New Dawn


I ventured into St. John, chapter 1 this morning. There I read of the meeting of Nathanael and Jesus. Nathanael is thought to be the Bartholomew of the Synoptics, but he may also be Matthew, who is not mentioned in John, since both their names mean the gift of Yahweh. Nathanael is a true Israelite, the descended from the deceitful Jacob. When Jesus says that he saw him under the fig tree, Nathanael proclaims Jesus as Son of God and King of Israel. This is one of those transforming moments. Jesus asks, because you have seen a miracle you believe? You will see greater things. I begin to understand that faith that rests on miracles, faith that rests on anything, is only preliminary to that transformative, redeeming faith that comes from the word that reveals the divine. Jesus reminds us that faith must have no basis, no foundation, but must be an absolute surrender to the word that is revealed by the divine. So Jesus says further, henceforth you will see angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. Behind this verse lies the story of Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28. I would like to think that the Son of God and the Son of Man in this narrative are connected by the ascending and the descending of those who announce the story. This is one of those axes of transformation, where the divine and the human encounter in such a way that what was once a dream now becomes an unfolding story of redemption, the restoration of heaven and earth, the homecoming of the human, a hope fulfilled. I would like to suggest further that the Son of Man may be an inclusive concept that now defines the community of faith and not simply Jesus of Nazareth. This would mean that the sphere of the divine, the Son of God, has now completely incarnated the sphere of the human, the Son of Man, the community of faith, and the new creation has dawned.

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