Bible Study

The Messiah’s Secret Revealed – Bible Study on John 12: 20 – 34.  RSV Bible

This word “The Messiah’s Secret Revealed” is about bringing understanding to a Christian of the circumstances that surrounded Jesus being handed over to the Roman for sentencing by the Jewish Leaders.  For centuries Biblical scholars did not understand why Jesus did not make it known publicly during his ministry that he was the promised Messiah. The Israeli’s will one day recognise Jesus when he returns and make him their King and Messiah. Peace and reconciliation is at the heart of Jesus’ Salvation, being saved from all that separates us from God. Zechariah 12: 10.

The Messiah’s calling was to the nation of Israel: to gather and restore the people of Israel, for them to inherit a kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. The nations’ call, this priestly nation to take out the good news of the Messiah, the world’s Saviour to the rest of the world (Gentiles). Matthew 13: 35. 25: 34. Hebrews 4: 3. Luke 11: 50. Exodus 19: 6. Isaiah 9: 1-7. 42: 6.  Revelation 1:6. 5:10. Matthew 4: 12-17.  61: 6. Zechariah 14: 16-21.

John 12: 20

Verse 20. “Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some  Greeks.”                                                                                                             John draws our attention to these Greek men who had travelled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. Many thousands of Jewish people travelled from all over the known world to attend the Feasts held at the Temple in Jerusalem.

John records this incident to bring into focus one of the things the Jewish leaders expected that the Messiah would call the exiles home, that is why on another occasion John recorded that the Jews wondered if he would go and teach Greek Jews of the Dispersion. The Jews observed how the people flocked to hear him teach the scriptures. Perhaps they too couldn’t resist listening to him.

Jesus taught in the Temple and the people listening marvelled at his knowledge of the scriptures and they wondered if the authorities really knew that he was the Messiah. The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering about him and sent officers to arrest him. Then Jesus said he would be with them only a little while longer and he was going to a place where they could not go. “The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man (Jesus) intend to go that we shall not find him Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?” John 7: 35

They expected the Messiah to unite the people and bring back the exiles to their home land, restoring the nation, the throne of King David, one of the terms associated with this: ‘the times of refreshing.’

Peter when he spoke to the crowd at the Gate of Solomon shortly after Pentecost said,. “Repent, therefore, that your sins may be blotted out, that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you. Jesus.”  Peter was calling the people to repent as he had the expectation of the appointed Messiah, Jesus, to return. Therefore, the times of refreshing would take place after the death, resurrection and ascension of the Christ. Acts 3: 19, 20. Mark 8: 38. 9: 1. Isaiah 43: 1-end. John 12: 16.

Peter made it clear that the rulers and people had acted in ignorance when they handed Jesus over to the Romans. It had been prophesied that the Messiah would suffer. Not only the prophets had prophesied , but Caiaphas the chief priest had been given a prophecy that ‘one man would die to save the nation. God had kept the leaders and people in ignorance so that Jesus would be the final sacrifice for sin and its causes. Therefore it was impossible for the Leaders to accept Jesus as their Messiah before his death.               Acts 3: 17, 18. John 11: 47-53. Acts 13: 27.

Jesus Christ – The name translated means:

Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary “Jesus” Jezus,  n. The Founder of Christianity (Greek Iesous – Hebrew Yeshua, contr. of Yehoshue, a help of Jehovah, the Saviour – yasha, to save.)

The word Christ is derived from the Greek word Christos, which is a translation of the Hebrew “Meshiakh” meaning “anointed” and usually transliterated into English as “Messiah.”

The Jewish people  who came to Jerusalem for the Passover and other feasts travelled from places where Jews had settled after being exiled during various conquests of the Promised Land. Jews Aquila and Priscilla met Paul at Corinth after they had been driven out by Claudius from Pontus which was part of the Roman Empire on the southern coast of the Black Sea, Acts 18: 2.

Peter wrote his first letter to the Exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. Messianic Jews that had probably settled there after the community of believers were scattered following the death of Stephen. 1 Peter 1: 1. Acts 8: 1.

You may have noticed that Jewish people do not lose their identity: Polish Jews, Russian Jews etc.

Today Jewish people born in other countries are moving to live in Israel. It’s interesting to note that the orthodox Jews expect the Messiah when he comes to establish God’s Kingdom on the earth.

