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John

09.27.2010

Okay, I haven’t done this since Isaiah, and I promised I wouldn’t pull a Pastor Ray too often, but John really is one of my favorite books.  Of the four gospel-writers, John is the oddball.  He’s the brother of James, and they (along with Peter) comprise the inner circle of disciples in whom Jesus most confides.*  He often refers to himself in the text as ‘the disciple Jesus loved.’  This strikes a sublime balance of deeply humble and wildly arrogant.

The book was written sometime between AD 70 and 100 from the church at Ephesus.  In typical, trippy** John-style, John’s audience isn’t a particular group of his contemporaries, but all people throughout time!  (Whoa…far out, man!) 

He presents two overarching images of Jesus.  The first is as the Word made flesh, which appeals to the Gnostic worship of truth.  The second is as the 3rd temple (since the 2nd one that Jerbabbel and co. rebuilt was destroyed by Rome in AD 70).

John doesn’t have patience for the bourgeoise insistence that truth must be built on facts.  That’s not to say that anything he says is known or suspected to be untrue, but rather that John is not interested in stringing together a comprehensive (or even comprehensible, sometimes) story of the life of Jesus.  Rather, he selects seven miracles (with seven corresponding discourses) to display the truth of who Jesus is and what He claims to be and have done.

If Mark is an AP item and Matthew is a research paper and Luke is a history book, John is more of an interpretive dance rendition of the gospel story.  The result is that it’s beautiful and moving in a way that makes up for its relatively sparse offering of facts and history.

————

* More on that when we get there in the text.

** trypical?

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