Working Preacher’s Lenten Assortment this yr focuses on the “I AM” statements inside the Gospel of John for the sake of intentional reflection on and proclamation of God turning into flesh.
Let me say that after extra — God turning into flesh. The cross is many points; nevertheless first, it is the demise of God. Let that sink in.
The “I AM” statements are larger than solely a novelty of the Fourth Gospel — they reveal, in all fullness (John 1:16), the id of Jesus. “Clearly,” it’s possible you’ll be contemplating.
Nevertheless Lent is the season to remember one important issue about what it means to be a Christian: that when Jesus goes to the cross, there goes God.
Jesus as this one-and-only God, this distinctive God (John 1:18) is the distinctive declare of Christianity. However in in the intervening time’s world what’s talked about and believed about Jesus has the tendency to divide Jesus’ humanity from Jesus’ divinity. Our Christologies seem comfortable with choosing one or the other, counting on whom we would like Jesus to be in a positive time or place — or, for a positive aim.
The Gospel of John reminds us — which, all through Lent, is an notably important issue to remember — that to think about in Jesus is to hold the fullness of Jesus’ humanity and Jesus’ divinity collectively.
“What distinction does this make?,” it’s possible you’ll be asking. Successfully, after we collapse Jesus’ humanity into Jesus’ divinity, it should get harder to consider the goal and pathos of the cross. In any case, if that was God nailed to a tree, to what extent was that true struggling? And after we lower Jesus’ divinity, it turns into simple to chop again Jesus to an above-average teacher, miracle worker, and advocate for the poor.
The issue of Lent is to negotiate these simultaneous truths — and admit our private actuality regarding which Jesus we want. In every other case, all too often, Jesus ends up being trotted out and used to justify moral claims as if God weren’t a part of the picture.
A phrase about grammar may be useful proper right here. The “I AM” statements in John are of two varieties: completely the “I AM” statements whereby there is no qualifier, and the “I AM” statements with a predicate nominative.1 And however the goal of every is to hold every collectively. Each time Jesus says, “I AM,” the whole thing of the “I AM” statements stands behind this revelation. And every time Jesus says, “I AM the bread of life, I AM the sunshine of the world,” the fullness of completely the “I AM” statements stands behind this declare. As soon as we preserve this in ideas, we begin to see that if we try and separate God and the Phrase made flesh, we now have attainable missed the aim of Christianity altogether.
Take into consideration the following quotation, circulating on Pinterest boards and all by social media: “I AM. Two of primarily probably the most extremely efficient phrases; for what you place after them shapes your actuality.”
This Lenten assortment helps us take into consideration that what Jesus locations after “I AM” inside the Gospel of John shapes our actuality.