Monthly Archives: March 2018

Conversations; A journey through John

When God speaks to man He does so with unique thoughts. God’s thoughts are always true, eternal, and tailor fit to each man. Let’s go on a journey through the Gospel of John as Jesus Christ sits down with three individuals. Conversation 1 (John 3:1- 21) 1st setting – We arrive in the capital of Israel. The grand city of Jerusalem. It is the time of Passover. This was the day of Jesus’ purging of the temple vendors and controversial teaching of destroying and rebuilding the “temple” in 3 days. We arrive late into the night and the city is quiet. 1st character –We can barely see a man walking silently, alone, through the darkness. His name is Nicodemus. His occupation is that of a priest and namely a Pharisee. The Bible describes him as a “ruler of the Jews.” We follow him from a distance and arrive where Jesus was staying. Without making ourselves known, lets listen to this historic conversation. 1st problem – As it is recorded we only know that this is a private conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. Nicodemus describes his faith in Jesus’ works and his position as a teacher. And now it is time for Jesus to respond. But wait. Nicodemus did not ask a question. He did not present a conflict. He did not state his problem, nor hint that he had a problem at all. So why did we categorize this as the first problem? It’s because of Jesus’ response. Jesus’ response reveals Nicodemus’ need. 1st solution – Jesus answered and said to him, “Unless a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.” Now, we see Nicodemus’ need. He needs to be born again. In the next 18 verses this conversation continues with the most beautiful dialog! In fact, it is this dialog that most Christians today find their favorite verse of scripture, in John 3:16. Jesus gave the “Gospel” as we know it – directly to Nicodemus. So, now we know that Nicodemus’ need was revealed by Jesus. Jesus could see the center of the man. Nicodemus’ core issue was pride in his natural birth and its privileges. Pride in being born into his position; as a Jew – the chosen people, as a man – the possessor of all rights, as a priest – the best occupation for Levites alone, and a Pharisee the best of the best Priests! Elite! All this came through his natural birth. He could not choose to be born, a Jew, a man, into the tribe of Levi! And yet it was in these things he had placed his pride. Why do I say he had pride? He chose a secret meeting at night alone with Jesus because he feared the other elites. It’s not just the setting of the meeting, but Jesus’ message of eternal life for Nicodemus that means the most. And to profoundly and abundantly bless Nicodemus Jesus speaks to the core problem. Nicodemus believes incorrectly that he will see the Kingdom of heaven because of his natural birthright. But Jesus takes that falsehood away from him in His revolutionary teaching of being born again! This spiritual birth will have to be chosen. This spiritual birth will have to come out of faith. A faith in the heart of man, who is conscience of his choice. This spiritual birth by faith means trading the natural inheritance with a Spiritual inheritance. And that is what Jesus is offering. All who live have been born with NO consent of their own. On the contrary, all who live eternally will CHOOSE faith in Jesus for their salvation. Follow up with Nicodemus in John 7:50, and John 19:39!! Now we’ll follow Jesus to another meeting.
