Hi thank you for joining us on the Fall For Christ Series, if you would like to receive a FREE PDF copy of the entire series as well as other notes please email Starting With Jesus before the 20th February 2019 with the subject line #FFCF and you should hopefully receive the online #FFCF pack sometime in March.
I don’t know about you, but there was so much to digest from yesterdays post from just the first 14 verses of the Book of John. One thing that I love about the Bible is that if someone were to try and destroy it and only one page was to be left behind, that one page would be enough to reveal God. On top of that no matter how many times you look at a particular book, scripture, verse or passage it always brings new revelation from the last, and this is very much the case for me as I go through the Book of John. I pray that you too may also experience new revelation and become in awe of how great our God is and how mult-faceted He is, Amen.
There is a significant difference between being baptised by water and being baptised by the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist was very much aware of this difference when he said “I merely baptise with water” John 1:26 (TLB). As we mentioned yesterday Christ is the expression of God’s thoughts, creation itself is an expression ( a performance of sort) of God’s thoughts and plans, God loves to put on a show, he loves to reveal himself in ways that we can understand and prepares us to reach another level of spiritual understanding. For this reason, He had His prophets watch or do a performance for his sake to get a message across to the Israelites ( check out 1King 19:11-13, Jeremiah 18:1-7, Ezekiel 4:12-17). Many of the biblical men and women we read in the Old Testament can be considered to be a performance demonstrating God’s nature or revealing Christ to us (read more on this Part I and Part II); this was the purpose of John the Baptists. John the Baptist was the ‘voice crying out in the wilderness: make straight the way of the Lord'(John 1:23), he spoke of the soon coming Messiah and how this Messiah would cleanse mans iniquities far greater then meer water found at a *river, because this Messiah would cleanse mans sins with the Holy Spirit. John washed men with earthly water to bring them into repentance, but Christ washed men with heavenly water to bring them into unity with him, ‘for no one can receive a single thing unless its given to him from heaven’ (John 3:27), therefore, no one can receive spiritual cleansing unless it is given by God’s Spirit.
We find that chapter two of the Book of John is very much about spiritual cleansing. There is a reason why Jesus’ first miracle was about transforming water into wine at a wedding. When the wine began to run out, Mary (mother of Jesus) whom we presume was helping to oversee the catering, turned to Jesus to explain the dilemma. If Mary was already a widow, ‘Mary would naturally have learned to depend on her firstborn son. Whether she expected Jesus to perform a miracle is not clear, since He as yet had never performed one, yet, Mary knew better than anyone who Jesus was’ (MacArthur John 1-11, 2008: pg79). Ever since His birth Mary had not boasted about who Christ was but had stored in her heart and reminded herself of Christs origins ( read Luke 2: 19 and 51), that is why she was not deterred by what Christ said in verse 4 ( note he does not refuse to support her as many would initially think), she turned to the servants of the wedding and instructed them to follow whatever strange demands Christ asked.
Nearby, stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each containing 20-30 gallons’ (John 2:6). Jesus asked them to fill all six jars to the top with water and when they had done so, they drew some water out to find it had become wine but not just any wine, He (Christ) had produced ‘fine wine’ (John 2:10). There is particular importance in the use of the 6 stone jars where the wine was produced, these jars where used for Jewish purification, all Jews ‘would not eat without first performing a ritual of pouring water over their cupped hands’ (Mark 7:3) so that they remained “ritualistically” clean, the jars represented mans attempt to purify themselves and present themselves holy, a key thing to note is how there are 6 jars, the number 6 biblically represent man as on the 6th day God created man. As such within John 2:6 we see mans’ efforts to clean themselves, but in comparison to being cleansed by the Holy Spirit ‘all [their] righteous acts [were] like filthy rags'( Isaiah 64:6). However, miraculously wine is created not by man but by God and wine (the fruit of the vine) is very symbolic of Jesus’ blood ( (Mt. 26:17–30, Mk. 14:12–26, Lk. 22:7–39 and Jn. 13:1–17:26). Jesus’ blood thus becomes the replacement for our ‘filthy rags’, far more superior than John the Baptists water baptism or the Jewish water purification ritual. This was a further reminder of the vision seen in Zechariah 3: 3-4 where the High Preist Joshua (representing Christ) changed from filthy clothes to splendid robes. As a son of God, Christ was on a mission to prepare the peoples hearts to receive Him as their Lord and saviour, He was going to crucify the flesh and raise up a new man in three days, the temple which man had not revered was going to be raised up again and made into a holy sanctuary (John 2:13-19), he cleared out the rubbish within the temple to make the temple purely about the Lord God Almighty ( Read more on this).
To conclude: Jesus came to replace our filthy rags with Splendid robes so that our guilt would be removed.
- Having accepted the Lord who baptises by Spirit, we have been made pure and our house that was cluttered is made clean
- We can only become clean through His blood
- It is not by our own merit that we become clean, but by His will and grace
- When we keep in our hearts the things the Lord has said and done, we have more confidence and trust in Him
As mentioned, all our efforts to be good are like filthy rags before God, but if you have had enough of trying to be ‘holy’ by your own efforts know that you can ask the Holy Spirit to baptise you right now you can just simply ask:
Jesus, I receive you as my Lord and my saviour, I have tried everything to be clean but now I know that it is not by my efforts but by your blood through the Holy Spirit that my soul can become cleansed. I ask for your purifying bloo to make me pure again, remove my guilt and dress me in splendid robes. Amen
Congratulations, if you have just said this prayer because from this day onwards you have been made pure and whole. I suggest you find a good bible-based church that can help mature you in your personal walk and if you find yourself being led astray call out the name of the Lord and he will guide you on the path that is right.
*The River Jordan where Christ was baptised has biblical significance, however, this will probably be a topic for later months of Gods willing.