The Irony of John chapter 9

On the heels of revealing himself as the Light of the world, the sinless Son of God, the Savior of sinners, the true Rabbi, the One who makes the truth known, the One who knows God, and the great I AM to a group of people who took up stones to murder him, Jesus is seen as all of these by a man born blind from birth.

What irony! The only person to see Jesus the way Jesus sought to be seen was a blind man. In the eyes of the people the blind man was unemployed, uneducated and unholy. In the eyes of Jesus the man had what it took – dependence, humility and faith. Talk about a serious case of the first being last and the last being first!

Is there someone around you that you think looks like they’ve been blind from birth? Maybe they’re able to see more than what we think. The only way to find out is to mention the man who still has the ability “to make the blind see” through their sins and right into the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 28:18-20).

Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” (John 9:10-11)

#blind-man, #evangelism, #gospel-of-john, #jesus, #judging-others, #spiritual-blindness, #spiritual-sight

John hailed as the universal gospel

“When Jesus said, ‘I am he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground” John 18:6.

John has been hailed as the universal gospel. Set apart from the synoptics and written from the perspective of the apostle as a then elder statesman for Christianity, John has the benefit of the tamed ‘son of thunder’ being able to look back through several decades of the Christian movement and provide us with doctrines and longer discourses that Jesus gave us while in the flesh.

John works to show Jesus as God and so is a great recommendation to first-time Bible readers who might get bogged down in Matthew’s prophecy fulfillment and opening geneology or Luke’s drama and poetry.

Over and over in John, Jesus declares, “I am,” to individuals, bringing us to God’s self-revealed identity at the burning bush. Even when the crowd comes to arrest this itinerant preacher and they ask if he is Jesus, the voice of God in the flesh simply answering, “I am he,” is enough to make them draw back and fall to the ground.”

How does knowing that the man Jesus is God change your life?

Doug Kashorek

Plattsburgh church of Christ

author of Kin of Cain

a Christian historical fantasy

#gospel-of-john, #jesus-christ

That Tricky Situation For “Faith Only” Advocates

“Want to be saved? Just believe! That’s all you have to do…well, maybe say the sinner’s prayer too; but other than that there’s nothing else to do…well, maybe repent, but that’s a work of the Holy Spirit and not you – so yeah, just believe because that’s all you have to do to be saved.”

I’m not trying to be hateful or even funny when I say the above “quote” is a summation of the comments and thoughts that one will hear from those in religion today who propose the avenue of faith only when it comes to salvation.

It’s unfortunate, but the doctrine of faith only has confused many people when it comes to their understanding of what faith is and does, and what a person must to do in response to the gospel of Jesus to be saved, and yet the doctrine of faith only is actually a very easy doctrine to correct when a person reads just a verse or two from John’s gospel.

In John 12:42 you’ll find a tricky situation for faith only advocates. There the Bible says, “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in [Jesus], but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;

Now if a person is saved by faith alone then we must ask if these people were saved according to the gospel preached by Jesus himself. For according to the gospel preached by some men and women today they were indeed saved. Unfortunately for those who teach the doctrine of faith only and for those who failed to confess Jesus, the answer to the first question is an obvious no (Matthew 10:32-33).

But they believed! They had faith! They had faith alone! And that’s the problem! They had faith that was alone!

And faith alone is a dead faith – “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)

Don’t get tricked by those who teach that all you have to do to be saved is believe, for I believe John had something to say about that when he wrote John 12:42.

Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.” (Acts 16:29-33)

#faith, #faith-only, #false-doctine, #gospel-of-john, #religion, #salvation, #sinners-prayer

One of the people I want to be like

Over on the Gospel Progress site, I honor a college professor and friend born on this day, who passed away over a decade ago. It’s good to recall such spiritual influences on our lives. He’s one of the people I want to be like: calm, thoughtful, wise, even-keeled, peaceful.

• G. Campbell Morgan once preached on John 12.36. (See his The Westminster Pulpit, vol. IX, chap. XXII.) His approach prompted this little short outline—the key words are mine—that might just serve for a class or sermon:

  1. Opportunity: “While you have the light.”
  2. Invitation: “believe in the light.”
  3. Outcome: “that you may become sons of light.”

Reckon that’ll preach?

• Campbell cites part of a poem by Thomas Whytehead. I retouched just a part of what he cited.

The world as a whole,
Like a parched, ancient scroll,
Shall before my amazed sight uproll,
Without smoke or screen,
At one burst will be seen,
The Presence wherein I have been.

