I’m lying prostrate on the couch. I just finished running a marathon and every single muscle, joint, toe, and a plethora of other body parts simply hurt. I’ve been training for 5 months, and what I can’t get out of my mind is that tomorrow starts a life without training for a marathon or for triathlon. I’ve been in training mode for over a year now, and I think it is time to take a break and move on. We just finished the Gospel of Luke and as you open the Gospel of John you will feel like you are taking a break from the Gospels, when in fact you are not. John is different, very different. John is my favorite Gospel because he is so different. His emphasis is completely on showing his readers that Jesus is God. The divinity of Jesus is underlined over and over again.
As Luke was also the writer of the Acts of the Apostles so John is the writer of Revelation and possibly the Letters of I, II, and III John. Look near the end of Scripture and you will find those three letters. They are a lot more like Revelation than they are like the Gospel of John. The Gospel was thought to be the last one written, and so potentially around 80-90AD. It is thought to be written to a primarily Jewish audience, as we can see with John stressing the Jewishness of Jesus and his disciples. The temple and the synagogue are the primary places of teachings and most of what happens in the Gospel happens within a Jewish religious context. Having said that, unfortunately, John has also been used throughout history as anti-semitic fodder. The term “Jesus Killers” is picked out of John and others have used this Gospel to underline the culpability of the Jewish race while dismissing, if not completely disregarding, the culpability that we all have in our own betrayal of Jesus.
Now on to the first chapter of John. There is honestly too much in the first chapter for me to put in this blog. As you read it I want you to think about what it means that we say that Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus is one of us, and yet also totally other. John 1 gives us the trinitarian theology that tells us that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were all present at creation. Did you hear what I said? The Son was present at creation. Our single God never separates from Himself, but rather all three persons are present at the same time at all times.
As you read this chapter I would love for you to focus on the verses 1-16 and you will find so much of the heart of our Christian theology. I can’t wait to break into John, I hope you will love it as much as I do.