Friday, March 27, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 29, 2015

Over 75,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

THE ONE WHO COMES
(JESUS’ Temple will be called a place of prayer)
(Mark 11:1-18, John 2:13-25)

Mark chapter 11 marks the beginning of the last week of JESUS’ physical life here on Earth. John Mark opens the chapter with a vivid description of JESUS, setting the stage for HIS “triumphant entry” into Jerusalem. It is the last leg of JESUS’ incredible journey in route to HIS own execution.
When JESUS rode into Jerusalem that day, HE claimed to be a King, however, by riding in on a Donkey, HE was claiming specifically to be a King of peace. This was in sharp contrast to everything the people had expected from JESUS in the end. We even see them greeting HIM, as the “Son of David”, and probably expected HIM to come into Jerusalem that day with fierce fighting, as David had done some 950 years before HIM, but even now, they didn’t seem to understand the whole purpose of JESUS’ ministry.
Here we see them thinking of JESUS’ arrival at Jerusalem, as a long-awaited, physical conquest that was about to take place. It is even suggested in their shouts of “Hosanna” in verse 9, which means “save us now”. Their welcome was one that befitted a Conqueror, who was there to slay the enemy of HIS people, however, by the end of the week, JESUS HIMSELF, would be treated as an enemy to the Jews.
When JESUS arrived in Jerusalem, HE went directly to the Temple and cast out the unsavory characters that were found within. In the Greek, the word the Apostle Paul uses to describe GOD’s goodness, as in “the goodness by which HE can rebuke and discipline us”, is “agathosune” ( ag-ath-o-soo-nay). It is a word that does not occur in secular Greek. This is the word that applies to JESUS’ actions in verses 15-17, when HE ejected the robbers and moneychangers from the temple because they had desecrated GOD’s Holy Place.
By overcharging the people for animals, used to give as sacrifices to GOD at the Temple, and, by charging them too large of a fee to convert their money over to the proper local currency, they were, in effect, blocking these people from worshipping GOD. Here, JESUS seeks to remind us not to block anyone from worshipping GOD, and, that GOD loves, not just the Jews, but, all the nations of the world.
There is, perhaps, no other place in Scriptures, where we feel reminded, that we need to make a more conscious effort to be fair in our dealings with each other. There were many crooked people in the Temple Court that day, but there were also many others, whose hearts were set on GOD. The LORD will never hold blameless, those who make it hard, or impossible for others to worship HIM.
False teachers and ministers who deceitfully profess to be men of GOD are always more concerned with imposing their ways of doing things, on their congregation, than they are with preaching and teaching the word of GOD, or the salvation of their flocks. Remember, JESUS didn’t send everyone in the temple away that day, but rather, it only those who were blocking the worship of GOD, by making it difficult, or impossible for the poorest among them to afford animal sacrifices used in worship of HIM.
In the Apostle John’s Gospel account, in chapter 2, verses 13-25, unlike the three Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, JESUS’ cleansing of the temple at Jerusalem comes at the beginning of JESUS’ ministry, rather than near the end. This fact, and, the differences in their narrations, leads most scholars to believe that there were probably two temple cleansings performed by JESUS, during HIS three-year ministry, one at the beginning, which caught the people by surprise, and a second in the third and final year, probably during HIS “passion week”. This second cleansing (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) probably contributed more heavily to the Jewish leader’s plans and desires to kill JESUS.
