John’s Gospel: The Way it Happened: Lee Harmon: FIVE GOLDEN STARS


John’s Gospel: Lee Harmon

 

The story begins with Matthew and John discussing Jesus as the Messiah and Matthew’s skepticism and disbelief that Jesus was the promised savior. As the story continues Ruth, a Gentile, comes into the scene and offers to pen the Gospel story for John. The matter is discussed and the decision to allow her to pen it is made. Ruth returns with a scroll and a quill to record the story. Part One introduces Jesus and his impending trip to Galilee.

 

John’s Gospel is not the same as the other three in the New Testament. John’s Gospel was called the “Spiritual Gospel,” because it relates the story of Jesus in symbolic ways, which differ from Matthew, Mark and Luke. John requests that Ruth sing a hymn (the prologue to John’s Gospel) and he explains the meaning for Matthew and the reader. He explains the phrase on page 22 beginning with “There came a man sent from God whose name was John.” The man he refers to is The Baptizer. “He prepared people to see the light.” As Ruth continues with the hymn and realizing within the hymn as he interprets it for us, that according to Matthew’s understanding that “God’s own did not receive him.” “You say,” he states, “that God gave them the right to become children of God…to be born of God. We Jews have looked for to this day for hundreds of years.” The different interpretations of The Spirit of Christ are discussed on page 23. The discussion centers on Jesus as the word of God. “The bringer of life.” He is the Logos, which is explained on pages 25-28. Logos translated mean, “ the mind of God controlling the world, the force changing it form chaos, to order.” The discussion continues as Ruth sings the rest of the hymn and the author begins Chapter 2 Christ’s descent with more of an explanation about John the Baptist and how he knew the Messiah. Explaining quite clearly that God inscribed the Laws upon Moses’ stone tablet but God spoke directly through Jesus. Adding through Ruth that the Baptizer was getting Israel ready for “someone greater than he.” As Ruth continues with the hymn she questions John regarding whom the prophet in the hymn refers to. The answer is forthcoming in his story beginning on page 31 as he explains, “The Glory of the Lord,” as Matthew doubts him and his words. Author Lee Harmon takes us on a journey back in time to learn along with Matthew the story of John’s Gospel. As the story of Jesus begins in Bethany the author will relate John’s story and explain the many differences between his and the other three gospels. The story includes the fact that Jesus served as a disciple to the Baptizer. John the Baptizer identifies himself as being the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Jesus begins baptizing and the Baptizer rejoices knowing that Jesus is the Son of God and has fulfilled the prophecy. Matthew still has some doubts and his interpretations are discussed. As on page 33 John’s vision is revealed. Jesus, he states, came to atone for our sins, not overthrow the sinners. Matthew’s views are stated on page 33 quite strongly. Ruth continues by stating that John was there the day the Spirit arrived and he responds that he will only allow her to write about what he heard and not what he did not hear. John was the only one that was with Jesus from the beginning until the end and he relates what really happens on pages 36-37. It begins with a description of the Mystery of the identity of Jesus. It is filled with information about his divinity. John takes the reader inside Jesus’ ministry to understand and learn to believe in him. The author continues with the Formation of the New Israel, Interlude II who wrote John’s Gospel and the Wedding Feast where John’s story begins. Jesus and his disciples are in Galilee and attend a wedding where he performs a miracle changing water into wine. The wedding scene sets the platform or stage for the Gospel. But first the author discusses some of the themes from the Revelation. I learned quite a bit from reading this book and would like to highlight for the reader what I learned and as you read you might find that there is so much knowledge that you will gain too.

