God Creates a New Story for Us | Did You See That? (Part 5)

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good morning friends how you doing today good good to see you all uh so um I am just one just amazed uh and and maybe you are as well uh with the kids videos now there have been a few questions about them um centered around and this question mainly why is it that pastor amy can do in five minutes uh what it takes me 45 minutes to do on a regular basis and that’s a fair question um because in actual fact she’s going to cover the whole text today and I’m only gonna get to like verse 16. so she’s doing a great job and uh just yeah way to go so been here a few weeks now uh five weeks in it was fun last week to just get a week to not preach just hang out get to know the community a little bit and and just learning several things about you like juan like south is a singing community I love listening to you guys sing it just brings a ton of joy

and I also got to hear pastor dan uh bring the message and man that guy can bring it uh he’s like it’s like sitting listening to a guy talk to some of his oldest friends because it feels like that’s what you are to him so I said to someone afterwards like listening to dan preach is like listening to the beatles play it’s like smooth and it’s like just you know everything’s like he’s got this flow and you’re just like ah I’m a little more led zeppelin you never know where it’s gonna go it could be all over the place um someone once said to me following me preach is like uh being on a golf cart with someone who is uncertain about where their ball is on the course because he could be going one direction and then you could go another direction and so if you get lost on the way I will pick you back up we’ll make it through together don’t worry we’ll hopefully end up in

a good place so last week of did you see that we’ve been looking at john this gospel this biography of Jesus it’s a little different than some of the others there’s these four biographies matthew mark luke and john john has some different stories uh that aren’t in the first three the same basic elements are there but there’s some stories that you’re like whoa that’s a mind-blowing story and so we’ve been trying to wrestle down into some of the thing behind the thing next week uh we’re jumping into this new series uh called directions uh we’re gonna start to wrestle with experiencing guard in change as a community we’re gonna take the fact that grief is real seriously I mean you guys for one as a community you are an amazing community with the journey that you’ve been on over the last year or so and even the number of you that I’ve

met that have said I joined this church like the week before pastor ryan announced he was leaving or the week after and you still stayed which is just incredible like this has been a journey but but when you have change you have grief as a nation we’re experiencing some just experiencing some change it’s election season I’m not a citizen so I can’t vote so I can’t be blamed for either outcome um like I take no responsibility but regardless of what happens some of you are going to be mad some of you are going to feel like oh my world may never look the same again we’re experiencing change there and as a world where we’re experiencing change in that I am an expert unlike this two inches of all your faces like I know this much and the day that you take your masks off I’m not gonna know any of you anymore I’m gonna have

to go back and learn everyone from scratch we’ve experienced that change and so we’re gonna take that seriously but that’s not this week this week we’re gonna end up in a few different places for those of you that like to know where we’ve been that’s where we’re going you can grab your phone take a little picture we’re gonna jump around a few different texts but we’re gonna land on this one john chapter four uh and we’re gonna try and get to verse 26 but I suspect we might not get that far so here we go I’m going to read it first from my text if you’d like to follow along you can now Jesus learned that the pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than john although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized but his disciples so he left Judah and went back once more to galilee now he had to go through

Samaria so he came to a town in Samaria called sikkar near the plot of ground Jacob had left his son joseph Jacob’s well was there and Jesus tired as he was from the journey sat down by the well it was about noon when a Samaritan woman came to draw water Jesus said to her will you give me a drink his disciples had gone into town to buy food the Samaritan woman said to him you’re a Jew I’m a Samaritan how can you ask me for a drink for Jews do not associate with Samaritans Jesus answered her if you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink you would have asked him and he would have given you living water sir the woman said you have nothing to draw within the well is deep where can you get this living water are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well and drank from it himself as did also his

sons and his livestock Jesus answered anyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst indeed the water I give them will be coming them a spring of water welling up to eternal life the woman said to him sir give me this water so I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water he told her go back call your husband I have no husband she replied Jesus said to her you are right when you say you have no husband the fact is you have had five husbands and the man you have now is not your husband what you have said is quite true sir the woman said I can see that you’re a prophet our ancestors our ancestors worshipped on this mountain but you Jews claim that the place we must worship is in Jerusalem woman Jesus replied believe me a time is coming when

you will worship the father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem you Samaritans worship what you do not know we worship what we do know for salvation is from the Jews yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the father in spirit and in truth for they are the kind of worshipers the father seeks God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth the woman said I know that messiah called Christ is coming when he comes he will explain everything to us then Jesus declared I the one speaking to you I am he so wherever we are you may be anywhere on your journey of faith you may not know Jesus you may have known him for a ton of years together we’re going to pray and we’re going to open this text and see what God has to say to us God as we come together as a community maybe at

home watching on tv maybe listening on podcast maybe somewhere else all together or right here in this building God is a group of people we look to you as we get into this teaching we believe as your followers that you breathed on this book and it came alive God would you breathe on us today make us alive with whatever we’ve carried in today with whatever weights we bear without whatever sense of uncertainty about the future God breathe on us thank you Jesus amen okay so here we go john chapter four now Jesus learned that the pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than john though in fact it was not Jesus who baptized but his disciples so he left Judah judea and went back once more to galilee now he had to go through Samaria so one of the things that I love to approach a text with is just as

many questions as I can possibly ask and I think that’s a healthy thing so sometimes you might have had the feeling I shouldn’t question this I should just take it but actually no questions are good there’s this wonderful story about a a rabbi with two followers and he’s trying to educate them in how to read the the Jewish scriptures and so he says to them take this passage and go away and come back with as many questions as you can think of and the first one comes back and he says I found five questions and the second one comes back to him and says well I only found three questions and the rabbi looks at them and says how dare you insult God’s word like that I have 96 questions about this text there’s something about that process of jumping in and asking questions that actually brings so much to light because there’s this stuff under the

surface that sometimes we’re just not aware of now he had to go through Samaria my question is this did he really now geographically this is absolutely right like Samaria was this place in between where Jesus was and where he was going in some senses the quickest route was through it but a good Jewish person man they didn’t go through Samaria if they could possibly avoid it I lived for several years a couple years in new york and we would regularly drive back to Michigan now whenever we drove back to Michigan I would always go the Canadian route even those even if it took longer even though it meant we had passports even though you could get held up at the border I would always go the Canadian route because I’d learn after living five years in Michigan that you never go through Ohio unless you absolutely have to so even when

we got to a point where the Canadian border was closed and I had to go the American route we would get to the place where it said welcome to Ohio and I would turn around to the kids and be like kids hold your breath you can let it out in three and a half hours because I was just ingrained right like it’s that you don’t go through Ohio unless you absolutely have to go through Ohio you avoid Ohio this is exactly the same situation here with just more of a sense of like ah the pain of history a good Jewish person you did not go through Samaria you avoided it at all costs and yet here we see this story about Jesus saying no john’s saying Jesus had to go through Samaria why some kind of divine appointment it seems pulls him into this place that he would never have gone usually but on the surface Jewish people and Samaritans hated each other

with good reason so some of you are history nerds like myself some of you are not and if you’re not then feel free to just let this information just uh sort of drift past you but but the reason for all that enmity was this these have been two separate nations at one point back in prehistory you’d had Israel and you’d had a place called Judah both Jewish heritage nations but two different nations one had been captured by a much larger enemy in about 701 bc and been dragged off to another place but when dragged off they what they had done is they’d moved people in from other towns to to the old Israel and they’d intermarried them so it was all uh like a hodgepodge of different places Judah this other nation which was was smaller hadn’t been taken captive until about a hundred years later when they had gone off none of that that

intermarriage stuff had happened so they’d come back later to this nation Judah feeling that they they were the pure bloods they they were the ones that had stayed true so Jewish people to a Jewish person a Samaritan was an outcast a Samaritan was a nobody and some of the resentment went the other way as well but both of them had this sense of no no we are the ones that have access to the true God you see where the resentment builds this is far bigger than Michigan versus Ohio even though that’s like the next best thing this is like huge this is like absolute hatred this was despising each other and yet still you see this Jesus into Samaria he goes so he came to a town in Samaria called sikka near a plot of ground Jacob had given to his son joseph jacobs well was there and Jesus tired as he was from the journey sat down by the

well it was about noon john uses this particular word for well just to give you a little bit of detail here it’s this word page he’s not talking about this he’s talking about this this idea of well here is is unusual this is like this is an artisan spring this is uh water that moves that’s going to be somewhat important later hold that and just put it to one side but this is not just a hole in the ground that happens to have filled with water this is water that is moving and there he meets a woman who at noon we’re told has come to draw water when a Samaritan woman came to draw water Jesus said to her will you give me a drink so this is the second central character we’ve got Jesus and then we have this woman that’s wandered into the scene now there’s something fascinating going on here we already know something about her just based on

what’s happened here she comes to get water at noon nobody goes to get water at noon it’s swelteringly hot and she comes alone she comes by herself nobody came to get water by themselves either there’s something about her situation that puts her on that fringe of society she’s out there in the absolute heat in this culture you would have girls would often go to collect water early in the morning or in the cool of the afternoon guys would do the heavier agricultural work but these these women would be sent out in a group because it was safer to go and get water and now you have this woman who’s by herself collecting water at noon she’s the fringe she’s the edge of society not only is she a Samaritan but she’s on the fringe even of the Samaritans and this is Jesus conversation with us but before we get too into that we’re

going to change track a little bit if you’re married or in a relationship of any kind or you’ve hoped to meet the love of your life at some point here’s a question for you what was your meat cute now if you’ve not heard this term before I’m going to give you a little definition a meat cute is a scene in which a future romantic couple meets for the first time in a way that is considered adorable entertaining or amusing now I’m hoping to give you just over these first few weeks a little bit of my back history because people always want to know and I can’t just have that individual conversation with everyone so some of you have asked how did you and Laura meet Laura’s America and she grew up in Michigan and we met in bulgaria we had a classic meet cute I was uh there to speak at a conference so I flew in on the Friday I got picked

up at the airport they took me to the to the hotel and I got changed and I thought I’d go see the first night of the conference I wasn’t teaching to the Saturday morning Friday night I walked into the room and there’s about 600 people there mainly from bulgaria but some from other places and as I walked into the room I saw Laura over the other side and God said that’s the woman you’re going to marry now I don’t believe God has spoken to me that clearly many times but that time it felt distinct so what I did was I walked over to her and said God said you’re the woman I’m going to marry did not do that that would can you imagine that that would be seriously that would be a serious error no I I went and sat down like like I was supposed to uh but very close to her like at the row behind intentionally and then we had that

sort of oh that thing that we used to do before virus stuff where we would say go and talk to someone go and say hi to someone and so there was a girl in between me and Laura so I kind of elbowed her to one side and and then did the you know preparation and then said hey my name’s alex what’s your name or something just that creative uh but we ended up getting married a year to the day later after dating across the Atlantic for for a little while that was our meet cue it was this moment where just suddenly um we met and it was happily ever after you see these in movies all the times this is the very unwatched but very wonderful bluebeard’s eighth wife it’s a classic meat cute that the man walks into a department store to buy pajamas um he’s trying to buy pajamas but he only wants the top so he he tries to do a deal with the the

shopkeeper to say I will pay half the price for just the top and the shopkeeper of course says no you can’t do that you need to take the whole thing you have to pay the full amount unfortunately just in that moment a girl walks in and says oh well actually I’m looking for just the bottoms of some pajamas we’ll pay half each and then you know we’ll both take what we want but of course you know instantly that they’re going to fall in love because that’s how a meat cute works in films now here’s the bizarre thing about this passage to a first century audience this in its opening parts reads like a meet you for thousands of years of Jewish history before Jesus at least 1500 years there are all these stories about people meeting their wives at wells it happens time and time again so ingrained was this in the history that it would be very

hard to see a scene between a man and a woman that didn’t end in marriage if they met at a well here’s a couple of stories for you just to sort of get you get you into it this is Abraham a famous person from the old testament has sent his servant to find a wife for his son isaac before he had finished praying he saw a young woman named Rebecca coming out with a water jug on her shoulder she went down to the spring filled her jerk came up again running over to her the servant said please give me a little drink of water from your jug some of the language right even the same as the language we just read how about this one then Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the sons of the east he looked and saw a well in the field just the next scene we’ll see the love of his life will wander into the scene and the two of them

will happily ever after and then a third one this is Moses when pharaoh heard of this he tried to kill Moses but Moses fled from pharaoh and went to live in midian where he sat down by a well and in the next scene his future wife zepora will wander into the scene and they will happily ever after to Jewish people when they heard wells and two people meeting they heard marriage this scene in its setup reads like something that they can predict predict the future of until it isn’t until it becomes about something entirely different now one of the wonderful things about tension is that we learn best in tension so when something catches us off guard we actually take it in better so you if you read a book will know where it’s going if I were to say to you once upon a time that lived a princess you would say to me of course it’s a fairy tale I

know where it’s going interestingly once upon a time there was a princess is also the opening to a 1997 biography of the life of princess Diana of wales in actual fact you could be reading something completely different to what you think you’re reading but the fact that it changes track it catches you off guard for a Jewish person reading john in the first second century there would be this sense of oh I was expecting this and I got something different altogether subversion is this wonderful thing this is a moment of subversion in tv advertising this is of course sean connery playing James Bond he was the best one we’re all aware of this we don’t need to talk about it any further we take the point we move on but he was also played by several other people including pierce brosnan so when you saw ps brosnan on screen in the 90s

and early 2000s you assumed action adventure James Bond but check out this tv commercial with me so it sets up right it’s James Bond it’s action adventure and then it’s something different all together and it gives you just that it’s sticky right because of that you you remember it this is exactly what happens here to a first century audience you read you expect one thing and then Jesus is on to something completely different altogether so let’s jump in with the rest of their conversation the Samaritan woman said to him you are a Jew I’m a Samaritan woman how can you ask me for a drink for Jews do not associate with Samaritans for all the reasons we just talked about Jesus answered her if you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink you would have asked him and he would have given you living water

sir the woman said you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep where can you get this living water are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well and drank from it himself as did also his sons and his livestock and remember this writer john knows where he’s going to him there’s this like little wink to us about yes he is much greater than this Jacob person that you’re talking about Jesus answered everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst indeed the water I give them will be coming them a spring of water welling up to eternal life the woman said to him sir give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water something about that text is weird right look at what look at her response she believes that the

thing he will give her will mean that she doesn’t have to come back and keep refilling her water jug which of course she will because she’ll still need natural water but the something about this conversation something about you how Jesus has moved through this different like levels of conversation that she’s suddenly aware that she is deeply thirsty not just like thirsty throat wise but soul-wise there’s something about this conversation that is starting to open this thing within her that is missing and Jesus begins to unpack just exactly what it is that he has on offer he has something beyond just the water of this world he has something for the soul and that is incredibly good news Jesus will land on this water image a couple of times over the next couple of passages he’s taken if you think about the first few chapters of john these very like natural

images he’s talked about bricks and buildings he’s talked about wine he’s talked about spirit and wind and and then this on the last and greatest day of the festival Jesus stood and said in a loud voice let anyone who was thirsty come to me and drink whoever believes in me as the scripture has said streams of living water will flow from within them by this he meant the spirit Jesus taps into this idea that that water equals spirit that somehow he has this thing to offer us that is good for the soul he talks about it in two different ways he talks about it as something that comes into you and then something that goes out of you as well in the first part we read john chapter four it’s the the spirit comes into you and and then in john chapter seven right here it’s no they’ll flow from without you as well and for those of us that have been following

