The Seven Miracles of John
By Ernest L. Martin, Ph. D. 1976
Read the accompanying Newsletter for September 2002
I wish to go into the seven miracles of John today. The Gospel of John is fundamentally different than the first three synoptic gospels. I believe that every one of us who have ever studied the Bible even superficially have recognized that. Clearly the Gospel of John was written after the first three. History, tradition and even common sense suggest that is true. The Gospel of John is supplemental to the first three Gospels. But again it is utterly different—different in scope, different in design, different in content.
You will find many things mentioned in the Gospel of John which are not found in the first three. Some people scratch their heads over that. Why John mentions so many profound things that the others seemingly do not even care to mention. There are reasons for that. I do not want to go into all of the details today, obviously, but just to point out that there are major differences between the first 3 Gospels which are very near to each other in content, and the Gospel of John which is the fourth Gospel and it is no where near in content like the first three.
This Gospel of John is not so much a biography of Christ’s life. That again is very clear. It is nothing like a biography at all. It is true that it is in a narrative form that follows a loose historical sequence of events; you have to admit that. But it is not written in the form of a biography. This Gospel is in the New Testament to give a mature commentary on the meaning and significance of Christ’s life. It shows a theological and symbolic significance of what Christ was and is doing for us and for the whole world. This is one of the keys to the understanding (in my judgment) of the Gospel of John.
The emphasis in John is not parochial. It is not so much catered to Jewish thinking, Jewish theology, the Jewish way of life. The Gospel of Matthew certainly is that way. There is no question about it. Mark is a little different, but still it is quite Hebraic in many ways, but it is different. Luke who was a companion of the Apostle Paul, we would have to say was writing primarily for a Gentile audience.
When you come to the Gospel of John however, he seems to depart from all three of their ways of looking at things, and becomes what I consider very universalistic. He now wants to approach not just particular groups, whether they be Jewish or Gentile, but now he is talking about the whole world. The emphasis of his theology is upon the whole world. Many, many times as you are aware, he emphasizes Christ as the savior of the world, all the world. In my article on the Unpardonable Sin (on the website it is titled "What is the Sin Against the Holy Spirit."), that is just a brief discourse on that subject. Most of the verses which are very universalistic in nature, speaking about the scope of the salvation of God are centered primarily in the Gospel of John, almost all of them. I mean all of them from the Gospels that is. The Gospel emphasizes that Christ is the Savior of the world and how all men will come to glorify God.
It also emphasizes other things like Christ meeting the Samaritan at the well. That may seem like a very insignificant event. But when the apostles came back after buying food at noonday, they came back to the well where they had left Christ, they found Him talking to this woman. First of all, to talk to a woman like that was a little out of the custom of the time, but to be talking on spiritual matters with a Samaritan woman, who was a Gentile, or half-Jew, or half-Gentile, however you want to look at it, very despised by the Jews, they could hardly believe it.
Why is it that John gives practically a whole chapter of Christ speaking to a woman, and a Samaritan. The others do not even mention that in the Gospels at all. But the emphasis of John is more universalistic, how that Christ was interested in all peoples. Almost a whole chapter is given to that.
He also mentions in the latter part of the Gospel of John how the Greeks went up to the worship of the Temple. He emphasizes Christ speaking even to Greeks. You do not find that in the other Gospels.
Also, we find that the festivals of the Old Testament, which you would call God’s festivals from the Old Testament point of view, and the circumcision apostles down in Jerusalem certainly kept the festivals of God for several years after Pentecost. They were keeping Pentecost. They were keeping Passover undoubtedly, perhaps with a new meaning. They were keeping the other days, I have not the slight doubt about it. In fact the book of Acts substantiates that they were.
Now the apostle John is writing long after, say 61 C.E. or 70 C.E. (after the destruction of Jerusalem) is now calling the festivals "the Jewish festivals." There seems to be a definite change. He seems to be emphasizing Gentile things. His whole geography is Gentile. His explanations of Hebrew expressions show that he was primarily speaking to Gentiles. His theology is most important here, because in the 4th chapter when He was talking to the Samaritan woman, and she said, is it in this mountain here, Mount Gerazim, where the old Samaritans had a temple at one time, is it in this mountain that we ought to worship God, or is it in Jerusalem where the Jews had their Temple down there? You remember the classic statement that Christ made, "It is not in this mountain, nor is it in Jerusalem that God wishes anyone to worship Him, but in spirit and in truth" (paraphrasing John 4:20–23). That is the key. That statement, along with many others, is showing that Christ is deemphasizing physical things, whether they be Gentile, or whether they be Jewish, and putting it on a high spiritual level.
What does this all mean? It means that John’s Gospel has very mature thinking in it, very late thinking. It was written long after, several years after the other three Gospels were already written, and maybe some of them had been circulated by this time.
The 7 miracles which I wish to speak about today, which Christ performed before His crucifixion are presented in a highly symbolic way. Actually I guess you could say the whole Gospel can be described as having symbol to it. I am going to point out some of those symbolic significances in a few moments. The Significance of these 7 miracles are highlighted by the theological teachings found in this message of the Gospel of John. John’s teachings are the pinnacle doctrines of the New Testament in many ways of looking at them. I am convinced that the Gospel of John could not have been written without the prior knowledge of the Mystery revelation which God gave to Paul and others starting about the year 61 C.E.
