LIFE OF THE MESSIAH – 004
DR. ARNOLD G. FRUCHTENBAUM
THE INTRODUCTION OF THE KING -
(a) Testimony of John Before Leaders
Paragraph 26 – John 1:19-28
We don’t always have all of the details about the day by day account of His life but now and then we’re given a bit more day by day details. Go back to paragraph 18 for a moment, and Luke 2:43 says that “when He was twelve years old, they went up after the custom of the feast; and when they had fulfilled the days,” and these are two days, the day of the Passover and the day of Unleavened Bread, that accounts for two days. Verse 44 says they traveled a full day journey; the first campsite, that would be the third day. In verse 45 they returned, and that’s the fourth day. And then verse 46 it says they took them three more days to find Him. So here you have a full week. There are a couple of times we’ll a full week, that’s normally unusual.
Now we come to the testimony of John before the leaders, we’re in paragraph 26. What we have here is the second stage, we mentioned earlier the stage of interrogation, and now they’ve come back to John and this time they are raising questions and three times, this is we are told, an official delegation from Jerusalem. The first time is in John 1:19, “And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent unto him from Jerusalem priests and Levites to ask him, Who are you?” The second time you see this is in the second line of verse 22, “Who are you? That we may give an answer to them that sent us.” The third time we see it is in verse 25, “And they had been sent from the Pharisees.”
So three times we are told this is not just people standing by raising questions; it’s an official delegation to finally find out exactly who John claims to be. And this is the stage of interrogation. And John denies being three things; first of all, he denies being the Messiah in verse 21, “I am not the Christ,” I am not the Messiah. Secondly in verse 21, “Are you Elijah? And he said, I am not.” Notice he denies being Elijah. This is the third basic connection; the first was he comes in the spirit and power of Elijah; secondly he dressed like Elijah, but now he denies being Elijah. There will be other connections further on in our study. And then they ask him, “Are you the prophet,” meaning the prophet of Deuteronomy 18. The rabbis made a unique prophet, they did not identify him with the Messiah. He again answers no. So he’s not Elijah, he’s not the Messiah, he’s not the prophet of Deuteronomy 18. And so who he is he? He says, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord, as Isaiah the prophet said,” according to Isaiah 40:3 and the point is, he is the forerunner of the Messiah, he’s the herald of the king.
And in John 19:26 there’s one “in the midst of you standing, one whom ye know not,” and so he of course knows who the Messiah is but he’s not quite ready to make Him public yet, but He’s standing in their midst. And he’s not even worthy to unlatch this person’s sandals. At this point he’s undergone the second stage, the stage of interrogation and again what happens to the herald will happen to the King.
b. Testimony of John to Jesus
Paragraph 27 – John 1:29-34
A day passes and verse 29, paragraph 27 says “On the morrow he sees Jesus coming unto him, and says, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” And in the first century Jewish context there were two concepts of lamb in the Jewish minds of the first century. First of all was the Passover lamb of Exodus 12; then secondly, the Messianic lamb of Isaiah 53. And by calling Him the Lamb of God identifies Him with the Passover lamb and he identifies Him with Isaiah 53.
He points out in verse 30, “This is he of whom I said, After me comes a man who is come before me; because he was before me.” As to His humanity, of course, He is six months younger than John but as to His deity He preceded John. And the reason he began a ministry of baptism is found in verses 32-33, because of previous revelation that he will be performing the baptism, and when he sees the Spirit descending on someone he baptizes then that will be an authenticating sign that this is indeed the Messiah Himself. He obviously knew who Jesus was already but the coming of the Spirit when Jesus was baptized was the authenticating sign. And this ends the first major division of the life of Jesus.
II. THE AUTHENTICATION OF THE KING – Paragraphs 28-56
A. Acceptance of His Person – Paragraphs 28-36
1. The Belief by the First Disciples – Paragraph 28, John 1:35-51
We now come to the second major division which deals with the authentication of the King, comprising paragraphs 28-56; the two main subdivisions, capital A we deal with acceptance of His person in paragraph 28-36 and then capital B, the authority of the King in paragraphs 37-56.
Now in paragraph 28 we come to the belief by the first disciples. Another day passes and once again John identifies Jesus to be the Lamb of God. What happens now is two disciples of John now leave John to become disciples of Jesus. And His first two is John, the author of the Gospel, and Andrew, the brother of Peter.
There’s a strange interchange, a strange conversation that occurs until you realize the Jewish background behind it. They’re simply following Jesus for a while, and finally in John 1:38 He turns to them with the question, “What are you seeking? And they said unto Him, Rabbi, where do you live?” “Where abidest thou?” where do you live, a strange response. “Who are you seeking,” an answer, “where do you live?”
Now this fits the common way a disciple became a disciple of a specific rabbi. If a man was to be discipled and trained by a specific rabbi he would follow the rabbi around for a while, not too closely that he becomes a bother but not too far where he would not be noticed. It might be a matter of hours or days, but eventually the rabbi will turn around and ask the same question Jesus did, “who are you looking for,” and the response is to be, “where do you live.” And if the rabbi said that’s none of your business that meant he was rejecting the person as a disciple, but if he said come and see, that meant he was accepting him to be a disciple. And to them in verse 39 He says “Come and ye shall see.” And this marks the point that these two men become disciples of Jesus.
Andrew, in verse 40, has a brother who becomes a bit more famous, Simon Peter; he tells Peter in verse 41, “We have found the Messiah” and “He brought him unto Jesus” and so in this one day He’s got the first three of His twelve apostles.
Then another day passes and in John 1:43 this time He Himself sees Philip and He calls Philip to discipleship and Philip becomes the fourth disciple. And in verse 44 Philip finds Nathanael and says to him, “We have found Him, of whom Moses in the Law and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And when he mentioned the place of Nazareth notice the response of this future disciple, Nathanael expresses the typical fellow Galilean attitude: “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip wisely doesn’t argue this issue, he tells him “Come and see.”
And then you have another strange conversation going on. We read in John 1:47, that when Jesus saw Nathanael approaching Him, He makes a proclamation, “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” This is the first time the two men actually meet. Nathanael’s response unto Him, “How do you know me? Jesus answered, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Notice Nathanael’s response: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel. That’s a rather strange conversation. Now if I came up to you and I said: I happened to see you sitting underneath the apple tree, I don’t think you’d respond and say, man, you must be the King of Israel, you must be the Son of God. If you’re normal you wouldn’t be responding that way. And yet Nathanael’s responds by Jesus simply saying I see you under the fig tree, and based upon that why does Nathanael conclude that Jesus has to be the Messiah and the Son of God?
