Monday, May 30, 2016

The First Disciples

The First Disciples vv35-51 
(Matt 4:18-22: Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11)

¶1:35-42 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! (ch 1:29). 37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? 39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ (ch 4:25). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone (Matt 16:18; Mark 3:16). 

v35 Two of his disciples. One is named (v40) as Andrew, the other is traditionally recognized as the apostle John, the author of this Gospel.  v36 Behold the Lamb of God! See notes on v29.  v39 Tenth hour. Four o-clock in the afternoon.  vv40-41 He first findeth his own brother Simon. The heart of the soul winner. Before our eyes look upon foreign field let us look to our own. Andrew “first” finds his brother. Andrew is always seen as the accomplice to greatness: Here, he brings his brother Simon (Peter) to Jesus, later, he will bring to Jesus a lad with five loaves and two fish (ch 6:8-9).  v41 The Messias. Messiah: the “anointed one.” This title used but twice in the Fourth Gospel: here, and 4:25 - both times spoken by others. Elsewhere the Grk Christos (Christ) is used of Jesus. Messiah is a title that designated the descendent of David who would establish political freedom for Israel. Thus, we have Nathaniel's declaration, “thou art the King of Israel” (v49).  v42 Cephas. Cephas is the Aramaic word for “Stone.” the Grk word is Petros (Peter). A stone. The Grk form is Petros (Peter). Petros is masculine because it could show aggression: e.g. a stone could be thrown. Peter demonstrates such attributes. Perhaps there is a covert application (message) that can be made here between Peter (the Stone) who was given the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 16:19) and the “stone” of Daniel 2:34-35 that “smote the image” and became a great mountain that “filled the whole earth.” If the “stone” of Daniel's prophecy represents Christ in His Church, and Peter, as the Key-Holder, represents the Church, then the connection is made.
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¶1:43-51  The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me (Mark 2:14 ; Matt 8:22; Matt 9:21; Matt 19:21; Luke 9:59; John 21:19). 44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter (ch 12:2). 45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him (ch 21:2), We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write (Gen 3:15;49:10; Deut 18:18; see Luke 243:27), Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph (Matt 2:4; 10:44). 46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? (ch 7:41-42.) Philip saith unto him, Come and see. 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! (Ps 32:2; 73:1; ch 8:39; Rom 2:28’; 9:6.) 48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree (Mic 43:4), I saw thee. 49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God (vv14, 18, 34, 3:16; 20:31); thou art the King of Israel (Ex 4:22; Deut 14:1; 2 Sam 7:14; Job 1;6; 2:1; 38:7; Ps 2:7; 29:1; 89:27; Dan 3:25; Hos 11:1; Matt 14:33; 16:16; Mark 13:32; ch 12:13; 18:37). 50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. 51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man (Gen 28:10-17; Dan 7:13-14; Matt 4:11; Luke 2:9, 13. 22:43; Acts 1:10).


