John Chapter 5

Cal Staggers ch5So, the Samaritans were the underclass and the royal official mentioned here is, well, royal. Couple that with Jesus saying it’s better to be poor because then it’s easier to have faith, and we come up with an application that, generally speaking, we should want to be poor. I’m not real crazy about that application, but I must say that I’ve learned to be closer to God during my need than I have been during my abundance.

On to Ch. 5: v. 2 “there IS in Jerusalem…” The sheep gate is an entry into the temple –  showing that this was written before Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. No big deal, but some people seem adamant about this being written when John was in his 80’s while in exile on the island of Patmos.

v. 6:  After throwing rocks at my NASV translation not adhering as close to the majority text as the NKJV, I have to point out a benefit. Most translations give the past tense, since these events happened in the past. My translation does too, but it will also give an asterisk when: “Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence.” When I see an asterisk I read it to myself in the present tense, which is fun AND it’s like the suspenseful music in a drama show: when it cues up, you know something good is about to take place.

v. 29:  Believers aren’t saved by good works, we are capable of doing good works because we’re saved. Nonbelievers do only evil works.

v. 36:  Jesus says here and elsewhere that His miracles are the reason people should believe in Him (so I guess I shouldn’t put down the above royal official’s needing a miracle too much). It’s odd that we in the church today don’t use the miracles to convince people to believe, instead we use John 3:16 and other verses that say believing in Him is how to have eternal life and then we don’t give the proof. Some churches do point to the cross to say that Jesus died for our sins, and that’s the reason we can believe in Him. However, the real proof is on the 3rd day afterward when Jesus resurrected Himself, as well as all the other miracles. After all, if Jesus couldn’t save Himself, how could we expect him to save us? But He did save Himself and proved that He can save us, too.

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.

Recent Bible Verses

Cal StaggersOnce again, I would like to share some Bible verses that have recently appeared on this website.  When I share them here on the blog, though, they don’t go away like the daily verses that appear.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

“Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.  I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.'” – Psalm 16:1-2

“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.” – 1 John 2:9-10 (NIV)

Gospel of John – Chapter 1

Cal StaggersRecently, I have come across some notes from when my brother and I started studying John together.  I thought it might be appropriate to share them here on my Bible Studies blog:
Dear Brother,
I’m glad we’re going to study John together!  Here are some miscellaneous thoughts I had while reading the first chapter.
I’m in the middle of reading the first chapter and thought I’d ask:  what version of the Bible are you reading?  I’m reading the New American Standard that I’ve had since 1985 or so, and that Dad gave me the first time I went to church with him when visiting from Dallas.  The New King James is my favorite because it is closest to the Majority of Manuscripts (and therefore more accurate), but my NAS is so marked up, I can’t change over!
Something I’ve begun doing recently while reading is to think about WHERE and WHEN what’s being written happened.  When doing this, it is helpful to have a Bible with a map of the New Testament-era Israel.  1:28 says these things happened in Bethany beyond the Jordan.  My map shows that as being on the east side of the Jordan River very close to the Dead Sea.  So the priests and Levites must’ve walked about 10-12 miles to get to John the Baptist.
Going back to 1:12 – it’s way cool that when we become believers, we become God’s children.  Since earthly fathers are damaged people (as are we all), it can be hard to think of that as a good thing – but He’s a perfect Father who provides perfectly and we usually don’t understand that whole construct.  I don’t know if it’s a function of age or being more consistent in reading/prayer for the last couple of years, but my relationship to God has expanded from just Father/Son to also include a friendship element that’s exciting.  I hope I don’t move away from that and Him!
1:43 Jesus decides to head back to Galilee – a 4-day walk (found in chapt 11) and 3 disciples are from Bethsaida which is on the NE corner of the Sea of Galilee.

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

return to top of page

Copyright © Cal Staggers ·