Just imagine what walking alongside Jesus must have been like! To be chosen was thrilling, but at the same time overwhelming. For three years a select band of twelve men listened to their Teacher speak about concepts they were unable to fully understand. They must have been shocked, stunned, and amazed as they watched Jesus heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons with just a word!
The parables Jesus spoke were baffling to the priests as well as to John, the fisherman who became known as John the Revelator.
John was born in Bethsaida and he was the son of Zebedee and Salome. He came in contact with Jesus at the age of twenty five as he worked as a fisherman around the Sea of Galilee. John the Revelator was not John the Baptist, who had been beheaded. This John was known as the Revelator who followed and believed in the words of John the Baptist. God chose John to write about the deity of the Christ, and the final book of Revelation.
After the overthrow of Jerusalem, many were preaching and denying that Jesus was the Son of God. John wrote this book at the end of the first century to dispute those false teachers. According to the Book of Martyrs, John was miraculously kept alive by God when the Roman’s boiled him in oil. Undoubtedly, God anointed John and covered him with immense favor.
The Spirit of God poured into John, not only the Revelation of Who Jesus is, but also the power of God’s spoken word in the beginning. “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” (Gen 1:3) The book of John opens with; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1)
In this first God breathed sentence, the reader can pick up two important things. One: the Word is capitalized as a Noun, a name of someone. Two: that “He” was with God in the beginning.
The Word was a “He” and “He” was with God in the beginning. Like the early disciples of Jesus were frequently stumped by many of the words of God’s Son, Jesus; we too must ask the Holy Spirit to give us revelation, to give us understanding as we read the Holy Bible. ““All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
Everyone is deeply moved as they slowly read the book of John. “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” (John 1:10)
Consider the deepest meaning of “the world was made through him.” The world was created by the breath of God’s Word. “The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1)
Jesus is the Word that became flesh, in other words, God came down to walk among us in human form, as the man known as Jesus.
This is a powerful truth that may answer the question of who is the “us” and with God as He says “our” in the first chapter of Genesis? “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Gen 1:26)Take a moment to ask the Holy Spirit to confirm the truth, then breathe it in.
Consider that whenever Jesus spoke a word, forgiveness, healing, mercy and illumination took place. The spoken word is powerful and the words we speak assemble our identity in Christ. The word salvation appears 114 times in the NIV Bible, and it was consistently given as a choice. “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor 6:2)
Today when a person says that they believe in Jesus, they are declaring that the Word of God is their way, their truth and a life “in Him” that they have freely chosen.
Baffled again by what Jesus was saying, the disciple known as Doubting Thomas asked. “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:5)
Again, the words of John are asserting that if you know Jesus, you know God, the Father of all creation. It is always our choice to embrace the words of our heavenly Father, or to walk away and live a life without God. The book of John records “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
If anyone acknowledges that they have sinned against God, in John chapter three, Jesus explains how we can enter the kingdom of God.
There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a member of a ruling Jewish sect who studied the Law of Moses and who strictly observed all the religious ceremonies that are outlined in the Old Testament. As a highly educated man of God who believed in the coming of the prophesied Messiah, Nicodemus came to Jesus, at night, to ask some questions. “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” (John 3:2) It was known all over town that Jesus had changed water into wine, and undoubtedly, Nicodemus heard Him angrily shout inside the Temple courts; “How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market.” (John 2:16)
Jesus replied to Nicodemus; “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Nicodemus must have gasped before he asked “How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus emphasized that Nicodemus should understand these things as he was a respected teacher in Israel.
Jesus repeated that one must be born again. “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to the spirit.” (John 3:5)
To further explain Jesus said; “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
Again Nicodemus was confounded. The words Jesus spoke next are filled with power. “I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.” (John 3:10)
Notice that Jesus said “our” testimony, and that “we” speak of what “we” know, and testify to what “we” have seen. Let that sink in. The “we” in these words of Jesus is not referring to the young disciples of Jesus, as they, like Nicodemus, have been quoted in scripture as the ones who asked “where are you going, and how do we know?”
Jesus continues with this truth. “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven – the Son of Man.” (John 3:13) These words were supernaturally delivered for John to pen. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:16-21)
The Word of God speaks plainly. The way, the truth, and a life “in Christ” has been made very clear. We must be baptized in water and Spirit in order that we can be permitted into God’s kingdom.
The book of John is filled with miracles, evil plots, and promises. Jesus reminds us to trust in God as He tells His followers that He must go to prepare a place for us. “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:3)
As we struggle to wrap our mind and hearts around all that is said in the Bible, it is comforting to know that Thomas, Philip and Peter asked Jesus to reveal the Father. “How can you say, ‘Show us the Father? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words that I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:8-12)
Whoa, Jesus said that because He was going to the Father, that we will do greater miracles than He did! That would only be possible through the power of the Holy Spirit “in us”.
Knowing that His crucifixion was coming soon, Jesus spoke this promise: “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:15)
It is important to note in this promise that Jesus kept His word, His promise and He came back as the Comforter, the Spirit of truth that lives with us, and “in us”. The truth is that we cannot see Jesus walking next to us, but we are not alone, we are not orphans. Non-believers or the world cannot accept him, because they do not believe or see him. Who is Him? He is the Person of the Holy Spirit. The Comforter, the one God promised, who resides in us, is not a puff of smoke! He is a person that God delivers into us when we are baptized in water and the Spirit. He is the one, the Holy Spirit who gives us understanding of the Scriptures, as He is our Teacher. So when Jesus says “I will never leave you” The truth is, as He is “in us”, wherever we are, He is. AMEN
The words of John continue through the death of Jesus, His burial, His resurrection, and His reappearance to His disciples as the living Word of God. The One who has never departed, the One who is always with us, is the promised Holy Spirit.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)
The building we go to in order to sing praise to God is irrelevant. The truth is that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, so worshipping God within our hearts, is to worship God in spirit. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love…I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:9)
To be clear: John and Jesus both had brothers named James. John’s brother James was put to death by king Herod. (Acts 12) It was the brother of Jesus who wrote the book of James.
Copyright © 2019 by Barbara Alley Hoyle.
All rights reserved.
(click on BLOGGER TAB “Books of Bible” for the rest of the story)
“It is finished.” 4/20/19