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The Book of Jesus

Chapter Three

The New Amsterdam Publishing Company
Copyright © 1997

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The Money Changers at the Temple

NARRATOR.
Just before the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple he found merchants selling cattle, sheep and pigeons and the money changers sitting at their tables. When he had made a whip of small cords, he drove them all out of the Temple; the sheep and the cattle, scattered the changers' money and overturned their tables. He then said to the merchants who were selling the pigeons:
JESUS.
Get these things out of here! Don't turn my Father's house into a store!
NARRATOR.
And his disciples remembered that it had been written in the scriptures:
'The zeal for my Father's house will devour me.'
The Jews stepped in and said:
JEWS.
What sign are you going to show us to justify all the things you've done?
JESUS:
Destroy this Temple and I will raise it up in three days.
JEWS.
It took forty-six years to build this Temple and you're going to raise it in three days?
NARRATOR.
But Jesus was speaking of the Temple of his body. When he had risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this to them and they believed the scripture and the words which Jesus had spoken. While Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Passover, on the feast day, many believed in his name when they saw the signs he gave. But Jesus did not entrust himself to them, because he understood just how men are. He did not need another man to provide him evidence about another person, because he knew what a man had in him.

John 2:13-25

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Nicodemus and Jesus

NARRATOR.
There was one of the Pharisees by the name of Nicodemus, one of the rulers of the Jews, who came to Jesus by night.
NICODEMUS.
Rabbi, we know that you're a teacher who comes from God, because no man could perform the signs that you're doing unless God were with him.
JESUS.
I tell you most sincerely, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.
NICODEMUS.
How can a man be born when he is old? Can he go back into his mother's womb and be born a second time?
JESUS.
I tell you most sincerely, unless a man is born through water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of Spirit is Spirit. Don't be surprised that I am saying to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its' sound, but you cannot tell where it's coming from or where it's going. So is everyone that is born of the Spirit.
NICODEMUS.
How can this be possible?
JESUS.
Aren't you a teacher in Israel and you don't know these things? I tell you most sincerely, we speak about things we know, and testify only to the things we've seen and yet you don't receive our witness. If you don't believe me when I speak to you of earthly things, how are you going to believe me when I speak to you of heavenly things? No man has ascended up to Heaven except the one who came down from Heaven, the Son of Man who is in Heaven. Just as Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of Man must be lifted up in order that anyone who believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God loved the world so much, that he gave His only begotten Son. So that anyone who believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. The person who believes on him is not condemned, but the person who doesn't believe is already condemned, because he hasn't believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
On these grounds is sentenced pronounced; that although light has come into the world, men loved darkness in preference to the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that does evil, hate the light and does not come to the light for fear that his actions will be exposed. But the person who lives by the truth, comes to the light so that his deeds may be plainly seen and that what he does, is done in God.

John 3:1-21

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The Last Witness of John the Baptist

NARRATOR.
After this, Jesus and his disciples went into the countryside of Judaea and stayed there with them and baptized. John was also baptizing at Aenon near Salim where there was plenty of water and people came and were baptized. This was before John was thrown into prison. Now there arose a question about purification between some of John's disciples and the Jews. So they went to John and said:
JOHN'S DISCIPLES.
Rabbi, the man who was with you on the far side of the Jordan, the one of whom you bore witness. Look, this same man is baptizing and everyone is going to him.
JOHN the BAPTIST.
A man cannot receive anything unless it has been given him from Heaven. You yourselves can attest to the fact that I said; 'I am not the Christ, but that I am the one who has been sent before him.' The man who has the bride is the bridegroom. This, my joy, is therefore complete.
He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all others. He who is born of the earth is earthly himself and speaks of things of the earth. He that comes from Heaven, is above everything and what he has seen and heard is what he testifies to regardless of whether his testimony is accepted or not. The person who has accepted his testimony has set his seal to the fact that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the Words of God and God does not give the Spirit to him by measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. The person who believes on the Son has everlasting life. But anyone who does not believe on the Son will not see life, and the wrath of God remains on him.

