the direct call of Jesus.
  • Nathaniel came to Jesus as he overcame personal prejudices by a personal encounter with Jesus.

When Nathanael heard Philip’s request, he had some serious doubts.  “Nathanael said, “Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding. But Philip said, Come, see for yourself”.  Philip didn’t try to argue the point – he merely asks his friend to come and see.  Jesus can do the convincing, all we need to do is bring people to meet Him.

The rest of the process of Nathanael coming to know Jesus was all Jesus.  “When Jesus saw him coming he said, “There’s a real Israelite, not a false bone in his body.” Nathanael said, “Where did you get that idea? You don’t know me.” Jesus answered, “One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!” Jesus said, “You’ve become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet”!  Jesus connected with Nathanael and brought him over the line through a personal encounter.  As Christ Followers, it isn’t our job to try and save people.  In fact, we can’t.  But we can do what Andrew and Philip both demonstrated – bring folks in our patch to meet Jesus.  He’ll take it from there.  All we need to do is to follow Him and then introduce others to the Savior!


John 1:35-42

John 1:35-42 has the Baptizer continuing to proclaim Jesus as Lord.  John was walking with a couple of his disciples who were observing him. Remember that a disciple is a learner, and often their learning comes by following or sitting at the feet of the disciple maker.  “The next day John was back at his post with two disciples, who were watching. He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb”. John demonstrates his humility in pointing them to Jesus.  No pride or protecting his following.  He knows well his role is to point everyone to Jesus.

Jesus all of a sudden now has a couple folks following him.  Rather than ignore them or send them away, He engages.  “The two disciples heard him and went after Jesus. Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, “What are you after?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying”? He replied, “Come along and see for yourself.” They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day. It was late afternoon when this happened”. Note that Jesus invited them to be a part of His life. Jesus didn’t life a self centered private life. Jesus taught and discipled others by allowing them to live with Him.

He uses a phrase that is a powerful way to not only disciple others, but to expose them to the power of being a Christ Follower.  His statement was to ‘come and see’.  People respond to experiencing Christ, not merely talking about Him.  They want to see how Jesus has changed our lives and the day to day impact that following Him has on us.  One of these disciples was Andrew, who came to know Jesus before his much more famous brother Peter.  “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John’s witness and followed Jesus. The first thing he did after finding where Jesus lived was find his own brother, Simon, telling him, “We’ve found the Messiah” (that is, “Christ”)”.

What does Andrew do after finding the Messiah?  He takes the good news to his brother. “He immediately led him to Jesus. Jesus took one look up and said, “You’re John’s son, Simon? From now on your name is Cephas” (or Peter, which means “Rock”)”.  This is their first meeting face to face, and Jesus immediately sizes him up and gives him a new name.  In giving Simon a new name (Cephas or Peter, meaning A Stone), Jesus tells Andrew’s brother what kind of man he will be transformed into. At the time, and throughout the gospel, Peter may have looked like a “rock” on the outside, but was really anything but a rock on the inside. But before Jesus is done with Peter, he will be a rock of stability for Jesus Christ. Andrew knew he had discovered the cure to the sin problem the world had, and he immediately shared that with Peter and others.  That’s what we need to do with the love of Jesus.  We have the cure, but we don’t share it.  That’s our call!

John 1:28-34

John 1:28-34 informs us that John the Baptist has been working in Bethany. “These conversations took place in Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing at the time”. He was busy baptizing people with water, preparing for the coming of the Messiah.  And then it happens, Jesus comes.  “The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world”!  John the Baptist announces Jesus and what His mission is – to forgive the sins of the world.  He doesn’t do it quietly either.

Jesus is reminded of His destiny by the words John the Baptist uses – that he is the Lamb.  John was actually older than Jesus by a bit, but he recognizes and informs those who are listening that Jesus was around long before John the Baptist was born.  “This is the man I’ve been talking about, the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me”.  John’s entire life work has been to prepare the way for Jesus, and now He has come.  His days of being silent and hidden are ending, and He is entering His time of public ministry leading to the Cross and His ultimate purpose of sacrifice to cover our sins.

