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Entries in Gospel of John (3)


Don't let theology rob you of wonder

I'm in the middle of writing a paper about how John uses Isaiah 53:1 and 6:10 in John 12:38-40. It's interesting hopping back and forth between books. Yesterday afternoon, I took a break to hang some clothes on the clothes line. When I returned to my desk, I forgot which passage I was in. But this is great fun.

I have armed myself with a good number of resources:

Among that pile of books is a commentary on John by Leon Morris. It is an older commentary, first published in 1971. It's expensive to buy now because NICNT has replaced Morris's version from the series with one by J. Ramsey Michaels. To buy a paperback version of Morris's is $85 on Amazon. One can purchase it used, but it's still not cheap. The copy I took out has been re-bound with one of those plain, black non-descript bindings common in university libraries. It's seen better days.

But it's a treasure. I like Leon Morris already, and this is simply adding to that sentiment. One of the things that has jumped out at me is the way Morris uses the phrase "Our Lord" to refer to Jesus in the commentary. Most commentators will use the name "Jesus." I love the way Morris continually refers to him as "Our Lord." Even D.A. Carson's commentary (which I love) uses the name Jesus. I have seen in other older commentaries the use of the term "Our Lord." Perhaps it is just a practice not observed any longer.

I love the use of "Our Lord." It reminds me of who Jesus is. He isn't simply a historical figure. He isn't just a man, or a charismatic leader. He is Lord. That title assumes that there are servants. We are his servants. As I read through Morris's commentary, seeing that phrase over and over again, I am reminded of just who it is I am studying.

In seminary, it's easy to get caught up in the work and the details and lose sight of the wonder of God. I think that can also be said of theological debate. Debate is often necessary as doctrine is hammered out and clarified. But there is the temptation to be more concerned with the pursuit than the Lord we serve. Theology does thrill my heart, but it has to be more about the Lord than the academics of it all. I don't ever want learning to come between me and understanding exactly what that means.


The purpose of life

From Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, by Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

The main function and purpose of life in this world is to prepare us for the next one. Now let us be clear about this. That does not mean escapism; it does not mean that you turn your back on this world or that you despise life here. It does not mean that you shut yourself up in a monastery or become a monk or a hermit, not at all! Notice what I said -- the main function. There are many other functions. Oh yes, carry on in business or in your profession or in your family life, live it to the maximum; but never forget that the main object of life in this world is to prepare us for the next. That is the whole philosophy of the Bible. It is the secret of all the saints; read again that eleventh chapter of Hebrews. The secret of every one of those men and women was that they were looking "for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." They were "strangers and piligrims on the earth" (vv. 10, 13), and they went on in the journey preparing for that which was to come.


Driving us to God

From Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, by Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

If you really believe in God, anything that may happen to you will drive you nearer to God, and anything that drives you nearer to him is a "good" thing for you. I will apply this to your experience as I apply it to my own; let us be frank and honest. When life is running smoothly and easily, and the sun is shining in the heavens, and everything is going well, how easy it is to forget all about God. We do not seem to need him, and we forget him, and we are far away from him. But then something goes wrong -- there is an announcement of war, or there is trouble or an accident -- and these thing drive me back to my knees. I then get nearer to God, and "It is good for me that I have been afflicted" because "before I was afflicted I went astray" (Psalm 119:71, 67). Each one of us can echo the sentiment of the psalmist. God himself has to chastise us in order to draw us a little nearer to himself.