"...PROVE ALL THINGS; HOLD FAST TO
THAT WHICH IS GOOD..." 1TH 5:21
'CP' denotes 'compare passage'
1:1 (A) Who does "the word" refer to, and what does it mean that the word was with God and the word was God?
The word refers to Jesus as the revelation of God. In the Old Testament God spoke to His people through the prophets, but in the New Testament He spoke through Jesus. Jesus is the supreme and definitive word or revelation of God in the New Testament (CP Jn 1:18; He 1:1-3; 1Jn 1:1-2; Rev 19:13). The word "declared" in Jn 1:18 means that all that Jesus is and does interprets and explains who God is and what He does. The phrase, "the word was with God and the word was God", highlights the eternal pre-existence of Jesus as an equal member of the triune Godhead (CP Psa 45:6-7; Mic 5:2; Jn 1:2-3, 10; 3:13; 8:56-58; 14:9-11; 17:5; Nu 21:4-9 with 1Cor 10:9; Php 2:5-7; Col 1:12-17; 1Ti 3:16; He 1:8-12; 1Jn 5:7; Rev 1:8, 11; 2:8; 22:13). See also comments on Lu 1:35(B). and author's studies Jesus - Eternally God in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), and The Doctrine of the Trinity and Jesus in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
(B) If Jesus is God, how can He also be the Son of God?
In His preincarnate state Jesus was eternally God - He became the Son at His incarnation (CP V14). See comments on Lu 1:35(B), and author's studies Jesus - Eternally God in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), and The Doctrine of the Trinity and Jesus in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
1:11 Who are "His own"?
The Jews. They were expecting Him - and still are - but when He came, they rejected Him. They did not believe He was their Messiah, although He fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies (see author's studies Jesus, and Old Testament Messianic Prophecies - their New Testament Fulfilment in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2)).
1:12-13 Is this teaching as some claim that God determines who will be saved?
No! This simply teaches that the new birth - being born again - is a supernatural work of God in regeneration to all who receive Jesus as their Saviour. Jesus gives all who choose to believe on Him the authority to become sons - children - of God (CP Ga 3:26). Jn 1:13 teaches that all who accept Christ undergo a spiritual rebirth - they are born again by the spirit of God (CP Jn 3:5-8; Tit 3:5; 1Jn 2:29 (see also comments on Jn 3:5 and Tit 3:5)). The power to produce this new birth rests solely with God (CP Jas 1:18; 1Pe 1:23). One does not become a Christian by being born into a Christian family, "… not of blood;" by any human effort, "… nor of the will of the flesh;" or by any plan of man, "… nor of the will of man." John is simply saying in Jn 1:12-13 that the power to produce the new birth does not rest with anyone or anything, but with God (CP Jn 3:16; Ro 3:20-30; 2 Cor 5:14-21; Eph 2:8-10; He 7:25).
The clear teaching in all those scriptures is that salvation is the personal choice of the individual - it is not predestined by God. Everyone is responsible for their own destiny in eternity (CP Isa 45:22; 55:1-7; Joel 2:32; Mt 11:28-30; 12:28-30; 12:47-50; 18:3-4; Jn 3:16-18; 7:37-38; Ac 2:21; Ro 10:11-13; 1Ti 2:1-6; 2Pe 3:9; Rev 21:6; 22:17). See also comments on Mt 11:28-30, 13:10-11, 20:16; Jn 3:14-15, 3:36, 6:37, 12:37-40, Ac 2:37-38, 13:48, 28:23-29; Ro 3:24-25(A), 8:28-30, 9:7, 9:10-13, 9:14-18, 9:19-21, 10:14-17, 11:2, 11:4, 11:7-10; Eph 1:3-6, 1:11-14, 2:8-10; 1Th 1:4; 2Ti 1:8-9; 1Pe 1:2, and author's studies Salvation - A Free Will Choice or Predestinated? and Chosen by God? in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1).
1:18 How can John say that no man has seen God at any time when scriptures clearly teach that He was seen by many in the Old Testament?
(CP also 1Jn 4:12). Those who saw God in the Old Testament did not see Him face to face in His glory, which is what John is referring to in Jn 1:18 (CP Gen 32:24-30; Ex 24:9-11; 33:9-11; Judg 13:21-22; Isa 6:1-5). In Gen 32:24-30 while scriptures record that Jacob saw God face to face, He did not see God face to face in His glory, as God had assumed human form. In Exodus 24:9-11 the seventy-four saw God also, but not face to face in His glory. In 33:11 scripture records that God spoke to Moses face to face but it was out of the cloudy pillar in V9. The phrase, "God spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks to His friend" in V11 simply means that God spoke to Moses with great familiarity. Moses was God's intimate friend - a chosen vessel to fulfill God's purpose for the Israelites. But V11 does not mean that God and Moses were literally looking into each other's face as they spoke. In Judg 13:21-22 Manoah and His wife also saw God in human form, not face to face in His glory (CP V2-11, 19-21). And in Isa 6:1-5 Isaiah saw God in a vision sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, with His train filling the temple, but again it was not face to face in His glory. No man has seen, nor can see God face to face in His glory, because scriptures teach that God dwells in the light so bright no man can approach it (CP Ex 24:17; 33:18-23; 1Ti 6:13-16). In Ex 24:17 the glory of the Lord as seen with human eyes was like a consuming fire devouring highly inflammable material (CP Ex 40:34-35; Nu 20:6; 1Ki 8:10-11; 2Chr 5:13-14; 7:1-2; Eze 1:28; 3:22-23; 43:2-3; 44:4). We learn from these scriptures that no one could literally look at God's face in His glory. In Ex 33:18-23 Moses wanted to see God face to face in His glory, but could not and live, so God showed Moses part of His glory from behind while protecting Him from the brightness of it. In 1Ti 6:16 God dwells in the light so bright that no man can approach it. We learn from all these scriptures that the reason no man has seen God is because no one could endure the spectacular purity of his essential nature, which is what Jn 1:18 teaches. Only Jesus has seen God face to face in His glory, and it is only through Jesus that one can see God's essential nature (CP V17). The phrase, "He hath declared Him", in Jn 1:18, means all that Jesus is and does, interprets and explains all that God is and does. Jesus is the manifested glory of God (CP Jn 14:7-11). See also comments on Jn 14:7.
1:29-34 See comments on Mt 3:11.
1:35-51 See comments on Mt 10:1-4
2:3-4 What did Jesus mean when He said that His hour had not yet come?
Phrases like this are used constantly in scripture to refer to Jesus' death and exaltation (CP Mt 26:18; Jn 7:6, 8, 30; 8:20; 8:30; 12:23, 27; 13:1; 17:1). Turning the water into wine was the first of many miracles Jesus performed attesting to His Deity, which caused the disciples to believe on Him (CP Jn 2:11).
2:13-17 Is this the same scourging in the temple as recorded in the other gospels?
No! There are three separate and distinct scourgings in the temple recorded in scripture. This is the first, and it is mentioned only in John's gospel. This took place within a week or so of Jesus commencing His earthly ministry, a few days after the wedding at Cana where Jesus performed His first miracle - turning water into wine. The wedding at Cana took place three days after Jesus commenced His earthly ministry (CPV1, 12-13). The second scourging in the temple took place when Jesus went up to Jerusalem from Jericho the day after He went to Zaccheus' house (CP Mt 21:1-16; Lu 19:1-11, 28, 41-46). After the second scourging in the temple Jesus went to Bethany and lodged with Lazarus, who He had raised up from the dead, and Martha and Mary, his sisters. This was six days before Jesus was betrayed (CP Mt 21:17; Mk 11:11; Jn 12:1-2). The third scourging in the temple took place when Jesus went into Jerusalem from Bethany the very next day (CP Mk 11:12-16). See also comments on Mk 11:15-16.
2:18-22 What did Jesus mean by what He said here?
Jesus was prophesying His death here. This temple He would raise up in three days was His body, which after His death would be resurrected in three days. The disciples did not understand what Jesus meant until after His resurrection (CP Mk 9:30-32; Lu 18:31-34; 24:1-8; Jn 12:16). See also comments on Mt 26:61.
2:23-25 Why did Jesus not commit Himself to those who believed in His name here?
Jesus perceived that their faith was only superficial. They believed in Him to work miracles, but not that He was from God, sent to save them. They did not believe in Jesus for who He was, but for what He did. That is not saving faith. Demons believe in Jesus too, but that will not save them on Judgment Day (CP Jas 2:19). Believing in Jesus for salvation involves much more than mere intellectual assent. It calls for total consecration to the service of God, and complete surrender to the authority of Jesus and His word (CP Mt 7:21-27). This in no way detracts from the importance Jesus placed on signs and wonders to awaken unbelievers to a consciousness of the presence and the power of God, and to raise their faith in Jesus (CP Jn 5:19-20, 31, 34, 36-37; 9:1-4; 10:24-25, 37-38). However Jesus does not want us to see signs and wonders as ends in themselves. They are simply intended to bring the recipients of them into a faith relationship with Jesus for who He is, not for what He does (CP Jn 4:46-53). At first, the nobleman here simply believed in Jesus to work miracles, but after Jesus gave Him the promise that his son would live, and then healed him, the nobleman's faith in who Jesus was grew and he and his whole household got saved (CP V50, 53).
3:3 What does Jesus mean here that one must be born again to see the kingdom of God?
Being born again means literally being born from above. It expresses the changes wrought in the life of a repentant sinner by the Holy Spirit after being converted to Christ. It means the sinner has died unto sin and has been born anew from above unto righteousness. How this happens is that when the gospel is preached the Holy Spirit awakens in the heart of those open to receiving the gospel, a consciousness of guilt and the need for forgiveness (CP Ac 2:37-38). As they hear the gospel sinners are made aware by the Holy Spirit of God's standard of righteousness in Christ, and they turn to Christ for salvation (CP Jn 6:44-45; Jn 16:7-11; Ro 1:16-17; 2Cor 4:6). Being born again is not limited to the initial act of renewal when we are first converted to Christ, but is a continuous work of the Holy Spirit renewing and transforming our lives as we surrender ourselves to the lordship of Christ and the authority of His word throughout the entirety of our Christian walk. This is one of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith: the Doctrine of Regeneration, or the New Birth. Once we have committed our way to God we are no longer to be conformed to a world system that is without God, but transformed by a renewed mind committed to the ideals of the kingdom of God (CP Ro 12:1-2; Eph 4:17-32). Prove in Ro 12:2 means to test, to prove by practice in everyday life that God's will for us is good and acceptable and perfect. Our minds must be conformed to God's way of thinking. Our plans, goals, and ambitions must be determined by heavenly and eternal truths, not by this evil, temporal, and transient age (CP Ro 6:6, 12-13; 7:5; 8:15-17; 13:14; Ga 5:16-25; 6:7-9). Being born again involves a complete transformation of our moral nature - a complete change of heart that expresses the change from the person we were, to the person we become in Christ (CP Eph 2:1-13; Col 3:1-17). If we have made the way of Christ our way of life it will very plainly show (CP 2Cor 5:17; Ga 6:15).
To sum up, seeing the kingdom of God is actually perceiving it and its realities through the salvation that can only be obtained through abiding in Christ and having His word abide in us (CP Ac 4:10-12). Our membership in God's family remains conditional on our love for Christ demonstrated by a life of sincere obedience to His word (CP Jn 14:15, 21-23; 1Jn 2:3-6; 3:6). Just as we can be born again unto everlasting life by the Spirit of God, we can also extinguish that life by ungodly choices and ungodly living (CP Ro 6:1-23; 8:12-14; 2Ti 2:11-12). See also comments on Jn 1:12-13. 3:5, Tit 3:5 and He 10:22, and author's studies What Being Born Again Means in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, and Regeneration and Sanctification Defined in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
3:5 What is the water referred to here?
Many Christians believe that the water Jesus refers to here alludes to water baptism, but if it did Jesus would be teaching baptismal regeneration - that we can only be saved by being baptized, and if that were so the thief on the cross could never have been saved because He was not baptized. Furthermore scriptures throughout teach that we are saved by God's word, not water (CP Psa 119:9; Jn 15:3; Ro 1:16; 1Cor 1:17-18, 21; 4:15; 15:1-2; Jas 1:18, 21; 1Pe 1:23-25). Jesus uses the word water in Jn 3:5 figuratively in the context of salvation by the word of God. God's word is the water of life (CP Jn 4:5-14; Rev 21:5-6, 22:17). Jesus promises in Rev 21:5-6 that whoever thirsts for knowledge of Him, He will give them to drink of the water of life, and in Jn 4:5-14 He promises that whoever drinks of that water will never thirst again. The water that Christ gives means spiritual life - all who hunger and thirst for Christ will be saved (CP Isa 12:3; 55:1-7). But to partake of the spiritual life in Christ we need to be continually drinking of the living water. The word drinketh in Jn 4:14 is a present tense continuous action verb, (it is called a present imperative in the Greek), which means that drinking of the water is not a momentary single act, but a progressive or repeated action (CP Eph 5:25-26). Here we get a clearer understanding of what being born of water means. This teaches that Christ is setting the church apart and cleansing it by His word. The washing of water by the word is a symbol of the cleansing of the soul by the word even as water is used for the cleansing of our bodies. It is not being immersed in water that saves, but being immersed in the word. Being born of water and of the Spirit means being born again by the word of God - the water of life - and spiritually renewed from above by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (CP Tit 3:5). See also comments on Jn 1:12-13, 3:3, Tit 3:5, He 10:22, and author's studies What Being Born Again Means in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, and Regeneration and Sanctification Defined in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
3:8 What does Jesus mean by what He says here?