All of you who have heard my lectures on the Mystery, but a very profound thing happened about 61 C.E. as far as the apostle Paul and others were concerned. They received the full and final revelation of God. I will tell you what it did. It completely changed the theology of prior times in many ways of thinking. What it did was to do something which had never been thought of before in the history of the world.
The Mystery revelation is revealed in Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, and in subsequent books, such as 1 and 2 Timothy, but mainly in those three first. I do not believe that John’s Gospel could have been written with the theological position that it takes unless it would have first understood the fullness of the revelation of God given to the apostle Paul and others, starting about 61 C.E. The Gospel of John is complementary to Paul and reflects, in my judgment, the profound disclosures given to Paul by the Eternal God.
While John was once an apostle to the circumcision—is there any doubt about that? Of course not. James, Peter, John were the apostles to the circumcized, as mentioned in Galatians chapter 2. They had a mission primarily to Jews. In John’s early career he never strayed from the limits of his commission. After 61 C.E. and more particularly, for John, after 70 C.E.—and the reason I say 70 C.E., is because that is the time Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. The Temple was destroyed. The priesthood went by the wayside. The holy days in Jerusalem became defunct for all practical purposes. Everything connected with Judaism from a physical point of view, disappeared in 70 C.E. From a physical point of view it was wiped off the surface of the map. There were some attempted revivals, that is true. But on the other hand, they never did succeed as far as Christianity was concerned.
After you pass 61 C.E., or more particularly 70 C.E., a whole new ballgame begins as far as Christian understanding is concerned. John after 70 C.E. in my judgment, assumes a new role. He is no longer just an apostle to the circumcized, which is what he was up to that time. He stayed within those limits. Remember what he said in the little book 3rd John? Do not go even and take anything from the Gentiles, even a mere pittance of money. Do not be supported by them. He was staying within the limits of his commission, just like the apostle Paul was staying within the limits of his also, at that particular time.
After 70 C.E. something begins to change. Really it starts to change in 61 C.E. with the revelation of the Mystery that the apostle Paul gives. One of the main keys to what the apostle Paul says is fundamental to understanding the 7 miracles of John. What Paul said was, with the revelation of the Mystery, the middle wall of partition was broken down. The middle wall of partition that separated Jew from Gentile in the Temple was now broken down and the holy altar is now open to view, to access by anybody whether they be Jew or Gentiles. All of the regulations in the Old Testament concerning the Temple worship, priesthood and everything like that are abolished in Christ. In other words, with the revelation of the Mystery, the middle wall, the physical barrier that kept Jew and Gentile separate from each other, has now disappeared. Jew and Gentile can now walk up hand-in-hand, not as Jew and Gentile, but they can walk up as a new man in Christ, a new creature, never even heard of before. He is not a new Israel either, he is just not a new Gentile. He is a new man. He is new altogether. And a new relationship has now taken place.
In actual fact, with the destruction of the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, the final barriers there that kept man away from the Mercy Seat which represents, of course, God’s throne in heaven, have now been broken down as well. This new man, no matter what race he is, he is just a person, now with Christ’s blood sanctifying him can walk past that altar and walk up into the Holy of Holies and sit down with God the Father on His throne. It is most remarkable when you think about it.
For me this is the central key to the understanding of the Mystery, though it does not mean it all. A new man comes along. When you get rid of the blockage or the barrier between Jew and Gentile, and Israel does not theologically become important any longer, the commissions given to the apostles to the circumcized do not have the efficacy that they had before, because theologically speaking there are no circumcized. Theologically speaking, in one way, there are no Gentiles. They are all the same. I suppose you would say, we are all nations.
Maybe some of this is theoretical, but on the other hand I would say that when the Gospel of John, John was writing to Gentiles. He had to explain Hebrew terms to them. Obviously if he was writing to Jews he would not have to explain those things. His whole geographical patterns that he uses are clearly Gentile as well. Everything is now universalistic. Christ has become now the Savior of the whole world. John’s Gospel is really in effect the final mature teaching of what Christ was doing while on this earth here—though they did not understand it at the time—but it is mature reflected teaching on what Christ was really doing. He was not only coming to die for the Jews. He was coming to die for the entirety of the world. That is what we find in John’s Gospel.
John’s Gospel is universal. Its application is universal in a theological sense. The 7 miracles reflect John’s new theological concepts that have been given by God through the revelation of the Mystery. The 7 miracles have profound significance. Why was the Gospel of John written? In one way they were written around those miracles, not exclusively, but around those 7 miracles. Maybe I should say, the 8 miracles that I am going to talk about a little later on. These 7 miracles are prior to the crucifixion, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of John was written to point out some of the significances of these miracles. Look at John 20:30–31. Here the apostle John gives his reason in two verses why he wrote the Gospel in the first place.
"And many other signs [or miracles] truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written [he only gave a few], that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
He wrote this at the end of the book. By the time he wrote that, the 7 signs had been given. In fact the 8th sign had already come because that was the resurrection of the dead of Jesus Christ. They were given in the presence of the disciples so that people might be able to understand that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you might have life through his name." Let us look at the signs that John put in his Gospel. They reflect very mature teaching.
