Grace Bible Church of Rolling Meadows

Highlights in John


Presented by Steve Walker

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Highlights in John

The Disciples Pt. 3

Jan 05, 2023

God's Eye View

We finished up getting our “God's Eye View” of who Jesus really is. We have been through the Prologue, the testimony of John the Baptist and the testimony of the disciples. As God answered Jacob's prayer for salvation some 2,000 years before by sending a Man who turned out to be God to confirm His promises to the Fathers of Israel (Gen. 32), so too here in the earthly ministry of Christ God answers the prayer of the Believing Remnant for salvation by likewise sending a Man who turned out to be God to confirm and partially fulfill God's promises to Israel's fathers (Lk. 1-2; Rom. 15:8). Once we have a this “God's Eye View” of who Jesus is, we can go on to watch what happens when Jesus--the eternal Word (Jn. 1:1), the Creator of all things (1:3), the Life and Light of men (1:4), the only-begotten Son of God (1:14, 18, 34, 49), the Messiah/Christ (1:17, 41), the Prophet like unto Moses (1:21, 30), the I AM Jehovah God of Israel (1:23), the Lamb of God (1:29, 36), the One who baptizes with the Spirit (1:33), the Fulfiller of all that Moses and the Prophets wrote about (1:45), the King of Israel (1:49), and the Son of Man (1:51)--interacts with ordinary everyday people engaged in ordinary everyday activities, beginning in John 2 with Jesus' Mother, Mary and the changing of the water into wine.

Throughout this message we also pointed out what we lose today when we confuse God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel with His Mystery Program for the Body of Christ.

Highlights in John

The Pattern For Jesus's Encounters

Jan 12, 2023

One thing anyone who reads the Gospel of John notices is that Jesus' responses don't always seem to correlate with the comments or questions characters say or ask in the story. The Jewish leaders in the Temple, for instance, ask Jesus for a sign, and He starts talking about destroying the Temple and raising it in three days (Jn. 2:14-20). Huh? Nicodemus comes talking about how good Jesus is, and Jesus responds with you must be born again (Jn. 3:3). Huh? The Samaritan woman is all concerned about natural well water, and Jesus talks about living spiritual water and how many husbands she has had (Jn. 4:9-14). Huh? The nobleman asks for his son to be healed, and Jesus responds by crying out: Unless ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe (Jn. 4:47-48). Huh, Huh?

Sometimes we have to just scratch our heads and wonder about what is really going on, and that's ok. That is exactly what the text is trying to get us to do. Rather than getting frustrated, we need to get inquisitive. To help with this problem, John gave us the master pattern that explains how Jesus interacts with others in John 1 where Jesus interacted with Peter and especially Nathaniel. Jesus didn't just “see” outward appearances. He “saw” the inner being of the person. He “saw” into Simon and knew who he was and who he would become and renamed him Cephas, Peter (Jn. 1:42). Jesus' encounter with Nathaniel begins with Nathaniel asking a rather ordinary everyday question: Can anything good come out of Nazareth (Jn. 1:46)? But Jesus sweeps that aside and ignores it, and instead “sees” into the core of Nathaniel's being, identifying him as an Israelite indeed a member of true Israel, the Believing Remnant of Israel (Jn. 1:47). But that is not all. He also “saw” what Nathaniel was doing in the past under the Fig Tree (Jn. 1:48) and what he would be doing in his future ministry (Jn. 1:50-51).

So, here we have a pattern, that will help us better understand Jesus' responses when He encounters people. Jesus “sees” not only the person's past and future but also into the very core of their being. Therefore, Jesus won't be forced to respond directly to the external ordinary everyday concerns of people. Rather, He will respond to their deepest, most longed for needs and desires of their hearts and souls and spirits—concerns, desires, needs that they themselves may not even know they have.

Take Jesus' interaction with Mary, His Mother, at a wedding feast in Cana. Here we are at an ordinary everyday wedding feast in Israel (Jn. 2:1-11). Mary makes the rather mundane comment that the wine has run out. Seems plain, simple and ordinary enough. Then Jesus responds pointedly with: Woman, what have I to do with thee? And then rather mysteriously: My hour has not yet come (Jn. 2:4). This is a great first example because unlike other characters in the Gospel of John, WE ACTUALLY KNOW what is in Mary's mind, soul, spirit and heart!

