In this Psalm we see a demonstration of the distinction between notional, and experiential knowledge. While intellectual knowledge is necessary, it is not sufficient. We are called to live out the truth in relationship to God, in Christ. To this end, the David shares his personal experience of the goodness of God, and then encourages his readers to partake of God in order to experience his goodness for themselves.
There is something universal in the celebration of mothers, or motherhood. No matter what our life situation may be, or have been, we were all born of a mother. Spiritually, the Bible tells us we are all born of one of two mothers; according to flesh, or according to promise; slave or free. These women are two covenants; Hagar is Mount Sinai, while Sarah is New Jerusalem; works and grace. Understanding this contrasting analogy helps us to think rightly about our relationship to God through Christ.
It can be very difficult when we are confronted with either difficult truth, or difficult circumstances. It is certainly difficult to reconcile the two when are faced with both at the same point in life. Perhaps you are in a place of honest struggle to reconcile what you see with your eyes and what you know to be true. As we look this passage, we find that by looking to Jesus in faith, we can find relief from our struggle, and the joy of the presence of God.
Jesus has now come into Jerusalem, teaching boldly in the Temple. Never shrinking back from proclaiming the truth, He uses Moses to show how the Jews were not keeping the Law, and the Sabbath as an example to demonstrate how they see only the material and are blind to the spiritual. As a result, we will see three distinct responses; the response of faith by many of the people, the response of unbelief by the Pharisees, and the anxious inquiry of the Jews.
John tells us that he writes this gospel so that we might, by faith, come to have the eternal life that is found only in Jesus. In this section, we have been shown that the sustenance of the spiritual life is something other than the sustenance of the physical life. Jesus appeals to the scriptures of the Old Testament, pointing to a new and better covenant. He pictures the contrast by returning to the idea of bread; the bread of Moses was perishing bread, for perishing people, but the Bread of Christ brings eternal life. Eating is believing, and Jesus’s flesh is the bread of eternal life. Upon this idea the Jews not only go from questioning to grumbling, but from grumbling to disputing among themselves; a first indication that their obstacle was not understanding, but believing. Therefore, in this passage, we will find the Disputing Jews, the Flesh of Life, and the Partaking of Flesh.
Piety is a combination of reverence for God, love of His character, and the exercise of these affections in obedience to His will and devotion to His service. This personal holiness is the means of enjoying fellowship with Christ for God’s glory. The Bible teaches that we grow in true godliness as both our life and doctrine become consistent with the gospel. Having asserted the great doctrine of justification by faith, and introduced the idea that where sin abounded grace abounded much more, Paul now wonders, in Romans 6:14, if someone might take this truth to imply that it doesn’t matter if a Christian puts to death sin in his life, because God will always overcome great sin with greater grace. Paul argues that since we are born again in Christ, we are indeed dead to sin, though sin may not yet be dead in us. In this verse we find a test, a promise, and an encouragement.
In this third section, we have seen the growing opposition toward Jesus from the religious leaders of His day. Jesus answered that opposition by explaining His equality and the ultimate unity of His works with the Father. These verses describe one of our Lords most remarkable miracles. As we walk though this story together, we see first that the place and time where this takes place is clearly noted, to give greater evidence of the truth of the story. The circumstances are specified, so that the details may be proven. We will be encouraged to see that when true faith is tested it is for our sake, for the sake of God’s provision and salvation for those around us, as well as to display Christ’s compassion, power, sufficiency, and humility.
The fall of Genesis 3 severely severed human relationships; first with God, and second with fellow human beings. Before the flood, we saw the fruit of humanity’s broken relationship in Cain’s killing of his brother Abel. After the flood, we see the fruit of humanity’s broken relationships as we pick up the narrative in chapter 11. We see how men in this new world rebelled against God, seeking to glorify and deify themselves, and the destructive effects their sin has on humanity’s relationship with one another. First, we see the common root of their sin, and how it worked itself out in their lives. Second, we see the destructive effects of their sin in severing their relationship with God, and with one another. Finally, we see how they need to be reconciled to God, and to one another, and how Christ is the only hope for that reconciliation.
Jesus demonstrates the content of the gospel to a Gentile woman (the least of these), in terms of giving eternal water to the perpetually thirsty. He helps this woman see the eternal realities of salvation by grace through faith, despite the temporal realities of her sin and shame, by confronting her confusion with instruction and encouragement.
In the midst of our suffering, Peter offers the substitutionary atonement of Christ as an encouragement to us. Because Jesus suffered in our place in order to bring us to God, when we suffer well, and for doing good, we will inherit a blessing. This truth should encourage us in our suffering, because in it we see that Jesus had to suffer, and that He delivers us through suffering. Jesus shows the power of suffering for doing good, in that through His godly suffering, Jesus brought us to God.