Friday, February 6, 2015

NT: John 1-4

The Gospel According to John is an interesting case. That it differs from the three prior “Synoptic” Gospels in content and tone is generally not disputed, but it still pays to remember that this book is reputed to be inspired documentation of the first coming of Jesus, his ministry, Passion, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension. The differences between John and the Synoptics will be apparent as we progress, but to the believing novice (such as I once was) it is not disturbingly different.

Chapter 1 begins differently than the other Gospels by referring to what appear to be mystical concepts such as “the Word” and “the Light”.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe.

It goes on like this through verse 30, where John the Baptist begins giving witness to the coming of Jesus, and John’s own baptism of Him. We see the appearance of the first Apostles, and by chapter’s end, Jesus’ divinity is established in no uncertain terms.

Chapter 2 finds Jesus at a marriage in Cana, where he turns water into wine.

11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Then he travels through Capernaum on to Jerusalem, where he drives the moneychangers out of the temple and threatens to destroy it.

Chapter 3 presents the discourse with Nicodemus, Jesus’ ministry in Judea, and John the Baptist’s testament to Christ. None of these pericopes appear in the other Gospels.

Chapter 4 gives us “The Journey into Galilee”, “The Discourse with the Woman of Samaria”, “ Ministry in Galilee”, ”Jesus' Preaching at Nazareth” and ends with the Centurion and his servant. All of this is part of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee.


This is where reviewing the Gospel Parallels is really shocking. There is none of the Synoptics’ “Birth and Childhood” passages in John. The Beginning of Jesus' Public Ministry in John starts completely differently than the Synoptics, then includes a few pericopes found in them, then omits vast swaths, including the Sermon on the Mount. It is clear that the author of John either didn’t know about the missing events, or found them unworthy to document, while at the same time adding much unique material.

Shocking, I tell you!

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