Classic Christianity – Book of John Part 27 (05-29-19)
Bob George shared from John 6 and Matthew 14 on the miracles of Jesus, the healing of the sick, the feeding of the five thousand with two small fish and five barley loaves, and calming a storm after walking on water, then continues teaching from Matthew 15. God is in the miracle working business but the greatest miracle is the transformed lives of men. Jesus did these miracles because the Father told him to (John 5:19, John 8:28), for God is full of compassion and tender mercy (James 5:11).
He was here on earth on a mission, a plan from before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:19-20), to go to the cross and rise again, a command he received from His Father (John 10:18). He came to do something for man that man could never do for himself (Matthew 19:26).
He first came to prepare the hearts of men so they may know who he is, that he is God (John 10:38, John 5:18, John 8:58), and see their need, their unrighteousness (Romans 3:10) and God’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). At times Jesus was not what we would call tactful and was quite firm in telling the truth about a person’s hypocrisy, to shine the light on their condition of spiritual death. He resisted the proud but gave grace to the humble.
Jesus came so men might trust him and enter into his unconditional love and acceptance in Him (1 John 4:8, John 15:13), to the receiving of a life-giving Spirit (John 6:63). Let us hear a message of truth from heaven, for new life in Him, a vital relationship with the living God (Romans 8:10-11). For those in Christ, let us keep our focus on Christ, who is our life (Colossians 3:4), so that the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) may be produced in us and through us, flowing out of an abiding relationship with the living God.
He was headed to the cross, so that what Paul wrote about was completed.
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The gospels are preparatory. The gospels are a re-coronation of God in a man suit, who is to come to this earth, to show us by his very life and action what pure righteousness is, and in so doing, to show us what unrighteousness is, which is us. We have no righteousness in ourselves.
As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son
All of us are under the death penalty until we choose life. Once we choose life, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).
That is where Jesus was heading.
Until he got there, he had a three year message for you and me. Jesus is essentially saying, “I will show you what is right, so that in so doing so, you will see your need for me. I will heal to show God has compassion on people. You will see me feed people so later on when you hear me say, ‘I have given you everything you need for life and godliness, you will believe this to be true. I do these miracles not so you will be worshiping a miracle worker.”
26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
“The only reason you followed me is to get fed. You are following me to get healed, to get fed, to see another miracle. I did not come to do that. I came to die on a cross and to be raised from the dead in order to save you spiritually. But to prepare you for this event, these events are taking place.”
All this is showing who he is, God, and what we are and what our need is.
When we read the scriptures, especially the gospels, we are reading the object of our focus, about Jesus, the one our eyes should be focused upon at all times. The more you focus on something the bigger they become and the closer you draw to them. That is what the gospels are for. As we study the gospels together, the purpose is to get to know Jesus. Keep in mind that the reason for all the things he did is to show us what he came to do, to take away sins at the cross and give you new life at the resurrection.
Turn now to Matthew 15.
1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Do any of you not wash your hands before you eat? That was a tradition of the leaders of the law.
3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
You are giving to the things of God and ignoring the needs of your own parents. So why are you breaking those laws? You are worried about these guys not washing their hands. Look at what you are doing. You are taking your money and saying you are doing it for the sake of God but then you are letting your parents be in need.
1 Timothy 5:8
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever
So Jesus said to them, “You hypocrites”.
7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”
Imagine how pleasing that was to the Pharisees to hear these words from Jesus. These are the leaders, the guys walking around in purple robes, that are to be respected as teachers of the law, intended to be the stewards of God’s word. Jesus calls them hypocrites. That is not a popular teaching nor politically correct. In this day and age, the world at large wants everybody to be politically correct and polished. But Jesus says, “I want you to be honest. I want you to tell the truth and to see truth for what it is. I want you to be honest with people.”
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” 12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
There are two ways to approach people in need of an operation. One way is to treat something to deaden the pain. The other is to cut out the problem, that if left alone would lead to death. But if I had to sacrifice one of these two, which would you sacrifice? The pain killer if you had to. So if you had no pain killer and the person had appendicitis then you would have to go ahead and operate without pain killer. But God did not leave us with that. Pain killer, if available, will help if you have to operate. Some people, in the desire to be honest do not have a clue what the pain killer is for, and just bluntly say what it is, without caring for the feelings of people. If you can be tactful in truthfulness then that is fine. But sometimes people are so stubborn that you have to hit them with a two-by-four to get their attention. But sometimes tact is not necessary. And you will see that with Jesus. I do not call it very tactful to say “You hypocrites”, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you”, “You honor me with your lips but your hearts are far from me”, or “You worship me in vain, following rules taught by men”.
The disciples told Jesus that the Pharisees were offended by what he said to them, and asked, “Did you know the Pharisees were offended?” Jesus said, “Yes, I did”. So then
there are times where the honest truth is offensive to people but truth needs to be told.
13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
Just because you are religious-appearing does not mean you know Jesus. Just because you learned the vernacular, the Christian lingo, does not mean you know Jesus. Lots of religious people put on a Jesus face do not know Jesus from a lamp post. Jesus called it just as it is, “blind guides” and “if the blind led the blind, both will fall into a pit.” Do not accept everything you see at face value. How many times have you interacted with people, who have given lip service that they are Christian? When you ask them when did you accept Jesus and they say, “I was born one” or “I always believed in Jesus”, what does that tell you about their belief system?. There is some truth in that they said about Jesus but they are not saved. They acknowledge that Jesus existed, that he was a prophet, a good teacher, a moral person, or a good man. They may even acknowledge that Jesus did certain things, that he died, was buried and rose again but they do not understand why those things happened. To them it is just an intellectual assent to certain facts like believing Abraham Lincoln existed. But knowing somebody existed does not mean you know the person personally. But you can know God personally. Different men of history existed but you did not know them. Knowing what they did had no affect on changing your life personally. We see a lot of people on television. We have seen on television about Neil Armstrong walking on the moon but you never met him. I know about John Kerry but I never met him. The same thing is true concerning the things of Jesus. Have you ever met him? Have you ever come into a vital personal relationship with Jesus? How do you do that?
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
If you are inside your house and hear someone knocking on your door, and say, “Who is it?” and he says to you that he is Jesus, what would you do or say? Would you open the door and let him in? Would you say, “Come back another day”? Would you say, “What are you doing here? I do not have anything to do with you. I like Moses.”
But if a person is open and realizes the fact that Jesus is alive, then what would he be willing or inclined to do? The meaning of his resurrection is that he is alive. We live in two realms, physical and spiritual. Jesus Christ is God and God is Spirit. The physical realm is what we see with our eyes, the dead body of someone we loved who just died. But what is missing when you see a body that has just died? So you ask, “Where is the real you?” You say, “Where is he?” He is gone. That is the spiritual realm. I know where his body is, but where is he?
If you hear my voice, believe in me, and open the door, I will come into you. That is a promise.