“…and show her honor…” ~1 Peter 3.7

“…and show her honor…” / 1 Peter 3.7

We love, appreciate, and honor all our pastors’ wives for the contributions each one makes to the ministry of our church. But you will understand if I give this distinct and personal expression of honor to my wife.

For 47 years now, she has served as this pastor’s wife. I was a pastor when she married me, and she is the daughter of a pastor…so she knew what she was signing up for.

She has joined and given her life to me. She has loved me, supported me, encouraged me, and honored me. She has rejoiced with me and wept with me. She has often suffered and endured with me. She has felt everything I have felt, and most of the time, more deeply and personally than I have. She has shared, sacrificed, and supplemented me as my honorable complement in every activity of our ministry together. She has followed me, served alongside me, and contributed her own spheres of ministry in ways I could not have fulfilled. I know that I could not have done whatever I have without her companionship and partnership in it all. She is not only the ‘apple of my eye’ of love, but I have also often called her – and publicly so – ‘the wind beneath my wings.’

And when I asked her to marry me … and she consented to honor me by allowing me the privilege and pleasure to honor her … I promised her that I would always live with her in obedience to 1 Peter 3.7 LSB:

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”

I knew enough about the root of that word ‘honor’ to know that it means ‘a valuing by which the price is fixed; to estimate the worth, to fix the value.’ It is, at its root, a ‘paygrade’ word and scale, if you please [as in 1 Timothy 5.17].

So, when I honor her, I only treat her according to her worth – both in herself and to me. Truly, ‘An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above pearls [or any and all jewels]’ / Proverbs 31.10 LSB.

More than that, I understood that I must value her [and live with her accordingly] as God values her, for she is ‘a fellow heir of the grace of life’ … and that value is set on her by God Himself. She is God’s beloved daughter before she is my wife. And I sure don’t want to get crossways with God’s own jealousy for her or treat her with any less value than God has set on her.

So, Debbie, here’s a small token of my inestimable honor I owe you. I sure do love you!

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Let not your hearts be troubled | Jesus’ Panacea Promises for Troubled Hearts

JOHN | Lesson 14 | Lesson Notes / Talking Points

Read John 14.1-31


1 / Upper Room Discourse. We usually call chapters 14-16 ‘The Upper Room Discourse’ because Jesus is the One speaking, and these words were spoken by Him as they were in an upper room in Jerusalem celebrating the Last Passover meal together / see Mark 14.12-16.

2 / But chapter 14 is the only part of the discourse that was spoken in the upper room [along with the events of chapter 13]. In ch 14.31, Jesus announces to the disciples ‘Rise, let us go from here’ and they leave the upper room.

3 / The discourses of chapters 15-16 are spoken by Jesus probably on the streets of Jerusalem as they make their way to the Garden of Gethsemane.

4 / And maybe even the intercessory prayer in ch 17 was prayed by Jesus in the presence and hearing of His disciples before He entered Gethsemane where He agonized longer in prayer…and where He was arrested by the Romans and the Jewish religious leaders under Judas Iscariot’s direction.

5 / So chapter 14 is the truest Upper Room Discourse. However, the other succeeding chapters will be the continuation of what He delivered in the upper room.

6 / ‘Let not your hearts be troubled.’ Jesus themes everything He will say here in chapter 14 around His primary admonition of comfort and reassurance. Their hearts were indeed troubled. Jesus had repeated in ch 13.33 what He had often said before: Where I am going you cannot come…now. [See also the follow up with Simon Peter in v 36.]

7 / Except that, they are just now ‘getting it.’ When it finally registered in their hearing that Jesus was going away, it rocked their world. This was not just a ripple of restlessness or agitation. It was not just a scratching-the-head moment of confusion. Not just “Hmmm…wonder what He means by that?” It was a full-blown panic attack…a meltdown with anxiety. The upper room became panic city.

  • ‘What? You are leaving us?
  • You are going away?
  • Where are you going…and why?
  • What will become of us?
  • What will we do without You?
  • What are we supposed to do now? …and how will we know how to do it?
  • Who will lead us?
  • Who will take care of us?
  • Who will lead, teach, and instruct us how to conduct our lives as Your followers?
  • Etc…’

8 / We know that Jesus is targeting all these words to reassure their troubled hearts because He will ‘circle back’ to this same issue and repeat it again in v 27: ‘Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid!’

9 / Key theme words to follow and highlight:

  • Go…going: Jesus repeatedly relates everything He says here to His disciples’ primary troubling concern – that He is going away from them.
  • Believe: “Believe in God; believe also in Me.” Then He proceeds to tell them what they must believe to both cure their presently-troubled hearts [‘Stop allowing your hearts to be troubled’] and prevent the troubling of their hearts going forward [Don’t ever let your hearts be troubled.’] To believe is to receive and accept as the truth; trust, rely, depend upon; have confidence in.
  • Words…works: Jesus teaches His disciples [and us] to believe the words He has spoken and the works He has done. Both His words and works are given to demonstrate and evidence His union and unity with the Father – to whom He is now going. Jesus has often repeated these same claims all throughout His ministry – both to His disciples and also to His enemies / for example, ch 5.17-18.
  • See…sees…seen: The visible Glory of God that they had physically seen in Jesus [see ch 1.14 & 1 John 1.1-4] was the same as the invisible Glory of the Father to Whom He was going. When they had seen Him…they had seen the Father.
  • Know…known: They did, in fact, already know the same truths they were afraid they didn’t know. They knew because they knew Jesus…and Jesus and the Father are One in nature, essence, character, purpose, and works.  

10 / And so, what follows in ch 14 is a series of promises Jesus makes to them and to us, to give them assurances and comfort for their lives and ministries in the days ahead.

11 / AND these promises were not only for them, but also for us. So, think right now about what is troubling your heart…what issues, events, fears, anxieties are troubling you most. We, too, must do what Jesus teaches here: Believe in God, believe also in Me!

12 / We will divide up Jesus’ reassuring promises into two stanzas:

  • vv 2-14 / Yes, I am going away…but let not your hearts be troubled…because I am going to the Father, from whom I came, who sent me, and whom you know by knowing Me!
  • vv 15-31 / Yes, I am going away…but let not your hearts be troubled…because I will give you the Holy Spirit, who will be another Helper just like me, and He will be with you and in you forever. I, myself, will continue to be with you and in you in the Person, Presence, and power of the Holy Spirit!

13 / All I will do here is read through these two stanzas of ‘Panacea Promises For Troubled Hearts’ together. We will reiterate and paraphrase Jesus’ words … attempting to add some fuller thoughts to His words while maintaining His connecting trains of thought. We will seek to hear and learn the lessons Jesus teaches us and apply His precious promises here to our own hearts, lives, and experiences.

Prepare to believe!

II / vv 2-14 / Yes, I am going away…but let not your hearts be troubled…because I am going to the Father, from whom I came, who sent me, and whom you know by knowing Me!

1 / v 2 / Believe that I am going to my Father’s House – where He is. And in my Father’s House are many rooms [monai] for all of you who believe in Me. I am going there to prepare a ‘place’ for you to be there together with us…a place to live, remain, abide, belong / see Hebrews 9.24

2 / v3 / Believe that if I go away to my Father’s House, and if I prepare a place for you also, I will come again for you – to receive you to myself…so we can be there together forever.

3 / vv 4-6 / And, yes! you DO know the way to where I am going…because I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE! And I am the only Way, because no one is coming to the Father – where He is – except through Me!

4 / vv 7-9 / You DO know who the Father is…because you know Me…and you have seen Me.

5 / vv 10-11 / Believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. You must believe that the Father has given me all the words that I have spoken to you. And the Father has done through Me all the works that I have done. That is why I have done the works I have done – to show you the Father’s love and power. I have spoken words to you to explain the works and how they reveal the Father. So believe my words and believe the works. They all show the Father.

6 / vv 12-14 / When you believe Me, you will continue doing the works of witness to the life and power of the Gospel. You will continue to bear evidence to the Father and to Me. BECAUSE, in fact, it will be ME who is doing the works through you! I will be doing them from Heaven. AND you will do those works by asking Me in prayer to do them! Remember: Ask Me, and ‘this I will do’…’I will do it’!  

  • We must note here that our praying itself is as much of the ‘greater works than these he will do’ as are the works Christ Himself will work through us as we pray to Him, asking Him to do what needs to be done. It also is evident that nothing we even attempt to do in our strength, energy, and ability will be accomplished … only what we ask Him to do through us. Nothing is accomplished apart from our asking Jesus to do it…and His doing it! Jesus repeats the promise two times to be sure we understand and get it: “Whatever you ask in my Name, this I will do…If you ask Me anything in my Name, I will do it.” He will reiterate and reinforce our absolute dependence upon Him and impotence apart from Him in ch 15.4-5: “…for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

III / vv 15-31 / Yes, I am going away…but let not your hearts be troubled…because I will give you the Holy Spirit, who will be another Helper just like me, and He will be with you and in you forever. I, myself, will continue to be with you and in you in the Person, Presence, and power of the Holy Spirit!

1 / v 15 / In the days and ages ahead – until I come again – you must live your lives and conduct all your ministry by loving Me and keeping my commandments…especially the primary commandment to ‘love one another just as I have loved you’ / see ch 13.34-35.

2 / vv 16-17 / Yes, I am going away to the Father, but I will ask Him to give you another Helper [parcletos / one who is called to come along beside you]. He is the Holy Spirit. He will be ‘another’ of the same kind as I have been to you. He will serve you as your Helper, Companion, Counselor, Comforter for your troubled hearts…even as a kind of ‘proxy’ in my place. The world – unbelievers – have no association with Him. AND, He will be with you forever [since I am physically going away for now…] He will dwell – continue to live – both with you and in you … forever!

3 / vv 18-20 / Yes, I am going away in my physical body…but I am not abandoning you as orphans – without a Christ-Presence. I will even come back to you for a few days after my resurrection and you will see that I am alive! And I will share with you that same resurrection life! When you see me again – resurrected and alive – you will see proof for your faith that everything I am telling you and promising you is the Truth! You will see the Presence and Life of the Father living in Me, and my Presence and Life living in you, and you living in Me by the Eternal Life of my resurrection in the Person and Presence of the Holy Spirit!

4 / vv 21-23 / You will continue to express and evidence your love for Me by believing and obeying my commandments. And when you do that, My Father and I will give you undeniable expressions of our love for you – I will continue to manifest [reveal, appear, make visible to your experience] my love for you. How will I do that? When you love the Father and Me, we will come to you in the Presence and Person of the Holy Spirit and ‘make our home’ with you!

  • NOTE: this is the second of the only two times this word is found in the New Testament – the same word Jesus uses for ‘rooms’ in v 2.

5 / v 24 / Those who do not love Me will not believe, keep, obey my words. They will have no part in all these promises I am giving you. But all of the words I have given you are my Father’s words that He gave Me to give you. He sent Me to you to give you these words…so you may believe them and be saved – and be one with us!

6 / v 25 / I have spoken all these words from the Father to you…while I have been with you in my physical Person and Presence. ‘But,’ you ask, ‘are these same words and promises going away with you when you to the Father?’

7 / vv 26 / NO! All of these words I have spoken to you will remain with you through the continuing ministry and Presence of the Holy Spirit! He will continue to teach you all the words I have verbally spoken to you. He will keep on reminding you of everything I have said. And He will also give you a much fuller and more complete understanding of so many things you can’t fully comprehend now! [see ch 15.26 & 16.12-15].

8 / v 27 / Yes, I know your hearts are very troubled. But you need not be! Give me your troubled hearts by believing in Me, trusting Me, having confidence in the Truth and faithfulness of everything I’m telling you. Yes, I am going away in my physical Person – but I am leaving my peace with you! This is the very same peace that I have in myself! It is the peace of being One with the Father. It is not a peace that depends on the comfort, convenience, and preferences of passing circumstances – that is the kind of human, earthly, worldly peace that comes and goes in the course of natural, human life. My peace that I am giving you that comes from being saved, right with God, reconciled to the Father through your faith in Me. So, STOP LETTING YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED, NEITHER LET THEM BE AFRAID!