Jesus is illustrating for Nicodemus here the activity and effect of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who are born again. Just as the wind is invisible but its activity and effect can be witnessed, so too it is with the Holy Spirit. He is also invisible, but the proof of His work is apparent. There is undeniable and unmistakable evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of born again believers (CP Ac 1:1-8; 4:33; 1Cor 2:1-5). See also comments on Jn 3:3 and Jn 3:5.
3:9-12 Why did Jesus expect Nicodemus to know "these things"?
Nicodemus' response in V4 to what Jesus said in V3 indicated that he had no idea what Jesus meant about having to be born again to see the kingdom of Heaven (CP V1-4). Neither did he know what Jesus meant about having to be born of water and of the Spirit to enter into into the kingdom in V9, yet Nicodemus should have known because he was recognized throughout Israel as an authority on the Old Testament - Jesus called Him "a master of Israel" (KJV) - and the Old Testament teaches the new birth (CP Jer 31:33; Eze 11:19; 36:25-27; Joel 2:28-29). Nicodemus' failure to understand what Jesus said underlined His failure to believe Jesus' witness. This was typical of the nation as a whole and Jesus rebuked him for it (see also comments on Jn 3:3; Jn 3:5 and Jn 3:8).
3:14-15 What is the significance of the serpent Jesus refers to here that Moses lifted up in the wilderness?
(CP Nu 21:5-9). The lifting up of the brazen serpent on the pole here was an Old Testament type of the crucifixion of Christ and the benefits of the cross that can be obtained by all who look to Jesus for their salvation. As the serpent was a symbol of sin, so Jesus was made a sin offering (CP 2Cor 5:21). As the Israelites who looked upon the brazen serpent were healed, so too there is bodily healing for believers in the cross of Christ (CP Isa 53:4-5; Ga 3:13; 1Pe 2:24). As the Israelites who looked upon the brazen serpent were given new life, so repentant sinners who look to Christ are given eternal life (CP Jn 3:16). As the brazen serpent on the pole brought peace and reconciliation with God for the repentant Israelites, so Christ on the cross reconciled repentant sinners to God (CP 2Cor 5:18; Col 1:20-22). Faith was necessary to look upon the serpent to be healed and given new life, and faith is also necessary to look to Jesus for bodily healing and everlasting life (CP Ro 3:21-26).
3:29 Is this alluding to the church as the bride of Christ?
No, John is merely expressing the fact here that as the friend - or best man - of a bridegroom made all the preparatory arrangements for the bridegroom's wedding, so too John was preparing the way for the coming of the Lord (CP Mt 3:1-6; Mk 1:1-4; Lu 3:1-6 (Isa 40:3-5)). John was contrasting his own role with that of Jesus and asserting the supremacy of Jesus. Once Jesus came John's role would cease, "…He must increase, but I must decrease" (CP Jn 3:30-35). See also comments on Mt 9:14-15, and author's study The Bride of Christ in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1).
3:36 How can a God of love condemn people to hell?
God does not condemn people to hell, they condemn themselves. Individuals choose for themselves if they want to be saved or not. The key to understanding this is found in the words believeth and believeth not. In this passage the word believeth is from the Greek word pisteuo, which means to place confidence in, to trust, to be persuaded of (CP V16). It implies obedience to as a moral choice, whereas believeth not, which is from the Greek word apeitheo, means refuse to be persuaded, refuse to believe, refuse to obey (CP V18). "He that believeth" is he that chooses to believe, or who chooses to obey. "He that believeth not" is he that chooses not to believe, or who refuses to obey. This is clear evidence that salvation is the personal choice of the individual; that it can be rejected, and it refutes the teaching by some in the church that God has predetermined everyone's destiny in eternity. We are each responsible for our own destiny in eternity (CP Isa 45:22; 55:1-7; Joel 2:32; Mt 11:28-30; 12:47-50; 18:3-4; Jn 3:16-18; 7:37-38; Ac 2:21; Ro 10:11-13; 1Ti 2:1-6; 2Pe 3:9; Rev 21:6; 22:17). See also comments on Mt 11:28-30, 13:10-11, 20:16; Jn 6:37, 12:37-40; Ac 13:48, 28:23-29; Ro 9:10-13, 9:14-18, 11:4, 11:7-10; 1Th 1:4; 2Ti 1:8-9; 1Pe 1:2, and author's studies Salvation - A Free Will Choice or Predestinated? and Chosen by God? in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1).
4:10 What is the living water Jesus refers to here?
(CP V1-15). The "living water" Jesus refers to in V10 depicts the spiritual life that is in Him. He is the water of life, the living water and a well of water springing up into everlasting life in everyone who believes on Him (CP Isa 12:1-6; 44:3; 55:1-7; Eze 36:25-27 with Jn 7:37-39; Rev 21:6; 22:17). Jesus used the woman at the well's need for physical water to sustain life as an object lesson for her need for spiritual transformation (CP Jn 3:5; 4:19-26; 7:37-39; 1Cor 10:1-5; Tit 3:5; He 10:22; Rev 21:6; 22:17). See also comments on Jn 3:5; 1Cor 10:1-5; Tit 3:5; He 10:22; Rev 22:17, and author's studies What Being Born Again Means in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, and Regeneration and Sanctification Defined in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
4:32 What was the meat to eat which Jesus said He had that the disciples did not know of?
(CP V31-34). The soul-satisfying effect of doing the will of God and completing His work in the earth was both physical and spiritual nourishment for Jesus. This was the "meat" He had to eat, of which the disciples knew nothing, because they had not yet learned it. Jesus then used the Samaritans coming to Him from out of Sychar who the woman at the well sent, as an object lesson to teach the disciples about the urgency of harvesting souls for the kingdom (CP V30, 35-42). See also author's studies The Christian Calling - Winning Souls to Christ in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, and Redeeming the Time - Winning Souls to Christ in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
4:38 Who were the other labourers Jesus refers to here?
(CP V36-37). The other labourers included Jesus Himself and John the Baptist, plus the Old Testament prophets. The disciples had already healed many and baptized many as well (CP Mt 10:1, 5-8; Lu 9:1-2; 10:1-2; Jn 4:1-2).
4:46-52 See comments on Jn 2:23-25.
5:14 What is the "worse thing" that Jesus refers to here?
(CP V1-9). The basic thrust of what Jesus says in V14 is that there are inevitable consequences of sin (CP Ga 6:7-8). This is not to say that all sickness is a consequence of sin, although in the broad sense it is. It was the sin of Adam that brought with it all manner of sickness into the world. But Jesus is not referring here to a possible physical affliction coming upon the man, but to a punishment as the "worse thing" that will come upon him if he goes back into sin (CP He 10:29). Sometimes though sickness is tied in with moral behaviour (CP 1Cor 11:27-30; Jas 5:15). Jesus demands that all who come to faith in Him must stop sinning (CP Lu 13:1-5).
5:16-23 How are we to understand what Jesus says here?
Here Jesus proclaims His Deity. He calls God His Father, and justifies His own works of healing on the Sabbath by arguing that God too works on Sabbaths. This means that natural laws still operate - God upholds the world and is involved in His creation on the Sabbath day as on any other day. V23 teaches that we cannot honour God and not Jesus. Those who do not acknowledge Christ's Deity will forfeit their salvation (CP Jn 14:6; 1Jn 2:22-23; 5:10-12). See also comments on Mt 1:18-27, 3:16-17, Lu 1:35 (B), Jn 1:1, 12:41, Ac 13:33, 20:28, Php 2:5-8, Col 2:9; 1Ti 3:16, He 1:5, 5:5, 1Jn 5:6-9, Rev 1:8, and author's studies Jesus - Eternally God in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), The Doctrine of the Trinity and Jesus in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
5:28-29 What does Jesus mean that all who are in the grave will hear His voice and shall come forth?
Jesus is responding here to the Jews who were questioning His authority to heal on the Sabbath (CP V16-27). The word quickeneth in V21 means to make alive; to raise the dead to life (CP Ro 4:17; 8:11; 1Cor 15:22, 36; 1Pe 3:18). Jesus was telling the Jews in 5:21, 28-29 that the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath was simply a sign of a more significant authority which He would exercise in the future. He would raise dead people to life - some to everlasting life, some to eternal damnation. Jesus is talking about two resurrections in Jn 5:28-29: the resurrection of the righteous dead - from Abel onwards, which is called the First Resurrection, and the resurrection of the unrighteous dead (CP Dan 12:1-2). While the two resurrections are merged into one both here and in Jn 5:28-29, there are however over 1000 years separating them (CP Rev 20:4-6). The First Resurrection includes the rapture of the church. This is when Jesus comes again for all the saints of God - both living and dead, Old Testament and New Testament alike - to take them back to Heaven with Him (CP Jn 14:1-3; 1Cor 15:19-23, 51-54; 1Th 4:13-18). Many Christians believe that the Old Testament saints will not be resurrected until after the Great Tribulation, but that is not correct, as these scriptures all teach. Jesus died to redeem the Old Testament saints too. They looked forward to the cross and its salvation benefits in faith, as we look back to it in faith (CP Ro 3:23-26; He 9:13-15; 11:4-5, 7-10, 13-16, 39-40). The second resurrection is called the Second Death, or Great White Throne Judgment, when all the unrighteous dead will be cast down to hell (CP Rev 20:7-15). See also comments on Lu 21:36; Jn 14:1-3, 1Cor 15:58, Php 3:20-21, 1Th 4:17-18, 2Th 2:1-3, 2:6-8; 2Ti 2:18; Rev 1:19, 3:7-13, 20:11-15 and author's studies The Rapture in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, and Coming Judgements of God in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1).
5:32 Who is "another" that Jesus says bears witness of Him here?
Another that bears witness of Jesus are both the works of Jesus and God Himself. The works Jesus did testified to His Deity and Messiahship (CP V31-36 with 20:30-31). God also testified to whom Jesus was - first at His baptism, then at His transfiguration (CP Jn 5:37 with Mt 3:16-17 and 17:5).
5:43 Who is Jesus referring to here as "another" the Jews will receive?
This is a reference to the future Antichrist. Jesus came in the Name of God, doing the works of God in the midst of the Jews as scriptures foretold He would, but because they did not know the scriptures or love God as they purported to, the Jews rejected Jesus (CP V31-42). The Jews will accept Antichrist though, who will come in His own name and make a seven years peace treaty with Israel. He will break the treaty after three and a half years and will then make war with the Jews until Christ's second coming. Christ defeats Antichrist at the Battle of Armageddon after which Antichrist is cast alive into the lake of fire (CP Dan 7:25; 8:9-12, 23-25; 9:27; 11:35-45; Rev 6:1-4; 13:1-8; 19:11-21). See also comments on Mt 24:1-3, Rev 6:1-2, 13:1-7, 14:14-16, 16:16, 19:11-21, 20:11-15, and author's study Armageddon, Judgement of the Nations, Christ's Millennial Reign and the Eternal Kingdom in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
5:46 Where did Moses write of Jesus?
(CP Gen 3:15; 12:3; 49:10; De 18:15-19 with Lu 24:27, 44; Jn 1:45; Ac 26:22). Jesus was the fulfilment of Old Testament scripture (CP Ac 10:43; 18:28; 26:22-23; Ro 1:1-2; 1Cor 15:3; 1Pe 1:10-11; Rev 19:10). See also author's studies Old Testament Messianic Prophecies - their New Testament Fulfilment and Old Testament Prophecies awaiting Fulfilment at Christ's Second Coming in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
6:1-13 See comments on Mt 14:13-21.
6:16-21 See comments on Mk 6:52
6:27 What is "that meat which endureth unto everlasting life" Jesus talks of here?
