Gospel of John
Gospel of John

Gospel of John Study – Part 2

We are continuing our study on the Gospel of John.

RS: All right. We will be back here next week. Five opportunities. John 3, I did not plan on doing this, and I’m still not sure if I am, but we may need to spend two weeks on John 3. Primarily spending a whole session on Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus, which many people think is one of the most important encounters that Jesus has in the four Gospels. We’ll just see how it goes, but most likely, we’ll do that, but I really do want to try to get through the book this year. It’s 21 chapters, so we’ve got plenty of time, but I have a real bad habit of doing that. I’ll hone in on something and I’ll spend two or three weeks on it. I’ll try not to do that, because I think from what I’ve determined, everybody is really kind of, and likes going through a book of the Bible, particularly one that has so much in it. I hope that you’ve read chapter 2. It’s a quick read, and we’re going to look at a couple of things that are in this chapter. There are a couple of things I want to share that are interesting.

Jesus is just getting started in His ministry when they go to this wedding. Nobody knows who He is. He spent 30 years of His life in this obscure little village called Nazareth, in this little podunk place, as we said last week. As I’m going to show you, the people in Nazareth didn’t even think much of Him, but I like to start, if it’s okay, and get a little bit of insight, if we could into that 30-year period of Jesus’ life before He started His ministry. Where I want to start is, and we won’t take long, is Luke chapter two. If you would, go to Luke chapter 2. I’m going to ask you, but I’ll just make it easy for you guys. Read Luke 2:41-52, silently. Luke 2:41-52. Okay, we really get a glimpse of Jesus as a 12-year-old in just a little short snippet. But, I think at age 12, He really kind of had a good grasp of Who He was and why He was there.

Unidentified audience member: Very precocious.

RS: Yes, very precocious. Twelve year old. And his parents, they’re basically in a caravan of people, a lot of their family members, and basically they’ve traveled to Jerusalem to the temple. And they realize he’s lost, on the way back, and so they have to come all the way back to Jerusalem, and they finally find Him in the temple, talking to all the scholars. He tells His mother, you shouldn’t be surprised I’m here, I’m in my Father’s house, I’m doing my Father’s business. So, He got it. But He was only twelve. Of course, Mary scolds Him. What does He do? He obeys her. And in verse 51, it says, “He continued to live in subjection to His parents.” And so, think about this, guys. He went back and spent 18 more years of His life in Nazareth, in that podunk place, as a carpenter, and lived in obscurity. And you’ll see in a minute how obscure He was. He lived in obscurity until right now. And so, you see Jesus humbled Himself under His parents’ authority, and under the authority of God the Father. What were you going to say?

Unidentified audience member: Grew in wisdom and stature.

RS: And in favor with God and with men. But, you know I want to point something out to you that I never realized until somebody pointed it out to me. There is something that we do know about His life. Turn, if you would, back in the back of the New Testament to the book of Hebrews, real quick. We won’t spend but just a second on this. Go to Hebrews chapter 5. In Hebrews 5, verses 1 through 6, you’ll see that Jesus is referred to as our priest. You know, the high priest went as, basically, kind of a representative of the people, went into the holiest of holies, which we’ll talk about in just a minute. And then in verse 7, look at what it says. “In the days,” he’s talking about Jesus, “in the days of His flesh,” in other words, while He lived, “He offered up both prayers and supplications, with loud crying and tears, to the one able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.” So, we learn that He suffered, and He learned obedience from all that He suffered. What do we know about His suffering?

