The night before He was crucified, Jesus prayed here in the Garden of
Gethsemane; Jesus said, "Father not my will but Yours be done." And so He gave us one of many examples of the prayer life He enjoyed with His heavenly Father; for instead in John's Gospel we find Jesus offering a prayer of intercession and we'll learn more about this prayer when our flight over the book of John gets to chapter 17. Now let's get a profile of the apostle John; a man who learned to live very close to the heart of Jesus.
Jesus nicknamed John and his brother James as the sons of thunder. John was also known as the disciple who Jesus loved; he wrote five New Testament books and his purpose is clear that we may believe in Jesus Christ.
You may remember that Solomon when he built the temple asked God a very important question. He said, "But will God indeed dwell with men?" For behold, even heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You much less this temple which I have built." But the same time, we know that God was pleased to dwell with people in a tabernacle and later on a temple.
The Bible declares He dwelt between the cherubim on the mercy seat of the arc of the covenant. So there was a certain presence of God, there was a certain glory of God but the Prophet Ezekiel was there when chapters 9 through 11 of that book shows the glory of God departing from the temple moving toward the Mount of Olives and leaving the City of Jerusalem, the glory left.
Now we come to the New Testament, and in the Gospel of John in chapter 1, verse 14 we read, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt [tabernacle, pitched a tent] among us, and we beheld His glory. The glory as of the only be gotten son of the father full of grace and truth." And so tonight we're dealing with this book that reveals this one who gloriously dwelt upon the earth.
Now we have the fourth of the four Gospels, and it's probably better instead of seeing them as four different Gospels see them as a four-fold Gospel. And as I mentioned last week, you might want to think of it as either a musical director with a string quartet, each one having them play a different instrument or a movie director with a four camera shoot and each of the cameras is going to emphasize something different in the scene but it's all telling the same story; a four-fold portrait of Jesus Christ.
Now, I want to throw something in and I want to tie together some threads. Do you remember back in Numbers chapter 2, stretch way back there? Numbers chapter 2, the children of Israel were to encamp around the tabernacle, remember that? And there were four sides of the tabernacle, north, south, east and west. The twelve tribes broke into three groups or four groups of three and they were all on all sides of the tabernacle under one tribe's banner and that one tribe had a banner with an emblem on it. So facing the east, there were three tribes that all pitched their tents and gathered under the tribe of Judah which had the emblem of a lion.
On the west side, there were three tribes that were under the banner of Ephraim, and Ephraim had the emblem of an ox. On the south side, there were three groups that were under the banner of Ruben and Ruben, he had the symbol of a man and then on the north there were three more tribes and they were under the tribe of Dan which had the symbol of an eagle. So you have a lion, an ox, a man and an eagle.
We get to Hebrews and we discovered that the tabernacle on earth was a model of the throne in heaven. So we're not surprised when we move forward from Numbers chapter 2 to Ezekiel chapter 1 and chapter 10 and we see these four angelic beings and it says, "Each had the face of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle." And then we skip forward to Revelation chapter 4 and there were four living creatures, one with the face of a lion, another with the face of a calf or an ox, another with the face of a man and the other with the face of an eagle.
And these four Gospels like the camps of Israel and like the cherubim in heaven in Ezekiel and a Revelation tell a story. They show Jesus as the lion of the tribe of Judah, Matthew's Gospel is all about what Jesus said and how He fulfilled Jewish scripture.
The Gospel of Mark is a fast pace story, it emphasizes what Jesus did. It shows Him as the ox, the beast of burden, the servant and the ox was the servant animal.
The Gospel of Luke will emphasize what Jesus felt. He is the quintessential man; the son of man is the underlying phrase throughout that book.
And then we come now to the Gospel of John which is the eagle and shows Jesus in His deity as God the Son, or the Son of God. In fact F.B. Meyer even said, "The Gospel of John is the Gospel of the divine life of Jesus, the eagle has always been its recognized emblem."
I want you to think of it this way. The first three Gospels are called what? Synoptics, Gospel of John is a bit different as, as we will see even in brief flying over it. Those first three are like three snapshots of Jesus' life. John is like a studied portrait of the life of Jesus, very different. In fact, over ninety percent of the material in the Gospel of John is unique to John and not found in any of other Gospels.
For example, the strongest evidence for the deity of Jesus Christ, if you want to somebody that Jesus said He was God or others said He was God, you'll find it in the Gospel of John. The seven great 'I am' statements are found in the Gospel of John.
Also in this Gospel, there are no parables, none, like you find in the other Gospels. You find however seven miracles, all that point you to believing that Jesus is the Son of God.
Five of those seven miracles are found nowhere else except in this Gospel. You find in the Gospel of John the longest prayer in the New Testament, John chapter 17, Jesus prays the longest prayer of His recorded life as well as any prayer recorded in the New Testament.
At the same time, you find the shortest verse in the Bible, in chapter 11, verse 35, "Jesus wept;" shortest verse.
One-third of the entire Gospel of John deals with the last eight days from Psalm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday. So there is an emphasis on that in this book, and last but not least, the most famous verse of all the Bible and most often quoted which is John 3:16. Of course, is found in this book, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life."
Something else about this Gospel; there is a name and a title. The name 'Jesus' and the title 'Christ' is found about 170 times in John's Gospel. Jesus and Christ, 170 times, the word 'Believe' is repeated over and over and over again about 100 times. So you have Jesus and Christ 170, believe 100 times, you're getting the theme of the book.
