Feeding the Five Thousand

John 6:1-14

After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.  Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.  And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.  Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.  Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”  But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.  Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”  One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”  Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.  And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.  So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”  Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.  Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

When we look at this great event we are amazed at its magnitude.  But any miracle or sign from God, great or small, is an amazing event for us to comprehend and/or experience.

We look at the Scripture and we immediately try to grasp the amount of food that was consumed, or we ask ourselves how was this accomplished?  Truly, it was from God for man could not even begin to duplicate a spontaneous sit-down lunch for this many people.  (5,000 men plus the women and children – another 15,000 with a total of at least 20,000.)

But there is much more to understand in this passage.

  • Verse 2 – He is the God of healing – Prior to the feeding of the five thousand, it was the same people who had been healed and delivered of disease that followed Jesus and He would feed them.
  • Verse 3 – He is the God of  Communication and Teaching – He sat with His disciples and taught them, explaining what had just transpired.
  • Verse 4 – He is the God of Celebration – Passover was the celebration of being freed from Egyptian bondage.
  • Verse 5 – He is the God of compassion – Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat.”
  • Verse 6 – He is the God of glory and in control – But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
  • Verses 7-9 – He is the God of the impossible – Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”  One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him,   “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
  • Verse 10 – He is the God of order – Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
  • Verse 10 – He is the God community – fellowship.
  • Verse 11 – He is the God of servant hood – And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
  • Verse 12 – He is the God who satisfies – So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”
  • Verse 13 – He is the God of blessing and frugality – Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
  • Verse 14 – He is the God of revelation – Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

Looking at these varied descriptions of who Jesus is in this miracle we find:

  • Verse 5 – He really cares about our needs, wants, concerns like no other.  He wants to meet our needs right where we are.
  • Verse 6 – Everywhere we see the miracle workings of Jesus we catch a glimpse of His glory.  Think for a moment and realize what His glory will be like when we experience it personally in heaven.
  • Verses 7-9 – Just think of the logistics of providing free food to such a large crowd in the place that they were gathered.
  • Verse 10 – Order was the only way it could be accomplished.  Otherwise some might be afraid they would not have enough to go around.  It could have cause chaos.
  • Verse 11 – He used His followers to assist in the orderly distribution of the food.  After all, He had taught them about being servants.
  • Verse 12 – Everyone ate their fill and was content with what had been provided.  Are we always content with our supply?
  • Verse 13 – There was more than enough for all and plenty left over for the disciples to have a snack later.
  • Verse 14 – God truly revealed His greatness on this day.  No mere sleight of hand or a magician could have accomplished such a feat.

In all the various thoughts that might run through one’s mind as you ponder this story, there is one thing we must remember.  God is able to do more than we dare to imagine for He is truly the God of all Gods, the Great and Mighty One that transcends all possible explanation of greatness. 

Verily, Verily

John 5:24-25

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.  Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

The King James Version of the Bible uses the phrase, “verily I say unto you”, a total of 115 times.  Out of the 115 times, 78 times are in the Gospels.  John’s Gospel is the only book in the Bible that uses the words “verily, verily, I say unto you”, twice in succession and it does so twenty-five times.   That word stands out.  In other Versions, a similar word is used.

  • New King James Version – “assuredly, I say unto you”
  • New International Version – “I tell you the truth”   
  • Amplified Version – “Truly I tell you”
  • Contemporary English – “I Promise You”
  • Message Bible – “Listen to this carefully”
  • God’s Word Translation – “I guarantee this truth”
  • Holman Christian Standard – “I assure you”

In everyday language we would probably say something like:

  • Listen Up
  • Pay close attention
  • Hear this
  • Listen very carefully
  • Listen to me now

All of these draw special attention to the statement that follows the word “verily” or “verily, verily” or whatever phrase they use.  But John, alone, used the word twice in succession.   Perhaps the era in which he lived, he felt that extra emphasis was necessary to get people’s attention to the truth that followed.  He lived longer than many of the others who were close followers of our Lord and influenced more people because of that long life.  Remember, John is the one who, in Revelations, Chapter 2 and 3 used the phrase “He that has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches” seven times.  He may have been following the example of Jesus, and followed closely Jesus’ use of that phrase “verily, verily.” 

