Serious Studies in John Forrest Keener
Serious Studies in John
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LESSON NO. TITLE PAGE
01 The Eternal „Word” 3
02 John The Baptist, A Man Of God 4
03 Jesus, The Light Of The World 6
04 Jesus Christ And The World 7
05 Jesus And His First Disciples 9
06 Changing The Water Into Wine 10
07 Evidences Of Jesus’ Identity 12
08 The New Birth 13
09 The New Birth Explained 15
10 The Bridegroom And His Servant Friend 16
11 The Woman At The Well 18
12 The Overripe Harvest 19
13 Samaritan Faith And Jewish Skepticism 21
14 Jesus Healing At The Pool Of Bethesda 22
15 Jesus And God, One And Equal 25
16 Jesus And The Witnesses Of His Identity 26
17 Jesus Feeding The Five Thousand 28
18 Jesus, The Bread Of Heaven 30
19 Jesus, The Sovereign 32
20 Jesus And His Kinsmen And Countrymen 34
21 Jesus, The Indestructible Water Of Life 35
22 Jesus And The Woman Taken In Adultery 37
23 Jesus And His Adversaries 39
24 Jesus, God’s Son Versus Satan’s Children 40
25 Jesus Heals The Blind 42
26 Jesus Dealing With The Antagonistic Religionist 44
27 Jesus, The Good Shepherd 46
28 Jesus, The Eternal Shepherd Keeping His Sheep 48
29 Jesus Lets His Friend Die 50
30 Jesus Raises Lazarus 52
31 Jesus Viewed By Different People 54
32 Jesus Foretells His Death 55
33 Jesus Teaches Humble Service 57
34 Jesus Foretells His Betrayal and Denial 59
35 Jesus Promises To Return 61
36 Jesus, The Manifestation Of God 63
37 Jesus Promises A Replacement 65
38 Jesus, The True Vine 67
39 Jesus, His Disciples And The World 69
40 Preparation For Persecution 71
41 The Ministry Of The Holy Spirit 73
42 Seasons Of Joy And Sorrow 75
43 The Lord’s Prayer 77
44 Lessons From The Lord’s Prayer 79
45 The Lord’s Arrest 81
46 The Trial Of The Lord 83
47 The Crucifixion Of Jesus 85
48 The Death And Burial Of Jesus Christ 87
49 The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ 89
50 Effects Of The Resurrection 92
51 The Miraculous Draught Of Fishes 94
52 Post Resurrection Ministry And Great Commission 96
I cannot claim to have offered here a comprehensive exposition of the Gospel of John. Neither my capability nor the small space in this volume would permit it. My purpose has rather been to set forth a series of concise outlines suitable for serious study in or teaching from the Gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded by John.
I think you can find here fifty-two or more profitable sermon outlines or perhaps one hundred and four very teachable Sunday School Lessons. You should easily find enough material in each lesson outline for two Sunday School lessons. At the same time I trust that the thoughts will be simple enough for even those teachers who are young in experience to understand.
For the person who neither preaches nor teaches but simply enjoys serious Bible study, there will be many hours of exactly that.
PLEASE USE YOUR BIBLE. These outlines are so designed that you will understand little of what is being said unless you study them with an open Bible. It will first be absolutely necessary to read and keep before you the basic Scriptures shown at the start of each lesson. Besides this, I make reference to hundreds of Scriptures, none of which are copied within these pages. Unless you look them up and read them as you go, it will be impossible to understand the thoughts set forth. I feel, however, that if you will study this booklet with an open Bible and judge the statements contained herein by that open Bible, you will enjoy many hours of profitable study.
It is my earnest prayer that God will choose to bless the words written in this book to the enjoyment and spiritual profit of all who invest their time in the study of it.
THE ETERNAL „WORD”
Scripture reading: John 1:1-14
Companion scripture: Genesis 1:1-31
Memory verse: John 1:1
Each gospel writer starts his history of Jesus Christ in a different way.
1. Matthew shows Jesus as King; thus he starts, „The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David.” (Matt. 1:1)
2. Mark shows Him as a servant; thus he gives no lineage, just, „The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
3. Luke portrays Him as human, „The son of man.” Thus he starts with the birth of Christ.
4. John shows Him as God, and thus starts, „In the beginning.” Contradiction? Not at all. Jesus was all of these: King, human, servant, and above all, GOD. Therefore, John’s gospel starts an eternity before all the rest: „In the beginning.” It starts before Adam, before angels, before the world, before heaven or hell, even before time.
I. Jesus Christ – The Word
You might more quickly grasp the impact of this statement if you reconstruct the sentence, since all translations must reconstruct sentences, and read it, `In the beginning the Word was.’
A. The Greek word logos here translated word means:
1. A thought or concept.
2. The stating of a thought or concept.
B. Thus, the Holy Spirit here describes Jesus Christ as being all that God is, thinks, does, and says. (Read 1 Cor. 1:24, Eph. 3:11 and Col. 2:2-3.)
II. Jesus Christ – The Eternal Word
A. He was not from the beginning, but in the beginning. This means He was before all, not the first of all, but preceding all. He is the author and finisher of everything created.
B. Christ was in the beginning with God, verse 2. (Read Jn. 17:5.)
III. Jesus Christ – The Eternal God
A. Verse 1 says, „The word was God.”
B. Verse 14 says, „The word was made flesh and dwelt among us,” thus, identifying the word as Jesus Christ.
C. By simply adding these together we readily see that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. (Read Isa. 7:14 and Matt. 1:23.)
IV. Jesus Christ – The Creator of the World
There are heretics who state, „He was God’s first creation.”
A. The Scripture says here, „All things were made by Him,” not through Him.
B. If ALL things that were made were made through Him, then He could not be among those things made unless He made himself.
C. Why not just accept the Word? Jesus Christ is Eternal God without beginning. He is the creator of all things.
JOHN THE BAPTIST, A MAN OF GOD
Scripture reading: John 1:6-8, 15-36
Companion scripture: Matthew 3
Memory verse: John 1:29
The Scripture here says John was a man sent from God. Jesus says, „No greater than John is born of woman.” (Matt. 11:10) He was a bright and shining lamp lighted by Jesus Christ, „the Light.” Let us see what there is about John, who burns out for God in such a short ministry, that makes him so great.
I. He Was Sent from God – John 1:6
A. This divine call and commission is of unparalleled necessity.
B. Professional preachers who are uncertain of God’s call and plan are the disgrace of the hour.
II. He Came To Bear Witness of Jesus – John 1:8
A. His whole purpose of life was to identify Jesus to a lost world. (Joh 1:33-34)
B. His witness was simple and personal. (Joh 1:29)
C. No man today has a ministry ordained of God that is not like this.
III. He Was Faithful to the Gospel Message
A. He preached repentance. (Matt. 3:2)
B. He preached faith toward Jesus Christ. (Joh 1:29)
C. He sought repentance, not profession. (Mat 3:7-8)
D. He preached truth without regard to the consequences. (Mat 14:3-12)
IV. He Was Willing to Be Spent for Christ’s Sake
A. He realized that he was nobody. His purpose was not to build for himself a reputation, but to promote Christ altogether. (Joh 1:23-24)
B. He encouraged his disciples to follow Jesus not him. (Joh 1:35-37)
C. He never tried to profit materially through his ministry. (Mat 3:4)
D. He was willing to see his ministry diminish to nothing for the glory of God. (Joh 3:27-30)
JESUS, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Scripture reading: John 1:4-13
Companion scripture: I John 1:5-10; 2:8-11, John 8:12
Memory verse: John 1:9
No greater description of Christ is given anywhere in the Bible than that of light. Let us consider the deep implications of this word.
I. Jesus Is the Light
A. He is light in the sense of knowledge. Perfect light reveals everything. Nothing can be hidden. Consider that Jesus sees and knows all things.
B. He is light in the ministry of the Word. (Psa 119:105)
C. He is the light that shines into men’s hearts unto salvation. (II Cor 4:3-4)
II. Men Are Darkness In Darkness
Throughout the Bible spiritual darkness is to be associated with sin. Judgment brought darkness in Genesis 1:2 and in Matthew 27:45-46.
A. Sin brings darkness. (Rom 1:21)
B. Darkness covers and promotes sin. (I Thes. 5:5-7)
C. Men in sin are not just in darkness, but they are darkness. (Eph 5:8) The meaning of this statement is that their ungodliness spreads darkness over others around them.
III. Christ Came to Shine into Darkness
A. Christ is perfect light. (I Jo 1:5)
B. He came to liberate men from darkness. (Joh 1:4-5)
C. This light is sufficient for the deliverance of every man on earth. (Joh 1:6-9)
IV. Darkness Hates and Rejects Light
The mere fact that light is made available is not unto man’s salvation, but unto his condemnation. It is, however, a bona fide offer from God that leaves man without excuse. (Joh 15:22)
A. Natural man does not desire light. (Joh 3:20-21)
B. Natural man loves his darkness and hates light. (Joh 3:19)
C. God shines light into our hearts against our will. (2Co. 4:4-6)
JESUS CHRIST AND THE WORLD
Scripture reading: John 1:9-14; 15:18-20
Memory verse: John 1:10
It is the mistaken opinion of many that mankind is basically good and that the world is just waiting to glorify Christ Jesus if only He will manifest Himself to them so that they can know who He is. This is not so. Man is by nature a hater of God and all that is good and righteous.
I. Jesus Was in the World
We must remember that if Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came to this world today, He would be treated as He was 2,000 years ago.
A. The world is not in innocent ignorance of who and what Christ is. (Joh 1:14)
B. He revealed Himself to the world. (Joh 8:42-44)
C. He proved His identity by miracles. He opened blind eyes, raised the dead, and fed multitudes.
D. He went about doing good, the very thing the world claims it wants. (Acts 10:38)
II. He Owns The World
A. He owns it by right of creation. (Jn. 1:3,10)
B. It is His because He sustains it. (Col. 1:17)
C. He owns it by the decree of God, the Father. (Psa. 2:5-8)
III. The World Rejected Him
A. The world did not know Him, not even the religious world. (Joh 1:10; 8:48-49)
B. The world did not want Him. (Joh 1:11, Acts 3:13-14)
C. The world maliciously killed Him. (Luke 23:21-24, Acts 2:22-23, Acts 3:14-15)
IV. The World Must Still Meet Him
A. He is coming again. (Acts 1:11, Rev 19:11-13)
B. He will rule all the world. (Psa 2:8-9)
C. They must stand before Him in judgment. (Rev 20:11-12)
JESUS AND HIS FIRST DISCIPLES
Scripture reading: Jn. 1:35-51
Companion scripture: Luke 9:23-36
Memory verse: Jn. 1:37
In these verses we see the calling of the first disciples of Jesus who later became apostles. Let us see some of the things involved in making and being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I. The Messenger And His Message
A. God calls disciples through human vessels. (Jn. 1:35-36)
B. The messenger must have a clear message. The „Lamb of God” verse 36. The „Messias” verse 41.
C. The invisible, silent messenger, the Holy Spirit, must also work. This call joins with the gospel to make disciples. (Jn. 6:44)
II. Disciples Are To Become Messengers
A. Andrew called Simon. (Jn. 1:41-42)
B. Philip called Nathanael. (Jn. 1:43-46)
C. We are to call others. „…let him that heareth say, Come…” (Rev. 22:17)
III. The Responsibility Of Discipleship
A. The responsibility of following Jesus. (Jn. 1:43)
3. Love for others
B. Self-denial (daily) – (Luke 9:23)
C. Responsibility of bearing Christ’s reproach. (Luke 9:26)
IV. The Joy Of Discipleship
A. The joy of seeing your life take on new meaning. (Luke 9:24)
B. The joy of seeing the impossible accomplished. (Luke 9:40-43)
C. The joy of looking forward to eternal reward. (Jn. 6:66-68)
CHANGING THE WATER INTO WINE
Scripture reading: Jn. 2:1-11
Companion scripture: II Kings 5:1-14
Memory verse: Jn. 2:5
This is the first of the miracles of Jesus. It in no wise condones the use of alcohol as some teach. Much oriental wine of that day was non-intoxicating and nothing says this was not so. However, this is not the point in the miracle. As in all miracles this was to illustrate the person and the work of Christ.
I. The Symbolism in these elements
A. Wine to the Israelite symbolized joy, prosperity, and blessing. (Pro. 3:9-10)
B. This water for purifying and washing, symbolizes the word of God. (Eph. 5:25-26)
C. Water to drink in the Bible, symbolizes the Holy Spirit. (Jn. 4:14-15, Jn. 37-39)
D. The miracle shows the word and the Spirit coupled together in effort unto conversion. Water which is at first to wash in becomes drinkable, thus showing how God’s word is, by the Spirit, received into our hearts.
This only scratches the surface, but you begin to see the depth of meaning in the miracles of Christ.
II. The Performance Of The Miracle
A. He used human vessels, verse 7. Illustrate how He could have spoken the pots full.
1. In application, Christ uses human vessels in conversion.
B. He required faith to be exercised in those servants. (v. 8)
Imagine carrying untasted, untested water you had just poured into the washing pot to the governor of the feast.
1. We see this operation of faith explained in Mark 2:5.
C. He leaves those servants in obscurity.
1. You do not even know the names of those used.
2. Men today who are promoting themselves are not glorifying
III. The Purpose Of The Miracle
Contrary to much modern thinking, Christ’s performance of miracles was not to provide for or to manifest men but to glorify Jesus Christ.
A. He manifests HIS glory. (v. 11)
B. He identifies Himself as the God of creation.
C. He builds faith in His disciples. (v. 11)
D. Acting on His direction brings faith in His ability. (vs. 7-9)
EVIDENCES OF JESUS’ IDENTITY
Scripture reading: Jn. 2:12-25
Companion scripture: Psa. 2
Memory verse: Matt. 16:16
The deciding factor in all religions is who they say Jesus is. If we do not start by properly identifying Him as the Christ, the only begotten Son of God, all else will be of no real value.
The miracle of the wine was to identify Him. The things following verses 12 through 25 were for the same purpose. Consider the evidences and the various responses to those evidences.
I. The Evidences
A. The cleansing of the temple.
1. He called it His Father’s house.
2. Prophecy had stated He would have this attitude. (v. 17)
B. The miracle already performed in Cana of Galilee. (Jn. 2:1-11)
C. His statement of who He was. (Luke 2:49)
D. Prophecy concerning His death, burial and resurrection.
II. Confusion Of The Skeptics
The strange thing about devout unbelief is that it grows with knowledge rather than decreasing. (I Cor. 1:23-24)
A. They knew who He was claiming to be. (Jn. 2:18 – „…seeing that thou doest these things?”)
B. They asked for signs when they had seen more than enough.
C. Because they loved darkness (Jn. 3:19), Jesus gave them darkness. (Matt. 13:10-11)
III. The Increased Faith Of The Disciples
To the believer more faith is given. From the unbeliever is taken away even that which he has.
