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John: Who is this Man?

The fourth Gospel holds peculiar significance to me for many reasons, but especially because it is written by the disciple closest to our Lord. When you read the Gospel of Matthew, you are reading the record of our Lord as seen through the eyes of a devoted disciple. Mark and Luke, of course, were dedicated Christians who knew and loved Jesus Christ, though they learned about him largely through the testimony of others, but John is one who leaned upon his breast. He was of that inner circle which included Peter and James, who went with our Lord through the most intimate circumstances of his ministry and heard more than any of the others. Therefore, we open this book with a sense of anticipation. Here is the testimony of our Lord's closest friend.

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The fourth Gospel holds peculiar significance to me for many reasons, but especially because it is written by the disciple closest to our Lord. When you read the Gospel of Matthew, you are reading the record of our Lord as seen through the eyes of a devoted disciple. Mark and Luke, of course, were dedicated Christians who knew and loved Jesus Christ, though they learned about him largely through the testimony of others, but John is one who leaned upon his breast. He was of that inner circle which included Peter and James, who went with our Lord through the most intimate circumstances of his ministry and heard more than any of the others. Therefore, we open this book with a sense of anticipation. Here is the testimony of our Lord's closest friend.

Who is Jesus? (John 1:1-4)

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This morning we are beginning studies in the Gospel according to John. This gospel was written by the disciple of whom it was said, "Jesus loved him." John was the closest intimate of our Lord during the days of his ministry, so this constitutes a very important gospel.

Sep 30 2018

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Hello Darkness (John 1:5-13)

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In the prologue to the Gospel of John, the apostle is setting forth a summary of who Jesus really is. Last week we looked at who Jesus is eternally, and why the world cannot forget him. Here is a quotation from a very well known personality, who found he could not forget Jesus:

Sep 29 2018

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The Stranger of Galilee (John 1:14-18)

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Who was Jesus -- visibly? What did men see when they looked at him, when they heard him teach, when they followed him and lived with him? A great many images of Christ today are far removed from the biblical picture of him. They range all the way from "gentle Jesus meek and mild" -- a sort of harmless, gentle spirit whom no one need take very seriously -- to a fiery-eyed radical, all set to burn everything to the ground and overthrow the establishment. In the midst of these contradictory images, our heart longs sometimes to say, "Will the real Jesus please stand up?" That, of course, is who we are looking at in the Gospel of John -- the real Jesus, Jesus as he really was.

Sep 28 2018

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Call the First Witness! (John 1:19-34)

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A remarkable religious phenomenon broke out in the United States in the year 1948. It started in a tent near the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, under the preaching of a young evangelist by the name of Billy Graham. The crowds were a little sparse in that tent at first, but as the preaching went on they began to grow. Finally certain rather prominent Hollywood celebrities came to the meetings and were converted. At first, as often happens with gatherings of that sort, the press totally ignored them. But when some of the well-known names of Hollywood became involved, the media began to take an interest in what was happening. Eventually reporters were sent to investigate and to interview this rather strange young preacher, who dressed in pistachio-colored suits, wore flaming red ties, spoke with a pronounced Southern accent, and yet had incredible appeal to the masses. It was evident that God was doing something there. That was the beginning of Billy Graham's career. As news of those meetings spread across the country, other cities invited him to come and preach. He went on to Boston, where all of New England seemed to turn out to hear him. Thus began the great Crusades that swept across America in the latter part of the '40's and '50's under Billy Graham's ministry.

Sep 27 2018

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The Man who Knew Men (John 1:35-51)

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Next year is election year. Political drums are already beating. Already banners are beginning to fly, and the politicians are beginning to spout as we head toward that three-ring circus by which we choose the leaders of the world for the next four years. I could not help but note the contrast with the passage we have this morning from the Gospel of John. Here Jesus chooses the men who will change the course of world history for twenty centuries to come. What a difference!

Sep 26 2018

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Water to Wine (John 2:1-11)

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In the second chapter of John's gospel we have the account of the first miracle of our Lord. The scene has now shifted from Judea, where John the Baptist was baptizing in the river Jordan, to seventy miles north, the area of Galilee. Jesus and his disciples have walked all that way.

Sep 25 2018

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The Temple Cleanser (John 2:12-25)

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We are coming to that dramatic moment in the Gospel of John when our Lord first cleansed the temple. This may seem a rather strange passage for Mother's Day, but any mother who has had to clean out a teenagers' room after months of nagging will identify fully with this account!

Sep 24 2018

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Born of the Spirit (John 3:1-16)

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Everyone today is familiar with the term "born again." It has become so popular that it is used for all kinds of situations that have nothing to do with the way the New Testament uses it. If a football team has a bad season and the next year comes to life again and does much better, the sports writers say it has been born again. I heard a man say last week that his marriage, which had been threatened but was now recovered, had been "born again." I read in the paper that the Equal Rights Amendment, which is again being pushed hard by the women's movement, has now been "born again." If all this happened in line with the New Testament view of that term it would be very encouraging. How nice to know that football teams, women's movements and marriages are born again! But obviously that is not the way they use the term; rather they are referring to a kind of renewal.

