We have learned that more than eighty percent of the facts stated in John’s Gospel concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ are not found in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
In all Four Gospels we find the record of the feeding of the five thousand, the so-called triumphant entry, the betrayal of Christ by Judas, Christ in Gethsemane, Peter’s denial of Christ, Christ before the high priest, Christ before Pilate, Christ’s crucifixion, the burial of Christ’s body by Joseph and the resurrection ministry of Christ.
In the matter of Christ’s betrayal, trial, death, His sayings on the cross, and His resurrection ministry, John gives some facts not mentioned in the other Records, and he omits many facts stated in the other Records. According to John’s Record, Christ went to Gethsemane following His wonderful prayer, in the seventeenth chapter. That prayer is recorded only in John’s Gospel. Gethsemane was over the brook Cedron. Christ and His disciples had often resorted thither. John 18:1 and 2.
A mob from the chief priests and Pharisees came into the garden with lanterns, torches and weapons. Try to visualize this night scene: an angry mob after the greatest Benefactor the human race has ever known. That mob was led by one of the disciples of the Son of God.
Note John 18:4:
“Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?”
Here we learn again that Jesus Christ knew all things and that His rejection and murder came as no surprise; but it did bring Him much grief.
We note in John 18:6, that when Christ said, “I AM”, they went backward and fell on the ground. We have learned that Christ called Himself “I AM” more than twenty times in John’s Record. Undoubtedly here He, in some way, momentarily manifested His Deity. But immediately He yielded to them. John 18:10 and 11.
Note in this connection what Christ said to Pilate in John 18:36:
“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
Again in John 19:10 and 11:
“Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.”
Here again we remember the sayings of Romans 15:3:
“For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”
This was in fulfillment of the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah.
Note Isaiah 53:7:
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.”
BEHOLD THE LAMB—THE MAN—YOUR KING
John 1:29—John 19:5—John 18:37
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” “Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe, And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!” “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!” John 1:29; 19:5; and 19:14.
Pilate asked of Jesus, “Art Thou a King then?” John 18:37.
Note Christ’s answer:
“ . . . Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” John 18:37.
Christ became the Man to be God’s Lamb and God’s King; Israel’s King.
Note the Father’s will concerning His Son, who is also Head of the Church, Which is His Body
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18.
We have observed that in John’s Gospel very little is mentioned concerning the physical, literal aspect of Christ’s kingdom on earth, concerning David’s throne which Christ was born to occupy.
Note these words in Luke 1:32 and 33:
“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
We do not read the words of John the Baptist in John’s Record, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In the first chapter John the Baptist says, “Behold, the Lamb of God Which beareth away the sin of the world.”
We have learned that the King is rejected in the very first chapter of John, “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.” “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
Let us note John 6:15:
“When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”
Here Christ refused to be made King. He had to be the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. He will return to earth to be a King, the King of Kings.
The mob led Christ, bound, from Gethsemane to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas. John 18:12 and 13. He was treated as a felon. Remember His words in John 15:25: “they hated Me without a cause.”
Then note John 18:24:
“Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.”
Early in the morning they led Christ before Pilate.
Note John 18:29 to 31:
“Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.”
“The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”
Note Pilate’s verdict in John 18:38, “I find no fault in Him.”
Note again John 19:4 and 6:
“Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.” “When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.”
WE HAVE A LAW
Note John 19:7:
“The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”
They referred to the law as recorded in Leviticus 24:16:
“And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.”
The Jews said, “it is not lawful for us to put any man to death.” Pilate acknowledged that Jesus Christ had broken no law of the Roman government. The trial of Christ was illegal in every way. The witnesses were false witnesses who had been paid to swear to a lie. Christ’s execution by the decree of Pilate was contrary to justice.
Note the Jews’ final appeal to Pilate the politician:
“And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.” John 19:12 and 15.
We however note these words of Christ and the Holy Spirit in favor of Pilate, “He that delivereth Me unto thee hath the greater sin.” John 19:11. “His Son Jesus, Whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate when he was determined to let Him go.” Acts 3:13.
We read all of the foregoing in the light of Acts 2:23:
“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”
We have also referred to Acts 4:27 and 28:
“For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.”
The death of Christ was inevitable. He said, “For this cause came I unto this hour.” John 12:27. But this did not excuse the sin of Israel:
“Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers.” Acts 7:52.
It was God’s determinate counsel and foreknowledge, but by Israel’s wicked hands.