John wants you and I to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. We'll get to that towards the end of the book.
Now something about John; John was a fisherman. His dad was Zebedee, his brother was James, they worked up in the Sea of Galilee. In fact, they had a fishing business. James, John, and Zebedee in partnership with Andrew and Peter, and they were out on the Sea of Galilee day-after-day catching fish. Now John's name is not in the Gospel of John. You'll never find it anywhere. I say, well, and how do you know he wrote it?
Because the Apostle John discipled the guy by the name of Polycarp and Polycarp discipled the guy by the name of Irenaeus and we have Irenaeus' writings who learned from Polycarp that John is the author of this Gospel. So we have sources from pretty far back that attested this. But his name isn't written, he leaves his name out. In fact, I love what he calls himself, "The apostle whom Jesus loved." I like that.
Yeah there's Peter and the other guys, but I'm the guy Jesus loved. But I like that a lot because Jesus did love him of course Jesus loved everyone, but he felt that special connection with Jesus Christ, something else about John, he was part of the inner circle, wasn't he, Peter, James, and John. We find those three a little bit closer, sort of like the executive staff with Jesus Christ. They were there when Jairus' daughter was healed, the synagogue ruler.
Peter, James, and John were there on the mount of transfiguration when Jesus was transfigured before them with Moses and Elijah. In the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus is going through the greatest trial of His life, He takes Peter, James, and John aside, and He says, "Watch with Me and pray with Me." Of course they nod off these three great men of the inner circle of Jesus Christ.
But John uniquely was at the cross when Jesus died. In fact John was given in charge of Jesus' mother Mary. When Jesus said, "Woman, behold, your son! Son, behold, your mother!"
John also along with Peter were the first ones at the tomb when they heard that the tomb was empty. Remember, John tells the story and he says, "And the one did outrun Peter." That is John saying, "I beat Peter in this little foot race to the tomb." By the way John was the first to believe that Jesus Christ was risen from the dead.
So let's get into it, John chapter 1, verse 1, let me say before we jump in, John is the most theological of all the gospel writers. There's just several parts of this book that have some very deep theology and it's seen in his prologue. Now this is the other genealogy of Jesus Christ, remember I said that last week, you see, Matthew begins his genealogy with Abraham because he is writing for the Jewish community. Luke begins his genealogy with Adam because he's the first man and he's going to talk about the man, the son of man. But John goes all the way back to the beginning to the pre-incarnate state where Jesus was with the Father in eternity.
Verse 1, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God. And the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." Now that sounds very similar to Genesis chapter 1, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and here in the beginning was the word.
Now it sort of sounds like a strange way to introduce a person in such an impersonal manner; "In the beginning was the Word." You go; "What's up with that?" Well, this introduction or this term the Word Logos was a common first century concept. First of all in the Jewish community there were some Jewish writings Targums, commentaries that referred to God by the term Memrah which means "The Word", it was a substitutionary title for the person of God to call Him "The Word." To translate that in Greek, it would be the Logos.
Number two, among the Greek community this was the common term especially the philosophical community. You see the Greeks would look around their universe and they said, you know we noticed that there is order in the universe, and there is predictable patterns and seasons, we noticed that the sun rises and sets so to speak and we notice that there's four seasons that come and go in predictable prescribed patterns. And then they would ask why is that? And the answer the philosophers would give is because there is a Logos, there is an ordering principle, a great uncaused cause that they call the Logos. So he goes all the way back using that term in the beginning was the word, the Logos, and the word was with God and the word was God.
Now, I'll never forget one afternoon, that was one morning; it was one morning because I was studying. I got a knock on my door, its a few years back, I looked outside and I said, oh, I know exactly who is at my door, there were two Jehovah Witnesses. So I opened the door and I knew the drill because I knew where they were going to go with this.
And so we started talking and I'm nodding my head, and so they went right to the Gospel of John chapter 1, they said, "Well, you know, it says in John's gospel, in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was A God, that's what it says in the original Greek." I said, "Are you sure about that?" He said, "Oh yes, we know that for sure." And so I asked the older mentor guy, "Are you sure about that?" He said, "Yes" I said, "Okay, hold on a minute. I had been studying Greek.
So I went into my study, took out my Greek New Testament, opened it up and showed it to the guy and said, "Read that and show that to me." He said, "I can't read that." I said, "Well, let me tell you what it is then." Notice the first two verses; (in Greek) Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.
Now before I could say anything, I said, "You'll notice that the term (in Greek) λόγος lacks a definite article, do you know why that is?" Of course, they're just looking at me like, "No." I said, "There are two reasons, number one, in Greek the predicate is put before at the beginning of the subject whereas in English we have it after the subject, the predicate is last but in Greek it's first, because it's for emphasis's sake and whenever it lacks a definite article, it is showing character, essence, or nature.
So this literally says and the word to his essential character and nature was God, its put there for emphasis. So when you say, it says A God, know that it doesn't say that.
So I'm looking at both of them and they're looking at one another and the younger who's being mentored by the older one, I was just hoping we could reel them in and be able to share with them and the older guy says, "Okay, well, thank you very much" and slammed the door as fast as he could and decided we're never coming back there again. Folks, this is all I want to say about that.
John is underscoring and emphasizing through the whole book that Jesus Christ is Himself very God, it's in the language, it's unmistakable, even the enemies of Jesus had more sense than a Jehovah witness because they said, "You being a man are constantly making yourself God." They knew what he was saying. And even the very beginning showing the ordering principle, the Logos, the Memrah was indeed very God.
