John’s Gospel

Jesus is greater than the Temple.

In a previous post I wrote about the importance of the Temple in Jewish culture. Jews could not contemplate what life would be like without the Temple and its privileges. Yet John makes it clear in his rendition of the cleansing of the Temple, that Jesus is greater than the Temple. Greater as in holier. Greater as in higher in authority.

jewish temple

Jesus, when He speaks, tells those who are willing to listen that He would break the Temple down in three days (John 2:13-22). Jesus is making a clear connection between his body and the Temple. He would be dead for three days, and then be resurrected again by the Father.

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The “GREATER THAN” sayings: Jesus is greater than Feast of Tabernacles

The Feast of Tabernacles is a celebration to thank God for the blessings He bestowed upon the people during the Wilderness wanderings. God protected them on this forty year journey, and provided for them everything they needed.

His presence was in the form of a column of cloud by day, which transformed into a column of fire at night. This physical sign was to constantly remind the people that God was with them. He leaded them by sending these signs to the places they had to go, and when they stopped, the nation would set up camp.

WATER1

In the Feast of Tabernacles, God’s presence with the nation is represented by the two elements of water and light. People will sprinkle water, and light candles during the festivities. Water signifies, for me, cleansing and healing. On days when I am extremely tired and feel overburdened, I try to find a swimming pool. There I will lay on my back, floating on the water, looking up into the sky. And talk to God as if His face is right there, where my eyes settle. Water is also the means of baptism, a ceremony where we declare our birth into a new family, with God as the Father and Jesus as our brother.

LIGHT

Light dispels darkness. It shows us what the reality is, and forces us to see our need for cleansing, and for God.

John repeatedly connects Jesus to the elements of water (John 7.37-38) and light (John 8.12), showing us that Jesus is better than the Feast of Tabernacles. In fact. Jesus went to the wilderness on our behalf, for forty days and forty nights. Like the nation Israel, He was tempted there, and He succeeded to resist the devil. In this, He gave us something new to celebrate: victory over sin!

BAPTISM

Jesus is better then the Feast of Tabernacles, because He lights the way for us, and through His blood, we are cleansed.

Amen and amen.

 

Jesus is “GREATER THAN” the Jewish Scriptures.

There was nothing more important in the Jewish religion than the Scriptures. It was sacred and to be followed to the last letter. When John writes his gospel, he intends to show that Jesus was greater than the Jewish Scripture. The way in which he does this is to quote the Old Testament often, and show how Jesus was the promise that the Old Testament spoke of.

Here are some of his quotes.

John 1.23- Is 40.3

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The call to make a road in the wilderness for God. This is an announcement that God is coming, and that people should prepare the way for Him to approach.

 

John 1.51- Gen 28.12

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This beautiful promise that one day (and we are living in this time now, because Jesus tore the veil in the Temple that separated the people from God), the relationship between God and man would be restored again. God would walk with us, as He walked with Adam and Eve.

 

John 2.17- Ps 69:9

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The House of the Lord would consume those who believe. We can see so many examples of this in the lives of the Apostles. They were consumed with the gospel message to such an extent that they would die for it. This is because they understood that Jesus too was concerned with the House of His Father. His zeal meant that He was willing to suffer and die on a cross.

 

John 6.31- Ps 78.23-24

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John reminds us that Jesus is the spiritual food from heaven, just like manna was the physical food of the Israelites in the wilderness.

John 7.42- Mic 5.2

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Jesus, as prophesied, would come from the least of the tribes of Israel.

 

John 10.16- Ezek 34.23

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Jesus told us himself that He was the Shepard, and that the sheep knows His voice, and follows him.

John 10.34- Ps 82.6

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Those who believe are children of the Most High.

 

John 12.13- Ps 118.26

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Jesus, the blessing of all nations, came in the Name of the Lord

 

John 12.14-15- Zech 9.9

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John reminding us of the promise of Jesus’ lowliness.

 

John 12.31-41    Is 6.10

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Jesus came to open the eyes and ears, and soften hardened hearts. John refers to this Scripture to show the state of people before they meet Jesus. I can testify to the fact that this is indeed how I was myself, before I had an encounter with God.

 

John 13.18- Ps 41.9

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John quotes Jesus’ words, which is a direct quote from the Psalms, about the fact that one who was intimate enough to sit at His table and share His bread, would also betray Him.

 

John 19.36- Exo12.46; Ps 34.20

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John repeats the words from Palmist, speaking about the sacrificial Passover Lamb of which the bones were not to be broken. Jesus, as our Sacrificial Lamb, did not have his legs broken on the Cross, as was the custom of the day.

 

John 19.37- Zech 12.10

Slide7

The bitterness of those wo saw Jesus, God’s first born, die upon the Cross.

 

The “GREATER THAN” sayings: Jesus vs Manna

God send manna to the nation of Israel while they were in the wilderness to feed them. He also send his Son, Jesus. Jesus told us that He is the Bread of Life.

So, what makes the Bread of Life- Jesus- so much better than manna?

Manna was the old way, like the Law of Moses was the old way. Jesus came to show us a new way to God. Jesus was a new beginning, an awakening, a Morning Star at the end of a dark night.

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Manna satisfied a physical hunger, but not the spiritual hunger. John is clear about the fact that we should eat the right kind of bread if we want to live forever. The right kind of bread is Jesus.

 

 

 

Manna was a temporary fix. It did not last. In fact, when night fell, the manna turned sour and by morning it was rotten. And no matter how much you ate of the manna, your hunger would return. Jesus’ nourishment is long term. He satisfies not just for today, but also tomorrow and the day after and the day after… to infinity!

hunger begging

Lastly, manna did not save the nation of Israel from death. Not only did those who complained about the hunger die physically (only those born afterwards got to enter the Promised Land), they also died spiritually.

The ‘GREATER THAN’ sayings: Jesus is greater than manna!

Jesus is better than Manna (John 6)

hunger plead

Have you ever been hungry? Intense hunger will reap havoc on not only your body, but also your mind. It takes full control of your senses. Your instincts will kick into high gear and your nose will pick up every smell around you. You will notice the smell of a bakery or fast food outlet from afar. Your mouth will produce more saliva when it smells food, in an attempt to get you to eat.

If you have been hungry for a prolonged period, you might experience feeling jittery. Your hands might start to shake, or your knees might feel weak. You won’t be able to perform at your peak level. Your mind will wonder to food, and dwell on ways of how to get food.

This was what the nation of Israel had to deal with while they were in the desert walking to the Promised Land.

Hunger. (more…)