Sunday, March 31, 2013

John 20:1-23 - Happy Resurrection Day!

LINK: John 20:1-23


BACKGROUND


Sunday at Sunrise


He is RISEN! This proves the Kingship of Jesus Christ! He fulfilled His claim that He would lay down His life and take it up again (John 10:17-18).

The order of events can sometimes be confusing when looking at all four accounts. I will try to explain it all in order. 

Before sunrise, an earthquake happened and an angel rolled away the stone and frightened the guards of the tomb (Matthew 28:2-4).

At early dawn, the women who followed Jesus brought spices to anoint His body. The women mentioned were Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2, Mark 16:9), the "other" Mary who was the mother of James and Joses and wife of Clopas (Mark 15:40; John 19:25), Salome (Mark 16:1), and Joanna (Luke 24:10). We do not know who the "other women" included (Luke 24:9). Since women bring people into the world, it was only appropriate that at least two mothers would be the first to discover the empty tomb! 

Mary left to go and tell Peter and John (John 20:1-2). While she was gone, the other women saw two angels who told them Jesus had RISEN (Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:4-8). The Matthew and Mark accounts focus on only one angel.

Mary came back with Peter and John to tell them that Jesus was not in the tomb, but she did not know that He had risen (John 20:2).  Isn't it funny that John, the author, would say that he beat Peter in a foot race back to the tomb (John 20:4)? They saw the linen wrappings but still did not understand that Jesus had risen (John 20:9).  So, they went back to their homes. 


Many commentators believe that Mark ended his gospel here and an anonymous writer added Mark 16:9-20. They believe this was done shortly after A.D. 100.

240. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene: Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb crying and after seeing two angels, she saw Jesus (even though she did not recognize Him at first)!  It is interesting to note that "no Jewish author in the ancient world would have invented a story with a woman as the first witness to this most important event" (The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament, John 20:10-14). Jesus tells Mary to "stop clinging/do not hold on." This does mean He did not want to be touched because He would have not allowed the other women to touch Him in the next event. He told her this so she would hurry and tell the disciples that He had risen! The clause in the Greek implies it was His disciples (followers) in general and not just the Eleven. It is so sad that they refused to believe her report. 

Three events occurred after this that are not recorded in the book of John but important for understanding the chronology of events:


241. Jesus appears to the women: Matthew 28:8-10

242. Religious leaders bribe the guards: Matthew 28:11-15

Later in the Day


243. Jesus appears to two believers traveling on the road: Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-34

Evening

244. Jesus appears to His disciples: Luke 24:35-43, John 20:19-23

While Cleopas and his friend (or wife) were excitedly telling the disciples about their experience, Jesus appeared in the shut room (John 20:19). They were afraid even though some of them had already seen Jesus. He greeted them in peace and calmed their fears by showing them His hands and feet and eating. He really was bodily there and not just a ghost. This was just too good to be true (Luke 24:41). Jesus really was alive! 

And with that, He commissioned them to go out and tell the world that He was alive! He said "receive the Holy Spirit." This is reminiscent of how God breathed life into Adam (Genesis 2:7). They had been given "breath" for their spiritual life. The full baptism of the Spirit would come at Pentecost (Acts 2)!


John 20:23 is confusing. It does not mean that the disciples were the only ones who had the authority to forgive sins, but they "proclaimed forgiveness on the basis of the message of the Gospel" (The New Testament: An Expanded Translation). As they went out, they announced the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ that if a sinner repented and believed in Jesus Christ, their sins would be forgiven! If they believed, the messenger could proclaim, with authority, that their sins were forgiven by God. 

APPLICATION

Celebrate this Resurrection Day with those you LOVE!  
HE IS RISEN!

PRAYER

Thank You for planning long ago to redeem us and cause those who believe to rise with You! Amen

Friday, March 29, 2013

John 18:25-19:42 - The Passion Hours of Good Friday

LINK: John 18:25-19:42


BACKGROUND


Early Friday Morning before Dawn (when the "cock crowed")

227. Peter denies knowing Jesus: Matthew 26:69-75, Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:54-65, John 18:25-27

It is just before dawn, and these denials occurred either during the trial with Annas (John 18:12-24) or Caiphas (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65).  The three denials are in such contrast to his boast to lay down his life for Jesus (John 13:37) and the cutting off of Malchus' ear during the arrest (John 18:10). How ironic that a relative of Malchus would ask the final question that prompted the final denial! Do not lose hope on Peter though. Those three denials will be followed by three affirmations by Peter in John 21. Stay tuned!

