FOLLOWING JESUS: through death into life

JOHN | Lesson 21 | Lesson Notes / Talking Points

Read John 12.20-33


1/ This lesson will serve two purposes:

[1] it will conclude this summary survey/study of John we’ve been in for the past six months;

[2] and it will serve as a companion lesson and follow up on our last study from John 21, “YOU…Follow Me!”

2/ Both of these last two lessons are intensely personal and autobiographical for me. The John 21 lesson is one that was deeply impressed upon me years ago when I learned that Jesus Christ, as my Lord, Savior, and Master, has absolute and sovereign ownership of me and my life’s service to Him. I learned to see myself and my service as my ‘assignment’ from Him. He only commands me: “YOU…follow Me!” He reserves the right to assign to me the place where He wants me to serve Him, assign to me the roles He wants me to fulfill as I serve Him there, and assign to me the responsibility to be content with His assignments and follow Him by faithfully fulfilling them.

3/ THIS lesson also is very personal to me. In fact, this is the text and the substance of the message I preached on 21 May 2017 as I announced to the church I formerly pastored that I would be resigning as pastor the next Lord’s Day. Yes, I gave them a full one-week’s notice that the next Lord’s Day would fulfill the ministry of the past 35 years Debbie and I had served there. It was so short notice because the events of the previous few months had escalated and accelerated quickly. As 2 Chronicles 29.36 says about the haste with which the Judah king Hezekiah cleansed the Temple and restored the sacrifices and worship services, “…for the thing came about suddenly.” So did my resignation.

4/ But the message that I wanted to deliver that day – and the same message I want to communicate now in this lesson – is that wherever Jesus leads us and ‘plants’ us as we follow Him, we must be willing to simply follow Him, ‘die’ in that place and service by giving Him our all, and serve Him faithfully there … leaving to Him the bearing of whatever fruit He is willing to give.

5/ We believed we had followed Jesus to where we were then … and we trusted Him to lead us to where He wanted us to go and serve Him on His next assignment. At that time, we had no idea where that next assignment was or what our roles of service would be. But, we were committed to FOLLOWING JESUS. And that is why we are here where we are now.

“My LORD knows the way through the wilderness…all I have to do is FOLLOW!”

“He leadeth me! O blessed thought! O word with heavenly comfort fraught! What e’er I do, where e’er I be…still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me!”

6/ So I want to re-offer this message with personal applications for each one of us to commit and continue the living and giving of our lives to FOLLOWING JESUS: through death into life.   


v 24 / Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Death is the only way to spiritual life, fruitfulness, pleasing God, and ultimate, final Glory!

1/ When Jesus employs this short parable in verse 24, He is actually using it to illustrate two examples of FOLLOWING – His and ours:

[1]  First of all – this parable is His own personal testimony of FOLLOWING His own Father’s will and instructions to come to our earth – be planted in death in our earth by dying on His Cross – and then being raised again in resurrection to save us from our sins.

2/ If He had just come and lived a perfectly sinless life of obedience to His Father – but had not died – He would have just remained alone in His sinlessness. Just like the natural grain seed, before it can germinate and bear fruit, it must be planted in the ground…and ‘die.’ But it is in the ‘dying’ that it brings forth fruit, much fruit, more fruit!

3/ But, the Father had sent Him here to us – and commanded Him – to die on the Cross as punishment for our sins. Jesus says in verse 23, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” This “hour” – this event had been appointed to Him by His Father [see also John 17.1-4]. He had FOLLOWED His Father’s will to come from Heaven’s Glory to our earth and take upon Himself the form of a Servant and the likeness of man [see Hebrews 10.5-10]. And the time has come for Him to FOLLOW His Father’s will and wishes to His Cross. Philippians 2.8 He became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

4/ And so – He FOLLOWED the Father’s commands and will and purpose –and FOLLOWED the Father’s will all the way to the Cross. He will explain this parable as it applies to His FOLLOWING in

verses 27 & 32-33: (v 27) “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour … (vv 32-33) 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.

5/ And so, this grain of wheat seed that falls into the ground and dies is, first of all, Jesus Himself dying on His Cross – to bear the guilt of our sins upon Himself – to be punished for the guilt of our sins – and then to be raised again from death to show that our sins had been actually forgiven and taken away.

6/ This “much fruit” that He bears is all of us whom He saves when we believe upon Him for the forgiveness of our sins – and the free gift of eternal life And, He did this to FOLLOW His Father’s will and commandment. 


1/ But, there is also another reason why Jesus employed this parable.

[2] This parable also illustrates how He is calling each of us to FOLLOW Him and give Him the service of our lives. He is calling each one of us to FOLLOW Him and be willing to be ‘planted’ and ‘die’ – give our lives in service to Him wherever He wants to plant us to live for Him and serve Him.

2/ He explains how we FOLLOW HIM in the very next verse, verse 25:

[read verse 24 again… Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.] verse 25 – Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life

Do you see it? The ‘parable’ illustrates the ‘priority’ He is teaching us to apply to our lives – just as He did to His own Life.

3/ To “love your life” means that you want to keep your life to yourself – and live it the way you want to live it. You are NOT following Jesus Christ – you are following yourself. You are keeping the ‘seed’ of your life to yourself. You are retaining ownership of your own life. You are reserving all the rights to your own life to yourself. “I’ll do it my way!” You don’t want to confess that Jesus is Lord – and give your life to Him to serve Him – and follow Him and obey Him in everything you do.

4/ “Whoever loves his life loses it…” If you insist on keeping your life for yourself – then you will lose it … you will lose your life during this lifetime – and you will lose your life forever separated from God

5/ On the other hand, if you “hate your life” – that means that you don’t consider your life as belonging to you…you turn over the title and ownership of your life to Jesus Christ – to belong to Him, to obey Him, to serve Him. You FOLLOW Jesus. When you do that, Jesus promises you will keep your life to life eternal. Jesus will explain what He means by that … and how you and I need to implement that


So, Jesus gives us three simple rules for living a life worth living: You’ll find them in verse 26… And these three rules are so simple that everyone of us can understand them and apply them to our own personal lives and service – but they will require us to ‘die’ to our own self-centeredness, self-governance, self-will, and self-serving. But, if we do, we will ‘bear much fruit’! Jesus promises that and guarantees it by His own death and resurrection to life again!

1. FOLLOW JESUS: “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me.”

1/ To serve Jesus means that you confess that He is Lord – and Lord of your life, and you obey Him. You read His Word – you commune with Him in prayer – you learn His will…what pleases Him…what He wants from you and for you … you learn from Him what He commands you to do, and you do it. You must FOLLOW JESUS first by believing and trusting in Him to be saved from your sins. Then you continue FOLLOWING JESUS by your daily obeying Him in all things for the rest of your life. See Matthew 11.25-30.

2/ And, in so doing, you FOLLOW JESUS. When you FOLLOW JESUS, you do what He commands you to do. You go where He wants you to go – Jesus gives all life assignments. We just follow…


1/ His next words are: “…and where I am, there will My servant be also…” “But, wait…” you say, “I thought Jesus was everywhere!” He is. But, when Jesus says “…and where I am, there will My servant be also…” – He means to say that when we are FOLLOWING HIM, we will be there with Him – wherever He is working through us. This is much of what Jesus was saying in John 5.17 about The Father being with Him where He was … The Father doing His will and works through Jesus.

2/ Yes! Jesus can be everywhere at the same time – but we cannot. We can be in only one place at a time – so we want to be in that place wherever Jesus has led us…and we have followed Him there.

3/ And, we cannot do – not even one thing – on our own. We cannot do anything – except what Jesus Himself is doing through us. He tells us in John 15.5: I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

4/ So, if we are going to do anything in our service to Christ, it must be where He Himself is…living and working through us. And so, we just want to be where Jesus wants us to be…so we can be doing whatever He has given us to do…so He can be working through us…to accomplish what He wants to do through us.

5/ And He promises to do just that! This is the promise that is given to us by the Power of the Holy Spirit and the Blood of the New Covenant. Hebrews 13.20-21: Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

6/ And so, FOLLOW JESUS to be sure you are where He wants you to be – and where He wants to be working through you to do what is pleasing to Him.

7/ This brings every one of us to a point of self-examination: Where are you now? Where has Jesus Christ led you and ‘planted’ you to serve Him? What has He given you, gifted you, equipped you that you can do? Are you willing to ‘die’ and give your life to that service? If it is only in your faithfully attending and worshiping Him studying His Word and fellowshipping with fellow servants, serve Him in doing that. Whatever opportunities Christ gives us to love and serve one another, build up one another, support and encourage one another, do good to one another, take care of one another, minister to one another’s needs – let us each commit and give ourselves to serve Him this way. [See John 13.31-35]

8/ 1 Peter 4.7-11 bears repeating and re-affirming here:

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

9/ I do need to add here, that when Jesus promises ‘…and where I am, there will my servant be also,” He is also promising us that after our life of service here is fulfilled, and we ‘die’ physically from here, that ‘…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’ – that is, with Him in the Father’s House, to share His Glory with Him forever! [See John 14.1-3 & 17.24]  

And then, that brings us to the third step in FOLLOWING JESUS…


1/ Jesus gives this blessing on whoever FOLLOWS Him: “If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him” That is strange language, isn’t it? You mean: “God, our Heavenly Father, will HONOR us when we serve Jesus?” That’s what Jesus says.

2/ How does the Father HONOR us when we serve Jesus? The Father honors us by BEING PLEASED WITH US – He honors us with HIS PLEASURE. The greatest honor our Heavenly Father could ever confer upon any one of us is to say to us:

  • “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
  • “You did good!”
  • “I’m happy with you! Enter into the joy of your Lord! [Matthew 25.21 & 23]”
  • “It wasn’t perfect – but you did what I gave you to do – and you did it the best you could with the gifts I gave you to use!”
  • “You followed Me where I led you to go – you ‘planted’ your life and ‘died’ there – giving it your all!”

3/ You want to please the Father, don’t you? Nobody pleases the Father like His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 8.29: “And He who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” Three times, the Father audibly spoke and thundered from Heaven and said: “This is my much-beloved Son – in whom I am well-pleased! HEAR HIM [listen to Him, obey Him, serve Him, FOLLOW HIM!]” See Matthew 3.17; Mark 1.11; Luke 3.22

4/ And so, the Son PERFECTLY pleases the Father, and everyone who follows the Son pleases the Father also. “If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him!”

5/ I want the Father to honor me by just giving me the assurance that He is pleased by my serving His Son, Jesus Christ – and FOLLOWING JESUS where I believe Jesus is leading me – and being where Jesus wants me to be and doing what Jesus wants me to be doing…by His working through me.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” | Jesus Christ, John 12.24

Death is the only way to spiritual life, fruitfulness, pleasing God, and ultimate, final Glory!

“And He said to all, ‘If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’” | Jesus Christ, Luke 9.23


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I used to call them ‘interruptions’


We all have them…constantly…every day…of all kinds…

Interruptions to what we are doing and working on at the moment. Interruptions to the agenda of the whole day. Interruptions sometimes to the very direction and course of our lives from then on.

A phone call…a text…an email…a conversation…a ‘chance’ encounter…a medical report…a chronic illness…a debilitating injury…or a life-altering event – didn’t plan for it, didn’t expect it, didn’t see it coming, no way to brace yourself or prepare for it – but there it is, and you have to deal with it.

Our first knee-jerk response is to chafe at it, complain, fret – be annoyed, irritated, impatient…even resentful or rude…

As I say, I used to call them ‘interruptions.’

