Jesus Cleanses the Temple (John 2:12-25)

While the joyful miracle of turning water to wine affirmed the faith of the first disciples, the cleansing of the temple hardened the hearts of the unbelieving majority.

Taken together, these two signs show Jesus’ power to transform ordinary human life to one of abundant joy and his authority to cleanse the religious life that it may be pleasing to God. (See John 2:11, 22-23.)

There is a blatant change of atmosphere between the first half of John 2 and the second half. In Galilee, he was invited to a wedding feast. His commands were obeyed. “We see him as the Son of Man, delighting those in his company with an abundance of his gifts. In the second half of John 2, Jesus is in Jerusalem - the religious center of the Jews. This should have been the place where Jesus was most recognized and desired.” (BSF)

Jewish men were required to attend three ceremonies: the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Tabernacle, and the Passover. John 2 records the first of three Passovers in Jesus’ adult ministry.

God ordained sacrifices possibly for the purpose of helping us understand that Jesus is “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” He needs us to understand that sin carries with it a consequence and that consequence is death.

Those who did not come to the Passover with a temple sacrifice could pay a very pretty penny for one. And sometimes, Priests would tell people they had to buy a different animal to sacrifice because theirs was “unfit.”

Also, every man had to pay a temple tax. This temple tax was required to be paid in Sheckels. Another way the priests would profit from the people was to charge an exorbitant exchange rate.


In Verse 15 we see that Jesus made a scourge. He took the time to make a whip. I would assume that the entire time he was making said whip, he was thinking and praying.

Situations, people, things we cannot control, and sin all make us angry. (I recently learned that women are subconsciously angered by fear and men are subconsciously angered by shame.) Take a time out like Jesus did to get a clear head about your anger.

God instills in us a subconscious knowledge of right and wrong, and with that knowledge come the desire to make right all wrongs. Ephesians 4 is a great chapter in the Bible to look to when angered. It helps to clarify where in your anger it is possible to sin.

If you are controlled by the Holy Spirit, you will not sin in your anger.

In response to Jesus’ action, the disciples’ faith was confirmed. These humble men recalled prophesies they were taught in their youth and recognized their Lord and Savior through His actions. (The cleansing was prophesied in Ps 69:9 and Malachi 3:2-4.)

We see in verse 18, however, that the non-believers, piously responded, “Show us a miracle that proves you have the authority to come in here and act this way.” Instead of taking the action itself as a clear indication of who Jesus is, the Priests, Scribes and Pharisees chose to proclaim their own importance and deny Jesus’ divinity.

Vs 19 is considered a “parable” or Biblical metaphor. Jesus would speak in parables to men who chose to deny Jesus’ divinity. Doing this served two purposes:

1. It hopefully caused non-believers to put some mental energy into their religion
2. It unfortunately sends a message of judgment - refusal to respond to Light result in blindness to further Light (Matthew 13:10-15).

In verse 19, Jesus is speaking about His body as the temple. He does actually give Jews a sign of a miracle in his answer - He foretells of his death and resurrection! The non-believers chose to only use this sign against Him by twisting His words into a threat against Herod’s temple (see Matthew 26:61).

Side Note: Herod’s temple was actually destroyed after Jesus’ death. It was as if God no longer wanted the sacrifices and ceremonies that occurred inside those walls. Jesus is the true temple of God.

Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses argue against Jesus’ humanity by saying that when he was raised from the dead, he was not raised as flesh but as Spirit. Here in John, Jesus says he will be raised as flesh. Thomas believed once he touched the flesh. (Some argue that “My Lord, My Savior” was a flippant, “Oh my God!” But Jesus would have rebuked such blasphemy.)

My body is also a temple, because the Holy Spirit dwells in me. (1 Corinthians 6:19) Do you treat your body as though it is the temple of God? Do you realize that the Holy Spirit eats everything you eat? Watches everything you watch? Thinks everything you think?

Verse 24 tells us that Jesus sees our heart’s desires. “Why do you call me Lord and not do things I say?” The Lord looks at the heart - when he looks at yours, what does He see? The Fruits of the Spirit? Or is it full of covetousness? Greed? Vanity? Stubbornness? Complaining?

It is imperative that we look to Jesus as an example of how to live, not other humans.

The cleansing of the Temple reminds us that Jesus came to cleanse us from sin. Have you acknowledged that you need this cleansing? (See Matthew 22:37 for why we need cleansing and 1 John 1:9 for how to get cleansed.)

