The Gospel of John Introduction – John was probably the youngest of the 12 Apostles. When he met Jesus, he was around age 19. While the Gospels of the New Testament contain similar verses, John’s account is different than the others. Rather than focusing on Jesus’ teachings such as the parables, John focuses on the identity of Christ Himself. For example, there are more “I am” statements revealed from Jesus’ mouth than any other portion of Scripture. The biggest claim, of course, was when He said to the Jews, “Before Abraham was I am.” Much of the Book’s content emphasizes the deity of Christ. John did not record information about His genealogy, birth, baptism, temptation, exorcising demons, transfiguration, institution of the Lord’s Supper, agony in Gethsemane, and ascension. He focused on Jesus’ private conversations with individuals and the preparation of His disciples.

Scholars believe that he was the only apostle to live a long life, perhaps in order to record the Book of Revelation. Most scholars believe Revelation was written around 90 A.D. Preterists, however, assert it was closer to 60 A.D. Preterists believe that almost all End-time prophecies were fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and that Nero Caesar was the predicted Anti-Christ, so they naturally feel pressure to assert an earlier writing of Revelation.

I believe that all four Gospel Books were prophesied and mentioned in Ezekiel 1:5,10 and Revelation 4:7. In each case, we are given a glimpse into the spiritual world, which, in our terms, was rich in symbolism in order to convey a message to us that we could understand, but only with the Holy Spirit’s help. Four visions are described: 1) Lion, calf/bull/ox, man, and an eagle. The Lion (king of the beasts) represents Matthew’s Gospel because he emphasizes Jesus as being the King of the Jews. The calf/bull, or ox (workers) represents Mark’s Gospel because he emphasized Jesus as being the lowly servant. The man represents Luke’s Gospel because he portrayed Jesus as the Son of Man from Adam’s lineage. Finally, the eagle (soars high above all else; majestic) represents John’s Gospel because he presented Jesus as the Son of God with a lineage from eternity. These are the spirits that God used to give the Holy Words to these four gospel writers.

John 1:

v1: How could John merely make this up on his own? It’s too profound. The revelation goes beyond Old Testament substance.

v12: Most important promise God makes to mankind!

v14: If the Word was God (v1) and the Word became flesh (v14), then Jesus was God – Logic 101. Cults, who always deny the deity of Christ, have to scramble frantically on this one. The Jehovah’s Witnesses bible perverts verse 1 by stating “…was a god.” According to reputable translators, the JW’s break rules on this one.

v46: Nathaniel, when being told that the Messiah was found and that He was from Nazareth, responded by saying, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” He may have been referring to the bad reputation that Nazarenes had in that day as well as the fact that there was a significant number of Roman soldiers stationed there which the Jews did not like. He also may have been referring to an Old Testament prophecy (about 700 years old) in Micah 5:2 that proclaimed Bethlehem to be the birthplace of the coming Messiah. This prophecy was also well-known by the Pharisees and they used it to convince themselves and others that Jesus was not the Christ. But genealogical records kept in synagogues and possibly elsewhere would prove where Jesus was born. Luke 2:1-6 reveals that a census was ordered by Caesar Augustus. So, while Mary was still with Child, Joseph returned with them to Bethlehem because he was of the house and the family of David. This made Jesus born there, not Nazareth. It may not be safe to assume that these records, at the time of Christ, were still in tact and could be easily researched. King herod, upon hearing that  king was born may have destroyed all birth records in order to maintain his power. Since it was never recorded that advocates of Jesus produced His “birth certificate” to prove Jesus’ Bethlehem claim, Herod may well have done this dirty deed. If the records were in tact in Jesus’ ministry days, I would think that at least one Pharisee would have checked those records. If so, I would have loved to have seen his face when Bethlehem popped up as being Jesus’ actual birthplace!

John 2:

Jesus was predicting His resurrection here. About the whip – yes He was angry, but it was prophesied in the OT that “He would have zeal for His House.” And the Bible does not say that anyone was actually struck by it, just that He drove them out. This section of the Temple was for the Gentile believers (called The Seekers) and these Jewish money changers were not giving a fair currency exchange to all the out-of-towners that made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover. One result of this was that the converted Gentiles were being prevented from entering the Temple which angered Him as well.

Regarding the water being changed into wine – Jesus was actually portraying how the New Covenant that He was ushering in was going to be far superior to the Old Covenant. Just as the last wine was the better quality, the last covenant is the better covenant. Perhaps more important, man’s custom was to serve the best wine first and the poorer quality wine last (because people’s taste buds would be numbed by then), but God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8,9) as He saves the best for last, and His Best is Jesus Christ along with all of His promises to us! No more Temple sacrificing needed, no more priests as “go-betweens” needed, and no more OT rituals needed as the Book of Hebrews points out.

Interesting note: Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple that would “not have one stone left upon another.” This occurred in 70 A.D. as a result of the Jewish nation rejecting God. God used the Roman army to destroy everything. This put an end to the Temple and all the sacrificing of animals. The Old Testament Jewish priesthood has been non-existent since that date. God has come in the flesh. The New Covenant is in operation since Jesus ascended to Heaven.

v4: Even though Jesus had not yet performed any supernatural act, Mary somehow knew that Jesus could do so and was suggesting that He do one. Jesus’ first response was to respectfully separate Himself from Mary by saying, “Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come.” In those days, saying “woman” was respectful. Today’s vernacular makes this sound disrespectful, but it wasn’t then. I think Jesus is letting His earthly mother know that it was not her place to dictate what He does. Remember, He later said that He does only what He sees the Father doing (not His mother). Mary responded well by telling the servants to do whatever He tells them to do. I assume that because He went on to perform a miracle that the Father gave Him the okay.

v12: This states that Jesus had brothers. They were not simply His disciples because “His disciples” was listed separately within the same sentence.  Whether Jesus’ “brothers” and later revealed “sisters” were born from Joseph and Mary or Joseph and a previous wife is unknown. There is no proof that Joseph was married before and had children. The Roman Catholic church “hopes’ this is true in order to perpetuate the wrong notion that Mary was always a virgin. Another possibility is they could have been nephews/nieces of either Mary or Joseph because of Semitic language customs of the day.  But according to Matthew 1:25 (note the word “until”), Mary was not a perpetual virgin as Roman Catholicism claims: “…but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.”

Here’s good feedback from my friend Renate R. on John Chapter 2 regarding the cleansing of the temple:

“Jesus was angry because of the the disrespect and abuse of the temple. I think that He feels the same way about our physical body that is now the temple of the Lord. Doing to, or putting unhealthy things in them dishonors the Lord, and He doesn’t want that for us because it also destroys the temple and prevents others from seeing Him through us. I think it was the same with the Temple. If it was full of animals, and being used for ungodly things, it kept away the presence of the Lord, and those who desired/needed to meet Him there couldn’t see or hear Him.”

“My other thought about the whip He made is that I don’t think His driving everyone out was a knee-jerk reaction to anger. The Bible says “He drove them all out of the temple with the sheep and the oxen.” You would use a whip to drive out herd animals. He saw what was going on and took the time to hear from the Father (make the whip) and then proceeded to do what He needed to do to cleanse the temple. Finally, thank you for your note about the wine. I have never seen the connection of Jesus portraying how the New Covenant would be superior to the Old!”

John 3:

This is is one of the most power-packed chapters in the Bible. When Jesus refers to “born of water” I think He means physical birth (the bag of waters breaks) then He speaks of the necessary process of spiritual birth (born-again) in order to enter God’s Kingdom. Water baptism is very important, however. It is commanded by the Lord and even Jesus submitted to it (although He certainly didn’t have personal need to but was setting our example). I do not think it is necessary for salvation, although if someone is unwilling, something is wrong with them…and, I dare say, that some who refuse may not be saved. It’s a no-brainer when one is saved. Infant baptism is not Scriptural, and the Jews never did that. It is a tradition that is in error. The idea on the surface sounds good – to rid the soul from original sin (Adam’s inherited seed) so to save the child from hell if he/she meets with an untimely early death. The trouble is, there is no Scriptural support for this idea. Infant dedication to the Lord is Scriptural. This is where parents of newborns dedicate the child back to God and promise to raise the child in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.

I strongly recommend Christians who were only infant baptized to be immersed in a regular baptism of water in order to publicly declare to follow the Lord and to die to the old self. It’s a public declaration confirming salvation. But Romans 10:9 & 10:13 does not include water baptism as essential for eternal life: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved”….”Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Certainly the repentant thief on the cross had no opportunity to be baptized, yet Jesus told him he would be in Paradise soon. God’s salvation works rather simply…yet powerfully. It is not what church you attend or have been “baptized” into that saves. It is a genuine repentance from sin (not just sorry but willing to change and never be that way again) and believing in your heart that Jesus has the authority to forgive all sin, and surrendering your will in life to His will for your life. It’s getting God out of the head and into the heart (a very long 18-inch trip for some people). I believe this describes the true born-again experience described in this chapter.

