John Chapter 8

What does a misunderstanding of the commandments have to do with Jesus’ return? John covered the subject in detail. Preachers today fail to make the connection. Why? Preachers today teach one subject at a time. They fail to cover material designed to lead into the next subject. Once they miss the introduction to a subject, they miss the entire spiritual message contained in the next story. That is one general rule of Bible Study many people miss. Why? There are factions in this world who stand against Jesus’ return and are working hard to spoil that return in any way they can.

John 8:1-59 NLTse Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, (2) but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. (3) As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. (4) “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. (5) The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” (6) They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. (7) They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (8) Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. (9) When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. (10) Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” (11) “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (12) Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (13) The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.” (14) Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. (15) You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. (16) And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me. (17) Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. (18) I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.” (19) “Where is your father?” they asked. Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” (20) Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come. (21) Later Jesus said to them again, “I am going away. You will search for me but will die in your sin. You cannot come where I am going.” (22) The people asked, “Is he planning to commit suicide? What does he mean, ‘You cannot come where I am going‘?” (23) Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. (24) That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” (25) “Who are you?” they demanded. Jesus replied, “The one I have always claimed to be. (26) I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” (27) But they still didn’t understand that he was talking about his Father. (28) So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I AM he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. (29) And the one who sent me is with me–he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” (30) Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. (31) Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. (32) And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (33) “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” (34) Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. (35) A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. (36) So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. (37) Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. (38) I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.” (39) “Our father is Abraham!” they declared. “No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example. (40) Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. (41) No, you are imitating your real father.” They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.” (42) Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. (43) Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! (44) For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. (45) So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! (46) Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? (47) Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.” (48) The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?” (49) “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father–and you dishonor me. (50) And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge. (51) I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!” (52) The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ (53) Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” (54) Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ (55) but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. (56) Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” (57) The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” (58) Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!” (59) At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.

I have to admit. I spent years looking forward to writing about John’s book. I always considered John’s Gospel the most passionate of the four gospels. Some of his chapters capture a unique relationship with Christ as well as the necessary and personal connection God is looking for from each of His servants. But those last two chapters and this one paint an entirely different story.

John has been focusing on frustrations Jesus faced throughout His ministry. The disappointment Jesus faced when dozens of His followers walked away. John wrote about the human side of Christ. You can imagine what He felt when those people turned and walked away because they either didn’t get their way, or couldn’t understand. Jesus felt that sinking, empty feeling in His chest. His heart ached. Jesus felt the sting of rejection.

After spending generations planning each event, talking with His prophets, and recording every detail, Jesus finally came to this world. He had to grow up like every other child. He worked in the home and helped His mother like any little boy. Jesus worked with His father like any other young man. Finally His Heavenly Father told Him it was time and Jesus began the ministry He trained for all His life.

Jesus had hopes and dreams like all of us. He had a desire to succeed like most people do. Jesus wanted to make a better life for His family like every father sets out to do. This world is Jesus’ family. All of us are like brothers and sisters to Christ. We are more important than children to His Father. Jesus dreamed of success. He thought of how the day would go, always expecting the best. Constantly praying and most importantly, listening to God’s voice and of course following directions. Jesus knew if He followed each and every step in the plan of salvation recorded in scripture, everything would work out. Of course Jesus knew He had to suffer. But could anyone or anything prepare Jesus for the continual heartache and disappointments He faced day after day?

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Jesus was constantly hounded and hunted by religious leaders of all types. Those religious leaders couldn’t agree among themselves on hardly any subject, but something brought them together. They united to put an end to Jesus’ ministry and His life. But that wasn’t the tip of the iceberg when it came to disappointments and set backs Jesus had to endure. People constantly pierced His heart and tried to nail His hands and feet long before they put Him on that cross. Not physically restraining Jesus, but spiritually.

Priests tried to stop Jesus from using His hands to heal because he healed on the Sabbath. Pharisees tried to stop Jesus from moving forward when they questioned His view on the law. Other religious factions attempted to hold Jesus back in every way they could imagine. All of them were guilty of condemning Jesus without a trial. But this was only a small portion of the trials Jesus faced.

People from the town He grew up in doubted Him and spread rumors about Him. They focused on the miracles and how they could profit from them. They insisted Jesus was born in Galilee and joined the priests in hiding His real birth place, Bethlehem. If people knew, it wouldn’t be good for business.

People followed Jesus around because of the miracles He performed. Gentiles and even the Samaritans turned away from Jesus as soon as the miracles passed. It was like a repeat of the Exodus when Israel and all the people with them forgot the miracles they saw in Egypt. No wonder Isaiah told us the path to God’s throne is on a mountain. It always seems like an uphill battle. If life’s road is not that easy, why would the path to eternal life be any easier?

A Woman Caught in Adultery

John 8:1-11 NLTse Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, (2) but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. (3) As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. (4) “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. (5) The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” (6) They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. (7) They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (8) Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. (9) When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. (10) Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” (11) “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Jesus returned to Jerusalem after the Festival of Shelters. Also known as the Festival of Tabernacles. He wasn’t going to give up. The previous chapter showed how Jesus was rejected by groups of religious leaders as well as people He grew up with in Galilee. Was Jesus returning to face more of the same treatment? How many of us would have given up?

One strange thing I’ve noticed about John’s style of writing over these past few chapters is Jesus’ disciples are hardly mentioned. John called attention to the people Jesus was trying to reach. John put the emphasis on how Jesus was able to reach people and what He had to deal with when people didn’t want to accept Him or His message. It’s evident, John left us with a valuable training tool.

Were the disciples there when those religious leaders brought that woman to Him? We don’t know for sure by only looking at John’s book. What we see is a few words and phrases Jesus and John repeated to focus our attention. We see the words taught, teachers, and teacher. So we know those words are drawing attention to a lesson.

We also see the phrase, “caught in adultery,” repeated. We should ask how the Pharisees caught the woman in the act and what happened to the man? Doesn’t adultery take two? Those are the types of questions most people ask and preach on. It’s only natural. Those are details on the surface. But we are searching for the spiritual messages in each story.

Looking at other key words, we find an unusual combination in accusers and condemn. When we look at the story, we can see how the Pharisees wanted Jesus to either condemn the woman or let her go. If Jesus forgave her, the Pharisees would have accused Jesus of acting like he’s greater than the law and condemned Him.

How did this woman get herself in that position. She was at the mercy of the Pharisees who put her at Jesus’ mercy. In later chapters we will see the same attempt at shifting responsibility in condemning a person. John didn’t tell us how the woman got into that position, but we can look back to see how John led us into this story.

Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked. They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself–no prophet ever comes from Galilee!” Then the meeting broke up, and everybody went home. (John 7:50-53 NLTse).

John wanted to make it evident those religious leaders condemned people without a trial out of habit. You might say it was one of their traditions. Now that we have that information, we can see one of the reasons they didn’t want to listen to Jesus. That’s one major reason He had such a hard time reaching them. What lesson can we learn from that?

Look at people you’ve tried to reach. It seems for the most part, Christians reach out to other Christians. There seems to be three major groups. People who support you, who actually support one another. People who are looking for help and answers. The third group is Christians with all the answers who look for people to either debate or argue with. The Pharisees belonged to which group?

People who like to argue also tend to condemn people without knowing them. Like those Pharisees, their mind is made up and no one is going to change it. They may also try to trick you so they’ll have something to use against you. I think of those people as modern Pharisees. I think you’ll agree, they can’t see that in themselves. I have no idea why.

I wish we knew what Jesus wrote in that dust. But John doesn’t seem to give us any hints. If we followed general rules of context, we can look back to see if John included any hints. We can take a look at a list of verses that may give a clue.

My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me.

Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own.

Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves

Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly

These are only a few. Other texts may be in previous chapters. Part of the answer may be seen later in this chapter. So far we see, Jesus had a message. He wanted to get that message across to them. Jesus knew their pride. Maybe if they wouldn’t listen to His messages, they might read them in the dust on the ground. Whatever He wrote, it made them leave. The older, wiser men left first, followed by younger Pharisees. Jesus got them to look below the surface. There is one more place we can look for an answer, in the summation.

Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” (57) The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” (58) Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!” (59) At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.

We don’t see a lot here telling us what Jesus wrote in the dust, unless it had something to do with Abraham. But we see something. They couldn’t stone the woman, so they picked up stones to kill Jesus. Another example of playing judge, jury, and executioner. Jesus kept returning because those Pharisees needed a lot of help. In a way, Jesus took the place of that condemned woman.

I Am the Light

John 8:12-20 NLTse Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (13) The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.” (14) Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. (15) You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. (16) And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me. (17) Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. (18) I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.” (19) “Where is your father?” they asked. Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” (20) Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come.

When John pointed out Jesus spoke to the people once more, he showed us how much Jesus cared. He wasn’t about to give up. He couldn’t give up. Jesus introduced another new symbol, light. Jesus kept this new symbol simple and provided the spiritual interpretation. Jesus is the light given to this world. He is the light that leads to eternal life. What Jesus didn’t do was repeat the word darkness, nor did He define it. That’s not to say He didn’t point to it’s interpretation. But the emphasis is on Jesus the light that leads to eternal life.

The Pharisees had no idea what Jesus was talking about. What happened to that lesson they learned when they dropped their stones and walked away? That was the problem. As soon as they began learning, they walked away. After showing they understood what Jesus wrote in that dust, it didn’t take long for them to go back to their way of thinking and way of doing things. Who was really guilty of adultery?

Jesus fired back at the Pharisees with the truth, they didn’t really know Jesus. They already showed they didn’t know where Jesus was born. Or they wanted to hide that information. Their comments showed how they didn’t understand what Jesus taught, or didn’t want to hear. Jesus pointed out their ignorance in a way they didn’t understand.

Jesus also pointed out their flawed judgment. It was only human. If those Pharisees were honest, they would have found one point they could agree with Jesus. But their instincts put them on the defense.

Jesus also told them how He and His Father are one and how God is His witness as well as He is God’s witness. This is a new concept for everyone in Jesus’ time. I don’t know why Jesus kept introducing new concepts at such a rapid rate. John chapter 7 and 8 took place over a few days. Over that time period Jesus introduced quite a number of subjects. He told them He brought a message from God. His teaching is from God. God sent Him. He will return to God. Jesus introduced the symbol bread and living water. He also told them to search scripture for proof of what He told them. Then Jesus told them, He is the light.

