Friday, April 11, 2014

#40daybible Day 35 (John 13-21)

So with just a week to go, we finish today the Gospel of John, John 13-21.

Some observations:
  • The next chapters, from John 13-17, give the lead up to Jesus' arrest. 
  • Last Supper - John 13 never says it is a Passover meal, unlike the other Gospels. In fact, John seems to give us the image of Jesus going to the cross as the Passover lambs were being slaughtered to be eaten later that evening. John seems to picture Jesus dying on the morning before Passover (remembering that the new Jewish day began at sundown). There is mention of a garden, but we do not have Jesus' prayer of anguish and the Garden of Gethsemane is not mentioned. John uniquely has foot washing at the supper.
  • John 14-17 is Jesus' Farewell Discourse, unique to John. While the Synoptics mostly give us Jesus' teaching in parables, there is not a single Synoptic style parable in John. Rather, we have this more poetic discourse, "the Message version" of Jesus. John also has no exorcisms, unlike the Synoptics.
  • Going to Heaven: N. T. Wright is correct that most of the New Testament looks to the kingdom being on a renewed earth. I'm not sure if he's right about John. John more seems to picture a future where we go to heaven.
  • Holy Spirit: Very important teaching on the Holy Spirit in John. First, a masculine, personal pronoun is used of him, giving us the sense that the Spirit is a person. The Spirit dwells in y'all (plural). He is the Spirit of truth who leads us into truth. He helped Jesus disciples remember what he had taught, which the Gospels preserve. He will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. After the resurrection, Jesus breathes the Spirit on the disciples, perhaps John's version of Pentecost.
  • Two last "I am" statements: I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to God apart from Christ. I am the vine; you are the branches.
  • High priestly prayer: In this prayer, presumably in front of his disciples, Jesus prays not only for them but for us (technically, this statement is probably meant for John's own community as a prayer for its unity). A key Wesleyan verse is when Jesus prays for God to "sanctify" them, to set them apart from the world and keep them pure. 
  • This section of John is sometimes called the "Book of Glory," in contrast to the first half, which is sometimes called the "Book of Signs."
  • Private questioning: John's presentation of Jesus' "trial" is more private, with the high priest. It is striking to think of a full Sanhedrin in the middle of the night. 
  • Jesus Victorious: John shows us less of the struggle. They fall over when they come for Jesus to arrest him. Jesus gives last will and testament instructions from the cross.
  • Beloved Disciple: The Gospel of John has a mysterious "disciple whom Jesus loved." Who is it? The NIV introduction is a little overconfident that it was John the Son of Zebedee. [Ben Witherington thinks it was Lazarus] He was an eyewitness at the cross and went on to take care of Mary, Jesus' mother. He runs to the tomb with Peter. He is the source of the information in the Gospel of John, although it was probably put in its final form by someone else, perhaps a Gentile.
  • Mary Magdalene: In John, Mary is the first one to whom the resurrected Jesus appears.
  • Doubting Thomas: He confesses Jesus as Lord and God. We can wonder if Matthew 28:17 might allude to him.
  • Purpose of John: Why was the Gospel of John written? So that John's audience would believe in Jesus. By the way, notice from this verse and throughout John how much differently it uses the word "signs." The Gospel of John just skims the surface of what Jesus did on earth.
  • Epilogue: John uniquely has this post-resurrection scene beside the Sea of Galilee. It addresses a rumor that the beloved disciple would live till Jesus returned and this chapter may have been added after his death. 
Personal take-away:
  • Greater love has no one than to lay down their life. God demonstrates his love for us in that when we were sinners, Christ died for us.

1 comment:

vanilla said...

y'all, plural: all y'all