Tuesday, September 29, 2015

John 15:1-8 comments: fruit-bearing

1 ¶  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Jesus continues to teach as they walk. He uses a figure of speech discussed previously to liken Himself to a vine with God the Father being the type of ‘farmer’ who cares for the vine. Notice the Spirit uses the word purgeth not the word you would expect, as found in Leviticus 25:3, 4 and in Isaiah 5:6, prune. God promises to purge Israel and Judah from its idolatry in 2Chronicles 34:3. Pay notice to these Psalms.

Psalm 51:1 ¶  « To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. » Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2  Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3  For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4  Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6  Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

    7 ¶  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8  Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9  Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10  Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11  Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12  Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13  Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

    14 ¶  Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15  O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 16  For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 18  Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. 19  Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

…and David and Bathsheba’s baby died.

Psalm 65:3  Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.

Psalm 79:9  Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.

This purging is a much more painful process to us than merely being pruned. There is often a degree of pain involved. Your trials and suffering have a purpose and your sanctification, being set apart by God for His purpose, while difficult often to enjoy, is absolutely necessary. So, embrace your suffering and your trials. They are part of God’s purging process.

What is the fruit you are to bear, like a pleasant fruit tree? Notice it does not say gather, but bear. It is listed as plainly in the New Testament as the nose on our faces.

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

We are cleansed, purged from impurity, by the words that Christ spoke. We abide in Him and He abides in us. We are branches, growing from the vine, planted and cared for by the husbandman. Without the vine we can do nothing. Without Christ and His words in us we cannot bear this fruit. Those who will not bear fruit are likened to dead branches to be cast into the fire. It is odd but I don’t see paranoia, fear, hatred, and controlling others on that list of fruit.

Read Isaiah 27 as the Lord Himself promises to take action for Israel.

Isaiah 27:9  By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.

What did God really want from the Old Testament Jew?

Micah 6:8  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Jesus summed up the Old Testament when talking to a Pharisee, who was a lawyer;

Matthew 22:35  Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36  Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38  This is the first and great commandment. 39  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

We have only to look at the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matthew 5 and the ‘Sermon on the Plain’ in Luke 6 and in Paul’s letters such as Romans, chapter 12, 1Corinthians 13, and 1Thessalonians 5 to see what is required of us.

Listed in the letter to the Hebrews, chapter 6, the first in the list of the doctrines of Christ is, “repentance from dead works.” That is, the very first thing you must do to come to Christ is to change your mind and reject what you were depending on to justify you, to get you to Heaven. That is your own righteousness, your own works, which are dead. We are to depend on Christ’s righteousness, not our own for eternal life. Remember that He is speaking to Jews still under the Law who can lose their salvation, not the Jewish and Gentile Christians after the resurrection. These Jews live under the same threat as in Ezekiel 33:13.

Ezekiel 33:13  When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.

John the Baptist demanded of the Pharisees and Sadducees;

Matthew 3:7 ¶  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8  Bring forth therefore fruits meet [worthy, see Luke 3:8 for worthy substituted for meet] for repentance: 9  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

The person who depends on his own righteousness gets one chance.

James 2:10  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Those of us who trust in Christ are being purged of their sin and are being made to be useful to Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is the proof of that working in us. We will produce fruit and we will be purged to produce even more. The more you submit to Christ through His words in His Book the less painful this purging may be. If only I had been taught this lesson long ago.

Do Christ’s words abide in you?

Monday, September 28, 2015

John 14:28-31 comments: Arise, let us go hence

28 ¶  Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. 29  And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. 30  Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. 31  But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

Again, Jesus reinforces that He is leaving them to go to the Father. Their proper attitude is to rejoice not mourn as our proper attitude when a believer dies should be to rejoice. If our faith was sure we, too, would rejoice when a family member or dear friend who is trusting Christ died. We would rejoice that they were in the presence of the Lord.