A. His disciples remembered and put together knowledge. (Jn. 2:17)
B. Each time they saw new evidences they grew in faith. (Matt. 8:27, then Luke 9:20-21, and Matt. 14:32-33)
C. Faith, when it is exercised, grows. (Matt. 14:22-33)
THE NEW BIRTH
Scripture reading: Jn. 3:1-8
Companion scripture: Acts 16:16-34
Memory verse: Jn. 3:3
If John 3:3 could be seen and even remotely understood by the natural mind, it would be the most shocking verse in the Bible. It states simply that by every religious effort a man might make he CANNOT (not just does not, but cannot) see the kingdom of God.
This passage is often taught, but how shallowly do we consider the doctrine of the New Birth.
I. Notice Nicodemus
A. He was a man who believed in God. (Jn. 3:2)
B. He was devoutly religious. He was a ruler of the Jews. (v. 11)
C. He was sincere. He came to a man who was antagonistic to his traditions.
D. He was lost. He had not been born spiritually.
E. He was ignorant of spiritual truth, although he was a teacher or master of religious dogma. (v. 10)
II. Notice Jesus
A. He did not respond to the flattery of Nicodemus. (v. 2)
B. He showed no respect to the person of Nicodemus.
C. He told him the truth about himself. (v. 3)
III. The New Birth
A. It is not an act of man’s will. (Jn. 1:13)
B. It is not something man does or contributes to. (Jn. 1:13 and Jn. 3:6) You can quickly see this truth by considering how much a baby has to do with his conception and birth.
C. It is the act of God. (Jn. 1:13) Regeneration infuses spiritual life into one who is spiritually dead in every sense, and does not act for himself.
D. The vehicles of salvation, faith and repentance, are the results of the Holy Spirit’s act of regeneration. (Eph. 2:8, II Tim. 2:25)
IV. The Bearers Of The Born – Jn. 3:5
A. Consider that lifelessness does not bear life.
B. Thus the pneuma, meaning breeze and here translated Spirit, must be symbolic of a possessor of life, the Holy Spirit.
C. The hudor, here translated water, must also be symbolic of a possessor of life. That, of course, is the Word.
1. Water symbolizes the Word elsewhere in the Bible. (Eph. 5:26)
D. The Word is alive as is the Spirit. (Heb. 4:2)
E. Thus we find the agents of all God’s creation working in the new birth. They are the Word and the Spirit.
THE NEW BIRTH EXPLAINED
Scripture reading: Jn. 3:9-21
Companion scripture: Acts 9:1-22
Memory verse: Jn. 3:13
Certainly, I would not be so presumptuous as to say I am going to completely explain the new birth. It is an even greater mystery than that of the natural birth. (Ecc. 11:5) There are several facts, however, that the Lord sets forth in this passage, which do give us some explanation. I shall try to point them out.
I. The New Birth Is Not An Attainment
A. It is not through education or training. (vs. 9-10)
B. No man has right or access to heaven except Jesus Christ. (v. 13)
C. This is given to men as a gift through the cross of Christ. (vs. 14-15) Illustrate by the brazen serpent. (Num. 21:5-9)
II. It Is Both Involuntary And Voluntary
A. It is involuntary in that God does the bearing. (Jn. 1:13)
1. God does the giving. (Jn. 3:16)
2. Christ does the travailing. (Jn. 3:14, Isa. 53:11)
3. We are begotten by God’s Word. (I Cor. 4:15)
4. We are born of the Spirit. (Jn. 3:6)
B. It is voluntary in that God lets us exercise our will. (Rev. 22:17)
1. We receive Him. (Jn. 1:12)
2. We come to the Light. (Jn. 3:20)
C. Let us remember that what we do in believing and receiving is in reaction to what He has done: dying, enlightening, inviting.
III. The Importance Of Our Response
A. The purpose of Christ’s coming is that men might be saved. (Jn. 3:17)
B. To believe Him is to escape condemnation and have life. (Jn. 3:18)
C. To reject Him is to go on in an already present condemnation.
D. Any man’s condemnation is altogether his own fault. (Jn. 3:19)
THE BRIDEGROOM AND HIS SERVANT FRIEND
Scripture reading: Jn. 3:22-36
Companion scripture: I Sam. 20
Memory verse: Jn. 3:30
In John the Baptist lies a great example for all those who would be servants of God. We can quickly see a great deal of difference between his attitudes and those of the average Christian worker of today. Let us see the attributes of John’s ministry and compare them to our own life.
I. John’s Diminishing Ministry
A. John’s short ministry had had tremendous impact on the multitudes. (Matt. 3:4-6)
B. He introduced Christ and His ministry began to grow. (Jn. 1:35-45)
C. John’s disciples say that everyone is following Jesus instead of you.
D. Think for a moment of what this would do to the ego of the average preacher of today.
II. John’s Humble Attitude
A. The bridegroom has the bride and has the right to her. (v. 29)
B. The true friend of the bridegroom rejoices greatly in this, as does John. (v. 29)
C. As Christ increases, John gladly decreases.
D. We should be glad to become nothing that Christ might be all in all.
III. John’s Faithful Testimony
A. John says, that this glory is God’s plan for Jesus. (v. 27)
B. John reminds them of his testimony that Christ would come after him. (v. 28)
C. John states that Jesus is from heaven and is above all. (vs. 31-32)
D. He that receives Christ’s testimony has believed God.
E. He that receives Christ hath everlasting life. (v. 36)
F. He that does not believe on Christ invokes God’s wrath upon himself. (v. 36)
THE WOMAN AT THE WELL
Scripture reading: Jn. 4:1-26
Companion scripture: Luke 18:9-14
Memory verse: Jn. 4:24
The Lord, desiring not to acquire any more personal fame in this area until other areas have been reached, leaves Judea for Galilee. Remember, there is controversy over His growing fame as compared to John’s. In His journey, Samaria is to be passed through, and we see a most beautiful case of salvation.
I. The Seeking Saviour
A. Jesus is the seeker not the sought. Nothing is further from her mind than repentance and salvation. (v. 7)
B. Jesus seeks the most depraved He can find not the most righteous. (Jn. 4:17-18, Luke 19:10)
C. He always exposes one’s sin that repentance might be worked. (Jn. 4:17-18)
D. He speaks truth, never flattery, although it may seem brutal and unkind. (Jn. 4:22)
II. The Sinful Woman
A. This woman is particularly sinful. (Jn. 4:17-18) All people are. (Rom. 3:9-12)
B. She has no intention of exposing it or of being shamed by it. She came at noon to draw water. (Jn. 4:6-7)
C. She has no spiritual perception. (vs. 10-12)
D. She evades the issue of her sin. (vs. 18-20)
E. She has met the Saviour, however, who will penetrate every barrier with light and truth unto salvation. (vs. 24-26)
III. The Strange Water
A. This is water that is alive and gives spiritual life. (v. 10)
B. This water satisfies both immediately and permanently. (vs. 13-14)
C. This water is not literal but typifies the Holy Spirit in His work of regeneration. (Jn. 7:39)
D. This water overflows in the recipient and continually flows out to others (Jn. 7:38)
THE OVERRIPE HARVEST
Scripture reading: Jn. 4:27-38
Companion scripture: Ecc. 11
Memory verse: Jn. 4:35
While the Lord is revealing His identity to the needy, sinful woman, His disciples return from their mission of buying food. The astonishment of seeing Jesus talking to such a person (v. 27) and His lack of interest in food (v. 32) lays the foundation for a most important lesson to them and to us.
I. The Need For Reapers
In an insignificant village in an unworthy nation an ungodly woman has been enlightened to salvation. Moreover, her salvation is to flow out reaching many others. (Jn. 4:39) This marvelous transaction needs to and can occur all around the world.
A. „Lift up your eyes and look…” (v. 35) The need is obvious to all who will consider lost souls around the world.
B. The fields are white already. (v. 35) This states that today is too late for some and tomorrow will be worse.
C. Do not procrastinate as some do saying, „Tomorrow I will witness.” „There are yet four months…” (v. 35)
D. The Lord said to His apostles, I sent you. (v. 38) He has sent you, too. Not only so, but everyone who has heard is told to go tell. (Rev. 22:17)
II. The Reward For Reapers
A. The reapers receive wages. (v. 36, Matt. 19:29)
B. The reaper gathers fruit that remains forever. (Jn. 15:16)
C. The reaper completes the labor of others who have sown and watered for Christ. (vs. 36-38)
D. The reaper reaps, not receives, everlasting life. (Gal. 6:8)
E. Humanly speaking, the reaper saves souls from Hell. (I Cor. 9:22)
III. The Joy Of The Reaper
A. The reaper has the joy of winning the lost. (Jn. 4:32)
B. He has the joy of pleasing God. (Jn. 4:32,34)
C. He will have the privilege of rejoicing together with the Old Testament prophets, and with John the Baptist, Paul, Bunyan, Spurgeon, etc. (Jn. 4:36)
SAMARITAN FAITH AND JEWISH SKEPTICISM
Scripture reading: Jn. 4:39-54
Companion scripture: Luke 10:25-37
Memory verse: Matt. 13:12
This is one of the mysteries of the Bible. How could Israel, so often seeing the hand of God move, be habitually skeptical, while Gentiles and Samaritans would with so little evidence be enlightened? Let us search out the answer in this lesson and be admonished lest we be found even as they.
I. The Reason For Samaritan Faith
A. Look at the faith of the Samaritan woman. (Jn. 4:28-29)
B. The Samaritans received a sincere testimony and sincerely investigated. (vs. 29, 39)
C. Realizing the truth, they sought more truth. (Jn. 4:40)
D. They listened with open minds and were established by God’s word. (Jn. 4:41-42)
E. Notice another example of Samaritan faith and gratitude. (Luke 17:12-16)
II. The Reason For Jewish Skepticism
A. The Jews had a long history of seeing the miracles of God.
1. They had seen the Red Sea parted.
2. They had seen the walls of Jericho fall.
3. They knew of David’s defeat of Goliath.
4. They knew of the fiery furnace and the lion’s den.
B. Yet they had been rebellious and ungrateful. (Acts 7:35, Acts 7:39-41, Acts 7:51-53)
C. This rebellion and rejection of light causes unbelief. (Jn. 3:19, Matt. 13:11-14, Isa. 6:9-11)
III. An Admonition To Our Generation
A. We have seen the blessing of God as no other people except Israel.
1. We have religious freedom, yet we spend little time in Church.
2. We have material blessing unparalleled, yet Americans con-
sume it upon their own lusts rather than using it to disperse
3. We have reference Bibles and study helps unparalleled, yet
most Christians are not Bible students.
B. I believe we must use this blessing, or we can expect it to be taken away. (Matt. 25:27-29, Rom. 11:25)
JESUS HEALING AT THE POOL OF BETHESDA
Scripture reading: Jn. 5:1-16
Memory verse: Jn. 5:24
The word Bethesda means „house of kindness.” This pool was perhaps so named, because of the sick folk who came here for healing. In any event, the pool had nothing to do with the case of healing which is now our consideration. It is done strictly by the Lord Jesus Christ, and for the purpose of making certain revelations of Himself and raising certain questions about Himself. Bear in mind, that if Jesus is omniscient, then the complications which followed this healing were not incidental, but were within divine purpose. They may well have been the very reason for the miracle.
I. The Sovereign Selection Of The Subject
Realize that Jesus could have healed all these people on the spot had He chosen to do so. We could only suppose reasons why He singled out this one, so let us not bother, but rather let us deal with obvious facts.
A. It is not because of the outstanding faith of this man.
1. All these people present at the pool obviously were there
because of some confidence in divine healing.
2. When asked, „Wilt thou be made whole?” the man showed
despondency rather than faith. (v. 7)
B. There is no evidence that his case was worse than the others, thus motivating divine mercy.
C. Therefore, we should conclude that Jesus selected him because He selected him.
II. The Healing
You may notice that this and all cases of Bible healing are very different from the order claimed by the religious performers of today.
A. His healing preceded, not followed, any evidence of his faith. (vs. 7-9)
1. A similar truth can be drawn from Mark 2:5.
B. The Lord’s command was to exercise the gift just given. (v. 8)
C. Faith always must be exercised to realize the gift just given.
D. Therefore, the gift is not given by faith, but given by grace and realized through faith.
III. The Repercussions That Follow
I certainly give Jesus credit for knowing and remembering it was the sabbath and what the reaction of the Jews would be. Yet, notice the arrangement and the result of the arrangement of this miracle.
A. He performed the miracle on the sabbath.
1. This was not, in fact, a violation of Mosaic law or He would not
have done it. (Jn. 8:29, 46)
2. He well knew that the Jews would persecute Him for it.
B. He commanded the man to carry his bed.
1. I repeat, this was not a violation, but He knew that it would be
C. He waited until He was in the temple to identify Himself so the dispute would develop. (vs. 13-14)
D. These people gave no glory for the obvious healing of one sick thirty-eight years.
1. This was likely part of the reason Jesus used this man.
E. They rather persecuted and sought to kill without study of either the case or law. (v. 16)
JESUS AND GOD, ONE AND EQUAL
Scripture reading: Jn. 5:17-31
Memory verse: Jn. 14:9b
Notice that the scripture of this lesson starts with the conjunction „but,” thus absolutely tying what is to be said to the miracle just performed. Jesus, now having by the miracle and its controversy perfectly arrested the attention of followers, inquirers and adversaries alike, sets forth a great series of truths concerning His relationship to God the Father. There are at least four categories in which He states this divine oneness and equality.
I. The Oneness Of Practice
A. Jesus said that God worked here today, therefore I worked. (v. 17)
1. Were God not working He could not have healed this man.
B. Jesus said that He was sent to do the Father’s bidding and was doing it. (v. 30)
C. He said that He was doing only what He had seen God do. (v. 19)
II. The Oneness Of Power
A. Jesus’ power is not, of a man, separate from God but is the same power. (v. 19)
1. The teaching would be that Jesus could not act contrary to
God’s will and power.
B. The unity of their will assures their unity in power.
III. Oneness Of Sovereignty And Authority
A. Since opinion, desire, will and practice are in unity, Jesus can act sovereignly and independently without acting adversely.