If you’ll turn back to chapter 2 of Hebrews. Go to verses 17 and 18. It says, “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the things pertaining to God to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” In verse 17, it’s saying, He had to become a man in order to be crucified on a cross. So he had to be fully man to be crucified, but He had to be fully God, because only God could bear the sins of the world. The fact that He was a man, He lived in the flesh like you and I, and He was tempted as a man. In fact, one more verse, in Hebrews 4, verse 15, it says, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who was tempted in all things as we are, yet He was without sin.” So, Jesus suffered in the flesh because He was a man. He was tempted in everything you could be tempted on, and yet, without sin. You might not think that’s a big deal, because usually we don’t resist, we just kind of follow through. But to spend His life resisting the temptations that came before Him. And then, during those 18 years, we learned something else. And I bet a lot of you are going to say what somebody said to me this morning. Why didn’t I ever notice this about Jesus. Turn to Matthew 13. I know we’re in the book of John, and we’re not leaving the book of John, but this is good material you need to know. Matthew 13:53-56. This is really interesting guys. “When Jesus had finished these parables, He moved on from there. Coming to His hometown,” which would be what?

Unidentified audience members: Nazareth.

RS: Nazareth. He came into Nazareth. “He began teaching the people in their synagogue and they were amazed. And they said where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers they asked. Isn’t this the carpenters son? Isn’t His mother’s name Mary? And aren’t His brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas. Not the Judas ya’ll are thinking of. And aren’t’ all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things? And they took offense at Him. Most people think it was just Jesus, and Joseph, and Mary, but what do we learn here? He’s got four brothers, and he’s got at least two sisters, because it said sisters. And where would Jesus be as far as the age of the family?

Unidentified audience members: The oldest.

RS: He was the oldest. Because Mary was a virgin. She had never had children. He was her first. So, Jesus had siblings. Seriously. Think about this, guys. What do you think it was like to live with Him? An older brother that was perfect. Somebody said He must have been kind of nerdy. We don’t know. Seriously, to live with someone who was perfect. And they were all sinners, like we are. I bet they thought He was kind of weird. When you get to John 7:5, you know what we learn. In John 7:5 it says, not even His brothers believed in Him. Then if you go to Mark 3:20, it says, “Then Jesus entered a house, and a crowd gathered, and He and His disciples weren’t even able to eat, and when His family heard about this they went to take charge of Him, and said, He’s out of His mind.” So, He’s got all these siblings, and He goes to His hometown, and they think, we’ve got to go to rescue Him because He has lost His freaking mind. And then in chapter 6, verse 3, it says His sisters were there, and it says, they all took offense to Him. Guys, in those 30 years, I think Jesus lived in Nazareth with His family, and I think He was totally misunderstood and they had no idea who He was. They took offense to what He said. They didn’t believe that He was the Messiah, and they lived all these years with a guy who was just squeaky clean perfect. And this is where we pick up in John. Jesus has just left His home. He is no longer under the authority of His mother, and Joseph was apparently dead at this point. And He was totally misunderstood, and totally unappreciated by the people of Nazareth. And He comes to Cana of Galilee, with His disciples. And Cana, by the way, is very close to Nazareth, and He and His disciples were invited to a wedding, and Mary, apparently was helping with the wedding, because she was the first person to realize they’re out of wine. Weddings back then were a much bigger deal than our weddings are.

Unidentified audience members: Hard to believe.

[Chatter and laughter]

Unidentified audience member: Was there any spiritual significance to His baptism that they said they saw the Spirit of the Lord descend upon Him?

RS: I think again, it was just a picture of the specialness of this person, you know, Simeon picks Him up, and I think that was huge.

Unidentified audience member: So nothing really noteworthy happened to Him?

RS: I don’t think so. Anyway, back then, in weddings, they lasted for several days. They didn’t go 24/7 but every evening, they would continue to celebrate. But I don’t know why it has changed, but it has, but back then, the groom’s family was in charge of the festivities, and it was essential that they supply enough food and drink, and yet, they ran out. And it was a crisis. Now, in my research, as I did the research on this chapter, I read some really interesting words from Reynolds Price, he was a very prominent English professor at Duke. He’s quite a scholar. Price said, “if you were inventing a biography of Jesus Christ, you would never invent for your inaugural sign, a miraculous solution to a mere social oversight. The only logical explanation for this particular sign being the first one is it must have actually happened.” Price says, “I, as a writer, and as a scholar, and as a man who knows literature, know this. If I was inventing a life of Jesus, I would want to make sure the first miracle was extremely quintessential. When any leader of a great new movement makes their first public presentation, they take tremendous care to give a balanced exact picture of what the movement was all about. Therefore, since Jesus was clearly the greatest movement leader in all of the history of the world, obviously the very first thing He did, not walking on water, not raising somebody from the dead, not all the other possibilities far more dramatic. Instead, what you have here is a miracle that seems to be not a very big deal.”

