Saturday, January 31, 2009
A Reflection on the Apostle John
Of all the apostles, I find John the most appealing in an emotional sense. This is perhaps due to knowing his closeness to the Lord during Jesus' earthly ministry.
Bible commentator Henry Sheldon's history of the early church contains the following passage about John. Consider this my post for today.
His [John's] attention was turned toward the central and fundamental, toward that which lies deepest in the nature of God, or nearest to the core of human duty and human weal. It was not his ambition to cover as wide an extent of horizon as possible, or to elucidate the greatest number of aspects in sacred themes. His intense soul, enamored of the things of supreme moment, gave concentration to his discourse. We recognize in his writings one who wished to keep near to the heart of Christian truth.
Among the evangelists, John appears in particular as the expositor of the person of Christ. His contemplation did not stop with outward and official aspects. Looking beyond the earthly appearance, he saw in the Son of man the Son of God, who dwelt with the Father before the world was, in true identity of essence and of glory. "At the very beginning of his discourse," says Augustine, "he soared not only above the earth, and above the whole compass of air and sky, but even above the whole army of angels and the whole order of invisible powers, and reached to Him by whom all things were made. He has spoken concerning the divinity of the Lord as none other has spoken. What he drank in, he gave forth. For it is not without reason that it is recorded of him in this very Gospel, that at supper he reclined on the Lord's bosom."
But he did not neglect the human aspect of his Lord. On the contrary, he enunciated his humanity in vigorous, dogmatic affirmation.