THE REST OF THE STORY Jesus has been performing marvelous deeds since the beginning of the beginning. He told the Jews that “before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus has been performing trillions of miracles in this vast universe that we don’t even realize. One of the joys of Heaven will be for us to learn about all the other marvelous miracles that Jesus performed. Final message in the John: Believe and Live! series. John 20:30-31; 21:24-25.
SECOND CHANCES God is the God of the second chance—He’s the God of the third fourth and hundredth chance. If you have failed the Lord in the past, remember that Jesus can restore you. The devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy. He’s the great destroyer. But Jesus is the great restorer. He took a murderer like Moses and used him. He took an adulterer like David and used him. He took Christ-hating Jewish terrorist by the named Saul and gave him a new name, Paul, and used him mightily. And God can use you. He is the great restorer. John 21:15-23.
We can accomplish anything in this world. We can receive the greatest accolades, have the highest education, make the most money, have the best position—do all of these things. But never will it equate to fullness in your life or true satisfaction because it’s just a moment in time. John 21:1-14.
ST. THOMAS OF INDIA History is full of seekers like Thomas who investigated and became believers. Church history reports that Thomas went to current day India to spread the Gospel. He preached for twenty years until he was martyred. Today, the patron saint of India is St. Thomas. And when the Dutch Trading Company landed on an island in the Caribbean, they named it Saint Thomas and established the St. Thomas Church there. So Honest Thomas had a great impact on God’s Kingdom. John 20:19-29.
Mary thought Jesus was the gardener so she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, please show me where you put him and I will get him.” That’s love. Maybe Mary weighed 110 pounds. Let’s assume Jesus weighed 180, and John tells us that Nicodemus and Joseph had wrapped His body in 75 additional pounds of aloe and spices. So this little woman was willing to heft a corpse weighing over 250 pounds on her shoulder and carry it back inside the tomb. That’s love. Her hope was shattered, and her faith was absent, but her love was still there. John 20:1-18.
GET IN THE BOAT Do not let us be a church that rows away into eternity covering our eyes and ears so we can’t hear the screams of the people who are lost and dying around us. Let’s be a church that pursues them, that loves our neighbor in such a way that we can look at them and say, “There is plenty of room for you. Get in the boat.” Matthew 13:1-9.
WHAT’S YOUR ANGLE? It is hard to find authenticity in this world. It’s hard to know what is true, it is hard to know what’s genuine. It seems as if that all of us are expecting some sort of angle. Even the way that you watch the news, even the way that you deal with others. At times we like we have some sort of guard up against our neighbor, against those around us, because we are assuming that they are working with some type of angle in mind. Mark 10:35-45.
JESUS’ REMOVAL FROM THE CROSS The Bible tells us that Jesus had two unlikely undertakers, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. You might expect family members or disciples to step forward and claim the body, but instead these two respected members of the Jewish Sanhedrin collected the body of Jesus from the cross. It was not an easy or a pretty job. First, they had to climb up and either remove the nails or removed Jesus hands and feet from the nails embedded in the cross. Then they had to lower His mangled body. Jesus’ back had been ripped apart with a whip, Water and blood had flowed from the wound in His side. Then they had to remove the razor-sharp crown of thorns. John 19:38-42.
DEATH BY INCONVENIENCE To me it is the height of hypocrisy that the Jewish leaders were so concerned about sunset messing with their religious holiday that they appealed to Pilate to hasten the death of the three men being crucified. They didn’t want a bloody body to inconvenience them from their religious acts. John 19:28-37.
KNOWING Can you imagine living your whole life anticipating the most horrible death possible? No doubt Jesus saw hundreds of Roman crucifixions as He was growing up. He must have thought, “That’s me someday.” Every time Joseph planed a rough piece of wood, Jesus probably thought about the cross. Every time Joseph pounded nails in wood, Jesus surely thought of the last time His human ears would hear that sound. John 19:28-30.
INCONCEIVABLE The Gospel writers don’t go into minute detail about the crucifixion because all of their First-Century readers had witnessed the horror of crucifixion with their own eyes. We really don’t have a modern frame of reference for it. It would be like me going back to the time of Jesus and saying there was a head-on collision on Loop 49 and none of the passengers were wearing seatbelts. You get the picture—but they wouldn’t. We can’t begin to imagine the wickedness and cruelty of Roman crucifixion. John 19:17-27.
With that act of symbolically washing his hands, Pilate thought he would be vindicated. He thought that he would never be associated with the death of Jesus. But let me show you what is tragically ironic. The one man who wanted to be absolved of any guilt is the name that has been spoken millions of times connecting him to the death of Jesus. I’m referring to the Apostle’s Creed. This creed has been recited millions of times, and is being recited today in Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and many other churches. John 19:5-16.
The crown of thorns was a prophecy of the majestic crown Jesus will wear when He returns. When Jesus came the first time, He came as the gentle Jesus, meek and mild. When He returns it will be a conquering King. When He came the first time it was as the Lamb of God, when He returns it will be as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. John 19:1-5.
REAL IDENTITY Barabbas was a bad dude. But he got the break of a life-time. An innocent man took his place on the cross. I am Barabbas. You are Barabbas. We are all guilty sinners. And we deserve to receive God’s judgment against sin. But like Barabbas, we have a substitute. Jesus died in our place. John 18:33-40.
