Follow Jesus Not Religion
Which Jesus do you follow? The Jesus of the Bible or a Jesus of your own imagination? Jesus wanted to help open the eyes of the people, but they could not see because their idea of what a Messiah would do or what He should look like did not match up with their own view or religion. Follow Jesus—Not Religion.
Bible Reading of the Day: John 5-6
Jesus wanted to help open the eyes of the people, but they could not see because their idea of what a Messiah would do or what He should look like did not match up with their own view or religion. Don’t follow religion. Follow Jesus.
Overview of Today’s Reading
In John 5 we see Jesus’ third miracle and Jesus teaching about His relationship with the Father, about life and judgment and His testimony and witnesses about Himself. Jesus is laying a case to help people believe. Much like a court of law, there is the burden of proof and Jesus tries to help the people see.
Follow Jesus Not Religion—Jesus is Our Healer
In John 6 there is the fourth and fifth sign or miracle, and then reveals Himself as the Bread of Life.
We open up today’s reading with Jesus’ third sign or miracle, healing a man who had been disabled for 38 years. The man was near the pool called Bethesda which was well-known and the site of which can still be visited today. People believed that the water there had the power to cure people.
But while many disabled were in the pool and the man could not get into the pool, it was a word from Jesus that healed him.
Follow Jesus Not Religion—Not Rules
The Jewish leaders were angry at this healing because the man was carrying his mat on the Sabbath. Though they said this was against God’s law, it wasn’t. God had told the Jews that they must not work on the Sabbath. It was a special, holy day (Exodus 20:8-10). But the Jewish leaders added many extra rules about the Sabbath. These rules explained what ‘work’ meant. Evidently carrying a mat meant work to them.
Because of this, persecution began for Jesus as it says in John 5:16, “Therefore, the Jews began persecuting Jesus because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.”
And more than that, the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus because of His testimony of being God’s son as it says in John 5:17-18, “17 Jesus responded to them, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.” 18 This is why the Jews began trying all the more to kill him: Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God.”
We learn from this Don’t follow religion. Follow Jesus.
Follow Jesus Not Religion—Jesus is the Judge
Jesus explains to us Who He is—the Son of God—and the Son of Man—and explains that God has made Jesus the judge.
John 5:22 “The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all people may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”
And in John 5:27, “And he has granted him the right to pass judgment, because he is the Son of Man.”
Notice that Jesus has this recurring phrase, “Truly I tell you” This appears in John 5:19, 24 and 25 and in several places in John 6, as well.
“At various times in the gospels, Jesus introduces a statement using phrases such as “Verily, I say” or “Truly, I say this to you.” In the Gospel of John, Jesus frequently uses the phrase “Truly, truly” (ESV) or “Verily, verily” (KJV) or “Very truly” (NIV). These expressions all use the Greek word amēn, taken directly from the Hebrew word āˈmēn. This word has different implications depending on how and where it is used. Jesus’ application of the term is noticeably different from prior uses.”
“In modern use, the word amen is typically used at the end of a prayer. It may also be spoken to show agreement with some statement or idea. This is slightly different from, but closely related to, the original use of the term as seen in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word āˈmēn literally means “so be it.” The term is an expression of complete and total agreement. In passages such as 1 Chronicles 16:36 or Deuteronomy 27:15–26, this is how the term is used. Placing the word amen at the end of a statement is a way of accepting, agreeing, or endorsing what came before.”
“Jesus, however, was fond of saying, “Amen,” before making a statement or giving a message. When used in this way, the word amen has slightly different implications. Leading off with amen not only implies that what follows is true but also that the person making the statement has firsthand knowledge and authority about it. Saying, “Verily, verily,” before making a statement is a strong claim to truth, presented from an almost audacious attitude. Speaking on worldly or secular matters, saying, “Verily, verily,” would imply that what follows is that person’s own original idea.”
“So, when Jesus leads off with the words verily, verily in verses such as Matthew 18:3, Mark 3:28, Luke 23:43, and John 8:51, He is not merely saying, “Believe me, this is true.” He is actually saying, “I know this is true firsthand.” Since many of these comments are on heavenly, spiritual, or godly issues, Jesus’ use of verily, verily is part of His consistent claim of divinity. Jesus is not merely aware of these truths: He is the One who originated them!”
“The disciples and others listening to Jesus’ words would have understood His use of these phrases in exactly that way. So, when we read Jesus’ words and see statements beginning with “verily,” “truly,” or some variation, we should recall the deeper meaning. Those claims are not only Jesus’ opinion on the truth. Those are ideas about which He has intimate, personal, firsthand knowledge.”
Jesus had authority and His authority convicted others. Jesus used His authority to try to open their eyes and ears so they could understand. He provided a backdrop of those who were witnesses to Him.
Scripture of the Day: John 5:38-44
38 “And you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you. 39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.
41 “Your approval means nothing to me, 42 because I know you don’t have God’s love within you. 43 For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. 44 No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.
It is not just knowing or reading the Scriptures that leads to eternal life. We have to come to a point of belief. The Pharisees missed it. The work of God is to believe.
John 6:29 Jesus replied, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the one he has sent.” 30 “What sign, then, are you going to do so that we may see and believe you?” they asked. “What are you going to perform? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” 32 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Easy English Bible Commentary
Verses 60-66 Jesus’ speech in the *synagogue was difficult to understand. But it was difficult also for his *Jewish audience to accept as the truth. Jesus was saying that he had come down from heaven. And he was saying that he would return there again. Also, he was saying that people had to eat his *flesh. And they had to drink his blood. This idea would have upset them very much.
But Jesus did not argue with them. Instead, he tried to explain that his words had a *spiritual meaning, not a physical meaning. People need the help of the *Holy Spirit in order to understand that they need God’s *life. It is the *Father who makes them come to Jesus. They can receive that *life only by means of the same *Spirit. Jesus’ words were from the *Spirit.
- Don’t follow religion. Follow Jesus.
- The work that remains is that we believe.
- When we don’t understand what Jesus or God’s word means, we can ask the Holy Spirit.
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan
Day 209: John 5-6
Scripture of the Day: John 5:39-44
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