Tuesday, March 21, 2017

John 18

Last time we read the prayers of Jesus before He was arrested.  This is often called the High Priestly prayer.  He prayed for Himself to be glorified.  He prayed for His disciples.  He prayed for all believers, then and in the future.  He prayed that we glorify Him in all we do and for us to live in unity. 

John 18:1-14 – Jesus Arrested

After He finished praying He and His disciples crossed over the Kidron and entered the Garden of Gethsemane.  Judas knew this place.  Judas went to Gethsemane with a detachment of soldiers (about 600 men) and officials from the chief priests and Pharisees.  They came with torches and weapons.  Luke 22 and Matthew 26 tell us that Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss to let the officials know which one to arrest.  Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen.  Dear friend, He knows exactly what is happening in your life, too.  He knows if there is a Judas betraying you.  Remember God has a plan and is always in control.

Jesus was calm and walked right up to them as asked them who they were looking for even though He already knew.  They replied that they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth.  Jesus answered, “I am He.”John 18:5.  Notice here is another “I Am”.  They then fell backwards to the ground.  This is very interesting.  The enemies of God always fall backwards, but the friends of God always fall on their faces.

Jesus didn’t retaliate, but took the initiative and greeted His persecutors.  He commanded the soldiers to let His disciples go because it was Him they wanted.  Jesus was in complete control of His arrest and death.  He was calm.  He was not a tragic victim.  He was the Good Shepherd who willingly laid down His life for His sheep.

How are you choosing to be a victim in your circumstances? 

Peter drew his sword and struck the high priest’s servant cutting off his ear.  Jesus told Peter to put his sword away.  Luke 22 tells us that Jesus touched the man’s ear and healed him.  Jesus said, “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”John 18:11.  Jesus willing took the cup of God’s wrath for us.  He willing spared us from the punishment we deserve.

Then the soldiers arrested Jesus.  They took Him to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was the high priest.  Was Jesus powerless at this point?  Of course not!  He is God.  “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more that 12 legions of angels?  But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”Matt. 26:53-54. 

Jesus chose to be arrested and suffer the cross to save us instead of saving Himself.
He was willing and submissive.  He wants the same willing submission for us.  He gave us an example to follow.  As a Christian people will be falsely accuse, hate, and judge
 you.  We are to be more like Jesus by allowing ourselves to suffer and be crucified for doing the right thing instead of lashing out at some false accusations others might bring upon us.  This way you are showing your accusers God’s love for them giving them opportunity for healing.  Just as we were healed by Christ’s wounds, others will be healed by your wounds.  “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.  Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”1 Peter 2:23-24

Why would these Jewish leaders reject Jesus as their Messiah and want to kill Him?  They knew the Scriptures and the Old Testament prophesies.  Jesus didn’t fit into the image they had for a Messiah.  They couldn’t see Him as a servant.  They heard His teaching and even saw His miracles.  Their comfortable power and prestige was threatened.  They loved their places of honor.   But they rejected Him and stirred up others against Him.  Jesus knew the root of their problem, which was pride.  Jesus always looks at the heart not outward religious performances.  He exposed their sinful hearts. 

Judas in not mentioned in this gospel again.  We know from other Scriptures that he committed suicide because he realized what he had done, but he never truly repented. 

John 18:15-27 – Peter's Denial

Peter and another disciple followed Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard.  As he was standing around a fire with others to keep warm a girl saw Peter and asked if he was the one who was with Jesus.  He said that he was not.  Peter blatantly denies being a disciple of Jesus.  Remember Jesus had told him before that he would deny Him 3 times before the rooster crows.  How quickly our flesh can change when faced with fear and doubt.

Annas questioned Jesus, which was against Jewish law.  Jesus said He had done nothing in secret and had always done things legally and that he should not be asking Him questions.  Then an officer struck Him.  Jesus was then taken to Caiaphas, the high priest.  Everything they did at the trials of Jesus was illegal.

Again while Peter was warming himself, he was asked if he was Jesus’ disciples.  He denied it again.  That’s the 2nd denial Jesus predicted.  Then another challenged Peter and asked if he had seen him in the grove with Jesus.  Peter denied it again.  That’s the 3rd denial.  Then the rooster began to crow.  Luke 22 tells us that Peter remembered what Jesus had said.  Then he went out and wept bitterly.

We see the contrast between Jesus and Peter - Jesus in His strength and Peter in his weakness.  Jesus gained strength through prayer, but Peter along with the other disciple fell asleep instead of praying.  Prayer gives us strength to deal with life issues and hard times.  Jesus wants us to come to Him in all things for guidance and strength.

