One of the things that we will say to a new Christian or somebody who’s not yet saved is to go away and read the Gospel of John. John is beautiful. John is majestic. In fact, 80 per cent of what you find in the Gospel of John is not found in the synoptic Gospels, which, of course, is Matthew, Mark, and Luke. So for a new Christian, John’s gospel is perfect to go to, and John’s writings line up beautifully with the Pauline writings.
So it seemed appropriate to me to make a video going through the Gospel of John. I’ve also done videos on Hebrews, Revelation, 1 Peter, 1 Timothy, and segments from Genesis, and I hope you are blessed by the content of this video as with other videos that I’ve made doing an expository verse-by-verse commentary.And the correct way to read the Bible is to exegete the Scripture, which means to take from the Scripture what is clearly there – that is exegesis – whereas the incorrect way to read the Bible is to read into the text, which is eisegesis, and that’s what all of the cults do, and that’s what many false religions do. And a huge part of”Christianity” is now apostate, and if you live in the UK, then you are in a very small group of people if you are a Bible believer – a very, very small group. I see videos of people that have come away from organized religion, and they’re meeting in houses now. Some are even meeting in coffee shops and in some very unusual places.
The UK is going through a period of great testing, and I’ve said this on the videos that the Charismatics are pretty strong in the UK. Islam is pretty strong in the UK, and Roman Catholicism is pretty strong in the UK. And the reason why the latter of the three is pretty strong in the UK is primarily down to the huge influx of Eastern Europeans that have come into the UK in recent years, and they came into the UK thanks to the last government, the labour party, and those people are Roman Catholic, for the most part. And most people from Eastern Europe are very religious, so sometimes it’s a little misleading if you hear Catholic apologists trying to give the impression that the Church of Rome is growing when, in reality, what you are seeing is a decline in western attendance or British attendance or attendees but an increase in European attendees. So you need to know what’s going on in your host country to get a good picture of what is happening and not be deceived.
Matthew 24 makes it clear that in the last days many would be deceived, but Jesus also said that the elect would not be deceived. So the elect cannot be deceived.And the question is then asked, “Who will be deceived?” And those who will be deceived, according to 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 and Matthew chapter 7, are the goats. The goats are the ones who were never saved to begin with, but that was another theme of another video that I did some time ago, which I don’t want to go over again.
But today I want to look at John’s gospel, and there will be no notes. This is simply a verse-by-verse off-the-top-of-my-head commentary. It’s unscripted, and hopefully you will not only be blessed by this, but I would certainly encourage you to follow along in your Bibles with me. I use the King James Bible. I’m a King James Bible believer, and 2011 is the 400th anniversary of the AV, the Authorized Version as we call it in the UK. So if you’ve got a King James, please open it and let’s look at verse 1 from chapter 1.
VERSE 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Very clear. The word of God says there is only one God, and here the Word is called God. Now, we know that capital “G” always underscores the truth that it is referring to Jehovah God, whereas lower case “g” normally refers to the devil. And in 2 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 4, Satan is called “the god of this world,” but here capital “G” is used and capital “W” is used, so you cannot escape the fact that Jesus Christ as the Word is God.
I can remember a conversation I had some years ago on the streets in a town called Bury in the North of England, and I was doing some street ministry with my father and another brother, and a Jehovah’s Witness came along , a man and his wife, and I got the impression that they were both Witnesses. And we got on to the deity of Christ, something which all Bible believers hold to. And I said to him that Jesus was God and is God, something which I still hold to to this day, and he said no that He wasn’t. And he went to 1 Corinthians chapter 8 where Paul speaks about there be many gods and many lords but to us there’s only one God. And I tried to explain to this Jehovah’s Witness that to a non-Jew and for today a non-Christian there are many gods. If you are a Mormon, then you believe in many gods, which makes you a polytheist, but if you are a Biblicist, if you are a Bible believer, you believe in one God. So just because he was able to cite 1 Corinthians 8 – and he also went to the book of Acts – did not mean that God in His word is saying there are other gods apart from Him but that there are minor gods, and, of course, the devil is referred to as a small god always in a derogatory manner, of course. And we’ll look at Psalm 82 when we get there a little later on in the Gospel of John, but here I wanted to underscore the absolute paramount truth that the Word was in the beginning with God and the Word was God. And you just cannot get around that.And even in the Jehovah’s Witness interlinear it says that God was the Word, not lower case “g” which you’ll find in the New World Translation, so-called Biblical translation of the word of God, but it says in the Bible that God was the Word.
VERSE 2: “The same was in the beginning with God.”
I will say this also that when it says “the beginning” from verse 1, it must be in reference to time because time had a beginning, whereas God has no beginning.And if you go back to the book of Genesis, it says “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” So John quite clearly is using artistic liberty, which he is entitled to do through the Holy Spirit who wrote both Testaments, and he’s using the creation of the world from Genesis 1 and pointing it to Christ. Christ was there before the foundation of the world, which you’ll find later in this gospel, but here he’s doing a very clear analogy. He’s doing a very clear analogy between the creation of the world and the beginning of time when the Word already was.
VERSES 3-5 “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
A couple things I want to say there. Again, go back to Genesis. The word of God says, “Let there be light: and there was light.” God spoke light into existence, and here very clearly the analogy has already been drawn, and you’ll see more of that in verse 5 but also in verse 3 very clearly, and unequivocal language says everything was made by Him. He’s not only the firstborn, which I will show later to be in reference to His preeminence not His chronological birth, but He is the “author and finisher of our faith” as well according to the book of Hebrews.
One other quick point. In verse 5 where it says,”the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not,” until you are born again, you cannot perceive, you cannot comprehend, you cannot fathom the things of God. Paul says they are foolishness to you. And, of course, darkness cannot comprehend the light; hence why the devil has already been defeated.
VERSES 6-9: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all menthrough him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
The Scripture says that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Paul told us in the book of Ephesians that when a man gives himself up to a reprobate mind, then God, according to Romans chapter 1, gives that person up. But here, before man destroys himself, the Scripture says that John was sent to bear witness of that Light, and verse 9 says “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Every man, without exception, everybody who’s been born since Adam has God’s imprint stamped on him. That doesn’t mean that you are automatically a child of God. You may be a physical descendant from Adam through your first birth, but that won’t save you. You need to be born again into the family of God, and that comes with the second birth.
So verses 7 and 9 make it crystal clear and I put to you that the Light that came into the world lights every man. Also you can quite clearly take from that that everybody has a conscience, everybody has the knowledge of good and evil because the light God has given to mankind remains until this day.
VERSES 10-11: “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”
Two things: First of all, verse 10 makes it very clear that He is the Author of all things. He wasn’t a junior partner. He wasn’t a little god. He wasn’t a glorified man as some of the false religions teach, but He made all things. And “He came unto his own.” Now, His own here are the Jews, and if any of you are Calvinists and you believe in limited atonement, then you look at verse 11 and you scratch your head, because later on it says He kept His own until the end. So what that means is that although He was rejected by those that He came for, that doesn’t mean He didn’t die for them. And I’ll get into that a little more as we go on.
VERSES 12-13: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
That is how you got saved. That is the source of the new birth – not why you got saved, but that’s how you got saved. You made the appropriation to be saved. God made the provision. He provided it, but you had to appropriate it. So when it says that God is the Saviour of the world – which, of course, He is – that means everybody, especially to those that believe, those that have appropriated the atonement, those that have received it.
So He comes to His own. His own reject it. Second Peter 2:1 says they denied the Lord even though He had bought them, but to as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become the sons of God. So the atonement quite clearly has been provided for all people. We are told in 7 and 9 that He lights everybody that comes into the world so that all through Him might believe. He came unto His own, but His own received Him not. It’s very clear when you read the verses side-by-side and you cross-reference it with other Scriptures. As
Martin Luther said, “Scripture with Scripture.” And this video is being made just after Reformation Day, October 31st, a day which went down in history, and the world was never the same, and we give God the glory for that.
Martin Luther may not have been a perfect man – in fact, he had many faults. He was very much a product of his generation. He was a Catholic through and through, and unfortunately he retained some of that bigotry, some of that hatred of the Jews in some of his attitude; but nonetheless, the Lord was still able to use him, and he was still able to set the world free through his work. And that’s why it’s imperative to go to the Scripture to check everybody in light of Scripture to make sure that he or she lines up with God’s word.
But not everything that Luther said and did was wrong, and I’m happy to quote him because he was quite right when he said, “Scripture with Scripture.” And that’s the only way you can get the Bible down and not fall into the trap of reading into the text what is not there. Again, that’s eisegesis. But to read from the text what is clearly defined is exegesis.
VERSE 14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.”
John was an apostle. John was an eyewitness. Peter says in his epistle that he also was an eyewitness. The writings of the New Testament were written by eyewitnesses either by the apostles themselves or their associates, but here John says, “we beheld his glory.” All of the apostles but one were murdered for their faith in Christ. These men would not have been murdered for their faith in Christ had they gone to the south of France with Mary Magdalene, as some heretics still teach to this day, and enjoy “the good life.” They would not have laid their lives down had that been the case. But they had seen the crucified and the risen Saviour, and that transformed their lives completely.
VERSES 15-16 “John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
In a nutshell the Old Testament right up to John, and Matthew chapter 11 says the law and the prophets were until John and would cover the period of the law, but when Jesus comes, it’s grace and truth. But that does not mean there wasn’t any truth before Jesus. Clearly there was. But that grace comes with Christ. Christ comes to initiate a new covenant. Everything pointed to the Lamb of God, and when He arrived on the scene and He fulfilled His destiny – He volunteered to come and do what He did – then grace took on a whole new meaning, and we now live under New Testament, New Covenant, and we are saved simply by believing on the Lord – true faith – and we are kept saved by our faith in Him. He saved us and He keeps us saved. We don’t help ourselves to get saved, and we don’t help ourselves to stay saved.
VERSE 18: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
Jesus is the only unique Son of God, period. We do street ministry all the time every weekend, and we see this Islamic lady who comes along most weekends, and I would say that she’s quite possibly a convert from whatever she was to Islam.And she says that Jesus isn’t God’s son; God has no Son. Now, you know as a Bible believer and I know as a Bible believer that that is Antichrist according to 1 John, and if you die with that belief, you go to Hell. I’ve told her that. I’ve pleaded with this woman; we’ve all pleaded with her to repent, to come to the knowledge of the truth, but, again, unless you’re born again, unless you know the word of God, unless you know Jesus Christ personally through the new birth – and, again, verse 5 says “the darkness comprehended it not” – until you are born again, this whole message is completely foreign to you. But here it says that Jesus is the only begotten Son. He’s completely unique. He is completely from God.
Something else I want to say here. My belief has always been since being a Christian, since reading the Scriptures that God the Father has yet to be seen by mankind. When God appeared in the Old Testament, I believe that’s what’s called a Christophany, and what that means is a pre-incarnation of Jesus Christ. It’s Jesus taking on physical form so that He can be seen by His subjects, but He has yet to become the God-Man until the First Coming. So Moses, Abraham, Samuel, all of the Old Testament prophets that saw God, that spoke to God, that heard God were seeing Jesus Christ. It’s a Christophany. And as we go through John – and I’ll give you some of the cross-references – I think you will agree with me on this.
VERSES 19-22: “And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?”
Two things: They knew that Elijah would come back – and, of course, he will come back. I believe he’s one of the two witnesses in Revelation – and they were also waiting for the Messiah to come. So they see John, a very odd character in his generation and even for today’s generation with his dress code and with the way that he behaved. And all of the scholars today, all of the boffins, all of the well-to-do Christians, for the most part, would cross the street if they saw John the Baptist coming to them. But God chose him; God commissioned him; and Paul says that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. But they saw this man, and they wondered if he was either Elijah or could he be the Messiah.They just did not know.
Just one quick thing I want to squeeze in, something I just overlooked. Briefly, verse 14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” If you go to Zechariah, Zechariah chapter 2 ‒ and this is a very kind of relaxed video, I guess. There’s no preparation in a sense. And I sometimes think that to just do what I’m going to do now gives it a bit of an edge, a bit of excitement. It’s like doing a live radio show. If you’ve ever done a live radio show, you know how nerve-racking that can be because you don’t get a chance to do a retake. The way I do these videos is I literally read the Scripture, and I give you my thoughts, and then I give you the cross-references if they come to mind or if I see them penned in my very packed Bible.But verse 14, cross-reference that to Zechariah 2, verse 11, and it says that “many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.” There’s the Father referring to the Son, and it’s a First-and it’s a Second Coming passage.
So when it says “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” that’s a reference to the First Coming. But I go back to Zechariah, and I see the first and the second coming found in Scripture.
So, once again, it shows that the Son of God is God and the Father is also God.And I’ve done videos on the Trinity, so I shan’t go over that again. But what I wanted to underscore was the absolute clarity of Scripture that when you look at Jesus Christ, He was more than Gandhi; He was more than the Maitreya; He was more than Mohammed. He is completely God, and you will see that unequivocally as you hopefully remain with me as I go through the book of John.
VERSE 23: “He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.”
John came to make a path for the Lord, a highway for our God. When you think of a highway today or motorway, as we call it in the UK, but a highway – a pretty modern word – but nonetheless he was sent to get people ready for God. You cannot read this part of Scripture which is taken from Isaiah chapter 40 where it clearly is in reference to Jehovah God, but here John is quoting it and he’s putting it and he’s aiming it and he’s directing it and he’s crediting it to Jesus Christ. Paul says that Jesus didn’t think it was robbery to make Himself equal to God.
VERSE 24: “And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.”
A religious priesthood. Most of their customs and their beliefs came out of Babylon when the Jews went into captivity for 70 years, and it’s kind of shocking when you read through the four gospels that these religious men in long clothing – and we still have people today that like to dress up in long clothing. They like to be called “Father” or “Reverend” or “Vicar,” and, of course, none of these titles are Biblical.But here you find the group of priests called the Pharisees, and they’re nearly always spoken of in the negative. Apart from Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea and the apostle Paul, who some believe was a Pharisee, apart from those three people, the Pharisees are nearly always spoken of in a derogative manner in the Scripture – organized religion at its worst – and all but three recognized Who the Messiah was. And when you go to the book of Matthew when the Magi come to town and they go to see Herod, he calls for these wise men, and they tell Herod where the Saviour was to be born. They knew where He was to be born, but they lacked the faith to go with the wise men to see the newborn Babe.
But what is of concern to me – and it was when I first read the Bible – was these religious “experts” didn’t even know Who Jesus was. They were completely ignorant. This is the problem when you have a head knowledge of God and a head knowledge of the Bible but your heart has yet to be circumcised.
VERSE 25: “And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?”
It seems a pretty fair question. These men are “ordained priests.” They had this religious order. They had this Levitical structure from Aaron, and yet God bypasses that entire generation, that entire organized religious system, and He chooses a man who was born – of course, John’s father was a priest, but John, as far as we know, was not a priest, and we know he went into the wilderness, and he was there until God called him.
So it’s amazing that God would bypass the Levitical priesthood, would bypass the Temple and work outside of it to call his people unto Him. And not much has changed 2,000 years on. Faithful men and women around the world go on the streets with the Gospel preaching. They put material together; they print tracts; they distribute Bibles. They support the poor and the needy. A lot of these people are doing it off their own backs, and God is blessing these people. But they are shunned; they are mocked; they are looked down upon many a time by the organized churches. And, again, the Scripture is quite clear that God, if He wants to, He could use a donkey ‒ and He did ‒ to communicate with man, and here he’s chosen an itinerant preacher, somebody who wasn’t educated to the standards that the Pharisees would want him to be educated, they would expect him to be educated to, and yet John the Baptist was not only the first – not only was John the first martyr of the Church, but he was able to turn the world around in preparation to the coming Messiah.
VERSES 26-27: “John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.”
John will baptize you with water, but Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. So there are two baptisms. When a person gets saved, he or she will get baptized as and when they can, but they get baptized because they are saved, not to be saved.In Acts 19 Paul comes across some of John’s disciples who have been baptized by John – H2O, water – and he says to them, “When did you receive the Holy Spirit?”And they said to Paul, “We didn’t even know there was a Holy Spirit.” So he then explained that they had been baptized by John, which simply by water in the preparation of the Messiah. John was the forerunner for the Messiah. And then when Paul explains the Gospel to them, then they believe on the Lord and get saved. So it’s important to make that point because you cannot be saved, you cannot – underline that word – you cannot be saved by being baptized into water. It never has saved you and never will save you. Paul was not sent to baptize but to preach the Gospel.
VERSE 28: “These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.”
I’ve been to the river Jordan. I’ve been there with my father some years ago, and we were able to baptize one another. And we did it because we were saved, and we did it because it was a good testimony and is simply an outward act or an outward display of something which has happened inside. People are seeing your faith, and they are seeing that you are doing something because God has changed you from within. And I’ve spoken in the past of how faith and works work. In Romans chapter 4 Paul speaks with a man that believes in the Lord, and it’s accounted to him for faith. He simply believes. And then James speaks about your faith before men, and that’s accredited to you for works; in other words, you are saved, and once you are saved, your works will prove that you are saved so man can see your works because you are saved. It’s a very simple way of harmonizing the two. And I’ve done other videos on that which you may want to watch, but I would hope by this state of the video that you know clearly that I do not believe that baptism saves you, and I don’t believe that works save you. You’re saved by your faith in Christ alone, and you are baptized because you are saved, not in order to get saved.
VERSE 29: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
We live in 2011. Everything in the civilized world is tuned to this Man’s birth, death, and resurrection. The lamb, of course, is an analogy of a physical lamb, an animal which was sacrificed in the Temple and continued to be sacrificed up until 70 AD, even though God didn’t receive those sacrifices because His Son had been and gone, but He allowed the Jews 70 years to continue on in what they were doing until He allowed the Romans to destroy the Temple. Judgment had fallen. But here the physical, the literal, the ultimate Lamb of God takes away, and that has already happened. Everything that went wrong at the fall was put right by this Man’s death, burial, and resurrection. And it goes back to my earlier point on the atonement that He has already provided the atonement through the provision, but it’s down to you, the recipient, to appropriate it. Only you can do it yourself. Nobody can do that for you.
VERSES 30-33: “This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.”
Paul says the moment you are saved, you are baptized into the body of Christ through the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12. That is the only baptism that saves you when the Holy Spirit puts you into the body of Christ, and that instantaneously happens the precise moment, the instant that you believe. The moment the thief on the cross said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” the moment he confessed Christ as his Saviour, Jesus says, “Today you’ll be with me in paradise.” The moment a person believes, they pass from death unto life. That’s why salvation isn’t a process. Your sanctification may be a process. You may grow in grace; you may become more holy; you may become carnal; you may become backslidden. You find those sorts of people in 1 Corinthians and in parts of Hebrews. But if you are born again, then you are saved, and you got saved the moment you believed on Him.
VERSES 34-42: “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.”
I made a video some years ago called “The Pope Peter Fraud,” and it’s a pretty detailed video. It’s not a very long video, but I’ve got a lot of Scriptures, and I give the breakdown verse by verse as to who first recognized Christ’s credentials. And obviously John the Baptist publicly announces His arrival, as it were, when He is of age. Andrew is the first apostle to recognize the Messiah; then he tells his brother Peter, and he’s called here the son of Jonah, which means a stone.
And, of course, a stone or pebble is what the church is built on. If you go to the Old Testament, the Patriarchs built foundations. Wherever they went they laid stones in anticipation for the Temple, a physical temple, but in the New Covenant, Jesus has built His church on the apostles and the prophets, and it’s not a physical church; it’s a spiritual church. And Peter is one of many pebbles or stones that He’s going to build His church on. So here Peter is not the first to get some authority or some reward, and yet he does get a new surname, but then so does John and James, the sons of Zebedee from Mark chapter 3 – Scripture with Scripture, always Scripture with Scripture, and if you do that, you will never go wrong.
VERSES 43-47: “The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”
What a marvelous statement. Jesus has looked at Nathanael, and he’s saying this man is flawless, not sinless but he’s a man of integrity. Not many people today after meeting Jesus would be able to take that kind of remark, could take that kind of compliment, but here Nathanael takes it. It must have been incredibly humbling.
And look at verse 48:
VERSE 48: “Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.”
Jesus is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He sees and hears and knows everything. Wherever Philip was, wherever Nathanael was, wherever Peter or Andrew were or wherever you were, He has seen what you have done, He has known what you are going to do, and He still loves you and He still died for you.That is amazing grace. Never mind Romeo and Juliet. That’s the real thing.
VERSE 49: “Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.”
That’s powerful. That’s an amazing affirmation. Here’s a person who has been called and he’s been saved within seconds, and he has seen Jesus, and he knows that he is looking at the God of the universe. Almost impossible to fathom, but that’s how it was.
VERSES 50-51: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”
“Ye” is plural for all of you, whereas “you” is singular just for you. One of the great things about the King James Bible is it gives you the pronouns between singular and plural. And here He talks to Nathanael, but through Nathanael, He’s talking to all of the apostles. And you find that throughout the gospels. He asks the apostles, “Who do men say that I am?” But Peter, being the oldest, stands out and says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” He announces or he proclaims who Christ is on behalf of the entire group of apostles. But here Jesus is speaking to Nathanael first and foremost, but He says, “You will all see Heaven opened and angels ascending and descending on the son of man” – an incredible statement.
And we’re already nearly 50 minutes into the first chapter of John, and I hope you will stay with me for the remaining chapters and be blessed.
VERSES 1-3: “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.”
A couple of things I want to say. First of all, this is typical Jewish betrothment/engagement, and a wedding in biblical times would last up to a week.And here the Lord has been called, along with His mother and His apostles, so it’s obvious to me that this must be a family member or a very close friend. Also, this is the first time that Mary is found in the Gospel of John, and only in the Gospel of John is Mary found at the foot of the cross. Thirty four times Mary is found in the New Testament, of which only four times does she speak. So it’s interesting that the New Testament gives us that bit of information. And when you go to the book of Acts, in the first chapter you’ll find that she is found in 13th place, so it’s interesting because the Roman Catholic Church calls her the Queen of Heaven, and they give October and May as two months that are dedicated primarily to her. And when I was a Catholic, we would see Hindus coming into our church to mark May, and they would bring in flowers, and they would adorn the statues which were on show all year round. But for the Hindus, Mary is a very popular part of their religion.
Also, we find wine mentioned here, and for those of you that are not clear on how wine is to be handled if you’re a new Christian, what we do know for sure is that this kind of event would be clear that wine would be heavily fermented to about one-third or one-tenth of its strength, and that was done for two reasons. First of all, it was done to stop people getting drunk because the Old Testament condemns drunks. Noah got drunk and ended up cursing his son. Lot got drunk and gave birth to two children through his two daughters, and yet Paul informs Timothy to take some wine for his stomach. So in that context, wine was used as medicine. It was used as a form of alleviation of pain, but here the apostles and the Lord and Mary are going to be drinking heavily fermented wine, which makes it impossible to become drunk.
VERSE 4: “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.”
Not once is Mary called mother but woman, and here it is a slight rebuke. Perhaps Mary has over stepped the line. She may have meant well, but nonetheless, the Lord’s response is clear to her. Although He was her son, although she was His mother, Matthew 13 says that those that do the will of the Father are His mother and sister and brothers. And John 6 tells us that the will of the Father is to believe on Him. So there’s a very slight and minute distancing between the Lord and His mother here, but nothing to suggest He was rude, just a slight distance, a slight mild rebuke, perhaps.