• Don’t miss Mac Deaver’s somewhat lengthy, but deserving, article, “Flawed from the Beginning,” published today on Biblical Notes. Excellent material that deserves careful study. His thesis:

… early on there were flaws in the thinking of some who were most engaged in the effort at “restoration.” There was a (1) hermeneutical flaw regarding the place of deduction in discerning the pattern of authority, (2) an epistemological flaw, therefore, that did not allow for clear distinction between matters of faith and matters of opinion, and (3) there was the willingness of some involved in the formative period of “restoration” thought to spiritually fellowship other religious people who had never obeyed the gospel, which rendered the whole effort at restoration suspicious.

• Barbara Anne has been in Costa Rica for a week or so now, is getting herself set up for several months of work there. She says she’s not seen any of the Jurassic Park dinosaurs popping up. I’m sure she’d appreciate a prayer or two. Among other things, she’ll teach English as an evangelistic outreach, and already has two requests.

• The Jurassic conversation came up because I recently reread the book. It was set in or off the coast of Costa Rica. What prompted me was news of the rerelease of the film in HD or 3D or DVD or something, I don’t remember. Ah, you’re in luck, I found it: here’s the review I read.

• We talked last night to our son The Middleman, who said that, after some 8 years, he has adapted to the US. Some hankerings, however, overcome him at times, like a desire to eat a little French loaf from off the grill, slathered in butter. The Missus said this morning she’d been tempted to go buy and fix some, then send a photo to him. Is that cruel or what? Disclaimer: I thought of doing the same.

• Do have books around your house or office that have become pretty much passé now with the Internet? I have several, like a rhyming dictionary, which I never use any more. Others may be available online, like Bible versions or English and Portuguese dictionaries (I have half a dozen of the latter), but preferable at times to use the hard copy. But maybe I should give up Phillips’s paraphrase paperback? (I need to start culling.)

• After a while on Facebook and Twitter, as well as other corners and spaces on the Internet—even news sites, I want to shout: “If you’re going to write, learn how to spell.” I don’t mind abbreviations and other artifices for texting. I do mind butchering the language. But I don’t shout or even mutter. It would be a finger-in-the-dike exercise. There are other fights I’d rather save my breath for.

• is lately a bit hit and miss, not as frequent as we’d like to see it. Prayers are called for. Suggestions, volunteers, and write-ups would also be welcome. News doesn’t fall from the sky into our lap.

• One writer for The Economist says that if you’re going to learn a second language, you should learn Brazilian Portuguese. I like that, but maybe not for all the reasons she gives. Some of them, not all. It’s a beautiful language spoken by millions, one of the major ones in the world, and one that communicates marvelously the gospel of Christ. Brazil needs to hear it. Why not learn the language?

#brazilian-portuguese, #corollaries, #gospel-of-john, #restoration-movement, #role-models

My Sunday Morning Sermon

I continued the sermon series that I started last week in John’s gospel. This week’s title was “Things Are Looking Up”

I used John 1:14-18 to talk about how the “Word of God” got “Wrapped Up”

I used John 1:19-28 to talk about how John “Spoke Up” about the Messiah

I used John 1:29-34 to talk about how God’s will started “Opening Up” for John

After some expository/exegete preaching from these verses with those headings I used them to make some applications for us. Here’s a little bit:

1) There’s a good reason to get wrapped up in the story we read about Jesus. That’s because He cares. We have a mediator who feels for us because He felt for us (Hebrews 4:15-16).

2) We need to be willing to speak up and go on the record for Jesus. If John was willing to speak up for the coming Messiah then we should be willing to speak up for the Messiah who has come (Matthew 10:32-33).

3) If we want God’s will to open up for us then we need to open up His word. Faith in Jesus is found only in the word of God (Romans 10:17) and if we want to learn about the will of God for our lives when it comes to the Lamb of God then we need to open the word that teaches us all about it.

I’m trying to figure out a way to post this sermon’s (and last week’s) audio to the website. I can get the audio file off of my phone and onto my computer, but from there it’s a little more tricky for me. I’m no techie but I’m trying.

#gospel-of-john, #john-1, #nudge, #sermon-outline

What’s wrong with this article?

Marriage isn’t a sacrament. One. But is there anything else in this article you’d differ with?


#catholicism, #gospel-of-john, #marriage

Who’s Feet Are You Going To Wash Today?

Then, after washing their feet and putting on his robe again, he took his seat and said to them, Do you see what I have done to you? You give me the name of Master and Lord: and you are right; that is what I am. If then I, the Lord and the Master, have made your feet clean, it is right for you to make one another’s feet clean. I have given you an example, so that you may do what I have done to you. Truly I say to you, A servant is not greater than his lord; and he who is sent is not greater than the one who sent him. If these things are clear to you, happy are you if you do them.” (John 13:12-17, BBE)

This section of scripture never ceases to amaze me, or at times rebuke me!