From: The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 84
Civil (Roman Trials) 

230. Jesus' trial before Pilate: Matthew 27:11-14, Mark 15:2-5, Luke 23:1-5, John 18:28-37


Civil Trial One (Trial Four Overall)

John's account is the most detailed of the four gospel accounts.

Even though the religious leaders had passed judgment on Jesus, only the Romans could exercise capital punishment. So, the case was brought to Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator (governor) of Judea and Samaria from A.D. 26-36 (Luke 3:1), who was in Jerusalem because of the Passover feast. During the great feasts, rioting and insurrection were more common, especially during Passover when the Jews remembered their deliverance from bondage to the Egyptians. 


Pilate and the Jews obviously had a hostile relationship. Pilate refused to do anything with just a charge of blasphemy. The Jews could not execute Him by stoning because prophecy had already said that no bones would be broken (Psalm 34:20). Also, He had foretold that He would be "lifted up" like a "snake in the desert" (John 3:14; Exodus 21:9). Jesus had to die by crucifixion and only the Romans could do that. 


The religious leaders brought Jesus to Pilate with three accusations, but Pilate only concerned himself with the third: Jesus' claim to be king. This was the only one that would be any threat to Rome, but after questioning, Jesus assured Pilate that He was a king, but of a kingdom not of this world (John 18:33-37). Pilate declared Jesus to be guiltless (Luke 23:4); and when he found out He was a Galilean, Pilate sent Jesus to Herod to be tried. 

There is second Roman trial before Herod Antipas, but it is only recorded in Luke 23:6-12. 



232. Pilate hands Jesus over to be crucified: Matthew 27:15-26, Mark 15:6-15, Luke 23:13-25, John 18:38-19:16

Trial Six (Third Roman)

Pilate wanted to punish and release this innocent man (Mark 23:16), but the crowd was stirred up by the religious leaders, and he was pressured to release Barabbas, an insurrectionist (John 18:40) and murderer (Mark 15:7) instead. 


John is the only writer that covers the flogging (leather whip with bits of metal at the ends which often killed people), crown of thorns, purple robe, ridicule as King of the Jews, and beating. 


Pilate wanted to release Him but the Jews convinced him that if Jesus claimed to be king he was opposing Caesar. Their cry was for crucifixion, and Pilate took water and washed his hands symbolizing that he wanted to absolve himself of putting an innocent man to death (Deuteronomy 21:6-9). Then he released the murderer and handed the innocent Jesus over to be crucified. 


The events leading up to the crucifixion are more detailed in the Matthew, Mark, and Luke accounts, but the actual crucifixion is more detailed in John's gospel account. 


234. Jesus is led away to be crucified: Matthew 27:32-34Mark 15:21-24Luke 23:26-31John 19:17

Jesus is on His way to Golgatha. Just as Isaac carried his own wood for the sacrifice in Genesis 22:1-6 and the sin offering was taken outside the camp or city (Hebrews 13:11-13), the John account says that He carried His own cross. The other accounts state that Simon of Cyrene carried the cross part way. Here is an interesting perspective on why that happened: 
It was a part of the prisoner’s humiliation that he carry his own cross to the place of execution, so when Jesus left Pilate’s hall, He was carrying either the cross or the crossbeam (John 19:17). 
Apparently, He was unable to go on, for the soldiers had to “draft” Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross for Him. (This was a legal Roman procedure. See Matt. 5:41.) When you consider all that Jesus had endured since His arrest in the Garden, it is not difficult to imagine Him falling under the load. But there is something more involved: carrying the cross was a sign of guilt, and our Lord was not guilty! Thousands of Jews came to Jerusalem from other nations to celebrate the feasts (Acts 2:5–11), and Simon was among them. He had traveled over 800 miles from Africa to celebrate Passover, and now he was being humiliated on a most holy day! What would he say to his family when he got home? 
What looked to Simon like a catastrophe turned out to be a wonderful opportunity, for it brought him in contact with Jesus Christ. (By the way, where was the other Simon—Simon Peter—who had promised Jesus to go with Him to prison and to death?) Simon may have come into the city to attend the 9 a.m. prayer meeting in the temple, but the soldiers rearranged his schedule for him. 
We have good reason to believe that Simon was converted because of this encounter with Jesus. Mark identified him as “the father of Alexander and Rufus” (Mark 15:21), two men that Mark assumed his Roman readers would know. A Christian named Rufus was greeted by Paul in Romans 16:13, and it is possible that he was the son of Simon of Cyrene. Apparently Simon and his two sons became well-known Christians who were held in honor in the church. 
Before Simon met Jesus, he had religion and devotion; but after he met Jesus, he had reality and salvation. He did both a physical and spiritual “about face” that morning, and it transformed his life. God can still use unexpected and difficult situations, even humiliating situations, to bring people to the Saviour. (The Bible Exposition Commentary, Lk 23:26)
On the way to Golgotha, the Luke account records His warning to the people of the persecution that was to come (Hosea 10:8; Revelation 6:15-17). 

