John 14:1-14 and the Second coming! PV

How would you express the importance of our connectivity to Christ to produce faith and fruit? How can you do this more even in times of harassment and/or doubt?

Now, let’s look at some of the key words in this passage. Remember, Biblical Eschatology has more to do with our faith ecology than misguided theories!

“Do whatever you ask.” Meaning to identity with His purpose, plan, and call. The call here is to expand one’s faith and thinking so Christ is all and working in and through us. In Jewish teachings, God provided a call to His pious people and provided for all who serve God because of the intimate relationship they and we have. But this is always in context to God’s will and providence and never an excuse for us to abuse or some kind of magic formula for success (Luke 11:1-13; John 15:16; 1 John 5:14).

Name” Refers to expressing the consistent name of God with reverence in prayer without uttering His Holy Name Yahweh, to seek His glory and not one’s own. For a person, it means to defend the honor and give respect to that person as you represent them and as you pass on their traditions. This also means to address them in person and when away from them, continue with respect and reverence and act accordingly to their authority.

Here, it is the same to Christ to honor Him and act in accordance to His call and commands, because we reflect His reputation. In contrast, the pagans used the names of their gods to manipulate them to get what they wanted for their own desires and power and control which was considered the utmost of wickedness, because only God is to be in control and honored (Ex. 5:23; Deut. 18:5-7, 19-22; 1 Kings 18:24-32; 2 Kings 2:24; Psalm 9:2; 18:49; 118:10-11; Prov. 18:10; Jer. 14:14-15; John 2:23).

Glory to the Father.” Meaning what we do in prayer echoes into eternity. To praise God for all He is doing and can do in my life. To be conformed to His likeness, to perceive before we receive. The key to a successful Christian life, ministry, and church is prayer. There is no way around it (Psalm 2:7; John 12:41; Philip. 2:11).

I will do it.” This is perhaps one of the most abused passages in the Bible; taken out of context, it is to satisfy one’s lust for power and control.

What does it mean to you what Christ wants us to do with the preparedness of His Second Coming?

What does it mean to you to Trust in God? How do you respond when someone says, do not be afraid or troubled?

What do you need more of to be comforted and empowered in Him?

What do you need to do to have peace and contentment, even when your situation does not offer or have it?

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John 14:1-14 and the Second coming! PIV

What is the point of  John 14 and the Second coming? We are to be prepared by our faith not by our wayward theories!

“I am the way and the truth and the life!”

Meaning Jesus is the way to the Father. Jesus is exclusive, the only living Temple, Beacon, and Gate to God! The “way” in the Hebrew writings, refers to the pursuit of righteousness as one journeys through the wilderness of the tough times of waiting and confusion-even suffering. It is a beacon and we are to focus on Christ.

Truth in this context means He fulfills the Law and teachings of the Old Testament. Life means there is no existence without Him and there is no salvation without His atonement, redemption, and grace. Christians were first called “the Way” (Ex. 16:33; Lev. 10:2; 16; Num. 17:5; Matt. 7:14; John 1:1-4, 14; 3:16-18; 5:26, 33; 11:25-26; 18:37; Acts 4:12; 9:2; 19:9, 23; Rom. 10:14-15; Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 10:19-20;1 John 5:12).

This question is far more important to our spiritual formation than any the ones of the false teacher crowd or the prideful teacher bergade:

How do you feel about your personal Christianity and that God will completely and thoroughly accomplish and achieve His purpose throughout the universe?

No one comes.” There is only one True God and only One right way and Jesus is that Only way and path to God, Heaven, and real righteousness!

Philip asked an impossible act, an appearance that even Moses was not allowed to see. This would have been a ridiculous question for a Jew to ask on one hand and yet a beginning to a statement of faith that Philip did not quite understand, but was starting to realize-that Jesus is God (Ex. 24:10; 33:18; Isa. 6:1; Ezek. 1:26-28; John 1:18; 14:21-22).

“I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me.” This is a dynamic and dramatic expression of the Divinity of Jesus, that there is One True God, yet distinct personalities, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each sharing the same mutual, united, reciprocal indwelling essence. This is also an emphatic  statement for the Trinity, for the Whole of Godhood expressed in this one passage (John 10:38; 17:21; 2 Cor. 13:14).

Faith in me.” This is not just knowledge of God, rather an intimate connection that He first offers to use unity with us in His work for our redemption. All the blessings and wonder that we have and can have are locked up in Christ and He gives us the key of faith turned by our faith, commitment, and obedience.

