RESOURCES FOR THIS STUDY AND YOUR FUTURE STUDIES:
Anderson, Paul. N. The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel: An Introduction to John. (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2011).
Brown, Raymond E. The Community of the Beloved Disciple: The Life, Loves, and Hates of an Individual Church in New Testament Times. (Paulist Press, New York, 1979).
________________. The Gospel According to John I – XII. Volume 29 of the Anchor Bible Series, Series edited by W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman. (Doubleday, Garden City NY, 1966).
________________. The Gospel According to John XIII – XXI. Volume 29A of the Anchor Bible Series, Series edited by W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman. (Doubleday, Garden City NY, 1970).
Elowsky, Joel C. editor. John 1 – 10. Volume IVa of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series edited by Thomas C. Oden. (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2006).
__________________. John 11 – 21. Volume IVb of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series edited by Thomas C. Oden. (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2007).
Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of John: A Commentary Volume One. (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody MA, 2003).
_______________ The Gospel of John: A Commentary Volume Two. (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody MA, 2003).
Lewis, Scott M. The Gospel According to John and the Johannine Letters. Part of the New Collegeville Bible Commentary series edited by Daniel Durkin O.S.B. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 2005).
Maloney S.D.B., Francis J. The Gospel of John. Volume 4 of the Sacra Pagina series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S.J. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 1998).
Martyn, J. Louis. History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel. One of the Classics in the New Testament Library series whose editorial board is C. Clifton Black, John T. Carroll, and Beverly Roberts Gaventa. Third Edition. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).
O’Day, Gail R. The Gospel of John: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections. In Volume IX of the New Interpreter’s Bible whose editorial board is convened by Leander Kick. (Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1995).
Sloyan, Gerard. John. Part of the Interpretation series edited by Mays, Miller, Achtemeier.
(John Knox Press, Atlanta GA, 1988).
TEXT FOR LESSON FIVE: CHAPTER 7 AND 8
John Chapter 7
After this, Jesus moved about within Galilee; but he did not wish to travel inJudea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near. So his brothers said to him,
“Leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. No one works in secret if he wants to be known publicly. If you do these things, manifest yourself to the world.”
For his brothers did not believe in him.
So Jesus said to them,
“My time is not yet here, but the time is always right for you.
The world cannot hate you, but it hates me,
because I testify to it that its works are evil.
You go up to the feast.
I am not going up to this feast,
because my time has not yet been fulfilled.”
After he had said this, he stayed on inGalilee.
But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,
he himself also went up,
not openly but (as it were) in secret.
The Jews were looking for him at the feast and saying,
“Where is he?”
And there was considerable murmuring about him in the crowds.
“He is a good man,”
(while) others said,
“No; on the contrary, he misleads the crowd.”
Still, no one spoke openly about him because they were afraid of the Jews.
When the feast was already half over, Jesus went up into the temple area and began to teach. The Jews were amazed and said,
“How does he know scripture without having studied?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“My teaching is not my own but is from the one who sent me.
Whoever chooses to do his will shall know whether my teaching is from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on his own seeks his own glory, but whoever seeks the glory of the one who sent him is truthful, and there is no wrong in him.
Did not Moses give you the law?
Yet none of you keeps the law.
Why are you trying to kill me?”
The crowd answered,
“You are possessed! Who is trying to kill you?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“I performed one work and all of you are amazed because of it.
Moses gave you circumcision—
not that it came from Moses but rather from the patriarchs—
and you circumcise a man on the sabbath.
If a man can receive circumcision on a sabbath
so that the law of Moses may not be broken,
are you angry with me because I made a whole person well on a sabbath?
Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly.”
So some of the inhabitants ofJerusalemsaid,
“Is he not the one they are trying to kill?
And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him.
Could the authorities have realized that he is the Messiah?
But we know where he is from.
When the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”
So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
“You know me and also know where I am from.
Yet I did not come on my own,
but the one who sent me,
whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”
So they tried to arrest him,
but no one laid a hand upon him,
because his hour had not yet come.
But many of the crowd began to believe in him, and said,
“When the Messiah comes,
will he perform more signs than this man has done?”
The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring about him to this effect,
and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent guards to arrest him.
So Jesus said,
“I will be with you only a little while longer,
and then I will go to the one who sent me.
You will look for me but not find (me),
and where I am you cannot come.”
So the Jews said to one another,
“Where is he going that we will not find him?
Surely he is not going to the dispersion among the Greeks to teach the Greeks,
What is the meaning of his saying,
‘You will look for me and not find (me), and where I am you cannot come’?”
On the last and greatest day of the feast,
Jesus stood up and exclaimed,
“Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as scripture says:
‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him.'”
He said this in reference to the Spirit
that those who came to believe in him were to receive.
There was, of course, no Spirit yet,
because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Some in the crowd who heard these words said,
“This is truly the Prophet.”
“This is the Messiah.”
But others said,
“The Messiah will not come from Galilee, will he?
