29.5 John – John’s Big WHY

There are any number of business and self-help books and experts that discuss “knowing your why”. It is called many things. Defining your mission, vision and objectives. Setting goals and targets. Defining your motivation. Know your destination. Stay in your lane. Be the ball. (okay, maybe not be the ball, but I was on a roll).

But, like many of the things of scripture, John turns this whole notion on its head.

See, almost all of those other writings and talks and experts and consultants are focused on the WII-FM. “What is in it for me?” That is the motivator. What’s in it for you? What are you getting out of it? If you aren’t getting something out of it, why are you doing it?

But John closes the book of John with this. I am writing this not for me, but for you. Jesus did many other things, but I’m writing these down so that YOU MAY BELIEVE and that believing you too might be saved.

John is already saved at the time he is writing this. John is a follower of Jesus. John has already begun eternal life. John does not write the book for fame or fortune. He writes it for us. He didn’t write it as a WII-FM. He wrote it so that some person a couple of thousand years in the future in a land he didn’t even know existed might also become a brother or sister to Jesus Christ for all eternity.

It has challenged my thinking on why I write this blog. At first it was for me, to think in my writing and to shape my own thoughts. But, I also hope and pray that it may someday and somehow help one other person in their walk with our Lord. That is a “why” with eternal consequences.

My Answers:

12.

So that others may believe and in believing have life through Jesus – He is the way, the truth and the life.

 

13.

My faith has been deepened and filled.

 

29.3 John – I am Peter

In these last chapters of John, over and over again I have found myself identifying with Peter. Sometimes I slow and other people race ahead of me. Sometimes, when I start on a path, I have a hard time stopping and rush into places that other people pause to investigate first. Sometimes I jump right into a new direction leaving others to finish the work at hand. Sometimes I have to be told something three times to get. Sometimes when I warned about something by those who love me the most I argue with them instead of listening. Sometimes I have doubts and feel like I’m starting to sink.

But, also, like Peter, I have seen our Lord reach out a hand and save me over and over again in these circumstances.

So, for all the other Peters out there, I think it is particularly important to pay attention to these directions from Jesus to Peter. Feed my little lambs, shepherd my sheep, feed my sheep. I don’t know if any of you have raised livestock, but, if you haven’t… they eat every day! That may not seem like a revelation to you, but, is it how we exercise this instruction? For most of us we look at shepherding others as a sometimes thing, not a daily thing. We go on a missions trip. We serve in VBS or Sunday School. We donate to good causes. There is nothing wrong with those things, but, if that is our definition of feeding the sheep, it is like dumping a truck load of feed and leaving the sheep untended for a couple of weeks.

That isn’t the example that Jesus set for us. Give us this day our monthly bread is not how the prayer goes.

But doing daily life with sheep is messy. Other people have just as many problems as we do and, well, sometimes they are stinky, too. But it is being there for others even during the messy times that really demonstrates the love of Christ to them.

Having said all of this, it is also important to note that Jesus did not give the sheep to Peter, he only gave him one single job to do, feed them. He didn’t say, “feed your sheep”. Peter is not the master of the sheep, Jesus is. Peter is not the Shepherd of the sheep, He is a helpful neighbor and friend to the Shepherd. Peter is not in charge of all of the other things that go along with selecting the sheep, raising the sheep, providing pastures, providing shelter, providing safety, shearing, etc, etc, etc. He just needs to keep an eye on them and fill the feed trough with the food that the master provides.

Sometimes we hesitate to take on a job of helping others because we don’t want to be “in charge” of them. Jesus makes this clear to Peter: do your job, I’m still in charge, they are my sheep.

My Answers:

In these last chapters of John, over and over again I have found myself identifying with Peter. Sometimes I slow and other people race ahead of me. Sometimes, when I start on a path, I have a hard time stopping and rush into places that other people pause to investigate first. Sometimes I jump right into a new direction leaving others to finish the work at hand. Sometimes I have to be told something three times to get. Sometimes when I warned about something by those who love me the most I argue with them instead of listening. Sometimes I have doubts and feel like I’m starting to sink.

But, also, like Peter, I have seen our Lord reach out a hand and save me over and over again in these circumstances.

