New Testament Survey: Gospels - Lesson 10

Gospel of John

John's Gospel focuses on Christology and emphasizes dualism and eschatology.  John has long pericopes, clear statements about the identity of Jesus and a number of stories not found in the synoptic Gospels. 

Robert Stein
New Testament Survey: Gospels
Lesson 10
Watching Now
Gospel of John

The Gospels

Part 4

The Gospel of John

I. Christology

A. More developed than other Gospels

B. Explicit examples: vs. 1:18; 5:18; 10:33; 20:28

C. Various "I am" sayings (implicit)

D. Jesus greater than John the Baptist

E. Theme of the Gospel - 20:20-31

II. Dualism

A. Examples: vs. 8:23; 7:7; 15:18-19

B. Moral dualism

III. Unique Vocabulary

IV. Introduction to the Gospel

V. Eschatology of John

A. Realized - Eternal life is now: 3:36; 5:24

B. Consistent - Judgment, Resurrection, Second Coming are Future

VI. Historical Issues

A. John is not ignorant of the geography of Israel.

B. Contains features that reveal good access to historical information.

C. Information learned from John not found in the Synoptic Gospels.

VII. Differences between John and the Synoptics

A. Contains long pericopes

B. Contains clear statements as to Jesus' identity

C. Contains a number of stories not in the other Synoptic Gospels

VIII. Possible Intermixture of the Historical Situation of Jesus and John

A. Being born again

B. The ascension

C. The use of first person plural

IX. Authorship

X. Unity of the Gospel

XI. Date

  • The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke record some of the same stories and even use the same wording in sections. They also each have material that is unique, and the chronology is different in some places. Both the purpose of each gospel and the role of oral and written tradition play a role in understanding the similarities and differences.

  • The Gospel of Mark is shorter than the other Gospels and some of the grammar and theology is unique. There are also significant portions of Mark that are contained in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

  • Discussion of the extensive similarities between the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. It's possible that Mark was already written and they used that as a source. It's aslo likely that they had in common other oral and written sources of what Jesus did and taught. 

  • Some time passed between the ascension of Jesus and the writing of the Gospels because there was no need for a written account while the eyewitnesses were still alive. In that culture, oral tradition was the primary method of preserving history. Form critics also note that it is likely that it is likely that many of the narratives and sayings of Jesus circulated independently.

  • Form criticism is the method of classifying literature by literary pattern to determine its original form and historical context in order to interpret its meaning accurately. The Gospels were not written to be objective biographies. They omit large portions of the life of Jesus, they include accounts of miraculous events and they have a purpose to demonstrate that Jesus is both God and human.

  • Redaction criticism focuses on evaluating how a writer has seemingly shaped and molded a narrative to express his theological goals. Examining how Matthew and Luke used passages from Mark can give you insight into their theology and their purpose for writing their Gospel.  

  • Studying the background and theological emphases of the Gospel of Mark helps us to understand the central message of his Gospel. The central point of the Gospel of Mark is the death of Jesus when he was crucified. This event happened because it was a divine necessity in God's plan to redeem humanity. It's likely that the Gospel of Mark is a written record of the apostle Peter's account. 

  • The Gospel of Matthew emphasizes how Jesus' life, death and resurrection fulfilled prophecies that were made in the Old Testament. Matthew also shows concern for the church and has a strong eschatological emphasis. 

  • Luke emphasizes the great loving concern of God for the oppressed, such as tax collectors, physically impaired, women and Samaritans. He warns of the dangers of riches and emphasizes the ministry of the Holy Spirit. 

  • John's Gospel focuses on Christology and emphasizes dualism and eschatology.  John has long pericopes, clear statements about the identity of Jesus and a number of stories not found in the synoptic Gospels. 

  • By studying the background and comparing the text of the synoptic gospels, we can be confident of their authenticity. Many of the accounts in the Gospels appear in multiple Gospels and are confirmed by separate witnesses. Details in the narratives and parables are consistent with the culture and common practices of the time in that region.  

  • In order to understand Jesus' teaching, it is important to understand how he uses exaggeration and determine when he is using exaggeration to make a point. An exaggeration is something that is literally impossible and sometimes conflicts with teachings of the Old Testament or other teachings of Jesus. They often use idiomatic language that had a specific meaning to the original hearers. 

  • The Gospels record how Jesus used different literary forms to communicate his teachings. He communicated effectively with everyone including children, common people, religious leaders and foreigners. He used a variety of literary devices to communicate in a way that was effective and memorable. (This class was taught by a teaching assistant of Dr. Stein's but his name was not provided.) 

