John 5 Notes.docx

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Religious Studies
Stephen Westerholm

John 5 John 4 - Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman, she goes to town to tell people, the disciples come to Jesus and he says to them: Master, eat, and he says – I have food to eat that you do not know about - The one from heaven cannot be understood by those of earth even if its his own disciples - The disciples miss the point that he’s saying something beyond the literal level - John wonders who brought him food while they were gone - Jesus explains – his food is to do the will of the one who sent him and refers to the harvest (literal 4 months away) but figuratively its present – people to be reached with the message of God and salvation - He is urgently bringing the harvest in now – he’s doing the task now - What’s unusual is that Nicoemus is named, not the Samaritan woman is not named End of the chapter - Second sign of the 7 in John that Jesus does in cana of galilee - Terminology for these miracles was mighty works in synoptics where jesus refuses to do signs but jesus specifically does signs in john - Synoptics – short stories of this or that to point to the kingdom of god, john has fewer longer stories that point to something beyond himself and beyond the miracle story - “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe” - Similarities between this story and the story we find in Matthew and Luke where Jesus heals by speaking the word - In Matthew and Luke, Jesus is willing to go to the centurion’s house but centurion says don’t bother he’s not worthy and juts speak the word and he was healed - In john the official asks him to come to his house he doesn’t do so but says the word and he’s healed - Johanian theme – he’s asked to come and see the boy and he says: unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe” - Curious ambivalence in both the – miracles Jesus performs are supposed to lead to faith, they ought to lead to faith, and at the same time, there is a distrust in belief that is based on signs - End of ch 2 – people who believed because they saw his signs but he didn`t trust their faith - Signs poin to the power Jesus has, who he is, and ought to lead to faith but a faith simply based on signs leads to excitement which may be initially confused with faith but may not be the real thing - Signs have 3 possible responses: utter rejection, excrement and temporary faith, true faith - This ambiguity is stated here with ‘unless you see signs and wonders..’ - The centurion didn’t wait to see a sign before he believed he left immediately when Jesus said Story of the Third Miracle in the Gospel - More strongly Johannian – short story and the rest of the chapter is discussion - A man is healed by the foot of Befezda with 5 porticoes (a walkway with columns on the side and a roof overhead, like a columnade) - John is reporting a simple fact that doesn’t exclude the possibility that he aw some symbolic significance as well - Point of significance: Jesus heals this man on the Sabbath - Jesus repeatedly healed on the Sabbath in the synoptics and got into several controversies - Jesus and disciples working on the Sabbath is common in the synoptics and John - Different defences given: 1) Humanitarian defence o The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath o If an animal fell down the well you’d pick it up etc why treat humans differently 2) Scriptural defence o David going into the thing when he shouldn’t have but scripture supported him o Matthew – these things happen on the Sabbath in the temple all the time so it should be fine if Jesus does it 3) Kingdom ground o Jesus says in the synoptics – something greater than the temple is here o Temple allows exceptions to the Sabbath laws – if temple can allow exceptions, something greater than the temple can allow exceptions o He was referring to the kingdom of God 4) Christological defense o Because of who Jesus is and because of his nature, he is allowed to do things that other humans may not be allowed to do o “For the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath” o This is the defense we see in John’s Gospel - This was an issue because one of the 10 commandments was not to work on the Sabbath - Issue of what is work and what isn’t work - Exodus 34:21 – not to work even in harvest time o Something Jesus and disciples were accused of doing - Exodus 35:3 – not supposed to light a fire o Raises the question of can you turn on a light, the oven, etc and other implications - Isaiah 58:13 – not to take a journey, not to leave your place o How far can you go before you’ve left your place? Attempts to define how far you could go without going too far on the Sabbath o “sabbath’s day journey” – how far you were allowed to go on the Sabbath - Jeremiah 17 – not to carry a burden – what constitutes burden? - People were uneasy about him performing miracles and healing on the Sabbath o No definitive right or wrong because people didn’t define it and nobody did it so they were uneasy - Jesus seems to make a point deliberately to heal on the Sabbath to provoke the debate or raise the issue what really constitutes the will of God - He is not sympathetic towards defining precisely what you may or may not do – Sabbath, ritual purity.. Jesus dismisses these accusations towards him and his disciples - What goes into you can’t define you, only what comes out can define you - Jesus does not make a hollacic attempt .. he just says it must be okay to do good on the Sabbath - Point is so far removed from defining exactly what you may or may not do - The only proof they used / had was that he broke God’s law and therefore could not be from God - Explicit opposition towards Jesus: o General terms - The light came into the world but darkness could not overcome it o This time it’s a specific example of Jesus provoking hostility - The man who Jesus heals on the Sabbath: o The man is not bright – he’s stupid … doesn’t know who Jesus is o Jesus asks – do you want to be healed? o He’s very naiive, had to find out who Jesus was and told the leaders o Suggestion that his illness was related to some sin – raises a question: o Do not sin anymore so that nothing worse happens to you o Relationship between his sin and what has illed him o John 9 – Jesus specifically denies that
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