Tag Archives: John

24. The Healing of the Man at Bethesda- part 3

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And so we reach the last part of this passage. If you remember the first part focused on the healing of the man, himself. The second part had to do with the Pharisees wanting to kill Jesus because he said he was God. And now this final installment reads like a courtroom transcript; Jesus is giving defense testimony as to why people should believe he is who he says he is. Let’s read together:

 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.

“You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

“But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:31-47)

Back in Jesus’ day the testimony of two people were needed to corroborate a story in a court of law. Jesus starts off by saying, “Look, I get it if you don’t want to take my own word that I’m the Son of God, but let’s look at 5 other sources of testimony that testifies to the fact.”

  1. His Father. I’ll admit that when Jesus says, “There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true,” (verse 32) I thought he was talking about John the Baptizer. However, the word “another” in Greek is the word allos which means “another of the same kind” so we can assume that Jesus is talking about God, the Father. If he were talking about a human the word would probably be heteros which means “another of a different kind.” He says more about the Father’s testimony in verses 37 and 38, “And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.” I’m not sure but he could be referring to the time he was baptized and the Spirit descended and a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased,” (Matthew 3:17). He is also probably referring to all the prophesy that had been written about him.
  2. John the Baptizer. If they wanted a human’s word, then they had to look no farther than John the Baptizer. He was born to prepare the hearts of the people for the Son of God (Luke 1:16-17). And this was to fulfill prophesy about one who would come before the Messiah (Isaiah 40:3). For a while they didn’t have a problem with John. In fact, the Bible says, “John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light,” (verse 35). My guess is because John followed the Pharisaical laws and was preaching a coming Messiah like any good Jew should. As long as he was preaching about a Messiah that fit their mold and not Jesus, they were fine with him.
  3. Jesus’ own works. So I get that they won’t take his own testimony but what about all the good stuff he was doing? He was healing the sick, the blind, the deaf and the dumb. He was casting out demons and teaching the Word of God. He wasn’t just talking the talk, he was walking the walk. His life was exemplary and without sin. He says in verse 36, ” For the works that the Father has given me to finish- the very works that I am doing- testify that the Father has sent me.”
  4. Scripture. One of the most convincing pieces of evidence for me that Jesus is who he says he is is all the prophesies he fulfilled. Scripture, time and time again, points toward Jesus- who he was to be, the things that he would do, where he was to be from, how he was to die… Jesus tells the Pharisees, “Look, you say you know the Scriptures so well, if this is true then why don’t you get what it is saying about me?”
  5. Moses. I love how he wraps up his defense. The Pharisees held Moses in very high regard. He was their acting Savior from Egypt, he talked directly with God, he was the recipient of the ten commandments, etc. etc. etc. They were so concerned with Moses and the law, they were so wrapped up in the rules and regulations that they missed the Messiah. Moses himself prophesied about the Jesus in Deuteronomy 18:15-22. You would think that since they were so wrapped up in Moses that they would’ve known about this passage. They were too busy maintaining the rules that they missed the Ruler. If they want to trust in the law, then the law will be their judge. He will allow the Pharisees to condemn themselves by the law because the law points to Jesus. If they miss that part of the law, then by that part they will be judged.

All the testimony boils down to this: You can know about Jesus. You can know a lot about Jesus, actually. You can even be an expert- but if you don’t know Jesus personally you don’t know squat. Jesus tells the Pharisees in verse 38, “nor does his word dwell in you.” The word “dwell” has an underlying meaning of abiding or implying an intimate relationship with. Think about it: Satan knows a lot about Jesus but will never have a loving relationship with him. What is the status of your knowledge about God today? Do you know Jesus as the Lord of your life? or Do you rest in the facts that you know about him? Back when I was younger, I loved New Kids on the Block. I knew their birthdays, where they were from, what color their eyes were, and what was their favorite things to do. With as much as I learned about them I never knew them and they never knew me. Knowing all those facts made me feel closer to them, but the fact of the matter is that I never once hung out with them or talked to them on the phone. I was even a president of their fan club and that status didn’t get me anywhere either. So I ask you again, Do you know Jesus as the Lord of your life? or Do you rest in the the facts that you know about him?

The End.

24. The Healing of the Man at Bethesda- part 2

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Let’s refresh a little from last time. Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath. Not only did he break the Pharisaical Sabbath laws, he told the man to break them when Jesus instructed him to carry his mat. The Pharisees didn’t like this one bit. Now we see that “because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him,” (verse 16). The verb “was doing” indicates that this is not the first time that Jesus has healed on the Sabbath. Perhaps the Pharisees could have overlooked one infraction but the verb shows that this was something that had happened before and had been happening on a regular basis. This is why the Pharisees are incensed- he continually shows disregard for their laws. Let’s read:

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (John 5:16-30)

So because Jesus was breaking the law, the leaders began to persecute him. Now we don’t know exactly what that entailed but they were trying to kill him. Instead of rejoicing over the healing power of God, they would rather pout and complain that their laws were being broken… their laws! We aren’t talking about laws of God, we are talking about laws of man. These were part of the oral traditions, or Talmud, that had been handed down throughout the ages. They are not found in the Torah, or the written Jewish law.