Jesus could have explained a lot more details about all the subjects He was teaching. If only they would listen. Jesus couldn’t force them and Jesus couldn’t wait for them to decide when they wanted to learn. Jesus was on a tight schedule. Another subject those religious leaders didn’t understand.

Jesus couldn’t make it any clearer. If they didn’t know Him, they didn’t know the God. It was true when Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem and it’s still true today. There is a process with specific steps. God works with people where they are, but the goal is always the same. People have to know Jesus to be saved. They have to know both Jesus and God to get ready for eternal life.

You Cannot Come Where I Am Going

John 8:21-32 NLTse Later Jesus said to them again, “I am going away. You will search for me but will die in your sin. You cannot come where I am going.” (22) The people asked, “Is he planning to commit suicide? What does he mean, ‘You cannot come where I am going‘?” (23) Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. (24) That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” (25) “Who are you?” they demanded. Jesus replied, “The one I have always claimed to be. (26) I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” (27) But they still didn’t understand that he was talking about his Father. (28) So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I AM he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. (29) And the one who sent me is with me–he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” (30) Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. (31) Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. (32) And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

We suddenly see a pattern forming here. As we look back, we can’t help but see the same event occurring. Jesus talks to people and they walk away. A group of Jews and Gentiles sailed across the lake, found Jesus in Californium, listened to Him, then walked away. Jesus’ brothers told Jesus what they thought He should be doing, then left for Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. Jesus went to Jerusalem, talked to one group of religious leaders after another, and many groups of people. Jesus introduced one symbols after another, and one piece of a puzzle after another that would open up their understanding of the plan of salvation, and understanding all the prophecies about the Messiah. They all walked away. They all had one thing in common, none of them understood. They all questioned Jesus because they didn’t understand. Instead of listening to Jesus and learning about the Spirit He was trying to point them to, they walked away and left Him and His message behind. Instead of opening scriptures Jesus sent them to, they shut the door to understanding and God’s Spirit.

The scary part about this whole situation and one of the lessons in this story shows how all those religious factions united against Christ. Something drew them together to destroy and silence Him. This created a new religious movement known as unity. The first man made religious unity put Jesus on that cross.

That man made unity was broken when Jesus rose from that tomb defeating death and the grave. Jesus gave the world a clear and unmistakable view of God’s Spirit. After all those prophecies were fulfilled and Jesus, along side of God’s Spirit explained how and why each of those prophecies were fulfilled on time and to the letter, people could see solid evidence of God in His Word. For the first time in world history since Enoch, people had an understanding of God and how to communicate with Him. The new Christian church grew at a rapid pace because they knew how to teach others how to communicate with God.

Generations later, people began to forget how to listen to God’s voice. They forgot how to understand His Word. Men introduced their own messages one after another. Some groups clung to one message, others to another message. The church became fragmented. The work slowed. It finally stood still. Without God’s Spirit, the work stopped and so did the message which was soon forgotten.

No one knows where it started or who came up with the idea, but it made sense to a lot of men. If people all worshiped the same thing at the same time, God would once again hear us. The world thought a universal church where everyone followed the same course would bend God’s ear to this world once again. It sounded like a good idea, so a central church was formed, approving what they referred to as a unified form of worship.

A committee wrote out a step by step form of worship distributed throughout the world. When the world united in a single form of worship, God would once again hear us. Everyone who agreed followed their step by step worship service and preached the same message week after week. But there was no evidence God heard. So they standardized the way priests dressed, the appearance of the churches, and created new traditions for people to follow. One detail was added upon another in the hopes it would please God and they could find His Spirit once again.

Finally they decided what they really needed was to follow one man. So they elected one man to be the source of communication between Christ and His church. That seemed to work. People were so far removed from God’s Spirit and His word, they thought that one person who they choose could hear. When that one man told them he heard God, they believed him.

To them all of that made sense. After all, God had one service for His Tabernacle in the wilderness. But they forgot how that Tabernacle was arranged so every item, detail, and color pointed to Christ and His ministry. God dressed all the priests alike. But they forgot how that priestly order was abused and Christ died to put and end to it. They borrowed other points from scripture and changed them around to suit their needs and concepts of worship. But without God’s Spirit, all they had was one more man made from of worship. Copying it thousands of times did nothing to please God. What they needed to do was get back to what Jesus came to teach. They also needed to go back to understanding prophecies Jesus fulfilled. The prophecies taught by the early church at Jesus’ command.

Every change initiated under the disguise of unity shut God’s Spirit out of worship and sucked God’s Spirit out of each member of what they called their church. There was no way for people to communicate with God’s Spirit when every facet of worship and study was locked in chains of human control. Men recreated the system Jesus came to abolish.

Jesus warned about a big change about to come. People will search for Him but not find Him. We can’t restrict that search to Jesus’ resurrection. People didn’t stop searching for Him after His resurrection. Common sense tells us, that is when people began searching for Jesus. That was one giant landmark in earth’s history that changed this planet forever.

Jesus told them one important detail about their search. “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not.” There is no way anyone is going to find Jesus if they don’t put away their worldly views and what the world told them about searching for Jesus.

I’ve noticed one thing most preachers have in common. Some are very good preachers. They can cover a lot of good points in their sermons. They tell people not to trust any man, or woman. They tell people to search scripture. They tell people how their lives depend on it. They don’t have a problem backing up what they say with scripture. But what most preachers can’t do is teach people how to study God’s Word on their own. They have no idea how to sit down and show people the step by step process. Most preachers follow a particular process to study but they don’t have the ability to sit down and show people what they do. That is a different spiritual gift from the same Spirit.

They may also have a great relationship with God. They may pray 90-99% of the day. They know how to see God in His Word, see Him in action in this world, wonder about Him in nature, and praise Him in song and prayer. But few pastors are able to preach a sermon telling people the step by step process to read and understand God’s Word.

This book is designed to show you patterns in God’s Word so you can learn to use them in your own studies. Like in this section of the book. You can see how I’ve taken my time over these last three chapters. It takes 1-3 days to write a chapter. That gives God’s Spirit a long time to confirm what He is telling me. I’ve had people call me and confirm what I was thinking about or writing at the moment. I’ve chatted with people half way around the world who were influenced at that moment to share details I was just about to write about or had written a few minutes before. None of those people had any idea what I was writing about. God will always confirm His message.

Look at the Old Testament. How many prophets did God send to the Jews when Jerusalem fell? I never counted all of them, but there is a whole list of them. What about the time they spent in Babylon and scattered all over the world? Got sent prophets where they were. God confirmed His messages then and He still follows guidelines He established. And He will continue to do so no matter what men think or say.

That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” Is there a difference between accepting Christ and knowing Him? How can you accept Jesus if you’ve never known Him? How can you know Jesus if you’ve never met Him or His Spirit? How do you meet the Spirit Jesus promised to send?

I hope I’m not getting ahead of God or John’s book at this point, but there are a few details I think we need to cover. God still speaks to us as clearly as Jesus spoke to those crowds. The problem is, we spend too much time arguing or making excuses. In other words, the lack of reception is our fault. God didn’t loose control or have His connection go bad. We’re at fault. Admitting we’re the problem is the first step.

I don’t really think it matters what you do to talk to God. Everyone I’ve talked to about this subject has their personal way of talking with God. All of them are simple. Some people actually use a prayer closet. Other people find a quite place. The key is a quite place to listen. When people begin to listen to God the enemy is there with a thousand demons to shut out God’s voice, which is like a thought, but clear, unexpected, and if you listen to those preachers who back up what they say with scripture, you better get ready to listen to the Preacher who wrote the book. He is going to flood your mind with so many pieces of scripture you’ll think your swimming in it. Every scripture will be related to the others in ways you never imagined. Things you didn’t understand will become so clear you’ll feel like smacking yourself because you didn’t see it before. You’ll hear God’s voice as soon as you learn to shut out distractions from the world. It takes a little practice.

As you progress, scripture will have a new meaning on everyday life. You’ll see connections you never imagined. You are going to places most people never thought about or knew existed. You’ll see how God’s Word lives, breaths, grows, and multiplies, all without leaving the page. Congratulations, you just found Jesus!!! You are finally following Him.

One thing I need to warn you about. Your meeting with Jesus is personal. Like everyone who talks with Jesus, you’ll remember a great deal of the information He shared with you, but you’ll only be able to explain about 10%. But when He gives you a message to share, He will always confirm that message. Jesus will confirm the message in His written Word. When you read the Bible you’ll see the exact same message within a day or two. Jesus will also send His followers, your friends with faith will confirm the message, and you’ll be able to freely discuss it with them.

Keep in mind, almost all the messages Jesus gives you will be close and personal like the examples we’re seen with Nicodemus and the women He met at that well. And don’t forget, some people will immediately understand the message while other people will be like Nicodemus and take years to understand.

I found out writing is a good way to talk with God. It slows me down. He has a way of showing when it’s time to stop. That’s a signal it’s time to pray or go back and read scripture for the day as I read through the Bible in about 6-9 months. I don’t know how He does it, but He always seems to have a part of the lesson I’m working on in the scripture I read that day.

Sometimes life events blend into the lesson God is teaching at the time. So I have to wait to go through a personal experience before I understand what lesson God is teaching at that moment. Or like I’ve mentioned before, God will send someone with that missing piece of the message.

This may all seem strange to some people but I know, this is the way God works and I know why. God’s method of talking to us and teaching us is designed to keep us humble all the time. When I receive one message from 3-4 different sources, it can never be my message. Only God could have arranged all of those events. We can see the events of our lives unfold and pages of our life story turn like pages in scripture. God is perfectly consistent with the methods He uses. If God created the perfect method of teaching in His Bible, how could he improve on it when it comes to teaching us lessons in our own lives?

Now you can see why I keep showing the simple methods of looking back and comparing scripture, and looking for connections. Those study methods aren’t only used to study the Bible, they are used to listen to God when He teaches us about lessons we need to learn in our lives.