Jesus isn’t that something that I think we believe we believe that God transforms us from the inside out it’s something that happens to us but that transformation isn’t supposed to stop on the inside it’s supposed to work its way out into the world around us that we are people that are transformed but then we get to go out and help with this whole transformation thing that’s supposed to happen in the world this is what Jesus begins to invite her into he begins to invite her into this experience of the spirit that is life-changing you and I we are streams of living water but I wonder if we always feel that way I wonder sometimes something happens where if we’re honest our experience is far less like streams of living water and and far more like something stagnant I wonder if we feel often like this one here this thing I’ve got here this

beautiful clear Colorado water or something more like this which isn’t healthy one of these fish tanks is going to go to my daughter by the way and what better way to learn about having a fish than having to clean a tank before you own it um so that’s for you this is the sultan sea it’s this place in California that I’m always I’ve been fascinated by you may never have heard of it but in the 50s and 60s the salton sea was the place to go if you were young rich californian with a boat if you wanted a fresh water experience you could drive from san diego to los angeles and end up in this be on this beautiful lake with these crystal waters that was how it was in the 50s anyway but now it’s not like that this is the 50s and this is today 50s today something happened the salton sea by its in its own right is just an anomaly at one point while they were stealing

your Colorado and water they were moving some of the Colorado river into different places they tried to create a channel to irrigate some land and the channel burst open and it flooded the sultan plain so suddenly there was a lake where there had been no lake for thousands of years so as this water just sat there below sea level of course it had nowhere to go there is no outlet on the salton sea so slowly the water evaporates and the salt level becomes higher and higher because while there is no good outlet there is an inland but the inlet isn’t good the inlet is agricultural runoff it’s heavily salted water four million tons of salt get landed in the salton sea every year so this lake that was once a fresh water paradise has now twice the salinity of the Atlantic ocean three times the salinity of the pacific ocean and in it nothing can live these

are the these are tilapia these are fish that have a high resistance to salt water usually they should be fine but now it’s so salty not even tilapia can live in this lake and now the smell is slowly spreading so that there’s times where they have to release a special alert because you can just smell rotten eggs hovering in the air and at some point there’s a prediction that you may eventually be able to smell it over in san diego and los angeles because it’s just that potent in the salton sea nothing can live it’s a picture of what happens when something goes wrong with the inflow and something goes wrong with the outflow of a body of water now Jesus in his analogy he says to us I have streams of living water to give and they will never run dry what that says to me is at the times in our life where when we’re honest we feel more like this than

this the problem’s probably with us somewhere when I feel like that the problem’s probably with me which image resembles your current experience if you were to categorize your spiritual experience your life with Jesus is it that one or is it that one is it this one or is it this one I think every one of us has times in our life where we feel like we trend more in this direction what I just would suggest is one of one of two things is happening either we’ve got to a place where we’ve we’ve finally found a way to shut ourselves off from encountering and living in relationship with Jesus we’ve stopped the inflow and that’s no longer healthy or there’s something about the way that we’re living in the world that makes it very hard for us to live in this life but this word that I’m going to call flow and you’ll see why I’ve caught it flow later I

believe we’re supposed to live in this flow of life with God and sometimes there’s something in our life that if we’re honest has stopped that movement of water it might be unforgiveness in a relationship it might be that sense of like I’m just so mad at that person and I can’t let it go it might be that bitterness thing it might be a lack of generosity it might be a particular struggle with a particular act or action that you know doesn’t fit with the way of Jesus and yet we go back to it and there’s been times in my life where every one of those has been true and slowly but surely my life turns from this beautiful lake that has life in it to something that looks more like this because somewhere I’ve shut the valve off and the water isn’t flowing it’s either not coming in or it’s not going out and the thing begins to stink it doesn’t feel alive anymore and yet

we’re told no you’re a stream of living water Jesus is about to take this woman’s life that that’s broken and messy and he’s about to turn it into a stream or back into a stream he’s about to take something that isn’t flowing that isn’t moving and he’s about to recreate flow he’s about to recreate life as it should be but first an awkward conversation he told her go call your husband and come back I have no husband she replied Jesus said to her you’re right when you say you have no husband the fact is you have had five husbands and the man you now have is not your husband what you have said is quite true sir the woman said I can see that you are a prophet I used to be uh pastored by a man who used to do this kind of thing with people which is always just incredible to see more on that some other time perhaps but this story is fascinating here as

well because there’s two different ways to read this what’s happened in her life on one hand you could read her as the guilty party she’s dotted around different guys she’s ended up now with a guy who isn’t her husband on the other hand you could read her as the victim she could reasonably in the first century have had five husbands that have all died in a time of sickness in a time of different you know experiences like famine she could have lost five husbands she could be someone well acquainted with grief and she looking for some kind of security in the world around her could have landed with the only person who was willing to keep her not to marry her but to keep her somewhere her story could be one of guilt but it could be one of brokenness and Jesus never reveals which it is he doesn’t seem concerned he just seems

concerned that for whatever reason she is a woman whose life has become one that isn’t flowing as it should be whether it’s guilt whether it’s anger bitterness resentment all those different things there is something about her life that it isn’t working as it should and Jesus is about to create something new in her just as he did in this woman thousands of years before because suddenly we’re not reading a meet cute we’re reading a story that far more resembles the story of a lady called Hagar Hagar was a young slave woman to a man called Abraham and you can read the rest of her story I don’t need to go into all the details of it but she was mistreated abused and then told to go told to go as a young woman who was pregnant with a child and tries to make her way across from Israel to Egypt a journey she would never have

hoped to stay alive throughout and she ends up stood by a well and sure her next steps and this is her encounter with God the angel of the lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert it was the spring that is beside the road to sure and he said Hagar slave of sarai where have you come from and where are you going I’m running away from my mistress sir I said then the angel of the lord told her go back to your mistress and submit to her the angel added I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count she gave this name to the lord who spoke to her you are the God who sees me for she said I have now seen the one who sees me God sends her back to a horrible situation but with the assurance that it’s gonna work out it’s gonna be okay I’m giving you a new story but this story doesn’t really ever reattach to the

Bible story as a whole it goes off on its own tangent it becomes its own thing she’s given a new stream a new story a new flow but it never becomes part of the big story a couple of thousand years later Jesus is now going to do the same for a woman stood by us a well in Samaria he takes a story with all its brokenness and he gives new life to it he offers this gift of spirit he says I’m going to do something special in your life but but it doesn’t just stop there in this story this woman is fascinating she’s going to press the question she’s not going to just take what she’s offered she’s going to go and she’s going to ask for more she’s going to expand the story into something bigger look what she says to Jesus I can see that you’re a prophet our ancestors worshipped on this mountain but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in

Jerusalem woman Jesus replied believe me a time is coming when you will worship the father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem she’s asking the question wait how involved do you see us being as Samaritans as outcasts you Jewish people say we’re not included we’re on the fringe where we’re the other people and yet we’ve said the same about you how does this story resolve and Jesus begins to impact her that this new spirit thing he’s doing doesn’t just stop with individual life transformation it stops it stops when all people of all backgrounds are pulled together into this thing that God is doing God is spirit and his worshipers must worship him in spirit and in truth the woman said I know that messiah called Christ is coming when he comes he will explain everything to us then Jesus declared I the one speaking to you I am he she has

seen the one who sees her just like Hagar thousands of years before she has seen the one who sees her and he’s inviting her broken as she has been into a new story that story is individual but it’s not just an individual thing it’s a bigger thing it’s a world wide thing he takes streams of living water like all of us are and I would say he joins them into a river to a thing this that is bigger one of the things I love about the Bible is its use of different imagery and this theme of a river will come up about God’s people time and time again have a look at this ezekiel 47 passage you may never have read ezekiel that’s fine it’s a fascinating read it’s got loads of incredible things happening in it but this story just to me is one that stands out then he led me back to the bank of the river when I arrived there I saw a great number of trees on each side of

the river he said to me this water flows towards the eastern region and goes down into the arabah where it enters the dead sea when it empties into the sea the salty water there becomes fresh swarms of living creatures will live because the river flows there will be large numbers of fish because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh so where the river flows everything will live where the river flows everything will live this biblical writer picks on this image of a river for the people of God and says that is what we’re like where we flow everything is supposed to live and yet are there not people here and people that you know whose experience with church has been the opposite that there was supposed to be this church thing that was like this it was supposed to have this flow it was supposed to move and it was

supposed to bring life and it was supposed to be clear and pure and yet there’s times where their experience of church and maybe to them therefore Jesus has looked far more like this as something where no one can live and yet a group of people who have embraced that spirit who have become streams of living water shouldn’t we look like a river that is pure and good you are called I am called not just to this individual change not to just experiencing Jesus and and embracing what he has done for us but we’re called to be part of this bigger thing that’s life-changing that’s world-changing we’re not just streams we’re also part of this river and where the river flows everything will live this is the amazon river it just fascinates me just how big this thing is 250 miles across at its widest point as it empties into the ocean and it always makes me

think of just my involvement with this people of God this thing that God is doing in the world because this God of the universe he’ll bring history to where it needs to go he’s been doing it for thousands of years it will end up where it needs to be you and I are a part of that story we’re part of that thing every one of us with a part to play you can’t swim against this river it’s too strong too big you can choose to swim with it you can choose to be involved in this story of God where everyone has a role everyone has giftings to bring that’s my dream for south and the church as a whole we’re called to be part of that river but it starts with us as individuals say man which of these am I have those waters stagnated have I blocked myself off if I sort of separated myself from this God who promised that these streams of living water in me would

never end have there been things in my relationships with people in the world around me that that have made it impossible for the flow to stay as it should be have I become this thing when God made me to be this thing you are made to thrive you are made to be alive you are made to be fresh you are a stream of living water and yet so often our experience is the opposite where the river flows everything will live I believe that God for some of us has some work to do in our hearts today over this course of the next week we wanted to invite you in to a spiritual practice that you can just jump on board with whenever you remember we’re in a time where people are washing hands a lot more we’re using a lot more flowing water that could continue for a while and what we wanted to invite you to do was to take that time not to do anything overly

mystic but to take that time to use something that’s so practical to remind yourself of what God has said about you you are a stream of living water so I’m going to invite pastor Aaron to come back on stage and when you look uh on the screen there’ll be a devotion or a practice that pastor yvonne will walk through where you can just take that 30 seconds that you might wash your hands and just use it to remind yourself with the flow of water what you are made to be you’re made to be this thing that’s beautiful that’s fresh this isn’t what you’re made to be for those of you that feel like you’ve got to that point of I just feel stagnant as we sing I believe there’s a freshness of God’s spirit to come in if you’ve never embraced Jesus as as somebody that you want to commit your life to you can do that that’s what he promises for you just as this

woman in the well 2 000 years ago he sat with her and said I can give streams of living water he says the same to you in 2020 you are invited in and that process that’s just a prayer away that’s just as simple as sitting here in this space this space is fairly large but right now I believe it can become really small I believe that you can say that the God who sees me I now so in some incredible way feel like I see him maybe not physically but spiritually that experience of this God who loves you so as we sing feel free to open yourself up to that

God Creates a New Story for Us | Did You See That? (Part 5)2022-01-25T11:22:50-07:00

What does it mean to be “Born again”? | Did You See That? (Part 4)

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hey well good morning everyone it is great to see you all and I I’m sorry I wish I could tell you how to take off your mask but I can’t so I appreciate how all of you are keeping your mass on but um it’s really good to see you this morning and you know I really thank Alex uh giving me the opportunity to uh to preach I know we all want to hear Alex more and more you have to put up with me this morning so uh we’re going to be looking at a passage in John chapter 3 if you want to turn to that but um I would just start by saying you know it was a couple weeks ago Kerry and I had a terrific opportunity we went back east we went back to lancaster pennsylvania which was a place uh where I pastored the first church I ever pastored in and uh it was a terrific time of reminiscing they were dedicating a new part of the building they had they

had built but Kerry and I were there because it was the 40th anniversary which gives you a little bit of an idea how old I am um but we had a a wonderful time of celebrating with them and then we got to go up and see my 98 year old mom mom if you’re watching sorry about that um but that was about a six or seven hour drive and you know when you drive a long time you uh a lot of time get these books on tape or audio books so uh we downloaded an audio book and we listened to it and it was a fascinating journey I have no idea what the title that book was because I was so enamored with what the story was it was the true story of a felon I’m just gonna flip here uh a a doctor although they never did prove he was a doctor he was a fellow who emigrated from slovenia and he just had a heart for babies for premature babies and this

was back in late 1800s early 1900s and the medical community wasn’t quite in sync with this fella this fellow was developing what was now known as the incubator and uh it was amazing that as he would perfect these incubators um hospitals were not pleased in fact for the hot for the medical establishment at that time they kind of felt that premature babies yeah that wasn’t really a good use of their time so a lot of the babies that he took care of came from hospitals who had just given up on him came from parents who were desperate and he couldn’t do this in the hospitals themselves so guess what he moved to coney island and he set up a sideshow almost like a freak show and if you look down there in the bottom of that picture it says baby incubators it was a display on the side show on the um on the fair of coney island he he actually

adopted the name dr coney and that didn’t fly too well so he finally changed it to dr cooney amazing and he had nurses that would work with him people would pay 25 cents to come in and see these premature babies and that’s how he uh paid for the care of these children because he never charged the parents a penny and he did this for about 30 years and in those 30 years folks listen to this he saved 6 500 lives and people went through and and uh interviewed some of the some of the little kids who had grown up into adults it was an amazing story toward the end of his time some doctors began to take notice of the results and they began to wonder boy is this credible what he’s doing and they began to try to find out more and more how dr cooney had transformed this whole thing of incubators and now we find

incubators in every hospital amazing story it made me stop and think I wonder what it was like for Jesus and the religious establishment of the day did they look at Jesus as kind of one of those odd sideshows and and most of them criticized Jesus and what he was doing and this ragtag group of men that were following him men and women um they had a hard time with him this morning though we’re going to take a look at one of those religious leaders that was actually I believe kind of courageous to kind of step out just like some of those doctors embraced dr cooney at the end of his time I believe this man we’re going to look at this morning Nicodemus in John chapter 3 is going to teach us a lot about courage so let me read this pat in fact let’s read it together I’m going to throw it up on the screen here John chapter 3

beginning of verse 1 we’re going to read through this first 17 verses so join with me there was a man named Nicodemus a Jewish religious leader who was a pharisee after dark one evening he came to speak with Jesus rabbi he said we all know that God has sent you to teach us your miraculous signs or evidence that God is with you Jesus replied I tell you the truth unless you’re born again you cannot see the kingdom of God what do you mean exclaim Nicodemus how can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again and Jesus replied I assure you no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water in the spirit humans can reproduce only human life but the holy spirit gives birth to spiritual life so don’t be surprised when I say you must be born again the wind blows wherever it wants just as you can hear the

wind but you can’t tell where it comes from or where it’s going so you can’t explain how people are born of the spirit how are these things possible Nicodemus added asked and Jesus replied hey you’re a respected Jewish teacher and yet you don’t understand these things I assure you we tell you what we know and have seen and yet you won’t believe our testimony but if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things no one has ever gone to heaven and returned but the son of man has come down from heaven and as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness so the son of man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life from this is how God loved the world he gave his one and only son so that everyone who

believes in him will not perish but have eternal life God sent his son into the world not to judge the world but to save the world through him powerful words powerful words let’s just bow for a word of prayer and then let’s dig in oh father I thank you for the scripture yeah I thank you for uh just the words that are put down here and lord I’m not sure how you you transferred this all to John whether it was Nicodemus telling him about it or whether it was uh whether it was your spirit just inspiring John to write these words down um I know that it was you filling and having just the right words that you wanted for us today that you wanted for all these generations from John’s time till now lord thank you thanks for loving us enough to do that and now as we dig in I just pray that you would make them come alive to us ah thank you father I pray this in