B. The Son quickeneth (makes alive, saves if you please) whom He will. (v. 21)
C. The Son judges all men. God has committed all judgment unto Him. (v. 22)
D. This does not mean that God the Father has relinquished His authority, but that He has committed it to the one who will act exactly and continually as God will act. (v. 30)
IV. Oneness In Honor And Adversity
Although these men claimed fidelity to God, their rebellion toward Jesus was simply a manifestation of their true attitude toward God.
A. The man who does not honor Jesus does not honor God. (Jn. 5:23)
B. These people had rebelled against every leader God had sent. (Acts 7:51-53)
C. Their real quarrel was with God. They had modified their religion to suit themselves. They twisted and ignored the law and the prophets, thus having religion without salvation, and a form of godliness which was no better than that of Satan himself.
D. He that loves Jesus and His teachings loves God. He that hates Jesus hates God.
JESUS AND THE WITNESSES OF HIS IDENTITY
Scripture reading: Jn. 5:31-47
Memory verse: Jn. 5:37
In the previous lesson we saw that the Jews sought to kill the Lord because He said God was His Father. They rightly realized that He claimed equality with God. However, it is clear that they „Do always resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts 7:51) in that they sought to prove their preconceived opinion against all reason rather than to study to know His identity. They knew God would send „Messias” (Jn. 4:25) but since they did not happen to like the way Jesus did things they sought to kill Him rather than to identify Him. He speaks the words within the following verses to show the many witnesses to His identity and deity.
I. John The Baptist Bore Witness Of Him – (v. 33)
A. John identified Him as eternal. (Jn. 1:30)
B. John bore witness of His majesty. (Jn. 1:27)
C. John bore witness of His Sonship. (Jn. 1:34)
D. John bore witness that He was the Christ, the Lamb of God. (Jn. 1:36)
E. Most of these people counted John a great prophet but rejected his message.
II. Jesus’ Works Bore Witness Of Him – Jn. 5:36
A. The deeds of Jesus:
1. The changing of water into wine. (Jn. 2:1-11)
2. The healing of the nobleman’s son. (Jn. 4:46-54)
3. The healing of the man at Bethesda. (Jn. 5:1-9)
B. His understanding of deep things. (Jn. 4:18, Jn. 5:6, etc.)
C. The purity of His life. None of them had seen sin in Him.
III. The Father Bore Witness Of Him – Jn. 5:37
A. This was done by supernatural signs.
1. The descent of the Spirit in the shape of a dove. (Luke 3:22)
2. The voice of God out of heaven. (Luke 3:22)
3. The specific signs given to John to identify Him. (Jn. 1:31-33)
IV. The Scriptures Bore Witness – Jn. 5:39
A. There were hundreds of prophesies to guide them.
1. That He would be born of a virgin. (Isa. 7:14, Gen. 3:15)
2. That He would be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2)
3. That He would not be a popular person. (Isa. 53:3)
4. That He would heal the blind, etc. (Luke 4:18)
B. With all these signs, they believed not.
JESUS FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND
Scripture reading: Jn. 6:1-21
Memory verse: Jn. 6:9
The passover was nigh; (v. 4) therefore, there were multitudes of Jews in the area, probably en route to the passover feast at Jerusalem. The Lord took this opportunity to manifest Himself unto the people that they might believe on Him, and that believing they might have life. This is a rare miracle appearing in all four gospels. (Matt. 14:15, Mark 6:35, Luke 9:12, Jn. 6:1)
I. The Lord’s Action
A. He went to this place knowing the people would come unto Him.
B. It was a deserted place where food was not available for purchase. (Luke 9:12)
C. He, by the miracle, showed the people His identity. (Jn. 6:14-15)
D. He gave His disciples a lesson. They misunderstood it at the time, but they would understand it later.
II. The People’s reaction
A. They did recognize Jesus at least in a shallow sense. (Jn. 6:14)
B. They did not worship or praise Him.
C. They purposed in their heart to force Him into rulership for earthly benefit. (Jn. 6:15)
D. They followed Him for earthly bread alone. (Jn. 6:26-27)
Today many preachers advocate this and many professing disciples do it.
III. The Disciples’ Weakness
A. Their weak faith before the miracle. (Jn. 6:5-7)
B. Their „me first” weakness. (Compare Mark 6:31 to vs. 36-37)
C. Their lack of perception in the miracle. (Mark 6:51-52)
IV. The Lesson To Be Learned
A. The Lord’s ability to multiply our little. (Mark 6:38)
B. The Lord’s order of provision.
1. He took what the people had. (v. 11)
2. He blessed that which was given. (v. 11)
3. He gave unto His disciples to distribute. (v. 11)
4. They distributed sufficiently to all serving others first. (v. 11)
5. They gathered up the fragments and had more than they had
at first. (vs. 12-13)
We may well learn that when we take what little we have and obediently commit it to Jesus, He will multiply it to fill the need of others around us and will leave us with much more than we had at first. When His power is not seen in blessing, He sends trial to sober us. (Jn. 6:15-21, Mark 6:51-52)
JESUS, THE BREAD OF HEAVEN
Scripture reading: Jn. 6:22-42
Memory verse: Jn. 6:33
One of the truly great metaphors of the Bible is that of Jesus calling Himself, „the bread of heaven.” The manna in the desert was only symbolic of Jesus. The „bread from heaven” prophecy quoted in verse 31 by the Jews did not have its fulfillment in the manna, but in Jesus. (vs. 32-35) As the manna sustained physical life, so Jesus gives spiritual life. Except a man eat this true bread from heaven (v. 35), he has no life in him. (v. 53)
I. These People’s Concern Was Only Physical
A. They sought Jesus not because of His power or person but His product. (v. 26)
B. This miracle was not performed to feed them, but to enlighten them unto faith. (vs. 28-29)
C. Too much concern with the physical is a mark of ungodliness. (Phil. 3:18-19)
II. Jesus Warns Against Materialistic Religion – (vs. 26-27)
A. Labor not for the perishable, but for the eternal. (v. 27)
B. Much of today’s religion is like that of these people.
1. Some preachers promise only material blessing for service to
2. Some people testify only to material blessing to evidence God’s
3. Many religious broadcasts so represent Christ. They are as
ungodly as Baalism.
C. Let our concern be for glorifying Jesus and not for the „loaves and fishes” we can get.
III. These People Had No Spiritual Perception – (vs. 30-36)
A. „What sign showest thou?” (v. 30) What a question after the loaves and fishes.
B. „Our fathers did eat bread in the desert.” (v. 31)
1. Their understanding of God and the scripture went no further
than the physical.
C. Jesus points out, „Moses gave…but my Father giveth…”
1. The manna was not the bread of prophesy. Jesus was. (vs. 32
D. As they misunderstood the prophesies of Jesus, they also misunderstood Jesus.
IV. The Condemnation Of Not Knowing Jesus
A. They had seen Jesus and heard Him and had seen His mighty deeds, and yet they rejected Him. (vs. 36, 41, 48)
B. This is proof that they were Satan’s children, not God’s. (v. 37)
C. Were they God’s, they would have come to Jesus and had life everlasting. (vs. 37, 39)
D. This should invoke the question in everyone, „How do I see Jesus?”
JESUS, THE SOVEREIGN
Scripture reading: Jn. 6:43-71
Memory verse: Jn. 6:44
Mankind has a distorted view of the Almighty. They see the Father as a permissive „Santa Claus.” They think of Jesus Christ as „big brother,” „example of love,” etc. This Jesus is, but mankind needs to be sobered anew to see the might, the will, the purpose, the control, indeed the sovereignty of God. By this I mean God’s right, ability and purpose to do with man just exactly what He pleases. „As it is written, for thy sake we are killed, all the day long.” (Rom. 8:36) Does this offend you? Then you need desperately to renounce your own sovereignty and bow in reverence to that of God.
I. Acceptance Of Jesus Christ Is By Grace
These people murmured over Jesus’ teachings. He rebuked them by saying in effect, „Hush your murmuring, if you were of God, you would believe.”
A. No man can come to Jesus except by the working of God’s grace. (v. 44)
B. Those whom God has given to Him will experience this grace working effectually. (Jn. 6:37)
C. This is done by God’s word and Spirit working revelation within the darkened heart of the sinner. (Jn. 6:45, Eph. 1:17-19)
D. It is not the nature of man to believe. This is a work of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22, Eph. 2:8)
II. The Bread That Sustains Spiritual Life
What a sublime thought! God has given a bread whereby one may eat and never die.
A. There is no problem about the bread. It is Jesus. (v. 51)
B. Man’s problem is how to respond to the bread.
C. He may hold it, admire it, confess it, make images of it, make speeches about it, sing songs about it, even worship it, and die.
D. He must eat it if he is to live. Christianity will not save. You must have Christ.
III. Offended Disciples – (vs. 61-62)
The question in verse 62 indicates that some were offended by the completeness of glory He gave to the Father and Himself in salvation.
1. The Father gave the bread.
2. Jesus was the bread. (The only way.) (v. 53)
3. The Father even gave the faith and ability to eat the bread.
(Jn. 6:37, 44)
A. The simple answer to their offense was the Spirit quickeneth (giveth life). (vs. 63-65)
B. Moreover, the flesh profiteth nothing, not little, but nothing.
C. The world always has been and is yet offended by such a doctrine as this. (vs. 66-71)
JESUS AND HIS KINSMEN AND COUNTRYMEN
Scripture reading: Jn. 7:1-31
Memory verse: Jn. 7:7
As we look at these verses we cannot but marvel at the spiritual stupidity of mankind. The people of Judea had eaten the loaves and fishes and sought to kill Him. (Jn. 7:1) Many of His disciples forsook Him because He gave all the glory of discipleship to God. (Jn. 6:65-66) His brethren, knowing all this and living in His presence all these years, did not believe in Him. (Jn. 7:5) The Jews marvelled at His supernatural knowledge of scripture. (Jn. 7:15-16) They accused Him of being devil possessed. (Jn. 7:20) People voiced belief and doubt in the same sentence. (Jn. 7:31)
I. Man’s Mental Depravity
A. The Jews sought to kill Him who made the lame whole, fed the multitudes, and exposed the hidden thoughts of men’s hearts.
B. His brothers challenged Him to promote Himself. (Jn. 7:4) This is exactly like Satan challenges. (Luke 4:3-12)
C. The religious leaders hated Him for doing a work of mercy on the sabbath, yet they did works of tradition and ceremony on the sabbath. (Jn. 7:22)
D. The people perceived His identity and in the next breath talked themselves out of it. (Jn. 7:25-26, 31)
II. Intellect Does Not Reveal
A. The Jews had more than enough evidence.
B. His brethren had more than enough knowledge of Him. (Jn. 2:1-8)
C. The people knew enough about Him to astonish their mind, but not to convert their heart.
D. Those who were persuaded, feared the Jews more than God. (vs. 11-13)
E. They knew the leaders sought His life (v. 25), yet they denied it when He spoke of it. (v. 20)
III. A Lesson Out Of Frustration
All of this might tend to drive us to mental frustration over what these people were, and thus what we are. Let us then be reminded of the words of Jesus that point to direction within this chaos.
A. These people are blinded by God because of sin. (Matt. 13:14, Isa. 6:9-10)
B. God, by grace, opens hearts as He will. (Jn. 5:21, Jn. 6:37)
C. Those who are taught of God will come. (Jn. 6:45)
D. All who have come and believed must attribute all the glory to God. (Jn. 6:44, 65)
JESUS, THE INDESTRUCTIBLE WATER OF LIFE
Scripture reading: Jn. 7:32-53
Memory verse: Jn. 7:37
In these verses the Pharisees are disturbed by the fact that many of the people were leaning to the persuasion that Jesus was the Christ. (vs. 31-32) You would think that with such overwhelming evidence as this and in view of the fact that some counted Him the Christ, they would have conducted an all-out investigation. Much to the contrary, we see them suppressing all the evidence they can, criticizing His works and seeking to silence His voice altogether.
I. The Prophecy Of His Death And Ascension
A. Jesus had declared that He was sent by God the Father. (Jn. 5:30)
B. He is thus stating plainly that He is returning to God. (v. 33)
C. It follows then that He is stating that these people cannot come to God. (v. 34)
D. Notice the spiritual blindness displayed by these people. (vs. 35-36)
II. Jesus Offers Water And Life To Whosoever Will
Here in the closing of the feast, when the emptiness of their formalistic religion was most evident, the greatest offer mankind had ever heard was made to them. (Jn. 7:37)
A. If any man thirst. No qualification is set forth except need and desire.
B. This is offered to any man who feels this spiritual thirst.
C. There is only one place where this thirst can be quenched, Jesus. „Come unto me.”
D. The admonition is so simple that any man should understand how to comply. „Drink.”
E. Salvation is not based upon how much, how well, how carefully, or how graciously one drinks, but upon what he drinks.
III. The Promised Result Of This Drinking – Jn. 7:38,4:14
A. It will be eternal life unto him. (Jn. 4:13-14)
B. It will be water springing up in him. (Jn. 4:14)
C. It will be water flowing out to others. (Jn. 7:38-39)
IV. Persistent Lack Of Spiritual Perception – Jn. 7:40-53
A. Some credited Him with being the prophet and the Christ, but how different this is from drinking. (Jn. 7:40-42)
B. They even cited the right scriptures, but it contributed to their turmoil and not faith. (vs. 42-44)
1. The officers bordered on faith. (vs. 45-47)
2. The Pharisees asked for a learned man who believed and found
Nicodemus. (vs. 48-51)
3. Doubt continues and darkness prevails. (vs. 52-53)
JESUS AND THE WOMAN TAKEN IN ADULTERY
Scripture reading: Jn. 8:1-11
Memory verse: Jn. 7:8b
This is a glorious passage for in it we see forgiveness of sin. Not permission, mind you, but forgiveness. Along with this we see the divine wisdom of Christ displayed by His ability to condemn sin, to convict the self-righteous and to free the repentant sinner. The implication and projections of this passage are as limitless as they are beautiful. However, we shall try to confine our comments to interpretation of the narrative.
I. Insincere Motives Of The Accusers
A. They did not come to uphold justice or God’s law, but to find occasion against Jesus. (Jn. 8:5-6)
B. It takes two for adultery, but the man who is equally condemned was not brought.
C. Since she was taken in the act and the whole thing was designed, her cohabitor must have been a plant, perhaps one of them.
D. Their thought was, He must choose between condemning an apparently repentant and possibly trapped woman, or He must do violence to the law.
II. The Finger Of God – (v. 6)
Much is unknown about this act, but let us examine some possi-bilities.
A. He well could have been writing details of the law which condemned them also.
B. He may have written an accusation against a particular one of them.
C. In any event the finger of God was writing as upon the tablets of stone on Sinai.
III. Harmony Of Law And Forgiveness
Try as you might, you cannot imagine another way this could be handled with the same result.