Therefore note again Christ’s words in Matthew 22:7:
“But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.”
Note these plain words of Christ in John 8:37, 40 and 44:
“I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.”
“But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.” “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
IT IS FINISHED
“And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews; for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.” John 19:19 to 22. “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” John 19:26 and 27.
“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, IT IS FINISHED: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. And again another Scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.” John 19:28 to 30 and 37.
Let us again carefully note John 6:28 and 29:
“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
Again John 8:24:
“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”
Here we note that man’s first work in the gospel of grace is to believe on God’s Son.
In Luke 10:28 we read Christ’s words to the man who was under the law, reducing the law to the two great love commandments. To him Christ said, “This do and thou shalt live.” But he could not do what he was given to do; so he could not live by doing.
In John 8:24, “if ye believe not, ye shall die in your sins.” “Do and live.” Impossible. “Believe not and die.” “Believe and live.” Possible. “The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Something of Christ’s finished work is told in Hebrews 10:12: “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”
and Hebrews 9:12:
“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
Then in Hebrews 12:2 Christ is called “the Author and Finisher of our faith.” We often speak of the finished work of Christ on the cross. There He cried “finished.” But there was more to be done. “He abolished death and brought life and incorruptibility to light through the gospel.” II Timothy 1:10.
Then note Hebrews 7:25:
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
This word “uttermost” is from the Greek “pan-teleo.” The word Christ spoke on the cross, “finished” is from the Greek “teleo,” “the end” or “the finish.” “Pan” means “whole” or “all.” “Panteleo” has the thought of “all the way to the end.”
Note Philippians 1:6:
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
The word “perform” is from the Greek “epi-teleo.” “Epi” has the meaning of “thoroughly” or “fully.”
TO FINISH HIS WORK
Let us note Christ’s words in John 4:34:
“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
“But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” John 5:36. “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” John 5:17. “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” John 17:4.
The Father gave the Son some very definite work to do.
That Son said:
“And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him: John 8:29.
What did that Son say in John 18:11?
“Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”
Note Christ’s words in Matthew 20:28:
“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
“FOR THIS CAUSE CAME I UNTO THIS HOUR.”
He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Hebrews 9:26. He was made for the suffering of death, to taste death for every man. Hebrews 2:9. He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:8. Note this deep mystery in Hebrews 5:8 and 9:
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”
So we read again Acts 13:29 and 30:
“And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead.”
The word “fulfilled” here is from the same Greek word which Christ cried on the cross, “telex.”
When all prophecy was finished, concerning the sufferings of Christ, they took Him down from the tree and put Him in the sepulchre. “But God raised Him from the dead.” This is the story of John, chapters 19 to 21.
Note John 19:28, 36 and 37:
“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.” “For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another Scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.”
With the nineteenth chapter of John read carefully the twenty-second Psalm. Remember that crucifixion was never used by any one at the time the Psalms were written and yet we read in Psalms 22:14 to 16:
“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet “
Note also in Psalms 22:1 and 18:
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.”
All the way from the manger to the open sepulchre, Jesus was born and lived and spoke and did everything that He did, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. Many times the Jews tried to stone Him to death.
That was the Jews’ method of putting lawbreakers to death.
But note these words in John 18:32:
“That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke, signifying what death he should die.”
and John 19:37:
“And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.”
Try to imagine the weeping and rejoicing that will take place when Zechariah 12:10 shall be fulfilled:
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
Perhaps you have wondered with me why more Jews do not realize and confess the great sin of their forefathers, in repudiating the claims of Christ, in rejecting Him and demanding that He be crucified.
But we remember the words of John 12:39 and 40:
““therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”
THAT SABBATH—A HIGH DAY
We note in John 19:31 that the devout Jews, who were religious sabbath-keepers, did not want Christ’s body on the cross on that sabbath day which was a high day.
There have been many arguments as to whether or not Christ was crucified on Friday. Christ said that His body was to be in the earth three days and three nights.
Note these words in Matthew 12:39 and 40:
“ . . . The sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
The argument is, that if Christ died Friday afternoon and was raised before day on the first day of the week, His body was not in the grave three days and three nights, therefore He must have died before Friday. Some claim that the high day sabbath was not Israel’s sabbath. But whether or not He died on the day we now call Friday, He arose on the first day of the week.
“The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.” John 20:1. “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” John 20:19. “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.” John 20:26. “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Acts 20:7.
