Classic Christianity – Book of John Part 84 (10-14-19)
Let us turn to the 20th chapter of the gospel of John. We are coming to the end of Jesus life. We talked about in the past messages how important it is when you are about to depart this earth. One way or another, you give out the most important message you can. That is exactly what Jesus did.
Many times we doubt. We look, for example, at doubting Thomas, and say “What is wrong with him?” Yet, how many times in our own lives do we really doubt the Lord in regards to the information He gives to us. We can say that Thomas, for example, doubted Jesus was raised from the dead, which was a historical fact that was certainly true. As for the one who was raised from the dead, He passed on a great deal of information to us. How many of us, like doubting Thomas, do not grab a hold of what Jesus said is truth and hang onto that truth? Would we rather believe the teachings of this world, to grab a hold of all of the different philosophies of the world, and are willing to compromise in the area of truth?
I am absolutely amazed, sometimes, how people will compromise truth for anything else in order to gratify the desires of their flesh. We will compromise truth in regards to churches we go to. We know full well truth is not being taught yet we have good fellowship there. So we will compromise truth for the fellowship there, or we will compromise truth because of the music there, or because of the activities there or for any number of things. So in essence we are saying “I do not care what truth is.” It is like saying “Just feed my flesh to make me feel good and I will be okay. ”
So we look at Thomas and see that he was kind of doubting the resurrection of Christ. We have to ask ourselves the question; “Are we many times doubting the one who was raised from the dead in regards to the information He passed on to us and the truth he told us to hold tenaciously onto?”
We are going to pick up the story of Thomas, called Didymus.
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
This is the situation they were in. They were in a room, being closed doors in fear of the Jews, and then Jesus suddenly appears. And as he always did, he said “peace be with you“, after having walked through a wall.
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
This is an interesting thing on the resurrection of Christ Jesus. Even though he came in some what of a different form, the scars were still there, obviously able for Thomas to put his hands in his side and to put fingers in the holes of his hands. So Jesus was saying to him, “you can certainly put your hands in my side and your fingers in the holes of my hands, but I want you to stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
This is the cry we all have to come into in our lives. Who is this Jesus who was raised from the dead? If anyone wants to doubt the deity of Christ Jesus or that the fact the early disciples believed in the deity of Christ Jesus, this one statement by the one doubter of Christ Jesus should solidify that in our hearts. He cried out, “My Lord and my God!”.
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Basically he is talking about those of us today, that we who have not seen Jesus physically, but we have experienced him spiritually and therefore have believed in the living Christ. Once you are born again of the Spirit, you are born again. You cannot be born again by physical means. You are born once of the water, we are told in John 3. Again there are people who will try to spin this into all kinds of things but when Jesus said you must be born of the water and the Spirit, there is no spinning to that. You do not need to spiritualize that verse at all.
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ ;”
He goes on to explain precisely what that means. That which is flesh is flesh and that which is spirit is spirit. To be born of the water is to be born of the flesh. To be born of the spirit is to be born of the spirit. It is a new birth, not meaning that my physical birth is something new, but I have got a new birth. I have been born physically and now I have been born spiritually of the Spirit. One is natural birth. The other is spiritual birth. I was born in a sac of water when I was born physically. Then I had to be born again spiritually. That does not mean a new physical birth. It means I have been born physically once but now I am going to be born again spiritually. That is precisely what Jesus is talking about here. Blessed are those who have not seen yet believed.
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
What is recorded in the book of John is written so you and I may believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing, you may have life in his name. In other words, in all that Jesus is, you and I have the privilege of having life. There again, is the emphasis of the New Testament on what salvation is all about. It is the receiving of a life. It is not just a life. It is His life. It is the receiving of Christ Jesus to come and take up residence in you and me in the person of the Holy Spirit of God. When you and I put our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus we are saved.
If you put your faith merely in the death and the burial of Christ Jesus, you are not saved because you have missed the dynamic of what salvation is. That is why we have had such difficulty, in my opinion, in our discipleship in this world is because our evangelism has been so poor. We have stopped at the cross. You hear this continuously, if you listen to the radio or television. Continuously you hear this, “Come to the cross and be saved ”. Do you not? “Come to Jesus at the cross and be saved.”
