Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

The Gospel of John

John 15:15–31

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.         In verse 16 we find the first of five “Paraklete sayings” and all five of which are found in chapters 14, 15, and 16. Paraklete is a legal term meaning advocate or defending counsel and here is rendered “Helper” by the ESV.

2.         Jesus has clearly stated previously that He is leaving them and now reassures His followers that He will ask the Father to give them another Helper to be with them. He refers to this Helper as the “Spirit of truth.” In verse 26 Jesus uses another name for the Helper=Holy Spirit.

3.         This Helper cannot be received by the world, that world that is made up of those who reject Jesus as Lord.

4.         Jesus states that the Spirit of truth, the Helper, will actually indwell His followers. Thus Jesus depicts the possession of the Holy Spirit within each individual believer and be present with His Church.

5.         In verse 18 Jesus further encourages His disciples “I will come to you,” and by that He means, the Holy Spirit.

6.         Jesus states that those who have His commandments and does them loves Him. In 13:34-35, Jesus’ commandment is that they are to love one another, and loving the Lord their God and keeping “my word” are part of this commanding. The keeping of Jesus’ commandments is the key expression of love for Him.

7.         The commandments of love, Jesus makes clear, are from the Father who has sent Him.

8.         Jesus states that the Helper, the Holy Spirit, will be the teacher of all the things Jesus has spoken to them. That is true then and now.

9.         Verse 27, one of the greatest passages in Scripture, is to be fully grasped by Jesus’ followers. Peace, which passes understanding, is peace with God bought by the precious blood of the Lamb. So then, no fear of anything in the world.

10        There indeed a “ruler of this world” the devil and his angels, but those in Christ will nevertheless have peace and security.

Announcing my new book

Introduction

How it all began

During the 1970s, while pastor of Church of the Open Door in San Rafael, California, I used my education in psychology to guide me in operating the Marin Christian Counseling Center out of my office at the Christian General Store in San Rafael, California. I had received a BA with a major in psychology from Sacramento State College and followed it up with an MA for a counseling certificate. (My plan was to be a school psychologist.) Right after the class work for the degree was completed, and after only a little while into the observed counseling phase of the program, I dropped out and moved to Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley to begin my theological education.

Betty Kenner, our bookstore manager, scheduled my appointments, and it was common for me to have four to six appointments each day, Tuesday through Friday. There was never a fee charged, though sometimes people made a contribution to the church instead, but this was not sought or expected.

During one week in 1973 Betty scheduled, on three different days, appointments for three men whom I had not known before, and as it turned out, who did not know each other.

How “Love in Action” began

All three men said they were homosexual and had been such all their lives. All three were Christian, and all three were quite conflicted about the contradiction between what the Bible said and their behavior. Two of the three were living with lovers; one had lovers on and off. Two of the men were regular in church attendance. One was a school teacher, one an artist, and the other a businessman. 

In turn, each told me that they wanted out of their homosexual lifestyle. And now I was wondering what in the world I should do. It went through my mind that this might not be accidental or coincidental—I thought it might be the hand of God. 

Homosexuality! I knew little about it—only that while I was in the military, a couple of my fellow medics got caught in the barracks, very compromised, and it was a big deal. It took a while before I figured out what kind of sex they could have. Now I became acquainted with, at least from a professional point of view, three men who told me they were homosexual and were looking to me for some support and guidance. 

The next Tuesday I asked Betty for the phone numbers of the three men and called each one to set up a meeting for the end of the week, maybe it was a Saturday morning. We met in my office, and after a couple hours or more of intense conversation, we decided to meet together on a weekly basis to discuss issues, pray, and give support and encouragement. After a few weeks of meetings, the artist said he knew of three women, all lesbians, who would like to join us. They did, and after two or three meetings with me and the six self-described homosexuals, we decided to open it up to others. One of the women thought it would be good to give the group a name, and she had one ready, out of 1 John 3: “Love in Action.” Everyone liked the name, and it stuck. 

More bits and pieces coming up.

PURCHASE ONLINE WHEREVER YOU BUY BOOKS.

ISBN: 978-1-946794-16-1

I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life

The Gospel of John

John 14:1–14

I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.         John concentrates Jesus’ core teachings in chapters 14, 15, and 16. Then in chapter 17 is the “high priestly prayer”, followed by the betrayal and arrest of Jesus in chapter 18.

