John

Clinging to the greater Joshua in baptism…

Peter Leithart observes brilliantly that the blind man in John 9 passes through the waters and gets attached to Jesus, Joshua.  In contrast, he writes:

His parents are afraid of being kicked out of the old world, the world on the other side of the water of exodus… the parents are like the generation that came out of Egypt but fell in the wilderness.  They want to stay with the old Moses, rather than clinging to the new; they want to return to Egypt, the synagogue of Satan.

Oversimplification…

John’s narrative in chapter nine is a clear case of oversimplification. The disciples asked a question about the correspondence between sin and suffering. Their answer was partially correct, but they failed to see the complexity of the issue; to put it simply, they had an oversimplified theology. Here is a rule: if you can fit your theology in a bumper sticker, it’s wrong.

Lenten Sermon; John 4:5-15: The Redemption of the Bride

Introduction: In our Gospel Lesson, the Samaritan woman is incorporated into a new community by the love of Christ, the great Bridegroom.

Prayer: May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock, and our Kinsman. Amen.

Sermon: The story of redemption is a story overflowing with poetry; its story is abundantly typological; it is adorned with the language of love; in fact, redemption is a romantic description of how Yahweh woos and draws His bride to Himself when the Bride is most undesirable, unattractive, and unlovable. Such a poetical description of this love is found in our narrative this morning. John four is one of the most profound passages in the Scriptures because the imageries, the language, and the precise and intricate wording of this narrative brings to our attention the great story of Yahweh’s love for His Bride. More

Jesus, the Seventh Husband

John’s account of the Samaritan woman is the scandal of the cross; that Christ would engage and touch the life of someone who is unclean, and not only that, but also clothe her with His husbandry. The woman at the well has been married to five men; five false husbands. The sixth man is not even a husband (John 4:18), thus constituting another false husband. Yet, the seventh man is a true and perfect husband. He is the true provider; the greater Jacob who provides living water for His bride, and unlike the others, will not abandon nor forsake her.

Jesus’ Weakness

Concerning Jesus’ weariness in John 4, St. Augustine writes that Jesus “fashioned us by His strength, He sought us by His weakness.” Augustine is saying that Jesus sought us in his weakness, that is to say, in his humanity; in His incarnation. He became weak for us, so we might be rescued from our own weakness.

 

Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Jesus as lover embraces the bride in an imperfect condition. The bride is not lovable or attractive. She still needs a lot more beautification before the wedding feast. She needs to stop clinging to her past and putting aside her transgressions. As Peter Leithart observes:

Jesus’ affection for and devotion to His bride is clearly an affection for and devotion to a still-imperfect bride…Paul is not speaking of some beautiful “ideal” church, but of the bride-who-is-being-beautified. No theology of perfection can capture the wonder of this – no theology that says the perfect God can only love things like Himself. Jesus loves to make His bride like Himself, but He loves her when she is anything but.

The romance of redemption is the anti-Hollywood romance. Redemptive romance is about adorning and sanctifying the Bride by washing her with truth and wisdom (Eph. 5). Jesus is the beautifier of the Bride. He adorns her by His grace and mercy. He uplifts her and takes her from sin to glory. This is why the Bride finds Jesus to be the perfect lover. In the words of Charles Wesley:

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.

Sermon: The True Temple: Light and Salvation for the World; John 3:1-17

SERMON AUDIO

Introduction: People of God, in our Gospel Lesson we will see that Jesus Christ will cleanse the world by dying.

Prayer: May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock, and our Kinsman. Amen.

Sermon: Every Gospel writer looks at Jesus from different perspectives.[1] The reason they do is to provide for us the full picture of who Jesus is. The gospel of St. John sees Jesus as the great Priest. It is a priestly gospel. What does a priest do? Particularly, in John’s gospel, the priest cleanses the temple.[2] The ministry of Jesus is one of tearing things apart for the sake of restoration. So, in John 2, Jesus cleanses the temple by overturning the idolatry of the temple. He overturns their tables as a sign that he is overturning their entire system. Their temple is corrupted and diseased. Jesus, as priest, has the responsibility to destroy any thing that is leprous. The temple is filled with leprosy and Jesus is beginning the process of cleansing.

The priests in the Old Covenant did the same thing. They were sufficient for that time; they were temporary cleansers; but they were not sufficient for this new era of the Kingdom. The people needed a faithful priest; a mature priest; one who communed with the Father in perfect harmony.

The reason the priest cleanses/destroys the temple is that He might become the True Temple. If the temple is corrupt and polluted by idolatry and false worship, then it no longer can serve the purpose of bringing the people close to God. Rather, now Jesus is the One we must approach to come near to God.[3] His body will be the temple offered for humanity as a gift to the Father.[4] The mission of our Lord as priest is to reconcile lost humanity to God by giving His body as a pure and spotless Lamb.[5] Everything the temple failed to offer—faithful priests, true sacrifices, pure worship—Jesus offers. More

Jesus, as New Temple

Jesus is the New Temple (John 2). His body is the replacement for the idolatrous system of the Old Covenant. He comes to cleanse the temple, so He might offer His body as a clean temple for the world (John 3:16).

Sermon: John 16:23-33, Prioritizing Prayer and Peace

Audio Sermon

Sermon: People of God, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! As we come to the last two Sundays of the Easter Season, we begin to get a sense of the surpassing greatness of the resurrection. In our passage, Jesus is preparing His disciples, so they may persevere and believe.[1]

Jesus has been with them throughout His ministry and now He promises not to abandon them. This preparation is precisely what they will need when Jesus dies at the cross. This Upper Room Discourse is filled with contrasting language. The language of going and coming, grief and joy, tribulation and peace, asking and receiving, seeing and not seeing, parable and open speech, unbelief and faith, the world and God.[2] This language is used to describe precisely the emotional state and the response of the disciples when Jesus would depart from them, but at the same time it would reflect the disciples’ response when Jesus would be with them “in a little while.”

The Lord Jesus will be arrested and betrayed. It is important that they grasp what our Lord is about to say, so their faith will not falter; that they will be strengthened to endure what is ahead. More

On that day…

In John 16, Jesus says that on that day they will no longer ask. This is a contrast to the previous narrative where the disciples are continually asking, revealing their uncertainty. But on that day, when Jesus is raised from the dead, and when the Spirit of God is poured like fire upon them, the reversal will be complete. The night of darkness and doubt will become the morning of deliverance. They will still ask, but their questions and prayers will reflect a new understanding; the understanding of a New World.