THE FACE OF AN EAGLE
AN EXPOSITION AND COMMENTARY STUDY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
TROY A BREWER
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Four Major Points about this first verse
1) John cuts straight to the point with the subtlety of a meat cleaver. We learn that God showed up as man named Jesus. Jesus is God and He was already there before He arrived as a 6-pound Jew in Bethlehem. In fact, we are not even going to bother with all of the humanity of Jesus as Luke has so brilliantly done. We are not going to start off in Bethlehem as the other Gospels. We are starting before time. In the beginning of all things, when the first light of this universe was first turned on, He was already there. John is going to point us straight to the deity of Jesus.
2) Furthermore, He is THE WORD. That was His actual name in heaven – The Word – as it is His true identity. The Word is the expression of the heart of God. Jesus was going to give real language to the thoughts and the secrets of God. He is still doing that today.
3) Jesus has eternal communion with God. He who was with God would soon become God with us.
- Isaiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (God with us).
- Matthew 1:22-23 – Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”
4) When we talk about Jesus representing God, John wants us to know that He actually is God.
“…our great God and Savior Jesus Christ ” – Titus 2:13
(See Notes A)
2 He was in the beginning with God.
This same Word, completely distinct in His own person, was also in perfect unity with the Father. The beginning here is not His beginning, but the beginning of our universe. It’s the same beginning that Moses speaks of in Genesis 1 and He, God, was not alone. Jesus is an outrageous communion fanatic.
(See Notes B)
3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
Jesus is the Creator. Jesus is the part of God that expresses all things creative.
- John 1:10 – He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not…
- Colossians 1:15-17 – He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
(See Notes C)
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
When God said, “LET THERE BE LIGHT,” He was literally introducing Jesus into the picture of what would become our universe. When the Light of Jesus first appears, the Life of Jesus shows up. His order appeared in the beginning in direct opposition to the disorder of the venue He was introduced to. His Life was introduced in direct opposition to death. His Light in direct opposition to darkness. John is now making the jump from the appearance of Jesus to the universe – which was in the beginning – to the appearance of Jesus to mankind within the universe, which was in the days this book was written.
(See Notes D)
John’s Witness: The True Light
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
“…whose name was JOHN.” John means “grace.” What a great prophetic name given to the Messiah’s forerunner. Consider the warfare involved with his name. See Luke 1:59-66.
(See Notes E)
7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
Like the moon we all see, John’s light was not his own. To “bear” means to take on the burden or to carry something. John wore camel hair as a testimony of how he carried the responsibility – the burden-bearing wonder – of witnessing to the truth of who Jesus was and is.
9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
Now we are talking about Jesus again and we see He is deeply personal. He gives His Light to “every man coming into the world,” not just some or one – every.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
There are three different groups here:
1)The world – All that He owns and created didn’t recognize Him.
2) His own – The Jewish people, His family, His land, His nation didn’t recognize Him.
3) His children – those who did receive Him. Jesus gives us a Kingdom perspective of family.
God has not called us to be mere servants. He has called us to be family. The greatest right God can give you is the right to be called part of His family and to sit at the table with Him.
In Matthew 12:46-50, He gives another strange definition of family:
- While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. 47 Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” 48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
- In John 19:25-29, He tells John that His mother is now John’s mother.
13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
“Born” – not just adopted, but actually blood of His blood. True family. The nation claimed familial rights through the blood of Abraham, but John the Baptist warned against that fallacy saying,
“…and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.” – Matthew 3:9
- In the Kingdom, the people who are Abraham’s children are the people who have Abraham’s faith. When we are born again, we enter into that supernatural, royal and heavenly bloodline.
14 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.
Ok, we could spend the rest of the day being blown away at the words “The Word became flesh.” One should contemplate and be filled with child-like wonder at the Eternal making Himself subject to time, a heartbeat or the infinite mind of God crammed into the confines of a human brain. But the point, was to dwell with us. To live together as family. It is also the point of the rapture of the church.
- John 14:3 – And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
The original meaning of the Greek word we translate as “grace” in this verse is “that which causes pleasure.” It basically means He was full of awesomeness. Others say comeliness, winsomeness, kindliness, goodwill (Luke 2:52; Acts 2:47). Here, “grace” covers all these meanings. I say awesomeness is a better word.
Truth here means “real.” He was just so tangible and real. He was the Light.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”
John is talking about how eternal Jesus is. He uses all three tenses in this one sentence – past present and future. “He was before me,” “This is the one I am talking about,” and “He will be coming.”
- Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
Now we are talking about Jesus, not John. “Grace for grace” means something like one kind of grace gets upgraded into another kind of grace and there is an exchange happening. In this case, grace is God-given ability to overcome something. It’s heaven’s power and the ability to receive increase with every engagement. It also diminishes with the neglect of the grace we already have.
- “For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. – Matthew 13:12
(See notes F on grace)
17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
We have the law on one side, and grace and truth on the other. The law was given. Grace and truth “came” or “showed up” through Jesus Christ. From here on, John doesn’t call Him “The Word.” John calls Him by His name, Jesus, and His title as Christ – the “anointed one of God.” The pattern of the awesomeness and reality of God was given through the law of Moses. However, the awesomeness and tangible reality of God was given to us through the person Jesus in His capacity as Christ.
18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
Up until Jesus, nobody ever got a good look at God. There were visions, revelations and glimpses here and there, but never a good solid look at what God really, really looked like.
- Ecclesiastes 43:31 – For we have seen but a few of His works.
Jesus was different. He was in perfect unity with the Father (in the bosom of the father) and He was going to give us the greatest picture of God man had ever seen. Jesus came to show us the face of the Father.
A Voice in the Wilderness
19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
And he answered, “No.”
22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
23 He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the Lord,”’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
It is funny to me that the priests and Levites questioned John as to who he was. They knew all too well who he was. I believe they were questioning him to see if John knew who he was. Son of High Priest Zechariah, John was, by birthright and blood, the true and rightful high priest of the land. But things in Israel were not as they should be. While John was the rightful heir to the priesthood, the genealogies of Jesus in both Matthew and Luke show the rightful king at the time of Jesus’ birth should have been his earthly daddy, Joseph. What? This will blow your mind.
(See Notes G)
Jesus is saying, “I am the guy Isaiah was talking about” by pointing them to the book of Isaiah.
(See Notes H)
24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
It was outrageous that John was baptizing Jews instead of Pagans as the practice had always been. The Pharisees might entertain the notion of allowing the Messiah, Elijah, or a prophet to change how they worshipped God, but certainly nobody else. Religious people, posed with a demon of control, always worship how they worship and deify their own traditions.