Website: Judaism 101 ‘The Land of Israel’ page 5 “Most Jews today support the existence of the state of Israel, though not necessarily all of the policies of its government (as one would expect in any democracy). There are a small number of secular Jews who are anti-Zionist. There is also a very small group of right-wing Orthodox Jews who object to the existence of the state of Israel, maintaining that it is a sin for us to create a Jewish state when the messiah has not yet come. However, this viewpoint does not reflect the mainstream opinion of Orthodoxy. Most Orthodox Jews support the existence of the state of Israel as a homeland, even though it is not the theological state of Israel that will be brought about by the messiah.”

The Church has over the years put forward various views concerning the sequence of events leading up to Jesus’ return. Below is the view that I understand will take place after Jesus has won the victory over the antichrist and his associates and rescues a remnant of Jewish people at Jerusalem.

Eyre &Spottiswoode Study Bible page  1885

Pre-Millennialist –  Looks for the return of Christ to earth at the beginning of a literal, thousand year reign upon the earth when “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea” and all the nations of mankind will be completely subservient to the Lord Jesus.   At the end of this period Satan will be released again in order to stir up the secretly rebellious portion of mankind to a final open revolt against God (verses 7 – 9). After a second “Armageddon” the new heavens and the new earth will be ushered in. Revelation 1: 16. 20: 4. Isaiah 11: 10-16.

There are differing views among the Israelis regarding the interpretation of ‘the nature of the Messiah’ some regard the land as the Messiah and some the city of ‘Jerusalem’.

Have you had any contact with Jewish people?

Have you met and discussed with a Jewish Christian /‘Messianic Jew’ their faith in Jesus?

What would you say to a Jewish person in conversation about the Messiah?

Verse 21 “So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” The Greek men approached Philip asking him if they could speak with Jesus. We are not informed as to what they wanted from him.

Usually people came to Jesus with a need   Jairus the Ruler of a synagogue came to Jesus  desperately wanting him to go with him to his house where his daughter lay dying. Jairus had faith in Jesus that he was able to save her and he came out of love for his daughter to him. Jesus responded and went with him. The crowd that followed  among them was a lady in desperate need, we read her faith was such that she believed if she only touched his garment she would be healed. Jesus stopped and questioned the crowd saying, “Who touched my garments?” By this time she had moved away from him, perhaps now afraid of offending Jesus, but he wanted to meet her face to face. I’ve known people be healed after prayer, but then turn their back on Jesus and carry on as before, but Jesus wants us to recognise and acknowledge his ministry to us.   

As they continued on the way to Jairus’ home he received the news no parent wants to hear, “Your child has died,” The question most people ask in that situation why has God allowed my child to die? In this situation Jesus was to prove to Jairus that he was their promised Messiah, but after he raised the little girl up he instructed Jairus and his wife family and friends to tell no one.  This is quite significant as Jairus was a Ruler of a Synagogue  who could have told those in authority and proclaimed him Messiah.

Jesus did not want it made known that he was the Messiah. He had told his disciples not to make it known after Peter had said, when asked by Jesus “Who do they say the Son of man is?” He replied “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Jesus said in his reply to Peter and the disciples, “Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.” It wasn’t until Pentecost and afterwards that the disciples made it known publicly that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah.

Philip met Jesus at Bethsaida afterwards he introduced Nathanael to Jesus and as a result Nathanael came to faith in Jesus. John 1: 43, 46.

Sharing the good news with someone enables the Holy Spirit to acts upon our faith.

Today we can introduce people to Jesus through Jesus’ presence in the Spirit within us. John 14: 23. 16: 15. 17: 21-23.

Recently in conversation with a man we looked at Jesus’ words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. These words reflected Jesus’ agony, suffering the results of being beaten, mentally as well as physically and his Saviour’s heart wanting to redeem the worst of sinners. We applied them in prayer to his situation, were he was bitter and angry, as result the weight and anger that he had been carrying was lifted from him. He is now on a journey with the Lord. How often we pray for others Christians to minister to that same person as they move forward on their life’s journey.

Verse 22. “ Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus.”

The disciples were often the first line of contact. Under Jesus authority they were sent out with the Kingdom of God message and for signs to follow the message: healing the sick in body, mind and spirit. Luke 9: 1-6, 10. John 1: 44

Also he instructed his disciples to go before him to the places he was about to visit, to announce his coming to their town or city. After the seventy returned and they told him what had happened and Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit Luke 9: 52. 10: 1-24.

Under his instruction they went and collected the ass for his ride into Jerusalem. Luke 19: 19-24.  Two disciples prepared the upper room ready for the Passover. Luke 22: 12. The disciples of Jesus baptised people in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom of God. John 4:1, 2. As several of the disciples were fishermen they probably prepared the boat he used to go from place to place and other practical arrangements.

