John 9 Notes.docx

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McMaster University
Religious Studies
Stephen Westerholm

John 9 What makes a person a polarizing personality (as opposed to a bland typical personality? - Strongly opinionated people who are very vocal about them – immediately disagree or agree - Extrovert - Someone who takes charge of a situation and dominates immediately whether you want them to or not Jesus had a polarizing personality - Jesus polarizes people  people are either for or against him - Is Jesus the very extroverted vocal strongly opinionated person or does his polarizing personality take a different shape? What it is about him? - Jesus doesn’t force people to take a stance on them like a typical polarizing person - Markedly different even if not an extrovert people may take a stance against them - Jesus makes the type of claims in which people have to take a stance on, makes extravagant claims eg. I Am statements - Reactions to Jesus were like when someone who confronts you with a moral situation o Extreme cases are the most obvious/self-evident o Eg. Nazi-occupied countries - people had to decide if they wanted to help hide refugees or refused to  makes you either a bigger or lesser human being depending on what you decide to do .. you can ignore it but that makes you lesser - Absolute duty that human beings have towards God - Human beings are autonomous – no obligations we haven’t taken upon ourselves - Closest relationships are often those we do not choose and in these relationships our strongest obligations lie o Born into a society we didn’t choose but must abide to its rules etc o Born into a world we did not choose or make, did not give ourselves life – owe absolute duty, trumping al other responsibilities, to the creator of this world who gave us life - Jesus is thought of and he presents himself as someone in whom people encountered their absolute duty towards God - James and John leave their father Zebedee, their family, jobs etc. and followed Jesus o Absolute duty to him took priority over all other allegiances o Followed Jesus – did what they ought to have done - Jesus – the one in whom people were encountering their absolute duty towards God; you are either for or against - Need to make an absolute decision, something in our human nature and something moral that makes us respond one way or the other o Religiously proper and improper way of responding - John makes a point of pointing out the division of people for and against Jesus “I came into this world for judgement” - Johanian paradox – often says he didn’t come into the world for judgement - People are forced to take a stance to Jesus and in doing so state their absolute duty towards God - In doing so they judge themselves - The effect of this coming is that people are judging themselves – he didn’t come into the world for judgement but he did come into the world for judgement 6 Sign in the Gospel: Healing of the Blind Man - Some of the signs are active parables - No explicit parables like the synoptics but changing of water into wine seems to be a seeming parable (old ways into new) - Feeding of 5000  Jesus is the manna bread come down from heaven - healing a blind man and giving him sight  “parable” for light of the world - disciples of Jesus ask if it’s the man’s fault or his fault – who sinned that caused the blindness - thinking is that blindness is a judgement of God and judgement on some particular sin o Jesus denies this man’s particular blindness is a consequence of sin o Afflictions wouldn’t be a part of this world had we not turned from God but not this case - Only have so much time to act while we have life and breath must due God’s will – limited time on a divine mission, must act as the light of the world to carry out his Father’s will - Jesus heals the blind man  Jesus makes mud, smears the man’s eyes with it, tells him to go to the pool and wash o this procedure was unnecessary but he did it anyways because  makes more of a point of working on the Sabbath  John 4 – 2 sign – man wants him to heal his son Jesus doesn’t go, he requires faith of the man – an act of faith as part of the healing process – act of obedience showing faith  Similarly that is the point here – man must carry out an act of obedience to show faith in Jesus o Man is sent to a particular pool named Siloam – name means ‘sent’  Not only was the man sent and act obediently to Jesus but Jesus himself is the one sent from God nd First Statement of Division (2 scene) - Fairly innocent division, each one becomes stronger and stronger - People trying to decide of this man walking is the one who was blind before or not - People are divided by this man and by what Jesus has done with him - V8-12: Stance of the man who has been healed o How far is he on the path to faith? this man develops his faith gradually o The man says “the man called Jesus” when asked how he can see o The man sticks to his story throughout – he is not intimidated as others are intimidated, sticks straight the story  what he knows he knows, doesn’t claim to more than he knows but will not be moved from what he does know o He has no further insights more than the man Jesus is responsible for his healing rd Second Statement of Division (3 scene) - The people take him to the Pharisees – Pharisees are the experts, the people didn’t know what to make of it so they bring him to the Pharisees to learn / ask them what to make of it - Premises and conclusion in verse 16 o Premises:  God commanded people not to work on the Sabbath. If you work on Sabbath you are breaking His commandments and since Jesus broke this commandment he therefore cannot be from God  If he’s healing the blind after all he must be from God • Their response: he could be from the devil • People can come upon the scene who do miraculous things to test if you will be loyal in your devotion to God • They could think of him as a false prophet by trying to lead him away from God even if he does a miraculous sign • God himself is testing people by providing a human who can do miracles • Possible for someone to do miraculous signs and still not be from God o Interesting how in John’s gospel repeatedly, opponents of Je
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