Monday, 31 March 2014

I Reading: Jeremiah 11:18-20: I was like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughter-house.
Gospel: John 7:40-52: Would Christ be from Galilee?
The Great Claim of Jesus and Divided Opinions about Him, Jn 7:37-53
This is a picture of the great claim of Jesus and the divided opinions about him. It is a picture that should cause every person to search his/her own response to Jesus.
1.    The feast day (v.37)
2.    The claims of Jesus (v.37-39)
a.    He is the source of life
b.    He is the source of abundant life
c.     He is the source of the Holy Spirit
3.    The people’s divided response (v.40-44)
a.    Many: the prophet
b.    Others: the Christ
c.     Some: questioned his birthplace and misinterpreted Scripture. They were wrong on two accounts:
1.    Jonah came from Galilee
2.    God is able to raise up prophets from anywhere He chooses
d.    Some: would take and do away with him
4.    The rulers’ response (v.45-53)
a.    Wished to remove him
1)    The officers were sent to arrest Jesus
2)    The officers’ response: he is a great Teacher
b.    Claimed he was a deceiver: charged the people with being mistaken and accursed
c.     Rejected him
1)    Nicodemus spoke up for him
2)    They rejected Nicodemus’ questions, misinterpreting Scripture
d.    Went to their own homes: lived as always
Thought: God does not force any person to subject himself to His Son. Every person has the freedom to live as he/she wishes, either for God or for self. The leaders chose to live for self. (Jn 3:36; 8:24; 3:1-15)

I Reading: Wisdom 2:1. 12-22: Let us condemn him to a shameful death.
Gospel: John 7: 1-2. 10. 25-30: They would have arrested him, but his time had not yet come.
The response of the People:
A Charge of Insanity, Yet Still Questioning, 7:20-31.
The third reaction or response to Jesus came from all the people- the pilgrims and the local residents of Jerusalem. The charges against Jesus ranged all the way from being demon-possessed to being a mere man. Jesus’ answer to all charges against Him was inclusive.
1.    The pilgrim’s response (v.20-24)
a.    Their response: Jesus was possessed by a demon, that is, insane
b.    Jesus’ reply: Doing good proves a man
1)    Circumcision is doing good: meets a religious and a ceremonial need of man
2)    Healing doing good: meets a personal and a bodily need of a man
3)    A principle: judge not superficially, think and consider
2.    The local residents’ response (25-31)
a.    Their response was questioning: Is this not He?
1)    Their questioning: Could He be the Messiah?
2)    Their conclusion: Unbelief-they knew him earthly origin
b.    Jesus’ reply: A pivotal claim
1)    He is a man
2)    He also came from God
3)    He knows God: Is from God-God sent Him- Consubstantial with God the Father (we profess in the Creed)
c.     The local people’s reaction
1)    Some disbelieve and reject
2)    Some believe

Thought: A person’s choice, his decision, must be made for Jesus Christ and not for religion and religious leaders. Christ is the Truth, not religion and its leaders. Religion and religious leaders are to follow Christ just as all other people are to follow Christ. Christ is the Lord and Master and the Messiah, not religion and its leaders.

I Reading: Exodus 32:7-14: Do not bring this disaster on your people.
Gospel: John 5:31-47: You place your in Moses; Moses will be your accuser.
The Five Witnesses to Jesus’ Authority and Power, Jn 5:31-39.
There are five witnesses to Jesus’ authority.
1.    One’s own testimony is unacceptable (v.31)
2.    The witness within: the Spirit (v.32)
3.    The witness of John the Baptist (v.33-35)
4.    The witness of miraculous works (v.36)
5.    The witness of God Himself (v.37-38)
6.    The witness of the Scriptures (v.39)

The Rejection of Jesus’ Claim, Jn 5:40-47.
People reject Jesus’ claim to be “equal with God” (Jn 5:18). Jesus gave six reasons for their rejection.
1.    People refuse to Christ (v.40-41)
2.    People do not love God (v.42)
3.    People accept false messiahs (v.43)
4.    People seek the approval and honour of mere people (v.44)
5.    People do not believe prophecy- do not believe Moses’ writings (v.45-46)
6.    People do not believe the words of the Messiah (v.47)
Thought: How many acknowledge Christ as a great and honourable man yet treats Him as a liar, a man whose testimony and claims are totally untrustworthy?  (Jn 12:48; 14:24; 1Tim 6:3-4; Jn 8:51; 14:15; 1Jn 2:3)

