Prepare for Easter with Gospel of John
For most people, the book of Revelation is the most difficult section of the New Testament. Not for me. I say this not because I’ve mastered the bizarre symbolism of John’s apocalyptic literature, but because its mysteriousness is superseded by John‘s gospel. The fourth gospel is beautiful and brilliant; but it’s also bewildering. Whenever I read the Gospel of John, I always walk away with questions. Perhaps that was the writer’s intention, whoever he was. Even the author is a mysterious figure, a beloved disciple whose identity has long been a catalyst for speculation and alternative theories.
In his new book, John – The Gospel of Light and Life (Abingdon Press,$18.99), Rev. Adam Hamilton takes us on a journey through the strange landscape of the fourth gospel. Opening up with the exalted language of John’s prologue, he explores the implications of God’s Word being made flesh. Then we enter John’s seven signs and the seven high Christology “I Am” sayings of Jesus. In the middle of John’s gospel we encounter the Farewell Discourse. John commits five chapters to the Last Supper, yet shockingly never mentions the bread and the wine. Then we enter the arrest and death of Jesus, followed by the glory of his resurrection. In each section, Hamilton encourages us to look beyond the self-evident and look for the writer’s deeper meaning, which is always lurking just below the surface, waiting to be thoughtfully discovered.
I believe the fourth evangelist used ambiguous language because the author perceived the gospel itself as being deeply mysterious and elusive in nature. Unlike Matthew, Mark and Luke, there are no parables in John. Perhaps he didn’t include them because the entire book feels like a parable, filled with language which leaves the reader with an uneasy sense that there is more to the literature than what meets the eye.
As Easter approaches, John – The Gospel of Light and Life is an excellent resource for devotional use. John’s gospel is the story of the Word who loved and overcame the world. In its pages we are invited to believe the story of Jesus, with all its mystery and wonder, and allow the Word to love and overcome us as well.
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