Tattletaling on God

July 26, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Posted in John | 5 Comments
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Imagine coming home from work one day and excitedly telling your spouse, “Honey, guess what! I got a huge raise and a promotion today!” only to have your spouse respond with, “Well, that’s just great, too bad you couldn’t find time to load the dishwasher every now and then while you were busy earning that raise.” What might this response tell us? Well, it might tell us that one spouse wasn’t exactly carrying his/her weight regarding the household chores, but I think it would actually tell us more about the other spouse’s attitude toward life in general. As we look at the aftermath of Jesus’s gracious healing of the man near the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath, we can see how the response of the Jewish leaders revealed more about them than about the man who was healed.

He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.

John 5:11

At this point they seemed to be only interested in the healed man as a potential Sabbath-violator, and he was pretty much willing to narc Jesus out at that point.

Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.

John 5:12-13

He was willing to be a stool pigeon, but he wasn’t able to drop a dime on Jesus because he hadn’t even bothered to find out his name.

The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

John 5:15

As soon as he found out who had healed him he couldn’t wait to rat Him out.

And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

John 5:16

In case you were wondering just how seriously the Jewish leaders took Sabbath violations, they were not not talking about giving Him a stern warning and a talking-to, nor giving Him a fine or a slap on the wrist. They were just going to kill Him.

But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

John 5:17

The word translated as “answered” is the word used for a legal defense, and His answer shocked them because He referred to God in a personal way as “My” Father, and He referenced the Sabbath “exception” for God Himself, who even the devoutest Jewish religious teachers had to admit must keep “working” on the Sabbath or else the universe would dissolve. People foolishly claim that Jesus never explicitly claimed to be God, but the reaction of the accusers clearly refutes that here.

Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

John 5:18

Once again, though, Jesus had a legal defense or “answer” to this:

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, (what does verily, verily mean) I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

John 5:19

Jesus claimed to be God by:

1. Claiming the honor due to God.

That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

John 5:23

2. Claiming to do the works that God can do.

For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

John 5:21

3. Claiming that right to judge that God has.

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

John 5:22

Jewish scholars claimed that there were three locks that only God could unlock, or three keys that only God held: The keys to open the womb, the clouds (rain), and the grave.

Watering Down the Truth about Jesus

April 17, 2019 at 11:54 am | Posted in John | 7 Comments
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In Cana Jesus had performed His first miraculous sign (water into wine at a wedding) at the request of a mother (His own). Now at His return to Cana, He performed another miracle – this time at the request of a father.

So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.

John 4:46-47

This man did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but he was desperate, so he pleaded with someone he thought of as a well-known faith-healer.

Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.

John 4:50

Jesus was often compassionate in answering the prayers of even those without saving faith. This is similar to – but not the same event as – another healing recorded in Matthew 8.

And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

Matthew 8:5-13

That time the father was clearly identified as a gentile as opposed to the father in John 4 who was likely Jewish. A belief in Jesus as a miracle worker is not saving faith, but belief in Jesus as the Son of God is.

Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.

John 4:50-53

The key link is that the father – not having seen his son healed – “believed the Word” of Jesus.

After it was established that John the Baptist baptized with physical water, but that Jesus would perform a greater baptism (John 1), and after Jesus turned water into wine (John 2), and after He talked to a religious leader about being born of water and the spirit (John 3), and after He talked to a Samaritan woman about drawing and drinking water from a well (John 4), where do you think He went in John 5? To a pool of water, of course!

Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.

John 5:2-3 (emphasis added)

The Relationship between Sin and Disease

October 17, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Posted in John, Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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Sin has real consequences, including danger, disaster, and death. One of the simplest, but most insightful, sermon-poems I know goes:

Sin will keep you longer than you wanted to stay
It will cost you more than you wanted to pay
It will teach you more than you wanted to know
And it will take you farther than you ever wanted to go

However, there is another consequence of sin that we don’t always hear as much about, because of the danger of turning it into an abusive, rather than a constructive, warning: disease.

The Bible makes it clear that disease CAN BE the result of sin.