2.         Found in the focus of verses 1 through 14 is perhaps the most famous of the “I Am” sayings, I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus does not speak of a way or a path. No, He is the path to the Father and eternal life; there is no other.

3.         Jesus, as expressed in the opening verse, is concerned that His disciples will be discouraged and depressed by His death and ascension. He urges them to continue to believe in Him.

4.         Though He is departing, He is making a place for them. To use the word “place” is somewhat misleading since heaven is not a place. It is not in heaven where we find God. Rather, it is in God we find heaven. (Remember: a time is coming when the universe will no longer be.)

5.         Not only that, but Jesus Himself will take them to that place.

6.         Thomas interrupts Jesus (we see here an account of an actual conversation) by asking how would they know the way to this “place.”

Now we find the I Am saying. Jesus alone is the way to the Father.

7.         To know Jesus is to know the Father and to know the Father is to know Jesus. “Know” means to have fellowship and communion with the Triune God, to actually be in the presence of God.

8.         Philip now interrupts Jesus by asking Jesus to “show us the Father.” Jesus mildly rebukes Philip by reminding him that by seeing Him a person has seen the Father. (The mystery of the Trinity indeed!)

9.         Jesus now turns to the “works” His disciples are called to. They will do greater works, meaning a mission to others far beyond that tiny sliver of land they dwell in presently.

10.       These “greater works” are based upon their reliance on Jesus’ name, that is, upon who He is and what He has done. “In his name” is not a magical formula. The “asking” must be in accord with the will of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

A New Commandment & Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial

The Gospel of John

John 13:31–38

A New Commandment & Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture. From memory, determine the central points.

1.         Already the Jews had Moses’ commandments that stated they were to love God with all their being and their neighbor as themselves. (see Deuteronomy 6:4–5 and Leviticus 19:17–18)

2.         Loving the neighbor however, applied only to Jewish neighbors, not Gentiles.

3.         In the “Parable of the Good Samaritan”, is the story of a Gentile, a despised Samaritan taking care of a person in need. (see Luke 10:25–37) It is the Samaritan who proves to be a neighbor. This is an absolutely revolutionary concept for Jesus’ hearers.

4.         Now Jesus’ disciples are to love, and the Greek word transliterated into English letters, is agape. Jesus’ followers  are to agape one another. (Would this include Judas?) Agape love means, in addition to much more, the seeking of the well-being of another person no matter what the cost.

5.         This, from the mouth of a Jewish person is nothing short of extraordinary! They are to love each other as Jesus loves them. And Jesus is about to give up His life for them, and us, by the way.

6.         We will ask ourselves: Are we capable of this? Circumstances may never arise that would call for such love, but then again…

7.         In the next paragraph, or pericope , John goes on to detail Peter’s denial of Jesus, which would occur the very next day. (see John 18:15–18 and 25–27)

8.         Now, Jesus said He was going to a place His disciples could not come, at least as we know from the rest of the Gospel, not now.

9.         Peter wants to now where Jesus is going. Jesus responds that Peter could not follow Him then, but he would later. (Is Jesus referring to Peter’s own crucifixion?)

10.       Peter boasts he will lay down his life for his Lord. Jesus asks, “Will you.” Then closes the conversation by telling Peter that before the rooster crows (between 2 and 4am) Peter will deny Him.

