Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Reader Please Note:

~Italics, bold, and brackets have been added by author for emphasis.
~Verses from the Gospel of John will be centered.  Other verses of reference will be in italics, but remain in body of this study.
Remember chapters will follow chronological order so click on “older posts” to continue reading.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Simple Gospel of John

Kay Frances Graves

     This post is not being written to interpret the Gospel of John, but to demonstrate how simple it is to understand the Gospel of John. It is the reader’s responsibility alone to seek the correct interpretation from the Holy Spirit which resides in God’s Holy Word and hopefully in the heart of the reader as well.
     While the Word of God has many levels of understanding and can be applied to countless experiences in life, this attempt is being made as a means of encouraging those who desire to hear the Voice of God, because they may not yet feel “qualified” to interpret and apply what they are reading.
     What offense caused William Tyndale to be burned at the stake in the year 1536?

     Wasn't it for that "awful crime" of translating the Word of God into the common language of the people?

     Actually, his most deliberate, self-sacrificing intention was to get the Word of God into the hands of every person, even the farmer plowing the field, so anyone and everyone could read the Bible for themselves and thereby many could come to a saving knowledge of Christ, turn from their sin, and receive eternal life.

     The enemies of Christ have been engaged in an attack against the Word of God since the very beginning.
     When they could not stop the printing of the Bible, they simply changed tactics and became busy waging psychological campaigns designed to steal the confidence of those who desired to hear the Voice of God through the pages of His Book.
     One way this is accomplished is through propagating the devil’s lie that “understanding the Word of God is impossible without some ‘learned’ hierarchical figure interpreting it for us.”
     Thankfully we have a place we can go for correct interpretation. That is the Word of God itself where the Spirit of God resides. Once we are born-again of His Spirit (click on picture--top--left side of this page--"God's Gift of Salvation"), His Spirit becomes our Teacher and Guide and has promised that He will lead us into all Truth.
     Let us therefore embrace His Holy Word, freely feasting from it with all joy and thanksgiving.
     The Simple Gospel of John is now being served! “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps. 34:8)

God’s purpose in giving us His Word:
* It is the means by which everything has been brought into existence.
* It teaches us the value and power of His Living and Written Word.
It defines who the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit really are.
It provides for and defines His eternal priorities for us.
It provides for and defines His earthly priorities for us.
It equips us to enter into the universal battle between good and evil.
It saves us from ourselves and enables us to endure to the end.

Who is John, the man who wrote down the Gospel of John, as God gave it to him?

He is “the disciple whom Jesus loved."    

* He is the Apostle, one of “the sons of  thunder,” known for their zeal.

He is the one who leaned against the  bosom of Jesus at supper.

At the cross, he is the one to whom Jesus entrusted His aged mother.

He was the first male to believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

He was the first to recognize Jesus on  the shore of Lake Galilee.

He is also the man who wrote the Book  of Revelation as God gave it to him.
Genesis 1
The God Said Verses

These “God said” verses found in Genesis, Chapter 1 give us greater insight into what God has for us in John, Chapter 1:
1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind, and it was so.

The first place we are introduced to the significance and power of the Word of God is in the very beginning when God was speaking all things into existence.

(See Next Post to Begin Reading John, Chapter 1)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chapter 1:1-28 - Who is Jesus?



(1) In the beginning
was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
(2) The same [Word],
was in the begining with God.
(3) All things were made by him
[the Word],
and without him
was not anything made that was made
(4) In him [the Word] was life;
and the life [the Word]
was the light of men.

(Word = Life) (Life = Word)
(Life = Light) (Light = Life)

Therefore, "Word," "Life," and "Light" are all equal, according to Euclid's Law (of physics--i.e. God's established law of the universe): "things that are equal to same thing, are also equal to each other."

(5) And the light [Word]
shineth in darkness;
and the darkness
comprehended it not.

