Sunday, October 18, 2009

Today's Scripture Readings

The following passage of Scripture, John 3:22-6:71 (New King James Version), discusses the following points:
1. John the Baptist Exalts Christ
2. A Samaritan Woman Meets Her Messiah
3. The Whitened Harvest
4. The Savior of the World
5. Welcome at Galilee
6. A Nobleman’s Son Healed
7. A Man Healed at the Pool of Bethesda
8. Honor the Father and the Son
9. Life and Judgment Are Through the Son
10. The Fourfold Witness
11. Feeding the Five Thousand
12. Jesus Walks on the Sea
13. The Bread from Heaven
14. Rejected by His Own
15. Many Disciples Turn Away

This portion of Scripture contains the recognition that John the Baptist had of Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah of the Jews. It shares a story of a sinful Samaritan woman who meets her Messiah and recognizes him as the Messiah because he knew about her entire life and everything she had done. In "The Whitened Harvest" portion, the key verse is:

34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

What exactly was Jesus' "finished work?" To die on the cross for man's sins and rise from the dead so that all who believe on Him would have eternal life. The fact that many of the Samaritan people believed Jesus to be the Savior of the world began because one woman who had encountered him alone (previously) had stated:

19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

Next, Jesus said this:

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The woman was expectant of the coming Messiah, and apparently believed that he would one day arrive:

25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”

Jesus simply told her:

26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

She ran back to her town and told everyone of her encounter. The people came to see and hear Jesus. Then they believed also:

42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ,[a] the Savior of the world.”
[Note: [a] - John 4:42 NU-Text omits the Christ.]

We then read of several miracles that Jesus had performed during his 3 year ministry.
A Nobleman’s Son Healed
A Man Healed at the Pool of Bethesda
Feeding the Five Thousand
Jesus Walks on the Sea

Later in Scripture, we find several instances where people wanted to see (and/or) experience more miracles - including their own requests for healing. But Jesus didn't come down from heaven to only heal physical ailments. His main purpose was to heal all of mankind of their sin problem.

We learn that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus because they perceived his words (claiming to be equal with God the Father) as blasphemy. You see - Jesus knew their thoughts. But look at how he answered them:

19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

We learn that life and judgment are through the Son:

24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

So far, we know that God the Father exists as a separate Person - who is Spirit. We know that Jesus exists as a Person in the flesh. At Pentecost, we learn that after Jesus ascends back to the Father in heaven, he sends us The Helper - the Holy Spirit of God who "brings back to mind" all that Jesus has taught us through the Scriptures. He illuminates the truth of God through His written Word - the Bible, and His Living Word - Jesus Christ.

39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Jesus is showing us that just "searching the Scriptures" is not enough to have eternal life. It is ONLY WHEN WE ARE WILLING TO COME TO HIM that you (we) may have eternal life. Something more is needed. In John 3, Jesus tells us that we must be born again. [See Becoming a Christian]

Jesus uses the illustration of the Jews eating the manna from heaven in order to survive the exodus from slavery in Egypt, and compares that to "eating his flesh" and "drinking his blood" in order for them to have eternal life.

48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed,[l] and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

They obviously didn't comprehend the metaphor. However, Christians today remember Jesus' death on the cross where he shed his blood and gave up his body of flesh for our sakes - and for the forgiveness of sins - by partaking in communion where we symbolically do what Jesus told us through drinking wine (or grape juice) and eating the wafer of bread to acknowledge the Lord's death until he returns again.

You will notice at the end of the passage, many of the disciples (followers of Jesus) turned away.

60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”
61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

But even with Jesus' excellent explanation, the "disciples" (whom he knew would not believe anyway) left:

66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

Then Jesus turned to the twelve:

67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”[m] [Note: [m] - John 6:69 NU-Text reads You are the Holy One of God.]

Simon Peter took the initiative to speak for the twelve. However Jesus added:

70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.

So we see that Judas Iscariot - though he did not REALLY believe in Jesus and still pretended to follow him - was already known by Jesus to be the betrayer. Jesus called him out - though, he did so anonymously at that moment because his time (for the crucifixion) had not come yet. But Jesus clearly did not want Judas to be identified with the other 11 faithful disciples who agreed with Simon Peter's conclusion.

What strong words Jesus stated! "One of you is a devil." [Side note: The politically correct crowd of today would certainly not approve!] However, Jesus is a Man of truth.

Now, let's flash forward to another portion of Scripture where Simon Peter makes a bold statement and Jesus rebukes him - quite harshly:

Matthew 16:22 (New International Version):

22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"

Matthew 16:23 (New International Version) :

23Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."


Peter once said that he would never let Jesus be put to death. Jesus replied, Get behind me, Satan! This came naught but a few short verses after he commended Peter for his knowledge of Jesus' relationship to God.

Peter was valiantly (though mistakenly) attempting to stand up for his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He did not yet understand the magnitude of what it would mean if Jesus didn't go through with his mission. Jesus would have entered back into heaven alone - without any recourse for mankind to be forgiven by God of their sins!

34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

What exactly was Jesus' "finished work?" To die on the cross for man's sins so that all who believe on Him would be forgiven and have eternal life.

Reference: Bible Gateway

1 comment:

satire and theology said...

'What strong words Jesus stated! "One of you is a devil." [Side note: The politically correct crowd of today would certainly not approve!] However, Jesus is a Man of truth.'


However, it (and like) needs to be stated in love and truth at times.