VERSE 5: “His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”
Crystal clear paramount words: Whatever He says, do it. He told you to repent; He told you unless you believed He was God, you would die in your sins, and He told you that there is no other way to the Father but through Him.
So here Mary speaks very, very important words which everybody should take heed to whether you’re a Catholic or whether you’re a Protestant. And as I say, the Catholics will worship Mary. They call her the Queen of Heaven, and yet here she’s spoken of in a very general way. Nothing in Scripture to ever suggest that she was sought after, that she was prayed to. Mary was simply a recipient of grace, never a dispenser.
VERSES 6-10: “And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.”
Be it no doubt that this is literal wine which has been transformed from water, so a miracle has certainly taken place. And wine in the New Testament is a picture of blood, and through the precious blood of Christ, we can be saved. And when I get to the sixth chapter, we’ll look at wine and we’ll look at blood in the metaphors there.But here Jesus has changed water into wine, and yet still always keep this in mind that it’s been diluted to about one-tenth or one-sixth of its original strength.
VERSE 11: “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.”
Miracles were done, according to 1 Corinthians, because the Jews seek after a sign, and they are entitled to a sign, and yet we find in Matthew’s Gospel that an evil and adulterous generation sought after a sign, and no sign was given it.Sometimes the Lord would do a sign; sometimes He would not. But here in front of family and friends He felt the need to do a miracle, and that miracle increased the belief of the apostles and no doubt those that were at the wedding as well.
VERSES 12-16: “After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.”
A typical socialist, a typical atheist, a typical left-winger will look at this account and draw a comparison between the Lord’s actions to that of Guevara or Vladimir Lenin or Fidel Castro, and they’ll make the erroneous claim that Jesus was a socialist at heart; He was a good Communist, and here He is cleaning the Temple trying to get rid of all those awful capitalists. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus upheld the Temple system. He upheld the Old Testament. He upheld everything that was found in the Old Testament, everything that was given to the Jews, and He would certainly have been pro those that worked for themselves. As the old proverb goes, “God helps those that help themselves.” But here He is clearing out the people within the Temple whose hearts were completely stone cold. They had a head knowledge of the Lord but not a heart knowledge. So don’t take this account as “evidence” that Jesus was somehow a good Communist who was infuriated with the Capitalists. No, that’s not the case. He’s simply rebuking those that were milking the crowd, milking those people that had walked and traveled from land and sea to the Temple.
VERSES 17-18: “And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?”
Again, the Jews are entitled to a sign. Look what He says in 19:
VERSES 19-21: “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.”
Jesus raised Himself from the dead according to this. Galatians chapter 1 says that the Father raised Him from the dead, and Romans chapter 8 says that the Holy Spirit raised Him from the dead. This is a picture of the Trinity working together to raise up the Lord Jesus Christ, and next time you talk to a Jehovah’s Witness, show that particular parity: John 2, Galatians 1, and Romans 8. And it’s quite clear that God is three and yet He’s one – three in one, one in three, and the one in the middle died for me.
VERSES 22-25: “When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”
Only God is good. Only God is good according to Matthew 19. The Old Testament says there’s not a man that hasn’t sinned, and there’s not a just man on the face of the earth. Paul says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, so if nobody’s good – and nobody is good – and therefore it’s quite obvious that to become good in the eyes of God, you need to be born again. I’m going to get to that in the third chapter.
But here it shows once again that Jesus was omnipresent, He was omniscient, and he was omnipotent. He knew what was in man, and He didn’t need anybody to testify of Him.
VERSES 1-2: “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”
We know that you are a teacher come from God. The Jews knew who Jesus Christ was. They just didn’t believe in Him. And, again, that’s the tragedy of having a head knowledge but not having a heart belief, a true faith, a true belief. And here Nicodemus travels to Jesus by night possibly to avoid the crowd. Some people have criticized Nicodemus for doing this. They see this as a form of cowardice, but I think to be fair to him, wherever Jesus went, crowds followed Him, and Nicodemus probably wanted to speak to the Lord on his own, so he chose to go at night.
VERSE 3: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Now, it’s interesting because Nicodemus travels to see Jesus by night, and he starts by affirming that Jesus is from God. And then Jesus doesn’t respond to that directly, but He tells Nicodemus what he needs to know – that he has to be born again.
VERSE 4: “Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”
Nicodemus is thinking of a physical birth. And, again, this is interesting because Nicodemus is a religious scholar. He’s a very intelligent man. He’s somebody who was highly looked up to, and yet what Jesus is telling him goes completely over his head.
VERSES 5-8: “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. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus, and the context is quite clear, but he’s using the plural pronoun for “ye.” Ye, all of you, must be born again, not just you, Nicodemus, back in verse 3, but all of you in verse 5 and verse 7. Back to verse 5, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The water here is a reference to your first birth, and the Spirit here would be a reference to the second birth.
Go to Ezekiel, Ezekiel 16 verse 9. Here’s a picture of the new birth found in the Old Testament. Ezekiel 16:9: “Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil” – not a literal water but a figurative expression of the new birth, and the oil here would be a picture of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” back to verse 6 from John’s gospel. Your first birth is through water, and that’s the flesh, but the second birth is the Spirit. And 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians chapter 4 tell us that the Holy Spirit baptizes you into the body of Christ the moment you are saved. So you cannot go to this part of Scripture and take water to be something that puts you into the body of Christ. In and of itself, it does not, but here water is referred to in the context of your first birth. And you line that up with verse 6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” – first birth – “and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” – second birth.
VERSES 9-10: “Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”
Quite a rebuke but justified.
VERSE 11: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.”
A clear Triune passage.
VERSES 12-13: “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”
Only Jesus went up, and only Jesus came down in and of Himself. Deity, very God and very man.
VERSES 14-15: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Out of all of the world religions in the world today, biblical Christianity is the only religion which promises that the moment you believe on Jesus Christ you have eternal life, and eternal life is without end. So your salvation is eternal the moment you believe on Him. It doesn’t cease the moment you become fruitless or the moment you become backslidden. You’re still saved, but like a wayward child who goes down a wrong path, that child will be chastised until they come back to a good behavior. And that’s how it is for a Christian. A Christian will be chastised, and the book of Hebrews says that God chastises those whom He loves, and if He doesn’t chastise you, then you’re not one of His.
VERSE 16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Appropriation and provision. God has provided atonement for the world – that’s the provision – but you have to appropriate it. So let’s look at this in a more broken-down way. “For God so loved the world” – there’s your provision – “that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him” – there’s your appropriation. Are you going to appropriate it? He’s provided it to the world, but whosoever believeth, they are the ones that have received it. They have appropriated it. So He gives, and you receive. That’s how the atonement works. And if you believe on Him, you don’t perish, you don’t go to Hell forever, but you have everlasting life. And even a child knows John 3:16. But many a wise man, many a clever man has looked at this part of Scripture, and it’s gone straight over their head. But it’s very clear that God loves the world. He’s given His Son for the world, and that is His love for the world. Now, the Bible does also say that He hates the wicked and He hates all workers of iniquity and He’s angry with the wicked every day – and He absolutely is – but the love that He has for the world has been demonstrated through Jesus Christ.So there’s no contradiction there whatsoever. His love is found through His Son, and if you believe on His Son, He will save you, and if you don’t believe on His Son, as we find in the next couple of verses, then you are damned.
VERSES 17-18: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
No baptism is mentioned here. No speaking in tongues is mentioned here. No confirmation is mentioned here. No First Communion is mentioned here. No circumcision is mentioned here. Faith in Christ alone, sola fide. And as I say, John’s gospel lines up beautifully with the Pauline epistles – Faith in Christ alone and then you get baptized because you are saved, not in order to be saved.
VERSE 19: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
That’s why mankind, according to Matthew 7, goes to Hell in large numbers. That’s why the overwhelming majority of people are going to Hell because they love their evil and they refuse to come to the light to be saved. That puts the burden on mankind. Nobody will go to Hell because Christ didn’t love them. Nobody goes to Hell because Christ did not die for them. People go to Hell because He did atone for them – He provided the atonement for the world – but they didn’t receive it. They chose to live in sin; they chose to live in rebellion; they chose to live in darkness; and therefore, they go to Hell as a result of their lifestyle.
VERSE 20: “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
It’s kind of interesting when we do street work and we are witnessing to people who are not saved. And I’ve had conversations with people that are smoking, and I start to witness to them, and they look kind of uncomfortable, and I’ve had some occasions when they’ve even put their cigarette out. They see smoking as a bad habit. They see it as a form of rebellion, and when they are speaking to a Bible believer, there’s something within their conscience which tells them that what they are doing is wrong. And that’s the power of the Gospel; it’s not the power of the person who’s doing the talking, but it’s the power of the Gospel. And Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that the word of God never comes back void. That’s completely true.
VERSES 21-30: “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison. Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Two things there that I must just stop and look at. Verse 30, “He must increase, but I must decrease,” that comes with time. You cannot meet a mature Christian within 12 months and expect him or her to be able to decrease as greatly as they would like to. I remember going to Romania some years ago and talking to an older brother in the Lord who’s now with the Lord, and I said to him when he was my age, had he gone to the mission fields, would he have been any good, would he have been humbled enough. And he said quite honestly that he wouldn’t have been humbled enough to have done in his twenties what he ended up doing in his sixties, and that was an honest response for me.
“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” Every good gift that you have comes from God, and if God doesn’t give you something, if God doesn’t show you something, then He may never give you what it is you want. He may never show you what it is that you want, but nonetheless, you are still minded to pray and to abide in the Vine. You’re still expected to walk with the Lord. You’re still expected to wait on the Lord, and when it pleases the Lord, He may give you what it is that you want. He may not give it to you. But you are told to be faithful. You are told to wait on the Lord, and at His timing, He may give you what it is that you want, and if He doesn’t, then you continue on as best as you can. And Paul says to always be found rejoicing in the Lord – Not an easy thing to do, but like I say, the more you grow in grace, the easier these things become.
VERSE 31: “He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.”
Deity. Jesus is from Heaven. He’s very God and He’s very Man – the Incarnation.
VERSES 32-33: “And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.”
As Paul said, “Let God be true and every man a liar.”
VERSE 34-36: “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Present tense. The moment you believe, you have eternal life, and until you believe, the anger, the fury, the holiness of God abides on you, continually abides on you, and that will remain on you until you die. And some people say, well, I know a certain person that’s not saved, and there’s no wrath abiding upon him. Let me show you something from the Old Testament, because it comes down to the reality that only certain people are going to be saved, and if you fall into one of these three groups – and I certainly hope that you do – then you will be saved; and if you don’t fall into one of these three groups, then you will never be saved. I’m going to show you in two seconds these three groups that I have in mind. First Samuel 22:2: “And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him” – David, a type of Christ -“and he became a captain over them..”
So here you find in the Old Testament David, who is a type of Christ, gathering together those that were in distress, those that were in debt, and those that were discontented. So if you are in one of those three groups, then you will be saved if you call on the Lord, but if you don’t find yourself in one of those three groups, then you will never be saved because the Bible says He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He came for sinners, not the righteous.
VERSES 1-4: “When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria.”
Two things I want to say. First of all, the baptism here found not only in the Gospel of John but throughout the whole of the New Testament refers to total immersion.So where possible, if you haven’t been baptized, you should seek to be baptized by full immersion. And it’s also clear that the Lord didn’t baptize disciples Himself. The apostles would probably have done that, and the apostles quite possibly baptized each other once they became saved men.
And here you find the first mention of the Samaritans, a mixed-race people, a group that was shunned by the Jews for being heretical, not only because of their mixed race but also down to the fact that they only accepted the first five books of the Old Testament. So you can imagine the response from the apostles in the later verses and from the Pharisees and the religious elites in general that Jesus is not only speaking to these people but that these people are believing on Him. And somebody once said that Christianity is a poor man’s religion, and there’s some truth in that. He did come to seek the downcast and the lowly, and, for the most part, the word of God says that the people heard Him gladly.
VERSES 5-7: “Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.”
In biblical times the woman’s role, in many ways, was considered a second-class role. The woman’s testimony didn’t carry much weight, so not only is it interesting that the Lord is speaking to a woman here, but He’s speaking to a female Samaritan as well. And I guess the equivalent to this account in modern times would be a well-to-do white, middle-class man speaking to an African/American woman back in the forties and fifties and giving her respect, giving her equality, something that wasn’t heard of in 20th century America, and this would be unheard of in biblical times in antiquity. And Paul says that Jesus has knocked down the wall of partition between Jew and Gentile, and now He’s seeking one person, He’s seeking one people where there’s neither male nor female, bond or free.
This reference to “give me a drink,” obviously He’s tired, which shows His human side. He sits on a wall. He’s talking to her, and He wants a drink of water. That’s His human side. He was very man and He was very God. And you get this very clearly in the Scripture, and I’ll show you His deity as we go through this verse. But here, again, “water” needs to be read carefully in the context. Sometimes when water is spoken about in the Bible, it’s only water, literal water, but normally there’s a metaphor. Normally there’s a reason for the use of something which is literal to describe something deeper on a spiritual level.
VERSES 8-9: “(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”
Separation taken to an extreme. The Jews were always told to be a light to the lost; they were always told to be kind; they were always told to provide anything that was needed to non-Jews. But separation, nonetheless, was taught in the Old Testament, and it’s taught in the New Testament. But here years of being shunned by the Jewish community has left this level of indifference, this level of resentment, perhaps. And she sees that He’s a Jew by His dress code, and she wants to know what He wants from her.
VERSE 10: “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”
Now, again, He starts with wanting water, H2O, but now He’s switching it into what He really wants to extract from her. He wants to get her to believe on Him to be saved.
VERSE 11: “The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?”
Like Nicodemus, she’s thinking on physical terms, and He’s going to draw out of her her greater need, her deeper need.
VERSES 12-14: “Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 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.”
What a monumental statement.
VERSE 15: “The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”
She still thinks that He’s speaking of physical water and He’ll whet her appetite even more in the next couple of verses.
VERSE 16: “Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.”
He goes straight to the heart of the issue. This woman’s problem seems to be a promiscuous past, and He’s going to go straight to the heart of the issue and use this witnessing to convict her of her sin; hence her need for a Saviour.
VERSES 17-18: “The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.”
A husband in the biblical sense would be a man marrying a woman with a ceremony and putting a ring on her finger. Of course, the latter part has come in more recent times. But a ceremony which is witnessed by people and was given the blessing by God, that is what a marriage is ultimately in the Bible. But also the Scripture says that when a man leaves his mother and father and joins to his wife, they become one. So when flesh meets flesh, when intercourse has occurred, that constitutes a marriage. So He’s saying to her you’ve had five lovers in your lifetime, and the current partner that you’re with makes number six, and even he is not your husband. He’s saying, in a sense, you’re living in sin. It’s fornication. That’s what He’s saying, and He’s condemning her for it in a very subtle and loving way.
VERSE 19: “The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.”
Obvious by His account of her life, she realizes He’s more than just a traveling preacher, and her first thought is that He is simply a prophet. And by calling Him Sir, not Rabbi or Master or Lord, she’s still yet to grasp the enormity of Who she’s speaking to.
VERSE 20: “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
The Samaritans didn’t go up to the Temple. They would have been considered persona non grata. They wouldn’t have been welcomed, and therefore they worshiped in Samaria. That was their own temple, as it were, and yet the Jews have always had the City of David as their sacred Temple, their sacred city.
VERSE 21: “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.”
70AD was going to come, and the Temple would be destroyed. But even pre-70AD with the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, He’d opened a new door to God, a way which didn’t involve religion, which didn’t involve circumcision, which didn’t involve dietary rules and laws and so on and so forth but a direct link to the Father through Jesus Christ.
VERSE 22: “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.”
The latter part is critical – that salvation comes from the Jewish people, and Romans 11 makes it crystal clear that they are still loved for the Father’s sake. So if you come across anti-Semitism in any shape or any way or any form, avoid it, avoid it like the plague because the Jews are still loved for their Father’s sake. And if it hadn’t been for the Jews, you wouldn’t have a New Testament today. You wouldn’t have an Old Testament for today. The Holy Spirit commissioned the Bible, but He used Jewish men to write it.
But the first part of 22 is also quite serious. Here you have people worshiping God in an incorrect way. And if you look at Islam, if you look at the Freemasons, if you look at the Buddhists, if you look at any number of false religions and you think how tragic it is that there are millions and millions if not billions of people that are sincerely worshiping God but in a false way. In Acts 17 Paul deals with this, the unknown God who they ignorantly worship. And, of course, if you’re not born again, then your worship is in vain; and while God can hear what you say, He won’t answer your prayers because you haven’t been born again, you haven’t been regenerated.
VERSE 23: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
Never mind being involved with organized religion, never mind going to these showbusy churches, these charismatic churches or these Pentecostal churches or these Catholic churches or these Protestant churches where they all dress up and wave their arms in the air. God wants to be worshiped in truth and in spirit, absolute sincerity. He wants all of you. He wants your entire being focused on Him, not on some third party who calls himself a “priest” or a “vicar.”
VERSES 24-25: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.”
She knew that the Messiah was coming, and she was ready to receive Him; hence why Jesus went to her.
VERSES 26-27: “Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?”
You can appreciate the resentment in the sense that He’s talking to a woman who’s also a Samaritan, something that, as I’ve already said, would have been unheard of in His lifetime, in His generation.
VERSES 28-29: “The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?”
Here’s an early form of witnessing. She had been convicted of her sin; she realized that He was a prophet-and He was a prophet. But He was more than a prophet. He was the Messiah, and He told her that He was the Messiah. She’s now believed on Him. And that’s how you get saved. It’s no good having a head knowledge.
You have to have a heart knowledge. And the Bible says if you call on the Lord, He will save you, but you’ve got to seek Him and you’ve got to search for Him with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
VERSE 30: “Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.”
That’s what you do. You get saved; then you bring other people to Him. Charles Spurgeon once said that if you are happy to go to Heaven on your own, be sure of this: You won’t be going to Heaven at all. In other words, now that you have been saved, it’s your job to get the Gospel out. It’s your job to bring as many people to the Lord as possible. But above all, it’s your job to be faithful. He will draw who He wants to draw, and He will work with whom He wants to work with, but it’s your job as a saved man or woman to get the Gospel out, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.
VERSES 31-33: “In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?”
The apostles are saved by this stage – I’ve long believed that – and yet like Nicodemus, like the woman at the well, for the most part, they are still thinking in human terms. And that’s why you find in other parts of the gospels their plea to Him to increase their faith. It didn’t come overnight. Sanctification, maturity doesn’t come overnight. It comes with time, it comes with Bible study, and it comes with prayer, and it comes with a close walk with the Lord. And at this part of His ministry He doesn’t rebuke them. He just accepts it, and He sees them as little children, which, in reality, is what all Christians are in the eyes of the Lord. We are His children, and He said in Matthew’s gospel, unless you become as children, you won’t inherit the Kingdom of God. Humility, that’s the key there – to humble yourself.
VERSE 34: “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
Well, the word of God wants to have people believe on Him. That was what He was sent to do.
VERSE 35: “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”
The Gospel of Matthew says that the harvest is great but the laborers are few. And, again, ministry should be of importance to all Christians; and if you’re not busy, get busy because you only get one saved life, and nothing could be worse than going into eternity with nothing to show for it post your salvation.
VERSES 36-40: “And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.”
Again, this is pretty monumental stuff here. Not only are they receiving Him in large numbers, but He now stays with them. And, again, that’s humility on the Lord’s part, and that’s something that all Christians should adhere to. All Christians should be willing to roll their sleeves up and get their hands dirty and go to parts of the world which are not appealing and if necessary live in a slum and if necessary live in a third world country and work with people who live in the real world.
VERSES 41-42: “And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”
And that’s what He is. He is the Saviour of the entire world. Every man, woman, and child that has ever been born and will ever be born has had their sin atoned for.Even the animals which fell in the fall had that curse lifted from them when He comes back and rules for 1,000 years, which goes into eternity. And here the Samaritans, considered to be very primitive people by the Jews in their generation, their wisdom excels that of many religious people in that generation and even today.
VERSES 43-45: “Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee. For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country. Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.”
This is very true. If you preach in your own town, if you witness to your own friends and family, then you know what it’s like to be shunned; you know what it’s like to be looked upon with contempt. And because of that, He went to Galilee, not Capernaum.
VERSES 46-48: “So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.”
A very slight rebuke there, and you get that from Matthew chapter 12. But, nonetheless, the Lord perseveres on with this man.
VERSES 49-50: “The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.”
Just the word of the Lord healed this man. The Genesis account comes to mind when God speaks the world into existence: “Let there be light: And there was light.”And here, “Go your way; your son lives.” Incredible.
VERSES 51-53: “And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.”
Verse 53 makes it very clear that personal faith is what saves a sinner. Some people believe in covenant theology and some people believe in baptismal regeneration, and the two beliefs are based on the belief that if a head of a household believes, then the additional members of the household are saved, and that’s not what it means. Here the leader of the house or the head of the house believed, and his wife and those that were of a believing age also believed and were therefore saved.
VERSE 54: “This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.”
VERSE 1: “After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.”
The Scripture says that Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it, not to destroy it, and here you find the Jewish Messiah going up to the Jewish Temple to keep a Jewish feast day. And it’s important because He came to fulfill the law; He came to commence a new covenant, and the new covenant is only initiated when the testator has died. But here we are finding the Lord living under the law, keeping the law, living a sinless life because you and I couldn’t, and that’s why we need to believe on Him because He has fulfilled the law on our behalf.
VERSES 2-6: “Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?”
Some people might consider that to be a kind of odd question for Jesus to ask this man who clearly wanted to be healed, but what the Lord was trying to do was draw out his faith; He was trying to draw out just how much faith he had to be healed. And sometimes faith in the New Testament was needed to be healed, but other times it wasn’t needed to be healed. The boy from Nain who you find in the Gospel of Luke had clearly died, and yet he was still raised from the dead. Lazarus died – and we’ll find him later on in this gospel – and yet He was raised from the dead. Many people were healed, many people were cured in the New Testament, and as I say, even people that had died were raised from the dead. But on this occasion, the Lord is drawing out from this individual the faith that would be needed for this subsequent healing to take place.
VERSES 7-9: “The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.”
Friday sundown to Saturday sundown is when the Jewish Sabbath is in place, and even to this day, Jews around the world still mark the Sabbath. The church doesn’t mark the Sabbath. Jesus was resurrected on a Sunday, the first day of the week, and you only find Jews in the Old and New Testament keeping the Sabbath. And, of course, Jesus would have kept the Sabbath because He was a Jew and He’d come to fulfill the law.
VERSE 10: “The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.”
That isn’t true, by the way. The Sabbath was given to man for a period of rest. Man had the entire week to get his house in order, and on Saturday, he was expected to rest; he was expected to worship the Lord; he was expected to have time with his family. And when the religious leaders were criticizing the Lord, they were using a religious feast day to do it because, in reality, they couldn’t fault Him, so they took the law out of context -eisegesis, which is what the cults do – and they accused Him of something He hadn’t done.
VERSES 11-13: “He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.”
This is amazing because the Lord approaches a sick party here, heals the party, and doesn’t even tell the party who He is. And, again, that’s the Lord, really. He doesn’t need man to testify of Him, and a lot of the times He did things behind the scenes. He wasn’t wanting attention. His first ministry was the son of Joseph, which meant a lot of suffering, but the second coming He comes as the Son of David – victorious with a flaming sword, and He will devour His enemies.
