John Chapter 11
Verses 1 and 2: Mary of Bethany is one of six Mary's mentioned in the New Testament. She is the sister of Martha and Lazarus - see Luke 10 vs. 38-42. Could it be that in the Kingdom of God it is more valuable to be worshipping rather than doing? - see John 12 vs. 1-3. Martha is serving, but there is a world of difference between the 'work' of Luke 10, and the serving of Luke 12. In the latter, worship is made up of a) humility and honour in His presence (Lazarus) b) Serving (Martha) c) Adoration (Mary)
This incident probably took place at Simon the Tanner's house. - see Mark 14 vs. 3 and Luke 7 vs. 36-50. What is Jesus looking for - political correctness? (she was the wrong person to do the anointing); adherence to the law?; repectability?; knowledge and application? - No, He saw humility, repentance and adoration.
Our church structures, outreach programmes, childrens work etc. are often far removed from what God is looking for.
Verse 3: 'the one You love' - His love for Lazarus was clearly evident - see verses 5 and 36 - although His tears in verse 35 may not have been emotional at the death of lazarus, but more prompted by the lack of faith of those around Him. Nevertheless, He hurt to see those He loved hurting - see verse 33.
Verse 4: There are moments when God chooses to dramatically demonstrate His power and His glory - His power over sin - see John 9 vs. 1-3, and over sickness and death, as in the case of Lazarus. We should never discount this possibility (vs. 40).
The result is always that Jesus is glorified - see John 14 vs. 13 and 17 vs. 1 (neither should we be eager to uncover a person's sins, or the sins of their parents, as the cause of their sickness.)
How important it is, therefore, to hear what God is saying as we pray with the sick.
Verses 5, 6 and 7: Love knows what is best, is not hurried into spontaneous action, and is not under duty to rerspond.
Verse 8: How refreshing that Jesus did not decide on the obvious or sensible course of action, i.e. stay away from Judea - see John 8 vs. 59 and 10 vs. 31 for instances when the Jews had tried to stone Him. Neither was He persuaded by the majority.
Verses 9 and 10: Here was a Man closely in touch with, and ever ready to pursue, His Father's will. Jesus, the light of the world, can be followed securely.
Verse 11: Why 'fallen asleep', not, 'died'? - see Matthew 9 vs. 24; Acts 7 vs. 60 and 1 Corinthians 15 vs. 51. Death has a finality, falling asleep does not. - see 1 Thessalonians 4 vs. 13-18.
Verses 12 and 13: Either Jesus is a) deliberately misleading the disciples, or b) looking at death from a different dimension. The disciples use Man's wisdom i.e. sleep is a good healer. Jesus sees from God's point of view.
Verses 14 and 15: Jesus is to use this incident to increas the faith of the disciples.
Verse 16: Thomas remained convinced that Jesus would die if He returned to Judea. It seemed that the mention of the death of Lazarus only confirmed this conviction.
Verses 17 and 18: On arrival, Lazarus had not just died, but had been dead for four days.
Verse 19: Was there a sense in which the Jewish mourners came out of a sense of duty? - see verse 31. Mary left without announcing where she was going. Comforting from a sense of duty cannot replace the presence of the Comforter. We must have the humility to stand aside and allow the mourner to meet the Comforter.
Verse 20: Why didn't Mary also go out immediately to meet Jesus? In Luke 10 vs. 38-42 she sat at His feet while Martha busied herself. - see Isaiah 26 vs. 3. Mary is thoughtful, unhurried - there is room for both.
Verse 21: No-one considered that Lazarus would be raised from the dead, but only thought about what Jesus might have done had He come earlier. - see vs. 32 and 37.
Verse 22: Yet in Martha there is a glimmer of understanding that nothing is impossible with God. God will do whatever Jesus asks, because He is the spotless Son of God. - see John 9 vs. 30-33
Verse 23: 'Do not be anxious'
Verse 24: Martha understood the promise of resurrection at the final judgement, but did not perceive it could happen now, even though she stood before the One who could authorize resurrection.
Verses 25 and 26: Jesus - the source of all life. - see John 1 vs. 4. All who believe receive this life. He declares 'I am' - see John 8 vs. 58 - with the power to give life - see John 5 vs. 21; John 6 vs. 39-40; Revelation 1 vs. 18. He is talking about eternal life - see John 12 vs. 25; John 3 vs. 16. 'Never die' - here is our assurance and security - see John 14 vs. 19; Jude vs.1.
Verse 27: Martha re-echoes Peter's words in Matthew 16 vs. 16 - many people declared Jesus to be the Messiah (see John 6 vs. 14) without fully understanding the significance of this declaration.
