Monday, March 13, 2017

Under an Open Heaven by John E. Johnson

Johnson is concerned that the fact Jesus is alive and well today is not making a difference in Christians' lives. We have gradually come to the place where we think any action that need be taken is up to us. Johnson looks at thirteen conversations Jesus had and how they show an open heaven. He helps us see what those stories teach us about ourselves and how they move us to live on a different plane.

From the discussion with Nathanael we see we need to become aware of a reality to which we had been blind. From His talk with His mother we learn we must trust Jesus to do what is needed at the right time (water to wine). The discussion with Nicodemus calls us to be open to the Spirit working in ways unexpected because of our preconceived ideas. Johnson gives us other insights from the woman at the well, the invalid beside the pool, the crowd, Jesus' brothers, the man born blind, Martha, His disciples, Pilate, and Peter.

I was really impressed with the insights from Jesus' interaction with Martha. It is so hard for us to understand God's timing. We want God to follow our schedule. Even in the midst of a puzzling situation God gives reassurance of future hope, asking us to trust in Him.

This book is a good one for people who like reading sermons for devotions as that seems to be the style of the content. It would also be a good resource for a pastor wanting to do a sermon series on the gospel of John. There are questions at the end of each chapter so the book could also be used for a group study.

Food for thought: “Jesus broke through the sealed dome and entered into this self-reliant world to declare it is not up to us.” (23)

My rating: 4/5 stars.

John E. Johnson is an associate professor of pastoral theology at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, a writer, and a teaching pastor. He has served various churches including Trinity International Church in The Hague, Netherlands. You can visit his blog at

Kregel Publications, 264 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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