Jesus name amen amen now let me just confess right off the bat I’ve always approached these verses that Nicodemus was kind of one of those religious leaders that was coming to kind of be a little snorky with Jesus um and and when I would look at these like I’ve just kind of highlighted some he was a pharisee you know the pharisees were not the good guys in the new testament story uh it seems like they were always challenging Jesus and and furthermore he was a religious leader uh he was part of the san that means he was part of the sanhedrin which is like the 70 rulers that would officially deal with cases that came up um this one always used to puzzle after dark he came one evening to speak with Jesus and and I must admit I always kind of thought that scaredy cat he just doesn’t want to be caught talking to Jesus and and then

when I read what he said uh we all know that God has sent you to teach us sounds a little patronizing to me I’m afraid it was a little bit tough on Nicodemus um as I was preparing for and Alex thanks for asking me I you know what’s funny uh whenever I preach I always tell the staff okay I’m in battle rattle and you know I’m working through this and grant I was in battle rattle this week but it was a great battle rattle it was a great time just to wrestle with this passage because as I was looking at there was a man named Nicodemus um I looked at other versions and some of you may be looking at your own version whether it’s niv or esv and you’ll notice that that first phrase starts a little bit differently it starts now there was a man of the pharisees named Nicodemus and it was enough to kind of make me say well I wonder if there’s an extra

word in there that I’m not seeing in my translation and so I kind of dug into it it’s a little greeky sorry about that but there was there’s a little particle a little word a little conjunction and it’s and it’s called an adversative conjunction if an adversative concern you can kind of get the idea conjunction means it draws two uh thoughts together adversative means there’s a little bit of adversarial type or a change of thought and most of the time it’s translated but but I looked at about every every translation I could find I found one that said but so you know I don’t usually like to step out and say hey this is right but I think it’s right I don’t um I think it’s right and you know what is this uh kind of contrasting well you got to go back remember when John wrote these things down I mean he didn’t have chapters and verses they came later on so we could

have bible drills and stuff like that what can I say but um John wrote this down as one book and it flows together so let me go back to the verses just before this because of the miraculous signs that Jesus did in Jereusalem at the Passover celebration many began to trust in him but Jesus did not trust them because he knew all about people no one needed to tell him about human nature for he knew what was in each person’s heart but there was a man named Nicodemus and that just kind of jumped out at me when I started to put it together in that context yeah Jesus had done some amazing things during this Passover time and there were people that saw those amazing signs and they said wow I want to follow this guy if I can get a free meal if I can get healed yes I’m with him Jesus knew their hearts and he didn’t entrust himself to that he was

looking for people who truly wanted to know what he was about but there was a man named Nicodemus and I like that so Nicodemus comes to him and now I look at these words a little differently if I start to try to be a little bit more positive in my outlook I see a man who was a pharisee and as I dug into this stuff about pharisees you know there was like 6 000 pharisees that were set apart in Israel at any one time that was the most they could have so this was quite a feat for him to be a pharisee and the pharisees they were all about trying to take the law that they had all those different laws all those different rules and regulations and understand them learn how to live by them so that they could please God and when I started looking at that I realized you know these were some pretty s sincere and passionate individuals

and I believe Nicodemus was a sincerely passionate man who wanted so much to follow Jesus no I’m sorry to follow God um it said he was a religious leader yeah he was part of the sanhedrin part of those 70 that were set aside to listen to um to trials to courts he he was he was up there he had authority among the Jewish community and when I realized that I realized wow what an amazing thing he did to come and talk to Jesus to be able to step aside from some of that aura and and come and meet with this Jesus who might be seen as a sideshow as a freak show after dark one evening you know like I said I always looked at that as he was a little bit scared to be associated and then I read in one of the commentaries I was looking at that rabbis said the best time to study the law and engage in good conversation is in the evening after dark

when there’s not a lot of people around and you can just focus together and I really believe that’s why Nicodemus came but there was a man named Nicodemus who came um Jesus says later on this passage uh that Nicodemus was one of the respected teachers of Israel just using that word thee seems to set Nicodemus off that he might have been one of the you know one of the top five in Israel it was respected amazing that Nicodemus would step out and come and then I look at that rabbi he said we all know that God has sent you to teach us your miraculous signs or evidence that God is with you and um yeah I shared with you how I always used to look at that kind of patronizingly um but then when you really get into the again greek greekiness some of your versions may have rabbi we know you are a teacher who has come from God

that’s quite a statement for a guy who is a pharisee to say you’ve come from God I recognize that it’s not just that you make sense but there’s something amazing that you come from God well we lay that all out and you would think Jesus might say well thanks Nicodemus you know he doesn’t I I would say thanks if somebody said that to me good grief but uh instead Jesus just launches right in Jesus replied I tell you the truth unless you’re born again you cannot see the kingdom of God and I I’ve highlighted that I tell you the truth some of your versions may have truly truly or verily verily uh and and actually I believe that this phrase sets off like three movements that we’re gonna see in this passage uh but let me tell you what I think this I tell you the truth really means or uh truly truly it means Nicodemus focus look at me Nicodemus

look at me right now focus in and listen to what I’m gonna say because this is important it’s truth and and I believe in this short statement that he makes is there’s two things that pop out to us two things that are merged that are very important one is uh you if you’re not born again you cannot see the kingdom of God and I believe in that statement Jesus is saying Nicodemus you’ve come to me tonight and yes you know it’s nice what you said to me but you’re coming because you want to know more about this kingdom more about the kingdom of God and I want to tell you um if you’re not born again you’re never even going to see it um you know I think Nicodemus might have heard some of the teachings of Jesus we have the sermon on the mountain matthew 5 6 and 7. and a lot of people believe that that sermon was kind of a

template of what Jesus would use all over the galilean areas he would teach and people would hear that over and over and in that he kind of gives them an example of how to pray and in that he says when you’re praying say your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven God your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven and I bet you that captures Nicodemus’s imagination what are you saying about this kingdom I want to know more because I’ve spent my whole life trying to perfect these laws so that we can function in such a way that God would be pleased with us and we could kind of be this kingdom but I almost believe that Nicodemus realizes we haven’t made it to base one I tell you the truth unless you’re born again you cannot see the kingdom of God now how does Nicodemus

respond what do you mean exclaimed Nicodemus how can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again how in the world can I be rebirthed how how I’m old I can’t go back into my mom you know I said there were two things and uh maybe I need to go back because that other thing has to do with how Nicodemus is taking that that phrase born again born again um and and we use that over and over and over and over and I think sometimes that born-again phrase has kind of lost some of its born-again meaning so I want us to go back and kind of dig into what this really means born again um yeah it’s the typical word born yes it’s a birth but then there’s a little word put on the back of it called anothern a nothin let me just swing to it and another means again or a second time or to be reborn yes but a note then is

also this amazing word that has a variety of meetings yes it means again but it also means a new it also means to be radically new or radically changed there’s some kind of a rebirth that that brings a change and I’ll use the word transformation so it can talk about a repeating like I’m going to be born repeat it again or it can be talked about anew a guy can be born a new in a real transforming way or there’s a third meaning and this last one is the way it’s normally used interesting from above or from God so when you put it together with that word born it can be born from God born from above um and and the stuff I was reading about it was you know really it pulls all three together all three together and kind of when I would see if I’m born a nothing I am born anew from above and if I’m going to be born anew that already assumes I’m

born again as I’m going through this born or this birth process a second time but I’m going to be born in a transformative way and I’m going to be born from above the work that God does and that’s what I think this another means Nicodemus Nicodemus takes it to mean that first phrase just the physical phrase born again physically and I can understand why he would think that because everything he’s doing in his religious structure is based upon his human effort I’m wondering if he’s taken back a little bit to realize wow you mean you mean God might actually get involved in that because his whole religious structure is I’m making my way to God not God bringing transformation to me um you know I told you we went out to lancaster great time it was fun reminiscing they asked us a bunch of questions Kerry and I it actually made us feel

good you know old dumpers here we are going back there you know and we found this church out there in lancaster wanted to know what it was like 40 years ago when we planted this church and they asked us a bunch of questions we sat with a staff on Saturday night asking us all kinds of questions Sunday morning they interviewed us one of the questions they asked us was what were some of the challenges you faced in those early years as this church was being planted and it caused karen and I to reminisce and to think back and I’m just going to share one story I’ll I’ll give her the name jean and we’ll just call it jean’s story I’ll try to protect her identity but uh gene was a wonderful gal in our church young adult vivacious had a great job loved Jesus uh served in a lot of ways at the church and she also had a terrific drug problem she was

addicted to drugs and we tried to pour our lives into helping her we did all kinds of things I I can still remember you know I I always said regina if you need help just call me call me one Saturday night I got a call and I could always tell it was gene because she wouldn’t say anything so I pick up the phone and it’s silent and I found that gene is this you yes okay what’s going on I bought some drugs oh okay you know gene I’m gonna ask you why don’t you go and flush them down the toilet right now I don’t think I can do that hmm well if you want to bring them to me I’ll do that for you click and that was Saturday night um you know Sunday morning comes and my mind’s all over the place because we’re going there we set up for the church and we’re in there worshiping having a good time and all of a sudden I feel this kind of tap on my shoulder and I

turn around it’s jean and she hands me a bag so I take this bag and I go oh man I don’t want to look um I just kind of stuffed it into my coat pocket went up there preached the sermon afterwards you know we’re saying goodbye to everybody and then we finally everybody’s gone I went in pulled the bag out looked it up I thought oh man there’s a bunch of pills um I called her I said gene okay thank you for giving me this did you take any she said no I said how much is this worth I paid six hundred dollars I said okay I commend you for giving them to me it took four flushes but I finally got it all down the toilet um you know we did a variety of things with gene eventually it came to an intervention where her friends got together and I remember it happened in our living room oh my goodness the air turned blue as we tried to reason with

gene and just say gene we need to you need to let go of these drugs we’re here for you but we can’t be here if you’re going to take drugs she got up and stormed out swore the whole way you know I thought well I guess I guess we lost that one the next morning or the next afternoon I get this call silence I said is this eugene yes it’s me and she finally said I think I’m ready to go to a rehab so I drove over to jean she hopped in had a duffel bag and I drove her to her rehab a little ways away she stayed there for about three months and finally checked herself out and then it was just a series of on again off again on again off again until finally she disappeared and she just got enmeshed in drugs Kerry and I left lancaster came out here to Denver and you know really didn’t think of it too much after that um we found ourselves about 10 years later I

got a phone call one day and it was jean and there wasn’t silence on the phone she said uh dan this is this is gene and I’d love to get together with you for supper tonight I said where are you she said well I’m up at breckenridge I’m at a conference I said oh my goodness well jean sure sure we’ll get together with so Kerry and I met her for supper I always remember this we got together and there was a smile in her eyes and she started out by saying dan Kerry I just want you to know God finally got a hold of my life and I’ve been drug free for about eight years and I’ve continued working at my job but I’ve started take night classes and I’m studying to be a drug counselor and actually I’m very involved in a church out in lancaster who has a drug problem or a drug program and I just wanted you to know that I’m up here at a conference

training people to counsel for drugs um I loved it and then she said words that really I’ll never forget thank you thank you I know that was hard I know I was a stickler in so many ways but thanks and I realized wow born another born anew from above born anew from above and I’m sure I hope we all have stories like that whether it’s our own personal story or whether it’s others um but let’s go back to Nicodemus now because we left Nicodemus kind of saying oh in the world I’m an old guy how do I get born again get back into my mother’s womb that just doesn’t happen and Jesus comes in and says these words um oh I forgot this point sorry to be born anew from above or an oath in results in living as kingdom citizens brings transformation into our lives I looked at jean with a whole new way of seeing her here was someone who was

helping people with something that she had struggled with what a terrific person to be able to do that she was now a kingdom citizen making a difference got him got to move on to Nicodemus though we’re never going to get through this so Jesus replies to Nicodemus who’s still back thinking about how do I get born again Jesus says I assure you no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water in the spirit humans can reproduce only human life but the holy spirit gives birth to spiritual life so don’t be surprised when I say you must be born another or born anew from above the wind blows wherever it wants just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it’s going so you can’t explain how people are born of the spirit he starts out by saying okay Nicodemus tune in focus focus because I’m

going to tell you some truth right now uh I assure you no one can enter the kingdom of God not only is it you can’t see the kingdom unless you’re born again no one can enter the kingdom unless you’re born of water and the spirit and I would just I think this next slide gives another point to be born anew from above and nothing not only results in living as kingdom citizens but it results in living through the spirit’s power amen born of water and the spirit um you know if I think just in this context of John I think of John the Baptist when John the Baptist was ministering he said hey I I baptize you with water for repentance but there’s someone coming after me who’s going to baptize you with a spirit now I don’t know that Nicodemus knew much about John the Baptist so when Jesus uses this illustration of water and the spirit I think he’s

going back much farther remember Nicodemus was a great teacher of the israelite people I think Nicodemus when when he heard that water and spirit I think he went right back to the very get-go to the beginning to genesis 1. genesis 1 in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth the earth was formless and empty and the darkness covered the deep waters and the spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the water I believe that Nicodemus taught this many times to a student the water was formless and void and the spirit of God hovered over the waters and the creation occurred an amazing creation and frankly folks I don’t care how long you believe it took or how short you believe it took what I care is that you know that

God created and God hovered over these waters and he took that in his creation power he created the heavens and the earth he created the land and the water he created the birds and the fish she created the animals on the land and human beings he created man and woman and he put them in a garden it was beautiful and I think the most beautiful part of that garden and of his creation was that he could walk with the man and the woman who were made in his image what a time that must have been it’s a time I only imagine of because we know the man and the woman chose a different way things fell apart we no longer have just that open garden but we have Jesus coming and saying I’m coming to bring this kingdom back I’m coming to bring this back and I believe there’s another passage that uh that Nicodemus might think of and it’s in

ezekiel great passage uh ezekiel chapter 36 when the prophet says then I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean your filth will be washed away you’ll no longer worship idols I will give you a new heart I will put a new spirit in you I will take out of your stony stubborn heart and give you a tender response of heart and I’m going to put my spirit in you so you’ll follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations wow that’s a transformation that’s an another that’s a being born anew from above he’s coming down to cleanse us with water and to cleanse away those sins but you know what that’s not enough that’s not enough or you know John’s baptism might have been fine and maybe the baptism that Nicodemus did might have been fine because it makes people wet and they get clean and that’s it but no they needed the

power of the spirit to bring in that new life and that transformation and I believe that as Nicodemus heard this his mind is just reeling as he thinks about what he’s taught what he’s taught his followers his his uh students that uh you know what we have so many laws and we’ve got to figure out how we can live them in the best way possible so that we can please God and somehow make this place presentable so that God will once again want this garden-like effect with us and he’s hearing Jesus and he’s realizing you mean you’re telling me what I’ve committed my life to really can’t do it Jesus is saying no flesh begets flesh that’s all it does all your human effort only begets a human environment it doesn’t bring that spiritual transformation that God has for us you know right after ezekiel 36 and I’d encourage you go

read it ezekiel 37 it’s a great chapter it’s a wild chapter it’s the chapter of the dry bones it’s where um God prompted the prophet to go and he had this vision of a whole valley that’s just filled not with dead bodies just with skeletons that are all dried out and it pictured Israel this nation that God loved and they had been taken into exile and they they even said we’re just a bunch of dry bones we’ve lost our purpose where there’s nothing here for us anymore why are we even together and God said okay ezekiel I want you to prophesy over these dry bones and I want you to say I am going to put flesh back on your bones I’m going to bring those sinews together you’re going to begin to stand up but even more than that more than just putting flesh on your bones I’m going to put breath in your bodies I’m going to bring the life of the spirit

within you and you’re going to become a nation again and I believe very much that Nicodemus taught that to his students because hey they were a nation again they had seen themselves come back from exile but they didn’t quite catch on to the fact that it needs the spirit of God to bring the life of God into people and Jesus is looking at Nicodemus and said I’m not talking about a nation I’m talking about you tune in tune in um yeah the results of the spirit’s power you must be born anew from above well Nicodemus says oh how are these things possible how are these things possible first time he said how can I I’m an old man how do I get back in my mom’s womb and now he’s just dumbfounded how is this possible and Jesus said you’re a respected Jewish teacher and yet you don’t understand these things I assure you now that’s

that phrase truly truly verily verily focus Nicodemus focus I assure you and I believe this is kind of a little aside we tell you what we know and have seen and you don’t believe our testimony but if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things how in the world are you going to believe if I tell you about heavenly things Nicodemus tune in tune in because here no one has ever gone to heaven and returned but the son of man has come down from heaven let me just stop there it would have been so easy for Jesus just to say and that’s me he didn’t say that and I think he didn’t say that you know I’m just going to speculate that would have been a pretty tough thing for Nicodemus to swallow he just said hey no one’s ever gone to having to come back and told you but the son of man has come down from heaven and has told you and

