John of the week: Intro
February 24, 2009
Once a week I get together with some of the finest classmates I had during my years at university. These guys and girls challenge me, and I them, on how we preach the Bible truthfully to a new generation. We struggle with the texts, the commentaries… we do exegesis old school style, we talk about our concern for a younger generation, and we translate this into talk that can hopefully help us to preach both relevant and truthfully, keeping up with the latest in Biblical research (as far as possible). We started working with the gospel of John, so I might be posting some thoughts on the gospel of John from time to time.
The gospel of to John. Written by the Fourth Evangelist (whoever that was), writing down what was tought by the beloved disciple (whoever that was, probably a Jew from Jerusalem who knew Jesus and was there in the last week of his life). Written somewhere between 80-110 AD, for a community already seperated from the Jewish faith. In Ephesus.
Just imagen. The beloved disciple, the last one who knew Jesus personally, the one who taught this congregation, has died. The one who’s words have kept them growing in faith is gone. This community start to write a gospel for their place and time. They know that this is not the exact words of Jesus, that’s not the idea, but this conveys the Christology, the understanding of Jesus as the Christ. And it calls them to have faith in the Christ. Yes, it’s been more than two generations, maybe 3, if you take the age in which parent got their first kids in those times, since Jesus dies, and this gospel starts to talk about how a community that still have faith in Jesus the Christ will look like.
This is written in the face of many heretical ideas circulating. Many things didn’t work out as expected. Jesus didn’t return after a few years (Paul already wrote about this problem 30-50 years earlier), and now all kinds of ideas start to circulate, and the congregation need to be reminded of who the Christ was.
Anyhow, that’s some of the background as I imagen it.