“Greater things” or “works.” Works here do not mean miracles; rather, this refers to righteous deeds and a greater number of them in amounts, cultures, and regions of people transformed.

Consider that Jesus was limited to Palestine as he walked this earth; we have had the whole world to go at with the full force of the Church for many centuries, over twenty thus far. Thus, when Jesus went to the Father and sent us the Holy Spirit, the work began at Pentecost. This “works” (Greek ergon) does not mean miracles like signs and wonders, that is a different word rendering; rather, here it is a call that the Disciples through us today will have a greater Kingdom impact and expansion than when Jesus walked the earth.

How and why?

Mainly because Christ work is multiplied through His Disciples and then their Disciples and so on. Also, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the exponential increase of followers and opportunities are included (1 Kings 17:22; Matt. 28:18-19; John 2:11; 5:17; 7:21, 39; 8:39; 10:32; 14:16-17, 26; 15:13, 26; 16:7; 19:30; Acts 1-2).

John 14:1-14 and the Second coming! PIII

Is there an immanency in this passage? A rapture here?

A paraphrase, Then Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father, still not quite getting it. Jesus responds, you do not know Who I am after all this time? If you have seen Me, then you have seen the Father! So, why do you ask? I am in the Father and the Father is in Me and lives and works through Me. All you have to do is believe in Me because I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. The Truth is, anyone who believes in Me will carry on my work and even on a greater scale because I will be with the Father helping you. You can ask anything of me in my Name and I will provide for you in this great work; ask in my name for radical faith and I will give it!

What is going on? Jesus not only reveals to us the Father, He takes us to the Father. In this way, Jesus comforts, encourages, admonishes, and coaches while He gives testimony to His role and the events of His upcoming Passion.

So what does “Take you” mean? Here it is referring that Jesus is our only way, He is taking us to the Father in a personal impacting and transforming relationship! He is the gate and stairway to Heaven; there is no other way to God except through Him.
“Take you” is about Who and what Jesus did and does, the resurrection of the dead that leads to a new life, our life after death that Jesus is able to provide by His death and resurrection.

This can also refer to the Second Coming or the new age of the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. It has nothing to do with a so called ‘rapture!’ Look at the word meanings, the context….

But, moreover, more importantly, this is about Jesus as our Rescuer and Redeemer; He took on our human nature but without our sinfulness, and remained pure to pay the debt for our sins.

In the process, His human nature voluntarily became lower than the angels, but as Fully God He is superior to them in essence, power, purpose, and distinction (Rom. 1:4; Heb. 1:1-4; 2: 7, 14-15).

Let’s look at the next key word for context, Know the way…to Who He is and where He went so we know where we are to go. In simpler terms, we need to ask what would Jesus have me do and then do it.

What does this mean? By knowing Christ and His Word we can know Truth and the path of God’s will that we are to follow. This is what we do on earth that echoes into eternity where we receive our rewards. We do this by Christ alone by faith alone. No other aspect of what we can do such as “works,” can give us merit; rather, our salvation is the result of His working in us (John 1:23; Rom. 1:16; 10:4-17; James 2:14-26).

This passage has been greatly abused by many so-called pastors who read it out of context and inserted their own feelings as truth. This is not about a rapture or a guarantee or a give to get scheme or a get because you believe. Rather, this is an invitation to radical faith.

We often get more than we want and have more than we need and do better in His will than ours. We are limited in thinking and power and He is not. God is not promoting Himself as a vending machine or a flying trip. Rather, He is saying we can trust in Him totally and completely with all we have now and for our future.

What is more relevant and important which is usually not taught in this passage? The perpetration of our spiritual formation. Because, He is not just preparing a place for us in eternity, He is preparing us for eternity too! What we go through is not just about sin in an unfair world, it is the building up of faith and being that display a beacon to a dimly lit world that needs His Light. Isn’t that far more important than arguing dates, strategies and raptures?

John 14:1-14 and the Second coming! PII

Is there an immanency in this passage? Yes, one that demands our faith development and deployment!

How would a glimpse of what Heaven will be like give you hope? What else gives you hope?

This passage starts what is called Jesus’ “Farewell Discourse” where He gives His most passionate and important instructions to His Disciples and us. Here, Jesus is not consumed with His own coming agony, but rather turns His attention to His Disciples and their needs.

