Posted tagged ‘Gospel of John’

Verily, Verily!

November 25, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                        November 25, 2017

                                              

“Not in my house! Not in my house!” bellowed the basketball player to the camera after blocking the shot of an opponent.

“That’s how you do it! That’s how you do it!” screams the wide receiver who has just made a touchdown catch.

“Go back to Michigan! Go back to Michigan!” trash talks the Ohio State defensive tackle after he has sacked the quarterback.

I’ve noticed a growing trend in college and professional sports. Players have to repeat themselves as they trash an opponent, or immediately after making a good play. Saying a statement once isn’t enough. Saying it twice let’s the audience know that the player thinks he is all that! Saying it three times in a row means he believes he should be on ESPN Sportscenter that night.

In each situation, however, the focus of the repetitive language is the player. It is an indication of the arrogance of athleticism. In the old days before trash talking became “a thing” we used to get psyched for a game, pumped up, and motivated to win. There was no strutting for the cameras…maybe because there usually weren’t any cameras! Nowadays making a great play isn’t enough. There is the verbiage and performance that follows the play that seeks to convince the viewer that the player is the next football messiah.

Jesus was a bit different. In the Gospel of John he often began a statement with the words “Verily, verily…” (King James Version) or “Truly, truly…” (RSV). It was an indication that what he was about to say was the truth. Saying verily twice indicated that what was about to be said was important for the listener to hear. In John 5:24 Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

In the Upper Room Jesus said, “When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” (John 13:21) And then when Peter felt that he had to profess his devotion, Jesus said “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times.” (John 13:38)

When Jesus repeated himself it was to state a spiritual truth, or to foretell what was to come. It wasn’t to boast, but rather to guide.

Today and tomorrow as athletes bluster in front of the cameras I think I will speak back to them and say “So? So?” In fact, their performance is just “so-so” when compared to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. After all, scripture tells us that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and tongue confess.

That is something to proclaim loudly and often!

Beginning The Most Important Story

January 3, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                          January 2, 2016

                                      

It’s interesting to me how each of the gospels begins the story of Jesus. Matthew goes right to the genealogy of Jesus, and from there goes to the birth narrative. Luke starts his gospel with a paragraph of why he is writing this account down in the first place. John goes to the “beginning of the beginning” and refers to Jesus as the “Word.” Mark launches into his story with the identifier, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet…” (Mark 1:1)

From each gospel’s beginning the story goes in different directions. Matthew and Luke give us parts of the nativity story, plus Luke draws in the incredible birth story of John. John focuses on the divinity of Christ, and Mark presents the unique character of John the Baptist, and shows how he is the fulfillment of the Isaiah prophecy.

It is amazing to me to see the variety in the stories. They create like a cross-weaving pattern to help us see the story of Jesus more clearly. It’s like four witnesses viewing an event from four different angles. What is seen clearly by one is punctuated by a different viewpoint of another from the other side of the arena or auditorium.

The common element is Jesus, telling the story of Jesus, recording the impact of Jesus, putting into the words the purpose of Jesus.

I love it!

Some of the richest experiences I have had in my spiritual journey revolves around a small group of Christ-followers sharing their stories of faith. One tells of the impact of a grandparent in reflecting the love of Christ. Another talks about a traumatic event that put his life in a spin and when he settled somehow someway the gospel was taken to heart. Still another shares about someone bringing a scripture to suddenly have understanding.

The variety enriches and communicates the awesomeness of a God who loves deeply. Being a follower of Jesus brings us to a place where we can never say we’ve seen it all, because the next faith story that is shared with us brings a new understanding.

Beginnings launch us towards incredible journeys where we have opportunities to show others the footprints of our faith.

Story Continued

November 29, 2013

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”  (John 1:1-2)

 

The story of the Christ-child isn’t a beginning. It is a continuation of the God-story. Perhaps it’s more like a new chapter in the book that has had many chapters preceded it. The Gospel of John puts Jesus “in his place!” At the beginning!

The birth narrative is a new development in the story that has been developed.

How about you? When you look at your faith journey can you see how the journey has taken a few turns in it? Perhaps you envisioned yourself in a certain occupation, or marrying a specific person, and having an exact number of kids in mind? Some of your hopes may have been realized, but there have been some others that have taken you on a number of detoured routes.

Is your faith journey a “story continued” or a story stagnated?

What is hard for many of us to realize is that God walks closely with us in the certain events, as well as the unexpected route changes. Jonah wasn’t expecting a big fish, but the Hebrew people weren’t expecting a parted sea either…as they stood on the bank of fear.

God knows our story. What we see as a change he simply sees as a continuation. The birth of Jesus is a new chapter in a book saturated with love.