Monday, May 30, 2011


Often our reactions to people can be divided into two groups, cynical or dependent. The former produces a kind of sadness and a spirit of criticism. The ladder produces unhealthy decision processes.

John tells us because Jesus knew what was in all men he did not commit himself to men (John 2:24-25). He was about his Father’s business. Men’s response to him did not control his actions. Though he was a servant to men, he was not subservient to men. He knew who he was, so that whether men applauded him or rejected him, he remained steady on course.

So we need to remain consistent in our walk with God regardless of whether we are applauded or rejected.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Committed to What?

There is a curious statement made by John. “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, durin the feast, many believed in his name when they saw the sins which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself to them, because he knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for he knew what was in man” (John 2;23-25).

Why would Jesus not commit himself to men who believed in him? Isn’t God committed to loving us as we believe in him? Were these men different than us? Why commit himself to taking care of us and not them (Mt 28:20)?

The men at the feast believed Jesus could perform miracles, but they were not committed to pleasing God. They were committed to miracles.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Many Signs

For the first time in the book of John we see the Jews asking for a sign to prove Jesus’ authority. Jesus responded, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:13-19). We know he was speaking of his body because John tells us, but the Pharisees didn’t. They thought he was talking about the physical temple built by Solomon. Jesus did not clear up their misunderstanding. In fact, he seemed to purposely be obscure.

The Jews were not seeking the truth. We know they wouldn’t have believed if he had “given them a sign” because John tells us Jesus did many signs while he was still at the temple (John 2:23). Truth is hidden from those who do not seek it, but revealed to those who do seek it (Pr 2:2-4).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Heart of Worship

The second issue with the market in the temple was one about worship. The purpose of the animal sacrifices was to offer prayers and to worship God, but it had become a place to make a profit.

Matt Redman wrote a worship song called The Heart of Worship where he talks about Jesus being the focal point of worship. The lyrics were inspired from a time when his pastor removed all sound systems and musical instruments from worship. The pastor wanted his congregation to know worship comes from the heart.

Let’s take a clue from these two stories to search our own hearts to see where our worship is coming from.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Business is Businesss

John 2:13-20 tells us about one of the times Jesus cleaned out the temple. The Old Testament law allowed people who lived at great distances to buy their animals for sacrifice in Jerusalem. How more convenient could it be than to have a market at the temple? In Mathew 21:12-13 we find out the problem was over pricing. The people were required to offer sacrifices so the merchants had them over a barrel. The travelers had to pay the asking price or leave without their sins being covered for another year.

Unfortunately dishonesty can also occur in the House of God. Honest businessmen charge honest prices. They have to charge more than it costs to make their product, but not so much that it takes unfair advantage of those in need.

There is an old saying I have heard some Christians use. “Business is business.” But God says whatever I do it is to be for the glory of God. Our business is always God’s business.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jesus' Brothers

After the wedding Jesus went to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers and his disciples. This means his brothers were also at the wedding. The Disciples response to the miracle was to believe in Jesus (John 2:11) , but his brothers who also saw the same miracle did not believe in Jesus (John 7:5).

Many have experienced miracles and still do not believe. Unless God opens our eyes we remain hopelessly blind (John 9:39-41).

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Best Wine

After Jesus turns the water into wine, the head waiter tells the bridegroom, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior” (John 2:10). In other words, after everyone is drunk they no longer care if the wine is good.

So it is with sin. At first it seems like it will meet our emotional needs. But after we are drunk with our pleasure, we become enslaved to the very thing we thought would free us (John 8:34). The enjoyment is gone.

But the headwaiter also said, “You have kept the good wine until now.” The Lord saves the best until the last. We have him with us now, and that is good. But one day we will see him face to face and forever live with him in his home he has prepared for us (John 14:1-2). We will enter into his joy (Mt 25:21).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Wedding Cup

There are several pictures of Christ in the story of Jesus turning water into wine. He showed himself Lord of the vine. He would later tell his disciples that he was the true vine and his father the vine dresser. His disciples then and now are the branches that are pruned by the Father and bear fruit through the Son.

Later Jesus refers to wine when he says he will drink the cup his Father has given him, by that he means the cup of his death (John 12:27). He told his disciples that they too would drink of his cup, referring to their death (Mk 10:39). Jesus drinks from the cup at the last supper and tell the disciples that the cup of wine is symbolic of his blood which would be shed for them (Mk 14:23-24).