Then it seems that the day of Pentecost was also the first day of the week.
We learn from these Scriptures that there is a great difference between Israel’s sabbath and the first day of the week. Although it has been by rather general agreement that the first day of the week has been called the Christian sabbath, there is no Scriptural authority for so doing.
Neither can be sure that there is any scriptural authority for calling the first day of the week “the Lord’s day.” This has been done by some Christians who have taught that John was referring to the first day of the week in Revelation 1:10:
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.”
Let us note here several Scriptures:
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Colossians 2:16 and 17.
“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” Romans 14:5 and 6. “Ye observe days, and months, and times and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” Galatians 4:10 and 11.
Let us learn from Ephesians 1:3 and 2:6 that members of Christ’s body are a heavenly people, seated with Christ in the heavenlies and blessed with spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. We are not under the law. Sabbath is cessation of work: rest. We rest in Christ, Who is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. We have no religious holy days. We have no ritualism or religious program. We are complete in Christ. He is our life. We are identified with Him in His death, His burial and His resurrection, as new creatures. He arose the first day of the week to become the Head of the New Creation, the One New Man of Ephesians 2:15.
We should be delighted to gather in His name on the first day of the week to remember His resurrection and ours, whether or not we call it the Lord’s day.
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
“For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” John 20:9.
In this connection we think of Mark 9:9 and 10:
“And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.”
Note also Luke 18:33 and 34:
“And they shall scourge him, and put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”
For centuries Israel has been taught concerning the resurrection of the dead. But the resurrection from the dead or “out from among the dead” was something new. Israel had never been taught that between the first advent and the second advent of the Messiah there would be years and centuries, that Christ would be the first to rise from the dead; and that He would go back to heaven to remain in His glorified body during these centuries; that He would be the Head of the Church which is His Body during God’s reign of grace and then return and be Israel’s King. So far as Israel was concerned, the truth of the Lord’s program for His Body during this age was a secret.
Some years after God had ushered in this present age, Christ, in heaven revealed God’s spiritual program for this age to the Apostle Paul.
Concerning the resurrection Paul wrote:
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” I Corinthians 15:51 and 52.
He wrote in I Corinthians 15:21 and 22:
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Note verse 23. Christ was the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.
Note Philippians 3:20 and 21:
“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
Concerning the present age Paul wrote:
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words.” Ephesians 3:1 to 3.
And note also Ephesians 3:9, that God wants His servants to make known the dispensation of the mystery.
TILL I COME
Note John 21:21 to 23:
“Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet. Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”
Many saints will be alive when Christ comes. This we learn in I Thessalonians 4:13 to 18. Peter and John died many years ago. And surely we know that saint Peter is not in heaven at the gate. As to the resurrection of Peter, John, Paul and all the saints of God God’s truth is: “Afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.”
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” I Thessalonians 4:16 and 17.
HE SHEWED UNTO THEM HIS HANDS AND HIS SIDE
“And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you; as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”
John 20:20 to 23.
In Acts 1:3, we learn that Christ shewed Himself alive after His death by many infallible proofs. In John Chapters 20 and 21, we have several of the infallible proofs recorded.
The little company of disciples were assembled behind closed doors. It is not difficult to imagine what they were thinking about and talking about. They were thinking about the miracle of miracles, the resurrection of Christ. They were afraid. They feared the Jews. Peter had so feared them before he had denied Christ. In the midst of their fear they heard the words, “Peace”—“Peace be unto you.” It was the first day of the week. The resurrected Jesus stood in their presence to repeat the message He had spoken before His death “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
When the Lord Jesus shewed His disciples the place in His hands where the nails had fastened Him to the cross and the mark where the spear had been in His side, they were glad. There must have been strange sensations in their hearts and minds. In spite of the determined opposition of the Jews, twelve of them were to make their headquarters right in the midst of the Jews in Jerusalem and most of them were to remain there and testify to the Jews that the Jesus Whom they had crucified was both Lord and Christ. We have this testimony some months later, concerning these twelve men now locked in because of their fear of the Jews:
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Acts 5:42.
This is not the last time that John, on earth, saw the resurrected Christ. It was perhaps more than fifty years later when Christ appeared to John, who was an exile in Patmos. Note what Christ said:
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:18.
