Sunday, November 20, 2011


Verses in John 17 are called the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus.  Here we are in the enclosure of the Trinity.  And yet these verses are about us.
  The first 6 verses are addressed to all men, everywhere.  The background of these verses is the truth that the Father has come down in the Son, John 5.19-20.  These passages are culminated in 17.7,8.  So Jesus begins His prayer with His Father.
  First, He addresses His prayer to the whole world, 17.1-6.  In v.2 Jesus prays--Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind that to all whom Thou has given Him, He may give eternal life.  The words, all mankind, are pasns sarkos, all flesh.  There is nothing in the words which would determine one meaning or another.  We have to look at other passages such as John 6.37--All that the Father gives to Me shall come to Me.  So to all men everywhere whom the Father has given to the Son, the Son gives eternal life.
  Jesus then explains the qualification, whom the Father has given to the Son, by explaining eternal life.  He says in v.3--And this is eternal life, that they may kow Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent.
  What is it to know Thee?  It is knowing that the Father has sent the Son, and given to Him the authority to save.  This is the great culmination of 3.16,17--God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world but that the world might be saved through Him.  That eternal life comes from knowing the Father sent the Son.
  Then in v.5 Jesus asks the Father to glorify Him with the glory which He had before the world began.  This is the glory of the ascension after the resurrection.  So when Jesus has been resurrected He has to say to Mary in John 20.17--Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.  All of this is for the world to believe that Jesus will be resurrected from the dead.  We live because He lives.

But now in v.6-19 Jesus will speak about His own disciples.  He says--I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gave Me out of the world.  They were Thine and Thou gave them to Me and they have kept Thy word.
  For the next 14 verses what Jesus will say will be for them, not for the world.  These men were chosen by God.  This is in John 6.65, Luke 6.13.  What the world needed to understand in 5.26, the disciples know in v.7.  Then Jesus elaborates on this in v.8--the words which Thou gave Me I have given to them and they received them and truly understand that I came forth from Thee and they believed that Thou did send Me.
  These are stronger words than what Jesus had said before.  He is taking us into the will of the Father.  He is saying the Word of God which He was given--John 5.24--has now been given to the disciples.  The verification of this are the NT letters penned by the disciples and Paul, 1 Peter 1.23-25.
  In v.9 Jesus says He asks on behalf of the disciples, not the world.  He is establishing the covenant relationship with those whom--Thou has given Me.  He does so in order to bring force to what He then says in v.10--all things that are Mine are Thine.  This is the same as 16.15 when Jesus says He will disclose all things to His disciples. 
  Then in v.11,12 Jesus asks the Father to keep His disciples in--Thy name.  What this means is explained by two phrases--that they may be one even as We are one...I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
  He says in v.13--But now I come to Thee and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves.  Jesus is speaking personally to His men that His joy is now given to them.  He has said they are to be one, they are to receive His word, and they are to have His joy.  What was given to the disciples, they will give to believers everywhere, John 15.11, 16.14.  Jesus had said in 16.13 that the Spirit of God will guide the disciples as to what 'these things' means, and this is true for the church.
  Now in v.14 Jesus finishes the thought of what the disciples are given.  He says--I have given them Thy word.  Jesus says the world will hate the disciples but the Word which He gives will sanctify them, 17.17, 19.  When we think of--sanctify--we might think of the word, cleanse.  In 17.19 Jesus will sanctify Himself so that when His disciples depend on His word, they will know His word is pure. 
  Here Jesus enhances His prayer for His men.  He prays the Father will protect His disciples from the evil one.  His disciples will not be removed from danger, they will be sanctified, set apart for the use of the Father only.  Jesus is praying that the glory of God will be given from the Father to the Son, and from the Son to the disciples--that they may be one just as We are one.