I Reading: Isaiah 49:8-15: I have appointed you as covenant of the people to restore the land.
Gospel: John 5:17-30: As the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to anyone he chooses.
The Astounding Authority: Equality with God
All people have to face this earth shaking, shattering claim of Christ. He made the astounding claim that the authority belonged to him. How could he make such an astounding claim? Because he proclaimed that he possessed authority with God and then he proceeded to give proof after proof which unequivocally verified his claim.
1.    Jesus proclaimed equality with God (v.17-18)
a.    His claim: My Father
b.    His claim clearly understood
2.    Proof 1: His obedience (v.19)
a.    He did not act alone
b.    He did exactly what he saw the Father do
3.    Proof 2: His great works (v.20)
a.    God loves his Son
b.    God shows Him what to do
4.    Proof 3: His power to quicken, to give life, to raise up the dead (v.21)
5.    Proof 4: His control over the whole judicial process (v.22-23)
a.    Purpose: that all may honour the Son
b.    Fact: If Christ is not honoured, God is not honoured
6.    Proof 5: His power over man’s destiny, to save man from death to life (v.24-25)
a.    How men are saved
1.    Hearing His Word
2.    Believing that God sent His Son, Jesus
b.    Result: Eternal life
c.     Facts
1.    The spiritually dead can hear the voice of God’s Son –now
2.    The spiritually dead can live – now
7.    Proof 6: His energy of life, His self-existence
8.    Proof 7: His authority to execute judgement
9.    Proof 8: His claim to be the Son of Man (v.27)
10. Proof 9: His power to resurrect all men from the grave (v.28-30)
a.    people who have done good: Resurrected to life
b.    people who have done evil: Resurrected to condemnation
c.     the judgement: will be a just judgement
Thought: Two critical facts about the resurrection:
1.    There is to be a resurrection of all who have believed and obeyed the Lord Jesus (Jn 5:25; 6:40; 11:25; 1Cor 15:22; Ps 49:15; Hosea 13:14).
2.    There is to be not only a resurrection of believers but also a resurrection of all those who have rejected and disobeyed the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn 5:28-29; Acts 24:15; Dan12:2).
I Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-9.12: I saw a stream of water coming from the Temple, bringing life to all wherever it flowed.
Gospel: John 5:1-3.5-16: The man was cured at once.
The Essential Authority:
Power to Meet the World’s Desperate Needs, 5:1-16
Chapter five reveals Jesus to be the authority over all of life. Jesus is equal with God (Jn 5:17-18). As God possesses life within Himself, so Jesus possesses life within Himself (Jn 5:26). As God has authority over all life, so Jesus has authority over all of life. The healing of the thirty eight years man showed His authority over the physical world, and the breaking of the Jewish Sabbath law showed His authority to determine the rules of worship.
Through this healing miracle, Jesus was claiming to have supreme authority over the Sabbath (Mt 12:1 f; Jn 5:9-10,16,18).
1.    Jesus attended a Jewish feast in Jerusalem (v.1)
2.    Scene 1: The diseased and the ill-a picture of the world’s desperate need (v.2-3)
a.    Man’s desperate hope: lying in a pool of water
b.    Man’s desperate faith: seeking for healing power in a worldly source, in a pool of water
3.    Scene 2: Jesus & the man-a picture of Jesus’ power to meet the world’s need (v.5-9)
a.    The man’s plight
b.    The Lord’s compassion
i.       Saw his state
ii.     Initiated a relationship
c.     The man’s helplessness: he had no family and no friends to help him
d.    The Lord’s power
e.     The sinister problem: Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath
4.    Scene 3: The religionists and the man-a picture of dead religion trying to meet the world’s need (v.10-12)
a.    A religion of legalism
b.    A religion ignorant of true authority
c.     A religion blind to love and good
5.    Scene 4: Jesus and man after his healing-a picture of the believer’s responsibility (v.13-14)
a.    To worship in the temple
b.    To remember his healing
c.     To stop sinning
d.    To fear the judgement
6.    Scene 5: The religionists and Jesus: A picture of the world rejecting God’s Saviour (v. 15-16)
Thought: All persons should be faithful in their worship of God.

