John 9:5 KJV As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
This chapter is entirely taken up with the man born blind and Christ's giving him sight.
Jesus connects sight with His being the light of the world.
He connects blindness with not seeing Him as Christ; not knowing whence He came.
The healing of the man is merely an illustration and a springboard for the true message of the chapter. The man who was healed then met Christ as Saviour. The point of the chapter is has very little to do with the healing of the blind and much to do with believing on and then worshipping the Son of God. Those who could not see that were indeed blind.
And Jesus said "as long as I am in the world" so one could question is He our light today. Just as the sun is still the light of the world even when it has set over the horizon, even so Christ is always the light of the world, but is more so in that place where His presence is known.
Ruth 3:18 KJV Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.
Sit still; the man will not rest...
The reason the believer has rest is because Christ will not rest until He has performed that good work which He has begun in us.
If I have asked another to do a very important task and I trust that they are the sort that will not rest until the task is finished, then I can rest in that faith. If however I do not have confidence in the character or the ability of the one in whom I have committed my task, then I will have no rest. I will have to check one the work, perhaps even attempt to do it myself.
So whether I find rest in my Christian faith or not depends on my faith in the • Character • Promises and • Ability
Of the Lord.
And I can measure my faith (or the faith of another) by the rest they possess. If I find I do not have spiritual rest; if I struggle with questions of doubt and insecurity either in my soul or in my confidence in Christ's work in the world around me, it is a sure sign that my relationship with the Lord is not on the level it needs to be.
John 7:43 KJV So there was a division among the people because of him.
In the previous chapter the multitude forsook the Lord because of His hard sayings. This chapter begins with even His brethren not believing.
As the chapter progresses however, the people begin to struggle with faith. They are now listening to the message and they are being honest with it and their own position in it. • Those who did not believe came out. • Those that did believe made it public.
True faith has to get passed emotions or mere desire and honestly look at the heart. We either believe or we do not, we can't halt between two opinions. The hard sayings of chapter six led to a good hard look at themselves. And that led to an obvious division between those who were true believers and those who were not.
John 6:29 KJV Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
John 6:47 KJV Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
The work is believing. It is the only work and it is the only thing needful for salvation.
But because of the corruption of the flesh it is not possible to believe except the Father gives us the faith and except God the Father draws us.
The saddest thing in the world is that many who are drawn never come. Faith is what saves and that faith is a gift from God. But some who are offered this gift reject it. • The fear of man • The pride of life or • The love of the world
lead them to accept cheaper thrills instead. And we can't have the cheaper thrills and the heavenly rewards too.
Judges 20:23 KJV (And the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until even, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the LORD said, Go up against him.)
The Lord said, Go. But they still saw 18,000 men slain and defeat that day.
Wars are not won in one or two battles. • Sometimes whole campaigns won't the war win. • Sometimes a loss, even several losses do not predict the eventual outcome in the war.
So even though God instructed them to go into battle, this battle was lost.
Here is the striking thing; even though this battle was lost, the people still enquired of the Lord and they still followed the Lord into the next battle. • Seeming losses will come. • Certain followers will die.
That does not mean God is powerless nor does it mean His people have been wrong to follow Him. It means we must trust Him in this wicked world, to navigate us to one that is far better.
John 4:5-6 KJV Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
I noted today the emphasis on the history of this piece of ground. Jacob had given it to Joseph and Jacob's well was there, where Jesus would meet this woman.
I could not help but think that this place had such a history and yet it was given over to a people who freely admitted they did not worship the same God as the Jews. It is as if Jesus came to restore this place to its rightful heritage.
Traditions can become idols. But at the same time there are some things that ought not to be changed and some things that can only be restored by returning to their roots.
It is never wise, never godly to carelessly cast away our roots. Of course, Jesus asked the woman at the well to cast aside her traditions for the truth. Some roots ought to be pulled up. But it ought not to be done hastily or carelessly, but only when we know it is of the Lord to do so.
