Showing posts with label John. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John. Show all posts

Sunday, April 6, 2014

John 21


Peter and six other disciples decided to go fishing. That night they did not catch anything. Early in the morning, Jesus appeared to them and asked them to throw their nets to the right side of their boat, whereupon they caught a miraculous amount of fish - 153 to be exact. Jesus had breakfast with them.

Jesus asked Peter to feed his lambs, and Simon to tend his sheep. Jesus hinted at the manner of Peter’s death, saying his hands would be stretched out and he will be led where he does not want to go.

Jesus did not say what the fate of John would be. John is the person who wrote this gospel – if John had written everything that Jesus had done, even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

This concludes the Gospel of John.

My Thoughts
As I am writing this chapter, one of my Bible Study partner, John, is texting me about his plans to head out to Nags Head, NC, for fishing next weekend. I cannot go as I have undertaken a commitment. Next time, I told him.

What a blessing it is, to complete posting about all four Gospels and learning so much. I did not know any of these before. By going through the scripture chronologically, so many things became clear. I can now consider myself to be able to lean on those doors of a first grade Sunday School class and listen what's being taught inside (I think).  

John 20


Early morning, during the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to Jesus’ tomb and found it empty. She then went and told the disciples about it.

Peter and John investigated the tomb and found it to be empty as well. They returned to their place, while Mary stayed back near the tomb. She sat there, crying. When she bent and looked into the tomb, she saw two angels clothed in while seated where Jesus was buried - one at the head, and other at the foot. They asked her why she was crying. To this, she answered, "They have taken my Lord away and I don't know where they have put him."

She turned around and saw Jesus, without realizing it was him. She thought he was the gardener and he took the body away. When Jesus called her, "Mary," she immediately realized it was Jesus. He instructed her to go proclaim this news to the disciples, and she did accordingly.

On the evening of the first day of the week, Jesus appeared to the disciples while they were gathered in a locked room. They had locked the doors due to their fear of Jewish leaders. Jesus appeared among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he showed them his hands and side. Jesus also breathed on his disciples and told them to receive the Holy Spirit.

Thomas was not among them and when he heard all these, he did not believe. A week later, Jesus convinced the previously absent Thomas, by inviting him to push his finger into his wound.
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John 19


In order to appease the mob, Pilate had Jesus scourged, put on a purple robe, and made to wear a crown of thorns. The crowd said, "Hail, King of Jews" and slapped his face.

Pilate said, "Behold the man!" But the crowd still demanded Jesus to be crucified. The Jewish leaders insisted that he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God. Finally Pilate handed him over to them, to be crucified.

The soldiers, taking charge of Jesus, made him carry his own cross and led him to the place of the Skull (Golgotha, in Aramaic). Pilate places a sign that says ‘The King of the Jews’ on the cross. After Jesus was crucified to the cross, the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ seamless garment. Jesus noticed his mother and other women standing near him.
John 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Once he realized everything was done, he said, "I am thirsty."
John 19:29-30 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 

According to Jewish law, bodies of criminals should not be left hanging after sunset. This is indicated in Deuteronomy 21:23. They confirmed that the criminals were dead by breaking their legs. As Jesus was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

John is narrating the special significance of blood for sacrifice and water for cleansing which Jesus brought into our lives.

 Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, the one who visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about 75 lbs. They wrapped Jesus' body according to Jewish customs and placed it in a tomb where nobody had been laid. 

John 18


According to John, who was along with Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane, an army carrying torches, lanterns and weapons came along with Judas and arrested Jesus.

Jesus rebuked Simon Peter for cutting off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant. They bound him, and brought him to Annas, who was the father in law of Caiaphas, the high priest. It was Caiaphas' idea that Jesus should die.

Peter followed them while they were taking Jesus to the high priest's house, and waited outside. A servant girl on duty recognized Peter. He denied being a disciple of Jesus. He was warming himself, standing beside a fire. While the high priest was questioning Jesus, one of the officials slapped him in the face.

Some men asked if he was a disciple of Jesus, and Peter denied it again. One of the relatives of Malchus, the high priest's servant, whom ear Peter had cut off challenged him, "Didn't I see you in the garden?" Peter once again denied Jesus the third time, and the rooster began to crow.

Jesus was sent to Caiaphas the high priest, then to Pilate. Jesus explained to Pilate that his kingdom was not of this world. Jesus said that everyone who is of the truth hears his voice. Jesus said, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.