26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”
Yeah, he was baptizing and changing things, but there was a bigger change coming. “There is One…” and this One was going to stand out way past mere water baptism. The strap was the string by which sandals were fastened to the feet. To loose them was the job of a servant or a slave. John is saying he wasn’t worthy to even serve The One coming after him as a slave.
28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The word “Bethabara” means “house or place of a ford.” It is also translated at Bethany (NIV) which means “house of affliction,” “house of figs,” or “the descender.”
It is about 12 miles above Jericho.
Also translated as Bethany (NIV), meaning “house of affliction” or “house of figs” beyond “the descender;”(Jordan) Could this have to do with the accusations we get after Jesus, just like John was getting before Jesus.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John points Jesus out to everybody as “the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.” Not the lamb who covers up sin, as all other lambs before had done. This “Lamb” takes away the sins of the world.
- 1 John 3:5 – And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin…
(See Notes I)
30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”
32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.
In Jewish writings, the Spirit hovering over the primeval waters in Genesis 1 is always compared to a dove. It’s the glory and the presence of God.
Noah’s dove, as a symbol of the new creation, stands out here too, but this one is different. This dove – the Holy Spirit – remained or “rested” upon Him.
33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”
“…knew him not” — So many dots were connected for John on the day he saw the Holy Spirit rest upon Jesus. They lived apart – one in Nazareth, the other in the deserts of Judah. John didn’t know who the messiah was, he just knew He was going to show up. John knew prophetically, personally from God Himself, that whoever the Spirit fell upon, remained or rested upon was the One.
In Matthew’s account, John not only saw the Spirit, he heard the Father and there the Trinity was – for the first time revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
The term “lamb of God” is in the Bible 33 times. It is found 29 times in Revelation and three other times in the New Testament for a total of 32. There was one messianic promise of “the lamb of God” in Isaiah 53:7. That’s interesting to me since Jesus lived 33 years, each one as the Lamb of God.
37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
The difference between a disciple of Christ and an observer of Christ is that disciples follow Jesus.
(See Notes J)
38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?”
When Jesus was a little boy, the Bible records that He asked his mother why she had been looking for Him. In fact, they are His first recorded words. Now, the first recorded question our Savior asks after kicking off his full-blown ministry is really a question to the world – not just to John and Andrew: “What do you seek?”
“Whom do you seek?” is a better translation if this is personal and “What are you looking for?” could be another translation.
Jesus is always the one who starts the conversation between us and Him.
Remember, John is writing this book and he is one of the first two disciples. One thing I have noticed about John is he seems to not speak for himself very much. Instead, he parrots whatever his brother or the closest guy to him is saying. The next verse says, “They said” and we find that same narrative through the scriptures John wrote. I think John, the youngest of the disciples and the one to live the longest, did not have the strong personality his older brother, James, had. I believe he learned very early to just go along with what his brother did or said. In this case, here, he is going along with Andrew.
They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”
They don’t ask the “who” or “what” – they ask “where.” What they actually want is private time with this traveling teacher. There are some questions they need answered. What an amazing conversation and personal encounter with Christ that must have been.
39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).
Jesus will never reject a request for personal “alone time” with Him.
The tenth hour would be late afternoon – 4 or 5 p.m. The Jews divided the day and the night into 12 hour increments starting at 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
John isn’t identifying himself yet, but he identifies his good friend Andrew. Andrew was always in the shadow of his brother, Simon Peter, the way John was always in the shadow of his brother, James.
I have wondered why two of the disciples have Greek names: Andrew and Philip. I think this has something more to do with translation than anything else, but the name Andrew means “manly” or “masculine,” or one might say, “A man’s man.”
According to a tradition of the early church, church leaders requested a fourth gospel to be written for another accounting of the life of Christ. Tradition holds that John and Andrew fasted for three days, then John began writing the book in consultation with Andrew, who insured he remembered the details correctly. If that’s true, The Holy Spirit really got all over those men as they wrote this incredible Gospel. Both men were filled with the Holy Spirit. Remember, the “Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” – John 14:26
41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
There isn’t a whole lot said about Andrew, however he brings somebody to Jesus on three separate occasions: Peter, the young man with the loaves (John 6:8), and certain Greeks (John 12:22). That’s a manly thing for a guy named “manly” to do. Real men lead people to Jesus.
There’s that Greek thing again with him bringing “certain Greeks” to Jesus. Tradition says Andrew was martyred in Greece on a cross that looks like a capital X. This is called a Saint Andrew’s cross. In Greek, X is the abbreviation for “Christ,” therefore “X-mas” could easily be considered a good translation.
Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).
Simon means “shifty” or “inconsistent.” However, Cephas, or Peter means “rock solid.”
43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.”
The Apostle Philip is very easy to be confused with Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:8). Even though they both displayed a gift for evangelism, it is mostly believed they are not the same person. If that is true, they certainly knew each other. Philip, as one of the apostles, prayed for and laid hands on Philip the evangelist (Acts 6:6) at the start of the latter’s ministry. They are easy to confuse, not just because of their name, but because they are both so quick to follow Jesus.
(See Notes K)
44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
Another reference to Andrew who is thought to have helped John write this Gospel. They knew each other and were friends before they met King Jesus.
45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
There was a group of people who were looking for Jesus to show up any day – obviously, under the influence of the wild man John the Baptist.
This was Nathaniel. The old man.
(See Notes L)
46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
For Nazareth to have a bad reputation among Galileans is really something. In Mark 6:6 and Luke 4:29, we find out just how hard the people from Nazareth could really be. However, Phillip doesn’t argue any of that. He invites Nathaniel into a personal encounter with Jesus with the words, “Come and see.”
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”
On the heels of the reputation of His hometown being trashed, Jesus greets Nathaniel with a good report of his reputation. No guile means “no hidden agendas” – a man true to his reputation as an outstanding Jew.
48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Jesus saw Nathaniel in the secret place. Nobody knows what personal thing was going on between God and this man under that tree, but suddenly, Jesus has his full attention. The revelation of who Jesus is hits Nathaniel like a ton of bricks.
49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Jesus is calling himself Jacob’s ladder (Genesis 28:12-13). It makes me wonder if Nathaniel had been reading the book of Genesis under that fig tree and thinking about what it meant to have an encounter like that. Jesus is promising Nathaniel he will see an open heaven and live that same experience Jacob had seen, but Nathaniel will see it upon Jesus.
TROY’S NOTES ON JOHN 1
- In the beginning…The son of thunder thunders down hard in verse 1. He sounds more like Moses in the book of Genesis who went to the mountain in “thunders and shakings.”
Comparisons of Moses and John
- They are both meek.