Does not scripture say that the Messiah will be of David’s family
and come fromBethlehem,
the village where David lived?”
So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.
Some of them even wanted to arrest him,
but no one laid hands on him.
So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them,
“Why did you not bring him?”
The guards answered,
“Never before has anyone spoken like this one.”
So the Pharisees answered them,
“Have you also been deceived?
Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?
But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.”
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,
“Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?”
They answered and said to him,
“You are not fromGalileealso, are you?
Look and see that no prophet arises fromGalilee.”
Then each went to his own house,
while Jesus went to theMount of Olives.
John Chapter 8
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area,
and all the people started coming to him,
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law,
Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response,
they went away one by one, beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said,
“Neither do I condemn you.
Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more.”
Jesus spoke to them again, saying,
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
So the Pharisees said to him,
“You testify on your own behalf, so your testimony cannot be verified.”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Even if I do testify on my own behalf,
my testimony can be verified,
because I know where I came from and where I am going.
But you do not know where I come from or where I am going.
You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone.
And even if I should judge,
my judgment is valid, because I am not alone,
but it is I and the Father who sent me.
Even in your law it is written that the testimony of two men can be verified.
I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me.”
So they said to him,
“Where is your father?”
“You know neither me nor my Father.
If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”
He spoke these words while teaching in the treasury in the temple area.
But no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
He said to them again,
“I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come.”
So the Jews said,
“He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said,
‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
He said to them,
“You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you?”
Jesus said to them,
“What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world.”
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said (to them),
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him,
“If you remain in my word,
you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him,
“We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone.
How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains.
So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you.
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father.”
They answered and said to him,
“Our father is Abraham.”
Jesus said to them,
“If you were Abraham’s children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham.
But now you are trying to kill me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”
(So) they said to him,
“We are not illegitimate. We have one Father, God.”
Jesus said to them,
“If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me.
Why do you not understand what I am saying?
Because you cannot bear to hear my word.
You belong to your father the devil
and you willingly carry out your father’s desires.
He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth,
because there is no truth in him.
When he tells a lie, he speaks in character,
because he is a liar and the father of lies.
But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me.
Can any of you charge me with sin?
If I am telling the truth, why do you not believe me?
Whoever belongs to God hears the words of God;
for this reason you do not listen,
because you do not belong to God.”
The Jews answered and said to him,
“Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and are possessed?”
“I am not possessed;
I honor my Father, but you dishonor me.
I do not seek my own glory;
there is one who seeks it and he is the one who judges.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
(So) the Jews said to him,
“Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets,
yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?”
“If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.
So the Jews said to him,
“You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
VIDEO NOTES FOR LESSON FIVE
Confrontation with Jewish authorities takes center-stage in these chapters.
Theological concerns: Jesus was divine, Jesus was the Messiah, controversy between church and synagogue at the end of the first century.
The speaker says: “The Jews” refers to Temple authorities and the Pharisees. (Others say irony at play here since they were ALL Jews.)
Feast of Tabernacles:
- Week-long autumn harvest festival
- A required pilgrimage feast for those within 15 miles
- Feast of Booths / huts other names
- A giving thanks for all the blessings of our lives.
- Reminder of the dwelling in tents in the desert.
- Rituals for this festivals involved water to evoke memories of the same in the history of Israel. Pool of Siloam water poured over the altar.
On that day, you will say:
I give you thanks, O LORD;
though you have been angry with me,
your anger has abated, and you have consoled me.
God indeed is my salvation; I am confident and unafraid.
For the LORD is my strength and my might,
and he has been my salvation.
With joy you will draw water
from the fountains of salvation,
And you will say on that day:
give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
Among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
- On this feast then, Jesus proclaims: Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says: “rivers of living water will flow from within him.’”
- In addition to the water imagery – the illumination of the Temple. 4 huge candelabra, lit the whole city of Jerusalem! Here Jesus says: “I am the light of the world.”
- Psalm 27:1: “The LORD is my light and my salvation.”
- “I am” = eigo eimiin Greek, Hebrew tetragrammaton YHWH. Exodus 3:14: “I AM sent me to you.”
- 5 times a function
- I am the light,
- the way,
- the resurrection and the life,
- the way, the truth and the life
- the true vine
- 5 times a function
- 3 times simply “I AM” in chapter 8
Did Jesus actually make the claim to be divine? Or was this a theological statement by John?
We can’t be sure. However, in faith we know that they are true.
Woman caught in adultery story only present in John, was not present in early manuscripts.
What did he write on the ground / why?
- Stalling for time?
- To force the accusers to repeat the charges and thereby realize how harsh and even sadistic they sounded
- The names of the accusers and their sins in the dirt.
- Jeremiah 17:13: “Those who turn away from thee shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR LESSON FIVE – CHAPTERS 7 AND 8
Lewis p. 43: “That there may have been tensions and misunderstandings among Jesus’ family members is probably more accurate than later piety would admit, for this is corroborated by Mark 3:21, 31-35, and 6:1-6, where his family is depicted in rather negative terms.”