"All things [verse 3] were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made." Verse 14; "and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory is of the begotten of the Father full of grace and truth." You have the creator and at the same time in verse 14 the incarnation. He's God but He's also a man.
Now something about John's writings, I want you to just remember, both his gospel and his epistles First, Second and Third John. When John wrote all of his works, there was a prevailing ideology sweeping the early church, and every era of the church has its winds of false doctrine, there's plenty of them around today, i.e. the Emergent Church; every few years there's new ideologies and beliefs.
And John's day was a belief called gnosticism, that says, "Jesus Christ really wasn't a man, He wasn't in flesh. He just appeared to look like a man." And John will write in First John, "Whoever denies that Jesus Christ come in the flesh is not of God." So he's constantly keeping the audience that he writes to in mind.
Now listen to how he writes First John at the beginning of that book. First John chapter 1, verse 1, "That which was from the beginning, [Very similar, isn't it?] which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and our hands have handled concerning the word of life."
Can you imagine what it was like to being John or Peter or any of the apostles being with Jesus and coming to the awareness of who it is they're walking with? Who it is they're seeing, who it is they're hearing in these parables and stories and seeing Jesus touch people and heal them, and seeing Him weep, we're seeing God weep, we're seeing God and hearing God speak. Here's God's reaction, we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father.
Now let me give you a little short if I can outline of the Gospel of John. We've already started but I'm going to give it to you. There's seven sweeping segments, oh it sounds like a preacher wrote that, sweeping segments of the Gospel of John. First of all, "The Incarnation" and I'll give them all to you in terms of where they start and stop. "The Incarnation", number two, "The Presentation"; so it's "The Incarnation" of the Son of God, then "The Presentation" of the Son of God; then the three "The Confrontation" with the Son of God. And then four, "The Instruction" of the Son of God, that's for His apostles only. Number five, "The Intercession" of the Son of God, number six, "The Execution" of the Son of God and number seven, "The Resurrection" or you might say the glorification of the Son of God. Those are the seven things that John mentions and sweeps through in this book.
Chapter 1, verse 19 through chapter 4 is the second section, this is the presentation of the Son of God. He presents Himself to John, the Baptist, He presents Himself to the early disciples, He presents Himself at Cana of Galilee through a miracle, He presents Himself to Nicodemus in Jerusalem, He presents Himself then to a Samaritan woman in chapter 4.
Chapter 1, verse 29, "the next day John saw him coming toward him and said, "Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.""
Now something about John the Baptist; John the Baptist was a PK I mentioned last time, a Priest Kid. And this PK was familiar with the temple. He was familiar with the sacrifices, he was familiar that every morning and every evening lambs were brought and killed and blood was spilled to atone for the sins of the nation.
So John now realizes who this one is, this is the atoning sacrifice, the lamb of God who takes away the sins not of just a small people group in the Middle-East but the world. It's grand sweeping realization of who Jesus is. This is He of whom I said, "After me comes a man who is preferred before me for He was before me." I did not know Him but he should be revealed to Israel, therefore, I came baptizing with water."
Now what I'm going to do tonight, and it's not hard to do, since ninety percent of John is unique to this Gospel only, is show you things that are really just mentioned in the Gospel of John, but in each of these seven segments.
Now something helpful with this gospel; were it not for the Gospel of John we wouldn't know the chronology of the life of Jesus? If you were to just take Matthew, Mark and Luke, you might assume that the ministry of Jesus lasted only one year, because most of them have a huge chunk of Jesus' ministry in Galilee, because they were all from Galilee, or at least they interviewed people that were Galilean.
But John shows us the feast and the announces the feast that Jesus appeared in Judaea for Jerusalem in the temple or back up in Galilee all of the feasts are mentioned and you can protract it out starting with about 29 AD all the way to 33 AD, and you can, you can see that there was a three-and-a-half year ministry of Jesus, that chronology comes from the Gospel of John.
In fact John alone tells us that Jesus cleansed the temple, remember the cleansing of the temple and He overthrew the tables and took whips and the other Gospel showed that He did that at the end of ministry. John also does but shows us that He also did it at the beginning of His ministry. So He did it twice, we wouldn't get that unless we got the Gospel of John.
And then look at chapter 2, verse 23;"When He was in Jerusalem at the Passover during the feast many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did." I'm taking you here to show you a contrast that John gives you. Here's a group of people, the only reason they're believing quote unquote "in Jesus" is they want a miracle, they want a sign. "But Jesus did not commit Himself to them because He knew all men, and He had no need that anyone should testify of man for He knew what was in man."
"There was a man, [this is in contrast to that group], there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.""
What John is doing is this. He's saying, here's a crowd, a whole bunch of people that only were after Jesus for the fireworks, the miracles, the signs, the wonders. They want their daily miracle. In contrast to them there was a real seeker by the name of Nicodemus, he came to Jesus by night. See Jesus knew all men. Again Jesus is being portrayed as omniscient, knowing all things and knowing all men. So if somebody came up to Him and said, "Hey Jesus! I have a question." He would know who you are and why you are asking the question." John portrays this characteristic of our Christ.
So here is Nicodemus, he comes to Jesus, but he comes with a misunderstanding, he's genuinely seeking and here's his misunderstanding. We know that you're a teacher come from God, that's a misunderstanding. He's more than a teacher come from God; He's God come to teach. There's been a lot of teachers come from God, Moses was a teacher come from God, Isaiah was teacher come from God, Martin Luther believed God called him as all preachers of the Gospel Agustin etcetera. But Jesus Christ was the only begotten of the Father, He was the Son of God or God the Son who had come to teach.
