Tag Archives: John
We are going to go through the book of John. Each week we will go through the verses that seem to stay with the same subject. But before we get started looking at the scripture I think it’s very important that we understand who exactly wrote the book, when it was written, what was going on at the time, and why did the author feel he needed to write the book. Without understanding some of this it is hard to accurately interpret the text.
All that being said we are going to cover the specifics of who, what, when, where and why but more importantly we are going to look into the heart of the man that the bible calls the beloved disciple. We are going to look at a zealous young man following God and an elderly preacher pleading with his congregation not to abandon the faith to false teachers.
The bible contains 4 books referred to as gospels. They are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are referred to as the synoptic gospels because they are very similar. They look at Jesus’ life in a similar way. John leaves out many of the things that the others record for example: John does not tell us about Jesus’ birth or baptism, he does not give us any of the parables, there is no ascension mentioned. Plus there are many things such as Peter walking on water that John does not go into as much detail about. While he tells us about Jesus coming to the boat he doesn’t tell us about Jesus telling Peter to come out on the water.
On top of this John adds a lot of stuff, such as the changing of water to wine, meeting with Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, the raising of Lazarus, and several discourses not included elsewhere. So why is this gospel so different?
The last thing in the text about the followers of Jesus before He heads out to the apostles is in vs. 14-15 After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. That statement needs to stay in our minds as we proceed forward. So in verses 22-24 the crowd of followers has awakened. They realize that the disciples have taken a boat across the sea and Jesus is nowhere to be found. More boats show up so they go to find the disciples, more than likely thinking, “Surely, they will know where Jesus went.”
I love how in verse 25 they find Jesus and being unaware of how He got there they ask Him, “When did you get here?” Jesus skips the small talk and gets to the heart of the matter. In verse 26 Jesus answers “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”
Jesus who knows the heart of man is asking them, “Why are you looking for me?” So the question today is, why are you following Jesus? Jesus next tells them, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
What we need to make sure we are seeing here is that back up in verses 14 and 15 it tells us their purpose for following Jesus. When they refer to the prophet has come they are referring to Deuteronomy 18. This Old Testament verse is where Moses tells the Israelites that someday a prophet like him will come and they are to listen to him. They just saw the miracle of Jesus feeding five thousand with 5 fish and 2 loaves. They are thinking back to Moses and the bread (manna from heaven). They did not have to work for food it was given to them by Moses. (It actually was given to them by God but as we will see in a minute they see it as being given to them by Moses.) Jesus also was able to give them food without them doing anything.
They are following Jesus for what He can give them. They ask what must they do to do the works of God and Jesus tells them to believe in Him. In turn they ask, what sign can you give us? Is that not amazing? They have just seen the miracle of the feeding of five thousand and now they say prove to us you can perform miracles. Then they give a hint as the type of miracle they need to see.
They tell Him that their forefathers ate manna in the desert so what can He do in comparison to that. This same problem exists today for the church. Many follow Jesus just as this crowd did. They will go through the trouble of following Jesus as long as they think they can get something. When things get hard or it is not convenient to follow Jesus they turn away just as we see these men are going to do (John 6:60).
Even when Jesus tells them that the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life, they respond by saying, “Give us this bread.” I’m going to stop there today to keep this post from becoming overly long and I will continue with the Bread of Life statement next time.
Yet John does have some significance that needs to be looked at. The first thing that I’m going to point out is that Matthew and Mark both talk about Jesus climbing into the boat and the wind dying down(Matthew 14:32, Mark 6:51). John tells us the disciples had rowed for 3 to 3 and half miles, when Jesus walked out to them. We see in the other gospel accounts that they landed their boat at Gennesaret. A straight course which they would not have taken because they would want to get a little ways off the shore would be at least 4 miles. Since we don’t know exactly where they launched their boat from the distance could have been a little farther.
John tells us that when Jesus got in the boat they were immediately at the shore. It strikes me interesting as soon as Jesus was with them, they were where they were going. It kind of reminds me where Phillip was taken by the spirit as soon as the Ethiopian was baptized.
The other thing in this passage is that John shows by leaving out some details he put it here not so we would know what happened, (since he knows we have already heard about it from the other gospels) but to point something out to us. It’s reminds me of the wedding at Cana where only the servants saw the miracles. John wants us to see that this was a special miracle (especially Peter walking on the water) for those who truly serve Jesus. I believe the next section we will study will help strengthen that view.
John 1:1–3 (NIV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
- Jesus has always been there.
- Jesus and God are the same but separate.
- God gave everything to men except the fruit from one tree.
- Man ate the fruit of the forbidden tree.
