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Jesus Unfiltered - Believe
When life gets really hard, because of choices you've made, or circumstances in which you find yourself, wouldn't it be great to know you've got the source of all wisdom and strength right there with you? That's what Jesus promised you could have. That's what He longs to do for you. Knowing the real Jesus is the most important relationship you will ever have. Chip Ingram reveals, from Scripture, who Jesus really is and how you can have this relationship - beginning today and for forever!More from this series
Nearly every, single weekend – there’s a weekend now and then this doesn’t happen – but just about every weekend, someone is traveling from around the country or someplace other than the Bay Area, and they have been listening to the radio for three years or ten years or fifteen years and they usually say, “Oh, I knew you, I recognized your voice.” And then they look at me and some of them say something that, even when they don’t, I know what they are thinking. I have had this conversation scores of times in the last decade.
It goes something like this, “Oh, you don’t look anything like you sound.” For real. And then someone will be really honest, like, “You’re way taller on the radio.” I guess you tell basketball stories, they make assumptions. Or, this one, this is a true story.
And a lady sincerely, and you could tell she was deeply disappointed. For some of you guys that don’t have hair, you’ll be very encouraged. Literally, she looked at me and she goes, “Oh! I thought you were bald.” I said, “I’m sorry.”
And then, how do you like this one? “Oh, you sound so much younger on the radio.” You’re like, Who is this old guy talking to me now? And then I loved it, this one person said, “You know something? When you listen to someone, but you don’t see them, you come up with a mental picture in your mind and that sort of becomes who you think they are, and you take whatever they say and you put it through the filter or the lens of this mental picture.
And what I want to suggest is is that we all have a filter or a mental picture of Jesus that we have gotten through life, and even when we read the Bible, when we hear a message, it goes through this mental filter. And the fact of the matter is is that I’m really sorry I’m not taller, I’m really sorry I’m not younger, I’m sorry I’m not bald for those people.
But personally, I’m kind of glad for who I am, as is my wife. But what if we are doing the very same thing with Jesus that people do with me? Because the fact of the matter is they hear my voice, but they really don’t know who I am.
Could it be that our filters are blinding us to the real Jesus of the Bible? Could it be that you just have unconsciously thought about Him in such a way, just like those people unconsciously thought about me – I’ve got news, I’m not that tall, I’m not bald. And I am older. But that’s me! And I’ve got news for you. Jesus laughed deeply.
Jesus celebrated life. Jesus was a radical revolutionary. Jesus was strong and bold and courageous. And in a moment of outburst of righteous anger, was violent.
And that’s not the Jesus who we have in the little picture books. So we are going to discover the unfiltered Jesus in John chapter 2. And to do that, we are going to do a little review. Because part of my journey, remember? I long for us to go through the gospel of John, I long for you to see Jesus for who He is, this authorized biography, but I want you to learn to do this on your own.
Now, three questions you ask, do you remember this? When you’re going to study the Bible, you always ask three questions: What does it say? What does it mean? And what does it mean to me? Do you remember that?
And so, what I would like to do, let’s just start and ask this question: What does John chapter 2, and then write the word, say? What does it say? Just what actually does it say? The context is chapter 1 ended after we heard about His preexistence and His deity, He recruits five disciples.
So as chapter 2 opens up, Jesus has just started His ministry, He has recruited five of His disciples, and He is traveling, and they are following along with Him.
As you read the entire chapter, you would see there are two very specific sections. Section one is Jesus with His five disciples go to a wedding feast, and we will learn about it, and a miracle happens and it’s the first miracle.
Section two, He goes to Jerusalem to the Passover where there is first a wedding, then there is a whipping. He takes some cords together and He drives out moneychangers, He turns over tables, He is livid with what is happening there.
And so, what I want us to do is I want to, remember? If you’re going to do observations, you want to read through it quickly first. And all we want to do is just get an overview together.
“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee. And the mother of Jesus was there and Jesus was invited to the wedding with His disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does this have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever He tells you.’ Now, there were six stone jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, holding about twenty or thirty gallons each.
“Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water;’ and they filled them to the brim. And He said to them, ‘Now draw out some and take it to the master of the feast.’ So they took it out and when the master of the feast tasted the water now that had become wine, and he didn’t know where it came from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew, 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 they serve the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ This, the first of His signs,” literally, miraculous signs, “Jesus did at Cana of Galilee and manifested His glory,” and something happened to the disciples, “and His disciples believed in Him.”