Feel free to be honest with God. “Lord, I want _______ out of my life so I can draw closer to you.”

Though scourges are difficult, be grateful. God is merciful and gives us endless chances on earth. Once we die, there are no second chances.

Jesus did not kick a bunch of partiers out of a wedding; he kicked a bunch of religious people out of the temple because they were keeping people from God. If that does not break the stereotypes of Jesus, nothing can.


Jesus Turns Water into Wine

I have had the next couple lessons prepared for a long time, but delayed in posting them. I felt like they were lacking in life-altering revelation.

But as I sit here alone, peacefully enjoying the splendor of my beautiful Christmas tree, rocking out to my favorite Jennifer Knapp CD “Kansas,” praying for a speedy miraculous recovery for my mom, praising God for Mom’s continued stability and today’s joyous news of her ability to eat chicken broth, I am oh-so-subtly reminded that the holidays (Holy Days) are meant to remind us of all that God has done for us.

The Old Testament lists at least eight important Holy Days/Feasts/Celebrations:
Holy Feast Day
Feast of Unleavened Bread
Feast of First Fruits
Feast of Trumpets
Day of Atonement
Feast of Tabernacles
Each served to remind early followers of God’s amazing grace.

Christmas, whether you agree with the celebration or not, can serve to remind us that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16)…He sent him as a humble baby in a barn to save my lost soul.

The Apostle John teaches in contrasts, like the Proverbs – “the way of the wicked is this; the way of a fool is like that.” He shows the effects of light and dark, life and death, love and hate, sin and righteousness. His contrasts are always connected – light is life, dark is death is sin.

The second book of John is not different. The contrast – joy and anger.

John 2 begins with a celebration; Jesus and his friends attend a wedding celebration in Cana (a town in Galilee). Probably, the wedding was of a relative of Jesus because Mary seemed to hold an important position at the feast. Not only did she feel responsible when wine ran out but she had the authority to order servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do (John 2:5.)

In verse 2 we see that Jesus was invited to the wedding. He was a human being. Some religions infer him to be the groom, because the wine would be the groom’s problem. I do not think that Jesus was ever married.

Wine symbolizes joy. (Note: wine in Jesus’ day was more watered down than the wine we are offered today.)

John calls Jesus’ actions signs rather than miracles. Each sign points to Jesus’ humanity and divinity.

Wedding festivities in Jewish culture last about a week. First there was a feast, then a ceremony. Guests led a processional to the couple’s home where they would celebrate for a week. Jesus saw to it that there was plentiful supply for all the festivities the custom required.

At the end of Chapter 1, Jesus referred to Himself as the “son of Man.” This indicates his care and concern for the simple daily matters that we all face. The first miracle John records, Jesus concerns himself with a humble family in a sudden emergency of daily living. He wants to help with the daily matters that cause shame, embarrassment, frustration, etc.

In verse 3, Mary simply stated the problem to Jesus. She did not give suggestions on how to best fix the problem. She did not take matters into her own hands. She stated the problem and trusted Jesus to fix it.

Mary’s words seem to imply a desire for so much more than a fix to this family’s social blunder. The disciples must have told her how they felt about Jesus - what she had felt in her gut for 30 years. Finally, the world could see his authority and power! “Go ahead, Son, show them who you really are!”

God, however, doesn’t move according to our will. He moves when He will get maximum glory.

Verse 4 - cordial “woman” address begins to separate his tie as her son - she needs to begin to see Him as her Lord. As Jesus’ three and a half year ministry starts, Mary must learn to separate the son of her womb who was obedient to her and the Son of God whom she must obey.

I read in one commentary that the phrase, “Why do you involve me?” was a common, courteous expression roughly translated, “I must settle this my own way.”

The Message, a paraphrase of the Bible, translates verse 4 very clearly. It reads, “Is that any of our business – yours or mine? This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.” Jesus was fully aware of God’s desire to receive maximum glory in every move Jesus made.

“Hour” will be repeated over and over and over in the book of John. (“Time” is used synonymously.) The “hour” is the point in time when his God-given purpose is revealed to the world. He has hundreds of prophecies that need to be fulfilled in God’s great timing. (Luke 24:44) So, rather than declare His amazing power and authority, He quietly turns water into wine. This miracle results in encouraged disciples and hopefully awakened faith in his relatives.

Mary seemed to completely understand that Jesus would take care of this family. In verse 5, she tells the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Do you live by this mantra? Do you believe you should do WHATEVER Jesus tells you? Even if it ostracizes you from your friends and family? Even if you might get in trouble with your employer?

