April, this study is so good. I’m probably biased because my memorization in 1 John 1 deals with walking in the light but John 3:19-21 really hits the nail on the head.
Romans 1 speaks of people preferring the darkness because they want their own way. I have always contended that if Jesus appeared in the sky for the whole world to see and exclaims that He is the way, the truth and the life - that many would deny the truth because it’s not worth it to them. The prayer people need are hearts that are soft and want to know the truth. These verses in John 3 underscore the self-deception that goes on. It’s a tough nut to crack.
I would agree. When I studied Revelation a few years ago, I was struck by the description of those who refuse the Lord’s offer of relief and relationship in the midst of apocalyptic experience. Our prayers, time in the Word, and witness are essential tools the Lord wants to put to work.
I’ve mentioned (somewhere) on Connect that I had a family member completely struck speechless by John 3:18. She had gone to church all of her life, even taught Sunday school, but I think she assumed that since God loves everyone (and He does) that everyone is saved. And you could go to God any way you want to, but she happened to choose Jesus. Which when I thought about it afterward I realized that approach changes Jesus’ identity to something unnecessary and powerless thereby rendering the cross and His perfect sacrifice and conquest of death as pointless. It’s good to have conversations and refer to the Word and let it do the work!
Thank you for your inspiration to memorize so much scripture. I’ve gotten so frustrated with my attempts in the last years. But this week I started working on the Sermon on the Mount. I think I could spend years there…I get all side tracked doing word studies and reading my old scribbles in the margins. I need to just take my time and not feel like it’s an assignment due.
Maybe there are others who might want to memorize sections of John. What are your favorite memorization tips?
April, you can memorize scripture. I am so certain of it because if I can, literally anyone can!
When I began the memorization thread, I called it “A Dare.” I dared Connect folks to try it. If you go to this link, it will take you to my post, which is lengthy but it gives tips. April, one thing off the top that you said is that, if I were you, I’d get the Sermon memorized. Then, when you are reviewing it, you start dwelling on words etc. Wait until then to start looking up words or you’ll get so distracted, it’s hard to carry on. It would be what I would suggest.
I was hoping more would respond to this wonderful passage in Scripture.
There is a comment I have and a questions, as usual!
When Jesus addresses his mother as “woman”, in our culture it is disrespectful but in that culture, it was a queenly remark of utmost respect. I used to think Jesus seemed to respond as a smart-alecy brat but it is imperative that everyone realize His respect for His mother.
My question has to do with Mary’s reply. A question was asked in the thread called, “What Exactly is Prayer?” as to when we keep asking over and over again in prayer? Mary asked once and said that He had it. Her request has always made me wonder if there are times that we ask once and that’s it. Most Scripture advocates keeping on knocking. I can only think that the Holy Spirit has to lead us that it is done or shouldn’t we keep going? Any thoughts?
A week behind here, but as I was reviewing verse 20 and it caused me to pause: "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. "
“Everyone who does evil…” The study points to this verse and states that “We prefer dark!” I don’t really read this passage that way, so please “enlighten” me if I’m off track here… But I read this as saying that SHAME is what keeps people in the dark. We are ALL evildoers. Even as a believer, coming before God to confess my sins is not pleasant. But because I know my heavenly Father, His character and love for me, I can approach Him knowing I will receive mercy. Is that true with those who do not know Him? If you do not know grace or the love of the Father, hiding in the dark seems a natural course of action.
To me this also points to our responsibility as Christians. Jesus states in Romans that it’s the Father’s kindness that leads us to repentance. We are His representatives. How do we present God the Father? Are we harsh and critical…always talking about sin? Jesus said that if we lift Him us (not point out someones sins), HE would draw all men unto Him.
I’m not saying that people don’t love darkness and the pursuit of sin, but to me this points to more than that. It points to the fact that men hide (just like Adam and Eve) when we’ve done wrong because we are scared, ashamed, etc.
That’s such a great question, Kelly. I’d love to hear the thoughts of others!
Also a great point:
But because I know my heavenly Father, His character and love for me, I can approach Him knowing I will receive mercy. Is that true with those who do not know Him?
I wonder if primary issue of all humans is how well we know God?
Do we really come to know who we are as we grow to know God?
Mercy is definitely a unique quality of God, in Jesus Christ, that is not observed in the gods of other faiths. And we see it again and again in scripture.
I’m working through this amazing old book Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
He makes the following point:
Grace is especially associated with men in their sins; mercy is especially associated with men in their misery. In other words, while grace looks down upon sin as a whole, mercy looks upon the miserable consequences of sin. So mercy is a sense of pity with a desire to relieve suffering.
To know Him is to know that we can turn (do that 180!) and see Him in the light asking us to join Him there because He alone has the remedy for our misery and our burdens.
I’m in Colorado at a reevaluation clinic for my spinal cord injury. I want to say a lot but don’t know if it will work out here but otherwise want to Saturday. I love discussion on such pertinent information. Keep up the great stuff!
Love in Jesus
There is a verse “hidden” here that I find interesting - partly because I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone lift up its significance. It is
3:27 “To this John replied, ‘A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.”
Funnily enough this comment had its origin in a dispute with a Jew over ceremonial cleansing. And then to a question about the “competition” between John’s baptism, and “Jesus’” (Chapter 4 tells us the Jesus himself did not baptise, it was only his disciples who did.) It would seem that John is humbly accepting his role, given by God, as the voice crying in the wilderness and preparing the way for the Messiah.
Somehow I think the statement has a lot more significance, especially in the context of lover of darkness rather than light. Other echoes of the statement can be found in “without me you can do nothing,” and “no one comes to me unless the Father draws him.” Even Jesus entire life is an echo … “I do nothing of myself, I only do what the Father instructs me to do.” And OT references “there are none that are righteous, no not one,” “there are none that seek God.” Paul says “the carnal mind CANNOT receive the things of God, CANNOT understand them.”
So when we read “whoever believes in the Son has life,” we have to accept that we can only believe if the Holy Spirit initiates the process, entices us (for example with the good things God promises), and convicts us (of sin that needs to be dealt with) and sets us on the right path.
I think also that it is an admonition to humility when looking at other believers - all of whom have gifts given by God - either planted at birth, or poured out specially through the Holy Spirit. It is easy to be envious of others’ gifts, even while doing little to exercise those we ourselves have been given. God has prepared good works for each of us to do, and provided all that we need to do them. Do we do them, or do we look at others who seem to be so much more competent, or who have so much “better” gifts and wish that we had them too?
When I read this comment, I thought of those creatures who live in dark caves or the dark depths of the oceans. Bright light bewilders them, scares them, “blinds” them. When we come out of a “pitch black” room into the blinding glare of the sun in a cloudless summer sky, we also feel a moment of discomfort, even pain. We like “darkness” because we are accustomed to it, we don’t want to show our inner selves because we are afraid that if we reveal ourselves, even our closest family members will not like us any more.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
It is interesting that John didn’t grab the opportunity to feel sorry for himself as he watched people go to the Lord’s ministry. This response demonstrates true humility and confidence in what he was called to do. Bitterness or envy has no place in the Lord’s work.
To me his response:
“A person can receive only what is given them from heaven."
tells me he is content with the work he was given by God, and with the fact that he has done the work. He confirms this attitude when he says:
That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.
Yes! I think we are in agreement on this application. Contentment is a gift of humility, and humility brings us closer to the Lord.
True. It’s so important to remember what real love is through Jesus and not rely on the world. He knows us absolutely and still loves us absolutely. What would the world look like if we all regarded each other in Truth and love?
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love. 2 John 3