Thursday, March 30, 2006

John 1:24-34

24Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

These Pharisees must have figured baptising was something that a very special person would do to others?

26"I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. 27He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie."

Well, that is a mouthful. Saint John the Baptist says he is not worthy to touch the shoes of Jesus. They were cousins, right? John the Baptist must have known a lot about Jesus. He must have been aure of who he was. I wonder if he had some special revelation about who Jesus was. Maybe he was saying this based on having observed Jesus all his life. ... or did he mean since Jesus was the Messiah, that he was unworthy to touch his shoes?

28This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Jesus the Lamb of God 29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Well, that is really something, too. I wish I knew what "the Lamb of God" meant. It sounds like (at first glance - I am ignorant remember) he was very harmless. That is my first impression of the phrase "Lamb of God." (the harmless one from God?) Maybe I need to look into that one. Takes away the sin of the world? Huh? Let me just think about that for a minute ...
What is the point of much religion if Jesus "takes away the sin of the world"? That sounds like something He does on His own. I think that is a pretty powerful statement. Even as I sit here, I am more and more amazed at that phrase. "... Takes away the sin of the world." I hear this phrase in church during the Eucharist, but it never seemed the same as when I think of it now said by John the Baptist. (it always seems like they are saying it about the host, and that is kind of unimpressive. This is much more powerful.)

30This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'

Huh? That must have boggled their minds a bit. This must be referring back to what was in the first few verses ... about Jesus being from eternity. John must have known something about that.

31I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."

Well, I guess John knew his purpose.

32Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' 34I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."

OK, this boggles my mind some more. John says that "somebody" (God the father?) told him that the person who has a visible spirit come down and rest on him is the Son of God. He didn't know that the person - the Son of God - was his cousin until that time? That must have been quite a shocker! (Maybe I need to scrap my idea regarding the "observing Jesus all His life.") That is quite a "testimony" from John the Baptist. "...this is the SON OF GOD." wowsa.

I find this kind of exciting. I am surprised that it is exciting to me. I wonder why we don't read this in religion class.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

John 1:19-23

19Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ."

THe Jews sent religious leaders to ask John the Baptist who he was. Didn't they know? He was JOHN THE BAPTIST. He told them he was not the Christ. He must have known that they were looking for the Messiah (that is the same word as "Christ" right?) So, John had no delusions here. He proclaimed "I am not the Christ." How refreshing.

21They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No."

Hmmm.. They asked him if he was Elijah. That strikes me as a little wierd. They did know his name was John. There must be some reason why they would ask him if he was somebody else. There must have been some thinking going on in Judaism that I am unaware of. They didn't believe in reincarnation? I don't know what they mean by "the prophet" either. Anyways, the fact that he said "no" to it all is very impressive to me. He was not looking for some great recognition for the Jewish leaders.

22Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"
23John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.' "

Wow, John is saying then that he is fulfilling some prophecy from Isaiah. Well, that is big, but I am still refreshed by him. He knew who he was. I like this book of John. (John is a popular name in the New Testament)

Friday, March 24, 2006

John 1:16-18

16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.

One blessing after another? Well, at this point, I guess I should say I don't know what this means, but maybe some other time I will.

17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Oh, this may be what I always hear in church about that the Old Testament doesn't mean anything anymore, but that the New Testament is what we are to go by. Then again, they teach us the Ten Commandments at school. Hmm... Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Maybe I should look up the word "grace." Truth, now I know what that means. It means what is true! So is this saying that Moses didn't have any truth? Hey, I would appreciate some help if anybody can offer some.

18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

I am going to assume that "God the One and Only" is again referring to the person in the first few verses of this chapter, the Word made flesh - Jesus, right? Jesus is who this book is about. I am getting the picture! Jesus, who is right there with God, who is God (this must be the trinity?) has shown us God. I think that is what i just read.

Well, that is a lot to take in. I ponder.