John 3:9 KJV Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
The lost man, and especially the religious lost man, lives in the world of human reason.
His faith rests not in the power and Word of God but in the knowledge, skill and ability of man; a faith that is built on that which human ingenuity cannot reproduce is, to him, unreasonable and impossible.
But this is exactly the faith Jesus preached. It is of above; too high for man. Like the wind, we have no control of it but can only accept it.
The question that must be asked is not "How can these things be?" but, like the Saul of Tarsus, who was also a Pharisee, "Who art Thou, Lord?" (Acts 9:5).
When we know who God is, when we realize Him in His absolute fullness, questions about how fall away and the only thing left is to surrender our lives to Him.
John 2:23-25 KJV Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
"he did not trust himself with these persons, who believed in him, on the basis of his miracles; he did not take them into the number of his associates; he did not admit them to intimacy with him; nor did he freely converse with them, or make any long stay among them; but soon withdrew himself from hence, and went into other parts of Judea, and into Galilee"
"Christ did not take all these seeming believers into his bosom, nor call them after him, nor maintain any familiar fellowship and communion with them; but made haste again into Galilee, till his time was come, knowing that in so public a place of danger they were not to be trusted; for being God blessed for ever, he had knowledge of the hearts of all men. "
"The word translated “commit” here is the same which in Joh_2:23 is translated “believed.” It means to put “trust” or “confidence in.” Jesus did not put “trust” or “reliance” in them. He did not leave himself in their hands. He acted cautiously and prudently. The proper time for him to die had not come, and he secured his own safety. The reason why he did not commit himself to them is “that he knew all men.” He knew the “inconstancy” and “fickleness” of the multitude. He knew how easily they might be turned against him by the Jewish leaders, and how unsafe he would be if they should be moved to sedition and tumult."
AT Robertson Word Pictures
"The double use of pisteuō here is shown by Act_8:13 where Simon Magus “believed” (episteusen) and was baptized, but was unsaved. He merely believed that he wanted what Philip had. "
Vines Word Study
"…there is a kind of word-play between this and ἐπίστευσαν, believed, in the preceding verse. Wyc. reproduces it: “Jesus himself believed not himself to them.” He did not trust His person to them. Tynd., put not himself in their hands. “He had no faith in their faith” (Godet)."
Though they believed in His name, Jesus did not commit Himself to them because, • He knew all men. • He knew what was in man.
Believing in His name was not the effectual part but Christ's committing Himself to them. It is not in the saying of a prayer that a man is saved. Salvation is in Christ committing Himself to keep that which we have committed to Him.
John 1:25 KJV And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
When asked why he baptized, John the Baptist gave two clear responses; • He baptized to make Christ manifest to Israel. (vs 31) • He baptized because he was sent to baptize (vs 33).
These two reasons suffice even today: we baptize to make Christ and faith in Christ public and we baptize (and are baptized) out of shear obedience.
We baptize because we are taught to do so in the Word of God. The context of the passage puts all of the emphasis upon Christ and not upon the one baptizing or the ones being baptized. Keep Christ lifted up!
Luke 24:15 KJV And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
These were confused and bewildered believers. • So many of their hopes had been placed in Christ • So many had been dashed when He had died.
Now • They are together • They have heard the reports of his resurrection • They have seen the empty tomb
But there is only one way their doubts and fears could be healed; through Jesus Himself.
Early on they did not even know it was Jesus. Their deep concerns blinded their eyes to even the One whose death they were grieving.
It is Jesus himself we need. • Though fellowship is grand • Though reports of His mercy are encouraging • Though the Word of God is a blessing
We need Jesus Himself. He alone can heal and strengthen and open our eyes and empower us to change a world.
Luke 23:4-5 KJV Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.
The accusation made against Christ (in verse 5) was that He stirred up the people in all Jewry.
The only valid accusation they could make against Jesus was and has always been that His message changes lives.
