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 THE "ANATOMY" OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN!

THOSE WONDERFUL "SIGNS" OR "MIRACLES!"

"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:30-31

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 

LESSON 1, THE TURNING OF WATER INTO WINE:

There are at least seven of them. Some Bible teachers even say eight. That is, great miracles in the Gospel of John!

From one end of the Book to the other, each of these "signs," as John calls them, have one great goal!

And the Gospel tells us precisely about that purpose. "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:30-31

The first one, the first "sign," is easy to analyze.

We specifically know it's one of John's "signs" or "miracles" because he clearly says so!

"This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him." So says John 2:11.

That's the last verse in the "turning water into wine" episode!

It's Jesus' first miracle in John. Both observably so and by grammatical definition too. The noun "beginning" in Greek is "arche," the "origin" or "first" of a thing!

Also notice the result of said miracle, faith in Jesus! The Disciples "believed!" The verb "pisteuo" means "to be persuaded, to commit, to trust" to a person or thing. Surprisingly, the verb here is an aorist! That means the action is depicted as having occurred in the past and is finished! Literally we are being told that these early believers in Jesus, from the point of this miracle forward, have become Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. They got saved, in other words!

But, what about this particular miracle, "water into wine," is so specific about our salvation?

Watch carefully!

Although only 11 verses, this account is power-packed! It begins: "And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage." John 2:1-2

The miracle occurred on the "third day" according to verse 1. That number, three, usually pictures the Trinity. But here, in the Life of Jesus, it is a foreshadowing of the Day of His Resurrection! Again and again Jesus said they He would rise "the third day!" Point being this. No one can be saved apart from a Resurrected, Living Saviour! Dead men can't deliver or redeem or wash sins away!

They had depleted their supply of wine at this wedding feast! A marriage is a joyous occasion! Jesus Himself is going to another Wedding some day! The Marriage of the Lamb! He is the Groom! The Church is the Bride! Again, a picture of salvation! Not saved? Then you will not be at that Wedding Supper!

But, sadly, they had run out of wine! Wine typifies joy in the Scriptures! No joy! A wedding that is joy depleted! This is a picture of life without real meaning and purpose and delight! Life lost and without Christ! But Jesus brings such joy to a man or women ... when he or she gets saved! "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." John 16:24, full joy begins at salvation!

And during this miracle, in that conversation with Mary the Mother of Jesus, our Lord referred to "His Hour!" That's the very time of His Crucifixion on Calvary! How did that Event get into a record of a wedding celebration? God put it there! One can't be saved apart from the Blood of the Cross, the Blood of Jesus, the shed Blood of the Lamb of God!

Other pertinent facts include six waterpots of stone, empty as they can be! Empty and hard one might add! These symbolize lost souls! Six is man's number, lost mankind! One short of seven, God's perfect number of spiritual completion! Stone is hard, as is man's heart without Jesus! These stone containers are also empty, not fulfilling their original purpose! So are lost folks, void of Jesus the Saviour!

This miracle is a "sign." It points men and women to Jesus, telling them how to be saved!

The first step to joy is "water!" Jesus saith unto them, "Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim." That water pictures the "Word" of God! Ephesians 5:26 illustrates, calling the Bible a cleansing agent! "The washing of water by the Word," to be precise!

Cold empty pots!

No joy!

Jesus!

Willing servants!

Water!

Faith and obedience!

And, instantly, one has ... "water made wine!"

The "sign" happened instantly, miraculously, silently in this case! So is salvation! A miracle! Not a long drawn-out process! The very second one believes, he or she receives it, Eternal Life! "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24

Now, watch. The newly created wine is to be "circulated" through the room! Immediately it goes into service! Jesus commanded, "Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it." So are Christians to "circulate" throughout their world, witnessing and testifying to the power of God to change life, sinners into saints! "In" the world, but not "of" the world! Like a boat, it's supposed to be "in" the water! But now water "in" the boat is potentially deadly!

By the way, that bloody red liquid, the wine, is certainly a picture of Jesus' Blood too! That, and That Alone, washes away sin!