"comprehend" = [Greek #2638 in Strong's Concordance]

  1. to lay hold of
  2. in a good sense, of Christ by his holy power and influence laying hold
  3. of the human mind and will, in order to prompt and govern it
  4. to understand, perceive, learn, comprehend
(6) There was a man sent from God,
whose name was John [the Baptist]
(7) The same came for a witness,
to bear witness of the Light,
that all men
through him [the Light/Word/Jesus]
might believe.
(8) He [John the Baptist] was not that Light,
but was sent
to bear witness of
that Light.
(9) That was the true Light
[Word of God/Jesus],
which lighteth
[gives physical and spiritual life to]
every man
that cometh into the world.
(10) He was in the world,
and the world was made by him
[Jesus/Word of God]
and the world knew him not.

See v.5--"the darkness comprehended not," now in v. 10 we see that "the world knew him not."

Many people today are searching for "the light," but they do not realize the simple truth that the Light of the One True God is the Word of God--the Living Word, Jesus Christ and the written Word, the Holy Bible.

In the Book of Psalms 119:105, we are told: "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

From this we can conclude that except for those who believed who Jesus Christ really was and received Him, the rest of mankind continued to live in spiritual darkness and did not realize who He was or the significance of His existence.

When Jesus arrives on the planet, immediately the dichotomy between good and evil, spiritual darkness and spiritual light is manifested.

(11) He came unto his own,
and his own received him not.
(12) But as many as received him,
to them gave he power
[spiritual ability]
to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name:

The ones who received Jesus and accepted who He really was were those He had given the spiritual ability/power to become the sons of God.

His "name" is the key. What is the function (totality) of a person's name?

Doesn't His Name reveal who He really is?

In other words, those who were given the power to see and accept who Jesus really was were given the ability to enter into the family of God.

Jesus = [Greek #2424] and [Hebrew #3091]
Have same meaning: Jesus - "Jehovah is salvation"

(13) Which were born,
not of blood,
nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man,
[Not a physical birth]
but of God.

Here God begins to emphasize the difference between physical life and spiritual life and how man is to enter into a spiritual relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, who is defined here also as the Light, the Life, and the Word.

Only His people will be able to understand and receive the True Light (Jesus Christ), the Life, and Word. . .while others will not be able to understand it and will therefore remain in spiritual darkness.

(14) And the Word was made flesh
[became the man, Jesus]
and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld his glory, the glory
as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace [merciful loving kindness]
and truth [only what is true/absolute fact/reality],

"glory" = [Greek #1391]
  1. opinion, judgment, view
  2. opinion, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone
  3. in NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honor and glory
  4. splendor, brightness, magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace
  5. a thing belonging to God--kingly majesty which belongs to him as supreme ruler
  6. majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity
  7. a thing belonging to Christ--the kingly majesty of the Messiah
  8. the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellency of
  9. a most glorious condition, most exalted state
(15) John bare witness of him,
and cried, saying,
This was he of whom I spake,
He that cometh after me
is preferred before me;
for he was before me
[Gen.1:1--He was at creation doing the creating],
(16) And of his fulness
have all we received,
and grace for grace.
(17) For the law
was given by Moses,
but grace and truth
[merciful loving kindness
and absulute fact/reality--v.14]
came by Jesus Christ.
(18) No man hath seen God
at any time,
the only begotten Son,
which is in the bosom of the Father,
he hath declared him.
Just a thought:

What could John have been symbolizing and what example could he have been giving when he put his head on the bosom of Christ during the last supper?

Perhaps John was not only showing his affection for his Lord and Savior, but could it be possible that John was also declaring who Jesus really was, just as Jesus declared who God was when He resided in the "bosom of the Father," as we are told here in verse 18?

(19) And this is the record of John,
when the Jews
sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem
to ask him,
Who art thou?
(20) And he confessed,
and denied not;
but confessed,
I am not the Christ.
(21) And they asked him,
What then?
Art thou Elias?
And he saith, I am not.
Art thou that prophet?
And he answered, No.

The priests and Levites reveal their contentious attitude by asking John the Baptist the same question after he had already told them that he was not Elias.
(22) Then said they unto him,
Who art thou?
that we may give an answer
to them that sent us.
What sayest thou of thyself?

