John Chapter 9

cal staggers blind man

v 1-4 We’re so used to life being all about “me, me, me” that at first it seems harsh that this man would purposefully be born blind by God and live blind for many years “just” for the purpose of this moment:  which is so that Jesus could cure his blindness and that the works of God could be seen by him and by others.  I’m sure there must be a good lesson in this for us all – that we should be grateful for a frailty that we have if it is what drives us to believe in Jesus for eternal life or if it drives us to Him for fellowship.  Reading ahead, this cured blind man definitely becomes a disciple, to the point that he’s willing to be thrown out of the synagogue for siding with Jesus.

v 6  Why go through the trouble of spitting on ground, making clay to use when at other times he heals with a word?  Maybe it’s a picture that, at Creation, He made man from clay – and this is a picture of Him finishing making this man, pointing back to Him in His role as Creator.

v 7 There must be significance in pointing out Siloam means Sent – wish I knew what it is.

v 9 Okay, this a Monty Python scene:  some neighbors are talking about the not-blind man right in front of him saying, “no, looks like him, but it’s not him” and the whole while the cured man is standing in front of them saying, “I am the one!”

v. 22 Being put out of the synagogue means also being kicked out of one’s job, out of the place where shopping was done and losing one’s friends.  It’s a big deal.

v13-34  I love this guy.  I guess their position is equivalent or greater than being the Pope today – and here is this pion lecturing them.  A huge thing just happened to him and he’s watching them nitpick a detail and completely miss the big picture.  At first they denied a miracle happened (v18) and they lost that argument, so then they say Jesus is a sinner (v.24).  The cured man refutes that argument and they don’t have another argument so they just throw him out of the synagogue.

The big picture, I guess, is that we’re all born blind and without eternal life until the day that Jesus opens our eyes and we believe in Him for eternal life.  And also that it is good to stand up for Jesus, even if it means being persecuted.

v38 Wow, now I read that this guy didn’t become a believer until AFTER being thrown out.  The lesson still holds, though, and it makes his boldness in pointing out the obvious to the Pharisees even more vivid.

I guess it also clarifies the steps:  1. Jesus does a miracle  2. a person sees that miracle, proving they can believe what Jesus says   3.  Jesus says He is the Messiah/Christ (which was understood more clearly back then that the Messiah/Christ was the One who guaranteed eternal life)   4.  person believes in Jesus for eternal life

In my comments up above I was skipping from step 1 to step 4

v41  Jesus tells the Pharisees the exact opposite of what the Pharisees told the blind man.  The Pharisees told the blind man that because he’s blind, he has sin –  & they see, so therefore think that they have no sin.

However, Jesus tells the Pharisees that if they were blind (indicating that if they knew that they needed to rely on Jesus), they would have no sin (because He removes penalty for sin).  He also tells them that, “since you say ‘we see'” (meaning they think they’re good and don’t need Jesus) their sin remains.

I wrote in my Bible here “II Corinthians 4:4,” which supports this.

John Ch. 7 & 8 Bible Study

cal staggers john8Chapter 7

When: sometime after the previous Passover.  I noted that particular Passover was either the  2nd or the 3rd one in Jesus’ 3-year ministry because when reading all of John, it’s not clear to me which one it is – His 4th/last Passover begins in Chapter 12

Where:  He’s back in Galilee based out of his hometown.

v. 2 I’m beginning to think the Jews are part cajun – they party and feast all the time.

3 – 5 it’s hard to believe that Jesus’ own brothers didn’t believe and even wanted Him to go into Jerusalem where they indicate that they knew He would be killed.

v. 6 & 8  His time is not yet at hand / has not yet fully come – means the time to be killed.

Chapter 7: Verse 53 The Pharisees each went to his home, supposedly to search the Scriptures/God’s Word to find a way to condemn Jesus.

Chapter 8

8:1  While the Pharisees did that, Jesus, Who is God and Who wrote the very scriptures they are searching, went to the Mount of Olives to talk to God Himself.  What a great contrast.

