John’s Strange and Beautiful Gospel
About 90 years after Jesus and with three gospels already in circulation, John’s gospel paints a unique portrait of Jesus. Here we are in the early chapters and already Jesus is in Jerusalem at the temple (more about that in the sermon).
The temple is now gone and a mosque stands on the site. “Brick & mortar” is not as permanent as it seems. The place feels pretty tense—all the Jewish believers gathered at the Western Wall praying (I stood there and prayed especially for Bascomb UMC) while the Muslims sit in small groups all around the mosque discussing and studying the Koran. No Bibles are allowed up there and if you go through security to get there, no singing or worshiping of any Christian nature is tolerated. Still, they let you walk around.
Two events that bookmark our text today are (before) Jesus’ first miracle (John calls them signs) of water into wine at a wedding and (after) Jesus discusses worship with the Woman at the Well. Where should we worship (brick and mortar)? And Jesus answers how we should worship (spirit and truth). Is that an important difference? What should WE make of it?