The Third Hour (between 9 am and noon)


235. Jesus is placed on the cross: Matthew 27:35-44Mark 15:25-32Luke 23:32-43John 19:18-27

Crucifixion was widely practiced by the Phoenicians and Persians but Roman law permitted its use only on slaves and non-Romans. In Israel this shameful and excruciating punishment was inflicted for crimes of robbery and sedition and served as a public reminder of the Jews' servitude to Rome.  (The Daily Walk, October 9, 2008, p. 14)


Mark 15:25 says Jesus was placed on the cross at the third hour that starts at 9 a.m. (Mark 15:25). While John 19:14 says He was handed over by Pilate "about noon." Josh McDowell offers two possible explanations:
The night was divided into four watches, each consisting of three hours (see Mark 13:35), and the day was to some extent likewise divided into periods. In light of this, we can imagine that Mark’s statement about the “third hour” simply meant that Jesus was crucified sometime during the third hour (between nine o’clock and noon), while John’s statement that the trial ended about noon can mean before noon.  
Another possibility is that John is using a different method of reckoning time than Mark. We know for a fact, from Plutarch, Pliny, Aulus Gellius, and Macrobius, that the Romans calculated the civil day from midnight to midnight, just as we do today. 
Thus John’s “sixth hour” would be six o’clock in the morning. This would make 6 a.m. the time of the last of the trials of Jesus, and of His sentencing, giving adequate time for the events leading up to the crucifixion which, in Mark, was at 9 a.m. or afterward. 
There is good evidence that John used this method of computing time. This is not unusual in Scripture to have different authors use different methods of measuring time and determining dates. 
http://www.josh.org/resources/study-research/answers-to-skeptics-questions/dont-the-gospels-give-contradictory-reports-as-to-the-time-christ-was-crucified/

He had two criminals on each side (Luke 23:33). He said seven things as He was crucified, and I will summarize them at the end, but His first prayer was that the Father would forgive them for what they were doing (Luke 23:34).

The dividing of His garments fulfilled Psalm 22:18 (John 19:24). Pilate continued the game with the Jews by writing that Jesus was "KING OF THE JEWS" so that all languages could read it (John 19:19-22). As He hung there, He was mocked by people passing by, the religious leaders, soldiers, and even the robbers being crucified with Him (Matthew 27:39-44, Mark 15:29-32, Luke 23:35-39). The Luke account adds that one of the robbers defended Jesus and asked to be remembered in paradise, and Jesus told him this would happen (Luke 23:39-43). Notice that the Luke account was the only one that recorded Jesus asking the Father to forgive them. The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, "Luke's purpose . . . was to show that Jesus was the forgiving Messiah even as He died" (Comments on Luke 23:32-43).

John's gospel is the only account that reports about Jesus' conversation regarding His mother's future care (John 19:26-27).  

12-3 pm


236. Jesus dies on the cross: Matthew 27:45-56Mark 15:33-41Luke 23:44-49John 19:28-37

There was darkness from the "sixth to the ninth hour" or noon to 3:00 p.m. (Mark 15:33). How appropriate that Jesus would became the sin-offering for all mankind (John 1:29; Romans 5:8; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18) during this time of darkness. Just as there was three days of darkness before the Passover in Egypt (Exodus 10:21-23), this Lamb of God died for our sins so that the righteous wrath of God would "passover" those who put their faith in Jesus (Romans 3:25-26).

He was forsaken by the Father (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34) because He took on the world's sin. The Holy Father could not look upon His Son who had become sin and been made a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). 

When Jesus cried, they thought Jesus was calling for Elijah because the Greek word for "Elijah" sounds like "Eloi" (Mark 15:34-35).  

At the end of that time, Jesus cried out to the Father that it was finished (Psalm 31:5), and He gave up His spirit. Papyri tax receipts during that time period had this Greek word for finished written across them, and it meant "paid in full."  He had paid the debt for our sin in full (2 Corinthians 5:21)!

