Books of the Book: John

John Among the Gospels

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Deyvy Rodriguez & Jon Paulien


Series Code: JBOTB

Program Code: JBOTB00003A

00:19 Hello, friends.
00:20 We're so glad that you're able to join us
00:22 in this Bible study,
00:23 in this program "Books of the Book."
00:25 My name is Deyvy Rodriguez
00:27 and we are studying the Gospel of John.
00:29 And with me is Dr. Jon Paulien,
00:32 he is the dean of religion at Loma Linda University.
00:37 Welcome, Dr. Paulien. Thank you.
00:39 It's good to be here with you. All right, good to have you.
00:43 You know, the last program we were talking about
00:45 how Jesus was directing the disciples
00:49 and He said to them,
00:50 "I am the vine, you are the branches."
00:53 And earlier in another program you said that,
00:56 He referred to the branches as the disciples.
01:00 Now tell us a little more about that.
01:03 Well, I think obviously
01:05 some people might have questions about it.
01:06 So I'm glad you brought that back.
01:09 Because I think even if you look at some commentaries,
01:11 people will say, "I am the vine, you are the branches."
01:15 That's talking to us.
01:16 You know, about our relationship with Jesus.
01:19 And that's what I would call the devotional reading
01:21 and there's nothing wrong with it,
01:23 it's powerful, it's helpful, but it's kind of related
01:26 to what we talked in the first program
01:28 about a Hollywood kind of Jesus where--
01:30 where all you see about Jesus
01:32 is what make sense to us, you see.
01:35 But if you don't take that story out of its context,
01:40 actually go back into the context
01:42 when Jesus says, "I am the vine,
01:44 you are the branches." He is talking to His disciples.
01:46 They're having a conversation back and forth.
01:49 So the scholarly approach to the book
01:53 is not to undo the devotional approach
01:55 'cause that has its own value,
01:57 but when you see the original context of the story,
02:02 when you read it the way it was written
02:04 and you realized Jesus is saying something to these disciples,
02:09 then you're seeing something bigger,
02:11 something different, something additional.
02:14 John has a story to tell to and we miss it sometimes
02:19 when we read it only in the light
02:21 of the other gospels and read it only devotionally
02:25 and we miss some very powerful things.
02:27 So I was pointing out that in that story of the vine
02:30 and branches was a message to the second generation
02:33 who never had a physical contact with Jesus.
02:36 That if they stayed connected to the disciples,
02:39 they would be the fruit.
02:41 You see, if they stay connected to disciples,
02:43 then they would be connected to Jesus through the disciples.
02:47 So the words of the gospel,
02:49 the words of John are our connection to Jesus
02:53 through the disciple John.
02:54 So it can be viewed both ways that the disciples today
02:59 we are also the branches, right? Yeah.
03:02 You see scholars in the last 50 years
03:04 have more and more started reading these Bible books,
03:07 attempting to understand the original context
03:10 what actually was happening there.
03:12 And in doing that we spot all kinds of things
03:16 that we have missed before
03:17 and things that could give us fresh insights into God,
03:20 fresh insights into Jesus.
03:22 I don't want us to miss those treasures
03:25 by simply saying over and over
03:27 what people have seen through the centuries.
03:29 So if some of our viewers will say,
03:31 "I never heard that before." That's true.
03:33 There was a time in my life I hadn't heard it before either,
03:36 but as you read the gospel in the original language,
03:39 understanding the context in which it was written,
03:42 some things emerged that you would've missed before.
03:45 And John has a lot of depths in this gospel
03:48 that people have missed. Well, you know what?
03:50 Are we studying today in the Gospel of John?
03:54 Well, this is the third of three programs
03:57 where we're looking at the entire gospel,
04:00 and just sort of asking what's special about it,
04:02 what's unique about it, what's different?
04:05 If you were to take the four gospels
04:07 and put them side by side
04:09 and mark everything that's similar,
04:12 the unmark stuff is what's unique to that gospel.
04:17 And trying to understand any of these gospels
04:20 is good to start with that unique stuff,
04:23 and that's what we've been doing here.
04:26 Now who wrote John is a question that comes up.
04:29 It says, "John." Right?
04:32 But that's a title that's on there.
04:35 If you actually read the text,
04:36 it doesn't say who the author is,
04:38 it's kind of anonymous,
04:40 but it does suggests that the very end
04:43 that the author of the gospel was a beloved disciple.
