John 9 & 10
The synoptic Gospels are written from the point of view of fact, what happened and where. John, however, writes from a completely different point of view. He enlightens us to the spiritual ramifications of what happened and if his point can be made better by a different location, or a different time, he doesn’t hesitate to use it. I find it fascinating that the entire chapter nine is devoted to a man born blind and his healing as an adult. John uses this one story to teach spiritual truths.
In verses 1 through 5 John poses many questions. Is sickness or disability linked to sin? This is an age-old question, and Jesus answers it here. Who is to do the works that will demonstrate what God can do? What is the connection between God and man in regard to the works? What is the night that is coming? John defines the Light that is in the world.
Throughout the ages man has assumed that where suffering can be found, sin will somehow be connected. Jesus pretty much says, “Piffle!” If, when we encounter suffering, we focus on the “whys,” and we will miss the message of what God can do. There’s a saying I like: “It doesn’t matter what you look at, what matters is what you see.” When you see suffering, do you see shame, or even sin? Or do you see salvation? If you can see what God wants to have happen—which is healing—then you see yourself, the agent of change, the bearer of healing.
John 7 & 8
It matters whether or not you and I love the Lord. Chapters 7 and 8 of John are all about the confusion and distrust of the people in considering Jesus and the Way He was preaching. If we love Him, we will want to follow His Way; we will want to please Him. If we love Him, we will know Him. The following sentences (confessions) are meant to position Jesus properly in our lives, to overcome our own little confusions, traditions, and lack of trust. Say them out loud to yourself. They help me. I hope they help you.
If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come (1 Corinthians 16:22)!
That’s a strong and fearsome statement. I certainly don’t want to be accused, and I’m sure you don’t either.
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11).
The real truth is that Christ is all. He is everything. There’s really nothing else to love. If I love Him, I will find myself loving every other person on the planet because He does.
He is everything worthy of being talked about. If He’s not in it, it’s not worth-while to waste words on the subject.
Apart from Him—since He is the Everything—there is nothing worthy of my attention.
John 5 & 6
The words of Jesus are not suggestions. What He says is mandatory. If we want to please Him we will do what He says, and what He says is not something that takes away our fun. His words, in fact, enhance our lives. Remember, fun and sin are not the same. Sin might seem fun, but only momentarily. Sin is designed by Satan to ruin your life. The joy of the Lord, however, gives you strength, and peace, and rejoicing!
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him (John 2:11).
When Jesus turned the water into wine, the Bible calls that the first manifestation of His glory. He and His disciples were having fun at a wedding celebration. What caused Him to do this? Obedience. His mother gave the best advice found in the Bible. “Whatever He says, do it.” Those servants didn’t question His orders. No asking “Why? Pull up all that water? Why? Tell the Master it’s wine? Why? It’s only water.” No, they just obeyed. Do you want Him to manifest His glory to you? What’s the key to encourage Him to do that? Obedience without question.
John 3 & 4
21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Fathers who sent Me.” (John 14:21–24).
How does Jesus know that we love Him? If we keep His words. How do we know that we love Jesus? By keeping His words. Make an area in your journal to write down all the words in John that Jesus actually says. Normally those words are written in red ink. As you find them, apply yourself to doing them.
Keeping His words indicates that you treasure them, you hold them, press them into your heart, and that you do them. You do them because you value them above the words you hear from the world, and you remember them, not forgetting them. The Bible warns us that we can look into a mirror and walk away forgetting what we look like. Likewise, we can memorize His words, repeat them over and over to ourselves, yet walk away forgetting everything we just did. Make it your goal to KEEP His words. The biggest test of whether or not you keep His words is whether or not you DO them. That’s when the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit actually move into your spirit and make themselves comfortable there.
John 1 & 2
To begin our study of John, I present to you Eugene Peterson’s introduction to the book of John as written in his Message Bible. Keep this explanation in mind whenever you read the book of John. This is how the Kingdom of God works.
In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God is presented as speaking the creation into existence. God speaks the word and it happens: heaven and earth, ocean and stream, trees and grass, birds and fish, animals and humans. Everything, seen and unseen, called into being by God’s spoken word.
The Book of John
Having finished Romans, we’re now going to dissect John, which happens to be my favorite book of the Bible. Apparently, for centuries, this Gospel was ignored. The church fathers found it to be vapid. I find it to be diametrically opposite. Not even Song of Solomon matches the tenor of love expressed by this writer. John’s completely platonic love of this man, Jesus, goes far beyond the bounds we know as love. May we, through our study, transform our love life—first for Jesus, then for our brothers and sisters in Christ, then for our world—into what love was designed to perform: to become one with God Almighty. That is the chief reason why Jesus came to the earth: to present His Father in truth and to bring us to Him as children, climbing onto His lap.
Early in my walk with the Lord, He asked me to go and love the world and not be concerned with who loved me. I’ll be perfectly honest. I can only do that from His lap. My heart forgives and loves easily; it’s my mind that gives me the problem. Always analyzing, always figuring, always wanting to be in control, always finding fault with those who don’t love me. After listening to my mind for a while, I then remember to Whom I belong, and I climb back up into His lap.
Writing has been in my blood, so to speak, but when I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ and He told me to write, all my trepidations rolled away and I began in earnest! After all, if God Almighty says it was His idea that I be a writer, who am I to stand in His way? My hope is that you not only like what I write, but that your life is moved by it, and that your party to Jesus and with Jesus turns your life into days of Heaven on Earth.