Wednesday, February 27, 2008

John's Gospel

John begins his gospel with a revolution in human thought about God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1). In one simple sentence John introduces the hitherto unthinkable idea that within the very being of God there is relationship. The Jews were taught that the Lord their God is one (DT 6:4). The Greeks believed that while the being of God was unknowable, it was nonetheless clearly indivisible, simple, incapable of relationality. As a Jew, John knew well the opening declaration of the sacred Scriptures: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (GEN 1:1) But John had met Jesus, and “beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten from the Father” (1:14). So John, while not disagreeing with his Jewish heritage, nevertheless could not possibly be silent about what he has seen and heard and experienced in Jesus Christ, the Father’s eternal Son (see IJN 1:1-3). While John wholeheartedly agrees with the Jews that God created the heavens and the earth; he is determined to fill in the blanks, so to speak, about the deepest truth of the Creator God.

That the Word was with God means not simply that the Word and God were together, but that they were face to face. This is not a peripheral point for John. It is fundamental. The beautiful imagery of the Son being “in the bosom of the Father” (1:18), which John uses to close his famous prologue, is his way of emphasizing that the Father-Son relationship is as critical as it is non-negotiable. He begins and ends his introduction to his gospel with relationship within the being of God.

From the first word throughout his gospel, John’s portrait of Jesus is that he is the Father’s Son who lives in direct, intimate, free-flowing intimacy with his Father. “For the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hands” (3:35) “Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing…” (5:19-20). For John, so personal, so real, so beautifully intimate is this relationship and fellowship between the Father and the Son that his imagination is stretched to the breaking point to describe it. Any description of this relationship shy of utter oneness betrays its intimacy and depth. “I and the Father are one” (10:30). “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (14:9). Yet clearly the Father and Son remain distinct persons.

Why is it so important for John that Jesus is the Father’s only Son and lives in such oneness and shared life with the Father? Because this relationship is the heart of John’s vision of the gospel itself. This Son, who dwells in the bosom of the Father from all eternity, sharing all things with him in the Holy Spirit, became flesh and dwells among us. For John, Jesus himself is the good news. He has crossed all worlds to be with us and to give us a place in nothing less that his own divine life, so that we could know his Father with him and share in his anointing in the Holy Spirit.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Jesus, the Word, the exact representation of the Father, has become human, so that we could share His relationship with the Father in our human form. We are now "with the Father" also. We are in His realms! This is a wonderful continuation of the story you shared about you son's friend joining in the relationship that you two shared.

Erskine Holt, a precious brother from Florida who recently has fallen asleep, shared how that God revealed the Divine Love to him. The main part is that Love must have an object of love -- and that is why Jesus is called the Beloved. The Father is the Lover, and Jesus is the Beloved, who returns the love to the Father. The flow of love between them is so strong that it is God also -- the Holy Spirit.

We see this imaged all over the place in God's creation. Take electricity, for example. It requires a source and a receiver (for example, the "+" and "-" terminals on a battery, or the two prongs of AC wall current -- the third is for overflow). When properly connected, there is then the flow of electrical current which is what causes work to happen (light to shine, motors to run, etc.). The Father is the source, the Son is the receiver who is of the same type and thus apt receiver, and the flow of electricity in action is the Holy Spirit.

And, in redemption, we get to get right into the middle of that beautiful flow of the divine nature, LOVE and LIGHT! This is pictured in the Most Holy place -- the two Cherubim in face to face love relationship, all of one piece with the mercy seat between them. This is where Moses would come -- above the mercy seat, between the Cherubim, and commune with God, and hear the voice of God "from off the mercy seat." What mercy indeed -- to know God and commune with Him. This is a picture of our getting caught up in the flow of the divine love!

John's "the Word was with God" is literally "the Word was toward God" -- that face to face relationship. And we are "accepted in the Beloved" -- so that we are in that place in the beloved to be able to receive God's love. As a result, we are able to be "holy and without blame before him in LOVE.

This is good news indeed!

C. Baxter Kruger, Ph.D. said...

Thank you bro. The gospel is good news, not simply information but news, and news means something that we did not know. And it is good news, which means truth we did not know that is good for us. The truth is proclaimed to us in our darkness as a reality that involves us that is thorougly good. It is good. It is for us. It is news to us. Now we must decide what we will do with this world of relationship and love into which we have been inlcuded. Will we scoff at it or cry out for light? Come Holy Spirit.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post. I think it is detrimental that people do not focus on this passage because it so beautiful and wonderful.