In John chapter two we see quite a contrast in behavior by Jesus. He does His first miracle in Cana of Galilee, which would be near his home. The He travels to Jerusalem and upon entering the Temple, a Holy Place of worship and sacrifice, He throws out the money changers. What we see in the character of Jesus is that there were times of caring compassion for the needs of others. Then, there was seemingly a jealously for the holiness of God's house.
“This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” (John 2:11 NKJV)
This would be the beginning of many signs, miracles and wonders that were performed by Jesus. Each of these were a sign, not just that men would believe in His authenticity. But, they were a true manifestation of the glory or greatness that He was truly the son of God come down to bring salvation to mankind. This would be a point in time for His disciples to make a conscious decision about their faith in who Jesus was and what He had come to do.
“When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.” (John 2:15 NKJV)
For some this could be construed as a violent act on the part of Jesus. The Temple was the House of God, a holy place of worship, sacrifice and the very presence of God. Here is Jesus coming to worship and what He finds instead is merchandizing for human gain rather than for spiritual gain. Remember, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul! Like Jesus we need to have a zeal for God and the worship of the One who did so much and sacrificed so much for our cleansing and salvation.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:1–5 NKJV)
Before time began as we know and understand it, Christ was already in existence with God. What that means is that we have a pre-existent Savior, but equally important He is the word (logos), the living word of God. There is a lot of discussion within the religious community as too the authenticity of scripture and the Biblical narrative especially from the Genesis account and on! Can we really trust the Bible as the authentic revelation of a holy God? John seems to understand several important facts that relate to Christ, God, man and the word of God.
First, Christ was with the Father before this world ever existed. The implication is that God the Father, Jesus Christ the son and the Holy Spirit have an eternal existence that is outside of our understanding of time and space. This becomes the very foundation for our understanding of a omniscience, omnipresent and omnipotent God Head (Trinity).
Second, let's put the creation argument to rest by simply believing that the God that has been described has not only the ability, but the authority to speak all things into existence. Is this a matter of faith on our part? Without reservation I would say yes! Remember that faith is, “.......is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)
Thirdly, and this is the basis for believing and understanding the first two points, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." If God is capable of creating all things, then it would stand to reason that He is capable of bringing us out of the darkness of sin into the glorious and gracious light of forgiveness.
As we look forward to a New Year, my prayer is that many would come out of the darkness into the saving light of the glory, forgiveness, grace, love and salvation that only Christ can give to a lost and dying world.
“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
(1 Corinthians 1:17–25 NKJV)
There is nothing more powerful and persuasive than the preaching of the Gospel (good news). There are literally thousands, or possibly millions of sermons that are preached each week around the world. The question that must be asked; "Are these sermons presenting a clear and concise representation of the Word of God and the simple gospel message?" The Apostle Paul makes it very clear that he was not going to be distracted from preaching the gospel, and that it was not going to be the result of his wisdom or cleverness, because he did not want to in any way diminish the purpose of the Cross.
There are a plethora of "so called" experts on the Bible and it's divine text, that want to make their assertion as to it's authenticity. Yet for some reason there is a void of good solid bible exposition in the church today. Notice that Paul reminds us of what a secularized culture is clamoring for from the pulpit today. Give us a sign, validate the Bible based on my emotional response! Challenge us intellectually, make it make sense to me! But for Paul, an educated scholarly man, the response is opposite of what the world wants from preaching today, "....but we preach Christ crucified." Yes, for the unbeliever who is unwilling to succumb to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and accept Christ as their Savior, it is a stumbling block. To a worldly society that has had it's understanding darkened by the fall and sin, it seems to be nothing more than foolishness. For those who are willing to accept by faith the promise made by Christ himself, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV). Their life will be for ever changed from sinful misery, to joy inexpressible through forgiveness.