What Are the Word and the Name the Apostles Taught?

TODAY’S READING: ACTS 4-5

“‘And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” – Acts 4:29-31

What was the word the apostles were teaching?

What was the name the apostles were teaching?

The obvious answer is Jesus.

But, what does it mean that the apostles were teaching the word of Jesus and in the name of Jesus?

One thing that we know is that whatever this word and name they were teaching in angered the priests, the scribes, and the other Jewish leaders.

“And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed…And they arrested them and put them in custody.” – Acts 4:1-2, 3

“But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” – Acts 4:17

“And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them.” – Acts 4:21

“But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison.” – Acts 5:17

“When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them.” – Acts 5:33

“And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.”- Acts 5:40

Take a good look at what the priests, the scribes, the Sadducees, and the Jewish authorities were doing.

  1. They were greatly annoyed at what the apostles were teaching.
  2. They arrested the apostles.
  3. They warned the apostles not to continue teaching the word and the name.
  4. They further threatened the apostles.
  5. They were filled with jealousy.
  6. They arrested the apostles a second time.
  7. They were enraged.
  8. They wanted to kill the apostles.
  9. They beat the apostles.

The actions of the Jewish authorities in these two chapters are in direct contrasts to the apostles.

“If we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this has been healed.”- Acts 4:9

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” -Acts 4:12

“But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.” – Acts 4:14

“And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord of Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” – Acts 4:33

“Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles.” – Acts 5:12

“And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.” – Acts 5:14

“They people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”- Acts 5:16

“Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” – Acts 5:20

“Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” – Acts 5:41

Take a good look at what the apostles were doing and teaching.

  1. They did a good deed, healing a crippled man.
  2. They taught the name by which men and women are saved.
  3. The man they healed remained with them.
  4. They taught the resurrection, the going from death to life, of Jesus.
  5. They did many signs and wonders, which clearly means healings in the context of these two chapters.
  6. They added to the Lord, which means they brought people to life.
  7. They healed every sick person and all those afflicted with unclean spirits that were brought to them.
  8. They taught the words of the Life.
  9. They rejoiced at their persecution because they were counted worthy of suffering for Jesus.

There is quite a stark contrast between the apostles and the Jewish authorities.

The Jewish authorities reacted the way they did because what they taught was different than the word and the name the apostles were teaching. In fact, we could say that what the Jewish authorities taught was the complete opposite of the word and the name that the apostles taught.

Do you see what the fundamental distinction is?

The Jewish authorities did and taught death.

The apostles did and taught life.

The Jewish authorities believed that God was both life and death. Therefore, they believed they were doing the works of God by putting the unworthy and the blaspheming of God to death.

The apostles believed that God was life and life only. Therefore, they healed everyone who was sick and afflicted that was brought to them.

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul sums these two ways of ministering and teaching.

“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” – 2 Corinthians 3:5-6

Who were the ones filled with the Holy Spirit?

The apostles.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” – Acts 4:31

Therefore, the apostles did and taught life. This is the word and the name they taught.

Who were the ones that taught the letter?

The Jewish authorities.

Therefore, in the end, everything they did was about death.

“But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” – 2 Corinthians 3:14-16

Whose minds were hardened? Who had not come to the Lord?

The Jewish authorities.

They read the Old Testament with a veil over it. They could not see the real nature of God in it. Therefore they taught it literally, meaning that God was both life and death.

Who had come to the Lord? For who was the veil lifted?

The apostles.

They read the Old Testament without a veil. They could read it clearly because Christ had taken the veil away. They saw God in the Old Testament as life and life only.

How did the Christ do this for them?

“By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead.” – Acts 4:11

The apostles had come to know that death was defeated. Jesus was dead, but God had raised him to life.

“This Jesus…you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” – Acts 2:23-24

“For we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” – Acts 4:20

What had the apostles seen and heard?

“That which was from the beginning, which we heard, which he have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us – that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you.” – 1 John 1:1-3

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” – 1 John 1:5

In other words, God is life and there is no death in him at all.

“God is love…There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” – 1 John 4:16, 18

Therefore, an angel of the Lord said to the apostles, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”

The word that the apostles taught was life.

Never death.

Always and only life.

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” – John 6:63

“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” – John 6:68

“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life.”

Life is the word the apostles heard from Jesus. And, life is the word they taught.

Therefore, they taught in the name of Jesus. The fruit of teaching in the name of Jesus was salvation and healing. Salvation and healing are life.

This should come as no surprise.

Jesus is the Author of life.

Jesus is savior.

Jesus is the English version of the Greek name that is Joshua. Joshua means Jehovah saves.

Jesus’ very name means he saves, he heals, he gives life.

So, how in the world do we ever get it in our minds that he will do something other than heal, save, and give life?

How do we ever think that Jesus is going to come back and kill, send people to hell, burn them in eternal torment and destruction?

The veil has not been removed.

The Bible is read by the letter, literally.

Death has not been defeated.

For those that teach this way, it is as if God has not raise Jesus from the dead.

What Sins Need to Be Forgiven and Blotted Out?

TODAY’S READING: ACTS 1-3

“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.'” – Acts 2:38

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.” – Acts 3:19

The forgiveness and blotting out of sins is a marvelous thing.

But, when you think of the forgiveness of “your sins,” what comes to your mind?

Lying?

Sexual immorality?

Covetousness?

Cursing?

Drinking?

Stealing?

I’m sure we could make a list infinitely long to describe our sins.

But, are these the sins Peter is talking about? The sins that need to be forgiven and blotted out?

Or, is there a root sin, a foundational sin, that if we know is forgiven and blotted out eliminates all other sin?

These two verses from Acts regarding the forgiveness and blotting out, or wiping away, of sins come immediately after Peter’s first two sermons. And, in these two sermons, I believe Peter specifically addresses two sins. These two sins are the my sins, your sins, our sins that are forgiven and blotted out. And, the recognition of the forgiveness of these two sins changes everything. Because these two are sins are at the core of all other sins.

What are these two sins?

Let’s look at what Peter says.

First, Jesus was delivered up, betrayed (Acts 2:23). “Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate.” (Acts 3:13) “But you denied the Holy and Righteous One.” (Acts 3:14) Jesus was delivered over and betrayed by us. I wrote about this in “Who Delivered Jesus? Who Killed Jesus?

By delivering over and betraying Jesus, we denied the goodness of God.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

“For whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.” – John 3:34

“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life.” – John 12:49-50

By delivering over and betraying Jesus, we denied what God was giving us – eternal life. And, every gift from God is good.

Second, “this Jesus…you crucified and killed.” (Acts 2:23) “You killed the Author of life.” (Acts 3:15)

Having delivered over, betrayed, and denied the gift of eternal life God was giving us, we crucified and killed the very author of that life.

At the most fundamental level, we have committed two sins:

  1. We denied God, specifically that he is good
  2. We killed God, seeking to rid ourselves of him

This goes straight back to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. God had given them every tree of the garden of Eden that was good, including the tree of life, to eat from freely. They are only not to eat from one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yet, they refused the good gift, the tree of life. And, by refusing the good gift, Adam and Eve separated themselves from God, effectively killing him.

