Sin Inside The Temple
So the people selling animals in the temple, and the people changing out currency were taking advantage of the situation. If you traveled to Jerusalem for Passover, and you showed up with a sacrificial animal, it had to be without blemish. The priests were the ones who decided if it was acceptable or not. Well guess what, it was usually found to be unacceptable. But, conveniently located right here in the temple we happen to be selling pre-approved animals for sacrifice–for an exorbitant price. And, you have to pay for the animal with the temple currency. We can exchange your cash for our currency, in fact we have money changers right here in the temple standing by, but, it will cost you.
Providing a means of exchanging currency and providing animals for the Passover sacrifice was a good thing, but overcharging wasn’t. It was a sin. It was a sin found right there inside God’s temple. And Jesus, out of love for his Father’s house, turned the tables on those taking advantage of the people. He took action.
The religious leadership of his day asked Jesus: What sign can you show us to demonstrate you have the authority to cleanse the temple like this?
Jesus said: Read More
Mark Watney’s Connection From Mars (And what that has to do with our connection to Heaven): John 1:50-51
And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:51
The Martian And Mark Watney’s Connection
I just finished reading the book The Martian by Andy Weir. And if you’ve already read the book or seen the movie you know that Mark Watney, a mechanical engineer and botanist, is left stranded alone on mars–for a very very long time.
He’s alone but he’s alone in a way no one has been alone before. He’s the only living creature on the entire red sand desert, unbreathable atmosphered, super frigid temperatured planet. Mark Watney spends every day on that planet just trying to figure out how to survive. But there’s one place in the book where he talks about this great connection he has that makes all the difference. His connection is with a team of scientists in Houston. Watney says, Read More
Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:44-49)
How Philip Was Wrong (And Nathanael Was Right)
Have you ever considered Nathanael and Philip’s words in this passage? Philip gets it wrong on Read More
He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” John 1:42-43
Nate Larkin, Samson And The Pirate Monks
I recently heard a man speak by the name of Nate Larkin. Nate wrote a book called Samson and the Pirate Monks, and in his book and during his talk he spoke of the different personas he developed as he navigated life. For church and when he was in the presence of God there was Saint Nate. Saint Nate was good (at least on the outside), he memorized scripture, and he said all the right things. He polished that persona to perfection. Nate was great at looking bright and shiny to other Christians. But later, in high school, he found girls weren’t attracted to Saint Nate, so he developed another persona he calls Date Nate. Date Nate was smooth and fun and cool. And you know what? It worked. He could find dates when he took on the Date Nate persona. Then he met the girl of his dreams. But the only problem was, she didn’t like Date Nate. So he invented yet another persona he calls Mate Nate. And that worked too. The girl of his dreams married Mate Nate. Awhile later Nate entered the ministry. But he did so while carrying a dark secret: he was a sex addict, addicted to porn since his teens. After a few years working for a church, Nate noticed several high profile Read More
He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. (John 1:39-42a)
One Day With Jesus
So last post from the book of John we saw how John the Baptist was with two of his disciples when Jesus walked by. “Behold the Lamb of God,” John the Baptist said. And these two disciples of John the Baptist, they immediately left him and followed Jesus.
When Jesus saw them following, he asked, “What do you want?”
And the two responded, “Where are you staying?”
And Jesus said, “Come and see.”
So they did. They followed Jesus to where he was staying. And they spent the day with him.
Imagine what you would ask if you spent the day with the Messiah. These two former disciples of John the Baptist, now Jesus’ first two disciples, probably spent the day asking the same questions. Whatever the discussion, we know from what happens next that they were deeply and profoundly impacted, because one of them, Andrew (the other isn’t named) leaves Jesus to tell his brother who they found.
“Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother,” that’s how Andrew is referred to in our text. That’s how Andrew is usually referred to throughout scripture, as Simon Peter’s brother. One imagines that it was that way for Andrew, for a long time. We can imagine Andrew growing up hearing himself referred to in this way: “You know who I’m talking about, Simon’s brother.” Do you know someone like Andrew? Someone who is always referred to as “so and so’s brother?” If you do, you know it can be a point of contention. Envy can creep in. And when envy creeps in, that person who’s referred to as “so and so’s brother” begins to wish for, hope for, and even enjoy the defeats and failures of the person who is the object of their envy. That’s just how envy works.
You might think that Andrew, having lived in his brother’s shadow all these years, would have looked at his new relationship with the Messiah as an opportunity: an opportunity to escape his brother’s shadow, an opportunity for Andrew to shine for himself.