The Governor of the feast is impressed! Jesus' wine far surpasses any other! Again and again it was said of Jesus, "He hath done all things well." Mark 7:37

Soul salvation is perfect! It's can't be improved! And the longer I have it, the sweeter it becomes! Truly the "best" has been saved until the "last!" Better and better on earth, and Heaven awaits!

Here's the testimony of these wedding guests, "Thou hast kept the good wine until now." That was told to the Bridegroom, John 2:10.

All the way through ... a symbol of salvation!

I guess so!

Back to our opening verses, these miracles or signs were given so men might believe on Jesus! Yes! "These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:31

Oh! Let's go back to John 2:11 one more time, the last verse of today's Text. "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him." The noun "miracles" here is identical to the noun "signs" in John 20:31. Spelled "semeion," it means a "mark, token, sign, wonder or miracle!"

A sign, pointing sinners to Jesus!

Praise the Lord!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

Anyone today thankful that you are saved? Let Him, the One Who redeemed you, know that please! Such sincere gratitude gladdens His Heart!

 

 

LESSON 2, THE HEALING OF THE NOBLEMAN'S SON:

The second "miracle" or "sign" Jesus worked involved a sick little boy. John 4:46-54 records the details.

In the Bible "sickness" can be a picture of sin. Listen to Isaiah the Prophet preach to Israel. "Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment." Isaiah 1:5-6

Needless to say, by the time John's account is finished, the little boy is well! Jesus has healed him.

"So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee." John 4:46-54

All kinds of salvation "hints" are found here!

Remember, John specifically says that Jesus did these miracles so that people would believe in Him, believe unto salvation! "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:30-31

The Daddy has "heard" about Jesus! That's where faith, saving faith, begins! "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17

The man is a "nobleman," in Greek "basilikos," belonging to a King! Of Royal association! When it comes to salvation, Jesus is able to help the lowest of the social scale ... and the highest!

Here's a Daddy begging for his son! God honors the faith parents have toward their children. A child or young person must be saved individually. Mom's faith won't do it! But we do have this promise! "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Acts 16:31

But perhaps the most outstanding feature of this miracle is this, Jesus did not travel from Cana to Capernaum. He merely spoke the word, "Go thy way; thy son liveth." John 4:50

And the boy instantly and distantly was made well!

Jesus can work from afar!

It's a good thing, too!

Jesus was in Heaven when he saved me!

Quite a distance!

Furthermore, once the boy was healed, others believed in Jesus too! "So the father ... himself believed, and his whole house." John 4:53

One soul saved often leads to others being redeemed too!

And this whole account, this whole picture of salvation, just overflows with faith! The Daddy willingly dropped his demand for Jesus to come to Capernaum personally! Jesus stayed in Cana! Faith would have to suffice!

And the Father himself did not go home immediately either! He trusted the Lord to keep His Word! Watch the word I capitalize. "Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house."

The man could have easily made the journey home after Jesus had "healed" the boy! Cana to Capernaum is not that far! But he finished his business in town, returning only on the morrow, trusting Jesus to have kept His Promise!

Faith!

Saving Faith!

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

A beautiful little miracle!

An inspired "sign!"

Pointing people to Jesus!

The Saviour!

Yes, this specific miracle was written ... "that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."

It would be astounding today if someone was saved pondering the sick son made well, by the sheer Words of Jesus!

"Thy son liveth!"

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, THE HEALING OF THE LAME MAN AT THE POOL:

The third of John's great miracles or "signs" is found in chapter five. The Gospel of John that is. Sadly, it begins, "After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water."

Then the famous fourth verse, "For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had." This verse, some so-called experts say, is  not authentic. But I've noticed, it's still in my Bible! And that's where I'm going to leave it, intact! When a man or woman gets "smart" enough to decide what belongs "in" and "out" of the Bible, he or she is as smart as God! And he also, once caught adding or subtracting from Scripture, has placed himself under a curse! "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Revelation 22:18-18

Thank God for angels! We do not yet know all they do in the lives of God's children. We do know this. Speaking of angels, Hebrews 1:14 says, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" And this, Hebrews 13:2, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Furthermore, Paul hints that angels are observers at out Church meetings! "For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels."

But let me get back to the heart of today's miracle.