Let’s break this down a bit. Notice he initially does not call Him by name but by title, “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile. Now the first one named Israel was Jacob. And Jacob had to flee his home because of one act of guile, and often you hear it’s a life of guile, it’s not true; he performed only one act of guile, deceiving the father; even that was at the instigation of his mother. Because of one act of guile the first Israel, Jacob, had to flee the household. And now you have one of Jacob’s descendants, also in this life indeed but unlike Jacob this one has no guile. And of course the first time the two men meet Nathanael wants to know how do you know me? And then Jesus answered, “when you were under the fig tree I saw you.”
Now what is significant about being underneath the fig tree? Now keep in mind in those days it was not possible for everyone to have a copy of Scripture, scrolls were rare and in between, so what the Jewish people did is they would go to the synagogue school, the reader would read the text and they would memorize it, repeating and memorizing, repeating and memorizing. And then the common rabbinic teaching was that the best place to meditate on what you memorized would be underneath a fig tree, and Solomon (?) even quotes how different rabbis had their classes under fig trees. So the calling of Nathanael from under the fig tree wasn’t merely something that was truly accidental. By seeing him underneath the fig tree and calling him (?) what Nathanael begin to realize this Jesus knew the passage of Scripture this man was meditating upon. He was meditating upon the same passage of Scripture in Genesis 28 where Jacob was fleeing from the household of Isaac because of that one act of guile. This comes out clearer as we continue.
Now Jesus responds to him in John 1:50, “Because I saw you under the fig tree you believe, you shall see greater things than these. And He said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” Now where else in the Bible do you read of angels ascending and descending upon the earth? And that’s in Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28, the dream he had the first night after he left home. So you put the whole paragraph together: Jesus knew the very Scripture that he was meditating upon; he was meditation upon Genesis 28, a chapter on Jacob fleeing and having his dream of angels ascending and descending. And so Nathanael realizes that Jesus could read his mind, and because He could read his mind He must indeed be who He claims to be. So there’s more involved than merely something that could have been accidental of sitting underneath the fig tree. He knew the actual passage Nathanael was meditation upon and therefore Nathanael concluded You are the Son of God, You are the King of Israel.
2. The Belief Through the First Miracle
Paragraph 29 – John 2:1-11
Now paragraph 29, we have the account of the belief through the first miracle. Here are the first of John’s seven signs. Once again you see a full week transpiring. Go back to paragraph 26; in paragraph 26 you have the first day; in paragraph 27, John 1:29 “On the morrow,” the second day. Paragraph 28, verse 35, again, “On the morrow,” the third day. Verse 43, “On the morrow.” And in paragraph 29 three more days pass, so once again a full week is recorded.
Now there is a wedding that takes place in a town called Cana, about seven miles north of the modern day Cana, the modern Cana is not the biblical one. And Jesus comes to this wedding, obviously the family was invited, but He brings with Him the five disciples He has with Him. Now keep in mind a Jewish wedding feast and it lasted for seven days; this would be seven days of festivities. And a normal pattern was that you would first, in the beginning serve the better wines, like these early and German wines, and once people had a bit too much and then the taste was not so sharp and then you serve the lesser wines, like the California wines or New York wines.
A terrible thing happened that should not happen at any Jewish wedding, they suddenly ran out of wine. And Mary comes to Him with the statement that they ran out of wine. And why she came to Him is not clear, maybe she’s complaining because He brought these five extra men is the reason they ran out of wine so quickly. He says to her in John 2:4, “Woman, what have I to do with you? Mine hour is not yet come.” Normally when you see that statement made it refers to His coming, to His future death. But in this context the point is it’s not here that He must go public with His miracles; the place to go public would be in Jerusalem and not lower Cana. Furthermore by calling, “Woman, what have I to do with you,” He reminds her she has no longer any parental authority over Him. So if He does He’ll do it out of honoring the parent, not out of the need to obey the parent.
And what He does is that they bring water pots of stone because remember Jewish people cannot eat anything until they first wash their hands and because it’s a seven day festival there would be frequent washing of hands. There was great water pots of stone that were used for the hand washing rituals before eating. And these pots are filled with water and by the miracle He performs He turns them into Welch’s grape juice…you can believe that if you want to. At a Jewish wedding nobody would be commended for serving grape juice. And furthermore, the wine that He made in these pots is far more significant, better than the wine first served. And so the one who arranged the food is commended, though he probably didn’t know what he was being commended for, for serving the better wines last rather than first, which was the normal pattern.
And the results are found in John 2:11, first of all, he points out He “manifested His glory,” because it shows His power to create, He bypassed all process of growing the grapes and crushing the grapes, and giving the grapes time to ferment. And secondly, “His disciples believed on Him.” They already accepted Him to be the Messiah but now that faith in Messiahship is confirmed. Now verse 11 says, “This is the beginning of His signs.”
This is the first miracle He performs and this will falsify all those other kinds of gospels that were spurious, that talk about Him perform miracles as a baby, as a child; there’s one record where Jesus was playing with other boys in the town and they were making birds from clay but his bird, his clay bird did not look as nice as the other clay birds the other people were making and so the other kids were making fun of Him, and Jesus says well, My bird can fly and He performed a miracle and the clay bird began to fly. But this falsifies those other spurious gospels; this is the first miracle He performs, turning water into wine.
And in Psalm 104:15 the drinking of wine is a symbol of joy. He says praise the Lord for making wine that gladdens the heart of man. Drink as much grape juice as you like, it won’t have that effect.
3. The Sojourn in Capernaum
Paragraph 30 – John 2:12
Now in paragraph 30 we have the sojourn to Capernaum, this is now strictly a family journey, though it will later become His ministry headquarters.
4. The Possession of the Temple
Paragraph 31 – John 2:13-22
Now paragraph 31 we come to the possession of the temple. Now verse 13 mentions the Passover; this is the first of four Passovers mentioned in His public ministry, and so four Passovers make up three years. He was baptized somewhere between 4 to 6 months previously and so that’s why we account His ministry to last about three and a half years. As far as His public ministry it lasted exactly three years from this Passover to the last Passover.
He comes to the Passover and He sees two things: those who are selling sacrifices and those who are changing money, the result of a business venture of one man, Annas. Annas was a Sadducee and he turned the temple compound into a private family business. He made his sons the treasurers, his sons-in-law the assistant treasurers, and Josephus, a first century Jewish historian defines him as being a horder of money, very rich, and despoiling the other people by violence. Any common priest that would object to the actions that he performs would be beaten up.
