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John 2-4 Belief in John: How Does John Want Us to Understand Jesus’ “Signs”? Gospel of John P E r p o l Book Book i l o of of o g g u Signs Glory u e e 1:1-18 1:19 12:50 13:1 20:31 21:1-25 Gospel of John P Book of Book of E r p o Signs Glory i 1:19 12:50 13:1 20:31 l l Arrest, Trial, and o Resurrection 1st o g Subsequent Sign Jesus’ g Signs, u Final Discourses, u Death Teachings e Feasts e 1:19- 18:1- 20:1- 1:1-18 2:11 2:12 12:50 13:1 17:26 19:42 31 21:1-25 Gospel of John P r 1:19 Book of Signs 12:50 Summary o Seven “Signs” of Signs l Signs (12:37-43) o water wine Healing official’s Healing lame Feeding 5000 Walking Water Healing Blind Raising Lazarus (2:1-11) son man (6:1- 15) (6:16-21) Man (11:1-44) g (4:46-53) (5:1-9) (9:1-41) u Born Living Imitating Bread of Light of World The Good One with e Again Water Father Life (7:1-8:59) Shepherd Father Sayings (3:1-21) (4:1-42) (5:16-47) (6:25-71) (10:1-21) (10:22-42) (12:44-50) Seven “Sayings” Summary of Sayings 1:1-18 1:19 12:36 12:37 - 50 John 2-4 Observation 1: John 2-11 is often called the Book of Signs. Scholars disagree over how many signs. All seem to say 7, but which 7? John himself is a bit vague in exactly what are the events which should be categorized as “signs.” Observation 2: There are only two events which are explicitly labeled as signs by John himself, 1. Turning water into wine in 2:11 2. Healing of official’s son in 4:54 John 2-4 Hermeneutical (Text-Driven) Question: Why? Why do we try to isolate “signs” in John? Almost every commentary or article on John attempts to “count” John’s signs. Why focus upon what we want to find rather than on what John is trying to tell us? Hermeneutically speaking, you discover what your eyes and mind expect. Why not get what you textually/Biblically inspect? Thus, let’s ask what might be a more text- driven question(s). John 2-4 Text-Driven Question(s): 1. What is the meaning of the two signs described by John? (definitional question) 2. What is the relationship of the two signs to each other? (integrative question) 3. How does the context of John 2-4 help illuminate John’s agenda? (How is John trying to answer his own question?) 4. So what? How does this impact the church today. Us? (application question). John 2-4 John’s Call to Faith in Jesus Samaritan Testifier Cleansing Samaritan Woman 1st Sign 2nd Sign John the Baptizer John the Testifier Nicodemus Temple 2:12- 2:1 2:11 2:22 2:23-3:21 3:22 - 36 4:1-42 4:43 4:54 John 2-4 Works and Words of Jesus Samaritan Testifier Cleansing Samaritan Woman 1st Sign 2nd Sign John the Baptizer John the Testifier Nicodemus Temple Cana of Cana of Galilee, Galilee (2:1) Again (4:46) Hour (2:4) Hour (4:52, Whatever He 53) says to you, do Seeing vs. it (2:5) Hearing (4:48, 50, 53) 2:12- 2:1 2:11 2:22 2:23-3:21 3:22 - 36 4:1-42 4:43 4:54 John 2-4 Observation 1: John 2:11 tells us that Jesus was performing signs and his disciples “believed.” [Word study: Does the word believe have a stable meaning in John?] But John 2:18 tells us that some of the Jews were demanding signs to authenticate Jesus’ authority. He gives them one (2:19) but they did not believe. Nor did his disciples until after the resurrection (2:22). Now, begin to integrate this into your understanding of “signs.” John 2-4 Observation 2: John 2:23-25 tells us that there are other signs which Jesus did and many believed. How does that illuminate into our solving of the “sign” question? Be specific, especially with Jesus’ response to their “level” of belief in 2:24-25. Now, how does 2:23-25 relate to chap 3-4? And, how will you read 3-4 differently based upon 2:23-25? Dig, and be specific. John 2-4 Observation 3: John 3:2 tells us that some of the Jews (even leaders of Jews) recognized Jesus’ signs. Observation 4: John 3:10-12 tells us that they did not understand the connection of Jesus’ signs with their divine significance (i.e., as told through Jesus’ testimony/word). Observation 5: John 3:13 tells us that Jesus is the only one with the “heavenly perspective.” (cf. also 1:32-33; 1:50; esp. 3:31-36) John 2-4 Observation 6: John 4:25-26 tells us that ancient Samaritan expectations of the Messiah (their Bible was only the Pentateuch; according Deut 18:18) is that “he will explain all things.” Thus, how important is it to recognize Jesus as Messiah? Observation 7: Note the implicit contrast in 4:27-42. How does John depict the disciples vs. the Samaritans? “Could this be the Messiah?” What does this mean to woman and Samaritans? John 2-4 Observation 8: John 4:39-42, seems to describe a new level of belief. What is it explicitly? What is it based upon? How does it change or grow? “We know that he is the Savior of the World (4:42. Cf. 20:30-31) John 2-4 Observation 9: Look to all the references to seeing/hearing about Jesus in 4:42-54. Observation 10: Jesus contrasts seeing faith vs. hearing faith (John 4:48; goal may be 20:28-29) Observation 11: Royal official believes simply in the words of Jesus, no sight involved (4:50, 53). Can a sign be a sign without seeing? John 2-4 First and Second Sign (shmei/on) of Jesus Samaritan Testifier Cleansing Samaritan Woman 2nd Sign John the Baptizer Cana of John the Testifier Nicodemus Temple Galilee (2:1) Cana of Galilee, Hour (2:4) Again (4:46) Whatever He Hour (4:52, says to you, do 53) it (2:5) Seeing vs. Hearing (4:48, 1st Sign 50, 53) 2:12- 2:1 2:11 2:22 2:23-3:21 3:22 - 36 4:1-42 4:43 4:54 John 2-4 Conclusion 1: It seems that John is defining “faith” for his readers (us) more than for the people in the story. We are watching the scenes unfold before us and John is describing what was taking place. John may even be relating to us (readers) that the people in the story did not fully understand what they were doing. Faith involves more than simple cognition. Conclusion 2: It seems to be clearly a reflective experience, based upon our understanding of Jesus, his words, works, origin. John 2-4 Conclusion 3: It seems that John is defining “faith” as a growth experience. It may begin defined as “Sign” faith. But John adds other factors to the mix to keep us from being satisfied with that kind of faith. (esp. 2:22 & 2:23-25). We are to push on to a deeper level of faith. Conclusion 4: This deeper level seems to have its foundation in the person of Jesus; his words and his origin. John 2:22 identifies it as “Resurrection faith.” And here the basis is scripture and Jesus’ words (the same thing?) John 2-4 Conclusion 5: But even “Resurrection faith” may not come immediately. It takes reflection and integration of the scriptures. See 20:9. Conclusion 6: Faith, for John does not exist without a Biblical understanding of Jesus (Old Testament and Jesus’ Words). John 2-4 Integration (larger context): Examine the life of Nicodemus as an example of the growing life of faith. 1. John 3:1-15 2. John 7:1-52 (esp. 7:50-51) 3. John 19:38-42 Application question: What does this mean for our own faith. How is John defining faith which applies to us? Qs. Are we better off living today or would our faith be stronger in Jesus’ day?
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