Matthew, Mark, and Luke record the curtain of the temple being town in two. This curtain was between the Holy place and the Holy of Holies in the temple (Hebrews 9:2-3). This curtain was 15 by 15 feet with a linen curtain during the time of the Tabernacle but was 20 feet wide by 60 feet long and 4 inches thick in Herod's temple during Jesus' time. Needless to say, it was a very thick curtain and ripped from top to bottom signifying God did it rather than men (who would rip it from the bottom if they even could). If you have been studying in the Bible Book Club, you know that only the high priest could go into the Holy of Holies once a year (Leviticus 16:1-35). This event signified that everyone had access into the presence of God all the time (Hebrews 10:14-26) without the aid of temples, priests, altars, or blood sacrifices! It truly was finished! Our debt was "paid in full"! WOOHOO!

Matthew records that there was an earthquake (Matthew 27:51). This was probably for his Jewish audience. This earthquake recorded at the cross was similar to what happened on Mount Sinai when God gave Moses the Law that included all the regulations for the tabernacle and its sacrifices (Exodus 19:16-31:18). Hebrews 12:18-24 implies that the earthquake at the cross signified that Christ met the demands and curse of the Law, and that He, as the mediator of a new covenant, abolished it forever.  WOOHOO!

The New International Version suggests that the bodies of the saints were raised immediately, but the New American Standard Bible (literally interpreting the Greek word for word) directly says they were raised after the resurrection (Matthew 27:51). 

These events (and the fact that Jesus had the energy to cry out at the end of His crucifixion) caused the Roman centurion to exclaim that Jesus was the innocent (righteous) Son of God (Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47) and the multitudes to beat their breasts (Luke 23:48) while the women who followed Jesus looked on from a distance. These women included Mary Magdalene who had been delivered of seven demons (Luke 8:2), Mary the mother of James and Joses who also was at the tomb on Resurrection morning (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1), and Salome, the mother of James and John, who had asked for special thrones for her sons (Matthew 20:20-21). The only disciple recorded as being at the cross was John (John 19:25, 35). 

John's gospel was the last to be recorded, and at that time Gnosticism and Docetism were a problem. Both these ideologies denied the reality of the Incarnation (God coming in the flesh) and His death. The details about His unbroken bones (usually Romans broke bones to speed up the death), blood, and eyewitnesses probably helped with these false ideologies.  In addition, the true Passover Lamb did not have any of its bones broken (Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:20), and the piercing of His side by the Roman soldier fulfills Zechariah 12:10. 

Here is a summary of Jesus' sayings on the cross:
1) Prayer of forgiveness (Luke 23:34)
2) Promise to the repentant criminal (Luke 23:43)
3) Provision for His mother (John 19:26-27)
4) Cry of separation from the Father (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34)
5) Acknowledgement of thirst (John 19:28)
6) Cry of accomplishment (John 19:30)
7) Cry of resignation (Luke 23:46) 
 
(The Harmony of the Gospels, p. 242)



3 pm - Sunset


Luke records Joseph of Arimathea (a secret believer, Luke 23:51; John 19:38) asking for Jesus' body, but John is the only one who records the involvement of Nicodemus (John 3). This is significant because bodies of criminals were usually discarded. The linen and spices followed the burial customs of the time.

The preparation and placing of the body in the tomb were probably done quickly since it would have to be completed before the Sabbath at sundown on Friday. It was also the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Note that the women followed Him all the way to burial, but the disciples had all abandoned Him (Matthew 26:56). Let's hear it for the women! :)

APPLICATION


Warren Wiersbe likens the six hours for Jesus being hung on the cross to His death (9 am-3 pm) to the six days of creation. God finished the work of the "old Creation" in six days. Then, He rested from all His work (Genesis 2:1-3). Jesus finished the work of the "new Creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17) and rested on Saturday. 

I hope you can go to a Good Friday service somewhere. They are usually very beautiful. Then, I hope you can rest and reflect tomorrow. 

You might want to watch one of these movies:

The Passion - I do not usually recommend an "R" rated movie (for graphic blood), but I think this is very sobering and makes you so thankful for what Jesus did for us. This is not for young children.

The Jesus Film - This is much less graphic but almost word for word from the book of Luke.  

The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John - This is word for word from the book of John. It is excellent. 

Tears now. Blessings to you on this Good Friday. 

Remember: "It is Friday, but Sunday's comin'!" (Tony Compolo)

PRAYER


Pray through Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 today. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

John 15:1 - 18:24 - Abiding, Holy Spirit, and High Priestly Prayer

LINK: John 15-17  &  John 18:1-24

BACKGROUND 

Thursday after Dinner and before 9 pm

215. Jesus teaches about the vine and the branches: John 15:1-17
216. Jesus warns about the world's hatred: John 15:18-16:4

The Seventh (and last) "I am" Statement

This is one of the most important chapters in all of Scripture. So, I wanted to start it with prayer:

Lord God, I pray that You would teach us, by Your Holy Spirit, the truth about abiding in Christ so that we might abide the rest of our days.  Help us to prayerfully meditate on the truths of this chapter so they sink deeply into our souls. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

I love John 15:5 in The Message:

I am the Vine, you are the branches. 
When you’re joined with me and I with you, 
the relation intimate and organized
the harvest is sure to be abundant. 
Separated, you can’t produce a thing

We know from our study of the Old Testament that Israel was God's beloved, chosen vine, but it only produced worthless fruit (Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:7-16, and Ezekiel 15:1-5). Therefore, Jesus as the "true vine" came to fulfill the vinedresser/gardener's purpose of bearing fruit. 