It reconstructs the average idea of what service really is. It reconstructs the average idea of what happiness really is. It reconstructs the average idea of who I am really supposed to be…if I have eyes to see, and ears to hear.

The lesson has much more to do with helping each other remove the grit and grim from our lives through service than it does with removing the junk between our toes. We are quick to say that we understand this! Do we really? Do we perceive it the way Jesus wanted his apostles to perceive it?

I must ask myself the question, “Who’s feet am I going to wash today?” Are you willing to ask yourself the same? If not, why not?

Why are we afraid to get our hands dirty like Jesus did? Share your thoughts if you like.

#foot-washing, #gospel-of-john, #jesus, #service

Salvation and condemnation

John 9:39 does not contradict John 3:16-17. The reason for our Lord’s coming was salvation, but the result of His coming was condemnation of those who would not believe. The same sun that brings beauty out of the seeds also exposes the vermin hiding under the rocks. — Warren Wiersbe, Bible Exposition Commentary, 1:327.

#condemnation, #gospel-of-john, #salvation

Daily Nudge: Jesus’ betrayal and trial — and news

What strikes you — give one detail — about Jesus’ betrayal and trial? Is there something in the wicked process that impresses you most? A word, a movement, a process? Or even something that’s not there that should be? Choose a moment, a slice of time, in that quick succession of events and share with us why (I’m always interested in the why) it catches your attention.

Our Bible reading today is John 18, so this part of Jesus’ life is forefront at the moment.

BNc published an obituary yesterday for Coleman Crocker. I took the class Personal Evangelism under him at FHU. I was friends with his daughter, Beth, who was a student there about the same time. We’re sorry to hear of his death and pray for the family’s comfort.

Share your news of saints, churches, service in the wide kingdom of God.

#betrayal-of-jesus, #gospel-of-john, #trial-of-jesus

Daily Nudge: how to wash feet? — and news

Today’s text for slow readers is John 13. Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. Note especially the first verses. Tell us your thoughts on this passage. How could Jesus, Son of God, wash feet? And how may we today be like him by washing feet? How is it that you wash feet?

The day started early for me. This after the night ended late. But strength for the day is at hand.

Got news? Tell about the saints you know.

#footwashing, #gospel-of-john, #nudge, #service

Daily Nudge: Greeks seek Jesus — and news

Today’s NT reading, according to our plan for slow readers, is John 12. In that reading is the story of the Greeks who seek an audience with Jesus after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The Nudge asks: What do you find strange about this story?

We expect a visitor this week in our Wed. Bible reading group, this one from the U.S. Ron Jackson will be here on business, from Florida, and will speak to our group, with YT translating. Ron also preaches in a small church where he worships, and when he was here before for the First Day, also preached in SJCampos and Taubate.

What are the churches in your are doing, saying, showing?

#gospel-of-john, #nudge

Daily Nudge: Samaritan woman — and news

What stands out in your mind in the story of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well? This story rich in detail has much to offer for reflection.

As mentioned on my blog, the year is nearly half over. I’m still in February. 🙂

What news, news, news have you of the churches?

#gospel-of-john, #nudge, #samaritan-woman

Jesus making himself equal with God…

Concerning John 5:16-18, I found the following quote thought-provoking:

Yeshua’s Judean opposition immediately perceived that by saying God was his own Father he was claiming equality with God. Some Jews would like to reclaim Yeshua for the Jewish people by regarding him as a great teacher, which he was, but only human, not divine. Yeshua’s claim here makes that option impossible. A merely human “great teacher” who teaches that he is equal with God would be, as C. S. Lewis put it, either

“a lunatic — on a level with a man who says he’s a poached egg — or else He would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God: or else a madman or something worse.” (Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1958, p. 41)

(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

#deity-of-christ, #gospel-of-john

Key Terms in John

The next time you read/study the Gospel of John mark these key terms (and their derivatives): Word, Life, Light, Darkness, Sent, Witness, Testify, World, Believe, Born, Signs, Eternal Life. A careful examination of these terms is guaranteed to enhance your study of John’s Gospel.

#bible-study, #gospel-of-john, #john

Nathanael’s fig tree

Whatever Nathanael was doing under the fig tree, it was a moment of truth for him, a moment when he demonstrated his integrity. Had he refused a shady deal at the city gates? Was he in contrite, humble prayer in his backyard? Wherever he was, whatever he was doing under that fig tree, Jesus knew it and used it to show him that of such are the kingdom of God.

This is my choice of tree.

Read it at the end of John 1.

#gospel-of-john, #integrity, #trees