v43 Philip.  Grk: Philippos; means: fond of horses. His character traits are seen in that he finds Nathanael (thus, a soul winner), and he shows himself the practical one at the feeding of the 5,000 (ch 6:7). He was approachable (ch 12:21) by Gentiles, but recognized an order of honor within the group of disciples for he went through Andrew to introduce the Gentiles to Christ (ch12:22). Follow me. Ἀκολούθει μοι (Akolouthei moi). Present active imperative, a direct challenge to Philip. Often Jesus uses this verb to win disciples ( Mark 2:14 ; Matt 8:22; Matt 9:21 ; Matt 19:21; Luke 9:59 ; John 21:19 ). Here, this is spoken to Philip; and, then, in Matt 9:9 the same is spoken to Matthew. The words are both an invitation and a command.  v44 Bethsaida. Located on the Northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee. Philip the tetrarch rebuilt Bethsaida and renamed it “Julias,” after Julia, daughter of Caesar.  v45 Nathanael.  Also called Bartholomew (Matt 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6;14; Acts 1:13). Bartholomew means Son of Tolmai. Tolmai means to accumulate, to bank or terrance: -furrow, ridged. John is the only N.T. writer to use the name Nathanael (ch: here, vv46, 47, 48, 49; and 21:2). The name Nathanael means “given to god” which may be the reason the Evangelist used it. When John references Jesus as “the son of Joseph”  he is not declaring against the virgin birth of Christ. He is only reporting Philip’s words. Most supposed Jesus to have been the son of Joseph (Luke 3:23). The disciples would have no reason to believe otherwise this early in Christ’s ministry. However, it was a very true statement from the legal viewpoint, for Jesus was the legal son of Joseph (see the genealogy of Matt 1:1-16).  v46 Nazareth. Nathanael had doubts about Nazareth. See Matthew 2:23 and ch 7:52. Nazareth was an unimportant town of Galilee set about 3 miles off the main road and home to a Roman garrison. The reputation of Nazareth would have been what one would except of a military town. The name of the town was used to discredit the Christian movement (Acts 24:5).  v47 Israelite ... no guile. Grk dolos (St’s #G1388) lit duplicity. Jesus is contrasting Nathanael with Jacob, the first Israelite in whom was deceit. This statement, along with the fig tree (v48) signaled a new beginning for Israel. Christ had come to establish a new Israel based upon a new character - thus, Nathanael is contrast with Jacob. Christ chose 12 disciples whom He name apostles (of which Nathanael stood as a representative) the number of government. If this observation was lost on the common people, the Sanhedrin saw it clearly - they killed Him for it.  v48 Under the fig tree. The intention of Jesus here is to call attention to the Messianic peace that He was ushering in, in that the fig tree is a type of that peace for the true Israel.  I saw thee. This speaks to the omniscience of Jesus (ch21:17).  v49 Thou art the Son of God. This confession was first made by Nathanael; later, Peter was to confess the same (see Matt 16:16 and ch 6:69 where Peter confesses on behalf of all the disciples.). Although the title would also be used in mockery (Matt 27:40, cf 19:7) it is employed here by Nathanael in the Messianic sense of the Son of David, who would be chosen by God to be King. Thus, Nathanael connects this title with the King of Israel (see Ps 2:7; 89:27, also see ch 12:13 and note). In Mark 15:32 the religious leaders equated the title Christ (Messiah) with the “King of Israel:” “Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” v51 You ... ye.  Both “you” and “ye” are plural. Jesus is no longer speaking to Nathanael alone. In the KJV “ye” is always the plural “you all.” Angels ascending and descending. This is a allusion to Jacob’s vision of the ladder and Bethel (the house of God, Gen 28:12-22). Since Bethel means “House of God” or “Dwelling Place of God,” this is a reference to v14 where John tells his readers that the Word (i.e. God, see v1) pitched His tent among men.

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☩ David Ignatius





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Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Baptist Witnesses of Christ

Commentary On The Fourth Gospel ch 1. vv29-34

1:29-34 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God (Ex 12:3; ch 1:36; Acts 8:32; 1 Pet 1:19), which taketh away the sin of the world (Isa 53:7; 1 Cor 15:3; Gal 1:4; Heb 1:3; 2:17; 9:28; 1 Pet 2:24; 3:18; 1 John 2:2; 3:5; Rev 1:5; 5:7; 17:14). 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me (ch 1:15, 17; Matt 3:11; Mark 1:17; Luke 3:16). 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water (Mal 3:1; Matt 3:16; Luke 1:17, 76, 79; 3:3-4). 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him (Matt 3:16; Mark 1:10; ch 5:32). 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending (Song 5:2; Isa 11:2; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:21-22), and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost (Isa 42:1; Matt 3:11; Mark 1:18; Luke 3;16; Acts 2:4; 10:44) . 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God (Isa 42:1; Matt 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 9:35).

