Mar 15, 2022

(Exodus 26, John 5; Optional Psalm 51:1-12, Proverbs 14:15-18)

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EXODUS 26 – Ex 25 had instructions for building the ITEMS used in the Tabernacle. Ex 26 is instructions for the Tabernacle itself – 45’ long x 15’ wide x 15’ tall. Two rooms – the Holy Place, where priests would minister daily, and the Most Holy Place (the Holy of Holies) where Moses would meet with God (Ex 25:22). Other than Moses, only the High Priest could go into the Most Holy Place, and only on one day each year – the Day of Atonement.  Lots of overlap with instructions about later Temples (Solomon’s, the post-Babylon Temple and Herod’s Temple), but each Temple was a building, while the Tabernacle was a tent.

Ex 26:1 – Until these instructions started (see Ex 25:18-22, 26:1, 31) the last time we heard about cherubim (“cherubim” is the plural form of cherub in the Hebrew language) was in Gen 3:24, when God placed them with a flaming sword to prevent fallen humans from re-entering the Garden of Eden. That’s where Adam and Eve HAD met and walked (literally it seems – see hints at Gen 3:8) with God. And now the cherubim again marked the presence of God and were a reminder to KEEP OUT. A gracious reminder, because any sinful human entering God’s presence outside of the way God had made would be righteously struck down by a God who is holy, holy, holy.

Ex 26:31-35 – Only priests could go into the Holy Place (30’ long x 15’ wide x 15’ tall) and they would minister there daily with the table for bread (Ex 25:23-30, 26:35), the golden lampstand (Ex 25:31-40) and the altar of incense (Ex 30:1-10). Notice no chair here – they were always working. See Heb 10:11-14 for a wonderful contrast to Christ and His COMPLETED work!

Ex 26:33-34 – A thick curtain separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place which formed a cube (15’ wide x 15’ long x 15’ tall). The only furniture hear was the gold-covered box which held the Law/Covenant. See my notes yesterday by Ex 25:17-22. The thick curtain barring entrance to God’s presence was torn by God (don’t miss the top to bottom detail – God reaching down to us) at the moment Jesus gave His life (Matt 27:51 and Heb 10:19-22 helps us meditate on the significance of this for believers today).

JOHN 5 – The ultimate importance of entrusting Jesus with our lives. Not just one aspect of Jesus (like healer – see v 14), but as God in the flesh (v 18), the One who will be the Judge of all (v 26-27), the One whom all the Scriptures point to (v 39-40, 45-46).

Jn 5:8 – I’ve written “R” in my margin, because although Jesus was using His sovereign power to heal the man, the man had a responsibility to respond and actually get up off the mat where he’d been for 38 years (see v 5).

Jn 5:14 – Jesus is NOT saying that all ailments are a specific result of specific sin (see Him making this point very clearly in Jn 9:1-3). Jesus IS reminding the man that his biggest problem is NOT his paralysis, but his SIN (also see Mk 2:4-12). Mk 7:14-23 makes very clear that this true for ALL of us. Our biggest problem is our own sin and need for salvation. Rather than the man following Jesus and learning more, he tattles to the Jewish leaders. Contrast the healing in Jn 9 and how THAT man fully believed in Jesus – not just as physical healer, but as His Savior and Lord.

Jn 5:17-18 – Sometimes when modern people hear “Son of God” they wrongly associate that with LESS THAN God the Father. But in Jesus’ time, sons almost always did exactly what their fathers did (Jesus Himself did His earthly father’s carpenter trade – compare Matt 13:55 and Mk 6:3). When Jesus talked of God His Father like He did, they knew EXACTLY what He was claiming – He was “making Himself equal with God.” Yes! Fully equal (and meditate on Jn 5:23 that further emphasizes this) AND still happily submissive in His role…

Jn 5:19-29 – Stressing BOTH the full equality of Jesus (God the Son) with God the Father AND His happy submission to the Father (v 19, 30, and hinted at in v 26-27 – “granted / given” and v 36). There are implications for marriage (1 Cor 11:3, 8-12), where a husband and wife are FULLY EQUAL in value and being fellow image-bearers of God (Gen 1:26-27) AND the wife submits to her husband’s leadership (1 Pet 3:1-7, Eph 5:22-33, Col 3:12-19 – yes, I intentionally put the wider context).

When Becky and I got convicted that our early marriage was more reflective of our culture than the Bible, it took years of prayerful work to get close to where this has the beauty it CAN have. Notice that Jesus is no passive member of the Trinity, but FULLY and actively involved in EVERY area (note carefully v 20, 21, 22, 26-27). Some wrongly think that roles in marriage came in at the fall into sin. But see Gen 2:18 (and the application to church leadership in 1 Tim 2:12-13). Since the fall into sin in Gen 3, a husband and wife are both sinners and we’ll always have tendencies to warp this at times, but Jesus shows that it’s a beautiful thing to have FULL EQUALITY and proper submission in role.

