An exegesis of John 6:47-58

Living Bread gives life:

An exegesis of John 6:47-58


Main idea & Outline

Main Idea

Jesus, is the living bread from heaven and is fully sufficient for eternal life. The life He offers is real and must be taken in faith. Additionally, Christ brings with Him a close intimate union with Himself like the relationship He has with the Father.


  1. Jesus is the living bread from heaven and offers eternal life. (John 6:47-51)
  2. Believers are bonded with Christ because of His death and resurrection. (John 6:52-56)
  3. Jesus has the right to give life. (John 6:57-58)



     In the Gospel of John, Jesus makes at least 7 I AM statements and performs 7 miracles or signs. Each statement is designed to “allude to the Old Testament name of God” and each action or miracle is a sign that points to divinity.[1] Jesus being a first-century Jewish man spoke to the people and performed miracles in ways they understood. The people of Jesus’ day understood His use of I AM statements to be a message of equality with God. What will be focused on here in John 6:47-58 is the statement that Jesus is the bread of life and that one must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have eternal life which is a reference to His death and resurrection. Christ here presents Himself not only as the sufficiency for life but union with Him is required for the life He offers. This statement is important for several reasons including the implications brought on by it and the difficulty in interpreting it. In truth, the statement is so difficult to understand that after making it many disciples left Jesus because they claimed this teaching is hard (John 6:60).[2]


Historical Context

     There should be little doubt that the author of the fourth gospel was a disciple of Jesus. The details that are recorded require an intimate knowledge of the not only the people involved but the situations themselves. It could be argued that a later writer added in details or stories like that of the woman caught in adulty in chapter 8 but even if this is assumed the bulk of the work still requires a close knowledge of the situation and characters involved. It has been suggested that the gospel was written by a Johannine community, but recent research and scholarship has been showing that “distinct gospel communities can no longer be assumed.”[3] By removing later writers and a Johannine community the options are limited to a disciple of Jesus as the author.

Excluding Judas Iscariot, there are eleven possible authors that remain and while much could be said of each of them space does not permit an in-depth detail. In summery Matthew and Luke already have accounts to their credit and while Mark was not a disciple most believe, partly on Papia’s testimony, that Peter was the “authority behind Mark’s gospel.”[4] This leaves only eight possible candidates. As previously mentioned the details recorded in the Gospel of John require an intimate knowledge suggesting the writer to be one in Jesus’ inner circle. However, because James the brother of John is recorded as being killed in Acts 12:2 and the Gospel was not written until later he is not a viable candidate. There are additional points that could be made for John being the author of the gospel but for brevity, it should be said the best research and historical evidence point to John as the author.

Moving on to date and original audience, most evidence points to John writing the gospel in Ephesus around mid to late A.D. 80 to early A.D. 90. This in part is because John “lacks reference to the Sadducees” and John’s gospel seems to have been after the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70.[5] Irenaeus in Against Heresies writes that John was not only the disciple leaning on Jesus at the Last Supper but that he wrote his gospel account “during his residence at Ephesus.”[6] The larger question remains did John only intend for the residence of Ephesus to read his gospel? To answer this question the purpose for writing must be examined.

John records in 20:31 that his reason for writing is so that the reader may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing they may have life in His name. This simple statement allows the reader to not only interpret everything written through that lens, but it shines light on original audience. While the first audience would have been the residence of Ephesus and as previously mentioned there seems to be little support for “distinct Gospel communities” it is easy to see that the message put forth in John was to travel.[7] Further, the text of the gospel itself has John assuming his readers are “unfamiliar with Jewish topography” because of the way he details the location of events (see Jn 5:2).[8]

Literary Context

            True to his purpose for writing John continually presents Jesus not only as the Messiah but as the one in whom true life cconsists Jesus is presented as one who understands His role, divine nature, and mission.[9] There is little doubt that Jesus is not only aware of His mission but that He is actively engaging people to reveling Himself and the life He offers. For example, the discussion Jesus has with Nicodemus in John 3, the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, the I Am statements of Jesus, the recorded signs, the high priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17, and so on all together help to showcase not only the importance of Jesus as the Messiah the Son of God but that He was aware of His mission and role.