And, in one sense, He’s right. Because what did Jesus do? He didn’t make a big splash. Nobody knew what He had done. In fact, nobody really saw; the servants that put the water in the big pots, probably recognized what just happened here? Think about it, Jesus didn’t get the credit for this great wine that was made. The groom’s family got all the credit. And that’s kind of what Christ does for us. He does everything by going to the cross, and we get the credit.

Unidentified audience member: It also says the servants knew.

RS: They knew but..

Unidentified audience member: But the partygoers didn’t.

RS: They didn’t.

Unidentified audience member: I think that’s symbolic.

RS: Yes. Thornton?

Thornton: My question is when we spent a few minutes before this, talking about everybody thought He was crazy and all that. Do you think His Mom knew He was gifted or however you want to say that?

RS: You’re about the third person to say that. That’s a good question. A lot of people ask that. Think about this. I think Mary – I mean, she had seen the angel who had come to her and told her she was pregnant, so she saw that, 30 years before. She recognized, I think, that yes, Jesus, she had a child, and she had never had relations with a man, so, she knew, more than anybody else, that He was the Messiah, but, I don’t think she had any idea, just like the disciples had no idea of the fact that Jesus was going to die on a cross; they thought He was going to be this delivering King. Somebody said, after 30 years, you’d probably forget a lot of what has happened, but she had to know something, but she had no idea what He was going to do. And she just told them, do whatever He tells you. So, I say yes, she knew, she did.

Unidentified audience member: Richard, why do you think Joseph just kind of disappears and …

RS: I think he died.

Unidentified audience member: Yeah, but why do you think he just disappeared and nobody [unintelligible 18:38]?

RS: If you think about it we don’t see much of his parents. We see most of Mary, but we see her when Jesus starts his ministry here, when Joseph apparently was gone. But, that’s a big question mark, what happened to Joseph?

[Chatter and laughter]

RS: This miracle, I think was a real big deal, for a lot of reasons. But you know one of the reasons? There is a verse in Romans 4:17, that says God can call into being that which does not exist. He can call into existence that which does not exist. And nobody can do that. Think about it. Wine comes from grapes and the juice has to be extracted from the grapes and then you have an aging process. And Jesus called this fine wine that did not exist into existence just like that.

I talked to a guy who had been in the wine business and he knew a lot about the making of fine wine, and he said really fine wine has to be aged five to six years or more. So when you went to this wine steward or the manager or whatever you call the guy who tasted the wine, if you asked him how old would you say this wine is, what would he have said? Six years, seven years, eight years? How old was it? Six, eight, ten seconds, maybe a minute or two. But this is the problem. One of the real problems that modern, I wasn’t going to share this with you, but this is so fascinating, I’m going to share it. It’s a great story and it was in my blog a year or so ago, so, if you’ve read it, you’ve heard it. It’s in one of my books, as well.

