Daily Scripture and Prayer September 2020
This month we will pray and ponder John Chapter 10. This story is set during the Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, in deep winter. A little background to that feast may help the text come alive for you.
Israel experienced terrible persecution at many points in its national life. One of the worst of those times occurred in the 160’s BCE at the hands of the Selucids, a remnant of Alexander the Great’s empire. In 167 BCE the Temple and its altar were desecrated and a revolt, led by one priest and his sons broke out. This is one of the most incredible stories of war ever! The small band of rebels, led by one of the sons, Judas Maccabee, held out and eventually prevailed. In so doing, they reclaimed Jerusalem. In 164 BCE, (remember that in year numbering before Jesus, the smaller the number the more recent. So 164 came after 167) the Temple was purified and rededication. The 8-day rededication became an established ceremony in Jewish life. It is sometimes considered a second Feast of Tabernacles because it remembers God’s wonderful provision for Israel in the months that the people lived in caves and fought the Selucids. It is also known as the Feast of Lights, celebrating the rekindling of the holy lights symbolizing God’s presence with the people. There is much more like the story, but for our purposes, it is helpful to know that two general themes predominated in the feast, 1. God as shepherd of Israel and, 2. Israel as God’s sheep.
There are more than 200 references to sheep and shepherds in the Old Testament, many more than in the New. Most of those references are intended to help the believer understand who God is and who the believer is as a part of the faith community. That is the case in this chapter as well. In some places in the New Testament, the image of shepherd is used to describe what we might call pastoral leaders. That is not the case here. This is a text about Jesus’ identity and his relationship with the sheep. Throughout the Old Testament, the image of messiah as shepherd of Israel refers to the new Davidic king. A central issue throughout this chapter is proper faith in Jesus as opposed to diluted faith.
September 1 – John 10:1 – “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit.” [This verse begins with an Amen, Amen clause that signals formal forever teaching. Sheepfolds were often walled areas in the front of homes. The stone fences were topped with briars to discourage thieves. The family and the sheep had separate entrances to the area. ‘Thief’ and ‘bandit’ may sound redundant but in Greek the words have different meanings. Thief, kleptes, refers to a person who steals by craft and fraud. ‘Bandit’, kestes, refers to a person who robs by violent acts. The phrase carries the meaning of both a robber and a guerilla warrior. We often think of this passage as an allegory, with the sheep representing Christians, the shepherd Jesus or God, the gate Jesus, etc. It can be helpful, however, to think symbolically and not just allegorically. An allegory lets a known thing stand in place of something else that is known. A symbol uses a known thing to draw us to something that is largely unknown or barely known. If, considered on that level, the sheep also refer to the self with our instincts, as we shall see, to know the true from the false. A part of the point here is that there are legitimate (the gate) and illegitimate (not through the gate) ways of entering into the safety and protection of the fold. The ones who try to achieve safety and security through illegitimate means, both physically and spiritually, are thieves and brigands, even, or especially if, those are aspects of our own selves.]
Prayer: Dear God, sometimes we rob ourselves of the bounty of life because we try to take the easy way. Sometimes we even want a short cut to holiness that doesn’t include disciplined practices or generous giving. Forgive us for our short sightedness. Give us the grace to know and to do things your way. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 2 – John 10:2 – “The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.” [The shepherd is the guide, the one responsible for the safety of the sheep and the course to and from pasture that they will take. What does the gate symbolize? Well, symbols, by definition, cannot be nailed down like an allegory. The gate clearly points us to consider Jesus and how he is the legitimate, well planned and prepared, way. Don’t get confused by thinking the gate points to Jesus and so the shepherd then can’t. That’s allegory. We know that it takes multiple symbols to begin to allow us to fathom Christ at all. It is also helpful not to think of the gate simply as keeping people who don’t do the right things out. It is an image of protection more than exclusion.]
Prayer: Dear God, how gracious of you to give us so many different ways to understand your love and provision for us in Jesus. We thank you that, in him, your provide us with safety, guidance and a thousand entry points into your kingdom. Hold fast to us, Lord. We need our shepherd! In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 3 – John 10:3 – “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep and leads them out.” [Many ancient near eastern shepherd had pet names for their sheep. Ken Baily, who was a PCUSA mission co-worker for years in the middle east told about how shepherds would walk down the roads and call the sheep by name and only the sheep called by name would respond to the sound of their shepherds voice. They were only going to follow, only feel secure, to follow the one who knew them. The word ‘leads’ stresses the importance of proper guidance for the sheep to survive and thrive.]
