The Gospel of John: The Conclusion of John’s Gospel.

“This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:24-25)

We have arrived at our destination. We have arrived at the conclusion of John’s Gospel. Uniquely different in tone and content from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, John presents Jesus as the eternal God: the Word. By his accounts of not only Jesus’ discourses (John 6; 8; 9; 10; 11; 14; 15; 13:1-17:26) but also His miracles (John 5; 6; 9; 11; 20), John testifies that Jesus is the eternal Word which became flesh and dwelt among sinful humanity (John 1:14).

John testifies that all which He has written concerning Jesus is true. He also acknowledges that he has not written everything which could have been written about Jesus. This statement by John acknowledges that ancient biographies did not chronicle every event in a particular subject’s life, but rather only those events which coincided with the author’s thesis statement. John, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, presented those events and discourses which testified that Jesus was, and is, God.

Dr. John MacArthur concludes by saying, “John is a personal witness of the truth of the events that he recorded. The “we” most likely is an editorial device referring only to John (see 1:141 John 1:1–43 John 12), or it may include the collective witness of his apostolic colleagues. John explained that he had been selective rather than exhaustive in his testimony. Although selective, the truth revealed in John’s Gospel is sufficient to bring anyone to faith in the Messiah and Son of God (14:26; 16:13).”

Have you placed your faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ? He alone is the Bread of Life (John 6), the Light of the World (John 8-9), the Door or Gateway to heaven (John 10), the Good Shepherd (John 10), the Resurrection and the Life (John 11), the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14), and the One, True Vine (John 15). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

Receive Him today as your Lord and Savior. As John 1:12-13 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Gospel of John: You follow Me!

“Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” (John 21:20-23)

As often as we desire to know God’s will for ourselves, we also want to know God’s will for others. If God is leading us in a certain direction, we often are curious as to whether He will lead others in the same direction. We are not only concerned with what God is doing in our own lives but also what He is doing, and will do, in the lives of others.

Upon hearing from Jesus that martyrdom was his destiny, Peter wanted to know if the Apostle John would encounter the same destiny. Peter asked, in reference to John, “What about this man?”

Jesus clearly and firmly told Peter, ““If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” In other words, Jesus was telling Peter to mind his own business. What Jesus’ plans for John entailed were to be of no concern for Peter. Peter was to follow the Lord. Whatever John’s destiny was, was between John and Jesus, not Peter.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Jesus’ prophecy regarding Peter’s martyrdom prompted Peter to ask what would happen to John (“the disciple whom Jesus loved”—see 13:23). He may have asked this because of his deep concern for John’s future, since he was an intimate friend. Jesus’ reply, “You follow me!,” signified that his primary concern must not be John but his continued devotion to the Lord and his service, i.e., Christ’s service must be his all-consuming passion and nothing must detract from it.”

Another commentator explains Peter’s motivation this way. “The law against coveting reflects, among other things, a broader truth about human nature, namely, that we are very interested in what other people have and what other people are doing. This can be positive when we are looking out for the welfare of others, but it is negative when we want what other people own in such a way that we are envious of them and wish that they did not have it. Our interest in other people is also negative when we take our focus off of the calling that God has given us and start inserting ourselves in others’ concerns. It is for good reason that the Apostle Paul tells us to mind our own affairs (1 Thess. 4:11). He knows that we are often more interested in what others are doing than what God has given us to do.”

Let us resolve today to focus our concern upon God’s will for our own lives and not to be preoccupied with God’s will in the lives of others. While genuine love and concern for one another is biblical (I John 4:7-8), we must not become distracted regarding what God has given us to do by being overly concerned with what He is given others to do.

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!   

 

The Gospel of John: The Martyrdom of Peter.

Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” (John 21:18-19)

Of all the similes and metaphors contained in the Scriptures, arguably the most familiar is the comparison of God as our Shepherd and we,  His children and disciples, as His sheep (Psalm 23; Psalm 95:1-7; John 10:10-18; John 21:15-17). The reason being is that much like sheep, we need a Shepherd to guide and lead us. Why? The reason is because sheep are naturally dumb, lacking discernment and wisdom. Sheep need a wise Shepherd.