From these two sins, every other sin was birthed out of. Many years later “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)

Sure, there are many things that we do that are sins that need to be forgiven. But, every thing we typically consider sin, sin that we need forgiveness of, derives from the foundational sins of denying God’s goodness and, consequently, removing God from our lives.

Until those two sins are truly addressed, truly repented of as we immerse ourselves in Christ and the Spirit, the rest is just window dressing.We are not thinking differently. We are not transformed.

Why Did Jesus Breathe the Spirit on the Disciples?

TODAY’S READING: JOHN 20-21

“And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.'” – John 20:22

After his resurrection, Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene on the morning of the first day of the week. Later that night Jesus appeared to the disciples. It was on this night, in his second post resurrection appearance, that Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on his disciples.

The context of this event is fascinating and yields some wonderful insights if we study it carefully. Let’s look at each step of Jesus’ second appearance.

  1. Jesus said to the disciples, “Peace be with you.”
  2. Jesus showed the disciples the wounds in his hands and his side.
  3. Again, Jesus said to the disciples, “Peace be with you.”
  4. Jesus said to the disciples, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
  5. Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
  6. Jesus said, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Jesus’ first words to the gathering of the disciples were “Peace be with you.” He said this twice. But, between his two utterances of “Peace be with you,” Jesus did something very interesting. “He showed them his hands and his.” Jesus showed the disciples his wounds.

But, Thomas was not at this gathering of the disciples. So, eight days later Jesus appeared a third time. This time Thomas was present. When Jesus showed up, he said, “Peace be with you.” And Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side.” Again we have the linkage of the words “Peace be with you” with the showing of Jesus’ wounds.

Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

Jesus is showing the disciples the fulfillment of this scripture. He is showing them his pierced side. He is letting them see the wounds in his hands. The piercing of his side and the nails that went through his hands brought us peace and healed us.

Yes, Jesus spoke the words “Peace be with you” to the disciples, but those words sandwiched the revelation of the act that brought peace to the disciples. Jesus’ pierced side and nail scarred hands brought peace to us because of forgiveness, which we will see as we go on.

Having shown the disciples his wounds, which brought them peace, Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” Earlier this week I wrote about God sending Jesus in “Why Did God Send Jesus?

The first time that gospel of John speaks of Jesus being sent is in John 3:34. “For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.” Jesus was sent to speak the words of God and give the Spirit without measure, without any limit.

What is the Spirit?

The Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 8:6 says, “To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

John 6:63 says, “It is the Spirit who gives life.”

2 Corinthians 3:6 says, “The Spirit gives life.”

Romans 14:7 says, “For the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy and in the Holy Spirit.”

Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is…peace.”

Ephesians 4:3 says we should be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Indeed, Jesus is “the last Adam” who “became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45.

So, God sent Jesus to give life and peace without measure, without limit. Now, Jesus tells the disciples, and us, that he is sending us the same way that the Father sent him.

Having said that he was sending the disciples, and us, the same way he was sent, Jesus breathes on the disciples and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus, as the son of God, is breathing into men.

The first time we see God breathing into men is in Genesis 2:7, which says, “Then the Lord God formed the man of the dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”

God breathed in the man he formed from the dust, and Adam became a living creature.

“Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”

We were once living beings like Adam. But, Jesus says he is sending us in the same way he was sent. So, he is breathing into us, not to become living beings again, but to become life-giving spirits just as he was sent to be a life-giving spirit, a spirit which brings peace to you through his wounds.

“The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:47-49)

We are to bear the image of the man of heaven, the life-giving spirit. We are to become life-giving spirits. We are to give life and peace without measure, without any limit. And, like Jesus did this through his wounds, we primarily give life and peace to others through our wounds, through our response to the wounds others inflict upon us.

So, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

The word breathed, although in two different Greek words, appears just four times in the gospels. All are an action of Jesus. All are connected to the Holy Spirit.

Mark 15:37 says, “And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.”

Mark 15:39 says, “And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!'”

Luke 23:46 says, “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.”

In each of these three verses, the Greek word for breathed is ekpneo. It means to expire, to breathe out, to exhale.

On the cross, the place of Jesus’ piercing and wounding, the last thing he did was breathe out.

What did he breathe out?

The Holy Spirit.

What did he say shortly before he breathed out the Holy Spirit?

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

So, Luke connects the breathing out of the Spirit with the forgiveness that Jesus gave.

But, Mark does so in a very subtle fashion as well.

Mark 15:37 says, “And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.”

The Greek word for uttered in this verse is aphiemi. Aphiemi has a number of meanings, but the most common translation is forgave, forgive, forgiven.

Is it possible to get the sense that Jesus, forgiving with a loud cry, breathed out the Holy Spirit?

They may not be the literal translation or meaning, but I think it is possible to see this in Jesus’ actions, especially given Luke’s account.

While Matthew’s account doesn’t mention breathing, perhaps it is interesting that aphiemi is used.

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded [aphiemi] up his spirit.” (Matthew 27:50)

So, Jesus forgave us and breathed out the Holy Spirit on the cross. The next, and last time, breathed is mention in the gospels is our passage under consideration.

“And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.'”

However, breathed is a different Greek word here. Here the Greek word for breathed is emphysao. It means to breathe into, breathe on, or blow in.

Jesus breathed out his Spirit on the cross. But, after the resurrection, Jesus breathes his Spirit into us.

Jesus forgave us and breathed out his Spirit, who is life and peace. Jesus resurrects and speaks peace showing us his wounds, and breathes his Spirit, who is life and peace, into us. And, he does this because he is sending us the way his Father sent him – as a life-giving spirit to give the Spirit, who is life and peace, without measure, without any limit.

Therefore, when Jesus tells the disciples to “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he gives them a specific instruction.

“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.

Jesus forgave us. Then he breathed out his Spirit.

Now, he breathes his Spirit into us because he is sending us as the Father sent him. Then Jesus tells us to bring life and peace to everyone by forgiving their sins.

In Jesus’ instruction to forgive the sins of any, he uses the word aphiemi. While the most common meaning of aphiemi is to forgive, the next most common meaning is to leave.

“If you leave the sins of any, they have left them.”

 

How did Jesus get us free from our sins, our sins that he bore in his body, our sins of violence that led to his crucifixion?

He forgave us.

Jesus caused our sins to leave us because he forgave us.

We wounded him and he forgave us.

“With his wounds we are healed.”

“Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace.”

How are others to get free from their sin?

We forgive them.

How are others freed from their desire to wound us?

We forgive them.

How are others healed?

Despite their wounding us, we forgive them.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”

When others wound us and we forgive, death, Jesus’ death, is at work in us. But, the death, Jesus’ death, that is at work in us brings life, brings peace, to others.

There is another interesting connection between Jesus’ instruction to forgive, aphiemi, and peace.

In John 14:27, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.”

The word leave is aphiemi. But, there is no Greek word for with in the original text.