VERSE 14: “Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”
So clearly on this occasion, this individual was sick because of his sin. Your sin will find you out, as we find in the Old Testament. And you often wonder – I know I do – when you come across sick people, whether they’re in a hospital or in a psychiatric ward or homeless on the street or whatever the situation may be, you sometimes wonder what kind of sin has caused that person to see their life collapse. And one of the biggest problems in the UK is alcohol, and it’s rarely dealt with by the government. But it destroys families; it destroys lives, and when mankind falls apart, if he hasn’t got faith in the Lord, then he’ll turn to the bottle. And, again, the Scripture says you reap what you sow.
VERSES 15-16: “The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.”
Jealousy, clear jealousy. The Lord was doing the miracles that Moses did, and other Jewish leaders from the Old Testament and the Pharisees in the New Testament couldn’t do miracles. In fact, when you go through antiquity, very few people who claim to be religious, who claim to have divine credentials could do the miracles that Jesus Christ did. And they were completely jealous of him.
VERSES 17-18: “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”
Two things: He did not break the Sabbath, as I’ve already said, and secondly, John is clearly telling us here that by His statement “My Father” or “I am the Son of God” meant that He was equal to God. It was a clear statement that He was claiming equality with Jehovah God, and the Jewish leaders quite rightly saw that, and in the next few verses you see what they are going to do about that.
VERSE 19: “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”
Deity once more. The Son reflects the Father, and what the Father wants the Son to do, the Son does – total submission. And only God, the Triune God would be able to bring this to pass.
VERSES 20-21: “For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.”
Pretty obvious statement here that only God has the power to raise the dead, and Jesus is saying that He has the power to do so also. In the second chapter of John, He said that He would raise Himself from the dead, and He did.
VERSE 22: “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:”
Great White Throne. All the unsaved dead will stand there, and Jesus Christ will judge them, not the Father, not Joseph Smith, not Brigham Young, not Judge Rutherford, no so-called holy person – only the Son of God because the Father has given Him that right, that responsibility.
VERSE 23: “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.”
Very difficult to read that and not get the clear impression that Jesus was saying that if you worship the Father, you better worship Me, and if you don’t worship Me, there’s no point in you worshiping the Father, for We are one.
VERSE 24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
The moment you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you are saved. Your spirit goes to Heaven, and Paul said in Ephesians that your spirit is already in Heaven. And Colossians 1:13 reaffirms this part of holy writ that you are already saved the moment you believed, and there is now no more condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, Romans chapter 8.
VERSE 25: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
You can be physically alive and yet spiritually dead, and anybody that’s born again and works or lives or mixes with unsaved people on a regular basis knows what I’m saying: You are existing with corpses, the living dead. And yet in this verse it says those that are dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and them that hear it shall live. So even a dead person can hear the word of God and still respond.
Go to Luke chapter 15 and read it from verse 11 to 32. This, of course, is the prodigal son, and I haven’t got time to read all of it, but I’ll pick out a few verses and show you the cross-reference to this:
Luke 15:11-12: “And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.” Here’s a father, two sons, and they get 50-50 of his inheritance – kind of unusual because the father was still alive, but nonetheless, he grants the son his wish, and he goes off into another country, falls into sin.
But look at 17: “And when he came to himself” – there’s your repentance – “he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” 18: “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee.” He clearly sees his sin; he’s repented, and he comes back to his father.
Look at 20: “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” So the father is running to his repentant son to receive him. 24: “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” And he repeats that same expression a couple more times that his son was dead and yet alive.
So you can be physically alive and spiritually dead, and yet there’s something within you that causes repentance to come when you hear the Gospel. And we saw from the third chapter that mankind suppresses the Gospel; he won’t receive the Gospel. Paul says in Romans chapter 1 that he becomes blinded by his willful sin, and when that happens, the Lord gives him up, the Lord passes him over.
One more time back to verse 25 from John chapter 5: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” Some people will look at that and try and take from that that He’s referring to people that have died physically and are hearing the call to judgment. It doesn’t quite work. Some people will then say, well, maybe it has a reference to a saved person that’s died and is hearing the voice of the Lord and then is awakened or woken. Again, that still doesn’t work because Paul says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. So my view of this part of Scripture would be quite simply that it’s a reference to those that were living in the time of the Lord’s ministry.
They heard the preaching; they were spiritually dead, but those that heard it, those that believed it were saved and they came to life; they repented. And, of course, repentance is the same as believing on the Lord.
VERSES 26-27: “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”
Very, very clear. Very, very clear language. All that the Father has has been dispensed to the Son-total equality.
VERSE 28: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice.”
There’s your physical dead clearly found in 28 but not 25.
VERSE 29: “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
If you die in the Lord, you’re saved, and you’ll be resurrected at the Rapture to get a new body and into the Millennium you go and then also subsequently and finally into eternity. Those that have done evil, those that have died in their sin, those that have died without Christ are resurrected to appear at the Great White Throne where Jesus Christ judges them; and if their name is not found in the Book of Life, which they won’t be, hence their appearance at the Great White Throne. They go into the lake of fire, which is the second death.
VERSES 30-35: “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.”
Why was that? Well, He rebuked the Romans. He took on Herod. He took on the Roman occupiers. And the religious people for a season, for a period of time were quite happy to bask in this brave preacher taking on the establishment. But they wouldn’t believe in what He said; hence, they fell and they died in their sins.
VERSES 36-37: “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.”
Even Peter says that those living in his time had never seen God. Faith alone.Somebody witnesses to you; you believe the Gospel, and you get saved. But this part of Scripture takes me back to my point I made a little earlier that it’s my belief that mankind has yet to see God the Father. They’ve seen God the Son or the Christophanies in the Old Testament, but until the Millennium, Matthew chapter 5, they are awaiting, they are lining up, they are patiently waiting to see the Father.
VERSE 38: “And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.”
So His word doesn’t even abide in this apostate generation, and clearly by this stage, they weren’t even believing on His Son.
VERSE 39: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
What a profound statement. The Tanakh, the Jewish Old Testament, testified of the Messiah.
VERSE 40: “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”
He doesn’t say that they couldn’t come to Him but that they would not come to Him; and in support of that, you keep that in mind when we get to the sixth chapter.
VERSES 41-43: “I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”
That’s been taken by a lot people over the years to be a reference to the Antichrist.The Jews will receive the Antichrist in the Tribulation, and they will think he is the Messiah. And pretty tragic that they wouldn’t receive the true Messiah 2,000 years ago, but when the false messiah arrives – very soon, we believe – the goats from Matthew 25, the deceived from 1 Thessalonians 1 will receive this false messiah, and they do so because God has poured out strong delusion on that generation living at that time.
VERSES 44-45: “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.”
This is why it’s so important not to trust in men, not to trust in churches, not to trust in creeds or systems. These Jewish people were believing in Moses, and He’s saying that that won’t save you. And although they were of the impression or they gave the impression that they were trusting in Moses, look at the next verse.
VERSES 46-47: “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”
So here you find it quite clearly found that the Jews weren’t even believing in the writings of Moses. They were giving the Tanakh lip service, really. They wanted to be seen by men. They were Pharisees, which you find in Matthew 6, and that’s their problem. They were religious people. They had a head knowledge but not a heart knowledge. And, of course, there’s power in religion. You can control people’s minds; you can control people’s wallets, and many churches to this day expect a 10, 15, even 20 percent tithe of their parishioners. And it’s obvious to me that the main leaders that the Lord was up against were the worst kind of hypocrites – outwardly religious but inwardly dead men’s bones.
VERSES 1-10: “After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.”
I would just add a quick footnote to this that it’s obvious to me that you would have women and children also present. So 5,000 men times wives and children, quite easily 20,000 people are waiting to be fed by the Lord.
VERSES 11-12: “And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.”
Waste not, want not. Don’t throw food away. And here the Lord is saying the same sort of thing.
VERSES 13-14: “Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.”
The Messiah, of course.
VERSE 15: “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”
Not many religious people would pass up the chance to be worshiped. Not many religious people would be content to just slip away, and yet if you look at all the false religions today, you look at some of these religious people, they live for money and sex primarily. That’s what they are interested in. And here the Lord, if He had wanted to, could have been given all the wealth and whatever else that He would want. Even the devil will try to tempt Him in Matthew 4 and Luke chapter 4; and, of course, He tells the devil that only the Lord God should be worshiped. And I take that part of Scripture to affirm that Jesus Christ is very God. “Get thee behind me, Satan.”
VERSES 16-19: “And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.”
They’re several miles out on this lake, and no doubt the devil is trying to sink the ship. But, of course, God is behind everything that happens in the universe, and the devil knows that his time is limited, and yet he continues to take as many people down with him as possible. But we don’t fear the devil. We fear the Lord, and the Scripture says that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 110; Prov. 9:10.)
VERSES 20-21: “But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.”
What a miracle. The boat is three miles out, roughly. The Lord boards the ship, and immediately it arrives at land. Incredible.
VERSES 22-24: “The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.”
Thousands of people traveled for miles to see Him, and you can imagine the reports that must have been made by the secret police all over Israel. And those reports would have gone to Herod; they would have gone to Pilate, and there’s even been accounts of Pilate’s writings going back to Rome to brief his superiors ‒ this Jewish carpenter who’s come from nowhere, and He’s doing miracles all over Israel. No sick people anywhere. And the Jewish leaders have no idea what to do about it, and the Romans are fearful because if the Jewish people rise up, the Romans are kicked out. And the Jewish leaders are also scared. If that happens, then they are also going to be surplus to requirements.
VERSES 25-27: “And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”
Once again, they were looking to the Lord for physical food, and He’s saying that food is all very well, but look beyond that; look for spiritual food. Matthew’s gospel says when you seek the Lord and His righteousness, all that you need will be given to you. And many times we ask amiss. We ask for the wrong things, as the epistle of James tells us, and we don’t get these things. And Paul says to be content with what we have.
VERSE 28: “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?”
Mark this in your Bible and underline it.
VERSE 29: “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
That’s how you get saved. Go to Matthew 7 – Scripture with Scripture. Never mind what you think or what I think or what this person said or that person said. What does the Bible clearly and unequivocally say? Matthew chapter 7:21: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven..” The Kingdom of Heaven has two parts. It has a physical realm and a spiritual realm. The spiritual realm is here and now. When we get saved, we enter the Kingdom of Heaven, which is the Kingdom of God as well, I believe. But there’s also a physical realm, and that physical realm will be initiated during the 1,000 year reign.
One more time: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Now, watch it. The will of the Father is found in John chapter 6: “that ye believe on himwhom he hath sent.” Scripture with Scripture. Still not sure? Look at verse 40: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” So that quick cross-reference from John 6 to Matthew 7 hopefully has given you a bit more meat, a bit more substance. And if you’re worrying about your salvation possibly, hopefully your mind is now somewhat more at rest.
VERSES 30-31: “They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
Once again, the unsaved people are unable to understand His spiritual meaning to what He’s telling them. The same was found with the woman at the well and Nicodemus. Jesus was using metaphors. He was speaking to them using everyday language, but instead of them understanding what He was saying, a lot of what He said went over their heads; hence why He had to explain to them in clear language so that they grasp the ultimate meaning of what He’s telling them here. And I’ll just say one other thing briefly. Parables in the New Testament were nearly always used when unsaved people were present, those that were never going to believe on Him, and that was done (a) to rebuke them and (b) to restrict the severity of God’s judgment. The more an unsaved person hears and doesn’t believe, the more accountable they will be. Imagine living with an unsaved person and you are a very active Christian. That person is going to be very accountable. Day and night they live with you; they see you working for the Lord, and yet they don’t believe. Awful judgment that awaits them.
VERSE 32: “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.”
I.e., Jesus Christ.
VERSE 33: “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.”
Chapter 1, He came unto his own and his own received him not. He lights every man that comes into the world. Get all these Scriptures together and you get a more accurate picture of how salvation works in the Bible.
VERSE 34-35: “Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
He’s told them this. He’s told them throughout the gospels who He was, but they wouldn’t believe on Him. For this request to be given, this bread, is similar to the woman at the well: Lord, give me this water that I can drink that I don’t need to come back to this well again. They’re not looking beyond His words; they’re focusing on the here and now. And the rest of this chapter He’s going to drive home the point of who He is, continually pleading with unsaved people, something you wouldn’t do if you take the Calvinist view that the sheep and the goats have been chosen from eternity past. And if this was the case, why would the Lord waste three and a half years going all over Israel, which you could do in a couple of weeks, maybe a month or two at the most ‒ why would He go all over Israel for three and a half years preaching to people if there was no hope for them? He wouldn’t, of course.
VERSE 36: “But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.”
Now the burden is on them.
VERSE 37: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise
Revelation 4 says that the world is made for the glory of God. Everything that exists today was made by God as a gift to His Son.
VERSES 38-39: “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”
The saved and the unsaved are all going to be raised up. Never forget that.
VERSE 40: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Matthew 11 makes it clear that it was God’s will to reveal His Son to the whole world. But, again, what you’re getting here is God’s foreknowledge, knowing the beginning from the end, and yet the Bible is written in time to people living in time, on the one hand giving accountability to man to either believe the Gospel and be saved or to reject and be lost. And at the other spectrum, you have the Lord’s foreknowledge from eternity past going into eternity future. So reading through John 6, there’s no reason, as I believe, to become a Calvinist or even to become a staunch Arminian. I take the Bible as it is clearly given – that God is Sovereign, that He has provided an atonement for the world; those who believe will be saved, and those that don’t won’t be. So the atonement was sufficient for everybody, but it’s only going to be efficient for those that believe on Him; and those that believe on Him are the ones who are going to be saved, and He won’t lose any of those people-eternal security.
VERSE 41: “The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.”
Deity. Once again, they were completely aware of what He was telling them, and He doesn’t correct them, either.
VERSES 42-43: “And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.”
Stop arguing among yourselves. What I’ve said I’ve said. I’m the bread of life. I’m the way, the truth, and the life. If you believe that I am God, you’re saved, and if you don’t, you’re lost. That’s what He’s saying to them.
That’s what He’s affirming to them. But look at 44:
VERSE 44: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
If you go back to Matthew 13 and you read about the parables and those that were able to hear the Gospel but not perceive it lest he would heal them and they would be saved, that’s found in Jeremiah. And Jeremiah talks about this spiritual blindness that God had bestowed upon the unbelieving house of Israel, and that’s why so many Jews didn’t believe on Him during His first coming because of that perpetual sin of unbelief. Similar sort of language here: Nobody can come to me unless God, which has sent me, draws them. So, again, the source of the new birth comes from God. Nobody gets saved because they want to be saved. They come to the Lord because He’s provided salvation for them.
Go back to chapter 1 quickly. I just want to give you the cross-reference to this.John 1 in reference to 6:44: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” So, again, the source of the new birth is found clearly in the first chapter of John, and it’s found also here in John chapter 6 that nobody can come to God unless God draws him. That’s what it’s telling us, that you can’t come to me unless the Father draws him; in other words, you can’t be saved unless I provide an atonement for you. I’m the bread of life. You either believe on Me or you don’t.
VERSE 45: “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”
So if you’ve heard and if you’ve learned, then you come to Him.
VERSE 46: “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.”
Jesus Christ, of course.
VERSE 47: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
The burden goes back onto the recipients of the Gospel. I’m preaching to you. You need to believe on Me. If you believe on Me, I will save you, and you will be saved because I’ve given you salvation. He’s pleading with these people to believe on Him; but, again, parables are also being used here because He is coming up against a lot of resistance, a lot of willful unbelief.
VERSES 48-50: “I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.”
Spiritual life, of course.
VERSE 51: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
And the world there, I believe, is a reference to planet earth, and the book of Romans chapter 8 speaks about even the animals being redeemed from the curse at God’s appointed time.
VERSE 52: “The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
They missed the point. They are hearing what the Lord is saying, and they are so focused on physical needs, physical food like the lady at the well – literal water, H2O – for they misunderstand what He’s saying. And as I keep saying, the parables are used in Matthew 13 to demonstrate that the people, for the most part, were living in spiritual blindness. These aren’t people who are trying to get it. These aren’t people that are struggling to grasp what He’s telling them. These are people that don’t want to believe on Him, and you’ll find that in verse 66.
VERSE 53: “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.”
This can’t be a literal body and blood to be consumed in order to be saved. That is cannibalism. That’s what you find in vampire films. Completely abhorrent in any generation, especially in the word of God.
VERSE 54: “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Present tense. The moment you believe on Him, the moment you receive Him, the moment you are partakers of His death, burial, and resurrection you are saved and you have – present tense – everlasting life.
VERSES 55-58: “For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”
Again, metaphorically speaking, Jesus is the bread of life, not a literal loaf of bread, but He’s telling them that to believe on Me is what’s going to save you. And this sort of language of the flesh is found in Ezekiel 39. It’s found in Revelation 19.It’s found in the Psalms. And nearly always it’s a picture of judgment – to be a partaker and somebody who’s going to sacrifice himself. And that’s what the communion is, the bread and the cup. It’s a symbol, it’s a representation of what Jesus did for us on the cross.
VERSE 59: “These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.”
Important that Jesus , again, is talking to the Jews, and the Jews were hypersensitive to this sort of language. And He’s driving the point home that there is no other bread, there is no other way, there is no other source, there is no other Messiah. It’s My way or no way, really. And 54, one more time, makes it crystal clear that the moment you eat His flesh and drink His blood you have everlasting life abiding in you. And that comes through believing. First Corinthians 12, Ephesians chapter 4 make it crystal clear that when you believe on the Lord, you are baptized into the body of Christ, and then Ephesians 4 says you are sealed unto the day of redemption. So this idea of a cannibalism love fest is completely abhorrent, and although some religious groups take this to be a literal rendering – there has to be a literal body and a literal blood of Jesus Christ – are dancing to a very dangerous delusion, very dangerous indeed and very blasphemous.
VERSES 60-61: “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?”
Again, these are unsaved reprobates, for the most part. The parable constantly ricochets to my mind when I look at this part of Scripture because these are not people who are trying to understand the Lord. Other times you find people in the gospels which will say, “Lord, give me faith to believe this” or “Help my unbelief,” but here these are people who are willfully ignorant, and they just are not wanting to get what He’s telling them. Hence, they are now offended because He is Jewish and He’s talking about death; He’s talking about being identified with Him. And for the Jews, that was abhorrent; it was a stumbling block; and, of course, to the Greeks it was foolishness. They wanted a Messiah to set them free from Rome, to rule over the Romans. Of course, that will be the second coming. But here He’s coming as the son of Joseph. He’s coming to suffer, and He’s coming to die an awful death.
VERSES 62-63: “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
So if you had any doubt in your mind still that His flesh would profit you nothing in and of itself, it’s found here.
It’s the Spirit that quickeneth. It’s the Holy Spirit that brings you alive, and He brings you alive when you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
VERSE 64: “But there are some of you that believe not.”
Again, the burden is put back on the unbelief of those that were willfully against Him, those that were willfully in unbelief.
“For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.”
He’s omniscient; and, again, it’s clear evidence of His deity.
VERSE 65: “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”
And, again, I’ve given you the parables from Matthew 13, this perpetual spiritual blindness. The source of the new birth is found in the first chapter, and nobody can come to Him unless the Father is going to draw them.
The Father does draw all to Him, but only those that believe are going to be saved, and those that don’t believe won’t be saved.
VERSE 66: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
Go to 1 John. Look at 1 John chapter 2 verse 19: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” Go to Matthew chapter 7. I gave you the first part of that from verse 21. Matthew 7, look at verse 22: “Many will say to me in that day” – Great White Throne – “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
These people in John chapter 6, these people from 1 John 2, these people from Matthew chapter 7 were never saved to begin with. They got caught up in the hysteria. They got caught up in the carnality. They got caught up in all the excitement that was evident in first century Israel. And the Lord’s ministry wasn’t to come to put on a show. He wasn’t on earth to be treated as a king, although He is a king. His kingdom isn’t yet of this world. And these people went along with the Lord for a period of time, but clearly they were not really of the Lord as Judas Iscariot wasn’t really of the Lord. They had a head knowledge but not a heart knowledge, and this is them falling away. So they were never saved to begin with. And I have to say that because the argument never ceases over conditional security versus eternal security. And you’ve already seen that those that come to Him He will not cast away. So the minute you believe, you have everlasting life, and you saw that from verse 54.
VERSES 67-68: “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”
Absolutely true. Where else can you go? These people that left Him, I believe, went back to the law. They went back to the Jewish system, and they crucified Christ afresh, which is what you find in the book of Hebrews. When you come to the knowledge of the Saviour – and these people did – and you walked with Him ‒ and these people did – and you are a partaker of His ministry – and these people were – to then turn around and go back to where you came is crucifying Him afresh. It’s treating Him with contempt, and that’s why Hebrews says there’s no more forgiveness of sins. In other words, if you reject Him and you die in that state, you are lost and it’s clearly evident that you were never saved to begin with.
VERSE 69: “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Here’s an abbreviated cross-reference to Matthew 16 when Jesus says, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” And, of course, that is based on Peter’s confession. Peter spoke for all of the apostles, and the Lord rewarded Peter for doing so. And that account, by the way, is only found once in the four gospels, Matthew 16. Here Peter is giving a shortened version of that, I believe.
VERSES 70-71: “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.”
This expression “a devil” means an adversary. He was a liar; he was a deceiver. And it says he was the son of Simon, so he had a physical father, which means he wasn’t born a demon. But the Gospel of Luke tells us that Satan entered into Judas.So clearly he was born like everybody else was born through his mother and father but became a devil, became an enemy of God.
VERSES 1-5: “After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him.”
It’s very difficult to understand how that must have felt for the Lord. Mary had at least six other children, and to have been raised with these brothers and sisters from Joseph, of course, must have been very difficult for Him as He grew and became of age and ultimately was publically announced to be the Messiah. For His own family, for His closest brethren to doubt Him must have been very difficult. And the nearest I can think that would feel would be to have unsaved family that you’re either married to or that you live with or that you may even work with, unsaved loved ones that don’t believe the Gospel. And that’s probably the nearest that we can feel to understanding how Jesus must have felt when His own family at this point in time, I should say, didn’t believe in Him.
VERSES 6-7: “Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”
How true that is. The moment you become a Bible believer and you start getting the Gospel out, people around you will separate from you. You can be part of the world system, and the world will quite easily rub along with you, but the moment you are a Bible believer and you take a stand as a Bible believer, the world is against you. But the world doesn’t hate its own, but it loves its own.
VERSES 8-10: “Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee. But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.”
The Lord’s ministry is really a two-part ministry, I would say. The first part would be to preach and teach to those that are saved, and that would also include healing people, obviously. But the other part of His ministry was to rebuke the unbelievers, to rebuke the reprobates. And here His ministry, I would say, is twofold: He wants to go up to the Temple – and He will go up – and He wants to preach at the feast – and He will do – and He wants to reach those that are saved or that are going to be saved. And He also wants to reach those that are in rebellion, those that are in sin, those that are keeping the people down, keeping them down in a spiritual sense.As I’ve already said, Jesus is no Guevara; He was no Lenin; He’s not some superstar communist or superstar socialist. But He didn’t come to be made king, not the first coming, anyway. The Second Coming, absolutely, and Psalm 110 tells us what will happen to those that oppose Him. But here He wants to go up secretly.
VERSE 11: “Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?”