  • It's important to know how to interpret parables to accurately understand what Jesus was trying to teach. At different times in history, people have used different paradigms to interpret parables. Each parable has one main point. To interpret the parable, seek to understand what Jesus meant, what the evangelist meant and what God wants to teach you today.

  • Dr. Stein uses the parable of the Good Samaritan as an example of how to apply the four rules of interpreting parables. He also applies the four rules to interpret the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl, the ten virgins, the unjust steward and the laborers in the vineyard. 

  • Jesus used different literary forms to communicate with people. It's important to know how to interpret these literary forms, including parables, to accurately understand what Jesus was trying to teach. The rule of end stress is one factor in determining the main teaching of a parable. Dr. Stein describes two parts of a parable as the, "picture part" and the "reality part." 

  • The kingdom of God is God's kingdom invading the earthly kingdom. In the Gospels, there are both "realized" passages and "future" passages. There is a tension between the "now" and "not yet" and it is important to emphasize each aspect equally.

  • Jesus' teaching about the fatherhood of God reveals for us a tension between reverence and intimacy. Jesus shows his reverence for God by not using the name of God even when referring to God. When he refers to God as Father, it is an indication of a personal relationship. 

  • Jesus does not provide an organized ethical system, but his ethical teachings are scattered throughout the Gospels. Sometimes they seem to be contradictory, until you look at them more closely. He emphasized the need for a new heart and the importance of loving God and our "neighbor." Jesus upheld the validity of the Law but was opposed to the oral traditions. 

  • Implicit Christology is what Jesus reveals of himself and his understanding of himself by his actions words and deeds. Jesus demonstrates his authority over the three sacred aspects of Israel which are the temple, the Law and the Sabbath. 

  • Explicit Christology deals with what he reveals concerning his understanding of himself by the use of various titles. Christ is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word, Messiah. The titles, Son of God and Son of Man refer both to his human nature and divine nature. 

  • The Chronology of Jesus' life in the Gospels begins with his birth and ends with his resurrection. How you explain the miracles of Jesus depends on your presuppositions. He performed miracles to heal sicknesses and also miracles showing his authority over nature. 

  • The birth of Christ is an historical event. The virgin birth of Jesus is a fundamental aspect of his nature and ministry. The details of the birth narrative in Luke are consistent with historical events. 

  • Except for the accounts of a couple of events in Jesus' childhood, the Gospels are mostly silent about the years before Jesus began his public ministry. Luke records the story of 12 year old Jesus in the temple to show that already, you can see something different about Jesus. Jesus' public ministry began when John the Baptist baptized Jesus publicly in the Jordan River.

  • The three temptations that Satan put to Jesus were significant to him and instructive to us. Jesus had a specific purpose in mind in the way he called his disciples and the fact that he chose 12.

  • After Simon Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ, Jesus begins teaching about his death and focuses his efforts on teaching the twelve. The Transfiguration was a significant event because the pre-existent glory of Jesus broke through and it was also a preview of future glory.

  • The events surrounding Jesus' "triumphal entry" into Jerusalem were the beginning of the week leading up to his crucifixion and resurrection. When Jesus cleansed the temple in Jerusalem, he was rejecting the sacrificial system, reforming temple worship and performing an act of judgment.

  • At the Last Supper, Jesus celebrated with his disciples by eating the Passover meal. He reinterpreted it to show how it pointed to him as being the perfect Lamb of God, the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all people. When we celebrate the Lord's supper, there is a focus of looking back at the significance of what Jesus did and how the Passover pointed toward him and of looking forward to the future. 

  • The night before his crucifixion, Jesus went to Gethsemane with his disciples to pray. Judas betrays Jesus there and Jesus allows himself to be arrested.

  • The trial of Jesus involved a hearing in the Jewish court conducted by the high priest and the Sanhedrin, and a hearing in the Roman court conducted by Pilate. The Jewish leaders brought in false witnesses against Jesus and violated numerous rules from the Mishnah in the way they conducted the trial. 

  • Jesus died by crucifixion. The Romans used it as a deterrent because it was public and a horrible way to die. The account of the crucifixion is brief, likely because the readers knew what was involved and it was painful to retell. Jesus was buried by friends.

  • The historical evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus is compelling. Jesus appeared physically to people, many of whom were still alive when the books in the New Testament were written. Rising from the dead confirmed that Jesus has power over death and gives hope of eternal life to people who put their trust in him. 