So, for all the other Peters out there, I think it is particularly important to pay attention to these directions from Jesus to Peter. Feed my little lambs, shepherd my sheep, feed my sheep. I don’t know if any of you have raised livestock, but, if you haven’t… they eat every day! That may not seem like a revelation to you, but, is it how we exercise this instruction? For most of us we look at shepherding others as a sometimes thing, not a daily thing. We go on a missions trip. We serve in VBS or Sunday School. We donate to good causes. There is nothing wrong with those things, but, if that is our definition of feeding the sheep, it is like dumping a truck load of feed and leaving the sheep untended for a couple of weeks.

That isn’t the example that Jesus set for us. Give us this day our monthly bread is not how the prayer goes.

But doing daily life with sheep is messy. Other people have just as many problems as we do and, well, sometimes they are stinky, too. But it is being there for others even during the messy times that really demonstrates the love of Christ to them.

Having said all of this, it is also important to note that Jesus did not give the sheep to Peter, he only gave him one single job to do, feed them. He didn’t say, “feed your sheep”. Peter is not the master of the sheep, Jesus is. Peter is not the Shepherd of the sheep, He is a helpful neighbor and friend to the Shepherd. Peter is not in charge of all of the other things that go along with selecting the sheep, raising the sheep, providing pastures, providing shelter, providing safety, shearing, etc, etc, etc. He just needs to keep an eye on them and fill the feed trough with the food that the master provides.

Sometimes we hesitate to take on a job of helping others because we don’t want to be “in charge” of them. Jesus makes this clear to Peter: do your job, I’m still in charge, they are my sheep.

My Answers:

6.

Redemption for Peter’s denial. Peter was a man of action, do you love me more than all this doing?

 

7.

He knows me as only an intimate Lord would and could. He provides and guides. He gives me meaningful work. He tests me but redeems me.

 

8.

All believers have failed. We all have someone we can care for, nourish, provide for. Life is too important to do it alone.

 

29.2 John – Work and Food

There are so many great lessons in the story of the fishing expedition found at the end of John and so many applications for life. I think this is one of those stories that every time you read it, as you continue your walk in faith, more is uncovered and revealed. I’m going to touch on just a few that were particularly meaningful to me.

To not be frustrated in the ministry field. If we are believers in Jesus Christ we are all also missionaries whether near or far. As missionaries, it is very easy to face times when, to use the analogy of our lesion, the fish just aren’t biting. We are praying earnestly for people, we are living among the people, we are talking and sharing and making community with them, and… they aren’t changing. I know missionaries in foreign lands who spend years and may not have a single person that they can point to who they have witnessed being saved. It is easy to say, this is a dry lake, there just aren’t any fish here. Maybe I should give up. Maybe I should just move on. But, from the lesson today we see it is not us, we aren’t doing anything wrong. It is not the lake. It is not the fish. It is not the location. It is not any of these things. The water on one side of the boat is not any different than the water on the other side of the boat in the middle of a lake. The fish will come when the fish come. The believers will be saved, when they will be saved. Think how it would have been if the fishermen on the boat said, “we’ve already fished in that spot over a hundred times, we’re tired and coming ashore.” Instead, they threw out the net one more time and the harvest was more abundant than they could have imagined, yet no wear and tear at all on the nets.

Don’t get so absorbed in work that you miss the Lord. When the nets filled, the men on the boat got to work. It is no easy or quick task to haul in the nets. Only John recognized that they friend on the shore was the Lord. How often do I go through my days focused on my to-do list and inbox? I get heads down, going from thing to thing, sometimes even praying in the midst of it as I bet the fisherman were, (thank you Lord for this abundance and please help us not tear the nets). But in the process of my business and busy-ness, I completely miss Jesus standing there talking to me and waiting for me.

The image of Jesus may not be what you expect. There is a part of this whole recognizing Jesus, but not wanting to ask Him if He was Jesus, part of the story that is a little bit strange and confusing, but I think there is also a message in it to me. The Lord and the people He may be sending to me and teach me and to have me feed may not look like what my expectation of them is. Who I am, where I live, what I do impacts my viewpoint of what Jesus is going to look like in my day. But, if we learn anything from the bible, our perspectives and God’s perspectives are not normally the same. Jesus to me this day may be a blind man, He may be a man from another country who does not speak my language. He may be a rich man. He may be a poor man. He may be a woman and not a man. Race, politics, power, wealth, privilege. Whatever the idea I may have in my head of how Jesus is going to show up today in my life to have communion and build the body of the church is probably dead wrong. So, what should I do? See everyone I encounter the way Jesus sees them.

