Daily Devotion for April 27, 2011
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
"You Give Me Perfect Peace" (Ma Rendi Pur Contento) by Vincenzo Bellini
"For Each New Morning"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.
For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate.
John 20:30-31 (NIV)
The Purpose of Johnís Gospel
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Notes on the Scripture
John makes it clear that his Gospel is not intended as a comprehensive "Life of Christ". Indeed, he picked and chose incidents and teachings that he could make into more of a work of theology or literature. There is no account of Jesus' birth or early life and, as we will see, there is no account of his ascension. It may well have been written to supplement, rather than to compete with, the other three "Synoptic" gospels and has been called the "spiritual gospel".
As we look back, we can see that John's gospel has specific sections. First, there is the extraordinary prologue that identifies Christ with the Word, the aspect of God which created the universe. The idea of a Word, a logic or order to the universe, first arose among Greek philosophers (the logos). John borrows it in order to explain Christ's origins as a moving force in the creation of the universe.
John then seeks to prove or convince the reader of Jesus' divinity, by recounting seven "signs", miracles that had a special significance. The last of these, raising Lazarus from the dead, is the immediate cause of Jesus' crucifixion in John.
Interspersed throughout, John relates a body of extended speeches given by Jesus, which are full of allegory and symbolism. By contrast, the Synoptic Gospels rely on numerous parables, in which an allegory is explicitly given. John is thus a more difficult gospel to read and understand.
Finally, John gives an account of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, but omits his ascension. John's account is different from (not contrary to) the other gospels. It concentrates on the arguments between Jesus and the Pharisees, with special emphasis on Jesus' dialogue with Pontius Pilate. Both Pilate and the Pharisees themselves are shown as more conflicted between acceptance of, and belief in , Jesus as the Messiah, and John contains extensive dialogues between them (a very Greek, and thus philosophical, method of teaching); whereas, the Synoptic Gospels present them more as single-minded opponents and present Christ's teachings as simple uncontested statements made to his followers.
One might also say that John emphasizes the role of love in Christian life, but gives less emphasis to worship. For example, in John, Jesus gives one commandment (to love one's neighbor), whereas the Synoptics give "Love God with your whole heart" as the first commandment and love of one's neighbor as the second. As another example, John omits the passage that forms the heart of worship in more liturgical and sacramental-oriented denominations: the sharing of bread and wine at the last supper. Instead, John gives an account of Christ washing Peter's feet.
There is another chapter in John, Chapter 21; the apparent ending of the work in John 20 has confounded scholars for centuries. Obviously, John 21 is an appendix added after John believed the work to be finished. But the majority of scholars agree that Chapter 21 was written by the same person who wrote Chapters 1-20, and no manuscript of John without this last chapter has ever been found.