I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” Jesus doesn’t condemn, but I have to warn you. When you first begin talking with His Spirit, Jesus can be surprisingly honest. I’m talking about an honesty that cuts to the bone and pierces the heart. Jesus used that method with that woman at the well. He will tell you personal details only you know about.

Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I AM he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me.” This shows how we won’t understand what Jesus tells us until after we experience it. And like the Gospels tell, Jesus will have to explain those details.

None of those people understood what Jesus was talking about until after His resurrection and He explained all the details to them. Jesus will share details you won’t understand at the moment. You’ll have to be like His disciples and the rest of those people and wait until the event unfolds. Then you’ll have to return for another talk so Jesus can explain all the details in your life.

The one who sent me is with me–he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” All the messages you receive from Jesus will be directly from God and will follow all of God’s laws. This is also why important lessons will be verified with scripture.

Many who heard him say these things believed in him. Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

But remember, only a few understood while many walked away. Not everyone will accept messages you deliver even when your certain they came from God and have been verified a number of ways. Look at the process and learn from it. God put people in your life you can share your success and disappointments with. Look how many times Jesus was disappointed over the past few chapters. Don’t expect your path to be all downhill. The only path up God’s mountain is uphill. God be with you.

We Are Descendants of Abraham

John 8:33-41 NLTse “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” (34) Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. (35) A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. (36) So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. (37) Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. (38) I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.” (39) “Our father is Abraham!” they declared. “No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example. (40) Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. (41) No, you are imitating your real father.” They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.”

John showed the selective memory those people had. If we look back a few verses, we see Jesus was talking to the people who believed in Him. We also see an illustration of selected beliefs. People listen to Jesus up to a point. They listen to what sounds good to them and what they agree with. But when something gets a little rough, they change their minds about Jesus.

Those people forgot the Jewish captivity in Babylon. They mentioned Abraham. That goes back generations before the captivity in Babylon when most of the Jews were carried away as slaves. Jesus had to explain, He was talking about being slaves to sin.

Before Jesus was telling them they were going to die in their sins. Now He is telling them they are slaves to sin. Put the two together and you have people dying as slaves. What a life to live. But people don’t feel like their slaves. I’ve heard dozens of people say, “God gives us freedom of choice.” I often wondered what people meant by that. I finally found out when my ex-wife started an affair then filed for divorce. I couldn’t believe people in church thought that cliché took precedence over God’s law. Jesus had another definition for it. He called sin slavery leading to death. Jesus never called sin an option.

Of course Jesus had His own way of explaining this new symbol He introduced. Jesus used the illustration of a family. Some people own slaves who are in their homes but not really part of the family. Slaves are bought and sold. Some owners treat slaves well, other not so well. You can imagine. But children are family. Compared to a slave, family is free. We have to remember, Jesus is talking about being part of God’s family. We can’t confuse God’s family with any family in this world, no matter how good they may be. Jesus used family as another illustration to remind us, we have to leave the world behind when we consider spiritual matters and lessons.

Some of those people in that crowd wanted to kill Him. Jesus was addressing a wide range of personalities. Some accepted His message while others ignored it. What was He supposed to do? Jesus couldn’t make people listen. I guess that was the freedom of choice people were talking about. Jesus summed up that choice in His own way. “I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.” You are free to choose who you want to listen to.

It didn’t matter what Jesus said or how He tried to reach them. Those people who made up their minds to kill Him thought they were following God and everyone else was lost. I’m sure you’ve faced the same dilemma. Not much has changed in two thousand years.

Children of the Father of Lies

John 8:42-47 NLTse Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. (43) Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! (44) For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. (45) So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! (46) Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? (47) Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”

This is a subject I looked at, and didn’t really want to get into. My marriage and divorce keep coming to mind. I wonder how a woman can be married for six years and live what was nothing less than a split personality. She eventually told me, she never intended to stay married. Her plan was to marry and have me support her while she finished her degree and got a job. She told me it was all my fault it took her six years to finish her degree. She planned on only two years, three at the most. So she blamed me for the delay. And took her anger out on me in ways I never imagined anyone was capable of.

Her mother and sister told me, it was tradition from where they came from. They were never meant to remain married to American men. It was their custom to marry American men until they were ready to move on. Even though my ex-wife had been in the US since she was eight years old. Those traditions were still strong. Stronger than common sense. Stronger than God’s law.

God only wrote ten commandments. One of them tells us not to lie. Since when is tradition an excuse to dishonor God’s law? I was shown how lies lead to breaking all the commandments. Lying dishonors God and parents. In her case, lies led to adultery which led to more and more lies. In her anger, she made twisted attempts to drive me over the edge. To use my emotions against me. She went as far as trying to push me into taking my own life by using more lies. She tried to commit murder. Lies also led to character assassination. She tried to do those things because she had no idea Jesus was a far greater force. I saw how Jesus used truth to battle lies. He brought back to mind all the warnings He sent me before I married her. It was not easy to take, but I could not argue with the truth.

I often look at presidents. They look young or at least normal when first taking office. But after four or eight years in office, they often leave, looking like tired old men. Especially now when I see a president younger than me looking so old. Hair turns gray. Faces develop lines. Their bodies show a distinctive stoop. Many people say it is the pressure from all those decisions they have to make. I wonder if it is pressure from trying to keep tract of all the lies they tell.

I saw my wife once, just before she filed divorce papers. I took a few pictures. I was still deeply in love and as we know, love can be blind. I looked at those pictures after I came to terms with the divorce and saw how old she looked. Those lies took a deeper toll on her than they did on me. I healed, but she still lives with the effects of all those lies.

Jesus called the devil the father of lies. He didn’t call him the father of lies to set up a comparison with His Father. Jesus would never compare the two. Not even in a contrast. Jesus called attention to the way the devil spawns lines. The devil cannot create anything. He doesn’t have power to create. All he can do is manipulate. Jesus referred to his followers as children. This is a contrast to God’s children like life and death are contrasts. But the devil cannot produce children. Looking back a few verses we see, all he can do is change them into slaves. His slaves.

The point Jesus was making is, the more we hear lies, the harder it is to hear God. The difference between lies and truth isn’t like a light switch where we have control to turn one on or off. It’s not like we flip a switch and suddenly our lives are filled with light and truth. It is an uphill battle to get away from those lies. This is the point Jesus was trying to make when He said, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not.”

People can and will get so deep into lies they control every aspect of their lives. One little white lie turns into another. I don’t have to explain the process or effect. What people don’t realize is how the devil uses lies to turn people away from God. How lies make people mistrust God to a point, they are repulsed by God because He is truth. “Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”

Anyone Who Obeys Will Never Die

John 8:48-59 NLTse The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?” (49) “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father–and you dishonor me. (50) And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge. (51) I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!” (52) The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ (53) Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” (54) Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ (55) but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. (56) Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” (57) The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” (58) Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!” (59) At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.

Those people proved the point. As soon as they were faced with the truth, they were repulsed by it. Notice how they changed the subject? Jesus just told them the devil is the father of lies. They didn’t take it well when Jesus called them his children. That struck a sour cord. They shot back without thinking. They called Jesus a Samaritan devil. A little while ago they said Jesus was from Galilee. Now they claim He is from Samaria. Which is true and which is false? Notice how they jumped into a lie to defend themselves?

Now we see how far lies will draw people away from God and what they do to people. Those people showed they had no concept of eternal life. Those people showed how little they knew about God. In this lesson Jesus told the cold, hard truth. Something few people are able to accept. Lies pull us away from God as well as eternal life and and understanding of both. Lies distort our concept of right and wrong just like they did in Eden.

Satan wasn’t trying to give Eve anything. He wanted her to serve him. Like Jesus pointed out, Satan wanted to make Eve his slave. That tree didn’t do anything for Eve other than show her what it was like to sin and eventually the consequences. It didn’t give any special powers to her to be like God. She knew the difference between good and evil, right and wrong. But one lie from Satan made the sin look more attractive then the consequences.

How far did the truth get Jesus? He tried to tell them He is the living water. They couldn’t go where He was about to go. They would search for Him but not be able to find Him. For that they tried to arrest Him. Jesus told them if they never sinned, they have the right to cast the first stone. Jesus told them He is the light to this world. He has been given the right to judge, but He prefers not to judge people. Jesus gave them one view of His ministry after another using signs and symbols. But those teachers and priests couldn’t understand.

Jesus once again told them, they couldn’t follow Him to where He was going because they were going to die in their sins. They already proved they were sinners when they dropped those stones and walked away. But they couldn’t bring themselves to accept Jesus and all He was offering them. A portion of their sins were lies, which led to other sins and more lies. Their thoughts proved they were sinners and in need of healing and a savior. They just didn’t want to be saved in the manner Jesus offered them.

Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior? Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever? All day long you plot destruction. Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor; you’re an expert at telling lies. You love evil more than good and lies more than truth. You love to destroy others with your words, you liar! (Psalms 52:1-4 NLTse).

Jesus knew all of those trials and disappointments were coming. They didn’t take Jesus by surprise. Neither did their answers or the way they tried to change the subject. Jesus knew what was behind their lies and mistrust. Jesus knew money and status played a major role. But what could Jesus do? He kept on course and introduced lessons they had to hear. Yes, God gave us freedom to choose. Look at the choices those religious leaders and other people made. We see how they made those choices and if we look a little deeper into those stories, we can see why they made those choices.

Finally those people wanted to pick up stones and kill Jesus. They couldn’t do that to the woman caught committing adultery, but they wanted to stone Jesus. Why? Who was committing spiritual adultery in Jerusalem that day?

John Chapter 6

There is nothing like studying Jesus’ ministry. John’s Gospel takes a rare look at how the Spirit worked in the background throughout Jesus’ ministry, These stories and this book are designed to bring out those details. I hope you enjoy reading this chapter and learn more about the Spirit than I was able to capture in this short story.