Servants left in charge.  “But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, commanded the doorkeeper to be on the watch.” Mark 13: 32 – 37.

In Mark’s gospel after the Olivet discourse we read of the circumstances that lead up to Jesus’ return, he urged his disciples to be watchful of his second coming and he gave an example of a man going on a journey and leaving his servants in charge until he returns.  The disciples and followers expected Jesus to return within their lifetime, Jesus had implied this when he said that he would come with his holy angels and that their where some standing there in the crowd that would see his return bringing in the kingdom with power. Also that John would remain until he came. Acts 2. 3: 19-21. 5: 31. Mark 8: 38. 9: 1. John 21: 20-23.                                                                   Just before Jesus ascended the disciples asked Jesus if he would restore the kingdom to Israel? Jesus had previously said in conversation with the chief priests and scribes that through their unbelief, the vineyard, the kingdom of God would be given to others to bear its’ fruit. The other nation being the Gentiles. Jesus replied to the disciple “It is not for you to know the times or seasons the Father  has fixed in his own authority,” only God knew when he would return. Acts 1: 6, 7.  Matthew 21: 43. After Pentecost the disciples made it known publicly for the first time that Jesus is the Messiah and when people joined them they set up a community, sharing their faith and all their possessions. Could this be what Jesus taught his disciples concerning the kingdom during the 40 days before his ascension?

Check out: was there is a constant reminder in the Acts and letters that they expected Jesus to return within their life time?

In response to Jesus’ words before and at his ascension, what commands did Jesus give his disciples? Matthew 28: 16-20. Mark 16: 15-20. Acts 1: 4, 8, 12-14, 22.

How did the disciples respond after they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost?

What work do we do for Jesus today?

Verse 23 “And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.”

The hour of his suffering, death and resurrection. Jesus being born into the world, to fulfil God’s plan of salvation for all creation. This was the ‘Messiah’s Secret’ God had hidden the Messiah’s death from the leaders and people of that generation. Even though the scriptures clearly foretold the suffering, death and resurrection of the Christ God hid them from their understanding. Luke 18: 31-34       Jesus told them that everything written concerning the Son of man by the prophets will be accomplished. He went on to describe his suffering and death at the hands of the Gentiles and of his resurrection on the third day. In verse 34, “But they understood none of these things: this saying was hid from them, and they could not grasp what was said.”

The disciples didn’t believe that the Christ would come and die, this is the Messiah’s Secret. Luke 18: 31-34. Mark 9: 10, 30-32.

It was on the evening of the day of Jesus’ resurrection that he opened the minds of his disciples to understand these scriptures.         Luke 24: 44 – 48. Acts 2: 23-27. Isaiah 50: 6. 53: 1-12.Hosea 6: 2. Psalms 16: 10. Jonah 1: 17. 2: 6. Matthew 12: 40. Luke 12: 49, 50.John 12: 16.

The church has taught over the centuries that the time for the Jewish nation to accept Jesus as their Messiah/Christ was before his crucifixion which has caused much suffering for the Jews. In November 2009, I went to listen to Singer Helen Shapiro she sang and also told us her life story. Helen is of Jewish decent born in London in 1946. At the age of six she went to a state school. She told us of how she remembered a child coming up to her in the playground and saying, ‘You killed Jesus.’ She was devastated and never forgot those hurtful words. In the late 1980’s she discovered Jesus as her Saviour and the promised Messiah to the Jewish people.

Had the Jewish people and the church in later years recognised that the Messiah had to be the final sacrifice for sin ending the Law, the Moses Covenant, that these things had to take place before he could be received as the Messiah by the whole nation of Israel, a national calling. They would then take the message of the new covenant to the rest of the world through the pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit, ‘The promise is to you and to your children and to all who are afar off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.” Acts 2: 39 Those Christians who down the centuries have accused the Jews of killing their messiah, their attitude would have been different, and perhaps have felt sorry for the Jews’ unbelief in Jesus.

What have you been taught?

Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end.” Ephesians 2: 13-16.

How does this scripture affect the relationship with the Jewish people today, as we look to Jesus’ return?

Verse 24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth, and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”   Isaiah prophesied God’s word coming from heaven that would fulfil his purposes.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and return not thither but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55: 10, 11.

Jesus the seed coming from heaven was prepared to be planted in the darkness of the world where he died to himself and the glory that he had with his Father in heavenly places, in order to redeem, save humankind and all of creation from the devil who had taken the power over death through the separation that occurred between mankind and God, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he (Jesus) likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power over death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.” Hebrews 2: 14, 15.

