Monthly Archives: June 2014

Isolation and the Introduction to John 8

http://ref.ly/Jn7.53 and http://ref.ly/Jn8.1

 

As everybody went to their own home, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Where did Nicodemus go? Did he invite Jesus to his home, or did he ignore him? The question that I would like to pose to you is this. Would you have left Jesus alone, or would you have invited Him to your home? Jesus is the only One who can quench your thirst. Did you remember that?

 

Comparing Christ with Water

The comparison of Christ with water can be seen in John’s Gospel.

1.     The Spring of Salvation-Salvation begins with Christ. John 3:5 (NASB)
(5) Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

2.     A Full Well–Springing up leads to fullness. John 4:14 (NASB)
(14) but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

3.     An Overflowing River-A vessel will not overflow until it’s full. John 7:38 (NASB)
(38) “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”

Water is for drinking. It is a picture of the Holy Spirit. As water satisfies and produces fruit, the Holy Spirit does the same for us.

Water is for washing. It is also a picture of the Word of God, which cleanses us like water.

John 15:3 (NASB)
(3) “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

As you are filled with the Spirit, you become an overflowing river able to satisfy and bless the lives of other people.

 

Jesus’ Words and Their Effect on the Crowd

The words of Jesus affected people in different ways. This portion of scripture reveals that division. This is true today. Many people hear the Word of God spoken, and their reactions are different. It should be noted at this point in this lesson that everybody heard the same words, but the reactions were different. This fact reveals that there were those who heard the natural and not spiritual words. This is one of the reasons for the varying reactions. Some accepted it by faith while others received the words with natural understanding. Here is a brief list of the various responses to Jesus’ words.

1.     Decisive-John 7:40-41 (KJV)
(40) Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. (41) Others said This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?

2.     Doubting-John 7:42 (KJV)
(42) Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? Jesus was from Galilee. The Messiah is from Bethlehem. They were mistaken because they jumped to conclusions.

3.     Divided and Debating John 7:43-44 (KJV)
(43) So there was a division among the people because of him. (44) And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.

4.     Disconcerted or bewildered-John 7:45-46 (KJV)
(45) Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? (46) The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.

The crowd was captivated by His message, not by His miracles. They said, “Nobody has ever spoken like Him.” Here are some statements that grabbed their attention through the years.

Matthew 5:39 (KJV)
(39) But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Matthew 5:41 (KJV)
(41) And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

Matthew 5:44 (KJV)
(44) But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

 

The Invitation

http://ref.ly/Jn7.37-39

 

This passage opens in the last day of the feast. Jesus extends an invitation to those who believe on Him and His gospel. Jesus speaks of thirst, but it is spiritual thirst. He tells them that whosoever drinks of this water will never thirst. Out of their bellies shall flow “living” water. Jesus was not speaking of natural water. They would be filled with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was not given yet because Jesus had not left yet. The ministry of the Holy Spirit would go into effect when Jesus returned to Heaven.

On the first seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, the priest at dawn and the people joined in a joyful procession with a golden pitcher to the pool of Siloam. When they arrived at the pool, they filled the pitcher with two pints of water and went back to the Temple. The crowd marched with palm and willow branches. They entered the Temple area at the Water Gate and quoted the following verse:

Isaiah 12:3 (KJV)
(3) Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

The water was poured out on the west side of the brazen altar as the Temple choir sang Psalm 113-118. The branches were waved at the end of the song. This was a reminder of God’s provision of water from the smitten rock in the wilderness, and it expressed gratitude for the rains.

On the eighth day of this feast, the people marched around the brazen altar seven times. This commemorated their victory at Jericho. At this time, the people are hot and thirsty from marching. The water is being poured out. Jesus speaks at this time.

John 7:37-38 (KJV)
(37)In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

Jesus is humanity’s thirst quencher. He is the only one that can satisfy man’s thirsty soul.

Psalm 42:1 (KJV)
(1)As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”

Jesus says “Out of his belly (the believer) shall flow rivers of living water.” [Addition mine] The belly craves and desires satisfaction, but it is never satisfied permanently. Jesus tells them to drink of Him and they would be satisfied. Water is a necessary part of our lives. Jesus says here that we must make Him a necessary part of our lives.

1. The Spring of Salvation–Salvation begins with Christ.

John 3:5 (KJV)
(5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

2. A Full Well–Springing up leads to fullness.

John 4:14 (KJV)
(14) But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

3. An Overflowing River–A vessel will not overflow until it’s full.

John 7:38 (KJV)
(38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

There are several insights about water and the Lord.

Water is for drinking. It is a picture of the Holy Spirit. As water satisfies and produces fruit, the Holy Spirit does the same for us.

Water is for washing.  It is also a picture of the Word of God, which cleanses us like water. John (KJV)
(3) Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

One of the purposes of being filled with the Spirit is so you can become an overflowing river able to satisfy and bless the lives of other people.

 

Division Concerning Jesus

The Pharisees heard the people arguing among themselves about who Jesus was. Some believed in Him because of the signs and miracles. Others asked about Him being the son of a carpenter. Still others brought up the fact that He came from Nazareth, and could not be the Messiah. These statements brought about division among the people. Realizing they might be losing their power, influence, and control because of the faith of the crowd, the Pharisees and chief priests set out to nip the problem in the bud. Jesus was their problem and a threat to their position. Jesus ignored the arguments about Him. He made a statement that brought further division.  

