Why Believers Worship Jesus

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me’ ” (Matthew 28:18 ).

The Judeans eagerly expected the Messiah to come and fulfill the prophet Daniel’s vision in Daniel 7:14 — “And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languag es should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” During His earthly ministry, Jesus showed He was the One in Daniel’s vision by His dominion over demons, diseases, and death. He fed thousands and stilled storms. Before His resurrection from the dead, Jesus descended into the underworld and made a “proclamation to the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:19). After Jesus rose from the tomb, He appeared to many of His followers and proved that He had conquered death and the devil. When His followers went to Galilee as He commanded, He declared that His Father had given Him all authority in heaven and on earth, which fulfilled Daniel’s vision. When Jesus died on the cross, He saved from their sins and the power of sin all who would believe in Him. So, His followers worship Him as their Savior. After Jesus rose from the dead, God revealed that Jesus is the King of the universe. So, His followers worship Him as their Lord. Forty day s after Jesus’ resurrection, He ascended into heaven where He sits on the throne of God and sends the Holy Spirit into all who believe in Him. Therefore, Jesus’ followers worship and serve Him as their God, Savior, and King, and they prayerfully try to believe and live as Paul described in Titus 2:11-13, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

On May 8, begin a new FREE 12 week Bible study!
The Letter of James
Good News for Uncertain Times
at the International Bible Study Commentary.

Study the Letter of James

On Sunday, May 8, 2022, the International Bible Study Commentary and Lesson will begin a FREE 12-week series of Bible Lessons with activities for your class or personal Bible study on the Letter of James: Good News for Uncertain Times. Also available are FREE selected lessons on Matthew and Mark, FREE lessons on the the entire Gospel of John and FREE lessons on the the entire Letters of John. These commentaries and lessons are written for youth and adults, for group or personal Bible study, for large and small Bible classes, and for home Bible study and prayer groups. These commentaries and Bible lessons are written by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. For additional Bible study resources, Christian books and helpful websites, visit The Parkhurst Group.

Jesus’ Disciples: The Temple of God

I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:26—NRSV).

Jesus’ last words in His last prayer, for all who would become His disciples, through His first disciples’ teachings, carry great weight for us. Jesus prayed that we might be His disciples, that we might be in the Father and the Son, that we might be in Them as the Father is in Jesus, and as Jesus is in the Father. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul wrote that the disciple’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which includes the Father and the Son for they cannot be separated from the Spirit. In Jesus’ prayer, He revealed that the Father loves Jesus’ disciples even as He loves Jesus, and He wants Jesus’ disciples to be the temple of God.

Consider this: the Father loves repentant sinners who believe in Jesus even as He loves His sinless Son! Even more than this, Jesus prayed that the love with which the Father loved Him would be in His disciples, along with His presence within them. Humbly accept the fact that as a disciple of Jesus, He will make you so morally and spiritually clean inside that you are fit for God to love you and live within you, just as the Father and the Son love and live in one another!

From Jesus’ prayer, we learn that Jesus has given all His disciples work to do, and one of their primary purposes is to love and live in such a way that “the world may believe that the Father sent Jesus.” To make His point, Jesus said this twice in John 17:21 and John 17: 23!  In John 17:21, Jesus prayed for His disciples “As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” In John 17:23, Jesus prayed, “I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me”

From Jesus’ prayer, we know why God made us: The Father wants to love and live within and through Jesus’ disciples as He does Jesus. God wants Jesus’ disciples to be the temple of God. Then, some in this world may come to see and believe that the Father sent Jesus and He loves and lives within all who become disciples of Jesus.

Begin A Study of the Complete
Gospel and Letters of John
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Good Reasons for Faith in Jesus

“But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you’” (Mark 16:7).

