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In our previous lecture we visited Bethesda. The ruins tell us about the greatest miracle in its history that happened here.
Apart from this miracle Jesus was going to have a dialogue with the agents of Satan who wanted to kill Him. What was the intonation of His voice like?
Jesus never withheld truth from His people, but He always spoke it in truth. And when He had to rebuke hypocrisy, He did it with tears in His eyes. He care for His most vicious enemies.
Eventually He had to appear before the Sanhedrin for healing an invalid who suffered for 38 years.
According to some archaeologists the place where the Sanhedrin met, was not too far from the temple.
Whenever I visit these sites the story of Jesus comes to my mind.
I can almost hear Jesus saying to the Sanhedrin:
John_5:41  “I do not receive honour from men.
It was not the influence of the Sanhedrin, it was not their sanction He desired. He could receive no honour from their approval.
He was invested with the honour and authority of Heaven. Had He desired it, angels would have come to do Him homage; the Father would again have testified to His divinity.
But for their own sake, for the sake of the nation whose leaders they were, He desired the Jewish rulers to discern His character, and receive the blessings He came to bring them.
What a loving considerate Saviour!
John 5:43  I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
Jesus came by the authority of God, bearing His image, fulfilling His word, and seeking His glory. But how sad! He was not accepted by the leaders in Israel. When others should come, assuming the character of Christ, but actuated by their own will and seeking their own glory, they would be received.
And why? Because he who is seeking his own glory appeals to the desire for self-exaltation in others. To such appeals the Jews could respond. They would receive the false teacher because he flattered their pride by sanctioning their cherished opinions and traditions.
But the teaching of Christ did not coincide with their ideas. It was spiritual, and demanded the sacrifice of self; therefore they would not receive it. They were not acquainted with God, and to them His voice through Christ was the voice of a stranger.
Is not the same thing repeated in our day? Are there not many, even religious leaders, who are hardening their hearts against the Holy Spirit, making it impossible for them to recognize the voice of God?
John 5:44  How can you believe, who receive honour from one another, and do not seek the honour that comes from the only God?
Honour. Literally, “glory,” “good reputation.” Many of the Jews judged themselves by themselves. They considered a man’s reputation as good or bad in terms of their own traditions, instead of looking to God and His character as their standard. Consequently they were unable to believe in Christ.
The fact that God is one means that there is only one true standard for the judgment of character—the character of God Himself as revealed in His law. The principle of the uniqueness of God was a prime tenet of Jewish faith, but the Jews denied it by their actions to the extent that they judged their fellow men by traditional human standards.
John 5:45  Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust.
For the Jews the Law of Moses was the basis of religion, and indeed, of life as a whole. Now Jesus points His hearers to the startling fact that if they had rightly understood that Law, they would have seen Him revealed in it.
Thus they stood condemned by their greatest prophet.
In a manuscript of an apocryphal gospel from the 2d century a.d., a passage appears much like this verse. It reads: “Do not think that I come to accuse you before my Father; your accuser is Moses, in whom you have put your hope” (Egerton Papyrus 2 [see on John 5:39], lines 10–14).
A passage almost identical with this verse appears in an apocryphal gospel discovered in Egypt on a papyrus written at the latest by a.d. 150. It reads, “Turning to the rulers of the people, he said this word, ‘Ye search the scriptures; [those scriptures] in which ye think to have life, they are those that witness concerning me’” (Egerton Papyrus 2, lines 5–10; Greek text in H. Idris Bell and T. C. Skeat, Fragments of an Unknown Gospel [London, 1935], pp. 8, 9).
Such a passage appears to have been based upon the Gospel of John, and consequently is an important witness to the existence of that Gospel during the first half of the 2d century. The fact that apocryphal gospel papyrus was discovered in Egypt indicates that the Gospel of John apparently had circulated there—at a considerable distance from Ephesus, its probable place of origin—for some time before it was used in the construction of an apocryphal account of Christ.
This, together with the contemporary Rylands Papyrus of John, is significant evidence for the validity of the traditional dating of the Fourth Gospel near the end of the 1st century a.d. (see pp. 179-181).
The front (recto) contains parts of seven lines from the Gospel of John 18:31–33, in Greek, and the back (verso) contains parts of seven lines from verses 37–38.[
The Jews placed their hope for eternal life in a conformity to the Law of Moses as traditionally interpreted.
John 5:46  For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.
It was Christ who had spoken to Israel through Moses. If they had listened to the divine voice that spoke through their great leader, they would have recognized it in the teachings of Christ. Had they believed Moses, they would have believed Him of whom Moses wrote.
Jesus knew that the priests and rabbis were determined to take His life; yet He clearly explained to them His unity with the Father, and His relation to the world.
They saw that their opposition to Him was without excuse, yet their murderous hatred was not quenched. Fear seized them as they witnessed the convincing power that attended His ministry; but they resisted His appeals, and locked themselves in darkness.
They had signally failed to subvert the authority of Jesus or to alienate the respect and attention of the people, many of whom were convicted by His words. The rulers themselves had felt deep condemnation as He had pressed their guilt home upon their consciences; yet this only made them the more bitter against Him.
They were determined to take His life. They sent messengers all over the country to warn the people against Jesus as an impostor. Spies were sent to watch Him, and report what He said and did. The precious Saviour was now most surely standing under the shadow of the cross.
Revelation12:7  And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,
Revelation 12:8  but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.
What did Satan do when Christ was born to rescue the world from his power?
Revelation 12:4  His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.
Did he succeed? No Christ was triumphant from start to finish.
Revelation 12:5  She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.
From His birth till His death Jesus was victorious in His battle with Satan.
Who would be the next victims of this liar and murderer from the beginning?
Revelation 12:12  Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
What is the only weapon we have to overcome this extremely dangerous enemy?
Revelation 12:11  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
If we cry for help, God would rather send all the angels in heaven to support us, rather than let us be a victim of Satan.
What caused the fall of this most beautiful creature ever created?
Isaiah 14:12  “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!
Isaiah 14:13  For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;
Isaiah 14:14  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
How would he eventually be removed from the Universe?
Isaiah 14:15  Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.
Isaiah 14:16  “Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms.
Here at Nippur the prophet Ezekiel also wrote about the demise of the mightiest enemy of God and man who ever lived.
Ezekiel 28:15  You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.
Ezekiel 28:16  “By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones.
Ezekiel 28:17  “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you.
Ezekiel 28:18  “You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you.
Ezekiel 28:19  All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, And shall be no more forever.” ‘ ”
Are you going through a very hard time right now? Are the devil and his followers busy destroying you? I have good news. Sooner as we can ever imagine, he and his followers will be no more.
The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.

Updated on 21st Mar 2022

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