Perhaps a more literal reading, or at least an underlying subtext, of what Jesus said is, “Peace I forgive you.”

How does Jesus bring peace?

Forgiveness.

Forgiving our violent sins against him that led to his crucifixion.

Jesus gives us this peace. He gave us his Spirit, who is life and peace.

But, Jesus doesn’t give as the world gives. The world gives peace through violence and war. War and violence until you were subdued was the peace of Rome, the pax Romana.

Rome, the kingdom of this world, doesn’t forgive sins. It uses sin, war, murder, violence, to subdue you and bring a false peace.

So, while Jesus instructs us that whoever we forgive of their sins has their sins forgiven, if we withhold forgiveness from anyone then they, their sins, are withheld.

The Greek word for “withhold forgiveness” is krateo. It means to seize, arrest, be strong, take possession of. It’s the same word to describe what the Jews and Romans did Jesus. It has the idea of taking control of someone.

See what Jesus is saying?

You can forgive and free others from their sins. Give peace as he gave it.

Or, you can take hold of others, control them, and keep them bound in their sins. Give a false peace through violence as Rome, the kingdom of this world gives it.

So, why did Jesus breathe on the disciples?

So, they would become life-giving Spirits just as he was. And, in this way, the disciples could give peace and Jesus gave it. As they were wounded, they could forgive. This would be peace, life, healing, the freeing from sin for others.

What Is the Judgment Seat?

TODAY’S READING: JOHN 18-19

“So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha.” – John 19:13

The judgment seat.

In Greek, the bema.

Christians seem to have a strange fascination with the judgment seat, the bema. Many Christians seem to think the following. Everyone will be brought before the judgment seat of Christ. You better get right with God. Repent. Stop sinning. If you don’t, then God will not give you eternal life. Instead, he will send you to hell, eternal punishment.

But, is this what “the judgment seat of God”, “the judgment seat of Christ” about? Is their judgment seat about life and death?

Or, is it man’s judgment seat that is about life and death?

Do you know that the New Testament has more to say about the judgment seat, the bema, of man than it does of God or Christ?

The word bema is used 12 times in the New Testament. One of the uses (Acts 7:5) is basically a unit of measure, a foot’s length, so we will not look at verse. Of the other 11 verses, nine are used in reference to man’s judgment seat while just two are used in reference to the judgment seat of God and Christ.

The judgment seat, bema, is found twice in the gospels regarding Jesus’ trial.

Pilate was seeking to release Jesus. But the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” If Pilate released Jesus, then the Jews would claim that Pilate was committing treason against Caesar because he would be acknowledging another king other than Caesar. After this threat from the Jews, John 19:13, quoted above, says that Pilate brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat, the bema.

Despite the threat, Pilate says to the Jews, “Behold your King!” But, the Jews responded, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate asked, “Shall I crucify your king?” And, the chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

The scene is harkens back to Israel’s demand for a king when Samuel was old. “Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel Ramah and said to him, ‘Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.'” (1 Samuel 8:4-5) This upset Samuel. But God told Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.”

So, in John 19, we see the prophetic fulfillment of Israel’s rejection of God as king played out in the life of Jesus. Now, the Jews are literally rejecting God as king by demanding Jesus’ crucifixion. The Jews are choosing Caesar, man, to be their king, instead of Jesus, God.

So, we see that man’s judgment seat, for Pilate’s judgment seat had the authority of Caesar behind it, was to judge an individual worthy of life and death. In John 19, man’s judgment seat is used to judge Jesus, and therefore God, worthy of death, crucifixion.

But, not just any man was judged worthy  of death from the judgment seat. For Pilate, “while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, ‘Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.'” (Matthew 27:19) Not only is man’s judgment seat used to determine whether a man should or die, man’s judgment seat will put a perfectly righteous, perfectly innocent man to death.

It’s not apparent because of the English translation, but the word bema, the judgment seat, is used seven times in the book of Acts.

Acts 12:21 says, “On an appointed day, Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne [bema, judgment seat], and delivered an oration to them.” A few verses earlier, Herod had just found the soldiers who let Peter escape from prison worthy of death. This was the type of authority Herod wielded. Now he’s sitting on the judgment seat. And, when the people saw Herod, a man, sitting on the judgment seat, they shouted, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!”

People love to have another man on the judgment seat because he will put other people to death for man loves darkness (John 3:19).

Then, there is Acts 18:12-17. ”

But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal [bema, judgment seat], saying, ‘This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.’ But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, ‘If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, i would have reason to accept your complaint. But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.’ And he drive them from the tribunal [bema, judgment seat]. And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal [bema, judgment seat].”

The Jews, the religious legalists, make a united attack against Paul, a man free in Christ. They bring him before the judgment seat because they want a judgment of death pronounced upon him. But, when the Jews are driven from the judgment seat, the get the ruler of the synagogue, bring him before the judgment seat, and beat him.

See how man’s judgment seat is used to punish and put death men, usually innocent men, because they don’t hold the same beliefs, doctrines, and teachings as the religious?

Then, there is Acts 25:6-11.

“After he [Festus] stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day he took his seat on the tribunal [bema, judgment seat] and ordered Paul to be brought. When he had arrived, the Jews who had come from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove. Paul argued in his defense, ‘Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.’ But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, ‘Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?’ But Paul said, ‘I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal [bema, judgment seat], where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well. If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.'”

In Acts 25:17, Festus uses the word bema, judgment, translated again as “the tribunal,” as he retells the above incident to King Agrippa.

Do you see how man’s judgment once again is used to bring false charges that cannot be proved against a man, Paul, just as it was used to bring false charges that could not be proved against Jesus?

Do you see that Paul equates man’s judgment seat with being judged worthy of life or death?

All the evidence shows that man’s understanding of the judgment seat, the bema, and when man is in control of the judgment seat, the bema, is that the judgment seat, the bema, is for deciding whether other men should live or die.

But, God is not like man. God does not judge like men do.

In John 5:22-24, Jesus said, “For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

God, the Father, judges no one. He judges no man, no person, the way that men judge. God does not judge men to be worthy of death. God judges men worthy of life. Read all of my previous posts on the gospel of John and God’s commandment to Jesus to speak eternal life.

God judges men worthy of life. It is men who judge God worthy of death, worthy of crucifixion.

A man does come into judgment from God, God passes that man from death to life.

In John 8:15, Jesus said, “You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.”

Judging according to the flesh is man using the judgment seat to pronounce life or death on someone. Just life the Father, Jesus says he judges no one. Jesus’ judgment does not pronounce death on anyone because the Father gave him a commandment to speak eternal life (John 12:49-50).

So, what is the judgment seat of God, the judgment seat of Christ?

Romans 14:10-11 says, “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother?For we will all stand before the judgment seat [bema] of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue confess to God.'”

Paul has just been speaking about how some esteem one day and others every day, some eat certain foods while others abstain them. Are we to judge each other for this? Do you we judge each other worthy of death based on how we live?

We will all stand before the judgment seat of God. God will take care of these things. These are matters of the heart. Romans 2:16 says, “On that day, when according to the gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” God judges the purposes and intentions of the heart, the secrets, not the men themselves.

