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John 9-10. Jesus at Hanukkah: Light of Life and Shepherd of Life. Broad Outline of Fourth Gospel. Ch. 1 Introduction: Prologue and Witness of John Ch. 2-12 Jesus Before the World ("Book of Signs")

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John 9-10

Jesus at Hanukkah: Light of Life and Shepherd of Life

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Broad Outline of Fourth Gospel

Ch. 1 Introduction: Prologue and Witness of John

Ch. 2-12 Jesus Before the World ("Book of Signs")

Theme: Through signs and discourses, Jesus reveals himself as the Son of God, sent to save the world, but is rejected by the world.

Ch. 2-4 Images of New Salvation

Ch. 5-10 Growing hostility

  • Christological claims become more explicit.

  • “The Jews” become increasingly hostile.

  • Organized around Jewish festivals, which Jesus fulfills:

    w Sabbath (ch. 5)

    w Passover (ch. 6)

    w Tabernacles (ch. 7-8)

    w Hanukkah (ch. 9-10)

    Ch. 11-12 Final rejection

    Ch. 13-20 Jesus Before the Disciples("Book of Passion/Glory")

    Ch. 21 Appendix: Appearance in Galilee

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John 9-10Jesus at Hanukkah: Light of Life and Shepherd of Life

Feast of Hanukkah (Dedication):

  • Some take ch. 9 with ch. 7-8 at Tabernacles.

  • Hanukkah comes in winter (10:22).

  • Commemorated cleansing and rededication of Temple by the Maccabees in 164 B.C. after defilement by Antiochus IV.

  • Legend of lamp oil that miraculously lasted 8 days.

  • Celebration featured prominent use of lamps and candles.

  • Popularly called “Feast of Lights.”

  • Ezek. 34 was read (false shepherds vs. God the Good Shepherd).

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9:1-41 Sixth Sign: Healing a Man Born Blind

  • Healing a blind beggar (v. 1-12).

    • “Who sinned, this man or his parents?”

      • Presupposes traditional assumption that suffering is caused by sin.

      • “Neither”: cannot assume direct linkage (see discussion on ch. 5).

    • Sign demonstrates that Jesus is light of world (v. 5).

    • Method: uses saliva to make ointment of clay; sends to wash in pool of Siloam (cf. Lk. 13:4); comes back seeing.

  • Controversy over the healing (v. 13-41).

    • Pharisees question the blind man (v. 13-17).

      • Accuse Jesus of Sabbath violation (kneading the clay; anointing the eyes; healing a chronic condition; sending to wash).

      • Pharisees’ dilemma: how can a “sinner” perform such cures?

      • Pharisees put the blind man “on trial.”

        • Blind man progressively comes to “sight.”

        • Pharisees, who claim to “see,” reveal themselves to be “blind.”

      • Here the blind man opines that Jesus is “a prophet.”

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9:1-41 Sixth sign: Healing a man born blind– cont.

2. Controversy over the healing (v. 13-41) – cont.

  • Pharisees question the parents (v. 18-23).

    • Confirm blindness but refuse to give opinion about Jesus: “Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself” (v. 20-21).

    • Afraid of “the Jews,” because they “had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue” (v. 22).

    • Anachronistic: reflects conflict between church and synagogue at time of Evangelist (cf. Martyn’s “two-level drama” interpretation).

  • Pharisees question blind man again (v. 24-34).

    • Blind man refuses to call Jesus a sinner and says, “though I was blind, now I see” (v. 25) – AMAZING GRACE!

    • Pharisees declare him a “disciple of Jesus,” which means he can’t be “disciple of Moses” (anachronistic: John’s readers forced to choose).

    • Blind man rebukes Pharisees for not recognizing that one who opens the eyes of the blind must be “from God” (v. 30-33).

    • Pharisees declare him a sinner and “cast him out” (v. 34).

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9:1-41 Sixth sign: Healing a man born blind– cont.

2. Controversy over the healing (v. 13-41) – cont.

  • Jesus questions the blind man (v. 35-38).

    • “Cast out” by Pharisees – “found” by Jesus (cf. John’s readers).

    • Confesses Jesus is “Son of Man;” calls him “Lord” and “worships” him.

    • Blind man’s progressive “insight”:

      • “the man called Jesus” (v. 11).

      • “a prophet” (v. 17).