John 6:1-71 NLTse After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. (2) A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. (3) Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. (4) (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) (5) Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” (6) He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. (7) Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” (8) Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. (9) “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” (10) “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered 5,000.) (11) Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. (12) After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” (13) So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves. (14) When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” (15) When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself. (16) That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. (17) But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. (18) Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. (19) They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, (20) but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” (21) Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination! (22) The next day the crowd that had stayed on the far shore saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them. (23) Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten. (24) So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him. (25) They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” (26) Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. (27) But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.” (28) They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” (29) Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” (30) They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? (31) After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” (32) Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. (33) The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (34) “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” (35) Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (36) But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. (37) However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. (38) For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. (39) And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. (40) For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” (41) Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” (42) They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” (43) But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said. (44) For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. (45) As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. (46) (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.) (47) “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. (48) Yes, I am the bread of life! (49) Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. (50) Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. (51) I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” (52) Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked. (53) So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. (54) But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. (55) For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. (56) Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. (57) I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. (58) I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.” (59) He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. (60) Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?” (61) Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you? (62) Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? (63) The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (64) But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) (65) Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” (66) At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. (67) Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” (68) Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. (69) We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” (70) Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” (71) He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.

We can see three major stories in this chapter. Jesus feeds a large group of people. The disciples found themselves in a storm in the middle of the lake. At the end, Jesus added details to what He explained to the Jewish leaders in the previous chapter. Since feeding people and the disciples in a boat are between the same basic lesson, we can see they must be related to the lesson Jesus was not only teaching, but repeating. So, they must help explain the lesson. Why else would these stories and lessons be arrange in the order John recorded them? We have to look at those stories in detail to see how they relate to what Jesus was trying to teach those religious leaders.

Jesus Fed 5000

John 6:1-15 NLTse After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. (2) A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. (3) Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. (4) (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) (5) Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” (6) He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. (7) Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” (8) Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. (9) “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” (10) “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered 5,000.) (11) Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. (12) After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” (13) So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves. (14) When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” (15) When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself.

I have to jump into a story about this scene on this one, but first, I want to point out one text. “He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.” Why was Jesus testing Philip? The last time we saw Philip was in chapter 1. John didn’t say much about Philip, except for the fact he went to find his brother Nathanael, told him about Jesus and brought his brother to meet Jesus.

A vast crowd followed Jesus and His disciples up the mountain. Jesus stopped at a level and grassy area. Jesus climbed a small bluff to look over the crowd. Philip climbed up after Jesus and stood next to Him. A soft wind blew their hair and coats back. Jesus and Philip had to squint looking into the wind. Philip looked over to see Jesus’ eyes watering up. Was it the wind or His concern for the crowd? Jesus turned face to face with Philip and asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” Philip looked at a single tear fall from Jesus’ eye as he thought about an answer.

Here we see this chapter beginning with John telling us about Jesus crossing a lake. This lake is significant in the fact it has Jews on one side and Gentiles on the other. It not only has a spiritual significance, Jesus used it as a tool to teach. Other authors placed Jesus on the Gentile side of the lake when He fed the 4000 and 5000 men, plus women and children.

It wouldn’t seem strange for Jesus to feed over 5000 people on the Gentile side of the lake during the Passover. What does seem strange is, why Jesus was not in Jerusalem during the Passover. We could look back and see, the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus and that may account for His absence. But is there a more important spiritual lesson Jesus was teaching?

The Passover was celebrated to remember how an angel of death passed over homes in Egypt that had blood on the door post. If blood wasn’t covering the doorposts, the angel went in to take the life of the first born son in the household. After the promised land was settled, they were to write the Ten Commandments in the sides of their doors. This was a way of showing how the blood of the lamb covered the law. But what does that have to do with the meal Jesus served that day?

The Passover also reminded people of the bondage God freed them from. We can’t forget, thousands of people left Egypt with the Hebrews. Jesus was ministering to those other people during that Passover. We have to remember, there were only three Passover celebrations during Jesus’ ministry. John recorded the first one when Jesus fashioned that whip and disrupted business inside the temple courtyard. This is the second. And of course the third was when Jesus taught a series of parables days before His arrest and series of trials leading to His execution. At this point all we can see in Jesus’ Passover celebration with the Gentiles is the fact He fed them. On the spiritual side we see, Jesus’ ministry offered freedom from bondage to sin.

What do we learn about this story when we look back to see how John led into it?

For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God. “Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes. If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” (John 5:43-47 NLTse).

Now we can see why Jesus tested Philip. He wanted to see if Philip believed Jesus came from God. John also pointed us back to Moses, who recorded all the details about the first Passover. This shows how it’s always good to go back and review the original design, function, and intent. I’ve heard so many people do silly things, then insist, “it’s tradition.” Well in most cases, if they would have gone back a few years, maybe even generations, they’d find, they used to do things totally different. I think the new urban definition of tradition is, “this is how we do it now and we ain’t gonna change it as long as I’m around.” Let’s go back another step to a reliable source, the Bible. What would those people find if they checked their traditions against the Bible. They wouldn’t find most of them in the Bible. Fact of the matter is, the Passover saw a series of changes between Moses and Jesus’ time. Passover was still a tradition, but underwent a series of changes by the Jewish leaders.

Jesus was breaking from that tradition for a while. There were no homes on that hillside where He fed all those people. So there was no need to sacrifice a bunch of lambs and smear doorposts with blood. That’s why Jesus provided a simple meal of bread and fish.

Philip needed to learn a lesson. Jesus saw a lot of potential in Philip, the question was, how to being it out. Jesus looked over the crowd for a few minutes. A few more tears came from His eyes. Philip had a lot in common with Andrew. They were both very good looking men. About the same size, shape, and age. Both had older brothers in the ministry. Jesus could see how their older brothers held them back from reaching their full potential.

Andrew found a young boy with a lunch bag full of bread and fish. When the disciples went out among the crowd to look for food, the boy jumped up to offer the lunch his mother packed for him. He ran up to Andrew, flung open his bag and said, “I have enough for everyone!” That little boy had eyes that could melt any heart. The hair hanging down over his face couldn’t hide the excitement inside of them. Andrew took the boy and his treasure to see Jesus.

Philip watched as the boy showed Jesus his lunch with a huge smile on his face. Andrew and Philip watched as Jesus knelt on one knee to inspect the feast inside the small bag. With one hand on the child’s face, the other helping to hold the bag, Jesus affirmed, “yes, this is more than enough.” Jesus took the bag from the boy, making a sound like the weight was almost too much for Jesus to handle on His own. Jesus asked for a basket. Andrew quickly brought one. Jesus asked the boy to help dump all that food into the basket. He popped up with a look in his eyes no one would ever forget. Once the five barley loaves and two fish were in the basket, the little boy helped Jesus lift it up. The boy stood there with his arms in the air like some unseen force helped Jesus hold that basket over His head as He blessed it.

The boy played an integral part in this event. He showed the disciples, Andrew and Philip in particular, how much Jesus cared for people, including little boys, and how they possess the ability to put incredible accomplishments into action. Jesus wanted to show them, the size of the offering doesn’t matter, once Jesus, God, and His Spirit begin working together, more will be accomplished than anyone could ever imagine.

The Word was God
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When Jesus brought the basket down, He did need help to set it on the ground. He smiled as the little boy was more than happy to hold up his end. Everyone around Jesus bend over and looked at the basket, now filled with bread and fish. Jesus told them to bring more baskets. The disciples went into the crowd asking for empty baskets. One after another they brought back empty baskets, filled them with beard and fish, took them out to the crowd and returned with another empty basket. Philip stood and watched for a while. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

Jesus sat down with the boy on His lap watching as excitement moved through the crowd like a title wave as news spread faster than the food. Philip walked over to the basket the other disciples had been taking basket after basket full of food from, took two loaves and two fish, walked over and gave them to Jesus and the little boy on His lap. The little boy looked up at Philip and said, “my mom made those over there.” He looked up at Jesus and added, “your Father made these.”

After eating, it didn’t take long for people to begin falling to sleep. The little boy rested gently in Jesus’ lap. That’s when Jesus sent His disciples out to gather up the leftovers. It was a surprise Jesus wanted the little boy to see when he woke up.

Who knows what those people were dreaming or what they talked about while they ate. When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” They wanted to make Jesus their king.

This may make a lot of people think Jesus fed a crowd of Jews. Since it was the Passover, that is doubtful. We’ve seen how the woman in Samaria had her own view of God. We’ve also seen how the promise of a prophet brought the entire city to Jesus. Does it really matter who that group consisted of? The lesson was for everyone to learn. Jesus looks at the effort and what’s in the heart, not the size of the offering or the ability of the person offering the gift.

The Disciples Crossed the Lake Alone

John 6:16-21 NLTse That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. (17) But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. (18) Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. (19) They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, (20) but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” (21) Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!

John recorded a rather short account about that crossing after Jesus fed 5000 men plus who knows how many woman and children. This short account begs us to go back to review the previous story to see if there was anything missed. One subject to look into is why John recorded only the men in his number and not women and children. Most people point out, that was Jewish tradition to only mention and count men. Where did that come from?

David decided to number Israel when he was king. His general, Joab warned him about numbering Israel, even though he was only numbering men old enough to serve in the military. Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. (1 Chronicles 21:1 NLTse). You can read the rest of the story in 1 Chronicles 21 to understand the full story.

My question is, if scripture clearly pointed out Satan caused David to number the people, and David ordered Joab to count the number of available warriors in Israel, why did this become a tradition? Let’s examine the details. Satan influenced David to go against God’s wishes. Satan wanted the people numbered. David interpreted it as a temptation but made a few minor changes to turn it into something that would be to his advantage. David didn’t feel he had to know how many people he ruled over, just how many warriors were available. The change made sense to David, so he sent out Joab to complete the task against his will. Altering Satan’s temptation wasn’t okay with God, so David was given a choice. He had to choose which punishment Israel would face for his poor choice. Since that time, it has been a tradition to count only men in Israel.

Here is an example showing how people create traditions. Most of the time they have no idea where the tradition came from or if it is good or bad. In this case, it’s easy to see, this is not a good tradition to follow. Then why did John and other Bible writers follow that tradition? They weren’t perfect.

People may argue this was a tradition that goes as far back as Exodus when God delivered Israel from Egypt. But does it? Where did Moses or anyone count only the men? Some chapters begin with, the whole congregation, or whole community, depending on the translation. Based on the original Hebrew word Moses recorded, congregation may also be translated as a witness. We know, more people than Israel witnessed those miracles as well as the Exodus.

 

The point is, John pointed us back to examine a tradition in a story about Jesus breaking tradition. When we look ahead, didn’t Jesus change how Passover was observed after He rose from that tomb? Was Jesus pointing forward to that change?

