Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Christian Life

As I mentioned in Monday's posting, a central theme found throughout the Gospel of John is the divinity of Jesus. The claim that Jesus is fully divine is expressed through John's use of two words - "I AM." To understand the theolgical importance of these two words we must go back and examine the calling of Moses (Exodus 3), in which the Lord reveals his name as "I AM WHO I AM." The divine name that was revealed to Moses provides the theological background for understanding John's claim that Jesus is the fully divine Son of God.
Within the narrative of John's gospel, we find seven "I AM" statements attributed to Jesus:
  • I AM the Bread of Life
  • I AM the Light of the World
  • I AM the Door of the Sheep
  • I AM the Good Shepherd
  • I AM the Resurrection and the Life
  • I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life
  • I AM the True Vine

All of these statements are descriptive of the divine nature of Jesus. The series of "I AM" statements culminates in John 18:5-6, when Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus asks the guards, "Whom they are looking for,?" to which they respond, " Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus says, "I AM," and all those who were standing before him fell to the ground. In the Old Testament, when the presence of God was manifested, those who were standing fell to the ground. John is clearly identifing Jesus as God.

Jesus as the Vine

The image of the grapevine is used to describe the people of Israel. The true people of God are now those who belong to Jesus, those who abide in his presence and obey his commandments. The image of the vine powerfully describes the nature of the Christian life. Just as a branch must remain connected the vine, which is the source of its life and nourishment, so must we as Christians remain connected to the presence of Jesus, who is the source of our life.


  1. There are alot of stories in the Bible that are difficult to understand such as Wednesday's reading in that God answers all prayers if you abide in him. Does this simply mean that if a prayer is not answered then one does not abide in him?Could you go into detail about this? Also, are there still miracles being done today such as healing of the sick in Jesus name as it was in Biblical times?

  2. The issue of unanswered prayer is difficult. Because we are still broken, fallible human beings, our understanding of God's ways are imperfect. Therefore, we can't say that any one thing is the reason our prayers go unanswered. And course, prayer is only "unanswered" from our perspective...God often answers our prayers in ways that we do not expect or even fully perceive. If we find ourselves in a place where we feel God is distant and not "answering" our prayers, then we need to evaluate our spiritual lives. Are we abiding in Christ and in his word? Are we connected spiritually with other Christians? Are we seeking to live holy lives? These are questions that we continually wrestle with in our relationship with God. However, we should never judge ourselves or condemn ourselves and say that we must not be abiding in Christ, because our prayers are not answered. It is not that simple. Jesus says these things to challenge us and draw us closer to him.

  3. HEALING...yes, there are miracles still happening today. I have been involved in healing ministry for several years now and I have witnessed physical healings as well as emotional and spiritual healings. It is interesting that miracles seem to be happening in other parts of the world, such as Africa and Latin America where people are less reliant on material wealth and possessions. Their faith is in God alone and, therefore, they seem to be more open to the miraculous in their midst.