Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Gospel of John

The Gospel according to John the Apostle

         John gathers together timeless truth needed by all people for all times. In contrast to the passing religious fads that claim superior knowledge, (Gnostics) the truth of John 1 has and will endure through time into eternity.
      John’s focus is immediate – upon the one who came down from heaven. The contrast between His heavenly, intrinsic glory and His earthy obscurity is set forth right to the end of the book.
He is the Word, the final, full communication from God (Hebrews 1:1) , yet He is unknown  among His people (the Jews). In the end they crucify Him because He ‘made Himself the Son of God’ ( John 19.7).

        As we read John’s account of the evidence (signs), he has no hesitation in declaring that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God.  The first sign seems to demonstrate His control over nature by the word of His mouth. The discourse with Nicodemus leads to the conclusion that all, the Jews and the world at large , need a new start, a new spiritual connection with God. It is interesting that the promise of life eternal is linked to the Lord being lifted up (on the cross). The last verse of John 3 is somewhat of a summary of God’s grace revealed -  life eternal is for all those who  believe in God’s Son, or wrath from God to those who choose not to believe in Him. Although God’s love has moved to the whole world (cosmos), God remains true to His character in giving human beings the free choice, along with accountability for the choice.

      Chapter 4 sees the grace of God (John 1:17) reaching out to the world beginning  with the unlikely Samaritans. This chapter concludes with the second sign identified by John the writer – that Jesus could heal a person without being present with that person. Time and space were no obstacle to Him. The official believed this and was blessed as a result.
I trust that we likewise have that simple yet intelligent faith in HIM. To receive HIM, believing in HIS name ( i.e accepting His claims as Son of God), trusting HIS word, and submitting to HIM as the true Word of God.

      John in his 1st letter concludes

“Whoever  has the Son ,has life. whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12)

     Knowing God is possible, not through the systems or imaginative theories of men, but rather through faith in the Son of God. (John 17.3).  He is the way, the truth and the life, and thus we can know the truth, as we know HIM. His word is sure, His promises are trustworthy.

     How blessed we are to have the Bible as our compass pointing us to Jesus Christ the Son of the living God. From Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, HE is revealed in His majestic glory.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Comfort in the death of Christ Jesus our Lord

             My weekly articles have been delayed because my Mother passed away recently. In the midst of sorrow is there any consolation from the cross?  Yes, much indeed.
            My Mother looked ahead into the great hereafter with calm assurance that all was well for eternity. This assurance came not from her own goodness, but a simple faith in the promises of God which were verified as reliable by the knowledge that "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that He was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures". With real meaning one could say "The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me"
              As I read the story of the crucifixion, I look a little beyond the great truths of atonement and hear the Saviour say to the repentant thief crucified next to Him - "Today you will be with Me in paradise"   This can only mean one thing - that beyond death there was a place of blessedness, being with Christ which is far better!

             Once again for those facing impending death, or mourning the loss, let us turn again our eyes upon Jesus, once crucified, now risen and living forever more.

John McKee