- They both have brothers that speak for them.
- They both have very unique relationships with God.
- They both had great revelation from a high up place where they were personally and supernaturally invited to.
- They both write down their revelation and deliver the word back to God’s people.
- Jesus hates aloneness. When you see Him in the beginning, He is with God. When you see Jesus in earthly form, He is with us (Emanuel). When He comes again, Jesus clearly states His agenda in John 14:3 – And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
Jesus does not want to be on the earth without the Father and He does not want to be heaven without us. Imagine the incredible courage it took for Him to face the cross alone. He had communion with His friends at the last supper and asked His friends to join Him in the garden, but He faced the cross alone. It seems the most difficult thing for Jesus to endure is being separated from us and from the Father. What a warrior!
- Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
I have learned to study the things Jesus hates. Other things He despises are barrenness and shame.
- Jesus is our Creator.
Creativity comes from Jesus. Religion, the devil, and the controlling nature of our flesh will always hate creative expression. That’s because creative expression is what Jesus is all about. Where Jesus is, there is ongoing creative expression of the heart of God. Where there is religion, control, etc., there is gray, boring structures that glorify systems instead of the freedom found in Christ.
Do you know that about Jesus? He was a builder of universes before He was a carpenter in Israel. The Creator is who He continues to be.
- Jesus as Light
Jesus, as The Word, is our Light.
- Psalms 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
- John 8:12 – Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
Darkness is no match for Light
- John 1:5 – And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
To “walk in the Light” is a relational journey with God and each other.
- 1 John 1:7 – This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
- Ephesians 5:8 – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…
Our testimony of Jesus is seen as light:
- Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
- John the Baptist
John is mentioned 19 times in this Gospel and 19 may be a number associated with faith. In his book “Biblical Mathematics,” Ed Vallowe points out that Hebrews Chapter 11 gives a list of 19 people in the “hall of fame” for faith. Thus, John, which means “grace” is associated with with faith.
Seven centuries before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah spoke of “the voice of one crying in the wilderness,” in Isaiah 40:3. Isaiah prophesied he would “prepare the way of the Lord” and “make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” John is the personification of that scripture.
John is the bridge between the old and New Testament. He comes in the spirit of Elijah (Matthew 17:11-13), which means he is responsible for handing something off from one generation to another in the form of upgrade. The spirit of Elijah is all about passing a mantel down. He connects the old thing with the new thing – from the hearts of the fathers to the hearts of the children.
Luke 1:17 – He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
The description of John is brief but it points to the prophetic. The brother wears camel hair and has a leather belt. Old Testament prophets (Zechariah 13:4), particularly Elijah, who, as we have already noted, was a prophetic picture of John (2 Kings 1:8). A camel is a burden bearer and I believe this is symbolic of the weight of the Word about Jesus he is “carrying.” Jesus would bear our entire burden of sin and “take away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29)
John the Baptist was famous for what was in his mouth. His diet was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4). This is also a prophetic symbol of the word John carries. The Word of Jesus would be “Life unto some and death unto others” (2 Corinthians 2:16), hence, locusts and honey.
John was mostly a rude dude in a crude mood. In my observation, he was not a people person and was not found with people like Jesus would be. He was sent to be a witness, and if you are a witness, you must be separated and divided like the waters were on the second day of creation. Two represents a faithful witness and John the Baptist was certainly that.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:18, For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ “Eating and drinking” stood for socializing and being relational. John was so disassociated with society he reminded people of those possessed by evil spirits who apparently ranted in the wilderness and lived in desolate areas (Mark 5:2-3). It was said among Jewish aristocrats that John might have a devil. Still, they came to see him. John did not seek out the multitudes. The multitudes sought him out.
I think John chose the wilderness for himself and reserved the Temple for Jesus. He wanted to make sure people knew there was a big difference between the witness and the Light. Malachi 3:1 prophesied saying, “And the Lord, whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple.” You know John was very well versed in Malachi because it ends with the promise of Elijah coming to usher in the Messiah.
Remember, John is the son of Zechariah, who had been the high priest. This means if things would have been “right” in Israel, John would have inherited his father’s place as the high priest as per Jewish custom. Things were far from “right” and even Herod knew it. Why else would Herod travel to the desert to hear John speak? Why were the Chief Priests and Pharisees aware of him, often challenging him? They knew John was the rightful High Priest and were obviously intimidated by him. Here’s the crazy cool part: if John was the rightful high priest, he passed this priestly anointing on to Jesus when he baptized him. When John was beheaded, Jesus stepped into His true identity as our High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. Boom!
The word grace is found 125 times in the Bible in the same Greek form of the word. For all you prophetic numbers geeks, 5 x 5 x 5 = 125.
The gematria value for the word “grace” in this verse is 911 and the Greek Strong’s Number is 5485. Other Greek words that have the same gematria value for grace
- Jonan (which means “dove”)
- Sedition (conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch)
The 911th verse in the Bible: Genesis 31:37 – Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both.
G: Rightful heirs to the throne of Israel
Both Matthew and Luke record the genealogy of Jesus, however they are not the same. Many say this is a contradiction. It’s not. It’s a confirmation. Let me explain.
Luke 3:23 gives the bloodline of the Lord Jesus Christ from Joseph to Adam – 77 generations (see graphic). Seventy-seven is the number for the Church and there are exactly 77 generations from Adam to Jesus who starts the church! While this family history lists Jesus’ earthly father “Joseph” and traces Jesus’ lineage back to David’s son Nathan, this is not Joseph’s genealogy. It’s Mary’s. Daughters could not inherit anything from their parents, and it seems Mary was their only child. Because of this, her husband, Joseph, is listed in the place of inheritance and his name is on the genealogy as was traditional in that time and culture. This means Mary, and all of her children, are of royal blood.
Matthew 1 traces Jesus back through Joseph’s line to King Solomon (see graphic). I call this “The Big Rip Off” because Joseph, one of the poorest most oppressed people in the land, should have been the king of Israel – yup, the king! Mary and Joseph were both royalty and nobody knew who they were. There are people heaven celebrates that the world doesn’t, and Jesus was born through people just like that. Think about it – Joseph has the honor of a King. In the way he handles the news that Mary is pregnant and the baby isn’t his, he’s a cut above. He could have had her stoned to death, instead he wanted to “put her away quietly” so nobody would shame or hurt her.
So, what’s the bottom line? If Mary and Joseph are both of royal blood and Joseph is in the actual bloodline of Solomon, Jesus was and is the rightful King of Israel in the line of David by birth. Boom!