Why does God judge this way?

“For it is written…”

Because it is written.

What is written could just as easily, and maybe more appropriately be translated

“I live, says the Lord, that every knee shall bow to me and every tongue shall praise God.”

We come to the judgment seat because God lives and gives life to all so that every knee will bow before him and every tongue shall praise. That can’t happen if God sends men to hell, their eternal punishment and death, at the his judgment seat.

God’s judgment seat is about freeing men from the evil purposes and intentions of their hearts so that men can worship and praise God as lord and as their king.

2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat [bema] of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

Receiving what is due is not life or death, heaven or hell. This is about rewards for what he have done or not done in the body. So, again, we see the judgment seat of Christ is about judging the works of men not men themselves. This is in direct contrast to judgment seat of men, which, as we saw above, judges men themselves and not their works (Jesus and Paul were innocent of the charges brought against them.)

The judgment seat of Christ is akin to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15.

“Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

The works are judged. Evil works are burned up and cause a man to suffer loss. But, the man himself is saved, judged worthy of life.

This is the same thing that Hebrews 4:12-13 says.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom me must give account.”

Jesus, the word of God, judges not us but the intentions and purposes of our hearts. He separates the evil thoughts from the good thoughts. He separates the earthly from the heavenly in us.

If we do not see and know that God and man judge differently, then why do we even need God?

But, man and God do judge differently.

Man’s judgement seat pronounces death on whoever man deems evil and wicked, even if they are innocent. Man’s judgment seat brings finality.

God’s judgment seat already sees all men as worthy of life. Therefore, God judges man’s secrets, the purposes and intentions of his heart, so that man can come to the full realization of God’s judgment of eternal life upon him and thereby praise God as Lord and King.

Why Did God Send Jesus?

TODAY’S READING: JOHN 16-17

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” – John 17:20-21

Jesus did not ask for just the 12 apostles. He also asked for those who would believe in him through the word the 12 apostles spoke.

Jesus specifically asked that all these would be one. He did not ask that these people would be one with each other. There have been many groups of people that have been one with each other throughout history. And, those groups of people have done many destructive things because while they were one with each other there were others outside their group.

Instead of being one with each other, Jesus asked that they would be one with the Father and himself. For, if these people were one with the Father and Jesus, then there would be none outside of their group and they would be one with all people of the world.

Why did Jesus ask that the 12 apostles and those who would believe in him through their word be on with the Father and himself?

“So that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Was Jesus’ desire that the world would believe God sent him, that he went from point A to point B because God told him to?

Or, does Jesus’ desire that the world believe that God sent him come with a specific meaning?

In other words, why did God send Jesus?

Jesus’ desire for the world is that they know why God sent him not merely that God sent him.

So, why did God send Jesus?

“He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all.” – John 3:31

Jesus is the one who comes. He was sent by God. Jesus comes from above, or heaven. In 1 Corinthians 15:47, Paul said, “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.” The first man is Adam, the man of the earth. Jesus is the second man from heaven.

The one who is of the earth speaks in an earthly way, that is a way that reflects where he is from. But, Jesus speaks in a different way because he is from a different place. Jesus is from heaven, from God.

“He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony.” – John 3:32

Jesus is speaking, bearing witness to, what he has seen and heard in heaven. This is his testimony.

What is Jesus’ testimony?

1 John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” In this verse, John directly states that Jesus gave this testimony. In his gospel, John states Jesus’ testimony without saying Jesus gave it. John 1:4-5 says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men, The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

What is Jesus bearing witness to?

God is light.

Jesus was “the true light, which gives light to everyone.” (John 1:9) Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12). Also, Jesus said, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” (John 12:26)

What is the source of Jesus’ light? What is the source of God’s light?

Life.

God’s life.

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

Jesus’s testimony is about light, God’s life, coming into the world and overcoming darkness, or death.

What did Jesus say about his own testimony?

“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people [literally, men or peoples] loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”

Jesus knew that men would not believe his testimony. He knew that people would prefer darkness instead of light, death instead of life.

But, this would not always be the case. For, God sent Jesus so that the world, men, peoples, would believe why he was sent.

“Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.” – John 3:33

Jesus’ testimony is that light, God’s life, is coming into the world and overcoming darkness, death. If you believe Jesus’ testimony, then you believe in him. If you believe Jesus’ testimony and believe in Jesus, then God is true.

What does it mean that God is true?

“If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” – 1 John 5:9-12

God is true means that you believe God gave us eternal life, not death. He gave us eternal life, his life, in Jesus. This is why God gave, or sent, his Son – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Remember, this is all “so that the world may believe that you [the Father] have sent me [Jesus]. The goal is that the whole world, the whole creation, believes in Jesus and why he was sent.

If we receive Jesus’ testimony and that God is true, then we have a seal set on us.

What is the seal of believing this testimony?

The Holy Spirit.

“And who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” – 2 Corinthians 1:22

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth [Jesus’ testimony], the gospel of your salvation, and believe in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” – Ephesians 1:13-14

“The Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” – Ephesians 4:30

“For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.” – John 3:34

Jesus is the one God sent.

Jesus speaks the words of God.

What are God’s words that Jesus speaks?

“For I have not spoken on my authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father told me.” – John 12:49-50

The Father commanded Jesus to speak eternal life.

Is there any death in eternal life?

Absolutely not.

Jesus not spoke death to anyone. Nor will he ever speak death to anyone. The Father commanded him to speak eternal life.

Why does Jesus speak life?

Because “gives the Spirit without measure.”

What do we know about the Spirit?

“It is the Spirit who gives life.” – John 6:63

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:2

“To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” – Romans 8:6

“The Spirit is life.” – Romans 8:10

“He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” – Romans 8:11

“The Spirit gives life.” – 2 Corinthians 3:6

The Spirit is always associated with life, never death.

Jesus gives the Spirit. Therefore, Jesus only gives life, never death.

“Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 15:45

Jesus gives the Spirit without measure. to give without measure means to give without limit or degree. Therefore, Jesus gives life without limit. He’s not giving life to only a portion of people while he gives death to other people. Jesus gives the Spirit, life, without any limit, which means he gives life to all.

Do you see?

The entire reason Jesus was sent was to give life. Another way to say this is that Jesus was sent to save.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn [judge] the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:17

“In order that the world might be saved.” Not a small group of select people might be saved. No, the whole world would be saved. For Jesus gives the Spirit, life, without measure.

Jesus wants the entire world to believe this.

And, the whole world will believe this. Otherwise, Jesus’ sending was a failure.

If the world does not believe Jesus was sent, meaning that the world believes in Jesus and his message of life, then love will have failed or ended in direct contradiction to 1 Corinthians 13:8, which says, “Love never ends” or “Love never fails.”

If the world fails to believe Jesus was sent to give life, then “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” would never come true. For you can only confess that Jesus is Lord by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). And, because the Spirit is life, you can only confess Jesus is Lord if you have received his testimony of life.