Nicodemus, a Jewish Pharisee, failed to comprehend the change from Old (physical) to New (spiritual) Covenant. He may have responded well later, but we don’t know.

v16: This is probably the most life-filled, power info of any verse in the Bible!

v22: This states that Jesus was actually baptizing but John 4:2 states that he was not. Contradiction? No. Verse 22 means that Hew was merely overseeing the baptisms that His disciples were carrying out.

v30: John the Baptist said, “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease.” This needs to be our motto.

John 4:

v5-29: The Samaritan Woman – This is classic. She had two cultural strikes against her – she was a half-Jew therefore despised by Jews, and she was female (Jewish men rarely, if at all, talked with women in public in those days). But Jesus did not concern Himself with man-made customs. One neat thing about Jesus in this passage is something He did not do. When the woman asked Him if He was greater than Jacob (her ancestral father), He did not say yes. He just said He could give her “special water.” That’s humble. She had no idea how special that water was (until later, probably). I also find it interesting to see how more quickly societal outcasts believed in Jesus and how closed-minded to Jesus are the people who think they are better than others. I think we need to concentrate more on the outcasts in our society when it comes to sharing Jesus. I think they are more likely to be open to the Gospel than the sophisticated and “educated” (Luke 10:21). Jesus also reveals that God is spirit and therefore must be worshiped in spirit and truth. I think this means that man-made rituals are not real worship because they become boring and people just get proud of themselves for performing them…just the opposite effect that true worship has. If it is from the heart (you really mean it and you really love Him) then it “counts.” God wants relationship with us not religion.

John 5: Why Didn’t Jesus Heal Everyone?

v1-9: Despite a multitude of people needing healing at this site, Jesus bee-lines to one man and heals him alone. A critic once exclaimed that he did not want to worship a God that heals a few but one who heals everyone. This, I believe, would cause more damage than good. Jesus would have to spend all of His time healing and not preaching about the Kingdom. Then after He left earth, no one would understand the truths needed to be passed on to generations. If He cast out all the demons from all who needed it, the demons would later return with 7 more demons and the people would be worse off than before because the Kingdom never entered their souls (Luke 11:24-26). So Jesus had to heal only those the Father told Him to heal as a testimony to who Jesus is and that the Kingdom of God had arrived. It is comforting to know, however, that all who CAME TO HIM were healed.

About the man being healed at the pool — Jesus was revealing a lot here. One, He may have been rebuking that contemporary belief that an angel would heal the first person in the water when it stirred. I have doubts about that tradition being true. So Jesus heals a man who could not even get into that pool. Two, He knew it was the Sabbath and he also knew that the religious leaders had made up many rules about how to obey the Sabbath, none of which came from God. An example was the rule in verse 10 which forbade people from carrying things. By healing (“working” in the eyes of a hard-hearted self-righteous religious leader), Jesus would expose the evil in these leaders to the public. Jesus later pointed out that the Sabbath was made for man’s benefit (we need rest), but this does not mean that people could not help others on that day (or carry something). If these leaders had any decency in them, they would have been happy for that man who was healed, but they couldn’t have cared less about him. They did not like Jesus winning the crowds over to Him and away from them. Three, the purpose of all His miracles was to reveal who He was to the people.

In 5:31, Jesus is saying that He alone is not making big claims about Himself. If He was doing this, what He was claiming would not be true or validated. It was important to Jews to have 2 or 3 witnesses to confirm facts (Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16). Jesus had Old Testament prophetic Scriptures saying who He is (John 5:39), He had John the Baptist proclaiming Him, and an audible voice from Heaven that proclaim His true identity twice. Yes, the Jewish leader anger was beginning to reveal itself. It was already well in place before Jesus started to preach. His presence and Word of truth merely exposed it. He nailed it when He said that they do not have the love of God in themselves – nothing will convince this type of person that Jesus is the Christ for the whole world.

The religious enemies of Jesus were setting their eternal life hopes on knowing the writings of Moses. But they were honoring God with their lips while their hearts were far from Him. God is not fooled by religious people. Many today have this same problem…while not really being concerned about letting God rule them, they attend church, and may even perform some sort of role or function within that church – but they are not born-again. This may include clergy members. Are clergy people automatically saved because they are clergy? Pharisees were clergy. Are people saved because they attend a certain church? If church attendance could save, why then did Jesus have to go through all His torture? Judgment Day will raise many an eyebrow.

A paraphrase of John 5:44 could be, “No wonder you can’t believe…for you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes only from God.” People of this world seek honor from worldly men, Eternal Kingdom people do not (Galatians 1:10). Sometimes Christians do receive honor(s) from this world and there is nothing wrong with that as long as it is kept in a proper Godly perspective. The whole verse is emphasizing the condition of the heart, namely, it is worldly or spiritual.

John 6:

Jesus’ ability to probe people via questioning is most impressive. He was the best educator to ever walk the earth. Interestingly, He poses questions knowing the answer, but wants to reach deeper depths with people.

I like v15 when Jesus withdrew from the worldly mentality of making Him and earthly ruler (king). He knew that would NOT REDEEM US. So this rules out the notion that He was on some ego trip. He passed His “lust for power” test. In v26 He rebukes people for wanting only food (requiring no work) and were not wanting the relationship with God that is so precious to Him. He refuses to be a “magic wand” for people of earth. If He became that “magic wand,” then that’s all most of the people would want rather than seeking and joining His Kingdom. One of the three temptations in the desert from Satan was when he wanted Jesus to produce bread at his bidding rather than the Father’s bidding. Good for us that Jesus did not get fooled. He did not lust for worldly power as humans can easily do.

v34-35: Jesus claims to be the “bread of life.” Jesus often used metaphors and figurative speech when describing Himself. Obviously, He is not literal bread. Earthly bread is the “staple of life.” But the benefit of earthly bread is temporal. His “bread” gives eternal life. He needed to convince people to desire the eternal rather than being fixated only on the temporal. Tough mission, but a good lesson for us today.

v52-58: Jesus is NOT advocating eating His literal flesh and drinking His literal blood. He using symbolism again in an attempt to explain His eternal spiritual kingdom. He is revealing that people must BELIEVE in Him (“take Him in” to their lives; that is the “born-again” experience He was telling Nicodemus). To assert that we must partake in a ceremony that changes a physical substance into his literal flesh and blood would mean that for centuries no one could be saved because that doctrine did not come into historical existence until 1551 A.D. at the Council of Trent. Once again, so many people could not perceive Jesus’ transformation from the physical to the spiritual in His day and far beyond (verse 63 explains this).

v68: I’ve personally identified often with Peter’s statement when I have been frustrated or confused or doubting – there really is no other option for truth or finding truth other than Jesus. I am “stuck” with Jesus. When He tells us to “abide” in Him, it means “to put up with.” Amazing.

John 7:

Time lapse is sometimes difficult to determine in the Scriptures. The Jewish leaders were well on their grumbling way in Chapter 6, so Chapter 7 comes as no surprise. It doesn’t take long for Truth Incarnate to stir up an evil heart. Their “questioning” was not out of a heart that wanted to know truth. My favorite verse is 17. It reveals why some believe and why some do not believe: “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” In other words, He was claiming that He was not seeking glory by making up His own religion based on His own opinions and thoughts. No other place in the Bible is this truth nugget found.

Application for Today: When we witness to people, perhaps the best question to ask them is, “If the God of the Bible is true, are you willing to follow and obey Him?” According to verse 17, if they say no, then there is not much hope for them. But if they say yes, I’d say we have a “green light” to explain the Scriptures to them in greater detail and you have probably found a lost sheep!

v24: This is the “DO NOT JUDGE” quote from Jesus. This has been wrongly applied by people not wanting to deal with sin. Jesus meant when we judge, we should do it fairly, without hypocrisy. He wants us to know right from wrong. This is JUDGING! But too many people judge harshly, without passion or understanding why someone is doing the wrong thing.

v27: There was a traditional teaching that asserted the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, then disappear, and reappear at some later time. This strange assertion may explain this verse.

v34: One of His several predictions of His resurrection.

Verse 42 is interesting. Jesus’ enemies knew that the Messiah’s birth-line had to be from David and the birthplace had to be Bethlehem. But Jesus was known as a Nazarene because He was raised there. Before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D., Jewish family records were kept and preserved. As Jesus’ popularity grew, I can’t help but think that at least one Pharisee checked those records with the motivation to go public with the “good news” that Jesus did not fit the prophecies. Since there is no record of this attempt, I imagine that they found those records, and they pointed to the truth about Jesus…so they said nothing.  All Jewish records were most likely destroyed in 70 A.D., so no one could prove Messianic lineage after that date. God closed that door.