And there are two things; first of all, selling sacrifices. Now by the Mosaic Law you had the perfect right to bring your own sacrifice to the temple compound, however it had to be without blemish, without spot, and therefore it had to be inspected by the priesthood before it could be sacrificed. If you chose to bring your own sacrifice the priest that would be working on behalf of Annas would simply find something wrong with your sacrifice. You had two options; you can go back home and get another one, if you lived near Jerusalem that would be possible. If you lived up in Galilee, which was a three day journey each way, six days round trip, that would not be practical. So in one part of the temple compound they had these stalls erected, all of these sacrifice animals, they are ultimately having the good house Sadducee stamp of approval on them; you could purchase a sacrifice from them but they were sold at highly inflated prices. And the money went into the pockets of Annas and his family.
The second thing happens, the moneychangers, because in the Passover time is when everybody had to pay their half shekel temple tax. Now because Romans were ruling the country they were using Roman’s coinage as legal coins; the Jews could not use that kind of money to give to the temple treasury because they have images of the Caesars. And so they have to change the money to temple currency; there was always a service charge that was charged in the exchange and the profits also went to Annas and his family. And the Pharisees, by the way, did not like to see this either and in the Pharisaic writings it’s called the bazaar of the sons of Annas.
And He’s using His authority to drive the sellers of sacrifices out, overturning the moneychanger’s tables; He even pulled out a whip and began scourging them out of the temple compound, applying to them the statement of Isaiah 69:9, they have taken the house of God and turned it into a house of merchandise. He points out, (?) the disciples began to realize the meaning of the verse when He says, “The zeal of your house shall eat me up,” literally “the zeal of your house will be the cause of my destruction,” My zeal for your house will be the cause of My destruction.
But the Sadducees come to Him asking Him by what authority does He does these things, He gives a cryptic answer in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” He’s talking about His body but at this point they do not yet understand what He’s saying. He points out that the temple compound was already forty six years in building; in fact, it won’t be finished until about six years before it was destroyed. So could He rebuild all this in one day?
And by the way, in the year 67 AD the Pharisees got so upset at what these people were doing they went ahead and raided the temple compound, overthrew the money changers tables, overthrew the whole sacrifices, and they cleansed it, and then three years later the whole temple compound was destroyed in the year AD 70.
5. Acceptance in Judea
Paragraph 32 – John 2:23-3:21
a. Faith in His signs – Paragraph 32a, John 2:23-25
Paragraph 32, faith in His signs, first His acceptance in Judea, then small “a,” faith in His signs. Now this (?) Passover He goes public in two ways; first of all He goes public with His Messianic claims in paragraph 31, but now in paragraph 2 in verses 23-25 He goes public with His miracles. From paragraph 32 until paragraph 61 the purpose of His miracles are to serve as signs to Israel, to get Israel to make a decision concerning His Messianic claims. So from paragraph 32 to paragraph 61 the purpose of the miracles is to serve as signs to Israel to get Israel to make a decision concerning His claims. In paragraph 61-64, as we will see, He will change the purpose of His miracles, but as far as we’re going to go with it tonight and tomorrow, the purpose of His miracles is to serve as signs for Israel, to get Israel to make a decision concerning His Messianic claims.
Now these miracles were to authenticate two things. First of all, His person, that He’s the Messiah the prophets spoke about; and secondly His message, He’s offering to Israel the Kingdom of the Jewish prophets. If they will accept Him as the Messianic King they will see the Kingdom established in their day but no such Kingdom could be established until they first owned Him to be the Messianic King. So for today and tomorrow just keep in mind initially the purpose of His miracles was to serve as signs to Israel, to get Israel to make a decision concerning His claims.
b. The Explanation to Nicodemus
Paragraph 32 b, John 3:1-21
We come to paragraph 32b concerning Nicodemus. Here we have the first of John’s seven discourses, the discourse on the new birth; the first of his seven discourses, the discourse on the new birth. John 3:1, “Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.” And by calling him a Pharisee, right away tells us about his beliefs because they only used these one word titles to describe what people happened to be theologically. We do that to this day; for example, if we call someone a Baptist, what does that mean? Well, one of the fundamentals of the Baptist church is that only immersion is the proper mode of baptism, only those old enough to believe and have believed qualify for baptism. If we call someone else a Presbyterian is saying something different. Now you point here is someone that believes that infants are allowed to be baptized, they also believe only a little dab will do you, a few drops of water is sufficient water for baptism. There are certain fundamentals that make you a Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian and so on. Even terms like Calvinist and Arminian are two terms which spell out theologically where people stand on certain issues; there are certain fundamentals that make you one or the other.
The same principle applies to the term Pharisee. There are certain fundamentals that made you a Pharisee that would distinguish you from a Sadducee, from an Essene, from a Zealot or some other branch of Judaism of that day. Among the fundamentals of Pharisaic Judaism was and I quote, “all Israel has a share in the age to come.” All Israel has a share in the age to come. What they meant by that is this: if anyone was born a Jew, merely being born a Jew would be automatic rights to God’s Kingdom. Now that’s not true with the Gentiles; if a Gentile wished to qualify for God’s Kingdom he would have to do one of two things. One option would be to obey the laws of Noah and the Noahic Covenant, the seven laws of the Noahic Covenant of Genesis 9. A second option would be to convert to Judaism and also take on the Mosaic Law. A Gentile could qualify one way or the other. But a Jew merely qualified by being born as a Jew.
There’s a saying in the Pharisaic (?) that went like this: “Abraham sits at the gates of gehenna to snatch any Israelite consigned thereto.” (End of quote). If by some heavenly bureaucratic mistake, a Jew is assigned to go to hell, not to worry; Abraham sits at the gates of hell and will catch me before I have a chance to fall in, because all of us are to share in the age to come. So again, merely being born a Jew would have automatic rights into God’s kingdom. And being born physically was given a specific expression in Pharisaic writings, which was to be born of water. To be born of water meant to be born physically, and if you were born physically as a Jew it gave you rights to Messiah’s Kingdom and God’s Kingdom.
That’s the theology of this man that now comes to Jesus, based upon what he saw and heard in John 2. When the conversation gets too involved, Jesus insisted in verse 3, “Except a man be born anew,” or again, or from above, “he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” Before the conversation gets too involved, Jesus simply says to him until he experiences the new birth, he will not even see God’s Kingdom.
His response is often misunderstood and in the sermons I’ve heard on this it’s popular among the evangelistic style speakers, they invariably interpret the response to mean that he did not understand what Jesus meant by the term “born again,” it was a brand new term for him, he’d never heard of it before. But if you look at his question, that’s not really his dilemma. He’s not asking how was one born again; his question is how was one born again when he is old. Now if his problem was merely what do you mean by the birth, what difference will age make, how are you born again if you are a child, a young man or an old man, or a teen? He does know something about the term; it was a common used term in Pharisaic writings; what he does not understand is how one can achieve it once he’s reached a certain age in life and status in Jewish society.