But over the years I have learned to recognize and appreciate them as “Sovereign impositions and interventions of the Divine purpose, pleasure, and Providence on my personal agenda because God, in His infinite wisdom, knows better than I do that I need to develop and grow in some Godly virtue or Grace through this experience.”

And, it always works out to be ‘far better’ – for His Glory and my good.

Romans 5.1-5 & 8.28

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A loving and personal tribute to my Mom


12 April 2023

[My personal remarks]

NOTE: Our Mom departed this earthly life and entered the Presence of Christ on Wednesday evening, 5 April 2023. We conducted her Memorial Service on 12 April. Speaking in her service were: Bobby Smith, her church’s Pastor; Daniel Parks, Dave Parks, Philip Parks – all her sons.

We all agreed and prayed together that we would dedicate her service to…

  • Proclaim the Gospel of Christ
  • Honor our Mother in obedience to God’s command
  • Glorify the Grace of God that made her what she was in life … and certainly who she is now

We continue to pray that God was pleased to grant these desires.

As I will note in my remarks below, we, Mom’s six adult children, have a cumulative 417 years of lifetime among us. Even if we could and would say everything we would like to, we still couldn’t fully express her worthiness of the love and honor we could give her. But, we will hold her in our hearts for the rest of our lives – and then continue to share her love for us and our love for her…forever!  

Here is my personal tribute during her service:

I know we brothers want to give our thanks to our sisters who have so lovingly cared for our Mother for all these years since our Dad died, and especially over the past year as she has required such personal and intensive care. You have suspended your own lives to faithfully be with her … and you have given her everything she has ever needed or wanted.

Also, as a family, we want to offer special thanks to sweet Betsy, and for Maryann, who have cared for her as well. And for the physicians who have treated our Mother with personal and professional care:

  • Dr Rubery [who cared for both Dad and Mom for decades]
  • Dr Abbott & Dr Potti [and all the staff at their office – who also cared for both Dad and Mom for decades]
  • The staff at Abbotts Creek Center
  • And for Hospice who were so kind to her during her final days here

>>>>>>>>>> † <<<<<<<<<<

Our Mom not only gave us our lives through physical birth …but she continued to live her life for us … she gave us her life – all of her life … as long as she lived.

So, you have to know that, just in the lives of us Mom’s six children, we have hundreds of years of collective memories we could tell and share with you.

We don’t have opportunity to do that on this occasion. But what we do want to do is leave a testimony with you about what is most important…and where all our hope is grounded:

  • our hope in life and death
  • our hope in eternal life
  • our hope in the resurrection
  • our hope of Heaven
  • our hope of Glory 

I know it is customary to call a service like this ‘A Celebration of Life.’ Well, this is a ‘Celebration of Life’but while we are honoring Mom’s life as a gift of God to us – and her witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to us – the Life we are celebrating is the Life of Jesus Christ who lived in her!

Today’s service is a testimony to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” / 1 Corinthians 15.3-4.  

And Jesus promised again in John 14.19: “Because I live, you also shall live!”

Mom’s life-confession while she lived among us could be summed up in the apostle Paul’s words in the epistle to the Galatians, chapter 2.20:

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

And that is certainly her life-confession now in the Presence of Christ Himself!

She is rejoicing (again in the words of the apostle Paul in the epistle to the Philippians, chapter 1):

“…as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain … My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”

>>>>>>>>>> † <<<<<<<<<<

The fruit of Mom’s life will continue to live on in our lives as long as we live … and more, if God is pleased to bless our lives with Gospel-life fruit through our testimony and influence, that, too, will be 2nd and 3rd generation ‘fruit’ that will be springing up into eternal life from the roots that Mom planted in our lives.

It is so common for elderly saints to become discouraged … and even despondent … in their old age and weakness. They have been engaged in active service all their lives – ‘up and at it.’ Then when they become weak and even homebound, they feel like they have been ‘laid aside’ and are no longer useful. Then they begin to start thinking that their ‘fruit-bearing’ years are over.

They wonder out loud why they are even still living, why they are even still here. I know our Mom did.

So, only a month ago, Mom’s church family and friends came into her 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 ;).

Mom was lying in her hospital bed at my left hand, so I turned to spoke lovingly to her.

What I wanted Mom to know is that even then – even in her extreme weakness and affliction – she was still flourishing and bearing fruit in her old age.

All the years of her life [she was 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 had not been ‘spent,’ as in ‘gone’ … rather, all the years of her life had been ‘planted’ in the house of the LORD” and was still bearing fruit, even here and then and now in her old age … still ‘flourishing in the courts of our God!’

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 … and still counting!

We, too, are the ‘still-bearing fruit’ of her life.

Psalm 128.3 gives this enduring promise to the faithful husband and his faithful wife:

“Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.”

Our Mom was our ‘fruitful vine’ … and we will continue to proliferate her legacy as her ‘fruitful branches.’

And that is besides all the hundreds of others in whose lives Mom has ‘planted’ hers.

And her Gospel witness and influence will continue to bear fruit on to the 2nd and 3rd generations … and beyond!

I just wanted her to know that even then in her present physical weakness, she was still strong and flourishing, still bearing fruit in her old age.

What we are doing right now is Mom’s ‘still bearing fruit in old age … still being fresh and flourishing … to declare that the LORD is upright – He is our Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.’

 >>>>>>>>>> † <<<<<<<<<<

Christ and Christ alone is our only hope in life and death!

As Jesus said to Martha and Mary at Lazarus’s grave-tomb just before He raised him back to life again:

“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. […and then speaking directly to Martha and Mary, He asked]  Do you believe this?” / John 11.25-26.

We pray to God you do … and will.

This we believe … therefore we have hope, peace, comfort – and even joy!

>>>>>>>>>> † <<<<<<<<<<

Here is her obituary:

I want to include the full picture we cropped for her obituary profile. This is our Mom in the element, environment, and context of her life’s calling [while also being our Mom]…

The bulletin for her service:


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JOHN | Lesson 20 | Lesson Notes / Talking Points

Read John 21.1-25


1/ We have come now to the concluding chapter of John’s Gospel account and also the last lesson of this brief summary/survey we have been in for these past weeks. As always, there is so much more here than we can even point out and note – much less delve into and dwell on. This chapter is so deep and so rich with instructive lessons and personal encouragements – it being Jesus’ last and final appearance [at least that John records for his purposes] before Jesus physically departs from them and ascends back to the Glory of the Father that He had with Him before the world began [see ch 17.4-5].

2/ So all we can hope to do here in this brief lesson is to point out what we believe are John’s main, specific, and most prominent purposes for recording this encounter and the acts and conversations that transpired during it…

[1] What we do know is that John is continuing with his accounting of several appearances Jesus made to His disciples following His resurrection and before His ascension [see Lesson 19].

[2] Jesus is giving undeniable and incontrovertible evidences and proofs of His real resurrection [see 1 Corinthians 15.1-7; Acts 1.3]. In fact, Peter must have referred to this specific encounter when he testified at the house of Cornelius: …but God raised Him on the third day and made Him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead [Acts 10.40-41].

[3] Jesus specifically arranged this encounter for Peter’s sake – to restore him, recall him, reset him for the work He had planned and given him to do in the days following for the rest of his life [see vv 15-19].

[4] Jesus also will give to Peter, the other disciples who were present, and to all of His followers in the succeeding ages and generations His charge for the work we all must faithfully discharge as we await His coming again – which will be summed up in the words I have chosen for the focus of this lesson: “You…follow Me!” [v 22].

[5] There are also numerous practical lessons which Jesus teaches these disciples – and continue to apply to us: how we must depend upon Him for the work He has called and given us to do … and how that we cannot fail and must succeed in it if we will but follow, obey, and trust Him in all we do.    

II / vv 1-2 / “…Jesus revealed Himself again…”

1/ John is obviously following up on yet more appearances Jesus made to His disciples following His resurrection – not only to give them undeniable evidence and proof that He had risen from the dead, but also to give them essential instructions and training for the work He would commission them to do after His ascension. John writes ‘After this Jesus revealed Himself again to the disciples’ to follow up on all the visual appearances he chronicled in ch 20.

2/ John will come back to this purpose and theme in v 14: This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after He was raised from the dead. Not that this was only the ‘third’ appearance that Jesus made to them [He made several appearances more than just three on that first day of His resurrection], but that this was the ‘third’ day of Jesus’ making appearances that John records.

3/ AND the fact that He made this appearance in the presence of these seven disciples [five others besides the principals of the event, Peter and John], shows us that He wanted witnesses there to corroborate the important lessons He wanted to teach them. They would be fellow eyewitnesses that these events really happened as John will record them.

4/ What Jesus revealed about Himself was not only His living, physical Presence, but also His Glory. He will reveal His Glory in the miraculous acts He performed in their sight during this encounter.

5/ This appearance was pre-planned and intentional. See Matthew 28.7, 10 and Mark 16.7.

6/ …by the Sea of Tiberias. This is the same Sea of Galilee or Lake Gennesaret, as it is sometimes called by the other Gospelers. Just by being here in this place, the minds of the disciples would be flooded and refreshed with all the memories they had of what Jesus had done at this very site: He had called several of them in this company at the first to follow Him; He had fed the 5000 on these shores; He had walked on these same waters to come to them during another storm; He had stilled the waves and shut down the storm here; He had miraculously provided for them a huge catch of fish on another occasion like this one; on the high grounds surrounding these same waters, He had cast out demons and allowed them to enter the herd of swine; He had delivered messages and parables while sitting in a boat here – and on and on. You have to know these disciples were remembering and rehearsing all these memories as they went to fish that night.

7/ There were yet more lessons to be learned here this day also … and memories that would encourage and empower them to follow, obey, and trust Jesus in the days ahead. In their writings that would follow, we can find numerous references to this encounter and revelation of Jesus’ Glory.   

III / vv 3-8 / “It is the LORD!”

1/ “I am going fishing…We will go with you.” We may not need to blame or fault them for going fishing. They were poor. While they had walked with Jesus, they were largely dependent upon the good-will offerings from other followers to provide for their needs [see Luke 8.1-3]. Jesus had told them to wait in Jerusalem until they were endued with His Promised Power before they went out to witness for Him. So they had to provide for themselves. They knew how to fish. Andrew and Peter, and James and John had been partners in the fishing business when Jesus first called them to leave their nets and come to follow Him.

2/ …but that night, they caught nothing. This was a lesson they needed to learn…they must learn. This was a reiteration and real-life re-enactment of what Jesus had preached to them in His Farewell Discourse in ch 15.5: …for apart from Me you can do nothing. Regardless of what you do, or how long you have done it, or how many times you have done it, or how skilled, learned, expert, or experienced you are at doing it, or even how well you can teach and train someone else to do the same thing – if Jesus Christ is not doing it through you and making it work, you can’t do it and it won’t work through your own wisdom, strength, and experience.

3/ ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ More than all the other experiences they had had with Jesus on this Sea of Galilee, none were so powerful, pointed, and poignant as the event recorded in Luke 5.4-8. It happened exactly like it just did here. Same cast of characters. Same instructions. Jesus evidenced and demonstrated His Deity, Glory, omniscience, omnipotence, and Grace. They were struck with awe and faith in that instance – and they are this time also. If we ever enjoy any success at all in whatever Jesus calls and gives us to do, it will be because we are willing to listen to His every word and act on it with humble faith and simple obedience.