A. The law of God was not denounced, but was pronounced.
B. All were concluded under sin from the most respected to the most innocent.
C. The Lord alone stood in the position to condemn or forgive.
D. He is the only one who can protect God’s law and justify the sinner. This is done in the cross where He will die for her sin.
IV. Sin Condemned – Sinner Saved
A. These men would have condemned her, but they could not be-cause of their sin.
B. Jesus could have condemned her (He was sinless) but He would not. He gave her her life. (Jn. 5:21)
C. As He frees her He admonishes her to turn from sin; not so she can go, but because she can go free.
JESUS AND HIS ADVERSARIES
Scripture reading: Jn. 8:12-32
Memory verse: Jn. 8:32
It seems that this portion of scripture would divide itself, subject wise, into four areas. These areas are the Lord’s repeated identification of Himself, the Pharisees’ rejection of this truth, His warning about the results of this unbelief and His promise to those who were true believers. There is also a divine means set forth by which we can tell professing believers from disciples indeed. (vs. 30-31)
I. Jesus Repeats His Identity
A. He is the light of the world. (Jn. 8:12)
1. His followers have the light of life.
2. His followers have light for life.
B. He is one with the Father. (v. 16)
C. He is the one sent by the Father. (v. 18)
D. He is from above, not of this world. (v. 23)
E. He is the „I AM.” (v. 24) The word „he” is not in the original. (Jn. 8:58)
F. He is the future Judge. (v. 26)
G. He is the son of man – God born in flesh. (v. 28)
II. The Pharisees’ Doubt
A. Their doubt is not based upon any logic.
B. They had seen all kinds of miracles.
C. They had legal witness of Him. (Jn. 8:17-18)
D. They had been admonished by one of their own to listen to Him. (Jn. 7:47-53)
III. The Danger Of Doubt
A. They shall seek and not find a Saviour. (v. 21)
B. They shall be judged by this one they hate. (Jn. 8:24, 5:22)
C. They shall die in their sins. (Jn. 8:24)
D. They shall be barred from heaven if they believe not that Jesus is the Christ. (Jn. 5:21)
IV. The Promise For Believers
A. They shall not walk in darkness. (Jn. 8:12)
B. They shall prove true faith and discipleship by continuing in His word. (Jn. 8:31)
C. They shall know the truth by the same manner. (Jn. 8:31-32)
D. Knowing the truth, they shall be free from the bondage of sin and death. (v. 32)
JESUS, GOD’S SON VERSUS SATAN’S CHILDREN
Scripture reading: Jn. 8:33-59
Memory verse: Jn. 8:44a
As Jesus, in verses 31 and 32, speaks a promise of freedom from condemnation to His disciples, His enemies lay hold on His words in the traditional fashion. As He spoke of freedom, they claimed freedom from men. (v. 33) Had they so soon forgotten the times God had put them in bondage to such men as Nebuchadnezzar? They were even now in bondage to Rome. Their logic here is a sample of their logic in identifying Jesus. Let us see what we can learn about the enemies of Jesus.
I. They Are Not Abraham’s Children
A. Their claim of this was firm but false. (vs. 33, 39 and 40)
B. They were Abraham’s seed physically, but this was of no value. (Jn. 8:37, Luke 3:8-9)
C. The true seed of Abraham are those in Christ. (Gal. 3:6, 9)
II. They Were The Devil’s Children
A. They were his because they served sin. (Jn. 8:34)
B. They thus had no access to heaven except through the Son. (vs. 35-36)
C. Jesus directly states that they are children of Satan. (Jn. 8:44 and verses 38, 41)
D. This is the very nature of natural man. All children of Satan are haters of God. This is proven by the fact that the world hated Jesus.
III. The Difference In God’s Children And Satan’s Children
A. Satan’s children hate truth (v. 40), while God’s children hear the truth. (v. 47)
B. Satan’s children do his works (Jn. 8:41), while God’s children do good works. (Jn. 8:38)
IV. The Pre-existence Of Jesus
A. He was before Abraham. (v. 58)
B. He was with Abraham. (v. 56)
C. He was in the beginning. (Jn. 1:1-2)
D. He was eternal. (v. 58) The words I AM indicate eternal existence.
V. The Lord’s Frankness With Satan’s Children
How often today we are told that we should always be mild and pleasant to God’s enemies.
A. Jesus called them liars. (Jn. 8:55)
B. Jesus called them children of the devil. (Jn. 8:44)
C. In other passages He calls them hypocrites, vipers, etc.
JESUS HEALS THE BLIND
Scripture reading: Jn. 9:1-32
Memory verse: Jn. 9:5
In these verses we see another great miracle. Some things about it are like previous ones. (v. 14) Other things are very different. (v. 32)
No single miracle in scripture has more symbolic teaching against the house of Israel. Let us enter carefully to see what the Lord would teach us by this act.
I. A Lesson On God’s Purpose – (vs. 1-4)
A. The disciples ask, „Is his blindness due to his sin or his parents’?” (v. 2)
B. His answer is that neither caused this. Of course, both had sinned, but neither was the cause. (v. 3)
C. God had so arranged it for the revelation and glory of Jesus Christ. (v. 3)
D. Do you in your heart grant God the right to bring a man into life blind and let him remain so for all these years for His own glory?
II. Symbolism In The Miracle
A. I think this man’s blindness was symbolic of the spiritual blindness of Israel. (Matt. 13:13, Isa. 6:10)
B. I think the mud made of spittle was a testimony of the shame of their blindness.
1. Spittle was a testimony of shame for unredeemed land and an
Israelite, who let his brother’s name perish from the land.
C. I think the washing in the pool Siloam (sent) is a type of receiving Jesus Christ, the one sent from God, and the only cure for spirit-
ual darkness. (Jn. 9:5)
D. Notice how Jesus expressed Himself as the light in verse 5. I think context would bear out the previous thoughts.
III. The Ungodly Response Of The Religious Leaders
If you are ever tempted to think that men desire truth, pause to notice the way these Pharisees protect and insist upon their spiritual blindness.
A. They have indisputable witness of the greatness of this miracle and the performer of it.
1. The neighbors realized who the blind was. (Jn. 9:8)
2. His parents witnessed that he was born blind and now sees.
3. The man himself confessed his previous blindness and the one
who healed him. (vs. 9, 11, 15, 25, 30)
B. They seek to suppress information rather than to gather it.
1. They fall back on faultfinding and accusation about the
sabbath. (v. 16)
2. They terrorized the people against speaking anything in Jesus’
behalf. (vs. 21-22)
3. They try to trick this man into denying Jesus by pitting Jesus
against God. (v. 24)
4. They persecuted the man for speaking true and obvious state-
ments in Jesus’ behalf. (vs. 30-33)
C. Do not be amazed at this; such is man’s nature and character. (Jn. 3:18-19)
JESUS DEALING WITH THE ANTAGONISTIC RELIGIONIST
Scripture reading: Jn. 9:13-41
Memory verse: Jn. 9:39
As we come to this lesson we can see God’s purpose in the blind man of this chapter. We know that he was born blind for God’s purpose; (Jn. 9:3) but what could that purpose be? If only to prove Jesus’ ability to heal, this has already been done. They had not believed because of the previous miracles, nor will they believe because of this one. So why is it done? It is to prove that they are not innocently blind and damned, but that they choose to be so. (Jn. 3:18-19, Jn. 9:39-41)
I. Jesus Came For Judgment – Jn. 9:39
Already we know that Jesus came to die on Calvary for the redemption of many. (Mark 10:45) Here we learn that He also came for judgment.
A. That they which see not might see. (Jn. 9:1-7, Matt. 13:16)
B. That they who see (the educated and learned, but rebellious) might be made blind. (Matt. 13:13-15, Isa. 6:10, Jn. 3:19)
II. His Patience With The Ignorant And Neglected
A. The blind man had no deep perception of who Jesus was. (Jn. 9:17)
B. This is far from Peter’s confession of Matt. 16:13-17, but it is at least honest.
C. He did not know of Jesus’ sinless person. (v. 25)
D. He knew little or nothing about Bible truths concerning miracles. (Jn. 9:31-33)
E. He had no idea of Jesus’ real identity. (Jn. 9:36)
F. Yet, Jesus patiently nourished him and taught him until faith was formed in his heart. (Jn. 9:37-38)
III. His Dealing With The Antagonists
He came that they might be made blind, but note how fairly He deals with them in judgment.
A. He performs multitudes of symbolically rich and Bible prophesied miracles that they might know Him if they desire truth. (Matt. 15:29-31)
B. He taught in such a way that they could not help but know who He claimed to be. (Jn. 6:45-46)
C. He told them plainly who He was. (Jn. 8:28-29)
D. He preached harshly against their sin. (Jn. 8:44-45)
E. He told them that their blindness was not really blindness but a closing of their eyes. (Jn. 9:41, Jn. 3:19)
F. He continually invited them to repent and believe upon Him. (Jn. 7:37, Jn. 8:12)
G. He lived righteously before them. (Jn. 8:29)
JESUS, THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Scripture reading: Jn. 10:1-18
Memory verse: Jn. 10:11
Two things must be understood if we are to rightly interpret the passage before us. First, we must understand to whom He spoke then how He spoke. You can see in chapter 9 verses 40 and 41 to whom He was speaking. He was speaking to some of the Pharisees. Verse 6 of chapter 10 tells us how He spoke. He spoke in a parable. A parable is an illustration given by using something the hearers are quite familiar with to explain something they are ignorant about. In the parable there are four characters or categories of characters. It is obvious that we must put some identity on them if we are to understand the parable. These four are: (1) The false shepherds, (2) The good shepherd, (3) The porter, (4) The sheep. These characters shall form the points of our lesson.
I. The False Shepherds
All that came before Jesus (of course, this does not speak of God’s prophets but Satan’s leaders who lead the sheep astray) were thieves and robbers.
A. Many people heard them and followed, but the true sheep did not. (Compare Jn. 10:5 to Rom. 11:1-5)
B. These false shepherds are not there for the benefit of the sheep but for their own profit.
1. You might remember that wolves love sheep but for a different
purpose than the shepherd.
C. The hireling is in the same category as the wolf and the false shepherd. His motive is monetary and he will not hazard his life for the sheep. (vs. 12-13)
II. The Good Shepherd
We know this is the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 11), and He describes Himself thus:
A. He enters by the door opened by the Porter. (Jn. 10:2-3, Acts 2:22)
B. He knows His sheep by name, He calls, they hear and they follow. (vs. 3-5)
C. He gives His life for the sheep. (v. 11)
D. He knows His sheep and is known of them. (v. 14)
E. He knows the Father and is known of Him. (v. 15)
F. The word know here in verses 14 and 15 is not speaking of mere mechanical, passive perception as in Jn. 9:30 but is a different Greek word which means to feel an affectionate union or to love.
III. The Porter
On this character I cannot be sure but it seems to me the Porter must symbolize God the Father.
A. He opens to the true shepherd of the sheep. (Luke 3:21-22, Mark 1:11 and Mark 9:7)
B. If my interpretation is accurate, He gives the sheep to the good shepherd. (Jn. 10:27-29 compared to Jn. 6:37-38)
IV. The Sheep
We can be certain this speaks of believers.
A. They hear His voice. (v. 2)
B. They know (love) His voice. (vs. 3, 14)
C. They flee from Satan’s false shepherds. (v. 5)
D. They enter, receive life and have provision by Christ. (v. 9)
JESUS, THE ETERNAL SHEPHERD, KEEPING HIS SHEEP
Scripture reading: Jn. 10:17-42
Memory verse: Jn. 10:18
There is a large block of religion today that lays all hope of future security upon their commitment to stay near the good Shepherd. Their fear is that if they do not live, walk, talk, and pray aright that they will fall. Their problem is that they do not know the Eternal Shepherd.
They have chosen them a human shepherd who, in their imagination, acts and reacts like a man. They think he is the Jesus Christ of the Bible, but he does not possess the qualities of this Eternal Shepherd.
I. Our Shepherd is Eternal
A. He, unlike us, is in charge of His own life. (v. 18)
B. He can lay it down and die as a man and yet live as God, thus, He is able to take it up again. (v. 17)
C. Men cannot take His eternal life from Him. (vs. 18, 39, 40)
D. Though it cannot be taken, He can and will give it. He said, „…but I lay it down…”
E. This is the plan of God for the Son of man. (Jn. 10:18c, Acts 2:23)
II. He Gives Us This Eternal Life
A. This eternal life is not given to all the religious. (Jn. 10:24-26)
B. These people of fleshly good works are not His sheep and do not understand His way or His invitation. (Rom. 9:6-8, Rom. 9:31-33)
C. On the other hand His sheep do hear (perceive). (Matt. 13:14-16, Jn. 10:27)
D. He gives unto them eternal life. It is not lent or promised on condition but given. (Jn. 10:28, Jn. 5:24)
E. His sheep follow Him. (Jn. 10:27) This explains why many profess and fall. They are not His sheep.
F. He shall thus call not only Jews but Gentiles. (Jn. 10:16, Rom. 9:30-32)
III. The Security Of His Sheep
This security is based squarely upon the power, faithfulness and integrity of the shepherd and not on the sheep.
A. I give unto them eternal life. (Jn. 10:28)
B. They shall never perish. (Jn. 10:28) If this had a condition, Christ would have named it.
C. This assurance is also based upon the greatness of God. (v. 29)
D. It is based on His faithfulness to the Son. Verse 29 says, „…(He) gave them me.”
E. This security is as sure as the word, love and power of God. (Read Rom. 8:28-39)
JESUS LETS HIS FRIEND DIE
Scripture reading: Jn. 11:1-37
Memory verse: Jn. 11:4
We understand that wonderful things of God are to be seen in the resurrection of Lazarus. We must also understand though, that the same Jesus Christ who raised him, knowingly let him die. There was the physical suffering of Lazarus that Jesus could have stopped. There was the heartache of Martha and Mary that He could have prevented, yet He deliberately stayed away. Let us meditate upon these facts and see what we can learn of divine providence.
I. It Was His Loved Ones Who Were Suffering
We often think of the keeping shepherd as keeping us from all these things. He does not keep us from them but leads us deliberately into and through them.