There is coming a time, during his trial, when Jesus will remain silent before his accusers but for right now we see Jesus defending himself. The ironic thing is that his defense infuriates the leaders all the more. Jesus starts by saying, “My father.” Jews had long accepted that God was the Father of all things. But Jesus here shows an intimacy with God that had not been previously known. In fact, by saying that God is his father, he is implying that he is the Son of God, not just a son of God like a regular person. That would make Jesus God himself. “Blasphemy!” cry the leaders. They can’t see that Jesus’ miraculous powers come from God. They don’t understand that Jesus can heal only because he gets his power from the father. They can’t get that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and therefore has the right to do whatever he pleases on it. Instead they have blinders on. They can only see what they have chosen to put right in front of their faces. They were so mad it says they not only wanted to kill him… they tried to kill him!

Jesus says that because God is always working, he, too, must always work. Can you imagine if God took a day off? Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue? With all of the craziness going on in the world, it would be a bazillion times worse if God took a vaca. Even the Jews acknowledged that God was always at work. So if God is always at work and Jesus is God then Jesus is always at work, too. It is a natural progression of thought, if you accept Jesus as God. If you don’t accept that premise then the conclusion is invalid. The Pharisees did not see Jesus as God so in their mind Jesus’ argument was fallacy.

Jesus tries to help them understand that if he wasn’t God’s own Son, then he wouldn’t be able to do the things he does. Jesus says, “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does,” (verse 19). Jesus can’t act on his own accord because he would have to act outside of God, and since he is God that is impossible. Jesus can’t separate himself from himself- it’s just impossible. He is God whether they accept it or not. So often in today’s culture we face this: “It may be true for you but it’s not true for me.” Some things are accepted universally as true such as “murder is wrong” though their may be certain instances when people disagree over what murder verses killing is. But other things enter more of a gray area. Because people can not see a physical entity of God, many reject him as real. That doesn’t mean that he’s not real, it just means that they don’t accept him as real. That doesn’t make God any less real though. To put this another way, someone could have discovered a purple people eater in Malaysia. I may not believe them but that doesn’t change the fact that the purple people eater exists. The purple people eater’s existence is not dependent on whether or not I believe in it. Neither is God’s realness dependent upon whether his people accept him as real. God’s realness depends upon himself; he exists because he exists.

Let’s move onto another reason the Pharisees were ticked… this whole idea that Jesus will be their judge. Boy did that cause problems! Let’s reread that section:

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

If people get nothing else out of this post, I hope they understand this: It doesn’t matter whether or not you accept Jesus as God, the Father as God, or the Holy Spirit as God… what matters is that Jesus will be your judge whether you want him to be or not. I have a friend who doesn’t accept God as God or at the very least accepts that there is a God but that God doesn’t apply to him. The sad fact of the matter is this- Jesus will be his judge and he will be judged according to whether or not he believes that Jesus is God. This man, as of right now, is judging himself straight to hell. You see, it doesn’t matter if he thinks truth is a lie. Truth is still truth. You don’t have to like how God does business, as in the case of the Pharisees, you still need to accept the truth because it is by the Truth you will be judged. Nothing you believe will change that fact.

Now Jews believed that God, the Father, alone would be the judge. So this idea that Jesus was to be the judge was heretical or wrong to them. They knew God was the judge and up to that point all they knew was God as Father. Therefore they assumed that the Father would be the judge. Here comes Jesus, who the most Pharisees don’t accept as God coming to say that he will be their judge. It was all too much for them to handle. I just imagine their heads getting bright red and starting to spin with steam coming out of their ears when Jesus says this, “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him,” (verse 23). That statement right there is enough to judge the Pharisees on. They certainly did not honor the Son, so they were definitely not honoring the Father, in other words, by not honoring Jesus, they were not honoring God and that is sin.

There is good news though in all this: “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” Amen! Amen! Amen! This is the Good News of the Bible! “A time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” This is the joy that is set before us regardless of our struggles now- that we will hear the sweet voice of Jesus and live with him forever and ever! What ecstacy! What euphoria! This is what it is all about! Does this mean we won’t be judged? No. We will be judged and sentenced to die but Jesus has already fulfilled our death penalty. In this way we will be found righteous despite our sin, “God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification,” (Romans 4:24-25). In other words, in the final courtroom of God when we sit in the defendants chair and see all of the evidence presented before us… When we sit in utter disgust because there is no denying the charges or the evidence presented against us… When we are called to stand to hear the verdict… When the judge reads, “GUILTY, ON ALL COUNTS!” When we hang our head knowing that the death penalty is mandatory for anyone found guilty… THEN! then Jesus, the mighty and righteous judge… then he will slowly stand… then he will show his nail pierced hands and feet… then he will come out of the judge’s seat and come over and lift our heads and say, “This one’s debt to God is paid. This one is mine.” The prosecution will squeal with torment as the demons protest, “That’s not fair! That’s a sinner! That one is ours!” Then Jesus will turn and say, “You’re right. It’s not fair. This person is a sinner but grace is not fair.” Grace is an undeserved stay of execution. It is something we can’t earn or buy. It’s not something we can steal or gain illegitimately. It’s something that has to be freely given to us despite our unworthiness of the gift. This is what Christ has done for us. This is why he died on the cross.

The End.

