“He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” – John 13:6-7 (ESV)
On a very important night Jesus is with His disciples observing the Passover meal as was the practice of following their Jewish Law. This was indeed the last supper and not only for Jesus but for the disciples. What was about to happen, Jesus’ death and resurrection would fulfill with the requirements of the Law for the sake of righteousness. Jesus was willing to be the perfect and final blood sacrifice for sin. Foot washing was an act of hospitality, and the disciples thought Jesus was doing that. But Jesus was symbolizing what was about to happen for all who believe in Him. Peter, failed to see beyond the humble act itself to the symbol of necessary spiritual cleansing. Jesus responded with this promise: unless the Lamb of God washes away a person’s sin they will have no share with Him. It was for this reason that Jesus, who saw the whole, said to Peter, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Two verbs are translated as ‘understand.’ The first one is knowledge by intuition or by reflection, the second is knowledge by observation and experience.
“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. …Jesus wept.” – John 11:33 &35 (ESV)
This is from the story of Jesus when at the home of Lazarus, who had died 4-5 days before, Jesus brought him back to life. It includes the “shortest verse” in the Bible because of translations. He greets Martha and then Mary and others mourning the death of Lazarus with them. Jesus reacts strongly. “He was deeply moved…and greatly troubled.” This comes from a Greek word with the root-meaning to be ‘moved with anger.’ Why? Certainly not just because Mary, Martha, and their friends were weeping in sorrow over the death of this loved one. We also so weep and Jesus He himself was about to silently burst into tears (verse 35). Jesus may also have been angered because He was indignant at the pain and sorrow and death that sin brought into the world. The context, is of sympathy rather than of only indignation as some suggest. Jesus being deeply moved and greatly troubled. suggests inward disturbance. In a way, Jesus was filled with indignation at the cause and sympathy for his friends. Lazarus lived again in his same restored body. Our promise is for a new perfect body at our resurrection in Christ.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” – John 1:12 (ESV)
“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” – James 2:19 (ESV)
We use the words “faith believers” to identify any who truly believe in God by grace through faith. We do so to help others understand that “to believe” in Jesus Christ is more than believing He lived on this earth. Also, believing in God’s existence makes us no different than demons who believe God exists. Many believe in a god that is not the One God and some believe who are still under the influence of Satan and reject His offer of salvation and forgiveness. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches that our saving belief comes by grace through faith and both are a gift of God. Faith believers have been given the grace and faith to believe in God and to receive wholeheartedly His promise of salvation through the work of Jesus Christ – they are forgiven and possess eternal life. Not by our effort to be good enough are we accepted by God – our faith by grace is not of works. If we have believed in faith, the truth of salvation which has saved us from the penalty of our sin. By that gift of grace through faith we become a child of Almighty God – we are faith believers.
“If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” – John 13:17 (NASB)
A favorite quote is “It’s always better to know than not know.” That sort of flies in the face of another quote of lesser quality, “What they don’t know won’t hurt them.” Well, not knowing some things or overlooking them might result in loss. What things you might ask? Anything we know we should do in obedience to God. There should be no delay is what Jesus was saying to his disciples at the last meal they had together before His arrest, suffering and crucifixion. It happened to be the Passover meal and Jesus knew the time had come for Him to go through all that it was going to take to provide salvation to all who were lost in their sin. Phony obedience is a state of mind in which we work up occasions to sacrifice ourselves; zeal is mistaken for thoughtfulness. It is easier to sacrifice ourself than to fulfil our spiritual purpose. (Romans 12:1–2) As the prophet Samuel said to the disobedient King Saul, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22) The promise we have today is that joy is always tied to obedience to God’s revealed Word..
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” – John 10:28 (ESV)
As faith believers when we know we are safely held and protected in the hands of Jesus, it stirs us to rejoice and give thanks to God. During the Feast of Dedication, (Hanukkah,) Jesus is teaching in the Temple. A crowd has gathered which includes the Jews. The label “the Jews” identifies the elite ruling class of the Jewish religion. They were forever asking questions of Jesus trying to trip him and have a valid accusation to charge and arrest Him. Asking again if He was the Messiah, when does He initiate the establishment of the promised Messianic Kingdom. He has told them and has demonstrated many times the validity of His claim as the Anointed One, the Messiah. In English our word Christ comes from a transliteration of Greek for Messiah. Christ = Messiah. Jesus tells the Jews that they do not understand because they are not among His sheep so they do not belong to Him. Then he makes this promise, a gift of eternal life for all His sheep and those who receive, never spiritually die. We who believe in Jesus as Savior are secure forever in His hand, we are “Unsnatchable.”
