Books of the Book: John

Unique Features of John

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Deyvy Rodriguez & Jon Paulien


Series Code: JBOTB

Program Code: JBOTB00001B

00:01 And we're studying the Gospel of John with Dr. Jon Paulien
00:04 And Dr. Paulien, you were telling us about--
00:08 it is better to have four stories
00:09 than one, tell us more?
00:12 Well, the ironical thing is that
00:14 for most people it isn't four stories.
00:16 Here you have what I call the Hollywood version of Jesus,
00:19 you know, what they do to put a movie together
00:21 where you have four of these different stories,
00:23 we try to find all the things where they agree
00:25 and create one story out of it and that's great.
00:28 And that has helped a lot of people.
00:30 One of my favorite books "Desire of Ages"
00:32 basically does that.
00:34 But the reality is we're missing a lot when we only do that
00:38 because each of these stories is unique and tells a unique story.
00:44 Let me just give you an example.
00:47 There's three toothpastes that are really
00:50 basically have the same ingredients
00:51 but they have a different purpose.
00:53 One is called Colgate,
00:55 and it has maximum fluoride protection, you know.
00:58 And then there's Close Up for the romantic types,
01:01 you know, who like to get close up.
01:04 And then there's Ultrabrite for people
01:06 who are worried about their appearance
01:08 and want bright shiny teeth.
01:10 Now the question I have for you is
01:11 which of these toothpaste is the right one?
01:14 Depends on what I'm looking for I suppose, I don't know.
01:18 I would probably say the cheapest one.
01:20 Is this an advertise? No.
01:24 but the point is this that each of those toothpastes
01:28 may have an audience, a certain people will say,
01:31 oh, I like that one, you know,
01:32 I want to have bright teeth
01:34 or I want to take care of my breath
01:36 or I want to have healthy teeth,
01:37 you know, and get rid of the cavities.
01:39 So you tend to pick toothpaste, it may be the same thing
01:42 but you still pick one or the other of these
01:44 because it's something that strikes you
01:47 and the point is this there is no one right gospel.
01:53 They are all telling the story of Jesus,
01:55 each may impact different lives,
01:58 but it tells me something very important
02:00 that I think a lot of people haven't fully understood
02:03 and that is there's more than one
02:05 right way to tell the story of Jesus.
02:09 And that means there's more than one right way to think.
02:15 I think that that can be tough for people,
02:18 people sort of have the impression,
02:19 if I'm right, you must be wrong, you see.
02:23 And if I know I'm right,
02:26 then I shouldn't listen to you because you are wrong, okay.
02:31 But if it's possible that two different followers of Jesus
02:35 may both know something right about Jesus
02:39 just like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
02:40 each knew something right about Jesus.
02:42 They told the story differently
02:45 but in telling the story differently,
02:47 it wasn't one was better than the other
02:50 or one was more right that the other.
02:52 They were all telling the story of Jesus in a correct way.
02:55 Now you can tell the story of Jesus
02:58 in a wrong way too, I'm not denying that.
03:01 But I think it's very important for me to understand
03:03 that if there's more than one right way to think,
03:07 then I need to listen to you,
03:09 I need to be willing to learn from you
03:10 because you may have a view of Jesus
03:13 that is in some aspects clearer than mine
03:16 that I need to learn from you.
03:18 And so the four gospels tell me that God is one who is willing
03:23 to come out of variety of directions to reach us.
03:26 In the Book of Revelation, you have seven churches
03:30 and each of them gets a different picture of Jesus.
03:34 People not always notice that,
03:36 there's a picture of Jesus in Chapter 1
03:38 and then these churches,
03:39 He comes differently to each church.
03:41 So He recognizes that we don't think alike.
03:45 We all come from a different background.
03:46 You come from Mexico, my parents came from Germany,
03:49 very different background