H: Isaiah’s prophecies of the Messiah fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth
The Messiah will be born of a virgin. (Isaiah 7:14)
Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary. (Luke 1:26-31)
The Messiah will have a Galilean ministry. (Isaiah 9:1-2)
The ministry of Jesus began in Galilee of the Gentiles. (Matthew 4:13-16)
The Messiah will be an heir to the throne of David. (Isaiah 9:7; 11:1,10)
Jesus was given the throne of His father David. (Luke 1:32-33)
The Messiah will have His way prepared. (Isaiah 40:3-5)
Jesus was announced by John the Baptist. (John 1:19-28)
The Messiah will be spat on and struck. (Isaiah 50:6)
Jesus was spat on and beaten. (Matthew 26:67)
The Messiah will be exalted. (Isaiah 52:13)
Jesus was highly exalted by God and the people. (Philippians 2:9-10)
The Messiah will be disfigured by suffering. (Isaiah 52:14; 53:2)
Jesus was scourged by Roman soldiers who gave Him a crown of thorns. (Mark 15:15-19)
The Messiah will make a blood atonement. (Isaiah 53:5)
Jesus shed His blood to atone for our sins. (1Peter 1:2)
The Messiah will be widely rejected. (Isaiah 53:1,3)
Jesus was not accepted by many. (John 12:37-38)
The Messiah will bear our sins and sorrows. (Isaiah 53:4-5)
Jesus died because of our sins. (Romans 4:25; 1Peter 2:24-25)
The Messiah will be our substitute. (Isaiah 53:6,8)
Jess died in our place. (Romans 5:6,8; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
The Messiah will voluntarily accept our guilt and punishment for sin. (Isaiah 53:7-8)
Jesus took on our sins. (John 1:29; Romans 6:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
The Messiah will be sought by Gentiles. (Isaiah 11:10)
Gentiles came to speak to Jesus. (John 12:20-21)
The Messiah will be silent before His accusers. (Isaiah 53:7)
Jesus was silent before Herod and his court. (Luke 23:9)
The Messiah will save those who believe in Him. (Isaiah 53:12)
Jesus provides salvation for all who believe. (John 3:16; Acts 16:31)
The Messiah will die with transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12)
Jesus was numbered with the transgressors. (Mark 15:27, 28; Luke 22:37)
The Messiah will heal the broken hearted. (Isaiah 61:1-2)
Jesus healed the broken hearted. (Luke 4:18-19)
God’s Spirit will rest on Him. (Isaiah 11:2)
The Spirit of God descended on Jesus. (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; 4:1)
The Messiah will be buried in a rich man’s tomb. (Isaiah 53:9 )
Jesus was buried in the tomb of Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea. (Matthew 27:57-60; John 19:38-42)
The Messiah will judge the earth with righteousness. (Isaiah 11:4-5)
Jesus was given authority to judge. (John 5:27; Luke 19:22; 2 Timothy 4:1-8)
I: The Lamb of God
An innocent slaughtered in the place of the guilty, which Jesus most definitely was.
To commemorate the Jews deliverance from slavery in Egypt and the Angel of Death “passing over” of those with lamb’s blood on their door posts, a lamb was killed and eaten at the Passover. (Exodus 12:3-11)
A lamb was offered every morning and evening in the tabernacle, and afterward in the temple, as part of Jewish daily worship. (Exodus 29:38-39)
The Messiah was called a lamb. (Isaiah 53:7)
A lamb was also a picture or symbol patience, meekness, gentleness and willingness to be sacrificed.
1) a personal follower of Jesus during his life, especially one of the twelve Apostles.
2) a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher.
My notes from one of my sermon series called “Follow Me” on discipleship:
We find the names of the 12 apostles in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:14-19, and Luke 6:13-16.
- “And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.” – Luke 6:13-16
- Two guys named Simon
- Two guys named Judas
- Two sets of brothers One guy who has a twin brother who is not with him
- One guy, Simon the zealot, who is a radical in the underground political/religious movement against Rome
- Another guy, Matthew, who actually worked for Rome collecting money
- A very young man named John who was likely a teenager
- A very old man named Bartholomew who was likely considered elderly
- And a mystery man named Judas, the son of James, that nobody knows anything about
The dirty dozen you and I know as the disciples were men of no notoriety before chosen by Christ.
- They don’t go together
- Their credentials are answering the call “Follow Me.”
- Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
- Who can be a disciple? Anyone.
- It doesn’t matter if your family is with you or against you, if you are young or old, if you’re left wing or right wing or if you are unchurched, de-churched or too churched.
- Anyone can be Jesus’ disciple because the thing that qualifies you for discipleship has nothing to do with any demographic. What qualifies you for discipleship is your willingness to pick up your own cross and to follow Him.
A great book to read on true discipleship: Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus by Kyle Idleman
K: The Apostle Phillip
Philip isn’t written about in any of the other Gospels except being mentioned as a disciple. That’s because He was personal friends of John and Andrew.
Philip was already an out-of-the-box thinker and under the influence of John the Baptist before they met Jesus. He and several of his friends were actually looking for the Messiah, or the Christ, to show up any day when they found Jesus. I wonder how many candidates they went through before they actually found the Lord because Nathaniel immediately blew off the idea of Jesus being the Messiah. Why? He was not expecting any candidate to come from Nazareth.
The interesting thing about Philip is he was personally reached by Jesus. While Philip brought Nathaniel to Jesus and Andrew brought Peter to Jesus, nobody brought Philip to Jesus. Just Jesus. I like that.
These guys from Galilee were very much Jews who didn’t fit into the box of the Jewish religion they lived in. They wanted something different, something more. Something that wasn’t being offered in the rituals and the dogma of the Pharisees. These fishermen who traded with pagans in Galilee didn’t belong to the aristocracy of the big city of Jerusalem. They were hungry. They were poor so they would be filled and theirs was the kingdom of heaven.
After the resurrection, most believe the Apostle Philip knew (and likely helped ordain) Polycarp of Smyrna. You need to study Polycarp if you have not already.
L: The Apostle Nathaniel or Bartholomew
Bartholomew means “son of a farmer” or “son of the plow.”
Every time we find Bartholomew, or Nathaniel, he is with Phillip.
During World War II, the Nazis were running out of money and began to steal and destroy art of all kinds. Any metal object of value was melted down. The order was given to take the silver statue of St. Bartholomew and put it to the fire. However, when the statue was weighed and found to be only a few grams, it was returned to its place in the Cathedral of Lipari. In reality, the statue is made of pounds and pounds of silver. It is considered a miracle that it was not melted down. I like that. A study through History of miracles associated with Bartholomew is credited with many having to do with the weight of objects.