And then there is a little segue, “After this, He went down to Capernaum,” we will learn it became His headquarters, “with His mother and His brothers and His disciples and they stayed there for a few days.”
Scene number two. “The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple He found those who were there selling oxen and sheep and pigeons and moneychangers were sitting there. And making a whip out of cords, He drove them all out of the Temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the moneychangers and He overturned their tables and He told those who sold the pigeons, ‘Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of trade!’ His disciples remembered what was written:” actually, it’s Psalm 69:9, “‘Zeal for Your house will consume You.’
“So the Jews said to Him, ‘What sign do You show us for these doings?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, in three days I will raise it up.’ And the Jews said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and You will raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking about the temple of His body. When, therefore, He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this and they believed,” notice, “the Scriptures and the word that Jesus had spoken.”
Now, after He clears the Temple, notice there is a little sidelight… He hung around. “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in His name when they saw,” literally, “the signs,” or, “miraculous signs that He was doing. But Jesus on His part did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew the people and He needed no one to bear witness about Him, for He Himself knew what was in man.”
Have you got the overview? And so, once you do the overview, then the next thing you want to do, what does it say? Observation. So let me just go through and quickly make some observations that you, with a legal pad; or I, with a legal pad and an open Bible – I mean, this isn’t rocket science. It’s not something spiritual. Just, What does it actually say? So let’s look and see what it says.
What we learned in the wedding section is a host runs out of wine. Jesus’ mother requests help. Jesus instructs the servants. The water supernaturally turns to wine. Only the disciples and the servants are aware of the miracle. The miracle is Jesus’ very first miracle and it’s called a “sign.” We’ll learn a little bit later there are four different words for a “miracle.” One is a sign, another is a wonder. There are two other Greek words.
And they all have a different emphasis. They are saying something supernatural happened, but as we will learn a little bit later, this supernatural thing happens, but it’s not just to turn the water into the wine. It is a pointer, it is a sign, it is communicating a deeper spiritual truth.
The disciples see Jesus in a new light, and they believe. Now, we know – what? Remember the context. We found the Messiah! So they believe intellectually. They talk with Him. He tells them some things. There are five of them and they are walking with Him.
So they believe at one level, and now they have seen a miracle. Now they are believing at yet a deeper level as they are beginning to see His power as well as His words. Make sense?
Scene number two. What can we observe? In the whipping, Jesus goes to the Passover in Jerusalem. By the way, every adult male nineteen years and older who lived within fifteen miles of Jerusalem was required to attend. Jesus drives out the animals and the moneychangers, Jesus calls the Temple His Father’s house.
His authority is challenged by the Pharisees and the religious leaders, Jesus performs many miracles, many people believe on His name, and Jesus knows men’s hearts.
All I want you to see, if you are going to get the unfiltered Jesus, the real Jesus, not the Jesus that you have created in your mind, not the Jesus that you have heard someone teach or talk about, not the Jesus in a book, not the Jesus in a novel, not the Jesus of your church background. But the Jesus that is unfiltered, the God that came to earth and lived as a little baby and lived a perfect life, who was born of a virgin, who died upon a cross, rose from the dead, who is living and sitting at the right hand of the Father and who will come again and who lived on the earth and came – what did we learn?
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And that He came to His own, but those who were His own rejected Him. But to as many as received Him, He gives the right to become the children of God.”
And now in John we have the real story of the real Jesus. Who He really is, why He really came, and now what does that mean to you?
So step one is you just say, “What does it say?” But you can’t stop there. The second question you need to ask is: What does chapter 2 mean? We are talking about interpretation. What does it really mean?
Well, when you want to know what something means, you need to start asking questions of the passage. Because, remember, there were two boxes we talked about. First century, John is writing to a group of people, what did it mean to them on that day when he wrote it and the scrolls were sent to all the churches in 90 A.D.?
And then a little bit later we are going to ask ourselves, Okay, great, we need to fully understand what it meant. The author’s intent. And then, what are the timeless principles – what does it mean to us?
And so here are some questions that I began, I had a few more as I was studying. But here are just some questions that if you’re going to understand about the wedding, here are some questions, probably, we should address.
