Sunday, March 30, 2014

The final verse of John 14

John 14.31
The Lord Jesus said  “ that the world might know that I love the Father, arise let us go hence” and He went out to face the sufferings of the cross.
                At first glance this final verse in John 14 seems to have little significance. However a thoughtful contemplation brings to light helpful truth. We have learned that the world does not know Christ. The prince of this world has no power over Him. Most people would rather have nothing to do with Him. Yet to the world of people, He had an important message.
1                     His death was not accidental nor a defeat – it was as the Father planned – see Galatians 1.4 NLT.
2                     He was operating according the explicit command of the Father – see John 10.18
3                     His primary motive for going to the cross was out of love for the Father. There were many other purposes involved, as He taught – to destroy the works of the devil, to gather all men unto Himself, to give Himself as a ransom for all  etc etc, but the highest motive is here revealed. ( I think we could learn a lot from this as to our motives).

In what way did the world pick up on this? well should have.
1                      In the garden of prayer, when He was arrested, He said “This is your hour and the power of darkness” Like 22.53
2                            “Thus it must be that the scriptures be fulfilled” Matthew 26.56
3                         Before the court He said “you shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of God” Matthew 26.64
4                         To Pilate “ You could have no power at all against Me except it be given you from above” John 19
5                         To the soldiers “Father forgive them” Luke 23.34
6                         To the women  “ The days are coming....................” Luke 23.29
7                         To the thief “Today you will be with me in paradise” Luke 23.43
8                          To all  “ Father into thy hands I commit my spirit” Luke 23 .46
9         Then the unspoken silence of darkness followed by the earthquake, the veil is rent and some of the dead arise from the graves.
Well might on ‘worldly witness’  say “truely this man was the son of God” (Centurion)

The conclusion of John 14 remains the most significant question of all time “ who is this man – Son of God  - doing the will of God? Or is He not????” and so the destiny of all humanity is decided.

I trust that all my readers have received Him for who He claimed to be – ‘the Son of God’

John McKee

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bible studies - John 14: 23 - 30

My apologies for my delay in producing this blog ( recently working 6am to 6pm)

       John 14: 23 to 31 is in response to a question by Judas. ‘Why not manifest Himself to the world?’      The Lord appears to not answer the question, yet He does.  His primary concern is for the disciples to be well prepared to overcome in the world.  He elaborated on the subject of the world later – Chapter 15:18-25, 16:20, 16:33, 1 John 2:15 etc.
      Verse 23  How stabilising it is to have His word and His presence. When we respond to His love by loving Him, the abiding presence of the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit is heaven begun on earth. Link this with the teachings of 1 John, and it is evident that the love of the world is not compatible with the love of the Father. Also see Revelation 3:20

     Verse 24 highlights a very solemn note – to reject His word is to reject the Father! This is the characteristic of the world then and now.
     Verse 25 It is very important to study the words of Christ prior to His death, concerning His death. It shows that the cross was no accident. It shows that He knew all things. It gives understanding about the cross and it gave help to endure the conflict of the cross. A beautiful study is to highlight the foretelling of Christ in Luke 22. The apostles expounded the meaning of the cross and its relevance to us.

      Verse 26 In this world of darkness, ignorance and unbelief, it is perhaps one of the most helpful things, to learn from the Holy Spirit that God knows what He is doing in this world. This is the chief function of the Helper, the Holy Spirit – to reveal truth.  Note, He is the one to bring back the words of the Lord Jesus. This is why we can take the Gospel records as accurate – not up to failing memories.
     Verse 27 In the world there certainly is unceasing turbulence, and the Lord wants His own to enjoy peace. Not so much the stilling of the storm, although He may, but rather His peace. Sometimes we get peace when we know what is going on in difficult times, but HIS peace is the implicit trust that believes in HIM even when we do not understand what is going on. Job had no idea what was going on, yet He trusted in the Lord to see him through.

      Verse 28 The idea of His going away did not register with the disciples as a good thing largely because they were preoccupied with prominence  and place in the hoped for kingdom (prosperity gospel). The teachings of the Lord were full of references to eternal things, spiritual things, but how slow they were, how slow we are to connect with the greater values. For the Lord of glory, going back to the Father was going HOME to a better country.
‘My Father is greater than I’  How shall we explain this statement in the light of others in John eg Chapter 10 “I and My Father are one”  One could spend a lot of time interlinking many verses, but I shall just illustrate what I think is the point.  We are body , soul and spirit. Each has a function, and yet each is really ‘ME’.  The spirit is higher, giving intelligence to conscience and wisdom to will and way. The soul responds as the personality to make decisions and react with feelings. The body is most times subject to the direction of the will, but is the most visible part of the person.  My point is differing functions, so the Father administers His will for the Son to express visibly the purpose of the Godhead! In that sense the Father is greater.

      Verse 29 Knowing truth should inspire faith. So he would prepare them. It was the angels by the empty tomb who said “ remember the words which He spoke while He was with you”.   How important to let the Holy Spirit remind us of truth previously revealed.

     Verse 30 The ruler of this world I take to be Satan. Many other verses show the deceptive control of the evil one. (see Ephesians 2, Luke 3, John 8, Revelation 20 etc) Now He says “He has no claim on Me”.  Rejoice in it this way:
1 Jesus is not fallen in Adam
2 Jesus is not fallen in temptation
3 Jesus is not given over to world values
4 Jesus was not driven by selfish ambition
5 Jesus was not subject to death
6 Jesus is the conqueror of Satan, sin and death.

