The Gospel of John: Five Reasons. Part One.

“So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.” (John 7:16-18)

In spite of increasing opposition to Him and His ministry, Jesus nevertheless continued to teach with authority as God’s Son. The Jews who heard Him were continuously astonished and amazed and consequently continuously said “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” (John 7:15)

It would be at this moment during the feast Jesus would give five reasons why He was the fulfillment and source of Israel’s redemption. In other words, Jesus would teach that He was the fulfillment of the Feast of the Tabernacles. Jesus would give five specific reasons regarding His identity and purpose for coming to earth. These reasons form the bulk of the remaining portion of John 7.

Reason number one is that Jesus supernatural knowledge of the Scriptures originated from God the Father Himself. Jesus taught “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.” The difference discovered in Jesus’ teaching was found in its source, i.e., the Father gave it to him (8:26, 40, 46–47; 12:49–50). Jesus’ knowledge of Scripture originated from God the Father himself. This was in contrast to rabbis who received their knowledge from other men (Galatians 1:12; Acts 22:1-3). While rabbis relied on the authority of others (a long chain of human tradition), Jesus’ authority centered in himself (cf. Matt. 7:28–29Acts 4:13).

The second reason pointing to Jesus as God is that His teaching and knowledge could be tested and proven to be truth. “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.”

Jesus’ teaching up to this point in John’s Gospel includes man’s need for a spiritual birth (John 3), living water (John 4), and spiritual nourishment likened unto bread (John 6). One pastor writes, “Those who are fundamentally committed to obeying and doing the will of God will be guided by Him in the affirmation of his truth. God’s truth is self-authenticating through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit (cf. 16:131 John 2:20, 27).”

The third reason Jesus gave proving that He is God is that His actions and behavior demonstrated His selfless identity as God. “The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”

Many so-called messiahs and saviors arrive on the cultural scene and do nothing but glorify themselves. Examples in recent days would include cult leaders Jim Jones and David Koresh. This was not the case with Jesus. One commentator explains that, “While other saviors and messiahs acted for their own selfish interests, thereby revealing their falseness, Jesus Christ as God’s Son came solely to glorify the Father and accomplish the Father’s will (2 Corinthians 2:17Philippians 2:5–11Hebrews 10:7).”

Pastor Burk Parsons writes, “Throughout history, our enemy has raised up many false prophets and false teachers, but perhaps never before in history has the church itself raised up so many of its own false teachers, parading them and welcoming them into their homes and churches. False teachers abound on many of the so-called Christian television networks, and books by false teachers fill the shelves of many so-called Christian bookstores. And while many Christians are rightly concerned about the growth of religions such as Islam, the greatest threat to orthodox Christianity is not other religions but false teachers who creep into the church unnoticed.”

Parsons continues by saying, “False teachers creep into the church not because they look like false teachers but because they look like angels. They disguise themselves just as their master Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. When false teachers attempt to creep into the church, they typically don’t look like wolves because they wear sheep costumes and use some of the same language that the sheep use. They regularly quote Scripture, and they are often able to quote more Scripture than the average Christian. False teachers are not always argumentative or divisive; often they are some of the nicest people we know. They usually creep in not with scowls on their faces but with big smiles. They don’t normally creep into churches and teach obvious heresies and falsehoods; they usually subtly question the truth and teach partial truths, and they are not always identified by what they actually teach but by what they leave out of their teaching. They often speak of Jesus, salvation, the gospel, and faith, but they twist the words and concepts of Scripture to fit their own versions of the truth, which is no truth at all. They typically don’t attempt to creep into churches where the Word of God is preached boldly and passionately, in season and out of season, and where the people are eager for the sound preaching of Scripture and are growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, they usually target those churches where people are indifferent to doctrine and apathetic about the preaching of the Word of God.”

That is why I am committed to doctrine and the expositional preaching and teaching of God’s Word. It is the surest way I know of to stem the tide of false teaching. That is why this daily blog will continue to uphold the truth of God’s Word.