24. The Healing of the Man at Bethesda- part 1

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This is a striking passage about a rather dull man. I don’t mean he was boring,.. I mean dull as in not smart. He’s just not the sharpest tool in the shed, if you ask me. Let’s read about Captain Wonderful. The passage is found in John:

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”

12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”

13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well. (John 5:1-15)

This is actually part of a much larger section, 47 verses to be exact. I am going to break it up into two or three studies so as not to overwhelm anyone, myself included. Now if you notice I left the verse numbers in for you to read. I normally take them out so you can read it without the distraction of verse markers but there is a reason I left them in this time. Reread verse 4. Go on, I dare you! Can’t find it, can you? Ah, and we come to our first observation of the text and a point of controversy.

The reason there is a place marking for verse 4 is because there used to be a verse 4 but more recent translations have edited it out. Why? Excellent question. First we need a basic understanding of how Scripture became accepted as God’s word and how the Bible as we know came to be. The best answer I can give you about the validity of the books in the Old Testament is that Jesus accepted them as truth… and so should we. There is very little disagreement among scholars as to the authenticity of the Old Testament books. But the New Testament was written after Jesus so we can’t rely on Jesus’ stamp of approval on these books. How then did these books become canon and who said so. The easiest answer I can give is that over time and by way of several meetings, holy men decided which books were thought to be the inspired Word of God. The more complicated answer requires noting that different faiths accept different books as inspired because not everyone could agree on everything. For example Roman Catholics accept an additional 7 books over the ones that protestants accept and they also include additions to the books of Esther and Daniel.

In general there were three main standards that had to be met when deciding if a New Testament book was to be Scripture. Number one, it had to be inspired by God. “Now how do you know that?” you may ask. It must not compete or deny anything else that is accepted as Scripture. In other words the Bible can’t argue with itself. Nor can it be contrary to any of Christ’s teachings. Number two: It had to be written by either someone who had been with Jesus or by someone who was close to his apostles. Number Three: the book had to be widely accepted and used for teaching by a wide number of churches. The old “strength in numbers” adage applies here. The idea being that if a bunch of teachers had accepted it as inspired and useful for teaching then it was probably inspired and useful for teaching. Now remember this is just a very basic overview of how books became Scripture, there are whole books written about this topic and I encourage you to read some if this is interesting to you.

Back to our discrepancy over verse 4. Some of the texts that were originally used included a verse 4 that read “—and they waited for the moving of the waters. From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease they had.” They were the only copies of this text that early translators had to go on so they translated verse 4. But as archeologist uncovered other earlier copies of this text, they didn’t have this line included. And these newly found copies of Scripture were believed to be older in origin than the copies that did have a verse 4. So what are we to make of this? Somewhere along the line as ancient people copied these stories, someone inserted verse 4 to help make sense of verse 7 which says, “I have no one to hep me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Most likely this idea that angel’s wings stirred the pool waters and the first person to get in would be healed was a Jewish wive’s tail. And this is why more modern translations of the Bible leave this phrase out, though they usually mark it with a little [4] so you know that it used to be there. Some people would use something like this to invalidate the Bible. But I think it just goes to show the commitment of scholars to refine the Bible as new and better evidence comes to light. It is something that could easily have been swept under the rug, but no one is trying to hide this. If it were hidden, then I would suspect shady dealings but this is out there for the world to see- it was there and now it is not. Big deal.

Alrighty then, let’s get back to the text itself. Jesus was in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the main city for Jews. It was the site of the great Temple in which sacrifices and rituals occurred. In fact, Jesus was there for one of the Jewish festivals. Jewish men were required to trek to Jerusalem for 3 annual feasts: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. I forget the reason why but scholars believe it was the feast of Pentecost. The feast of Pentecost was celebrated 50 days after the feast of Passover. It was a time of thanksgiving for the harvest and was also believed to be the day on which God gave Moses the Torah on Mt. Sinai.

I don’t know much about the Sheep Gate other than it was located near the Temple. I found a video you can watch that shows an excavation site of which they think they found this Sheep Gate. The actual site is between :55 and 1:29 on the video if you don’t want to watch the whole thing. It is also called the pool of Bethesda or the pool of St. Anne so don’t let the title of the video confuse you. Basically the pools were trapezoids with steps descending into the water at the 4 corners.

Laying by the pool was an invalid. We don’t know what his malady was exactly but we know he had a hard time getting around and he had been this way for 38 years. That’s a long time to be impaired. Jesus picked him out of a crowd- there were apparently a bunch of other people there with ailments. Jesus, upon learning how long he had been impaired asks him a simple question, “Do you want to get well?” The correct answer to the simple question is a simple, “Yes.” But this guy starts giving excuses as to why he can’t get well. He has obviously put his faith into the wive’s tale about the waters and says that he can’t get in fast enough and that’s why he’s not well. In all of that he never answerers Jesus’ question. Yet, even though this man apparently does not have faith in Jesus- heck, he doesn’t even know it is Jesus- Jesus heals him. Up until now, all of the people we see Jesus healing have been healed by their faith. This guy can’t even answer a question right yet Jesus heals him. I think it was probably the faith of a family member or friend that enabled Jesus to heal him. This brings us to an application. Sometimes, the prayers of the faithful cover the unfaithful. Have you ever prayed for an unbelieving friend or family member? It’s the same idea here. Sometimes God blesses the unfaithful because of the faithful.

