Monday, August 31, 2015

Seven Miracles in the Book of John

The book of John was written to Gentile believers in the early church.  John 20:31 tells us that it was written so that they would know that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that, believing, you may have life in His name"

Overview:  The Book of John

Today, we’re going to begin a new Bible Study:  The Seven Miracles of the Book of John.  Jesus did many miracles as he walked the earth.  But the book of John is different.  The book of John only lists seven of the miracles that Jesus did.  Only seven of them are included.  This study will focus on why those miracles were the only ones mentioned.  So first here is the text for the overall study:

John 20:30-31 (NKJV)20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Jesus did many signs and miracles that are not mentioned in THIS book.  These are written so that you can believe, and in believing have Eternal Life. 


Overview:

So, John didn’t include every miracle that Jesus did.  He only reported on certain miracles.  Those miracles spoke something to the people to whom he was writing. The book of John was written primarily to a gentile audience.  There is a lot of explanation about Jewish customs, etc.  The book is written to emphasize the Dirty of Christ.  That word Diety means that he is God.  So the emphasis of his writings are on the seven signs of His being God.  The book also has seven “I am” claims.  This is Jesus confirming through his own words that he is God.  many scholars think that the Book of John was written by John, Zebedee’s son in AD 91. 

Let’s look briefly at some Key elements of the book:

John 1:1-5 (NKJV)1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

In this scripture, we have discussed this before, John refers to Jesus as the Word.  God “spoke” the world into existence.  In Genesis 1 the words “Then God said…” are used 7 times.  Each time God is speaking a particular thing into existence.  So God created the universe and everything that was created by His word:  The Word of God.  So Paul is calling Jesus the creator.   He also identifies Jesus as God.  “And the Word was with God and the Word WAS God.”

John 3:1-6 (NKJV)3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

In this chapter John begins to discuss salvation.  He tells Nicodemus that he must be born again to see the Kingdom of God.  Nicodemus says something important to our study here:

John 3:2 (NKJV)3:2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."

No one can do these signs unless God is with Him.  So he is making a statement that the signs that Jesus does are signs of Jesus’ divinity.  Jesus through his response is saying, that the miracles will help people to believe He is God but it isn’t the miracles that save.  Salvation comes through being born again.  Who can tell me what it means to be “Born Again”? Repentance and change:  Repenting is being sorry for the sin you have committed and having a change of heart about that sin.  Then you must change. 

Change is the Hallmark of salvation:

Romans 6:1-2 (NKJV)6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

John speaks of Eternal life through the belief in Jesus:

John 3:16-17 (NKJV)3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Jesus was sent into the world for a purpose.  John 1:14 says, “The word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”  Matthew calls Jesus, “Emmanuel which is translated ‘God with us.’” (Matt 1:23) He also says this:  Matt 1:21 “…You shall call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.”  John says, “but that the world through Him might be saved.”

In John 4 we have the story of the woman at the well.  Jesus brings a woman to believe that he is the Messiah:  He does this by first confronting her sin:

John 4:15-18 (NKJV)4:15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." 16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." 17 The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly."

He followed that by revealing that he is the Messiah:

John 4:24-26 (NKJV)4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." 25 The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things." 26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."


The Bible tells us that she was so excited about this discovery that he was the Messiah that she left her waterpot (the reason that she was at the well in the first place) and ran to tell the others.

Finally, John goes into some detail about what Jesus did after He was resurrected.

He breathed the Holy Spirit onto them

John 20:21-23 (NKJV)
20:21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

He proved to them He had risen:

John 20:26-28 (NKJV)20:26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" 27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

He restored Peter:

John 21:15-16 (NKJV)21:15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs." 16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep."
 John 21:17-19 (NKJV)
17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish." 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me."

That’s where the book ends.  The purpose is to help people believe that Jesus is who he said he was.  Not only a man and a prophet and teacher, but God.  Next week we’re going to begin to focus on the miracles.  The first miracle we’ll look at is the changing of Water to wine.

Study 1 - Water to Wine

Last week began our new series, “Seven Miracles in the Book of John.”  So the book of John was written for a reason.  This is not one of the synoptic Gospels.  The synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke are written from the eyewitness’s perspective.  They are also to tell what happened.  They document the events.  But John’s Gospel is a little different.  It IS written from an eyewitness’ perspective.  It tells events but it has a purpose beyond that.  John’s Gospel was written, not just to tell what happened, but also to demonstrate the deity of Christ.  That word deity means what?  Godness – So the deity of Christ is the Godness of Christ.  Jesus is God.  So let’s look for a moment at the purpose of the Book of John.  We can find his purpose in the text for the overall study:

John 20:30-31 (NKJV)20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

So look at what this says.  Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples; this tells us that John chose these miracles for a specific purpose.  The purpose of the entire book is:  That you may believe that Jesus is the Christ.   So, there is something about these miracles or signs that will help us to believe that Jesus is the Christ. 

Remember last week, I told you that this book was written to gentile believers.  It was written to the Greeks, and Macedonians (Asia) and others who were not Jews.  So all of the things here would have to be something that would appeal to the gentile mind.  It would have to appeal to those people who were not of the Israeli culture. 
So let’s begin by looking at the first miracle that John records  The Changing of Water to Wine in Cana:

John 2:1-5 (NKJV)2:1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine." Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."
John 2:6-7 (NKJV)2:6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they filled them up to the brim.

John 2:8-11 (NKJV)2:8 And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!" 11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.


That’s the story of what happened.  Now I broke it down into sections and I want to deal with each section, individually.  Let’s start with John 2:1-5:

John 2:1-5 (NKJV)2:1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine." Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."

It says, “on the third day.”  This is the third day after Jesus jad begun His ministry.  On the first day, John the Baptists identified him as the Messiah.  While John the Baptist was baptizing in the wilderness he was confronted by priests and Levites.  The Jewish council sent them and they asked Him, “Who are you?”  John identifies himself as the one who has come to “make straight the way of the Lord.  He told them he was baptizing with water but that one was coming who they didn’t know who sandal strap he was not worthy to loose.  The next day Jesus appeared.  This is the first day:

John 1:30-33 (NKJV)1:30 This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.' 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water." 32 And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'

So John testifies of his baptism of Jesus.  I saw the descending from heaven like a dove and He remained upon Him.” 

