Saturday, July 31, 2021

19 They said, “Where is this so-called Father of yours?”

Jesus said, “You’re looking right at me and you don’t see me. How do you expect to see the Father? If you knew me, you would at the same time know the Father.”

20 He gave this speech in the Treasury while teaching in the Temple. No one arrested him because his time wasn’t yet up.

21 Then he went over the same ground again. “I’m leaving and you are going to look for me, but you’re missing God in this and are headed for a dead end. There is no way you can come with me.”

22 The Jews said, “So, is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by ‘You can’t come with me’?”

23-24 Jesus said, “You’re tied down to the mundane; I’m in touch with what is beyond your horizons. You live in terms of what you see and touch. I’m living on other terms. I told you that you were missing God in all this. You’re at a dead end. If you won’t believe I am who I say I am, you’re at the dead end of sins. You’re missing God in your lives.”

-John 8:19-24 The Message

In verse 19, Jesus is telling the people that they don’t know my Father or me because if you did, you would know who I am and my Father. These words He spoke in the Treasury, as He taught in the Temple, and no one seized Him because His hour had not come yet.

Verse 20 study: The Temple the scripture is talking about was in the court of women. The way it works is 13 collection boxes were set up to receive money offerings. Out of the 13, seven of those boxes were for taxes that the Temple generated. The other six were freewill offerings. On another occasion, a widow would place her money in one of the boxes. Jesus teaches a powerful lesson about the widow and her giving. You can read it in Luke 21:1-4.

Verse 24 reading: Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.

Verse 24 study: Now, people die in their sins because people reject Christ. The only way to escape evil is to accept Christ, but most people don’t, which is why they die in their sins. People’s ego is blinded because they don’t see the priceless gift Christ offers. Therefore, they continue to take the values of the world to live. To be better than the world, don’t focus on the world’s matters. Here is a couple of questions to wrap up this study. Which are you going for? What are you looking for? Eternal life or Satan.

Father, thank you for today. Thank you for this brief study about sins and giving freely. I pray we can take an example of freely giving without being concerned, and I pray we can understand our sins and know you can help without grief. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Light of the World

You’re Missing God in All This

12 Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”

13 The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on.”

14-18 Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed. You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don’t make judgments like that. But even if I did, my judgment would be true because I wouldn’t make it out of the narrowness of my experience but in the largeness of the One who sent me, the Father. That fulfills the conditions set down in God’s Law: that you can count on the testimony of two witnesses. And that is what you have: You have my word, and you have the word of the Father who sent me.”

-John 8:12-18 The Message

We continue studying the word, starting at verse 12. Light of the World is mentioned. In chapter 1, the Light of the World is discussed then. As a quick and brief refresher course, the darkness of evil can’t overcome or extinguish God’s light. The Light of the World is Jesus’ light for you to see the path ahead. Flipping ahead to chapter 8, verse 12, Jesus talks in context about the temple where the offerings were put (8:20). The candles burned to symbolize pillars of fire that led the people of Israel through the wilderness (Exodus 13:21-22). The pillar of fire represented God’s presence, protection, and guidance. Jesus brings those things like the light of the world.

Following Christ is what it means. Just as a soldier follows his captain, we do the same with Jesus. We are the soldiers, and Jesus is our captain (our commander). We follow the advice of a trusted counselor; we can do the same with Jesus when we are down. The scriptures are counselors to us. Is Jesus the light of the world on your path in life?

Continuing on to verses 13-18: When you read these verses, the Pharisees made an argument that what Jesus claims is legally invalid because there are no other witnesses. What the Pharisees fail to realize is Jesus has a witness. As a matter of fact, he had two witnesses. God himself and the Father. That makes not only for a valid argument, but the required number of witnesses by law (Deuteronomy 19:15). Case closed.

Father, thank you for today. I want to thank you for being you. I pray we can see the light in our paths, and when we don’t see it, pray and get to the word to help us get back on the right track. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Sins and Stones May Break My Bones

Thursday, July 29, 2021

To Throw the Stone

8 1-2 Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.

