Skip to main content

John 3:22-4:45 #eebc2018

It’s Monday! So, we’re back on a Gospel reading. If you’re wondering why we started in John, it’s because I really like John. It’s also because Mathew, Mark, and Luke are usually the first ones read since they come first, but I wanted to mix it up in our reading. There’s a value in making sure we’re not a in a rut as we read.

Before we get to the text, it’s worth a stop to think about why the banks are closed today and the mail’s not running. Not too long ago, we as a nation needed a reminder to live up to our ideals, that All men are created equal. That reminder was driven by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the community he was able to rally on point, and unfortunately it took too many churches a long time to catch up. Remember this truth: God made all of humanity in His image—so let’s take a step back from our “I’m awesome, and if the more like me you are, the more awesome you might be…” approach and see people and their heritage, all the way around, as gifts from God.

Now, on to the text: John 3 moves on to deal with John the Baptist and his willingness to fade into the background. Both John and Jesus are out baptizing, but the first “church competition” starts up and John’s losing.

The important point is this: John doesn’t care. His disciples are stressed about this, but he’s good with the reality: it’s about Jesus. It’s about the Kingdom of God and the need of people for a savior. Something not in the text, but that I can picture, is some of Jesus’ disciples roaming around and pointing out “we’ve got more followers than John!”

Competition is antithetical to the Kingdom of God, though. It’s not about whether this church grows or that church grows. It’s about whether or not Jesus is glorified. Imagine a knight returning to his king, pointing out that he was the best knight—the king will then point out that he’s still a knight. The king never changes. It’s always his kingdom….

John 4 moves to Samaria. We like to make ourselves feel good here, but realize this: we’re the ones that would cut off Jesus from interacting with the lost world. In this story, we’re often more like the disciples than even the woman at the well. She knew she needed Jesus. They thought it beneath Him to talk to some people…anytime we make others “some people,” we are pushing back against what Jesus has said.

Which brings us back to the introduction: The Gospel is for all people. And when we divide our world into “some people” and “our people,” we run a great risk of missing the true point.

More on John 3 and John 4.

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…