The second day, this happens:

John 1:35-39 (NKJV)1:35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!" 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?" 39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).

This is the day when Jesus meets Andrew and Peter:

Andrew was one the men who came to talk to Jesus.  After his experience with Him he went and got Simon (Peter).  Jesus calls Simon, Cephas, which translates to Stone.

The third day Jesus meets Phillip and Nathaniel: There is an interesting discussion between Jesus and Nathaniel:

John 1:47-50 (NKJV)1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" 48 Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." 49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" 50 Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these."

He calls Nathaniel, “an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”  He read the man’s heart.  Nathaniel understood that because of the accuracy of the statement.  So he asks Him “How do you know me.”  Jesus tells him I saw you under the fig tree.  This was a place of prayer.  Nathaniel was praying, maybe crying out to God for direction and guidance.  Maybe he had asked for a sign, who knows what went on.  But Jesus by saying that was saying.  All the pleading and crying out in prayer – I have seen it all.    Nathaniel knew that jesus knew his heart and believed that Jesus knew what was prayed under the tree. 

But this is the third day and they went to Cana for the wedding after this.  So this took place three days into Jesus ministry.  This is the first act of that ministry is to change water into wine.  Let’s examine that:

John 2:6-10 (NKJV)2:6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!"

So here is the miracle.  Jesus took six water pots.  These were used for ceremonial cleansing.  This water was used to purify the Jews in their rituals.  It represented the cleansing from sin.  So Jesus took these pots and this water meant for cleansing and changed it into wine.  Look at this:

Luke 22:20 (NKJV)22:20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.


This is the last supper.  Jesus took the cup of wine and offered it to the disciples. So the wine represents blood, which purifies.

Hebrews 9:22 (NKJV)9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

So on one level this miracle can speak to us about what happens in salvation.  The blood of Jsus cleanses and purifies us.  It’s interesting in ight of this as His mother tells Him about the problem he says, “Woman what does this have to do with me?  It’s not yet my time.”  The miracle of water to wine speaks to Hi s purification of us with His blood.  Additionally, if understood at the time it can identify Him as the Messiah.  So in effect he’s saying, I can’t do this yet, it’s not time for me to be revealed and it isn’t time to purify people from sin. 

Now that is how this miracle could convince Jewish believers of His being the Messiah, if they knew scripture and the significance of blood in their worship and purification.  It also speaks to us as believers.

But remember this is written so that gentile believers would be convinced of the deity of Jesus so let’s look at it again, in the context of the time:

In those days a wedding was a joyous event.  It was a weeklong feast of eating and drinking.  Running out of wine was a huge social faux pas.  It was the worst thing that could have happened.  This family was about to be humiliated. 

Look at this from one commentator:  To fail in providing adequately for the guests would involve social disgrace. In the closely knit communities of Jesus’ day such an error would never be forgotten, and would haunt the newly married couple all their lives.

So starting your marriage in this way would put a mark on you.  People would look down on you for the rest of your marriage.  Wine is also the symbol of Joy.  So to run out of wine would be to say that you have run out of joy.

So he takes the water of the ceremonial water pots and turns it into wine.  It shows Jesus concern for our well-being and happiness.  Jesus cares about us and our lives.  So, here is a man who has done a miracle.  He has changed the water into wine.  Only God can do those things.  But in this he demonstrates that he is a God who cares about His people.  This is what this miracle would speak to those who heard it.

But I have one last thought on this.  We are earthen vessels:

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NKJV)4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

God takes us as earthen vessels, made of clay or stone.  We have flaws and imperfections.  These were not the pots used to prepare food.  They weren’t the best vessels in the house and they are like we are.  In fact, they were the ones used for unclean things.  Who were you before salvation?  Were you flawed?  Were you imperfect?  Were you miserable?  And Jesus used these pots to put the symbol of Joy into. 

This is what makes salvation so sweet for me.  I was flawed, broken and miserable, but in salvation I found joy.  Jesus poured the Joy into me.  Just like he put the wine into the earthen vessels at the wedding.

1 Peter 1:8 (NKJV)1:8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

Study 2 - The Nobleman's Son

We’ve been studying the seven, “Miracles in the Book of John.”  The book of John is different than the other three synoptic Gospels.  Do you remember what we mean when we say the synoptic Gospel?  The word synoptic means a comprehensive view, from an eyewitness’s perspective.  It is there to create a record of events.  But John’s Gospel is not synoptic; it has a purpose beyond telling the story.  What is that purpose?  It was written so that we can believe.

So let’s look at our text for this study:

John 20:30-31 (NKJV)20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

So look at what this says.  Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples; this tells us that John chose these miracles for a specific purpose.  The purpose of the entire book is:  That you may believe that Jesus is the Christ.   So, there is something about these miracles or signs that will help us to believe that Jesus is the Christ. 

Today we want to look at the second miracle that’s mentioned:  The miracle of the healing of the of the official’s son in Capernaum.

John 4:46-50 (NKJV)4:46 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe." 49 The nobleman said to Him, "Sir, come down before my child dies!" 50 Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your son lives." So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.

John 4:51-54 (NKJV)51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, "Your son lives!" 52 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him." 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, "Your son lives." And he himself believed, and his whole household. 54 This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

Let’s look at these points:

  1. They were in Cana; where the first miracle was performed.
  2. Jesus commented, “Unless you people see signs and wonders you will by no means believe.”
  3. There was a certain nobleman – he was part of the royal government.
  4. The Man had faith. 
They were in Cana; where the first miracle was performed:

John 4:46 (NKJV)4:46 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.

Cana is in Galilee.  This is the area where Jesus came from.  He is in his own neighborhood, so to speak.  Cana is in Galilee and so is Nazareth. Look at what Andrew said upon hearing that the Messiah was from there:

John 1:46 (NKJV)1:46 And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."

So people from Nazareth and from Galilee were looked down upon.  Nothing good comes from there.  Things are inferior there.

It’s like China; China produces inexpensive products.  These are things that people can afford to buy.  They’re able to manufacture things at a lower cost so the products are less expensive in the store.  But there’s a problem; often the products are inferior.  They’re not well-built.  Corners are cut and materials are inferior so the product is inferior and people mock whenever something breaks quickly, “Made in China!”