Let look at a key word about Heaven, Father’s house. This words means that Heaven where God’s presence dwells with us, as opposed to Hell where God’s presence is absent. This is our ultimate future hope and residence, our future reward and our current motivation to pursue righteousness. Classically in Judaism, this meant the Temple, God’s dwelling on earth, where God dwelt amongst His people. Here, this refers to our heavenly dwelling place that God prepares for us that no mere human words could ever describe (Ezek. 43:7-9; 44:9-16; 48:11, 35; Luke 16:9; John 8:35; 14:28; Acts 1:10-11; Rom. 5:2; 1 Cor. 15:16-19; Heb. 7:25; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 1 John 2:1).

Now let’s look what is waiting for us, Many rooms / mansions. Meaning to dwell and remain in God. This is figurative language because this “non-corporeal” (not a normal flesh and blood human existence) or metaphysical wonder can’t be explained in human language. In addition, “small” does not mean “limiting” here. This is also a fulfillment of the celebration of the “Feast of Booths” that acted in converse to God dwelling in the Temple as people lived in tents to dwell with God (John 2:21; 14:16-23; 15:1-7; 1 Cor. 2:9; 4:5; Col. 3:18-4-1; Rev. 22:12).

And what is He doing? Prepare a place.  Jesus is preparing for us, those He chooses, an eternal home; Heaven.

This is not just a residence; rather proof that God will completely and thoroughly accomplish and achieve His purpose throughout the universe. He will bring all things to fruition. He brings peace and a future to those in Him. Thus, God will achieve His purpose; we will inherit His wonders and blessings and we will have no ties to the old nature of sin and evil. Jesus is not just preparing a place for us in Heaven; He is preparing us by our journey of faith in the here and now too (Isa. 42:9; 48:6; 51:15-16; 65:17-25; 66:22; 1 Cor. 15:35-57; Rev. 7:9; 21:1-8)!

What is this all about? What is waiting for being in Christ and exercising our faithfulness!

This is the greatest carrot on a stick for us, Heaven, is that inheritance God is promising us beyond our scope of understanding. How incredibly wondrous this must be; our place and security is in Heaven to come and our joy can then be declared and lived out. This is also what we receive, our reward for all that we have done and endured for Christ and His children and the opportunities He gave us. This is what we look forward to, our dwelling with Christ, and what can also motivate us in the here and now.

Did you know that Jesus is not just preparing a place for you in Heaven; He is preparing you first by your journey of faith now too? How can this help you overcome fears and doubts?

John 14:1-14 and the Second Coming! PI

Do you have the ultimate hope and assurance that you are not made for this world, that your true home is heaven? How do you feel about this?

Read the passage and do not read into it what you want; rather just read it. Now look what is going on. First off the point of this passage is simple, it is as what it says, Jesus is the Only Way!”

The context is that Jesus is facing betrayal. He warns them not only of His impending death, but also of the trials they will face in building the Kingdom. He shows us that He is the way, the role of the Holy Spirit, the importance of our connectivity to Him to produce faith and fruit, and that even in persecution, we will always be comforted as we remain in Him He turns to His Disciples to comfort them and says; do not be afraid or troubled! Trust in God; trust in Me. He then gives them a picture of hope by showing them a glimpse of what Heaven will be like (John 14:1-16:33)..

A paraphrase, In Heaven there will be many rooms in My Father’s Home, one made up especially for each of you! I will prepare it personally and at the right time, I will come and get you and you will always be with Me. You will know all about it and how to get there. But, Thomas jumps in and says no Lord; we do not know how or where to go! Jesus comforts him with this startling revelation,

I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am the Life! No one can come to the Father except through Me!

Jesus wants to get our attention of what is important, to not be afraid. “Do not fear!” This was often a response of an Angel to those who were awe struck and also one that God gave His Prophets when they were in dire times.

He tells us to not let our Hearts be troubled. The significance of this is to not fear or fret, but have a transcending peace and contentment even when the situation does not offer or give it. This is a depiction of the supreme comfort that we get from our Lord in a world filled with sin-bad choices surrounded by treachery, deceit, failures, and sacrifice.

And the primary point of all this that is often missed? To Trust as in to believe in God. This is a call to a personal relationship-unity with conviction with Christ, and it is a command to step up to faith, our response to the call of God with trust in Him through times of danger and fear. This is a depiction of a righteous person’s proper dependence upon Jesus as He is exemplified.

Jesus is our Sanctuary; He is the Eternal God on whom we can rely and not only give our life to, but also live our life for (2 Sam. 2:3; Isa. 8:17; 28:16; Psalm 118:22; Isa. 8:14-18; 28:16; John 13:36; Heb. 2:13)

What do you lack to have more wholehearted commitment to faith? What gets in your way of follow-through and obedience?