Science has a real hard time understanding how life as we see it today, arose from mere matter. They know it happened because we’re here, but how did it happen. This is really interesting, hang in here with me. This is a great story. Up until the 1970s, maybe even the 1980s, the prevailing belief in science, stemming from Darwin’s landmark work, was that if you would go back to the primeval beginnings of the earth, you would find it covered with callous pools of water and barren and rocky expanses chemically enriched with the necessary ingredients to create life, and these small bodies of water and their ingredients are referred to as the primordial soup. And, as the theory goes, the earth, at that time, was an intense environment of constant electrical activity. Lightning would, of course, regularly strike the soup, and, at which point, various amino acids, which are the building blocks of life, would be formed. And once these amino acids were formed, natural selection would take over, and life would begin to evolve, and millions of years later, here we are, building computers and flying airplanes around the world. And this guy named Stanley Miller comes along and says, I’m going to demonstrate this in the laboratory, or at least he was going to try to. So, he took these pools of chemicals, these necessary ingredients to create an amino acid, and he pumped electrical charges into it, and amino acids were formed. As you can imagine, scientists were elated, because if the origin of life can be explained solely through natural processes, then God is no longer necessary. Lee Strobel said that when he heard this taught in high school, in his high school biology class, he says it dramatically transformed my belief in God, and eventually led me to atheism. He said, that’s when I became an atheist. Now, I can remember, as an 11th grader at Mountain Brook High School, sitting in Fred Stevens’ biology class, any of ya’ll have Fred Stevens? Mr. Stevens? He told us this. He said this is an undeniable fact. This is the way it happened. And I remember thinking, it didn’t lead me to atheism, but I remember thinking it sure does shoot a hole into the Genesis story. Now, Miller’s experiment was hailed as a major breakthrough in science. In fact, Carl Sagan believed it was one of the most significant things that happened in man’s quest for knowledge. He said it was because it proved that life could arise anywhere. They also realized the only way for Miller’s experiment to work is that the atmosphere of the earth had to be a hydrogen rich mixture of methane, ammonia, and water vapor. And the only problem with the theory is that there was no real evidence for such an atmosphere. But, that didn’t matter, because those who believed the theory, they who believed the theory was sound, they believed the theory was sound because the experiment did in fact produce amino acids.

But then, in the 1980s, NASA scientists actually demonstrated that the primitive earth had little, if any, volume of methane, ammonia, or hydrogen. Instead, the atmosphere at that time was composed of water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. And this new information blew Miller’s theory right out of the water. In fact, Miller’s experiment, a theory of the origins of life, which had been taught for years as an indisputable scientific fact, just imploded. And 21st century science, doesn’t, in fact, have any indisputable evidence on how life actually began on earth. In fact, Miller himself, even admitted in the periodical, Scientific American, this was 40 years after he performed the experiments, these are Miller’s words. He says, “Yep, I have to admit. The problem of the origin of life has turned out to be much more difficult than I and most people had ever envisioned.” In fact, Klaus Dose, a biochemist who is considered by the academy as being at the highest level of expertise on the origin of life admits, “more than 30 years of experimentation on the origin of life in the fields of chemical and molecular evolution have led to a better perception of the immensity of the problem of the origin of life on earth rather than to its solution. At present, all discussions on principal theories in the field either end in stalemate or in a confession of ignorance.” And then, Francis Crick, who, along with Stanley Watson and Maurice Wilkins, discovered the molecular structure of DNA, says this. Really, it’s an admission. He says, “You know, every time I write a paper on the origin of life, I swear to myself that I’ll never write another one because there is too much speculation running after too few facts. And then he says, and Crick was a true religious skeptic, he says, and I think he hates admitting this, he says, “the origin of life appears to be almost a miracle.” A miracle.

Unidentified audience member: What are they teaching?

RS: Hold on just a second. “So many are the conditions which would have to be satisfied to get it going.” And then Alan Sandage, who is probably the greatest cosmologist of all time, who shocked the world in the 1980s when he admitted he had become a Christian, says, “I’ll tell you about where the origin of life came from. God is the explanation for the miracle of existence. And the explanation is found right there in Romans 4:17. God called into existence that which did not exist.” Now, Dan has just brought up a great question. I guess I would need to get a current biology book to see what they say.

Unidentified audience member: They’re probably teaching the same thing.

RS: They’re probably still teaching that. All right, comments, questions?

Unidentified audience member: I believe in evolution as far as animal life and things like that, but I don’t believe man came from monkeys. There has been no link ever established. What do you think, I am poof, just appeared? At the wish of God?