One of You Will Betray Me & A New Commandment

The Gospel of John

John 13:21–35

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. The event is a dinner, likely on a Thursday evening, one day prior to the Last Supper/Passover Meal. The place is somewhere in Jerusalem. The 12 disciples are with Jesus and He has competed His washing of their feet.
  2. Jesus announces that one at the table will betray Him. It so happened that John is next to Jesus at the table. Peter gestures to John to find out from Jesus who the betrayer is. And John does and Jesus replies it is the one He will give a morsel of food to.
  3. Judas must have been close to Jesus, so He only has to extend the morsel to him. John sees it, but dose anyone else, including Peter? Probably not. Did Jesus conceal His move?
  4. At the very moment Judas receives the morsel, Satan enters into him. Earlier, verse 2 of chapter 13, we find that the devil had already compromised Judas, and in a way we know not. It is obvious the demonic moves in mysterious ways.
  5. Jesus tells Judas to go do what he will do. The identity of the traitor remains a mystery, of necessity since head strong Peter might have reacted violently if he had known.
  6. Judas left the dinner, and John tells us it “was night.” Some see it as describing the darkness that was soon to descend.
  7. With Judas absent Jesus announces that the Son of Man is to be glorified, a statement that is beyond, at this point, our full comprehension. Glory has to do with the presence of God.
  8. Jesus goes on to say that He will be gone; He offers comforting words regarding their coming loss, then launches into a new commandment: they are to love each other as He has loved them. We struggle with obeying this high command.

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

The Gospel of John

John 13:1–20

Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. Perhaps this meal takes place the day prior to the “Last Supper” or, according to some, on that very day.         
  2. At that time and place, it was customary for either a servant or the youngest physically present, to wash the dirty feet of those gathered.
  3. Jesus is preparing His disciples for His departure; there are yet things He wants them to clearly understand before that event.
  4. John notes the presence of Judas, and also points out that the devil had already planted the betrayal into Judas’ heart and mind.
  5. Jesus rose up, took off His outer garments, put on the traditional linen garment meant for foot washing, and began to wash the disciples’ feet. Their feet would have been outward with the head around a central table.
  6. Peter does not want Jesus to wash his feet. Jesus, not rebuking Peter, but stating Peter would understand later, makes it clear to Peter it must be so. Peter quickly recants and Jesus washes his feet.
  7. Again John mentions Judas, who did not protest the foot washing, but despite the washing, would be a traitor.
  8. After the “ordinance” Jesus asks if what He did was understood. He then says that they are to wash each others’ feet.
  9. The Christian Church has generally understood this to mean that we are to humble ourselves and seek to meet each other’s needs. This is a healthy concept for us today who live in a world that emphasizes self fulfillment.
  10. Jesus points out that what He did they should do as well–acts of simple kindness. He pronounces blessing on those who so do.
  11. There is one present who will not be so blessed, and He references Psalm 41:9 which speaks of an intimate betrayal.
  12. John concludes with the promise that the one who receives Jesus sends, receives Jesus, and that one therefore receives the One who sent Jesus.

Jesus Came to Save the World

The Gospel of John

John 12:44–50

Jesus Came to Save the World

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. Some commentators think this passage should have come after verse 36a. I have no opinion, but it is highly possible. In that period when John wrote there existed pages, even of paper, and one could have been shuffled. One way or another, it is of no significance. The content is thoroughly Jesus.
  2. Jesus “cried out” and the word means “loudly.” These are now the last words that Jesus preached to the crowds and He goes right to the core of everything and anything that matters.
  3. Believing in Jesus the Son is tantamount to believing in the Father. The only reason Jesus is even there is because the Father sent Him.
  4. Indeed, to see the Son is to see Him who sent Him, meaning the Father. This demonstrates the oneness and the mystery of the nature of the Trinity. No Christian ever completely understands.
  5. The theme of “light” appears again. Believing in Jesus brings one out from the darkness and into the light. Those who reject His words Jesus does not judge for He came to save the world. And by “world” Jesus means He came to save the Greeks, the heathen, as well as the Jews.
  6. Jesus does not judge at this point; judgment comes from the Father upon those who reject the words of Jesus. But at the last day, the Day of Judgment, Jesus as well as the Father, does judge.
  7. Jesus is careful to point out that His messages, His words, have been given to Him by the Father.
  8. Jesus uses the word “commandment” in regard to His words that He has been preaching to the people. And these words, the content, have all together to do with eternal life.
  9. To reject Jesus and His words is to reject the saving message, indeed the commandment, of the Creator God.