The first sign is the changing of water into wine. That is found in John 2:1,
"And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus saith unto her, ‘Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.’"
People have wondered what Mary was actually after here. Was she actually asking for a sign of some kind? What Jesus gave her was a sign. I suppose, though it was not recorded she was asking for some miracle connected with wine. Mark in your notes the word "wine," water into wine. It is going to be quite significant from a symbolic point of view. "Jesus saith unto her, ‘Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.’"
In the 7th chapter of John when His brothers, kinsmen of His like His mother, wanted Him to go up to Jerusalem and proclaim Himself at that time, He also said in John 7:6, "Mine hour is not yet come," or fully come. When did it fully come? When Jesus was hanging on the cross1, remember one of the last things he said? "It is finished" (John 19:30). Something happened there on the cross, when the blood was coming out of Him. Something happened there that made His life, His mission, perfected. It was finished. It came to an end. The greatest miracle of all took place, not necessarily at the death, but what happened three days later at the resurrection. What was happening at his death was the blood, of course, cleansing people of sin.
We are going to have something about blood in this, but the word blood is not going to be used. What is being talked about here is wine. Verses 2:5–6,
"His mother saith unto the servants, ‘Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.’ And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece."
I just might mention in this verse 6, John has to explain that this was after the manner of purifing if the Jews. If he were writing to Jewish people at the time, being within his commission just to the Jews, why does he have to explain about purification rites to them. They would have known already. John 2:7–11,
"Jesus saith unto them, ‘Fill the waterpots with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, ‘Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.’ And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, ‘Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.’ This beginning of miracles [signs] did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him."
The emphasis here is that the first miracle was the changing of water into wine. Do you know what this shows Christ as being? It shows Him as being a Creator. He can take one substance and change it into another. That is the first miracle. Is it not interesting, He changed it into wine.
When you look at this at first, just because He changed it into wine, does not make sense, perhaps. Let us continue through the Gospel of John and you are going to find that there are several substances that John is very interested in: water, wine, bread, fish. These are the substances he is going to be interested in almost all of the miracles. The first miracle is the changing of water into wine. This shows that He has power over mass, that is He can take water and change it into wine.
Wine normally takes time to ferment. You have first of all grape juice. Maybe you have water coming down as rain out of the sky. It goes into the plant. The plant soaks it up and makes the grapes. The grapes are then picked and pressed. You have grape juice. It takes from 40–50 days for it to turn into a new wine. It might take longer with certain types. To make wine, it takes time. Christ Jesus took water without any vines and changed it into the finest quality of wine without any time being used, except that instant.
Perhaps this is symbol (and I know it is), but this shows that Christ was a Creator and He does not need any time like you and I do. He has power over substance. He has power over time. He brought as a Creator, he took water which is in a sense not living, and changed it into wine which is living. And it was fermented wine, which means that it did not take time to make it. This shows the power that he has.
The first miracles concerned liquids. This might sound silly for me to emphasize this. The next miracle I am going to show deals with solids. Wine is living. What is wine like in the Gospel of John. He makes some relevant statements concerning it. It is very much like blood. In the Old Testament it says that "the life is in the blood." 2 Wine does live. It is active if it is fermented wine. Here is the first miracle showing Christ’s power over mass, over time and that He is a Creator. The first thing he deals with are liquids.
Though it is not the next miracle in time, the next miracle is that concerning the loaves and the fishes, where He did some changing there too. This is dealing with solids, not with liquids. You might wonder again, why am I emphasizing liquids or solids. You find in nature liquids and solids and time. What we are going to find John showing as he said at the very beginning,
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
Those are the first three verses illustrate Jesus Christ being the Creator of physical, of spiritual, of liquid, of solid, of a person who created time, distance, space, and all of these things. It is really quite a scientific treatise if you look at it from a theological point of view.
Go to John 6:1, "After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is [the sea of] Tiberias." This shows again that he is writing to Gentiles, because everybody, all the Jews would call it Kineret or Galilee. He puts it in the Gentile name, Tiberias.
"And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
Would you have to tell Jews that the passover was a feast of the Jews? You would tell Gentiles that, but Jews would know that.
"When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, ‘Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?’ And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, ‘Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.’"
Formerly it was water and wine. Now it is going to be bread and it is going to be fishes. These two substances are very important symbolically.
"‘There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?’ And Jesus said, ‘Make the men sit down.’ Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand."
That is a lot of people. And they have five barley loaves and two small fishes. That is all they have.
"And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.’ Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten."
This was a great miracle that was taking place here. It is fundamentally different from changing one substance like water into another substance like wine. You know what Christ was doing here? He was creating all right, but creating something even in a greater way. He is showing His creative powers by making something out of nothing. Most remarkable is it not? He had something too, He had five barley loaves and He had two fishes. But obviously to feed 5,000 men, let alone the women and children, He was creating something out of nothing. He was doing it right there in front of His disciples and 5,000 men. Is that not proving who He was? He was a Creator, and He was showing them in the midst of His disciples, with solids this time.