So Jesus heals the man and does it by telling the man to, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Now all this occurred on the Sabbath and remember, the Pharisees had very strict rules about what you could and couldn’t do on the Sabbath. Carrying a mat was considered doing work by the Pharisees. Working on the Sabbath was prohibited, therefore this newly healed man was breaking the Sabbath laws. Instead of focusing on the healing miracle he had just been a part of, he sells out Jesus. I mean, come on! I don’t think he did this to be nasty, I think he is just that dumb. Then later, after he finds out who it was that healed him, he went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus. Again, I don’t think he realized what he was doing. He didn’t even know it was Jesus who healed him at first (verse 13). In fact it was Jesus who sought him out, “Later Jesus found him at the temple…” (verse 14). All I can say about this guys is, “Duh!”

When Jesus found him in the temple, he gave him a stern warning, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” Once again, I think the man was dense and needed Jesus to tell him this. I don’t think he would’ve made this connection on his own. Obviously this man’s sinful life caused his invalidity but I don’t think Jesus is saying to stop sinning or you could be even more physically hurt or even die. I think he is saying, “Listen, man- straighten up or your soul is in danger of hell.” This brings be to a couple of points. One, We can not escape the consequences of our sins, except by the grace of God. I’m not talking about going to heaven. Yes, the biggest consequences of our sin is eternal separation from God. However, I’m talking about the consequences we experience in this life. For example, the consequences of divorce or the consequences of stealing or the consequences of driving drunk or the consequences of speeding… etc. etc.  These sins have very serious consequences here on this earth even if we don’t “get caught.” It is within God’s prerogative to remove or keep the consequences for these and other sins. I don’t know how he picks and chooses. I just know that he does. Two, if we receive God’s favor and he removes the consequences and we still choose to remain in sin… well, something worse may happen.

Wow, this was quite long. I’m glad we are breaking this section up, aren’t you?

The End.

20. Jesus & Jairus

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In this Bible Study we will read about the first recorded time that Jesus raised anyone from the dead. This time it happens to be a twelve year old daughter of a synagogue ruler. It’s a longer passage because there is a story within a story. Don’t worry though, I will break these stories into two studies so don’t get overwhelmed:

Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands onher so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. (Mark 5:22-43)

Alright lets back up a moment. Jesus is still at Matthew’s house having dinner. John the Baptizer’s disciples have just asked Jesus why he doesn’t fast. You can read about it here. While he was finishing his discussion with John’s disciples, a man named Jairus comes in. Jairus was synagogue leader or literally synagogue “ruler”. He is a man with a problem- his daughter is sick. In fact, she is dying. This brings me to my first observation- In general synagogue rulers, Pharisees, etc didn’t care for Jesus. It makes me wonder what Jairus’ opinion of Jesus was before his daughter became sick. Was he a hard nosed, anti-Jesus critic or was he more like our friend, Nicodemus- genuinely curious about this God-man? We don’t know but it makes me wonder none the less. Either way, we see a desperate Jairus coming to Jesus… falling at his feet, begging him to come and heal his daughter. If Jairus was your typical religious ruler, imagine what it meant for him to fall at Jesus’ feet. How bad must his situation have been for him to humiliate himself like that? He was a very prominent man, after all, and now we see him at the feet of someone who was controversial to say the least. It easily could’ve been a first century scandal.

So to recap the story… Jairus has a dying daughter (about twelve years old), he asks Jesus to, “come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live,” (Mark 5:23). Jesus goes with Jairus. On the way, Jesus has an encounter with another sick female. I don’t want to spend too much time on her right now because I plan on studying her next time with more detail. But it is important to mention that while Jesus was still talking to her, word comes that Jairus’ daughter had died. If only Jesus had been faster in getting to her! If only he hadn’t stopped to speak with the other woman! Didn’t Jesus know how seriously ill she was? Can you imagine Jairus? He just completely humiliated himself in front of an audience of his peers (remember the Pharisees were at Matthew’s house) for nothing. His daughter is dead. His reputation is potentially ruined. But then… (You gotta watch out for the big buts in the Bible, lol). But then Jesus leans over to Jairus and tells him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” I love this line and I have clung to it often throughout the years when I have faced trouble and and strife. “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” It seems so simple doesn’t it? Yet when you have nothing left… when all else gone… all you have is faith and if you don’t have faith in anything then you have nothing. It’s sad really. And how many people have nothing? I think that’s why we see people who don’t normally believe in God and/or Jesus asking for prayer or talking to God directly. They realize they have nothing else so they fall on God.

Jesus takes only Peter, James, John and Jairus with him as they get closer to the house. As they approach, “Jesus saw a commotion.” Jewish mourning customs back then were different then our current American customs. Professional mourners were hired to “grieve” the departed. Even the poorest family was required to hire at least “one wailing woman and two flute players”. Jairus being of a respectable profession could have afforded more than the bare minimum. I love Jesus and his ways. I imagine Jesus just looking around with a slight smile on his face when he asks, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep,” (verse 39). He knows the child is dead, he knows everyone else knows the child is dead. What they don’t know is that Jesus isn’t just a healer… he is life itself. It’s as if the little girl is merely sleeping because Jesus is about to “wake her up”. Jesus is going to completely restore her. Of course the people thought Jesus was nuts and even laughed at him. Even if they knew about his healing powers, it didn’t matter to them because to them the girl was beyond healing. But nothing is impossible with God!

