As we transition from chapter 4 to chapter 5 in the gospel of John, we enter a new sub-section (chapters 5-10) of the gospel. Over the course of the next 6 chapters, we will see Jesus perform signs and wonders at 4 different feasts. These signs reveal that He is the fulfillment of all that the feasts point to. Yet, He is not received by Jewish leadership. Instead they focus on the fact that the signs, the miracles and healings are taking place on the Sabbath. Therefore, they begin to confront and rebuke Jesus for 'working' on the Sabbath. Jesus' response to these accusations will be the catalyst for his opponents seeking to kill him. In Chapter 5, John presents us with a beautiful example of Jesus' compassion, power, mercy as He reveals himself as the Messiah. He has come not primarily for our physical health, but for our holiness.
This morning in our text, Jesus returns to the region in which He grew up. And sadly, many there are filled with an insincere faith in Jesus. Rather than being in awe of who Jesus is, many are instead excited and enthusiastic about the miracles Jesus performs. But Jesus has come back to this region such that He might cultivate genuine faith in the hearts of the people. And He does just that as He is confronted by a father whose son has a life threatening illness. His son is at the brink of death and as a father, he is desperate. This father, seeks out the Lord and he receives from the Lord a double blessing-true faith and the healing of his son.
In chapters 2-4, Jesus encounters 4 Jewish institutions and shows that He is the fulfillment or the true reality to which they all point. This morning we examine, the 4th and final institution, a sacred well. As Jesus travels from Judea to Galilee, He purposely travels through Samaria and encounters a women drawing water at a well. There, Jesus offers her living water, a superior water that wells up to eternal life. Remarkably and while breaking many religious and cultural taboos, Jesus reveals his identity as the Messiah first to a Samaritan woman with a painful past. And in so doing, teaches us that the Kingdom of God crosses both social, religious and cultural barriers. The work of the church is to carry the message of gospel, of God's provision of living water to the nations.
God has beautifully revealed his love for sinners in the giving of His only Son who was lifted up on the cross to save those who believe. Despite our rebellion and rejection of our maker, God’s love and desire for a personal relationship with His people overcame all obstacles through the atoning work accomplished by Jesus on the cross. Our response to this news must be to believe and obey the words of Jesus. To trust that salvation is already secured through Jesus and to live in the light of righteousness. Such posture recognizes God is above all and worthy of all praise, glory, and honor. How thankful we must be that such love has been given with the promise of eternal life.
In chapters 2-4, Jesus encounters 4 Jewish institutions and shows that He is the fulfillment or the true reality to which they all point. This morning we examine, the 3rd of those four institutions, a rabbi. As Jesus comes to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, many people are in awe of the signs He is doing. Such that a rabbi, one of the teachers of Israel, comes to him at night to discuss the Kingdom of God. Jesus teaches him that we cannot enter the Kingdom of God on our own efforts. In fact, we can't even have saving faith apart from God’s grace first working in us. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. Salvation is by grace through faith.
In chapters 2-4, Jesus encounters 4 Jewish institutions and shows that He is the fulfillment or the true reality to which they all point. This morning we examine, the 2nd of those four institutions, the temple. As Jesus comes to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, He enters the temple and finds not holy adoration and prayer, but noisy commerce. Overcome with zeal for his Father's house, Jesus cleanses the temple by driving out the animals and money changers. And then defends his actions by offering his accusers a sign by which He will be revealed as the true Messiah.
In John chapter 2, we see Jesus perform the first of 7 signs that John puts forth as evidence that Jesus is the promised Messiah. Jesus and his disciples are at a wedding feast in Cana and Jesus performs a sign that is both gracious and kind, but also revelatory. Jesus demonstrates that his ministry and his Kingdom is the fulfillment of the prophetic promises and a foretaste of the new and greater wine of the Kingdom of God.
John the Baptist's mission was to point people to Jesus and in our text this morning, we see him doing just that. As a result, John's disciples become disciples and followers of Jesus. And as these men follow Jesus they discover that Jesus is, as John the Baptist said, the Messiah. Jesus reveals himself to them and to us as the place where Heaven and earth meet. In Jesus we not only encounter God, we are offered fellowship with God for He is the way to Heaven.
The Apostle John wants us to encounter Jesus through his gospel and receive him, which means to believe in him and in doing so receive eternal life. John wants you to know Jesus is exactly who He says He is. And so John's gospel brings witness after witness, to testify to Jesus’ identity, power and glory. John wants us to be sure what he is saying about Jesus is true so he will put forth no less than 8 witnesses that testify that Jesus is the Christ. And the witness we are going to study this morning is the witness of John the Baptist, who fulfills a unique and privileged role as a herald for the Messiah's appearing.
The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of justice and as citizens of the Kingdom we must labor to defend, preserve and protect all who are denied dignity and justice. So this Sunday we will recognize the innate human dignity of every person made in the image of God. In doing so we draw attention to the present assaults on human dignity such as abortion, racism, racial injustice and sadly many others. And we focus on the ways in which God is leading us to respond.