COMMENTARY ON JOHN 6

The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!

In John 6, Jesus heals, performs two miracles (acts that defy scientific explanation), declares the first “I AM” statement of the Book of John (which I will explain shortly), and speaks truth to the people, the Jewish leaders, and His disciples. And Peter makes a declaration that Jesus is God the Son.

Verses 1-4 — Jesus went from one side of the Sea of Galilee to the other. Large crowds followed Him because He was healing the sick. He went up to the mountain, sat down with the Twelve, and taught. It was almost Passover.

Verses 5-6 — Jesus tested the Twelve, asking, “Where are we to buy bread to feed the crowds?” He already knew what He was about to do.

Verses 7-8 — Philip said 200 days’ wages would not be sufficient to give even a little to feed such a large crowd. But Andrew said there was a boy who had five loaves and two fish (probably the boy’s lunch).

Verses 9-15 — Jesus commanded the 5,000 (probably 10,000 including women and children) to sit down in the grass. He took the loaves and the fish, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated (His disciples fanned out with the continual supply of bread and fish). It was true miracle — enough for probably 10,000 from just five loaves and two fish! And there were twelve baskets full of fragments of bread left over. And everyone’s belly was filled — not just a taste, but their hunger completely satisfied.

I tell you, He is the God of more than enough (a limitless supply of all that you need). He is a Multiplier, taking a little and making it much. He takes the little that we were before we knew Him, makes us children of God and makes us co-heirs with Christ. He is a Creator who creates what is lacking (in us). He will completely satisfy the hunger God put in your heart, to know Him. Think on these things. Apply them to your heart. Believe Him. I surely know He did it in me!

So the people declared Him to be the Prophet spoken of by Moses (see Deuteronomy 18:15). They had in their minds to take Him by force to be their king. Jesus knew, withdrew and went to the mountain, alone. They did not yet understand that His kingdom is not of this world.

Verses 16-19 — This account is also found in Matthew 14 and Mark 6:45ff, with additional details. Like all of the Old and New Testament, each account is Holy Spirit-inspired (2Timothy 3:16). But the Holy Spirit inspired John to write his account in just this way.

It was evening. Darkness had settled in. Jesus was on the mountain. His disciples went down to the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had not come to them, so they got into a boat and started across the sea, to return to Capernaum. There was a strong wind, the sea was stirred (it began to rise up). They rowed quite a distance — three or four miles.

Suddenly, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near. It was another miracle, defying the laws of nature and science! They were frightened, thinking it was a ghost, per Matthew’s and Mark’s account.

I tell you, Jesus will miraculously draw near you, when you are in darkness, in a storm. and unable to make headway. He will suddenly appear. What will He do?

Verse 20 — He will tell you, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Actually, in the original Greek, He said, “I AM. Do not be afraid.” What does “I AM” mean? “I AM God the Son, I AM that I AM. I am He” (see Exodus 3:14)!

This One who walked on water will rescue them, because He is the One who created the sea and the land. Any time Jesus says, I AM, it is to communicate to the people of Israel and to us that Jesus is deity, God the Son.

Verse 21 — And as soon as you let Him into your boat (your circumstances), you will immediately reach your destination. The other gospel accounts say He calmed the sea. But more than that, John shows us that He transcended time and space, to get them to their destination IMMEDIATELY. Is anything too difficult for God? That’s a rhetorical question, if I ever heard one! All things are possible, if we will believe (Mark 9:23). When we believe, He will show us that He is true to His Word.

Verse 22-25 — The crowd was perplexed. There was only one boat, the one the disciples took. And yet Jesus was on the other shore with them. How did that happen? Soon, other boats came to the place where Jesus had fed the 5,000. They all went across to Capernaum. When they reached Him, they asked, “Rabbi, how did you get here?”

Verse 26 — When crowds (or you or I) ask Jesus a question, He doesn’t always answer the way they expect. Jesus didn’t say, “I walked on the water, calmed the storm, and immediately transcended time and space to get them to their destination immediately.”

Jesus said, “Truly, truly.” Another great truth! You don’t seek Me because of the miracles that only God can do, that demonstrate that I am God the Son. You just want more food.” Are you seeking God’s hand, so He will do things for you to make your life better, or are you seeking His presence, to know Him in a holy and intimate way?

Verse 27 — So He corrected them. They were hurrying to get more natural bread to feed their bellies. Natural bread will mold. But He had a different kind of food — eternal food that leads to eternal life. He, the Son of Man, would provide it, because upon Him, God had set His seal. The miracles He had performed were the evidence of the Father’s approval of Him.

Verses 28-29 — What shall we do so we may work the works of God? They finally recognized that what Jesus had done was a “God work.” They wanted to do the same. What was their motive? I wonder, did they want to be able to create their own bread for their bellies? Do we do that? Think about it. Why do you want to be able to do what Jesus did? Money? Fame? Or to glorify God and win souls to Christ?

What is the work of God? To believe in Jesus Christ, whom the Father sent. That’s it. You can’t get to heaven by doing good works. But if you believe in Jesus Christ, you will be saved, and when you are filled with Him, you will do what He did when He walked the earth, and even greater (John 14:12), and many will come to Him, through you!

Verses 30-31 — The crowd didn’t get it. If they were to believe in Jesus, they needed to see a work, a miracle, a sign. But they had already received a sign, and eaten the results of the sign. The crowd spoke of their fathers, the ones who ate the manna provided by God during their 40 years in the desert. Why were they in the desert 40 years? Because they didn’t believe God could give them the Promised Land. But He kept them for those 40 years, feeding them manna and giving them water from rocks. Miracle after miracle!

Some in the crowd quoted Exodus 16:4. They knew the Scripture, but could not see God the Son, who was sent from heaven by God the Father.

Verses 32-34 — Truly, truly. Another great truth! You think Moses gave you that bread, but it was God — the same God that now gives you the true bread of heaven, which came down out of heaven. But like the woman at the well, they still didn’t quite see. Always give us this bread (that fills our bellies), they said.

Verses 35-37 — This is the first of what are called the “I AM” statements of Christ in the Book of John. Again, any time He identified Himself as I AM, He was saying “I AM God the Son.” He said He is the Bread of Life, the source of eternal life, life as God has it, here and now, and in heaven.

If you come to Him, it will be just as He said of His living water in John 4. When you eat and drink of Him, you will never hunger or thirst again. His food is a continual resource, not for the stomach, but for the human soul, to put His eternal life inside of you!

