| WEEK 45 |
A QUICK LOOK BACK
You’ve probably realized by now that it isn’t easy to say everything about Jesus that can be said. Jesus has many sides, human, divine, prophet, priest, king, sacrificial lamb, Son of the Living God! It’s tough to describe all those sides at once. That’s why we have four different gospels that seem to tell the story a bit differently. Some people are troubled by these differences, assuming that the writers must have made some mistakes. They haven’t. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each have their own urgent message about who Jesus is. For Matthew, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets of Israel. For this reason, Matthew is the most Jewish gospel we have. Luke, a gentile (or non-Jew), proclaims that Jesus is the salvation not just of Israel but also of the whole world! Based on these gospels, the Church teaches that Jesus is fully human and fully divine at the same time. Mark focuses on Jesus’ fully human side. John however focuses on Jesus’ divinity.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Without a doubt, John is the most unique gospel of them all. John includes stories that do not appear anywhere else. It also places the events of Jesus’ life in an order that would seem to baffle Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is very important that we realize what John is doing. Luke told us straight out that he was trying to write history. He
researched facts, interviewed eyewitnesses, and checked everything against the history books. John is not writing history, he is writing theology. Don’t let the academic sounding word throw you. “Theology” is simply the study of God. It is our attempt to understand and explain God the best we can. John is less concerned with the historical
accuracy of dates and times, and more concerned in telling his story in a way that reveals who Jesus of Nazareth really is. And John’s opening shot is amazing!
According to John, Jesus is part of the God of heaven who was present and active in the creation of the world! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…and the Word became Flesh and dwelled among us!” Remember Genesis chapter 1? God spoke “Let there be light!” and there was light. According to John, the Father is the one speaking and Jesus is what the Father had to say that made things happen. (It is in John that the Church begins to get its mind around the idea of the Trinity, or God who is three in one: Father, Son, and Spirit.) This Jesus never lets us forget the heavenly realms from which He came. Everything he says seems to have a double spiritual meaning. He describes Himself as simple things, “I AM the good shepherd. I AM the gate. I AM the bread of life. I AM the true vine. I AM the light of the world.” But he is not talking about real gates, shepherds or light. He is
revealing heavenly realities to us in very patient powerful ways. John’s Jesus is perfectly in control. There is no temptation in the desert to abandon the cross. As we will read next week, there is no struggle in the garden, begging the Father to let Jesus live. There are no tears over his impending murder. In John, Jesus is in complete control. “No one takes my life away from me. I give it freely. And if I give it, I have power to take it back up again.” It is not a shameful murder but a willing sacrifice, like any in the Temple, yet greater. When he is arrested in the garden, Jesus is not beaten and ambushed. Oddly, when Jesus tells the guards that He is the one they are looking for they fall on the ground before him in awe and wonder. Jesus has to remind them to get up and arrest him! Wow! In John’s gospel, Jesus is in complete control of himself and every situation. Heaven has come down and lifts our heads up from the dust of the earth. Jesus takes us by the hand and calls us to be reborn in the Spirit! The multitudes of God’s countless angels are sitting forward on the edge of their seats in heaven as you read this week. Jesus is not just a servant of God. Jesus is not just the Son of God. Jesus IS God. That is why every pronoun referring to Jesus in this book is capitalized. (He teaches His disciple.) Read on this week, but as you do, be ready to experience of the Holy as never before!!
Keep reading and I’ll see you in the Bible!
WEEK 45 Reading Schedule:
Nov 5 John 3-4 Nicodemus, Woman at the Well
Nov 6 John 5-6 Display of Jesus’ Authority, Bread from Heaven
Nov 7 John 7-8 Controversy, Jesus and Abraham
Nov 8 John 9-10 Investigation of Blind Man’s Healing, Good Shepherd
Nov 9 John 11-12 Death of Lazarus, Entry Into Jerusalem
Nov 10 John 13-15 Washing Feet
Nov 11 John 16-18 Preparing Disciples for Jesus’ Death, Arrest