• Where ever that message is preached people become new and • Whenever His message is preached there becomes a stir about it.
In our day those who have something against Christ have only because people they know were once one sort have become a new sort.
The crime of Christianity is that it refuses to keep people the same. And those who refuse to be changed by it find that especially offensive.
Judges 6:7-8 KJV And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
When God set His love on Israel, His longsuffering and patience with them was manifest.
Over and over they obeyed not His voice, but for His loves' sake He gave them prophet after prophet and deliverer after deliverer.
God's Word speaks of those He sanctifies to work on for salvation.
1 Corinthians 7:14 KJV For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
And those God chooses, He continues to deal with until they come to Him or at last are lost by their own hardness of heart.
Judges 4:17 KJV Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.
My interest in this passage stems from another,
Judges 4:11 KJV Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.
And then I will follow that with
Numbers 10:29 KJV And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel.
Jael is married, not to a Jew, but to a member of the family of Gentiles Moses had married into and subsequently invited to come with them through the wilderness and into the land promised by God. Moses' exact words were, "come thou with us, and we will do thee good."
Certainly God had done them good and Israel had passed that goodness on to Hobab.
But now, the goodness is returned.
Sisera, a Gentile, believed that Jael, also likely a Gentile and certainly married to a Gentile family, would find security in this place. He was dead wrong.
Treating people with kindness and sharing with them the blessings of our God will always return many rewards. We never know who or when or what will be the circumstances of it, but when we reach out to others with the Gospel message, when we do what is the most God we can ever do another man, and extend to them the favor that God has extended to us; we may be assured the reward will come.
Luke 20:20 KJV And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
They "feigned themselves just men." They likely could justify their lie because they believed they were right (just).
I am afraid churches are filled with people who feign themselves just. By far the greater number of them has deceived themselves and believe they are just. They see themselves as righteous and they see themselves as right, even when they take up a cause against the work of the Lord. They are not justified before God, but they are just in their own eyes.
But the Bible gives the true record, Jesus perceived their craftiness and God never fails to see who is truly just and who merely feigns the same. Since our nature is to see ourselves as just men we are dependent upon the Lord to reveal to us what He perceives is the truth about us.
It is not in the asking of questions about the details of religion we will find the answer for justification; it is in listening to the Lord as He searches out our heart.
Luke 18:13 KJV And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Scofield's Notes says," the Bible knows nothing of divine forgiveness apart from sacrifice."
And then describes how even this publican, who, being a Jew, would have been instructed in the Law, understood in that Temple that sacrifices are offered for the atoning of sins. He would not have been thinking of mere mercy, but of mercy springing from the blood sprinkled at God's altar.
So today we have people crying out to God for mercy but some of them are doing it without effect because they hope for mercy with no merit. Mercy is always undeserved, but it is never without merit. Mercy can only come through sacrifice and that sacrifice must be the blood of Jesus Christ.
Mercy comes through appealing to God through the blood of Christ.
Luke 17:25 KJV But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.
That which Jesus suffered was not an accident that caught God off guard or an inevitable clash between that which is holy and that which is worldly; The suffering of Christ: His death, His burial, and His resurrection were planned precursors to the glorious kingdom ordained of God.
Gill says Jesus must suffer and be rejected before that kingdom should come, "...on account of the purposes and decrees of God; the covenant engagements of Christ; the predictions of the prophets of the Old Testament, and his own; and the salvation of his people."
• How above us are the plans of God! • How infinite are His works. • How needful it is that we simply trust Him.
Luke 16:31 KJV And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
God's Word says that the Moses (the Law) and the prophets is what persuades a man to turn to Christ. Miracles, though used to verify that Jesus is Lord, never have persuaded men to come to Christ. Jesus raised, • Jairus' daughter • The widow of Nain's son • Lazarus, and then • Rose again Himself
Still numbers are left unpersuaded.
Salvation comes through faith and not impression. No man will come to salvation because something strikes awe in him.
