Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

John 10:31-42

 

In John 10:31-42 Jesus had a way with the religious leaders of getting under their skin.  He had just made the statement that He and the Father were one.  They weren’t buying it.  And they are getting more aggressive and frustrated with what He was saying and doing and the success of His efforts.  “Again the Jews picked up rocks to throw at him. Jesus said, “I have made a present to you from the Father of a great many good actions. For which of these acts do you stone me”?”  Jesus has done many good things, and still the religious leaders are after Him.  He asks them for which of His actions He was being accused and wanted to be killed.

They don’t really have an answer other than what they consider blasphemy.  “The Jews said, “We’re not stoning you for anything good you did, but for what you said—this blasphemy of calling yourself God”.”  Jesus had very clearly claimed to be God, and they wanted nothing of it.  So Jesus tries to discuss it based on the one thing they did hold as precious.  “Jesus said, “I’m only quoting your inspired Scriptures, where God said, ‘I tell you—you are gods.’ If God called your ancestors ‘gods’—and Scripture doesn’t lie—why do you yell, ‘Blasphemer! Blasphemer!’ at the unique One the Father consecrated and sent into the world, just because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?”

Jesus is really digging under their skin now.  But He continues. “If I don’t do the things my Father does, well and good; don’t believe me. But if I am doing them, put aside for a moment what you hear me say about myself and just take the evidence of the actions that are right before your eyes. Then perhaps things will come together for you, and you’ll see that not only are we doing the same thing, we are the same—Father and Son. He is in me; I am in him.”  He basically tells them to open their eyes and see what He has done and what the Scriptures say about Him.  But of course, they refuse to take the blinders off their eyes.  They merely want Him dead.

So they make an effort to get rid of Him again.  “They tried yet again to arrest him, but he slipped through their fingers. He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and stayed there. A lot of people followed him over. They were saying, “John did no miracles, but everything he said about this man has come true.” Many believed in him then and there”.  Despite the influence of the Pharisees who were blind and were bad shepherds which Jesus had exposed over and over, many people still came to Jesus. God’s work goes on, despite the opposition of man.  Jesus is the way, truth and life and no man comes to the Father except through Him.  The Pharisees never got it.  Make sure you don’t make that same mistake.

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John 9:17-23

In John 9:17-23 the religious leaders are struggling to believe what this blind man has to say.  “They came back at the blind man, You’re the expert. He opened your eyes. What do you say about him?” Earlier, all the man knew about Jesus was His name. Here, the healed man now proclaims that Jesus is a prophet. He grows in his understanding and proclamation about Jesus. “He said, He is a prophet.” We have to get to know Jesus in the same way.  It isn’t knowing about Him that matters – even the devil knows that – it is knowing Him that changes our life for eternity.  It is entering into a personal relationship where we receive grace that is offered through His blood that will give us eternal life.

But the religious leaders couldn’t swallow the blind man’s declaration.  “The Jews didn’t believe it, didn’t believe the man was blind to begin with. So they called the parents of the man now bright-eyed with sight”. And more than doubting that Jesus was a prophet, now they shift the discussion to calling the formerly blind man a liar.  There was no way he could have been healed by Jesus.  So they decide to go deeper and ask his parents to weigh in. “They asked them, Is this your son, the one you say was born blind? So how is it that he now sees?” The leaders are focused on discrediting Jesus as accepting the miracle would surely erode their control

The parents were extremely careful in how they answered the question.  “His parents said, We know he is our son, and we know he was born blind. But we don’t know how he came to see—haven’t a clue about who opened his eyes. Why don’t you ask him? He’s a grown man and can speak for himself.” In their reply, the parents carefully avoid controversy, because of the threat of excommunication, which had already been decided would be the outcome for anyone who claimed Jesus to be a prophet or that He was the Christ.  That would lead to an individual being put out of the synagogue.

“(His parents were talking like this because they were intimidated by the Jewish leaders, who had already decided that anyone who took a stand that this was the Messiah would be kicked out of the meeting place. That’s why his parents said, Ask him. He’s a grown man.”) Throughout history, many earthly leaders have worked to tear down Jesus rather than accept and receive what He has done.  The Bible is clear, with hundreds of prophecies and facts about Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, and the Savior and Lord of mankind.  Man can do many things to try and take away the truth.  But that doesn’t change the truth.  Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life.  Have you come into a relationship with Him?

John 8:52-59

John 8:52-59 has the bantering continuing between Jesus and the religious leaders.  They accuse Him of being crazy.  “At this point the Jews said, Now we know you’re crazy. Abraham died. The prophets died. And you show up saying, ‘If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to face death, not even a taste’.”  The great claim of Jesus delighted the religious leaders; they believed they finally caught Him in a clearly blasphemous claim. They denied the claim Jesus made to grant eternal life.  But what Jesus said is true.  He is the only way, truth and life.  No one comes to the Father but through Him!