From the women’s testimony, Jesus’ disciples had enough evidence to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. First, the women saw an angel in the tomb sitting

near the place where they had laid Jesus’ body. Second, the angel told them they were at the right tomb – the tomb of “Jesus the Nazarene who was crucified.” Third, the angel explained that Jesus’ body was gone because Jesus had risen. Fourth, the angel

mentioned Peter specifically along with Jesus’ disciples. Since Peter had denied Jesus three times, with his guilty conscience and remorse he may have felt that he was no longer worthy to be a disciple of Jesus. As his risen Lord, Jesus wanted Peter to know that He forgave him and still considered him a disciple. Fifth, through the women, the angel reminded the disciples to do what Jesus had told them before He was crucified — they were to go to Galilee. The fact that the angel told them about Jesus’ private conversation with His disciples and His command to them indicates the women were not deceived – we have no evidence the women knew of or would have remembered at the tomb this command of Jesus prior to His crucifixion. The women gave the disciples good and sufficient reasons to believe Jesus had risen from the dead, but in their state of mind they would not believe Jesus had risen until Jesus appeared to them in Jerusalem and convinced them He was alive. Later, they obeyed and saw Jesus at the Sea of Galilee as He said (where Jesus restored Peter to apostleship — see the Gospel of John chapter  21).

Study the International Bible Study
Commentary and Lessons On Matthew and Mark
or
Begin A Study of the Complete
Gospel and Letters of John
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Faith Is Possible After Failures

“‘You will all fall away,’ Jesus told them, ‘for it is written: “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered”’ (Mark 14:27).

Jesus came into the world as the Messiah and He took on the role of the Good Shepherd. Jesus told His disciples, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). On His way to lay down His life on the cross, Jesus told His disciples that according to the Scriptures the shepherd would be struck down and the sheep would be scattered. He would die and they would fall away and disown Him. They all denied that they would disown Him, and especially Peter who declared that all the others might disown Jesus, but he never would. No matter how much Peter protested, the Scriptures would be fulfilled, and Jesus foretold Peter that he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed twice, and it was so, exactly as Jesus told Peter. Jesus also told His disciples that after He rose from the dead that He would go before them into Galilee. However, they were so unbelieving they remained huddled in fear in Jerusalem until Jesus appeared to them and proved that He had risen from the dead. Later, exactly as Jesus foretold, He met them in Galilee by the Sea of Tiberius (also called the Sea of Galilee: see John 21); thus proving in another way that He who was crucified and buried had risen from the dead. Here, Jesus said three times to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” The sheep who fled when the Shepherd was struck became shepherds themselves, and flocks of Jesus’ sheep have spread around the world under the guidance of faithful shepherds.

Study the International Bible Study
Commentary and Lessons On Matthew and Mark
or
Begin A Study of the Complete
Gospel and Letters of John
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Jesus Invites You to Come and See

Jesus said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon (John 1:39).

God sent John the Baptist to prepare people for Jesus’ coming, and when John saw the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus and remain on Him, he knew Jesus was the Son of God who came to baptize people with the Holy Spirit.

One day John the Baptist saw Jesus and declared, “Behold (See) the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). When two of John’s disciples heard this, they began to follow Jesus. Then, Jesus turned to them and asked, “What are you looking for?” When they said they wanted to know where he was staying, Jesus invited them to “Come and See.” How would you answer Jesus if He invited you to “Come and See” Him? What would you look for if you followed Him to where He stayed?

The entire Gospel of John invites you to “Come and See” Jesus. Come and see who Jesus is, what Jesus has done, what Jesus can do, and what Jesus will do. Jesus Christ is the true Light that enlightens everyone, but not everyone wants the understanding that Jesus Christ alone can give everyone. Do you want to have the knowledge, understanding, and truth that Jesus gives those who “Come and See” Him? The true Light that enlightens everyone shines through the Gospel of John. John encourages you to learn more about Jesus. It is the will of God for people to become children of God by believing in the name of Jesus (believing in who Jesus is according to the Scriptures) and by receiving Jesus into their life, into their heart, to remain in their life as the Lord of their life forever. When you “Come and See” Jesus and truly come to know Jesus, you will truly love

Jesus, and you will want to follow Jesus wherever He leads. Become like Philip. He invited Nathanael to meet Jesus with the very words, “Come and See.” Keep reading the Gospel of John. “Come and See” Jesus. By seeing and believing in Jesus you can become a child of God. — L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Begin a study of the Gospel of John, with verse-by-verse commentaries, Bible Lessons, Study Questions, Study Hints, Applications, Crossword Puzzles, True and False Tests, and Word Search Puzzles, and Prayers. — L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Twelve Reasons to Follow Jesus

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus (John 1:35-37).