 

I learned that Jesus turned water into wine. But, I listened when Matthew questioned John about whether water or wine was served at the wedding. John explains that “Living water doesn’t arrive until the end of days.” John was trying to teach him about Jesus. Next, he explains in detail Dionysus, God of Wine followed by a story that I have heard so many times on my holiday: Passover. For those that do not know the story the Passover feast celebrates the day all of “Egyptian firstborn were slain, while Israelites were passed over by the killing angel.” There is much more to learn in Chapter 5 The New Temple. Chapter 8 was quite interesting and in this chapter I learned that John the Baptizer died before Jesus and that John came before the Kingdom and was not in the Kingdom of God when he died. I also learned that John the Baptizer was the world’s final prophet. But, Ruth asks John as she pens the story a pointed question, “ The Baptizer was the world’s final prophet? Then where does that leave you John? Did you not prophesy also of the coming kingdom?” This question did not set well with John. His response on page 86 followed by the fact that Ruth (the one in the Old Testament) was from Moab and was an ancestor of King David, which makes his descendants, including Jesus, not pure Jews. The story is retold on pages 89- 91. It continues with the Groom in the next chapter.

 

Next I learned that the Samaritans believed in him and that Christ is the Messiah that was prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures. I learned that when he returns to Galilee he cures a boy at death’s door. Then when he is in Jerusalem for a festival he cures a sick man at the pool of Bethesda.

 

The Great Sabbath is the next chapter and the setting as is stated is an unknown festival. The author explains that there are three feasts that Jews are required to observe: Passover, Tabernacles and Pentecost. This chapter focuses on Pentecost, which I did not know happens 50 days after Passover and it celebrates the wheat harvest. The ceremony and prayers are related on page 104. Then on page 108 he relates Christian Pentecost and the New Sabbath. Continuing I learned that Pentecost is the “feast of the harvest of the firstfruits.” Chapter 13 goes back to the Passover story and he discusses what he relates as the central miracle of Jesus’ career. Feeding the multitude the author states is the only miracle that all four Gospels agree upon. Read Chapter 13. Using the symbol of bread I learned as Jesus explains that belief in him and in God, his father, will give eternal life. Read Chapter 15 to learn more as I did.

 

One of my favorite times of the year is celebrating Sukkoth. At the Feast of Booths, during this holiday Jesus returns I learned to Jerusalem with the pilgrims. He then begins preaching in the temple. Sukkoth as many may not know or many do is The Festival of Tabernacles, and is sometimes called the Feast of the Nations or the Festival of Ingathering as stated by the author. I never knew and now I do that any reference to just “the festival,” in the Scripture refers to Sukkoth. It is the happiest time of the year and read Chapter 16 to learn more. Next we learn about the mystery of birth, Sin and Judgment and then Chapter 20 focuses on The Eternal I AM. In this chapter he discusses Cain and Abel and Satan. He continues to discuss that Jesus was not a Samaritan but he would never deny being one. Jesus as John states befriended everyone. Race and beliefs don’t seem to matter. This frustrates Matthew, who says: “Jesus has no standards at all,” which is quite a strong statement. Page 166-168 answers this question: Who are the Jews? Chapters 21 and 22 focus on He Is God and The Blindness of the Jews. He presents the story of Jesus the Miracle Worker and then The Anointing where he goes back to the story of Passover and explains the Passover lamb’s unveiling and John’s main feast theme, which the author spends most of the rest of the Gospel on. This feast as many of us know joined with the Feast of Unleavened Bread and was celebrated together for one week. The story that follows in the Gospel now relates and backs up and retells the story of the Messiah coming to Jerusalem. Read pages 212- 236 to learn more. The final chapters deal with the “Farewell discourse,” a five-chapter interlude of special instructions given to the 12.

The final chapters of John’s Gospel explains the trial, the capture, the death and the resurrection of Jesus the Son of God. The focus in on the Son of God who came here to do the Father’s will and to perform the Father’s work and return back to the Father. The final chapter relates the information about The Tomb Of Jesus and The Lord’s Day, which follows the weeklong Feast of Unleavened Bread. On this day the priests “presented the first grains of barely harvest each year to God in the Temple.” To learn more and to read the story as John tells it, the references to the different scriptures, John’s chapters and to find out just what Ruth penned in her scroll you need to read John’s Gospel the Way It Happened for yourself.

 

This is a very informative, interesting and highly researched book that people of all faiths and religions should read.

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer

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