They have seen Him, they have seen His “God works,” but they don’t believe. Why? The Father had not given them to Him. Their hearts had not been opened by the Father to receive Jesus. That has to happen first.

The Father must first open your heart. Then you will come to Christ, and He will not cast you out of His presence. A comforting thought!

But it is possible for you to choose to turn away from Him. He never takes away our free will. In Revelation 3:5, Jesus Christ says He is able to erase your name from the Book of Life. Your salvation is assured, as long as you remain with Him. But if you leave, you lose it. Many argue about this truth. But it is the truth.

Verses 38-40 — This is the will of God the Father — that Jesus come down from heaven. By coming down, He obeyed His Father, thus doing God’s will. Jesus does not do His own will, but only God’s will (Psalm 40:7). If He has filled us with His Spirit, we will be the same.

This is the will of God the Father — that Jesus not lose anyone whose heart the Father has opened up to receive Jesus.

This is the will of God the Father — that everyone who looks intently at God the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life. Jesus Himself will raise up their mortal bodies on the last day, at the end of things. When we die, though, our spirits go directly to Him (2Corinthians 5:8).

Verses 41-42 — The Jewish elite were grumbling (murmuring) at this point. They were upset and filled with unbelief. Once again, He was referring to Himself as the Son, making Himself equal with God. And He was saying that He came down out of heaven. But they knew Him as Jesus, the son of Mary and Joseph. Who does He think He is, saying that He came down from heaven? He was born just like us.

Verses 43-45 — He said, “Do not grumble among yourselves.” The Father draws the ones who come to Jesus, and Jesus will raise them up on the last day. He quoted Jeremiah 31:34, which says God teaches men and women. Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Jesus.

So, coming to Christ isn’t a decision we make. We hear the voice of God the Father in His Word, He teaches us and draws us to the Son, and then the Son receives us.

That’s exactly how it happened for me. The Father drew me to Christ, not my friend, Debbie, though she did invite me to come to her church building. And it was He who opened my heart to receive His Word. And it was through that process that I was saved. That way, no human can boast in the number of salvations that were done through their ministry. Ahem. Are you listening, evangelists?

Verses 46-47 — We are drawn by the Father, but no one — even now — has seen Him this side of heaven. But Jesus was sent by God the Father. Therefore, He has seen God the Father.

Truly, truly. Another great truth. He who believes in Jesus Christ has eternal life.

Verses 48-51 — Jesus repeated, I AM  God the Son. I AM the bread of life (v. 35), the Source of this eternal life that will continually supply every spiritual need in you.

The manna your fathers ate in the desert did not give you eternal life. They died.

But I am the bread sent from heaven, and if you eat of it, you won’t die. What? He meant that though our bodies (earthly tents) will age and fall away, we will have eternal life, a building from God, a house not made with human hands, an eternal house in heaven. But you have to eat of it. You have to take Him into yourself.

Again He repeated, I am the I AM. I am the living bread, the bread that gives eternal life to whoever eats it. And the living bread that I give is My flesh. I freely give and offer my flesh so that whoever in this world believes in Me will have eternal life.

Verses 52-58 — The Jewish elite were repulsed. By what? It is against God’s law to eat human flesh. Horrors! How can Jesus say that? How can He do that? They began to argue about it, with each other.

Now Jesus explains the spiritual significance of the Lord’s Supper (see Matthew 26:26ff). When you take it, you spiritually take Christ in. The bread is not Christ’s actual body, but it represents Him. The juice or wine is not His actual blood, but it represents Him.

There are some that just take the Lord’s Supper because it is given, but if you know what you are doing when you eat the bread and drink the juice or wine, you demonstrate that you have God’s eternal life in you. And your body will be raised up on the last day, to a resurrection of life.

If you do are simply going through the motions, or if you reject the Lord’s supper, you demonstrate that you do not yet believe and that you do not have His eternal life in you. Your body will be raised up to a resurrection of death.

He was not talking about cannibalism. His flesh is true food and His blood is true drink that gives you eternal life. He compares it with natural food and natural drink, which gives you natural life that ends when your body dies. It cannot give you eternal life.

Only His body and blood can give you eternal life. And if you understand what you are doing when you eat of His body and drink of His blood (take the Lord’s Supper, per 1Corinthians 11:23ff), He is geographically located within you, and you in Him, which means His eternal life is already inside of you.

Jesus Christ lives because of the Father. He has always existed. He lived again because His Father raised Him from the dead. He never died again. He lives! Those who understand the Lord’s Supper not only have eternal life here and now, but also when their body dies.

I believe Jesus pointed to Himself when He said, “This is the bread which came down out of heaven.” He is not like manna, which provided only natural life for physical bodies. He who eats of Him will live forever.

He said all of these things in a synagogue in Capernaum.

Verses 60-65 — Some of the disciples (but not the Twelve) left Him, because they did not understand the spiritual meaning of His words. Cannibalism — it was something that they could not bear to hear.

Jesus knew their grumbling. He knew they were stumbling, falling away because of His words.

So He asked them what they will do when they see Him ascend to heaven, where He was before He was sent? For some this was the final blow. Again, He was saying He was deity, God the Son. It was blasphemy, to them.

But He said it is the Spirit who gives life. It is by the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ enters us and puts eternal life into us. It is the Spirit who gives life to the very Word of God. The flesh can’t see the truth (1Corinthians 2:14).

Many in Judaism were taught to do good works to get to heaven. But those works are done in the flesh. Only by believing in Jesus Christ would they have eternal life. It is the same for you and me.

Jesus said His words are Spirit (from the Holy Spirit) and life. If we heed them, we will have eternal life. But He discerned that some really didn’t believe He was who He said He was. He knew this from the beginning, and He knew which of the Twelve would betray Him to the Jewish elite.

Again, He repeated that no one can come to Him unless that one has been drawn by the Father. You did not choose Him. He chose you (John 15:16). And you can reject the Father’s drawing. I have seen people who have done so.

If He draws you and He chooses you and you don’t reject Him, then it is incorrect to say that you “made a decision” to come to Christ. You come to Christ by way of  the Father’s drawing, and this drawing is a gift from the Father.

You are saved by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of good works that you do, so no one can boast (see Ephesians 2:8-9). Grace is far more than “unmerited favor.” It is the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life. God drew you by His divine influence.