- God is glorified through the weight of things and the measures that are recorded in the Bible.
- Proverbs 16:11 – Honest weights and scales are the Lord’s; All the weights in the bag are His work.
JOHN CHAPTER TWO
Water Turned to Wine
1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
The third day of the Hebrew week is Tuesday. To the Jews, the third day begins at 6 p.m. Monday and goes until 6 p.m. Tuesday. Whether a Tuesday or the “three days after,” the third day is a big deal in the Bible with great significance. There are 18 recorded events that happened “on the third day.” The number 18 is connected to abundant life.
(See Notes A)
The first day of the year 27 AD was also the first day of Jesus’ Ministry – the day John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29) It was a two-day journey from Galilee to Cana. So, it was on the third day of Jesus’ ministry that He performed His first miracle – turning the water into wine at the wedding.
Believe it or not, the third day of the week, Tuesday, is the traditional day for Jewish weddings. The Jews consider this a day of “double blessing” and connect it to the third day of creation.
(See notes B)
Of all four Gospel writers, only John mentions the location of the wedding – Cana of Galilee.
(See Notes C)
Mary, or actually Mariam, is not named but titled “the mother of Jesus” by John because of his love and respect for her. Remember, it’s John who takes care of her in her old age. Why does Mary seem to have authority at this event? Perhaps, this was a wedding of a half-brother of Jesus, maybe James to a daughter of Nathaniel. This would explain Mary’s involvement and concern about the wine running out.
2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”
Jesus was invited to the wedding, which means they must have liked him, he was part of the groom’s family or both. That may explain why Mary seemed to be in charge and also why she said, “They have no wine” as if it is Jesus’ responsibility. If Joseph is dead, and it seems he is, that would make Jesus the head of the family.
Jesus and his disciples are actually a prophetic picture of a groom and his bride.
We don’t know a lot about weddings from 2,000 years ago, but we can see wine was a necessity as it speaks of fruitfulness. We know from non-biblical accounts that the family of the bride could actually sue the family of the groom if he was not prepared for the wedding day. It was the groom’s responsibility to pay for the event and all it entailed including wine.
4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
While many think Jesus is being disrespectful by calling his mama “woman,” I’m here to tell you he’s not. First, he’s a thirty-year-old man and the head of the household because his daddy, Joseph, has died. The term “woman” shows his care and is the same word used in John 19:26 when he gave John charge over his mother, Mary, as well as in John 20:15 when He addresses Mary Magdalene at His resurrection.
In a remarkable demonstration of relationship, Jesus actually argues with His mother about the timing of his “hour.” When Jesus says, “my hour has not yet come,” He is saying, “It’s not my time to be the groom and take responsibilities as a groom.”
There is something incredible about the Lord yielding the timing of His ministry to His Mother. This is not the first time we see this. In the second chapter of Luke, we find that while Jesus was insisting it was time to do His Heavenly Father’s business, His natural mother and father insisted upon a different timeline.
- Luke 2:45 – So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” 49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” 50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. 51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.
Jesus made himself subject to them and to their timeline. There is some incredible way that the humanity of Jesus comes into play and supersedes the divine nature of Jesus. Mary had great influence upon the creator of the universe.
(See Notes D on humans influencing God)
The last recorded words of Mary, mother of Jesus, are extraordinary. “Whatever he tells you to do, do it.” Last words are powerful and say a lot about the people who utter them.
(See Notes E on amazing last words in the Bible)
I find it amazing that he worked his first miracle through servants because Jesus himself came as a servant – not to be served. Angels are God’s servants so could these water bearers have been angels in disguise? That’s a question for heaven.
6 Now there were set there six water pots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it.
The number, type and size of the water pots is not only significant but prophetic.
(See notes F on water pots)
John is an eyewitness to this event, so He distinctly remembers the number of water pots, what kind they were and the size of them. These Big ‘ol stone water pots are in the next room because they don’t have a well and you have to keep things clean. That’s what it means when it says, “according to the manner of purification of the Jews.” You have a lot of dishes and a lot of hands to wash at such an event.
When it comes to filling them to the brim, I think the point is that The Holy Spirit wants us to know that the quantity here is going to be huge and that He’s “our portion” and “enough.”
By having them draw some and take it to the priests, I think this is something like the equivalent of Jesus later telling the healed lepers to go and show themselves to the priests.
9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
The “Master of the Feast” is basically a master of ceremonies. It is his job to invite the guests and make sure every detail is taken care of. By providing the wine, Jesus is demonstrating that He is the true master of the feast. He kept the celebration going.
Isaiah 25:6 – “On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines.”
Remember, the Master of the Feast “did not know where it (the wine) came from” but the servants knew. This is a Kingdom principle you might recognize: the first (master) shall be last and the last (servants) shall be first. Likewise, when the Master of the Feast tells the bridegroom, “You’ve saved the best until last,” he was right. Jesus is the best and God is saving Him until the last days! This is the same principle of “the first shall be last and the last shall be first.” Jesus is the first and the last, amen.
While this was the first recorded miracle of Jesus, there were many more recorded before his resurrection.
(See notes G on the pre-resurrection miracles of Jesus)
11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
It was the beginning of signs, which means there are more to come. Why signs? Why not miracles or wonders, because they are not the same thing. First, signs are a natural event that shows what is going on in the supernatural. Those who saw the signs, believed.
(See Notes H on difference between signs, miracles and wonders)
Why would the disciples believe in Him after this first miracle? Because they knew the culture, they understood the significance of each part of the wedding, and they understood scripture and prophecy. They understood that Jesus was prophetically declaring Himself the Bridegroom. What the disciples would realize long after is that when Jesus turned the water into wine, He was also prophetically cleansing His bride – the church – first with water, then with wine which signifies His blood. Check out Ephesians 5:25-27:
“Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
Unlike us, Jews are raised to look for signs. “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom…” – 1 Corinthians 1:22. Again, the disciples would have been raised up in the synagogue and taught by their daddies about the significance of water and wine. They understood at least in part what Jesus was saying in that moment and believed in Him.
My definition of glory is “visible awesomeness.” John backs this up by telling us it was “manifest,” it was on open display. When Jesus stepped into His ministry by prophetically proclaiming Himself the bridegroom, His visible awesomeness along with the signs He performed, caused His followers to believe in Him.
(See my notes H on Glory)
12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.
After the disciples encountered Jesus’ glory, they “went down” to Capernaum, just like Moses “went down” the mountain after his encounters with God’s glory. On the mountain of “up high,” it is exclusive. It’s just between a few people and the Lord. When you “go down,” you’re taking the message to the masses just like Moses took the Ten Commandments to the people. It’s interesting to note God’s glory was visible on Moses’ face. Moses glowed in the dark and the people made him put a bag over his head because it freaked them out (Exodus 34:29-34).
