Beliefnet
Jesus Creed

We enter into the world of John’s Gospel today. This Gospel has a stronger vertical dualism than the Synoptics, but let’s look at a few texts:

John 1:32 And John testified, ?I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.
John 1:51 And he said to him, ?Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.?
John 3:13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

First, John sees the Spirit of God descend on Jesus from heaven — which could mean simply “out of the sky above and beyond” or it could refer to God’s presence.
Second, 1:51 is apocalyptic reality: heavens opened so that angels ascend and descend on the Son of Man is a breakthrough of the divine world into the earthly world. This text witnesses to the view of an alternative reality, a deeper and “beyond-er” reality that is going on and which we do not normally see. The curtain is momentarily opened to see the ultimate reality at work: a work of attention on the Son of Man. Because this connects with Jacob, we ought also to connect this text to Beth-el: the house of God (Jesus).
Third, 3:13: humans cannot break into heaven; heaven is sovereign and only those sent from the Father get to leave that heavenly room and reveal its secrets to those on earth. But there is actually more here: that “humans” or “no one” of 3:13a is probably a reference to Jesus himself: only the Son of Man who descends to earth can enter into that place of God so that he alone becomes the true revealer of God.

Previous Posts
Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus