24.3 John – Message to the Zealots

In each generation there are code names for political thought that carry significant meaning at the time, but may become lost to future generations.  Take terms like liberal or conservative.  These have meaning to us today.  But will they mean the same to future generations?  Nazi, Whig, Rabbits, Mules.  Some have meaning today, some we have not idea what they were or what they stood for.

Take the Zealots of Jesus time.  This was what we might consider a radical group of Jews who held to the idea of an earthly Jewish King who would come in power and glory and defeat the Romans with power and might and the sword.

Interesting to note that Jesus’ Apostles weren’t all the fishermen we often think of.  They also included Matthew, the tax collector who had served the Roman government and Simon the Zealot, both of whom had been in the room with Jesus while he prayed and both of whom would be among the disciples who would scatter this very night.

But in this hour of darkness, Jesus holds out a very special message to the zealots of the day.  Jesus makes it very clear that it is by design and fulfillment of the scriptures that God has chosen for Him to be taking this path.  It is not because of weakness.  With a word, legions of angels would appear in full battle regalia.  Jesus specifically tells people to put away the sword and, in a bigger message explains that those who live by the sword die by the sword.

While we may not see the meaning, it would have been clear in that day and age that Jesus was sending a message to the Zealots – I am the Messiah, and we will not be attacking the Romans with sword we will be attacking and overcoming death with His sacrifice on the cross.

My Answers:

6.
He turned Himself over willingly.  He asked that all others be released.  He told Peter to put away the sword.

7.
That when He rose from the dead He would go to Galilee, that all would fall away, that He prayed in the garden and they kept falling asleep, that He saw His betrayer coming, that He was betrayed with a kiss, that He commanded Judas to do what he came for and called him friend, that He had legions of angels at His disposal, that He didn’t call them so scripture would be fulfilled, that all the disciples deserted Him

8.
It was fully within His control.  He willfully submitted to to what must transpire

24.2 John – The light of truth

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Seek Unity and you will find neither Unity nor Truth.  Seek the light of truth, and you will find Unity and Truth.”

The truth of these words is magnified in the actions of Jesus in John 17-18.  Jesus prayed to the Father for unity of believers, not just with each other but in Him as He is in the Father and the Father is in Him.

But, in the hour of darkness, He demonstrates that the path to unity is not by yielding to darkness or compromising with evil, but by shining the light of truth.  Jesus is truth.  He told Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

Jesus was alone with His accusers.  You or I could have been tempted to yield, to hedge our statements, to cushion the words to paint them into shades that could have allowed the darkness to hide within.  We were out of earshot of our followers.  But, not our Lord.  Jesus knew and showed us that the path to what He seeking, the unity of the Holy Spirit, is not found through darkness of any sort, it is found only in the light of truth.

My Answers:

3.
He went to a place known to Judas, He approached (not run away from) the soldiers, He announced Himself to His would-be captors, He told Peter to put away the sword, He said “shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”, He went with them

4.
We see that He was slapped and that He will be beaten, tortured and crucified.  Everyday He had taught in the open, not hidden.  But many other times, when it was not “the hour” Jesus had walked away from those who sought to hurt and stone Him.  This time the hour of darkness had come and Jesus allowed Himself to undergo all their wickedness

5.
Even in the face of unlawfulness and abuse and ridicule, Jesus spoke only the truth.

23.5 John – Jesus Prayer, part 2 – the dance

I love the image that Timothy Keller painted in his book, The Reason for God, of the divine dance that is so beautifully illustrated in our verses today.  In the beginning, man was made in the image of God and was invited to participate in the dance.  It is a beautiful and eternal dance, one where each partner of the Trinity is in constant motion with the other, complementing and leading and bending and twisting, and supporting and relaxing in a completely fluid and beautiful dance.  Adam and Eve participated in this at the beginning of creation.  They were with God fully, hearings, seeing, touching, together in creation and the glory and holiness of the everything that God had created for them to be part of this dance.

Until they day that they stopped dancing with God, because they had made the decision that they wanted to be god instead.  When sin entered, they stopped, they stopped listening to the music of the heavens, they stopped moving in synchronicity with God, they just stopped.  The dancefloor of Eden was no place for someone who wasn’t going to dance and they were cast out.

But, Jesus’ prayer of Joh 17:20-26 is for us, those who were not with Him but who believe because of the words and works of those who were in that room with Jesus that night (including Jesus himself!).  It is a prayer that God, again, bring us back into the dance.

Look at the beauty of Jesus’ words in this passage, “I in them and you in me so that they may be brought to complete unity”, “all of them may be one”, “Father, just as you are in me and I am in you may they also be in us”, “I have given them the glory that you gave me that they may be one as we are one” .  Do you see the motion of the dance in these words, the spinning, holding, connecting that is the glory of God?