The Gospel is filled with comparisons, dualism, and words or phrases that have deeper meanings which create difficulties for readers.[10] An example of deeper meaning can be seen in the prologue of John where John discusses the Word (logos) being both with God and being God. Logos itself has a simple definition meaning “the expression of thought” but it also carried different ideas for first century Greeks and first century Jews.[11] John uses the simple word logos but the way he uses the word creates a new meaning and gives a new depth to the understanding of who the Messiah is. Another example can be seen the discussion Jesus has with the Samaritan woman at the well in chapter 4. Jesus on this occasion uses the situation of water gathering to explain that He can provide water that will leave a person to never thirst again. Jesus is of course not discussing physical thirst but spiritual thirst. As often seen He uses physical examples to showcase a spiritual or eternal message.

In chapter 6 Jesus is seen feeding five thousand men with the donation of fives loaves and two fish. This sets the stage for a long discourse of bread and idea of sufficiency in Christ. The discussion of bread and sufficiency is started with the feeding of the multitude and ends with a discussion of eternal life. The flow is seemingly broken up with the recording of Jesus walking on the water. However, this is an important event because it shows Jesus’ mastery over the earth and because of Jesus statement to the disciples of “it is I” which as William McDonalds points out literally means I Am.[12] In 6:35 Jesus moves to a more declarative public statement saying I am the bread of life. What is seen through the chapter is a miraculous transformation of a small amount of food to being enough to feed a multitude, Jesus having mastery over the earth with a veiled I Am statement, and finally Jesus’ first public I Am statement.



     John chapter 6 shows that while Jesus is obviously concerned with physical needs He is more concerned with eternal life. Jesus states that He offers eternal life and that He is the bread of life. Jesus is comparing, and contrasting Himself, with the manna and what it represented. The wilderness experience was known to all Jews and the provision of manna was and remains an important miracle in the wilderness story. What exactly was the manna and what did the Israelites mean when they called it manna? That is a question that is still not answered as some say it is a statement while others argue manna is a question.[13] The simple fact remains that the Jews of Jesus’ day would have known it to be a miraculous provision by God for the daily needs in the Wilderness.

The manna was miraculous for a few reasons namely that it appeared daily, it managed to fill an individual, and it only lasted the day except for the double miracle of the Sabbath portion and two-day shelf life.[14] The manna was to be expected and collected for their daily needs. If someone attempted to save manna for the next day, it bred worms and smelled (Ex 16:20). While miraculous the manna was temporary both in that it was a physical item that decayed and second in that it was only provided during a specific time (i.e. the Wilderness).

The people who partook of the manna in the wilderness received daily portion yet died. Jesus states that whoever takes part in Him will not die if they first believe in Him. Faith or belief is required to receive the eternal life that He offers. He distinguishes Himself as living bread and as such He does not last only for the day but is eternal. The flesh statement made by Jesus is directly connected to the Word becoming flesh in John 1:14.[15] Jesus is claiming equality with the known God by saying I AM a second time and He is claiming that He can provide life for those who partake of Him.


            The response to Jesus’ statements from the crowd is one of shock because they assume they must literally eat His flesh and drink His blood to gain eternal life. This should not be thought that Jesus in any way was suggesting cannibalism as the practice of cannibalism was rejected in nearly every culture that would be receiving John’s Gospel. At first glance, it could be supposed that John recorded this encounter and chose the phrases of eating flesh and drinking blood to refer to the sacrament or ordinance of communion but that is not clear from the text. Craig Keener suggests that John does not record the last supper but instead chooses to show Jesus as the Passover lamb.[16] Read in this light Jesus may be showing that just as the Passover lamb is to be eaten and the wine is to be drunk for participation, dependence on His impending death is needed to show the “believers absolute dependence” on Him.[17]

Adding to the confusion, however, is that John records Jesus as saying that His flesh and blood are real food (see 6:55). Kostenberger suggests here that real “carries the connotations of eschatological” fulfillment of the Old Testament types such as the manna.[18] Jesus again is reiterating that not only is He real but that what He offers is real and tangible. What is seen then Jesus hinting at His sacrificial death and resurrection which will provide atonement for the sin of those who receive Him. There remains a possibility that John also included the words real to further dispel the idea that Jesus was not God in flesh but spirit only.

In verse 56 John records that the believing ones who eat and drink the flesh of Christ remain in Him. The Greek word remain (or live in the HCSB) is menō and carries with it the idea of remaining in a condition and in this context remaining with intimacy.[19] This can be seen as a reference to eternal security. The union that a believer has with Christ in eating and drinking Him is like the act of consuming food in that the food becomes one with person but more so because as Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown remark believers “become spiritually one life, though personally distinct” with Christ.[20] This is echoed later in John 17:21 where Jesus prays for a “perfect bond of unity” for believes like that of the unity He shares with the Father.[21]


     Jesus equates the intimacy of this union like His union with the Father stating that just as He is present in physical form because of the Father so too the believer will live because of Him. Jesus here combines the fact that the Father sent Him, and He claims that He has the right to grant life. This can be seen as a connection to John 1:12 where John says that to those who believe Jesus gives the right to be called children of God. Jesus then presents Himself not only as the one who can provide eternal life but as the one who has the authority to do this.