Faith is only and always the gift of God, passed on through hearing the Word of God. So we must tell the Word.
Luke 15:17 KJV And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
Sinners are not in their right mind. • The blindness of the devil • The rashness of the flesh and • The pull of worldliness
drag us into sinful life choices that just do not make sense.
Like the most modern campaign for American eaters to "think before we eat" if we thought before we acted on the impulse of the flesh we would clearly see the folly of sinfulness.
So this young man; every choice he has made since demanding his father's inheritance, has been insane. Under no normal and wise conditions should a man ever choose what he has chosen. And then, each new choice becomes more insane than the previous one, dragging him deeper and deeper into the darkness of his sin.
But "when he came to himself..." in a moment of clear headedness this young man realized what he had done.
I expect that all of us have those moments, maybe many of them - moments when the light of God pierces through the blindness of Satan and we see what we have gotten into.
The question is what do we do when those moments come?
This young man got out of the pig pen.
And perhaps the greatest lesson from the story is that, when those moments of clear sight come, there is always the opportunity to follow the light out of the darkness.
Luke 14:27 KJV And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
The Bibles says that there were great multitudes following Jesus when He turned to them and, in words that had to have been taken sternly, gave them a threefold test of discipleship; The test of devotion.
The disciple must love the Lord above all else. Family and friends cannot be first for the disciple.
The test of witness.
The English word for witness is the same as martyr. The earliest form of witness was martyrdom. The disciple must testify for Christ.
The test of perseverance.
There is no turning back in discipleship.
The would be disciple who fails the test is like salt that has lost its savor and is good for nothing.
Salt can't lose its saltiness. So a true disciple cannot fail the test. To fail merely proves the one was never a true disciple.
Luke 13:34 KJV O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem..."
Our Lord frequently exhibited various emotions during His earthly walk. • He wept • He groaned • He cast out the money changers
It is easy to see here His heartbreak for the city and people of Jerusalem. This place has long been the center of the Worship of the true and living God, but it was not that God needed this place, but that men needed the God who set Himself to be worshiped there.
God seeks in love to gather souls, yet they would not. Like my quail chicks who instinctively fear me from the moment they hatch, man flees God. The sin instinct is to flee from Him rather than to flee to him.
The purpose of true religion is to resist that sin instinct and to flee to Him when all the world tells us to do otherwise.
Luke 11:9 KJV And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
The context is certainly of prayer and, though the conclusion is to ask for the Holy Spirit it seems obvious that the is not the exclusive petition for which we may ask. The model prayer includes much beside that.
Seek the Lord's wisdom in what to ask, but ask Him.
Do not limit your prayer life to one thing or the other, ask. • Ask the Lord for daily bread • Ask the Lord for forgiven sins • Ask the Lord for deliverance from evil and temptations
Ask. • Ask for grace to forgive and love and seek the good of those who have hurt you. • Ask for the resources to minister to those who have come to you in need.
Luke 10:29 KJV But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
This lawyer Came to the right man
Jesus Christ is the only one qualified to answer the question which is the great commandment. Man's opinions on this matter hold no weight. Only God is qualified to answer the question.
Asked the right questions
A man needs to know what the expectations of the Lord are. True enough; the law was not given that a man would obtain righteousness through its keeping. God had another thing in mind. To find out the mind of God; this was wise indeed.
But he gave the completely wrong response
Coming under conviction he should have appealed to the Lord's mercy and found that God Himself was willing to justify him. Instead he did what is the natural and satanic thing, he wanted to justify himself. He did not want to confess his guilt and seek justification from God. He wanted to maintain his own god like status. God was willing to justify him through Jesus Christ. But he would rather justify himself.
This is our trouble too. When confronted with our sin rather than humbling ourselves and confessing it, we seek to justify and excuse it.
Luke 9:55-56 KJV But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
I am reminded that one of these two is the beloved apostle.