  • The Gospels are eyewitness accounts that clearly show that Jesus claimed to be fully human and fully God, and what he did to back up this claim. Some people try to reinterpret the Gospels to make Jesus out to be a moral teacher with good intentions, but not God in the flesh.

This is the first part of an introductory course to the New Testament, covering the books Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The synopsis Dr. Stein refers to is the Synopsis of the Four Gospels, English Edition, published by the American Bible Society. You can click here to order it from American Bible Society or click here to order it from Amazon

The lecture notes you can download (to the right) are for both NT Survey I and II. In some of the lectures, Dr. Stein does not cover all the points in his outline, but we include the additional outline points for your benefit. 

Thank you to Charles Campbell and Fellowship Bible Church for writing out the lecture notes for both sections of Stein's NT Survey class (to the right). Note that they do not cover every lecture.

Recommended Books

New Testament Survey: The Gospels - Student Guide

New Testament Survey: The Gospels - Student Guide

This participant’s guide is intended to be used with the BiblicalTraining.org class, New Testament Survey - The Gospels with Dr. Robert Stein. This is the first part of an...

New Testament Survey: The Gospels - Student Guide

I. Christology

Now in the explicit Christology, the use of the titles is much more evident in John than in the Synoptics. For instance, the title Son of God is found 12 times in Matthew, six or seven times in Mark, eight in Luke, but 29 times when we get to John.

A. More developed than other Gospels

It is found in the places I have listed there, and it seemed very clear that Jesus seems to be teaching much more explicitly that he is the Son of God in John than in the Synoptics. When we get to the title of Christ, we find a similar phenomenon. Matthew has it 16 times, Mark seven, Luke 12, John 17 times, and it is found rather openly.

Turn with me, for instance, to page 29. In John 4, verse 25, we have the woman of Samaria saying to Jesus, that would be line 22, the woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming. He was called Christ. When he comes, he will show us all things." Jesus said to her, "I, who speak to you, am he."

So you have this openness of his Messiahship here, whereas when Peter confesses him to be the Christ, he says do not tell anybody. So you have much more of an openness.

Let us look at another example. Page 222, this would be John 11:27, line 24, well, actually line 22, verse 25, Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me though he dies, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

She said to him, "Yes, Lord, I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world." you have a much more open expression of whom Jesus is regarding his Christology. You also have in John the explicit use of the title God for Jesus.

Turn with me to the opening page in your synopsis, where we have the opening account. Here you have page 1, "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the Word was God." Despite what Job, his witnesses say, this is the only way in which you could say that Jesus is God in that particular Greek format.

If you put an article in front of God here as they suggest, that would leave no room for the Father or the Spirit. So it is the only way you can say he is truly God here, and you go on and say he was at the beginning with God. So not only is he called God, he is attribute eternality.

He has always been there. All things were made through him and without him was not anything made that was made.

Now in the Greek world, you might have a lesser being in the heavens who create the things in Gnosticism in which the matter and world look evil, you want to get as far away from God as possible in the creation, but this is written by a Jew. When he writes about the creation, he is thinking of, 'In the beginning, God created,' and here you have the creation attributed to Jesus.

B. Explicit examples: vs. 1:18; 5:18; 10:33; 20:28

Then when we get to verse 18, no one has ever seen God, the only Son. Now you have a 'B' here, which is a, says there is a footnote, and the footnote says, 'Other ancient authorities read God, the only God, other authorities read, who is in the bosom of the Father has made him known.'

Now you have a textual problem, and you have to say now, 'well, which reading is more likely.' In textural criticism, when you have various readings, one of the guides to go by is the reading that scribes would most likely want to change.

Would they want to change only begotten God to only begotten Son, or would they change only begotten Son to only begotten God? I think very honestly; they would have probably wanted to change the only begotten God to only Son because only begotten Son comes up in John 3:16 and so when you think of the only begotten; you do not think of God, you think of the only begotten Son.

So only begotten God is what we would call the more difficult reading and, therefore, it is more likely to be the original one. Interestingly enough, in the new RSV, even though it has many things I am unhappy about, they translated the only God who is the bosom of the Father, his reveal of him.

So here, 1:18, he is explicitly referred to God, as well. When we get to 5:18, page 130 beginning of line 14, "But Jesus answered them, my Father's working still and I am working. This is why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God."

In 10:33, page 221, another such reference, page 221, John 10:33. Here you have on line 9, "Jesus answered, 'And I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?' The Jews answered him, 'It is not for a good work that we stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God,'" and in 331, John 20:28, here Jesus appears before Thomas and Thomas says, "My Lord and my God."