My Answers:

11.
That all believers (then and now) may be one as the Father and Son are one.  In God so that the world may believe.
Restored to our original state.
There is one (body, spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, God, Father, overall all through all in all

12.
John 17 is Jesus prayer for His disciples, as the high priest prayed to God in the temple and offered sacrifices for the atonement of sin, Jesus brought them forth to God to receive the sacrifice that He was going to make on their behalf

13.
Unity that is unity in God

23.4 John – Jesus’ prayer, part I

Every military movie I have ever seen seems to have at least one scene where people are marching through enemy territory.  And, it never fails that one brave leader is given the job of taking “point”, heading up the procession and another is given “the rear” to keep a watch that no one slips up from behind.

I thought of this as I read Jesus’ prayer in these verses where He asks God to sanctify and protect those who belong to Him.  Sanctification is leading us on the path to holiness.  We don’t know the way because we are not holy, but God does.  Our job is to follow, He has the lead.

But Jesus doesn’t just ask Him to lead us into sanctification, He also asks Him to take the rear and protect us as well.  In my life at least, this seems to be where evil and temptation lurks.  It doesn’t confront me head on as I’m marching forward with God at the lead.  It tries to sneak up and nip at my Achilles’ heel.  It comes up behind me and whispers a passing comment, or just lurking causing a sense of fear or dread or doubt.

Remembering and repeating this prayer is important to me.  It helps me with the image and acknowledgement is not just at the head, but He can be in multiple places at the same time and can be leading and taking the rear.  He can encase me from harm front, back and on all sides.

My Answers:

8.
a.
For protection, to keep them safe, to sanctify them by the truth, to have them be sent into the world (as Jesus was)

b.
Pentecost – that although persecuted, they came together and were indwelled by the H/S and spoke boldly to those gathered and brought many to faith that very day.

9.
For them, eternal life had already begun.  They were no longer shackled by sin, they had been set free because of faith

10.
To be made holy, set apart for God, chosen, a treasured possession, a gift, to not conform but be transformed, a new self, a new creation, to be disciplined, to arise out of the destruction of the world, to be without fault and a great joy

23.3 John – Gift

Gifts are great.  I’m not talking about the mass-consumerism obligatory gift giving that society means.  I’m talking about the emotion involved in having taken the time to find, or better yet make, a heartfelt gift and presenting it to another person in love.

For example, my wife is a quilter.  She loves to craft an item of beauty that can be used (not just displayed) and last a lifetime.  But what she loves to do the most is to pray while constructing a quilt.  Each clip, each stitch, each block, is a physical manifestation of prayer offered to God for the individual or family receiving the quilt.

I think this is how we are as gifts from the Father to the Son.  It isn’t just the finished product of our lives that will live with Jesus for all eternity, but it is the snipping and clipping and stitching work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  It is the joining together of blocks that make up family and community and church.  It is the embellishment of different colors of stitches through the stages of our lives and the special flourishes that make is into a gift.  I think it is even the prayers offered in the times the Holy Spirit has to rip out stitches, not because of his mistakes but because of our resistance to the direction we are supposed to go.

Our lives may look like a bunch of mixed up, mismatched and ragged pieces, but the work of the Father through the Holy Spirit shapes us into a gift that is a blessing to His son.

My Answers:

6.
They are a gift from God.  Jesus invested them with the words that were a gift to Him from God.  They are shared by Jesus and His Father

7.
a.
Because it is through the believers in Jesus that the light of Jesus’ divinity shines in the world.  The disciples are a gift and a testament.  They are the witnesses

b.
By living in the image of Christ, by praise Him, to spread the message, to rejoice greatly, to be refined by fire, to praise, glory and honor Jesus and – through so doing – to reveal Him to others

23.2 John – More than a noun

Nouns are interesting things.  They are the word or words we give to put a name to a thing.  But they are horribly incomplete.  For example, the noun house has a completely different meaning to me than it does to you or that it would to someone in another of the world.  When you example it, that is true for many if not most nouns.  And, while that is fine for many nouns, it is not for the noun, God.  You don’t have your god and I have my god, there is one true God and the way we know Him is either the truth or it is wrong.

Jesus was the physically embodiment of God.  By knowing Jesus and the decisions, choices, actions he took and the words he chose we collectively see the attributes of the one true God.

But this is far more than just knowing about those things, as we might read in a History book, it is knowing them as windows into the attributes that are God.  When we say, as scripture does, that God is Love, through the life of Jesus we see what that means lived out.  God is not a static point in time, but a living being and each element/attributes gives us more clarity on the truth of God.

As we participate in our bible study this week, I think it is important to recognize that to study Jesus is to Experience God.  Jesus is living, He is alive in us and with us.  We have the word of scripture including His words to experience what it was like to sit in that upper room and have Jesus pray over us

But that experience requires more than a passing task oriented approach.  It requires prayer.  It requires an open heart and mind.  It requires an encounter with Jesus, coming into His presence, which always causes us to recognize our own sins and confess and repent of them.   It is getting in there with Jesus and loving like He does, and forgiving like we ask for forgiveness and trusting in Him for our daily food and daily life.

