There are reported to be 8 Wonders of the World. You can forget them!
This is the Wonder of all wonders , the WOW of all wows: The Factor of all Factors. If it doesn't blow your mind- you don't see it. If the universe is a "wonder", then the Person who created it must be a bigger "WONDER". But the fact that the person who created the Universe became as one of his creatures and lived within human limitations as a man is the biggest WONDER of all. God lived in a body, just like yours!!!
... and we haven't even mentioned Calvary yet.
The beginning and ending of each gospel gives us a very clear indication of the message or theme of the book. John sees Jesus in a distinctive and more spiritual concept than the other gospel writers, as The Son of God, eternal from the heavens.
John begins his Gospel with unequivocal authority. “In the beginning was the Word,” and fails to find a worthy end or a human containment of this never-ending story of the Everlasting Word John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word……and the Word was God John 21:25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. He starts with “word” and ends with “no end of words”. His title for Jesus as the “Word” is peculiar to John. He uses it also in His epistles. No doubt he acquired it from his vision in Revelation. John’s gospel was the last of the gospels to be written. The more one reads and understands the book, so the more wonderfully awesome becomes the wonder of the incarnation And yet the account of the incarnation (His human birth) is conspicuous by its absence, for in this book we are lifted high above any human history into the very realm of the Life of God. There is no coming to earth, no lowly shepherds, for He has always been, and will always be. For a short while he dwelt in a human tabernacle (tent), but only a very privileged few saw anything of His real glory, and that was only a brief glimpse through squinting eyelids, primarily on the mount of transfiguration. John 1: 13-18 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John presents Jesus as the Divine Son of God. If this fact is kept alive while studying this book, either verse by verse or chapter by chapter, the more one is likely to enjoy the great spiritual blessings that John shares in His Gospel. Without doubt John takes us into the spiritual. This Gospel is certainly on a higher plane than the other synoptic gospels. John is obviously a very “spiritual” person. His insight into the higher planes of truth are not only marked in his Gospel but also in His epistles, not to mention his remarkable visions recorded in the book of Revelation. Within that vision he saw a man on a white horse whose name was “The Word of God”. Rev 19:11-13 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. It is no doubt this vision that caused him to refer to Jesus uniquely as “The Word”. Of the eight or so writers who contribute to the New Testament, only John refers to Jesus with this name. Words are media of communication. "The" Word is the great communication. The scriptures reveal the Spoken Word of God, The Written Word of God and the Living Word of God. From the incarnation we can confidently conclude that God and his Word are synonymous. As one reads chapters 5-8, and begins to feel the full import of the words spoken by Jesus to the Jews, one ponders in awe at these moments in human history. On the one hand we have the so-called spiritual leaders of the so-called People of God arguing with a carpenter from Nazareth (so they thought). But on the other we have Jesus, the very God, making statements, which are so outrageous to the natural mind, that one can almost sympathise with the Jews who were convinced they were listening to blasphemies, worthy of death. Yet every one statement was truer than the light from the sun. Had the statements not been true then the Jews would have been correct in their indictment. Jesus did not appear to sympathise one bit with, nor excuse, their unbelief, for everything that one would expect a “Son of God “ to do, he had done. Furthermore, everything that one would expect God to do as confirmation of his claim had been done, and the testimonies of John the Baptist and Moses, rendered the unbelieving Jews with no excuse for their blindness, especially as they claimed to have the light. Their failure to believe, and their constant demand to "see" some sign, before they would believe is a constant feature throughout the gospel. In chap 14, when nearing the end of his time on earth, he speaks to his disciples about his father, and going to be with him, and typically one disciple asks "show us the father", "show us the way". He desired to see rather than believe. But in God's economy, believing is seeing. In reply, Jesus makes a “wonder of wonders” statement. In paraphrase he said; "All the time I have been with you, you have been looking at the Father, you have been looking at "the Way" to the father." Truly, the natural mind does not understand spiritual things. For the opening of this chapter is impossible for the natural mind to fully comprehend. The words are set in the doctrine of the trinity, which some folk will dismiss as truth, simply on the grounds of understanding. many seek to use various natural things to illustrate the doctrine, but the proof is closer than most people imagine.
The oneness of the Trinity is tantamount to the oneness that we all know ourselves. For we have been made in the image of God as Spirit, Soul and Body. They are three distinct parts of our whole being. In like manner the Godhead is Spirit, Soul, and Body. The Father is the Spirit of the Godhead, The Holy Spirit, is the Soul (or personality) of the Godhead, and the physical, visible Son, is the Body of the Godhead.
The KEY chapter: Ch. 2. In each Gospel we have discovered that the key chapter or occasion recorded is found as one might expect at the beginning. Once the preliminaries are over, up to his Baptism, each writer launches into his account of the gospel with a different story. Significantly each “story” or incident is the door into the inspired meaning of the gospel. The key is in the door. So in Matthew’s Gospel we have The Sermon on the Mount; Those unique commands that King Jesus gives to all his subjects in His kingdom. Mark in the first chapter gives us insight into the life of a Servant of God by recording just one sabbath day, - a day of Worship, Fellowship and Witness. Luke’s door into his gospel is an account of when Jesus the great Physician, read from the book of Isaiah in the synagogue and revealed a perfect account of the symptoms of the patient, suffering from the disease of Sin. So here in John we have a story of a wedding where Jesus turned water into wine. It may not sound like much to get excited about but the true meaning of it, is amazing - even awesome in terms of how God speaks to us and reveals truth in Parables.