then he gives Nicodemus something to kind of hang his hat on he goes to another story that Nicodemus probably taught his disciples he says as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness so the son of man is going to be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life numbers 21 tells that interesting but odd story about the israelite people God was providing for them taking them away from Egypt taking them to mount sinai and yet as they were on their way they got frustrated they missed the food in Egypt they started to complain and so God kind of I believe kind of removed his protection from them and these poisonous snakes came in and they started realizing oh no we’re dying God saveth God save and so God directed God directed Moses to take a bronze snake and put it on a pole stick

it up there and anybody who would look at that and believe that God would heal them they were healed and it says they they were delivered and here Jesus is telling Nicodemus when you see that happen to the son of man believe believe and I just want to tell you being born again being born anew from above yes it results in living as kingdom citizens it results in living through the spirit’s power it also results in living for eternity I don’t know about you all I’m blown away by that being purposeful being able to live in God’s kingdom this amazing kingdom that he started in the beginning and yet we chose a different way and now he’s coming back to bring the garden back taking his own spirit and infilling us so that we can live in the power of the spirit and then promising us you’re going to live with me for eternity and what is it it’s

based upon belief in the son of man when he’s lifted up I don’t think those words ever left Nicodemus you know I don’t know if it was just a few years or a few months I’m not sure just what the chronology was but as things started to culminate in Jesus ministry more and more the sanhedrin got together and tried to figure out how do we get rid of this Jesus guy how do we get rid of this sideshow that’s distracting our people and Nicodemus stood up in front of that 70 and he said I don’t think it’s right for us to condemn a man without hearing first his opinions his sides he actually stood up in front of the sanhedrin and he was ridiculed he was put down but then I believe so much when Nicodemus saw Jesus hanging on that cross the words flooded back to him when you see the son of man lifted up believe in him and you will have

eternal life look at what what Nicodemus did this is after Jesus was died after he he was taken down from the cross afterward joseph of arimathea who had been a secret disciple of Jesus because he feared the Jewish leaders asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus body and when Pilate gave permission joseph came and took the body away with him came Nicodemus the man who had come to Jesus at night he brought about 75 pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes and following Jewish burial custom they wrapped Jesus body with the spices and long sheets of linen cloth you know I believe very much I’m going to see Nicodemus someday and I’ll be able to apologize for having judged him so harshly and I love the fact that he was a sincere follower of God who took the time to meet Jesus at night and ask his

questions and to sit there in awe and wonder boy I challenge each one of us do we take that time do we take time just to meet with Jesus and ask our questions and and show our wonder and be in awe I hope we do I hope we do this passage goes on um you know and let me just say this uh John 3 16 which we all know and I’m going to ask Aaron to come on up we’re going to end with that song that we started with it’s a joyful song as joyful because of the words of this verse for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life have eternal life it’s God’s love that sent Jesus the son of man down to this earth to take our flesh to tell us about the kingdom that God has for us it’s God’s love that allowed his son to be tortured and sacrificed upon that cross for each

and every one of us to take our place it’s God’s love and power that raised Jesus from the grave so like Nicodemus we can look at that son of man on the cross and we can believe we can look at Jesus risen from the grave and we can believe and we can take that verse 17 and realize God didn’t send his son into the world to condemn us no but to save us to realize that Nicodemus saw God that at times was kind of wrathful a God that was fearful a God that he needed to try to live by all these rules and regulations and Jesus told him no he’s a God of love who welcomes you to come into his presence do you believe that I want us to sing this song and I just encourage us reflect on that you know if you need to just renew some of that honest understanding of his love do so if you need to if this is kind of the first time you’ve heard some

of this stuff and you’re saying Jesus I want that I want to believe well Jesus will hear you I I’d encourage you if any of you you don’t want to pray something like that please tell us about it because we want to walk with you through that too we want to walk with you but we want you to know we can be born anew from above it will transform us into purposeful kingdom citizens it will fill us with the power of his holy spirit and today we live eternally let’s sing together

What does it mean to be “Born again”? | Did You See That? (Part 4)2022-01-25T11:10:25-07:00

The Gospel is for Everyone | Did You See That? (Part 3)

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good morning friends how’s it going uh if you’re visiting my name is Alex I’m one of the pastors here I’ve been here like three weeks now and already someone has stolen my stool um I don’t really use it much anyway but uh it’s fine you know I’ll get over it I’m not resentful at all uh so great to see you guys nine o’clock service looking packed that means one thing there’s no broncos game today uh it was on Thursday and that means that I have already converted every single one of you into lions fans and you’re desperate to get home and watch the lion’s seats at 11 o’clock right no no one okay fine we’re in the middle of a series uh that we called did you see that this is the basic premise that we’re working around Jesus does some things uh every now and again and on the surface you might say well there’s an obvious thing that’s going on there and then you look a little deeper you kind of get into the weeds and you find that actually no

he’s got this whole other message going on when I thought about analogies that might help you understand this or help us understand this I thought about my life growing up in the 90s and some of you will have had these thrown at you regularly anyone know what it is it’s a magic eye now I was convinced for the longest time that this was like a conspiracy theory to make me look a bit foolish they tell you you’re supposed to hold it really close and slowly move it away and in all my years of doing magic eyes I have never seen the picture once I just cannot do it so my fundamental belief is that’s not a problem with me that’s you guys you’re just making this stuff up it’s not even there’s nothing there to look at but but the idea is you look in a particular way and you see something that’s that makes the image richer this is kind of the idea that we’re playing at with this series as we we go into the first chapters of john this biography of Jesus and

we start to pull out some of the things that are happening so we’re going to get into another passage in a minute but first I’m going to give you a couple of questions and there’s going to be three questions during the series the first one is a little bit of a warm-up question it’s this have you ever been denied access to something like have you ever had that embarrassing experience of trying to get in to some kind of venue some kind of event and they’re like no this isn’t for you maybe it was the way that you were dressed uh maybe it was something particular about you and a man that could be a heartbreaking story there maybe you turned up to a wedding that you thought you were invited to and you weren’t actually invited which happens more often than you would think I have a friend I’m going to call him jeff because that’s not his name and I worked with him for a while he was a big guy and he used to work on the door back in the the

time when club scenes in in birmingham in England were very big he was one of these doormen and he tells this wonderful story about the first time he was employed now now jeff would be maybe the first to say he’s not the sharpest knife in the toolbox or whatever you say there but but he’s a lovely guy and he tells this story about the first night he was asked to work at this new club that had just opened and his boss comes down to him after a while and says jeff were fall no one else comes in tonight and jeff looks at him and says all right boss no worries I’ve got this now he sounds a little like ozzy osbourne and and that’s not aussie being on drugs that’s just what people from our area sound like uh this is like a lot of development to get this accent to this point and so jeff says to his boss no worries I’ve got this covered nobody else will get in and so his boss goes back upstairs and then around five minutes later a huge rolls-royce pulls

up and out gets a musician his name is steve winwood he may be become be famous over here I don’t know but in England at the time he was huge and steve wynwood walks confidently towards the door he’s about to just you know make his entrance and jeff steps in front of him and says sorry mate we’ll fall no one else comes in tonight and so steve winwood looks at him and says the words that usually get him in anywhere he wants to go says I’m steve wynwood and jeff looks at me says I don’t care who you are mate you’re not coming in here tonight we’re full and so steve winwood gets back in his rolls-royce and leaves a few minutes later the manager comes down to jeff puts an arm on his shoulder and says jeff steve winwood turned up yet and jeff looks and says yeah I told him to get lost and the manager obviously did not react particularly well turns out steve wynwood was turning up at this brand new club as a

personal favor so the manager could tell everyone hey steve winwood was there tonight and now he wasn’t there tonight even people like that right they they have these moments where oh I didn’t quite make it I didn’t get access I was shut out I I was left on the outside second question how and where do you experience access to God and have you ever had that experience of feeling shut out there as well we’ll get into that a little bit more later how do you experience garden and because there might be some people that you would say I’m not church I don’t even know about this following Jesus thing I’ll expand that for you right now how do you experience things like what you might call the spirit the life force how do you find centering how do you find this this moment of meditation what is it that you do that enables you to do that yes there’s a chunk of us that would say we’re following Jesus and we have this definite

idea of what that looks like but for some of us maybe we’re not there yet maybe for some of you it’s some of these images maybe it’s mountains landscape nature maybe some of you who are like if it wasn’t for like this real existential guilt I’d be in the mountains right now something dragged me here to listen to you when this is where I’d rather be maybe it’s like that place of like oh there’s something here that makes me feel like I’m accessing the spirit maybe it is solitude maybe it’s a cup of coffee maybe like that’s the thing that like switches me up in the morning like there is no presence of God until the first cup of coffee goes down my throat and then maybe for some of you it’s it’s a particular activity for me it’s walking like when I can walk and step by step it feels like God is walking with me and I can process what I’m processing I can take a question for contemplation and I can slowly this was a picture I took by a lakeside on a

retreat earlier in the year and I got this experience of just like oh Jesus it feels like you’re walking step by step with me all of the things that didn’t make sense when I left it just suddenly it feels like slowly we’ve pressed them into order maybe it’s music maybe sitting down at a piano in the experience of like ah there’s an order here and this creativity here whatever it is hopefully every single one of us can say that there’s some kind of experience that leads us into that process it doesn’t have to be in church but it can be but here’s the thing for a good Jewish person in the first century if you’d have asked them about the presence of God 99 of them would have given you exactly the same answer the presence of God is found in the temple it’s in this particular place it’s not an activity it’s not somewhere in some experience it’s simply in this place where you can go and it might be hundreds of miles away but you go there and that

that is where God is present and he’s not really present in the same way anywhere else so hold all of that in your mind this is the experience of people in the first century that we’re talking about and and because I’ve heard from some of you and I already love you as a group of people you guys like to know where passages are in the bible and I do not put them on the screen I’m aware of that there are some really bad reasons for that and I’m not going to share them with you but because I love you already what I did for you is this so pull out your little camera phones and take your picture and you can go and find all the scripture passages that you want later in the day and and we’re going to go through a lot today we’re going to motor and we’re going to yeah strap yourselves in we’re going to get there hopefully so we’re going to start with the second part of john chapter two we were in the first part of john last week we did the

turning water into wine in the first service with you guys uh my favorite service it turned into like a nice clara in the little experiment in the the second service it was more like a rose uh didn’t work so well in the second service um and they uh were embarrassed for me just like my kids were so Jesus turns water into wine goes on a little trip back to his homeland and then it says he’s back in Jerusalem so if you’re opening your own text it’s john chapter 2 verse 13. when it was almost time for the Jewish passover Jesus went up to Jerusalem it was actually down to Jerusalem but the language of going up to Jerusalem was the correct language you always went up to Jerusalem in the temple courts he found people selling cattle sheep and doves and others sitting at tables exchanging money so he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple courts both sheep and cattle he scattered the coins of money changes

overturned their tables to those who sold doves he said get these out of here stop turning my father’s house into a market his disciples remember that it is written zeal for your house will consume me the Jews then responded to him what sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this Jesus answered them destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days they replied it’s taken 46 years to build this temple and you’re going to raise it in three days but the temple he spoke of was his body and after he was raised from the dead his disciples recalled what he had said and they believed the scriptures and the words that Jesus had spoken let’s pray and then let’s just jump into what’s happening here God thank you for your presence here with us that however we feel about our ability to access that we’re going to learn that you say that we are welcome God we take this word and we believe as your followers

that you breathed on it God would you breathe on us make us come alive in new ways in ways that we feel empty in ways that we feel alone in ways that we don’t feel enough breathe on us may we come alive thank you Jesus for your presence with us amen okay so here we go first passage when it was almost time for the Jewish passover Jesus went up to Jerusalem in the temple courts he found people selling cattle sheep doves and others sitting at the tables exchanging money Jesus went to a temple and he finds a tent market this is cebu city public market uh carbon market I went there when I was 19 years old my first overseas mission experience and after many hours of travel travel they dumped me into this marketplace and said just go and explore and just the intensity of the heat and the noise and everything being yelled at me and all of these kids coming up and asking me for money I had no experience of

any of this kind of stuff so when you see kids on the street asking you for money what was the first thing I did I pulled out my wallet and started handing money out and everyone with me on the trip just like inhaled and said don’t do that whatever you do don’t do that everything about the experience though seemed the opposite of what you might call worship at least to me Jesus goes to Jerusalem and he’s looking for a temple and he finds a tent market he’s looking for something orderly and he finds something chaotic he’s looking for something spiritual and he finds something secular he’s looking for something sacred and he finds something secular and this is where we land in the middle of this passage it’s not what you sort of think about when you think about something like orderly worship it’s this mess of noise and chaos that Jesus encounters and so what’s his reaction there his reaction seems doesn’t it like the most unJesus-

like reaction that you might find at least if you go by what you’re told Jesus looks like when you’re a kid because we learn those things like Jesus gentle Jesus meek and mild was one of the rhymes that we got to learn and then this is the Jesus we’re presented with Jesus is ex acting exactly like we would tell our kids not to act in church this kind of behavior just doesn’t fly right so he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple courts both sheep and cattle he scattered the coins of the money changes and overturned the tables to those who sold doves he said get these out of here stop turning my father’s house into a market his disciples remember that it is written zeal for your house will consume me so when you read this what you might see is this Jesus wants to create a better divide between spiritual and sacred so between spiritual and secular he wants to create this world where like the two are kept far

apart from each other and this place where you’re going to church in the first century equivalent he wants it to be controlled and he wants it to be ordered and all those different things but I wonder if that’s really what’s happening this story is really interesting in some ways because it’s one of the only things that we see Jesus do that is in every one of the four biographies of his life death and resurrection are in all four of them uh the feeding of 5 000 people from a few loaves and fishes is in all four of them and this one is in all four of them interestingly there’s a couple of differences right so in the first three matthew mark and luke this is right at the end of Jesus life you could say that this is the thing that causes his death this is the moment where the Jews say like we’re done with this guy he is too much trouble but in john it’s right at the beginning so okay probably got some theologians here and stuff like that

based on where we are by a seminary and and some of you guys have been around you’ve studied for a long time one argument could be that Jesus did this twice he went and he cleared people out the temple twice now personally my my my feeling is this this isn’t the sort of thing that you get away with doing twice this is a big deal he goes and he causes absolute chaos in one of the most sacred places in the world the center of judaism on earth Jesus goes in and he just goes crazy to me that doesn’t feel like something you get away with doing twice I would expect at least one of the writers would say something like oh by the way this was the second time he did it and it was just as embarrassing as the first time he did it I would expect some honest reflection of we hid under tables the first time we hid under tables the second time and we’re never going back to the temple with this guy ever again because it’s got this feeling of like

no you get away with doing this thing once so that that’s my personal reading if you think he happened to do it twice then that’s fine I would suggest it probably happened once and in good first century fashion john this writer is not actually super interested in chronology that isn’t the most important thing to him he doesn’t need everything to be this happened then this happened this happened he’s using this to story tell he’s taken this thing that Jesus did in history and he’s putting it right at the start and saying this explains everything that Jesus did this covers a turn of what he was doing here on earth if you if you want to get an idea of what Jesus was all about take this story right at the beginning and this is what I would suggest is happening here but when you read the other passages actually you do get like a little bit more information because this is what mark another writer says Jesus does and he would not allow

anyone to carry anything through the temple and he was teaching them saying to them it is is it not written my house should be called a house of prayer for all the nations but you have made it a den of robbers my house should be called a house of prayer for all the nations we’ll get to that in a second Jesus is essentially in the business of protest now you could feel all sorts of things politically about what happened in washington in seattle over the last few months but it gives us this good reference point for what Jesus is doing because we don’t have to agree with the politics to see what this is this is this form of protest and some of you may be totally unborn some of you may not and that’s fine but chas the capitol hill autonomous zone was a group of people that gathered together and said as a form of protest we’re going to take over this area and we’re going to run it in a different way Jesus is doing that now one of the things that was

