February 04, 2005

John 5:19-30 Jesus' claims...

In this gospel the portrait of Jesus claims that he is one with God, the actual revelation of God. In these passages, Jesus shows that like God, Jesus is able to raise those who are spiritually dead to life. He is the word and wisdom of God embodied in a human life. Jesus shows us what it is like to live a life full of God, and filled with spirit. Jesus is not less than God, he is as God is. However, Jesus does not say that God is only known through him.

It was interesting to me to note that Jesus identifies that God does not judge, but Jesus does (22). I am confused - if Jesus does as God does, why this difference? Jesus says it has something to do with "...all honoring the Son, just as they honor the Father." (23) Jesus also says that God gave him this authority (27), and that he judges to please God (30). Judgement has a very negative connotation for me - and I have always sensed that a loving God is not judgemental - that everything that happens is of and by God to begin with, and is therefore, pure and perfect.

8 Comments:

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Larry said...

Meredith:
Judgment like most words has two sides. Look in 1st Corinthians: "6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?"

It's impossible to live without judgment; we may judge the weather may be right to go fishing. Or we judge that a tradesman is honest enough to do business with.

Actually Paul wrote a long section on judgment in the book of Romans and again in 1st Cor, beginning perhaps at Chapter Four.

Like so many other biblical terms it's poetry, and means different things to different people. Unfortunately people have made it into a pejorative, just like they have done for sin, hell, love, etc. etc.

We tend to react emotionally to these words, which may blind us to the intention of the writer.

You wrote: "Jesus claims that he is one with God". They were not Jesus' words (IMHO), but the words that John put into his mouth. Of course for those who believe in biblical inerrancy that statement has none but a negative meaning. The bibliolater is almost sure to misinterpret much of what he reads in the book he worships. (Sorry for the rant.)

 
At 3:18 PM, Blogger RW Spryszak said...

I have the same problems with literalists as Larry does. Quakers have always differentiated to say that the Bible isn't the word of God, Jesus is. And scripture is more a precious guide than an arbiter. Spirit, meaning Jesus himself, is the teacher, not a book - no matter how instructive and helpful it can be. It isn't God.

Ok there was my rant...

There is a difference between judgment and discerning. In the final analysis, the ultimate judge is God - but we are certainly allowed to "discern" through the use of our wits... which are a gift.

We're to hold off until all the councils of the hearts are made known, and then will all things be revealed - but if we weren't supposed to "judge" at all, how do we come to the idea that war is a wrong?

 
At 9:34 PM, Blogger crystal said...

I think I understand what you guys mean about Jesus being one's inspiration, rather than a text about him. But almost all we know about Jesus caomes from the bible ... it is a strange circularity to say that we only trust religious experience of Jesus, not scripture, yet we would not even know of Jesus (to have an experience of him) without that same untrustworthy text. Am I making any sense?

Crysta, who is tired and had a bad day, so may not be thinking straight

 
At 12:00 AM, Blogger RW Spryszak said...

Yes you are asking a good question.

My answer is that - for me - when I say "a personal relationship with God" I mean there he is right there, talking to me.

The "still, small voice" is "that of God" (your conscience, the thing that speaks when you know you are doing wrong).

Then you can know it by its effect (fruits).

Mainstream Protestantism expects inspiration from God to be "checked out" by the Book. But this is only a way to filter the message, and replaces the very priests Protestantism said you didn't need!

I don't know many... actually any... Quakers who would run and "check it out by the Book" - and yet there is a way of knowing if the message is of God or is from the ego. You can tell, really.

 
At 7:09 AM, Blogger Larry said...

Crystal, re "a strange circularity": the Bible introduced us to Jesus, which doesn't necessarily mean that I have to believe everything it says about him. Some of the reports about Jesus were colored by the necessities of the communities the writers led.

Also we don't just know about Jesus from the Bible; we also know about him from the reports of people who spoke to him for the next 2000 years, and most of all what he (personally) says to us.

God put "that of God" into each of us, and that is the final arbiter. Fox told Quakers to "let Christ be your teacher", and he didn't mean any written records. Whatever I read, I read with the discernment of the Holy Spirit.

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger crystal said...

When I first became a catholic, and the 3 years I went to church, I don't remember anyone ever talking about personal religious experience. It wasn't until I took that online retreat and learned more about the Jesuit style of prayer that I saw it being accepted and appreciated. As a semi-atheist, I grew up with that attitude of "when you speak to God, it's called prayer ... when God speaks to you, it's called schizophrenia." :-) It's very interesting to find out about Quaker perspective ... I think it's both courageous and responcible.

 
At 4:24 PM, Blogger Marjorie said...

If I may (trusting always that I will be corrected), my understanding is that Quakers are very experiential. Jesus is the prime example of experiencing God, but God may be experienced by each and every one of us if we listen. Many things can be noise, distracting us, even the Bible.

I even read somewhere (Trueblood?) that the term Quaker was pejoratively used about the Friends, some of whom actually 'quaked' or shook from the intensity of their personal religious experiences. The same is true of the Shakers (about whom I know nothing).

As to Catholicism, I would agree that I have met many Catholics for whom there seems to be no personal or experiential element. I'm sure David and others will be able to tell you about the various saints and schools of thought. I do know that there have been many mystical Catholics who had intense personal, experiential relationships (Enduring Grace by Carol Lee Flinders is about several female Catholics, most of them saints, from the Middle Ages who had such relationships).

 
At 8:55 PM, Blogger crystal said...

Marjorie - one of my favorite mystic saints is Teresa of Avila who had very vivid personal experiences of being with Jesus :-) ... quote from a site about her ...

she was led to reform herself through intense prayer, and began to have religious experiences which she, and the priests she consulted, thought were delusions.
Two Jesuit confessors, however, believed Teresa's experiences were genuine graces, and advised her to lay a firm spiritual foundation through private prayer and the profound practice of virtue. During this time, she had even more intense and extraordinary experiences of "heavenly communications" -- including "mystical marriage", or the "espousal" of her soul to the person of Christ -- and even bodily manifestations of her spiritual elevation.

 

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