“I’m Andrew, the very one who found the Messiah (with a little help from John the Baptist). Maybe now they’ll call Simon, ‘Andrew’s brother.'”
But to Andrew’s great credit, he didn’t let envy or anything else get in his way. After spending one day with Jesus, he felt compelled to find his brother Simon and to tell Simon all about who he, Andrew, just found: the Messiah, the Christ.
The Flip Side Of Envy
But there’s another side of envy that we rarely hear discussed. The flip side of envy is Read More
Read John 1:35-39.
“What are you seeking?” (John 1:38)
Why Don’t I Feel Joy?
So you’re a Christian. And you’re wondering why you feel the way you do. I mean, you read about, and hear about joy, and fulfillment, and an abundant rich life in Christ, but, that’s not what you feel. That simply has not been your experience. Maybe you feel anxiety, frustration, or even depression, and you’re wondering why.
This blog post answers that question, and offers you a chance to change everything. Read More
And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:32-34)
We know very little of Jesus’ life before he went public with his teachings and his miracles. We know something of his birth. And we know about the time his parents lost track of him when he was twelve years old, when he was hanging out in the temple. But that’s it.
Did Jesus Need the Holy Spirit? Read More
In our last post from the gospel of John we saw how John the Baptist was grilled with questions. And he answered all their questions, all the questions asked by this group of inquisitors sent from the Pharisees.
One Last Question
So now they ask him one final question: “Okay, if you’re not the Messiah, and you’re not that prophet, and you’re not Elijah, then why do you baptize?” (In those days baptism was for gentiles newly converted to Judaism, but John was baptizing Jews. This was unorthodox and confusing to the religious leadership.)
John the Baptist says, Read More
Last post on the gospel of John we saw how John the Baptist declared, “I am not the Christ,” and we discussed the benefits of recognizing that fact in our own lives. This post we’ll see John grilled with more questions and learn what information he withheld from his inquisitors.
And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” (John 1:21-23)
Was John The Baptist Elijah?
They asked John the Baptist if he was Elijah, and he said, “I am not.” Have you ever thought this through? Because Read More
And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” John 1:19-20
I have failed as a leader. As a father, most importantly, and also as a leader in the fire department. Many of the scraps of wisdom you read on this blog come from my failures. I offer what I offer so you don’t have to fail where I did. You can learn from experience but it doesn’t have to be your own. I invite you to learn from mine. And this idea that I am not the Christ, that was one of my greatest failures of all.
Maybe you’re saying to yourself right now, “That’s not a problem for me. Of course I know I’m not the Christ.” If that’s you then let me just say, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about intellectual understanding. I’m talking about behavior. In my case, I was one of those people: a type A personality. I tried–to the point of exhaustion–to be the rising sun of my organization and my family: simultaneously.
It doesn’t work.
I can tell you (because I’ve lived it) that when you forget you’re not the Christ you’ll fail. More specifically, you’ll tend to experience the following 5 problems: Read More
(John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. John 1:15-18
The Law And It’s Result
“…the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” The law was given through Moses, and what did we get when all we had was the law? When Moses was up on the mountain receiving the law, receiving the stone tablets engraved with the ten commandments, he was gone from the people for awhile. And the people grew tired of waiting. They gave up on Moses, and they gave up on God Himself too. They created their own thing to worship, an idol, and they threw a party. And when Moses finally came down from the mountain and saw what had happened, he was devastated. He broke the stone tablets in anger and 3,000 of the idol worshippers died that day. (Exodus Chapter 32)
The law brings death, because we can’t measure up to it, we can’t meet that standard. The law is important, even as we saw in the last blog post on John 1:14, because the law is truth. The law reveals the truth of our sin. And the wages of sin is death. So the truth of the law is essential. It’s the educator, as Paul said, yet it brings death. (Galatians 3:24)
Jesus’ Grace And Truth
But then came Jesus. Read More
Never Bored Again
I was talking with a thirty-something last night and he and I both concluded we never feel bored. Maybe that’s not surprising. There’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. There’s podcasts, blogs, and Google searches. There are 300 hours of new video uploaded to Youtube–every minute, more than 150,000 new Reddit posts and submissions each day, and at the bottom of every Google News category there’s a link that says, “More Sci/Tech stories,” or “More Sports stories,” or “More U.S. stories,” or “More World stories.”
There’s more amazing information available to occupy our attention than ever before. (And I haven’t even touched on TV, music, movies, and video games.)
I love living at this point in the time-space continuum where we can have such an incredible amount of information available to us. I love doing research. I love checking out Youtube videos, articles, and subreddits in my areas of interest. But there’s a catch. Read More