John 8:

v3-11: This is the famous woman caught in the act of adultery. WHAT DID JESUS WRITE ON THE GROUND? No one knows for sure. If it caused the men to leave the scene one-by-one starting with the eldest, maybe Jesus was writing the names of the various mistresses each guy had in his personal life. This would be powerful enough to send each man away in shame. However, He stooped down to write only two times and there were more than two men there. Maybe He just wrote their names so they would realize He had supernatural power (assuming they had never been introduced to Him previously). Or, perhaps He was writing the Ten Commandments, or other laws such as Deuteronomy 22:24 that required both the male and female to be brought to a priest with two witnesses. Then the priest would write the guilty names on the dust in the Temple floor. As time passed, their names would be swept away adding to their shame. The most intriguing theory is that He wrote down Jeremiah 17:13: “O Lord the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.” Prior to this chapter, Jesus identified Himself as Living Water. Clearly whatever He wrote convicted all the accusers with their own sin and revealed they had broken laws setting up this trap for Jesus.

Was Jesus’ non-condemnation toward this woman according to the Law? Actually it probably was. In order to legally convict, these factors had to be true:  1) two or more eye witnesses needed; these were not identified, 2) both male and female were to be executed; but no man was brought forth, 3) at this time of Jesus’ life He was not the court; mob scenes were not allowed to kill (vigilantism was never in the Law). So I wonder if all the Law was followed in this case, what then would Jesus have done??

Problem: Why would God want adulterers killed in Old Testament times but forgiven and released in New Testament times? Tough one, so I can only speculate. There are many times in the Old Testament when God ordered people killed. Perhaps this was necessary to restrain evil from spreading too fast in human history. God knew how much time He wanted life on earth to last, and He has His timetable for all things to occur to perhaps maximize the number of souls saved. This also may explain why He caused the Global Flood. Evil was spreading too fast. When Jesus came, this “killing policy” perhaps was no longer needed, but what was needed is people to know God’s mercy which would accelerate salvations. Reminder: This is MY thinking which could be WAY OFF.

v19: I love the automatic connection with Jesus and God here.

Huge claims in verses 12, 23, 29, and 58. As C.S. Lewis puts it: You have only 3 options concerning the identity of Jesus: Liar, lunatic, or Truth…one cannot merely say He was a good teacher, that is not an option Jesus offers.

v26-29: Jesus says He could say more but only speaks what the Father says. He was NOT “doing His own thing.”

v31-32: Jesus tells us to “abide in His word” in order to be set free and to be true disciples of His. This is why we all need to read the Bible a lot, over and over again. We all need to “marry our hearts to It.” If we do, then whatever happens around us, including scandal or tragedy, we will stay in the faith because His “Word is a lamp unto our feet” (Psalms 119:105).

v41 – The proud Jewish religious leaders thought they were legitimate children of God because they had Abraham’s blood in them (lineage). Much like people today who think they are saved just because of certain church affiliation. Jesus says no to both – “Ye must be born-again.” Anyone who thinks otherwise has been deceived by Satan. If deceived by Satan in this life, we will do his deeds (v 44) because we have believed the “Father of all lies” as Jesus described him. The Jewish leaders, by opposing Jesus, were working to prevent others from receiving the truth that could save their souls. Also, the Pharisees may have heard that Mary was not married when she got pregnant, therefore they may have been accusing Jesus of having an illegitimate birth. Jesus is also pointing out that there is no such thing as being “neutral” in this life. If we are not in Christ, then the devil has us snared.

v46: Jesus asks who has CONVICTED Him of sin? They accused Him of blasphemy ultimately, but there it was never proven, at least Pilate found Him not guilty. But in the Pharisees minds, as long as Jesus claimed equality with God (especially in v 58!), that was enough for them…in spite of all the great healings He did to help people.

John 9:

Jesus heals on the Sabbath Day. One of the Ten Commandments was to “Honor the Sabbath and to keep it Holy.” Jesus, however, said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. This means that God designed man to need a rest after 6 days of work, so it behooves man to rest every 7th day. But not just for oneself. Also to honor God’s Word to us and to respect His wisdom when He tells us to do something. Hence, we should not work on the Sabbath. Two problems arise, however: 1) what is the definition of “work” and, 2) What day is the Sabbath and should we hallow that one alone?

Problem 1: God’s Word does not define work. So I think it is reasonable to assume it means whatever we do for livelihood during the week. In Jesus’ day, the religious people had spent years adding to the definition of “work.” An orthodox Jew’s son told me that his dad cannot even tear toilet paper! He tears it before the Sabbath in case he needs it on the Sabbath…uh, wow! If you walk MORE THAN 2 miles, that is work according to the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. These are clearly man-made rules. There will be times when we may have to work hard on a Sabbath to help a neighbor or for emergencies. Jesus said if an animal falls into a pit, surely you will work to get it out. So we must be careful to glean the gist of what God’s Commandment was intended for in order to please Him concerning this issue. Certainly if we are working 24-7 we disrespect God and will burn out. Remember, life is a long-distance run, not a sprint.

Problem 2: The Sabbath Day is actually from sundown on Fridays to sundown on Saturdays. The Roman Catholic Church changed it to Sundays because that was the day of resurrection and the first day of the week so the first disciples met for fellowship and teaching (a church service). The main idea, I think, is to try to honor and respect God and be wise in the way we live (i.e., take rest when God says you need it). The movie hit, “Chariots of Fire” was an interesting take on this issue. While I don’t necessarily believe that it is wrong to run a race on a Sunday (or a Saturday), this Christian drew a line in the sand and demonstrated that God was more important than what this world deems important…and I think that is a great thing to be able to do as a witness. When Christians become too legalistic in this matter, however, they usually have other areas where they are too legalistic as well, and this does not make for an effective witness. At the heart of an effective witness is the love of God in the heart, love for others, gentle spirit, speaking the truth in love, the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 5:22. Legalism only leads to pride exuding a holier-than-thou attitude that can be smelled miles away.

Regarding a seeming contradiction: “And Jesus said, For judgment I come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” Then in another place Jesus says, “I did not come into the world to judge, but rather than save.” When Jesus walked the earth He did not judge it THEN. Sure He pointed out a few things that were wrong, but He did not condemn anyone to the Lake of Fire yet. On Judgment Day He will. In that Day, God will use the fact that the Truth came into the world and the world did not want to embrace It…hence the Judgment will be obvious and fair. So one purpose of the Son of God in coming was for judgment albeit a later one (He was setting the stage for it). Jesus’ reference to “they which see might be blind” means that people who proudly think they have the truth (when they don’t) will NOT BE ABLE TO REPENT AND BE SAVED (v41). This is what the Pharisees always claimed. They thought they were the chosen ones, the true children of Abraham. Therefore, they had no need for this uneducated carpenter from Nazareth! They “stumbled over the great stumbling stone that the builders rejected and that has become the chief cornerstone”…a marvelous work in God eyes!

v6-7: I have little or no idea why Jesus spit into the ground and then made clay for the blind man’s eyes. I do not know why He sent him to wash it off in the pool of Saloam, but the man’s obedience may have been a result of real faith, and that faith healed him. Maybe he, as an individual, needed all that. That pool was probably about 1,000 yards away. Perhaps Jesus was causing this man to demonstrate the Christian concept of walking by faith not sight and by us doing this we will eventually “see” truth about God and life on earth. The ensuing meeting about this healing with the Pharisees actually becomes comical.

The following is an interesting commentary on why Jesus sent him to the pool of Saloam:

In Jesus’ day, the Feast of Tabernacles, which was like a Judean Thanksgiving, with pilgrims bringing offerings of luscious freshly harvested dates, pomegranates, grapes, figs, and olives, began at the Pool of Siloam with a joyful musical procession called Simhat Beit HaShoevah or The Rejoicing of the Water-Drawing.

During the ceremony, a designated priest, surrounded by jubilant worshipers, would draw water from the Pool of Siloam and carry it in a golden pitcher up the hill to the Temple altar. A blast of trumpets would announce his arrival. The high priest would then pour the Siloam water into one silver basin while wine was poured into another. To the accompaniment of flutes, the priests would sing “Hallelujah” (the Hallel). The celebration was based upon Isaiah 12: 3, “With joy ye shall draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

Remember, it is during the Feast of Tabernacles that Jesus, in the Temple courtyard, spoke of the promise of living water. It seems likely that this is in contrast to the ceremony of the water-drawing and Jesus may have pointed to the golden pitcher as he cried out, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37). Source:

v32: The healing of the man born blind is super significant because it had never happened before, therefore it gives Jesus tremendous credibility as to who He is.

v38: It’s what Jesus did NOT do here that is significant. He did not stop this man from worshiping Him. Any time in Scripture where a man or an angel was beginning to be worshiped, it was stopped by them. Not so with Jesus. Nice deity support.

