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Sunday, June 9, 2024

Class Assignment: What is the gospel, according to John?

Assignment: Without referencing any other New Testament writer, but you can reference any Hebrew Bible writer that the gospel author himself references, what is the gospel according to... 

Gospel Reading: John

Darrell Wolfe

Literature, The King’s University

Life of Jesus (BIBL-2302)

Professor Jason Moraff

November 15, 2020


1.       3:18-19 – Does God send people to hell? God did not send Jesus to condemn the world but to save it. He who believes is saved and does not believe is condemned (for they rejected the answer). What about those who have never heard? They did not reject him, yet. Hm.

2.       4:46-54 – Jesus is presented with a little girl who is sick unto death, and his response feels dismissive and frustrated? We often paint Jesus as a codependent “Oh, poor baby, I’m coming to the rescue”. But really? He was quite harsh at time, to my ears. What could this response teach me about walking as He did?

3.       Ch 6 – Eat my flesh and drink my blood. Why was Jesus so cryptic with his disciples? He practically provoked them to walk away. Why can’t God just say things as they are? Why do we constantly have to play guessing games with what God’s really saying or doing in our lives? This is a genuine frustration of mine.

4.       11:4 – So, does God bring sickness into our lives on purpose just so he can show off his ability to heal? That seems cruel. Yet, Jesus only ever healed. He never put sickness on anyone. What else could this be saying, rather than what I am hearing it say?

5.       Ch 11 – Jesus Wept. Why? He already said he knew Lazarus was dead and he was headed to raise him up. He just told Martha that was his intention (though she did not understand him). What would cause Jesus to weep here? Some say he identified with Martha and Mary’s pain. That could be true. But as a Widower, as I work with other Widow(er)s, I find myself reliving my own grief process. Could he have had his own earthly father’s death in mind as he wept?

6.       12:20-26 – What does the detail about Greeks asking to see Jesus have anything to do with his “answer” to them?

7.       20:23 – If I forgive someone’s sins, they are forgiven? If I do not forgive them, they are not forgiven? How does this make sense? What does this mean practically for me today?

8.       21:11 – With a limited number of words, John tells us that there were 153 fish in the net. That is a really odd detail to provide John. Why? My only thought so far, is that it is just another example of this grandfatherly style of John’s story.


·         John tells us that not about the Kingdom of God, but about our status as Children of God (1:12). He goes on to tell us that we are transitioning from Law to Grace and Truth through Jesus.

·         1:35-51 – Jesus started his ministry team with one interaction {Andrew and another (John?)}, and then built his team from there. I often wonder how I could ever build a ministry; it sounds so daunting. This tells me, I only have to reach one, then another, and so on.

·         3:14 – Adam fell to a live snake, Moses lifted up a dead snake, and Jesus became the substitutionary sacrifice to undo all the snake brought into this world.

·         Ch 11 – Two ironies in the Pharisees response. (1) Jesus raising the dead results in their plotting to kill him. (2) The High Priest prophesies the death of Jesus saving Israel, then plots to kill Jesus. His own mouth prophesied but he misunderstood the meaning of his own prophecy.

·         17:15, 21 – Could these statements affect how we consider politics? We are not to be taken out of the world; therefore, must engage it. The 2020 Christians in the USA are as divided as ever. The world seeing our unity will believe.

·         18:28 – Another irony, the Priests who sacrifice the Passover lamb every year, are literally sacrificing the true Passover Lamb himself, and they’re concerned about getting home and eating the lamb, small l.

·         My Bible points out that the Strong’s number for “love” is different between Jesus and Peter[1]. Do you Agape me, yes, I Phileo you. The second time, Agape/Phileo. The third time, Jesus comes down to Peter’s level. Do you Phileo me? Yes, I Phileo you. I think Jesus has to meet me at my level more often than I like to admit.

The Gospel According to John

As an immigrant grandfather telling the grandchildren and great-grandchildren stories of the old world, John tells the intimate story of his experiences with the great I AM. He seldom if ever mentions the Kingdom of God, preferring instead to point out that “… as many as received Him to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). This is the story of the Children of God, and the invitation for all people to become a part of that family. Throughout, John tells details of the land and language to his audience, indicating that they do not already know. This is either because he is writing to a non-Jewish audience or because he is writing after the fall of Jerusalem or both. It is interesting to note that he uses the blanket statement “The Jews” when he is obviously referring to the Jewish leaders such as the Pharisees; presenting a possible line of demarcation between this new broader family (all God’s people) and the old one (Just Israel). Yet, the Jewishness of Jesus is imperative to His story as the Passover Lamb. Throughout the story, Jesus shows us His father which is our Father. John gives intimate details throughout the story, as one who was reliving fond yet sometimes dark memories. He refers to himself only euphemistically as the “Disciple who Jesus loved”. In doing so, we get to live through John as our surrogate, for we too are the disciple whom Jesus loves today. John makes it clear, beyond doubt, that Jesus claimed to be God/God’s son; that Jesus existed long before Abraham was. Yet, this Son of God came to Earth, humbled himself as a man, and walked among us. The word that kept coming to me throughout this Gospel was “Intimate”: intimate details, intimate settings, and intimate loving interactions with Jesus. John even chooses to end his tale with an intimate encounter, beachside, where Jesus restores Peter by coming down to his level/ability to Love (Agape/Phileo). Then he signs it with an admission that he was the disciple whom Jesus loved and a first-hand witness to all these things. The Gospel according to John is this: We are all now part of one family, God’s family. Any and all who believe are welcome in Father’s house. There will be a cost to joining this family, but the cost of not joining is far greater.

[1] The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study BIBLE: Key Insights Into God’s Word. New King James (NKJV) (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, n.d.).

Shalom שָׁלוֹם: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant | Freelancer | Bible Nerd


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