Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. (John 13:31-38, mark 14:27-31, Matthew 26:31-35, Luke 22:31-38): Why is it important that Peter deny Jesus three times?
A. It shows just how fearful Peter’s heart truly is. He is not ready for this challenge.
OOOOOO. (John 14:1-14): My new favorite passage. Wow, does this bring comfort and joy!!!!!
Q. (John 14:6): This may seem very kindergarten, but I thought you may have a humdinger for an answer. What does Jesus mean by “the way, the truth and the life”? I take it as Jesus has shown us the WAY we should live, the TRUTH that means he is the son of God and the LIFE means living eternally.
A. I believe that He is telling us that He is the essence of God in human form, what John has been proclaiming all along: Jesus provides us the way to God in Himself and His sacrifice, He proclaimed the True way not just in teachings, but in His actions, and He shows that to be with God is to live, without Him we die.
Q. (John 14:9-11): So, why do some religions, like Judaism, not believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Why do they deny the NT?
A. Well, there are lots of reasons, but ultimately they come down to knowing who Jesus is. Jews, for example, could not reconcile a Messiah as a suffering figure: They see the Messiah as a triumphant figure who will establish an earthly Kingdom. Since Jesus was defeated in death, they reject Him as Messiah — their Messiah would never die. So, since the death and resurrection of Jesus is at the heart of the NT, it is little wonder that many Jews deny it, lock, stock, and barrel. (I would be remiss if I did not point out that many Jews have never read it, and mistakenly assume it is a manual on how to attack the Jewish faith). Many other religions stumble over Christ’s death and resurrection as well. Islam sees Jesus as a prophet, but argue that the Messiah could never be defeated and die on a cross — they say he only appeared to die. They also strongly align themselves with Jews in saying that there is only one God, and therefore Jesus can’t be God in human form. I think this is a poor representation of the understanding of the Trinity (Christians are often accused of worshipping 3 gods by Jews and Muslims), but it is typically the reason. Other religions have some important doctrines — such as reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism — that do not jive well with the NT, so they go elsewhere as well. There are lots of critiques of the NT by scholars who seek to take it apart in order to find the “real” Jesus, as opposed to the one the Gospels describe — because He couldn’t possibly be real, dead men don’t come back! It is little wonder that Paul will talk about the death and resurrection of Jesus as a “stumbling block” to many and “foolishness” to others, but note what he adds: but to those of us who have faith, it is the power of God at work in us. The resurrection is typically the line in the sand.
Q. (John 14:12-14): How can anyone do greater works than Jesus? And, what does Jesus mean by ask anything in His name? When we pray, we are supposed to say “in Jesus name, we pray?” My hubby says that’s just if you are asking God for something.
A. Because of what Jesus has done on our behalf, which is basically make us children of God via adoption (more on that in Paul’s letters), we are able to boldly approach the throne of God with our requests and make our hearts known to God in prayer. That is what it means to ask for our prayers in the name of Jesus. It is Jesus who has opened the door to the throne room that we might approach the King.
Q. (John 14:26): Am I right in saying that all who believe in Jesus are provided with the Holy Spirit which will show us the way? When I talk to God or Jesus, many times I feel like I am picturing them while I am talking to them. I have always just talked to Jesus and God though. I listen to the Holy Spirit, but don’t request things from Him or discuss anything. Are we supposed to talk to all three the same or differently?
A. Jesus is describing the Holy Spirit as our personal guide to God, and He works to remind us of Jesus’ words and the words of Scripture. So with that mindset, I would say that addressing the Spirit with praise when He helps you remember a verse, for example, might be a good example of conversing with Him. The Spirit is just as much God as the Father or Son, and our prayer life should reflect that. We will see the Spirit really come into power in Acts, so let’s watch for how the Spirit leads then.
Q. (John 14:27): The peace Jesus leaves us with is Him showing us the way to live and that He is powerful and will come back to take us to with Him. And, He leaves the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads us through life, if we let Him. We talked about the Holy Spirit in the OT, right? He has always been around, just like Jesus?
A. God, in the three Persons, is eternal, and not bound in time. The Spirit is surely a big part of the OT: by my count, there were nearly 200 references to the Spirit being at work in the midst of Israel, from Genesis 1:2 and on down.
O&Q. (John 15:1-17): Another awesome passage. Today’s reading feels like it’s changing my attitude — making me less pessimistic (taking out some of that yucky gray matter) and more filled with love and joy. I do hope that this Scripture is for all of us and not just the disciples.
A. It is indeed. John is recording these words that multitudes of people will benefit — wait until you see what Jesus prays for next.