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James 5:14-16

And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

John 5:13-14

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

I Corinthians 11:27-30

All illness is a general result of the curse of sin brought into the world by the fall of Adam, but, of course, not every single disease, infirmity, or health problem is directly caused by the sick person’s specific sin, as is shown in the case of Job and the man born blind, to name just two examples. This means that, while it is probably unwise for us to make judgments about whether someone else’s disease is a consequence of his or her specific sin, it is probably VERY wise to consider our own lives with an eye toward identifying, confessing, repenting of, and forsaking sin as a possible remedy for, or deterrent to, physical disease.

Beware Flaky Firmness

January 20, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Posted in Biblical Walking, John, The Fives | 6 Comments
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In the days when Christ Jesus walked in Jerusalem there was, near the sheep gate of the city, a pool called Bethesda. People with diseases, injuries, paralysis, and other maladies came to this pool to wait for the water to be stirred. There was a belief that an angel came periodically, and swirled the waters with healing power, but only the first one into the pool would receive the healing. One of the people there was a man who had been disabled for a long time, and he caught the attention of Jesus:

And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.

John 5:5

The Bible says that the man had an “infirmity,” which means that he lacked “firmness” or strength in his body. Either through inability, or through a secret fear that healing would entail completely changing the way he had lived for 38 years, he had never been the first one into the water.

Jesus ignored the pool and healed the man with a simple verbal command: “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” With that display of divine power, the Lord vanished into the crowd. The Jewish leaders, who were opposed to the ministry of Christ, found the man and chastised him for carrying his bed on the Sabbath.

Later, Jesus saw the man in the Temple, and said:

… Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

John 5:14

In doing so, Christ reminded the man that the “firmness” he had been given by God must be spiritual and moral firmness to match his physical firmness. Each and every one of us came into this world stricken with the infirmity of sin. We had no power to walk with the Lord, or to love or glorify God on our own. However, when Christ saves a sinner, and heals his soul, He does not do so merely for our happiness. He does it so that we have the ability and the inclination to now serve Him righteously. We must remember not to be “flaky” Christians, grateful one day and bitter the next, faithful one day and fearful the next, active one day and complacent the next. The Lord wants our “firmness” to be a constant victorious reminder of our former infirmity and glorious healing.

The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

John 5:15

Where Is Jesus in the Bible? (lesson 1)

June 20, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Posted in Biblical Teaching, Luke | 6 Comments
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If I were to ask you to tell me a good place in the Bible to find out about Jesus, what would you say? The first four books of the New Testament are probably what come to mind. “The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John” would probably be a common answer. But let’s see what Jesus Himself had to say:

And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

Luke 24:13-15

This happened right after Jesus’s Resurrection.

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:27

One of the first things Jesus wanted to do after His Resurrection was have a Bible study. He showed these two disciples on the road to Emmaus all the places in the Bible where He could be found, going all the way from Genesis through the end of the Old Testament.

Then Jesus went to show His closest disciples that He had come back from the grave.

And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

Luke 24:44-45

This is very important because the Bible is very important. As a Christian you are responsible for not just reading the Bible, but for understanding the Bible.

The Pharisees were the religious leaders of Jesus’s day, and they did not like Jesus – in part because He told the truth, and the Truth was that He was the Son of God, and that, because He was the Son of God, they would have to submit to Him. So they were always trying to get Him to do something to prove He really was from God, thinking that, when He failed, they could disprove Him. Here’s what Jesus said to them:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

John 5:39

It was as if He said to them, “You are supposed to be the Bible teachers! And you don’t even know what (Who) the Bible is about?!”

I said earlier that you are responsible for understanding the Bible, and that should concern you, because it’s not always easy to understand. In some places it’s almost like a code. Here’s a simple code to illustrate the point:

I w2nt 2ll the 2l2rms in 2tl2nt2.

You can probably figure it out, but if you were stumped, you would need the “key” to understand the code, so I would give you the key: 2=A. And that makes it simple!

So where is Jesus in the Bible? Remember, at the time that Jesus said these things that we have read in Luke and John, there was no Luke and John, or anything else in the Bible after Malachi. But to the question, “Where is Jesus in the Bible?” the answer is, “Everywhere!”

We will look at some specific examples in lesson 2.