John had his own style of recording this story. He pointed out the disciples went down to the boat, waited for a while, then left without Him. Is that any way to treat someone who just fed 0ver 5000 people with a few loaves of bread and fish? If you saw a miracle like that, how anxious would you be to leave Him behind? Let me ask you a question. Now that you’ve seen God’s Word open up, are you going to leave it behind?

That seems to be John’s main point in his short version of this story. We could compare John’s version to other accounts, but then we wouldn’t be doing anything more than what other people have done, copied, and turned into a tradition.

John added one line Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” That sounds like a personal message. Imagine John writing this book. He gets to the this story and really wants to express himself, but the Spirit stops him. The Spirit lets John record only a few simple details about that event. Look at the details in this story and compare it to the other stories John recorded. In one story John told us everything but what the woman was wearing. All of a sudden John begins omitting details.

Once a pattern is established, and we see a break in it, this is an indication to pay attention. It often indicates a movement into a new event. Often a break in an established pattern leads into a sever warning or a wonderful promise of fulfillment.

The Crowd Followed Jesus

John 6:22-28 NLTse The next day the crowd that had stayed on the far shore saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them. (23) Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten. (24) So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him. (25) They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” (26) Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. (27) But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.” (28) They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”

This is a tough sequence to follow. We have two groups looking for Jesus. One is the crowd on the shore near where Jesus fed them. Another group in boats came from Tiberias to where they heard Jesus was. Since Jesus and the disciples left, they all got in the boats and sailed to Capernaum.

Did you see what happened? Jesus criss-crossed that lake back and forth to teach a lesson. He wanted people to see how He came to this world to minister to everyone. Since this story occurred over the second Passover, it was in the second year of Jesus’ ministry. This short story John included to show some people were listening to Jesus.

Jesus fed those people on the Gentile side of the lake. Tiberias is on the Jewish side of the lake. John gave us a scene with Hebrews sailing boats to the Gentile side of the lake. The Hebrews met a group of Gentiles who told them about Jesus feeding thousands of people. They all praised the Lord, got in those boats together and went to Capernaum, another Jewish city on the northern end of the lake.

The moral of the story. People are not going to see this lesson until: 1) They understand Jesus’ ministry. 2) They want to accept Jesus’ ministry. Another miraculous miracle occurred most people miss. A little boy played a major role in not only feeding all those people but bringing a large group of Jews and Gentiles together. This shows how God’s miracles have an expanding effect on people and events in the world.

Another thing happened. We’ve seen John record hints about traditions and their effects. What about the tradition the Jews in the boats overcame to offer a ride to the Gentiles? The Gentiles had to overcome the same traditions. We saw a bit of those traditions explained when Jesus met that woman in Samaria.

Now look at that little boy. Do you think it mattered to him who that food fed? Did he question if they were Jews or Gentiles? Now do you see why John recorded only a few details? John recorded details from a series of stories related on a spiritual basis. Unless we look back at other details John saw important enough to list, we don’t stand a chance of seeing how their related. If we follow the tradition of taking out one little story and explaining it ourselves, we rob ourselves of John’s experience with Jesus. As well as missing the spiritual message installed by God’s Spirit.

You would think Jesus would be happy to see Jews and Gentiles traveling together. That’s what He was working towards for over two years. But there was something else on Jesus’ mind. If the Gentiles wanted to make Him king, imagine what the Jews thought?

Jesus wanted them to see the spiritual food, not the physical food. Jesus didn’t come here to take a physical throne, but to lead them to a spiritual Kingdom. He got their attention. They wanted to do God’s work. Imagine what can be accomplished when Jews and Gentiles work together, under God’s command of course. But that’s the hard part. Getting people to give up control and trusting in a power they can’t see. At least Jesus or God’s Spirit got them together.

The Only Work God Wants You To Do

John 6:29-36 NLTse Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” (30) They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? (31) After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” (32) Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. (33) The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (34) “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” (35) Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (36) But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me.

You have to be extremely careful when reading this portion of this story. Now we can see why we had to carefully read the last story to see how Jews came together with Gentiles. John was preparing us for another lesson here.

We need to look at who said what. Jesus began by telling them, “the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” The people, or some of the people representing the entire mixed group answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.'”

Put this into perspective. People are looking for Jesus. Some of them saw one of His greatest miracles. They told other people about it. Jews and Gentiles overcame generations of prejudice to get together in boats and look for Jesus. Wasn’t that enough of a sign?

Jesus just told them the work their supposed to do, “believe in the One He has sent.” We can see how Jesus is reaching out to new believers. He is reaching out to them like little children. Their work begins at the vary basics of belief.

Looking at this from the aspect of the crowd, Jesus just told them what their work was. Instead of asking for more details about that work, they changed the subject to, “show us another miraculous sign if you want us to believe.” They were looking for Jesus and once they found Him and He gave them a job to do, they put a condition on it.

They brought up the subject of Moses giving Israel bread in the wilderness. Jesus pointed out, it wasn’t Moses but God who provided that bread or manna for all those years. All they had to do is believe God sent Jesus. Once He explained He was the living bread from Heaven, they asked for that bread everyday. Did they know what they were asking for?

Jesus had to repeat and expand on the lesson. “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me.” They not only saw Jesus, they decided to look for Him and follow Him. But why? For what? Was it only because of that physical bread and the hope of a new nation where they could find peace in this world?

Jesus introduced a new key word and symbol, bread. He tied it in with eternal life and belief. All those words are related to one another. All of them together focus on the same spiritual lesson. This is another reason John wrote in that particular manner making us pay close attention and not take any word for granted. That’s why John included a series of lessons most people miss before Jesus introduced this lesson on spiritual bread, life, and belief. They all point to spiritual understanding. The main focus thus far is, all of those details point to Jesus. Spiritual understanding begins with Jesus.

Those The Father Has Given Me

John 6:37-46 NLTse However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. (38) For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. (39) And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. (40) For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” (41) Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” (42) They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” (43) But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said. (44) For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. (45) As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. (46) (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)

It’s important to remember, Jesus is addressing a mixed multitude of Jews and all kinds of beliefs. This information He is giving them may seem basic to many of us, but put yourself into the scene and think of how each person would have received this news. To the world, this was all totally new. Jesus told them concepts recorded in scripture generations before any of those people were born. Long before there were Jews, Greeks. Romans, Samaritans, or any of the other so called ethnic groups who Jesus ministered to.

When Jesus refereed to those the Father has given me, He was referring not only to those people standing in front of Him, but all those people back to Adam. This was much bigger than a simple speech given to a small group standing on the northern shore of that lake. This message spanned all people over all generations.

Jesus told them something they never would have expected to hear. “I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.” Jesus had to announce this in a safe location to a group that wouldn’t turn on Him. When Jesus announced the beginning of His ministry in the synagogue in His hometown, the people who saw Him grow up tried throwing Him off a cliff.

This was something radically new. Jesus just told them, God send Him. What do you think the reaction would be in your church if someone you hardly knew stood up and made that claim? I’ve met a number of people who talk to God and listen. We have to be careful who we talk to and how we talk to them. We have to be careful what we say and who we say it to because, people without a relationship with God have no idea how He communicates with us, and doubt God will ever talk to anyone. Many of those people hold predominant church positions and wouldn’t hesitate to try to politically and personally assassinate anyone who claims to hear God’s voice in any way, shape, or from. This includes hearing God’s voice and seeing His personality in scripture.

Jesus introduced another rarely known and talked about subject. “ And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.Even by today’s standards, this is not a subject all Christians agree on. The majority of Christians believe the soul immediately goes to Heaven and there is no need for a resurrection on the last day. We see Sadducees who didn’t believe in the resurrection trying to use that subject to trap Jesus. We also see the subject in many of the Gospels and other books in the new Testament including Acts, when Paul used different beliefs about the resurrection to divide the different factions of religious leaders at one of his trials. When Paul brought up one concept, arguing about the resurrection became more important than condemning Paul. Why and how has Satan been able to use the resurrection to divide so many people? Jesus pointed them to one belief. He wanted to heal the divisions they created. What was their reaction?

Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” Jesus was talking about the resurrection on the last day. They went back to the subject about bread. Something tripped their trigger. Suddenly the crowd began to turn on Jesus like they did in His Hometown. They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” Now Jesus was in a bind. How was He going to get out of this mess and get the crowd to remember why they came together?

Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said. For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.) The first thing Jesus reminded them of was a greater force then themselves. Someone greater than the traditions that divided them, brought them to Him.

John repeated the phrase, “Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.” John wanted to remind us, there is only one source to go to for the right information. That is Jesus. Is that so difficult to figure out?

God sends people to Jesus. This shows us the simple process God defined and uses. Jesus made it plain. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me.” God’s Spirit draws people to Jesus. Just so you don’t miss the point. Jesus DIDN’T include the name of a special church, a set of Bible Studies someone prepared, a set of rules, regulations, doctrines, traditions, a building layout, colors used in the building, or the name of any man, title, occupation, and this list could go on and on about what Jesus DIDN’T mention. Jesus mentioned God His Father as the ONLY source. I shouldn’t have to explain this, but as experience has shown me, some people just don’t get this. The Christian world is filled with people who have a better way, a better method, a better — What? What can be better than God?

We also see Jesus quoting a small portion of scripture. “ As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’” Jesus could have refereed to a number of Old Testament texts. Two in particular. We’ll look at one here, the other you can locate in Isaiah and study on your own.

I will let you in on a little secret here. God recorded the fulfillment of every prophecy in the Bible. God used a simple pattern combining the basic rules of context with common sense. The prophecy and its fulfillment share the same theme. They have to. Since they share the same theme, the introduction and summation in the chapter the prophecy is found in must agree with the introduction and summation the fulfillment is recorded. This is perfectly consistent with all the prophecies that have been fulfilled. God’s Bible is living proof of that fact. Old Testament scripture Jesus and others quoted in the New Testament follow that same rule. Let’s see how it works.