Those that believe in Jesus, in his testimony of life, are to be one in God so that the whole world will believe that the giving of life, life only, never death, is the reason the Father sent Jesus.

What Commandment Did the Father Give Jesus?

TODAY’S READING: JOHN 13-15

“I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” – John 14:30-31

Jesus said he did as the Father commanded him.

What did the Father command Jesus to do?

Jesus says that he will no longer talk much with the disciples. He has been doing a lot of teaching. Now it is time for his teaching to end because he is going to demonstrate what he has been teaching.

It is time to stop talking and start doing because the ruler of this world is coming. The ruler of this world is Satan. Satan roams the earth like a lion looking for whom he can devour. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

But, Jesus says, “He has no claim on me.” Other translations say, “He has no hold over me” or “He has no power over me.” But, the most literal translation is “He has nothing in me.”

What does Jesus mean?

Hebrews 2:14 says that Satan, the devil,  is “the one who has the power of death.” So, Jesus is saying that Satan is not able to put death in him. Satan has no ability, no power, and no right to do this.

Why is this the case?

Because Jesus said, “I do as the Father commanded me.”

What did the Father command Jesus?

In John 12:49-50, Jesus said, “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

Satan has no death in Jesus because he does what the Father commanded him, which is eternal life.

What exactly is the commandment of eternal life?

In John 13:34-35, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The commandment of eternal life is the new commandment Jesus gives to the disciples. “Just as I have loved you, you also are to one another.” Eternal life is to love one another as Jesus loved us.

How does Jesus love us?

Just before Jesus gave this new commandment of eternal life, he said, “Where i am going you cannot come.”

So, Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?”

Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.”

Peter responded,”Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”

On one hand, Peter understood that to love one another as Jesus loved him meant that you needed to lay down your life for the other. On the other hand, Peter did not understand the full extent of that and was not ready to do exactly that.

Later in this same conversation, Jesus makes the commandment of eternal life explicitly clear. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one that this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)

So, Satan had nothing in Jesus, that is no power of death in Jesus, because Jesus did the commandment of eternal life that God gave him. That commandment was to manifest love by laying down his life for his friends.

Why did Jesus lay down his life?

“So that the world may know that I love the Father.”

And so it is with us. The world will know that we love God when we love as Jesus loved us by laying down our lives for each other. Then the world will know that God sent Jesus to save it.

What Must Happen for Us to Understand Scripture?

TODAY’S READING: JOHN 11-12

“His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remember that these things had been written about him and had been done by him.” – John 12:16

Jesus entered Jerusalem a few days before the passover and his crucifixion. The crowd took palm branches and praised Jesus as coming in the name of the Lord and as the king of Israel. John says that Jesus rode in on a young donkey just as it was written in the scripture.

However, the disciples did not understand these things at first. The disciples did not understand the scriptures and what they truly meant.

Mark 9:32 says, “But they [the disciples] did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.”

What did the disciples not understand?

In verse 31, Jesus said, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”

The disciples did not understand the very purpose, the very reason, that Jesus came. They did not understand that he delivered over, betrayed, and crucified but rise three days later.

Luke 18:34 says, “But they [the twelve specifically] understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.”

What did the 12 apostles not understand?

In verses 31-33, Jesus said, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”

What did the 12 apostles no understand?

The prophets. The scripture.

They did not understand anything that was written about Jesus in them. Therefore, they did not understand anything that was about to happen. They did not understand that Jesus would be delivered over, betrayed, to the Gentiles, that he would be mocked and rejected, that he would be beaten, that he would be crucified, but that he would rise three days later.

This means that the 12 apostles and all the disciples understand nothing, not a single thing, in the scripture. Luke 24:25-27 says, “And he [Jesus] said to them [the two disciples on the road to Emmaus], ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Further, Luke 24:44-47 says, “Then he [Jesus] said to them [all the disciples gathered together], ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.'”

No one, not the disciples, not the 12 apostles, understood anything that the scriptures said. Jesus had to explain it to them. He had to open their minds to understand the scriptures.

What was the actual meaning he opened their minds to?

Jesus, the son of man, came to suffer, to die, and to rise three days later. This is the meaning of the scriptures.

Why did Jesus do this?

So that repentance and the forgiveness of sins could be proclaimed to the whole world.

Jesus did this so that the whole world would change their mind about God. The world believe that God came to strike you down, to kill you. But, Jesus showed that God not to kill you but to suffer and die for you.

Jesus did this so that the whole world would receive the forgiveness of sins. The whole world believed that God condemned people to eternal death because of their sins. But, Jesus showed that God came not to condemn but to forgive, to save.

So, what must happen for us to understand the scriptures?

“His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.”

In order for us to understand the scriptures, we must see Jesus glorified.

What does it mean to see Jesus glorified?

John 12:27-28 says, “‘Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour?” But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.'”

Jesus came in the name, the image, the likeness of the Father. Hebrews 1:3 says, “He [Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.”

So, how God already glorified his name in Jesus?

The first time God glorified his name in Jesus was on the mount of transfiguration. The account is found in Matthew 17:1-8, Mark 9:2-8, and Luke 9:28-36.

On the mount, “his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light,” “his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them,” and “the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.” Luke says that this was Jesus in his glory.

Jesus’ glory, his brightness, his shining forth, was so great that even though Moses and Elijah appeared with him for a moment, that his glory made Moses and Elijah disappear. A voice from heaven cried out, “This is My Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”

Jesus’ glory eclipses Moses and Elijah. Therefore, we are to listen to Jesus and Jesus alone. Jesus alone, in his glory, is what is needed for us to understand the scriptures. We cannot, we must not, listen to Moses and Elijah. Jesus’ glory is the only interpretation necessary.

So, God glorified his name in Jesus. How would God glorify his name in Jesus a second time?

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)

Jesus, the word of God, became flesh. He became a man. And, he dwelt among us. The Greek word for dwelt literally means tabernacled.

“And we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

In the tabernacle, where did God’s glory reside?

Behind the veil.

So, in Jesus we saw God’s glory we he tabernacled among us. Therefore, God’s glory was behind Jesus’ flesh.

Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls in the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:23-24)

God would glorify his name a second time when Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected. For, this is the moment that Jesus was the grain of wheat that went into the ground and died yet was resurrected and bore much fruit.

When Jesus died on the cross, Matthew, Mark, and Luke say that “the curtain of the temple was torn in two.” God’s glory was behind the curtain of the temple. But, when Jesus was crucified, his flesh was torn so that we could see God’s glory.

Philippians 2:8-11 says, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus was glorified and glorified the Father by dying.

Jesus was not glorified and did not the glorify the Father by killing.

It is only when we Jesus in this glorified state that we can understand the scripture.

The only way to understand the scripture is to know that Jesus, and therefore God, dies.

You will never understand the scripture, and therefore you will never know God, if when you read the scripture you see God killing. To read the scripture this way is to not see Jesus glorified.

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul uses the Greek word for glory 13 times. The chapters closes, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

The veil has been removed. We can now see God’s glory.

We see God’s glory through the crucified Christ.