3-6 The religious scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this Woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

6-8 Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. Finally, he straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

9-10 Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The Woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”

11 “No one, Master.”

“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”]

Note: John 7:53–8:11 [the portion in brackets] is not found in the earliest handwritten copies. -John 8:1-11 The Message.

Chapter 8 begins from verse 53 from chapter 7. It says that everyone went to his home. From there, the scripture continues to verse 1. Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning, he came again into the Temple, and all the people were coming to him; he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery and having set her in the center of the court. They said to him, “Teacher, this Woman has been detected in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing him so that they might have grounds for accusing him. But Jesus stooped down and, with his finger, wrote on the basis (ground). But when they persisted in asking him, he straightened up and said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her?” Again, he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

Verses 1-8 study: In Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22, the Law is written that both parties to adultery be stoned. But instead, the Jewish leaders arrested the Woman without the man. The leaders used her to trick Jesus, but it didn’t work. If Jesus had told them to stone her, he would have violated Moses’ Law. As a result, the Jews can’t carry out their own executions (18:31), even if Jesus told them to execute her. Otherwise, they would have reported him to the Romans.

There are times where we have to understand judging with compassion. Jesus didn’t command them to stone the Woman. Instead, he gave her a lot of empathy. Jesus couldn’t be accused of breaking the Law either. So no penalty happened for the adultery. He said that only a sinless person could throw the first stone; he highlighted the importance of compassion and forgiveness. The question is, are you passing judgment? If you do pass judgment, you are acting like you never sinned. That is not the way to work. It is not your role to judge; it is God’s role. Our role is to have empathy.

What is unclear is if Jesus was ignoring the accusers by writing in the ground. It is also not clear if he was listing sins or writing out the Ten Commandments.

Continuing with verses 9-11: When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, starting with the older ones, and he was left alone, and the Woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on, sin no more.”

Studying verses 9-11: Let me talk for a minute here while learning. I have seen somebody on Facebook that is so quick to jump on and put out posts talking about the truth, the sins of the world, making it seem like they are perfect. When I look at those posts, I get to thinking, what about you? Where are your sins? Do you sin? How do you correct those sins? You be quick to post about sins other people commit, but you don’t say anything about yourself. You don’t offer solutions, help, nothing at all. You just get on, talk about other people’s sins, and talk like you are the perfect person. You are not. In verse 9, Jesus said that only someone who had not sinned should throw the first stone. Guess what happened? The leaders slipped quietly away from oldest to youngest. Age and experiences often temper youthful self-righteousness. It doesn’t matter your age, take a good look at your life and see your sinful nature for what it is. Those social media posts should be offering a solution, not just saying what is true.

Let’s be mindful of the fact that Jesus didn’t condemn the woman accused of adultery, but he didn’t ignore or condone her sins. However, he did tell her to leave the life of sin. Jesus is ready to forgive any sins in your life. We have to confess those sins and then repent, meaning a change of heart. If we continue to call God, pray, and read the word, we can accept Christ’s forgiveness and stop doing wrong.

Father, thank you for your love. I pray that we don’t judge that we can help others and not make matters worse. I see it every day on social media, and it is a child of yours that I see every day, and it is draining because they offer no solutions. Father, I pray there are solutions for this person to see the error in their ways and correct it. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Defending Right and Wrong

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

47-49 The Pharisees said, “Are you carried away like the rest of the rabble? You don’t see any of the leaders believing in him, do you? Or any from the Pharisees? It’s only this crowd, ignorant of God’s Law, he takes that in—and damned.”

50-51 Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus earlier and was both a ruler and a Pharisee, spoke up. “Does our Law decide about a man’s guilt without first listening to him and finding out what he is doing?”

52-53 But they cut him off. “Are you also campaigning for the Galilean? Examine the evidence. See if any prophet ever comes from Galilee.”

Then they all went home.