That meat which endureth unto everlasting life is the spiritual nourishment that is only obtainable from God through Jesus Christ. When Jesus told His followers not to expend their efforts on food that perished, but rather on food that would eternally sustain them, He was simply teaching them that food for the body alone is insufficient. There must also be food for the soul. Food for the soul is the word of God (CP De 8:1-3; Josh 1:8; Psa 1:1-3; 119:9; 1Pe 2:2). Jesus quoted De 8:3 when the Devil tempted Him in the wilderness (CP Mt 4:1-4). See also comments on Jn 3:3, 3:5; Tit 3:5; He 10:22 and author's studies What Being Born Again Means in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, Psalm 119 - A Study on Salvation by the Word of God in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), and Regeneration and Sanctification Defined in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
6:28-29 What teaching is underlined by what Jesus said here?
The teaching underlined here is that the first thing anyone must do to do the works of God is believe on Jesus. This does not mean placing mere credence upon the person of Jesus, but believing in His absolute Deity (CP 1Th 1:1-3; 1Jn 3:23 with 5:10-12). The day before the events of Jn 6:28-29, these same Jews had seen Jesus perform the miracle of feeding over five thousand people with just five loaves and two fishes. Now they wanted Jesus to give them a sign to prove He was from God (CP Jn 6:1-14). The Jews implied that multiplying the loaves and fishes the previous day was not enough proof of who Jesus was, for Moses fed the Israelites for forty years in the wilderness with the manna from heaven, without claiming to be Messiah (CP Jn 6:30-32 with Ex 16:11-36). Jesus told the Jews that the manna Moses gave their forefathers was not the true bread from heaven - it merely sustained them bodily. The true bread from heaven was Jesus Himself - He would sustain them both spiritually and eternally (CP Jn 6:32-35, 47-58).
The expressions Jesus uses here about eating His body and drinking His blood are to be understood spiritually. They are used figuratively, not literally. This is made clear in V63 (CP V63). Jesus teaches here that even if we could literally eat His body and drink His blood, it would not save our souls. The life Jesus speaks of is spiritual and eternal life, not fleshly life. Eating of Christ simply means that man must accept by faith who Christ says He is, and what He has done for him (CP V66-69). V51 also teaches that Christ did not die only for those who believe on Him as some in the church teach (CP V51; 1Cor 5:14-15; 1Jn 2:2). Christ died for everyone who ever lived, but His atoning death is only efficacious for those who believe on Him and obey Him (CP Jn 3:14-18, 36; 8:51). See also comments on Mt 26:26-29, 1Jn 1:10.
6:37 Does this mean that God chooses who will be saved and that it is not the personal choice of the individual, as some teach?
No! This simply reflects the fact that all believers are the Father's gift to the son who died for them (CP Psa 2:7-8; 33:12; Ro 8:29). Everyone who listens to and learns from God, will come to and believe in Jesus (CP Jn 6:44-45, 64-65). Jesus quotes Jer 31:34 in Jn 6:45 (CP Jer 31:31-34). It is plainly evident from those scriptures that Jn 6:37 does not teach that God acts sovereignly in the matter of salvation, choosing whom He will to save and damning the rest to eternity. If that were so, then Jn 3:16 and all the other scriptures which teach that salvation is the personal choice of the individual, are meaningless (CP De 30:11-19; Josh 24:15; 2Chr 15:2; Isa 45:22; 55:1-7; Eze 18:20-30; 33:10-20; Joel 2:32; Mt 11:28-30; 12:47-50; Jn 3:14-17, 36; 5:24; 6:35,47; 7:17,37-39; Ac 2:21,37-39; 10:34-35,43; 13:47-48; 16:30-34; 17:30-31; Ro 1:16-18; 4:5-25; 10:8-17; 1Cor 1:21; 8:3; Ga 3:7-9; 1Ti 2:1-6; He 5:9; 2Pe 3:9; 1Jn 2:2; Rev 21:6; 22:17). Those scriptures all clearly teach that God's call to salvation is an open invitation to all who hear the call. God has not already determined for or against any man's salvation (CP Jn 3:36). This proves that individuals choose for themselves whether or not they want to be saved. The word believeth here is from the Greek word pisteuo, which means to place confidence in, to trust, to be persuaded of. It implies obedience to as a moral choice. Believeth not is from the Greek word apeitheo, which means refuse to be persuaded, refuse to believe, refuse to obey. Thus "he that believeth" is he that chooses to believe, whereas "he that believeth not" is he who chooses not to believe or who refuses to obey. This is irrefutable proof that salvation is the personal choice of the individual and that God does not intervene in any way (see also comments on Mt 11:28-30, 13:10-11, 20:16; Jn 3:14-15, 3:36, 12:37-40, Ac 2:37-38, 13:48, 28:23-29, Ro 3:24-26(A), 8:28-30, 9:7, 9:10-13, 9:14-18, 9:19-21, 10:14-17, 11:2 11:4, 11:7-10; Eph 1:3-6, 1:11-14, 2:8-10, 1Th 1:4; 2Ti 1:8-9; 1Pe 1:2, and author's studies Salvation - A Free Will Choice or Predestiated? and Chosen by God? in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1)).
6:44 See comments on Jn 6:37.
6:53-54 See comments on Mt 26:26-29.
6:63 See comments on Mt 26:26-29.
6:65 See comments on Jn 6:37.
6:66 Were these disciples who turned away from Jesus previously believers?
No. The word disciples here is used of those who were loose followers of Jesus, not converts to the cause of Christ and His teachings, as were the twelve apostles (CP V67-69). Only those with faith in Jesus as the Son of God and commitment to His word were true disciples (CP Jn 8:31; 13:35; 15:8).
7:5 Why did Jesus' brothers not believe that He was Messiah?
Like His mother and the disciples, Jesus' brothers also did not believe in Him at first (CP Psa 69:8-9; Mic 7:6; Mk 3:20-21; Jn 7:3-5). Jesus' brothers did not become His followers until after the resurrection (CP Ac 1:14; 1Cor 15:7). See also comments on Mt 12:46-47 and Mk 3:20-21.
7:21-24 What was the "one work" Jesus refers to here?
Jesus is referring here to His healing of the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath (CP Jn 5:1-16). Jesus rebuked the Jews in Jn 7:21-24 for accusing Him of breaking the law of Moses by healing on the Sabbath, when they themselves were able to perform circumcisions on the Sabbath without breaking the law, because the covenant of circumcision pre-dated the law ("… not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers" (CP Gen 17:9-14)). Jesus contended that to make a man whole on the Sabbath was just as important as circumcising on the Sabbath, and He told the Jews to judge justly, according to the reality of the circumstances, not unjustly according to appearances, just because it was the Sabbath.
7:33-36 What was Jesus referring to here?
Jesus was referring to His death here (CP 8:21-22; 13:33, 36; 14:19; 16:16-22). In Jn 7:36 the Jews thought that Jesus meant that He would go somewhere else and preach to the Gentiles, but He was referring to His eventual death, after which He would return to heaven to be with the Father who sent Him (CP Mk 16:19; Lu 24:50-51; Ac 1:9; He 9:11-12; 10:12; 1Pe 3:21-22).
7:37-39 What great truth is Jesus declaring here?
Jesus is declaring here the baptism in the Holy Spirit which God has promised to all who believe in Jesus (CP Mt 3:11; 20:22-23; Lu 24:49; Jn 14:12-17; 15:26; 16:7-15; Ac 1:1-8; 2:1-4, 12-21, 38-39; 5:32; 8:14-17; 9:17; 10:44-47; 19:1-7; Ga 3:13-14). See also comments on Mt 3:11, Lu 24:49 and Ac 2:1-4, and author's study Baptism in the Spirit in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith.
8:3-11 What did Jesus write on the ground?
What Jesus wrote on the ground is not recorded in scripture so it is useless speculating what it was. By bringing the woman to Jesus to be judged, the Jews were trying to trap Jesus so they could accuse Him of something unlawful. Under Moses' law the woman had to be put to death (CP Lev 20:10; De 22:22-24). If Jesus had rejected the death penalty outright the Jews would have accused Him of overthrowing Moses' law, and if He had pronounced the death penalty outright they would have accused Him of acting contrary to the word of grace and mercy He preached. So when Jesus told the woman's accusers to let one among them who was without sin cast the first stone, they had no answer and quickly dispersed. They were all in sin themselves (CP Ro 2:1-3). When Jesus told the woman that He did not condemn her, He was not condoning her sin, He simply forgave her as He forgave others elsewhere in scripture (CP Mt 9:1-8; Lu 7:37-50; Jn 5:2-14). Jesus told the woman to sin no more which proved He condemned adultery as sin (CP Mt 5:27-32; 15:17-20; 19:9, 18).
8:17-18 What scripture is Jesus quoting here?
Jesus is quoting De 17:6 and 19:15 here (CP De 17:6; 19:15). Two witnesses establishes the truth of any testimony (CP 2Cor 13:1; 1Ti 5:19; He 10:28). Jesus was not His own witness as the Jews contended (CP Jn 8:12-16). Not only God, but the Holy Spirit also testified to Jesus' Deity (CP 1Jn 5:7). See also comments on Jn 8:23-24.
8:23-24 What profound truth is Jesus declaring here?
Jesus here is declaring His Deity; that He is the I am of the Old Testament. He has been added by the translators. It was not in the original text (CP Ex 3:1-15 with Ac 7:30-38; Isa 43:10, 13, 25; 46:4; 48:12; Jn 8:52-58). The Jews would know that Jesus was God after they crucified Him by His resurrection to life and His ascension to Heaven and many would come to believe on Him as a result (CP Jn 8:25-30 with Ac 2:36-47; 4:1-4). See also comments on Lu 1:35(B), and author's studies Jesus - Eternally God in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), The Doctrine of the Trinity and Jesus in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
8:37 Are these Jews who Jesus said seek to kill Him the same Jews who had just come to believe on Him?
Yes (CP V30, 59). In V37 Jesus addresses the Jews who embraced His teachings in V30, and He continues to address them throughout the rest of this chapter until they try to kill Him in V59 (CP V31-32). This shows how fragile their faith was. If it were not possible to fall away like they did Jesus would not have had to urge them to continue in His word in order to grow in faith (CP V33). Jesus told those who had come to believe on Him that the truth they would learn by continuing in His word would make them free from the hold sin had over them, but they claimed that as the children of Abraham they were in bondage to no one. They had no sense of their bondage to sin, and so questioned Jesus as to what they had to be set free from (CP V34-38). Jesus went on to tell them that they could not be a servant of sin and abide in God's house forever, but that whoever abides in God's word is set free by Jesus (CP V39-40). The Jews persisted in their claim to be the children of Abraham which they were physically, but not spiritually, but Jesus refuted their claim and exposed them as children of the Devil because they did not do the works of Abraham, and intended to kill Him (CP V41-47). The Jews then sought to shift the focus of attention to the legitimacy of their birth and their relationship to God, in contrast to Jesus' birth, but again Jesus exposed the attitude of their hearts toward Him. They hated Him, God's Son, yet thought they were children of God themselves. Jesus stressed that the explicit criterion verifying the claim to be a child of God is love for God's Son (CP 1Jn 2:22-25; 3:8-10; 4:6; 5:1).
By now the Jews could see that they could not attack Jesus' personal life and conduct (CP Jn 8:48-50. The Jews then directed their attack toward His nationality and source of power, accusing Him of being a Samaritan whom the Jews despised, and of having a demon. But their attempt to dishonour Jesus was an attack upon His Father, because in all that He did Jesus sought not His own honour, but God's. Jesus was not concerned how the Jews judged Him. He knew that God would vindicate Him (CP V51-55 with 15:21-25). Jesus went on to assert that anyone who held to His teachings would never die, meaning of course that they would have everlasting life, which greatly offended the Jews. They said they knew now that Jesus had a demon because if Abraham, the Father of the Jewish nation, and all the Old Testament prophets were dead, how could Jesus say that those who kept His word would never die. Who did Jesus think He was? Jesus' response was that God honours Him by working miracles through Him, and if He was also their God they would know Jesus too. But they did not know God (CP Jn 8:56-59). Jesus, then declaring His Deity, told them that He was before Abraham; that Abraham rejoiced to see His day. That's when they tried to kill Him in V59.
9:3 What are the works of God Jesus said would be made manifest in the blind man here?