The main key to understanding this gospel is to understand the symbolism that permeates the scriptures. For the natural world came from the spiritual world , and just as the creature reflects the creator so the natural creation in which the creature lives, reflects the world in which the Creator lives. Hence the reason Jesus spoke in parables and the many occasions his listeners did not understand the language of heaven, which he deliberately spoke. So one should keep in mind that there is much symbolism in scripture, and much of its inspiration is revealed in the typology, which is constant and consistent throughout scriptures.
Six stone waterpots are filled with water and when they are poured out, it turns to wine.
Six is the number of man. so we know it has reference to Adam and his race, Stone is a symbol of the Law, (the written word) or the commands of God. Water is a symbol of life, in terms of spiritual life, such as Adam enjoyed when there was nothing separating him from God. He walked with God. So, originally, Adam was like a stone pot, yea, six stone pots full to the brim with water. (in the natural we know that water is the first essential for life on earth. That is why godless scientists seek frantically for any trace of water on other planets, on which to base their foolish belief that this earth could not possibly be the only place in the universe where life exists. Despite their knowledge that without the universe as it is, life could not be sustained on earth.) However, Adam broke God's commands (the pots) and the water ran away and his spiritual life was lost. Hundreds of years later God sent his laws again through Moses. Significantly the law was written in stone. It speaks to us of its firmness, hardness, solidarity, durability. We shall see other references to stone in the bible later. Once again the stone pots were filled with water, for the Law had life within it. It was intended to bring Life. God said this is the recipe for Life - do this and Live. But what happened? the stone pots, were no longer watertight, having inherited Adam's nature. Significantly the tablets were broken even before the Israelites knew them. With added grace God supplied a duplicate set. However the Israelites, could not keep the law, they could not keep the water in their broken, leaking vessels. Nor has any member of Adam's race, ever since*, been able to keep God's laws. (Rom 8) So the covenant was broken between God and man. Instead of bringing life, the law brought death, for with the Law came the penalty for breaking it. . Then Jesus came. Named in 1 Corinthians as "the last Adam"- a human being. Unlike the first Adam and all the millions of "Adams" ever since,* He fulfilled the Law. illustrated by the waterpots being "filled up to the brim". Six pots, Jesus was the first and only man ever to FULL-FILL the Law. He did not sin, therefore he was nor deserving of death, neither physical nor spiritual. BUT NEVERTHELESS, HE DIED. His life (his blood) was poured out as a sacrifice to God. His offering was symbolised in the "sin offering" included in the Law. Deut 12:27: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh.
The Law is always completed when the penalty has been paid. Jesus did not get rid of the Law, for the Law is Holy Just and Good- he simply brought it to its fulfilment
In "pouring out his life", blood and water flowed from his body. He shed his blood. At the last supper Jesus said that his blood is symbolised by wine. So his death has miraculously turned to everlasting life, to all who believe on Jesus, and the efficacy of his sacrifice. Wine is the symbol in scripture of Abundant life. Jesus said "I have not only come to give you life- but to give you ABUNDANT LIFE. (John 10:10) That Life is nothing less than the infilling of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit first fell upon the disciples, significantly, they were celebrating the giving of the Law- it was the feast of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit fell and the water turned to wine. - Abundant Life. The onlookers said “These men are filled with NEW WINE” Little did they know they were speaking the truth. You can now read John 14-16 in fresh light- True Vine- abundant Life- the coming Holy spirit, Christ dwelling IN you. It could not be clearer. I trust you believe it This is the Key to the book. It spells the end of the Old Testament (agreement) and ushers in the age of the New Testament. If you think changing water into wine is a mighty miracle, then ask God to show you how great a miracle was turning the Old Testament into the New. The miracle is the shadow, the New Testament is the real thing- abundant life as God by His Holy Spirit dwells in man. (Magicians make their magic with smoke and mirrors, I hope it is not irreverent to say that God uses Holy Smoke and Holy Mirrors, the Holy Spirit and the Word.)
So lets just glimpse back at the symbolism of Stone as the Law. 1. the Law was written in stone. 2. the stone was broken 3. the penalty for breaking the Law was to be stoned to death. Note John 8:7-8 Jesus and the Adulteress. "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her". And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground." 4. Altars of sacrifice were built in stone. Josh 24:26: And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. 5. David took five stones (five books of the Law) to slay Goliath. Knowing what stones symbolise, opens up the spiritual, New Testament meaning of the story. Explanation; contrary to what football commentators think this story has nothing to do with Gretna beating Manchester United in the F.A. Cup. It is a wonderful symbolic account (parable) of what Jesus did for us on Calvary. David is Jesus- Goliath is Sin (or satan), There are two things in scripture that symbolise the Law/ the word of God- one is Stone the other is a Sword. So here we seethe Goliath of Sin using the word of God to bring all men (Israel) under the condemnation of death. Sin gets its power to kill us (separate us from Life-God) from the Law (read Romans ch. 7) The Israelites were under condemnation of death. Someone was needed to save them. David and stunned Goliath with a stone. Jesus came and stunned Satan with the stone of the Law- He was the only person that Satan or sin had no power to kill because he kept the law. Despite all the trials and temptations Jesus remained sinless. Jesus, by fulfilling the law, to say the least, must have “stunned” the devil. Such a thing had “never entered his head before” that a man could not fall to his temptations. Having stunned him, He took the sword, that which threateneddeath to us, and with it slew Sin and Satan’s power over us. As David took Goliath's sword so Jesus took the Law - he fulfilled the Law. So all Israel were saved that day from their arch enemy. Likewise when Christ died he brought the Law to its complete end by paying the penalty of the Law which is Death. Those of us who believe in what Jesus did, can now identify ourselves with that death and believe that death of Jesus was our death- "When Christ died - I died". I can say with the Apostle Paul, “I through the Law am dead to the Law” and where there is no law there is no transgression. The law said “Die!”- so we have died. No law = No transgression = No condemnation It is very significant that later on as David battles against Saul, who was looking to kill him, he goes into the temple to ask the priest if he had a sword. The priest just happened to have Goliath’s sword. David took it to arm him in the battle. Time does not allow an explanation of how David and Saul typify the battle between flesh and spirit, (see our notes on 1 & 2 Samuel) but sufficient to point out. that the Holy Spirit (David) in us now uses the Law, which is nothing less than God’s will, to keep the flesh at bay. By keeping his word by obedience we put the flesh to death. We mortify the deeds of our flesh,- we pluck out our eyes and cut off our hands, so to speak. And finally, for now, coming back to our stone/law illustration we should note that there was a massive stone over the grave of Jesus, but like the Law it was rolled away with our sins. The question will always remain, Who moved the Stone? - Mighty, mighty, miracle. Check out also the times when the Old Testament mentions stone and water in the same verse or verses. Water from the rock in the wilderness is a prime example. Gen 29:2-3 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth. And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place. Gen 35:14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. Lam 3:53-54 They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me. Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off.
