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 while he was working as a fisherman around the Sea of Galilee. John the Revelator was not John the Baptist, the Baptist eventually gets beheaded. This John was known as the Revelator who 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.” (Genesis 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) Note 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.
“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.” (1:14)
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 the powerful truth of the Deity of Jesus. Perhaps that also answers the question of who is the “us” and the “our” in the first chapter of Genesis? “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Gen 1:26)
Have you ever wondered “why am I here?” or “where do I belong?” The Word of God says that you were created in the image of God! So if you want to make a difference on this planet, if you desire to do something great to help others – accept your identity ‘in Christ’ and walk in the faith God gave you. The world is full of people that are all caught up in “who am I?” As we take a step of faith, God is with us, He dwells as the Holy Spirit in us and He is thrilled to work miracles of deliverance and healing through you.
The Word of God already said that people born in the Spirit will do greater works than Jesus. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (14:12) Because we are born again Christians, Jesus lives in our spirit, so if we let Him have His way in us, then by His blood we are healed. AMEN – Sometimes Jesus just walked by a person and they were healed. Sometimes He spoke a simple word; ‘pick up your mat and walk’ and miracles followed. As we accept our identity ‘in Him’ and the authority He gave us, we can expect to set those that are stuck free.
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.” (14:5) Again, the Word of God is asserting that if you know Jesus, then 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!”
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.” (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.” (2:16)
Jesus replied to Nicodemus; “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (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.” (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.” (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.” (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 cannot be referring to the young disciples of Jesus. Like the highly educated Nicodemus, they too did not understand. They 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.” (3:13)
Remember that all Scripture was supernaturally delivered for man 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.” (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.” (14:3) Let this short scripture saturate in your mind and body: “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30
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.” (14:8-12)
Pause and take that in. 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.” (14:15)
Jesus kept His word, His promise and He came back as the Comforter, the Spirit of truth that lives with us, and “in us”. 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 see Him. Who is Him? He is the Person of the Holy Spirit. The Comforter, the one God promised. He is who resides in us, and He is not a puff of smoke! He is a person that God delivers into us when we are baptized in water and the Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us understanding of the Scriptures, as He is our Teacher. So when Jesus says “I will never leave you” The truth is: He is “in us”. Wherever we are, He is. AMEN
The words of John continue through the death of Jesus, burial, and His astonishing resurrection, and reappearance to the disciples. 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.” (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.” (15:9) 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.
CLARITY POINT: John the Revelator 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
4 thoughts on “JOHN”
The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes.
The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed separate from the grave clothes.
Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, ‘They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and I don’t know where they have put him!’ Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see..
The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in.
Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying to the side.
A folded nakin has deep meaning:
In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day.
The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.
When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it…
The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished. Now, if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table.
The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, ‘I’m done.’
But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because……….. The folded napkin meant, ‘I’m coming back!’
He is Coming Back!
What does Julia Child, a carefree spirit have to do with the BOOK OF JOHN? Julia said, “A country that is afraid of food should be ashamed of itself.” She was referring to the anxiety about healthy eating around the globe. Julia lathered all foodstuffs with butter so I do not believe she would be a fan eating safe or healthy. Today there are exaggerated messages that guilt us as to what we put into our bodies. The joy of cooking has been destroyed by all the carb, or fat counting. “You eat bacon, therefore you deserve to die young!” The world is afraid of food, or even enjoying a cinnamon roll. With eternity being rolled out soon for all of us, we are indeed unduly skittish about what food we can enjoy. Imagine Julia, with that naughty gleam in her eye, tossing great gobs of butter, gallons of thick white cream, and oceans of good red wine into some hard-to-pronounce French concoction, for sure and certain it is not merely an act of obedience to the recipe; it is also an act of disobedience to the menacing food police. Why bring up Julia’s dismay? If I am reading the gospel of John correctly, I think Jesus would have been on Julia’s side. At the time the hearers of what Jesus said in the Synagogue left confused, baffled and angry. The local gossip was that Jesus came down from heaven and lived as a poor carpenter. Today’s listeners can be equally put off as His ancient audience by that icky business about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. In fact, if we do take what Jesus said literally, then the Apostle John infers that we don’t “get” Jesus at all. Do we rely on our own limited understanding? In any case, we need to ask for the Holy Spirit to enlighten us into the deeper meaning. Within the same dynamic at work in an earlier episode, John infers that we are not listening to what the Spirit is saying. John chapter 6 ““Eat Me and drink Me in, and you will know the endless, deep, soul-food-deliciousness of God!” Jesus also confounded the wise old Nicodemus when He said “you must be born again”. Nick could not fathom how a person could go back into his mother’s womb and be born again, unless of course we inquire of the Spirit and look deeper and beyond the literal truth spoken.
