Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More powerful than water

John 6:15, when Jesus walks on the water, leads us into a pivot point in John, in that Jesus doesn’t use an instrument to perform a miracle – He is the instrument in the miracle.

By walking on the water Jesus shows His disciples – the twelve that choose to continue following, not leave Him as the coming crowds are to do – water is nothing more than a bi-product of the earth. He is showing that as one with the Creator of such things as water, He too has control over it. Yet, water is something paralyzing to Peter, while also serving as something that man needs in order to survive. By Jesus exercising His supreme authority over even water, what more evidence must the disciples need that He is the Messiah?

We are powerless over things of this world without Jesus Christ. Case-in-point: when Peter steps out of the boat, the water begins to drown him. But he stepped out of the boat in faith; a faith that was not exhibited by any other disciple because Peter knew that Jesus was there for him.

Is the teaching a hard one to follow? Absolutely! Will we be able to fall even after we accept to choose it? You better believe it! Does Jesus substantiate through His Word that He is powerful enough to overcome anything in this world? Most definitely! Therefore, we can rest in the promise of Christ Jesus and His testimony that He will never fail us. The Holy Spirit that guided Him through the world can still, to this very day, come into our lives and sustain us.

Paul says in Philippians 4:12, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (NIV, emphasis mine). The word, here, that so beautifully harmonizes with what Jesus teaches in much of His ministry is μεμύημαι (it is a passive indicative verb – learned). It reveals to us just how Paul has “learned” the secret: it is through the Spirit alone. It is the only occurrence of it the New Testament, hence its importance. Praise be to the Holy Spirit, for it is through Him alone that we have learned all.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Behold, or look? (John 1)

While the introductory statements in John 1:1-13 serve as ambiguously bold claims about Christ Jesus by John the evangelist and author, let us take a moment and reflect further on the importance of the pivot point in this chapter as a whole: vv. 29-34. For the purpose of this interpretative work I will not be using the adjective “look” as is presented in the NIV. Instead, I will look at the first person singular aorist imperative (Biblos, 2011) “behold” as is found in numerous translations (cf. ESV, NASB, KJV). Behold is a:

1. First person: spoken by John the Baptist

2. Singular: speaking only about Jesus

3. Aorist (verb tense): “said to be ‘simple occurrence’ or ‘summary occurrence’, without regard for the amount of time taken to accomplish the action (NT Greek, n.d.).

4. Imperative (verb mood): “The imperative mood is a command or instruction given to the hearer, charging the hearer to carry out or perform a certain action” (NT Greek, n.d.).
Who? What? When? Where? Why? These are still the best questions to ask because they reveal all sides of every story. John uses seemingly non-technical language, but it is masterfully used in a technically brilliant manner. The understanding of the text takes on new dimension when seeing it with the word “behold” rather than “look.” To look at something could infer (in modern understanding) to look, and then to look away. This action could be a glance, or a stare, but none-the-less, it does not always imply a sustained action. Behold on the other hand draws the reader to understand that which is to beholden. While behold may be an adjective with some antiquated feeling, it serves to better-convey the Baptist's mood when the Christ was drawing near. Let us take a peek into the etymological Greek foundations of behold.