Verse 31 is wonderful in meaning and implication – I will explain next time

John McKee 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dedicated to God's work

"Happiness or sadness or wealth should not keep anyone from doing God's work. 
Those in frequent contact with the things of the world should make good use of them without becoming attached to them, for this world and all it contains will pass away.
In everything you do, I want you to be free from the concerns of this life"

1 Corinthians 7.30 (NLT)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Fathers' love

John 14.211.     

14.21   It is powerful how the Lord Jesus brings together love for Himself and obeying His commandments. I remember going through the Gospels, writing out all the commands I could find so that I might attempt to obey them. Well, better to get the love and faith in our hearts first and the obedience will follow.  And what commandments is he referring to ?  Well , John in his letter writing refers to just one – ‘to love one another’ from Chapter 13.34 (1 John 2.7) .  Of course there are more, but they are not given to us like 10 commandments written on stone. Rather ,, all his words are His commands,, beginning with  “Believe in Me” (John 6.29)  His commands through His Apostles are many, like John says  ‘love not the world’. But rather than there being a formula for Christian obedience, the Holy Spirit wants to bring us into the joy of obedience one step at a time as we are able to bear it. To those who respond to light He gives more light.

14.21b  John uses the unusual expression ‘whoever abides in love abides in God and God abides in him’ (1 John 4.16) That is close to what we have here in this verse.. The spiritual intimacy of those who believe, who obey, who love. This deliberate drawing near Christ, this surrender to Christ, this deep affection for Christ is so fully rewarded by the Fathers love.

‘How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure.........................’

Many millions enjoy the fact that ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son....’   but this is different. This is God’s particular love for those who choose to love Him. Have you experienced this in your life?
This is important teaching in the light of the Old Testament where largely God spoke to the people through prophets, priests and sometimes kings. Worship and drawing near to God was largely linked to the tabernacle and temple with it’s ceremonies. It was the Lord Jesus who emphasized the importance of knowing God personally. You may remember in the ‘sermon on the mount’  He said,” go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.” (Matthew 6.5)

The next section is an answer to the question “Lord how is it that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world”
We have plenty  to study – more next time.

John Mckee

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

John 14:15-20 Bible study

Bible Study  John 14:15—21

              This section of the teaching of the Lord Jesus, is mainly about the promise of the Holy Spirit. The Lord said that the Holy Spirit would be in them that believe.  Those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, don’t know what they are missing and cannot understand why Christians are so interested in the invisible things of God.

         For those following this Bible study, let me interrupt with this comment. The writings of Paul are laid out logically, and can be analysed fairly easily.
 The writings of Peter are largely linked to the experiences of the people. 
   The writings of John are different.  He brings forward many analogies in the teachings of the Lord Jesus eg Chapter 6 – the feeding of the 4000 related to the bread provided from heaven – Jesus. Chapter 15 the vine and the branches. This analogy approach apparently was quite common among the Jews from the east.  John’s writings have been described as concentric circles. You will notice in these chapters and his epistles that several subjects are revisited with added meaning. For example in our present study, the giving of the Holy Spirit is outlined.
14:26 the purpose of the Holy Spirit is expanded
15:26 the  empowerment for witness by the Holy Spirit is explained.
16:7-10 the work of the Holy Spirit in the world is explained
16:12 the focus is explained.
Please take time to read these verses and check out what I have suggested.

        Returning to our study of chapter 14:15 – Another theme comes up – love. He did present the challenge of loving one another in 13:34 Now he develops love for Himself and the Father.
The ESV translation is helpful “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”. This gives the true sense that love will be seen in action and obedience, just like living faith will be seen in doing God’s works (James).

     14:16 It is good to note  the interactions in the Godhead, between the Father and the Son. We glimpse the communications and activity in this wonderful “He asks the Father” – God is not a distant, cold calculating judge. As He drew near in the person of Immanuel (Jesus), so he draws near today in the person of the Holy Spirit (Comforter, helper, counsellor). Verse sixteen ends with this profound statement “He will never leave you”. This stands in contrast to the happenings in the Old Testament. This stands as a promise achievable only by the death of the Good Shepherd who died for the wandering sheep.

     14:17 In a previous blog I tried to explain the difference between the spiritual and the natural. This verse supports the idea that the Holy Spirit operates in our mind and intellect rather than gut feelings or emotional outbursts. He communicates ‘truth’. This may be direct to an apostle, or via the writings of scripture, or the teachings of His servants. As we discover the Lord’s emphasis on letting ‘His words fill our minds’, we then appreciate how the Spirit  speaks to us. There are occasions where the Holy Spirit communicates ‘new things’ like prophecy, but in verse 26 He reminds the disciples of Christ's words and 16:15 He focuses on the person of Christ revealed – past present and future.

     14:18&19  In these verses, He gives a foretelling of His impending death and resurrection. I love the simple yet sublime statement “I will live again” NLT  “Because I live you shall live also”
The blessings of his resurrection are many, but  here he identifies two.
1.      1  Their life in the present and the future is assured because Jesus lives.
2.   2     Resurrection would  vindicate His claims to knowing the Father, and then assure His disciples of their part in Christ and the Father. You may recall His message to the fearful disciples that resurrection morning – “Go tell My brethren that I ascend to My Father and your Father” (John 20).  Thus He binds the fearful, unworthy disciples to both Himself and to the Father. This is Grace upon Grace granted to all who believe in Him.
 More in the next blog

John McKee