As I was driving back and forth to preach at Grace Bible Church in Preston this morning and this evening I had a chance to listen to the entire gospel of John on audio CDs. I cannot commend this way of listening to Scripture highly enough! Although there are many different ways to read and study the Bible often we do not cover large swaths of the text. No one would argue that we do not need to study the Bible in detail, verse by verse, sentence by sentence, and paragraph by paragraph; but if this is all we do we are missing out. We will miss larger connections and themes that will emerge if we read or listen to a whole book from start to finish in one sitting.
For instance, in the gospel of John the "hour" theme reoccurs over and over again reminding us that Jesus has come to fulfill a plan that was decided upon before the creation of the world. He is untouchable until his hour comes and then he lays down his life only to take it up again because of the authority he received from his Father. By means of this literary device John captures an essential element of Jesus' glory. He has come on a mission of love and grace and he will not fail in all that he set out to do. What a Savior!
Something else struck me as I was listening today and that was John 17:17 "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth". Truth! Isn't that wonderful, I thought, in a world that denies there is such a thing as truth. Just like Pilate in John 18:38, people today indignantly ask, "What is truth?" But Jesus has an answer... the answer! The word of God is truth, which is far more than merely saying the word of God is true. He is saying that it is the standard against which all truth claims are measured. It is both true and the truth. And that word has been "incarnated" and clothed in human flesh so that we might find our way back to God. Ultimately, it all comes down to this: will we accept the truth as it has been revealed in Jesus the Messiah. This is the difference between life and death, between heaven and hell, and between joy and sorrow. Will we receive what Jesus has to say even when it runs contrary to the opinions of worldly experts; even when it runs contrary to our sinful desires? Your word is truth means that at long last the search is over. It is now time to hear him and obey.