Standing before the Throne: Possession

April 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Posted in The Great White Throne | 13 Comments
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And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11-15

The King of all kings is sitting on a Throne. Will you stand before Him one day? Are you prepared to stand before the King of all creation and be judged?

Lord, thank you for Your great plan of salvation. It is a grace-gift offered freely to us – even though it cost You so much. When we look in Your Word we see that we are so unclean – and we have no excuse. We are undone. All our reasoning, all our speculation, all our schemes and imaginings amount to nothing. Lord God, help us not to just put You “first.” Help us to recognize that You are now, have always been, and will always be so much more than just “number one” out of many others. Help us to see that You are worthy ALONE, and that You alone can save and sanctify. In the Name of Christ Jesus I pray. Amen.

Most of our lives are passed in a haze of distraction. We are caught up in entertainment, in amusements, in the day-to-day business of earning and spending money, and tending to our families and talking to our friends. It is as if all three of our enemies – the devil, the world, and our flesh – are conspiring to keep us preoccupied with the temporal and superficial. But there are times – maybe a five minute interlude of unexpected solitude – when we get what recovering alcoholics sometimes refer to as a “moment of clarity.” The cold water of reality hits us in the face and we suddenly see what life is really about. This can be terrifying – and terror is a rational response. Here’s why: Within a relatively few years everyone reading these words will see God. And the stark reality is that the most pressing issue in your life is: How will you be judged when you stand before His Throne?

If you are truly a Christian – if you have been truly born again – you will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Your works will be judged there, but you won’t be judged for your sins. The reason why you will not be judged for your sins if you have been truly born again is that Christ Jesus was already judged in your place.

For those who are not truly Christians there is another judgment. If you choose to reject God’s Son, you will stand before God and be judged by Him at His Great White Throne. There are three things I want us to see about this Throne.

I. The Throne’s Possessor

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:11 (emphasis added)

The Possessor of this Throne is the King. In fact, He is THE King of kings – the Lord of lords. He is the Possessor not only of this Throne, but of all of Heaven and of Earth – of all creation. This is a King who once appeared Himself before the judgment seat of men. Pontius Pilate sat on a judgment seat with Jesus Christ standing before him, and he bartered over him. He used Him like a pawn to bargain with King Herod. He trifled with this Man Who was a King, but the real King will one day judge Pilate.

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

John 5:22

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Acts 17:31

You see, God never stopped being God, but in the Person of Jesus Christ He became what God had never been before: a Man. Men crucified Him and He laid down His life. They buried Him, but the grave couldn’t hold Him. He was resurrected and He ascended. He came – in the body of a Man – to the gates of Heaven. Imagine the scene with me… Can you hear the silence within? The gasping and the holding of breath within the courts of Heaven? Who is this One who dares to come to these gates? What manner of man – a MAN! – dares to approach where only angels have come before? And this Man says,

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Psalm 24:7

Can you see the significance of this? A Man commanding the ancient gates to lift up! Perhaps a lone inhabitant of the Heavenly City dares to speak up:

Who is this King of glory..?

Psalm 24:8(a)

And the reply comes back:

…The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

Psalm 24:8(b)

Now – with great authority – not a request for admission, but a command:

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Psalm 24:9

The gates lift at His command, and this King of Glory enters… All bow before Him. All give Him praise and honor and glory. All worship and adore Him. He goes up to the Father – to the Father’s right hand – and He sits on a Throne that is both great and white – and He looks to the Father, and He says, “Father, it is finished.” Not a question. No hint of not belonging. Perfect Son and perfect Father and perfect Holy Spirit – all Three in One. The Father looks at the Son, and says, “Yes, Son – it is finished indeed.” Oh, can you see the Possessor of this Throne – the rightful Owner – the rightful King!

Maybe someone at some time has exhorted you to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Maybe you have been told to “crown Him King.” Perhaps someone has pleaded with you to “put Him on the throne of your heart.” But according to the Bible, God has already made Him Lord over all!

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Acts 2:36

The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

Acts 10:36

He is Lord over His children and over His enemies. He reigns and rules in Heaven and on Earth and in hell. One day you will stand before Him in judgment. Are you ready for that day?

The Lord is the Possessor of the Throne. Next time we will look at the Power of the Throne.


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