The coming of the Holy Spirit proved to be the ingredient that changed the harsh discipline of keeping the law into abundant Life. Likewise the “dead stones” of those under the Old Testament have become “living” stones” in the temple of God- the church. Peter who was himself named a “stone” by Jesus, takes up this transformation of the Old into the New Testament with this exposition; 1 Pet 2:4-8 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
We are living stones. The Holy Spirit is the one that brings the life in us to be able to keep God’s word. The Spirit and the Word are the two “Siamese twins” of scripture. It is the Holy Spirit that makes the difference. It is the Life of God in us, not the life of God written in stone. Hence the reason Jesus said to Nicodemus “except a man be born of water and the Spirit…”. He was not referring to natural birth (of water) as some would suppose, but the need to be born again by both the Word and the Spirit. These are the two witnesses by the olive trees in Zechariah and the two witnesses in Revelation- the Word and the Spirit. They don’t function apart. They make the wine.- the abundant life- the eternal life of God. This is the New Testament in His blood. The Water of the Old Testament is turned to Wine in the New. That is what John is about. That is what the first Miracle is about. This miracle opens the door to the rest of the Gospel.
LIGHT. LIFE & LOVE There are three words which occur constantly throughout John, which express His divinity, for they are unique features of God; these three things are the “unfathomables” of human intellect or science. LOVE, LIGHT & LIFE; All creation is an expression of God. We can appreciate the Sun to be an expression of the character of God, for Light, Life and Love, are physically illustrated in the Light, Energy and Heat which comes from the sun. The relevant words of Light, Life and Love, or some symbol of them, are seen clearly on every page of the gospel. Here we note but the first two chapters. Ch. 1 is a chapter of Light (testimony); John the Baptist was not the Great True Light, but He came to testify of Him. Later also the disciples Andrew and Philip testify of him to their relatives and friends. John testifies twice. In John Ch 2 we read that there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee “on the third day”. It is strange because there seems no definite mention of the first and second day. If one tries to follow the narrative from chapter one, there are three days already mentioned. We must therefore surmise that the third day is there almost symbolically for the wedding that will take place in Glory which will take place on the third day. (Later we will explain further) However, if we look with spiritualising eyes into chapter one, for the previous “two days” we may see a spiritual interpretation Day 1. v 29 John the Baptist declares; “Behold the Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world.” Day 2. (“ the next day”) v. 35; John the Baptist declares “Behold the Lamb ” (Without Sin) Day 3. And then in Ch 2 v 1.“The third Day there was a wedding” These three days are signposts pointing to the three aspects of the work of Christ. Day 1. He is the Lamb of God who takes away our Sin. This is our testimony, having believed the original testimony of John, as those first disciples did. This is LIGHT given and received. Day 2. We see Jesus “without” sin. Hebrews tells us that Christ will appear a second time “without sin”. Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
This was symbolised in the Old Testament on the Day of Atonement when the High priest went into the Holy of Holies with the blood of the lamb, to sprinkle it upon the mercy seat. The people waited, perhaps anxiously, outside waiting for the reappearance of the High priest. If the sacrifice had been unacceptable then the priest would never come out alive. Therefore there was great rejoicing, when he "appeared a second time" - the sin offering having been accepted The High Priest came out to bless the people who were waiting for His appearance. Jesus is now in heaven interceding as the spotless lamb on our behalf. “He ever liveth to make intercession for us”. That intercession ensures our own spiritual new life. When He comes again at His Second Coming he will usher in a new day of great blessing for all those who wait for his appearing. We will live forever with Him. “Because I live, you will live also” said Jesus. This work then is clearly connected with LIFE for where there is no sin there is life- the absence of death. Col. Ch. 3 v 1 says that when Christ, who is our LIFE shall appear, we will also appear with Him in glory. So we see that Light leads to Life ( testimony leads to Experience) Day 3. That life will find its fullness in LOVE. So we see the marriage taking place on the third day. When He does come back, it will be to marry his bride. He has gone to prepare a place for us (Ch 14.) Later in the notes we make comments upon the sets of “threes” in John, One of those trios comprises three women. It is or will be seen to be, significant that the words, wine, blood and love are all in the same columns. The shedding of his blood reveals the extent of his love. Ch 15 v 13. -’’Greater love has no man than this.....” We take communion today where the wine symbolises his blood, and we often refer to communion as a "love feast." We are drinking wine, which is a cup of blessing, it speaks of life. But Jesus drank the cup of the curse under the law, i.e. death, symbolised by blood. He shed his blood, he gave His life. One of the first miracles in the Old Testament was the turning of water into blood. That symbolises the condemnation of the law, but the first miracle of Jesus was turning water into wine. The wine symbolises the quality of our life when we are filled with the love of Jesus. With this thought in mind read John Ch 15 again, and you will notice how from the vine, branches, and his life passing into us, He continues to emphasise love. Verses 9-ll speak of love and joy and being “Full”. “His joy,” “our joy” (v 11) - A perfect relationship. “I in you and you in me.” The New wine is the New Covenant. The old one based on commandments, we could not keep. The new one based upon commandments which are kept because we love. John explains it in chs. 14-16 “This cup is the New Testament in my BLOOD shed for YOU.” Matthew Mark and Luke all record the parable of new wine in new bottles, which is a clear illustration of Jesus Himself declaring the new