Verse 28: Consequently, Martha tells Mary the teacher/master is here. Although Jesus referred to Himself by these terms (see Matthew 26 vs. 18; John 13 vs. 13) they do not encompass the power of the One who declares resurrection from the dead.
Verse 29: Mary is quick to respond.
Verse 30: But why did she stay at home in the first place? - see vs. 20
Verse 31: Perhaps here we have the answer to the question above - she accepted the comfort of the Jews, but was not satisfied by it! often we content ourselves with the ritual, but yearn for the 'Life'.
Verse 32: Mary echoes the words of Martha in vs. 21. However, 'fell down at His feet' conveys much more of the power of His Lordship. - see Revelation 1 vs. 17
Verse 33:Comforting and re-assuring to know that Jesus is 'deeply moved' and troubled. - see vs. 38; John 12 vs. 27. He responded to the weeping.
Verse 34: They took Him to the place, not merely answered His question. Prayer is most effective if we take Jesus to the place where prayer is needed, not just pray from afar.
Verses 35 and 36: See Luke 19 vs. 41. Did He weep because of the sin of humanity which had caused the penalty of death? Or was He weeping for a friend He loved - who was not one of the chosen disciples, and was not part of the religious structure, but simply a friend He loved?
Verse 37: They believed He could have healed him, but did not consider the possibility of resurrection.
Verse 38: Perhaps foreshadowed His own tomb - see Matthew 27 vs. 60; Luke 24 vs. 2; John 20 vs. 1.
Verse 39: This time He called for people to roll away the stone, not angels. Martha - forever practical, down-to-earth, logical thinking - seemingly forgetting who Jesus is.
Verse 40: See vs. 4. Martha is to learn the 'immediacy' of the Word of God - God's glory revealed NOW.
Verse 41: He was completely sure of the outcome before He prayed - thus, He simply gave thanks. This is where our doubts cause us to stumble. We end up asking, because we are unsure whether we will be receiving.
Verse 42: He defers to the Father for the sake of the people, even though He has complete authority.
Verse 43: When He commands it is clear, concise and effective. - see Luke 7 vs. 14; Matthew 8 vs. 8; John 5 vs. 25; 1 Thessalonians 4 vs. 16.
Verse 44: Again, foreshadows His own burial. - see John 19 vs. 40 and 20 vs. 7. Suddenly, Romans 8 vs. 1 and 2 have a physical significance, not just spiritual. - see Galatians 5 vs. 1.
Verse 45: Miracles are difficult to argue with - see John 2 vs. 23; John 7 vs. 31; Exodus 14 vs. 31.
Verse 46: Never forget a) the enemy b) the doubters.
Verse 47: A meeting will always ensure safety in numbers - even if some disagree with the decisions of the meeting (many will be afraid to voice their disagreement anyway).
Verse 48: They feared the consequences of Roman interference, and completely misunderstood Jesus' intentions. - see John 6 vs. 15.
Verses 49 and 50: Caiaphas has persuasive authority.
Verse 51: He backs this up with fulfillment of prophecy according to Scripture. - see Isaiah 49 vs. 6
Verse 52: It is easy to use Scripture to strengthen you own self-centred desires.
Verse 53: No-one questioned Caiaphas.
Verses 54 - 57: The timing of His death was important. He was in control throughout. He would die at the right time.
Job Chapter 16
Verses 1 and 2: 'miserable comforters' - his friends have obviously made judgements and assumptions without facts - this comforts no-one. - see Job 13 vs. 4
Verse 3: Listen to those who are suffering - what they have to say is important - don't dismiss their cries and insert your own reasoning. - see Job 6 vs. 26
Verse 4: Being critical/running someone down is the easy option. - see Psalm 22 vs. 7; Psalm 109 vs. 25. It is easier also, to go along with the crowd. - see Matthew 27 vs. 39
Verse 5: We must always bring encouragement and comfort.
Verse 6: We reach a point in suffering where neither talking to someone, or silence, can bring comfort.
Verse 7: There is no-one to turn to - there seems to be no help, no encouragement. - see Job 7 vs. 3; Job 19 vs. 13-15. It reminds us of Christ on the cross. - see Matthew 27 vs. 46.
Verse 8: There seems no doubt to Job that God is responsible for his physical/emotional condition. - see Job 19 vs. 20
Verse 9: A fearsome picture of God's anger. - see Hosea 6 vs. 1.
Verse 10: Added to this is the mockery of men. - see Psalm 35 vs. 15; Isaiah 50 vs. 6; Psalm 22 vs. 13. - again a reminder of Christ's death.
Verse 11: God uses evil to bring about His purposes.
Verse 12: From our point of view, our suffering appears senseless and unreasonable. - see Job 9 vs. 17; Job 7 vs. 20. Why me Lord?