Verses 66-71 As a result, many withdrew, who had been following Him. So He asked the Twelve if they wanted to go away, too. And Peter said, “Who else would we go to? You have words that give eternal life. We (the Twelve) have believed and come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Great revelation from God Himself!

Jesus responds that He chose them, and yet He knows that one is a devil, the son of perdition (John 17:12), the one who would betray Him. Judas was that man. But the other eleven did not yet know it.

 

HIS ENTRY INTO HEARTS

[SW225] 03/19/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“His Entry Into Hearts”

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, when the church celebrates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But He wants you to focus today on His entry into your heart.

Imagine the scene in Jerusalem! The people received Jesus as a king who they thought would free them from Roman rule, but He is a different kind of King who offers a different kind of freedom — complete freedom from sin’s rule in them, and it happens when He enters a human heart.

We all are born with a heart problem called sin, and only Jesus Christ can heal us.

Texts: Psalm 84:5-6, Mark 1:1-8

Psalm 84:5-6  — How blessed is the one whose strength is the Lord, and in whose heart are the highways!

Do you want to be blessed? Or do you want to be called “blessed” by the Lord? There’s a difference.

Do you want the Lord to give you stuff, or do you want to give HIM to others? Freely you have received — His command is “freely give.” (See Matthew 10:8.)

But to freely give, a place must be made for Jesus to make a triumphal entry into your heart.

Then your heart problem will be healed so you will be a blessing to others, just according to Psalm 84:5-6, making valleys of weeping into places of fountains, sources of satisfaction that never dries up.

How does Jesus make a triumphal entry in your heart?

— You must make a highway for Him

How do you make a natural highway?

— Clear trees and brambles and brush

— Cut down hills

— Break up the rocks

— Use the broken rock (gravel) for the base

— Level the highway’s base

— Pave it and mark it

Then you have a highway.

It is the same in your heart and mine. It is a highway of repentance, confession of sin, and forgiveness (Mark 1:1-3, Isaiah 40:4-5) —

— The trees and brambles are the things “not of God” that are in your heart. You know what yours are, just like I knew what mine were.

— The hills are your pride. Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up at the proper time (1Peter 5:6).

— The rocks are the hard places in your heart, where you have not yielded to Jesus.

Confess them to the Lord, repent and ask Him to forgive you.

Then you are ready for the next phase of construction:

— The broken rock (gravel) results when you fall on Him (Matthew 21:44).

— The highway base can then be leveled, because broken rock is easy to smooth and level.

— The final paving and marking is done by prayer; you say, “O Lord, come in!”

Then your heart’s highway is prepared for Jesus Christ to triumphantly enter!
And look at what happens to you!

— You are blessed because you receive Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire (Mark 1:8, Matthew 3:11), and Jesus and the Father come to dwell and rule and reign in you (John 14:23). Your heart problem is healed!

— Because you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you become a blessing — even fountains and springs of satisfaction for others — as you go (for you cannot imagine sitting, or seeking blessing only for yourself!).

— You go from strength to strength (Psalm 84:7), saying with the Apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

— You appear before God (Psalm 84:7), because your heart is pure and cleansed (Matthew 5:8, Acts 15:9).

— The early rains come and cover you, and the people, with blessings

Why should you care?

— Your heart problem is fatal. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

— Jesus is coming again, and He will look for you to be doing what He has asked all of His church to do (Matthew 24:45-51). You must be ready and at work!

Do not be like the people of Jerusalem who wanted Jesus to come and free them. They were only thinking of their own needs. Prepare the highway and make Jesus King in your heart!

Then He will free you from sin’s rule in you, and make you a blessing for others, because every heart has a problem, and needs His healing, through you.
Make yourself ready! Build a highway! Repent, confess your sin, and ask Jesus to forgive you.

He will surely enter your heart, you will go out and make fountains in places of weeping, and He will find you ready, when He returns.

Now I will pray for your hearts, and for your hurts.

COMMENTARY ON JOHN 2

The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!

Verses 1-2 — So there was a wedding on the third day. That would be Tuesday on the Jewish calendar. Why would someone plan a mid-week wedding? We’re going a little deep here. What happened in Genesis 1 on the third day? In Genesis 1:10, on the third day, the Lord spoke and the land and water separated, so there was dry land and bodies of water. And He saw that it was good. And then, on that same third day, He  spoke and vegetation came, and He saw it was good. Two “He saw it was good” statements in one day! That’s a double blessing! So couples often married on Tuesdays, so their marriages would be doubly blessed.

Jesus’ mother was at the wedding, and both Jesus and His disciples were invited. Mary probably was related to the bride and groom in some way. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have done Verses 3-5. It would not have been proper for her to direct such things, unless she was a relative.

Verses 3-4 — They ran out of wine. In Jewish culture, to run out of wine at a party dishonored the family. So Mary, being a relative, said to Jesus, who was also a relative because she was His mother, “They have no wine.”

“Woman, what does that have to do with us?” Calling her “woman” is not derogatory. He is not insulting her, but He may be separating Himself from her motherhood over Him, since His ministry is about to begin.

He said His time had not yet come. What does that mean? Was He saying that it was not yet time for Him to begin doing miracles to show that He was the Son of God? It seems that way, if we go to Verse 11. But He did a miracle, as we will see in a few verses. None of what transpired here was a surprise to Him, as with Nathanael.

But we can go deeper, as usual. We will see, as we go, along that the Holy Spirit inspired John to write of the actual events, but also to hint at the deeper meaning of them.

Who was bringing the new wine of the new covenant (Matthew 9:17)? Whose blood was represented by the wine He shared with His disciples at the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:28)? On the cross, He began the new covenant between God and man (John 3:16 and many other places we’ll review), when His blood was poured out onto the earth. He is the embodiment of new wine, sweet like grape juice, unfermented, and non-alcoholic, pure and clean. But it was not yet time for His crucifixion.

Verse 5 — Mary said to the servants, “Whatever He says, do it.” Great word! Whatever instruction or command Jesus Christ gives you, do it! And God will be revealed and glorified through what happens next.

Verses 6-7 — These stone waterpots contained water combined with ashes of a red heifer, used by the Jews for ritual washing and purification (see Numbers 19:2 and forward). There are a lot of hints of Christ in the ritual described there. For example, He was crucified outside the camp (Jerusalem), and His death provides us with cleansing, if we come to Him. The waterpots were large containers, 20 or 30 gallons each. Think about their size as we continue.