John was the writer of a unique Gospel and a unique Revelation prophecy.  His Gospel is topical, dealing with specific details, not primarily chronological like the other three Gospels, and the same topic is not always covered in other Gospels.  His Gospel revolved around seven miracles and seven “I am” statements of Christ.  His purpose is crystal clear.  It was written to spark believing faith in the reader.   Four of the miracles in John’s Gospel do not appear in any of the other three.  Only John spoke about Lazarus being raised from the dead and has more to say about this particular miracle of Jesus than any other in any Gospel.

Martin Luther King used the same tactic when he gave that speech titled “I have a dream” and he used that phrase over and over.  Most public speakers do the same kind of thing when speaking.  I, myself, quite often do so also.

Are the statements you make around your family, around your friends clear to those you are speaking to and do you use words or phrases, like John did that will get their attention?  Are you following Jesus closely or afar off?  Are you making a difference in others’ lives?  

John 5:24-25 – Most assuredly, (or verily, verily) I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, (WOW, WHAT A TRUTH) and shall not come into judgment, (ANOTHER GREAT TRUTH) but has passed (NOTE “has passed” IS PAST TENSE) from death into life.  Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 

Shortly after this statement Lazarus was raised from the dead.  What God promised, He fulfilled.

Life and judgment are through the Son – Verse 24 speaks of life, everlasting life.

  • If one has heard the Word of the Lord
  • If one has believed in the Father who sent the Son
  • If one has asked forgiveness of the Son through the Father
  • If one has come to the foot of the cross
  • If one has made peace with their past
  • If one has placed their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ
  • If one lives faithfully for the Lord

Then judgment for those sins that one has committed has already taken place; that one has everlasting life.  Though that one may go by way of the grave they are dead in Christ physically, but alive spiritually.  That one shall hear the voice of the Son of God when He comes in His glory at the sound of the trumpet. 

John 3:16-18 – For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.  For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.  He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation–he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.]  (Amplified Bible)

John 6:47 – Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

John 6:47 – I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, he who believes in Me [who adheres to, trusts in, relies on, and has faith in Me] has (now possesses) eternal life.  (Amplified Bible)

1 John 3:14 – We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.

Seven Reasons to Praise the Lord

John 4:23-24

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

If a young lady went up to Johnny Cash and said, “I worship you!” what would she mean by that?  Would it mean that she had every one of his albums or that her walls were plastered with his posters?  Would it mean that she followed him around to all his shows?

Worship is such a difficult act to define, but it is that – a verb.  It requires us to be active.  Worship is directed toward God, for God and about God.  It must honor HIM!

What’s the definition of worship?   Since worship is a spiritual act, let us look at a spiritual source – the Word of God.  Scripture helps define it for us.  There is a very distinct difference from what Scripture says and what we often see in church.

Too many people take their cues about what is acceptable in worship from their experiences in church as children instead of from what the Bible says.  We often substitute our traditions – “this is the way we’ve always done it” for the clear mandates of the Word of God.  So what does the Bible say about HOW we should worship?

Here are scriptures that describe how we should worship.  This is not a complete list.

Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God…

Psalm 47:1 – Clap your hands, all you peoples, shout to God with a voice of triumph!

Psalm 66:12 – Shout for joy to God

Psalm 95:1-2 – Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious!

Psalm 95:6 – O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

Psalm 96:1 – Oh sing to the Lord a new song…

Psalm 134:2 – Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord!

Psalm 149:3 – Lift them praise His name with dancing

Psalm 150:3-5 Praise Him with the trumpet sound…the lute and harp…tambourine…strings and pipe…cymbals.

Our worship requires action and is solely for God, not ourselves.  It is to Him alone we give glory.  He desires and deserves that glory as we gather for corporate worship in His house, but our entire life from moment to moment should be spent glorifying Him.  Sometimes that means we need to evaluate what we are doing and how we do it.  Other times, we need an attitude adjustment.  When we submit to Him in our daily lives, our actions, our thoughts and our attitudes will more and more reflect Him and bring Him glory!  Have you noticed in a lot of the prayers that your Pastor prays, he asks that our thoughts, our words and our actions always be to glorify Him?

Seven reasons we should praise the Lord:

  • We are commanded in God’s Word to praise Him

Psalm 150:1 – Praise the LORD!  Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament.

  • God is enthroned in our praise

Psalm 22:3 – But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. 

Psalm 34:3 – Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.  

Psalm 99:9 – Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.

Psalm 107:1-2 – Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever.  Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.  