Still Jesus in His infinite love didn’t forsake Peter.  After the resurrection, He still loved and forgave him.  Those that had heard Jesus prediction also heard of Peter’s failure.  They probably never let him forget.  In Acts 2 we see that through Peter’s message at Pentecost 3,000 were saved.  That’s 1000 for every 3 times he denied Jesus.

We all fail is some way, but our failures are not as well known as Peters.  We’ve all denied Jesus in some way.  We fail to recognize our own weakness and trust in ourselves instead of in the Lord.  We fail to pray as often as we should.  We fail to always depend on the Father.  We fail to fear God more than people.  We can always trust our faithful Savior whenever we fail.

When have you been prone to fail the Lord?
How can you prepare so the next time so you will not fail again?
Do you keep account of the failures of others?  We are to love one another and forgive one another just as Jesus loves and forgives us.

Unlike the self-serving Caiaphas, Jesus is our faithful High Priest.  He sacrificed Himself willing for us.  When we fail, we can draw near to Him to find grace to help in our time of need.

John 18:28-40 – Jesus Questioned

The Jews didn’t have the right of capital punishment so they took Jesus to the Roman governor, Pilate.  Pilate had the authority to execute criminals.  The Jewish leaders did not.  It was early morning and the Jews wanted to avoid ceremonial uncleanness so they didn’t enter the palace since they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.  Jewish Law didn’t allow them to enter a Gentile’s house or they would become unclean.  Pilate came out to meet them.

Pilate asked Jesus if He was the king of the Jews.  Jesus asked why Pilate had asked this question.  Being a king had different meanings for different people.  The Romans chose themselves to be kings.  A king for Jewish leaders could have meant a leader of their religion – the Messiah.  Jesus didn’t deny that He was a king.  Jesus was not the kind of king Pilate was referring.  He was not a king of a physical county.  He was King over everyone who believed in Him.  He is our King and everyone who obeys Him belongs to His kingdom. 

Jesus told Pilate that He was not the king of this world and that His kingdom was from another place.  Jesus said He was a king and that is why He was born to come into the world to testify to the truth.  Pilate asked what is truth.  Then Pilate went out to the Jews and said he could find no reason to charge Jesus, but it was the custom to release one prisoner at the time of the Passover.  He asked if they wanted to release “the king of the Jews”.  The crowd shouted, “No, not him!  Give us Barabbas!” – John 18:40.

Pilate announced that Jesus was not guilty and was willing to let Him go, but the Jewish leaders refused and wanted Barabbas to go free instead.  Barabbas was a robber and a murderer.  He deserved punishment, but he became free because Jesus took his punishment.  We are all like Barabbas.  We all deserve God’s punishment because of our sins.  Jesus has taken our punishment.  His death has freed us from the results of our sins.

What is the truth?  It is more that what is morally right or wrong.  It means everything that is true about the nature of God and of men.  It is about why we exist.  It is about God’s plans and purpose on our behalf.  Jesus showed this truth to us by His life, death and resurrection.  The Bible says the Word of God is truth and the Spirit of God is truth.

Who have you crucified today?
Who will you forgive today?

Jesus chose to be arrested and suffer the cross to save us instead of saving Himself.
Even when you fail the Lord, He never fails you.
Our choices impact our eternal life and our witness for Christ.

We all have choices to make in this life.  Jesus chose to obey and go voluntarily to His death for us.  He remained in control through it all.  Peter chose to be fear and doubt, but was restored later and repented.  The soldiers chose to have clouded minds and follow false leaders.  Annas chose to put himself above the law and use his power.  He chose not to believe who Jesus was.  Caiaphas chose to bring false witnesses to convict Jesus.  Pilate chose to not to stand up to the Jewish leaders for what was right.  The people chose to be irresponsible and blinded to the truth.  God holds each one of us responsible for our choices.  We either trust or reject Jesus, the Son of God.

Next week we will study John 19.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here next time.

If you have enjoyed my post and have found if helpful, please leave a comment or share this post with the buttons below. 

You can also join this site by clicking on the blue button at the top left "Join this site" or you can "Subscribe by Email".  If you follow by email, you will receive an email every time there is a new post. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

John 17

In this chapter Jesus prays for Himself, His disciples, and all believers.  Jesus prayed often, but there are only a few of His prayers recorded.  This is His longest pray.  He prayed for protection, sanctification, and unity.  This was the night He would be arrested and then He would die on the cross.  This was God’s plan.  Dying on the cross was the only way to save people from their sins.  Then after 3 days He would be alive again defeating death.  All who believe in Him will have new life like Jesus.