John 10:

v1-9: Jesus claims to be the only way to Heaven (more on this from Chapter 14).

v10: The opposite extremes of Jesus and Satan.

v11: Jesus predicts His crucifixion.

v12-13: Jesus is possibly implying that no other person in human history would be willing to go to the extent that was necessary to bring back lost human souls to God. Whether or not this thought is accurate, we do know that He is the only person that could do what needed to be done.

v16: “Other sheep” most likely refers to Gentiles (non-Jews).

v18: Jesus claims He has the authority to raise Himself from the dead. Good deity support here.

v19: Jesus caused division then as he does now. The dividing question is: Who is Jesus Christ? A person’s answer to this reveals their heart. While some people wanted to write off Jesus as a crazy man, others insisted He was the Messiah because of the miracles and good things He was doing for the people. Good point. Crazy people do not help others because they are too self-absorbed and therefore unable to think of what is good for others. If we rule out “the crazy” option, there are only two more: Liar or Truth. I’d love to see a lawyer try to convince a jury that Jesus Christ lied to people because it could NOT have been one or two lies. His claims were so magnificent, He would have been lying on every page of the Gospels! I cannot see how a liar could fulfill hundreds of Old Testament prophecies. Only the Truth option is left. So what do people do when faced with this logic? They ignore it, because they love darkness more than light. Logic alone does not have the power to convert a fallen soul, but the Word of God coming out of His mouth does (Romans 10:17 and Isaiah 55:11).

Most of the Jewish leaders were arrogant which blinded them to the truth. Did they all witness miracles by Jesus? I don’t think we can assume this. There was no TV back then. Certainly some Jews were present for the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and some of them believed in Jesus because of what they saw that day. Then some of them reported what they saw to the Pharisees, so it doesn’t sound like these Jews who saw the miracle were leaders. I assume they were friends of Lazarus and his family. The Pharisees probably spent much time in Jerusalem and in the Temple. My guess is that most of them heard of Jesus’ miracles rather than seeing them. But they did acknowledge that He did miracles at one point in Scripture, and they still wanted Him gone!

v27: “My sheep hear My voice.” This is one of my favorite things Jesus ever said. I can vividly recall hearing His voice my senior year in college, and after being born-again, I recall being swarmed by two major cults. But I just did not hear my Savior’s voice in either of them and He supernaturally put up a wall between me and them.

In verse 29, Jesus says, “My Father…is greater than I.” Then in verse 30 He says, “The Father and I are one.” Contradiction? Not really. We must keep in mind that God has a tri-une nature – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When God plays the role of Son, He limits Himself. For example, Jesus could not be omnipresent during His brief stay on earth, but the Father was omnipresent. Jesus did not know exactly when His return would be, but the Father knew (Matt. 24:36). So there is clear separation here, and Father is obviously greater…at that time in history. Yet Jesus said they were One (v30), meaning “one essence.” Jesus did only what He saw the Father doing (or saying). Therefore, if a person of Jesus’ day saw Jesus, they saw God. I once asked a Jehovah’s Witness this question: “If Jehovah would come to earth in the flesh, would He do or say anything different than Jesus?” They replied, “Well, yes” (they HAD to say yes because they do not believe they are the same). Then I said, “What would He do or say differently?” They could not answer. Philippians Chapter 2 gives us a glimpse of this profound concept of God limiting Himself temporarily so that He could learn and experience being submitted to a higher authority (Hebrews 5:8). To be our fair Judge, God had to devise a plan that He Himself would be limited and be subjected to all the same temptations that humans experience as well as depend upon a higher power, yet WITHOUT sinning. Therefore, on Judgment Day, no one can say to God, “You don’t know what is was like for me down there on earth!” With God’s great merciful plan of salvation, they will be without excuse (Romans 1:20).

John 11Authority Not Equal to Superiority

v10, “But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.” In the context of verse 9, verse 10 is talking about literal earth daylight and nightfall, but certainly Jesus is teaching a spiritual concept. So “Walk in the night” refers to a person who is alive in the flesh but dead spiritually (unsaved, does not have the Truth). Sin, of course, causes the darkness.

v24: Sometimes it appears to me that at times, women in the Bible have much greater faith than men. Martha states, “I know that he (Lazarus) shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Although I can’t say that women have greater faith than men in general (especially when I think of Abraham, Moses, Noah, Daniel, and the centurion), women are an amazing blessing to men and can pick up on spiritual things well. The first evangelist was a woman – a newly resurrected Jesus told Mary to tell the disciples that He is alive. But Scripture reminds us that, because of Eve was so deceived, that women can easily fall prey to this same problem (1 Tim.2:13-14). They need a spiritual covering of a man for protection from error. This does not mean men are better, just different. Just because the husband is to rule over his wife does NOT mean that he is superior to her or that God esteems him more. This is what this world thinks: having authority = superiority. Not so in God’s kingdom. Consider what is revealed in verses 49-52: Despite being an anti-Jesus man, God used Caiaphas to prophecy God’s truth concerning the purpose of the Messiah. Why did God do this through an evil person? Because Caiaphas had the position of authority of high priest, and all authority comes from God (John 19:11; Romans 13:1). A truly submitted wife may be in better standing with God than her husband.

Women have been given the “power of influence” which, for the most part, has more impact than having the “power of the final say.” For example, Queen Esther in the OT had no authority to enter the King’s chamber without an invite. As she entered uninvited in order to save Jewish lives, she knew she might be put to death! But when the King saw who she was, he moved his scepter in a way to say to his guards, “Let her approach the throne” (Esther 5). She went on to save the lives of thousands of Jewish people by using influential words with the King. Now in this case, who had the greater impact, the one with authority, or the one with influence? Therefore, the role of a woman in a marriage is NOT inferior to the man as this world would have us believe. Remember, the spirit of this world hates God, His Word, and His children. It will twist the meaning of the Word to make people reject It.

v25-26) “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live; And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Again, what a claim! So is He crazy, a liar, or Truth? Mere philosophers never say things  like this. Of course we will die physically, but spiritually (in a new body) we live on forever. Jesus viewed death as simply passing into another dimension with the next step being judgment. Then souls either live forever with Him or perish in the Lake of Fire (John 3:16).

John 12:

v6: Reveals that Judas was stealing money from the group.

v10 “But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death.” Hatred breeds horrible things (look at our political world). The Pharisees were apparently sick and tired of people flocking to Lazarus and getting the truth about Jesus. They, like dead religion and hatred today, serve to suppress truth – to keep people away from discovering It.

v12-15: Some teachings have said that these same people yelled “Crucify Him” later, but there is no Biblical evidence that this is true. There is a very good chance that there were two different groups of people involved.

v16: Often times the disciples cold not “connect all the dots” concerning Old Testament prophecies and how Jesus fulfilled them. But the Holy spirit would help them do this later (John 14:26).

v23-24: Jesus again predicts His crucifixion. In this context, we don’t know if the Greek seekers were there with Him when He made His comment. If not, it is an awkward moment that seems like Jesus was ignoring Andrew and Philip’s request.

v25: “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” This speaks of being willing to surrender our total lives to Him which leads to the necessary born-again experience that saves our souls. Jesus surrendered His soul-life to God in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). This surrendering also works on a day-to-day basis. Paul exclaims, “I die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31). That’s what we must do to be used of Him. But if we concentrate on loving Him, this step gets easier. And this is the only covenant we need to keep to please God – obeying the greatest commandment (loving Him with all we’ve got) and the second greatest commandment (loving neighbors as ourselves). Jesus said if we obey these two, the rest will follow (Matt.22:40). Quite simple actually. I’m a firm believer in God ushering in power for us IF WE SIMPLY ARE WILLING TO FOLLOW THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS. So I do not believe there needs to be a lot of human-strength-striving to gain this. If we don’t have this willingness, then just be honest about it, confess it to Him, and ask Him to make us right. He will. We can’t  “grunt” it into yourselves. Remember, we are the branches and He is the Vine (John 15:1-5). As it is often said, “Let go and let God.”

v31: Satan has usurped a dominion over this world, and has great power over the children of disobedience. But this will  soon change with Christ’s victory over Satan, sin, and death. Satan had power over nations, but when he was “cast out,” he lost that power, but he can still seek souls to devour (1 Peter 5:8). This is why the Gospel could spread so quickly to many nations after Pentecost (Revelation 20:3; Mark 3:27; Matthew 12:29).

v34: The Jews did not understand the Messianic prophecy in Psalms 110:4 that claims the Messiah “will be a priest forever.” Jesus, of course, is that forever priest but he was not to REMAIN on earth forever. He had to die, rise, and be seated in the throne of God so all authority was transferred to him.

v40: Anytime God hardens hearts it is because He knows they are not going to be His kids. So, especially in the case of Pharaoh, he makes them worse so that he can display His truth and power to those who will respond well to Him.

v42: The fear of man is one of our strongest enemies so we all need to pray against that while we put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:11).

v43: Describing the Pharisees, “…for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.” This also can be a stumbling block to us today.