What he used were loaves and fishes. He says I want you to gather up all these loaves, the fragments of them, and put them in baskets. I do not want any of it lost. That has some instruction in it itself. But they had twelve baskets. I do not have time to go into the symbol of why 12 baskets, but I am sure it is symbolic. They had them all left over, but it says "that nothing be lost." This relates to what He said in John 6:39,
"And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."
You see the symbol? Here He was creating something out of nothing, from a few barley loaves and fishes, He is creating a whole lot of stuff. But in creating it He says I want nothing lost. I am the Creator, I want nothing lost. Interpreting it he then says in verse 39,
"And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."
It means that bread represented His people, that He was creating. Of course He was creating the bread right in front of them, but He was also going to save everybody that He has created. That is the point.
He is not going to lose one crumb. That is the teaching. A lot of people today say He is going to lose some. He is not going to lose any. He is going to gather it up in 12 baskets if He has to, but He is not going to lose one morsel of all that He has created with His own hands.
He also multiplied the fishes. Fishes are very interesting. After the resurrection of Christ there was one more miracle given, which is not in the 7 that I am giving here. That was when He met them over in Galilee. The apostles decided to go fishing. John 21:3,
"Simon Peter saith unto them, ‘I go a fishing.’ They say unto him, ‘We also go with thee.’ They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus [this was after his resurrection]. Then Jesus saith unto them, ‘Children, have ye any meat’ [food]? They answered him, ‘No.’ And he said unto them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.’ They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved [undoubtedly John himself] saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits [about 100 yards],) dragging the net with fishes. [Fishes is the key, they are bringing the fishes.] As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread."
Who is cooking this fish with this bread. It is Jesus, Christ resurrected from the dead.
"Jesus saith unto them, ‘Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.’ Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, ‘Come and dine.’ And none of the disciples durst ask him, ‘Who art thou?’ knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead."
This incident may not seem very important, but John is a Gospel of symbolism. He is dealing with fish and bread. One of the major miracles was fish and bread back there (in John 6) creating that right in front of people.
Here was Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead. All sins have now been paid for. Jesus was now resurrected from the dead, which God the Father has done by His power. There was not any doubt in the apostles’ minds now who He was. Here He is dining on fish and bread and asking them to dine on fish and bread. At the same time, hauling in 153 fish, not 154, not 152, but 153.
What about this number? From a numerological point of view it has a bit of significance, but I do not know if Christ is giving it from that point of view or not. If you take all the figures from 1 to 17 and add them up, like 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 and so forth to 17, you get the number 153. That is true. I do not know if there is any significance to that. But Dr. Bullinger has pointed out that in the Hebrew (and let’s admit this, the apostles were Hebrews) the word "sons of God" or beni ha-Elohim if you take the letters and you take the numerical value for each one of the letters, add it all up, it comes right on [it adds up] to 153. It makes you wonder whether or not these disciples getting the fish out of the Sea of Galilee, and He said I’m going to make you what? Fishers of men. One hundred and fifty-three, beni ha-Elohim, it could very well be they are going to be sons of the living God. This was after His resurrection.
What also was Christ eating here. He was eating fish. Afterward in the 2nd century C.E. it was quite common for Christians of the time to begin to use the symbol of the fish for Christianity. You still see some evengelical groups using it today. The word "fish" in the Greek is ichthus. It simply means fish. The interesting thing is that if you use this as an acrostic, which means to take the first letters and you use those letters in an acrostic.
What it actually says in acrostic is "Jesus Christ the Son of God, Savior." That is what ichthus means. Is it not interesting that fish are being used here. Who is Jesus Christ? He is the Savior and He is the savior of the whole world. This second miracle that I am mentioning (which is not the 2nd miracle in order), dealing with solids, is the miracle of making loaves and fishes out of nothing. This shows that He is a Creator.
He also in another miracle in John 6:16 it shows He has power over the elements which He has created.
"And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea,"
This shows that the elements do not concern Him. He is not governed by the elements. After all, He is the Creator of them. Besides that,
"… and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But he saith unto them, ‘It is I; be not afraid.’ Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went."
In the parallel passages in the 1st three Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, it mentions this. It says there was a great storm at the time. The storm ceased when He got into the boat. He was walking on the sea. That shows He has power over the elements that He created. Then when He steps into the ship, the storm immediately ceases. If we only have the Gospel of John to go on, it would seem to say that the ship was immediately then, through space, taken to the port. The other three Gospels do say that it went under its own power. That is true.
The emphasis here is in this miracle (number 3 in my order) is that He has powers over all of the elements, the physical elements that He has created, whether it be the solids here on the earth, or whether it be the water or whether it be the atmosphere.
He also has power over space, not only over time, but over space, over distance. Distance is one of the five dimensions that make up our known physical world. Space is certainly one of them. Distance makes no difference to Christ. Look at this miracle here which shows this. It shows Him as the Creator and sustainer of everything in the universe.
"So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, ‘Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.’"
They wanted to see signs and wonders. These are the 7 signs right here that God has given. There is an 8th one, that is the resurrection of Christ from the dead. This is one of them. "The nobleman saith unto him, ‘Sir, come down ere my child die’" (John 4:49).