agreement which He was “negotiating” was new wine, or new Life. In chapter three we see that new life being referred to as “being born again.” Men have to become “new bottles” to contain the new wine. When He does come back He will be coming for a Bride, or for those who LOVE Him. The marriage feast in heaven will be the culmination of this age. Read Ephesians Ch 5 for details of a mystery; the wonderful mystery of us becoming one flesh with our God. The Wedding Bride is a miracle of abundant wine Wine, vines and grapes symbolise the ultimate luxury or fruit of life which is love. Notice the Song of Solomon which is the classic love story, has continual references to wine and vineyards. As in human experience wine seems to symbolise the icing on the cake of a perfect life, so wine symbolises the ideal perfect happiness of a love relationship; “He brings the poor lost sinner into His house of wine” As in the natural the height of human experience is found in a relationship of love so the whole purpose of the Christian life is to bring us into a relationship with God as His lover or Bride. The ULTIMATE CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE IS TO KNOW JESUS (God) AS A LOVER. While John brings Light and Life and Love to be seen the first two are really stepping stones to the third. God though all three in character, is essentially LOVE. John’s Epistle is packed with this message also. Read it when you have digested this short study. This may be grasped from another angle; Before anything physical existed, God existed. he is a Spirit- John refers to Him as "the Word". Whatever did he mean> What is a word, but a noise spoken through the ether or written on a piece of paper. But that Word by definition is a means of communication- so if you like, God in essence a Spirit of communication. But that Spirit has many other characteristics, so when God makes his grea plan of communication he expresses himself. So when he said "Let there be light", he created a physical form to what he was by nature, for Light is Truth. God is also LIfe by nature, so he expresses that physically and it shapes out into all the natural world which we know and admire. But the whole purpose of this great communication was to express the main feature of God's character which is LOVE- John expressly says in his Epistle "God is Love". Its simplicity hides is profundity. Hence the great and staggering expression of His love in physical form when he begat His Son through Mary. Then we begin to realise why Men and women were created as they were. Coming as a son was not an after thought it we as the first thought. The only way I can express my revealed summary of all things is that the whole conglomeration from time immemorial, of heaven , and earth and the whole universe all exploded from Love; So we should now see why Jesus gave such priority and enphais to his disciples loving each other, and in so doing be a true child of their heavenly Father. If you grasp a little of this précis, you will find much more to stir your heart if you read John's Gospel and his epistles once again, realising that this is what it is all about. How often do we have to hear Corinthians ch 13 read out before we get this message. If we can't love those who don't love us we know nothing of the life of the Father in us. That is what John affirms in his epistle.
SELECTIONS and OMISSIONS John’s gospel is special because of his SELECTIONS and OMISSIONS. It is these that reveal the Lord Jesus as God. John seems to have accumulated all the stories and sayings that the others omitted. For example, there is no mention of Christ’s’ birth, for God is eternal. There is no record of the Temptation, for God cannot be tempted. Temptation is a human thing. There is no transfiguration. Only his human side could be transfigured. There is no agony in the garden, and no “my God My God why have you forsaken me”; for in John’s gospel the cross is an agreement between Father and Son illustrated in the Old Testament by Abraham and Isaac. When Abraham was about to sacrifice his only son, we read; - “They went both of them together up the mountain.” Calvary was agreed before the foundation of the earth. John 12:27; What shall I say Father save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father glorify your name. When telling Peter to put away his sword in the garden, John records these words of Jesus. The cup that my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
JOHN’S SELECTIONS. Almost all of John’s Gospel is unique to Him. John is the “All-inclusive” gospel, in that his inspiration, incorporates the aspects of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Matthew shows Jesus as King but John alone gives us the account in chapters 14-16 in which we read of THE GREATEST COMMAND OF THE KING.. “This is my commandment, that you love one another” Mark shows Jesus as Servant but in chapter 13 of John we read of the GREATEST EXAMPLE OF SERVICE, when Jesus took a bowl and washed His disciples feet. Luke shows Jesus as a Man, but in John ch 11 we read the BEST EXAMPLE OF HUMAN EMPATHY, where we read that “Jesus wept”. Considering that He knew he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, he could only have wept because he was touched with the sorrow all around him. If the Holy Spirit had not inspired the writers of the gospels, the other alternative is that they conspired together to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament, but had that been so I would hazard a guess that the writers would be kicking themselves that they had missed out these greatest examples of the slant or emphasis they had deliberately put on their view of Jesus
SYMBOLS, SIGNS & WONDERS. The mystery of His divinity, and indeed the mystery of God Himself, cannot be fully explained in simple words, therefore, the Gospel of John is a book of symbols and signs. It is a spiritual book, and is to be understood in seeing the spiritual patterns and principles throughout. However, no matter how great is the Mystery of Godliness, (that God is come in the flesh) it remains only a mystery to the human mind, for the natural mind hasn’t the capacity to contain such truths, but the human heart has. So it is within the vessel of the believing heart that this wonder is appreciated. God has made himself known to us, in the mystery of the gospel and in the mystery of Godliness, that God is come in the flesh. (see John Ch 1 v 18 and 2 Tim Ch 3 v 16.) When the light dawns upon our souls, we become changed beings.
