John 2 – Verse by Verse

John Pic

In this chapter we see Jesus at a wedding in Cana and in Jerusalem cleansing the temple.  BOth of these stories are told to draw out of us a response of complete, committed faith.

John 02.pdf

John 02.mp3

Here is a link to the livestream video:

John 1 – Verse by Verse

John Pic

John takes us through a long sweep of history from before the creation of the world, through the incarnation and on to Jesus calling his first disciples before starting his public ministry.

John 01.pdf

John 01.mp3

Here is a link to the livestream video:

Faith that overcomes – 1 John 5:4-5

The truest kind of faith thrives in situations where it looks like it is losing.  The Christian martyrs of old, and for that matter, of the present day, die passively.  They may anger and irritate their attackers, but they clearly do not oppress them.  They are and look like victims.  One might imagine they were defeated souls who were finally giving up, and in a way that is true.  There is a sense in which faith is a form of surrender, not to the bully, but to Christ.  It is evidenced by taking up our cross and following him.

The Apostle John wrote the following after all of his fellow apostles had already met untimely deaths at the hands of their persecutors.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Faith lives while imprisoned, exiled and sometimes put to death.  If we think an overcoming faith needs to look victorious on the outside we get it wrong.  It doesn’t have to look like anything in particular.  Paul knew this when he said, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor 5:7).  Faith may be inspiring, but it is not intimidating.  

The important thing about faith is that it just keeps going no matter what happens to it.  Consider that the words faith, faithful and faithfulness are all related in the languages of the Bible as they are English.  At times, in fact, the word translated in the Bible as “faith” needs to be translated as “faithfulness.”  For example, in Romans 3:3, “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?”

So a wavering, sometimes uncertain faith can still be real.  The faith of the underdog may be more authentic than the faith of the perpetual champion.  The champion is certainly more tempted to trust completely in himself and his abilities.  The faith that is baffled by circumstances, but nonetheless rises to meet its next challenge, may be the greatest faith of all.  G. K. Chesterton summed it up nicely.

Faith is always at a disadvantage; it is a perpetually defeated thing which survives all its conquerors.*

 

* Chesterton, G. K.. The G. K. Chesterton Collection [50 Books] . Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition, location 87385

Is it I? – Matthew 26:20-25

If we follow the events of this last week in Jesus’ life day by day, this evening would be the night of the Last Supper.  Let’s look at an interaction that took place between Jesus and his disciples as they gathered around that table.

20 When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. 21 And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

Jesus had some very bad news for Judas: It would have been better for him if he had not been born.  It is no small thing to betray the Lord of all.  But before that awful revelation, all of the disciples are seen questioning their own commitment to Christ.

Lack of faith can diminish our trust in Jesus.  Deepening faith should cause us to distrust ourselves.  How committed are to Christ, really? 

The record probably shows that we are capable of denial, betrayal and numerous unjustified doubts.  Not a pretty sight.

As we look forward to the crucifixion on Good Friday and even more to the resurrection that comes later, let’s pause to question our commitment.  And then let’s remember that neither the quality, strength, nor the confident enthusiasm of our faith is nearly so important as its object.  Who or what are putting our faith in?  A little faith in an all powerful, all loving Savior who died for our sins is sufficient to overcome the world.  

One of those present at the Last Supper, on the night before the day that Jesus died, who questioned himself by asking, “It it I?” was John the beloved disciple.  Much later, he put it like this in one of his letters (1 John 5:4-5),

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?