One commentator writes, “We must admit that we are lost apart from the Lord’s shepherding, just as sheep are lost without a shepherd. This is true not only of laypeople in the church but also of the church’s leaders. And it was true even of the Apostles. As we see in today’s passage, Peter was likewise entreated by our Savior to follow Him (John 21:19). Peter and the other Apostles had to humble themselves like sheep and follow Jesus no less than the rest of us do.”

As Psalm 23 reminds us, the Lord, our Shepherd, leads us not only into green pastures and beside still waters, but also through the valley of the shadow of death. Regardless of where we are, or where the Lord leads us, we are not to fear. This is because the Lord our Shepherd is with us as our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1-7).

Jesus told Peter this truth. He prophesied to Peter that he would meet a martyrs death; most likely by crucifixion. The phrase “but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go” found in today’s text conveys the image of crucifixion. The phrase “stretch out your hands” was a common way of speaking about crucifixion in the ancient world.  Therefore, we can conclude that Jesus was predicting that Peter would eventually die by crucifixion. Tradition holds that Peter was crucified upside down during the reign of Nero sometime in the early to mid-60s AD. While we may not be 100% certain Peter was crucified upside down, it is certain that he was crucified given the evidence that we have both from texts such as John 21:18 and from ancient historical documents.

Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “Jesus’ call of devotion to him would also mean that Peter’s devotion would entail his own death (Matt. 10:37–39). Whenever any Christian follows Christ, he must be prepared to suffer and die (Matt. 16:24–26). Peter lived three decades serving the Lord and anticipating the death that was before him (2 Pet. 1:12–15), but he wrote that such suffering and death for the Lord brings praise to God (1 Pet. 4:14–16). Church tradition records that Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero (c. A.D. 67–68), being crucified upside down, because he refused to be crucified like his Lord.”

How has the Lord led you like a shepherd in your life? Do you recall the so-called green pastures of prosperity and comfort? What about the dark times as He led you through the valley of the shadow of death?

Savior, like a shepherd lead us
Much we need Thy tender care
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us
For our use Thy folds prepare.

Chorus

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.

We are Thine, who Thou befriend us
Be the guardian of our way
Keep Thy flock from sin defend us
Seek us when we go astray.

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus
Hear Thy children when we pray
Blessed Jesus, oh blessed Jesus
Hear Thy children when we pray.

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

The Gospel of John: A New Chapter.

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

Isn’t it interesting how each of our lives resembles the basic elements of a story or a book? Those basic elements include the following: (1) Plot; (2) Setting; (3) Characters; and (4) Theme.

The Lord is the author of each of our lives. He created us, saved us, and is preparing an eternal home for us to be with Him. In the midst of our birth, life and death, He creates and crafts various plots, comprising our life. Instead of our lives being our story, in reality it is God’s story and how He places each of us in His unfolding drama of redemption.

The plot or story of each life contains characters of family, friends, enemies or opponents, teachers, employers, mentors and detractors. Each person the Lord brings into our lives shapes and molds us to grow and mature. Lessons, sometimes painful, are learned in order for each of us to be holy as the Lord is holy (I Peter 1:16) and to be content in all things (Philippians 4:11).

The settings of our lives includes the homes we live(d) in, the schools we attended as children, the colleges we attended as we pursued an education, and the places of employment where we worked and earned a living. Do you remember your childhood home? What about your elementary school? What college did you attend? What was your first job? When were you married? Have you ever been married? How many children, or grandchildren, nieces and nephews do you have?

The theme of our life can be summed up in many different ways. For me, my life’s theme is found in Philippians 2:12-13: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

What do these introductory thoughts have to do with today’s text in general, and the Apostle Peter in particular? Simply this: Peter was about to embark upon a new chapter in his life. He was about to leave much of what he had known, e.g. fishing, in order to be a fisher of men and to feed the Lord’s lambs and sheep as an apostle of the living God. He would cease to be a man of business and instead become a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He would no longer be a man who depended upon himself but rather become a man dependent upon the Lord. He would become the first leader of the New Testament church.

Following their breakfast with Jesus, the Lord asked Peter three times whether he loved Him more than fish. I believe it is significant that Jesus called Peter “Simon” each time. It alluded to the probability that at this moment in the apostle’s life, he truly considered returning to his life of fishing which was what he had known prior to meeting Jesus. Jesus could restore Peter to ministry, following his denial of Christ, but only if Peter’s profession of love for Jesus was true or real.