Colossians 1: 13.  “He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Through faith in Jesus dying for our sin, and being raised up for us to receive for us forgiveness, a door into heaven has been opened. We enter into his glory, we are the glory of God. Revelation 4: 1. 2 Corinthians 3: 18.

Verse 25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life”.

Called to continually die to sin, as we have been crucified with Christ, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore, reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey its passions.” Romans 6: 11, 12.

Many people choose to act in ways that show them being self centered and self esteem. Looking at their image and status which are goals in people’s lives like the Pharisees seeking the praise and honour from people. They loved to wear their priestly garments to been seen and honoured  by men. Today people love to wear designer clothes and have the latest mobile and car. Material things have their place in our lives, as long as they don’t become ‘I must have.’

Something for nothing Last Wednesday I went shopping at the local supermarket. After I had gone through the check out and I was emptying the bags from my trolley into my car, I realised that one item had not gone through the check out. I took it back to the customer Service counter and paid for it. I know that although it wasn’t done deliberately but not paying for it would have been wrong and the ever watching powers of darkness could use it against me. It compares with the birds constantly watching for the sparrow hawk or the cat, when it sees the predator coming it flys away. We can’t see into the spiritual dimension, but there are forces watching our every move. We keep ourselves protected from the enemy by walking according to the words of Jesus. The law written in the heart, no longer on tablets of stone. It feels abhorrent to steal, lie, cheat, to follow the course of this world.

Verse 26. “If anyone serves me he must follow me and where I am there shall my servant be also, if any one serves me, the Father will honour him.”

The Ethiopian Eunuch returning home after worshipping at Jerusalem, he sat reading in his chariot from Isaiah 53: 7, 8 he wondered what it meant. Philip came alongside the chariot and he interpreted the scripture telling him about Jesus.     Philip in his serving was not put off by an earlier situation where at a city in Samaria he had baptised people only in the name of Jesus. Peter and John had heard that the people had not received the Holy Spirit they went and laid hands on them and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. This incident shows us that in serving we each have a ministry to contribute to the whole.  Acts 8: 12-16.  1 Corinthians 1: 10-17.  Luke included this incident between Philip and the Eunuch to convey to Theophilus who he was writing his account of the eyewitness reports concerning Jesus, that this prophecy had been fulfilled in Jesus, the Christ would suffer, and be killed, the innocent substitute sacrifice, rise and ascend into heaven. The Eunuch’s baptism filled him with joy as he had received forgiveness of his sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said, “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” His Words are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ words have been recorded by his disciples and followers. Jesus fulfilled God given words to the prophets, the prophesies in the Hebrew scriptures concerning the Messiah’s birth, ministry, death, resurrection and ascension and return.   Isaiah  7: 14. 9: 6, 7. Psalm 139: 13_16. Jeremiah 8: 22. Matthew 9: 12. Psalm 18: 10. Isaiah 53. Job 19: 25 Psalm 24: 3-10.

God speaks through the body of Christ in the world: through Jesus’ words, prophesies, visions and dreams usually they are linked with scripture. Also Romans 10: 8-13. Acts 9:1-9. John 6: 63.

When a person first comes to faith these words in this verse 26 embrace making a commitment to Jesus, to be willing to go where the Spirit of Jesus and the Holy Spirit leads, and fulfil the task. Mark 16. Acts 16: 1-5

We are all ambassadors for Christ using our God given gifts: preaching, teaching and gossiping the good news, “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3; 9   “We do not boast beyond limit, in other men’s labours; but our hope is that your faith increases, our field among you may greatly be enlarged, so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s field.” 2 Corinthians 10;15, 16.                                                                                           Using the gifts of the Spirit that God graciously has given us, we follow Jesus in preaching or telling people the gospel of good news of God’s love for us in reconciling us back to himself through Jesus, his beloved son. Praying for situations that seem hopeless and would take a miracle to overcome them.

Christian success is measured by love: love that’s practical in helping people to understand the good news and praying for them to receive Jesus into their heart by faith and are willing to put their faith into action guided by the Holy Spirit.. Helping the refugees to survive famine and drought and the homeless by giving shelter, clothes and food, or supporting Aid Agencies. To comfort the sick and to help the prisoner start afresh. To point people to the prophesies concerning Jesus’ return and him bringing in God’s kingdom .

The Bible reaching out making Christ known.  