incredible to see with this whole thing is there was some stuff that happened that was wonderful there was some stuff that happened that wasn’t one of the things I did get some amusement from was the garden that was started in chas because that to me just felt like it wasn’t going to feed anybody um and so there was this moment of like that is what happens when you move out of your parents house and you have to pay rent for the first time that’s like feeding ourselves is definitely not as easy as we thought but this protest that’s what Jesus is doing he’s saying there’s something wrong with the way that the world is operating here and we need to do something about it now it’s hard for us maybe to take Jesus as doing anything politically we think of him as having this bigger goal but actually the goal right is the same Jesus said there’s something wrong with this system think about that phrase that mark uses he talks

about this idea that this house is a house of prayer for all nations early on what I would suggest is this Jesus isn’t talking primarily about splitting sacred and secular he’s actually talking about access he’s talking about who gets to be involved he’s talking about who gets to experience presence what was the system in place so we’re going to track back and you’ve got all those passages if you want to look at them we’re going to jump back into this book exodus which is like groundwork for everything that happens in the Jewish faith this is where this thing gets formed there’s these pre-history stories in genesis there’s the the patriarchs and all these important things going on but exodus is where we get like down to the details of how a relationship with God works with a community on earth and so this is what we read this is the system that Jesus is protesting the lord descended to the top of mount sinai and called Moses

to the top of the mountain so Moses went up and the lord said to him go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the lord and many of them perish when the priests who approach the lord even the priests who approach the lord must consecrate themselves or the lord will break out against them if you’re unfamiliar with the church then when you see lord you can read God this was this personal name that Jewish people had for God in Hebrew it’s the word Yahweh in our English bible we’ll write lord then have them make a sanctuary for me and I will dwell among them make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you and then we get some details this was chapter 19 we’re going to skip down to 26 hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain the curtain will separate the holy place from the most holy place put the

atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law in the most holy place and then one final one for the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the lord therefore there I will meet you and speak to you there also I will meet with the Israelites and the place will be consecrated by my glory okay I destroyed my office earlier to give you a visual illustration of this so I might get a protest and and this I’ve learned the optimum angle for standing this up is like 35 degrees uh so hopefully we can uh get this to stand in some kind of good orderly fashion otherwise my friends on the front row um will be squashed we’re seeing some lean we’ll trust it so so this is what we’re talking about we’re talking about something we’re very familiar with we’re talking about doorways we’re talking about entrances we’re talking about access in this language that God gives to these

people he says I am coming to dwell amongst you but I am different than you and so there’s this this barrier that is controlled the access is controlled there is access there is experience there is God’s presence but there’s this way of controlling that access to do it in the right way and he talks about how a priest will come and he will do this thing where he will go in once a year and give a very specific offering and he’s the only person that can come and experience God but but really anyone can come anyone can stay on the peripheral it’s just got to be controlled because God is different and God is holy and to experience his presence exactly as he is this God who has been there beyond time immoral a human being can’t handle that so it’s controlled but what happens to this system when human beings get involved it might start perfectly fine but over time something happens what had the system become the system had

become about limiting access suddenly there were all these different steps there was not just this one barrier between God and humanity not just just this one sacrifice that was offered but suddenly there was a place where the gentiles could go and suddenly there was a place where the Hebrew women could go and suddenly there was a place where the Hebrew men could go and then there was the court of the levites and it was there were all these different steps and constant barriers and this system was put in place that controlled access not not to make it safe not to make it possible for human beings like you and I to experience God but suddenly to stop human beings experiencing God think about this as as what we talked about earlier every one of us has experienced this and we talked about this like right at the beginning you’ve experienced that moment where you hit a stop sign and in this system that the Jewish rulers

had set up everyone hit this eventually you might get so far but you were never going to really experience God in the way that he was intended to be experienced instead of a system enabling you to experience God we had this system that stopped you experiencing God controlled by a sacred place by a sacred man with a sacred text with a sacred ritual and what Jesus encountered was this he walked into a temple where everything was about selling and profit and making more money the money changers were there to rob you as they exchanged your foreign coins for their coins the people selling doves were there to profit from from what you would give them there was a whole money lending system that was going on that enabled poor people to stay in poverty they would lend at incredible rates of interest and everything about the system had become warped and what Jesus sees now is not something that enables

people to access God safely what he sees now is something that stops people accessing God this thing that was designed to make it possible for people just like you and I to know this God suddenly stops people knowing this God and isn’t this what he sees in this group pharisees that we see come up time and time again woe to you teachers of the law and pharisees you hypocrites you shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces you yourselves do not enter nor you let those enter who are trying to Jesus sees a mass of humanity broken hurting lonely damaged that are coming to experience the divine in this place and then he sees a system that’s designed to make that as difficult as possible that’s designed to hit them with those many stop signs and to charge them as much money to get through the system as they possibly can this is what Jesus is protesting the system had become not about access it had

become about control aren’t we still talking about access in today’s world even outside of the religious level of things aren’t we still talking about who gets to access what isn’t that so much of the tension in the world today this is a chance the rapper this was a song that he released really briefly I don’t know if you’ll be able to read it there it made the fun a little bit too small but it never really went anywhere he just did it on stephen colbert’s show one evening but just something about the lyrics just captured me I hear the scene snapping and I’m the team captain no more knees slapping or shoes shining or shoe signing till the dream happens I’m just going to keep rapping and you all just keep clapping and keep acting like flint got clean water and you all don’t got teen daughters and black friends and gay cousins you’re just gonna say nothing know that the days coming knees bowed tongues confessing last ones getting first dibs on blessings

and then it hits this refrain after this where it says the days on its way and it can’t wait no more here it comes a day is on its way it can’t wait no more here it comes Jesus is beginning to do this thing where he’s going to talk about tearing apart the system and replacing it with something different and it’s like this table flipping moment it’s this moment where it says I just can’t wait anymore the crucifixion the resurrection they’re a little way down the line but but I’m going to flip some tables because this system is broken and it needs changing and you see that protest in that song don’t you that like would would the situation in flint michigan be the same if that was new york city it wouldn’t would it and that’s this tension that you see in the world who has access to service who has access to the potential to for prosperity all these different things and Jesus is seeing something similar in the world he’s facing people cannot access God in the way

that they’re supposed to and Jesus says the day is coming it’s on its way I’m just going to flip some tables and we’re going to get this thing started a little earlier this is the incredible magic of what Jesus done Jesus taught a radical level of access that began with a revelation of how God saw humanity that he sees us as broken yes he sees us as hurting yes but he sees us as made to be very good he sees us with his core that is his image and continued with what God would do for humanity because that’s the next thing that’s the next passage this is the third question what happens when you attack a millennia old religious system that was believed to have been divinely mandated okay it’s a little more complex than the questions before what happens when at least to the Jewish people you stand up and say I’m about to tear this thing down it’s never going to be the same again in almost every circumstance you end up dead you

end up with a huge problem on your hands because people don’t like that the Jews responded to him what sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this Jesus answered them destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days they replied it’s taken 46 years to build this temple and you’re going to raise it in three days but the temple he had spoken of was his body after he was raised from the dead his disciples recalled what he had said then they believed the scripture and the word Jesus had spoken I hope that I have some greek language nerds out there with me uh I’m very nerdy about this kind of thing I’m always intrigued just as why people pick different words up until now everyone who’s mentioned the word temple in this passage has used this word uh hereon it’s the temple in terms of like everything the temple grounds the outer courts all those different things and and so that’s what we’ve been building

towards this there’s this place that’s wide and it has all these things going on it and then Jesus very intentionally I think will suddenly flip the word he’ll suddenly use something else he’ll suddenly use this word naos which means the very place that God resides suddenly he’s not talking about the wider court suddenly he’s not talking about the marketplace on the outside of it the court of the gentiles all these different terms that you may or may not be familiar with suddenly he’s talking about the very heart of the temple that place we read back in exodus where it says build me a sanctuary the most holy place put these things here and send this priest in once a year suddenly he’s saying that thing that’s me when you talk about killing me when you talk about my death you’re talking about knocking down that very central thing and when you knock it down I’ll build it again in three days and when I do that the world will never

be the same again I don’t know if any of you are golfers golf fans out there I know there’s a couple of us the most sacred place on earth in terms of golf unless you go to the country where golf was invented um but at least in America the most sacred place is augusta national where they play the masters and this place is pristine and this is beautiful and this is the heart of augusta the hogan bridge this is just this stunning piece of gulf architecture it’s like a temple to people that love golf what Jesus is saying to these people is he’s saying I’m tearing down your whole system nothing will be the same again it is like going to a girlfriend saying I’m putting condos on the 11th fairway I’m tearing this thing down and I’m just building like something completely different Jesus is threatening everything that they know about the way that the temple works and of course the reaction there is not going to be great Jesus is reinventing

access he’s about to do something for you and I that we could never do for ourselves and for a little while we’re going to just land and we’ve not got a ton of time because I overrun uh regularly we’re going to land in this story and just look at what this means for unite and this to me is just delightful so this is acts chapter eight now an angel of the lord said to Philip now remember post death post-resurrection everything Jesus said by flipping tables he is now done in real life go south to the road the desert road that goes to from Jerusalem to gaza so he started out on his way to meet an ethiopian eunuch I spent like 50 minutes trying to think through how I could carefully describe what a unique is to people that don’t know and I’m just going to leave it here if you don’t know use google work the internet machine and figure it out because I I couldn’t figure out a description an important official in charge of all the treasury of

the kandaki which was the queen of the ethiopians this man had gone to Jerusalem to worship but on his way home was sitting in a chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet the spirit told Philip go to that chariot and stay near it then Philip ran to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet do you understand what you are reading Philip asked how can I he said unless someone explains it to me so he invited Philip to come up and sit with him and we’ll go back for one second this man had gone to Jerusalem all it says to us is that he’d gone to worship but I’m intrigued as to what happened to him when he got there see hidden away in the old testament what it says is this no eunuch can enter the assembly of God you are not welcome here that stop sign he got hit at barrier one there is no access for you here you are not welcome so I’m intrigued did he go and when he got to worship what did they say to him how is

he feeling when he comes back because if he’s gone and been turned away man that is a long drive back to ethiopia gone with this passion to worship this God that he has heard about his what Jewish people would call a God fearer he’s gone to worship and been told no you’re not welcome and then he meets this guy Philip who sits alongside him and as he’s reading this passage from Isaiah asks if he can get up and explain it to him and this is the passage he was read he was led like asleep to the sheep to the slaughter and as a lamb before it shear as his silent so he did not open his mouth in his humiliation he was deprived of justice who can speak of his descendants for his life was taken from the earth the eunuch asked Philip please tell tell me please who is the prophet talking about himself or someone else and then Philip began with that very passage of scripture and told him the good news about Jesus starts to unpack for him

this idea that Jesus created access for everybody that he did this not just on a worldwide level last week we talked about the idea that the kingdom is coming the world will never be the same again but this week we’re talking about the very personal fact that Jesus chose to make access possible for each one of us in this very individual way and my hope and my dream for this ethiopian eunuch is that as Jesus starts to read Isaiah he starts to continue to read because I’d just love to share with you what it says in Isaiah 56 and it wasn’t in your list of scriptures connie I’m afraid you’ll have to remember that one let’s see if I can find it really quick this is what Isaiah goes on to say after unpacking what Jesus has done for every single one of us let no foreigner who is bound to the lord say the lord will surely excuse exclude me from his temple and let no eunuch complain I am only a tree for this is what the lord says to the eunuchs who

keep my sabbaths who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant to them I will give within my temple and its wars a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever and foreigners who bind themselves to the lord to minister to him to love the name of the lord and to be his servants all who keep the sabbath without desecrating who hold fast to my covenant these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer Jesus stands in the temple courts and says this was made to be for all people all the time from anywhere with any background of any brokenness and this is what he’s unpacking for us this isn’t about splitting sacred and secular this is about access this is about the fact that we’re done with stop signs Jesus creates access

for all people all times anywhere any place any space

The Gospel is for Everyone | Did You See That? (Part 3)2022-01-25T10:31:20-07:00

Why did Jesus change Water to Wine? | Did You See That? (Part 2)

Text is automatically produced. Errors may be present.

so good morning friends how’s everyone doing today if you’re visiting my name is Alex I’m one of the pastors here it’s great to see the room full of people as far as social distancing allows so a little about my week uh so I woke up on Friday it’s my day off strolled out into the deck to look at the mountains all those things that I do now I live in Colorado with you guys only to hear the sound of running water now my instant reaction was wait you’re not in England anymore it doesn’t rain here I actually asked some guys I went disc golfing with Aaron and a couple of guys I said do you guys miss rain just doesn’t seem to do that anymore and so having lived in in a delightful sort of environment where I was in a parsonage and if there was ever a problem I just called somebody else my immediate reaction to this pouring water was well I need to call someone and then I realized I was now the person that I would call um which wasn’t good news so I spent the next 45 minutes becoming an expert on what I am now told are called pressure release valves um and impressively I fixed this myself for four dollars assuming it’s not pouring with water again now at home uh now here’s the thing if there’s any plumbers here I’m sorry I didn’t send any business your way but I just figured you know this was this was on me uh so

that was what my week started it was like all my weekended like but we’re not talking about that um yeah I agree I love having kids in the service so fun we’re going to jump into john chapter 2. so if you have a text feel free to open it it’s not going to come up on the screen to start with we’ll go through it bit by bit a little later on but right now I’m just going to read it for you so we started in this book john last week we’re going to do the first four chapters we’re not going to go completely verse by verse so those of you that love that verse by verse my new detail thing we have the daily things for those uh it would be very difficult to get through every single verse over five weeks so we’re gonna jump down from part way through chapter one and we’re gonna start in on chapter two if you are completely new to church maybe you’re watching a video someone sent you maybe you turned up because you just turned up john is one of four stories of Jesus life now there’s Matthew mark Luke and john they all tell it in slightly different ways and john is this this one that goes into some of these rich details that I just love dropping in on so here we go before we run into it lets pray God we believe as followers of Jesus that you breathed on this book and it came alive God we’re asking now

would you breathe into us make us alive in new ways pull things out of us that are messy ugly replacing with good we thank you that in Jesus all things are made new and we’re excited to see newness and life in this text amen on the third day a wedding took place at Cana in galilee Jesus mother was there and Jesus and the disciples had also been invited to the wedding when the wine was gone Jesus mother said to him they have no more wine mother woman why do you involve me Jesus replied my hour has not yet come his mother said to the servants do whatever he tells you nearby six stone water jars the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing each holding from 20 to 30 gallons Jesus said to the servants fill the jars with water so that they may be fur so they are filled to the brim then he told them now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet they did so and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine he did not realize where it had come from though the servants who had drawn it new then he called the bridegroom aside and said everyone brings out the choice wine first than the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink but you have saved the best until now what Jesus did there in Cana of galilee was the first of the signs

through which he revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him the bible asks us to take seriously this idea that Jesus took water and he turned it into wine and that is the cheapest parlor trick you will ever see in church my daughter said to me like what if it doesn’t work that’s going to be really embarrassing for you isn’t it I said well it could be embarrassing anyway Jesus took water and he turned it into wine now do not drink this uh just a warning to you no one come up here and try and grab an early morning glass of wine but the reaction there of like whoa I need to figure that out is exactly the reaction of the first followers of Jesus exactly the reaction of the wedding guests at least the ones that knew there’s this sense of like where did that come from the book john the second chapter asks us to take seriously the idea that the divine will interfere in the normal pattern of things the divine will interfere into the normal pattern of things if you want to write something like that down that is maybe a good working I don’t know if this is working maybe I have to turn it on or something like that I’m going to slick it slickly move it there we go the divine entering the into the world to actively work around or against the laws that govern our reality the truth is when the wine is gone the wine is gone and yet with Jesus present that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore there’s an argument that you