-John 7:47-53 The Message (52 in other versions)

There was confusion about Jesus, who he was, and where he was born. So we continue into verse 47 in response from the officers about why they didn’t bring Jesus in.

“You have not also been led astray, have you?” The Pharisees asked. “No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he?” But this crowd which does not know the Law is accursed.”

Studying verses 47-49: The Jewish leaders resisted the truth about Christ because it wasn’t their truth to begin with, so they made sure they made themselves an “elite” group with the truth. I have my fair share of debates, statistical information for when I am debating, etc. These are not debates about the Bible but more about racism, discrimination, racial profiling, and its effects. I do bring the Bible into it sometimes, depending on the debate. I want to be sure that I am sharing the truth and not talking because that will make you look bad, regardless of whether you sound intelligent. I can’t make myself “elite” because of my preparations before debating. God’s truth is available to everyone, so I can’t get caught up in the Pharisees’ self-centered and narrow-minded attitude.

Continuing to verses 50-52: Nicodemus (he who came to Him before, being one of them) said to them, “Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?” They answered him, “You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.”

Unpacking: We are learning about some insight into Nicodemus. He is the Pharisee who visited Jesus at night, which is in chapter 3. The one thing we know about Nicodemus is he became a secret believer in Jesus. Most of the Pharisees didn’t like Jesus and wanted him killed. Nicodemus risked his high position and reputation to speak up for Jesus. He made a bold statement, and after that, the Pharisees became suspicious. After Jesus’ death, Nicodemus brought spices for his body. (19:39) But Nicodemus confronted the Pharisees with their failure to keep their laws. They lost ground while the guards were impressed by Jesus. (7:46) Which one of their own (Nicodemus) defending Jesus. They are being exposed for all the wrongs and their motives, which slowly started ending. Their ego did interfere with their ability to reason, and they came obsessed with getting rid of Jesus to save themselves. At this point, what was right and wrong didn’t matter. The last time we hear from Nicodemus after this.

What we are going through today is what the Pharisees are doing. Nothing matters now as people cannot tell right from wrong and defend corruption from the last four years. What the Bible describes is what is happening today. Pray today for our nation because it is wrong as we continue to deal with the sin and difficulty of being right and wrong.

Father, thank you for your love, wisdom, and understanding. I pray for your grace and mercy. I pray for our nation as many people are having a hard time between right and wrong. I pray for peace and open-mindedness. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

More Confusion

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

37-39 On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (He said this regarding the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)

40-44 Those in the crowd who heard these words were saying, “This has to be the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Messiah!” But others were saying, “The Messiah doesn’t come from Galilee, does he? Don’t the Scriptures tell us that the Messiah comes from David’s line and from Bethlehem, David’s village?” So there was a split in the crowd over him. Some went so far as wanting to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him.

45 That’s when the Temple police reported back to the high priests and Pharisees, who demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him with you?”

46 The police answered, “Have you heard the way he talks? We’ve never heard anyone speak like this man.” -John 7:37-46 The Message.

As Jesus continues to go around being arrested, religious leaders are still working on capturing him. Meanwhile, there is a debate about who Jesus is. It’s not hard for us to grasp as we are reading about history, but it was complicated for people to understand what Jesus is about during that time. Therefore, we will start at verse 37 and work our way through verse 39 before studying. Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.” As Scripture says, “He who believes in Me. From his most innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive, for the Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified.

In chapter 4, verse 10, Jesus used the term living water, which is eternal life. Jesus also used the word to reference the Holy Spirit. The words living water and Holy Spirit go together. When we have the Holy Spirit, we have eternal life. If you want to jump ahead in the study, Jesus teaches on the Holy Spirit in chapters 14-16, or you can wait until we reach it here. In Acts chapter 2, the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus’ followers at the Pentecost, and it has been available to all who believe in Jesus as Savior. 

Continuing to verse 40: Some of the people, therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, “This certainly is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ,” Still others were saying, “Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He?” “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, “Why did you not bring Him?” The officers answered, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.”