v29 Behold the Lamb of God. The expression “Lamb of God” is particular to the Apostle John and is only found here and v36 in the entire Bible. The Baptist’s reference is to the Paschal Lamb (Ex ch 12) which suffered for the sins of the people (Isa 53:7-10). See, also, 1 Cor 5:7.  Taketh away the sin of the world.  Here John references the Scape Goat which bore the sins of the people away to an uninhabitable place (Lev16:8-26). The phrase “taketh away” is the Grk airōn (St’s #G142) and is better translated as “beareth away.” The verb airon is present tense and indicates an action presently in process. The disciple should consider that the high priest would lay his hands upon the head of the the lamb to be slain and also upon the head of the lamb that was to be released into the wilderness as the Scape Goat (both animals represent but one sacrifice). By this act the priest symbolically transferred the sins of the people onto the heads of the two animals. As stated, both the Sacrificial Lamb and the Scape Goat represented but one sacrifice: the Scape Goat represented the resurrection of the slain lamb, and, thereby, presaged the resurrection of Jesus. The Scape Goat was released into the wilderness (literally bearing the sins away—see Lev 16:8-26). It must be mentioned that immediately after John’s proclamation Jesus went into the wilderness (Matt 4:1). And, yet, on a deeper and more profound level the following is noticed: John, being, himself a true priest whose office was to serve at the altar in the temple as did his father, Zacharias, was the fulfillment of the established OT figure of the priest receiving the sins of the people and transferring them to the head of the Lamb, and then the Lamb being slain in behalf of the people. Here the actual has happened: all the people had come to John to be baptist, thus bringing to him their sins, and not theirs only but the sins of the whole of mankind back to Adam, for the sins of man had only been rolled ahead year by year until now. Now, all the people come to the priest (John, the son of Zackarias) and deposit with him their sins and the sins of all their fathers. Now John, the priest, lays hands on the Lamb (Christ) and transfers the sin of the world onto the Carpenter from Nazareth. So, then, when John stated “Behold the Lamb of God that beareth way the sin of the world” it was really true.  the Baptist’s intent seems to be “the Lamb” in general, which recalls the blood sacrifices of the OT which all presaged Jesus *see Isa 53:7; Jer 11:19; and Gen 22:8). This statement of John the Baptist demonstrates a progression in revelation as to the application: e.g. first a sacrifice for the individual (Gen ch 4), and later the revelation included the entire nation on the Day of Atonement (Lev ch 16), now, here, the Baptist has the revelation of the broadening of the sacrifice’s efficacy to include the entire world.  v30 He was before me. The Baptist, here, speaks of the preexistence of Christ. The disciple should see v15 and notes there.  v31 I knew him not. Perhaps John is saying that he did not know who Jesus was until this point; which seems unlikely, to many, being they were cousins (Luke 1:36). But some point to the fact that John “was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel” (Luke 1:80) to indicate the possibility of the two having never met.  The other understanding is that John did not know who the Messiah was until this event. However, not to be ignored is the fact that John’s parents had, indeed, received the revelation that Mary’s baby was the Messiah (see Luke 1:41-45 and 68-69). One would think that Elisabeth and Zacharias would have passed this information on to their son; unless, both parents died while John was still very young (they were both advanced in years when John was born [Luke 1:36, see v18]). If, because of this, John was raised in the desert, possibly in the community of Essenes at Qumran (Luke 1:80), it is possible that he neither knew Jesus personally, nor knew that He was the promised Messiah. Therefore am I come baptizing with water. John’s mission of baptism “for the remission of sins” was the venue from which the Messiah would be manifested to Israel (cf Jesus’ words at Matt 3:15, “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.”). Manifest. Grk phanerōthē (St’s #G5319) means: to render apparent - manifestly declare - to trout out.  vv32-33 I saw the Spirit descending ... like a dove.  The purpose of Jesus’ baptism was not to remit Jesus’ sins - for He had none (2 Cor 5:21); neither were the events of the baptism to prove the Trinity. The sole purpose of the manifestation of the Spirit as a dove which descended upon Jesus was to verify Jesus’ identity as the Christ (Messiah) to the Baptist. Dove. In both Testaments the dove is seen as a symbol of new life. Gen 8:8, new life on the earth after the flood; here, New Life is the Spirit of God. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-215) lists the dove as one of the acceptable symbols for a Christian person’s signet ring. It abode.  Grk emeinen (St’s #G3306). Here is John’s first use of a word that is significant in his Gospel: showing the permanency of the relationship between the Spirit - Jesus - and the Christian (see ch 15:11; 1 John 2:24; 1 John 3:9). Also, see ch 6:12-13 where the verb is used for the klasmata (fragments) from the feeding of the 5,000, showing a strong Eucharistic reference. Baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.  The Baptist informs his hears that it is Jesus who gives the Holy Spirit (see ch 14:16-18 and notes there). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ (Col 1:27, see Acts 16:6 cf to v7 [The Greek New Testament, UBS 4th edition, Nestle-Aland 27th edition]; and Phil 1:19).