2Corinthians 5:8  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

The fact that we don’t is a token of our humanity, our temporal view of life, and our weak faith. What a great witnessing opportunity, what a great testimony to a lost and dying world, if we were able to say, “Hallelujah,” when a brother or sister  in the Lord goes to be with Him! Next to rejoicing when told we are probably going to die from a disease there are very few more clear ways to manifest complete and total trust in God.

Jesus Christ, as a man, has subordinated His standing as God to God the Father on the throne of Heaven. Therefore, He can be a perfect example to us in obedience and faith.

Jesus gives them the reason that He is telling them now, so that they will understand and believe when He does ascend to the throne of God. See how Peter goes from receiving the rebuke for his lack of understanding of Christ’s mission in Matthew 16:23 and then can give the speech that begins in Acts 2:14.

Warning them that the prince of this world is coming, He says that this individual has nothing in Jesus.

The prince of this world is the god of this world, Satan aka Lucifer. A prince is a ruler, of course, and not necessarily a specific title of nobility just as a god, lowercase g, refers to a deity, imagined, or a devil, as well as The Devil in 2Corinthians 4:4. In two other places, the phrase, ‘the prince of this world,’ apparently referring to Satan, is mentioned in this gospel.

John 12:31  Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

John 16:11  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

While we give Satan far too much credit for the works of our flesh it is clear that he is instrumental in the leadership activities of the princes, presidents, kings, and prime ministers of this world’s governments, as well as in the institutions followed in this world, including churches.

“Arise, let us go hence.” The believer is always to be looking ahead, moving forward. Your best time with the Lord is right now and going forward. This constant morbid, looking backwards at a time when you felt really close to God accomplishes nothing. If you are dissatisfied or feel cold now is the time to get down on your face in prayer, speaking to God, or open His Bible and ask Him to speak to you. Stop letting preachers with an agenda manipulate you emotionally in regret and self-loathing, which is just morbid, self-attention. Arise, let us go hence.

Philippians 3:13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended [to know or understand in the context]: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Friday, September 25, 2015

John 14: 12-27 comments: no fear

12 ¶  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13  And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Jesus promises His Jewish disciples that, because of their belief in Him, they will not only repeat the miracles He has done but will do greater works because they will be on earth much longer than He allowed Himself on this mission to save humankind.

Peter healed the lame in Acts 3. Paul healed people from disease and injury and perhaps death (see Acts 20:9-12). The Apostles and their spiritual descendants crossed oceans and deserts and mountain ranges to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ far and wide. Millions faced death and imprisonment as martyrs. Poverty and want was the fate of many more millions denied rights and privileges for their faith in the countries where they lived including those countless multitudes murdered by being burnt at the stake, strangled, or by other such vicious methods.

He tells the eleven remaining Apostles, who God was preparing to use for His purpose after He was no longer walking physically among them, that whatever they ask in His name, He will grant it. This does not give them a special warrant to go against God’s will as laid out in the Scriptures but confirms to them that He will be active in their mission.

    15 ¶  If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Here is a clear statement of what it means to be a Christian. If His followers love Him they will keep His commandments. He commanded them and us to;

John 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Again, He will repeat this command.

John 15:12  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you…17  These things I command you, that ye love one another.

John will repeat this most basic of Jesus’ commands for the church.

1John 4:20  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

This is a common thread throughout the letters of the New Testament. We cannot be Christians unless we care for one another in love and respect and that is never said to include controlling, bullying, self-righteous, or dominating behavior.

The promised Comforter is the Holy Ghost, as will be declared in verse 26. The Holy Ghost, as does God the Father, and Christ the Word of God, indwells the believer by the Spirit.

Romans 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Here is evidence that you cannot lose your salvation as the promise of the Comforter is for ever.

