Well…if we make it through these floods, this Sunday we’ll be introducing a new study which will take up our Sundays for many weeks to come. We’ll be embarking on an exploration of the Gospel of John.
I struggled a lot with how to introduce this study. We can’t read John like the other three, synoptic gospels. I thought about just posting a poem…but that seemed a little too ambiguous and maybe even pretentious. However, it is vital that we not approach the Gospel of John like a textbook or a documentary. John’s gospel isn’t intended to educate us as it is to introduce us to….well, to God.
John is basically saying through his account – “If you want to know who God is, or what He is like, take a long look at Jesus.”
That’s what we will set out to do. Through John’s selected vignettes, we will get a different view of Jesus than we find in Matthew, Mark or Luke. John wrote his gospel much later than the other three (which had been circulated for years by the time John’s writing), and it’s clear that he had had a lot of time to think over and draw some conclusions about the things he witnessed and experienced.
This Sunday we’ll be reading John 1:1-5, the prologue.
What other famous passage of Scripture starts with “In the beginning…”? What does that tell us about John’s account of Jesus?
John begins by talking about the Word – eternal, creator, light and life. He will later identify the Word as Jesus. The Greek word for…well, word, is Logos. If you feel like it, you might want to read an interesting Wikipedia entry on the very complex ideas that word carried in the 1st Century Greco-Roman world, as well as in Israel.
What significance to you find in John using a word that was this meaningful in the ancient world to describe Jesus?
If you were to describe the opening of this gospel, would you say it was a) a curtain rising on an epic drama; b) walking in on a movie that’s already started; c) hearing a familiar song sung in a foreign language?
That’s enough stuff to think over for now. Hope to see you Sunday.