Posts Tagged ‘sin’

John 13:20-30

In John 13:20-30, we have Jesus dealing with a very painful part of His time on earth, facing His betrayer prior to the act. But before He faces off with Judas, he says “Make sure you get this right: Receiving someone I send is the same as receiving me, just as receiving me is the same as receiving the One who sent me.” Jesus reminded all His disciples – the faithful ones and Judas – that His work was not finished. Judas would not win; the work of Jesus would continue and they would be sent as His representatives. He also wanted Judas to know that rejecting Him meant rejecting the God who sent Jesus.

Then the mood shifts as Jesus deals with the pain ahead. “After he said these things, Jesus became visibly upset, and then he told them why. “One of you is going to betray me.” No beating around the bush here.  Just truth, plain and straight.  Judas’ betrayal of Jesus troubled Him. Jesus was not unfeeling or emotionally detached from the events ahead. He loved Judas, and was troubled for Judas’ sake, much more than His own. But everyone else was clueless.  They had no idea what was coming.  “The disciples looked around at one another, wondering who on earth he was talking about”.

So as usual, Peter takes the lead in trying to get answers. “One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved dearly, was reclining against him, his head on his shoulder. Peter motioned to him to ask who Jesus might be talking about. So, being the closest, he said, “Master, who?” John was likely on one side of Jesus, and Judas on the other.  Peter asks John to find out who was the betrayer.  And Jesus clearly gives the answer.  “Jesus said, “The one to whom I give this crust of bread after I’ve dipped it.” Then he dipped the crust and gave it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. As soon as the bread was in his hand, Satan entered him”.

Jesus knew Judas was His betrayer, yet His love and goodness seemed to become greater instead of lesser. Jesus even gave Judas the chance to repent without revealing him as the traitor to all the other disciples. But when that obviously wasn’t going to be the outcome, Jesus sends Judas off to do what his heart intended – betraying Jesus to the religious leaders who wanted Him dead. “What you must do,” said Jesus, “do. Do it and get it over with.” The rest of the Twelve were still oblivious to what was happening right in front of them.  They don’t understand Judas is the one.

It was already in the heart of Judas to betray Jesus. Yet when Judas rejected the love and favor of Jesus it broke some barrier within him and Satan entered him. Jesus knew what happened but “No one around the supper table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas was their treasurer, Jesus was telling him to buy what they needed for the Feast, or that he should give something to the poor”. If they (especially Peter) had known they would have stopped Judas. They believed Judas had business to do on behalf of the group, either to pay the expenses for the dinner or to give something to the poor. “Judas, with the piece of bread, left. It was night”. Judas shows us that a fallen man needs more than an example and even more than good teaching. Judas had the best example and the greatest Teacher, and was still lost.

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John 13:1-5

In John 13:1-5 Jesus is in Jerusalem with the Passover Feast rapidly approaching.  “Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father”.  His time on earth was coming quickly to an end and He is about to share a meal with His disciples. Scholars disagree whether this meal was actually on the Passover, or if it was the Passover meal, but celebrated the day before.  In any case, He is with His disciples. Jesus lived His life in anticipation of this hour.  It’s what His entire life had been leading up to. Guzik notes The cross is not specifically mentioned here, but casts a shadow over almost every word.

  • We see the shadow of the cross over His hour had come.
  • We see the shadow of the cross over loved them to the end.
  • We also see the shadow of the cross over depart this world.

 

Jesus was with the twelve He had invested the past three years deeply into.  They were His disciples.  “Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end”.  Guzik explains the importance of understanding that these men, and all disciples truly belong to Jesus:

  • They were His own because He chose them.
  • They were His own because He gave Himself to them.
  • They were His own because His Father gave them to Him.
  • They were His own because He would soon purchase them.
  • They were His own because He conquered them.
  • They were His own because they yielded themselves to Him.

Being a disciple of Jesus has amazing benefits, but also comes with a cost.  One benefit is that His love will never end.  Jesus will love us to the fullest extent possible with a love that will never end.