One commentator says, “Three times Jesus posed the question to Peter, most likely to parallel the Apostle’s three earlier denials (see 18:15–27). Just as Peter rejected Jesus three times, he would have to confess Jesus three times to be restored to his place among the disciples. Some preachers have made much of the fact that Jesus uses two different Greek words for “love” in interrogating Peter, but it does not seem that we should find significance in this fact. The words are used interchangeably throughout John’s gospel. What we should take note of is that Jesus tells Peter in three different ways to feed and take care of His sheep. Jesus gave Peter the duty of shepherding His people, of teaching them the truth that feeds their souls.”

The new chapter in Peter’s life would involve preaching the gospel, leading the church, healing the sick, being imprisoned, and testifying to the truth of the gospel while publicly affirming His love for Jesus when facing persecution. Peter, at times, would still make mistakes (Galatians 2) but would increasingly become an instrument for God’s noble purposes. He would eventually author two New Testament Epistles which bear his name.

Where do you fit in the story of God’s redemption? Are you nearing the final chapter? Or are you in the midst of His story for you with exciting events occurring each day? Or, is God’s story in your life just beginning with God’s salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone?

Wherever you may be in the Lord’s unfolding drama of redemption, take great joy that God is writing each chapter of your life for His glory.

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gospel of John: Breakfast with Jesus, Part Two.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.” (John 21:9-14)

Jesus meets our needs on so many levels and in so many ways. Whether it be our physical, emotional, intellectual, relational, financial, societal, and even occupational needs, He is there and He provides. Such was the case as today’s text from John testifies.

Commentator Robert Rothwell writes, “Today’s passage tells us that the disciples ate breakfast with Jesus after coming ashore (vv. 9–14), and we read here again of the remarkable willingness of Jesus to serve His disciples by meeting their needs. No doubt the disciples were tired and hungry from a night of labor, and our Lord took the time to prepare fish and bread for them to eat (vv. 9, 13). Though Jesus had been exalted in His resurrection, He did not think it beneath Him to serve others, providing another example of how believers are to care for one another (see also 13:14–15; Phil. 2:5–7).”

There is no special significance to the number of fish which the disciples caught. John didn’t have to provide this particular detail, but he did. It is another evidence to the eyewitness account, and Spirit inspired, record which the Gospel of John provides.

What are your particular needs today? Do you, and have you taken the time to thank the Lord Jesus for how He faithfully meets your needs? This morning, prior to completing this article, I just so happened to receive an email devotional containing a particular prayer by the late preacher and pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The prayer is as follows.

“The apostle’s words are, “To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity” (2 Peter 3:18). Will you not today make it your prayer? Lord, help me to glorify You. I am poor; help me to glorify You by contentment. I am sick; help me to give You honor by patience. I have talents; help me to extol You by spending them for You. I have time, Lord; help me to redeem it, that I may serve You. I have a heart to feel; Lord, let that heart feel no love but Yours, and glow with no flame but affection for You. I have a mind to think, Lord; help me to think of You and for You. You have put me in this world for something. Lord, show me what that is, and help me to work out my life-purpose. I cannot do much, but as the widow put in her two copper coins, which were all her living, so, Lord, I cast my time and eternity too into Your treasury. I am all Yours; take me, and enable me to glorify You now, in all that I say, in all that I do, and with all that I have.”

Do not miss the final part of Spurgeon’s prayer: “Enable me to glorify You now; in all that I say, in all that I do, and with all that I have.” In effect, we need the Lord’s empowerment, aid, assistance, and support to serve Him in whatever we do for Him and in how we live for Him. He has proven time and again to provide the support we need in our physical, emotional, intellectual, relational, financial, societal, and even occupational areas of life.

The hymn writer, Annie Hawks (1836 -1918) expressed it this way.

I need thee every hour
Most gracious Lord
No tender voice like thine
Can peace afford

Chorus:

I need thee oh I need thee
Every hour I need thee
Oh bless me now my savior
I come to thee

I need thee every hour
Stay thou nearby
Temptations lose their power
When thou art nigh

I need thee every hour
Most holy one
Oh make me thine indeed
Thou blessed son

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

The Gospel of John: Breakfast with Jesus, Part One.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. (John 12:4-8)

Seven of Jesus’ eleven disciples had decided to go fishing following Peter’s declaration to do the same (John 21:1-3). While debatable, it is possible the Peter had determined to return to the life and vocation he had known due to his three-fold denial of Jesus (John 18:24-27).