Clearly a price on His head. And something similar is found in the book of Acts when the enemies of Paul take an oath that they will not eat until they kill him. And that’s what’s found in organized religion, especially enforced religion. Islam is very good at killing those that oppose Islam, those that oppose Mohammed, those that oppose Allah. They will come together and they will kill you. Whereas in the New Testament, God gives His Son for the world, but in Islam, they give their sons for Allah. And, of course, I’m referring to a martyr’s death.
VERSE 12: “And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.”
It’s very difficult to hear about Jesus and have no view on Him. Somebody once said you’re either sad, mad, or glad when it comes to the Gospel. But one thing I don’t think you can really be when you’ve read the New Testament and you’ve heard of what awaits the unsaved and what awaits the saved. It’s very difficult to be indifferent. Although we have a lot of apathy in the UK – and we do – my experience has shown that when you sit down with somebody who’s not saved and you actually explain the Gospel to them, you see the old eyes ticking away and you can see something happening behind the mist of indifference. And although the average person will thank you for your time and may give the impression that what you’ve said has made no difference, I still believe that you have not only planted a seed – the Bible says that, and Paul also said that nothing you do is in vain, so always keep that in mind – but I also believe that even a hardened sinner goes away convicted. And he certainly won’t let you see that conviction, and he won’t want to allow his friends to see that conviction, but when that person gets home on their own and the old conscience starts ticking away, then they can recall what you told them that day, and that’s the power of the Gospel.
VERSES 13-16: “Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.”
In other words, if you have a problem, take it up with the Father. He sent me to give you this message. And that’s very much how it is with the believer today. Paul says we are ambassadors for Christ, and the amount of times that people have got upset with me through witnessing to them, and I have to explain to certain people that I’m just the postman. As the old expression goes, “Don’t shoot the messenger.”
VERSES 17-18: “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.”
Let God be true and every man a liar.
VERSE 19: “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?”
That’s a pretty profound statement. These religious people weren’t even keeping the law which they claimed to believe, which they claimed to be faithful custodians of. And Jesus says you don’t even keep the law, and yet you want to kill Me because they unfairly considered Him a blasphemer, which, of course, He wasn’t.
Just a quick footnote. On 15 how the Jews marveled at Him not knowing letters.These Jewish leaders were, to some extent, pretty bright people – scholars, perhaps, like Paul – and here’s an itinerant preacher, a son of a carpenter. And, again, these sorts of people would look down on someone like Jesus. They would look down on the apostles. And that’s found very much today. If you’re a self-taught Christian, if you’re a self-taught teacher, then you know what it’s like. You know what it’s like to come up against some of your professors and doctors and the reverends and the so-on’s and the so forth’s and all those people, and they do look down on you. But you’re in good company because they looked down on Jesus as well, and He was the Son of God.
VERSE 20: “The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?”
That’s the unpardonable sin, by the way, if you didn’t know. Mark 3 told us that the unpardonable sin was to say that Jesus was demon possessed and all that He did was done by the devil, not the Holy Ghost. So it’s impossible for a person today to commit the unpardonable sin because Jesus is not alive walking on the earth. And very few people that I’ve met have said that Jesus was doing what He was doing through the power of the devil. And although some people might think it and say it in ignorance, what condemned these particular people in Matthew 12 was a persistent and a perpetual hatred and a rejection and an ignorance as to the Lord’s ministry. And He pleaded with them for three and a half years, really, before they eventually put Him on a cross and killed Him.
VERSES 21-24: “Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
Go to Leviticus. So many times people will say, “Judge not lest ye be judged,” and they never really give you the context of that. But go to Leviticus, Old Testament, Leviticus19:15: “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.” One more Scripture. Judging is completely 100 percent authentic and scriptural, and if you don’t judge, then you’re a fool.Revelation chapter 2, verse 2: “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.” These people are commended for judging using righteous judgment. When somebody passes an opinion, check him out in light of Scripture. Your opinion and my opinion is worthless, but the Bible told you to judge these people, told you to do it. Just make sure you’re not being hypocrites, which are condemned in Matthew chapter 7, a part of Scripture which is so abused, it’s just unacceptable.
VERSES 25-29: “Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.”
How many times have you had somebody say that Jesus never claimed to be God? It’s pretty clear from this part of Scripture what He was claiming. Look at verse 30. It’s pretty clear how they took that part of Scripture.
VERSE 30: “Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.”
They wanted to kill Him for claiming to have come from God – equality. But, of course, He’s on God’s perfect timetable, and this part of His ministry, He was untouchable.
VERSE 31: “And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?”
The answer, of course, is no. Nobody did more miracles than Jesus.
VERSES 32-34: “The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him. Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.”
Luke 16 tells you about the rich man in Hell and the beggar in Heaven, Abraham’s bosom, and Abraham says you can’t come to us and we cannot go to you. Similar sort of language here. You can’t come to me because you’re not saved, really.Some of these people sought Him – Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea – and they found Him. They found Him because they sought Him with all their hearts. But I guess the main theme of this is that unless you’re saved, you can’t come to Me, and when you’re dead, you certainly won’t be with Me.
VERSE 35: “Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?”
Once again, people who are unregenerate are thinking – in this context, anyway – of Him going to a geographical location. They completely miss the spiritual application here. And this is the truth that unless you are born again, you are spiritually blind and the Gospel is foolishness to you. And that’s why Jesus said in Matthew 7 don’t cast your pearls before swine. Be careful, be cautious. Make sure you don’t overdo things when it comes to pleading with the lost. By all means, get out there and get the Gospel out, but don’t spend too much time, I would say, going back and forth, especially with argumentative people. Paul said that after the second admonition of a heretic, you are to reject that person and move on to somebody else. There’s a lot more fish in the sea which need to be witnessed to.
VERSES 36-37: “What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come? 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.”
It’s a very clear, open invitation; however, it’s only aimed at those who are spiritually bankrupt; it’s only aimed at those who are humble; it’s only aimed at those who know that they need to be saved. If you’re a self-righteous kind of person, He’s not talking to you. He can’t benefit you. In fact, if you are a self-righteous person, you don’t need Him because, in your mind, you’re going to get to Heaven on your own good works if you even believe there is a Heaven. He’s calling on the humble; He’s calling on the beggars; He’s calling on you and me.
VERSES 38-43: “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of him.”
Ignorance, once again. The argument here that nothing good would come from Galilee found earlier on in the Gospel of John is ignorance of Scripture. Jonah came from Galilee, and yet here the ignorance is pretty frightening. And the book of Hosea chapter 6 says that God’s people perished for their lack of knowledge.
VERSES 44-46: “And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him. Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.”
Amen and Amen. If you’ve ever studied history, if you’ve ever studied religion, that part of Scripture is completely true. Hitler promised the German people 1,000 years, and he barely managed to give them 13. Buddha claimed to be looking for the light, but Jesus is the Light. Mohammed claimed to be the final prophet, and yet Allah told him to repent seven times. And Jesus turned around to the Jews and said, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?,” and nobody said a word.
VERSES 47-49: “Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.”
Go back to pre Vatican II in the Catholic Church, and if you didn’t speak Latin, you didn’t really know what was going on during the Tridentine Mass. You may have had a Missal. You may have read it. Most Catholics didn’t read a Missal during the Mass and therefore they would watch the priest on the altar with his back to the congregation, and they had no idea, really, what was going on. Go back to three, four, 500 years, 95 percent of a typical congregation in a Catholic Church, especially in Europe, couldn’t even read or write. Ignorance. And in the eyes of the clergy, they were cursed. Hence why the Bible was prohibited to read. But, of course, you couldn’t read. Only the priests could read; only the bishops could read.And here, similar kind of theme. The religious “elite” are looking at the laity and, for the most part, they considered them cursed because, in their eyes, they didn’t know the law.
VERSES 50-52: “Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.”
Again, that’s wrong. Jonah came from Galilee.
VERSE 53: “And every man went unto his own house.”
VERSES 1-5: “Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?”
Just one quick footnote to add to this account. This woman was found having intercourse, and yet where is the man? Why wasn’t he brought to the Lord along with the woman? That’s clearly defined in the Torah, and yet they aren’t looking at him; they’re looking at her. And I wonder if perhaps the man that she was having intercourse with may well have been one of the Pharisees, may well have been one of the leaders of the Jews; hence why he was conveniently absent, but she was singled out to be ridiculed.
VERSES 6-7: “This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
Some people have said that Jesus is writing their names and their sins on the ground. Again, He’s omniscient. And the second part of 7, “He that is without sin among you, cast the first stone at her” has also been abused with Matthew 7, and the way that it’s been abused is to suggest that you can’t judge somebody else, and you can judge. Paul says that a righteous man is judged by nobody, but here what He’s really trying to get across is the fact that these people had done exactly what she had done but hadn’t been caught. She had been caught, had been brought to Him, was humiliated, and yet in His grace – and also He has come to initiate a new covenant. He makes it crystal clear that unless you are not guilty of the same sin of adultery that she was guilty of, then you might have grounds to put her to death. And that’s really the true meaning of this part of Scripture, not that you’re not allowed to judge people – because you clearly are – but that you were not to have been guilty of the same sin that she had been guilty of.
VERSES 8-9: “And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”
It’s pretty clear to me that the way that He has handled these people has cut through them like a knife, and that’s the power of the Gospel. When Paul preached in Acts to a very wicked king, his knees almost knocked. The power of the Gospel just ricocheted through that party, but here one by one they evaporate.
VERSES 10-11: “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
Very, very important that you get that. If you’ve been set free from sin, if you’re a Bible believer, don’t sin anymore. Those of us that hold to eternal security or if saved always saved sometimes are unfairly condemned for that as though we are somehow giving a license to sin. We are not, and we reaffirm 11, “Go, and sin no more.” You’ve been set free from adultery. It’s a sin, and He says you are to walk in the newness of life with Me.
VERSES 12-14: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.”
Jeremiah 5 is crystal clear that this perpetual blindness – and Paul says this also in 2 Corinthians – this perpetual blindness has been with the Jews for thousands of years now, and unless they humble themselves, the message of Christ goes over their heads. And it’s frightening to think of all of the generations – Old Testament, New Testament, and now church-age Jews – that have completely missed the Gospel primarily down to the generational blindness of their forefathers. I had a conversation with a young Hasidic Jew some years ago, and I tried to witness to him. Very difficult, very, very difficult. And he said that he was too young to talk to me. He wasn’t much younger than I was, actually. He may have looked younger, but he wasn’t much younger than I was. And he told me to speak to some of his older brethren. And that’s a fine chance if you get it, but most Hasidic Jews won’t talk to you about the Gospel. And Isaiah 53 is the place to take a Jew, by the way, if they are even fractionally open to the Gospel. Take them to Isaiah 53 and show them how Jesus Christ is the Messiah.
VERSES 15-16: “Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.”
He didn’t come to judge the first time. He came as a Saviour. The second coming He’ll come to judge, and He’ll judge everybody right down to the letter of the law. But here He wasn’t coming as a judge. He was coming as a Saviour, as a servant.
VERSES 17-21: “It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come. Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.”
He is the only way to be saved. That is what the book of Hebrews is about, and if you come to the knowledge of Him and then turn around and go back to the law, you will die in your sins. This is what He’s saying – It’s My way or the highway.
VERSE 22: “Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.”
Once again, willful ignorance, and He does not correct them. He does not correct them from the sixth chapter when they were under the impression He was talking about physical food and physical drink – His body, of course, and His blood, of course – and He wasn’t referring to that. He made it clear, but they still didn’t get it. The woman at the well thought He meant physical water. He doesn’t correct her, but He continues on with His message. And Nicodemus thought that He meant a physical rebirth. And, again, you can’t be physically reborn. And, again, He doesn’t correct Nicodemus. He just continues on with the message. He that has ears to hear, let him hear. That’s what it comes down to.
VERSE 23: “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.”
Paul says that we’ve been saved from the power of darkness into the Kingdom of His dear Son, and I’m sure you all know by now, but the reality is that you’re either a child of the devil or you’re a child of God. You’re either Heaven-bound or you’re Hell-bound.
VERSE 24: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”
Unless you believe that Jesus is God, you will die in your sins, period. That’s what He’s saying in a nutshell.
VERSES 25-27: “Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.”
Not much has changed 2,000 years later. I’ve had conversations with Muslims, and I’ve pleaded with them, and they just don’t understand that Jesus has come from the Father, and that, again, is pretty sad. Second Corinthians 4 makes it crystal clear that the devil has blinded those that are in unbelief, and that blindness is also echoed in Matthew 13, and it’s done because of man. Man loves darkness rather than light, and that was found in the third chapter of John. And when man gives himself up to sin found in Ephesians 4, then according to Romans 1, God then gives that party up, and there’s no turning back for them.
VERSE 28: “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.”
He was holding these Jewish people responsible for His soon crucifixion. The Romans physically nailed Him to the cross, but the Jews were primarily responsible for that. And the Gospel of Matthew tells us that they cried, “Let His blood be on us and on our children.” And Paul also talks about this in 1 Thessalonians.
VERSES 29-30: “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him.”
As I’ve said, a two-fold ministry: He’s witnessing to the lost, and He’s rebuking the wicked, something which we still do to this day.
VERSES 31-32: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Jesus is pushing them from a mere head knowledge to having a heart circumcised, to having a heartfelt belief and then a walk with Him. It would have been very tempting to have given Him lip service and then gone back to the law and gone back to the hostility which the early church suffered from, and to continue on, would make you a true disciple indeed.
VERSE 33: “They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?”
When I read this part of Scripture, I think of Freemasons. They think they are free, and nobody’s free, of course. And just because these were physical descendants from Abraham didn’t mean that they were free.
VERSES 34-37: “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.”
Hence the need for the new birth.
VERSE 38: “I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.”
Not Abraham, of course, but the devil.
VERSES 39-41: “They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.”
It could be that they were referring to His virgin birth. I’ve read that in commentaries, but I think what they’re really trying to get to here is the fact that they are, in their minds, legitimate children of Abraham. And it can’t be ruled out, of course, that they were questioning the birth of Christ, that rumor had got around that Joseph wasn’t His father. And not all the Jews would have believed that she was found with child of the Holy Ghost, but I think, really, what’s happening here is that they are desperately clinging onto an authentic line to Abraham – a bit like you find with the Catholics. They will fight tooth and nail to be found in the papal line, and they believe that the popes go back to Peter, which, of course, is folly. There are no successors to the apostles. The word “apostle” means “sent,” and an apostle would have to have been an eyewitness to Jesus. So it’s a similar kind of theme going on here.
VERSES 42-44: “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
You can just imagine the hostility, the tension in the air. Here the Jewish Messiah is rebuking the Jewish people, the Jewish leaders, really, primarily the so-called custodians of the Tanakh, the so-called successors of Aaron. And it just goes to show that even if you have this so-called line going back to Aaron, it doesn’t mean that you’re faithful. In fact, these are very unfaithful people here. So even though you have this so-called line going back to Peter, it doesn’t mean a thing. But what’s really scathing here is Jesus’ words, His words of condemnation. He’s saying in essence that you are all Satan’s children; you’re all of the devil; you’re all unregenerate, and you may be very religious, but you’re going to go to Hell. Amazing words. And you hear Jesus being spoken of as mild and meek. Kind of goes against that.
VERSES 45-46: “And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?”
There was a chance they had been condemning Him, they’d been attacking Him, they’d been lining up to try and kill Him, and He lays His cards on the table, and He says, “Who do you think you are? Is there anybody here that can convince me of sin?” And the silence was deafening. An affirmative negative came back.
VERSES 47-48: “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?”
There’s the unpardonable sin one more time.
VERSES 49-56: “Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”
Quite possibly he saw it from Paradise. Maybe the Lord gave him a view of Jesus’ ministry, His arrival. Or maybe he saw it through the type of sacrifice of his own son. Maybe the Lord gave him a vision beyond his willing and faithful sacrifice of Isaac. And Isaac also was willing to be sacrificed. Also keep that in mind. So perhaps the patriarch got a glimpse thousands of years before Jesus was born, but either way, He says here that Abraham saw it and rejoiced.
VERSE 57: “Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?”
Once again, they just cannot grasp the reality that God is eternal, and if God wanted to appear in the person of Jesus – and He did – then He would be quite at liberty to do so. If God could speak through a donkey – and He did – if the children of Israel could bring the walls of Jericho down – and they did – if God could part the Red Sea – and He did – why is it so problematic, why was it so difficult to not grasp the words of the Lord? And, of course, He’s already told them that they’re not of God. They are the goats found in Matthew 25.
VERSE 58: “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”
Exodus chapter 3 ‒ deity. I am God. I’m the eternal one.
VERSE 59: “Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”
Jesus is very God here, and it’s very troublesome if you can’t see that or won’t see that, and I would simply plead with you to get on your knees and ask God to open His Book to you.
VERSES 1-3: “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
The book of Exodus makes it crystal clear that God made the blind and the dumb and anybody and anything which has a deformity because God is the author and the sustainer of life. This man was born blind, and the understandable question was asked by the apostles, “Why was he born blind?” or “What sin has he done that he is now blind?” Now, of course, sin does cause people to suffer. People do deteriorate in their health when they sin, but on this occasion, he hadn’t sinned; his parents hadn’t sinned; it was simply nature taking hold of this man and, unfortunately for him, losing his sight. But what’s quite amazing here is the fact that the Lord is going to use this man’s blindness for His glory, and that’s what it comes down to – the potter and the clay. We are the clay, God is the potter, and He’s entitled to do with us whatever He chooses to do. If He wants to save us, He will; if He doesn’t, then He doesn’t need to. Lamentations chapter 3 makes it very clear. Why does a man complain for the penalty of his sin? Why do you complain if life’s been bad to you? If that has come to you as a result of sin, you have no legitimacy to complain. As they say, you’ve made your bed, so lie in it.
VERSES 4-12: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.”
Typical. The Lord doesn’t want any glory; He doesn’t want any praise ‒ the most humble man who ever lived. Gives sight to the blind and disappears before the crowd comes to make Him king. Not many religious leaders today would be happy to just evaporate, just blend into the crowd. They want all the attention, all the glory, and all the fame, but here the Lord is quite content to disappear and quite possibly go somewhere secluded and pray.
VERSES 13-16: “They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.”
That confusion, of course, is from the devil. Anybody who had a heart for God, anybody who knew right from wrong knew that Jesus Christ was from God. Even Nicodemus told Him that back in the third chapter.
VERSES 17-27: “They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?”
A bit of sarcasm there thrown in.
VERSES 28-29: “Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.”
Once again, they’re trusting in a dead man. They’re trusting in Moses, not the living Saviour who was standing yards away from them quite possibly, certainly in their close proximity. But this is the problem, as I’ve said already, that when men start toquote other men or when men look to a so-called “apostolic line,” then they’ve already fallen into terrible error, terrible error.
VERSE 30: “The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.”
This blind man could see far more than all these religious men combined. And, again, I’ll just go back to my previous theme that organized religion has always failed, and the more brains you get together, the less light you get, the less truth you get because the Gospel is simplistic. And Paul said that he was worried that the simplicity of Christ had been lost through the devil’s subtlety, and that’s very true. Sometimes people try to over analyze the Gospel, and they try to do a very detailed autopsy, a very detailed post-mortem on the word of God; and you are told to become as a child, and then you would inherit the Kingdom of God. You must humble yourself. Otherwise, the Lord will not talk to you.
VERSES 31-35: “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?”
That is the correct reading – Son of God, not son of man – and here the Lord is quite clearly affirming His deity. To call yourself a Son of God meant you were equal to God. And it’s kind of frightening, really, that there are some religious people who make the erroneous and heretical statement that Jesus never said He was the Son of God. He did say it. In fact, He said it 40 times directly and indirectly, and He called Himself the son of man 80 times. But here in 35 it’s very clearly found that Jesus is asking the man, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”
VERSES 36-38: “He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.”
Lord – deity; worship – deity. This man is worshiping Jesus, and Jesus does not rebuke him. He doesn’t correct him. Had Jesus not been God, He would have corrected this man, because to worship a mortal man would have been idolatry, and Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to abolish the law. He kept the law perfectly, and here He quite happily takes the worship of this man. Why? Because He is God in the flesh. Paul says that He was God manifest in the flesh.
VERSE 39: “And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”
A bit of a paradox there. But what He’s saying quite clearly is that those that want to see will see, and those that don’t, won’t.
VERSES 40-41: “And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.”
Accountability. Once you know right from wrong, you’re accountable to God. And just the thought of these people standing in the presence of the eternal God, it’s pretty frightening, very frightening for them, indeed.
VERSES 1-5: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.”
Verse 5 makes it clear that you won’t follow a false shepherd, and it’s quite clear that once you’ve been saved, you are eternally saved. And those that do follow a false shepherd, once again, turn out to be the goats, not the sheep. First Timothy chapter 4 speaks about the great deception, the great apostasy in the last days, and it says many will give heed to seducing spirits. But, again, 1 John chapter 2 also told you that they went out from us because they were not of us. So what happens is, normally people will start out with the Lord, but when trouble, temptation, or tribulation occurs, then there’s a permanent falling away, a great apostasy. And the Antichrist, of course, will come along, as we’ve read about in the previous chapters, and his voice they will hear. They will receive him, and Matthew 24 told you that if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived. And, of course, it’s not possible because we’re told in 1 Thessalonians that God will send strong delusion on those that refuse to believe the truth.
But here we are told that they won’t follow a stranger; they’ll follow the Good Shepherd, and the Good Shepherd is the Son of God. And verse 1 made it crystal clear that to come to the Lord any other way, you’d be a thief and a robber. Why? Well, you’re stealing the glory from God. Paul told you there is only one God and one mediator between men and God, the man Christ Jesus. You come to Him His way or you don’t come at all. And you find the picture of this in the parable in the Gospel of Matthew where the man appears at the king’s banquet, and he’s wearing his own clothes. There’s a picture of an unsaved person trying to get to Heaven his own way. He won’t put the garment on that Jesus has provided for him, but he wants to wear his own clothing. And the Lord is infuriated with that, and He says bind him hand and foot and cast him into outer darkness. That’s a picture of an unsaved sinner trying to justify himself in the presence of God. It won’t work. It will not work. You come His way or no way at all.
VERSE 6: “This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.”
Second Corinthians 4 makes it very clear that the devil has blinded the hearts and the eyes of the unregenerate, and Jeremiah chapter 5 told you that this is a perpetual blindness, and only when the Lord takes mercy on a repentant Jew will He remove that blindness from him. And Paul said he was grieved and he wished he was accursed at times – something similar to what Moses said – for his people. He wanted the Jews to be saved, but they were rebellious in Moses’ time, and Acts 7 told us that they were a stiff-necked people. And here the goats – again, the willfully ignorant people – are completely oblivious to what the Lord is telling them.
VERSES 7-9: “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
The invitation is given to everybody without exception, but it will only benefit those who receive Him. Again, the analogy that I gave you earlier, the provision was made by the Lord, but only those that appropriate the atonement will be saved. So Jesus died for every man, woman, and child, but only those that believe on Him will be saved.