I Peter 3:15 says, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

Thus far Jesus has given us three reasons to believe that He is God incarnate. Two more, given in this context of John 7, are to follow. Hope you will join me next time.

Until then,

Soli deo Gloria!

The Gospel of John: The Fulfillment of the Feast.

“About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” (John 7:14-15)

By way of reminder, the Feast of the Tabernacles was also known as the Feast of Booths, Shelters, or Ingathering. One commentator describes it as “one of the three great festivals of Israel, celebrating the completion of the agricultural year. The Jews built booths or tabernacles (temporary shelters) to commemorate their deliverance from Egypt by the hand of God (Exodus 23:16; 34:22; Leviticus 23:33–43).” It is this feast of which John 7:14 refers. See John 7:2.

The designation feast of booths (tabernacles) comes from the requirement for everyone born a Jew to live in booths made of boughs of trees and branches of palm trees for the seven days of the feast (Leviticus 23:42). Sacrifices were offered on the seven days, beginning with thirteen bullocks and other animals on the first day and diminishing by one bullock each day until on the seventh seven bullocks were offered.

The New Bible Dictionary (NBD) explains that, “On the 8th day there was a solemn assembly when one bullock, one ram and seven lambs were offered (Numbers 29:36). This is the last day, ‘that great day of the feast’, probably alluded to in John 7:37. As a feast, divinely instituted, it was never forgotten. It was observed in the time of Solomon (2 Chronicles 8:13), Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 31:3; cf. Deuteronomy 16:16), and after the Exile (Ezra 3:4; Zechariah 14:16, 18–19). The ceremony of water-pouring, associated with this festival in post-exilic times and reflected in Jesus’ proclamation in John 7:37ff. is not prescribed in the Pentateuch.

The NBD continues by stating, “This feast had a historical reference to the Exodus from Egypt and reminded the Jews of their wandering and dwelling in booths in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:43). However, this is not evidence of the conversion of the agricultural festival to a historical one. Rather it points to the truth that Israel’s life rested upon redemption which in its ultimate meaning is the forgiveness of sin.

It was during the middle of the feast that Jesus literally went up to the temple and began teaching. Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “Jesus taught according to the custom of the teachers or rabbis of his day. Prominent rabbis would enter the temple environs and expound on the OT to crowds who sat around them.”

In spite of increasing opposition to Him and His ministry, Jesus nevertheless continued to teach with authority as God’s Son. The Jews who heard Him were continuously astonished and amazed and consequently continuously said “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?”

Dr. MacArthur continues by stating, “Jesus’ knowledge of Scripture was supernatural. The people were amazed that someone who had never studied at any great rabbinical centers or under any great rabbis could display such profound mastery of Scripture. Both the content and manner of Jesus’ teachings were qualitatively different than any other teacher.”

It would be at this moment during the feast Jesus would give five reasons why He was the fulfillment and source of Israel’s redemption. In other words, Jesus would teach that He was the fulfillment of the Feast of the Tabernacles. Jesus would give five specific reasons regarding His identity and purpose for coming to earth. These reasons form the bulk of the remaining portion of John 7.

Let me encourage you to begin reading John 7:16-24 in preparation for our ongoing study of the Gospel of John. See if you can identify the five reasons Jesus gives regarding His identity and ministry.

Until next time,

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

The Gospel of John: Who is Jesus?

“But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.” (John 7:10-13).

Following Jesus’ discussion with His brothers, John’s narrative shares that Jesus secretly went to the Feast of the Tabernacles after His brothers also went up to Jerusalem for the feast. We must presume that it was the Father’s will for Him to do so, but to do so discretely. This would be the last time Jesus would leave Galilee before His crucifixion.

As the feast proceeded, there was much discussion among and by the various people groups. First, there were the Jewish leaders who kept saying, “Where is He?” Remember that it was their intent to kill Jesus at the earliest possibility (John 5:18).