A. He loved the dying Lazarus. (v. 3)
B. He loved Mary and Martha who were in sorrow. (v. 5)
C. They, in faith, appealed to that love for relief. (v. 3)
D. They knew that He was able to prevent the death. (vs. 21, 32)
II. He Deliberately Stayed Away
A. When He heard their appeal to come (v. 3) He refused to go (v. 6) until death had done its work.
B. He knew Lazarus would suffer and die. (vs. 11-13)
C. He knew of the heartache of Mary and Martha. (v. 33)
D. He allowed this heartache to continue for four days. (v. 17)
III. The Lord Has The Right To So Use Us
A. He is the Shepherd and we are His sheep. (Jn. 10:27)
B. As our Shepherd, He can give life and permit death as He may choose. (Rom. 8:36)
IV. In All These Trials His Love Is There
A. He loved them before the trial came. (Jn. 11:5)
B. He permitted the tragedy to come for their, and other believer’s benefit. (Jn. 11:4, Jn. 11:25-26, Jn. 11:45)
C. He suffered with them through the pain of death and parting. (Jn. 11:33, 35)
D. Victory is before us in all these things though it may be beyond view. (Rom. 8:37)
E. God’s love is sure and abiding regardless of circumstances. (Rom. 8:38-39)
F. By faith we can joy in these things knowing that His will, whose ways are perfect, is being done. (Jn. 11:24-27, Rom. 5:2-4)
JESUS RAISES LAZARUS
Scripture reading: Jn. 11:37-57
Memory verse: Jn. 11:37
Could Jesus not have prevented Lazarus’ death? This is a pertinent and important question. Of course, we know the answer. He could have, and thus why didn’t He? The answer is, „For the glory of God.” (Jn. 11:4) Now we know that this miracle has a spiritual interpretation which is vitally related to the fall of man (spiritual death) and salvation (spiritual resurrection).
I. Was The Fall Of Man In Eden Unavoidable
A. The question is often asked, „Could God have prevented Adam’s fall? Of course, he could have done any number of things to prevent it.
B. Nevertheless, God let Satan live and use the serpent and slay Adam and Eve spiritually and thus all mankind.
C. Why did God permit all this? So that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. (Jn. 11:4)
II. Sin And Death
Of course, God is not glorified by man’s death but by his resurrection. What then does death accomplish?
A. It shows us the nature of Sin. (Rom. 3:23, Rom. 5:12)
B. It teaches us what results in the absence of God. (Jn. 11:21)
C. The pain of death drives us to Jesus. (Jn. 11:28-29)
III. The Resurrection Of Lazarus
In Lazarus’ resurrection we see a glorious picture of the spiritual resurrection, which is the new birth.
A. Lazarus was not just sidetracked, but dead. (Jn. 11:39, Eph. 2:1)
B. Redirection will not do. He must be regenerated, quickened and made alive. (Eph. 2:1)
C. The Lord thus stated this truth, „…Ye must be born again.” (Jn. 3:7)
D. Lazarus could not naturally respond to the word of Christ. He was dead. Regeneration must precede reaction, receiving of the word, and obedience. (I Cor. 2:14)
E. The voice that spoke light out of darkness (Gen. 1:3), speaks life out of death. (Jn. 11:43-44)
F. The voice that makes dead ears hear also makes dead hearts respond.
IV. The Reaction Of The Dead – Jn. 11:47-57
The believer though he be dead shall live, and the believing shall in reality never die (Jn. 11:25-26), but by the same token the dead love death and grasp it frantically. (Jn. 3:19) They thus seek to remove the giver of life.
A. Their council is this, His miracles are so great all men will believe. „What shall we do?” (v. 47)
B. The obvious answer would seem to be repent and believe. But it is not so with the dead. They said let us kill Him lest we lose our position. (v. 48)
C. Even in this vile plot their council must prophesy God’s plan (vs. 52-52), and their ungodly action must fulfill God’s purpose. (Acts 2:23)
JESUS VIEWED BY DIFFERENT PEOPLE
Scripture reading: Jn. 12:1-22
Memory verse: Jn. 12:21
In this passage a variety of persons is mentioned. Each is mentioned in a little different light, therefore, it becomes difficult to draw out an outline. Let’s just notice briefly the different ones, and how they saw Jesus. We shall learn about Him from how He is viewed both by disciple and enemy, not by concerning ourself with their opinion but by letting those opinions stimulate us to study.
I. Martha Saw Him As One To Be Served – (v. 2)
A. This is good and admirable, for this type of service comes from love. (v. 2)
B. It is important though that in this service we do not overlook the better thing. (Luke 10:38-42)
II. Mary Saw Him As One To Be Worshipped – (v. 3)
A. She sat at His feet and heard the word. (Luke 10:39)
B. She offered the best she had in sacrifice and service. (Jn. 12:3)
C. She did it in absolute humility and worship and in gratitude for forgiveness of sin. (Jn. 12:3, Luke 7:37, 47)
II. Judas Iscariot Saw Him As Unworthy Of Worship – (v. 4, 5)
A. He objected under the guise of compassion for the poor. (v. 5) Beware of the self-acclaimed humanitarian. He is usually a God hater.
B. This is always the motive of the humanist who objects to expenditures for worship.
C. The fact is that Judas was the son of perdition and literally hurt when he saw Jesus worshipped. (Jn. 17:12)
IV. Some Saw Him As The King Of Israel – (vs. 12-15)
A. They considered the loaves and fishes and the healings, and they wanted these kingdom blessings.
B. The trouble was they did not really want this King. This is proven by the fact that only four days later they will cry, „Crucify Him, Crucify Him.”
V. The Pharisees And Rulers Saw Him As A Threat – (v. 19)
A. They were not concerned with the truth of His identity but with the security of their own position. (Jn. 11:47-50)
VI. The Greeks Saw Him As Something To Be Investigated
A. Though He gave Himself before many Gentiles knew Him, this is to be the people to whom the vineyard is given.
B. Many more Gentiles have come to Christ than Jews.
C. The Apostle Paul (the apostle to the Gentiles) labored more abundantly than all the rest.
D. Oh, how men today need to say as these Greeks, „We would see Jesus.”
JESUS FORETELLS HIS DEATH
Scripture reading: Jn. 12:23-50
Memory verse: Jn. 12:32
The Lord has just made what is called the triumphal entry. (Jn. 12:12-15) The Pharisees are almost in panic for fear that He is about to become king. (Jn. 12:19) Now the Greeks (Gentiles) come saying, „We would see Jesus.” His disciples (vs. 21-22) seeing and hearing these things surely must be thinking, `Now, He will be king and we will reign with Him. We will fight for Him, and if necessary suffer and die for Him to win the throne of David.’ (Mark 14:30-31) Jesus’ answer to them in verse 23 is, „The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified.” This statement surely filled them with visions of Jesus upon the throne and themselves on the right hand and the left. But He spoke of the cross, with thieves on either side.
I. The Seed Must Die To Bear Fruit – (v. 24)
A. Jesus is the seed of Abraham. (Gal. 3:16) In Him shall all nations be blessed. But this will come not through the throne but through the cross. (Jn. 12:24)
B. If He loved His life and exalted Himself to a human throne, He would lose it like a human king. (v. 25)
C. To His disciples (servants) He says, „Follow me.” He says it not in self-exaltation as they were thinking but in hating His life in this world. (v. 26)
D. Jesus says, my soul is troubled, shall I ask for deliverance from this death? No, the Lord does not ask for deliverance, because this cruel cup is the very purpose for which He came into the world.
II. This Death Will Glorify Father And Son
This prayer is not, `deliver me from death but get glory from my death.’ (v. 28)
A. God’s answer is, `I have gotten glory from your life and will get glory from your holy death.’
B. This voice from heaven was not to comfort Jesus but to enlighten people. (vs. 29-30)
C. Now Satan is to be dethroned. It is not to be done on a carnal battlefield but on the cross. (v. 31)
D. Jesus will not draw men to Him by being made a king but by being made the Saviour. (v. 32)
III. Human Darkness Reacts To Divine Revelation
A. The people reject the cross, though it is God’s eternal plan and argue rather than seeking light. (vs. 34-36)
B. Their darkened stupidity is a result of sin (Jn. 3:18) and judgment. (Jn. 12:37-41)
C. Some did believe Him mentally (v. 42) but they did not repent and confess Him, for they were more interested in human position than in divine forgiveness and approval. (vs. 42-43)
D. Jesus warns them once again that to reject Him is to reject God and eternal life.
JESUS TEACHES HUMBLE SERVICE
Scripture reading: Jn. 13:1-17
Memory verse: Jn. 13:13
Jesus has spoken to His disciples in chapter 12 about servants following their master. His teaching has ever been, `He that would be greatest let him be servant not Lord.’ Now it is time for Him to leave His disciples. Will He leave them with great confidence and a spirit of enthusiasm and with high opinions of themselves? No, He will leave them crushed under their own willfulness and failure to such an extent that they will hear every word He speaks during His resurrection ministry, and that they will be assembled in complete humility 10 days after His ascension.
I. The Love Of Jesus
When we love someone, we usually reach out to them asking sympathy in a time of deep grief or trial. Jesus acts in exactly the opposite way. Where we would receive He rather gives.
A. „He loved them unto the end.” What a statement.
1. His soul is troubled. (Jn. 12:27)
2. He is betrayed. (Jn. 13:2)
3. His hour is come. (Jn. 13:1) But His love for His own is still
foremost in thought and act.
II. The Action Of Jesus
A. He takes the position and job of a servant. (v. 4)
B. He does the work of a servant of the lowliest sort. (v. 5)
In the Orient in Christ’s day most travel was on foot and people walked in sandals or barefoot. Upon arriving at a destination their feet would be both tired and dirty. Washing them was an act of hospitality and an expression of love. This was usually performed by a servant, but for very honored and loved guests it would be done by
the head of the house. This showed both humility and high esteem for the guest.
III The Lesson Of This Action
A. It teaches us the need of Jesus Christ’s cleansing power. (v. 8)
B. It shows us that in spite of the finality of atonement, yet there is the need for restored joy and fellowship. (v. 10)
C. It shows us that greatness is not in being served but in serving. (vs. 13-16)
D. It shows us Christ’s plan that we should live in humble service not notoriety.
IV. Foot Washing, Not An Ordinance
There are some who observe foot washing today as an ordinance. This is a mistake for the following reasons.
A. Foot washing does not portray the death of Christ as do the two ordinances. They each symbolize His body and blood.
B. Because people no longer come to your house with dirty feet, as in Jesus’ day, it would thus be ritualism not service.
C. When done to show piety rather than to give service, it loses its air of humility and becomes exhibitionism.
We should follow Jesus Christ’s example of John 13 by doing something that would today be humble service as was foot washing then.
JESUS FORETELLS HIS BETRAYAL AND DENIAL
Scripture reading: Jn. 13:17-38
Memory verse: Jn. 13:18
In verse 17 the Lord has stated that those who know the principle of following their Lord in service and practice, it shall thus find happiness. He then turns to a very sober thought. This promise of happiness is not to all of you. One here is not chosen of me but is here for fulfillment of a scripture.
He reminds them of the prophecy (v. 18) and tells His reason for revealing the traitor ahead of time. (v. 19) He then sets forth the fact that to stand against or reject Jesus as Judas was doing is to stand against God. (v. 20)
I. The Unsuspecting Apostles
You might think that one possessed of Satan as Judas was would be so obvious that he would immediately be suspected, but only he and Jesus knew of the hatred he held for the Lord.
A. When Christ spoke of one not chosen, they showed no alarm. (vs. 18-19)
B. When He says plainly (v. 2) one of you shall betray me, they do not suspect Judas. His masquerade had been good.
C. They, in the most part, tend to doubt themselves. (Mark 14:17-21) This is a mark of honesty in them to say the least.
D. When the traitor is revealed, they still fail to understand what is happening. (Jn. 13:28-29)
II. Satan Serving God
Nothing must displease Satan more than for him to be serving God, but this is exactly what he is doing here.
A. Satan enters into Judas (Jn. 13:27) but this does not mean that Satan had not been there before, for Judas has already made arrangements and set the price.
B. He shows no surprise and makes no denial when he is exposed.
C. Judas’ act will fulfill scripture and accomplish God’s will. (Mark 14:21, Acts 2:23)
D. This, however, does not make his action right. He is acting in total, voluntary ungodliness and will suffer the eternal consequence. (Acts 2:23 and Mark 14:21)
E. When Judas goes to do his dirty job, Jesus states, `The Father and Son are glorified.’ (vs. 30-31)
III. A New Commandment
A. Love one another as I have loved you.
B. This has to be in spite of faults and failures, for truly Jesus loved us in spite of a multitude of sins.
C. This love will give evidence of our union with Jesus. (Jn. 13:35)
IV. Peter’s Denial Foretold
A. Peter, wanting to go with Jesus says, `I am willing to suffer and die for you.’
B. He proved it in the garden, by drawing his sword against impossible odds. (Matt. 26:51-52)
C. Fighting and dying was not God’s plan for Peter but bowing down and living for Him was.
D. Christ explains Peter’s problem in Matt. 26:40-41.
E. He foretells his denial in Jn. 13:38.
F. Peter, who could not be intimidated by an army’s swords and staves, was beaten by a maid’s ridicule.
JESUS PROMISES TO RETURN
Scripture reading: Jn. 14:1-6
Memory verse: Jn. 14:3
Surely at the point that ends chapter 13, the heart of the disciples must be low indeed. One of them will deny Him. All of them shall be offended (implying denial). One of them is even now about the task of selling Him, and Jesus is going away. (Mark 14:21) They must have felt as any true Christian today would feel if there came strong indication that all we are promised here and hereafter was about to be snatched away. Remember that they were then without much of the promise and enlightenment we are now given by the New Testament. How low they must have felt. Then came Jesus Christ’s wonderful consolation, „Let not your hearts be troubled.” Let us see upon what ground such a consolation can be based.
I. Heaven Is A Wonderful Place
A. Here below these men had left all to follow Jesus, and now He says He is going away.
B. They had left houses and land and jobs, and they like their master had not where to lay their heads. (Matt. 8:20)
C. Ah! but in the house of the Father are many mansions of indescribable splendor.
D. Any Christian who has forsaken anything in this life, for Jesus’ sake can look forward to that.
II. The Purpose Of Jesus’ Going
A. Let us not separate this „I go” from the statement „The Son of man goeth” uttered only minutes before.
B. Their prospective king was going to shame, to the cross and to death.
C. He was not going for Himself but for them and us. (Isa. 53:6)
D. His purpose was not to forsake but to prepare a place for them by the work of the cross.
E. This was not to leave them but to reconcile them to God by the cross that they might be with Him in glory.
III. The Consolation This Should Offer
If Jesus went to death, to shame and to Calvary for the purpose of making a way for them and us, will He then forget about us? Banish the thought. „Let not your hearts be troubled.”