VERSE 10: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
This verse sometimes is cited by the prosperity crowd, those people that think that Jesus wants you to be rich and healthy and prosperous and own the whole street and have mansions and nice-looking cars and own half of Nigeria and have servants wait on you. And that’s not at all what this is implying here. If you read “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs,” you will see that the most faithful men and women that have served the Lord that were martyred, for the most part, died in great poverty. All the apostles but one were murdered for their faith, and Paul, the greatest Christian that ever lived, dies cold and impoverished and quite possibly lacking clothing in a dungeon. Here’s a man that went to the Third Heaven; here’s a man that wrote most of the New Testament, and he certainly didn’t die in a mansion; he didn’t die owning a Porsche or a Ferrari or any nice vehicle that you might think of. He died penniless almost. And the reality is that when you are all out for the Lord, you will lose family, you will lose friends, and if you live in the UK in the 21st century, then you may even lose your job because, as you know, it costs something to stand up for the Lord. But here the abundance that is in reference is, of course, to eternal life. It’s peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Once you are saved, you inherit brothers and sisters in the Lord, and you become an adopted member into the family of God. That’s the prosperity which should be preached, not the financial perversion of this part of Scripture.
VERSE 11: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
In Psalm 23, the Lord, Jehovah God, is referred to as the shepherd, and here Jesus Christ calls Himself the good shepherd. So it’s obvious, once again, that the Lord Jesus Christ is claiming deity, and the part of Scripture here which refers to giving His life for the sheep simply means that those that have appropriated the atonement become the sheep.
VERSES 12-16: “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”
This part of Scripture is referring to the Gentiles. Up until this part of the Lord’s ministry, He was simply speaking to His own people, the Jews, but later on, the Gentiles would also believe and get saved. And Ephesians 4:4 makes it clear there’s only one fold and one church, which is also found in Galatians 3:28. So when Jew and Gentile believe, they become the sheep found in Matthew 25, and they are the people of God. And Galatians says there’s neither Jew nor Gentile. There’s just one people, one church, and, of course, Jesus Christ is head over the church. And the church is not some building; it’s not some organization. It’s a living organism, and there’s two parts: There’s the physical part here and now on earth, and there’s the spiritual part in Heaven. And that is also in reference to the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom God is here and now for the saved, but the Kingdom of God is also in Heaven, which will be fully instituted during the thousand year reign.
VERSES 17-18: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
Sometimes you’ll hear people arguing that the Lord was sent by the Father on a suicide mission. Not the case at all. He voluntarily took this upon Himself. He came to earth. He chose the generation that He would come. He chose the mother who would bear Him. He chose the apostles who would follow Him. And even the apostles, if you read Luke chapter 6, it makes it clear that He chose the apostles when He was on the earth not before, eternity past. But the point I really want to underscore here is that He had the authority in and of Himself to do what He did. Only God has the power to lay His life down and take it again. So Jesus wasn’t coerced into this; He wasn’t treated unfairly; He wasn’t given a hard time. He didn’t get a bad rap as some people have argued. He chose everything right down to the moment of His conception, and only the Lord God Himself could have done that.
VERSES 19-24: “There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.”
As I’ve already said, one of the reasons why Jesus spoke in parables to the willfully ignorant Jewish leaders was to spare them further judgment. The more you know, the more accountable you are. And even here the Lord is showing great mercy towards these people that would be calling for His blood in Matthew 27. But here He is going to speak to them in parables because, although they can physically see Him and although they were physically able to hear Him, spiritually they were blinded. And this is a tragedy which is found throughout the Bible, and yet even a spiritually blind person, even an unregenerate sinner still has a conscience, still knows right from wrong and will still be judged by the law. Even if a pagan living in a third world country with no Bible, with no church, with no Christians in a hundred mile radius of their home is still going to be judged because the creation points to a Creator, and their conscience points to the Lord Himself. They know right from wrong, and the moment they know right from wrong, they are accountable to God without exception.
VERSE 25: “Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.”
Once again, the blame is put on the recipients. They could have believed had they wanted to believe, but Isaiah spoke of their blindness. Isaiah spoke of their unbelief, and therefore, due to man’s free will to reject the Gospel ‒ the prophets wrote that down pre Christ, of course, but that doesn’t negate the fact that had they wanted to believe, they could have believed, and that would also have been written down. That is what is called middle knowledge, and middle knowledge is a pretty big subject, so you can Google it if you want to get more information on that.
VERSES 26-28: “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
There’s your eternal security. The moment a sinner believes, he/she is saved and kept saved because they are now in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at 29:
VERSE 29: “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
So the Father is holding you in His hand, and the Son is holding you in His hand. And Isaiah 43:13 is a good cross-reference. I don’t have time for it now, but you might want to go to it and read it and view it.
VERSE 30: “I and my Father are one.”
VERSES 31-33: “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”
No doubt whatsoever the Jewish interpretation of what Jesus Christ was telling them. So when you come across somebody who says that Jesus was only a good man who got in over His head or that others said He was the Son of God or that others thought that He was claiming to be God, never mind hearing that nonsense. Here the Jews quite rightly understood that He was claiming to be God Himself.
VERSES 34-36: “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?”
First, the Scripture cannot be broken. The Scripture is given by God. God inspired the word, and He has preserved the word. The Muslims have a belief that the Bible has been corrupted, which, of course, is erroneous because had the Bible been corrupted, then this part of Scripture would be incorrect. And we know from Psalm 139 that God has put His word above His name. So the word of God can be 100 per cent trusted, and if you can’t trust the Bible, then you can’t trust God, because if God could make the world in six days out of nothing – and He did – and if He inspired the Bible – and He did – then He can preserve the Bible just as He sustains the universe – period.
This expression from 34 “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” there’s two interpretations for that. The first interpretation really falls under the gap theory heading that pre-Genesis 1 there was a pre-human race on the earth led by Lucifer, and there were gods running the world, running the solar system; hence why the planets look so battered, why the planets look like they’ve had war zones and battles going on out there. And the second interpretation is found back in 1 Samuel 28:13 when Saul has sought the assistance of a medium to call up Samuel from the dead because he’s in dire straits. And the word of God says, “And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.” That word in Hebrew is Elohim, and Elohim can be God and it can be gods. So the prophets from the Old Testament were considered to be gods in the sense of messengers, in the sense of having a great office of importance. So they are the two clear interpretations. You either hold to the gap theory which says that there was a pre-Adamic race run by angels which became demons and they were gods on the earth or you take the latter position that the Old Testament prophets and the patriarchs were called gods who ruled in the place of God, capital “G.”
VERSES 37-38: “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.”
His miracles should have been clear enough. He upheld the Temple; He upheld the Tanakh; He upheld everything that was Jewish through and through. Never once did He criticize the Old Testament writings; never once did He criticize the prophets or the patriarchs or the kings. When He healed people, He would tell them to go and show themselves to the priest. So any Jew with a right heart would have seen the Lord and would have known that He was sent from God. Even the blind man, even the Samaritans, even the “non-educated” people knew that He had come from God. So the miracles should have been clear in and of themselves that He was from God; but, of course, the Bible says that the heart is desperately wicked, that men love darkness rather than light, and hence they would rather stay in their ignorance, stay in their sin than come to the Saviour to be saved.
VERSES 39-42: “Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand, And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode. And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true. And many believed on him there.”
VERSES 1-13: “Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.”
Time and time again we find the apostles only half understanding what the Lord is trying to explain to them. Lazarus is dead, physically dead, and the metaphor here for sleeping means to have died in Christ, because when you die, your body goes into the ground awaiting the Rapture. Paul speaks about the saved that are sleeping. The Corinthians, for the most part, were carnal. Some had died as carnal believers, and they were sleeping in the ground awaiting the resurrection. Also, by this stage you should note that the Gospel of John always calls Jesus the Son of God, never the son of man. And that’s one of the major distinctions between John’s gospel and the Synoptic gospels.
One other point here. His sickness was for the glory of God. God does allow people to suffer. He does allow people to be publicly seen sometimes to be in distress, and sometimes even saved people can moan and groan and become rather agnostic when it comes to why they are suffering. In the eyes of the world, it appears that God has abandoned them, and even saved people at times will think that they’ve been abandoned because they are struggling. Fanny Crosby, a wonderful songwriter, a woman who was blind, went for years and years without assurance of salvation, and you wouldn’t have thought so with the type of lyric that she wrote. And perhaps even to the world she would have appeared to have been abandoned by God because she was blind and lacked assurance of salvation, and maybe sometimes that came across in her attitude, in her way of being. But the reality here with Lazarus is that he has died and Jesus Christ would be glorified through that death.
VERSES 14-16: “Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Thomas is called the doubting apostle, and that’s where the expression “Doubting Thomas” comes from, and yet here Thomas is prepared to die with the Lord. He knew that going back to Judea, back into hostile territory quite possibly could have resulted in the Lord’s death and also the apostles. Now, of course, the apostles were not aware of the Lord’s timing of His crucifixion and His subsequent ascension. They didn’t realize that Jesus was on a strict timetable; hence why they thought that He could be taken at any time. But here the apostle Thomas shows great bravery, and sometimes that gets overlooked.
VERSES 17-22: “Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.”
That’s an amazing statement. She knew who Jesus was, and she said, “Whatever You ask of God He will give it to you even now.” And that’s true. If it’s God’s will, He’ll give it to you, and if it’s not God’s will, He won’t give it to you. But even in grief, even as she’s mourning the loss of her brother, she’s still looking at the Lord, she’s still giving Him the glory. And then look at these subsequent verses:
VERSES 23: “Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.”
Daniel chapter 12, of course. There’s where the Old Testament spoke of the resurrection of the dead, and, of course, there are other passages too.
VERSES 24-26: “Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
Verse 25, if you’ve died in Christ physically, you will live again in Heaven, and Jesus Christ is the only person in antiquity who could say what He said here and actually mean it. He had the authority to say it, and she doesn’t doubt Him. Look at 27:
VERSE 27: “She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”
That’s how you get saved – by believing that Jesus was the Son of God – total belief; faith alone, sola fide.
VERSES 28-29: “And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.”
I would imagine the reason for this covert calling or notification that Jesus had arrived was to avoid some of the hostile Jews knowing that He was there. Once again, the apostles, Mary and Martha, all of the early believing Jews only partly understood, I think, the Lord’s timetable and His immediate mission, and they thought they could protect Him; they thought they could save Him from any would-be assassin. And, again, post the resurrection, everything seems to change. The apostles come to their own, and into the world they go with the Gospel. But here, I believe she’s looking out for the Lord. She thinks she can protect Him; hence why she’s calling her sister secretly to avoid notifying any hostile parties.
VERSES 30-32: “Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”
That’s a pretty fair statement to make, to some extent. Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He had the authority to have stopped him from dying, and at this moment in time, all they could consider was the present. Why has he died? Why has he left us? How do we benefit from that? And, of course, Jesus is going to turn this around into one of the greatest miracles in the New Testament.
VERSE 33: “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.”
The reason for that, of course, is because here are the chosen people who believe in the afterlife, and they are weeping as unsaved people who have no hope. They are grieving his loss. Mourning and grieving are two different things, and this part of Scripture gives me the impression that they were grieving him as infidels would grieve the loss of a loved one, and that’s unacceptable, really, in biblical circles. If you’re saved, if you believe in the Lord and you lose a loved one, then you should obviously mourn. It’s only human to mourn. But to grieve as somebody who has no hope, that’s pretty worrying if that’s the case.
VERSES 34-35. “And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept.”
Jesus wept, the shortest verse anywhere in the Bible. Pretty profound statement – Jesus wept. A man of sorrows acquainted with grief.
VERSE 36: “Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!”
Mocking him, of course.
VERSE 37: “And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?”
There’s accountability. They knew that He (a) claimed to be the Son of God and (b) that He did the miracles that He did. They all knew that, and yet they still rejected Him. That’s the truth of a willfully wicked and depraved heart.
VERSES 38-43: “Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.”
It’s been said before that had Jesus not put the word “Lazarus” before “come forth,” every dead body in the proximity of that location would have been raised up from the dead, and the first resurrection would have been pretty much seen by those around. But by saying “Lazarus” clearly, only one person comes up out of the ground.
VERSE 44: “And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.”
Lazarus was a saved man. He died, went to the ground – Luke 16 called Hades – with Abraham, with all of the righteous dead and was there for four days. And Jesus has called him up from Paradise, as it were, and tradition says that he was never happy from this day forth. Whether that’s true or not, we don’t know. That’s simply tradition, and we don’t take tradition to be set in stone, but that’s what I’ve heard, anyway, when it comes to what happened to Lazarus, how he was after his resurrection. Being bound hand and foot makes it crystal clear that he was dead and he wasn’t just being resuscitated. He had physically died, and that’s what the cause of the stench was.
VERSES 45-46: “Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.”
Again, it’s kind of interesting to see one of the greatest miracles in Scripture, and yet two things come from it: (a) some people see it, believe it, and get saved; (b) others see it, don’t believe it, and don’t get saved. And that’s the truth of the matter, really. Even if people see miracles, even to this day there’s no guarantee that people will get saved by doing that. So therefore these miracles were done to save those that were going to get saved and also to rebuke those that weren’t going to get saved. But either way, God gets the glory on both accounts, and that’s what really matters.
VERSE 47: “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.”
This word “council” whenever it appears in the Bible always has a negative connotation. It always smacks of organized religion at its worst.
VERSE 48: “If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.”
Nothing’s changed. The moment you start preaching to Catholics, the moment you start preaching to Muslims, the moment you start preaching to Jews, the moment you start preaching to the Scientologists, the moment you start preaching to the Freemasons, such people get saved, and when they get saved, the systems which they were a part of will crumble. And if every Catholic in the world got saved, all of the churches would close; the Vatican would close, and about 250,000 priests worldwide would become redundant. Their roles would cease, and because they know that they would lose their position of power, their authority over people, they will fight tooth and nail to keep it and to retain the “faithful” Catholics that follow the priestcraft, the system of priests. And nothing has changed. History has shown us that what men have done in the past, men will do in the future; and as the expression goes, what men learn from history is that men never learn from history.
VERSES 49-50: “And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.”
There’s your unlimited atonement. He died for the entire nation, including Caiaphas, and yet they weren’t all saved because they didn’t believe. But look
at 51, even more striking:
VERSES 51-52: “And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”
Jew and Gentile, one fold, Ephesians 4:4, 1 Corinthians 12. Here’s an unsaved Jew prophesying in front of other unsaved Jews, although Nicodemus may have been there and Joseph of Arimathea may have been there, two saved Jews, of course; hence why Caiaphas is probably saying what he’s saying. But what’s really striking here is that Caiaphas isn’t even aware of how profound his words are. Thus the sovereignty of God; He can speak through an unsaved party, and they don’t even realize it, but those around them who are hearing what is being said, they know. They completely get it.
VERSES 53-57: “Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples. And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves. Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast? Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.”
Again, complete folly here, a complete misunderstanding of who Jesus was and a complete failure to grasp the deity of Christ. You cannot overthrow the word of God . In the book of Acts, Gamaliel says that. He says, “If these men have been sent from God, we cannot overthrow it,” and that’s absolutely right. And yet here the so-called “elite” of the day totally failed, totally failed to grasp who Jesus was and who His apostles were.
VERSES 1-6: “Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”
Your modern prosperity preacher will look at this part of Scripture and put the bogus case forward that Judas Iscariot was somehow the Lord’s accountant, that somehow all of the money went through Iscariot. And it probably did. But Judas wasn’t an accountant, per se. He was simply in charge of the money. Now, I know it’s a fine line to draw, but I want to make it nonetheless because these modern-day prosperity preachers will take these verses out of context and say that if the Lord had an accountant, then I need an accountant, and I need an accountant to pay for my private planes, pay for my fleet of cars, to pay for my mansions, to pay for my bodyguards, and the list goes on and on and on. But here we must keep in mind that you’ve got 12 men plus the 70 and the Lord, so it’s quite a large number of men and some women no doubt also that were traveling around with the Lord for three and a half years, and somebody had to keep an eye on the money. But Judas Iscariot wasn’t an accountant. He wasn’t managing the Lord’s finances on a mass scale, but nonetheless he was responsible for the ministry during the Lord’s time on this earth.
VERSES 7-8: “Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.”
Verse 8 is a very, very interesting part of Scripture . You will always have the poor with you. That’s a prophecy and that’s a promise. All of the groups that come together to fight poverty – and they put that above the Gospel in many of these so-called Christian churches – are wasting their time. You will always have poor people around you, but you won’t have Me with you. And that’s true. Jesus was only on the earth for three and a half years in physical form, and then when He died, He went back to Heaven, and nobody has physically seen Him since then. Paul told us that the just shall live by faith. Peter said that we hadn’t seen the Lord, and yet we still believed on Him. So when you hear people that claim to have visions of Heaven, people who have claimed to have private trips to Heaven or even to Hell and have come back and have written books about it, made DVDs about it, then you’re dealing with a very deluded and mixed-up person.
But the main point that I want to drive home from verse 8 is that the poor will always be with us, and while it’s certainly good to help people that are poor, it’s certainly good to help those that are less fortunate than we are, our main purpose is to get the Gospel out, to preach the Gospel, to get people saved. And we had an account just last week when we were doing some street ministry outside a local train station, and there was a local homeless man who’s there every day, every night begging, and it is illegal in the UK to beg. Anyway, this gentleman was begging, and I know for a fact that there are many churches and charities all over the UK but especially in my town that deal with homeless people, that deal with drug addicts, that deal with people that are alcoholics, that deal with people who have hit hard times, as it were, but nearly all of those churches and ministries are not getting the Gospel out. So we had a group of drunks that came along a little later into the evening and were making a bit of a song and dance that we weren’t helping this homeless man. And I said there’s a local church, there’s a town hall. The local perish church would have been more than happy to help him had he gone down for some food, but we were there to feed people spiritually, not to feed people physically. And I’m not against that. I want to make that point. I’m not against providing physical needs to people, and I’ve done it in the past, and what will normally happen is if I’m on the street with tracts preaching and somebody comes up to me who’s homeless, what I will say to them is come back later when I’m finished and I’ll buy you some food, but now I’m preaching. And that does happen. People will come back, and I will buy them food because if you give them money they will go off and buy drink or cigarettes or even drugs, and that’s not something I want my money to be spent on. And when you offer to buy people food, that normally filters the time wasters from the genuine.
VERSE 9: “Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.”
This is a very interesting part of Scripture. In some ways it shows the humility of Christ. Here’s the Lord of the universe who’s become a man who’s just raised somebody from the dead, and yet John is quite content under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to put into his gospel that people didn’t just come to see the Lord; they came to see Lazarus. And humility is something very difficult to come by. I don’t believe it comes overnight. I think what normally happens is a person gets saved, and God will give him a lot of tribulations and trials, and eventually He will mold that Christian into the sort of person He wants that person to be, and then the humility comes. But here, this is an incredible account of Scripture, a very interesting part of Scripture, I believe.
VERSES 10-11: “But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.”
Power. Once again, it’s power and money. When you threaten an institution, the institution will turn on you, whether it’s government or whether it’s organized religion; it makes no difference. The main reason that Jesus was killed from the perspective of man was (a) that He was a blasphemer, and (b) He was threatening the authority of the religious elite. And, of course, the latter is not true. As I’ve already said, He came to abolish the law. And the first one certainly wasn’t true. He wasn’t a blasphemer. He was who He says He was, but because the devil has blinded the eyes of the unbelievers, they did what they did through ignorance, which is what the Bible tells us. Through ignorance they put the Prince of Peace on the cross.
VERSES 12-13: “On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
To come in the name of Lord, to be called the King of Israel was certainly Messianic in and of itself, but to come in the name of Lord meant you had great authority. And while this part of Scripture points to the Messiah, other verses are much clearer when it points to His deity.
VERSES 14-15: “And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.”
Again, that’s a little clearer, I would argue, pointing to the fact that Jesus is God. Israel only ever had one King, Jehovah God, but if you go back to 1 Samuel, 1 Kings, and Judges as well, you’ll see that the Jews wanted men; they wanted leaders to rule over them, and it broke Samuel’s heart that the people wanted that. He wanted the Lord to rule from Heaven, which is what a theocracy is, but the Jews, being carnal, wanted the leaders among them to be equal or to be the same as how the Gentiles were. They didn’t want to be different from the world system. And, again, that comes with separation; that comes with time. A new Christian will get saved and will struggle in the wilderness for a period of time before he or she grows and finds their feet and realizes that separation is completely paramount if you’re going to grow and completely necessary.
And just one other quick point. It’s interesting He chooses an ass to take Him into Jerusalem, not a stallion. He wasn’t carried in like Herod was. He wasn’t treated like a king like the popes of Rome are. He wasn’t treated like an emperor or a president or a prime minister. He came in on an ass. True humility with a capital “H,” I put to you.
VERSES 16-19: “These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.”
“The world” here doesn’t mean the entire universe. “The world” here would simply mean Israel, the chosen people.
VERSES 20-22: “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.”
Peter wasn’t mentioned here. Sometimes you’ll get into the argument that Peter was always the number one apostle and everything went through him. Not so. Here the Greeks approach Philip because he was probably Greek himself, a Greek Jew. He then finds Andrew, and they approach the Lord directly.
VERSES 23-25: “And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”
There’s a paradox. If you love your life, you’ll lose it; and if you hate it, you will save it. It simply means if you believe in the Lord, you’ll be saved, and if you don’t believe in the Lord, you won’t be saved. And to believe in the Lord will cost you something and you may die, but you get everlasting life. And if you don’t believe in the Lord but die nonetheless, then you will lose your soul and go to Hell.
VERSES 26-29: “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.”
This part of Scripture is reminiscent of what we find in the book of Acts when Paul is knocked off his horse, and one account tells us that those that stood by heard the voice; another account tells us that they didn’t understand what they heard. And the truth of the matter was that they could hear the Lord talking to Paul from Heaven, but they weren’t privileged to actually understand what they were hearing. The Lord hadn’t opened the eyes and their ears to understand what He was telling Paul. At that moment, it was with Paul’s eyes only.
And the same is true here. The Father spoke to Jesus, and only Jesus was privileged to know what the Father was telling Him.
VERSES 30-32: “Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
Go to 2 Corinthians, Scripture with Scripture. Second Corinthians chapter 5 verse 18: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:18-21.) Second Corinthians 6:2: “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”)
The whole world has been reconciled unto God, and here Jesus is going to draw all men unto Himself, which means that they have the offer to be saved if they believe on Him; and the moment they believe on Him, then they will be born again, regenerated. But the point here is that He has made an atonement, He has provided a way for anybody who wants to be saved, but as I’ve said repeatedly, only those that believe on Him; hence the plea from 2 Corinthians 5 to believe on Him or to be reconciled to Him.
Also, 31 makes it clear that at this point of the Lord’s ministry, the devil had been cast out. Now, there’s different accounts and different understandings of this from different biblical perspectives. What we do know was that the devil had already fallen before Adam and Eve had been born, and he did have access to Heaven according to the book of Job; and in the book of Revelation, which is still future, I believe, there’s a battle with Michael in Heaven. So the devil still has access to Heaven even to this day, I believe, and yet the Bible says he goes around like a roaring lion seeking to devour whom he will because he knows that his time is limited. So all we can say up until this part of Scripture is that the devil’s ministry was being limited even more, and Romans 16 makes it clear that God the Son will crush the serpent shortly under His feet.
VERSES 33-37: “This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man? Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them. But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:”
Human responsibility that didn’t believe on Him, not that they couldn’t believe but that they wouldn’t believe. But read on:
VERSES 38-40: “That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”
Now they can’t believe. Now, these two things run side-by-side. They wouldn’t believe, seen in eternity past and written down in time by Isaiah, and because Isaiah saw that the generation living in the Lord’s time wouldn’t believe, they were therefore cursed because of that. God didn’t curse them just for the sake of it; they were cursed because He saw in eternity past that they would not believe when He arrived on the scene, and that was written in Scripture by Isaiah in time.
VERSE 41: “These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.”
