This is a word to you and me who have, at one time or another, felt permanently condemned by something in our past, knowing with a certitude almost as hard-fast as Deuteronomy, that we don’t belong, that we have been permanently scarred or mutilated by something (or someone) unspeakable. Or, we know in our hearts it was us who did the unspeakable thing, and it can never be undone.
God working miracles through Philip drew the attention of a powerful sorcerer named Simon. He was the proud resident magician of Samaria, even considered by many people to be divine, and he had a wide and loyal following. But not, Simon was losing many of his followers to the gospel of Jesus Christ, so he came to investigate this new phenomenon.
Like the overture to a symphony, John’s first chapter introduces themes he will revisit throughout his gospel, in this twenty-minute multi-media presentation.
The Gospel of John, unlike the Synoptic Gospels, does not contain Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane. Instead, it is here, in the streets of Jerusalem that John remembered Jesus expressing something of how deep the cost would be for him, to face the cross.
Faith, then, does not reduce God to a religious concept, or a catechism, or a set of doctrines. Faith does not content itself with traditions and rites. Faith is not a sentiment that can be set aside. Faith is a lived reality.
I picture these six men now looking at Jesus with wonder and perhaps a little fear. If what he said were true, then who was he really? How could they, ordinary men all, be standing here with one who connects heaven and earth?
There are times when we absolutely know the voice of God has spoken, but...we're not sure what to do about it.