Gospel of John
Gospel of John

Gospel of John Study – Part 7

RS: We’re in the fifth chapter of the book of John, and I’ll ask you to turn to it. This material today, the teaching today, is very interesting. Hopefully, you’ll find it enlightening, and hopefully, God will use it in your life.

We had some really interesting conversations, so we’ll go as far as we can until I’ve got to get up and leave, so, take a minute, if you would, and read John chapter 5, verses 1 through 29. How many of you have the NIV, the New International version? For you that have the NIV, what does verse 4 say?

Unidentified audience member: “One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.”

RS: All right, was that verse 4?

Unidentified audience member: That was five.

RS: I need four.

Unidentified audience member: It doesn’t have four in there. It goes four to five.

[Laughter]

Unidentified audience member: I’ve got my bad glasses on, sorry, you caught me. “Many were lying close to the pool?”

RS: No, the NIV…

[Multiple comments and laughter]

RS: No, the NIV – it’s not in there. The NIV leaves it out.

Unidentified audience member: Trick question.

RS: Yeah. The reason is, you know, we have a number of ancient manuscripts that don’t include it, and so, for whatever reason, the NIV decided to leave it out, because they –

Unidentified audience member: The ESV doesn’t have it in there either.

RS: It doesn’t have it in there either? The NAS does. I think the King James does. But anyway, it talks about an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred up the water, and whoever got put into it would be healed, if they….and, all I can say is, this man obviously believed it, didn’t he?

Unidentified audience member: Yeah.

RS: Because he’d been there all his life, 38 years and he’s just waiting for somebody to put him in there. This was his only hope. And then, very interesting, Jesus asked him, do you want to get well? Isn’t that interesting? Do you want to get well? And, of course, the man doesn’t say, yes, he says, well, I don’t have anybody to put me down into the pool. Now, I think this is significant and you can say that I’m overanalyzing this, or overapplying it, but you know, this man was physically lame. He had this physical infirmity, and I look around the table, and we’ve got a bunch of healthy people, but we have our issues. We have our own infirmities. We have our own struggles. And I really believe that Jesus is asking everybody, just like He was asking him, do you want to get well? Do you want to be made whole? Because I find that there are so many people who are not well, and not healthy, and yet they are scared to death of the process that would be required to get well. I mean, I’ve seen this over the years often. I saw it with a guy that came to see me about his finances. And I said, well, let’s see how much money, he had pride, he was having problems. He showed me his income, and he showed me his expenses, and I said, this is a simple math problem. This is why you’re in trouble. You’re spending more than your making. I said, this is what we need to do. You’re going to have to eliminate some things. I don’t think he liked that. He didn’t come back to see me again. He didn’t want to be financially healthy.

Unidentified audience member: Are you sure it wasn’t a girl?

[Laughter]

RS: His wife was definitely, I will say this, his wife was definitely part of the equation. You could tell.

[Laughter]

Unidentified audience member: And not part of the solution.

RS: When you start talking about eliminating expenses, that was part of the problem. But, you know what, I really do think that, I don’t know if you read my blog last week about idolatry, but I think that’s another part of the problem. We have these idols that are causing such harm to our lives, but we love them so much, we don’t want to give them up. And so, in other words, we don’t want to get well. Now, in the four Gospels, we see a number of healings take place, but this one is unusual because of the reaction to the healing. And what’s the problem? What do the Jews get so upset about?

Unidentified audience member: Working on the Sabbath.

RS: It’s the Sabbath issue. You know, and it’s based on one of the Ten Commandments. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. And that’s a great law. I think it’s an important law. It’s to rest from your labor. But the Jewish leaders, what they’d done is they had taken this law and they had surrounded it with a number of other religious regulations that were not part of the law. And let me read to you another example of this. This is in Matthew chapter 12, starting in verse 9. It says, “Departing from there, He went into their synagogue, and a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” They were trying – they were going to accuse Him. They wanted to get Him. “And He said to them, ‘What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if the sheep falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out, and save that sheep? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath?’ Then He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand!’ He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.

You see, this is the thing, and we’re going to talk about the law in just a second. This is the thing about the law, and what does Jesus say in Mark 2:27? He says, what you guys don’t get is that the Sabbath was made for man. Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for man, for the good of man. And so, you can see how these Jews, these Pharisees, they had corrupted the law. They had made, it became a heavy burden upon peoples’ lives, which it was never intended to have.