It is a member; a Baptist woman called me once because she had a friend who is a witness trying to talk about Jesus not being very God, a very God, arguing against the Trinitarian doctrine of Christianity and so we were talk-. She asked me to talk to her, and I talked to her on the phone, and she said some things and I said, "Look, when Thomas prays to Jesus and addresses him, 'my Lord and my God,' and when the early church prays, 'Maranatha, come quickly, Lord Jesus,' let me ask you something. Do you ever pray to Jesus?" 

"No, we pray to God in Jesus' name but not to Jesus." I said, "Well, there is something between your faith and the early church's faith, and do you ever call him God?" "No, we call him the Son of God." "Here in the Bible, he has directly called God. Something is different between your view of Jesus and the biblical understanding that way."

So, John, he has this explicit reference to the deity of Jesus very explicitly where there are illusions to this in the synoptic gospels. When we talk about the Christology of Jesus, certain of his actions are actions that are only the prerogative of God, who can forgive sins, but God alone, and Jesus says, "I can. I will show you," but John explicitly has the references to his being God.

C. Various "I am" sayings (implicit)

The implicit Christology there the miracles, the signs of who he is, various 'I Am' sayings; I am the bread of life, I am the door, I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life, a lot of 'I am' sayings, which, by the way, when you preach, you want to avoid.

Keep the I is out of the pulpit talk about Jesus, and you do not have to talk so much. However, I just, unless you need an example of something, some time to the person who, as a Christian, can become a buffoon, then you can use yourself, but that is when I come and use myself as an example. However, Jesus has a real egocentric view of himself.

D. Jesus greater than John the Baptist

He thinks the world rotates around himself, but it does not rotate around Bob Stein. That is why the 'I Am's' are not appropriate for a Bob Stein or for you. It is for Jesus. He has several places where he refers to himself as being where John points out that Jesus is greater than John the Baptist.

Some have suggested that there may have been some in his audience that was followers of John the Baptist, like in Acts, chapter 19, but that is a hypothesis, and we do not know of that for certainty.

E. Theme of the Gospel - 20:20-31

It is gloriously spoken of and the theme of the whole gospel, on page 336, is John 20:30 to 31, where John now, the writer says, "Now Jesus did many of the signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book but these are written. This is why I wrote this, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you might have life in his name."

It is a very clear, explicit Christology. That, which in the synoptic gospel, tends to be more hidden and less obvious and explicit, becomes much more explicit in the gospel of John. We talk, for instance, about the emphasis on the Holy Spirit in the gospel of Luke. However, notice that the promise of the Spirit coming in Matthew occurs twice and Mark twice and Luke twice but in John 13 times, and the references to the Paraclete is unique to John in that regard.

II. Dualism

There is also, in John, a kind of dualism. Turn with me to page 209. In John 8:23, you have these words, "You are from below. I am from above. You are in this world. I am not of this world," and then you got to 7:7 on page 206, John 7:7, "The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil."

A. Examples: vs. 8:23; 7:7; 15:18-19

Jump to 293, you have, again, this kind of dualism. I will have to explain that, however. John 15:18 and 19, "If the world hates you, know that it had hated me before it hated of you, hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own, but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world. Therefore, the world hates you."

You have this strong dualism, in John. This world is evil. Jesus comes from another world. He is the light, and this world is darkness. He is of the spirit. The world is of the flesh and so forth, and you have this contrast.

Now you have to be very careful about this kind of dualism because the world of Jesus day knew a dualism through Greek philosophy, particularly Platonism. That was what we call an ontological dualism. That means that it is a dualism in essence.

B. Moral dualism

In the very beginning, there were two things, matter, and Spirit. They have always existed. The one is evil, matter. The other is good, Spirit. It's ontological. It is in the essence of things. This dualism is a moral dualism, not a ontological one.

We are not talking about material things. We are talking about a moral dualism of good and evil, light and darkness, of flesh and spirit, and we are not talking about material things, we are talking about moral, ethical things, whereas Greek dualism is materialistic.

It is of the essence. Matter substance is evil in and of itself. There is no such thing as a good piece of matter. The only thing that is good is the Spirit. That is not the dualism here. This is an ethical-moral dualism that is going on, not platonic, and we know that because once you read, in John 1:14, "And the Word became flesh."

That means that there is nothing innately evil about the flesh, the body, nothing innately evil about the body, or you could not have an incarnation and those in the early church,  whose mind was filled with this dualism, eventually could not except the incarnation. They would deny it, and they came across a different kind of understanding.

