Saturday, October 4, 2008

Intensive Gospel Study: John 12

Reading Sheet
JOHN – Chapter 12

What/who was important to Jesus?

Belief and unbelief

What needs did Jesus meet?

Jesus summarizes His teachings on eternal life and dethroned worldly powers to liberate the oppressed

What did Jesus ask or require of his followers?

To believe in God

What issues did Jesus address (relationships, work, money, character, religious practice, etc.)?
Unbelief and Imperialism---Jesus scandalously rides peacefully into Jerusalem and is declared King Of The Jews (a political act) shortly afterward metaphorically dethroning Caesar or as Luke 1.52 puts it: “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has lifted up the humble” and as Luke 4.18-19, quoting from Isaiah 61states:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

What is compelling to you about Jesus in this section?

John 12 is strong on the messianic fulfillment of Jesus: first, John 12 contains a combination of two different anointing traditions about Jesus---which are the Markan and Lukan traditions; next, a narrative about the Triumphal Entry connected with Zechariah 9:9---which proclaims the coming of Israel’s king---but what is also interesting is that Joshua in Zechariah 6:12 is called a tsemach, which is Hebrew for branch and Jesus’ Hebrew name is Yahshua or Yeshua, which is close to Joshua’s Hebrew name and Jesus is called The Branch; also, one other key point is the allusion to Psalm 118:26 in John 12, which is connected to the Davidic line of the Messiah (See The New Interpreter’s Bible: Volume IX---Luke/John and Commentary On The New Testament Use Of The Old Testament by G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson for further information)

How do followers respond to Jesus?
We are to believe in Jesus and to bear witness to Him

What in this section challenges us to respond/ imitate/obey?

Same as above

How did Jesus change the world (for an individual or for a community)? He dethroned all worldly powers and liberated the oppressed or as Thomas Helwys puts it: “The King is a mortall man and not God, therefore hath no power over (an)y immortall soules of his subjects to make lawes and ordinances for them and to set spirituall Lords over them.” (I would also recommend Marcus Borg’s Jesus: Uncovering The Life, Teachings And Relevance Of A Religious Revolutionary and John Dominic Crossan’s God And Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then And Now for more information on this subject)

What vision of being missional do you glimpse for yourself? For the church? Jesus liberates our conscious(es) from all worldly powers, so that we are free to follow only Him---part of this liberation is the foundation of the firm Baptist belief in the separation of church and state and another part of this is the church’s mission to liberate the oppressed and to pursue social justice for the marginalized as in moderate versions of these movements:
Liberation_Theology and the Social Gospel Movement--- also, the church must move beyond imperialism as in this anonymous quote:
“There is a difference between my experience of God and who God is. There is a difference between affirming that I walk into the mystery of God through the doorway called Jesus and that in my experience this is the only doorway that works in my journey, and asserting that there is no doorway through which anyone can walk except mine. Imagine the idolatry present in the suggestion that God must be bound by my knowledge and experience! Yet that claim has been made and is still being made by imperialistic Christians today. The text written by persecuted minority members of the early Christian community to justify their claim to be part of the larger people of God becomes a text that is interpreted in such a way as to become a claim that issues in religious imperialism. Is it not interesting how little attention is paid to another text that proclaims an open and inclusive faith? It is found in the words attributed to Peter in Acts 10:34ff.: ‘Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.’ We live in a religiously pluralistic world, but there is only one God. This God is not a Christian, nor is this God an adherent of any religious system. All religious systems are human creations by which people in different times and different places seek to journey into that which is ultimately holy and wholly other. Until that simple lesson is heard, human beings will continue to destroy each other in the name of the ‘one true God.’" And Dr. Jonas’ response: “Anonymous, That is an incredibly well-said comment. I agree. I like your designation ‘Imperialistic Christians.’ I think there are way too many today, especially in America. But, as I teach college students, I am seeing a difference in the midsets of the younger generation and that gives me hope. Many of my students are turned off by exclusivity.” ---(See: Here)---also, Jesus said: “blessed are the peacemakers” not blessed are the warmongers

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