Jesus kicks everyone out except for Jairus and his wife, Peter, James, and John. Once again, you’ve got to love Jesus’ style- he takes the girl by the hand and says, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” (verse 41). He is so gentle and caring!  Oh, to be that little girl- to have held Jesus’ hand and be brought to life! The text says she immediately got up and started walking. Then Jesus tells them to feed her. I guess it’s hungry work being dead, lol! To say everyone present was amazed would be an understatement. Can you imagine? I’ve been to several funerals where I have thought about this passage and how crazy it would be to have the dead person just stand up and start talking and walking as if nothing had happened. Freaky right? Yet this is exactly what happens here. Jesus, with just a touch and a command, conquers death.

All this made me think about a couple of life application points:

  1. How often do people approach God like Jairus? They go through life as if they have it all together on their own and then something terrible happens… then all of a sudden, when there is no where else to turn, they come begging to Jesus. Now there is nothing wrong with coming to Jesus this way if you leave a different person. What I find interesting about Jairus is that we never know how this healing of his daughter affects him. Does he go back to his typical synagogue ruler ways or does he allow the miracle to change his life? I hurts my heart to see people in desperate situations cry out to God for a miracle, get the miracle and then continue to live their life as if nothing ever happened. Like I said, we don’t know whatever happened to Jairus, it just makes me go hmmmm. The next time you ask God for anything- healing, finding lost keys, new job… whatever it is, and he pulls through 1. Don’t forget to thank God for the miracle. 2. Come out on the other side of the miracle a different person! Allow it to change your life and then tell others so it can change their lives, too! We don’t know what happened to Jairus, but we can write our own endings to our stories. How will yours end? Will you go back to your regular life or will you live a life changed by God?
  2. Sometimes bad things happen so that God can get greater glory. It’s not an accident that the girl died. Whether it was because Jesus was waylaid by the bleeding woman or whether something else would’ve happened, the girl was going to die anyway so that Jesus could be glorified greater than ever before. If she hadn’t died then Jesus would have just been a healer. Now people knew a deeper facet of his glory… his power over death itself! The next time life doesn’t go your way, instead of pouting about it, ask God to use the situation to bring himself the greatest glory and watch what happens! For example, my step-mom was diagnosed with an incurable cancer. While I pray that God would heal her with a miracle, I also pray, earnestly, that whatever he chooses to do, that his glory will be made known. Do I have to like what he does? Nope. But I pray it anyway. Already I have seen family members hearts soften towards God and that, my friends, is a miracle.
  3. Only Jesus has the power over death! This is why believing in him is necessary if you want to live eternally. What does it matter if we live eternally or just die? I’m glad you asked 😀 Life after death and death isn’t as cut and dry as it seems. When you die you don’t just cease to exist. You will either live eternally or die eternally. It’s not a once and done thing. Eternal death is the process of being eternally separated from God. The absence of God is Satan or Evil. So eternal separation from God means an eternal presence of Evil and Satan. Sadly, this is what awaits those who don’t choose God. Fortunately, Jesus overcame death by overcoming Hell so that we don’t have to go there. This is the Good News of the Bible! Jesus has overcome sin by overcoming death itself and we who believe in him have also overcome death through Christ. This is why we can have hope when things are going bad. Jesus has overcome and we are going to spend eternity in heaven with him. It doesn’t get any better than that even if we have to muddle through the muck of this world to get there.

The End.

19. To Fast or not to Fast… that is the question.

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We pick up in the same place we left off last time. Jesus is at Matthew’s house dining with sinners and tax collectors. The Pharisees have been standing around asking Jesus’ disciples why their teacher is hanging out with undesirable people. And now we have another group of people starting to ask questions. Let’s read:

Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”

Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:14-17)

We now have John the Baptizer’s students on the scene. We don’t know how long they had been there before they started to inquire of Jesus. They could’ve been there for the Pharisees’ questions or they could have just popped in. Either way, It may be helpful to back up and talk a little about John. John was Jesus’ slightly older cousin. He was born into a sacred mission- to prepare the hearts of Israel for the coming Messiah. He was an outspoken evangelist and would cry out to anyone who would listen to him. He was a bit of an eccentric character- he lived in the wilderness, wearing camel skin clothing and eating locusts. I imagine him to a very self-disciplined person and we know he fasted and spent a lot of time praying.  Now we see John’s disciples asking Jesus why he doesn’t fast too.

We don’t know why John’s disciples asked- were they genuinely interested or were they calling into question Jesus’ righteousness? In either case, that they were asking in the presence of the Pharisees would have fueled the Pharisees fire. I imagine them standing around disgruntled because Jesus just put them in their place when he says, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,'” (Matthew 9:13). Now they have a renewed spark in their eyes as they think, “Yes, why don’t you fast?” But why was fasting so important anyway? God ordained only one day that required fasting- Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. The Pharisees, however, required fasting on Monday and Thursday every week. They said it was to commemorate the days that Moses went up and came down Mt. Sinai. In short, they made fasting a means to prove one’s righteous as opposed to a means to grow closer to God. While it is unclear if John’s disciples practiced this Monday/Thursday fasting, we can assume that they fasted regularly.

