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Communion Presbyterian Church ARP

That They May Know

INTRO:  Elective course in college

Book of John is a Jewish book.  With all that we’ve read about the Jewish feasts and customs, with all the mention of Jewish identity in respect to other groups such as Samaritans and Romans, with all the mentions of Hebrew/Aramaic names, with all the debates about the enforcement of the Law of Moses, and with all references to the fulfillment Old Testament prophecies, we have to conclude that the Gospel of John is far more Jewish than one might think at first.

But there is also another stream of activity that can lead us to conclude that John’s goal extends beyond the boundaries of Judaism.  That it is connected in some way to that most memorized verse in all the Bible, “For God so loved the World, that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever would believe in him would not perish, but have everlasting life.”

For John, God has his sights on the world, and for anyone who would receive and believe in Jesus!  By this, everyone could become, ‘born from above,’ to start anew as a Child of God à a pretty unique phrase that doesn’t really occur in the Old Testament (unless you’re a Nephilim).  Child of God however for John is a NEW Christian reality, and this phrase is adopted by the Apostle Paul as well, because he also describes our relationship with God like this – We are sons of God like Jesus!

So I agree that John is a Jewish book, but Jewish to convince Jewish believers that Jesus has fulfilled the goals for Israel, and Jesus is now expanding the borders of Israel by picking up a small but important OT theme = God had intended to bring the Gentiles into his fold all along – YES, you will read more passages in the OT about God judging and destroying “The Nations;” especially those persecuting Jesus.  But in John’s gospel, it is the Jewish leadership which is persecuting the Messiah, and others outside the Jewish fold who are strangely attracted to Jesus!  This is John’s teaching point for the early church – God loves the WORLD.

In John 4, Jesus specifically meets with a Samaritan women for the purpose of reviving her lost soul.  To the Jews, the Samaritans were lost, they corrupted the true faith, and they had contempt for them.  But Jesus frets none about this!  Jesus told that sinful Samaritan that God was SEEKING worshipers who would worship Him in Spirit and Truth, and not upon a particular mountain or place (Remember: Before Jesus meets with this woman in John’s Gospel, Jesus has already cleaned out the Jewish temple and essentially said to the Jews there – I’m here to replace this building – you’ll need to make ME the focus of your worship now!!)

It’s also in John 4 that Jesus heals the son of a government official – who in the Jewish mind was another representative of a class of people you were supposed to hate. Another message to the church. 

In John 5, Jesus heals an invalid of 38 years.  Another person who from the Jewish perspective of the day, probably deserved his infirmity for some reason; but Jesus has compassion upon him, another message to the church!

In John 7, Jesus’ own family does not believe in him; and the Jewish leadership wants him arrested – but the hired officers sent to arrest Jesus won’t apprehend him because His teaching was so compelling.

In John 8, The religious leaders attempt to trap Jesus by bringing an adulterous woman before him – again, it is Jesus’ teaching that sends his accusers away – John is building the case that the Jewish leadership is not worthy of allegiance, but Jesus is!

In John 10, Jesus plainly states that he is the good shepherd, and that he has OTHER sheep who will hear his voice and follow him.  This is a clear reference to the fact that the Apostle John was recording Christ’s intent to bring in sheep into his fold that were not sons of Israel.  And it is in this very chapter that the Jewish rulers seek to kill Jesus because of his claims to deity.  It is also when Jesus also plainly states that they are not hearing the shepherd’s voice.

In John 12, at the height of his popularity, on the day we call Palm Sunday, Jesus riding triumphantly into Jerusalem is being greeted with songs reserved for the king of Israel.  And yet, John is sure to include the desire of the Greeks, non-Jews, who want to meet and be in the presence of Jesus.

At the end of John 12, Jesus will affirm again the message he spoke with Nicodemus in John 3; I did not come to judge the world, but to save the WORLD.

In John 17, Jesus will pray for everyone who believes through the disciples’ teaching, all those who will come out of the world by believing that Jesus was sent and loved by the Father.

Now, John 17 requires just a little reflection.  Because here we will read John recording some important dialogue from Jesus in the form of a prayer. 

Let’s make a distinction!  We have stated two things about this thing called the world thus far – FIRST, For God so loves it… And SECOND, Jesus didn’t come to judge it.  But John 17 clarifies that Jesus has NOT come to redeem ALL of the world, but only a portion of the people within the world.  And how will this portion of the world be specifically loved by God and not judged by Jesus?

John 17:2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

In John 17.2, Jesus says that “all flesh” is under his authority.  This means everybody stands under the power, rule and final judgment of Jesus.  Clarifying again:.  Jesus did not come to condemn or judge the world in his first appearing or advent. LISTEN:  Jesus HAD the right to come and carry out ALL THE JUDGMENT passages that God had spoken in the OT upon all the Nations, and even Israel herself; BUT this is not what happens!  In his first appearing, Jesus came to the world to perform a rescue operation.  His rescue operation was marked by preaching and teaching truth, and by the demonstration of miraculous signs that indicated his authority.  Those who were able to recognize God’s glory in the truth and signs of Jesus – these were the ones who become rescued by Jesus.  The ones who REJECTED the truth and signs of Jesus are the ones who will be judged – So, when Jesus came – HE DID SAVE the world by not bringing about the final judgment scenario that he promises that he will carry out when he returns a second time.  And all those TODAY, who can believe and receive the glory of Christ’s truth and authority – these too, he is saving and preserving from the Final Judgment.

Again this was part of John’s agenda from the beginning in the pivotal first chapter where we read in verse John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.; John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

God’s grace works in those who receive the truth and glory of Christ, and these come out from the world and display their new relationship to God.

Back to John 17.2.  All flesh is under his authority, but Jesus says that he will give eternal life to those whom God has given to him.  And who has been given to Jesus from the Father?  How are we supposed to know if we are the love gifts from God to the Son and then back to the Father again?  John 17.3 says the ones who truly know both the Father and the Son, have eternal life.  John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

And who truly KNOWS the Father and the Son?  John 17:6 "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

For John, knowing God means = keeping His word, means = eternal life. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”

In John 17, Jesus says that only a portion of the world actually knows Jesus’ true identity and mission.  Only a portion of the world is able to receive it and believe it.  And this is why Jesus does NOT pray for the entire world; because the entire world will not believe and receive, only a portion of the world will.  Jesus prays for the portion of the world that belongs to him because he knows that they will, in fact, be hated by the rest of the world who will not receive and believe the identity and mission of Jesus.  And with so much worldly opposition, we need those prayers of Jesus!!!!

Jesus prayer is the reason that SOMEONE FROM THE WORLD does believe and receive -- because Jesus prayed for it to happen (You see, we really are livin’ on a prayer! Gospel of Jon Bon Jovi!) Jesus prayer is so effective that Believers won’t be taken out to the world to spare them persecution; but they will live in the world convinced that God loves Jesus, and further more, God loves everyone who believes and receives Jesus – and we’ll all be a love gift given back to the Father in due time.

So some folks are really gonna believe this stuff, and this is how John concludes his Gospel.

John 20: 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Who gets to have life in his name?  A certain class of people.  A people who believe.  But those who believe in a different kind of way.  Not with the standard, I was there and saw it, type of belief.  But by the belief of what we have read in the Gospel of John – This testimony is the only testimony that has the ability to take us out of the world, and leads us to know that we now belong to Christ – and we belong to him as a Gift that he is preparing to give to the Father!!

John 4:42 They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world."

 Isaiah 52:10 The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

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