    18 ¶  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19  Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20  At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22  Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

Jesus promises them something they, at this time, do not understand, that proof of who He is will be provided at His resurrection and ascension. The believer that follows Jesus’ commands loves God and is loved by Him. Just read the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matthew, chapter 5, and the ‘Sermon on the Plain’ in Luke, chapter 6. Pay attention to the things Jesus said to His Jewish disciples and the things that Paul confirmed for Christians everywhere and in every time and give up your fear, your paranoia, your bigotry, and your anger. Trust in Christ. The attitude made popular by the movie Network of, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” is not what Jesus Christ left for us to represent Him by.

The three parts of God will live in the believer by the Spirit.

    25 ¶  These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The Holy Ghost is the One who teaches us as we read the Bible over and over, from cover to cover, as long as we are alive. It is the Holy Ghost who blesses us as we have daily Bible reading with our children with understanding of God’s word. It is the Holy Ghost who shows us what God wants from us. While Jesus is not walking on earth at present, the Holy Ghost is here to show us, through God’s words in His Book, who God is and what His will is.

Christ here tells His disciples to not let their hearts be troubled or to let their hearts be afraid. He does not tell them to collect as many swords, spears, catapults, and knives as possible so they can hold up against the Romans. He does not tell them to be afraid that perverts are going to take over their country. He does not tell them to read the latest prophecy expert and spend one second crying about the end of the world coming this weekend. He tells them to not be troubled or afraid. From Job to Revelation one very important theme of the Bible is to trust God as He has it all under control and nothing will happen that He doesn’t cause to happen or allow to happen for reasons we may never know in this life. From ISIS to the Federal Reserve at no time are we justified in our fear, fretting, worry, or rage. “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Monday, September 21, 2015

John 14:4-11 comments: Jesus Christ is God

4 ¶  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5  Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8  Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11  Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

Jesus states that His disciples know where He is going and they know Him, which is the way to get to that place where He is going. Thomas, who is called ‘Doubting Thomas’ in popular sayings, did not get it, as the disciples often did not get what Jesus was telling them.

Jesus then makes one of the most, if not the most, profound and important statements in the Bible that should upset all of the universalists out there who insist we are all God’s children and that everyone is on their own path to some kind of Heaven of their own imagination. He states very clearly that there is only one way to God, and that is through Him. He states that He is the way, the truth, and the life. In this context He is the way to the Father, the only real truth, and the life that is forever and ever.

Jesus took over the place the Law given to Moses had to the Jews.

Psalm 119:1  ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.

Psalm 119:142  Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.

Hebrews 7:16  Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

In verse 7 Jesus tells Thomas that he has seen the Father by seeing Christ. In verse 9 He makes it even plainer by telling Philip point-blank that to have seen Him is to have seen the Father. They are one and the same. This is a real mind-twister for these first century Jews to wrap their minds around as it is for us today. We are not that much more sophisticated although we have the complete Bible in front of us.

Jesus then explains the relationship between Himself and God the Father as being wrapped up in each other. It is a very difficult concept for people to understand so early church councils came to a conclusion that there were actually three individual persons in the Godhead with two of them submitting to the will of one. This is incorrect and a heresy as they are all the same person with one will but are able to express and project themselves independently. As I have explained previously how Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the visible image of God, God’s body, and His appearance there is no need to repeat it (Hebrews 1:3; 2Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15). By now, you should be aware of the three parts of God, as in our three parts of a body, soul, and a spirit (1Thessalonians 5:23). There is God the Father, the Holy Ghost, and the Son of God, all called, “He,” all indwelling the believer by the vehicle of the Holy Spirit called, “It.

John 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Ro 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his...16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God…26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

God the Father, Jesus Christ the Word, and the Holy Ghost are one entity.

John 10:30  I and my Father are one.

1John 5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Deuteronomy 6:4  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

Mark 12:29  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

Jesus Christ, walking on earth, was God, the one who created all things, by whom all things are sustained, who actively controls all reality from the water vapor in Orion to every beat of your heart, and by whom all things will come to their conclusion, in human flesh.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

John 14:1-3 comments: a glorious promise

1 ¶  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Believing in Christ is essential to believing in God. One of the essentials of Christian belief is that you trust Christ to get to God the Father. This is made abundantly clear later in this chapter. There is no other way to the God who created you than through Christ, who is God, the physical manifestation of God.