So they ask Jesus why he and his disciples don’t fast and he responds with a line about marriage. What is that all about? I’m glad you asked! In the Old Testament, the covenant of marriage is often used to describe the covenant between God and his people. God is the groom who promises to love, honor, and cherish Israel, the bride. Unfortunately along the way, Israel strays like an adulterous wife but instead of divorcing her, God is faithful to his part of the covenant even when Israel is not. There was correction and even punishment at times, but God always remained faithful to his covenants. This picture of marriage was well known to all the Jews so to them; Jesus is not making an abstract statement. He is referring to himself as God, the bridegroom!  We see Jesus referring to himself as the groom and the current time as the wedding feast, or a time of joy! And who fasts during a time of joy? Nobody! In fact the only day God requires fasting for, the Day of Atonement, is a day of sadness during which Israel is to remember her sins and make atonement for them. For the short time that Jesus is alive on earth, the people should be joyful that God is physically with them because there is coming a time when the “bridegroom will be taken from them” (Matthew 9:15) and then they should be sad and fast. As you may have guessed, Jesus is referring to his impending death here. The original word for the the verb “will be taken” has a violent connotation to it. I don’t know if Jesus knew at that point he was going to die on a cross but he at least had an idea that his death was going to be brutal.

Then Jesus seems to have another random thought as he jumps from weddings to clothes and wineskins. Jesus says that if you sew a new, unshrunk patch on an old piece of clothing, it will tear and make the hole bigger once the garment is washed. The old piece of clothing is the the law and Jesus is the patch. There were some holes in the Mosaic law- for example, you had to keep sacrificing when you sinned. There wasn’t a one time fix that covered any sin. Jesus was going to take care of that. In other words, the law served it’s purpose at the time, but now it needed to be interpreted through Jesus colored lenses. The old law needed to become a new garment so that when Jesus was sewed on, the patch and the garment would hold together, so to speak.

The wineskin metaphor is the same. Old wineskins became hard and brittle, but new wineskins were soft and supple. They needed to be because the new wine would ferment and cause expansion. If you but new wine into the hardened wineskins, they would burst and the wine would spill out everywhere. In both examples, Jesus gives, the message is the same, Jesus is making everything new. This doesn’t mean that the Old Testament is invalid or irrelevant- it means that it needs to be interpreted through Jesus, who was about mercy, grace, redemption and most of all love.

The End.

10. Jesus Begins Preaching

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Today we will look at the first recorded time Jesus starts preaching. These events occur after Jesus left Nazareth because of John the Baptizer’s arrest and lived in Capernaum. So let’s read our text for today:

 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15).

It’s a short one today but it is packed with good stuff so let’s get started. Jesus was in Nazareth when John the Baptizer was arrested. When he got word about it, he got out of Dodge, quick. So he went to Galilee and lived in Capernaum (Matthew 4:12-13). So let’s think about it. Because of John’s arrest, the gospel was spread to the people of Galilee. It just goes to show that God uses bad things to work for his glory.

“The time has come.” No, he’s not referring to lunch time. Throughout history, the Israelites had been waiting for the Messiah. Everything in their religion (the sacrifices, the ceremonial washing, the prayers and prophesies, the laws, the Scriptures) pointed to the coming Messiah. Humanity waited 4000 years up to this point and now the time had come. Jesus was revealing himself as the long awaited Messiah. Since this is a short passage, I think I will take a some time explaining a little about how some of these things pointed to Jesus.

The Laws

Ok. I know what you are thinking- How could laws point toward Jesus? Well, they may not specifically point to Jesus the person, but they show a need for a Savior. They reveal to us God’s demand for perfect obedience and our inability to be perfect. They show us that we need forgiveness every time we break one of God’s laws. The Law is the death sentence and Jesus is the pardon.

Prayers and Prophesies and Scripture

The Psalms were the prayers prayed in the synagogues, I counted 32 Psalms that prophesy either directly or indirectly about the coming Messiah. There may be even more. It is important to note that every prophesy that was ever recorded in Scripture, whether in Psalms or elsewhere, about the Messiah (except the stuff about the end times which has yet to happen) was fulfilled in the man, Jesus. There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus is, indeed, the promised one. Maybe after we finish studying the life of Christ we could start a study on the prophesies and how they were fulfilled.

Ceremonial Washing 

Ceremonial washing involved washing all or part of your body and/or clothes, depending on the circumstance. It was a ritual of purification- a way of washing away uncleaness. For example, if you touched a dead person, you didn’t sin but you became unclean and needed to purify yourself with ceremonial washing. Until you washed, no one was to have contact with you and you weren’t supposed to touch anything that was clean or it would have to be cleansed as well. So after you bury your family member, you would’ve had to purify yourself before you ate a meal or the utensils you used and the table you sat at would have become unclean as well. Once Jesus came and made us pure in spirit, the need for ceremonial washing was no longer needed.