Unpacking and studying verses 40-46: In verse 26, there were reactions to Jesus. Now, they are asking questions about Jesus, but with a mixed response too. Some people believed some were opposed, and others excluded Jesus as the Messiah because he was from Nazareth and not Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2, Luke 2:1-7) Jesus grew up in Nazareth. Part of the problem is they didn’t pay attention to Jesus, and if they had paid attention, they wouldn’t have jumped to the wrong judgments. When you search for the truth in the Bible, make sure you do that with an open heart and mind. Don’t jump to thoughts of your own without knowing what the Bible says.

The Romans ruled over Palestine but gave Jewish religious leaders authority over minor civil and religious affairs. For example, the leaders were responsible for their own temple guards and gave power to officers to arrest anyone causing a disturbance for breaking ceremonial laws. The leaders created many trivial laws, which make it impossible for anyone not to reveal, neglect, or ignore many of them at a time, including leaders themselves. There was no reason to arrest Jesus, but because Jesus said unique words, they couldn’t find the evidence to. Be careful to not judge and make rash decisions based on closed-minded thoughts. Be willing to have an open heart and be gentle with others when there are disagreements.

Father, thank you for today. There are many debates in the world today. Unfortunately, a lot of the discussions can go the wrong way. For example, closed-minded and not willing to be open-minded about things in this world. I pray we can have civil conversations that can open hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Too Many Thoughts!

Monday, July 26, 2021

25-27 That’s when some of the people of Jerusalem said, “Isn’t this the One they were out to kill? And here he is out in the open, saying whatever he pleases, and no one is stopping him. Could it be that the rulers know that he is, in fact, the Messiah? And yet, we know where this man came from. The Messiah is going to come out of nowhere. Nobody is going to know where he comes from.”

28-29 That provoked Jesus, who was teaching in the Temple, to cry out, “Yes, you think you know me and where I’m from, but that’s not where I’m from. I didn’t set myself up in business. My true origin is in the One who sent me, and you don’t know him at all. I come from him—that’s how I know him. He sent me here.”

30-31 They were looking for a way to arrest him, but not a hand was laid on him because it wasn’t yet God’s time. Instead, many from the crowd committed themselves in faith to him, saying, “Will the Messiah, when he comes, provide better or more convincing evidence than this?”

32-34 The Pharisees, alarmed at this seditious undertow going through the crowd, teamed up with the high priests and sent their police to arrest him. Jesus rebuffed them: “I am with you only a short time. Then I go on to the One who sent me. You will look for me, but you won’t find me. Where I am, you can’t come.”

35-36 The Jews put their heads together. “Where do you think he is going that we won’t be able to find him? Do you think he is about to travel to the Greek world to teach the Jews? What is he talking about, anyway: ‘You will look for me, but you won’t find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you can’t come?” -John 7:25-36 The Message.

Two verses here to unpack. Starting at verse 26, this chapter alone shows us different reactions people had towards Jesus.

  1. A good man. (7:12)
  2. A deceiver. (7:12)
  3. Demon-possessed. (7:20)
  4. The Christ. (7:26)
  5. And the Prophet. (7:40)

Many people didn’t know what to make of Jesus. As followers, we know our thoughts about Jesus in ways people that are confused about him don’t. For those that don’t know what to think, the next decision can be the worst or best decision they ever made.

Verse 27: The Messiah appearance was a famous traditional prediction. For anybody that believed this tradition was ignoring scriptures that clearly predicted the Messiah’s birthplace. (Micah 5:2)

Father, thank you for today. I pray that we can continue to stay the course of the work that you ask of us. Thank you for your wisdom to allow us to continue discussing with people about you. In Jesus’ name. Amen!


Could It Be the Messiah?

14-15 With the Feast already half over, Jesus showed up in the Temple, teaching. The Jews were impressed but puzzled: “How does he know so much without being schooled?”

