In the previous episode of the podcast we talked about the finality of what Jesus has accomplished- that He has resolved every sin issue we have.
“It's done,” Jesus said from the Cross.
Or- if you remember the nuance He added to the famous sacrificial word, Tetelestai.
Accept it, and your free. Don't accept it, and you’ve disqualified Jesus as your high priest and subjected yourself to the bondage of rule-keeping, shadow-chasing, and sacrifice- which can’t take away sin anyway and only serves to remind you of… your need for Jesus and the freedom He offers.
Even after all things are complete, though, Jesus does more. Additional redemption comes.
We read in the Gospels that Jesus continued bleeding even after He died, even after sin was atoned for. Since we know that every place Jesus bled He redeemed something for us, we know that- even after His death- He still claimed more freedom for us!
John is the only writer to pen the following detail (see John 19:31-34). He writes that after Jesus died “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out” (19:34).
What was He doing? Why continue bleeding after He was dead?
Wasn’t He done? I mean, He said it was finished, right?
From the outset of His ministry, Jesus proclaimed that He came to bind the broken-hearted (Luke 4:18). Since we know we can trust His word, we can assume He heals those who have emotional hurts. Let’s discuss what this looks like.
As an older pastor, the apostle John (the one who mentions Jesus bleeding from His heart) wrote three letters to the church at Ephesus. At the end of the first letter, he asks and answers a revealing question that’s relative to our discussion here (1 John 5:5-6).
Here’s the question and answer-
Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
6 This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.
Notice his answer as to who overcomes in this life (remember, freedom isn’t just future, it’s now):
To emphasize that last point, John adds, “not only by water, but by water and blood” (v6, emphasis added).
Let’s pause right here for a moment and discuss what this “water and blood” thing means. If we don’t, we’re going to get confused in about 30 seconds, because John mentions water and blood again in the next few verses.
So what’s He saying here?
In John’s culture some people believed Jesus didn’t necessarily come as God in the flesh-
(Strange isn’t it? I mean, aren’t these the same heresies people kick around today, as if they’ve come up with something new and enlightened?)
John writes to a group of people tangled up in these theological weeds and says, “Jesus came by water and blood.”
Most Bible scholars agree that the “water” in this part of the passage refers to Jesus’ birth (the water breaks when an infant is about to be born) and the blood refers to His death. In effect, John tells us, “Jesus was born, He lived among us, and then He died on the Cross- that’s the Jesus I’m talking about. And all of it’s essential.”
The fact that Jesus came as a real man was hyper-important to John. In fact, in the beginning of his gospel, he writes, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).
He actually begins this first letter with the same argument. “We’ve seen Jesus,” he writes (1 John 1:1-3, emphasis added). Notice-
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you…
Notice, John is convinced that he walked with Jesus… that he heard Jesus speak, that Jesus revealed something through His life and His death that changes things for us now.
Furthermore, John insists that he’s declaring only what he’s seen and heard. He’s letting you know that he’s an eyewitness to everything he’s writing. No secondhand info, no hearsay, no gossip.
When John says that the one who overcomes is the one who believes Jesus came “by water and the blood,” he tells us that the one who walks in freedom, first of all, knows that Jesus came in the flesh… that He was born, lived, and journeyed to the Cross for our freedom. Or, to say it another way, you won’t overcome in this life if you don’t first build on that foundation.
Think about it. How can you overcome and experience redemption if you don’t believe the Redeemer’s life is a real story? Is it even possible?
Now, lest we think John is just propping on his own credentials to tell us that Jesus actually lived among us, he reminds us that there are multiple witnesses which testify to this. Though he was an eyewitness, there are more important observers that John references. Specifically, there are three in Heaven and three on earth (giving us a total of seven, including himself).
He describes these witnesses in the next two verses (1 John 5:7-8):
For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.
Let’s break it down and see if we can make sense of it-
The heavenly witness seems self-explanatory. He seems to refer to the Trinity here- because John’s language typically interchanges “Word” for Jesus. Jesus is, per John, “the Word that became flesh” (see John 1:14). The Father, Jesus (the Word), and the Holy Spirit all agree that Jesus was here! And, they are all “one” as John denotes.
The part about the heavenly witnesses seems pretty clear. The earthly witness, though, seems to require some mental gymnastics. This obscure verse is one of the most debated and confusing in the New Testament.
Let’s break it down and see what John says. He refers to:
The earthy witness includes the Spirit, whom we see verifying the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. John the Baptist testified that he knew it was Jesus approaching him for baptism because the Spirit descended upon Him like a dove (see John 1:32).
In fact, he said he wouldn’t have even known it was Jesus unless he specifically saw the Spirit verify His identity (1:33-34). Again, this occurred at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
The earthly witness also includes the “water and the blood.” Some commentators suggest this refers back to Jesus’ birth (the water breaks when an infant is about to be born) and His death (the shedding of blood at the Cross). This seems plausible, but John has already referenced the birth and death (i.e., the entire life of Jesus) as the thing that’s being testified about. As such, I think there may have an even better explanation.
Let’s go back to the Cross, look around, and see what we can see…
We’re looking for water and blood.
As they prepared to remove Jesus’ body from the Cross, a Roman soldier took a spear and thrust it “up” inside Jesus abdomen… from below the ribcage on the bottom right of His torso, pushing it through His chest cavity and into His heart. This was to insure that He was dead before they began removing Him from the Cross.
Here’s how it reads (John 19:33-34 ESV, emphasis added):
But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
There it is…
Blood and water spilled from His body as His heart was punctured, revealing that He was already dead. Jesus’ death on the Cross was, really, the final act of His earthly ministry.
In other words, John references the first act of Jesus’ ministry (His baptism, when the Spirit descended upon Him) and the final act of His ministry (the Cross, when blood and water poured from His heart). These are the “book ends” to His public ministry. And, although the world doesn’t have enough shelf space to contain the books that would be written if everything Jesus said and did was recorded for us (John 21:25), everything between these two points- and everyone He touched in some way, verifies that He was here.
John says, in effect, that His life and the ripple effects created by it… and facts like you can’t reference the day of your birth without referencing the day of His on the calendar… that all of history now hinges on when He was here… well… that counts for something.
Remember, John was telling us that Jesus bled from His heart- and that the one who believes it is the one who overcomes. He’s provided us a list of witnesses to prove that this bleeding occurred.
Now we need to explain the purpose behind all of this.
Why the bleeding heart…?
Because everywhere Jesus bled He redeemed something…
And all have emotions and hurts that need freeing, right?
Links mentioned in the talk
The free eBook, Redemption: https://www.overflowfaith.com/p/redemption-e-book
Or, grab the actual book on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2EdbdKD
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazzero- http://amzn.to/2EONQ7k
Other places to listen + subscribe
SoundCloud = https://soundcloud.com/andrewejenkins
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