Sacrifices

Back in the day people would bring animals to the temple for sacrifice. Here’s why: God demands perfect obedience to his law and when we don’t obey it’s called sin. The penalty for sin is death, both physical and spiritual. Before Jesus came to earth the people needed a way to appease God’s wrath so God set up a system of animal sacrifices. Through ritual and prayer, the sins of the people would be transferred to the animal and then the animal would be killed and burned. Then the person who brought the animal would be deemed righteous again. Jesus ended the need for a sacrificial system by becoming the ultimate sacrifice for us. This is why he is called the Lamb of God. Perfect lambs without illness or defect were often used in the old system of redemption. Jesus becomes the ultimate sacrificial Lamb when he offered himself to die on the cross for our sins. For those who accept this gift of sacrifice, they become forgiven of their sins. The death penalty for their sins has been passed off to Jesus. They may die a physical death but spiritually they will live for eternity in heaven.

Back to the text. Jesus’ message is clear, “Repent and believe the good news!” I have often heard repent described as the act of turning around. It’s as if you are walking in a straight line and do a 180 and start walking in the opposite direction. This is kinda correct. The original Greek word, metanoeo, means to change ones mind. Jesus was walking around and literally saying, “Change your mind and believe the good news!” I think the image of walking and changing direction implies that repenting is a change in what we do, but it is so much more than that; it is a change in the way we think. It’s not the act of going from sinning to not sinning. It’s changing the way we think about God and our need for him. Remember, the Jews of Jesus’ day were set in their ways and thought the Messiah was going to be very different than what Jesus was. They were expecting a mighty King to come in and destroy the Romans and set up Jewish rule. Jesus was saying this way of thinking is wrong. They needed to repent and change their way of thinking because Jesus didn’t come in on a white horse in shining armor. He came wearing sandals, not a sword. They needed to change their mind about what they expected Messiah to be and believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah- that he was the fulfillment of the prophesies, Scripture, law, prayers, and (through his death and resurrection) sacrifices. The same is true today. People who haven’t accepted Jesus need to change their minds about him. They need to stop seeing him as just a historical figure or a make-believe story character or whatever they believe and instead believe in the Good News- that he is the Messiah. This is not to say that all we should do is repent. That may be what gets us into heaven but true joy and peace comes from the process of sanctification- that is the act of becoming holy and like God. That is the act of changing from sinner to saint.

I hope you are becoming more comfortable with the Bible the more we do these. I also hope you are learning some things as we go. I know I am as I study and research. Next we will look at Jesus’ second visit to Cana when he heals the royal official’s son. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us!

The End.

5. The First Disciples

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Can you imagine what it was like to be the first disciples of Jesus? If I were them I’d probably be thinking, “I must be nuts!” Yeah, Jesus was the Messiah but how could they be sure? We have testimony about the his death and resurrection to go on but they didn’t. Sure, he could do miracles but what if they turned out to be elaborate magic tricks? I give them a lot of credit for believing in Jesus at this stage of the game. Let’s read about the calling of the first few disciples:

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter), (John 1:35-42).

It’s a shorter passage today but I think there is so much we can learn even from the first sentence so don’t get too comfy! Lol.

First, let’s discuss, “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.” One of the greatest perils of reading the Bible is reading it out of context. It is important to read and interpret Scripture in light of other Scripture, especially that which immediately precedes or follows a passage. The day before this passage occurs we find John the Baptizer doing what he does best, telling others about Jesus. It just so happens that John was with some people (we don’t know if they were disciples or just crowds standing by because it doesn’t say) and he sees Jesus walking by and he says, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel,” (John 1:29-31). That brings us to our passage; it is the day after John makes these statements about Jesus. And guess what- our friend John the Baptizer is at it again. He is with two of his disciples, sees Jesus walking by and he says, “Look, the Lamb of God!” (getting deja vu?) I think this is where we can learn our first lesson. John repeated his message to anyone and everyone who would listen. I don’t know if John ever got tired of his job of constantly telling people about Jesus, but if he did he never let it stop him. If I am being completely honest here, I will tell you that after I do tell someone about Jesus (which isn’t hardly often enough) I feel like God should give me a break because I just worked so hard. Or, I get so proud of myself over that one instance that I focus on what I did instead of to keep doing it. No, I’m not perfect. Shocking, I’m sure. John was at it day after day after day after day and we should too. Are you still working on the challenge I gave you to write your Jesus story? I didn’t forget! The best way for us to tell others about God is to tell about what God did for us. It’s your story, no one can say it didn’t happen because you were there! It’s your story. I am praying for you all as you begin to write it down. Your story is powerful so get busy!

Alright, so John never stops telling his message, right? And what is this message? Well, at least on these two occasions it is the same message, “Look, the Lamb of God.” This brings us to another lesson. John is consistent with his message. If you keep saying the same thing over and over again, eventually someone will get it stuck in someone’s head and hopefully in their heart as well. This time the message stuck with two guys, one we find out later is Andrew and the other is unnamed. After they hear John’s statement about Jesus, they left John and started following Jesus. Here is yet another lesson for us. It’s time we leave the safety of our churches and start following Jesus. Now let me stop for a minute before you quit reading. I don’t literally mean stop going to church. Unfortunately for many of us Church has become for many people a place to go and feel good and safe. We need to stop just going to church and going out into the world to give light to a people walking around in darkness. Do you realize what a sad and lonely place the world is? I would venture to guess that you wouldn’t even need to go far to find these people. They go from day to day just trying to survive and make due. Some are trying to fill a God shaped hole in their life with stuff, others with people, others with their job, others with substance abuse, others with who knows what. In a way, we are helping them get to Hell in a hand basket if we are not at least trying to tell them about the peace, joy, love and forgiveness found in Christ. I think this may be the greatest act of unlove that a Christian can do- helping a dying world die by not caring enough to tell them about Jesus. If it is true that “greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” then what does that say about someone unwilling to even open their mouth for one’s friends?