9 / v 28 / Your hearts are being troubled because you heard Me say, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ Instead of being troubled, you should rejoice! Because when I go away, I am going to the Father. And He is ‘greater than I’ … not in the sense of ‘being more God’ than I am … but rather in the sense that I have come to you at His command, serving His pleasure on your behalf, and fulfilling all His purposes of love for your salvation. And now, I am going back to Him to bring all those redemptive purposes to pass – to fulfill all His loving, saving will for you! He sent Me to you to save you and bring you all Home with us to be with us forever! This is how it will happen!

10 / v 29 / I am telling you all this in advance – before it happens – so you will know I am telling you the Truth when it all comes to pass as I have said. I know I’m asking you to believe many things by faith in Me and my words. But, you can trust me! I will show you!

11 / v 30 / Our time for conversation tonight is very short and rapidly drawing to a close. This very night, I am going to be arrested, turned over to my enemies, and be condemned to die. All of this is under the direction and influence of ‘the ruler of this world’ – Satan, the Devil. He has already taken over Judas Iscariot’s heart. He is the one who has been working in the hearts of the Jewish religious rulers over these last many months when they have been making their plans to kill Me. They are about to fulfill all their murderous plots here within the next few hours.

12 / v 31a / But everything that is transpiring now has been prophesied by the Scriptures. And it has been the Father’s covenant plan for Me from eternity. I love the Father and always obey and please Him. My Father’s commandment is for Me to come here to earth and die for you all – the people whom He has given Me to save by my sacrificial death as your Passover Lamb. And as I fulfill my love for Him by obeying Him even to the point of death – even death on the Cross – I will be giving public testimony to my love for Him.

13 / v 31b / It’s time to go. Everybody get up. We’re leaving this upper room. I’ll have more to say as we make our way to where we’re going next…    



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Love one another…as I have loved you

JOHN | Lesson 13 | Lesson Notes / Talking points

Read John 13.1 – 14.7


1 / Yes, I know, there’s a lot of ground to cover here. But since it’s all connected and flows from one scene and conversation to the next, I want to try to at least try to show here in this lesson how it all fits together. We will have to add more details, remarks, and explanatory commentary as we work our way through the lesson…

2 / Just let me lay out here a summary of the lesson Jesus wants His disciples to learn…and DO! And that will include all of us, too! see ch 13.12-17 & 34-35.

3 / The encompassing focus and theme of all these transactions is: Jesus prepares His disciples for His going away back to the Father … by teaching and commanding them to love and serve one another … and showing them how to do it.


1 / Jesus teaches them to love and serve one another by washing their feet Himselfand then commands them [and us] to continue to follow His example and model toward each other.

2 / Jesus knows He is going back to the Father [death, resurrection, ascension], but His disciples need to know how to conduct their relationships with one another during the interim between when He goes away and comes back again to receive us to Himself. This theme ties together chs 13 & 14.

3 / Here are just some of the prominent graces and characteristics of disciples that Jesus demonstrates and exemplifies when He washed their feet:

  • [1] His love for them / v 1. One of John’s most prominent theme-threads and focuses of His Gospel is Jesus’ love for us. ‘…when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father…’ just reminds us again why the Father had sent Him into the world to begin with…and why Jesus had come = LOVE.  God has sent His Son into the world because He so loved the world. ‘…having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.’ Meaning: He loved them [and us] to the completion and the fulfillment of expressing and demonstrating that love. He had come to save us from our sins by dying on His Cross, resurrecting, and ascending back to the Glory He shared with the Father in the beginning. He will show us that love again by washing His disciples’ feet.   
  • [2] His humility among them / vv 2-11. When Jesus washes His disciples’ feet, He is expressing His extreme humility [see also vv 12-16]. And He will command us to follow His example as we continue to relate to one another [more on that in vv 31-35]. When we read about [He] rose from supper. He laid aside His outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around His waist…, it reminds us of Philippians 2.1-11, how He laid aside the Glory He shared with His Father in the beginning, ‘but emptied Himself, by taking for the form of a servant…He humbled Himself,’ etc. Washing the feet of another was the humble work of a servant. If a householder/host had a servant, the servant performed this menial service. If there was no servant in the household, the householder/host performed it. It was unthinkable in their culture and customs that you would have a friend or guest in your home without serving them this way /  see Jesus’ rebuke of the proud Pharisee, Simon, for refusing and neglecting to even offer Him water to wash His own feet, Luke 7.44.
  • [3] His obedience to the Father [and our obedience to Him] / vv 3-5. Jesus’ obedience to the Father is seen by His humbling and giving Himself to this sacrificial service of saving us from our sins. This washing of their feet was a symbol and emblem of His dying for us to cleanse us from our sins / see v 10. See also Philippians 2.8 again: ‘…He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross…’ Our obedience to Christ will be shown as we follow His example toward one another: If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just I have done to you … If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them … [see also vv 34-35].  We will love and serve one another in this same way … if and when we obey Christ.
  • [4] His service for them / vv 12-17. I know we have mentioned ‘service’ already numerous times in the previous comments, but here are just some of the services Christ provided for His disciples by washing their feet … and we will provide for one another when we obey Him and follow His example:
  1. Refreshment. Washing the feet of others was refreshing…in the sense that it washed off the dust and dirt they had gathered on their feet by walking in sandals or open shoes. And, it just felt good.
  2. Encouragement. We show the worth of another to us when we are willing to serve them. And it shows our mutual love, friendship, and relationship with one another.
  3. Correction. Jesus will compare washing His disciples’ feet to the daily forgiveness and cleansing of our sins in v 10. In fact, Jesus uses two words in that verse: The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you [all] are clean [excepting Judas]. The first word refers to our justification, or being completely ‘washed’ and forgiven of all our sins / see 1 Corinthians 6.11 & Titus 3.5. The second word means to [what we call] ‘wash up,’ like your hands, face, feet, or other parts of the body that just need to be washed separately – apart from a bathing of the whole body. We need this when we have committed specific, daily sins that need to be confessed and resolved. We should perform this ‘washing’ ourselves by confessing our sins, praying for forgiveness and cleansing, and forsaking them. AND we should help to correct one another as brothers and sisters in Christ and as His disciples.
  4. Edifying, building up. We ‘wash one another’s feet’ when we fellowship and serve one another and together – as we help one another grow in grace and in obedience to Christ.
  5. Meeting one another’s needs. In short, and to sum it all up, we ‘wash one another’s feet’ when we do and give what we can to meet one another’s needs. When any one of us lacks or needs anything, we need to be there to give and do whatever is needed to meet those needs and make each other ‘whole.’  

III / ch 13.18-30 / ‘…ONE OF YOU WILL BETRAY ME…’

1 / Enter…and exit…Judas Iscariot.

2 / Jesus had chosen Judas to be one His disciples knowing full well that Judas was an unbeliever and a traitor – even that he was a devil / see ch 6.70-71. Judas was always, from the beginning, an unbeliever and under the control, dominion, and direction of the Evil One. But this, too, had been prophesied in Psalm 41.9, and must be fulfilled. There is another commentary on Judas’s spiritual lostness and evil in Acts 1.15-25.

3 / Judas had already conspired with the Jewish religious leaders to betray Jesus to them: Matthew 26.14-16; Mark 14.10-11; Luke 22.3-6.

4 / After Jesus exposed and identified Judas as the traitor, Satan entered into him / v 27. We have to note here that even though Jesus knew Judas’s deceitful treachery all along, none of the disciples entertained any suspicion toward him. Judas had participated in all their ministry activities along with them. He had put up such a good front that from all appearances, he was no different than the others.

5 / Just one more reminder here how John has been weaving his numerous theme-threads all throughout this Gospel. When John writes ‘And it was night,’ he isn’t just giving us a time stamp. He is following up on the contrasting themes of light/darkness that he began in ch 1.4-9; 3.19-21; 8.12; 9.5; 11.9-10; 12.35-36. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. As such, He is our eternal Life, bringing us the knowledge of God, who is Light, and into a spiritual relationship with Him. Judas had no part in Jesus. Judas was of the night and darkness / see Luke 22.47-53.


1 / Here now is the explanation and interpretation Jesus gives His disciples [and us] to teach us how we must follow the example He set for us by washing His disciples’ feet. Remember His application of what He had done to them and for them in vv 12-17: “Do you understand what I have done to you? … For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you … If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

2 / When he [Judas] had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him at once.” So what does this mean? Jesus is again feeling the impending dread of being made sin for us when He is charged with our sins on the Cross / see where He said these same words back in ch 12.27-28. God the Father will ‘glorify’ Jesus through His death, resurrection, ascension, and being restored to the Glory He had with the Father in the beginning. Jesus reiterates this theme over and over. God is glorified by Jesus’ obedience to Him, and Jesus is glorified by being received back to the Father and their shared Glory / see Acts 2.36; Philippians 2.9-11; 1 Peter 1.11, 21; and many others.

3 / Now that Judas has exited, Jesus returns His discourse to His disciples, as if to say, ‘Now, then, let us proceed with my hour and with what I have come to do. And let me teach you the meaning and significance of the lesson I have shown you when I washed your feet.’

4 / Jesus reminds them again He is going away…back to the Father: “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews [see ch 7.32-34], so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’” When Jesus says, ‘Yet a little while I am with you…,’ He means just a few more hours. Keep in mind, this is the night of His betrayal and arrest that will result in His crucifixion the very next day. The disciples still are ‘not getting it.’ They are not comprehending and processing the meaning, weight, and impact of Jesus’s words. They are not realizing the impending death He will die…tomorrow! BUT they are beginning to sense the seriousness of His words and the troubling of His own soul / see v 21. Looking ahead, this is why their own hearts are beginning to be ‘troubled’ with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty / see ch 14.1 & 27.

5 / Jesus repeats and reinforces His commandment to ‘love one another … just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.’ Jesus calls this a new commandment … not because they have not been commanded before to love one another. Loving one another has been God’s law and commandment from the beginning. Loving one another has always been the ‘second greatest commandment’ / see Matthew 22.39. But it is ‘new’ in that Jesus has just given them a Divine model and example to show them how to fulfill the commandment to love one another. He did that when He Himself washed their feet. As if to say, Do you understand what I have done to you? [v 12] … I have shown you how I love you and what I’m willing to do to show you my love. So study and remember what I have done to you, and keep on loving and serving one another after I have physically and bodily departed from you to go back to the Father. This is my supreme commandment to govern your relationships with one another: LOVE ONE ANOTHER IN THE SAME WAYS I HAVE LOVED YOU!

6 / Jesus sets the standard and rule for evidencing and demonstrating that we are truly His disciples. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” What is a ‘disciple’ anyway? A disciple is not just someone who learns information from the teacher, but someone who lives his own life the same ways the teacher lives his life. How will others know that we are true believers and followers of Jesus? By living our lives by the same model and example that Jesus lived His life! Jesus Christ is known for His LOVE. And if we want to bear witness to a watching world that we are true believers and followers of Christ, it will be by our LOVING ONE ANOTHER!

7 / Why is it so difficult for us to personally, sincerely, and truthfully say the simple words to one another: “I love you!” I know we must use discernment and discretion – and we must not say it in inappropriate circumstances or ways – but this one thing that Jesus commands us to do, and the one rule that Jesus has given us by which we can evidence and demonstrate that we are His disciples, that we belong to Him, and that we identify with Him and one another … is by loving one another. John learned it well: Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth / 1 John 3.18.   

V / ch 13.36 – 14.7 / ‘I AM GOING AWAY…BUT I WILL COME AGAIN…’

1 / Now we come to the transition and crux of the preceding events that will lead us into Jesus’ private discourses recorded in chs 14-16. The one sentence and realization that begins to ‘trouble’ the disciples is when Jesus drops like a bombshell [to them] the announcement: “…so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come…’” [ch 13.33]. This announcement not only prompts Peter to begin asking Jesus, “Lord, where are you going?” [ch 13.36-38], but it also begins to stir up the deepest anxiety and agitation in their spirits.