Which leads into what I want to talk about now, which is the law. The Old Testament law, because it has application to us today. You see, there are two types of laws. You have what they call the ceremonial laws: circumcision, the animal sacrifices, all the feasts and festivals, all the dietary laws, and these were all part of the old covenant. They were very symbolic; trying basically, the symbolism of the holiness before God. But, you know, Jesus’ death and resurrection inaugurated a new covenant. And as the writer of Hebrews 8:17 said, the old covenant is obsolete and disappearing. And I don’t know how many of you were in this study four or five years ago when we studied the book of Galatians. And what Paul continually struggled with the Christian in the church in Galatia because, basically, they were Christians, they had become Christians, but so many of them felt like the needed to hold on to these ceremonial laws as if they were necessary to maintain their salvation.

But then you have the second laws. Some call it the civil laws. Others call it the moral law. What you see in the Ten Commandments. And these laws carry over into the new covenant. They still apply to our lives today. And Ravi Zacharias says that God has given us the moral law for three reasons, and I want to discuss those for just a second, because you’ll see in this, you’ll see the beauty of the law. It was never meant to be a heavy burden that you carried around. The first reason God has given us the moral law, is He wants us to understand who He is. You see, the law reflects the character of God. They are a reflection of Who He is. Let me give you an example. I believe it’s in James. It says, it tells us something that God can’t do. Is there anything God can’t do? Most people say God can do anything. No, there is something that God can’t do. What is it?

Unidentified audience member(s): Lie.

RS: Lie. He’s incapable of lying, and therefore, the law is not some arbitrary rule that He’s grabbed out of the air and imposed upon mankind. It reflects on Who He is, and that’s why being honest, not bearing false witness against your neighbor, is part of the law. Secondly, the law is a mirror to enable us to see what we are like. Remember in Hebrews chapter 4, verse 12, it says, “The Word of God is living, active, and sharper than a two-edged sword, and, at the very end, it says, it judges and reveals the thoughts and the intentions of the heart.” The law reveals our sinfulness.

Let me read to you. This is from Romans 7, verses 7 and 8. This is Paul. He says, “What shall we say then? Is the law a sin? Is the law bad? May it never be. On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the law, for I would not have known about coveting if the law had not said ‘you shall not covet.’ But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind. For apart from the law, sin is dead.” In other words, it’s through the law that we see ourselves as we really are. We see our sin. And you know what the good news is about that? That points us, and lets us know of our need for a Savior. I was looking for, and couldn’t find it, but in one of Paul’s letters, it says, the law is like a tutor that teaches us our need for a Savior. You see, guys, the legalistic Pharisee saw the law being given to make us holy, but in reality, it was given to reveal our lack of holiness.

And there are all kinds of examples, but one that I have given before is, imagine you are driving through a small town, and all of a sudden, the blue light comes on and somebody pulls you over. The policeman pulls you over. And you say, what’s wrong, officer? You’re going 50 miles an hour through a school zone and I’m going to have to give you a ticket. And you say, I don’t know what you’re talking about. You argue with him. And he says, look, I’ve got this on tape. And he shows it, and you look at the tape, and you see, there’s your car, and there is the 20 mile per hour sign, and there, at the bottom of the video, shows you how fast you were going, 50 miles an hour. And all of a sudden, you realize, you’re right. I’m guilty. But, you had to see it. You had to see the law. You had to see what you had violated to recognize your guilt, and in one sense, that is what the law is intended to do.

But finally, and, in my mind, maybe most importantly, I’m going to say this, and then I’m going to stop and see if you have any comments or questions. Many people see the law as nothing more as that which restricts my freedom. In other words, they see it as nothing more than God putting restrictions on our lives. Restricting our behavior. Telling us what to do. And what they don’t see is that the law is like a schoolmaster to teach us how we were designed to live. It’s kind of like, and in one sense, again, people don’t see it this way, if they really understood it, they’d completely change their regard of the law. It’s really like an owner’s manual. Think about it as an owner’s manual. The law fits our design so that we have the opportunity to see our lives really flourish. There is a huge difference between a bunch of rules that restrict our lives versus an owner’s manual. Let me stop here. Comments or questions?

