“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
John 1: 12
John 1-2 (Psalm 103)
Jesus is acknowledged as one person of the Triune God. He is the Word of God through whom all things were made and whose identity was confirmed by the Holy Spirit. He was present and active at creation, now He enters the world as one of us: He brought the Kingdom of God. For those who believe in Him He gives the right to become children of God, new creations themselves. He is the means of God’s grace and enables us to ‘see’ God, to know Him. His presence and identity demands a response. Some asked who He is, John denies being the Christ and His first disciples follow Him. The Gospel gives seven titles to Jesus confirming truly who He is (can you see them, if not watch the video!). In turn Jesus asks a truly vital question for all of us, “What do you want?” (1: 38, we will consider this question and our answers on Sunday!).
Then, at a wedding, Jesus turns a huge quantity of water into copious amounts of fine wine. A demonstration not only of His power and identity but of the overflowing generosity and blessing of God’s Kingdom. Conversely, Jesus acts in righteous anger in the temple, driving out money changers and cattle salesmen. It was the Passover and pilgrims were being fleeced by the money changers, the temple tax and exorbitant prices for animals to be used in sacrifice; God’s Temple was being desecrated. The animal sacrificial system was soon to be completely replaced by Jesus’ self-sacrifice (2:19-23). Perhaps what angered Jesus most was the use of the Gentile Court for this activity. It meant that the only place a non-Jew could enter to pray and worship was being used and abused for financial gain; Gentiles seeking God’s presence were being shut out.
Jesus makes it possible for us to become new creations (John 1: 12; 2 Corinthians 5: 17). Our belief in Him and God’s grace for the forgiveness of sin by the sacrifice of Jesus are all vital, as is our repentance (John 1:12, 16-17 & 29). Once a new creation we have access to the overwhelming and bountiful blessings of God’s Kingdom (1: 16 & 2: 1-11). As a new creation our bodies become the temple of God where the Holy Spirit dwells (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20); we are able to commune with God, worship and pray. Our spiritual act of worship is to offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices and not to conform to the way of the world (Romans 12: 1-2). As God’s temple we can have our worship of Him blocked, as with the Temple in Jerusalem, by desire for wealth, greed and sacrificing ourselves to idols other than God.
The Question of Application
Are you experiencing the fullness of God’s grace, what blessings of His Kingdom do you seek? Ask. As God’s temple, what in your life is blocking your Worship of and relationship with Him and therefore His fullness of blessing? How are you short changing yourself? What idols take your heart away from Him?
Lord Jesus, we thank you for all the benefits that you have won for us, for all the pains and insults that you have borne for us. Most merciful redeemer, friend, brother, may we know you more clearly, love you more dearly and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen
After Richard of Chichester 1253
New Creations by Josh Baldwin
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.