RS: I tell you what, we’re going to run out of time. I figured this might bring up issues. I know you have read my book Reliable Truth, which is where this came from. I have a section on that, that, you know…

Unidentified audience member: I must have forgotten it. I am 71.

[Laughter]

RS: I’ll show you where it is, because I do answer that, but, for me to answer that, I’d almost have to go read it to you, read it out loud for it to make sense, because I’m not sure I’m capable of just sitting here and telling you just exactly the answer to that, but you know, if any of you are interested in the answer to what John had, I believe that God created them, and because, and I give my reason. Which is, I think, a pretty sound logical reason, and not just an, okay, I believe what Genesis says. But, if you’re interested in seeing that, I can point you to it, in Reliable Truth.

Unidentified audience member: Well, you do say, and I’ll just be quick, you do say, regardless of whether it was Adam and Eve, or evolution, God stands behind His creation.

RS: And that’s what I do usually when I do The Investigative Study. I tell people, because they’ll ask, when we get into the first section on how did we get here? Or, why are we here? I tell them, you know, particularly if they ask, right now, it doesn’t really matter what you think, whether you think in the creation story or whether you believe that man evolved. The fact is is that God is behind it all. I think that’s where you have to believe that but I do believe that we’ve got 5,000 years of human history, which is about what of recorded human history. Man is not an old creature, and Jesus makes reference to Adam, so I believe in Adam and Eve. And I’ll lay out why I believe that in my book. If we can stop there, because we’ve only got 20 minutes left and we’ve barely even gotten into the miracle.

Mary reports the problem to Jesus. And what do you think about Jesus’ response?

Unidentified audience member: Don’t like it.

RS: You don’t like it?

Unidentified audience member: No.

RS: You think He’s kind of, a little rude?

Unidentified audience member: Never would have worked at my house.

[Laughter]

RS: The NIV, by the way, in the NAS He calls her “Woman”.

Unidentified audience member: That probably didn’t mean the same thing as it does now.

RS: I don’t think it did, but what does the NIV say? Who’s got the NIV?

Unidentified audience member: It says, Dear woman, why do you involve me?

RS: Now, what did He call her?

Unidentified audience member: Dear woman.

RS: Dear woman. Dear woman. But the NAS says just “woman”, and the commentators say that there is no “dear” in there. That obviously the translators in the NIV wanted to soften it a bit.

Unidentified audience member: Well, my NIV just says “woman”.

RS: You have NIV, don’t you? What does yours says?

Unidentified audience member: Dear woman.

RS: Dear woman. Mine says dear woman also. So, maybe they got a little heat on that and they took it out. Yours is probably very much up to date since you’re.

Unidentified audience member: The comments said that the Greek does not add the adjective here, but that it is necessary to convey the correct sense, since the potentially abrupt “woman” could be understood as a harsh form of address.

RS: Okay. You know, whatever He said, He was talking to Mary, and it was “Mom!” And really what He was saying to her was why are you getting me involved in this matter? I mean, you know, what does this have to do with me? But she persists, and she says, Do what He says. And He honors His mother.

Unidentified audience member: I thought He said, My time is not yet come.

RS: He does.

Unidentified audience member: He does.

RS: What does it say?

[Chatter]

RS: But the first thing He says is why are you getting Me involved in this matter. And then He says, because, the NAS says, “my hour has not yet come.” The NIV says, “My time has not yet come.” And I’ve read a number of commentators and many believe that He was saying that the time for me to reveal myself through the miraculous is not right now. There is a, I think Jesus recognized that there was a Heavenly timetable. But again, He did it anyway. But, when He does usually refer to, “My hour has not yet come”, He’s usually talking about His death. But it’s hard to believe He would be referring to that when He hadn’t even done anything hardly. But if you read, in several occasions, they wanted to apprehend Him but they weren’t able to, it says, because His hour had not yet come. And then right after He raises Lazarus from the dead, and creates just an unbelievable explosion, and He realizes they’re out to get me now. He says twice, in John 12:23 and John 13:1, He tells His disciples the hour has come for Me to be glorified. And then, in John 17:1, which is that high priestly prayer where Jesus is talking to the Father, in John 17:1, He says, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify You.” Jesus recognized there was a Heavenly timetable. I don’t think He knew what it was. He didn’t know when everything was going to happen, but He had that sense, right there at the end, that the time has come. “My hour has now come.” Comments or questions?