It is true that Jesus meets us where we are in our various stages of life. Whether during times of trouble or triumph, difficulties or despair, He meets us during our most heart-felt and needy times. He also reveals Himself through His Word when we return to the comfortable. The comfortable can refer to that which we know and are most familiar. The comfortable can be a place or feeling of contentment or well-being. The comfortable may occur when we have suffered a devastating loss.

The disciples in today’s text had been fishing all night (John 21:3). Dawn was beginning to break (John 21:4). Unaware of who was speaking to them, Jesus appeared and said, “Children, do you have any fish (John 21:5)?” The word “children” (Παιδία; paidia) may refer to a person of any age for whom there is a special relationship of endearment and association—my child, my dear friend, my dear man, my dear one.

The disciples responded that they had none (John 21:5). As He had early in His ministry following their unsuccessful night of fishing (Luke 5:1-11), Jesus commanded them to cast their nets into the sea once again (John 21:6). When the disciples did so, they caught so many that they were unable to draw their nets into the boat because of the multitude of fish.

It was at this moment that John said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Impetuous Peter, even though he was about 100 yards from shore, put on his outer garment and jumped into the sea in order to swim to shore. The other disciples came to shore in the boat dragging the net full of fish.

As we shall see when next we meet, the text reveals that Jesus was not unwilling to serve others. As one commentator explains, “Jesus provides another example of how believers are to care for one another (John 13:14-15; Philippians 2:5-7).

How and when have you sensed the Lord revealing Himself to you at various stages of your life? What portion(s) of Scripture resonated with you at those times? What circumstances precluded this moment with the Lord?

As we will continue to see in John 21, Jesus often reveals Himself to us when He is preparing us for another chapter of ministry opportunity. Is the Lord preparing you for such an opportunity? Listen as He speaks to you through His Word.

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

The Gospel of John: I am going Fishing.

“After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.” (John 21:1-3)

There is not one believer who has never disappointed the Lord by either failing to do what was right or doing what the Lord declares is wrong. Peter is my favorite apostle. He always has been. I can identify with Peter on so many levels. Peter had a lot of rough edges of which the Lord Jesus sovereignly smoothed. Rough edges such as arrogance, self-assurance, and independence which ultimately were refined to become godly humility, assurance and dependence upon the Lord.

John 21 provides us with a wonderful scene of restoration and recommitment following Peter’s three-fold denial of the Lord Jesus (John 18:24-27). The gracious restoration comes from God. The resulting recommitment comes from us based upon God’s gracious restoration.

Today’s text begins with the Apostle John recounting a post-resurrection appearance by Jesus to some of the eleven disciples. It occurred at the Sea of Tiberias, otherwise known as the Sea of Galilee. The disciples involved include Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, the sons of Zebedee (James and John himself), and two others which John does not identify by name.

As usual, Peter announced what he is going to do and the rest followed. What Peter decided to do is revealed when he said, “I am going fishing.” What did Peter mean by this statement? Was he simply going to spend a leisurely afternoon with some of his buddies? Or was there something more significant by his words?

There are some who comment that Peter and the other disciples went to Galilee out of obedience to the Lord’s command to meet Him there (Matthew 28:16). Fishing, which was there former occupation, was a way in which to occupy their time while they waited for Jesus to appear.

However, when we look more closely at Peter’s words which John records, something more is contained. Peter said, “I am going fishing.” The phrase, “I am going” is one word in the Greek (Ὑπάγω; Hypago). It is a present active indicative verb. The meaning behind this statement is that whatever Peter intended to do, he was going to be doing it continually. What was it that occupied Peter’s thoughts?

He said that what he intended to do was to go fishing. The verb “fishing” (ἁλιεύειν; halieuein) is a present active infinitive verb. It expresses a declared purpose. Is it possible that what Peter now intended to do was to return to a life and livelihood of fishing? We cannot be sure. However, it would seem understandable for Peter to return to the occupation he had known, and in which he had been successful, in light of his recent failure as one of Jesus’ disciples wherein he denied the Lord Jesus three times.

