The Daily Office | March 23, 2018
Psalms 110, 111, 112, 113
Psalms 114, 115
2 Timothy 3
Collect: Ash Wednesday
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect: The Fifth Sunday in Lent
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of this world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The last paragraph of John 12, verses 44-50, summarizes the entire section of John from chapter 5-12. Very much like John's prologue, it has several imagery themes throughout as Jesus speaks: belief, being sent, light and darkness, Jesus' relationship to the Father, etc. These major themes that come up throughout John's gospel are neatly wrapped up before he moves into the great Passover scene in chapters 13-17.
So much happens in John 5-12 that it really is hard to summarize. John's stories of Jesus, his miracles, his "I am" statements, his confrontations, there are so many layers to unpack in John that I feel like I could read it my whole life and still be missing something. But these themes that are intentionally revealed at the beginning of John 1 and here in John 12 give us a solid insight into the mindset of the author and what was important for him to highlight.
Jesus as light in the darkness, Jesus as son to the Father, Jesus as being sent and not coming of his own, Jesus imploring people to belief, Jesus speaking on behalf of the Father, Jesus' work of saving the world - these themes help us to gain the appropriate lens by which to read John, to read the gospel text with these key highlighted things in mind. This is one way we read and study the Bible, looking for these clues to inform our perspective of what the author was truly getting at.
When you read your Bible daily, weekly, or however often you read it, read it with a critical eye. Take note of the structure, the recurring words and themes, the summarizations, the cause-and-effect relationships, etc. The authors are intentional in their writing and it helps us to read and understand the Bible with more depth.