Here’s the point: to get the glory, you have to rise up. Once you get that glory all over you, God doesn’t let you stay there. He wants you to bring it back down and share that glory with others. That’s what the disciples did. They went down to Capernaum.
Capernaum means “city of Nahum.” Nahum is an ancestor of Jesus and his name means “full of compassion, comfort and consolation.” That’s what Jesus and the disciples, fresh from the glory, were bringing to the people there.
Capernaum was the home town of Peter, James, Andrew and John – all fishermen. The Bible also notes that Matthew was collecting taxes at the city gate. The synagogue at Capernaum was the closest synagogue to Nazareth, so it is very likely that Jesus had worshipped there with his family and was known in that city, and maybe even familiar with these men who would have worshipped there too. It would explain why Jesus later cursed Capernaum for its lack of faith though John notes the visit was short. Jesus did not curse Capernaum during this visit.
Capernaum is where Jesus confronted the demoniac in Mark 1:21-27, likely during this trip. When He sent the Legion of demons into the herd of pigs and the pigs ran off a cliff into the sea, Jesus likely became very unpopular. Animals, including unclean pigs, were a sign of wealth and this one act would have been a huge blow to the area economy. No wonder they asked Him to leave. Jesus was bad for business.
Capernaum is also the where Jesus later healed the Centurion’s servant (Luke 7:3) and where He would give the sermon of the Bread of Life (John 6:35-59).
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”
Note that Jesus “went up” again, this time to Jerusalem where His Father’s glory resided inside the Temple. It’s amazing to me that we’ve gone from Cana to Capernaum then to Jerusalem in only three verses. Being in Jerusalem for the Passover was non-negotiable for a good Jew and Jesus, being Jewish, led a very Jewish lifestyle. He would have been drawn there both culturally and in His spirit. Unfortunately, He didn’t like what He found there.
In the outer court, or “Court of the Gentiles,” sacrificial animals were sold for people who could not bring their own. These animals were very expensive. The priests had made it a law that only temple coins, mainly the half shekel, could be used to purchase these animals, to pay the temple tax, or tithe. The “money changers” helped priests rip off the people by exchanging standard Greek and Roman coins for the Jewish half shekel, which was valued at 6p – a half ounce of pure silver. https://zionistreport.com/2016/05/history-the-history-of-the-money-changers/
A daily laborer’s wage was 4p, so every time a Jew from exchanged money for the half shekel, the money changers profited 4p – the value of a day’s wage on top of the tax. The money changers made a fantastic profit which the Roman general discovered ran into millions of pounds in today’s currency. They were, in essence, helping the priests to steal from their own people.
The money changers and livestock merchants were in cahoots with the high priests, most notably Annas and his five sons. In an intricate system of bribes and payoffs, the common people were swindled every time they came to the Temple. The great Jewish historian Josephus mentions this family – their brutality and greed – in his writings. (http://www.biblehistory.net/newsletter/annas.htm)
The act of making the whip and driving out the moneychangers was not Jesus losing His mind or spontaneously throwing a fit as we see in the movies. Chording together a whip would have taken a long time, likely hours. He did not react. He responded to the gross miscarriage of justice He saw. The priests and their pack of thieves were robbing the very people they were meant to serve. Remember, this is the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. It’s three years to the day before His death and He’s making Himself known. He was a wrecking ball and I like that about Jesus because there were attitudes that needed torn down. He’s setting the standard for righteousness.
When Jesus drove out the sheep and oxen, He drove out the old sacrifice to make room for the new sacrifice – Himself. Notice that Jesus “drove out” the sheep and the oxen yet He told the dove keepers to, “Take these things away.” He didn’t scatter the doves. Why? I’m guessing this shows Jesus’ heart for the poor. If you were poor, the only sacrifice you could afford was a dove. In Leviticus 12:6-8, we’re told that after the birth of a child, a woman was to sacrifice a lamb and a dove as a purification offering. If she was poor, she could bring two turtledoves. It is noted in scripture that the price of doves had risen so high that the poor could not afford them. The historian Josephus notes in his writings that right after this act, the great Rabbi Gamaliel, who taught Saul/Paul, said “I pledge this very night the price of doves will drop” and it did. The poor could, again, afford a sacrifice for their sins. Jesus knew the poor were the most exploited by the religious hierarchy. http://www.biblehistory.net/newsletter/annas.htm
In short, the cleansing of the Temple is a prophetic act by Jesus that literally means “the Word has arrived” and has authority to make things right. Check out what John 15:3 says on this subject: “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”
17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”
18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”
John is referring to Psalms 69:9: “Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up,
And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.” John and the disciples see that Jesus is fulfilling prophecy.
Again, the Jews require a sign from Jesus. They’re demanding His credentials to show He has authority in the Temple. Malachi 3:1 says “And the Lord, who you seek, will suddenly come to the Temple.”
19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
Jesus’ response to their request for a sign is to tell them the temple will be destroyed, but He will raise it up in three days. Of course, as verse 21 states, Jesus is talking about the temple of His body being destroyed exactly three years from this day and being raised from the dead after three days in the grave.
This statement not only incensed the Jewish leaders, they mocked Jesus. They could not understand how He could build a Temple in three days when it took hundreds of people 46 years to build the stone Temple they were standing at. The number 46 is very significant in Jewish culture and represents “the works of man.”
(See notes on Significance of 46)
22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
John is letting us know this all came into focus for the disciples after Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is also the second time in this chapter (vs. 11) he points out that the miracle working power of Jesus is directly related to the belief of the disciples. Where there is no faith, there can be no miraculous power.
Note that this is a 2:22 scripture and 222 always has to do with signs, miracles and wonders. Check out Acts 2:22 – “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know…” All three are found in one verse!
They believed the scripture as well as what Jesus had told them about his resurrection. What scripture is John referring to?
Psalms 16:10 – For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
Hosea 6:1-2 – Come and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.
The Discerner of Hearts
23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.
24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, 25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.
This is John’s third reference is this chapter tying the faith of the people to Jesus’ miracles. Jews understand signs and these signs caused them to believe in Jesus. Likewise, because they believed, Jesus’ miracles increased in power.
Jesus did not commit Himself to the people in Jerusalem during the Passover because they were not committed to Him. They were caught up in the show. He knew the plan of the Father and His mission was to please the Father, not man. Jesus knew the heart of man is “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9) and did not need their approval or the fame they offered. He knew the same crowd that would shout “Hosanna! Hosanna!” would also turn on Him and demand, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” He refused to be swept up in their narrative because He understood the selfish nature of man. Instead, He entrusted Himself to the disciples because they entrusted themselves to Him through relationship. John’s spin is always to point out that Jesus is God and He’s not a regular human. John understood Jesus’ identity.