Why did Jesus launch His movement here? Why in Cana? Why in Galilee? Why in a village? He is literally launching His movement. He’s got five disciples, He is now a rabbi, He now has a following, He does His first miracle, why would He do it here?
The second question is: What are we to make of the conversation with His mother? I read it purposefully in the, it’s a pretty literal translation, it’s called the “ESV.” “Woman, what does this have to do with Me?” It sounds like Jesus and mom are having a little tiff, if you don’t understand about the background. So what are we supposed to make of that conversation?
Third question would be: What significance is there in these six stone jars? What were they used for? Why does the author tell us there are six of them? Four: What underlying spiritual implications are we to grasp? If the miracle is a sign and we are supposed to learn something more than…see, there are two stories going on.
This is what happened, but there is something behind it. What does God want to say about what it means? Historically, it happened. It occurred. But He wants the disciples, then, to learn something about what He is really doing and He wants the disciples – us now – to learn something significant as well.
And then, finally: How did this miracle position or launch His ministry with the disciples?
Notice as you look at the passage here. It says, “On the third day there is a wedding.” Let me give you a picture of what a wedding was like. It was the most joyous occasion, especially in a village. Most villages were pretty poor.
A wedding could last anywhere from one or two days to seven days. The way it would happen is they would have a year-long betrothal period. It was a legal betrothal period that was actually as important as the wedding itself.
After a year, the husband, during that year time, he would prepare a place, women were living with their family, under their father’s life and all the rest. And so when the actual day came, then they would take the longest route with torches in the evening and they would walk all the way through the village so everyone could come.
So this huge feast is coming. They would do all the legal documents and then they would have seven days and instead of going on a honeymoon, they literally hung around, especially if it was a big wedding, for seven days. And everyone would bring oil and wine, all the children would get nuts. And it was just like a huge, big party for seven days.
Now, in a culture like this, there are not many of these occasions. This is like the pinnacle of what happens.
According to Jewish law, if the girl was a virgin, which was almost always the case in that day, the wedding was to be on Wednesday. And so we can even get some time documentation, you realize, Okay, this is when Jesus got the disciples. The wedding is already started.
So it’s probably middle or late in the week of festivities. When you read the passage carefully, it says, “Jesus was invited to the wedding.” The word “invite” is singular. Okay? Jesus was invited.
Have you ever invited someone to a party and they come with five of their friends? Right? This is what happened. “We are going to run out of drinks, we’re going to run out of chips, we’re going to run out of food, what are we going to do? What are we going to do?”
And Mary, probably is either related or a very, very close friend. And in Eastern culture, there is nothing more humiliating or embarrassing than not to be able to offer hospitality. In fact, lavish hospitality. And so running out of wine is not like, “Oh, someone run down to the Seven-Eleven or the mini mart and get some…” No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Everyone was to bring wine and bring oil. Now Jesus comes with five friends, He is coming near the end, and they are out of stuff. And Mary says, “Oh man, this is a crisis,” because when you run out, the bride and the bridegroom would suffer humiliation and shame in front of the whole village. So it’s a big issue.
Notice the text said, “Woman.” Actually, it wasn’t impolite at all. When He says, “Woman,” the NIV, it says, “Dear woman,” because they want to give you this sense, it was a kind expression of respect. It’s an idiomatic expression, “What does this have to do with me?” It’s not harsh. Literally, I wrote down, The literal rendering would be something that goes like this: “Your concern and my concern are not the same thing. My hour has not yet come.”
He will use that same phrase five more times in the book. And then toward the end of the book, remember when He prays? “Father, My hour has come.” Jesus wants us to know, from the very beginning, there is a very clear path and a very clear purpose for His life.
His mother clearly knows who He is from day one. She knows now, here is the rabbi, He now has a following. “Fix this problem.” Her concern is wine and embarrassment. He said, “We are on different pages. My concern, I’m going to launch a movement, I am going to do My thing My way to fulfill My agenda.” And so she kind of, “Whatever He says.”
And so, He says to them, “The six water jars.” They are out of sight, you might wonder, cultural context. If you came to this party, you would have sandals and your feet would be dusty and dirty. These six are big jars, about thirty gallons each. Twenty to thirty gallons.
And they would wash their feet with them. And then later, before you would eat, you would ceremonially wash your hands and then in between each course, you would wash your hands again. And it was about Jewish purification. It wasn’t about germs. They didn’t know about germs.
