Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses twenty-two through forty-two of the tenth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the tenth chapter of the gospel which the apostle John wrote drawing to a close. I am still thoroughly convinced that if we are to truly understand that which is found and written within this chapter we must turn and direct our attention to the previous chapter and to the encounter the man born blind from birth had with Jesus the Christ. One of the realities sound within the gospel written by the apostle John is how there are certain and specific chapters which begin with a single encounter with or a single work performed by Jesus the Christ, and how that single encounter and work would set in motion each of the events which would take place within the remainder of the chapter. This reality of a work and/or encounter is found beginning in and with the fourth chapter, and is found in subsequent chapters which follow. The fourth chapter you will recall began with Jesus leaving Judaea and journeying unto Galilee, and how He must needs pass through Samaria. The apostle John would go on to write that when Jesus arrived in Samaria He sat down by Jacob’s well being wearied and tired from the journey. What’s more, is the fact that the apostle John also made sure to include the fact that it was the sixth hour when Jesus arrived in Samaria and sat down by the well. The timing in which Jesus sat down by the well is actually quite significant when you take the time to think about it, for you almost get the sense that Jesus made haste to journey through Samaria, and even to make His way unto this town called sychar in order that He might be at the well to be there when the woman whom He would share an encounter with would arrive. WAITING FOR YOU TO ARRIVE! There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus made haste and was weary from the journey from Galilee and through Samaria because He sought to make haste to be there at the well in order that He might wait for this single Samaritan woman who would come with her pitcher that she might draw water from the well. I firmly believe that Jesus made it a point to be at this particular at this particular time in order that He might be there at the well waiting for this woman to arrive and show up. SOMETIMES ALL THE LORD IS WAITING FOR YOU IS TO SHOW UP! SOMETIMES ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS KEEP SHOWING UP! SOMETIMES JESUS IS PRESENT IN THE WAITING IN THE PLACE OF ROUTINE! Though perhaps this woman had come to this well countless time that she might draw forth water from the midst of it—this particular encounter would be unlike any other encounter she would have, for on this occasion she would find the Messiah waiting at the well for her. On this particular day the only thing the woman needed to do was show up just as she had done previously and she would find herself coming face to face with the messiah. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible reality, for it has the absolute to radically alter and shape our entire lives and even how we perceive our days and day to day routine.
As you read the words which are found within this passage of scripture you will find that this single encounter between this woman and Jesus would set in motion a two day experience the men of the city would have with the messiah. After a conversation with Jesus in which she spoke about water, thirst, relationship, worship, and even the interactions the Jews had with samaritans, this woman would arise from the well leaving her water jar behind her that she might return unto the city to share about her encounter with this one who had encountered her at the well. What’s more, is that towards the end of the encounter this woman spoke unto Jesus concerning the messiah which was to come. It was in response to these words Jesus spoke and revealed unto this woman that He who spoke with her was indeed and was in fact the messiah who was to come. It was the reality that this man had revealed unto her everything she had done, and even revealed unto her that He was the messiah that caused her to return unto the city and declare unto the men the encounter she had just had at the well. This woman who had perhaps spoken of encounters she had with other men in the past now spoke and shared of something completely and entirely different. Perhaps this woman had returned from the well in previous times and spoke of a man whom she had met at the well—perhaps one of the five men whom she would give herself in marriage to—but this time she came back from the well speaking about something completely and entirely different. On this particular day this woman would return from the well and emphatically speak of a man who had told her everything she had done. Even more than this. This woman would also ask those whom she would speak with if this could indeed and could in fact be the messiah. It was the report this woman brought back from the well that would cause the men to come out to meet this man who might be the Messiah, and after hearing Him speak would invite and implore Him that He might tarry with them. It would be two additional days that Jesus would remain and abide within this town of sychar within the region of Samaria in order that He might speak unto these people, and reveal Himself unto them. One single encounter with a woman at the well would lead to an entire town within the region of Samaria believing in Jesus as the So of God and as the Messiah.
