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Making Money from 'Faith'

John 2:12-17

The feasts of Israel involved lots of sacrifices and lots of eating.  Therefore, many animals were traded to supply the market need.  Instead of people bringing their own livestock from their homes, up to hundreds of miles away, it was practical and convenient to buy the animals in Jerusalem, even if the price was higher.  As the sacrificial animals were traded in the Court of the Gentiles in the temple, they could not be purchased with ordinary Roman money, but special Tyrian pure silver coinage minted in Israel.  The money exchange commission rates were very high, making much profit for t

True Disciples Watch and Remember

John 2:18-22

There was no doubt, when Jesus had disturbed the market in the temple (John 2:13-17), He also unsettled the religious power-holders.  They demanded to know His authority for doing so, and wanted Him to do a miracle.  But Jesus never did miracles to satisfy people’s curiosity.  Instead, He told them a riddle: “Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days”.  But it made no sense to them at all.

Believing Without Entrusting

John 2:23-25

Although Jesus did many miracles, and people believed He probably was the Messiah, their hearts were not changed.  John’s Gospel particularly records seven of those signs in detail and explains why Jesus' purpose in the miracles went much further than to be the healer-provider of individuals: but that people might entrust themselves to Him as the Saviour of the world.  John 20:30-31 says, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.

From Respect to Rebirth

John 3:1-3

Nicodemus is a key character in John’s Gospel.  Although he was a leading Pharisee, and a member of the 72 strong Sanhedrin (the religious ruling council) which agreed to put Jesus to death, this passage shows him to be a seeker of the truth.  In John 7:25-52, Nicodemus condemned the assumption of guilt without a fair trial; and in John 19:38-42, Nicodemus helped Joseph of Arimathea to embalm and bury Jesus’ body.  We do not know anything more about him, but John uses him as an example of people who move from being a timid and confused seeker to a bold and generous disciple.

How to be Born Again

John 3:4-8

Nicodemus was the leading theologian of his day. He knew the spiritual and moral rules according to Moses, and he had extensively studied the Old Testament but instinctively felt that there must be more, and came to Jesus to find out (John 3:1-3).  He had been taught, and taught others, that God would be satisfied when people kept all of God’s laws, like Paul before his conversion (Philippians 3:4-6).  When Jesus told him that God’s Kingdom was only for those who were born again, it was a totally new idea to Nicodemus.    

Education Without Understanding

John 3:9-12

Nicodemus had come to quiz Jesus on theology (John 1:1-8), but it soon became clear that he did not understand Jesus’ answers.  This top theologian had no grasp of what it meant to be ‘born again’.  Nicodemus understood religious rules but had no concept of God’s grace.  His learning was academic, but his understanding was not informed by God’s Holy Spirit.  Even the simple analogy of God’s sovereignty over the wind (the word for ‘Spirit’ is the same in John 3:8) was impossible for him to comprehend.

Heavenly Credentials

John 3:13-15

Jesus, calling Himself the Son of Man, is the only person who knows all about heaven, because He came from heaven!  He is the only ‘ladder or staircase’ between heaven and earth (John 1:51) – like the steps Jacob saw in his dream some 2,000 years previously (Genesis 28:12).  Jesus is unique, being the only man who fully understands both environments, because He is also God.

The Gospel

John 3:16

This verse is probably the most known and preached of all gospel texts.  It presents the five essential components of God’s good news.  Firstly, “God so loved the world”.  God is love (1 John 4:16), and ‘loving’ is a normal expression of His character.  God loves everybody, even though they do not love Him.  He has made them and it is His nature to love them without limitation, holding nothing back, even His Son.  The “world” means all the people in the world at every point of time; all have sinned - everybody except Jesus has offended God’s holiness (Romans 3:23).  

Salvation Is Offered But Must Be Received

John 3:17-18

Despite all the wickedness in the world, God loves everybody (John 3:16).  That is why He sent Jesus.  The arrival of Jesus, His life and ministry, was not to condemn people who were wicked, but to enable wicked people to be saved.  Although God will not tolerate sin, He has compassion on every sinner and wants everyone to turn from their self-centred ways and be saved (2 Peter 3:9).

The Light Exposes The Truth

John 3:19-21

Jesus describes Himself as the Light of the World (John 1:9; John 8:12; John 9:5; John 12:46).  In the Bible, ‘light’ speaks to us of God’s holy nature, His powerful saving acts, His unmovable moral standards, His relationship with His creation, and His ultimate purposes.  The Bible also challenges us to respond to what God’s Light reveals about Himself and us - in faith, obedience, love, and hope.  The light emanating from Jesus is the same as the Light of God (Hebrews 1:3) - the same Light which will physically illuminate the new creation (Revelation 21:23).