John has had a sole purpose, to prepare the way of the Lord.  “I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God”. Jesus offers us a fresh start.  He is the One who can scrub our sins and set us free from the penalty that they carry.  That was John’s message – that Jesus is coming, and now has arrived – to deal with the sin problem we all have.  None of us are free.  We all need a Savior and John is proclaiming that Messiah has come!

John drives home the point of who Jesus is by declaring what he has seen and experienced firsthand. “John clinched his witness with this: I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit. That’s exactly what I saw happen, and I’m telling you, there’s no question about it: This is the Son of God”. God gave John the Baptist the sure sign of how to know the Messiah. He would be the one on whom the Holy Spirit descended upon from heaven. John is a reliable witness regarding who Jesus is, because he has had confirming evidence from God.

John 1:19-27

John 1:19-27 has the Apostle continuing to describe what’s happening as Jesus comes into His public ministry.  John the Baptist deals with the questions that are flying at him.  “When Jews from Jerusalem sent a group of priests and officials to ask John who he was, he was completely honest. He didn’t evade the question. He told the plain truth: I am not the Messiah”.  He is emphatic that he is not the Christ.  It was unthinkable to him that the attention was on him rather than the One he was focused on proclaiming.  But he deals with the false assumptions head on.

They don’t believe it so keep on asking.  “They pressed him, Who, then? Elijah? I am not. The Prophet? No. Exasperated, they said, Who, then? We need an answer for those who sent us. Tell us something—anything!—about yourself. I’m thunder in the desert: Make the road straight for God! I’m doing what the prophet Isaiah preached”.  The crowd doesn’t get it.  They can’t believe he isn’t at least some famous biblical character or at the very least a prophet.  But John makes it clear that he’s just a simple voice in the wilderness talking about what is to come.  He is the advance man for the real King.

The folks questioning John go back to those who had sent them – the Pharisees – who come up with some questions of their own. “Those sent to question him were from the Pharisee party. Now they had a question of their own: If you’re neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet, why do you baptize? John answered, I only baptize using water. A person you don’t recognize has taken his stand in your midst. He comes after me, but he is not in second place to me. I’m not even worthy to hold his coat for him”.  And John continues to point to Jesus, the One true Messiah and the One he had come to proclaim.

The Pharisees were caught up in John baptizing people.  They didn’t understand that was his name – John the Baptizer – but more importantly they didn’t understand that his baptism was preparing for the King by cleansing people.  Baptism prior to this was about ceremonial washing to become clean.  John is clear that his baptism is with water.  Baptism to this point in history was about cleansing, but it did nothing to keep people clean.  But the baptism Christ brings is spiritual and illustrates our death with Christ and our rising with Him to new life.  This is the transformation that Christ will bring to this age old act.  It moves from a cleansing action to a spiritual birth and eternal cleansing from sin.

John 1:12-18

John 1:12-18 has John continuing to describe Jesus.  When we believe in Him, when we receive Him as the Son of God who was sent to cover our sin and set us free, we are transformed into the people God intended for us to be.  We are not made perfect here on earth, but we are set apart as sons of God.  “But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves”. We become what God created when we get to know Jesus. Our status changes.  “These are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten, not flesh-begotten, not sex-begotten”.

Jesus came to earth and became like us.  It was God’s plan for our redemption, but in order for that to happen, Jesus has to come off His throne at God’s right hand and live life like we do as human beings, suffering and experiencing rejection leading to His crucifixion, so He could die, be buried and then raised from the dead victorious over sin and death that we might be set free.  “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish”. There was no mystery or mistake, it was God’s plan all along.

John the Baptist spent his time pointing to Christ as the Messiah who was sent by God to deal with our sin problem.  “John pointed him out and called, This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word”. He was faithful unto death to point everyone to Jesus, the true Messiah and God’s appointed solution.  We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift”. John makes it clear that Jesus is the only thing we need.  He is the answer.  He is way.