John 5:5, "And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years." Here's the man who pictures a lost soul, a poor sinner! Lame! Long time lame! Helpless!

Jesus, having come to the pool that day, took the initiative with the man. "When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me." Look at the question! Here's a combination of Divine Sovereignty and, of all things, human response!

Then it happened! "Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath." John 5:8-9 

For the third time in three miracles, Jesus did not "touch" anything or anyone! He just "spoke!" And the sheer Power of the Word of God brought salvation! Once mixed with genuine faith!

Jesus told him to do something he could not do! Or thought he couldn't, anyway! He had to exercise trust in Jesus in order to attempt standing! So is it with salvation!

The "bed" business suggests renewed activity, once Jesus has passed through one's life! Not a return to things as normal, useless and boring! "Walk," a command too, insinuates consistent faithful living! A proper outcome of soul salvation!

Then, also notice this. The man was healed, saved, on the Sabbath Day! What the Law could not do, Jesus did! Where Moses and Adam and everyone else miserably failed, Jesus gloriously succeeded!

Put it all together, a "composite" it's called, and you get a lovely picture of salvation!

By the way, "Bethesda" means "house of mercy." It's "five porches" also may be interpreted as a suggestion of God's amazing Grace! Grace often being typified by the number 5 in Scripture. 

More "shades" of salvation!

A three-word description of us, all these adjectives being from verse 3, combines misery like this: "blind, halt and withered!" Add "impotent" to the list, this time from verse 7, using "asthneo," meaning "without strength." That is, until Jesus came!

See the helplessness that must precede salvation! "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool." Only Jesus could be Saviour that Day! No one else cared!

Do too see how quickly the healing occurred. "And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath." John 5:9 depicts salvation happening the very second one believes! John 5:24 agrees! "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." Grammatically, the moment of belief is also the moment of salvation! Regeneration! Having been born-again!

And, again typical of a new Believer in Jesus, further instruction is needed! But, first of all, look where this man has gone! Newly saved, "Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." In the Temple! He went to Church! That's the right thing to do!

And at Church he was instructed even more, apparently gaining assurance of his salvation! "Behold, thou art made whole," said Jesus!

Then a sensitivity to sin. "Sin no more," always a good Sermon to hear at the Lord's House!

And a warning about the consequences of sin: "Lest a worse thing come unto thee."

Salvation, an act of God!

Praise His Name!

Dear Believing Reader here today, thank God that Jesus came where you were one day! And that you have been made whole! No one ever cared for us like Jesus!

If I were still lost, this account would made me want to get saved right now! It has served its true purpose, being one of the "signs" or "miracles" in John. "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:30-31

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, FEEDING THE MULTITUDES:

The Disciple John often does so, gives us his purpose for writing a Book of Scripture. Most prominently, in his Gospel: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:30-31

One of those "signs" is that of the "feeding of the multitudes." John 6 supplies us these details. "After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?"

The hungry crowds here picture mankind's great need yet today. No food, spiritually! No Bread! In other words, lost and without Christ Jesus!

Also note the wrong reason for which they followed Jesus! His "miracles," not His Person! Merely what they could get from Him!

The question to Philip insinuates that money will not be sufficient to solve the problem! Such a vast supply will be an act of God! A miracle indeed! And of course ... salvation is such a thing! Miraculous! Without cost! A Gift! All of Grace!

Andrew also makes an important observation. "There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?" The throngs are so great ... feeding them all is impossible!

Thank God, salvation is not only available, but abundantly so! Without limit! Whosoever will may come!

Soon Jesus will be preaching a sermon! Still in John 6, matter of fact. Talking about food, bread, building upon His miracle, Jesus adds, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:35-37

Then, later yet, in John 6:53-54, Jesus almost mystically declares: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." Obviously He is still illustrating Truth based upon this recent miracle, feeding the thousands, linking it to salvation!

Jesus saves!

Anyone "hungry" today?

Jesus is the Bread!

Anyone "confused" today?

Jesus is the Answer!

Anyone "penniless" today?

Jesus paid the Price, fully so, by His shed Blood!

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." This supportive verse is from the Gospel of Isaiah! Isaiah 55:1 to be exact.