Fruit-bearing is accomplished when the branches (true believers) abide in the vine. What does it mean to "abide"? The Greek word for abide means “to remain in or with someone, i.e., to be and remain united with Him, one with Him in heart, mind and will. To be vitally united to.”[1]

To be vitally united means to have His words "in" You as the life-giving energy source (15:7-8) and to confess sin so nothing hinders intimate communion and the flow of energy (15:3, 9-10, 14:21).  When we are in this communion, we will bear fruit, experience His pruning (so we can bear more fruit, 15:2; Hebrews 12:1-11), experience answered prayer (15:7), love for other believers (15:9, 12-13), and joy (15:11); but we will also experience the world's hatred and persecution (15:18-16:4; 1 Peter 4:12-13). Jesus was preparing His disciples for the persecution and even death they would face (Acts 7:59; Acts 12:2, 9:1-4), and abiding in Him would be so key through all of that!

Dead wood (some branches not in vital union with God) will be cut off and thrown in the fire. Some commentators interpret this verse as meaning that these branches are believers who have lost their salvation, but this contradicts other verses (3:16, 36; 5:24; 10:28-29; Romans 8:1). Other commentators believe these are "professing believers," like Judas, who look like believers on the outside but have not totally believed in Jesus.

Fruit (karpos) can mean:

1) Winning others to Christ (Romans 1:13)
2) Growing in obedience and holiness (John 4:35-38)
3) Giving of money (Romans 15:28)
4) Displaying Christian character (Galatians 5:22-23)
5) Exhibiting good works and service (Colossians 1:10)
6) Giving glory to God in praise (Hebrews 13:15)

217. Jesus teaches about the Holy Spirit: John 16:5-15

Jesus' departure was necessary, but His disciples were sad. He told them that His leaving was to their benefit so that the Helper/Counselor (Holy Spirit) would come. As I mentioned before, the word in the Greek is paraklētos.  It was a term used for legal assistants or advocates who pleaded or presented a case. It literally means, "called to one's side, i.e. to one's aid." Jesus is our intercessor, advocate, and comforter. The Holy Spirit would convict ("to present or expose facts, to convince of the truth") the minds of the unsaved so that they might see the truth of God regarding God's righteous Servant, Jesus. 

Since John 14-16 are key chapters in developing an understanding of the Holy Spirit, now might be a good time to go through those chapters again and make a list of all that you have learned about Him (see also 1:32-33; 3:5-6,8,34; 4:23-24;7:37-39; and 1 Corinthians 2:6-16). 

218. Jesus teaches about using his name in prayer: John 16:16-33

With all this teaching, the disciples did not totally understand. He did not attempt to clarify because He knew that everything would become clear in a very short time. He would be dying hours from that time! 

They were still confused, but all would become clear in that they would see Him rise from the dead after three days and rejoice. It would all become clear. He used the illustration of a woman in child birth (to a bunch of men!) to drive home this point. 

Then, Jesus talked about the changed relationship they would have with God as a result of all of this. Previously, people approached God through the priests. After Jesus' resurrection, all believers were now priests and they could approach God directly (Hebrews 10:19-23; Romans 5:2). We do this through the merit of Jesus and in His name which makes us acceptable to God. Ponder this for a moment and praise! See other references to "in Jesus' name" in John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:24, 26. With this the disciples believed that Jesus "came from God," but Jesus knew that there would be testing in this area of belief as they would be scattered to their homes as they deserted (Matthew 26:56) and denied Him (John 18:17, 25-26). 

In the meantime, He comforted them and assured them that their sorrow would be turned to joy and that they would have peace because He had overcome the world by defeating Satan (Romans 8:37). This statement leads perfectly into the prayer that followed. 

219. Jesus prays for himself: John 17:1-5
220. Jesus prays for his disciples: John 17:6-19
221. Jesus prays for future believers: John 17:20-26

Jesus concluded the Upper Room Discourse with what is often referred to as the "High Priestly Prayer." Jesus had accomplished the Father's will and had manifested the Father to the world so that they might have eternal life through the Son. Jesus would now suffer, be sacrificed, resurrected, and return to His previous glory with the Father. We are also to glorify God (John 17:10; Romans 11:36; 16:27; 1 Cor. 10:31; Ephesians. 1:6, 12, 14, Westminister Larger Catechism, Question 1). Glory is used eight times in this chapter and is a key word.


