Tapestry Threads.
As we unravel the fabric of John's Gospel there are three threads that stand out by reason of the distinctness of their colours. There's a thread of clear decided blue. There's a dark ugly black thread that gets blacker as it weaves itself farther in. And then there's a bright yellow glory-colour thread that shines with brighter lustre as the black gets blacker.

Trace the blue first, the thread of a simple glad acceptance of Jesus, and trust in Him. It deepens in its fine shading of blue as you follow it, true blue, the colour true hearts wear. From the very first Jesus is accepted by some, by many. And this continues steadily through to the very last. Some doors open at once to Him. Then under the influence of His presence and gentle resistless power they open wide, and then wider.

It is fascinating to trace the simply told story of growing faith, until one's own faith gets clearer and steadier and has more warm glow to it. To adapt Tennyson's fine lines, as knowledge grows from more to more there dwells in us more of the deep tender reverence of love, until all the powers of mind and spirit chord into one symphony of unending music. And the wheels of our common life move always to its rhythmic swing.

See how the crowds crowd to Jesus, and open up to the appeal of His words and acts and presence. Many of the pilgrim crowds of that first Passover believe, impressed by Jesus' spirit of helpfulness and His unusual power.[47] And the Galileans among them give Him warm welcome as He comes up into their country.[48] It is a great multitude that follows eagerly up on the east coast of the Galilean sea, hail Him as the long-expected prophet of their nation, talk of plans for making Him their King, and earnestly cry out, "Lord, evermore give us this (true) bread."[49]

Even in the midst of the bickering discussions at the Tabernacles Feast many of the multitude believed on Him, some as the long-talked-of prophet, some as the very Christ Himself.[50] And as He talks to His critics of His purpose always to please the Father, still others are drawn in heart to Him and believe.[51] And at this same time, as the criticism gets uglier, many make bold to speak out on His behalf[52] though it was getting to be a dangerous thing to do. As He feels compelled to withdraw from the tense atmosphere of Jerusalem, and goes away into the country districts beyond the Jordan the people come flocking to Him with open hearts.[53]

The Lazarus incident made inroads into the upper circles of Jerusalem, many of the influential social class with whom these dear Bethany friends seem on close terms, and who had been out there during those stirring days, believe on Jesus, and many of the common people, too, are won by that occurrence.[54] That tremendous raising of Lazarus had much to do with the great acclaim of the multitudes as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the kingly colt.[55]

It is without doubt a sincere homage that these multitudes from far and near, and the home crowds, render, with their palm branches and garment-strewn roads, and spontaneous outburst of joyous song.[56] And now as John put his bit of a knotted summary on the end of this part of his story, he points out that even among the members of the Jewish Senate there were many real believers.[57]

But a crowd is a strange complex thing. It doesn't know itself. It's easily swept along to do as a crowd what would never be done by each one off by himself. And this works in good ways as well as in bad. Jesus drew the crowds and was drawn by them. He couldn't withstand the pull of the crowd. The lure of its intense need was irresistible to Him. Yet He knew crowds rarely.

He was never blinded by their enthusiasm. His keen insight saw under the surface, though it never held Him critically back from helping. He quickly notes that the belief of those first Passover crowds has not reached the dependable stage.[58] He is never held back from showing the red marks in the road to be trodden even though many of His disciples balk at going farther on such a road, and some turn away to an easier road,[59] so revealing an utter lack of the real thing. And even where there's real faith of the sincere sort it is yet sometimes not of the seasoned sort that can stand the storms.[60]

These crowds seem of close kin to more modern crowds. One touch of a crowd rubs out centuries of difference and shows one family blood in us all. Yet keep things poised. It was out of these crowds that there came the disciples and close friends to whom we now turn. There's gold in the crowds, finest twenty-four carat gold. It's all a matter of mining. Skilful mining gets out the gold. This wondrous Lover used the magnetic-current method of mining, the love-current. The strong warm current, the fine personal spirit current, drew out to Him the fine grains of gold in these human crowds.

way-marks in johns narrative
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