The Gospel of John: Who is Jesus, Part Three.

Chapter Eight of the Westminster Confession of Faith contains a valuable summary of the person and work of Jesus Christ. If you want to know who Jesus is, familiarize yourself with what the Puritans compiled in the Westminster Confession of Faith.

I will reproduce the content from the Confession, followed by its biblical foundation. There are eight sections concerning Jesus Christ. We will share a section each day for eight days. Enjoy!

Section II is as follows. It will be identified as (1) Confessional Statement followed by its (2) Biblical Foundation.

Confessional Statement:

The Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon Him man’s nature,[10] with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin;[11] being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance.[12] So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.[13] Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.[14].

Biblical Foundation.

[10] JOHN 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 1 JOHN 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. PHILIPPIANS 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. GALATIANS 4:4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.

[11] HEBREWS 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. HEBREWS 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

[12] LUKE 1:27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. GALATIANS 4:4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.

[13] LUKE 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. COLOSSIANS 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. ROMANS 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. 1 PETER 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. 1 TIMOTHY 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

[14] ROMANS 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. ROMANS 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 1 TIMOTHY 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

This is who Jesus is.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

The Gospel of John: Who is Jesus, Part Two.

When we began our study of the Gospel of John, I indicated the key themes contained in this fourth gospel. There are quite a few. More than you might initially think. One of the most important themes in John’s Gospel concerned the identity of Jesus Christ. I re-shared yesterday one of the first blogs from this series regarding that subject of who Jesus is.

Today, I share with you from the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). As you may recall from our study of The Puritans, the WCF was/is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the “subordinate standard” of doctrine in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide. The phrase “subordinate standard” indicates that the WCF is ultimately subordinate to the Scriptures.

Chapter Eight of the Confession contains a valuable summary of the person and work of Jesus Christ. If you want to know who Jesus is, familiarize yourself with what the Puritans compiled in the Westminster Confession of Faith.

I will reproduce the content from the Confession, followed by its biblical foundation. There are eight sections concerning Jesus Christ. We will share a section each day for eight days. Enjoy!

Section I is as follows. It will be identified as (1) Confessional Statement followed by its (2) Biblical Foundation.

Confessional Statement:

It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man,[1] the Prophet,[2]Priest,[3] and King,[4] the Head and Savior of His Church,[5] the Heir of all things,[6] and Judge of the world:[7] unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed,[8] and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.[9].

Biblical Foundation.

[1] ISAIAH 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. 1 PETER 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. JOHN 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 1TIMOTHY 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

[2] ACT 3:22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.

[3] HEBREWS 5:5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

[4] PSALM 2:6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. LUKE 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

[5] EPHESIANS 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

[6] HEBREWS 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.

[7] ACT 17:31 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.

[8] JOHN 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. PSALM 22:30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. ISAIAH 53:10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

[9] 1TIMOTHY 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. ISAIAH 55:4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. 5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. 1CORINTHIANS 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

This is who Jesus is!

Soli deo Gloria!

 

The Gospel of John: Who is Jesus, Revisited.

When we began our study of the Gospel of John, I indicated the key themes contained in this fourth gospel. There are quite a few. More than you might initially think.

What I want you to pay particular attention to today regards John’s identification as to the identity of Jesus Christ. A proper understanding of who Jesus is stems not by asking the question “Who is Jesus to you?” but rather discovering what the Bible, and the Gospel of John in particular, says regarding who Jesus Christ actually is.

Key statements regarding the identity of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John include the following:

1. Jesus is God. 1:1–2, 18; 5:17–18; 8:58–59; 10:30–33; 20:28.
2. Jesus existed before the creation of the world. 1:1–2; 8:58; 17:5, 24.
3. Jesus has supernatural knowledge. 1:48; 2:4, 19, 23–25; 3:14; 4:17–18; 6:51, 70; 8:28; 9:3; 10:15, 17–18; 11:4, 14; 12:24, 32; 13:10–11, 38; 21:18–19.
4. Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God. 1:36, 41, 49; 3:18; 4:25, 29; 5:25; 7:26, 27, 31, 41, 42; 9:22; 10:24, 36; 11:4, 27; 12:34; 19:7; 20:30–31.
5. Jesus is the “I am.” 4:26; 6:20, 35, 48, 51; 8:12, 18, 24, 28, 58; 9:5; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 13:19; 14:6; 15:1; 18:5–6 (cf. Ex. 3:14–15Isa. 41:4; 43:10–13, 25; 45:18; 51:12; 52:6).
6. Jesus, the sent Son, reflects the sender. 3:17, 35–36; 5:19–26; 6:40; 8:35–36; 14:13; 17:1.
7. Jesus is the fulfillment of Jewish festivals and institutions (including the temple). 1:29, 36; 2:14–22, 4:23–24; 8:12; 9:5; 19:14.
8. Jesus is the giver of eternal life. 1:4; 3:15–16, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 26, 39–40; 6:27, 33, 35, 40, 47–48, 51, 53–54, 68; 8:12; 10:10, 25, 28; 11:25; 12:25, 50; 14:6; 17:2–3; 20:31.
9. The signs of Jesus show that He is the Messiah (cf. also Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God, above). 2:1–11, 13–22; 4:46–54; 5:1–15; 6:1–15; 9:1–41; 11:1–44.
10. The witnesses to Jesus testify that He is the Messiah. 1:7–8, 15, 19, 32, 34; 3:11, 32–33; 4:39; 5:31–39; 8:14, 18; 10:25; 15:26–27; 18:37; 19:35; 21:24.
11. Father, Son, and Spirit are united in their work of revelation and redemption. 14:17–18, 23, 26; 15:26; 20:21–22.
12. Jesus’ death is the basis of salvation. 1:29; 3:14–15; 6:51–58; 10:15; 11:50–52; 12:24; 15:13.
13. God is sovereign in salvation. 3:21; 5:21; 6:37–45, 64–65; 10:16, 26–30; 15:16; 17:2, 6, 9.
14. Salvation is obtained through believing in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. 1:12; 3:15, 16; 5:24; 6:29, 35; 8:24; 11:25–27, 42; 12:44; 17:8, 21; 20:31.
15. Believers can experience the benefits of salvation already in the here and now, during this present evil age. 3:18, 36; 4:23; 5:24; 6:39–40; 10:10, 26–29; 11:25–26.
16. Believers are called to continue Jesus’ mission (cf. also Jesus as the sent Son; See above). 4:38; 15:16; 17:18; 20:21–22.

There you have the answer to the question, at least from John’s Gospel, as to Jesus’ identity. Memorize them, as best you can, in order to be prepared the next time someone asks on Social Media, or anywhere else for that matter, who Jesus is.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Gospel of John: To Know!

“But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” (John 7:27-29)

What does it mean to “know?” Within today’s text, the Apostle John uses two Greek words for our one English word “know.”  The two Greek words respectively are “οἶδα (oida) and γινώσκω (ginosko). On a personal note, the Greek word γινώσκω; ginosko is the first Greek word, and definition, I learned as a Bible college student in 1977.

Both Greek words mean to possess information, to understand, to remember and to acknowledge. There seems to be no discernible difference between the two words. John uses them interchangeably, much as we might use the words “I Know” or “I understand” or even the slang expression “I get it.”

However, the significant irony within the text is not so much the number of words used to mean “to know” but the absence of knowledge and understanding by the people speaking and using the words for knowledge and understanding.

The people speaking are people from Jerusalem who are celebrating the Feast of the Tabernacles (John 7:2, 25). Immediately following their statement that Jesus could be the Christ (John 7:25-26), they deny that this could be possible because they know where Jesus comes from, presumably Nazareth. Their reasoning is that the presumption was that nobody would know from where the Messiah would come.

Dr. R. C. Sproul comments, “But they could not believe He was the Messiah because they knew where He came from, from Mary and Joseph in Galilee (v. 27; see 6:42). It was a popular belief among the Jews at the time that the Messiah would grow up in obscurity and would appear suddenly, with no one having known Him before. Since they knew Jesus’ background, they thought He could not be the Messiah. Truthfully, however, the crowd of people did not know where Jesus was from. Jesus could say that they knew, but He meant that they knew of His origins only in a limited sense. They did not know the whole story, namely, that Jesus came from God, for they did not know God. And this accusation incensed them even more (7:28–31).”

Jesus acknowledges this lack of ultimate understanding on the people’s part when He responds, ““You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” The people may have thought Jesus ultimately came from Galilee but Jesus indicated that His true origination was heaven and from the Father; of whom they did not know.

Dr. John MacArthur explains, “These words stand in antithesis to John 8:19 where Jesus told his enemies that they neither knew him nor the Father, thus indicating a deep irony and sarcasm on Jesus’ part here. Jesus’ point is that contrary to what they thought, they really had no true understanding of who he was. They knew him in the earthly sense, but not in the spiritual sense, because they didn’t know God either. Although they thought that they were acutely perceptive and spiritually oriented, their rejection of Jesus revealed their spiritual bankruptcy (Rom. 2:17–19).”