Pilate replied, "What is truth?" giving voice to a skeptical humanism.

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Pilate found no fault with Jesus, and attempted to get the crowd to release him, but the crowd wanted the release of Barabbas instead.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

John 17


This chapter narrates the prayers of Jesus.

Jesus looked toward heaven and prayed to be glorified, "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You."

Next, he prayed for his disciples, who accepted his words, who knew Jesus came from Heaven, and who were going to be part of the world. He asked Father to protect them.

In his prayer, Jesus tells the Father, "I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world." Still he prayed for their protection.


Jesus prayed that his followers may be kept in joy and sanctified, and be unified in belief. The glory the Father has given the Son, the Son may then give to those who believe in Him.

Monday, March 31, 2014

John 16


Jesus told his disciples that they will face persecution. Those persecuting the disciples will put them out of Synagogues, and even murder them thinking they are offering a service to God. All these they do because they have not known The Father or Jesus. Further, Jesus said,
John 16:4 - 5 "I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 

When Jesus departs, the Helper - The Holy Spirit will come. The Holy Spirit will help the world understand sin, righteousness and judgment. He spoke bit philosophically about the Holy Spirit, which the disciples were unable to digest it at that time.
John 16:12 - 15 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

Hearing all these, the disciples were in grief. Jesus assured them that their sorrow will soon be turned into joy. Whatever we ask of the Father in Jesus’ name will be given.
John 16:23-24 "In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."
Jesus said he came from the Father, and is now returning to the Father. The disciples believed so. He cautioned them that a time is coming when they will be scattered.

Another statement of hope and jubilation is that Jesus wants us to experience peace. He gives us the key to it as well:
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

My Thoughts:
If you have been following this blog, you know where Jesus is going. He is going to his Father's house - the Heaven. That is where we are going too. Here is the plan - we will follow Jesus and we will arrive at our destination, those Pearly Gates of Heaven, de facto!

Jesus wanted to speak more, but he did not. He wants us to listen to the Holy Spirit.

Being scattered is an unpleasant feeling. It certainly is not something that Lord wants. He wants us to stay united. I wish everyone stays closer to their dear friends and family, without having to experience that bitter taste.

What a victorious and secure feeling it is to be with that One Person who has overcome the world. That is what we should be aiming for. It is certainly not easy - but we can keep trying. Remember, our opponent - the devil does not want us to win!



Credits:
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John 15


Jesus expressed himself, saying, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away."

He also gave out the secret on how we can bear fruits:
John 15:5 - 8 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Then, he talked about love and obedience, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends."


The message he conveyed is that whoever follows him can expect persecution from an antagonistic world. The Holy Spirit, sent by the Son from the Father, will witness testify of the Son.



My Thoughts:
How to experience the greatest love? The secret is giving - offering everything we have, to that person we love the most, without holding anything back. When we give out freely, we experience a sense of accomplishment. The most we can give is ourselves. This is such a vast topic, and we could talk about this for few years in one sitting!


Credits:
Agnus Day appears with the permission of www.agnusday.org

Thursday, March 27, 2014

John 14


Jesus comforted his disciples saying, "In my Father’s house are many rooms."

Thomas said he did not know how to get there. He was speaking to the one who came from Heaven.
John 14:6 - 7 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Hearing this, Philip wanted to see the Father. To this, Jesus answered that we don't have to wait to get to Heaven to know God, The Father.

The word "know" here means having a very intimate relationship.

Further, Jesus makes a wonderful promise:
John 14:12-14 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Then Jesus said he will ask the Father, to send down another helper - The Holy Spirit, so that people are not left behind as orphans. If people love Jesus, and keeps his commands, then both he and the Father will make their home with them.

As a word of caution, Jesus mentioned two of our greatest spiritual enemies - the world and Satan.

My Thoughts

This is a wonderful chapter.

The only person who ever claimed to have come down from Heaven, and said he's returning to heaven is Jesus Christ. Numerous times, he said if we follow him, we will get to heaven.

I know a little bit about Jesus by now - just a tiny bit (I think). While he is all powerful, Jesus has one major weakness - he cannot tell a lie. Whatever he speaks and spoke, happens to be the truth. Those of us who love truth will enjoy the companionship of Jesus in our day to day life. When Jesus says he knows the way to heaven, he means it 100%. He will make sure we reach there.