We God’s glory in that he suffers rather than tortures.

We God’s glory in that he speaks tender words rather than mocks.

We see God’s glory in that he dies rather kills, is crucified rather than crucifies.

We see God’s glory in that he resurrects and lives rather condemns to death.

As we behold Jesus glorified, and only when we Jesus glorified, we are able to see God, his true nature and character in the scripture.

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

If you are reading the scripture with the view, with the mindset, that God causes suffering, tortures, condemns, and kills at all, ever, then you are reading the scripture through a Satanic lens. You are blinded by Satan.The veil over the scripture has not been removed. You are not reading the scripture through the glorified Christ. Therefore, you cannot and will not understand anything that is written about Jesus, and God, “in Moses and all the Prophets,” “in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms.”

It is the glorified Christ, the crucified Christ, the God who dies and does not kill, that opens up the scriptures for our understanding.

When God spoke that he had glorified his name and would glorify it again when Jesus was crucified and resurrected, the crowd said the voice had thundered. Som though it was an angel. “Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.'” (John 12:30-31)

When Jesus is glorified, the ruler of this world, Satan, the devil, is cast out.

So too, when we read the scripture through the glorified Jesus, the crucified Christ, Satan is cast out of our understanding of God in the scripture. Satan is the one that steals, kills, and destroys. Satan is the one with the power of death. So, reading the scripture through the glorified Jesus, the crucified Christ, removes all stealing, killing, destroying, and the wielding of the power of death from our image of God.

Therefore, we need the glorified Jesus to understand scripture.

Did Jesus Come to Judge the World or Not?

TODAY’S READING: JOHN 9-10

“Jesus said, ‘For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” – John 9:39

“For judgment I came into this world.”

Jesus’ statement seems to clearly the answer the question “Did Jesus come to the judge the world of not?”

Or does it?

In John 5:22, Jesus said, “For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son.”

Okay, so Jesus did come into the world to judge it.

But, wait.

In John 8:15, Jesus said, “I judge no one.”

And, in verse 16, Jesus said, “For it is not I alone who judge, but and the Father who sent me.”

Okay…So, Jesus judges. And, now the Father judges too? But, Jesus said the Father judges no one.

In 12:47, Jesus said, “For I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”

Jesus, what is your problem?

Can you not give me a straight answer as to whether you are going to judge the world or not?

First, you say that is for judgment you came into this world. Then,  you say, “For I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”

Jesus, can you stop contradicting yourself?

Actually, Jesus is not contradicting himself. It only appears that way because of our English translation and the word “for.”

Let’s start with the passage from today’s reading, John 9:39.

“For judgment I came into this world, that those who not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

Every single English translation I checked says, “For judgment I came into this world.” But, this is a problem.

Why is it a problem?

The Greek word translated “for” is eis. According to A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible, eis means to or into. Eis is used 1,634 times in the New Testament. It is translated to, into, or in 1,066 times. These are three most common translations of eis, and in that order.

Let’s use these meanings of eis in John 9:39.

“To judgment I came into this world.”

“Into judgment I came into this world.”

“In judgment I came into this world.”

In John 9:39, even though every English translation gives us this idea, Jesus is not saying that he came into the world to judge it. Rather, Jesus is saying that he came into this world to be judged. In other words, Jesus came into this world to be condemned on the cross.

John 18:31-32 says, “Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.’ The Jews said to him, ‘It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.’ This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show what kind of death he was going to die.”

Moses’ law did allow to the Jews to put someone to death. However, it was only to be done by stoning. The Jews were not allowed to crucify though. Therefore, the Jews took Jesus to Pilate so that Jesus could be crucified. And, as Pilate said, the Jews wanted to a judgment, a judgment of death, upon Jesus.

In Matthew 26, Jesus was brought to trial before the high priest. So, the high priest asked the rest of the scribes and the elders, “What is you judgment [more literally, your opinion]?” They answered, “He deserves death.”

So, in Matthew 27, they take Jesus to Pilate. Pilate is sitting on the judgment seat, which is both interesting and ironic. Verses 22 and 23 say, “Pilate said to them, ‘Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said, ‘Let him be crucified!’ And he said, ‘Why? What evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!'”

Who is doing the judging?

Man.

Who is sitting on the judgment seat?

Man.

Who is being judged?

Jesus.

What is man’s judgment?

Death.

“Let him be crucified.” “Crucify him.”

“Into judgment I came into this world.”

Why did Jesus come into this world to be judged?

“That those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

Jesus came to the world to be judged to alter our perception of, to change how we think about, power and wisdom.

“For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'” (1 Corinthians 1:22-31)

Now, let’s look at what seems to be the contradictory passage, John 12:47.

“I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”

In this verse, the Greek word translated “for” is not eis. Instead of eis, Jesus uses the Greek word gar in this verse. This word assigns a reason, a cause, or a purpose for something. Gar means for, since, because. It is used 1,009 times in the New Testament and is translated “for” 966 of those times. Gar is the Greek word that we would most associate with the English word for and as being the reason something happens.

Here, Jesus is saying he does not judge because he did not come to judge the world. Instead of coming to judge the world, Jesus came to save the world. If Jesus had come to judge the world, then he would have condemned the world and put it to death, crucified it. But, Jesus did not come to condemn and crucify the world, he came to save it. Therefore, he did not come for the purpose of judging the world.

Let’s look at verse 47 in its fuller context.

“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” (verse 46)

What is the relationship between light and darkness?

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:3-4)

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5)

Light shines in the darkness. Light drives out and casts out darkness. God uses light to create by separating darkness from the world.

“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” (verse 47)

Jesus is speaking about those who hear his words and do not keep them. He is talking about the disobedient. He is talking about those who do not see the light and are still blind. He is talking about those that love evil.

Jesus said in John 3:19, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”

What does Jesus say to those who hear his words but don’t do them, the disobedient, the evil, those that love darkness rather than light?

“I do not judge them.”

Did you get that?

Jesus does not judge

  • the disobedient
  • the sinner
  • the evil
  • those that love darkness rather than light

Jesus does not condemn these people. Jesus does not crucify these people. Jesus does not put to death these people.

Not then.

Not now.

Not ever.

Why does Jesus not judge them?

“For [because] I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”

“The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (verses 48-50)

God gave Jesus a commandment. This commandment what was what Jesus was to say and speak. The commandment God gave was Jesus’ word.

What was this commandment?

What was Jesus’ word?

Eternal life.

Eternal life is what Jesus has to say and speak. He says it just as the Father told him to say it.

Those that reject Jesus, those the judge him worthy of death and crucify him, and those that are disobedient, preferring darkness and evil rather than light and good, have a judge.

What is their judge?

Jesus’ word.

“The word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”

What is Jesus’ word?

Eternal life.

How are we to understand this?

How did God create with light?

By separating.

The Greek word for judgment is krino. It has the idea of separating and distinguishing.

Jesus is making all things new. Everything in him is a new creation. He does this by separating light from darkness in everything. Jesus does this separating by his word. And, as the word of God, the word spoken in Genesis, Jesus himself is the one that does the separating.