And the reason for his lack of understanding is that in Pharisaic Judaism there was six different ways of being born again. All six of the ways are in the realm of the physical, the realm of being born of water only. Of these six ways he did not qualify for two: he did qualify for four. The first way to be born again is when a Gentile converted to Judaism; conversion to Judaism is a process and in the process he would be declared born again. Nicodemus was born a Jew and did not need to undergo that process; he did not qualify for this first kind of new birth.
The second way to be born again was to be crowned king; and a man being crowned king would undergo a rather lengthy coronation service at the end of which he would be declared born again. John nowhere implies that Nicodemus was a member of the house of David apart from Jeconiah, a requirement for Jewish kingship. Even if he happened to be that, at this point of Jewish history the Jews were under Roman domination and there’d be no opportunity of being crowned king anyway. So the second way he did not qualify either.
But there were four other ways he did qualify and did achieve. The third way is going through a special type of ceremony at the age of 13. It’s now referred to as the Bar Mitzvah; that was not the term used in the first century but it became a subsequent term and the term of Bar Mitzvah means a son of the commandment. And first a ceremony that happens when the lad is 13 years old, at that age he takes upon himself the obligations of the Mosaic Law. The common teaching was until that point his parents were responsible for his sins; now he’s responsible for his own sins and by Jewish law he’s legally an adult. Now by Jewish law you cannot have a service of any kind unless you have ten adult males present. And once you had your Bar Mitzvah you’d be counted among the ten adult males necessary for a Jewish service to be conducted. By this point he’s obviously well past the age of 13, he was born again for the first time at that age.
Now the fourth way to be born again is to marry. When a Jewish man underwent a Jewish wedding, under the canopy and various rituals you would be declared born again. Now nowhere in the passage does John come out and say that he was married, yet we know that he was married by going back to verse 1 where John calls him two things: he first of all calls him a Pharisee, but that tells us nothing about his marital state; he could be a Pharisee single, he could be a Pharisee married. Paul was a Pharisee single. But the second thing he calls him is a ruler of the Jews. This was a title given to seventy one members of the Jewish Sanhedrin and among the prerequisite membership in the Sanhedrin was to be a married man. Single men of any age or scholarship would never qualify. So the fact that John calls him a ruler of the Jews meant he was a member of the Sanhedrin, which also meant he was a married man and so he qualified the second way. And Jewish males married back then between the ages of 16 and 20. At that point he was born again for the second time.
The fifth way to be born again is to be ordained a rabbi; after years of training you would be officially ordained as into the rabbinic. And Nicodemus being both a leading Pharisee and (?) meant he was also an ordained rabbi; rabbis were ordained at the age of 30; at that age he was born again for the third time.
The last way to be born again is the sixth way which is to become a Rosh Yeshiva, a title given to those who are a head of rabbinic academies, rabbinic seminaries, where they are responsible to both train and ordain future rabbis. It would not be attained on a level in Jewish society because of the way Jesus addresses him in verse 10, where he says “are you the teacher of Israel;” and the rendering you have here in the Harmony is the correct rendering.
Now if you read the King James Version it doesn’t quite read that way. The King James reads “are you a teacher of Israel.” And for some reason the King James committee chose to ignore the definite article. The New Testament was translated by Gentile committees who did not always understand these small Jewish nuances; they saw no difference in saying “the teacher” and “a teacher,” they missed the point that John was making. Now those who were common rabbis had the title of (?) which means a teacher. But those who were head of the academies were given a title of Rabban which means the teacher. So Gamaliel was always referred to as Rabban Gamaliel, because he was the head of a rabbinic academy, among his students happened to be Apostle Paul. The fact He calls him “the teacher” of Israel, not “a teacher,” means he was the head of a rabbinic academy around Jerusalem, attained about the age of fifty; at that point he was born again for the fourth and also the last time.
Once he underwent these four of six ways available to him within Pharisaism there was no other way to be born again, and that’s why he asked the question the way he did: How is one born again when he is old? What he is saying is hey, I’ve used up all my options. As far as he can see there is no other way to be born again except the way he suggested back in verse 4, to go back into his mother’s womb, to be born physically once more and simply begin the past all over again, being born again at the ages of 13, 20, 30 and 50.
What He’s doing with Nicodemus is a very common Jewish method of teaching when you go from the known to the unknown. The known fact is the expression “born again,” born anew, or born from above. But the unknown element is the spiritual ramifications because in Pharisaism it strictly a physical connotation but not a spiritual connotation.
So He sets the stage in such a way he says in verse 5, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” And by saying he has to be born of both water and the Spirit he rejects the Pharisaic fundamental, all Israel automatically enters in the age to come. Merely being born physically, even as a Jew, does not qualify anyone for the Kingdom. One has to be born both physically and spiritually; both born of water and the Spirit to qualify. And until Nicodemus has this kind of new birth, he does not qualify.
He points out the difference between three types of birth in John 2:6-7, to be born of water is to be born of the flesh, and the flesh birth is flesh birth and flesh alone will not qualify you for the Kingdom. To be born of the Spirit means the Holy Spirit will regenerate that dead human spirit, we then become alive to God, that’s the kind of new birth that is essential for God’s Kingdom; until Nicodemus has this kind of new birth he will not see, he will not enter into God’s Kingdom.
The next question that will come up in the mind of Nicodemus is how is one born again spiritually. On this he begins to expound, pointing out there are two separate steps; God does the first one, man does the second. Verse 14, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believes in Him may have eternal life.” The first step is the one that God does; to send His Son to provide the final atonement. When He died on the cross He did provide salvation for the whole world; by itself that will save no one. There comes a second step, the individual must believe and receive what God’s provided by means of the Son.
I suppose the most famous verse in John’s Gospel today is the very next one, John 3:16. It’s famous for two reasons. First of all, it appears in every gospel tract you’ll read, virtually. Secondly, it’s famous because of the national football league; ever notice when somebody is about to kick a field goal somebody in the stands put up this big sign “John 3:16,” what I wish he would do is spell out what it says; you cannot be saved by knowing those three numbers, you have to know what the content is and believe it. And the same two steps are repeated in verse 16: number one, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,” the first step is a finished step. God has done all He needs to do to provide salvation for all. But again, by itself that will not save anyone. There comes a second step, the individual must receive what God has provided: “and whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Until Nicodemus accepts Jesus to be the Messianic King he will not see, he will not enter into God’s Kingdom.
For Nicodemus this was such a new interpretation of the new birth he could not accept it right away. And those of us involved in Jewish ministries learn a lesson early; it’s very rare for a Jew to accept the gospel when he first hears it. For a Jewish person there goes a struggle, a spiritual struggle, a theological struggle, a mental struggle, a family struggle, an ethnic struggle. He must reprogram his whole way of thinking before he begins to see the possibility that this Jesus could be the Jewish Messiah. Any Jewish believer you meet has undergone the struggle for a short or long duration of time. For Nicodemus the struggle begins here and will continue for three years. He will appear two more times in John’s Gospel, the second time will be in John 7, not yet a believer, but as we’ll see, going to defend the right of Jews to be heard before being condemned. And thirdly, at the time of the burial of Jesus he comes out openly as a believer.