He then tells them he will drink the cup again with them in heaven. "I tell you the truth I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.” But that cup will be for celebration of the wedding feast of the Lamb (Rev 19:9). Imagine how it will be when we drink with him the wine of celebration for all his has done for us (Rev 19:7-8).

It was no accident that the first miracle took place at a wedding.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wedding Plans

John 2:1-11 records the first miracle Jesus did in his ministry on earth. It was at the celebration of a wedding. Since Jesus’ mother was invited, we could rightfully assume the bride and groom were either relatives or friends of the family. One of the interesting points of this story is Jesus’ response to his mother.

“Woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hour is not yet come.” Yet Jesus still remedied the situation by providing wine through a miracle. John said, “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana off Galilee, and manifested his glory.”

Why did Jesus break his timing? Could it be that Jesus sometimes does special things for his family, God for his children just because he loves us?

Don’t be afraid to ask.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jacob's Ladder

Before we leave chapter one I would like to take a moment to point out an interesting but obscure disciple. John calls him Nathanael. Mathew, Mark and Luke call him Nathanael. Jesus called him an Israelite in deed in whom there was not guile (deceit). We know he was a man of the word because when Philip told him about Jesus he said, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote…” Nathanael evidently was knew these scriptures because he came with Philip.

Jesus said to Nathanael that he would see “heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

We have no other record of Nathanael’s vision. We have only John’s words here in the first chapter. Why is this vision recorded? It may be a reflection back to Jacob’s vision in Genesis 28:12. Jacob saw Jesus at the top of the ladder with angels ascending and descending. Nathanael would see Jesus on earth with the angels ascending and descending.

Jesus’ location never changed his supremacy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Celebrating Beginnings

We celebrate beginnings. We give wedding and baby showers. We have birthday parties and honor anniversaries. We have graduation ceremonies and give retirement parties. In the religious world there is something called an ordination service. That is when a group of people publicly recognize a particular individual has been called into ministry. They are usually anointed with oil and symbolically sent into the world to minister.

Jesus’ baptism was a heavenly ordination service. Mathew, Mark and Luke tell us Jesus was immediately sent into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Upon his return we see him calling his disciples and beginning his ministry (John 1: 39-2:11).

Jesus’ baptism announced his change from private life to public. God has instructed all of us to be baptized (Mt 28:19; Acts 2:38, 8:12, 10:47-48; Romans 6:3-4). It is our public announcement that we are no longer following our own will but we have chosen to follow his. It is our ordination from an ordinary life to a life dedicated solely to please God.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Call

We tend to think of Jesus walking up to complete strangers and saying, “Follow me,” and the men becoming his twelve disciples. But when we look at the story from all the gospels we get a slightly different picture.

Mathew tells us the Jesus walked up to Peter and his brother Andrew and said, “Follow me.” “And they immediately left the nets and followed him” (Mt 4:18). John says two disciples were with John the Baptist when they saw Jesus walking. When John the Baptist points out who Jesus is, these two disciples follow Jesus. Jesus invites them to come see where he was staying and they stay with him that night. One of those disciples was Andrew, Peter’s brother. Why the difference in the stories?

Most likely the Disciples heard Jesus teaching more than once. When their hearts were ready, Jesus said “Follow me” and they immediately did just that.

Jesus often speaks to us over a period of time until we are ready to follow him completely. We need to be patient with others while they are still in the process of becoming ready to obey Jesus’ call.

Titles Mean Everything

In this first chapter of John, we are given several of Jesus’ titles. He is called; the Word, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son, the Lamb of God, He who baptizes in the Holy Spirit, the Son of God, The Lord, The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World, Rabbi, King of Israel, and finally Son of Man.

Each Title carries a unique aspect that sets Jesus above every name that is spoken in heaven or earth (Philippians 2:9-11).

1. The Word: God’s message to us. God’s words to us
2. Jesus Christ: the Anointed One or the promised One
3. The only begotten Son: We may be children of God, but there is only one Begotten Son that comes directly from God
4. The Lamb of God: Both the sacrifice to God and the sacrifice provided by God
5. He who baptizes in the Holy Spirit: the one who gives us Salvation
6. The Son of God: God’s Son, his divinity
7. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the Word: Died so everyone has a chance to be saved.
8. Rabbi: Teacher – teaches us about God
9. King of Israel – He is our King and Lord. We serve and obey him.
10. Son of Man – All man, all God. He knows what it is like to suffer

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Trinity

John the Baptist’s ministry was calling people to repent and be baptized. God did not use him to do any miracles (John 10:41) but people flocked to hear the message of repentance and turning away from sin (Mt 3:4-6, 8).