Unidentified audience member: Here’s another verse I was looking at earlier. I John 2:3 where it says, “Hereby that we know Him if we keep His commandments.” And that kind of explains what you’re talking about, you know. As you do that, it, especially as a father, the more experience you have with the Father, you start to respect your own father more, because the rules he laid out were not really dos and don’ts but here’s how to be happy.

RS: And they’re for your good. For your ultimate good and well-being. Anybody else?

Unidentified audience member: What you are saying, you’re saying that the law is still applicable not as a means to be justified, but as a, like you said, a mirror, to tell you how you’re doing.

RS: Correct. That’s one of the three reasons that it’s there. That it’s been given to us. We’re going to take up, John, at the very end what you just raised. All right, we’ve got to keep going. Where are we? Verse 14. Go to verse 14. Remember what just happened. Jesus is…

Unidentified audience member: Making everybody mad.

RS: He continually does that, yeah.

Unidentified audience member: Particularly the Jews.

RS: But, He’s healed the man, and then they part, and then they kind of run into each other in the temple. And, what does Jesus say in verse 14?

Unidentified audience member: Do not sin anymore.

RS: Yeah, what’s that all about? I mean, here He’s healed him, they part, and then they come back together, and Jesus has further words for him. What’s that about, you think? Any ideas? Why would He say this, because…

Unidentified audience member: Letting him know the only reason he’s well is because He gave it to him.

RS: Okay. All right. But, this kind of goes back to everything we’ve, this will be the fourth time we’ve brought this up. The man had been healed physically. Now Jesus is more focusing on his spiritual life. You’ve got the physical, you’ve got the spiritual. Tim Keller made this observation, which I thought was pretty good. He says, this man – Jesus comes back to this man and says, you know, you gave Me what you thought was your real problem, and that you were lame, but there is a deeper problem. You gave me the thing that you felt like I needed to do something about, but friend, if you really want peace, you need to realize, I just gave you peace of your body. Gave you your body back. Then He says, if you want real peace, you have to deal with your sin. You have to stop living for yourself. You have to start living for Me. Real peace is found in Me.

Now, these Jews were upset with Christ because He violates the Sabbath, which He clearly didn’t. But they were outraged and wanted to kill Him, and that’s why they eventually did, because of blasphemy. And then, starting in verse 19, He says something really, really interesting, guys. And I’ll just say, there is so much in these verses, you just, it’s hard to figure out which one we want to focus on or not, but look at verse 19.

And … I want to share something with you that you’ve not heard before, probably, and you may scratch your head and wonder why, but it’s important to grasp, and I’m going to show you, for two reasons. In verse 19, Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son of Man can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing, and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.” In other words, Jesus is the Son of God, He is the Second Person of the Trinity. In John 10:30, He says, “The Father and I are one.” But, as you look at verse 19, I only do what the Father tells Me, or, like in John 8:28, He says, “I only do what the Father teaches Me.” What is that about? You see, this is what most people don’t get. And this is part of the mystery of the Incarnation. That Jesus is fully God, but He’s also fully man. Now, why is it important that He was fully man, do ya’ll remember? We’ve talked about this. He had to be a man. Why?

Unidentified audience member: Experience everything that we do.

RS: That, and, He had to go to the cross. He had to physically go to the cross. But He also had to be fully God. Why? Because only God could what? Bear the sins of the world. You couldn’t. You couldn’t bear my sin, and I couldn’t bear yours. I could only bear mine. He’s bearing the sins of the world. He had to be God. But, this is our problem. We think of Him more as God than we do as a man. In fact, most of us see Him as Superman. But He’s not. And this is what’s so incredible about Him. And again, we’ll see why, we’re going to show you why this is so important. Keep your finger here, and go to Philippians chapter 2. Anybody have any comments on what I just said, by the way?

Richard, I think this is evidence that He’s, [unintelligible 21:22-24], the Holy Spirit on earth. You know, once He was baptized, that’s how He started His ministry, and then He received the Holy Spirit.

