Saturday, February 8, 2014

Bible study in John 14

By request – a brief study on John 14

       John 14 is very full of study material. There are some puzzling statements, some short statements that need to connect with other Bible verses. There are promises made by the Lord that seem to exceed practical reality. And yet for all the complexities, these verses yield to the sincere inquirer some very precious gems.
      My first approach, to keep this brief, will be to highlight (with a coloured pencil) the obvious references to the Lord Jesus.

     Verse 1 “ You believe in God, believe also in Me” It was not so hard to believe in the Almighty God of Israel, but here is a seemingly ordinary man, in ordinary clothes saying “believe in Me, just as you believe in God! This takes faith, but as He points out latter, His claim is backed up with evidence. For those who do ‘believe in Him’, this gives the victory, even in difficult times like was about to burst upon His followers.
      Verse 2.  " I go to prepare a place"  Most Jews hoped for a better future for their nation. John who recorded this conversation, had seen in his lifetime the nation of Israel go from bad to worse by virtue of their unbelief. Now he by the Spirit of God, identifies a greater hope. Jesus had been teaching about heaven from the beginning of His ministry, but now at the end, He makes it clear, that heaven is a special place for His own loved disciples. In fact the whole chapter is presented in the atmosphere of affection for His own disciples.We could puzzle over the thought ‘prepare a place’, but I press on to find Christ in the next verse.
       Verse 3 He who with meaning and authority said “ I go”, now with the same confidence says “I will come again” . This is different from verse 19 which refers to His return on the day of His rising from the dead. This ‘coming’ in verse 3 is explained by it’s purpose  -  ‘to receive you unto myself’ This is the fulfilment of a relationship begun on earth. This is the precious hope, to be caught up, to be forever with the Lord.
        Verse 6.  He has aroused new thoughts for the listeners, who confess ‘we don’t know where or how’ these things can happen.
(how good it is to do Bible study with this lowly attitude) . In response the Lord gives a brief yet profound, deep and meaningful answer.
“I am the way..”    Their minds from youth had been implanted with the way to God being through confession, ceremonies, sacrifices, learning  -  things largely connected with the temple in Jerusalem. Now Jesus declares – “I am the way”  .  He is to replace the old covenant way. He fulfilled the old covenant way, and so made a new and living way to God. [the very colours of the curtain in the temple that obstructed the way to God, expressed the glories of the Lord Jesus – Blue –the one who came from heaven. Purple – the King to reign forever. Scarlet – the true  humanity of Jesus. Fine twined linen – the strength of the holy Son of God. But wait a minute – I have just diverted into typology, which is helpful and instructive, but for another day. However such is not irrelevant – remember when Jesus died, that very curtain was torn into two pieces from the top to the bottom. No explanation is given, but it’s significance is rather obvious. The ‘way to God’ has been opened by the death of the Lord Jesus, and that is the general teaching of this chapter – the disciples of The Lord Jesus going to the Father by the Lord, and the Father coming to the disciples (verse 23).

            I suggest we pause here and let the wonder of it all fill your mind.

Some of you have learned about the tabernacle/temple types – cherish the expanded understanding it gives you. Some of you have been suppressed by teachings of inferiority and an unworthiness to draw near to God.- claim with boldness the promise of a new and living way through the blood of Christ. Some of you have lived in the shallows of preoccupation with earthly affairs – grasp the moment of opportunity and taste of the bliss of heaven – to know HIM, to love HIM, to trust HIM and let Him reveal the Father to you as never before!

      Well I haven’t proceeded far, and my pen with my mind is running in many directions connected with this simple yet overwhelming statement “I am the way”  eg for  your study Acts 4.12 Peter announces this as the only way. Hebrews 7.19 this is the better way of drawing near to God. Ephesians 1.5, 5.20 He is our means of acceptance with God !

                 Isn't He wonderful, wonderful ,wonderful
                  Isn't Jesus my Lord wonderful
                  Eyes have seen ears have heard
                   It's recorded in Gods word
                    Isn't Jesus my Lord wonderful

To be continued tomorrow  J Mckee

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