Category Archives: John

Sermon: The Great Reversal; John 16:12-22

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Sermon: People of God, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! We continue to look at St. John’s gospel. We have looked through several resurrection events and accounts. This morning we will take a step back and look into the Thursday before the Resurrection.

Notice first in verse 12 that Jesus begins by stating that He still has many things to tell them, but that they are not able to bear it now. That is to say, there are many truths that need to be developed and the disciples were not yet ready for them. They are not able to bear these truths until they experience them first. Though the disciples are not yet able to bear these things, Jesus is able to bear these things by dying on the cross, even to death. Jesus is not simply referring to a great body of truth that He needs to clarify or impart to His disciples; Jesus is speaking of His body, which must bear the pain of Calvary for the sake of His people. Truth is not merely intellectual propositions, it is tangible and physical. Jesus is the way and the truth, and the life, because He endured the Way, He became Truth, and He has become life for us. One commentator has written that:

“The entire, full truth is a heavy burden for him who is not yet ripe and strong enough for it.”[1]

The disciples are not yet ready to know the purpose and full implications of Jesus’ ministry and their own labors. But they will know soon enough.

In verse 13, we see why St. John has been called the gospel of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of truth will come and He will guide the disciples into all truth. But notice that He is not bringing some new message, rather He is speaking what the Father and the Son says. The Spirit is the One who confirms and validates the work of the Son. The text also says that He will guide you into all truth. It is a sad matter that some have interpreted such verses to say that we no longer need the institutional church or we no longer need undershepherds to guide us.[2] John has already declared that God ordains under-shepherds to guide His people from false doctrine. Teachers are called by God to instruct His people, as Paul says. In the Church, God manifests and reveals the mysteries of the gospel to His people. In the Church we find a pattern, so we may live throughout the week. The liturgy of the church is the liturgy of life. John is not calling us to intellectual anarchy, He is calling us to see that all truth is in Jesus Christ, but furthermore, all truth is embodied in the New World that Christ brings in His resurrection. The Spirit, in verse 13, will declare to you the things that are to come. What are the things to come? If we take this as a reference to the manifestations of the resurrection, then it is simple to see that John is referring to the kingdom of God. The things that are to come will fundamentally re-shape the present world. The disciples will see this re-shaping when they see the Resurrected Lord. And they will see the Spirit poured upon them at Pentecost.

In verses 14 & 15, the Bible says that the Spirit will declare what is Christ’s and declare it to the disciples when they are prepared. Calvin writes:

“Nothing, therefore, is bestowed on us by the Spirit apart from Christ, but he takes it from Christ, that he may communicate it to us.”[3]

Once again we see a declaration of deity.  What the Father possesses belong to the Son. The riches of the Father are equally the Son’s. This is certainly true, but the other side to this is that John is speaking of the Spirit as the great gift to humanity. The Spirit is the gift of the Father to the Son and that becomes the proclamation of the New World. The declaration to the disciples is not just that Jesus will be raised from the dead, though this is central in this narrative, but it is also that the Spirit is being given to the disciples from the Father.  In summary, John is telling the readers that the Father is sending the Spirit to reveal and declare the glory of the Son. The Father, Son, and Spirit are working together to accomplish for the world what the world could never accomplish for itself. Continue reading Sermon: The Great Reversal; John 16:12-22

Birthing a New World…

The illustration used by Jesus in John 16:21 carries a far greater weight than a simple analogy to the disciple’s loss, which will take place in a “little while.” The birthing of this “anthropos/man” is the birthing of the New World. The resurrection is the new birth.

This woman is birthing a new humanity in Jesus Christ from the darkness of the womb to the light of the world; from the darkness of the tomb to the light of the world. The great reversal occurs. Those who wept will now sing and those who mourned will now dance. The resurrection brings joy to each disciple, but it also will bring joy to the world.

See and SEE in John 16:16

NASB “A little while, and you will no longer behold Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.” John 16:16
The NASB seems to be the only translation that captures this double usage of the word “see” in the text. Whereas the first word indicates physical sight, that is, the disciples will no longer see Him physically, afterwards they would see Him experientially; spiritually. That is, they would see the christology of Christ. They would perceive Him anew.

Sermon/Easter: The Shepherd/King; John 10:22-30

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Sermon: People of God, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! While we profess this great truth in this Resurrection Season, others call it foolishness. The Gospel of the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ is a divisive declaration. Calvin once wrote that while the teachings of Christ gained many disciples, He also gained many adversaries.[1] It was true in the first century and it is true today. “(Jesus) was always asserting the truth and defending it, even when doing so placed his life in danger. Here he spoke the truth, unwelcome as it was, and the Jews picked up stones to stone him because his denial of their cherished but absolutely false religious opinions.”[2]

John 10 is a familiar passage. It echoes our Psalm 23 reading. In our passage, truth is that the Great Shepherd promises only to protect those in His own care, under His protective Hands. Continue reading Sermon/Easter: The Shepherd/King; John 10:22-30

Sheep and Grace

This life as sheep is a secure life; it is an eternal life, but it also a life of perseverance in grace and by grace. Grace is never absent from obedience and faithfulness. If God is gracious to bring us to His Son, He is gracious to keep us in His Son.

