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John 1





Well here we are starting a new book.  This will be the fifth book that we have started since we began this journey of discipleship.  As you can see, I have selected The Gospel According to John.  I honestly was thinking about going into the Old Testament this time but settled on John’s Gospel.  Once we make our way through this Gospel, I think we may take a dive into the Old Testament.  Right now I am thinking we might tackle Genesis.  But for now let’s start on trip through John.

John is a unique book.  There are two key words in this book: believe and life.  John wrote extensively that we might believe that Jesus is who He said He was and that we might have eternal life because of that belief.

John’s Gospel contains no account of the birth, baptism, or temptation of Jesus.  As far as I can tell, John’s Gospel does not contain any reference to Jesus’ parables.  But John does provide us accounts of things that the other Gospels don’t.  He lets us see the ministry of Christ before John the Baptizer’s imprisonment.  And he shows us five miracles that are not recorded in the other Gospels.

One other thing about this Gospel is most believe it was the last Gospel written, perhaps some 60 years after the resurrection.  And many believe that John may have been close to 100 years old when he wrote it.  So, this Gospel gives us a most unique look into the life of our Savior, Jesus.

As the Gospel opens, John takes us all the way back to the time before the beginning.  Jesus here is referred to as the Word (Logos in the Greek which refers to the perfect expression of God).  Verse 3 reminds us of the work of Jesus in the creation of the universe.  Perhaps you are thinking that God created the universe.  If you are, you are right.  But remember how He did that.  He spoke the universe and all of creation (except for humanity) into existence.  In other words, He used words to create.  Actually He used the Word to create.  Therefore, Jesus was the agent of creation.

In verse 4 we find that in Jesus was life and that life was the light of men.  An interesting thing about this light is that when you look at it in the original language, it does not refer to a light that suddenly appeared or came on.  Instead it refers to a light that has always shined and is continuing to shine.  In other words, Jesus has always been and will always be the light.

Verse 6 speaks of John the Baptizer as a witness to this light.  So, this light has always shone.  We now have a witness of this light and a witness to this light.  But in verse 10 Jesus was rejected by the very ones He came to.  As we saw on more than one occasion in Romans, we once again see that because the Jewish people as a nation rejected Jesus, an incredibly wider offer of salvation was made to others.  And those who received Him, regardless of nationality or ethnicity, became children of God.  

Because John started his Gospel account so far back in history (Think eternity past.), he has some ground to cover to get us up to speed on Jesus’ life and ministry on this earth.  So, John quickly tells us about the ministry of John the Baptizer in verses 19-43.  And the chapter ends up with the process of Jesus calling His disciples.

And we are off… on the journey of going through another book.  Woo Hoo!

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Romans 16




SCRIPTURE: Romans 16

You have made it!  You have completed another book of the Bible with a whole bunch of other folks who have stayed committed to this journey with us.  I sincerely hope this continues to encourage you and help you grow in the Word of God.

As Paul, the typical preacher, finally gets around to closing this letter to the church in Rome, he begins to talk about a bunch of people.  He greeted at least 26 people by name.  There are two unnamed folks mentioned.  And he also greeted several churches that were meeting homes.

There are a couple of things I want you to take away from this list of people and churches.  The first one is Paul did not live in isolation.  He had friends.  Lots of them.  He appreciated them.  They had helped him in some way and I have no doubt that he had helped them in some way.  

Although we don’t have a lot of background to any of these folks, just remember there were stories behind each of them.  Each of them had a story about life before Christ and life after salvation.  Each of them had a story.

The second thing that I want you to take away from this list of people and churches is they had their names written in the Bible.  Now when Paul wrote this letter, no one knew this letter was going to be a part of the Bible. But imagine for a moment that as this letter was being read aloud in the various churches in Rome, that some of these folks heard their names read.  You know they probably smiled a bit and then ducked their head in embarrassment.  You know someone sitting next to them probably patted them on the back.

Neither you nor I will write a book that will be in the Bible.  But we all have brothers or sisters in the Lord that have had a huge impact on us.  They have helped us in untold ways.  They have encouraged us.  They have been there for us.  At some point we probably should figure out a way to recognize them and thank them.

I want to call your attention to verse 22.  There is an unusual thing written here.  Some guy named Tertius claims to have written his letter that we call Romans.  Don’t panic.  Let me share a bit of Biblical history.

There were occasions where the authors of the New Testament books actually dictated the books.  Those were written down by an amanuensis or a secretary.  The obvious question is why.  Well, one obvious question is that it is possible men like Paul had horrible handwriting that would be impossible to read and easy to misread.  Another reason is there are some that believe that Paul had bad eyesight.  So, having someone write for him could ease the strain on his eyes.

Regardless, we can still trust the words written in the Bible are the exact words written in the exact way that God wanted them written.  Those words came from the Holy Spirit through an apostle like Paul and are therefore without error.  

With all that said, I can almost imagine old Tertius saying to Paul, “Hey do you mind if I say hello to the folks in Rome?”  I can imagine Tertius grinning as he wrote this sentence in this incredibly important document.  

And then this amazing letter ends with a shout of doxology.  God commanded that the great mystery of the Gospel of grace and salvation be made known to all the nations.  What a great God!  Oh, what a great God.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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