Be feed then love then minister. The biggest insight for me was that Jesus was waiting, with a fire, with food, for the disciples at the side of the lake, but they had to come to Him. It makes me wonder how many mornings go by that Jesus us waiting for me, fire built, food ready for fellowship and to feed my soul, but I rush right past Him because of all of the “more important” things on my to-do list for the day.

My Answers:

3.

They disciples continued to hang out, Peter decided to go fishing and others followed. Fished all night but didn’t catch anything. Man calls from shore, they obey, John recognizes Jesus first, but Peter takes action first. Peter drags fish ashore (153). They eat together (still not really recognizing Jesus but having faith)

 

4.

Appeared, waited, called to them, guided, through His actions and words allowed himself to be recognized, prepared a fire and food, accepted their food, fed them

 

5.

Look for the Lord in my work, sit and eat with Him

 

28.5 John – Doubts

What a blessing Thomas is to the church, to all believers and to all who will become believers.  In some area of our life, we are all Thomas.

God, I know you are in charge, but please show me.  God, I know you are sovereign but things seem pretty messed up from my perspective.  God, I know you will not give me more than I can stand up under, but I’m past my limit.

Thomas did not deny Jesus.  He didn’t even deny the other disciples.  He just said, I need to see it.  And, on the first day of the next week, Jesus appears and lets him see.  Now, think about this, Jesus was under no obligation to show Thomas.  He was under no obligation to treat this man differently than any other man of any other time.  He didn’t owe Thomas.  But, He loved Thomas.  He knew Thomas and He wanted Thomas to believe.

Jesus knows us.  Jesus loves us.  Jesus wants us, too, to believe.  This story is so moving to us because we all can related to Thomas.  As the father said to Jesus in Mark 9:4, “Lord, I believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”.  We all have areas of doubt.  These aren’t even over Jesus or heaven, but doubts about how God can love us in the midst of our sin, how He can love His church in the midst of its brokenness, how He can use someone like me to witness to others much less to lead or teach.  We have doubts that don’t begin with who He is but begin with who we are.  So did Thomas.  I need to see.  I need to touch.  Then I will believe.

And, just like Thomas, Jesus comes to each of us as well.  Jesus is not the truth because we believe.  We believe because He is the truth.

What are the doubts that create shadows in your life?  The things that you hold back from God or putting fully in His hands?  The things that you want to trust, but you seem to not be able to let go.  The wrongs that have been done to you but you haven’t been able to forgive?

When you let go of you doubts, notice that isn’t overcome them, but let go of them and entrust them to Jesus, then your belief is made stronger and then you find peace.  Not only that but you receive a special blessing from Jesus.  Blessed are those who have not seen yet still believe.

A pastor once said he felt sorrow for the members of his church who did not attend service.  It wasn’t because of the songs and definitely not for the sermon, but to him, it was because they closed every service with a benediction, a blessing.  Blessings are really big deals in the bible.  Why would anyone purposefully miss out on receiving a blessing?  Don’t miss out on the one from Jesus because you want to hold on to doubt instead.

My Answers:

12.
S: Dedicated to Jesus (willing to die for Him) – W: very tied to the physical world, focus on life/death, physically knowing the way Jesus was going to the Father, need to see, hear and touch to believe.

I often don’t see the spiritual implications because of a focus on the physical

13.
Jesus knew what he had said and showed up to him (personally but with others present behind locked doors), told him to put your finger here, see my hands… stop doubting and believe – Thomas responded “My Lord and my God”

14.
Caused me to ask, what do I not believe?  How does doubt hinder my belief.  “help me overcome my unbelief.” Mark 9:4

28.4 John – Peace and Power

When Jesus arrives to the disciples on the first evening He presents them with two gifts and commands:  Peace and Power.

Let’s look at power first. The power, or authority, that He gave to them was to forgive sins.  Specifically, He said, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”  I think we miss just how big of a deal this is.  Looking back to Mark 5:17-26 we see Jesus’ first major confrontation with the Pharisees.  The point of conflict was over a paralyzed man.  Jesus was was teaching in a house, surrounded by a number of people including the Pharisees and teachers and “the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.”  Some men brought the paralyzed man and, finding no other way to get him to Jesus, lowered him on his mat through the tiles on the roof.  When Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralyzed man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”  This immediately caused a divide with the Pharisees.  As they read Isaiah 43, this was blasphemy.  Only God can forgive sins.  Fast forward to this first night of the resurrection and we see Jesus empower the disciples with this exact same authority.

