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Showing posts from April 25, 2021

Note To The Reader: End of Part I: The Book Of Signs

 All the way back near the beginning, I said that we could divide the Gospel of John into two parts: The Book of Signs, and The Book of Glory. "Signs" has a special meaning for St. John, and many of the disciples of Jesus. A sign lets you know that God has done something which points to a bigger truth. It could be a miracle, or some kind of gift, but those who witness it, or who experience it are supposed to see beyond the moment, and see the whole story, as well as their part in it. "Glory" for St. John means Christ on the Cross. Even so, we can't think about the Cross without the resurrection of Jesus and his ascension back into Heaven. Jesus did the signs we have seen in order to convince people that he is exactly who he said he was, and that he had been sent by the Father. Yet Jesus's whole mission rests upon his sacrifice on the Cross, and all that came after it. What would be the purpose, if God did miracles in order to tell people that he was here and

The Triumphal Entry (John 12:12-15)

 As Jesus was getting closer to Jerusalem, word got out to both the political and religious leadership, as well as the ordinary people. We could say that Jesus was significantly more popular with the average people--at least at times--than he was with his well-connected opponents. That blessing and greeting there in verse 13 is the sort of thing that would be shouted at prophets and kings. St. John thinks that Jesus is fulfilling a prophecy from Zechariah. The exact quote is from Zechariah 9:9, but it is always a good idea to read the whole chapter, both before and after. If we were Israelites at this time, the most important question we would ask is whether Jesus and his disciples had correctly interpreted the prophets, the law of Moses, and even the wisdom literature--like Psalms and Proverbs for example--which are typically called "the writings." Some people have grown up as Christians, and they've grown up in churches. In that way, it's really easy to take it for

A Plot To Kill Lazarus (John 12:9-11)

 When Jesus did appear for the Passover, he drew a crowd. But some leaders had also heard that Lazarus would be there, the one whom Jesus raised from the dead. I suppose one way to eliminate the evidence of that miracle would be to kill Lazarus, but we never learn if anything came of it, or if certain people came close, but were stopped. These three verses are the only mention of this plot against Lazarus. We are starting to see that the faith around the person of Jesus is going to change the religious practices of those who recognize him as the Messiah. It will be different enough from the faith demonstrated in the Old Testament that the people will be forever changed. I recognize and lament how even the words of this Gospel have been used against Jewish people, even into this century, and in every century prior. It is my sincere belief that every person I meet is either a believer in Jesus, or a future believer in Jesus. Any efforts that I make to change a mind on that point--by the

Jesus Is Anointed For Burial (John 12:1-8)

 We know from the end of chapter 11 that the religious leadership wants to arrest Jesus and put him to death. They thought the occasion of the Passover might be a good opportunity to get him. Here in this section, St. John wants us to witness this anointing. Jesus is already the Anointed One--that's what "Christ" means--but this shows us that many of his disciples were at least beginning to understand that his death would have a special meaning. Judas Iscariot doesn't actually care about the poor, as St. John explains. The answer Jesus gives is not an excuse to avoid serving the poor, but it does show us that Jesus is worthy of all that we have, and that we serve others in the strength of our love for Him. Jesus often praises the Father, and tells other people to do the same, but he never refuses honest worship offered to Him. The time that he was here with us, walking the earth, was special. Preparing Jesus for his burial cost nearly a year's wages. What might be

Will Jesus Come To Jerusalem For The Passover? (John 11:55-57)

 If we turn back to Exodus 12, we can read about the institution of the Passover feast. This feast is a way for the people to participate in and commemorate God delivering the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, by means of the plague of the firstborn. The Angel of Death passed over any house which had the blood of the lamb spread upon the door posts. By this, God "knew" his own people, and spared them from his wrath. The political and religious leaders must have figured that Jesus would travel to Jerusalem for the feast, and that being there, he would draw a lot of attention. It seems they thought that he wouldn't be too hard to find. They gave orders that anyone who knew where he was should tell them, so that they could arrest him. Many people would travel from all the towns and villages, and even from all over the known world, to celebrate the Passover. All the feasts were important to the Israelites, but especially this one. If you look at the Psalms, you will see some

Jesus: Messiah, Or Troublemaker? (John 11:45-54)

 Some of the people believed in Jesus, but much of the political and religious leadership did not. Also, they had positions to protect, which they believed they would lose, as many of the people believed in Jesus as the Messiah. The conspiracy against Jesus is an interesting one, because St. John doesn't think that the prophecy of the high priest is false. St. John wants us to believe that somehow God the Father will use this unjust scheme against Jesus for His own purposes. This might shed light on the mystery of why there is so much suffering in the world, if God is in control, and He is good. Even then, we spend most of our energy trying to endure the suffering, rather than explain it. We can already begin to see that all the threads and all the roads in the life of Jesus will lead to the Cross. I don't think that Jesus avoided going around openly out of fear. I agree with Jesus and St. John that the Father has a specific plan for the unfolding of everything. The high priest