FALLING BEHIND Peter followed Jesus at a distance to the courtyard of Caiaphas’ house. That’s an indication that we find ourselves in trouble when we don’t follow the Lord closely. If you followed the Lord closely at one time, but you have hung back and now you follow the Lord at a distance, before long you find yourself hanging out with the wrong crowd. And soon you find yourself doing the wrong thing. John 18:15-18; 25-27
CUP OF HORRORS What was in that cup that Jesus found to be so unpleasant? To drink a cup means to go through an experience. Inside that cup Jesus knew there was terrible physical pain. He knew over the next few hours He would be tortured and crucified. Also inside that cup was isolation. All His disciples would forsake Him, and He would face the cross alone. Even on the cross, He endured isolation from His Father. But I think the most horrifying content of that cup were sins of all the world. He would bear all the sins in His body on the cross. All the lies, murders, rapes, and hatred of the world would stain His sinless soul. John 18:1-11.
We can only be satisfied with the joy that comes from Christ. If we want to be good soldiers for Christ, we can’t find satisfaction in the world. We have to understand that we are going to be set apart, we are going to be sanctified to continue growth, but always, when we are growing as a church we will always be going as a church with the gospel of Jesus. John 17:11-19.
PASCAL’S WAGER Is death the end and there is no afterlife as Dr. Stephen Hawking claimed or as Billy Graham said, is there an afterlife where we may spend eternity with God in a place called heaven? Both of them cannot be correct. And the most important decision in your short life is to decide which position is correct. John 17:1-12.
THE FRIEND At the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples that starting that night, He would call them friends, not servants. It is a revolutionary truth that we can be friends with our Creator. Abraham was called a friend of God. The Bible said Moses spoke to God face to face as a man speaks to a friend. When Jesus was told that Lazarus had died, He said, “Our friend, Lazarus has gone to sleep, but I’m going to wake him up.” John 15:12-27. Audio TBA.
The world is watching the church right now like never before. This is an opportunity for us to show a true joy. You can shut down the church house, but you never take away the joy that is found in Jesus Christ, because our joy is not dependent on our circumstance or what is happening around us. Our joy is found in the fact that Jesus Christ took the plight of man and made a way for us to be reunited with God once again. John 15:9-17.
CAUTION When we petition the Lord, we need to be very careful about how we are using the Lord’s name. One of the most elusive ways we can use the Lord’s name in vain is in our prayer life. We are praying for things that are not of God’s desire or His will. We need to be cautious of how we pray in the name of the Lord. John 14:12-26.
ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY One reason people are on edge is because there is so much uncertainty. What if I, or someone I love contract the virus? Am I still going to have a job? Will I be able to retire? When will this pandemic be over? Will life ever be the same again? There is a lot of uncertainty in our world right now. If we just could get some kind of assurance that life will work out—then maybe we can hold on. I want to remind you than in the midst of so much uncertainty there are some things you can be absolutely certain about: God loves you and Jesus died to give you eternal life. John 14:1-11.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN After the two disciples who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus recognized him, they were so fired up they got up and returned to Jerusalem–seven miles. It’s uphill in that direction, but I can imagine they literally ran. What had been a road of despair was now a road of rejoicing. When they found the eleven disciples, they couldn’t keep silent. “It’s true! We’ve seen the Lord! He is ALIVE!” And there was celebration on the first Easter evening—and we’ve been celebrating ever since! Their hearts were on fire. The spark from one heart ignited the hearts of others. Luke 24:13-29.
MISTAKEN People make two big mistakes about what they think love is. Some think love is a feeling. Although love produces feelings, Jesus taught us that love isn’t a feeling, it’s a choice. He chose to lay down His life. Some people make the mistake of thinking love is some uncontrollable force. “I just fell out of love with that person.” You don’t fall out of love; you fall out of trees. Or they say, “I couldn’t help it, I fell in love with that person.” You don’t fall in love; you fall in holes. John 13:31-35.
COLLEGE DROPOUT Judas spent three years attending Jesus University. His mind was full of biblical truth. Judas heard all the parables and teachings of Jesus. He knew more about what Jesus taught than we do because only a small percentage of what Jesus did and said are in the Gospel accounts. Judas’ problem wasn’t information, it was transformation. He hadn’t been transformed. John 13:18-30; 36-38.
SECURITY Once you come to Christ, that relationship is secure forever. God is your Father and you are a child of God. Nothing can change the relationship. But as we walk in a dirty world, we sometimes still stumble into sin. So to stay in fellowship with the Lord we come to Him and regularly confess our sins to Him. John 13:1-17.
MAMA BEAR MENTALITY Have you considered how love can drive out fear? There are several stories about supernatural courage and strength that takes place in a mother when her children are in danger of any sort. It is similar in our relationship: God’s love for us helps remove fear in our lives. Knowing that God loves us and that all things work together for good to them that love Him, we find strength to face fear with faith. 2 Timothy 1:7. Audio: David O. Dykes; Transcript: Michael Gossett.
PHARISEE FEAR There is no such thing as a private or secret follower of Jesus. According to John, this does not and cannot exist. The person who disguises their faith is the self-proclaimed believer who has an intellectual faith but not one that has taken root in their heart. This group of followers chose to fear the Pharisees instead of following the Savior. John 12:37-50.
POLAR OPPOSITES There are three different ways people react to the preaching of the cross. (1) Some are repelled by the thought of a messy, bloody cross. They want a nice clean, sanitary religion. (2) Others have no response. They have no interest in hearing about how a man died on a Roman cross two thousand years ago. (3) For many, the cross is like a magnet, drawing them to it. John 12:27-36.
REDEEMER When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the Jews were looking for another military Messiah. But Jesus rode a donkey to show that He wasn’t a Hammer, He was a Redeemer. A radical revolutionary kills others for his cause but a loving Redeemer lays down His life so that others may live. John 12:12-19.
LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF FELLOWSHIP Jesus gave Lazarus life, then He gave Him liberty, and now Lazarus is enjoying a fellowship meal with Jesus. Some people think the Christian life is like a funeral but it’s more like a feast. He invites you from the spiritual tomb of your lostness to the spiritual table of fellowship with Him. John 11:28-44.