For many years I have supported the ‘Bible Society’ in its work in translating the scriptures, so that any one searching to find the true God and their Saviour, by reading or hearing the word expounded will turn to Christ.

Verse 27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.”  Jesus here knowing that his suffering would be inevitable and it troubled him in his humanity                                              .

There are occasions when we can find ourselves heading towards  suffering, it’s then we look to the cross and being crucified with Christ and trusting in his redeeming love to uphold  and go through it being strengthened by what we suffer, as the lord was glorified in going through suffering. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane repeated similar words during his ordeal. “And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.”  Mark 14: 35, 36.

Jesus and his disciples were together in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas Iscariot and a band of soldiers arrived to arrest Jesus. He was numbered with the transgressors, Peter used his sword in defence of Jesus and cut off Malchus’ ear, Jesus healed his ear, but even so it was by association he was numbered with the transgressors. The hour of his glory was filled with physical pain, taunts and mocking, for this hour was were the venom of the devil was poured out upon him.  Luke 22: 37, 49, 50.Matthew 26: 36-42. John 13: 31, 32.

Jesus knew when he quoted the Psalmist that he was that body that God had prepared to be the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Hebrews 10: 5-7. Psalm 40: 6-8

Jesus having a human body, he has enabled us in our humanity to become children of God. Jesus’ human body prepared by God to be the final sacrifice for sin and its’ causes.

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews quoted Jesus’ words when he explained why crucifixion.  “When Christ came into the world he said, “Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings thou hast taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Lo, I have come to do thy will oh God’ as it is written of me in the roll of the book.”

He continues in the reading to give meaning to Jesus’ words, “Thou hast neither desired nor taken pleasure in burnt sacrifices and offerings and sin offerings” these were offered according to the law, “Low I have come to do thy will.”

He abolishes the first in order to establish the second, and by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”Jesus  knew  why he had to suffer to be the final sacrifice for sin, he wrestled with his own soul in the Garden of Gethsemane to do God’s will, to drink the cup that lead him like a lamb to the slaughter.

Which was to fulfil the Moses Covenant, under the law everyone was penalised for doing wrong and had to make a sacrifice to obtain forgiveness. This was repeated as sins were continually confessed. Hebrews 10 : 5-10. RSV Bible

In Leviticus Chapter 1 we read that .a person brought a sacrifice to the temple to be a substitute for their sin.  They said a prayer laying their hand upon the head of the lamb or a bird transferring their sin to it. The lamb was then slain by them.

Jesus’ body was prepared by God to be the final sacrifice for sin, so that the law was abolished in Jesus’ death In its’ place the New Covenant

The significance of the cross, so when we come to him in repentance and faith, he takes our sin upon himself and becomes our substitute taking the punishment, dying on the cross and in his burial, that sin is dead and buried, abolished, wiped out, therefore, we are not penalised, we are blessed by Jesus, which is grace – unmerited favour.

Jesus coming in the flesh taking the result our sin upon himself that led to his death, the shedding of his innocent blood has enabled us to enter into eternal life.  We can’t earn our forgiveness for our sin against God; we can only receive forgiveness through faith in Jesus. It is the will of God that we receive eternal life while we live in our human body, united with Jesus in heaven.

Verse 28. “Father glorify thy name.” “Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

Jesus taught in the temple and people were amazed at his interpretation of the Hebrew scripture. Jesus sought only to glorify His Father in all his words.

 “So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me; 17 if any man’s will is to do his will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.” John 7: 16-18. Isaiah 45: 23, 55: 10, 11.

Jesus’ word nourishes the Christian his words are the bread of life. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil, he tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread. His response. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

The Jews sought a sign like the one Moses gave them , God provided the ‘Manna’ during the wilderness journey towards the Promised Land. Jesus said that he was the bread of life. Unless they ate his bread and drank his blood they would not receive eternal life. The Pharisees and some of his followers were shocked and turned away from him.

When Jesus said this I believe that he was referring to the Jews coming to him to receive forgiveness of sins through Jesus being the final sacrifice for sin and the act of remembrance the receiving of the bread and the wine symbols of his flesh and his blood.                         Jesus the end of Kosher food when he became the sacrifice for sin.  Jesus said that it wasn’t what a person ate that made them unclean, it was what came forth from the heart. He declared all foods clean. John 6: 31, 35, 53.  Mark 7: 18-23.

“Jesus said, “It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.” John 6:  63

John wrote that Jesus is the Word of God revealed in the flesh. John 1: 1, 2. 4. 23. 5. 24. 1 John 1: 1-7.

