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Weeping May Last for the Night, But…Joy!



There is so much

to weep about in our world recently. Bad things happen as surely as night follows day. (John 16:33) It seems as though our country–along with most other parts of the world–has been experiencing one very long night. Will the violence and human pain never end? Yet for those who find their eternal hope in our great God and Savior (Titus 2:13), Scripture carries the promise of a bright day to follow each and every dark night: “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” — (Psalm 30:5).”

Christians know this biblical promise of God is true, because Christ has already deposited within them the fountain of life and joy–his Holy Spirit (John 7:38; Ephesians 1:13). And this fountain of joy and life is eternal; it can never be quenched no matter how much external circumstances say otherwise. And so we sing–

” “Spring up, O well! — Sing to it!”

Numbers 21:17

Christians know and experience that God’s love and mercy arrive fresh and new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), and therefore unquenchable joy is their strength (Nehemiah 8:10).



Bible Study at Home: A Simple How-To

Do you have a Bible study you attend regularly? Either at a church, a group, or online? If not, you are not alone.

There are many reasons why a person hungry to learn more about God’s word cannot attend a Bible study, one of the most likely being that they cannot find one or the ones available to them meet at the wrong time or the wrong place. This doesn’t mean that you cannot learn the Bible–you can! I’m going to give you a simple way to begin studying at home. It is called a Word Study or Topical Study.

1. Pray.

Always pray and ask God to help you know him more and to help you obey and apply what he shows you. All teaching from God begins and ends and is through the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, God himself, breathing his life into his word as he shows it to you inside your heart, the best knowledge of God’s word will only be dead knowledge.

Pray that God will lead you to the right Bible for you at this time in your life.

Pray that God will direct you to the right verses that he wants you to study.

Pray that God will help you to understand and apply what you read.

2. Second, buy yourself a reference Bible. 

You may have one already. What is a reference Bible? A reference Bible is not necessarily a study Bible. A reference Bible is a Bible that simply has a list of other verses in a center column, or a side column, or at the foot of the page.

Center Reference Bible

You can see from the example above that the text on the left has verse numbers that correspond to a list of verse numbers running down the middle of the page between the two columns of scripture.

Verse 33 at the top of the page, for example, has a small, italicized letter a before the word “teach.” “Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes.” That’s what the Lord is doing right now. He is teaching you how to study Scripture.

The center column has the number “33” corresponding to the verse you just read. There is a small letter “a” followed by “Ps 119.5, 12.” This means that if you turn to Psalm 119 verses 5 and then 12, you will find more verses that use the word “teach.”

Psalm 119:12 Blessed art Thou, O LORD; Teach me Thy statutes.

Verse 36, which is underlined, has the small letter “a” before the word “incline.”

Psalm 119:36 Incline my heart to Thy testimonies, And not to dishonest gain.

Turning to the center column, the number “36” is followed by a small “a” and the reference “1Ki 8:58.” Looking up that verse we see:

1 Kings 8:58 that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers.

When we read the above verse, we see that it begins half way through a sentence. To get the full meaning, we need to go up a verse to the beginning of the sentence, and we read:

1 Kings 8:57 The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, 58 that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers.

Perhaps a small desk dictionary might be useful here to understand the meaning of “incline” in this sentence. This is from Merriam-Webster.

1 :to cause to stoop or bow :bend

2 :to have influence on :persuade

  • his love of books inclined him toward a literary career
3 :to give a bend or slant to

Putting this together, we see that the psalmist in Psalm 119:36 is asking the Lord in prayer to “incline” or bend, that is, to persuade his heart to prefer obedience to the Lord’s way rather than preferring to spend his time trying to get rich. 1 Kings tells us that when God is with us, he does just that. The psalmist is praying to God, asking God to influence his heart to prefer the Lord’s way above the way of the materialistic world. This tells us that we are not alone, that God is the one who influences us to desire him and his word.

How might a reader apply this verse to her own life? Does she sense that her heart is growing cold towards the Lord? She should turn to the Lord and ask him to help her. Do someone else find that worldly interests of career and money are drawing their attention away from God? They should turn to him, just as the psalmist does, and ask God to help them, to influence their heart and the things their heart desires.

3. Summary

What I have showed today is very simple. The more you practice looking up the little verses in the reference column, the better you will become at it. 

Also, you will soon see that the Bible is a unified whole. It connects and teaches the same message in each of its individual parts. Each part repeats in a different setting what the other parts are also saying.

Further, you will be studying topics, such as love, light, truth, life, faith and any of the other Christian words you can think of.

Your beginning point will be a single verse. For example, 

John 3:16 “For God so (a) loved the world, that He (b) gave His (1)(c) only begotten Son, that whoever (d)believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 

Looking up the verses in the reference column for each one of the letters in parentheses gives us the following list:

(a) loved the world Rom 5:8; Eph 2:4; 2Th 2:16; 1Jo 4:10; Rev 1:5

(b) gave Rom 8:32; 1Jo 4:9

(c) only begotten Son Joh 1:18; Joh 3:18; 1Jo 4:9

(d) believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life Joh 3:36; Joh 6:40; Joh 11:25f. (The letter “f” here means “forward.” That is, read John 11:25 and keep reading, since there are more verses that continue on the same topic.)

(1) While letters refer to verses, numbers refer to notes by the editors or translators of the particular Bible you may have. Here the (1) says the following, “unique, only one of His kind.” That is what the translators or editors are saying about the word “only begotten.”

I guarantee that by the time you have looked up all the above verses, you will have a good idea of the topic of God’s love to all people in the world!






Psalm 121


When Humankind Fails Us…Psalm 146

Psalm 146_3098 copy

Resurrection, Conclusion, and Falling Action

Week 19 John 20-21

(Link to Outline of John) (Link to the first lesson of Gems in John)

John’s Theme: John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.


In presenting the resurrection facts, John’s intent is: 1) to continue to give credible eye witness reports and 2) to continue to show us the relationships that Jesus had with various of his followers. The quiet tone he had established as he explored Jesus’ character in chapters 13-19 continues. As many commentators say, John the writer undoubtedly was aware of the other three gospel accounts. I like to think, however, that his selective choice of detail was primarily for his own literary and spiritual purposes (John 20:31), rather than to avoid “repetition” of the others.

Here are the witnesses and the way Jesus interacted with them.

I. Mary Magdalene

A. In John’s gospel, only mentioned once prior to the resurrection: present at the crucifixion with Mary the mother of Jesus, John, and other women

B. Luke alone (Luke 8:1-3) provides further information about Mary (apart from the crucifixion and resurrection).

1. She had been one of a group of women who had traveled with Jesus and his band, ministering to him (serving, providing food, taking care of needs) at their own expense.

2. Jesus had cast out from her seven demons (vs 2).

C. Mary and the Resurrection (John 20:1-2; 11-18)

1. The events

a. Mary came early to the tomb, while it was still dark. Finding the stone taken away, she ran to Simon Peter and to John, reporting that unknown persons had removed the Lord’s body from the tomb and laid it in an unknown place.