04:48 So it's somebody who was one of the 12,
04:52 he was with Jesus
04:54 and he is often a companion of Peter in the gospel.
04:58 So there is a beloved disciple,
05:01 not named who's always wherever Peter is.
05:04 When you get to the Book of Acts which John didn't write,
05:08 you get there,
05:09 Peter is always traveling around with John, you see.
05:13 So John isn't mentioned here,
05:15 but he is a disciple that Jesus loved,
05:17 who is always with Peter, and so from that,
05:20 we get the sense that John is--
05:23 is the one that wrote this gospel
05:25 and that's what the early church decided
05:27 and they put that on as the title.
05:30 Around what time was the Gospel of John written?
05:34 Do we have any information about that?
05:37 Well, you know, it's very, very interesting
05:39 that scholars at one time, particularly skeptical scholars
05:43 thought it was written as late as a 170 AD,
05:46 which would be several generations
05:48 after the time of Jesus.
05:51 And in doing that, they basically said,
05:53 the gospel is not historical,
05:55 it doesn't tell us a real story of Jesus,
05:57 it's simply made up stories.
06:00 Well, there's a problem with that theory.
06:03 They've recently found a fragment
06:05 of a manuscript about this size that has John 18 in it
06:10 and the date of that manuscript is about 115 AD,
06:13 in other words, 60 years earlier
06:15 than what people thought.
06:17 If you've got copies of the Gospel of John in 115,
06:20 it must have been written even earlier.
06:22 So scholars today are pretty united
06:25 that the Gospel of John is probably
06:27 the last book written in the New Testament
06:31 even after the Book of Revelation.
06:33 Not the last gospel,
06:34 but the last book of the New Testament. Right.
06:37 Yeah, the other gospels were quite a bit earlier.
06:39 Yeah, they were written sort of in the lifetime
06:42 of most of the disciples, but John outlives the disciples.
06:46 And just before he dies,
06:47 if you remember the context from our last program,
06:50 just before he dies,
06:52 he writes his gospel to first all the rumor
06:55 that he was gonna live till Jesus comes, you see.
06:58 So Gospel of John is probably the last gospel
07:01 written maybe 95, 180 AD,
07:04 which is 70 years after the crucifixion.
07:07 John was an old man there.
07:09 And so the Gospel of John comes to us
07:14 within the lifetime of one of the disciple,
07:17 so it still has that memory of the actual Jesus.
07:20 So John writes the gospel just before he dies.
07:25 Where does he write the gospel?
07:28 Well, that's an interesting story
07:30 because some of the early church fathers
07:33 talked about that and they suggest that John
07:38 and his community were in Jerusalem
07:40 for decades after Jesus died on the cross.
07:43 But then, just before
07:45 the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
07:48 You may remember the Romans came around the mid '60s,
07:52 35 years or so after the crucifixion,
07:54 they surrounded Jerusalem
07:55 and then one night they just left.
07:59 And people remember that Jesus had said
08:03 when you see the cities surrounded by armies,
08:05 know that its destruction is near.
08:08 So when the Romans left, a lot of the Christians escaped
08:12 remembering the words of Jesus.
08:13 And John and his community went across the Jordan River
08:17 into what we would call Jordan today
08:20 and they stayed there for a while
08:21 and then the community left and went to Asia Minor.
08:25 So we have evidence that John lived in Ephesus
08:30 at the latter end of his life.
08:32 We know that he was on Patmos for the time,
08:34 an island off the cost there that can be visited today.
08:38 And Ephesus can be visited today.
08:40 It's a remarkable ancient ruin.
08:42 So it was probably written from Ephesus.
08:45 Now John did not only write the gospel, right?
08:48 He wrote 1st, 2nd and 3rd John. Right.
08:52 He wrote Revelation. Yeah.
08:54 Can you give us maybe the gospel
08:58 where along that period that he write it or--
09:02 We don't know exactly.
09:03 I mean, it's possible-- it's generally felt
09:06 that the gospel is written after he left Patmos.
09:09 We know that in 96 AD,
09:13 the emperor that imprisoned John on Patmos died
09:17 and was replaced by a new dynasty.
09:19 And so it's usually assumed that in 96,
09:22 he was released to go back to Ephesus.
09:24 And just felt that those three letters in the gospels,
09:28 the gospel was written at that time.
09:31 I personally think the gospel is the very last one written
09:35 because its very context is the impending death of John.
09:39 But this John while he writes from Ephesus,
09:42 he knows Palestine very well.
09:46 And here's an interesting piece of it.
09:48 Luke doesn't know Palestine.