John 13 v1-20 – Foot Washing.

The Apostle John used two Greek words here. One meant to “wash” and the other meant “to bathe.” The difference is that “bathe” is a complete washing therefore it represents being saved or regenerated. “Wash'” however would refer to cleaning a specific area of the body rather than the whole body. Since our feet touch the earth (this world) daily, we need to make an effort to not allow the evil in this world to overtake us. Finally, I think the message also means that we should help each other stay away from sin (hence, “washing” each others’ feet). Jesus’ reference to one of the 12 being not clean, of course, was Judas. It reveals that through the course of being with Jesus and the apostles, Judas never allowed the Holy Spirit to clean out his iniquity. His evil thoughts gradually over took him.

I think Jesus was also trying to convey the idea of being an example of servanthood that the disciples would have to exhibit later in their ministries. Second, I think He was revealing that He must do the cleansing work, not them (we cannot make ourselves clean) – we need to allow the Lord to wash us clean and work through us to others. So, when Peter objected because he thought that he should do this for Jesus, I think Jesus was saying that Peter needs to allow some “supernatural, spiritual surgery” that only God can do. After being cleansed by God, we now can also allow Him to work through us rather than us striving to be good or to do good things on our own in hope that He will be pleased with our efforts. Again, we find that religious people make this mistake. They really do not know the Lord but believe in Him, and do what THEY think is right via their own power. Moreover, in the midst of their “service” to God, they tend not to allow the Holy Spirit to challenge them in weak areas and the necessary “surgery” is never accomplished. Religious people do not realize or respond to the “dealings of the Lord” that would make them better. They block out and resist this important dynamic of following Christ usually due to pride. Jesus did not want Peter to fall into this mentality. Perhaps it was a religious spirit that rose up in Peter when he said to Jesus, “Never shall you wash my feet!”

According to the New Unger’s Bible Handbook, “This all indicates that once we experience the once-for-all cleansing described in Hebrews 10:1-12 (salvation), we still need to confess sins of our daily walk in this sinful world” (1 John 1:9; Eph.5:25-27). Judas never reached the first step of being saved and the disciples were clueless about what lurked within him. A defiled person cannot have communion with Christ. The command in v14 involves a spirit of forgiveness of one saint (believer) toward another (Eph.4:32) according to Unger. Unger also states that there were public baths, so when a person came home from one, only his feet needed washing to make him clean.

Another interesting take on this comes from Halley’s Bible Handbook. He thinks that the 12 were still clinging to the belief that the Messiah was going to defeat Rome and set up a physical government that they would rule in. Jesus, by washing their feet, was emphasizing that they were to be SERVANTS now, not rulers. Halley goes on to lament the fact that throughout church history far too many so-called Christian leaders wanted earthly greatness due to pride and how this has grieved the Holy Spirit and blemished the reputation of Christianity.

v18: Jesus knows what Judas will do. Jesus said Judas, although he was “chosen,” was a devil (John 6:70). Critics tend to see this as God MAKING Judas do this evil deed of betrayal. But just because someone can see the future, it does not mean that they CAUSE it. They simply can just see it. But with God, having all power, some may think Judas was treated unfairly. Well again we must return to the concept of free will, and the fact that love does not demand its own way (1 Corinthians 13:5).

v27: Why “quickly?”  I think Jesus was simply saying, “Since you are now totally determined (because Satan had entered into him), just get it done and over with.”

v34-35: It is necessary that we love other Christians because this is how others will know that we are true disciples of Jesus.

John 14:

v2-3: Jesus prepares an eternal dwelling place for us. No specifics given unfortunately. It’s gotta be great though! I’ve wondered if each place would contain things that we liked in this world minus sin’s affects and the injection of the Father’s love (1 John 2:15-17). If so, my place will have crystal clear streams of fresh water with fantastic fish in it. Then a tiger or two, and some great dogs (border collies only) and cats…maybe an ice hockey rink where everyone plays for fun and good intentions (without injuries of course)…then maybe a baseball field, golf course, tennis court, and soccer field (no football field), and finally me playing an acoustic guitar much better than I do now and my notes & chords would perfectly fit in with the heavenly music going on there (I actually dreamed this guitar thing). Now, I’ve told you all that to tell you this: whatever we can imagine about heaven, it will not be accurate, so I’ve just wasted our time here (1 Corinthians 2:9 – Paul quoting Isaiah 64:4 & 65:17). Paul actually heard astounding things when taken up into the “third heaven,” then could not tell us about those things (2 Corinthians 12:1-4)…I guess God just wants us to have a great surprise.

v6: One of my favorites because it is a BLATANT statement about Jesus being the ONLY way to salvation. Acts 4:12 says the same thing. This is the MOST politically incorrect thing to proclaim today. If not already, you will be challenged by someone, especially if you are witnessing to them, about Jesus being the only way. Isn’t this being narrow-minded and judgmental? Here are some answers:

1) As I was witnessing to an Alcoholics Anonymous veteran speaker, he said that, “If God is so small to work through only one man, then I don’t want to believe in him.” I responded, “If God is so BIG to come down to our level and defeat all my enemies (Satan, sin, death), I am compelled to believe in Him.”
2) Do WE say Jesus is the only way? The Bible says so. Jesus said so. It is not OUR made-up theory. Who in the world could make up the Gospel?
3) Why is Jesus the ONLY way? Because He is the ONLY One to fulfill all 300+ OT prophecies and the ONLY One to defeat all our enemies (Satan, sin, & death) that have the power to destroy us in eternity.
4) What can we say when asked, “Is Jesus the only way?” I like to say, “It depends.” This unexpected response tends to disarm them. Instead of gearing up to refute, they tend to listen out of curiosity. At least I’ve got them listening at this point. I’ll go on to say, “The short answer is it depends upon whether or not the Bible is God’s Word.” If the Bible is telling us accurate things about the Fall of man and his need for innocent blood to be shed for the forgiveness of sins, then Jesus becomes all-important to us. If Satan, sin, and death, are not our enemies, then Jesus is just another philosopher. The trouble is, as C.S. Lewis wisely states, “good teacher” or “philosopher” are not options about whom Jesus is because of the MAGNITUDE of His personal claims. The only options we have are: either Jesus is a LIAR, A LUNATIC, or THE TRUTH. There are no others. No other person in history has ever claimed the same claims as Jesus made…not even close! And whoever did the miracles that He performed, or whoever had even RUMORS about miracles of that type? No one. If anyone is on some sort of truth search in life, it makes sense to start with the person who professed the biggest claims. But many do not. Why? Because they do not have the love of the truth within them and they are not willing to obey the Father (John 7:17 and 2 Thess.2:10).
5) So then they will say, “Then what happens to the good person who has never heard of Jesus, will he/she go to hell?” Response: “First of all, there is no such thing as a “good” person. Only God is good (Matt.19:17). All have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). This is why evangelism is so important, so people can know the truth. But if someone lives and dies never hearing the truth, whatever happens to them we can be assured that God is perfectly fair and knows best, not us. We can guess, but we do not KNOW. The point is, however, what about the person we are talking to? They HAVE heard the Gospel.”

v8-9: It seems that Philip may have been a bit frustrated with Jesus’ talk about the Father, so he asked Jesus to show him the Father. Jesus response is classic, and I will paraphrase a bit: “I’ve been with you so long and you still have not known Me, Philip?” This is a “goose bump moment.”

v12: What are the “greater works” that will happen? The usual first thought we have is how can we top the raising of the dead? But the context of this statement is the fact that Jesus will go to the Father. This was a major phase of God’s many interventions with fallen mankind. Christ’s victory over Satan and sin via the cross and resurrection enthroned Him in Heaven. Both David and Daniel wrote of this many years before Jesus was born (Psalms 110:1-3 & Daniel 7:13-14). One huge perk of this elevation of Jesus was that He could then send the Holy Spirit to earth (John 16:7), and now these disciples could get many more souls saved in a very short time, along with continuing the miracles of Jesus. So only in a generation or two people in England, Africa, and Asia heard the Gospel! Perhaps this is what “greater” refers to.

v15: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Jesus gave us only two commandments: that we love God with all we have and our neighbor as ourselves. If we do this, we will fulfill all commandments. This also gives us the power to say no to sin. When I sin, I am not loving Jesus. When I am loving Jesus, the temptation to sin fades away! Every time!