Another important Bible Study rule is, when you see scripture quoted by an author, always look up the original texts. An inspired writer will only quote a small portion of scripture. Just enough to point you back to the original texts. It’s your job to open up and read the original texts. And remember to check to introduction and summation for the chapter the original scripture is located. This a a major way God uses to communicate with us. An easy way to locate the original texts is to use a chain reference in a Study Bible. Or you can use the TSK (Treasury of Scripture Knowledge) you can download and use with E-Sword, and other Bible computer programs.

In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all– the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The LORD will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore. (Micah 4:1-3 NLTse).

Here we only see Jesus pointed to only a small portion of scripture. In this case it is part of the introduction to Micah 4. Look at the detail a few extra verses added. A mountain represents the LORD’s house. It will be the highest of all. The highest what? Is God’s house on the highest mountain elevation on earth? No! This is pointing to a spiritual house. Get the picture? Since the theme is learning, it is pointing to the highest level of education anyone can receive. Now do you get it?

People from all over the world will stream there to worship. Does that only included qualified and properly educated theologians? Of course not! Scripture just showed us they don’t have the proper education until they’ve been on God’s mountain.

Micah also tells us the people will say, “”Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” They will call others to join in on the education process – on God’s mountain.

You can look at all the details in the chapter. The main point is, and needs to be compared to what Jesus was teaching in that story, until we go directly to God, there is no way we are qualified to teach others. After we’re educated, all we can do is tell people about God’s classroom on His mountain. Jesus came to teach that.

Following the simple rules of context, we also have to compare summations to see if they agree. Keep in mind, Micah began with a spiritual mountain. So we have to look at the end of Micah for a spiritual connection the summation in John 6.

Now many nations have gathered against you. “Let her be desecrated,” they say. “Let us see the destruction of Jerusalem.” But they do not know the LORD’s thoughts or understand his plan. These nations don’t know that he is gathering them together to be beaten and trampled like sheaves of grain on a threshing floor. “Rise up and crush the nations, O Jerusalem!” says the LORD. “For I will give you iron horns and bronze hooves, so you can trample many nations to pieces. You will present their stolen riches to the LORD, their wealth to the LORD of all the earth.” (Micah 4:11-13 NLTse).

Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him. (John 6:65-71 NLTse).

Micah talks about, “many nations have gathered against you.” He also wrote about the destruction they want to cause and how those people misunderstand. Micah closed with symbols of their destruction.

John told us about many people who turned away from Jesus because they couldn’t understand His connection with God and how God brings people to Jesus. If people refuse to follow Jesus, are they for or against Him? We all know, when people don’t agree with someone, they spend a lot of time trying to convince people why. They look for people to agree with them so they feel better about their decision. The same is true for people who turn their backs on Jesus. They’re not only turning their backs but work behind the scene to turn other people away from Jesus. John also happened to mention one disciple who he referred to as the devil. We see the same battle in both chapters.

This Bread is My Flesh

John 6:47-54 NLTse “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. (48) Yes, I am the bread of life! (49) Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. (50) Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. (51) I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” (52) Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked. (53) So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. (54) But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day.

Jesus first crossed the lake where He healed people, then fed thousands. Jesus used those events to lead into lessons He was about to teach. One of those lessons involved a small boy and his little lunch to show, the size of the person doesn’t matter and neither does the size of the offering matter. Jesus blessed the food to show when Jesus unites with God and His Spirit, more will be accomplished than ever imagined.

Jesus had to leave because the crowd wanted to use Jesus and His miracles to serve their needs and desires. The disciples got into a boat and left Jesus behind. Jesus had to save them from a sudden storm. Finally a mixed multitude found Jesus and He began another series of lessons.

Jesus knew people only went out to find Him because of the things they wanted Him to do for them. Jesus had to convince them not to worry about the physical things in this world. Jesus had to teach them how to look at spiritual things. At first the people wanted to learn. They also wanted to perform miracles themselves. Jesus knew they weren’t ready for that.

Someone in the crowd brought up the subject of Moses and the manna or bread from Heaven. This was a good point for Jesus to begin teaching. Jesus introduced a new concept to them. “”I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me.”

We have to realize, only some of the people heard the lesson about living water Jesus taught the Samaritan woman. This was also the first time any of them heard Jesus use bread as a symbol. They wanted that bread. Before they could receive that bread, they had to learn a few things. “ I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.” This also applied to them. The people in the crowd wanted to do miracles to serve their own desires.

The crowd didn’t cooperate long. Some of the people who knew Jesus when He grew up questioned Him and His authority. Jesus told them, “”Stop complaining about what I said. For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.” Jesus kept repeating the last day to get their minds off their immediate needs onto the big picture. After all, what is this life compared to eternity? How is Jesus going to get their minds off their own problems and look at what God is trying to accomplish and how?

Jesus pointed out, “Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died.” What were those people looking for? Something to supply their immediate needs, or a God who is able to provide all their needs for an eternity? They had to make a decision. But first they needed the facts to make an educated decision. Like Jesus told them, look at Micah to see what needed to be done. But even today, how many people ignore what Jesus and God’s Spirit is trying to point them to?

Jesus told them the difference between physical and spiritual bread. “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” Jesus actually repeated this a few times. It’s something those people should have paid attention to and something we need to examine. As we’ve seen in Malachi, that trip to God’s mountain is a personal journey. Why are people afraid to talk with God and learn from Jesus?

Some people continued to argue with Jesus. All He’s trying to do is teach a simple lesson. Jesus continued to repeat Himself and add more details. He told them, “anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day.” Once again we see the last day repeated. Did you ever argue with someone and have to repeat yourself? Did it ever dawn on you, they’ll never listen to what you say? On a one on one conversation, your not going to accomplish anything no matter how much time you waste or how many times you repeat yourself. But Jesus was speaking to a group. Part of that group wanted power to perform miracles on their own. Another part doubted Jesus because they grew up with Him.

My Flesh is Food

John 6:55-59 NLTse For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. (56) Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. (57) I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. (58) I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.” (59) He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

John added an unexpected twist in this story that began on the northern shore of the lake and ended in a synagogue in Capernaum. When did the scene change? Since Jesus repeated Himself so many times, Jesus may have repeated the entire lesson inside that synagogue. We can’t be sure. We do see, everything in these few verses is in previous verses. “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. (48) Yes, I am the bread of life! (49) Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. (50) Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. (51) I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” Is Jesus repeating Himself in front of the original group on the lake shore, or is that something Jesus repeated in the synagogue? Once again, we see another example in John’s book we need to pay close attention to the details.

John 6:60-71 NLTse Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?” (61) Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you? (62) Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? (63) The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (64) But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) (65) Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” (66) At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. (67) Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” (68) Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. (69) We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” (70) Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” (71) He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.

Jesus turned His attention to His disciples in the summation of this chapter. Not only the twelve, but other disciples. Some of them admitted they didn’t understand what He was trying to teach. Jesus didn’t try to reexplain all the details. He added another important detail, “what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again?”

This should seem like basic information to most Christians. Some of those people Jesus was talking to did eventually see Him ascend to Heaven. But why did Jesus ask those people if the information He gave them offended them? How would it offend them? Does it offend people today? John compared their misunderstanding to complaining. Another lesson showing how closely we need to read John’s book. Why would they go to listen to Jesus, then complain? Are people still complaining today?

Then Jesus repeated the most important part of the lesson. “The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Did this make them listen? Does it make people listen today? Do people know the difference between human efforts and the work of God’s Spirit?

I see arguments on the Internet all the time. One church member condemns another church. Why? They don’t know anything about that other church. They never visited that other church. They may have read something someone posted about the church they choose to condemn. Chances are, the person who posted the information never visited the church they are condemning. That wheel of misinformed hatred rolls on and on.

That is one example of those who’ve walked away from Jesus. They don’t understand what He’s trying to teach. They have no idea how to approach God’s mountain and possess no desire to learn. They have become a god onto themselves and are the most difficult people to reach. They are not many steps away from becoming like terrorists cells we hear about on the news. The only difference is, some people choose to assassinate with words. Both factions share the same tactics. They like to hide, come out to perform their evil deed, them slip away. There is no way neither will ever think of trying to find out anything about the groups they’ve been taught to hate. Both factions convince themselves they know everything. Both factions convince themselves they are fighting and killing for God. Neither group knows God, nor are they able to explain any basic information about God. Like the group in this story, they walked away from Jesus to follow someone who only knows hatred and domination – how to use people. Like Judas, they’ve betrayed Jesus, abandoned Him for a way they thought was better than God’s plan.

People can’t see Jesus’ words or promise of eternal life. They don’t understand it. This is part of the message we’re given to share with the world. When people find it difficult to understand, they give up. Their pride keeps them from approaching God’s classroom on His mountain. Someone convinced them, they aren’t good enough. They aren’t pure enough. They have too many sins to be ashamed of. They aren’t smart enough or not prepared. So those people – feeling inadequate to approach God’s throne, concentrate on a single message. They feel if they can get one message right, it might make them good enough to stand before God. They meet someone who seems to be an expert in one field. They listen intently and learn from a mere human. They don’t understand, “Human effort accomplishes nothing.” All they want to do is learn a single message to save one person. Maybe that will get God’s attention.

Judas felt that way. Judas condemned people he didn’t know. Judas thought he had a better plan. Judas was one of those who wanted power to do miracles on his own. He convinced himself he was wise enough to control the power and use it to make the world a better place. Since Jesus wasn’t going to use that power the way it should be used, maybe there is a way of making Jesus use that power and share it. Finally, Judas found predominant leaders who agreed with him.

Why did Jesus keep repeating the lesson on the bread of life? When we look close at this chapter, He really didn’t explain what that bread represented. Except to go to Jesus and listen to Him. So I guess we can say bread points to Jesus and His Word. But that is pretty vague. That leaves the door wide open to interpretation. Why would Jesus spend so much time trying to explain, He is the bread of life, and eternal life only comes through Him, but not explain they entire process? Well if you think that’s all Jesus explained in this chapter, you missed the entire point and I can tell, you never studied it on your own. You let someone study and give you their personal view.

Did you overlook how many times Jesus pointed to God’s Spirit? They are a team. God sends people to Jesus, who sends them to God’s Spirit. They all work together. They rely on one another. I can see three major groups in this story. One wanted to learn how to perform miracles. One of the groups were Jewish, the other Gentile.

