Hello to you all,
Franciene and I hope that you are enjoying this next lesson in the Gospel of John. Though we have probably heard and read these stories so many times, I feel like we can often see them in a new light as we study and discuss them together.
There is so much going on in this chapter, and we can see the inexorable movement toward Jesus’s crucifixion as the Pharisees and others are afraid of His influence and mistrustful of His motives. And the apostles themselves are struggling to understand and follow Him.
One of the things that really impressed me in this chapter this time, is the reaction of the crowd standing by Jesus when they hear the voice of God coming down from heaven. When this happens, some in the crowd say that it was an angel speaking to Jesus, and some others say that it had thundered, even though Jesus specifically tells the crowd “The voice has come for your sake, not for mine.” How hard the crowd tried to explain and dismiss this voice from heaven.
It made me think of times in my life when I have tried to rationalize that “voice from heaven” when I have felt that God was nudging me in a new direction, or to amend my behavior in some way. It can sometimes be easier or less disruptive to our lives to try to reason that the voice of God speaking to us is something else entirely, so that we are not “really” required to make the changes that He is prompting us to make. But just like in this chapter, Jesus speaks to us today as well as the crowd around Him then, saying “The voice has come for your sake, not for mine” as He reminds us that it is for our benefit and growth and understanding that we listen to His voice and try to follow His guidance for us. I’m sure that each of us has had that experience in our lives, and hopefully as we grow in our relationship with God, we are more willing to listen for His voice and to follow in His footsteps. And Advent seems like a really good time to see how we are doing with this, and to try to focus more on watching and listening for Him as He comes to us again in such humility and love.
We hope that you are enjoying this lesson, and–as always–feel free to contact either of us if you have any questions or comments. You all are in our prayers.
Franciene and Karen
P.S. Since this chapter also discusses Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and the reference to Zechariah’s prophecy about the Messiah riding on a humble donkey, I’ve included a poem I’ve always liked about the donkey’s role in this wonderful story. I hope you enjoy it!
The Donkey by G. K. Chesterton
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.