can make that this other than the resurrection is the greatest miracle that Jesus will perform every other miracle is based around and Jesus became very well known as a miracle worker every other miracle is based around a couple of things it’s about taking something that has become warped and damaged and repairing it someone goes lame and Jesus it miraculously makes that limb work again someone was born blind the function of growing in the womb didn’t happen as it should have done and Jesus kind of starts that process again and makes it work but this one this is a little different right for years people even wise theologians have maybe read this miracle a little bit wrong a famous writer a kind of rock star theologian from the fourth and fifth century Augustine he said all Jesus does here is speed up the natural process but does he doesn’t have grapes doesn’t have anything just has water and the bible asks us to take seriously that water didn’t just become wine it became the best wine so we’re going to track through the series as I said I’ve outlined for you last week we’re calling it did you see that the idea is that sometimes there’s the story and then sometimes there’s the thing behind the story and then sometimes there’s the thing behind the thing behind the story unless

we know what we’re looking for unless we’re aware of some of the contexts unless we’re aware of some of the history we might be just missing huge chunks of what’s actually happening this is this idea that sometimes you blink and sometimes you missed it so we’re going to spend this time looking sort of deep into these things this is maybe a little illustration that helps you understand this this is grant a cats he is one of the best chefs in the world he appeared on the scene in 2003 and his cooking was just revolutionary he opened a restaurant in a linear way for a mere 280 you can sit down to 22 courses each paired with wine but this guy in in his style was just revolutionary and what he said he wanted to do was this he wanted to turn food into a a form of theater so he wanted you to eat and to not be aware of what was going on around you until the thing sort of jumped up in front of you so an example of how this works is this you’ll sit down and a table host will bring you to your seat and as you’re sitting there a basket of fruits and different foods will lower from the ceiling and then someone will bring out a piece of fire they’ll place a fire on the table cooking and burning in front of you and you’ll take these bits of fruits like marshmallows and things and you take them and you’ll cook them over the fire for

yourself and you’re absorbed in this theater and these different tastes and what’s going on around you and then finally a table host will come over and they’ll take away the fire when you’re finished with this course place it on the table next to you and break it apart and inside this fire is a chicken thigh wrapped in foil and he’s been cooking in front of you the entire time and you’ve been completely unaware of it I would suggest that there’s times when we read specifically john but also other new testament writers other old testament writers these writers they’re doing something under the surface that we’re not even aware of they’re to take that analogy they’re cooking in front of us and we don’t even know it’s happening and then there’s the moment where the thing comes to life it jumps out and we’re like oh that’s what they were talking about that’s the thing those are har moments or what make the new testament come alive it’s oh that was the thing all along and so as we go through this book on this book john I’m hoping you see those all the time I’m hoping they jump out to you and as you would expect this one is no different so here we go let’s go back to the text on the third day a wedding took place at Cana in galilee Jesus mother was there and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to

the wedding so weddings in the first century bc a.d were a huge deal seven days of feasting and celebration over a wedding a wedding was a massive deal and Jesus and his followers have gone a pretty good distance to this wedding sometimes we forget that this is a context where there’s no cars very few people have beasts of burden or anything like that so they have been hanging out somewhere maybe in this sort of lakey region on the right that’s called the sea of galilee or maybe somewhere very down at the south and this is probably where caner is so they’ve walked this seven miles to this celebration man I would have to really like someone to walk seven miles but you guys are Coloradans you’re hikers you’d walk anywhere for you know seven miles another seven hours is nothing to you guys uh 24 kilometers I’m gonna have to convert that for you guys because of course you don’t do kilometers over here uh so around 15 16 miles and so they’ve made this huge journey across to this wedding and you expected something when you turned up to a wedding this was so ingrained in the culture of the day that like when you went to a wedding it was like ah I’m expecting something good and then this line gets thrown in which to us in our 21st century mindset doesn’t seem that big a deal when the

wine was gone Jesus mother said to him they have no more wine I’ve been to weddings run out of wine all the time it’s not reasonable surely to keep giving people endless supplies of wine especially if you’re paying for it as the host why would you expect that at all it just seems unreasonable but to a first century ad person to run out of wine was the end of joy it meant that every part of the wedding that had been worth celebrating up till now that sort of like that celebration that had been building every single bit of energy was now sucked from the building a wedding that ended up with no wine would be remembered forever as the wedding that ended up with no wine imagine yourself in that situation imagine how a couple would feel to be that couple that were talked about that were laughed about all over town this wasn’t an environment where there were all these different activities going on social events were the activities of the day they were the football games of the day they were the baseball games of the day and to end up with know why meant that this would be the thing that was talked about this isn’t just a throwaway statement oh they’ve run out of wine this is a disaster think about that in atoms I’ve been at a couple of weddings where I’ve sort of seen almost impending

disaster I’ve actually been involved in impending disaster as well my brother’s wedding a couple of years ago I was the best man I got to give a speech and all those kind of things and as we’re sitting eating I’m just not feeling good and I start to look at the people around me Laura is sat next to me and I don’t want to say anything because you know it’s my brother’s wedding I’m like is it is it just me or is the food here not good have they done a really bad job with a catering and my wife looked at me she’s like no the food’s wonderful and that was the moment where I knew something could be a problem and so I sort of managed to stumble through the best man speech and all those kind of things and we got that part done and then a guy came over to me I’d made friends with him over the weekend and he knew I was a pastor and he heard me give the address at the wedding and he said to me you know what I uh I’d love to talk to you about just spiritual stuff I’ve just got this feeling that there’s something in the world and I’d love to kind of just get down and figure out what it was and as a pastor that’s like gold like how often does that happen no one ever asks us that question they just they just don’t it’s like no I’d really love to get down to these deep details I’m thinking about who Jesus is and all these kind of

things and in that moment something like there starts to move and I just looked at him I said Glenn I would love to have this conversation with you another time and I just darted as quick as I could to the bathroom and the normal order of things followed you know talking on the big white phone or whatever we call that these days and this just was so close to being that disastrous moment that could have been the speech that could have been like half an hour 20 minutes earlier unfortunately by some grace or something in the universe I I got through it okay but we all know those moments in weddings that are truly terrible that maybe the pinnacle is the one where the priest or pastor will say if anyone has any objection to this ceremony raise your hand or forever hold your peace and every time even if I’m not really involved I have this moment of like please nobody put your hand up just let’s just let it go they we understand what social embarrassment means we understand what the worst thing that can happen at a wedding is and there’s probably a load of others that you’ve either seen or imagined or different things this for someone in the first century ad this was it this was as bad as it could get they have no more why now to get into some of the weeds of this a second like that maybe

causes some tension for us all sorts of different backgrounds here some of you have been in church since like year dot since you can remember some of you are fairly new to church in the western church we have a pretty uncomfortable relationship with wine alcohol all those different things there’s a tension there right and tension’s not bad tension is actually a really great place for us to learn Jewish people managed this tension really well they were really comfortable with the idea that wine had a purpose but it wasn’t like the end goal they were okay with these two concepts sort of running together woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may run after strong drink who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them and then also the second concept from a different part of the old testament he makes grass grow for the cattle and plants for people to cultivate bringing forth food from the earth and wine that gladdens human hearts two completely different ideas right woe to this person and then at the same time wine gladdens humans hearts the rabbis had this saying uh drunkenness is a disgrace but without wine there is no joy so for all of us in this room all over the place there’s different reactions maybe right some of us are like I’m just not comfortable I

know someone who’s been through addiction we have this celebrate recovery program that we absolutely love and I’m so excited that south is involved in that and we recognize that there’s this real sense that alcohol is dangerous when it’s out of control that it can be this huge problem and yet for thousands of years people have had this idea that wine brings joy as well uh this incredible uh photo photographer from brazil uh Marco Alberti decided to take pictures of the weight of life on his friends so he would drag them in after work and say I want to take a picture of you and just see how the day has affected you and then I want to give you a glass of wine and I want to have you drink it and then I want to take another picture and just for that illustrated thing just look and this isn’t me saying you should go out and drink wine this is me isn’t me saying if you have a problem you should go drink it or any of those things but just look at the difference these are people that come in from their day and feel weight and for whatever reason the next picture casts a completely different expression so this is the tension we’re talking about right there is a genuine sense that wine brings joy that sitting and enjoying a glass with friends has a joyfulness to it and yet it is also on the other side this dangerous thing and

we can’t avoid that tension we embrace it and accept it for some reason at this wedding the fact that they had run out of wine was a disaster and we are going to watch as Jesus not only produces wine but he produces lots and lots of wine when you read the text what we’ll see in a second is that Jesus will take these huge ceremonial parts it says that there are about 30 gallons each and he’ll turn these into the best wine 30 gallons is about the amount of water that you will put into a bath to take a bath and Jesus produces eight of them in our modern day understanding of wine bottles that’s 800 bottles of the finest wine you could imagine that causes me some tension Jesus gives these guests that have been drinking for seven for three days and says here’s another 800 bottles I don’t know that I actually know what to do with that and we’ll get there in a second but there’s this moment where it looks like the miracle won’t happen at all there’s this moment where Jesus uh mother will come to him and he’ll say woman why do you involve me Jesus replied my hour has not yet come people have struggled with the way that Jesus addresses his mother there it’s not particularly a nice way of talking to her it’s not the very English mummy it’s not dear woman it’s not my lovely mother it’s woman why are

you why are you telling me what to do so there’s a thing going on here under the surface that this is what’s called a literally literary purpose so he’s it’s this he’s setting something up in lots of Jewish stories there was this idea that a man would grow up and he would separate himself from his mother’s influence so this is what john is doing here he’s talking about this moment where Jesus has become his own man he’s now 30 you started his own ministry and now she’s come to him and said you can fix this situation my question there is like is what has she seen what has she seen in him over those years that he’s grown up that says this situation that’s a disaster you can do something about it now if you’ve read the new testament you know that there’s these promises that she’s heard when he was a little boy he would go to the temple and people would say oh this child is going to be the savior of Israel he’s going to do all these incredible things but she must have seen something that says this is a problem that he can fix and for a moment this thing just hovers with this tension she’s made a request and he on the surface said not ready to do anything not ready to step out the thing is coming but I’m not ready right now it’s this hovering moment of like ah will the thing happen at all and she just

with this beautiful confidence I think is on the slide before she just says to the servants do whatever do whatever he tells you somewhere there’s this maternal instinct that says it’s going to be fine he’s not going to leave them hanging it’s going to be okay and then we see the miracle nearby stood six stone water jars the kind used by Jews for ceremonial washing each holding from 20 to 30 gallons Jesus said to the servants fill the jars with water so they filled them to the brim then he told them now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet they did so and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine he did not realize where it had come from though the servants who had drawn the water knew then he called the bridegroom aside everybody brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink but you have saved the best until now again what he’s not saying there is that everybody there was wasted uh he’s not saying that at all like and again they’re comfortable with his tension wine is to be celebrated drunkenness at a wedding would have been a disgrace what he means is that after three days of drinking different types of wine you just kind of like I don’t even know what wine tastes like

anymore it just has this just standard wine flavor so the best wine would come first when people still had what they would call a discerning palette and then slowly they would bring out the cheaper stuff and then this is all flipped with Jesus he’s created this miracle this wedding is now going to be known as the wedding where in this incredible display of generosity after three days of giving wine the host said actually I’ve got 800 bottles that are even better in a society that was built unlike reciprocal giving every other person holding a wedding would be terrified to hold a wedding now what am I going to have to produce to keep up with the guy that produced 800 bottles out of nowhere when we had this moment that we thought the wine was gone he said suddenly no I have more to give you this wedding instead of going down in history as a disaster will go down as in history as the wedding that no other wedding could ever compare to and that maybe leads us into what’s really going on here because I don’t think this story is really just about wine at all again they’re very comfortable with attention wine has good points and bad points but Jesus didn’t do this just for the why there’s this whole other story this undercurrent that I want us to pick out for a second so here we go back in the chapter that we

looked at last week john chapter one we talked about how john has this incredible nerve to take Jesus and to place him in john in in genesis chapter one he talks about Jesus in the same way that genesis chapter one will talk about God who created the earth he puts Jesus right there at the beginning and that would have been a tension for Jewish people and then john wall land us in another tension as well because now he’s going to compare Jesus to this figure Moses that looms in their past as the guy that delivered or God used to deliver their nation and for the rest of john chapter one that’s what john does he starts to talk about this idea out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given for the law was given through Moses grace and truth came from Jesus Christ no one has ever seen God but the one and only son who is himself God and his in closest relationship with the father has made him known the whole of john will take Moses and Jesus and constantly compare them with this constant theme over and over again Moses was fine in actual fact he was incredible he was good but Jesus is something different to give you a sense of the tension for a Jewish people imagine if I had arrived here last week and stood on stage after the worship and said something like this

you guys have spent the last like 40 something years as a community worshiping Jesus I’ve got a better idea now it’s going to be about me you’re just going to spend the next however many years worshiping me instead I’m going to take Jesus out of the center central focus I’m going to put myself there this is at its core what this chapter is doing it’s saying we have talked about Moses and how God has used him as the prophet the guy for centuries and now you’re going to take Moses out and say no no we’re going to do that maybe me is a bad example because I’m so human maybe I put Billy graham in there for you cory evangelicals or something like that there’s that does that sense of like what do you mean you’re going to take Moses out and put yourself in that place and I would suggest to you that all that we’re going to see through john is this constant reflection of like well Moses was fine but now there’s this new thing that’s happening this Jesus story goes beyond all of that this story about turning water into wine there’s only one thing in the whole of the old testament new testament that compares to it at all as this moment where the children of Israel this group of Jewish people leave Egypt they’ve been in captivity for hundreds of years and then through the series of miracles the pharaoh will

decide to let them go and this is one of those miracles Moses and Aaron did as the lord commanded in the sight of pharaoh in the sight of his servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile and all the water in the Nile turned into blood and the fish in the Nile died and the Nile stank so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt Moses takes water and he turns it into blood and God incredibly uses this narrative to take these children of Israel out of Egypt and they leave as this group and all these other people follow them it’s called an era of raven in Hebrew it’s like this mixed up messy multitude of people it’s like they said to all the outsiders hey if you want to leave too just come with us and suddenly this group that was about 600 000 maybe suddenly become something more like a couple of million and they just wander out into the desert and it is miraculous it is this world-changing event and then along comes Jesus and he says I’m going to turn water into wine and then everyone reading retrospectively would read it in the light of oh yeah but what happened at easter at easter he sat around with his earliest followers and he handed them a cup and he said this wine what does it represent this represents my blood and

this isn’t just about deliverance from Egypt it’s about deliverance from everything think about those songs that we tapped into earlier those songs that talked about the idea of the defeat of death that death no longer has a hold on me this is what Jesus is beginning to do now his hour may not yet have come he may not be ready for that final thing that final thing that says that death is over but this is like a hint of it this is like the thing is coming every single thing that Jesus is doing here isn’t about wine at a wedding it isn’t about whether wine is good or bad this thing here is about a new kingdom that he’s on the doorstep the thing is about to happen and Jesus in this cred incredible way kind of like signals just keep waiting just keep waiting this is going to change everything this is like a classic messianic promise text from back in the old testament think about this in light of turning water into wine on this mountain the lord almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples a banquet of aged wine the best of meats and the finest of wines on this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples the sheep that covers all nations he will swallow up death forever Jesus is hinting that the thing is coming is the defeat of death will be done with for good this isn’t about getting out

of Egypt this is about changing everything that we know about the way the world works and if you’re unfamiliar with this Jesus story this this is what you’re invited into death doesn’t have to have a hold anymore this new kingdom is come Jesus chose death as his weapon to defeat death isn’t that the bizarre story you could conjure up there is a new kingdom coming what Jesus did here in Canaan of galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him this is this moment where they’re like oh we’re not just following the rabbi that we talked about last week last week for those either here we talked about so much of what Jesus did is just common rabbi stuff he grabs a group of followers and says spend some time with me and eventually you’ll go and be rabbis yourself and suddenly they’re like wait for something bigger here this is this idea this is this new kingdom coming and so a question that occurs to me is this what is a kingdom and this is where we’ll land a couple of questions for you I always feel that there’s this tension as an English person I feel like I really understand kingdoms really well and I feel like living amongst you guys you guys kind of hate them um so here is her majesty the queen I did see the other day just as an interesting note that Meghan Markle who is married to prince harry for those who are unfamiliar with royalty

