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.
John brings our attention to the amazing fact that the Word of God came into the world and took upon human nature and dwelt among us. Since the creation of men and women in his image, God has always desired to dwell among his people, but sin has often marred this. In the person of Jesus, God tabernacled among us. In Jesus, the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. But horrifically, when God did this, many people would have nothing to do with him! John wants us to be hit by two truths- that Eternal God came into the world and when He did, the dark world failed to receive him. But to all who did receive him, He gave the right to become children of God.
The Gospel of John expounds upon one main theme, that Jesus is the Son of God. And the book has a brilliant design. The Gospel of John focuses on the last three years of Jesus’s life and especially on his death and resurrection. And the Apostle John tells us exactly why he has written the book, to bring us to a place of faith in Jesus so that we may have life in Jesus’ name.
For the third week of Advent, we focus our attention on the love of God as revealed to us in John 3:16. If there is a verse that summarizes the New Testament, it is John 3:16. For it is here that we learn that the love of God is limitless and active, embracing all mankind. In love, God gave the best, his Son. His Son was not given for one group of people or one nation, He was given so that all, without distinction, without exception, who believe in him might be rescued from destruction and have eternal life.
Jesus is alive and risen! We worship a risen King who has become the way for us to be reconciled to God. Through faith in Jesus the Christ, we are reconciled to God, adopted into the family of God and united with Him forever.
When we think of Christmas, we should not only think of what God has done in the past. Instead, we should also think of the continual blessings that come from Jesus specifically, 'grace upon grace'. The blessing of Christmas manifests itself in our lives everyday. We ought to worship and celebrate because of the grace we continually receive.