The glory here is very clearly referring to God. Isaiah saw His glory. He said I’m a man of unclean lips. He knew that he was in the presence of the Lord of the universe, and here this has been quoted directly by the apostle John and aimed at Jesus Christ. No doubt that the apostle John, once again, is teaching and affirming that Christ is God Almighty.
VERSES 42-43: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
There are men and women all around the world who are dying for their faith in Christ, and here the writer of John tells us crystal clear that these Pharisees that had believed on Him were, at this part of the Scripture anyway, secret service Christians. They were submarine Christians; they would only come up when it was safe. They were keeping their heads down and waiting for the hostility to die down. And sometimes you can do that; sometimes you can wait for a period of time before you speak up and do something constructive for the Lord. But this part of Scripture is critical, is critical of these people perhaps because they were leaders, perhaps because had they spoken up, others would have believed, would have followed the Lord. But, nonetheless, they didn’t, and they are criticized for that.
VERSES 44-47: “Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.”
First coming He came to save the world. Second Coming He’ll come to judge the world.
VERSE 48: “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”
Scripture. This is why the word of God is held up in such high esteem. In Psalm 139 the word of God tells us that God has put His word above His name. And Paul told us that at the name of Jesus every knee would bend and every tongue would confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. So His word will judge people in the last day. You cannot escape that.
VERSES 49-50: “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”
Very, very clear. Nothing He said was off His own back. Everything that He said came from the Father, and therefore to reject the Son of God, you reject the Father. And if you reject the Father, there is no more salvation for you. Heaven or Hell; Jesus or not. The choice is yours.
VERSE 1: “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.”
This reference “his own” was found in the first chapter, and I spoke about that making it crystal clear that He atoned for His own, His own being the chosen race, and here His own are the Jews. He came to the house of Israel first and foremost. He atoned for their sins. Caiaphas made that clear in the previous chapter. Second Peter 2:1 tells us that He died for those that would deny Him. So the atonement is universal. That’s something that the church has always held to. It’s only back in the time of the Reformation that men re-interpreted just what the atonement consisted of. And, of course, Augustine was the modern “father” who was responsible for that. But pre-Augustine, nobody held to limited atonement. It was always an unlimited atonement, a universal atonement. That doesn’t mean that everybody is going to be saved. No, that’s not the case whatsoever. Just because Jesus Christ has died for everybody doesn’t mean that all will be saved. I’d like to think I’ve been consistent throughout this video making the point that only those that believe, only those that come to the Lord are going to be saved.
VERSE 2: “And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;”
Here’s a picture of a man who clearly was never saved to begin with, and if you read Luke 22, I believe, the Scripture tells us that the devil possessed Judas. He entered Judas, hence why he’s called a devil from the sixth chapter of John’s gospel.
VERSES 3-4: “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.”
Humility, once again, is the key word here. And at the end of Matthew 28, we were told to observe all the words that He taught us. And, again, that comes with time. It doesn’t just happen overnight.
VERSES 5-7: “After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.”
So Peter wasn’t always privy to advance information from the Lord. Like the other apostles, he was growing at the same rate as them as you would find with a child. A child grows at a different rate, and it’s the same with the apostles. They grew at their own rate. And a young Christian will grow at his or her own rate. So it’s always best to walk before you can run.
VERSE 8: “Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.”
Peter was a very prideful man. In Acts chapter 10 he makes it clear to Cornelius that he was a Jew and therefore had no dealings with Gentiles, and the Lord had to work on this man to mold him into somebody that He could use and did use, of course, right up to the end of his life. But here the Lord is humbling the apostles, and it’s difficult because the Jews are a proud race. Peter was quite possibly the oldest out of all the apostles. He had his own family; he had his own business. Luke’s Gospel tells us that he said, “Lord depart from me, a sinful man.” He didn’t want the Lord to wash his feet in front of all of his peers, but the Lord is quite clear, “Unless I do this, you have no part with me.” This is a picture, of course, of union and identity with Christ. To be a Christian costs something, and people that are not Christians will always view and will always examine those that are Christians to see how they live and see how they function, and that’s why a lot of Christians don’t like to be on display. But, nonetheless, the Lord is quite clear that Peter would have to go along with this if he wanted to have any part in the Lord’s ministry.
VERSE 9: “Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.”
In the previous couple of chapters he’s already said that “You have the words of eternal life. Where else do we go?” The moment Peter realized that to not participate in this he’d be cut off from the Lord caused him to do a 180-degree turn and come back to the Lord and want to be washed all over.
VERSE 10: “Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.”
Here’s a picture of a person who is being saved. Now, of course, the water here doesn’t save anybody, but the water is a type of salvation. The wine in the New Testament is a type of the blood. And here Jesus is doing an external act on them to give the clear indication that something far greater has already occurred. And they had already been saved, and yet the one who wasn’t saved, of course, was Judas Iscariot.
VERSE 11: “For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.”
Omniscient, once again. He knows the hearts of men, and He’s omnipotent as we’ll find in the eighteenth chapter.
VERSES 12-13: “So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.”
Here’s a very clear picture of Jesus accepting worship from the apostles, and if you ever get into a conversation with somebody who denies the deity of Christ, who denies that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, take them here and show them that there’s only one Lord. And here Jesus Christ is quite content to be called Lord and Master.
VERSES 14-18: “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.”
This expression “chosen” doesn’t mean to be saved from Hell. It means to be saved for service. These men were called to be apostles, and the sixth chapter of Luke tells us that the Lord prayed all night before He chose the twelve. He had 70 others He could have called, but He chose the 12 from His extended group of disciples.
VERSE 19: “Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.”
I am God.
VERSE 20: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.”
The Father sends the Son, the Son sends the apostles. If the apostles’ message is believed, the Son is glorified and the Father is glorified.
VERSES 21-24: “When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.”
Nobody knew who the Lord was referring to. John the apostle, the youngest and the beloved, didn’t know. Peter, quite possibly the oldest and the so-called Pope if you take the Roman Catholic position, didn’t know either. Nobody had exclusive knowledge here.
VERSES 25-30: “He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.”
Now, it’s my belief that Judas understood what he was going to do. It’s my belief that Judas always had doubts in his mind as to who the Lord Jesus Christ was. And here the Lord is going to give Judas up, and by giving him up to a reprobate mind, the devil was going to enter into him. The book of Revelation tells us that the unclean spirits work alongside the wicked men, and when man turns from God and wants to do his own thing, the Lord will always allow that to occur. Sometimes He will use that for His own glory, and sometimes certain people may even be saved after going down that route, but more often than not, it’s the last nail in the coffin for a particular party once he or she has decided to reject the Lord and go their own way.
VERSES 31-35: “Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
He wants unity among the apostles. Their foundation is going to be shaken in a way which they could never have anticipated, and He wants them to stay together; and by loving one another, they will show the world that they are His apostles and the subsequent writers of the New Testament.
VERSE 36: “Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.”
That’s a picture of the Rapture, I believe.
VERSES 37-38: “Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.”
Peter wanted to do the right thing. Thomas wanted to do the right thing in the eleventh chapter. But here the Lord knows that He has to go to the cross on His own, and He has to die on His own. All of the apostles but one were martyred for their faith in the Lord, but here the main theme is betrayal, and none of the apostles knew what was happening until Jesus had explained to them what was going to happen.
VERSE 1: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
One God, three persons. Your faith in God is good. Now believe in Me.
VERSES 2-4: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”
Mansions are being prepared for the saved, and you will get those at the Rapture, and you will indwell those during the thousand year reign and into eternity, I believe. Some of the new Bibles say “dwelling place,” and some of the really modern versions dumb it down even more to suggest tents or just buildings or flats or apartments or condos or whatever modern term you would most recognize. But here the word “mansion” is striking. Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 6 that we will judge angels, and that will be fulfilled in the thousand year reign. But here we are told that He has laid up a mansion for us, and at His timing, at His choosing, He will take us to be with Him. Now, if we die before the Rapture, then we go straight to be with the Lord. We know that Luke 16 was a holding area called Hades, and all the saved and unsaved went into the ground. One section was for the saved; the other section was for the lost, and until the resurrection, Jesus kept all the saved in Paradise. But after three days, He ascended, and all the righteous went up with Him into Heaven. So now if a saved person dies, he goes straight to be with the Lord.
VERSES 5-6: “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
That verse should be memorized by every man, woman, and child in the world. Acts 4:12 makes it even clearer along with 1 Timothy 2:5 that there’s only one God and one mediator, Jesus Christ. He is the only way to be saved, and any other religion that contradicts this part of Holy Writ is to be simply discarded.
VERSES 7-9: “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”
Christ is a reflection of the Father. Everything that He stood for, everything that He did, His whole demeanor, His whole personality was a reflection of who the Father is. Now, He’s not the Father. If you fall into the oneness position that Jesus is the Father, the Holy Spirit is the Father, then you have a problem of the Lord talking to Himself; but if you hold to the Triune position that the Father is a person, the Son is a person, and the Holy Spirit is a person, that makes a lot more sense.
VERSES 10-11: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”
In other words, if you couldn’t grasp what He was saying, He would plead with you to believe on His works. Accept the account of the Gospels; accept the miracles that are found in Scripture and work from there, and then ask the Lord to increase your faith to grow.
VERSE 12: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”
It’s impossible to think of greater works if He was referring to miracles. What greater works could you do than what He did? Nobody walks on water. Nobody has ascended up to Heaven. Nobody heals the blind or cures leprosy by just a word. The greater works here would be to write the New Testament and go beyond Israel, go into the world. And the book of Romans tells us in the fifteenth chapter that up until 56 AD, the Gospel had gone to the ends of the earth. So in my opinion, I would say that this is what the Lord is having in mind here. This is His view that you would do greater works than I’ve done. I’ve only come to Israel and I’ve preached to the house of Israel, the chosen race, but you apostles are going to go way into the world, way beyond these borders. And that has a vicarious connotation to all Christians. Paul told us that we are ambassadors for Christ and that our work is never in vain. So we also do greater works than He did in the sense that we can go to our own communities. The Gospel of regeneration continues to go on and on and on. Somebody witnessed to me, somebody witnessed to my father, somebody witnessed to him, somebody witnessed to him, and somebody witnessed to that person. Somebody witnessed to you, somebody witnessed to that person, and somebody witnessed to that person. The Gospel and the Great Commission is an ongoing ministry for all Christians. It didn’t stop with the apostles.
VERSES 13-14: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”
It’s very important to get these verses in context. (A) You have to keep the commandments, which you’ll see in the next verse, and (B) You have to be walking in the light, and (C) What you pray for has to be in God’s will. When those three points line up, then your prayers are answered.
VERSE 15: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
Go to 1 John. People make a lot of noise about these commandments. Seventh Day Adventists will put you back under the Ten Commandments and argue for the Sabbath to be kept. Some Messianic Christians will make you get circumcised, and that won’t do. Look at 1 John 3:22: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (1 Jn. 3:22-24.)
There’s your commandments: (A) to get saved by believing on the Lord and (B) to love one another. Love the brethren. Do good to those that are saved, and do good to those that are not saved. That’s your commandments.
VERSE 16: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;”
Hebrews chapter 9 told us that the Holy Spirit is eternal, and I’ve done videos on the Triune God before. But only God is Triune; only God is eternal. Man has a soul, and his soul will live on forever because God lives on forever. But here He’s saying, “I’m going to give you another Comforter, another just like Me.”
VERSES 17-19: “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.”
There’s your immortality. We live because He lives. He is eternal and now we are eternal. And once we believe on the Son, we are adopted, become the children of God, and He becomes our older brother.
VERSES 20-21: “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
It has to be true love. Agape is the strongest Greek word for love, and this is what the Lord is wanting – total love of Him and total obedience to Him. Not sinless perfection. Paul told us that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and that’s a continual reality that we all continue to fall short of His glory. But the Lord looks at the heart, whereas man looks at the outward appearance. When man looks at the outward appearance, he draws incorrect conclusions, whereas the Lord looks at the heart, and He sees what the saved person is trying to do, and He will honour that.
VERSES 22-23: “Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
This is in reference to a person who’s already been saved to have intimate knowledge of the Triune God. The Bible says that He’s available to all people. He stretches out His hands to a gainsaying people aimed primarily at the house of Israel, of course, but vicariously, it’s into the world. The Bible was given to mankind. The heart of the New Testament would be John 3:16, which has a universal application. But here the Lord is looking at a more intimate knowledge of those that have been received unto the Father, those that have believed on Him, and these are the sheep. These are the ones that are going to be His eternal brethren.
VERSES 24-26: “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
That is directly aimed at the apostles because they were going to write the New Testament. The church is built on the apostles and the prophets. It’s very difficult to take this part of Scripture and aim it at a man or woman living today. This is pre-Pentecost. He has told to the apostles first and foremost. So as I say, it’s very difficult to apply this doctrinally to a person living today. You can apply this spiritually but only if it lines up with the New Testament. In other words, the Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you if you read the New Testament, if you meditate on the Scripture, and above all, if you are born again. Otherwise, the Lord will do nothing for you.
VERSES 27- 28: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.”
As the Son of Man soon to go to the cross and die, clearly the Father was greater than Him. On the cross He says, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”(Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34.) He doesn’t say, “My Father, my Father, why have you forsaken me?” but “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” There’s a picture of a man dying on the cross for the sins of the world. His human nature dies on the cross and goes into the tomb where it stays for three days; and, of course, after three days, according to John 2, Romans 8, and Galatians 1, the Triune God resurrected the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
VERSES 29-30: “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.”
That’s very true. The devil couldn’t touch the Lord. He tried it in Matthew 4 and Luke 4 and failed miserably. But he’s got plenty on you and he’s got plenty on me, and that’s why we need to get under the blood of Christ every day. That’s why we need to have a good prayer life and keep ourselves away from sin.
VERSE 31: “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.”
VERSES 1-2: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”
The book of Hebrews also tells us that because we are the sons of God, we will be chastised. And if you’re not chastised by the Lord, if you’re able to live a pretty loose life, if you’re able to function pretty much as the captain of your own ship, then the chances are you’re not saved. And here it’s quite clear that if you are saved, He will purge you to produce more fruit. Now, every Christian has liberty. He or she can do, within reason, what they choose to. Romans 14 makes it crystal clear that if you want to be a vegetarian, you can be, and if you don’t, that’s fine also. If you want to mark a holy day out, that’s fine; if you don’t, that’s okay also. Paul told us “Unto the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15.) So the saint has great liberty in the Lord, but nonetheless, the Lord wants the best out of every Christian. He wants all of you. He wants all of your mind focused on Him, and to achieve that, He will purge you. He will send trials and tribulations your way, and that’s why Paul said that you always have to rejoice in the Lord, and don’t be surprised when a trial creeps upon you and takes you unaware.
I’ll just add one other quick footnote. In 1 Corinthians chapter 10 Paul told us that we would not be tempted beyond what we could handle. So whatever tribulation, whatever trial manages to come your way or whatever creeps up on you unaware, don’t panic; don’t start to fall apart. The Lord knows what you can and what you can’t handle, and He will find a way for you to escape if necessary.
VERSE 3: “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
VERSE 4: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
It should be quite obvious that the Lord is speaking here in metaphors. In chapter 6 He called Himself the Bread of Life. In the fourth chapter He said He would give you water that would spring up into everlasting life. And here He’s referring to Himself as a plant and His Father is the farmer. And, once again, it’s pretty clear that you have to abide in the Messiah. He’s the author and source of eternal life.
VERSE 5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
That should be a pretty clear part of Scripture to understand. Without Him, we can do nothing. The Holy Spirit lives within us, and when we yield to the Spirit, we walk in the Spirit; when we yield to the flesh, we walk in the flesh. And the two are contrary one to another.
VERSE 6: “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Two classical interpretations here. First of all, some take this to be a reference to a person who’s saved losing their salvation and going to Hell. The second position is that this is a picture of a saved person who falls into sin or apostasy, and he’s purged – 1 Corinthians chapter 6 – at the Judgment Seat of Christ. What I won’t do, because I simply haven’t got the time, is go into this part of Scripture and produce to you eternal security versus conditional security. I’ve done a lot of videos on both of those two subjects, and I wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time going through the 15th chapter of John covering this part of Scripture. But what I would say in brief, just to save time, is that my impression, as I look at this part of Scripture, is that this is in reference to somebody who’s not saved to begin with much like Matthew chapter 7. The Lord says, “I never knew you; depart from me ye workers of iniquity.” He can’t say that He did know you and then you fell into sin and He ended up not knowing you because He did know you before you fell into sin. So Matthew 7, when it says “I never knew you” means just that. And here these are people that perhaps like Judas Iscariot started out with Him but turned back and rejected Him, in essence proving they were never saved to begin with. And 1 John chapter 2, again, they went out from us because they were not of us. Had they been of us, they would have continued with us.
VERSE 7: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
If it’s the Lord’s will, if it’s the Lord’s will, as I’ve already shown you, and if you’re keeping the commandments and walking in the Spirit; otherwise, your prayer requests won’t be answered.
VERSE 8: “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
It’s pretty clear He’s aiming this first and foremost to the apostles, much like the previous chapter when they were told that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth. We can simply take this to have a spiritual application to the saved man or woman.
VERSES 9-12: “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
Not always very easy to love other Christians. Many a times you’ll have disagreements with saved men and saved women, and sometimes you’ll even have to separate from those people. The truth is that most Christians don’t separate over doctrine; they separate over personalities; they separate over hurt feelings or misunderstandings, and that’s pretty tragic. Reconciliation should always be sought where possible, and again, the main theme here is to love – agape, real love, sacrificial love, not just a lip service but a real heartfelt passion for a saved man or woman.
VERSES 13-14: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
And they did. They did whatever He told them to do post Pentecost. Paul went to Rome, took the Gospel with him, and that city was never the same after this man’s arrival. Thomas we believe went to India, perhaps, and turned that continent upside down. If you want to know what happened to the apostles, if you want to know what happened to the real heroes of the church, get “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.” Read it. They followed Jesus to the ends of the earth, and many of them paid with their lives.
VERSE 15: “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
That’s pretty important. To go from a servant to a friend is a pretty fast promotion.
VERSE 16: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
Again, this isn’t a picture of salvation. This is a picture of service. These men were called to be apostles, messengers of the Lord Jesus Christ. But they got saved like everybody else got saved. They saw Him and they believed on Him, and then they were chosen to service, according to Luke chapter 6, not before the foundation of the world but during the Lord’s lifetime here on earth.
VERSES 17- 18: “These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”
That’s a pretty powerful part of Scripture. And I’ve said this before that if you are a true Bible believer, if you have some kind of ministry in your community or in your neighborhood or wherever you might be based or if you’re in the services overseas or whatever, then you will be hated to some extent, not because you’re a holier-than-thou person, not because you’re putting your nose into other people’s business, but because you’re living a holy life. You’re trying to glorify your Lord; you’re trying to honor Him; and in the process of doing that, those around you are convicted. They are convicted of their sin, and they don’t like that. They like to bury their sin. They like to live as if there is no afterlife, and the last thing they want is somebody who’s saved, somebody who’s walking and living the Christian life proving it can be done, not to perfection but it can be done nonetheless, and therefore shame on them and rebuking them indirectly. And when that happens, the world hates you because it hated Jesus first.
VERSES 19-22: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.”
When the Lord arrived on the earth and witnessed to the Jews, produced miracles like nobody had ever done pre or post Him, that gave these people a greater sense of accountability because they’d seen the living Messiah in the flesh. They were still accountable; their conscience would still have convicted them. They still had the Old Testament and they had creation that pointed to the Creator, but with the Lord on the earth witnessing to these people and being perpetually rejected as the Old Testament said would happen, these people were even more accountable to Him.
VERSES 23-24: “He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.”
Again, that’s a pretty amazing statement to make. Rejection of the Son meant a rejection of the Father. Hatred of the Son meant hatred of the Father. “He that hath the Son hath life,” period. You either have it or you don’t.
VERSE 25: “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.”
Jesus quotes the Old Testament I believe it’s 60 times in the four gospels. He held the law up to be perfect and said it could not be broken, the Scripture couldn’t be broken. We saw in the fifth chapter that His Word would judge you in the last day. So when people try to deny the Scripture, when people try to deny the inspiration, when people say that God can’t preserve His inspired Word, then you’re dealing with very dangerous and heretical people.
VERSES 26-27: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.”
The Holy Spirit comes from God. He will testify of Jesus. So when Mohammed claimed to be the Comforter – which he did – you know that that is a straight lie, complete misinformation, a dangerous deception. The Holy Spirit came from God and testified of Jesus. You were told back in Deuteronomy 18 that the Messiah would come from the children of Israel, but here the Holy Spirit will come and testify not only to the apostles but vicariously to all saved men and women who Jesus was and that the word of God came from God.
VERSES 1-2: “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”
How true that is. Not only were the first century Jews believing that they were the custodians of the Old Testament – and they were, of course, to some extent – but they also thought that they were doing the Lord a service by killing the apostles and also killing the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. And Paul thought he was doing the Lord’s work, but in reality, he didn’t know who the Lord was. But here persecution is already on the cards, and the apostles wouldn’t have been too surprised to have heard this. They saw the Lord being antagonized, being harassed, being treated with contempt for His entire ministry, really, and as He told you in the previous chapter, “If they hate Me, they will hate you.” And they certainly did.
VERSE 3: “And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.”
Again, ignorance is no excuse here, but the word of God also tells us that My people perish through lack of knowledge. So just because you are a religious person, just because you may be saved doesn’t mean that you are immune from persecuting other saved people. If you go back through church history, there have been many times when one particular group of people have persecuted another particular group of people, and I can even imagine during the first World War when you had British and German troops firing and killing one another, I’m sure there were many saved Germans killing saved British and vice versa. And the tragedy is that unless you are living a Spirit-filled life, unless you are walking with the Lord carefully and closely, you can so easily fall into this problem here. And Paul is the prime example. Paul said he knew God from an infant. He served God faithfully all of his life, and he didn’t know God personally; hence his hatred and his determination to exterminate the Lord’s church, which, of course, is demonic in and of itself. And Paul wasn’t saved, of course, until he believed personally on the Lord, Acts chapter 9.
VERSES 4-12: “But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
So the Holy Spirit is going to convict the entire world of sin, not just the future elect but everybody; hence why the preaching has to go into the entire world. And I’ve already said that’s an ongoing commission. It didn’t stop with the apostles. It’s still going on to this day, and if you are a saved person and you’re not doing any kind of ministry work, then get busy. Get some tracts or get a sign up or whatever you feel comfortable doing, but above all, get busy. Get the word of God out.
VERSE 13: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
Once again, primarily aimed at the apostles. They had the signs and the visions and the prophecies, so on and so forth. The sign gifts were given to the Jewish leaders – “the Jews seek after a sign” – and the signs were given to authenticate the apostles (a) because they were messengers and eyewitnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ and (b) because they would write the New Testament. It’s very difficult to apply this to people living today. Spiritually, yes, you can do that, but doctrinally, no. Doctrinally it’s aimed primarily at the apostles.
VERSES 14-15: “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
Equality. All that the Father has belongs to the Lord. The Father and I are one. Sometimes when Jesus speaks, He’s speaking as the Son of God, the eternal second member of the Godhead. Other times when He talks about being inferior to the Father or being unable to do anything unless the Father allows Him to do so, He’s speaking as the son of man. And I do appreciate it’s a fine line, and sometimes it’s missed by the average Christian. But, nonetheless, Paul told you to study to show yourself approved unto God, and in the book of Acts the Bereans were commended by Paul for even checking him out in light of the Old Testament. That’s the only way to stay ahead of the game; that’s the only way to avoid being deceived. If you don’t know the Bible, if you don’t have a decent prayer life, if you don’t walk with the Lord, then you are prone to deception, and that’s why the word of God is called the Sword of the Lord. Put on the full armor of God. That’s what Paul told us; and, again, that’s an ongoing commandment to the saved man or woman.