2 stories about events of the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry and life

The Gospel of John

John 12:27–43

The Son of Man Must be Lifted Up &

The Unbelief of the People

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. Following the Triumphal Entry, large crowds were singing Hosanna with Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus had something utterly different on His mind however: He was “troubled.”
  2. He sees the coming betrayal, humiliation, and crucifixion that is just days ahead. It is imagined that He is speaking to some segment of the Passover celebrants and perhaps mostly, to His close followers. Then a voice from heaven with the most uplifting message possible is heard.
  3. Jesus announces the coming judgment, the judging of sin, and the undoing of the “ruler of this world.” Immediately He announces that He will be “lifted up” and His hearers would understand that Jesus was saying He would be placed on a cross.
  4. He harkens back to His previous claim that He is the light of the world, and that light, for the majority, will be overtaken by darkness. He urges His hearers to believe in the light, and those who do He refers to sons of light, which is a profound and difficult concept.
  5. At this point, with high excitement in the air, Jesus hides Himself from the crowds., and likely accompanied by the Twelve.
  6. John, the author of the Gospel, states what can be considered astonishment, that though so many had either witnessed or heard of incredible signs and wonders Jesus had done, still they mostly remained in unbelief as to the nature of this young man from Galilee.
  7. John understands that this unbelief had been predicted by the prophet Isaiah. He quotes Isaiah 53:1 that states that despite revelation there was no faith, and then Isaiah 6:10 where the prophet shows God as blinding eyes and hardening hearts.
  8. The writer of the Gospel then explains that Isaiah saw the glory of the future Messiah. There was spiritual blindness but still many, and even of the religious authorities, many did believe that Jesus was who He said He was. However, they did not let on to their faith publically lest then be excluded from their community of faith.
  9. John then explains that these “loved the glory that comes form man more than the glory that comes from God.”

What Happened Following Jesus’ Birth

GOSPEL MEDITATION

Luke 2:22-35

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. From memory, determine the central points.

1.        Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the Temple

according to the Law of Moses. (See Ex. 13:2 & Lev.

12:8). They offered 2 pigeons meaning the family was poor.

2.        The obedience of Mary and Joseph indicates also that

they were observant Jews and would be Jesus as he

grew up.

3.        Here now they meet Simeon, Holy Spirit inspired     prophet who is awaiting the arrival of the Messiah.

4.        The remarkable statement about Jesus being the cause of the “fall and rising of many,” among other things, is a preparation for Mary about what was to become of her baby. The Child would be loved and hated, both at once, and so it has remained to this day.

5.        This extreme reaction reveals both God’s holiness and our unholiness, and that Jesus has an enemy.

6.        The sword that will pierce Mary, the trauma that only a mother could experience, likely was meant to be comforting to Mary, in taking away any surprise or false expectation.

7.        Then Anna, another witness to Mary and Joseph, two witnesses thus meeting Biblical requirements (see Dt. 17:6). Mary and Joseph would be comforted by this.

8.        Some 33 years before the cross, God brings two people to the temple to announce that great event that was to come.

The Christmas Story

Genesis 3:14–16; Psalm 22:14–18; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6–7; 53:3–6; 10–12; Galatians 4:1-6

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. In Genesis we see that our Creator made us with the capacity to know Him, have fellowship with Him, but the great tragedy befell us and we were sent east of Eden. Yet, in chapter 3 verse 15, is the proto-Gospel, the first direct mention of the intentions of this Creator.
  2. God addressing the Serpent, who had deceived Adam and Eve, states, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heal.”
  3. The woman’s offspring, as the historic drama in Scripture makes plain is Mary’s son Jesus, who defeats the serpent while the serpent is only able to do minor or temporary damage.
  4. In Psalm 22 then is a portrayal of the damage the serpent does, all under the authority of the Creator. The Psalmist, David depicts a man dying on a cross hundreds of years before the invention of this horrible instrument of execution is invented.
  5. Isaiah the prophet speaks of a virgin giving birth to “Immanuel” which means “God with us.” Then this virgin born son is “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (If you look carefully you will see the Trinity.)
  6. Further along in Isaiah we find this Immanuel as the suffering servant of Israel. The prophet speaks of a person despised and rejected,  but who is “wounded for our iniquities” and upon whom is laid all of our sin.
  7. Isaiah goes on to say that this despised one’s dying is an “offering for sin” yet his days will be prolonged, even that “the will of the LORD prosper in his hand.” This is clearly about Jesus’ resurrection. (see Isaiah 53)
  8. In the first century CE a former Jewish Rabbi, the Apostle Paul, in writing to a Gentile audience, sums up the ultimate intention of God in this manner: When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5).