So it is time for supper.  “It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal”. And one of the twelve Jesus had chosen, has slid into the enemy’s camp.  Satan did not control Judas and the decision he had come to.  But the enemy certainly had been whispering the idea into Judas’ mind for some time, and helped guide him to this fateful decision that he would hand Jesus over to His earthly enemies because Jesus just didn’t get the plan of how He could take over the world and become an earthly king bringing power to Judas and the others close to Jesus.  Satan used Judas’ personal motives to draw him into sin.

This isn’t a mystery or surprise for Jesus.  He knew God’s plan from the beginning of time.  This wasn’t something that Jesus came to know just at this hour. “Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God”.  This was important because of the hour and what lie ahead. Jesus was about to face the agony of crucifixion on the Cross, and the terror of standing in the place of guilty sinners before the righteous wrath of God the Father. At the same time, Jesus went into this situation as a victor, not as a victim. He could have backed out any time He wanted to, because the Father had given all things into His hands.  But He chose to complete the mission and provide a way for us to deal with the sin problem we all have.  He carried your sin and mine to that Cross and followed God’s plan!

John 9:24-33

In John 9:24-33 the Jewish leaders continue to probe the former blind man about exactly what has happened.  They grilled him once, then called in his parents, and now have put this healed guy on the hot seat again.  “They called the man back a second time—the man who had been blind—and told him, Give credit to God. We know this man is an impostor.” The leaders refuse to let his story go.  They can’t possibly allow the common people to believe that Jesus not only heals, but is the Christ.  That would completely upset the apple cart of their livelihood and the power structure they held so dearly.

But this healed sinner holds his own.  “He replied, “I know nothing about that one way or the other. But I know one thing for sure: I was blind . . . I now see.” The man born blind doesn’t know everything about Jesus, but he does know how Jesus has touched his life. This is an irrefutable argument. How can they argue against what Jesus did in this man’s life?  This is a critical lesson for all of us to grab onto in how to effectively share the gospel with others.  People can argue about scripture and it’s interpretation all day long.  But no one, and I mean no one, can be as qualified to talk about what has happened in your life as you are.  We effectively share the gospel when we simply share what Jesus has done in us and through us.  That’s what this formerly blind man did before the religious leaders.

They immediately focus on the ‘how’ again.  “They said, What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” They were missing the point completely, but trying to find some way to discredit what Jesus had done.  The blind man said “I’ve told you over and over and you haven’t listened. Why do you want to hear it again? Are you so eager to become his disciples?” That was a low blow to the leaders.  How dare this worthless sinner make any statement that would appear to place them in the camp of wanting to follow Jesus.  They lash out quickly in response.  “With that they jumped all over him. You might be a disciple of that man, but we’re disciples of Moses. We know for sure that God spoke to Moses, but we have no idea where this man even comes from.”

But this former blind man, whose life has been totally changed, stays true to his story and the course.  “The man replied, This is amazing! You claim to know nothing about him, but the fact is, he opened my eyes”!  He merely tells the truth, of which he is the expert on his own life.  There is no denying what he has experienced and the life changing thing that Jesus did.  But then he goes on to give them a dose of truth as well – he preaches a sermon about the God who has healed him.  “It’s well known that God isn’t at the beck and call of sinners, but listens carefully to anyone who lives in reverence and does his will. That someone opened the eyes of a man born blind has never been heard of—ever. If this man didn’t come from God, he wouldn’t be able to do anything.”  This simple blind man refutes the entire lot of religious leaders and deals with them head on.  He knows he will be excommunicated because of what he said, but it was truth and he wasn’t going to back down.  Are you that committed to Jesus?

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 8:44-51

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 8:34-37

John 8:34-37 has Jesus addressing the problem we all face head on – sin.  “Jesus said, I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will”.  Sin in this passage is in a verb tense indicating a habitual, continual action, which implies a continual habit of sinning rather than an occasional lapse.  It describes us as humans very effectively.  Scripture is clear that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standards, but here Jesus makes it clear that sin grabs us and we become a slave to sin.

