Donna Gaines introduces the Spring 2020 study from Bellevue Women, "Glory Revealed."
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John - The Spiritual Gospel
“The Gospels are the first fruits of all writings, and the Gospel of John is the first fruits of the Gospels, and no one can receive it’s meaning who has not himself lain back on Jesus’ breast” (From Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of John, Tyndale New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to St. John, p. 8).
John the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23); brother of James and son of Zebedee and Salome.
“The early church father Irenaeus (ca. A.D. 130-200) was a disciple of Polycarp (ca. A.D. 70-160), who was a disciple of the Apostle John, and he testified on Polycarp’s authority that John wrote the gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia Minor when he was advanced in age” (The Macarthur Study Bible, p. 1535).
“‘Last of all’, wrote Clement of Alexandria, ‘John, perceiving that the external facts (ta somatika) had been made plain in the Gospels, being urged by his friends and inspired by the Holy Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel’” (Tyndale New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to St. John, p. 25).
Many believe John wrote the gospel from Ephesus, before he was exiled to the Isle of Patmos. That would put the time between A.D. 80-90. He also authored 1-3 John and Revelation.
“But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
“No person can see God; therefore, Christ came to declare Him” (Henrietta Mears, What the Bible is All About, p. 419).
Believe: appears 98 times in the gospel Love: appears 57 times
Life: appears 47 times
Word: “logos” appears 40 times
Truth: appears 25 times Sign: appears 17 times
The deity of Christ
John 1:12 “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
Jesus as the Word
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we saw His glory as of the only begotten from the Father full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)
“This is why the Christian religion is not obedience to a legal system, but devotion to a Person” (Tyndale, The Gospel According to St. John, p. 44).
The Seven “I Am” Statements – (Glory Revealed, p. 9)
The Seven Signs – (Glory Revealed, p. 10)
Speaking as though God were speaking, Larry Crabb said, “Notice that no miracle Jesus ever performed served His well-being, that no teaching He ever presented was designed to win popularity, and that in no conversation in which He ever engaged did He maneuver things to His advantage but always to Mine” (66 Love Letters, p. 226).
We will see God the Father as we see Jesus. We will only be fully alive as we behold and become like Him. Sin begets death. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23). Jesus came that He might conquer our death and give us eternal life - life now in abundance and later in eternity with Him. Our journey home will be riddled with trials and tribulation, but we are to be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world! As long as we fix our eyes on Jesus, we will not only make it to the other side, but we will commune with Him as we go and He will enable us to impact this dark world for His glory!
We must choose to surrender to the Holy Spirit, Who will bring about this change to Christ-likeness. We will become like the One we behold and follow. Amy Carmichael said, “What we follow, that we will become. Follow what is worthless, and we become worthless. Follow truth, love, righteousness, faithfulness, and we will become true, loving, right-living and faithful. Each one of us has a choice. ‘Choose you this day’ (Joshua 24:15), for every day we live we become more and more like that which we choose to follow” (Whispers of His Presence, p. 248).
Let us choose to follow Jesus through the book of John. May we become more and more like Him as we behold His glory - “glory as of the only begotten from the Father full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
These are not facts to intellectualize but to energize! Do not mistake the “truth that is living water for the dry dust of mere facts. These parched souls endlessly analyze the composition of the water I’ve provided but never seem to realize it was meant for drinking” (Larry Crabb, 66 Love Letters, p. 237).
We will close with the words of Amy Carmichael:
“Recently, I was sent a picture of a jug into which water was being poured. The idea was that love, or whatever we need, is poured into us like that. I don’t think of it so at all. I think of the love of God as a great river, pouring through us as the waters pour through our ravine in flood time. Nothing can keep this love from pouring through us, except of course our own blocking of the river.
Do you sometimes feel that you have got to the end of your love for someone who refuses and repulses you? Such a thought is folly, for one cannot come to the end of what one has not got. We have no store of love at all. We are not jugs, we are riverbeds” (Whispers of His Presence, p. 235).
My prayer for us as we study the book of John is that we too will describe ourselves as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” And that His Spirit will flow forth from us as rivers of living water, quenching the dry and thirsty places in our souls and splashing onto all those around us. If we begin to live as those who are beloved, others will be drawn to Christ in us. And they will know we are His disciples by our love for one another (John 13:34-35).
Not by what we profess, but by how we love!