III. Unique Vocabulary

The incarnation never took place. It is only that Jesus disguised himself as if he had a body, but he did not have it, and that is the year of Gnosticism and Docetism was a, a subpart of that. We have in John a unique vocabulary, does not mean it is not; these words are not found in any other gospel but look for a minute.

The word 'life,' Matthew 13 times, Mark seven, Luke 14, John 53 times. 'Truth,' once in Matthew, three in Mark, Luke three, 25 times in John. The, 'to witness to' or 'a witness by Jesus,' one in Matthew, three in Mark, two in Luke, 47 times in John. You have others, 'love,' Matthew nine, Mark five, Luke 14, John 44 times.

'Faith,' Matthew 11, John 10, Luke nine, John 98 times. So it is a, a particular kind of theological emphasis that occurs in John that reveals some of his interests, whereas, in other words, we read a lot about the kingdom of God in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John, we will hear about eternal life and their synonyms.

"What must I do to inherit eternal life?" the rich man asked Jesus in the synoptic gospels, and when he departs, said Jesus, "How are, how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God! What must except a man be born again, he shall not enter the kingdom of God," Jesus tells Nicodemus, and then in 3:16, "For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

There are synonyms with the emphasis in, in the Synoptics being more like what Jesus talked about, the kingdom of God, in John, eternal life. In the introduction of the gospel, we notice a difference again. Mark begins with the baptism. Matthew and Luke begin at birth, Matthew tracing the lineage back to Abraham, Luke going back to Adam.

IV. Introduction to the Gospel

John begins at the beginning of all things. That is before creation. In the beginning, was the word.

IV. Introduction to the Gospel

When we talk about the kingdom of God in the next coming two weeks or so from now, we are going to talk about the kingdom of God being something in the future, by kingdom come, but also of present reality.

V. Eschatology of John

Already now, the kingdom is partly realized, even though there is a future dimension, as well, and we have here the tension be between what in theology we call the now, the already realized, and the not yet. We already have eternal life. It is now a possession of ours.

A. Realized - Eternal life is now: 3:36; 5:24

It will never end, but it is the full realization the way it is the resurrection, so now, not yet. In John, the now is emphasized a great deal. Turn with me to a couple of examples, page 26. Here you have in John 3, verse 36, actually it is on page 27, the last verse, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life. He who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him."

So already now, you either have life or the judgment of God is upon you. This is already now realized. No, he does not say, 'He who believes in the Son will one day have eternal life,' but he has now eternal life. Turn to page 130, John 5:24, about line 21 or so, 22. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes whom he who sent me has eternal life."

He does not come into judgment but has passed from death into life. There is an already now aspect of eternal life that we would possess. Similarly, the resurrection life has begun with the coming of Jesus, or right now, there is a quality of life that we have.

B. Consistent - Judgment, Resurrection, Second Coming are Future

There are future dimensions of it. John 14, "I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, there you may also be." So you have a consistent eschatology in which judgment is future, the resurrection is future, the second coming is the future, but in many ways, the already now is emphasized.

Already now, we have life everlasting. We do not ask a person, "Do you want, one day, to have eternal life," but do you want eternal life now? God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have, not some, someday but have now everlasting life.

VI. Historical Issues

In critical circles, the gospel of John is demeaned as a source of history for the life of Jesus. The only way you can find about Jesus, you go to the synoptic gospels, and John is "the spiritual gospel has been completely rewritten and fictionalized in the life of Jesus."

A. John is not ignorant of the geography of Israel.

That is why I want to point out some of the historical matters that we have here about the gospel of John. There are some interesting references through the geography of Israel that the author is familiar with. For instance, he knows that Capernaum is down from Cana.

If you are in Cana, you have to walk downhill if you want to get to Capernaum. You get to a pool of Bethesda, and it is called a [Columbetha], which is a swimming pool, and that is true, and it mentions in this pool about the five porticos, the five porches of this pool.

B. Contains features that reveal good access to historical information.

Now, something is very interesting in that. In AD 70, when Jerusalem was destroyed, the pool of Bethesda was covered with ruins. It remained covered for 1,900 years. It was only later when Israel became a nation, and you had the seven-day war where Israel now took over and the entire city of Jerusalem that people finally began to dig and do archaeological research.

They came to the pool of Bethesda. Sure enough, it had seven porticos. Now the person who knew that must of been an eye witness, most probably. The tradition came from an eye witness before AD 70. Otherwise, they would have never known that kind of thing.

