Skip to main content

John 1:35-3:21 #eebc2018

Well, there’s a lot to cover in this passage. That’s what comes of using a computer program to generate a reading plan: it may stretch it farther or make it lopsided. You might need to spread out some of the Friday readings.

This one moves from the public identification of Jesus by John through the calling of the first disciples and then to the first of the miracles identified by John as a “sign” of Jesus as the Messiah. Then we have the interaction of Nicodemus.

Let’s work quickly:

1. I find it interesting that you have public action, public action, public action, and then a private conversation with Nicodemus. This is something to watch in John: the balance between public and private actions in John. Note, for example, that the miracle is public though the actual disclosure of how it happened was not.

2. There is no linguistic or grammatical reason to think that “wine” means anything other than “wine.” That does not mean that Jesus endorses general alcohol consumption and it’s plain that drunkenness is a sin. The telling reality is that it took until the American Prohibition movement of the late 1800s for anyone to define the Greek word for “wine” as anything but wine. If it takes 1800 years to redefine a word, there’s a question there.

Now, wine was typically diluted and drunkenness was frowned upon, so there’s really no parallel to modern wine. Think of it this way: you’re probably talking consuming a beverage that has a grape (or other fruit, probably grape) flavor but is mostly water. A usual ratio was 3 or 4 parts water to 1 part wine. A typical modern wine takes about 3 glasses to hit the legal intoxication limit—you’d have to quintuple that to make the same alcohol content. That’s if there was any strength to the wine. It may have been very weak.

What’s the value? A bit of alcohol kills a lot of bacteria. That’s the main thing that’s happening.

Jesus turning water into wine does not justify beverage alcohol. The cultural gap is bigger than that.

3. Note that the first disciples rapidly bring others to Christ—the Gospel travels most rapidly down relational lines.

Further thoughts: John 2 and John 3 (and more John 3)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

Put Down That Tablet! Exodus 35

Moses assembles the people of Israel at Sinai one last time before they set out into the wilderness, headed for the Promised Land. He gives them a reminder of some portions of the commands of God and emphasizes the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35 link).He also gives the one Biblical mention of tablet-type mobile devices in Exodus 35:3, where the command is given not to use your Kindle Fire on the Sabbath Day. Some of you just groaned. Some of you skipped the one-liner, and others just missed it. I’ll address you all in turn, but first let us address the person who thought this might be the hidden meaning of that command. After all, we are so easily distracted from our worship and commitment by all of the digital noise around us, why would we not take this text in this manner?The quite simple answer is: because it is not about digital devices. In total, the command to focus the day on Yahweh, Covenant God of Israel and all of Creation, and if your device subtracts from your f…

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…