A modern English blending of the New Testament

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Jesus - A blending of the New Testament - Ch. 5 - Driving out the moneychangers
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Jesus drives the money-changers from the temple  -  he predicts the resurrection  -  the visit of Nicodemus  -  John speaks of his diminishing role.


Jesus, his family, and his disciples went to Capernaum for a brief visit and then, with the Passover approaching, continued on to Jerusalem.

There, within the temple enclosure, Jesus could see oxen and sheep and pigeons and, off to one side, the moneychangers at their stands. He took some cords, knotted them into a whip and drove the cattle and sheep out of the enclosure, overturning the money-changers' trays and flinging them aside, coins and all. Then he went to the men who sold pigeons, "Get them out of here!" he said. "How dare you turn my Father's house into a marketplace!"

As the disciples watched him, the scripture quotation came to their minds: My zeal for your house will consume me.

Some of the men standing nearby said to Jesus: "By what right do you do this? Show us your authority."

"Destroy this temple," he said, "and I'll rebuild it in three days."

"Three days!" they said. "It took forty-six years to build it and you're going to rebuild it in three days?"

What they did not realize was that when Jesus used the word "temple" he was referring to the temple that was his body. It was only after he rose from the grave that the disciples remembered his statement and realized its significance.

While Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover, a consid- erable number of people, impressed by what he said and did, professed to become his disciples.  He refused to commit himself to them, however. It was not that anyone informed him about them; it was simply that he understood human nature and knew their motives. 

One night he had an important visitor, a leader in the Jewish community, a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus.

"Sir," Nicodemus began, "there's no doubt in many of our minds that you are a teacher sent by God. Nobody could possibly do the miraculous things you do if he weren't."

"Then let me impress this on you," Jesus said. "Unless a man is born a second time he'll never see the kingdom of heaven."

"But I don't understand. How can a grown man be born? Are you suggesting that he can enter his mother's womb a second time and be born?"

"The fact is that if the man isn't born of water and of the spirit he can't get in to the kingdom. He is flesh because he is born of flesh, he will be spirit if he's born of the Spirit. It shouldn't be too great a mystery to you, my telling you that you must be born twice. Are you mystified by the wind? you can hear it but you don't know where it comes from or where it's going. Spiritual birth is like that."

"But how? I don't understand?"

Jesus looked at him. "You are a teacher of the people and you can't grasp such things? The truth is we don't teach theory; we speak from experience, about things we've seen, but you don't accept that. And if you don't accept what I say when I tell you about things here on earth, what chance is there that you will understand when I speak of the mysteries of the heaven? No one has been to heaven other than the son of man. And, just as Moses raised that replica of a snake over the head of the Israelites, so the son of man must be raised over the heads of men today so that anyone who puts his faith in him will live forever.

"God's love for the world is so great that he gave up the only son he ever had so that anyone who commits himself to his son will live forever. He didn't send his son to the world to condemn it but to save it. Trust his son and you escape judgement: don't, and you stand condemned. And the reason for that condemnation is simply that when light came to world, some, because they were evil, preferred the dark. Evil men avoid the light because it exposes them, but those who live by the truth welcome it: it makes it clear that what they have done has been accomplished with God's help."

When Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem, they went to place in Judea not far from Aenon to baptize some converts. John was baptizing at Aenon - there being lots of water there - and some of his disciples got into an argument with a man about ritual cleansing. They went to John.

"Teacher," they said, "that man who was with you at the Jordan crossing - you know, the one you praised so highly - well, he's baptizing people not far from here and everybody's going over to him."

"A man should be content with his lot," John told them. "Where do things come from but from heaven? You yourself heard me say that I'm not the Messiah. My job is to introduce the Messiah, nothing more. The bride isn't for the best man, she's for the bridegroom. The best man is happy if the bridegroom is happy. That's how it is with me: I'm content. He must become increasingly prominent and I must fade away.

"He came from above and he's above everything. My beginnings were here in this world and what can I know other than things related to this world? Yet although he's saying only those things he knows by experience, hardly anyone believes him. Those who do, though, are a demonstration of the truth of God. Jesus was sent here by God and he speaks God's words - the authentic words. God didn't dole out his Spirit to him! The father loves his son and has entrusted everything to him. Commit yourselves to him and you'll live forever; reject him and there's no life for you. Indeed, you'll live your under God's anger."
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