My Answers:

3.
Honor, give praise, to recognize and point out the holy nature, to identify and recognize God’s presence.

4.
a.
To know Jesus is to see God, not a man, it is to know the verb not just the noun.

b.
It isn’t something that begins in the future, it is something that started the day my eyes were open to the truth.  I know God now, not just after I die.  I grow to know God more and Jesus Christ, every day.  Eternal life has already begun.

5.
Jesus was in creation, all things were made through Him.  He contained the full glory of God, and sat it down to come to earth for us.  After conquering death and fulfilling the restoration of mankind, He returned to His place in the throne room of heaven.  He is the radiance of God’s glory (Shekinah)

22.5 John – Going along vs. being a target

Is it enough to know and believe what is right?

That is a challenge Christians have always faced and one that we face today.  “The crowd” in whatever form or name you choose to give it (popular opinion, the state, the authorities, the man, the world) is always going in a direction and, let’s face it, in a big picture view, it is pretty much always going in the wrong direction.  Without the influence of the church, the world becomes more and more immoral.

We know, as Christians, that we are not to “go along with the crowd”.  But, taking a stand, speaking up, makes you a target for trouble.  That trouble may be disassociation.  It may be labeled as “hating” (which is ironic, since it is normally an act of love and caring for others over self that prompts one to take a stand).  It may mean financial, verbal, legal or even physical persecution.  In some parts of the world, it may mean imprisonment and even death.

But where is the line between silent protest and silent acquiescence?  Where is the difference between staying and fighting and shaking the sand from our sandals and moving on to where people are listening to the conviction of the Holy Spirit?

As we look at the words Jesus told to the disciples, that in their own ways each of them would abandon Him, we are convicted in the ways that we too abandon Jesus in our approach to the world of “get along, go along.”

But, I think the answer to this is also provided in these same verses.  We are called to pray by “asking in Jesus’ Name.”  I think that has far less to do with the words we pray and more to do with what we pray for.  We have a very big tendency to pray for ourselves.  I’m not saying that is not allowed, but it isn’t the entire picture.  What if more of our prayers were for Jesus to be glorified?  What if more of our prayers were for Jesus to be made known to non-believers? What if more of our prayers were for other sheep to be found?  What if more of our prayers were for the missionaries who are dedicating their lives to their calling?  What is more of our prayers were for our pastors, our leaders, our judges, our courts, our teachers, our civil servants, our doctors?

What if we stand firm not in spite or to make a point and not with thoughts about becoming a target or raising the attack of others, but because by standing firm we provide strength to that other believer who thought they were alone?

Speaking up and taking a stand always brings troubles.  But, nothing can be brought to bear that Jesus has not already overcome.  Not only has He overcome it, but, by the presence and seal of the Holy Spirit, He has already overcome it in our lives in our situation in our time.

My Answers:

11.
a.
To ask for the things that Jesus would ask for and for them to come for His recognition and glory.

b.
Steadiness.  A solid daily witness through words and actions.  Help and guidance in the things he has entrusted to me (particularly the people, i.e., family members).  For a giving heart.

12.
Any level of persecution is a test.  Also the temptation to “go along with the crowd” when others are acting or saying things that are not Christ honoring.

13.
There is nothing here that is stronger than Jesus.  He has overcome not only His own death, but also all the problems and troubles the world may ever dish out to me.

22.4 John – OK to Ask

My daughter recently changed to a new school and there was one particular problem or topic in chemistry that wasn’t clicking for her.  She went through the practice exercises in the homework.  She read the textbook.  She asked other students.  She asked her parents (not that I was any help in that regard).  She even looked on line.  But, there were still questions.  Then she stayed after school one day and asked the teacher.  The teacher very patiently and thoroughly went through it with her in different ways and perspectives, even to the extent of basically giving her a copy of the upcoming test and coaching her through it.  And, now she understands it (and aced the test!).

In our verses today, Jesus reminds us that it is OK to just ask the teacher.  We can read the bible.  We can fast and meditate.  We can seek counsel of others.  But, we can also just ask God.  He is patient.  Just as we saw in verse 12, he is not going to burden us with more than we can bear.  He wants us to grow and learn and understand.  This is not some mystery or riddle that is a trick for us to go decipher.  Jesus wants us to know and understand it.  He wants our eyes to be open and our thoughts to be clear.

I am not saying to throw out your bible and cut ties with other believers just to rely on divine inspiration.  Reading the bible and talking to others, just like reading the textbook and discussing with other classmates, provides a foundation and basis for the Teacher to pour understanding into our lives.