Andrew and John (the John who wrote the Gospel of John) became the first two disciples to follow Jesus. They first began to follow Jesus based on the facts John wrote about in the first chapter of his  gospel (John even recorded the fact that they first talked with Jesus at about four o’clock in the afternoon). A disciple was expected to learn what their teacher taught and do what their teacher said. Andrew and John were obedient servants of John the Baptist, a mighty servant and prophet of God. They eventually became disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Son of God, who taught them the truth about God and who led them to love and obey God as Jesus revealed the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to them.

Andrew and John prepared themselves to see and recognize Jesus was the Messiah by first becoming disciples of John the Baptist (no one needs to do that today). As disciples of John, they may have known that the Holy Spirit indwelt John the Baptist before John was born; if not, they recognized the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in John as a mighty prophet of God. In Luke 1:14-17, an angel told Zechariah, John’s father, some facts about John’s future before John was born: “You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” The Jews expected Elijah to come before the Messiah came, and the angel told Zechariah that his son, who became John the Baptist, would come “with the spirit and power of Elijah.” Andrew and John saw the spirit and power of Elijah in John the Baptist because the Holy Spirit indwelt John the Baptist.

As disciples of John the Baptist, Andrew and John prepared themselves spiritually to look for and meet the Messiah. They knew from the Hebrew Scriptures that they should expect the Messiah to come, but no one knew when He would come until John the Baptist began preaching as a prophet sent from God. John’s preaching and baptizing in water prepared repentant people to expect the Messiah to come very soon so they could follow Him joyfully. The Gospel of John relates many facts and reasons why Andrew and John began to follow Jesus when they did. These facts can also give us good reasons to follow Jesus too. As we read more of the Gospel of John and begin following Jesus, we will learn even more facts about Jesus and build a stronger trust in Him as our Lord and Savior. Knowing the facts will strengthen our faith and trust in Jesus.

As we follow and obey Jesus more closely, as Andrew and John did, we will learn personally what John learned about Jesus when he described Jesus as “full of grace and truth.” In John 1:14, 16 and 17, John wrote, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s only son, full of grace and truth. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

In the Gospel of John, carefully and slowly read chapter 1, verses 1-37, (or better, read the complete chapter). Consider closely the testimony of John the Baptist in John 1:19-36. As you read the testimony of John, look for the 12 facts noted below (you may find more facts than I have found). As you later begin to read and study the complete Gospel of John, you will find even more facts that give good reasons to follow Jesus and tell others about Jesus. John does give his readers more reasons to believe in and trust Jesus throughout his gospel. These 12 facts in John the Baptist’s testimony, that John recorded in chapter one of his gospel, gave Andrew and John good and sufficient reasons to leave John the Baptist and follow Jesus. Likewise, all the facts that John described in the first chapter of John are good and sufficient reasons for us to begin following Jesus now (if we are not already following Him) and keep following Jesus forever as our Lord and Savior.

The Twelve Facts

1. Andrew and John knew that John the Baptist had been sent from God because John taught and baptized them, and they became disciples (students) of John. They probably baptized some of the multitudes of repentant sinners who came to see and hear John at the Jordan River. They trusted John and what John taught as words inspired by God. They knew John was preparing people to receive the Messiah when He came. They knew the Messiah would come very soon, and they too wanted to be prepared when the Messiah came.

2. They knew that the one coming after John ranked higher than John because John taught that fact instead of pointing people to himself.