My Groove_IMGP0214

Photo by Christina Wilson

My Disc_BIMGP0068

Photo by Christina Wilson

 Cork Disc copy

See the article at this link: Disc or Cork?

b. Later, after Peter and John had examined the empty tomb for themselves, Mary returned alone. Grieving deeply, Jesus appeared to her, first of all in John’s gospel. Jesus gave her exact instructions about going to his brothers and delivering a message from him to them. (John 20:17)

c. She went and followed Jesus’ instructions.

2. What can we surmise from Mary’s encounter with Jesus? (John tells only the bare facts, giving no interpretation. Anything we add regarding motive and the like is supposition from the details given.)

a. Jesus does not despise women–he rather honors them. (Jesus appears to Mary first. Additionally, John the writer, reflecting Jesus’ attitudes, presents her testimony as credible and important.) Ultimately, God himself determined that Mary’s account, as it appears, was to be included in his holy word.

b. Is it possible that Jesus appeared to Mary first because she was in a great deal of emotional pain?

c. Jesus honored Mary by giving her an important task and a very important theological message to give to the others.

d. Jesus ministered to Mary’s emotional distress in the same way–he kept her busy in service to himself.

e. Why did the angels announcing Jesus’ resurrection also appear to Peter and John, who had arrived at the tomb earlier?

3. Possible interpretation of vs 17, “Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me,  for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”‘”

a. According to William Hendriksen, writing about vs. 17, Mary has been singled out to “announce to them what great event in the history of redemption is about to take place” (Hendriksen,  Vol. 2, 456).

b. Hendriksen (See above, 455) also interprets Jesus’ command to Mary not to cling to him, as being not about not touching him, but as a statement that there lies something better for her in the future. The outward, physical (concrete) relationship that she and everyone else had enjoyed with him was soon to be replaced by something far better–the opening of the doorway back into intimate spiritual fellowship with God, especially as (implied) his ascension would prepare the way for the sending of the Holy Spirit to live within them (as opposed to the external, physical touch.) In my own paraphrase of Hendriksen’s meaning, Jesus was saying, Mary, I know you want to hold onto me tightly, as you did in the past and because you don’t wish to lose me again, but there is something far, far better planned. You must move forward and deliver the message I have for you, in anticipation of this better way for all of you to relate to me.

II. John and Peter

The hasty trip to the tomb in response to Mary’s message (John 20:2-10)


A. They found the tomb empty, as Mary had said.

B. They saw no angels, unlike Mary’s later visit (see above).

C. John ran faster but waited for his elder.

D. Peter did not hesitate but went right in.

E. John realized that the empty tomb, its complete orderliness, and the positions of the grave clothes indicated that Jesus had arisen–therefore, he was the Christ, the Lord, the Son of God who conquered death (Selah!!) and everything he had said about himself was all true. John’s faith grew by “leaps and bounds” upon this realization.


III. The disciples together except for Thomas (John 20:19-25)

A. The disciples, still highly fearful of the religious leadership, the religerati, had locked themselves together on the evening of Resurrection Day, when suddenly, Jesus appears in their midst, not having knocked or visibly come from anywhere. This is a mystery. He gives them his peace: 1) now there is legal peace between them and God the Father, and 2) the subjective peace that follows full realization of the legal peace, and 3) peace in knowing that he, the Christ, their Lord, friend, and brother, is alive, risen.

B. Jesus shows them his hands and his side, demonstrating: 1) that he was not a spirit only, but that his body was very real and concrete, 2) that his was the same body, his body, as before the crucifixion, and 3) that he was certifiably who he claimed to be. It is interesting that although he had been resurrected, the marks of the nails and the hole from the piercing of his side were still present. Perhaps this had specifically to do with the certification of number 3.

C. After the disciples rejoiced, Jesus repeated his gift of peace to them, as though perhaps they were still in shock (See “Further Thoughts” below).

D. Jesus directly commissions them to continue the very work, minus the atonement, that the Father had commissioned him to do. This work involves manifesting the nature and character of the Father to the world for the purpose of bringing in the full number of preordained believers. Love, holiness, mercy, and justice are among the Father’s attributes that Jesus commissions his disciples to go out into the world to manifest.

E. Verses 22 and 23 are too complex for a complete discussion within this outline. In brief, I see in these verses the delegation of Christian authority to practice the gift of spiritual discernment. All Christians and all people sin. Among those who sin are some who grieve and repent over their sin, not wishing to harm others. These show a humility toward the leaders of the church and are for the church, both local and universal. Others sin because they have bad intentions toward other believers and certain people generally and toward the church itself. These have no desire and no intention of repenting. They do not mean well, but they are rebellious and wicked in intent. The assignment Jesus the risen Lord gives these original disciples, as the new appointed leaders of his church, is to sort out who is who in the interest of protecting and sparing the sheep of the flock as shepherds. I believe Jesus is giving them direction on how to nurture, grow, and protect the flock, rather than placing them in an authoritarian position of judgment. God in Christ is the Judge, and he needs no help in that. To show that the spiritual discernment is a gift, Jesus blew on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

ESV  John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

The following is a set of mixed verses that indicate the twin principles of 1) forgiveness of sins for the purpose of nurture and growth, and 2) keeping a watchful and corrective eye upon those whose intent is to divide and disrupt the church and the true word of God: Galatians 6:1; II Timothy 4:2; Titus 3:10-11; Romans 16:17-18; 2 John 9-10; and I Corinthians 5:12-13.

F. Scripture at this point devotes two full verses to Thomas, called the Twin, known by us as Doubting Thomas. He had not been present at this first manifestation of Jesus to the gathered group, and he rejected their combined testimonies to him! He laid out his own terms, and stated that unless this “supposed” (implied) Jesus met his, Thomas’s, criteria, he would not believe.


Further Thoughts:

The disciples had been through an extraordinarily topsy-turvy week emotionally and spiritually.

1. The triumphal entry had encouraged their dreams of a great kingdom on earth in which they would play chief roles, because they were Jesus’ close followers.

2. Jesus’ announcements and predictions in the upper room not only smashed these hopes, but caused sorrow, grief, and confusion.

3. The events of the crucifixion intensified and seemingly brought to reality what before had been doubts. Hendriksen makes a strong case that none of the disciples in any way, shape, or form had been expecting the resurrection.

4. The empty tomb and the reports of “Jesus sightings” had turned their world upside-down again, as faith, logic, reason, and emotions tried to quickly grapple with and accommodate the new information.

5. Jesus’ first appearance to the gathering of disciples startled the disciples tremendously.

In view of the above, can we forgive the disciples, including Thomas, for perhaps what may seem like a slow response on their part? Would any of us have done better? What is my own miracle-expectation level?