What does love your neighbor look like nowadays? Who is our neighbor? A man talking to Jesus raised the same question in Luke 10:29. The Bible says the man was trying to justify himself. In others words, he really did not want to love everyone and was hoping Jesus would narrow the field down a bit…or a great deal. Jesus would not do that as He answered with the famous “Good Samaritan Story.” In this story, a Jewish man left Jerusalem and was robbed and beaten and left half-dead along a roadside. On separate occasions two Jewish religious leaders saw the broken man and passed him without helping. Then a despised Samaritan came along and helped and saved the man’s life. Now Samaritans were genetically half-Jews, so the full-blooded Jews tended to hate them as “half-breeds.” It is safe to assume that the two primary men in this story did not know each other because the Jew came from Jerusalem and the Samaritan was “on a journey.” Therefore, they were hardly neighbors in a normal definition sense. So Jesus is saying that if these two guys are to be considered “neighbors,” then everyone on this planet is our neighbor whether or not we lived in Jesus’ day.

Furthermore, it is the heartbeat of our Creator to conquer evil with good and to conquer hate with love. We are the only ones on earth commanded to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. If we hate our enemies we are like the norm of this fallen world and do not reflect Christ. Look at Romans 12:17-21 and you will see this heartbeat of our Father. He has done this very thing via coming to earth as a man and conquering all evil by lovingly giving up Himself. Satan and all evil were helpless to do anything about it…and they are still helpless…if we follow Jesus the way He asks us to.

Comment on Romans 12:20: Continuing the theme of beating evil with good…“heaping burning coals upon his head” is not what it sounds like. In Jesus’ day, people frequently traveled slowly by foot and fires were important for cooking. Starting a fire from scratch was lots of work, so women often saved the live embers from a previous fire and used them to start the next fire at the next place of rest. These women would somehow carry the live embers on their heads as they traveled. So to heap burning coals upon one’s head was an act of kindness in those days.

v26: Sheds light on how the New Testament was written. There are accounts where no one else was present to hear what was said, i.e., Jesus before Pilate, and Jesus praying alone in the Garden of Gethsemane…yet many words were quoted by NT authors. So the Holy Spirit must have conveyed the words to the Gospel writers.

Contradiction between v8-9 and 28? In the latter verse Jesus says the Father is greater than Him while the former verses say the Father and Son are the same. While God was limiting Himself in the role of the Son, the Son could not be omnipresent like the Father. The Son did not know the date of His return to earth, only the Father knew that. Keep in mind, one purpose of God becoming a Son was to learn obedience to a higher authority. Think about that…how else could the highest authority do that? So while God the Son was saying the Father is greater, He was speaking from that limited role. But make no mistake, Jesus Christ is God the Creator (Colossians 1:16).

v27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” There is an inner peace that comes only from Jesus that nothing in this world can give. If we do not have it, ask the Lord why. There will be a reason.

John 15:

v2 – God prunes us back so we can produce more fruit for Him later. God’s “pruning” can take many forms – humbling experiences, delayed answers to prayer so patience can develop, not getting what we want when we want it so trust in Him can be developed, and countless more. The purpose is to have greater works performed through us.

v5: We must be connected to Jesus or we cannot accomplish anything that will count for eternity.

v7-12: Abiding in His love is one of the most important things we can do and will provide answers to our prayers. Also loving Jesus empowers us to obey Him and not spirits of darkness.

v13: Probably referring to His willingness to be crucified to save human souls.

v15: Shows how dependent we must be in God to do great things through us.

v16: Jesus said, “You did not choose Me but I choose you….” Some Christians think this means all saved souls were predestined without choice. I know from Scripture that “many are called but few are chosen.” I think this means that a few people, such as Paul, was one of “the few” chosen. Aren’t all Christians are called by God? I also think that with both categories the person always has the option to accept or reject God. Judas Iscariot, for example, certainly was one of the “chosen” twelve, but he did not make it into heaven. God certainly initiates connecting with us, but we never become robots (forced into acceptance and obedience). The Word says that love does not demand its own way (1Corinthians 13:5). The bottom line, however, is the truth about this issue has no relevance to the way we are suppose to live and act among others (if you really think deeply about it). So do not let the devil cause division among Christians regarding “free will.”

v18-20: Jesus says there is a big difference between His realm and this world. Anyone connected to Him, the world will not accept. The world accepts and listens to those who are of the same spirit – one that is in rebellion against God or ignores searching for God, or would not want to serve God (even if He was real to them – see John 7:17). So do not marvel when we are persecuted, and do not let snubbing or any form of persecution get you down because all who desire to live godly in Christ will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). If we have been in any way put down by this world because of Jesus in us, a tremendous reward awaits us in heaven (Matthew 5:10).

v22: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin (or guilt), but now they have no cloak (excuse) for their sin.” More light on how people will be judged comes from Matthew 11:20-24. It is based on how much a person is exposed to. Certainly, those who saw Jesus perform miracles and still rejected Him have will have a bigger problem on Judgment Day than those who had never seen or heard anything.

John 16:

v1-4: Jesus is beginning to prepare His disciples for the rough time they will have after his departure from earth. It would serve to be a source of comfort to them because God knew it would happen and this is comforting knowing that it wasn’t unexpected, which causes us to doubt God’s care over us.

v7: Jesus is saying that it’s to our advantage that He goes to the Father because then He can then send the Holy Spirit to earth. This enables the Truth to be spread more efficiently and quickly. Historically, Christianity spread faster than any other religion.

v11: Satan is “toast.” He lost a lot (but not all) of power via Jesus’ fulfillment of prophecies.

v13-14: Great description of what the Holy Spirit will do. One thing is He will glorify Jesus. If groups claim to be Christian, but do not lift up and glorify the name of Jesus, there is something wrong. Cults never glorify the Jesus of the Bible. Cult leaders like all the attention. He also will tell the disciples (and us??) what is to come.

v16-32: Jesus predicts his death and resurrection. He tells us that life here is full of down times but tremendous joy awaits us in His Kingdom. No one can take our joy away from us! That means if we lose it, then something is wrong in us. Ask God, He’ll tell us what it is.

v33: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  What sane person in human history has ever uttered words close to the MAGNITUDE of these?

John 17

How is it that the time was right for Jesus to leave the Earth via His crucifixion, and thereafter, His resurrection? Jesus seemed to be leaving at a time of great confusion and despair. Surely, He could have continued to minister to people. Galatians 4:4 says, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son….” And Romans 5:6 says, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” The Father definitely sets dates for big things throughout the history of mankind. Why? My guess is that, in His infinite wisdom, He knows when He can get the best results without making mindless robots devoid of free-will out of His kids. It’s probably something like how a farmer knows when it is time to harvest something he has grown – in order to get the most out of his investment or product. As far as leaving at an inopportune time, Jesus would be sending the Holy Spirit to “pick up any slack.”

Note: “Them” is referring to not only the 12 (except Judas Iscariot) but also to all future believers that will make up the Bride of Christ (v20). All believers over the centuries actually form the wedding partner of Jesus Christ…quite a concept. Needless to say, Jesus, in His last discourse with the Father, was very concerned that His Bride would might not persevere and be there for Him at the End. There is going to be the Weddings of all weddings after His Second Coming that will put God and man as one…perhaps (I wonder) even better than what Adam and Eve had before the Fall.

v5: Jesus is talking about His experience with God BEFORE He came to earth. The part that I perk up at is the phrase “which I ever had with thee.” This gives us a little peek into “eternity past” (even though we cannot understand that concept). Micah’s prophecy in 5:2 about Bethlehem being the birthplace of the Messiah states that His “goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Jesus was a created angel named Michael before He came to earth. In truth, Michael was a created angel, therefore he never enjoyed eternal past glory with God. In fact, Hebrews 1:5 states emphatically that God never said to any of His angels, “Thou art My Son.” Furthermore, God later in verse 6 commands that all the angels worship Him (His Son). Angels are never to be worshiped.

v14: Jesus and His followers are “not of this world.” The means that we no longer value what this world offers (money, self attention, self gain, power to please self, etc.).

v15: Jesus did not want the Father to take us out of this world. I think the reason is we need to grow spiritually and we need to spread the word about Jesus to others. We need to repel Satanic strongholds on earth for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is active in this “Church Age” ruling from the right hand of God and putting His enemies under His feet (Hebrews 2:8; 1 Corinthians 15:25). The “Kingdom of God” that Jesus talked about started with His First Coming and a huge boost occurred at Pentecost and has been spreading since. In The End, His Kingdom will be the only one standing, and it will last forever – something that no earthly kingdom could ever do (Daniel 7:27). So we are a very important part of His Great Plan and those who endure to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22, 24:13, 2 Timothy 2:12).

