As a member of the Fellowship of St. John, I am drawn to studying “the profound significance in what the fourth gospel tells us of the beloved disciple’s friendship with Jesus…Contemplating the closeness of the disciple to Jesus at the supper can deepen our awareness that the communion we have with Christ in the Eucharist is no mere abstract idea but a real and growing bond of personal love.”
In reading the Gospel of John, we see stories of Jesus the healer who helps us up when we fall and makes us strong in our faith. In Jesus’ public ministry, the disciples see seven signs that reinforce that he is the Messiah and Son of God. John records Jesus’ ministry as he progresses from performing small miracles known by only a few to incomprehensible events that defy physical laws and attract thousands to his ministry.
Saves a man from embarrassment by turning water into wine at a wedding (2:1-11)
Heals an official’s son with only a spoken word (4:43-54)
Heals an invalid at a pool who waited 38 years for healing (5:1-15)
Feeds the hungry crowds (6:1-14)
Walks on water (6:16-21)
Heals a man born blind (9:1-12)
Raises his friend, Lazarus, from the dead (11:1-44)
As an epilogue, we read in Chapter 21 of the phenomenal catch of fish when the risen Jesus instructs the disciples where to fish after a night of emptiness.
Perhaps John’s gospel outlines how we progress as a Christian.
First Christ rescues us where we are: clothing us when we are naked, and saving us from the shame of our sins. But do we trust Jesus to be faithful and love us all the time?
Then we start looking for signs, doubting like the disciples. When we worry about a loved one, he recovers. A pain that we’ve had for years mysteriously disappears and we have food when we are hungry.
Next our faith progresses to signs that the secular world finds impossible: defying gravity by walking on water, reversing blindness from birth, and the ultimate miracle, bringing someone back to life.
Perhaps it is only after a night of emptiness that we see and recognize Christ. It is our unwillingness to trust him and believe that takes us so long; he has been there always. Like Lazarus, Jesus has brought us back to life so that we can joyously move along the path to being his disciple.
Blessings, my friend,