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So, in John, we have seen the Lord Jesus set forth as the Christ, the Son of God. As we bring our study of this book to a close, I would like to take the time to compare this great theme of the book of John with Paul’s statement of the gospel he preached in I Corinthians 15:1-5.
1. Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2. by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain.
3. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4. and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5. and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
This statement is as concise a statement as we have in the writings of Paul of the gospel that he preached to bring people to faith in Christ. Read the rest of this entry »
The Lord calls upon them to come and eat the morning meal with Him, so they do so. They probably had done this many times before, yet how different things seemed now! Now they did not dare to ask Him questions, though they had always been eager to question Him before. His resurrection awed them, and they did not dare to question Him as they once had. Read the rest of this entry »
Now this is a strange thing. As we saw, verse 31 of John 20, the last chapter, wrapped up the great treatise that John has been presenting to us ever since the first verse of the first chapter. Having presented all the evidence proving the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, John now challenges us with the great and crucial question: what will you do with this truth? Will you believe it, or reject it? And thus his object in writing this book is complete. Now, you have all the evidence. Now, whether you believe or not is up to you.
But if John 20 completed the purpose for which John wrote his book, then the obvious question arises, “Why is there a chapter 21?” For the work of proving that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, is completed. Read the rest of this entry »
19. Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
This is the same day, but now it is evening rather than morning, as it was in the previous verse. This was again, “one of the Sabbaths,” not the first day of the week, and this refers to the feast of firstfruits on this day from which they were to count the fifty days until Pentecost. The disciples have shut themselves in the place where they are assembled because they are afraid of the Jews. Since they had already arrested and killed the Lord, the disciples were afraid that, being His followers, they would be next. So, they had locked themselves in, hoping to remain undiscovered. Read the rest of this entry »
The first part of this verse is a dishonest translation, aimed at continuing the tradition that Christ rose from the dead on a Sunday, thus justifying Sunday as a holy day. But the Greek says nothing about Sunday or the first day of the week. The Greek here reads, Te mia ton sabbaton. This translates literally to “on one (day) of the Sabbaths.”
What is meant by this phrase? An examination of Leviticus 23:9-11, 15-17, and 21 reveals an important truth: Read the rest of this entry »
The Lord has been watching all that the Scripture said be fulfilled according to His plan. Now, He realizes that it is all accomplished, but there is one thing left for Him to do. This is found in Psalm 69:21, which reads, “They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” Thus, He speaks up, and announces His thirst. He must be made to drink vinegar to fulfill the Scripture. Even in this terrible place of suffering and humiliation, the Lord is concerned that everything be done according to the Word of God.
29. Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.
There is a vessel of sour wine (or vinegar) sitting there. It is likely that it was kept for mocking the prisoners, and yet also for keeping them alive, for the Romans did not want the victims of crucifixion to die from thirst too quickly. Thus even the mercy of giving them a drink became a cruel mockery, for who wishes to drink vinegar? Read the rest of this entry »
Thus, He bears His cross, as all condemned to be crucified were made to do, and carries it to the place of crucifixion. This is called the Place of a Skull. In Aramaic (not Hebrew again) this is Golgotha, which also means the “Place of a Skull.” Remember, according to God’s law an Israelite became unclean when he touched any part of a dead body. Thus, a great fear that the Israelites always had was that they would become unclean somehow and not know it. The places where men were buried were always clearly marked so that no one could mistake them. They would take the time to bury people deeply, for there were animals that would attempt to dig up the bodies as food, if they could. Yet even with their precautions, there were times when human bones or other remains might be found in a place where they were not supposed to be. Once such a thing had been found at a site, a visitor there could no longer be certain that there were not other remains at that site that he might accidentally, or even unknowingly, come in contact with and make himself unclean. Thus, from then on, that place would be marked as unclean, and men would no longer use it for anything but unclean things, like a garbage dump. That is what had happened at this “Place of a Skull.” Someone had found a skull there, and from then on, the place was considered unclean. As such, it was a perfect place to use as an execution site, since it was already considered spoiled land. And since it was near the road, it meant that crucifixions done there would be a public spectacle, which is exactly what the Romans wanted. A person on a cross was a great deterrent, and would remind people what could happen to them should they defy Rome. Therefore, this place had become the place where they took those condemned to crucifixion in Jerusalem to crucify them. Read the rest of this entry »
Pilate, finding he cannot talk the Jews into letting the Lord go instead of Barabbas, decides to have the Lord scourged in another attempt to appease them. Remember that this scourging is done to a man of Whom Pilate had already testified, “I find no fault in Him at all.” If this was the case, how unfair was it that He was scourged? Pilate had obviously given up on doing the right thing, and was only trying to defuse the situation.
2. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.
Remember, these soldiers were taught loyalty to Rome, and naturally would think of those whom Rome said were criminals as criminals. If Pilate, the Roman governor, was having the Lord scourged for being a king, then He must be a traitor against Rome. Since the Roman soldiers were foreigners in a strange land protected only by their status as Romans, anyone who rebelled against Rome was considered an enemy and looked on by these men in a very negative light. They would have had little or no sympathy for such a man. Read the rest of this entry »
It appears that Annas is referred to as “the high priest” here, even though he was not currently holding that office. This is probably since he had held it in the past. Here in the United States, we will often refer to past Presidents this way, like “President Reagan,” even though he is dead and his Presidency long over.
Annas questions the Lord about His disciples and His doctrine. Remember that the disciples were not arrested with the Lord, at His command. Thus, they are not there, either to testify about the Lord’s teaching or to represent His following. Thus, Annas questions him about both, hoping, no doubt, to draw something out of Him that they can use to condemn Him. Read the rest of this entry »
The Lord finally ends His long discourse with the disciples, which began at their Passover supper, and continued at some undisclosed location after they had left supper. Perhaps they had been talking as they walked along the way, but if so, they must have stopped when Jesus lifted up His eyes to heaven and spoke to His Father in the last chapter. Even the Lord didn’t walk while looking up into the air! At any rate, wherever the previous chapter took place, they now continue on over the brook Kidron to a garden. We know from Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32 that the garden was at a place called Gethsemane. He and His disciples now enter this garden. Read the rest of this entry »