The Greek words translated in this text of John could and did easily disgust the common folk that backed away saying “no way”! Jesus did not mince His words or attempt to explain the metaphorical intention. The word used was “eat,” which in Greek “gustosyntax” means finger-licking good. Jesus meant to make the point inescapable — Jesus’ flesh is in some SENSE is “real” food, His blood in some SENSE “real” drink. Jesus means to be “eaten” — not, devoured— in a decidedly undainty and very hungry fashion. OK, now follow with me — John 6:59 “He said all these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.” Ah, now we have a context! John places Jesus in a local town synagogue, preaching a sermon; and that means He has a text unrolled in front of Him, going verse by verse, expounding its meaning, making applications, and engaging in back-and-forth disputation. So, what text is Jesus teaching? We can’t know for sure, but if we consider all the references to Moses and manna in the desert in our gospel portion, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that in Exodus 16, the hunger and complaint of the Israelites was met by God with heavenly Bread. The application Jesus makes of these verses is to Himself. He said He is the bread that comes down from heaven. He says He is a new kind of sustenance for body, spirit, and the life of the world. There is a tradition of Jewish interpretation that sees scripture itself, the Torah, the Law, as the reality behind the manna of Exodus 16. This tradition teaches that God was indeed feeding the people with bread in the wilderness, but it wasn’t just a wafer-like substance God was providing; it was in reality the holy Law, God’s very Word, the nourishing bread of God’s wisdom. The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom, and like the manna, we are to eat it up, digest it, internalize it that we may speak out that which we have known to be good! We learn divine wisdom daily, bit by bit, not only with our intellect, but also with our body. Like food, we ingest it, we ruminate on it, and like a cow chewing its cud, we savor it and roll the food around in our mouth. We swallow slowly, luxuriously; and eventually we digest it so that it becomes part of us. Life of Your life, flesh of Your flesh, blood of His blood. “Day and night I ruminate upon your Law, O God,” says one of the psalms. “Your Law is like honey, sweet to the tongue,” says another. “O taste and see how good the Lord is,” another urges us. If John presents Jesus claiming to be food, claiming to be the manna, then Jesus is also claiming to be the Word, the Wisdom of God. And thus He invites everyone to eat Him and drink Him, and relish every Word that proceeds from His mouth. This same Wisdom shows up in Scripture in another guise too. She is personified in several Old Testament texts as a mother who builds a house for her children—everyone who wants to know her and live in her. And wouldn’t you know it? She sets a splendid table in that house, and then she goes out and calls to her children, “Come,” the scripture says, “Come from East and West, North and South! Eat my bread, drink my wine! Come to the feast I prepared for you!” This is exactly what Jesus says in John 6: “Eat me and drink me, and you will know the endless, deep, soul-food-deliciousness of God!” All this may sound very odd, mystical and impossibly poetic to us modern American Christians who usually expect no more from Jesus and the Word than an ethic for living, a few guidelines to life’s big issues, and some inspiration for action in the world. Like our Berean relatives, our ancestors looked for more. In Jesus’ life and teaching, in His person and work, and in His continued presence in the Spirit, they expected to taste yummy flavors, complex memorable textures, enjoyment and delight. Can I believe this? We are cautious and measured, a little like the way Julia Child says we approach our food. Is this good for me? Will it harm me if I have an extra ounce of this or one more calorie of that? Are there trans-fatty acids in this passage? We hang around the edges of Jesus, hang back on the outskirts of Wisdom. Do we really want to peel off and back away when we reach the limit of our reason and our patience with things that seem odd to us? Is it wise to approach the Bible as an object of religious interest? In our relationship building experience, do we ask a lot of historical, cultural and ethical questions about our new friends? Do we yearn to live with, in and through Him, in His Word? Do we stand in grateful awe of what Jesus says? Like our Hebrew ancestors, do we chew on His Word, digest it and lick it up as our sweet sustenance? Jesus wants us to enjoy the free banquet He has always been. As the thankful and the poor in spirit; we are meant to feel His Presence and be satisfied with a nourishing good taste “that the Lord is good”. Who and what could compel me to take the sacred Scriptures and Jesus seriously enough?
“I am bread and wine,” says Jesus. “I am food and drink. I am a body and a spirit. I am Life and Wisdom. I am here to make you hungry and to satisfy all your longings. Come to the table of the Word, and stay with me! At the table of faith, don’t be afraid of your food. Don’t nibble when you could chomp. Don’t sip daintily when you could slug it all down the hatch with gusto! Praise God for His creation of Julia Child, who commanded us to eat, and never to be afraid! Jesus the Bread of Life – John chapter 6:25-29 “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
“I am the Bread of Life, when you eat this Bread, and drink from this cup, do this in remembrance of Me.” Eat the Word, drink it all in.
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