By the way, this miracle is recorded by all four Gospel writers! Its importance is thereby emphasized.

But, can God really do that? Feed multitudes? The grumbling Jews, back in Psalm 78:19, learned: "Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?" They asked this, even though: "He had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, and had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels' food." Psalm 78:23-25

This miracle, loaves and fishes and hungry crowds now filled, is certainly the antitype to that of the Manna!

"And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:40 was preached the day the thousands ate plenty!

"Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." Still, John 6!

Maybe this is the "peak" of it all! "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life." John 6:47-48

Of all the Johannine miracles so far, just four of course, this one most fully points us to Jesus the Saviour!

Yes, it was written that men and women might "believe!"

Indeed!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, WALKING ON THE WATER:

Today's miracle from the Gospel of John is the least understood as one of John's "signs" of salvation. This wonder of our Lord involves His walking on the stormy waters of the Sea of Galilee. The New Testament calls Jesus' miracles just that, "wonders," three different times.

John succinctly records the event. "And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, and entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went." John 6:16-21

Just like the previous miracle, feeding the multitudes, this one is also mentioned by other Gospel writers! In fact, they are the only two of John's signs that are so widely emphasized. That fact alone "links" these two actions of our Lord!

For example, John simply has the Disciples going down to the sea, but Mark 6:46 explicitly tells us: "And straightway He constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people." Matthew 14:22 agrees: "And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away." Various emphases are given by both Matthew and Mark, though not Luke. For example it is here that Matthew has Peter walking on the water too, for a short while anyway! These variations are not interpretive problems, but simply the Holy Spirit's way of filling in the details and encouraging us to read the whole Story of Jesus, compositely!

To me this miracle is one of geography. Jesus walking on the water! Staying with John's account now, the miracle occurred at night. "And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea." The darkness well could picture our state as lost sinners. Darkness and sin and wickedness all around! We've all been there!

Next the Brethren "entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum." Again the destination is Capernaum, meaning "village of comfort!" It's a type of sinners seeking meaning and purpose and comfort and peace in life! Heading for utopia! Wealth! Retirement! Whatever!

But they are delayed, perhaps even prohibited, by the storms of life! Barriers and problems and reverses galore! "And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew." John 6:18 is right.

Mankind will never reach Heaven on his own! And Heaven is the true, yea the only Place of real Comfort! Look at the men rowing furiously, trying vainly to go somewhere! "So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs ...," in the storm mind you! Against the fierce winds! Truly, "The way of transgressors is hard," so says Proverbs 13:15.

Then, here comes Jesus! "They see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship." Jesus came to them, not vice versa! He is the Initiator of Salvation!

The Only Way to Heaven!

The Only Path to love and joy and peace and, yes, comfort!

But fear precedes peace in this situation! We're told, "And they were afraid." John 6:19 pictures old fashioned fear of God, Holy Ghost conviction! Realizing that death and destruction are the wages of sin!

Then comes the sheer Power of the Word of God! "It is I." The Greek here reads "Ego Eimi." Simply put, "I AM!" That's God's Old Testament Name! The One by Which He dispatched Moses to liberate the Israelites! The eternally present God, the self-existent One! The Same yesterday, today, and forever!

To be saved man or woman must learn who Jesus is! That fact must be revealed to him or her! Peter knew! "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Matthew 16:16

The Assurance of Jesus Presence dispelled all fear too! "But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid." The two facts are antithetic to each other! If one knows Jesus ... he knows no fear, no debilitating fear, no fear of man! John elsewhere tells us, "Perfect love casteth out fear." 1st John 4:18

But still, in the dark and in the storm and having rowed 'til exhausted and Jesus having come ... one thing remained! "Then they willingly received him into the ship." Jesus did not jump into the vessel! Nor force His way! He was "received" gladly! This is not a passive welcome either! Its active voice, "lambano," proves that! They eagerly took Jesus into the ship! By the time the Holy Spirit has fully convicted a man or woman of his or her sin ... the sinner will hungrily accept Jesus as Saviour, as the Bread of Life!

And the adverb "willingly" is a form of "thelo," desirous, even determined! With intention! They knew what they were doing!