This is markedly different than the manna that was provided during the wilderness experience as that was a shadow of what was to come. The temporary miracle of manna was provided for a time and for a reason. The living bread that comes from heaven is now provided for all time for those who believe in Christ and take Him by faith. The people ate the physical food and died. The bread from heaven is spiritual food that is real but eaten by faith and results in eternal life.

Theological Interpretation & Application

     Substitutionary atonement is seen in the verses discussed above as Jesus teaches that “His death is vicarious” providing eternal life and providing union with Him.[22] The Law and the Manna were only shadows of what was to come. Jesus however, lays down His life for His sheep and takes it back up again so that they may be forgiven and have fellowship with God. The law could not provide righteousness and manna could not provide life. These come through faith in Christ, His finished work on the Cross, and His return to the Father.

The eternal union with Christ is also seen in these verses. Man was made to be in fellowship and union with God. The fall not only brought sin and death into the world but man’s relationship with God was fractured. Jesus came to not only restore the relationship but to abide in man and man in Him. This is not something man could accomplish on his own as life from God requires life in God. Paul in writing to the Galatians says that the life the believer lives is Christ living in them (Gal 2:20).

However, this must all be received in faith because without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). Gerald Borchert says in his commentary on John, speaking of the Israelites in the wilderness, that the words they ate, and they died make “an interesting tombstone inscription” and that it could be said of contemporary Christians as well.[23] One cannot simply like Jesus or think Him to be a good teacher; instead, they must take all of Him.


Bailey J. L. and L. D. Vander Broek. Literary Forms in The New Testament A HandbookLouisville: Westminster/John Knox Press 1992.

Cirafesi, Wally V., The “Johannine Community” in (More) Current Research: A Critical Appraisal of Recent Methods and Models. Neotestamentica 48. Issue 2 (July 2014). Accessed October 5, 2017. SA ePublications Service.

Enns, Paul P. The Moody Handbook of Theology. Rev. ed. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2014. Accessed October 31, 2017. Apple iBook.

Freed, Edwin D., The New Testament a Critical Introduction 3rd Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2001.

Irenaeus. Against Heresies 3.1.1.

Keener, Craig. The Gospel of John: A commentary. Peabody: Hendrickson Pub, 2010.

Kostenberger, Andres. Encountering John. The Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective 2nd Ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013.

Kostenberger, Andreas J. John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004). Accessed October 27, 2017. Axis 360.

Kostenberger, Andreas, J. L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles. The Lion and the Lamb New Testament Essentials from The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown. (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2012).

MacDonald, William. Believers Bible Commentary: A Complete Bible Commentary in one  Volume. Edited by Art Farstad. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1995.

Stuart, Douglas K. New American Commentary – Volume 2 – Exodus. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2006, 323. Accessed October 13, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central.

Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Unabridged Ed. Peabody: Hendrickson Publ.

Zvi, Ron. “‘What is it?’ Interpreting Exodus 16:15. Jewish Bible Quarterly no. 4: 234.            RAMBI, EBSCOhost accessed October 13, 2017.


[1] Andres Kostenberger, Encountering John. The Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective 2nd Ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic 2013), 27.

[2] All Scripture taken from the HSCB unless otherwise notes.

[3] Wally V. Cirafesi, The Johannine Community in (More) Current Research: A Critical Appraisal of Recent Methods and Models, Neotestamentica 48, Issue 2 (July 2014): 361, accessed October 5, 2017, SA ePublications Service.

[4] Edwin D. Freed, The New Testament a Critical Introduction 3rd Edition, (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2001), 124.

[5] Andreas J. Krostenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles, The Lion and the Lamb New Testament Essentials from The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown, (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2012), 108.

[6] Irenaeus’ testimony not only helps with the location of writing but as a proof of John’s authorship as well. Irenaeus Against Heresies 3.1.1.

[7] The implications for removing distinct communities that carried their own version of Christianity has implications for authorship, intent, and intended audience. See Cirafesi, The Johannine Community 361.

 [8] Kostenberger, Encountering John, 78.