We know from Luke 1:26-35 that Mary's MIND was concerned with the words of the angel Gabriel, who explained to her about the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. Her Son would be named Jesus, Jehovah Our (Israel's) Salvation, the fulfiller of all God's promises to Israel. He is the Son of the Highest, the Son of God. He is the One to whom God has given the everlasting throne of David to reign in Israel and through Israel the world in the everlasting earthly Kingdom of peace, prosperity and joy. Mary, we are told, thought diligently about these things in her MIND!

And we know from Luke 2:46-55 what was in Mary's SOUL and SPIRIT. Her soul magnified the Lord and her Spirit rejoiced in God her Savior because God had blessed her. Through her son Jesus, God would deliver Israel, destroying all enemies and delivering them into the long-prophesied Kingdom to receive His everlasting mercy in fulfillment of the Davidic and Abrahamic Covenants. Mary, we are told, filled her SOUL and SPIRIT with these things!

Finally, we know from Luke 2:8-19 and 2:46-51 what Mary held most deeply and dearly in her HEART. Mary's son would be the Davidic Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah/Christ Deliverer, the LORD God of Israel, who will work on her behalf to establish the earthly Kingdom of righteousness, peace and prosperity, which would become good news and great joy to the whole world. Mary, we are told, kept thinking about these things and pondered them deeply in her HEART!

With all this in mind we can return to John 2 with some fresh insight. With this information, we can “see” into Mary the way Jesus “saw” into Mary. Like Jesus, we actually know what she cherished in her MIND, SOUL, SPIRIT and HEART! And with this insight, we recognize that while it appeared that Jesus was refusing Mary's comment, He was, in fact, just responding to it on a whole different level, a higher plane. Rather than limiting His response to her outer, ordinary, everyday concern—they ran out of wine--He plunged down to the inner, deepest and dearest concerns of her HEART and SOUL!. He didn't just address her ordinary concern about wedding wine. He displayed the glory of God and gave her a foretaste of the overflowing, super-abundant joy of Kingdom blessings that will come to her and Israel at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in the everlasting Kingdom of God on earth!

Now, as we come to additional encounters in John, we have a “leg up on the horse” in understanding them. Even if we don't know other characters deepest and most longed for and dearly held thoughts, concerns, needs and desires, we know that Jesus does.

Highlights in John


Jan 19, 2023

If the purpose of the “signs” John includes were written that believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His Name (Jn. 20:31), then it would probably be a good idea to have an idea of what those “signs” are right up front in our study (Jn. 2:11).
Using three basic criteria:

  1. Something performed by Jesus in His public ministry;
  2. Something that is identified as a “sign” in the text; and
  3. Something that displays the Glory of God in Christ;
we end up with 6 signs that virtually everyone agrees upon:

  1. Water to Wine (Jn. 2:1-11; identified as a sign in 2:11)
  2. Healing of the Nobleman's Son (Jn. 4:46-54; identified as a sign in 4:54)
  3. Healing of the Lame Man (5:1-15; identified as a sign in 7:21-31)
  4. Feeding of the Multitude (6:1-15; identified as a sign in 6:26)
  5. Healing of the Man Born Blind (Jn. 9:1-10; identified as a sign in 9:16)
  6. Raising of Lazarus (Jn. 11; identified as a sign in 11:47 and 12:18)

If we don't limit ourselves strictly to these criteria, other possible “signs” in John are:

  1. Cleansing of the Temple (Jn. 2:13-23; Meets criteria #1 and #3 and might include criterion #2 as well if we take into consideration Jn. 2:18 in comparison with Jn. 6:30 for a potential pattern (also Jn. 2:23). Of course, this would be a “sign” not in the sense of a miraculous display of supernatural power (miracle) but in the sense of a prophetic sign (ex. Is. 20:3; Ezek. 4:3).
  2. Walking on the Water (Jn. 6:15-21; Meets criteria #1 and #3 but the text does not identify it as a sign, therefore, failing criterion #2).
  3. Death and Resurrection of Christ (Jn. 19-20; Meets criterion #3 but probably fails criterion #1 (although that depends on how one takes “something performed by Jesus in His public ministry”). As far as criterion #2 it be identified as a “sign” indirectly in Jn. 2:18-23 and is actually called a “sign” in Mat. 12:38-40.
  4. The Surplus of Fishes (Jn. 21:6-8; Meets criterion #3 but probably not criteria #1 or #2).