2 / “Stop letting your hearts be troubled!” / ch 14.1. This is, by the way, the same word that describes the deep, inner turmoil that tore at Jesus’ own soul in ch 11.33; 12.27; 13.21.

3 / Jesus calms their troubled souls with these promises and assurances:

  • [1] Believe [trust, have confidence] in God; believe also in me.
  • [2] In my Father’s house [place to live, dwell, abide, remain] are many rooms [shared living places]. This word we are used to hearing and quoting as ‘mansions’ simply means ‘a place to belong.’ It is used only twice in the New Testament, both in this chapter: vv 2 & 23. It means ‘a place to remain at home.’
  • [3] I am going [there…He says it again, as He will many other times during this discourse] to prepare a place for you. He will prepare this ‘place’ for us by redeeming us to God…so we can be with Him forever. He prepares this ‘place’ by His blood that saves and justifies us from our sins so we can be saved and reconciled to God.
  • [4] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. He is promising His second coming to gather us all Home with Him forever.
  • [5] And you know the way to where I am going. This prompted Thomas to question Him, Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way? Thomas was just voicing the question and confusion in all their minds. They still were not grasping how Jesus was going away and where exactly He was going. They were thinking more in terms of a geographical location – or if it was Heavenly, then where was it exactly and how were they going to know how to get there?
  • [6] I AM the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. This has to be one of the deepest and most profound and all-encompassing truths to quiet our troubled souls in all the times of our confusion, anxiety, uncertainty, perplexity, and even panic here amid all our troubles. We have so many unanswered questions – but if we know Jesus Christ, believe in Him, trust Him, and have confidence in Him, then we know all we will ever need to know.

4 / Jesus Christ is ALL the Way, Truth, and Life we will ever need – both to navigate all the ‘troubles’ of this life … and He will accompany us every step of our ways here and finally come to receive us to Himself where we will be ‘at Home’ with Him forever!


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An update re: my Mom…

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Dear Friends,

I’m writing this primarily for the sake of the many of you with whom I correspond, live in community, and fellowship on a daily and weekly basis … and who know about and pray for my Mom.

Many of you also know about my trip to Lexington NC last week to visit with Mom and my family there, but you haven’t had opportunity for me to tell you about it. You are asking and wanting to know, and I thank you for that.

So let me give you a recap here of the events of the past 7-8 weeks and how she is doing now … even as of today, this morning.

Mom was taken to the hospital this last time on 22 January with shortness of breath and other related disorders. She has a history of all these issues. She was admitted and treated for several days for cardiac irregularities, and also diagnosed with acute UTI. The UTI has been a regular recurrence over the past several months since she had become more immobile and sedentary. After eight days of hospitalization, she was transferred to a nursing home/rehab facility where we hoped and prayed she could recoup enough strength to return home and be cared for there as before. Then she was taken back to the hospital after suffering a relapse in the rehab facility, treated for three days, and returned to the rehab facility. After only a few days back at the rehab facility, it became clear that Mom had no more reserves of strength with which to rehab, so we brought her back to her home to care for her there. She has now lost all of her strength to stand upright or on her own. We moved her out of her bedroom, acquired a hospital bed, and set her up in the large, open, ‘great’ room in her home so she could be out in the traffic area of the home as everybody comes and goes. We had arranged weeks ago for Mom to have round-the-clock, 24/7, companions and caregivers. My sisters, our niece, and other caregivers are providing her with personal, professional, and loving constant care.

About my trip last week: last Monday, 3/6, I drove down there to visit with Mom and the family for a few days. Came back home Thursday morning, 3/9. While I was there, my sisters and I consulted with other care resources that are available there locally to assist them in administering Mom’s care. Also, my older brother, Daniel, was there during those days. He had stopped in while returning from a preaching engagement.

Last Wednesday night, Mom’s church family and friends came into the home for what we older folks used to call a ‘cottage prayer meeting.’ This was their midweek service night, so they all gathered at Mom’s to meet and worship. Pastor Bobby Smith led us as we sang and prayed, and then he had asked me to deliver a message from the Word of God. I chose to do a brief exposition of Psalm 92, especially focusing on the concluding blessing in verses 12-15:

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 Those who are planted in the house of the LORD
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
15 To declare that the LORD is upright;
He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.  

Without giving more details of my remarks, I told those in attendance that I wanted to direct these Scriptures and my words of encouragement to Mom, but that they were welcome to eavesdrop and overhear ;). What I wanted Mom to know is that even now – even in her extreme weakness and affliction – she is still flourishing and bearing fruit in her old age. All the years of her life [she is now 93 years old] – faithful service to Christ, pastor’s wife and mother, witness and testimony to the Gospel both in word and deed – all of that lifetime of service has not been ‘spent,’ as in ‘gone’ … rather, all the years of her life have been ’planted’ in the house of the LORD and is still bearing fruit, even here and now in her old age.

I further reminded her that we six kids of hers are ‘the fruit of your womb,’ and we are still bearing fruit in our own lives and service to Christ. All of us, Mom’s ‘kids,’ are now old ourselves, and so I had counted up all our ages together: 417 collective years. We, too, are the fruit of her life. And that is besides all the hundreds of others in whose lives Mom has ‘planted’ hers. I just wanted her to know that even now in her present physical weakness, she is still strong and flourishing, still bearing fruit in her old age.

Which brings us to today … even while I was there last week, my sisters and Mom’s caregivers were noticing some discoloration and tinging of blood in her urine. That’s never a good sign. They have begun a course of antibiotics, and a nurse is with her just this morning trying to assess and evaluate what may be going on with her kidneys/bladder. I’m still waiting to hear from that assessment. They will be consulting also with Hospice tomorrow to see what further resources may be available from them. But, Mom knows, and we know, the days of her pilgrimage here are numbered and decreasing.

So, I am in continuous daily correspondence with them, and there will be other trips and visits that I’ll be making there in the soon days to come. But I do want all you dear friends to at least be aware of where things stand today.

We ask that you continue to pray that God will give Mom a strong sense of His Presence with her and His pleasure in her [Psalm 23]. That He will embrace her in His love, envelop her in His peace, and rejoice over her with singing [Zephaniah 3.17].

For years now, every time Mom corresponded with me, she would always sign her name with the Aaronic blessing in Numbers 6.23-26. We’re all praying the LORD will return that same blessing to her in full measure, shaken down, and running over.

Thank you for all the love you have shown me and our Mom and for joining your prayers with ours for her.  

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When I Am Lifted Up From the Earth

JOHN | Lesson 12 | Lesson Notes / Talking Points

Read John 12.12-33


  1. As John explains in ch 12.1, these events transpired during the last week of our Lord’s life and ministry.
  2. Lazarus had been raised from the dead just a few weeks before [ch 11], and since then, the reports and stories of that great sign-miracle had spread far and abroad [ch 12.9]. Many were believing in Jesus [ch 12.11]. The Jewish leaders were becoming more and more infuriated and frantic – and frustrated – in their attempts to arrest Jesus, bring Him by force, and eliminate Him and terminate His ever-growing popularity and influence among the people [ch 11.53, 57; 12.10]. They were losing their control over the population.
  3. Dinners were being held in Jesus’ honor since His arrival here in Jerusalem for this Passover feast [ch 12.1-8; Mark 14.1-9]. Mary has anointed His feet, and Jesus has expressed the significance of that service of love by pointing to His impending death and burial [ch 12.7].
  4. And now, the next very few days will be filled with the accounts of His final appearances … accompanied by His own Divine commentaries on what they all mean … countless Scriptures and prophecies will come to pass and be fulfilled.


  1. The next day… may mean the very next day after the events described in vv 1-9.
  2. We know this as ‘The Triumphal Entry’ of Jesus into Jerusalem. He Himself planned and orchestrated this celebration to announce that He, Himself, is God’s appointed and anointed King. This was to fulfill all the prophecies and fore-shadowings of the Old Testament. All of the prophecies of the ‘scepter’ and the ‘rule’ of God over His people pointed to Christ. David and Solomon and all the ‘sons of David’ who had ruled over Israel and Judah were the predecessors of Christ who would come to reign over the house of Jacob…and indeed over all the earth and the world.
  3. Whereas, in the months preceding this week, Christ had ‘hidden’ Himself from public view and from the hostile intentions of the Jewish leaders [see chs 10.40 & 11.54], now He must come and show Himself as the King of the Kingdom of God/Heaven He had come to establish and inaugurate.
  4. Remember also from ch 11.55-56, that thousands of pilgrims and worshipers were arriving daily in Jerusalem for this Passover feast. As they arrived, they, too, were hearing the reports of Jesus and especially the raising of Lazarus. They all were wondering and asking, “Do you think He will come to this Feast?” Jesus’ arrival and appearance there answers their question.
  5. “Hosanna!” is a recitation from Psalm 118.25: “Save us, we pray, O LORD!” ‘Hosanna’ is the Hebrew word used there. “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD, even the King of Israel!” / again from Psalm 118.26. However, we must not assume they are seeing Jesus from the same perspective as He is presenting Himself. They are still looking for an earthly king, a temporal king, even a political king who would save them from the Romans and restore Israel to their former glory as a sovereign nation and world power / see ch 6.15.
  6. Zechariah 9.9 had prophesied this arrival 500 years before. John quotes this prophecy as a fulfillment.
  7. And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written… We will remember, though, that Jesus, Himself, also had arranged for His own donkey to ride on, and had sent His disciples to fetch it for Him / Matthew 21.1-7; Luke 19.28-36.
  8. But Jesus was not making an ostentatious show of celebrity or power here. Yes, He is the King, but it is His kind of King and Kingdom…and not the kingdom they were expecting or wanting. His Kingdom is one of salvation from sins, deliverance from the power of Satan and darkness, and redemption. It would require His death on the Cross, and His resurrection from death, and ascension into the Glory from whence He had come. Even His own disciples didn’t understand the spiritual significance of this presentation … and may have even been caught up in the fervor of the political aspects of the occasion.
  9. John keeps with the theme of how Jesus’ ‘signs’ [miracles] manifested His Glory – and especially with the recent raising of Lazarus from the dead. The sign showed and spoke for itself. The Jewish leadership are growing increasingly frantic with Jesus’ acclaim.


