Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27:17

Friday, February 16, 2024

Bible Study with Hank Hohenstien

Hello All,

Here are our Zoom Link and Bible Study notes for this Saturday's session at 8:00 AM PST on 02/17/2024. We have a spell of mild rain coming - 11 of 14 days in our section of Oregon, however, we pray the weatherman improves; we tend to receive more rain than is forecasted. However, the best sign is that the composition of the birds who visit our offerings of seed and suet is changing. 

I pray we all thrive in our own way in 2024 as we lift our crosses, daily. Please join us on Saturday morning to continue our exploration of John's gospel. We appreciate how you may have to adjust your busy daily routine because of varying time zones. It is much easier in Oregon and Tokmok, we are thirteen hours apart. Thus as we arise they are retiring for the evening. We love seeing all of you. It is your choice to be with us for all or part of our study, prayer and fellowship. Our notes are designed to be saved and studied. We pray we will be able to edit all of the study notes and compress them into a single document for each Book of our study program. 

We encourage you to share your stories, activities and prayers. Each story is unique and inspirational, your journey is yours, a human journey, no one else has the same story, and each one is important. It is encouraging to hear when and how the Holy Spirit reveals Himself. We are enriched as your brothers and sisters in Christ, when we are included in your story. The Apostle John tells the story of Jesus as the most down to earth of all the gospel-writers. Many scholars claim John was Jesus's favorite.

John creates a story for all eternity: there is a main theme, numerous subplots and from these we are able to learn about ourselves and the conditions we encounter in 'the world' of today. John reveals the depth of Jesus' prayers. He discusses what Jesus' followers will experience after he has left them. Jesus also promises the 'helper', as He presses the truth. Jesus has completed the work given Him by the Father.

Join us as we follow Jesus through His vocation in Jerusalem. The last gathering in the upper room is filled with Jesus' prayers for His disciples and for us. John's gospel is universally a significant help as we navigate the darkness in Jerusalem and in 'the dark world' of 2024. Join us - you bless us with your presence. 

May the Holy Spirit bring you His wisdom and His understanding.

Love, hank

Zoom Link:
For Study, Prayer and Fellowship - 8:00 AM PST on 02/17/2024:
Passcode: 77299ere:

Study Notes:

02/17/2024 – [John 17:20-26] – That They May Be One

PV. I have added a reminder to my daily prayers: “Heavenly Father, you have called me to love, obey and serve you, by laboring in and improving those systems into which you have placed me.”  NB: Read systems as an ecosystem - a geographic area where plants, animals, other organisms,  weather and landscapes, work to form a community - a bubble of life.


Music to study with: 11+ hours of Russian Orthodox Music (updated)! G. Decapolite 


Are we puzzled by the phrase: ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic church’? (It is from one of our creeds - the great statements of belief produced by the early Christians). NB. It is fully acceptable to utter the word catholic - it means universal. And for those strongly Biblical oriented, it is good to know that it is from this great prayer by Jesus in [John 17] that we develop our view of the church. It is very unifying. Imagine for a moment that George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or Leo Tolstoy or Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had left a short piece that was not found among his possessions upon his death. One day, the piece, in the handwriting of the great man, was found among the pages of a book. Imagine that it was talking about … you. How would you feel? Imagine if we all believed, ‘… that all of them may be one.’ [v. 20-21]


That is how we must interpret Jesus’ prayer: that he was talking to you as a follower of Him via the message delivered by the Disciples as they headed to the ends of the earth. We are their followers. They stated, “Those who believe in Me, through their (disciples) word”. And on and on and … on.’ The church is never more than one generation away from extinction. All it would take is a single generation not to pass on the word. That task is ours and we do so in the absence of assistance from some leaders of many different tribes of our church who seem interested in re-introducing Paganism.


What is Jesus praying for, as He thinks of you and me\? That we may be just as the ancient words say: one, holy, universal, based on the words of His followers, the Apostles. He especially longed for our being – one – united. Not simply a formal agreement, but one that mirrored the unity of Father and Son. Father in the Son and Son in the Father and we are invited into that unity. United  – blind to race, tribe, custom, gender, class, age. The lifting of those barriers can come only from the creator God. ‘So that the world may believe …’ [13:35] This is how the world will know that you are my disciples – if you love one another. Unity is vital. We must rise above backgrounds, differences and traditions. Jesus’ prayer has not been fully answered. N.B. We are called as in-dividuals and will remain so, except that we will have a shared belief as enumerated in our creeds. 