RS: It’s interesting to see His relationship with the Holy Spirit. In Luke, I think it’s Luke 2, “And the Holy Spirit led Him around through the wilderness for 40 days.” And you know, He goes, and in Mark 1, it talks about He gets up early in the morning and goes out and spends time with His Heavenly Father, and He does this regularly, and that’s important. You see the relationship between the Trinity, and think about it. That relationship has been going on for all eternity, and this is why the God that we serve, and this is why the Trinity is so important, it’s a reflection of, He is a relational God. If it was just one God, then before He created the world, He basically didn’t need relationships. We serve a relational God. Why is that important? We are designed in the image of God. That’s why we’re relational beings. That’s why human beings get lonely. Because we’re made to be in relationship. And that’s why, boy, we could go down this path and talk up a lot. And that’s why our relationships are so important. Our relationships are more important than anything else, starting with our relationship with Him. That’s the key to life. Because He is a relational God. All right, I’m getting off track here. Everybody at Philippians 2? Who wants to read? Dan, you want to read?

Dan: Sure.

RS: How about reading verses 5 through 8.

Dan: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

RS: The NIV says, “He didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped, or to be held onto, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.” As Dan just read from the NAS, He emptied Himself, and He took the form of a bondservant, and was made in the likeness of men. The Amplified says, that, basically, He did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, but stripped Himself of all privileges and rightful dignity so to assume the guise of a servant, and that He might become like men.

And then, I really like this, I sometimes will do this. I went, I don’t know if you, probably one of the most famous, it’s older, of the paraphrases, you know, you have all different kinds of paraphrases, and a lot of people criticize the paraphrases, but, J.B. Phillips wrote what’s considered one of the great paraphrases ever. C.S. Lewis read it, and endorsed it. Listen to the way Phillips describes what Jesus did. “Jesus, Who had always been God by nature, did not cling to His prerogative as God, but stripped Himself of all the privileges by consenting to be a slave.”

You see, guys, Jesus is more of a man than we think. I mean, we talked about in one of our first sessions in John, Luke 2:52, that Jesus continued to grow in wisdom and stature, in other words, His mind developed, His understanding developed, just as it happens with us. Think about, what does it say in James, chapter 1, verse 13? It says, “God cannot be tempted by evil.” Think about it. God cannot be tempted by evil. But then, we read this before, Hebrews 4:15, it says, “We don’t have a high priest Who can’t sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one Who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Now, how is it, if God says, if we read in James, and it says, God can’t be tempted, and yet, here we read, Jesus was tempted in everything, how did that happen?

Unidentified audience member: Half man?

RS: Because He was a man. By becoming a man, He was now in a position to be tempted. I’m not sure we have a real appreciation for this. But even more significant – I think there are two significant parts here – there may be more than two – but it says there in Hebrews that He can sympathize with our weaknesses. Maybe that’s a serious, a major reason He came. That He understands human experience. He understands our struggles. But we also see that He was a man limited by time and space. He lived with a human mind. He therefore had limited knowledge, so how did He get everything that He needed to know? He got it from the Father. He’d go talk to God every morning, and for instance, this is what I really think, that God told Him, now today, you’re going to run into a woman in Samaria. Now, let me tell you about this woman. She’s had five husbands, she’s living with a guy, but you’re going to have the opportunity to really minister to her. You’re going to really have an opportunity to be used in this woman’s life.

And so, Jesus not only came here as a man to be able to sympathize with our weaknesses, but He came into the world as a man Who utterly depended on God the Father, every day of His life. And I think that He’s saying that this is the way that we’re supposed to live. Learning how to depend on God. Learning how to connect with Him, how to hear His voice, how to seek Him, to let Him lead us in life, and we’re to follow that example, that He set for us. Comments or questions? Again, I found that this morning, guys said, you know, I’ve never heard this. This is something that’s new to me. But, it explains, because for the longest time I’d read, where Jesus said, I only do what the Father tells Me, and I’m sitting here thinking, why do You have to do that? Because of His limitations as a man. And He’s saying, and you have the same limitations as a man. And, see that’s why we have to look to God, and God is there to lead and guide us. But that’s our biggest problem. Our biggest problem guys, is our autonomy. Our independence. And that’s the way we grow up, as men. And this idea of depending on God sounds kind of weak. It’s like someone said, someone said to a guy, I think God is a crutch. Well, crutches are okay if you’re crippled. And we are all crippled. We are all weak, we all have needs in our lives. Anybody have a comment on this? I don’t mean to rush through it, I really don’t, but, anybody? You with me? You got what I’m saying?