This was a threat as well as a question. They were letting John the Baptist know that superior worldly/religious authorities were investigating John. They were not there to merely satisfy their own curiosity.

(23) He said, I am the voice
of one crying in the wilderness,
Make straight the way of the Lord,
as said the prophet Esaias
[referring to the prophecy in the Word of God].
(24) And they which were sent
were of the Pharisees.
(25) And they asked him, and said unto him,
Why baptizest thou then,
if thou be not that Christ,
nor Elias, neither that prophet?
(26) John answered them, saying,
I baptize with water;
[John baptizes with water but...]
but there standeth one among you,
whom ye know not;
(27) He it is,
who coming after me
is preferred before me,
whose shoe's latchet
I am not worthy to unloose.
(28) These things were done
in Bethabara beyond Jordan,
where John was baptizing.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chapter 1:29-51 - Why Did Jesus Come?

(29) The next day
John seeth Jesus coming unto him,
and saith, Behold the Lamb of God,
which taketh away
the sin of the world.
(30) This is he of whom I said,
After me cometh a man
which is preferred before me:
for he was before me.

       Even though John the Baptist was born before Jesus was born, John knew that Jesus had existed from the beginning.

(31) And I knew him not:
but that he should be made manifest to Israel,
therefore am I come
baptizing with water.
(32) And John bare record, saying,
I saw the Spirit descending from heaven
like a dove,
and it abode upon him.

       Did they all see a literal dove with feathers literally descend from heaven?

       John said that the Spirit was "like a dove" or functioned like a dove.

(33) And I knew him not:
but that he that sent me
to baptize with water,
the same said unto me,
Upon whom thou shalt see the spirit descending,
and remaining on him,
the same is he which
baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

       (13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:  for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
      (14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.  
      (John 16:13-14)

       Another reason Jesus came was to give us the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit to:
  • teach us (help us see life's experiences through the perspective of the Word of God)
  • comfort/vindicate us
  • convict us of sin
  • empower us to overcome
  • lead us into all truth (balance/correctly interpret the Word of God)                                                                                            
(34) And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God.

     John now identifies Jesus as the "Lamb of God."

      "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."  (John 1:29) 

       What is the two-fold function of Jesus as the Lamb of God?

            1) As the Lamb of God, Jesus would serve as the sacrifice to take away the sins of the world.

            2) As the Lamb of God, He would be the only one worthy to open the Book.

       (1) And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
       (2) And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
       (3) And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
       (4) And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
       (5) And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
      (6) And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.  (Rev. 5:1-6)

       Rev. 4:5 = Seven lamps are seven spirits (which contain fire burning before the throne of God).

       Ps. 119:105 = "Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet."

       A lamp contains the fire of the Spirit of God.  It is His Spirit which resides in His Word, because His Word is the Lamp that contains His Spirit.

       John 6:63 = "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

       Again, the Word of God is the Spirit of God.  The Spirit of God resides in His Word.  It is this Spirit of God that brings life to us--physical life and eternal life.

       It is the Lamb of God who is the Living Word of God, worthy to open the Book because He is the Word and therefore the only one who can rightly interpret the Word.

       Thus we have the Living Word which is Jesus in the flesh and the Written Word of the Bible.  Both are vessels that contain the Spirit of God.
Revelation 5:7-12 says:

       (7) And he [Jesus] came and took the book out of the right hand of him [God the Father] that sat upon the throne.
       (8) And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb [Jesus], having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
       (9) And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
       (10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on earth.
       (11) And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
       (12) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive [1] power, and [2] riches, and [3] wisdom, and [4] strength, and [5] honour, and [6] glory, and [7] blessing. 
       (Rev. 5:7-12)

       The Lamb is worthy to receive the above (7) attributes of God because He was slain as the only appropriate sacrifice for our sin.  Could these attributes or characteristics of God be the characteristics of His Spirit--or actually be the (7) Spirits spoken of in Rev. 4:6 that He imparts (through His Word) to those who belong to Him, since the seven lamps are the seven spirits?

