Journey Through John

Journey Through John: Appearances

 Last week we saw the moment when John believed in Jesus.  Looking into the empty tomb all the Scriptures and Jesus words began to make sense and he believed.  He believed even before seeing the risen Christ!  All it took for John was for him to see the folded grave clothes and he knew Jesus was alive.  

 John wrote this book because he wanted us to know Jesus like he knew Jesus.  He wants us - every one of us - who dared to read his story to believe and trust in Jesus.  When we left off last week, Peter, Mary and John all knew that Jesus was gone but no one had seen him yet.  Let’s pick up the story.

 Mary is sitting in the shadow of a cliff outside the tomb weeping.  The tomb was a narrow chamber cut through the soft limestone rock that Jerusalem was built on.  Usually tombs like these had a low entrance that opened into a small chamber from which the burial chambers radiated.  Some were cut to contain only one body; others were rooms in which a family might be buried.  This tomb seems to have been large enough to accommodate several living persons in addition to the burial cells.

Journey Through John: Appearance

Journey Through John: From The Darkness of Death to the Light of Life

Last week, we walked on holy ground.  We explored the climax of redemptive history.  Jesus hung between heaven and earth, shed his blood for us and then gave up his life as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

“It is finished” was Jesus last cry.  Jesus death finished God the Father’s work of redemption and everything is now new, altered, transformed.

We left off last week at the moment Jesus lays down his life.  At this point in the story all the other Gospel writers describe the darkness, the earthquakes, the fear in the crowds, the rending of the Temple curtain and the reaction of creation to the death of Christ.

Not John.  We are still very close to Jesus... and instead of allowing us a few moments to mourn the death of Jesus... In John, the action of the story picks up.  We begin in John 19:31.

Journey Through John: From The Darkness of Death to the Light of Life

Journey Through John: The Crucifixition

 

Picture in your mind what it must have been like in Jerusalem April 7th 33 AD…
  • The Gospel writers tell us that during the crucifixion the bright mid-day sun was totally obscured from noon until 3:00PM so that the whole land was in darkness. 
  • At the precise moment of Jesus death the thick curtain in the Jewish temple which separated the holy of holies from the rest of the temple was ripped from top to bottom. 
  • A massive earthquake split rocks open and broke open many tombs. 
  • From those tombs the many dead were risen to life and appeared to people all over Jerusalem.
All of that happened during the crucifixion but John did not mention any of that in his Gospel.  As we explore John’s description of the crucifixion, unlike Matthew, Luke, and Mark, John will not focus on all the chaos surrounding the cross.  John’s account is much more intimate.  It is like we are right next to the cross.

 

Journey Through John: The Crucifixition

Journey Through John: The Trial, Part 2

Before we even begin, I think that it is important that we do not view this passage through the typical American victim mindset.  Our goal this morning is not to get you to feel sorry for Jesus.  Jesus was not an “unfortunate defenseless person who was taken advantage of.”  He was not a victim.  If you leave just feeling sorry for Jesus because of what he went through… I have failed.

Over the next two weeks, we will occasionally be aghast at the brutality of what Jesus went through on the cross.  But if there is one phrase I want you to leave with, it is a promise Jesus made in John 10:17–18 “… I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again…

Journey Through John: The Trial, Part 2

Journey Through John: The Trial, Part 1

In our Journey through John, we have come to the crucifixion, the focal point of all redemptive history.  Last week, we walked through the arrest of Jesus by a mob of three unlikely partners.  Jewish Temple Guards, a group of Pharisees and a cohort of up to 600 Roman soldiers, who arrested Jesus and they brought him to Annas – a mobster-like leader who put Jesus through a sham trial which broke multiple Jewish laws.

In the midst of the trial, Peter denied his Lord three times, a shocking turn of events from a man who claimed he would die for Jesus.

Our passage this morning leads us into the heart of Rome, Jesus will be taken before Pilate the Governor.  We will begin where we left off last week, John 18:28.

Journey Through John: The Trial Part 1

Journey Through John: One Fateful Night

The crucifixion is the focal point of all of humanity.  Without the death of Christ there is no salvation, no atonement, and no forgiveness of sin.  The salvation of every Old Testament believer looked forward to the crucifixion.  The salvation of every New Testament believer looks back to the crucifixion. The Christian faith exists because Jesus died on the cross.  There is no event in all of history that you should be more familiar with than how your Savior died.