It was about, This is what you do to be holy. There are six jars. Okay? Now, some of you are going to start, it’s going to connect. Seven is a word of perfection in Judaism. Six is a word of unfinished. You know, six, six, six. All those numbers. It’s the number of man.
The jars are used for what? External religious rites of that which is unfinished. The water miraculously turns into wine. Who does He reveal it to? Servants and disciples. The master of the ceremonies were near the end. Now get this. This is really good. It’s going to make some of you uncomfortable, but others very, very happy.
If a glass is a half a pint and we go with the low equation, He turns a hundred and fifty gallons into wine. That’s two thousand four hundred glasses of a half pint of the very best wine.
This party is going to go on. It’s lavish! What is the underlying, what is He saying? “I’m going to take that which is used for washing off, that people think make them holy because of what they do on the outside and I’m going to lavishly, graciously give them something on the inside,” and when you take wine in, joy and wine were synonymous. The rabbis would say, “If there is no wine, there is no celebration, there is no life.”
And it was the picture of prosperity, of joy, and of gladness. And all of that, those disciples are watching and the spiritual implication is, I am launching the ministry. The old rituals of the Law of Judaism and hypocrisy of where it has ended now is going to be moved out. New life happens internally and – how? Supernaturally. And how does it occur? When Jesus just speaks. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Hebrews 1, “And He spoke the world into existence.” He speaks, water turns into wine. And who sees it? The servants and the disciples, the lowly people. The man in charge. He is foreshadowing.
The man in charge, “I don’t know where this came from.” Who gets exalted? He goes over to the bride and the bridegroom. “This is unbelievable! I have been to a lot of weddings and most people,” they watered the wine down a bit in that day, for sure, but it was wine. Most people, like, day five of these celebrations, people were feeling pretty good, by the way, huge disgrace to get drunk. Very against getting drunk. But drinking wine and feeling pretty good and dancing and laughing and eating and children and music. This is a seven-day flat out party.
And Jesus says, “I’ve come near the end, I didn’t bring any, I brought extra guests, and guess what,” whoo. And this little couple gets exalted as bringing the very, very best.
Now can anyone think of, maybe, some implications of, If I am one of His disciples – click, click, click, click, click – one, it’s a miracle. Two, it’s wine. It’s a wedding. Why did He launch it here? What was God’s original heart? What was His intent in the garden? He wanted to be with us.
And what was God’s heart, what was God’s attitude before the fall and all of us got thinking He was mad at us all the time and the goal of church was to make you feel guilty? God said, “Of every tree,” lavish, generous, good, kind, providing, joyful! “I want the very best for you, with this limitation.”
So here Jesus comes, lavishly. What happens? The two become one in marriage. That which is apart come together. Why do they come together? Why do you marry someone? Because you, this isn’t a trick question. You love them.
And when you love them and you’re together, it brings joy. And out of your love and joy, it normally produces a new life, right? Called a baby. And that baby begins a legacy of relationship. And that relationship produces something called a family.
And so, He launches His ministry for His disciples to understand that God is good and lavish and gracious and it’s not external and religious and rites and purifications and external. But the living God has come!
And what He did to that water, He wants to do inside every human being, and He does it through His Word. And there is life and joy and relationship and goodness and He is restoring. And those disciples’ eyes are going, Click, click, click, click, click, click, click. And the Holy Spirit wrote it so that on this day, at this time, your eyes would go, Wow. Click, click, click, click, click.
Jesus was laughing at that party. Jesus was dancing at that party. Jesus was belly laughing and He knew what was going on. Jesus was having a blast. Shocking to some groups, but He was actually having fun.
How did this position or launch His ministry with the disciples? Their calling was rooted in the goodness of God. Their calling was rooted in, not, I ought, I got, I should, this is the Messiah. He has power! And His power is about life and love and joy and relationships – Jesus unfiltered.
Well, He goes down to Capernaum according to the text, stays there for a few days with His family. We learn a little bit later through the other gospel writers that a lot of them came from that time. You’re going to find, He is going to go to Jerusalem and He is going to lay down the gauntlet and literally declare that He is the Messiah.