Okay. For the reasons that we’ve talked about, this was more of a significant miracle than you think, even though it wasn’t something that was well known. But this was really the beginning of His ministry. And then He goes to Jerusalem, and He goes into the Temple, and He just cleanses it. Think about the Temple. He runs everybody out of there. What was the purpose of the Temple?

Unidentified audience member: You mean, what it should have been used for?

RS: Yes. Why was it built? What was it for? Ya’ll know. You’re just being bashful.

Unidentified audience members: Worship.

RS: Yes. Well, it was more than worship.

Unidentified audience member: Sacrifices.

RS: That’s where the sacrifices were done. That’s where they went on Yom Kippur. The Day of Atonement. In other words, the Temple was where people came to meet with God. You see, back then, just like right now with us, there was a gap because of the sin of mankind, there was a gap between God and His people. And the gap needed to be bridged, and it was bridged through the priests, through the sacrifices of the animals and through prayer. You see, the Temple housed the Divine Glory of God. That’s where the people would go to meet with Him, through the high priest, who represented them. You see, a prophet was a representative of God who went out to the people. The priest was a representative of the people who went before God. And Jesus is referred to as our high priest. But the Temple housed the Divine Glory of God, particularly within the Holiest of Holies. You remember what the Holiest of Holies was? The curtain that surrounded the altar and the Ark and the mercy seat, and the only person that could go in there was the high priest, once a year, with a spotless animal to sacrifice on behalf of the people. Now, what were they selling? As you read this in John 2, what were they selling in the temple?

Unidentified audience member: Sheep, camels, and doves.

RS: Animals. To be sacrificed. You see, Jews would come from all over the world to the Temple to worship and make sacrifices. And they had moneychangers. Did you read about the moneychangers? A moneychanger purchased foreign currency and exchanged it for local currency and made money doing it. Kind of like when you go to the airport, when you go to a foreign country, you exchange currency to make money, and people make money doing it. And when Jesus comes in the Temple, in fact, by the way, this happens more than once. I mean, here it happens at the beginning of His ministry, and it happens right before His death. He goes back in the Temple and they are back at it. And in Matthew 21, He said, this should be a House of Prayer, but you have made it into a den of thieves. In other words, what He was saying is, this is a Holy Place. This is a serious place where you approach God. You should come in here and be humbled by what the sacrifice means. Because when that animal is being slain, you should recognize, this should be me. The animal is being slain for me. And I’m being spared. And Jesus also knew that one day He would become that lamb. That was His mission, and yet, the Temple was being used as a loud, boisterous marketplace. Not as a serious Holy Place of prayer. And you see His anger. But you know what you also see? You see He acts with great authority. He runs everybody out of there. He’s got a whip. And He runs everybody out of there, and then they stop and ask, where did you get the authority to do this? Who are you to do this? Run us out of here! And what was His response?

Unidentified audience member: Destroy the Temple and I’ll raise it again in three days.

RS: You think that baffled them? I mean, what kind of answer is that?

Unidentified audience member: Richard, I have a question, and this is purely, envisioning verses, everybody draws pictures in their own mind of what this is, and while I’m reading this, I read this, like you said, two or three different times, I’m thinking of a wedding that consumes 180 gallons. That would be a pretty good crowd, but nobody knows except the servants. He goes into this Temple, and it took 46 years to build, and so, this is not a small Temple.

RS: It’s magnificent.

