Book Review: The Gospel of John June 16, 2022

Book Review: The Gospel of John

I am slowly reading and digesting this lyrical, theological commentary by Professor David Ford on my favourite gospel – the Gospel of John. The theme of abundance is striking – “grace upon grace”, “life in abundance”, and the “Spirit given without measure” are soaking into my soul. These truths are water for parched and thirsty people. Ford: “At the heart of the ongoing drama of following Jesus together is the intimate relationship of Jesus with those into whom he breathes his Spirit bearing his words. In this relationship his followers can constantly learn more and more of what is involved in being loved by Jesus and loving him.” To be ongoingly loved by Jesus and to grow in loving him decades after first coming to know him is GLORIOUS!

 

But at the same time we might find ourselves living in a tension that causes cognitive dissonance, since right now the terrain of the church at large feels to me like parched, cracked and dusty terrain. We are wearied by the abuses of men who have claimed to follow God, and the unimaginative cycles of betrayal blindness, institutional cowardice, and a lot of teaching that draws on banal self-help efforts at self realisation rather than deep wells of scriptural wisdom. But even here there is strange comfort in John’s gospel which according to Ford “is not only starkly realistic about the ways the world goes tragically wrong; it shows the same grim realism about the community of those who follow Jesus. Disciples are shown to be mistaken, misled, inadequate, wrongly confident, lacking in faith and love, fearful, disloyal, thieving, and traitorous. These are the ones Jesus has chosen and taught in person!”

 

Jesus gives those who love him the Spirit without measure. We may be battered, bruised, disappointed or exhausted. But, as surely as we draw breathe we can receive grace upon grace, and know the very presence of Jesus in our present. So Come Holy Spirit! Come Lord Jesus! My thirsty soul is longing for you.

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