And then, because of all the hostility in Jerusalem, He does most of His ministry in Galilee and other places. In fact, you read Matthew, Mark, and Luke and remember the Pharisees and the religious leaders? They are always coming out to ask Him questions or to attack Him.
He only goes to Jerusalem during these feasts. Now, one of the questions is, is why is this account different from Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s? It’s because there were actually two times this occurred and they are very clear and they are very different. What Jesus did and we are going to see in just a minute is He goes to the feast, but you can’t have the new unless you address the status quo and the old that has been perverted and corrupted.
And so, the disciples are going to learn at the wedding, this is new life and it is about grace and joy and love. And then they are going to learn, just like those pots were external religion, so what has happened at the Temple is not a right view or heart or connection with the living God.
And so, He is going to positively say this and then He is going to lay down the gauntlet, declare, “This is My Father’s house.” We read that and think, Well, of course, you’re Jesus. They didn’t know who He was! To go there and declare, “This Temple is My Father’s house!” He is claiming to be the Messiah!
And remember what the question is. By what miraculous sign? “You’re coming in here with authority to say that this place is Yours and You are Messiah, related to Your Father. We want some proof. I want to see your I.D., buddy. Where do You get off doing this stuff?”
And He will say something that they don’t understand, religious leaders. The disciples don’t understand. But it will all come back to everyone, they will realize, because He will always bank everything then, and everything now, on the proof of this. He rises from the dead. It’s the resurrection.
So let’s go and ask a few questions of the second section. A question that I ask is: Why go to the feast in Jerusalem? Second: Why is John’s account different from Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s? Why does Jesus react so passionately and violently at the Temple? What are the underlying spiritual implications of this section? They are pretty heavy. How did this event shape Jesus’ relationship with the religious leaders, His disciples, and the multitudes?
Now, I’m just going to pause. I’m going to keep going in and out. What does it say? We made some observations, right? What does it mean? Interpretation. What did I do? I asked some basic questions about the passage that required some historical background that is available to you and me, some logical thinking and reasoning about, How does this all fit together? Because what we are trying to do is, I want to know exactly when John wrote this in 90 A.D. and if I was sitting in a little house church and someone opened that scroll and read it, I want to know what he meant and what they got.
Because if I don’t get clear about that, I will go off on some little dilly, devotional, emotional thing. Well, you know, I was reading and I think this and I think it means this and I think it means that. I have been to a lot of Bible studies where it’s sort of, Let us share our pool of ignorance. “What do you think it means? What do you think it means? What do you think it means? What do you think it means? I think it means wine is okay. I think it means jars should not be in the house. I think it…”
Literally! I say this reverently, I don’t care what you think it means. I want to know exactly what the Holy Spirit meant it to them through John, because until you’re clear on what it actually says and what it actually means, you’re not ready to apply it to your life. Does that make sense?
By the way, that’s how cults and all kinds of crazy stuff gets going on. People grab a portion of a passage. Every author who has written any book has a very clear purpose and authorial intent about what he wants to say. Our job is to discover what that is, then apply it to our lives.
So those are the questions in the second half. So let’s do a little interpretation. So why does He go to the Temple? He goes to the Temple because He is required to. He has been there every year since twelve years old, when He went there with His mom and dad.
Why is it different? Because Matthew, Mark, and Luke are describing when He cleared the Temple at the end of His life, at the very end of His ministry where He comes back to town and it’s what got Him killed.
He lays down the gauntlet here early in His ministry, they don’t completely get it. But the disciples, now, imagine what this is like. You’re a good Jewish boy. You follow John the Baptist. You know God is in this. John says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”
And you start following Him and you listen to Him and then He quotes these passages and He knows stuff that no one else could know, and then He says, “Follow Me,” and so you’re following Him, and then you go to a wedding. And then it’s like, Oh my lands, this is crazy! This is amazing! What do you think? This is great!
And then you go to what you have gone to since you have been a little boy and you go to this festival and you walk in and it’s like it has always been. Here’s the cows and there are the sheep and there’s the table and there’s the moneychangers. And you say, Well, why is all that there? If it was done simply for convenience, actually, there wouldn’t be a problem. Pilgrims came from all over the world. So I don’t want to, like, I’ve got a cow or I’ve got a sheep or I’ve got a goat. I don’t want to take this cow or goat fifty, sixty, eighty, one hundred miles in my pilgrimage to offer it.