Let's look at Revelation 4:6 again:

       (6) And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

       Horns always symbolize "authority" and eyes symbolize "spiritual vision/discernment."  These are also said to have the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

       In other words, the Word of God carries the authority and spiritual discernment to the inhabitants of earth to correctly interpret His Word. . .or the Word of God interprets the Word of God.

       No human can correctly interpret the Word of God for us.  Only the Lamb, Himself is qualified to do that through the power of His Spirit which indwells His people.

       Only Jesus, the Lamb of God is worthy to open, read, or even look upon the precious Book of Seven Seals because it was given by God the Father, Himself.

       What about the other 66 books of the Bible?

       Who is worthy to open, read, or even look upon those precious Books that also proceeded out of the mouth of God?

(37) And the two disciples
heard him speak,
and they followed Jesus.
(38) Then Jesus turned,
and saw them following and saith unto them,
What seek ye?
They said unto him, Rabbi,
(which is to say, being interpreted, Master,)
where dwellest thou?
(39) He saith unto them,
Come and see.
They came and saw where he dwelt,
and abode with him that day:
for it was about the tenth hour.
(40) One of the two
which heard John speak, and followed him,
was Andrew,
Simon Peter's brother.
(41) He first findeth his own brother Simon,
and saith unto him,
We have found the Messias,
which is, being interpreted,
the Christ.
(42) And he brought him to Jesus.
And when Jesus beheld him, he said,
Thou art Simon the son of Jona:
thou shalt be called Cephas,
which is by interpretation,
a stone.

       Does John, the writer of this passage, say that Peter is a "stone" or a "rock?"

       He says "by interpretation, a stone."  Why insert "by interpretation?"

       Could the Spirit of God have impressed upon John the importance of using the word, "interpretation" to alert the readers of this passage that a correct interpretation would be required to keep Peter's name/function in its equal and rightful position among the disciples of Christ and under the exclusive authority of Christ?

       The original translators agreed that Jesus was referring to a "stone" because the word from the Greek used here is #4074, which also may refer to a rock but only in the reference to its unique physical characteristic of being "a very hard substance," not in regard to its size.  By referring to Peter, via the use of this word, Jesus was confronting him about his character weaknesses, not Peter's authority.

       Peter was a stubborn, unyielding, hard-headed fisherman.  He was hard, like the substance of a stone.

       To examine this verse further, we need to go to Matthew's account.

       (18) And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, [Peter = #G4074 = a stone - soul hard - unyielding] and upon this rock [i.e. "this other substance"] [#G4073 = Now referring to preeminence - large solid rock, Jesus Himself - firm strength of soul] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  (Matthew 16:18)

       At the time Jesus said these words, He already knew that in the future this issue of rock vs. stone was going to cause confusion in the Church.  But not even the gates of hell, much less any verbal gymnastics, were going to prevail against the preeminence of Jesus Christ and the Church He, Himself, would build.

       Those who belonged to Christ would have the Holy Spirit to correctly interpret His Word and they would know that He alone was "the Rock of their salvation" --the Preeminent One who exclusively held the power to ransom sinners and build His Church Himself through faith alone in His Word and His sacrifice on the cross.

       If we examine this issue very closely, we will see that there is a slight, yet very significant difference in the two types of rock mention in the above verses.  They come from two slightly different Greek words.  The true Rock [#G4073] of our salvation is Jesus Christ.  Then there is the smaller rock or stone [#G4074] that is Peter.

       As previously stated, Peter was a tough, hard-headed fisherman, yet he would deny Christ three times by yielding to fear.  Jesus knew this so in their initial meeting, He wanted Peter to know that He would not expect him to do something he was not equipped to do.  The Church of Jesus Christ was not going to be built on the efforts of a mere man, but on the superior strength of Christ Himself, the Solid Rock.

       The Church which is made up of the fellowship of true believers cannot have any other foundation but Christ.  Therefore the real Church of Jesus Christ cannot be built with human hands or independent good works.  Christ is the Creator and Leader of His Church, which is His true bride.  She loves Jesus as her Husband and is committed to following Him and His specific will alone.