John 3:22-36

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The Samaritan Woman At The Well

NARRATOR.
When Jesus heard that the Pharisees had found out that he was baptizing more disciples than John; although in fact, Jesus did not personally baptize people, but his disciples; he left Judaea and went back again into Galilee. This meant that he had to go through Samaria. On his way, he came to a city in Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of land that Jacob had given to his son, Joseph. Jacob's well was there and Jesus, being tired from his journey, sat right down on the well. It was about noon, the sixth hour. A Samaritan woman came to draw water and Jesus said to her:
JESUS.
Give me a drink.
NARRATOR.
His disciples had gone into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him:
SAMARITAN WOMAN.
How is it that you, being a Jew are asking me, a woman of Samaria, for something to drink? The Jews don't have anything to do with the Samaritans.
JESUS.
If you knew the gift of God and who it is who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink', you would have asked of him and he would have given you living water.
SAMARITAN WOMAN.
Sir, you don't have anything to draw the water with and the well is deep. From where then do you have that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself, and his children and his cattle?
JESUS.
Whoever drinks of this water will get thirsty again. But anyone who drinks of the water that I will give him, will never get thirsty again. The water that I shall give him will be a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
SAMARITAN WOMAN.
Sir, give me this water so that I will never get thirsty and never have to come here to draw water.
JESUS.
Go, call your husband and come back here.
SAMARITAN WOMAN.
I don't have a husband.
JESUS.
You have spoken correctly when you said, 'I don't have a husband.' You have had five husbands and the man you have now is not your husband, in that you spoke the truth.
SAMARITAN WOMAN.
Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain and yet, you say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.
JESUS.
Believe me woman, the hour is coming, when you will worship the Father neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you don't know, for salvation comes from the Jews. But the hour is coming, in fact it is already here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth. For the Father looks for that type of person to worship him. God is a Spirit and those who worship him, must worship in Spirit and truth.
SAMARITAN WOMAN.
I know that Messiah, who is called Christ, is coming and when he comes, he will tell us everything.
JESUS.
I who am speaking to you, I am he.
NARRATOR.
At this point his disciples returned and were surprised that he was speaking to the woman. Although none of them asked; 'What do you want from her?' or 'Why are you talking to her?' The woman then left her water jar and went back into the city and said to the men:
SAMARITAN WOMAN.
Come and see a man who told me everything I had done; isn't this the Christ?
NARRATOR.
They immediately went out of the city and came to Jesus. Meanwhile, his disciples urged him:
DISCIPLES.
Master, have something to eat.
JESUS.
I have food to eat that you don't know of.
NARRATOR.
The disciples therefore said to one another:
DISCIPLES.
Did someone (else) bring (him) something to eat?
JESUS.
My food is to do the will of Him that sent me and to finish His work. Don't you have a saying, 'There are still four months left before the harvest.' Look, I'm telling you; lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are already white and ready for harvest. Already the reaper is being paid his wages and he is bringing in the grain for eternal life and thus both the person who sows and the person who reaps may rejoice together. For in this, the saying holds true, one sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap something that you had not worked for, other men labored and you are receiving the benefits of their work.
NARRATOR.
Many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him as a result of the woman's testimony, 'he told me everything I had ever done.' So when the Samaritans were brought to him, they begged him to stay with them a while. He stayed for two days and many more believed because of his own word and they said to the woman:
PEOPLE.
Now we believe, not because of what you said, but because we've heard him ourselves and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

John 4:1-42

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The Nobleman's Son Is Cured

NARRATOR.
Now after the two days were over, Jesus left there for Galilee. For Jesus himself had declared that a prophet has no honor in his own country. But when he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans received him well, having seen all the things that he had done at Jerusalem at the festival which they also had attended. Jesus went again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a court official there whose son was ill at Capernaum and hearing that Jesus had left Judaea and was now in Galilee, he went and asked him if he would come down and cure his son as he was at the point of death.
JESUS.
Unless you see signs and omens you won't believe? [to the man]
OFFICIAL.
Sir, come down or else my child will die.
JESUS.
Go home, your son lives.
NARRATOR.
The man believed what Jesus had spoken to him and started on his way home. While he was on his way back to his home the man's servants met him and said:
SERVANTS.
You son lives!
OFFICIAL.
What time did my son start to recover?
SERVANTS.
The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.
NARRATOR.
The father knew that it was at the same hour that Jesus had said to him, "Your son lives", and he and his whole household believed. This was the second miracle given by Jesus on his return from Judaea to Galilee. JN 4:43-54

John 4:43-54

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The Cure of a Sick Man at the Pool of Bethzatha