IV. The disciples together including Thomas (John 20:26-29)

A. Hendriksen writes, “The condescending manner in which Jesus dealt with Thomas certainly indicates that he is still the same Jesus. His love has not lessened…he deals very gently with him.” (Hendriksen, Vol. 2, 465) [How many of us are glad that God wanted to include Thomas’s story in Scripture?]

B. Jesus certifies that it is indeed himself by showing his powerful omniscience, as he had done many times while with them before his crucifixion. The following chart is also from Hendriksen in the same citation as Point A above.




John 20:30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

A. John as a writer and eyewitness to the events he describes points out in verse 30 that he has been selective in the events and dialogue he chose to report.

B. At the same time, he adds credibility to the other three gospels, each of whose writers chose to include more of Jesus’ miracles, details of his travels, and character sketches and events involving secondary characters.

C. John in verse 31 directly states his criteria for selecting the material he did. Further, he gives his goal for having written the entire book.

D. Thomas, as one who doubted perhaps more than the others, is one who came to a solid belief that the Jesus he knew is the Christ, the Son of God. This belief gave life to Thomas in Christ’s name.

E. Thomas response exemplifies John’s stated goal (Hendriksen, Vol. 2, 466)

John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”




I. A group of disciples (John 21:1-14)

A. In these detailed verses, John describes the third occurrence in his gospel of Jesus’ revealing himself to his disciples while they are gathered in a group.

B. We see Peter as the leader, and John as the one with the greater spiritual insight.

C. We see the whole group experiencing real time in a life example the difference between being attached to Christ the vine and heading out on their own (See John 15:1-8, the vine and branches discourse).

D. We see Peter’s compliance to one who at first appears to be unknown. Compare this with the prior time when Jesus had asked him to cast his net on the other side of the boat, Luke 5:4-8.

II. Jesus and Peter (John 21:15-19)

A. Even though through the prior section it becomes apparent that Peter is the leader of the small band, at least informally, in the dialogue in this section, Jesus performs what is usually termed “Peter’s reinstatement.”

1. Jesus formally gives Peter his task as shepherd-servant within Christ’s kingdom. Jesus’ purpose is not to make of Peter a great man, but to impress upon him his further plans for him to help, nurture, and grow the sheep of his kingdom.

2. With that end in mind, Jesus brings Peter back to the place of acceptance and inclusion among the group of chosen, hand-picked disciples. Not that Jesus himself had ever excluded Peter from that group, but Peter’s own experience of dismal failure in the area of loyalty to Christ had caused him to feel guilty and unworthy of such a role.

3. Jesus offers Peter three opportunities to declare his love for Jesus, one for each time that Peter had publicly denied him.

4. Jesus continues to insist throughout that because Peter loves him (Jesus himself, who knows all things, has no doubts about Peter’s genuine love for him) he must do for Jesus what Jesus himself will no longer be able to do in physical presence: love, care for, feed, and protect his sheep. Jesus demonstrates his acceptance of, love for, and confidence in Peter by assigning him a large and most important task central to Jesus’ own heart.

B. Jesus also prophesies to Peter that he will yet be given another opportunity to die for Christ–“you will stretch out your hands” is a euphemistic way of referring to crucifixion in the literature and speech of those days.

III. Jesus and Peter and John (John 21:20-23)

A. The prior statement had closed with Jesus’ commandment to Peter, “Follow me.” As Peter is doing so physically, he turns and sees John also following. (It is interesting that John did so apparently on his own–he did not need a personal command nor invitation to do what appears to be natural for him.)

B. Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” There are at least two ways of reading Peter’s motives–one negative and one positive. Given Peter’s recent humbling in having denied his beloved Lord three times, and given that throughout this gospel Peter and John appear to be friends, I receive the positive explanation.

1. Negatively, Peter could have been asking about John from a motive of selfish and jealous pride, having so recently been not only reinstated by Christ but singled out by him to perform an important task. A paraphrase of his thinking might be, Lord, you commanded me by name to follow you, and here is this man whom you did not command also following. Is he welcome?

2. Positively, Peter’s attention was focused on the more recent prophecy that he would die by crucifixion and he is concerned that his young friend might die the same way. So he seeks a foretelling from Jesus concerning John.

3. That the positive interpretation seems most likely is further indicated by Jesus’ reply to Peter, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” This seems a mild rebuke to Peter to keep his own eyes focused on the task that Jesus gave to him, rather than being distracted by whatever may happen around him.

C. In verse 23, John corrects a rumor that had widely spread among the Christian family that he would not die. In so doing, he demonstrates his skill of careful listening to the exact words of Christ.

D. This incident should serve to increase the reader’s confidence in John’s narrative.

E. The section in its entirety also teaches how easy it is, even among disciples, to arrive at wrong interpretations of Jesus’ words. This should be a lesson against becoming didactic on theological positions, even though using scriptural texts as “proofs.” John has just demonstrated how easy it is for God’s words to be misinterpreted.

IV. John’s final words (John 21:24-25)

A. Once again, John speaks to his trustworthiness as the writer of this gospel.

B. He also reminds the reader of the selectivity he has chosen to use in presenting the gospel, while at the same time testifying to the greatness of Jesus Christ incarnate.


Link: A Subjective Look at Thomas





Jesus Loved Them to the End: Arrest and Crucifixion

Week 18 John 18-19

(Link to Outline of John) (Link to the first lesson of Gems in John)

John’s Theme: John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Events of Chapters 18-19

I. Arrest in the Garden (18:1-12)

A. Judas’ betrayal (18:2-3)

B. Peter’s use of the sword (18:10-11)

C. Jesus’ defense of his disciples (18:4-9)

II. Appearance before the High Priests (18:13-27)

A. Annas and Peter’s first denial of knowing Jesus (18:13-23)

B. Caiaphus and Peter’s second and third denials of knowing Jesus (18:24-27)

III. Appearance before the Secular Roman Governor Pilate and Pilate’s Intense Struggle to Free Jesus (18:28-19:16)

A. Outside his headquarters to hear the charges against Jesus in the presence of the Jewish leaders (18:29-32)

B. Inside his headquarters to question Jesus alone (18:33-38a)

C. Outside again to bargain with the religerati, the religious leaders, away from Jesus (18:38b-40)

1. Pilate declares Jesus innocent and seeks to release him in (18:38b-39)

2. The Jewish religious leaders cry out for Barabbas the robber instead (18:40)

D. Pilate punishes Jesus

1. flogging by the soldiers (19:1)

2. mocking and scorn by the soldiers (19:2-3)

E. More negotiations (19:4-12)

1. Pilate announces to religious leaders that he is bringing Jesus out to them, having found no basis for a charge against him (vs 4)

2. Jesus appears wearing the crown of thorns and purple robe, having just been flogged by the Roman soldiers (vs 5)

ESV  John 19:5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”


