Yes, I've been in the New Testament for about a week now. It's been a whirlwind tour of the gospels, and today is no exception.
This is familiar territory for many of us, and these chapters contain many stories and famous sayings. There are the mountaintop stories: the feeding of the 5,000 in John 6, the healing in the man born blind in John 9, the raising of Lazarus in John 11, the footwashing and new commandment in John 13. There are also so many images -- Jesus as the Bread of Life, Jesus as the Good Shepherd, Jesus as the Vine, Jesus as the Light of the World.
It occurs to me that 90% of my funeral sermon material comes from John. This can't be an accident.
In the other gospels, Jesus is a healer who teaches. In John, Jesus is a teacher who sometimes heals. It feels like every healing in John has a Point, is a sort of Object Lesson, not simply to relieve suffering, but to illustrate a great truth. And every healing in John is also like a huge spot light, or a strobe light.
One verse stuck out for me in "the Message"; among all the "familiar quotations" in John, I heard it a little differently this time:
Judas (not Iscariot) said, "Master, why is it that you are about to make yourself plain to us but not the world?"
"Because a loveless world," said Jesus, "is a sightless world. If anyone loves me he will carefully keep my word and my Father will love him -- we'll move right into the neighborhood." (John 14:22-23.)
A loveless world is a sightless world.
Still true today. To see Jesus is to learn to love the world that he loves, in all its pain and waywardness.