One real quick point, in case you’re wondering, because there are some really interesting verses in here, and you look at them, and it’s like Jesus is saying so much, like a fire hydrant. But, look at verse 22. This is something, again, that most people haven’t given really much thought to. What do we learn here about the judgment? Do we learn anything about the judgment? The final judgment?

Unidentified audience member: It’s entrusted to the Son.

RS: Yeah. Jesus is going to be the judge that judges mankind. Remember what He said, and this is what is so interesting. Remember what He said in John 3:17? I didn’t come into the world to judge the world, I came to do what?

Unidentified audience member: To save it.

RS: I came to save it. My mission here on earth is not to be judgmental. My mission is to come and to save the world. And then let me read this from Matthew 25:31-33. “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels will be with Him, and then He’s going to sit on His glorious throne, and all the nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate them from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” So, we know that. That one day, every, in fact, I’m going to come back to this in a minute. But, I want to close by looking at some, at these final four verses. Yeah, Moe?

Moe: Along that line, aren’t there teachings and scriptures that say that God is, in the final judgement, He is the final judge, and Christ His Son, speaks for us on our behalf?

RS: That’s a really good point. I, you know, I’m going to have to get back with you on that. That’s an interesting question. Everybody here understand the question?

Moe: It may not contradict this, but…

RS: No, that’s all right.

Jeffery: Why didn’t we read verse 30? Why did we stop at 29?

RS: Well, I…

[Laughter and comments]

RS: Thank you Jeffery, we’ll get to it next week. We’re not skipping it. We’ll come back to it. Anybody have any thoughts on that? I’ve never really spent a lot of time on the final judgement, but, you know, in Revelation, it may address this. I don’t know.

All right, let’s look at verse 25-29. You know, I’m not sure if you noticed this, but if you look up in a commentary or a concordance, you see in the book of John, the word judgement and condemnation, which goes usually, it depends on which translation you use, some say condemnation and some say judgment, but it’s used a lot in this book, in the book of John. Now, the word condemnation literally means separation. You see, that’s what Hell is. It’s an everlasting separation from the presence of God.

As I was preparing this, C.S. Lewis had some really, I call them, very sensible words, about Hell, because people don’t like Hell. They don’t think, there’s just something, they don’t like to talk about it. But Lewis gives us some really sensible thinking on this. He says, that God’s ultimate punishment is the fairest punishment, where God gives people ultimately what they want. I mean, think about that. If people want to live their lives apart from them, what does He say? You can do it. I give you the freedom to do that. You remember when we read in Romans 1, it says, “God gave them over to their desires”. He gave them over to it. God does not force you to serve Him.

And Lewis has that famous quote, I kind of paraphrase it a little bit. He says, unless you one day truly surrender yourself to Him, and say, God, I want to follow You, I want to serve You, I want Your Will to be done in my life, if we don’t do that, somebody God is going to say, well, your will will be done in your life, and that is to live apart from Him. Now, of all the verses in these 29 verses that has caused the most consternation for people is verse 29. What’s that all about?

Unidentified audience member: It’s making it sound like it’s deeds that are going to matter.

RS: Yes. It does, doesn’t it? At first glance, it does. But, what do you think He really, what is He saying? I mean, can good deeds get you into Heaven? You know, notice it doesn’t say, your good deeds will get you into Heaven, it says this is the type of people that get into Heaven, isn’t that what it’s saying?

Unidentified audience member: That’s what you said about the mirror.

RS: Yeah. And if you go back and look at verse 24. I mean, is Jesus talking out of both sides of His mouth? I don’t think so. Look at verse 24. He says, “Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My Word, and believes Him Who sent me has eternal life, and he does not come into judgement, but has passed out of death into life.” We’ve talked about what belief is. Look up on the board, guys. Look up on the board. James 1:26. In fact, I want to, the actual…. [writes something on the board]. What does this mean?

Unidentified audience member: You must not have a legitimate faith if you are not doing good works.

RS: Yes, there should be a fruit to your faith. And that fruit should be good works. You know, it’s kind of like…

Unidentified audience member: There should be, or there must be?

RS: There should be. There must be. I guess there is a difference, isn’t there? Yes, there must be.

