Jesus Understood God’s Timing

John 8:20 WEB

Jesus spoke these words in the treasury, as he taught in the temple. Yet no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.


Jesus understood the Father’s timing. It’s what gave him confidence in his choices. And those choices reflect the knowledge of God’s will. In modern times we might call what Jesus is doing “faithing-it.” Faithing-it is the practice of taking active steps into what you perceive as God’s will. For example, I believed God wanted me to finish college. However, I ran out of money with one semester left. Nothing was working out. According to the world, I was done. But I didn’t quit because I believed it was God’s will for me to finish. I went to classes for several days without being admitted to the semester. After 4 days I received a call that a grant was going to cover my tuition. So, instead of quitting, I finished. I faithed my way through the impossible.

I knew how to faith-it from watching Jesus. When he was in Nazareth and the crowd wanted to kill him, he walked through the crowd and walked away unscathed (Luke 4:28-30). I thought about Jesus’ mindset in the situation. How did he know to keep stepping toward the desired outcome? Because he understood it was not his time, so he walked toward the goal of escaping the crowd. When I saw what Jesus did, I adopted a mentality to keep my eyes on the Lord and keep stepping into the vision.

That is what Jesus is doing in this verse. He knew people wanted to arrest him. Still, he believed God had a plan that did not include him being detained. So, he went to the temple and taught. He knew his hour was coming, but it was not there yet. Jesus understood God’s timing. Once, when his brothers accused him of wanting fame, he told them they always thought it was their time (John 7:1-8). That intrigued me. It challenged me. It challenged me to ask myself why I was always in such a hurry with God. One of the only insults Jesus levels at someone other than a religious leader is this one to his brothers about timing. Clearly, Jesus was disgusted with his brothers.


Lord, please bless me with an understanding of your will. Reveal yourself to me from your word and let your Holy Spirit speak. Give me the courage to take faith-filled steps into your will. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Unreliable Sources in the Bible

John 7:25-27 WEB

Therefore some of them of Jerusalem said, “Isn’t this he whom they seek to kill? [26] Behold, he speaks openly, and they say nothing to him. Can it be that the rulers indeed know that this is truly the Christ? [27] However we know where this man comes from, but when the Christ comes, no one will know where he comes from.”


The Gospel of John is full of literary structure. One literary device is the unreliable character. It is surprising to find unreliable sources in the Bible. Each of the above verses contains misinformation by the masses. The masses are a frequent “character” in the Bible. In these verses, the masses are deceived and share untruths through the vehicle of misinformation. In literature, a character that doesn’t always tell the truth is considered an unreliable source. An unreliable source repeats gossip, disobeys, lies, may not know the truth, makes unrighteous judgments, and sometimes knows less than the reader.

In verse 25 the masses are repeating gossip. Jesus just said the Jews were seeking to kill him (John 7:15-16, 19). In just a few verses, the masses are repeating Jesus’ statement to one another. We know from the epistles that gossip is one of the “big sins” (Rom 1:29). Since the masses are engaging in a behavior that is unbiblical, they may be unreliable.

However, one or two issues do not mean a character is consistently unreliable. There are a group of behaviors unreliable sources share. One is lying. In verse 26 the masses state the Jews are not speaking to Jesus. We know that is a lie and is not unintentional ignorance.

However, there is a great deal the masses do not know in verse 26. For example, they seem to believe the leaders are trying to kill Jesus (vv 25). Oddly, the masses also think the leaders believe Jesus is the Messiah (vv 26). As readers, we know what is going on. On the other hand, the masses do not seem to know as much as the reader.

A lack of information leads unreliable characters to misjudge people and circumstances. In verse 27 we find the masses passing judgments on the leaders. They reveal they are less informed than the reader. The masses probably believed Jesus was born in Nazareth. They make a logical leap to get to this conclusion. Jesus grew up in Nazareth, so the masses believe that is where he was born. Of course, they are wrong.

Recognizing there is deliberate structure to the gospels helps the reader have a richer experience reading the Bible. Someone trained in writing wrote the gospel of John. It is full of literary structures. The Gospel of John has structure and deliberate choices by the author which do not diminish the spiritual value of the book. This use of the author’s technical skill does not diminish the anointing of the Spirit in the writing. It does mean God will use our knowledge and understanding to accomplish his purposes.