Prayer: Dear God, it is indeed awesome to realize how well you know us. You know everything about us, more than we know about ourselves. Help us to tune our ears today to hear your voice and to respond with joy and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 4 – John 10:4 – “When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” [Years ago I saw a picture in National Geographic of a Scottish shepherd leading his sheep on a steep highland road. The shepherd was out front, the sheep behind with the dogs working to keep them in line. The shepherd was focused, not on the sheep, but on the destination and any threats along the way. The sheep would be fine with the shepherd up front (and a couple of good dogs alongside!)]
Prayer: Dear God, what a comfort to know that you go ahead of us into every experience of human life. There is no place that we will go that you have not made safe for us. You have even preceded us into death and out the others side! Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 5 – John 10:5 – “They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” [The word for ‘stranger’ could be translated as ‘rustler.’]
Prayer: Dear God, sometimes it seems that we chase after anything that sparkles or offers us what we think we want. Help us today, and every day, to discern your voice above the clamor of competing voice and ignore the others. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 6 – John 10:6-7 – Jesus used this figure of speech with them but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.” [‘Figure of speech’ refers to illustrative code speech that is understood only by the initiated. They don’t understand so he states explicitly, again, that he is (using I AM language) the gate. Shepherds in his day sometimes slept on the ground in front of the gate, as well. But gate to what? It is important to be careful here. Jesus is not saying that he is the gate to heaven per se. He is saying, as he has throughout John, that he is the gate to abundant life (the Way), now and forever. Remember this story is placed immediately after a healing/transformation story. That is what Jesus is saying he is the way into.]
Prayer: Dear God, sometimes we just need you to give it to us straight. And, in your patience you always do. Thank you. There may be much we do not understand, but this we know: you are our way. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 7 – John 10:8 “All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them.” [Who in the world is he speaking of here? Surely, not all the great prophets and teachers of Israel, or even of the other ancient wisdom religions. He says later in this chapter that he has other flocks that the disciples know not of. Two interpretations seem plausible to me. First, he is probably speaking of a spirit within certain ones that did not teach or lead truly or from altruistic motives. Such ones, while even using Jesus’ own words, can rob and do violence. The spark of Spirit within us will know that they are not to be trusted and turn away. A second possibility is that, given how much pain the Jewish establishment has caused his community, John heard in these words reference to the ones who had so recently rejected and turned his community from their ancestral places of worship. The important thing for us in approaching these texts is humility. There is much we do not know or understand, or are in a position to judge. What is clear is that we have the internal capacity to sort what is good for us and true from what is harmful and false.]
Prayer: Dear God, we know that sometimes we have listened to the wrong voices, those voices who told us that more was better, that violence leads to peace, that some are worthy and others are not. We thank you that you remind us that you have planted inside of us the capacity to discern the good from the destructive, the true from the false. Help us to tune into that inner knowing and respond well. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 8 – John 10:9-10 – “I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” [Jesus makes clear his goal is life abundant for those who hear his voice. The word ‘abundant’ means the fullest of full, full to overflowing. ‘Saved’ literally means to be made whole, restored to perfection. The word ‘kill’ here is a special word for slaughter for sacrifice. This implies that the thief will use the sheep, and use them up, to meet his/her own needs for redemption.]
Prayer: Dear God, your abundant love and lavish provision never cease to astound us. Thank you for the life you give us and the amazing fullness into which you call us. Please do not allow us to steal this from ourselves or others by choices that wound or degrade. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 9 – John 10:11 – “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” [The word ‘good’ here is so beautiful in Greek, kalos. It usually means beautiful in the sense of a model or an ideal to which one looked for guidance or inspiration. It also means ‘noble’ and connotes the ruling rather than the care giving aspects of the shepherd. Kalos refers to something or someone who is intrinsically good, fair, beautiful and winsome. It is used to speak of someone who is well adapted to circumstances or ends and who is ethically moral, noble and worthy of honor.]