The Miracles: The miracles in John, are referred to as SIGNS. They all point to some aspect of His character. The signs or miracles were to advance our spiritual concepts. e.g. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, to say by action and word; - "I am the resurrection and the Life" ..... Similarly He healed the man born blind in Ch 9. to reveal the truth; "I am the light of the world. ........” Ch 6. The feeding of the five thousand, was not performed because people were starving hungry. He could have sent them home as the disciples suggested. (He healed the 4000 because they were hungry) Of his own divine initiative he did this miracle in order to say in word and in power, "I am the bread of Life" etc Lazarus reveals his LIFE; The blind man reveals his LIGHT and the feeding with the broken bread reveals his LOVE. He is the bread come down from heaven. The bread symbolises his body - broken for us. Calvary is expressed in the feeding of the loaves. Our sins are forgiven on the basis of a sacrifice having been made. In order to die he “took a body”. He did not take the form of angels, says Hebrews, but he took the seed of Abraham. The human body fitted him like a glove. As surely as it is recorded that he “took bread”. That which he took he blessed. When God blesses something he puts himself into it, and the ordinary becomes extraordinary. That which he blessed, He broke. His body was broken for us. That which was broken was given out; there is a share in this sacrifice for all who will accept by faith. Jesus said that Moses and the Israelites received manna from heaven, but they are all dead. He said that He was the “true manna”, from heaven. Jesus came down to Bethlehem “The House of Bread”. Those who “eat” of Him will live forever. “Do I have to return back to heaven before you will believe that I came from there” says Jesus. Those who believe my words are those who eat my flesh and live forever. Believing is the receiving of life. Jesus said in the same discourse in Ch 6. “my words are spirit” or ” my words are life’’. Ch 6 v 35; “I am the Bread of Life. v 51; “Living bread come down from Heaven.” v 48; “That living bread.” Ch 8 v 12; “I am The Light of the world.” Ch 9 v 5; “I am the light of the world”. He did not raise Lazarus because he was sorry for the family, or thought that Lazarus was worse off dead. He did not open the eyes of the man who had known no different because he thought it grossly unfair. He clearly states in each case that it was for his glory to be revealed.
I AM's The divinity of Jesus is not only revealed in the expressions of LOVE, LIFE & LIGHT, but also in the I AM’s of John’s Gospel. Once again it is so significant that the other writers make no mention of these glorious statements. In Ch 8 v 58 Jesus gives cause to the Jews to take up stones to kill him, when he said “Before Abraham was I AM” They clearly understood that he was taking the name of their God as his own. Other divine attributes are seen in the remaining “I am’s” Ch. 10 v 9; “I am the Door,” Ch. 10 v11; “I am The Good Shepherd”. Ch. 10 v 36; “ I am The Son of God.” Ch 11 v 25; “I am The Resurrection and the Life”. Ch 14 v 6; “ I am The Way, The Truth, The Life.” (Love is the Way, Truth is the Light & Life) Ch 15. v 1; “ The True Vine.” Ch 6 v 35; “I am the Bread of Life. Ch 8 v 12; “I am The Light of the world.” Note especially Ch 18 vv 4-7 where the dual nature of Jesus is clearly expressed. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, he asked them who they were looking for. They replied “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus then said “I AM he” and the soldiers fell to the ground before Him. Then He asked them again who they sought, and this time he said, “I am he” but only in his human capacity as Jesus of Nazareth. Then and only then could they lead Him away. When He stood as God, no ropes could bind him, no men could lead Him away captive.
PATTERN OF THREES: As one might expect there are many “threes” in John’s Gospel. We have mentioned Love Light and Light and also the three symbolic days of chapter 1& 2. To explain this third day a little further, here is an extract from notes written on our page of, “The pattern of threes in Scripture” which will illustrate why the great wedding in heaven could be said to be on the third day.