03:51 and yet we can listen to each other,
03:53 share like we're doing here, learn from each other
03:56 and that can be a wonderful thing
03:58 and the Bible of course gets to test
04:00 whether or not we've done it right.
04:04 The two extremes on the one hand
04:07 is there's only one right way to think
04:09 and that leads to a lot of religious wars
04:12 and then the other side is where every way is okay
04:15 and both of those are extreme positions.
04:17 The gospels tell us that
04:19 the gospel is the right way to think,
04:22 but there's more than one way to look at the gospel
04:25 It's like two witnesses or more than two witnesses
04:27 who experience something they've never met,
04:30 they've never seen each other, they tell their story.
04:33 You have two different point of views,
04:36 there might be two different stories
04:37 but then again it all leads
04:39 to the same experience they met, is that correct?
04:43 Yes, that's absolutely right.
04:44 And I think when you get to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
04:48 each of them has its own perspective.
04:50 Now John is really special in this sense.
04:54 Even the ancients recognized this,
04:56 probably one of the earliest Christian writers that we have
05:00 outside of the New Testament said that,
05:02 you know, these three gospels were written
05:04 but then John chose to write a spiritual gospel.
05:10 Somehow he saw the other three gospels
05:13 not as spiritual gospels, but something else.
05:16 And what I think he meant was
05:17 these were narratives about Jesus.
05:19 The stories were told because they happened.
05:23 But John isn't just telling stories because they happened.
05:26 Yeah, Jesus went to a wedding.
05:28 Yeah, He cleansed the temple.
05:30 Yeah, He fed the 5,000.
05:32 But John is telling a spiritual story
05:36 and one of the exciting things you discover
05:39 in the Gospel of John, there's no parables in it.
05:43 Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus tells parables.
05:46 These stories, sort of made up stories
05:49 that have a powerful point.
05:52 Why are there no parables in the Gospel of John?
05:54 Because the stories themselves are the parables.
05:59 The stories themselves have spiritual impact,
06:03 so when you're reading the Gospel of John,
06:05 you don't just say, "oh, Jesus went to a wedding,"
06:07 nice, I guess weddings are okay.
06:09 No, no, no, there is depth in that story
06:12 when we get to the wedding of Cana,
06:14 we'll spent the whole half hour
06:16 just exploring some of the depths in that story.
06:20 So John's gospel is different from the other three
06:23 and particularly is attempting to bring us
06:26 the powerful spiritual message.
06:28 So then it's more like
06:30 rather than narrative as you were saying.
06:33 It's an application, a spiritual application,
06:35 okay, so this is what it says,
06:37 now let me tell you what it means. Yeah.
06:39 And how that will fulfill your need,
06:43 your spiritual need. That's right.
06:45 So the Gospel of John often has been the most powerful,
06:48 most popular gospel for many people,
06:51 because it touches the heart
06:53 at a deeper level sometimes than the others.
06:56 And John, I've found,
06:57 is even deeper than the Book of Revelation.
07:00 Some of the depths in there are harder to come at
07:02 than the Book of Revelation.
07:03 We gonna be exploring some of that together.
07:06 You know, it's like a church, like let's say the presenter,
07:09 or the speaker, the preacher is he's giving his sermon,
07:13 but if there is no spiritual application to me
07:15 to say okay, this is what it means in my personal life.
07:19 This is how I should spiritually change or focus
07:24 and that's what I want rather than
07:27 okay, well, I know the facts, I've read that story before
07:30 but what does it mean to me
07:31 and how can I grow in my spiritual life.
07:34 So then John emphasizes
07:36 the spiritual aspect of the gospel.
07:39 Yeah, now let me show you
07:40 one of the ways in which this happens.
07:43 In the Gospel of John itself there are three Passovers.
07:47 You can find the first one in John 2:13
07:52 where it says, "When it was almost time
07:55 for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem."
