Week 5 (Feb. 5 – 11): Luke 20 – John 11

Reading Plans for days 29 to 35:

Sunday, 2/5:  Luke 20-22
Monday, 2/6: Luke 23-24
Tuesday, 2/7: John 1-3
Wednesday, 2/8: John 4-5
Thursday, 2/9: John 6-7
Friday, 2/10: John 8-9
Saturday, 2/11: John 10-11

Some introductory comments:

The Gospel of John

The Gospel of John stands both with and apart from the other three synoptic Gospels. Like Matthew, Mark, and Luke, John tells us about the life and miracles of Jesus. But the manner in which John tells the gospel account is radically different than the other three. John lacks most of the well-known parables that Jesus shares in the other gospels, and instead has seven “I am” metaphorical statements by which Jesus seeks to describe who he is. John seems to share more theological rumination about and interpretation of Jesus’ life than the other Gospels do; and at times it is difficult to identify where someone in the gospel stops speaking and John begins (compare, for example, chapter 3 in different translations…).

Although originally anonymous, this gospel was attributed to the disciple John, son of Zebedee, beginning ca. 180 by Irenaeus. The link has been suggested with the support that in the gospel itself it never identifies John as a disciple, but does refer to the eyewitness testimony at the root of the gospel coming from “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” who has traditionally been interpreted to be John. Like the other three, there is no concrete evidence of who wrote this Gospel, but ultimately the actual author is less important than the fact that by being attributed to John the book was held to be authoritative by the early church.

The Gospel of John has been linked to what is referred to as the “Johannine School” or “Johannine Community.” This refers to an early group of teachers and Christians who were probably centered near Ephesus (in modern Turkey), and was the source of the Gospel and the three Letters of John. In addition (though likely from another author), Revelation also comes from this area and shares some of the elements of the Johannine community’s theology and language.

It is interesting to note that because it emphasizes less the activities and teachings of Jesus, and more spiritual reflections on Jesus, the Gospel of John has often been cited by the mystics of Christian faith as their favorite of the gospels.

Blessed reading to you this week! Please post any comments, insights, or questions you might have in the comments section below.

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