The prayer is particularly for the remaining eleven disciples, but He also prayed it for all believers in the future (John 17:20). He prayed that His chosen believers would be 1) safe from Satan's power and the world, 2) set apart in holiness and purity, and 3) united through His truth. 

After 9 pm until Pre-Dawn

224. Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:1-11.

Judas brings a large crowd, and the John account explains it was not only from the Jewish religious leaders, but also the Roman cohort (about 600 soldiers).

When they said they were looking for Jesus the Nazarene, John records that Jesus responded by saying, "I am." The NASB adds He in italics indicating that this word is not in the original Greek. If you are reading this in many other versions (including the NIV) they say “I am he” without italics and a very important thing is lost in the translation. Jesus was asserting His deity by saying “I am” (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58)!  I think this is why the people fell to the ground!


Matthew, Mark, and Luke mention Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss. John mentions Peter's brash act of cutting off the slave's right ear and even mentions his name! Jesus was arrested willingly and without any harm to His disciples fulfilling His prayer in John 17:2 (John 18:9). 

Here is the helpful map of Jerusalem I mentioned above: 

http://www.deloreyfamily.org/JerusalemDuringChristsTime.jpg 
(click on link and then click again to view a larger image of this very helpful map)

From: The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 84

Religious (Jewish) Trials


By José de Madrazo Agudo (1781-1859) [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons

225. Annas questions Jesus: John 18:12-24

Around 11 pm 

Religious Trial One (see map above for location in ESSENE QUARTER) 

Annas was Caiaphas' father-in-law and former high priest. He was appointed high priest by Quirinius, governor of Syria, in A.D. 6, but he was deposed by Valerius Gratus in A.D. 15. The office of high priest was a lifetime position, but the Romans often deposed them. Annas was succeeded by five sons and then by his son-in-law, Caiaphas, who was the current high priest (John 11:49-52).  

REFLECTION

John 15 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible because I believe it is at the heart of everything when it comes to walking with Jesus! 

Kay Arthur, in the book of John Precept Upon Precept Bible Study writes:

This could be one of the most profitable chapters you'll ever observe in your study of the Word. The main truth of this chapter is the root of all truly successful Christian living. . . To understand and to appropriate this truth is the difference between living and serving God in the flesh and living and serving God in the Spirit.

Amen Kay! Back in the 80's, I discipled a group of women through their college years, I could not think of a more appropriate way to send them out their senior year than studying the Upper Room Discourse of John 13-17. I titled it "Abiding Discipleship." We lingered the longest in John 15. At the end of the study, I had them synthesize what they learned through prose, poetry, or song.

One of the funniest women (they were ALL funny - we laughed our way through 2 1/2 years of study together), Sue, made up a song and had us all sing this tag line over and over:

I really wanna' do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do (as we snapped our fingers to the beat)

While she started out singing: 

"Just be in Me
Like a branch is in a tree
Let my words abide in you
And you abide in me

Just love from the heart
like I loved you from the start
So love to the end
Like I first loved you my friend"

Then, she ended it by abruptly singing "Just BE!" We all stopped our tag line then too because we no longer wanted to DO.

The song is so simple, but that is how it is with Jesus. Our walk with Him is not about "doing" anything. It is about being IN Jesus.  The doing comes out of the being. We developed an acrostic for the word abide:

Always
Being
In
Divine
Encounter 

That is the goal of my life. How about you?

APPLICATION

Remove the head coach, and the team flounders; break the fuel line, and the car won’t run; unplugged, the electrical appliance has no power; without the head, the body dies. Whether for leadership, power, or life, connections are vital! [1]

In our walk with Christ and the fruit-bearing ministry He gives us, our connection to Him, the life giving Vine, is the only thing that will give us power for living.

I read a story about an elderly church janitor who was going deaf and losing his mental faculties. One day, the head pastor found this janitor furiously working, with sweat on his brow, as he finished up vacuuming the sanctuary carpet. The only problem was the man had forgotten to plug the vacuum into the outlet and had not realized it. His labor had been fruitless!

I grieve for that dear old man. I grieve for us sometimes too. How often do we labor so diligently in our lives and ministries without being plugged into our true Source of power?