Feast of Tabernacles – modern day Sukkot, Feast of Booths. This is a great fall harvest festival – original booths may have been for staying out near the fields for convenience and to protected harvested grain from animals and thieves. Theologized early in the tradition as a re-living of the desert experience of dwelling in tents, in temporary quarters and on the move, heading toward the promised land. They slept in the booths and ate their meals there for the 7 days of the festival. An eighth day was then added on to celebrate all that the LORD had done for them and will do in the future.
The Feast of Tabernacles had a water symbolism running through it. For the first 7 days of the festival water was brought from the pool of Siloam and poured out on the altar each day of the festival. This was connected to thanksgiving for rain in the past and in hopes of rain in the future. This, in turn, was also an element of their messianic expectations – when the Messiah came there would always be abundant rain. Other messianic expressions included the idea of multiple rivers of water flowing out of the temple to provide for the whole world. On the eighth day – water was not used. It was on THAT day that Jesus stands up and tells the people that he is the living water.
Additionally there was a strong theme of Light through the 7 days. The temple had additional lamps brought in that stayed lit all night long and psalms were sung and people danced. The whole temple was lit up – to the point that it lit up all ofJerusalem. This was theologized as well – the pillar of light during the days in the desert. On the eight day of the Feast (chapter 8) Jesus proclaims “I am the light of the world.”
The essence of the controversy – in the name of the LORD “hoi Judaoi” (the Jews) – were rejecting Jesus and his teaching. Since Jesus came from the LORD and was himself the “Word of the LORD” this was, in effect, a rejection of God by them – as Jesus points out. This only makes “hoi Judaoi” angrier and more determined. Another group, “the people” makes an appearance. Also Jews, but as of then, neither committed to Jesus nor in opposition to him. This controversy was likely much more rooted in the life of John’s community – the battle within a synagogue between Jews who believed in Jesus and Jews who did not “hoi Judaoi” and accused them of leading others astray.
Sloyan p. 89: “Since two historical situations, the Jewish and the Christian, were in flux on the concept of “Messiah”, it is unwise to charge anyone in retrospect for having failed to recognize Jesus as such. John gives us the bitter exchanges on the question he was most familiar with. … It took the church the long, hard road from the Fourth Gospel (90AD) to Nicaea (325AD) to express its faith in Jesus as Christ and Son of God, the opponents of Jesus in John should not carelessly be charged with lack of faith in him.”
The Law calls for circumcision “on the eighth day” – in the later tradition this was approved even if that is the Sabbath day. Perhaps this arises as an issue in the text because of the healing on the Sabbath day that Jesus in 5:2-18.
Smith p. 44: “They engage in speculation about the identity and possible messianic status of Jesus, but militating against this is their assertion that they know his origins, whereas the origins of the Messiah will be unknown. This is Johannine irony, for they don’t really know where he is from; his origins and identity are not defined by earthly categories but by God.”
Moloney p. 259: “For sound textual reasons it is universally admitted that the account of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery does not belong to the Fourth Gospel.” (interrupts flow, different theme though it supports increasing controversy …) It is a synoptic gospel type story. In the earliest manuscripts that we have of the Gospel of John it is not there at all. It does not appear in Gospel of John texts until after the year 900. However – the church teaches that it is the text we have today that is the Bible, the Word of God.
What did he write on the ground? Moloney suggests that it is simply a sign of weariness and indifference to the questioners since their intent is only to try to trap him. Keener p. 738: “Others suggest that Jesus, as a Roman judge would write his sentence before reading it aloud, Jesus writes acquittal; this suggestion has much to commend it, because ancients could easily read the text with this assumption.” In any event – what he wrote is not central to the story.
Some irony in the next unit of this chapter. Hoi Juadaoi have been ‘seeking’ Jesus to put him to death. Now Jesus says that they will seek him but die themselves.
“Will he kill himself?” parallel to earlier questions that make their confusion and inability to understand obvious and sadly humorous. (Nicodemus – How can I be born a second time? later – How can he give us his flesh to eat and his blood to drink?”
physical descent from Abram may make them Jews – but that is no guarantee, in and of itself, that they follow the LORD.
Keener p. 755: “Abraham filled the special role of intercessor in later Jewish tradition, a portrait the rabbis applied especially to his posthumously efficacious intercession for Israel. They also developed the tradition that all Israel would be saved into the idea that Abraham rescued all but the most wicked Israelites from Gehenna, or that God created him afterward to set straight the result of Adam’s sin.”
FOR NEXT WEEK:
- Read and pray over John chapters 9 & 10.
- Read the commentary pages 51 to 57.
- Ponder and pray over the questions in the workbook for this unit. Which questions are most important to you?
- Are the bad things that happen to us in life (car accidents, sickness etc.) a result of our sins?
- #13 – Who are the good shepherds in your life?