If you believe that God is preparing an eighteen room majestic home to occupy in your resurrected body I will not argue with you. I’m just going to give you the literal interpretation and you can do with it what you will. According to the Early Modern English database at http://leme.library.utoronto.ca/menu/menuSearch.cfm the word mansion at one time meant a dwelling place, a house, or even a large, luxurious apartment in a mansion house. Look at some of the cross references to verse 2.

2Corinthians 5:1 ¶  For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

In God’s house, the verse says, there are many mansions. My concern is that we are telling people in our excitement about Heaven and in their unwillingness to read the Bible that we are all going to have our own version of Buckingham Palace. Wouldn’t it be more likely, based on the construction of the sentence, that we will all have our own wonderful, dwelling place in God’s house rather than our own castle next to the golf course?

Psalm 18:19  He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Psalm 31:8  And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.

Psalm 118:5  I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.

Historical evidence teaches us that, and I quote Michael L. Satlow’s book entitled, Jewish Marriage in Antiquity, the bride would be brought to the huppah, a private place prepared by the groom in his father’s house, where the marriage was consummated.(21) So, Jesus preparing a magnificent room in His Father’s house for His bride has parallels in Jewish customs of the time. There is a lot of interesting information, if you are willing to search it out, about those customs but be careful of copying anyone who doesn’t, at least, provide you with the sources of his statements.

Here, Jesus promises to His followers that He is going to prepare a place in His Father’s house and will return to take them there. This is an amazing promise apparently in keeping with Jewish custom and tradition for marriage. When Jesus ascended into heaven;

Acts 1:9  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

He went to prepare a place for His church, His bride.

2Corinthians 11:2  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

He will return to take His bride to His Father’s house.

1Thessalonians 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Where there will be a feast, a marriage supper, and great rejoicing.

Revelation 19:9  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

We await this greatest of all events in our lives.

Titus 2:13  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

(21) Michael L. Satlow, Jewish Marriage in Antiquity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), 172.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

John 13:36-38 comments: Peter's promise

36 ¶  Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. 37  Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. 38  Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

Peter is sincere, of that there is no question. But, our heartfelt sincerity often turns to betrayal and a proof of our weak faith when times are difficult. Peter promises that he would lay down his life for Christ and he will have that opportunity later but Christ knows Peter will deny Him now. Job swore that he would trust God even to death but he insisted he would proclaim his own righteousness and the injustice of his circumstances to the bitter end.

Job 13:15  Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

Saul had been lifted up from being a shy but obedient man to being king of Israel but he let God down. See 1Samuel 9 and onward.

David was the ruler of Israel whom God chose as he was looking for, “a man after his own heart,”(1Samuel 13:14) and while David never turned away from God to worship other gods he did let God down tremendously with his not doing his duty and his resulting sin with Bathsheba. See 2Samuel 11and 12.

God’s person, His man or woman, can let Him down in a big way. Peter here is making a promise that Jesus knows he will not keep at this time as he will deny he even knows Christ although God will give him strength when he will later be called to martyrdom.

Speaking to Peter (notice the thou for singular you as opposed to you for a group) Jesus will say;

John 21:18  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

Then, later, Peter will say;

2Peter 1:12 ¶  Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. 13  Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14  Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15  Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
Notice the context here and in what happens later. To deny Christ in this context is to deny you know Him. It is under pressure in a specific context, social or otherwise, that the weak Christian does not want to be recognized as a follower of Christ.  It is in trying blend in with the crowd for some measure of acceptance and keeping your head down or as they say in the military, keeping a low profile, to keep from being noticed as a Christian. Perhaps you will adopt the same vulgar speech as your coworkers, laugh at the same filthy jokes, drink the same drink, adopt the same amusements and entertainment to be accepted and you just don’t want anyone to recognize you as you warm your hands over the Devil’s fire like Peter. But, more on that later.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

