In “preaching study” posts, I’m really interested in fostering a “community” approach to study and prep for the sermon, so please interact as much as you like. All Scripture quotes are from the TNIV unless otherwise noted. Thanks!
I’m preaching in this week’s traditional services at my church. The text is John 14:1-14.
You might recognize these words from funerals (vv1-4), from favorite verses to extract and quote about Jesus’ exclusivity in terms of salvation and such (v6), and from devotionals on prayer (vv12-14). Before I get into study of the literary context, culture cues, canonical connections, and places it seems the text wants to take us for potential messages, let me just begin by saying that this passage seems to me one that is so, so often removed from its context and demanded to speak in a narratival vacuum. I’d really like to avoid that tendency by doing two things. First, I’d like to really ground it in its place in John’s narrative–what comes before and after? And what is the overarching message that is developing within which we read these verses? Second, I’d like to read all of these verses together. Sounds pretty obvious, but as I’ve mentioned above, we recognize these words from various expressions and applications because we seem to seldom follow this obvious approach.
Alright, next time I’ll have more of substance to say, but for now those are my aims with this passage. Seems to me that we need continual reminding that our study and reflection, while certainly intimately connected to the place I’m coming from in reading, studying, and reflecting on Scripture, most needs me to study in such a way as to keep the text in the driver’s seat and not my agenda. Again, this is obvious. But if “we all like sheep have gone astray,” then we need to hear the obvious again from time to time. (There, see…did it again with that “we all like sheep…” reference!)
Hopefully more later tonight. If not, tomorrow afternoon then.