  •  There is power in praise

Psalm 21:13 – Be exalted, O LORD, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power.

  •  It is good

 Psalm 92:1 – It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;  

 Psalm 135:3 – Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant.

  • God is worthy of our praise

Psalm 48:1 – Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain.

Revelation 4:11 – You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”

  • We were created to praise Him

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

  • He inhabits the praises of His people

Psalm 92:1-5 – It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your loving kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night, on an instrument of ten strings, on the lute, and on the harp, with harmonious sound.   For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands.  O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep.

Psalm 96:1-4 – Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.  Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.

What is worship?

  •  Praise and Worship is conversation between God and man, a dialogue that should go on constantly in the life of a Christian.
  • Praise and Worship is giving to God and involves a lifetime of giving to Him.
  • Praise and Worship is our positive response when we realize who God really is.  Each act of our daily life should be an act of worship.
  • Praise and Worship is an outcome of the fellowship of love between God and man.
  • Praise and Worship is our heart’s expression of love, adoration and praise to God recognizing His Lordship.
  • Praise and Worship is an act by a redeemed person toward His Creator involving his will, mind, emotions showing reverence, honor and devotion to Jesus Christ.
  • Praise and Worship means “to feel in the heart.”  It is expressing in some appropriate manner what we feel.
  • Praise and Worship is “awesome wonder and overpowering love” in the presence of God.
  • It is the ability to magnify God with our whole being – body, soul and spirit.
  • It is the unashamed pouring out of our inner self upon Jesus in affectionate devotion.
  • It is the response of God’s Spirit in us bearing witness to His Spirit whereby we cry out “Father.”
  • It is the ideally normal attitude of a rational creature properly related to His Creator.
  •   It is extravagant love and extreme obedience. 

Real worship defies definition; it can only be experienced.

Habakkuk – 3:17-18 – Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Psalm 57:9 – I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations.

Psalm 66:8 – Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard.

Psalm 66:2 – Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious.

Worship our way:

  • God is the conductor
  • Pastor/Worship Leader is the performer
  • Congregation is the audience

Worship God’s way:

  • Pastor/Worship Leader is the conductor
  • Congregation is the performer
  • God is the audience

Living Water

John 4:3-19

He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.  But He needed to go through Samaria.  So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.  A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?  Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”  Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”  Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”  The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”  Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.

On a trip from Jerusalem to Galilee, it was necessary to travel through Samaria.  Sychar was the place where Abraham first stopped when he came to the land of Canaan.  It was near the site where Jacob and his men had dug a well and was also near the site where Joseph was buried.  The name signifies “drunkenness” and was probably associated with idol worship since the Samaritans had erected a temple on nearby Mount Gerizim since they could not go to the temple in Jerusalem. 

  • The scene – Jesus was traveling with His disciples from Jerusalem to Galilee, a three day trip.  This was probably the second day.  It was about noon and they were hot, tired, hungry, and weary.  Jesus sat down on the edge of the well to rest.
  • The place – the well.  This was a meeting place for young men and women.  It was the young women’s job to draw water from the community well.  A young man looking for a young lady could easily meet one at the well. 
  • The time of day – Jesus met this woman at the well about noon.  The usual time to get water was early in the morning, or early evening.  She came at noon so she would not have to associate with other women who were probably rude to her because of her life style.  Yet Jesus did not mind talking to her.  Jesus is the friend of sinners. 
  • The confrontation – Jesus got right to the subject – “Give Me to drink.”  He knew immediately that she would question His asking her for a drink.  He got her attention.  Jews and Samaritans did not associate with one another.  He knew she would wonder how a Jew would be willing to drink from the same cup as a Samaritan.

Jesus said “if you only knew”

  • Who I was
  • What I could do for you
  • What a difference I could make in your life
  • That I could give you water that will satisfy eternally

As we receive the new life in Christ it brings

  • Satisfaction
  • Peace
  • Joy
  • Love
  • Comfort
  • Changes us
  • Never thirst again

Jesus offered not just a cup for the needy, not just a trickle, but a fountain of water.  God offers you the entire fountain of His eternal life.  Why settle for just a glass full?  Moses provided water from a rock in the desert for close to 3 million people plus animals.  This well that Jesus spoke of far exceeds that capability.  Jesus is that rock, that source of living water that will never run dry. 

This water is freely given.  It is ours for the asking. 

