Friday, March 16, 2007
Jesus and God and Israel in John's Gospel
Today we leave with our student ministry for our Spring Retreat. My plan is to encourage the students to spend personal time reading Jesus' High Priestly Prayer recorded in John 17. As I did a bit of reading to gain a better understanding of the Prayer's role in John's story, I came across these extraordinary insights from Bishop N.T. Wright in his book, The New Testament and the People of God. Wright understands John's Gospel as designed to demonstrate that what God is doing through the ministry of Jesus serves as the climax to what God has been doing with Israel. Furthermore, John is seeking to demonstrate that what God is doing with Israel has profound implications for the entire cosmos. Therefore, "the question of the creator and the cosmos, the world, becomes the question of Jesus and Israel. And when that question is resolved, with the full paradox and irony of the crucifixion of the King of the Jews, then at once the world can become the beneficiary" (Wright, 412). Insights such as these reveal that too often our reading of the biblical text remains at the superficial (maybe syntactical!) level. How texts in John relate to the grand metanarrative that God is telling through Moses and Abraham and David and Daniel and Jesus and Paul becomes the crucial question for NT interpretation.