It’s his sermon on the mount were we hear Jesus giving his Father’s interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures. Jesus blessed the poor in spirit – the humble and forgiving who hunger and thirst for the word of God. The pure in heart towards God who are single-minded about what they believe and often as a result are persecuted. Jesus said that their righteousness needed to exceeded that of the Pharisees. The Pharisees added more laws to the laws of Moses because they earned their righteousness.  Self righteousness puts the owness on  the person to be a good person by doing good things. Whereas, under grace faith is counted as righteousness, faith in Jesus that he has made us righteous before God. Abraham believed God and it was counted as righteous in God’s eyes. Matthew 5: 1-20. Romans  4: 1-5.

Verse 29. “The crowd standing by heard it and said that it thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”The first covenant given in an atmosphere of fear with sounds of thunder coming from and around the mountain. Exodus 9: 19. Hebrews 12: 18-21.

The Law given to Moses by God was a shadow of the good things to come.

Jesus established the new covenant fulfilled in love, perfect love casts out all fear. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment and he who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4: 18.

Jesus came from heaven and was born as one of us, born into humanity in order to make us perfect, in his likeness. We could not attain eternal life without Jesus being like us having human form and us becoming like him dying to sin and being raised up in his resurrection. Hebrews 10: 1-10.

Godly love that embraces attitudes and emotions the whole person. In the Word we take hold of the promises that Jesus has given to us. A number are conditional: that we are walking in love, abiding in him, keeping his word.

Jesus the Vine  John 15: 1-11. The word ‘abiding’ being in Christ perfect union with our Lord Jesus, the sustained relationship coming from constant pruning by the Father. The fatherly goodness that watches over his children, going before us, then helping us over the difficult bits that we may encounter. Jesus blesses those who keep his word with a promise, “If you abide in me , and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” The fruit of the abiding – love. I once looked into a man’s soul and I discerned a measurement of love, he was half full: half in Godly love and half in worldly love.

Verse 30. “Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.”

The Jews looked for similarities between Jesus and Moses. On the Exodus journey the people witnessed hearing God in the thunder as he spoke to Moses. Exodus 19: 9,18-21.Mark 1:11.Luke 9: 34, 35.

At the Transfiguration the disciples heard a voice in the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Matthew 17: 5.

There were other occasions were they heard God speaking, so confirming the person Jesus was a man like Moses, the one who Moses prophesied would be like him.

  “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.” Deuteronomy 18: 15-19. ESV Bible.

Peter speaking at the Solomon’s Gate Beautiful pointed to these being the days that Samuel and the prophets had foretold concerning the coming of the Messiah. He quoted from Deuteronomy 18: 19.  Acts 3: 22-25. 7:

The days that Daniel prophesied were the Messiah would be cut off before the last week of the 70 weeks. Daniel 9: 25-27.37.   Discernment of the wind of the spirit when Mark heard a voice tell him to give a word in someone’s need.                                                                      Bishop Mark gave his testimony at our recent Confirmation Service, he said about when he was a boy and went to church, but he was a million miles away from the reality of the Gospel. A few years later at a school assembly, he heard a man speak on Jesus’ ministry of healing. The teacher who was also present Mark heard an audible voice say, “Go to this teacher and speak to him.” He said he plucked up courage and went to his office and knocked on the door, secretly hoping he wouldn’t be in his office. Then he heard his voice say, “Come in” Mark entered the room and went straight up to his desk and said, “I believe God can heal” and straight away he turned to leave, however, the teacher said, “Mark, I have already made an appointment to see that man” referring to the man who spoken at the assembly. Bishop Mark said that afterwards in tears he believed that it was a word from God to the teacher. This is what it means ”Out of you shall flow living water.” The Holy Spirit gave him a word to give to his teacher.

Discerning the movement of the wind.  

In conversation with a lady recently she exclaimed, “The Bible doesn’t say that” It was in reference to saying in a sermon that Jesus’ resurrected body had ‘no blood ‘ in it,  as it had been poured out at Calvary. In response I pointed to her the scripture in Luke’s gospel on the evening of the day of his resurrection, were we read that Jesus said to his disciples and follower’s “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see I have.” The spiritual discernment of the scripture revealing that the word ‘blood’ was excluded because he had no longer any blood in his body. Luke 24: 39, 40.

Revelation 1: 10, 17 God speaking to the churches through John the Apostle.                                                             

Verse 31. “Now is the judgement of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out.”

Jesus’ victory at Calvary an eternal victory.    Jesus saw the devil cast out of heaven, so where did he go with his minions?