V16-17: This demonstrates the importance and power of the Word of God. It is this that will capture the minds and attentions of people who are going to be His kids. Believing in His Word sets us apart (sanctifies) from the rest of this world. Once we believe His Word and begin living It out, friends will notice the difference – and some won’t like it. This is a good sign for you but not for them. Hopefully through love and patience, God will draw them to Jesus (John 6:44) too. This part of Jesus’ prayer also protects us from eternal destruction. Again, “sanctify” means “to separate.” So His Truth guides and protects us, and sets us apart from this world which is in deception.

v20-21: Jesus was praying this prayer for us as well.

John 18:

Despite three years of hearing Jesus teach, I think maybe poor Peter still thought that Jesus was setting up an earthly kingdom poised to overthrow Roman rule. Hence, the sword attack on Malchus. The Gospel of Luke (22:51) says Jesus restored that ear by the way. Can you imagine the reaction from Malchus at that point?! I don’t know how he could still arrest Jesus after that (although it may indicate extent of fear in Roman soldiers to disobey commands). I think we learn that Peter was very passionate and zealous for things that he thought were right, but at times weak in faith to which we all can identify. He seemed to be a bit impetuous as well. For example, he was the first and only one to get out of the boat and walk on water with Jesus, he was the first to exclaim that Jesus was the Christ (revealed to him by the Father, Jesus said), and he was the first to give an anointed sermon in the beginning of the Book of Acts. He still was not without fault, however. Paul rebuked him in public when he left the “Gentile eating table” when prominent Jews came (Galatians 2:11-21). One more point to make here – attacking a Roman guard carried the death penalty, but by Jesus healing and restoring that ear for Malchus removed all evidence. That demonstrates the mercy and forgiveness of God  and how He deals with our sins.

Practical applications based on Peter’s Denials – fear of man is a destroyer and it captures the best of Christians at times. We need to LOVE God so fear has no power over us. Loving Him with all we’ve got is the antidote for fear.

v6: Strange thing – Jesus’ arresters fell backward: I think this was God telling the world that Jesus could not be taken by human forceHe was giving His life up voluntarily, not as a result of a mistake. Another guess is that when He said the words “I am,” which is the name of God, that was too powerful of a moment for humans to withstand.

The Judas Kiss (although not mentioned in John): the fact that Judas still had to identify Jesus to the soldiers shows that many in Jerusalem still had not even seen Him despite 3 years of teaching. But then again, He wasn’t always teaching in Jerusalem.

v28: Religious irony! Jewish leaders are trying hard to get Jesus (their God) killed while at the same time refusing to become “unclean” by entering a pagan’s place so they could eat the Passover which is all about Jesus! Wow!

v31: Because of Roman rule, the Jews could not put anyone to death. The Pharisees, being ever mindful of laws, knew that they had to convince Rome to do their dastardly deed.

v36: This touches upon the huge difference between the Kingdom of God and the  kingdoms of this fallen world.

I love verse 37: “….Every one who is of the truth hears My voice.”

No fault found in Jesus – Even an arrogant, brutal, ambitious pagan such as Pilate could not find any fault in Jesus – beautiful, eh?! He knew that the Pharisees wanted Jesus dead because they were envious of His popularity (Matthew 27:18). What seemed to turn him toward crucifying Him was when the crowd made him afraid that he may lose his job by allowing a rival king to threaten Rome’s authority. History says that he eventually lost his job anyway. God has His ways.

Why did they release Barabbas instead of Jesus? Barabbas was a murderer, an insurrectionist, a foul, violent man, a notorious criminal that deserved to stay in jail for life. The mother of all ironies was when these people demanded the Life-Giver to be killed and the life-taker to be set free among them! Why was he released? The Romans had a custom of releasing one prisoner at that time. I think it was done to keep the Jews a little bit less angry with Roman rule and thus keeping them under control. Pilate was hoping they would choose Jesus since this Barabbas was so bad…it didn’t work. I think it was a last-ditch effort by a desperate man at that point. Remember, Pilate’s wife had a unsettling dream about a man to be brought before him, and told her husband not to have anything to do with him (Matthew 27:19)…wow!?! I’m sure this was playing in Pilate’s mind throughout this ordeal.

John 19:

Why a purple robe on Jesus? I’m not sure if purple meant anything (royalty maybe), but He was given a robe because He was claiming kingship. It was all part of Herod’s mockery. Luke 23 reveals that Jesus was sent to Herod by Pilate because Jesus came from Herod’s jurisdiction. It was Pilate’s attempt to escape the situation. John never mentions Herod’s name. Perhaps Pilate’s biggest flaw was lust for power. He was afraid of a riot in Jerusalem over his decision about Jesus, so he finally gave in to the the demands of the Pharisees thinking that Rome would replace him if he did not keep the peace. History records that soon after his huge mistake, he lost his job anyway…God has His ways.

Do I get angry based on how they treated Jesus? Yes. What keeps my sanity is that I realize that He had to suffer in order to pay for our sin. His cruel and unfair treatment also serves to draw people to Him. He did say, “If I be lifted up (crucified) I will draw all men to Me” (John 12:32). Scripture also reveals that it gave His Father pleasure to bruise Him (Isaiah 53:10-12). I know this sounds sadistic, but if you read Isaiah 53, you will understand that this “pleasure” means that God knew what was being accomplished through the suffering of Himself in the role of an obedient-to-the-death Son. He could see the Big Picture while people could not. In God’s wisdom, we are not permitted to see it, at least in all the detail for now. Isaiah 53 is one of the most powerful Messianic prophecies in the Bible.

What about breaking legs on the cross? The breaking of the legs was not done to all victims. In Jesus’ case, they wanted to hasten His death because the Sabbath was coming soon and there was work to do following the deaths. So they needed to get “things cleaned up quickly.” Amazing irony here! They were concerned about obeying the Law while they were murdering the Law-Giver! The Roman soldiers were therefore ordered to break the lower leg bones so the victims could not push up their sagging chests to breathe. They suffocated shortly thereafter. But when they got to Jesus, He was dead so they did not break his legs. This fulfilled prophecy as well, and I’m sure these heathen Romans knew nothing of Jewish prophecy. But in the Old Testament, each year Jews were required to sacrifice the best, most healthy lamb of their flock to cover their sins. There could not be any blemish or broken bones with this innocent animal – a total foreshadowing of Jesus. It sounds rather strange, but if His legs were broken, He could not have been the Messiah. Every prophecy had to be fulfilled to qualify Him.

Blood and water from Jesus’ chest. To make sure Jesus was dead, the Roman guard plunged a spear into Jesus’ side and blood & water came out. This must have been a strange sight in those days. But science now knows that when a human heart undergoes prolonged pain, its lining (pericardium) swells with fluid (water). So based on our modern science, I’d say that spear reached Jesus’ heart and burst open that pericardium. The Bible always makes sense in scientific terms when we know true science and not theory (man’s ideas). Anyway, this spear action, I believe, was God assuring everyone then and now that Jesus really did die, thus yielding more credibility to His resurrection.

Golgotha: v17 means Jesus carried His cross outside the city walls (another prophecy fulfillment) to a place that looked like a human skull. “Golgotha” means “place of the skull.” I believe I actually saw this spot when I was in Israel in 1977. I saw what may have been the actual crucifixion site and tomb. There are two sites claiming this possibility today: Gordon’s Calvary and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Based on what I’ve read and seen with my own eyes, I favor Gordon’s site. Just outside of the old Jerusalem walls there is a low pit area with a steep upward rocky formation with caves as a backdrop to the pit. When you stand back and look at the caved cliff at a certain angle, it looks like a skull’s face. Unfortunately, there is an Arab bus depot built on top of this pit area that covers most of it, but my one pic from a side angle reveals that original low area. If this is Golgotha, then Jesus was crucified in that low pit rather than up on some hill as Hollywood and paintings and movies depict. The low pit would add shame to the people executed.

The disciples did not expect a resurrection. From this chapter, there is no indication that the close followers of Jesus were anticipating anything miraculous. They were scattering, hiding, and fearful. Moreover, when Mary told them that she had seen the Lord alive, no one believed her. If I was there and expecting something, I’D BE CAMPED RIGHT OUTSIDE THAT TOMB ALL NIGHT SATURDAY! MAYBE I WOULD HAVE DUG THROUGH THE ROCK WITH MY BARE HANDS FROM ANOTHER SIDE AND SAT RIGHT IN THERE!

PS – I noticed that Jesus never appeared to His enemies after He rose (just to show them). Very humble!

