If you are like me it doesn’t matter how many times you have read a portion of the bible it always seems to reveal something new. Whether it is a story about one of the Judges of Israel or a miracle worked by Jesus in one of the Gospels, each time we venture into God’s word we are allowing God to speak directly to our souls and reveal new and deeper understandings of His word that has been breathed out to us.
As I was reading through the Gospel of John the parts that stood out to me were the transitions that he was describing by working the miracles and healing the sick and lame. These transitions weren’t about going from non-belief to believing. The transitions that John never mentions is the coming transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.
In John chapter 2, Jesus turns water into wine to save a groom and his bride from the embarrassment of running out of wine to serve their guests. Yes, Jesus created wine, the best wine according to the Master of the Feast. It wasn’t really good grape juice. It was fermented wine demonstrating Jesus was able to change the substance of something as well as control time since His wine fermented in a matter of seconds. What’s important isn’t necessarily the wine but what he used to create the wine. The six jars used for the water represent the ritual/ceremony and law of the Old Testament. By Jesus repurposing them he is demonstrating that he is the fulfillment of all the prophecy in the Old Testament about Jesus the Messiah. In other words the Old Covenant is fulfilled and replaced. The Old Covenant is replaced by the New Covenant. The Old Covenant used pots filled with water to try to clean up a sinner. In the New Covenant God is looking for sinner he can transform. People broken, people bruised, battered and worn. He does the miraculous with instruments like that. This new covenant is accomplished by His blood being shed on a cross to forgive the sins of the world.
In John Chapter 3, Nicodemus goes to Jesus at night to try and gain some understanding of who He is. There is a good deal of discussion about water and being born again. Notice though that Nicodemus identifies Jesus as a teacher who has come from God. Look at how many words Nicodemus uses at the beginning of the passage. As the passage progresses Nicodemus takes less and less of the spotlight and is overshadowed by Jesus. Jesus actually identifies Nicodemus as “the teacher of the Jews.” In other words, “the teacher of the Jews” represented the old ways, the Old Covenant. To be “born again” or “reborn” is to be born of the Spirit. The Old Covenant was about following rules, man making himself acceptable to God. The New Covenant is about man being born again into a new life, with a new heart, with a Savior who is sacrificed so that His blood would make us righteous before God.
Maybe one of the clearest declarations of this coming transition from the Old to the New Covenant is seen in John 3:30. Here John the Baptist in seeing that Jesus ministry has begun says, “Therefore, this joy of mine is complete.” John the Baptist is commonly referred to as the last of the Old Testament prophets. He came before Jesus to pave the way for the Messiah. John is telling his disciples that his mission is finished and at that he has great joy in seeing the Messiah come. He then says in verse 30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John is the last in a long line of prophets who point the way to the Messiah. John is the end of the Old Testament prophets, Jesus is the foundation of the New Covenant.
Now we come to the woman caught in adultery at chapter 8. Here we find a woman, broken, degraded and accused on the ground between Jesus and the Pharisees. The Pharisees want Jesus to follow the Old Covenant, the Law, and stone her. Remember the Old Covenant was about following rules and when you were found to be in violation of those rules by men then those same men would judge and punish you in accordance with those rules. The rules were there to guide you in living a righteous life. In reality God gave the Jews those rules so that they would realize they were incapable of living up to them. They should have seen that they were incapable of justifying themselves before God. Instead they became rule keepers and used those rules to oppress and control people. Jesus gives them a proposition, “if you want to stone the sinner, then go ahead, but only if you are without sin as well.” Again, no person can live up to that standard, so they all just walk away. The woman is left there with her Savior. Jesus asks her, “Is there no one to condemn you?” The woman replies, “No one, Lord.” Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn you; now go, and sin no more.” The Old Covenant was rules and judgement. The New Covenant is about transforming a sinner into one who turns away from a life of sin.
The Old Testament believer lived in the age of the Law and the Prophets. They practiced ritualized washing in the hopes of scrubbing away the sin in their lives. They followed rules thinking that by doing so they would be acceptable to God. Men sat in judgement over them as to whether or not they were spiritual enough or holy enough. In the midst of that Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Because of his birth, death and resurrection we, the New Testament believer, live in the age of Grace. And just like the woman sitting in the dirt before her accusers we have a Savior not to judge us but to save us.
There was a day in your life when the Creator of everything reached into your chest and exchanged your heart of stone for one made of flesh and he continues to dwell there to this day. While we may never live up to the example of Jesus Christ in our own lives, each day we move closer and closer to that realization. Not because of rules or rituals, but because Jesus is transitioning, or transforming us day after day into the person He has chosen us to become.
If you find yourself with time on your
hands, put them together and PRAY.
OCTOBER Is Pastor Appreciation Month
October 7: USFW Fall Retreat
October 27-28: IAYM all board retreat at CQH
LIBRARY LEDGE – Raising Kids or Ourselves?
Have questions about raising the kids in this world? Or maybe dealing with the teenagers? Maybe even dealing with life in this world ourselves? Check out our library. We have many books for family relationships & values. New are: Family Moments, Rediscovering Values, and Logged On and Tuned Out. Our library also has: Your Child & the New Age, Parents & Teenagers, Breakthrough Parenting, The Kid-Friendly Dad, The Power of Believing in Your Child, How to Answer Tough Questions Kids Ask, Parents’ Most-Asked Questions About Kids & Schools, 3 Steps to a Strong Family, Grooming the Next Generation for Success, and Boundaries with Kids.
Where 2 or 3 are Gathered Together, Someone Spills His Milk and Parables for Parents and Other Original Sinners by Tom Mullen. Dare to Discipline and The Strong-Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson. Mommy Appleseed – Planting seeds of Faith in the heart of your child. And many more…
p.s. Thank you for all the donations you have given. I would like to ask that you mark them as a donation with a piece of paper & leave them in the library return box or leave a note in my box telling me where they are. This way I won’t assume a book is a donation to the library when in fact it is a personal book belonging to someone. I have a few books & CDS that I’m not sure if they are donations or mislaid items. Thank you for all your help. Kristy Albright
Every path has a few puddles