This is how people looked at Nazareth, in fact, at all of Galilee.  Is anything that comes from there any good?  There is also this:

John 4:43-44 (NKJV)4:43 Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee. 44 For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.

Jesus went there specifically, because he knew that people there wouldn’t accept him as a prophet.  They knew Him.  They knew Him as a child. 

John 6:42 (NKJV)6:42 And they said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, 'I have come down from heaven'?"

They were jaded.  “We know this guy…we know His parents and now He tells us He was sent by God?”  They don’t believe him.

So He goes back into Galilee, His home country, and performs another miracle.  He’s saying There is more to this than you think.  This isn’t about me and what I can do as a Human being.  This is anointed this is from God. – That’s the statement He’s making.  You’re seeing me only as a person but there is more to this than me as a human being.

Look at John 3:3:

John 3:2 (NKJV)3:2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."

This is Nicodemus, he’s a Pharisee, part of the Sanhedrin and he tells Jesus…No one can do what you unless there is a supernatural dynamic at work:  Unless God is doing something through that person.  And that brings me to the second point:

Unless you people see signs and wonders you will by no means believe

Jesus is telling them that they will not accept Him as Messiah, unless they see signs and wonders.  He has gone back home to do these things, in order that people there would believe.  This is John’s central point in writing this book, so that people can believe.  Jesus is doing these things there so that they will believe. 

But Jesus does this in an interesting way doesn’t He?  He doesn’t do a miracle in front of everybody so that they can see it.  He heals the child with just a word, when the child is nowhere near Jesus:

John 4:50 (NKJV)4:50 Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your son lives." So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.

That’s it.  Go your way; he lives.  The boy wasn’t there so no one could see this powerful work.  He just assures the father – Go home, I’ve healed him.  Why do you think He would do it that way?  Why would Jesus just tell the man It’s already done?

Maybe He’s making a point about faith.  Can you believe for what you don’t see.  Look at the definition of faith from Hebrews 11:

Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

You can say that this way, too:  Faith is believing that what you hope for will take place, even though we can’t see any evidence that it will.  Abraham had that kind of faith when he followed God out into the desert and God promised him descendents and a land for them.  He had no evidence that it would happen.  In fact, he died about 800 years before it did happen.  But he believed and it was accounted to him as righteousness.

How many people come into our church because they have a need?  Lots and lots.  But what happens when they don’t see God move as fast as they think He should?  They leave.  They’re like these people unless they see signs and wonders they will by no means believe.  What if God is doing the same thing with you?  He’s saying to the nobleman, it is already done.  The promise is there, just go and see.  Nobody is seeing anything.  God has made certain promises to us, but you may not be seeing it right now. Can you be like the nobleman and go taking God at His word?

There was a Certain Nobleman – He was Part of the Government

John 4:46-47 (NKJV)4:46 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.

This man was a part of the government.  He was a royal official.  He worked for Herod.  But he came to Jesus because his son was dying.  He was desperate.  He needed something supernatural to take place in his son’s life.

Maybe he was feeling like this was a last chance.  He’d no doubt taken his son to physicians.  He was a government official, he could afford it, but nothing had happened and he needed a miracle.

So he came to Jesus and implored that word implore means to beg.  He’s begging Jesus to cure his son.  He’d heard what jesus had done in Judea and thought, “This is my chance.”

But I want to focus on implores for a moment.  He’s pleading with Jesus.  We often pray and walk away.  Okay God I said a prayer now let’s see what you will do.  We don’t implore God.  We don’t plead for mercy.  We pray and walk away.  Then we think things like God isn’t real, he didn’t answer my prayer.  Sometimes you have to contend for a miracle or a need to be met.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I prayed for a friend for 10 years before she got saved.  10 years.  I was pleading, I was contending for that miracle and finally I saw it.

I’ve had prophecies spoken over e that haven’t come to fruition yet.  18 years ago an evangelist spoke a prophecy over me.  But it hasn’t happened yet.  A couple of years ago another evangelist spoke the same prophecy, with more detail.  The exact same words, only with more detail.  It’s a reminder to me that God does things in his own time.  God told Abraham he would have descendants but it was 25 years before there was one.

The Man Had Faith

Jesus said, “it’s done” and the man left.  He simply believed.  When the servants came to him and said, “Your son is healed,” he asked the time of it and noted that it was when Jesus said it was done.

John wrote this book so that we could believe that Jesus is the Christ.  Jesus didn’t say anything fancy.  He didn’t cry out to the Father.  He just said Go it’s already done.
So here’s some questions for you:  Can you have the kind of faith this father did?  Can you believe God for a miracle, even though it seems like He’s not doing anything?  Can you believe God can do a miracle, even when you don’t see how God could do it? 

The people would believe unless they saw a sign.  The sign in this case was that it was done but they didn’t see anything.  That’s really how God moves.  Usually he uses everyday events to make it happen.  Sometimes we don’t even see Him working.  All we see is that it happens. 

With the nobleman, he didn’t know right away that it happened.  He started to go home and the servants came to find him to tell him.   Time lapsed between when the miracle was done and when he found out.  God may have moved in what you have cried out for already, but you’re just not aware yet.  Next time we’ll look at the third miracle, healing the Paralytic in Bethesda.



Study 3 - The Healing at Bethesda

Tonight we’re going to continue our series on the “Seven Miracles in the Book of John.”  Last week we discussed the healing of the Nobleman’s son.  Let’s review for a moment before we go on:

  1. Jesus didn’t heal the child in a way that was visible.  All He said was “Go your way your son lives.”  What point is Jesus trying to make with this?  He’s making a point about faith.  Can you believe for what you don’t see? 
  2. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for.  The evidence of things not seen.”  What is another way to say that? Faith is believing that what you hope for will take place, even though we can’t see any evidence that it will. What Biblical person had that kind of faith?  Abraham!
Okay so let’s move on.  The book of John was written for a reason.  What is the reason?  So that you can believe that Jesus is the Christ.

John 20:30-31 (NKJV)20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

And that’s the text for our study.  Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples ut in John’s mind these seven miracles will help you to believe that jesus is the Christ.  This book was written to gentile believers.  It’s not for the Jews as much as it is for the rest of us.  So these miracles say something about the fact that Jesus is God.

So let’s look at today’s miracle:

John 5:1-4 (NKJV)5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.