The works of God that would be made manifest in this blind man was his healing (CP V1-7). This was but one of the many miracles God wrought through Him which Jesus placed great importance upon because they glorified God (CP 8:29, 49-50). The church should place great importance upon them too because they still glorify God (CP Mk 16:15-20; Jn 14:12-14). Jesus made the point in Jn 9:3 that regardless of the origin of the man's blindness, God would be glorified in His healing. The disciples erroneously thought that the man's blindness was from God because of sin in his life - either his own sin or that of his parents. But Jesus said the blindness was not caused by either him or his parent's sinning. Jesus is not saying that neither the man nor his parents sinned, but that the man's blindness was not directly the result of their sins. He was born blind. Everyone who ever lived except Jesus has sinned (CP Ro 3:10, 23; 5:12; 2Cor 5:21; 1Jn 1:8-10). Indirectly, sin was responsible for the man's blindness - he sin of Adam, which brought with it all manner of sickness into the world. It is useless to speculate why Jesus made clay out of the dust and spittle to put on the man's eyes. The reason is not given in scripture. Suffice to say that God was glorified in his healing (CP Jn 9:24-38). See also comments on Mt 21:17-22; Mk 16:17-18; Jn 15:7; 2Cor 1:19-20; 1Jn 5:14-15 and author's studies Faith, Confessing God's Word, and Healing in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, Signs and Wonders in God's Redemptive Plan in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), and Making the Impossible Possible in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
9:4 What do day and night represent in this context?
Most modern versions of the Bible have translated this verse to read, "We must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day," not "I must work…" as in the KJV. We included the disciples then, and by extension every believer since then. Day refers to the time allotted to do God's work. Night is the limit set to do it. In Jesus' case night was His impending death. Death or the rapture is the limit set for believers, and until then we must also work the works of God, like Jesus. It is folly to think that we are saved without we do the works of God (CP Mt 7:21-27; Ro 2:13; Jas1:22-25), and author's studies Conditions of Entry into Heaven in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), and Christian - Beware of Failing God's Grace and Forfeiting your Salvation in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
9:31 Does this mean literally that no prayer from any sinner will ever be answered by God?
No! This statement by the blind man is meant to be understood only in the context of what was said - that if Jesus were not from God He could have done nothing to heal the man's blindness; God does not work miracles through sinners (CP V 31-34 also 10:19-21). There is a record throughout Scripture of God answering prayers of sinners (CP Judg 3:9, 15; 6:7-10; 10:6-18; 20:18-28; 1Ki 1:25-29; 2Chr 33:9-13; Lu 7:36-50; 18:9-14; Jn 5:46-53). God will especially answer the prayers of repentant sinners (CP Ac 2:21; 1Jn 1:9). See also comments on 1Jn 1:9.
9:41 What does Jesus mean by what He says here?
Because the Jews claimed to understand all the things of God and knew what they were doing, but rejected Jesus, they would die in their sins. Had they been blind to the things of God and not claimed to know what they doing, and accepted Jesus as the blind man did, they would have been saved (CP Mt 13:10-15; Jn 8:24; 9:39-41). Had the Jews really known all the things of God as they claimed, they would have known who Jesus was.
10:1-9 What does this parable teach?
This is called the parable of the Good Shepherd. It is an extension of Jesus' teaching in Ch 9. Jesus told this parable as a sequel to the behaviour of the chief priests and Pharisees after He opened the eyes of the blind man in Ch 9 (CP 9:1-7, 35-41). Jesus is illustrating by the parable that the chief priests and Pharisees are false shepherds. They claimed insight but were spiritually blind, missing the point completely in Jesus' healing of the blind man. In their blindness they could not see Jesus as the Lord who is the Shepherd (CP Psa 23). When Jesus said that all who came before Him were thieves and robbers He was referring to the religious leaders of Israel who had only ever cared about themselves, and not the spiritual good of the people (CP Isa 56:9-12; Jer 23:1-6; Eze 13:22-23; 22:23-29; 34:2-10; Zech 11:15-18 with Mt 23:1-7, 13-33 [also Lu 11:42-52] Jn 10:11-14). The religious leaders of Israel were hypocrites. They not only rejected God's offer of salvation for themselves, but hindered others from accepting it as well (see also comments on Lu 11:46 and Jn 10:10).
10:9 What does Jesus mean by what He says here?
By calling Himself the "door", Jesus is simply saying that He is the way to eternal life (CP Jn 3:16; 6:44; 14:6; Ac 4:10-12; Eph 2:18). "…by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…", means that whoever believes on Jesus and conforms to His word will be saved (CP Jn 14:15, 21; Rev 22:14). Jesus' expression, shall go in and out and find pasture, means that believers in Christ can freely fellowship anywhere within the New Testament church and be fed spiritually, provided that they always remain in Christ and conform to His way. Pasture here is used figuratively of spiritual food.
10:10 Who is the thief referred to here?
Jesus is referring to the religious leaders of Israel here who only ever cared about themselves and not the spiritual good of the people (CP Isa 56:9-12; Jer 23:1-6; Eze 13:22-23; 22:23-29; 34:2-10; Zech 11:15-18 with Mt 23:1-7, 13-33 (also Lu 11:42-52); Jn 10:11-14). The more abundant life that Jesus promises does not only apply to our eternal wellbeing as so many Christians believe, but is also for this life too (CP Isa 53:4-5; Mt 4:23; 8:16-17; Lu 4:18; Ac 10:38; Ro 5:17; 1Pe 2:24; He 2:14). Many in the church believe that the thief referred to in Jn 10:10 is Satan, but he is not in view at all here. Jesus is talking about the false shepherds in Israel who preceded Him, as these scriptures all clearly attest. However, Satan's work is also to steal (CP Lu 8:11-12); to kill (CP Jn 8:44; He 2:14), and to destroy (CP Mk 9:22; Lu 13:16; Ac 10:38; 1Pe 5:8).
10:16 Who are the other sheep Jesus refers to here?
The other sheep Jesus refers to here are Gentiles (CP Ro 10:12; 1Cor 12:13; Eph 3:1-8). Jesus' death was not only for the Jews but for Gentiles also (CP Jn 1:29; 3:16; Ro 3:12, 18-19; 2Cor 5:14-15; 1Jn 2:2). The Gentiles were not included in Jesus' earthly ministry, only the Jews (CP Mt 10:5-6; 15:22-26). But the Gentiles were always in God's redemptive plan (CP Isa 42:6; 49:6; 60:1-3; Hos 2:23; Lu 2:25-32). God meant the Jews to be given the gospel before the Gentiles, but when the Jews rejected the gospel it was given to the Gentiles instead (CP Ac 3:25-26; 13:46-48; Ro 1:16; 9:22-26, 30-33; 10:19-21; 11:7-11). The word fold in Jn 10:16(A) (KJV) refers to an enclosed place where sheep are housed. In Jn 10:16(B) it has a different meaning altogether. It means flock, referring to Jews and Gentiles becoming one with each other to make up the New Testament church, with Jesus Christ the Chief Shepherd (CP Eze 34:22-24; Jn 10:7-15; Eph 1:9-10; 2:11-22; Ga 3:27-28; 1Pe 5:2-4).
10:27-29 Does this passage mean that once they are saved, Christians can never lose their salvation as some teach?
No! If that were so then these scriptures and numerous others that teach the same thing would be meaningless (CP Ex 32:30-33; Psa 51:10-11; Pr 21:16; Eze 3:18-21; 18:20-26; 33:12-13, 17-18; Jn 15:5-6; Ga 3:1-4; 5:4; 1Th 3:8; 1Ti 5:11-15; 6:17-20; He 2:1-3; 3:6, 12-14; 4:1-11; 6:1-8; 10:26-31; 12:14-15; Jas 1:22-25; 2:14-17, 26; 2Pe 1:10-12; 2:1-2, 20-22; 3:17-18; Rev 3:5). It is readily seen here that scriptures do not support any teaching that once saved believers cannot lose their salvation. God, Jesus, Moses, David, Solomon, Paul, James and Peter all teach in those scriptures that salvation can be lost; that it is not an unforfeitable possession in this life. It only becomes an unforfeitable possession at the end of this life for those sowing to the spirit (CP Rev 22:11-12). The key to what Jn 10:27-29 teaches is found in V27. Herein are the conditions attached to the promises of V28-29 (CP V27). The clear teaching here is that the eternal security of believers lies in the fact that they are continually following in the way of Jesus and listening to His voice. Christ's giving of eternal life to believers in V28-29 is commensurate with their habitual following and listening in V27. The faithfulness of both Jesus and God to keep us is contingent upon us being totally consecrated to the service of God and completely yielded to the authority of Jesus (CP Lu 9:57-62; 14:25-35). To get into Heaven believers must meet the terms of the gospel to the end of life (CP Mt 5:13, 20; 12:30; Ro 6:16; 8:12-13; 1Cor 9:27; 10:7-12; 2Cor 6:1; 7:1; 13:5; Ga 5:16-26; 6:7-8; Eph 4:1; Php 2:12-13; Col 3:5-10). See also comments on He 3:7-11, 4:11-12, 6:4-6, 10:26-31, 2Pe 2:20-22.
10:34-36 Where in scripture are men called Gods?
(Cp Psa 82:1-8). The word gods in this passage is used of earthly judges who represent God (CP Ex 7:1; 21:6; 22:7-9, 28). God and Judges in those scriptures are both from the same Hebrew word elohim, which is used in scripture of the supreme God; of gods in the ordinary sense, and of magistrates and judges. In Jn 10:34-36 Jesus is saying, "If ordinary judges were called gods, why should it be blasphemous of me to claim Deity who am the Son of God, and one with God?" Jesus' assertion in V35 "…and the scripture cannot be broken," affirms the absolute accuracy and authority of scripture.
11:1-2 See comments Mt 26:6:13 and Lu 7:36-39
11:33 What is meant by "He groaned in the spirit and was troubled"?
This has to do with the death of Jesus' friend, Lazarus (CP V1-6, 11-15, 19-40). The phrase groaned in the spirit in V33 and 38 is derived from the Greek word embrimmaomai, which denotes anger, outrage, emotional indignation. Troubled in V33 means agitated, stirred up, disturbed. Jesus was not stirred up and moved with indignation because Lazarus had died, as many in the church believe. Lazarus' death was only temporary as far as Jesus was concerned - He was about to raise Lazarus up to life again and it is hardly likely that He would have been stirred up and moved to indignation against something over which He had complete control (CP V11-15, 23). Neither would He have wept over someone to whom He was about to restore life, as the Jews thought in V36, although there is no doubt that Jesus loved Lazarus (CP V5 with V33-36). Jesus wept over unbelief in scripture, but never to share in anyone's grief over someone He raised up from the dead (CP Lu 7:11-15; 8:40-42, 49-55 with 19:28, 41-42). When Jesus wept in Jn 11:35 He cried silently, whereas Mary and the Jews with her were wailing loudly, bewailing Lazarus' death like pagans who had no hope (CP Jn 11:19-33). Jesus was stirred up and moved to indignation over the unbelief present, which is highlighted in His prayer to the Father in V41-42 (CP V41-42). Martha's unbelief in V39 is highlighted by Jesus' response to her in V40 (CP V39-40). Many of the Jews who were bewailing Lazarus' death with Mary believed on Jesus as a result of Lazarus being raised up (CP V43-45).
11:35 See comments on Jn 11:33
11:49-52 How could an unbeliever like Caiaphas prophesy Jesus' death?
John points out that Caiaphas did not say this of his own volition (CP V51). Although Caiaphas was ungodly God used His high-priestly office to bring forth this prophesy as He also used Balaam, an ungodly high priest in the Old Testament to reveal His will (CP Nu 22:19-38). Caiaphas was responsible for what he said - he meant Jesus had to be killed (CP Jn 18:12-14) but God intended his words as a reference to Jesus' atoning death for the sins of the world, making Jews and Gentiles one in Christ (CP Eph 2:11-18; 3:6; 1Jn 2:2).
12:1-3 See comments on Mt 26:6-13 and Lu 7:36-39
12:13 See comments on Mt 21:9
12:14-15 See comments on Mt 21:1-7
12:20-22 Who are Philip and Andrew?
They are two of the twelve apostles. Philip is Bartholomew / Nathaniel's brother (CP Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lu 6:14; Jn 1:43-45). Andrew is Peter's brother (CP Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lu 6:14; Jn 1:40). In Jn 12:30, God spoke to Jesus in an audible voice so these Greeks could hear and confirm their faith in Christ (CP Jn 12:28-30). God's name was glorified by Jesus when the devil could not tempt Jesus during His forty days in the wilderness (CP Mt 4:1-11; Mk 1:9-13; Lu 4:11-13). God's name would again be glorified when Jesus defeated Satan at the cross (CP Jn 13:31 with Col 2:14-17).
12:24 What does Jesus mean by what He says here?
Jesus is predicting His death here (CP V23). Jesus compares Himself to a grain of wheat. As a grain of wheat is sown in the ground it dies to bring forth a rich harvest. So too the death of Jesus will bring salvation to many (CP V32; Jn 3:14). The principle by which Jesus illustrates His death in Jn 12:24 also applies to Christians dying to self. Unless Christians die to self they cannot bring forth any fruit (CP Jn 12:25-26). This means that Christians are not only to believe the gospel, but must also be committed sacrificially to follow Jesus to the end of life (CP Mt 10:37-39; 16:24-26; Lu 14:26-35). See also comments on Mt 10:37-38, 10:39; Lu 14:26; Jn 12:25 and author's studies The Cost of Discipleship: Forsaking All for Jesus, and Conditions of Entry into Heaven in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), and Christian - Beware of Failing God's Grace and Forfeiting Your Salvation in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
12:25 What does "hateth His life in this world" mean?
