Years ago, as I entered into conversations in the Gospel of John for the first time, I followed an outline provided by a great theologian and Bible teacher, Dr. John Mitchell. He was 92 when I met him and he’d known the Savior for over 70 years. He lived to be 97 years old, and though I spoke with him only a few times, his story has had a profound impact on my life. Never had I, nor have I again, met anyone who knew Jesus like Dr. Mitchell did. I resolved to know Him with the same depth and intimacy…I have a long way to go.
The gospel of John was a favorite of Dr. Mitchell’s. His outline helped me to see the story of redemption unfold. He helped me understand that John, inspired by the Spirit of God, chose the stories he did to help us understand God. Every snippet along the way gives us insight into the heart of God.
(By the way – I so hope you’re taking time to read John’s gospel. Read a chapter a day for 21 days, or three chapters a day for seven, or five for four days…let me encourage you — don’t let the blog do all the work for you this summer, steal away to the shade and open up the Word, allow the Holy Spirit to open up the truth and show you who Jesus is – you won’t regret it. I promise).
So, here’s a little review – thank you Dr. Mitchell.
Chapter One :: The Word. In the beginning – He was, He was with God, He was and is God. This Word became flesh, and bones, and blood, and brings answers to our questions, hope to our despair, and life to the walking dead. He explains God.
Chapter Two (we skipped this one) :: The Creator. Jesus attends a wedding where the bride’s parents run out of wine. Not good. At the urging of his mother, Jesus did what only the Word of God can do – he spoke and wah lah! The water turned to wine. Not just everyday, ordinary wine, but the best wine EVER.
This happens to be the first, what theologians (like us) call attesting miracle – one that demonstrates that Jesus is God. There are 7 in the Gospel of John.
Chapter Three :: The Savior. Nicodemus – schooled and trained all things religious – encounters the One he’s read about and longs for – the Messiah. However, his religious, neat and tidy world is turned upside down.
Chapter Four :: The Water of Life. An unnamed, shamed-by-society woman, walks an everyday, familiar, worn-down path to quench an insatiable thirst and meets The Word, The Creator, The Savior, The Water of Life.
Who do you relate to and why?
How have you encountered Jesus this week?
He has a way of taking our stories that seem fixed and certain, dry, monotonous, degrading or oh so hopeless, and transforming them bit by bit, in an instant, and over a life-time.
Eugene Peterson writes, “in the act of faith we become willing participants in the full story, the ways and work of God, the story that Jesus named “The Kingdom.” Every honest story told along the way provides access into this evolving, expanding story of God’s ways with us, and ours with God. The Bible is full of them. Our lives are full of them.”
Tell someone your story this week.