A. I will come again. All Christian hope is bound up in this glorious promise.
B. He will come to receive us unto Himself. (I Thes. 4:13-18)
C. As He is glorified with the Father in His mansions so shall they be, and so shall we be.
IV. We Know The Way
Thomas was perplexed when told that he knew where and the way. But they had been told, why should he be perplexed?
A. I go to the Father. (Jn. 13:3, Mark 14:21)
B. Moreover, He states, „…no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (Jn. 14:6)
JESUS, THE MANIFESTATION OF GOD
Scripture reading: Jn. 14:7-15
Memory verse: Jn. 14:13
Knowledge of God, access to God and an entrance into God’s presence is the desire and need of everyone who has come to grips with their frailty and sin. As these men are forced to take their eyes off Jesus as human leader and prospective king, their eyes and hopes are to be turned to God the Father. To enlighten them as to a living acquaintance that they already have with the Father through having known Him, Jesus explains to them the unity and the oneness of Himself and the Father.
I. They Had Not Known Jesus As They Should – (v.7)
A. The great mistake of these men was to think too much of Jesus as a man, a friend, a leader and an earthly king.
B. They had so seldom thought of Him as divine. They knew He was the Son of God, but they failed to see Him as God the Son.
C. Peter confessed Him as such in Matt. 16:16, but in Matt. 16:22 rebelled against His doing the work of the Christ, which, of course, was to die on the cross.
D. Jesus says, „Henceforth (after the experience you are approaching) you shall know the Father.”
II. To Know Jesus Aright Is To King The Father (Jn. 14:7)
Philip says, „Lord show us the Father.” (Oh, that would still our troubled hearts.)
A. He that hath seen Jesus hath seen the Father. (Jn. 14:9)
B. Jesus says, „I am in the Father and the Father in me.” God the Father and God the Son are inseparable unity.
C. Jesus says that His words have not been the words of a man. (v.10)
D. The works you have seen me do have been the works of God (not of a man). (v. 11)
E. This is best summed up in Col. 2:9. „For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
III. Greater Works Shall Ye Do – (v. 12)
This has been a marvelously misunderstood and misused passage for years.
A. We know that no greater physical miracles have been done than Christ did. So He must have spoken of a greater category, that is, a category of work more important than healing the sick and raising the dead.
B. I believe He spoke of that miracle of making disciples through the word and the Spirit in contrast to healing sick bodies, etc.
C. This promise is directly tied with His going to the Father. (v. 12)
D. This in turn is tied with sending the comforter and the associated power. Consider Jn. 14:16, Jn. 15:26-27, and Acts 1:8.
E. His office and blessing as intercessor and the promise of answered prayer (on behalf of His work) are also directly tied to this greater work.
F. To disassociate these verses and interpret privately will be to misinterpret. This is always the case. We must be most careful to interpret only within context.
JESUS PROMISES A REPLACEMENT
Scripture reading: Jn. 14:16-31
Memory verse: Jn. 14:16
The Lord has said to those who love Him, „I am going away to the Father, and for now you cannot come.” Peter said, in effect, Lord, why? I want to go now. I will die to go. Yet the answer is, `No, I have a great work for you to do. (Jn. 14:12) But I will not leave you comfortless. (Jn. 14:18) I will pray the Father and He will send you a comforter.’ This word comes from the Greek word parakletos, meaning a summoned helper. This same word is translated advocate in I Jn. 2:1 when speaking of Jesus Christ. So what Jesus is promising is that the Holy Spirit will come, and whereas Jesus has dwelt with them the Spirit will dwell in them. (Jn. 14:17)
I. The Unity Of Father, Son, Spirit and Believer
A. God is a Spirit. (Jn. 4:24) Knowledge and worship of Him must be in Spirit and truth.
B. Christ is the bodily manifestation of the Godhead (all of God). (Col. 2:9)
C. Yet in the flesh they had known Him so vaguely. (Jn. 14:9)
D. Now there is to be a new union between them and God. Compare Jn. 14:17-19 to II Cor. 5:16.
E. As this union between them and Christ changes from fleshly to spiritual, their union with God will be infinitely improved.
1. They shall henceforth see Him by faith. (v. 9)
2. The glorious union is thus, the Spirit in us (v. 17), Christ in the
Father, us in Christ and Christ in us.
This is a beautiful, unbreakable circle. (II Cor. 5:16-17, Jn.
II. The Work And Proof Of The Comforter
There is much talk today of this union of love and the work of the Spirit, but much of it is inconsistent with scripture.
A. This spiritual union is manifest by keeping of the Lord’s word reverently and obediently. (Jn. 14:22-23)
B. Those today who claim Christ as Savior and mock His word are liars. (Jn. 14:24)
C. The Holy Spirit teaches spiritual truth by God’s word, not by strange feelings and revelations. (Jn. 14:26)
D. He does not speak of Himself but of Jesus Christ. (Jn. 16:13-14, Jn. 15:26)
III. The Peace Of The Spirit
A. What greater gift can there be than inward peace? (v. 27)
B. This is not a worldly peace that can be given and lost by circumstances. (v. 27)
C. This is not even that peace of knowing Him in the flesh which will be destroyed by His death.
D. This is the peace of God that passeth understanding which shall come in the person of the Spirit dwelling in the believer.
JESUS, THE TRUE VINE
Scripture reading: Jn. 15:1-14
Memory verse: Jn. 15:5
As Jesus and His disciples leave the upper room and start to the garden of Gethsemane, the subject is still that He is going to the Father and they are to be left behind to bear fruit. (Jn. 14:12-13) Perhaps a vine along the way provided occasion for an object lesson to the disciples. In any event, the word picture drawn by the Lord here affords a most wonderful illustration of our relationship to Christ.
I. God Is A Husbandman
A. The fact that He calls God a husbandman proves that God is growing fruit by us.
B. When we bear fruit, God is glorified. (Jn. 15:8)
C. God’s purpose in choosing and calling us is fruit bearing. (Jn. 15:16, Eph. 2:10)
II. Jesus Christ Is The True Vine
A. It should be first noticed that He said the vine not a vine (the only vine).
B. He is the true vine in contrast to Israel in Isa. 5:1-7.
C. As Israel misunderstood themselves to be the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16) so they misunderstood themselves as being the vine by which God produced fruit. But Isa. 5 tells of the future desolation of that vine. Moreover, the whole of Bible prophecy tells of the boundless product of the true vine, Jesus Christ.
III. Disciples Are Branches – (v. 5)
Just as a branch detached from the vine is useless to the husbandman and, in fact, without life, so is everyone who claims relationship or usefulness to God except by attachment to Christ.
A. We must abide (live) in Christ as the branch has life in the vine.
B. This is not done by the branch grasping the vine, but by it being produced by the vine.
C. This relationship is manifest by fruit bearing and showing forth obedience. (vs. 6, 10)
D. Remember the branch does not bear fruit in order to be in the vine, but because it is of the vine.
IV. Treatment Of The Branches And Vine
A. There is the taking away of dead, fruitless branches, (false professors). (vs. 2, 6) Some of this is done here and some hereafter.
B. There is the purging (cleansing) (pruning away sin) in the true branches.
1. The best of branches need dead twigs and parasites trimmed
off. Those who are not daily experiencing this are living with
unconfessed or unrealized sin.
2. This purging is done in the true branches by the word. (Jn.
15:3) When you read the word, do you feel righteous or
rebuked? If not the latter you are self-righteous.
C. We, being intelligent, responsible beings, are to abide in Him. (v. 4) By this, I mean to deliberately draw from the true vine.
D. We do not bear fruit by striving but by drawing out life from the true vine. We would do well to concentrate more on being Christ possessed than on being Christ-like.
JESUS, HIS DISCIPLES AND THE WORLD
Scripture reading: Jn. 15:9-27
Memory verse: Jn. 15:23
In the illustration of the vine, the branches, and the husbandman, Jesus has shown the disciples their relationship to God through Him in fruitbearing. Now He turns toward attitudes: theirs to Him, and theirs to each other, the world’s toward Him and the world’s toward them. It is quite needful that we understand these relationships lest we be discouraged by adversity and „lest any root of bitterness springing up …” (Heb. 12:15) trouble us and we be defiled and thus become unfruitful.
I. Jesus’ Love For Them – (v. 9)
A. It was love like the Father’s for Him. (v. 9)
B. It was a love that sent them as the Father had sent Him. (v. 16)
C. It was a love that confides and trusts. (v. 15)
D. It was love for which He lay down His life. (v. 13)
II. The Disciples’ Responsibilities In Love
A. They were to continue in His love.
1. This does not mean they merited it by fruitbearing or obedi-
ence, for His love is unmerited and totally of grace.
2. It does mean they were to meditate and function in that love
not betraying it.
B. This is seen by keeping His commandments. (v. 10)
C. They were to love one another. (v. 17)
III. The World Hated Jesus – (V. 18)
There were a few people who loved Jesus in His day but very few. They probably could be almost limited to the 120 in the upper room on the day of Pentecost.
A. The world hated Him. (vs. 18, 21; Luke 23:17-23)
B. The world today hates Him and has created their own bloodless, undemanding, unjudging Jesus.
C. This hatred of Him was and is also hatred of the Father.
D. Hating a sovereign, reigning, sin-judging God, the world today has created one in their imagination like unto Santa Claus.
IV. The World Hates His True Disciples
A. Converted and consecrated disciples are hated of the world. (v. 19)
B. They are not of the world. (v. 19) What ungodliness to try to evangelize by blending into and being like the world.
C. They will persecute and lie on God’s servants. (v. 20)
D. We should never pity ourself for this, but should count it a great privilege. (v. 20)
E. When the Holy Spirit reigns in us, we will witness effectively and cheerfully of Jesus. (vs. 26, 27)
PREPARATION FOR PERSECUTION
Scripture reading: Jn. 16:1-12
Memory verse: Jn. 16:1
In chapters 14 and 15 the Lord has consoled His disciples with the promise of the comforter, the Holy Spirit, who is to come in His stead and whereas He had dwelt with them, the Holy Spirit is to dwell in them. The initial purpose of His promise up until now has been for their comfort or consolation in sorrow. Here in Jn. 16:1, He reveals a second purpose, „…that ye should not be offended.”
I. Coming Persecution
A. The word offended in Jn. 16:1 means entrapped, tripped up, or enticed to sin.
B. The Apostles would be excluded from the Jewish synagogues for their faith.
C. This would not be done in hatred for religion but in religious zeal by darkened hearts. (Acts 9:1-2)
D. They would think that in killing these men they served God. (v. 2)
E. The reason for this action would be because they, in fact, did not know either the Father or the Son.
F. If they did not know the reason and the promise of God, how prone the disciples would be to abandon their service in despair.
II. God’s Revelation Meets Our Need
Have you ever wondered why God left you in the dark about future events? He had done so with the disciples up until now. Here are a few of the reasons He does so.
A. He withholds knowledge of future burdens because of our weakness. We would be defeated by worry.
B. We frequently do not absorb revelation until we find ourself in the need of it. (v. 4)
C. The Lord withheld this from them up until now to shield from sorrow (v. 6) and for lack of necessity (v. 4a).
D. Only now that they will have need of this does the Lord reveal it.
IV. Believers Great Self-interest And
Little Concern With God’s Plan
A. The apostles had sorrowed because He was leaving. (Jn. 16:6)
B. They had asked to go with Him. (Jn. 13:37)
C. Yet they expected that He was going on a journey of physical war to bring about His kingdom. (Jn. 13:37, 38)
D. Do we not likewise often assume God’s plan rather than to enquire after truth?
II. Our Weakness Necessitates Ignorance
Have you ever been displeased because someone withheld information from you? Perhaps it is because of childish weakness in you. I have often longed to confide in people whom I knew could not bear it.
A. The Lord desired to give truth that they could not bear. (v. 12)
B. The heartaches and persecutions into which they are to be led will temper them for the coming truth.
C. The coming Holy Spirit shall guide them into it.
Can we not from this learn of our need for hardship, failure, sorrow, etc., for it is in this condition that we are most attentive to God’s still, small voice?
THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Scripture reading: Jn. 16:7-16
Memory verse: Jn. 16:13
Today you hear much talk about the Holy Spirit. Many claim that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is being carried out through those of the Charismatic Movement. I flatly deny that these people have any part or lot in the work of the Holy Spirit. To see if this be true or false, let us look at the work the Lord says the Holy Spirit will do.
I. He Will Reprove The World Of Sin
A. The Greek word for reprove here is el-eng’kho meaning to confute, admonish, convict, convince, tell of a fault, rebuke, reprove.
B. Christ Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin. (Jn. 16:8)
C. A „spirit” that claims universal blessing everywhere with little or no reference to sin does not fit this description.
D. Why are they so guilty, and why are they to be convicted of sin? Because they believed not on the Lord. (Jn. 3:18-19, Jn. 3:36, Jn. 15:22)
E. Man’s great guiltiness of sin lies not in his ignorance or darkness but in his hatred for the light that is come into the world. (Jn. 3:19)
II. The Spirit Will Convince Men Of Righteousness
A. No man has any righteousness except through the imputed righteousness of Christ. (Rom. 3:9-11)
B. On the other hand, He is the righteousness of everyone who believes. (Rom. 10:4)
C. This righteousness is effectually taught by the Holy Spirit in at least two immutable evidences, Christ’s resurrection (Acts 17:31,32) and Christ’s ascension (Rom. 10:6 and Jn. 16:10)
III. The Spirit Will Convince Men Of Judgment
The Greek word here rendered judgment is kresis (Kree’sis), literally meaning a decision of justice.
The Holy Spirit causes us to render that decision against ourself.
A. Sin is of Satan, the prince of this world. (I Jn. 3:8)
B. The righteousness of Christ destroys the works of Satan in the believer. (I Jn. 3:8)
C. Seeing then the judgment of God upon sin, which is the work of this world’s prince, we are taught by the Holy Spirit that man is a partaker of this terrible judgment. (Jn. 16:11, Acts 24:25)
D. So then here is the order. The Holy Spirit through God’s word teaches us of:
1. Our sin and unbelief,
2. Christ’s flawless righteousness,
3. God’s just judgment upon man’s sin.
E. Can you not remember when as a sinner your heart was attacked with these truths?
Let us not, therefore, look for strange and cheap physical miracles wrought by the Holy Spirit as some erroneously teach. He will rather, through the Word, enlighten darkened hearts to these simple truths of Christ. (Jn. 16:14, Jn. 15:26)
It is in this manner that He, the Spirit, literally gives life. (Jn. 6:63)
SEASONS OF JOY AND SORROW
Scripture reading: Jn. 16:17-33
Memory verse: Jn. 16:20
In the preceding passages the Lord has spoken continually of His death, resurrection, ascension and the sending of the Comforter. „A little while and ye shall not see me and again, a little while and ye shall see me.” We might at first think of the little while before they again saw Him as the burial period. This is unlikely though because their not seeing Him was related to His going to the Father. This was related to the coming Comforter which was fulfilled on Pentecost. So His leaving spoke of everything from now through the ascension and their seeing Him again spoke of the second coming. Let us look at the joys and sorrows accompanying this.