There is a stern warning in what Jesus says here to Christians who think they can love the world and the things of the world, and remain a child of God at the same time (CP Mt 10:37-39; 16:24-26; Lu 9:24-25, 57-62; 14:26-35; Ro 12:2; He 10:38). A true Christian loves only that which God loves (CP Jn 12:26; He 10:39). Believers who hate their life in this world are those who hold nothing in the world so dear that they will not give it up for the sake of the gospel. Jesus promises them eternal life in the world to come, but He warns those who live by the world's value system that it is sheer folly to think that they can also be a part of God's kingdom (CP Mt 6:24; Lu 16:15; Ga 6:7-8; Jas 4:4; 1Jn 2:15). See also comments on Mt 10:37-38, 10:39; Lu 16:14-15; Jn 12:24 and author's study Christians, Love Not the World in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
12:32 See comments on Jn 3:14-15.
12:34 See comments on Lu 1:35 (A).
12:37-40 Does this mean that God sovereignly hardened the hearts of the Jews to prevent them believing in Jesus?
No! The Jews had hardened their own hearts and wilfully rejected Jesus, causing the truth to be veiled from them (CP Mt 13:10-16; Ac 28:23-28). This is what Isaiah predicted would happen. John quotes Isa 53:1 in V38, and Isa 6:9-10 in V40 (CP Isa 53:1; 6:9-10). The arm of the Lord in 53:1 refers to Jesus. It expresses His miracle working power (CP Psa 98:1; Isa 52:10; 59:16; 63:9; Ac 4:30; 11:21; 13:11). Isa 6:9-10 does not mean as some in the church teach, that God sovereignly hardened the hearts of the Jews to prevent them believing in Jesus because He had already determined not to save them. As we saw earlier, both Mt 13:10-16 and Ac 28:23-28 clearly refute that, as do numerous other scriptures (CP Ex 32:10-14; De 32:15-18; Ac 13:44-47; 18:5-6; Ro 10:19-21). In the way that the same sun melts wax and also hardens bricks, so too the gospel softens or hardens. It saves or damns all who hear it (CP Ro 2:5-11; 9:14-18; 1Cor 1:18-25; 2Cor 2:15-16). Many times in scripture God is said to do the things He permits to be done. See also comments on Mt 11:28-30, 13:10-11, 20:16; Jn 3:14-15, 3:36, 6:37, Ac 2:37-38, 13:48, 28:23-29, Ro 3:24-26 (A), 8:28-30, 9:7, 9:10-13, 9:14-18, 9:19-21, 10:14-17, 11:2 11:4, 11:7-10; Eph 1:3-6, 1:11-14, 2:8-10, 1Th 1:4; 2Ti 1:8-9; 1Pe 1:2, 1Jn 1:10, and author's studies Salvation - A Free Will Choice or Pedestinated? and Chosen by God? in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1).
12:41 When did Isaiah see Jesus' glory?
(CP Isa 6:1-12). The Lord Isaiah saw here sitting upon the throne, high and lifted up, whose train filled the temple, is the one we now know as the Lord Jesus Christ. In V1, 8, 11 He is Adonay, meaning Ruler, Master. In V3, 5, 12 He is called Jehovah denoting God in the Old Testament. All these names belonged to the one person in these passages, and as it was Jesus' glory John said Isaiah saw, then the names belonged to the preincarnate Jesus. This is clear proof of Jesus' Deity, and is further evidence that Jesus was not eternally the Son of God, but that He became the Son at His incarnation (see also comments on Mt 1:18-21, 3:16-17; Lu 1:35(B); Jn 1:1, 5:16-23; Ac 13:33, 20:28; Php 2:5-8, Col 2:9; 1Ti 3:16; He 1:5, 5:5; 1Jn 5:6-9; Rev 1:8 and author's studies Jesus - Eternally God in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), The Doctrine of the Trinity and Jesus in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2)).
12:47-48 What do we learn from what Jesus says here?
In V47 we learn that one must first hear God's word in order to believe in it and be saved (CP Psa 22:22; 40:9-10; 119:9, 13; Jn 5:24; Ro 1:16; 10:13-17; 1Cor 1:21; 4:15; Col 1:3-6; 1Ti 4:16; Tit 1:1-3; Jas 1:18; 1Pe 1:23). In V48 we learn that whoever does not believe in God's word will be judged by the word on the Day of Judgment (CP De 18:18-19; Jn 3:18, 36; Ac 3:22-23). See also comments on Jn 3:36; Ac 3:22-23; Ro 10:14-17; 1Pe 1:23-25, and author's study Psalm 119 - A Study on Salvation by the Word of God in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1).
13:1-5 What lesson do we learn from Jesus washing the disciples' feet?
Jesus was not instituting a foot-washing ordinance here that has to be practised by the church, but is demonstrating for us the true meaning of servant-hood. The act of washing the disciples' feet is to inspire us to love and honour each other. It teaches us that we should be willing to do the lowliest service for each other and to prefer the least among us above ourselves (CP V12-17). The reason Jesus washed the disciples' feet was because just prior to that they had been arguing between themselves who was the greatest among them (CP Mt 20:20-28; Lu 22:24-30). By washing the disciples' feet Jesus provided an example of the attitude we should adopt toward each other. This example demands mutual forbearance and love. We are to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain deceit, but in humility consider others better than ourselves (CP Ro 15:1-3; Php 2:1-5). Neighbour in Ro 15:2 (KJV) means fellow-Christian, Christ is the model of conduct between Christians. We are to follow His example and not live for our own self-interests, but to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ (CP Ga 5:14; 6:2). Neighbour in Ga 5:14 again means fellow-Christian the same as in Ro 15:2. Peter considered it beneath Christ's dignity to wash his feet and so tried to stop Him. Peter did not comprehend the significance of what Christ was doing until He explained it to the disciples in V12-17 after He had finished (CP Jn 13:6-11). When Jesus said in V10-11 that the disciples were clean, but not all, He meant that they were all clean from sin except Judas, who was about to betray Him (CP V2). See also comments on Mt 20:20-28, 23:8-12; Jn 13:34-35; Ro 12:3, 15:1-3; Ga 5:13; Php 2:5-8, and author's studies How Christians are to Love One Another in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, and Christians' Obligations to One Another Financially in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
13:19 What does Jesus mean by what He says here?
Jesus here is predicting His betrayal by Judas (CP V21-30). The fact that Jesus knew it in advance and that it fulfilled scripture helped the disciples after the fact to believe that Jesus truly was the Messiah (CP Mt 26:20-21 with Jn 14:29; 16:4 and 2:22).
13:23 Who is the disciple Jesus loved?
The disciple Jesus loved is John, the author of this gospel. John specifically mentioned himself here (CP V21-25), at the foot of the cross (CP 19:25-27), at the empty tomb (CP 20:2-9), by the sea of Tiberias (CP 21:1, 7, 20-23) and in 21:24 where he declares that he personally witnessed all the events contained in this gospel, and to being the author of the gospel (CP V24). We should note here that Jesus loved the other disciples too, but John enjoyed a special sense of closeness to Him.
13:34-35 How are Christians to love one another?
Christians are to love one another with the same love wherewith Christ loved us. That means that our love for each other has to be unconditional and self-sacrificial, not self-seeking (CP V1-17). It is only our love for each other manifested like this that assures us of our place in God's eternal kingdom (CP 1Jn 3:14-24). Notwithstanding that we may profess to love God, we are only deluding ourselves thinking that we are saved if we do nothing unconditionally and self-sacrificially for our brothers and sisters in Christ (CP Jas 2:14-26). It is only our unconditional self sacrificial love that gives of itself for the happiness and well-being of our fellow-Christians that proves our love for God, perfects His love in us, and assures us of our place in His eternal kingdom (CP 1Jn 4:7-21). Here John traces the love Christians should manifest for each other to its source in the nature of God, as revealed in Him giving His son up to death to provide salvation for His enemies, again stressing Christians' love for each other as the test of the Christian life. Christians are to show they are God's children by manifesting attitudes and actions like God's toward other Christians. It is only by the expression of our love for each other like this that God's love is perfected in us. The effectiveness of God's love in us demonstrates itself in our love for each other. This is the perfect love that casts out fear in V18, which is the same thing we learned in 1Jn 3:14 - Christians in whom God's love is perfected through their unconditional, self-sacrificial love for other Christians need have any fear of not being saved. They can confidently look forward to Jesus' return, knowing that they have ensured their destiny in eternity with Him. They have proved their love for God by their love for each other (CP Ro 12:9-10; 1Pe 1:22).
In Ro 12:9-10 Paul stresses that Christians' love for each other has to be sincere, unfeigned, without pretence or hypocrisy. It must be a sincere expression of the esteem in which we hold each other. In 1Pe 1:22 Peter commands us to "love one another with a pure heart fervently". Fervently means stretched out, intensely, without ceasing, continually. The idea is that of a love that is extended to its fullest capacity to reach the one loved (CP Eph 4:1-3). Paul is exhorting Christians here to practice what they preach, which is essentially what "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called" means. The Christian life we live should always conform to the profession of Christianity we make. Lowliness is humility. It means a total absence of arrogance, conceit and haughtiness, a sense of moral insignificance, and a humble attitude for the concern of others (CP Col 3:12-14). Christians are to adopt and practice diligently every form of relational righteousness; love, compassion, humble attitudes, self-giving behaviour, freely flowing forgiveness, and patience toward our brothers and sisters in Christ (CP 1Cor 13:1-7). This is the kind of love Christians should have for each other - that which seeks the welfare of all, and works no ill to any (CP Pr 10:12; 1Pe 4:8). Love covers a multitude of sins. This does not mean that the love we display toward others will cause God to pass up or pardon their sins, but that, in the context of these two scriptures, when Christians truly love one another, one will not make public the sins of the other, but will keep them to himself - love is blind to the faults of others. The Christian life throughout is to be motivated by divine love - the love that God is Himself. This love is produced in the hearts of Christians by the Holy Spirit as they are yielded to His sanctifying grace (CP Ro 5:5). Most Christians love each other with a mutual friendly love because they find pleasure in each other's fellowship, but God calls us to increase that love to an unconditional, self-sacrificial love - the same love wherewith He loves us - which is the only love that will ensure our place with Him in eternity (CP 1Th 3:12-13; 4:9-10; 2Pe 1:5-8).
It should be noted here that of the seven churches Jesus had John write to in Rev 2 and 3, He only promised to save one - the church in Philadelphia - from the "hour of temptation" - the Great Tribulation (CP Rev 3:7-13). The church in Philadelphia was the only one of the seven churches who remained faithful to God's word and did not surrender to their circumstances. Philadelphia means love of the brethren, and what Jesus is teaching here is that it will only be those Christians who belong to the church in Philadelphia who will be saved from the Great Tribulation (CP V10). The church in Philadelphia was the only one that did all that Christ charged the New Testament church to do. They obeyed His commandments, and loved one another with a pure heart fervently. See also comments on Ro 13:8; 1Cor 12:31; Ga 5:1-8, 5:13; 1Th 3:12; 1Jn 2:7, 3:15, 3:16-18, 3:19-22, 4:7-21; Rev 3:7-13, and author's study How Christians are to love one another in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith.
13:36-38 See comments on Lu 22:31-34
14:1-3 What future event in time is Jesus alluding to here?
The future event in time that Jesus is alluding to here is the First Resurrection, when He will come again to take all the saints of God - Old Testament and New Testament alike - back to Heaven with Him. Dead saints will be raised up to life, and together with those still living and walking around at that time, will all go to Heaven, forever to be with Jesus (CP 1Cor 15:19-23, 51-58; 1Th 4:13-18). Many Christians believe that Jesus is only coming back for the New Testament saints here; that the Old Testament saints will be raised up at a later time, but that is not correct. Scriptures clearly teach that all the righteous dead are raised up together (CP Dan 12:1-2; Jn 5:28-29; Rev 20:4-6). The Old Testament saints as well as the New will all go up to be with Jesus. Christ died to redeem the Old Testament saints too. They looked forward to the cross and its salvation benefits in faith as we look back to it in faith. We are all one in Christ now (CP Ro 3:23-26; He 9:13-15; 11:1-2, 13-16, 39-40). See also comments on Lu 21:36; Jn 5:28-29; 1Cor 15:51-58; Php 3:20-21; 1Th 4:13-18, 5:1-11; 2Th 2:1-3, 6-8; 2Ti 2:18; Rev 1:19, 3:7-13, and author's study The Rapture in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith.
