FoundationsForGrowing

The Gospel of John: Part II

by Joanna Pierce on September 15, 2016

As we continue on in our journey of the book of John, we see John doesn’t provide accounts of Jesus in chronological order, but depicts snapshots of His life. His accounts leave us to put the pieces together and to draw out the meaning behind them.

Jesus’ First Miracle

John describes Jesus’ first miracle in John 2:1–11, Jesus turning water into wine. This miracle is different than any other miracle Jesus would ever perform in His ministry. Most miracles—demonstrating God’s power—renewed parts of fallen creation: blindness, lameness, etc. But, no one was dying, sick, or in danger in this particular setting. It was just a wedding, and they were in need of wine.

Culturally, wedding celebrations were several days (or a week) long, and the host would provide for his guests per the law of hospitality. It was considered a great shame and dishonor to run out of anything. It was a large concern (of embarrassment mostly) that they would run out of wine.

Jesus used the 6 stone jars of water typically used for ceremonial washing for His miracle. This was water people would use to “cleanse” themselves just walking through the streets. The stone water pots weren’t a place to store any liquid one would consume—it was unclean. But, this didn’t matter to Jesus—He used it anyway.

Through this miracle, Jesus showed He will use whatever He wants to do His will. Jesus revealed how He would enact His ministry on earth—through interaction with people; fulfilling the needs of those around Him. And, it was from this miracle, His disciples believed and determined to follow Him.

Jesus’ Intolerance for Fake Worship

John describes an account when Jesus enters the Temple during the Passover celebration, and chases out the moneychangers and all who bought and sold in the Temple (John 2:13–17). The Passover was the largest, annual celebration of the Jewish people, which lasted 1 week long. It was necessary on the Passover day for all men (over the age of 19) to go to the Temple with a sacrifice and worship the Lord.

During this celebration, the Jews would remove all leaven from their homes symbolizing removal of sin—a type of spiritual cleansing. Jesus realized it wasn’t just the homes that needed to be cleaned up, but also the church and the church system.

Jews had set up booths in the outer court of the Gentiles to convert money for people to pay the temple tax as well as to purchase a sacrifice. The Gentiles couldn’t worship effectively in this outer court because it was so full of merchants. People had become too distracted by greed—selling sacrifices for a very high price—and forgot why they were at the house of God.

Man had turned praise into a profit—manipulating the visit to the Temple as a benefit for them instead of doing something for God. Jesus doesn’t like it when we turn church into something that’s all about us, and when we get lazy with our worship.

We should realize we serve a God who is worthy of all or our sacrifice and praise. He’s given us an opportunity and privilege to come into His presence and worship Him. Our worship every day is about the King of kings and Lord of lords. Because of everything He’s done for us, our worship should cost us something! King David understood that He couldn’t offer anything to God that he didn’t work for (II Samuel 24:24). Our worship should expend us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Instead of reaching out to the Gentiles to know the true God, the Jews were more concerned with filling up this the outer court with “fake” stuff. They weren’t letting their light shine because they had lost their fever for worship and service to God. But, Jesus has a zeal for the house of God (Psalms 69:9)—He got upset when people were misusing it.

Today, we should contemplate if church is routine or real for us. Our experience with God should be a supernatural interaction—not just an event or a moment in time. We should seek out God in His sanctuary (Psalm 77:13) and desire to dwell with Him all the days of our life (Psalms 27:4).

When we have zeal in worshipping and serving the Lord, God notices and reacts. When He finds a willing vessel, He will pour more anointing into us than we could ever imagine. Our passion and willingness to serve God will impact others, and we—as Jesus did—will draw followers. We will teach people to love and serve God.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on September 15, 2016