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Showing posts from January 17, 2021

Nicodemus Comes To Jesus At Night (John 3:1-15)

 Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night, because it's not a popular thing among the leadership to see Jesus. Some mix of curiosity and flattery causes Nicodemus to say that he knows Jesus is a teacher who came from God. Jesus takes this as an invitation to teach him something, then. That "truly, truly" is a way to say that something with authority is coming next, something new that hasn't been heard before. Jesus says we have to be born anew, or born from above, depending on the translation. That reminds us of what we read earlier in John 1:11-13. Drawing near to God in Jesus has nothing to do with where you come from, or who your parents are. Nicodemus doesn't get it. He doesn't realize Jesus is speaking spiritually here, and so he asks, "how can a man go back into his mother's womb to be born again?" What Jesus does say reminds us that we can't please God by our own efforts; the Holy Spirit must give us the power to do what God asks of us. The r

Jesus Cleanses The Temple (John 2:13-25)

 This part of the text tells us that the Passover was at hand. Exodus 12 is the Bible chapter dealing with the Passover as an event, and the Passover as a memorial meal, to remember that event. That final plague against the Egyptians was terrible, taking all the firstborn sons and animals of the Egyptians. The Israelites were safe, because they had followed the instructions given by the Lord. Passover is still celebrated today, because Exodus 12:14 commands the people to observe it forever. So what's the big deal? Why is Jesus so upset that people are selling things in the Temple area? There are a couple of reasons. Most religious traditions in the world recognize a difference between sacred things, and ordinary things. "Sacred" refers to something set apart for a holy purpose. The Temple was sacred, and people were treating it like the lobby of a Wal-Mart. Secondly, according to the rules the people were given for worship, the outer court of the Temple was reserved for n

Jesus And The Disciples At A Wedding At Cana (John 2:1-12)

 Weddings in this time and place were big social events. Distant family, neighbors, and friends were all expected to come. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph may well have been related somehow to the couple. Also in this time, the wedding celebration lasted about a week. This culture was even more an "honor-shame" culture than our own. It would have been a huge social embarrassment for the family to run out of food or wine. So Mary steps in. It's awfully hard for any decent son to say no to his mother, especially when she recognizes the problem, and knows Jesus can help. Why does Jesus answer the way he does? Isn't he speaking harshly to his own mother? No; Jesus does know, however, that when he does this miracle, attention and opposition will be drawn to him. Jesus is concerned that everything will begin to happen sooner than it ought to. In the end, I suppose Jesus understood from the Father that he could do this, without disrupting the Father's plan. Also, there is a spir