14:7 How can Jesus say here that the disciples have seen God, when elsewhere scriptures teach that no man has ever seen God, nor can see Him?
What Jesus really means here is that the disciples have seen God's glory manifested in Him (CP V7-11 with 1:17-18). The phrase, "He hath declared Him" in Jn 1:18 means all that Jesus is and does, interprets and explains all that God is and does (see also comments on Jn 1:18).
14:12-14 Does this promise still apply or was it only for the first century church?
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (CP Mt 24:35; 2Cor 1:19-20; He 1:11-12; 13:8; Jas 1:17). Jesus never changes. What He promised in Jn 14:12-14 still applies, and He qualifies this by His statement in Mt 28 "…and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (CP Mt 28:20). This proves that what Jesus said then did not only apply to His disciples of that era, but also to His disciples throughout the whole of the church age. Jesus promises each and every one of us in Jn 14:12-14 unlimited power to do everything He did: heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, give sight to the blind, make the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, cast out demons, control the elements, and even turn water into wine. Everyone without exception is promised everything they ask in prayer, providing they qualify for an answer (CP Psa 66:18; Mt 17:20; 21:21; Mk 11:22-26; Jn 15:7; 1Jn 5:14-15). The "greater works" that Jesus said we would do in Jn 14:12 are not in power, but in extent. What Jesus in essence is saying in Jn 14:12-14, is that because His earthly ministry was ended and He had to go to the Father, His disciples - every Christian - would receive the same empowering He had, to enable them to carry on His work in the earth building His church. This empowering is the gift of the Holy Spirit which is promised to every believer throughout the church age from the day of Pentecost onward (CP V15-17 with Mk 16:17; Lu 24:49; Jn 7:37-39; Ac 1:1-8; 2:1-4; 38-39). See also comments on Mt 3:11; Mk 16:17-18; Lu 24:49; Jn 3:3, 3:5, 3:8, 7:37-38, 14:15-7, 20:22; Ac 1:8, 2:1-4 (A), 2:1-4 (B), 19:11-12; Ro 6:3-5, 8:26-27; 1Cor 12:1-11 (A), 12:1-11 (B), 13:8-12, and author's studies Confessing God's Word in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, Signs and Wonders in God's Redemptive Plan in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), The Work of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament Church and Making the Impossible Possible in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
14:15-17 Who is the Spirit of truth and what do we learn about Him from what Jesus says here?
The Spirit of truth is the Holy Spirit - the other "comforter" of V16 (CP V26). Jesus is alluding to the baptism in the Holy Spirit here which the disciples were soon to receive. They were already born of the Spirit - He dwelt with them - but they were not yet baptized in the Spirit, when He would dwell in them. Being baptized in the Spirit is the empowering believers receive for service (CP Mt 3:1-3, 11; Mk 1:6-8; Lu 3:15-16; 24:49; Jn 7:37-39; Ac 1:4-8). We learn from what Jesus says in Jn 14:17 that there are two operations or ministries of the Holy Spirit: He dwells with believers when they commit themselves to Christ, as the disciples had done, and He dwells in, (indwells), them when they are baptized in the Spirit (CP Ac 8:14-17; Ro 8:9-11, 15; 1Cor 2:12; 3:16; 6:19; 2Cor 5:5; 6:16; Ga 3:2, 13-14; Eph 1:12-13; 2:22; 5:18; 1Th 4:8; 1Jn 3:24; 4:13). Being born of the Spirit and being baptized in the Spirit were two separate and distinct operations of the Holy Spirit in the first century church, and they are two separate and distinct operations today. We need to be clear on this point. Many Christians in the contemporary church believe there is only one operation of the Holy Spirit; that believers are baptized in the Spirit immediately they come to Christ, but that is not correct. It can happen that they are baptized in the Spirit immediately following upon their conversion to Christ, like Cornelius and those in his house in Ac 10, but they must believe on Jesus to be born of the Spirit first, as scriptures clearly teach (CP 1Cor 12:3 with Ac 10:1-5, 25-26, 30-32, 44-46). See also comments on Mt 3:11; Mk 16:17-18; Lu 24:49; Jn 3:3, 3:5, 3:8, 7:37-38, 14:12-14, 20:22; Ac 1:8, 2:1-4 (A), 2:1-4 (B), 19:11-12; Ro 6:3-5, 8:26-27; 1Cor 12:1-11 (A), 12:1-11 (B), 13:8-12, and author's studies Baptism in the Spirit in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, The Work of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament Church, and The Doctrine of the Trinity in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
14:19 What does Jesus mean by what He says here: "Because I live, ye shall live also?
Jesus is referring here to the resurrection. He won the victory over sin and death for believers through the resurrection, and since He is risen from the dead and lives for ever more, believers have the assurance that the next step in God's plan of salvation is their resurrection unto eternal life also (CP Ro 6:22-23; 1Cor 15:19-23). Believers do not live anticipating physical death as unbelievers do, but in anticipation of Jesus coming again for them, and whether they be living or dead they will all rise up together to live with Him for ever in Glory (CP Jn 14:1-3; 1Cor 15:51-58; 1Th 4:13-18; Rev 20:6). See also comments on Lu 21:36; Jn 14:1-3; 1Cor 15:51-58; Col 1:18; 1Th 4:17-18; Rev 3:7-13, 20:4-6, and author's studies The Resurrection and The Rapture in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith.
14:28 If Jesus was always equal with God in the triune Godhead as scriptures clearly teach, what does He mean here that the Father is greater than He?
Jesus was speaking as the incarnate Son here. In His preincarnate state, the person we now know as Jesus was equal with God in the triune Godhead (CP Psa 45:6-7; Mic 5:2; Jn 1:1-2; 3:13; 8:56-58; 10:30; 17:5; 1Ti 3:16; He 1:8-12; 1Jn 1:1-2; Rev 1:8, 11, 17-18; 2:8; 3:14; 21:6; 22:13). But as the incarnate Son, Jesus emptied Himself of all His divinity, and took upon Himself the very nature of a servant (CP Jn 1:14; Php 2:5-8). The Father was greater than the Son in His incarnate state, but not in His preincarnate state. (See also comments on Mt 1:18-21, 3:16-17; Lu 1:35(b); Jn 1:1, 5:16-23, 12:41; Ac 13:33, 20:28; Php 2:5-8; Col 2:9; 1Ti 3:16; He 1:5, 5:5; 1Jn 5:6-9; Rev 1:8 and author's studies Jesus - Eternally God in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, The Doctrine of the Trinity and Jesus in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2)).
14:30 Who is the prince of this world and what does Jesus mean by what He says about Him here?
The prince of this world is Satan (CP Jn 12:31; 16:7-11; 2Cor 4:3-4; Eph 2:1-2). Jesus is telling the disciples in Jn 14:30 that there is not much more time left to teach them, because Satan was moving his forces against Jesus to kill Him (CP Mt 26:14-16; Jn 13:2, 27) And yet Satan had no hold over Jesus. Jesus was not a sinner - He had nothing of Satan in Him. Satan had gained a pseudo-sovereignty over fallen mankind because of Adam's sin, but he had no power over Jesus or His followers. Jesus stripped him of his power at the cross (CP Ac 2:22-27; Eph 2:14-16; Col 1:19-22; 2:13-15; 1Jn 3:8). See also comments on Ac 2:22-23; 2Cor 4:4 and Col 2:14, and author's study Satan in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1).
15:2 What does Jesus mean by what He says here that every branch in Him that bears no fruit is taken away?
Jesus is talking to His disciples here, warning them of the dangers of not bearing fruit for His kingdom "…every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away." He is God. Taketh away means to cut off, sever. Branches that bear no fruit are cut off, severed from God, their source of life (CP Mt 25:14-30; Lu 19:11-26). Here we have two parables which both teach what happens to fruitless Christians. Mt 25:14-30 is called the parable of the talents, and Lu 19:11-26 the parable of the pounds. They both teach the same thing: it is folly for anyone who professes faith in Christ but bears no fruit for His kingdom, to think that they are saved. Christ demands that our fruit be commensurate with what He has invested in us (CP Mt 5:16; Jn 15:8, 16; Eph 2:10). God has chosen us to serve Him and He expects every one of us to bear fruit for Him (CP Mt 5:13-16; Mk 4:21-25; Lu 14:34-35). There are many in the church who believe that the punishment the unfaithful servants received for not trading in their masters' goods in the parable of the talents and the pounds merely translates to loss of rewards in Heaven, but that is clearly not what scriptures teach (CP Mt 7:21-27; Ro 2:13; Jas 1:22-25; 2:14-26 also CP Jn 14:15 with 1 Jn 2:3-6; Rev 1:3). Jesus, Paul, James and John all teach here that only doers of the word are justified before God, and that those who hear the word and do not do it will forfeit their place in God's eternal kingdom (CP Mt 12:30). Jesus makes it very clear here that there is no neutrality in Christianity: if Christians are not actively involved in doing the work of God's word for Christ, then they are actively involved in doing the work of the devil against Christ. It is hardly likely that anyone doing the work of the devil in this life will rule and reign with Christ in the next life (CP Ga 6:7-10). See also comments on Mt 3:10, 7:13-14, 7:21, 12:30, 25:14-30; Lu 19:11-27; Jn 15:4-6, 15:16; Ro 2:11-13; Jas 1:22-25, 2:14-16 and author's studies Conditions of Entry into Heaven in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), and Christian - Beware of Failing God's Grace and forfeiting your Salvation in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
15:4-6 What does Jesus mean here that whoever does not abide in Him is cast forth as a branch that withers and is then gathered up and burned?
Jesus is teaching His disciples here that their fruitfulness is a result of His life being reproduced in them, but they have to abide, or remain in Him to be fruitful (CP Jn 14:12-14; 15:7-8, 16; 1Jn 2:24). To remain in Christ means to be totally consecrated to the service of God and completely yielded to the authority of Jesus (CP Mt 7:21; 12:46-50; Ro 2:13; Jas 1:22-25 with Jn 8:31-32; 14:15, 21; 15:10, 14; 1Cor 7:19; 1Jn 2:3-6, 24; 5:2-3). As the vine is the source of life for the branches, so too Jesus is the source of life for Christians. And as the branch that does not abide in the vine cannot bear fruit and is cast forth and burned, so too Christians who are not abiding in Christ can bear no fruit and are rejected by God. Cast forth means to throw away, reject (CP Mt 3:10; Lu 14:34-35). There are some in the church who teach that Jesus was referring to merely professing Christians in Jn 15:6, not genuine Christians, but that is not correct as V2-3 clearly prove that He was talking to His disciples (CP V2-3). This includes us too. Christians who are not abiding in Christ will forfeit their salvation, and we cannot teach otherwise. Every question on a Christian's relationship to Jesus must be equated and evaluated in the light of Jn 15:1-6. A parallel teaching to this is found in Jn 6 (CP V56-57). Jesus declares here that just as He derives life from the Father, in like manner all who partake of Him by faith will live by Him, and He will dwell in them and they in Him. This is essentially the same teaching as Jn 15:1-6 (see also comments on Mt 3:10, 7:13-14, 7:21, 12:30, 25:14-30; Lu 19:11-27; Jn 15:2 15:16; Ro 2:11-13; Jas 1:22-25, 2:14-16, and author's studies Conditions of Entry into Heaven in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), and Christian - Beware of Failing God's Grace and forfeiting your Salvation in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2)).
15:7 Does this mean that whatever Christians ask in prayer it will be done for them?
Yes, conditional upon them abiding, or remaining in Christ, and His word abiding in them. That means that believers must live in strict conformity to God's word - totally consecrated to the service of God and completely yielded to the authority of Jesus (CP Mt 7:21-27; 12:46-50; Ro 2:13; Jas 1:22-25 with Jn 8:31-32; 14:15, 21; 15:10, 14; 1Cor 7:19; 1Jn 2:3-6, 24; 5:2-3). There is not one promise of God in scripture that is no to a believer who abides in Christ and in whom His word abides (CP 2Cor 1:19-20). Those who abide in Christ and in whom His word abides bear much fruit to God's glory (CP Jn 15:8, 16; 1Jn 5:14-15). God is glorified in the answered prayers of fruitful Christians (see also comments on Mt 21:17-22; Mk 16:17-18; Jn 14:12-14; 2Cor 1:19-20; 1Jn 5:14-15 and author's studies Confessing God's Word in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, Signs and Wonders in God's Redemption Plan in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), The Work of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament Church and Making the Impossible Possible in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2)).
15:16 Does what Jesus say here have anything to do with individuals being specially chosen or predestined for salvation, as some teach?
