Reading: No scheduled reading
Thoughts and Reflections: Today is the regularly scheduled “Catch Up” day for the first week of August. If needed use it to go back and cover some readings where you may have fallen behind—it happens. Otherwise, below are some thoughts for your consideration for today from this week’s readings.
- In one respect the Gospel of John is the most simple of them all. It’s vocabulary and grammar are very basic. When students of New Testament Greek begin working with the actual text, very frequently John’s Gospel is the place they begin. In another respect, it is also the most profound in terms of the great themes and issues it addresses.
- Throughout this Gospel John refers to the miracles of Jesus as “signs.” Note Acts 2:22 that mentions the “miracles, wonders and signs” which Jesus did. The other Gospels use the term “miracle.” The significance of the word John uses is that it points to a reality about the one who performed it. Just like a business’s sign is intended to point customers to the reality—the business itself.
- The term “Jews” is found in John more so than in any of the other 3 Gospels combined. Here it appears 70 times while only five in Matthew, six in Mark, and five in Luke (and most of these references in the Synoptics are in the phrase, “King of the Jews”). In John, the term is used in the historical sense, for the ones who rejected Jesus’ claims, and also of the rulers who opposed Jesus. Each occurrence must be studied individually for a sense of the term in that context.
Is The Emphasis Right?
Everyone knows about John 3:16. It is arguably the best-known verse in all of Scripture and it’s hard to argue with its unofficial title as “the golden text” of the Bible.
For all of the attention focused on this passage, one might wonder if the one that follows, John 3:17, is neglected? “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Notice the emphasis of this passage, which also is God’s emphasis as well as Jesus’– salvation, not condemnation. How easy it is for us to get that backward.
Granted, much sin and unrighteousness exist in the world. In our efforts to respond to all of that as God’s children, as ones attempting to remain unspotted from the world (Jas. 1:27), as ones who will not associate with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them (Eph. 5:11), we might unintentionally slip into the condemnation mode rather than salvation.
Is this emphasis not evident in Jesus’ life when sinners are drawn to Him? How often He’s accused of being the “friend of sinners” (Luke 7:34). While that’s not said in a complimentary way it does show that these people saw in Jesus hope for salvation, not fear of condemnation.
What is it that the world sees in us and through us as God’s children? Is our emphasis such that we reflect our greatest blessing back to the world? “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).