 [9] J. L. Bailey and L. D. Vander Broek, Literary Forms in The New Testament A Handbook. (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press 1992), 172 – 173.

[10] The dualism in John is about this age and the one to come. See Kostenberger, Encountering John, 29.

[11] Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Unabridged Ed, (Peabody: Hendrickson Publ) s.v. λόγος, 1252.

[12] William MacDonald, Believers Bible Commentary: A Complete Bible Commentary in one Volume, edited by Art Farstad, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson 1995) 1501.

[13] Ron, Zvi. “‘What is it?’: Interpreting Exodus 16:15″ Jewish Bible Quarterly no. 4: 234, accessed October 13, 2017, RAMBI, EBSCOhost.

[14] Douglas K Stuart, Exodus. New American Commentary Volume 2, (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2006), 323, accessed October 13, 2017, ProQuest Ebook Central.

[15] Gerald L. Borchert, John 1-11: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture, (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group 1996), 249, accessed November 1, 2017.

[16] Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Peabody: Hendrickson Publ 2010), 690.

 [17] Ibid.

[18] Andreas J. Kostenberger, John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 235 accessed October 27, 2017, Axis 360.

[19] Vines, s.v. μένω, 12.

[20] Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, David Brown, A Commentary: Critical, Experimental, and Practical on the Old and New Testaments (WORDsearch Corp, 2013), accessed October 31, 2017, WORDSearch 2013.

[21] Ibid

[22] Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology, Rev. ed. (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2014), 200, accessed October 31, 2017, Apple iBook.

[23] Gerald L. Borchert, 250, accessed October 25, 2017.


Proving or testing

It’s Friday all so let’s Greekout. Most people who read the Bible know about James 1:3 even if they don’t know where to find it. James 1:3 says knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and this is talking about testing our faith so that we can know the genuineness of it and grow. What you might not know is this was a not a new concept.

In Judges 3:1-2 we read and see that God left a few nations to test Israel. If you know Judges, then you know they failed. The best verse to sum up the book of Judges is 21:25 which says, “In those days Israel had no king: everyone did as they saw fit.” This is actually repeated a few times in Judges which should give us some insight.

Let’s look at the original language to see what we have here. In Judges the Hebrew word for test or prove is nacah in 3:1 which means to test, try, prove, tempt, assay, put to the proof or test. In verse 2 the word for teach is lamad and this means to learn. teach, exercise in.

That was a lot so let’s break that down. If we combine what we see in verses 1 and 2 we see that God left enemies in the land to test the people, so they might learn how to fight. What seemed like a challenge and struggle to the people was indeed a challenge and a struggle and it was a God-ordained challenge and struggle. God intended for it to be that way because the people needed to learn.

If we jump ahead a few thousand years and books, we see in James the Greek word for testing is dokimion and it means the proving. This is the exact same concept as Judges. It means that something is happening to prove your faith so that you might learn from it. It is not just about proving the faith but proving it so that we might learn from it.

God often leaves challenges and struggles in front of us to prove us for the purpose of learning. Jesus says that he who is faithful in much will be given much. God does not test us just to see what we know or what we will do. He already knows. Instead, God is testing and proving us so that we learn and can handle more of His will and His ways. God desires so much more for you and for me, but we need to a person and a people who can handle it.

So, if you are being tested or proved right now focus on the goal. Focus on the prize in front of you. Focus on God your great and might reward.

Just a thought,


Luther: Here I Stand

The year is 1521 and Martin Luther the German reformer and theologian was brought before twenty-one-year-old Emperor Charles V and a secular tribunal of princes and officials. He was told to recant his position and writings, or he would be condemned for heresy. Martin Luther was by all accounts was a bold man who even himself recognized that at times he had gone too far in his criticisms. In Lend Me Your Ears by William Safire, Safire says Luther was “unswayed by a condemnation from Rome” and burned the papal bull that was issued against him in 1520.[1] Luther it would seem was determined to have this meeting where he would defend his works against any who would listen.

The first day of the trial he admitted that he was the author of the books in question and asked for a second day to think through his position. It was on the second day, April 17, that Martin Luther gave his response to the tribunal, one can almost picture the quiet courtroom as Martin Luther stands, takes a breath and begins to speak. It can be assumed he knew his words would not win many fans in this room. He knew that to be condemned a heretic meant not only possible death but worse the work he has done will be discarded and burned.[2] His work, his labor, his love for God will all be questioned.