The Three Days Eternal Plan. 1.The Father’s Day. 2. The Holy Spirit’s Day 3. The Son’s Day . The eternal plan so far revealed to man can be seen as the work of “Three days”. Each day is a SEPARATE part of the overall plan, built upon and from the work of the day before. The first day is the Father’s, the second is the Holy Spirit’s and the third is the day of the Lord Jesus. The day of the Lord Jesus is yet to come. This is often prophesied in scripture. Note carefully, His time on earth was within the Father’s day, for Jesus was sent by the Father and he did the works of the Father and spoke the words of the Father. A “Father” concept necessitates a “son”. So Jesus came not to do his own will. His will shall be seen to be done in the next age when He reigns. Jesus was an obedient Son in the Father’s day. Jesus was given just “one hour”, within the Day of the Father’s work. (an hour which he often referred to, e.g. John ch.12 v 27, Ch 17 v.1 & Mark Ch 14. v 41. Read John Ch 5, Ch 8 and Ch 10. concerning the works and words) This present age, since Jesus left is the “day” of the Holy Spirit’s work. These notes should help you see the full extent of His work in this age. It may surprise you. For not only is the church in his control, the world also is within his domain. The next age will be the “day” of the Lord Jesus. Further investigation will show that each member of the Godhead, has a tripartite work. The Father’s work is Creation, Redemption, Sovereign Providence The Spirit’s work is a, In the World; (threefold) Convicting of Sin, Righteousness and Judgement. b, In the Church; (threefold) He propagates Truth, produces Fruit and promotes Gifts. The Son’s Work is that of Prophet, Priest and King. We not only see this in the gospel record but also it is set in the prophetic pattern of the Old Testament revelation. For example; Deut Ch 17 v 18 tells us that He would be a Prophet like unto Moses Psalm 110 v 4 tells us that he would be a Priest after the order of Melchisedec Isaiah Ch 9 v 7 tells us that he would reign as King on the throne of David forever. A subtler pattern of Prophet Priest and King can also be seen in the “shadow” of the three already mentioned. For Moses was not only a prophet, he was a PRIEST, a Levite, interceding for Israel on many occasions. Melchisedec was not only a Priest but also a KING. And David was not only a King but also one of the most inspired PROPHETS of the Old Testament. Psalm 110 must surely be the most inspired passage of the Old Testament. Truly Jesus endorsed it in saying “David spoke in the Spirit........” No-one in the Old Testament fitted perfectly as prophet priest and king. Job probably got nearest to it than anyone. He was definitely a priest, definitely a prophet, and was also a “prince among his people”. No-one was intended to be all three in type of Christ. Saul’s offering of a sacrifice was a great sin, for this very reason. He was legitimately a prophet and king, but was never anointed to be a priest. He marred the picture, consequently he was scrubbed out from it. The Only True Prophet Priest and King was the Lord Jesus Christ. Men were inducted into these offices in the Old Testament by the anointing of oil. Christ, or Messiah, means ” the anointed One.” The word “One” is as important as the word “anointed”. (End of extract) John of course sees all three offices superseded by His Divinity.
THE THREE WOMEN: There is also another analogous set of narratives, consistent with the rest of the threes in scripture shown in the accounts of three women. One we have already mentioned, she is the Bride at the wedding in chapter 2. The other two mentioned are of the “Woman of Samaria” in Ch. 4 and the ‘Adulteress” in Ch 8. All three are linked, in that they all were disappointed, having had broken or false relationships with a man. The Bride in chapter two, had a husband who had let her down, in what should have been a great day of rejoicing nearly turned into a disaster because the bridegroom had not ordered or bought enough wine. It stands as a reminder that when Jesus is only the guest and not the governor, the wine of life soon runs out. The common plight of these three women is illustrative of man’s broken relationship with God. In the Old Testament, the unfaithfulness of the Israelites to God was often likened to that of an unfaithful wife. In each of these stories, Jesus stepped in and in each case proved to be the answer to their needs. The adulteress was confronted by the Law- she was condemned by the written Word. Only one could forgive her. He came as the Living Word. He brought the LIGHT of the word “Neither do I condemn you- go and sin no more. He also shone LIGHT into the consciences of those who accused her by writing on the ground. They all went away, beginning at the eldest, no doubt they had sinned the most having lived the longest. The woman of Samaria brings emphasis upon the Holy Spirit. The word Spirit means LIFE. Jesus likens him to “rivers of Living water” pouring out of a believer. When The Spirit comes upon a person to anoint for service, the Spirit is as oil, but when he is flowing out from a person, He is as water. The Holy Spirit is the “Soul” of God. This contrast between the human soul and the divine soul are shown in the difference between the fresh water found in rivers & wells, and the waters of the sea. (Revelation Ch 17 tells us that the “sea” is the souls of men.) Only one gives and sustains life to those who drink it. Ezekiel Ch 47 tells of the living water from the temple running into the sea and changing it to fresh water. However, sufficient to simply see that Jesus spoke to the woman at the well about the Holy Spirit. The water of the well was an illustration of the Spirit.
CORN, OIL, & WINE: In the Old Testament there are many references to Corn, Oil and Wine. Often two are just mentioned, but sometimes all three as in Deut. 28.51, Neh. 5.11, and Hosea 2.8. Joel makes three references to corn wine and oil; - ch. 1 v10, Ch. 2 v 19 and Ch. 2 v 24. Under the Old Covenant these were the essentials for a full life. When Israel obeyed they had plenty, when they backslid they had a famine. Joel prophesied that God would send all three in abundance. John’s gospel is the fulfilment of that prophecy. These three things, corn, oil and wine are symbolic of The Word, the Spirit and the Blood which came through Jesus. John takes up this triune revelation in his epistle (1 John ch 5)
In conclusion; If the gospel says anything it says that God brings “the poor lost sinner into His house of Wine” as his beloved bride. The pre-determined plan was a love story to outshine all others. Notice that the writer refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” If you or I or any of the disciples had had this revelation we would also have referred to ourselves as the disciple whom Jesus loved. John ends in ch 21 with a discourse between Jesus and Peter, whom He met in chapter 1. Peter often known as a fisherman, but less known as - Peter the Fireman: Three fires were significant to Peter's christian experience; The fire where he denied Jesus The fire that Jesus lit on the shore and revived his love (John 21) The fire of the Holy Ghost which changed him forever (Acts 2.)