In John’s account, at the time of the annual Jewish Passover, JESUS went up to Jerusalem, as was HIS custom, and visited the temple, most likely to teach and preach. However, in the “court of the Gentiles”, the outermost court of the temple, the Jews had begun a tradition of buying and selling animals used for sacrifices at the temple, during Passover. They rationalized these activities, as providing a convenience for the pilgrims, who had journeyed into Jerusalem from afar, and needed lambs, or doves, or, needed their currency changed over to the local currency so that they could participate in the Passover rituals and celebrations. 
Unfortunately, like all of the best-laid plans of men, abuses soon developed, and pilgrims became, more often than not, victims of scams and high prices, by corrupt dealers and merchants. For instance, they had even begun to charge an admission fee, or dues, in order to enter into the temple during Passover.
When JESUS saw all of this corrupt activity, taking place in the House of GOD, HE made HIMSELF a whip from some ropes and chased all of the merchants and moneychangers, and their livestock, out of the temple. HE then walked over to those who sold doves and instructed them to take their birds and leave the temple also, because they were turning the house of GOD into a marketplace that was attracting robbers and thieves.
When the angry Jewish leaders, who were, no doubt, getting their cut from the temple proceeds, asked JESUS, “What right did HE have to clear the temple?”, and, to show them a miraculous sign if HIS authority came from the LORD, JESUS responded by telling them to “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”.
Now it had been 46 years since King Herod the great had started rebuilding on the temple that Zerubbabel and his crew had constructed, following the Israelites 70-year stint in Babylonian captivity. Herod had decided that he would restore the temple back to the glorious state that King Solomon had brought to it, during his prosperous reign. However, the temple that JESUS spoke of was the temple of HIS OWN body, a statement that the spiritual-less Pharisees were incapable of hearing, and actually, so too were HIS disciples, at that time.
The disciples, however, did recall this statement after JESUS’ Resurrection, and because of the many miraculous signs and wonders that JESUS performed at the Passover, many other people were also convinced that HE was truly the MESSIAH. However, JESUS didn’t trust them, because HE knew what people were like. After all, HE was present at the beginning of creation (John 1:1), and so no one needed to tell HIM about human nature.
JESUS disrupted the ungodly activities that were taking place at the temple in Jerusalem because it had become a den of robbers and thieves whose greatest sin was that, they were blocking the poor, who couldn’t afford their services, from worshiping GOD in the temple during Passover.
Notice how differently JESUS handled those who sold doves (John 2:16). The dove was mostly used by the poor as an acceptable sacrifice for Passover worship, but their product may have been hard for the poor to acquire because of temple admission fees, and the exorbitant money exchanging fees, that were required before the purchase.
JESUS was not protesting against the sacrificial system itself, however, here, the purpose of the sacrifices was being lost to the criminal element. Then too, the merchants were also transacting their business inside the temple in the only area where the Gentiles were permitted to enter, thus, they were also blocking the Gentile’s opportunity and right to worship peacefully.
And so, even though the dove merchants were providing a similar temple service for the poor, they were still, in tandem with the other merchants, blocking another segment of GOD’s people from worship, in this case, the Gentiles. Here in this passage, JESUS is clearly showing us that GOD will not hold blameless, anyone, who blocks another human being, made in HIS spiritual image, from worshipping HIM, at any time, not in the Christian Church of the first century, and certainly not in the Christian Church today.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website