Now because Nicodemus was prominent in Jewish society he could not be ignored in Jewish writings; he was not ignored. We learn some other things about Nicodemus outside of John’s Gospel from rabbinic writings. In those days rabbis did not make a living off the rabbinate. Everybody had to have a profession with his hands or a side business by which he would earn his living, so he could teach the Scriptures free of charge. That’s why Paul, who was an ordained rabbi, was a tentmaker by profession.
And according to these writings, Nicodemus was a well digger, a very wealthy well digger. And according to the rabbis he was among the wealthiest men in all Jerusalem, he was among three of the most righteous men of Jerusalem—three of the most righteous men and among the wealthiest men of all the city. But when he became a believer in Jesus he was reduced to poverty, died a pauper, his daughter had to go around begging for bread to stay alive. Rabbis record the story only for one reason, to warn other Jews against believing in Jesus. If you believe on Him all these bad things could happen to you too. It may be true he died physically poor; we simply don’t know the facts of the case. We also know he died spiritually rich; he’ll have his place in God’s Kingdom.
Now for the theme I’m developing, here we have the first confrontation between Jesus and a member of the Pharisaic party, he was also a member of the Sanhedrin; it becomes obvious early in the ministry of Jesus that He will reject certain fundamentals of Pharisaic Judaism, like the one all Israel automatically has a share in the age to come.
I mentioned that one of John’s sub themes, the conflict of light and darkness, and the first time that was actually found is in paragraph 2, in verses 3-9, John 1:3-9, here we have a second example, here in paragraph 32 verses 19-21, a second example of John’s sub theme of the conflict of light and darkness.
6. The Witness of John
Paragraph 33 – John 3:22-36
Now we come to paragraph 33, the witness of John. Now verse 23 says, “And John also was baptized in AEnon near to Salim, because there was much water there.” Again, Jews only practice immersion. And if he was merely practicing sprinkling or pouring he wouldn’t have to move. But his ministry is primarily at the south end of the Jordan River as it runs into the Dead Sea. And towards the end of the summer months, before the rainy season begins the water gets rather shallow. It’s always possible to sprinkle and to pour but not always possible to immerse. So he goes up north to “AEnon near to Salim,” which is not too far from where the river exists to the Sea of Galilee, and there it’s always deep enough to immerse. It again shows how important immersion was in their Jewish context.
The disciples, he says disciples of his own, which observed the discipleship movement of Jesus. We don’t have to be jealous for John’s sake but John says there’s no need to be jealous. Notice the three elements of verse 28-29, you have the bride, the bridegroom and the friend of the bridegroom. Ultimately as the New Testament teaches, the bridegroom is the Messiah, the bride will be the Church, and the friend of the bridegroom would there represent the Old Testament saints. Old Testament saints are not part of the Church; the Church began only as of Acts 2, but they are the friend of the bridegroom.
And furthermore he points out concerning Jesus, in verse 34, “for He gives not the Spirit by measure.” This is in fulfillment of Isaiah 11:2; the Messiah was given the Spirit without measure. All of us receive the Spirit in measure and yet we have different callings, different spiritual gifts and things of that nature. And God gives us all that we need to fulfill His calling in our lives. In the case of Jesus there were no limitations, He has this seven-fold fullness of the Holy Spirit of Isaiah 11:1-2.
7. The Imprisonment of John
Paragraph 34 – John 4:1-4; Luke 3:19-20
Mark 1:14; Matthew 4:12; Luke 4:14
Now paragraph 34, the imprisonment of John. Jesus now leaves Judea to go back to Galilee for three reasons. The first reason is in John’s account, John 4:1, “the Pharisees have heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John,” so John points out He Himself was not doing the work of baptism, that was given to His apostles to perform. Secondly, in John 4:4 he says “He must needs pass through Samaria,” showing that this is a divine plan; he would not bypass Samaria as most Jews often did, but He would go through Samaria to get to Cana.
And then the last reason is in Luke 3:19, in that John was arrested because of John’s statements about the false marriage of Herod to Herodias, and the problem we’ll see later in a different paragraph. But she married him when her first husband, Philip, was still alive, and Philip and Herod were brothers. And so now John is imprisoned, and so again what happens to the herald will happen to the King. The first part of the divine plan comes out in Luke’s account, Luke 4:14, He now goes by “the power of the Spirit.”
8. The Acceptance in Samaria
Paragraph 35 – John 4:5-42
So we come to paragraph 35, acceptance in Samaria. The Samaritans were a mixed breed in two ways. First of all, ethnically, these were the people the Assyrians brought into the land that was the Northern Kingdom of Israel and they intermarried with the Jewish population left in the land. But secondly, the most significant there was also a mixed religion because they brought in their own pagan worship styles and they simply adopted the God of Israel to be one of their gods but not the only one. And although by the time of the New Testament they were already monotheistic, they still have certain practices that was uncomfortable for the Jews. In order to participate in the rebuilding of the temple, the Jews wouldn’t allowed them to do that, and so they built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, a temple the foundations of which you can still see on that mountain if you go up on top of it. And therefore the city of Mount Gerizim became their holy site. Mount Gerizim overlooks the biblical town of Shechem.
Now Samaritans generally would not allow Jews to travel through Samaria on their way to Jerusalem; they were very anti-Jerusalem; in fact they went through the Mosaic Law and they changed every possible reference to Jerusalem and made it Mount Gerizim. So you pick up the Samaritan Pentateuch it doesn’t say Abraham brought Isaac to Mount Moriah, but to Mount Gerizim. So when Jews wished to travel through Samaria to get to Jerusalem they were often forbidden to travel or were attacked and often killed. The Samaritans did not mind seeing Jews traveling away from Jerusalem, that was all right; the Jews traveled from Jerusalem and that’s fine, later on we’ll see when (?) to travel against (?) they will not let them pass.
And He has an encounter with a Samaritan woman; the passage has five basic divisions. In John 4:10-14 He reveals to her a new kind of life. Secondly, in verses 15-19 He reveals to her something about herself, why she needs this new kind of life. Thirdly, in verses 20-23 He spells out what constitutes true worship. Fourthly, in verse 24 He reveals who the Father is and in verses 25-26 He reveals Himself to be the Messiah. And the common Jewish saying was: May my eyes never see a Samaritan; and the Jews were just as anti-Samaritan as the Samaritans were anti-Jewish.