  1. “Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.” Remember that these mandated Jewish feasts drew attendees and worshipers from all over the world – not just from the local environs / see Acts 2.5-11 re: Pentecost & Acts 17.4.
  2. These ‘Greeks’ were most likely Gentile proselytes who had come to see that the God of Israel was the true God, and had believed in Him, confessed Him, and trusted Him for their salvation. We do know that they were worshipers, and not just tourists or curiosity seekers. They didn’t live from around those parts. But they had heard about Jesus. See also ch 7.35.
  3. So when they arrived in Jerusalem, they wanted to see Him. As they began to ask around, they heard about Philip. The name ‘Philip’ is not a Hebrew or Jewish name – it is a Greek name. Or Philip himself may have had Greek family members and acquaintances due to his background. We don’t know…just speculation. But for whatever reason, so these came to Philip … and asked him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ After consulting with Andrew, they both went to Jesus to tell Him these Greeks wanted to meet Him.
  4. And Jesus answered them… Did He answer just Philip and Andrew? Or maybe the disciples as a group? Or were the Greeks who wanted to meet Him present also? We don’t know. What we do know is that Jesus tells them and us who we must see if we truly want to ‘see’ Him!
  5. The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified! This is the ‘hour’ or ‘time’ for which He had come into our world. His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem as King was to announce and bring in His sovereign Kingdom of salvation and redemption … but it would come only through His sacrificial death on the Cross. He had come into the world to reign in Life, but it would be from His death and resurrection from that death He would die.
  6. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of what falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He, Himself, is that ‘grain of wheat’ who would die … by so dying and resurrecting, He would bring and give eternal life to all who believe in Him! His death is the way to spiritual life and glory!
  7. I can do no better than to quote from Pastor J. C. Ryle here: “Our Lord here illustrates a great Scriptural truth by a very familiar fact in nature. That fact is, that in plants and seeds life comes by death. The seed must be put into the ground, must rot, decay, and die, if we want it to bear fruit and produce a crop. If we refuse to bury the seed, and will keep it without sowing it, we shall never reap any harvest. We must be content to let it die if we want [wheat] … But this sentence was also meant to teach a wider and broader lesson still. It revealed, under a striking figure, the mighty foundation truth, that Christ’s death was to be the source of spiritual life to the world. From His cross and passions was to spring up a mighty harvest of benefit to all mankind. His death, like a grain of seed-[wheat], was to be the root of blessings and mercies to countless millions of immortal souls. In short, the great principle of the Gospel was once more exhibited – that Christ’s vicarious death (not His life, or miracles, or teaching, but His death) was to bring forth fruit to the praise of God, and to provide redemption for a lost world.”
  8. And likewise, what was true of Jesus’ life is also true of our own. The only way we can live spiritually in His eternal life is to die to our own lives through repentance from our sin and faith in Christ! If you love your own life – seek to keep it to yourself and for yourself – you will lose it, both here and now and forever. But if you die to your own self-seeking and self-serving will and surrender yourself to the Gospel of Christ’s death, resurrection, and eternal life, you will both save your life here and now while you are living it, and you will enjoy eternal life forever with Him!
  9. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. Jesus Christ uses these two verbs to describe our repentance from sin and faith in Him: ‘serves’ and ‘follow.’ This is what a ‘believer’ is: one who ‘serves’ and ‘follows’ Christ.
  10. I have sought to make this the rule of my life, and I commend it to you also. This is Jesus’ command, call, and commission on each of our lives. To serve Christ means that you will follow Him. Wherever He leads you [and He will], and whatever He gives you to do … do that. It’s not our prerogative to choose where we go or what we do. But when Jesus reveals it to us and leads us into it, we gladly follow. We serve Him by following Him. And, what Jesus promises us is that, when we do, He Himself will be there with us, working His sovereign purposes and will. But it goes much farther than just this life here and now – Jesus points also the forever to come. He promises us His Presence here and now, wherever we are and whatever we are doing … but He also promises that if we follow Him here and now, we will also be with Him forever. See also ch 14.1-4
  11. We are told in Revelation 14.4: It is these who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. And again in Revelation 7.15-17: Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will shelter them with His Presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
  12. And forever, If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.


  1. What Jesus reveals and expresses here is way too deep for us to adequately comprehend or explain. They express the infinite and perfect union of both Deity and humanity in one glorious Person, the God-Man. But we’ll take His words and worship Him:
  2. His agonizing cry: Now is my soul troubled. This is the same word He used in ch 11.33 & 38. It is the most violent internal agitations and turmoil we can suffer. And Jesus suffered it. But it was so much more than mere unrest or agitation of soul like we all suffer. For Jesus, it had to be the impending prospect that He was facing of taking our sin upon Himself and dying under the Holy curse and wrath of God as our Substitute. Pastor J. C. Ryle again: “This sentence implies a sudden, strong mental agony, which came over our Lord, troubling, distressing, and harassing Him. What was it from? Not from the mere foresight of a painful death the cross, and the bodily suffering attending it. No doubt human nature, even when sinless, naturally revolts from pain and suffering. Yet mere bodily pain has been endured for weeks by many a martyr…without a groan or a murmur. No! It was the weight of the world’s imputed sin laid upon our Lord’s head, which pressed Him downward, and made Him cry, ‘Now is my soul troubled.’ It was the sense of the whole burden of man’s transgression imputed to Him, which, as He drew near the cross, weighed Him down so tremendously. It was not His bodily sufferings, either anticipated or felt, but our sins, which here, at Gethsemane, and at Calvary, agonized and racked His soul.”
  3. His solemn question: What shall I say? How is He going to respond to this internal trouble? I don’t know how to interpret or explain Jesus’ question to Himself. What He is expressing here is that He has two paths He can pursue: He can either choose the path of His own comfort and convenience, or He can obediently surrender to His Father’s desire and pleasure to save His people from our sins by the death He must die – and which He is anticipating with this inward pain of His soul… He will explain…  
  4. His prayer of suffering flesh and blood: Father, save Me from this hour[?] Is this the prayer I shall pray? Is this what I shall say out of this extreme anguish of my soul? But if I am ‘saved’ from this awful hour and experience of suffering my Father’s Holy wrath against the sins of those for whom I am dying … then I can’t do what He has sent me to do…
  5. His meek confession: But for this purpose I have come to this hour… NO! I can’t be saved from this awful hour! This is the very express, specific, and gracious purpose for which the Father has sent me and for which I have come into the world…
  6. His petition of a perfectly submissive and obedient will: Father, glorify Your Name! “Father, I have come to do your will. I have come to please you. I have come to glorify your Name and your grace by dying for the people you have given me to save – even if it means being made a curse for them, taking their imputed guilt of their sins upon myself, and being punished for their sins in their place.”
  7. It was at that time that the Father audibly spoke from Heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” This has to be the Father’s public, audible testimony to the Scripture’s all-encompassing testimony to the Son, Jesus Christ. Everything that is recorded in Scripture, everything that’s been done in the history of the world has all been focused on the Father’s purpose, plan, and pleasure to point to the Son, to focus all attention on Him, and glorify Him for His love and obedience to the Father’s will.
  8. Jesus then makes this bold pronouncement about what He would accomplish when He was ‘lifted up’ on the Cross: ‘Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to show by what kind of death He was going to die. This pronouncement passes the verdict of condemnation on Satan and his usurped power, dominion, and authority that he has held over the world’s systems and people – all with God’s permission, of course. Satan has usurped this dominion ever since his own rebellion and fall into sin from his originally-created angelic state. Then he corrupted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and cast the whole human race and the world into the curses of sin, destruction, and death. BUT now Jesus has come, and by His death on the cross and His resurrection and ascension into Glory, God ‘disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in [Christ]’ / Colossians 2.15. Satan, indeed, bruised Christ’s heel – but Christ has crushed his head in fulfillment of the First Gospel Promise given to us in Genesis 3.15. [This victory story is celebrated also in Revelation 12.1-12]
  9. Jesus Christ exercises His Gospel victory by promising, “I…will draw all people to myself.” Everyone who has ever been saved, is being saved, or will be saved until all for whom Christ died are saved … ALL are saved by the efficacious, all-sufficient, all-victorious Cross of Christ! And that includes ‘to the Jew first and also to the Greek’ [Romans 1.16].
  10. And in the end, we all will sing the new song, everyone of us with palm branches in our hands [Revelation 5.9-10 & 7.9-10]:

‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth!’


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Mary’s Service of Love

JOHN | Lesson 11 | Lesson Notes / Talking Points

Read John 12.1-8


1 / Chapter 12 brings us to a significant point in our survey/study of this Gospel. Some Bible teachers divide John into three distinct sections:

  1. ch 1.1-18 / PROLOGUE
  2. chs 1.19-11.57 / WITNESS [wherein John chronicles numerous eye-witnesses to Jesus’ Deity and God-ness]
  3. chs 12.1-21.25 / PASSION

2 / So this chapter will not only begin the final section of John’s Gospel, but it also contains some of the most personal details of our Lord’s private and personal interactions with His disciples during that last week of His life and ministry here among us. NOTE: John records no more public addresses by Jesus, though He did deliver some. See especially Matthew 21-25. There are no more public miracles or works of ministry that John records here, though there were some.

3 / John devotes these six chapters [chapters 12-17] to Jesus’ personal encounters and conversations with those who were closest to Him. Chapters 18-20 are John’s eye-witness accounts [see chs 19.35 & 21.24] of Jesus’ arrests, mock hearings, sentencing, crucifixion, and resurrection. chapter 21 is an especially tender account of Jesus’ meeting some of His disciples at the Sea of Galilee where He recalls Peter back into service after Peter had denied three times he even knew Him. “Simon, son of John, do you love Me…?”  

4 / LOVE. Before we go any farther, and before we get into our specific text for this lesson, I just want to key you into one of John’s most-often used theme-threads he has woven into this narrative from the very beginning: LOVE. Just in this summary of the last chapters of John, we have seen how the theme of LOVE keeps entering into John’s accounts. Keep that in mind because when we get to our text for this lesson, we will be emphasizing LOVE as Mary’s primary motivation for this gift and act of LOVE she will bestow on her Lord – who, of course, loved her first.


1 / So, as we have said, this chapter 12 will chronicle the last week of Jesus’ life and ministry. Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. This was the last Passover, the one when He Himself would become the sacrificial Lamb of God [ch 1.29 & 36; 1 Corinthians 5.7].

2 / And since Lazarus is prominently mentioned, and that Jesus had raised him from the dead, this miracle also enters into the theme of the narrative. So, the question is: how long had it been between the events of chapters 11 & 12?

3 / So let’s do a brief itinerary connecting these two events:

  1. ch 10.22: At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter. This Feast is what is now called Hanukkah. It was a celebration of when the Jews had reclaimed and re-dedicated their Temple after it had been overtaken and desecrated by the Syrians. This Dedication took place in 164 BC on the 25th of Chislev, which is our December. That’s why the Jews’ Hanukkah celebration overlaps with our Christmas holiday.
  2. ch 10.40: Jesus retreated from Jerusalem to a more secluded rural place across the Jordan called Bethabara [or Bethany] see ch 1.28.
  3. ch 11.1-3: Jesus was notified of Lazarus’ sickness while He was still there in that place of retreat. And it was probably shortly after the winter Feast of Dedication.
  4. ch 11.54: Since Bethany was only two miles from Jerusalem, and there was so much animosity and hostility against Him in Jerusalem, He retreated again after raising Lazarus from the dead. We know that this was another location either across the Jordan or very near Jordan, because when He returns to Jerusalem here in chapter 12, He comes through Jericho [see Matthew 20.29-34; Mark 14.46-52; Luke 18.31-19.10]. All of these events occurred on His way to Jerusalem for this last Passover week.

The point of all these timelines and itineraries is simply to say: there were =/- three months between the raising of Lazarus from the dead and Jesus’ return to Jerusalem for this last Passover during which He will be crucified. During much of this time, Lazarus has been a living, breathing, and speaking testimony to the Deity of Christ. Many others are believing in Jesus. This poses a serious threat to the religious, cultural, and social control and influence over the people; and it only intensifies their determination to kill Him and rid Him from their ‘turf.’ We’ll see that here in just a few minutes…


1 / This is another subject that will help you to at least understand the significance of Mary’s anointing of Jesus that we will consider in this lesson. We know that there are at least two anointings that are recorded in the Gospels – and maybe three. So let’s distinguish them:

  1. Luke 7.36-50: This was an entirely separate event from the Mary’s anointing in our lesson text. This one probably occurred in Jerusalem, or at least close by Jerusalem. The host’s name was Simon, but Simon was one of the most common names in Israel. There are several Simons who are named in the New Testament. This Simon was a Pharisee. The woman is unnamed, but she was also well-known among the community as a sinner, that is, a woman of ill-repute. She anointed Jesus’ feet as an act of repentance over her sins … and as an act of faith that Jesus is the Savior from her sins and would forgive her. He did / see 37, 39, 47-50.
  2. John 12.1-8: I’m placing this one second in sequence because the textual words do. This occasion is very similar to the next one I’ll relate, but I do believe they are separate because of other differences in the descriptions of the events. We’ll say more about this anointing by Mary here shortly, but just note for now this one occurred Six days before the Passover…
  3. Matthew 26.6-13 & Mark 14.3-9: These two accounts are parallel tellings of the same occasion. This anointing took place when It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread / Matt 26.2 & Mk 14.1. This anointing was also in Bethany, but while He was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper… Another Simon, but a different one than in Luke 7. Since Simon was hosting a supper for Jesus in his home, and lepers were not allowed to have any social interaction in their society, it stands to reason that he had been healed by Jesus and was a follower. The woman is unnamed, but it is not beyond belief that the same Mary performed both anointings. They were, in all likelihood, close friends and neighbors with Simon in the same village, and were invited as guests and fellow lovers of Jesus to come and participate.