Friday, March 20, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 22, 2015

Over 74,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT
(JESUS empowers us with the HOLY SPIRIT)
(John 20-19-31)

The Christian Church should never endeavor to follow man-made policies, but rather, should always aspire to adhere to the will of CHRIST JESUS. The Church fails when it tries to solve problems within its own wisdom and strength, and omits the will and guidance of GOD, through the Holy Scriptures that are already written. It tends to cast doubt on the Christian belief structure, already put in place by CHRIST, through the holy and divine instructions of GOD the FATHER, and exhibits an inadequate faith, or inadequate view of GOD, as far as us trusting in HIS superior wisdom.
In John chapter 20, verses 19-29, JESUS invites all doubters to accept and believe in HIM. We see chronicled in these verses, the first two times JESUS appeared to HIS disciples during the forty-day period following HIS Resurrection. The first occurred on the day of the resurrection, and the second occurred eight days later. On the evening of Resurrection Sunday, the chosen Disciples of CHRIST JESUS were meeting behind locked doors, because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. They feared that the Jewish leaders would be seeking to kill them, just as they had slain JESUS three days earlier. They had not yet received the courage from the HOLY SPIRIT that they would need to carry out the commission of CHRIST.
Suddenly, JESUS was standing among them saying, “Peace be with you”, a phrase HE would repeat three times, twice in the first visit, and once more in the second visit. During these post-Resurrection visits, JESUS was seeking to strengthen and encourage HIS Disciples, and get them to finally believe in HIM. HE sought to instill in them, the “Divine Viewpoint” they would need in order to convince others to also believe. The phrase “HE breathed on them” is translated from the Aramaic idiom meaning, “HE gave them courage”. That encouragement came in the form of “the promise of the HOLY SPIRIT”.
JESUS tells HIS chosen men in verse 23 that, “Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained” (KJV). This statement has been the subject of much controversial debate over the centuries, however, here JESUS is saying, quite simply that, “a saved person, who embodies the HOLY SPIRIT of GOD, and has been granted mercy and forgiveness as a result, has in turn, been granted the power of forgiving sins committed against us, and thereby, against GOD. If we forgive anyone’s sins, as a saved person, those sins are forgiven because GOD is in total agreement with “forgiveness” and “being merciful toward one another.
In the Greek, the word used here for “forgive” is “apheimi” and it means, quite literally, to “send away”, “wipe away”, or “restore a relationship back into a condition of wholeness or rightness”. In essence, sharing the Gospel also places us in a role of forgiving, or not forgiving of sins, depending on the response of the hearer. Even when we, as Christians, receive a person’s request for salvation, and we subsequently lead them to CHRIST, we are, quite literally, giving that person an opportunity to turn from their sins and turn to GOD, so that their sins can be forgiven. It is the same as the opportunity that JESUS gives all of us, by way of HIS vicarious sacrifice, and the HOLY SPIRIT in us, bears witness to that (Acts 5:31-32, Ephesians 1:6-8). It is still the great privilege of the Church to convey the message of GOD’s forgiveness to men.
In contrast, the word used this passage for “retain”, or “un-forgiven” is “krateo” (krat-eh-o), and it means “to leave something or someone in the same state or condition of brokenness as they were found”. As saved people, Christians, because we embody the HOLY SPIRIT, allow people to “retain their condition of spiritual brokenness” when we don’t forgive or extend forgiveness and mercy to those who seek it from us. An “un-forgiving spirit” makes it impossible to restore “relationships” with GOD, and our fellowman, back to a condition of rightness and wholeness.
Eight days later (Vs.24-29), JESUS reappears to HIS Disciples. During the first visit, Thomas, who was one of HIS original Disciples, was not present. JESUS, knowing of Thomas’ doubts, invites him to examine the scars of the wounds on HIS hands and in HIS side, so that he too, would finally believe. After Thomas had done this, he proclaimed definitively these words; “My LORD, my GOD!”
Then JESUS told Thomas, “You believe because you have seen ME. Blessed are those who haven’t seen ME, and believe anyway”. That statement depicts the very fiber of the Christian Faith. Only those who walk by faith, and believe in CHRIST JESUS, can ever enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Thomas never lacked courage, but he was a natural pessimist. There was never any doubt that he loved JESUS, however, the cross was only what he humanly expected, just as all the other disciples did also. They saw death on JESUS’ cross that Friday, as being the end, but now, as a result of JESUS’ visits, they began to clearly understand on that Sunday evening (and for Thomas, on that Monday week), that this life, is not the final act of the “human drama”. And we too, as Christians, must also come to that realization, because JESUS truly is “the Resurrection and the Life, and HE offers that “Eternal Life”, only to those who believe in HIM.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander




                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website






Friday, March 13, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 15, 2015

Over 74,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH
(Sadness will be turned to joy because JESUS overcame the world)
(John 16:5-32)

