Good Friday: The Temple and The Cross John 2:13-23

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THE TEMPLE AND THE CROSS

John 2:13-23

For Good Friday, I thought it would be good for us to take some time and reflect on the significance of Jesus clearing the temple in John 2 and how that connects to the cross and our new life in Him. 

In the passage, Jesus goes to Jerusalem for the passover and when he sees how the temple has been corrupted he begins to turn over tables and chase the animals out of the temple court. In verse 17, it says that the disciples were reminded of the Old Testament prophecy of Messiah from Psalm 69:9 that says "Passion for God's house will consume me." 
But why did it matter, why did Jesus take the temple so seriously? In Israel, the temple was the place where God and man could still relate with one another. It is the place where the heavens and the earth could co-mingle. But the religious leaders had allowed corruption to reign. They were so fixated on keeping the letter of the law, that they forgot the heart of the law. God's desire was that Israel loved Him, trusted Him, and followed Him. But they were not, they had become, as Jesus called them, "whitewashed tombs" clean looking on the outside, but dead inside. Jesus will not stand for that, so he cleanses the temple. 

But this act of cleansing in John 2 points to his ultimate act of cleansing when he goes to the cross in order to take on the sin of mankind. In doing so he cleansed another temple... us!
For those of us who put their faith in Jesus, scripture tells us that God comes and "dwells" in us by His Spirit. We become the temple of God's presence. That would be impossible unless Jesus cleansed us and prepared us for God to dwell. 

So Jesus gave Himself so that you and I could dwell with God and He could dwell IN us, and He is passionate about it! He was and is committed to our cleansing, both initially in salvation, but also practically in transforming us. The Spirit convicts us of areas of sin and through confession and repentance God changes us. 1 John 1:9 says, "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." 

Because of His work on the cross, you and I are clean. God's presence lives in us and we have perpetual access to Him. When we struggle with sin, we are no further away, than when we dont struggle. Because God is always IN us. That is the scandal of the cross, that because of Jesus you and I are made new. 

Celebrate the beauty of the cross this week, but also reflect on the cost. That it took God giving everything of himself in order for us to have all of who He is.

Check out the preview podcast below

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Discovering Joy in Jesus: John 2:1-12

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DISCOVERING JOY

John 2:1-12

This week we look at the first of the 7 "sign" miracles that John tells about in his Gospel. This first one is where Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding, and not just wine, but he lavishes the party with an abundance of the best wine. 

As you read through the story ask yourself why this sign is so significant that John would tell us about it. Also, what do you think is significant about how Mary responds to her son? 

Two of the themes that seem to come from this passage are waiting on God's timing and His abundance in giving us what we need and more. Wine was a symbol for abundance, life, and joy. What is the significance of Jesus saving the celebration and bringing the best wine? I would encourage you to listen to the preview podcast where we go into far more detail about the passage. 

PREVIEW PODCAST HERE

Questions to talk about in DNA Groups:
1. Where do you lack joy? What do you think the reason is for that?
2. In what parts of your life does God have you waiting? Why do you struggle to trust Him in these times?
3. How can the others in your Group encourage you as you trust Him and seek joy?

Discovering Jesus: The Invitation John 1:35-51

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The Invitation

John 1:35-51

This week John tells us the story of Jesus' first disciples and how they began to follow Him. As you read through the passage, I would encourage you to think through the contrast between being an "observer" of someone, and a "follower" of someone. Many people observed Jesus but only a few actually followed Him. It is much the same today. Our churches are full of people "observing Jesus," but sadly, there are few who actually follow Him. What about you?

Another thing to notice in the passage is the question Jesus asks Andrew and the other disciple in vs38 "What do you want?" This question is at the heart of our own journey with Jesus as well. It also has a dramatic impact on whether you are an observer or a follower. So ask yourself, What do you want from Jesus? Why do you follow Him? Why do you attend church, study the bible, pray? It's essential that we examine our motives and why we do what we do. 

We go into more detail about these things and Jesus' simple invitation to "Come and see" who He is and what He is about in this weeks preview podcast. 

In vs 51, Jesus makes this proclamation about what the disciples will see. He says, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth." 

This is some weird imagery for us that can cause confusion, especially with our cultures dominant (and often wrong) view of "Heavens." To help understand better, watch this video on Heaven and Earth from the Bible Project.

PREVIEW PODCAST HERE

Questions to talk about in DNA Groups:
1. What do you want from Jesus? Why do you "follow Him"
2. What makes you a follower of Jesus instead of an observer?
3. What steps can you take in your journey to follow Him more closely? How can your DNA group help?  
4. Who can you invite to come and see who Jesus is and what He is doing in and through you and Cornerstone? What keeps you from a simple invitation? 

Discovering Jesus: John The Baptist John 1:19-34

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John The Baptist

John 1:19-34

As we continue in our series DISCOVERING JESUS, we come to the story of John The Baptist. JTB (as I lovingly call him), is a significant character in the narrative of the New Testament. All four of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) talk about him and his ministry as the pre-runner for Jesus. 
We know that John was Jesus' cousin and that he was an odd guy (by our standards). He lived out in the wilderness near the Jordan river. This pic gives you an idea of what that area was like. 

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The Jordan Valley Wilderness

John's ministry was focused on preparing the Jewish people for The Messiah to come. He preached repentance for sin and would Baptize those who turned to God.
As you read through the passage I want you to notice how JTB remains laser focused on his place in God's story. He never deviates, even as the religious leaders challenge him. The preview podcast has a lot more background detail on this passage and I encourage you to listen to it as you study the passage this week. 

PREVIEW PODCAST HERE

Questions to talk about in DNA Groups:
1. What are some things that stand out to you about John The Baptist in John 1:19-34?
2. How can you follow JTB's lead in making The Lord center in your story?
3. What are some areas the Lord is challenging to pursue faithfulness?
4. How can your DNA group encourage/challenge you to remain faithful? 

Discovering Jesus: In The Beginning John 1:1-18

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Who is Jesus? This question has been debated since Jesus walked the earth over 2000 years ago. Even during his earthly ministry there was much argument about who he was and what his purpose was. Was he a prophet? Messiah? or just a crazy man? Today, all these years later that question still lingers in our world. That is the question John is answering in his Gospel. 
In John 20:30-31 he says, "The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name."
Our hope in this series is that each of us, whether a Christian or not, will discover Jesus in fresh and profound ways. That we would believe in Him, and by believing find LIFE.

This first chapter of John is the prologue to the story, similar to the text crawl at the start of each Star Wars movie. It sets the scene and gives us the context for the characters and the story.  
In Matthews Gospel he starts the story of Jesus with a genealogy starting with Abraham. But John goes back much further in Jesus' story to the beginning of EVERYTHING. John proclaims from the very first sentence that Jesus is far more than just a good man, but that Jesus is God Himself. 

As you read through these first 18 verses think about how bold of a claim John is making. He is setting the bar at an impossible level! Jesus must not just prove to be a good teacher and leader, but he must show Himself to be GOD in flesh. How do you view Jesus? If He is God, and the Scriptures are true, then how should that change how we live? 

PREVIEW PODCAST HERE

Questions to talk about in DNA Groups:
1. What are some things that stand out to you about Johns claims about Jesus in 1:1-14?
2. What claims in this passage are hardest fro you to understand or believe?
3. If you are a Christian, where do you see disconnects between believing these Truths and how you live out your faith?
4. How can your DNA group encourage/challenge you to embrace these truths in a deeper way?