3. The religerati cry “Crucify!” while Pilate insists he finds no basis for a charge against him (vs 6)

4. The religerati name the Jewish crime of claiming to be the Son of God (vs 7)

5. Back inside his palace with Jesus present with him, Pilate is intimidated by the regal bearing and authoritative statements of Christ (vss 8-11)

6. Back outside, Pilate attempts again to set Jesus free, but the religious leaders will have none of it. They accuse Pilate of being no friend of Caesar. (vs 12)

F. Pilate pronounces judgment against Jesus (vss 13-16)

1. Afraid for himself, Pilate gives in, sits on the judge’s seat (vs 13)

2. He still gives opportunity to the leaders to change their minds (vss 14-15)

3. The religerati’s argument boils down to Caesar being king; to free Christ would be to offend Caesar (vs 15)

4. Finally, Pilate weakens utterly and hands Jesus over to the Jewish religious leaders to be crucified (vs 16a)

III. The Crucifixion (vss 16b-27)

1. The soldiers take Jesus away from Pilate’s palace carrying his own cross to The Place of a Skull, also called Golgotha (vs 16a)

2. They crucified him with two others (vs 17)

3. Pilate writes “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” on a sign fastened above Jesus’ head, overriding the protests of the religerati (vss 19-22)

4. The soldiers divide Jesus’ garments among themselves, fulfilling an Old Testament scripture (vss 23-24)

5. Three women named Mary and John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” stood near the cross, while Jesus assigned the care of his mother Mary to the disciple (vss 25-27)

IV. Jesus Dies (19:28-37)

1. Jesus says, “I thirst.” (vs 28)


New English Translation Notes. BibleWorks 9 Software for Biblical Exegesis & Research. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, 2011.

2. Having received a bit of sour wine, Jesus says, “It is finished,” bows his head, and dies (vss 29-30)

3. The soldiers come by and break the legs of the two men crucified with Christ, but Jesus’ legs they do not break. Instead, one of the soldiers pierces his side with his sword, and immediately blood and water flows out. Two Old Testament prophecies are thus fulfilled: Exodus 12:46 and Psalm 34:20 (vss 31-37)

V. The Burial (19:38-42)

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (See Nicodemus in Week 4, John 3), both prominent Jewish men of standing, take Jesus’ body, wrap it with spices and linen, and place it in a freshly hewn, never used tomb near the site of the crucifixion.

Approaches to the Text for Helping the Reader Understand

I. Interpretive Principles

A. Author’s Intent

1. It is a general principle of reading, taught as early as second grade, that readers need to be aware of 1) the genre of any piece of written material, and 2) the author’s intent, or purpose in writing.

a. The genre of John is a gospel circular, as are all the Gospels.

b. What distinguishes John’s gospel from the other three are his specific purposes, just as each of the other gospel writers in turn had their own specific purposes.

c. John himself states 1) his overall purpose for his entire book, and 2) his immediate purpose for chapters 13-19.

1) John gives his overall purpose near the end of his writing.

John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

2) John gives his immediate purpose at the beginning of the Upper Room record of events and Jesus’ last discourse and prayer.

John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

B. Context

1. John’s distant and near contexts control his choice of details to accomplish his purposes.

a. John’s ultimate context is everything in his account so far, which all shows how Jesus is God’s Son, sent to love the world.

b. John’s near context begins in the Upper Room as quoted just above.

I have found that reading Chapters 13-19 straight through as a single unit, a continuous narrative, highlights the demonstration of Jesus’ tender and gentle love for his own and his command of all that is happening around him.

2. John’s concern is to display Jesus, to tell-him-forth (John 1:18), as it were. Jesus is his main character and the central figure throughout. John never deviates from keeping Jesus in the spotlight at all times.

a. For example, John relates Judas’ betrayal very simply in two brief verses. He mentions none of the Synoptic Gospels’ account of the betrayal-by-kiss method that Judas chose. John relates enough to demonstrate that Jesus’ foreknowledge and announcement of the betrayal event to the disciples in the Upper Room had been fulfilled, yet no more, for this is Jesus’ story, not Judas’s. Likewise, Jesus’ love is displayed in that Judas was at the table among the twelve when Jesus stooped to wash the disciples’ feet. Jesus demonstrates God’s selfless love by washing the feet of the man whom he knows will betray him.

b. Likewise, John’s relating of Peter’s drawing the sword and cutting off the high priest’s servant’s ear is simple and concise. The details demonstrate Peter’s sincerity of heart when he stated in John 13:37, “Lord…I will lay down my life for you,” yet this is Jesus’ story, not Peter’s. Therefore, John chooses to omit the long narrative that Luke includes about the two swords (Luke 22:35-38 and 48-52). Even though John adds credence to his first-hand account by mentioning the servant’s name (John, as an acquaintance of the high priest, {John 18:16}, is the only gospel write who includes the servant’s name), he doesn’t mention the healing. He gives only enough detail to 1) demonstrate Peter’s heart of loyalty, 2) establish credibility for his authority as writer in order to help the reader believe in Christ, and 3) to show the fulfillment of scripture, which helps the reader to conclude that God has foreknowledge and command of the entire situation.

c. A similar motif of John’s use of brief details as concerns the other actors in the narrative occurs in Peter’s three denials. Matthew (Matthew 26:69-75), Mark (Mark 14:54; 15:66-72), and Luke (Luke 22:54-62) include many details about the event, such as Peter’s own subjective response to his actions, while John records only enough details to show that the event occurred (John 18:17-18, 25-27). John’s account serves to demonstrate the truthfulness of Jesus’ prior foreknowledge in his Upper Room prophecy (John 13:38) without removing the spotlight for very long from Jesus himself. Jesus’ foreknowledge of Peter’s denial also adds to the convincing nature of Jesus’ love for his own.

II. Conclusion

Therefore, in light of the above, as the reader considers John’s account of Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, and burial, it is helpful to remember that John’s ultimate aim is to help the reader believe in Jesus as the Son of God. He includes material and only includes material that demonstrates Jesus’ and God’s own prior knowledge and control of the situation within the realm of love.

III. Application of the Prior Suggestions

As you read, try to notice and reply to the following questions:

1. Which verses demonstrate fulfillment of Jesus’ prior statements in the Upper Room concerning events that would happen?

2. Which show fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies?

3. Which verses about Jesus’ arrest show his control and command of the entire situation?

4. How does Jesus behave during his questioning by the high priest? How does his behavior indicate his control?

5. How do Jesus’ several  dialogues with Pilate indicate that God was the author of the Crucifixion and that Jesus through the Father is in complete control, even the outcome of Pilate’s choices?

6. How does the narrative as a whole and in specific parts demonstrate God’s love for people? As you answer, consider the world, Jesus’ own band, and Jesus’ own family?


I’d be interested to learn if my suggested approach to reading John by keeping his own purposes and contexts forefront in your mind as you read are at all helpful for you. I welcome any comments you may wish to leave below in the comment box. You can sign in through your Word Press account, through Facebook, or through Google (such as through your g-mail address. All this information is private and kept private–I do not even see it. I will only see your comments.