4/ ‘It is the LORD!’ John immediately recognized Him first. Peter then heard, recognized, and responded by throwing his outer garment clothing back on and jumping into the water to get to the shore. The other disciples followed suit, bringing in the fishing boat as close as they could get it, and perhaps even off-loading the net full of fish into a smaller skiff to drag their generous catch to land.

IV / vv 9-14 / “Come and have breakfast”

1/ Surely there are some miracles going on here: first, the sudden ‘appearance’ of Jesus on the shore [does this not sound like His appearances He made in ch 20 inside the locked and bolted rooms where they were hiding out in fear?]; and now, Jesus has already prepared a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Yes, we know, He could have walked there from wherever He was before, brought these things with Him, and get them laid out before He called out to them. But, He also could have used His powers of creation to bring them into being with His will and word of command. [He had done this before when He created enough fish and bread to feed 5000+ people / ch 6.]

2/ BTW, this word for ‘charcoal fire’ [or ‘fire of coals’ KJV] is found in the NT only two times: here and can you guess where the other reference is? ch 18.18: Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. More memories, especially for Simon Peter. And not so pleasant ones. You can see where this is going… more to come… Kinda like a restorative deja vu.

3/ Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” Jesus doesn’t ‘need’ us to do anything … as in ‘He couldn’t do it without us.’ [Sometimes we think…] He has just demonstrated that singular creative power of Deity and omnipotence. But He graciously brings us into His Kingdom work by telling us what we need to do, how to do it, giving us the needed strength, power, and resources to do it [as we obey Him], and then He asks us to bring the contribution of our labors to His table!

4/ Surely this is at least something of what Paul meant when he said: For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. It ought to humble us, and at the same time, fill us with hope and joy, that Christ will work in [us], both to will and to work for His good pleasure / Philippians 2.13.

5/ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. I don’t think any one of us knows the significance of being so specific with the exact number of ‘large fish’ [‘keepers’], except to point out that God ‘sweats the details.’ He who knows the number of all the stars and calls them all by name; He who counts and knows the numbers of the hairs on our heads; He who keeps track of the lighting and flying off of the sparrows – He knows and cares for and provides for our every need. We can trust Him, confide in Him, and cast all our burdens and cares on Him. He will care for and provide for us.

6/ Jesus not only provided this breakfast meal for them, not only asked them to contribute to it [‘potluck by Galilee’?], but He sat down with them and ate and drank with them in their presence. They enjoyed a good social meal of fellowship and conversation together. He gives us an example and permission to do the same with one another! [see Acts 2.44-46]

V / vv 15-19 / “Do you love Me?”

1/ And now we come to the main event of this post-resurrection encounter: Jesus wants to have a word with Simon Peter. Keep in mind that Jesus had not only pre-planned this encounter [see again Matthew 28.7, 10 & Mark 16.7], but in those same instructions to the women witnesses, the angel specifically said [from Jesus Himself] ‘…but go, tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.’ And so we know that Jesus had future and further plans for Peter following his denials of the Lord that Peter knew nothing about. Wonder what he thought about this ‘heads-up’ when he was told that Jesus specifically wanted to see him?

2/ But of course, we know that Jesus’ plan was not only to show His forgiveness of Peter’s failure, but also to restore him to the place of leadership He had given him among the disciples. We should be so glad that Jesus’ Grace is not only saving…but restorative also! We all need it.

3/ I want to bring this home to our own consciences and experiences. Every one of us can identify with Simon Peter. We have all failed, disappointed, and grieved our Lord on multiple occasions and in many ways [see Luke 22.60-62]. Jesus is calling Peter back into His service and usefulness to Him – and He is calling you and me as well!

4/ So let’s see how Jesus restores Simon Peter, not only in His usefulness to Christ, but also in Peter’s own conscience…

[1] Jesus probes Peter’s heart and soul with this ‘bottom-line’ question: Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these? Three times, Jesus will ask Peter: Do you love Me? We think that the reason Jesus asked Peter ‘more than these’ this first time is because Peter had arrogantly boasted in the upper room, ‘Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you!’ [John 13.37] and ‘Even though they all fall away, I will not … If I must die with you, I will not deny you’ [Mark 14.27-31]. So now, Jesus graciously confronts and gently reminds Peter of his self-confident boasting. The truest test of our devotion and faithfulness to Jesus Christ is whether we truly love Him. “‘Lovest thou Me?’ may seem at first sight a simple question. In one sense it is so. Even a child can understand love, and can say whether he loves another or not. Yet ‘Lovest thou Me?’ is, in reality, a very searching question. We may know much, and do much, and profess much, and talk much, and work much, and give much, and go through much, and make much show in our religion, and yet be dead before God from want of love, and at last go down to the pit. Do we love Christ? That is the great question. Without this there is no vitality about our Christianity. We are no better than painted wax figures, lifeless stuffed beasts in a museum, sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. There is no life where there is no love.” ~Pastor J. C. Ryle

[2] Peter responds sincerely and truly that ‘Yes!’ he does love Jesus! Even with all his faults, flaws, foibles, and failures, he does love Jesus! And, Jesus, who knows all things, knows that he does! Again, Pastor Ryle: “The answer that the humbled Apostle gave is the one account that the true servant of Christ in every age can give of his religion [true faith in Christ]. Such an one may be weak, and fearful, and ignorant, and unstable, and failing in many things, but at any rate he is real and sincere … Our knowledge of doctrines may be defective. Our ability to defend our views in argument may be small. But we cannot be prevented feeling. And our feeling will be like that of the Apostle Peter: ‘Thou, Lord, who knowest all things, Thou knowest my heart; and Thou knowest that I love Thee.’”

[3] Then Jesus recalls Peter back to service – re-commissions him to return to Christ with all his heart and commit himself to serving Christ the ways He gives him to serve: ‘Feed My lambs … Shepherd My sheep … Feed My sheep.’ Pastor Ryle one more time: “…usefulness to others is the grand test of love, and working for Christ the great proof of really loving Christ. It is not loud talk and high profession; it is not even impetuous, spasmodic zeal, and readiness to draw the sword and fight – it is steady, patient, laborious effort to do good to Christ’s sheep scattered throughout this sinful world, which is the best evidence of being a true-hearted disciple. This is the real secret of Christian greatness … It is not for nothing we may be sure, that we find these things recorded for our learning just before He left the world. Let us aim at a loving, doing, useful, hard-working, unselfish, kind, unpretentious religion. Let it be our daily desire to think of others, care for others, do good to others, and lessen the sorrow, and increase the joy of this sinful world.”

5/ Jesus concludes this restorative intervention session with an announcement to Peter concerning how he would serve and glorify Christ to the end of his life – and even by the death of martyrdom he would suffer for the cause of Christ / vv 18-19.

6/ And with this final charge, “Follow Me!” we come to the final lesson we all must learn…

VI / vv 20-25 / “YOU…FOLLOW ME!”

1/ It would appear that perhaps Jesus had begun to move away, and Peter had begun moving with Him to follow Him … when Peter then turned to see that John was still standing there, and Jesus had not personally addressed him: ‘Lord, what about this man?’

2/ At this point, I want to ask every one of us three probing questions: [1] Where have you been in your walk with Christ [over your lifetime and  recent experiences]? [2] Where are you now? [3] Where do you go from here?

3/ Let us all learn: [1] Jesus Christ has the sole and exclusive authority, control, and Lordship over your life; [2] Jesus Christ ‘assigns’ to each of us where He wants us to go and what He wants us to do wherever He leads us to serve Him … and that role and the place where we fulfill it can and will change at His discretion – wherever and however He chooses for us to serve His purposes and pleasure; [3] Our only response and responsibility is “YOU…FOLLOW ME!” We want to choose our own places. roles, and ways to serve Christ. He not only knows what He wants for us, but He knows what’s best for us. [4] Whatever He chooses for someone else to be or do is not our responsibility nor the measure by which we judge the value or worth of our service – “YOU [place your name here], FOLLOW ME!”


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JOHN | Lesson 19 | Lesson Notes / Talking Points

Read John 20.1-31


1/ I have always been interested in how Paul includes Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances when he articulates the essential elements of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15.1-8. We’re all familiar with ‘that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,’ and ‘that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.’ But Paul also includes that after Christ died, ‘that He was buried,’ and then following His resurrection, ‘and that He appeared….’ Paul then goes on to list six specific, personal appearances Jesus made to various disciples or groups of disciples.

2/ Luke bears out the same testimony in Acts 1.3: He presented Himself alive to them after His suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the Kingdom of God.

3/ When you harmonize the four Gospel accounts, “Five appearances are given as occurring on the day of His resurrection and five subsequently during the forty days. The five appearances on this day [of His resurrection] were (1) to Mary Magdalene (John and Mark); (2) to other women (Matthew); (3) to the two going to Emmaus; (4) to Simon Peter (Luke 24.34); (5) to ten apostles and others.” / A. T. Robertson, A Harmony of the Gospels.

4/ So, why all this highlighting and recording Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances? Because … just like His burial attested and gave eye-witness testimony to the fact that Jesus really did die, so also His post-resurrection appearances attest and give eye-witness testimony to the fact that He really did rise from the dead! Jesus’ burial and post-resurrection appearances may not be efficacious to the saving and redemptive work of the Gospel [like His death and resurrection], but they offer credible and historical evidence that He both died and resurrected.

5/ So now we come to our lesson text, John 20. John has already made the point to give us an intentional and specific testimony concerning the events of Jesus’ crucifixion: He who saw it has borne witness – his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth – that you also may believe / ch 19.35. NOTE how John uses the verb ‘saw.’ Because when we segue into ch 20, John will use this eye-witness verb ‘see/saw’ no fewer than thirteen times as he gives testimony after testimony of those who ‘saw’ Jesus following His resurrection. Kinda summed up in v 25: “We have seen the LORD!”

6/ And not only did they ‘see’ the resurrected Christ, but ‘they believed’ – His post-resurrection appearances validated, affirmed, confirmed their faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God … leading John to write his purpose statement for writing this Gospel account to which we have referred as the guiding light and connecting theme throughout our survey of The Gospel of John: Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may life in His Name / ch 20.30-31.

7/ You and I must receive their eye-witness testimonies, accept them as historical, true, and credible … and believe also – that we, too, may have eternal life by believing His Gospel.

II / vv  1-2  / The eyewitness testimony of Mary Magdalene [and other women]: what she ‘saw’

1/ This eye-witness testimony is significant because of both what they didn’t see … and then who they did see! John records here that Mary saw that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. Mark records how they wondered among themselves how they were going to roll the huge and heavy stone ‘door’ from the sepulchre when they got there / Mark 16.1-4.

2/ However, their visit to the tomb was significant also because of what they didn’t see: …but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus / Luke 24.3.

3/ They did also see angels who announced to them that they were looking for Someone who was not there; He had risen; but that they should go and tell His disciples that He had risen from the dead and would go before them into Galilee and see them there / Mark 16.5-7; Matthew 28.5-7.

III / vv 2-9  / The eyewitness testimonies of John and Simon Peter: what they ‘saw’

1/ Mary Magdalene ran to tell the disciples about what she saw at the tomb. She first met Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. We assume this is John’s humble way of identifying himself. [Not ‘whom Jesus loved’ as in ‘more than the others – but as a signature of his amazement at Jesus’ grace and love toward him.]

2/ Both John and Peter began a footrace to the sepulchre. John outran Peter and got there first, but stopped short of going in. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. These are the same linen cloths the dead body of Jesus had been wrapped in / ch 19.40. His body had been wrapped in them – but no more! They were neatly folded on the stone shelf or ledge where His body had been lain.

