John is not shy in his writing, he doesn’t mince words, but rather he jumps right into the story he is telling. He starts in verses 1 and 2 with eternity and speaks of a being who existed before creation. He says that the Word already was, and that the relationship between God and Jesus already existed. Jesus is God, but also distinct from God. While this may not logically make sense, it also sums up the type of relationship God wants with us. He desires us to join together with Him and the body and to live in a right relationship with Him, adding to the body as well.
The worldly authorities always seem to want to know who we are and what we are doing (license and registration, please). John the Baptist ran into this same thing in his day. The authorities wanted to know if he was the Messiah or one of the great prophets that was to return at the coming of the Christ. But John knew who he was with no doubt; he stated clearly and humbly that he was simply a voice telling the people to make way for the coming King. John the Baptist has been called the last of the Old Testament prophets and the first of the New Testament witnesses who heralds the coming of Jesus Christ. John’s identity was secure. Do you know who you are? In this time where our “identity” can be stolen for a profit, are we secure in our true identity as children of God and willing to humbly and at the same time boldly proclaim with certainty the truth of Jesus Christ to others? If you cannot answer yes to those questions, that is okay. I came to Christianity late in life, and for most of that life I wanted nothing to do with the ‘hypocrites’ I saw running other people over in their haste to show off how holy they were.
Like Nathanael, what I had seen of the church led me to believe that nothing good could come from there. It took Jesus actually working in my life beyond the shadow of a doubt before I was able to recognize the truth of Him. People are going to get it wrong; there is no other way to say it. Christians are going to fail and fail over and over again, because of our humanity. But like a martial art, you do not judge the effectiveness of that art by the inept skills of its white belts. You look at the Master, and you try to be like him, even though you will get it wrong hundreds of times before you get it right even once. Our desire to get it right will never be enough. There has to be a dogged determination to never give up and that resolve will be tested, of that you can be sure. The walk of a Christian is a step-by-step, sometimes inch-by-inch journey that will last our entire lives. It will have hardships and persecutions and joys and suffering and pain and everlasting life as long as we humbly stick to it.
God will show up in the least likely of places – whether that is a stable in Bethlehem, or at a wedding party in Cana, He shows up. The water to wine was the first public miracle of Jesus and was done at the behest of his mother, Mary. His presence at the wedding brought joy to the couple, but he also saved them from embarrassment when they ran out of wine for their guests. Not only was there plenty of wine to last and then some, but it was of the best quality as well. How much more abundant and wonderful will his blessings be in eternity if we seek to follow him?
In the temple, when Jesus cleansed it of the money-changers, he was full of righteous anger and wrath against those who were desecrating the House of God on earth. The prophecy of Malachi foretold the unexpected coming of the Lord to his temple to “purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord” (Malachi3:1-4). When the authorities demanded proof of Jesus divine identity (license and registration, please) and authority to act as he had, his reply was that their proof would be in his resurrection three days after his death. His body was the temple that he was referring to, though they misunderstood his meaning to be the physical building where they stood. Through his death and resurrection and ascension, he fills us with the Holy Spirit and makes us all temples of the living God (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Going back to the martial arts metaphor of earlier, I am still working on my black belt in the way of Christ, but even when I achieve it, all that will mean is that I am finally ready to start learning for real. I was challenged early on in my walk that if I did not think other Christians were walking the way God intended, then I should stand up and show them how to do it right and not turn my back on ‘the failure of others’ and use that as an excuse to not try. It is kind of funny how I am still not quite there yet, but I’m trying Lord! Oh, how I am trying!Read Day 1 Devotion by Cristy