16-19 Jesus said, “I didn’t make this up. What I teach comes from the One who sent me. Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it’s from God or whether I’m making it up. A person making things up tries to make himself look good. But someone trying to honor the One who sent him sticks to the facts and doesn’t tamper with reality. It was Moses, wasn’t it, who gave you God’s Law? But none of you are living it. So why are you trying to kill me?”

20 The crowd said, “You’re crazy! Who’s trying to kill you? You’re demon-possessed.”

21-24 Jesus said, “I did one miraculous thing a few months ago, and you’re still standing around getting all upset, wondering what I’m up to. Moses prescribed circumcision—originally, it came not from Moses but from his ancestors—and so you circumcise a man, dealing with one part of his body, even if it’s the Sabbath. You do this to preserve one item in the Law of Moses. So why are you upset with me because I made a man’s whole body well on the Sabbath? Don’t be hypercritical; use your head—and heart!—to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right.”

-John 7:14-25 The Message.

Jesus started teaching again when he told his disciples he didn’t want to be seen in public because the Jewish leaders were looking to kill him. The Jews at the festival were surprised and asked, “How did this man get such learning without being taught?” Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me. Therefore, anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my education comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.”

Before we continue into the next part of Jesus’ response, remember to know the difference between teaching truthfully and those not fully educated or wish to do things for personal gain.

Jesus continued: “Has not Moses given you the law? Yet, not one of you keeps the law. So why are you trying to kill me?” The crowd answered, “You are demon-possessed; who is trying to kill you?” Let’s unpack here. The Pharisees spent their days trying to keep the careful rules that they added to God’s laws. So the accusation Jesus told the crowd that they didn’t keep Moses’ laws hit them deeply. Although they tried to be self-centered with their rules, they didn’t fulfill a legalistic religion and lived far below the means of the law that Moses required. For example, murder was against the law, but we should do more as followers of Jesus than moral law requires, by not adding to the requirements but going beyond and beneath the mere do’s and don’ts of the law to the spirit of the law. There can be another explanation as well when the crowd believes he was demo-possessed. The group did not know about the plot to kill Jesus. (5:18) There was another small group just waiting for the opportunity to kill Jesus, but we’re also trying to decide what they believe about him.

Jesus responded, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (although it did not come from Moses, it came from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now, if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

According to Moses’ law, circumcision is on the eight-day after a baby’s birth. (Genesis 17:9-14, Leviticus 12:3) The rite was carried out on all Jewish males to show their identity as part of God’s covenant people. Even after the eight-day after birth was a Sabbath, the circumcision can still be performed. Religious leaders allowed certain exceptions to the Sabbath laws; they allowed none to Jesus, showing mercy to those who needed healing. Here is a question to ask yourself. How do you handle Jesus’ situation as the people showed hypocrisy? Jesus still did work on the Sabbath day when it was necessary because life does not stop. Are you going to put your work for the Lord on hold because of the Sabbath day?

Father, thank you for today. I pray for wisdom to make the right decisions as non-believers can easily mislead us. I pray for your protection because we never know who wants to harm us, but you do and keep your angels around us all the time. Thank you for your unconditional love. In Jesus’ name. Amen!


7 1-2 Later, Jesus was going about his business in Galilee. He didn’t want to travel to Judea because the Jews there looking for a chance to kill him. It was near the time of Tabernacles, a feast observed annually by the Jews.

3-5 His brothers said, “Why don’t you leave here and go up to the Feast so your disciples can get a good look at the works you do? No one who intends to be publicly known does everything behind the scenes. If you’re serious about what you are doing, come out in the open and show the world.” His brothers were pushing him like this because they didn’t believe in him either.

6-8 Jesus came back at them, “Don’t pressure me. This isn’t my time. It’s your time—it’s always your time; you have nothing to lose. The world has nothing against you, but it’s up in arms against me. It’s against me because I expose the evil behind its pretensions. So you go ahead, go up to the Feast. Don’t wait for me. I’m not ready. It’s not the right time for me.”