Verses 13 and 14: There is simply no rest from the constant torment.
Verse 15, 16 and 17: Neither does deep repentance bring relief - emptied totally of 'self', as far as is humanly possible.
Verse 18: Cherished sin can lead to God's anger. - see Psalm 66 vs. 18-19.
Verse 19: Job knows that God will find no conscious fault in him. - see Job 19 vs. 25-27.
Verse 20: His response to God far outways the importance of his response to his friends.
Verse 21: See Job 31 vs. 35 and 9 vs. 33. Having a friend to intercede is helpful, when you are in deep distress.
Verse 22: In this reflection there seems the desire to make something worthwhile of life before it ends. - see Job 10 vs. 20-21.
Acts Chapter 10
Verse 1: A Roman centurian commanded 100 soldiers.
Verse 2: Note the importance of fear of God - see verses 22 and 35; Acts 13 vs. 26. Note the response - giving to the poor etc. See Psalm 34 vs. 9 - a promise to those who fear God. Much of the ritual and token reference to God, for example, at Christmas, lacks this 'fear of God'. See Hebrews 12 vs. 28 and 29.
Fear of God in the Old Testament means 'reverential trust' and 'hatred of evil'. - see Psalm 19 vs. 9
Verse 3: Was 3.00p.m. a pre-determined time for prayer? See Acts 3 vs. 1. God honours the faithful.
The vision involved a detailed picture with a clear message. See Peter's vision (Vs. 17) and Ananias' vision in Ch. 9 vs. 10. How did he know it was an angel - what was distinctive? Angels are messengers from God - fearful at first sight.
Verse 4: 'Memorial offerings' - see Revelation 8 vs. 4. Was it the quality and sincerity of Cornelius' prayers and giving which caused this response from God? It is a beautiful picture to encourage our prayers and giving. - see Matthew 26 vs. 13; Hebrews 6 vs. 9 and 10.
Verse 5: The angel, as messenger, gives very clear, direct instructions.
Verse 6: And very clear directions. The King James Version adds: 'he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.' How we need this direct, clear intervention by God!
Verse 7: King James Version: 'who were with him continually.' Obviously he trusted them, and vice versa.
Verse 8: They did not question the testimony of their trusted master.
Verses 9 & 10: 'fell into a trance' suggests he was hungry (a meal was being prepared), or tired, or ill - interesting how God often speaks to us at these times, perhaps because we stop, rest and are reflective. Perhaps fasting is simply a way of reaching this state - not very spiritual, but necessarily quietening us physically. However, we must be careful to recognize that what we hear is God, not our own flesh speaking.
Interesting how people often choose an upstairs room/roof in which to pray - see Daniel 6 vs. 10 and 11.
Verse 11: We are able to see into heaven if the veil is drawn back to enable us to see into this other dimension - see Ezekiel 1 vs. 1; Matthew 3 vs. 16; Acts 7 vs. 56; Revelation 4 vs. 1.
Verse 12: Clean and unclean animals were contained in this sheet, representing Jews and Gentiles - see Leviticus 11 vs. 4-8 and 13-20; Leviticus 20 vs. 25; Deuteronomy 14 vs. 3-20; Ezekiel 4 vs. 14; Isaiah 66 vs. 17.
Verses 13 & 14: God was clearly calling Peter to disobey the law! (God made the law, God can change the law).
Verses 15 & 16: The whole issue of cleanliness cannot be tied to the law - it is a reflection of the believers heart. - see Matthew 15 vs. 11; Romans 14 vs. 14, 17 and 20; 1 Corinthians 10 vs. 25; 1 Timothy 4 vs. 3 and 4; Titus 1 vs. 15. (Note - three times, as if confirmed by the Trinity).
Verses 17 & 18: Peter was perplexed, wondering about, even doubting (King James Version) the authenticity of the vision.
Verses 19 & 20: God sent immediate confirmation for what must have been a doubtful vision for Peter. Here was something he could have known nothing about.
Verses 21 & 22: Cornelius - well known among all Jews - a celebrity!
Verses 23 & 24: God ensured that there was a large number of witnesses to the events that were unfolding.
Verses 25 & 26: It is crucial in any ministry to emphasize that worship belongs to God alone - no other person, human or angelic, should receive praise/worship - see Acts 14 vs. 15; Revelation 19 vs. 10; Revelation 22 vs. 8 and 9.
Verses 27 & 28: A reminder of Jesus talking to the woman at the well - see John 4 vs. 9. Peter knew he would be criticized - see Acts 11 vs. 3. But Peter was now sure of God's message to him through the vision - see Acts 15 vs. 8 and 9.