One thing that dawned to me is that, none of our religious leaders can guarantee a ticket to heaven - not even the ones whom we proclaim as saints. Nor do they know the way to heaven themselves. I fully and truly believe that only by following Jesus, one can arrive at the gates of Heaven. For that, we should be able to read, study and understand the road-map and guidance he provided - the one recorded in the Holy Scripture. Keep that in mind, and follow Jesus to arrive at our destination.

How wonderful it is, to know that someone is reading the word of God. There are lots and lots of rooms at Our Father's heavenly house.

Pay attention to that fabulous promise, which stems out of his overflowing abundant love for us. We humans make such statements only to those whom we love so intimately. Jesus said, "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." Faith is the central theme of this message as well.

Jesus made sure we were well taken care of. He entrusted us in those best hands - that of The Holy Spirit. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

John 13


Just before the Passover festival, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, wearing a towel around his waist. At first, Peter objected to Jesus washing his feet. When Jesus said that if he doesn't wash his feet, he will have no part with him. Hearing this, Peter asked Jesus to wash his feet, hands and head. To that, Jesus replied that his body was clean, however, not all of his disciples were clean. Jesus knew who would betray him. Satan had already prompted Judas to betray Jesus. While washing his disciples' feet, Jesus encouraged them to wash each other's feet as well.

Jesus predicted his betrayal and the disciples wondered who that would be.  One of the disciples asked him “Lord, who is it?”

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

The rest of the disciples had no clue what Jesus was speaking about. Judas left them and rest of them thought he had gone to go buy some more bread. Then Jesus spoke to them that he would be with them only for a short while. He taught them about love.
John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus told Simon Peter that he was going somewhere where he cannot be immediately followed. Peter responded that he would lay down his life for him. To this, Jesus replied that that night Peter would disown him three times. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

John 12


Jesus along with his disciples came to Bethany, and they were attending a dinner hosted in Jesus' honor. The hosts are Martha, Mary and Lazarus, who was raised from the dead. While Martha served Jesus, Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive oil - it was worth a year's pay.
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Judas Iscariot objected that Mary might have sold the oil and given the money to the poor. Judas is not saying this due to his love for the poor, but due to his love towards money. Judas who was in charge of their money embezzled them.
John 12:7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.
8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
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A large crowd came to see Jesus and the resurrected Lazarus. The Jews plot to kill both Jesus and Lazarus.

The next day, Jesus entered Jerusalem sitting on a colt, lauded by crowds waving palm leaves.
John 12:13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
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Jesus said that the hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. He then reminded them how a grain of wheat that is buried produces life.

A troubled Jesus prayed: ‘Father glorify your name.’

Suddenly, a voice thundered from the heavens, "I have glorified it and will glorify it again."

Jesus said the voice they heard was not for his benefit, but for those onlookers. Jesus said he will eventually be lifted up from the earth, and will draw all people towards him.

Many of those Jews who saw the signs performed by Jesus would not believe in him. Then there were others who saw and believed, but would not acknowledge the truth they saw and felt.
John 12:42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;
43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
Jesus is disappointed at all these people who are afraid of acknowledging his deeds. He cried out aloud.
John 12:44-50 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

John 11


Mary of Bethany, the who anointed Jesus’ feet with aromatic oil, and wiped with her hair, has a brother named Lazarus. Mary and her sister approached Jesus about Lazarus' sickness. Jesus waited for two days before heading for Bethany. However, his disciples objected going to Bethany, as Jews were looking to kill Jesus.

Jesus arrived in Bethany when Lazarus has died and been buried for four days. At the outskirts of city, Martha came to meet him and said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Then Mary, her sister, joined Jesus and together they went to the tomb. Jesus wept. He then commanded the stone of the tomb to be rolled away.

Then Jesus looked up towards Heaven and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

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The Jewish rulers heard this, and were worried as more people may start believing in Jesus. Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year said, "It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

They started plotting Jesus’ death. Jesus no longer walked publicly among them. He stayed with his disciples in a wilderness village called Ephraim.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

John 10:22-42



During Hanukkah, Jesus was at the temple courts walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews who met him asked, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus said, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

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Hearing this, the Jews picked up stones to stone him. For this, he said, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

They were angry because Jesus claimed to be the God. Jesus responded saying he was quoting their own inspired scripture, and the Father and the son were One and the same. 

When they tried arresting Jesus, he slipped through their fingers and went to Jordan, where John the Baptist used to baptize. Many followed him and believed him. 