So I have some money, I’m going to go and when I get there, I’m going to buy, if I’m really poor, two pigeons or two doves. If I’m a little bit more economically up, I’m able to afford a goat or a sheep or something. And I am going to buy an animal so that I can then take it and I am going to sacrifice it, because that’s what the Law says. But here is what was happening. Here is why Jesus is ticked off. Barclay, who is just a master of the research of the ancient times, a day’s wage would be about four pennies.
When you came in, you had to pay, every male, once a year, had to pay a shekel. It’s a tax, an annual tax, and the tax was six pennies. A day’s wage was four pennies.
Well, if you had a different kind of money, and you had to pay this tax, you would get your money changed. If you have traveled overseas, anybody, right? Where do you want to get your money changed? At the very nice, expensive hotel? Right? And they say, “Oh yeah, we will change your money.”
And it’s two point eight per dollar when you go to the exchange and at the hotel, they just take ten percent of whatever and you go, What? So they were charging for every shekel, one extra penny. It’s just robbery.
You could buy two pigeons or doves outside the Temple area for about four pennies. Historically, there are documents, inside the Temple area, it might cost you seventy-five pennies.
And if you were really poor and couldn’t pay, you might have to give your cloak as collateral. So, okay, here’s what I want you to get. I want you to picture this. Jesus comes in and the ministry has started. And He sees all these animals and He sees all these poor people and they are getting ripped off. I mean, ripped off by these interest rates.
And they have different kinds of money so they have to have the Temple shekel. And then He is watching these guys with the animals. And He is realizing they are getting ripped off, ripped off, ripped off, ripped off and His righteous anger explodes and He, literally, just finds what He can, Bam! And please don’t get this milquetoasted down. I bet He…”You should leave now. You should leave now.” He was a carpenter and He was a physical man and I would guess fairly athletic and the tables flipped, the coins flew, the chickens flew, and people were running.
And our God was mad. And He was mad for good reason, because what was created to be a place of worship had become nothing more than a prostitution for financial gain. Can anyone remotely think of any parallels in our day?
And so, the disciples learn, a very exciting guy to follow but as a good Jewish boy, we were in good standing with the spiritual leadership. Now Jesus and the spiritual leaders are at odds. That means we have to choose between cultural, politically correct standing, or standing with Jesus, because you can’t have it both ways.
The multitudes, after it, He does these miracles. They don’t tell us how many but He does multiple miracles. And the people believe. But it’s a belief, they believe He is a miracle worker. And it says, “Jesus doesn’t entrust,” He knows their hearts. They are believing to, “Yes, this is amazing, we get the declaration.” But they are believing on the basis of, “What can You do for me?”
And what John is going to do is walk us through a process of intellectually believing and then believing deeper, more on what you see. And then moving to the point where you are entrusting and genuinely following where He is your Savior and He is your Lord. Does that make sense? That’s what it meant then and that’s what it means now.
Now flip the page and let’s ask ourselves, What does John chapter 2 mean to you and to me? What does it mean to you and to me?
Number one: Jesus wants to do good to me. He wants to do good to me. That’s verses 1 through 5, that’s what you see. He could have started the ministry anywhere. And it was at a wedding.
Probably the second, well, I don’t want to get in trouble with all of my other kids, I have to be careful here. The greatest day in my life, apart from coming to Christ, was the day I married Theresa. The second greatest day, experientially, was probably my daughter’s wedding.
Because when your boys get married, the other family kind of, they are in charge of what happens and you get to do the rehearsal dinner. And when your daughter gets married, you get two great things. You get to pay for it, number one. But you get to say what’s going to happen.
And I am going to tell you, I just remember dancing with Annie and laughing and friends and food and walking her down the aisle and seeing her friends and our friends and it was just like, Ahhhh! This is awesome! And I had a blast! I just had a blast. It was like, Oh, God, this is so precious.
I don’t know where you are struggling in trusting Him for the future, or about a decision, or about a relationship, or about your money, or about your job, or about your kids. But let me tell you one thing, Jesus came to do good for you. He is for you. “He is a sun and a shield. He gives grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
You get that from here to here, it will change everything about how you relate to Jesus. You’ll actually want to talk to Him! You’ll want to hang out, you’ll want to do stuff with Him and for Him.