- Man suffered the consequences.
- God suffered the consequences.
- God knows everything before it happens.
- Review and look at life in the shadow of the cross.
Jesus has always been
I’m going to start with John chapter 1 vs.1-3. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2)He was with God in the beginning.
(3)Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that had been made.
When we read John’s prologue there is no way to deny that the bible teaches that Jesus has always been there. The Word is referring to Jesus. If you look down at vs. 14 John shows us that. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. The word is Jesus and it says he was there in the beginning. He was there at creation.
Look at Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Jesus was there.
Look at Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.
Jesus was there.
Look at Daniel 3:25 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are being thrown into the fiery furnace . Nebuchadnezzar looks and says Daniel 3:25 (NIV) — 25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
Jesus was there! The next thing I want us to see.
I point this out to say that there are many in church today that realize there was a Jesus and that He was sent by God. They understand that he died for their sins. Yet the only reason they go to church is for what it can do for them. They do not serve in any of the church’s ministry yet they constantly seek more ministries that can serve them. The seek positions in the church not so they can help others but so they can have power and prestige.
So Jesus goes up on the mountainside and sets with His disciples when He sees the crowd getting closer, He asks, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” First notice that Jesus was with those who believed in Him. He was teaching and disciplining those who love Him when he saw unbelievers that had a need and He wanted to know what the disciples were going to do about that need.
Philip immediately thinks there is nothing that they can do for such a large crowd. He thinks of the money they would have to spend to help these people. Philip is not thinking that He is with Immanuel (God with us) and nothing is impossible. Andrew on the other hand jumps in with a solution. There is a boy here with 5 loaves and two fish. Granted he doesn’t know how that could possibly help so many people but he knows that he serves an amazing God.
The parallel here today is , are you a person or church that looks at the overwhelming need of the community and say its hopeless or do you look to the heavens and say this is what we have God, what can you do with it?
Jesus tells the disciples to organize everyone into groups and He thanks God for providing for their need. How often do we look at impossible circumstances and thank God for providing before we even see Him do it? That is what happened here. Jesus knew God would meet the need that they had to supply these followers with food. Sometimes we must believe God is going to provide without any idea how He is going to do it.
Afterwards Jesus had the disciples gather the leftover bread and it filled 12 baskets. God not only provided for the needs of this crowd but He gave even more abundantly than was needed. We as a church should always seek how to serve our community. How can we show the love of Jesus to a lost and dying world? We should always know that if we are seeking to be the hands and feet of Jesus, he will provide.
Jesus starts by acknowledging that for a Jews’ testimony to be found true it must have two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15). The first witness Jesus calls on is John the Baptist. John proclaimed that the Kingdom of Heaven was near and that Jesus was the Lamb of God come to take away the sin of the world.
Jesus tells the Jews that he doesn’t need Human witness, but John was sent so they would believe and be saved (John 5:34). The statement that John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and they chose for a time to enjoy his light was to let them know that the hope that John spoke of they have forgotten about.
Next Jesus moves up and says that there is a witness much greater than John. Jesus states that the works He is doing testify that God sent Him. Jesus is reminding them that the reason He is on trial is because of the miracle He just performed. A miracle that only God could do!
Then Jesus tells them that the Father Himself has testified to Him, but because God does not reside in them they cannot hear. Jesus then calls the fourth witness. The scriptures testify to Jesus (Luke 24:27). Jesus is asking how can they study the scriptures looking for eternal life yet they miss that the scriptures are pointing to Him.
Jesus finishes by telling them that He is not seeking their praise. That if they truly loved God they would accept the witnesses He has provided. They are looking so much for someone that if someone came on their own authority they would accept them, but they are missing the one God has sent.
Now Jesus brings His last witnesses and puts them on trial. Jesus tells them that Moses will accuse them, because he prophesied of Jesus and they are ignoring it.
After Jesus healed the paralytic the Jews started to persecute Him. Their complaint was that Jesus was healing on the Sabbath and that meant he was breaking the law. Jesus responded to this accusation by saying, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” This made them even angrier , because now not only was Jesus breaking their religious law, He had made himself equal with God.
Jesus responds to this anger by telling them that He only does what He sees His Father do. I’m going to unpack this here because a lot is being said in that simple statement. In Jesus’ time a son would follow in the footsteps of his father by becoming an apprentice and eventually taking over the father’s occupation.
Just like Peter, Andrew, John, and James all fished with their fathers. Jesus was a carpenter like Joseph. This was the common thing in that day. So first Jesus states that God is His father and then tells them that He is in the same business as His dad.