No! Salvation is not in view here. Jesus is simply referring to His choice of Christians as those He has ordained to go and bring forth fruit for the eternal kingdom (CP Jn 15:4-5; Eph 2:10; Col 1:1-6, 10). Every Christian has been chosen and ordained by God to bring forth fruit for the kingdom (CP Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-18; 1Cor 3:6-9; 2Cor 5:18-20). Fruit is described variously in scripture as souls won to Christ (CP Jn 4:36; 12:24; 15:16; Ro 1:13-16; Col 1:6); holiness (CP Ro 6:22); fruit for God (CP Ro 7:4); Godly attributes (CP Ga 5:22-23); righteousness (CP Php 1:11; He 12:11; Jas 3:18); praising God and giving thanks (CP He 13:15) etc. It is evident from our study of Jn 15 thus far that V16 does not focus on how we are saved, but that once we are saved how Jesus expects us to bear fruit for the eternal kingdom (see also comments on Mt 25:14-30; Lu 19:11-27; Jn 15:2 and Jn 15:4-6), and author's studies Salvation - A Free Will Choice or Predestinated? and Chosen by God? in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1).
15:18-25 What constitutes the world Jesus refers to here that hates Him and His followers?
The world Jesus refers to here designates the godless, secular society under Satan's control that is hostile toward Christ and His followers simply because Christian standards are in opposition to the world's system (CP Jn 7:7; 8:24; 9:39; 14:30; 16:8-9; 1Cor 2:12; Col 2:8; 1Jn 3:13; 4:4-5; 5:18-19). Christians are in the world but not of the world, and the world hates them for it (CP Mk 10:29-30; Jn 17:14-16; 2Ti 3:12). If Jesus had not come into the world and proved beyond doubt that He was the Messiah the Jews would not have been guilty of the sin of rejecting Him (CP Jn 15:22-25). But He did come and they were then without excuse for rejecting Him. In rejecting Jesus the Jews proved they hated both Him and the Father (CP Jn 3:16-21; 8:18-19, 42-47; 9:39-41; 2cor 4:3-4). Despite being persecuted and hated by the world Christians are not to raise protective barriers around themselves in order to live sheltered lives as Christians cut off from the world. We are commanded to be Christ's witnesses in the world (CP Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15; Lu 24:48; Jn 15:27; Ac 1:8; 10:42-43). The world still has a place in God's redemptive plan (CP Jn 1:29; 3:16-17; 12:46-47; 2Co 5:18-19; Col 1:20; 2Pe 3:9; 1Jn 2:2). See also comments on Lu 16:14-15, Ga 6:14, Jas 4:1-4, 1Jn 2:15-17, and author's study Christians, Love Not the World in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
16:7-15 What scriptural proof is there that the Holy Spirit is a person and not a force or influence, as some teach?
When Jesus' earthly ministry was nearing completion and He was about to die, He promised to send His disciples "another comforter" to take His place on earth when He returned to the Father (CP Jn 14:1-3, 16-17; 16:7-15). Jesus said the Holy Spirit was the other comforter He would send (CP Jn 14:26). Another in this context means another of the same kind. Thus the Holy Spirit is the same kind as Jesus - a person, and like Jesus also, equally God (CP Ac 5:3-4; 2Cor 3:17-18; 1Jn 5:7). Both Jesus and Paul referred to the Holy spirit as He, further signifying a person (CP Jn 14:16-17, 26; 16:7-15; Ro 8:26-27). Like any other person the Holy Spirit can be blasphemed (CP Mt 12:31-32 (also Mk 3:28-29)), He can be lied to (CP Ac 5:3-4), resisted (CP Ac 7:51), grieved (CP Eph 4:30), insulted (CP He 10:29). The Holy Spirit teaches (CP Jn 14:26); He bears witness of Christ (CP Jn 15:26); He convicts sinners of their need of a Saviour (CP Jn 16:7-18; 1Cor 12:3); He guides Christians into all truth etc (CP Jn 16:13-14), and He intercedes for believers with the Father (CP Ro 8:26-27). These scriptures all testify to the fact that the Holy Spirit is a person, not a force or influence as some teach. The Holy Spirit has taken over Jesus' role on earth and it is only in and through Him that Jesus is made known to the believer (CP Jn 14:16-18; 15:26; 16:7-15; Ro 8:9-14; 1Cor 12:3; Eph 3:14-19; 1Jn 5:5-6). The Holy Spirit's purpose is to glorify Jesus (Cp Jn 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-15).See also comments on Mt 3:16-17, and Ro 8:26-27, and author's studies The Work of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament Church and The Doctrine of the Trinity in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
16:16-22 What does Jesus mean here?
Here Jesus is speaking to His disciples in figurative language - proverbs - concerning His death and resurrection, and the subsequent baptism of the disciples in the Holy Spirit (CP V25). When Jesus said to the disciples in V16, "A little while, and ye shall not see me…" it was because He was going to die the next day and be in the grave for three days and three nights afterwards, when He would not be seen by the disciples (CP Jonah 1:17; Mt 12:40). Then, when Jesus said "…and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father", He was speaking figuratively of the resurrection, when He would rise up from the dead and be seen by the disciples for forty days before ascending to Heaven (CP Lu 24:46; Jn 20:19-29; Ac 1:1-3; 10:39-41; 1Cor 15:3-8). In V20-22 Jesus foretells how the disciples would sorrow for a time over His death and their separation from Him, but that would soon turn to joy when they received the empowering of the Holy Spirit for service (CP Lu 24:49; Jn 16:7-15; Ac 2:44-46; 8:5-8; 13:52). Also in V22 Jesus promised the disciples that He would see them again. Here He was speaking of when He will come again to take them all back to Heaven with Him (CP Jn 13:36; 14:1-3; 1Cor 15:19-23, 51-58; 1Th 4:13-18). This is what is known as the First Resurrection, when the living church will be raptured to Heaven. (See also comments on Jn 14:1-3, 1Cor 15:51-58 and 1Th 4:13-18, and author's studies The Resurrection, and The Rapture in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith).
16:23-26 What day does Jesus refer to here?
"In that day" is an all-inclusive term. It includes Christ's resurrection, ascension, and the coming of the Holy Spirit (CP V20-22). Here Jesus foretells how the disciples would sorrow for a time after His death and their separation from Him but their sorrow would turn to joy after the Holy Spirit had come upon them and empowered them for service (CP Lu 24:49; Jn 15:26-27; 16:5-16, 23-24 with Ac 1:1-8; 2:1-4). In that day the disciples would no longer ask Jesus for anything, but everything they asked the Father in His name He would do it. This is the believers' power of attorney - the legal right to use Jesus' name. Up to this time the disciples had never asked anything in Jesus' name for He was with them and they asked Him personally, but now that He was leaving them they merely had to ask the Father in His name and it would be done for them. V24 teaches that God will answer our prayers in order for our joy to be full (CP Mt 7:7-11; Mk 11:22-24; Lu 11:1-10; Jn 15:7; 2Cor 1:19-20; Php 4:6-7; 1Jn 3:19-22; 5:14-15). See also comments on Mt 21:17-22: Lu 11:5-10; Jn 14:12-14, 15:7: 2Cor 1:19-20; Php 4:6-7; 1Jn 5:14-15 and author's studies Prayer, Faith, and Confessing God's Word in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, Making the Impossible Possible and A Daily Confession for Christians in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
16:25 See comments on Jn 16:16-22.
16:26-28 What does Jesus mean by what He says here?
Jesus means here that now that the disciples would have direct personal access to the Father through His name, He would no longer need to pray on their behalf - they can ask for themselves (CP V23). Here Jesus authorizes His disciples to use His name for anything they desire of the Father. This is the believer's power of attorney. We can ask for, or do anything on earth in Jesus' name in accordance with His word knowing that it will be confirmed in Heaven (CP Mt 18:18-20; Ro 8:32; 1Jn 3:19-22; 5:14-15). The Father will do it to show His love for believers because of their love for Jesus (CP Jn 14:21-23; 2Cor 1:19-20). None of this though negates Christ's intercessory role in Heaven with the Father for believers (CP Ro 8:34; He 7:25; 1Jn 2:1-2). See also comments on Jn 16:23-26.
17:5 What glory is Jesus referring to here?
Jesus is referring here to His pre-incarnate glory which He shared as an equal member of the Godhead in the Old Testament with Jehovah and the Holy Spirit. The man we now know as Jesus was not eternally the Son of God as many think - He was God (CP Nu 21:4-9 with 1Cor 10:9; Psa 45:6-7; Isa 6:1-13 with Jn 12:37-41; Mic 5:2; Jn 1:1-2; 3:13; 8:56-58; 17:5; Php 2:5-8; 1Ti 3:16; Tit 2:13; He 1:8-12; 1Jn 1:1-2; Rev 1:8, 11, 17-18; 2:8; 3:14; 21:6; 22:13). Every one of those scriptures teach that the pre-incarnate Jesus always existed as God. He was an equal member of the Godhead from all eternity. He became the Son at His incarnation - when He took on human form (CP Gen 49:10; Nu 24:17; Psa 2:7; Isa 7:14; 9:6-7; Mt 1:18-25; Lu 1:26-35; 2:11; Jn 1:14; Ga 4:4; Php 2:5-8; He 1:5-6; 5:5). See also comments on Mt 1:18-21, 3:16-17; Lu 1:35(B); Jn 1:1, 5:16-23, 12:41; Ac 13:33, 20:28; Php 2:5-8; 1Ti 3:16; He 1:5, 5:5; 1Jn 5:6-9; Rev 1:8 and author's studies Jesus - Eternally God in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), Names and Titles of Jesus and The Doctrine of the Trinity in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
17:12 See comments on Lu 26:14-26.
17:14 See comments on Jn 15:18-25.
17:20-23 Is Jesus praying here that all Christians would unite to form a single worldwide church?
That is what the proponents of the ecumenical movement in the contemporary church would have us believe, but Jesus is not praying that at all. He is praying that Christians would all be united in love, and one with each other in their faith and beliefs, as He and the Father were one with each other (CP Jn 10:30; 14:8-11). The unity that Jesus prayed for was spiritual, not organizational, and Paul teaches the same thing (CP Eph 4:1-5). Both Jesus and Paul referred to the same unity of Spirit - a oneness based upon Christians' common relationship with the Father and the Son, and their same basic attitude toward God's word, the world, and the lost (CP 1Jn 1:5-7). What Jesus prayed for in Jn 17:20-23 was a spiritual unity of heart, purpose, mind and will in all those who would come to believe on His name. This includes us (CP Jn 17:20). Spiritual unity among Christians bears witness to the divine mission of Christ. Sadly though, there is not enough spiritual unity visibly manifest in the professing church. There are many faiths and beliefs which has divided Christendom today and do nothing to promote the cause of Christianity (CP Jas 3:16). If contemporary Christians are to bear witness to Christ's mission on earth as the first century church did, then they must become one with each other in spiritual unity as the first century church was one (CP Ac 1:14; 2:1, 46-47; 5:12-14; 15:25; Ro 15:5-7).
18:10 See comments on Mt 26:47-51.
18:11 What is the "cup" that Jesus had to drink?
This is the full cup of divine fury and separation from God which Jesus would experience on the cross as the punishment for sin (CP Isa 53:10-12 with Psa 22:1; Mt 27:45-46; Lu 22:39-44; 2Cor 5:21). Jesus was not asking God to save Him from physical death as many believe, for He had resolutely set Himself to die (CP Isa 50:6-7; Mt 20:28; Mk 10:32-34, 45; Lu 9:51; Jn 12:23-24, 27; He 10:5-10). See also comments on Mt 26:36-44, 27:45-46 and Lu 22:44.
18:14 See comments on Jn 11:49-52.
19:11 Who is it Jesus refers to here as having the greatest sin?
The Jews had the greatest sin for rejecting Jesus and delivering Him up to death. Pilate was convinced by his conscience of Christ's innocence. His sin was yielding to the Jews for the sake of political expediency, but the Jews' sin was greater because they were rejecting their Messiah (CP V1-6, 14-18; Ac 3:13-15). See also comments on Mt 27:24-25; Lu 23:13-26; Ac 2:22-23; 1Th 2:14-15.
19:19 What was Pilate's purpose in putting this inscription on the cross?
This inscription designated the crime for which Jesus was being crucified under Roman law. He was being crucified for rebelling against Caesar, as one who had proclaimed Himself a king - king of the Jews (CP Mt 27:35-37; Jn 18:33-37; 19:12-19). Jesus was, and always will be the king of the Jews, and the Jews will acknowledge Him as such at His second advent (CP Isa 9:6-7; Zech 12:10-13:1; Mt 23:39; Lu 1:32-33; Rev 1:7).
19:23-24 What scripture is referred to here?
Psa 22:18 is the verse referred to here, but the whole of Psa 22 concerns the death of Messiah and is worth reading (CP V1-31).