–Sermon Excerpt for this Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 28th, 2010

John 20:1-14 Two Fires, Two Communities, One Lord

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Sermon: People of God, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! C.S. Lewis once wrote: that “Symbols are the natural speech of the soul, a language older and more universal than words.”[1] The gospel of St. John is profoundly rooted in symbolic language. Approaching John with an American and Western mindset will minimize the fullness of the resurrection story. We need to embrace a biblical orientation; a way of looking at the Bible that would do justice to the text and its intended purpose. We need to look at the Bible Through New Eyes[2] as our resident theologian would say.

This narrative in the end of John contains two central ideas. The first is that Jesus’ resurrection brings in a new world. Continue reading John 20:1-14 Two Fires, Two Communities, One Lord

Know Surely…

… that you did not come to Christ because God looked down the corridors of time and saw your free choice, rather, God in His rich mercy poured His grace upon you, so your eyes would be open to see Him and your will would be changed to love Him. –Sermon excerpt on John 10:22-30

Grammar vs. Text

I read this gem from Leithart today:

Some commentators claim that John 6 cannot be talking about the Lord’s Supper because the verbs (in vv. 52-59) are aorist. This is very implausible to me. John recorded a discourse of Jesus in which he speaks of eating flesh, drinking blood – both resonant with Eucharistic associations, and he wrote this discourse to churches that commemorated Jesus with a meal of Jesus’ flesh and blood. And yet, we know that John didn’t intend to talk about the Eucharist because of the verb tense! If John didn’t intend his readers to think of the Eucharist, he’s chosen a singularly odd way to do his business. It almost seems like a trick: Everything in the chapter SOUNDS like Eucharist, but John leaves us the subtle clue of the verb tense to let us know it’s not. A wider point about grammatical-historical exegesis: This is an example of grammar trumping the text; the verb tense controls what the passage means, rather than the whole passage controlling what the passage means. This is not the way we normally use language; when we use rich and resonant imagery, we expect our readers to notice it, and not to focus on verb tenses and not to let the verb tenses control (or cancel out) the imagery. (This is not to say that the verb tenses of Scripture are irrelevant or unimportant. They are, as is every jot and tittle. But there is not reason to make the verb tenses controlling.)

Translation of John 10:22-30

See PDF Doc HERE:John 10 22-30 translation

This is my rough translation of this Sunday’s gospel lesson for the Fourth Sunday of Easter. I have tried to make it both literal and readable. Please leave any translational or exegetical suggestions in the comment section.

22-Then came the Festival of Rededication[1] in Jerusalem; it was winter,[2]

23- and Jesus was walking[3] in the temple in the porch[4] of Solomon.

24-The Jews, therefore, surrounded him[5] and said to him, “Until when will you keep us[6] in suspense?” If you are the Christ, speak to us plainly.[7]

25 – Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in the name of my Father, these bear witness of me;

26 – but you do not believe, because you are not My sheep.[8]

27 – My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;

28 – and I will give to them eternal life,[9] and they shall never[10] perish; and no one will snatch[11] them  out of My hand.

29 –My Father, who has given (them)[12] to me is greater than all, and no one can snatch them out of the hand of the Father.

30 – I and the Father are one.[13]

[1] Also translated “festival of Lights.”

[2] Rainy and Stormy weather.

[3] verb indicative imperfect active 3rd person singular from peripatew

[4] Also, Collonade; see This is roofed, thus protecting Jesus from the rainy and stormy weather of winter.

[5] Also, “came round about him,” or “gathered around him,” or “encircled him.”

[6] soul, life.

[7] “Boldly” or “openly” is another possible translation.

[8] A statement of divinity in the context of other supposed gods.

[9] zwh.n aivw,nion

[10] Literally, “by no means they perish unto the age.”

[11] This verb conveys strong language of impossibility.

[12] Clearly implied in the text.

[13] Literally, “I and the Father, one we are. This is a claim of divinity. He does not say: “I and the Father AM One, but Are One.

Leithart on Peter putting on the garment in John 21

Some oddities of the narrative of John 21. Peter, we’re told, has stripped, apparently to make it easier to do his fishing. When he hears that Jesus is on the shore, he puts ON his outer robe and throws himself into the sea. As a practical matter, this doesn’t make much sense; he’d be able to swim better without the outer robe. As a symbolic act, it makes a lot of sense at a number of levels: Peter is about to be re-installed as an apostolic shepherd, and prior to that he puts on a robe of investiture; the sea being an image of the Gentiles, Peter is a Jonah throwing Himself into ministry to the world; it appears also to be a baptismal scene, with Peter restored by washing and investiture to table fellowship and ministry with Jesus.