God has pointed to this time throughout scripture.  This isn’t a mystery, but a fulfillment of prophecy.  “We got the basics from Moses, and then this exuberant giving and receiving, This endless knowing and understanding— all this came through Jesus, the Messiah”.  God’s revealed his plan bit by bit through history, and now John is shouting from the mountaintop that the Messiah has come.  And God is showing us something that had never been experienced before.  “No one has ever seen God, not so much as a glimpse. This one-of-a-kind God-expression, who exists at the very heart of the Father, has made him plain as day”. God is doing a new thing, and that love, the sending of His only Son to become the sacrifice for our sin, reveals the very heart of God and His love for us!  What a God.  What a Savior!

John 1:1-4

John writes the fourth gospel and in John 1 shows us a different view of Jesus.  Why four gospels?  Each gospel presents a different perspective on the life of Jesus, and we need all four of them to get the full picture.  Guzik describes the focus this way:

  • Matthew shows Jesus came from Abraham through David, and demonstrates that He is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament (Matthew 1:1-17).
  • Mark shows Jesus came from Nazareth, demonstrating that Jesus is a Servant (Mark 1:9).
  • Luke shows Jesus came from Adam, demonstrating that Jesus is the Perfect Man (Luke 3:23-38).
  • John shows Jesus came from heaven, demonstrating that Jesus is God.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the three synoptic gospels. Synoptic means “see-together” and the first three gospels present Jesus’ life in pretty much the same format. The first three gospels focus more on what Jesus taught and did; John focuses more on who Jesus is.

  • John shows us who Jesus is by highlighting seven signs (miracles) of Jesus. Six of these miracles are not mentioned in the first three gospels.
  • John shows us who Jesus is by allowing Jesus to speak for Himself in seven dramatic I Am statements.
  • John shows us who Jesus is by calling forth witnesses who will testify about the identity of Jesus. Four of these witnesses speak in the first chapter alone.

John is a gospel written for a specific purpose: that we might believe. It begins this way: “The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one”. When the beginning began, the Word was already there.  It was the beginning of the beginning.  With this brilliant statement, sets forth one of the most basic foundations of our faith – the Trinity. We can follow John’s logic:

  • There is a Being known as the Word.
  • This Being is God, because He is eternal (The Word was first)
  • This Being is God, because He is plainly called God (the Word was God).
  • At the same time, this Being does not encompass all that God is. God the Father is a distinct Person from the Word (in readiness for God).

What was God’s place in creation?  “Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing!— came into being without him”. God created all things – not some things – not most things – but ALL things.  There was not one thing that existed that came to be without His touch.  And the greatest of all creation was life.  “What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by”. This life is the light of men, speaking of spiritual light as well as natural light.  Life comes from God and Him alone.  He is the awesome creator of all things with life being the ultimate creation!

John 20

In John 20, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb on the first day of the week to check on Jesus’ body.  When she arrived, the stone was rolled away and she didn’t know what had happened.  “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him”.  Peter comes running to see what’s up and discovered the same – Jesus’ body is gone.  “He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself”.  They weren’t sure what had happened, but He definitely was not there.

Their response is a bit strange to me – “Then the disciples went back to their homes”.  It seems a little different than what I might expect, but they haven’t processed or understood what had happened.  They were trying to decide if someone had stolen the body or just where it went.  Mary saw Jesus and went to tell the others.  “I have seen the Lord—and that he had said these things to her”.  As they were meeting together behind locked doors later, Jesus comes. “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them….he showed them his hands and his side”.

Then Jesus tells them the simple plan.  “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you”.  They are going into the fishing business – fishing for the souls of mankind.  Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus appeared to the disciples the first time, and he is struggling to believe.  “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”.  Strong words from someone who has followed Jesus for three years.  But Jesus isn’t put off by that.

He comes a second time, eight days later, and tells Thomas “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe”.  Jesus wants all of us to believe, and like Thomas, He’ll help us if we will just pursue the truth.  Jesus is alive and active today, doing amazing things He wants to reveal to us.  Just like then when “Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing  you may have life in his name”.  Jesus wants us to believe.  He did great things then and continues to do so today.  We simply need to be open to learning the truth and following Him!

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