Verse 6 describes the waterpots. They were 20 or 30 gallon pots used for washing – the water Jesus used to make wine for the wedding was not filtered or purified – it was used for washing! (Picture the Holy Water Stoup near the door of a Catholic Church. How many dirty fingers get into that water on a Sunday morning? And Jesus used it to make wine!)

From verse 7, we can realize that true servants of Jesus will have discernment in to the Lord’s plan. Obedience begins immediately. The servants waited expectantly for Jesus’ command and obeyed fully.

When we pray, we must then be open to God’s answer and immediately obey fully. True faith expects God to do something. God answers prayers His way; our job is obedience. The servants dared in faith to bring the headwater and pour wine.

We can exemplify these particular servants by being available and zealous (filled cups to the brim). There was not a committee meeting to call a vote. There was no discussion - they simply obeyed wholeheartedly. Faith must always be expressed in action.

A Side Note Regarding Drunkeness
Some use the story of the wedding in Cana to justify drunkenness. First of all, nowhere in John 2 does it say that anyone drank enough wine to become unable to control themselves. Second of all, just because an option is available does not mean it is profitable. As a “little Christ,” you are required to consider others in all things you do.

Though you have the freedom in Christ to do as you please, I recommend that you abstain from alcohol for a plethora of reasons:

1. Alcoholism is a social disease that affects nearly every person in our country (directly and/or indirectly). Each of us knows at least one alcoholic. Each of us has at least heard a story of a family torn apart by alcoholism. Christians who are concerned for the well-being of society should consider the welfare of others before their own pleasure. To blindly partake in the “drug” that ruins so many lives is to basically devalue the life that God breathed in to man.

2. New Christians, non-Christians and even weaker Christians are watching you. Partaking in the “social fun” of imbibing only encourages others who maybe have not yet decided if alcohol is acceptable in a “Christian” lifestyle. It is entirely possible that the new Christian who is watching you is only recently sober. Paul encourages us to abstain from activities that are available to us if it would “stumble a brother.”

3. When we are weakened by substance, the Holy Spirit within us is weaker also. If we are to be available servants, our minds need to be clear.

4. And finally, monies spent on liquor could be spent helping to change the world.

Jesus used ordinary people and six ordinary pots to accomplish this miracle. Numbers are significant in the Bible.
Six is the number of man and imperfection.
Seven is the number of completion.
Eight is the number of new beginnings.
Forty is typically expressed as a sufficient amount of time. (Forty days Jesus spent in the desert preparing for his ministry.)

In Exodus 7:19, we see that water was turned into blood symbolizing the Law that God told Moses to tell the people to follow.

In John 2, we see that water was turned into wine symbolizing joy.

Water, typically in the Bible, refers to the Word of God.

The servants dared in faith to bring the headwaiter water and pour wine. When was the water turned to wine? Would I have obeyed so diligently, zealously if water was still water when I handed it to the master of Ceremonies? Would I have trusted Jesus?

“You saved the best for last!”

“Best wine” symbolizes the new joy of the gospel Jesus came to bring into the common life. (Luke 5:38.)

Manifesting His power first at a wedding symbolizes that when he is given his rightful place in family life, blessings will follow. Often, blessing is in proportion to the obedience of faith.

With Jesus, the best always comes last. We receive blessings on Earth, but our reward is in Heaven.

This Christmas, make sure Jesus is given His rightful place in your celebrations.

John the Revelator

A quick break in the studies for a related blog...

There is an song that I first heard first on the Season 1 finale of the show Sons of Anarchy (FX).

Initially, I liked the song, because it had a cool old southern bluesy gospel feel (think "Soggy Bottom" from "O Brother Where Art Thou?"). I liked it also, because based on the story line of the show, it invokes the feeling of rebellion and standing for what is right and independence and truth.

We bought the Sons of Anarchy CD off iTunes the day it was released (we're mildly obsessed with the AMAZING show). The song, "John the Revelator" was on there :)

I've listened to that song repeatedly since September 8th, and I must admit, that song is about so much more than rebellion and integrity and independence and truth.

Here are the lyrics from Wikipedia

Who's that writin'? [response] John the Revelator
Tell me who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Tell me who's that writin'? John the Revelator

Wrote the book of the seven seals

Who's that writin'? [response] John the Revelator
Tell me who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Well who's that writin'? John the Revelator

Wrote the book of the seven seals

You know God walked down in the cool of the day
Called Adam by his name
But he refused to answer
Because he's naked and ashamed

You know Christ had twelve apostles
And three he led away
He said, "Watch with me one hour,
'till I go yonder and pray."