Then John adds another miracle I think. An addendum! Maybe an appendix! "And immediately the ship was at the land whither they went." No other Text tells us this. Matthew relates: "Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret." Then Mark, "And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore."

Only John has it: "Immediately the ship was at the land whither they went." Because when a person is saved, he is as good as already in Heaven! She has already, immediately entered spiritual Capernaum, the place of comfort and joy and peace! "Immediately," this is Mark's favorite word, "straightway!" It's spelled "eutheos."

Salvation is a miracle!

The very second one believes, the Holy Spirit enter that individual's heart! And He, the Spirit, brings with Him ever increasing measures of "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness, faith, meekness, and also temperance." Qualities known as the fruit of the Holy Spirit according to Galatians 5:22-23.

Now that's living in Capernaum!

The very miracle I initially though least capable of illustrating salvation has proved me wrong! It's one of the clearest pictures yet!

After all, it's one of the "signs" in John's Gospel. And we know ... "These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:31

Praise the Lord!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, THE MAN BORN BLIND:

The miracle we are about to study is unique to John's Gospel. And it is beautiful too!

"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth." So begins John chapter nine. No doubt this blind man, blind from birth, is a picture of a lost sinner. Paul says the lost are blinded! "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." 2nd Corinthians 4:4

But by the time this chapter has ended, the blind man can see!

All because of Jesus!

Let's listen to Jesus. In fact, let's watch Him too! "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, which is by interpretation, Sent. He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing." John 9:5-7

The "spitting" surely is a "hint" that humility is one condition for salvation! The recipient must be humble enough to allow Jesus to "save" Him! He or she must repent! Only the lowly seek the Most High God! Not everyone would have allowed this Stranger to spit and touch those blinded eyes! No, the blind man could not have seen Jesus spit, but he could certainly have heard it happening, keenly so!

I suspect the water, the pool, symbolically has to do with what Paul calls "the water of the Word." Listen to James 1:21, "Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." The Word of God plays a part in any person's salvation! "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17

Folks in the city, Jerusalem, immediately noticed the familiar blind man, now seeing! Of course! They asked him how this came to be. Here is his response to the townspeople: "He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight." John 9:11

They took him to the Pharisees! An uproar was started by some of them who criticized Jesus for healing the man on the Sabbath. Subsequently, "They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet." John 9:17

Not yet satisfied, the hypocritical Pharisees could not drop the matter! Here comes a second round of questions! They actually called Jesus a "sinner!" Blasphemy!

But listen to the formerly blind man! "He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see."

The progression here is astounding!

He continues, unknowingly rebuking the Pharisees! "Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing." John 9:30-33

Now Jesus is "of God!"

Testifying for Jesus had its price in those days! "They, the Pharisees, answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out." He's just been excommunicated!

Jesus, ever ministering to His suffering followers, knows what's happened! "Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee." John 9:35-37

Now Jesus is "Lord!"

But then it happens!

Salvation, for sure!

"And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him." John 9:38

A miracle that definitely points to soul salvation!

The blind man, spiritually ignorant, first knew Jesus only as a man! "A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight." Verse 11

But next, Jesus is a prophet! "They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet." Verse 17

Then, soon, Jesus is Lord! "Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?" John 9:35-36

And, finally, Jesus is the Son of God! "And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him." Jesus is He, the Son of God! John 9:37-38

Do you see it?

Jesus was man, then prophet, then Lord, then God!

The man believed!

The man was saved!

Truly blindness was healed that day! Both physically and spiritually so! "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see!"

Seven times in John 9 the expression "eyes opened" appears!

Seven!

Have your eyes been opened dear friend?

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, LAZARUS RAISED FROM THE DEAD:

This seventh miracle may be the greatest of all! As John counts the miracles in his Gospel, Lazarus and his dire situation come next.

"Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha." John 11:1

Then soon, with Jesus and His disciples out of town, Lazarus dies. Our Lord, knowing all, reports to His followers: "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." Now "sleep" here in John 11:11 is Jesus' euphemism for death. However, just in case they didn't understand, John wrote: "Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. "

And by the time our Lord reaches Bethany Lazarus has been dead and buried for quite a while! "Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already." John 11:17

Lazarus is dead indeed!

