John redefines and reintroduces the supernatural in a much deeper and more convincing manner.
John's concern for holding the humanity and divinity of Jesus in tension is reflected in his treatment of Jesus' miracles. John provides a different understanding of the miraculous.
The study before you began as a expositional preaching series on the gospel of John. Rightly or wrongly, the first chapter of John was not treated because of the excessive familiarity with it on the part of most church attending people. It is a favorite Christmas reading, and my beginning point was not Christmas.
As I delved deeper into John’s gospel it became increasingly clear to me that John had a unique perspective regarding the miracles of Jesus, among other things. It was not long before this exposition of John began to take on a life of its own. A pattern emerged regarding John’s treatment of Jesus’ miracles that suggested a significant departure from anything I have read in various commentaries. My commentary reading is far from exhaustive, but it is representative of the Mainline and Reformed perspectives.
The perspective that emerged suggested that John’s concern for holding in tension the humanity and divinity of Christ was also reflected in his treatment of Jesus’ miracles. Being the last gospel written, John seemed to offer a correction or at least an additional perspective regarding the normal, almost magical understanding that has been attached to the supernatural miracles of the Lord. As a counter balance John offers a consistent perspective that avails itself of various naturalistic interpretations of the miracles, but doesn’t stop there. John makes the case that many of Jesus’ miracles may have sufficient natural explanations regarding the usual miraculous or magical understanding.
But John was not content to leave the matter of miracles in the hands of naturalists. By and large the liberal wing of the modern church has latched onto naturalistic interpretations of Jesus’ miracles—and that exclusively—to the point that the supernatural has been eliminated from the liberal perspective. However, the elimination of the supernatural was not what John was up to. John did not eliminate the supernatural. Rather, he made a much more convincing case for the supernatural by frankly admitting that many of the miracles could just as well have naturalistic explanations, and at the same time shifting the locus of the miraculous.