Yesterday we heard the story of how David sent out his army under three commanders, Joab, Abishai, and Ittai. He gave them orders to deal gently with Absalom. Joab— who was always pragmatic, didn't do this. Along with Absalom, 20,000 men died in the civil war. Joab stopped David’s mourning for his son and ordered him to go out to encourage his troops. And finally the people decided to bring David back as their king.
This is one of the antiphonal psalms. Imagine a leader and all the congregation saying the refrain. One of the most often quoted verses about the Messiah is found in verse 22. And I have quoted verse 24 at the beginning of a number of podcasts.
John uses simple words, such as light, word, lamb, and door. But the concepts he deals with are anything but simple. The meaning goes deep— so deep that you could spend a lifetime studying the prologue in chapter one alone and never get to the bottom of it. Note also that John very artistically makes use of double meaning— using a word with two meanings simultaneously.
Note how Jesus (and the writer, John) artfully hint at the story of Jacob. Jesus calls Nathanael a true son of Israel. Israel is one of Jacob’s name, and Jacob’s name means ‘cheater’. And then Jesus paradoxically calls Nathanael a man of complete integrity. Finally Jesus didn’t need to make it obvious to his hearers and John didn’t need to explain to his readers that Jesus was quoting from the Jacob’s Ladder story. Just a few words and the previous hint were plenty to imply this: Jesus is claiming to be the Way/Ladder to the Father. The way, the truth, and the life.
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