We have one more week to go, Lord willing. I have really enjoyed taking this journey with you, as I have been greatly blessed by studying John up close. This is not something I would have done on my own. Therefore, I wish to thank Norma, Michele, and Linda in particular for the accountability our weekly meetings have afforded me. Your diligence, great listening skills, and hungry appetites have put me to shame. Thank you all so very, very much for giving me this awesome opportunity to go through this Scripture with you. Thanks also to the Word Press readers who read and like these studies. Such feedback offers encouragement to press on and prayer support in doing so.





Jesus Loved Them to the End: High Priestly Prayer

…Jesus’ prayer is relational. He’s requesting that his Father bring his flock into the relationship that Father and Son share, not as partners in their divinity, but as partners in the fellowship of the relationship.


Jesus Loved Them to the End: Words of Prediction

Week 16 John 16:1-33

(Link to Outline of John) (Link to the first lesson of Gems in John)

John’s Theme: John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Overview of Chapters 14-17

Chapters 14-17 form a unit, possibly all taking place while in the upper room still at supper or shortly thereafter. Or, chapters 15-17 may have been given while in route to the Garden of Gethsemane. The text does not give enough information to know conclusively.

Chapters 14-16 form a single, long discourse by Jesus to his disciples, while chapter 17 is a prayer to God by Jesus both for himself and for his disciples. A general description of each chapter is given below.

ch 14 Comfort with an emphasis upon the Trinity

ch 15 Admonition

ch 16 Prediction

ch 17 High Priestly Prayer

Chapter 15 (Link to Previous Lesson)

Section 1: Abide in Me John 15:1-11

Section 2: Love One Another John 15:12-17

Section 3: Testify of Me John 15:18-27

Chapter 16 (see Hendriksen, Vol. 2, 319-346)

A Word of Prediction

Section 1: Even as believers are being persecuted (John 16:1-4, see Week 15), the Holy Spirit will come and abide.

I. The Holy Spirit and the World (John 16:5-11)

Setting: ESV  John 16:1 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.

A. Jesus is leaving (vss 5-6)

1. He points out the disciples’ selfish response in their failure to ask questions.

2. Their grief has numbed them, so that they only see their own pain and not the larger picture.

3. Nevertheless, Jesus proceeds with kindness to explain that his leaving them physically is for their benefit.

B. The Counselor will not come to them unless he goes away.

1. Not stated–Jesus is going the way of the cross in order to provide ultimate atonement for all their sins.

2. Atonement paves the way for God’s dwelling within them to be re-established.

3. God’s declaration of acceptance for Jesus’ sacrificial death is two-fold:

a. the resurrection

b. the sending of the Holy Spirit

C. When the Counselor (the Holy Spirit) comes he will (vss 8-11):

1. Convict the world in regard to sin–the world’s sin. The world rejected Jesus as Son of God and killed him. The presence of the Spirit in the world shows that Jesus, though rejected and cast out by the world, is alive and therefore the genuine Son of God. There is no excuse for not believing (receiving) him.

2. Convict the world in regard to righteousness–Christ’s righteousness: It is Christ’s righteousness to which the Spirit testifies. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the world shows that Christ indeed was resurrected, and therefore declared righteous in the eyes of God the Father. (see also Pink, pages 861-868)

 3. Convict the world in regard to judgment–Satan’s judgment: Satan has been judged and declared guilty for condemning God’s Son. Everyone will witness this finally and fully when at the Last Day he will be cast into the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).

D. Peter’s sermon on Pentecost contained all three of the elements listed in verses 8-11 above (Acts 2:22-36). Many of the people–about three thousand men, women, and children–repented and believed that day.

 II. The Holy Spirit and Believers–the Church (John 16:12-15)

A. Throughout Chapters 14-16 Jesus has been emphasizing his oneness with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is leaving; the eternal God is always present. Jesus is leaving, but He will return in the third person of the Trinity–the Holy Spirit. This should be a great comfort to the disciples in their moment of felt need at the thought of the imminent departure of their leader, their Master and Lord.

B. Details of the Holy Spirit’s future interaction with the disciples.

1. The disciples cannot bear to hear the “many things” right then, in part because neither the cross, the resurrection, nor the ascension had yet happened.

2. The Holy Spirit follows the same pattern as Christ. Neither Jesus nor the Spirit speaks on their own authority, but only what they hear in the presence of God the Father. They are essentially one in substance, one essence.

3. The Holy Spirit will prophetically reveal that which is still to come (see, for example, Thessalonians and Revelation).

4. Everything the Son has is given by the Father, and all that the Father has is given to the Son. This is what the Spirit will reveal to the disciples. He will thereby glorify Christ, since Christ is at the center of God’s plan of salvation for the entire human race. Christ will also be glorified to the world through the preaching of the disciples and their followers.

Section 2: Sorrow turns to joy with the resurrection of Christ and the Coming of the Holy Spirit (John 16:16-24)

I. Jesus Helps the Disciples Voice Their Concerns Aloud (John 16:16-19)

This dialogue fits in well with the informality in tone of Chapter 13. It serves to remind the readers of the location (quite likely still the upper room either during or right after the Last Supper) and occasion (Jesus’ imminent departure from the disciples) of the entire discourse. John points out to the reader the tenderness of the Lord as he helps the disciples to deal with and receive what he is telling them.

II. Their Sorrow Will Become Joy (John 16:20-24)

A. The Jewish religious leaders undoubtedly rejoiced when Jesus was pronounced dead. As soon as they found the tomb empty that first Sunday morning, their joy turned once more to anguish. The world has been anguishing over the Good News ever since.

B. The disciples would grieve and mourn over the events of the Garden and what followed. And they on that first Sunday morning experienced awe and joy like none other. The coming of the Holy Spirit caused further joy beginning on the day of Pentecost. Christians have been rejoicing ever since.

C. This is very much like the pain and joy of a mother during labor and afterwards. The disciples’ joy will be permanent–out of reach of every enemy.

D. Answered prayer will be a cause for joy after the Holy Spirit comes. The disciples faith will be mature–grown up and complete. In that day, they will know all about God’s complete plan for salvation, as revealed by the Spirit in plain words, no longer in parables and veiled sayings. They will understand more fully the motives and character of Christ and ask accordingly. Because they will be praying as Christ himself would pray, the Father will answer those prayers, causing greater joy.

E. Combining the first four verses of this chapter (John 16:1-4) with these verses, the reader sees that the disciples’ (and all believers’) union with Christ will yield on the one hand persecution on account of his name and on the other hand great blessings of answered prayer and fullness of joy in his name.