Monday, November 14, 2011


John 8 is as well-known a passage as it is disputed.  It is not in the oldest manuscripts, yet it has stood the test of time.  Several themes weave through it, so that it is included in most translations.  It provides a great viewpoint on the Law and the new covenant.
  It begins in 8.1 where Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives, where He often prayed.  He spent the night there.  His frequent practice was to pray in the night, so He may have done so here.  Early the next morning He comes back to Jerusalem, toward the temple followed by a crowd to hear Him teach.
  At the temple, the scribes and Pharisees are dragging a woman caught in adultery out to a dirt space on the temple grounds.  They bring her to Jesus saying, Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act, 8.4.  They remind Jesus the Law says punishment for adultery is stoning, What do you say?  They were testing Him.
  John uses three words meaning, 'going down'--
  katw--from kuptw, to bend down
  kategraphen--to write down
Jesus is going down and down to write on the ground, He is going down to her level as an adulterer.  But then in the next verse He uses the prefix for 'up', ana--
anekupsen--stand up
anamarthtos--without sin
  Now He stands up, saying--The one who iswithout sin throw the first stone, 8.7.  Here He takes the scribes and Pharisees back to Deuteronomy17.5, 7 where God gave Israel permission to stone the one caught in adultery.  But notice 17.7 which says, The hand of witnesses shall be first against him.  That God sanctioned stoning to purge Israel of the sin of adultery meant the witness and the peoplewho stoned the adulterer were not guilty of murder,they were obeying God.
  But that was the old covenant with God; here when Jesus says, The one who is without sin..He is saying they cannot stone her without committing sin.  Jesus is accusing them of playing God, Matt. 7.5.  He may be intimatig they have committed sin with her, which is how they are witnesses, Matt. 23.27.  That may explain what He wrote, Gen. 38.20-23.
  As they cannot stone her without sinning themselves, right there they leave, one by one.  Now Jesus is left with the woman.  John returns to a word using kata, or 'going down. again--
kateleiphthn--left alone
but then He immediately uses in 8.10 the prefix, ana, meaning 'go up'--
anakupsas--he stood up
Jesus has gone down and down to her level,writing in the sand.  She is dust and to dust she will return, if Jesus had not stooped down to save her from stoning.  Now He lifts her up.  He stands first so that she can, since He is, the first born of many brethren, Romans 8.29.
  We can notice these two words, kata and ana.  Katw is used in 8.6 to mean stoop down, but it is also used in Matt. 27.5 at the time when Jesus died.  The veil of the temple is torn from 'top to bottom'--anwthen ews katw.  Here in John 8 Jesus pulls the curtain open for the woman to see Jesus as God, as He has not come to condemn her but to save her.
  The next day Jesus returns.  Now in the temple, He sits down to teach.  In John 8.23 Jesus uses both words, katw and ana when He says,
You are from below (katw) I am from above (anw), you are of this world, I am not of this world.

When Jesus came to be baptized by John, who said, Behold the Lamb of God, John said, I have beheld the Spirit descending (katabainon) as a dove, John 1.32.
  In John 1.51 Jesus is calling His disciples.  Philip calls Nathaniel to come to Jesus.  When he does, Nathaniel witnesses to Jesus standing there by saying, You are the Son of God, you are the king of Israel.  It's a pretty amazing thing to say upon seeing someone for the first time.  So Jesus says to Nathaniel, You shall see the heavens opened up and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.
  The word 'ascending' is anabainontes,the word descending is katabainontes.  Here we have our two prefixes,ana and katw.  In Genesis 28.11 Jacob has a dream in which he sees, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven,with the angels ascending and descending on it.  The place where this happened is called in Hebrew, the place, and Jacob translated into Greek is Jesus.
  In John 6.51 when the disciples cannot accept what Jesus said about Himself as bread and wine, He says, Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you behold the Son of Manascending where He was before?
  Evidently when someone believes that Jesus is sent from the Father to redeem men and women, they are given a glimpse of the heavenly relationship of Son to Father.  The invisibility of God is peeled back so that Jacob and Nathaniel could see the ascending and descending.  That Jesus descended so that we might ascend is revealed to Paul, for him to write in Ephesians 2.6 that, we were raised up with Him and seated in the heavenly places in Christ.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