John 17:1-5 – Jesus Prays for Glorification

There is only one way to receive new life as Jesus explains it.  “Now this is eternal life:  that they may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”John 17:3.  We must know God, but it’s more than that.  Even the devil knows God and can quote Scripture.  Lots of people know about Him, but they do not know His character and do not follow Him.  I know about doctors, but that doesn’t make me a doctor.  We must know as Him as Friend.  It’s all about a relationship.  We confess our sins to Him and He forgives.  Then the Holy Spirit comes to live in us to teach and to guide.  Then we have a new life that is for eternity.

God sent Jesus into the world.  Jesus could have stayed in heaven, but instead He came to earth and became a servant.  This was God’s plan even before creation.  God loved us so much, but couldn’t accept our sin so He sent Jesus to save people from the penalty of their sins.  He was sent to die on the cross for you and me.  He paid the price for our sins.

Jesus brought God glory by completing the work He was given here on earth.  What is glory?  It means to honor, to praise, to exalt, to magnify.  Jesus wanted His death on the cross to reveal God’s character, His victory over death, and then for all people to repent.  He wanted God’s power and plan for salvation to be seen by all.

Jesus prayed for God to glorify Him as He had been before creation.  He was there with God and the Holy Spirit to help in the creation.  He had come to earth as a man and depended on God.  Now He would return to His heavenly position and be our representative before God.  God will glorify Him again for His obedience on the cross.

If knowing God through Jesus brings eternal life, what is keeping you from believing?
How does God have authority over your life?

John 17:6-19 – Jesus Prays for His Disciples

Jesus prays for the disciples.  He is our High Priest.  He will never die again and will always be our High Priest making intercessions for them and all people.  Jesus values those who belong to Him.  God gave us to Jesus and Jesus and the Father are one.  All God has belongs to Jesus and all Jesus has belongs to God.  He loves us so much that He died for us.  He intercedes to the Father for us.  He gave us the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes it’s really hard to comprehend that He values me that much, because I know all by shortcomings, my sinful thoughts, my doubts, my selfishness, etc.  I could go on and on.

Why do you believe Jesus loves you?

Jesus said His disciples brought Him glory.  How did they do that?  They did that by believing, obeying Him, and accepting Him.  They believed He was sent by God.  We can do bring Him glory by believing and following Him daily.  By being an example to the world and sharing the gospel.

How does your life bring glory to God?

Jesus prayed that the Father would protect the disciples, because He loved them.  He knew they would be hated and persecuted and even killed.  He wanted them safe from Satan’s influence.  He prayed for the Father to sanctify them.  Sanctify means to set apart or make holy.   They are set apart from sin and set apart for God.  He prayed they would be consecrated for service in the world.  2 Peter 3:11 tells us we ought to live holy and godly lives.

From what dangers do you need to ask for God’s protection?

Believers also set ourselves apart from the world and to God as we conform to His standards of holiness.  When God saves us from sin and gives us new life, He justifies us meaning that He declares us righteous forever because of Jesus’ atoning death.  Justification is God’s work alone; sanctification is God’s work, but also our work as we pray, study, worship and serve God.  Sanctification is a lifelong growth in holiness.

John 17:20-26 – Jesus Prays for Future Believers

Now Jesus prayed for unity for all believers.  He prayed that God would join believers together as one just as the Father and Jesus are one.  Eph.4:1-6 calls us to be 1 and that there is 1 body, 1 Spirit, 1 hope, 1 Lord, 1 faith, 1 baptism, 1 God and Father for all, who is over all and through all and in all.  We need to stop all the bickering and complaining in our churches and work together in unity.  We all have the same goals and the same mission.

Where is your church divided?
How can you work toward true unity in your church?
Do experience oneness with other believers?

Jesus said He has given us the glory that God gave to Him.  He prayed that He wanted believers to be with Him and to see His glory that God has given Him.

Jesus’ prayer revealed His complete dependence on the Father.  He felt a need to talk to God.  Prayer is having a conversation with God.  Talking as well as listening is important.  The Bible says the prayers of the righteous are powerful.  So don’t give up even when you feel discouraged and when your prayers aren’t answered in the way you wanted.  There are different kinds of prayers.  There is corporate prayer, private prayer, quiet prayer, and audible prayer.  They don’t always produce answers we want or when we want, but they draw do us closer to God.

Do you pray often?
After praying do you take time to listen for God to speak?
How can you pray more for the unsaved?

Through prayer believers receive the power, protection, and courage to live God glorifying lives.
God’s sovereign plan involves Jesus giving eternal life to all who the Father had given Him.
God’s sovereign plan is to glorify Himself and His Son through the cross.

Next week we will study John 18.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here next time.

If you have enjoyed my post and have found if helpful, please leave a comment or share this post with the buttons below. 

