The Haiku Gospel

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Snapshots from John’s Gospel in seventeen syllables and three lines.

To kick it all off
The divine word becomes flesh,
Compassion in clothes.
John 1 v 14

Hairy cousin calls:
‘Start over, turn a corner.
The light is dawning.’
John 1 vv 6,7 & 23

Wedding goes badly –
Drink glitch embarrasses hosts.
Slurp! Best wine appears.
John 2 vv 1-10

A whip made from ropes
Temple cash flies ev’rywhere.
Profiteers flummoxed.
John 2 vv 13-17

Nicodemus comes.
New birth chat shakes his worldview.
His mum might be shocked.
John 3 vv 1-16

Hairy cousin talks:
‘I must fade – He must increase.
I’m just the groom’s friend.’
John 3 vv 30-33

She comes for water.
Finds life. She runs back to town.
Locals are gob-smacked.
John 4 vv 4-26

He sees the man’s faith.
Doesn’t even have to go.
Has perfect timing.
John 4 vv 46-53

A place of sickness.
Only one has his eyes peeled.
Oops! Sabbath healing!
John 5 vv 1-9

Trouble at the pool.
They can’t see God’s grace at work.
Eyes clogged by stiff rules.
John 5 vv 9-10

Empty stomachs growl.
Bread and fish, hands full of food.
Manna from Jesus.
John 6 vv 5-15

Crowd melts to nothing.
Pained, Jesus turns to his friends.
‘Will you leave me too?’
John 6 vv 66-69

Two-faced brothers goad,
‘Come with us, and be famous!’
But Jesus shuns that.
John 7 vv 1-5

Views are split on him.
Some believe, some say ‘No way!’
Not that much has changed.
John 7 v 12

‘If you thirst, take note.
I have the waters of life.
Come to me and drink!’
John 7 vv 37-38

Stones thud in the dirt.
Ev’ry last sound tells the truth.
Each one drips with guilt.
John 8 vv 1-11

Knees get knocked, toes stubbed
When wandering in the dark.
One man offers light.
John 8 v 12

Reality can
Set us free. So can the truth.
Jesus offers both.
John 8 vv 31-32

Jesus mixes mud
Blind man’s eyes splattered with it.
Lots of people see.
John 9 vv 6-12

Hard hearts stage trial.
‘All I know,’ says blind man,
‘Is I can now see.’
John 9 vv 24-25

Thieves and robbers sneak
Over the wall to steal sheep.
The shepherd doesn’t.
John 10 vv 1-3

The shepherd risks all –
Even his life for the sheep.
Nothing will stop him.
John 10 vv 14-15

‘If you had been here…’
Pain rips into the sisters.
But it’s not over.
John 11 vv 17-21

The grave stone rumbles,
A shadow appears and coughs.
Lazarus is back.
John 11 vv 38-44

Like cash down the drain.
So they say to him, ‘Stop her!’
She’s honouring him.
John 12 vv 2-8

Revolution road.
Palms waving, people cheering.
The king is in town.
John 12 vv 12-16

Now the truth hits home.
He won’t be hailed king just yet.
Another ‘throne’ waits.
John 12 vv 20-29

They can’t believe it.
He’s washing filth from their feet.
It’s part of his plan.
John 13 vv 1-8

The words cross his lips,
But their meaning breaks his heart.
A friend’s betrayal.
John 13 vv 21-30

More bad news to come.
Rejection by all his friends.
Though they claim they’ll die.
John 13 vv 31-38

The way, truth and life.
Like a hand to those drowning.
He offers new hope.
John 14 vv 6-7

They won’t be alone.
Though he goes his spirit stays.
Divine help brings life.
John 14 vv 15-21

He’s like a grape vine.
Fruit grows from healthy branches.
Join the vine, he says.
John 15 vv 1-5

Our faces won’t fit.
We may stick out like sore thumbs.
But he’s blazed the trail.
John 15 v 18

He’s invisible.
Cannot be boxed or pinned down.
But he comes to help.
John 16 vv 7-14

He knows he’ll walk alone.
Friends will melt like snow in sun.
Only God remains.
John 16 v 32

‘Glorify your son.’
He prays this knowing full well
It means loss and death.
John 17 vv 2-4

With long-term vision
He prays for people today.
Longs for harmony.
John 17 vv 20-21

Peter draws a sword.
An ear falls, spins in the dirt.
Jesus stops the fight.
John 18 vv 10-11

Caiaphas has said,
‘It’s better that one man die.’
Quite a prophecy.
John 18 v 14

He’ll never forget.
That look, that pointing finger.
‘No,’ he lies, ‘Not me.’
John 18 vv 25-27

The whip strikes, no mercy.
The crown of thorns bites cruelly.
Purple mockery.
John 19 vv 1-2

‘I have the power.’
Pilate could set this king free.
Right now he’s nervous.
John 19 vv 8-12

The living word dies.
Soldiers roll dice for his clothes.
‘It’s finished,’ he says.
John 19 vv 23-30

Feels like death warmed up,
She’s had no sleep, been restless.
Braves the dark for him.
John 20 v 1

‘Why are you crying?’
She turns, ‘Where is he?’ she says.
He smiles, speaks, it’s him.
John 20 vv 14-16

Tom is too honest.
He can’t just say the right words.
Jesus understands.
John 20 vv 24-28

Confused, they go fish.
A stranger waves on the shore.
He’s come to explain.
John 21 vv 3-7

Pete’s full of regrets.
But Jesus has more for him.
No rejection here.
John 21 vv 15-17

John ends with a quip.
The world’s too small for this man.
He is beyond words.
John 21 v 25

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  1. Bernice Swann says:

    These haikus are a delight for me as an English teacher and as a Bible study teacher!❤️

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