The well is deep.  This is no surface runoff; this is living water.  We have nothing with which to draw the water.  Jesus is the only one who can provide that water.  Out of the depths of His love He freely bestows on all who would receive.  It is entirely beyond the reach of man except through Christ, the giver of life.  It is His perfect delight to lead us to the living fountain. 

John 7:38 – He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

Isaiah 12:3 – Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Isaiah 55:1-2 – Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat.  Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?  Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.

John 6:35 – And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

JESUS – unlimited warranty – satisfaction guaranteed!!!!!!

The Gift

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

God gave us the best gift of all – His son and the gift of eternal life His son’s death and resurrection provided us. 

God also gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit to teach us, give us power to witness and live for God.

Luke 11:13 – If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

As we accept that precious gift of God, we need to understand that, along with life in His Son, God has also given us gifts to use for His glory.

Gift – “charisma

  •  A free gift of grace given by God such as salvation to the believer
  • Special gifts bestowed upon the believer by the Holy Spirit

Matthew 10:7-8 – And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Romans 12:3-8 – For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,  so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 – There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.

Gifts God gave to the church

  • Apostles
  • Prophets
  • Evangelists
  • Pastors
  • Teachers

Purpose of these gifts

  • To equip (prepare, arm) the church for the work of ministry of God
  • To edify (to educate, improve) the body of Christ
  • Until we mature (are established, developed) in God’s Word and become like Him
  • That we do not act like children – unstable and constantly being deceived by false teachers
  • Until each one of the body of Christ does its share and cause the body of Christ to grow in love

Ephesians 4:8 – But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  Therefore He says:  “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”  (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?  He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)  And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,  for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,  till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;  that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,  but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

What are your gifts?

How well are you exercising the gifts that God has given you?

Royalty

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Isaiah 9:6-7- For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.  Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

2 Samuel 7:16 – And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.

Philippians 2:5-11 — Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Royal Throne Room – The stable

True, a stable is for animals, so a few may have been nearby on the night Jesus was born, although they may have been kept outside.  Still, the smell more than likely included the normal stable scents.  It takes a great deal of time and cleaning for those smells to disappear.  Another distinctive contrast is the construction materials, namely stone and wood.  Definitely missing are marble columns, precious metal inlays and carpets from the Orient.

Yet, this seemingly insignificant location becomes the grand throne room of the promised King, the awaited Messiah.

The contrast continues.  There is no special nursery cradle of expensive materials.  Instead, Mary lays her baby in a rough-hewn manger designed to feed animals.  Totally missing are the fine fabrics of a royal household.  He is bundled in the bands of cloth commonly used for babies of that culture.  Also absent are the attendants who would attentively serve the family’s every need and want.  Only humble shepherds, the lowest in the social structure, came on the night of his birth to celebrate this special occasion.

So once again the question arises, “How can this stable be the throne room of a King?”

The answer lies in the person of Jesus rather than in the stable where He lies in His manger bed.  He IS royalty.

Human Royalty

When thinking of royalty, our attention may be drawn to contemporaries like Queen Elizabeth II of England, Prince William or other European royalty.  In the process of remembering historical royal figures, we may think of Queen Victoria, Richard the Lion-Hearted or Henry VIII.  In the process, we may easily overlook the reality of Jesus’ royal status.

Isaiah’s prophecy of Christ states, “He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom.”  (Isaiah 9:7).  This is a confirmation of God’s covenant with David, made nearly three centuries prior.  Though David is not allowed to fulfill his desire to build a temple for the Lord because of his bloodshed as a man of war, God gives him a very special promise.

2 Samuel 7:16 – And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.

Centuries later, we see the fulfillment in Jesus.  Joseph, the legal father, and Mary, His blood mother, are both descendants of King David.  He is royalty!

Though He was born in a stable and laid in a manger, was raised in humble circumstances, and ministered as an itinerant does not change reality.  Jesus is the descendant of an earthy king.  He is human royalty.

Divine Royalty

Without the reality of Jesus’ identity as divine royalty, the Bethlehem story and His life are nothing more than an unusual human-interest story, and His teachings and claims would be no different from many other charlatans who deceive for personal greed and egotistical ends.

Jesus came to earth as the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and the “Son of God” (John 3:16).  This points very specifically to His position of divine royalty.

