First of all, sorry for all of the long posts. They’d be shorter if I didn’t feel so compelled to post the scriptures which have the really useful and relevant information, rather than just my blither-blatherings.
I know I’m starting early in John and I’ve been there before in this blog, but I hope to get to a point with it eventually:
John 4:19-26 – “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”
Short point this time. The Messiah’s coming was expected. Even by a wayward woman in Samaria who disagreed with mainstream Judaism and its expectation of where people must worship. John felt that it was important to point this out – possibly knowing that three other writers had left it out – and I have no argument with his reasoning.
Besides, I can’t build a long post from this gospel; John spends almost no time and few words on the subject of eschatology. No signs in the heavens; the sun, moon or stars. No coming in clouds. No wars, no earthquakes. Perhaps he thought the Synoptic writers had covered it sufficiently.
Then there’s also the fact that Jesus uses a peculiar phrase here – “a time is coming and has now come.” How can it be both? How can a time be both come and already here? How can God be the God who was, who is and who is to come? All at the same time?
I dunno. I can’t explain it. I just believe it. Let’s move on.
John 5:24-30 – “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
Resurrection, however, is another matter. John spends plenty of time and words on the subject. Here it’s tied to judgment. And Jesus uses that peculiar mixed-tense phrasing again: “a time is coming and has now come.” In the conversation with the Samaritan woman, He used it in connection with the how and where of worship. Here, it’s in connection with resurrection and judgment. Is there a link? If I knew what it was, I’d hyperlink it. But I dunno.
John 12:28-32 – “Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
Judgment comes now! Jesus says. What exactly does He mean by “now”?
Whose world is this, anyhow?
Does Jesus still let demons live inside of people? Wouldn’t that be a sign that the prince of this world had not been driven out? Right then, when Jesus said, “now”? Okay, He does use future tense (“will be driven out.”) Later, speaking at the final meal, Jesus tells his followers about the Holy Spirit: “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” Is it possible that the apostles took care of the last of the clean-up work demon-wise because the demon prince no longer had the authority to put them into people?
Is it possible because when Jesus was lifted up from the earth and drew all men to Himself, that the demons could not go in His direction? When was the moment of judgment? Is it still happening today? Rolling backward in time from that moment as well? Rolling forward to our day and age? All the while raising those who are in their graves at the sound of His voice; those who did good, to life – and those who did evil, to condemnation?
Is judgment a fundamental truth of eternity that simply transcends time and our meager understanding of it?
John 14:1-4 – “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Of course they knew. You told them, Lord: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life …”
Now this is a real message of hope. He promises to go prepare a place for us among the many rooms of His Father’s house. He’ll come back for us. We’ll live with God!
But a little later, the Truth will have to hurt:
John 16:16-18 – “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”
Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”
And, lest we smugly think we know and understand … do we know when we will see Him? or where? or how?
Shouldn’t it motivate us to live purer, more sacrifical lives to know that it’s just “a little while”?