Bible experiment John
John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
A couple years ago, I stumbled across a bunch of posts by an Atheist who was going through the Bible, book by book and commenting on it in 1,000 word chunks. And I thought, “fascinating”. I should do it from a believer’s standpoint as well. And so I have been going, book, by book, by book, and commenting on the good, the bad, the ugly as I read back through the Bible. Today is Christmas, and we are covering the book of John.
In the beginning was the Word. The Logos. What this is positing is that before the foundations of the world Christ was. John is saying at the start of his gospel that Jesus is the truth, and was the truth before anything was created. And not only that, but that is was through this truth that everything was created. And nothing exists apart from this Truth. Apart from Jesus it doesn’t exist, and even after it’s creation it holds together because of him. Colossians 1:17 “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Which, I’m guessing sounds fairly stupid to those that don’t believe.
But this creator that you don’t believe in is real. And on this Christmas day He wants you to know that 2,000 years ago He came down out of heaven, took the form of a defenseless baby, solely because you (and I) were lost and without hope. We were dead in our sins even before we were born. We were lost and without a way. So today, Christmas day, is all about the God of all creation making a way for you. Providing a solution to our own failures. Our darkness.
I mean think about it… Christmas is the craziest story ever. If this were a story written by man, God would come in a UFO and rule the planet from a castle made of diamonds or something. He’d be untouchable. Or something. It would be oppressive and overwhelming. Instead we get the insanity of a little baby? We get the story of a man come down to earth and pretty much everyone is offended by Him because He makes no sense. Everyone wants to kill Him because this guy is a threat. Right out of the gates, the gospels tell us that Herod the local King was so afraid of Him and the possibility of another king taking his place that he went on a baby-killing rampage. Seriously… who does that? And that was just in the first couple years. Later in his life pharisees try to stone him, try to arrest him, try to kill him numerous times.
Why would so many want him dead?
Maybe because his message is convicting. Maybe you are not a believer and you think this post is the absolute dumbest thing you have ever heard. Fair. But maybe, just maybe I’m not insane. Maybe, just maybe, Christ did create the universe. Maybe just maybe He came to earth to die for you. What then?
The book of John is the story of a little baby boy, come to earth to engage with those who are lost. My two favorite conversations come in John 3 and John 4. The first is a conversation between Nicodemus, a pharisee. Pharisees were the ruling religious elite of Israel. They controlled everything in the lives of the Jews. They proscribed rules and edicts about life, sacrifices, ordinances… everything. But Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night, which means, the last thing He wants is that anyone else would know about this conversation. And yet, Jesus tells this offended, and threatened Pharisee the key to salvation. That is why endzone guy holds “John 3:16” up on a board every Sunday. “For God so loved you… that He sent me (Jesus) to the world, so that whoever believes… will live forever.” He literally tells Nicodemus, ruler of the religious cast that are trying to (and will) kill Him, the keys to freedom and salvation. Why would He do that?
Well, if you follow Nicodemus further, you will see that later on Nicodemus defends Jesus when the Pharisees want to kill him. “Shouldn’t we consider Him innocent first? And wouldn’t someone that can do miracles be considered a prophet, or at least from God? I mean. Doesn’t that make sense?” And that totally pisses off the other Pharisees. And then later on? Nicodemus is there at Christ’s death and assists with His burial. He didn’t leave. He really had a divine encounter that night talking to Jesus. Something happened. Maybe you should read John 3 from beginning to end and just come to God with the same questions that Nicodemus has… But, holy cow Jesus?!? How does one that is born already be born again?!? That makes zero sense! Explain it to me.
And my second favorite conversation in the Bible is found in John 4. It says that Jesus had to pass through Samaria.
Stop. You’ve already missed it! Pay attention! Jesus had to pass through Samaria.
Good Jews never passed through Samaria. They hated the Samaritans. So much so, that they would walk around Samaria when needing to travel through. But Jesus? No, he had business to attend to in Samaria apparently. He had a woman, a Samaritan woman (mind should be blown, men didn’t talk to women without an invitation as recently as the early 1900’s let alone 2,000 years ago. It just did not happen.) at that, that he had to go talk to. Now, this woman was special. She was really special. Why? because she was an outcast. In the town of Sychar in Samaria, she may have been the most despised person there. Hated. Yeah, she was very very special. Special to Jesus anyway.
So Jesus, being tired from the journey sends the disciples off to get dominos pizza or something. And while he is sitting by the well a woman walks up to the well to get water. It’s mid-day. It’s hot. No one is there because drawing water from a well is huge pain in the butt – lots of hard work. Like, literally back breaking work. So everyone else did it in the morning. Right?
(Alright, I’m going to rabbit trail a second. But when I used to take the kids to pre-school or even kindergarten, all the moms would stand in the hallway and talk. It was literally the scariest thing I’ve ever done. And I’ve done tons of scary things. But these women? Standing in the hallway? So so intimidating. And I fit in. My wife was good friends of theirs. But it freaked me out. Totally mindnumbing irrational fear. To see them talking? To see how clique-y it was? To see this social force I knew nothing about? Wow. Now, that was the well in the morning for her. Thus, she avoided it. Right?)
But why was she the most hated person in Sychar? Well, we learn a little later on that she has had five husbands. Back then? Five husbands? Are you kidding me? Oh, and by the way, the guy she was with right then? Wasn’t her husband. In a small social structure like Sychar? Hahahah. No way. No freaking way. Even today if you’ve been married 5 times it’s not the greatest. But then? completely and totally uncool. Maybe it was a town of a couple hundred? She had married something like 10% of the males!! (Yes, I’m conjecturing now, but you get my point.) She must have been beautiful at one point, maybe still was. But somehow, early on, everything started going wrong. Maybe her first husband died? Maybe her second husband beat her? Maybe she didn’t love her third husband. Maybe number four, five and six were just plays for money, or affection, or what? In my own life, I screw up when I am desperate, when I am lost, when I am looking for love and affection in the wrong places. And it seems to me like she was doing that too.
What is all this about though? Why would Jesus want to talk to this “special” person? What did they talk about? Here’s my modern day rendition of this conversation:
“Mam, could you be so good as to get me a drink?”
“First, you are a Jew, I’m a Samaritan, and a woman at that… how are you asking me for a drink?”
“If you had any idea whatsoever who you were talking to, and who is asking for a drink, you would have instead asked Him for a drink and He would have given you living water.”
“Um, you don’t even have anything to get the water with… do you see how deep that well is?”
“If you drink from this well, you will be thirsty again soon. But if you drink the water that I can give you yourself will become a wellspring of water bubbling over forever.”
“Ok, please may I have this water of yours so that I might never thirst again.”
“Alright, but first, go call your husband.”
“Sir, I do not have a husband.”
“Yes, that is true, you do not. For you have had five husbands, and even the man you are with now isn’t your husband either.”
“Ok wow, I see that you are definitely a prophet. Um, let’s see, sir? Our fathers have always said we should worship here. But your people have always said we should worship in Jerusalem. Which is it?”
“You are being evasive, but ok, I’ll bite. It will be soon that neither place will be the correct place to worship God. Soon true worshipers will worship God in spirit regardless of location.”
“I do know that soon the Messiah will come, and He will make these things clear.”
“I, who am speaking to you… am the Messiah.”
It’s really hard to explain just how unprecedented this conversation is. Just beyond the pale. And yet, God, the King of all glory chatted with her, revealed truth to her and spoke honestly with her. He revealed to her that He was the Messiah, which he hadn’t even really done with His own disciples yet. And what does she do? She books it back to her home and tells everyone in the town, “Come see the man that told me everything I ever did.” And everyone comes and convinces Jesus to stay for several days with them. Samaritans!? Hahaha. Fantastic. I’ve shared this before, but I’m doubtful 99% of you have seen it. It is a modern day monologue from the woman at the wells perspective… and I can’t think of a better Christmas day prayer for us all:
To be known is to be loved…
The Messiah sees you. He knows you. He has paved a way for you, from where you are right now, all the way to Him. It is the best Christmas gift ever given. Comparatively, it is the only Christmas gift ever given. And it’s free to you, just believe.
Merry Christmas Everyone.