I Reading: Isaiah 65:17-21: No more will the sound of weeping or sound of cries be heard.
Gospel: John 4:43-54: Go home, your son will live.
The Evidence of Faith, Jn 4:43-54
This passage teaches the evidence of faith.
1. Jesus entered Galilee (v.43)
2. Evidence 1: Honoring Jesus (v.44)
3. Evidence 2: Welcoming and receiving Jesus (v.45)

The Stages of Faith, Jn 4:46-54
The nobleman’s experience reveals the various stages of faith, the kind of growing faith that every person should experience.
1. A beginning faith (v.46-47)
a. There was a desperate need
b. There was hearing about Jesus
c. There was coming to Jesus
d. There was beginning Jesus to help
2. A persistent faith (v.48-49)
a. A lesson in faith
b. A desperate insistence
3. A trusting, obedient and working faith (v.50)
a. The promise: your need is met
b. He believed and obeyed Jesus’ Word
4. A confirmed faith (v.51)
a. He “was on the way”
b. He received glorious news: His prayer was answered
c. He confirmed the upper natural vs. natural
d. He believed and knew that Jesus had healed his son
5. A witnessing faith (v.53-54)
Thought: There is no real faith apart from obedience and work (Jn 2:24;5:9).

Saturday, 29 March 2014

I Reading: 1 Samuel 16:6-7.10-13: David is anointed king of Israel.
II Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14: Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.
Gospel: John 9:1-41: He went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.
The Man’s Eye Opened: The Mission of Jesus, Jn 9:1-7
Man is spiritually blind, his eyes need to be opened. The mission of Jesus is to open the eyes of man.
1. Jesus passed by (v.1-3)
a. He saw a man blind from birth
b. He was asked a question about suffering and sin
c. He replied that this man’s suffering was not due to sin but to show forth the works of God
2. Jesus came to work the works of God (v.4)
3. Jesus came to be the Light of the world (v.5)
4. Jesus came to give sight to men (v.6-7)
a. Jesus’ act: He made contact
b. Man’s act: He had to obey to receive his sight
Man’s Eye Opened: The Stages of Spiritual Sight, Jn 9:8-41
1. Stage 1: Seeing Jesus as a man
a. The man’s neighbours were amazed, and they questioned the man’s deliverance
b. The man testified: A man called Jesus gave me sight
2. Stage 2: Seeing Jesus as a Helper or a Healer
a. The problem: The sabath law was broken
b. The Pharisees questioned how the man could now see
c. The man testified: Jesus healed me
3. Stage 4: Seeing Jesus as a prophet
a. The Pharisees were divided
b. The Pharisees questioned the man again
c. The man testified: Jesus is a prophet
4. Stage 4: Seeing Jesus as the Saviour
a. The Pharisees’ unbelief
b. The Pharisees called and questioned the man’s parents
c. The parents’ testimony
          1) They identified their son
          2) They denied being eye-witnesses
          3) They feared prejudgement and excommunication: feared being banished from the synagogue
d. The Pharisees’ demand that Jesus be denied
e. The man’s testimony
          1) I was blind, but now see (Jesus saved me and gave me sight)
          2) The clear evidence
5. Stage 5: Seeing Jesus as being “from God”
a. The Pharisees’ case
          1) Accused the man of being Jesus’ disciple
          2) Questioned the origin of Jesus
b. The man’s testimony
          1) A marvellous thing
          2) God does not hear sinners, but worshippers
          3) My experience: Proves Jesus is “from God”
c. The Pharisees’ denial of the man’s experience and proof: They threw the man out
6. Stage 6: Seeing Jesus as the Son of God
a. Jesus sought the man who had been thrown out
b. Jesus invited him to believe
c. The man requested to know the Son of God
d. Jesus identified himself as the Son of God (v.35)
e. The man believed
Man’s Eyes Opened: The Stages of Spiritual Sight, Jn 9:8-41
The blind man had been delivered from darkness and given sight by the compassion of the Lord Jesus. In this passage the delivered man is confronted by his neighbours (v.8-12), by the Pharisees (v.13-34) and by Jesus (v.35-41).
The man’s growing knowledge of Jesus is easily seen and grasped. The man sees Jesus and believes in him as his Messiah and the Son of God through his spiritual sight.
7. Conclusion: The lesson of Jesus’ revelation
a. His mission: To bring judgement
b. The religionists’ expectation: to be exempt from judgement
Thought: There are many people like blind man. They know about Jesus, but they don’t know Jesus, not personally. They know his name, but little else. They have little understanding of his teaching and claims, presence and strength, love and care and power and promises. We can see Jesus as our Messiah or the Son of God by our personal experience with Jesus.
Those who have the gift of spiritual sight and do not use it. They are known as the true blind. Jesus is always ready to give us back our eye-sight, provided we need to wash at the pool of the sacrament of the Reconciliation, after regretting and acknowledging our sinfulness and believing in the power of Jesus.