Classic Christianity – Book of John Part 83 (10-09-19)
Jesus did not die on Friday. He died on Thursday. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights so too was the Son of God in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Now it says in verse 31. It was the day of preparation. The next day was to be the special Sabbath. That is what we just talked about. Preparation on Thursday, Special Sabbath on Friday, the first day of the feast of unleavened bread. Then the next day, because the Jews did not want to leave the body on the Sabbath, the regular Sabbath day, they asked Pilate to have his legs broken.
31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man [John] who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”[c] 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”[d]
We do not understand the fear that these people had of the Jewish leadership. They came from Galilee, which was a seed bed for resurrection. It was a place where all kinds of opposition to orthodoxy was bred in that part of the country. That did not make him real popular. He also came and was not a real friend of the Pharisees because the Pharisees were the ones whose job was to keep the law and make sure you kept the law and hoped you never found out that I do not keep the law. They were the law keepers. They felt the purpose of the Jew on the face of the earth was to preserve the law. That was their purpose. That was the only reason they were there, to preserve the law of Moses, diligently. Jesus came up and said to them, “you are a white-washed sepulcher because you cannot keep the law and yet you command others to do so”.
27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.”
Paul wrote that no man will ever be declared righteous in the sight of God through obedience to the law (Romans 3:20). So if you are trying to obtain righteousness in the sight of God (Galatians 3:11), God already told you that you can never do that. No man will ever be declared justified in the sight of God through obedience to the law (Romans 3:20). You cannot be justified by the law. You cannot be declared righteous by the law. If the law could bring life, then Christ died for nothing (Galatians 2:21). So the law could not give you life (Galatians 3:21).
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”
21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.
21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!
What was the purpose of the law? To show you are a sinner so you may turn to Christ for salvation. If you do not see you are a sinner, what does the cross mean to you? If you do not need total forgiveness, what benefit is the cross? If I think that I am 50% okay then I only need a 50% Jesus. Just think maybe one of these days you can get so good that you think you do not need him at all? The law can do nothing for you except to show you what it came to do, and that is to show you that you are a sinner. How come? Jesus was headed to a cross, to do what? Die for sinners. He did not need to come to die for the righteous, if you thought you were, but to die for sinners.
15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.
24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith
Jesus had to get under the skin of people. People can say, “I do not commit adultery.” He says look, “If you look lustfully at a girl, you have already committed adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:28). God looks inside. That is why he says, “You white washed tomb. You may look good on the outside but on the inside you are dirty” (Matthew 23:27). The law says do not kill. But I say, “if you get angry at somebody, you have already committed murder in your heart”(Matthew 5:22). He got under our skin.
That made the Pharisees angry for they wanted to be patted on the head for how well they kept the exterior of the law. Jesus did not do that. He said to them, “You are hypocrites”. He became an enemy of the Pharisees because of his attitude towards their attitude toward the law.
He also was not very popular with the priests, whose job was to keep the temple going, to be sure that all the things done in the temple are done properly, including the sacrificial system. He told them, the chief priests, who were part of the Sadducee s. You had the Pharisees and the Sadducee s. To those chief priests, he told them to tear down that temple and “I will build it again in three days”(John 2:19-20). It is like he was saying, “That is how much I think about it”. The sacrificial system will be done. There will be no need for it.
So he became an enemy of the chief priests, the Sadducee s because of his attitude toward the temple. He became an enemy of the Pharisees because of his attitude toward the law. So he was not very popular to anybody.
These people have unbelievable control over the populace. So they were fearful. Just like Nicodemus had to go to Jesus at night (John 3). He said to Jesus, “I know you came from God. No one can do the miracles you do unless God was with you”(John 3:2). Jesus looked into the eyes of Nicodemus and told him he must be born again. “(John 3:7) You were born physically but now you have to be born spiritually. First came the natural, that is physical birth, then came the spiritual, that is spiritual birth. You were never alive spiritually before you were alive physically.
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.’
There are some Johnny come lately that tell you are floating around somewhere in spirit and needed a body to live in, but that is nonsense according to the word of God. You have to be born first physically. That is what Jesus said, unless you are born of the water and the Spirit. Some people come along and say that is baptism. Come on, how can you be born of baptism. You are born in a sac of water. He explains that yet people come up with all these crazy ideas of what that means but Jesus explains that clearly. That is flesh is flesh. You have been born in your mother’s womb in a sac of water. That is called flesh. Now you have to be born of the Spirit. You have to have a natural birth and then you have to have a spiritual birth. The natural birth must come first and then the spiritual birth.