Prayer: Dear God, oh my! What an incredible description of our savior! Our shepherd is a model for inspiration, guidance, and moral behavior. Our shepherd is beautiful and good, fair and winsome! Our shepherd is worthy of all praise and honor. Thank you! Thank you! Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 10 – John 10:12 – “The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not know the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.” [By the time of Jesus, shepherding was often handed off to hired hands who were often less than reliable, more known for stealing sheep and getting drunk on hillsides than for caring and protecting. Here the hired hand is one who is only in it for himself. The wolf could refer to any threat or danger to a believer’s life, wellbeing or spiritual growth. The early church fathers often talked about the wolf as either false teachers or the false (egoistic) self that threatens a believers growth and progress.]
Prayer: Dear God, wolves and hireling abound these days. Everywhere we look people are using, abusing and abandoning care for each other. We hardly know what to make of it until we look within our own hearts and see the ways we have hurt and failed to care ourselves. Forgive us, Lord, when we trade our place as your lambs for being wolves that devour others or hirelings who just don’t care. Keep us steady on the road, please. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 11 – John 10:13 – “The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.” [By the times John wrote, his community was beset with false teachers, threats of persecution, and rejection by their own families. Some, even those who had risen to have some leadership in the small communities, fled at the first signs of trouble. Jesus foresees this problem not only for the early community but for each succeeding age. Be careful who and what you trust. Not everyone who says they have your best interest at heart really does.]
Prayer: Dear God, we know what it feels like to be betrayed. And we know what it feels like to do the betraying. We know how to betray those we love, ourselves and even you by running at the first sign of trouble. As your church, we need to learn a different way. Keep us faithful and strong, O God. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 12 – John 10:14-15 – “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and they know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.” [The word ‘know’ is ginosko. It is knowing that comes from intimate experience over time. Jesus is saying that he knows us inside out and has for a long time. He is further telling us that he will die rather than let us live half-life, lost and alone.]
Prayer: Dear God, it is both a delight and an embarrassment to be known so completely, but mostly a delight. Your tender love sees who we really are, beneath all the masks, the roles and the false starts of our lives. You see us, love us and choose to make your home in us. It is beyond our comprehension that you love us so much that you would be willing to die just so that we can know that. Wow. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 13 – John 10: 16 – “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” [We do not know exactly who is being referred to here. What is clear is that Jesus is at work even outside the faith community. How and under what name, we do not need to know. We know two things and they are enough. 1. Jesus is our Good shepherd. He knows us and when we follow we find life. 2. He has hope and desire for others as well and will reach them and bring them into the fold. The fold is bigger than we can imagine. The word ‘will’ here is very strong in Greek. He is saying it is a done deal.]
Prayer: Dear God, how comforting it is to hear that you are work drawing all people to yourself. It is comforting to hear your confidence that everyone will listen to your voice and that someday, somehow, you will make us one flock under your tender care. We need not fear for any, because you are working for all. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 14 – John 10:17-18 – “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.” [Jesus is laying the groundwork for his crucifixion. Again he makes his intimacy with the Father clear. He and the Father are in this together. The word for ‘power’ here could also be translated, authority, ability.]
Prayer: Dear God, we know that you are in charge and that all authority, life itself, rests in you. Help us to relax in this great truth and relinquish all of our fear and anxiety. You have got your world in the palm of your hand. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 15 – John 10:19-21 – Again the Jews were divided because of these words. Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is out of his mind. Why listen to him?” Others were saying, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” [Once again, those who are not ready for what he is saying are set into turmoil and divided.]
Prayer: Dear God, your truth is always startling and disconcerting even to those of us who know and love you. You are always bigger and up to finer things that we can comprehend. Forgive us when our insecurities masked as certainties lead us to fight with each other rather than to welcome what you are trying to teach us and where you are trying to lead us. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 16 – John 10:22-23 – At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon.[The portico of Solomon was in the outermost court of the Temple. The Temple was surrounded on four sides by beautiful colonnades or cloisters. Each opened inward into the Temple precincts but was closed to the outside. The oldest and most elaborate was the portico of Solomon. Often groups of disciples and their rabbi would gather, or walk, in these porticos teaching. The area would have been crowded with those who had gathered to celebrate Hanukkah.]