TROYS NOTES ON JOHN 2
- Significance of Third Day and occurrences in the Bible
Can be the third day of the week or “three days later,” but nonetheless the Holy Spirit marks it with the number three.
Three is the number God stamps on divinity and completion.
The Jews believe the third day of the week signifies a double portion or double blessing. They connect it to the third day of creation in Genesis 1:9-13 where God declares, “It is good” twice.
- Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day.
The Bible records 18 significant events happening on the third day.
- Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so…” (Genesis 1:9)
- Then, “the earth brought forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit.” (Genesis 1:12)
- “Abraham looked up and saw the place [Mount Moriah] from afar.” There he intends to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering to God. Yet he assures his companions, “We will worship and return.” (Genesis 22:4-5)
- Pharaoh releases his chief cupbearer from death-row. (Genesis 40:20-21)
- Joseph releases his brothers from prison in Egypt. (Genesis 42:17-18)
- The Israelites request Pharaoh’s permission to make a three-day journey to offer sacrifice in the desert to God. (Exodus 3:18)
- Plague Nine, the Plague of Darkness, in Egypt ends, “though the Israelites enjoyed light in their dwellings.” (Exodus 10:22) Nine is associated with judgment on disorder and slavery is definitely disorder!
- God descends to Mount Sinai in fire with the sound of a shofar. He then reveals The Ten Words, Israel’s constitution of new life as a nation after their resurrection from the death of slavery in Egypt. (Exodus 19:16-19)
- Israelites are to purify themselves with water after being in contact with the dead. (Numbers 19:12)
- After coming to the river and preparing themselves, the Israelites cross the Jordan “to enter and possess the land that the LORD [their] God is giving to [them] as a possession.” (Joshua 1:11; 3:2)
- Joshua’s spies emerge from hiding from the Jerichoites, then return to their commander. (Joshua 2:16, 22)
- A famine during David’s reign ends. (2 Samuel 21:1).
- A famine called for by Elijah the prophet ends. (1 Kings 18:1)
- After asking God for release, King Hezekiah is healed of his fatal disease and offers thanks in the temple. (2 Kings 20:5)
- Jonah is expelled from the fish belly. (Jonah 1:17/2:1 Heb) (Matt 12:40; cf Matt 16:21; 17:23)
- After fasting, Esther puts on royal apparel and enters the palace of the Persian king in order to thwart a death-plot against her people, the Jews. (Esther 4:16; 5:1)
- Jesus turns water into wine. (John 2:1)
- Jesus rose from the dead! (Mt 16:21, 17:23, 20:19, 27:64; Mk 9:31, 10:34; Lk 24, 7, 21, 46; Jn 2:19; Acts 10:40; 1 Cor 15:4)
- Significance of Jewish weddings being on the third day
Jewish wedding are seven days long – a prophetic picture of fullness, fullness of Spirit or the Spirit moving on something.
Most Jewish weddings begin on the third day of the week. This is between Monday at sundown and Tuesday at sundown because a double portion or double blessing is connected to the third day of creation in Genesis 1:9-13. This is where God declares, “It is good” twice. (See Notes A)
- Cana of Galilee
John is the only person to mention Cana in the Bible, which he does several times in John. He doesn’t say exactly where it is so there is some speculation. We know it didn’t have a running cistern because they had to use big pots to store water (verses 6-8). That counts out the sites which did.
Today, most scholars agree that a place known as Khirbet Qana, located about nine miles north of Nazareth and just north of the Beit Netofa Valley, is the more likely candidate, although both Kefr Kenna and Khirbet Qana meet the descriptions of the Gospel of John.
At Khirbet Qana, there have been recent discoveries of large water containers dating back to the first century. It’s crazy to think they may be authentic relics from the first miracle of Jesus.
Cana was the home of Nathaniel (verse 21:2).
The name Mary is actually Mariam and it’s a name that means rebel or rebellious. See, not everything born out of rebellion is bad, it’s only bad when we rebel against God. Mary was somebody who refused to go with the world. She didn’t cooperate or surrender to her circumstances. She was someone who said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) Not according to her understanding or social status or financial place, but according to the word of the Lord.
From the womb to the tomb she was trusted with everything Jesus did and was the only person to actually see His birth and His death. Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25).
Mary was also one of the 120 in the upper room when the Holy Spirit was given to the church.
“All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:14).
Besides giving birth to God in the flesh, Mary had quite a few other children. The Bible tells of at least four other boys and more than one daughter. “Then they scoffed, ‘He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.’ They were deeply offended and refused to believe him” (Mark 6:3).
Mary is simply one of the greatest human beings who have lived, and her faith is absolutely remarkable.
(D) How we can influence God (GLORIA)
(E) The last words of biblical people matter.
The last words of Joseph
Genesis 50:24 (KJV) – And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
Joseph’s last words were a promise and a command. Joseph was not so much concerned with the geography of where his body was lay buried as much as he wanted to convey the message to his people that they were not in the Promised Land. He was saying, “This was not the promise. This was not the inheritance and you will take my bones with you when God visits you and brings you into that promise!”
Now, look at the next verse – the last in the book of Genesis: Genesis 20:26 – So Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
Genesis starts out with God, his beautiful creation and everything is great. Then man gets involved and the book ends in a less than positive way. Check this out:
First four words of Genesis – In the beginning God…
Last four words of Genesis – …a coffin in Egypt.
The book of Genesis does not finish well so it is undone. In other words, it’s not actually finished. As a matter of fact, the entire Old Testament doesn’t finish well. Look at these last words:
Malachi 4:5 – Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
It not only ends with the threat of a curse, but with an actual curse. Now look at the last words of the New Testament:
Revelation 22:21 – …may the grace of the lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
The final words of Revelation and the entire Bible are both a blessing and the promise of a blessing. Guess who entered into that picture? Jesus.
The last words of Judas Iscariot
Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV) – These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
These are seven perfect descriptions of Judas Iscariot and actually line up with his last recorded words: Matthew 27:4 – Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.
In contrast, look at the last Biblical words of Mary, mother of Jesus:
John 2:9 (KJV) – His mother saith unto the servants, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”
What a wonderful way to sum up the record of the most blessed woman!
(F) Six water pots of stone, 20-30 gallons each
The number six indicates the flesh of man. Man is unclean until he believes in and follows Jesus. These were not clean jars with clean water. The water is used to clean hands and feet that may have had blood from sacrifices on them. This is prophetic of man needing washed by the blood of Jesus.
