Wednesday, August 06, 2008

John 4

John 4

The fourth chapter of John is an interesting study. The predominant story is of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at a well.

There have been a number of scholars and movements that have made the claim that Jesus never actually claimed to be the Messiah. Here, we not only see that Jesus does say that He is the Messiah, we see that Jesus makes the claim to a very unlikely person--a woman, and a woman of poor reputation at that.

Paul writes (1 Cor 1:27-29):

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

It always amazes me that Jesus is glorified in the acts and works of simple people and simple things. I never would have imagined that I would be using simple parlor tricks to entertain and teach people about God's love for us; or that I would stand and preach the Word or write about Jesus in a blog read around the globe.

Something important I've learned:

People really do turn to Jesus because of the things that we say and do. (verse 39)
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did."

The verse I liked best:

(verse 42)
They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."

After we have come to experience Him, we believe because of the nature of God. We believe because we know Him, not because we know about Him.

A question to consider:

Why are we not telling people what we know about Jesus?

John

Side note: My comment was not posted on the Fast Lane. No big surprise here!

3 comments:

Mike said...

You may not have been posted on the Fast Lane but you may still have a big surprise coming.

Anonymous said...

Regarding John Chapter 4, verse 26: The Jesus seminar of 1985, which produced the SV (Scholars Version) Bible, concluded that Jesus did not say this; it represents the perspective or content of a later or different tradition. So, even though you say that he says it, the fact remains that these statements are still in dispute. I’m not even sure if I trust the book of John, to be quite honest. He marks the ministry of Jesus as 3 years while the other books mark it as 1 year. The other books has Jesus as an exorcist, John does not. The other books portrays Jesus as one who cares about the poor and the oppressed, John does not. So, do you have any other examples of Jesus saying he’s the Messiah from any other sources?

John said...

Most of what the Jesus Seminar has put forth has been highly criticized by most other Bible scholars. This doesn't mean that the JS findings are wrong, but it does bring much into question about source, method and motive. Other studies and translations by noted scholars and theologians have greatly differed in the final products.

As for John's gospel...while many others have told me that it is their favorite of all of the gospels, I have been slow to embrace it. I like the directness of Mark, the reporter like literary style of Luke and the way Matthew writes to his people--the Jews. I've often said that it appears that John is writing to women. His prose and style seem more suited to a ladies writer; like the Max Lucado of his time. (Maybe it’s through reading Lucado’s books that I’ve grown to like John’s gospel more.)

I don’t know that it can be said of the synoptic gospels that they only cover a period of one year. They give few chronological markers and are not written as a chronological history of the life of Jesus, but are written as a recording of the teachings of Jesus and the events that give testimony of His deity. Of the gospel writers, only Matthew and John were numbered among the twelve called apostles.

I don’t believe that John’s different style of writing makes him less credible. You and I might report on a concert, magic show or movie from different perspectives—both different, both accurate, both true. We might tell some things the same way, some things in different ways and may choose to tell about some things in great detail while leaving out other things completely. John ends his gospel with this statement...

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."

There are other places in John’s writings where Jesus claims to be the Christ, but we’ll forego those in the light of your doubts of John’s gospel.

Here is one event—told in each of the other three gospels—where Jesus admits to being the Christ and cautions them not to tell any one. It is actually Peter that makes the statement, “You are the Christ,” but this is obviously the truth that Jesus is looking for.
Matt 16:16-20, Mark 8:29-30, Luke 9:20-21

Here is a time that Jesus answers the question of “Are you the Christ?” with the simple statement, “I am.”
Mark 14:62

Thanks for the comments. It’s been a while. I’m glad that you’re still reading.