Of the gospel writers, John seems to have been the poet of the group. While Matthew, Mark, and Luke seem to focus on WHAT happened in the life and ministry of Jesus, John wants to think about WHY it happened. John isn’t interested in history as much as he is in meaning.
Matthew, Mark and Luke, for instance, tell the story of Jesus cleaning out the Temple on the Monday of Holy Week. John, however, opens his book with the story. The story of Jesus cleansing the Temple is in John 2:13-22. Right after turning water into wine, Jesus runs the money changers and animal sellers out of the Temple.
Did John flunk history? Not at all. John does something unique and insightful… he gives us a lens through which to focus the entire ministry of Jesus. It’s as if John is saying to us, “If you want to know about Jesus’ ministry, you need to know this story.”
And he tells us about Jesus tearing down the barriers that keep people from fully knowing God. Think about the stories that follow: Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the healing of the man born blind, Jesus washing the feet of His disciples… on and on the stories go and each time, another barrier is knocked down. John is trying to get us to understand the very thing Jesus came to do. Jesus knocks down the barriers and opens the way to God.
I’m left with a couple of questions:
First, are there barriers in my own life, in my world, that keep people from coming to God?
And if so, why am I not knocking any of them down?