The second people group were the Jewish populace or simply “the people.” These would include Judeans, Galileans and Jews from outside Palestine. While the Jewish leaders were unified in their hatred of Jesus, the people were divided. Some superficially believed Jesus to be a “good man.” Others cynically rejected Him and believed He was leading the people astray. Yet, all kept these opinions private for fear of retaliation by the Jewish authorities.

Josh McDowell once wrote that there are only three perspectives one can have of Jesus. What you think about Jesus will make all the difference in the world as to whether you should follow Him.

The first perspective is that Jesus was a liar who knew that He was not God and deceived the people into thinking He was. If this is true, then you should not follow Jesus because He was not telling the truth.

The second perspective is that Jesus was a lunatic who thought He was God, but really wasn’t. If this is true, then you should not follow Jesus because He was insane.

The third perspective is that Jesus is Lord, who truly is God and who alone provides a salvation for sinners from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin. If, or rather since, this is true, Jesus should be worshiped and followed.

Jesus is not just simply a good man and neither was He leading the people astray. He is God. Thus far in the Gospel of John, we have not only seen John’s statements regarding Jesus’ identity as God (John 1;1-14), but also Jesus’ own words concerning His deity (John 4:26; 5:18; 6:36-59).The truth is that you cannot simply accept Jesus as a good man. He said He was more than that. He said that He was, and is, God.

Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, “Six months or so before the brothers of Jesus implored Him to go up to the Feast of Booths and do signs, He escaped a crowd that attempted to force Him into leading a revolution against Rome (John 6:15). That is likely one of the reasons why our Lord did not initially follow His brothers’ wishes but told them that His time to go up for the feast had not yet arrived (7:8). Due to the speculation about His ministry (vv. 10–13), it seems He did not want to cause a stir among those who had false expectations about the Messiah. He would enter the public eye on His terms, not theirs.” 

This remains the case to this day. The hatred of Jesus, in part was because He did not meet people’s expectations of who they thought the Messiah should be.  In sharing the Gospel, we must not depart from the biblical truth of Jesus’ identity as God.

John Calvin writes that “the Gospel cannot be faithfully preached without summoning the whole world, as guilty, to the judgment-seat of God, that flesh and blood may thus be crushed and reduced to nothing.”

Dr. Sproul concludes, “People hated Jesus because His words exposed their evil hearts. When we preach the gospel, people may hate us as well. Let us make sure that they hate us because of the gospel message, not because of our offensive personalities.”

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

The Gospel of John: My Time has not yet Come.

“Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee.” (John 7:6-9)

Jesus’ statement to His brothers is similar to the His statement to His mother Mary in John 2:4. It also is His initial reason for not going to the Feast of the Tabernacles. It was not the Father’s perfect timing for Jesus to go, to be arrested and then to be executed by His enemies.

This reveals a biblical doctrine we must understand. Jesus was completely dependent and committed to the Father’s sovereign timetable for His birth, life, death and resurrection. John 8:20 validates this when John writes, “These words he (Jesus) spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.”

Since Jesus was completely dependent and committed to the Father’s timetable for everything which occurred in His life. So too must we, as Jesus’ followers, be completely dependent and committed to the Father’s timetable for everything which occurs in our own lives.

When Jesus told His brothers that their time is always here or always ready, He meant that since they were of the world, the purposes of God held no importance to them. Because of their unbelief (John 7:5), they did not listen or understand Jesus’ words, did not understand God’s timetable, and could not understand that God stood before them.

Perhaps this is a lot like looking for a new job or when you make a career change, or when one is made for you. You keep sending resumes, filling out applications and reading countless email notifications from Indeed, Jobcase or ZipRecruiter. More than once you receive a rejection notice regarding your application. It is easy to become frustrated and despondent.

It is then that you must remember God’s sovereign timetable. God’s timing has not yet arrived. In the meantime, serve the Lord where you are and when you can.

Jesus additionally tells His brothers that the world system and culture of sinful rebellion does not hate them as it hates Him. Why? It is because at this point in their lives, Jesus’ brothers are unbelievers and therefore belong to the world. The world loves them (John 15:18-19).