Monday, March 20, 2006

John 1:14-15

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

This sounds pretty intense. At first it threw me off a little because I was thinking , "How can a word be flesh?" Then I rememebered that in verse 1 this book calls Jesus the "Word." This is pretty new to me. It is saying then that this One who was there from the beginning, made everything, was God Himself, with God, now has became flesh. This is really different than the way I had thought of Jesus! I never have thought of Him as existing "in the beginning."

We always see him as a little baby in the manger. We talk about his messages of "love" that always are made to sound like you're ony a good person if you let people walk all over you. But this, this is saying that He was around long before the baby at Bethlehem and the Oh Holy Night. Then, he became flesh, or became a man. That is pretty powerful stuff. Now I know why the Catholics say that he was God. I never have really thought or heard about it this way, though. Whenever I have heard about this, Mary is usually the focus and how God favored her and she didn't have to have sex to get pregnant with Jesus.

This is cool. It gives a perspective of the Christmas story that doesn't even include the donkeys ... or Mary or Joseph. It is like - he just did it all on his own - became flesh! Cool.

15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' "

Back to John the Baptist. OK, so he must have said something about someone coming after him who is more important than him. Maybe that is recorded somewhere else in the Bible what he said. I do remember in verse 7 and 8 that it spoke of how John was not the main guy, but that his mission was to point out someone else. It is kinda cool how he says "he was before me." If I remember right, John the Baptist was born before Jesus ... so we are seeing that idea that Jesus was the "in the beginning" person. Neat.

I wonder why in Catholic school we never hear about this. This is pretty powerful and it might make their ideas about Jesus being God seem more real to us young people.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

John 1:6-13

6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

Saint John the Baptist. I know about this. He was the one that baptised Jesus. It says here he came from God. He must have been a pretty holy man.

... so that hrough him all men might believe. Wow, John the baptist had high goals? I would think the word "might" is an important part of that sentence. Am I right?
I like verse 9. That sounds really beautiful. True light that gives light to every man... it sounds so promising and like such an intense event is being described. They are talking about Chritmas Eve?

10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

I never heard this before. The world did not recognize him. I never thought about that. He made all the people and for the most part, people didn't know he was their creator. Do I get the gist? He came to that which was his own ... He owned the people and they didn't accept him?

The last part... It is saying that those who "received" him, or believed in him, he gave them the privilege of being God's children. So, we are not all God's children? Most people I know that would talk about this, would say, "we are all God's children." Maybe I will learn more about this as I keep reading. Born of God - is this baptism or what?

That last sentence is sort of mind-boggling.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

John 1:3-5

3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

OK, so this is saying that Christ has something to do with the actual creation? I truly have never heard this before. I have always thought of Jesus as being the person that came into existence at the manger with the blessed virgin Mary. I never thought of him as someone that existed before that. To top it off, this is saying that he made everything?

4In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

In him was life. I don't get this. Are we speeding ahead here up to the time when man was created? First it talks about all things were made by him, now it says in him was life that was the light of men. I think maybe we sped ahead a few buzillion years.

5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

Huh? Maybe I am in the dark because I don't get that one. It sounds pretty prfound, though. I wish I could understand this a little better. One thing's for sure, I have heard none of this in religious school (that sort of surprises me!) for all 10 years. It is interesting, I have to admit, and I am only just beginning. I think I am going to continue to read this book of John.

(I am growing up fast)

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Gospel of John

Te Dyspraxic Fundamentalist blogger has suggested that I read the gospel of John. I am going to do this! I will post a verse, several verses or paragraphs every day (if I have the time and remember) and think about what it says. If you want to help me think about it and understand, that would be welcome. Here goes:

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

This is about Jesus, right? When it says in the beginning was the Word, I assume that because it was capitalized, that means it is referring to Deity. Am I right about this? So, is it saying that Jesus was God? This is what the Catholics tell me. That is some pretty powerful wording there. I wonder what He looked like. I mean, He wasn't born until 2000 years ago, but this goes way back to "the beginning". Did He have a body? This gives me a lot to think about.