The term “pots of stone” takes this prophetic thought even further as Scripture refers to man as “jars of clay.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:7 – But we have this treasure in earthen vessels [jars of clay], that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
- Genesis 2:7 – And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
- Job 10:9 – Remember, I pray, that You have made me like clay. And will You turn me into dust again?
- Job 33:6 – Truly I am as your spokesman before God; I also have been formed out of clay.
God is the potter and man is the clay
- Isaiah 64:8 – But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.
- Jeremiah 18:6 – “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!
These six stone pots are prophetic pictures of man as a vessel to hold living water – the Holy Spirit. Remember the woman at the well? Jesus offered her living water – His Spirit. The stone pots also bring to mind the Ten Commandments, which God carved into stone with His finger. This is symbolic of the “heart of stone” Jesus replaces with a heart of flesh.
120-180 gallons of wine
That’s one big wedding! Either that, or they drank wine for several days. Either way, the number 120 (the least amount of wine possible) is significant. It is the number God uses for what I like to call “Ta-da!” It’s the number He uses when He shows up and changes everything.
- Noah preached for 120 years then God shut the door of the ark.
- Moses was 120 when God took him up on the mountain to not only see the Promised Land, but to keep His promise of letting Moses see His glory. The brother did a supernova and hasn’t been seen since. Once Moses was dead, the children of Israel crossed from the wilderness to the Promised Land.
- There were 120 people in the upper room when the Holy Spirit showed up and the world has never been the same!
180 is also significant. Eighteen is the Hebrew number for “abundant life.” At weddings, bar mitzvas and other notable Hebrew events, financial gifts are given in increments of 18 to encourage abundance. 18 (abundant life) x 10 (perfect order) = 180. Marriage is God’s perfect order for man and woman.
(G) The pre-resurrection biblical miracles of Jesus
- Jesus turns water into wine at the wedding in Cana
- Jesus heals an official’s son at Capernaum in Galilee
- Jesus drives out an evil spirit from a man in Capernaum
- Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law sick with fever
- Jesus heals many sick and oppressed at evening
- First miraculous catch of fish on the Lake of Gennesaret
- Jesus cleanses a man with leprosy
- Jesus heals a centurion’s paralyzed servant in Capernaum
- Jesus heals a paralytic who was let down from the roof
- Jesus heals a man’s withered hand on the Sabbath
- Jesus raises a widow’s son from the dead in Nain
- Jesus calms a storm on the sea
- Jesus casts demons into a herd of pigs
- Jesus heals a woman in the crowd with an issue of blood
- Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter back to life
- Jesus heals two blind men
- Jesus heals a man who was unable to speak
- Jesus heals an invalid at Bethesda
- Jesus feeds 5,000 plus women and children
- Jesus walks on water
- Jesus heals many sick in Gennesaret as they touch his garment
- Jesus heals a gentile woman’s demon-possessed daughter
- Jesus heals a deaf and dumb man
- Jesus feeds 4,000 plus women and children
- Jesus heals a blind man at Bethsaida
- Jesus heals a man born blind by spitting in his eyes
- Jesus heals a boy with an unclean spirit
- Miraculous temple tax in a fish’s mouth
- Jesus heals a blind, mute demoniac
- Jesus heals a woman who had been crippled for 18 years
- Jesus heals a man with dropsy on the sabbath
- Jesus cleanses ten lepers on the way to Jerusalem
- Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead in Bethany
- Jesus restores sight to Bartimaeus in Jericho
- Jesus withers the fig tree on the road from Bethany
- Jesus heals a servant’s severed ear while he is being arrested
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.
(H) The meaning of Glory.
Like I stated before, glory is God’s visible awesomeness. It’s something they could actually see because John makes a point to say it was “manifest.” Glory has the gematria of 153, which is 3x3x3x5 – a triple portion of completion/resurrection multiplied by grace. Other words with a gematria of 153 are branch, cherish and understand.
It’s also interesting to note that one of the crowns Jesus will bestow on believers is the Crown of Glory which is like Him saying, “I’m going to put you in an honorable position. You will be honored.” This is not the same thing as visible awesomeness, but for you and I, it will be pretty awesome on that day!
(I) Significance of the number 46
The number 46 represents the works of man. In the Old Testament, the number is linked to Reuben whose tribe numbered 46,500 with another 46,500 men in his army. The name Reuben means “The Man.” So, when the Jewish authorities said it took 46 years to build the temple, they were talking about the works of man. Check out the 46th verse in Bible:
Genesis 2:15 – And the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
In Genesis 2:23-24 Adam speaks exactly 46 words: “And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.’” Just for fun, the name “Adam” has a gematria of 46 and humans have 46 chromosomes – 23 from the mama and 23 from the daddy. The words “cleave,” “conceived” and “multiply” are in the Bible 46 times!
Words in the Bible 46 times:
- “the flesh” (NT)
- “the seed” (OT)
- “travail” 47 times in 46 verses of the Bible
- “vessel” 46 times in the Bible
- “substance” found 46 times throughout 46 books
- “the vessels” 77 times in 70 verses throughout 46 chapters of the Bible.
- The word “book” is found 146 (73 x 2) times in 138 (46 x 3) verses of the Old Testament.
The 46th book of the Bible is 1 Corinthians and the 14th verse of that book is 1 Corinthians 2:15 – “But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.”
The Body, the Bread and 46
- All forms of the word body (bod*) are found in 185 (46 x 4) verses of the Bible.
- The words “The bread” occur 46 times in 46 verses of the Bible. There is a lot of labor that goes into bread, which is all about the works of man. Jesus called His body “the bread of life.” The cool thing is, we don’t have to work for the bread of life. It’s a free gift!
- Luke 22:19 – And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave unto them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
- John 6:35 & John 6:48 – I am the bread of life
The New Birth
1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
John the Baptist Exalts Christ
22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. 24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison.
25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”
27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.
30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.
35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Books I refer to and love to endorse
Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
by Kyle Idleman
Publication date: 5/13/2011
THE APOSTLE PHILIP
(Fortescue A. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. (Jerusalem (A.D. 71-1099). The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company, NY. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York, pp. 355-361)
The History of the Church, 2005 Book 3, Chapter 5, Verses 2, 3; Book 4, Chapter 5, Verses 2-4. Translated by A. Cushman McGiffert, Digireads.com Publishing, Stilwell (KS), pp. 45, 71.
Apolonio’s Catholic Apologetics. http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/a26.htm viewed 10/06/08
Third day discoveries: Hearts of Wisdom Bible based home schooling