The departure of JESUS was necessary, no matter how painful it would be for HIS disciple. By now, they were so wrapped up in their own depression and problems that, not even Thomas cared to ask JESUS where it was that HE was going. They didn’t quite realize how beneficial JESUS’ leaving would be for them, and, for the world at large. For without HIS death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, there could be no Gospel to preach and teach, or any atonement for sin, or, salvation. Furthermore, the HOLY SPIRIT could not be released into the lives of believers for all time, to help guide us and comfort us in our inevitable times of need.
The COMFORTER is the SPIRIT of GOD that was promised to us by the ancient prophets, and now, JESUS HIMSELF. HE came to the world to stay and abide in those who believed on CHRIST on the day of the original Pentecost. JESUS informed us that the HOLY SPIRIT’s ministry would consist of reproving the world of sin, righteousness, and, judgment.
Sin in the world, reached an all-time high with the crucifixion of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. And even today, our greatest sin continues to be our unbelief in HIM (v.9). When the world crucified JESUS, we, in effect, showed GOD that we thought HIS ONE and ONLY SON, was unrighteous. Righteousness was vindicated with the resurrection and ascension of CHRIST, and now the HOLY SPIRIT has come to convict us of our own faulty views of JESUS, and to inspire us to proclaim the truth of HIS Gospel to the same kind of world that slew HIM, way back in the first century on Calvary.
And finally, the HOLY SPIRIT’s convicting work is concerned with judgment. The death and resurrection of CHRIST condemned satan, the prince of this world, to eternal damnation. People, who are rebelling against GOD, through sin, face the same defeat and judgment as satan has obtained. And just as JESUS brought glory to GOD, so too, will the HOLY SPIRIT bring glory to CHRIST JESUS.
In verses 16-32, JESUS’ private teachings to HIS disciples shift from the subject of the HOLY SPIRIT and HIS future work, to what the immediate future held for each of them individually, and, as a group. Verses 16-24 deals mostly with the emotions of HIS disciples, as, at this point, they were in deep sorrow, and, were also confused about some of JESUS’ sayings. They were also afraid and really, in truth, were not having a particularly good night.
The phrase, “in a little while”, that is used by JESUS in this passage was very confusing to this, now depressed, group of men. They wondered among themselves just what JESUS meant by the parables HE was uttering. They didn’t realize at the time that JESUS was speaking of returning immediately after HIS crucifixion to minister to them, periodically, for an additional forty days before HIS ascension back into Heaven. However, JESUS did not clarify what HE meant, but chose instead, to let them come to understand what HE meant, in the process of time.
GOD brings joy to our lives, not by substituting our trials and pains, but rather, by our transformation and growth, from our trials and pain. In John 16:21, JESUS gives just such an analogy to HIS disciples, as HE tries to reassure them that their sorrow, brought on by the news of HIM leaving, would soon be turned to joy over HIS return. Here HE likens their woeful situation to that of a woman experiencing labor pains. At first, she suffers with excruciating labor pain, and then, after birth is given, all of her pain and anguish soon turns into joy over having brought a new life into the world. With Christian joy, the pain that came before it is soon forgotten, and the new feeling of the Christian experience can never be taken away, and in fact, to the contrary, will last forever.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website


Clinton Family Portrait - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Friday, March 6, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 8, 2015

Over 73,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

JESUS PROMISES AN ADVOCATE
(The HOLY SPIRIT is now here to teach us)
(John 14)