When reviewing this aspect of Jesus’’ identity, we are reminded of His two natures.  He is the God-man.  Although He takes on human flesh, He retains His divinity.  He allows the human aspect to become a limitation, however, thus enabling a true identification with us humans.

Philippians 2:5-11 – Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Royal Identity

Only a few men and women are born into royal families with their titles and inherent privileges.  Yet in marked contrast are the believers throughout the ages and around the world, who because of our belief in Christ, are born into the family of God.  And that means we too are royalty!

Our physical parentage, economic status, education attainments and personal abilities may vary greatly.  But it does not matter.  These things are not the substance of royalty.  We are royalty because we are the children of God, the King of kings.  Spiritually, His royal blood flows through our veins.  As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are heirs of the heavenly Father.  Our inheritance is one not just for the future, however.  We enjoy all the privileges of being in His royal family today, even now.

Royalty!  That is anyone who accepts Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Inferior to Superior

John 2:1-12

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.  And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”  Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”  His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”  Now there were set there six water pots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece.  Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.  And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it.  When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.  And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”  This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.   After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.

  • The water made wine
  • The ordinary made extraordinary
  • The plain and simple made special
  • The inferior made to be superior
  • A life of sin, no hope within.
  • Struggling alone, no hope, no joy

INFERIOR

  • A light turns on, the Spirit calls
  • We receive Christ, old habits gone

SUPERIOR

  • Outcast, chained, in bondage torn
  • Tired and lonely, no friend to call our own.

INFERIOR

  • We cry out to God, we bow our head
  • We weep in sorrow for what we have done
  • New hope dawns

SUPERIOR

  • He broke my chains and set me free
  • His banner over me is love

INFERIOR TO SUPERIOR

Psalm 25:4-5 – Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.  Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.  All day long I put my hope in you.

When we find Christ

  • The crooked way is made straight
  • The difficult becomes manageable
  • The storm gives way to sunshine

Inferior to Superior!

Job 13:15 – Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.  Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.

Yet will I trust God anyway. When darkness gives way to light, I have assurance – Even though I’m tried I shall come forth as gold.

When we are in Christ and Christ is in us, we have His promise.  He will be with us.  There will be difficult times, but He will be there.  He is a shelter in the storm. 

John 16:33 – These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

YOU ARE WITH ME

Psalm 23:6 – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Dwell in the house of the Lord – that’s superior

We live in the inferior now – but the superior awaits!

What Do You Seek?

John 1:35-39

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

What do you seek? – What are you looking for from life?

Come and see

Matthew 11:28 – Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

What do people seek for?

  • Riches
  • Houses and lands
  • Education
  • Fancy cars
  • Jewelry
  • Fame
  • Are you seeking for meaning, purpose in life?
  • Are you seeking for self-improvement, fellowship, friends?
  • Are you seeking deliverance from trials, trouble, suffering?
  • Are you seeking approval and acceptance with God?

Isaiah 55:6 – Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

Matthew 6:24-33 – No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.  “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Luke 11:9-10 – So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 16:24-26 – Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Only Jesus can satisfy your soul. Only He can change your life and make you whole. He’ll give you peace you never knew, special joy and heaven too. Only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

Jesus said, “What do you seek?”  Then, “Come and see.”

The Word Became Flesh

John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.  That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:  who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.  For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

The John of the Gospel of John was a disciple of Jesus, brother of James.  Along with Peter, these three made up an inner circle of disciples.  John and Peter witnessed the figuration.  It was these two who healed the lame man in front of the temple who was begging for alms.

Jesus had died, risen and ascended into heaven approximately 33 A.D.  John wrote this Gospel approximately 85 to 90 AD. – Some 50 years later.

Christianity was spreading to the entire world as they knew it.  How would John, a Jew, write about Jewish tradition, history and a messiah that only Jews were looking for?  Through the power of the Holy Spirit John used a term that all the world could comprehend.  The entire world, the learned, the scholar all knew Greek and they understood the power and might of the “word.” 

The “word” was seen as the power that enabled men to think and reason.  It was the power that brought light and understanding to man’s mind and enabled him to express his thoughts in an orderly fashion.  Here in the Gospel of John, the “word” was not just a “word.’  It was the power by which men came into contact with God and began to comprehend the deeper things of God.  John proclaimed that “Jesus Christ was the Word and the Word became flesh.”

Jesus Christ was the picture, the expression, the pattern, the very image of what God wished to say to man. 