There's something else about Nicodemus before we move on. I felt sorry for the guy; everybody gets down on Nicodemus for coming at night. And they make this whole story, he must have been a coward; he had no guts because if he, if he you know really didn't mind to see Jesus, he would come any time. Listen, everybody is busy and he probably wants uninterrupted time because Jesus had an agenda all day long. So, so he could get face time with Jesus and ask Him questions and hear His heart, he came at night after his duties in the Sanhedrin were done and after Jesus' agenda was done, it was simply a way to get alone with Christ. So be careful that you don't come too heavy down on poor old Nicky here for this.
Verse 3, Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly I say to you unless one is born again." This is particular to the Gospel of John; "he cannot see the Kingdom of God." Here's what I love, it says, "It's as if Jesus ignores the opening statement, flattering statement by John the Baptist, you know Jesus we know that You're a teacher come from God, for nobody can do these signs unless God is with him. Jesus just goes right for the heart of the matter, negates that whole stay but not like, well, thank you very much, I'm glad that you noticed. There's a lot of people that notice. He didn't even go there. He goes right for the heart, and tells Nicodemus, how to get to heaven; how to enter the kingdom of heaven unless a man is born again he will not see the Kingdom of God.
Now unfortunately the term 'born again' has become a cliché, the world has stolen that cliché, used it, abused it and they've tried to give it back to us with their definition of it. Wrong, anytime people use the word 'feel free to correct them' now what it means. It's not a sect of Christianity; there you've got the Catholics and the Methodist and the Presbyterian and you've got the born-againers over there like we're some subset of Christianity.
There's no such thing as a Christian who's not born again. You have to be born again, Jesus said, even get to heaven. And Christians are those who go to heaven. Christians are those who were born again and born-again people are believers or Christians. The word born-again literally means from above, gennathai anothen is the Greek, to be begotten from above. It's a spiritual awakening or birth as opposed to just physical birth. And that conversation proceeds from this point on.
But now down in verse 16, the most often quoted verse and most well-known verse. Martin Luther called that the Bible in miniature because it covers the whole scope of salvation.
Verse 16, for God, -- now that's the origin of salvation that comes from Him, it's from God, for God. Have you ever had a person say, "I'm searching for God." Actually God isn't lost, you are. God is searching for you because the Bible says we are dead in trespasses and sins, the last I checked dead people can't search for anything. You're incapable, it's for God, the origin is from God.
Here's the motivation for salvation, so loved. Here's the object of salvation, the world. Here's the demonstration of salvation that He gave; His only begotten son. Here's the requirement of salvation, whoever believes in Him.
Now I tell you what Nicodemus wasn't used to this, he thought, the way to get to heaven is by keeping rituals and ceremonies, and going to the temple and doing all the things I've been taught as a young Jewish man and now a priest, a teacher. Now you have to just believe in Him and the outcome or the conclusion of salvation is that you won't perish but you will have everlasting life.
Now John chapter 4 is a famous story. John is the only one to record it, its Jesus going to Samaria. And it says in verse 4 but He needed to go through Samaria. And if you were Jewish and you read that 2000 years ago you wouldn't get verse 4, you would ask, "Why does He need to go through Samaria? Nobody needs to go through Samaria, nobody deals with Samaritans.
In fact, though Samaria was the most direct route from north to south, it was up in the mountains and because the Jews shunned the Samaritans, they would rather take two alternate routes across the other side of the Jordan river and then cross it up again up on top to stay away from Samaria or the coastal route, once again to stay away from Samaria. And it was that bad.
Now we won't read it, but in this story when Jesus talks to this woman at the well of Samaria, she even remarks, how come you a Jew are asking me a Samaritan woman for a drink for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. That begs the question, why?
Here's why, go all the way back to 722 BC, you know these dates by now. The Assyrian Empire conquered the ten northern tribes of Israel, right? Including Samaria. They took the Jewish people away; they repopulated it with different pagan peoples from all over the world.
After a period of time they married each other and they married the Jews who were left over. So now you have different levels of breeds of people, it's not a pure Jewish situation. So when the people came back into the land to rebuild the temple Ezra and Nehemiah, when the Samaritans wanted to help, they said, thank you but no thank you, we are able to do it ourselves. They wanted to keep it pure.
The Samaritans reacted against this. They started rebuilding their own temple in Samaria. There never really was a temple but they built their own temple, so that by the time of Jesus, there was now a temple in Jerusalem and in Mt. Gerizim.
So in this story, the woman says, "Our father say this mountain, Gerizim is the place where we are not to worship you Jews say Jerusalem. Remember Jesus said, "You don't even know what you are worshiping." We know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
So they had brought pagan foreign gods and ideologies and mixed it where their worship of God and had a different place and a different system, and so there was animosity between the Jews and the Samaritan. But Jesus needed to go through Samaria, why? Because He had a divine appointment, with the woman who was dejected and cast-off and had so many relationships, she was broken and beaten and He wanted to reach her and in reaching her, reach a whole village. And later on many Samaritans in the book of Acts would come to Christ.
Let's go to the third section of this gospel, chapters 5 through 12. This now is the confrontation with the Son of God, the confrontation with the Son of God, okay. There's several things that happen and John writes about them in this section to show how Jesus came head-to-head with the Jewish legal system. And it wasn't very pretty, they rejected them. So chapter 5, Jesus is in Jerusalem at the pool of Bethesda, we will take a snapshot of that in a minute and He heals a man and it creates an up-roar in Jerusalem.
