Metaphors of the faith

John 6:35, 41-51; 1 Kings 19:4-8; Ephesians 4:25–5:2

The readings this week—John 6 and its dancing partner Elijah—invite our imagination into extraordinary places.

In John, the miracle of Jesus is not that he is born of a virgin—this man from Nazareth is the son of Joseph and an unnamed mother—but that he is from God. Since ancient writers did not know that mothers had eggs, providing half of what conception required, they wrote as if the essence of one’s identity derived solely from the father. So John calls Jesus a son of God the father. I recall Chaim Potok’s My Name Is Asher Lev: when Asher asks his mother what Christians mean when they say that Jesus is the son of the Ribbono Shel Olom (Master of the Universe), she responds, “I don’t begin to understand it.”


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