Bible Reading Plan (Day 71)

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DAY SEVENTY-ONE — Exodus 24, John 3

Ex 24

So The Lord has given to Moses the Ten Comandments and a fair number of other laws essential for Israel. To make the covenant formal a covenant celebration is held. Moses tells the words of the Law to the people. They hear, understand, and accept. Then, Moses writes exactly what the Lord told him. Early the next morning he builds and altar and 12 pillars. The young men then prepare the offerings and sacrifices for Moses to offer. As the young men prepare the offerings Moses gathers the blood. Half of it goes on the people, and half of it goes on the altar. (See Questions to Ponder). Moses now reads what he wrote that the Lord said. The people then again agree. After that, the leaders of Israel go a little up the mountain and partake in a covenant feast. While there they are graciously (and I do not use that word lightly) allowed to expereince the presence of God. When the covenant feast is concluded Moses is to go up Mount Sinai to finish receiving the Law. He takes with him (a little way) Joshua, and commends the people to the care of Aaron and Hur. A cloud  descends upon the mountain as does the glory of YHWH. It looks as if the top of the mountain is ablaze. On the seventh day there after Moses ascends and stays for 40 days and 40 nights.

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Jn 3

WOO HOO! NEW BIRTH!

(cough, cough)

The Pharisees… What a group. Filled with hypocritical leaders who cause the people to work so hard to follow so many man made laws that it is doubly impossible for them to follow the Law of God. Yet one of them, a mn named Nicodemus, sees that this Jesus is not just some rabble rouser. Knowing what the other Pharisees would say if they knew, he finds Jesus at night to speak with him.

What Nicodemus says at the outset is quite revealing “WE know that you are a teacher come from God….” The other Pharisees must obviously recognize this and they HATE Jesus for it. THEY are supposed to be the highest teaching authority in the land, not some carpenter’s kid with questionable paternal lineage from the ghetto!

Jesus’ reply is rather blunt but in no way rude or a put down. It is a simple statement of fact. YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN. One must be made new, regenerated, and this done from above. Covenant works and legalistic legalism in regards to following the law can not and will not grant one to see the Kingdom of God.

Nicodemus doesn’t get it. Or else, he does and uses the question to diflect the turmoil within from hearing this clear revelation. He’s spent his entire life in pursuit of following the law to the letter and even to the spaces in between the letters that are clouded with the Pharisaical tradition. So he says, “What? I’m an old man. I can’t go back inside my mom and come out again!”

Jesus then refrences Ezekiel 36:25-27 when he speaks of “born of water and the Spirit.”

Man born of man is nothing but flesh. Decorated dust, as I heard a preacher say once. A man born of the Spirit is now spiritual. Such a nature does not perish or die. This should not be shocking. Nicodemus knows how men are. He is around the worst of them daily. Yet how does one get born again? Jesus uses a bit of word play (the word for “spirit” and “wind” are the same in Greek, pneuma.) Just as the wind moves and flows, its reactions are seen. So the Spirit of God moves upon people and the reactions of a new birth are see. It is indiscriminate and wonderfully mysterious.

Nicodemus, accepting these things, but the struggle continues asks, again, “How!?”

Jesus offers a simple, but loving rebuke. Then Jesus uses the royal “we.” I wonder does he mean he and his disciples or the Trinity? (In some conversation with a cal.vini.st the idea of  “we” being Jesus and John the Baptist came up as per William Hendriksen. This could work considering what follows in verses 31-36. I would also further suggest the “we” could also mean the Spirit.)

Jesus speaks of the new birth, an earthly thing. How then could this supposedly wise teacher get anything of the Heavenly economics if he does not grasp regeneration? Jesus is salvation for all those who look upon him. Those who refuse, will perish.

The footnote in the ESV states that the quotation could end here or at verse 21.

This verse, John 3:16 is the second most abused verse in Holy Scripture (I think Matthew 7:1 is the most abused.) Looking at the context, we see yes, indeed, the one who clings to Jesus like a man jumping from an airplane clings to a parachute, will have eternal live. Yes! God loves the world that salvation is available to Jew and to Gentile! That is a concept almost completely foreign to the Pharisee mind. This is not saying that all the world will one day be saved, though some people will say, “OH! But see verse 17? He did not send Jesus to condemn but to save!” Keep reading. Verse 18 shatters that notion like an expensive vase hitting a tile floor. Those who believe are not condemned. That leaves open a second category. Those who do not believe in the Son of God. Logically the would have to be condemned. But the wording makes it even worse a case for the universalist or the Arminian. Those who do not believe are already condemned. The judgement is decided. So what is the judgement then? That darkness (sin, self-glorificaiton, idolatry) is loved over light (righteousness, humility, faithfulness). In fact, those who do not believe HATE the light becaue the light will show how evil they really are. Yet those who do what is true, repent and trust in Jesus as Savior, will gladly show what glorious work of grace and forgiveness God has done.

Some time later… (Ugh… I could so totally stay in that section of Scriptue for a huge sermon series that would get me torch and pitch-fork exiled from Willow Creek, Granger, Central Christian,….)

Jesus’ disciples begin to baptize people and the people are leaving John to follow Jesus instead. In the midst of a debate, John’s disciples ask, “Hey! What gives?”

John’s reply? His ministry was given to him by God for a specific end. When that end was accomplished he would fade from the picture. To have accomplished that end is a cause for joy, especially since the end was to prepare the way for the Messiah!

The text of verses 31-36 may or may not be part of John the Baptist’s quote (as per the ESV footnote).

These verses echo what is said earlier in regards to the new birth. Jesus is above all, while John is simply from the earth and mortal man. Jesus tells what he has seen and heard in heaven but the people do not accept it. Those who DO call God True. God sent Jesus to speak the words of God and the Spirit is given to Him fully. The Father exalts the Son by giving him all that is his. Those who cling to Jesus have eternal life. Those who do not obey Jesus’ commands (repent and trust) have the wrath of God remain on them.

Let me pause at the last to emphasize that word REMAIN! God’s wrath is on all mankind unless they repent (turn from sin) and believe (put thier trust in Jesus Christ as the one who took the punishment they deserve) God will damn them.

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Questions to Ponder:

* What does splitting the blood in half and putting some on the altar and some on the people say?

* !!!!!!MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION!!!!!! Are you born again?

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