The Pool of Siloam is also that way. You can talk about the Stoa of the temple, which we know existed. When we talk about the Kidron Valley, it is referred to as, by a term, which means a dry riverbed, a wadi, as we call it. That is exactly right. Uh very, a good description.

The location of the tomb is carefully pointed out that near the place of he was crucified, there was a garden and in it a tomb, which he has brought to, so that, it is very close proximity between those, and that seems to be correct. Other kinds of information about Peter warming himself at the fire, that Annas, the high priest, was the father-in-law of Caiaphas.

John's statement that the Jews do not have the right to inflict or exercise capital punishment. It goes very well. We will talk about that later in life when we talk about the life of Jesus. He is the only one that points out, in the gospels, that Barabbas happened to have been a revolutionary, a [lacethus].

C. Information learned from John not found in the Synoptic Gospels.

If you wanted to talk about the length of Jesus' ministry, when you say that Jesus had a three-year ministry, that is all due to the gospel of John, because in the gospel of John, in 2:13, it refers to a Passover. In 6:4, it refers to another Passover, which is a different one, and 11:55, it refers to still another Passover, so you have three distinct Passovers mentioned in the gospel of John.

You have only one that's referred to in the gospel of Matthew, Mark, the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and if you wanted, you could fit all those events if you had thought of it, as chronological within a little over a year or so. So it is John that helps us to understand the length of Jesus' ministry.

John is the only one that reveals that Jesus had an early Galilean ministry. Remember, Matthew, Mark, and Luke do not talk about any early Galilean, early Judean ministry, excuse me because they do not talk about Judea until chapter 11, but John points out that Jesus traveled back and forth from Galilee, Jerusalem at times.

He is the only one that talks about Jesus having a ministry in Samaria. We are not in the Synoptics, about a trial, talks about Annas, the high priest, to which, to whom Jesus is brought first. That is, again, only in the gospel of John. We would not know that otherwise.

Also, that two of his disciples were disciples of John the Baptist, we find there. The story of a wedding feast at Cana, an encounter with Nicodemus, the resurrection of Lazarus, various words of the cross, the involvement of Nicodemus at the burial of Jesus.

VII. Differences between John and the Synoptics

That information is only found in the gospel of John, so it is a wonderful addition to the synoptic tradition. Now there are some interesting differences. When you look at the stories in the synoptic gospels, they tend to be short. You know about the healing of the paralytic, what we have eight, nine verses.

A. Contains long pericopes

When you get to John, you do not have short stories. You have long stories. All of chapter 9 is a story about a blind man that's healed. You have another long chapter about the resurrection of Lazarus, much lengthier, six, seven, eight times the length of a story in the synoptic gospels, raises an interesting question.

B. Contains clear statements as to Jesus' identity

What was the oral tradition like? Were they long stories or the short stories of the synoptic gospels, and where does this other tradition that John has come from? An interesting question that I wish I had an answer to it. It would become famous. There is a difference we already pointed out between the clear statements as to who Jesus is.

The gospels Synoptics have a veiled statement. There are several different kinds of incidents and stories of John's baptism of Jesus, his different one, but it is not mentioned. There is contact between Jesus and John, but the baptism itself is not mentioned in the gospel of John.

The temptation of Jesus, the events of Caesarea Philippi, the transfiguration, various healings, exorcisms, kinds of teachings, the beatitude, the Lord's prayer, a lot of the parables. Those are not in John, so you have differences here, and we looked at something of the difference of the terminology.

VIII. Possible Intermixture of the Historical Situation of Jesus and John

Now one of the things that I want us to look at is a kind of intermixture between the life of Jesus in the first Sitz im Leben and the situation of the evangelists in the third Sitz im Leben.

A. Being born again

There seems to be a tendency of John to write his gospel and write the life of Jesus in light of the present situation that he finds himself in.

Turn with me to page 25. Now in Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus, we have several very interesting things. Turn to page 26 and, and notice the vocabulary here. Verse 11, "Truly I say to you, we speak of what we know and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony." You have the plural, 'we.'

B. The ascension

Then when you get to verse 12, if I told you, go switch back to the first verse, "If I told you where these things and you do not believe, how can you believe it if I tell you of heavenly things?" Moreover, in verse 13, "No one has ascended into heaven, but you descended from heaven."

C. The use of first person plural

Now you switch to the third person. Furthermore, do you see any problem in verse 13? Yeah, no one has ascended into heaven, but he descended from heaven. When Matthew's reader, excuse me, when John's reader reads that, that is not a problem, because it is true, isn't it?

