I Have a Lot of Favorites
The Gospel of John was my first Bible class I took in seminary. I fell in love with the book, and it quickly became my favorite book of the Bible. I also took a course on the Psalms; it became my favorite too. I also took a class on Romans, fell in love. And a Greek class on the Sermon on the Mount, it was amazing! And if you know me well, my favorite book of the Bible is Hebrews, and I ended up writing my thesis on a chapter in the letter. So, if you read that, you have realized that most books I took in seminary became my favorites. And as I reflect on why that is, it’s because I spent 16 weeks intensely studying those books. Being in God’s Word daily is very important, but I have also noticed that when I spend time studying God’s Word and meditating on it, I find a deeper love for it. In the middle of a lecture, one of my professors said he saw something in the book of Romans that he never noticed before. And it changed the way he understood a passage and how it applied to his life. Mind you, this professor had been teaching the book of Romans for 15 years. So, he lectured on Romans 30 times and had probably read it, studied it, and took classes on it many times before ever teaching it.
The Bible is amazing. God wrote it in such a way that a first-time reader can understand what’s going on and who Jesus is, and yet reading it a thousand times, you still find something you didn’t see before. The Gospel of John is a perfect example. On your first read-through, you understand that John is telling us who Jesus is and that He died on the cross to save the world (John 3:16). But when you get to the end, you realize John’s purpose in the book is to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God through the signs (John 20:30-31). So, when you read back through, you ask yourself how these signs demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah. Take the walking on water, for example. John 6:19-21 “19 After they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea. He was coming near the boat, and they were afraid. 20 But he said to them, “It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him on board, and at once the boat was at the shore where they were heading.”
First, two miracles seem to happen here. Jesus walks on water. And once Jesus gets in the boat, it suddenly makes it to shore.
The reason these signs are so impactful is that the Old Testament tells us that God is the one who walks on water and the one who brings ships to a safe harbor.
8 "He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea." - Job 9:1-118
30 "They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet. Then he guided them to the harbor they longed for."
Do you see how John is writing the signs to show that Jesus is God?
I want to challenge you this week to read the Gospel of John and focus on a theme as you read. You will be amazed at how you see so much more of what John is doing in the Gospel and how much it will impact your life.
Themes to keep in mind:
Community, Glory, Light vs. Dark, Resurrection, Water, Witness
For His Glory,