In the first few chapters of the Book of John, we are introduced to four events that help us to see and understand the true nature of Jesus. At a wedding we learn about the generosity of Jesus. In the temple in Jerusalem, we learn that Jesus has come to bring heaven and earth together. In the conversation Jesus has with the Rabbi Nicodemus, we learn that a new spiritual birth is needed to separate us from this fallen world. And finally, in Samaria we discover Jesus is the living water that will take us into our eternal life.
In chapter two of the Book of John we are told the story of Jesus attending a wedding that has run out of wine. In the story, Mary, the mother of Jesus, encourages Him to resolve the situation. Jesus is reluctant to do anything, because He has not yet begun His ministry, but he concedes to His mother’s request. Jesus has the servants fill six water jugs, each with about twenty to thirty gallons of water and promptly turns that water into fine wine. So Jesus begins His ministry with this casual act of generosity.
“What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” John 2:11 (NIV)
The next event recorded in the Book of John is Jesus traveling to Jerusalem for the Jewish Passover Festival. When Jesus discovers the temple in Jerusalem is being used to sell cattle, sheep, and doves, He is profoundly insulted. He makes a whip to chase the animals out, turning over the money changers tables while chastising them all for turning the temple into a market. When asked by what authority He is delivering this order, Jesus makes a cryptic statement.
“Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” John 2:19 (NIV)
The disciples are not sure what Jesus means by this statement but will later make the connection after Jesus is raised from the dead. Jesus is comparing himself to the temple of God.
Later, in the night, a Jewish Rabbi named Nicodemus comes to Jesus to discuss His teaching. He has seen the miracles of Jesus and wants to know His connection to God. Jesus opens the conversation with a statement that confuses Nicodemus.
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 3:3 (NIV)
Jesus goes on to explain to Nicodemus that by believing in the Son of God you will experience a spiritual rebirth that will sever your selfish relationship with this world and transport you into a new eternal life with God. Jesus makes the point that He is the light and this world is in darkness. He tells Nicodemus that those who come to Him will discover the truth.
From here, the Book of John tells us Jesus traveled through Samaria and stopped at a water well where he encountered a Samaritan woman. When Jesus asks the woman to provide Him with a drink, she is surprised by His request because typically at this time Jews did not associate with Samaritans. Again, Jesus offers a somewhat cryptic reply.
“Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10 (NIV)
When the Samaritan woman questions Jesus further, He reveals some personal information about her convincing her He is a prophet. Jesus goes on to explain that the time has come when everyone must worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). The woman recalls her understanding that the Jewish Messiah is coming to explain everything. To this, Jesus makes a clear statement that establishes, without question, His true identity.
“Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” John 4:26 (NIV)
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