John 5:5-13 (NKJV)Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me." Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed." 11 He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'" 12 Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?" 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.

John 5:14-18 (NKJV)14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." 15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." 18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.


So here’s the background story here.  There is a pool in Jerusalem called Bethesda.  That word Bethesda is a Hebrew word that means, “House of Mercy.”  The reason it was called that is because, “an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.”  A simple act of mercy:  So many people would come down and sit by this pool.   In the hopes that they would be the first to enter the pool when the angel stirred the water.

There was one man who had been afflicted for 38 years.  He needed help to get into the water.  He’s apparently paralyzed and can only lay on his bed.  Jesus asks him if he wants to be healed and his answer is interesting:

He doesn’t say yes or no but says here are my excuses:  I have no one to help me.  There’s always some who’s faster.  He’s half-hearted

Half Heartedness:  He’s lost hope in getting healed.  Isn’t it interesting that he comes and lies by the pool but says, “there is no one to help me.”  I can’t do it because of my affliction.  I have met people like this often.  This is 38 years.  He sees no real way out.  He sees the water get stirred but it is like he’s lost the idea that it can happen for him.

People often get like that.  For 38 years he’s tried to get healed.  But every time he’s failed.  He believes it can happen, BUT NOT FOR HIM. 

We do that with a lot of things don’t we?  “I’ll never get a better job.  I don’t have the education.”  “I’ll never get married, I’m too ugly, or too fat or too something to get married.”  So what happens, we get half-hearted about it.  We go through the motions but we don’t really give it everything.  We don’t make a real effort to get out and find a job.  We just hope the job finds us.  Or we don’t make a real effort to be attractive to other people. Or even worse we sabotage ourselves.

Personally, I believe that’s why this guy offers excuses for why he doesn’t get healed.  He’s become half-hearted.  If it was me I’d put my cot right next to the water and when it stirred up I’d roll off of it and right into the pool.

Why is this important?  What about this is designed to help us to believe Jesus is the Christ? 

Remember he’s talking to gentiles.  People who spent so much of their lives in pagan worship.  Asking all kinds of gods for help.  But pagan gods are capricious. 

That word capricious means an inclination to do things impulsively.  In other words they might do something for you, because they feel like it, but not for me because they don’t feel like it.  So when you go to the idols for help it’s like gambling.  Throwing lots: or reading the numbers on the sticks for an answer to a problem.

Look at what Isaiah says about worshipping idols made of wood.

Isaiah 44:16-17 (NKJV)44:16 He burns half of it in the fire; With this half he eats meat; He roasts a roast, and is satisfied. He even warms himself and says, "Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire." 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, His carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, Prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!"

So this was their mindset.  You take something common and make it a god and worship it.  But what power is there in that object.  What can the wood do for you, besides warm you and make bread.  There is no real power in idolatry.  The gods we create are not God; they’re convenient for us to worship when we wan.  Look at Isaiah’s declaration in the Message paraphrase:

Isaiah 44:16-17 (MSG)44:16 With half he makes a fire to warm himself and barbecue his supper. He eats his fill and sits back satisfied with his stomach full and his feet warmed by the fire: "Ah, this is the life." 17 And he still has half left for a god, made to his personal design—a handy, convenient no-god to worship whenever so inclined. Whenever the need strikes him he prays to it, "Save me. You're my god."

This is what the gentiles did for their whole lives before finding Jesus.  The healing water of Bethesda can become and idol if it is where you have placed your trust.  The man by the pool spent 38 years trusting in the pool for healing.  There was no power there for him.

But then Jesus comes on the scene and says one sentence:  “Take up your bed and walk.”  He is immediately healed.  This is an illustration of God’s grace and mercy.  Notice the name of the place is “House of Mercy.”  Jesus is exercising mercy in the healing of this man.

He’s very different from the idols that had been worshipped by the gentiles.  He’s more than a teacher.  He’s more than a prophet; He has power.  He has the power of God.  Remember what Nicodemus said:

John 3:2 (NKJV)3:2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."

But in addition to that power, Jesus used mercy to act in healing this man; for the gentiles that must seem like enormous power.  He does it so simply.  He initiates the healing himself, instead of waiting for the man to ask and worship.  “Do you want to be made well?”

Finally, this was an act not only of compassion but courage.  Look at the reaction of the Pharisees in this:

John 5:14-18 (NKJV)14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." 15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." 18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

They wanted Him dead.  They were angry because by this act He declared himself to be God.  But what was the motivation of the act?  It was compassion.  He was willing to risk death for this man. 

How much easier would it be to believe that He willingly went to the cross to suffer and die for their sins?  That, in obedience, He went to the cross to release us from that suffering that comes from sin. 

So, in this one act Jesus shows them:

  1. The weakness of idols.
  2. The power of God.
  3. The mercy, love and compassion of God.
  4. The willingness to die for others.


Can you imagine the impact that would have on someone who has believed in idols all their lives and never received the help they hoped for?  And here’s Jesus in one moment demonstrating the mercy and compassion of God.  He’s done something powerful and opened their eyes, so that they may be able to believe that He is the Christ.  

Study 4 - Feeding the 5,000

Okay, so tonight we’re continuing our study on the “Seven Miracles in the Book of John.”  We’ve looked at the water being turned into wine.  We’ve looked at the healing of the Nobleman’s son; and we’ve looked at the miracle in Bethesda.  Today we’re going to examine the Feeding of the 5,000.

The entire book was written to gentile believers:  Those that had come from life-long worship of pagan gods. 

What difference between pagan gods and Jesus was pointed out in this miracle?  The pagan gods were capricious. They may do something for this one or that one at their whim.  But that Jesus was motivated by compassion and concern.  It was about your need not his prerogatives.

So let’s move on…this book was written so that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ.

John 20:30-31 (NKJV)20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

John only highlights seven of the miracles that Jesus did in his ministry in this book.  These miracles are given to bring you to the belief that Jesus is the Christ.  And that believing in Him you may have life.

John 6:5-9 (NKJV)6:5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little." One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"

John 6:10-14 (NKJV)10 Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down."Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."

So let’s examine this miracle for what it says to us about Jesus.   

The first thing we see is the faith of the apostles.  Jesus says to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread to feed all of these?”   Philip can’t believe that.  “What we only have 200 denarii, it’s not enough to feed all of these.  It can’t be done. 