4-5:  The Pharisees caught the woman in the very act of adultery, so they must have set it up themselves as a way to do what follows to Jesus (did they devise this plan during their search mentioned in 7:53?).  Also indicates that they did not bring the man, with whom they must have arranged this ploy, since the Law would’ve also condemned him.

6:  John 18:31 shows that the Roman law did not allow Jews to put anyone to death.  So the Jews think they’ve arranged the perfect trap, making Jesus disobey either God’s law or Roman law.

So cool: It was Jesus’ finger that wrote the 10 Commandments into the stone tablets (Deut 10:2) , which is the basis of all the law.  Here they’re trying to use the law against Him and he’s writing on the ground with His finger, seemingly creating a picture of them trying to use the Law against the very Man/God who wrote it.

11: The woman must’ve been a believer.

15:  Continuation of adulteress story:  Jesus’ first coming was not for the purpose of judgement, He’ll do that later (at the Great White Throne Judgement).

18:  Jesus’ signs are what His Father gave Him to do, so the signs are the Father’s witness (John 5:36)

v. 24 & v. 28  The translators of your NKJV Bible and of my NASB version insert “He” after “I am.”  If it is left out, having just “I am” as it is in the original version presents the name God gave Himself early in the Old Testament.  Doing it that way seems more powerful.

v. 30-31  These are great verses to point out the difference between being a believer and a disciple.

v. 33 “They” is referring back to the unbelieving Pharisees of v. 13 & v. 22.

v. 41 Jesus was born out of wedlock, but He was not born out of fornication – which they did not understand.

As an aside, it’s interesting that Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, is absolutely not mentioned anywhere after the story of Jesus staying behind in the temple at age 12 when his parents looked for him for a couple of days. Joseph must not be around at all since he is in none of the subsequent stories — and because from the cross, Jesus told John to take care of Mary.  Did he die?  The Scriptures don’t say.

v. 58  There’s His name again:  “I Am”.

John Chapter 6

cal staggers john6Where:  Jesus left Jerusalem and went “to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.”  Don’t really know exactly where, probably not Bethsaida because of another story coming up about that place.  I guess just some place close to the shore ‘cuz of getting in a boat later.  Maybe Hippos?  That’s directly across from Tiberias, which comes into play later.

When:  Either the 2nd or 3rd yearly Passover Feast of Jesus’ public ministry

v. 2  Do the masses think the circus has come to town? …or do they know that Jesus has come from God?  …do they know that Jesus IS God?  Probably all three in the shape of a funnel, with the many that are the least faithful filling the wide top – and the few that are the most faithful filling the narrow bottom.

v. 4  I suppose that this passage’s mentioning that the Passover was at hand serves the purpose of letting us know that the multitude had come from far places to do the mandatory celebration of the feast in Jerusalem and therefore are a long way from their homes and from their food.  Jerusalem is set up to handle selling food to that kind of crowd, but not the countryside.  What to do?

v. 8-9  Peter’s brother, Andrew, must think that Jesus can feed with a miracle because of 1. the suggestive way he asks the question and  2. The original version asks this in a present tense (the asterisk I mentioned yesterday), indicating that the question is significant.

v. 10  Why mention that there was much grass?  A picture of Jesus as the Shepherd tending to His flock in a pasture of abundance?

v. 11  It’s pointed out that everyone ate as much as they wanted (not just what they needed).

v. 12 I’ve never noticed the phrase:  “that nothing may be lost”

As our Shepherd, Jesus meets our needs fully, but only one day at a time?  Like the Old Testament manna – gathered for that day only without being saved in a jar – and then God would provide again the next day.  That explanation doesn’t really hit the nail squarely though about the exact word “lost.”  Oh well.

v 21  So cool.  After speaking to the eunuch in Acts, Peter is immediately transported to another place in a manner just like this.  Will we have this ability when we get our glorified bodies?  Not really sure how this applies to today.  In a similar story to this, Jesus calms the storm and takes the disciples through it to shore – and He can do that in our lives today when we go through difficulty.  He normally doesn’t make difficulty just disappear like in this passage, but I guess this may be a picture that He can do so.  However He does it though, we must be “fellows in the same ship:  in fellowship” with Him (okay that one may not be Biblical, but I couldn’t resist).

