Tag Archives: John 19-21

November 11, 2017 Bible Study — He Is Alive!

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on John 19-21.

    Near the end of Jesus’ trial before Pilate, Pilate tried to find a reason to release Jesus (if for no other reason than that he did not like being used by the Jewish leaders to get rid of their enemies). As part of that he asked Jesus if He understood that Pilate had the power to either have Him crucified or released. Jesus’ answer applies to us as well. Pilate only had power over Jesus because it was given to him from God. The same is true for us, government authorities, or anyone else, will only have power over us in as much as God has given it to them. Then, in a final attempt to get out of sending Jesus to be crucified, Pilate asks the priests if he should crucify their king. Historically we know that the priests had been vehement about defending their symbolic independence from Rome (they had no actual independence, but they tried to pretend that the Roman authorities needed their cooperation), crucifying their king ran counter to that. Their response goes even further, becoming a rejection of God. When the priests stated that they had no king but Caesar they were denying God’s kingship over themselves. Today, many Christians do something similar when they rely on the government to do things which Jesus said were the job of the Church.

    I know that I can credit Don Francisco for this, but every time I read John’s account of the empty tomb through Peter’s profession of love I get choked up. That song allows me to feel the strong, confused emotions the disciples would have felt that morning. First, grief and fear, followed by a forlorn hope, and finally joy beyond their ability to express. I want to note that once again it is a woman who is first to see the risen Jesus and feel the joy which came with the realization. Then we have the story of Thomas. I think Thomas is the disciple with whom I most identify (both from here and other places he appears in the Gospels). When the other disciples told him they had seen Jesus he was not willing to believe. I think that is because he did not want to have his hopes smashed one more time. He was afraid the other disciples were believing an hallucination. He wanted to be sure that his desire to believe did not lead him to do the sames. Finally, when Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him, you can just see how Peter is feeling, “Because I denied Him those three times when He needed support the most, Jesus won’t believe that I love Him now. He will never trust me again.” Yet, after the third time, Jesus makes it clear that these three professions of love were for Peter for him to profess his love once for each time he denied Jesus. The final thing is that after that third time Jesus tells Peter that the next time he is called to risk all for Jesus he will rise to the challenge.

November 11, 2016 Bible Study — No King But Caesar

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

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Today, I am reading and commenting on John 19-21.

    When Pilate asked the Jewish leaders if they wanted him to crucify their king their answer was very revealing. They answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Their answer was political, intending to force Pilate to do what they wanted. However, this revealed much the same thing as when Jesus asked them to show Him a coin in response to their question about paying taxes to Caesar. In both cases they indicated that their sovereign was not God, but Caesar. I feel that a lot of professing Christians took a similar position in this election and I saw that among those supporting both candidates. All too many Christians have put their faith in government, whether that is to protect the unborn, or to care for the poor (to list just two issues from either side of the aisle). We owe our loyalty and devotion to God, not to the political masters of our nation. God will place the person of His choosing in the places of governmental authority. Caesar was not a man of God, but he was the man God had chosen. I thought I had a much more profound thought when I started writing this

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    I was not going to cover this because I covered it before. However, according to John, it was Mary Magdalene who discovered the empty tomb. It was Mary Magdalene who was the first to encounter Jesus after His resurrection. It is this which tells us that the Gospel of John is not a made up story. If John was making up this story, the first witness to the Resurrection would have been someone other than a woman out of whom Jesus cast seven demons.

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    Peter had denied Jesus three times the night before His crucifixion. After His resurrection, Jesus gave Peter three opportunities to affirm Him. Peter was hurt by Jesus asking him repeatedly if he loved Him, but Jesus knew that Peter needed that threefold affirmation to cover his threefold denial. When we have let God down, He gives us further opportunities to make it up to Him, but it is not enough to affirm our love and faith once. We need to affirm our love and faith repeatedly, both to demonstrate to those around us and to demonstrate to ourselves that this time we really mean it. I understand the hurt Peter felt when Jesus asked him again and again if he loved Him. I sometimes feel that same hurt. However, there is a beauty and compassion in the way Jesus did this, giving Peter a chance to affirm his love once for each of his betrayals of that love.