and stuff like that was says she would seriously like to run for president one day and you may feel all different sort of things about that and that’s fine but I would say that would be the greatest long game in the world by king George iii back hundreds of years is like do you know what generations down one of our guys will marry one of your guys and everything will go back to the way it was the revolution is over people um impressive 4d chess uh by king George the third there but this is what we’re talking about when we talk about kingdom uh on the surface it’s about rulership it’s about ownership and because the word kingdom has become problematic people have started to sketch out some other words that we might use instead of kingdom because we don’t necessarily connect especially in very strongly democratic nations with this idea of what is a kingdom so another word that people have used is things like the ecosystem of God or one I love is the influence of God the idea of the kingdom coming is that one day God’s influence will be over everything now on some big spatial level that is always already the case if God can turn water into wine if he can break the norms then it already is everywhere but it seems like right now he chooses not to make that the case that there’s this

idea that one day the kingdom will come and it will its rain will be over everything and all the things that we look at in the world and say ah it shouldn’t be that way we’ll be reversed there will be enough food for everybody we won’t have a billion people that are suffering from food shortages every day in this world there will be enough water we won’t have 700 million people that can’t get clean drinking water in the world today we won’t see all these things about the world that we look and say that isn’t how God would have it be there’s this promise that one day that will be Jesus talked about it as something that was coming then an even post-death post-resurrection isn’t there still that sense for us that like ah we’re not there yet when I think about the kingdom I think about this for those that ever have traveled much this is uh the salgrada familia in barcelona it was designed by an artist called gaudi it’s still not finished centuries after we began it and you look at this building and you’re like oh this thing is stunning it is a thing of beauty it is a work of art and when it’s captured with the skyline and a rainbow behind it just adds to it when the sun hits it this may be one of the most beautiful buildings created and then yet there’s ways when you get up close and you see what it’s supposed to

look like that you’re like but it’s not finished it’s clearly not done yet isn’t that what we’re talking about when we’re talking about the kingdom we see this thing that Jesus has done and he has begun and it is beautiful and it is incredible and yet for every single one of us there’s ways that we’re like oh it’s not done yet there’s something more to happen this world isn’t the kingdom yet and we wait and we wait and we wait and it seems like a slow kingdom coming and yet the promise of the water into wine is the same as the promise of death to resurrection that says the kingdom will come it is an inevitability it won’t be stopped when Jesus was asked to talk about that he said oh the gates of hell the biggest defensive structure you can imagine not stopping it it’s coming it’s just a matter of time it is an inevitability the kingdom will come but now we wait and we wait and we wait but then there’s a question that I would love to leave us with in amongst our waiting because I think the idea of the kingdom lands best when we start to talk about but what is your kingdom and what a south is our kingdom you see this kingdom really won’t accept any other kingdom having its own sort of sense of influence authority it asks that every other kingdom every other sphere of influence is bought under this

kingdom and that’s what I think each of us does when we decide to follow Jesus we say that we long to bring our kingdom under your influence we long to bring our own personal thing under what you’re doing Jesus and so my question for each of us and for us as a community is what happens to our kingdom now you have an influence the smallest child here has an influence it has he has a group of friends building those relationships they have influence over you in different ways and they’re asked to use that influence you guys you kids aged six seven eight nine ten you’re asked to bring that influence under the kingdom that means that how you treat someone matters and you get to choose whether in your own small world of influence you continue to build towards this kingdom and you continue to structure your life in a way that this kingdom would dream of when you employ someone and you get to design what their life looks like you get to bring your realm of influence into this kingdom when we as a church community start to think about how we engage in mission how we engage in outreach we get to think about how we are building the kingdom and there’s so many ways for us to dream there this is an organization I got to work with over the last five years it was started by a lady

who went out to Haiti with a very small realm of influence she didn’t know any French she didn’t know any Haitians and she wanted to adopt a child and so she went and they told her well you can but in two years time and so she decided this she decided well I’m going to stay I’m going to stay here in Haiti and just decide to do whatever I can I’m going to live with this child I’m going to adopt them now and I can’t leave the country that’s fine and so she began to work and she started to see that one of the things that Haitians needed more than anything was they needed jobs so many people in Haiti are unemployed the theory is if you can create a job for one Haitian person you’re probably supporting 10 other Haitians and especially there is a problem that for guys there’s a culture that says if I can’t get a job I’m just going to stay home and I’m going to drink and do nothing and so for all these women all over Haiti there’s this this tension of being the breadwinners and yet also being the primary care for their kids and for the home and so what Shelley did is this she said you know what if I can create jobs for women I’m going to change part of Haiti so she started to create this environment where women could come and they could work and there was daycare provided for the kid and she now this woman

who walked into Haiti with no influence whatsoever whose realm was smaller than you can imagine she now employs 700 Haitian women who are probably employing seven thousand supporting seven thousand other Haitians this is what using your influence for the kingdom looks like it doesn’t matter if you feel like it’s small it doesn’t matter if south is at the moment an insignificant church in the middle of a city in the middle of America we have this ability to influence all over the world because God takes small things and he makes them big he takes things like turning water into a wine at a wedding and says this is a metaphor for changing everything about the way the world works this story isn’t about water into wine it’s about life change and what happens when we as a group of people take our influence and we use it everywhere around us and this kingdom incredibly and I’m going to invite the worship team to come back up this kingdom comes to people who don’t deserve it who sometimes don’t even know that it happened there’s no evidence in this story that we just read that this couple ever knew that there was a problem ever knew what Jesus did for them ever knew that a miracle took place suddenly there is wine when there was no wine but they maybe never knew and

never knew how to thank this kingdom comes free of charge no strings attached on the house it comes with tension because sometimes it comes to people that we feel don’t deserve it and it skips over people that we feel do deserve it and yet this kingdom one day will cover everything and that is an inevitability it’s just a matter of time but as we as a group of people wait the question to leave you with this week is what does your kingdom look like what does your influence look like will you allow God to transform your heart and to begin to build his kingdom here by surrendering your own kingdom to him I’d like to invite you to stand with me for just a second we’re going to close worshiping together again God each of us has influence and yet I’m aware that for some of us right now we feel maybe like that couple our influence our specific area feels like this small thing where the wine is all gone the joy is disappearing it’s vacuum sucked out it doesn’t feel like we’re flourishing right now God would you bring joy and grace into our hearts in this moment as we worship together would you remind us that we’re going to be okay would you remind us that your kingdom promise that starts with this silly little thing of turning water into wine speaks to a way bigger thing that you’ve changed everything about the

way the world works for those amongst us that are still figuring out what is this faith thing who is the Jesus would you become real to them in this moment would this big space become just oh so small and would they know that the creator of the universe cares about them for whatever we have in our lives that needs transforming in whatever ways that feels impossible God may we see that with you nothing is impossible for those amongst us that are sick that come in limping would you bring new health and would you bring courage to deal with whatever he’s been dealt with God this world doesn’t look like your kingdom all the time right now but we see your kingdom as this beautiful thing we choose to surrender our kingdoms to your big kingdom thank you Jesus amen

Why did Jesus change Water to Wine? | Did You See That? (Part 2)2022-01-24T15:19:34-07:00

Jesus is Everything | Did You See That? (Part 1)

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well good morning friends hey it’s so good to be here with you uh my kids just left that should give you a warning of how boring the next 45 minutes could be if they don’t want to stay maybe nobody does we are so excited to be with uh be here with you this has been the culmination of a journey for us that’s it’s been almost a year long now so I just thought I’d update some of you guys that maybe haven’t seen on just you know what the last few weeks have looked like for us so we arrived and I have to control this now they’re trusting me to control this so there we go we arrived uh to what we expected to look like this this is the Colorado that we had been sold um and then we landed not this Tuesday but the Tuesday before anyone remember what last Tuesday looked like 35 degrees three inches of snow on the ground and then we were told this don’t worry if you don’t like the weather in Colorado it will change in 15 minutes well it did change I wouldn’t have said it improved but it did change because uh this beautiful mountain view that we were sold on became this if you are one of those people that struggles with perception if you can’t see what is missing I drew it in for you um somewhere there was supposed to be mountains that was part of the deal and then suddenly they were gone uh but we just uh we just have been so welcomed by you guys here just the number of ways in which

people have just jumped in and just there were people there to unload for us and then when people turned up when everything was already unloaded then the people that turned up late then helped us unpack everything into our kitchen people have invited us over for dinner have dropped us meals and there are too many of you for us to be able to drop every one of you a card although maybe we’ll try my wife will drop every one of you a card at some point I promise um but it just has just been this joy to be welcomed into this community so thank you uh for everything that you have done uh we realized as well that this for you well it’s been a journey for us it’s been a journey for you too right what a community of faith south is to travel a year without a lead pastor what does that say about the elders that have led you about the staff that have led you about people like Larry that have led you during that time through a pandemic through everything else that has been going on what a community of faith you are and we are so excited to join with you and yet here’s the thing joining a community as a lead pastor is this weird experience because you suddenly are sort of like you have this maybe sense of like remember those old western movies there was the hired gun that came in that was supposed

to clean everything up there was a problem and you were supposed to come and you were supposed to shoot all the bad guys and everything was fine and coming in and being told that you’re doing all the teaching you’re like well I’m an outsider what about the people in the community isn’t there a voice there and so you feel called in from the outside and yet as a pastor and a pastor with a family at the same time your hope and dream is to find a community because that’s what this is it’s a community and so I learned really early on never try and pastor a church that you don’t want to go to try and pastor a church that you want to go to because that you can lead intuitively and yet this community has been around for so long even if we my family and I stayed for 20 years we could never be here as long as some of the people that have already got in 50 40 years some of you have been here since some of the early times of south and so we realized we’re joining this whole bunch of history and so there’s all those dynamics going on you’re looking for a community to join you’re excited to be involved you’re looking for family and friendship and then you also looked to to do some leading and then you have this moment where you’re like wow it’s the first Sunday and now what do I say I’ve got to talk to

people for a while and I don’t know you now fortunately I’ve been a lead pastor before so I’m used to talking a lot in front of people and I remember these times back when I was first invited to teach people when I wasn’t a lead pastor I remember the first time that the lead pastor of a church back in Michigan said to me I’d like you to preach on Sunday morning and I said well am I teaching as part of a series what do you want me to say and he said these really dangerous words he said just be yourself and I looked at him and said this are you sure and he said no but you should definitely just do it anyway just go up and be yourself and then you get to believe pastor and you get to be yourself all the time but still there’s this hope that when you teach you teach into what the church is going through and the truth is I don’t know self I’m getting to know it I’m getting to love it I’ve been wandering up and down this building I’ve got to see the coffee shop as it is right now I’ve got to drop in on these other things I’ve got to meet Rebecca at the ELC I’ve got to meet people running ministry sharing with the food pantry all these different things I’m getting to know it I’ve got to spend time with staff and all these different things but I still don’t really know it and so as I started to go through this process of what do I

say the thing I landed on was I want to say something that that is always true that is always true I want you guys to have a chance to know me I want to drop in some stories about me and my family I want it to be something where we get to know each other but at the same time I was like well what is always true and Larry our outgoing executive pastor touched on it it’s who Jesus is it’s the centrality of this Jesus figure that has drawn us all here and maybe you’re listening and you’re somewhat you’d maybe describe yourself as unchurched or de-churched and you’re not even sure you’re committed to this story yet but there’s something about this Jesus story that is compelling the something that pulls people in there’s so many people all over the world that might say I’m not sure about church but there’s something about Jesus and so we’re going to begin to wander through this series for a few weeks something that I think is always true this idea of did you see that blink and you missed it Jesus moments we’re going to look through this book john if you’re unfamiliar with church and familiar with the new testament john is one of the you might call them biographies of Jesus four people chose to write about Jesus life Matthew mark Luke and john they’re named for the people that we think

may have written them and they all have these different perspectives Matthew writes a lot to to people with a Jewish background and he’s very keen that we know that Jesus is king and his messiah and then mark writes this this book that’s very much directed to people that are maybe in more of the roman world of the time and it’s very sort of very direct and he uses this word immediately over and over again and it feels like you’re on a runaway roller coaster Jesus is always doing something and then Luke writes in this sophisticated prose he’s like an English major Jesus is always doing something and he’s always doing it in a very well-spoken way Jesus went out one day and whilst he was stood there a crowd of children approached him and it goes on and on and on and then john comes last and john is this rich narrative about Jesus life he draws on these sources and these stories that everybody else seems to forgotten and he captivates us with this Jesus who does different slightly different things the main premises of the story are the same but yet there’s these things that appear these things that Jesus does that are magical and yet they’re subtle at the same time and so as we’re going to explore these first four chapters of john we’re going to look at this idea that this Jesus does things that we might

just miss if we’re not watching closely have you ever had that experience I have a friend who was a youth pastor out in bel air we’re more of a friend of a friend but out in bel air in California and as you can imagine when you’re putting on events out in California they have to be good there’s a lot of richer families there a lot of people in Hollywood and things so he has this moment where he calls in a magician and says I want you to do the show that will blow these kids minds and so he does all these tricks and these illusions and then there’s this final moment where he levitates this glass orb off the stage and he waves his hand and this thing disappears in front of you and as my friend or friend of a friend tells this story in that moment everybody claps and then there’s a pause and then from the back of the room there’s this slow clap and he turns around and Mel Gibson the actor is stood at the back of the church clapping for this illusionist and then he says that was amazing you should do that again except it seems like he may have been a little drunk and he threw in some words that are not appropriate for church

that I did not include in my story but there’s this moment have you ever felt like Mel Gibson where something happened to you like I don’t know exactly what happened I had this

experience when I started coaching people I started coaching soccer and suddenly I went from watching it on tv all the time and having the joy of instant replay and then suddenly I was coaching and there was no live tv and something would happen and I’d say oh I’m not sure I saw what I think I saw and we approached these Jesus stories these Jesus moments years after the fact and we can read them over and over again and in some ways they become overly familiar but what I’d love us to do over these next few weeks is to put ourselves in these Jesus moments imagine what it was like for his earliest followers to see him do things that seemed impossible to do things that sort of took old Jewish stories and said no I’m going to make these about me because what I think you’re going to see through these first four chapters of john is Jesus takes everything and says it’s about me we’re going to watch as he looks at really basic things like wine and bricks and water and says these things teach about me we’re gonna look as he takes supernatural big stories like the beginning of time like the temple like spirit these big words that we maybe don’t fully understand and he’ll start to say no these are about me Jesus takes everything and says no this is about me I am central to everything so we’re going to start

in john chapter 1. so if you have a bible in front of you minds upside down I will smoothly turn it the right way around as is appropriate for reading and I’m just going to read it to start with and we’ll look at the text together in a second it begins this way in the beginning was the word and the word was with god and the word was god he was with god in the beginning through him all things were made without him nothing was made that has been made in him was life and that life was the light of all mankind the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it and we’ll pause there and skip down to verse nine the true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world he was in the world and though the world was made through him the world did not recognize him he came to that which was his own but his own did not recognize him now I had this grand hope that we could get all the way down to verse 16 today but I’m suspicious that we might only get down to about verse four or five but let’s pray as we get into this text god we in this group who follow you and that may not be all of us right now and that’s fine we who call you savior lord who chase after you we believe that you breathed on this book and it came alive and we’re asking you now god breathe into us as we