The words which we find written and recorded within the fourth chapter of the gospel written by the apostle John are the first which bring us face to face with an encounter or work that would take place at the beginning of the chapter and would set in motion everything that would take place within and throughout the remainder of the chapter. If you move and transition to the fifth and following chapter you will come face to face with Jesus coming unto the city of Jerusalem during and at the time of a great feast of Israel and coming unto a pool called Bethesda. It would be at this pool where there would be five different porches—each pitch would be filled with those who were blind, lame and halt. It would be at this particular pool where countless men and women would spend their age living and dwelling by the waters of the pool, for at a particular season an angel from heaven would come down and trouble the waters within the pool. Whose over stepped down into and entered into the waters which were found within the pool would be made whole of whatever infirmity band illness they had within their physical bodies. Think about this reality, for there would be countless men and women who would spend their days by the waters of this pool longing and waiting for that specific time when an angel from heaven would trouble the waters. The countless men and women who would be present here at this pool would spend their days longing and waiting for that particular moment when the waters would be troubled that they might enter into the waters and be made whole. There was a particular time, however, when Jesus would come to this pool and would come into this man who would be lame for thirty and eight years. It would be on this particular day when we would find Jesus approaching this man and asking him if he would be made whole. The man would declare unto Jesus how he had no one to help him down into the waters, and whenever he would make his way down to the pool that he might step into the waters, another would step down into the waters before him, this being healed and made whole of their disease and infirmity. Scripture is unclear how long this man lived and dwelt at this pool, but we can be sure and certain that this man had seen a lot of men and women who would step down into the waters before him and would be healed. On this particular day, however, this man would find himself coming face to face with Jesus the Christ—even though he wasn’t aware of the fact that it was the messiah whom he was speaking. It would be the messiah who would speak unto him and command him to rise from his place and to pick up his mat. The apostle John writes and records how this man immediately rose from his place, picked up his mat and moved freely within and throughout the city of Jerusalem carrying the mat of his testimony. This particular man who had spent thirty and eight years unable to walk and unable to move would now not only be able to walk, but also carry the mat upon which he had been lying for thirty and eight years. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that after nearly forty wars of being unable to walk and move freely, this man was now completely healed and completely whole.
If you continue moving within and throughout the fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote you will come face to face with the fact that immediately after this man was made whole of the infirmity which had plagued his body for nearly forty eight years, he found himself on the receiving end of judgment and criticism from the Jews for carrying his mat on the sabbath day. It is only as you continue reading the words found within the fifth chapter of this gospel that you will encounter the reality that it was on the sabbath day which Jesus had healed this man of a nearly forty year long condition. After this man was healed of his infirmity he immediately left the pool of Bethesda and began to walk within the streets of the city of Jerusalem carrying his mat with him. It’s actually quite interesting and unique to think about and consider the fact that when speaking unto this particular man Jesus would first ask him if he would be whole, and He would then command him to rise, take up his bed and walk. I am convinced that there is something quite unique in the portion of Jesus’ command unto this man to take up his bed. Jesus could have very easily instructed and commanded this man to rise from his place and walk, however, if you read the text you will find that this simply isn’t the case. As thou read the words which are found within this passage you will find that Jesus didn’t merely command and instruct this man to rise from the place he had been laying, but to rise up, take up his mat and walk. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus wasn’t very much aware of the fact that this particular day was the sabbath, and wasn’t even aware of the Jewish traditions surrounding and concerning the sabbath. With this being said one might wonder why Jesus would instruct this man to take up his bed rather than simply to rise from the place he had been lying and walk. It would have been one thing for Jesus to command this man to rise and walk, but Scripture doesn’t reveal Jesus stopped with merely rising and walking. What’s more, is that it wasn’t even the command to rise, nor was it the command to walk that put this newly healed man in the cross hairs of the Jewish criticism and rebuke, but the command to take up his bed. It’s quite unique and astounding to think about and consider the fact that Jesus could have very easily commanded this man to rise, leave his bed behind, and walk, and had this taken place and happened he might not have found himself at the receiving end of the criticism and judgment of the Jews. We must notice that it wasn’t the command to rise and walk, nor was it the healing itself which so angered and offended the Jews, but the fact that Jesus healed on the sabbath day. What’s more, is that it was the simple fact that this man carried his mat on the sabbath that even caused the sabbath day to become a reality within this encounter with Jesus the Christ.