Prayer: Today we want to walk with you in holy places and learn. Perhaps our holy place is our garden, or at the kitchen sink doing dishes, or in our cozy chair, or listening to ancient chants or maybe even in our beloved sanctuary or labyrinth. Whatever the place, help us to name it holy and hear what you have to teach us. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 17 – John 10: 24 – So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” [‘The Jews’ refers to the establishment authorities who can’t make up their minds about him. The phrase ‘How long will you keep us in suspense’ is precious in Greek. It is literally ‘how long will you take away our life.’ Or ‘how long will you keep us holding our breath.’ It carried the meaning of ‘to bother’ or ‘to annoy.’ The language is of a formal interrogation. ‘plainly’, parisia, means not figuratively. They aren’t good at thinking symbolically and they are sick of it.]
Prayer: Dear God, these days we are sometimes just too tired, distracted, or scared to think, much less to think deeply. We thank you that you have made yourself perfectly plain to us in the love of Jesus and of our little church. For today, that is more than enough. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 18 – John 10:25-26 – Jesus answered, “I have told you and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.” [The word ‘works’, erga, means toil. It refers here to Jesus’ revealing activity. The emphasis is on behavior as revelatory, not just words or dogma. He is basically saying, “I’ve told you and I’ve shown you but nothing takes.”]
Prayer: Dear God, your ‘works’ in my life have been truly revealing. You work to calm my fears. You work to heal my afflictions. You work to provide for my wellbeing. You work to connect me with your body, the church. You work in scripture, song and sacrament to lift me out of myself and help me give myself away to your children. What blessing! What wonder! I want all to know your grace. Use me somehow today. Thank you. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 19 – John 10:27-28 – “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them from my hand.” [‘Hear’, akouousin, means to hear in such a way that one understands. The word ‘follow’ is from this same root. ‘Eternal life’ is again the word zoe that we have met before. It refers to the gushing up life force itself that is both present and eternal. ‘Perish’ means to be destroyed utterly. ‘Snatch’ means to take by force.]
Prayer: Dear God, help us today to hear and understand your word, presence and leading. We thank you that we are eternally safe in the embrace of your love. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 20 – John 10:29-30 – What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one. [These verses refer to the supreme power of God over human life. Paul is saying the same thing in Romans 8 where he says, “For I am convinced that…nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”]
Prayer: Dear God, For we are persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from your love for us in Christ Jesus. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 21 – John 10:31 – The Jews took up stones again to stone him.[They are ready to execute him for two reasons. 1. He spoke the name of God out loud and, 2. He equates himself with God. Both are blasphemy and capital crimes.
Prayer: Dear God, we do not want to play that role in your ongoing story. We have done it too many times. We’ve hollowed out our souls with judgment, lines in the sand and needing to be the only ones with the full truth. We know what it is like to try to kill anyone who says to us that you are bigger than our ideas and that your love is broader than our imagining. We have had enough of that. More than enough. Take the stones from our hands. Soften the stones that are our hearts. Make us what you desire us to be. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 22 – John 10:32 – Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?”[Remember the meanings we learned of good (kalos) and works (erga). See verses 11 and 25 for a refresher. Jesus is making his claim that he has done nothing worthy of execution.]
Prayer: Dear God, what part of Love do we still want to reject? Is there anyone we would be willing to turn from you just to be able to turn our backs on them? Is there anyone we feel so much superior to, or find so repugnant that we can no longer see their humanity and work for their good? If so, we have not looked deeply at either your goodness or your revealing works. Forgive us. We do not want to be that way. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 23 – John 10:33 – The Jews answered, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.” [The establishment shows their hand here.]
Prayer: Dear God, what is truly blasphemous? It is refusing to learn, turning our backs on your presence in mystery and in the lowly. It is thinking we have arrived when we have barely opened our eyes. It is thinking that we are better little gods than you are a great God. It is following our wayward way and abandoning your loving way. We need help. We thank you that you always provide it. Lavishly. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 24 – John 10:34-36 – Jesus answered, “Is it not written in the law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’—and the scripture cannot be annulled—can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?” [‘Written in your law’ is not a put down. It is a tradition rhetorical device. Jesus is being respectful. Perhaps he is referring to Psalm 82:6 where it is used to mean immortal.(see end note.) The word ‘sanctified’ can also be translate, ‘consecrated.’ Jesus is basically saying that he is not standing outside the sacred tradition, but squarely in it. They have just not understood the tradition. They are, as John would say, still in the dark.]