In chapter 6, Jesus is back up in Capernaum and in the synagogue there He gives a discourse on being the bread of life and that creates a fervor and an animosity.
Chapters 7 through 10: Jesus is back in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles and He gives several discourses that also alienate Him from the Jewish hierarchy.
Chapter 11: Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead an unmistakable sign that He is the Son of God. The Jewish leaders find out about it and say, we got to kill this guy fast before everybody starts believing in Him.
Then in Chapter 12: Is the triumphal entry and the people worship Him as their Messiah and again a deeper animosity and a public ministry of Jesus will close after this.
Now let me just highlight this for you. In this section and a little bit on the next are those famous seven 'I am' statements of Jesus and here they are.
Jesus in chapter 6, verse 35 said "I am the bread of life."
Chapter 8, verse 12 and 9 Verse 5, "I am the light of the world."
Chapter 10, verse 7, "I am the door to the sheepfold."
Chapter 10, verse 11, "I am the good shepherd."
Chapter 11, verse 25, "I am the resurrection and the life."
Chapter 14, verse 6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."
And chapter 15, verse 1 and 5, "I am the true vine." Seven "I am statements," this is what Jesus says about Himself to His people.
Now chapter 5, verse 1; "And there was a feast of the Jews and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool which is called in Hebrew Beth-es-da or Bethesda as we call it, having five porches." Bethesda means The House of Mercy, but if you were to go there 2000 years ago, you would say this is The House of Misery because there are sick people waiting to get healed and there are so many of them, it's just like beds in a hospital filled with people and nobody is getting better.
"And these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed waiting for the moving of the water." I love this chapter and love teaching this chapter in Jerusalem at the pool of Bethesda which is there today.
Now I'm smiling when I say that because years ago, critics would say, well, you know, the Bible has many things to say that just aren't true, for instance the pool of Bethesda. It says this by the Sheep Gate, there's a Sheep Gate and we found that, but we've dug all around Jerusalem and we have not found this pool of Bethesda especially as described in the Gospel of John as having five porches, it sounds like it's a big pool.
Well, several years ago, the archaeologists just kept digging, and guess what they found? The pool of Bethesda, and you know what, they said this thing is big. And they discovered and you can see remnants of it today, five collimated porches. Now here's the picture of it. You are in a helicopter looking down, you see this huge triangle, four sides, and each four sides there are a collimated porch.
So you have one, two, three, four porches. And then a porch dividing the pool into two pools and that's the fifth porch just exactly as the Bible says. And so then all the critics, all they could say was, "Oh! Well, we will find more discrepancies, just give us time." They love to do this and the spade of the archaeologists overturns them all the time.
Jesus came there in that place of misery that hopeless condition. You know when I was a kid my dad used to say, "The Bible says God helps to those who help themselves." I grew up believing that the Bible said that, then I got saved then I read the Bible, and I never found it. So I read it in another translation, never found it, I better try more modern translation, never found it. You know what I found, the theme of the Bible, one of the themes, God helps the hopeless and helpless, not those who help themselves. Here's a man who couldn't help himself. He had no strength; he was abandoned by a society. The impotent man meets the omnipotent man in this chapter and he is healed and a testimony is left in Jerusalem.
Go down to chapter 7, we'll skip over the bread of life discourses in chapter 6, not enough time. "After these things Jesus walked in Galilee, notice this, or He did not want to walk in Judaea because the Jews sought to kill Him." Now what John is showing is that the opportunity for Jesus is narrowing. He can't just publicly go anywhere because people are trying to put out His life. "Now the Feast -- the Jews' Feast of Tabernacle was at hand."
Something about the Feast of Tabernacle so we can skip down to a very important verse; every year the people of Israel were commanded to go on their property somewhere or in town and build shelters, little lean-tos, booths. You could use willowed trees or branches from any trees you want or any kind of temporary shelter, you and your family would leave your home and sleep and live out on that temporary booth for a whole week, seven days once a year.
And parents every year went, oh, we have to do that again and every kid went, alright, we're going camping this week, they loved it, they loved it, it was a great family thing and it was to commemorate that while there forefathers were in the desert for 40 years, God took care of them, fed them with manna from heaven or water out of the rock.
So for seven days in the temple something was happening. The priest would have a procession. They took a golden pitcher and they would walk down to the Pool of Siloam in the lower city, filled it with water, take the golden pitcher up to the temple mount and where the Altar of Sacrifice was they pour water on the floor of the temple at the base of the altar. As they poured water commemorating water coming out of the rock in the Old Testament, God taking care of them. The priest the choir would sing, Isaiah chapter 12, here's the lyrics. "For with joy, you will draw waters from the wells of salvation."
They did that every single day for seven days. After the seven days, there was one more added day called The Eighth Day of the Feast or The Last Great Gay of the Feast. And that takes us down to verse 37. "On the last day, that great day of the Feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, "If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in me as the scripture has said out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.""
Okay, remember I said, "The Eighth Day is the last day of the Feast," because this is when they march around the altar seven times and two times they got water in the golden pitcher, Pool of Siloam, dumped it out, dumped it out again as they dumped it out three trumpet blasts, the people would shout, the choir would sing, "With joy you will draw water from the well of salvation."
