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Missing God

Jews have been waiting for a Messiah for thousands of years. Jesus’ messiahship was regularly challenged. Many Jews formulated their own concept of what the Messiah should do and missed the One reconciling man to God and inaugurating His Kingdom.

John 2:18-22 reveals misunderstanding the nature of Christ can cause someone to miss God’s eternal work.

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John 2:18

But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.”

The Messiah

Jews were questioning the rightness of Jesus’ action of cleansing the temple. They wanted a miraculous sign to authenticate this Messianic act.

A shallow understanding of God and lack of faith cause people to demand proof. I have known people who asked God to show them a sign in order to believe in Him. That is not faith. The writer of Hebrews states,

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1).

John 2:19

“All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

A gospel sign

The ultimate sign Jesus gave to the Jewish leaders was His death and resurrection. He knew they would destroy the temple (Jesus) and three days later God would raise Him up.

The religious authorities wanted a sign, but not the one Jesus ultimately gave. God works in people lives, but this often takes shape in ways different than they anticipate. His ultimate desire is for everyone to become right with Him through Jesus Christ.

John 2:20-22

“What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?”
But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.

A spiritual temple

Commentators argue for a double meaning in His words, one referring to His death and resurrection and the other referring to the abolition of the Temple and sacrifices. Both occurred by Jesus dying on the cross and being raised from the dead.

Jesus was handed over for crucifixion by Jewish religious authorities and three days later raised from the dead. The rebuilt Temple is the New Covenant put into effect by the cross and empty tomb, a spiritual Temple.

God is greater

Isaiah shares, “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). God is at work. It is better to align yourself with His perfect plan than be consumed with questions about actions or motives. People need to come into line with what God is doing, not seeking self-rightness by challenging His plans.

The challenge

Avoid coming to God with preconceived ideas of what He desires for your life. Passionately pursue Him knowing His ways and thoughts are not of your measure or standard.

Have there been times when you have missed God? Share your comments below.

Come & See

The first invitation of Jesus is “Come and see”. Come and see that He is good. Like a treasure hidden in a field or a pearl of great price, He’s worth everything.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! (Matthew 13:44-45)

Have you discovered the infinite joy of knowing and experiencing Jesus?

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Following Jesus

The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus. (John 1:35-37)
Once John’s disciples heard the declaration, they immediately leave John and cast their lot with Jesus. They are not making a tentative inquiry but a whole-hearted commitment to follow Him.

A visit

Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them.
They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
“Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day. (John 1:38-39)
Were they motivated by idle curiosity or by a real desire to know Him? When asked, “What do you want?” the disciple’s response implies the matter could not be settled in a few minutes. They desired a long conversation. Jesus invites the pair to “Come and see,” an invitation to travel at length.

The Messiah

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”). (John 1:40-41)
After spending an evening with Jesus, Andrew finds his brother and announces he found the Christ. There were many claiming to be the Messiah during this time and Andrew may have thought Jesus another candidate. As John’s gospel unfolds, Jesus demonstrates He is the true Messiah.

Bringing people to Jesus

Andrew is found throughout the gospel of John bringing people to Jesus, starting with his brother Simon.

Experiencing Jesus leaves a burden to tell Him to others.”

A new name

Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”). (John 1: 42)
Andrew, in his excitement, brings Simon to Jesus. Jesus gives him a new name, Cephas, meaning “rock.” (John 1:42) The name change points to the nature change made possible by the power of God. He was to bear the character of “the rock man.”

Godly character

Jesus looks past human deficiencies and sees godly potential. He looks at Simon, a impulsive, volatile, and unreliable guy and knows God can transform him into the person God designed him to be. Every time Peter falls short of his new name, Jesus refers to him as Simon (Matt 17:25, John 21:15, & Luke 22:31). Whenever godly character is not manifested, a new name in Christ is no longer upheld.

The challenge

Come and see that Jesus is good. Spend time with Him and bring others to the Savior. Live in a way worthy of a new name in Christ.

What practices are you putting in place to maintain godly character? Share your comments below.