What we see is the woman is eventually drawn to faith; she first of all calls Him a “Jew” in verse 9, and that’s not a compliment coming from her. She then becomes more respectful and calls Him a “Sir,” as in verse 11 and verse 15. She then calls him a prophet; that’s significant because in Samaritan theology the only prophet that would come would be the Messiah. And then fourthly, she recognizes Him to be that Messiah.
So they’re traveling through Samaria and they come to a well. He sends His disciples into the town itself, the well was outside of town, He sends them into the town itself to purchase some food. He asks her for water, she says, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask drink of me, who am a Samaritan woman? (For the Jews have no deals with Samaritans).” And that’s correct. There was no relationships about trade and so on between the two ethnic groups. And she’s surprised that He, being a Jew, would even talk to her, being a Samaritan woman.
At that point He introduces her to a new kind of life that He has another type of water; He calls “living water” in verse 10, that if you partake of this water you’ll never thirst again. And in verse 14, “the water which I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life.” He points out He has a special kind of water that He can offer to her. So she requests in verse 15, “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not,” I didn’t “come all the way hither to draw,” she does not yet understand the nature of the water He’s offering to her. At that point He asks her to bring her husband. Her response, “I have no husband,” and then He shows her what He knows; you have spoken correctly, you’ve already been married five times, the man you’re living with now is not your husband.
Now what she does is a common element when you find yourself witnessing to a lot of people, when you finally get to a point to deal with their sin because they don’t realize their need for salvation until they realize what are before God—sinners. When you finally point out their sins so many want to get theological again, not (?) get into a theological argument. For example, my experience, when I point out the sin I often get a response, well, where did Cain get his wife? I don’t know what that has to do with his sin but where did Cain get his wife? And she does, she points out, well you Jews say Jerusalem is the proper place to worship but we Samaritans say Mount Gerizim is the proper place to worship, verse 20, “on this mountain,” this mountain is Mount Gerizim.
Now He does answer the question; He points out that indeed Jerusalem is the proper place to worship because under the Mosaic Law which was still in force at this stage, that is the place to worship in accordance with the Mosaic Law. And public worship elsewhere is not acceptable. But He points out a time is coming that it will be neither here or there, everybody that believes can worship God wherever they are, in spirit and in truth.
Notice verse 22, “Ye worship that which ye know not; we worship that we know: for salvation is from the Jews.” The Jewish people received the message of salvation, they recorded the record of salvation, and therefore they knew what the proper place of worship is. But again, ultimately, in verse 24, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”
Now when she calls Him a prophet, keep in mind the Samaritan theology, the last prophet was Moses, they don’t recognize any of the prophets after Moses, the next prophet will be the Messiah. That’s already one step towards recognizing Him for who He is. And when she says in verse 25, “I know that Messiah comes … when He is come, He will declare unto us all things. Jesus saith unto her,” I am that Messiah, “I that speak unto you am He.” At that point in verse 27 the disciples returned; they are kind of disturbed that He would be talking to a Samaritan woman. And while she runs into town to tell people He has a discussion with His apostles, and he points out that while the physical field is yet four months before it’s ready for harvest, the spiritual harvest is ready even that same day.
And He points out a principle of evangelism; some sow, others reap. And sometimes we sow the seed, someone else does the reaping, sometimes else does the sowing and we do the reaping. He points to them that while they are now reaping, someone else has sown before them, like John the Baptist. And both those who sow and those who reap will receive wages; they will receive their rewards. And so it’s not merely those who succeed in leading people to the Lord that will get rewarded, if other people have first witnessed to them they will also be rewarded.
And we have a very clear example with the woman because after she tells the other people whom she’s talking to and they come to Him, and in verse 39, “And from that city many of the Samaritans believed on Him because of the word of the woman who testified,” notice she does the sowing and Jesus does the reaping. Verse 41, “Many more believed because of His word.” The woman sows and Jesus reaps. That’s a principle in evangelism. He’s very successful in Samaria on this stage; there will be a downward side later on.
9. The Acceptance in Galilee
Paragraph 36 – John 4:43-45
Now in paragraph 36 we have the acceptance in Galilee. And those who accept Him in Galilee, we notice, are those that had been to Jerusalem for the observance of the Passover, saw His miracles, and when they came back many of them believed on Him because of the signs they saw Him do in Jerusalem a little bit earlier. And so these paragraphs focus on acceptance of His person.
B. The Authority of the King – Paragraphs 37-56
1. Messiah’s Authority to Preach – Paragraph 37
Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 4:17; Luke 4:14-15
Now we come to capital D on your outline, the authority of the King, comprising paragraphs 37-56. In paragraph 37 we have His authority to preach and we have His first preaching tour. He’d now begin to go, several times, from city to city, synagogue to synagogue. And by doing what He does here He performs three tasks; the role of a rabbi, the role of a teacher and the role of a prophet. He presents a basic two-fold message. First of all, soteriological, in Mark 1:15, “repent and believe the gospel.”
Notice the word “gospel” here. Here’s a good example the word gospel doesn’t always mean the same thing. The basic meaning is always the same, it means good news, but the content of the good news is not always the same. Now what is the gospel they are proclaiming? The gospel they are proclaiming is that Jesus is the Messianic King, they are not proclaiming anything at this point about His death and resurrection; they are not conscious of that taking place as yet. And in fact, when He finally tells them about it in a later paragraph, even then they would not understand and they react against it.
The gospel we have to believe to be saved today is three points: number one, He died for our sins; secondly, He was buried, the evidence of his death; and thirdly, He rose again the third day. That’s the content of the gospel we have to believe to be saved. That’s not the gospel they are presenting here, as we shall see, they have no consciousness of that. The gospel, the good news they are presenting is that He happens to be the Messianic King. And a second aspect of His content of His ministry is eschatological; He’s presenting the Kingdom program. “Repent ye, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
And then Luke tells us three things about the nature of His ministry. First of all, in verse 14 it was Spirit controlled, He went by the power of the Spirit. Secondly, His reputation begins to spread, “a fame went out concerning Him through all the regions round about.” And thirdly, the main place of His proclamation was the synagogues. He went from synagogue to synagogue proclaiming His Messianic claims.
2. Messiah’s Authority to Heal
Paragraph 38 – John 4:46-54
Paragraph 38, His authority to heal. Here we have the second of John’s seven signs, the second of his seven signs. He happens to be in Cana where earlier He changed the water into wine, and a man comes up to Him from Capernaum. That’s about a twenty mile differential, and He comes to Jesus saying that his son is at the point of death. And he asks Jesus to come down with him to Capernaum, twenty miles away, to heal his son. And he just asks him, the statement that he makes has this main point to it, “Do you need a sign to convince you that the miracle has occurred or can you simply believe what you’re being told, the miracle has occurred without having a sign to verify it. And the fact that the man actually had faith shows (?) to go back to Capernaum right away. As verse 53 shows he stayed in Cana, and late in the next day, apparently, he traveled down to Capernaum. And on the way his servants met him, saying the son was healed. When he asked them when, they said, “yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” If this was Roman time it would be 7:00 p.m., if it was Jewish time it is 1:00 p.m. As a result of this, the second sign that He performs, the whole house believed His Messianic claims.
