Today we launch the story of Jesus as seen through the eyes of one of His most beloved disciples, John. John was passionate about His faith and relationship with Jesus. His desire in writing this gospel was to prove conclusively that Jesus is the Son of God and that all who believe in Him will have eternal life. In his own words, John says,
“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:30-31 (NIV)
John leaves no doubt as to the deity of Jesus in every chapter he writes. Of the eight miracles he records, six of them are unique to his gospel narrative. The first of these eight miracles occurred at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It was where Jesus turned the water into wine. Mary tells Jesus that they have run out of wine at the wedding feast. She didn’t tell Jesus how to fix the problem. She simply trusted that He would take care of it. Do you take your problems to the Lord and leave them with Him like that? It’s so tempting to tell Jesus our problems and then let Him know how He should handle them. After Mary spoke to Jesus about the problem, she turned to the servants at the wedding and told them to “… do whatever He tells you.” When we face issues beyond our control, we can turn them over to Christ’s control. How do you know when you’ve done that? When you do whatever He tells you to do. Have you done that? What is it Jesus is telling you to do that seems to make no sense and maybe you’re stalling, hoping He will tell you something else? The servants were told to fill up six stone jars with water! What good was that going to do? They didn’t need water. They needed wine! Then to make matters worse, Jesus tells them to take the “water” to the master of the banquet. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing when they showed up with water instead of wine? Imagine how difficult it must have been for these servants to pour out the water in their jars before the master of the banquet. But as they did what Jesus told them to do, they experienced a miracle! They even participated in that miracle! When we do what we can do, God will do what only He can do. I’ve often wondered how excited they must have been to go home that evening and tell their families and friends what happened. John tells us that only the servants knew what had happened. The master of the banquet did not realize where the wine had come from. Yet, he was so impressed with it that he remarked, “Everyone 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 till now.” (John 2:10) What a great reminder, child of God, that the best is yet to come!
Bible Reading: John 1:1-51 (NIV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.
7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.
8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–
13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'”
16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.
20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.”
21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.”
22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.'”
24 Now some Pharisees who had been sent
25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know.
27 He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’
31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.
33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.
36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.
41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).
42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida.
45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”
48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.”
51 He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Bible Reading: John 2:1-25 (NIV)
1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there,
2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so,
9 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
10 and said, “Everyone 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 till now.”
11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.
15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.
16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”
17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
18 Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20 The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”
21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body.
22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.
24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.
25 He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.