Jesus ordered the servants to fill them to the brim, and they did. I tell you, when He takes you — a jar of clay (2Corinthians 4:7) — and fills you to the brim with His new wine, you will be changed! Oops, I’m giving away what happens next.

Verses 8-9 — Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter. So the servants took a sample to him. The headwaiter brought the bridegroom. Why? It had become wine. When did it become wine? When Jesus said, “Draw some out now.”

The servants knew they had drawn wine from clay pots they had filled with water. And they knew when He said, draw some and give it to the headwaiter, it was wine! They knew Jesus had done a miracle. It is impossible to change water to wine. It defies all natural law.

That is how God operates. The Bridegroom (John 3:29) gave the bridegroom new wine. The Bridegroom gives the church (His bride) His new wine.

Verse 10 — The bridegroom came to the headwaiter, who said the good stuff is served first, and the lower quality stuff is served later, when everyone has drunk freely. But look! This wine is excellent! You’ve kept the good wine until now!

Jesus is the good wine. He is the best. It was time for Him to be sent by the Father. And so He tastes better than anything previously experienced (Psalms 34:8, 1Peter 2:3)!

Verses 11-12 — So this was the beginning of the signs Jesus did in Cana and Galilee. And by them, God attested that Jesus is God the Son, and glorified Him by proving that He is God the Son. And as a result, His disciples believed in Him.

Then He went to Capernaum, the city He chose for the center of His ministry (Matthew 9:1).

Verse 13 — It was the Passover, a feast established when death passed over the Jews in Egypt, just prior to their release. Every Jewish man was required to be in Jerusalem for this feast. The place was packed with people.

Verse 14-17 — Jesus cleans house in the Temple. There was business going on there. But His Father’s house was to be a house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7), a holy place where such things were not done.

What was the business about? The pilgrims who had come for Passover needed sacrificial animals to offer in the Temple. The Jewish religious ones in the Temple, who sold the animals, cheated those who bought them. The Pilgrims were required to buy them with Temple money. So their Roman money had to be converted to Temple money. The weights and measures were rigged in favor of the Temple. So, if you gave them a dollar, they said it was worth only 50 cents in Temple money. Thus, they robbed the people. Well, that was one way they robbed them.

But they also robbed them of the experience of entering a holy, sacred place and sensing the presence of God. The Father surely was not present as they cheated His people.

Well, Jesus was not “gentle Jesus meek and mild,” as some of us have been taught. His disciples remembered later that it was written of Him in the Old Testament, “Zeal for Your house consumes Me” (Psalm 69:9). He is a righteous judge, and will someday judge the works of those who are His, and the works of those who do evil. You will see it in John 5.

He judged the robbers in this passage. Matthew 21:13 records that He called the Temple a den of robbers. Not only did they rob the people, but they used the Temple to plan their next caper.

I wonder how much robbery takes place in today’s churches, with the sale of trinkets, books, and cool coffee shops just outside their sanctuaries.

Verse 18 — The Jews wanted to know who gave Jesus the authority to cleanse the Temple. Who gave Him authority? The same One who gave Him authority to cleanse your temple (your heart) to make it a place where His Spirit dwells and has full rule and reign. You will see that in John 14. It is God who gives Jesus Christ authority. He is God’s Son.

Verse 19-21 — So, destroy My body, Jesus says, and I will rebuild it in three days. Yes, He did. He rose from the grave three days after He was crucified and placed in a tomb! But the Jews did not understand Him. They thought He meant the Temple, the building in Jerusalem. But the Apostle John makes it clear in Verse 21. He was speaking of the temple of His body.

Verse 22 — So, when Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, the disciples finally understood what He said in Verse 19. And they believed the Scripture (Hosea 6:2 and Isaiah 53:10) and the word Jesus spoke.

Verses 23-25 — So while Jesus was at the Passover, many believed in His name. They believed He was who He said He was. They believed because they saw the signs, the attesting miracles that proved that He is God the Son.

But Jesus did not entrust Himself to them (believe them), because He knew what was in all of mankind (in their hearts). (See Jeremiah 17:10.) He didn’t need anyone to explain man to Him. He Himself knew what was in man, way back from before Adam sinned, way back in beginning, before time was and before the earth was formed. He was the Lamb prepared before the world was founded (Revelation 13:8, King James Version). He knew man inside and out, because He made man. Through Him all things were created, at the command of the Father (Hebrews 1:2).

 

MIRACLES CAUSE REPENTANCE

[SW224] 03/04/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“Miracles Cause Repentance”

The purpose of the miracles Jesus Christ did when He walked the earth was to cause people to repent, turning to God. What do you receive when you repent? What happens if you don’t repent?

Texts: Matthew 11:20-30, Matthew 9

In Matthew 11:23, Jesus singled out Capernaum. Why did Jesus tell them they would go down to Hades, and that Sodom would have it easier on the day of judgment than them?

Chorazin and Bethsaida aren’t specifically mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew as Jesus walked the earth, but Matthew 9 records what happened in Capernaum, His own city (Matthew 9:1), his ministry’s base camp.

Amazing miracles were done by Jesus in Capernaum —

Matthew 9:1-8 — A paralytic, brought by his friends, was forgiven of his sin and instantly healed of his paralysis! The crowds were awestruck (struck with the fear of God), and glorified God. That is, they believed this miracle done by Jesus was a “God work,” and praised God for it. They repented, turning to God.

Matthew 9:20-22 — A woman with an issue of blood was healed of her illness when she touched His garment and was saved when she fell down before Jesus to worship and praise Him! She repented, humbling herself and turning to God.

Matthew 9:18, 23-26 — The synagogue official came to Jesus, bowed down before Him in worship, and asked Him to raise his daughter from the dead. And she was raised from the dead! He humbled himself and repented, turning to God.

Matthew 9:27-31 — Two blind men approached Jesus, called Him “son of David,” believing He was the Christ, the Messiah, and believing He could heal them. And Jesus opened their eyes. Then they broadcast everywhere that Jesus had set them free! They repented, honoring Him as the Christ, and turning to God.

Matthew 9:32-33 — Jesus cast out a demon from a deaf and mute man. This had never been done before. Jewish exorcists had to know the name of the demon to cast it out. This man could not speak the name of the demon because he was mute. But that was no problem for God the Son. The crowds were amazed and exclaimed, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!” They repented, honoring Jesus and turning to God

Matthew 9:35 — Jesus went through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness!