VERSE 16: “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.”
They wouldn’t see Him for three days, and after three days they would see Him again. You can apply this prophetically to the Rapture. He’s been gone for 2,000 years, which is a brief time. What did Peter say? A day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day. But we will see Him again at the Rapture.
VERSES 17-20: “Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”
It’s difficult to know who these apostles were that were doubting. It’s possible that Judas Iscariot is in there, but I somehow doubt it. He’s already left to betray the Lord. He left in the previous chapters. Possibly Thomas is in mind here, maybe James and his brother John, the sons of thunder. John was the youngest. In fact, when you go through the New Testament, you see that Jesus normally picks out the weakest of the apostles and gives them the most time. Peter, of course, was one of the weakest. He was carnal, and he sliced the ear of the high priest’s servant off when he came for the Lord. And John and James had a temper; hence the title “the sons of thunder.” So it’s quite possible that Peter, John, and James are in reference here. But they’re not named, so therefore it’s only speculation.
VERSES 21-25: “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.”
As I’ve already said, the main reason for the Lord speaking in parables was to (a) get the message through to those that were in His immediate proximity, those that were going to believe and had already believed and were going to grow in grace and (b) to keep those that had willfully rejected the Gospel, to keep those that had perpetually hardened their heart and were not going to be saved, to keep them from receiving any light that they might be saved but also to stop them from being judged even more severely when the Great White Throne came along. Jesus, of course, knew the end from the beginning. The Bible already tells us that. So even at this late stage, the parables are referred because Israel was a small place, and if the Lord was to stop and give a private briefing to His immediate circle of apostles, people would be walking past, people would overhear what He was saying, and He didn’t want them to receive a message which they weren’t going to act on. It’s a bit like in government circles – for your eyes only, classified, top secret. Something similar in play here.
VERSES 26-28: “At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.”
This is a very immensely private, intense, priestly prayer. This is just for the apostles, just for those that have remained with Him, the eleven. And this part of Scripture should be read very carefully because there’s a lot of emotion in here, a lot of very sacred words which sometimes get overlooked.
VERSES 29-30: “His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.”
The apostles were very much like children, for the most part; hence why the Lord speaks in parables. It was also a very Jewish thing to do in biblical times, and even now occasionally you’ll come across a preacher who uses metaphors to get his message across. But here they believe they are now of age. They want to come off the milk and get on to the solids, and they are affirming He came from God. And they knew who He was; they knew that He was the Son of God. But as we say, it’s good to walk before you can run, and Pentecost would be the ultimate baptism for these apostles when they were come to themselves or when they would come of age.
VERSES 31-33: “Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
He overcame the world. First John told us that our faith in Him has overcome the world, so we are already overcomers the moment we put our faith in Christ alone.
VERSES 1-2: “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”
Scripture with Scripture. Look at Luke chapter 3 verse 6: “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” In this part of Scripture, this is in reference to Israel. Look at verse 2: Annas and Caiaphas, John the Baptist. Look at 3: Jordan. Look at 4: Isaiah “crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord”; 5: “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth” in reference to the Messiah coming into Israel and every eye would see the Lord Himself.
So when it says “all flesh,” it can mean all flesh in reference to just the Jews or it can mean all flesh including Gentiles, and we know that the Gentiles did also believe on the Lord during His ministry, although they were a very small, minute number of believers. So when you go back to John 17, it says “As thou hast given him power over all flesh” – Jew and Gentile – “that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” And, of course, in the context here, primarily He’s talking to the apostles: You haven’t chosen me; I’ve chosen you, which is true, but even to be chosen, you have to want to be chosen. There’s no point an employer phoning up an employee and offering that party a position in the employer’s company if the employee doesn’t want to be employed by that employer. The same is true of a servant. In the New Testament a servant had the choice whether or not he or she wanted to be a servant, whereas salvation is different.
So try to keep all that in mind because when you go back to the sixth chapter, it makes it crystal clear that the Lord is calling all men unto Himself, and yet only those that believe will be saved. So what you get in there is the Lord’s Sovereignty and man’s free will, and it’s a paradox, and yet they run side-by-side. It’s crystal clear that the Lord raises up kings and emperors, according to Daniel chapter 2. He held the Jews responsible for the death of the Lord Jesus even though it was foretold in the Old Testament thousands of years before Jesus was born. Paul points back to the Jews who killed the Lord, and he says had you known that it was the prince of peace, the Lord of glory, you would not have killed Him. So the Lord holds man accountable for what he does even though it was written in the Old Testament by the prophets living in time looking into the future. And as I’ve already said, based on man’s response, that’s what got penned in Scripture. It’s called middle knowledge.
So all that the Lord has given Him will be saved, and they become the sheep. But as I’ve already said time and time again, the Lord is not willing that any should perish. He has provided an atonement for the entire world. There’s the provision, but only those that believe will be saved. They are the ones who have appropriated the atonement. It says Christ is the Saviour of the whole world – which He is – especially those that believe. We beseech you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God, and as ambassadors for Christ, we plead with men and women who are not saved to be saved, because we don’t know who’s going to be saved or who won’t be saved, but we believe that the Lord wants all to be saved. And He has atoned for all people, but only those that believe are going to be saved.
VERSE 3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Sometimes you’ll come across Christadelphians and the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other groups like that that deny that Jesus is God, and they point to Scriptures like this to “make their case.” The reality here is that Jesus means “Jehovah saves” and Christ means “Messiah.” The only true God is Triune; and, again, Jesus is pointing to the only true God. But always, always, always remember that Jesus Christ is the son of man and the Son of God, and as the son of man, He can point to God, as He does later on in this chapter when He’s talking to Mary Magdalene and says, “I ascend to my God and to your God.” But as the Son of God, the roles slightly vary. And I’ve done videos on the Trinity, and I’ve done videos on the Son and the Father and the Holy Spirit, so I don’t want to go over that again. But, nonetheless, there is only one true God, and Jesus Christ is the God-man. So you can’t take verse 3 and say that Jesus is somehow inferior to God when He’s not. All He’s saying here is that the apostles would know the true God, Jehovah God, and His Son Jesus Christ.
VERSES 4-5: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”
“Before Abraham was, I am.” Unless you believe “I am,” you will die in your sins. “You call me Lord and Master, and so I am.” Later on Thomas says, “My Lord and my God,” and Jesus accepted it. Paul said in Romans 9:5 that He is the eternally blessed God. Peter said He was the living God, the true God, and in 1 John chapter 5, John again tells us that Jesus Christ is God.
It’s very difficult to understand why people who claim to be Bible believers go on to deny the deity of Christ. It’s either ignorance or it’s a demonic deception. It could be both, of course, but my feeling most of the time is it comes down to a demonic deception; and, of course, a little bit of Bible ignorance doesn’t help either. Hosea 6 said, “My people perish through lack of knowledge” – My people, not the Assyrians, not the Babylonians, not the Jordanians – My people. And that’s why you were told to study, study, study. That’s why you were told that the word of God was put in such a high position of authority, and the Lord has already said that His Word will judge you, will judge mankind in the last day. As the Son of God, He shared glory with the Father. Three in one, one in three, and the one in the middle died for me.
VERSE 6: “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.”
This is very much a priestly chapter as well. The Lord is in His final hours. He’s spending time with His apostles. These are the men that are going to turn the world upside down – and they absolutely did. It’s worth just taking the time to look at these verses to highlight the importance of the Lord’s ministry. Paul said He didn’t think it was robbery to be made equal with God. And I’ve said this in so many other videos that when you sin against God, only God Himself can forgive you. Therefore, it would make no sense for an angel or a cherub or a good man or a prophet or a king or whatever, it would make no sense for anyone or anything inferior to God Himself dying for the sins of man. Only God Himself can forgive sins, and that’s why you are told in the book of Acts chapter 20 that God’s blood has been given for your sins. First Timothy chapter 3 makes it very clear that God was manifest in the flesh.
“He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God” (Jn. 1:11-12.) He kept his own unto the end, and here He’s down to just eleven men. Thousands followed Him for three and a half years, and yet in Acts chapter 1, only 120 people are with Himin the upper room. It just shows how quickly people can fall away when the going gets tough. But here He’s kept His apostles; He’s taken them out of the world; and He’s now going to preserve them. Ephesians chapter 4 makes it very clear that once you are saved, you are preserved, and the Lord will not let go of you. It’s down to Him to get you to glory. It’s not down to you to get yourself to glory. It’s down to Him to keep you and to get you to a place where you’ll be safe. He’s the Shepherd. We’re just the sheep.
VERSES 7-9: “Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them – the apostles – I pray not for the world – the system – but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”
Again, this is a reference to the apostles, not limited atonement. You cannot take verse 9 and say this is pushing limited atonement. It is not. He’s speaking about the apostles: “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” John said no man can have anything unless God has given it to him, and here the apostles are in the mind of the Lord.
VERSES 10-11: “And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”
Holy Father refers to God the Father, not the Pope of Rome. If you’re in a church, if you’re in an organization which promotes man, which deifies man, which allows men to be called “Father” or “Reverend” or any kind of name which puts him in a different category to others in your church, you’re dealing with organized religion. You’re dealing with a person who’s got a very high view of himself. Here God the Father is called Holy Father, not the Pope of Rome, nobody else. There’s only one Holy Father in Scripture, and it’s God the Father.
VERSE 12: “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.”
Judas was spoken about in the Psalms. His treachery was spoken about in the Psalms. It was written down by the psalmist, quite possibly David, but we can’t be completely sure. But, nonetheless, the psalmist wrote down in time, possibly about 1,000 years BC, that Judas Iscariot would betray Jesus based on God’s foreknowledge, based on middle knowledge. Had Judas not betrayed the Lord, had Judas done something else, then the psalmist would have written down what he would have done in any given situation. In other words, the psalmist writing in time looking into the future could see exactly how Judas Iscariot would handle situation A, situation B, situation C; and based on the gift of prophecy which God had given the prophet, he was able to write down which option Judas would take, and that went into Scripture. That’s how middle knowledge works in a nutshell. He’s kept the apostles safe as He said He would do, but the son of perdition was always going to be lost, and Acts chapter 1 tells us that Judas went to his own place.
VERSES 13-14: “And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
Separation. In 2 Corinthians chapter 6 Paul commends you – in fact, he commands you – to be separated. It’s one thing to work with unsaved people; it’s one thing to have unsaved family; but it’s something else to socialize with unsaved people. The more you do that, the more your testimony will be chipped away, the more you will compromise, and sooner or later you will lose some of your shine, lose some of your spark, lose some of your light, and you’ll become quite worldly, quite backslidden. It happened to Lot – Lot was a saved man – and it happened to some of the Corinthians as well. That’s why it’s always best to be separated where possible from unsaved people.
VERSE 15: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”
When you get groups of religious people like monks or friars or nuns who lock themselves away and pray for ten hours a day or even more, and these people live on an island and they don’t talk to anybody and they take vows of silence, completely unscriptural. What you’re dealing with there, in essence, would be people who have simply been unable to cope with life, and for them, they are escaping from the world system. And there’s nothing wrong with a retreat. There’s nothing wrong with recharging your batteries. There’s nothing wrong with spending time with the Lord away from the world system, but when you find people who spend years and years and years living in this isolated little world of their own, it doesn’t fit with Scripture. We were told to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, let your light shine, and when you get people doing the opposite, again, it’s pretty obvious that these are not Bible believers but religious people, for the most part, who are ignorant. And when they read the Bible, it comes alive to them, and they realize that they’ve been going down the wrong path for many years.
VERSES 16-17: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
The Holy Scripture.
VERSES 18-20: “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;”
Thus the wonderful gift of evangelism. Get as many people saved as you can. Praise for the apostles that they would be able to bless subsequent believers.
VERSE 21: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
First Corinthians 12, Ephesians chapter 4 tells us that the moment we believe, we’re all baptized into the body of Christ. So we are all one in the Lord. Galatians chapter 3 makes that very clear as well. So we don’t need some forced ecumenical movement to get all of the so-called “chosen of God” together. The moment we believed, the moment we were regenerated, we were then baptized by the Holy Spirit – not water – into the body of Christ, and that makes us one with Christ, one with God.
VERSES 22-24: “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”
There’s glorification, of course. It starts with the Rapture. We get a new body, and our souls and our spirits are joined together, for we become a three-part being – body, soul, and spirit – and then we are glorified, completely sinless, and we become like the spirits, we become like the angels – sexless. And according to Revelation 4, all things were made for His glory, and we are now partakers of His glory. We get to be spectators of the Lord in eternity. Marvelous.
VERSE 25: “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.”
This expression of knowing, this is a very intimate knowledge similar to a man knowing his wife. And Jesus, of course, has known the Father, and now the apostles know Jesus in an intimate way, a nonsexual way, of course, but a very special, a very sacred way. And as I’ve already said, only through the new birth can you know God personally. It’s like the analogy that was once given of a soldier outside Buckingham Palace, and for years and years, he stood outside the gates and he would see the Queen driving into the Palace every day. And he knew who she was, but he didn’t know her personally. And then one day her private secretary came out and said to the guardsman, “Would you like to come in and meet Her Majesty?” And the guardsman said, “Yes, I would.” And he walked in with the private secretary and met Her Majesty. He went from knowing of her to knowing her personally. And that’s how the new birth works. The Holy Spirit convicts you and He leads you and He brings you to the foot of the cross, and then you have gone from knowing about Jesus to knowing Him personally. And only those who are born again understand what I’m saying.
VERSE 26: “And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Love, love, love is the entire theme of the New Testament. For God so loved the world. His love has been demonstrated through the death of His Son, and because God loved us through His Son, He expects us to love one another through our faith in Him. Love can change people. Love can overcome evil. But the love that I’m referring to is not some sentimental love. It’s a heartfelt love. It’s a love which costs something, and it’s a love which hurts. And this part of the Scripture pretty much concludes the priestly prayer that the Lord wanted to give to his eleven faithful apostles, and we’re now moving rapidly to the end of the Lord’s ministry.
VERSES 1-3: “When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.”
The weapons, I would imagine, were in case the apostles put up a fight, and the lanterns and torches should be self explanatory. It’s the middle of the night. Jesus is with the apostles, and no doubt others are hanging around. And there were no lamps in those days, as such, just torches and lanterns and no electricity, of course. So it would have been difficult to find the Lord, although I’ve always believed He has always stood out from among people even without torches. But, nonetheless, they wanted to arrest the right person; hence why they came well prepared, as it were.
VERSE 4: “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?”
Once again, His omniscience is clear to be seen. He knew what He was doing. He came for this purpose, to die for the sins of the world. But the question here is important: Whom seek ye? In Matthew 16 He said to the apostles, “Who do men say that I am?” And that’s what it comes down to: Who do you say that He is? But He’s asking this question for a reason because He wants to make it crystal clear that they will take only Him. The apostles were untouchable at this moment in time.
VERSE 5: “They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.”
I AM from Exodus 3, again, is the eternal name of God – without beginning, without end, I AM. And that’s why the Jews wanted to kill Him because Jesus, being a man, claimed to be God. And He either was God, He either was a liar, or He was deceived, and the Bible says that He was God very much. The apostles were sane, the prophets were sane; the Bible is inspired, and the Bible is preserved. I am He. Look at 6:
VERSE 6: “As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.”
That’s power. Go to Isaiah, Isaiah 28:13: “But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.” Go to 2 Timothy chapter 2:26: “And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” A person falls backwards because they are an enemy of God in the word of God. Those that were saved, those that came into the presence of God fell on their faces. So when you have people that fall backward, you’re dealing with enemies of God, and that’s one of the clearest reasons why the slain in the spirit or the holy laughter or the signs and wonders or the charismatic movement is not of God.
VERSE 7: “Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.”
It should be clear by now that He’s telling them that you’re going to come for Me only.
VERSES 8-9: “Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.”
VERSE 10: “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.”
I love the attention to detail here. The Bible gives you such information. Had this man still been alive when this gospel was written, people would have sought him out. Even if he had died when this gospel was written, people could have found his family, and they could have said, “Is it true that Simon cut your ear off?” The attention to detail is incredible. In fact, if you go to Matthew 28 after the resurrection – and this is proof that the Bible is the word of God because it says some of the apostles didn’t believe. They still doubted. Now, why would they put that into a book that was written by man just for men. Why would you put that little bit of honesty, that little bit of doubt, that little bit of rawness post the resurrection? The Lord has just been resurrected from the dead, and yet Matthew says some of them didn’t believe. That’s honesty; hence why you were told to seek the Lord with all your heart, to meditate on the Word day and night. And when those people in the gospels said to the Lord, “Increase our faith,” He did increase their faith.
VERSE 11: “Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”
That was a bitter cup. It was a cup of judgment. And, again, in Matthew 16 the Lord rebukes Peter. He says, “Satan get behind me,” because Peter was trying to in his own fallible mind overthrow the will of God. Even at that late point of the Lord’s ministry, Peter still didn’t really understand the full reason for the crucifixion. The Jews considered a crucified Messiah completely abhorrent; hence one of the problems from the sixth chapter when He tells the Jews to eat His flesh and drink His blood. They couldn’t handle a crucified Messiah. To the Gentiles, to the Greeks it was and still to this day remains foolishness. But God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.
VERSES 12-13: “Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.”
As I’ve already said, it’s kind of amazing, really, that these religious people, all ordained, all in the line of Aaron, not one of them knew who Jesus was. Not one of them believed on Him – an entire generation completely in the dark apart from Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. But the high priest, the man at the top of the religious pecking order didn’t have a clue who Jesus was. That’s why the Bible says don’t put your faith in the sons of men. Put your faith in the Almighty.
VERSE 14: “Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.”
And did so not even knowing what it was that he was telling them. God spoke through an unsaved man, and it says by your words you’ll be justified and
by your words you will be condemned.
VERSES 15-17: “And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple – probably the youngest, John – that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not.”
I can’t imagine what this must have felt like to Peter. He’s scared, he’s tired, he’s cold; and he knows that the Lord is going to be tried, and he knows what’s going to happen to those that are convicted of blaspheme or those that get a common conviction given to a common criminal. He knows that some scourging will take place, and it’s going to be humiliating. He’s a married man; he’s got children, and he’s saved. He’s scared. He is scared, and John is honest enough to tell us that, and he says here, “I don’t know the man.” Now, can you imagine that? Can you imagine knowing somebody for three and a half years, and in the heat of the moment just falling away, just being unable to say, “Yes, I do know Him, and if you’re going to kill Him, take me also.” He couldn’t do it, and, of course, he denies Him three times; hence why Jesus says to him three times, Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me more than these? ‒ the other believers, the other apostles. Peter was a very weak, a very difficult man, I would say, to work with; and because he was weak in many ways, the Lord spent more time with him.
VERSES 18-20: “And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself. The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.”
Your secret societies have no place in Scripture. When you have people that meet in secret buildings behind blacked-out windows, brick-top buildings – whatever – it’s not of God. Everything that Jesus did was in the open, apart from the private briefings which He would give His apostles. Everything else was out in the open, complete transparency, nothing to hide.
VERSES 21-22: “Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?”
These really are Pharisees. These are unsaved people who are keeping the law to the letter, they would have you believe. And yet Paul says in 1 Corinthians that if you don’t have love, then everything that you say and do is totally worthless.
VERSES 23-25: “Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.”
His conscience must be really convicting him at this stage. He must feel absolutely sick. It was one thing for Judas to deny the Lord, a man who, I believe, was never saved to begin with and with the guilt and the shame and just the absolute feeling of grief over seeing an innocent man murdered, really, was unable to live with himself. And Peter would have done the same if God hadn’t stopped him. Peter’s ministry was still to begin. And, of course, there’s hope here, there’s hope in the fact that Peter was a saved man, I do believe, up until this part of Scripture. He denies the Lord, and yet the Lord still uses him. God is a God of second chances. No matter what you’ve done, no matter what you’ve said, no matter what you’ve been involved with, if you repent, if you completely turn from that, if you are a saved person and come back to the Lord with a repentant heart, He will completely restore you.
VERSES 26-27: “One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.”
Third and final denial. Peter here is a broken man.
VERSE 28. “Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.”
More concerned with keeping the ceremonial part of the law, and yet the King of the universe is in their presence, and they’re going to hand Him over to Gentiles, unclean people in their eyes.
VERSES 29-30: “Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.”
Another word for criminal.
VERSE 31: “Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law – The Ten Commandments and Jewish tradition, no doubt. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:”
And yet they killed Stephen and they killed the prophets, but Stephen, of course, was under Roman times. Hypocrites.
VERSES 32-34: “That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die. Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?”
Here the Lord is giving an unsaved Gentile the opportunity to say or to show some interest, to show some sincerity. And, again, middle knowledge would make it clear that He knew that Pilate was never going to believe anyway; but, nonetheless, He gives him a chance to believe on Him in time because, of course, Pilate doesn’t know how the Lord thinks or works. He’s an unsaved pagan, polytheist reprobate. He has no idea of who the Lord of the Bible is, and yet Jesus still gives him a chance to say to Him, “I’ve heard you may be the Messiah; tell me more” or to remain ignorant and in willful rejection of who Jesus was.
VERSES 35-36: “Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
The Kingdom of God, as I say, has two parts: physical and spiritual. The physical Kingdom of God will come and will be implemented during the thousand-year reign. But now we’re living in the spiritual side of the Kingdom of God, and at verse 36 His Kingdom is spiritual, not yet physical, but one day it will be.
VERSE 37: “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”
Those that are born again become His sheep and they follow the Good Shepherd. They have appropriated the atonement; they have appropriated the provision that God has given to them; and they become the sheep, they become the one fold, the one church, the one people of God.
VERSE 38: “Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.”
A rhetorical question. He had no interest in hearing the Lord’s response, but what he did get right from this was the fact that Jesus was innocent, completely innocent.
VERSE 39: “But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?”
Sarcasm there clearly.
VERSE 40: “Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.”
And the Gospel of Matthew tells us that the Jews said, “Let His blood be on us and on our children.” And hasn’t history shown that to be the case?
VERSES 1-3: “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.”
What a disgusting account of the depravity of unsaved men, no doubt written down in Scripture, no doubt known in the mind of the Lord through foreknowledge. And not only did Jesus know that He would die on the cross, He knew this would happen pre His crucifixion. And as we read in the previous chapter, even when the Lord said “I Am” and they all fell backwards, that didn’t change their minds. They didn’t believe on Him, they didn’t repent, and yet on the cross He says, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34.) So even here with the appalling act of thuggery and mocking, the Lord still forgave these people. One more time, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Even the unsaved superstitious pagan Romans had their sins atoned for, but they will not be saved unless they believe on the Lord. The Philippian jailer was moments from death, and he cried to the apostles, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30.) And it was quite simply, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31.) Personal faith in the Lord is what saves a sinner. Romans 10: If you call on the Lord, believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved-true faith, total faith, not just a head knowledge but a heart knowledge, a true sincere belief that Jesus is (a) the Son of God and (b) that He died for your own personal sins, your very sins, your grubby, your vulgar sins. He died for you.
VERSE 4: “Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.”