(43) The day following
Jesus would go forth into Galilee,
and findeth Philip, and saith unto him,
Follow me.
(44) Now Philip was of Bethsaida,
the city of Andrew and Peter.
(45) Philip findeth Nathanael,
and saith unto him,
We have found him,
of whom Moses in the law,
and the prophets,
did write
[in the already existing portion of the Word of God]
(46) And Nathanael said unto him,
Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?
Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
(47) Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him,
and saith of him,
Behold an Israelite indeed,
in whom is no guile!
(48) Nathanael saith unto him,
Whence knowest thou me?
Jesus answered and said unto him,
Before that Philip called thee,
I saw thee.
(49) Nathanael answered and saith unto him,
Rabbi, thou art the Son of God;
thou art the King of Israel.
(50) Jesus answered and said unto him,
Because I said unto thee
I saw thee under the fig tree,
believest thou?
thou shalt see greater things than these.
(51) And he saith unto him,
Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Hereafter ye shall see heaven open,
and the angels of God ascending and descending
upon the Son of man.

       So it is with us.

       Even before Jesus calls us, He sees us and is watching over us--carefully drawing us to Himself through the power of His Word and His Spirit.

       This is an amazing thing, but when we believe, we also will begin to see even greater things than this.

(50) . . .believest thou?
thou shalt see greater things than these.
(51) And he saith unto him,
Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Hereafter ye shall see heaven open,
and the angels of God ascending and descending
upon the Son of man.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chapter 2:1-6 - The First Miracle - Pt.1

The First Miracle


(1) And the third day there was a marriage
in Cana of Galilee;
and the mother of Jesus was there:
(2) And both Jesus was Called, and his disciples,
to the marriage.
(3) And when they wanted wine,
the mother of Jesus saith unto him,
They have no wine.

       Jesus' mother brought this need to Jesus because she knew that He was the Son of God.  This situation would have been about providing physical wine for a physical wedding party, except Mary knew who Jesus really was.  God had told her what to name the child before He was even born.

       His name meant "Savior" because He was the one sent from God to save His people from their sins. . ."And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."  (Matthew 1:21)

       Neither was this about a proud mom wanting to show the world how her son could do a miracle.

       So what connection does "wine" have with saving people from their sins?

       It concerns much more than providing physical wine for a physical party. . .as we shall see:

(4) Jesus saith unto her,
Woman, what have I to do with thee?
mine hour is not yet come.

       Is Jesus rebuking His mother?

       Is she asking Him to do something that God Himself had not already preordained because Jesus had not yet officially entered into His ministry. . .or was He drawing attention to the fact that this had nothing to do with His mother's request?

       Would Jesus have noticed that they were out of wine, if His mother had not drawn it to His attention?  Of course He would have known.  He is God and knows all things, the "Alpha and Omega" from the beginning to the end.

       Perhaps this discourse with His mother had to happen, in part, to draw our attention to the fact that it really did not have anything to do with Mary's special relationship with her Son or her concern regarding the wine.

       Jesus was not doing this to please His mother, to please those who had invited Him to the wedding, or to please anyone else.

       Jesus did not come to interpose Himself into every situation taking place around Him at that point in history.  He did not try to heal everyone, feed everyone, or replenish every supply of wine at every wedding celebration.

       The miracles of Jesus had to be selective because He still was only one physical person fulfilling the will of the Father, therefore He had to allow His time and energy to be limited by the earthly dimension in which He was living.

       After the resurrection, the Holy Spirit would come to believers and then He would be personally interacting with His people on a much larger, simultaneous, and intimate scale.  But for now He responded to this specific lack of wine only because it could be used to teach a valuable eternal lesson.

       Even though He drew attention to the fact that it was not yet time to announce His ministry, He was nevertheless compelled to become involved with this need for "wine," because it was an extremely important opportunity to illustrate His salvation message--the whole purpose for His existence on Planet Earth.

       This was also a perfect opportunity to impress upon His people the significance of the symbolic meaning of the word, "wine" and the unique connection it has to "the marriage" and "the wedding celebration."

       This miracle was going to sum up the entire message of the entire Word of God that was designed to do one thing.  That was to focus on the preeminence of Jesus Christ, the Word of God in the flesh, the Savior who had come to save His people from their sins and bring them to Himself as the Groom brings the Bride to the ultimate wedding feast of all time at the end of time, as we know it--called, the marriage supper of the Lamb.