Jesus makes it clear that what He is teaching is not about Him, but the One who sent Him. “Jesus said, If I turned the spotlight on myself, it wouldn’t amount to anything. But my Father, the same One you say is your Father, put me here at this time and place of splendor. You haven’t recognized him in this. But I have. If I, in false modesty, said I didn’t know what was going on, I would be as much of a liar as you are. But I do know, and I am doing what he says”. The religious leaders claimed that the Father in heaven was their God, but it was not a true claim. In truth, they did not know God, but Jesus did. He was in complete alignment with God’s plan for Him.

Jesus returns to their obsession with their heritage.  “Abraham – your ‘father’ – with jubilant faith looked down the corridors of history and saw my day coming. He saw it and cheered”. He makes it clear that He was not some unexpected guy that showed up.  He was the one prophets had talked of for generations.  Jesus claimed that not only was He greater than Abraham, but Abraham himself also acknowledged this. Jesus told them that He was the eternal God, existing not only during the time of Abraham but before he was born and lasting into eternity.

Jesus claimed to be the great I Am, the voice of the covenant God of Israel revealed at the burning bush. “The Jews said, “You’re not even fifty years old – and Abraham saw you?” “Believe me,” said Jesus, “I am who I am long before Abraham was anything.”  That did it – pushed them over the edge. They picked up rocks to throw at him. But Jesus slipped away, getting out of the Temple”.  They knew He couldn’t have ever seen Abraham or vice versa.  But Jesus continues pressing the truth – that He was before Abraham was. There actions demonstrate that the religious leaders understood perfectly what Jesus meant. He claimed to be eternal God, and they regarded that as blasphemy. They felt He was worthy of death and intended to carry it out at the moment.  But it wasn’t yet His time to die, so miraculously, he escaped unscathed.

John 8:44-51

In John 8:44-51 Jesus continues a very pointed debate with the religious leaders of the day.  “You’re from your father, the Devil, and all you want to do is please him. He was a killer from the very start. He couldn’t stand the truth because there wasn’t a shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies”. The religious leaders had brought up the issue of parentage by insulting Jesus in John 8:41. Jesus replied by explaining their spiritual parentage – they were the spiritual children of the devil. This was evident in that their desires matched the devil’s desires: the desire to kill, steal and destroy.  If you ever wonder who the true enemy is and what he wants for our life – well Jesus makes it clear here.

Jesus plays the trump card – what evidence do they have to convict Him of being what they are accusing.  “I arrive on the scene, tell you the plain truth, and you refuse to have a thing to do with me. Can any one of you convict me of a single misleading word, a single sinful act? But if I’m telling the truth, why don’t you believe me”? Again, Jesus gave His enemies – who hated Him so badly they wanted to kill Him – an opportunity to declare some sin in Him – and they could not. This was another remarkable testimony to the sinlessness of Jesus Christ.  The reality is that the religious leaders were at a point they had to make a decision.  If Jesus was telling the truth, why could then not believe Him?  And if He was not, which they certainly could not prove, what would they do?

Then Jesus throws this in their face: “Anyone on God’s side listens to God’s words. This is why you’re not listening – because you’re not on God’s side”.  That’s a pretty strong accusation that brings a pretty quick response.  “The Jews then said, That clinches it. We were right all along when we called you a Samaritan and said you were crazy – demon-possessed”!  They had to call Him crazy.  There was no other option.  If He was telling the truth, they knew they had to follow Him and accept Him as God’s Son.  So they had to take a drastic approach.  The enemies of Jesus were frustrated and exasperated. They were unable to make Jesus look bad, and even more had believed Him. So they launched their last attack: name-calling.

  • You are a Samaritan (one of the most despised races to the Jews)
  • And have a demon (saying that Jesus was demon possessed)

Jesus responds as only He could, sticking directly to God’s plan.  “Jesus said, I’m not crazy. I simply honor my Father, while you dishonor me. I am not trying to get anything for myself. God intends something gloriously grand here and is making the decisions that will bring it about. I say this with absolute confidence. If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to look death in the face”. Even in the midst of accusations and an effort to kill Him, Jesus offers His accusers a chance to gain eternal life.  This is another remarkable claim that only makes sense if Jesus is God, and is one with God the Father. Jesus promises eternal life to those who keep His word.  It’s the same offer He makes to you and me, who aren’t all that different from the religious leaders who were sinners just like us.  We all need a Savior.  Jesus is that Person!

John 8:12-18

John 8:12-18 has Jesus continuing to teach.  He makes a huge claim for all to hear.  “Jesus once again addressed them: I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in”.  Light was an important symbol in the Feast of Tabernacles. During the feast, many emblems and ceremonies remembered the pillar of fire that gave light to Israel during the Exodus.  It was what led them for their 40 year journey.  Now, Jesus took this important symbol and simply applied it to Himself: I am the light of the world.  Jesus was clear – He is all we need to live a life that pleases God.

But of course, the religious leaders objected.  They were having no part of Jesus’ claim to be the path for all of us to follow.  “The Pharisees objected, All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on”.  Jesus just proclaimed that He was the light of the world, but the Pharisees couldn’t see it. They couldn’t see His light, but it was because they were blind, not because the light of Jesus failed to shine.  We have to open our eyes to see the light Jesus offers.  These leaders wanted things they could see and touch to validate what Jesus was saying, but He makes it clear that believing in Him requires faith.