This is just like so many of us. We feel that maybe Jesus had power, or some man has power, but He has got to come and He has to touch a person on the head. That is how we look at it. Please come and do this. If you will come down and walk, or some way get in the presence so you can get your hand on him, then I know he will be healed. How many of us think that way. So many times we do. That is what the nobleman was saying,
"‘Sir, come down ere my child die.’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘Go thy way; thy son liveth.’ And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down [down the mountain slope toward Capernaum], his servants met him, and told him, saying, ‘Thy son liveth’. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’ So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, ‘Thy son liveth’: and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle [in order] that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee."
What does this show? He has the power to heal people, but distance is no concern to Him. Space is of no concern to Him. Remember after His resurrection one of the women came to the tomb, seeing Him there, and she wanted to touch Him and He said, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father."
But the very afternoon of the resurrection day, He was saying to His disciples, touch me. Touch me here. Touch me there. He had ascended in that length of time, perhaps in a split second, to the Father in heaven and come back. This is in John too. But also we have this here that distance and space is of no concern to Him whatsoever. We think perhaps today that He is in heaven and not here. But we can be here instantly. He can be there instantly. This is showing Him to be the Creator. He created time and distance and He has power over time and distance.
Almost all of these things, these miracles we are looking at here, have to do with things created, or showing Him to be the Creator, as John called Him in the 1st chapter of the Gospel.
What about the fifth sign that I have here in my order. It shows that He has power over all law, even spiritual law. After all, He was the one that made Law. He is able to do with it as He pleases. A great miracle took place in John chapter 5. Look at this now.
------- -- -------
It was a miracle of the restoring of health to a man. The man had an infirmity and for 38 years he could not walk. Apparently the man was able to walk as a child and he became infirm. So Jesus came along and was going to show that He can restore health.
In this incident here, it shows Him as a restorer of the limbs. He is capable of doing that. It also shows something else. In fact, the miracle is subsidiary of the overall principle of what happened on that particular day. Chapter 5 of John,
"After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. … And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years [not 39 years]. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool."
John 5:1–3, 5–7a
This again shows mankind’s ideas. You either have to come down and touch me like the nobleman said, or someone has to carry me down and put me in. How many times have you been seeing that put into action. I will send a minister with an anointed cloth or a bottle of oil. Not that that is wrong in itself necessarily, but you know, how many of us have said, you’ve got to do it. In everyone of these cases here, you find you do not have to do it. Jesus did not pick him up and put him in any water that was being troubled. In fact, the water was not even troubled at all. It says here,
"... but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. [that is all He said to him] And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath."
This is important. Who is the Creator being discussed here? Jesus Christ as John said in 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Who are we talking about here? The Creator of heaven and earth. We are also talking about the one who rested on the 7th day at creation. We are also talking about the one who gave Moses the 10 Commandments. Who are we talking about? He has already been demonstrating here so far His power to create. He can do it and He is going to do it in all of these miracles. He is the Creator. This is the significance of what John is showing if we can just see it. He is talking about the Creator of heaven and earth. He is trying to point that out here. This man got his pallet and began to walk, but it says on the same day was the Sabbath.
"And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed [or pallet]."
I do not care how many people are going to argue with me on this, I know for a fact and I can prove it from the Scripture, that according to the Old Testament, that man was doing an act which was unlawful. That is a fact. The Pharisees were correct. But Jesus told that man to take up that pallet and walk. The day was the sabbath day. Do you see what John is getting at here?
(The next miracle is going to be when the man, he was not born blind, his eyes were made so he could see. It also says that when Jesus spat on the ground and took up the clay and put it in the man’s eyes and said—that was also on the sabbath day.) That is significant because here is a man who is nothing that the Creator of heaven and earth who gave the sabbath day in the first place, gave all laws and everything. He is demonstrating in the midst of everybody that He is the Creator, and they ought to realized it. Here they are repudiating Him. Any Jew should have realized, theologically speaking, that if God were to come down in a new Mount Sinai of some kind and said keep Monday or keep Tuesday or keep no day, if they knew it was God, you know what every orthodox Jew would have done, they would have said, well, let’s do it.
What was Jesus doing? He was absolutely demonstrating Himself to be the Creator, and they are criticizing Him because He says to a man, pick up your pallet and walk. Though it was illegal, that is quite true, it is not illegal when the Creator of heaven and earth tells a man He can do that on the Sabbath day.
It is an issue here of who are we talking about. Is He the Creator, or is He just some prophet of some kind, or just an ordinary man walking the street. Who are we talking about? When He tells you to pick up the bed on the sabbath, and break the sabbath if you want to, you are going to have to argue with your Creator, if you are going to dispute with Him.
"The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, ‘It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.’ He answered them, ‘He that made me whole, the same said unto me, "Take up thy bed, and walk."’ Then asked they him, ‘What man is that which said unto thee, "Take up thy bed, and walk?"’ And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, ‘Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.’ The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day."
One of the major things that put Jesus Christ on the cross was this action on the sabbath day. Not only that, but let us read the rest of it here.
"But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.’"
If anybody says He was not working on the sabbath day, you are going to have to argue with John, because he said He was. He was working. That was illegal from the point of view of the Jews. Who are they talking about here? They are talking to the Creator of heaven and earth. That is what John is showing. If they are going to argue with the Creator, they are in serious difficulty.