I. Sorrowing Disciples
A. They are sorrowful because of the crucifixion. (Luke 24:13-17)
B. They and we live with the burden of service where Christ and His servants are hated. (Jn. 15:18-20, Acts 12:1-4)
C. They sorrowed over those they loved rejecting the Savior. (Rom. 9:1-3)
D. His disciples must sorrow through the centuries because of the bondage of the whole creation. (Rom. 8:22-23, Rev. 5:2-4)
II. How Does The World Feel About This
Today the world is often depicted as being somewhat sympathetic toward the Lord and desirous of His presence. This is not true. The thing that the world most joys in today is their imaginary freedom from Christ’s laws and restraints.
A. They were prophesied to have this attitude. (Psa. 2:1-3)
B. The Lord said His absence that would sadden the disciples would gladden the world. (Jn. 16:20)
C. The world always has and will rejoice over the persecution of those who bring God’s message. (Rev. 11:7-10)
III. The Coming Reversal
A day is coming when the Lord’s disciples shall have their weeping turned into joy, and the rejoicing of the world shall be turned into sorrow.
A. This righteous judgment was prophesied in the Old Testament. (Psa. 2:4-9)
B. The Lord has promised that our sorrow is to be turned into joy. (Jn. 16:20)
C. The sorrow of preaching Christ in an antichrist world is like the pain of childbirth. (Jn. 16:21)
D. When the job is done there shall be rejoicing over the results. (Jn. 16:21, Psa. 126:6)
E. This rejoicing shall be one of the great, heavenly joys. (Rev. 5:11-13)
F. The world’s present, hideous joy is temporary, but ours shall be eternal. (Jn. 16:22)
IV. The Present Believer Priesthood
Because Christ is seated at the Father’s right hand, we have continual access to God.
A. We have direct access to God because of our union with Him through Christ. (Jn. 16:26-27)
B. This union depends on two things:
1. Belief in Christ. (Jn. 16:27)
2. Asking in Christ’s name (that is according to His will and with-
in the frame work of that which will glorify His name).
C. We are exhorted to use this privilege of prayer which we have through His blood. (Heb. 4:14-16)
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Scripture reading: Jn. 17:1-26
Memory verse: Jn. 17:9
Usually when someone says, „The Lord’s prayer” they mean that prayer in Matt. 6:9 or Luke 11:1. This is not the Lord’s prayer but the instructions for the disciples’ praying. Jesus never needed to ask for daily bread, or forgiveness for sin, or deliverance from temptation, etc. The Lord’s Prayer is recorded in Jn. 17: 1-26. We shall consider in this lesson the items of request contained herein.
I. The Glory Of God – (Jn. 17:1)
This is the all encompassing design of Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us. Everything that might seem to benefit man must bow to this. All interpretation of divine intent must, if it is to be correct, conform to this.
A. This glory is by mutual consent and effort of the Father and the Son. (Jn. 17:1)
B. The redemption of men is tied fast to this purpose. (Jn. 17:2)
C. This is the purpose of our future presence with Christ. (Jn. 17:24)
II. The Benefit Of Believers – (Jn. 17:9)
Believers are believers only because they are chosen of God and assigned to Jesus Christ for redemption. (Jn. 17:10, Jn. 6:36-39) This is accomplished by the power that Jesus has over the flesh to convert unbelievers unto Himself, for all men by nature are unbelievers. (Jn. 17:2)
A. Christ prays for believers in a special prayer in which the world is not included.
1. Present believers (Jn. 17:9)
2. Future believers (Jn. 17:20)
B. This intercession continues for us right now. (I Jn. 2:1, Rom. 8:34, Heb. 7:25)
III. He Prays For Our Keeping – (Jn. 17:11-12)
A. This is specifically a prayer for the believer’s security.
B. If one believer ever by any means falls from grace, this prayer has not been answered.
C. Someone might answer, „But Judas fell from grace,” not so, he only fell from his apostolic position. He was never the son of God but the son of perdition. (Jn. 17:12)
D. Judas was a hypocrite doing exactly as he pleased and all the while being used of God to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies. (Jn. 17:12)
IV. He Prays For Our Sanctification
A. This word never refers to holiness accomplished by the believer, but to setting apart and cleansing by God of the believer for His purpose.
B. You frequently hear testimony of a particular move of the Spirit (second act of grace) to sanctify a believer. They are referring to cleansing, but they are wrong. This is contrary to scripture which says it is done through the word. (Jn. 17:17)
C. Sanctification is never from us toward God but always from God toward and in us.
V. He Prays For Our Glorification
A. Compare Jn. 17:24 to Rom. 8:29-30.
If the prayer of Jesus Christ recorded in Jn. 17:1-26 is to be answered, then every person who is given to the Son by the Father and brought to Christ by the Word and the Spirit must be brought into eternal glory with him.
LESSONS FROM THE LORD’S PRAYER
Scripture reading: Jn. 17:1-26
Memory verse: Jn. 17:2
We might well expect that Jesus Christ would communicate with the Father about things that are far above our comprehension. Remember, however, that He prayed in the hearing of men for their benefit. (Jn. 11:42) Also, realize that this prayer would not be recorded by the Holy Spirit, except for men’s reading. Therefore, we should expect that there is much to be learned from it. Let us note some lessons from this passage.
I. God’s Power To Save
A. Never imagine that God’s power to save is limited and therefore dependent upon man voluntarily yielding, for no man would by nature yield.
B. To do so is to subconsciously claim more nobility or virtue, as the reason for your belief or more obedience in your repentance, than you ascribe to God.
C. Our salvation is strictly dependent upon God’s design and power to save by overcoming flesh. (Jn. 17:2)
D. Therefore, never let Satan get you to pat yourself on the back and say, „I chose Jesus.” You did not. He chose you (Jn. 15:16) and converted your stubborn and depraved will.
II. God’s Power To Keep
In the same manner that man wants to claim some part (large or small, it makes no difference) in his being saved, he wants to claim a part in staying saved.
A. Note that Christ did not pray that they would hold on.
B. He did not pray that God would give them strength to hold on.
C. He did not pray that God would keep them through their abiding love.
D. His prayer was simply that through God’s own great name and for the glory of his name He would keep them. (Jn. 17:11)
III. This Saving And Keeping Is Not Synonymous
With Strong Faith Or Character
A. Remember how weak Peter’s character was. (Luke 22:56-62)
B. Some say he was not saved then, but the Lord specifically says he was. (Jn. 17:12)
C. Remember the weak faith of doubting Thomas. (Jn. 20:24-28) But Jn. 17:12 obviously includes him.
IV. We Learn Of God’s Purpose In Us
A. Christians often mistakenly assume that God chooses to remove us from all sorrow. This is not so. (Jn. 17:15)
B. He rather chooses to lead us through the dark valley that we might glory in His provision and guidance. (Jn. 17:15)
V. We See His Intention To Be Reunited With Us
A. The Lord was leaving His disciples behind but not to rid Himself of the problem they were. (Jn. 17:24)
B. He was leaving them for a great purpose. (Jn. 17:18)
C. When this purpose is accomplished, He will surely call us to be with Him. (Jn. 14:3)
THE LORD’S ARREST
Scripture reading: Jn. 18:1-14
Memory verse: Jn. 18:6
No event in scripture more completely shows the depraved perverseness and unreasonableness of man’s mind than the arrest of Jesus. As we consider all that took place on this night we might well think, „These people must have been insane.” This action, however, is like that of all who resist or rebel against Jesus Christ, and certainly this is a type of insanity.
I. The Action Of Judas
Even if Judas had not companied with the Lord for three and one half years, we still could not help but wonder at his mental insensitivity as he beheld the acts of the Lord in that last twenty-four hours and yet went on with his betrayal.
A. The Lord exposed his plot and identity. (Jn. 13:21, 26, 27, 30)
B. The Lord showed kindness and compassion even in the Garden. (Luke 22:47-48)
C. Judas never turned from his plot. He performed his filthy deed, killed himself and went from a life of misery to an eternity of damnation.
II. Simon Peter’s Action
Remember now that Peter had said, `Though all others forsake you, I never will.’
A. He was negligent in the Garden about praying for his own weakness. (Luke 22:45-46)
B. He was brave against impossible odds in physical combat. (Jn. 18:3, 10)
C. He was cowardly in the face of ridicule when his pride was at stake. (Jn. 18:25-27)
D. He was repentant when the Lord’s words and the Spirit reached his proud heart. (Luke 22:61-62)
III. The Action Of The Lord
Do you remember how harshly the Lord often spoke to the Pharisees, the Jews and often to His own disciples? That was for the purpose of admonishing those for whom there was hope. Now that only a certain judgment remains for His adversaries you will hear only kind words toward them.
A. Kindness to Judas. (Luke 22:47-48)
B. Kindness toward the spiteful soldiers. (Jn. 18:4-11)
C. Kindness to Caiaphas, Pilate, etc.
IV. The Action Of The Soldiers
A. Though He did not flee they still pursued Him. (Jn. 18:4-5)
B. Though the power of His words knocked them down they did not turn from their task.
C. Though they saw His healing first hand, they still bound Him. (Jn. 18:12)
As we behold these things, the love and kindness of Jesus and the unrelenting meanness of men, we are constrained to marvel. In the fact that they were permitted to do this, we see the determinate counsel of God. In the fact that they went on to do it in spite of supernatural revelation, we see the wickedness of men. (Acts 2:22-23)
THE TRIAL OF THE LORD
Scripture reading: Jn. 18:15-40
Memory verse: Jn. 18:29-30
If any marvelous display of man’s spiritual stupidity exceeds that of arresting the Lord, it is that of trying and convicting Him. In the arrest we saw all the attributes of the son of perdition portrayed in Judas, thus we are not amazed by his action. In the soldiers and servants we saw what we might expect to be ignorance or blind obedience to their superiors. But now we behold the religious, the educated, the politicians and the teachers. Can we find depravity erased and sanity restored by these refinements? Let us behold the deeds of various ones.
I. The Lord Before Annas – (Jn. 18:13)
A. Here is an elderly man educated in the law and the customs of the land.
B. He finds no fault or crime, but did he speak for His freedom?
C. No, he sends Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. (Jn. 18:24)
II. The Lord Before Caiaphas
A. They brought Him before legal hours for their assembly and sought false witnesses. (Matt. 26:59)
B. When they finally got two false witnesses who agreed in their lie, they seemed to turn in frustration for some other evidence. (Matt. 26:62-63)
C. They finally convicted Him for a statement made honestly before them that they could not disprove.
D. They then took Him for judgment to a place they felt they were too holy to enter. (Jn. 18:28)
III. The Lord Before Pilate
Here is a man popular with both Romans and Jews. He is a man set to rule in equity. Surely he will act honestly.
A. He asks his arresting officers for a charge against the Lord, and they give none. (Jn. 18:29-30)
B. Pilate offers to give them illegal liberty, but they refuse it demanding the death penalty. (Jn. 18:31)
C. Pilate, not willing to condemn an innocent man or to gain disfavor of the public, tries to shun responsibility by sending Him to Herod, the King of Israel. (Luke 23:6-7)
IV. Jesus Before Herod – (Luke 23:8-11)
A. Herod wanted entertainment. He was like many religious people today. They are more curious about the Lord than they are worshipful.
B. Herod found no fault (Luke 23:13-15), so he returned Him to Pilate.
V. The Lord Again Before Pilate
A. When the Lord was returned to Pilate who knew He was innocent, Pilate, instead of taking a stand, sought a compromise, „to chastise Him and let Him go.” (Luke 23:16)
B. The people rebelled at this so he sought to free the Lord by giving them a choice between Jesus and Barabbas.
VI. The Lord Before The People
Many would say, „Well, there have always been wicked men, but people are basically good.” Well, behold the people.
A. The people here show man’s natural attitude toward God. (Luke 23:21)
B. They preferred a murderer to a man who told them the truth. (Luke 23:18)
C. When a man will not stand for God, the voice of sinfulness always prevails. (Luke 22:23-24)
We might well remember that these men and all such men will one day be in the reversed position. (Acts 17:31) Whereas they tried Jesus unjustly, He shall judge them justly.
THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS
Scripture reading: Jn. 19:1-30
Memory verse: Jn. 19:17
Having studied the arrest and trial of our Lord we might imagine man has drunk his fill of hatred and revenge toward his creator, but not so. Having managed to arrange for this crime against God, they carry it out to the fullest with all vitality, and the whole religious crowd seems to relish every moment of it.
I. The Trip To Mount Calvary
A. He goes forth voluntarily (Jn. 18:11), bearing His cross. (Jn. 19:17)
B. When His human strength was totally spent because of the previous night of anguish and the extraordinary time of persecution, they laid hold upon a stranger and compelled him to carry the cross. (Luke 23:26)
C. There were women weeping as He went. Some wept because of love and perhaps some merely for custom’s sake. (Luke 23:27)
D. The Lord turns to exhort them not to weep for Him but for their nation because of the terrible judgment coming upon it. (Luke 23:28-31)
II. The Crucifixion
A. The Lord had voluntarily given Himself to be crucified. (Jn. 19:11, Jn. 10:17-18)
B. He is hung by nails upon the cross with a thief on either side.
III. The Irreverence Of The Soldiers
A. They stripped Him of His clothing. (Jn. 19:23)
B. He knew of all this humiliation when He became obedient to the death of the cross.
C. They cast lots for His coat according to prophecy. (Jn. 19:23-24)
IV. The Provisions Of A Dying Savior
A. He made provision for His widowed mother. (Jn. 19:26-27)
B. He made intercession for His murderers. (Luke 23:34)
C. He made a promise to a repentant, dying thief. (Luke 23:39-43)
D. He made an atonement for the sins of men, so that whosoever will may have forgiveness. (Jn. 3:14-16)
E. He gave us access to the Father. (Luke 23:45, Heb. 4:16)
V. God’s Attitude Toward The Cross
A. He foreordained it. (Acts 2:23)
B. He darkened the earth during the last three hours of the Lord’s suffering. (Matt. 27:45)
C. He forsook Jesus there for He had made His soul an offering for sin. (Matt. 27:46, Isa. 53:10-12)
VI. Fulfilled Prophecy
Innumerable prophecies were fulfilled on that day. Here are a few:
A. The casting lots for His garments. (Jn. 19:24)
B. The soldiers not breaking His legs. (Jn. 19:36)
C. The offering of vinegar. (Jn. 19:28-29)
D. They looked upon Him whom they pierced. (Jn. 19:37)
E. His burial in the new tomb of Joseph. (Isa. 53:9)
F. But most important, He justified us from all sin, bearing our iniquities. (Isa. 53:11)
THE DEATH AND BURIAL OF JESUS CHRIST
Scripture reading: Jn. 19:25-42
Memory verse: Jn. 19:33
Because the death, burial and resurrection are, in essence, the heart of the gospel (I Cor. 15:1-4) and since the bodily resurrection of Christ is denied by so many of Satan’s ambassadors today, let us take a close look at the manner and fact of His death and at the things surrounding His burial. Remember that not all heretics tamper with these doctrines, but all who tamper with these doctrines are heretics.