Recently on Social Media, I read a statement by someone asking people, “Who is Jesus to you?” The question troubled me because it seems to indicate that the identity of Jesus is ultimately up to us. It’s as if we can originate our own existential meaning of who Jesus really is. You have your Jesus and I have mine. No harm, no foul. Everybody wins! We all have our own truth claims with no ultimate and universal truth claim.

On the contrary, the ultimate identity of Jesus Christ is solely contained in the Word of God. Our foundational reference point to truth in general, and truth related to the identity of Jesus Christ in particular, is to be found solely in the Scriptures. His identity is revealed not only by Jesus Himself (John 6; 8; 9; 10; 11; 14; 15), but also by the writers of Scripture. For example, see John 1:1-14. Any identification as to who Jesus is, void of a biblical source, is dangerous ground upon which to stand.

The better, or more accurate, question is “who is Jesus?”

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

The Gospel of John: Truly, this is the Christ.

“Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?” (John 7:25-26)

Why did the Jewish religious leaders hate Jesus so much that they were ready and willing to kill Him (John 5:18; 7:1)? As we have already seen in this chapter, even Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him (Jon 7:5).

One commentator writes, “All four Gospels agree that Jesus’ practice of healing people on the Sabbath was the object of the religious leaders’ condemnation. Whether we are talking about the healing of the man with the withered hand or the healing of the paralyzed man at Bethesda, the Jewish leaders saw His Sabbath healings and His teaching about their lawfulness as a claim of His equality with God (Matt. 12:9–13; Mark 3:1–6; Luke 6:6–11; John 5:1–18).

We also know that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, and for that matter today, hated and despised Him because their works were, and are, evil (John 6:7). Even though an individual’s evil intentions is often covered up by politically correct speech, flowery phrases and covert behavior, God knows the heart. Jesus Himself said in Mark 7:14-23 that evil things come from within man and defile him.

Theologian J.C. Ryle explains, “That great Scriptural doctrine, man’s need of preventing and converting grace, stands out here, as if written with a sunbeam. It becomes all who question that doctrine to look at this passage and consider. Let them observe that seeing Christ’s miracles, hearing Christ’s teaching, living in Christ’s own company, were not enough to make men believers. The mere possession of spiritual privileges never yet made any one a Christian. All is useless without the effectual and applying work of God the Holy Spirit. No wonder that our Lord said in another place, “No man can come to me, except the Father who has sent me draw him.” (John 6:44.)

Dr. John MacArthur states, “The question indicates the crowds and the rulers were in great confusion and uncertainty as to who Jesus was and what to do about him. They did not really have any firm convictions regarding Jesus’ identity, for their question reveals their doubt and unbelief. They were also perplexed at the religious leaders’ failure to arrest and silence him if he really were a fraud. Such dense confusion caused the crowd to wonder if the religious authorities in private concluded that he was indeed the Christ. Mass confusion among all groups reigned regarding Jesus.

When men encounter truth, they may hate it and seek to destroy it, but they often shrink from it when directly confronted with it. Be prepared for the world’s hatred of the truth of Jesus Christ and that this hatred will be directed towards anyone who holds to the truth.

However, remember the promise Jesus gave in Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Soli deo Gloria!

 

The Gospel of John: Five Reasons. Part Two.

“Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the Law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” (John 7:19-24).

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).

The second reason pointing to Jesus as God was 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).

The third reason Jesus gave proving that He is God was 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.”

The fourth reason pointing to Jesus as God was His startling impact on the world. ““Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?”

The fifth reason pointing to Jesus as God was His miraculous work. “Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the Law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

One of the most profound ironies in Scripture was the Jews rejecting and disbelieving the many “signs” Jesus publicly performed demonstrating that He was Emmanuel: God in the flesh. Signs from God were the very thing the Jews wanted, yet when God gave them signs evidencing His identity, they rejected not only the signs but He as well.

I Corinthians 1:18-24 says, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

The very signs the Jews demanded, and which Jesus gave, they rejected as they eventually rejected Him. It was the most important sign, which the Jews and others, reject today. It is the sign of the cross.

Simply believing in the existence of God is not enough to be saved from the wrath of God. Salvation from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin is by accepting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as a substitutionary atonement on the sinner’s behalf, by repenting of one’s sin and receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This is the right judgment of which we are to judge the work of Jesus on the cross.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

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!