Unidentified audience member: That’s what I’m saying, so, it’s this gigantic structure. He’s the only guy who walks in, there’s got to be a big crowd in there, otherwise, He runs everybody out. There must not have been anybody that went, except these guys that said, well who are you? And I can’t imagine the throngs that looked at Him when He said, Okay, I’m going to destroy this Temple and rebuild it in three days. They didn’t care that the Temple took 46 years, they jumped at the chance to destroy the Temple. It was like, I’ve been waiting for somebody to tell me to blow this thing up. I mean, what, if it was that Temple, what was their attitude towards…?

RS: Well, I think they thought He was nuts. I mean, the fact, this thing took 46 years to build and you’re going to tear it down and build it back in three days. I mean, I think they were absolutely mystified by this guy. And you got back, and you ran us all out of here?

Unidentified audience member: But still wanted to tear down their Temple, that took 46 years…?

RS: Well, I think they probably weren’t real happy about it, because the Temple was the heart of their worship. I’m sure nobody liked to hear what, I mean, it was kind of like, again, they were mystified by what He said. But again, you know what, why did they all clear out? This is the one thing when we get to it, and it’s in John, do you remember when they…there had to be something about Jesus’ presence, because, at the end, right when they come, the soldiers come, they all come, and Judas comes, and they come to get Him, and they said, who are you looking for, and they said, Jesus of Nazareth. And He said, I am He. You remember what happened? They all fell down. They all fell down. It’s kind of like they got a glimpse of who they were talking to, and they fell on their faces, and then they got up, and they arrested Him, and then went and crucified Him. Let me just say this. Jesus’ words are incredibly significant because He is not referring to this Temple. What is He referring to?

Unidentified audience member: Himself.

RS: His body. Himself. And He is saying basically I’m going to be, when He says this building will be torn down, He is talking about His own body, is going to be crucified, and three days later, I’m going to rise. But, you know what He’s really saying? This is crucial. He’s saying, I’m really replacing this Temple, but in my Temple, my body, I am the sacrifice. I pay the penalty. Not only am I the priest, I am also the Lamb, that’s going to be slain. I am the one who is going to bridge the gap between you and God, and remember the moment He dies, what happens to the curtain? It’s torn from top to bottom. Completely wide open. Nobody had ever seen it because this was God’s way of saying I’ve ushered in My new Covenant for you, My people. And now you have direct access.

[Break in recording at 42:22]

RS: Sixteen. Everybody there? Okay. Donny, how about reading that, would you? I Corinthians 6:16.

Donny: Sure. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s Temple, and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”

RS: That you are God’s Temple. And then go over to chapter 6, verse 19. George, you want to read that for us? I Corinthians 6:19.

George: Sure. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.”

RS: He’s telling us here, your body is a temple. Now, you don’t see that anywhere in the Old Testament. The temple is only referred to as this building. Jesus comes along and refers to Himself as a Temple. His Body that will be torn down and rebuilt. That will be crucified and He will rise. And then Paul comes along and says, No, you are Temples, and The Holy Spirit resides in you. I really didn’t pull all of this together until I read a book by Philip Yancey, and I’m going to close by reading a couple of paragraphs. This is powerful and it will be helpful, and it will be challenging.

Yancey says, the first book is called Disappointment with God, and he says:

