The Good News According to John?

The fourth gospel in our New Testament is indeed an interesting piece of document for Christ followers to study. The past one week plus has been a journey reflecting on the gospel and asking ourselves some questions regarding familiar aspects of the gospel that we have never thought of before. There are at least three reflection points that I would like to share here.

1. Jesus as Logos: What is God's revelation really?

In the fourth gospel, the Word (greek: Logos) is being introduced as being with God and having the divine quality of God (1:1). In fact, when I first learned of Jesus' identification as Logos years ago, a question came to my mind - why then are "rhema" words so special? My own study into logos and rhema was documented in here. The outcome of my study inspired a rage back then, knowing that many people have artificially created a divide in the word of God.

But my recent foray into the study of Logos yielded more insights. I came back to this insight many years back - that Jesus is the Logos of God, who possess the divine quality of God. As Logos, Jesus reveals the glory of God (1:14). And we are able to "see" and "get close" to Jesus, the personification of God's glory when even Moses could only see the back of God. Jesus is thus really the revelation of God to us mankind.

So I was thinking earlier when I was studying the concept of Jesus as Logos, if Jesus is God's revelation, then we essentially get to know the will of God if we lean towards Jesus. Knowing the will of God is therefore not a very complicated matter and it is not as complex as getting a "rhema" word from some prophet out there.

This is profound for myself as well as the people I am leading as this means that there is nothing really special about "seeking a rhema word" from God, if God already revealed Himself through the Logos - Jesus. Learning about Jesus from the scripture thus is not merely an academic exercise and studying Scripture is not merely just a study (like how Jim Egli claimed) but it becomes an exercise where we really learn about the will of God. Jesus becomes the perfect revelation for us.

2. Looking at Jesus' signs: What is our appropriate response?
The gospel of John contains at least 7 miraculous signs that Jesus performed. There are more signs, which point and identify Jesus as something more than what people think, but I will focus on the miraculous signs here.

As I was studying the signs, one thing which stood out to me is that the signs require a response from the ones who experienced the signs and the readers of the account. Take for example, at Cana where Jesus turned the water into wine, we learned that Jesus was in fact inaugurating a new age of celebration. The response from the people involved is intriguing. The disciples, who witnessed the sign, believed in Jesus (2:11) but the account remained silent on the servants who were involved and knew what happened, and it remained silent on the head of the banquet as well as the bridegroom, not to mention about Jesus' mother.

Or we can look at the other sign that happened after Jesus met the Samaritan woman, when Jesus healed the son of the royal official from Capernaum. After the boy was healed, the royal official and his whole household believed (5:43)

The question to myself is then what is the appropriate response to Jesus' signs? Or to that effect, what is our appropriate response to revelations of Jesus? How do we respond to God when we learned of what He has done? As we learned in the gospel of John, some believed and some didn't. I think then the account in the fourth gospel really challenges us to reflect whether we truly believe in Him when we really see what He does in our midst. In a discussion with my classmates, we realised that we can sometimes be blind to the miracles that God performs in our midst. Do I then demonstrate enough faith to believe that what God has done through Jesus in the lives of those people in the account, He can also do it again in my own life?

3: Jesus' self-identification: Who is it that we really worship?

Through out the fourth gospel, Jesus continuously used the construction "I am" to identify himself and he used it without a noun predicate at times. Take for example, in 6:20, in response to his disciples' fear in the boat, he said "I am! Do not be afraid!" The Greek construction is clearer than most of our English translations. And in 18:6, in response to the soldiers' request for Jesus, he identified himself as "I am."

For those who are privy to Old Testament, you would have known that "I Am" was how Yahweh identified Himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14. By using the construction "I am" in his account, the author of the fourth gospel was essentially telling us that Jesus identified himself with the God who was revealed in the Old Testament. This is the God whom we really worship.

So Jesus was really clear on his own identity and his relationship with God. I was then thinking how can we then respond to Jesus' identity other than to give him the worship that He deserves just like how the blind man responded to Jesus in 9:38 (assuming this part was indeed in the original autograph)?

For me, this will mean that I worship God based on how He has revealed Himself, rather than worshiping Him based on what I think He should be. This means really committing myself to study His words more thoroughly and doing more close reading so that I really know the God who is revealed through the Scripture and not through my own imagination. It also means that my timetable be in sync with God's timetable and that I really complete the work that He has placed in my heart. That to me has to be my appropriate worship to God given His self-revelation in my life.

How about you? What are your responses when you read the accounts in the fourth gospel?


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