Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Much Debate

Here in the Jesus public ministry there was much confusion about who he was.  There were many myths about what Messiah would do and where he would come from.

John 6: 

the Son of Joseph -  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’?”

Holy one of God - 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

John 7: 
Demon possessed - 20 The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?”

Is he Messiah ? -  25 Some of the people who lived in Jerusalem started to ask each other, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah? 27 But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.”

Divided opinions -  40 When the crowds heard him say this, some of them declared, “Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.”[g] 41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.”[h] 43 So the crowd was divided about him. 44 Some even wanted him arrested, but no one laid a hand on him.

John 8: 25 “Who are you?” they demanded.

A Samaritan devil -  48 The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?”

possessed by a devil - 52 The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon.

Divided opinions  -   John 9:16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them.

Not from God

Ordinary Sinner

A prophet -  17 Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “What’s your opinion about this man who healed you?”
   The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.”

A sinner - 24 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this,[b] because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.”

Divided opinions - John 10: 19 When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him.

Out of his mind - 20 Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” 

Demon possessed - 21 Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Are you the Messiah ?   24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Blasphemer, a mere man -  33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

John 15 - Abiding

Notes from John 15

6   - not abiding causes withering.
7   - abiding contributes to powerful prayer
8   - powerful prayer should lead to fruitfulness.
     - fruit is characteristic of a disciple.
9   - abiding results in experiencing His love.
11 - these things will bring joy.
16 - God chose us and sends us to bear fruit
     - He appoints us to powerful prayer.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,

  • Nicodemus wasn’t getting it as Jesus spoke of being born again, so Jesus now presents him an object lesson from the Old Testament.
  • This refers to Numbers (21:5 - 9)“We are sick of this useless food,” sent serpents to punish them; and when the people came to Moses and he interceded with the Lord, the Lord commanded that for a remedy they make a serpent of bronze; and this was to serve both as a remedy against those serpents and as a symbol of the Lord’s passion. Hence it says that this bronze serpent was lifted up as a sign (Nm 21:9).
  • And the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people of Israel, and God sent these little serpents into the camp, fiery serpents, deadly serpents. They began to bite the people and the people began to die as a result of the bites. And they came to Moses and they said, "We have sinned against you and against the Lord by our murmuring. Pray unto God for us that we might be delivered from this plague of serpents." And Moses prayed unto the Lord and the Lord told him to make a serpent out of brass and to put it on a pole, and to stand it up in the middle of the camp. And it shall come to pass that whenever a man is bitten by one of these fiery serpents, if he will just look at the pole in the middle of the camp, he will be healed, he will live. And so Moses made a serpent of brass, put it on a pole, set it up in the middle of the camp; and it came to pass that whosever was bitten by this serpent, when they looked upon that serpent on the pole, they were healed, they did not die. Therein you find the basis for that little symbol that the doctors use, the serpent on the pole, for healing. But brass in the scripture is always a metal that is symbolic of judgment, and the serpent is always symbolic of sin. So, the brass serpent on the pole was a symbol that God had judged their sins. And by looking at that, they were healed. They did not die.
  • Now, this is an interesting provision that God made, and by what process looking upon the serpent could save a person's life. You know, there's no physical or scientific explanation for this. It was just God's covenant! God's provision. And He said, "All you have to do is look and you will live." Now, I can imagine that there were some hard heads there in Israel, lying on the ground convulsing as a result of the snakebite, about to die. And their friends say, "Hey, in the middle of the camp Moses set up that pole of the brass serpent. Just look at it and you'll be healed." "Don't tell me that, man, that's ridiculous. I can't make sense out of that. How can looking at that do anything for me? Don't you see, I'm dying, man! I need help!" "Yah, but just look!" "Ah, come on, how can that help?" And I can see him arguing and dying because he can't understand how looking would help.
  • People are foolish. Unless they can understand all the processes by which God is working, they won't accept it. I can't explain to you how that believing in Jesus Christ can cleanse you of your sin and cause you to be born again and become a child of God. All I can tell you is it will. It works. That's what God has ordained. Jesus, hanging on the cross, was bearing the judgment of God for your sins. "All we like sheep have gone astray, we turn, everyone of us, to our own ways. And God has laid on Him the iniquities of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up. " And Jesus, hanging there on the cross, was there taking the judgment of God for sin, dying for our sins, dying in our place. And even as those in the days of Israel looked at the serpent and lived, so we, by looking at the cross in faith and in trusting in Jesus, live. We have eternal life. And so, it was quite an interesting parallel, symbolism that God had established.  1
  • Great picture of us dieing in our own sin and needing something that God has provided so that we can be saved.  The serpent really did bite us all in the fall of Adam and we are born with this disease of death (born into sin).  We need Gods provision that is lifted up to find a reborn life, a delivered life.  This is a shadow or type of the cross and Jesus dieing for our sins that we might be saved from this disease of sin. 2
  • The verb used for his being 'lifted up' (Gk. hypsoo) is carefully chosen; it denotes not only literal lifting up in space but also exaltation in glory.  In this Gospel Jesus is glorified by being crucified (john 8:28, 12:23, 32, 34) 3
1.  Chuck Smith: commentary on John 3:14
2.  myself
3. F.F. Bruce the Gospel of John p 88