Christ came on Easter morning
Mary and Martha went down to see
He said, "Go tell my disciples
To meet me in Galilee."

The phrase "John the Revelator" refers to none other than our wonderful Apostle John, St. John, the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved. Remember, he wrote the book of Revelation. He revealed to the world a revelation given unto him by none other than God (see Revelation 1:1-3)

"Seven Seals" See Revelation 5:1

The first verse refers to the fall of man, when Adam tried to hide from God in the Garden of Eden.

The second verse refers to the time in the Garden of Gethsemane when the disciples fell asleep instead of praying with Jesus. (See Passion of the Christ and Agony in the Garden for additional information.)

The third verse refers to the Resurrection of the Christ - the foundation of all things Christianity - our hope and proof in the eternal life.

This Biblically-dense song covers four major aspects of God's story for us - the fall (which got us here in the first place), the crucifixion (which gets us out of the fall), the resurrection (which proves life eternal), and the final revelation of Christ's glory (our eternal life).

How the writer's were able to do it, I will never know. I'm not much of a poet, so I couldn't even try to get that much theology in three verses and a chorus.

I pray that you can find the time to listen to and mediate on this wonderful song that encompasses all things Christ.

For another great song, look up "The Apostle's Creed" by Third Day.


The Week of Disciples John 1:35-51

The true nature of Christianity is to follow Jesus. It is literally translated “little Christs.” The term “Christian” was originally derogatory – “Oh, look at the little Christs, trying to be all they can be…” But that is exactly what Christians should strive for. When people see me, hear me, or work with me, whenever someone comes in contact with me, I want for them to recognize Christ. I have to ask myself, “When I speak, do people follow me or Jesus?”

The Relationships Start

Andrew and John were baptized by John the Baptist, they followed him for a time, but they were not satisfied hearing about their Savior by another. They desired a direct relationship with the Christ. In Ecclesiastes 3:11, Solomon tells us that each man has a God-shaped hole in his heart. Each man desires to know God, to know about eternity, but really each of us needs to experience Christ for ourselves.

For example, listening to me tell you all about what’s in the Bible does not give you a relationship with Christ – it gives you a relationship with me. You need to take what I say, talk to God about it, chew it over in your mind while you’re walking or doing laundry or whatever. Talk with God. Your relationship with God is your own – you cannot live vicariously through my relationship. I cannot get you into Heaven.

It seems Andrew and John were too shy to speak directly to Jesus, so they just followed respectfully behind Him. They trusted that Jesus would somehow make the next move. In verse 38, He did. Jesus always meets us halfway when our honest desires force us to act. We can talk to Him without fear and know that He will turn and speak to us.

The most interesting part about Jesus’ response to them is that He made them think. He meets us where we are because He knows we are nervous and unsure, but He also does not let us stay that way. He essentially says, “I’ve met you where you are, now what do you want?”

In response to Jesus, John & Andrew said they wanted more than just some religion in their lives. They wanted to enter his House, talk to Him and learn from Him. They wanted Jesus so they said, “Where are you staying? (We want to come with you).”

Verse 41 - Every time Andrew is singled out in the four gospels, he is bringing someone to meet Jesus. He isn’t pushy; he says, “Just come, check Him out.” And people do.

Verse 42 - Jesus looked at Simon. The original Greek word describes a special, very concentrated and penetrating gaze that would pierce the core of Simon’s soul. “You are Simon.” This statement by Jesus points to present, natural personality and character. In New Testament, we often see Peter as violent, temperamental and erratic. Whenever his weaknesses were evident Jesus calls him “Simon”. Peter was unstable, but Jesus saw the finished product. (See also Philippians 1:6.)

Simon’s relationship to God through Christ would eventually change his whole personality. Jesus knew this, so He changed his name to Peter – Rock. Name change often signifies a relationship change with God. (Abrahm to Abraham, Jacob to Israel and Saul to Paul are the most famous name changes.)

Not in the Book of John, but in Acts and both of Peter’s epistles, we see the changed man. He became bold, patient and faithful. God doesn’t always add goodness. Sometimes, He takes away sin to simply uncover the good. Like a woodcarver, He can see the chunk of wood as it will appear when extra wood is carved away.

Simon’s experience is quite common today. We come to God as we are. He knows the best and the worst. He accepts us as we are. He then slowly but continually molds us to be “little Christs.” I was once was Leslie Galster. When God saw it fit to make a change, He changed my name, and I have never been Leslie Galster since.

