Gospel of John Lesson 10 “The Light of the World”

When a patron enters a theater once the show has begun, an usher shines a light on the ticket and then shines a light on the path where one is walking, so the patron can get seated safely.  Jesus tells us in John 8:12 “…I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” This light comes from God, illuminates, reflects and directs our path to everlasting life.  Oh what a light!

Jesus opened the eyes of one who was born blind in John 9:1-6; another miracle that tells us who Jesus is. He asked the healed man in V.35-41, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” When he recognized Jesus as the one who healed him, he believed and worshipped Jesus. He truly could see the light that Jesus shined; he gained spiritual sight.  On the other hand, the Pharisees believed they already had spiritual sight. They implied this with their sarcastic question to Jesus (John 9:40), “What?  Are we blind too?”.  Jesus replied (John 9:41) “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains”.

If they had admitted to their blindness, Jesus would have healed them by forgiving their sins.  But they instead insisted they could see and therefore remained in their sin.  They rejected Jesus, rejected his light and this kept them in sin. Jesus by his very nature and by coming into the world shining his light, divided people into two camps; 1-those who are blind, who accept Jesus and gain spiritual sight and 2-those who believe they are not blind, who reject the light, are spiritually blind and remain in sin.

Bowing before and worshiping Jesus, I acknowledge He is lord and master, and by faith I will walk towards the light. I was blind but now Hallelujah, I can see.

References:

1- NIV Study Bible – Zondervan 2011 by Biblica, Inc

2- Life Change Series-Book of John – NavPress 2010 by the Navigators

3- Commentary – https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-53-blind-see-seeing-are-blind-         john-935-41         Steven J. Cole 201

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Opposition Begins

Many of you can identify with the “Power of Faith.”  It can be different in each of our lives.  Lesson seven in our study on the book of John was centered on John 5: 1 – 47.  The title identified was “Opposition Begins.”  Some of the headings found in Chapter 5 in the book of John, in the bible are:  “The Healing at the Pool; Life through the Son; Testimonies about Jesus.

 

The many toils of strife were chronicled by the apostle John, among others.  John was the messenger who told of the Messiah.  Jesus was faced with opposition, even though he did good.  He healed the lame and cured the sick.  Even though he performed miracles, the Jews considered him a mere man.  Jesus realized that he would be fighting an up-hill battle at the very beginning.  Those in power did not want to feel challenged for their stations in life (positions).  They also wanted to limit anyone from gaining a position that they did not support.

 

Jesus saw an invalid lying by the pool at Bethesda.  Jesus learned that he had been an invalid for thirty eight years; which to many of us is a long time.  Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well. After listening to his reply, Jesus told him to get up and walk.  Ordinarily, Jesus would have healed the man based on his faith.  Faith would have been a requirement, a pre-requisite., for the man to be cured.  In this particular instance, the man did not even know who Jesus was.  Jesus is not limited by a person’s lack of faith, even though he usually heals in response to faith.

 

The Jews questioned the man who had been healed.  They wanted to punish him for performing work on the Sabbath.  Per the NIV footnote of John 5:10 and the Life Change study guide text notes on page 69; “The Law of Moses forbids work on the Sabbath. The rabbis minutely spelled out what constituted work (by 200 AD thirty-nine classes of work were defined). Nehemiah 13:15 and Jeremiah 17:21-27 condemn carrying loads for commercial business on the Sabbath, so the rabbis decided that “taking out aught from one domain into another”(1) was always work. This included carrying a mat. The rabbis had a theory that each commandment should be applied as widely as possible to avoid even accidentally breaking the law.”  They interpreted that the law forbade his carrying of the mat in his possession.  They interpreted that the law forbade the carrying of loads of any kind.  The Jews held Jesus accountable for permitting the man to carry the mat on the Sabbath.  The Jews then persecuted Jesus because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.

 

Jesus was prepared for the opposition.  He was ready to do what it took.  He understood what lengths humans would go to, to maintain their authoritative positions, and positions of power.  Jesus understood that prophecy had to be fulfilled.

 

Sources:

Life Change Series, A NavPress Bible study of the book of John, NavPress, 1987.          (1) Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Eerdmans, 1971).