And I believe it was then at that climatic, moment when they were celebrating water coming out of the rock, God satisfying the thirst of our fathers. Notice verse 37, on the last day that great day of the Feast, Jesus stood and what? He cried out. Don't picture Jesus in a temple saying, "Excuse me! I have something to say." He shouted because there was a huge crowd on the court of the Gentiles, "If anyone is thirsty --" woe, they all look, "Let him come to me and drink." Whereas the scripture has said out of His belly, innermost being will flow rivers of living water. John says this he spoke about the Holy Spirit who is not yet given.
Jesus is pointing to himself as the one who quenches the thirst of that nation and of all mankind, an unmistakable proclamation.
Go down to chapter 12, I want you to look at a key verse, because John throughout his narrative is showing that the window of opportunity is closing and here we see the close of Jesus' Public ministry because of national and belief. Chapter 12, verse 37, "But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him. That the Word of Isaiah, the Prophet might be fulfilled which He spoke, Lord, who has believed our report?"
"And to whom is the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe because Isaiah said again, He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts so that they should or less they should see with their eyes and less they should understand with their hearts in turn, so that I should heal them." So that, that public ministry of Jesus essentially ends here at the end of chapter 12.
Now chapters 13, 14, 15, and 16 is all private stuff; this now is the instruction of the Son of God and it's only with His apostles. The scene is Passover; they're in an upper room, they're celebrating before Jesus' death the last meal together, what we call The Last Supper. No crowd, wonderful intimate meal. The disciples were there. Verse 1, "Now before the Feast of Passover when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father having loved His own who are in the world, He loved them to the end."
"And supper being ended the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him. Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hand and that He had come from God and was going to God." Don't you get this sense that John is portraying Jesus as absolutely in control, He knows who He His, knows where He has come from, He's pre-incarnate, He's the word-made flesh, God and human flesh, He knows the plan of God for the cross, He knows where He's going to be glorified, knows it all.
"He rose from supper [verse 4] laid aside His garments took a towel and girded Himself [or tied it around Himself] and after that He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and wiped them with a towel with which He was girded." This was a special night. Beginning here and lasting all the way to the end of chapter 1, notice in your Bible if you have a red-letter edition, the letters are mostly red, this is Jesus talking.
This is a time of intense discipleship. Jesus knows where He'd going and He knows He'll be leaving them soon, they don't know it. They're a little bit scared and shaken at this point because in chapter 14, He'll have to say, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Don't be afraid, you believe in God, believe also in Me."
So this intimate discipleship before Jesus leaves and He begins by washing their feet. Now this is more than Jesus being a good example. This is more than just a nice intimate little meal and Jesus performing some wonderful sweet thing that He wants them to practice every time they have a church service together to have a foot washing ceremony, that's not what this is about. What Jesus is doing in essence is acting out His entire ministry in parable form, think about it. Go back to verse 4, "He rose from supper", now He's already done this in a greater way when He came from heaven to this earth, He, He rose up to do the Father's bidding, coming from heaven, pouring themselves out and coming to the earth, from a place of glory.
Next He laid aside his garments, think of what Paul says in Philippians 2, "Jesus who was in the form of God did not think that robbery to be equal to God, but He laid aside His garments so as to speak. He poured Himself out; He emptied Himself and became a man.
Now notice the next phrase, "He took a towel and girded Himself, He put it around Him and essentially He has done this. He has wrapped HSis divinity in a cloak of humanity, God in human flesh, notice the next phrase, He poured water into a basin to wash the disciples' feet. In a few hours He will be pouring out His blood to wash the sins of all who will believe in Him. Notice the last one, and dried them with His towel.
Jesus started to wash the feet; He completed it by drying the disciples' feet. Whatever Jesus starts He finishes, He completes. He who has begun a good work in you will continue to perform it, Paul said, Philippians 1 until the day of Christ.
So think of it this way. Jesus cleans all the fishes He catches. He's caught you and He's apprehended you and He's saved you and He's not going to leave you and say, oh, you're, you're sort of a hopeless case. I'm going to move on the next person. He's committed to working in you and drying you with a towel.
Chapter 17 is the fifth section of this book. This is the inner session of the Son of God, this whole chapter. All 632 words in red are Jesus' prayer to the Father.
Now here's why this is important, I wrote a whole book on this chapter, called "When God Prays." Jesus knew He had a limited amount of time to be on this earth. So first of all He got His disciples together and passed on some very important principles He wanted them to know for four chapters.
Then He prays in chapter 17, and you might ask, when a person knows he's about to die and he's in contact with the Father, God the Father, what things were on Jesus' heart? What were the most important things in prioritizing His prayer life knowing He was about to go to the cross, because those are the very things Jesus prays for, the Glory of God, the future of the disciples, the unity of the church etcetera, several things Jesus prays for knowing that His time is limited, so this is the longest prayer.
Jesus spoke these words; by the way this is the real Lord's Prayer. You know we say, say the Lord's Prayer, Our Father in heaven, it's not the Lord's Prayer, it's the disciple's prayer. That's the prayer Jesus told the disciples to pray. This is the Lord's own prayer to His father; this is the real Lord's Prayer. I read a story that John Knox who was the Scottish reformer.
On his death bed asked his wife to read John 17 to him, and as he passed from earth into heaven he listened to the words of Jesus' prayer, very, very beautiful prayer. Jesus prayed it out loud obviously because John was able to hear it and write it down. Jesus spoke these words lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come glorify your son that your son also may glorify you."
