Season of thanks: The Gospel of John

As a Christian, I am familiar with the Gospels and their accounts of Christ’s life.  I’ve read each several times and feel I know them pretty well.  At the behest of a friend, I started reading John four days ago.  To mix things up, I have been reading aloud (I feel the reading experience is much improved when the auditory senses are also engaged).

To that end, I’ve always been slightly disappointed that the writers of the gospel seem to make Jesus’ words easily understandable (to say nothing to Biblical translations that trade beautiful poetry for accuracy in modern language).  However, John has been a relief from that.  John seems to have maintained the intelligence and the poetry with which Christ taught.  When confronted by the Pharisees, Jesus not only teaches them true doctrine, but does so in a convincing, intelligent way.  He leaves no room for misunderstanding nor argument.  He is the master teacher.

I guess the point is I am grateful for intelligent argument in defense of Truth.  Too often I find people that say, “I know it’s true.  That’s enough for me.”  In recording Jesus’ full defense f His actions, John wants to raise the reader to a higher level: he wants us to know why we believe what we do and why Jesus’ teachings are correct.

Genesis

And so school begins anew. There’s not much more to say than that. Basically time is split between good and better things.

Life is always easier when I prioritize. Best thing to do: wake up early (like 530) and read scriptures. For me, everything follows very easily after that. When I put the most important things first (chronologically) in my day, the rest of it flows pretty much perfectly after that. Not that there aren’t flaws that creep up, but all my priorities are straight.
So then I go to work. Laundry is so much fun. :) (Yes, of course that is sarcastic.) I work till my first class starts about 900 and then it’s off to the races.
The Lord blessed me a lot this year and so I am living one of my dreams: I am coaching a high school volleyball team. Like as the head coach. Yeah, crazy, eh? Crazier still when it takes about 20-30 hours of my week. But I love it. It gives me something to do and forces me to plan and execute my plans well. I get a lot more done when I am constantly busy. But then, doesn’t everybody?
Genesis really has nothing to do with anything but the first line of this post.
But a fun scripture in Genesis gives insight to what God looks like. (Yeah, whoa! God looks like something?)
Yup, Genesis 1:26-27 read: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . . So God created man in his image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
How can God create something in His image if He doesn’t have an image after which to form us? He can’t; it’s impossible. Even for God. So the logical conclusion is God has an image and likeness. This isn’t completely conclusive that God has a physical body, but mix it up with some NT scriptures and you gotta believe it.

The Bible

My brother, like myself, was a strong proponent for Prop 8 (and as the legal fight continues remains so). On his blog, or facebook, or myspace–something–a friend of his posted the comment ‘F… the Bible’ in reaction to my brother’s defense that the Bible condemns the practice of gay marriage (or gay anything for that matter).

“F… the Bible’ is a strong comment. It comes from someone who doesn’t recognise the foundation upon which Western society is built. The Bible is more than just the bestselling book of all time, it is the moral foundation upon which our society was laid. And, to all those who look, is what kept the world relatively pure for so many years. As we fall away from discipleship to Christ and, as my brother’s friend said, ‘F… the Bible,’ our society will follow. The fact we even had to vote on Prop 8 shows way too many people are saying ‘F… the Bible.’
And sadly too many Churches are saying the same thing. Churches that use the Bible each week during their sermons are saying ‘F… the Bible’ because they aren’t willing to stand up for what it teaches. They piddle away the blunt passages in Exodus, Romans (really blunt in the Greek), and Corinthian as mistranslated, unimportant, or ‘hatespeech.’
Funny that this book which has given the moral guidance to our society is being decried as ‘hatespeech.’ Stranger still that a 20th century word is used to devalue the most important book in Christian history–and it’s working.
Now is the time for those who are disciples of Christ to stand for what they believe, what the scriptures teach, and face whatever persecution comes. We only stand for morality, for life, for our Saviour. 
Speaking of the times in which we live, Jesus prophesied:
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
So where do you stand? Will you endure? or will you succumb? There are only two choices.

The Samaritan Woman and Us

It seems that every time I got to my New Testament class my respect for women grows. Much of my astonishment come from realising the negative connotations women had in that time. So as I see the high praise women are given in scripture it sharply contrasts with the societal conventions of the day.

Today we discussed John 4 when Jesus converses with the Samaritan woman at the well. According to Jewish tradition Samaritan woman were perpetually unclean. Thus anything accepted of the by any Jew was unclean and the Jew would then be ritually unclean as well.
Yet Jesus asks her to draw water for Him. Imagine her confusion, knowing the Jewish tradition, to have this asked of her. But He then teaches her of the water He has to give. Over the course of their conversation she realises who He is and why His water will truly quench thirst eternally.
I love the symbolism of what she does as well. Because she is a woman, she likely makes the trek to the well daily to draw the water she will use to clean, cook, and give the thirsty inhabitants of her house. This water is life-giving. It is necessary to the survival of all. But it is necessary she draws it from the well daily, for they will surely thirst again.
So as she learns of the water Christ gives, she leaves her waterpot behind to tell the men in her house of Christ. In the same way she brings the water of physical life to her house each day, she brings the water of eternal life when she finds it.
What I love is this is not a role relegated to this woman alone. It is a divine role given to all women. Each is to bring that water of eternity to her home, what a blessing she has in being given this privilege!