       If the enemies of Christ could twist these Scriptures just a little--just enough to take our focus off of the most important message it is bringing--and make us believe that this was about Jesus' relationship with His mother instead of the lesson He was really teaching, it could serve as a major perpetual stumbling block to understanding the real eternal symbolic importance "wine" actually has.

       This is the message, the "hidden manna" (and the hidden meaning of the word, "wine") which will be discovered by those who really want to know and who really want to follow Christ.

       (Read more about this in the free blog book, "Hidden Manna," also posted at this site.)

       The truth regarding "Hidden Manna" reveals the one "buried treasure," "pearl of great price." found from Genesis to Revelation in everything Jesus had said and done from the very beginning.

       So we know that it was God, the Father's idea before:

(5) His mother saith unto the servants,
Whatsoever he saith unto you,
do it.

       When Jesus asked His mother, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?"  Mary would not have ignored what He said, if He was rebuking her, and she would not have pressed the point to get her own way, by telling the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do.

       First of all Jesus would not have rebuked His own mother, He wrote the eternal Word of God that tells us to "honor mother and father" and Mary would not have tried to influence the Son of God (contrary to what some may believe)--because Jesus Christ is preeminent.  Of course, Mary already knew that Jesus had His own agenda.

       Mary was not going "above Jesus' head," using her position as His mother, to do what she thought had to be done to get more wine on the table.  Actually the very opposite is true.  By saying, "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it," she was submitting to His preeminent spiritual authority, following His lead, making His agenda her agenda as well, and acknowledging that Jesus had His own plan.

       So this discourse between Mary and Jesus was not her attempt to bend His will, but to emphasize the importance of what Jesus was about to do.

       "Wine" played a vital part symbolically in the marriage and wedding celebration--which ultimately gives us a glimpse of the marriage supper of the Lamb and the Bride (which is the True Church of Jesus Christ), which John later writes about in the Book of Revelation as he describes the very significant role "wine" plays in that scenario.

       Later Jesus clarified the type of relationship He really had with His mother in Matthew 12 when: 

(46) "While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him."  (47) Then one said unto him, "Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.  (48) But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?  (49) And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!  (30) For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."  (Matthew 12:46-50)

       With this, Jesus made it perfectly clear that members of His earthly family (including His mother) were not to be held in higher regard than any other believer in Christ and goes on to further define those who actually qualify as His real family.

       The real family of Jesus Christ is made up of only those who "do the will of my Father which is in heaven," Jesus said.

       We will not take the time here to list all of the verses that make salvation exclusive in this manner.  The important thing to remember is that we cannot earn eternal life through obedience or any works of any sort, because we are saved "through faith not of works."

       But without obedience to the specific will of God, we are not demonstrating that we actually know Christ and possess eternal life.  Therefore, "faith without works is dead."  Faith in this case, does not really exist in the person's life at all.

       In other words, we are not saved because we obey--we obey (and desire to obey) because we are saved as a result of the Word and Spirit of God working in us.  Yes, we are human so we are gong to make some mistakes and "miss the mark" (sin) at times, but this is not the basic sin of rebellion from which we are initially forgiven when Christ comes into our life (or we would have to remain in a continual state of having to be saved over and over again).  Instead it is that type of sin that occurs as we learn to function in this fallen world.

       (This topic is addressed, further here, in the Gospel of John.)

       This chapter is not about Jesus rebuking His mother, but about respectfully letting everyone know the importance of the "wine," what it really symbolized, and the connection it has to His Father's Word and will.

       Jesus did not come to teach us about tricks, magic, or mysticism through the miracles He performed.

       The miracles He did were intended to reveal two things:

       1)  That He was and is God and because He had created the powerful laws of the universe, He was therefore able to use these laws at His command.
       2)  He had come to teach us how to understand the physical symbolism of His Words and actions as they were designed to illustrate the most important spiritual message of eternal salvation He was bringing to the inhabitants of Earth.