What we do know is that the other previously mentioned disciples accompanied Peter. We also know that after a night of fishing, they caught nothing.

Puritan commentator Matthew Henry writes, “That night they caught nothing, though, it is probable, they toiled all night, as Luke 5:1-5. See the vanity of this world; the hand of the diligent often returns empty. Even good men may come short of desired success in their honest undertakings. We may be in the way of our duty, and yet not prosper. Providence so ordered it that all that night they should catch nothing, that the miraculous draught of fishes in the morning might be the more wonderful and the more acceptable. In those disappointments which to us are very grievous God has often designs that are very gracious. Man has indeed a dominion over the fish of the sea, but they are not always at his beck; God only knows the paths of the sea, and commands that which passeth through them.”

John Calvin writes, “God often tries believers, that He may lead them the more highly to value His blessing.”

How have you attempted to move on from when you disappointed the Lord? How has He chosen to restore you? Take heart, God has a way in which He mends broken vessels. Even fishermen.

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Gospel of John: The Post-Resurrection Appearances of Christ.

“After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way.” (John 21:1).

How many times did Jesus appear after His resurrection? The following is a chronological and biblical list of His many post-resurrection appearances.

  1. Mary Magdalene crying by the tomb Jerusalem. This was in the early morning on the first resurrection Sunday. Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18.
  2. The other women returning from the tomb. This was early morning on the first resurrection Sunday. Matthew 28:8-10.
  3. Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus near Emmaus. This was on the afternoon on the first resurrection Sunday. Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-32.
  4. Peter in Jerusalem. This was late afternoon on the first resurrection Sunday Luke 24:33-35; 1 Corinthians 15:5a.
  5. To the ten disciples and others, without Thomas, in Jerusalem. This was the evening on the first resurrection Sunday. Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-25.
  6. To the eleven disciples, with Thomas, in Jerusalem. This occurred eight days after the first resurrection Sunday. Mark 16:14; John 20:26-29.
  7. To the seven disciples by the Sea of Galilee (Tiberias). A few weeks later? John 21:1-25.
  8. To the eleven disciples on a Mountain (Great Commission). This was near the end of the 40 days. Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; 1 Corinthians 15:5b
  9. To 500 people at once. Perhaps this took place in Galilee. This was near the end of the 40 days. 1 Corinthians 15:6.
  10. To James. Perhaps this occurred in Jerusalem. This was near the end of the 40 days. 1 Corinthians 15:7a.
  11. To the eleven disciples at Jesus’ Ascension. Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:4-11; 1 Corinthians 15:7b.
  12. To Paul on the road to Damascus. Perhaps about two years after Jesus’ resurrection. Acts 9:3-5; 22:7-8; 26:14-16; 1 Corinthians 15:8.

Today’s text would recall the eighth appearance by Jesus following His resurrection. It occurred after an unspecified time after the first resurrection Sunday. The location was the Sea of Tiberius or Galilee.

We may conclude that Jesus’ many appearances following His crucifixion and burial attest to the validity of the resurrection. I Corinthians 15:1-8 says, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “This chapter (I Corinthians 15:1-8) is the most extensive treatment of resurrection in the Bible. Both the resurrection of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospels and the resurrection of believers as promised in the Gospels are here explained. The testimony of eyewitnesses, recorded in the NT, was added to support the reality of the resurrection. These included: 1) John and Peter together (John 20:19–20), but probably also separately before (Luke 24:34); 2) the Twelve (John 20:19–20Luke 24:36Acts 1:22); 3) the 500, only referred to here (see note on 2 Pet. 3:15–16), had all seen the risen Christ (cf. Matt. 28:9Mark 16:9, 12, 14Luke 24:31–39John 21:1–23); 4) James, either one of the two so-named apostles (son of Zebedee or son of Alphaeus; cf. Mark 3:17–18) or even James the half-brother of the Lord, the author of the epistle by that name and the key leader in the Jerusalem church (Acts 15:13–21); and 5) the apostles (John 20:19–29). Such unspecified appearances occurred over a 40-day period (Acts 1:3) to all the apostles. Paul was saved too late to be one of the 12 apostles. Christ had ascended before he was converted. But through a miraculous appearance (Acts 9:1–8; cf. 18:9–10; 23:112 Cor. 12:1–7), Christ revealed himself to Paul and, according to divine purpose, Paul was made an apostle. See note on 1 Cor. 1:1. He was “last of all” the apostles, and felt himself to be the “least” (15:9–101 Tim. 1:12–17).”