Paul in his letter to the Ephesians tells us that he is ‘the prince of the power of the air.’ He operates in the dimension of the earth’s atmosphere. Ephesians 2: 2                                               

Moses wrote inspired by the Holy Spirit writing about the order of creation, on the second day he separated the earth from the sky, the clouds, he created the earth’s atmosphere, the air we breathe. However, there is no mention of it being good. Genesis 1: 6-8.

The Book of Job informs us that Satan had come from “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”Job 1: 6, 7. Peter in his first letter described him as the adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5: 8.

The Bible clearly identifies the devil or also known as Satan as being our spiritual enemy. After humanities separation from God through listening and acting upon the words coming from Satan, fell under his influence. Paul wrote, “And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air. The spirit now at work in the sons of disobedience . . . . like the rest of mankind.” Ephesians 2: 1-3.

Paul knew the Hebrew scriptures, he had studied over many years. Therefore, when he discovered for himself on the Damascus road that Jesus was the Saviour of humanity from the power of the devil, everything he had been taught fell into place. He saw God in a different light, a God of love who sent his own Son to be like us in having flesh and blood, to die for our sin. We were dead to God in our sin, but in Jesus Christ we are alive, having received forgiveness from all that stood against us through the devil’s power and influence over us. We can’t work at being a good person to earn this forgiveness, we can only receive forgiveness through faith in Jesus. Ephesians 2: 1-6. Hebrews 2: 14, 15. Acts 9: 3, 4, 18. Philippians 3: 4-11 the Hymn “When I survey the Wondrous Cross” reflects Paul’s words, written by Isaac Whatts.

Paul puts into words that we know through experiencing our own deliverance from the devil, that we are where Jesus is in heavenly places far above all principalities and powers. Being united with him as he has united heaven and the earth in his humanity, his resurrected human body.   Ephesians 2: 5, 6.

The church in Christ before the foundation of the world. John 17: 5, 24.Ephesians 1: 4. Colossians 1: 17. 1 Corinthians 2. 7.

The Psalmist wrote describing the forming of the Saviours’ body, “Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me.”Psalm 139: 16

God’s plan of salvation through the cross of Christ in the foreknowledge of God. Acts 2 : 23.

John in his revelation understood that Jesus would call out the church and a great supper would  be held in heaven, at some point afterwards Jesus returns to the earth with his bride and his Holy Angels, the army consisting of the hosts of heaven, He will rescue the remnant of Israel and pour out his wrath ‘judgement’ on their enemies Zechariah 12: 10. 14: 1- end

This is a judgement from the foundation of the world and not the final judgement at before the White Throne. Revelation 20: 11-15

“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. 34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”   Matthew 25: 35-40.

The church reigns with Christ for 1,000 years during this reign Satan will be bound for 1,000 years after that Satan is let loose for an unspecified period of time. This is followed by the final judgement  Revelation 20: 1-5, 7. Isaiah 14

Verse 32. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”

Jesus being lifted up showing what death he was to die. John had heard from Jesus in the same conversation with Nicodemus. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up and who ever believes in him may have eternal life.” John 3: 14

The Exodus   The serpent that was lifted up in the wilderness brought healing to those who were destined to die due to a snake biting them. The Israelites became impatient with Moses as they journeyed towards the Promised Land. God sent snakes among them and many people died as a result of snake bites. When the people realised that speaking against God and Moses was wrong, a sin, they asked Moses to intercede between themselves and God. Moses was instructed by God to make an image of a serpent and attach it to a pole so that when a person who has been bitten looked at it would live. “So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit a man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.” Numbers 21: 4 – 9.

When a person today recognises their sin against God and in faith repents and turns to Jesus who is bearing the punishment for their sin on the cross, will receive forgiveness and eternal life. John 3: 36, 5: 24. 7: 37.

Verse 33. “He said this to show by what death he was to die.”     Under Law “Cursed be everyone who hung on a tree.” Deuteronomy 21: 23. Jesus fulfilled the law when he hung on the cross and redeemed humanity and all creation from the curses. Genesis 3: 14-19, 23, 24.

The Lord has given us in the Exodus incident at Marah the way of redemption through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Jesus hung on the cross and died for sin, he did not remain over night on the cross, he was taken down from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.  Matthew 27: 57-60.

When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea they soon found themselves running out of water, they found water at Marah, but the water was bitter, undrinkable.