“The Word was made flesh” God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, was made flesh and blood; He became a man.  No greater message could ever be proclaimed to man.

Christ dwelt visibly among us

John the Baptist bore witness of the superiority of Christ

Men have received the fullness and grace of Christ

God’s Son alone has seen God

Incarnation – The Son of God was actually made flesh.  He came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ.  There is no doubt about John’s meaning here.  The word “flesh” (sarx) is the same word that Paul used to describe man’s nature with all of its weakness and tendency to sin.  Jesus Christ is fully God, yet He is fully man.  The word “beheld” means actually seeing with the human eye.  There is no room for saying that God becoming a man was merely a vision.  John was saying that he and others actually saw the Word made flesh.

Flesh –What does the Bible mean by “flesh”?

The flesh is corruptible.  Sin has tainted and debased the flesh.  Therefore, the flesh sins and ages, dies, deteriorates and decays.

Galatians 6:8 – For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

1 Corinthians 15:50 – Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.

Christ became flesh to correct and counteract this corruption of the flesh

1 Peter 1:18-19, 23-25 – knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,  but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.  Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.  The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”  Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The flesh is dishonorable.  It is not what God created it to be. 

Romans 7:18 – For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

Romans 1:28-32 – And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;  being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,  backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;  who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Christ became flesh to correct and counteract the dishonor of the flesh

Hebrews 2:14-15 – Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,  and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Romans 5:8-10 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

The flesh is weak.  It is impotent, feeble because of sin.  It has no strength to please God nor to save itself.

Romans 8:8 – So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

John 6:63 – It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

The flesh is a natural body.  It is part of the earth; it is made up of the chemicals and substances of the earth.  It is “the earthly home,” the “tent,” which houses the human soul and spirit.  It is neither spirit nor spiritual; therefore it cannot live beyond the strength of the chemicals and substances that form its flesh.  It cannot live beyond its natural life

1 Corinthians 15:50 – Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.

Luke 24:39 – Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.

Christ became flesh to counteract the natural body of the flesh.  He became flesh in order to become a “quickening spirit,” the Savior who could quicken and make alive all those who would trust Him.

1 Peter 3:18 – For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

Romans 8:11 – But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Glory of the Incarnation

Christ was the “Shekinah glory” of god.  This work means “that which dwells” or “dwelling.”  It refers to the bright cloud that God used to guide Israel out of Egypt and that rested upon the tabernacle and above the Mercy Seat in the Most Holy Place.  It symbolizes God’s presence.  John was saying, “We beheld,” actually saw the Shekinah glory, God’s very presence “dwelling among us.”

John said we looked at Him and could tell He was God.  All that Jesus was in His person and being, character and behavior, was so enormously different. 

James, the Lord’s brother in the natural, even called Jesus “the Lord of glory.”  James was reared with Jesus beginning from the earliest years of childhood right on through the years of adulthood.  He had every chance to see some act of disobedience, some sin, something contrary to the nature of God.  But he called Jesus –

James 2:1 – My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.

Christ was full of grace and truth.

Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

1 Timothy 3:16 – And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:  God was manifested in the flesh,

justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.

Hebrews 2:14 – Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.

Grace, as applied to Christ, means far more than it does when men use it.  When man does favors for his friends, he can be said to be gracious.  But God has done a thing unheard of among men.  He has given his very own Son to die for his enemies.  Grace became the favor of God showered upon men – men who did not deserve His favor. 

Fullness and grace of Christ given to us

“Fullness” means that which fills, the sum total.  It is the sum total of all that is in God.

Colossians 1:9-10- For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

“Grace” is His blessing upon us.  Grace enough to meet all our needs, not matter the circumstance.  We cannot earn this grace.  It is a gift of God.

Titus 3:4-7 – But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Romans 3:23-24 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Behold the Lamb

John 1:29-37

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  This is He of whom I said, “After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’  I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”  And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.  I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’  And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”  Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.  And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

There are nearly 70 references to the Lamb in the Old Testament, most refer to the lamb as a sacrifice for sin.

  • God will provide the lamb

Genesis 22:7 – But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”  And he said, “Here I am, my son.”  Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”  And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”

  • Lamb must be pure and holy – representing Christ

Exodus 12:5 — Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

  • Christ was pure and holy

1 Peter 1:19 – but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

  • In the Old Testament an offering had to be made as atonement for sin.  It all points to Christ as that offering.  Christ fulfilled once and for all that required sacrifice when He gave Himself willingly.