What is that discourse about in John 21? What is Jesus trying to achieve? Is it not a love relationship? Here is a potted sermon on John Ch 21; Three questions are evident here 1. A question of Deficiency; “Have you any meat? 2; A question of Devotion. Lovest thou Me? 3. A question of Discipleship. What is that to thee? 1. The question of deficiency . “What have you got;” or as Jesus said “Have you any meat?” For all your toil and effort, what have you got to show for it. The answer was a very sad “Nothing”. When our little boat reaches the eternal shore in the early morning mist of eternity, Jesus will stand there and ask us what we have to show, for all the talents, time and money, we had and all the hard toil we put in throughout our life. Sadly for many there will be a great deficiency, in that there will be little to show for all the work and effort of life. “One short life to live, will soon be passed, And only what’s done for Christ will last". Joke Illustration; A man called at a bank to look up an old friend who he thought worked there. “Can I speak to Frank Smith?” he enquired “I am afraid Mr Smith left suddenly in unfortunate circumstances and his contract was terminated,” said the manager. “Oh, I am surprised to hear that,” said the friend, “I thought he was one of your tried and trusted employees” “Well” replied the manager, “ He was trusted, that’s for sure, and when we catch him he will definitely be tried” You see there had been a deficiency. What went in didn’t equal that which came out. The books did not balance. The books to be opened in heaven could well be account books for we must all give account, says the scripture. A young man recently freed from jail got a job in a warehouse. Needless to say he “picked up” a few things while he was there and they were not just a few tips. After about six months the manager asked him if he would like to work late on Friday “ to do a bit of stock-taking” Oh” said the ex jailbird, “don’t tell me you’re at it as well!” If you are like the young man in question and don’t know anything about stocktaking, then maybe you should learn. For we all need to do a bit of stock taking before we meet our maker to ensure that The hymnwriter of old wrote; “Must I go, and empty handed, must I meet my Saviour so” Not one soul with which to greet Him, Must I empty handed go For all the gifts of life and time that God has given to us, we will be wise to ensure that there is no question of deficiency and that we have a few fish to produce when we meet him 2. The question of Devotion; This passage is well known for its play on words. Phileo and agape are greek words and both mean “to love”. “Phileo” is brotherly friend-like love and “Agape” is divine love. The conversation went like this; “Peter Do you love me?” (agape) “Yes Lord, you know I love you” (Phileo) This was repeated, then the third time Jesus asked Peter if he loved him but this time he also used the word Phileo; Peter merely replied; “Lord you know all things;” What was this conversation all about? It was really about the very personal relationship that Jesus wants to have with all his disciples. He was concerned about Peter being hurt and disappointed at himself for letting the Lord down at his trial. Significantly Jesus had lit a fire on the shore which no doubt brought back memories for Peter. The thing that the Lord is most concerned about, is not how much we work for Him, but how much we love Him. He knew that he was about to leave Peter and he also knew that Peter would take a leading roll in the early church. So Jesus is making sure that Peter had his love right before he left. Love is the only thing with enough power to make a disciple like Peter to take up his cross and follow. Much more could be said on this point 3. The question of discipleship: “What is that to you? you follow me!” Jesus had told Peter that he would have to give his life for Him. “One day “ said Jesus, “people will take you where you don’t want to go and do to you what you would not want them to do” . No doubt this was a prophecy concerning his death, for tradition tells us that Peter was crucified upside down . We then read that having heard this, “ Peter, turning himself about said “ What is going to happen to this man?” - referring to John. Jesus replied in effect, “What does it matter what happens to him, even if he is still sitting there when I come back again, What difference does that make to you, you must follow me!” One of the great anomalies of the Christian walk is that two young men can respond to the Gospel at the same altar call. One could well go into business and live prosperously as He grew in Christ and the other could be called to live his life in the jungles and forests of the River Amazon, sleeping in hammocks with frogs, lice and mosquitoes everywhere. Both could well be “following the same Lord”. It is not for us to follow other disciples, we need to have our own call and to keep our eyes on the Lord. It is significant that before Peter questioned Jesus in this instance that we read “Peter turned himself around”- so obviously he took his eyes off Jesus and put them on another disciple. The first words Jesus ever spoke to Peter were exactly the same as the last; they were “Follow Me”. The emphasis in the first place was on the following and in the latter instance upon the Me. <End of Potted sermon>
OTHER SCRIPTURES - SIMILAR PATTERN> If we had time to study the Books of Experience we would see something of the same pattern in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. Proverbs is about Wisdom, or LIGHT shining on the two ways set before us in this world. Ecclesiastes is clearly about LIFE. Most of which can be accounted as vanity (clutching at the wind) which finishes with a funeral in the final chapter. The Song of Solomon speaks of something that outlasts death, that is LOVE. It is the one Eternal thing. Notice all the references to wine and LOVE. Some have inspired today’s pop songs. “Thy love is better than wine”.... ” Remember your love more than wine”.... “much better is your love than wine” and “Money can’t buy love”.
The Cross in the Four Gospels; In Matthew the cross is as a sword with which Jesus slew the enemy and rival prince, having advanced from heaven into his territory, (earth) and then progressed into the very headquarters of Satan’s Kingdom- Death & Hell. In Mark it is as an altar where the servant Ox was slain after faithful years of service. In Luke we may see a fountain of blood, the antidote of sin. Medically we might be reminded of a syringe which not only is fountain like in it’s spray, but is used as a means to inject the antidote. In John the cross is definitely a cup which the Son agreed to drink in obedience to His Father. As the wine at the wedding, it speaks of fellowship, unity and life.