Before transitioning from this particular encounter between this man who had been lame and halt for thirty and eight years it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we come face to face with the fact that Jesus could have very easily instructed and commanded this man to simply rise and walk, and this man could have risen from the place he had been lying and walked out of the porch in which he was lying. The truth of the matter is that Jesus didn’t merely instruct and command this man to rise and walk, but rather he instructed him to rise, take up his bed and walk. How absolutely fascinating it is that Jesus didn’t instruct this man to leave his bed behind, nor did Jesus instruct this man to forget the bed upon which he was lying. The command which Jesus spoke unto this man would require him to take up the bed upon which he had been lying and to carry it with him. THE TESTIMONY OF THE REMOVED MAT! THE TESTIMONY OF THE REMOVED BED! Pause for a moment and consider the fact that the removal of both the mat and the one who lay upon the mat would have undoubtedly been an absolutely wonderful and incredible testimony to those who were present at the pool that something had happened. Oh, they had witnessed others getting healed and leaving the porches at the pool of Bethesda, however, I would dare say that this particular departure was something entirely and altogether different. This man who had spent nearly forty years lying upon what might have been the same mat had not only risen from the place where he laid, but he also took up the mat and bed upon which he had been lying and walked out of whatever porch at the pool of Bethesda he was lying. How absolutely intriguing it is to think about and consider the fact that this man was not only instructed to rise from the place where he had spent thirty and eight years, but this man also took up the mat and bed upon which he had been lying and walked throughout the streets of Jerusalem carrying that bed. Please note and please understand this particular reality, for it was the carrying of the mat which angered and offended the Jews. It was the fact that this man had carried his mat on the sabbath day that caused the Jews to be so angered and offended that he would dare break the sabbath by carrying the bed upon which he had been lying. When asked who it was who healed him and instructed him to take up his mat, the man responded by declaring that he did not know who it was who commanded him to rise, to take up his mat and to walk. It wouldn’t be until Jesus would later find this man and speak unto him of his being healed and instruct him to go and sin no more lest something worse come upon him that he realized that it was Jesus who had healed him. Once he realized it was Jesus who had healed him, he immediately revealed unto the Jews that it was Jesus who had instructed him to rise from the place where he had been lying and to take up his mat. Once the Jews discovered that Jesus had healed on the sabbath, the fact that this man was carrying his mat on the sabbath became irrelevant, for they now turned and directed their anger and their offense to Jesus—ultimately seeking to stone Him to death.
When you come to the sixth chapter of this same New Testament gospel you will find that it too opened up and began with a single and specific work of Jesus the Christ, as Jesus and His disciples were approached by a great crowd and great multitude—a multitude and crowd which Jesus immediately began to teach and speak unto. After finishing teaching those who had gathered themselves unto Him, and even after performing many great miracles and healings, the reality arose concerning this great crowd being hungry. The disciples would suggest to Jesus that He send the crowds away in order that they might travel into the city that they might by bread and food for themselves. Jesus was unwilling to send the crowd away tired and hungry lest they faint along the way. After finding out that there were five loaves of bread and two fish available in the midst of the crowd Jesus instructed the disciples to have the crowd sit down in the grass in groups of fifty and in groups of hundreds. After seating the crowds in companies in the midst of the grass, Jesus would then take the loaves of bread and the fish, would bless them before and in the sight of His Father, break them, pass them out to the disciples, who would in turn distribute them unto the crowds. The gospel authors write and record that not only did the entire multitude eat until they were satisfied, but there were also twelve baskets of the fragments which were left over afterward. As you continue reading the sixth chapter, however, you will find that even though a great crowd of people had partaken of the loaves of bread and fish and were satisfied, a number of them would turn back and walk no more with Jesus because of the words which He had spoken unto them. What would begin with Jesus feeding a multitude of five thousand men—not including women and children—would continue and culminate with many of the Jews being angered and offended with Jesus, and even many of His disciples turning back and walking no more with Him. A chapter that would begin with Jesus feeding the multitude of people in Galilee would eventually reach the point and place where many would be offended because of the words which He spoke, and even many of His disciples would turn back and walk no more with Him. Despite the fact that Jesus had fed a great multitude of people, and even though many did eat and were satisfied, they would become offended with Jesus because of the words which He spoke unto them, and many of His own disciples and those who believed on Him would turn back and walk no more. It’s quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that the sixth chapter—much like the fourth and fifth chapters—would begin with a single encounter with and/or work of Jesus the Christ, and would ignite something much larger that would take place in the remaining verses of the chapter. It would be this single encounter with Jesus the Christ that would ignite an even greater reality that would take place in those place where Jesus were—namely, those who had heard and listened to the words Jesus spoke growing offended and angered at the words which He spoke. It was the fact that Jesus healed on the sabbath day, and the fact that He spoke of God as His Father that caused the Jews to seek to stone and kill Him, and it was the words which Jesus spoke unto those who had partaken of the loaves of bread and fish that caused many to become offended with Him, and many of His own disciples to turn back and walk no more with Him.