John 10:17-18 – Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.

  • Exodus 12 tells us of the first Passover when the Israelites applied the blood of the lamb to their homes and were saved when the death angel slayed the first born in every home where the blood was not applied.  Symbolically, the Passover pictured the coming of Jesus Christ as the Savior.  The lamb without blemish pictured His sinless life and the blood sprinkled on the door posts pictured His blood shed for the believer.  It was a sign that the life and blood of the innocent lamb had been substituted for the firstborn.  The eating of the lamb pictured the need for spiritual nourishment gained by feeding on Christ, the Bread of Life.  The unleavened bread pictured the need for putting evil out of one’s life and household.  It was the blood of the lamb that saved the people.  The lamb was sacrificed.  Its blood was shed as a substitute for the people.  The lamb symbolized Christ our Passover who was sacrificed for us.  If we believe and apply His blood to our hearts and homes, He saves us.  If we do not believe and do not apply the blood to our hearts and homes, we are destroyed.  It is the Lamb of God who was sacrificed for us; it is His blood which saves us.

John 1:29 – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

1 Peter 1:18-19 – knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,  but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

  • Historically, two lambs were sacrificed “day by day continually…the one in the morning and the other at even.

Exodus 29:38-39 – Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually.  One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight.

  • The people knew their sins had separated them from God and that their sins had to be removed before they could be reconciled to God.  Thus, symbolically, the sins of the people were removed from the people and placed upon the two animals.  The animals, without blemish, had the sins of the people placed upon them; and, symbolically, they bore the judgment of sin, which was death.  They were sacrificed for sin, and by their death, they symbolically set the people free by redeeming them from their sins.  Note:  It was not the deed that caused God to remove the sins, but the faith of the person in God’s Word that He would remove the sins.

Isaiah 53:6-7 – All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.

1 Corinthians 5:7 – Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

1 Peter 2:22-24 – Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

Revelation 5:6; 6:1; 7:9, 12:11; 13:8; 14:1; 15:3; 17:14; 19:9; 21:22

Jesus Christ is

  • The perfect Lamb of God, without sin
  • The One upon whom the sins of the people were placed
  • The One who bore the judgment for sin, which was death
  • The One who was sacrificed for sin
  • The One whose death sets people free by redeeming them
  • The One whose blood is counted precious both by God and believers

It should be noted the Christ willingly offered Himself as the sacrificial Lamb, as our substitute and God willingly accepted the offering and sacrifice of His Son for us.  God is satisfied with the settlement for sin that Christ made.  If any person really believes the blood of Christ to be precious, really believes that the blood of Christ covers his sins, God will take that person’s belief and count it as righteousness.  That person is counted righteousness by God.

John 10:17-18 – Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.

Romans 5:1 – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:1-2 – My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

The “Lamb of God” is not of men but of God.  The idea is that the Lamb belonged to God, that God gave, supplied and provided the Lamb for Abraham as a substitute for Isaac.  This speaks volumes about:

  • The unbelievable love of God for man

John 3:16 — For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

  • The great sacrifice and humiliation Christ underwent for man

Philippians 2:6-8 – who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

  • The forgiveness of sins and salvation which came from God’s grace and not from man’s resources and works

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

The “Lamb of God” takes away the sin of the world

The phrase “takes away” (airon) means “to lift away, to carry off, to bear in behalf of one, as one’s substitute.  Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God who bore our sins.  He lifted our sins off of us and carried them away.

1 Peter 2:24 – who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

John the Baptist was simply pointing out the “Lamb of God” to the people – Here is the Lamb of God we have been waiting for

We must point the Lamb of God to others – fulfill the Great Commission

  • It is not the great exception
  • We cannot leave it to somebody else to do
  • When people are lonely – “Behold the Lamb”
  • When people are in turmoil – “Behold the Lamb”
  • When people are sick, in pain – “Behold the Lamb”

Behold

  • To perceive through sign or understanding
  • To see
  • To gaze upon
  • To observe
  • To call attention to
  • We need to do more than just behold
  • More than see
  • More than observe
  • More than call attention

We need to

  • Receive the Lamb of God for our self
  • Receive the Lamb of God as our Lord and Master
  • Serve and glorify the Lamb of God in our own life
  • Point out the Lamb of God to others