Then to make sure that they didn’t misunderstand Him he breaks it down further for them. The father gives life, so will the son. Then to add the topping to the cake, Jesus tells them that the Father has given responsibility to Judge people to Him.
What Jesus is basically saying is that God is now putting Jesus in charge. It’s no longer a system of law that Jews must follow to please God, it will now be that they must give honor to this man standing in front of them telling them that He is the Son of God.
Jesus finishes by telling them that He is the way to eternal life, not only for them but all the dead in their graves will live by His voice. Jesus has just took a bunch of men who were mad at him for working on the Sabbath and given them a whole lot to think about.
Jesus goes to a place of sickness and picks the worst case. Compare this to our world today. There is sickness everywhere: addictions to drugs, alcohol, and sex; Idolatry of money and fame. The list could go on and on. The thing to see is that none of this is too hard for Jesus. Jesus could have picked a simple case and healed them. What we are seeing is Jesus can heal anyone no matter how bad their condition is.
Notice in verse 6 that Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to get well?” This seems like a stupid question at first, but let’s think about it. Let’s turn the mirror on ourselves. Do you want to give up your addictions, idolatries, greed, and selfishness? Whatever your pet sin is, do you want to get well? How hard are you trying? Have you picked up your mat? When Jesus asked you, “do you want to get well?” Did you scream, “Yes, Heal me!” Or did you do like this man and give excuses on why you can’t get well.
That’s what is happening here. The man is giving excuses on why he can’t get well. He is use to his problem and the attention it gets him. He doesn’t have to try harder because everyone knows he has to have their assistance. He does not want to give up his sickness, because it is a part of him. Just as our sickness is a part of us. “Yes Lord, I want to give up my lusts. Yes Lord, I want to give up my greed. Yes, Lord, I want to give up my selfishness, but no Lord I don’t want to give up my sin. It’s who I am!” Ask yourself, do I want to get well.
Jesus doesn’t force the man to choose healing. Jesus does not reach down and pick the man up. Jesus simply says, “Pick up your mat and walk.” Jesus simply tells us if you will give up on your sickness. If you will give up your crutch and come to me, I’ll help you. This man then picked up his mat and walked. Jesus healed him and showed him that there was a savior.
I’m going to skip down to verse 14. We see that Jesus sees the man again and says to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” Jesus will give us healing, but we must repent. We are only saved when we believe and repent. If we want to get well Jesus will give us the power, but we must choose healing. We must choose to actually follow Him
Jesus is receiving the reception of a celebrity as He goes around Galilee. They are telling each other, “Yes, this is the man that turned the water into wine at the wedding!”(John 2:7-10) “I saw him at the Passover feast in Jerusalem performing many miracles(John2:23), he even chased the money changers out of the temple.” (John2:15)
While in Cana a man from Capernaum shows up, he had heard about Jesus and wanted to see if it was possible that Jesus could heal his son. Let’s put our selves there. Jesus is standing among the crowds when suddenly this government official pushes his way through the crowd and with tears in his eyes drops to his knees and begs Jesus to come with him and heal his son. Jesus looks at the crowds and responds, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.” The man looks up with the tears streaming down his face, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jesus looks down at the man smiles and says, “You may go. Your son will live.” (John 4:48-50) Just imagine the ride back home. The bible says the man took Jesus at his word but verse 53 shows he still had his doubts. The man was making the trip back home thinking to himself the one man who might could help wouldn’t even come and see. He wipes the dust stained tears off his face as he sees men approaching. He realizes it is his servants. Fear strikes him as he prepares for the bad news, but instead they tell him your son will live. The end of verse 53 tells us the he and his entire household believed.
There are many things to see here but the first thing I want us to look at is the contrast between the woman in Samaria and this man. While there was corruption among the Herodians, they still were Jewish people. These are the people that God had promised he would send a messiah to. They had the temple, the prophets, the knowledge, and everything to make them the very people who should be awaiting Jesus. The Samaritans were a mixed race people hated by the Jews. They only had the law and not the prophets. Yet all it took for them to believe was a woman that had been trapped by sin for a long time announcing that the messiah was here. (John 4:39-42) Those who have sinned much, love much. (Luke 7:41-47)The thing to see here is that those trapped in sin have an easier time seeing the grace of God, while those trapped by religion look for what God can do for them.
The next thing I want to notice is that it said the man and his entire household believed. When an unbeliever comes to Christ, the joy he receives should stand out and lead others to Christ.
The disciples see Jesus doing something and they do not question it. They do not go up to him and say, Jesus we don’t like the way you are doing this. They don’t try to convince Him that this woman is a lost cause. They wait till he finishes talking to her and then they try to get Him to eat.