3. They did not understand all that John taught, but they understood enough. They knew that the Messiah, the one to come, was before John and would come after him. Perhaps John explained what he meant to them.

4. They knew that John had come to prepare the way for the Lord. “To make straight the way of the Lord” in fulfillment of the words of Isaiah the prophet (see John 1:23 and Fact 5 below).

5. They knew that the one to come after John would be the LORD. Briefly, in Isaiah 40:3, the Hebrew name for Yahweh was spoken aloud as LORD out of reverence for the name of God, a God and a name so holy that the Hebrews would not pronounce God’s name aloud when they read the Hebrew Scriptures; so, they said the name LORD instead of pronouncing the name Yahweh. We are not able to recognize easily this fact in the New Testament Greek text of John’s gospel (see John 1:23). Andrew and John would need to follow Jesus longer in order to learn more about the Messiah and His nature and character (which John learned later and wrote more about in the early verses of John 1 and throughout his gospel. Remember what John wrote in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

6. They knew John the Baptist had said that the Messiah to come was so great that John himself was not even worthy to untie His sandal.

7. They were present when John baptized Jesus at the Jordan River and when he pointed to Jesus and said, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (see John 1:29 and Matthew 3:13-17).

8. They knew John baptized in water so repentant people would be prepared to recognize and receive the Messiah, for that reason they had been baptized, and for that reason they recognized the Messiah when they first saw Him and heard what John said about Him.

9. They knew that when John baptized Jesus that John saw the Holy Spirit descend as a dove and remain on Jesus (John 1:32-33).

10. They knew that the one upon whom the Spirit descended and remained was one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

11. They knew that John had testified that Jesus “is the Son of God” (John 1:34). In Matthew 3:17, we learn how God spoke from heaven after Jesus was baptized: “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’”

12. They heard John say “Look, here is the Lamb of God” (John 1:36). When they heard what John said as he pointed to Jesus, they followed Jesus. As they followed Jesus, they would eventually learn what the title “Lamb of God” meant and many more truths about Jesus and His sacrifice for them.

As you read and study the Gospel of John, you will travel with Andrew and John and the other disciples of Jesus. You will learn as they learned step-by-step that Jesus is the Savior of the world, how He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and why He will return someday as He promised. You can become ready for His Second Coming even as Andrew and John were ready for His First Coming.

Begin a study of the Gospel of John, with verse-by-verse commentaries, Bible Lessons, Study Questions, Study Hints, Applications, Crossword Puzzles, True and False Tests, and Word Search Puzzles, and Prayers. — L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

The Great Mercies of God Toward Us

From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known (John 1:16-18).

God showed His great mercy to the Hebrew people when after 400 years of slavery in Egypt He led them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. During their slavery, every moment of every day they had to do what Pharaoh and their overlords told them to do. After 400 years of servitude, the Hebrews knew nothing of what it meant to live free and independent or how to govern themselves under just laws instead of a tyrant’s whims. Therefore, in His great mercy, God gave the Hebrews the law through Moses so they could know right from wrong and know how to live in a joyful and loving relationship with God and others.

If they disobeyed God’s law, in God’s great mercy the LORD gave them festivals and sacrifices that would assure them of God’s love and forgiveness, restore their love for God and one another, and point them toward their Savior to come—the Messiah, the Anointed One, the King of the universe. For these reasons and others, we read in Psalms 145:8-9, “The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.” For these and other good reasons, the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 145:10, “All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your faithful shall bless you;” that is, all Your faithful will bring You joy by how they live and by the way they love You and others.

Unhappily, the Hebrews and everyone everywhere have disobeyed the law of God in many ways. If they have not known God’s law given through Moses, they have broken the law of God written on their hearts by God. None of us can unbreak a law we have broken. We can ask for someone’s forgiveness and try to make amends, but even that will not unbreak a broken law. Therefore, God sent His only begotten Son into the world to save the world and to save us from the true moral guilt that we have. Jesus Christ came into the world to give us the grace (mercy) of God that we need. Through Jesus, we have received truth and grace upon grace. In the Old Testament, the word grace is often translated mercy. Through Jesus Christ, God has given us the assurance that we can receive grace, mercy, forgiveness, and cleansing through faith in His Son. Only Jesus can make us into people who are totally forgiven and cleansed from all sin just as though we have never broken one of God’s laws.