They’re looking for worldly solutions aren’t they?  There’s no way.  We don’t have enough money.  There are too many people.  Where am I supposed to find a bakery?  It can’t be done. It’s impossible.  There’s not enough.  You can almost hear the panic there.

Andrew says, “There’s a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what good is that among so many?”  We can’t feed this many people with what we have.  It can’t be done. 

They’ve seen Jesus turn water into wine.  They’ve seen Jesus heal the Nobleman’s son with just a word.  They’ve seen the healing at Bethesda…but they don’t think yet that Jesus can feed these people.  They’re faith is weak, right?  They don’t have big faith do they?  We think it’s necessary to have a lot of faith:  That we always have to be fully engaged in faith.  We think it’s wrong to struggle a bit with faith.  If you read Hebrews Chapter 11, you read about the Hall of Fame of Faith but look:

Hebrews 11:8 (NKJV)11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

But what about when Abraham was in Egypt and said to Sarai, “Tell them you’re my sister so they don’t kill me.”  Where was that faith?

Hebrews 11:11 (NKJV)11:11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.

But what about when the Angel of the Lord told her that she would have a baby next year, and she began to laugh?

Hebrews 11:23-26 (NKJV)11:23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command. 24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

But what about when God called him to the burning bush and said he was going to send him to deliver Israel.  His first response was basically, “Why me?  Why not someone else…anyone else.”

These are the ones famous in the Bible for their faith but they had no more faith than Philip and Andrew.  They had no more faith than you and I.  Small faith is not a barrier for God:

Matthew 17:20 (NKJV)17:20 So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

If you have faith as a mustard seed.  Have you ever seen a mustard seed?  Are they big?  Are they the size of a baseball or bigger?  No they’re tiny.  To move a mountain it only takes mustard seed sized faith.

So now look at this miracle again.  What does Jesus do to make this happen?  He gives thanks.  He acts in His own faith.  He looks out and sees this huge crowd and thanks God for feeding them…before he feeds them.  He is acting as if the needed thing has already been done.

What does your faith look like?  When you are praying for God to move in your life.  Are you praying with worry and panic?  Oh, God please move here, we need this we need It bad.  Or are you praying like it’s already happened.  Look at this prayer of Jesus:

John 11:41-42 (NKJV)11:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me."

This is a prayer of faith, isn’t it?  “I thank you that you have heard me.”  He hasn’t even prayed yet!

So how does this help someone who is a gentile?  We talked about this last week.  They had grown up with idols.  They are seeing first hand, right now, that needs can be met through faith.  They can have faith that God will move on their behalf.  They can have faith that God will hear them and respond.

Secondly, what’s different about this miracle than the others we’ve seen?  This miracle is a creative miracle.  He made enough food to feed 5,000 men plus women and children from the lunch of a boy.  He created food for all of them.

John is putting Jesus into the place of creator, here.  He mentioned it once before in John 1:3:

John 1:1-3 (NKJV)1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

He has spoken it.  All things were made through Him.  Bu t what this miracle is, is a practical demonstration of that.  He created fish and bread out of thin air.  He’s a creator.  You can see that here.  If you saw this miracle you could no longer deny that Jesus had creative power.  He was man, but He was also God.

He’s a God that could create things out of thin air to meet needs.  What is really interesting here is this:

John 6:12-14 (NKJV)12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."

He not only met the need, but also met it with abundance.  There was more than enough:  12 baskets more than enough.  God is not a stingy God.  He gives abundantly:

John 10:10 (NKJV)10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

This isn’t about riches and God making us all millionaires.  This is about God meeting your needs.

People start to have the faith to tithe and what happens?  They begin to have more money.  It just happens.  They get a better job.  They get a raise.  Or like us the money just suddenly begins to go further.  Recently my pension was cut by 1/3 – 33%. But we haven’t felt the affects of that.  All of our bills are paid and we just continue on.

God will meet needs and life is abundant, because God is an abundant God.

Finally, I want to look at one last thing with regard to the 12 baskets being left over.  Look at verse 12 again:

John 6:12 (NKJV)12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost."

He wants nothing lost.  He is the same with us look at these scriptures:

2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

The desire is that none will be lost.  The bread represents in the baskets represents people.  Jesus wants all people to be gathered in.  He doesn’t want to lose any of them.  He created them and he wants to keep them. 

What a wonderful declaration of the love of the creator for his creation.  How different it must have seemed to these gentile believers than what they had grown up believing.  The gods, the idols none of them had creative power.  None of them cared about the people who served them.  But here’s Jesus:

1st He moves in compassion.
2nd He creatively feed the people
3rd He cares that none are lost.

Next week we’ll look at the next miracle:  Jesus' walk on water in John 6:16-24.


Study 5 - Walking on Water

We’ve been studying the Seven Miracles in the Book of John.  Last week we studied Feeding of the 5,000.  This week we will focus on Jesus’ walk on the water.  First a little review:

  1. Hebrews 11 talks about the most faithful people in the Bible.  We mentioned Abraham, Sarah and Moses.  What problems did they have with faith?  Abraham – Tell them you’re my sister:  Sarah – She laughed at the Angel of the Lord:  Moses – Didn’t want to attempt to deliver Israel from Egypt.
  2. In order to be a Hero of the Faith what kind of faith do you need to have?  Mustard Seed faith

So let’s begin the study for today.  The Book of John was written so that gentile believers would believe that Jesus is the Christ.

John 20:30-31 (NKJV)20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

As we have said every time John only highlights seven miracles out of all the miracles Jesus did, because he thought these would have the greatest affect on the gentile believers.

So today we’re going to focus on the fifth of these miracles: Jesus’ walk on the Water.  So let’s look at our text:

John 6:16-21 (NKJV)6:16 Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. 18 Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. 19 So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. 20 But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." 21 Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

This is taking place immediately after the feeding of the 5,000 men.  Jesus told the disciples to get into the boat and go to the other side.  He had gone back up the mountain to pray.  The disciples left and began to go to the other side of the sea.  In the midst of the sea a storm arose because of the wind.

I think this is an interesting moment in scripture.  The disciples are engaged in rowing to get across the lake.  And a great storm blows up as they are rowing to get across.