Sep 23 2018

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The Best Possible News (John 3:16-36)

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The section in the Gospel of John to which we come this morning begins with the world's best known Bible verse. I have been in meetings where people were giving memory verses, and before long someone always stood up and quoted John 3:16, and everybody else said, "Oh, he's given my verse!"

Sep 22 2018

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The Man Who Understood Woman (John 4:1-42)

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The story of Jesus and the woman at the well of Samaria helps us deal with many modern issues. Here Jesus crosses the barrier of race prejudice and interacts with a race hated and rejected by the Jews. That helps us greatly in our own bigoted, prejudicial society. Our Lord encounters a moral outcast and displays for our instruction the proper approach to take with such a person. In this story he also settles a theological quarrel that had been going on for centuries as to the proper place and manner of worship. We, too, are still wrestling with those issues today, so this account is of great value to us.

Sep 21 2018

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Faith's Encouragement (John 4:43-54)

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We last saw the Lord Jesus in the Gospel of John in Samaria, where he had that amazing encounter with the woman at the well which eventuated in a great spiritual awakening in that area. The Lord and the disciples were excited and rejoicing over what must have been, even for them, an unexpected spiritual harvest.

Sep 20 2018

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Do you Want to Get Well? (John 5:1-17)

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I picked up the latest issue of Time Magazine last week and found that the entire issue was devoted to a celebration of Time 's sixtieth year in publishing. The theme of the magazine was, The most amazing sixty years in history. It was a review of many events of the past sixty years, a highly biased one, which centered around Time's own existence. Even for such dramatic years as the past sixty, I thought that claim was rather ludicrous. It reminded me of the man who said to me last week that his tie was the greatest thing since peanut butter! I regarded both claims as having about equal validity.

Sep 19 2018

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The Secret of Jesus (John 5:18-20)

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In three verses in the fifth chapter of the gospel of John we have Jesus' own explanation for that incredible life which he lived among us. Studying through this passage this past week I felt like a little boy who was given a bucket and told to empty the Pacific Ocean before lunch! I have sat and stared at these verses and seen things in them that made me wonder how I could make clear the beauty, the profundity, and yet the simplicity of them.

Sep 18 2018

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He's Got the Whole World in His Hands (John 5:21-30)

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In the fifth chapter of John's gospel we have been watching Jesus at the pool of Bethesda with a great multitude of blind, lame and paralyzed people. I have already drawn the spiritual parallel to that of a congregation on Sunday morning. There are many blind people present among us, people who cannot see where they are headed, who are stumbling on into disaster and they do not even know it. There are lame people here, those who cannot walk as they ought to. They know how, but they cannot seem to make themselves do it; instead they stumble, falter, and fall. There are paralyzed people here who want to do more than they are doing, but their wills seem to be in a grip they cannot break. They find themselves returning again and again to habits of thought and attitudes of mind which they know are wrong and hurtful.

Sep 17 2018

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The Credentials of Jesus (John 5:31-47)

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In the fifth chapter of John's gospel Jesus makes amazing claims about himself. He claims to be "the Son of God," "the One sent by the Father," "the Source of all life" (physical and spiritual), "the Judge of all the world" (all history is heading toward a confrontation with him), and "the Raiser of the dead," the One who one day will empty all the cemeteries of the earth.

Sep 16 2018

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The Testing of Faith (John 6:1-15)

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It is no coincidence in God's program I am sure, that this Sunday which has been set aside as World Food Day is also the day we come to the account in John's gospel of Jesus feeding the 5,000 beside the Sea of Galilee.

Sep 15 2018

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The New Resource (John 6:16-21)

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I have been listening to some of the commentators review the past year and almost all of them were negative on 1983. They felt it was a bad year for the United States and for the world in general. Certainly all will agree that international tensions were much higher at the end of the year than they were at the beginning. The nuclear threat grows as each day passes. Moral darkness deepens on every side. There are not many encouraging signs in what we see happening around us.

Sep 14 2018

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What are You Working For? (John 6:22-40)

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The sixth chapter of the Gospel of John is the setting for one of the great discourses of our Lord, his word on the "bread of life." Bread, of course, is the symbol for that which sustains and maintains life.

Sep 13 2018

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Life with God (John 6:41-59)

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When Jesus announced to the crowd at the synagogue at Capernaum that he was the "bread which had come down from heaven," they must have been very startled by his remarkable claim. But it is no wonder they were puzzled by what he said.

Sep 12 2018

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To Whom shall We Go? (John 6:60-71)

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We have come to that point in John's gospel where many of Jesus' disciples drew back and no longer followed him. This is a turning point in our Lord's ministry, where he confronts the twelve with the question, "Will you also go away?" This is a frequent phenomenon in our day also. Many people start out the Christian life and seem to do very well for awhile, but then they drop out of sight and nobody seems to know what happened to them.

Sep 11 2018

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Thank you!

By Knisew - Dec 29 2013
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Ray Stedman knows his Bible and is willing to explain his subject in depth.