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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

John 9-10

Jesus at Hanukkah: Light of Life and Shepherd of Life

broad outline of fourth gospel
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

john 9 10 jesus at hanukkah light of life and shepherd of life
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).
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.”
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).