Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are John 1-2
Quick facts about the book of John:
- Although it is almost universally believed that John is the author of this book, there isn’t a passage which clearly states that. However, all evidence points to John being the author.
- The book of John does not give us any details of the earthly birth of Messiah, but it begins with an epic introduction to Messiah that ties Him directly to the Father and beautifully explains his relationship both to the Father and to us as the word of YHWH made flesh.
- John’s actual name (what he would have been called in his lifetime) is transliterated as Yohanan, which means “YHWH has been gracious”.
- John worked tirelessly to show people who Messiah truly was as the son of YHWH. He wanted to make sure that folks did not just see Him as a prophet, teacher, and performer of miracles but rather that those things pointed them to the truth of Yeshua as being the son of the Most High.
I had a little more time to do some contextual digging so I’ll share a bit of that this morning as well.
These events took place in a time in which Rome maintained strict rule over its territories. However, they did allow for a good bit of freedom of religion, provided the parties continued to pay their taxes and obey Roman laws. This did not mean that relationships between the Jews and the Romans were always peachy though, because Rome was by and large a culture that worshipped multiple gods and the Jews worshipped the one true God and no other.
Still, living in a society that worshipped multiple gods was a problem for the Jews and they solved this by living set apart in many ways, one of which was to consider non-Jews unclean and Jews as clean. Put this in your back pocket because we’ll revisit this concept later as it is a pivotal one to understand in our spiritual ancestry and lives today.
It is in the book of John that we see the pre-existence of Messiah as the Word becoming flesh. This is a very important concept.
Notice in John 1:1-5 that we see the concept of “and the Word was with YHWH and the Word was YHWH. This is a “Both/And” not an either/or.
I point this out because in our western mindset we tend to see things as one or the other and often have a difficult time manifesting thoughts as being able to live within two spheres and still be truth. However, we can’t put YHWH in a box. We have tried and tried for centuries and we will still be trying when Messiah returns and blows the lid off all of the boxes He finds us still stubbornly trying to squeeze Him into.
John 1:17 presents a problem for some people.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17
It seems to dismiss YHWH’s law, but if you put it back in context it comes across quite differently.
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. John 1:16-18
We see here that what is about to be spoken of is considered grace upon grace and then they speak of the law of YHWH given through Moses and grace and truth given through Messiah.
The commandments of YHWH are Grace in that He teaches us how to live and that is through the Word of YHWH. What does John 1:14 tell us about the Word of YHWH? Messiah is the Word made flesh. So the Father gave us the Word first, and then He gave us a human example of that Word. From there, He gave us that something that would allow His Word to indwell within us.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NIV)
The Hebrew word for “Law” is “Torah” which is also synonymous with the first five books of the Bible, the books written by Moses. We have seen, time and again, that Grace is not a New Testament concept, it is one of the characteristics of YHWH. Recall all of the times that YHWH showed Grace to His people in our “old” testament readings.
So now we have grace upon grace, the law of YHWH given in the books of Moses and the grace and truth of Messiah, which is manifestation of that grace and truth.
Oh my goodness, I love John 1:23 where John the Baptist (not the author of this book) describes himself as a voice crying out in the wilderness to make way for the Messiah!
First of all, He is quoting Isaiah 40:3.
Secondly, are we not voices crying out ourselves and is this not a wilderness we are living in during our time here in this world?
John 1:45 shows us that they knew the Scriptures and were keeping watch for the Messiah. We’ve seen all along that the “old” testament points to Messiah, foretells of Messiah in prophesies, events, and all of the feasts of YHWH, and those who knew and know the word of YHWH will know to be looking for Him and what to expect. This verse shows us a great example of that.
John 1:46-47 Can any good come out of Nazareth?
Here we see an interaction between Phillip and Nathaniel. Phillip is clearly excited to have met the long awaited Messiah and shares this information with Nathaniel. Nathanial, clearly a skeptic, facetiously asks “Can any good come out of Nazareth?”. To him, it is likely that the thought of a man from Nazareth declaring himself to be the long awaited Messiah just sounds ridiculous. However, in the next sentence we see Messiah commending Nathaniel for being a man without deceit. Other translations say a man of complete integrity. Either way, it appears that Messiah is commending Nathaniel for being exactly who he says he is, not two faced or prone to be a man who says one thing and does another. However, we must be careful not to translate this into a license to simply “follow our heart” in a manner that is unchecked or not ruled by the Holy Spirit. A believer should be constantly holding their heart to the standards set by YHWH and, therefore, their actions and words will fall close and closer in line with YHWH’s commandments on a daily basis.
For the world, “being real” means saying whatever you think and responding to situations in whatever way feels good to you. However, as a believer, “being real” means being real close to YHWH and really into His Word every chance we get.
I want to point out that in John 2:4 it may appear to our modern western mindsets that Messiah is being brusk with His mother but this manner of speaking was not rude in this culture. In fact, some translations translate “Woman” to “Mother” in order to show this. Note also that He honors her by taking care of her concern even though it goes against what He would rather do. Messiah upheld ALL commandments. Honoring your father and mother is #5 by our modern count.
To be clear, He also upheld 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
Messiah never treated the commandments as if they were multiple choice.
We see, again, Messiah’s disciples knowing the Word and watching for signs of the Messiah in John 2:17 when the disciples see an action of Messiah and remember this as an identifier from Psalm 69:9.
His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” John 2:17
THEY KNOW Scripture and therefore they recognize Messiah by it! They are holding Him up to Scriptural standards.
However, the Pharisees held Him up to the standards set forth in their doctrine and therefore they missed Him.
We must be careful not to allow anything: doctrine, tradition, denominational or church decrees, to tell us who Messiah is or what to expect of His return. We must be especially careful to only take YHWH’s Word (and consequently Messiah’s word) for who the Father is and what He expects of us.
YHWH gives us all of the information we need in order to follow Him and He is the source of truth in all things.
No embellishment or adornment of His truth is needed.
Remember, the Word of YHWH is the straight edge to which ALL else must line up, never the other way around.
The book of John shows three separate Passovers taking place during the ministry of Messiah. The first one takes place at John 2:13. We see this same Passover mentioned again a few verses later. I will point out the other two as we come to them but keep your eyes open.
In John 2:18, after Messiah has literally cracked the whip in the temple for making YHWH’s house a house of trade, we see those doing this asking Him by what sign does He do these things. They were essentially asking Him where His authority came from. I’m sure they looked back on His answer in awe later on.
What were those money changers and sellers of animals to sacrifice doing in the temple that angered Messiah so? Using it for personal gain. That pattern has tragically been repeated time and again.
These are just some of my notes on today’s reading. I encourage you to dig deeper and if you find any verses that you are wrestling with, boldly wrestle them out with the Father. Remember, Jacob became Israel through wrestling it out with the angel of YHWH. If you struggle with something in the Word, don’t just hide it away and struggle alone, bring it to the Father and wrestle it out with Him. He can take it – and you just might come away a new person when the wrestling it finished.
Think on who He says He is, He does not change (Malachi 3:6), and remember what our Messiah said in Matthew 5:17-19
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-19
Whoever keeps them
Whoever teaches them
May we find ourselves in both of those categories.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!