Posted by: chuckbumgardner | December 9, 2007

D. A. Carson, Sonnets, and John 14:6

You don’t often see rigorous commentaries which include poetry by the author.  But as our pastor was preaching from the gospel of John this morning, such an example came to mind.  I refer to the outstanding commentary on John by D. A. Carson in the Pillar series.  He includes a “triplet of sonnets” on John 14:6.

I am the way to God: I did not come
To light a path, to blaze a trail, that you
May simply follow in my tracks, pursue
My shadow like a prize that’s cheaply won.
My life reveals the life of God, the sum
Of all he is and does.  So how can you,
The sons of night, look on me and construe
My way as just the road for you to run?
       My path takes in Gethsemane, the Cross,
       And stark rejection draped in agony.
       My way to God embraces utmost loss:
       Your way to God is not my way, but me.
Each other path is dismal swamp, or fraud.
I stand alone: I am the way to God.
I am the truth of God: I do not claim
I merely speak the truth, as though I were
A prophet (but no more), a channel, stirred
By Spirit power, of purely human frame.
Nor do I say that when I take his name
Upon my lips, my teaching cannot err
(Though that is true).  A mere interpreter
I’m not, some prophet-voice of special fame.
       In timeless reaches of eternity
       The Triune God decided that the Word,
       The self-expression of the Deity,
       Would put on flesh and blood — and thus be heard.
The claim to speak the truth good men applaud.
I claim much more: I am the truth of God.
I am the resurrection life.  It’s not
As though I merely bear life-giving drink,
A magic elixir which (men might think)
Is cheap because though lavish it’s not bought.
The price of life was fully paid: I fought
With death and black despair; for I’m the drink
Of life.  The resurrection morn’s the link
Between my death and endless life long sought.
       I am the firstborn from the dead; and by
       My triumph, I deal death to lusts and hates.
       My life I now extend to men, and ply
       Them with the draught that ever satiates.
Religion’s page with empty boasts is rife:
But I’m the resurrection and the life.

D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, Pillar (Eerdmans, 1991), 492-93.


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