God could not fully display—disobedient as we have been—His grace, mercy, and love through the law that He gave Moses. Try as we might, we have not obeyed God’s law in every situation. We deserve punishment for refusing to govern ourselves according to just and good laws given to us by our loving God for our benefit. The law shows us that we have not obeyed it, that we deserve punishment, and we need God’s mercy and forgiveness.

God can fully display His justice by punishing those who have hurt others and dishonored God by their disobedience. God can fully display His grace by forgiving those who believe in and receive Jesus Christ as the Bible teaches. A just punishment will bring pain and eternal suffering to those who hate God and hurt others, but the pain and suffering of Jesus can substitute for the pain and suffering we deserve for our sins—grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. If we receive Jesus’ suffering sacrifice in our behalf, we will not need to suffer forever to display God’s justice.

To solve our most basic problems, God sent Jesus Christ to sacrifice His life for us. God the Father substituted the suffering and sacrifice of His Son for the just punishment we deserve so They could forgive us and do so with love, with justice and mercy. Together, justice and mercy express the love of God for those who have hurt others and for those they have hurt. Unhappily, all of us have hurt others and disgraced God, but God’s love can heal those we have hurt, and God’s grace can forgive us and restore us to sanity through the mercy of Jesus Christ.

Jesus died, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven to bestow upon us even more mercies. He confirmed His promises and the truths He revealed about His Father, Himself and Their purposes when He rose from the dead. Now, Jesus gives great mercies from heaven to all who follow Him. From heaven, He has poured the Holy Spirit into everyone who believes in Him and receives Him as their personal Lord and Savior. He cleanses from sin all who trust in Him. He gives His power to His followers so they can live according to the law of God—so they can love God with all our heart, mind, soul, strength, and their neighbors as themselves.

We cannot love God, others, or ourselves without the love of God abiding in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives within all who follow Jesus. The Father gives us great mercy through Jesus, and God gave Jesus, the Son of God, the power to make us children of God. As the Father’s adopted children, we can love God and others like Jesus did. In addition, through faith in Jesus we have received the gift of eternal life. The love and joy we receive from knowing God will remain within us forever. God will be with us and will love us and care for us forever. Yes. What the Psalmist revealed about God in Psalm 145:9, the Son of God revealed in human flesh, in the Gospel of John, through His Apostles, and throughout the New Testament: “The LORD is good to all, and His compassion is over all that He has made.” Every word Jesus spoke was everlasting truth. In His every word and work, Jesus showed forth the love and grace of God because Jesus is our loving Savior. He came to save us from our sins, and He will someday completely save the world from sin when He returns as He promised.

We know that everything Jesus taught and everything Jesus did showed forth the true character and nature of God, whose love includes justice and mercy for all who will believe in and receive His Son as their Lord and Savior. As John reminds us, “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (John 1:16-18). We can trust Jesus and follow Him joyfully forever, because He is still close to the Father’s heart and our heart. From Jesus, we have learned the truth about God, for Jesus is the Son of God, and Jesus has made us—those who believe in Him—children of God. ─ L. G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Begin a study of the Gospel of John, with verse-by-verse commentaries, Bible Lessons, Study Questions, Study Hints, Applications, Crossword Puzzles, True and False Tests, and Word Search Puzzles, and Prayers. — L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

The Difference in Jesus and the Difference Jesus Makes

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God (John 1:12).

The gospel of John will teach us more about Jesus as we study. John tells us who Jesus is, and we will better understand who Jesus is as we read, think, and pray. Because of Jesus and the kind of people Jesus will make us, the longer we live the more we will learn and the more we will love God.

