Skip to main content

Passover Visit - John 2:23-25

Jesus' entry into Jerusalem for Passover was intense.  He challenged their materialism, he wanted them to go to a deeper place of worship.  He saw them taking advantage of traditional practices to exploit the people into buying expensive livestock for worship, so he cleared the temple of the animals and turned the money tables over.  Then when the leaders challenged his authority rather than his message he claimed his place among the prophets, stating that even death would not keep him.  With such a powerful entrance, what did the rest of his visit look like?

John offers us very little.  In chapter 3 he will report on just one single conversation, so it is only right here at the end of chapter 2 that we get any insight into the rest of his Passover visit.  John reports only 3 simple ideas to conclude this visit.

1.) Jesus performed many miraculous things.
2.) Many people believed in him because of those signs.
3.) Jesus did not trust them because he knew what was in their hearts.

 Looking at the first two statements together I find this interesting.  Up to this point, the only miracle that John has reported was the turning of the water into wine.  Given that, why didn't John elaborate on what kind of miraculous things?  We are tempted to say it was healing, but John has not introduced a healing ministry yet.  At face value, I would say that Jesus' behavior at the temple was miraculous, even though it was not supernatural.  Should we believe that he did something natural or supernatural here?

These questions led me to look at the Greek.  I will admit to only having a rudimentary knowledge of Greek, I feel much more confident with Hebrew, but I don't believe that the word miraculous is there.  I believe it was added for emphasis.  To check my work, unless you can read Greek, I would encourage you to look at the Strong's, it will not help with grammar, but it at least shows the words the translators had to work with.  The word translated as miraculous is actually just the pronoun "autos" (846).  Sometimes the verb will have an emphasis that causes the translator to add things like this, but in this case the verb is "poieo" (4160), and it just means to do.  In this case I cannot find another object that the verb is referring to.  The only way you can check on this without knowledge of greek is to look at every word in the sentence, there is nothing there.  While I was checking on this I also looked up "name" because name can often be translated as authority or reputation.  This is accurate in this case as well, they used the word "onoma" (3686).  If you take these ideas together we could combine one and two into a statement more like "During his stay, many people believed in Jesus' authority because of his actions." This is a much more benign statement but it does seem accurate to me.

The third statement needs to be looked at alone because it could be an extremely powerful and disturbing nugget.  The idea that Jesus knew what was in the hearts of men is powerful on its own since only God should know that (1 Kings 8:39).  So, here we find another claim to deity packed into this little statement

In addition to the above, this fragment makes another potential claim.  They believed in him, yet he did not believe in them.  It is in fellowship with Christ that we find salvation, but here we find that belief alone does not get us there.  There were people that day that believed, but Christ did not invite them to fellowship.  This smacks in the face of traditional theology that says we are saved by our faith. This little statement is not enough to form a new theology from, but it should cause you to pause and think.

Next time we will get into Jesus' famous conversation with Nicodemus about being born twice.

If you happen to have a solid grasp of Greek I would love your take on this, please comment below.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   "...in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t

Prayer Part 2 of 4

  This is the second of four weeks the narrative lectionary is focusing on the Lord's Prayer as found in Luke 11:2-4.  This week we are focusing on the second section: "Give us this day our daily bread." At the time and place that Jesus said this, bread was the center of every meal.  To his people, it had a long history of being a symbol for God's provision.  It was often used to refer to any meal or food, and in this case Jesus expands it to represent all of our needs.   A long time ago, in a place that had been ravaged with war, orphanages were overwhelmed with children.  In one of the facilities, the relief workers noted that the children had trouble falling asleep each night.  They struggled with anxiety, wondering if they would have food for the next day.  Their lack of sleep led to more anxiety and a troubling downward spiral of their mental and physical health.  In an effort to meet their needs the workers tried something new one night.  As they tucked each chi