I. The Manner Of Christ’s Death
No man ever died like Jesus Christ. His death is totally different and separate from any other. To draw vital parallels between the death of men and our Savior is profanity of the worst character.
A. The knowledge of His death was different. (Jn. 18:4, Jn. 19:28)
B. The voluntary nature of His death. (Rom. 5:8)
C. The voluntary timing of His death. (Jn. 19:30)
D. His innocence and thus His vicarious death. (Luke 23:41, Jn. 19:4)
II. The Fact Of His Death
He went to Calvary under the sentence of death. His executioners were dedicated (Jew and Roman) to this cause and they would not stay their efforts until it was a reality.
A. Jesus stated that He was dying physically not spiritually. (Luke 23:46)
B. The soldiers witnessed the fact. (Jn. 19:33)
C. They assured themselves of it. (Jn. 19:34)
D. John testified of this fact. (Jn. 19:25, 36)
E. Pilate made sure of it. (Mark 15:44) Every gospel message must include this fact.
III. The Men Of His Burial
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, two men whose discipleship was secret up until now, committed themselves openly and sacrificially to His burial.
A. Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man. (Matt. 27:57, Isa. 53:9)
B. Nicodemus, judging by his position and gift, was also rich. (Jn. 19:39, Jn. 3:1)
C. These men betray the secrecy of their opinions and lay themselves open for Jewish contempt, as well as persecution.
D. They also defile themselves so that they might not eat the passover. For any jew this demanded real love.
IV. The Place Of His Burial
He was buried outside the city. Sins worthy of death were to be punished outside the city and the bodies were counted unfit to bring back in. (Deut. 22:25) Even the carcasses of sacrificed animals were burned outside the gate. This typified the manner of Christ’s death and burial. (Heb. 13:12)
A. He was buried in Joseph’s new tomb, making His grave with the rich. (Isa. 53:9)
B. He was buried in a new tomb where never man lay (making Him separate from sinners). (Jn. 19:41, Luke 23:53)
C. He was buried in a tomb hewn out of a rock, making it inaccessible except by the entrance. (Mark 15:46)
V. The Manner Of His Burial
A. He was buried hastily in a „nearby” tomb because of the passover. This answered to the passover lamb which was to be eaten in haste or burned with fire. (Ex. 12:10-11)
B. He was wrapped in such a way so as to make the burial itself attest to or even assure death. (Jn. 19:40)
C. The body was sealed in the tomb and guarded so as to make it impossible for men to remove it. (Matt. 27:62-66)
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
Scripture reading: Jn. 20:1-31
Memory verse: Luke 24:6
In no single area does Satan try so hard to provoke misunderstanding in religious people as in the doctrine of the resurrection. If he cannot get man to laugh at the whole idea, he will try to get him to spiritualize it which is exactly the same thing. Christ’s spirit did not die. He commended it to God, not the grave. He gave up the spirit. It left the body, but it was obviously the body which died, not the spirit. So to deny bodily resurrection is to deny the resurrection all together. This denial is Satan’s greatest goal. Why? Because if Christ be not raised, we are yet in our sins, right where Satan wants us. (I Cor. 15:17)
I. The Promise Of The Resurrection
A. The promise of the Lord’s bodily resurrection is a basic portion of Bible prophecy. (Acts 2:24-27)
B. The Lord promised His resurrection to His disciples. (Matt. 16:21)
C. Abraham showed his faith in the resurrection. (Gen. 22:4,-5)
D. Job testified of his faith in the bodily resurrection. (Job 19:26)
E. Christ promised it as a natural sign to natural men. (Matt. 12:39-40)
II. The Fact Of The Resurrection
If we question the truth of the bodily resurrection of Christ, we deny the veracity of every New Testament writer, the Hosts of heaven and the Lord Himself.
A. The resurrection was one of the basic things of which the apostles testified. (Acts 1:22, Acts 4:33)
B. He was visibly seen by all apostles including Paul. (I Cor. 15:4-8)
C. He was seen of more than 500 brethren at one time. (I Cor. 15:6)
D. Angels testified of His resurrection. (Luke 24:4-6)
III. The Resurrection Was Bodily
There is a trick of the devil today of trying to confess the resurrection but to deny that it was bodily. Consider the proof against such heresy.
A. Only His body died. (Luke 23:43, 46) Therefore, only the body could revive.
B. The angels knew it was His body for which the women searched, so it was obviously the body which they told them had risen. (Luke 24:2-6) Were they there to anoint a spirit?
C. Throughout all the New Testament accounts of the resurrection, it is the absence of the body that was claimed as evidence of His resurrection. (Luke 24:12, 23; Mark 16:6, Matt. 28:6)
D. The angels spoke of that which was laid, being risen. Was this the spirit? Of course not, it was the body. (Mark 16:6)
E. The Lord told Thomas to touch His hands and His side. (Jn. 20:27) Was this a spirit?
F. The Lord Himself flatly states that He is not spirit but flesh in Luke 24:39-44.
G. Obviously, that which was buried is that which rose again. (I Cor. 15:4)
IV. The Resurrection Was Absolutely Essential
A. It was God’s stamp of identity and approval upon the Lord. (Acts 3:15, Acts 2:22, 24; Acts 17:31)
B. This truth is indispensable to Christian faith and salvation. (I Cor. 15:17)
C. All of our hope of eternal life lies in His resurrection. (I Cor. 15:17-18, I Thes. 4:14)
EFFECTS OF THE RESURRECTION
Scripture reading: Jn. 20:1-31
Memory verse: Jn. 20:28
Just as the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is vitally tied to the eternal life of the saints (I Thes. 4:13-18), it is tied to the eternal judgment of the wicked. (Acts 17:31) Is it any wonder then that the wicked never cease to try to tranquilize themselves with the denial of this truth? There is, however, no event in history that is of greater importance, or that has had greater impact upon the world, or upon the saints of God.
I. Its Effect Upon The Religious Wicked
You might expect that this would cause them to have second thoughts as to His identity, but depravity never seeks truth.
A. They devised a lie. (Matt. 28:13)
B. They paid large money to get the lie told. (Matt. 28:12) Should we not sacrifice to get the truth told?
C. They misled hundreds of others by the telling of their lie. (Matt. 28:15)
D. This same lie is being told today. It goes like this, „No one knows what happened to the body, but only the spirit was resurrected.”
II. The Resurrection’s Effect Upon Mourning Disciples
A. It showed the weakness of the faith of many of the disciples. (Mark 16:12-14, Luke 24:11)
B. It replaced their mourning and despondency with joy as they believed. (Luke 24:31-33)
C. It built a new and different faith in Christ’s disciples as they came to believe. (Jn. 20:27-29)
III. The Resurrection’s Effect Upon Israel
A. It confronted them with the indestructible God whom they had sought to destroy. (Acts 2:22-24)
B. It closed God’s offer of the kingdom to them and opened evangelism to the Gentiles. (Matt. 28:19-20, Rom. 11:22-25)
C. It opened the door of heaven to every Jew as well as Gentile who would repent and believe in Christ. (Acts 2:36-39)
IV. The Resurrection’s Relationship To The Gospel
There are some today who claim to be ministers of the gospel and believers in Jesus Christ who belittle or deny the bodily resurrection. This does not reflect any consistency.
A. The resurrection is the final leg of the gospel. (I Cor. 15:4)
B. Preaching is worthless and meaningless without the resurrection. (I Cor. 15:14)
C. It determines the veracity of all preachers. (I Cor. 15:15)
D. It is the only hope of the believer. (I Cor. 16:17)
E. It is our only victory over death, to which we are all consigned. (I Cor. 15:20-22)
V. What Manner Of Body – (v. 35)
A. It is not the natural body, for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. (I Cor. 15:50) „Flesh and blood” is a term referring to our Adamic body. (Gen. 9:3-6) This body is either to be transformed by death and resurrection or by translation. (I Cor. 15:51-52) Without that transformation we cannot enter God’s Kingdom.
B. It is a body of flesh and bone. (Luke 24:36-43)
C. It is a body of celestial flesh. (I Cor. 15:39-40) In my opinion it is a body of flesh and bone like that of Jesus in Luke 24:39 wherein the life is not the sin contaminated blood of Adam but the sinless Spirit of God.
THE MIRACULOUS DRAUGHT OF FISHES
Scripture reading: Jn. 21:1-14
Memory verse: Jn. 21:5
In the miraculous draught of fishes we see the basic, yet not the only, miracle of our Lord between His resurrection and His ascension. It was not by coincidence that this miracle was reserved until this moment, for it has a very direct relation to and bearing upon the great commission which the disciples are to carry on after He ascends. Since we are today responsible to carry on that ministry and fulfill that commission, let us see what we can learn from the miracle.
I. Backslidden Disciples
A. Notice the men in this fishing party. (Jn. 21:2-3)
1. There was Peter who had been so graciously forgiven for his
2. There was Thomas whose weak faith had been bolstered. (Jn.
3. There were others affected by Peter’s decision, Thomas,
Nathanael, James and John.
B. The Lord had appeared to them since His resurrection only at broken intervals, and thus they were in a worldly frame of mind.
C. There was no sin in going fishing, but Peter, James and John at least, were returning to their secular jobs from which they had been called away. (Matt. 4:18-22)
II. Fruitless Labor
When we have been called upon by Christ to leave something behind, we are to count it „as but dung.” To dig it up is not to revive an old life but to shackle ourself with a dead carcass.
A. Their fishing trip was an act of the flesh and of self-will. (Jn. 21:3)
B. Their previous experience and their earthly equipment was worthless.
C. Their labor was fruitless, for they toiled all night and took nothing. (Jn. 21:3)
III. The Contrast When Jesus Directs
A. They confessed their failure. (Jn. 21:5)
B. The Lord directed their action which immediately produced fruit. (Jn. 21:6)
C. We then see in them the necessary recognition of the source of blessing. (Jn. 21:7)
D. Consider Peter’s haste to go to the Lord. (v. 7) Peter, referred to as naked, was probably dressed only in a vest type of underwear. He girded on his coat and waded hastily to shore. How wise we are, when we find ourself in error, to abandon our position and resort to Jesus’ side.
IV. The Symbolic Lesson
A. Notice the victory of doing things in the Lord’s way. „Cast on the right side.” (Jn. 21:6)
B. The word for the multitude is fishes not fish. This shows variety of kinds symbolizing the variety of Gentile peoples to be won.
C. The net did not break. (v. 11) This shows the sufficiency of our means when used according to Christ’s direction.
D. The scene of the bread and fish upon the fire shows us the care and provision that God gives for our temporal needs when we are involved in fishing for men.
E. This was the third post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to His disciples. (Jn. 21:14) Each of these appearances is related to the building of the apostles’ faith and preparing them for the ministry of the gospel after His ascension. (Luke 1:2-5)
THE POST-RESURRECTION MINISTRY
AND THE GREAT COMMISSION
Scripture reading: Jn. 21:15-25
Memory verse: Luke 5:10
In all four of the gospels as well as in the first nine verses of the book of Acts we have an account of the Lord’s post-resurrection ministry to His disciples. Different passages account for various occasions and details of that ministry, but they all have one thing in common. They deal with the disciple’s responsibility and provided ability to carry out the great commission, that He will give them just before He ascends. No place in scripture do we find a more sobering accent put upon this by our Lord than in the 21st chapter of John.
I. Simon, Do You Love Me – (Jn. 21:15)
A. All true service for the Lord must stem from our love for Him.
B. Peter previously stated His love in too shallow a fashion. (Jn. 13:36-38)
C. This love is not to be established by word, „Thou knowest I love thee” but in deed, „Feed my lambs.”
D. What a tedious task for this loud and boisterous fisherman to do the gentle work of feeding the lambs.
II. Simon, Do You Love Me More Than These?
Some think the word these, refers to fish. Others think it refers to the other disciples. Either could be very applicable to the case at hand. I rather favor the latter opinion since Peter had claimed that he did love the Lord more than the other disciples. (Matt. 26:33)
A. In any event the question is not so much who or what does that love exceed, but does it exceed all? This is a question that the Spirit would put to each of us.
B. If anything exceeds our love for Christ, it will be that very thing with which Satan will tempt us.
C. There are two words used here for love. In verses 15 and 16 the word is „agapaho,” which means to love in a social or moral sense. In verse 17 the word is „phileo,” meaning a personal attachment, etc.
D. The question is not do you look upon me with social affection and admiration, but is there a compelling love that attaches you to me and my cause? Is your heart united to me?
E. This is a question that should be before each of us today. What kind of love is my love for Jesus Christ? Is it passive or restraining and constraining? Does it control my heart?
III. Feed My Lambs And Sheep
A. Peter has already been called from fishing for fish to fishing for men. (Luke 5:10)
B. He has claimed a particular love for the Lord. (Matt. 26:33)
C. If this is real it must be shown by:
1. Fishing for men.
2. Feeding the Lord’s lambs and sheep.
IV. From The Strength Of The Flesh
To The Power Of Yielding
A. Peter’s youth and strength had been his weakness. He girded himself and went where he pleased. No one pushed him around.
B. As he grew old the Lord said he would be yielded to God even to the death of the cross. (Jn. 21:18-19)
V. Was Peter The Pope
A. What shall John do? (vs. 20-21) Is this not often a down-fall of many of us today? We concern ourselves more with whether or not our fellow is doing his job, than with whether or not we are doing ours.
B. `That is none of your business, Peter!’ (v. 22) What a strange answer to a pope! Was he a pope? Nope, you will agree I hope.
C. „Follow thou me.” (v. 22) This is a final call to each of us. Take your eyes off of others. Look on Jesus and follow Him.
D. As we look up from this study on the gospel according to John may our eyes fall upon the field (the world) that is white unto harvest.