In verse 43, Jesus invited Phillip to follow Him. Then Phillip shared his experience with Nathanael – whose name eventually became Bartholomew.

The first 5 disciples begin their relationships with Jesus in various ways:
• John and Andrew followed at witness of John the Baptist. “This is He.”
• Simon Peter found Jesus through his brother, Andrew’s, witness. “Come see.”
• Phillip was invited by God Himself.
• Nathanael found Jesus through his friend, Phillip’s, witness. “He fulfills the prophecy.”

There is no specific formula to becoming a Christian. Some try to create one, like baptism or a specific 10-word prayer, but there is none. It’s all God’s plan, God’s timing and truthfully, it’s all God’s judgment.


In Verse 45, Phillip refers to an Old Testament prophecy regarding the coming Messiah. He must have figured that the best way to interest his friend was through OT prophecy. Gen 3:15, Gen 22:18, 49:10, Numbers 24:17, Deut 18:15 were some of the ones Moses wrote.

There is debate about why Nazareth has a negative image. Some say it is from lackluster morals, other say it is because there was a Roman army fort there. Either way, it was no great city, and obviously it would seem that a man who was going to save the world would come from someplace much better.

Nathanael also was probably focusing on the prophecy that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. (See Micah 5:2)

And yet, with all his Biblical knowledge, Nathanael was open to being convinced if sufficient proof was shown to him. Phillip did not abandon his faith when his friend started asking questions. And Nathanael didn’t allow stereotypes to keep him from the truth.

Nathanael was definitely a man of questions and even doubts, but he did not use those as an excuse for rebellion and hatred for God. Nathanael used his questions and doubts as motivation to seek the truth – not hid from it.

Verse 48 talks about fig trees. Fig trees were very shady. Jewish men would often sit under them and meditate. Jesus’ demonstration of omniscience was all Nathanael needed to confirm that Jesus was no mere man. The Lord loves us so much; He always knows where we are, and exactly what we need.

And then out of the blue, Nathanael, the skeptic, leapt to a higher level of faith than any had been before – “You are the Son of God.” He concluded that Jesus is at least partially from God. If Jesus is partially from God, we must be able to trust the things He says.

Jesus responds by saying that He is the Son of Man. So, not only does he accept Nathanael’s claim to be the Son of God, or partially godly, Jesus adds to that by saying He is also partially man. Here, in the first chapter of this book, Jesus makes us decide – Is Jesus half God and half man? If we choose not to believe that, then anything else Jesus says is a lie.

I Am

As the men got to know Jesus, their appreciation for Him grew. The more time we spend getting to know Christ, the more we will be able to appreciate and relate to Him. The more we will be able to see that He really does understand where we are coming from, what we are talking about, what we are struggling through. One of my favorite activities with my Bible is to recognize and meditate on all the names there are for God.

Names for Jesus in Chapter 1:
The Word
The Creator
The Light
The Only Begotten Son
The Lamb of God
Jesus Christ
The Son of God
The Messiah
The King of Israel
The Son of Man

I challenge you, also, to consider this week the name of God that relates to you.

Next: John 2 Jesus turns water into Wine


John the Baptist 1:19 - 34

Saint John assumes everyone is familiar with other gospels' passages regarding John the Baptist, so he does not give a history of this most awesome man. If you would like to read at your leisure, they can be found in Matthew 3:1-17, Mark 1:1-11, and Luke 1:5-25, 3:1-22.

Prior to John the Baptist's day, only coverts to Jewish faith were baptized. Jews presumed they belonged to God already. John the Baptist was essentially saying that all of Israel needed cleansing and that was offensive to the Pharisees.

The Pharisees were an ultra-conservative sect that desired strict observance of God's Law and wanted Roman rulers out of Israel (Palestine).

Sanhedrin was a group of 71 religious leaders from three classes: The Chief Priests (The High Priest and his descendants), Elders - priests and Levites (Levites being special group of consecrated priests), and finally the teachers/lawyers of the Law and Pharisees.

In the Book of John, "Jews" is a general term used to group together the opposition to Jesus Christ and his followers.


John's gospel presents the juxtaposition of God's love and man's rejection - the offer of grace and the warning of judgment.

John the Baptist was a priest by descent, so Jewish leaders needed to reign in this unorthodox behavior of baptisizing Israelites. They figured he was either a false prophet (phony) or the Messiah. So they sent a deputation - group chosen to represent others - to check up on him.