In John chapter 14, JESUS continues to teach HIS disciples in private. Here HE focuses on trying to encourage them to hold fast to the belief that HE has revealed to them exactly what GOD THE FATHER is like. In the Greek, the word New Testament writers use for “promise” is “epaggello” (ep-ang-el-ee-ah), and it is “an announcement of divine assurance of good”.
John 14:1-3 is arguably the most beautifully written passage in, perhaps, the most beautifully written book, in all of Scripture. It comes in the form of a “divine promise” to those who believe in CHRIST JESUS. Here in this passage, JESUS first, encourages, and then, makes a promise to HIS followers with these divine words; “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in GOD, believe also in ME. In MY FATHER’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would tell you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto MYSELF; that where I AM, there ye may be also” (KJV).
It is a promise that is made at a time when the cumulative weight of all the previous revelations that JESUS had laid on HIS disciples had begun to set in and depress them. Remember, HE had already revealed to them that HE would go away, and, they would not be able to follow HIM (John 7:34, 8:21, 12:8 & 35, and 13:33). HE had also revealed to them that HE would die (John 12:32-33), and, that one of them would betray HIM (John 13:21). Furthermore, HE had already revealed to Peter that he would deny HIM, not once, but three times before daybreak (John 13:38). And also, that satan would be working against them (Luke 22:31-32), and, at that time, every one of them would fall away from HIM (Matthew 26:31).
And so we see it is a statement that was much needed to try and comfort and allay the fears of what was about to befall HIS disciples in the very near future. It is said that a person’s heart (thoughts) is at the center of their personality, and that, we must keep our hearts with all diligence (we must guard the way we think). Our soul’s sorrow is relieved when we trust in the Word of GOD, and CHRIST says, if you trust GOD, trust also in HIM.
“I AM the WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE” is what JESUS said to a “doubting” Thomas in John 14:6. It is the sixth of JESUS’ seven great “I AM statements” that are found in the Gospel of John. JESUS tells us plainly that if we have seen HIM, we have already seen GOD, and if we “know” HIM and “have” HIM (HIS Word) in us, we already possess “Eternal Life”.
No matter how we view our existence, in the final analysis, all we ever really seek is a better life for ourselves and our families. We absolutely never seek knowledge, just for knowledge sake, but rather, for what that knowledge can do to make our lives more worth living. Here, it is JESUS’ claim, that obedience to HIM is the only true foundation that we can securely build upon. It is HIS contention that life through HIM is the only life worth living. No one can go to the FATHER, but by JESUS, because, HE alone, is “THE WAY” to GOD. In HIM, we see exactly what GOD is like. And only HE can usher us, into GOD’s OWN glorious presence, without fear, without guilt, and, without shame.
Anyone who believes in CHRIST JESUS will desire to do the same works that HIS earthly ministry demonstrates to us that HE did. But JESUS says that we can do even greater works than HE did, and this is simply because many of us will have much more time on this earth than HE had to do them. In addition, we are able to ask GOD for anything within HIS Will, and, in the name of JESUS, and HE will grant it, because all of JESUS’ work during HIS earthly ministry, brought glory to HIS FATHER in Heaven (Vs. 12-14). And if we do the work of CHRIST JESUS, we too, will bring glory the SAME, our FATHER, WHO art in Heaven.
John 14:15-31 is the conclusion of JESUS’, now famous, “Upper Room Discourse” to HIS disciples. Up until this point, very little had been mentioned, regarding the HOLY SPIRIT. In the New Testament Greek, the word used for “Comforter” is “Parakletos” (Par-ak-lay-tos), and it is “an Intercessor”, or “a Counselor”. “Comforter” is the word translated here and used by JESUS to describe the function of the HOLY SPIRIT, WHOM HE would send soon after HIS ascension back into Heaven. This COMFORTER would stand as a force against man’s own “sin nature” that he had long ago accepted from satan, and would lead him back into all truth, and once again put him in touch with “the nature of GOD” that he was born with. HE would also be a force that unbelievers would not be able to see or receive into their lives. Only those, who, first, receive CHRIST, will ever be able to partake in this wonderful gift from GOD the FATHER.
And while the SPIRIT of GOD was now dwelling “with the disciples” in the person of CHRIST JESUS, HE would later come to “indwell” them and anyone who chose to follow JESUS through the cross. This type of reaction on people by the HOLY SPIRIT would be different from the way HE came upon people and inspired them in the Old Testament times. In those days, the HOLY SPIRIT would come upon people for a period, and then would leave them. But, in this time that JESUS spoke of now, the time of the first “Pentecost”, would be a time when the HOLY SPIRIT would come to dwell in the Christian Believer forever.
The HOLY SPIRIT is intended to actually fulfill the role of JESUS HIMSELF, in the lives of those, who believe on HIM. It was JESUS’ way of not abandoning us like orphans, and leaving us at the mercy of satan and his demons here on earth, who, of course, have no mercy. That is why, the way we treat the HOLY SPIRIT, is the way we treat CHRIST JESUS. When we accept JESUS into our lives, our bodies become the temple of the HOLY SPIRIT, and since the HOLY SPIRIT wrote the Word of GOD, the way we treat GOD’s Word (the Bible) is the way we treat GOD in HIS fullness.
Our love of GOD is shown by our willingness to obey CHRIST through the prompting of the HOLY SPIRIT, which seeks to guide us into all righteousness. GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON, and GOD the HOLY SPIRIT are indeed ONE and inseparable. JESUS left us with a peace of mind and heart that cannot be found in the world. And we can now come to rest in the thought, that this life is by no means, the final act of the human drama.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website











Friday, February 27, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 1, 2015

Over 73,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

THE LAMB OF GOD
(Telling others about JESUS)
(John 1)

