Moses your accuser, Jesus your Saviour

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 5:41-47.  Let’s go!

John 5:41-44 (NIV) 
41  “I do not accept praise from men,
42  but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.
43  I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.
44  How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?

On verses 41-44:  Interesting.  Jesus seems to be saying that if you’re all about living for people’s praise and approval and are not interested in pleasing God, this will keep you from an effective, saving, fruitful faith in God.  In other words, faith is a heart issue. 

John 5:45-47 (NIV) 
45  “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set.
46  If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.
47  But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

Four Witnesses

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 5:31-40.  Let’s go!

John 5:31-34 (NIV) 
31  “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. 
32  There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid. 
33  “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 
34  Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved.

On verses 31-34:  The Jewish law provided that claims that people in court should be established by two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16).  Knowing this, to back up his claims about him being the Son of God, he cites John the Baptist as one of his witnesses.  He does this not because he personally feels any need for a human witness (“Not that I accept human testimony” – v34a) but to address questions people may have about Jesus’ credibility (“but I mention it that you may be saved” – v34b).  John the Baptist was one of Israel’s most respected leaders and thus his testimony about Jesus gave weight to Jesus’ claims.

Jesus and the Father

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 5:19-30.  Let’s go!

John 5:19-23 (NIV) 
19  Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 
20  For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 
21  For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 
22  Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 
23  that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

On verses 19-23:  Here Jesus describes how intricately entwined he and the Father are:

–        Jesus the Son can do nothing by himself but only does what he sees his Father doing (v19);

–        Whatever the Father does Jesus the Son also does (v19);

–        “For the Father loves the Son” (v20):  It’s a love relationship between the Father and Jesus the Son;

Restored to God’s Presence

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 5:10-18.  For context we’ll start by looking at verse 9.  Let’s go!

John 5:9-10 (NIV) 
9  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 
10  and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

On verses 9-10:  In the Ten Commandments, God commanded His people to honour the Sabbath day by resting and not doing work on that day (Exodus 20:8-9).  The religious elite among the Jews would interpret this command in an extreme and overly strict way, such that they considered carrying one’s mat from one place to another on a Sabbath day to be a violation of the command to honour the Sabbath day.  By focusing on these technicalities, the religious elite missed the purpose and heart of God’s commands.  All of a sudden, a command that was meant to bring joy, refreshing and rest became a burden.

What can we learn from this?  When thinking about the details, don’t lose sight of the big picture.  When thinking about how to apply God’s commands, don’t lose sight of why God gave us those commands in the first place.

Attitude Matters

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 5:1-9.  Let’s go!

John 5:1-3 (NIV) 
1  Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 
2  Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 
3  Here a great number of disabled people used to lie–the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 

On verses 1-3:  John’s Gospel now shifts to Jesus in Jerusalem where he visits the pool of Bethesda where disabled people were known to congregate.  Apparently some people believed that an angel stirred the waters of the pool of Bethesda and that the first person to enter the pool after the waters were stirred would be healed.   

By the way, why is verse 4 missing?  If you read the King James version of John’s Gospel, you will see verses 3b and 4 which mention this idea of an angel coming to stir the pool waters.  However, this was apparently a later addition into Scripture and has been omitted from more current versions of the Gospel of John.

A Big Reason God Allows That Trouble in Your Life

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 4:43-54.  Let’s go!

John 4:43-45 (NIV) 
43  After the two days he left for Galilee. 
44  (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 
45  When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there.

On verses 43-45:  After spending two days in Samaria, Jesus heads for Galilee (v43).  Why does John mention here that Jesus said “a prophet has no honor in his own country” (v44), especially if Jesus just left Samaria where many put their faith in Him (v41) and was going to Galilee where the Galileans welcomed him (v45)? Scholars have different theories on why.  Here’s my thought on why: perhaps John mentions Jesus’ famous saying about a prophet having no honour in his own country because no matter how popular Jesus became in one place (like Samaria), Jesus knew he had to move on to the next until his work was done.  In other words, Jesus’ goal wasn’t to build his own kingdom and to chase his own “honor” while on the earth.  Rather his goal was to be faithful to his Father’s will, even if it meant foregoing immediate opportunities to be honored, knowing that the honour and glory would come later.  Like Jesus, may our goal not be chasing our own honour or building our own kingdom, but may it simply to be faithful to what God called us to do on the earth.

Enjoy the Fruit of Jesus’ Labour

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 4:31-42.  Let’s go!

John 4:31-34 (NIV) 
31  Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32  But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33  Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34  “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

On verses 31-34:  I could see the disciples coming to Jesus with food already in their mouths and casually inviting Jesus to eat something (v31).  Yet Jesus’ response confuses them (v32-33).  When Jesus says, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (v34), what does he mean?  Jesus means that what drives him, satisfies him and empowers his life is doing his Father’s will and completing the assignment he has been given.  Jesus would say something related in Matthew 4 in the desert: “Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)  Take John 4:34 and Matthew 4:4 together and we get a powerful truth: Jesus fed on two things – meditating on God’s Word and doing God’s work.

Before You Receive Living Water

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 4:15-30.  Let’s go!

John 4:15-18 (NIV) 
15  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 
16  He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 
17  “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 
18  The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 

Verses 15-18: The Samaritan woman’s curiosity for the living water Jesus offers turns into a real desire for it. She asks Jesus for this living water, but Jesus responds by saying “Go, call your husband and come back.” Why does Jesus do that? It’s because Jesus knew that this woman had been in a handful of failed marriages, and now she was living with someone she was not married to. Subtly Jesus was telling the woman that in order to experience the living water that Jesus makes available, she needed to repent of sin.  

The Answer to Your Deepest Longing

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 4:1-14.  Let’s go!

John 4:1-3 (NIV) 
1  The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John,
2  although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.
3  When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

On verses 1-3:  Notice that Jesus was intentional and careful in his movements.

John 4:4-6 (NIV)
4  Now he had to go through Samaria.
5  So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
6  Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

On verses 4-6:  On his way from Judea to Galilee, Jesus goes through Samaria.  The people living in Samaria, called Samaritans, were a people of mixed Jewish and Gentile blood.  The fact that Jesus was tired from the journey speaks to his humanity.  Interestingly, it was Jesus’ humanity that led him to this divine encounter in the verses that follow.

Let Jesus Get the Glory

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is John 3:22-36.  Let’s go!

John 3:22-30 (NIV) 
22  After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 
23  Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. 
24  (This was before John was put in prison.) 
25  An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 
26  They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan–the one you testified about–well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” 
27  To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.
29  The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 
30  He must become greater; I must become less.

On verses 22-30:  I absolutely love and admire the humility of John the Baptist.  Instead of envying Jesus because Jesus was baptizing more people than he was and becoming more popular than he was (v26), John the Baptist displays incredible humility.  First, John says, “A man can only receive what has been given to him from heaven.” (v27)  In other words, instead of worrying about he didn’t have, John the Baptist simply focused on what he did have because of God’s grace and was thankful for it.  Likewise, may you not worry and fret about what you don’t have but be thankful for what you do have.