This is an interesting picture of our lives isn’t it.  How often does it feel like what you’re going through is a storm?  There’s the feeling of a lack of control, there’s the fear and anxiety, the confusion of the storm.  You’re straining and fighting the best you can but what is your strength compared to the power of a storm.  The apostles are toiling at rowing; they’re fighting it out.  They’re depending on their strength to maintain direction in the midst of this storm.  That’s the predicament we find ourselves in when things go wrong in our finances, our marriages, at our job and in our families.  Have you ever heard the expression, “I’m trying to keep my head above water.”  We feel like we could sink at any moment.  If you ever find yourself in a storm in a small boat you will recognize that emotion.

Have you ever had a storm blow up into your life?  You’re working.  You’re trying to provide for your family.  Maybe sickness hits.  Cancer!  Maybe there’s a car accident.  You can’t work because of your injuries.  Maybe you get laid off or fired from your job.  All kinds of things happen in life don’t they?  There’s a huge struggle that you face a storm has blown up in your life.  And you feel alone.  It’s just me and I have to handle it.

It is when we are caught up in these storms that well up in our lives that we lose direction.  Have you ever noticed that it is much easier to believe God and to trust in God when things are going well?  It is when things go wrong that fear and doubt overtake us.  That’s when we begin to doubt God and his promises.  We begin to struggle with the question, “Why has God forsaken me?”  People backslide in these kinds of “wilderness experiences.”   And yet it is also in the midst of these circumstances and storms when Jesus comes to us.  Think about the moment you repented and gave yourself to Jesus.  Was it while things were going well in life, or had all hell broken loose? 

This is what gentiles would face.  They’ve only known the Pagan gods.  Remember what we said about the pagan gods?  They’re ___________ .  They act on a whim.  I feel like helping you today.  But when a problem would come up in life they were alone.

So here are the disciples, they’re fighting for their lives.  Look at the companion scripture:

Mark 6:48 (NKJV)6:48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.

They are straining at rowing.  They’re fighting the sea.  This is a crisis for them.  They were working to keep the boat afloat.  No doubt they were afraid.  But from this scripture we see why Jesus wet to them.  He saw the trouble they were in He was watching. 

John doesn’t mention Jesus concern.  He has already dealt with that in the feeding of the 5,000 and the healing of the man at Bethesda.  But he dies say something else:  What is he saying with this story?  Jesus will be with you in the midst of trial and storms in your life.

Jesus came to them.  He didn’t leave them alone as they struggled against the storm.  He was there for them.  This is a powerful revelation for someone who has never had a God that was there for him or her.  But this is who God is.  This is who Jesus is:

Psalms 34:17 (NKJV)34:17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.

What I think is interesting here is that they didn’t recognize Him:

John 6:19-20 (NKJV)6:19 So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. 20 But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid."

Matthew 14:26 (NKJV)
26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

Sometimes when He’s working in our lives, when He’s doing something to build our character or our faith, we don’t recognize that it’s him.  How many times has something gone wrong in your life and you said, “The devil is attacking me?”  How do you know it’s the devil and not Jesus trying to bring about some change in your life?

He let them go out there on their own.  He didn’t come to them immediately.  They struggled for three or four miles in the storm.

John 6:19-20 (NKJV)6:19 So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. 20 But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid."

I used to sail, sailboats.  And the boat I sailed, would max speed at about 8 knots = 9.2 miles per hour.  This is under sail, sailing close to the wind and perfectly trimmed.  This is not rowing against a wind in the midst of a storm.  These men were fighting this storm for a while.  Another scripture says about the fourth watch this is about 8 hours.  It is early in the morning. They’ve been in this storm for a while before Jesus comes to them.

How does God change us?  Is character built during times of crisis or times of blessing?  Many years ago I worked at a vocational training facility for mentally challenged people.  There were many times when I felt that I needed more patience.  The people that worked there had been pampered; they’d never had to do anything they didn’t want to do.  But a job isn’t like that; often you have to what you don’t feel like doing.  So I began to rpay for patience and guess how God taught me patience.  He brought every circumstance where it would require patience on my part before me.  I learned to be patient by going through a lot of situations where I had to be patient.  That’s how God works.

We learn character not through blessing but through trial.  We are refined like silver or gold.  Gold and silver are made pure by going through extreme heat so the impurities can float to the top and be scraped off:  So many times when we’re going through it the devil isn’t attacking us, God’s refining us.  We don’t even recognize his hand on us, and the fear and doubt overtake us. 

Finally this happened:

John 6:21 (NKJV)6:21 Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

Immediately they were out of the storm and safely at their destination.  Jesus has the power to eliminate the trouble in your life.  He can take you through the storm….and He desire to do that.  He has the power to deliver.

My life is a testimony to Jesus’ power to deliver us.  I’ve shared that testimony a number of times.  But I can tell you straight out.  Jesus, literally, saved my life.  Just like He literally saved the lives of these men.  He brought them through the storm.  He will bring you through the storm as well.

The leson to the gentile believers is that they can trust Jesus in the crisis moments of their lives.  That He’ll be there for them.  That he will help them in their times of need.

Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


This is the message to these gentile believers.  There is a God who WILL help.  Who is faithful to deliver.  You can find Him beside you in the middle of struggle and deliverance will come through Him.

Study 6 - Healing the Man Born Blind

We have been studying the “Seven Miracles in the Book of John.”  But it’s been about three weeks since our last meeting.  So I want to take a few minutes to go over what we were working on:

The Book of John was written to Gentile believers.  The plan behind the book was to give them information in order to believe that Jesus is the Christ:

John 20:30-31 (NKJV)20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

So John included only seven miracles out of all the miracles that Jesus did.  He chose those miracles because they would speak to something in the Gentile mind about whom Jesus is. 

We’ve examined:

The Water into Wine in John Chapter 2
The Healing of the Official’s son in John Chapter 4
Healing the Paralytic at Bethesda in John Chapter 5
Feeding the 5000 in John Chapter 6
Jesus’ walk on Water, also in John Chapter 6

So that puts us in John Chapter 9 and today we will study the healing of the man that was born blind:

John 9:1-7 (NKJV)9:1 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.