John, the closest of all of Jesus disciples, wrote his eye witness account of Jesus’ death for one reason.  John 20:31 “… so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Our passage today is entirely an eye witness account.  We will spend our time walking through the events as they play out.  Then, I will make some application at the end.

Journey Through John: One Fateful Night

Journey Through John: Revealed

There are a lot of reasons for you and I to be in church this morning.  A key reason has got to be that you want to know God better.  Who is He?  What is He doing?  Why has He made me?  What does He want me to do?  What is He like?  Here is a question I thought about this week… Does God have a smell?

Why am I talking about this?  Because we are going to walk through an intimate conversation Jesus had with His Father the day before His death.

We are going to listen in as God the Son reveal’s what’s going on in His heart and mind.  Jesus will die the very next day. He knows this and He knows it will not be easy - but He also knew that it was an essential and deliberate part of God’s plan.

My prayer in studying this passage is that you and I would catch a glimpse into the heart and mind of Jesus and that it would cause us to fall deeply in love with Him.  Just as importantly, I also pray that the desires of Jesus heart would set the agenda of our lives. 

Journey Through John: Revealed

Journey Through John: Joy & Peace

One of the things that I love most about Jesus is that he never ignored the pain of being one of his disciples.

Jesus on earth was a model of compassion

In Matthew 15:32, Jesus looked at a crowd of 400 people following him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat.  And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”

In Matthew 20:34, Jesus, in pity and compassion, touched the eyes of the blind and healed them.

In Mark 1:41, Mark tells us that because Jesus was “Moved with compassion,” he stretched out his hand and touched a leprous man and healed him.

In our study of John 16, we have been seeing that being a disciple of Jesus in this world is hard, but is a necessary part of God’s plan for communicating the Gospel and forming into the men and women God wants us to be.

 

Journey Through John: Joy & Peace

Journey Through John: Authentic Friends of God

In Biblical times one did not claim casual acquaintances as friends. Friendship was a loving contract that came with obligations. If someone called you friend that meant they would:
· fight your battles with and for you
· pay your debts
· plan, run and help pay for your wedding
· watch over your family when you journeyed
 
Jewish writings both biblical and non-biblical constantly speak of how important good friends are.  Listen to a passage from the Jewish book of Sirach…
7When you gain friends, gain them through testing, and do not
trust them hastily. 8For there are friends who are such when it
suits them, but they will not stand by you in time of trouble. 10And
there are friends who sit at your table, but they will not stand by
you in time of trouble. 14Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter:
whoever finds one has found a treasure. 15Faithful friends are
beyond price; no amount can balance their worth. 16Faithful
friends are life-saving medicine; and those who fear the Lord will find them.
 
We are in John 15, where Jesus calls those who believe in him, his friends. My goal for us is for every one of us to leave changed because we understand the weight and significance of being Jesus friend.
 

Journey Through John: Authentic Friends of God

Journey Through John: A Connected Branch that Bears Fruit

 

I am convinced that most Christians believe they are unimportant to the cause of Christ.  They believe that God is doing stuff in the world but they generally feel disconnected from what he is doing.

God’s plan from the very beginning has been to use people to win and disciple other people.  From Abraham to Moses, from David to Elijah, God has always used people.  He has no plan B.  One person winning another person.  One soul, one life at a time.

If that is God’s plan, why do we not feel like an important part of that?  Whose job is it to bear fruit today?

Our passage this morning is John 15.  I cannot overstate the importance of this passage for you and I this morning.  If we understand and live out this passage we will spend eternity with God our father, and not us only but every single person we disciple, impact and influence for Christ.

We ignore this passage at our peril, because the warnings found in the passage are the strongest and sharpest Jesus will ever give to his disciples.

 

Journey Through John: A Connected Branch that Bears Fruit

Journey Through John: If You Love Me

In John chapter 14:15-26, we find ourselves deep into Jesus’ last message to his disciples. We are at the last supper celebrating the Passover where Jesus has been acting strange.

 He washed all of the disciples’ feet teaching while teaching them a lesson in humility, but all is not well.

 Jesus is troubled. John 13:21 “After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Jesus is troubled in his spirit because at that very moment a betrayal was happening.

  In the midst of this Jesus confirms their worst fears. He is leaving and where he is going they cannot come. John 13:33 (ESV)

33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’

 Then as if to top it all off, Peter who promises to lay down his life for Jesus is told that he will deny Jesus three times before morning (John 13:38).