True disciples of Jesus Christ should experience the world’s hatred (John 15:18-25; 16:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:12). The world does not hate Christian bakers simply because they may choose to not make a cake for a wedding. The world hates Christian bakers because they are Christians: whether or not they make a wedding cake.

Jesus was not only completely dependent upon the Father’s timetable for His life, He also recognized that God the Father was not yet ready for the crucifixion of God the Son (Galatians 4:4). The fullness of time had not yet arrived.

We have covered a lot today concerning God’s timing and the world’s hatred: not only of God, but also of us. Therefore, we rest in God’s timing while we are presently serving Him in a world which not only hates Him, but us as well.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

The Gospel of John: Show Yourself to the World.

“Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him.” (John 7:1-5).

Do you realize that one of Jesus’ goals in coming to earth was to divide families and create conflict within the home? Yes, it’s true! Before we explore this startling truth, let us first examine the background of today’s text.

The Feast of Booths was also known and referred to as the Feast of the Tabernacles. Along with the Feasts of Passover and Pentecost, it was the third of the three principle and mandatory annual Jewish feasts (Exodus 23:14-16). It was also the most popular. It occurred during the month of October.

So as to get a sense of the context of John 7, we need to remember the historical context of John 6. While John 6 occurred during the time of the Passover (March/April), John 7 occurred during the time of the Feast of Tabernacles (October). Therefore, some six to seven months have passed between these two chapters.

Unlike current biographies, or even autobiographies, which seek to chronicle every event in the subject’s life, the Apostle John does not record what happened during those seven months which divide these two chapters of his gospel account of Jesus’ life. The only thing John says is in John 7:1 where he writes, “After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.” Jesus went about, or walked, in Galilee. Consequently, where Jesus walked, His disciples followed. This is what Jesus did for seven months until the Feast of the Tabernacles. During His walking, Jesus would be teaching and making disciples of the twelve.

The Feast of the Tabernacles observed the annual harvest of grapes and olives (Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:33-43; Deuteronomy 16:13-15). Many people would come to Jerusalem for the festivities which lasted seven days.

One commentator writes, “People living in rural areas built makeshift structures of light branches and leaves to live in for the week (hence, “booths” or “tabernacles”; cf. Lev. 23:42) while town dwellers put up similar structures on their flat roofs or in their courtyards. The feast was known for water-drawing and lamp-lighting rites, to which Jesus makes reference (“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink”—7:37–38 and “I am the light of the world”—8:12).”

It was also at this time that Jesus’ half-brothers told Him that He should go to Judea, or more specifically Jerusalem, so that His disciples could see the works He was doing. Matthew 13:55 (see Mark 6:1-3) identify Jesus’ brothers as James, Joses, Simon and Judas. Matthew and Mark also indicate Jesus had at least two sisters.

John comments that Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him at this time. However, James and Jude would eventually become leaders in the church along with being writers of the biblical New Testament books which bear their names.

Jesus’ brothers wanted Him to put on a public display of miracles. Sort of a program of entertainment. Perhaps this was so (1) they might believe themselves as to Jesus’ identity or (2) it would position them to accept a political position or office under Jesus’ earthly kingship. Either way, Jesus’ brothers did not become disciples until after His resurrection (Acts 1:14; I Corinthians 15:7).

It should not surprise us that even Jesus’ immediate family was divided as to His real identity. Matthew 10:34-39 explains it this way: Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Sometimes, the holidays, like the Feast of the Tabernacles, brings out the real emotions from members of our family regarding our commitment to Christ to be one of His disciples. Our family members may question, critique and/or perhaps even condemn our faith. Realize that even Jesus’ family did this. This in part is what it means to take up our cross and follow Jesus.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

The Gospel of John: The Jews were seeking to kill him.

“After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.” (John 7:1)

As we begin John 7, we see that the smoldering hatred the Jewish religious and political leaders had for Jesus begins to blaze into a full-fledged inferno. As a Christian lyricist put it several years ago about God’s love, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.” What is true concerning God’s love for sinners is also true concerning sinners hatred for God.