Monday, February 17, 2014

John 10:1-21


Jesus is the true, legitimate shepherd, who enters the sheep pen through the proper way, by the gate. The proper way is the one prepared by Old Testament prophecies. He stands in sharp contrast with those Jewish leaders, whom he calls "hired hands" or even "thieves and robbers."
John 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.
9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
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As the true spiritual leader, Jesus has come so that men might have life, and that abundantly. Jesus is the good shepherd, who gives his own life for his flock.
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.
13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
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Again, in contrast with Jesus, the Jewish leaders are unloving, selfish, pretenders and only harm their followers.

The crowd is divided between one group saying he is demon possessed, while others wondering, "Can a demon possessed man open the eyes of a blind?"

My Thoughts
Today, we have a similar dilemma as well. We stumble in making our own decision - we can hardly make out who is legitimate leader and who is a fraudulent one.

When in doubt, we can look towards Jesus Christ and ask him to guide us. Being our Good Shepherd, he will lead us on the right path.






Sunday, February 16, 2014

John 9


On a Sabbath, Jesus healed a man born blind. His disciples asked Jesus about this man's blindness, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

"Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him."

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Jesus restored the blind man's sight to provide an opportunity for God to do his miraculous work. The Pharisees cast him out when the blind man declared that Jesus received his healing powers from God.

The progression of the blind man's faith in Jesus increased slowly:

John 9:11 "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes."

John 9:17: "He is a prophet."

John 9:25: “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

John 9:33: "If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."

John 9:38: Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

On the other end, the Pharisees doubted the powers of Jesus because he healed a blind man on Sabbath. In their eyes, Jesus was a sinner. Jesus commented on the Pharisees’ spiritual blindness. If they were blind, they would not be guilty of sin. In this case, they were able to see, and hence their guilt remained. 

John 8


In an effort to trap Jesus, the Jewish leaders bring to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery. They then remind him the Mosaic law of death by stoning for such an offense. After some thought, Jesus responded, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one, her accusers walked away leaving only the woman and Jesus, and he advised her not to sin anymore.

Jesus proclaimed “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Lord who sent him bears the witness. His true identity will be made known once he is lifted up - he was referring to the resurrection.

Next, Jesus challenged their depth of faith, but their actions did not support their claim. Those disciples who embrace the words of Jesus will be revealed about the truth and that truth shall set them free from sin. The truth about Jesus has the power to set people free from the bondage of sin.

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Then there was a dispute that took place in the temple regarding the claim of Jesus, as to who he was. Repeatedly, Jesus said that the people were behaving like sons of devil. The heated argument continued and they claimed to be children of Abraham. By defining a special relationship with the Father, Jesus claimed that Abraham rejoiced at the thought of Jesus coming to the world. This was too much for them to believe as Jesus was not even fifty years of age and would have never met Abraham.
John 8:58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
The Jews treated such talks by Jesus as blasphemy.


My Thoughts
The story of woman caught in adultery resonates with that of two women coming to the court of King Solomon. Jesus used his wisdom in handling the situation, and the woman was freed.

In the gospel of John, Jesus used the absolute use of "I am" very frequently.

I am the bread of life - John 6:35
I am the light of the world - John 8:12
I am the gate of the sheep - John 10:7
I am the good shepherd - John 10:11
I am the resurrection and the life - John 11:25
I am the way and the truth and the life - John 14:6
I am the true vine - John 15:1.



Saturday, February 15, 2014

John 7


The brothers of Jesus advised him to go to Jerusalem and carry out his ministry during the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus said that his time has not yet come. The Pharisees are looking for Jesus to kill him - so he goes secretly to Jerusalem.

Once he was at the temple, he went up there and taught the scripture. People wondered at his wisdom and knowledge. Some called him demon possessed. There is a huge division between the crowd talking about Jesus whether he is good or a deceiver.

Jesus taught in the temple, stressing numerous times that he was not acting on his own authority and the doctrine he was teaching was that on the One Who sent him. Few tried to seize him, but they could not, as his hour hour had not yet come.