3/ Simon Peter caught up with John, but he didn’t hesitate at the open door of the sepulchre. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. John repeatedly tells us about the linen cloths so neatly and carefully folded…

4/ NOTE how the eye-witness testimonies of both Peter and John verify ‘seeing’ the same thing. NOTE also the effect it had on John especially. It affirmed and confirmed his faith in Jesus’ resurrection. He didn’t grasp the full impact and significance of what all it meant, but seeing was believing!

IV / vv 11-18  / The eyewitness testimony of Mary Magdalene again: what she ‘saw’

1/ Mary’s experience here raises some questions we can’t get into here: did she have this encounter with Jesus before or after she had gone to tell the disciples the tomb was empty? Or did the other women go to tell the disciples, and she hung back and stayed there, not able to leave? Or did she make her own personal visit there alone? Why did she not immediately recognize that it was Jesus who was speaking to her – mistaking Him to be the caretaker of the garden?

2/ Regardless of how confusing some of these questions may be to us, what John wants to emphasize is that Jesus had a very personal encounter with Mary Magdalene, and she recognized that it was really Jesus!

3/ John marks Mary’s personal experiences and eye-witness testimony with several visual testimonies: [1] …she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. [2] Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. [3] Then, finally, Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the LORD!”

4/ NOTE also how tenderly and lovingly Jesus revealed Himself to her just by calling her name: Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to Him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

5/ Mary’s personal encounter with Jesus was an unmistakable reunion with the Lord, Savior, Master, Teacher who had saved her from her demonic possession and self-wasted life in sin. She knew the Voice! And she knew that it was the same Jesus she had known and followed all during His ministry.

V / vv 19-23  / The eyewitness testimonies of the disciples on that first Resurrection-Day evening: what they ‘saw’

1/ This was now the evening of that day after Jesus had risen from the dead early in the morning. The disciples have been receiving reports from the women about the empty tomb. Mary Magdalene had personally told them about her encounter with Jesus. Peter and John had been to the tomb, and it was exactly as the women had reported / see Luke 24.13-24. And they had locked themselves inside the upper room where they had gathered for fear of the Jews who had crucified their Messiah. If the Jewish religious leaders had crucified Christ, would they not also come after them to do away with them also? And especially now, with all the reports swirling around Jerusalem that Jesus had risen from the dead!

2/ On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you!” Jesus didn’t have to open the door. He just suddenly materialized and appeared there before them, in His glorified physical body – in their physical sight! They ‘saw’ Him!

3/ Jesus wanted them to know it was really Him. They were not seeing some sort of ghost, specter, or apparition. It was really Him!

4/ Luke 24.36-43 also records that they were sharing an evening meal when Jesus appeared among them [see Mark 16.14], and that Jesus not only showed them the healed wounds in His side, hands, and feet, but that He also asked them if they had anything to eat – and He took a piece of broiled fish and ate it in their presence. They also saw Him eating!

5/ Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Their visibly, physically seeing Him not only made them eyewitnesses, but it also made them glad – filled them with joy!

6/ Remember also that just about three evenings ago, as He was delivering to them His Farewell Discourse, He had told them that in just a little while they would see Him no longer [during the days of His burial], and then they would see Him again [after His resurrection when He would appear to them again and talk with them]. “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” / ch 16.22.

7/ To further confirm their faith and their hopes for future ministry and usefulness, He repeated His peace blessing: Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you!” It was at this juncture that He began to commission them for the mission He would send them to continue and accomplish in His Name. [He had prayed this in ch 17.18.] As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you. He will repeat this same commissioning mandate in Matthew 28.18-20 when He meets with them later in Galilee.

8/ AND not only would He send them out into all the world to preach the Gospel and make disciples [see Mark 16.15], but He also promises them [and us] the accompanying Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit to give us the authority, power, strength, and ability to fulfill that mission. And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This does not mean they didn’t have the Holy Spirit before; they had already been ‘born again’ and regenerated by the life of the Holy Spirit when they believed in Him [see ch 3.3-8]. No one has ever been saved and justified from their sins without also being regenerated by the life and power of the Holy Spirit. This is true in the Old Testament and the New.

9/ This act of breathing on them was the beginning of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which would be consummated on the Day of Pentecost. They didn’t have the innate power in themselves [and neither do we] to perform and fulfill the work of preaching and witnessing the Gospel apart from the immediate Presence, Power, and working of the Holy Spirit in the moment and place where the work of Gospel transformation is being performed. Jesus reiterated this necessity of the power of the Holy Spirit in Luke 24.48-49: You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on High.

10/ So, what this mean? “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld”? Does this mean that the apostles, or you and me, has the power to actually forgive sins or withhold forgiveness of sins? NO! It simply means that the only way forgiveness of sins will be granted to anyone is by their believing the Gospel witness that we proclaim. By the same token, if they reject the Gospel message and do not believe in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection – then their forgiveness will be withheld. Here is the indispensable necessity of believing the witness about Christ’s death and resurrection in order to receive forgiveness of sins and have eternal life!

VI / vv 24-31 / The eyewitness testimony of Thomas: what he ‘saw’

1/ Thomas famously was not present on that first Resurrection Day evening appearance that Jesus made to His disciples. When they told Thomas, We have seen the LORD!, Thomas again famously replied with some degree of either skepticism or ‘it’s too good to be true.’ But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into His side, I will never believe.” Real, true faith is never ‘blind,’ that is, without credible evidence. Thomas was receiving their testimony of credible evidence. THEY had seen the LORD. They could believe them and their real experiences. But Thomas demanded his own experience of the evidence before he would believe.

2/ Look at the amazing compassion and sensitivity Jesus demonstrated toward Thomas’s skepticism. One week later, on the evening of the very next Lord’s Day [first day of the week], Jesus appeared to the gathered disciples the same way He had appeared the week before – when the disciples were meeting together inside locked and bolted doors. Let’s just re-set the scene: Eight days later, His disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

3/ The story doesn’t tell us that Thomas even had to reach out as Jesus had told him to do, to touch and feel the physical evidence he had so adamantly demanded. Thomas’s sight of Jesus was sufficient to overturn his most doubtful skepticism. He had seen … and he believed! “My LORD and my God!”

4/ So now listen to the blessing Jesus pronounces on us who have believed this credible testimony that John and the other disciples have seen with their own eyes and are proclaiming to us … so we, too, will believe! Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed!”

5/ You and I have never had the visual experience of seeing the resurrected Christ with our own physical eyes. But John and the other eyewitnesses have! And they have faithfully recorded their visual encounters with Jesus to us. And they have done so that we, too, may believe that that they actually did see what they have truthfully and faithfully told us they saw!

6/ Which brings us now to the ‘purpose statement’ of this Gospel we have fore-‘seen’ and quoted many times as we have made our way through this Gospel: Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name.

The express purpose for which John has written everything he’s written here is so that we may know it really happened – everything was recorded by credible and verifiable eyewitnesses. They have told us the Truth! NOT to believe their word is to call God and Christ Himself a liar.

“Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has born concerning His Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” / 1 John 5.10-12     


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JOHN | Lesson 18 | John 19.1-41 | Lesson Notes & Talking Points

Read John 19.1-41


1 / This lesson is a continuation of Lesson 17 from John 18. In fact, the opening paragraph of chapter 19 is a continuation of Jesus’ appearance before the Roman governor Pilate / ch 18.28-40. I am going to continue reiterating the main point that John is making all throughout his Gospel: that Jesus Christ is the Christ, the Son of God / see ch 20.31-31.

2 / So again, to reiterate, the reason why John includes what he does in his accounts, and why he doesn’t include what he doesn’t is because John is accentuating the events he does describe to give specific emphases to Jesus’ testimony to His Deity. Refer back to Lesson 17 for those emphases.

3 / Although Jesus made specific references and performed specific works to demonstrate His Deity to the arresting party and in His appearances before the religious leaders and their councils [see Matthew 26.62-66 & Mark 14.60-64], perhaps He gave no clearer testimony to His Deity than when He made His appearances before Pilate [see, for example, ch 18.33-37].

4 / Those testimonies will continue here in chapter 19–and on throughout the ordeals of His crucifixion.  

II / vv 1-16 / “Behold the Man!” … “Behold your King!”

1 / Jesus actually made two appearances before Pilate. If you read Luke 23.5-12, you’ll see how that the whole religious council [Sanhedrin], had convened in the wee morning hours to formally accuse and charge Jesus with blasphemy, charging Him with claiming to be the Son of God – and therefore, God [see Luke 22.66-71]. Jesus also gave some clear and unmistakable testimony to His Deity in that hearing by citing His identity with Daniel 7.13-14.

2 / Then when the high-court religious council came before Pilate to seek a capital indictment and sentence against Jesus, and Pilate kept insisting “I find no guilt in this Man,” they let it drop: “But they were urgent, saying, ‘He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.’ When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the Man was a Galilean. And when he learned that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time.” / Luke 23.4-7. Jesus was further mocked, beaten, and abused by Herod and his soldiers before being sent back to Pilate for His final sentencing / Luke 23.8-12.

3 / But John ‘compresses’ both of Jesus’ appearances before Pilate into one account. Some of John’s narrative would have taken place during the first accusation and hearing, and some would have occurred during the second appearance. But, we will consider them as John relates them…

4 / Pilate agrees to ‘flog’ Jesus and release Him back to the Jews. This ‘flogging’ was not just a whipping, but rather a total laceration of His body with a scourge, or ‘cat o’ nine tails.’ This was a handle that had numerous strands of leather attached to it. Woven or braided into the strands of leather were pieces of metal, glass, and bone. They were lashed across the back and abdomen of the victim, imbedded into the flesh, and then forcefully jerked back, deeply lacerating and separating the flesh – even until the internal organs would have been exposed. This is what the Psalmist prophesied in Psalm 129.3: The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows.

5 / “Behold the Man!” Pilate hoped to elicit some human sympathy from the religious leaders and the people who had begun to gather to watch the spectacle [remember: this was the well-attended Passover Feast and national holiday]. Or that the mob would be satisfied with this brutal scourging. But they would not be appeased with anything short of killing Jesus: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

6 / “…He has made Himself the Son of God!” This terrified Pilate even more. Could Jesus actually be the Son of God? Was he killing the Son of God? [Remember also that, at this juncture, Pilate’s wife came to him to warn him with the dream she had just dreamed / Matthew 27.19.]

7 / Pilate begged Jesus to clearly identify Himself to him, reminding Jesus that he had authority to either release Him to His freedom or crucify Him. Jesus reminded Pilate again of His own ultimate authority as Deity: You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above / 19.11.

8 / “Behold your King!” When Pilate presented Jesus again with this appeal, he was hoping to release himself from any part and involvement in Jesus’ crucifixion … by offering to release their own King back to them. Look at Him! He is your King! Let me give Him back to you! But then, the Jewish leaders made this ridiculous, pandering, hypocritical pledge of allegiance to Pilate, Caesar, and the Roman government: “If you release this Man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar … We have no king but Caesar!” It was also a threat to Pilate, who was already on shaky ground with Caesar’s approval and favor.

9 / So Pilate ‘washed his hands’ [or so he thought and hoped] to release and absolve himself of any involvement in Jesus’ death / Matthew 27.24. “So he delivered Him over to them to be crucified.”