After crossing the Red Sea the Israelites 600,000 people began their journey towards the promised land, the land of Canaan. After travelling through the wilderness of Shur for three days they had run out of water. When they came to Marah, they found to their dismay, that the water there was bitter and undrinkable. Due to this they murmured against Moses. He cried out to God for his help. God told Moses to throw a tree into the water and the water became sweet and drinkable.
Exodus 15: 22 – 25.

This scripture points directly to baptism, the cross of Jesus Christ where he bore the sins of the whole world and his resurrection, the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus’ Baptism of Repentance
The bitter water of sin.
The tree, the cross where sin was dealt with by Jesus.
The sweet water of sins forgiven and the receiving of the Holy Spirit.

Water Baptism whether it is by sprinkling or immersing in water. It is making an outward expression, a public declaration, of accepting Jesus as Saviour.

Baptism  whether taking place at a person’s baptism or anywhere were a person makes that step of faith and turns to Jesus Christ is crucified with Christ, dying to sin through confession of sin against God, our heart is washed clean with the sacrificial blood of Christ. We are raised up in the likeness of Jesus’ resurrection.

John the Apostles in his letter wrote of the three elements: water, blood and the Spirit.

Water speaks of the Holy Spirit. John 7: 37 On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, “Jesus said, “Is there anyone thirsty, then let them come to me and drink.” He spoke of the Holy Spirit who would be poured out after his resurrection and ascension.
Verse 34 “The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man.?” The Christ and the Son of man are deemed to be the same person.

The Son of man   The Son of man is a title of the Christ in the Greek or Messiah in the Hebrew.

In Ezekiel the ‘son of man’ was used in connection with Ezekiel’s humanity.

Eyre & Spottiswoode’s Study Bible Concordance page 1218.                   ”Ezekiel is addressed as son of man, et passim, a term stressing the prophet’s humanity. Although he had been given celestial visions, Ezekiel was but a “son of man” i.e., human being. The term later came to be used in a Messianic sense to describe the representative man, the Son of man who would establish God’s rule over the earth, and usher in the Messianic age. Dan 7: 9-13. This usage does not occur in Ezekiel, however, 2: 2 The Spirit. This is the Spirit of God.” Ezkiiel being a type of Christ, a prophetic resemblance to Christ.”

At the time of Jesus the term ‘Son of man’ was used in connection with the Christ.   The Christ and the Son of man are deemed to be the same person. In verse 34 the person speaking to Jesus from among the crowd brought into focus what they had been taught, how they understood through the teachers of the law, that the Christ would remain forever, he would be immortal.                                   The man asked Jesus who he was referring to when he asked, ‘Who is this Son of man?’ Referring to the one who Jesus said ‘would be lifted up’ and clearly they understood him to mean to die on a Roman cross. But they had not been taught that the Christ would come and die. When Jesus sent his disciples to ask the people, “Who do they say the Son of man is?” The response they received indicated that they were taught to expect God would raise up from the dead one of the prophets: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. We read that Peter had the answer; Jesus was the Christ the Son of the living God.  Matthew 16: 13 – 16.                                     Jesus continued in the conversation that followed to state that he would be killed and rise from the dead. Peter’s response, “God forbid that this should happen to you.” Peter’s response to hearing that Jesus was going to die was contrary to what he had been taught by the leaders of Israel concerning the Christ.

Begotten Son Psalm 2: 7 “You are my Son, today I have begotten you.” Hebrews quotes Psalm 2: 7 God brings the first begotten into the world. Psalm 89: 27 Firstborn.  Isaiah 7: 14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Emmanuel.” Paul is recorded in Acts 13: 33 by Luke of quoting Psalm 2: 7.

Only Son John 1: 18 ‘Only begotten’  ‘o monogenes uios’ also John 3: 16. Romans 8: 32 ‘His own Son’.

The Son of God Matthew, Mark and Luke identified Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. Matthew 14: 33. Mark 15: 39. Luke 1: 35.

God spoke to them Matthew 3: 17, Mark 1: 11, Luke 3: 22. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

Death prophesied Isaiah 53: 7, 8, 9, 10. Dying for sin. Daniel 9: 26 The Messiah cut off. Psalm 22: 14. 31: 5. Exodus 12: 46. Genesis 22: 1 – 14. Abraham in obedience offered Isaac as a sacrifice, but God stepped in and these famous words, “The Lord will provide.” Jehovah Jirah.

Resurrection Abraham believed in the resurrection. Hebrews 11: 19 Job believed in the resurrection 19: 25. The Pharisees believed in the resurrection Acts 23: 6. (Established in 167 BC)

By Dorothy Newton