“Three temples appear in the Bible, and, taken together, they illustrate a progression. God revealed Himself first as Father, then as Son, then finally as Holy Spirit. The first temple was a magnificent structure built by Solomon, and rebuilt by Herod. The second was a ‘temple’ of Jesus’ body (‘Destroy it,’ He said, ‘and I will raise it again in three days’). And now a third temple has taken shape, fashioned out of individual human beings. The progression, Father, Son, Spirit, represents a profound advance in intimacy. At Sinai in the Old Testament the people shrank back from God and begged Moses to approach him on their behalf. But in Jesus’ day, people could hold a conversation with the Son of God, they could touch Him, and they could even harm Him. And then after Pentecost the same flawed disciples who had fled from Jesus’ trial became carriers of the Living God. In an act of delegation beyond fathom, Jesus turned over the Kingdom of God to the likes of his disciples-and the likes of you and me. And yet, God took that risk, and because He did so, the world will know Him primarily through Christians. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is the doctrine of the Church. God living in us. Such a plan is described by Paul as the foolishness of God, and writer Frederick Buechner marvels at the folly to think that ‘God chose for His Holy Work in the world lamebrains and misfits like us’. But, I must not leave this thought without implying its meaning in a very personal way. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit was great significance for the underlying questions of this book. Many people have come along to me and asked about the existence of God. Where is He? Show Him to me. I really want to see Him. Surely, at least, part of the answer to the question is this. If you want to see God, then look at the people who belong to Him. They are His bodies. They are the body of Christ. Most people in our lives will never see a saint like Mother Teresa in all likelihood. But, they do know you and me. They know us. In this life, they’ll never witness someone rising from the dead and thus drowning out all of their questions and their doubts. And they will never get a personal glimpse of Jesus in this life, but they will see us, and the big question is, what will they see in our lives?”

You know, that is our challenge. Paul says that we are to be like bright and shining lights in this dark world. That people would see Christ in us, and that is the challenge we have and that is why God’s will is sanctification the process of us becoming more and more like Christ as time goes by. Any final comments or questions?

Unidentified audience member: You know when He goes into the Temple, you know, the custom there was you had to buy one dove or a lamb or something to sacrifice it to get in touch with God. That was the whole transaction.

RS: They called it atoning for your sins, and basically, your sins were covered by the sacrifice.

Unidentified audience member: Well, He obviously was displeased with how those transactions were going down, but that was significant moneymaker, was it not?

RS: Yes, in fact, some would say that what they were doing, was that there was nothing unethical about what they were doing, selling, it was just where they were doing it. In the Temple instead of outside. That was the big deal.

Unidentified audience member: You’d think, Richard, as you look at this, made me think about some of my thoughts before, that just if I was there in that time, I would have thought, I’m sure I would have been going, this guy is nuts.

RS: Yeah.

Unidentified audience member: I mean, something, just the whole…and the words that He used, and I’m sitting there going, man, I’ve got to have more than that. If I went back in time knowing what I know now….

RS: Well, the thing is, if all you saw is what He did in the Temple, you might think yeah, He is harsh, I don’t want to have anything to do with this guy, but if you saw the totality of what He taught and what He did, I think it would be pretty convincing.

Unidentified audience member: He said a lot of things that were pretty radical.

RS: Yeah.

Unidentified audience member: Yes, but you’re talking about Him being a nerd. This guy goes into the middle of the biggest moneymaking venture they’ve got, and breaks them up with a whip, and gets everybody out of there. I don’t care who you are. If some dweeb came into where I was, with a rope, going, okay, everybody, out, it would be – wait a second. So, he had to have a pretty good presence.

[Laughter]

RS: John?

John: With regard to the Ark, if this was a physical vessel, is there any evidence that there was an actual Ark, and ….?

RS: If you go back and read, and archeologists will tell you that there clearly was an Ark, and it was written about.

Unidentified audience member: There was a guy in Birmingham, and I can’t remember his name…

RS: You say Ark, which Ark are we talking about?

Unidentified audience member: Ark of the Covenant.

RS: Ark of the Covenant, okay.

Unidentified audience member: There was a guy in Birmingham, who, at great personal expense, maybe 30 years ago, 25 years ago, went over to what’s the mountain where…?

RS: Yes. He was looking for Noah’s ark.

Unidentified audience member: No, no.

RS: Yes, he was.

Unidentified audience member: Oh, okay. You know who I’m talking about?

RS: Yes, I know exactly…John Bradley.

Unidentified audience member: Yes.

[Chatter]

RS: And they wouldn’t let him into Turkey, which is where he felt like it was, at Mount Ararat. All right, it’s twelve o’clock. We’ve got to go. If any of you want the information that John asked about, I can give it to you afterwards, or I can tell you where it is.

 

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