During the feast of Tabernacle, there was a practice of priests drawing water from the pool of Shiloam and take it as a procession to the temple. They would then pour it at the base of altar as a means of thanking God for His provisions. Readings from Ezekiel 47 and Zechariah 14 were used as they mention the living water flowing from the temple.
John 7:37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.
38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
On hearing this, the reaction of the people is mixed. The temple police who were assigned to arrest Jesus returned to the Jewish leaders empty handed as they were captivated by his words. The leaders were nervous and acted negatively towards Jesus.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

John 6

Lanfranco Giovanni - Miracle of the Bread

John is very selective in his writings. Between the healing of the paralytic in chapter 5 to feeding of the five thousand, there are numerous events that took place, which John did not record.

Feeding the five thousand is a miracle of huge magnitude that it is recorded in all four gospels. Even when Jesus tried to get away for some rest, the crowd followed him. Out of compassion, John records this event with more details.

Jesus asked Philip, his disciple, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”

Philip replied, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Andrew, came in and said, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

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Jesus performed the miracle of taking those five breads and two fish and fed the crowd of over five thousand. After seeing the miracle, and tasting the food, the crowd wanted to make him their king. This time, Jesus withdrew by himself into the mountains.

John documents that the disciples dropped off Jesus to pray.  They were all by themselves in the boat about 3-4 miles away, when they saw Jesus walking on the water. John does not talk about Peter walking on water. Instead, he documents those people who ate the bread and fish getting in boat and searching for Jesus.

Shortly, they found him and inquired when he got there. Jesus replied, “Work for food that endures to eternal life." Further, Jesus told them to believe in God, the Father. A long conversation takes place and at one point, Jesus said, "I am the bread of life, and whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."

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Notably, Jesus said, "My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

Another noteworthy statement that Jesus made, which caused the crowd to argue sharply among themselves:
John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
 
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Listening to these sayings, many in the crowd said these were hard teachings, tough to swallow, and they deserted Jesus. Apart from the crowd, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. Jesus sensed that his twelve disciples had a tough time making up their mind.
John 6:67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter said they believed He was the Holy One of God. In response, Jesus said that he chose the twelve and one of them was a devil.

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My Thoughts
I find new inner meanings to all those statements what Jesus made. Thank you Lord, for being able to understand these meanings.

Notice that the Heavenly Father's goal is for everyone to have eternal life. Sadly, not everyone is willing to accept that.

Jesus said the truth, and as a result many abandoned him. Had he said sugar coated statements, and made empty promises, he would have had a very large following. Expect to be treated badly by the crowd and many of our close friends will turn away if we speak the truth.

What thoughts would have gone through the mind of Jesus, when he chose Judas to be on his team.









Monday, January 20, 2014

John 5


Jesus healed a sick man at the Pool of Bethesda. A great number of disabled people - blind, lame, paralyzed etc., used to lie there with hopes to be healed. This particular man was invalid for thirty eight years. Jesus ignored the local tradition and healed the man instantly. He took up his mat and started walking. However, Jews condemn him for breaking Sabbath by carrying his own mat.

Jesus later met this man in the Temple and told him he should not sin anymore. Jesus healing the man on a Sabbath and asking him to walk away with his mat got him in trouble. Jesus claimed that God was his father and he worked on Sabbath, and therefore he too worked on Sabbath. Jews considered these claims of Jesus to be blasphemy. They then think about killing Jesus.

Jesus testified about himself that God the Father had sent him. He rebuked them saying that they were studying the scriptures but pay no attention to the real Son of God. Further, they had no love for God in their hearts. They neither believed what Moses wrote and therefore will not believe what Jesus was speaking.


My Thoughts
Jewish leaders took God's gift, Sabbath and transformed it into a bunch of regulations. They did not persecute the man who broke Sabbath law. However they made plans to kill Jesus.


Morals
YOU FOLLOW WHAT YOU'RE TIED TO

Two hunters were out hunting and come upon what appeared at first as an abandoned farm. The barn was sagging, the house was in disrepair, and there were junk cars and car parts lying around. The only thing that made it a working farm were a few chickens pecking away and a goat wandering around.

As they entered the yard they came across an old well.
One asked the other "Wonder how deep it is."

The other said, "We'll have to drop something down and listen for the splash."

They look around for something to drop down the well, but the only thing close by was an old transmission. They both hauled it over to the well and dropped it in. They counted and waited a long time for the splash. It was deep, deep one all right.

They turned to leave and saw the goat was charging at them, head down, horns headed straight for them. At the last moment they jumped aside, and the goat went right past them and straight over the side and down the well. They looked at each other in amazement.

As they started to leave, the owner of the farm came up.
They chatted for a moment and got permission to hunt on his land. The farmer asked, "Have you seen my goat?"