look to you breathe new life into us new possibilities into us new hopes and dreams into us may this thing captivate us may these stories about you change us got to pray for us as a community that this teaching would do what they’re supposed to do that it would comfort the afflicted and it would afflict the comfortable thank you Jesus for change amen john begins with these words in the beginning you may have heard that phrase before somebody somewhere else in the beginning to a Jewish person this certainly would be a very very familiar phrase in the beginning and it got me thinking about this idea of how you start a book it can be quite important like I know usually instantly whether I’m in on a book or out straight away so I had some examples for you here we go when Mr bilbo Baggins of bag end announced that he would surely be celebrating his 11th birthday with a party of special magnificence there was much talk and excitement in hobbiton anyone know the source it’s pretty easy lord of the rings it has this [ __ ] this way of grabbing me instantly I want to know everything about Mr bilbo Baggins and his party I want to know what’s going on in this world how about another one for you it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in one of a

wife a statement that’s as true today as it was when jane Austen wrote it many years ago I’m sure and there’s just I impressed my wife delightfully when we first met by being able to quote the first page of pride and prejudice it’s just this captivating thing like what an interesting statement and then how about this one Mr and Mrs dursley of number four privet drive were happy to say they were perfectly normal thank you very much the beginning of harry potter and the something about it isn’t the some way that she creates this statement that says you know what I’m a little suspicious about Mr and Mrs dursley I’m not quite sure they’re as perfectly normal as they may want me to believe and I want to get into this story and I did accidentally choose all British authors so if you weren’t sure you are getting a dig like a lesson on British made in British literature or something like that um but there’s these ways these stories have of captivating you and then at the same time you can start a story in ways that are truly horrific so one of the things you’ll learn about me as we progress on this delightful journey together is I am unconfessedly a nerd I have so many little nerd things that I’m interested in and I can’t resist sharing with them with you in in person so you just have to get used to it um and so one of my

favorite times of year is this um it is the release of the beulah lighten fiction writing contest award so beulah light and if you’re not sure who that is it’s the guy that crafted the original line it was a dark and stormy night it was a dark and stormy night all the possibilities and this becomes one of these lines that’s completely overused and this award now is designed it’s this award that celebrates the person that can write the worst opening line possible so people from all over the world they get together and they write these lines and they send them in and every year there’s a big winner announced and it’s been going on for 35 years now and I genuinely get excited to see who has won this year who has crafted a piece of literature that is truly awful and this was a winner that I thought I would share with you cassie smiled as she clenched john’s hand on the edge of an abandoned pier while the sun set gracefully over the water as the final rays of light disappeared into the star-filled sky she knew there was one thing left to do to finish off this wonderful evening which was to throw his severed appendage into the ocean’s depths so it could never be found again and maybe get some custard afterwards it’s this ridiculous turn of phrase right it sounds like a romance novel everything’s fine and then you’re like what where

did we get seven appendage from it’s just bizarre and so people have crafted these lines for us and it’s just a joy you get great opening lines and terrible opening lines and on the surface I would say john in the beginning seems like a fantastic opening line it’s captivating and yet from a Jewish perspective putting ourselves back in that first century Jewish position I wonder if it’s not a horrific opening line it might just be the worst opening line you could dream up because think about it Matthew starts with the idea that jew Jesus is a king and we can live with that mark will talk about the idea that he is the son of man he is god’s representative on earth Luke this other writer will talk about how Jesus is the friend of sinners and all of them will share this idea that Jesus is the son of god on earth and that well it might be a stretch we can get on board with maybe but for a Jewish person to put this Jesus person in the beginning to throw this illusion all the way back to genesis chapter one in the beginning god created the heavens and the earth that’s this moment of like what are you saying how far do you want to stretch this Jesus story in the beginning was the word on the surface it’s preposterous what has john heard and seen about this Jesus person that makes him think he can stretch his story to genesis

chapter one Jesus suddenly isn’t someone that appeared in Bethlehem maybe under miraculous circumstances he’s suddenly not a miracle worker or a great teacher suddenly he’s connected to the beginning the beginning of genesis chapter one starts in the beginning god in Hebrew it is. in Greek when they translated it it’s this idea of an archaic it’s the beginning the first chapter of genesis is the first moment in Jewish literature that god is pulled out of time they begin to say something like god is over everything god is bigger than time bigger than this fundamental thing and now john is saying that about this rabbi that he’s followed for a few years because when we think about Jesus story with john it actually doesn’t start off that crazy it’s very normal Jesus is a local rabbi he begins doing what local rabbis have done for many years which is to call for followers and say I’m going to take you and I’m going to train you and I’m going to produce you and I’m going to send you out into the world and sometimes we forget just how every day that was now Jesus does something slightly different Jesus takes the outcasts the misfits generally Jewish education would work like this you would go through education especially as a male child you’d go through education until eleven and then they

would do this kind of like the cut system you know like high school sports they would say no you’re not going to make it and so go and learn a trade go back to your father’s house and do whatever he does and so the worst of the students would go and then you’d keep some others who would get to go through education longer and then there’s another cut and finally the best students would get to go through this education process until 30 and then they might take on rabbis of their own but sometimes we have these pictures of Jesus and his disciples that in reality just make them look old to illustrate this uh what I’d love is is there a couple of uh guys here maybe sort of around the age of 15 16 17 18 anyone there that is brave enough to come up on stage someone anyone just go come on come up here come come come just come up on stage very good very good clap him as he comes well done anyone else have we got a couple more or is that are we limited to that we’ll even take someone like 1920 if that works and stuff like that but we’ll do with just one maybe we’ll have more in the second service who knows but here you can take your mask off for this it’s approved I’m going to stand over here so think about this for a second Jesus and sorry what was your name Christian and we met right

Christian yeah we met outside we were throwing a football you’re a jets fan love it in broncos territory I was told don’t say anything bad about the broncos on Sunday morning I’m a lions fan so I’ve suffered I can say what I want about anyone so Jesus and his followers looked like this Jesus was younger than me when he died and rose again Jesus earliest followers were 14 year olds 15 year olds 16 year olds the oldest of them may have been peter there’s this moment where Jesus has to go and pay temple tax for him and for peter and it seems like peter might have been over the age where you had to do that but for the most part Christian is what we’re talking about when we talk about the earliest followers of Jesus these were young men we see pictures of them with beards down to here and there definitely got some white in them and we think of them as old men yet Jesus goes around and he calls these young men that have been sent back to learn a trade to fish to do tax collecting whatever they are doing and he takes them and he says you guys you 12 will change the world I’m gonna do something I’m gonna set the ball rolling and then you’re gonna take it and you’re gonna run with it and that will be life changing or world changing Christian you can grab a seat thank you very much it wasn’t very

hard I just needed you to stand there and look look disciple like now you realize for this group of people for the rest of their lives when they picture a disciple they’re going to picture you um so you’ve got a lot to live up to my friend but this is this is how it starts and then the ball starts rolling with all these different things all these different things that john will begin to see Jesus do and over the next few weeks we’re going to look as Jesus turns water into wine as he talks about this temple this holy place and says actually it could fall down and it wouldn’t matter too much because everything that was important there is now centered on me he’s going to talk about mysterious spirit about this thing that cannot be seen and say no that’s connected to me too he’s going to talk about giving water to someone and say well water’s fine and we’re in Colorado so we appreciate lack of water there’s not as much water here as I’m used to but water’s fine but no there’s another kind of water that I’m gonna give Jesus will begin to do these things and every single one of them is mysterious it speaks back into something that is old john is amazed that Jesus would take things that are old and talk about them in new ways so amazed is he that he will take the oldest thing and say I’ve decided that is about Jesus too

Jesus is john’s lead story maybe you’re comfortable uh familiar with that term in journalism don’t bury the lead it’s this idea that you can have a story that’s so amazing and you can take the main fact and you can leave it out all together johnny’s convinced that Jesus is his lead story and he won’t bury it he’ll make that the thing all the time and what he’s doing is this wonderful thing again nerd culture is about to come out for you he’s doing this thing that I would call retroactive continuity so if you’re familiar with comic book movies all those kind of things and hopefully you are and if you’re not you’re going to be at some point soon um Jesus is the lead story so let’s get to here so this is spider-man of course retroactive continuity is something that happens in comic books all the time so think about if you remember the early spider-man stories why does spider-man become spider-man he’s bitten by a spider but what kind of spider is he bitten by well in the earlier stories he’s been bitten by a spider that has been affected by radiation by nuclear power because when spider-man came out everything everybody was terrified about nuclear power and then we skip forward to the spider-man movies that come later and suddenly no one’s worried about nuclear power anymore so they need something

else so they go back and they change the story and suddenly the spider that bites him is one that has been through a process of genetic modification that on the surface is what retroactive continuity means it means you go back and you change the story and this is happening delightfully right now for those of you that have seen it in this tv series called cobra kai so I am a child of the 80s unashamedly so I grew up going through the karate kid movies now unfortunately my wife hates them so I never get to watch them anymore but I’ve started to watch them with my kids just so they can see just how wonderful the 80s were and and you guys remember that the moment that the key moment of karate kid is this this moment where in the final scene Daniel Larusso pulls out this kick that nobody has ever achieved in like a competition before he’s learned it from his incredible master Mr miyagi he’s seen him performing it and then suddenly in this moment that looks like defeat there’s this celebration as Daniel Larusso pulls off this kick and wins the competition with the crane kick and we all celebrated we all cheered the inspirational music kicked in and and everything was good so cobra kai is this series set 35 years later as we get to catch up with the characters it’s anyone’s

any movie lovers dream because you always have those moments in movies where you’re like oh I wonder what happened to them all where did they go next and so cobra kai is interested in this whole concept of retroactive continuity that I’m talking about because johnny Lawrence the bad guy in karate kid spends most of the series complaining about how no it didn’t really happen like this or at least it shouldn’t have because he used an illegal kick it shouldn’t have been a victory it should have been a defeat and he watches scenes play and johnny Lawrence and that re-narrates them for you and starts to try and convince the people that are listening to him that no no I was the good guy all along Daniel Larusso pushed me to it he tormented me and I just lashed out as any person might do when pushed to the absolute limits it goes back and it changes the story those are just a couple of examples of what john is doing here on the surface it seems to a Jewish person you’re going back and you’re changing the story because in the beginning god was not about Jesus on the service and john is so convinced it is he’s willing to take that huge risk in the opening of his book to him in the beginning doesn’t just point to god behind the scenes invisible it points to this rabbi that he spent three years chasing around

the Galilean wilderness think about how incredible that is Jesus never did some of the things that might point to fame neville travelled more than a couple of hundred yards miles from his hometown never wrote a book never wrote a song never did any of the things we might think of as significant achievements never painted a work of art never constructed a building he didn’t do any of those things on the surface his ministry was this it was abject failure it was death on a roman cross we tend to think about that as a pinnacle of achievement now and that’s us looking at it with our 21st century eyes because here’s the truth about the roman cross they did that repeatedly to thousands of people and none of them are remembered they’re forgotten they’re done and yet this Jesus figure sticks out amongst all of them and john will take this figure that on the surface died on a cross and then he’ll take this this story of resurrection that is birthed from it and say all of this has convinced me that Jesus story doesn’t start in Bethlehem doesn’t start in Nazareth or any of those places it starts way beyond time and space he was there in the beginning now I wonder when we look at it deeper is that such a push or stretch as we might imagine when you read the old testament the the Jewish bible

there’s all these stories lurking in the service so under the surface that actually they hidden at this kind of thing maybe they’re not explicit but they definitely have hints we can move beyond that if we believe this idea that theo neutus that this this bible is god breed this thing that we read is god breathed we’d expect to find this sort of story that that covers all the different books the 66 of them if you’re unfamiliar and we’d expect to find these common themes in amongst them we’d expect to find that there’s the authors of the books but then there’s what you might call the auteur there’s this god who’s writing the story behind the scenes this god is breathing into it and then incredibly becoming a character in his own story according to john and so you’d expect to find these hints in place and this is a chapter from genesis chapter 18 the lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of mamrie while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby when he saw them he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground now what’s going on here this is this famous character Abraham sitting in a tree and it says it seems on the surface two different things the lord appeared to Abraham and

then he saw three men people read in genesis have wrestled with this for years what does it mean but it seems so comfortable going from this idea that this is the lord this is god who is not seen and suddenly now is seen in three now if you’re familiar with the fact that we have a whole host of brothers and sisters following Jesus all over the world that at times will see things slightly different to us you may have come across something like this this is called an icon it comes from the orthodox church this is ruevlev’s rublev’s trinity and he drew this to picture this scene of the trees of mamrie there’s three that come and visit Abraham and he pictured these three as the trinity this father on the left there’s Jesus sitting in the center and the spirit to the right and you can tell by the way he draws them that the specific you can tell who is who uh the father is all in gold and he doesn’t touch the table at all and Jesus has two fingers on the table and he has a brown robe because he’s deeply connected with earth and then the spirit has a hand on the table because he is the one that is still present and all of those things suggest that that each character has a specific you know we know who each one of them is but rublev drew this to picture the idea that that god was there as trinity three in one way back in the old

testament when john says that Jesus was there in the beginning maybe he’s not making as much of a stretch as we think he is maybe he’s tapping into this story that’s always been lurking under the surface it’s just taken all the things that Jesus has done to convince him that Jesus is a part of this thing the great thing about this scene as we’ll see is we are invited into this scene this story of Jesus when you think about it is about beginnings but because it’s a new story it’s also interested in new beginnings as well if genesis is beginnings and the name genesis just comes simply from this word beginning john is new beginnings and isn’t that an encouraging thought because haven’t each of us walked that journey where we’re like ah I could use a new beginning what is it in your story at the moment that you say oh god if only you would breathe on that part of my life and create it anew perhaps it’s the same struggle that you faced over and over again perhaps it’s a struggle of everything that this pandemic has done the wearing of it the weight of it perhaps it’s a marriage that at one point felt like it was thriving and now begins to struggle perhaps it’s parenting in the sense that like ah I just don’t know if I can do this day after day anymore perhaps it’s loss and mourning and loneliness what is it that needs to be

spoken new over you I would suggest that if genesis is beginning then john is this idea of new beginning and that is a wonderful thing in the beginning was the word the word was with god and the word was god he was with god in the beginning through him all things were made without him nothing was made that has been made in him was life and that life was the light of all mankind that light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it genesis 1 talks about this idea of light and then john in his writing talks about how Jesus comes and he brings light and that life light is life to all men what is it that you need light shined upon in your life think about that experience of someone turning on the light and going from darkness to light and that’s what john says this Jesus story brings it’s this moment of captivating light of captivating newness john sees something unique in Jesus in his ability to do this Jesus centrality is this idea that there is a stage and it’s dark and there’s this spotlight and the spotlight rests on Jesus he is this lead story and john will not bury his lead story all things to john center on this Jesus he brings light life and that life was light to all men the interesting thing about we’ll skip that because I’m running out of time um the interesting thing about this idea that rubler brings

is this when they looked at this picture years later they found they took it down for cleaning and they found there was this gap in it it looked like something had been removed from this picture it was like this weird sort of sense where there was that there’d been glue and that glue was like still there but there was something that was taken off what they discovered after a while of investigating was that the probability was that somewhere there was this mirror that sat at the bottom of the picture the idea was that you would come and you would gaze at it and you would see yourself reflected there’s this beautiful idea that god as trinity is this important concept because it means that god is in constant relationship with himself he is really in relationship as father son and spirit but the incredible joy of rublev’s trinity is this you and I were invited in to that relationship john starts his story with who Jesus is Jesus is part of everything bigger than everything and as we get to look over the next few weeks we’ll look at him turn water into wine we’ll look at him take a building and say no this building speaks about me we’ll look at him as we he takes the idea of spirit this thing that we can’t see and says no this is me too and we’ll look as he talks about water and says no all of these things speak to me

but john is so convinced he says in the beginning it wasn’t just this guard distant and separate it was this god now walking on earth amongst us you are invited in to that story when you think about what it is that you need to be made new that becomes possible when you step into that story for yourself without him we can do nothing yes later after Jesus time Paul the writer will say this in all things that he might have the preeminence Jesus is central to everything I’m going to invite Aaron and the team to come up and lead us in worship again but that is my dream for us as a community to begin at that point Jesus is central there are other things to say other things to celebrate but Jesus is central let’s pray together

Jesus is Everything | Did You See That? (Part 1)2022-01-24T15:06:45-07:00
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