Unidentified audience member: Like, if you’re pregnant, you’ll be showing.

RS: Yes, you’ll be showing. It’s kind of like this. This is the best….in Matthew 7:20, Jesus says, let me tell you how to distinguish between a true prophet and a false prophet. And it’s almost like He’s saying this is how you distinguish between a true believer and one who just maybe says he believes. He says you will know them by what? Your fruit. You’ll know them by their fruit, and so, you’re not saved by your deeds, or the fruit you bear, you’re known by them.

Keller has a good observation on this. He says that the Bible says the people who are saved on Judgement Day are not just those who say they believe but those who actually believe. And, if you actually believe, it changes your heart. There is a real life change. The only sign of spiritual life in a person is spiritual growth. He says, listen, your deeds, your character, this is how you know you believe. Love, joy, peace, generosity, courage, integrity, humility, self-control. He says, are you really growing? Look at your deeds. You look over your Christian life. Has God brought changes into your life? He says, are you more patient than you were last year? Are you kinder? Is your heart softer? Is your lap deeper? Are your concerns broader? Look at your deeds. You’re not saved by your deeds. You are revealed by your deeds. Yeah, Billy?

Billy: Did you say James 1:22?

RS: 1:26. All right, anybody comments? Everybody with me? Hopefully, this has been instructional. Yes?

Unidentified audience member: We have to do these works with the right intention and the right heart.

RS: Of course. Of course. And, again, I like the word “fruit”. Basically, works are a fruit of true faith. That there will be fruit. It doesn’t mean you don’t sin, because that’s what I find people immediately start thinking, you know, well I’ve got flaws in my life, does that mean I’m not a Christian? No, but there will be fruit. There will be growth, and I can say, you know, I have known some of you, some of you have been in here a long time, and I can say I’ve seen growth. I’ve seen fruit, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t flaws in your life. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t weaknesses, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t sin, but that doesn’t keep us from forging ahead, seeking to become more like Christ.

Now, I want to close with a very interesting snippet from the Garden of Gethsemane. We’ve got to hurry. I really apologize, guys, I really do. I took this speaking engagement four months ago, and they reminded me three days ago I had it. They said you told us you might be a few minutes late. I said, what am I speaking on?

[Laughter]

RS: Anyway, everybody turn to John 18, real quickly. John 18. All right, Jim Ryan, you want to read verse 1 through 6 for us? John 18:1-6.

Jim: “When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a Garden, which He and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with His disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to Him, came forward and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’ They answered him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’ Judas, who betrayed Him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.”

RS: Ya’ll got the picture here? Jesus is in the Garden. Judas shows up with the Roman soldiers now, and they had lanterns and they had weapons and they came to capture Jesus, Who was unarmed. And He says, Who do you seek? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth, and He says, I am He. You know what the literal translation is? He says, I AM. And you know the significance of that?

Unidentified audience member: Another word for God.

RS: Yes, I AM. What do you make of this, guys? They stepped back and they fall to the ground. What do you make of that?

Unidentified audience member(s): Scared…awe…

Unidentified audience member: He had to give them a second chance to arrest Him.

[Laughter]

RS: He did. But, what do you think happened there? I think they got a glimpse, a quick glimpse of His Glory, and they just fell to the ground. Now, guys, think about it. If they couldn’t stand before Him as He was clothed in the rags of his mortality as a man, just think what it’s going to be like standing before Him as He sits on His throne on the judgement seat.

And Paul says in Philippians 2, we didn’t, we stopped at verse 8, in verse 9, in chapter 2, says, “Therefore, also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are on Heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

And when we stand before that throne, I’m not sure how all the, I’m not sure of the sequence of things, but the good news is, He’s going to look at you and say, “You are My Child. You have eternal life.”

And John 5:24 says, “And you will not come into judgement. You will have passed out of death into life.” And this is the question that I would ask you, guys. What is that worth to you? On that day? What is that worth? It’s worth everything you’ve got. And it just makes me think of that verse, I think it’s II Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake, He became poor, so that you and I, through His poverty, might be rich.”

That we might have the true wealth of life. Because if you’ve got that, you’ve got everything. If you don’t have it, you ain’t got anything. You are impoverished. And that’s the good news of the Gospel.

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Reflections on the Existence of God

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