 To say the disciples are a mess and to say that their “hearts were troubled” at this point is probably a huge understatement. In one evening, they are seeing everything they have believed in and followed for the last three years shaken. Jesus is troubled, Judas is a traitor, and Peter will deny Jesus. Their faith and their lives are being shaken.

  In verse 15-26 Jesus is continuing his message but his is shifting from comfort to mission and from “being” to “doing.”

 Jesus message to his disciples is that they are to carry on his mission. Those that love him will stay on that task. They will obey Jesus’ commandments. They will keep his words. Living in obedience to Jesus and his teachings is the PROOF of discipleship.

Journey Through John: If You Love Me

Journey Through John: Loving Humility

One of the reasons I love the Gospel of John is because more than any of the other gospels John gives us glimpses into Jesus mind and back story.  

John 13:1–17 (ESV) Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Did you catch how John shares Jesus thoughts? There is so much in this verse… Jesus knows this is the last week of his life. His hour has come to depart from this world to the Father, he is about to complete his mission and make atonement for the sins of the world. 

 

Journey Through John: Loving Humility

Journey Through John: The Resurrection Response

The book of John is all about believing. Believing that Jesus is Messiah, God’s son come to Earth as a man to redeem a people for himself.
A people that would love, follow and obey Him, a people who would deeply desire a relationship with the God who made them, a people that understood their flaws and fallen-ness but who also understood God’s mercy and grace.
In the book of John we find twelve disciples who believed deeply in Jesus (John 2:11) so much so that they left everything to follow Jesus. We see Nicodemus a ruler of the Jews who discovers what it means to be born again (John 3). John tells us of a used and abused Samaritan woman who found the “living water” of Jesus and true forgiveness. It is she who lead the whole village of Sycar to believe in Jesus (John 4).
We see a Gentile official believing in Jesus after Jesus healed his son (John 4). Many believed in Jesus as he healed, fed and ministered to the crowds (John 6-7). Let us not forget about the man who was born blind. Jesus not only heals his physical blindness but he heals his spiritual blindness as well. Jesus performed many miracles but by far the greatest miracle was when he raised Lazarus from the dead.
He did it powerfully and publically. No other miracle produced more believers that this one miracle.
His words had power
 

Journey Through John: The Resurrection Response

Journey Through John: Rejecting Christ

My son tells a story… One day at work he was told to sand all the red primer off of a piece on metal. He worked at it a while and showed his boss. There were spots of primer all over the metal so he told him to do it again. He worked on it for a while more and then showed his boss. There was still primer every where. So his boss said, it has to be perfect. I do not want one bit of red primer on that piece of metal. So he sanded that piece of metal like crazy. A while later his boss stops back… There is still red primer spots. It could have been done three times by this time.  His boss in exasperation says, “Can’t you see those red spots?” His response startled his boss… no I can’t it all looks gray…I’m color blind.”
Do you every get frustrated with people who just can’t see it? Or they just don’t get it?
Something like that will happen in our study of John.  John 10:22–30 (ESV)
 

Journey Through John: Rejecting Christ

Journey Through John: The Good Shepherd

The Bible can be hard to understand. When I read it, sometimes it feels so far away from my everyday life. I try to relate to the stories, but many times I have nothing in my life to compare it to.
Take for instance the concept of sheep and shepherding. I have probably seen a sheep in real life maybe a dozen times. (A sheep that wasn’t on a plate with some nice potatoes and gravy anyway.) I have never herded sheep, lived with sheep, or watched people care for sheep. I have certainly never sheered sheep, or even watched a lamb being born…
So it is hard for me to relate to all of the sheep and shepherding references in the Bible. Think about this…
The church is called a “flock.” Acts 20:29
Leaders of the church are called “shepherds.” Eph 4:11
Leading a church is called “shepherding.” I Peter 5:2
Un-believers are called “Lost sheep.” Jer.50:6
False teachers are “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Matt 7:15
Jesus’ is described as “the lamb that was slain.” Rev. 5:12
In the Old Testament, the Messiah was going to come as a “shepherd”. Ezekiel 34:23 “And I will set up over them one shepherd… and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.”
Micah prophesied that Messiah would... “…shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD,  in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God… Micah 5:4 (ESV)
Peter called Jesus “The Shepherd of believer’s souls” I Peter 2:25
Hebrews calls Jesus, “The Great Shepherd of the sheep.” Hebrews 13:20
That’s a lot of sheep references! But no passage talks more about sheep than John 10.

 

Journey Through John: The Good Shepherd