While the seventh chapter does in fact contain an additional encounter between Jesus and the Jews as Jesus journeyed and traveled down to Jerusalem at the time of the feast of Tabernacles, we will now move to the eighth chapter of the gospel. It is the eighth chapter of the gospel written by the apostle John where we find Jesus once more. In the midst of the Jews, the scribes and the Pharisees, and speaking unto them concerning the works which He was sent to do, and the words which He spoke. It would be in the eighth chapter that we would come face to face with a woman who was caught and taken in the very act of adultery, and brought unto Jesus in the courts of the Temple in order that the scribes and Pharisees might tempt and trap Him in His words. Not only was this woman guilty, and guilty according to the Law of Moses, but the Law of Moses also called for such a one to be stoned to death as judgment and punishment for her transgression and adultery. It’s worth noting that when Jesus was asked what He would say concerning this woman, He stooped down and with His finger began writing on the ground. After being pressed repeatedly by the scribes and the Pharisees, He rose from the place He had stooped, and emphatically declared unto all those who were present—perhaps those who had stones in their hands ready to cast at the woman—that he who was without sin should indeed cast the first stone. The apostle John would write and record that not only would Jesus stoop back down to the ground and once more write with His finger, but each of those who were present on this particular day—beginning with the oldest and continuing unto the youngest—would each depart from the courts of the Temple being convicted in their own conscience. Eventually this woman would be left alone with Jesus the Christ, and in that moment was asked by Jesus where her accusers were, and whether or not there were any who would condemn her. After hearing this woman declare unto Him that there were no more any accusers and those who would condemn her, Jesus instructed her to go and sin no more, and that neither did He condemn her. Immediately following this would be an emphatic declaration from Jesus that He was the light of the world and an encounter with the Jews which would once more anger and offend them. If you continue reading the eighth chapter of the gospel written by the apostle John you will find that what began with the scribes and Pharisees seeking to stone this woman caught in the act of adultery would end and culminate with the Jews seeking to take up stones with which to cast at Jesus because of the perceived blasphemy He spoke concerning God being His Father, and concerning the words He spoke unto them concerning the bread which came down from heaven—bread which would lead to everlasting life. The eighth chapter would be similar in nature to that which we find in the fifth chapter, for not only do we find the Jews seeking to stone and kill Jesus in the fifth chapter of the gospel of John, but now also we find the Jews ready to stone Jesus again because of the words which He spoke unto them.