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 (NIV)
The life and work of a shepherd was a well known occupation from Old Testament times. When Jesus was on this earth walking among the people he used familiar words to describe Himself – one of them was to described Himself as the Good Shepherd. Those who followed Him were His sheep. Like the sheep cared for by their shepherd, followers of Jesus know and listen to His voice. That means, of course, that Jesus speaks to His followers. We hear his voice as we read the Bible or as we listen to others reading from it. He has so much to tell us. When we read in the Old Testament we can sense Him speaking to us. He speaks to us in the New Testament too. We can hear Him in His teaching to the disciples and the people as recorded by the Gospel writers. We also hear his voice in the letters written to the churches. Jesus also speaks to us in our hearts through our consciences and He uses the Bible to confirm what he says. Jesus often said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Let’s be sure we’re listening.
“That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.” – John 21:7 (ESV)
Just after His resurrection, Jesus had promised to meet his disciples in Galilee. Before that, an angel at the empty tomb had given the two Mary’s the message from Jesus. “…he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Now, I have told you.”(Matthew 28:7) The disciples were introduced to a new normal for their lives. Have you ever had a crisis in which you deliberately and emphatically and recklessly abandoned everything? This is the state Peter is in and he has gone fishing, back to his old life. Peter undoubtedly had a sense of failure over his sin in denying the Lord. For Peter it is a crisis of will He wants so to be restored and nothing will be in his way. We may come up to such a crisis many times externally, but it amounts to nothing. Oswald Chambers says, “The real deep crisis of abandonment is reached internally, not externally. It is a transaction of will, not of emotion; the emotion is simply the gilt-edge of the transaction. If you have heard Jesus Christ’s voice on the billows, let your convictions go to the winds, let your consistency go to the winds, but maintain your relationship to Him.”*
*Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year, (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” – John 5:39-40 (NASB)
When think about it, the Bible we have in our home has an important purpose. It is more important than what many realize. Our verse for today records the words of Jesus as He was challenging the “experts” of the time. They fancied themselves as proficient in the Holy Scriptures, the Law and the Prophets. The Jewish religious leaders studied the Old Testament with great diligence. They believed that by comprehending the words of the text, one would gain a share in the world to come. Knowing the Law was knowing eternal life with God. Jesus says, not so much if you reject what the Scriptures say about Me. Many people today also think Bible study is an end in itself rather than a way to understand the knowledge of God. Today, much like in that time, a veil is over the minds of those who presume to be Biblical scholars and experts in theology. Preferring their own way by means of their “reasoning” they fail to understand what God’s Word says. Our promise today is: Our Bible lacks nothing as it contains all God wants us to know about Him, His will, and His eternal plan for us.
(Good Friday & The Arrest of Jesus the Nazarene)
When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” – John 18:6 (ESV)
Of all the times Jesus used the words “I AM” to identify Himself, this occasion might be the one with the greatest impact on his audience. The Temple Police with a band of Roman soldiers have been sent to find and arrest Jesus with the help of the betrayer Judas Iscariot. Filled with Satan Judas leads them to where he knows Jesus would be with the disciples. Like many other times, Judas knew they would be camping out on the ground in an olive orchard. But, not on this night and Jesus having prayed, knows what’s next. When the arresting officials come, Jesus asks them who they are looking for. “Jesus of Nazareth” they say. “I Am He,” Jesus says. They all fall over backward. It takes two times of Jesus asking and saying “I Am.” The words which Jesus spoke are found in passages we have considered over the past few days. (Mark 6; John 6, 8, 10, 14, 15). In each of them it refers to that act of Jesus whereby he stands guard over the spiritual welfare of his own, keeping them, sustaining service, and everlasting life in the mansions above. That’s our promise today.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” – John 15:1
It is Thursday evening. Jesus and His closest disciples are in an upstairs room. Jesus is sharing His last Passover meal with them. They will be His Apostles and Jesus is also transforming the meal and establishing Holy Communion. These words are part of the Last Supper teaching. Jesus, knowing that very night He would be betrayed by one of them, arrested, tried and sentenced to death. His long hours of suffering would soon begin. Before 6 p.m. Friday He would be dead. Over and over Jesus was telling them that He and the Father are joined in one purpose. Jesus is the true vine from which all others are born into and serve the Kingdom of God. Jesus is about to pay the ultimate price to preserve the fruit forever. Judas, the betrayer has left their company. The other disciples will see Judas once more and then never again. The promises we have are woven throughout this chapter. Promises of abiding, sustaining, pruning, and bearing much fruit. Promises of direct access to God to ask for whatever we need in the name of Jesus. And the promise that we will all be filled with Christ’s joy.