They said, "Your goat almost killed us charging at us.
You should have had that goat tied up."

The farmer, "I thought I had him tied up to an old transmission."

Moral: You follow what you're tied to




Image Credit: Teamorthodoxy

Saturday, January 18, 2014

John 4


The pharisees were maintaining score of baptisms conducted by Jesus and John the Baptist. They tried to incite competition, between Jesus and John the Baptist. In an attempt to avoid competition, Jesus went to Galilee.

There were three ways to Galilee
(a) across Jordan and up through Perea,
(b) along the coast,
(c) through Samaria.

There was a long standing hatred between Jews and Samaritans. Any normal Jew would avoid that route. However, since Jesus was on a divine mission, he decided to take that path. Around noon, Jesus was thirsty and decided to sit by the Jacob's well. His disciples went into the town to buy some food.

Shunned and rejected by other women of the area for her immorality, a Samaritan woman came to draw water at the same well, during the hottest time of the day. Jesus asked her some water to drink. The woman was puzzled as Jesus already broke three Jewish customs.
(a) spoke to a strange woman,
(b) spoke to a Samaritan,
(c) asked water to drink, which would defile him.

The Samaritan woman was indeed confused whether this lonely Jewish man was really seeking water or her. The conversation continued and Jesus pointed out that she was ignorant about three things:
(a) whom she was talking to,
(b) what he had to offer,
(c) how she could receive them.

Jesus was referring to eternal water, while the woman thought about literal water. The lengthy conversation aroused her interest and she wanted to learn more about the 'living water'. When Jesus inquired about her family, the woman who so far was talking at length, now gave the shortest answer, "I have no husband." Notice that she immediately tired to change the subject from her own life to religion. Then she tried to prolong everything into the future until the arrival of Messiah. To this, Jesus replied that she need not wait any longer, or look any further, as He is the one!

When the disciples returned and found Jesus talking to this woman, they were shocked. Their faces showed their dismay, but nobody spoke a word. The woman was so excited, she ran back to her village forgetting her water jar behind.

Then the disciples gave Jesus food to eat, but he said he had food that they knew nothing about.
John 4:34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work..."
Again, Jesus was not speaking about the literal food. Jesus meant that he was satisfied and nourished when he did his Father's will of leading this Samaritan woman to salvation. Doing the will of the Lord was a nourishment to his soul.

Using a familiar Jewish proverb, Jesus said that the time is now, to spread the word of God. God had been doing the work, and the disciples got to reap the benefit. Though his disciples went into the village to get some food, they just got the food and returned - without an attempt to evangelize. It was the Samaritan woman who did the evangelizing and proclaimed the word about the Messiah she just met.

The Samaritans of the town believed the woman's testimony. They invited him over and asked him to stay with them for two days. Many turned believers as well. They identified him as the "Savior of the World."

After two days, Jesus and his disciples left for Galilee, and visited Cana. He knew very well that a prophet is not well received in his own town where he grew up. At Cana, a certain royal official approached Jesus to come heal his son in Capernaum, who was deathly sick. Jesus made a general rebuke for those who seek signs and wonders rather than believing in the Lord. Then Jesus compassionately told the royal official, "Go, your son will live."

We should give full credit to this man, who had full faith in Jesus' words and departed home. On the way, he met his servants who conveyed the message of the boy's healing. It turned out that the exact hour when Jesus told the man his son will live, he was healed. The whole household believed and confirmed their faith in Jesus.

Note that this is one of the three 'long distance miracles' Jesus performed.


Additional Info:
Samaritans were a mixed race - part Jew and part gentiles, born during the time of Assyrian captivity. Since they could not establish their genealogy, they were considered and treated as "third class citizens." Religious and racial prejudice separated Jews and Samaritans for over 700 years. The animosity between Jews and Samaritans were so severe that the Pharisees prayed that no Samaritan be raised on the day of resurrection. In John 8:48, the enemies of Jesus called him a "Samaritan" to insult him.

Jacob's well is where Jesus met the Samaritan woman. Genesis 33:18-20 states that when Jacob returned to Shechem from Paddan Aram, he bought the land on which he pitched his tent. The site is owned by Greek Orthodox Church consecrated to St. Photini, the Samaritan. Here is how the location of the well appeared in 2013.

Jacob's Well in 2013

My Thoughts
The disciples were the ones doing the actual baptism on behalf of Jesus. To avoid any sort of competition, Jesus went to Galilee.