GOD’S APOSTLE—CHRIST’S APOSTLES
In Hebrews 3:1 and 2 we read:
“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, Who was faithful to him that appointed him . . . “
Christ was God’s Apostle to Israel. The word “apostle” is from the Greek word “send.” Now Christ was to have some apostles.
“AS MY FATHER HATH SENT ME EVEN SO SEND I YOU”
For some reason the so-called “great commission” of Matthew 28:19 and 20 and Mark 16:14 to 18 is not repeated in John’s Gospel. But Christ sent them to carry on His work.
RECEIVE YE THE HOLY SPIRIT
There has been much misunderstanding and speculation because of the seeming discrepancies between John 20:22 and Luke 24:49:
“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.”
John 20:22. “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:49.
Why were they to tarry at Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit, if Christ had breathed on them and said, “receive ye the Holy Spirit.” Christ had already told them that the Holy Spirit was with them and that He would be in them. John 14:17.
Some have taught that they received the Holy Spirit in them when Christ spoke the words of John 20:22. But later on they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Some even go so far as to teach that Christians today must receive the Holy Spirit to be saved and subsequently receive the Holy Spirit baptism to be sanctified.
By reading Acts 11:12 to 18, we learn that Cornelius had no such experience; when he heard words whereby he was to be saved he was baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Then we notice God’s order in I Corinthians 6:11 and II Corinthians 2:21 and 22. The Corinthians were sanctified, but many of them did wrong. They had the Holy Spirit in their hearts; but some of them defrauded one another. I Corinthians 6:7 to 10.
Note I Corinthians 6:11: “but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified.” How? By the Spirit of our God. Note “sanctified” is placed before “justified.” Note God’s order again in II Thessalonians 2:13:
“But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”
Here we are taught in no uncertain language that sanctification precedes salvation.
In Ephesians 4:30 we are taught that the believer may grieve the Holy Spirit, but by the Holy Spirit he is sealed unto the day of redemption. In Ephesians 1:13 the words, “after that ye believed” are translated from one Greek word “pisteusantes,” the participle of the word “believe.” “Believing” ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit. This same Greek “pisteusantes” is incorrectly translated in Acts 19:2—“since ye believed.”
Tarrying-meetings for the Holy Spirit have never been in God’s program since the days of the twelve apostles. We do not tarry or work for God’s free gifts. We take God’s gifts by faith.
Eternal life, salvation, sanctification, redemption, regeneration, peace and the Holy Spirit are all the free gifts of God to believing sinners. Believers do not receive the Holy Spirit on the installment plan.
Note Romans 8:32:
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
However, we have not reconciled John 20:22 and Luke 24:29. It is suggested by some Bible teachers that Christ did say in John 20:22, “receive ye the Holy Spirit.” But He did not mean immediately. He was saying in different language what He said in Luke 24:29 that they would soon receive the Holy Spirit.
There are others who teach, that not only did the apostles receive the Holy Spirit when Christ spoke the words of John 20:22, but that that was the beginning of the New Testament Church.
It seems, from the careful reading of Acts 1:5, and all of the second chapter of Acts, we may be positive that the Lord’s disciples entered into a new experience in the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
WHOSE SOEVER SINS YE REMIT
There has been much discussion as to the meaning of Christ’s words in John 20:23:
“Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”
There is no doubt that special Divine prerogatives, power and authority were given to the apostles. But as to the forgiveness of sins, we think of the words of Mark 2:7:
“Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?”
We join in the question, “What man hath power to forgive sins?”
Note these several verses from the ministry of Peter and Paul.
Acts 10:25 and 26
“And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.”
“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
I Peter 5:5
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
Acts 14:12 to 15
“And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:”
“Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.”
Any child of God can forgive sins just as the apostles did; by preaching forgiveness and cleansing by the blood of Jesus Christ; remembering the words of Paul in I Corinthians 3:7 and 8: “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God That giveth the increase. He that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”
As to the teaching of apostolic succession, such teaching is scripturally controverted by the message of Paul in Galatians 2:6 to 15. Read these verses in your Bible.
Matthias succeeded Judas. Acts 1:20 to 26. That is the only case of apostolic succession in the Bible. Paul took his own place. He was born out of due time. Read I Corinthians 15:3 to 10.
After the Holy Spirit, in Acts 13:2, separated Paul for his unique apostleship, there is no record of the sayings and doings of the Twelve in the Book of Acts, except as they have dealings with Paul. Paul was the special ambassador, apostle and teacher of the Gentiles and the custodian of the highest truths concerning the Church (Body). But Paul never forgave sins except as he preached Christ.