The group that wanted to perform miracles couldn’t do a thing without God’s Spirit and wouldn’t know how to use them unless He first taught them. The Hebrews knew God’s law. Without Jesus, they wouldn’t know how or what to teach in God’s law. The Gentiles served a special purpose. They know the local customs and knew how to establish relationships with many different types of people. They still needed Jesus and God’s Spirit to know what and how to lead other Gentiles to Christ. Imagine what they could have accomplished if they learned how to work together. Jesus showed them what can be accomplished when He worked together with God and His Spirit when they fed over 5000 people.

I can tell some of you are still questioning what side of the lake Jesus was on and who He fed. We’ll have to consult another book to find that answer. According to Matthew 14, after Jesus fed the 5000, they crossed the lake. You can read the entire story. Here is where they landed. After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. (Matthew 14:34 NLTse). Gennesaret is on the Hebrew side of the lake near Galilee.

Does it matter where Jesus fed those people? John’s book is very passionate about Christ, his teacher. He loved Jesus. We’ve also seen how carefully we have to read John’s book to see exactly what’s happening. In this case we have to look at what John didn’t record. Something he didn’t think he had to explain. How do you think Jesus felt when He saw all those people turn and walk away?

John showed us how Jesus kept repeating the same messages over and over. Finally some of the people said, “it was too hard to understand.” Others walked away because they saw Jesus grow up but couldn’t see how He could be the Messiah. What is that? They saw Jesus grow up, lead a perfect life, and couldn’t see He is the Messiah. What were they looking for? Didn’t they see anything special in Jesus?

What did Jesus feel when He saw friends He’d known for years walk away from Him? Not to mention a number of people He just fed. What went through Jesus’ mind. How far did His heart sink as He stood there wondering what He could of done, or what He needed to do next? Can you imagine the conversation Jesus must have had with His DAD that night? Can you imagine how God tried to comfort Jesus? Don’t you think Jesus prayed long and hard for that day? Don’t you think Jesus spent years praying for those people He grew up with?

Kind of makes you want to stop complaining about your prayers that aren’t answered. When Jesus said He came here to suffer just like we do, He wasn’t fooling. He didn’t leave out any details.

Gospels and Acts

The Gospels consist of four books written by Jesus’ followers. Matthew is the first Gospel in the Bible and may contain some of the best stories in the Bible. Mathew is known for his skill of story writing. All the Gospels are of course a collection of stories. But each writer has their own style and at times, a slightly different sequence. People may wonder about that. A serious student of the Bible will tell you why. When studied from the spiritual aspect, the sequence of stories plays a vital role in calling attention to particular details. One story builds into the next story. Each Gospel writer brings particular spiritual lessons to light based on the order of the stories recorded.

Mark is the second Gospel. Mark is known for his quick transition from one story to the next. Mark also added some of the greatest background detail to some of his stories.

Luke is the third Gospel in the series. Luke the physician has a different way of viewing the physical aspects of Jesus’ ministry and uses that attention to detail to place himself in the role of a new person seeking Jesus. Luke arranges his stories in a simple timeline flowing more like a novel than a history book.

John focused his interest on the spiritual side of Jesus’ ministry and paid particular attention to the work of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ life. Also the work the Spirit had to do to prepare people to meet Jesus that day. John’s Gospel contains three detailed chapters on the Holy Spirit found only in his book.

Acts is a collection of stories about the ministries the apostles lead after Jesus’ resurrection. Acts also introduced a new apostle, Paul. The stories in Acts teach a great deal about Christian growth, hardships, and the way the world viewed that new religion coming on the scene.

This website has been worked and reworked to improve your experience as you walk through the Bible or search for information. Menus have been added that divide the Bible into commonly known groups. Each group contains a number of books from the Bible in the order they are found in the Bible. You can navigate through each drop down menu to search for the information you are looking for.

Links have been added to each main page for every book of the Bible. Those links show the results of a simple search. That page will show you topics, studies, and stories related to each book of the Bible. At least those I have written about and posted. More are added everyday.

The drop down menu for each book of the Bible will show studies and stories from that Bible Book.

You are welcome to contact me with any questions, comments, ideas, or if you want to network.

I may be offering website design services in the future. Those services will center on teaching people how to start and maintain their own personal websites. Which will include the ability to sell products. Contact me if you are interested.

I am trying something a little different here. I am working on a new book that will focus on Bible Study and how to study the Bible using a few different methods. Here is an example of one of the chapters in that book. I’d appreciate any feed back, comments, and suggestions. This is your chance to add a little input to a book that just may make a difference in the lives of people who sit down to read it.

Chapter 12 Introductions and Summaries John Chapter 2

A book on Bible Study and lessons on introductions and summations would not be complete without a look at one of the unique chapters in John’s Gospel. John recorded a rather unique series of events not found in any other book in the Bible. There was a good reason John recorded a series of events other authors omitted. Every series of events in the Bible is unique in its own way. It may be difficult to explain to a new believer, but those stories and the order they are recorded are designed to make a direct connection with us on an individual level. Of course the Spirit has to be involved before you can hope to see the spiritual side of any story.

I often see people struggling with events and timing in the Bible. They think they have to get the timing down in scripture before they can understand anything in the Bible. That is backwards thinking. God’s timing is not the same timing we are used to here on earth. We could almost say, God has no timing. God is eternal, and time means little to God. But God understands the limited view this world has on time, and how this world uses time to apply a type of spiritual chains on our understanding. John’s Gospel shows us one example.

Many theologians have tried to combine the four Gospels into a single time line. Of course they run into issues like we will look at in John Chapter 2. So what do those theologians do? They either eliminate that story, or apply it to a different time in Jesus’ ministry. In other words, they think the original author made a mistake and they are coming to the rescue by clearing up a misconception. In essence they are robbing people of the spiritual lesson God placed in that particular series of events.

One of the most effective forms of communication God uses is a series of events in our personal lives. Jesus’ disciples were not robots. Each had a distinct set of feelings. Each disciple had a different back ground, childhood, education, family life, and view of Jesus. When we read the Bible we are reading a part of the author’s personal perceptions combined with lessons God wants us to see and understand. A single event may teach us a little about what we need to learn about that issue. But a series of events will teach us ten times more about our own reactions, the reactions and influences of people around us, and how timing establishes its own set of lessons. Some people may have to fail a dozen times before they understand how God tried to warn them. We will never see or understand the warnings God sends us until we look back to see how we missed those warnings. Then we have to learn how to hone our listening skills. Or we can continue to receive an education from earthly sources who have absolutely no chance of ever warning us of any coming event.

John 2:1-25 NLTse The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesusmother was there, (2) and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. (3) The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” (4) “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” (5) But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (6) Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. (7) Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, (8) he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions. (9) When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. (10) “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” (11) This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him. (12) After the wedding he went to Capernaum for a few days with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples. (13) It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. (14) In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. (15) Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. (16) Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” (17) Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.” (18) But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” (19) “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (20) “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” (21) But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. (22) After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said. (23) Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. (24) But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature. (25) No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like.

If nothing else, John’s style of writing as well as his book is unique. John included stories such as these found in chapter 2, as well as others not found in other gospels. Why, I don’t know why, but Bible writers have a way of introducing a subject then adding details later. Is this what John is doing on a spiritual level when we look at the gospels as a whole? The only way to know is to compare what John gives us and follow the law of context that tells us to look back to see how the author led into the subject.

Here is one of the most important Bible Study steps you want to learn and use:

  • Always look back to see how the author led into the event at hand. Most of us know in original scripture, neither the Old or New Testaments were divided into chapters and verses. That came much later. That has little to do with this rule, but to understand scripture, we have to look for patterns. One of those is how the author lead from one event to the next.

John 2:1-11 NLTse The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesusmother was there, (2) and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. (3) The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” (4) “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” (5) But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (6) Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. (7) Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, (8) he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions. (9) When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. (10) “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” (11) This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

Because John didn’t record anything about Jesus leaving for forty days to face Satan’s temptations, it’s difficult to determine timing between those stories in John’s book. John began this story by pointing out, it was the next day. The original Greek tells us it was the third day. We can assume this may be the third day after His baptism. But we’re not here to examine the exact timing of every event in John’s book but to look at his story as a whole. The first step is to look back at the link between the end of chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2.

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown. Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel–a man of complete integrity.” “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God–the King of Israel!” Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.” (John 1:43-51 NLTse).

I think the last verse is the one to concentrate on here. Jesus promised Nathanael he would see Heaven open up and angles going between Heaven and earth. John followed that story with Jesus at a wedding with His mother and some of the disciples. This is where Jesus performed His first miracle. Is that the spiritual view of the stairway Jesus promised Nathanael would see? Jesus called Nathanael, “a genuine son of Israel–a man of complete integrity.” Was Jesus referring to Nathanael’s ability to see the spiritual side of issues and events?

We also have to compare this introduction to the summary in the chapter. This will help us to understand the theme as well as the style John used to write this chapter.

  • Examine chapters by first comparing the introduction to the summation. This will give you clues by telling you want to look for within that chapter. If they are contrasts, the chapter will have contrasting stories and characters teaching the same lesson. If the introduction contains contrasts, the summation will most likely contain a contract. When you see this, stories within the chapter will also contain contrasts. The literal form of the introduction and summation will show what types of details to pay special attention to.

But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” (19) “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (20) “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” (21) But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. (22) After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said. (23) Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. (24) But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature. (25) No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like.

We see a number of details in this summation. Jesus talked about destroying the temple. John explained, Jesus was referring to His body, which of course points to His death, three days in the tomb, and resurrection. We see Jesus’ first miracle performed in the introduction and an explanation of His greatest miracle.

John pointed out how those miracles made a difference after Jesus rose from that tomb. This makes us ask what impression they made on the disciples while they saw Jesus performing those miracles. What went through their minds when they saw Jesus turn clay pots filled with water to wine? Does that water point to a spiritual lesson? The water was used for ceremonial cleaning. Water was also used for baptism, a sort of New Testament ceremonial cleaning, in addition to the symbol of a new individual beginning.

We also see the word servant repeated in this story. Servents prepared the water for Jesus and carried the wine to the person in charge of the wedding. This showed how Jesus needed people to assist Him throughout His ministry. This is another detail to watch for as we progress through John’s book.