Jesus response to them is that He has food they know nothing about. This throws them off because they know He didn’t have any food. They are discussing this among themselves when Jesus says “My food, is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
Jesus was just letting them know that sometimes meeting the needs of others and serving God is more important that worrying about what we want at the moment. It is easy for us thinking of the things we need to get done and forget that God may have placed someone there who needs us. It might be someone that normally because of social or class norms we wouldn’t reach out to. But that is our food! The will of God should always be what we feed on.
Jesus finishes up by comparing telling people about Him to raising crops. He is saying the seeds planted these people are just waiting to be harvested. When we look around us we sould see others as Those whom God has planted a seed in all they need is that last bit of work to get them out of the fields.
Jesus tells us others have done the hard work and we need to enjoy the benefits of that work in this case the prophets and John served to be the way God planted the seed. Jesus just showed up and spoke to a woman in compassion and it led to many in the town being saved.
As you go through your week are you looking over the fields and harvesting the fruit God has planted?
At about noon Jesus stops at Jacob’s well and rest while his disciples head into town to buy food. This is when the women we know as the Samaritan woman comes to the well. This is an odd time since women normally went to the well early in the day (Exodus 1:15-18) or late in the evening (Genesis 24:11). This suggest that this woman did not want to be seen by the other women, probably because of her known promiscuity (John 4:18).
As she is getting her water Jesus does an amazing thing and asks her for a drink. This is amazing first because the Jews and Samaritans are enemies. The Samaritans were mixed blood descendents of the Jews after the defeat of the northern Kingdom of Israel. They had caused problems for the Jews when they tried to rebuild the walls after the return from exile. Rabbinic law actually said that drinking after aSamaritan women would make a Jew ceremonially unclean. So Jesus is stepping across race, culture and religious lines.
Her response was amazement and Jesus answered back that “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” She responds asking how when he doesn’t any way to get water pointing out that the well is to deep for running water (this is what she would have understood living water to mean, Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit and she is not understanding that.) and basically questioning who He thinks He is since he couldn’t be greater than Jacob.
Jesus explains to the woman that the living water he offers leads to eternal water and that a person will never thirst again after it. The woman desires the water and Jesus tells her to bring her husband back.
The woman says she has no husband. Jesus then shows her who He is with the statement, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” Jesus is just showing her that He knows who she is that He looked pass all of this, when He spoke to her. Feeling convicted of her sin she turns it to a theological discussion.
It’s amazing how we will try to cover up our sin by our religious knowledge. Jesus tells her that that will not work God knows when we our worshipping to be religious and when we are worshipping in Spirit and truth. Jesus then tells the woman that He is the messiah.
The woman’s response to meeting Jesus is what ours should be. She goes out and tells everyone she can about Jesus. This leads to many Samaritans believing and being saved.
This section shows us how to be compassionate as I’ve stated in another post on this section. It teaches that race and culture lines do not matter. It shows us that our response should be to go and share the gospel.
The Holy Bible : New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), Jn 4:10.
Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)
Salt and Light
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 6:19–24 (NIV)
Treasures in Heaven
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
I woke up really early one morning a couple of weeks ago and the verse from Matthew 6 about storing up treasure in heaven was in my mind. I sat there for a while thinking about those verses and why did God wake me up this early to think about them. When I was asked to preach this morning, those verses were the first to come to mind. So I read and reread this section thinking about what it meant and then I backed up and looked through Matthew up to this point to get the context.
I think we can safely assume that this argument was about baptism. This section starts off talking about baptism and immediately after we hear of the argument it goes back to baptism. So my guess is a Jewish person, probably a Pharisee like Nicodemus is trying to understand why Jesus and John are baptizing Jews. It also should be mentioned that Jesus was not baptizing himself but His disciples were (John 4:2).
So after this discussion John’s students go back to him and they are worried. They are afraid that this man Jesus is going to get a bigger following than John. I think today’s application on this is the church and it’s constant concern for other churches getting more members. I have heard church members talk about not wanting to work with a church on something because they are afraid they may lose some members. What we must realize is that God sees one church and one denomination. It should thrill us when we hear about a church growing. The angels are throwing a party so why aren’t we(Luke 15:10).
If you read the rest of this section with that in mind it will help you see that each of us are just a part of announcing that Christ has come. We should seek to be humbled and made small as we proclaim this news to the lost. We should be thrilled for the groom (Christ) when we hear of another coming to Him. Be it an individual or a growing church.
I have to recite this from the KJV because it was so burnt into my memory that I have a deep love for the phrasing of this verse in that translation. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus is pointing out to Nicky that He is the true and not created Son of God and if you look upon His work on the cross and believe that His death gives you life and forgiveness, then you will have it.