v. 28-29  Jesus tells the people, do not work to row across the lake for another free meal (that must’ve been some Really good bread He multiplied!), but in order to find out how to have eternal life.

v. 53-54 metaphor for believe, repeating what He just said

v. 56 we are eternally secure

v. 66 Jesus is like a razor blade, there’s no riding the fence – you slice either one direction or the other.  The more clearly that He is presented, like here, many people quickly slice to unbelief.  This is the most clearly and bluntly He’s spoken of Himself!  These people that left Jesus in their unbelief are part of the bigger group of disciple/students that had been following Him for quite awhile.  This lets us know that today there can be people in churches studying and following Jesus but who don’t believe this one truth that Jesus just presented about Himself.  And this is the one and only truth that gives us eternal life and that is so neglected in churches today (at least according to my conversations with several preachers).

v. 71 and v. 64 taken together is proof that Judas was an unbeliever (duh).

John 4

Cal Staggers Jesus-and-Woman-at-WellWhen:  the last passage in John 3 was sometime after the first Passover in Jesus’ ministry – and John 4 picks up sometime after that

Where:  Jesus was last noted as being in Aenon near Salim (3:23) which is up near Galilee – but now time has passed he’s been back in Judea.  And now He leaves Judea and goes back to Galilee through Samaria.

4:4 says he HAD to go through Samaria – he didn’t have to logistically because Jews always went around Samaria to avoid the Samaritans, so he must have HAD to go thru to accomplish some other purpose – which we’re about to discover.

v. 6 Jesus gets to Jacob’s Well (near the highway at almost the mid-point in Samaria) at around noon.

v. 10 All we have to know to have eternal life is to know the gift and the Giver!

v. 24  How do we apply v. 24 today?  Here’s a thought:  instead of worship being about a place (like Jerusalem or a church building) or a process (like sacrificing animals or serving in the church), it’s a relationship. Just as discipleship should follow belief, serving God should follow fellowship with Him. I look back at big swaths of my life when I was so busy working in the church that I had only a small amount of time in close fellowship with God.  Serving others is good, but it cannot interfere with or reduce the amount of time spent with God (or it’s not worshiping in spirit and truth?).

The woman at the well sowed, the disciples reaped and the result was many Samaritans believed. Is this an example of v. 24 worshiping in spirit and truth?

Now Jesus is off to Cana, just outside his hometown of Nazareth.

This passage is interesting:  just like when we read “saved” we must ask “saved from what” — also, when we read “believe” we must ask “believe what.”  Context is everything.

v. 48 believe: for eternal life (the purpose of the signs and wonders).

v. 50 believed: The man believed what Jesus just said, that his son lives.

v. 53 believed:  for eternal life as in v. 48 – which is the purpose of telling this story (v. 54).

The Story of Nicodemus

Cal Staggers NicodemusThe story of Nicodemus (the original Nick at Night) begins at 2:23 – the later inserted chapter break obscures that.

So it’s the week of Passover and Jesus is still in Jerusalem performing miracles and people are believing in him, but Jesus doesn’t entrust Himself to them because he knows many are believing but not becoming disciples – the story of Nicodemus is given as an example of that.

Verse 2 and later clips about the Pharisees is fascinating.  Nicodemus says that the Pharisees KNOW that Jesus is sent from their God, so apparently they are extremely prideful and think that their way is better than God’s way and later even want to kill God’s Messenger, His Son.  Jesus will tell a parable about that very thing.

v. 3 & v. 7 The phrase “unless one is born again” can be translated “unless one is born from above,” which ties in nicely with John the Baptist’s statement in v. 31.  (the NKJ version uses “heaven” in v. 31 instead of “from above” which the NAS version does – so the tie-in isn’t apparent in the NKJ).

