- The material from John is among the later materials which make up our New Testament. Perhaps this explains some of the reflective nature of this literature since it comes out of a mature processing of events surrounding the life and ministry of Jesus. There exudes from John’s writings a feeling of love and assurance even if in the context of perplexing interpretational issues which make especially the Gospel of John a fascinating book for continued study.
Relevant Biblical Passages:
John’s Gospel -The “I AM” statements and the stories which embed them (see lesson 2) inescapably tantalize while at the same time signaling confidence in Jesus as the I AM of the Old Testament.
-The stories of Jesus’ encounters with people like Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the crippled and blind, the dead and the dying, the religious establishment speak profoundly of Jesus’ empathetic care for the needy, even if told with larger concerns in mind.
-The comments in John 3:16-21 lie at the very heart of assurance as anyone who has memorized John 3:16 knows very well.
John’s Letters -The profound sense of family which permeates the letters of John, especially the first one. Chapter 1 takes on the sweep of human and divine love and ends with the call for confession and the promise of forgiveness.
-1 John 4:16-21 address those cowering under the threat of judgment, recommending rather the love of God (and ours of others) as plenty of reason to avoid fear. What might this say to Adventists who have long been afraid of the idea of judgment?
-The concluding verses of 1 John 5 are some of the most confidence-laden anywhere in the Bible. The words of the letter have been written “so you may know that you have eternal life” (5:13). Eternal life, like the Kingdom of God or of heaven, has future and present components. Which is being emphasized here? With what impact on confidence?
Contributions to Study of Assurance:
- Although students of the literature of John continue to work on all kinds of interpretational knots, it is inescapable that the material is encouraging and filled with assurance. Why is this so? What makes it so warmly devotional and optimistic?
Lessons for Life:
- What would happen if we decided to assess hope and courage on the basis of John’s Gospel and letters? How would these make a difference? If it is hard enough to get out of bed on Mondays, how might John be able to help?