2 / But the significant time-stamp that both Matthew and Mark record is that ‘it was now two days before the Passover,’ and John specifically records that the one that was hosted in the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus was ‘six days before the Passover…’ That’s why I believe they are two separate suppers and anointings.

3 / Although I do also realize that it is entirely possible that John records only that Jesus came into Bethany six days before the Passover, and that the supper could have been hosted for Him four days later in the home of Simon the leper – but Simon could also have asked Martha and Mary to come to his home and serve the supper for him since he may have lived alone. So I’m just offering my best understanding of the events.

4 / Able scholars, historians, and commentators believe that these two events here are the same.

5 / Now, let’s learn some lessons from our lesson text: John 12.1-11…    


Jesus’ great love for us – and His many mercies toward us – call for us to love Him and serve Him in return.

1 / One of the most-often repeated testimonies in ch 11 is Jesus’ great love for Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.

  • v 3 – He whom you love is ill
  • v 5 – Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus
  • v 36 – “See how He loved him”

2 / Giving hospitality to friends was one of the common customs of that day, especially to those who were visiting in your village from other places. REMEMBER: Jesus had come to Jerusalem for the Passover. He did not live in Jerusalem and had no home there. So when He [and all the other pilgrims who came to Jerusalem for the feast days] arrived, they were hosted in the homes of others. During the three years of His public ministry, Jesus often stayed with Martha, Mary, and Lazarus and had developed this close friendship and relationship with them.

3 / BUT this was not just providing lodging for Jesus. So they gave a dinner for Him there. They hosted a large, formal dinner in His honor and invited other guests to come and join them. They wanted to do this to express their love and appreciation to Jesus for all the grace, mercies, and kindnesses He had given to them!

4 / So step back and look at that scene!

  1. Jesus therefore came to Bethany… Jesus had made a return visit, and they were welcoming Him!
  2. where Lazarus was… This is saying so much more than just “Lazarus lived in Bethany” or “Bethany was Lazarus’s hometown.” It is saying, “Lazarus was there! You know, the one who just a few weeks ago had been dead for four days! When Jesus makes this one last return visit, ‘Lazarus was there!’ Lazarus’s ‘being there’ was a living, breathing, speaking, visible, vocal testimony to the love of Christ for him and Jesus’ ministry of grace to him and his sisters. ‘There he was!’”
  3. whom Jesus had raised from the dead… Lazarus’s ‘being there’ was because this Jesus who had come to be their guest is the One who had made it so!
  4. So they gave a dinner for Him there. This was their heartfelt expression of love and gift of gratitude to Jesus for every blessing they were enjoying.
  5. Martha served… Every time we see Martha she is serving. This was her gift, personality, and temperament.
  6. and Lazarus was one of those reclining with Him at the table… There he was, not only enjoying this occasion with them, but being himself an object of great joy as they enjoyed having him back with them – alive and in their company!

5 / Now, I have highlighted every one of these details that John writes into this narrative to give you some feel or sense of what Mary was seeing. How her heart must have been just bursting with joy and happiness … and gratitude to Jesus for making this scene possible!

6 / And I want each one of us to do the same thing. Look at your life, at your circumstances, at the abundant blessings God has showered on each of us. Yes, I know – each of our lives is burdened with our respective sorrows, afflictions, sadnesses, adversities. But, in spite of all that, and in all that, we are still blessed abundantly and beyond measure and certainly more than we deserve with ‘every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ!’ So take stock and inventory right now of how good God has been to you and how much He has loved you … and still does!

7 / Like Martha [and Mary], every service we give to Jesus is our expression of love and gratitude for the love with which He first loved us! / see 1 John 4.9-10.


No extravagance is too expensive – no sacrifice is too great – no service is too much – when Jesus has done so much for us!

1 / Mary’s gift and act was personally costly. It was costly in terms of what she had paid for it. [Judas Iscariot, the ‘thief’ who betrayed Jesus made the statement that it could have been ‘sold for three hundred denarii’ which would have been equivalent to the annual wage of the average hired hand.] And it was costly in terms of personal sacrifice because in all likelihood, she had bought this burial ointment ahead as ‘pre-arrangements’ for her own burial. But she wants to pour it out on Jesus instead!

2 / Mary’s gift was generously given. She didn’t just measure it out or dribble it out to be sure she didn’t give too much. NO! She poured it out on Jesus’ feet in such quantity that it dripped to the floor. It was in such quantity that she used her own hair to wipe away the excess. And if you compare this act with the Mark 14 anointing, she very well may have anointed Jesus’ head also.

3 / The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. This burial lotion/ointment Mary poured on Jesus was what we would call ‘essential oils.’ It was not just cologne, or perfume, or scented water. It was the purest distillation of the fragrance of the plants. And you know how strong, potent, and even overpowering those fragrances can be. The effect of this anointing was that, not only the apartment or upper room they were in, but even the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

4 / You need to know that whatever service you are giving to Christ with your life, however insignificant it may seem sometimes, however hidden or obscure it may appear to you – you are filling that part of your world and other people’s lives with the fragrance of your service. No one person can do everything that needs to be done in the service of Christ, but when you do whatever you do, you will fill that person’s life or those people’s lives with the fragrance of the love of Christ.    


Those who do not love Christ and live to keep everything they have for themselves won’t understand and will criticize you … anything you do that is more than what they want to give or do will be too much.

1 / The statement quoted above in the heading isn’t in this narrative. But it is in the similar Mark 14.4 story. That is the gist of the complaint, though. “Jesus is not worth or worthy of this generosity. You’re going overboard. This is too much. It could have been given for more useful purposes.”  

2 / The chief complainer is Judas Iscariot, the one who will betray Jesus over to His enemies in just a few days. And what he is really complaining about is that, if it had been sold and the proceeds given to Jesus and His disciples to distribute to the poor, he could have embezzled it – which is what he was doing already.

VII / vv 7-8 / ‘LEAVE HER ALONE!’

You can be sure that Jesus receives and commends every gift of love and service you give Him. And if He is pleased with you, no one else’s objections will stand. Jesus will overrule them all!

1 / Jesus lights into Judas here [and also some other of His disciples in the Matthew 26.8 & Mark 14.5 narratives, where it says, “And they scolded her.”]

2 / Here are Jesus’ rebuking responses to them [combining both here and in the similar narratives…]

  • “Leave her alone!” Jesus sees and knows your heart and your motives. He will receive your love and loving service … of whatever kind you give.
  • “So that she may keep it for the day of my burial…” or “…she has anointed my body beforehand for burial [Mark 14.8]. It remains unknown to us whether Mary was more sensitive to Jesus’ impending death and burial than the disciples. But whether she did or didn’t, Jesus knew, and He accepted her gift and service as such. And WE, too, can know that whenever and however we minister to those who are His ‘body,’ we are ministering that same service to HIM! / see Matthew 25.31-40.
  • “She has done a beautiful thing to me… [Mark 14.6]. Jesus can transform even the lowliest, most humble, most menial, or even the ‘messiest’ service we give Him into a ‘beautiful’ thing to Him!
  • “She has done what she could…” [Mark 14.8]. Do what you can do. Do what Jesus gives you opportunity and ability to do. And do it with love – and because of His love for you!



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The older I get, the more I think about where all I’ve been over the course of my life and ministry and what all I’ve done – or not done – and if I’ve done it well. I always seriously think about it, often wonder, sometimes agonize over it.

I guess everyone does that at some time to some degree.

I keep telling everyone “I know I’m at least well into in the second half of my life, maybe the fourth quarter, maybe the ninth inning, maybe the bottom of the ninth, maybe even the final ‘two-minute drill.’” We never know.

What I do know is that I don’t want to end up ‘being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ’ [2 Peter 1.8]. I so want to finish well like Peter encourages: “For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” [2 Peter 1.11].

So whether I think about my service for Christ in terms of:

  • “…he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the Master of the house, ready for every good work” [2 Timothy 2.20-21
  • “…So whether we are at home [in the body] or away [with Christ], we make it our aim to please Him” [2 Corinthians 5.6-10]
  • “…bear fruit…more fruit…much fruit…” [John 15.1-8]

it all comes down to this measurement:


1 Corinthians 4.1-5 HCSB: A person should consider us in this way: as servants of Christ and managers of God’s mysteries. In this regard, it is expected of managers that each one of them be found faithful. It is of little importance to me that I should be evaluated by you or by any human court. In fact, I don’t even evaluate myself. For I am not conscious of anything against myself, but I am not justified by this. The One who evaluates me is the Lord. Therefore don’t judge anything prematurely, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts. And then praise will come to each one from God.

I learned decades ago that I couldn’t and shouldn’t measure my life and ministry by the commonly accepted or trending metrics of ‘success,’ mainly because:

[1] That responsibility is not within my aegis: “The One who evaluates me is the Lord…therefore don’t judge anything prematurely, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts. And then praise will come to each from God.”

[2] I’m not a worthy judge or evaluator of my own ministry: “I don’t even evaluate myself.” 

[3] I’ll have to know what measurement to use to evaluate by: “It is of little importance to me that I should be evaluated by you or by any human court.”  It is fruitless, futile, and frustrating to either search for or submit to anyone else’s metrics of ‘success.’ The best we can do is waste our time and seasons of our lives and ministries trying to attain and measure up by series of trial and error.

[4] I couldn’t find much of what is usually called ‘success’ anyway to even measure.

Who determines what ‘success’ is, anyway? Who has the authority and right to tell me what measure to use and when I have attained it? ‘Success’ always ends up being a comparison with someone else or the ministry of another. And God Himself is the only One who is deservedly credited with any ‘success’ that comes from any of our ministries.

“What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building” [1 Corinthians 3.5-9].

And, in the end:

  • “For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” [Romans 14.10-12].
  • And “…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…” [1 Corinthians 3.13].
  • And “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” [2 Corinthians 5.10].

Anyone who’s been in the ministry, and especially pastoral ministry, has had plenty of ‘evaluations’ from others. I’ve been in pastoral ministry for fifty years, so I’ve had my fair share. Some have been sincere and well-intentioned, and I received and learned from them. Others, not so much. Several years back, I experienced one of my most memorable ‘evaluations.’ During one such episode, I was essentially put on trial to examine and evaluate my pastoral ‘success’ in one of the churches I have pastored. In response, I had delivered a message in which I referenced Paul’s 1 Corinthians 4.1-5 testimony quoted above. It was not a ‘defense’ per se, just an explanation, a testimony. At the end of the message, after everyone else had left to go home, I was accosted by a much younger ministry partner – and a novice at that – who screamed at me for half an hour, reminding me of all ways I had failed in that church. Toward the end of his diatribe, he summed up my ministry by saying: “You can’t preach, you can’t lead, and you can’t relate to people.” Then, as he turned to walk back up the aisle to leave, he turned and jabbed his finger to point at me, and delivered his final volley by saying, “I have come to the conclusion you are unfit for the ministry.” Well, for one who had given my entire life to ministry to Christ and to others, and all in the ways in which he had just told me I had failed, I did at least take note of that evaluation. I really don’t want that to be the case. But, the only answer I gave him was to calmly reply: “Well, I know that’s your evaluation of me. You’ve told me that before. But, as I said in my message this morning, your evaluation doesn’t count. Christ Himself will determine that, both now and at the Last Day.”  

So, rather than constantly evaluate my ministry by the commonly accepted and ever-changing metrics of ‘success,’ I learned to evaluate my service to Christ in terms of ‘effectiveness.’ ‘Effective’ simply means that I accomplished what I have been given to do. And the bottom line of an ‘effective’ ministry is: “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful” [1 Corinthians 4.2]. “Do whatever He tells you” [John 2.5]. If I faithfully obey and fulfill the assignment my Lord and Master gives me to do and tells me to do in that time and place, then I have been ‘effective’ … regardless of the visible results of my labors, the evaluations of anyone else, or how it may compare with someone else’s service.