The cross was preparatory. His death was on the day of preparation. In the Jewish calendar, the day of preparation is where there was a house cleaning was to take place, where the Jews were to go in and remove every ounce of leaven out of their homes. Leaven represented sin. On this holiday of preparation, Jesus went to a cross to do what? To prepare us for salvation. It was also a day of preparation. It was the day when he prepared us for salvation, which is life.
At the cross, he took away the sins of the entire world. No sin was forgotten. No sin was missed. You are not a person who gets forgiveness. You are a person who is forgiven. When you believe you are a person who gets forgiven instead of a person who is forgiven, you are negating the cross of Jesus. Whether you know it or not, you are looking in the face of Jesus, and you can be as holy and nice and kind as you can be, but you are looking in the face of Christ Jesus, and saying “you are a liar when you said ‘it is finished’ and you are lying when you are saying you took away the sins of the entire world”. You can play with all kinds of games with what sin is you want to, but I cannot think of more of a dramatic sin than looking in the face of Jesus and saying “you lied, Jesus ”.
When Christ Jesus went to the cross, he went to the cross to take away the sins of the entire world. That was preparatory. That is what prepared us for salvation. Salvation is not just getting your sins forgiven. It was a necessity for the kind of salvation that God wanted to give us, which is eternal life. He came not to give us temporal life, but eternal life. In order to give you eternal life, he had to eternally deal with the cause of death, which was sin. That is what he did at the cross.
You do not come forward to get your sins forgiven. You come forward to get life. There is a consequence to sin, called death, and the only solution to death is life, and the only life available to us is the resurrected life of Christ Jesus.
Now Jesus did all kinds of miracles to prepare us for this. His life on this earth again was preparatory. He was preparing us for the cross, and for the resurrection. In order for you and me to have an appreciation of what Jesus did when he died and was buried and was raised from the dead, we have to understand our condition. Why would I be excited about Christ’s forgiveness if I did not think I was a person who needed forgiveness. If I did not see my condition, I would be thinking, “I am not be excited about that. Who needs it? I am basically a good person.” Do we hear people say that?
He had to prepare us. He had to show us. God is looking at the heart. You are looking on the outside and you are comparing yourself to other people. Quite frankly we can look pretty good in our own sight. We are blind to ourselves but if we really saw ourselves as we really are, we would not think that. But we think we do. We say “I am not so bad as old Vinnie over there”. But that is not the issue. The issue is, “how we are doing next to Jesus?”
He had to prepare us. This whole walk on earth was preparatory for salvation, for the offer of salvation to us. He told us things like telling us that the law says “do not commit adultery”. But then he tells us God looks underneath the skin. You are looking on the outside and outside acts. But I am looking at the heart, underneath the skin, down where you live, which is where you think, the attitudes of your heart. I am saying if you looked lustfully at a girl, you already committed adultery with her in your heart. If you are capable of lusting, then you are capable of adultery. If you are capable of being angry at someone, then you are capable of murdering somebody. So let us not walk around saying we are some big deal, that we are sinless, because we are not. God is not judging us merely on outward acts but what is going on under the skin.
That prepared us for the cross. Prior to that time, I am not doing this or that, so I am okay. He said, “I am not looking at what you are doing. I am looking at what you are thinking. When I am looking at what is going on in that head of yours, and you say to me, ‘you are holy’, and I look at what is going on underneath”, try putting that on for size. He was preparing us for the salvation he was coming to offer to us.
So it says that there are many things that Jesus did. They did not record all of them. In one account, it says they would not have filled all the libraries of the world, if recorded all the things Jesus did. But these things were recorded so that you, by believing in him, might have eternal life, eternal life he came to give us.
Now on to chapter 21. Jesus is saying first of all you have to come for life. I came here to show you that you are a sinner. I did do that to put you on a guilt trip. I did not do that for you to bury yourself and for you to get into introspection, saying “woe is me”. I came to show you the truth of something and that is that you have sinned.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
You do not have to feel you are a lone ranger. You do not have to sit around beating yourself to death over this. I am pointing out to you your condition. There is a consequence of sin, which is death. That is not physical death. That will come later. That was spiritual death. You were born into this world not alive spiritually but dead spiritually. You were alive physically but not spiritually. Now you know your condition.
Now I have prepared you for salvation. I showed you that you are a sinner, and there is a consequence to sin called death. There is your problem. You are a sinner and you are dead. Now you are ready for salvation. Until you understand those things, you are not ready for salvation. Now you are ready, in what I said to you and pointed out to you. You are now ready to receive the only solution on the face of this earth to those conditions, you are a sinner that had to be forgiven and you are dead and that had to be corrected.
