Tag Archives: Jesu

You Just Had to Go There…

6 Jan
Jesus and the Samaritan woman. A miniature fro...

from the 12th-century Jruchi Gospels II MSS from Georgia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are lots of places I have to go in any given day. I have to go to work. Sometimes I have to put gas in the truck. There’s always somewhere I need to visit to stock-up on something. It seems, for every place I go… there’s a reason. I’m rarely just out wandering around.

I get the impression that Jesus was like this too. When He started walking, He usually had a reason… and a purpose.

There’s an interesting statement at the beginning of the fourth chapter of John that has always caught my eye. It says that Jesus “had to pass through Samaria”.

I’ve read several theories as to why people think He “had to” travel that road. History tells us that most Jews chose to travel a different route from Jerusalem to Galilee. The Jews and Samaritans had several long-standing theological disagreements that had caused separation… but for some reason Jesus chose to engage instead of ignore.

Jesus met a woman in Samaria. Most readers surmise that the Samaritan woman was terribly lost that day. While she well knew her way to the town’s source of water, it seems clear she had not been able to find all she was looking for in life.

In the end we know this woman, and many in her village, believe Jesus is the Promised Messiah. My question is… what was this woman’s spiritual condition prior to Jesus’ arrival? Was she really an unbelieving soul that Jesus converted that day… or could she have been a “true believer” from the wrong side of the tracks?

I suspect she was not as spiritually lost as many conclude. The fact that she wasn’t a Jew… shouldn’t automatically exclude her from being a believer in God’s promises. Continue reading

Nick… at Night

19 Dec

There’s one question I always ask when I read about someone’s encounter with Jesus in the gospels…

“What’s the spiritual condition of the person talking to Jesus.”

I mean… are they a believer… a seeker… or someone not at all interested in the spiritual side of life?

Most people assume that Jesus spent the majority of His time “evangelizing unbelievers”… so they naturally conclude that we should do the same. Our generation has focused much of its efforts on evangelism… because we believe “that’s WJD”.

Moon over Jerusalem

In this post… we’ll look at an interaction Jesus had with Nicodemus. Most understand this guy to be a “seeker” who is coming to Jesus with questions, but is it possible that he is a believer coming to Jesus to understand more about his Messiah?

Let’s see if we can pull Nicodemus… “out of the shadows”.

What’s Going on Behind the Translation?

There is a lot happening “behind the curtain” of the English translations of John 3:1-21. While I won’t be able to take space to unpack all of it here, I would like to give you some things for further study.

First… John, the author, used one word over and over again in verses 3-5. The Greek word “pneuma“, which can mean a “breathe”, a “blast of air”, or “wind” is normally interpreted as “spirit”. In scripture, this often refers to the Holy Spirit. In John 3:5-8… everywhere the English translation says “wind” and/or “Spirit”… it’s the same word (pneuma) in the Greek language. (For a more complete discussion… please read Zane Hodges’ article).

Second… the Greek phrase that’s often translated, “born again” can also mean “born from above” (meaning Heaven). Jesus was using this linguistic ambiguity to teach a spiritual truth. Nicodemus originally thought Jesus meant “born again” (physical birth) when Jesus really meant “born from above” (spiritual birth). Jesus liked to play with words like that.

Third… there are a bunch of “you” statements in the interaction between Jesus and Nicodemus. The Greek language uses two different words to distinguish whether a “you” is singular (directed to one person) or plural (like we would say in the South “you all”). English is not so clear. The English language only has one  “you” that functions as both a singular “you” and a plural “you all”. I believe the English language brings a lack of clarity to Nicodemus’ conversation with Jesus.

With that said… let’s take a look at the interaction Jesus had with Nicodemus. Continue reading

Where does the TransitionalGospel take us?

1 May

When looking at the gospel of Jesus Christ, in its original context, we’ve got to head all the way back to the beginning of God’s story. We must be willing to jump back into the Old Testament and set the stage for the arrival of Jesus. To do this we will consider the problem of sin… and the promise, that God offered, to fix that problem.

We will look into the common role of faith in the salvation of all people. We must understand the purpose of the law in the Old Testament and how God used it with people of faith. The Old Testament law had a definite purpose and limitations.

Probably the most important idea we’ll delve into, is the concept of the “believing remnant”. This is the idea that since sin entered the world, God has always had “people of faith” on the earth. At any given time, there has always been a group who truly believed God was the only one big enough to solve the sin problem. Continue reading

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