They were afraid of these things. Nicodemus, a Jew is doing all these things, and Jesus has to tell him he has to be born again. You mean all my deeds are not going to get me to heaven? No. Remember the passage that the Gentile who did not pursue righteousness have obtained it yet we who have followed the law have not? Yes, you got it. Why? Because you pursued it not by faith but by works. You are not getting in any place by your works. God is not impressed with your works. God is not sitting in heaven saying, “Did you see all those people at the seminar?” “Do you see how many radio stations I own?” “Do you know I have a church with 20,000 members?” He said, “big deal”. I am not interested in your works. I am interested in your heart. If you can speak in tongues of men and angels and do not have love, then you do not have anything. If you allow your body to be burned at the stake, but you do not have love, it does not have any meaning to it at all. I am not looking at the outward. I am looking at the inward. But the Jews were looking at the outward. They were fearful.
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[Isaiah 8:14; 28:16]
38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.
39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.
He was wrapped in 75 pounds of material. That would be a little hard to get out of.
41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
To those of you who have gone to Israel, you will see that garden. There is no question in my mind as to where that is. He was crucified outside the city in a place called Golgotha. A big stone is there. You see the eye sockets and the nose, just like a skull. Right besides that is the garden of Gethsemane. That is where the tomb is. You have water all around it.
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
If you ever see the way those stones were. They were huge. They were rolled down into a hole. To get them out of there, it would take the strength of a number of men to do so.
2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
Her first thought was someone stole the Lord.
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head.
Now the 75 pounds of material was in this wrapping. In three days, it would harden. I believe it was there as if someone was in it, but no one was in it.
The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
What did he believe, that Jesus was raised from the dead?
9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Did Jesus tell them he was going to be raised from the dead? But you see, being told something and knowing the meaning of something are two different things. They had all kinds of ideas of what he was talking about. A lady said, “I know at the end times that is going to take place”. But Jesus said to Martha, the brother of Lazarus, before he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life and whosoever believes in me though dead spiritually yet shall he live spiritually. Whosoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Jesus had told them about the resurrection. So Jesus told them about the resurrection yet they still did not understand from the scriptures that Jesus had to rise from the dead. They were still looking for him to be there. They were still in shock and disappointment at the death of Christ. They were looking for the reigning Messiah. To this today, they are looking for the reigning Messiah and not the suffering Messiah. It would be like looking at two mountain peeks, one about 100 miles away and the other about 50 miles away, and in the perspective they looked like they were right next to each other. They did not understand the suffering Messiah would come to suffer first and then would come a second time as the reigning Messiah. The Jews are still looking for the reigning Messiah. They say they do not believe in the suffering Messiah but say when he comes to reign they will believe.
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
Remember the last time she saw Jesus, he was beaten beyond recognition, his face battered as no man, his beard plucked, a crown of thorns on his head, streams of blood coming down, beaten as no man was the very last time she saw Jesus. Now, she sees him in the glorified form.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
You can hear the compassion in her voice. I just want to know where he is.
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
I think many times the way in which a person pronounces your name, you knew who that is. Someone calls you on the phone, and they say “hello” and you immediately know who they are, by the way he pronounces your name and by the tone of his voice.
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders,
These are the twelve apostles, the apostles, sitting behind closed doors with the doors locked, fearful of the Jews. Still fearful of the Jews. They have been with Jesus for three years. They knew Jesus. But there was one thing they did not possess yet. What was it? It was the Holy Spirit of God living in them. That did not happen until Pentecost.
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
When you see the contrast between Peter and the disciples hovering behind closed doors one day, and within a very few days, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, standing in front of the very people that crucified Jesus, and said to them, “you are the very people who nailed Jesus to the cross?” What was the difference between the two? The indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God.
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”
Many many people do not have a clue of what being indwelt by the Holy Spirit is. All they know is we are law-abiding. They do not have a clue that they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, maybe because they are not. But if they are, then they need to understand what that means, the power that God gives us to go out boldly into the world to explain the gospel to people, of salvation by grace and not by works, of salvation of doing nothing more than believing and putting faith in the fact that Jesus died for me. Forget about the world. He died for the world but that includes me. Until you internalize it, then it is just something for you and not for me. Jesus died or me. He died to take away my sins. He was raised from the dead for me so that I could be raised from the dead. That is what salvation is. So Jesus comes into these fearful people. The doors are locked and all of a sudden Jesus shows up. He walks through the wall and says, “Peace be with you”. That cracks me up. Sure, “peace be with you”. I would be scared to death.
Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Can you imagine the joy of that, of after watching Jesus beaten to death on a cross, that now, three days later, standing in front of you, saying “It is me”?
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them
What does he mean that he breathed on them? Literally it means he took a deep breath. Did he mean to receive the Holy Spirit then when no one received the Holy Spirit until Pentecost? No. It is just an announcement that when the time is come, and on the day the Holy Spirit comes, receive him. When he comes, receive him.<
and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
At that time, here is a passage that has confused many people, especially in Catholicism where they have apostolic succession, where they believe there are those who have the same authority as Peter and the rest of them, which is not true. A priest in Catholicism is said to have the power to absolve someone of sin. If you forgive anyone their sins, they are forgiven. Someone says, “See, we have the right to forgive sins.” No, that is not what it says. Is that what he is saying? No.
It says if you forgive someone’s sin it is because they are already forgiven. In other words, you have the authority here on this earth to carry out of what I already took care of in heaven. If I took away the sins of the world from the eyes of God, then you have authority I have given you to go into the world to tell people their sins are forgiven. Do you have the authority to tell someone that, based on God Himself? Yes, according to scripture itself. It would be like authority given to a police officer in the state of Texas. In the name of the state of Texas, I have been given authority by the state of Texas to arrest you. According to scripture, from Jesus Himself, we have been given the authority to make disciples, to baptize people in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and to teach others everything the Lord has taught us.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We have been given that authority now to pass on in the name of Jesus to pass on the things that Jesus taught. Do you and I have the authority given by God to go to any man on the face of the earth and say, “Sir, your sins have been taken away?” Do we or not? Yes, we have the authority to do that. Why? Because sins are already forgiven in heaven. Would we have any authority to do that if your sins were not taken away in heaven? If the forgiveness was left to you and me, how would we know which one Jesus forgave and which one he did not? The reason you and I have authority to tell someone their sins are taken away is because they have all been taken away. Jesus fulfilled the words of the prophet Isaiah when he cried on the cross, “It is finished.”
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
So what does this mean that if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven? What is the only sin that is not forgiven? The sin of denying the provision of God for the forgiveness of your sins and the imputation of life. Do we have the right to say that to people, that the world’s sin is unbelief in Jesus? It is not how bad you have been or how good good you have been but how dead you are. Do we have the right to say that to a lost person? Who gave you the authority to do that? Jesus did.
The world’s sin is unbelief in me
So I have the authority, and so do you, to say to any man your sins have been taken away at the cross. No man will ever go to hell because of his sins. The only question God will ever ask you is, “What did you do with my Son? Did you accept the provision that I gave to you as a gift or did you reject it? Did you reject it when Jesus said, “It is finished” or did you accept? Did you accept it when Jesus said you were dead in your sins but God gave you life? Did you accept that life or did you reject? That is the only thing you will be asked.
God, through Jesus, neutralized the whole world, the Jews in bondage to the law and the Gentiles who were never given the law to begin with. The Gentiles were never given the law. We just took it and said we will do better than the Jews. God never gave us, the Gentiles, the law. The issue is, are you going to go to God, saying, “I deserve to be in heaven because of my marvelous law-abiding?” Are you going to go to heaven because I did not do anything except accept what Jesus did for me?
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.
I told a person the other day, I want to tell you something. If Jesus is not the only way to God, I am going to hell because I am not going to put my confidence in anything else except Jesus. If I am wrong, I am going to hell. I do not think there is too many people who want to go to hell. They might want me to go there, but I do not know of anybody who wants to go to hell. That is a total repentance. That is a total conviction of heart that if Jesus is not 100% right in what he has told me, then he has deceived the whole world, and I am a part of that, and I am not going to heaven. That is how much confidence He wants us to be. We are not going to go there, saying to Jesus, “I am putting my faith in you but I was also law-abiding”. Jesus says, “Sorry, that is not going to work”. That is not how you are getting into heaven. You do what Paul did, who said, ”I consider all that garbage and dung in comparison to knowing Jesus Christ my Lord”.
8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.