Good afternoon everyone from Oconomowoc, WI~
We are into our last ten days of reading. Way to go! This has been a really great journey through the Bible. It doesn’t matter how many times I have read through it, I am always intrigued at something new. The story of Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit born out through humanity and planet earth is like no other.
As we are nearly through (the) Acts (of the Holy Spirit), I want to revisit the fourth gospel, John. Who knows how many times I have flipped the pages written by ‘the disciple Jesus loved most.’ It never ceases to amaze me who Jesus is, his place of praxis, and salvific history. As I read through the four gospels this time, I was struck differently, particularly arriving at the highly cosmological nature of our divine king. It is almost as if John’s story has a purpose way far and above the other three. Granted the dating difference, the synoptic difference, and of course written by a ‘son of thunder,’ John is crafted specifically to battle the inceptory nature of gnosticism. Nearing the end of the first century, two veins of philosophical belief were gaining momentum, one said Jesus was more spirit than human, while the other was claiming he was more human. John may indeed have crafted his work to prove both false.
Because we have ripped through so much material in a short amount of time, I really found John much more captivating than ever before. I was reminded of how many times Jesus escapes death somehow prior to his crucifixion. Nearly at every turn and in every town the folks want to rid themselves of his presence. He was just way too much for so many of them. I was also reminded of how much Jesus defends himself. Jesus is constantly explaining something about or defending who he is and why he is here to do it. If not him, then his disciples are involved somehow.
I was reminded of how John specifically isolates different kinds of miracles to further prove Jesus is Messiah. There are only seven before his death and resurrection and one after. These seven occur in the first eleven chapters. See if you can isolate why John would have picked these in his story about Jesus- water into wine (2:1-11); official’s son healed (4:43-54); healing of the disables man at Bethesda pool on the Sabbath (5:1-15); feeding of the 5,000 (6:1-14); walking on water (6:16-21); healing the man born blind (9:1-12); and Lazarus raised from the dead (11:1-43). The only miracle besides the obvious one about himself being raised from the dead is the miraculous catch of fish in 21:1-14 in the epilogue. It seemed that surrounding every one of these miracles is one argument after another about what something Jesus did and is doing.
Also imbedded in the literary work of John are seven “I am” statements. These help explain who Jesus is and further emphasize his divine nature. Recall that in Greek a verb contains the number of the person involved, i.e. first, second, or third, and whether or not it is singular or plural. In English we have to add I, you, we, us, or whatever to our verb, not so in Greek. It is kind of like Spanish in that regard. However if a person want to speak emphatically they can add the I, you, or we to the statement to make it more emphatic. In each of these seven cases, Jesus does this. He says, “I, I am the bread of Life (6:35); I, I am the light of the world (8:12, 9:5); I, I am the gate (10:7); I, I am the good shepherd (10: 11, 14); I, I am the resurrection and the life (11:25); I, I am the way, the truth, and the life (14:6); and I, I am the true vine (15:1). Pretty cool.
I was reminded of how much Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit. He systematically teaches his role and personality as comforter, guide, and convicter of sin. Jesus is really excited about wanting to leave the planet so that the Holy Spirit can do his work. Since kingdom work on the planet is exponential once Jesus is gone, he is so excited to see how the kingdom will expand. Jesus is not omnipresent, while the Holy Spirit is. Jesus gives a very furtive impression that the gifts of the Spirit will be really great and can’t wait for everyone to be in a position to participate.
I hope you have enjoyed reading through John as much as I have. This is such a great reminder of why we tell young believers in Jesus to read this book first. With its basic vocabulary and simple themes, anyone can grasp the profound nature of our Savior, King, and Lord.