When you come to the ninth chapter of the gospel of John you will find that as Jesus was passing by those who would seek to stone Him He and His disciples came unto a man who was blind from birth. The apostle John writes and records how Jesus saw this man as He passed by, and was asked by His disciples whether or not this man or his parents did sin that he was born blind. Jesus’ response to the disciples was that neither this man, nor His parents did sin that he was born blind, but that the works of God might be manifested within his life, and that the glory of the living God might be seen and witnessed within his life. Jesus immediately spit on the ground, made clay from the spittle He had made, anointed the eyes of the blind man, and instructed him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. The apostle John writes how this man went his way, washed, and came forth seeing. The entire rest of the chapter would be an exchange this man would have—not only with the Jews, but also with the Pharisees, and even with his neighbors and those who aforetime knew him to not only be blind, but also to beg for alms. Eventually and ultimately this man who had been given sight would so offend the Jews that they would actually thrust him out of the synagogue, thus expelling him from the midst of it. What would begin with this man being unable to see, would continue with him being given his sight, and with him speaking unto others concerning the work which Jesus had done in his life would eventually culminate in his being excommunicated from the synagogue for the words which he spoke unto the Jews concerning the man who had given him his sight. The apostle John would go on to write and record how this man would be found and sought out by Jesus after having been thrust from the synagogue, and Jesus revealing unto him that He who spoke with him, and who healed him was indeed and was in fact the Messiah. Immediately this man believed the word Jesus spoke unto Him, believed on Jesus the Christ, and worshiped Him. What is so incredibly unique about how the chapter ends and concludes is that it concludes with Jesus speaking unto the man who had just received his sight that it was for judgment He came into the world that those who see might not see, and that those who do not see might see. By the time you come to the end of the ninth chapter you will find Jesus angering the Pharisees for suggesting and implying that they themselves were blind and that they were unable to see. What’s more, is that by the time you come to the end of the ninth chapter you will Jesus declaring unto the Pharisees that their sin remained because they professed themselves to see, and yet they weren’t aware of the fact that they were blind. The ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote would conclude with Jesus not only declaring unto the Pharisees that they were blind, but also that they were blind, and their sin remained—words which undoubtedly angered and offended the Pharisees. In all reality, what we find within the various chapters in the gospel of John is Jesus managing to offend the Jews, the scribes, the Pharisees, and even His own disciples who had believed on Him because of the words which He spoke and the works which He did.
As I read the words which are found within the New Testament gospel of John I can’t help but come face to face with the reality of three distinct realities within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ—especially those which were written and recorded by the apostle John. If you read the words which are found within the New Testament gospel of John you will find the mention of the Word, but you will also find the mention of the works, as well as the Witness. THE WORD, THE WORKS & THE WITNESS! The more I read and consider the words which are found within the New Testament gospel of John the more I can’t help but come face to face with the incredible and tremendous fact that within its pages and within the words written by the apostle we are brought face to face with the Word which was in the beginning with God and which was God, and the Word which became flesh and dwelt among us. What’s more, is that as you read the gospel which was written by the apostle John you will find the presence of the witness—that which witnessed and bore witness and testified concerning Jesus the Christ. This concept of witness is quite unique within the gospel which the apostle John wrote, for the apostle John not only recorded Jesus witnessing to and of Himself, but he also writes concerning the witness of John the Baptist who bore witness of Jesus the Christ during the time He faithfully ministered among the Jews in the region round about the Jordan. Furthermore, you will find within the gospel which John wrote that there were additional witnesses which testified and bore witness to Jesus the Christ—namely, the witness of the works which Jesus wrought and performed among men, as well as the witness of the Father who had sent Him to the earth. If you read the words which are written and found within the gospel you will find the presence of the witness or witnesses—that which testified concerning Jesus and bore witness concerning the reality of who He was, where He had come from, and who it was that sent Him. Within the gospel which the apostle John wrote you will find the presence of the witness of the Messenger which went before the face of the Messiah, but you will also find the presence of various other witnesses to and of the Messiah—namely, the witness of the Messiah Himself, the witness of the works, and the witness of the Father. Even more than this, you will find that there is an additional witness which testifies concerning the Messiah—namely, the witness of the Spirit which was given unto the Son without measure. Within the gospel written by the apostle John you will find a wonderful reality of that which would bare witness to Jesus the Christ, and the fact that He was indeed and was in fact the Messiah who was sent by the living God unto the earth in order that all men through Him might be saved and not see and taste death.