Verses 29 & 30: While Peter had entered a Gentile's house, because of the vision, his question suggests that he did not realize the full implications of what God was saying to him. Note - where the New International Version says Cornelius was 'praying', the King James Version says, 'fasting'. Angels always appear to be recognized - in this case by 'bright clothing'.
Verses 31 & 32: More confirmation for Peter that God was saying and doing something very important.
Verses 33 & 34: God shows no partiality. - see Deuteronomy 10 vs. 17: 2 Chronicles 19 vs. 7; Job 14 vs. 19; Romans 2 vs. 11; Galatians 2 vs. 6; Ephesians 6 vs. 9; Colossians 3 vs. 25; 1 Peter 1 vs. 17. He is no respector of persons. - see Romans 10 vs. 12 and 13.
Verses 35 & 36: The key is faith. - see Acts 13 vs. 32; Matthew 28 vs. 18; Romans 10 vs. 10 and 12. + Righteousness - see Psalm 25 vs. 1 and 2.
Verses 37 & 38: See references to Christ's ministry in Isaiah 61 vs. 1-3; Acts 4 vs. 26; Matthew 4 vs. 23; John 3 vs. 2.
Verses 39 & 40: The news about Jesus was well-known (vs. 37), but here Peter concentrates on His death and resurrection. - see Luke 24 vs. 48; Acts 5 vs. 30; Acts 2 vs. 24.
Verses 41 & 42: Jesus will be the judge of the living and the dead. - see John 5 vs. 22; Acts 17 vs. 31; Romans 14 vs. 9; 2 Corinthians 5 vs. 10; 2 Timothy 4 vs. 1; 1 Peter 4 vs. 5; Revelation 20 vs. 12.
Verses 43 & 44: Jesus - prophetically revealed through the prophets - see Isaiah 53 vs. 11. The coming of the Holy Spirit was a recognizable event. - see Acts 8 vs. 15 and 16; Acts 11 vs. 15; Acts 15 vs. 8. Salvation comes through faith. - see John 3 vs. 16 and 18; Acts 13 vs. 38 and 39. Jew and Gentile can now equally receive the Holy Spirit by faith in Jesus.
Verses 45 & 46: The full measure of the Holy Spirit 'poured out' is a clearly identifiable experience - see Acts 2 vs. 33 and 38 - available to anyone who has faith. - see Acts 11 vs. 18. The experience is often accompanied by speaking in tongues - but all of the Gifts are available. - see Mark 16 vs. 17 and 18.
Verses 47 & 48: Peter refers to two distinct and seperate baptisms: 1) in acknowledgement of belief in Jesus and in acceptance of His forgiveness of sin. 2) baptism by the Holy Spirit. - see Acts 2 vs. 38; Acts 8 vs. 36; Acts 11 vs. 17; Acts 8 vs. 16. Notice the note of gratitude is felt in their hospitality.
Jeremiah Chapter 24
Verse 1: As background to the exile of Judah see 2 Kings 24 vs. 16 and 17. Also 2 Chronicles 36 vs. 9 tells us more about Jehoiachin.
Presumably this took place in Jerusalem 'before the temple of the Lord.'
Verse 2: God has control even over the ripeness of the fruit. - see Jeremiah 29 vs. 17.
Verse 3: God's question is a typical pre-runner to a parable. - see Jeremiah 1 vs. 11; Amos 8 vs. 2. Often God chooses very ordinary things to explain the extraordinary.
Verse 4: 'Again', the Word of the Lord..... Jeremiah has begun to recognize, and not be surprised by, God taking him out of the natural and into the supernatural. He has learny to hear God's voice.
Verse 5: God's favour comes at a price. He refines and purifies that which He blesses. - see Zechariah 13 vs. 9.
Verse 6: God is gracious, knowing our ability for forgetfulness and faithlessness, He reiterates His promises again and again until they are fulfilled. - see Jeremiah 12 vs. 15; 23 vs. 3; 29 vs. 10; 33 vs. 7; 42 vs. 10 and Ezekiel 11 vs. 17.
Verse 7: Again, God reiterates His promise - only He can transform a person, or a nation, and restore them to a right relationship with Himself. We cannot do it in our own strength - we do not have the capacity for transformation. We can recognize our need (seek God). He will humble us (maybe exile us from others) to the point where He can transform us. - see Isaiah 51 vs. 16; Jeremiah 31 vs. 31-34; Hebrews 8 vs. 10. The result will be an everlasting covenant. - see Jeremiah 32 vs. 40. Hearts will be softened so that our beings become forever responsive to God. - see Ezekiel 11 vs. 19; Deuteronomy 30 vs. 6; Ezekiel 36 vs. 26 and 27. This is the promise of salvation.