It is significant in John that there is no Satanic involvement. No Herod, No temptation, No garden agony, No “My God why hast thou forsaken me?” The other three gospels, sometimes called the synoptic gospels, all portray the Satanic involvement. Taken together the three synoptic portrayals of the cross illustrate Rev 12:11, which speaks of the saints who overcame Satan- “They overcame him by the blood, (Luke the antidote) the word of their testimony, (Light- the kingdom of- Matthew) and they loved not their lives unto death. (Mark- sacrifice) These three means of warfare, are linked with each Gospel. Matthew portrays a kingdom of light as opposed to the Satanic kingdom of darkness. It is the gospel which is the light being sent out. This witness is the mark of the true church. The value of a church is its witness. We testify to the truth and power of the gospel, which has shone into our hearts. Light of testimony puts out the darkness. Significantly symbolic is the fact that Matthew records two blind men being healed, while the others record only one of the two. Matthew endorses it by telling the tale TWICE. Mark reminds us of the many martyrs , the servants of God who have "not loved their lives unto death." Like the ox which serves faithfully and then is sacrificed at the end, so have been the lives of thousands of God’s servants. It is a amazing how God treats his servants. No employer on this earth would go without strong criticism if he was to treat his servants as God seems to treat his. All the prophets were persecuted and many eventually killed. John the Baptist, after a life dedicated to God, living in austerity and sacrifice, eventually preached for six months and then had his head chopped off. However it is certain that Satan has no power to stop God’s servants who are not afraid of death. The worse thing that can supposedly happen to anyone is death, but the servant of God, who is truly dedicated to the service of His God, lives his whole life on the altar. He dies daily to his own will. A man dedicated to God's service is immortal until his work is done. The cross is utter exhaustion. He gave his all. Jesus gave his clothes to the soldiers, his mother to John and his spirit to His father. (Body, soul and spirit) The Blood in Luke’s gospel is of course there because if Christ, the Priest and the Temple are a theme within the gospel, then the Blood is implicit also. Also it is there by analogy, for in Luke we see Jesus as a doctor in His battle against the power of Sin. The antidote is more powerful. His blood is the antidote. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. Sin separates man from God. But the blood makes it possible for man to walk with God, It is not possible for God to walk in our darkness, but it is possible for us to walk in His light. 1 John 1 7-9. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son continues to cleanse us from all sin. Satan now has no power to separate man from God.
John can be seen to incorporate all three aspects of the battle. The Drinker of the cup is Jesus- The Word; (ch 1.) He is the Light; The King of the Kingdom of Light where His Word is the first, final and only authority. The Cup itself illustrates Mark’s emphasis of sacrifice and obedience. The Contents of the cup, symbolised in blood, confirm the Priestly message of Luke.
A few final notes; The Length of His ministry? The New Testament was written between the years 50 ad. and 150ad. John was the last of the gospels to be written. One of the controversies concerning the ministry of Jesus is whether it lasted for 2.5 years or 3.5 years. The scriptures are not very clear. John deals mainly with his ministry in Jerusalem, and although it could not be regarded as a chronological account we do see some semblance of timing if only to note the times that Jesus went to Jerusalem for the feasts. Check out the following. FEAST ONE: Chap. 2 v 13. “Time for the Jewish Passover. ...see v 23 Ch 3. Takes in the story of the Lord’s meeting with Nicodemus, at this feast. Ch 4 tells us that on the way back to Galilee He deliberately went through Samaria. This was unusual for such returning Jews. Rather than go through Samaria, they would cross the Jordan, walk up the other side of Jordan and then cross back again into Galilee, further north. Ch 4 v 43 -45 He arrives back in Galilee from the first feast of the Passover. FEAST TWO ?? Now the controversy hinges on whether or not Ch 5 v 1 is referring to a feast other than the feast of the Passover, for the only other reference to the Lord going to a feast of the Passover is in Ch 12 which is when He was crucified. Ch 6 sees Him again in Galilee feeding the 5000. We know this was around the time of the Transfiguration which was about six months before His death. Two other feasts are mentioned; Ch. 7 v 3. The feast of Tabernacles. For this the Jews all lived in tents to commemorate their experience of the faithfulness of God when they were in the wilderness living in tents. In the time of Jesus the Jews had developed a ceremony of bringing water from the pool of Siloam and sprinkling it upon an altar. At this time God (Jesus) stood in the temple and cried with a loud voice, “If any man thirst let Him come to me and Drink”. At this feast the discourse recorded in Ch 7, Ch 8, Ch 9, and Ch 10 up to verse 21, took place. Note the extraordinary break in time of three months before we get to the next verse, v 22, “then came the Feast of Dedication.” The break is extraordinary, not by it’s length but by the fact that the Lord CONTINUES his discourse about the sheep. Preachers today have a job getting their audience to remember seven days later what they were speaking of the previous week. Jesus continued three months later on the same theme. The Feast of Dedication was not an Old Testament feast. You will not see it set out in Leviticus with the other feasts. It simply marked the rededication of the Temple under a chap called Judas Maccabees, who liberated the Jews for a time from the oppressors, during the time between the Old and the New Testaments. The temple was restored and rededicated. FEAST THREE: Chapter 12. Here begins the account of the great but dreadful final week. So if chapter 5 was a Passover, his ministry covered at least three years. If not, and there were only two passovers in his ministry then some would say it lasted less than three. Who knows? He accomplished what he came to do.