Again it’s important that we keep the symbolization of the serpent, sin, and forgiveness I mentioned in the last post in mind here. This section is teaching us that Christ’s death on the cross is what brings cleansing, forgiveness, eternal life and allows us to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Now we move on to verses 17and 18. Keep the reference point in mind that God is telling us how He loves the world. Today we live in a world where it is considered offensive to say that if you don’t believe in Jesus you will go to hell. The misunderstanding people have is that Jesus is here to condemn them. When you say something about Jesus they think you are condemning them and judging them. That is not what Jesus did on the cross. I have heard so many fundamentalist preachers teach a graceless gospel where everybody but them are going to Hell. That is not what Jesus taught.
Jesus never condemned a sinner. Think about this for a moment. Jesus asked the woman caught in adultery , “Has no one condemned you?” In Matthew 9:2 Jesus does not condemn the paralytic but tells him his sins are forgiven. As Jesus eats with sinners at Matthews house He says He is there to heal them of their sin(Matthew 9:12-13). The Samaritan woman in John 4, Jesus does not condemn. Jesus did not condemn any sinners in the bible. That is what the church wrongfully does.
Let’s look at who He did condemn . Who did Jesus look at and say, you are going to burn in Hell? Look at Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. Or 23:33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
Jesus only condemned those who think they are righteous. Jesus does not condemn sinners, He came to save them. Now this isn’t to say that sinners are not condemned. Verse 18 tells us that if you do not believe in Jesus you are already condemned. We are under God’s curse. We do not need to be condemned, we already are. Jesus isn’t here to tell us we are going to Hell. He is here to show God’s love and grace and let us know that if we believe in Him we are saved.
Verses 19-21 just further states this by saying man is evil and because we are ashamed of our deeds we do not want to hear about Jesus. When we accept the cleansing and filling of Spirit we become a new creation with the heart of God and we can then step into the light. Then our lives show that what we have do we do through the Spirit of God.
It’s unfortunate that the chapter break is here at verse 21 because it really needs to be included in this section. All of this is immediately after Jesus clearing the temple. These verses 23-25 are talking about “unsaved believers”. That is people who believe in Jesus but don’t trust in Him and this is what Nicodemus is when he goes to Jesus. He admits in verse 2 that he knows Jesus was sent from God, but he denies the authority that Jesus has.
Nicodemus has gotten curious about Jesus and goes to Him. It’s kind of funny how this conversation starts in verse 2-3. Nicodemus comes in telling Jesus what a powerful servant of God He is being able to perform miracles and stuff. Jesus knowing what is truly in his heart though, cuts him off. Jesus immediately turns to what is on Nicodemus’ mind. Nicodemus has come to ask a prophet when will the kingdom of God come and free them from Roman rule.
Let’s try to put ourselves in Nicodemus’ place for a minute. You are a teacher of the law. You are living in a city surrounded by pagan Caesar worshipping Romans. Every decision about the land promised to you by God is controlled by pagans. You hate these vile, violent, and offensive people. You look forward to the time of the kingdom of God. It will be a time when God will take control and remove these pagans and God will rule here. You pray for it daily. You make tons of rules so that you can live righteously and force others to obey them in hopes that this will please God and He will deliver you.
Then one day after 400 years without the voice of a prophet, a man shows up and with a whip chases greedy men from the temple. Then this man goes into the courts and performs miracles and healings.(John 2:23) You look to the heavens and asks God if this is a prophet that can tell you when this kingdom will appear? You feel unexplainably drawn to this man.
You listen to the other Pharisees and they are talking about this man. “How dare He stop our temple markets?” “How dare He build up followers that listen to Him more faithfully than us? How dare He claim God as His father? You are embarrassed for believing that Jesus was sent by God so in the evening you sneak off and go to talk to Him. But then when you start talking to Him, He knows your very thoughts. He knows the prayers that you have only shared with God.
You stare startled as He emphatically tells you, that you must be born again to see the kingdom of God. You don’t understand. How can one be born again? As you wrestle with this he states with the same emphasis that you must be “born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” How can this be you ask. Jesus asks you, how can you not understand this when you are a teacher?”
I want to switch gears here and take a moment to talk about this being born of water and spirit. There seems to be much confusion over what it means. It is not baptism. The Jews knew what baptism was. It was used when converting people to Judaism and some crazy man on the banks of the Jordan was doing it to Jews, but to Nicodemus this would not be something that could or should make sense to him. Jesus tells him in verse 10 that the Old Testament explains Water and Spirit.