As in any human relationship unity cannot be forced. Bullying or manipulation do not work. We of this generation must realize there is no excuse for us not working toward the unity of Jesus’ prayer. If we are of one faith, there is no reason that we are not one in worship. Jesus returns to earlier themes [12:2614:3] His followers are to be ‘with Hin’ to see His glory; they are to know the fact that the Father has exalted Him as the sovereign of the world. They are to know that the love the creator God has given to Him as the loving Lord of all. Some Christians say that is arrogant. 14:6] This is a misreading of the gospel message. Jesus is exalted for one reason: love! This is not a sovereignty that enables one group to think they are better than any other. It has one purpose – to loving service. Exactly as it committed Jesus. [v. 26] The Father loved Jesus and that is the bond and badge around all of Jesus’ people. Jesus being present in them and through them to the world. In [v. 11] Jesus addressed the Father as ‘holy’, now He addresses Him as ‘righteous’ . [v. 25] The Father is the judge of all the earth; though the world rages against Jesus’ followers, He will see that right will prevail. But in the NT the justice for which we pray, the righteous judgement through which the Father expresses  Himself in His world appears before us as love – appears before us in the person of Jesus and we watch as He goes forward to complete the work of love.

[John 18:1-14] The arrest of Jesus – The story of Adam [Gen. 2, 3] is behind the garden of betrayal (Gethsemane) in this chapter and the Garden of Easter [Chap. 20]. John is writing, sort of, a ‘new Genesis’. Now in this extraordinary and decisive scene we see what it means that the Word became flesh: our flesh, Adam’s flesh, a new-Genesis flesh. The roles are reversed. Sinful men, violent men with weapons come to the garden looking for someone: the Father’s only Son. Like all humans they are looking for God, but they do not know that is what they are doing. They think they are only doing their job … Where else do we hear this?


Jesus does not hide. Why? The Father has given Him a cup to drink and He is going to drink it. The agony in the garden so vividly written in Matthew, Mark, and Luke is missing in John. John has shown us three times that Jesus was troubled [11:3312:2713:21] That moment has passed. Jesus is now ready. The new Adam steps forward to meet the old; the Word who was and is God comes to greet ‘the world’; The light of the world stands before those in their darkness, carrying lanterns and torches. The light shines in the darkness and it is not going to extinguish it. Jesus takes the initiative and asks whom they are seeking. They tell Him. His answer is simple: “I Am!”


This is a simple, clear, world changing statement: the vulnerable man standing before you; seen in the flickering torchlight, is the one who from all eternity was equal with His Father. He is the I am, the bread of life, the light of the world, the resurrection and the life, the way, the truth and the life. This is the reason for the arresting party to stumble backward and fall. Their reaction, voluntary or involuntary, is what people in the Bible do when coming face to face with God. It is stunning to think of Jesus as He is portrayed here. After all He is God. But His victory over sin cannot be cheap, carnivalistic. Where would we be today if He had used His infinite power to gain victory. If He had called up legions of angels? Or defeating the power of Rome with an army of superb swordsmen? In part, that was what Peter was thinking – armed might. [18:36] Think back to the first Eden, bloodshed is the sorry sign of human failure. Those who resort to violence display human frailty. If we were truly paying attention to all that happened since Palm Sunday, we would expect Him to show no resistance. You would expect Him to be in control of His followers (the order to Peter) [11] and in control of those who came to arrest Him (to let the others go)[8]


There is great irony in all that happens for the next 15 hours when we stand at the foot of the cross. Jesus who had just completed His great prayer as the true high priest of Israel is taken before Annas, the senior member of the high priestly family along with his son-in-law Caiaphas, who is also present. [11:49-50] It is now clear, there is no doubt, we know what is to happen and we know what it means. The true high priest will be sent to His death by the false high priest; so through His death God will rescue His people. The true Adam will be sent to His death by the false ones; so the garden may be restored and where, instead of bloodshed, there can be healing and forgiveness. The Word who was and is God is led away to be questioned by God’s official representative. We are all challenged to hold all of this in our minds. 


John builds many images. It is possible that it may become overwhelming. Themes seem to run in every direction. We cannot simply see an arrest, a trial and an execution. We must see the entire garden and allow the different thematic levels and ideas; the counter thoughts, meanings and misunderstandings rattle about, bounce off of each other and inspire awe, silence, meditation, prayer, hope and love. Amen




Hank Hohenstein, OFS
Land Steward
161 Osprey Vista
Shady Cove, OR 97539
Cell: 541-973-5442

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