Commentaries on the Gospel According to St. John (With Active Table of Contents)

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Preece marked it as to-read Sep 16, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About John Chrysostom. John Chrysostom.

St. John’s Wort

John Chrysostom c. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. After his death in or, according to some sou John Chrysostom c.

When we become truly spiritual, we do not slough off the flesh and enter some immaterial state. This has important ethical implications for work.


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But if we find ourselves hiding or obscuring our work, it is often a strong indication that we are following an unethical path. This is not an unbending rule, for Jesus himself acted in secret at times John , as did his followers, such as Joseph of Arimathea John For example, consider a man heading a business in mission in Africa that builds boats for use on Lake Victoria. He says he is frequently approached by local officials who want him to pay a bribe.

The request is always made in secret. It is not a documented, open payment, as is a tip or an expediting fee for faster service. There are no receipts and the transaction is not recorded anywhere. He has used John as an inspiration to draw these requests into the light.

I would like to bring in the ambassador, or the management, to get this documented. It is important to understand that the metaphor of walking in the light is not a one-size-fits-all rule. Confidentiality and secrecy can have a proper place in work, as in personnel matters, online privacy or trade secrets. If we are hiding our actions from others in our departments or from people with a legitimate interest, or if we would be ashamed to see them reported in the news, then we may have a good indication that we are acting unethically.

The story of the woman at the well John has as much direct discussion of human labor as any story in John; but one has to draw deeply to taste it all. This motif permeates the Gospel: the crowds repeatedly show an inability to transcend everyday concerns and address the spiritual aspects of life. They do not see how Jesus can offer them his body as bread John They think they know where he is from Nazareth, John , but they fail to see where he is really from heaven ; and they are equally ignorant as to where he is going John All of this is certainly relevant for thinking about work.

Whatever we think of the intrinsic good of a steady water supply and every drink we take confirms that it is indeed a good thing!

But the curse on labor Genesis bites hard, and she can be forgiven for wanting a more efficient delivery system. We should not conclude, however, that Jesus comes to free us from work in the grimy material world so that we can bathe in the sublime waters of spiritual serenity. The fact that we reckon first with the Creator, then with the creation, is no slight on the creation, especially since one function of creation is to point us toward the Creator.

We see something similar in the aftermath of the story, where Jesus uses reaping as a metaphor to help the disciples understand their mission in the world:. But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. More than that, Jesus directly dignifies labor in this passage. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor. Part of the answer seems to be, surprisingly, the woman at the well, who is remembered more for her spiritual slowness than for her subsequent effective testimony for Jesus.

The disciples will simply be reaping where the woman has sown. Yet there is still another worker here: Christ himself. The field of Samaria is ripe for harvest in part because Christ has labored there. Evangelism is one of the many forms of human work, neither higher nor lower than homemaking or farming. It is a distinctive form of work, and nothing else can substitute for it. The same may be said of drawing water and harvesting grain. God keeps the creation going even on the Sabbath, and therefore Jesus, who shares the divine identity, is permitted to do the same. Jesus was almost certainly not alone in arguing that God was at work on the Sabbath, but his deduction about justifying his own work is unique.

Human work having life-or-death consequences—military self-defense 1 Maccabees or pulling an animal from a ditch—was already accepted as legitimate on the Sabbath. The healing itself is not questioned in this episode, even though the man would have suffered no harm had Jesus waited until Sunday to heal him. Instead, Jesus is criticized for permitting him to carry a mat—a form of work, according to the Jewish Law—on the Sabbath.

Does this imply that Jesus permits us to drive to vacation on the Sabbath?

Bibliographic Information

Fly on Sunday to a business meeting that begins on Monday morning? There is no hint here that Jesus is merely widening the list of activities permitted on the Sabbath. Instead, let us apply the theme we see running through John—work that maintains and redeems the creation material or spiritual and contributes to closer relationships with God and people is appropriate for the Sabbath.

Whether any particular work fulfills this description must be discerned by the person s involved.

The Gospel of John and Work | Bible Commentary | Theology of Work

A clearer, and more important, lesson for us from this narrative is that God is still at work to maintain the present creation, and Jesus furthers that work in his healing ministry. At the same time, they are also the up-keeping of the present world. It seems perfectly appropriate to see this as a paradigm for our own myriad jobs. As we act in faith to restore what has been broken as doctors, nurses, auto mechanics, and so forth , we call people to remember the goodness of the creator God. God created all things through Christ, is restoring them to his original intent through Christ, and will bring them to their appointed goal through Christ.

John , however, poses a particular challenge for the theology of work:. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal. A quick reading reveals at least two major issues: first, Jesus appears to issue a direct command not to work; and second, he appears to reduce even work for God to belief. The first issue is a matter of context.


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  • All Scripture, like all communication, must be seen in context. The issue in John 6 is that people want to keep Jesus around to serve as a Magical Baker King, who will keep the loaves coming. They ate the bread, but they were unable to see what this sign signified.

    Eternal life comes not from an unending supply of food, but from the living Word who proceeds from the mouth of God. Jesus ceases the preliminary work serving loaves when it no longer results in the desired end product relationship with God. Any competent worker would do the same. If adding more salt ceases to make the soup taste better, a decent cook stops adding salt.

    It satisfies the immediate need, but nothing more. As applied to the workplace, this could be working just for the paycheck, with no concern for the value of the work itself. John delights in pushing things to extremes.

    Elements of a Living Sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2)

    On the other hand, Jesus is equally capable of laying the emphasis on our active obedience. To believe in the one whom God has sent is not merely to agree that Jesus is the Son of God, but also to follow Jesus by doing the good work that God intends for us. Jesus and his disciples see a man born blind the entire chapter 9. The disciples look on him as a lesson or case study on the sources of sin. Jesus looks on him with compassion and works to remedy his condition. This verse is especially interesting because the mud is in synonymous parallelism with dust, using the same Hebrew word for dust as in the creation of Adam in Genesis For other associations of humanity and mud in the Bible, see e.

    Isaiah , ; Jeremiah ; Sirach ; Romans ; cf. Job , ; outside the Bible, see e. Aristophanes, Birds ; Herodes Odes 2.