Hebrews 4:12-13 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him whom we must give account.”

Jesus is the word of God that every creature, every created thing, every man and woman, must face. And, Jesus speaks eternal life to them, separating out light and darkness, good and evil, out of every thought and intention of their heart.

Jesus says his word of eternal life will judge the disobedient on the last day. In Romans 2:15-16, Paul says, “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”

What does God judge?

The secrets of men. The hidden and concealed things of men.

What are these things?

The thoughts and intentions of our hearts.

God judges the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, separating out, casting out, the darkness within us. It is these evil thoughts and intentions that are God’s enemies that he destroys. God’s judgment is against these things, not men themselves.

In John 8:15, Jesus said, “You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.”

We saw above how we judge according to the flesh. Our method of judgment is just how we judge Jesus – worthy of death and crucifixion.

Jesus does not judge this way. He does not judge the flesh. His word of eternal life judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

So, why did I say that Pilate sitting on the judgement seat was both interesting and ironic?

Because from the judgement seat mankind pronounced his judgement of God. Mankind judged God worthy of death and crucifixion.

But, Jesus is going to sit on his judgment seat one day, the last day. From his judgment seat, Jesus, God, is going to judge mankind. However, Jesus’ judgment will not be that we are worthy of death and crucifixion. Jesus is going to judge us with his word, the word that was the commandment his Father gave him, that which he says and speaks – eternal life.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Who Is Jesus?

TODAY’S READING: JOHN 7-8

“So they said to him, ‘Who are you?'” – John 8:25

The Jews asked Jesus, “Who are you?”

Who is Jesus? is the question that dominates John 8:12-59.

Jesus definitively answers this question in John 8:58 when he says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

Who is Jesus?

I am.

Jesus declares that he is the God who revealed himself to Moses in the burning bush. Further, Jesus says he was I am before Abraham.

Sadly, it does not come through in the English translations, but Jesus’ definitive answer to the Jews’ question of who he was is not the first time that Jesus declares “I am” in John 8:12-59.

In John 8:24, Jesus said, “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

There is no Greek word for he in the original text. And, supplying the “he” takes away from the force of what Jesus is saying.

What Jesus really said was, “For unless you believe that I am you will die in your sins.”

I checked numerous English translations. All of them add the “he” or something else after “I am,” detracting from the force of Jesus’ statement about who he is.

It’s important to leave Jesus’ statement of who he is as he said it – “For unless you believe that I am” – because this is what leads to the Jews’ question. It is immediately after Jesus says “I am” that the Jews ask “Who are you?” It’s as if the Jews are saying, “Wait a minute. Who did you just say you are?”

In John 8:28, Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he.” But, again the “he” is not in the original text.

Jesus actually said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am.”

 

Therefore, in John 8:58. Jesus’ definitive answer to who he is starts “Truly, truly.” He’s already told the Jews several times, but they can’t hear the answer.

In John 8:12-59, Jesus says “I am” (ego eimi) seven times. The seventh time is Jesus’ definitive statement of who he is in John 8:58. John is a very symbolic writer. Therefore, this should catch our attention. Seven is the number of spiritual perfection.

Why is the answer “I am” to the question of who Jesus is so important?

Knowing that Jesus is “I am” is the word and the truth that sets us free, leading to our spiritual perfection.

How so?

Jesus’ reply when the Jews ask Jesus, “Who are you?” after his first “I am” declaration is interesting. Jesus said, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning.”

What beginning is Jesus referring to?

Perhaps he is alluding to the beginning in Genesis.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:1, 3)

The first act of God’s creating was to call forth light. This is fascinating in light of (pun intended) how the whole conversation of who Jesus is started.

John 8:12 says, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

“I am the light of the world.”

This is the second of Jesus’ “I am” statements in John. Altogether, he makes seven “I am” statements in the gospel of John.

  1. “I am the bread of life.” – John 6:48
  2. “I am the light of the world.” – John 8:12
  3. “I am the door of the sheep.” – John 10:7
  4. “I am the good shepherd.” – John 10:11
  5. “I am the resurrection and the life.” – John 11:25
  6. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” – John 14:6
  7. “I am the true vine.” – John 15:1

All of these “I am” statements have to do with life.

As the bread of life, Jesus is that which gives and sustains life.

As the light of the world, it is Jesus’ life (“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”) that lights the world, shining in the darkness, taking the world from death to life.

As the door, Jesus is the entry point to life and where life is protected.

As the good shepherd, Jesus lays down his life to protect life.

As the resurrection and the life, Jesus is the making all things new, taking those that were dead in their trespasses and making them alive to God.

As the way, truth, and life, Jesus is light, love, and life, which are the three invisible attributes of God clearly perceived since the creation of the world. (See my post Creation: A Witness to Jesus.)

As the true vine, Jesus is our connection to life, the vehicle through whom life passes from God to us.

The whole passage is about who Jesus is.

Jesus is I am.

Jesus is life.

In John 12:49-50, Jesus said, “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life.”

1 John 5:10-12 says, “Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

God’s testimony is that he gave us eternal life and that life is in Jesus.

God commanded Jesus what to say and what to speak. God’s commandment to Jesus was to speak life.

This is what Jesus did.

He spoke life.

This is Jesus’ word.

Four times in John 8:12-59 Jesus says “my word.” (The fifth time is the Jews repeating what Jesus said as a question.)

In John 8:31, Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

We are to abide in Jesus’ word – life.

If we are abide in Jesus’ word – life – then we are truly his disciples.

We will know the truth – that Jesus speaks and gives life.

Knowing that Jesus speaks and gives life, the truth, will set us free.

Free from what?

Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

The fear of death has had all of us in lifelong slavery.

But, Jesus’ word, the truth, that Jesus speaks and gives life, set us free from the fear of death.

Therefore, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.”

Because of our fear of death we have been in lifelong slavery. Because of our fear of death, we go about bringing death to others in order to stave off our own death that we are so afraid of. We practice sin, meaning we bring death to others. Because we practice sin, bringing death to others to protect our own life, we have become a slave to sin and the fear of death. So, we continually, over and and over, resort to death as a way to protect ourselves.

However, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” If you abide in Jesus’ word, the truth, which is that Jesus speaks and gives life, then you will be truly free. The word free literally means a free person, not a slave. When Jesus sets you free, you are free from slavery to sin brought about by the fear of death. You no longer need to resort to death – war, murder, oppression, injustice, covetousness, etc. – to protect your own life. Instead, you are free to die to bring the same life that Jesus spoke and gave to you to others.

But, Jesus said, “Yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.”

When the word of life that Jesus speaks to us does not abide in us, we seek to kill. We first seek to kill God. Then, we seek to kill others. All because we are enslaved to sin due to our fear of death. We are trapped in an endless spiral of death if Jesus’ word of life does not abide in us.

The Jews did not know Jesus as I am. Therefore, while they Abraham’s physical offspring, their true father, their spiritual father, was the devil. Therefore, they did their father’s desires. The devil is a murdered and a liar. So, that Jews murdered and lied. This is in complete contrast to what one does when they know Jesus as “I am.”