John 13:31-35 comments: Christ's new commandment

31 ¶  Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32  If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him. 33  Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. 34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

When Judas left Jesus spoke again, talking about His glorification and the Father’s glorification. They are uniquely tied together because they are one individual. When Christ rises from the dead God’s power over death is revealed. He calls His disciples, “little children,” because they have not understood fully what He has been telling them and like children they follow Him in their unknowing. John uses this terminology in his writing elsewhere, at least nine times in 1st John, distinguishing, “little children,” from, “fathers,” and, “young men,” perhaps in a reference to not only immature believers but those at varying stages of understanding.

At this time, His disciples cannot follow Him. Their time will come later. Jesus lays down a fundamental condition of the church, if it is to follow and obey Him, in verses 34 and 35.

That Christ’s followers love each other is very difficult but essential and sometimes seemingly impossible. Paul and Peter explain this in more detail. Charity is a word for love that embodies love in action, an active love where one seeks the best interests and expresses compassion for another. It is not about our modern definition of giving to the poor as evidenced by Paul’s statements in 1Corinthians, chapter 13.  Verse 3 shows us that the charity mentioned here is different than merely surrendering your substance to feed the poor.  These are the qualities for the Christian’s love for other Christians as commanded by Jesus Christ.

1 ¶  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

    4 ¶  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

    8 ¶  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Peter, here, shows that just above kindness to each other stands charity.

2Peter 1:5 ¶  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10  Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11  For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

As Peter and Paul both point out, charity, the active love between brothers and sisters in Christ stands above all other temporal virtues for the Christian. Considering some of the control freaks, some of the prideful, stubborn resisters of the truth, and those who engage in back-handed gossip and malice it is not an easy task we are called to.

1Peter 4:8  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

There is no charity within the congregation when some think of themselves as holier than thou.

Romans 12:3  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Luke 18:9 ¶  And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Or when some bear resentment that they do more than others.

Luke 10:38 ¶  Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Or some, whom God has spared many of the illness, employment, financial, relationship, domestic and spousal, and family troubles of others in the congregation, lift themselves up and think it is a result of what they did and others did not rather than being a result of God’s mercy on them, a mercy He can withdraw to teach them humility if He wills it, do not know what charity is. They would do well to look to the book of Job to see what can come their way in spite of their self-righteousness. “I have a good life because I am a good person and the others just aren’t right with God,” is not a sign of a charitable heart or even necessarily the truth as God shows us in Job.

All in all, Jesus says that we should be known by our love for each other, an active love as Paul and Peter call it charity. It is not to be faked. Paul says to let love be genuine.

Romans 12:9a  Let love be without dissimulation...

Dissimulation comes from dissemble which is deceitful and not genuine, not necessarily a direct lie, but faking something, a deceit. See Proverbs 26:4, 24 and Jeremiah 42:20.

We must abstain from any appearance of evil as it says in 1Thessalonians 5:15 and 22. The context there is malice and a desire to cause trouble from one Christian to another. See also the way evil is used for intent to harm, malicious behavior, and trouble in Genesis 37:2, 20, 33; Isaiah 45:7; Matthew 6:34; 7:11.

It is about your attitude toward other believers in the church, perhaps not to the spiritual level you consider yourself to be. Maybe they haven’t ‘arrived’ like you have. No one in the congregation should feel any animosity or hostility or vain attempts at control from another member of the congregation. Without at least the willingness to change our attitudes toward each other there is no chance to obey Christ and we drive people from the assembly. This is one reason why so many churches fail. Anyone coming into an assembly of Christians can sense a controlling spirit or a self-righteous, unyielding air.

