Thursday, 30 March 2017

I Reading: Ezekiel 37:12-14: I will put my spirit in you, and you will live.
II Reading: Romans 8:8-11: The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you.
Gospel: John 11:1-45: I am the resurrection and the life.
The Death of Lazarus and Its Purposes, 11:1-16
Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life. The death of Lazarus gave Jesus the opportunity to reveal Himself as the resurrection and the life. There were seven purposes for Lazarus’ death. Each purpose is also applicable to the death of the believer.
1. Lazarus was sick (v.1-3)
          a. His home was Bethany
          b. His sisters were Mary and Martha
          c. His sisters went the news of Lazarus’ sickness to Jesus
2. Purpose 1: To glorify God and to proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God (v.4)
3. Purpose 2: To show Jesus’ great love
4. Purpose 3: To show the necessity for waiting upon God in great crises
5. Purpose 4: to teach the need to grasp opportunity (v.7-10)
            a. The disciples protested Jesus’ return to Jerusalem: Because of the threat to his life
            b. Jesus reply: There is a duty to work-to do what is right, to grasp the opportunity-regardless of the danger
6. Purpose 5: To show Jesus’ power over death (v.11-14)
            a. Jesus called Lazarus “our friend”
            b. Jesus predicted Lazarus would be raised
            c. The disciples misunderstood
            d. Jesus said that death is as “sleep”
7. Purpose 6: To help strengthen the disciples’ belief (v.15)
8. Purpose 7: To stir the disciples’ courage and loyalty (v.16)
Jesus and Martha: A Growth in Faith, Jn 11:17-27
This passage is a dynamic conversation between Jesus and Martha. What happened caused a great growth in Martha’s faith. A seeking heart and  a study of the conversation will cause any believer’s faith to grow significantly.
1. The scene was Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem-about two miles away (v.17-20)
            a. Lazarus: had been in the tomb for four days
            b. Friends: comforted the family
            c. Martha: went to meet Jesus
            d. Mary: stayed at home
2. Martha’s complaining, limited faith (v.21-22)
            a. Her complaining belief
            b. Her limited belief: that His power was less than God’s power
3. Martha’s fundamental faith (v.23-24)
            a. Jesus’ declaration
            b. Martha’s expression of faith
4. Martha’s declared faith (v.25-27)
            a. Jesus’ great claim
            b. Jesus’ promise: believe
            1) He who believes and dies shall live
            2) He who lives and believes shall never die; he never perishes
            c. Martha’s declaration
                        1) The Christ
                        2) The Son of God
                        3) Sent by God
Jesus and Mary: The Real Needs of Man, Jn 11:28-37
Any person has great needs. These are seen in the experience of Mary with Jesus.
1. Need 1: The glorious message of Christ (v.28)
            a. He is the “Teacher”
            b. The Teacher “is here”
            c. The Teacher asks “for you”
2. Need 2: The right response-arise quickly and come to Christ (v.29-30)
3. Need 3: The reaching out of people to help others (v.31)
4. Need 4: The confession of faith (even if it is limited and weak) (v.32)
            a. The confession: Lord
            b. The complaining, limited faith
5. Need 5: The understanding, feelings and compassion of Jesus (v.33-36)
            a. He was deeply moved
                        1) Over death
                        2) Over man’s pain
            b. He asks where the dead person is
            c. He weeps in love: Over death and man’s pain
6. Conclusion: The misunderstanding of man-How could Jesus love so much and let this happen? (v.37)
Jesus and Lazarus: Power Over Death, Jn 11:38-46
Jesus Christ confronted death and demonstrated His great power over death. In confronting and conquering the tomb of Lazarus, He demonstrated that the believer’s hope is not in vain. The believer will be raised from the dead, resurrected by the great shout of the Lord’s power.
1. Jesus confronted the dead (v.38-39)
            a. He was deeply moved
            b. He was confronted with a believer’s objection
2. The great promise of unlimited, resting faith (v.40)
3. The great prayer of purpose (v.41-42)
            a. Addressed God as “Father”
            b. Made a request
            c. Offered thanksgiving
            d. Expressed perfect confidence
            e. Before testimony
4. The great shout of power over death (v.43-44)
            a. Was by Christ alone
            b. Was personal: By name
            c. The result
                        1) The dead arose
                        2) The resurrected received Jesus’ personal attention
5. Conclusion: The reaction to Jesus’ great power (v.45-46)
            a. Some believed, put their faith in Him
            b. Some caused trouble
Thought: Jesus always prayed with purpose; therefore, He always received the answer to His prayer and bore testimony to the power of prayer. So it is with every true believer. Jesus is “the resurrection and the life.” Jesus is “the source of life and the cause of every resurrection.” Let us believe in Him.
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 hope 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.