The culmination of this hatred for Jesus will be in the immediate aftermath of His raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:45-57). The Jewish leaders and ruling authorities will begin to plot on how to kill Jesus. This will eventually result in His crucifixion. How ironic that this would be the Father’s eternal and sovereign plan.

It is probably best to note at this point that the world’s hatred for Jesus continues to this day and extends to His followers. Jesus said in John 15:18-25, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.”

I find it so troubling in my spirit when I witness pastors and churches, even whole denominations, develop a ministry vision attempting to get the fallen world to like them and to like Jesus. The result is a soft-soap peddling of a watered down gospel which does not save, but rather makes people feel good. This results in a perspective, popular in the 1970’s, which says, “I’m okay, you’re okay.”  Or as another church has as their motto: “Come join us. Where it’s okay to not be okay.” No! As fallen sinners facing the wrath of a holy, almighty God (Romans 1:18), we’re not okay, and it is not okay to not be okay. Okay?

What sinners need is the biblical Jesus who came to die a substitutionary death on the cross for sinners like you and me. Sinners who were in need of salvation because they were destined for the judicial punishment from a righteous God. Why were we destined for God’s righteous wrath. It is because our sins were crimes against God, which alienated us against God and resulted in a debt before God which we could not pay.

The Gospel says that the eternal God who exists, and who will punish sin, has provided the only way available to be delivered from His wrath. The only way to be saved from sin’s penalty, power and eventual presence is through faith alone in the substitutionary atonement, resurrection and imputed righteousness provided by Jesus Christ alone. This is the gospel of which the Apostle John has labored to explain through his account of the life of Jesus Christ. It is a gospel of grace alone which cannot and must not be watered down in order to placate the masses, resulting in them not hearing the truth about themselves and about Jesus Christ.

Resolve today to not compromise the gospel that (1) God exists; (2) Sin exists; (3) Salvation from sin exists; (4) One Savior exists and Jesus Christ is He and He alone.

Repent of your sins and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior today.

Soli deo Gloria!   

The Gospel of John: Did I not choose you.

Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.” (John 6:70-71).

The Lord’s sovereignty is a predominant theme within the beginning and middle of John 6. The subject also frames the conclusion of the chapter. Jesus teaches the twelve, including Judas, that He and the Father are in complete control of all the circumstances not only surrounding the sinner’s salvation but also of the means of which that salvation is secured.

Jesus poses His own rhetorical question to the twelve in response to what was spoken to Him by Peter, the leader of the twelve. “Did I not choose you?” Obviously, He did! We have seen the selection to follow Him occur in John 1. But Jesus did more than just select them to be His human followers. He chose them to be divinely saved souls unto eternity (John 6:37, 44. 65). Not even a whimper of human pretension or the sinner’s self-exaltation is acceptable in light of God’s sovereign election.

Then Jesus clearly indicates He knows who the traitor among them is. While He does not come out and say it, although John inserts his divinely inspired editorial comment after the fact, Jesus clearly knows the circumstances of betrayal which He will face and who will be responsible for it. This is another example of His omniscience (cf. 1:47; 2:24–25; 6:15, 61). Judas Iscariot will betray Him.

Iscariot means “man of Kerioth.” This is a name of a village in Judah. Judas will soon be designated by another name or title: traitor.

The word “devil” (διάβολος; diabolos), from which we derive our English word diabolical, means a slanderer or a wicked person. One commentator explains that, “Satan’s working in Judas was tantamount to Judas being the devil. In 6:70 the Greek does not have the indefinite article “a,” so it could be translated “one of you is Satan (devil).” See Mark 8:33; Luke 22:1-3; John 13:2, 27; 17:12.

Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “The word “devil” means “slanderer” or “false accuser.” The idea perhaps is better rendered “one of you is the devil.” This meaning is clear from 13:2, 27Mark 8:33Luke 22:3. The supreme adversary of God so operates behind failing human beings that his malice becomes theirs (cf. Matt. 16:23). Jesus supernaturally knew the source and identified it precisely. This clearly fixes the character of Judas, not as a well intentioned but misguided man trying to force Jesus to exert his power and set up his kingdom (as some suggest), but as a tool of Satan doing unmitigated wickedness (see notes on John 13:21–30).”

Another commentator states, “Later in the Upper Room, Jesus again said one of the Twelve would betray Him (13:21). John called Judas “the traitor” (18:5). The disciples later could reflect on this prophecy of His and be strengthened in their faith. Judas was a tragic figure, influenced by Satan; yet he was responsible for his own evil choices.”

As we will see in John 10, Jesus was in full control of His circumstances. He would not be surprised by anything which occurred in the events leading up to, during, and following His crucifixion.

I would encourage you re-read John and meditate upon the doctrine of the Father’s sovereign choice for you to be His gift to the Son. What a wonderful present by the Father in giving us to His Son and giving up His Son for us.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Gospel of John: You are the Holy One of God.

“So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69).

I find it most interesting in our day of pragmatic church growth philosophy which places such a great important on making the lost sinner comfortable, that Jesus did not tone down His rhetoric when He delivered His Bread of Life Discourse. He spoke the truth, even though if offended His hearers (John 6:66) resulting in them turning away.

Not only did Jesus not tone down His preaching, He also did not run after those who left and attempt to persuade them to continue following Him. Many pastors today would have conducted a survey with the crowed and polled them to see what they wanted to hear. Not Jesus!

Instead, He turned His attention to the twelve and asked, ““Do you want to go away as well?” He did this as a way of encouraging their fragile faith. They could have been affected by the apostasy of the many, or even the apostasy of the one (John 6:70-71).

As usual, Peter spoke up first for the group and openly confessed, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” What a confessional statement. Let’s look at its specific parts in order to grasp the sum and scope of its significance.

“Lord, to whom shall we go?” Peter was convinced that to follow another teacher was ludicrous. His question was rhetorical. The answer was obvious. There was no other Messiah for them to follow. Others may leave, but they would not. A rather ominous declaration in light of what we know of Peter in the narratives to follow.

“You have the words of eternal life.” Peter continues by confessing that Jesus alone presently and actively possesses the words and statements of eternal life. No one else has this gift.

“And we have believed.” Additionally, Peter confesses that the twelve have believed in Jesus. This is not entirely true because Jesus will immediately indicate that there is one among them who is a devil, referring to Judas Iscariot (John 6:71). Perhaps, as one commentator explains, “Peter’s words were somewhat pretentious in that he implied that the true disciples somehow had superior insight and as a result came to belief through that insight.”

“And have come to know.” This is a parallel statement to what Peter just said. Peter says that the twelve understand who He is. Do they truly understand? Future statements by John the Apostle will indicate otherwise.

However, Peter does conclude with this excellent statement: “you are the Holy One of God.” Peter says that Jesus exists as the set apart from sin Messiah who originates solely from God the Father.

Dr. John Walvoord writes, Peter was confident of the apostles’ commitment to Jesus as the Holy One of God. This title is unusual (a demon addressed Jesus that way; Mark 1:24). It suggests Jesus’ transcendence (“the Holy One”) and His representation of the Father (“of God”); thus it is another way of confessing Him as Messiah. Peter knew this by a special work of the Father (cf. Matt. 16:17).”

Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, “Although the Gospel narratives make it plain that Peter and the others did not fully understand Jesus until after His resurrection, before then they nevertheless understood important truths about Jesus that others failed to grasp. Peter said they would stay because Jesus alone had the words of eternal life and was “the Holy One of God,” the Messiah (vv. 68–69). They had some sense that Christ was the source of life and that they could find fellowship with God in no one else.”

Do you confess Jesus as the Holy One of God? There is life in no one else (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Repent of your sins and receive Him today as your Savior and Lord (John 1:12-13).

Soli deo Gloria!

 

The Gospel of John: The Basis of Unbelief.