The Deputation Asked 5 Questions

1. (Verse 19) Who are you? Are you the Messiah?
Jews anticipated the promised Messiah for two separate reasons:
A. Micah 5:2 promised a Prince of David, which was interpreted as a leader of Jewish armies that would battle the Roman empire and make Israel once again victorious
B. Transcendental Figure that would bring peace and righteousness throughout the world. This hope caused false prophets to pop up occassionally.
Jews never thought John the Baptist to be a great war leader, so they figured if he claimed to be the Messiah, they could arrest him and the disturbance would be over.

In verse 20, John the Baptist clearly, humbly states, "I am not the Christ."

Jews thought Messiah would either give them power or peace. Never did it occur to them that each person needed Jesus to free themselves from a sin nature. We see later that the first disciples, John and Andrew, followed Jesus because He is the Lamb of God. I follow Him, because I know that without Him, I am a sinner through and through. Ask yourself, why are you looking for Jesus?

2. (Verse 21) Are you Elijah?
Elijah never died. He was taken to Heaven in a whirlwind. Malachi 4:5 prophesied that Elijah would return to Earth to usher in the "Day of the Lord."

Jews assumed a man claiming to have authority or audacity to baptize Jews must at least be the great prophet Elijah.

"I am not."

3. "Are the prophet?"
This question refers to a second prophet that would appear with Elijah.


4. (Verse 22) "Who are you? What do you say about yourself?"
Essentially saying "Who do you think you are baptizing Jews?!!"

In verse 23, John calmly responds, "Stop looking at me. I am merely a voice. My only purpose is to prepare hearts for the coming Lord."

John the Baptist is such an amazing example of humility, of selflessness. Our purpose in this world is similar - through our life's actions, we can open people hearts to the message Jesus has for them. The trick is to take ourselves OUT of it. Live each day for the Glory of Christ and let Him take care of the rest.

5. (Verse 25) "Why do you baptize?"

In verse 26, John's response is basically to say that his baptism is merely a symbol of the cleansing we all require. His baptism in water, is simply an effort to prepare hearts for the real baptism of the Holy Spirit which will actually create a newness of life.

In verse 26, he tells the Deputation that the Messiah is standing among them. Unfortunately, they are so focused on dealing with the "problem" of John the Baptist, that they do not hear him and they do not recognize their Savior.

In verse 27, John the Baptist says he is unworthy of untying the Jesus' shoes. First of all, untying a sandal was a slave's job. Even lower than a student to teacher relationship, John was willing to take such a humble position to show his devotion to the true Messiah. Second of all, John the Baptist was an older cousin of Jesus. Even though John was older and John was a descendant of Priests, he seems to have no problem exalting his Lord to the ultimate place of rule in his life (see also verse 30).

The next day, John the Baptist introduces Jesus to the crowd as the "Lamb of God." In Old Testament ceremonies, the death of a spotless lamb made atonement for sins of the Isrealites because without bloodshed, there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22), because life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11).

Jesus Christ was perfect, sinless; He was the one human that deserved to go to Heaven. God reconciled the sins of the world by offering as a sacrifice the one human that lived up to His call to be holy.

In Genesis, there is one animal killed for each sin.
In Passover Rite, there is one animal killed for each family.
In Atonement Ceremony, there is one animal killed for all of Isreal.
In Crucifixion, there is one sacrifice for all men.

Do you thank God for his grace to offer a perfect sacrifice for you? Do you thank Jesus for the sacrifice He willingly made for you?

Verses 32 and 33 we see that when God first called John the Baptist to his life's work, He told him He would point out the Messiah with the sign of a dove. We will never know if John the Baptist was surprised to find out that his cousin was the Messiah. Surely, he had heard of the odd occurrances while Jesus was growing up. Surely, he must have heard something of Jesus' righteousness and the story of his birth. Either way, John trusted in his faith in God enough to follow the sign, baptize the Christ and proclaim him the Son of God.

Next: The Week of Disciples John 1:35-51


The Prologue

1:1-5 Presentation of Christ
1:9-11 Rejection of Christ by the Majority
1:12-18 Faith of the Minority

1:6-8 and 15 are parenthetical to the Prologue. They speak of John the Baptist and his role in introducing Christ to the world.

John 1:1-18 is a pretty weighty theological preamble introducing Jesus Christ as the Son of God who "existed since eternity, created all things and became man to reveal God to us in the most majestic, awe-inspiring, gracious light of the glory of God (BSF)."