NARRATOR.
Some time after this, there was a Jewish festival and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the sheep gate there is a pool, which in Hebrew is called Bethzatha. It consisted of five porticos and under these crowds of sick people; blind, lame, and paralyzed waited for the water to move; for the angel of the Lord went down from time to time into the pool and disturbed the water. The first person to step into the pool after the water was disturbed was cured of any disease he may have had. One man there had an illness which had lasted thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been in this condition for a long time he said:
JESUS.
Would you like to get well?
SICK MAN.
Sir, I don't have anyone to put me into the pool when the water is disturbed. While I am still on my way, someone else always steps in ahead of me.
JESUS.
Get up, pick up your sleeping mat and walk.
NARRATOR.
Immediately the man was healed. The man picked up his mat and walked away. Now this event took place on the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to the man who had been cured:
JEWS.
It is the Sabbath, you aren't allowed to carry your sleeping-mat.
SICK MAN.
But the man that cured me told me, "Pick up your sleeping-mat and walk."
JEWS.
Who is the man who said to you, 'Pick up your mat and walk?
NARRATOR.
The man who had been healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd that was there in that place. Afterwards, Jesus found the man in the Temple and said to him:
JESUS.
Now that you are well again, sin no more, or something worse may happen to you.
NARRATOR.
The man left and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. Because he had done these things on the Sabbath the Jews persecuted him and sought to kill him. But Jesus answered them:
JESUS.
My father goes on working and so do I!
NARRATOR.
But this only made the Jews more intent on killing him, not only because he had broken the Sabbath, but because he said that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. To this accusation Jesus replied:
JESUS.
I tell you most sincerely, the Son can do nothing of himself but what he sees the Father do. For whatever things the Father does, the Son does also. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all the things that He Himself does and He will show him [the Son] greater works than these so that you will marvel. Just as the Father raises up the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to whomever he will. For the Father judges no man, but has entrusted all judgement to the Son, so that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son, honors not the Father who has sent him.
I tell you most sincerely, the hour is coming and is now when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and all who hear it will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so has he given to the Son to have life in himself and has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves will hear his voice and will come forth; they that have done good into the resurrection of life and they that have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation.
I can of my own self do nothing, as I hear, I judge and my judgement is just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will of the Father who has sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that bears witness of me and I know that the witness which He gives concerning me is true. You sent men to John and he bore witness to the truth, not that I depend on human testimony, but these things I say, so that you might be saved. He was a burning and shinning light and you were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have a greater witness than that of John, for the works which the Father has given me to finish, the same works that I do bear witness of me that the Father has sent me.
The Father himself who sent me has borne witness of me. You have never heard His voice at any time, nor seen his shape and you do not have his Word living in you, because you do not believe the one whom He has sent. Search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life. Now these same scriptures testify of me and yet you refuse to come to me so that you might have life. It means nothing to me to have approval from men, but I know you, you don't have the love of God in you.
I have come in my Father's name and you refuse to accept me. If someone else comes in his own name, him you will accept. How can you believe, since you look to one another for approval and do not seek the approval that comes from God only. Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father, there is one that accuses you, even Moses, in whom you trust. For had you believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote of me. If you don't believe his writings, how can you believe my words? JN 5:1-47

John 5:1-47

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John the Baptist is Imprisoned

NARRATOR.
But Herod the tetrarch, whom John reproved for his relations with his brother's wife Herodias and for all the evils which Herod had committed, added a further crime to all the rest by shutting up John in prison. LK 3:19,20

Luke 3:19, 20

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Jesus Returns to Galilee

NARRATOR.
Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he left for Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went, with the power of the Spirit in Him, and settled in Capernaum, a lake side town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. There he proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom of God. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:
'Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali! Galilee of the Nations. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light and those who dwell in the land and shadow of death, a light has sprung up (dawned).'
From that moment on Jesus began his preaching with this message:
JESUS.
The time has come, repent and believe the Good News, for the Kingdom of God [Heaven] is close at hand.
NARRATOR.
And the word of his fame spread throughout all the surrounding territories. He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him.

Matthew 4:12-17; Mark 1:14,15; Luke 4:14,15

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Jesus at the Synagogue in Nazareth

NARRATOR.
He came to Nazareth where he had been brought up and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath Day as was his custom. He stood up to read and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he turned to the book of Isaiah [61:1 and 2] and read:
JESUS.
'The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh [YHWH] has been given to me, for Yahweh [YHWH] has anointed me. He has sent me to bring Good News to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken; to proclaim liberty to captives, Freedom to those on prison; to proclaim a year of favor from Yahweh [YHWH].'
NARRATOR.
He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. All the eyes in the synagogue fixed on him and he began to speak:
JESUS.
This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.
NARRATOR.
All who were there bore him witness and he won the approval of all who heard him. They were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips.
PEOPLE.
Isn't this Joseph's son?
JESUS.
You will surely quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself. Whatever we heard was done in Capernaum, do the same in your own countryside.' I tell you most sincerely, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country. Let me tell you of a truth: There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months. When a great famine raged throughout all the land. But unto none of them was Elijah sent, only to a widow in Zarephath, a town in Sidon, was he sent. Also in the time of Elisha the prophet there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these were cured except Naaman, the Syrian.
NARRATOR.
When they heard these things, everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the city and took him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, intending to throw him headlong off down the cliff. But he slipped through the midst of them and went his way. LK 4:16-30

Luke 4:16-30

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