III / vv 16-27 / “There they crucified Him…”

1 / Jesus was led out to a place called ‘The Place of a Skull,’ or ‘Golgotha’ [which means, ‘The Skull’ in Aramaic, their spoken language]. Jesus was crucified between two criminals who were already on death row and sentenced to be executed. Barabbas had been one of them sentenced for crucifixion, but he had been released at the mob’s insistence / see ch 18.39-40 & Luke 23.18-19. Jesus took his place.

2 / The inscription over Jesus’ head. This inscription was usually in the form of some kind of crude placard. The purpose was to identify the criminal who was being executed and the crimes he had committed to add to his shame and humiliation. Pilate had written in three languages so anyone from anywhere who was attending the Passover could read it. The placard itself was an expression of mockery of the Jews, an insult to them, a sort of gloating over them. ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ OK, you forced my hand to do this, so I’m going to dunk on you. I’m gloating over my mockery of you by crucifying your King! The Jews protested this also: He’s not our King! We don’t claim Him! We are crucifying Him for this very reason that He claimed to be our King! So, change it, Pilate! Make it say, This Man said, I am King of the Jews.Pilate responded with this cryptic, snarling retort: ‘What I have written, I have written.’ He repeated the same two past perfect tense verbs. As if to say, ‘No! I have made my last concession to your demands. I’m changing nothing! It stands as I have written it!’

3 / But do you know what charges against Jesus was really on that placard…in the Father’s judgment? It was our sins! Jesus had no sins of His own, and He had certainly committed no crimes or transgressions worthy of punishment – and certainly not death by crucifixion! Colossians 2.13-14: And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to His Cross.  See also 1 Peter 2.22-25.

4 / The soldiers took what few articles of clothing Jesus wore and divided them up among themselves – as their tokens and souvenirs to have been assigned to crucify the King of some of those whom they had subjugated. But when they looked at His outer tunic, they could see that someone had lovingly, painstakingly, and carefully woven it in one piece from top to bottom instead of sewing pieces together at the seams]. So they gambled on it to see which one of them should get it. This, too, was to fulfill the Scripture of Psalm 22.18: They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. Another testimony to Jesus’ Deity.

5 / “Woman, behold your son … Behold your mother.” With this committal, Jesus gave Mary, His mother, over to John’s care. And John received the honorable responsibility. From that moment on, John took Mary to his own home to care and provide for Mary until she died.  

IV / vv 28-30 / “IT IS FINISHED!”

1 / After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture)… John is careful and precise to continue giving us testimonies to Jesus’ Deity. Jesus is not only dying His death of crucifixion of His own willingness and voluntary volition, but He is dying with full and comprehensive knowledge of the ages-old Scriptures He had come to fulfill. Numerous times throughout this Gospel, John [and all the other Gospelers] has reminded us how Jesus was fulfilling all the ancient prophetic writings that had foretold His coming – and the death He would die. See again Luke 24.25-27. NOTE that John uses the same word here for all of Jesus’ fulfillment of Scriptures that Jesus will utter when He has completed the work the Father had sent Him to do: After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst!” See Psalm 22.15: …my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws… and Psalm 69.3: I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched.

2 / A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to His mouth. This, too, fulfilled Psalm 69.21: They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink. Yet another testimony to Jesus’ being the promised Christ and Deity. Some historians have written that this ‘sour wine’ potion may have been provided by some of the more sympathetic women of Jerusalem to help sedate and therefore alleviate the end-of-life sufferings of those being crucified. Luke 23.36-37 tells us that they had offered this same ‘vinegar’ or ‘sour wine’ earlier to mock and taunt Him – maybe to offer it and then deny giving it to Him – but Jesus had refused it at that time. This time, He took it because He knew the final moments of His life’s mission had come, and He was fulfilling it to the last breath, word, and deed.

3 / “IT IS FINISHED!” This declaration was the climax, the crescendo, the victory cry of His mission [see ch 17.1-4]. ‘Finished” means: It has all been done! It has been completed! It has been fulfilled! With that word, Jesus pronounced and announced that He had just successfully ‘FINISHED!’ the Father’s promised salvation of His people, the Father’s commission and commandment to come and die for our redemption, the New Covenant that in His Blood, all that was required and sufficiently supplied to save us from our sins and reconcile us back to God … to be with Him forever! “It has been done!”

4 / “Tetelestai!” This is the English pronunciation of the past perfect tense of the verb Jesus exclaimed [teleo]. “Definition: to end, i.e. complete, execute, conclude, discharge (a debt)” It means ‘to reach the end, the completion, the full and final conclusion of the work that was being done.’ Notice that last part of the definition: ‘discharge (a debt).’ THIS is the word that was used on a debt contract or document to signify that the debt had been ‘PAID IN FULL’! And so it was with our debt of sin and unrighteousness before God. “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” [Romans 3.23]. But when Jesus Christ died and offered up His life of perfect, sinless obedience to the Father, He paid a double-debt that everyone of us owed: [1] He offered His life as a substitutionary sin-payment for the sins we have committed against God, and [2] He offered His life as a substitute for the life of obedience that we did not and could not have offered. THIS is the Gospel! And it is the ONLY Gospel there is! And God Himself provided it for us when He sent Christ into our world to die for us! And Jesus Christ was willing to give Himself as the ONLY payment for sin that God the Father will accept!

5 / AND He didn’t cry “IT IS FINISHED!” with a weak voice, either. Matthew 27.50, Mark 15.37, and Luke 23.46 all declare: And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice… Jesus didn’t ‘succumb’ to His own death. He didn’t die as a ‘victim’ to any hands who delivered Him over to Pilate or those who physically impaled Him to His Cross. He died strong! “…and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” Jesus gave up His own life! Remember how He foretold in John 10.17-18: For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from My Father.

6 / And it was with this last, final, victory cry that He gave Himself and His life to the Father as the once-for-all sufficient offering for our sins: Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!” And having said this He breathed His last / Luke 23.46.

7 / Hebrews 7.27: He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since He did this once for all when He offered up Himself.  

V / vv 31-37 / “They did not break His legs”

1 / It was a scandal among the Jews for a dead body to be hanging exposed for public view on a holy day. The next day was a Sabbath and also the Passover, and they didn’t dare ‘desecrate’ their ‘holy’ day and their planned ‘holy’ ceremonies. Why, they were going to be offering Passover sacrifices to God for the ‘passing over’ of their sins! They couldn’t have these dead bodies hanging on their crosses, and thus render their ‘holy’ activities ‘unclean’ and ‘unacceptable to God!

2 / So they came to Pilate again to ask him to break their legs, and thus hasten their deaths. Death by crucifixion was a death from physical trauma, shock, dehydration, loss of blood, even infections – but most of all a death by asphyxiation. When the body is impaled on the cross and the weight of the body is hanging from the suspended arms, the effect is to compress the diaphragm and abdomen, constricting the lungs. And often, death by crucifixion could linger on for 2-3 days before death occurred. By breaking the legs, the crucified one couldn’t ‘push up’ with his legs, making more room for his lungs to inhale.

3 / The soldiers broke the legs of the other two evil-doers. But when they came to Jesus, they discovered He was already dead [voluntarily, of His own will and volition]. Another fulfillment of Scripture, John is careful to note: Not one of His bones will be broken [Exodus 12.46], speaking of the Passover lamb from Yahweh’s first prescription in the first Passover! So it must be with this, The Passover Lamb of God!

4 / So, in their resentment and spite against Jesus because they couldn’t further abuse Him by breaking His legs, ‘but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.’ This was from the fluid that had gathered around His heart and lungs from the trauma He had suffered during the crucifixion agonies. Yet another fulfillment of the ancient Scriptures! Zechariah 12.10: …when they look on Me, on Him whom they have pierced…

5 / John himself is amazed at all this fulfillment of the ancient Scripture prophecies [especially after having had the past seventy years to reflect upon it]. Lest anyone think he is making any of it up, John affirms the truth of it all as an eye-witness: ‘He who saw it has borne witness – his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth – that you also may believe.’ DO YOU BELIEVE? For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled…    

VI / vv 38-42 / “…they laid Jesus there”

1 / Enter two friends, both believers and followers of Jesus – though both of them were just now publicly confessing their faith in Him: [1] Joseph of Arimathea. He was apparently a well-known, wealthy citizen of Jerusalem. He asked Pilate for permission to take possession of Jesus’ body to give Him a respectable burial, rather than having His body dumped in the ‘landfill’ of the Valley of Hinnom. Joseph had prepared a burial sepulcher for himself. No one had ever lain in it. And Jesus wouldn’t for long! Joseph would have it back after three days! Isaiah 53.9: And they made His grave with the wicked and with a rich man in His death… [2] Nicodemus. Yes! That same Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night [ch 3]. We have seen Nicodemus speak up in Jesus’ defense another time before / ch 7.50-51.

2 / Both of them are now fully-committed, whole-hearted confessors of their faith in the Deity, Lordship, and Gospel of their Lord Jesus Christ. They, at the risk of their own lives and public reputations, and at their own expense, come to prepare Jesus’ body for burial – because they believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that ‘Jesus is LORD’!


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“Your sandals shall be iron and bronze; as your days, so shall your strength be.” ~Deuteronomy 33.25 NKJV

“…for you have not passed this way before.” ~Joshua 3.4 ESV

“…for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” ~Proverbs 27.1 / James 4.14 LSB

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” ~1 Corinthians 10.13 LSB

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, Yahweh, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not become weary or tired. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weary and tired, and to him who lacks vigor He increases might. Though youths grow weary and tired, and choice young men stumble badly – Yet those who hope in Yahweh will gain new power; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not get tired; they will walk and not become weary.” ~Isaiah 40.28-31

I’ve never walked in this way before,

and I cannot tell what the day holds in store…

but God has a promise that is sufficient for me:

He says, “As your day is…so shall your strength be!”

As your day is, so shall your strength be!”

Give me the wisdom to walk, LORD, with Thee…

Give me the power to live faithfully,

and, as my day is, so let my strength be.

Troubles all around me, and fears rage within,

so prone to wander, so tempted by sin –

but when I’m at my weakest, Your promise I see!

“As your day is…so shall your strength be!”

As your day is, so shall your strength be!

Give me the wisdom to walk, LORD, with Thee…

Give me the power to live faithfully,

and, as my day is, so let my strength be.

Run, and not be weary…walk, and not faint –

live with thanksgiving, and without complaint –

soar like the eagle…from earth’s chains be free,

and “As your day is…so shall your strength be!”

“As your day is, so shall your strength be!”

Give me the wisdom to walk, LORD, with Thee…

Give me the power to live faithfully,

and, as my day is, so let my strength be.

~Dave Parks | October 1987

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“I AM…HE!”

JOHN | Lesson 17 | Lesson Notes / Talking Points

Read John 18.1-40


1 / We are now coming to the end of John’s Gospel account. The next three chapters [18, 19, 20] will be John’s account of Jesus’ arrest, trials, crucifixion, and resurrection.

2 / There is a thing called “A Harmony of the Gospels,’ in which all four Gospel accounts are written out side by side in four columns on the page. Where the Gospel accounts include the same narrative, they will be written out side-by-side. Where one Gospel account includes details the others don’t, those column spaces will be blank for those Gospels that don’t have them.

3 / I’ve added this note because John doesn’t include a lot of details the other Gospels do: like Jesus’ agony prayers in Gethsemane, much of the accusations made against Him before the chief priest and Herod, etc…

4 / However, John also includes many details of events and conversations that the other three Gospelers don’t: like, for example, in His two appearances before Pilate.