v. 5:  The word “Spirit” can also be translated “Wind” which is a cool word picture:  we are born of water and the wind, both being pictures of the Holy Spirit.  v. 8 finishes out the poetic word picture, converting Wind back to Spirit

v.14:  2 Corinthians 5:21 says that God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf.  The serpent, a picture of sin, was lifted up by Moses – and Jesus became sin and was lifted up on our behalf.

v.21:  Nic became a believer but a secret one at this point and was not a disciple, for fear of the Pharisees.  When Jesus dies and Nic & Joseph publicly take His body for burial, Nic graduates to verse 21-style discipleship.

v.24  John the Baptist is thrown into prison almost immediately after Jesus takes the stage – this will be important to remember later because John T B doesn’t think this should happen to him since he’s doing God’s work.  After being thrown in jail, he even doubts whether Jesus is really the Messiah – therefore he doubts whether he has eternal life!  And this is John the Baptist!  When John T B’s disciples ask Jesus whether He’s really THE Dude, Jesus sends back the answer of yes — and then immediately says that no man is greater than John T B.  That is one of the most encouraging stories in all the Bible for all people, who doubt and stumble.

v. 30 This should be OUR attitude.  We tend to ask, ask, ask God for requests, but really it’s all about Him not us.  I’m created to serve Him, not the other way around.

v.36  The NAS version has a VERY unfortunate translation: saying, “…but he who does not “OBEY” the Son shall not see life…”  It gives “BELIEVE” as an alternate translation in the small print.  This is one more instance of the NKJ translation giving a closer translation to the original than the NAS.

More Bible Verses

Cal Staggers Bible Studies

Here are some Bible verses from around the web that I’d like to share here.  I hope you enjoy them.

“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” – Phillipians 1:9-10

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ the Righteous One.” – 1 John 2:1

“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” – Romans 5:3-4

“Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” – Peter 3:8

“God has chosen you to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” – Colossians 1:27-28

“Jesus said, ‘I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.” – John 10:28-30

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:55-57.

Some Thoughts on John Chapter 2

Cal StaggersWhere:  Cana, which is very close to Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, just west of the Sea of Galilee

When:  On 3rd day after his baptism/kick-off of his public ministry – so this must be immediately after his being tempted by Satan in the wilderness

Verse 11 says this is the beginning of his signs/miracles.  John 20:30 (next to last chapter in John) just after the last recorded miracle, says “Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;” so everything between 1:11 and 20:30 are a list of Jesus’ miracles given for the purpose of the next verse:

John 20:31  “…but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

So the purpose of John is to tell people how to have eternal life – which is by believing Jesus’ promise to give it.  Gee, that is so much simpler than the man-made “plan of salvation” or “being good” or “not being TOO bad.”  Those aren’t even measurable, so using those ideas mean nobody would ever know if they have eternal life!

1:3-4 has puzzled me.  Jesus’ mother wants Him to perform a miracle, something that He’s never done as a man (that’s recorded anyway).  So she must know that His public tour has begun.  Jesus acts like He doesn’t want to do it, but then does it anyway.  Why doesn’t He want to do it?  Why does He give in if He doesn’t want to do it?  The other side of the coin is that God usually doesn’t force Himself on people, so maybe He was waiting on a request in order to begin?

Then his family goes to Capernaum, which is on the north side of the Sea of Galilee.  The Passover is at hand – so Jesus’ public ministry began with a Passover, had 2 more, and ended with a Passover =  3 years.  He clears out the temple on this first Passover and another gospel records that he cleared out the temple on His last Passover.  He has passion for his Father’s house!  And at this point the temple still had the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Verses From the Bible

Cal StaggersThere are several daily Bible verses that you can find online on any given day.  I have compiled some that have recently been shared below.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: To believe in the one he has sent.” – John 6:29

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my mind.  – Psalm 94:18-19

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” – Matthew 16:13-16

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. – 1 John 2:28

I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.  For in him you have been enriched in every way – in all your speaking and in all your knowledge. – 1 Corinthians 1:4-5

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