we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of Saint John is represented with an eagle; Matthew, Mark and Luke are represented by a man, a lion, and an ox, respectively. While the synoptic gospels tread the earth, John soars in the lofty sky.
And yet this gospel is also deeply political; John's gospel reports on the closed meetings of the Sanhedrin, their spies in Bethany, Jesus' prophetic "cleansing" of the temple and the official response, and the trial before Pilate. If the Gospel soars in the heavens its Jesus lives in this messy, mysterious, dangerous world.
But he is not of this world; he has come down from above and will re-ascend to the heavens. Jesus demonstrates an authority and freedom beyond anything his friends or enemies can comprehend. He is like a three dimensional person in a two dimensional world.
"Where do you come from?" Pilate asks because he hasn't a clue.
"We know where he comes from!" the crowds say of him, thinking he came from Nazareth.
"Where do you stay?" John's disciples ask.
His response -- to those prepared for it -- "Come and see."
No one should read the Gospel who is not prepared to go with the Lord. It is not written for non-believers; it is not written for the merely curious.
Saint John's Jesus often seems unreasonable. He demands faith but his explanations make no sense to those who do not live in his world; this gospel is not "apologetic."
But Jesus' reasoning is deeply, profoundly rational to those who live in the Truth.
Buddhism, arriving in America, has often challenged "western thinking." I remember one story of western psychologists who wanted to study what happens in Zen meditation. They put electrodes on the gentlemen's bare skulls, much to the amusement of the monks. "Why are you studying our skulls and not our entire bodies?" they asked. But the western scientist saw the brain as the home of the mind; the body, as the brains' suburbs. Buddhists showed the West the narrow limits of our "open-minded" scientists.
At the same time western post-modern philosophers have become aware of the "lens" through which people see the world. Conflicts can sometimes be resolved when the debaters realize they're looking at the situation with different lenses. When they agree on a particular lens they can sometimes find unexpected agreement. Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus; but they can agree to live together on Earth.
The Truth that Jesus reveals surpasses all human thought. In fact, it is virtually impossible for us to see or imagine his reality without his Revelation. Or to put it another way, without the Holy Spirit "God lives in unapproachable light."
And yet, when we have received and welcomed that Spirit, we say, "Of course! Why didn't I see that before? How could I be so foolish?"
The Gospel of Saint John must be read, pondered, discussed and celebrated endlessly; it is a bottomless well of inspiration and wisdom, a gift for the ages and a treasure for every believer.