Psalm 37:1-18 • Deuteronomy 7:6-11 • Titus 1:1-16 • John 1: 29-34
Each Gospel tries to address the basic problem of Christianity —how to understand the confusing notion that Jesus was both human and divine. In Matthew and Luke, we are told that Jesus was both human and divine because God magically got Mary pregnant. John’s Gospel contains no such miracle birth story. It addresses the problem metaphorically, offering different ways to perceive the divine to help us humans, through Jesus, to experience all that God is and all that God means.
I’m a left-brained person, and when I read the Gospel of John, my left brain rebels. Left-brained people like provable facts and syllogistic logic. We want stories to obey the laws of physics. When I read about the wedding feast at Cana, where John says that Jesus changed water into fine wine, I want to say, “Nope. You can’t go—SHAZAAM!!—from water to ethyl alcohol without investing a lot of heat and energy. Couldn’t happen. The heat would destroy the flavor notes. . . .” To which my right brain screams, “RELAX already!” My left-brained approach risks missing the beauty of John’s metaphors, because understanding metaphors is fundamentally a right-brained activity.
“In the beginning was the Word.”
“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
“I am the bread of life.”
“I am the gate for the sheep. . . . the good shepherd.”
“I am the way and the truth and the life.”
“I am the true vine.”
John offers us a smorgasbord. If “in the beginning was the Word” speaks to you, or if thinking of Jesus as “ the true vine” or “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” resonates with you, you now have a way to think about your connection to the divine. Hopefully you’ll find one that helps you.
Religious faith, like relaxation and processing metaphors, is a right-brained activity. Left-brained me, I still have work to do. Which is such a left-brain thing to say. . . .
— Lloyd Snook