BUT, that’s not all that happened in Capernaum —

Matthew 9:3 — When Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven,” the scribes, who thought they were wise and intelligent, did not rejoice and praise God. They did not repent and turn to God. They said among themselves, “He blasphemes.” Jesus told them they were thinking evil in their hearts. He knew their thoughts. These had a form of religion, while denying its power (2 Timothy 3:5), and they accused God the Son of blaspheming God the Father.

Matthew 9:10-13 — When Jesus went to sinners to eat, drink and speak the gospel to them, the Pharisees spoke to His disciples and rebuked Him. They did not rejoice that sinners were hearing how they could be reconciled to God and their sins could be forgiven. They did not repent and turn to God.

In response, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for doing only outward religious acts (ritual sacrifices), but lacking compassion. He also accused them of being self-righteous, because they thought they could keep themselves clean by not having contact with sinners.

Matthew 9:34 — After the demon was cast out of the deaf and mute man, the Pharisees were saying that Jesus cast out demons by the ruler of the demons, Satan. They directly blasphemed the Holy Spirit by attributing the Spirit’s work to Satan (Mark 3:29). They did not repent and turn to God.

Matthew 9:36 — Jesus felt compassion for the people, because they were distressed and thrown down and were like sheep without a shepherd. The scribes and Pharisees never set a captive free, as He did.

Matthew 11:18 — Jesus’ accusers said He was a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of sinners! Amen! I am glad He was a friend to me, and forgave me and delivered me from my sin!

And as for John the Baptist, they accused him of having a demon. That was because he called them to repentance.They never repented and turned to God.

The consequences of rejecting Jesus Christ as God the Son:

Matthew 11:20-24 — Denunciation. He defamed His accusers, railed at them, chided them, taunted them, and upbraided them. He rebuked them.

He said if He done these miracles in the pagan cities of Tyre and Sidon, all the people would have repented and turned to God. But His accusers in Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum never repented, never praised God, never worshiped Jesus Christ. They never rejoiced to see God’s work. They only questioned and accused Him.

So, it will be more tolerable for those pagan cities on the day of judgment than for His accusers. Why? They should have recognized God’s Son and given Him the praise and honor He deserved. They should have turned away from having a form of religion while denying its power (2Timothy 3:5), and turned toward God.

They will not be exalted to heaven, but will descend into Hades (hell). If wicked Sodom had seen His miracles, they would have turned to God and praised and worshiped Him.

The scribes and Pharisees claimed they knew the Scriptures. So they knew that He was fulfilling every prophecy about the Messiah. But they refused to worship Him.

The blessings for those who repented

Matthew 11:25-30 — Revelation of God the Father and God the Son.

And this was well pleasing in God’s sight, to hide these things from those who think they are wise and intelligent, and reveal them to those who are childlike in believing God. This pleased God immensely!

1Corinthians 1:19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;

the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Verse 27 — Intimate knowledge of God, through Jesus Christ.

Verse 28-30 — For those who are weary and heavy-laden with outward forms of religion, and come to Him, besides healing and deliverance:

—  Rest, rest for their souls

— His yoke

— Rest for their souls

— His easy, good and kind yoke,

— His pleasant, light burden

In today’s church, there are those who are outwardly religious, who are wise and intelligent in their own eyes, who always resist the Holy Spirit and persecute God’s messengers (Acts 7:51-52).

They see Spirit-filled believers doing works that only can be attributed to God. And they say, as the Pharisees and scribes did,

“What you are doing is done in the power of the devil.

“You have a demon.

“You blaspheme God.

“Who do you think you are?

“By what authority do you do these things?

“You shouldn’t associate with sinners.

“You are giving people false hope.

“Those things aren’t for today.”

They have an outward form of godliness, but they deny, disavow, reject and even try to negate, the power of God in a human heart and life!

To them, the Lord says, “Repent!

“Turn away from your outward works of religion. Humble yourselves!

“Turn to Me, honor and praise My Father and Me! Rejoice in what I am doing, and I will gladly bless you with a revelation of My Father and Me!”

MARK 15 COMMENTARY

This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which was broken by sin.

In Chapter 15, you and I see the fulfillment of Jesus Christ’s purpose here on earth. He came to bear our sins on a cross, and then to rise on the third day, ascend to heaven, and pour out the Holy Spirit to free us from sin’s power when we experience our own personal Pentecost. We see the blindness of the Jewish religious elite. Yet Pilate, whom history reveals as a cruel man, cannot find any reason to crucify Jesus. What a contrast!

Verses 1-5 — The blind Jewish religious elite bind Jesus and take him to Pilate. Why do they take him to the Roman governor? Why don’t they kill him themselves? They are under Roman rule, and have lost their legal right to sentence someone to death. Pilate is amazed (marvels, wonders, admires) that Jesus doesn’t respond to a barrage of harsh accusations from the chief priests. He was as a lamb led to the slaughter, never opening His mouth (Isaiah 53:7).

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus Christ lives what He preaches —“ Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). When Jesus Christ is large and in charge in your heart, you will be able to do the same.

Verses 6-15 — The Romans traditionally honored the Jewish Passover by releasing a prisoner at that time. Barabbas is a murderer in Roman custody. The crowd begins to ask for a prisoner to be released. Pilate suggests that Jesus Christ, whom he calls “King of the Jews” be released. He calls Him “King of the Jews” because he is aware that the Jewish elite envies Christ. The chief priests stir the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released, and they cry out for the King of the Jews to be crucified.

IMPORTANT POINT: You may be guilty of reading this account matter-of-factly. I did that at first. Then I had a vision of Him on the cross. I awoke weeping uncontrollably. Now I read this account and remember the vision He gave me — the amount of blood, His torn body, His heaving chest, and the love in His eyes.

Jesus is scourged. That means he is whipped with a multi-corded whip On each cord are sharp pieces of metal or glass. As Jesus is struck and the whip is pulled back, skin and muscle are stripped from Him. His bones are exposed. Arteries are torn. He bleeds profusely. The purpose of scourging is to bring the victim to the very point of death, but not kill him.

IMPORTANT POINT: Ask the Lord to reveal to you the extent of His sacrifice. We will never know fully, but He will show you enough to make you weep.

Verses 16-21 — In this terrible condition, Jesus was taken into the palace, and 600 Roman soldiers gathered around Him. They put a crown of thorns on His head and they dressed Him in a purple robe, mocking the King of kings and Lord of lords. They beat Him, and pretended to honor Him. Then they took everything off except the crown of thorns and sent Him out to be crucified.