Without the fruit of the Spirit coming from each believer, there is no hope for this obedience that Christ has called for. “Telling the truth in love,” has too often become an excuse for mean-spirited, paranoid, controllers who simply have established in their minds statuses of Christians in the church who feel more justified by, “telling it like it is,” and driving people off.

Examine yourselves.

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Monday, September 7, 2015

John 13:18-30 comments: and it was night

18 ¶  I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. 19  Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he. 20  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 21  When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. 22  Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. 23  Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24  Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. 25  He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? 26  Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27  And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. 28  Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. 29  For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30  He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

Now, here is a curious thing. Christ said He was speaking only to those He had chosen. So, what would make us think that an unbeliever, particularly anyone who God knows will not receive Christ, would be able to receive the Bible? In the following passage it is so that only those whom God foreknew would be His did He predestinate to be like Christ at some point.

Romans 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

It is by that seeing ahead of who will trust Christ that God chooses.

1Peter 1:2  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

He saw those people in Christ before the world of men and women was even formed.

Ephesians 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

And we are predestinated to something after we are saved as per Romans 8:29 and context. Here is a statement and then an explanation of the statement showing that we were called after we were predestinated after God knew we would love Him;

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    29 ¶  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Jesus quotes the following passage in the Old Testament, telling us how to apply it;

Psalm 41:9  Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

Obviously, Jesus is talking about Judas, who will betray Him. He then clearly states that He is foretelling what will happen to Him as evidence of who He is. Jesus says that to receive the person whom He has sent is the same as receiving Him and receiving Him is to receive God the Father. The “sent ones” are the apostles of the first century, the missionaries of every century, the evangelists, the itinerant preachers, and the common Christian who is sent by the Holy Ghost into the world to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. But, in this context, He is talking about these Apostles and separating them from the one who will betray Him.

Who was Jesus talking about they wondered? John, who was probably very young, had a special attachment to Christ. He is known as the disciple Jesus loved or the beloved, a type of the church. Christ is the Father’s beloved Son.

Mark 9:7  And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.

John is the disciple whom Jesus loved as shown in the passage being studied. The church is Christ’s beloved.

Ephesians 1:6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

At that time they would have not been sitting in chairs to eat as we would. They would recline to eat. John was close to Jesus and Peter asked him to ask Jesus who it was that would betray Him.

Some people will accuse Jesus of sin here, which is in contradiction of who Jesus was and of what the Law given to Moses said about the sin of homosexual behavior.

Leviticus 20:13  If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

And also denying the deep love of friendship that was possible between two men in the ancient Jewish world within the constraints of the law. See David speaking to Jonathan;

2Samuel 1:26  I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.

Or the tenderness that does not lead to sin of a grown man for a youth and the concern and care this represented.

Daniel 1:6  Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:… 9  Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

An American heterosexual male can no more understand this morally correct affection any more than he can stand the idea of men in other cultures kissing each other on the cheek as a greeting or young girls walking down the street holding hands. He also cannot wrap his mind around General George Washington writing to the Chevalier de Chastellux, solder and philosopher, when he knew Chastellux would arrive at camp, “I love you…I shall embrace you when it happens with the warmth of perfect friendship.” (20) Nor can we understand the idea of the, “holy kiss,” between Christians in Romans 16:16; 1Corinthians 16:20; 2Corinthians 13:12; and 1Thessalonians 5:26.

This is very important in understanding the Bible. Your discernment must be able to separate what is given to you as a commandment that you are to follow as a Christian and a cultural practice that is alien to our time and place or specifically referenced to specific people at a specific place and time. It is not sin not to follow every line in the Bible as much of it isn’t written to you and you would be foolish to insist that if we don’t kiss each other we aren’t in obedience and submission to Christ.