Lord Jesus, please give light to my understanding so I can read the Bible accurately. Help me acquire skills that you can use. Help me prepare an offering for you Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

God’s Seal of Approval

John 6:26-27 WEB

Jesus answered them, “Most certainly I tell you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. [27] Don’t work for the food which perishes, but for the food which remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has sealed him.”


How can we tell when God has sealed, or approved, someone for a task? How did God seal Jesus? God sealed Jesus through the testimony of John the Baptist and the miraculous signs which Jesus did. Signs and wonders accompanied Jesus. God used miracles as signs of Jesus’ task and calling.

Jesus was also blessed. He had decent clothes, or at the crucifixion, the soldiers would not have struggled to get his clothes. They were nice. Also, Jesus was from Nazareth, but he seems to have a house in Capernaum. Jesus stopped working when he went into ministry, how did he pay for these things? Jesus may have saved some money while he worked, but that would contradict part of his message. It seems likely people were supporting his ministry.

So, God used signs and wonders and ministry support to show approval, but there is another sign. The preaching of repentance also accompanies the one whom God approves. Both John the Baptist and Jesus preached repentance. Another, Paul the apostle, was always encouraging believers to turn from sin. Many of the biblical writers wrote about sin and repentance. Preaching repentance is a mark of the one sealed by God.


Lord Jesus, help me recognize and honor the ones you have sealed. Give me a discerning Spirit so I can recognize when you have set your approval on another. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Birthplaces

John 4:43-50 WEB

After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee. [44] For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. [45] So when he came into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they also went to the feast. Jesus came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine. There was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. [47] When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him, and begged him that he would come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. [48] Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will in no way believe.” [49] The nobleman said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” [50] Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.


Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that made him a Judean. He was raised in Nazareth and seemed to base his ministry out of Capernaum of Galilee, yet still, he identified himself as coming from Judea. Jesus knew where he came from. He knew the stories of his miraculous birth. Jesus recognized he was from a better place and that is where he identified as his home country.

Every person who is in Christ has been born into the heavenly realms. This world is no longer our home. We are not from a certain country or continent, rather, we are from heaven. Having a correct orientation to our birthplace will define everything we do. Where we are born gives us a part of our identity. Where we are born gives us our purpose. Jesus knew he was born in a better place than Galilee, He knew he was from the royal line of David.

It is interesting to note that when Jesus returned to Galilee, it was that which was done in Jerusalem of Judea that caused the people of Capernaum to have an interest. It was that which originated in Jesus’ province of birth that caused interest in the Galileans.

Speaking of the first birth we all relate to a physical location on earth. Yet, when we experience the second birth that is by the Spirit, we have heaven as our hometown. Those things we get from our hometown of heaven will attract the attention of the lost here on earth. In the above text, Jesus chides the man for wanting to see a sign and then heals the child with no sign. Signs attract the attention of the world. But it is our faith that will help the lost make appropriate sense of signs when they come.


Lord Jesus, please help me identify as a person from heaven so that I can have a correct perspective on earth. Please let my life shine light into others’ darkness that I may lead some to salvation.

Nathaniel’s Repentance

John 1:46-49 WEB

Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” [47] Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said about him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” [48] Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” [49] Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are King of Israel!”

Why was Nathanael so amazed that Jesus saw him under the fig tree? He was amazed because Jesus called him out for the sins of scoffing and laziness. Nathanael scoffed at Jesus because he was from Nazareth. Psalm 1 clearly defines scoffing as the worst level of sin. Psalm 1:1 NLT says, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.”

Notice how Jesus cuts right to the issue when he says, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”  I don’t think He said it as praise but was probably employing a tone of sarcasm. Scoffing is one of the sins that partners with laziness. So, Jesus cuts to the heart of Nathanael’s life issues. Proverbs 6:9 NLT says, “But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up?” Essentially Jesus was calling Nathanael out for his sins of scoffing and laziness. His answer to Nathaniel brought conviction and revelation and led to Nathanael getting up and following the Lord.

Don’t be afraid of all the scoffers. Also, do not come into agreement with them. Your right behavior will also be a holy behavior because it paves the way for their repentance. We are not Jesus; we do not have the Spirit without measure. I would leave off the sarcasm. We do not want to scoff at or with scoffers but rather speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4:15 NLT says, “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.”

Lord Jesus, please reveal to me those areas of sin that I am ignoring or ignorant. I want to get up from all sin and follow you. In Jesus’ name, amen.