9-11 He said this and stayed on in Galilee. But later, after his family had gone up to the Feast, he also went. But he kept out of the way, careful not to draw attention to himself. The Jews were already out looking for him, asking around, “Where is that man?”

12-13 There was a lot of contentious talk about him circulating through the crowds. Some were saying, “He’s a good man.” But others said, “Not so. He’s selling snake oil.” This kind of talk went on in guarded whispers because of the intimidating Jewish leaders.

-John 7:1-13 The Message.

Jesus went to Galilee. He didn’t want to go to Judea because the Jewish leaders were looking for him so they could kill him. When the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one wants to become a public figure in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world. His brothers didn’t believe in him.

The Festival of Tabernacles happened six months after the Passover mentioned in John 6:2-5. The festival is also explained in Leviticus 23:33. The festival is celebrated after the days the Israelites went into the desert and lived in booths. (Leviticus 23:43)

We all have some family members that do not believe in you. At least one family member will always talk down to you; make sure you are not worth what you think you are. Jesus’ brothers did it to him. The fact is that they were embarrassed by Jesus, but some of his brothers became leaders; James is one of them. The brothers believed when Jesus died and rose on the third day. Take that brothers! So case in point, we all have reasons to believe. There is a record of Jesus’ deaths, his miracles, and the resurrection. The gospel is evidence as well in the benefits we see in people today. Someone that doesn’t believe let them know about it, so they don’t miss out on God’s Son.

Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you, any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.”

People who don’t like you will let others know that they don’t want you. Then that generates more dislike because of what that one person said of you. That is the same pattern we will go through liking Jesus because plenty of people don’t like him; you will have people that hate you. So if you see things are going well, ask to make sure we are not following Jesus half-heartedly or not at all.

Jesus continued: “You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival because my time has not yet fully come.” After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. When Jesus’ brothers left for the festival, Jesus went quietly, not wanting the public to see him.

The question is, why did Jesus go anyway but wanted to do it secretly? He is the greatest gift of all. He has something for everybody. Well, one thing is that the Jewish leaders hated him, so everybody would refuse his gift of salvation. So that made him a target because of his teaching publicly. So Jesus had to do this quietly. Many of us today have the honor to teach, preach, and worship publicly without persecution.

The scene turns to the festival, the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?” Among the crowds, there was widespread whispering about him. Some of them said, “He is a good man,” while others would say, “No, he deceives the people.” No one didn’t say anything out loud in fear of the leaders. Ladies and gentlemen, this is an excellent example of what oppression is. You can’t speak because the leaders don’t like Jesus? Everybody was talking about Jesus. Some had good thoughts, some had terrible ideas about him. Here is the thing; we have to be courageous to speak about Jesus. We can’t let the oppressors keep us from speaking because they don’t like someone or keep things quiet. That is not what we are called to do. So many people want to say things that aren’t true; even religious leaders do this. Test them with two things in mind.

  1. Their words should be agreed with, not contradicting the bible.
  2. Their words should point to God and his will, not to themselves.

Jesus said that he will acknowledge us before God if we accept him before others. (Matthew 10:32) Are you willing to be courageous and speak when others don’t believe or are oppressed to speak?

Father, thank you for our time of study today. I see in today’s world similar things that happened in the history of the bible. People are being oppressed and can’t speak about things that need changing. Father, I pray that we can continue to talk on your behalf without persecution. I pray for leaders who don’t speak the truth and notice it and speak on it. In Jesus’ name. Amen!


60 Many among his disciples heard this and said, “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.”

61-65 Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, “Does this rattle you completely? What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from? The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.” (Jesus knew from the start that some weren’t going to risk themselves with him. He also knew who would betray him.) He went on to say, “This is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to me on his own. You get to me only as a gift from the Father.”

66-67 After this, many of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him. So then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance: “Do you also want to leave?”

68-69 Peter replied, “Master, to whom we would go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.”

70-71 Jesus responded, “Haven’t I handpicked you, the Twelve? Still, one of you is a devil!” He was referring to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. This man—one from the Twelve!—was even then getting ready to betray him. -John 6:60-71 The Message.