5 / Which leads me to say that John especially focuses on his primary purpose he has been following all throughout his Gospel: Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name / John 20.30-31.

6 / So when John includes what he does write, and doesn’t include what he doesn’t, he is keeping to his main purpose and focus for writing this whole Gospel: so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name.

7 / Which brings us to the main point of this lesson…

II / “I AM…HE!”

1 / When Jesus identified Himself to the band of enemies who had come to arrest Him, He simply said, “I AM…HE!” [see vv 5-8] This is not just His saying, ‘That’s who I am.’ Jesus is using the same self-identification He has used at least seven other times that John records in this Gospel [see Lesson 10]. We call these expressions: “The ‘I AM(s)’ of Jesus.” [He also used another form of this same self-identification in Jn 4.26.]

2 / “I AM” is the Name of Yahweh that He revealed to Moses at the burning bush / see Exodus 3.14. In other words, this is the Name that God gives Himself. So when Jesus said all of His “I AM”(s), He was saying “I AM God!” … And this goes back to the main purpose for John’s writing his whole Gospel as we discussed above.

3 / So what we will do here in this lesson is simply show how John weaves this evidence of the Deity of Jesus Christ throughout every description of every event he records here in chapter 18 … and on to the end of his Gospel.


1 / After Jesus had finished the words of His Farewell Discourse and His prayer He prayed to the Father, they crossed the Brook Kidron on the east of Jerusalem and began their ascent up the Mount of Olives. There was a garden there, Gethsemane [olive press], and Jesus entered the garden with His disciples. Though John doesn’t record it, this is where and when Jesus prayed His agony prayers to commit Himself to the death He had come to die [see Matthew 26.36-46; Mark 14.32-42; Luke 22.39-46].

2 / John gives us an all-inclusive description of Jesus’ Deity in that phrase in v 4: ‘Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to Him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”’ This is another demonstration of Jesus’ Deity – His knowing of everything that was going to happen. How did He know? Because it had been pre-planned from eternity and prophesied for 4000 years in the Old Testament Scriptures.

3 / Speaking of OT prophecies, we must add here also that just like this moment of time and history is what Jesus has been calling ‘My hour’ [ch 2.4; 13.1; 17.1], so also Satan is acting and working in his ‘hour.’ This goes back to the very first Gospel promise in the Bible, Genesis 3.15. This is the ‘hour’ when the Promised Savior will crush the serpent’s head. But it is also the ‘hour’ of ‘the power of darkness’ when Satan will bruise Messiah’s heel. See John 13.27; Mark 14.41; Luke22.53.

4 / Jesus, of course, knew Judas would betray Him because He is the “I AM” see ch 13.21-30. Judas had earlier left the Passover meal to go out into the night to conspire with the religious leaders to betray Jesus over to them. They now have made their way to the garden where Judas has told them they will find Him. There is a mixed band in this arresting party: leaders from among the chief priests and Pharisees [these are the main antagonists and accusers who have dogged Jesus all of His ministry; members of the Temple ‘police’ who enforced compliance with their civil, religious, social laws; and Roman Soldiers. There may have been as many as 200-600 soldiers [that’s what the word ‘band’ indicates], and they are all carrying lanterns, torches – and are armed with weapons.

5 / John doesn’t record it, but Judas had given the soldiers a signal: he would kiss the One they were after. He did.

6 / Whether it was before or after Judas’s betrayal kiss, we don’t know; but Jesus takes the initiative to ask them who they are seeking. When they answer, “Jesus of Nazareth,” Jesus then declares: “I AM…HE!” Once again, He declares His Deity. He claims to be, not only Jesus of Nazareth, but God Himself.

7 / The effect is that all the arresting party fell backward and to the ground. Was this just surprise, shock, or astonishment that Jesus would so voluntarily identify Himself? No! It was His Glory that confronted them. It was His Deity that knocked them backward. As John has told us earlier: “And we have seen His Glory, Glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” [ch 1.14]; and “This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His Glory. And His disciples believed in Him” [ch 2.11]. There was a supernatural manifestation and emanation of Glory that burst and proceeded forth from Jesus when He announced Himself as ‘I AM…HE!’ It produced this physical effect on His enemies. Kind of like a shock-wave of Deity and Glory.

8 / When Jesus repeated this same ‘I AM…HE!’ the second time – after they stumbled back onto their feet – what He is demonstrating is that even though He was surrendering Himself to His enemies, He knew that He was the One who was in charge of the situation.

9 / When Simon Peter drew his dagger-sword from under his cloak and slashed at the high priest’s servant, he didn’t intend to take off just his ear. Most likely, he made a horizontal slashing stroke, intending to slash his throat or take off his head. Malchus probably ducked his head sideways, and Peter cut off his ear. Jesus again demonstrated His “I AM” power by instantaneously healing the wound / Luke 22.51.   


1 / The arresting party and soldiers take Jesus first to the house of Annas. John is the only Gospeler who includes this detail. Annas was not in the high priest office that year; but Annas was the ‘godfather’ of this high-priestly family and father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was the high priest. So Annas has to sanction everything that the high priest’s office does. So, when John calls Annas ‘the high priest’ [v 19], it means ‘high priest emeritus’ or even ‘high priest de-facto’ even though his son-in-law, Caiaphas, was actually holding the office that year.

2 / John 18.24 states that Annas then sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.  

3 / Again, John doesn’t include the details of the accusations, mockery, and charges they came up with against Jesus. But you can find those accounts in Matthew 26.57-68; Mark 14.53-65; Luke 22.54-65.

4 / What they charge Jesus with here in their Jewish religious courts is different than the charges they will bring against Him when they present Him to Pilate. You will find the most pointed account in Matthew 26.63-66. They specifically asked Jesus whether He claimed to be ‘the Christ, the Son of God’?

5 / When Jesus replied that the day would come when would see Him, the Son of Man [Daniel 7.13-14], sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven, they understood very clearly that Jesus was claiming what He had been claiming all along during His ministry: that He, Himself, is the Messianic ‘Son of Man’ prophesied in Daniel, and that He, Himself, is the Christ, the Son of God. In other words, Jesus was proclaiming: ‘I AM…HE!’ That He is God.

6 / So there! The crime was committed in the eyes and judgment of the Jewish leadership: BLASPHEMY! This is their echoing charge that they explicitly expressed in ch 5.16-18.

7 / After hearing this ‘I AM…HE!’ declaration, the high priest put on a fake show of righteous indignation … being offended on God’s behalf at Jesus’ usurpation of God’s Deity. Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.”  

8 / It was during this series of mock hearings before the Jewish religious council that Simon Peter denied three times that he even knew Jesus … much less had any association with Him. This, too, was an I AM…HE! moment because Jesus had foretold and warned Peter just a few hours before this that he would deny Him [ch 13.36-38]. After Peter denies Christ for the third time and the rooster crowed as Jesus had warned him, Peter is stricken, crushed, devastated at what he has just done. And Jesus had warned him just a while ago that he would. That’s when Luke records in Luke 22.60-62: But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.


1 / It is here in this section, when Jesus appears for the first time before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, that Jesus makes some very remarkable statements regarding His Deity. He will proclaim “I AM…HE!” especially about His being the King of the Jews…

2 / Keep in mind that Jesus had two appearances before Pilate. John here compresses both hearings into one account because he has one point to make: that Jesus Christ, as God in the flesh, is the true Son of God and King of the Jews.

3 / This first appearance before Pilate is described here in ch 18.28-38. [Then Jesus will be shuffled off to make an appearance before Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee (Luke 23.6-12)]. Herod will send Jesus back to Pilate for the second appearance and Pilate’s final concession to the Jews to crucify Jesus [John 18.39 – 19.16].

4 / It is most interesting to note in ch 18.28 that the Jews, here on the eve of Passover, didn’t dare step onto the Gentile Pilate’s property because doing so would make them ‘ceremonially defiled and impure’ and they wouldn’t be permitted to partake of the Passover festivities and services. BUT they have no conscience against calling into Pilate, requiring him to get up from his bed and sleep, and come out to pass judgment against the Lamb of God who would be offered later that morning as God’s Divinely-appointed Passover! What two-faced hypocrisy! And yet, here again, we see the activity of Satan and his ‘hour’ and ‘power of darkness’ blinding their hearts and minds to prevent them from seeing the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ! see 2 Corinthians 4.3-6. We still face the same power of Satan working in the hearts and consciences of unbelievers as we proclaim the Gospel to them.

5 / Pilate asks them what charges they are bringing against Jesus – so serious enough as to warrant this middle of the night impromptu trial? The Jews answer: “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.”

6 / Pilate then scolds them for bringing to him a case of internal Jewish law. “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” ‘Why are you bothering me with your internal religious squabbles?”

7 / In their internal councils, they had charged Jesus with the capital offense of blasphemy. But blasphemy means nothing to Pilate. That is not in his jurisdiction.

8 / Their response to Pilate gets to the root of the evil and murderous intentions in their hearts – conspiracies and plots to kill Jesus that had been festering and stewing for at least the last two years. Listen to them! The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death!” There it is! They must have Jesus killed … and the Roman law did not permit them to execute capital punishment. Yes, they would occasionally stone someone for breaking their ‘laws,’ and the Romans would look the other way just to appease the Jews and keep the peace.

9 / BUT, again, Jesus could not be killed by stoning! Why? Because the plan of God all along was that Jesus would be crucified! All the prophecies of the Old Testament are prophecies that are descriptive of crucifixion. And the Jews didn’t crucify their capital offenders – they stoned them to death.

10 / And besides, Jesus had prophesied Himself that He would be crucified! Matthew 20.17-19: And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way He said to them, 18 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death 19 and deliver Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and He will be raised on the third day.” So Jesus must not only die for our salvation, but He must be crucified … and at the hands of the Gentiles [Romans]. And here He is! This is yet another illustration of Jesus’ Deity – His fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures and His own predictions that it would be this way!

11 / The Jews had made charges against Jesus in Pilate’s hearing that Jesus claimed to be ‘The King of the Jews.’ Imbedded in these accusations presented to Pilate are charges of treason against the occupying Romans. Now that involves Pilate big-time. Pilate’s responsibility as governor of Judea was to keep them subject to Caesar and the Roman rule. [More on this in the next lesson, ch 19.12-16.

12 / In fact, Barabbas and his comrades were in prison for execution at some later time precisely for this crime of treason and insurrection [see Luke 23.18-19].  

13 / This accusation prompted Pilate to question Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?” It was at this juncture that Jesus began to expound to Pilate that true nature of His Kingdom and Kingship. This was Jesus’ way of saying to Pilate: “I AM…HE!” Yes! I am a King. But my Kingdom is not like your-all’s. For now, my Kingdom is not earthly, political, military, and composed of a civil society. My Kingdom is spiritual. I rule people’s hearts and lives. If my Kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my Kingdom is not from this world. [This also gives us some clearer understanding why Jesus rebuked Peter in Gethsemane for retaliating with physical force when he cut off Malchus’s ear – and then healed Malchus.]

14 / Jesus delivered His “I AM…HE!” to Pilate with these words: Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”   

15 / So, to everyone who encountered Jesus, not only during these last events, but all throughout His lifetime and ministry – Jesus’ unvarying and unwavering proclamation was: “I AM…HE! I AM God, the Son of God, the promised Christ and Messiah – the Savior of the world! The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is here in Me! Repent and believe in the Gospel!”