       These residents of the planet were (and are today) people who did not and do not (for the most part) have a clue regarding what the spiritual dimension is all about, because without faith and the Word of God, it is impossible to really understand what is happening in the unseen realm in which God resides.

       Later in the Gospel of John, we will see just how Jesus explains this to Nicodemus.

       Jesus had the enormous task of trying to teach people spiritual lessons when they were only familiar with a physical world.

       In the beginning, the law of Moses taught physical people how to morally function (physically), through faith in the Word of God.

       Now Jesus came to teach physical people how to morally function (spiritually), through faith in the Word of God.

(6) And there were set there six waterpots of stone,
after the manner of the purifying
[a method of cleansing or purifying the water, a ritual purgation or washing]
of the Jews,
containing two or three firkins apiece.

       The (6) waterpots [the number "6" symbolic of man and the physical world] were there to provide physical water for "purification" before and after meals.

       This custom had nothing to do with cleansing the skin of germs or dirt, as we do before meals today--but was a (physical) religious ritual, symbolic of washing oneself from sin under the Jewish law.  Pontius Pilot understood this Jewish ceremony, that is why he publically washed his hands of Jesus in an attempt to convey to the Jews that the sin of killing Jesus was not going to be his responsibility.

      Could this Jewish ritual actually accomplish the spiritual task of washing away sin?

      Can any physical washing or physical water used in any church ritual wash away sin today?

      The ceremonies God gave to His people in the beginning were designed to teach them the symbolism of what was to come.  The sacrifice of the lamb was a foreshadow of the sacrifice of Christ, etc.  However, even at that time, righteousness came through faith in the known Word of God.

       Abraham demonstrated this "Old Testament faith" by his willingness to obey God when He was told to sacrifice his son, Isaac.  This is an example of the righteousness that preceded faith in Christ (see the Book of Hebrews which explains this in more detail)--and yet it is symbolically the same, because Christ is the Word in the flesh and salvation is still a matter of believing the written Word as well as the living Word of God.

       For that matter, can any physical ritual bring about any spiritual benefit at all?

       If a literal church water ritual was all that was necessary to cleanse us from sin or bring about salvation or bring about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, then we would be more dependent on the water in the church than on the Blood of Christ and the power personally found in His Word, because as we have learned previously, the Spirit resides in His Word, not in the physical water (which is only the symbol of His Word--See Ephesians, Chapter 5).  

     "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."  (John 6:63)

       When we realize this, we discover that anyone can be baptized by any fellow believer, anywhere there is enough water to do so.  While a fellow believer assists the person in this symbolic witness to the world that he/she has become a believer, it does not require power from any earthly person or religious organization to do so.  It is an act of personal obedience.

       It is the power of the Word that tells us that we are saved by the Spirit that resides in the Word.  If we did not look exclusively to this Word as preeminent and the source of saving faith ("faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God") we would be obliged instead to get our instructions from mere men, leaders of some "church" or any religious organization that calls itself "a church."

       As a result we would be elevating a hierarchy and the doctrines of mere men above Christ and His Word.  Such has been the case throughout history as the "church," and certain individuals, have been elevated to positions that belong only to Christ Himself and have made salvation impossible without the participation of their religious hierarchy in some way.

       Throughout history, these false churches have even sought to bring converts into their church, calling them "Christians," by baptizing them, when the people being baptized did not even know Christ at all.

       The genuine Church of Jesus Christ does not function in this manner.  It points only to Jesus Christ and the simplicity of the Word of God.  Leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ do not get power from other men who have elected them or hired them for a "spiritual" position.

       Leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ are first of all servants of Christ called by Him to minister to His people.

       Their appointment to the position they hold has always been a matter of prayer and seeking God's will as they consider the spiritual quality of the relationship the candidate has with Jesus Christ and the person's devotion to the Word of God.  Such is the case with the Apostle, Stephen, when he was selected to minister to the widows.  (See Acts, Chapter 6)

      Even then leaders in the true Church of Jesus Christ must submit to the preeminence of Christ and then one to another under the authority of the written Word of God.

***For Part 2***
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