Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Blog # 173 "...I am not alone..."
Blog # 173 "...I am not alone..." Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in writing their Gospels primarily emphasize the story of the life death and resurrection of Jesus. Their Gospels were written toward the middle of the First Century. John wrote his Gospel toward the end of the First Century. In the decades since the death and resurrection of Jesus, John was made aware of the heroic martyrdom of Peter and Paul and of all but John himself among the Apostles chosen personally and individually by Jesus, and of many others who beleived in Jesus so strongly and loved Him so much they were able and willing to give up their lives rather than betray their faith or their love. John was also aware there were others who had not remained faithful to Jesus in face of the fearsome option placed before them of saving their lives or losing their trust in Him. It would not be an easy decision to make. John knew this, so in writing his Gospel he wanted to help his fellow believers not only to know the story of the life of Jesus but to experience the support and power offered to all who keep faith in Jesus even in the face of torture and death. To accomplish this goal John set out to establish and emphasize the divinity of Jesus. His Gospel begins in the identical way the Bible itself begins. "In the beginning..." Next in Genesis comes God. Next in John comes the Word. Genesis continues with the story of creation with God as the Creator of all that exists. John continues: " the Word was in God's presence, and the Word was God...Through him all things came into being...The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." Skipping over the narratives of the infancy and early years of the life of Jesus, John quickly gets into the episode of Jesus as a fully grown man coming to John in the desert to be baptized. The Baptist points Jesus out as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". John continues to present Jesus as characterized by the same human traits as those around him experienced. Yet Jesus also acts and speaks in a way that only God should be able to do. He heals the sick and raises the dead to life,calms a storm at sea. When the Pharisees challenged Jesus on the statement he made that he knew Abraham, Jesus retorted with the same claim for himself that God gave to Abraham when God identified Himself as : I AM."I solemnly declare it: before Abraham came to be, I AM".(Jn 8: 58). This statement in itself would seem to be clear and strong enough to accomplish John's purpose. Jesus is God, worthy of unconditional trust and total love. There is no sin evil enough, no temptation strong enough to conquer that love. In Blog # 172 we noted how Jesus was given as regularly going to a deserted place or up a mountain where he was described as being "alone". John gives instances when Jesus is given as being alone.(Jn 6:15; 8:9). Also,however, He has Jesus say: ",...I am not alone I have at my side the One who sent me [the Father] And also: "The One who sent me is with me. He has not deserted me since I always do what pleases him". These statements of Jesus affirming and denying his being alone can find application in our theology of God's presence to us in the gift we have come to call Sanctifying Grace. That will be the subject of Blog # 174.