 My Answers:

8.
The time when He is dead and in the tomb.  The time of His resurrection.
While Laz was in the tomb they did not see, Him, but He came out at Jesus’ calling and was seen again and ate and lived with them.
Could also mean the time between His Ascension and Pentecost.
Could also mean the time between His Ascension and the Second Coming

9.
Jesus showed his compassion by answering their unasked questions.  He said they would morn, this is their time of mourning, they would have grief and would weep, but it would pass and a time of joy would replace it, a time of rejoicing

10.
I ponder it and sometimes as others.  He says to ask God in His name.

22.3 John – VoJ

In theater and stage the unseen voice of an announcer or narrator is often referred to as the V.O.G. or Voice of God.  In our lesson today we learn that the Holy Spirit also speaks as the Voice of Jesus.

In verse 13 we read, “He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears”.

Don’t miss the depth of the love and self-sacrifice that line of scripture tells us about the Holy Spirit.

It brings to mind Team Hoyt, the father who has pushed his disabled son through more than 30 marathons for the joy on the son’s face.  Or even a translator or interpreter who gives up the things they have to say purely to sign or say the things being spoken by another.

The Holy Spirit is God, just as much God as the Father or the Son.  Yet, He purposefully and intentionally gives up His own words in our life to relay the words of Jesus.  He is the voice of Jesus in our souls, in our day to day lives.  He is the model of trust and reliance of our Lord for the words.

Why?  To bring glory to the Son and to the Father.  Verse 14: “He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.”

Wow!

My Answers:

5.
We know the Bible is true because Jesus promised the Spirit of truth would guide the disciples who wrote it.

6.
He does so through a self sacrifice.  Instead of speaking on His own, He speaks to men only what Jesus tells Him and Jesus tells Him the words that belong tot he Father.  In this way, Jesus is eternally glorified.

7.
speaks to us in the words of Christ.  I need Him for every part of life but in particular daily direction, guidance on how to pray, work on my heart to be more submissive to God and patience to wait for God’s timing.

22.2 John – Coaching: Right Things, Right Way, Right Path

The Holy Spirit is truly Amazing.  The Holy Spirit is God and has all the attributes of God, but the way He interacts with our life is in such a deeply personal and “pouring into” fashion, that He truly reshapes our lives to make us into something and someone we could not be otherwise.

Our passage today discusses the special job that the Holy Spirit holds to “prove the world to be wrong.”  Furthermore, it goes on to explain this is specifically in the areas of sin, righteousness and judgment.  But what does mean?

In this regard, I think of the Holy Spirit as our perfect coach.  First He convicts us and teaches us about doing the right thing.  What is the right thing?  It is the opposite of the wrong thing.  The wrong thing is sin.  It is “doing” in all ways, in actions, in words, in thoughts.  He not only shows us what is sin, but more vitally, He teaches and coaches us to not sin, to do the right things.

Doing the right things is a good step, but it is not enough.  Every coach knows, it is not practice that improves, it is proper practice that improves.  Doing the right thing the wrong way is not going to make you better at a sport, at life or at eternal life.  The Holy Spirit shows us that our “righteousness”, the way we think we are doing right and that right is “good enough”, is wrong.  He coaches us to put our trust not in our own wits and strengths and talents, but in “the Word.”

In football, a player who trains hard, runs the perfect pattern, catches the perfect pass, perfectly dodges the tacklers and remains on his feet while running at top speed finds that it is all for nothing if he is not also going the correct direction.  The Holy Spirit coaches us not only in the areas of sin (right things), righteousness (right way), but also judgment (right path).  We are all on a path to judgment, just as a football player is on a path to an end-zone, whichever direction he goes.

In the chaos of life, it can become challenging to know which path is the right path.  We can easily get focused on just doing right things.  We can lock ourselves away to attempt to avoid temptation.  We can also easily get focused just on doing things the right way.  We can dedicate day and night to our own spiritual feeding, to taking in the word and memorizing it.  Neither of these things are bad or wrong at times, but we need the Holy Spirit to remind and guide us to the finish line.  That finish line may not be all about us.  Our goal line may be about bringing someone else to faith.  Our goal line may be about strengthening the faith of another.  Our goal line may not involve words, but the kind act that we did to show someone the love of Jesus.  Every day we may have the opportunity to cross another goal line, not for our glory but for His.

My Answers:

3.
a.
He would send the Holy Spirit to them (also, they would be saved from the consequences of sin through His redemptive sacrifice)

b.
As today because He is fully glorified through the sacrifice that He made.  I have Jesus in me and He is simultaneously in millions of others, where at that time He was physically bound to one place and time.

4.
Sin: Convicts the world of the darkness of sin – all have sinned despite denial
Righteousness: To convict that our “righteous acts” are insufficient and incomplete
Judgment: A call to repent and open eyes to the path on which we tread – a path of sin