After Jesus gave his teaching, the disciples said that this is a hard teaching; who can accept it? Jesus, of course, knew that the disciples were grumbling about it, so Jesus said, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you, they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet some of you do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning who would betray him because one of them didn’t believe. So he continued, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

There are more repetitions today. Here is one of them. Spiritual life is the Holy Spirit. We cannot have new life without the work of the Holy Spirit. (14:17) The spiritual renewals begin and end with God. The Holy Spirit works like this.

  1. He reveals the truth.
  2. He lives in us.
  3. He activates us to respond to the truth.

Now, it is not surprising, but at the same time, it can be. The one thing that happens is people turning their back on Jesus. So a question with a few answers to it. Why did the disciples walk away? Is it Jesus’ words? Yeah, that can play a role. But here are other answers to that question.

  1. They learned that Jesus was not going to be the Messiah-King they wanted.
  2. Jesus didn’t give in to self-centered requests. (Big one!)
  3. He kept talking about faith and not deeds. (Meaning to convey or transfer by a signed instrument containing a legal transfer, bargain, or contract: to get or transfer by deed)
  4. His teachings are difficult to understand.

Yes, sometimes, his words are piercing. But here is what I learned. When your body hurts because of an injury or pain that comes out of nowhere, you have a doctor check it out to resolve it. It’s the same here. When Jesus’ words hurt, it requires examination of your soul. Where did I go wrong? What can I do to make it better? Remember, Jesus’ words will hurt, which can tempt us to leave because it is difficult to hear his teachings. Some will walk out, some will ignore, some will go as far as rejecting Jesus. Replace these actions with questions of your own. How can his teachings teach me something, and how can I apply it to my life? Have courage when you act on behalf of God’s truth.

Jesus asked the disciples, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom we shall go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus said, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.” Jesus was talking about the son of Simon Iscariot, who is one of the disciples who betrayed him later. Jesus allowed them to leave or stay to see if where their faith is. Jesus didn’t want to repel (drive back) people with his teachings. Jesus tells the truth. The more people heard his teachings, the more divided they got. Honest seekers wanted to learn more, while those who rejected him wanted nothing to do with the education. Case in point, Peter, he told Jesus were we going to go? Your words are the way, and no one else can do what you do.

Meanwhile, Judas tried to stay, but he was for personal gain. Many people pretend to follow Jesus, but most of what they say doesn’t match what Jesus’ teaching says. For example, I heard somebody say that children shouldn’t learn about oppression because it is wrong to teach it. This person is citing “critical race theories” as something that shouldn’t be taught. Ok, let’s slide critical race theories out of the equation. Why is it a Christian man would say something like that? Oppression is real! If you believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose on the third day, then that means you accept everything Jesus teaches. God teaches about oppression. It is the story of the Israelites, the book of Exodus! You can’t teach your children about the level of God reaching out to the oppressed? What are you believing? Is it a personal desire to act like you believe in Jesus? The point is to match what Jesus’ teachings say, not the opposite. Accept or reject him. What are you doing?

Father, thank you today. I pray today that we will be authentic towards your teaching and not use it for personal gain. We all have learning experiences, and when we make a mistake, we can be better by praying and learning from our mistakes. Thank you for your teachings. In Jesus’ name. Amen!


Thursday, July 22, 2021

43-46 Jesus said, “Don’t bicker among yourselves over me. You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent me is in charge. He draws people to me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come. Only then do I do my work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End. This is what the prophets meant when they wrote, ‘And then they will all be personally taught by God.’ Anyone who has spent any time at all listening to the Father, really listening and therefore learning, comes to me to be taught personally—to see it with his own eyes, hear it with his own ears, from me, since I have it firsthand from the Father. No one has seen the Father except the One who has his Being alongside the Father—and you can see me.