So let’s look at this and break it down.  Jesus comes across this man that has been blind from birth.  There is an assumption made on the part of the disciples that this man is blind because of sin; either his own or his parents.  So they ask Jesus which it is.  In those days they assumed that all congenital (from birth) was the result of sin.  This is interesting, because there has to be an assumption made that either the parents sinned OR the child sinned in the womb.  The rabbis believed that a child could sin in the womb.

A part of the pagan beliefs at the time was reincarnation.  So the pagans would assume that the blindness was a result of something they did in their last incarnation. But look at what Jesus says:

John 9:3-4 (NKJV)9:3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.

Jesus says that there is no sin, but that God has purpose for this man’s blindness.  This kind of thing is very powerful for me.  God has a plan that is revealed only in its time.  This man was born blind specifically for THIS encounter with Jesus, so that the power of God can be revealed. 

How many things does God orchestrate in life.  I got an email recently, let me share the quote with you;

God is moving for you:  "The Invisible Hand of God's Providence."   Definition: the care; guardianship; preparation in advance of a deity.  That's Who held Israel's future deliverer...using the hand-made ark & the gentle, quiet, lapping waves of the Nile river...keeping lil Moses from fear & crying out...keeping Moses safe & sound.  And Moses, of course, never knowing it:  God's Sovereignty; God At Work.  Ah Yes...some rest for the troubled, over-worked mind.

Think about what that says for a moment.  God prepared for the deliverance of Israel 80 years before it happened.  He protected the child.  He caused him to reared in Pharaoh’s house, where he would receive the education to lead a nation.  It is the same thing in our text.  God has a purpose for this encounter between Jesus and the Blind man that he has prepared for many years ahead. 

I would bet that if you looked at your own life you can find some instance of God moving in your life when you had no idea that God was moving for you.  Something was being prepared in you or for you that will allow God’s purposes to play out.  That’s what’s happening right here.  God is moving in a way that Jesus can encounter this man and heal him and open the door to Gentile believers through this miracle.  John is able to include this miracle in this book because of God’s moving so many years before.  This is the “invisible hand of providence” for the gentiles.

Jesus says that He must work the works of God while it is still day.  His purpose is to bring about the purposes of God.  His task is to move God’s work forward in the lives of people.  Look at this:

Luke 2:49 (NKJV)2:49 And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"

This is an example of Jesus being about His Father’s business.  When they found Him in the temple and he said this, they didn’t understand.  But this is a perfect example of exactly what He was talking about.  He is moving God’s agenda forward.

He also says there will come a time when that will not be possible.  There will come a time when “no one can work.” 

He uses the analogy of night.  I must do the works of Him whom sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.  This goes to a time before electricity.  When it got dark no one could work.  They would stop and wait for the light of the day.  But look at what He says next:

 John 9:5 (NKJV)9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

While Jesus is in the world He is the light of the world.  He is the day, when work can be done.  He is the light that brings clarity, purpose and the ability to do things.  But after He is gone comes the darkness:  The blindness that comes with night.  It’s just harder to see at night.  It’s easier to be confused at night.  When Jesus left then darkness once again descended on mankind.

John 1:4-5 (NKJV)1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Jesus was the light.  In the first Chapter, John describes John the Baptist like this:

John 1:8-9 (NKJV)1:8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

J the B was sent to bear witness of the light of the world; the true light, which gives light to every man coming into the world.  Jesus is still the light of the world.  But that light is in us as Christians.  If we have Jesus in us we have the light of the world in us.  It’s like carrying daytime around with us.  We can work the works of God because for us it is still day.  But other people are in the darkness.  They are caught up in false religion.  They’re bound up by sin and often don’t even recognize that It IS sin.  There’s confusion and blindness because the light of the world isn’t there for them.  We have the light of the world so we must be busy doing the work of God while it is light:  Bringing daytime to those who are perishing.

  1. So Now how does this apply to gentile believers:

This application the Gentiles comes through this:

We’re blind without Jesus.  We are lost in the darkness without Him.  Look at John 1:4-5.

John 1:4-5 (NKJV)1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

When in the darkness and we see Jesus we don’t understand it.  Look at the world today.  Why are we so hesitant sometimes to witness or preach to our family and friends, or co-workers and fellow students, or even strangers?  Because they will not understand what we’re trying to say and misinterpret our intentions and even possible become angry.  The problem is that when we bring the light of the world into their darkness the world doesn’t understand it. 

It’s like a man born blind.  He has never seen Jesus.  He’s never seen the miracles.  He doesn’t understand what’s going on.  Just like him, we are blind when we haven’t experienced Jesus’ power.  The gentiles are lost in this kind of blindness and darkness.

John 9:1 (NKJV)9:1 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.

But Jesus has found this man.  Jesus came to him.  He’s come to Him to show the works of God.  He’s come to Him to demonstrate the power of God. 

John 15:16 (NKJV)15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

Jesus chose this man to heal.  Jesus has brought this man out of the darkness and confusion of blindness.  Jesus found you didn’t he?  How many of you were looking for Jesus when you got saved.  How many said “I don’t know who Jesus really is, but I want to give myself to Him”?  Not many.  Jesus found you.  Jesus came to you with the power to heal and to repair your life.  This blind man is forever changed.  He will always have the clarity that comes with being able to see.  When Jesus CHOSE him, He changed this man’s life forever.

How does Jesus heal him?

John 9:6 (NKJV)9:6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.

Jesus touches him.  He makes a paste with the mud and some spit and touches his eyes.  Jesus has to touch us in a spiritual way to bring about vision.  Without Jesus’ touch we are blind.  He must touches in order for the truth to be revealed.  It’s through his touch thatwe have a revelation of who he is.  I’m sure that this blind man, even though he never saw Jesus had a revelation of whom He was. 

Jesus told Him to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam.  When he did that was when he was able to see.  Jesus wasn’t there at the time.

The blind man being sent to the Pool to wash shows us that our obedience is necessary to revelation.  God can’t reveal anything to us if we refuse to take steps to see it.  You don’t hear from God if you don’t attend church.  You don’t see the miracles Jesus is capable of, if you don’t read the Bible.  You are unable to prove the truth of God’s faithfulness if you don’t pray and petition God.  You won’t understand God’s power to change lives if you don’t go respond to God’s calling to preach the Gospel to all creatures.

Finally, the disciples are concerned about who it was that sinned.  Who did the deed that left him blind from birth?