But are they, or better question, am I, prepared for the responsibility of forgiving sins or not forgiving sins?  Who am I to judge?  How can a sinner forgive another sinner?  How can a forgiver not forgive another sinner?  The very prayer that Jesus taught the disciples to pray says, forgive us as we forgive others.  I am not capable of this level of responsibility.

Which leads us to the second gift that Jesus gave first, the gift of peace.  Jesus didn’t just speak these words, but He breathed peace onto the assembled group in the form of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ words to them convey a much bigger meaning.  He is saying all that I have I not only make available, but I share with you as if it is yours.  All the provision, all the strength, all the power, all the glory, all the time and love and (keep going) that I have is yours.  Let’s take it to the extreme… you even have the power to forgive sin or not forgive sin.  That is what He is saying.  With the presence and peace of the Holy Spirit, we are united as one with Jesus and the Father.  This is what He spoke of at the last supper.  This is not a deputization of the apostles or a delegation to them, it is bigger and more personal  It is Jesus saying to them, even at the extreme of forgiving sins, we are now connected in peace in the Holy Spirit and we are one, brothers, family, saints, eternal.

My Answers:

9.
a.
He was patient with them and allowed them to see, hear, touch and be with him

b.
By being patient with me

10.
showed hands and feet, talked to them, Asked for food, ate with them in their presence, with them over a period of 40 days, appeared to all of them and to over 500 others, lots of eye witnesses

11.
Priv
They were the only ones to receive this gift directly from Jesus with His breath and His words

Auth
Only God has the authority to forgive sins, yet, He has authorized these disciples with this authority

Power
Power comes from Peace, the words of Jesus and the Holy Spirit

Message
Peace, as the Father sent Jesus, He sends the Disciples, receive the H/S.  Authority over the forgiveness of sin (both ways)

28.3 John – One of us so that we can be one with Him

I love that Jesus looked like a gardener to Mary Mag!  Whenever we picture seeing Jesus we tend to imagine the “blinding light”, “celestial singing”, “booming voice” encounter.  Jesus is God and those are all appropriate, but, it is not the way that He manifested Himself upon His resurrection.

I’m not contradicting that fact that God is God and we are not and that God is to be honored, revered and feared.  But, we can get so hung up on that image of God sometimes that it interferes with the relationship that God wants and expects.  We are His creation, made in His image.  Jesus came to earth and became a man, fully man, born of a woman and raised from an infant to a man.  While God is our King of King and Lord of Lords, He is, as Jesus said, also our Father.

Jesus comforted Mary and revealed Himself to her not with bolts of lightning, but by calling her by name, by being personal and real to and with her.  He didn’t tell her to go tell His servants or His subjects.  He told her to go to “my brothers.”  He spoke of His Father as “my Father and your Father, my God and your God.”

Jesus did not die and rise again from the grave so that He could be God.  He was already God!  He did it so that we could be fully brothers and sisters with Him, FAMILY.

We all long for family.  Many have very broken families on earth, partly because of the longing that we have for safety and love and support and the fact that our earthly families have not always fulfilled those things.  But, we also have a family with Jesus.  He wants to be, and is, the perfect brother to us – always there, always loving, always helping and healing.  Our Father wants to be, and is, the perfect Father, seeking only our best interests in love and provision.

There are so many rich and deep analogies of the image of Jesus as the gardener.  They fact that he tends to the garden of our heart, that He removes the weeds that hinder the growth of our faith, that He not only plants good seeds but that He himself became the seed that died to spring forth in new life.  In John 19 we saw the reminder that sin entered the world in a garden (of Eden) and left the world in a garden (the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea).  In John 20 we see that the Gardener that was there from the beginning is still alive and well and very much as welcoming to His creation as He was when He walked and talked with Adam and Eve.

My Answers:

6.
spoke her name.  I was called by name to be a follower of Jesus.  He, too, knows my name and has written in the book of life

7.
During the time post resurrection, Jesus appears and disappears all in bodily form.  He also physically ascends to Heaven.  He may have gone back and forth to heaven to appear in the presence of His Father numerous times during this period.  (see Jacob’s ladder for physical ascent to heaven, see ascension of Jesus, see John 21, appears to them in a locked room)

8.
Go to my brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”

27.5 John – Resurrection

There were many, many events in the old testament that foretold and foreshadowed the events that we have read about this week: the suffering, death and burial of our Lord and Savior.  But, as Jesus was with His disciples the day before, breaking bread and drinking wine, he gave the “go forward” reminders as well.  He told them, whenever you eat or drink, do it in remembrance of me.  Don’t just remember me, but do it in my honor, in my memory.