No one ever descended from heaven but the one Jesus Christ who ascended into heaven, but if you read this back on Jesus' lips, it is not yet done. So now you, it looks like we are reading this, and it makes perfectly good sense if we are reading it from John's situation.

That raises an uncertain question. If you have a red-letter edition of the Bible, where does the red, which starts with Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus, ultimately end?

Does it end at verse 21, when Jesus is talking about, to Nicodemus he says, "How can, you say I say to you unless one is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God that which is the flesh, flesh," and so forth but what about verses 13, 14 and 15, "No one has ascended into heaven but you descended from heaven, the Son of man and as Moses lifted the serpent in the wilderness, some with the Son of man," third person, "be lifted that whoever believes in him," third person, "may have eternal life? For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

Does that look like John writing this or Jesus saying it? When you wrestle with this, most of the red letter editions of the Bible have red down to 21. As I wrestle with, now, did Jesus did say this? Is now John commenting on it? I start bright red, and then it starts getting pinkish, and then it gets light pink by the end, and I do not know, and if I were to say, "John, how does that figure out?"

He would probably say, "It is true. That is all you need to know. It is true," and I, I, I am not simply quoting Jesus. I am his interpreter, and so it seems difficult, sometimes, to know what goes back to Jesus and what comes from the evangelist himself.

He feels free to write and interpret this way. Now let us go back to John 3:3 and 5, where Jesus says, "Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born anew, born from heaven or born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"

Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Now turn, keep your finger there and turn with me to page 206, 206. All right, now, on page 206, look at lines 25 and the following.

"On the last day of the feast, the great day Jesus stood up and proclaimed, 'If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'"

Now, in verse 39, we have an interpretive comment by the evangelist. Now, this he said about the spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given because Jesus has not yet been glorified.

All right, the Spirit is not yet given, John tells us. He talks about the coming of the spirit in the future. Well, then we go back to John 3, and he starts saying to Nicodemus, you must be born again, you must be born of the spirit, but the Spirit has not yet given.

Is it possible that John is telling not Nicodemus? However, he is telling his readers, his audience, what they must do to be saved in AD 90, whenever he wrote, and after Pentecost and the coming of the spirit, how did he describe conversion?

You describe it as the need to be born again of the spirit, who has now been given, and so is he "updating in light of the change at Pentecost where Jesus said to Nicodemus, so that is the reader will understand what it means for him today?"

That is what I mean by the intermixture of the time and situation of Jesus in his day. I do not know. I, if you want to read and say, no, the spirit was present in Nicodemus, he expected to be born again right then and there, what do you do with the comment of the evangelist that the spirit is not yet given and that rivers of living water cannot come out of his belly until the spirit is given, which is not quite yet.

There are some other kinds of suggestions that way and the references to the Jews and their expelling people from the synagogue at 9:22, 12:42.

That looks like, for many people, something that takes place around AD 80 or 90 when Christians now, are pretty much excluded from the synagogue, because in the prayers and the benediction, there now comes a curse that is prayed on the Nazarenes, the Christians, which, I mean, how do you attend a synagogue service if they are going to put a curse on you as a believer in Jesus and that pretty much means the end of any Christian Jewish Christian participation in the synagogue.

Is that what is being referred to or already in the time of Jesus, there is something like that going on. However, the, as we know, as we think of it, there is nothing in the Book of Acts that seems to suggest that the Christians were kicked out of the synagogues immediately, already in the life of Jesus during Jesus' life, because they are in the synagogues all the time witnessing.

Does that look like that what John is saying is that this, ultimately, will lead to what we now have, and that is the expulsion from the synagogue? So there is this kind of intermixture of the historical situation of Jesus and that of John. Barker, Lane, and Michaels, in the book 'The New Testament Speak,' writes the following.

"Interwoven with what Jesus said in a variety of historical settings is the truth of what the risen Christ says to the church of John's day and, of course, of our own. The contemporary quality that even the casual reader senses is no accident. It is theologically based."

"If John were asked to justify the freedom he is exercised in handling the tradition of Jesus' words and deeds, he could appropriately reply, 'Who but Jesus has the authority to interpret Jesus?' The risen Jesus is not another Jesus. He is the same one who lived among us in the flesh."

"He taught us once, and he still teaches us through the spirit, [promise paraclete]. This, of course, is a theological assertion, a kind of confession of faith. It is not open to proof or disproof. The reader of today, like the reader of John's day, must accept whether or not he will stand with the evangelist and accept the witness as a true witness of the spirit."