Now I want to tell you that there is only one person who can forgive your sins and can give you life. Buddha cannot do that. Mohammad cannot do that. Christianity cannot do that. Muslim religion cannot do that. Catholicism cannot do that. Protestantism cannot do that. Protestantism or Catholicism or Buddhism or the Mohammad religion cannot forgive sins and raise people from the dead. It is religion, an institution. It cannot do anything except organize you.
Only a person can forgive your sins. Only a person can give you life. The only person who came to this earth to do that was not Mohammad. He was not Buddha. He was not the pope. He was not Luther or Calvin. He was Jesus Christ. The foundation of our religion is not in some founder. That is the founder of maybe a religion. Jesus came to give us life. He did not say, “I came so you might have a religion and have it abundantly”. He said, “I come that you may have life” and the only life available to us is the resurrected life of Christ Jesus.
Now he is going to show us something else. Not only did I come to give you life but the only standard I am looking for is for you to love one another. I am not looking for your church attendance. I am not looking at your tithing records or all that kind of stuff. For that is what it is, stuff. I am looking for how you are doing in the love department. I came to give you life. No greater love has any man than this, that he lay down his life for his sheep. I showed you what love was. Not only did God talk about it, he demonstrated his love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, he came to die for us in order to give life to us. He is going to show us a story here.
1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.
Jesus had been away for awhile. I can just see impetuous Peter saying, “The Lord just took off so I am going back to my boat”. I do not think he is saying he is going for an afternoon fishing. He is saying, “I am going back to my work. I am going back. I have been following this Jesus but he is gone. I am going back to my boats. Let us go back to fishing. Let us go back to what we know what to do.”
3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Now that is really not a fisherman’s paradise.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
They have been out all night fishing, having not caught anything.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
Here is Jesus asking, “You got any fish?” Do you suppose Jesus didn’t know they had not caught any fish? Do you suppose he knew full well that they had been out there all night fishing, having not caught any fish? These guys are professional fishermen. They made their living fishing. So they were professional fishermen. Now this guy, whom they do not recognize as Jesus yet, is calling out to us, “Do you have any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
Imagine the disciples thinking, “Oh, shut up” but they answered, “no”. Probably about like this, “Nooo”.
6 He said, #8220;Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”
They did not recognize he is God. This guy is a carpenter. If he tells us how to build a house that is okay. But telling me how to fish? This guy standing on the shore, kind of sounds like belittling us to me, and telling us to throw the net on the other side. But they did what he said. When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. There was so much fish in there, they could not even haul the net in.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved [John] said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
Now is this not typical of impetuous Peter? He heard John say, “It is the Lord!”. He recognized he was the Lord and immediately said, “I am going to up and hug him”, or whatever he was going to do.
8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.
I think this is another interesting observation. The guys came in the boat, dragging the net into the water, which is not difficult to do when something is in the water. Who got in and dragged that huge net of fish out of the water? He did not say he went in with the rest of the guys. He went in himself. Peter was not exactly a wimp. He was a huge, strong man. He dragged that whole net of 153 fish by himself to the shore.
12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
They had a wonderful fish fry. They were all full. After they had finished eating, Jesus spoke to Peter.
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John,
He referred back to Simon as the son of John. That was Peter’s name before his name was changed to Peter. Jesus is saying to him, “Let us go back to the very beginning. Let us go back to when we first met.”
do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
It is interesting that in the original Greek there are different meanings of the word “love”. We miss that in the English translation, for in English there is only one word translated as “love”. You have the word “agape”, which means God’s unconditional love, which can only be produced by God. Then you have the word “phileo” where we get the word “Philadelphia” or “philanthropic”. “Phileo“ means a friendship kind of love. Now it is interesting because Jesus said to Peter, “Simon bar Jonah, do you truly ‘agape’ me more than these?” In other words, is your love for me unconditional? Do you love me more than you do these boats and this fish and all of this lifestyle that you were going to go back to, that you decided to go back to? Do you love me more than what you have been doing all your life? Do you love me unconditionally? Simon Peter, do you ‘agape’ me?” It is interesting because Peter’s response to that was “yes, Lord, you know that I ‘phileo’ you. You know that I am your friend.” Jesus was asking Simon, “do you unconditionally love me?” and Simon’s answer was “Lord you know that I am your friend”.