III. Final Encouraging Remarks (John 16:25-33)last-supper-discourse

A. The Father loves you.

1. Jesus very directly tells the disciples that he will be leaving them permanently–he is going back to the Father from whom he came.

a. When the Holy Spirit comes, he will also speak plainly to them.

b. Because the disciples have believed that Jesus was sent by God and because they loved him, albeit imperfectly, they are included in the circle of God’s fellowshipping love. God loved them before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5), and from now on, they will be fully experiencing that love through the Spirit.

2. The disciples now know that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Son, and that he is able to discern their thoughts without the hint of their asking him questions.

3. Jesus again demonstrates his knowledge of all things by predicting that they will scatter, each to his own home, and leave him alone. The disciples believe and love him, but it is as though the light within them is on a short timer that keeps clicking on and off. When the Spirit comes, they will know fully, and the light switch will be permanently turned on (metaphor courtesy of my pastor). Yet Jesus, up until the moment of the cross, will not be alone, for his Father is with him.

B. You will have peace.

John 16:33a “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace…”

1. The peace will be a legal peace of atonement and justification (“your whole body is clean”). Such a peace always leads to subjective peace with daily confession and repentance of sins (a good foot washing) and a constant abiding in Christ the vine through the presence of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s heart

C. Be of good cheer!

John 16:33b “…In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

What seemed at first to be gloom and doom has turned into a rallying cry of victory–Christ will soon be wearing the victor’s crown. So certain is he of the final outcome of his achievement that he states it in the present perfect tense, “I have (once and for all and with permanent ongoing results) overcome the world.”

The implication is that because Christ has already conquered the world, the disciples, who most assuredly will follow wherever he leads–they too will overcome the world.

Lamentations 3:22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.




Jesus Loved Them to the End: Words of Admonition

Week 15 John 15:1-27

(Link to Outline of John) (Link to the first lesson of Gems in John)

John’s Theme: John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Overview of Chapters 14-17

Chapters 14-17 form a unit, possibly all taking place while in the upper room still at supper or shortly thereafter. Or, chapters 15-17 may have been given while in route to the Garden of Gethsemane. The text does not give enough information to know conclusively.

Chapters 14-16 form a single, long discourse by Jesus to his disciples, while chapter 17 is a prayer to God by Jesus both for himself and for his disciples. A general description of each chapter is given below.

ch 14 Comfort with an emphasis upon the Trinity

ch 15 Admonition

ch 16 Prediction

ch 17 High Priestly Prayer

Chapter 15 (see Hendriksen, Vol. 2, 293-317)

Section 1: Abide in Me John 15:1-11

Section 2: Love One Another John 15:12-17

Section 3: Testify of Me John 15:18-27

 I. Vine and Branches–Abide in Me John 15:1-11

ESV  John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

A. The purpose of Jesus’ incarnation is to provide atonement and new life for humankind.

1. through the cross and resurrection

2. by faith

3. through the preaching of the Word

4. by means of sending the Holy Spirit

B. Jesus’ own exemplar is God the Father.

1. Throughout the book of John, Jesus has always said that he speaks and does only as he hears and sees the Father speaking and doing.

2. Jesus abides in his Father 100% thoroughly.

C. When he is gone, the disciples must say and do as Christ by means of abiding in Christ through his Word and the Holy Spirit.

1. There are no exceptions. Anyone who does not abide in Christ misses the mark, and will be left out, cast away, just like a fruitless branch of a grapevine.

2. Even though Jesus will soon be leaving the disciples, the Father is not going anywhere, and the principle of abiding in Christ remains.

D. The means of abiding in Christ is through the Word and the Holy Spirit (a theme to be developed in Chapter 16).

John 15:3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

E. What is fruit in this context?

1. Branches bear fruit because they abide in the vine–they are livingly attached and dependent upon the vine.

2. A fruitful branch is one that carries the living life juice and properties of the vine within it. Any branch so related to the vine will bear fruit–that’s what vines do; if not, it will be pruned, so that the remainder does bear fruit.

3. Bearing fruit in this context is to be livingly connected to Christ, to bear his image, to represent him to the world.

Luke 6:40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

a. Aspect one: to be like Christ.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

b. Aspect two: to do the works of Christ–i.e., to witness about him and about the love of God to the world.

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

F. Three “fruits” of bearing fruit–

1. answered prayer

John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

2. love

John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

3. joy

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

II. Love One Another John 15:12-17last-supper-discourse

John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

A. God is love.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 4:16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

B. Jesus demonstrates his love for God and for people by laying down his life.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

C. Jesus is leaving. The disciples must do for each other what prior to this time only Christ had been doing for them.

John 15:17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

D. Fruit, obedience, and love are intertwined

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

E. How did Jesus demonstrate all three? How can I demonstrate all three in the relationships and situations I encounter again and again each day in my own living environment?

III. The World Will Hate You–Go Testify About Me John 15:18-27 and 16:1-4 

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.

John 15:27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

A. Jesus is establishing a kingdom populated by those whom he has pulled from the fire by means of their faith in him.

1. Jesus will be physically leaving.

2. The disciples must carry on.

3. The Holy Spirit will also be engaged in this work.

B. Just as the world hated Christ and crucified him, so they will hate and even kill the disciples, who bear his image and preach in his name.

C. Implied: Don’t be like Judas, who gave up and left because he was a fruitless branch who did not abide in me.

John 16:1 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.

Looking Ahead: If all this seems too hard for you, it is. But don’t worry; you will have the Holy Spirit to be your friend and Helper.



Jesus Loved Them to the End: Words of Comfort

Week 14 John 14:1-31 

(Link to Outline of John) (Link to the first lesson of Gems in John)

John’s Theme: John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Overview of Chapters 14-17

Chapters 14-17 form a unit, possibly all taking place while in the upper room still at supper or shortly thereafter. Or, chapters 15-17 may have been given while in route to the Garden of Gethsemane. The text does not give enough information to know conclusively.

Chapters 14-16 form a single, long discourse by Jesus to his disciples, while chapter 17 is a prayer to God by Jesus both for himself and for his disciples. A general description of each chapter is given below.

  • ch 14 Comfort with an emphasis upon the Trinity
  • ch 15 Admonition
  • ch 16 Prediction
  • ch 17 High Priestly Prayer


    Jesus saying farewell to his eleven remaining disciples, from the Maesta by Duccio, 1308–1311 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farewell_Discourse

Chapter 14 Ten Approaches to Comfort (see Hendriksen, Vol. 2, 260-292)

Section 1: John 14:1 – 11

 I. Trust in God and trust in me. I will still take care of you, even though I am leaving. Jesus strongly implies that he is God.

ESV  John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

“Troubled” is the same word used of Jesus himself at Lazarus’ death in chapter 11 and Jesus’ announcement that he would be betrayed by one of the twelve in chapter 12. Undoubtedly, Jesus himself, as a man, is still “troubled” in his own heart (witness the prayers and drops of bloody sweat in the Garden), yet here he is tenderly, patiently, and compassionately comforting his disciples.