“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.” (John 6:66)

“After this” means because of this or the reason for this. Jesus’ teachings in general, and His Bread of Life Discourse in particular, offended people. They did not like what He had to share. However, Jesus did not equivocate the truth. He did not become shallow in His teaching in order that people would not be offended. He spoke the truth.

The phrase “Many of His disciples” does not refer to the twelve as we will see when we study John 6:67. It refers to the many who followed the right person, Jesus, for the wrong reasons. The phrase refers in the immediate context to the crowd who followed Jesus for what He would do for them physically. They wanted a free meal, a new political structure with Jesus serving as king, and a problem free life with no sickness, pain or death.

When Jesus did not offer this, but rather told the crowd that the only way to truly be part of His kingdom was for the Father to give them as a gift to the Son, they rebelled and rejected the truth. They “turned back.” To turn back is a decisive departure to no longer be a disciple of Jesus. The language indicates that this abandonment was final.

I Peter 2:6-8 says, “For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.”

Dr. John MacArthur explains, “The messianic credentials of Jesus were examined by the false religious leaders of Israel and contemptuously rejected (vv. 6–8; cf. Matt. 12:22–24John 1:10–11). But Jesus Christ was God’s precious and elect Son, ultimately authenticated through his resurrection from the dead (cf. Ps. 2:10–11Matt. 3:17Acts 2:23–24, 32; 4:11–12; 5:30–31; 10:39–41).”

I John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”

Dr. MacArthur continues by explaining, “The first characteristic mentioned of antichrists, i.e., false teachers and deceivers (I John 2:22–26), is that they depart from the faithful (see vv. 22–23 for the second characteristic and v. 26 for the third). They arise from within the church and depart from true fellowship and lead people out with them. The verse also places emphasis on the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Those genuinely born again endure in faith and fellowship and the truth (1 Cor. 11:192 Tim. 2:12).”

The many from the crowd who turned back from following Jesus evidenced that they were not truly born again (John 3:1-8), neither had they partook of the living water (John 4) nor the bread of life which Jesus alone provides because He is the living water and the bread of life.

I’m sure you can think of someone you know, or used to know, who once followed Christ and then turned their backs on Him, so to speak. It is a painful thing to watch, but a testimony that once again Scripture is true and that commitment to Christ comes on God’s terms and not our own.

Renew your commitment to follow Christ today and to never compromise the truth of Scripture.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

The Gospel of John: The Basis of Belief.

“But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:64-65)

Jesus often used repetition in order to emphasize a particular point. Within this discourse alone, He has used statement “Truly, truly, I say to you” four times (6:26, 32, 47, 53). Jesus not only wanted the people to pay attention to what He was saying, but also that He possessed the authority to say what He was saying.

When He announces to the crowd that some of them do not believe, it is not just because Jesus is a good observer, but rather because He omnisciently knows not only who has rejected Him but also who would betray Him. His omniscience is applied to the present and the future.

It is on this basis that Jesus repeats what He said earlier in 6:44. “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father. We witness a cause and effect statement in vs. 65. The causal statement is “no one can come to me.” The effect portion, or the necessary condition, is “unless it is granted him by the Father.”

The word “unless” introduces an exception clause to the preceding statement that “no one can come to Me.” If a necessary condition can be met, than an exception can be made. The only exception to man’s spiritual plight is the Father’s gracious granting. The word “grant” (δίδωμι; didomi) means to give and to allow. It also means to pay. It is an action by the Father upon the passive recipient who is the sinner.

Dr. John MacArthur states, “Although men and women are commanded to believe and will be held accountable for unbelief, genuine faith is never exclusively a matter of human decision. Once again, in the face of unbelief, Jesus reiterated God’s sovereignty involved in selection for salvation.”

Ultimately, our eternal destiny is not up to us, but rather up to God. It is He who makes the final decision as to whom He will give as a gift to the Son (John 6:35).

This is the reason why God and God alone receives the glory for our salvation. Romans 11:36 says, For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Soli deo Gloria!