Why did God become a man? So He could effectively communicate with us. For example, we cannot communicate with ants, but we can watch them. They take the long route to the food every time. But in order to actually help them be more successful, we would need to become an ant. God became a man to make us more successful followers of His Word.

Verses 1-5, 9-14, 16-18
+ Description of Jesus
+ Man's rejection of Jesus
+ Man's reception of Jesus

Christ is the Light and Life of Men (1-5)
vs 1-2 Going back forever, Jesus WAS a part of God, was WITH God (see also John 8:58)

"Word" in the original Greek text was "Logos" which more technically translates "First Cause." Philosophers in John's day used Logos to refer to the "unknown great intelligent reason will and power behind the universe." Jesus always was and always will be. Jesus helped create the world. Jesus was present when God created man in "our image" (Genesis).

"With" implies a co-relationship, a communion, but yet two distinct personalities.

"The Word was God." Jesus and God are equal. (1 John 1:1-3) The deeds and words of Jesus are the deeds and words of God. Jesus said it himself. We cannot pick and choose which of Jesus' words we want to believe, because He is very clear and bold in his proclamations. If you do not believe that he is equal with God, then you have to denounce everything He says.

Vs 3 - all things were created by Him, for Him (see also Colossians 1:16)

Vs 4 talks about light and life. Life being physical, moral, intellectual and eternal. Light being the righteousness from God before the fall of man (when Adam and Eve eat the fruit).

Vs 5a refers to the Old Testament Prophets that tried to bring light to the world.
Vs 5b "The darkness did not comprehend/understand/extinguish it." Can mean a few different things. It could mean that God is infinite and therefore our feable minds are unable to comprehend what He is trying to tell us. It could also mean that no matter what, in the end, evil cannot extinguish good. 1 John 4:4 "If you are in Christ, and Him in you, the light in you is greater than the darkness that may be around you." Believe it. Own it. Choose to live it.

Darkness of Unbelief Through Rejection of Light
Vs 9 tells us that Christ's Light is available to every man.

Vs 10 speaks of man's rebellion against a Savior

Vs 11 - "His own" = Israel. The people who should have recognized Him, because they had been waiting for a Messiah for centuries. This verse could also be applied to Christian nations like America. Kids grow up in a church, but make the chose to refuse Him.

Blessings to Those Who Receive Life Through Faith in Him
Vs 12 - Some immediately believed what John the Baptist had to say and turned to follow Christ. We do not have the option of walking the Earth with Him literally. Instead, we receive the Holy Spirit upon belief.

Vs 13 - Being a child of God is a decision that each of us has to make for ourselves. Our bloodline/biology/ethnicity cannot get us into Heaven. At the time, Jews believed that being born Jewish got them into Heaven. But also, the will of flesh, i.e. my desire alone cannot get me into Heaven. I have to decide to believe in Christ's redemption. The will of man - my mom's desire for me to be a Christian does not make me a Christian. Again, each of us has to decide to make Christ our Savior. Have you made that decision? Phillipians 2:12-13 God is at work in those who believe. Be open to Him.

John's Personal Experience
Verse 14 begins the tale of John's personal experience. In verse 15, we see that John the Baptist introduced John the Apostle to Christ. Verse 16 points out that we all have the opportunity to share in the glory of Christ. Do you know who first showed you Christ? Remember our personal testimony of Christ's entrance into our lives can go along way towards keeping us focused on His glory.

Verse 17 refers to the 10 Commandments. We cannot follow the letter of the Law. Christ saves us by grace (paying for our sins freely), and truth (the heart of the Law).

Christ is, was and always will be. Man is inherently rebellious. Some, however, make the choice to share in Christ's glory.

Next week John 1:19-51


Overview of John

1:1 - 1:18 Prologue (to be discussed in next post)
1:19 - 4:54 Revelation of Faith
5:1 - 12:50 Development of Faith or Rejection
13:1 - 17:26 Maturing Faith of Disciples
18:1 - 21:25 Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The book of John is not an exhaustive biography of Jesus Christ. John chooses signs that will guide the reader to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, the "Anointed One," that fulfills all prophecy of the Old Testament, all symbolism of the ceremonies, and the teachings of the Prophets. John's purpose for his book can be found in John 20:31: to believe is to have eternal life. What is your purpose in reading the Bible?

Revelation of Jesus Christ to the World (1:19 - 12:50)
1:19-4:54 Tells of the ministry of John the Baptist
John 2 shows the first rejection of Jesus Christ. By chapter 5, the rejection by the Pharisees has grown to an intense, blatant hatred for Jesus.