Our lesson today mentioned on ritual many families observe of burying the dead.  We place the bodies of departed family members into the grave, not for some mystic ritual, but because it reminds us that our savior also went into the grave, and, like Him, we fully expect all of His followers to rise again.

But this remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus is not and should not be limited to a time of death.  When a baptism occurs, the new believer goes into the water and comes out a new person, a person who has begun eternal life.

We can do this in some many other ways that does not have to be limited to activities in a church:  sleeping and waking, bathing, going in to and emerging from a house, going in to an emerging from a building, the darkness of night replaced by the brightness of day, the cold of winter replaced by the new birth of spring.

What if you looked at each new day with the attitude that when you wake from sleep, you are awakening in the honor of our Lord’s death and resurrection.  What if your first thoughts of the day were not on your to-do list or even on how creaky your bones felt, but on remembrance and thanks to Jesus for rising in a way that, without Him, we could not?

My Answers:

12.
He was not left to decay, but partially prepared for burial and placed in a sealed tomb
He was given a grave of a rich man who belonged to the council that demanded his murder
It was a new grave, unused, with no other bodies in it

13.
Because the body decays and is no longer of use to us after life.  In the same way, in baptism, our old selves are buried with Jesus but we are resurrected into a new life

27.4 John – In Secret

The serpent in the garden was described as being crafty.  When we sin, we often think we, too, are very crafty in our secrets and lies.  We think our sin is secret and doesn’t impact anyone else.  We think our sin is secret and not evident to others.  We think our sin is secret and doesn’t affect our relationships, especially our relationship with God.  But secrets are never truly secret – it is all just a crafty deception by the father of all lies that leads us to believe that we are crafty deceivers too.

I thought of this as I thought about Joseph of Arimathea working secretly.  Let’s see how that went.  Pilate knew, since he had to ask.  The soldiers knew, since they would have had to lower Jesus from the cross.  The servants of J of A knew, because they would have been tasked with helping move the body.  Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council knew, since he came to help.  His servants knew, since he probably didn’t lug 75 pounds of spices by himself.  The apostles knew because some of the women followed and observed where he was being buried.  The Jewish rulers of the law knew because they requested Pilate post Roman guards at the entrance to the tomb, obviously also knowing which tomb.  The Romans also knew which tomb to stand guard.  God knew.

At this point, I’m not quite sure who wasn’t in on this secret!

Just a point to keep in mind when you look at the “secret things” in your own life.

My Answers:

9.
Joe, member of the council, good and upright (see description of Job: blameless and upright), from Arimathea, Judean town, waiting for the kingdom of God, had a grave.  Nick, Pharisee, member of Jewish ruling council, came to Jesus at night, asked q’s about being born again, J3:16 spoken to him.  Tried to get Jesus a more fair trial, but shouted down.  Neither man confessed following Jesus because of fear – “they loved human praise more than praise from God.”

10.
a.
They lost the ability to interact with Jesus.  They could not sit at his feet and learn, instead they had to hide in the shadows.  They were not a witness to others but sided with those who murdered Jesus.  They gained guilt by association.  They gained membership into the leadership council, but without any true voice in the council.  They gained status and praise of men.

b.
They risked being chastised and shunned by the religious leaders.  They risked being outed to them by others.  They risked being identified with Jesus followers.  They gained a place in history for their kindness (after the fact).  They gained the ability to repent of their part in Jesus’ murder and make minor restitution.  We don’t know their future

11.
fear of censure or ridicule by others.  Fear of being labeled with a lie.  Fear of mis-acting or mis-speaking. Prayerfully and boldly.

27.3 John – Dead or Alive

It makes sense to us, but it is a fact worth stating: to raise from the dead you must first truly be dead.  Our lesson this week does a nice job of looking at the evidence of this fact.

First is the fact that someone died on the cross.  For the Roman soldiers, this execution was not their first rodeo.  They knew a lot about crucifixion, execution and death.  The new the signs of life and of death having experienced it over and over again.  They not only pronounced him dead by observation, but initiated a more thorough bodily exam by piercing his side with a spear while he still hung on the cross.  The direction of the spear into someone suspended above the soldier would have pierced into his diaphragm, lungs and possibly even to his heart.  If he was still alive, air would have gasped through the wound from the lungs, blood would have pulsed out through the cut arteries, the man would have cried out, moaned, or at least reflexed from the incision.