Now know something about Jesus. It's a long prayer, the longest recorded prayer. This isn't the first time Jesus prayed. Altogether in all four Gospels 19 times the four Gospels pointed the fact that Jesus prayed. One time He spent all night in prayer to God. On another occasion He got up very early before the day and He prayed the day in, before He chose His disciples and there were several occasions that point to Jesus' praying.
Now here's the point I would like to make. I think it's pretty obvious. If Jesus Christ who is God but also in human flesh, He had two natures, right. He was theanthropic, thaous and anthropos, God and man, but but even still if He felt the necessity to depend on the Father in prayer for so much of His earthly life. Where does that leave us? How could we ever think, well, I just shoot up a quick one on the way to work? You see what I'm saying.
I'm not trying to bring condemnations, saying you got to pray for hour's everyday. But would you agree that your prayer life is an area that could be enhanced? I think we all could say that, I say that, I want that, and I often think if Jesus Christ who is theanthropic, depended on His Father that much, me, I'm only anthropic, right, I'm just a man, you're just a man, you're just a woman or a man. We need to be depending on Him all the time. Jesus lived a life of dependence upon His Father.
Let's go to the next section, chapters 18 and 19, this is the Execution of the Son of God, chapter 18 and 19 includes these key events, the Garden of Gethsemane and the arrest; being taken to examination, examined before two high priests that year, Caiaphas and Annas, and then Pontius Pilate, the roman procurator.
Look at chapter 18 verse 1, "When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples, over the Brook Kidron." John puts that in there, he wants you to know that when Jesus left He crossed this brook, and I'll tell you why in a minute. "Where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered." Now the Kidron Valley played a very important part in Jewish history. When King David was rejected by the nation of Israel, the Bible says, in Samuel, "He crossed over the Kidron Brook, and went up the Mount of Olives," which is where the Garden of Gethsemane is located.
So Jesus rejected by the nation crosses over the Kidron, the son of David, following the same thing, rejected by the nation. David was also betrayed by one of his sons Absalom fled over the Kidron. Also one of David's trusted men Ahithophel later on committed suicide, later on Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus will commit suicide. I think what John is showing is the parallel between the son of David and his ancestor King David, rejected by the nation crossing over that same part of land, something else, because it was Passover.
There was a drain from the temple on the temple mount, where the lambs were slaughtered, there was a conduit where the blood and water that was washed went into the stone conduit, and emptied out into the Kidron Brook. There was a little river flowing 2000 years ago; which would mean, when Jesus crossed over the Brook Kidron, there must have been a bridge to cross it. That the Brook Kidron, was flowing with blood of lambs being sacrificed to Passover for the sins of the nation, and here is the significant part, the lamb of God, crossing over the area that is so visible, a sign of atonement for the nation.
Verse 4, "Jesus therefore knowing all things that would upon Him, went forward and said to them, [this is now, Jesus, who has crossed over, He is in the Garden of Gethsemane, and He says to the soldiers who come], whom are you seeking?" And they answered, "Jesus of Nazareth", and Jesus said to them, "I am He." Now if you have New King James, is He italicized in your Bible? Okay, when it's italicized, it means, it's not in the original. "We are looking for Jesus of Nazareth", "I am, I am." In Greek, 'ego eimi', the Septuagint translation for the Old Testament, "I am that I am". "Who are you seeking?" Jesus, "I am" notice what He says in the next verse. Now when He said to them, "I am", they drew back and fell to the ground. "Woe!"
Verse 10, "Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it, and struck the high priest servant and cut off his right ear. Thank you, Peter, very little, his servant's name was Malchus." So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath, shall I not drink the cup which my father has given me." Listen, Peter was a good fisherman, he was not a good swordsman, he wasn't aiming for his ear, he was trying to cut off his head, and he missed. It's not like, watch this, aim for the ear, he just was hacking, he was a great fisherman, leave it at that Peter, he cut off his ear.
Now here's what I think is happening, Peter is hurting inside, and Peter is reacting. Inside Peter, at one time was this belief, because he said, "Jesus, even though everybody else forsakes you, I will never forsake you, right, I will follow you to death." So here's Peter trying to prove that he can do -- I am going to stand up and defend God. Well, how many times do we do that? We think, we've got to defend God, "Give me a sword, let me cut some people up, because I have got to defend God."
Well, chapter goes on, He's arrested, He's brought to trial before the high priest, Annas, Caiaphas, Pontius Pilate in verse 38, who has Jesus standing in front of him says, "I find no fault in him", and so in chapter 19 verse 1, Pilate took Jesus and scourged him, keep in mind what that means, scourge is to whip a person.
A person was tied to a post in those days, a Roman pillar, his arms were around it, so his back was tot, like real, real stretched, the skin was stretched, the flagellum was whipped with a wooden handle, leather strips, pieces of glass, lead, and bone tied into it, so that when the whip hit the back, it grabbed, and then it was pulled, and the flesh was lacerated, in some of the old accounts say a person would get lacerated into the deep subcutaneous tissue. And some Roman beatings were so bad, that it would even expose the organs.
This is the whipping that Jesus took by His stripes were healed, and the soldiers -- verse 2, "twisted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe, and they said, "Hail, King of the Jews," and they struck Him with their hands."
Soldiers would play a lot of different games with criminals, they were bored. Nobody wanted the duty of watching a criminal. And a Roman soldier who watched criminals was a very hardened individual. One of the games they played was called the Hot Hand, they blind-fold a prisoner and one of the soldiers would slug in the face. You know when somebody slugs in the face when you are in a fight, you can, you can watch and flow with it, when you're blind-folded, you can't adapt; it's a cold cock.