Abide means to “to remain in or with someone, i.e., to be and remain united with Him, one with Him in heart, mind and will. To be vitally united to. [1] Are you vitally united with Christ? How does this manifest itself in your life? Where is your power source? I relied on my own capable, hard-working self for years until I came to the end of my own self-effort. What about you? Wherever we are in our relationship with Jesus, we can always go deeper. Prayerfully evaluate your life and ministry and journal about it.


[1] The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1992) p. 960.

[2] The Life Application Bible, (Wheaton, IL, Tyndale House Publishers and Zondervan Publishing House, 1991), p. 2156

One last thing: Warren Wiersbe once said, "Once you have begun to cultivate this deeper communion with Christ, you have no desire to return to the shallow life of the careless Christian." This is so true!


If you are reading according to Bible Book Club schedule, you are reading this section of John during Holy Week. One of the disadvantages of following the Holy Week time is that you must gloss over these very meaty chapters in the Upper Room Discourse. I spent a whole year in John 13-17 back in the 80s. Go back over this!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

John 13 & 14 - Last Supper and Upper Room Discourse

LINK: John 13 & 14

BACKGROUND


Thursday Sunset-9 pm

210. Jesus washes the disciples' feet: John 13:1-20


Satan had entered the heart (13:27) of one of His "trusted twelve," but Jesus knew all that. With this, Jesus' time had finally come after repeatedly saying it had not yet come (John 2:4; 7:6, 8, 30; 12:23, 27: 17:1). Jesus came to serve and give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45). So He proves this by humbly doing the work of a lowly servant (1 Samuel 25:41; Luke 7:40-50; 1 Timothy 5:10) by washing their dusty feet. (Even Judas, the one who would betray Him got his feet washed - think about that!) 


Peter could not handle this role-reversal. I love the way Kenneth Wuest translates Peter's statement, "You shall by no means wash my feet, no, never" (The New Testament: An Expanded Translation, p. 247). but Jesus essentially said, "'Unless I wash your sins away by my atoning death (cf. Rev. 1:5) you have no real relationship to Me' (cf. 1 John 1:7)" (The Bible knowledge commentary:Volume 2, p. 320). Peter did not totally get it yet, but Judas did not get it at all. He was an unsaved man (John 6:64-71). 



Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) - The Last Supper (1495-1498)
Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
211. Jesus and the disciple share the Last Supper: Matthew 26:20-30, Mark 14:17-26, Luke 22:14-30, John 13:21-30

Leonardo da Vinci's painting did not get it right. They were all reclining and not sitting at a table (Matthew 26:20), but it is still a beautiful work of art!

John's account is the only one that mentions that Jesus was "troubled in spirit" (the Greek word, etarachthē, means stirred or agitated) when he identified that someone would betray Him. John, as the disciple Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus' bosom and would have been more able to sense Jesus' spirit at the time. Luke is the only one who records Jesus saying "woe" (judgment) on the man who does the betraying. How disconcerting to learn that one of their own would betray Jesus.


The Matthew, Mark, and John accounts record the betrayer as the one who dips together with Jesus in the bowl. John's account records Him doing this act and giving the morsel to Judas. It was a "final extension of grace to Judas. A host's giving a morsel of bread to a guest was a sign of friendship" (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, John 13:25-27), but Judas did not take it as that and Satan entered him (John 13:27). John is the only gospel writer that records this and that the disciples still did not know Judas was the betrayer. 


How astounding that Luke would record a dispute about who was the greatest after Jesus had just said that someone would betray Him (Luke 22:24-30). Jesus told them this talk was "pagan thinking." The way UP to greatness was DOWN through service. In fact, it is "lowly service" in the Greek! Eventually, they would sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes in His kingdom (Luke 22:30, Matthew 19:28). 


During the meal, Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper where the wine would represent the blood of the covenant and the unleavened bread, His body. The John account does not record Jesus' words regarding this. The Lord's Supper is to be done in remembrance of this (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). It is to be a memorial feast where believers are reminded that Jesus gave His body and blood for the redemption of the world! It is also celebrated to look forward to the day when He will come again. Lastly, it is a time where we can look within, examine our hearts, and repent of known sin (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).  Jesus was the Passover lamb, sacrificed for us, let us celebrate the feast (John 1:29, 1 Corinthians 5:7-8)!


