John 3:16–21 (ESV)
For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave
his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but
whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
John 3.16 is the most memorized verse in the New Testament. It is called the Gospel in a nut shell. This verse is pivotal in that it clearly states that we are saved by “faith” and not by works.
This is also clearly stated in Ephesians 2:8-9. You will see a someone holding up a sign that simply says “3:16” at every professional sporting event. It is pointing you to the fact that God loved so much that he gave his Son (Jesus)
to die for our sins... and whoever “believes” in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. What is even deeper is that to “believe” in him does not come from us, but is a gift from God. We try to often to take credit
for our faith, but if we were chosen before the creation of the world by God, how can we take credit for it (Eph 1:1-4). Again, in Ephesians 2:8-9 states: “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is
the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” It is God’s work in us. He is the one who creates faith in us... a true gift. Today’s reading focuses on believing. Go back and reread today’s
verse several times real slow and take in the meaning of what John is revealing.
I pray: O Lord, help us to believe, and to hate the darkness. Let our works reveal to others that we believe in
Jesus Christ. We are not saved by our works, but by faith... yet faith without works is dead. Make me and mold me according to your will. Forgive me when I chose darkness over light. Amen.
John 3:9–15 (ESV)
You Must Be Born Again (Part 2)
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what
we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And
as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Nicodemus opens up his confusion when he says “How can
these things be?” I know that What Christ has done for me simply doesn’t make since. In fact it sounds crazy. How is a man who died 2,000 years ago supposed to forgive me of all my past, current and future sins???? I wasn’t
even born yet, and it is crazy to believe that Jesus Gospel applies to me today. But it is true! Nicodemus is still wrestling with this craziness. It is faith that comes from God that causes it to all make sense. Nicodemus knows that
Jesus is a teacher from God, but it will take the power of the Holy Spirit to tip him over to true belief. The “lifting up” will come on the cross... and after Jesus dies on the cross, Nicodemus will be there to carry the body to the grave
(later in the Bible). Sounds like the Holy Spirit eventually tipped Nick over into belief!
I pray: O Lord, let the Holy Spirit work in me and shape me according to your will. As I plant the
seeds of faith, let the Holy Spirit cause these seeds to grow. True conversion and growth come from you. Thank you for all that you have done for me and the world. I can’t wait to see you face to face. Amen!
John 3:1–8 (ESV)
You Must Be Born Again
3 Now there was a man
of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered
him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus
answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You
must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
story is only found in John’s Gospel. It is interesting because Nicodeus is a ruler of the Jews. He had a lot at stake... his career, reputation, social life, his family... yet he wants to see Jesus. He goes at night, under the cover
of darkness. It is interesting how he words his introduction to Jesus... “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” You know, Nicodemus is right on target.
Jesus quips back “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Now this doesn’t make any sense to Nicodemus. I’m sure he is scratching his head and wondering how do I get into my
mother’s womb a second time. He must know that he is misinterpreting what Jesus is saying, but he is confused and doesn’t understand it.
You must be born again, but not through the birthing
process, but a spiritual process. You must come into the spiritual understanding of being born again by the Spirit. This can come through baptism or hearing the Word of God. It’s not something you do for God, but something God does
to you. It is God who gives us faith, forgives us, and restores us into His Kingdom. You must be born of Water and Spirit (Baptism). There is another thought out their with a different interpretation. That is, being born of water (birth
water or natural birth) and Spirit (Baptism). I actually take this view as well as a lot of pastors. But I must say... this interpretation is in the minority. Either way... it points to baptism.
pray: O Lord, I give thanks that I have been born of water and of Spirit. You have forgiven me and washed me clean. I am a child of God, chosen by you. Help me in my daily walk to walk according to your ways, but even more important...
help me to keep the faith you have given me. Amen.
John 2:23–25 (ESV)
Jesus Knows What Is in Man
23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about
man, for he himself knew what was in man.
Such a short reading today, yet packed with so much meaning. The people were getting excited and many believed. They were seeing the signs.
A following was building up. People have seen his miracles. Many are part of the 5,000 that were fed from one kiddie meal. Curiosity is growing! Jesus on the other hand “knows what was in man.” He knows that man is
full of sin. He also knows that they can turn away from Jesus as fast at Apollo Creeds fans turned on him to support Rocky in the movie Rock. He knows how easily man can be swayed. Jesus knows what is in your heart. He knows that at
the cross, it won’t just be Peter who turns away... they all turned away! He knows that even after His resurrection, you will still continue in sin. Why would he die for you?.... Because he loves you.
I pray: O Lord, I turn my back on you everyday and do things I claim I don’t want to do. I must plead guilty on this Ash Wednesday that when I look into a mirror... I see a sinner. I fall short. I do not love my neighbor
as myself. I do not love and pray for my enemy as I should. I know from dust I came and to dust I shall return. Restore unto me a clean heart of Lord, and renew a right spirit within me. Amen.
What a passage for Ash Wednesday. I did not plan this and was caught off guard. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
03/04/2014 John 2:13-22
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 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. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples
remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy
this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22When therefore
he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
For Passover, people from all over the world headed to Jerusalem
for the Passover. The sacrifice took place at the Temple in Jerusalem. Now, the Temple does not exist today, it was destroyed in A.D. 70. So the journey to Jerusalem for Passover ceased with the destruction of the Temple. But could
you imagine going to Jerusalem today, taking a lamb for the sacrifice. The lamb has to be without blemish, and you can buy two airline tickets to fly yourself and the lamb to Jerusalem. However, do you think the airline companies are going to let
you sit next to your lamb. The bathrooms are not designed for lambs and this could be a messy ordeal. Now think of a lot of people heading there with a lot of lambs. This is not going to work to good. Now you can ship the lambs on the
airline, but you can’t buy a seat ticket. You are going to have to feed this lamb and take care of it until the sacrifice, and most hotels will not allow lambs. Problem solution: set up a market (next to the Temple) to where you fly to Jerusalem
and then buy your lamb. Well, this is exactly what was going on. They had the market set up in the Temple instead of outside. The other thing going on besides the animal markets were the money-changers. You had to pay a Temple tax and
the tax was to be paid in the local currency. People coming from all over the world were bringing foreign currencies which the money-changers converted over to the local currency at a cost. Jesus had a problem with the Temple becoming a marketplace
full of commercialism. This is why Jesus turns the tables on the people who turned the Temple into a house of trade.
I pray: O Lord, help me to never make a mockery of your house. You are
my Lord and my Savior and it is easy to take things for granted or not to see things from your perspective. I don’t want to offend you, but I do a good job of it every time I sin. Please forgive me of all my trespasses. Amen.