In John chapter 1, verses 1-14, the Apostle John seeks to put the Word of GOD into perspective, and to show us the true power of its meaning, and, its effect upon the world. Here John reminds us that the “Word of GOD” is already here, and in fact, has been with us since the beginning of time, and it simply cannot be, nor, will not be disregarded. We cannot ignore GOD’s Word and get away with it. It has always been, is now, and will forever be synonymous with life. It is effective and penetrating, and it absolutely scrutinizes all of our thoughts, desires, and intentions.
In the biblical Greek, the term used for “word” is “logos” (log-os), and it, more or less, emphasizes the message of that which is spoken. Here John expresses to us that our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST personifies the Word of GOD, in the flesh. He is trying to get us to understand that one of the key reasons for JESUS’ “first advent” was and is, for “communication”. JESUS is the “Spoken Word”, and “Living Expression” of all which GOD ever sought to communicate to us about HIMSELF. John is saying, particularly in verse 1, that, JESUS is both, “identical to” the GOD of the Old Testament concept, and yet, is “distinct from” HIM.
One can imagine how stunning this must have been to the people of the first century. Even today, many people have a problem with embracing this concept, which has now become familiar, and yet still remains just as mysterious as it ever was. Here though, we can see that, while the concept may be difficult, John’s teaching seems to be very clear. He is saying that JESUS existed eternally with GOD the FATHER, as one GOD, yet, with a distinct and separate personality. Those of us, who understand the concept which unity in a family and marriage represents, can certainly grasp the concept of “unity as one” between the FATHER and the SON.
In John chapter 1, verses 6-34, the Apostle John writes of the fulfilling of the role of the “witness”, John the Baptist, that had first been prophesied by Isaiah some 700 years earlier (Isaiah 40:3), and then again by the prophet Malachi 300 years later (Malachi 3:1). John the Baptist was born to be the “forerunner” for JESUS’ ministry, and he fulfilled his mission well. He came to announce the coming of the “bearer” of the gift of Salvation.
It is true that in human society, if someone hands someone else a gift, and that person doesn’t perceive that gift to be real, then they probably aren’t going to reach out and accept it. Our believing in GOD, in all of HIS fullness, can be likened to that. GOD is giving us the gift of eternal life through HIS only begotten SON, JESUS the CHRIST. Believing in HIM involves seeing HIM as real, and, as coming from GOD, and then, reaching out and accepting HIM. By accepting JESUS, one also accepts GOD the FATHER’s wonderful gift of eternal life in Heaven, and, at one and the same time, becomes what they weren’t before, and that is, quite simply, “a child of GOD”.
JESUS came into the world to teach us how to live our lives perfectly under GOD, and, to teach us how to die and live again with GOD. HE taught us how to give and forgive, and, HE taught us how to love, and how to give thanks. John points to JESUS as being the LIGHT of the world, a true light for all people. In HIM we see exactly what GOD is like, and only HE can usher us into GOD’s OWN glorious presence, without fear, without guilt, and, without shame.
The initial contact that JESUS made with men who would later become HIS disciples was made when John the Baptist pointed CHRIST out to two of his own disciples by saying, “Behold the LAMB of GOD”. The two men curiously followed after JESUS, and when the MESSIAH looked around and saw them, HE asked them what it was that they wanted. The two men requested to know where it was that JESUS was staying, and JESUS invited them to come and see.
It was about four o’clock in the afternoon, and they went with JESUS and abided with him for the remainder of the day. One of these men was named Andrew, and he was the brother of Simon Peter. After spending the afternoon with JESUS, the first thing Andrew thought about doing was bringing his brother Peter on board, by giving him the good news about CHRIST. He runs and tells his brother that he has found the long-awaited MESSIAH, and he then takes him back to meet JESUS.
Those three men were the first to get to know JESUS in the literal sense. Today we get to know JESUS through HIS written word, and by associating with HIS people, or those who genuinely believe on HIM. The word, “know”, in John 1:31 means to “recognize”. John the Baptist knew JESUS spiritually, (He saw the doves descend on JESUS and remain with HIM) and because of that, he recognized JESUS was without sin. That is why John initially refused to Baptize JESUS (Matthew 3:14). It was because John’s baptism was for sinners, and he knew JESUS, WHO was without sin, had no reason for repent, and thereby, had no need for his baptism. He probably felt that, to baptize the MESSIAH, at best, would be an insult, and at worse, would be blasphemous.
The next day JESUS decided to go to Galilee, where HE found Philip and invited him to be HIS disciple. Philip was a native of Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown. Now the first thing Philip does, is, go and find Nathanael, who was an honest man, to tell him the good news about CHRIST. After learning that JESUS was from Nazareth, a curious Nathanael asks, “Can anything good come from there?”
After coming face to face with JESUS, JESUS shows Nathanael a bit of HIS supernatural knowledge by telling him of HIS knowledge of Nathanael’s character and reputation of being an honest man. JESUS also discloses to him that HE had already seen him “underneath a fig tree”, an expression that often meant “in a place of safety and leisure”.
Impressed by JESUS’ knowledge of him, Nathanael was prompted to confess JESUS as both the “SON of GOD” and the “KING of Israel”. Throughout Scripture, JESUS refers to HIMSELF as the “SON of Man” more than 80 times, and in this particular passage, we are presented with one such occasion. It is a term that speaks of HIS humanity and suffering, and, of HIS work as the ideal man. In other words, HE sought to convey to us that HE had come to be a living, human example of what the life of every man, who wishes to worship GOD in Spirit, and in Truth, should be like.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website