My call, assignment, responsibility is to serve and please Jesus Christ [2 Corinthians 5.9] by proclaiming the Word of God into all the ministry opportunities God is pleased to lead me into. That includes, first of all, my own example of character and conduct, all those that are public and in the church body, as well as in my personal relationships and one-on-one encounters. If I do that, the ‘effectiveness’ is not from me…it is from God. Jesus said, “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]. Jesus Christ Himself – through the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit – is the Great Effector through us as we speak the words God has ordained to be effective.

If I faithfully live by, speak, and proclaim the words that God gives me in His Word, then I cannot fail. I must succeed.

If I faithfully live by, speak, and proclaim the words that God gives me in His Word, then I cannot fail. I must succeed. Because God always succeeds through His Word. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” [Isaiah 55.10-11].

So, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life” [Acts 5.20]. Jesus Christ Himself will be speaking through you.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” [Joshua 1.8].

God will make His Word…and you…effective.

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I AM…the Resurrection and the Life

JOHN | Lesson 10 | Lesson Notes / Talking Points

Read John, chapter 11

NOTE: to you who have been following these lessons in sequence, I am keeping the lessons I taught our Sunday School class in numerical order. However, the lesson on chapter 10 is missing from this sequence since a Pastor from our church taught that lesson in my absence.


1 / Chapter 11 brings us to a significant point in our survey/study of this Gospel. Some Bible teachers divide John into three distinct sections:

  1. ch 1.1-18 / PROLOGUE
  2. chs 1.19-11.57 / WITNESS [wherein John chronicles numerous eye-witnesses to Jesus’ Deity and God-ness]
  3. chs 12.1-21.25 / PASSION

2 / This chapter also records the 7th sign-miracle that John highlights to demonstrate and proclaim that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God [see ch 20.30-31]

  1. turning water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana / ch 2.11
  2. healing the official’s servant / ch 4.54
  3. healing the man who had been lame for thirty-eight years / ch 5.1-14
  4. feeding the 5000 / ch 6.1-14
  5. walking on the water / ch 6.16-21
  6. giving sight to the man born blind / ch 9.1-7
  7. raising Lazarus from the dead / ch 11.1-44

3 / AND this chapter also records one of the seven “I AM” declarations that Jesus makes concerning Himself that He, Himself, is the God who revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush [Exodus 3.14-15]

  1. I AM the Bread of Life / ch 6.35, 41, 48, 51
  2. I AM the Light of the World / ch 8.12
  3. I AM the Door of the Sheep / ch 10.7, 9
  4. I AM the Good Shepherd / ch 10.11, 14
  5. I AM the Resurrection and the Life / ch 11.25
  6. I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life / ch 14.6
  7. I AM the True Vine / ch 15.1, 5

4 / This sign-miracle that Jesus will work by raising Lazarus from the dead will demonstrate beyond all disproving and disbelieving that He is God. There will be many eye-witnesses, and many will believe in Him / ch 11.45. Though also, as we shall see, His miracle only further infuriated the Jewish religious leaders, inflamed their hatred toward Him, and stirred up their plots to immediately kill Him … and not just Jesus, but they determined also they would kill Lazarus as well / ch 12.9-11.


1 / Jesus was in a different region ‘across the Jordan’ several miles to the east from Bethany when He received this verbal message that ‘He whom you love is ill.’ / see ch 10.40]. There had been a time interval of a few weeks between the events of ch 10.22-42 and ch 11. In ch 10.22, ‘It was winter.’ In ch 11.55, ‘Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand…’ This would have been in our month of March-April.

2 / Mary is identified as the one ‘who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill.’ This event is described before it happened in ch 12.1-8 so John could specify which Mary it was. This is the same Mary and Martha who hosted Jesus in Lk 10.38-42.

3 / Jesus gave His Divine perspective, not only on Lazarus’s sickness and eventual physical death, but also on all of ours as well. All of our sickness, suffering, sadness, pain, grief – and even death itself – are opportunities for God to display and demonstrate His greater Glory … and for us to see and experience the Power of His eternal life / see v 40.

All of our sickness, suffering, sadness, pain, grief – and even death itself – are opportunities for God to display and demonstrate His greater Glory … and for us to see and experience the Power of His eternal life / see v 40.

“Let us remember that the final result of Lazarus’s sickness is what we should desire as the result of any sickness that comes on us and our families: namely, that God and Christ may be glorified in us. We cannot say, ‘It shall not end in death,’ but we can say, ‘By God’s help, it shall be for the glory of God.’” / Pastor J. C. Ryle.

4 / That’s why Jesus remained where He was for two days longer before going to Bethany to raise Lazarus from death: so Mary and Martha, and all of their friends who were mourning with them could see a greater display of His Glory – that is, the Glory of God. Yes, it would have been a glorious miracle if He had immediately gone to heal Lazarus of this sudden sickness that had beset him … or He could have even healed Lazarus from where He was with just a word, as He had done before. BUT He wanted to work a miracle that would demonstrate even a much-greater Glory by waiting until Lazarus had undoubtedly and undeniably died – by raising Him from the dead.


1 / It is significant that by the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, ‘He found that Lazarus had already been the tomb four days.’ By this time, the decomposition of his corpse would have already set in. There was no doubt that Lazarus had really died. His physical life had departed from his body days ago.

2 / ‘Does Jesus care…’ This is an old song that some of us have heard over our lifetimes. we can almost imagine Martha and Mary leading their friends in several stanzas of this song. Not really…but we do know that they questioned in their own hearts why Jesus had delayed His coming. Both of them made the same heart-broken complaint to Jesus: ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died’ / vv 21 & 32. If it wasn’t a complaint, it was at least an expression of their disappointment in Jesus. They couldn’t understand His delay. Though sometimes – maybe even often – we may question the wisdom and caring of God’s timing in our circumstances, we know we can always trust Him to do what is wisest according to Him, loving, and for our greater good and His Glory.

3 / I want to quote Pastor Ryle again:

“The servants of Christ are often placed in circumstances just as puzzling and perplexing as those of His disciples. They are led in ways of which they cannot see the purpose and object; they are called to fill positions from which they naturally shrink, and which they would never have chosen for themselves. Thousands in every age are continually learning this by their own experience. The path they are obliged to walk in is not the path of their own choice. At present they cannot see its usefulness or wisdom … If Christians were allowed to choose their own course through life, they would never learn hundreds of lessons about Christ and His grace, which they are now taught in God’s ways. Let us remember these things. The time may come when we shall be called to take some journey in life which we greatly dislike. When that time comes, let us set out cheerfully, and believe that all is right.”

4 / Jesus makes one of His profound “I AM” statements here. When He assured Martha that her brother would rise again, she replied with her own confession of faith: “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus affirms the truth of her faith in the resurrection to come, but He also declares that HE, HIMSELF, is the One who will effect THAT resurrection … but that HE is also there with her, and that she must trust Him to give resurrection and life whenever, wherever, and to whomever He wills. “I AM the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall He live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” We need to believe, confess, and remember what Jesus promises:

  1. He Himself is the promise, power, and assurance of our resurrection and life – both physical and spiritual
  2. All who believe in Jesus, even though they die physically, yet we shall live eternally with Him
  3. All believers, while they live until they die from here physically, will never really die [that is, cease to live] … we just pass from living in and with Christ here to living in and with Christ there in Heaven and in His Presence. Life with Christ here … and life with Christ there … is a seamless continuum – and physical death is only the momentary segue.

IV / vv 28-37 / ‘JESUS WEPT’

1 / What we witness in this exchange between Jesus and these two mourning sisters is a demonstration of the perfect, full, and unified Deity and humanity of Jesus. Look and marvel at how He sympathized with their physical emotions, trauma, and grief. “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled…Jesus wept” vv 33-35. This same word for ‘deeply moved’ is found again in verse 38. The word actually means ‘to snort…express indignant displeasure.’ Also, the word for ‘greatly troubled’ means ‘to be shaken emotionally, to be deeply agitated in your innermost being.’

2 / While Jesus’ being deeply moved could also have been at His indignation at the sin that has caused all of this human and physical trauma, we cannot overlook or deny that it was also an expression of His infinite sympathy for us and how closely and personally He identifies with all our grief and suffering / see Hebrews 4.14-16.

3 / When Jesus is said to ‘love’ Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary, He really did! / see vv 3, 5, 11 [‘friend’], 36. And we can be sure that He has the same unconditional, sympathizing love for us also who love and believe in Him. And I do mean every one of us – regardless of our stages and degrees of maturity, our deficiencies of personality and temperaments, or our inconsistencies and even failures sometimes of faith and confidence in Him.   

V / vv 38-44 / “LAZARUS, COME OUT!”

1 / Jesus had asked them where they had laid Lazarus … and to take Him to the tomb where he had been buried for the past four days. He told them to roll away the circular stone that had been cut to cover the mouth of the sepulcher. Martha expressed her genuine concern about uncovering the mouth of the burial site. They all knew that by this time, Lazarus’s corpse would have begun to decompose: ‘Lord, by this time there will be an odor…’ Of course, there will be. Their custom was to slather burial oils and perfumes on the dead body before wrapping it in strips of cloth specifically for this purpose – to mitigate the offensive odors and stench that would emanate from the numerous burial sites around their communities. NOTE: the very stench of Lazarus’s corpse would be its own testimony to his actually being dead and beginning to decompose … and also the Glory of God that would be visibly demonstrated in raising him back to life.

2 / Pay close attention to v 40! “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God.’” Yes, they would have seen God’s Glory being worked out through Jesus if He had come immediately and healed Lazarus before he died. But Jesus had already told the disciples [v 4] and also Martha that if she would believe and trust Him, she would see for herself the Glory of God being manifest and demonstrated in what He would do. But raising him from the dead was a much greater Glory than merely healing him. We, too, must learn to trust His wisdom and Providence and patiently wait for Him to work His sovereign pleasure and will in the time and ways He knows is wisest, best for us, and most glorifying to His Grace / see Romans 8.28.

3 / And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” Do you hear what Jesus is praying? He knows that the Father hears and receives His perfect prayers and gives Him whatever He asks for. AND He wants us to hear this prayer as well – so that we, too, will be comforted when He prays for us! And He does! / see Hebrews 7.25.

4 / Jesus has promised us before that the Father has given Him all authority to judge, give life, and raise the dead / see ch 5.19-29.

5 / When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” And with that, the now-living Lazarus who had come hobbling out of the gravesite cave where he had been lovingly laid, mourned, and left dead four days ago was unwrapped, and walked back home with his sisters under his own power!

6 / All of us who are believers in Christ can look forward with great anticipation … and be comforted and rejoice in the hope that ALL BELIEVERS will hear that same life-giving resurrection Voice when Jesus returns again accompanied by all those who have died before us.

1 Thessalonians 4.13-18: But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.


1 / So, here’s the grand conclusion to this amazing display of the Glory of God…

2 / Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what He did, believed in Him. Remember, this is the purpose for which Jesus did all His sign-miracles … and the reason John has written about them  / see ch 20.30-31.

3 / …but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. We are left to wonder what their motivation was: was it report Jesus to the Jewish religious leaders who were publicly known to be looking for Him, hunting Him down to kill Him? Or could they have gone to report this miracle in the hopes that the Pharisees would see the error of their ways and reverse their murderous plots and maybe believe in Him themselves?

4 / vv 47-52 / This account of the internal deliberations among the chief priests and Pharisees only reveals that they were willing to use Jesus as a political pawn and ‘scapegoat’ to direct the suspicion and ire of the Roman government away from themselves to Jesus. What they did, however, was give voice to God’s Divine redemptive purpose for Jesus’ soon-coming death: He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. Jesus would indeed die at the hands of Romans and the Jews who would turn Him over to them … but in so dying, He would become the ‘Savior of the world,’ that is, people of all ethnicities and nationalities.