A picture of a lost sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, he is impossibly dead! Others Jesus had raised from the dead, but always within a few hours of their passing. But never this long, decomposition has begun by now! "Jesus therefore cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days." John 11:38-39

That's also an apt description of us spiritually! Isaiah adds, "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment." This, Isaiah 1:5, describes Israel in her sin! Spiritually rotten!

Then Jesus "cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth." John 11:43 says a lot in a few words! There is no salvation apart from Jesus' Presence! Or His Power! Or His Voice!

Notice that our Lord calls "Lazarus" by name! He called my name too that day long ago, that day when he saved me! The name Lazarus means "whom God helps!" Jesus even knew Nathaniel while he was still under a "fig tree," before he was saved! See John 1:48. He called Paul, really Saul at that time, by name! On the Damascus road! "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Acts 9:4

Sinner friend, Jesus knows your name as well!

Back to John and Lazarus and Jesus, our Lord has just commanded Lazarus to "come forth!" Then, immediately, "He that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go." John 11:44

Saved, but still constrained by smelly old graveclothes!

And, as with every newly saved soul, there are some old rags that must be shed! Old habits, old friends sometimes, old ways of behavior! Former dens of iniquity! "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord." 2nd Corinthians 6:17

For this, shedding those defiled wrappings, Lazarus needed help! Thus, we see the great need for Christian brothers or sisters to be gathered around the new convert! To help him or her live for Jesus, both negatively and positively! What to quit! And what to begin!

Gloriously, John 11:45 adds: "Then many of the Jews which had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him." Often the salvation of one person leads to the salvation of another! "Word of mouth" is the preferred method of Gospel communication!

Yes, salvation is a miracle!

Oh, by the way, this all occurred at Bethany! And Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, "Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off." We learned that back in John 11:18. Why's that so important? Salvation always occurs near the Cross! Near the empty tomb of Jesus! Through the Power of the Gospel! And here is the Gospel, defined by the Holy Spirit through the pen of Paul the Apostle: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved ... unless ye have believed in vain. Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." 1st Corinthians 15:1-4

Dear reader here today, are you saved?

John was absolutely right! The "signs" or "miracles" Jesus worked in his Gospel point men and women to Calvary! "These signs are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:31

Just maybe, to someone under conviction this very minute, Acts 16:31 is now appropriate. Paul's words to the Philippian jailer, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Amen!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, THAT MIRACULOUS CATCH OF FISHES:

Here, this "eighth" miracle, I have hesitated.

But it too seems to point to Jesus as Saviour!

I realize that it is written after John 20:30-21, being recorded in John's last chapter, chapter 21. "And many other signs (miracles) truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:30-31

Let's examine our Lord's post-resurrection activity, John 21 style! "There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee." John 21:2-3 reveals some of Jesus' followers, fishing! Seven of them! Typologically, Biblically speaking, seven men fishing should trigger our interest! They could be a picture of our proper behavior after the Death and Burial and Resurrection of the Son of God! Except we are to be "fishers of men!" Soul-winners!

Of course, realize that I've just presented you quite a different view than is usually taught about this little fishing expedition!

Just one thing though, "They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing." Not a fruitful night!

Something's wrong!

Perhaps it's this! Peter is present, Thomas too! And Nathaniel along with James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Plus two unnamed men as well! But ... where is Jesus?

He is not listed, not named! No one spiritually can go "fishing" without His Presence, His Power, His Direction! Listen to Him in John 15:5, "Without me ye can do nothing."

But, wait, our Lord appears!

"But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus." Do we sense a lack of discernment here? John 21:4

Here's the solution to a "fishless" night! Listen to the Lord! He was a Carpenter, but He sure knew how to "fish" as well! "Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes." Verses 5 and 6 teach us valuable lessons about bringing men to Christ! The Lord can call me one of His "children," in Greek "paidion," anytime He chooses! I love it! Look at Jesus' main concern, "meat!" The noun is "prosphagion," a blending of the word ("pros") meaning "to, toward, or even face" and ("phago") the verb suggesting "to eat." Seeing folks get saved, that was Jesus' "meat!" His very life! And He knows where they are too, the "fish" literally and the "souls" spiritually! His leadership in Christian service is vital! Crucial! Furthermore, the disciples were unsure of success! They had none! But Jesus was positive, "Ye shall find." Then came the "multitudes" of fish! What a catch! The noun is "plethos," a whole "assembly, a bundle, a company!" Much fruit!