So, Jesus asks, “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear to my word.”

If you cannot understand Jesus because it because you cannot hear his word, which is life. If you cannot hear life it is because you are of your father the devil. These are sobering words from Jesus.

“If I tell you the truth, why do you not believe me?”

If Jesus speaks and gives life, following the commandment his Father gave him, then why do we not believe Jesus’ word?

“Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

Why do you not believe Jesus’ word of life?

You are not of God.

Again, this is a very sobering word from Jesus. It should cause us to stop and think hard about what we believe about God.

For we hear life from Jesus, his word, the word from God, if we are of God.

How are we of God?

We know the answer to the question “Who is Jesus?”

The I Am.

The resurrection and the life.

The way, and the truth, and the life.

Do You Really Believe Jesus Defeated Death?

TODAY’S READING: JOHN 5-6

“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should eternal life, and i will raise him up on the last day.” – John 6:39-40

Christians are quite fond of saying that they have read the end of the Bible. Therefore, they know who wins in the end – God.

However, I’m convinced most Christians do not believe their own words. I’m convinced that most Christians do not actually believe that God wins the victory in the end.

I say this because most Christians seem to believe that because the way is narrow only a small, select group of people will be saved and therefore have eternal life. Everyone else will be damned to eternal and burned up in the lake of fire forever. In other words, in the end, death will claim the lives of millions, even billions, of people.

In the end, on the last day, if death claims the life of even one person, then did God truly win?

No.

In John 6:33, 35, Jesus said, “For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world…I am the bread of life.”

The Greek word for world in verse 33 is kosmos. It means the world, the created world, the universe, all created things.

Hmm…all created things.

Yesterday, I wrote about “What Happens to All Things?” All things are summed up, reconciled, made to be in harmonious friendship with God through love.

Jesus says that he gives life to the world, all created things, everything in heaven and on earth. Over and over, scripture says that God and Jesus give life, specifically to the dead. The dead are all people that walk according to the ways of this world, which means everyone is the dead.

Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Jesus also said, “For I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” (John 12:47)

The mission of Jesus was not just for you as an individual. His missions is for the world, all created things – to save them, to give them life.

Jesus said, “For I have not spoken on my authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (John 12:49-50)

The commandment the Father gave Jesus is to speak eternal life. Jesus speaks life to everything. If he does not speak life to everything, then Jesus will not fulfill the command of his Father. But, Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing and only said what he heard the Father speaking. So, we know that Jesus fulfills the Father’s command to speak eternal life.

Also, we know that God’s word does not return void. What God speaks actually happens. So, if Jesus, who is God, speaks life to all things, then all things will have life. If all things, even just one created thing in heaven and on earth, does not have eternal life, then death will have scored a victory.

However, scripture says and Christians proudly proclaim that God wins not Satan, who brings death because he has the power of death.

Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

If Jesus destroys Satan, the one who has the power of death, by his own, then can there be any death left?

No.

The one who wields death has been destroyed.

“‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)

Death gets swallowed up in the victory of Jesus.

What is the victory of Jesus?

He gives life to the world, every created thing, all things.

If one thing dies, then death is not swallowed up in victory.

“For he must reign until he has put all things in subjection under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:25-26)

Can death be destroyed if anything, anyone, dies?

Would not something, someone, still be in death?

If so, then death would still be existing and not destroyed.

So, for the last enemy, death, to be destroyed, everything, all created things, the world, must have life.

The problem is that most Christians have a short-term focus.

Notice that Paul said the last enemy to be defeated is death.

The word last is the key to understanding that, in the end, everything will have life.

Let’s look at John 6:37-40, 43-44 to see the importance of the word last.

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

What does the Father give to Jesus?

John 3:35 says, “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.”

The Father has given Jesus all things, everything in heaven and on earth. Therefore, all things will come to Jesus. And, everything that comes to Jesus he will never cast it out. If he did cast them out, then they would not have life. So, for Jesus to receive everything that the Father has given him means that everything will have life.

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

Remember, Jesus came down from heaven as the bread of heaven to give life to the world. This is the commandment the Father gave to Jesus – to speak eternal life.

“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he given me, but raise it up on the last day.”

The Father put all things in Jesus’ hand. Jesus is to lose none of the all things that his Father put in his hand. Therefore, he is to give life to all things, every created thing, the world. Jesus will give life to all things on the last day.

“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Everyone who looks at, beholds, Jesus and believes in him will have eternal life.

What does it look like when you truly behold Jesus and believe in him?

Philippians 2:9-10 says, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Every knee bowing and every tongue confessing is everyone beholding Jesus and believing in Him.

“No one cay say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3)

“It is the Spirit who gives life.” (John 6:63)

“The Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)

If everything, all things in Jesus’ hand that have been given to him by the Father, bow the knee and confess that Jesus is lord, then everything has the Spirit. And, because the Spirit gives life, if everything has the Spirit, then everything has life.

“Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him on the last day.”

Why does Jesus say “do not grumble?”

Jesus and the Jews have been talking about Moses, Israel, the manna, and the wilderness journey. The Jews grumbled and complained throughout their wilderness journey but particularly about the manna. Speaking of the wilderness journey, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:10, “Nor grumble as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.”

So, Jesus says do not grumble because the Destroyer, Satan, will destroy you. You will have death.

To come to Jesus, to be drawn by the Father, we need to stop grumbling, stop complaining about what God is or isn’t doing. The sooner we do this, the sooner we have life. Otherwise, we will have to wait until the last day.

While it may look like death is all around us and that God is causing, or at least, allowing death to take place, we must know that this is not the truth. We know it’s not the truth when we change our focus to the last day. For on the last day, everything we will have life. It’s on the last day that Jesus raises everything up.

The last day refers to the last day of the feast of booths or tabernacles. In the Old Testament, the only day we see the phrase “the last day” is in reference to the last day of the feast of booths (see Nehemiah 8:18). Interestingly, the people set up their tents in the square at the Water Gate.

In John 7, Jesus comes to Jerusalem on the feast of tabernacles. John 7:37-39 says, “On the last day, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”‘ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

The feast of tabernacles speaks of Jesus’ second coming. We have already seen that on the last day all things come to Jesus because they are drawn by the Father and have put in his hand. Jesus loses none of these things.

So, on the last day of this feast, symbolic of his second coming, Jesus gives living water, the Spirit, life, to everything.

“God, who gives life to all things.” (1 Timothy 6:13)

“For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world…I am the bread of life.” (John 6:33, 35)

“The last enemy to be defeated is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:26)

Jesus gives life to the world.

This is good news. This is the gospel.

As Christians, we are to know this beyond doubt. It is to be our hope so that we live and preach life to the world, becoming ministers of reconciliation with Jesus.

It’s high time Christians start believing and living the words that come out of their mouth.

In the end, God wins.

Death is defeated.

Death is swallowed up in victory.

Life reigns.

For the world.

Every created thing in heaven and on earth.

All things.