John 20:

v17: Why did Jesus not want Mary to cling to Him after He rose from the dead? We can only speculate on this. The proper translation here is to use the word “cling” not “touch.” We see later that Jesus invites Thomas to “touch” Him so mere touching was not a problem (so this cancels the wild theory that Jesus’ body was radioactive from the resurrection power and therefore harmful to be touched). Perhaps Mary was wanting to hold on to the physical person and was not realizing that a major change had occurred (He could walk through walls now). I think He was trying to let her know that He would not be with her physically anymore, but that she had to fellowship with Him via faith and the Holy Spirit whom would be sent to her soon.

v22 – Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” I think Jesus did this to keep the disciples safe from Satan for the 50 days He would be away with the Father. The Holy Spirit Baptism would come on Pentecost, but maybe the guys needed some protection until then.

v28-29: Thomas addresses Jesus as “God” and Jesus did NOT rebuke him. Anytime an angel or a disciple was being worshiped in Scripture, they stopped it immediately. Sometimes it’s what Jesus did NOT do that reveals much.

John 21:


1) After all Jesus’ ministry, the fisherman went back to fishing for fish. Jesus, in a loving way (especially to Peter who had recently denied Him 3x), showed these guys that they were to be fishers of men, hence He says to them, “feed My sheep.”

2) Man’s effort vs. God’s effort: I like bass fishing. If I fished in a lake all day and caught nothing, and then someone tells me to cast out again, I would tell him to jump into the place where I’ve caught nothing. These guys were professional fisherman. They knew how to catch fish. But human understanding and intellect without the guidance of God is a missile gone astray with deadly results. At this point, they finally realized if Jesus said to do it, then they’ll do it, even though they probably did not believe they would be successful. With God “driving our car” and us “in the backseat” (without making suggestions), results are staggering! This is a good lesson from the Scriptures about how to live life now. Remember, only the fruit that the Spirit produces through us will last for our eternal reward. This is why prayer is so important – asking God to rule over and through us each day…letting go and letting God. We don’t throw away our brains and bodies, but we need to let God rule our hearts. This world says to do the opposite – do it yourself, depend on no one…who gets the glory then? I’d rather see Jesus get the glory. He alone deserves it.

3) Jesus asked Peter if Peter loved Him for a third time and this got Peter agitated. Why 3x? Because the denial was 3x? Maybe. But in the Greek language there are three different words for “love” (philio = brotherly, eros = passionate/erotic, agape = self-sacrificing to point of death). The first time, Jesus used the word agape, then Peter responded with philio. The second time Jesus again used agape, but Peter still used philio. The third time Jesus used philio and so did Peter once again. Maybe Jesus was trying to elevate Peter’s love for God and Peter just wasn’t “getting it” yet. I think Peter must have eventually had agape love for Jesus because martyrs usually do (v18-19).

4) LASTLY! v25 – If everything that Jesus did was recorded, the world would not contain the books. Interesting scientific note: Jesus is the Creator (Col.2:16-19). Therefore He designed and created DNA among other things. DNA strands are located within every cell of our body. We have 30 trillion cells. A mere 2 tablespoons will hold all our DNA strands from our body because they are so small. Yet if you were to place these microscopic strands end-to-end from one human body, the length would travel from the earth to the sun and back 400 times! We ARE “fearfully and wonderfully made” as Psalms 139:14 proclaims! Scientists claim that if all those DNA instructions for ONE body were to be typed on paper into books, the books would fill the Grand Canyon 40 times! So maybe verse 25 is a bit more literal than most people would think. 🙂

DECEPTION ALAWYS LURKS: Was there a “Gospel of Thomas?” Yes, but beware of fake news! The Gospel of Thomas has several problems. The most important one is that it is strongly associated with the Gnostic’s of the first century. These were arrogant folks who claimed that deep truth can be acquired if you know how – “there are secret ways to find secret truths…and we know…we can help you find the truth that is within yourself!” This deception can also be found in some eastern religions – “If I only recite my personal secret mantra enough I will become enlightened!” Don’t fall for this gimmick. Satan has many counterfeits to the Lord’s truths. Here’s some info on this phony writing and you will quickly see why it was never accepted by the church fathers as being from God:

The Gospel of Thomas may have been excluded from the canon of the New Testament because it was believed:

* not to have been written close to the time of Jesus
* not to have been written by apostolic authority or was forged in Thomas’ name
* not to have been used by multiple churches over a wide geographic range
* to be heretical or unorthodox
* not to have been useful or comprehensible
* to be secret – or for adepts (“experts”) – as the first sentence of the gospel declares.

In the Thomas gospel, Jesus is a spiritual teacher, and he is offering everyone the opportunity to live (Saying 4) a life that goes beyond death (Saying 1), to become the ruler of their own lives (Saying 2) and thus to know themselves (Saying 3) and their legacy of being the children of “the living Father” (Saying 3). These goals are presented in the image of “entering the Kingdom” by the methodology of insight that goes beyond duality (Saying 22). The Gospel of Thomas shows no concern for doctrines such as “God”, “original sin”, “Christ”, “divinity,” etc.

The Gospel of Thomas is mystical and emphasizes a direct and unmediated experience of the truth of life. In Thomas v.108, Jesus said, “Whoever drinks from my mouth will become as I am; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him.” Furthermore, salvation is personal and found through spiritual (psychological) introspection. In Thomas v.70, Jesus says, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you.”

THE TRUTH = WITHOUT CHRIST IN ME, I HAVE SIN INSIDE ME AND THAT WILL NOT SAVE ME. Many cults have had this practice of “introspection” that is supposed to set people free, but only leads to depression and bondage. DO NOT GO THERE!

EXTRA Comment on Gnosticism: One of my friends in the email Bible Sessions group, gave my last email comments regarding Gnosticism to a Gnostic named Aaron. My friend, Mike, said Aaron is a great guy. Maybe this is why he thought it would be okay with me to give him my email despite my warnings about giving it to antagonists. I will not bore you with all the things Aaron said in response to me, but I will share with you some of his main comments and my defense. The following is my answer back to my friend Mike:

Dear Mike,

Before I comment on Aaron’s statements of belief, I thought I warned my friends to not send my comments to someone who is antagonistic toward Christianity? I know you believe that he is a “great guy,” but when it comes to the spirit world, he has anger against God’s truth. My following comments are for you. I do not wish to carry on any more debate with him. We are too far apart on essential issues. He is very deceived. If you want to say some of my things to him, fine. But don’t include me – I do not know this guy.

DAVE’S defense to friend Mike: Wow, I feel bad for Aaron. I couldn’t disagree more with his typical Gnostic “mantra.” Debating him probably will do no good. He has been confused by an off-the-wall so-called Christian religion, and in his pursuit of “Truth” he has rejected God’s Word, therefore he has rejected God. I quote Scripture to support what I say, he quotes Eckhart to support his beliefs. When quoting Eckhart, he describes “nirvana” (the extinction of desire bringing about great freedom). This is eastern religion so he proved my point.

Aaron says, “we are all going to the same place in the end.” Not so according to Jesus. Jesus says “sheep” and “goats” will be separated.”

Aaron says, “Any religion is flawed.” Yes, and no. People, true Christians included, are flawed. But true Christianity as revealed in the Bible is not flawed.

Aaron says, “A perfect creator does not create an imperfect creation.” According to the Genesis account (God’s Word), this is true. Man wrecked it.

I have not created the idea of sin, God’s Word states it plainly. Furthermore, I have no treasure hidden deep within me that can reveal secret truth, as Aaron claims. This is the heart of the fallacy of Gnosticism.

Aaron’s use of the foul word “bullsh–” without apology does not speak well for Aaron. Jesus says we can recognize a tree by its fruit and whatever is in the heart, the mouth speaks! Need I say more?

Aaron claims that the Gospels were not written by the authors, and that all those “scholars” agree. That is wrong. Yes, there are scholars from divinity schools that have long rejected the Bible as being God-breathed. So this is no surprise that they say Matthew did not write Matthew. But are these THE ONLY SCHOLARS? We also must be careful not to put our trust and faith in educated men – Jesus did not select those types of men for His 12. That’s not to say we throw away our brains or skip being educated, but it means keeping our trust in God’s Word over man’s ideas.

Aaron claims that the Gospels contradict each other. No way. I can successfully debate any so-called contradictions.

Aaron’s final statement perhaps reveals his deception. He advises me to “Release your mind and let your heart guide you.” Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”

We have a choice: believe what we want to believe, or believe what God has said to us. It makes sense that a righteous, fair, Holy Creator would make sure He communicates His Truth plainly for all to hear and see. The only things that can hide Truth is pride and not having “the love of the truth in their one’s heart” (Mt.18:3-4 and 2 Thess. 2:10).

P.S. If sin is not our problem separating us from God as Aaron would say, then why did Jesus purposely go to Jerusalem knowing He would be killed? If Aaron is correct, Jesus either made a horrible mistake or deceived Himself by thinking He had to die for our sin. I don’t easily conclude that Jesus made any mistakes or was deceived.

Love In Christ,

Your brother always – Dave