What I find to be so incredibly intriguing about that which is found in the final verses of the tenth chapter is that if you begin reading with and from the twenty-second verse you will find Jesus again in Jerusalem—this time at the feast of dedication. The apostle John writes and records how it was winter time when Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of the feast of dedication, and how as Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch the Jews came round about Him and asked Him how long He would keep them in suspense and how long He would cause them to doubt. This particular reality concerning Jesus’ causing them to doubt, and Jesus causing them to wonder was centered upon the reality of whether or not Jesus was indeed and was in fact the Messiah. The words which the Jews spoke unto Jesus were around the entire reality whether or not Jesus was in fact and was indeed the Messiah. The apostle John writes and records how the Jews declared unto Jesus that if He was indeed and was in fact the Messiah, He should let them tell and speak unto them plainly concerning that reality. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this distinct and incredible reality, for unto the woman at the well in Samaria Jesus declared Himself to be the Messiah who was to come, and unto the man who was blind from birth Jesus declared that He was indeed the Son of God and the Messiah. There are indeed two places within this gospel where Jesus specifically and implicitly declared and revealed Himself as the Messiah and the Son of God, and yet on this particular occasion the Jews cornered and surrounded Jesus and demanded that He speak unto them plainly whether or not He was the Christ. What’s interesting and unique about the response of Jesus was that He declared unto them how He had not only told them already, but how they believed Him not. What’s more, is that even more than Jesus specifically stating that He was indeed the Christ and the Messiah, the works which He performed among them in their midst would testify and speak to the reality whether or not He was in fact the Messiah. You will notice how Jesus would go on to declare that the works which He did in His Father’s name bore witness of Him, and yet they did not believe because they weren’t His sheep who hear his voice and know Him. What we find in the tenth chapter of the gospel written by the apostle John is the Jews again taking up stones with which to stone Jesus because of the words which He had spoken unto them—even after they had demanded that He speak unto them plainly and declare whether or not He was the Messiah. In all reality, there is something worth noting about what is found within this passage—namely, that the works which Jesus wrought among them in their midst bore witness and testified concerning the reality of His being the Messiah. Jesus did indeed perform many mighty works among them in their midst, and yet they could not see the works as that which bore witness to Jesus as the Christ and as the Messiah. The works which Jesus the Christ did among them and in their midst not only bore witness of Him, but also bore witness of He who had sent Him, and where He had come from.
I have to admit that what we find within this passage is quite remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider it—particularly and especially when you consider it in light of what is found and written within the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew. IN the sixteenth chapter of the gospel written by Matthew you find Jesus asking the disciples who men said that He the Son of man was, and then listening to and hearing their responses concerning the opinions of men. Upon hearing their response concerning the opinions of men Jesus would then ask them point blank who they said and who they believed that He the Son of man was. Simon also called Peter immediately spoke up and declared that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Consider what we find in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew concerning Simon called Peter declaring that Jesus was indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God, and Jesus declaring that flesh and blood had not revealed this unto him, but His Father who was in heaven. Consider the reality of flesh and blood not revealing unto men the reality of Jesus being the Christ and the Messiah, and how the Father reveals and makes this known, and how the Jews could not discern the reality that Jesus was indeed and was in fact the Messiah and the Christ. What we find in the tenth chapter of the gospel written by John is what is still found to be present in this generation—not only among those who worship within our churches, but also those who are outside the four walls and communities of our churches. What we find within the gospel of John, and what we find within this particular passage is men and women asking Jesus whether or not He is indeed the Messiah and the Christ. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this reality, for in response to their asking Him to speak plainly and clearly unto them, Jesus declared that the works which He did bore witness and testified concerning Him, as well as concerning who it was that sent Him. Please don’t overlook this, for the words which Jesus spoke unto the Jews called them to consider and examine the works which He had done among them in their midst, and to discern those works as a powerful witness that He was indeed and was in fact the Messiah. The question we must ask ourselves is not only whether or not we can see and discern the works which Jesus is performing among us in our midst and in our lives, but also whether or not we believe and trust in those works and allow them to speak unto us concerning the undeniable reality that Jesus is indeed and is in fact the Messiah. Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, and do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah and is who He said He was? Do you believe like Simon called Peter did that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God?