7:1-35 - ‘When he heard of Jesus…’ (3): ‘Faith comes from hearing…’. Tell people of Jesus: ‘How can they believe in Him if they have not heard His message? How can they hear if no one tells the Good News?’ (Romans 10:17,14). ‘God has visited His people!’ (16): ‘Raised from the dead’ – Pray for a real ‘quickening’ as the ‘God, who is rich in mercy’, pours out ‘His great love’ upon us (Ephesians 2:4-6). John was looking for the One who was ‘to come’ (19). What a great thing it is when Christ comes among us. Do we take His presence for granted? Do not presume on God’s blessing: ‘Blessed are the eyes which see what you see!… many… desired to see what you see and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it’ (10:23-24). Do we care about God’s blessing? – If we don’t, we may lose it!
7:36-8:21 - Jesus does not come to us because we are good. He comes to us because He forgives sins. The woman came to Jesus and received forgiveness. The Pharisee, though steeped in religion, remained unforgiven (47-50). Don’t be like the Pharisee. Don’t look down your nose at the ordinary people who mean so much to the Lord. ‘Some women…’: Much of God’s work is being upheld by faithful women who, by their praying, giving and working, are ‘ministering to Him’ (1-3). We read Jesus’ parables (4-18), and we learn. Let us read ‘the book of everyday life’, and learn what the Lord is saying to us concerning Himself. Let us learn from everyday life, always with this goal: Hearing the Word of God and doing it (21).
8:22-56 - ‘Where is your faith?’ (25). The Lord is not looking for lip-service. He is looking for real faith. Some beg Jesus ‘to depart from them’ (37). They don’t want to know! Others long to ‘be with Him’ (38). They don’t want to go! Some have no interest in worship. They don’t really want to get to know Jesus. Others love to ‘worship’, but they are so slow to witness. They need to hear Jesus’ words – ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you’ (39). Real faith worships. Real faith witnesses. We need both – Worship and Witness. Some – ‘the multitudes’ (45) – touch Jesus superficially. They are interested – when everything seems exciting! They touch Jesus religiously. They do not touch Him by faith. Where is the ‘power’, the resurrection power (46,54)? Without faith, there is no power!
9:1-27 - It was a short mission (1-6) – short but important! They were being trained for future work. There and then, people were hearing the Gospel, believing in Christ and being saved. There was opposition (7-9): There’s always plenty of that – ‘We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us’ (Romans 8:37). There is physical need. There is also spiritual need – ‘Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life’ (10-17; John 6:27). In verses 18-27, we learn (a) Who Jesus is: ‘the Christ of God’ (20). (b) What Jesus has done for us: His death and resurrection (22). (c) What Jesus calls us to be: His followers (23). May God give us grace to follow ‘the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us’ (Galatians 2:20). We follow Christ, looking for ‘the Kingdom of God’ (27).
9:28-62 - The ‘glory’ of Christ (32) – ‘Before the world was made’, He shared the Father’s glory. Through the Cross – ‘His departure…’(31) – , Christ, ‘the Lamb that was slain’ for sinners, has fulfilled God’s eternal purpose of salvation (John 17:4-5; Revelation 13:8). We are to ‘look’ to the Lamb of God. We are to ‘listen’ to God’s beloved Son. If we do not look and listen, we will not learn. To those who refuse to look, listen and learn, God issues His Word of warning: ‘See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking’ (Hebrews 12:25). We must confess our spiritual poverty, our lack of power (37-42), understanding (43-45), humility (46-48), unity (49-50) and love (51-56). Looking to Christ who ‘set His face to go to Jerusalem’ and refusing to ‘look back’, we must choose to be ‘good soldiers of Jesus Christ’ (51,62: 2 Timothy 2:3-4).
10:1-37 - Christ’s message – ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’ (9) – calls for our response – hearing with faith or rejecting in unbelief (16). Where does this response of faith come from? – From God: He reveals Himself to us (21). Questions: Why do we ask them? – ‘to put Jesus to the test’ (25), ‘to justify ourselves’ (29)? You cannot come to Christ until you stop trying to justify yourself – Are you trying to test Him or learning to trust Him? (a) What shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ (25): The law cannot save. It can only show us our need of the One who does save – Jesus (Romans 8:3-4). (b) ‘Who is my neighbour?’ (29): ‘Passing by on the other side’ (31-32) – This is not love. It’s nothing like the love of God for ‘sinners’ (Romans 5:8). Jesus loves you. Let Him save you. Let His love change you.
10:38-11:28 - Mary was ‘listening to the Lord’ (39). Martha was ‘distracted’ (40). ‘One thing is needful’ (42): Don’t let anything distract you from this – Getting alone with God. More than anything else, Jesus wants to ‘teach us to pray’ (1). The greatest gift that God gives – in answer to prayer – is the Holy Spirit (13). We are to ‘pray at all times in the Spirit’, relying completely on the Spirit to teach us to pray (Ephesians 6:18). Pray that you will be ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 4:31). As you pray, let the Spirit be your Helper (Romans 8:26). ‘Some’ are so critical: Negative thinkers, they ‘point the finger’ at everything (15). ‘Others’ are never satisfied: They’ve made complaining a way of life (16). Let’s rise above all this: ‘Blessed… are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!’ (28).
11:29-54 - Christ is ‘greater than Jonah’ (32). Jonah was preserved alive (Jonah 1:17-2:10). Christ ‘died… was buried’ and ‘was raised’ (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Through His resurrection, He has been ‘declared with power to be the Son of God’ (Romans 1:4). We are not to be secret disciples (33): ‘Believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord’ (Romans 10:9). Guard against ‘the lust of the eyes’ (34; 1 John 2:16; Genesis 3:6; 13:10-11; 19:26; Joshua 7:20-21; 2 Samuel 11:2-5). The Pharisees were ‘fools’ (40). Clean on the outside but not in their hearts, they ‘loved the best seat in the synagogues’ but they were spiritually dead – ‘like graves’ (39,43-44). Their true nature is seen in their reaction to Christ (53-54): Don’t be a ‘fool’! Don’t be a ‘Pharisee’!