In Genesis 1, we learn that God spoke the world into existence. In John 1:1 and 3, we learn that the Word was with God, the Word was God, and all things came into being through the Word. We exist and remain in existence because of the Word of God. The entire created universe exists and remains in existence because of the Word of God. In John 1:14, we learn “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” Jesus came into the world fully human and fully God. Jesus walked and talked to make the true God known and to make THE difference in our lives.

How do we know God and the characteristics of God that mean the most to us? In John 1:18, we learn, “It is God the only Son who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made Him known.” As an eyewitness, John saw and recorded how Jesus walked and talked. As we study John’s gospel we see and come to know God and the nature and characteristics of God. We see Jesus and understand many truths about the true God. As we study the Gospel of John, we will learn by experience the meaning of John 1:9, that Jesus is “the true light, which enlightens everyone.” In John 1, we learn that the Father and the Son (Jesus Christ) are one true God in two Persons. As we study and learn more from Jesus in John’s gospel, we will learn about the Holy Spirit who is the third Person in the one true God. The Bible reveals the fact that the one true God we trust and worship is three Persons who work perfectly together in us and in the world in different ways.

In his first chapter, John tells us three truths about Jesus that may mean more to us personally than many other truths. In John 1:14, 16, and 17, we learn that Jesus is “full of grace and truth,” that “we can receive from Jesus grace upon grace,” and “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” In his gospel, John will show and tell what these truths mean in the life of Jesus.

Someone may ask “What difference does all this make?” Jesus makes the difference. Jesus makes THE difference in our lives because He is full of grace and truth. All who believe in Jesus as the Bible reveals Jesus have received from His fullness “grace upon grace;” this means we receive ever increasing outpourings of God’s grace into our lives. Those who trust in Jesus have received the grace (mercy and unmerited favor) of the forgiveness of all our sins, the grace of cleansing from all our sins, the grace of Jesus sending the Holy Spirit (our Comforter, Guide, Helper, Power, and Advocate) to live and remain within us, and the gracious gift of eternal life in the presence of our holy and loving God forever—a new life that begins the moment we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. We can learn more about the grace of God as we read the Bible, but we will never be able to completely describe or explain every grace that we have received and will receive from Jesus day-by-day as we await His return.

In addition to receiving grace and the many gifts of grace from Jesus, we receive truth from Jesus, for Jesus is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). As we study John’s gospel, we will see that Jesus has told us the truth. Jesus declared that He is the Truth. The followers of Jesus can live with the grace and power of Jesus trusting the truth of Jesus, experiencing the love of Jesus for them, and knowing the reality of Jesus in the world as it is today. To understand the truth deeply, we must read the Gospel of John prayerfully and with the intention of living according to all the truth as quickly as we learn the truth.

In John 1:17, we learn, “The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Everyone except Jesus has broken the law of God given through Moses: the law of love that commands us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. No matter what we do, we cannot unbreak a broken law or remove our guilt and shame, but Jesus can remove our guilt and make us new creatures who can live before God the Father and Jesus as those who have never broken a law of God. In Jesus Christ, grace and truth came into our world to make us acceptable to God and acceptable to ourselves by forgiving us, cleansing us, and filling us with the Holy Spirit.

We will only live (and want to live) with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit now and forever, if we become children of God. Jesus came to make sinners into children of God, into new people, into people fit for God to indwell. How does He make this difference in us? John explained briefly in John 1:12 (we will learn more about this and how we do this as we learn more about Jesus from John): “To all who received Him, who believed in His name, he gave power to become children of God.” As you study the Gospel of John, you will receive grace upon grace, love upon love, truth upon truth, reason upon reason, and the fullness of God’s grace to believe in Jesus as the Bible reveals Jesus. God wills that when you receive Jesus and believe in the name of Jesus that Jesus will give you the power to become a child of God. As a child of God, you will be able to show and tell others: “The Difference in Jesus and the Difference Jesus Makes.” — L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Begin a study of the Gospel of John, with verse-by-verse commentaries, Bible Lessons, Study Questions, Study Hints, Applications, Crossword Puzzles, True and False Tests, and Word Search Puzzles, and Prayers. — L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

When We Feel Poor and Needy

Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy (Psalm 86:1).

