Lesson 12


The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

2:18 The Jews therefore answered him, "What sign do you show to us, seeing that you do these things?"

2:19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."

2:20 The Jews therefore said, "Forty-six years was this temple in building, and will you raise it up in three days?" 2:21 But he spoke of the temple of his body. 2:22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he said this, and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in his name, observing his signs which he did. 2:24 But Jesus didn't trust himself to them, because he knew all people, 2:25 and because he didn't need for anyone to testify concerning man; for he himself knew what was in man.


 Today's Lesson

The testimony of the Gospel of John concerning Jesus' understanding of His mission and purpose is illuminating. John's testimony is that early in Jesus' ministry He knew that His life would be laid down and that He would be raised up again. "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." It is a very different thing to say that Jesus understood His death and resurrection days before it occurred and to say that He understood the same thing years before. John testifies that Jesus understood these things years before they took place.

 

Many have seen the death of Jesus as only one possibility that occurred. The Jews rejected Him, some say, and that rejection affected God's plan. The testimony of this Gospel is that Jesus based the authority of His mission on His eventual resurrection years before it occurred. By what authority do you do these things, Jesus? When you destroy this temple of my body years from now, God will raise it up from the dead. Then you will see the authority that has been given to Me. In no other gospel does Jesus speak in such clear terms of His understanding of His mission and authority.

 

Many are troubled by verses 23-25. People believed in Jesus because of the signs that He did. But, Jesus "didn't trust himself to them." What quality or level of belief is acceptable to Jesus? How does one know if the belief that they have is "saving faith" or this kind of belief that is not acceptable to God?

 

These questions are understandable and everyone asks these things of themselves at one time or another in their walk with God. As with most doubts, they occur when we take our focus away from what God is doing and put it on what we are doing.

 

The Bible never says that we are saved by anything that we do. We are saved by grace through faith. The action of salvation is always God's. The question is not what sort of faith I have, but what sort of God that I have. If I place all of my faith and trust in Him, He will not fail me. It is not my faith that saves me. It is the God in whom I place my faith and trust.

 

In the same way, Christ does not need our testimony of faith to know if we are His. He knows His sheep. They hear His voice and follow the shepherd. He is the one who created us and knows all that there is to our hearts and thoughts. And, despite all of the ugliness and all of the pain that we cause Him and ourselves, His love is so deep and vast that He was willing to suffer and die that we might be reclaimed.

 

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