Some of us try to push it to the enemy with the approach that “the devil made me do it”.  Nice try, but Jesus debunks that right up front.  Sin is a choice, plain and simple.  It doesn’t happen to us.  It isn’t done through us.  It isn’t the fault of the devil or any other influence in our life.  Sin is a choice, and it leads to a very bad outcome. But it also takes control of our life and makes us a slave if we continue making the choice to sin. Slavery to sin is the worst kind of slavery, because there is no escape from our self. A Son must set us free, and the Son of God sets us free and brings us into the family of God.

The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ came to this earth to do exactly that – to set us free from sin.  “The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through”.  He, and He alone, is in a place that can truly address the sin problem we have.  There is no other solution.  There is no other escape.  We choose sin and become trapped by it.  Along with the reality that sin disqualifies us from spending eternity with the Father, which can only be corrected through the forgiveness of sin.  How does that happen?

In a word, it is the grace of God offered to us through Jesus. The people in Jesus’ day thought their heritage would be the ticket to get into heaven.  But you don’t get in based on who you are, who you know, or where you came from.  You get in because of one of two reasons:

  1. You have lived a perfect life of obedience, free from sin, and absolute in your holiness and godliness
  2. You have been forgiven for the sin you have committed, the things you have fallen short in, through the shed blood of the Savior

There is no third option.  You won’t get into heaven for any other reason.  In Jesus’ time, the people thought their lineage would be enough, but it won’t.  “I know you are Abraham’s descendants. But I also know that you are trying to kill me because my message hasn’t yet penetrated your thick skulls”.  We need to deal with our sin and be sure of our eternity.  Jesus is the only way.  Are you ready?

John 8:1-11

In John 8:1-11 Jesus has left the crowd as they have all gone home to their own homes to rest.  He “went across to Mount Olives” to rest.  It wasn’t long before Jesus was “back in the Temple again”.  He has remained in Jerusalem a few days post the Feast of the Tabernacles, and is still teaching although the religious authorities wanted to silence Him, or even arrest Him.  Their efforts were failing as “Swarms of people came to Him”.  Jesus didn’t run from the people who were wanting to hear God’s truth, even though He knew it would make Him a target.  “He sat down and taught them”.

The religious leaders decided to try a new approach. If they couldn’t scare Him away by threatening Him, they decided to try and make a fool of Him.  “The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery”.  They knew full well her situation, and what the law said about it.  She not only was guilty but was continuing in her violation of the law.  But the point of their dragging her before Jesus was to try and discredit Him.  To mention the obvious, there was also a man involved in this very act of adultery – yet the guilty man was not brought before Jesus for judgment. It also meant that there were pre-arranged spies sent to witness this affair, and they carefully noted the sordid details.  This was a setup.

They state the obvious: “Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say”?  Jesus knows exactly what they are up to.  “They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.  They kept at him, badgering him”.  This wasn’t about the woman or her sin at all.  Jesus doesn’t dispute the law, or condemn the woman to death.  “He straightened up and said, The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone”.  Jesus turned the tables on them.  This woman was being used as a pawn in their efforts to get Jesus.  But He changes the focus to them, and gives them the choice of appearing to be without sin if they were to cast a stone at her, as the law stated.

He wasn’t done. Jesus didn’t react with anger or outrage. He didn’t scream at the woman or those who brought the woman. Jesus paused and stooped down to a low posture, identifying with the humiliation of the woman. “Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt”. He didn’t stare down the accusing men in an act of intimidation. He comes to her place, right where she was. Scripture doesn’t say what He wrote.  But it certainly got their attention. “Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone”.

“Jesus stood up and spoke to her. Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?  No one, Master. Neither do I, said Jesus. Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin”. Jesus changed the game for this woman.  The woman – guilty of sin, and a great sin – knew the goodness of having no condemnation. She passed from sin and a death sentence to forgiveness and life.  Jesus sent her away with an exhortation to stop her sin, without ever approving of or accepting her sin, yet forgiving her completely for it.  That’s our Savior and Lord.  He longs for our repentance and following.

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