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Seven Signs: A Process for church planting

Seven Signs in John: A Simple Process for Evangelism and Starting Churches

A Simple Process for Evangelism and Starting Churches: Seven Signs of John.
The Gospel of Jesus is the flame that burns at the grassroots of the apostolic movement. Having a means of igniting that flame in such a way that those who catch it can spread it on the same day is an extremely valuable catalyst. We felt we needed a means of unveiling the true Christ to a person open to it that was simple enough that everyone could do it in any culture, language or generation. That is a tall order to fill. We found our answer in the Bible, specifically the Gospel of John.
The Seven Signs of John is based on the words that the apostle John writes near the end of his gospel. He said, "Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:30-31)
Apparently, while John was with Jesus from the start and saw all the miracles performed, he selected these particular miracles and included them in this specific order[i] for a purpose-to open the eyes of the unbeliever to have faith in the real Christ and gain eternal life. This is not my opinion; this is what the Scriptures themselves say. Consider it this way: the Holy Spirit is telling you that the miracle stories in the gospel of John are the stories that are best to present the true Christ to an unbelieving heart. It is quite common for American Christian leaders to exaggerate the effectiveness of a method, but in this case it is the Holy Spirit making the claim, not me.
The 7 Signs are as follows:
1.     The turning of water into wine (John 2:1-12)
2.     The healing of the royal official's son (John 4:46-54)
3.     The healing of the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-17)
4.     The feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-14)
5.     The walking on water (John 6:15-25)
6.     The healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-41)
7.     The raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-46)
The way it works is that each week the person or persons you are sharing with is encouraged to read one of the stories once every day. So in the first week, they read the story of Jesus turning water into wine every day. At the end of the week when you get together and read the passage again together, you ask four simple questions and have a discussion about the passage. The questions are:
1.     What does this story say to you about people?
2.     What does this story say to you about Jesus?
3.     What does this story have to say about you?
4.     Who needs to hear this story?
This can easily be done meeting once a week over a cup of coffee with anyone who is a spiritual seeker. Every organic church I have ever started began going weekly through these stories and simply asking the questions. I have yet to do so and not have someone commit to follow Christ. I am not guaranteeing you the same results, but we can take the Holy Spirit's word for it that these stories will help people believe in Jesus.
This simple and profound ministry tool crosses all cultural barriers because it is simply the Bible speaking for itself (a significant principle!). It reproduces because anyone can ask a few easily remembered questions. This is not a model of church or a human curriculum. It is simply unleashing the power of God's word to do what it does in a life. The only way you could say that this doesn't work cross-culturally is to say that the Bible doesn't work cross-culturally. Even in an oral culture that is not literate this tool will still work because it is basic story telling.

[i] It is clear that while The Gospel of John follows Jesus' life it is not ordered in a strict chronological order. It is put together more topically than the synoptic gospels. The miracles that John writes about are placed in an intentional order. Therefore, following the order as John intended, while not absolutely necessary, has advantages.
Neil Cole from http://www.cmaresources.org/article/seven-signs-in-john

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Scope of Johns writings

Barrett points out that "both creation and revelation are in mind in the Johannine Prologue, ..."

It is interesting how John broadens the scope of our understanding of Jesus.  He speaks of the beginning: In the beginning was the word.  We see Jesus as the beginning and then with Johns writing in Revelation.  Jesus is the one in the end who is at the forefront.

The other gospels point to the lineages of Jesus which take us back to the beginning of human history, but John takes us to the eternal existence of Jesus.  He was with God in the beginning, He is at the end.

The Gospel According to St John, C.K. Barrett p.127

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kingdom Thinking

John 2:4

And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come."(NASB)

"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come." (NIV)

Jesus said, "Is that any of our business, Mother—yours or mine? This isn't my time. Don't push me."(Message)

“Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

T. Austin Sparks says this, a far better translation is "Woman, you and I are thinking in two different realms; we have at the moment nothing in common" Thus throughout the lives of those around Jesus they sought to impinge upon im with their mentality. No, all the time He was putting them back and showing them how different were His thoughts, His ways, His ideas, His judgments, altogether different. 1

1 The School of Christ, T. Austin Sparks p 10

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A New Location for True Worship

 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”  John 4:21-24 NLT

Here in John 4 we see comparisons of places of worship.  The scene is Jacobs well.  It is the place where Jacob met Rachel and was considered a holy place.  Sacred wells were common place in ancient Mediterranean, and Jewish tradition reports various miracles performed at Jacobs well. 1

This well is also in view of Mount Gerizim.  Mount Gerizim was a holy place for Samaritans.  Jesus also addresses the temple in Jerusalem.  True worshipers won't need to go to Jerusalem or Mount Gerazim.  True worshipers will need to worship in Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the key to true worship not a physical location.