John is a man who is noted for loving Jesus and instructing believers to love one another. But here, and on their way to Calvary, John is asking if they should send fire down to consume a city. Samaria has rejected Christ. He is on His way to Jerusalem and sends to find a place of lodging there, but He is rejected because He is determined to go to Jerusalem.
This looks like it has every reason in the world to justify judgment, but that spirit is not of the Lord. God does chasten today, but it is very likely that the spirit in man that seeks to chasten is not of the Lord. Our spirit ought always to be to seek and to save, not to rain judgment down.
When those times come that judgment must happen, the Christian heart must not rejoice in it, but trust God that He would be glorified by it.
Ours ought always to be to seek salvation of sinners and reconciliation of brethren.
Luke 8:18 KJV Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
In the context it is obvious the possession is the light of life, eternal life. It is received through hearing (the Word of God) and some hear it, but have not fully received it.
Jesus said take heed how ye hear. Having pastored these many years I have witnessed a number of ways people might hear the Word.
Some hear with the intellect.
They look for doctrinal accuracy; they strain to hear that thing they believe gives cause to criticize the preacher.
Some hear for entertainment.
They have favorite preachers and judge one to be better than another based upon their ability to stir and keep a crowd.
Some hear impatiently.
They are busy over a number of things even while the Word is preached.
Some hear passively.
Their ears no doubt note the voice, but the message is not getting through.
Others hear spiritually.
The Word that is preached takes root even while it is preached. They are encouraged or convicted or instructed or stirred by the Word itself.
Jesus then said of this possession that those that have it will get more of it; a saved person grows. But those who only seem to have it will lose that part they seem to have.
A person should take heed right here.
Some seem to have this light of life, but Jesus said they do not have it in fact. • It might be others believe they are possessors of eternal life. • It might be they believe themselves to be possessors of eternal life.
But they only seem to have it. And in the end, they will lose even that which they seemed to have.
Take heed; do we possess the light of Jesus Christ or do we merely think we have it?
Joshua 7:11 KJV Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.
The root lesson of this verse is that Israel, and for that matter the people of God, are a unity. We rise and fall together. • As a church and • As families.
One in the body impacts the body as a whole.
The context is a demonstration of what modern day man would call the manic-depressive. The world has labeled, (and too often Christians have bought into it) as a disease, what is nothing more than sin left alone.
First Israel was ecstatic, confident and high.
They had won a huge victory at Jericho and they felt very good about it.
But when they lost at Ai
They immediately ended in the depths of depression.
They then fall on their face before God
But He refused to let them stay there. This was a matter of sin. Deal with the sin and the despair will disappear.
What is the cure for the manic depressive?
First, seek God.
Although Israel was in the place God gave them, they did not seek God in Ai. Too many claim to be saved and attend church but they do not get their directions for life from God.
Second search out the sins in life.
Do not expect that because you do not realize it is a sin in your life that you can get away with it until God convicts you. Set your life along side the holiness of God and dig out what is sin. Discover it. Ask God to reveal it.
Third, have no mercy on the sin.
It is the cause of the manic depressive personality. • It must be mortified. • It must be dealt with. • It must be stoned, burned and buried.
Fourth, get up.
Do not lay down defeated. Having dealt with the sin, seek God's direction and move forward once again.
Luke 5:11 KJV And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
Luke 5:28 KJV And he left all, rose up, and followed him.
Two times in this chapter we find the report that someone forsook all or left all to follow the Lord. Previous to this Simon and James and John had become disciples of Christ. But a new thing happens here. It is not until this chapter that they gave up the old man to follow the Lord. They had, as it were, attempted to put new wine in their old bottle and it wasn't working. Not until they forsook all could they truly follow Christ.
So could they be genuine believers without forsaking all?
The Bible says in John 6 that when Jesus had preached His hard sayings everyone forsook Him. Everyone except those who had forsaken all.
We cannot serve two masters.
We must forsake all that we cling to in this world if we would follow Christ into the next.