With flesh and muscle hanging from Him, He was given the cross bar to carry. But He was still bleeding profusely, so was unable to carry the cross bar the whole distance. So a bystander bore His cross the rest o the way, to the hill called Galgotha (also known as Calvary).

Verses 21-32 — Do you want to see David’s prophecy of what Christ experienced on the cross? Go to Psalm 22:6-18. David sees His bones exposed. Do you know that HIs appearance was so marred that it was hard to tell He was human? Go to Isaiah 52:14.  And in Isaiah 50:6, Isaiah prophesies that His beard would be pulled out.

IMPORTANT POINT: This Psalm was written approximately 1,000 years before Christ was crucified. Does the Lord know the future that far in advance? Yes. He knows the end (of things) from the beginning (of creation). Does He reveal it to His prophets? Yes. Why? So we know He is God and He is all-knowing (omnicient) — there is nothing that He does not know, past, present and future. Do not try to hide from Him, but come into the Light of Christ and be cleansed!

Unrecognizable! Imagine the pain, the weakness from blood and fluid loss! He was nearly dead before He reached Golgotha. And this is the punishment that was due to us, for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5). It should have been us! Oh, the mercy of God!

The Romans put a sign on the cross, to show what crime Jesus had committed, in Hebrew, Latin and Greek (John 19:19). In Hebrew, it was:

Yeshua (Jesus)

Hanaseray (the Nazarene)

Wimelek (King)

Hayahuda (of the Jews)

Look at the first letter of each Hebrew word — YHWH is YAHWEH, the name of God, which He gave to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14).

So Pilate saw to it that the Jews knew they were crucifying God. That is why, when they read the sign, the Jewish religious elite protested (John 19:21). They did not want to be guilty of putting God to death!

Verses 33-37 — Jesus speaks Psalm 22:1. He should not be able to speak, because crucifixion makes the victim unable to draw a breath. The bystanders think He is calling for Elijah. But He says He could appeal to His Father who would put at His disposal 12 legions of angels (see Matthew 26:53).

[NOTE: A Roman legion was 6,000, multiplied by 12 = 72,000 angels!]

But had He called out for the legion of angels, there would be no salvation for you and me; you see, He knew He had to bear the agony of the cross in order to take our sin. Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36).

A medical view of death by crucifixion can be found by going to this link: http://www1.cbn.com/medical-view-of-the-crucifixion-of-jesus-christ.

Jesus then uttered a loud cry, and died. John records that the Roman soldiers saw that He was dead, but pierced His side to make sure (John 19:34). He was pierced for your transgressions, and mine!

Verse 38 — The veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This was a thick tapestry mounted high and extending down to the floor of the Temple. Behind it was the Holy of Holies, where the ark was kept, where the cherubim were positioned. It was the place of the presence of God.

The significance of the tearing of the veil is extremely important. No one could have torn it by hand because it was too thick. No one could have reached the top and torn downward, because its top was too high. It was torn by the finger of God.

IMPORTANT POINT: Until the tearing of the veil, God’s immediate presence had only been experienced by the high priest when he entered the Holy of Holies, and then only after he was cleansed and purified ceremonially. But the tearing of the veil shows you and me that there no longer needs to be separation. God’s presence is available to everyone, if we turn to Him and ask Him to forgive us, cleanse us, and fill us with His Spirit, the same way as at Pentecost in Acts 2! Then His presence is IN us!

Hebrews 10:19-22   Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest [Sue’s note: Jesus Christ] over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Verse 39 — Even the Roman centurion, a pagan, was able to see how Jesus died, the manner, the strength He had to even speak, and the wounds from the severity of His scourging, he recognized Jesus as the Son of God.

Verses 40-41 — Women stood by, even though most of the disciples had scattered. These had ministered to Him, cooking for Him, providing shelter for Him, providing funds for His ministry in Galilee and in Jerusalem.

John records that he stood before the crucified Christ with Jesus’ mother, Mary, and that Jesus commanded him to care for her (John 19:26-27). All this as He bled profusely and could not draw a breath. Surely, this was the Son of God!

Verses 42-47 — The reference to Sabbath was a special sabbath, not a Saturday but another day of the week which Christians believe to be Friday. It was a special sabbath because it was part of the Passover.

Though He was crucified between two thieves, Jesus was buried with the rich. Joseph of Arimathea, a rich Jewish religious leader who had become a disciple of Jesus Christ, offered his tomb for Jesus’ burial (see Isaiah 53:9 and Matthew 27:60), and boldly went before Pilate to ask for His body.

Pilate granted Joseph’s request. Jesus’ body was prepared for burial, placed in the tomb, and a stone rolled over its mouth,, while the two Marys looked on. He was permanently sealed in the tomb — or so it seemed. But He is the Son of God, and with Him, all things are possible, including resurrection of Himself from the dead! I believe the power of His command rolled away the stone, when He arose!

If you want to know a few more prophecies fulfilled by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, go to this link: http://www.khouse.org/enews_article/2011/1765/

The final chapter of John, Chapter 16, is next — RESURRECTION!

IN-COURAGED!

[SW219] 02/05/2016 message notes by

Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016

“IN-Couraged”

Texts: Joshua 1:1-9

Deuteronomy 34:9

John 20:19

Acts 2:14, 22, 3

Acts 4:8ff

The Lord is asking me to encourage you to be IN-Couraged — His boldness, His strength, His courage IN you!

In Joshua 1:3, the Lord tells Joshua that every place on which the sole of his foot treads, the Lord has given to the sons of Israel, just as He spoke to Moses.

What a promise!

In Joshua 1:6, the Lord commands Joshua to be strong (fasten upon the Lord, be constant, be established, seize) and courageous (mighty, steadfastly minded). Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (1Corinthians 15:58). Why? Because he SHALL give the people possession of the land.

The Lord commands Joshua again in Verse 7, and in Verse 9. Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!

Joshua  will lead Israel in, and they will be an occupying army, possessing the land promised to them through Abraham.

And believer, understand that your role is to occupy Satan’s territory here on earth, and possess it until the Lord comes again. And it is to ask God to bring you fully into the Promised Land with His strength and courage IN you — IN-couraged! When the end comes, Jesus Christ will bless the one who has been doing what He commanded, and condemn the one who didn’t obey (Matthew 24:46)!

Joshua needed power to obey the Lord’s command to be strong and courageous. Where did it come from?