07:58 So you have a Passover there
07:59 right at the beginning of the book.
08:01 Then John 6:4, and this is later on.
08:09 In John 6:4, it says,
08:11 "The Jewish Passover feast was near."
08:14 So this is at least a year later
08:16 because the Passover is only once every spring.
08:19 And then in John 12:1, notice what it says there.
08:23 In John 12 and Verse 1,
08:31 it says, "Six days before the Passover,
08:34 Jesus arrived to Bethany, where Lazarus lived,
08:38 whom Jesus had raised from the dead."
08:39 These are three different Passovers.
08:41 Three different Passovers, you see.
08:43 So you can divide the Gospel of John
08:45 with these three different Passovers.
08:49 So you have some sense in John
08:51 more than the other three of a passage of time.
08:54 Now here's where it gets interesting.
08:56 The first year takes 116 verses,
09:01 so from the first Passover to the second,
09:03 there's 116 verses.
09:05 Now watch this,
09:06 from the second Passover to the third,
09:09 there are 295 verses.
09:13 So what's happening here?
09:15 The narrative is slowing down.
09:18 It took 116 verses to cover the first year
09:21 but it takes 295 to cover the second year.
09:24 Then comes the death of Jesus
09:27 and that story is told in 293 verses.
09:31 What's happening here?
09:33 The narrative is slowing down.
09:36 It's getting slower and slower
09:38 until by the time he get to the cross,
09:40 it almost grinds to a halt.
09:42 What's John doing?
09:43 The cross is what this is all about.
09:45 The cross is the heart of this book.
09:47 That's the place that really makes a difference, you see.
09:51 So he's using the narrative speed going through the book
09:56 to point everything toward the cross.
09:59 And we'll find out later on
10:01 that even when we're in the beginning of the book,
10:02 we're still heading toward the cross.
10:06 Now John above all other gospels was concerned with time.
10:11 You have days mentioned.
10:12 For example, if you go to Chapter 1,
10:16 it tells the story of John the Baptist
10:19 in Verses 19 through 27 and then verse 29, it says,
10:25 "The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him."
10:29 Then in verse 35, "The next day,
10:31 John was there with two of his disciples."
10:33 In verse 43, "The next day,
10:36 Jesus decided to leave for Galilee."
10:38 And in Chapter 2:1,
10:40 "On the third day, a wedding took place."
10:43 John marks time off in the gospel,
10:47 none of the others do it quite this way.
10:50 Now if you take seriously these years in the text,
10:55 there's more than a thousand days that Jesus is ministering,
11:00 but only 29 are actually mentioned.
11:04 Only 29 days actually appear
11:09 in the Gospel of John, so what is he doing?
11:12 He's being extremely selective.
11:15 At the end of the book, he says, the very last verse, he says,
11:20 if everything about Jesus was written,
11:22 it would fill the whole world with books. Right.
11:24 So this book is selecting certain things
11:28 and in Chapter 20, I want you to look at this with me.
11:31 Why don't you read it for us, Chapter 20:30 and 31.
11:36 It says, "And truly Jesus did
11:38 many other signs in the presence of His disciples
11:41 which are not written in this book."
11:44 There's many things not written here.
11:46 So, what's written?
11:47 "But these are written that you may believe
11:49 that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of a God,
11:52 and that believing you may have life in His name."
11:56 So John has a purpose. He's being selective.
12:01 He's chosen only a few days out of Jesus ministry,
12:04 only a few miracles out of whole Jesus ministry.
12:07 He has a purpose.
12:09 The Gospel of John is being written for a purpose
12:12 and that purpose is that you and I might believe. Amen.
12:18 So as we look carefully
12:21 at how John is different from the other gospels,
12:23 we'll also discover his unique picture of Jesus
12:27 and that's the one we want to draw out
12:28 in the series of programs.
12:30 And I'm looking forward to seeing
12:31 those unique pictures of Jesus and I hope you too, friends,
12:34 have and find the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ.


Revised 2014-12-17