It was with that understanding that Luther spoke. Luther carefully responded saying that he could not revoke all his writings because they were three-fold. In the first group were writings that “discussed faith and good works” which even the Pope acknowledged, the second dealt with popery, and a third group where he wrote against individuals who defend Rome on the points he spoke against.[3] He then moved on to agreeing to recant his works if he could be shown where he was wrong carefully adding in that the nature of the Gospel causes division such as this. Finally, in the closing section Luther proclaims that he must be convinced he is wrong by Scripture and reason before recanting. If not, he would not and could not recant.

Luther’s speech at the Diet of Worms has always been one of my favorite speeches because of Luther’s willingness to stand for what he believed in the even in the face of death. I cannot help but hear a hint of Justin Martyr in Luther’s opening lines. Luther echoed Martyr’s sentiment that a “lover of truth” must do and say the right thing regardless of the consequences.[4] Luther in his words implored those he spoke with to listen and that he would defend his cause which he “assured was just and right.”[5]

Luther moves from his opening to explain that the books he has written fall into different categories. Because of the way he addresses the categories it suggests that he is attempting to show the absurdity of being asked to recant all his works. Not all of Luther’s writings were considered heretical by the church so to recant all his writings would be to say the Pope disagreed with approved church teaching. This was a clever play by Luther and no doubt encouraged his supporters.

What I value are Luther’s quick wit and honesty. He comes across as honest in his attempt to have a conversation about the topics he wants to address. His remarks should invite such a conversation but because the crowd he is speaking to is generally only there to condemn a discussion is not something to be found. The conversation was had but those who should have been involved were no longer a part of it. We know from history that his supporters liked his message and the movement went on to grow.

Maybe that was the point and maybe that is the bigger lesson here from Luther. The purpose of a speech to win minds and change hearts is not only about the immediate audience but the secondary audience as well. The secondary audience is those who hear of ideas that were conveyed by the speech. Luther in addressing the absurdity of being asked to recant sound church doctrine shows is a thinking man. His willingness to admit he may have been more aggressive in his attack on the defenders of the Pope than necessary shows that he is a passionate man. This helps others who hear of his words be swayed that he may have valid points.

Was Luther successful? Seeing as we recently celebrated the 500-year anniversary of the nailing of the 95 Theses I would say so. Had Luther not been clever and calm in his speech and had he not taken the time to prepare his response we might only speak of him as a footnote. Instead however many know him to be a man possessed by the desire to share the faith entrusted to the Apostles. Because Luther was successful we can like him say in the face of danger “here I stand; I cannot do otherwise. God help me.”[6]

[1] William Safire, Lend me Your Ears Great Speeches in History, (W.W. Norton and Co: New York, 2004) 344.

[2] Britannica, Diet of Worms,, accessed November 7, 2017.

[3] Safire, 345.

[4] Justin Martry, Justice Demanded, The First Apology of Justin Martyr, Apple iBook, 3.

[5] Safire, 344.

[6] Ibid 346.

Walk it out

Paul said we are saved by grace through faith and not by works, but James says a man is justified by works and not faith alone. So, who is right?

Well, they both are, and I am not just saying that because both statements are in the Bible and I need to find coherence. When we come across things in the Bible that does not seem to make sense or things that contradict one another we need to back up and look at the context (I feel like I say that a lot). So, what is the context here?

Paul is talking about salvation. Specifically, he is talking about being saved apart from our own efforts. James, however, was not talking about salvation. He is talking about showing your faith or living out your faith. I think an illustration might help.

Here is an obvious statement: When you have a child, you become a parent. But let’s break that down. You are connected to that child and you cannot be any more related to that child then you are as a parent. You cannot become more related or less related. I know that is redundant but stay with me. You share DNA with that child, you share ancestry with that child, you share a larger family connection with that child, and so on. You and that child and related. That is salvation. It happened the moment you accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, and it is done. That is what Paul was talking about.

James is talking about acting like a parent or being a parent. James is saying “OK, parent you have a child now be the parent.” This is the works portion. This is waking up a 4 AM to feed that child, teaching that child to walk, changing diapers, and so on. It is taking the thing you claim to have and actually doing with it what you are supposed to. The statements from Paul and James are not opposed to one another but completely connected.

Now as I have said many times all analogies fall short, but I hope this helps.

When we read these statements from Paul and James we should put them together to see the bigger picture. We should see that we are saved by grace, through faith, and now we need to live like that is true.