"‘My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.’ Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."
That is what killed Him. That is what put Him on the cross, blasphemy because He said He was God. Every action demanded that He did show that He was God. What did they do? They repudiated Him.
The interesting thing about this is that this healing took place on the sabbath day. It shows that He has power over all laws, and He can do as He pleases with any of the laws and He does not have to be subject to any law that He has ever made or will make, because He is law personified. He can do as He pleases. It is about time people began to realize that.
The rest of this chapter shows Jesus saying, like in verse 22,
"For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father."
He speaks also of judgment.
"I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
This whole context here is showing that Jesus is the judge. He has proper judgment. He can tell people to work on the sabbath if He wants to, because He is the Creator. This is the key.
So this 5th point shows that He has power over all spiritual laws, not just over liquids, not over solids, not over distance and space, not over just time. He has power over law. This is what it is showing. It is demonstrating that He is the Word, the Creator of heaven and earth. He also was a restorer of this man’s health.
In the next illustration which is the 6th one, is the man born blind. That is John chapter 9.
"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, ‘Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?’"
Notice this, Jesus here is going to heal this man. I do not have time to go into it at length. He heals him, and you know the method by which He does it. In this case Jesus is not going to restore health to the man like the lame man, who had His health at one time. Jesus restored it. He can restore your health too. This time He is going to create something. He is going to create light to that man’s eyes, again showing that this is the Creator.
When he was healed and his eyes were created, he had never seen a day in his life. Now he was seeing. This is showing Him as the Creator even of light for man. Verse 13,
"They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes."
It is interesting that the two miracles, one of restoring a man to health, telling him to carry his pallet on the sabbath day, and the other of creating light or eyesight to a man from nothing, creating it so that he now has eyes in his head. All of this was done on the sabbath day.
"Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, ‘He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.’ Therefore said some of the Pharisees, ‘This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day.’ Others said, ‘How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?’ And there was a division among them."
How many times have I heard people say, you’re not of God because you don’t do this or you don’t do that. They will do it time and again. I do not mind people telling me that I am not God, because I do not do things right. But if someone comes in their midst doing all of these things creating out of nothing right in the midst of them, clearly showing who He is, and then come around and say to him, this man cannot be of God because He does these things on the sabbath. He breaks the sabbath. Something is wrong somewhere. Do you know who Jesus was? He was the Lord of the Sabbath. That is what it says in Mark. He is the owner of it. He allowed His disciples to go through the cornfields to pluck, to rub and to eat, which was illegal. The illustrations He gave were two illegal things, well one particularly, David went into the Tabernacle and ate the shewbread which he should not have done. Christ gives as an excuse for them to break the sabbath, the fact that He allowed David to do it without retribution. He says I am the Lord of the Sabbath. I own it. It is mine. I can do as I please with it.
If He is the Creator, can He not do so? Of course He can. This is the whole object. This matter of, you can either do this on the sabbath or not do this, you can argue back all you want to, but the object here, what is at stake is Christ’s divinity over this matter of the Sabbath. Either He is the Creator and He was the one who not only created liquid, solid, time, space, distance, mass, everything there is, and also the sabbath day and all laws—either He is that or He is not. If He is that, he has a right to change it or to do as He pleases with it, can He not? Of course He can. Here He is not only simply a restorer of health to a person, but a creator of sight. He did it on a day that the Jews did not like. Mankind does not like what He does, but He gives it anyway.
Notice the two illustrations here of the miracles. I have not time to comment on this, but from Isaiah you will recall it. He says when the Messiah comes He will cause the lame to walk and the blind to see. The two main miracles here discussed right now a lame man walking and a blind man seeing. It is a perfect fulfillment of these things. That is the 6th one.
The 7th miracle before Christ’s death on the cross was perhaps the greatest of all because it shows the raising of Lazarus from the dead. That is in John 11:1–15, the whole chapter has it. I do not have time to refer to all of this. You know it. The interesting thing about this is that this is the 7th miracle. The 7th miracle, and 7th in order as well, is the final miracle other than the miracle of Christ’s resurrection Himself, which is the 8th. But this is the final that He gives as far as John is concerned. It is the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Is this the Creator who can do this or is it not?
"Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest 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 might be glorified thereby.’ Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was."
He did not even go to see him, which is unusual is it not? Many times we wonder why does He not come to us when we are sick, right on time.
"Then after that saith he to his disciples, ‘Let us go into Judaea again.’ His disciples say unto him, ‘Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.’"
He had healed the blind man previously and now he was seeing light. All of these things are tied together if you can just see it. I do not have time to go into it altogether here.
"‘But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.’ These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.’ Then said his disciples,’ Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.’ Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.’ … Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already."
John 11:10–15, 17
Look at verse 34. You know the rest of the story.
"And said, ‘Where have ye laid him?’ They said unto him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, ‘Behold how he loved him!’ And some of them said, ‘Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?’ Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, ‘Take ye away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, ‘Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.’ Jesus saith unto her, ‘Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?’ Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, ‘Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.’ And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’"
This was the final miracle that Christ gave as far as John was concerned. You know what it was? The resurrection from the dead. Does this not show He is the Creator of life and death? Death, true, but life also? And that He can give it back if He pleases? This was the 7th miracle. It shows Him to be the Creator of everything to substantiate what John said at the very beginning.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
John 1:1, 3
All of these miracles are showing Him in His power over all nature of things which are visible and invisible. They are carefully selected to do that very task, to be able to support Him to be Creator of heaven and earth. That is the significance. But the 7th and final, is His victory over death, which is most important for all of us. He said that if we eat his flesh, which was like His bread; drink His wine, which was like his blood, we can have life.
