Good Morning, Siblings!

Today’s readings are John 19-21

Read today’s Bible readings at BibleGateway by clicking here.

Rabbit Trails

There is so much to cover in our reading today. I could never do it justice so I am going to intentionally dance on the surface of most, dig deep in a select few, and rely on the grace of YHWH to fill in the gaps for all of us. Spoiler alert: that is pretty much my plan every day here.

Away we go!

John 19:7 Could be referencing one or both of the following laws: Lev 24:16 and Deut 18:20

John 19:14 as we’ve talked about before, the preparation day for Passover was the day before Passover, just as each Friday is our preparation day for the weekly passover. From time to time I see folks post “Happy Preparation Day!” on Facebook on Fridays and it is such a treat to see.

John 19:15 Remember that the chief priests or lead priests referenced in this chapter are the religious leaders. Can you imagine the religious leaders of our time condemning Messiah? Horrifying thought, isn’t it? But we are told that the anti-Christ will actually be embraced by them in the future so buckle your seatbelts and settle into that uncomfortable thought as we read this.

John 19:25 Is this verse talking about two people or four? Both are possibilities.

John 19:31 Your homework for the day is to research and learn what a High Sabbath is ?. Chew up what you find, keep the meat (what lines up with the Bible) and spit out the bones (doctrine that does not line up with the Bible).

We need to linger over a key passage in Scripture for a moment.

And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’[a] head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed. John 20:5-8

There is a little inspirational story that makes the rounds about this passage which seeks to associate this passage with a tradition among the Jews of the time. The story says that if the master left the table, he would fold his napkin and place it on the table to signify to the servant that he was returning. It is an inspirational little diddy that ends on a high note and seems to bring out a deeper meaning in this passage and so it has made the rounds for years. However, there is no evidence in historical accounts of the time that napkins were used or that this etiquette was employed. As wonderful as the story is and as much sense as it seems to make, we have nothing to prove it. So in the end, evidence points to this being a nice story someone made up that warms the heart, but I think the truth is better.

In reading this passage, we know that something deeper than what we notice at the onset has taken place because we see that the disciple who ran with Simon Peter (the one whom Messiah loved) saw the cloth there and believed. I think our mistake is in viewing this in light of our culture, that does have etiquette and customs with napkins and such. Instead, we need to examine the text and just sit here and think about it a minute.

The men came into the tomb and immediately looked to where the body would have been. They saw the linen cloths lying there. The face cloth was not with them but folded up off somewhere separate from them, by itself. Where were the cloths? Where the body would have been. They were not folded. They were laying there. The face cloth, though, was carefully folded. The text makes a point of telling us these two things so that we know that someone took great care to fold the face cloth but this same person apparently saw no need to fold or gather the linen that once wrapped the body.

Here is what myself and several scholars see when we read this: Yeshua’s body disappeared from the cloth wrapping Him, leaving that cloth still in the same arrangement and form it was in when it covered Him. When His body was removed, they simply collapsed in place, likely still showing the shape and form of His body, albeit now hollowed out and empty. He then folded the face cloth and set it aside.

This is also proof that the body was not stolen by thieves as, if it was, they would not have unwrapped it and surely would not have taken such care to arrange the face cloth.

Now, picture these pieces arranged in that fashion in His tomb. If you were to walk into the tomb and see this, having not believed before, you would be far more likely to believe on the spot, just as this disciple did. Keep this possibility in mind as we again go on to read of Messiah appearing insides houses in which we are explicitly told that the doors were locked as I think it offers further proof of this possibility.

John 20:16 Depending on the translation you’re reading, this verse points out that Mary cried out to the Messiah either in Aramaic or Hebrew. The two languages are very similar, sounding similar, sharing some words, and even appearing similar in written form (if you can read Hebrew, you can read some Aramaic). I’ve seen them referred to as sister languages. Most scholars believe Messiah’s primary language was one of these and there is evidence to support the idea that at least some of the gospels were originally written in one of these languages. Here is a short article to help you hop down that rabbit trail if you’d like. 

John 20:19 tells us that the doors were locked when Messiah appeared to them. In other words, He did not get into that house in a natural way but entered it in a supernatural way.

21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” John 20:21-23

Do not let the magnitude of this moment pass you by. Messiah just breathed the Holy Spirit into His disciples. Let’s park a minute on what He said after. If they forgive anyone’s sins, their sins would be forgiven in the spiritual realm. If they withheld forgiveness, likewise.

I want us to think about this a moment. What if the spiritual realm mirrored our forgiveness and grace? If we forgave someone, they would be forgiven there. If we showed grace to them here, they would receive grace there. Likewise, if we held a sin, grudge, or behavior against someone here, they would find that same held against them in the spiritual realm and if we refused to show grace to them here, they would find no grace there. Think about that a minute. Think about the people you’re angry at, ignoring, frustrated with, bitter towards. And now, imagine if this same bitterness, anger, hardheartedness, was held by someone towards you.

We have been shown so much Grace by the Father that it is a small thing to extend our grace to others. 

John 20:26 has another locked door verse to make note of. Both in this verse and in the previous locked door verse, Messiah begins by wishing His disciples peace. Now, please keep in mind that only days before the ruling government tortured and killed their Messiah before their very eyes. Society was against them, they were under tumultuous Roman rule, and things in the world were anything but peaceful. And yet, Messiah says “Peace be with you.” That statement was revolutionary. It was counter culture. It went against human logic. And yet it was true. They had Messiah – they were for Him. They were following the one true God. They had a divine opportunity to partake of peace amidst chaos. It is the same with us.

Join the rebellion – be at peace.

John 20:30 tells us that Messiah did many more miracles and signs than we are privy to. Only a select few are given to us in the gospels. I want to encourage you, though, not to go seeking out extra-biblical books which claim to tell of these other miracles as most of them will lead you decidedly away from the truth of YHWH’s Word. Those that I have seen even led folks to angel worship, and as we’ve said before, a true angel will not allow itself to be worshipped.

The start of John 21: So picture this, the disciples are out in a boat not far from shore. A man from shore (whom they don’t know) calls out and asks if they have any fish. They respond that they don’t and he tells them to try throwing their net over the right side of the boat. They do and immediately their net is so filled with fish that they can’t even pull it into the boat! Immediately recognizing that they know only one person who could perform such a miracle, one of the men cries out “It is the Messiah!” Simon Peter hears this and is so excited that he jumps into the sea! The word does not tell us but we see in the next set of verses that Simon Peter climbed back on board the boat once it reached shore and helped with the fish so no doubt he jumped in the sea and swam to Messiah in his excitement.

MAN! I can so relate! 

John 21:15-17 Messiah relays three times that He wants Simon Peter to feed His sheep, Tend to His sheep, and feed His sheep. His primary concern is that, in His physical absence, those representing Him continue to love and care for those who seek to follow Him. He doesn’t say “feed the sheep who look like you”, or “feed the sheep who were born where you were born”, or “feed the sheep who vote like you”, or “feed the sheep who go to the same church as you”, or “feed the sheep that you like”.

Daily, in working on these notes, I am left feeling that my words are in adequate but I am comforted by the knowledge that there exists no language and no skill of writing that could possible put into words the majesty of our God. The final statement in the book of John lets me know I am not alone in these feelings.

25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. John 21:25

Beautiful truth.

With that we complete another book.  Rak Chazak!

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!

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Christy Jordan
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