19:25-27 Why did Jesus charge John and not His own brothers with looking after Mary?
This indicates that Joseph - Mary's husband - is now dead, and Jesus, as Mary's eldest son, was responsible for her well-being. Jesus entrusted her to John's care because none of His brothers were interested in His ministry. They saw Him as a religious fanatic and did not believe He was the Messiah (CP Mk 3:20-21, 31-32; Jn 7:3-5). It was not until after the resurrection that Jesus' brothers came to believe on Him (CP Ac 1:13-14). See also comments on Mt 1:18-21, 12:46-47, Mk 3:20-21.
19:30 What did Jesus mean by what He said here "It is finished"?
When Jesus said "It is finished", as he was about to die on the cross here, He meant that God's redemptive plan for all mankind that would be accomplished in His death on the cross was now complete (CP Jn 4:34; 5:36; 17:4; 19:28). The purpose for which Jesus had come into the world - to pay the death penalty for mankind's sin was paid in full, and now all men could have everlasting life if they so chose (CP Jn 3:16 with He 2:9-10 and 1Jn 2:2). Our Lord's atoning death on the cross is the central doctrine of the Christian faith - it is the focal point of God's redemptive plan for all mankind (CP He 9:11-12; 24-28; 10:9-18 with Ro 5:6-8; 1Pe 1:18-21). This clearly refutes the teaching of some in Christendom that Christ did not complete the atonement on the cross; that He is still making atonement in Heaven. Those scriptures all teach that Jesus' death on the cross was a once for all atonement for sin. The atonement is complete - "it is finished", exactly as Jesus said in Jn 19:30. Jesus died by the predeterminate counsel of God in order to reconcile mankind to Himself (CP Ac 2:22-24, 38; 2cor 5:14-21; Col 1:20-22). In His atoning death on the cross Jesus blotted out the Old Covenant and made and sealed the New Covenant in His blood (CP Mt 26:28; Mk 14:23-24; Lu 22:20; Ga 4:21-31; Col 2:13-17; He 7:11-28; 8:6-13; 9:11-24; 10:1-10). He satisfied the full justice of God (CP Ro 3:21-26; 5:1-2, 6-11); made a new way to the Father (CP Eph 2:13-18; He 10:19-23), and purchased for us not only spiritual healing, but bodily healing as well (CP Isa 53:4-5; Ga 3:13-14; 1Pe 2:22-24). See also author's studies The Old Testament Day of Atonement and God's Plan of Salvation and The Old Covenant - Fulfilled in Christ and Completely Abolished in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1). For more detailed teachings on bodily healing in the Atonement see comments on Mt 8:16-17, 9:1-8; Ga 3:13(b); 1Pe 2:24 and author's study Healing in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith.
19:31 What is a high day Sabbath?
A High Day Sabbath is a special Sabbath, a great, solemn day - not the normal weekly saturday Sabbath (see also comments on Mt 27:50 Mk 16:1; Ac 12:4).
19:32-37 Where are these saying in Scripture?
V 33-36 fulfilled King David's prophecy in Psa 34:19-20 (CP V 33-36 with Psa 34:19-20). V 33-36 also typologically fulfilled one of the ordinances of the Old Testament Feast of the Passover laid down by God in Exodus: no bones of the Passover lamb were to be broken (CP Ex 12:3-13, 46, also Nu 9:12). The Passover lamb was an Old Testament type of Christ and the redemption He provides in His sacrificial death (CP Jn 1:29; 1Cor 5:7; 1Pe 1:18-20). V 37 in Jn 19 fulfilled Zech 12:10 (CP V 37 with Zech 12:10). See also comments on Mt 26:17-19 and author's studies Bible Typology in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), and Old Testament Messianic Prophecies - their New Testament Fulfilment in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
19:38-42 See comments on Mt 27:50-60
20:9 Why did the disciples not know that Jesus would rise from the dead after He repeatedly told them He would?
Although Jesus repeatedly told the disciples that He must first die and then be resurrected on the third day, the disciples did not understand, and would not accept it (CP Mt 16:21-23; Mk 8:31-33; 9:9-10, 31-32; 10:32-34; Lu 9:44-45). It was not until after Jesus was resurrected that the disciples took the resurrection literally (CP Jn 2:22 with Psa 16:10). See also comments on Mt 16:21-23, Mk 9:9-10.
20:17 (A) What did Jesus mean by telling Mary not to touch Him?
The word touch here (KJV), means cling to. Mary was attempting to hold onto Jesus, clinging to Him, and Jesus told her not to because He had not yet ascended to the Father. He was going to ascend and told Mary to go and tell the disciples.
(B) What ascension is Jesus referring to here?
Most Bible commentators agree that Jesus is referring to His ascension recorded in Mk 16:19; Lu 24:50-51 and Ac 1:1-9 (CP Mk 16:19; Lu 24:50-51; Ac 1:1-9). But there is another teaching also that Jesus ascended to the Father that very day in Jn 20:17, and returned the same evening to appear before the disciples in the locked room (CP V18-20). It is not relevant which teaching is correct - neither one is fundamental to our salvation so just agree to disagree in love.
20:19 What does this highlight?
(CP also V 26; Ac 20:7; 1Cor 16:1-2). These all clearly refute the teaching by some in the contemporary Church that no Christian gathering ever took place on Sunday (See also author's study The Sabbath and the New Testament Church in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1)). V 26 in Jn 20 also highlights the fact that resurrection bodies can enter rooms without using doors.
20:22 What is the significance of what Jesus did here?
There are two schools of thought among Bible commentators concerning what Jesus did here on resurrection day. Some believe that Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to the disciples - infusing them for the first time with the regenerating presence of the Holy Spirit and with new life from the risen Christ. They believe that the words, "receive ye the Holy Ghost", establishes that the Holy Spirit at that moment entered and began to indwell the disciples. Prior to this the disciples were not regenerated in the full new covenant sense. It was not until Jesus breathed on them and told them to receive the Holy Spirit that they became a new creation in Christ (CP 2Cor 5:17). This receiving of the Holy Spirit preceded their baptism in the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (CP Ac 2:1-4).
The other school of thought regarding Jn 20:22 is that when Jesus breathed on the disciples and told them to receive the Holy Spirit, it merely symbolized their forthcoming baptism in the Spirit, which they received on the Day of Pentecost. They believe that Jn 14:17 clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit was already abiding with the disciples when Jesus breathed on them in Jn 20:22 (CP Jn 14:15-17). Dwelleth in V17 means to remain, abide, dwell, live. This teaches that the disciples knew the Holy Spirit experientially, because He was dwelling with them, and soon He would be dwelling in them when they received the Spirit baptism, which is what is taught throughout scripture (CP Ac 8:14-17; Ro 8:9-11, 15; 1Cor 2:12; 3:16; 6:19; 2Cor 5:5; 6:16; Ga 3:2, 13-14; Eph 1:12-13; 2:22; 5:18; 1Th 4:8; 1Jn 3:24; 4:13). Jn 14:17 confirms that the disciples were born of the Spirit, fulfilling the requirements of Jn 3:5 when Jesus breathed on them in Jn 20:22 (CP Jn 3:3-8). But they were not yet baptized in the Spirit.
Believers can choose for themselves which of these teachings to embrace. The important thing to remember is that these scriptures all teach that there are two separate and distinct operations of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. One is for regeneration - becoming a new creation in Christ, which occurs at our new birth, or conversion to Christ, when we are baptized into His body - the church (CP Jn 3:3-5 with 1Cor 12:3, 12-14). The other is the baptism in the Holy Spirit when believers are empowered for service, with the evidence of speaking in tongues (CP Mt 3:1-3; Mk 1:6-8; 16:17-18; Lu 3:15-16; 24:49; Jn 7:37-39; Ac 1:4-8; 2:1-4). See also comments on Mt 3:11; Mk 16:17-18; Lu 24:49; Jn 3:3, 3:5, 3:8, 7:37-38, 14:12-14; 14:15-7; Ac 1:8, 2:1-4 (A), 2:1-4 (B), 19:11-12; Ro 6:3-5, 8:26-27; 1Cor 12:1-11 (A), 12:1-11 (B), 13:8-12, and author's studies Baptism in the Spirit in his book Foundational Truths of the Christian Faith, and The Work of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament Church in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
20:23 What does Jesus mean by what He says here?
Here Jesus gave the disciples (and by extension, the church), authority to declare the certainty of God's forgiveness of sins for those who accept Christ, and the authority to declare the certainty that God will not forgive the sins of those who reject Him. This is simply another form of binding and loosing (CP Mt 16:19; 18:18). Jesus has given Christians authority to declare the judgment of Heaven, based upon the principles of God's word. When such a judgment is made we have the assurance in these scriptures that God will confirm it. (See also comments on Mt 16:19.)
21:12-13 What do we learn from this?
We learn from this that believers will still eat food in their resurrection bodies as Jesus did here, for we will be like Him (CP 1 Jn 3:2 with Lu 22:28-30; 24:30-31, 36-43). Even God and angels eat (CP Gen 18:1-8; 19:3; Ex 24:9-11; Psa 78:25; Rev 19:6-10). See also comments on Lu 24:36-43.
21:15 Who or what are "these" Jesus refers to here?
This is a somewhat obscure question by Jesus here and there are divided opinions among Christians as to whom, or what, He refers. Some believe Jesus is enquiring of Peter whether He loves Him more than the other disciples love Him. They believe Jesus had in mind here Peter's boast at the Last Supper that although all the other disciples might forsake Jesus, he himself would remain true, implying that he loved Jesus more than they did (CP Mt 26:33-35). Others believe "these" refer to the fish the disciples had just caught, representing Peter's professional career as a fisherman, because Peter had gone back to fishing while waiting for Jesus (CP Jn 21:3-11). Still others believe that Jesus' reference is to Peter loving Him above all else. Although it is highly unlikely that this is really what Jesus is referring to in Jn 21:15, it is nonetheless what He demands of His disciples, and so we should not concern ourselves too much with looking for other meanings (CP Mt 10:37; Lu 9:23-25; Col 3:1-2; 1Jn 2:15-17).
21:15-17 (A) What was Jesus' purpose here in asking Peter three times if He loved Him?
Peter had denied Jesus three times prior to the crucifixion, and here Jesus challenged Peter three times to declare His love for Him, but whether Jesus' purpose in challenging Peter three times to declare His
love for Him here was because Peter had denied Him three times leading up to the crucifixion, is not recorded, and is not relevant. It is more important to know that the love Peter declared for Jesus here must also be declared by us. Jesus considers love for Him as the basic qualification for Christian service (CP Mt 10:37; Lu 7:37-40, 44-47; Jn 16:27; 1Cor 16:22; Ga 5:6; Eph 6:24; Jas 1:12; 1Pe 1:3,8; Rev 2:1-4). Those who love Jesus keep His commandments (CP Jn 14:15, 21-24; 1Jn 2:3-6; 2Jn 5-6).
(B) In commanding Peter here to feed His lambs and His sheep is Jesus giving Peter primacy over the disciples, as some teach?
No! Jesus was not giving Peter primacy over the other disciples here. The disciples were all equal in authority, as scriptures clearly teach (CP Mt 20:20-28 (also Mk 10:35-45); Lu 22:24-27). In Jn 21:15-17 Jesus was simply giving Peter a threefold command to carry out the apostolic duties for which he had been called (CP Eph 2:19-20). See also comments on Mt 16:19, 20:28, 23:8-12 and Jn 21:15-17(A), and author's studies, The Church in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), and Jesus not Peter the Rock upon which the Church is built in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).
21:18-19 By what death did Peter die that Jesus is predicting here?
Jesus is predicting here that Peter would die a martyr, bound and forcibly taken to his death. He would die with his hands outstretched. Tradition says that he lived another thirty years approximately, and was then crucified. Peter lived all those years anticipating the death before him which Jesus had predicted (CP 2Pe 1:12-15).
21:20-23 What do we learn from Jesus' rebuke to Peter here?
This teaches that Christians should only be concerned with God's plan for their life, not another's. Having learned what God's plan was for him, Peter now wanted to know what His plan was for John. Jesus rebuked him for concerning himself with it. Jesus' command to Peter in V22 "…you follow me," signified that Peter's primary concern must not be John, but Jesus. Jesus demands our single-minded attention to the terms He has laid down for discipleship. He expects us to live our lives in faithfulness to His word, not compare it with what others do. (CP Php 2:12; 1Pe 1:10-12; 3:15). See also comments on Php 2:12-13 and author's studies The Cost of Discipleship: Forsaking all for Jesus in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 1), and Christian - Beware of Failing God's Grace and Forfeiting your Salvation in his book Advanced Studies in the Christian Faith (Volume 2).