Conversation 2 (John 4: 1-42) 2nd setting – We join Jesus as He and His disciples are traveling from Judea to Galilee, by way of Samaria. This next meeting will require us to get a bit hot and dusty as we’ll be walking for miles. A stark contrast to the previous meeting, it is the heat of the day and in the center of the city. This meeting was without the cloak of darkness. Without secrecy! This time Jesus instigates the meeting. Jesus stops and sits at the watering well, while his disciples go to retrieve a meal. 2nd character – Also in contrast this meeting is with a woman. Furthermore, this woman did not have the pedigree of Nicodemus. Additionally, there is no record of this character’s name. Rather she is known as the Samaritan “woman” at the well. But for these contrasts, we see the most important commonality, and that is Jesus speaking one on one with an individual who needs truth. And again, without making ourselves known, lets listen to this historic conversation. 2nd problem – Jesus begins this dialog. He asks the lady for a drink of water. She responds with a question instead of an answer. “How can it be that you would talk to me?” And further she explains herself and why it is unusual. No Jews speak to Samaritans, no men speak to women, and beyond that she has a poor reputation. Jesus still hasn’t had anything to drink and in the natural he is thirsty from his travels. 2nd solution – Jesus says to her, If you knew who you were speaking to you would ask me for Living and Eternal water! Because whoever drinks from this well will naturally thirst again. But the water that I give will quench your spiritual thirst forever! Just as with Nicodemus, Jesus could see into the very center of the person. He knew her need and he arranged to meet her. And to profoundly and abundantly bless the Samaritan woman, Jesus spoke to her core problem. She had a spiritual thirst for God that was not met. The record for this exchange and following events goes on for 42 verses. This woman asked many substantial and thoughtful questions. She was amazed at Jesus’ revolutionary teaching! And finally, she determined that when the Messiah came, he would reveal all truth. Jesus responds to her faith, and says, “I that speak with you, am he.” John 4:26 Again, in a one on one, private conversation, we are blessed again with one of the most beloved scriptures of all Christendom. Jesus reveals Himself as Messiah. But Jesus wasn’t speaking into a microphone for thousands, he was talking to one lady alone. In other words, look no further – I am here! Thirst no more – drink from me! Stop asking, searching, digging, but instead, receive, believe, accept and be set free! As we listen to these conversations we see Jesus giving the natural picture and the spiritual truth. Have you been born? You must be born again, by individually choosing to believe in Jesus. Have you been thirsty? You must drink of Him by individually choosing to accept Jesus. Conversation 3 (John 8: 1-11) 3rd setting –We are at our destination. We’ve heard two conversations, and we’re going to hear one more. We’re again in Jerusalem in the early morning, at the Temple. There is a large crowd. A significant contrast in this conversation is that neither of them sought the other. Jesus did not instigate this meeting. Nor did the next character. But instead they were thrust together by third parties amid a crowd. 3rd character – Furthermore, there is very little recorded about who this woman was, where she was from, or who are her relatives, in contrast to the last two characters. The Bible says that scribes and Pharisees wanted to test Jesus, so they brought this woman from a bed chamber directly into the Temple court and accused her of adultery and prescribed death as judgement. She is most commonly referred to as the “woman” caught in adultery. 3rd Problem – She is simply being used as a pawn in a game designed to humiliate Jesus. He wants to speak to her one on one, just as he had with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman. But first he must disperse the crowd. And this is where a mystery occurs. A mystery many people desire to define. Jesus crouched down onto the floor, where the woman was. He wrote on the ground. And after some time passed he stood and addressed the “stone in hand” crowd. He instructed those without sin to commence the stoning. And one by one the crowd dispersed. 3rd solution – The Bible says that Jesus crouched again. Met the woman eye to eye and waited. After they were alone, he started to speak with her. Privately He addressed her core problem. He asked her to look up and see her accusers. She said, “There is no one Lord.” Ok, now she can breathe. Panic leaves. Trust makes its way in. Jesus gives her another chance at life. Temporal life is saved. But eternal life is the goal! He tells her that He also does not condemn her. And now for the freedom. Jesus commands her, “from now on, stop living in sin.” And through obeying His command, she can live eternally! What a journey we’ve taken! From Jesus’ conversations with these three individuals we find His solutions for all mankind. Therefore, what is true for one is true for all. What is truth, simply is truth. Jesus is the truth and His words hold the truth for our temporal and eternal lives. Now we know these three truths. All are born, but you must choose to be born again by faith. All drink water, but you must choose to drink eternal living water by the Spirit of God. All sin, but you must choose to repent and stop. Now, it’s your turn to meet with Jesus one on one. Whatever Jesus speaks to you is meant to be a blessing to the world. It is for you, and it is for all. Jesus is never too busy to meet with us. May we never be too busy to meet with him.