Carly had a lovely reflection on chapter 2 last time, so I will focus on chapter 1.
I was noticing the overwhelming presence of names Jesus was being called (Lamb of God, Son of Man, Rabbi, etc.) along with the many prophesies he seemed to be fulfilling.
I’ve always chuckled to myself about what Nathaniel says in 1:46, “can anything good come from Nazareth?” But maybe it was more of a “are we expecting anyone from Nazareth?” Question.
It made me want to brush up on the themes of this book, so I rewatched the Bible Project overview and found it to be helpful and also validating of my observations.
John explicitly states the purpose of this gospel in 20:31, “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing you may have life in his name.”
There’s all sorts of questions about who this new Jesus guy is and it, appropriately, starts with John, who came first. John knows this is his God-given task and makes sure to tell people, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘make straight the way of the Lord’, as Isaiah the prophet said.” What he obviously doesn’t realize, is that he is Elijah who was to come (Matthew 17:10-13). Maybe it’s for the best he didn’t know. He worked so hard to not confuse the people or say anything that would make them worship him.
Another, less obvious, nod toward the significance of Jesus’ arrival is the temple story in 2:13-25.
The Hebrew Bible (aka, the Old Testament in a different order) ends with an ellipses of sorts. A declaration from Cyrus, of all people, caps off the lingering final thought of their Holy Scriptures:
“The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may the LORD his God be with him and let him go up…” (2 Chronicles 36:23)
Scholars have asserted this strange ending is intended to breed anticipation. It, then, comes at no surprise that John 2 and Luke 2 both contain a story of Jesus purposefully going up to the temple.
This book reads as a “The Messiah arrived and I will tell you what He’s like” tale. Take note of the many nods to Israel’s history as we continue forward.
What beautiful thing did you notice about the Messiah today?