From Fame to Shame in a single day:

In just one day, the disciples’ world has crashed down upon them utterly.

  • The triumphal entry ends disappointingly for the disciples, as Jesus turns away from temporary fame and hides himself from the religious leaders (John 12:36b).
  • Jesus announces that one of their own will betray him (implying that he will be handed over to death) (John 13:21).
  • When Peter offered to lay down his life for his master, Jesus predicted that Peter would betray him (John 13:38).

Jesus fortifies their faith in chapter 14, so that when the “bad” events (although decreed by God) continue to happen and severe doubts assail the disciples, their faith will not completely collapse.

Antidote to Fear

The antidote to fear, as always in the entire Scripture, is trust in God. Believe, says Jesus. Take hold of your heart and combat your doubts and struggles of faith by believing in God. “Believe also in me.” Be placing belief in God side by side with belief in himself, Jesus is equating himself with God. The religious leaders were right all along–Jesus does claim to be God. This is not blasphemy, however, because as events of the resurrection unfold, ascension, and Pentecost unfold, the disciples do come to see and heartily believe that Jesus is indeed God.

II. I’m leaving to prepare a place for you.

John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

Jesus goes to heaven to prepare a place for not only each and every disciple, but also for every believer. There is plenty of room for all where Jesus is going. Jesus prepares the place, while the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus will send after his ascension, prepares the disciples and all believers for the place.

III. I’m coming again–I’ll take you with me.

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

The “coming again” in this verse most likely refers to the Lord’s Second Coming to take all believers to be with him for eternity in his Father’s house (see context of vs 2). “To myself” is the same phrase John uses in 1:1, there translated as “with God.” It means face to face. Believers will once again be very close to Jesus (cf. Revelation 14:1; 19:14; 20:4). Believers today can encourage their hearts in knowing that there will always be a “place” for us right next to Christ, who is in and with the Father.

 IV. I’m leaving but I am still the way, and the truth, and the life.

John 14:4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 

Christ is going to be with the Father. For Christ, he is going the way of the cross. The disciples, on the other hand, know already that the way to the Father for them is Christ himself. They must go through Christ to get to the Father. Christ is inviting them to come to the Father by belief in himself, whom they know (see John 8:19; 10:1, 7,9, 37, 38; 12:26, 44, 45, 49, 50. See also Hebrews 11:13-16).

Thomas then becomes the spokesperson for the group. His question in verse 5 resembles the Pharisees’ question in John 7:35. Now as then, Thomas was thinking that Jesus would be going somewhere physically on earth. Although Thomas’ question reveals his doubtful, despairing heart, it also reveals his love for Jesus, in that he wants to go with him wherever that might be.

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

Jesus’ response in verse 6 is classic and famous:

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Thomas, as mentioned above, was asking Jesus how they would be able to follow in his way, whereas Jesus answers with the way that the disciples must take.

Verse 6 comprises the last of the seven “I Am” statements in John (Seven I Am Statements in John). Scripture shows that Christ teaches the way (Mark 12:14; Luke 20:21), he guides us in the way (Luke 1:79), he has dedicated for us the new and living way (Hebrews 10:20), and he is the way (John 14:6).

Because Jesus is the way, believers learn that we are not saved by a principle, nor a force, but by a person, which is a specific self-contained consciousness.

The way, the truth and the life–

  • the way brings the believer to God
  • the truth makes people free
  • the life produces fellowship with God and with others who also have Christ’s life in them

7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Jesus’ further reply to the whole group in verse 7 implies that the disciples do not yet truly know Jesus as well as they could and should. Knowing Jesus is the same as knowing the Father. Had the disciples been listening, paying close attention, and praying the last three years. Jesus states in paraphrase, Now I am telling you clearly–you do see me and therefore you do know the Father.

Bless Philip! He says,

8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

Philip, haven’t you heard anything at all that Jesus has been saying? Or, are you expecting a visible theophany of the manifestation of God’s glory, like Moses in the cleft of the rock in the desert when God passed by?

9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Again, what had Jesus been saying, teaching, and doing for the last three years if not manifesting the Father? (See John 1:18; 3:33-36; 5:17, 18 19-32; 6:29, 38, 57; 7:29; 8:16, 19, 28, 29, 42, 54, 55; 10:15, 30 33, 37, 38; 12:45; 13:31.)

“What the disciples lacked, however, was not genuine faith as such but genuine faith in full measure.” (Hendriksen, Vol. 2, 270)

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

Jesus and the Father are one essence, sharing one self-consciousness. How is this comfort?

  • Every Jewish person of that day believed in one God, who was creator of everything. They knew God to be the all-powerful one. By making himself to be one with the Father (which the disciples still did not see yet), Jesus is comforting them that he is greater than all opposition, greater than all the adversaries.
  • Further, even if he leaves, which he will, the Father is still the same, still with them, still the almighty and powerful one.
  • Finally, by Christ’s being in the Father and the Father in Christ, Jesus is saying that he is eternal. Jesus will be alive and well even if he does go away for awhile.

11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

This section of encouragement ends very much the way it began:

John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

John 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,…

This time, however, there is only one “believe.” Believing in the Father and believing in Christ are one and the same, because they are one. Jesus is in the Father and the Father in him.

And, to make things super-easy for the disciples if that seems too difficult, Jesus adds, “or else believe on account of the works themselves.” No one could do all the works that Jesus has done before them unless he were God.

“…Believe on account of the works themselves,” is implied evidence for the continuation of miracles today. If Jesus permitted and encouraged the disciples to believe on account of all the miracles that he had done while he was with them, then even more so, why wouldn’t he allow non-believers today to access belief through miracles?

1 Timothy 2:3 …God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Section 2: John 14:12-24

V. Because Jesus goes to live with the Father, the disciples will do great and greater works. They should pray and ask in Jesus’ name and he will do the works for them.

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

Paraphrase of vs. 12–If you believe in me [Jesus], then I will continue to supply miracles from heaven. I have the power to do so, even after I am no longer with you. (Jesus and the Father are one.

It is clear from vs. 14 that even today, it will be Christ who performs miracles. Believers are to ask (pray) for “anything” in Jesus’ name (according to Jesus’ character and desires), and he will do it.

The greater works will occur because Jesus is going to the Father. These “greater” works are most likely spiritual in nature, because the spiritual is always more difficult than the material, and the material follows the spiritual.

Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

VI. I and the Father will send you another Helper, the Spirit of truth. Knowing this should comfort you now, and when he comes, you will be greatly encouraged and comforted at that time.

John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Jesus will not send the Holy Spirit to make his home among and with those who do not love him. And love is evidenced by obedience to Christ’s commandments (John 14:23-24 see below).

When Jesus went to heaven, he prepared the way for sending the Holy Spirit, who works on earth from within the church to perform miracles of belief in peoples’ hearts.

Great conversions of the Gentiles began to occur immediately after the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost day (see the “greater works than these” above in John 14:12).