Second, the body was taken down from the cross and buried.  But, before he was placed in a tomb alone for three days he was wrapped and packed in spices by two individuals who had permission from Pilate and who cared about the murdered man.  If he was still alive, they would have seen evidence and would not have placed him enshrouded in a sealed tomb by himself.  They would have whisked the body away to provide medical treatment, not left it in a tomb.

Third, now that it is established that someone died and was buried, could it have been someone other than Jesus.  Now this gets into a great conspiracy theory.  But when and how could the switch have been made.  When he was arrested Judas clearly knew who Jesus was and gave no indication by his subsequent suicide that he pointed to a counterfeit.  Peter’s response to the arrest is not in keeping with them masquerading someone else as Jesus, nor do the actions of the Apostles following the arrest.  Jesus, once in custody, does not leave the hands of the soldiers, so there is a consistent chain of custody.  Even in Pilate’s quarters, he is still surrounded by the guards who torture and mock him.  When he is on the cross he speaks to His mother and John who recognize Him and His voice.  Other women are present.  The Jewish Leaders, who have observed Jesus repeatedly and who watched Him ride in triumphantly less than a week before, recognize Him and believe He is Jesus of Nazareth.  Furthermore, even after He has died, all believe He is the one in the tomb, the Romans who post guards, the Jews who request the guards, the women who go the day after Passover to finalize preparations of His body, the Apostles who run to the empty tomb.

The fact that Jesus lived is cross referenced in many different writings, biblical and other historic documents and all attest to His life and death without dispute.

I think the evidence would support the fact that Jesus died on the cross.  We’ll discuss the evidence of what happens next another day.

My Answers:

6.
1. Roman soldiers knew about death on a cross.  2. His side was pierced and blood and water flowed out.  Depending on how deeply they pierced it may have pierced his lungs or heart as well.

To rise from the dead he had to be dead

7.
No broken bones, not left until morning, pierced for our transgressions

8.
Pierced for our transgressions, crushed for iniquities, our punishment was on him.  The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (scapegoat but He is the High Priest) – They will look on the one they have pierced and mourn, a fountain will be opened to the house of David to cleanse them from sin and impurity

 

27.2 John – Perfect Planning

In today’s lesson we see the stark contrast between man’s planning and God’s planning.  First, let’s look at the day from God’s planning, and then compare it to man’s.

At the moment of creation (and before if time existed), God knew that His creation would fall to sin and that a savior would be required, a savior who would need to be both fully God and fully part of the creation, man.  When He placed Adam and Eve in the garden He allowed free will, meaning they had to choose to obey or not, meaning there had to be a path available to disobedience.  He knew the serpent would tempt them.  When it happened He told them of His plan to send a son of Eve to crush the serpent’s head.  The books of the bible that we call the Old Testament, from this point forward, all point to that savior, the Messiah, the promised one, the King from the house of David, the scape goat, the pascal lamb, the sacrifice of blood in the garden to provide a covering of sin and as prescribed in the law through Moses.  Foretold over and over again through the prophets.  He knew Rome would overtake the Jews, introducing the torture and death of the cross.  He planned for His son to be born 33 years before.  He planned His ministry to begin three years prior.  He said over and again through Jesus the hour had not yet come, until, He announced in John 12 that the hour had now come.  He died on the cross at the exact moment on the exact day at the exact place that had been foretold and reminded year after year, the moment the Passover Lamb was killed outside of the gates of the city of Jerusalem.

On the other hand, after rushing out to capture Jesus the night before the Jews who captured Jesus and demanded His execution realized the process of crucifixion normally took 3 days and it was getting into the afternoon of the preparation day of the Passover and they needed to “speed things up”.

The next time we grow impatient with “God’s timing”, I think we need to keep in mind the depth of His plans versus the shallowness and naiveté of our own.

My Answers:

3.
To speed up their death (couldn’t prop themselves up to breath so they would die quicker).  The Sabbath was near (started at sundown) and they did not want to be in defiance of the law about leaving a body hanging on a pole overnight nor did they want to come into contact with a dead man.  Either would make them unclean.

4.
It was all for show.  Outward appearances, not inward transformation.  They were receiving all of their rewards and bringing others to harm through false teaching.

5.
His willingness to die.  If Christ did not die he could not have risen again.  If Christ had not died, the price for my sins would be left unpaid.  If Christ had not died He would not have been obedient to His Father