In John 14.1-24 Jesus is speaking to His own disciples about Himself and His Father.  It is a special relationship.  Finally Philip says in 14.8, Lord show us the Father and it will be enough for us.  A bit exasperated, Jesus says, Have I been so long with you and yet you have not come to know Me, PhilipHe who has seen Me has seen the Father.
  Jesus is asking Philip to see through Himself to the Father.  Jesus had said,
 I am He who bears witness to Himself and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me--John 8.18
..if you knew Me you would know My Father--John 8.19
He who sent Me is true and the things which I have heard from Him, these I speak to the world--John 8.26
Then there are other passages: John 8.28, 10.14
  In these passages Jesus is showing the Father to His disciples through His words.  He is giving them glimpses of the enclosure of the Trinity, Father and Son and Holy Spirit.  In John 17.1 Jesus will give an even more intimate glimpse of His love for the Father and the Father's love for the Son:
Father..glorify Thy Son that the Son may glorify Thee, even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all Thou has given Him, He may give them eternal life.
  So we see that the glory the Father gave to the Son, He now has given to us.  God sent Jesus to us that we might come to the Father through the Son.  This is the seeing through by the Holy Spirit which is given to us.  It is a gift which comes with eternal life.  One might say that eternal life enables us to see God just as the pure in heart see God, Matt. 5.8.
  The Wise Men see Jesus, they call Him King of Israel, Matt.2.2.  They're looking at an infant in a manger but by the power of the spirit of prophecy they see a king like David.  When Joseph and Mary bring the baby Jesus to the temple in Luke 2, Simeon looks at the child and says: For my eyes have seen Thy salvation which Thou has prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation unto the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel.
  Simon and Andrew were fishing when Jesus sees in them that they will be fishers of men, Matt. 4.19.  In John 1.47 Jesus sees Nathaniel saying, Behold an Israelite in whom there is no guile.  Nathaniel looks at Jesus, seeing through Him to say, Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel, John 1.49.  Jesus had said of His own cousin, John the Baptist:  ..and if you accept it, he himself is Elijah who was to come--Matt. 11.14
   But not everyone sees through Jesus to God.  At the time Jesus comes to the temple as a young boy, Mary and Joseph do not realize He must be about His Father's business.  What they saw was their own boy, away from them in Jerusalem for three days.  After Jesus heals a blind man in Luke 9, the blind man knows Jesus is a prophet, 9.17.  The Pharisees, upon questioning the blind man says Jesus cannot be from God because He healed the blind man on the Sabbath, 9.16.  Some there say Jesus is no more than a sinner.  The blind man knows and can see Jesus, the Pharisees turn away as they do not see Jesus as the Son of God.  After the religious leaders reject the man's claim that Jesus restored his sight, Jesus finds the man a second time.  He ask the formerly blind man, Do you believer in the Son of Man?  The man said, Lord I believe.
  This brings us up against Nicodemus in John 3.  As a pharisee Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night, when no one else will see he is there.  He knows certain things about Jesus, as everyone around Jerusalem did.  He says that God must be with Him.  Jesus then answers as if Nicodemus had asked for sight: ..unless one is born anew he cannot see the kingdom of God.  Jesus had come preaching the kingdom of God.  As seeing is from some distance, Nicodemus is out of the kingdom.  Jesus then says concerning stepping int the kingdom, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
  To be born from above (anwthev) means to believe in the One who came down from heaven.  Jesus will say this in John 3.13,15.  Whoever believes in Him will inherit eternal life, John 3.16.  Nicodemus will have to see as everyone has to see that Jesus came down from heaven, that the world should be saved through Him.
  How does Nicodemus go from darkness to seeing?  Jesus says, Everyone who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.  This expression, having been wrought in God, brings us to two verses.  One is that being born anew is all of God--He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, Eph. 1.4.  This is the work of God; our work is 1 John 2.3, And by this we know that we have come to know Hm, if we keep His commandments, and 1 John 2.5, whoever keeps His word in him the love of God has truly been perfected.  By this we know that we are in Him.  It is by the love of God that God will see us.
  How do we experience this seeing through?  Mother Teresa said she sees Jesus in everyone.  That is a simple statement with much in it.  To do this we must forgive, we must receive the Holy Spirit for the power to see, we must humble ourselves as if we were in the presence of God--God seeing us.