I think there is something to reflect on there. Now, the question is would you want me to skip over all of that and not raise that issue or can we, in the community of faith we have here, wrestle with that together so that we are not struck sometimes by that and have questions that we were never prepared for in seminary?

When I went to Seminary, I took a Life of Christ Course, and when I went on my doctoral work and started to study the gospels, issues came up that were never touched there, and I wondered, 'Are there no evangelical answers for that?' How do we wrestle with an issue like that?

No, I do not think you should spend all your life wrestling with an issue like that. You need to be aware of it and, as I suggest you, I believe that John himself promises that the spirit, the paraclete, who bring all things into remembrance to you and teach you all things and that John is being taught by the Spirit as to what this conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus involves about our present situation.

IX. Authorship

All right, now authorship, the tradition about Johannine authorship is strong how he mentioned some of the dates and people that refer to this. I am going to skip that because of time and let me go on to what would Barclay says. Barclay argues that only great skepticism would cause a person not to accept some of this, but he then tries to argue using Westcott's argument from the internal evidence.

He said the fourth gospel was written by a Jew. He knows messianic expectations, the law festivals the low view that Jews have towards Samaritans. He, it was written by a Jew in Palestine. We looked at some of the geographies that indicate he must have, have been there and known that area.

It is written by an eye witness of some of the events because he describes various details. Why does he report there are 153 fish, and you look at all the critical scholars, and they try to find some symbolism in 153? There is no symbolism in 153.

The only thing is, must have been 153. That is why I put it down. That is why I have this weird number. If you want symbolism, you will say it is a multiple of 12 or 7 x 70 or something like that, but 153 just does not work out. It looks like you had an eye witness report in this way.

It is written by an author who seems to have been an apostle because he knows what the apostles are thinking. He talks about the calling of the early apostles, and then, finally, he says, he, it was written by John, who was the beloved disciple, and because he is one of the few disciples whose name is never mentioned as such.

X. Unity of the Gospel

He is just referred to as the beloved disciple. Now I think there is some weight in that, although there, it is not a perfect argument by a long shot. As to the unity of this book, you can read some of this but turn with me to page 337, verse 24, the next to the last verse.

"This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true." It looks like the 'we know' is not the person who wrote the book but followers of that person, disciples of John, who record that we know the testimony of what he has said is true and if you look at the proceeding page, does not John 20:30 to 31 look like a conclusion of a book?

"Jesus did many other things in the presence of the disciples which are not written in this book, but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing, you may have life in his name." looks like one now is probably, in my understanding, an addendum placed on this gospel by the disciples of John and in so doing, it is also led by the Spirit in so doing. The church has accepted it as such.

There are other kinds of critical theories various stages of, some see 2; just Chapters 1 to 20 and 21 added. Others have additional materials in that second stage. Some have four stages. Some have five stages, and so forth.

Robert Kysar, who is, by no means, an evangelical rights, "My point is that the theories advanced by [Brown and lenders] of several different stages," one of them has seven, I think, "are such that no amount of analysis of the gospel materials will ever produce convincing grounds for them."

"If the gospel involved and evolved in a manner comparable to that altered by Brown and Lenders, it is totally beyond the grasp of the Johannine scholar and his story and to produce even tentative proof that such was the case."

To how it came to being, I, I do not think we can know. I think it is very speculative. What we can know is what the Book, as it now stands, is trying to say, and I think that is our goal. It is not to reconstruct how it came together. You will never know that anyhow, but to know here is a Book, inspired by God.

XI. Date

How do we understand the purpose of this final product we have forgotten about the stages? As to its date, as late as 1936, Alfred [Loyzie] wrote an introduction in which he dated the gospel of John through AD 150 or 160. Unfortunately, for him, six years earlier, fragments of the gospel of John were found that cannot be dated later than 130.

Kind of embarrassing that your book is not even out yet, and it has been refuted in that way. Tradition says that it is written probably in the '90s when John is elderly and, uh that seems to make good sense for me.

The idea that John has to be late because of its theological emphasis, one of the great discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls is that the theology of John, which had to be late, about the light versus darkness, good versus evil, is all found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. You only have to go 12 miles from Jerusalem to find it.

So the idea that this is a late Greek guy's, the gospel is down the tubes. The Dead Sea Scrolls point out that right in Judaism, in the heart of Judea, you have this came kind of theology, and when they began to look at the Dead Sea Scrolls, they were amazed how close that kind of dualistic philosophy and theology was to John's gospel. So no need to date it in the Greek world. It is right there in the Jewish world.