      • “from God” (v. 33).

      • “Son of Man” (v. 35).

      • “Lord, I believe” and “worships” him (v. 38).

    • Fullest confession comes only after being “cast out” of synagogue (are readers called to separate in order to make full confession?).

  • Jesus confronts the Pharisees (v. 39-41).

    • Jesus’ revelation brings salvation and judgment: “that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.”

      • Blind man has come to “sight.”

      • Pharisees reveal their “blindness”: “Surely we are not blind, are we?”

        2) “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”

      • Jesus can heal only those willing to acknowledge their blindness and open their eyes to the light of revelation.

      • To cling to blindness and call it sight is to remain in darkness.

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10:1-42 Jesus the Shepherd of Life

Background: Reading of Ezek. 34 during Hanukkah.

  • Israel’s rulers are depicted as false shepherds (Ezek. 34:1-10).

  • God is the Good Shepherd who gathers and protects the sheep (Ezek. 34:11-22).

  • Shepherd becomes symbol for Messiah (Ezek. 34:23-31).

  • For John, Jesus is the Good Shepherd in contrast to Jewish leaders, who are false shepherds.

  • Figure of the thief and the shepherd (v. 1-6).

    • Jewish leaders are like thieves who break in.

    • Jesus is the Shepherd, authorized to use the gate.

    • Jesus knows his sheep; they recognize and “follow” him.

      • Imagery of sheepfold shared by several shepherds.

      • Calls sheep by name, leads them out—they know his voice, follow.

      • Verb for “brought out” (v. 4) is same as “cast out” (9:34).

      • “Follow” alludes to Christian discipleship.

      • Readers are called to leave synagogue and follow Jesus.

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    10:1-42 Jesus the Shepherd of Life– cont.

    • Figure of the gate/door for the sheep (v. 7-10).

      • “I am the gate for the sheep.”

        • Third “I am” with a predicate.

        • May be image of shepherd sleeping across entrance into sheepfold.

      • As the Gate, Jesus provides access to shelter and pasture.

        • Protects against “thieves” (messianic pretenders; Jewish leaders?).

        • Gives access to nourishment (pasture symbolizes “life”).

        • “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

        • For readers excluded from synagogue, “sheepfold” of Jesus offers greater security and abundance.

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    10:1-42 Jesus the Shepherd of Life – cont.

    • Figure of the Good Shepherd (v. 11-18).

      • “I am the good shepherd.”

        • Fourth “I am” with a predicate.

        • Applies to Jesus an OT image of God and Messiah (Ezek. 34; cf. Ps. 23).

      • Contrasts owner-shepherd with hired hand.

        • Hireling runs away and lets wolf devour the sheep.

        • Jewish leaders allow people to wander into danger (cf. Ezek. 34:1-10).

      • Good Shepherd “lays down his life for the sheep.”

        • Jesus’ willingness to die proves his care for the sheep.

        • Emphasizes voluntary nature of Jesus’ self-sacrifice (v.18; cf. Passion Narrative in FG).

        • Willingness to die exceeds both OT imagery and pastoral reality (a real shepherd probably wouldn’t be so willing).

      • “Other sheep” not of this fold must be incorporated into “one flock” (v. 16).

        • Probably refers to Gentile Christians.

        • Incorporated into “Israel” through death of Jesus.

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    10:1-42 Jesus the Shepherd of Life – cont.

    • Response to Jesus (v. 19-42).

      • “The Jews” are divided over Jesus (v. 19-21).

        • Cf. separation of good and bad sheep in Ezek. 34:17-34).

        • Some think he has a demon and is out of his mind (cf. Mk. 3:21-22).

      • “The Jews” interrogate Jesus at Hanukkah (v. 22-30).

        • They do not believe because they do not “belong to his sheep.”

        • Jesus gives “his sheep” eternal life; no one can “snatch them from his hand” – nor from the Father’s hand.

        • “The Father and I are one.”

      • “The Jews” attempt to stone him for blasphemy (v. 31-39).

        • Jesus uses Ps. 82:6 (“I said, you are gods”) to justify calling himself God’s Son.

        • Refers to scripture as “your law” (anachronistic: reflects church-synagogue disputes at time of Evangelist).

      • Jesus escapes and withdraws to the Transjordan, where many come and believe (v. 40-42).