Note his words in Romans 10:14 and 15:
“How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
BLESSED ARE THEY THAT HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET HAVE BELIEVED
Note the words in I Peter 1:8:
“Whom having not seen ye love: in Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
Thomas saw and believed.
Note the Scripture:
“The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” John 20:25, 27 and 28.
Thomas was convinced. We learn in John 11:16 that Thomas was a man of extraordinary courage. The name “Thomas” is never mentioned after the day of Pentecost. It would be of great interest to know more of his apostleship. He must have been an uncompromising defender of the faith. We may well imagine that after his words, “my Lord and my God,” in his preaching he must have specialized in the eternal Deity of Christ. We are living today under the reign of grace when we must believe and then see. Some one has said, the world says “show me and I will believe.” God says, “believe Me and I will shew you.”
THE APOSTLES GO FISHING
After Thomas worshipped Christ, he went fishing with Peter and some of the other apostles. John 21:1 to 14. Jesus stood on the shore. That night the apostles had caught nothing. But by Jesus’ Word, what a difference! John 21:6 and 11.
“And He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore and now they were not able to draw it for the multitudes of fishes.” “Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.”
Some one has said that there were about 153 nations on the earth at that time. Christ said, “Come and dine.” What a meal!
Now in closing we quote John 21:15 to 25
“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”
It has been suggested that Christ asked the question of Peter three times because Peter had denied Him three times.
In II Peter 1:13 to 15 we read Peter’s words as to how he was to shortly put off his tabernacle in fulfillment of Christ’s words in John 21:18. In Acts 12:1 to 10 we learn how Herod tried to kill Peter; but Peter was to die when he was old.
Note the number of books that should be written if all of the wonderful works and words of Christ were recorded.
1. What is said in John 18:1 and 2 concerning Christ, His disciples, and the Garden across the brook Cedron?
2. What did the mob carry when they went to Gethsemene, led by Judas?
3. What happened to the mob when Christ said, “I AM”? Then what did Christ say as He permitted them to bind Him and lead Him away?
4. Why did Christ tell Peter to put up his sword? What did Christ say to Pilate concerning His kingdom in John 18:36?
5. To whom did the band of men first lead Christ? Then to whom? What was the first thing Pilate said according to John 18 when Christ appeared before him?What time of day was it?
6. What was Pilate’s opinion as to Christ’s guilt or sin? Name several propositions which Pilate made to the Jews.
7. What did the Jews say to Pilate in John 19:7 and 19:12?
8. How did Christ compare Pilate’s guilt with that of the Jews? Who were gathered together against Christ according to Acts 4:27? What verse in Psalms prophesied this?
9. Quote several Scriptures to prove that Jesus Christ’s death was neither premature nor accidental; that His death was inevitable.
10. What verses in Psalms 22 were fulfilled when Christ was on the cross? In what language and where were the words written, “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews”?
11. What is the meaning of the word of Christ on the cross, “finished”? In what verse in Hebrews 12 is Christ called the Author and Finisher of our faith? In what verse of Hebrews 7 do we learn of the believer’s uttermost salvation?
12. Quote Acts 13:29 and 30 and explain same. Why did not Christ permit the Jews to stone Him to death?
13. What is said in John 20:9 concerning the ignorance of Peter and John as to Christ’s resurrection? Peter and John ran to the sepulchre. Who beat in the race? Who went into the sepulchre first?
14. What did Paul say about Christ’s and the Christians’ resurrection of the dead in I Corinthians 15:21 to 23? What is the order of the resurrection in I Thessalonians 4:15 to 18?
15. What did the Lord say to His disciples when He showed them His hands and His aide? Why were they behind closed doors?
16. Which two of the twelve apostles were absent when Christ came in their midst and showed them His hands and His feet? What did one of them say? Then what did that one say eight days later when Christ appeared again?
17. Explain John 20:22 “Receive ye the Holy Spirit” And John 20:23, “Whose soever sins ye remit”
18. Who went fishing with Peter after this visit of the resurrected Christ? Who stood on the shore and gave orders to the fishermen? How many fish did they catch? Who said “Come and dine”?
19. What question did Christ ask Peter three times? What three answers did Peter give? What lesson did Christ teach Peter by binding him with the girdle?
20. Quote again the last verses of John 20 and of John 21.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.