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Our LORD’s Prayer

JOHN | Lesson 16 | Lesson Notes / Talking Points

Read John 17.1-26


1 / There is perhaps no deeper, richer, and more awe-inspiring chapter in all of Scripture than John 17. We can but fall on our faces ourselves as we approach it and ask the Lord Jesus Christ who prayed it to please send the power of the Holy Spirit to us as He promised [chs 14.25-26; 15.26; 16.12-15] to help us receive it and understand it as best as He is pleased to reveal it to us.

2 / We are calling this prayer ‘Our LORD’s Prayer’ because this is the longest recorded prayer that Our LORD prayed that is written in the New Testament. Other shorter and briefer and more pointed prayers are recorded, but none as long as this one. We have many lengthy sermons, parables, and conversations – but only this one lengthy prayer.

3 / So what I want to do here in this introduction is lay out some of the general subjects and movements of the prayer, and highlight some of the major requests Jesus makes of His Father on His and our behalf.

4 / OCCASION: This prayer follows immediately after the lengthy Farewell Discourse Jesus has been delivering to His disciples that began in ch 13.

  • Ch 14.31 sees Him lead them from the upper room where they had observed the Last Passover and First Lord’s Supper and out into the streets as they make their way to the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • Chs 15-16 are the continuation of the Farewell Discourse after they left the upper room.
  • Ch 17, this prayer, will be His Farewell Prayer which He prays to the Father in their hearing.

5 / PLACE: If you fast forward to ch 18.1, you will read ‘When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.’ So this prayer is prayed somewhere outside the Jerusalem city walls before they entered Gethsemane.

6 / SCOPE: This prayer is eternity to eternity in its scope.

  • In v 5, Jesus speaks to the Father about the Glory they shared with one another even before the world was created.
  • In v 18, He speaks of the Father sending Him into the world and His mission and ministry here among us.
  • In v 24, He speaks prospectively about the eternity to come when we will be with Him and the Father in their Glory.

Of course, with God there is no ‘eternity past’ or ‘eternity future.’ That is just the only way we can begin to grasp, comprehend, and speak of it. God has and knows no ‘time.’ All eternity is to God ‘the eternal NOW.’ But this prayer spans it all.

7 / GENERAL DIVISIONS: This is overly-simplistic, but there are some distinct shifts in subject matter in Jesus’ words:

  • vv 1-8: Jesus prays about Himself, His mission, and the successful accomplishment of what the Father had sent Him to do;
  • vv 9-19: Jesus prays for His disciples, who are in His immediate Presence and hearing Him as He prays;
  • vv 20-26: Jesus prays for all those who will believe on Him in the ages to come through the witness of all those who will continue to bear witness to Him through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of the Gospel.


  • This is, first of all, a specimen and clear expression of the intimate communion, unity, and oneness that Jesus maintained with His Father during all His earthly sojourn and ministry here among us during the days of His flesh;
  • This is also an illustrious and encouraging testimony and pattern to show us the kind of personal and effectual intercession Jesus continues to bear before the Father on our behalf. Hebrews 7.25: Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
  • Not least, this prayer is also a wonderful example of what we, as believers, should pray for if we should pray ‘in Jesus’ Name.’ If this is what He prayed for, then we should pray for the same things. If this is what He prays for us, then we should make it our life’s purpose, passion, aim, and goal to strive for and live out these desires of Jesus daily.  

9 / You understand all I can do in these notes is give you some broad and brief ‘talking points’ as I always do … we will add more connections and comments during our class time and lesson. Even then, at the best, all we will be able to do is give you some summary doctrinal and practical points which I pray will pique your interest and ignite your passion to delve deeper into the heart and words of Our LORD’s Prayer for yourself…

II / vv 1-8 / “I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do.”

1 / When Jesus had spoken these words… refers to the previous words of the Farewell Discourse which He began in ch 13. Now, He wants to seal what they have heard to their hearts and lives. …He lifted up His eyes to Heaven and prays to His Father to receive His life’s ministry as an offering of obedience and service to Him … to do His will.

2 / Father, the hour has come… This ‘hour’ was the final and complete accomplishment of our eternal redemption by the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Remember how Jesus had reminded His mother, Mary, in ch 2.4, ‘My hour has not yet come.’ You can continue to ‘count down’ Jesus’ journey to this ‘hour’ and climaxing moment and final fulfillment of His mission in chs 7.30; 8.20; 12.23, 27; 13.1; 16.32.

3 / THE STORY OF GLORY. Glory’ and ‘glorify’ is one of the main theme-threads that tie and hold this prayer together. It is also one of the primary and most prominent theme-threads of the whole Gospel of John. It goes all the way back to ch 1.14. We have spoken of Glory often as we have made our way through this Gospel. Just remember that Glory is God Himself. God Himself is the GLORY. And when Jesus reveals Himself as God, He is revealing the Glory He is, and the Glory He shared with the Father, and the Glory from whence He came, and the Glory the Father is. Jesus came to reveal the Father, and He did that. That’s how He glorified the Father. He also glorified the Father by obeying Him and fulfilling the mission the Father had sent Him to accomplish. He is committing Himself to finish the work in this prayer. Jesus also prays that the Father will glorify Your Son which the Father will do by receiving His sacrificial death for our redemption, raising Him again from death, and bringing Him back to Glory in His ascension. See Philippians 2.5-11; 1 Peter 1.20-21; et. al.  

4 / God the Father had entrusted to Jesus, God the Son, all authority and dominion over all humanity. See, for example, ch 5.19-29.

5 / And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. What is this ‘eternal life’ but the Father new-birthing in us the Glory of Himself and Jesus Christ? Our new birth and eternal life is the very light of the Glory of Christ, who is the image of God / 2 Corinthians 4.4.

6 / …to all whom You have given Him. This phrase is repeated no fewer than seven times. Jesus also made this same expression in ch 6.37. The Father chooses whom He will save through the substitutionary offering of Jesus Christ, and then gives them [us] to the Son to redeem [see also ch 15.16]. You will also find God’s choosing us in Christ for salvation in Ephesians 1.3-6; 1 Peter 1.1-2.

7 / For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. Jesus came to earth with one primary aim: to reveal the Father / see ch 1.18. That’s what He means when He says in v 6, ‘I have manifested Your Name to the people whom You gave me out of the world… God’s Name is Himself: who He is, His heart, His desires, His character, His attributes, His love, His redemptive purposes for His people. Jesus revealed the Father’s Name by giving to us the Father’s words which the Father had given Him to give to us. These words are the words which Jesus spoke, and which are recorded in the Holy Scriptures, and which reveal to us the very mind of God.

III / vv 9-19 / “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.”

1 / There is a sense in which God loves the whole world which He has created. See ch 3.16. But there is also a more personal, distinctive, redemptive, and exclusive sense in which His salvation love is given to His people whom He chose and gave to Jesus Christ to save. This is what Jesus means by this opening statement in this second movement of this prayer. He came to save His people from their sins … those whom the Father had given to Him to save. Again, Ephesians 1.4-6 will bring this into focus: …even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. This is the purpose for which Christ came and the mission He accomplished.

2 / Now, as Jesus directs His prayer toward us and as He begins asking the Father on our behalf, we want to begin highlighting at least four specific requests Jesus prays the Father will give us: [1] keep us; [2] sanctify us; [3] unify us; [4] bring us to be with Him and the Father forever.

3 / Holy Father, keep them in Your Name, which You have given Me… This request to ‘keep’ us will come up repeatedly as we continue in His prayer / vv 11, 12,15. To ‘keep’ means ‘to secure, preserve, protect, guard.’ This alone is the grounds of the security of our salvation. We do not keep ourselves saved … God keeps us saved. See ch 10.27-30; 1 Peter 1.3-5; et. al.

4 / v 12 / When Judas Iscariot is named here as the only one who was not ‘kept,’ it doesn’t mean that Jesus ‘lost’ him or couldn’t ‘keep’ him – it means only that Judas was an unbeliever, an imposter, a hypocrite, even ‘a devil’ from the beginning / see ch 6.70-71. Jesus knew that when He chose Judas as one of the Twelve. But the Scriptures had prophesied that a wicked ‘friend’ would betray the Messiah / Pss 41.9; 109.8; also Jn 13.18.

5 / Jesus Christ gives us His words so we may His joy in ourselves! The only way we will ever have joy in our lives, in this world, is by believing, receiving, keeping, and living by His words! We must be in His Word every day! We must learn to think by His words, speak by His words, study His words, hear and learn from His words, and depend upon and trust His words to be true – regardless of the circumstances and experiences we will encounter in our daily lives!

6 / I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. The world will hate us. We must anticipate that hatred, opposition, and antagonism. The reason the world system / society / culture will hate us is because we are different and distinct from them. We are ‘in the world’ as where we must live and bear witness to Jesus Christ. But, we have been born again. We are children of God. We belong to a different family, a different culture. We have different values. We define right and wrong the ways God does. We define sin and righteousness by Christ’s standards, and not by the shifting trends by which the world in which we live defines them. But regardless of the world’s hating us, canceling us, shunning us, rejecting us, persecuting us, and maybe even killing us, Jesus prays to the Father that He will keep us in His love and care. And He will!

7 / Jesus does not pray that the Father will take us out of the world, but that He will keep us from the evil that is in the world around us…in which we must live. It would be much easier for us just to be immediately snatched and transported to Heaven out of the world the moment we are saved. But we would miss two graces and privileges: [1] We are left here in the world to bear witness to the transforming power of the Gospel and to the Grace of God in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ; and [2] We are left here in the world so the Grace of God and the transforming power of the Gospel can continue to work in our lives through sanctification…

8 / And that brings us to the second prominent request Jesus asks the Father to give us and do in us. ‘Sanctify them in the Truth; Your Word is Truth.’ Here again, Jesus brings us back to The Word, the words, the Father had given Him to speak and give to us. We have this Word in the Gospel and in the entirety of the Holy Scriptures – The Bible.

9 / To sanctify means: ‘to set apart from the other things around them for a Godly purpose and use.’ We are sanctified, or set apart to be God’s and to belong to Him when we are saved [1 Corinthians 6.11]. But also, that sanctification begins to work in us, step by step, work by work, being carried on by the Holy Spirit, to conform us more and more into the very image and likeness of Jesus Christ. We are not justified [made right with God through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ] to be ‘put on hold’ or ‘put on ice,’ as it were, until we die and go to be with Christ. We are saved to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – to become more and more like Him in every grace. This, too, is part of our witness to His transforming Gospel. Sanctification glorifies Christ!

IV / vv 20-26 / “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word…”

1 / We now come to the third general division and movement of Our LORD’s Prayer. He has prayed about Himself and the successful accomplishment of the mission the Father had given Him; He has prayed for the Twelve who were there with Him and hearing Him pray; and now He prays for US! I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word…

2 / The Eleven [excluding Judas Iscariot] would continue to bear witness to Christ and proclaim His Gospel. Many others whom the Father had given to the Son would believe – and they, in turn, will continue to bear witness to Christ and many others would believe … and on and on until Jesus returns.

3 / Now, here is the third specific request Jesus prays the Father will give us: ‘that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.’ All believers in Jesus Christ are bound together in the unity of the Holy Spirit, the new birth, and faith in Christ. We must seek in every way to preserve that unity. But that unity of Christ can be maintained only by our mutual conformity to the Word He has given us. See Ephesians 4.1-16. Light cannot be in unity with darkness. Good cannot be in unity with evil. Truth cannot be in unity with lies, falsehoods, errors, and heresies. Holiness cannot be in unity with sin.