09:51 When you read the Gospel of Luke,
09:53 he doesn't know the relationship of all these things.
09:56 He's not a local. He is getting the second hand.
09:59 He is interviewing people.
10:01 He is reading gospels and he's putting this together.
10:06 So in Luke, Jesus sets out from Galilee to Jerusalem,
10:11 his first stop on the trip is Bethany,
10:14 two miles out of Jerusalem.
10:17 Then he travels for eight more chapters
10:19 and ends up in Jericho 27 miles from Jerusalem.
10:23 You see, clearly some things are mixed up
10:25 in terms of the geography.
10:27 That was not Luke's strength,
10:29 was the geography 'cause he had never lived there
10:31 except maybe for a short time
10:33 with Paul on one of the visits there.
10:37 So John on the other hand, he knows it back and forth.
10:41 He knows where Jacob's Well is.
10:43 You can visit Jacob's Well today.
10:46 Many scholars doubted the Bible because they said,
10:48 "It's a story of the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem."
10:51 There is no Pool of Bethesda.
10:54 Well, guess what? We found it.
10:57 And it's 100 meters by 70 meters.
11:00 It's huge, but it just was forgotten and they thought,
11:04 "Oh, John doesn't know what he is talking about."
11:06 He is talking about Pool of Bethesda.
11:07 Well, it's actually there. So John writes those details?
11:11 Yes. Which is good.
11:13 Yeah. Yeah.
11:14 There are little historical details in the Gospel of John,
11:18 no other writer has
11:19 and they're proven to be accurate.
11:21 For example, he says
11:23 that Jesus in John 10 was in Solomon's portico
11:28 and it was winter.
11:31 Well, what does that have to do with anything?
11:34 Solomon's portico is the part of the temple
11:38 that got sun at the end of the day
11:42 and was sheltered from the win
11:43 which in winter time came the other direction.
11:46 If it's winter, that's the one part of the temple court
11:48 you want to be as it's nice.
11:51 Yeah, 20 degree Celsius in there
11:53 even though it's freezing everywhere else,
11:56 you can have classes there,
11:57 there's no wind, there's no chill,
11:59 the sun is beating in
12:01 and warming that little portico there.
12:02 So there is a little detail
12:05 that could only be here if the guy knew
12:08 what he was talking about.
12:10 He was sharing actual events with details
12:13 that prove that they actually occurred.
12:16 And so when he says, for example,
12:20 that Peter gestures to John at the table,
12:23 it's kind of like, you know,
12:25 please John, hey, ask him a question.
12:27 And when he does that, we take them seriously
12:31 because those details are all through the gospel.
12:35 John has a number of these little details,
12:37 no other gospel writer has and they connect with archeology
12:41 and with history,
12:43 so we find that to be a very believable gospel.
12:46 Tell us about John the person? Who was John?
12:51 What was different about him
12:53 that perhaps the other 11 disciples?
12:57 Well, John was probably the youngest of the disciples.
13:00 I mean, he lived long, long time afterward,
13:03 so he may have been just a teenager
13:06 when he was following Jesus.
13:08 And one other things is mentioned about him
13:12 is that he was a son of thunder, you know. Okay.
13:16 Now that suggests somebody who is kind of loud and noisy,
13:21 you know the big mouth and stuff like that.
13:24 Perhaps he mellowed out a little bit
13:26 as he got older 'cause he seems more,
13:28 you know, gentler and humble
13:30 at the time the gospel was written.
13:32 But when he was following Jesus,
13:33 he was bit of a troublemaker, you know.
13:35 He and his brother came to Jesus,
13:37 you know, and the mother is asking for them,
13:40 you know, can they sit at your right hand
13:41 and left when you get into the kingdom.
13:43 So even while being the disciple of Jesus.
13:44 Oh, yeah. He was mischievous.
13:45 Oh, yeah. Yeah.
13:47 And there was one time
13:49 when they are passing through a Samaritan village
13:52 and the people refused them hospitality,
13:54 they says, "Hey, shall we call fire down from heaven
13:56 to destroy the village?" You know so.
13:58 That was not always his character
14:01 eventually after so long with Jesus.
14:04 His character was eventually transformed,
14:07 isn't that right? Yeah, that's right.
14:09 And even in the gospel or not the gospel,
14:11 but his letters, his epistles first, second, and third
14:15 or you know, they talk so much of God's love.
14:18 Yeah. That's right.
14:20 So he definitely mellowed as he walked with Jesus.
14:23 Jesus, you know, made a difference
14:25 in his heart and changed him.
14:27 Well, there's a lot of things about the Gospel of John
14:30 that are definitely unique to John
14:33 and we'll get back to some of those after the break.


Revised 2014-12-17