John 7:34 (KJV)
(34) Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.”

“You will look for me, and I will be gone.” What did Jesus mean by this? Jesus was pointing to His death on Calvary. He would be buried in a borrowed cave. They could not follow Him there. That is why those who heard it repeated it. This verse is connected with verse 33. There are two reactions to this statement. It is an awakening of belief by some while others respond with intense hatred. Jesus’ response to this situation serves as an example for us to follow.

I Am with You

The servant of God cannot be held back from his work or be killed before He has completed that which God has given Him to do. Whatever they may try to do, they cannot kill Him until the hour comes. He does admit that He will be with them “for a short time.” According to what commentaries say, it will only be about six months. This is the period between the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall of the year, and the Passover at which time Christ would be crucified in the spring. He could not be taken before the six months. Note John 7:30.

Note what Luther says about this: “Who is Christ’s protector? Who fends off his enemies?” [From Luther’s Works, vol. 23, p. 254] No one. Nothing is said about many thousands of mounted soldiers or about thirty thousand foot soldiers who defended Him. The hour was not yet at hand. The plans of His enemies were futile. Nothing or nobody can touch the believer unless it coincides with God’s explicit command and order. This includes the hatred and schemes of the devil.

 

Jesus and A Social Revolution

A Social Revolution

Jesus has launched the only great and lasting social changes the world has ever seen. This is both a categorical statement as well as justified. At the time of Jesus’ birth, the world was a place of great cruelty and horror. Slavery was a universal practice. Jesus changed these things.

He did not come with a social program alone. He came with a new ethic founded upon a new life that was His life within all who should follow Him. It was not an immediate change. In the church’s early years, the ministers of the good news were fortunate if they were given the opportunity to preach the gospel. The response of the gospel began to grow, and Christianity spread through the various regions. Jesus said this in Acts 1:8. They were to begin at Jerusalem, all Judea, and Samaria. Even to the uttermost part of the earth. This came true as the apostles and disciples of the Word were spread across the various countries and regions.

The greatest changers took place during the reigns of the emperors Constantine and Justinian. Cruel sports, such as those of the arena, were put in check because the Christians opposed such things. Laws were put in place to protect the slave. He was no longer branded. He could no longer be killed at the whim of his owner. Children were given legal rights that they previously did not have. Hospitals and orphanages came into existence. There were setbacks. The Middle Ages caused some to return to barbarism. Those who were Christian did non-Christian things. At the time of the recovery of the gospel during the Reformation period, the social consequence of Christianity was not lost. Zwingli instituted social reforms at Zurich, and Calvin creating jobs for thousands of refugees who thronged the streets of Geneva.

Begging was abolished, and the poorhouse came into existence. Food was distributed to those who needed it. Poor children were clothed. The register in which the rules were recorded regarding the care of beggars still exists.

 

Christ and the Scriptures

Christ and the Scriptures

Jesus is the only one who has fulfilled the Scriptures. This is His teaching. Note the following verse:

Matthew 5:17 (KJV)
(17) Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”

This is what Jesus came to do. For this reason, Jesus refuted the teachings of the religious leaders. They had it wrong because they had added to the Law of Moses making it difficult to be obedient to them.

Confirmation comes through observation. After John the Baptist found himself in prison, his hopes went down. That is the reason why he sent his friends to find out if Jesus was the one he had heralded, or was he to look for another. Jesus outlined His ministry, and He quoted from Isaiah. In this verse, Jesus detailed the accomplishments of His ministry.

Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me” http://ref.ly/Mt11.4-6. Jesus’ claim as to who He is based upon Scripture. He alone was fulfilling them. His life fulfilled all the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. What a wonderful assurance this is!

Jesus is God

Because of fulfilling the Scriptures and for other reasons, Jesus has convinced millions that He is God manifest in human flesh. He alone has answers to the deep problems of life.

It is hard for us today to believe in an incarnate God, and it was difficult to those believers to believe as well. It may have been easy for Greeks and Romans. This may be true because their mythology contained similar ideas. It was among orthodox Jews that the gospel first gained a foothold. Here were people who had been raised in a culture based upon centuries of solid monotheism. They declared the following in their synagogues:

Deuteronomy 6:4 (KJV)
(4) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:”

They abhorred the polytheism of the Gentile cultures of their day. Through talking with Jesus and through observing Him as He went about the countryside teaching and doing good, these men came to believe that He was more than just a man. He was God incarnate. Many of these believers became martyrs. They refused to renounce Jesus as Lord. Note what Peter said in http://ref.ly/Mt16.16. Thomas called Jesus “My Lord and my God.” John 20:28. Paul wrote that he was “declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead” Romans 1:4.

It is the same today. Millions confess faith in Jesus Christ, and in who He is. Centuries separate us from His earthly ministry, but that does not cause our faith to wane. Secular opinion is steeped in skepticism. Its conclusion is against the fact that Jesus is God. We walk by faith. Yet Jesus has spoken to us and convinced His children that He is God. Those who have studied His life have been moved to faith in Him. Only Jesus has convinced millions to be in Him.