More relevant to us is in the conservative Baptist tradition, for the sake of modesty, women typically wear long dresses to cover the legs as opposed to short, revealing dresses or form-fitting trousers, or even shorts. Modesty is a principle that God lays on the Christian’s heart. It is good. But, if you are looking back at the 1800’s or early 1900’s as a time when women in the church were more righteous in their dress then I would say to you that at that time you letting your hair hang down around your shoulders and wearing shoes that revealed the naked foot would have been scandalous and considered highly immoral as those things were for the marital bedroom or not to be exposed to public view. I’m not criticizing any conviction. I’m just saying be careful how you impose your convictions on other people. Your culture is not by necessity, Godly, simply because you are different, anymore than the cultures of the Bible require you to kiss each other or wear your hair down to your waist. Follow your convictions but be careful how you impose them on others.
By the way, Paul, writing to the Corinthians, tells them their insistence on women wearing long hair is a good thing. At the end of his talk he says, though, that if anyone wants to argue, they have no such custom or concern in the other churches. We know from the historian, Strabo, that the hill of Corinth, or Acrocorinth, contained a thousand short-haired temple prostitutes, so it would be important to the Corinthian Christians for their women to have long hair to distinguish them from those temple prostitutes.

1Corinthians 11:16  But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

I certainly do not intend to wear a robe in my daily activities because the men of the Bible wore them in order to seem more righteous to others nor will I swap my car for a camel or a donkey. And, men, don’t even think about kissing me. That’s a warning.

 Jesus took a piece of unleavened bread and dipped it in the bitter broth, according to some a token of good will much like a toast in our day, and gave it to Judas Iscariot, whom He identified as the betrayer. As an example of a meal where food was eaten similarly, see Ruth 2:14.

Ruth 2:14  And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.

Satan then entered Judas, who was already prepared for his treason, and Jesus told him to do what he must do quickly. The others assumed that Judas was being sent on a mission peculiar to the work they did with Christ; to get provisions or to give to the poor. And it was night.

John 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.  5  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

Paul wrote;

Romans 13:12  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

1Thessalonians 5:5  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Peter wrote;

2Peter 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

As Christ’s resurrection was revealed in the morning, we are waiting for Christ’s return for us, for the morning light to peek over the horizon;

Genesis 1:5  And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Psalm 30:4  Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. 5  For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Psalm 130:6  My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

2Peter 1:19  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

We live in the night of the world, as the Hebrew day started with the evening and then the morning (see the first chapter of Genesis). First, there is darkness. Then, there is light. We Christians are not of the darkness but of the light and we, of all people, are waiting for the morning light to come.

Judas has gone to betray Christ. The die is cast, in a manner of speaking. God’s plan to redeem mankind is about to begin in earnest.

(20) James Thomas Flexner, George Washington in the American Revolution (Boston: Little, Brown, & Co.) 477.

Friday, September 4, 2015

John 13:1-17 comments: the humility of God in the flesh

1 ¶  Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. 2  And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; 3  Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; 4  He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5  After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. 6  Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7  Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. 8  Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. 9  Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. 10  Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11  For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. 12  So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Jesus has come to the time when He knows He is to be offered up. Satan has put into Judas Iscariot’s heart to betray Christ. Jesus then sets an example for the disciples, that of service and servanthood to each other.  Peter, at first, refuses this offer of humility from Christ but then repents. It is so with the person who will not accept Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as an atonement for his or her sin. They might even at first declare that they are beneath Christ and not worthy of His work but it is, in all reality, pride that keeps them from accepting the work on the cross. 

Christ, God in the flesh, came to earth and humbled Himself to live as one of us. He then offered Himself up for our sin. This humility of the God who created all things is impossible for us to completely understand. It is, though, an example for us in our relations to our brothers and sisters in Christ and, for that matter, to all the world as we best show the character of God by serving others in humility and kindness. Christianity is not for the proud and haughty, the self-righteous, but for those who are willing to subject themselves to Christ and to serve others. This self-congratulatory breaking your arm to pat yourself on the back for being saved is a contradiction with what Christ calls us to think.