5 / So from that day on they made plans to put Him to death [v 53] … Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest Him [v 57] … When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of Him but also to see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus [ch 12.9-11].


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My Tribute to my Friend, Dorothy Hulette


Monday | 13 February 2023 | Buck Run Baptist Church


>>>>>>>>>> † <<<<<<<<<<

Dorothy was my friend – and she still is and will be forever [1 Thessalonians 4.13-18]. She was also a decades-long faithful member of our church and the Sunday School class I teach. She is one of the very first who welcomed me to our church when we first came. I participated in her memorial service by delivering this tribute. What I wanted to do is: honor her faith in Christ and His work of love in her, encourage the family with our hope of Glory, and bear witness the Gospel of the Grace of God. In truth, she wrote her own tribute by the life she lived and the service she gave. Here is my contribution…

The theme of Dorothy’s life and service to Christ was ‘love.’

The apostle John sums it up this way [1 John 4.9-11]:

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

Dorothy believed that … and she said, “I will!” And she did!

Dorothy left us specific and insistent instructions that we give testimony to the Love of God that made her who she is.Dorothy loved God and us…all of us…because God first loved her. AND her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ loved her so much He came to earth and died for her – to lay claim on her life for Himself…and then to continue pouring out His love for her and us … through her.

Romans 5.5-8: ‘…because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’

That’s who Dorothy was and is … and that’s why she was who she was.

>>>>>>>>>> † <<<<<<<<<<

If I may, I want to begin my remarks by speaking to the younger members of the family – especially the grand & great-grandchildren. I just want to give you a word of encouragement and hope in this experience of your grief. We will always experience our human grief of the bereavement of our loved ones – that is as it should be. But there is so much more going on here than meets our physical eyes. But, the very first funeral I ever conducted was for my Grandma Parks – my Dad’s mother. I was only 19 years old … close to the ages of some of you who are here today. The family asked me if I would conduct her service because they knew the loving bond and relationship I had with Grandma Parks. So, I did.

But what I want to relate to you is a brief conversation I had with the co-owner of the funeral service, Mr. Hayworth. I rode to the cemetery with him and my Grandma’s casket in the back of the hearse. We started a conversation before we got out of the parking lot to lead the procession to her burial. He had remarked briefly about my youth and how emotionally hard it must have been for me. But then, he made a one-sentence remark that has marked me ever since [53 years later, I can still vividly picture us together in that hearse and hear his voice]. He said,

“You know, for a child of God, dying is just as much a part of the Christian experience as living.” And that’s all he said.

But I knew what he meant. Because for those of us whose only Hope in life and death is Jesus Christ, CHRIST IS ALL AND IN ALL … in LIFE and in DEATH. That’s why the apostle Paul said in Philippians 1.21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Jesus Christ Himself is our eternal life [‘Christ in you, the Hope of Glory’] … and when we die from here, we only gain more of the fullness of joy of His Presence.

That’s why both Paul and Dorothy told us: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better!”

And Jesus’ desire also is for Dorothy to be there with Him. Jesus prayed on His way to Gethsemane the night before He went to the Cross the next morning. He was committing Himself to what His Father had sent Him to do: to die for His people the Father had given Him to save – to redeem them, forgive their sins, justify them, so they could be with Him forever. And so, He asked the Father that night [reading from John 17.24],

“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given Me, may be with Me where I am, to see My Glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”

Before time began, God the Father gave Dorothy to the Son, Jesus Christ … as a love gift. “Here, My Son, I love Dorothy, and I want her here with us forever. I’m giving her to you. You go to earth and die for her sins, and then bring her here to be with us.”

And so, the Father desired that Dorothy be there with HimJesus desired that Dorothy be there with Him…and Dorothy desired to be there with Him – and Wednesday morning, the Father granted ALL their desires.

But, for those of us still living here with Christ, the only way we can live with Him there…is to die from here.

Life with Christ here … and life with Christ there … is a seamless continuum – and physical death is only the momentary segue.

That’s why, for a child of God, “…dying is just as much a part of the Christian experience as living.”

>>>>>>>>>> † <<<<<<<<<<

I first met Dorothy in the Fall of 2017, shortly after we had come here to our church. I wasn’t teaching our Sunday School class yet. And, I knew very few of our folks. But Pastor York asked me to accompany him to make some pastoral visits. We made two visits that day – [the first visit was with Ted and Betty Anne Lance] – and Garnett and Dorothy was the second one. [I would find out just a short time later that all of them were in our Sunday School class … and they were each others’ truest and dearest friends.]

We went into their living room and exchanged some brief greetings. [Well, Garnett did tell some Joe B. Hall stories…] Garnett was in his recliner, and Pastor York took a chair facing him, and I had taken a seat on the sofa over closer to Dorothy’s sewing chair. Pastor York and Garnett soon got into their own conversation, and since Garnett was a little hard of hearing, Pastor York pulled up his chair to be closer to Garnett.

So, I turned to Dorothy, and we struck up our own private conversation. You all know what a sweet, gentle, engaging, and personable lady she was. The word that I always think of is ‘disarming.’ She had a way of disarming any ‘stranger-ness’ and putting you immediately at ease with her. We just went from one topic to another, getting acquainted – kind of sparking off of each other. She was so welcoming to this new guy … and that sweet smile and gentle voice of hers! She exuded love, and I was enveloped with it. She captured my heart. There was an instantaneous openness about her. Like, “Let me welcome you into my life, and I’d like to share yours!” We established an immediate bond of love between us. And when Pastor York and Garnett finished their conversation, Dorothy and I still had a lot to talk about!

We had numerous opportunities to continue that conversation after that. She and Lesa would invite us over for supper. Or we’d talk on the phone. Or they’d drive over to our house in Lexington and bring us foodstuffs or sourdough bread. Por she would crochet little love gifts and give them to me. Or I would visit her during her several stays in the hospital.

Dorothy was always what we call a ‘sweet visit.’ Anybody who’s done much visiting knows the difference between a ‘sweet’ visit and a ‘not so sweet’ one. Some visits are draining and exhausting – but not Dorothy! I would call her up or go to see her to encourage her. But Dorothy is always the one who would end up encouraging me with her sweet, soft smile and her words of faith in her Savior. She would tell me stories about her experiences in serving the Lord and her church.

And, of course, she would always talk about her grandkids and great-grandkids.

And Dorothy could also be a fun visit.She could be quite the ‘cut-up.’ I went to see her when she was rehabbing in Cardinal Hill after she broke her hip. And so, as we were talking, I said, “Hey, Dorothy, why don’t I snap some pictures of you making faces, and we’ll send them to Lesa … you know, to give her an update on how you’re doing today.” Well, she did make some faces, and I did snap them, but she wouldn’t let me send the ‘making a face’ pics to Lesa. So, I just sent one with her usual soft smile.

>>>>>>>>>> † <<<<<<<<<<

But probably one of the funnest exchanges we had was what we called “The Battle of the Crowns” … and I’m talking about tooth crowns.This was back in 2020…during the height of Covid. Both of us were getting crowns. Mine was simpler: I just had a molar extracted and a crown implant. But Dorothy had all kinds of battles with her crown. I think maybe a crown had come off of one her molars, and she was trying to get it re-crowned. Except that nothing took. I seem to remember she had a root canal, and maybe ended up having it finally pulled. But we would talk about our battles. I was talking with her one day on the phone, and I said, “Dorothy, you know I grew up in rural Baptist churches, and we would sing this song. The song was an adaptation of Isaac Watts’s 300-year-old hymn, ‘Am I a soldier of the cross…’ [This was the William B. Blake arrangement]

And this adaptation would kick into a rousing, lively chorus:

“And when the battle’s over we shall wear a crown!

Yes, we shall wear a crown!

Yes, we shall wear a crown!

And when the battle’s over we shall wear a crown in the New Jerusalem.

[And then it would keep going…]

Wear a crown, wear a crown, wear a bright and shining crown!

And when the battle’s over we shall wear a crown in the New Jerusalem!”

Well, Dorothy didn’t think she had ever heard that version. So, I found a YouTube of a mid-sized rural Baptist church with a good-sized choir that was singing it. And they were enjoying singing it! They had a lively choir director who was adding a few steps of his own as he directed. And so I sent it to Lesa and said, “Lesa, show Dorothy this video.” She did. The next time I talked with Dorothy, I said, “Dorothy, the next time I come to see you, I want you and me to sing that song together, and let’s see if we can do some of those steps together.” The only thing she said to that was, “Oh, no, I don’t think I should try that…my hip…”

But she is singing it now! Maybe not that version, but here are the last two stanzas of the original hymn:

Thy saints in all this glorious war Shall conquer, though they die; They see the triumph from afar, By faith’s discerning eye.

When that illustrious day shall rise, And all Thy armies shine In robes of vict’ry through the skies, The glory shall be Thine.

“And when the battle’s over…” the apostle Peter promises that we will receive “a crown of glory that does not fade away” [1 Peter 5.4], and Dorothy is so wearing that crown!

>>>>>>>>>> † <<<<<<<<<<

Dorothy would often get discouraged.She was growing older, weaker, and more feeble by the year. She had been active in service all her life. But now she couldn’t. She grew weary of the pain and not being able to get out and about – doing what she had done all her life: serving the Lord, her church, and others.

During the Covid moratorium, we weren’t meeting in our Sunday School class … just in our worship services observing protocols. But I didn’t want our Sunday School lessons to be interrupted, so I took to making a solo Zoom, converting it to YouTube, and sending the link to the lesson to our class folks. We were in study of selected Psalms. And this Sunday’s lesson was Psalm 92.

Here’s the way the Psalm starts out:

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

And then, after contrasting the ultimate withering and destruction of the wicked and unbelieving … with the flourishing and fruitfulness of those whose faith and trust is in God, the psalmist concludes with this blessing:

12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,
15 to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

The next time I talked with Dorothy, I called her attention to that Scripture, and said, “Dorothy, when I prepared and delivered that lesson, all I could see was your face. This is for you. I know you don’t feel like you are flourishing, but you are. You are not withering. I know you feel like you are not bearing fruit in your old age and weakness, but you are! You have lived your entire life ‘planted in the house of the LORD and flourishing in the courts of our God.’ And you still are! You are still bearing fruit – even in your old age. All the planting you’ve done over your lifetime is still growing and bearing fruit!”

  1. “You are still bearing all the fruit of the love you have shared with everybody over the course of your life. You abundantly planted love in all of our lives, and it is still flourishing and bearing fruit.”
  2. “You are still bearing all the fruit of your service you have given to Christ, to your church, and to others. It is still growing, and flourishing, and bearing fruit to the second and third generations.”
  3. “You are still bearing all the fruit of your faithfulness to Christ. All the ways you have remained faithful to Christ and steadfast in your faith in Him – through all of your weakness and struggling and pain – is a flourishing testimony to His faithfulness! You have inspired so many to follow your example to do the same. And they are! They are the ‘still bearing fruit’ of your witness!”   

14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,
15 to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Dorothy’s testimony and legacy still continues to charge us: “LOVE ON!” because …

  • The steadfast love of the LORD endures forever…
  • Love never ends…
  • So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

>>>>>>>>>> † <<<<<<<<<<

Let’s pray:

“Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus …make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we for you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints [1 Thessalonians 3.11-13]” … through the merits of our Savior we pray. Amen.

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Though I was blind…now I see!

JOHN | Lesson 9 | Lesson Notes / Talking Points

Read John, chapter 9


1 / This is now the sixth of the seven signs [miracles] that John highlights in his planned presentation to demonstrate that Jesus was the Son of God / see John 20.31-31. See lesson 5 for a listing of those seven highlighted signs.

2 / The sign-miracle is recorded in verses 1-9: a man who had been born blind – who had never in his entire life seen with his natural vision – is miraculously made to see by the healing power of Jesus. Jesus is obviously demonstrating that He does what only God can do! vv 32-33

3 / Another significance of this sign-miracle is that Jesus worked it on the Sabbath Day. John specifically points this out in verse 14. Jesus was already targeted to be killed by the Jewish religious leaders because he made the lame man to walk also on the Sabbath Day / see ch 5. This miraculous work will only fan the flames of the hatred and murderous animosity of the Jewish leaders.