47-51 “I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But nowhere is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”

52 At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves: “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?”

53-58 But Jesus didn’t give an inch. “Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. The One who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food, and my blood is a natural drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood, you enter into me, and I into you.

In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here, and I live because of him, so the One who makes a meal of me lives because of me. This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate Bread and later died. So whoever eats this Bread will live always.”

59 He said these things while teaching in the meeting place in Capernaum. -John 6:43-59 The Message.

The crowd doesn’t like the message given to them by Jesus at this point, so they tune him out. Meanwhile, there is more disagreement about where Jesus is from. For now, let’s continue where Jesus is telling the crowd to stop grumbling. “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. So it is written in the Prophets. They will all be taught by God. Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.”

Let’s stop here a minute. There are a few reminders to unpack here. First, the crowd was grumbling, and because they were, Jesus didn’t get angry; he explained why they shouldn’t complain. Second, the group didn’t want to acknowledge that God plays the most active role in our salvation and not man. Finally, if you believe, you believe because of your response from the holy spirit, not for our selfish greed. God does the urging; we make the decision if we want to believe or not. No one can believe in Jesus without God’s help.

With this in mind, Jesus is expressing the urge of learning, not hearing. If anybody remembers the acronym of the word bible, we know that we are educated through the bible. We learn our experiences from the bible, the thoughts of the holy spirit through the bible. And we understand our relationships through the bible. Jesus was teaching a view through the Messianic kingdom which all people are taught directly by God. (Isaiah 54:13, Jeremiah 31:31-34) When you are reading the bible, are you learning or listening?

Jesus is talking to the crowd. He continues, “No one has seen the Father except the One who is from God, only he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, the One who believes has eternal life. Let’s stop here for a moment and unpack. Jesus uses the word “believes.” Believe means “continue to believe.” How many times have you said you believe in something? It’s probably not once, but more than one. When we believe, we continue to believe and trust Jesus. The disagreement comes on different occasions where the religious leaders continuously ask him to prove that he is better than the prophets they already had. Jesus, in verse 47, mentions the manna that Moses gave their ancestors in the desert. (Exodus 16) The Bread that Moses gave was physical and temporary. When they ate it, it sustained them for a day. To stay this way, they had to get more Bread, not only on that day but every day. The Bread didn’t stop them from dying. Moses offered himself the spiritual Bread from heaven that is satisfying and leads to eternal life.

Jesus continued: “I am the living Bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the Bread that comes down from heaven. Whoever eats this Bread will live forever. This Bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” The Jews began to argue sharply among themselves. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat.”

Ladies and gentlemen, if the Jews only knew. If they stop and try to educate themselves, accept that Jesus is better, they would learn. But no, they got to be stubborn. So let’s talk about it for a moment. How can Jesus give us his flesh as Bread to eat? Spoiler alert: more repetitions. To eat the living Bread means to accept Christ into our lives. We unite with Jesus when we eat the spiritual Bread. We are connected in two ways.

  1. Believing in his death and the resurrection. In other words, we believe the sacrifice of his flesh.
  2. We connect by devoting ourselves to living as he requires, depending on his teaching for guidance, and trusting in the Holy Spirit for power.

Jesus continued: “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the One who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the Bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this Bread will live forever. Jesus said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.”

A first-time reader of the bible may be thinking, “cannibalistic? Jesus is saying, drink his blood, eat the Bread is enough to freak many people out. In Leviticus, it is forbidden to do what Jesus is asking. (Leviticus 17:10, 11) He is not talking about literal blood. His life becomes their own, but nobody grasped this concept. The Gospel writers and Paul used the body and blood imagery for the purpose of communion. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) As a first-time reader, did you believe this is cannibalistic and a turnoff? What made you realize later that communion is a holy ritual? Take time to pray for teachers to explain this part well to not let people run away.

Father, thanks for today. Thank you for your teaching. I pray that we can teach others about you, how you operate, and the things that may creep them out, instructing them of its analogy. I pray for those that will have open hearts and learn. In Jesus’ name. Amen!