Then John knew! "Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord." John 21:7

After this, dispensationally speaking now, watch what happens! The Disciples go to shore! Go to Jesus! We shall too, after our "night" of earthly service! Some went to shore boisterously, Peter for example. Others merely rode the quiet boat to land, arriving peacefully! These are pictures of the saints dying and going "home!" John writes, "Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, for he was naked, and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship; for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits, dragging the net with fishes."

Bringing in the sheaves!

Then, notice, when they arrive .. a meal is waiting! A heavenly meal, prepared by Jesus! "As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine." John 21:9-12 records counting the fish, an analysis of our labors on earth. That's the Judgment Seat of Christ, folks! Then comes the meal, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! Then fellowship with Jesus, much fellowship!

Eternally with our Lord!

I've changed my mind! This Text certainly is a picture of souls being saved! Panoramically so!

Praise the Lord!

John has done it, with the help of the Holy Spirit!

A whole Book has been written, a Gospel nonetheless, that is filled with miracles, miracles that "point," that's what "signs" do, point to Jesus as Lord and Saviour!

One more time, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:30-31

Amen!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, JOHN 20:30-31, OUR TEXT:

Our Text, the one about Jesus' miracles in John's Gospel, has yet to be studied. It's true that we've briefly considered all seven, really eight, miracles or "signs" as the Beloved Disciple sometimes called them. But the precise words that truly "tie" them all together must be analyzed as well.

Here they are: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:30-31

The essence of this Passage hinges on its verbs, inspired Holy-Spirit chosen verbs too!

John first of all admits that he did not record all Jesus' miracles! Jesus "did" others too! "Many" others! Matthew and Mark and Luke record a number of them, especially Luke. That verb for "did," in Greek "poieo," means "to make, cause, accomplish or perform." But in this sense, as a beautiful work of purpose! As art, nearly! "Poieo" is the grammatical basis for some of our English words, especially words like "poem" and "poet" and "poetic!" Yes, Jesus' miracles should be on display! Admired! Discussed! Then, using that "word picture," the Gospel of John is an art gallery! And Jesus is The Artist! And His Handiwork is beautiful!

Then comes, I think, proof of the power of the Word of God! The verb translated "are written" is "grapho," but as a perfect participle. That "perfect" sense of timing means the action is "complete," but with this caveat, its impact and results are continuing! The Bible is a completed Book! Do not look for a new chapter one of these days! But even so, its power and truth and influence continue to this very day! It's eternal in its reach! It's still alive! Quick and powerful!

And now we must study a pronoun, "that." It tells us WHY John recorded these miracles as he did. "That" ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ! "Hina" here in Greek introduces a "purpose clause." In other words, "for this reason" these specific signs have been preserved ... so men and women might be saved! Might believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! Might be born again!

"Might believe," the verb "pisteuo" here being a subjunctive, is revealing a desire or wish or probability, but not a certainty! All men will not believe! Some will reject! But God is not willing that any perish! He has provided for the salvation of all who will "pisteuo," trust Jesus, lean on Him, commit to Him as Saviour and Redeemer!

Believe what?

Believe that Jesus, once His earthly Name but now His eternal name too, is the Christ, the Messiah, the very Son of God! "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Acts 16:31

Then the result of such belief, "life" through His Name! The verb associated with that life, "have," is "echo" and depicts present action. Once saved, a person can enjoy that life constantly! It's never ending! You "have" it unceasingly!

"Life" is "zoe" and means not merely biological life, cells and skin and hands and feet, "bios" in Greek ... but life as a conscious gift, life on the highest level! Real Life! Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10

The preposition "through" is spelled "en." It pictures us living "inside" Jesus! And reciprocally, Jesus living inside us too! In John 17:23 Jesus expressed it this way, talking to His Father about the saints of God: "I in them, and thou in me."