John 5 - 12 has the progression of the faith or rejection that is a direct result of the revelation of Jesus Christ. We will read about the progression of the unbelief in the majority and simultaneously, the progression of belief in the minority. We will see how low the unbelievers go to devalue Christ and how high the believers go to proclaim His glory.

Revelation of Jesus Christ to His Disciples (13 - 17:26)
John 13 - 17:26 is a special time between Jesus and His disciples. In John 13, he washes their feet to teach them that the greatest among them is a servant. In 14 - 16, He speaks frankly with them, answers their questions about the future, and tries to prepare them for the coming Holy Spirit.

John 17 concludes with Jesus' prayer for his disciples.

Crucifixion and Resurrection
The crucifixion is the culmination of the darkness throughout the book.

The resurrection is the celebration of Light throughout the book.

John 20:30-31 is the main purpose of the Book of John.
Fact: Jesus Christ is the Son of God
Our Response: Belief
Result: Eternal Life

John 21 shows us the responses of the follwers, their following of Christ, their actions.

Through the study of the Book of John, I pray that Jesus Christ will become as real to you as your right hand.

Next: The Prologue (verses 1-18)

History of the Book of John

Some people have doubts about the Bible's integrity. I do not, so I have never researched it to have a great answer for people's questions. Ever since I was a kid - never went to church, never read the Bible, never understood the Trinity, nothing - but I always believed the Bible to be the true Word of God. When I became a Christian, I justified my naivety like this: God is bigger than man. If He wanted to protect what is written about Him, He can. I believe that through the Holy Spirit, God instructed men exactly what to write and guided men who canonized Scripture. If that explanation does not work for you, please research it. If you have lingering questions regarding the integrity of the Bible, it could get in the way of your relationship with God. "For the person who sincerely loves truth, there will be intuitive recognition of the truth -- even before the truth is proven. (BSF)"

The Book of John was written by the Apostle John, son of Zebedee, not John the Baptist. This fact is sometimes debated because first, some believe John was too stupid to write a book as theologically dense as the Book of John and second, because the author never states his name. Regarding John's supposed stupidity, Jesus promised the Apostles that he would "bring back to minds everything I have said to you (John 14:26, 16:14-15)." John wrote his book many decades after the others; he had time to ponder the depths of Christ's words.

Throughout the book of John, the author only refers to himself as the "disciple whom Jesus loved." He does this out of humility - he is not special, he is on same footing as other disciples. His name is not important. His thoughts are not important. All that matters is Jesus Christ and the account of His three-and-a-half year ministry. John the Baptist had a similar mentality when he openly proclaims, "I am not the Messiah."

An Apostle is defined as someone who lived, ate, prayed, and ministered alongside Jesus Christ. Apostles saw His work, knew His heart, and understood His ways (to the best of a human's ability). John had many special attributes that make him the perfect author of this book.

+ John and Andrew were the first to follow Jesus.
+ Jesus called him to leave his family and business to follow Him (Matthew 4:21-22).
+ John was named one of Jesus's 12 disciples (Matthew 10:1-2).
+ John was only disciple at crucifixion, resurrection, transfiguration, raising of man's daughter, and in the Garden of Gethsemane. Others were at these events, but he was the only one to witness all of them.

Through the four gospels, plus Acts, we see that John is reserved and quiet. He literally says three things in the Book of John (verses 1:38, 13:25 and 21:7). The first could have been Andrew, the second was forced on him by Peter, and the third was to proclaim, "It is the Lord," after His resurrection.

John observed, contemplated, and ultimately loved (John was the one entrusted by Jesus to take care of His mother after His crucifixion). He adored Jesus and appreciated every aspect of his Savior. I often picture him like a puppy licking his Master's face.

John wrote the Book of John which focuses on Christ's humanity, the epistles First, Second and Third John which focus on Christ in us (Holy Spirit), and the Book of Revelation which focuses on the glory of Christ, when every knee shall bow.

John was the final gospel written. Possibly for purpose of refuting attacks of first three gospels. The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) record the acts and sayings of Jesus. After decades of contemplation, John is able to record what Jesus meant.

I like to think of the four gospels as four different painter's renditions of the same thing. If Picasso, Pollock, Ruth Mayer, and DaVinci were all to paint an apple, each painting would have similarities, but would still be completely different. Together, the four paintings would give you complete picture of an apple. The four gospels do not contradict each other; they complement each other.

Up next: An overview of the Book of John.