God sent John to baptize people so that Jesus could be announced to the world during his baptism (John 1:31). It was there that we get the first public view of the Trinity. Immediately after Jesus came out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended from heaven in a form of a dove and landed on Jesus. Then God the Father spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3:16-17).

God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit brought the message of salvation to the world.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sin vs Sins

John said, “Behold the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:28).

Notice he said, “sin” not “sins”. Why is the word singular and not plural? Aren’t there many sins (adultery, lying, gossip, coveting etc)?

It is singular because all sin is rebellion against God.

Friday, May 6, 2011

New Hope

When Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God’s command, their action brought separation from God. Their eldest son murdered his younger brother and wickedness spread from there. The world began to be filled with violence and every evil (Genesis 6:5). We continue to see it in the news and watch it on television. We have experienced the violence of this separation in our own sin.

Against this backdrop of centuries of murder, rape and violence, John the Baptist announces, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Today, rather than allowing the darkness to overwhelm you, let it remind you of the glorious liberty Jesus has brought to you and is working in you.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Religious Leaders

It was the Pharisees, Priests, Levites, Sadducees and Scribes that persecuted Jesus. These were the religious rulers. The Pharisees and Sadducees were religious political leaders. The priests and Levites served in the temple, offering sacrifices. The scribes were those who copied scriptures as a life time profession. They were all heavily involved with scripture but were far from God (John 5:31-47).

There are two dangers we all face. The first one is obvious. We can be involved in religious activity and still not know God. The second is not so obvious. We can make the mistake of presuming all religious leaders have wrong attitudes and are hypocrites. When you are tempted to jump to this conclusion remember that Jesus was a Rabbi (religious teacher). The eleven disciples and Paul were religious leaders, without whom we would know nothing about Christ.

The point is not to avoid leaders (Hebrews 10:7-8, 17; Romans 13:17). The point is to make sure your heart is right with God.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our Voice

The Pharisees asked John the Baptist if he was Elijah or the prophet. The prophet Malachi had prophesied, “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. (Malachi 4:5). He also prophesied, “"See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty” (Malachi 3:1).

John thought of himself simply as a voice crying in the wilderness (John 1:20-23). But did you know Jesus himself said John was Elijah? (Mathew 11:14). This does not mean the literal reincarnation of Elijah (Heb 9:27; 2 Cor 5:8) but he was sent with the same anointing as Elijah. Elijah was the picture of John the Baptist in the Old Testament.

John did not fully understand his significance in God’s order of things. We also do not have a full grasp of what God may be doing through us. Take courage. God is at work in you (Philippians 2:13).

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Voice

John begins chapter one by settling the fact of Jesus divinity and that he is ruler over all. Then he finishes off the chapter by giving John the Baptist’s testimony.

The Jewish leaders are fascinated with John the Baptist. That is not surprising since John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair held together by a leather belt. His diet was also strange. He ate locusts and wild honey (Mt 3:4). That means he didn’t go to the market to buy his food but caught the locusts in the deserts and had to pull down bees’ nests in the wild to get his honey.

The man drew crowds. He was a blunt man, not afraid to call a spade a spade (Mt 3:7-8). The leaders were insulted and asked who he thought he was to dare address them in such an outrageous manner. John answers, “I am not the Christ.”

They wanted to know if he thought he was Elijah or the prophet both had been prophesied would come before the Messiah. John told them he was simply “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord (John 1:19-23).

We too are to cry out in the wilderness around us that the path of the Lord is straight.

Monday, May 2, 2011

How to Know the Father

Some think of Jesus as so compassionate that he was willing to step in between us and his angry Father. People have loved Jesus, but feared God thinking of him as angry and vengeful. John addresses that very issue in his next statement.

“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him” (John 1:18). Notice Jesus is in the bosom of the Father. They are one in essence. They act as one unit (John 10:30, 17:10). Jesus is the exact representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:3). When we see Christ we see the Father (John 14:9).

When Jesus heals, the Father is healing. When Jesus speaks, the Father speaks. What Jesus says, the Father says. That is why John has written the Only Begotten Son has declared the Father.

Do you want to know the Father? Know the Son.