I have been listening to some of the great recordings of past Scripture Saturdays, the most recent one to fill my car journeys was by Kathleen O'Gorman. Kathleen was teaching about John's Gospel and two things really stuck out to me in what she said. The first was that she said that John uses the word believe 90 times in his Gospel and she suggests that for John, the only sin is unbelief. I will now of course be re-reading the Gospel to see how this is so and to explore this focus on belief. She said it is not a Gospel about faith, which is a noun, but about belief which is a verb. I wonder, how active is my belief? Is it simply a part of who I am, or is it reflected in all that I do?
The second point that struck me was when she explained the way that the beautiful prologue, In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God....., was written in the form of Greek poetry, and as such the key verse was verse 12. This verse says...
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God. (NRSV translation)
Kathleen drew her listener's attention to the encounter of Mary with the risen Jesus, in chapter 20 when Jesus tells her...
Go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' (NRSV translation)
This is the first time that Jesus refers to the disciples as his brothers, indicating that through his death and resurrection, his purpose of enabling us to become children of God, is fulfilled.
These two insights are very profound and will impact on my prayerful reading of John's Gospel for years to come. I just need to decide which recording to listen to next.
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