All of these miracles really are interconnected with one another. If you have the light of the world, the blind man who received his light so he could see. All of these things are interconnected to be able to prove that He is the Creator.
But the 7th one there is the best one for all of us because it shows Him to have the power over death. He could give life to anybody. He gave it there to Lazarus. That was the 7th, up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
But God the Father reserved the greatest miracle of all to be number 8, because that concerned Jesus Christ Himself. He died on the cross with the blood spilling, which is connected with the wine and the bread and everything of the former parts, but He dies on the cross for the sins of the world. Three days later He came up out of the grave. He came up out of the grave Himself, which is most remarkable. Not Lazarus this time.
There is a fundamental difference between the miracle of raising Lazarus and the miracle of raising Christ. Lazarus came back to physical life. Jesus Christ came back to life eternal. It is different. But yet it is the same but yet it is different. The emphasis is different. The power of it is different. When we see Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead (which is really one of the most provable things you could possibly imagine in history, you have here God the Father entering into the whole affair. Not only is Jesus the Creator, but here is the Creator dead and yet God the Father raises Him from the dead, back to life for all time to come. That is the power that is within God the Father’s hand and grasp. He has given it to Jesus Christ.
When you put it all together, here you have John trying to substantiate—not trying, doing quite adequately I would say—he is selecting certain miracles to be able to prove the first three verses of what he starts out with. Again I rehearse them.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."
The first thing He starts out with is to show Jesus Christ as Creator. In the midst of the Jews back there in Palestine, John the apostle selects these very mature teachings to illustrate that Jesus Christ was indeed the Creator of heaven and earth.
It is all right here in the Gospel of John. Why is it? Because He is the Creator of all things. When Jesus was walking the streets of Jerusalem and Galilee some 1900 years ago, He was the Creator. John specifically brought out those 7 miracles, or the 8 if you want to put it that way, to be able to show who it was walking the streets of Jerusalem and Galilee. It was no ordinary man, but the Creator of heaven and earth.
------- -- -------
As we found out above, and as we read in the Gospel itself, the main point that John wishes to illustrate in his writing of this Gospel is that Jesus was the Son of God. He writes,
"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
What did John mean by this expression "Son of God"? He gives us the meaning back at the very beginning of his Gospel. In fact you might say it is the beginning of the Gospel that gives the conclusion to what He is actually writing. That may sound like a paradox, but in actual fact that is the truth, because in the first three verses of his Gospel, he gives us the reason for writing His Gospel. He wants to introduce someone to us, someone who is important to him. That someone is Jesus Christ, called the Word here in the beginning of John’s gospel. He says this,
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
This is the introduction to John’s Gospel. He is trying to show the individual that he is talking about. He is talking about no one less than the Creator of heaven and earth. To be the Son of God as John said in John 20:31, means that He is God, and He was coming into this world. He was pointing out that Christ was the Creator of heaven and earth. Read John 8:58. Jesus is talking to the Pharisees at this particular occasion. They were accusing Him of being just a young man, not very old, and they even say to Him you are not fifty years old. Jesus formerly said that He had actually seen Abraham. That was impossible, you are a very young man yourself, not even fifty years old. The reason they said fifty was because that was normally the retirement age for most people. They were saying, you are not even on a pension yet, they were saying by using that term "fifty years." We all know that Christ was little over 30 years—33˝ when He died. This did not mean that He was close to fifty years, but simply they were saying, you’re not even pensionable yet, yet you are saying you were with Abraham?
Notice Jesus’ answer here because John is going to bring out the divinity of Christ in the answer that Christ gives to these Pharisees.
"Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.’"
Notice those words. As soon as Jesus said that term right there, it says in verse 59,
"Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by."
That itself was strange. They must have closed their eyes, or God blinded their eyes. It was a way of showing His divinity. The thing that upset those men the most was when Jesus said "Before Abraham was, I am." To those Jews listening to Him it was almost blasphemy.
Back in Exodus at the time Moses was being called to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.
"And Moses said unto God, ‘Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?’ And God said unto Moses, ‘I AM THAT I AM’: and he said, ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.’"
"I am" is the present tense of the personal verb which means "I am." It means that He, "I" will be present continually. It gives the feeling, if you were "I am" in the past, that means you were present in the past. If you are "I am" now, you are present now. If you are "I am" in the future you will be present in the future. What was the name of God? God told Moses, you tell the children of Israel, "I am that I am." "I am" is God’s name.
"And God said moreover unto Moses, ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.’"
The memorial is "I am." "I am" is the God of Abraham. But Jesus said in John 5:58, "Before Abraham, I am." They said, well you’re not even fifty years of age. By that statement right there, John is recording that Jesus Himself knew that He was the "I am" of the Old Testament. Or, to put it in modern terms, the YHVH of the Old Testament.