Second, Jesus came to transform my life from the inside out by a supernatural miracle, not by external religious rituals. We got that from verses 6 through 10, right? Coming to church, giving to the United Way, trying to be a good, little goody-two-shoes person, don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t do this, don’t do that – that’s not the gospel! He came to transform you from the inside out.
I grew up in a church that was like the six jars of external performance and religious activities that were devoid of a relationship with God and by God’s grace, some people who understood life and goodness explained to me the gospel of Jesus Christ and I trusted Him and He changed me from the inside out.
And I didn’t try to stop cussing. All I can tell you is I read the Bible every morning and every night. I hid it because I didn’t want my parents to think I was flipping out. But as I was reading it, something happened and my tongue changed and I kept reading it and my attitudes changed. And I kept reading it and I got around other people and joy filled my heart.
And that’s normal. That’s what God wants. It’s not about ought, should, got-to. It’s a transformation from the inside out.
Third, is I must follow Him and believe in Him to see His glory and continue His movement. He started a movement! The old things pass away; everything becomes new. That’s the transformation in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
But then my responsibility is not to, Oh, I made a decision or I prayed a prayer. I follow and believe. I follow and believe He manifests His glory. In other words, you see what He is really like. He does things in your life. It’s powerful! It’s amazing! It’s great! And you know what? It’s scary and it never ends, no matter how mature you are.
You start with baby steps and, Oh, I’m going to tell someone out loud that I am a follower of Jesus, and you do and, Oh, wow, that wasn’t so bad. And then you begin to reach out and you help someone and something happens through you and then pretty soon, you say, I’m going to believe Him for my finances and then I’m going to believe Him for my time and then for my future, and each step: follow, believe, follow, believe, mess up. Right? Because you’re human. Follow, believe, follow, believe, mess up.
And then when you mess up, it’s not like, You dirty, rotten, little, terrible follower! What is wrong with you? How? I knew you…
I don’t know where we got that, that’s just not the God of the Bible. Who is Jesus? When you really, really mess up and you run back, His arms are open, “Put on the best robe, put sandals on his feet, put a ring on his or her finger.” We’re all going to mess up, we’re all going to make mistakes. Does He take it lightly? Of course not. If we stay there long enough, there are consequences that are painful. But the pain of the consequences is so you come.
Every step of the way, every step of the way you follow and believe. When you stop following, and the reason you stop following is, what you’re saying to God is, I don’t trust You. I don’t trust You in this relationship. I don’t trust You in this business deal. I don’t trust You for my future.
So you stop, you stop believing. You stop believing, you stop growing. You stop experiencing Him. And then He will bring circumstance, circumstance, circumstance, circumstance, people, message, boom, boom. Because He loves you! He loves you, loves you, loves you. And the moment you break through, bam! This is the Christian life!
John is going to show us what it looks like to follow this Jesus in real time.
Fourth, my body is His temple and today, He demands authentic worship from me 24/7.
Jesus said about this Temple, “This is My Father’s house!” Where does God dwell now? Romans 12:1 and 2. “Offer your body as a living sacrifice.” 1 Corinthians 6, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Your body, your hands, where your eyes go, where your feet go, what captivates your heart? Your body is God’s temple!
Jesus, today, would walk in and say, “What are you doing with My Father’s body? Why are you looking at that stuff? What are you doing putting that stuff in My body? What are you doing working yourself to death and not getting enough rest? Why aren’t you enjoying Me more?” And He would clear the Temple. Why? Because He is radical. Because He is a revolutionary.
He started a movement that He has entrusted to us. What did He say? “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” The expectation for your work and your home and your neighborhood, God’s expectation is: The only hope is you. Angels aren’t showing up at your house going, “This, oh, we’re going to take care of all this.” He lives in you if you’re a follower. And so, the response is to surrender and to follow and say, “Lord, help me!” And He will!
Finally, I can trust Him in His Word because He rose from the dead. When He starts the ministry, “Hey, where do You get the authority to do all this stuff? Who do You think You are?” “Knock down this temple and I will raise it in three days.”
They thought it was the physical Temple; He meant His body. And for you and me and every believer in Jesus Christ, with every step where you’re afraid, “I’ll keep My promise, because you can trust that I am the only One who died and I paid for sin and I conquered sin and I rose from the dead. And you can bank on that. I’ll be faithful to you, I will never, ever, ever leave you or forsake you or let you down.”