In the December 11 Come, Follow Me segment of the Interpreter Radio Show, our hosts Terry Hutchinson, John Gee, and Kevin Christensen discuss New Testament lesson 4 on John 1.
You can listen to or download the New Testament in Context segment of the December 11th broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show below. It will also be included in our podcast feed (https://interpreterfoundation.org/feeds/podcast). The other segments of the December 11 radio show can be accessed at https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreter-radio-show-december-11-2022.
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Original air date: December 11, 2022. This recording has been edited to remove commercial breaks.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 25:45 — 10.3MB)
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The lesson title is just a little problematic to me, because it seems to imply that the disciples were looking for and found an already fully Christian Messiah, because that’s how we read “Messiah” and “Christ” now – we can’t help but impose our perspective on the text. But the disciples weren’t blank slates ready for the new message of the Good News, they were first-century Jews fully part of that culture and fully expecting that the promised Messiah they’d found would make things right again, like the good old days before the Exile. The manual’s (a problematic term itself) approach to this chapter negates their journey of discovery, learning and growth. We need to remember that even the disciples learned line by line and received grace for grace, just like anyone else, and it will take them three years and the entire Gospel of John to realize the full import of what it is they think they’ve found in chapter 1 (a perspective lost in the compartmentalized lesson format).
John’s thesis is spelled out in 20.31 – “…these things are written that you may believe that *Jesus* is the [Messiah], the Son of God…” (Wayment), but it’s through the eyes of the disciples, and their coming to understand what that means, that John’s hearers/readers come to know it. John shows us all the signs and wonders, and he shows us how the disciples had their paradigm not just shifted, but transposed to another octave and key – but not until there is a resurrection to witness can they really understand completely. We are along for the ride, and should put ourselves in the disciples’ sandals, allowing the new reality (from their perspective) of the resurrection to redefine what the Messiah/Christ is for us as well. I think we miss that, especially when we flippantly ask questions like “why couldn’t they see what was right in front of them?” as if what is clear to us after 2000 years should have been clear to them. It wasn’t right in front of anyone*. Not in the beginning, anyway.
*John the Baptist is a unique case, but even he was not outside his Jewish culture.