Here is general order of the last supper from http://www.biblewise.com/bible_study/characters/passion-week.php:
The order of the last supper is in 13 steps [some books show more steps, others fewer steps, so this is a general guideline]
  1. The head of the company, Jesus in this case, opens with a prayer and
  2. Gives the 1st cup of wine for everyone in the company to drink.
  3. The head of the company washes his hands. 
  4. The head of the company dips some of the bitter herbs into the salt water or vinegar and speaks a blessing, eats some of the herbs and hands them to the others.
  5. The unleavened bread is broken into pieces, reserving half to be eaten after the supper, called the after dish.
  6. The 2nd cup is filled and the youngest in the company (John) is instructed to ask questions about the significance of the Passover.
  7. Psalms 113 and 114 are sung.
  8. The 3rd cup of wine is filled, followed by prayer, and they all drink the cup.
  9. Everyone washes his hands.
  10. Supper begins by eating the unleavened bread and bitter herbs and the lamb. Everyone in the group must eat at least an olive size portion of the lamb. All of the lamb is to be consumed or destroyed. No bones of the lamb are to be broken.
  11. The after dish of the bread broken earlier is eaten. It is believed this is where Jesus said, “Take eat, this is my body.”
  12. The 4th cup of wine is the point when Jesus told them to all drink of it, this was his blood.
  13. Conclude with hymns and prayers. Psalms 115-118 and the Great Hallel – Psalm 136.
212. Jesus predicts Peter's denial: Luke 22:31-38, John 13:31-38

John records that Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified (The Amplified says, "Now He has achieved His glory, His honor, His exaltation!"), and God is glorified in Him; if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately."  As I mentioned in a previous post, "glorify" is a key word in the Upper Room Discourse section of the book of John.  Now that Jesus' time had come, it will come without delay. He was going away, and they were to love one another as He loved them (John 13:34, 35 should be memorized!). 


Of course, Peter could not handle Jesus going away just as he could not handle Jesus washing His feet. Jesus knew that Peter would not, at first, lay down his life for Jesus, but Satan would be given permission to "sift him like wheat" (Luke 22:31). We see another example of this in the book of Job.  Jesus predicted perfecting in the sifting. Denial would lead to a strengthened man who would strengthen others, and Peter's epistles later on in life will reflect that. Stay tuned.


The Upper Room Discourse 

213. Jesus is the way to the Father: John 14:1-14


Jesus told His disciples to not be afraid and believe. The disciples still did not understand where Jesus was going and who He was. He told them He was going to prepare "rooms, abiding places" for them (not "manor houses" as some believe). Each will be lovely places in His presence!

Jesus also said He was "the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (14:6). He also said, "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (14:9). This whole section affirms Jesus' deity. There is one way, and that is through belief (a key word in John) in Jesus. 


214. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit: John 14:15-31


Love for Jesus is revealed by obedience to His commands (John 14:21, 23; 1 John 2:3; 3:22, 24; 5:3). John 14:21 is a core verse to memorize. 


This is the first teaching on the Holy Spirit. He is our paraklētos:


PARAKLĒTOS (παράκλητος , (3875)), literally, called to one’s side, that is, to one’s aid, is primarily a verbal adjective, and suggests the capability or adaptability for giving aid. It was used in a court of justice to denote a legal assistant, counsel for the defence, an advocate; then, generally, one who pleads another’s cause, an intercessor, advocate, as in 1 John 2:1, of the Lord Jesus. In the widest sense, it signifies a succourer, comforter. Christ was this to His disciples, by the implication of His word “another (allos, another of the same sort, not heteros, different) Comforter,” when speaking of the Holy Spirit, John 14:16. In 14:2615:2616:7 He calls Him “the Comforter.” “Comforter” or “Consoler” corresponds to the name “Menahem,” given by the Hebrews to the Messiah.

Vine, W., & Bruce, F. (1981; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996). Vine's Expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (2:208). Old Tappan NJ: Revell.

Jesus would not be physically present, but the Spirit of the Truth would guide them. The Spirit would be in them. This was in contrast to the Old Testament where the Spirit came and went in believers for special purposes. When Pentecost came (John 14:20, Acts 2), all believers became indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13). All believers have gifts of the Spirit too (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4). This Helper will teach us all things. 

Jesus said that "The Father is greater than I."  "The Father is greater in office or glory than the Son was in His humiliation" (The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament). Jesus had already stated His deity earlier in John 14, and read in its entirety, John made this clear (1:1-2; 10:30 14:9; 20:28).  


In addition to the promise of the Holy Spirit, Jesus assured them of peace that they could rest in. This was the Jewish way to say good-bye (šālôm). The Upper Room Discourse was His encouragement and last good-bye.


REFLECTION/APPLICATION 

A Passover celebration is a wonderful way to understand Resurrection Day! So, maybe you have purchased the book by now and can celebrate!


Celebrate the Feasts by Martha Zimmerman is my favorite guide, but there are many online resources also. 



PRAYER

Lord, thank You that Christ is our Passover, and we can gladly join the feast. Amen.