The Parable of the Ten Virgins PII

Matthew 25: 1- 13

How does laziness insult God? How does it keep you from succeeding in life and in your faith? 

The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’  Matthew 25: 5- 6 

Behold the bridegroom.” The groom’s whereabouts were often heralded to the waiting guests by announcers. As “grooms” were often late in that culture, something they should have known and been prepared for. When was the last time you went to a Wedding that started on time?  

Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. Matthew 25: 7

They should have known as we should know. “Grooms” were often late in that culture, something they should have known and been prepared for. When was the last time you went to a Wedding that started on time?  

Behold the bridegroom.” The groom’s whereabouts were often heralded to the waiting guests by announcers. 

The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.Matthew 25: 8 

Give us. They probably kept the torches burning slightly to be ready; it was difficult to relight them in an era before matches. Extra oil was necessary!  

For the Church, the oil can represent the Holy Spirit. As the virgins received their conviction, what their duty and responsibilities were, only half of them responded wisely.  

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Matthew 25: 9-10

There was no place to buy oil at night; they would have had to wake someone up or borrow. As, the door was shut. Most homes were in a courtyard where a main door closed it off to the rest of the community for safety; it also served to corral the animals, thus shutting out visitors and those who were late.  

Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ Matthew 25: 11 

Lord, Lord, as in master, master (not God). To us, it refers to the analogy of God shutting Himself off to converts after it is too late for them—after they die, or after Christ comes back!

But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Matthew 25: 12

Then the frightful response, I do not know you. Their neglect cost them the wedding and precious opportunities. They were responsible for the most crucial aspect of the Jewish wedding ceremony, escorting the bride into the groom’s home to consummate the marriage. They insulted the host, neglected the bride, offended the groom, dismantled their reputation in their community and forsook opportunity in favor of laziness. Therefore, they were not admitted to the feast, and they probably did not meet their future grooms. (Marriages were prearranged; going to a wedding was a way to get to know their potential groom and his family as a part of courtship.)They most definitely offended any potential in-laws!

The foolish succumbed to the fate that they set in motion. They will be judged and removed from the wise. The wasteful and fearful will be separated from those who love and trust in Christ (Matt. 25:31-46). 

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Matthew 25: 13

Keep watch. This is the main point of the parable. To be ready is to be prepared for a long delay, as Christ may return tomorrow or in another two thousand years. His timing is to help our faith development and preparedness. The day or the hour—the parousia, meaning, the coming of Christ (Matt. 16:27; John 14:2-3)! 

The main point? Are you ready for His coming? What stops you from being prepared? For us, it means to obey by keeping our minds on Christ as Lord—always! When our minds are on Him, we are ready for anything, even His return! Professing your faith is only as real as you make it, because it can be faked!  

What is this not about? No. This was not about not sharing; if they did share, they probably would not have had enough oil for any of the touches later on for the groom; thus, no procession or illumination would have taken place! The wedding ceremony would have been a disaster.  

In order to obey Christ, we must keep our minds on Him, because the only real cure for laziness is to be filled with Him. Obeying is faithfulness; it is not about education, intelligence, or skill. Rather, it is accepting the task He gives us and doing it. It is taking what He has given, then replicating, increasing, and using it for the benefit of others—as well as for our own growth—for His glory (1 Cor. 4:2). Those five wise virgins knew this; the other five neglected it. Thus, the foolish ones were not just judged by the wise, but, rather, by what they were capable of. God judges us against ourselves! So, never worry what others are doing; only seek what you can do better! To be ready is to be prepared for a long delay, as Christ may return tomorrow or in another two thousand years. His timing is to help our faith development and preparedness. Seek Him, and let your confidence be in who you are in Him—not how others respond to you! May God’s oil of His grace keep you lit! 

Questions to Ponder

Have you ever wasted what Jesus gives? How can you, why should you, and what actions can you take to avoid being lazy? 

How does not being prepared cause one to pass up vital opportunities? Have you done this? Have you seen others do this? Has this been done to you? If so, how did you feel?  

What is the oil that keeps your lamp of faith lit? What does it need to be? 

What does Jesus want you to understand from this parable? 

 

© 2004, 2011, R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

 

The Parable of the Ten Virgins PI

Matthew 25: 1- 13 

What can you do to be more obedient and faithful in your walk with Christ?  