Matthew 5:5  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

James 4:10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

1Peter 5:6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

We are to mirror and reflect the humility of God.

2Corinthians 8:9  For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Philippians 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The classic “alpha male”, the control freak, the self righteous, the glowingly proud dominator of other, less gifted, less handsome, less beautiful, less talented, less intelligent mortals makes for a terrible example of a follower of Christ. Your German pride, your Anglo-Saxon pride, your Black pride, your White pride, your Gay pride, your Southern pride, your whatever pride does not sit you in good stead with Christ, believe it or not. Humble yourselves before God and before others. Do not make your profession of Christianity a joke and a menace as others before you have done and are doing.

While foot-washing is not part of our culture this is a representation of humility. Foot-washing in a culture where a day was a dusty, dirty walk in sandals was an act of hospitality offered to one’s guests; water to wash the feet and, perhaps, a servant with a towel to dry the feet off after a journey. See Genesis 18:4; 19:2; 24:32; 43:24; and most particularly 1Samuel 25:41.

Verse 10 may be telling us simply that Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient and we will not be saved and lost, saved and lost, over and over again. One sacrifice for sin is all that He needed to do.

Hebrews 9:23 ¶  It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24  For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25  Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26  For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient for all of our sins; past, present, and future to be removed from us. Or, as it says in a prophetic context in Psalm 103;

12  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Do not think of yourself as better than your Creator by refusing in your pride and vanity to be the servant that Christ showed for us as an example.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

John 12:42-50 comments: life everlasting

42 ¶  Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43  For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

    44 ¶  Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. 45  And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. 46  I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 47  And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48  He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49  For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50  And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

There were many among the rulers of Israel that believed on Christ but were afraid to speak up because they would lose their place in the synagogue. Think of the southern Baptists who may have continued to be opposed to slavery and/or its inhumane practice in the Antebellum South, before the Civil War, but were afraid to speak lest they lose their place in society. As Baptists moved into the mainstream of southern culture and away from the fringes they sought the approval of the powers that be in society. So, justifying slavery and maintaining their influence meant more to them than Christ’s words in the Bible. It is like that in this first set of verses where the rulers believed but were afraid to lose their place. Remember what they said in 11:48.

John 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

Even Pilate knew they acted against Christ because of envy.

Matthew 27:17  Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18  For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

Jesus said to believe on Him is to believe on God Himself. If they saw Christ, it is the same as seeing God. He will say this again to one of His disciples

John 14:9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

Jesus came to be a light in the world and those who believed on Him did not live in spiritual darkness. The very first thing God said that is recorded in the beginning of creation was, “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3). Scientists, in their imperfect and often mistaken understanding of the physical universe, view something called photons as the basic particle of light. The universe is swimming in light, the stars and the planets and all other objects move in a kind of light. For every estimated proton around the nucleus of an atom they say there are a billion photons. (19)

Paul said about God as he quoted a pagan poet, Epimenides, from his poem Cretica.

Acts 17: 28  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Jesus Christ, the living Word, what the Greeks knew as the Logos  by which all things were created and exist, sustains the universe and all so-called laws of physics operate because of His actions. In fact, the universe is held together by Him.

Colossians 1:17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

The spirit of man needs to know Christ and without Him our spirits lie in darkness.  Christ’s very words will judge the person who rejects Christ in that Day of Judgment. The words of God in this Bible judge we Christians even now.

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Christ, the express image of God’s person, has come to man as a man with a message from God the Father, the soul of God, that offers everlasting life. Our king has offered us a pardon for our rebellion against Him by becoming the sacrifice for our sin against Him. In the last important Bible translation before the poisoning of the human mind by the so-called Enlightenment, German rationalism and theology and the triumph of the Counter-reformation, Abraham’s son, Isaac, and we are told.

Genesis 22:8  And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

The choice is life forever with the One who created you or eternal agony by choosing to reject His free offer of mercy and grace.

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(19) Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, and Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next  (New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006), 75.