Pilate was desperate to avoid putting an innocent man to death, and he knew that the Lord was innocent. And he was in a very difficult position because the Jews would have no doubt gone over his head. Word would have got back to Caesar that Pilate wasn’t being a very good governor, that he was somehow letting insurrection build up, and he knew that if he didn’t appease the Jewish leaders, his own job would be in jeopardy. And the Jewish leaders knew that if they didn’t stop Jesus from preaching – but the reality is that Jesus didn’t come to overthrow the religious or even the political set up. That wasn’t His mandate – Second Coming, yes; first coming, no. His mandate for the first coming was to save sinners, to draw all men unto Himself, and then those that believe will be saved.
So here we quite clearly find, once again, unsaved, unregenerate ignorant people doing what they think is right to attain power, power which you’ll see in verse 11 came from God. John said a man can have nothing unless God gives it to him. And time and time again, we read from the fourth chapter, from the third chapter, from the sixth chapter unsaved people pre-salvation, of course, totally misunderstanding what the Lord is telling them. And in John 6 when they thought He meant His physical body and His physical blood – eat my flesh, drink my blood – He doesn’t correct them. He leaves them in willful ignorance.
VERSE 5: “Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!”
Sheer sarcasm, no doubt about it. Eche Homo is what Pilate would have said in Greek, and of course this is written down in Greek. But, of course, the mockery here isn’t lost on the Lord, and although the Lord does love all men and has died for all men does not exonerate them from their sin. Pilate, Judas, Caiaphas, Gamaliel, all of the religious elite, all of those that were “in the know” and yet didn’t believe on Jesus and had some part in His death – or in Gamaliel’s case, the early church – such will be judged severely. A parent can love their child, and when the child goes astray, the child gets disciplined. Now, these people may be physical descendants from Adam, but that does not mean they are God’s children. The book of Galatians makes it crystal clear that only those that are born again have the legitimacy to be called the children of God.
VERSES 6-7: “When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”
And I want to deliberately deal with that part of Scripture. “The Son of God,” as I’ve already said, appears 40 times in the New Testament, and the son of man appears around 80 times. To claim to be the Son of God claimed equality with God. The Bible says there’s only one Saviour, there’s only one God. Jesus Christ was happy to be called Lord and Master. He was happy for people to bow down and worship Him. He said all ye that are weary and heavy laden, come unto Me – come unto Me, and I will give you rest. Only God can give man rest. So when the Bible says there’s only one God, there is only one God, and when the Bible says that God won’t share His glory with anybody else, He won’t share His glory with anybody else. So when the 17th chapter of John says, “I want to share the glory with you that I had before the foundation of the world,” you know that God the Son in that context, anyway, is talking to God the Father. And in Psalm 110 the Father speaks to the Son. And there’s many other passages in the book of Isaiah when the Father speaks to the Son and vice versa.
VERSES 8-9: “When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.”
Pilate believed in many gods. He was a typical superstitious pagan, and to have somebody standing in front of him whom I believe he knew that he was dealing with somebody of huge monumental importance. I don’t know if Pilate understood exactly who Jesus was, but he knew that He was no common criminal. And therefore to have somebody standing in your presence who has been called the Son of God must have just ricocheted it around his system, must have penetrated deep into his soul.
VERSE 10: “Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?”
Pilate is very much exasperated. He wants to know why the Lord isn’t going to respond to him. In the previous verse, he says, “Where are you from? Who are you?” He’s really desperate and no doubt curious, as well, to find out who he’s dealing with here. But Jesus wouldn’t answer him. Jesus knows this man is never going to be saved. He’s never going to bend the knee. He’s under the judgment, so why waste your time? Why waste your time?
VERSE 11: “Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.”
It could have been Judas. It could have been Caiaphas. It could have been the Herodians, the Sadducees. It could have been any number of people. But, nonetheless, the main thrust of eleven is that Pilate and his power base, although directly came from Rome, indirectly it came from God. God gives life to mankind, and even Cyrus, a Gentile raised up, knew that he had the authority, that he had the will of God, that he had the mandate from God. I believe by this stage Pilate really is scratching his head completely incapable of conceiving just what the Lord is telling him, and yet his conscience, I think, is screaming at him. Such the power of the word of God.
VERSE 12: “And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.”
And that goes back to my previous point of the Jewish leaders blackmailing Pilate, making the bogus claim that Jesus claimed to have an earthly throne at His first coming, which would have been a threat to Caesar, which, of course, the Jews would have had no problem with. They hated Caesar. They hated Pilate. They hated the whole Roman system; but, of course, they also hated Jesus, and in their tiny minds, they honestly believed that what will happen at the second coming would have occurred at the First Coming – that all men would have believed on Him and then turned from the Pharisees and followed Him. And as I’ve already said, Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to abolish the law, and He came to commence a new covenant. But when unsaved men get together and start a council or two or yoke, in this case, to unsaved Gentiles, then you’re dealing with high treason especially if you are of the religious kind, if you profess to be a believer in Jehovah God.
VERSES 13-15: “When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.”
What an amazing statement. The so-called chosen race, beloved for the Father’s sake, survived Babylon, survived persecution, famine, pestilence, and yet here they would much rather be identified to a pedophile Roman emperor who they would never meet than align themselves to a Jewish Messiah who lived a sinless life, did good all the days of His life, enhanced the law, fulfilled the law; and yet they had no time for the latter but wanted to embrace the former. That is what apostasy is. This is apostasy of the worst possible kind.
VERSES 16-19: “Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two others with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
That must have infuriated the so-called religious elites, the so-called scholars of their day, but Pilate was the one who was really in an impossible situation. He had no real option. Through foreknowledge, God knew what Pilate would do right down to the absolute minute detail, and if necessary, that would have been written down in Scripture to reflect Pilate’s response. But the tragedy here isn’t so much what the Roman governor was doing. What’s really tragic here is how the Jewish leaders are responding to events unfolding before their very eyes.
But thankfully we know that the elect cannot be deceived. Once you are born again, you are sealed, and you are preserved, and it’s down to the Shepherd to get you from A to B. But the Jews in the Tribulation will receive the false Messiah, who will turn out to be the Antichrist. And here you get a picture of this, in a sense, at His First Coming. They are aligning themselves to Rome, and really that is a death sentence on them. It’s the final nail in the coffin for that generation. And Matthew 24 says all the blood that went back to Abel, to the prophets would fall on this generation; in other words, all the evil that has happened for the last 2 1/2 thousand years is going to be poured out on this generation. And, of course, 70 AD was the final crescendo, the ultimate climax. But, of course, Matthew 24 has an extended application, and we know that is in reference to the Great Tribulation which is still future.
VERSES 20-24: “This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.”
Written 1,000 years BC – quite possibly by King David being fulfilled in 30AD, and the Jewish leaders are completely oblivious to it. That’s the power of sin, people. That’s the power of apostasy. You can be living in a generation where you think you’re in the right, and in the end, you are in the wrong, on the wrong team working with the devil. Pretty frightening stuff. A picture of that, I put to you, would be Samson. He’s out of the will of God. Delilah has deceived him, and his hair has been cut off, and the Philistines come upon him, and they are able to detain him. And, of course, you know the rest. But the point that I’m trying to make is, here is a man who thought he was in the will of God, and he wasn’t – not at that moment. Now, of course, he cries out to the Lord, and the Lord grants him his request to die in the service of the Lord and take down as many Philistines with him as possible. Suicide, of course. And Samson was a saved man, according to Hebrews 11; but, nonetheless, for a period of time, he had departed from the will of God and didn’t even know it. And yet through the Lord’s mercy, through the Lord’s grace, he got a second chance.
VERSE 25: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.”
Matthew 27, 28, in fact, all of the other gospels give us additional information here, and there’s possibly about half a dozen women, maybe more. But only John tells us that Mary was there because he became, in a sense, responsible for her. He was obviously old enough to look after her, and Jesus being the oldest of her children was responsible for His mother. Clearly Joseph has died by this stage; hence Jesus is passing Mary and I believe her other children into the custody of John. And John, as a brother, they had their own business so he knew that she would be in safe hands along with His other brothers and sisters.
VERSE 26: “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!”
Spiritual son, of course.
VERSE 27-30: “Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! – spiritual mother. She’ll live with you; you’ll live with her. You’re now family – And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
The sins of the world have now been atoned for. The last twelve hours of His life must have been horrific in many ways. The Scripture tells us He was wailing, He was howling. It’s unimaginable to even grasp the enormity of what has happened here.
VERSE 31: “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.”
Once again, they’re more preoccupied with the ritual here – typical organized religion. Never mind that an innocent man has just been put to death. Never mind that they just crucified the Lord of the universe. They’re more worried about the law given by Moses to them – from the Lord, of course. They’re more interested in keeping the law. They’re more interested in being proper than receiving the invitation to believe and be saved.
VERSES 32-35: “Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.”
I love the simplicity there and the almost childlike way that was penned. The word of God says unless you be as little children, unless you convert and become like children, you will not inherit, you won’t receive, you’ll not enter the Kingdom of God. And I just find this part of Scripture so adorable, in a sense. Look at it one more time: “And he that saw it bare record” – I saw it – “and his record is true” – I’m telling you the truth – “and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe” – What I’m telling you is the truth; please believe me. That’s what he’s saying. And I think, how could you not believe it? How could anybody look at that part of Scripture and not be touched by that?
VERSES 36-38: “For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.”
A very brave thing to do. To go to Pilate to do this could so easily have got back to the palace authorities, the Jewish leaders. And not only would Joseph possibly have been reprimanded, but he could have been cast out; he could have lost his priestly privileges and been ostracized from the Jewish community. But here he knows he has to do this.
VERSES 39-42: “And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.”
VERSE 1: “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.”
Two things: The first day of the week is Sunday. Even to this day Israel’s cabinet meets on a Sunday; they do business on a Sunday. Jesus was resurrected on a Sunday. With the death of the testator, a new covenant is initiated. So the church has always met on a Sunday, and we do continue to meet on a Sunday, whether it’s two or three in somebody’s home or 2 or 300 in a church or 2 or 3,000 in some mega church. The number is not important, but the quality is what matters. And also the stone was taken away, not to let the Lord out but to let the apostles in.
VERSE 2: “Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.”
Matthew 28 tells us that there were other women there along with Mary. She runs to Simon Peter because he’s the oldest of the apostles. And also this is a good picture of evangelism. The Bible tells us to be ready in season and out of season to get the Gospel out. Peter said we are a royal priesthood, and Paul said we are ambassadors for Christ. So here she’s doing the right thing. She’s proclaiming the resurrection. And that’s something that she has done, and that’s something that you should be doing, and that’s something that I should be doing, and it’s something that we should all be doing as often as we can.
VERSE 3: “Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.”
The other disciple I believe is John. John is the youngest apostle. He’s already adopted Mary as his mother, and he’s also the author, I believe, of this gospel.
VERSES 4-7: “So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.”
Interesting that these cloths are all nicely left in a decent order. Had He been snatched, as the belief has been put forward by some, had He even survived it and somehow managed to escape Himself, why would you have the clothes neatly laid together in a corner? This is order; this is done for a reason; it’s done for a purpose. And everything in Scripture is therefore a reason. This, to me, is evidence that the Lord, according to John 2, Romans 8, and Galatians 1, was resurrected by the Triune God. And we also know that the angels that came down – and one has spoken more than the other, and that would be the angel of the Lord – he has spoken and the keepers shook like dead men. They froze. Something must have happened to them to see the angels come down from Heaven and see the Lord depart from the tomb. It must have been an awesome sight to see, some kind of radiation, perhaps. Something is similarly alluded to with Mary being unable to touch the Lord. He hadn’t yet ascended to the Father. But, nonetheless, the sight of this angel completely shredded any doubt that these pagan, superstitious Roman soldiers would have had. And the other gospels tell us that the centurion says, “Truly this was the Son of God” – truly it was – and “Truly He was a righteous man.” And when you get two accounts like that, people say it’s a contradiction. Well, it’s not. All that is telling you is that the centurion said both: Truly this was a righteous man; truly He was the Son of God. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever.
VERSES 8-9: “Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.”
They’d heard it; they had seen the Lord preach it; they had had the Old Testament recited to them. But because they were with Him every day, because life was good to some extent, they weren’t on their own; they hadn’t yet been orphaned in a spiritual sense. They weren’t able to conceive exactly what the resurrection would mean for them. The apostles didn’t really come to their own until Pentecost when the Lord anointed them through the Holy Spirit.
VERSES 10-12: “Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.”
It’s to her credit and she’s commended for this for remaining with the Lord right up till the end. The apostles all vanished when the going got tough, but the woman remained. The apostles had gone back to their homes, but she has remained, and that’s pretty much how it’s always been – that women have always been faithful bastions; they’ve always been a faithful bedrock of any faithful church or a faithful marriage or a faithful home. When a child is in pain, when a child has sadness, or when a child is scared or whatever, nine times out of ten the child will call for their mother. And here Mary has her motherly instinct. Mary has the bond with the Lord, and she’s waiting to see where they have put Him. And as I say, the apostles were still in unbelief according to Matthew 28, but Mary, to her credit, is waiting to see where He has been taken.
VERSE 13: “And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.”
In Genesis 18:2 two angels appeared with the Lord, and Abraham speaks to the Lord. Here two angels come into the tomb, and Mary is speaking to them. Jesus, of course, has already been resurrected, but she’s still waiting to see Him. Also, when you read the other gospels, it says there are two angels, but here it focuses on the main angel because he did the most talking. As I say, Matthew 28 says he was the angel of the Lord.
VERSES 14-15: “And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.”
This is a garden, and I guess from this account, the Lord is either near a tree or He’s bending down or whatever He’s doing. But she can’t physically recognize Him. Perhaps the voice even sounds different too. But either way, what we do know is she’s in the right place at the right time, and she’s going to be rewarded for this. As I say, the apostles have already vanished. They disappeared when things got tough, but she’s hung around, and she’s the first to see Him. What an amazing thing that must have been.
VERSES 16-17: “Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”
Interesting that He tells her to go to His brethren, not Peter. As you know, the Catholic Church has this erroneous teaching that Peter was a Pope with a triple tiara, that he allowed people to bow down and call him Holy Father and carry him around like you find in the book of Acts when Herod was worshiped like a god. But here the Lord says “go to my brethren.” So there’s no special message from the Lord to Peter. In fact, the first person to see the Lord Jesus wasn’t even Peter. It was Mary, Mary Magdalene. But the first part of this is interesting: “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” Clearly some change has occurred here, and this is where the Turin Shroud comes in, and the argument has been going on for decades now as to whether or not that thing is legit or not, and I don’t know. My belief is that it probably is not. But what we do know is that the Lord is not yet ready to have human contact. Nobody can touch Him yet. Nobody can associate with Him. He’s been resurrected, and therefore at this moment she cannot physically touch Him. She wants to, but she’s unable to.
VERSES 18-19: “Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”
Here the Lord walks through walls. That’s His glorified body. And it’s impossible to fathom how that would be possible; but, of course, if the Lord made the universe of nothing – and He did – and if He sustains the universe second by second – and He does – then it shouldn’t be too difficult to believe that if He wanted to, He’d walk through walls – and He does.
VERSE 20: “And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God . We won’t see the Lord today. If you are a new Christian, God isn’t going to appear to you in human form. I don’t even believe that God speaks to people in audible form. I know there are Christians that will disagree with me on that point, but my belief has always been that God speaks to us, that God communicates with us through His Word. And until you are saved, you’re in darkness anyway. But a physical appearance, an audible Word I don’t believe is found for people today. And, again, you’ve got to remember that the apostles were a unique group of people chosen for a unique period of time to do a unique thing. They were going to (a) write the New Testament and (b) preach the Gospel. And once the New Testament had been written, the sign gifts, I also believe, had ceased. The sign gifts were given to the apostles to authenticate them, to assist them with the preaching of the Gospel because there were many false prophets, false teachers going around even at that time preaching all sorts of messages, and the apostles needed something which would make them stand out from their so-called contemporaries.
VERSE 21: “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
That’s an apostle, somebody who is sent. The Lord has personally chosen these people to go into the world; hence there can be no more apostles today. Disciples, yes. The moment you are saved, you are a disciple, but an apostle, no. That was given just to the eyewitnesses of the Lord’s ministry.
VERSES 22-23: “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”
In other words, if you tell somebody they are saved because they have believed the Gospel, then they are saved. If you tell somebody that they are not saved because they’ve not believed the Gospel, then they remain unsaved. So your remit is the same as what the apostles’ remit was. This was given to the apostles and vicariously to all Christians. Breathing on them, the Holy Spirit falls upon them. This, of course, is going to be a picture of what’s going to happen at Pentecost. It started here, and it has a greater fulfillment in Acts chapter 2.
VERSE 24: “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.”
And neither was Paul. So the belief that to be an apostle or to be a Pope, you have to be chosen by the Cardinals of Rome doesn’t quite fit because here Thomas has missed out on this blessing, and Paul wasn’t even around when this occurred. And yet Paul gets saved later on; he gets chosen later on. Thomas comes along later and also receives this blessing from the Lord. So the belief that the College of Cardinals has the authority to choose a Pope and only they have the authority to do so is erroneous because the apostle Paul was chosen by the Lord, not the apostles.
VERSE 25: “The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus hung on a stake, not a cross, but that won’t work because a cross has a left and the right hand clearly stretched to cause the most amount of pain, and nails would go through the left and the right hand, whereas if you had the Lord on a stake, you have the left hand over the right hand or vice versa. One nail goes through both. Also, he’s entitled to see the Lord. He was an apostle, and yet it does intrigue me that he missed this initial blessing, this initial meeting with the Lord, and yet he doesn’t lose out from it. In fact, he’s blessed, and because of his absence, we get a blessing, which you’ll see in the later verses.
VERSES 26-28: “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”
No doubt whatsoever that Thomas believed that Jesus was God Almighty in the flesh.
VERSE 29: “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
That includes you and me. We haven’t seen Him, but we believe on Him and we are blessed, blessed abundantly.
VERSES 30-31: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
A very honest way of ending the 20th chapter. Many, many miracles were written. Matthew, Mark, and Luke record some that John doesn’t record, and I guess even with the four gospel accounts, we still only have a fraction of the miracles that Jesus performed. But He says these things were written that you would believe. And if you live in a first world country, then you have libraries in your town, in your cities, and libraries in the UK have free Internet access. So if you wanted to, you could go on line and read the New Testament, read the Old Testament and get saved. And God will hold you accountable because you could have done those things had you chosen to, but if you don’t do them, you will still be judged, nonetheless.
VERSES 1-4: “After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.”
Verse 4, first of all, tells us that they didn’t know who it was. Two reasons: First of all, the Lord may have been at a distance from them and they couldn’t physically work out who it was; secondly, it could also be some level of unbelief has crept in. Luke tells us that the apostles on the road to Emmaus were doubting, and the Lord had to come beside them and straighten out their unbelief. Mark’s gospel tells us that the apostles were still in unbelief post the resurrection; and, of course, the Gospel of John, which I’m still in, tells us that the apostles didn’t all believe, along with Matthew 28. So the Lord is going to draw out their faith from them, but also keep in mind Psalm 23 and John chapter 10. The Lord is the Good Shepherd, and it’s His job to (a) get you saved and (b) to provide for you. Look at verse 5:
VERSE 5: “Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.”
Isaiah chapter 9 says that the Lord Jesus is the Everlasting Father. He isn’t God the Father, but He’s the Everlasting Father, and here He calls the apostles children. So we have quite clearly a parental role here as far as Jesus is concerned.
VERSE 6: “And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”
Paul told us that the Lord would provide our every need, and Matthew 6 said to seek the Kingdom of God and then His righteousness.
VERSE 7: “Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked) and did cast himself into the sea.”
John, the youngest, the beloved, is the first to see that it’s Jesus, not Peter, the first Pope, not Mary, the “Queen of Heaven,” but John, the youngest. He wasn’t naked, per se. No doubt he had something to cover his private parts, as it were. To be naked in front of your brothers, according to Leviticus and Exodus, would have been sinful and very inappropriate. So when it says he was naked, he was simply wearing probably one garment, I’d say, around his waist area.
VERSES 8-12: “And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.”
Some shame, I would say, is found here. The apostles have gone out to fish. Haven’t caught anything. Possibly lack faith that they would catch anything. The Lord has arrived, rebuked their unbelief, and is now going to give them food. My Lord will provide my every need, and He certainly has done that here.
VERSES 13-15: “Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.”
That, of course, is applicable to all people. First Peter chapter 5 tells us that the apostle himself anointed others to teach and feed the flock, and that’s given vicariously to all Christians, really, although not all Christians are teachers, not all Christians are elders, not all Christians are pastors or evangelists. But, nonetheless, if you are a saved person, then it’s your job to (a) get the Gospel out and (b) to feed those that are saved. If you are a parent, if you are a mother, for example, and you have children living at home, it’s your job to feed them.
VERSE 16: “He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
Lambs become sheep, and, again, sheep here is used as a metaphor for believers. Also note that He doesn’t call him Cephas, the stone or the rock. He calls him Simon, which in Aramaic means sinking sand.
VERSE 17: “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
Three times Peter denied Him; three times the Lord rebukes him – but in love.
VERSE 18: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.”
Clearly a reference to his death. “Tradition” tells us that he was crucified upside down because he didn’t feel worthy to be crucified upright. It’s a nice story, but I don’t believe it. I don’t believe the Romans gave people requests. I don’t believe they would have spun the cross upside down and put any time or effort into crucifying Peter, nor am I sure that gravity would even allow it. But, nonetheless, it’s tradition, and some people accept it as being so.
VERSES 19-22: “This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.”
Peter was not privy to John’s future state. In fact, he’s rebuked for even asking. So this notion that Peter was a Pope, that Peter had extra light, extra knowledge is not found in Scripture. Again, it’s tradition, and that’s why you were told to study the Scriptures, to check all things in light of Scripture. Paul commended the Bereans for checking him out in light of Scripture, and you should be checking out your pastors, your elders, and your deacons in light of Scripture. If they have the truth, it will be found in the Bible, and if they don’t have the truth, then it’s not worth having anyway. But either way, you owe it to yourself and to your family to check out everything that you hear and see in light of Scripture.
VERSE 23: “Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”
John was the only apostle that wasn’t martyred for his faith, and he was a very old man by the time he wrote this gospel, we believe, along with the date of Revelation, and yet there’s something very special here. There’s a very unique bond. The Lord had a unique bond with Mary, and He had a unique bond with John. John was the youngest; hence why I believe he had that special connection to Mary, who was a fallen woman, and to remove the stigma from the fall of Eve, I believe that Mary was allowed to enjoy a very special bond with the Lord Jesus Christ. She represents (a) fallen woman and (b) women in general, women that have suffered through the fall of Eve, women that go through childbirth and all the problems that women have had to live with over the years, which, of course, goes back to the fall.
VERSE 24: “This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.”
Again, I really appreciate that. Simplicity with a capital “S.” Nobody would write something like this if it wasn’t by God and have verses like that in there. That was written because John was humble, and it was written because it’s true, and it was also written because the Bible says to become like little children. You must humble yourself, and once you have humbled yourself, God will exalt you.
VERSE 25: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”
And that concludes the Gospel of John. How can you really sum up the Lord’s three and a half year ministry in the New Testament? Well, you can to some extent. You’ll only get snippets of His life, and that’s why it’s important to return to the Bible to try and read it daily, because the more you read it, the more you learn, the more you grow, the more you discover your loving Saviour and the Creator of the universe.