John 9:2 (NKJV)9:2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

But it isn’t a question of who sinned.  For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.  All have sinned.  The point is that if Jesus hasn’t touched you you’re still blind.


Next week the last miracle:  Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead:  John 11:1-45

Study 7 - Raising the Dead


This is the last part of our study on “The Seven Miracles in the Book of John.”  This book was written to Gentile believers.  Who can remember the purpose of this book?  Why was it written to them and since we are Gentiles what can it speak into our lives?

John 20:30-31 (NKJV)20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

So,  last week we studied the story of the man blind from birth that was healed by Jesus.  Let’s review that for a moment:

  1. The disciples asked who had sinned, the man or his parents, but Jesus answered and said what about the purpose of the blindness?  So the power of God can be revealed.
  2. In the study last week what was the significance of Moses?  We used him as an example of what?  How God prepares for His will to be played out.
Let’s look at our text for tonight:

John 11:30-37 (NKJV)11:30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, "She is going to the tomb to weep there." 32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died." 33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!" 37 And some of them said, "Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?"

John 11:38-44 (NKJV)38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days." 40 Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me." 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."


Tonight, we’re going to look at the last miracle.  Jesus’ friend Lazarus has become sick and died.  Jesus has intentionally waited. 

John 11:3-7 (NKJV)11:3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."

So Jesus has waited again.  Once again we see God using illness and disability as a revelation of God’s plan.  Look at the words Jesus says:

"This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."

So, once again, this is the plan of God being brought to fruition.  This is going to be used to “glorify” the Son of Man.  But Lazarus died.

John 11:13-15 (NKJV)11:13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him."

This is the plan; we can see that at this moment Jesus knows that He will raise Lazarus from the dead.  He intentionally waited two more days and then left for Judea. 

John 11:11 (NKJV)11:11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up."

At this moment the disciples misunderstood Jesus, telling him that Lazarus needs sleep to get well.  But Jesus wasn’t talking about rest; he was talking about death.  So he goes to Martha and Mary and finds Lazarus has already died.  He knew that’s what He would find.  So let’s look at what happens:

John 11:17 (NKJV)11:17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.

Martha meets Jesus on the way into town.  She is overcome with grief.  She tells Jesus that if he had been there he could have healed Lazarus.  But now that he’s there she knows that God will do for Jesus what He asks.

John 11:23-26 (NKJV)11:23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24 Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

He’s telling her that we will have eternal life if we believe in Him:  That we will rise on the last day, resurrected.  Mary tells Him she knows that there will be a resurrection on the last day.  But in her grief it’s not much comfort because she misses him now.  How long before she will see him again?

John 11:23-26 (NKJV)11:23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24 Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

This is the demonstration of the power that Jesus has.  He tells her I am the resurrection and the life.  Then He does just what He was saying and raised Lazarus from the dead.  He did it in front of witnesses:  Martha, Mary and the others who came to help them mourn for their brother.  In fact look at what He says:

John 11:41-42 (NKJV)11:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me."

That’s a synopsis of the miracle.  That’s what happened, in a practical sense.  This is the nuts and bolts of the miracle.  But why did John include this?  What did he think that this is one of the things that would convince Gentiles that Jesus is the Christ?  Let’s look at the story from a little different perspective.

This story is a picture of salvation.  Look at this:

First of all we are dead in sin, prior to Salvation.  Like Lazarus we’re dead.  When we’re in sin there is no eternal life.  We are as good as dead. 

Romans 6:23 (NKJV)6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

But the gift of God is eternal life.  Through repentance and a willingness to believe Jesus we can be resurrected from the death of sin to eternal life. It is all predicated on faith:

John 3:14-15 (NKJV)3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Israelites were being bitten and killed by serpents in the wilderness.  Moses was told by God to make a brass serpent and raise it up on a pole and all that saw it were saved.  It was a matter of faith.  You had to believe that you world be saved.

Numbers 21:8-9 (NKJV)21:8 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Lazarus being bound in grave clothes is a picture of us being bound in sin and death.  But Jesus came to him and called to Him.  Jesus has the authority over death:

Revelation 1:18 (NKJV)1:18 am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

He has the keys to Hell and death.

John 5:25-29 (NKJV)5:25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

The story of Lazarus is an illustrated sermon of these words.  He calls to him and Lazarus comes forth from death.  All who are in graves will here His voice.  That means you and I as well.  And we can see He has the power to raise the dead as He has raised Lazarus.  There will come a time when we are called from the grave.

Finally, Lazarus comes from the grave and he is released from the bindings.  He has been set free from sin.

So to recap:

  1. He is bound in sin and death:  The grave clothes and death in tomb.
  2. Jesus calls him out of the grave:  He has power over death.
  3. Lazarus emerges from the grave:  A picture of the resurrection
  4. He is unbound and set free.

1 Peter 1:3 (NKJV)1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

There is one last thing I want to comment on:

Jesus comes to the grave and He is disturbed.  The Bible says He groaned within Himself.  He’s feeling the suffering of those who are mourning.  But I think there’s more to it than that.  The problem is that he cans see their lack of faith.

John 11:32-33 (NKJV)11:32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died." 33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.

Where is her faith in the resurrection?  As Christians how do we feel when someone dies.  On the one hand we’re going to miss them but on the other hand if they’re saved then we will see them again.  It isn’t a final end.

Then there’s this:

John 11:38-40 (NKJV)11:38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days." 40 Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?"

Did I not tell you that he would rise?  Don’t you believe what I tell you?  Where is your faith?

It says that when Jesus came to grave he wept.  Look at this section:

John 11:33-35 (NKJV)11:33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept.

Look at this passage in another version of the Bible:

Then Jesus, when He saw her weeping audibly and the Jews who had come with her, weeping audibly, was moved with indignation in His spirit, and deeply troubled himself, and said, Where have you laid him? They say to Him, Lord, be coming and see. Jesus burst into tears and wept silently

He wept, but what was He weeping for?  Because Lazarus was dead?  He knew what He had come there to do.  He wasn’t weeping for Lazarus He was weeping for the others and their lack of faith.  there was one other time where we read about Jesus weeping.

Luke 19:41-42 (NKJV)19:41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

He weeping because they missed the day of their visitation.  They wanted to make Him a political leader, but that wasn’t His purpose.

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