Let’s finally move past the first line, shall we? The very next thing we see after John points out Jesus as the Lamb of God is his disciples leaving him and following Jesus. I imagine this next scene to be a bit comical in my own mind- The disciples walking behind Jesus as Jesus keeps walking just ahead of them. Each disciple nudging the other as if to say, “You talk to him.” “No, YOU talk to him first.” Then Jesus, already knowing they are there suddenly turns around and says, “Can I help you?” I don’t know if it happened that way but it gives me a chuckle regardless. Anyway, Jesus turns around and says, “What do you want?” Sounds harsh when it’s written out like that but I don’t think he was being nasty or even cold. He already knew what they wanted, I think he was trying to break the ice. The next line is priceless; I think it shows the nervousness of the disciples and supports my idea of them being afraid to speak to Jesus. Notice they don’t answer his question. I think part of that is because they were caught off guard when Jesus turned around and spoke to them. In short, I think they just said the first thing that came to mind at the time. I also think that they didn’t answer his question directly because they didn’t really know what they wanted from him. They were just compelled to be with him and that was all they knew at the time. And isn’t that the way some of us came to Christ? I was a Christian (in the loosest sense of the term) for as long as I can remember but I certainly didn’t live like one especially when I was younger. Yet, I always went to Church and even taught Sunday School. There was just something about feeling close to Jesus that felt right. I think this may have been what the disciples were experiencing.

Next lesson: When the disciples asked where Jesus was staying, he didn’t tell them, he showed them. He took the time to invite them to go with him. I liken this to telling someone about church. Yeah, that’s dandy and noble but it has been my experience that people don’t usually show up. But if you invite them to meet you at church or, even better, invite them to go to church and then over to your house for lunch or out to coffee or whatever, you have a better chance of making that connection but it requires an investment on your part. Say you invite someone to church and then lunch, even if they turn you down for the church part you still have a connection with them. You still have a chance to be Jesus and to tell them about Jesus.

Yet another lesson: In verse 39, It the original text literally says “in the tenth hour” and not “It was about four in the afternoon.” Why does it matter? Well the Roman day started at midnight like our days but the Jewish day started at 6 am. If John is going by Jewish timekeeping methods, it would indeed be 4:00 pm. But some Bible scholars argue that he could have been using Roman time which would put the hour at 10:00 am. Who cares?! The lesson here is that sometimes Biblical scholars think too much. Moving right along…

Anyhoo, next we learn that Andrew was one of these disciples that left John, the Baptizer and went to follow Jesus. I love what it says about Andrew, “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah.”  And he brought him to Jesus.” Wow! The very first thing he did after he realized Jesus was legit was to go find someone and tell them about it. Do I need to go on here about how we should be excited and share the good news with others? I didn’t think so. I want to get to the next part of Andrew’s actions anyway, “And he brought him to Jesus.” Once again, we see someone taking time to invest in the life of someone else. Jesus invited the disciples to come with him and now Andrew is inviting Simon to come with him. Do you see a successful marketing strategy here? We must begin to invest our time and lives into the lives of others. Whenever I am faced with a decision to invest or not to invest my life for the kingdom of God I raise my hand as if raising a sword and shout, “For the Kingdom!” Go ahead and laugh. My husband and I laugh too but it helps to put things into perspective for me. It helps me to remember why I need to do it and not make excuses for why I shouldn’t. Try it. You’ll at least get a good laugh at your own and my expense.

This next observation of the text took me off guard. I always assumed that when Jesus called his disciples they immediately left everything and followed him. Let’s reread this part about Simon closely:

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter), (John 1:40-42).

So far Andrew and the unnamed disciple have started following Jesus and Andrew has brought Simon to Jesus. The first recorded thing we have Jesus saying to Simon is a declaration of his current name and then he gives him a nickname. Then Simon’s story ends for a while. The next thing we read in the Bible is about Jesus calling Philip to be his disciple. There is nothing recorded in the Scripture at this time that indicates that Simon decided to follow Jesus that day. In fact it isn’t until later we read in Matthew 4:18-20 that we see Peter leaving his fishing boat behind and following Jesus.

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Which brings us to another point. Sometimes people need multiple interactions with Jesus before they will follow him. Good grief, I grew up in the church for crying out loud. I had tons of interactions with Jesus before I really started following him. The lesson here is not to get discouraged if you share the good news and the person doesn’t accept Christ right away. With Peter it probably took a few weeks but some people, like myself, take years! You just have to keep praying and interacting with them. Don’t give up on them! Don’t write them off as not worth your time!

The funny thing about this passage of Scripture is that I thought this was going to be a boring study. It seems like a straightforward passage but as I began to really read and study the Word, I discovered so many practical applications for my life. In fact it is one of my favorite studies so far and to think I almost missed it! Next time we will be studying another passage I accidentally skipped over as we go chronologically through the ministry of Jesus, the miracle at the wedding feast in Cana. Don’t forget to keep writing your 2, 10 and 20 minute version of your Jesus story.

The End.