Just a thought,



Read the Prophets and you will profit

Did you know that 16 out of the 39 Old Testament books are prophet books? That is almost half of the Old Testament. There are generally three things people do with the Old Testament prophets. The first thing people do is ignore them. Some people realize that it is difficult to understand so they just turn their eyes and forget that those books are there. This makes me a little sad (even though I do this) because so much is missed. The second thing people do is “read” them and use them. I put read in quotes because when these people “read” the OT prophets to use them they are looking for weapons to smash the unrighteous with. They are looking to smite the non-believer with the hammer of righteousness and justice and if you read that in Thor’s voice it is better. The last thing some people do with the OT prophets is they ponder their writings. They read them and think what am I do with this, what am I to take away from this, who are you God, and what do you think of me? This is by far the best thing to do with them in my opinion.

When we read the OT Prophets and their prophecies we must keep certain things in mind. For example, audience, time, context, culture, general situation, and fulfillment. I think it is because of these things that some choose to avoid them. There is just too much to think about and too much that is honestly foreign to us to really get something from them. However, if we just keep in mind that there are things in these books that we do not understand then we can get to the things that we can understand. Zephaniah is a great example of this.

If you read through Zephaniah, then you will probably notice it is not the most chipper book in the Bible. There is a lot of judgment going on but at the end of the book there is this beautiful verse about God being a mighty warrior who saves His people, rejoices over them bring them renewal, and delights in them with shouts of joy. Now you can just jump straight there and read the beautiful verse and I am sure you will enjoy it but there is something about a journey that makes the destination better.

If instead, you choose to read through the book you will see that God is not pleased when people call on His name and the name of other gods. You read that God has a zero-tolerance policy for worshipping Him and idols. You read that those who aim to please men are seen as low in God’s eyes. You read that He is a God with a jealous love for His people.

If you choose to read all the way through you will also read how God hates when His people are prohibited to worship Him. That God desires justice and mercy. That God is not pleased and will not always tolerate wickedness. That God says one day there will be a reckoning. Before you read about God being a mighty warrior who saves His people, rejoices over them bring them renewal, and delights in them with shouts of joy you first read about a God who says one day a cleansing will come.

So why is that important? Because the words about God being a mighty warrior who saves His people, rejoices over them bring them renewal, and delights in them with shouts of joy are meant for those who love Him. They are the message to the people who call on His name and worship Him in spirit in and truth. Now don’t misunderstand me I am not being all fire and brimstone here, but the Bible teaches that one-day God will come to rule and reign here on earth and when He does – that’s that for the wicked. In the meantime, though God is saying I am also a God who delights in my children so come be my child.

If we just jump straight to the pretty verse, we miss so much about who God is and who He wants us to be. So here is my recommendation. Pick an OT Prophet book and read it. Read it and keep these questions in mind: who are you God, and what do you think of me?

Just a thought,

Reading John with glasses on

The Gospel of John is my favorite book of all time. I may have said this before but it is worth repeating. One of the reasons is because John tells us how to read his book. Mind you he does not tell you until the end of the book but he tells you nontheless.

In John 20:31 John writes “But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.” Now this may be a simple statement and maybe I am making a bigger deal out of it then I should but…

Let’s think about this and break it down into two parts. First, John says that everything he wrote he wrote so that you would believe Jesus is the Messiah the Son of God. So when we are reading something difficult like “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” we can read it through the lens John provides and know that this is there so that we can beleive Jesus is the Messiah the Son of God. We can also look at a verse like John 8:56 where Jesus says that Abraham rejoiced to see His (Jesus’) day. We can read that and see again that Jesus is the Messiah the Son of God.

For the second part John says that he wants people to have life in His (Jesus’) name. Now this one can mean either life as in eternal life meaning being saved or life as in living the resurrection life of Jesus (think Gal 2:20). There is some really good discussion that you can have with that but for now I would say it does not matter too much for an intro to reading the book.

The important thing is that you read it with the lens that John wants to you to have life in Jesus name. For example, we can look at John 8:32 and read that Jesus says you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. In it’s most basic form it just means that Jesus wants us to be free in His name. We meet Jesus find out we are apart from God, find out God loves us, and find freedom (life) in Jesus. Another example, would be the story of the woman caught in adultry. We can read that and see that Jesus is not only the Messiah, because He can forgive sin, but that He has life in His name, because the woman is not stoned.

The book of John goes so deep but in truth it all starts with reading it the right way and through the right lens. My suggestion for you this week is to go back and re-read the Gospel of John but while you read it keep these three questions below in your mind.

What is John trying to point out here:

  1. Jesus as Messiah?
  2. Life in Jesus name?
  3. A mix of both (this one happens the most)?


Just a thought,