With His impending crucifixion just three days away, Jesus used one of His last parables, to illustrate and help us understand the events of His coming judgment and the importance of our being ready. This parable is not about sharing or demonstrating benevolence; rather, it is meant to encourage us to be watchful and productive. This is not about having the correct esoteric theory; rather to be focused on what is most important, to be loyal to our Lord and be on the ready for His call, opportunities and when He comes to call and collect. This end times Parable calls us to be willing to take a look around us, to determine what our loyalties and responsibilities are, and how we can become better in the responsibility to Christ as Lord, being of benefiting to others, preparing ourselves, and most of all, glorifying our Lord.

The general theme is to be prepared and take your responsibility seriously.  

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Matthew 25: 1

The ten virgins had the magnificent opportunity to help in an important ceremony, the most important ceremony in Jesus time—a wedding. It was a seven-day long feast, and they were the principle structure of the wedding. As they are like today’s “Bridesmaids, then called Virgins. Basically, they had the honor and duty of preparing and arranging the wedding celebrations and for this part of the parable, escorting the bride and groom around. They were responsible for preparing the bride for her marriage ceremony, called then, “to meet the bridegroom,” just as today, and carry the ceremony under a canopy. Then, it was a much greater honor.

Lamps” refers not to the classic small oil lamp, but, rather a torch on top of a staff with a wick soaked in olive oil, or a staff wrapped with a rag soaked in oil. The burnt ends of the rags were cut off (trimmed) and then the oil was added. Olive oil burns very slowly and is not as hot as petroleum.  

Why the need for lamps? “Weddings” were held in the evening, after a day of dancing and celebration, and torches were used to light the occasion and in a procession, leading the bride to the groom’s house. The celebration lasted up to seven days; thus, the oil supply was one of the big responsibilities for the bridesmaids. Not to have enough oil for one night was very irresponsible, as it might be needed for a week or more! 

Five of them were foolish and five were wise. Matthew 25: 2 

Foolish” refers to relying on zeal only, and not thinking through what needed to be done or being prepared. It was laziness! It was like going on a trip without either a destination or the resources to complete the trip, relying only on the excitement of the trip, which would get people nowhere except for being literally broken down without gasoline. In matters of eternal security, this is devastating. The person who is not in Christ will be cut off forever, because he or she chooses to neglect preparation (Matt. 25:31-46); he or she fails to see what Christ has done, relying on emotions and passion for life, and not considering the death and judgment to come.  

Five of them decided to plan ahead and fulfill their duty; the other five decided to let only the excitement be their guide, neglecting to plan out what they needed. They thought, why should we plan? We can just borrow it from the others. But, the others could not share or it would have ruined the wedding. “Not to be prepared,” to miss their opportunity was unthinkable—a nightmare for most young women, then as it is today.  

The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. Matthew 25:3 

The torches had a very finite amount of fuel and needed to be refueled; they would have known this. They required large amounts of oil in order to keep lit, and the oil had to refill the wick or rag several times an hour. The virgins showed a blatant disregard of responsibility and duty. They also threw away their chance to meet their potential groom and become known in the community. They threw away a prized opportunity to better themselves because they did not feel like preparing!  

Now, it comes down to us; where do we invest our lives—in Him or in what is foolish? When we are in Him, do we waste what He gives? We, as Christians, are His servants and we need to be productive and faithful as we wait for His return. If we wait in a foolish manner, we will miss our opportunities, attesting our foolishness (2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 22:20). This parable is about the importance of being prudent and being prepared. The five virgins were not prepared to meet the bridegroom, as someone who does not know Christ as Lord and Savior will not be able to meet Him when He returns! 

The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. Matthew 25: 4

Wise.” These were ones who upheld their duty, honored the groom and the host, and who remained faithful and watchful. They were those who saw opportunities that would be of benefit to them, and took advantage of them by being industrious, but, with dignity and respect.

For us it is a call to be prepared to be the escort of our faith to those around us, as Christ is the Bridegroom, is Who we honor and prepare for. Perhaps for the disciples, they were in denial, or maybe they were stunned that Jesus was talking about His second coming because they did not realize His first was almost over! He wanted them to understand that when He leaves they should not waste their time in doing nothing, in being depressed, or to give up while waiting. He wanted them to know it was still a “go” for doing life! He wanted them to get on with life, to be busy preparing themselves and others for the Kingdom, and yet, to remain watchful. 

Questions to Ponder

How does being on time and respecting the time of others honor God and portray good character? 

How are some churches irresponsible with the opportunities God gives them? 

Are you ready for His coming? What stops you from being prepared? 

What can you do to guard against becoming lazy? How do we make our actions count for His glory?

How does keeping our minds upon Christ as Lord help us be ready for anything, even His return? 

© 2004, 2011, R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org