1 The Spirit in the Gospel and Acts, Craig Keener p 153,154

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What a gift

 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water."  John 4:10 NLT

10 if you only knew - what a phrase, if we only knew what God wants to do in us and with us. He wants us to connect with Him in an eternal relationship and reap living water. He wants us to have a connection with Him that brings a type of nourishment that this world can not bring to us. It is beyond what we naturally know in this world. There is grace, peace, love, joy etc. that has a quality that we could never experience in this life. It is beyond what we could obtain on our own. Without fellowship with Him we can never know the reality of this living water.

the gift - that otherness of Gods living water is such a gift. When you have tasted it you realize just what a gift it is. When we quit seeking God and are left to our own devices and meeting our own needs we realize how utterly helpless we are. We can't generate the qualities of the living water that God gives us. It is an amazing gift.

If we knew who we are speaking to - this speaks so much of the honor we should give this one who has the power to give us a relationship with the living, almighty God of the universe. What an incredible man to meet to can impart to us eternal life. It is the discovery of the fountain of youth. We will be enabled to live forever with the creator and in fellowship with Him as a son and daughter. The man, this day was the God man who could give this incredible gift.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


The Idea
The book of Revelation begins with these words: the revelation of Jesus Christ. John puts his purpose for this book of the Bible right up front. It is about Jesus being revealed. Revelation in essence is unveiling something. it would be like an artist having a showing. In that showing a masterpiece would be covered by a large cloth. After a brief introduction of the work, the large cloth would be taken off and the new creation would be unveiled for all to see.

Two Sides
As I pondered on this word unveiled I recognized that there are two sides of an unveiling. On the one side the art has already been done. The beauty is already there. On the other side is the one that has not seen nor created this beauty, yet will get to experience it with the unveiling. Isn’t this our lives as Christians. God is consistently unveiling Himself through Jesus. And it seems to me there is so much revelation, that God has to give it to us in morsels for us to grasp.

The Process
I am reminded of the gospel of John. Throughout we see that there is a testimony or witness of Christ (an unveiling), then an opportunity to put faith in Him and then the result of faith would be life ().
1. Unveiling (Testimony) – continued works of art, continued unveiling of the splendor of the Lord.
2. Faith – believing in Gods ways above our own
3. Life - the God kind of Life: zoe

Hebrews reminds us that we walk by faith, and then that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Why? The word of God is continually unveiling His character to us thus giving us opportunity to put faith in Him with the result being His life manifested in us.

A consistent walk of unveiling
This is what Paul was speaking of in Galatians 1:1 Paul an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the father who raised Him from the dead),. . . then later in 10-12 where Paul says that he received the gospel through revelation in Jesus Christ. Paul’s gospel was not taught to him by men nor did he get it from men but it came through revelation (unveiling). And again in 15-16 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mothers womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, . . . The again in 2:2 And I went up by revelation . . . Chapter 3 is challenging us to not approach God by works but through faith and that walking in the Spirit comes by the action of faith.
Again in our lives is faith generated more from what we read or hear from somebody else or our own dynamic walk with the Lord where we come to faith by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Our own revelation brings strong faith.

In 2 Peter
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, . . . Isn’t the process of a testimony which gives opportunity for faith which produces His life-flow in us and through us the very process of growing in the knowledge of God.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Occurrences of sign or signs in John

These are the occurrences of the word sign in John when it speaks of a miracle.  In all 18 occurrences the phrase "miraculous sign(s)" is used.
John 2:11
This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
John 2:18
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.”
John 2:23
Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him.
John 3:2
After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”
John 4:48
Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?”
John 4:54
This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea.
John 6:2
A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick.
John 6:14 
When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!”
John 6:26
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs.
John 6:30
They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do?
John 7:31
Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?”
John 9:16
Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them.
John 10:41
And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.”
John 11:47
Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs.
John 12:18
That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign.
John 12:37
But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him.
John 15:24
If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father.
John 20:30
The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

His Name is No Magic Token

You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. John 14:13 NLT

Just saying the name of Jesus is not a magic token that automatically gets you a wish granted. In my name points to the identity and essence of a person. We ask in their name we ask because of who they are and in identification of their identity.

Jonathan Huntzinger gives an example: The name Jesus, which is Yeshua (Joshua) in Hebrew, is derived from the root word for salvation. By calling upon this name, the disciples identify themselves with the One who saves and, because of their relationship with Him, are enabled to invoke His authority for the benefit of others. 1

1 Spirit Filled Life New Testament commentary Series, John: Jonathan D. Huntzinger pp 65,66

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Sign Says

This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him. John 2:11 NLT

A Sign
  • the most common greek word used for Jesus miracles in the NT is dynameis which denotes a 'mighty work', but John does not use it in his gospel.
  • the word here is semeia 'signs'. The NT miracles are not mere miracles; they are all signs of some underlying reality. 1
  • like John the Baptist testimony in chapter 1:6, his purpose was to tell about the light so that everyone might believe. The signs are to point to the light so everyone might believe.

  • This follows the pattern of John seen in John 20:31  But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.  A __________ (sign, testimony, witness) that causes belief which gives you life

The Gospel of John, F.F. Bruce p 72