And so the criminal would be hit, and the soldiers would make the criminal guess which one of the soldiers point which direction, of who hit him. He didn't get a right to hit him harder and harder. These are the games they are playing with Jesus.
Verse 25, "there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved, standing by." He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son." And He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother." And from that hour, the disciple took her into his own home. This is amazing to me. Something I know about suffering and watching people who suffer.
When a person is suffering, either the loss, by death, or deep physical pain, suffering is very all consuming, very absorbing. People usually remark about themselves, and how I feel, and this is the pain I am experiencing, seldom will a person in deep pain, when pain is that consuming, think about anybody else. They can't think about anything else. So for Jesus in that kind of state to be thinking about His mother's future is the act of great compassion.
Now we don't know for sure, but we do know, according to tradition, John took Mary home. The best tradition says that she lived another 11 years, died in Jerusalem, at about age 59, that's the best tradition. Some tradition say, it's called the assumption of Mary that she ascended up into heaven, let me just say, that's quite an assumption to make; there's no historical documentation of it. It's simply passed on by a very poorly subscribed tradition.
Now verse 7 is the last part, it's the resurrection of the Son of God, chapter 20 and 21. You know about this, let me take you down to chapter 20, verse 30, notice what it says, and truly Jesus, did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, you might have life in His name.
Chapter 21, it is one of the coolest chapters. The disciples go to Galilee, Peter decides to go back to what he knows, fishing. Disciples follow suite. Jesus comes up, stands on the shore, they don't recognize Him, calls out, "Hey children! Do you have any fish, have any food?" and they go, "No." So it goes, "Hey! Throw your net on the other side of the lake," which, sort of, sounded familiar to them, like three years before, somebody else did that.
Luke chapter 5, it happened to be Jesus, when he called them to be fishers of men. As soon as they throw their net on the other side of the lake, the nets almost break; they catch 153, he says, fish in that net, and bring the net in.
The difference between fruitlessness and fruitfulness is that long. It's about how wide the boat -- that wide. They are fishing on this side, they catch nothing, they throw their nets on this side, and because the service is now directed by Jesus, it's fruitful. They fished on, they caught nothing. Now Jesus just says, "Do it this way." Boom! Peter goes, "That's got to be the Lord." Peter throws off his robe, he has nothing underneath, text says that, he jumps in the lake.
Now he plunges into the sea, he had removed his garment, plunged into the sea, and then the rest of this story pretty much is the reinstatement of Peter. Three times, Jesus says, "Peter, do you love Me?" Peter says, "Yes Lord, I love You." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." "Peter, do you love Me?" "Yes Lord, You know that I love You." "Tend my sheep." "Peter, do you love Me?" "Yes Lord, You know that I love You." "Feed my sheep." People say, "Why three times?" Jesus was denied by Peter three times. Jesus gave Peter the opportunity three times to affirm his love for Him. "Peter, do you love Me?"
Verse 15, "Simon, Son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" And he said, "Yes Lord, you know that I love You" and He said, "Feed my lambs." Notice that He didn't say, "Peter, do you obey Me? Or Peter, do you believe in Me? Or Peter, do you believe this doctrine?"
Jesus wanted to know one thing only that was more important than anything and that's the relationship that we have. Do you love Me? Because Jesus knows if you love Him, faith works and everything else will follow. It will all follow, the love that you have for Him. What do you think He meant when He said, "Do you love Me more than these?" It could mean you love me more than these other apostles? He's sort of putting him on the spot if he did that because at one time, he basically said, "You know, I love You more than these other guys; they are all going to forsake You but I will die with You."
"Peter, do you really love Me more than these?" Ooh well, "I do love You." Or it could mean, "Peter, do you love Me more than these fish? Do you love Me more than your own occupation, everything you lived for, everything you have loved? Are you willing to leave this like you once did and become a fisher of man? Do you love Me more than these?" We don't know; it could mean either or it could mean both. And Peter turning around saw the disciple whom Jesus loved, that would be John, who leaned on His breast, and he said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?" Peter seeing him said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said, "If I will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!"
I'll take you down to verse 25 and we'll end. There are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one-by-one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen!
Now that last statement could be exaggeration, uses a literary device or could be literal because think of it, think of all of the people that have ever been changed and touched their own testimonies, their own fruit, their own experiences with Jesus Christ for the last 2000 years around the world; their books are still being written and thousands and millions could be written that haven't been written.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, is God a human flesh and still changes lives.
Heavenly Father! We thank You for this fourth testimony, this study portrait of this Son of God who is God, The Son.
Well, we think of our own lives, our own testimonies, how the word made flesh has changed us and how we have come to believe, and the peace that we have inside because of it and the priorities that are now in our lives because of it. Lord, some of us maybe, just maybe have gone back to our own form of fishing, our own occupations. Well, I don't know if any of this Bible stuff is really all that true, so just in case, it's not, I am going to drive my satisfaction from this relationship or this experience or these people or this thing or this home or this endeavor.
And maybe the Lord is saying, "Do you love Me more than these? Are you willing to give up anything I ask you to give up and follow Me and My will for your life? Because Lord, You said that if we lose our life we are going to find it.
We thank You for the life that's in Christ. Thank You for the exciting book, the Gospel of John and thank You moreover for the great work of the Holy Spirit done in every heart of those who love You tonight.
In Jesus' name, Amen!