Salvation is not merely some theological assent, rather it's a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ the Son of God!

And those Johnannine miracles, Jesus' great "signs" in John's Gospel, point us to such a Saviour!

The Gospel of John is, in reality, a "tract!"

A Gospel tract!

Maybe a long Gospel tract, but a Word of Literature designed to bring men and women and young people to Jesus!

Hallelujah!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10, CONCLUSION:

Recently I heard a Preacher compare the seven, really eight, miracles of John's Gospel in a very interesting way. This particular type of analysis is patterned after a technique called "introversion." In such an arrangement miracle number 8 would be comparable to miracle number 1! Then miracles 7 and 2 would share similarities. Next,  6 and 3. Then, of course, 5 and 4 would show kinship.

They would "link" like this: 1/8, 2/7, 3/6 and finally, 4/5.

Let me reemphasize. If this is the pattern the Holy Spirit followed in writing John's Gospel, each "pair" of these miracles, introverted as they are, would "match" in some distinct way.

Now, Let's see if that's the case!

Both miracles 1 (water into wine) and 8 (miraculous catch of fishes) use the same verb about Jesus. He was "manifested" therein! Here's John 2:11, "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him." Then comes John 21:14, "This is now the third time that Jesus SHOWED himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead." Both capitalized verbs are renderings of "phaneroo." Both "reveal" Jesus in a glorious manner! Then in miracle 1 they had no wine, no drink! In miracle 8 they had no fish, no food! See? Ultimately though, by Jesus' Power, in miracle 1 there suddenly was an overabundance of wine, 6 waterpots full! They were specifically numbered! And in miracle number 8 there was an overabundance of fish, 153! Also numbered in the Text! Salvation illustrates God's plethora of Grace, abundant provision!

Now let's consider miracles 2 (healing the nobleman's son) and 7 (Lazarus raised from the dead), looking for any correlation between them. Both deal with death! The lad was at the point of death and Lazarus absolutely died! In both miracles Jesus' Presence was requested. The nobleman, "When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death." And Mary and Martha were actually offended that Jesus did not come immediately! "Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." John 4:47 and John 11:21! Then both miracles count past time specifically, heightening the intensity of the said events! "Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth." Amen! And, "Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already." Then finally, both miracles are followed by the salvation of lost souls! The nobleman himself got saved! "So the father ... himself believed, and his whole house." Then John 11 again, "Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him." John 11:45

Next, miracles 3 (the impotent man at Bethesda) and 6 (the man born blind) should "balance" quite well. Both are saturated with helplessness! An impotent man and a man blind from birth! Outcasts! In both miracles Jesus is the Initiator! He begins the dialogue! Yet in the previous set, miracles 2 and 7, both times, Jesus was the Sought One! Amazing! Both the Bethesda pool and the holy Temple were in Jerusalem! Both involved a pool in some way! "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool," records John 5:7. And then with the blind man, "Jesus spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam." John 9:6-7! Then both miracles occurred on a Sabbath Day! Compare John 5:9 and 9:14.

This is beginning to be thrilling!

Finally, miracles 4 (feeding the 5,000) and 5 (walking on the sea) will be studied briefly. These are the "central" signs, and are the only two recorded by the other Gospel writers! Both miracles are prefaced by Jesus being on a mountain! Here are John 6:3 and 15. "And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples." Then He fed the multitudes! And "When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone." After which Jesus prayed, descended and walked on the stormy sea! And, in reality, both miracles are indirectly followed by a word of testimony! Peter in John 6:68-69. "Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." And Nicodemus in John 7:50, "Nicodemus saith unto them, he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them, Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?"

There's just too much here to be coincidental!

Signs they are!

Glorifying Jesus!

In a multifaceted manner!

No wonder John concluded, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." John 21:25, the very last verse of the Gospel!

Surely we all agree!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

THE BIBLE HAS 1,189 CHAPTERS CONTAINING 31,102 VERSES! WHAT A PRECIOUS BOOK WE HAVE TO STUDY! A LIVING BOOK, ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT ERROR! PRAISE THE LORD!

 

 

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