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Signs

SignsExcerpt Although John also recognizes the problems inherent in signs and in the demand for signs (2:18234:486:21430), he nonetheless calls miracles σημεῖα because through them Jesus manifests his glory and reveals his mission as the Son of God (2:1120:30f.). Whereas the Baptist performs no signs (10:41), many great signs charactize Jesus’ activity (3:27:319:1611:4712:37); the appearances of the resurrected Jesus are to be understood similarly (20:30). The Johannine miracles point beyond themselves to the eschatological Savior (6:147:3112:18) and provoke faith in him (2:11234:539:3511:47f.; 20:30f.). But this faith can remain superficial and egocentric (4:486:1430) or can be rejected (12:3739); and signs cannot always defeat the conviction that Jesus is a deceiver (11:47f., following Deut 13:1–4); thus what the sign signifies is overlooked, namely, that the miracle is a work of God, whose “arm” becomes effective through Christ (12:37f., quoting…

What is God’s Kingdom?

What is God’s Kingdom?Matthew 5:3 Excerpt The kingdom of God is the major theme of Jesus’ teaching in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. This concept, expressed in various ways, had been a central part of Jewish religious aspirations for generations. At the time of Jesus, it was popularly anticipated as a time when the promises of the Hebrew scriptures concerning the place of Israel in God’s plan would be fulfilled in a dramatic way: the hated Romans would once and for all be driven out of their land, and the people would enjoy a new period of political and religious freedom, and self-determination. It is no wonder, then, that when Jesus emerged as a travelling prophet after his baptism and the temptations, and declared that ‘the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand’ (Mark 1:15), people of all kinds showed great interest in what he had to say. This was what they were waiting for: a new kingdom of God that would finally crush the old kingdom of Rome. Moreover, they ful…

Beliefs of the Samaritans

Beliefs of the SamaritansJohn 4:1–45 Excerpt The main beliefs of the Samaritans demonstrate both the close affinities with and obvious divergences from mainstream Judaism. They held in common with Judaism a strong monotheistic faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In contrast, however, there was an elevating of Mt Gerizim in the north as the only holy place for sacrifice, based on several divergent passages in Deuteronomy and Exodus in the Samaritan text. Mt Gerizim came to be identified with the site of Abel’s first altar (Gn 4:4), the site of Noah’s sacrifice after the Flood (8:20), the meeting place of Abraham and Melchizedek (14:18), the site of Isaac’s intended sacrifice (ch 22), and many other associations. More Elwell, Walter A., and Philip Wesley Comfort. Tyndale Bible dictionary 2001 : 1154. Print. Tyndale Reference Library.

The Spirit and the Son at Creation

The Spirit and the Son at CreationGenesis 1:2 Excerpt At the beginning of Creation Week, the earth was “empty, a formless mass.” There was soil and water but no light. The Holy Spirit was “hovering over” this newly created world. The Holy Spirit, third person of the Trinity, may be best known for his appearance at Pentecost (Acts 2), but he made his grand entrance here, at the very beginning of Creation. We read elsewhere that Jesus, Son of God and second person of the Trinity, took part in Creation as well (John 1:1–3Col. 1:16Heb. 1:2). More Willmington, H. L. Willmington’s Bible Handbook. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1997. Print.

Connect the Testaments

June 16: Not Perfect? Ezra 1:1–2:70; 1 John 3:5–10; Psalm 106:1–15 Sometimes sin can discourage us to the point that we loathe ourselves. At first glance, John’s letter seems to encourage this. Addressing a struggling church community, John seems to call for perfection: “And you know that that one was revealed in order that he might take away sins, and in him there is no sin. Everyone who resides in him does not sin. Everyone who sins has neither seen him nor known him” (1 John 3:5–6). Does this mean that people who struggle with sin are unable to know God? In his letter, John is actually addressing the false idea that was rampant in the community he addressed—that Christ’s sacrifice had covered sin, and therefore it was permissible to keep sinning. This is an issue that Paul addresses in his letter to the Roman Christians: “Should we go on sinning then, that grace may increase? May it never be!” (Rom 6:2). John answers the same way. He’s not saying that any sin indicates an inability to…

Morning and Evening

Morning, June 16Go To Evening Reading
“And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” —John 10:28
The Christian should never think or speak lightly of unbelief. For a child of God to mistrust his love, his truth, his faithfulness, must be greatly displeasing to him. How can we ever grieve him by doubting his upholding grace? Christian! it is contrary to every promise of God’s precious Word that thou shouldst ever be forgotten or left to perish. If it could be so, how could he be true who has said, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I never forget thee.” What were the value of that promise—“The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Where were the truth of Christ’s words—“I give unto my sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish…

My Utmost for His Highest

June 16th What do you make of this "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend … I have called you friends."John 15:13, 15. Jesus does not ask me to die for Him, but to lay down my life for Him. Peter said—“I will lay down my life for Thy sake,” and he meant it; his sense of the heroic was magnificent. It would be a bad thing to be incapable of making such a declaration as Peter made; the sense of our duty is only realized by our sense of the heroic. Has the Lord ever asked you—“Wilt thou lay down thy life for My sake?” It is far easier to die than to lay down the life day in and day out with the sense of the high calling. We are not made for brilliant moments, but we have to walk in the light of them in ordinary ways. There was only one brilliant moment in the life of Jesus, and that was on the Mount of Transfiguration; then He emptied Himself the second time of His glory, and came down into the demon-possessed valley. For thirty-three year…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

May 16 "For this child I prayed, and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord" 1 Sam. 1:27, 28 God sometimes bestows gifts just that love may have something to renounce. The things that He puts into our hands are possibly put there that we may have the opportunity of showing what is in our heart. Oh, that there were in us a fervor of love that would lead us to examine everything that belongs to us, to ascertain how it might be made a means of showing our affection to Christ! George Bowen

 Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.