It is interesting that in John’s Gospel, not only does John record Jesus as saying He was the "I am" that lived before the time of Abraham, but many of His expressions show this divinity, if we be willing to recall them. For example, the presentation of Christ as the ego, that means as the "I am" is very noteworthy. He said,
You can see all of these things occurring in John’s Gospel are to support who He was. The first three verses show who He was.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
"I am" is being talked about here. As I said a few moments ago, this word "I am" is the present tense. It always means present. It means continuous all the time. In the Bible, the Old Testament, over 7,000 times we find the word YHVH and it is used of God. There are other names, but this is the most consistent use of God for His name. It is called the tetragrammaton because four [Hebrew] letters make up this word YHVH. Not the vowels, but just the consonents. This word YHVH probably comes from using the abbreviations of the first letters in abbreviated form of the Hebrew verb "to be." That is an ordinary [not decipherable] verb.
What you would do is to take the first letter of this four–letter word that makes up the name YHVH, is "Y," which is supposed to be the first letter of the Hebrew letter "to be" in the past tense, which would mean "was." The "VH" which are the middle two letters of YHVH, they represent the letters which introduce the Hebrew verb "to be" in the present tense. The last letter "H" is the word that introduces the future tense of the verb "to be." You put all four letters together you get the past, you get the present and you get the future.
Is it not interesting that this is the name or this is what YHVH means, past, present and future. It signifies as James Moffat says in his translation of the Old Testament, "the Eternal One," the one who is always in existence, or as you might say, the "I am."
Who is this "I am." You find this "I am" identified in the book of Revelation. Revelation was also written by John the Apostle.
"John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth."
I could go on and read the rest of the scripture, but here we find in verse 4 a description of God. He is called the one which is (present tense), the one which was (past tense) and the one which is to come (future tense). Verse 7,
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,’ saith the Lord, ‘which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.’"
Here again we have the past tense, the present tense and the future tense, identified with the Almighty. Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am" always present. This word YHVH means past, present and future, always in existence, or you might say, the Eternal One. This is where the relationship between Christ and His godship was coming into the whole matter. What John in his Gospel is trying to point out is that coming into the world was not just an ordinary man when he tabernacled with flesh. It was none other than the Son of God Himself, the very creator of Heaven and Earth. How many times does John in his Gospel emphasize this? For example,
Time and again we see that John is emphasizing the divinity of Christ. One of the main reasons for writing his Gospel is to show that Jesus Christ came from the Father, that He had been with the Father before, that He had lived in glory with the Father. He puts into Christ’s mouth (that is, John does) just prior to the evening prior to the crucifixion when He is talking with His apostles, he says to them,
"I have glorified thee on the earth [speaking of God the Father]: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."
This is John saying that Jesus had a preexistence. Jesus had a preexistence before Abraham, indeed the first three verses [of John] show Him to be the Creator of heaven and earth. Who is this? It is the Word. It is none other than Jesus Christ. The reason for John writing his Gospel is to point this out. He also is shown to be the Creator by the apostle Paul as we are well aware in Colossians 1, and in the 1st verses of that chapter.
"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
Who are we talking about here in Jesus Christ? We are talking about God. We are talking about a member of the family of God that came into this world. That is why He is the Son of God. Back in 1 Corinthians, and I know we are aware of this. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10 that when the Israelites were coming out of Egypt, someone led them along the way. It was YHVH in the Old Testament, the One who was, the One who is, the One who will be. Paul says it was Christ that followed them, Christ Jesus before He became a man on this earth.
What do we find here in the Gospel of John. John is trying to show who Christ was. When He had the argument about the sabbath day with the Pharisees, they should not have had any reason whatsoever to argue with Him because John is saying they are arguing with their Creator. This is the point. John is trying to show in the most beautiful of simplistic language, but full of lots of spiritual teaching, he is trying to show the cardinal theme in his mind above anything else. That is again the 1st three verses,
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
What happened to this Creator when it came to the 1st century C.E.? He left his heavenly abode. He came into the flesh. He lived for 33˝ years. He dies on the cross and three days later was resurrected to go back to the Father where He had the glory before. That 3˝ year3 message that He left, and it is recorded here in John, is to give us the encouragement, the strength and the understanding of what the Creator of heaven and earth was doing for us all. The message of John is to show who Jesus Christ was. He was nothing less than God
Ernest L. Martin
------- -- -------
1 Later Dr. Martin came to understand that Jesus did not exactly die on a cross, but on a tree (see Acts 5:30, 10:39, 13:29 and 1 Peter 2:24). The term usually termed "cross" (Greek, stauros) indicates the cross-piece that the wrists were nailed to. See chapter 21 "The Manner of Jesus’ Crucifixion" of his book, Secrets of Golgotha, 2nd Edition (Portland, OR: ASK Publications, 1996) pp. 288–305. Please keep this in mind when you read "cross" in the text above. DWS
2 See Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:11, 14; Deuteronomy 12:23; and John 6:53–54.
3 I presume that he refers here to the ministry of Jesus. Dr. Martin later came to understand that the ministry was for a 2˝ year period, not 3˝ years.
© 1976-2014 Associates for Scriptural Knowledge - ASK is supported by freewill contributions