The Mischievous Jesus

Last night we had our first session of the Disciple Short Course on the Gospel of John.  I confessed to the group that John is the gospel I know the least.  I tend to stick to Luke.  So, the class will be a fun learning experience for me.

During our discussion, the question in the leader’s guide asks what is the image of we have of Jesus from the first two chapters.  One person (and I told her I was going to put this in my blog and she was ok with it) said that she said John made Jesus seem mischievous and playful.  She said that Jesus is almost coy with the disciples as he doesn’t answer their question – where are you staying – directly, but says, ‘come and see.’  Then again with his mother at the wedding:  she asks him to do something, and he asks her what this is to do with him.  And then he does something.

I like this image of Jesus, and it is one we don’t seem to get from the other three gospels.  John seems to be a game of hide and seek in a mysterious way.  It presents a different image that the pious portraits I often see of him, with his face looking out distractedly.  Would this Jesus really cause us to stop and take notice, much less follow?  In these verses, you almost can’t help imagine the grin and Jesus cutting his eyes as he says, ‘Come and see.’  Maybe even laughing.  There must have been something there that brought out their curiousity.  I don’t see a slow, single-file march here, but the first disciples almost running to catch up with him.

I’ve never read the gospel of John in this way.  Rather than seeing a pious or even argumentative Jesus, but reading a playful mischievous Jesus beckoning us to ‘come and see’.


4 thoughts on “The Mischievous Jesus

  1. Thanks, Will. I, too, like this image of Jesus. I’ve often thought that He had a great sense of humour. It’s good to hear that your people are now doing the short Disciple course – and enjoying it. Here, some of our people think that being involved in a Disciple course must be dead boring. They wouldn’t, if they opened the door on us on Monday nights, because the walls reverberate with such laughter, week after week.
    Yes, even this week when our study involved all the genealogical lists in I Chronicles!

  2. Hi Olive. Yes, I think it is going well. Have you tried any of the short courses? If not, I would recommend getting a hold of them. I think they do a really good job with the video segments.

    You are right about the fun. Disciple is anything but boring!

  3. Nice post, Will. What is it that draws you to Luke? John is probably my favorite overall…I like that at every turn I feel like I’m really dealing with God in this gospel–not that the other gospels lack that sense–it’s just that the sense here is so keen for me. And I love the discourses and the “apart from me..nothing” and the “give a drink” and “do you want to be healed?” and “I am he.” Beautiful stuff to work with, I think. Oh, and I love when someone mentions Jesus and laughter in the same paragraph. Well done, and best wishes for a good run with this study. Sounds good.

  4. Hi, Meg! What draws me to Luke? In part, it is because I took an exegesis class on it. When you spend time with a book like that, you get to know it. Also, I like the way Luke makes it clear that Jesus moves toward the outcasts (not that the others don’t), but Luke seems to make it especially clear. And it is outcasts whether oppressed or oppressor.

    I haven’t been able to get into John because I’ve struggled with his mysticism. But, ever since my friend made this observation about John, though, I am looking at it differently. It seems to have changed – not less mystical, but a playfulness that seems to make the mysticism more approachable.

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