3. The Rejection in Nazareth
Paragraph 39 – Luke 4:16-31
Paragraph 39, the rejection in Nazareth. Nazareth makes place (?) a microcosm of the nation as a whole because what happens locally in Nazareth will happen nationally later. Now in paragraph 39 you have the initial rejection in Nazareth, and later in paragraph 69 there will be the final rejection in Nazareth. Again, paragraph 39 we have the initial rejection and in paragraph 69 we have the final rejection at Nazareth. What happens locally in Nazareth will also happen nationally.
Just notice who reports this first rejection: it’s Luke alone. Notice how Luke is very careful to spell out the Jewish motifs, because in the Jewish practice when you read the Scriptures you always stand; when you teach you always sit. You read the text standing, you teach the text sitting. Synagogue service, what they’ve done is divide the Mosaic Law in 54 divisions, every Sabbath one segment of the Mosaic Law is read. So you go to any synagogue anywhere in the world the same passage of Scripture from the Law is read on that Sabbath. And as far as the scroll of the prophets, not all the prophets are read but they have sections of the prophets that correlate with the reading of the Mosaic Law.
And it was His turn to read from the prophets. And notice the last line here; He “stood up to read.” This is very Jewish; He stood up to read because you read the text standing. And what He reads is Isaiah 61 but He reads only one and a half verses. This also went against the Jewish practice because the Jewish law for reading these prophets is you must read the minimum of three verses. Different people read different portions but whatever you read you must read the minimum of three verses. He read only half of that passage of Isaiah 61, verse 1 and the first part of verse 2. And people don’t understand why until He sits down. But in verse 20 notice, “He closed the book, or better the scroll, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down,” because you teach in a sitting position.
And now we see why He stopped where He did because He says in verse 21, “Today has this Scripture been fulfilled in your ears.” As far as Isaiah 61 He’s only fulfilling verse 1, the first part of verse 2; the second part of verse 2 and verse 3 He will fulfill only in the second coming but not now. But there is rejection throughout the synagogue, because of a principle in verse 24, “No prophet is acceptable in his own country,” and this is His own town.
So what He does now, again bringing in Gentile examples and female examples because that’s Luke’s special concerns, He points out in verse 25 that back in the Old Testament days of Elijah there were many widows, there were many Jewish widows that Elijah could have been sent to but God sent him not to a Jewish widow but to a Gentile one up in Lebanon. In the days of Elisha, he points out, there are many Jewish lepers Elisha could heal but no Jewish leper was healed by him, only a Gentile leper, Naaman the Syrian. And by using these Gentile examples, a Gentile man, a Gentile woman, He begins to hint what becomes obvious later, that the Gentiles accept what the Jews will reject. The Gentiles accept what the Jewish people reject.
That made them so incensed they took Him to outside the town, and the town of Nazareth is on a hill that comes down to cliff, and the cliff falls into the Jezreel Valley. And they were on the edge of the cliff with the intent to push Him over the cliff to kill Him, but verse 30 simply says, “He passing through the midst of them went his way.” So He was able to walk through their midst, using His Messianic power they could not harm Him.
Now in (?) tradition they claim that He actually leaped from the hill of Nazareth all the way to Mount Tabor, that’s about a thousand mile leap. And to this day that hill is now called the hill of the leap. And near the leap they build a chapel called The Chapel of Our Lady of the Fight, because in (?) tradition when they were getting ready to push him off the cliff Mary was standing there, and when she saw what they were about to do she said umph and they build a church over the spot: The Chapel of the Lady of the Fight. It’s an event that never happened.
4. The Headquarters in Capernaum
Paragraph 40 – Matthew 4:13-16
In paragraph 40 we have the headquarters in Capernaum. He now sets up His ministry in Capernaum. And notice the mention of two tribal names, Zebulun and Naphtali, that would see most of the benefits of Messiah’s life. Now Zebulun is where Nazareth is located; Naphtali is where Capernaum is located. So He grew up in the territory of Zebulun, He ministered in the territory of Naphtali.
You notice on your outline we go from paragraph 40 to 42, 43, 44, and then back to 41, here’s one of those places where A. T. Robertson broke away from Luke’s order, and to me that’s a mistake since Luke clearly says he puts his material in chronological sequence and so whenever A. T. Robertson goes against Luke’s order I follow what Luke says.
5. Messiah’s Authority Over Demons
Paragraph 42 – Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37
In paragraph 42 we have His authority over demons. He’s now in the synagogue service and there is a demonized state and the people who listen to what He’s saying they are surprised because in verse 22, “And they were astonished as His teaching: for He taught them as one having authority, and not just as the scribes.” Remember how the scribes taught, they only have to read two or three pages of rabbinic writings. Rabbi so and so said and rabbi such and such this, rabbi such and such and rabbi so and so that. Everybody was always trying to base their (?) on previous rabbinic authorization. Notice He quotes no rabbi, He quotes no Pharisee, He quotes no scribe. He’s the one of the authority to interpret the text; He’s the One who gave it so He would have that authority.
And when He casts out a demon they are also surprised because He does not cast out a demon in the normal Jewish mode. I’ll discuss the normal Jewish mode in paragraph 61. But His teaching is different than they’re used to and His ways of dealing with demons is different than what they’re used to. And while people may have trouble recognizing who He is, demons have no such difficult. It even says in Luke 4:34, “I know You, You are the Holy One of God.” Whenever the demons announce who He is He rebukes them and holds them silent because demons do not make good character witnesses. You wouldn’t bring an Al Capone into your trial to vouch for you. He will not accept testimony of demons. And because of what happened here, at the end of Luke 4:37, “there went forth a rumor concerning Him” around the region, and we’ll see the results of it momentarily.
6. Messiah’s Authority Over Disease
Paragraph 43 – Mark 1:29-34; Matthew 8:14-17; Luke 4:38-41
Now paragraph 43, we have His authority over disease. Now the common practice is that as Christians after a Sunday morning service go to a nice dinner at home or a restaurant, the same practice happens after the morning Sabbath service, they have their Sabbath meal, and He’s a guest at the home of Peter and Peter’s mother-in-law happens to be ill. Notice the first Pope had a mother-in-law. So the first Pope was married and the others weren’t. And Luke was a medical doctor by profession and was a bit more detailed about diseases and healings. Mark simply says she had a fever; Matthew, she was sick of a fever, but Luke says she has great fever, it meant chronic fever, continuous chronic fever. And Jesus precedes to heal her and notice He did not ask Peter if he wanted his mother-in-law healed. He simply chose to go ahead and do it.