4 / And now, Jesus concludes His prayer to His Father with this fourth specific request: that we may be with Him where He and the Father are – in their GLORY – forever! Verse 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. We just have to say: “And can it be that I should gain an interest in my Savior’s blood? Died He for me who caused His pain? For me who Him to death pursued? Amazing love, how can it be – that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” [Charles Wesley].

5 / But this is the Glory that God, the Father, has chosen us for! This is the Glory that Jesus Christ has died to redeem us to! And this is the Glory that He will come again to receive us into!


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The Farewell Discourse, continued…

JOHN | Lesson 15 | Lesson Notes / Talking Points

Read John, chapters 15-16


1 / I am calling this lesson ‘The Farewell Discourse, continued’ because chapters 15-16 are a continuation of Jesus’ final, parting encouragements to His disciples which He began in the upper room.

2 / The Farewell Discourse actually began in chapter 13 as they were eating the Last Passover together, and when He rose from supper to wash their feet … and then commanded them to love one another.

3 / It was at that time that Jesus began preparing them for His crucifixion and death the next day, and then for His eventual ascension and going back to the Father who had sent Him / ch 13.33. It was when He said, “Where I am going you cannot come” that the disciples began to panic and melt down with fear and anxiety / ch 13.36; ch 14.1-5; 14.27-28; et al.

4 / We began in Lesson 14 [on chapter 14] to show how Jesus tamps down their anxiety, assuages their fears, and reassures their faith with numerous promises He gives them. Yes, He is going away back to the Father, but He also promises them that their lives and ministries will continue to go on until He comes back. And, His going away will not leave them as orphans – He will send the Presence and power of the Holy Spirit who will take His place in them and with them. The Holy Spirit will continue to minister to them in all the ways Jesus had ministered to them – and even more so / see ch 16.7.

5 / So that brings us to chapters 15-16. There is a lot to cover here, but I don’t want to leave any of it out without at least connecting these instructions and promises with each other.

6/ PLEASE NOTE: what Jesus will relate to His disciples on their way to Gethsemane is not just random musings. Every part of this Farewell Discourse flows from what He had said before and is all connected.

7 / So what I hope to do here is just outline these various pericopes in Jesus’ Farewell Discourse, summarize the main promise and encouragement He wants to give His disciples [and us], and add perhaps some explanatory notes with each section to help us make the connections with comes before and after it … hopefully, to tie the whole Farewell Discourse together into a cohesive message.

8 / And, as always, we’ll fill in some of the gaps and give more details than I’ve included here when we’re together in our class time…

II / ch 15.1-17 / You will continue to bear fruit in character, service, and witness … as you abide in Me, the True Vine – the Source and Giver of your life.

1 / ‘Bearing fruit’ continues through this section through verse 16

2 / The ‘fruit’ we will bear is not just one thing: we will bear the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ in our character; the ‘fruit of our labors’ in our service; and the ‘fruit of believers’ through our witness.

3 / “I AM the True Vine and My Father is the Vinedresser. You will continue to bear fruit as you fulfill the Great Commission and Mission Mandate I will give you before I go back to the Father.”

4 / “You must abide/remain in Me as the Source of your life – everyone who does not abide in Me only evidences they are not connected to Me as the Source of their life. They are imposters, pretenders, hypocrites. They will be destroyed.”

5 / “You must also abide in all the words I have given you from My Father. The Word will be the channel through which My life will flow through you and work in you.”

6 / “You must also do everything you by asking the Father in My Name in prayer” / see ch 14.12-14.

7 / “You must also abide in My love – loving Me and loving one another with My love through you. There is no greater love than the love I am demonstrating to you by dying and laying down My life for you. You all keep on loving one another as I am loving you.”

8 / NOTE all the truths we must ‘abide’ in to bear fruit to Christ: [1] in Him, [2] in His words, [3] in His love

III / ch 15.18 – 16.4 / The world of unbelievers will hate you, persecute, and even kill some of you. They will hate you because they hate Me. But I am telling you ahead of time so you will know to expect it. And the Holy Spirit – the Helper, Advocate – will be bearing your witness through you.

1 / “Don’t expect the unbelieving world to love, accept, or receive you and your witness to Me. People love ‘their own kind.’ But, they hated both Me and My Father … and will continue to hate you because you are Mine.”

2 / “The primary reason they will hate you is because you will expose their sin and unbelief … that’s why they hated Me.”

3 / “But the Scripture was fulfilled in their hating Me ‘without cause’ [see Pss 35.19 & 69.4]. The same will be true when they hate you.”

4 / “BUT, you will continue to bear witness of Me through the power of the Holy Spirit. He will be the One who witnesses to Me through you” / see Acts 1.8.

5 / v 26 / NOTE: it was the witness to Jesus, and especially His resurrection, that the enemies of Christ will seek to kill and destroy. This persecution – and even martyrdom – began in earnest shortly after Jesus’ own resurrection as the apostles boldly bore witness to Him. Jesus’ promise here is adamant and fail-proof: “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” The witness of the apostles and the churches to the Gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is invincible! The power of the Holy Spirit speaking and working through the faithful witness of the churches will not fail!  

6 / “So don’t allow their opposition to throw you off of your mission – don’t think their persecution of you, or even killing you, means that My plan is not working out or that they are thwarting your mission. I am telling you all this so you will not be surprised when it happens to you.”

IV / ch 16.5-15 / Your witness will not be at all deterred or defeated by the opposition of the unbelieving world. The Holy Spirit will bear witness to Me through you. Be encouraged and emboldened!

1 / “I know that because I have said, ‘I am going away,’ sorrow is filling your heart. That is all you have heard. You should be asking Me, ‘Lord, what are You going to be doing when You go away to Your Father?’”

2 / “That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Actually, you are going to be more fully empowered and equipped to be My witnesses through the Presence and power of the Holy Spirit. He will be your Helper and My Advocate with you and in you.”

3 /  v 7 / “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.” When Jesus was with His disciples in physical, human body, His Presence was localized where He was. But now that He has gone back to the Father, and by sending the power of the Holy Spirit upon us, the message of the Gospel of Christ has gone out into the whole world!

4 / vv 8-9 / “And when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”

  • concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me / The Holy Spirit will prove to be wrong the immediate enemies of Christ when their unbelief is refuted by His resurrection – everything He said about Himself will come to pass. They will stand condemned before God when they stand before Him in the judgment and also by the historical record of the Gospel Scriptures; the Holy Spirit will also do the work of convicting all who will eventually believe in Christ concerning their sin of unbelief. He will bring them to faith to believe in Christ.
  • concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no longer  / The Holy Spirit will bear witness to the righteousness of Jesus Christ by raising Him from the dead, and then later to ascend to the right hand of the Majesty on High. Only a righteous Savior could demonstrate His own righteousness by such a Divine act.
  • concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged / The Holy Spirit will bear witness to the defeat of Satan by raising Christ again from the dead. Jesus pronounced judgment on Satan in chapter 12.31. The head of the serpent was crushed. When Christ was raised from the dead, He triumphed over Satan and all the powers of darkness / Colossians 2.13-15; Hebrews 2.14-15; Revelation 12.7-11. The Holy Spirit continues to pass judgment and condemnation against the ruler of this present darkness every time a new believer is brought to faith in Christ / 2 Corinthians 4.1-6.

5 / “As you bear witness to Me in the power of the Holy Spirit, He will do all the work of convicting the world of the truth of your witness. He will convict some of the truth of what you witness, and they will believe and be saved. As for the others who do not believe, the Holy Spirit will ‘prove them to be wrong’ by verifying and demonstrating the truth of everything you witness.”

6 / “I can’t tell you everything you need to know right now. There is too much … and you can’t even understand and comprehend it all in your present state of mind and experience. But the Holy Spirit will continue to inspire you to understand My Gospel … and He will also be inspiring you to write more words to explain and instruct you in the fuller understanding and proclamation of My Gospel.”

V / ch 16.16-24 / I know all of this sudden realization that I am going away back to My Father is traumatizing you – you are going to be saddened and traumatized more here shortly. But, trust Me, your momentary sorrow will be turned into ever-lasting joy when you see Me again.

1 / “When I have been crucified and buried, you will not be seeing Me. But then, after three days, I will rise again, and you will see Me again! And after forty days with you, I will be going to My Father. Ten days after that, I will send the Holy Spirit upon you to empower you to continue My mission!”

2 / “During that short period of time when I am in My grave, our enemies will rejoice and celebrate what they think is their victory over Me. You will be filled with sorrow … you will weep and lament – wondering if it’s all over for Me and for you.”

3 / “Like when a mother is in labor pains and suffering from the painful contractions, you, too, will suffer the pain of my momentary absence. But the pains of travail are giving birth to a new life! So it will be with Me. Then there is celebratory JOY in the birth of a new life. The pain of the travail is over and forgotten! I know you can’t see and feel that now … but you will!”

VI / ch 16.25-33 / I have been using short and startling statements to prepare you for the events that are coming – after a few days when the upcoming events have transpired, I will explain them to you more fully and clearly. You will be more able to understand then. Just know this: you will have troubles without end in the world … but I have conquered, overcome, and defeated all your enemies and opposition. I will give you My peace. Be encouraged and emboldened to believe and trust Me!

1 / “When I have been saying things like: “I am going away…,” “I am going to the Father…,” “Yet a little while and you will not see Me; and then a little while and you will see Me again…” – I know these words have been like riddles and parables and cryptic messages to you. That’s because the events I’ve been telling you about haven’t happened yet. But after a few days, when it has all transpired, I’ll have more opportunity to explain it all to you so you can better understand.”

2 / “In that day – after I have gone back to My Father – you will pray to the Father in My Name and by My authority. I will not need to persuade the Father to receive your requests or show favor to you. Because the Father loves you already. The Father loves you because you have received Me when I came from Him.”

3 / [NOTE: when Jesus says in verse 28, “I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father,” He is summing up and reiterating the entire theme and message of the Gospel of John. See how this one statement reiterates what John writes in chapter 1.9-18.]

4 / v 29: “His disciples said, ‘Ah, now You are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question You; this is why we believe that You came from God.’” The disciples meant well. They thought they were beginning to put it all together and see the big picture. But they really had no idea how incompletely they understood the implications of what Jesus was telling them.

5 / BUT, Jesus knew they didn’t understand … nor were they prepared for the tests of their faith that were coming upon them, even in the very next few minutes and hours. He would go to the Garden of Gethsemane. He would be accosted by the Roman soldiers being led by the Jewish religious leaders [chief priests and elders]; Judas would be at the head of the party to point out Jesus and identify Him; they would arrest Him and take Him into custody; He would be taken to Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, and Herod for mock hearings and trials; He would be condemned to die by crucifixion; and by the next morning, He would be hanging on His Cross to die.

6 / vv 31-32: “Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with Me.’” Jesus had already warned Simon Peter that he would deny that he even knew Him / ch 13.36-38. The other disciples would turn tail and run to protect themselves from being arrested with Jesus.

7 / This, too, was in fulfillment of Scripture prophesied in Zechariah 13.7: “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who stands next to Me,” declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered…”

8 / You, too, must believe this promise Christ Himself trusted in: when all other earthly friends, support systems, and resources turn against you, forsake you, and fail you … God will never leave you nor forsake you. And Jesus Himself will promise later in the Great Commission, “And, behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” We must know that, believe that, trust that!

9 / v 33 / And then … this concluding reassuring promise to calm their troubled hearts – not only in advance of what was impending upon Him and them, but also for all the ages to come…until He comes again: “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”


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