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Christ in All of Scripture – John 21:15–19

 

John 21:15–19

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”


Jesus didn’t hurry the process of Peter’s restoration. The Savior asked three times for affirmation of the apostle’s love, reflecting Peter’s three denials during Christ’s passion. Gospel surgery is free, but not always easy. Grace produces redemptive pain, not punitive pain. But pain is still painful. Indeed, the gospel brings an end to all deadening worldly grief. But the gospel is the beginning of enlivening godly grief (2 Cor. 7:10–11). The law condemns, the gospel convicts; the law creates self-centered tears, the gospel creates God-centered tears.

“Do you love me more than these?” It would have been easier on Peter had Jesus asked him, “Do you promise not to fail me again?” But Jesus knew better than to ask that question, because, of course, Peter would fail again (e.g., Gal. 2:11–21). Jesus is more jealous for our love than zealous for our works. If he has our hearts, he’ll have everything else.


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.

 

September 1, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,Gospel Transformation Bible | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:28 am | 0 Comments »

Christ in All of Scripture – Nehemiah 9

 

Nehemiah 9

“Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, ‘Stand up and bless the LORD your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.
You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.’”


Nehemiah chapter 9 is the longest recorded prayer in the Bible. It confesses before a faithful God the history of a faithless people.

As Christ’s followers we are grafted into this family (Gal. 3:7–9), and we can share in this prayer for mercy from our covenant-keeping God. The prayer unfolds history as God’s acts of grace and mercy—from creation (Neh. 9:6), to the Abrahamic covenant (Neh. 9:7–8), to the deliverance from Egypt (Neh. 9:9–11), to God’s wilderness provisions (including the law [Neh. 9:12–15]), to a kingdom in a rich land (Neh. 9:22–25). This outpouring of God’s faithfulness is interrupted by two sections which confess the people’s rebellion against him (Neh. 9:16–21, 26–31). But there are repeated appeals to a merciful God, “abounding in steadfast love” (Neh. 9:17; see also Ex. 34:6; Deut. 7:9). The focus is on God’s “covenant and steadfast love” (Neh. 9:32), ever the basis on which his people approach him.

Praise God. We can know and name the Christ in whom all the promises of God are “yes” and “Amen” (2 Cor. 1:20). The Old Testament people of God knew that God was full of grace and truth. We today see grace and truth itself embodied in Jesus Christ (John 1:14–18).


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.

 

August 25, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Gospel Transformation Bible,The Christian Life | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:32 am | 0 Comments »

Christ in All of Scripture – John 5:36–40

 

John 5:36–40

“But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”


The conflict intensifies between Jesus and the Jewish leaders—an antagonism that would eventually lead to his crucifixion. Why the enmity? It was not just because of Jesus’ Sabbath breaking, but because he made claims that gave him equal status with God—an affirmation we encountered in the first verse of John’s Gospel: “the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1). Only God can save us, and Jesus, God incarnate, is the second member of the Trinity.

Jesus claimed a unique filial relationship with God as Father, an assertion which in that culture gave him divine status and amounted to blasphemy in the eyes of the Jews (Jn. 5:18). But Jesus did not back down. He claimed the Father’s works as his own, including raising the dead—a boast he would prove by raising Lazarus from the dead (Jn. 11), an act that not only created greater opposition from his religious antagonists but was also a preview of his own resurrection.

To honor Jesus is to honor the Father (Jn. 5:23). In fact, we too can know God as our Father if we honor Jesus—that is, if we believe on him (Jn. 1:12; 14:9). We pass from judgment to life because Jesus took our judgment on the cross (Jn. 5:22–24; cf. 2 Cor. 5:21). Our adoption is secured by Jesus’ propitiating (turning away, satisfying) God’s wrath.

According to Jesus, the only way we can derive life from the Scriptures is to see Jesus in the Scriptures, for all the Scriptures bear witness to him (Jn. 5:30–47; cf. Lk. 24:27, 44–47). The entire Bible, Genesis to Revelation, is ultimately about Jesus. Throughout Scripture God is unfolding the grace that culminates in Christ (Jn. 5:39–40). The Bible is therefore not fundamentally about what we do for God but what God does for us.

The Jews, tragically, preferred receiving glory from one another rather than seeking the glory of God (Jn. 5:44). No sin or idolatry is more insidious and destructive than living for the approval of people (Prov. 29:25). In the gospel of grace, we are liberated from the need to be approved by people because in Jesus we have been approved by the only One whose approval matters and the only One whose approval satisfies.


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.

 

July 28, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Gospel Transformation Bible | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:28 am | 0 Comments »

Christ in All of Scripture – Job 42:10–17

 

Job 42:10–17

“And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.


And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.

And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. And Job died, an old man, and full of days.”


Is the book of Job’s “happy ending” tacked on? Is it a sort of reassurance, to make the reader breathe easy again after emerging from the wringer? No. Job’s happy ending is a resolution that deserves the word “profound.” As ever with God’s work in a person’s life, Job’s character or inner self is more important to God than Job’s “doings.” Thus, the provided-for life that Job ended up with was not provided until he prayed in selfless fashion for his three unworthy friends (Job 42:10).

We are also told that Job’s sufferings were “all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him” (Job 42:11). Everything that happens to us comes from God. “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” Such truths challenge us no less than they challenged Job, but they are also responsible for leading Job (and us) to a right understanding of the God who provides eternity—even if it is through earthly difficulties. God’s purposes are eternal as he weans us from earth and woos us to heaven.

Finally, Elihu’s prediction of how Job’s life was supposed to end, actually came true: “If [people] listen and serve [God], they complete their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasantness” (Job 36:11). “Job died, an old man, and full of days” (Job 42:17), with his losses restored and possessions increased (Job 42:12–16). Even his children were doubled, if one considers the existence of those already in eternity with those new on earth. As the expression goes, “It’s never too late.” We could also say, on the basis of Job, that things are never so bad that God is not present and “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). Of course, for many of those who suffer in this world, prosperity and pleasantness await fulfillment in the new heavens and new earth, but this reality is no less real for those of faith. Through Job we learn that God will do whatever is necessary to claim the hearts of those he loves. His eternal love is solace, sufficiency, and satisfaction for all whose ultimate hope is in him.

It’s the old, old story, of Mary Magdalene, Zacchaeus the tax collector, Peter the denier, James and John the Sons of (raging) Thunder, Paul the Christian-tracker, and Cornelius the sideliner. And us. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.

 

July 21, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Gospel Transformation Bible | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:38 am | 0 Comments »

Christ in All of Scripture – Esther 6:1–4

 

Esther 6:1-4

“On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. And the king said, ‘What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?’ The king’s young men who attended him said, ‘Nothing has been done for him.’ And the king said, ‘Who is in the court?’ Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him.”


A seemingly inconsequential night of restlessness results in deliverance for God’s people as Ahasuerus is reminded of Mordecai’s faithfulness and Haman, who has just constructed gallows on which to hang Mordecai, is forced to exalt him instead.

Two gospel reminders are embedded in this event. First, we see once more that God is working behind the scenes for the good of his people. The king just “happened” to have a sleepless night, and just “happened” to hear of Mordecai’s saving of the king! Second, we remember that God humbles those who exalt themselves, yet he delights to exalt those who humble themselves (Luke 18:14James 4:10). The supreme example of this upside-down principle is Christ himself (Phil. 2:6–11).


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.

 

July 14, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,ESV,Gospel Transformation Bible | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:32 am | 0 Comments »