Thy friend put in thy bosome: wear his eies
Still in thy heart, that he may see what’s there.
If cause require, thou art his sacrifice;
Thy drops of bloud must pay down all his fear:
But love is lost, the way of friendship’s gone,
Though David had his Jonathan, Christ his John.
~From The Church-Porch, by George Herbert (1593-1633)
Yes, there are four gospels but one is different. The first three, Matthew, Mark and Luke are known as the synoptics or “seeing alike.” These three are concerned with what Jesus did. The gospel written by the Apostle John is unique. John writes about who Jesus is. The four writers are often represented symbolically and for John it is the eagle, for only he could look directly into the eye of the sun (Son) and not blink.
In his gospel, John refers to himself as “the one whom Jesus loved” and indeed, it was mutual. John was the only apostle who did not abandon Jesus at his darkest moment, standing by Him even at the foot of the cross. It has been said that Jesus might have given Peter the keys to the kingdom, but He gave John His mother.
It is in John, perhaps we see the closest human fulfillment of the greatest commandment.
1 John 1:1–4
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
Art: The St. John’s Bible.
These words from Colossians 1:15-20 transcend the shadows and provide the link between the Christ figure and the text opposite—And Lived Among Us. The Living Word steps from the darkness which recalls the chaos and nothingness of the Creation story, and moves toward light and order.
The texture behind the head of Christ is inspired from an image taken from the Hubble Space Telescope and lends a breathtaking cosmic character to the whole action taking place. To the left, an intriguing keyhole recalls the tradition of locked and hinged manuscripts securing, protecting and holding the key to the Word of God.