I AM…The Way

John2 

v.6 “Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty gallons.” v.7 “Jesus said to the servants, Fill the jars with water. And they filled them to the brim.” v.8 “And he said to them, ‘now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast’. So they took it.” v.9 “When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from…..the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now’.” There is so much symbolism and prophecy in these few verses. First the water jars that Jesus told the servants to take and fill them with water were for the “Jewish rites of purification”. These “purification” jars are what he used to turn the water that would be used for purification into wine, which is a symbol of his blood that He would shed for our purification. Then he not only turned the water into wine, he turned it into the BEST wine and for the guests to drink when they were used to getting the “poor wine” after they had “drunk freely”. As the master of the feast said, “But you have kept the good wine until now”. Now think of this in context of the story of salvation. Throughout Israel’s history the people of God had been following His laws and coming up short. Now Jesus’ first miracle on earth as he comes to make the Father known is turning “purification” water into wine (the symbol of His blood), the BEST wine. Jesus’ sacrifice for our “purification” is the best news at last, far better than the law could ever be, “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). v.11 “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” What does it mean in that Jesus manifested his glory here? The Greek word used here for manifested means to make “apparent, clear, visible…” The Greek word used here for glory is a noun signifying “honor, renown, splendor…” By Jesus turning the water into wine here at this wedding he made clear the splendor He holds and yet prophesied the splendor He would be sharing with His people. Wow. What hits me here is that Jesus is the ONLY one that could ever be our “purification”. By showing his glory here He made evident to His people that He was there in power to change their world. Can you imagine that? Think about being at a wedding and in walks this man, humble in appearance, and as you converse with him and others you see with your eyes him turn water into wine! I mean seriously. If this happened in our day it would be all over the news and media! People would be asking how he did this, with what power or “skill” had he turned this water to wine. In thinking through this I see where Jesus would have accumulated quite a large crowd. People wanted to know Him. I become more in love with my Jesus as I see His true character witnessed throughout John. Jesus was not proud, was not unapproachable, he was humble and friendly and full of love and grace! This miracle prophecies His grace! The blood of His perfect and pure body would be shed for our, the guilt ridden committers, sins! This is the love of our Jesus and Father. This is the love that wrecked the world and has changed the course of history! Sorry for all the exclamations but this is amazing news, we are forgiven! Nothing that we have done or could have done would make us able to be in communion with the Father and because He loved us so much, like any father, He had to make a way to have a genuine relationship with His children and He did it by sending His only Son, perfect like Him to bring purification to the human race, all who would call on His name and accept His adoption as sons and daughters. Many, many Christians nowadays don’t understand the process of “sonship” (salvation).  Try to think of it as an adoption but from the perspective of the adoptee not the adopter. If you were without parents and family due to death or lawless acts of your real parents and a loving family that you had met requested to adopt you into their family, the new family would have to go through a legal process. The process would include changing your identity over to a new family name. This is the best analogy I can think of to explain the process of becoming a Christian. We are taking on the lineage of Christ as Christians. We have a new identity and we get the influence of His Word and family and this shapes us as sons and daughters of His. Now move on with me to the second scene here in John 2. Jesus is celebrating Passover with His disciples, the celebration of the salvation of God’s people, Israel, in Egypt. The Passover was another prophetic event that for shadowed what Jesus was on Earth to do.  As Jesus gets to the temple he finds a scene that brings out a rare but righteous anger in Him. v.14 “In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.” Now think about this, Jesus has come into this world as a pure and completely free sacrifice for all who would believe in Him. His heart must have broke then seeing people trying to make money off sacrifices for people to have their sins forgiven! v.15 “And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.” What passion we see in Jesus here. v.17 “His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘zeal for your house will consume me’.” The Jews shocked by Jesus’ actions asked him, v.18 “…..What sign do you show us for doing these things?” v.19 “Jesus answered them, ‘destroy the temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” v.20 “The Jews then said, “it has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” v.21 “But he was speaking about the temple of his body.” This here my friends is history changing! This is a big statement and again prophecy. Jesus in this is saying that the “temple” is going to no longer be within the walls of a church. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). The curtain within the temple that housed the presence of God was torn in two at Christ’s death, bringing access to all who would accept Him! In these verses Jesus shows His passion for truth. He speaks of the temple being the body of Christ and makes it clear He doesn’t want His temple to be a business, v.16…”take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” The body of Christ would not be a business for money changers or a physical building but the life of Jesus being multiplied throughout the earth. The church after this and after Jesus crucifixion and resurrection is truly that, Jesus being multiplied through the holy spirit across the globe. He didn’t die so we could construct a new business plan of what the church building would look like without sacrifices, which is sadly what the church has become. He died so we would take on His body, “perfect and complete, lacking nothing” and through His holy spirit truly become the body of Christ throughout the earth. It’s not a business plan, its people creating families, through the bonding of humanity becoming sons and daughters of God our Father through Christ, across the globe that live in communion with each other and share life with each other as the people in Acts showed throughout the early church era. Rome and Catholicism corrupted the early church. In a time where new infrastructure was in the works and businesses were being built it makes since that a physical building with a business like structure would be thought up to house the religion of the people. Sadly from here history repeats itself and the priests of this time demanded payment for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus died to bring the church (the body of Christ) out of a temple and into a people through the holy spirit. Why have we put it back into a building? Jesus doesn’t fit in a structured “business” plan or building. He fits in hearts and in a people. He never spoke in a building he spoke over meals and in the mountains, on his journeys. We, the church of modern day, have called these types “missionaries”. I wonder, what did we miss? We are His disciples and first and foremost to immolate Him. This is a lot of information and a lot to take in but I encourage you to seek Christ to revive His Holy Spirit in you to empower you to BE the “body of Christ” and to put off any business like structure that may be hindering you from growing in fullness like Christ and reaching His beloved sons and daughters. The United Pursuit song that sings, “I wanna know you Lord, like I know a friend, so Im laying down all my religion, I’m laying down, I wanna know you Lord.” God just spoke so tenderly to my heart that this is what this generation is seeking. They are seeking a God that’s not confined to walls and not conformed to a “business plan” but whose real and produces realness in them. Somehow the “business plan” style structure churches have used for decades has led to many Christians trying to “fake it til they make it”. Jesus is real. He is in real time and sees our flaws in real time and he does not ask that we compensate for our sin in any other way than in trusting His death and resurrection to bring us to life. Trust, trust, trust. This is the anchor of our faith. It isn’t our ability to follow God’s Word it’s our ability to trust God’s word. When we trust God’s word we are made like Him more and more as we see The Day approaching. The early Christians still attended the temple for worship but they did this daily and they were in each other’s lives daily. Today we go to church on Sundays, do a Bible study Tuesdays and the rest of the days we work and do our own thing. What if meeting in Jesus’ house which is wherever 2 or more gather, because “where two or more are gathered, there He is” was an everyday occurrence and not just a prayer and devotion we did before our day started. If this makes you uncomfortable or seems “too much” try to listen to where that is coming from? Why would meeting in the “temple courts” and fellowshipping with your brothers and sisters in Christ daily be a bad thing? I wonder if this is what has gotten Christians to where they are today. Jesus gave you a permanent family so that no one would be alone again and yet we have held that “Jesus is always with us” to keep us from facing the reality that our individualistic culture might not be the culture God created you for. What if becoming a Christian meant joining a true community. Now I know you’re thinking cult, or even saying in your head, “we’re not Amish” but think through that. Nothing about this would be against anyone’s will. This would be an open community where all those who professed Jesus is Lord, would enter and be welcome and this community would change the landscape of America. These communities would be full of individuals and families who gave up their large homes or small homes, but individual homes, to live in a shared space where land, and tools, and resources were shared. The money that was saved would go to reach the world for Christ and completely eliminate hunger in other countries and spread the gospel around the world. When I speak of communities I’m speaking of churches not being a place we go but a place we live. When the lost were found they were invited into the literal house of the Lord with His family. You may think this all sounds great but what about the security issues. I would say, Jesus is our ultimate protector and look at the church community in Acts that did exactly this and you don’t read, “they sold their possessions and lived together, but were raped and killed…” no you read, “they sold their possessions and lived together and gave their extras to the poor.” Fear is the opposite of trust. Fear is the desire to have control over something you can’t. Fear shows us our need to trust God. I hope in reading this you hear my heart. Jesus continues to bring this need of the church to my forefront of my heart and I am pouring it out to you in hopes that He will speak to you in the way He knows best. “There’s no shame, in looking like a fool, when I give you what I can’t keep and take a hold of you” United Pursuit, Simple Gospel.

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