“Jesus replied, You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed. You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don’t make judgments like that”.  Though the religious leaders protested, Jesus was absolutely secure in His identity, despite all the voices that told Him otherwise. This place of being settled and secure in one’s identity as a child of God and a follower of Christ is a wonderful pattern for believers today.  Knowing Jesus should be something we can have absolute confidence in, and claim completely.

Jesus believed that His testimony was enough. Yet to accommodate them, He also brought another testimony. God the Father also testified that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God and God the Son. “But even if I did, my judgment would be true because I wouldn’t make it out of the narrowness of my experience but in the largeness of the One who sent me, the Father. That fulfills the conditions set down in God’s Law: that you can count on the testimony of two witnesses. And that is what you have: You have my word and you have the word of the Father who sent me”. There is no doubt that Jesus is the Son of God, and our Savior and Lord.  The religious leaders refused to believe it because it would completely disrupt their system and plans.  But that doesn’t change the truth.  Jesus is who He says!

John 7:44-52

John 7:44-52 has the religious leaders again wanting to arrest Jesus.  But His presence was overpowering, and no one dared touch Him.  “Some even wanted him arrested, but no one laid a hand on him”.  During His time on earth, Jesus divided people. People could not truly be of two opinions about Jesus, so some would be for Him while others would be against Him.  The temple guards are questioned for the lack of execution in arresting Him.  “When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, Why didn’t you bring him in”?  They certainly wanted it done, but were not out there assisting at all.

The leaders got an answer they were not expecting.  “We have never heard anyone speak like this! the guards responded”.  Jesus was different from anyone they had ever experienced before.  These officers of the temple had heard many rabbis teach, but they never heard anyone speak like Jesus. They were so impressed by the message of Jesus that they found it impossible to do their assigned work of arresting and silencing Him.  The religious leaders mock the guards.  “Have you been led astray, too? the Pharisees mocked. Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him”? They turn up their noses at these simple guards who have fallen for what they believe to be Jesus deceit.

But backing up the guards was the crowd that was following Jesus.  “This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them”!  The religious leaders put no stock in them at all, and felt they were foolish and ignorant.  The pride of the religious leaders was plain, as was their despising of the common people in the crowd. They hoped to shame and intimidate the temple guard who didn’t arrest Jesus with the idea that all the smart and spiritual people don’t follow Jesus – neither should they.  Things seem to be moving toward escalation, so one of the Pharisees intervenes.

Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked. They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!” Then the meeting broke up, and everybody went home”.  Nicodemus tried to reason with the religious leaders, warning them against judging Jesus too hastily.  The religious leaders who lived in Jerusalem and Judea despised the people of Galilee, and often mocked them. To these religious leaders from Judea, nothing good could come from Galilee.  They were wrong, very wrong in fact, but at this time Nicodemus diverted their attention and plan and Jesus continues to minister and teach.

John 7:30-36

John 7:30-36 has Jesus on the verge of being arrested.  He has really challenged the religious leaders, and they are out to get Him.  “Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come”. Not everyone was against Him, and in fact, many believed in Him.  His miracles were compelling to the crowds.  He was doing things that would be expected of Messiah.  “Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done”?  Many were drawn to faith in Him. It didn’t matter that the leaders opposed Him or even wanted to kill Him.

Guzik asks a series of questions about Jesus.  It is fair to ask, who has done more than Jesus?  If Jesus isn’t the Messiah, then when Messiah comes, will he…

  • Do more miracles than Jesus?
  • Teach with more insight and authority than Jesus?
  • Love more remarkably than Jesus?
  • Suffer with more courage than Jesus?
  • Atone for more sinners than Jesus?
  • Raise from the dead with more triumph than Jesus?
  • Ascend to heaven in greater glory than Jesus?
  • Present a greater Gospel than Jesus?
  • Change more lives than Jesus?
  • Free more addictions than Jesus?
  • Comfort more grief-stricken hearts than Jesus?
  • Heal more broken hearts than Jesus?
  • Restore more marriages than Jesus?
  • Triumph over more tyrants than Jesus?
  • Gain more followers than Jesus?

None of this is possible for anyone else. No one can do more than Jesus did, and He deserves all our confidence, life, and faith as Messiah.  The people of His day didn’t know it, but we have history and God’s Word to validate who He is and all He continues to do!

 

Even with all He had done, the religious leaders were out to get Him as He was messing up their world and control.  “When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus”. They can’t allow Him to disrupt their world.  So they take a bold action to try and arrest Him.  Jesus doesn’t resist directly, but tells them they aren’t going to be able to do it, at least not now.  “But Jesus told them, I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me. You will search for me but not find me. And you cannot go where I am going”.

Jesus takes the confusion further for those who were pursuing Him. “On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)”  The celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles emphasized how God provided water to Israel in the wilderness on their way to Canaan. Jesus boldly called people to Himself to drink and satisfy their deepest thirst, their spiritual thirst.  Has your thirst been satisfied?  Jesus is the only way to have that happen.

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