Let’s go to Jeremiah 31:15 and try to make sense of this. Jeremiah makes a prophecy of Jesus. We see the fulfillment of this prophecy in Matthew 2:18. Jeremiah is speaking of a new covenant(Jeremiah 31:31) that Jesus will make with Israel. Now go to Ezekiel 36:25-26 to find the understanding of water and spirit. Verse 25 says I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean and verse 26 says I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.
This being born again is putting faith in Jesus Which cleanses us from the guilt of our sin (Jeremiah 33:8) and fills us with the Holy Spirit so that we can live by God’s law. Now for us today we know of the cross. So our faith is in the fact that Jesus came and lived a sinless life and died as a perfect sacrifice so that He could suffer God’s wrath for us. It also includes faith in the resurrection of Jesus on the third day and that we will be raised with Jesus.
Now Nicky would not have known of the cross during the conversation but Jesus gives him a clue. In verse 14 Jesus mentions the bronze snake that was lifted up and says that He shall have to be lifted up just as the bronze snake was. Nicodemus would have immediately thought of the people that had been bit by the serpents in Numbers 21:8-9. They were dying but when they looked upon the bronze snake on the pole they would be forgiven and live.
I love this symbolism. We have been infected with the poison of the serpent’s lies but when we look upon Jesus on the cross we can be forgiven and live. Nicodemus would have saw this symbolization immediately at the crucifixion and would understand the prophesy Jesus made that night.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
We are going to be in John chapter 2 today. As you are turning there I’m going to set up the context of this section. John was the last gospel written and it was written John the son of Zebedee and he refers to himself as the disciple that Jesus loved.
John starts off Jesus ministry with a wedding. Theologically this is symbolizing the new covenant and how the church is the bride of Christ. We could spend hours just looking at the symbolization of the wine and blood of Christ and the wedding and the church. I will touch a little on the symbolization but I’m going to concentrate on the text and what is happening here.
So now let’s look at the beginning of Jesus’ teaching ministry. In verse 12 we find out that after the wedding they spent a few days at Capernaum before heading to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem it is almost time for the passover. The priest knowing that the Jewish people must have an unblemished sacrifice have placed merchants in the courts around the temple. (Click on picture to see a large picture of the temple from ESV study bible) They also have tables set up where money from the foreign villages can be exchanged for the half shekel coin used as the currency of the temple.
Jesus enters and sees how the temple where everyone goes to worship has been turned into a place to cheat worshipers out of their money. Just picture Jesus standing there and watching everything going on. He came to worship the father at the temple and as he looks around, worship is the farthest thing from anyone’s mind here.
I can picture Jesus standing there and praying, Father forgive them for their greed but teach them of their sin. As he prays he picks up a couple of straps of leather and starts to weave them together. He slowly and prayerful braids the strips together and then with a zealous holy anger he starts to yell sending the animals and people on a stampede through the gates outside the temple.
As they run from Him He turns and looks into the eyes of the men selling doves. “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a marketplace!” As the dove sellers are packing up to leave, the chief priest come running to see what is the cause of this commotion, the disciples reflect on the Psalm saying,”Zeal for your house will consume me”(Psalm 69.9).
Right here, I believe can be applied to our church worship services. The temple was designed to be a place to go and worship God, over time it changed into something different. When the priest first started allowing the merchants in, it was probably a good thing that helped everyone worship but over time it started to prevent worship. I believe there is a warning for us here to make sure we are not allowing things to enter the church that prevent worship.
The priest approach Jesus and ask, “show us proof that God has given you the authority to clear this temple.” Notice what is going on here. They never accuse Jesus of doing wrong they Just want proof that He is a prophet of God. Its been over 400 years since a prophet has spoken so if He is a prophet they want proof.
In John 2:19 Jesus simply states, “Destroy this temple and I will raise it in three days.” The Jews do not realize that he has answered their question. They just remark that it has taken forty-six years to build the temple there is no way he can rebuild it in three days.
Lets look at Deuteronomy 18:21-22. It is the instruction Moses gave to the Israelites on how to know if a prophet was sent by God. Simply put the God ordained test of a prophet is to see if what he proclaims in the name of the Lord comes true. If it does, God is telling us that the man is truly a prophet sent by God and the message he proclaims is true.
This statement by Jesus in response to the prophets is amazing and wonderful for us. First Jesus did not do like the other prophets and say something about the Lord saying. (2 Samuel 12:7, 1 Kings 13:2, Isaiah 1:2, Jeremiah 1:19, Ezekiel 3:27, etc)All the prophets proclaimed that their message was from the Lord. Jesus did not, because He is the Lord. Second they asked Jesus for proof that He was under the authority of God. He used Moses’ test to prove that He was and therefore showing us that everything He said is the word of God. This means that everything the bible records Jesus saying came directly from God and God put His stamp of approval on it.