We meet certain special people in our lives due to that divine plan. The ones who make a huge difference in our lives did not just show up accidentally. Lord is at work, and he is the one behind it. When their role in our life is over, He takes us to the next level.

Few years ago, I happened to do some research on this Samaritan woman. What I learned was that this Samaritan woman's name was Photina, and she went on to become a firm believer of Jesus Christ. She was the first evangelist of Jesus Christ. She later took up a missionary role in converting her entire village to Christianity.

Notice Jesus using the proverb, "It is still four months until harvest" to drive a statement. It was unclear what this proverb meant. However, the way I interpret is that "there is sufficient time for harvest" is what most people say - in other words, "no hurry, there is ample time."

In Cana, the miracle of turning water into wine was done on the request of a mother. Again in Cana, the miracle of healing a sick boy was done at the request of a father.

Thinking about the miracle of turning water into wine, Lord does that miracle all the time, all over the world. Most of us, we fail to notice it. The only difference is that Lord takes few months to perform the miracle, and uses vine and grape as intermediate stages. Jesus, here accelerated the process and skipped two steps and showed us his control over "time dimension."

While healing the royal official's son, Jesus showed his control over the "space dimension."





Image Credit: Wahooart, Wiki. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

John 3


After witnessing the miracles performed by Jesus, Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish council (Sanhedrin), came to Jesus unobserved by others, at night. He himself was "the teacher of the Jews." Deeply sincere in his quest for truth, Nicodemus approached Jesus with an honest desire to learn those doctrines that Jesus taught.

Jesus told him to be born again, but Nicodemus takes it in the literal sense and is confused. The word "again" also means "from above." Jesus was speaking about a spiritual birth, and Nicodemus was thinking about a physical birth. Further, Jesus clarified that one should be born of the Holy Spirit. Nicodemus, born as a Jew, who considered himself to be part of God's people, was surprised to hear all these and Jesus responded:
John 3:7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
It is possible that an evening wind was blowing while the two were holding this conversation, and Jesus referred to it.

When Jesus tried to explain things to Nicodemus, he was unable to comprehend them. Hence, Jesus did not try explaining heavenly things which would have further complicated Nicodemus. Also, Jesus claims here that he came down from heaven. Next, he reminded them of the bronze snake Moses erected.
John 3:14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
Next, John notes the heart of the Gospel message, and the need to believe. Let us read this part together:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
We then read John the Baptist testifying about Jesus Christ. John repeatedly says he is not he Messiah. For a while, the ministry of Jesus and John overlap and Jesus draws larger crowds. John's disciples are bit disturbed and they approach their master. John displays no trace of bitterness or jealousy. He neither views it as a competition, but expresses his joy and says that a person can receive only what is given from heaven.

John thought his mission was complete, and is willing to let Jesus take the limelight and he slowly fade into the background.

Final comments of this chapter testifies about the one who comes from heaven. It also speaks about the gifts he will lavishly distribute, to all those who trust in him.


Additional Info:
Speaking about being born again, the same is true today. When people speak about being born again, they rattle their religious heritage, membership in superior church, religious sacrifices etc.

Just as one has two parents during physical birth, one should have two parents to be born again spiritually too - the Word of God and Holy Spirit. We will read more about this when we get to James 1:18, 1 Peter 1:23-25 etc. A a child inherits the qualities of his/her parents, during birth. In this case, the born again child will display those qualities of Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit.

Wind, fire and water are three of nature's strongest forces.

Numbers 21:4-9 tells us the story of the bronze snake. In John 3:14-15, Jesus speaks that the Son of Man must be lifted up like that bronze serpent so that everyone who believes in him will be saved. In the wilderness, when people were whining and complaining about their uncomfortable situation, Lord sent desert snakes to bite them and they started dying. When they cried out for help, Lord asked Moses to erect a  bronze snake upon a pole and whoever looked at it was saved.



Note - God asked Moses to lift up an image of the the very thing that killed them, and by looking at that very image that killed them, they were saved.

Take a look at this picture below. See the original sin where Adam and Eve were tempted and sinned by the serpent.

Jesus was lifted upon the cross. By looking at the cross, we should be able to see the very thing that kills us today - our sins. When we look at the cross, it should remind us of our own sin there. Jesus, took the form of the sin-filled serpent, symbolizing our sin on the cross. In John 3:14, Jesus compared himself to the serpent.