John 2:12-25 NLTse After the wedding he went to Capernaum for a few days with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples. (13) It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. (14) In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. (15) Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. (16) Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” (17) Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.” (18) But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” (19) “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (20) “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” (21) But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. (22) After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said. (23) Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. (24) But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature. (25) No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like.

This is a rather short chapter containing only two stories. The question is, what is the connecting factor? One point stands out above all. At the wedding John tells us, “But you have kept the best until now!” The story about the temple closed with Jesus telling about His death, three days in the tomb, and resurrection.

John is the only author who tells us about the first time Jesus cleared out the temple court. John’s story reflects the same effects and reasoning as the other author’s accounts. Those other stories are clearly dated at the time frame when Jesus cleared the temple court so He could return to the temple court the next day to teach a number of parables and answer a number of questions asked by different groups of religious leaders. John also added a detail telling us what Jesus did before He went into the courtyard. “Jesus made a whip from some ropes.”

This is another time you want to sit and think about this scene, putting yourself into it. Imagine Jesus sitting outside the courtyard gate weaving a whip out of ropes. I’ve heard dozens of sermons claiming this story proves Jesus got angry. Some sermons try to call it a sort of controlled anger. But look at the details and ask yourself, how long did it take Jesus to weave a whip out of ropes, and what was He thinking about while He was weaving a series of ropes?

Jesus wasn’t displaying any type of pent up anger. Jesus thought about what He was about to do and prayed while He sat outside that gate. He knew what He was doing and the lesson He was about to teach. Nothing was a spur of the moment outburst in any part of Jesus’ ministry. What was the lesson Jesus taught here?

We get our first clue by looking at the key words. Key words are words the author repeated to draw attention to details. Words like merchants and dealers combined with exchanging foreign money, and marketplace tell us why Jesus formed that whip. How many people lost their money during the time Jesus formed that whip, and how many people wasted their money thinking it was buying them forgiveness for their sins? Jesus had to show them it was time for a change.

  • Key words are words the author repeated to draw attention to his main thought, point, or lesson. Key words are words that are the SAME, SIMILAR, or RELATED.

It may take a bit of practice to develop a pattern highlighting key words. I look at it as a fundamental and necessary way for God’s Spirit to slow you down and get you to listen. It’s difficult to thoroughly highlight all the key words in one pass. You have no choice but to go back and forth over scripture to do a complete job. Many people have heard of other texts in the Bible that show us how to study, such as line upon line, and using a churning method of going back and forth over scripture. Now you know what that means.

Cattle, sheep, and doves are also repeated. Neither one of those do a thing to forgive sins. In the Old Testament they were referred to as an atonement, which is a reminder. The book of Hebrews goes into detail to explain that change.

Once again we see Jesus quoting scripture. Let’s look at the entire verse. Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. (Psalms 69:9 NLTse). This is usually all most people will look at. But if we examine a few verses around that verse, we see one of the messages Jesus pointed to.

Even my own brothers pretend they don’t know me; they treat me like a stranger. Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. When I weep and fast, they scoff at me. When I dress in burlap to show sorrow, they make fun of me. I am the favorite topic of town gossip, and all the drunks sing about me. But I keep praying to you, LORD, hoping this time you will show me favor. In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation. (Psalms 69:8-13 NLTse).

Once we look at a few other verses, we see why Jesus quoted this scripture. He pointed them to a prophecy about Himself. We see how much Jesus cared about those priests when we see the prophecy refereed to them as Jesus’ brothers. We also see they thought of Jesus as a stranger, or a little strange. What would they think of Jesus when He walked into their courtyard and put them out of business during the busiest time of the year, Passover? Would that scripture have been enough for them to overcome their financial losses and attitude toward Christ? Look at the detail we see in the introduction to Psalms 69.

Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me. Those who hate me without cause outnumber the hairs on my head. Many enemies try to destroy me with lies, demanding that I give back what I didn’t steal. (Psalms 69:1-4 NLTse).

This is another prophecy about Jesus. This shows how Jesus felt and what He thought about while He was outside forming that whip. One look at that courtyard and Jesus felt like He was drowning. Jesus was just beginning His ministry and He was tired of crying. He was crying His whole life. It was time to get up and do something, to put God’s plan of salvation into action on time and on course. Jesus was definitely outnumbered. He was facing off against the priests, Pharisees, Sadducees, temple guards, Roman guards, Herod’s people, and a bunch of people who couldn’t understand His message. That didn’t slow Jesus down. You think David had to have a lot of faith to face his giant, think of what Jesus went up against.

If you still don’t believe Jesus pointed people back to scripture to see at least ten times more than the small message He gave them, look at the summation in Psalms 69.

Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving. For this will please the LORD more than sacrificing cattle, more than presenting a bull with its horns and hooves. The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For the LORD hears the cries of the needy; he does not despise his imprisoned people. Praise him, O heaven and earth, the seas and all that move in them. For God will save Jerusalem and rebuild the towns of Judah. His people will live there and settle in their own land. The descendants of those who obey him will inherit the land, and those who love him will live there in safety. (Psalms 69:30-36 NLTse).

I don’t think I need to explain what’s been recorded in Psalms 69 and how it relates to John chapter 2. Can you see Jesus thinking about this Psalm as He’s sitting outside working on that whip? If those pastors trying to make an excuse to release their personal anger, or trying to explain their personal interpretation on that story had spent a little time, turned and few pages and looked where Jesus pointed them, where God’s Spirit was trying to lead them, they couldn’t have missed this message. The sad fact is, if those religious leaders in the temple had looked at that scripture, they would have never put Jesus on that cross.

To think, when I try to teach this simple study method, some people argue, saying there’s no need to waste time looking up scripture Jesus quoted. How can you hope to understand half of what’s in the gospels or New testament if you don’t look at Old Testament scripture Jesus and other people quoted? Those people who argue with me think it’s a simple matter of looking at a few random texts and going with whatever pops into your head. Isn’t that a form of eastern religion – relying on your inner being? Isn’t that in conflict with relying on God’s Word and relying on His Spirit? Not only are those people hurting themselves, but they are holding other people back from the simple things God is holding out to them. What could be easier than following clear and simple instructions in the Bible?

We see the words miraculous sign repeated. Those religious leaders asked what authority Jesus had in addition to asking for a sign. If they were listening, they would had seen, Jesus gave them everything they needed. That whip showed how all the words in scripture are woven together. They didn’t listen to Jesus. They didn’t go back to scripture. They didn’t know how to rely on God’s Spirit. No wonder Jesus didn’t trust them.

The Word was God

This series of books on John’s Gospel are quite unique. John focused on the Holy Spirit working in the back ground throughout Jesus’ ministry. In other words, John’s Gospel is a text book about how the Spirit works in this world as well as our lives. Here is the first chapter from the book. I hope you enjoy it, and there are links to sites that sell both the print book and eBook versions. If you have any questions, let me know. Feel free to leave a comment.

John Chapter 1

John 1:1-51 NLTse In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He existed in the beginning with God. (3) God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. (4) The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. (5) The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. (6) God sent a man, John the Baptist, (7) to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. (8) John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. (9) The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. (10) He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. (11) He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. (12) But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. (13) They are reborn–not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. (14) So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. (15) John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.'” (16) From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. (17) For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. (18) No one has ever seen God. But the one and only Son is himself God and is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. (19) This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” (20) He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.” (21) “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?” “No,” he replied. “Are you the Prophet we are expecting?” “No.” (22) “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?” (23) John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the LORD’s coming!'” (24) Then the Pharisees who had been sent (25) asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?” (26) John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. (27) Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.” (28) This encounter took place in Bethany, an area east of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing. (29) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (30) He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ (31) I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.” (32) Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. (33) I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.‘ (34) I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.” (35) The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. (36) As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” (37) When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus. (38) Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them. They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” (39) “Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day. (40) Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. (41) Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”). (42) Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John–but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”). (43) The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” (44) Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown. (45) Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” (46) “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. (47) As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel–a man of complete integrity.” (48) “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” (49) Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God–the King of Israel!” (50) Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” (51) Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”

The Word was God
Click here to link to the eBook version for instant download.

I have to confess, I’ve been looking forward to writing this book on John’s Gospel for some time. John’s book is the most passionate Gospel about Jesus, including a number of chapters about lessons Jesus taught not found in the other three Gospels. Matthew seems to have the most events, which makes writing stories rather easy. Mark unfolded on its own showing two main themes, how Jesus taught to understand all scripture and the relationship Jesus was looking for. Luke had a tendency of skipping over some details while lingering on others. Luke’s book was perfect for showing how God’s Spirit worked behind the scenes to set up every event so Jesus was able to fulfill every prophecy about Himself. Which brought me to one of the biggest surprises I’ve seen in the Bible.

The end of John’s first chapter describes how Jesus was sent to be a connection between Heaven and earth, the perfect description of the book I wrote on Luke’s Gospel showing how God’s Spirit worked throughout Jesus’ ministry. John’s description not only says there is a connection, he says we will see that connection.

       His Word is Light

John 1:1-9 NLTse In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He existed in the beginning with God. (3) God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. (4) The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. (5) The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. (6) God sent a man, John the Baptist, (7) to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. (8) John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. (9) The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

I always loved the beginning of John’s book. I wonder how long he thought about the beginning of his book before he sat down, picked up a pen and started writing. I can see how words just flowed for John. Out of the four gospels, John’s is the most poetic. Words and sentences flow like a man writing to his love half way around the world. But in this case, John’s first love is a universe away.

Let’s pause for a moment to estimate that distance between Jesus and John. We can’t estimate that distance in meters or miles. We can’t estimate that time in hours, days, or years. Looking at the other side of the coin, we can’t estimate the closeness they shared until we experience it ourselves. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

(Romans 8:38-39, Psalms 103:1, 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLTse)

If it’s one thing I’ve learned about writing, it really slows you down, allowing you to concentrate on each word, and God’s still, small voice. Highlighting key words also slows you down. Making a list of key words helps to see the main points the author is emphasizing. Let’s look at the list of keys words John gave us up to this point.

Word

Light

Beginning, existed

Created

Life