NIV Study Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, 1995

 

Fathoming The mystery of God

In the Beginning GOD; God Created the Heavens and the earth, God told Moses that He was I AM; GOD, outside of time; GOD outside of the known and unknown universe.  GOD, we know He is, but to understand who God is, that is an entirely different thing.  Job speaks of God “Can you fathom the mysteries of God?  Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” (11:7). And Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

I have just finished reading a book by Walter Lippmann entitled Preface to Morals in this book Mr. Lippmann enunciates the various aspects that must be considered in understanding the morality of the modern life.  The book was written in 1929, yet much of what he has written is still very pertinent today.   Mr. Lippmann looks at how we see God in our modern world as opposed to the way that those who wrote the Bible looked at God.  When these men wrote the word King or Lord they had a current reference, a very accurate example of what that meant.  How do we understand that simple word in this Democratic, Capitalistic society that is ours here in the United States?  He writes, “The Omnipotence of God means something to men who submit daily to the cycles of the weather and the mysterious power of nature.  But the city man puts his faith in furnaces to keep out the cold, is proudly aware of what bad sewage his ancestors endured, and of how ignorantly they believed that God, who made Adam at 9 A.M. on October 23 in the year 4004 B.C., was concerned with the behavior of Adam’s children.”  And in saying this he is merely stating that as we have more and more machines to rely on, our daily lives require less faith in God to see to our needs, and in needing God less, we are forced to redefine who He is.  Even within the Bible, the book of Job is a fulcrum to reassess God and his association with man.  For in Job we see that God allows evil into our lives.  We see that Job is tenacious in his understanding of who God is, and that God asks only for our belief.  As a Jewish writer, Mr. Lippmann is unfortunate, for his insights are defined by a lack of faith in Christ, but I believe that his assessment of how modern man perceives God is not only accurate, but also extenuated by the world of electronics that now demand our attention second by second.

Who is God?  This is the question of the ages, but I wonder how many of us really try to put our mind around this mystery of faith.  I use the word mystery, because although we use terms that express the various aspects of God, we really don’t know or understand who God is.  The Bible tells us that God is Spirit (John 4:24).  In the poetry of the Psalms, God holds us safe beneath his wings and in Exodus 33:20 God himself tells Moses that “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.”, yet in the New Testament Jesus states that when we see the son, we see the father.  “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…” (John 14:9).

God created; therefore, he is larger than all the galaxies of the universe.  He holds together the smallest of molecules as they are ordered to create life and He is capable of destroying the entire planet.  Do you realize that if God were not conscious of each of us, the very molecules of our bodies would fly apart and we would no longer exist?  In prayer, I should submit myself in complete reverence to the God of creation. As a modern person, I don’t know or understand reverence.  The terms we use have no place in our modern world, yet those words are the thing that links us to the religious, the divine.  Reverence, Webster defines as, respect, admiration, awe, veneration, astonishment, amazement, yet when I think of God, all of these words do not begin to put me in touch with His real being.  We respect the right of others to have their own opinions; we admire a teacher who against all odds inspires children to excel.  It is popular now to say that God is Awesome.  Veneration, now there is a great word – I think of old China when I hear this word.  The young venerated the old, in a manner that is unknown in western culture.   Are we really astonished or amazed when we think about God?  We should be, but I think many times we are too busy to feel the full impact of these words, to allow ourselves to dwell on God’s majesty.

God is Father.  Who is the father of our modern life?  Fathers don’t have the same authority as they had when Moses brought the commandments down from Mt. Sinai.  Then Father was the total authority of his home, he had the ability to give blessings on his sons and daughters that had not only financial, but also spiritual meaning. The authority of father has been changed in our modern society.  These changes are not bad, but they have redefined what we comprehend when we hear the word.  In prayer, as His child, I don’t bow, or prostrate myself to be heard, I speak to my Father in a way that may be considered in light of the historic term, wreck loose.

If you spend much time with me, you will know that I cry easily at things religious.  I love God for so many reasons, but I don’t think it is the love that sets me off, it is the torture of my soul to be united with my creator.  As body and blood, we can’t know God, but in that day when we move from this realm into the realm of spirit we will “understand as we are understood” (1 Corinthians 13:12).  Like so many people in our society today, I am without family.  I am blessed that God has given me friends, so I am not lonely or anxious about that aspect of my life.  The truth is we are all alone.  We are never known fully, even by our most intimate friend or spouse.  We touch the world through our own experiences and those experiences create for each of us a different world, a different understanding even when we are together in it.

We are asked to go to God in a prayer closet and I know why.  Only in a closet, a small place devoid of the daily distractions of living can we quiet our brain enough to try to touch even a small essence of who God is.  Just as we all experience things with more than one of our senses, I am conscious of this in me and it has a tendency to put me into overload.  I have a contemplative spirit, and am forced by my own excesses to escape to solitude and quiet, yet even in that quiet place, I am constantly avoiding the question of God.  I want to experience Him in a sensory way, but I know there is something internal, in my soul, that needs to be released to ever begin to comprehend Him.  And if I give my spirit completely, turned myself over to this Spirit of God, I will become a puddle on the floor, unable to express except through tears the magnitude of His presence.

There is a song by Casting Crowns that defines us as vapor in the wind, a drop within the ocean.  How can we possibly know the total of God?  I only ask that you take time to try.

All Scriptures are New International Version