I’ve been looking at the writing of John recently. More transfixed than anything really.
This was a man who was completely changed by his encounter with Jesus. He wrote the book of Revelation in exile as a prisoner. He wrote the letters to the churches, or perhaps to individuals as guidance. He wrote the Gospel to all as a road-map to lead them to the same conclusion he had come to: Jesus Christ was God in living flesh, man and God reconciled in a single presence for a period of time here on planet earth, walking among us, talking to us and sharing everything from the mundane to the miraculous. Breakfast on the beach with his closest friends to feasting with 5000 men and their families in a wilderness.
Everything he writes about – and a large portion of the Gospel is recorded as Jesus’s own words – is pointing to the same thing. The reality that we need Jesus to survive this world and reach the next. He makes it clear that Hell is a real place, not a metaphor, but his focus is on the redemption offered to an unworthy people by a Loving God’s own sacrifice of Himself in our place.
He is so blown away that God should be prepared to visit us personally that he devotes most of the first chapter of the Gospel and the first few verses of his first epistle to this miracle. The miracle of God Himself walking among us.
How often do we dwell on that concept? How often do we devote our whole thought process and prayer time to the thought that Jesus was God Himself, born by a virgin and walking among us, eating, drinking and living a mortal life so we could have an eternal one? John – from his writings – was obsessed with it. Even more than Paul’s writings, John’s letters and Gospel are concerned with the combination of deity and humanity co-existing in a single human body, that the fullness of God and the wholeness of a true man – sinless and incorruptible – could be contained in this mortal vessel we wear to exist in this place called “earth”.
As God has led my studies recently I realized how little thought I give to this most foundational of miracles. That God Himself came so we could live and not die. That we can live with Him in eternity starting in this world because He has made a way for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit now! The possibility of having the whole of the Holy Spirit – God’s entire being – dwell inside us and guide us exactly the way he guided Jesus in His earthly body – is mind boggling in its concept, that we can know health, prosperity, peace, passion, salvation, forgiveness all because of that one sacrifice is beyond anything we can ask or think.
How dare we ask a Holy God to accept us? We would be burned to a crisp in His presence for He cannot abide Sin, but Jesus stands before Him and takes the punishment onto Himself so we can be restored into relationship with Him.
I’ve not made quotes in this article simply because I’d have to quote most of the letters and the Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) as examples! Read them. Ask God to let you read them as if you’d never read them before. Let Him open your eyes and your heart to the power in the words. Read several translations (or the original language if you can – I can’t so I use the different versions available in English) to get the feel of the passion this man had for Jesus his Lord, his friend and his Savior. Look to the power he recognizes in his writing and the fearless way he writes about his encounters and living experience. I’ve found it so refreshing to open my heart in a renewed way to these short letters and with the Gospel. Revelation is a mystery to me, I openly confess. The imagery is so complex that I am reading it and reading it open to being shown and instructed as though I’ve never read it before.
I’d encourage everyone to do the same. There’s so much more truth than I could possibly have imagined just a few short weeks ago, and it’s all the new experience of refreshing my walk with Him and asking Him to show me something new. Be open. Be prepared to be blown away.