4 / We must also note the purpose and message of the sign-miracle. Every sign that Jesus performed not only demonstrated His Deity, but it also preached a message about His mission for coming into the world. Jesus states the message of the sign and of His saving mission in verse 5: As long as I AM in the world, I AM the light of the world. This is also a continuation of Lesson 7: I AM…The Light of the World.

5 / What stands out, of course, on the surface is the stark contrast between darkness / light. This is one of the prominent theme-threads that John weaves all throughout his Gospel: ch 1.4-9; 3.16-19; elsewhere.

  • Darkness. Physical blindness is, of course, physical darkness. Those who are physically blind cannot see the light that is all around them. Their eyes do not work. This is emblematic of the spiritual blindness we all have by born human nature: we cannot see our own sin, nor the condemnation that is upon us, nor can we see the Glory of Christ who alone can save us from our sins / see 2 Corinthians 4.3-8.
  • Light. When we can physically see, the light of the physical world shows us who we are [we can see our own reflection in a mirror, for example], where we are, and where we are going / see ch 11.9-10. By the same rule, Jesus Christ came to give us Himself to be our spiritual Light – to show us who we are in our sin, to shine Himself on us as our Savior from our sin, and to give us the Light of Truth and knowledge to know how to live, where we are going, and how to get there … through Him, The Light of the world!  see ch 8.12.

6 / So this is what Jesus will demonstrate and teach us by this sign-miracle He will work on this blind man. And the blind man who was made to physically see will also ‘see’ the Glory of Christ’s mercy, grace, and salvation … and he will believe! see vv 35-38.


1 / v 1 / “As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.” You must note that Jesus was not just strolling through the throngs of people who were crowding into Jerusalem on this feast occasion [see chapter 7]. He was escaping being stoned to death by the angry Jewish leaders after He had thwarted all their efforts to discredit Him in the presence of the people as He taught / see ch 8.59. But He will pause in His escape to show mercy on this poor blind man.

2 / vv 2-5 / The question His disciples asked Him was just reflecting the common cultural belief and perception that every human malady and affliction was the direct result of some specific personal sin. Jesus set the record straight by declaring that no one in particular was personally responsible for this man’s blindness – but that this blindness was an opportunity for God to display His own works of saving mercy and grace. And He was there to work it!

3 / vv 6-7 / Jesus, of course, could have spoken physical sight and light into being just like He commanded the first light to shine by saying, “Let there be light; and there was light!” But in this instance, He chose to use means that required faith on the part of the blind man. He spat on the ground, stirred it and made a mud plaster out of it, applied it to the man’s eyes, and then told him to go to the Pool of Siloam [one of their water reservoirs in the city]. When the blind man obeyed and did what Jesus told him to do, he “came back seeing.” He didn’t see by his own works…he received sight by “the works of God…displayed in him.” We are “saved by grace through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” / Ephesians 2.8-9.   

II / vv 8-12 / “I AM THE MAN!”

1 / The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were dumbfounded by his being able to see. “Is that really you?” “Surely this is someone who just looks like him.” But, NO! He insisted: “He kept saying, ‘I am the man!’” you knew before. When Christ performs a transforming work in our lives, we should demonstrate a sharp distinction and start contrast to our former selves!

2 / “Then how were your eyes opened?” Again, he repeated that it was done ON him by someone else. He knew it was not his self-effort or his work that had accomplished it. Over and over, he recounted the story of the mud and the washing in Siloam. We should seek opportunities and take advantage of them when they are presented to us to ‘tell the story of Jesus.’

3 / “Where is he?” The man did not know because he hadn’t seen his sight-Giver, and Jesus did not follow him or wait for him to come back seeing. Jesus had just done the work of mercy and grace and went on somewhere else. Jesus will go looking for him and find him a little later on… / vv 35-39.


1 / The Pharisees immediately got involved. They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. They were, after all, the religious leaders among the people. This was another crisis of their leadership, power, influence, and control over the people’s minds. And they had already put out the word that no one should confess any faith in or following of Jesus / see v 22.

2 / Now it was a Sabbath Day. As in chapter 5, Jesus had violated one of their self-made and coercive rules they had imposed on the people. Once again, the man recounted how ‘whoever this man is’ had put the mud pack on his eyes, told him to go wash it off, he had – and now he sees!

3 / Even among the Pharisees, there was a division about what they could not deny. Some said, This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath. Others just shook their heads in honest acknowledgement, ‘How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?’ NOTE: even earlier on, Nicodemus told Jesus that they had been having these private discussions among themselves / see ch 3.2. Of course, Nicodemus himself was grappling with the truth of the undeniable evidences of Jesus’ Deity / see 7.50-52.

4 / The now-seeing man made his first confession of Jesus [this is before he will meet Him face to face a little later]: He is a Prophet! He is at least a prophet who has come to speak and work for God – or maybe even The Prophet Yahweh promised Moses He would send to them / see Deuteronomy 18.15-19 & John 1.21; 4.19; 6.14; 7.40; et al.

IV / vv 18-23 / “IS THIS YOUR SON?”

1 / …they called the parents of the man who had received his sight. The Jewish religious leaders are in a frenzied damage control mode now. They will have to discredit Jesus somehow and diminish the significance of this miracle work. Their efforts here are to so intimidate the parents that they may be coerced into denying that that this man who can’t deny is now seeing is actually their son who was blind before. His parents deflected back to the man himself because they didn’t want to suffer the consequences of accrediting Jesus with this miracle. Essentially, his parents disassociated from their own son, saying “He is of age. He is on his own. He is responsible for himself. We don’t want to get involved. Ask him.”

2 / His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. This expulsion from the synagogue was more than just a ban on attending or participating in the synagogue services. The synagogue was the center point of their Jewish life. Their entire social life and community identity and interactions centered around the synagogue. To be ‘put out of the synagogue’ meant to be excluded from the community. It was the ultimate ‘cancel,’ ‘ban,’ and the death sentence of all social life.


1 / These verses will chronicle at least three defenses the now-seeing man will give to the Jewish religious leaders re: the miracle that had been worked on him. The Pharisees still, repeatedly, insistently will press him to retract, ‘walk back’ what had happened to him … or at least join them in their attempts to discredit Jesus in the public arena…

2 / vv 24-27 / The man testifies to his experience. When they cannot refute the miracle or that Jesus had worked it, they try to convince the now-seeing man that Jesus could not have come from God or that He had authority to do what He had done. Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner. By ‘sinner’ they mean that Jesus could not have acted in concert with God. That He had no relationship with God. That He was actually acting in disobedience to God – again because He had done this work on the Sabbath Day. The man’s testimony stands as a testimony we all can give. He didn’t know the depths of the truths that had been worked on him … he couldn’t understand all the complexities of the purposes and the providences of God. He only knew what had happened to him – and that Jesus had worked it on him!

3 / vv 28-31 / The man testified from Scripture. The Pharisees introduced this subject from Scripture into the argument by appealing to Moses. They touted themselves to be the ‘true’ followers of Moses and the Law that God had given to Moses for them to obey and live by. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God listens to him. God does listen to sinners when they call upon Him in repentance and faith, but God does not ‘use’ sinners to do His will or work His purposes in the world. This is the crux of the Pharisees’ disclaimer about Jesus’ origin, who He is, or by whose authority He speaks and works.

4 / vv 32-33 / The man testifies from the history of the world. This is an astute and astounding statement. It is like the irrefutable closing argument of a defense attorney. “We all agree that a work like this has never been done in the whole history of the world. Maybe sight has been restored to someone who had it but was impaired from disease or injury. But never in the whole history of the world has someone who was blind from birth, whose eyes have never worked or seen, whose organs of sight are dead and incapable of functioning … been made to see! And we all agree also that only God, the Creator, could perform such a work. So therefore, if this Man were not from God – if He is not acting as God in concert with God, He could do nothing!”    

5 / v 34 / The Pharisees resorted to one of the most common tactics in human discourse: if you can’t refute the argument, then attack the person making it. If you can’t disprove the message, then destroy the messenger. Maybe you can get rid of the reasoning by getting rid of the one who is reasoning. They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” They may be reverting back to the disciples’ earlier question re: why he had been born blind, insinuating that it was some grievous personal sin, maybe by his parents, that had caused it. Or maybe they were casting doubt on the very moral ‘legitimacy’ of his birth to begin with. Whatever they meant, they were dismissing his very grounds to question, second-guess, or disagree with them. They were the ‘teachers,’ and in the know, and the ultimate final arbiters of all accepted ‘truth’ in their community.

6 / And they cast him out…  see IV / 2.


1 / Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him… Jesus had worked a miracle on the sightless man, and the man had received the gift from God, and he was willing to publicly confess what he had received even at great personal cost and sacrifice. “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in Heaven…” / Matthew 10.32. Jesus will not abandon him or forsake him. Jesus goes looking for him.

2 / Jesus examines the sincerity and truthfulness of his faith by asking him: Do you believe in the Son of Man? The ‘Son of Man’ is not just a descriptor of Jesus’ humanity, but it was a commonly-used identifier Jesus often employed to associate Himself with Daniel 7.13. ‘The Son of Man’ is the One sent from God as God to establish and reign over His universal Kingdom with all authority, power, and dominion. When the man confessed that ‘Yes, I acknowledge that what has been worked on me is the mercy, grace, and power of God! If I knew who He is, I believe on Him!’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen Him, and it is He who is speaking to you!’ What an astounding affirmation who Jesus is … and this man’s miraculous experience and faith! “You’re looking at Him with the eyesight I have given you! And I, who you are now seeing and hearing – I AM HE!”

3 / The now-seeing man not only sees Jesus with his miraculously-given physical eyes, but he also ‘sees’ Jesus for who He is with his ‘eyes’ of faith! see Ephesians 1.18. This is the same faith experience Jesus ‘schooled’ Nicodemus in when He told him in John 3.3, “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.’” Nicodemus had physical sight, and he had all the religious learning one could acquire in his day … but he must be ‘born again’ by faith in Christ to ‘see’ and understand what it means to be saved from his sins. So must we!

4 / He said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped Him. Do you believe? This was the expressed purpose of all the signs Jesus worked and why John recorded them here / see John 20.30-31. And this was the intentional purpose of this particular sign.

5 / vv 39-41 / In this concluding statement, Jesus applies the lesson He has been working and teaching. He does so by showing the contrasting responses of the believing now-seeing man and the still-blind Pharisees who refused to see the blazing Light of the Glory of God which was shining right in front of them in the Face of Jesus Christ.

  • Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Meaning: [1] ‘I AM The Light of the World. I have come into this world to BE the Light of God and to SHINE the Light and Truth for all to see;’ [2] ‘I AM the point of decision for every person, and The Decider … and every person will be judged by their response to Me;’ [3] ‘Those who are spiritually blind will see when they believe and trust in Me, The Light;’ [4] ‘Those who see Me, the Light, [or think they ‘see’ Me] and still make their own judgments and decisions to refuse to believe in Me will be confirmed in their chosen blindness.’
  • Some of the Pharisees near Him heard these things, and said to Him, ‘Are we blind also?’ They were willfully standing in the Face of the Light, and still were rebelling against Him. You can see the sneer on their faces and the snarl in their voices. “You, a renegade rabbi wannabe from Galilee are trying to judge and tell us we are blind? We are the ones who are the judges here, and we will decide for ourselves what is worth seeing and who is blind!”
  • Jesus said to them, “If you were blind [that is, had not been exposed to and seen Me, The Light], you would have no guilt [not that they would not have sin, but they wouldn’t have this ‘guilt’ of willful rejection of The Light they had seen], but now that you say, ‘we see,’ your guilt remains.’  / see Matthew 13.14-15 quoting Isaiah 6.9-10.



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