Monday, Jan. 23
Pastor Doug chose to focus on the Gospel of John starting in January. To prepare us for that he suggested that we read the entire book in one sitting. I wasn’t all that thrilled with the idea. I’ve studied it for years, have preached from it many times and taught it to high schoolers for years But I followed his suggestion, and read it, albeit not in one sitting. What a blessing! I saw things I had never seen before and will share some of it with you. John states clearly his reason for writing the book. John 20:31: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” That was not new to me, nor the fact that belief is a common thread throughout the book. But I got a new view of this as I read through the book. Belief was at the core of everything Jesus said and did. What was new to me was that none of it focused on redemption per se, nothing about his vicarious death to redeem us. No, the issue was simply who Jesus was. The last part of John 20:31 does mention redemption—“and that by believing you may have life in his name.” But before they could believe the redemption message, they had to know who he was. For the Jews, he was their Messiah, a truth they found difficult, largely because it seemed to contradict their core belief in “one God,” the one truth that set them apart from all other religions. Identifying Jesus was crucial to all that was to follow. The Jewish leaders’ rejection led to the crucifixion. The positive response of the disciples led to the founding of the Church, and to evangelizing the known world. Jesus knew what he was doing.