Posts Tagged ‘John’

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 1:1-4

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!

3 John

John 3 has our writer talking about following good examples in life.  He focuses on those who are walking as Christ Followers should.  “I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth”.  Nothing pleased John more than to know that his children walk in truth.  How we live matters, not only to us, but to all those around us.  “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth”. To walk in truth means to walk consistent with the truth you believe. If you believe that you are fallen, then walk in awareness of your sinfulness. If you believe you are a child of God, then walk like a child of His. If you believe you are forgiven, the walk like a person who stands pure before God Himself.

But Gaius, the recipient of this letter, was doing more than walking in truth. Gaius practices the command to love one another. “Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God”. John praised Gaius for his hospitality. This may seem somewhat trivial to us, but it is not to God. This is a practical way to live out the command to love one another; it is love in action.  Love is not a feeling.  It is action.

John challenges Gaius to also be a sender.  He’s not only praised for receiving those who came to worship in truth, but is to send people out to carry and share the good news, not merely with a farewell, but with support so they can carry on the mission of Jesus Christ.  “We ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth”.  John prays for the prosperity of Gaius because he used his resources in a godly way, being a blessing to others. If God blessed him with more, others would be blessed more also.

John warns of some bad eggs in the church.  It’s never easy to be a Christ Follower, as the enemy is always stirring things and trying to disrupt the world we live in. John warns us to walk in the truth, just as he started with praise in the first part of this letter for Gaius. “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God”.  John winds down his letter with a stern warning to do what is good – it should be an outcome of our faith.  How we live doesn’t save us, but it does indicate our heart and where we are in relationship with God.

1 John 2

1 John 2 has the writer focused on how we should live as Christ Followers.  He begins by telling us that he is “writing these things to you so that you may not sin”.  Here is a truth we need to understand – we don’t have to sin.  Sin is absolutely a choice we make.  And while we know we will sin, it isn’t because we have to or are destined to, but because we are human and prone to making choices that are not aligned with God’s ways.  So it will happen, and God knows that and it’s why Jesus came to earth – to be the way for us to deal with sin through His shed blood.  John reminds us that “if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”.  We can’t deal with sin on our own, but we don’t have to because Jesus has paid the price.

“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world”.  Jesus has paid the price.  He was the atoning sacrifice that God sent to pay for sin once and for all through His death on the Cross.  So the question is not whether there is a way to deal with sin, but rather whether we will receive the gift God has offered and come into relationship with Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  How do we know if we have?  “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked”.  It all boils down to obedience.  If we are truly in relationship with the Savior we are obedient to His ways.

John goes on to make it very clear that if we are saved we will live differently.  “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes”.  One of the outcomes of a saving relationship with Jesus will be love for all.  You can’t say you are His and fail to love.  It is an outcome of being saved.  It is what happens as a result of our sin being forgiven and our future secured.

John also addresses different groups of people where they are.  He writes to them in this way because:

  • “Little children
    • because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake
    • because you know the Father
  • Fathers
    • because you know him who is from the beginning (he says this twice to Fathers)
  • Young men
    • because you have overcome the evil one
    • because you are strong
    • because the word of God abides in you
    • because you have overcome the evil one

These are the realities that each group needs to know and understand.  We need to know, teach and live these truths.

He goes on to remind us that as Christ Followers we need to be set apart from the world we live in.  “Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world”.  We are in the world, but we need to not be of the world.  We have to realize that we are merely passing through, and that we should not put our focus on our desires – stuff, power, pride, etc.  God expects us to live in the world but not be consumed by it.  If we love the world, we cannot love God.  It is that simple!

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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