1_Introduction

Reading #1 | July 3, 2022

Who is Jesus?
It is said there are two kinds of stories: (1) A man went on a journey, and (2) A stranger came to town. John’s gospel is the second kind of story.

People will ask questions like these: Who is this man? Where has he come from? People watch Jesus do something, or they listen to him teach, and they begin to puzzle through questions of his origins, his identity, and most importantly, his relation to the One he calls Father.

Believing = Trusting
Throughout the gospel, Jesus will call on people to believe. Don’t think of believing as giving mental assent to a creed or a doctrine. Think instead of trusting. Who are the people in the story trusting that Jesus is the Son who reveals God’s work to them? And when someone does trust, what things change in their lives?

Home and Family
The Gospel of John is the story of the Son coming to invite the whole world into the life he shares with the Father and the Spirit. The gospel opens by saying that Jesus gave those who received him “power to become children of God” (1:12). In the middle, Jesus talks about the many rooms in his Father’s house (14:2) that he intends to share with his followers. At the end, Jesus refers to the twelve as “my brothers” (20:17). “Believing” means recognizing one’s true life in the family of God.

The Gospel of John is also the story of a family fight. You will read the phrase “the Jews” in this gospel. The author differentiates those who recognize Jesus from those who do not, and he sometimes calls those who did not recognize Jesus “Jews,” even though nearly everyone in the story, including Jesus and the twelve, are also Jews. We think that some of the argument narrated in this gospel belongs to a generation or more after the time of Jesus, when the gospel was actually written.

The Cross as Jesus’ Glorification
We are used to thinking of the resurrection or the ascension as demonstrating the glory of God and Christ. In John, Jesus’ identity and his glory are most clearly seen at the cross. Why? The cross reveals both God’s self-giving love for the world and just how steadfast is the faithfulness between the Father and the Son. Such love and faithfulness characterize the abundant life that Jesus came to give to all who receive him. May our journey with John draw us ever more deeply into that life.

01_Shore Casual Headshot
Mary Hinkle Shore is the Rector and Dean of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University. She lives and works in Columbia, South Carolina. She and her husband, Hank, enjoy time in the mountains of North Carolina as often as they can.

To Consider

1. Which is easier for you, belief in Jesus or trusting him?
2. How would you describe abundant life?

Prayer

Brother Jesus, in your life and death, you revealed how completely God loves the world, Thank you for drawing us into that love and life. Bless our study, that our lives, like yours, may show forth God’s love now and always. Amen.

Share with a Friend

Scroll to Top