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,

Both the Father and the Son–they are one–are involved in sending the Helper, the Holy Spirit. The Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father. Therefore, the Holy Spirit represents both of them. He is another Person of the Trinity; he is not different in essence.

This Helper will be with the disciples forever, i.e., with the church composed of the disciples and all believers who come after them. The Helper will never die, nor leave them. This is great encouragement indeed! And, Christ will continue to be their Helper in heaven, while the Holy Spirit will be their Helper on earth. Christ will plead the people’s case with God (Romans 8:34), while the Holy Spirit will continually plead God’s case with people (John 16:8).

17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

As the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit will guide those destined to belief into and within the realm of salvation in Christ. This is because Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life.”

The world cannot receive the Holy Spirit, because the world believes the deception of the wicked one. Nor does the world love Christ; nor is it obedient to him. Neither seeing nor knowing the Holy Spirit, the world cannot receive him.

The disciples on the other hand know the Holy Spirit, because he currently lives with them in the Person of Jesus Christ. After Jesus’ departure, he will send the Spirit as Spirit, and the Spirit will live in them and among them.

Alternatively, one can interpret this verse as meaning that when the Holy Spirit comes–at that time, the disciples will know him, because he will dwell with them, by their side, and within them. He will make the church his temple and live there forever.

VII. In that other Helper, I will spiritually return to you, to all who love and obey me, but not to the world.

John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 23 Jesus answered 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 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

In this connected paragraph Jesus repeats some of the elements he has previously stated.

1. Jesus is physically leaving them, but not without provision. They will not be orphans (vs. 18). Context determines that Jesus’ coming again in this verse is in the form of the Holy Spirit, not the Second Coming at the end of the age, as in vs. 3.

Other layers of meaning could imply the Second Coming and also the New Heaven and the New Earth in Revelation.

2.  The world will see Jesus no more, but the disciples will see him (vs. 19).

a. The disciples will see Jesus during the 40 days between the resurrection and the ascension. The world did not see him at this time.

b. After Pentecost, the disciples will “see”

–in each other

–in the miracles

–in the conversion of multitudes of Gentiles

–and with the eyes of their living spirits, which will have been resurrected with Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit

c. Without spiritual belief and love for Christ, the world will see nothing of him after his death on the cross.

3. “In that day”–(vs. 20) the day of Pentecost and beyond–the disciples’ spiritual eyes will continuously be opened to greater and greater understanding by the Holy Spirit. They will see clearly that Christ is in the Father and the Father in Christ.

4. The requirement for receiving the manifestation of Christ will be love. Those who love Christ are those who keep his word. The Father will love those who love Christ and keep his word. Christ will also love these and manifest himself to them, through the Holy Spirit, as implied in prior verses.

5. verse 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?”

It is as though Judas had stepped out of the room and just returned. He asks Jesus to explain what he has just explained. Nevertheless, Jesus does not grow impatient, but explains in nearly identical words (vss. 23-24) the same concepts all over again.

This should give encouragement to us, who also need to hear the same truths repeated over and over again before they sink in and become real. This is especially true in times of emotional stress, such as that the disciples were just them experiencing.

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 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 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

Notice that the Jewish leaders, who represent the entire Jewish nation, have neither loved nor obeyed Jesus. Therefore, by vss. 23 and 24, they will not receive the Father’s love, nor will the Father and Christ come to make their home with them. From this point forward, the entire Jewish nation, as a political entity on earth, is part of the “world.” There will always be a remnant of believers drawn out from the whole. The disciples and other Jewish believers at that time are part of the remnant.

Nations, such as Rome, are also part of the world.


By announcing to the disciples the coming of the Holy Spirit and by saying to them that the world will no longer see him, Jesus is continuing to announce the Grand Shift from Concrete to Spiritual. From now on, Jesus’ dealings, the Father’s dealings, and the Holy Spirit’s dealings with people will be on a spiritual level only. Jesus has been contrasting the concrete and spiritual throughout his ministry, beginning with his conversations with Nicodemus and the woman at the well. Here, as he is about to leave the world and send the Holy Spirit in his place, he is teaching that the shift from concrete to spiritual will be complete. (This does not mean that concrete miracles will no longer occur.)


Jesus closes this portion by reminding the disciples, as he has many times throughout the entirety of his ministry, that the words he speaks to them are not his words. That is, he is not the originator of what he is saying; the Father is. Jesus speaks the word of the Father.

Section 3: John 14:25-31

VIII. The Holy Spirit will teach and remind them of all that Jesus has been saying.

John 14:25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Jesus seems to be saying that it will be to the advantage of both the disciples and the Kingdom which they will grow through their witness and mission activities that he go away. While with them, he has told them certain things. He has much more to say which they cannot at that moment bear to receive.

John 16:12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”

holy-spirit-replayBut when Jesus leaves, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in Jesus’ name, will teach them everything they need to know, including those things that Jesus had already told them. The Holy Spirit is like a living Replay button who also adds his own, new material.

IX. Jesus leaves behind the gift of his peace.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

The peace Jesus leaves behind and gives is both legal and subjective.

1. Legally, by his death and resurrection from the cross, humankind’s sins have been forgiven. The atonement provides cleansing from sin and application of Christ’s righteousness. This is called justification. Only once in all eternity does humankind as a whole and persons as individuals ever need justification. The cross accomplished all.

2. Subjectively, Jesus gives and makes available to all believers an absence of spiritual unrest, the assurance of salvation, and the loving presence of God in all circumstances. This subjective feeling occurs in individuals and in the church as a collective body of individual believers, as both of these exercise faith in the Father and in Christ and draw from the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit.

The peace of Christ is permanent, durable, and sufficient, because Jesus gives not as the world gives. Paul calls it “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7).

Because of this gift of peace, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and Christ’s ongoing presence with the Father, Jesus once again admonishes his disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

He had said them at the beginning of this discourse in vs. 1, “”Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”

X. Jesus repeats that he is going to the Father and that their love for him should cause them to rejoice at this.

John 14:28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

It stands to reason that if there is anything at all in Jesus’ departure by death about which to rejoice, then the situation cannot be all that terribly bad. They should be comforted.

The Father in his heavenly divinity is greater than Jesus the man in his earthly tent of sorrowful flesh. Father God is greater than Son of Man in his role as mediator.

John 14:29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

Verses 29 through 31 are a conclusion to what Jesus has been saying.

1. The purpose of his foretelling the disciples of his death and separation from them is to strengthen their belief and trust when it actually does occur in a short while.

2. Although Jesus knows that Satan is coming to attack him (even now Judas may be talking to the high priests and they may be on their way with soldiers to arrest him), he also has the bold confidence to know for a certainty that Satan has no claim on him.

3. It is the Father’s fore plan and purpose that Christ should suffer just as he has all along and is about to even more.

4. By Jesus’ behavior, the world will know that he loves the Father.

5. It’s time to get ready to leave.



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