Jn 5:19-29 – Notice the complete UNITY of Father and Son in giving eternal life and in judging the world. Many religions and cults claim to honor Jesus, but meditate on Jn 5:18, 23. Unless you honor Jesus AS FULLY EQUAL to His Father as fully God, you don’t properly honor the Son OR the Father (Jn 5:23). And will be under the eternal judgment of God (Jn 5:24).

Jn 5:29 – This is NOT saying that you can be good enough to earn eternal life (see Rom 3:19-28, Eph 2:8-9). But it IS saying what the Bible repeats over and over – those that savingly believe in Jesus will be NOTICEABLE (Eph 2:10 – just after being told we’re not saved BY good works we’re told we are saved FOR good works).

Jn 5:30-47 – I count FIVE WITNESSES (though  v 45-47 is maybe more a subset of v 39) to why we need to entrust our whole life to Jesus (v 33, 36, 37, 39, 46).

Jn 5:38 – I’ve heard people try to say that Christians and Jews (those who don’t see Jesus as Messiah) and Muslims all worship the same God. But Jesus is VERY CLEAR that if you don’t entrust yourself to Him for all that He says about Himself (see v 18, 23, 24) then you DO NOT HAVE the word of God the Father in you. Jesus is the only perfectly loving person that has ever lived. He warns this clearly, because this part of what love is – warning clearly of eternal danger and pointing people to the ONLY real hope – trusting in Jesus (v 24)!

Jn 5:39 – A life-changing verse for me in studying the Bible! I used to read the Bible first of all asking “How should this make my life different?”. That’s a wonderful question, but a lousy FIRST question, since it can lead to self-centered Bible study. This re-focused me to realize the whole Bible is FIRST about revealing God Himself. So my FIRST question is now, “What does this show me about who God is?” I should have gotten that from the very first verse in the Bible – it’s clearly all about God! THEN I ask, “How should what I’m seeing about God be reflected in my thoughts/decisions/values/actions?” Also, we need to look for pointers to Jesus all through the OT (see also Lk 24:25-27). I disagree with those who feel a need to have EVERY Old Testament text point to Jesus, but we need to be looking because the OT is FILLED with wonderful pointers to Messiah Jesus! See notes at Exodus 26 just today for some wonderful examples.

Jn 5:40 – Because I’m tracing both the sovereignty of God AND the responsibility of people, next to this verse I’ve written: “R – one side of things, but also see 6:44, 65” (there I have “S! but don’t miss 5:40”)

Optional Psalm 51:1-12 – Ps 51 is David’s prayer of confession when he was confronted with his sin. The sin of adultery and the murderous cover-up is in 2 Sam 11, and many think that Ps 32 is a reflection of the miserable year in between the sin and the confrontation. I love how has carefully paraphrased the Psalm 51 and then added a final verse reflecting on these truths from THIS side of the cross. Here’s the link, but our church uses the tune from the classic hymn “Abide with Me” –

Ps 51:4 – David HAD clearly sinned against people, too, but FUNDAMENTALLY sin is against God. In my margin I’ve written: “2 Sam 12:9, 10, 13-14, Gen 39:9”. In 2 Samuel 12, the prophet Nathan makes clear to David how his sin is a rejection of God Himself, and God takes it very personally. Joseph is very aware of this truth in Gen 39:9 and reflecting on that helped him fight temptation.

Ps 51:5 – This is a vital verse helping us understand the TOTAL DEPRAVITY of the human heart. Eph 2:1-3 makes clear that we come into this world a sinner by NATURE. Of course very early on we also CHOOSE sin, confirming that we are “by NATURE children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Eph 2:3, ESV)  Beside Ps 51:5 I’ve written “Sinful DEEP DOWN – from the moment of conception!”

Ps 51:7-10 – The only way to lasting joy and gladness once we’re aware of the depth of our sin is to cast ourselves on God’s mercy and get cleansed from our sin. No sin is greater than the grace of God (1 John 1:9)! John Newton (who wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace”) was a slave ship captain before God saved him and changed him. He reckoned that he was responsible for the death of thousands of slaves. He was asked how he was not crippled by guilt, but able to have a very sweet and helpful ministry to others (including working hard to end the slave trade). He had at least two answers (I’m going from memory, but these quotes will be close): 1) “There is more mercy in Christ than there is sin in me.”  2) “I am a very great sinner, but Christ is a greater Savior.”

Optional Proverbs 14:15-18 – Pr 14:18 – The principle of sowing and reaping (also see Gal 6:7-8).