The many post-resurrection appearances by Jesus Christ is one of many ample proofs that He indeed bodily rose from the dead. Take comfort in knowing that our resurrection from the dead is assured because of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!    

 

The Gospel of John: Believe that Jesus is the Christ.

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31).

Today’s text, as we noted at the beginning of our study of The Gospel of John, provides the purpose for John’s Gospel and its existence. That purpose is that people may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing they may have life in His name.

John recorded many signs and wonders which Jesus accomplished. There was the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6), the healing of the man born blind (John 9), and the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11). These three miracles, and many others contained in John’s Gospel and also those which were withheld, were written and recorded for the expressed purpose of sinners committing to, depending upon, trusting in and worshiping Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

This belief, or faith, in Jesus as the Christ, Son of God results in the believer possessing life in His name. This is eternal life. It means to possess an eternal, reconciled relationship with the One, True God of the universe. It means for God to declare the sinner righteous by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.

John Calvin writes that, “He means the Christ, such as He had been promised in the Law and the Prophets, as the Mediator between God and men, the Father’s highest Ambassador, the only restorer of the world, and the Author of perfect happiness. Here John repeats the most important point of His doctrine, that we obtain eternal life by faith, because while we are out of Christ, we are dead and we are restored to life by His grace alone.”

Ephesians 2:1-5 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—.”

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

The Gospel of John: My Lord and my God.

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:24-29)

Today’s text is the familiar account of Doubting Thomas. Thomas had not been present with the other ten disciples when Jesus appeared the evening of His resurrection (John 20:19-23). We do not know why Thomas was absent.

When the other disciples met him, they told him that they had seen the Lord. Thomas was resolute in his disbelief of what they claimed to have experienced. He made the memorable statement, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Why was Thomas so resolute? Perhaps it was Thomas’ personality, which many describe as being faithful but pessimistic (John 11:1-16). This pessimism can be seen in Thomas’ statement: “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Thomas does not say, “When I see, then I will believe.” Rather, his tone and tenor is negative. “Unless I see, I will never believe.” I often wonder how many believers in Christ are like Thomas in this respect. Overly negative. Consistently cynical. Gloomy and glum.

Well, as we know the text continues to say that “Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” The setting is similar to the prior week. The disciples were inside their locked room, perhaps for the same reason as before: for fear of the Jews. Were they worshipping? Praying? The text does not say. The text does say that this time, Thomas was with them.

Even though the doors were locked Jesus suddenly appeared in the midst of them. He again greeted them all, including Thomas, by saying, “Peace be with you.” It was then that Jesus specifically spoke to Thomas and said, Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Jesus commanded Thomas to no longer disbelieve but rather to believe. The language Jesus used indicates a very strong contrast.

When Jesus said to Thomas to believe, He meant for Thomas, and all disciples of Jesus, to trust in, commit to, depend upon and worship Him as the resurrected Lord and Savior of sinners. Once again, what was true for Thomas is true for believers today.

Thomas’ response was a wonderful confession for the deity of Jesus Christ. Thomas said, “My Lord and my God!” Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “With these words, Thomas declared his firm belief in the resurrection and, therefore, the deity of Jesus the Messiah and Son of God (Titus 2:13). This is the greatest confession a person can make. Thomas’s confession functions as the fitting capstone of John’s purpose in writing (John 20:30–31).”

However, Jesus foreknew a time when believers in Christ would not have the physical evidence from which Thomas benefited. Therefore, Jesus replied, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

While there is ample evidence to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we have examined the evidence here on this website, our commitment, trust, dependence and worship of Jesus is solely be faith and not by sight at this time. Since Jesus ascension, all believers are saved by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. Therefore, Jesus pronounced a special blessing on those who believe without seeing.

I Peter 1:8-9 says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

I John 4:20 says, “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Romans 1:16-17 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

All people are persons of faith. The only question is, “faith in what object?” The only object of faith which delivers the sinner from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin and its guilt is Jesus Christ. This is the core message of the Gospel.

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!