You can also join this site by clicking on the blue button at the top left "Join this site" or you can "Subscribe by Email".  If you follow by email, you will receive an email every time there is a new post. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

John 16

John 16:1-15 – The Holy Spirit’s Work

 Last time we learned that a true follower of Jesus will bear fruit and to bear fruit we must remain in Him.  Jesus told his disciples that they were to love one another and that they should expect persecution from the world.  He knew after He left the disciples to return to heaven they would face difficult opposition.  He wanted them to know exactly what to expect and how they should respond.  He is telling them and us this so we won’t stumble.  The closer you are to Jesus, the more the world will hate you.

They key to enduring persecution is to expect it and to trust in Jesus.  He knows the future and the trials we will face.  He warns us in advance so we will trust Him.  We are not to focus on our feelings and needs, but focus on Jesus’ glory and spread the gospel.  Even in persecution His glory should be our aim.

Even though Jesus would be leaving the earth, He would not leave them alone.   He would send them another Counselor to be with them.  This is the Holy Spirit.  He told them it was for their own good that He was going and that they would be glad He was going, because the Holy Spirit will come to be with them and guide them in all truth.  He would convict the world of guilt. 

Jesus could not be everywhere while He was here on earth, but the Holy Spirit can be everywhere.  He had to leave because the disciples couldn’t fully understand all that Jesus was teaching.  They also lacked the power the Holy Spirit would bring them.  Only the Holy Spirit convince people salvation is found in no one else, but Jesus.

The Holy Spirit is our Helper.  He intercedes in prayer for us before the Father.  He helps us remember God’s Word.  He equips all believers.  He convicts the world of sin.  He is the Convictor of sin, righteousness and judgment.  He will guide us to all truth.  He will disclose to us what is to come. 

Convictor of Sin – The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin as well as our attitude toward Christ.  He convicts us that God holds us responsible for that attitude both inward and outward.  He convicts the stubborn attitude of unbelief and that it is a choice of darkness rather than light.  “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”John 3:19.

How has the Holy Spirit convicted you of a sin?

Convictor of Righteousness – “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”.2 Cor. 5:21.  Jesus is the standard for righteousness.  He never sinned and always obeyed God.  He is the only one who could die in the place of sinners.  God put His stamp of approval on Him and returned Him to sit on His right hand.  He makes everyone righteous who believes in Him.

Has the Holy Spirit ever convinced you of the righteousness of Jesus and that by His death and resurrection He secured that righteousness for you?

Convictor of Judgment – Satan is the ruler of the world and he was judged at the cross.  He is doomed.  He still roams around trying to tempt and deceive.  He and his subjects will be judged at the final ultimate judgment and be thrown into the Lake of Fire.  Believers will not be judged.  “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”John 3:18. 

Has the Holy Spirit ever convinced you that you are under the same judgment as Satan?

John 16:16-33 – Grief Will Turn to Joy

Jesus told the disciples that in a little while they would not see Him anymore.  He knew their thoughts.  He knew there would be sorrow and joy over the next 3 days.  He would be arrested, falsely accused and tortured.  They would watch Him die.  They would spend the next days in fear and hiding, but in 3 days they would rejoice like never before.  They would see Him alive again.  Jesus uses a woman in childbirth as an example.  She is in pain while giving birth, but when the baby is born all the pain is gone and there is joy for the birth of her child.

What circumstances in your life test your commitment to follow Jesus?

Jesus instructs them that when they pray they are to ask the Father in Jesus’ name.  When they do this they will receive what they ask and their joy will be complete.  The Father loves them because they have loved Jesus and have believed that He came from God.  By praying in Jesus’ name it shows we come to the Father because Jesus sent us and God will treat us as His own Son.  We come in the authority and power of Jesus, because of the salvation we have in Jesus.

Now, finally the disciples think they understand.  Jesus said “you believe at last”, but that the time is coming when they will run away in fear.  Still Jesus loved them and will never forsake them.  The same is true for us.  We may run from God, but He still loves us.  We are not to be afraid of the world and all its troubles.  Jesus Christ has overcome the world.  The Father is with Jesus and Jesus is always with us. 

He told them these things so they would have peace even though they will have troubles in this world.  The peace he’s talking about is peace and less worries about our security in our salvation.

How has Jesus comforted you in a time of trouble?
How does your life show joy that no circumstance or person can take you away from the joy of the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit reveals the truth.  No one can be neutral.  Either Jesus, the Prince of Peace rules your life or the prince of this world rules your life.  We all have a choice.  Was Jesus the Messiah and the Son of God sent by God or not?  Where will you spend eternity?

Next week we will study John 17.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here next time.

If you have enjoyed my post and have found if helpful, please leave a comment or share this post with the buttons below. 

You can also join this site by clicking on the blue button at the top left "Join this site" or you can "Subscribe by Email".  If you follow by email, you will receive an email every time there is a new post.