生命

摘錄自亞伯勒(Robert W. Yarbrough)著,思語譯,《約翰書信》,麥種聖經註釋(麥種,2015年八月)

「我們若思想死的結局是何等可悲、何其可怕,再思想神的國度和祂不朽的榮耀,就會發現,有某種更偉大莊嚴的東西,是言語不能表達的。」

在這裡,生命可能具有雙重意義。 第一個意義是,這是耶穌親自強調的一個重點,在這個範疇內,祂教導門徒認識祂的身份(約十一25)和使命(三16)。作為一個忠心的見證人,約翰說出了自己從耶穌在地上歲月中所瞭解的信息,並加以應用。第二,這是所有善於思考的人關心的一個問題,因為他們和他們所愛的人都要面對死亡。除此以外,還有別的選擇嗎?還有別的拯救嗎?初代基督徒的講道強調將來的末世審判(暗示屬地的死亡和毀滅)並對耶穌從死裡復活的信念,以此勇敢應對死亡的問題,用在基督裡的永生教義制服死亡。約翰一書一開始就聚焦於完整意義上的生命,就是在基督裡所顯現的生命。加爾文(Calvin 1988: 233)將上下文中頌讚的弦外之音歸因於生命,並未偏離正軌:「我們若思想死的結局是何等可悲、何其可怕,再思想神的國度和祂不朽的榮耀,就會發現,有某種更偉大莊嚴的東西,是言語不能表達的。」

The significance of life here could be twofold. First, it was an emphasis of Jesus himself, a rubric under which he instructed his disciples to understand his identity (John 11:25) and his mission (3:16). As a faithful witness, John is voicing and applying what he learned in Jesus’s earthly days. Second, it is a preoccupation of all reflective humans, for they and their loved ones face death. Is there any alternative? Is there any deliverance? Early Christian preaching, with its eschatological stress on coming judgment (implying earthly death and destruction) and its conviction of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, took the
bull of death by the horns and wrestled it to submission with the doctrine of eternal life in Christ. First John opens with a focus on the life, in a very full sense, that in Christ was made known. Calvin (1988: 233) does not go astray in imputing doxological overtones to life in this context: “But if we consider how miserable and horrible is the state of death and also what is the kingdom and immortal glory of God, we shall see that there is something here more magnificent than can be expressed in words.”

Orazio Fidani, Saint John the Apostle, c. 1640-56

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