That’s why this section ends with the disciples saying they remembered this and then believed the scripture.
We start off in verses 1 and 2 seeing that Mary, Jesus and the disciples are at a wedding in Cana. It says on the third day, which would be from when Phillip introduced Nathanael to Jesus(John1:43-51). Verse 1 states that Mary was there and then as an afterthought it says Jesus and His disciples had also been invited. We can gather from this that while we don’t know who the wedding was for, it apparently was someone close to Mary. Also in verse 3 when Mary tells Jesus that the wine is gone, we can see she cares for these people.
We first must understand that a wedding in Israel at this time was a big event and the celebration could last for a week. It also was a matter of honor to be able to provide for the guest. If this wedding party would have had to end because of no wine the entire family would be shamed for the rest of their lives.
In Genesis 3:15 we see that Jesus will attack Satan. In Genesis 22:18 God tells Abraham that all nations will be blessed by the name of his descendants. In Deuteronomy 18:18-22 God tells the Israelites that he will raise up a prophet like Moses and will punish anyone that does not listen to him. We also learn how to tell if a prophet is true in these verses. Moving on to Isaiah 7:14 Phillip mentions the son of Joseph which would have been doubted by everyone and by mentioning prophets Phillips is saying Jesus is the virgin born. Or even Isaiah 9:6 where it says the child will be called everlasting God and mighty father. Phillips statement is loaded to someone who has a great knowledge of the Tanakh or Jewish Old Testament.
Nathanael responds like any of us would when someone tells us they just saw God in human form. He mocks can anything good come from Nazareth. Phillip simply responds come and see. Phillip then takes Nathanael to introduce Him to Jesus. I’m goin to take a minute here for application. When we meet Jesus and understand the wonderful thing of who He is we should want to go to our family and introduce them to Jesus. It is not our responsibility to convince them that Jesus is who we say He is, the Holy Spirit will do that as we will see in a minute. We just need to make sure we show that we believe who He is and that we want them to meet Him and see for themselves.
John is trying to tell his disciples to go and see this teacher. John is humbling himself and letting his truest followers go and follow Jesus. I think the church today needs to pay close attention to what is going on in this verse. Our churches should be actively seeking those who are the most dedicated followers and then sending them out to multiply and build. Instead of relying on organizations to find and send people to plant churches or to go on foreign missions, we need to be seeking from within and sending out.
Andrew and John follow Jesus and in verse 38 Jesus looks at them and asks, “what are you seeking?” This question What are you seeking, what are you wanting is asked with Jesus knowing they followed Him after being told that Jesus is the Lamb of God. We also must remember that These two men have been following the Baptist. They have lived with him, heard his sermons over and over, and more than likely had private conversations with him about who and what is this Messiah that is coming. We may not have a record of John’s sermons, but we do know he was teaching repentance and that a messiah was coming to take the sins of man and grant forgiveness.
These two men understood who Jesus was and Jesus knew that they had that understanding of Him. So this question what do you seek is saying, How far are you willing to go for me? Are you seeking something that doesn’t require sacrifice? Are you seeking something that doesn’t change your life? Or are you seeking something that is so amazing that you will never be the same again. Something so amazing that you will sacrifice everything to gain it, not because you have to but because it means that much to you.
Their response was, “Teacher, where are you staying?” With the knowledge that they had this is saying we want it all. We are going to follow you anywhere and all we want is to learn from you.
Jesus says, “come and you will see”. When we ask Jesus into our life with a true and repentant heart, He will not refuse us.
The last part of this section talks about Andrew going and finding his brother Simon and announcing he has found the Messiah. This should be us going and telling those closest to us about Jesus. Simon Follows Jesus and is given the name Peter or Cephas.
“Look,, It is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
This verse is so beautiful as it is reminiscent of Genesis 22:8. Remember the story of Abraham. He had always wanted a son. God granted him one in his old age and then asked him to sacrifice him. As they were heading up the mountain Issac asked Abraham, “Where is our sacrifice?”
Abraham said in verse 8, “God will provide the lamb.” God did provide the lamb in that case and here John is showing his disciples that God has provided a lamb for them and for us.
Back to John 1:30 and he is reminding them of what he said the day before about one greater than him. He says, “This is Him.” Then John goes on to tell them that this is what God sent him for. His purpose in life was to announce the coming of the Messiah. In Luke 1 the priest Zacharias goes into the Holy of Holies to burn incense and a angel appears to him telling him that he will have a son and this son will go to announce the Messiah. That son was John. John tells them that as he was baptizing Jesus, God’s Spirit came upon Jesus and told John that this is the one that baptizes with the holy spirit. John concludes this section stating that he has seen and is witness that Jesus is the Chosen One of God.
This short section is beautiful because it bares the inspired testimony that Jesus is the sacrifice for our sins. Every sin that I have or ever will commit is forgiven by God because Jesus took my place. Jesus accepted the wrath of God for me. We also see that God has a purpose for our lives. There is something he has planned for us. All we have to do is humble ourselves and accept the fact that we are servants of God. Then we will have our eyes opened to how Jesus is using us to increase His kingdom.
I love how John steps aside when he sees Jesus. In Matthew he actually says,” I shouldn’t be baptizing you. You should be baptizing me.” John is a very popular preacher. People have left everything to come to the wilderness and follow him. His followers are faithful and love him. Yet John knows that he is just a messenger. Jesus is the Way to forgiveness and salvation. May we all humble ourselves as John did.
Remember from Matthew 3:4 that John wore camel skins and ate locust. He was a rough looking individual and when they ask him who are you. He says quickly, I am not the messiah. It’s interesting that the pharisees did not have a problem assuming this wild and rough looking man in the wilderness was the promised messiah, but refused to accept Jesus, who could come into the synagogues and teach better than any of them as the messiah.
They go through the typical assumptions that show up when they see a prophet. Are you Elijah? Are you the Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15) John quotes from Isaiah 40:3 saying that he is the one sent to announce the coming of the Lord. Well that can’t go back and tell their leaders this man never really told us anything. So they ask Why do you baptize? This is when John tells them that there is one among them that they don’t recognize. Jesus has been teaching in the synagogues and these pharisees are out in the wilderness looking for him.
Now notice his response. He says he baptizes with water but that isn’t nothing compared to the one I am proclaiming. I’m not even worthy to untie his sandal. A disciple of a teacher would do many things for his teacher but he would not untie his shoes that would be a servants job. What John is stating is even though he has a large group of followers and they respect and listen to his teaching, He is not even worthy to be a slave of Jesus. We should all learn from John. We are not worthy of anything Jesus gives us, but He loves us so much He asks the Father to accept us as adopted sons through his death.
In Him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
In Him was life is talking about the eternal life we can only receive by accepting Jesus as our Lord and savior. John 14:6 tells us that Jesus is the way the truth and the life. He is the only way to the Father It is in Jesus that all of our hope lies. Through His death and resurrection we are able to receive this eternal life.
A man lost will look for light to see where he needs to go as we wander through our life as fallen creatures we are searching for that light and it is in Jesus. The Pharisees and Sadducees could not see that light. Despite there looking, waiting and studying they did not understand that Jesus was the light they were looking for.
So many in this day and time have that same problem. Young people claim to be spiritual and searching for the answer to life. They don’t see that it is there shining in the name of Jesus. They walk through the darkness seeing the light but unable and not willing to embrace it.
The opening prologue to the Gospel of John are some of the most beautiful and inspiring words in scripture to me. Some believe this was a Hymn added later to the Gospel, but it is so similar to the beginning of 1 John (That which was from the beginning) that it makes sense that the opening prologue was written by John to introduce his subject.
In the begining was the Word and the Word was with God and the word was God. How beautiful that sounds and how reassuring. So much is introduced to us in that on sentence. The first statement, in the begining takes us back to Genesis and reminds us that God had all this planned and that the old covenant was just there to prepare the way for the new covenant.
We quickly can see that the word is Jesus because in John 1:14 it states that the Word came in human flesh and was the son of God. We also see that Jesus was with God in the beginning. Look at Genesis 1:26 “Let Us make man in our Image.” We can now see that Jesus was there when God created everything. Then we see that the Word was God. There is no way a person can read the Gospel of John and deny the doctrine of the trinity. John states it matter of factly right here in his opening and goes on to back it up in several other places. (see John 6:46, John 20:28, John 14:9, 1 John 5:20)
So in the first sentence we have seen that Jesus was in the beginning with God and was God but in verse 2 John wants to make sure we realize that while Jesus is fully God he is also separate. He states this in reminding us He was with God. In verse three we see that everything was made through Jesus. If you are reading a KJV it says by; but the word dia (dee-ah’) here means through and is just there to help us try and grasp how Jesus is God yet also a separate presence of God.
So in simplified terms the first three verses of John are there to help us realize that Jesus has been around with God since the begining and to get us started on understanding the first two persons of the trinity.