In Numbers 27:18, the Lord says Joshua was a man in whom was the Spirit. And when Moses laid hands on him, he was filled with the spirit of wisdom.

Deuteronomy 34:9   Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Therefore, he had the Lord’s wisdom, strength and courage IN him, because the Spirit was IN him. He was IN-couraged. The Lord gave him the Spirit for that single assignment.

Today, God wants to fills you with the Holy Spirit permanently, rather than for a single assignment. Then you will have His strength, His courage and His boldness so you are able to occupy and possess the Enemy’s territory. You will become a member of an occupying army, freeing captives from sickness, demon possession, and sin, in the power and words of the Holy Spirit! He will give you what to say (Matthew 10:20).

Look at the difference between the disciples in John 20:19, after Christ was crucified, compared with Acts 2:14, 22, 36 and Acts 4:8 and forward!

In John 20:19, they hid behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. But in the scriptures in Acts, they were very strong, courageous, and bold! They now had God’s strength, courage and boldness IN them, and the actual love of God in their hearts compelled them to go (2Corinthians 5:14, Romans 5:5)!

Why the difference? They were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost! They were IN-couraged!

Paul persecuted Christians with all his might, until he had a vision of Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. Then Ananias came to him and he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17). Afterward, in Christ’s strength and courage, Paul boldly proclaimed Jesus Christ and performed miraculous signs and wonders all across the known world. He was IN-couraged!

Paul joyously wrote to the church at Philippi, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)! Amen!

Real-life testimony:

One day, we received a call from a man we had known for a couple of years. He said he was in the county jail, and needed us to come to him. We had never been behind locked doors in a jail before. But the Lord told us to go, and we went in His strength, courage and boldness.

We entered another world as we heard the thick steel door close behind us. The spiritual darkness in that place was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

We pressed on, met with the man, ministered to him with bold words from the Lord, and continued meeting with him until he was tried and sentenced to prison. He wrote us from there, and asked us to come.

I contacted the chaplain at the Maine State Prison. Come to find out, I had worked for him at the VA, before I was diagnosed with MS and had to retire on disability!

Jeff and I went through a four-hour training program. Then the chaplain asked us to come to a Bible study conducted by a man who had been doing Bible studies for the prisoners for 25 years, so we could learn how to interact with the prisoners who attended. On our way to that Bible study, we asked the Lord to give us a sign that we were to minister there. A flashing neon one, please!

When we arrived at the prison lobby, the chaplain was called to meet us. We passed through two metal detectors. Our worship gear was searched.

We were lead by the chaplain and one guard through one very thick steel door, stopping at a window to turn in our car keys and driver’s licenses and receive visitor/clergy ID badges.

Then we passed through a second very thick steel door. As we went through we saw a giant man from the Max (maximum security pod) clad in orange, shackled head-to-toe with thick chains, flanked by two large, muscular guards.

After another locked steel door, we passed the cafeteria on our right. A “man down” code was issued; that meant a fight had broken out between prisoners, and at least one prisoner was on the floor.

We continued on across the courtyard to the activities building, in the Lord’s strength and courage, completely unfazed by it all. We were on a mission — on assignment — to go in and possess this land controlled by Satan, and occupy it. And we were IN-couraged! Glory to God!

The Bible study teacher, who never missed a meeting in 25 years, missed this one. That was the first confirmation that we were to minister there. In a circle sat about twenty captives, along with the chaplain, Jeff and me.

The chaplain said he’d stay with us to guide and support us. But God stepped in, began speaking through us to the men, and soon, the chaplain said, “I’ll leave you now; you don’t need me.” That was our second confirmation from the Lord that we were to minister there.

The Lord ministered through us to these men for two years at our Monday prison worship service, as we sang and played guitar and proclaimed Jesus Christ from the Word of God.

The first time, I told them they needed to know that I wasn’t a goody two-shoes. I gave them some history of my drug addition as a teen and young adult, my drug dealing husband, and the Saturday Night Special that was at my side constantly, in case someone came into our apartment to try to steal our drugs. I told them how God came to my rescue in the middle of the night, and freed me from drug addiction in a moment of time.

Then I asked them for a show of hands. How many of you really like it here? No hands were raised. Just as I thought. How many want to come back again real soon? Again, no hands were raised.

I asked, “Do you wand to know how you can get out of this cycle of in and out, in and out, like a revolving door? Jesus Christ will change your heart, fill you with His Spirit and His love, and you won’t want to plan your next crime from here. You’ll just follow and obey Him forever.”

I told them I knew many outside of the prison walls who were in invisible chains, behind invisible bars. They needed the same thing!

What compelled us to go behind prison doors? The love of God, because the Holy Spirit had filled our hearts. And He gave us His strength, courage, and boldness! Our boast is in the Lord, not ourselves! We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

We are not special, beloved. Some say the missionaries who go into countries so hostile that their names can’t be released, are special. Some think missionaries through the ages have been special. They had a calling, they have a calling, we have a calling, AND you do, too. Have you answered Christ’s call?

Now I’m truthin’. I’m being bold (frank and blunt). The truth is, most of the church is complacent. People go to church and leave unchanged. They live like the devil for six days and pretend to be holy and righteous on Sunday. They want the Lord to bless them, but they don’t care about blessing Him or anyone else. They are the ones I spoke of earlier, the ones with invisible chains and invisible bars.

How about you? Are you strong and courageous? Are you bold? Are you possessing and occupying Satan’s territory?

Or are you complacent, going to church and leaving unchanged? If so, repent here and now, and ask the Lord to fill you with His Spirit.

You can’t help but be changed when He comes in and fills you! And you will say with Paul and us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” You will be IN-couraged!

Jesus Christ calls you today to be IN-couraged. He calls you to ask Him to fill you with His Spirit so you can go in and possess the land and occupy it, as you should! Will you obey His call?

MARK 13 COMMENTARY

This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which was broken by sin.

Chapter 13 reflects Jesus Christ’s love for those who are His. He briefs His disciples, and you, about future events that will climax with His return to gather you and me. His instructions, as you see these things unfold? Be ready, take heed, keep on the alert!
Verses 1-2 — Throughout Jesus Christ’s ministry on the earth, He taught in the Temple, surrounded by many disciples besides the Twelve. On this occasion, one comments on the beauty and majesty of the Temple. Jesus says not one stone would be left upon another. Everything will be in ruins. Indeed, this was fulfilled in 70 AD, when Roman soldiers destroyed the Temple.