Many people today feel like many who lived in the days of King David and in the days of Jesus. For this reason, many who see themselves poor and needy, if not materially then spiritually, receive help from the Psalms written by David and the teaching and presence of Jesus. Even as David prayed, many can pray today, “Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy” (Psalms 86: 1). After David told God that he felt poor and needy, he prayed for what he knew he needed most from God. God answered David’s prayer in ways that David does not totally reveal. God also answered David’s prayer for us when God sent Jesus into the world and when Jesus comes to live with us, empower us, and guide us.

In Psalms 86:11, David asked the LORD, “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.” We do not know if David prayed this prayer when he was a poor shepherd boy or after he became king and was bowed down under his sins or the responsibility of leading Israel wisely according to the law of God. We do know that if we are spiritually poor and needy or physically poor and needy or conscious of our guilt and sin God answered David’s prayer and God will answer our prayers by God’s grace through faith in Jesus.

Notice: David asked the LORD, “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth.” Even though David was poor and needy, he wanted to walk in the truth of God, which was more important to David than God meeting his personal needs. If or when we are poor and needy, do we want to walk in the truth of God? Is walking in the truth of God more important to us than having God give us what we want in material ways?

Though David committed some grievous sins, we know from his psalms that he practiced walking in the truth of God, though imperfectly, as the LORD led him. God also answered at David’s prayer for those who heard Jesus teach as He walked on Earth, and God does so for us when we turn to Jesus. Remember what Jesus promised in John 14:6- 7, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

If we seek God and pray, “Teach me your way, O LORD,” we only need to look to Jesus, Who is the Way, for our answer—just as Jesus has revealed himself in the Bible. The Way, the teaching of the Way, is not a new set of laws, commandments, or recommendations. The Way is the living Person, Jesus the Messiah, the only begotten Son of God. When we go to Jesus, we find Jesus is already near us, and He will empower us and lead us daily and personally according to His teachings in the Bible.

When we follow Jesus, He answers the second part of David’s prayer for us. David wanted to walk in the truth of God. When we walk with the Way and walk in the Way as Jesus leads, we walk in the Truth of God, Who is Jesus. When we walk in the Truth of God, we have spiritual life because Jesus is the Life. Furthermore, though we may be poor and needy in this world, Jesus, Who reigns as King of the universe, lives with us and within us, and He helps us day-by-day to trust Him and follow Him. Jesus gives us the Truth and the Life we seek as we walk with Him Who is our Way. Beyond all this, when we believe in and trust Jesus, Jesus will come to live within us and set up His kingly throne within our hearts. He will heal our divided hearts with His abundant love. With hearts made whole, we can pray with confidence and practice what Jesus taught in John 15:7-10, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

When Jesus comes and brings the love of God into our hearts, we will pray as David did in Psalms 86:12, “I give thanks to you, O LORD, my God (see how personal the LORD has become to David) with my whole heart (the LORD has made David’s heart whole as Jesus does for everyone who trusts Him) and I will glorify (keep Jesus’ commandments to love God and others) your name forever.”

Why did God do all this for David and why does God do all this for all who follow Jesus, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life? In Psalms 86: 13, David tells us why: “For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.” No matter what, Jesus loves. When we seek to follow Jesus, we experience His love more and more; we love Jesus more and more; we know Jesus’ deliverance from our deepest distress, and we know of His forgiveness of our worst sins—of ALL our sins. We know Jesus, His love, and His deliverance of us from the depths Sheol, as Paul wrote in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” As followers of Jesus, we know something of the greatness of God’s steadfast love, and we pray for God to give us whole hearts to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and our neighbors as ourselves. — L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Begin a study of the Gospel of John, with verse-by-verse commentaries, Bible Lessons, Study Questions, Study Hints, Applications, Crossword Puzzles, True and False Tests, and Word Search Puzzles, and Prayers. — L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.