Prayer: We want to be like you. Not of your essence. We don’t want to be you. We want to live up to the image of yourself in which you created us. We want to be able to say, as Paul said in Galatians, It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. That is our present reality and our constant destination. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 25 – John 10:37 – “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me.” [This verse is very, very tender in Greek. Jesus is almost pleading for them to see the truth.]
Prayer: Dear God, sometimes we have trouble sorting out what is good and acceptable in this broken and fearful world. Help us to see clearly what is of you. Help us to daily make our goal to love Love lovingly. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 26 – John 10:38 – “But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” [The phrase ‘know and understand’ uses a Greek construction that means ‘to know and to continue to know.’ It means to seize on the truth and continue to unwrap and live into it. Throughout John, Jesus claims to know God as no human ever has and invites his followers into that relationship.]
Prayer: Dear God, sometimes we have to take baby steps until your truth seizes us and we finally begin to see. We thank you that you honor even our small steps. Even they lead us to you. How could they not? You are everywhere, in all things, even in us. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 27 – John 10:39 – Then they tried to arrest him again, but he escaped from their hands.
Prayer: Dear God, You will never be trapped by the small mindedness of our age, or even of our selves. You will slip through the hands of those who try to strangle your message of love and solidarity. Help us to hear this truth as comfort. No matter how fearfully you, and we your body, may be attacked, you, and we, will never be contained. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 28 - John 10:40 – He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, he remained there.[The word ‘remained’ is the word for to dwell or abide that is used to describe Jesus’ relationship with the Father and our relationship with him.]
Prayer: Dear God, as you abided in the quiet place where holy things had happened, as you abided in stillness with the Father, help us, too, to abide in you in stillness and holiness. Give us eyes to see where
to go to rest with you today and every day. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 29 – John 10:41 – Many came to him, and they were saying, “John performed no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.”[The word translate ‘true’ is Alethia. This word refers to the reality that lies at the basis of what appears, the manifested, verifiable essence of the matter. Those who flocked to Jesus saw that he was the real deal, the essence and basis of who God is and what God is all about.]
Prayer: Dear God, in Jesus, you are our life and our truth, the very basis of everything that appears in the world, in our lives, in our own hearts. You are the core of the core of the core of things. Help us to rejoice in the truth you reveal and freed by it. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
September 30 – John 10:42 – And many believed in him there. [The word ‘believed’ here comes from the root, pistis, to place ones trust in.]
Prayer: Dear God, help us today, we who have seen your truth, to trust in you in all things. Help us to follow you with hope and confidence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
Just a bit of theology to chew on. There is a profound stream of thought in the early church that remains a core theological principle in the Orthodox churches to today called deification. It was deemphasized after Augustine and largely unknown in Protestantism until more recent times. This is the belief that the soul is saved (made whole and well) through a mystical union with Christ. It is less transactional that the understanding in the Western Church (refers to West of Rome not West of the Mississippi, i.e. Catholic and Protestant churches.) The concept of salvation is less transactional in this view and more relational. It is not about making a statement of faith, but rather being drawn into a flow of God’s loving embrace. Faith accomplishes this and faith. Faith itself is a gift of grace. Practices that bring this union into greater and greater fullness are Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, deep prayer and winning the battle against egotism by taming pride, envy, malice, etc., all of which are absent in God’s character. Biblical faith has always claimed the truth that humans are made in the image of God and acknowledged that sin and egocentricity (me, me, me it’s all about me) both blunt that image and the reality of its benefits. The purpose of Jesus’ incarnation was to restore that created goodness and godlikeness. So in that way, salvation is the entire Christ event. Jesus became human so that humans could be like him. That is what is called the mysterion. That is the oneness that Jesus talks about throughout John. The Church father Irenaeus put it this way. “Jesus Christ became what we are so that we might become what he is.” To really understand the inspired gift that John’s Gospel is, we need to chew on these concepts. Salvation is not just about saying the right words or making a right commitment in order to get into heaven. It is all about being drawn into God’s embrace, perfected and made ultimately like Jesus. No, I am not saying that we become God. There is a difference between being tucked into God, our souls being in union with God, and our actually taking on the status and authority of God. Think about it this way. We are no longer two, but not exactly one either. Aren’t you glad you read this? Just open your heart and consider this and see how it affects the way you read John.