“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)
I read this passage this morning because we are studying it in our College Group on Tuesdays. There is obvious connections to John 15 and my research, so I could not help but meditate on the Trinity. These two verses focus on the relationship between the Father and the Son and raise some interesting questions and observations for me. (This is not a well-crafted essay. It is a list of ideas that might give seed for further reflection):
One possible frame/theme I might explore in my dissertation is the observation that the Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17) demonstrates Trinitarian Praxis. Here is a rough sketch of how I see it working out in the passage.
The Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17) creates a model for how the missional church is called to dwell in God, each other, and the world.
Mapping the Text
Dwelling in the Tension of Love and Betrayal
John 13:1-20 Jesus Washes Feet
It is not an accident that the Upper Room Discourse begins with an action. God is not an object to be studied, or an idea or doctrine to be ascertained. God is love and love is action between persons. Jesus demonstrates the indwelling love of God by washing the feet of his disciples. The rest of the discourse is his explanation of what he has done.
John 13:21-30 Betrayal
God’s love exists in a world mixed with betrayal. It is not a utopian, escapist dream of perfection yet-to-come. God’s love extends to all people, even those who will betray it. It is unconditional.
Here is an updated illustration of John 15:1-5. I’m trying to connect Jesus’ metaphor of the Vine to a contemporary metaphor of electricity. In John 15, the Creator is the Vinegrower, Jesus is the Vine, the Spirit is the power of life flowing from every direction, we are the branches, and the fruit is the result of the branch remaining in the vine.
In the contemporary metaphor, the Creator is the generator, Jesus is the power grid, the Spirit is the electricity, we are the power strip, and anything that uses electricity is the result of staying plugged in to the grid.
Toward a Missional Spirituality in the Suburbs