This is one of those passages that always draws out a lot of questions. It’s quite the picture, with angels coming to stir the water… and then the first person in being healed from it.
God’s ability to work in this manner is not what one should wonder about when reading this passage. God can do much more than this. The question is why would He work in this particular way. It almost seems out of character. But then the end of Romans 11 comes to mind…
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
We must be careful when we think that something is outside of God’s will simply because we’ve never heard of it before. Obviously we must filter things through the Bible, but what we don’t want to do is limit God when He never told us He would not do the type of thing in question. The leaders did just that in response to this same event, and it drove them to persecute Jesus. We must be careful.
On the other side of the coin, there are indeed many things the world falsely credits to God. God hates it… it’s called using His Name in vain. We do not want to join in with that either.
Instead, let us take the straight and narrow path. Let us join in on proclaiming what we do know about Him. And let us continue to treasure up His Word in our hearts, that we may grow in our knowledge of Him. That we may experience and enjoy one of the greatest things God has placed into all of creation… an ever deepening love between man and the Almighty.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
I’d like to reiterate a point I made in this post a while back. We need to reach out to people’s hearts, not waste their time with the things that don’t really matter. Rich Mullins said in a song…
Well you can talk about fashion
You can talk about the weather
It’s all just stuff and it all goes up in flames
Just in case somebody comes askin’
Why don’t you do ’em one better
If you got to talk why don’t you tell ’em
‘Bout the things that remain the same
Please, don’t be scared to talk to people right where they are, however it comes up in the conversation. And show the world that you truly believe Romans 11:36 by relating their life directly to Jesus…
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
If we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us.
And always, speak to people with truth and with love. Just like Jesus did…
The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, `I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
What does it mean to be born again? Nicodemus, a teacher and leader amongst the Jews, couldn’t understand it. Many today seem not to understand it.
We know from Romans 6 that it happens at baptism. It’s clear that it is the beginning of a new way of life. Completely new. Jesus tells us in this passage that it is a thing of the spirit. He goes on to talk about the necessity of believing in Him, even though men love the darkness. He says that when we live in the truth we come into the light so that it may be plain to see that what we’ve done is only by God.
I find that I must pause and really consider if this describes me. In so many ways people can point to my life and say “Look, it’s still the same old Cris. He does as he pleases.” In so many ways I fail to live anew. Sometimes I fool myself by taking pride in the good works I’ve done. Sometimes by emphasizing to myself that I have been baptised just like He told me to be. But I must remember that it is His blood that makes those things of any worth. And the application of that blood always begins with the truth of my sin. Without Christ they are empty and in vain.
But I must believe that God will continue the good work He has started in me, and that He’ll see me through all the way. I must believe that because the Bible says it. And when I do take time to pause and look at my life, I find it is plain that God has done some amazing things in me. It’s even plainer that it was only through God that I was able to do those things. One doesn’t need to know too much about me, or anybody else for that matter, to see the need for God. And when one accepts God, truly accepts Him and is born again, it will be plain that what they’ve done is through God.
So look at your own life, I ask you, and see if it is plain that God has worked through you. Remember not to get proud, because if it is indeed plain that God has worked through you then you have nothing to boast about… Only God does.
Is it plain that through God, and not through yourself, that you are Gennao Anothen?
Here’s a couple of videos from Andrew Peterson. Watch them as you consider whether you are truly a new creation…