John introduces the reader to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, in John 3:1-2. The name Nicodemus is a common, proper Greek name in history, and during the time of Jesus, it was also a common, popular Jewish name. The Pharisees were a sect of the Sanhedrin, the highest-ranking Jewish school of the time.
One of the most fundamental questions a Christian must ask is "what constitutes true belief?" How do I know if my own or someone else's belief is genuine or sincere? Do I have enough faith?
John the Baptist was the first prophet to speak God's word for hundreds of years. This providential delay in revelation heightened anticipation among the Jews for the coming Messiah. John the Baptist broke the silence with a powerful, influential, successful voice, because God determined it to be so. He preached a message of repentance and led a simple life.
John begins his Gospel giving a simple, profound answer to this question. John introduces Jesus differently than the 3 synoptic Gospel writers. He does not mention Jesus' name until John 1:17, instead calling him by the name "the Word" for most of John 1:1-18.
The earliest of the five books written by the Apostle John, the gospel of John was written primarily to a Greek-speaking, Jewish audience, highly influenced by the Greek culture. Most of the people in John’s audience would have been unsaved, needing to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. John omits many of the words, parables, actions, and miracles of Jesus which the other three gospels include. John’s themes are different than the other gospel writers. The material in chapters 1-5 of the book of John is unique and not found in the other gospels. The healing miracles in chapters 9 and 11 are also exclusive to John. Similarities between the book of John and the other three gospels include the Spirit's anointing of Christ, Jesus feeding the five thousand, Jesus walking on water, Jesus’s sonship to the Father, and Jesus’s authority over nature to name a few.
John is known as the most theological gospel writer, though his name is never mentioned in the book as the author. Luke calls John an apostle in Luke 6. Polycarp, a direct disciple of the Apostle John, testified to knowing that John had written this fourth gospel while in Ephesus. Six times within the book, John is referred to as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." Matthew tells us that John and his brother James were known as the sons of Zebedee. Jesus named them "sons of thunder" in the book of Mark. One of the three most intimate associates of Jesus during His earthly ministry, John writes of his own spiritually close relationship with Christ (1 John 1:1-4). After Christ’s ascension, John became a leader in the Jerusalem church (Gal. 2) and ministered with Peter all through the book of Acts. He was living in Ephesus when the gospel of John was written before Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70. The Roman government exiled John to the island of Patmos where his final work, Revelation, was written.
John 20:11-18 tells of Mary Magdalene encountering the risen Jesus. In this account, we see Jesus' consoling love that is simple and profound.
In this text, Jesus enters Jerusalem again for last time. The Gospel writers record 55 events within the last week before Jesus’ crucifixion, and this Triumphal Entry kicks them all off. Today we will use terms from literature to look at the characters in this event, their attitudes and reactions, and the influence Jesus had in their lives.
On Sunday evening, we commemorated our Savior's death through song, Scripture reading, and observing the Lord's Table.
Parables of Discipleship
1 Corinthians is a letter to a church that found itself in the most influential and cosmopolitan city of its day. Yet this was a troubled church. The church received the gospel, but it was not governed by it. In many practical ways, the church was governed by culturally-derived mottos rather than mature reflection on the gospel and its implications for life.
At Christmas time, it is fitting to turn our minds to prophetic truths concerning Jesus the Messiah. The books of the prophets are usually the first to come to mind, and the literal fulfillment of the circumstantial facts they predicted hundreds of years prior to Jesus’ coming is nothing short of miraculous. Another prophetic witness is found in the Messianic Psalms. In total, twenty-five different psalms (one out of six) include at least one Messianic prophecy. Messianic psalms are quoted in eleven New Testament books.
These psalms are prophetic in a special way: in the words and feelings of the Psalmist were found the very words and feelings of the Messiah. (See Hebrews 2:12.) The Psalmist knew that the coming Messiah would “fill out” the emotional and physical suffering he was experiencing by experiencing them in a way he never could. The pain he spoke of figuratively, the Messiah would know literally.
It is often observed that rulers' degree of success depends on who they listen to. The people behind the man in an elevated position often matter just as much.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 teach us about the power, boldness, and freedom we have in Christ to grow in Christ-likeness.
We can receive comfort from others in dark times. This is one of God's good gifts to us. But there is only one place to find soul rest. Jesus is the exclusive source of ultimate comfort.
Three Gospel writers record the narrative found in Mark 6:45-52. Mark writes with his theme in mind: Jesus as servant (Mark 10:45).
Christmas is when God became man. This is the meaning of "incarnation." But why did God become man? The whole Bible is the answer; this morning, we look at Hebrews 2 for part of the answer.
Remembering is an essential discipline of living.
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