You have three different accounts; but notice how they report it is based upon their theme. Mark says in Mark 1:31, “took her by the hand, and raised her up,” that’s the act of a servant. Matthew says in Matthew 8:15, “He touched her hand, and the fever left her,” and the touch of a King is sufficient. Luke says in Luke 4:39, “He stood over her, and rebuked the fever,” the act of an ideal man. And Luke, the doctor, notices an immediate infusion of strength, that immediately she rose up. The others simply say she rose up but Luke notices it was immediate, instantaneous and she was able to serve the dinner to them.
And when sundown arrived on this Sabbath, it says in Mark 1:32, “And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto Him all that were sick, and them that were possessed with demons.” Remember in Jewish concepts you cannot be healed on the Sabbath day. And in paragraph 42 we noticed that the word began spreading around the region but in keeping with the Jewish practice of that day they wait until sundown; only then do they come out for healing.
And notice also there’s a difference between physical sickness and demon possession. Two different groupings, “all that were sick and them that were possessed with demons,” some were really physically sick and some were ill because of demonized state, either case He could heal and this shows that not all illness is due to demons.
7. Messiah’s Authority to Preach
Paragraph 44 – Mark 1:35-39; Matthew 4:23-25; Luke 4:42-44
Now paragraph 44, His authority to preach. Now we have a second major preaching tour, at this time with disciples carrying out His claims and His message. It would (?) His ministry as to place, He taught them in the synagogues; as to content, He proclaimed the gospel of the Kingdom, the good news of the Kingdom. As far as authentication, He healed sicknesses and cast out demons; this was a second major preaching tour.
Here again we see the results, Matthew 4:24, “And the report of Him went forth into all Syria,” that’s the region that includes Israel and beyond. And then verse 25, “And there followed Him great multitudes from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.” By the end of His second preaching tour His reputation is spread throughout the land, even to areas outside the land. We’ll see an example of it later.
8. Messiah’s Authority Over Nature
Paragraph 41 – Mark 1:16-20; Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 5:1-11
One more paragraph, go back to paragraph 41, His authority over nature. We now have the recall of Peter, Andrew and John and the addition of the sixth disciple, James, the brother of John. Luke notices His position of a rabbi, Luke’s account, end of Luke 5:3, “And He sat down and taught the multitudes,” again rabbis always taught in a sitting position. And many times we’ll see beyond this, when He taught He sat down.
After teaching them He says to His disciples in Luke 5:4 to “Put out the nets” for a great catch of fish. But Peter is a fisherman, he says, in verse 5, “Master, we’ve toiled all night, and took nothing: but at Your word I will let down the nets.” And the implication that Peter says, now Jesus, You are not the fisherman, You are the carpenter, I’m the fisherman. And my experience tells me if you couldn’t catch them during the night hours you won’t catch them in the daytime because when the sun begins to hit the water the fish go deeper into the lake; if you couldn’t catch them at night you won’t catch them in the daytime.
But he recognizes the authority of the Messiah supercedes the authority of his experience. And therefore he lets down the nets and to his surprise they catch a multitude of fish. They filled their boats with so much fish that their boats began sinking. And when Peter recognized His authority over nature in Luke 5:8, Peter “fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Now if we compare ourselves to other people we can always come out looking pretty good; there’s always somebody out there worse than we are. But the proper comparison is not between us and other people; it’s between us and the Lord, and we recognize when we see ourselves against the Lord we have to respond the same way Peter does. We are sinners, O Lord.
But at this point He calls them into fulltime discipleship, follow Me, I will make you fishers of men. And so now they’re called to fulltime discipleship. The result is they now leave the fishing business, and for them, keep in mind this is a total commitment. This is their source of income. They now have to trust Him to provide the income as they travel with Him and be discipled.
We’ll stop here, tomorrow we’ll pick it up at paragraph 45; my goal tomorrow is to get to paragraph 60; I’ll be happy with paragraph 56 but we need to get to paragraph 60 and that will give us a nice place to stop till next weekend when we come to a major turning point of His ministry.
[Question asked] If I did not make that clear, that was in paragraph 5, where the angel says the Lord shall give unto him the throne of his father David. The issue is divine appointment. I think I may have neglected to emphasize that but that’s where you have your second element, divine appointment.
[Question asked] Don’t use the wrong word, converting; for the Jews that means you cease to be a Jew to become a Gentile so it’s important you use the right terminology. But Jewish people, for example, have issues, like the virgin birth, they struggle with the issue of how could a man become God and those are key objections, but the objection you always have that’s not often spoken is since the fourth century 95% of all persecutions against Jews were in the name of Jesus, the Church and the cross. And the visible church has been responsible for 95% of all persecutions from the fourth century onward, so if they claim to believe in Jesus how could they have a long history of spilling Jewish blood. You’re going to have to deal with that issue; they’re not going to hear your voice if you’re not going to deal with issue. Another issue they may bring up or not is they’ve been taught since childhood that if they ever believe in Jesus they’ll cease to be a Jew and they don’t want to cease being Jewish, therefore you have to be careful with the wording used; you have to bring out and identify what Jewishness is, what faith is, and that He’s the Messiah, that’s the most Jewish thing to do would be to believe on Him. There are a lot more details we have a series of papers, one of our staff, Bob Morris, on how to witness to Jews, he’s done a very good job on presenting all these issues.
[Question asked something about the baptism of Jesus to anoint Him as a prophet] He was baptized by John not as a prophet, I wouldn’t say it was not to be a prophet, I think it was anointing by the Spirit for His Messianic mission, that implies more than His just being a prophet.
There was a story from mid-America. Every week three clergymen got together to discuss a specific issue from their three perspectives. And each week a different person went first, second and third, one was a priest, one was a minister one was a rabbi. And on this particular occasion they decided to discuss how they each one decided how much of their income they give back to God. It was the priest’s turn to speak first and he says well this is the way I’ve chosen to do it. Once a week I go outside and I draw a circle on the ground, I stand in the middle of the circle, all the money I’ve received in the week I throw up in the air. Now what falls inside the circle I keep; what falls outside the circle I give to God. The minister says I find what you say interesting because I do something similar but not quite the same way you do it. Like you I go outside, but what I do is draw a straight line on the ground; I stand on top of the line, I throw money up in the air; not what falls on the left of the line I keep and what falls on the right of it I give to God. And the rabbi says I find what both you men say very interesting because I do something similar to both of you, but not quite the same as either of you. Like both of you I go outside and like both of you all the money I’ve received that week I throw up in the air; What God wants He keeps.