Why? The Jewish leaders rejected their Messiah, their Christ. God the Father’s will is that our bodies become His temples, and that He and His Son dwell in us, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit (John 14:23). Temple worship is no longer needed, since men and women become His temples. Think of it! God in you, so where you go, He goes. Where you walk, He WORKS!

For those who rejected their Christ the punishment was that the Temple building which they worshiped like an idol or a talisman, would be destroyed.

IMPORTANT POINT: Once you have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, ask Him to make your body His temple by filling you with His Spirit. He will do it! His will is fulfilled when you are filled full!

Verses 3-13 — Now four disciples question Jesus privately. When will the Temple be destroyed? What will be the sign that it is going to happen?

Jesus says this:

— Many will come in His name and say they are the Christ or are of Him, to try to seduce you, to draw you away, to cause you to wander from Him. They will say they are Him, or His representatives, but they will not live as He lived when He was on the earth, nor will they teach what He taught. They will speak ear-tickling words (2Timothy 4:3), for their own financial gain. It is happening even today.

— There will be wars and rumors of wars, but that is still not the end. There will be a ramping-up of unrest and war in the world, earthquakes at an ever-increasing rate, and famines. These are only the beginning of birth pangs, though. Like birth pangs, they will continue to increase in frequency and intensity.

— Be on your guard. Behold, beware, take heed! Christians will be arrested, taken to court, flogged, and stand before governors and kings, as a testimony to the governors and kings. What will be the testimony, when you stand before governors and kings? The testimony is this — the Holy Spirit will speak through you, as you stand before your accusers. And they will know it is Jesus speaking through you (Acts 4:13).

Already, across the earth, many Christians are murdered and martyred because they refused to renounce Christ — more in the 20th and 21st centuries than in all centuries from the time Jesus was crucified. You can find out more by going to persecution.com, the web site for Voice of the Martyrs. Remember the Coptic Christians who were lined up on the beach by ISIS and beheaded because they refused to renounce Jesus? It will become like that everywhere, and worse.

Family ties will mean nothing. Many will (and now do) expose Christian family members so they are arrested or simply killed on the spot.

In Verse 10, the Lord specifies that the gospel must first be preached to all nations. That is nearly accomplished by today’s missionaries, but I believe He also refers to Revelation 14:7, when the angel flies in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tongue and people.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus gives people the opportunity to come to Him until the very last moment of time. He so desires that all be saved, but He knows some will reject, even then.

— You will be hated by ALL because of the name of Jesus Christ. He promises it in John 15:18 and forward, and tells us that it is because you are not of the world system; you simply live in the world. Hatred for true Christians will continue to intensify greatly, even among family members.

And so Jesus says, “Endure! Remain! Stand fast! Persevere! Have courage amidst pain and adversity! If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will have His courage in you. That is Who you need in these last days. Then you will be saved. But aren’t you already saved? Yes, but there is a greater salvation, a time when Jesus will gather His true church. The whole world will see it, when He gathers you (Mark 13:26, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Verses 14-23 — Jesus tells us what will happen just before He returns:

— There will be an abomination of desolation in the Temple. Wasn’t the Temple destroyed in 70 AD? Doesn’t the Muslim Dome of the Rock stand in its place, or near its original footprint? Yes, but Israel is planning a Third Temple. Go to http://templeinstitute.org to learn more.

— To that Temple will come a great abomination — a total sacrilege. At that time, everyone who heeds Christ’s words is to flee, and not take time to gather up any belongings. The references to pregnant women and young mothers, and winter, may indicate that it will be when we least expect it, and perhaps in the hardest season of the year to be without shelter.

—In those days, when the abomination of desolation is in the Third Temple, a tribulation will occur which has never been seen before and which will never be seen again. Great pressure, great affliction, great persecution, great trouble is coming to the church. It will be so difficult, that the time of it will be shortened, so those who are His followers are able to stand it.

— And at that time, false priests and prophets will be more prevalent than ever, performing false signs and wonders. Again, He says that those who are chosen by Him at that time must not believe anyone who says they are the Christ. Those who are chosen by Him at that time will know when He comes.

— He says, take heed, beware, pay attention. He has told you EVERYTHING in advance. He has not left out any detail that you need to know. He has told you in advance because He is God the Son, deity, and sees all that was, is, and ever will be. He was like that even when He dwelled on the earth.

IMPORTANT POINT: Preachers often “humanize” Jesus. He is confused, He is afraid. He is unsure. It is utter nonsense, an attempt to mold Jesus into our image so we are more comfortable with Him or so we can “identify” with Him. Do not listen to such preachers, but run from them.

Verses 24-27 — Then, after the tribulation he speaks about in verse 19, the signs of the end will happen, and the Son of Man (one of the names of Jesus Christ) will come in the clouds with great power and glory. It will be a powerful and glory-filled sight, and everyone will see. Then comes the gathering of His church from across the earth — from the farthest away to the nearest.

There is some difference of interpretation on when the church goes up, and some believe that the church goes up, then another group called “the elect,” perhaps the 144,000 from the Book of Revelation. But the main point is to be ready, be on the alert!

Verses 28-32 — You can tell when a fig tree is about to bear fruit (not the day or the hour, but the season of summer). In the same way, you will know that He is coming soon (not the day or the hour, but the season), when you see what He has described in the previous verses. You will know that He is near, right at the door.

Then He says something that sounds strange. The disciples had asked when this would happen. Jesus said this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. If “generation” means what you and I think it means, it would appear that Jesus was wrong. But the Greek for “generation” means age, generation, or time. So this age will not pass away until these things happen. This age is called the church age, when the church is active in the world. When we are raptured (1Corinthians 15:51-53, 1Thessalonians 4:13-18), that age will end.

Please note that “church” is defined as all believers in Jesus Christ, be they Jewish or non-Jewish (Gentile).

At that time, heaven and earth will pass away; they will be replaced with a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1ff), in which God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and the church will spend eternity with God.

Verses 33-37 — Look! Jesus speaks “take heed” and “keep on the alert” four times in this section! How important is it that you know Jesus Christ and are reconciled to the Father, and are found doing what their Master commanded them to do (Matthew 24:45-46). He has placed you in charge. You are part of an occupying army, until He returns. Don’t be sleeping when He returns. Be ready! Occupy! Be an ambassador (2Corinthians 5:18-20)!