Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Oct 5, Jn 2-4

Today's readings are Jn 2-4. Tomorrow's are Mt 8 and Mk 2.
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Jesus begins working miracles, each one a statement about who He is and what He came to do.
  • The water at the wedding in Cana is the sacramental water, the water used to ritually cleanse. Jesus turns that water into wine. Wine is a symbol for His blood as we we will hear in the Last Supper. What Jesus is saying in Cana is this, "What was ritually cleansed by water up until now, will be truly cleansed by My blood. The old covenant is passing away and will be replaced by a new one." 
  • Jesus then cleanses the Temple in Jerusalem. The vendors, aside from being unscrupulous and shameful, have occupied the only area Gentiles could come to hear abut God and see His ways. The Court of the Gentiles was designed to proselytize. The Temple was a "house of prayer for all nations" (Mk 11:17). The Jews have made the Temple mount into an exclusively Jewish area. Compounding that, they were charging outrageous prices for their goods and services. By cleansing the Temple, Jesus was showing them that the cleansing He brought would not begin outside of God's people, with the Gentiles, as everyone assumed it would. It would start with the chosen people of God. "Judgment begins in the house of God" ( 1 Pt 4:17). 
  • Jesus tells Nicodemus, a respected teacher, he must be born again. This new birth is available through Jesus alone, who has come from heaven. Nicodemus is confused; he thinks he's saved by virtue of his Jewish lineage. Jesus comes to give new life and institute a new covenant. The startling news is that belief in Jesus is what constitutes being a member of God's kingdom, not birthright. 
  • John the Baptist, a popular and revered prophet of God, says Jesus is the Christ. John is actually the last of the Old Testament prophets. He does exactly what true prophets are called to do -- exalt Christ and proclaim His gospel. "Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29).
  • Jesus offers living water to a Samaritan woman. As a result, she and her village become believers.The Samaritans were despised by the Jews and thought not to be truly Jewish. In sharing the gospel with this half-Jew-half-Gentile woman, we see that Jesus did not come exclusively for the Jews. He came for all peoples. 
  • Jesus heals an official's son while He is in Cana. The ailing son is in Capernaum, about 30 miles away, more than a day's walk. We see that Jesus has authority over sickness...and time and space.     
The Sea of Galilee from the shores of Capernaum:

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