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☩ David Ignatius





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Friday, May 27, 2016

The Baptist Witnesses of Himself

The witness of John the Baptist to himself, vv19-28.

¶1:19-28 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? (Matt 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18; ch 5:33).  20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ (Luke 3:15; ch 3:28; Acts 13:25).  21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. (Deut 18:15; 2 Kgs 2:11; Mal 3:1-3; Matt 11:14; 17;11-13 Mark 9:13; Acts 3:32).  22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?  23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias (Isa 40:3;Matt 3:3; Mark 1:2; Luke 3:4).  24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.  25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? (Ezek 36:25; Zech 13:1; Matt 16:14).  26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; (Matt 3:11; Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3;16; Acts 13:25).  27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose (Acts 19:4).  28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing (Judg 7:24; ch 10:40).


v19 The Jews. John employs the term “Jews” to indicate the rulers, not the common people. Levites. Descendants of the tribe of Levi who were assigned to specific duties in connection with the Tabernacle and Temple (Num 3:17-37). They had teaching responsibilities (2 Chr 35:3; Neh 8:7-9). Both the Levites and the priest came to investigate John the Baptist concerning unauthorized teaching. (John was of the family of Aaron [Luke 1:5] whose ministry should have been conducted in the temple. He had deserted the temple system and ministered in the wilderness: this presaged the coming Messianic Kingdom.)  v20 The Christ. Grk Christos (St’s #G5547), the Grk word for Messiah. Both words mean: “the anointed one.” v21 No. John had come to give testimony of Christ. The committee kept asking the Baptist questions about himself — his answers became more terse. E.g. “I am not the Christ” (v20), “I am not” (here, when asked if he was Elijah), and “No,” (here, when asked if he was “that prophet”). The Jews were expecting the appearance of various persons to signal the coming of the Messiah. John denied that he was the Messiah or Elijah who was to come before the Day of the LORD (Mal 4:5). Jesus is to correct John’s opinion of himself by stating clearly that he indeed was Elijah who was to come (Matt 11:14-17; 17:10-13). John was aware (conscious) of his mission to introduce the Messiah (ch1:29-34), but was obviously unconscious that he was the reincarnation of Elijah: cf Matt 11:14.  v23 I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord. John applies the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3 to himself. The “way” was to be made “straight” for Yahweh (see Isa 40:3 the word “LORD” in this passage is YHWH, Yahweh). It is clear that John the Baptist recognized the Messiah as Yahweh (see Micah 5:2). The Essenes of Qumran, who produced the Dead Sea Scrolls, applied the same prophecy to themselves, which has prompted many to assume the Baptist to have been connected to this group.  v24 Pharisees. A conservative religious party who probed deeper than most into religious re- quirements of the Law. They were the doctors and scribes of the Law. (v19). Jesus had little good to say concerning this group. They were pronged to self-righteousness and hypocrisy. In the end many Pharisees became disciples of Christ (Acts 15:5).  v25 Why baptizest thou then.  Baptism, while not unfamiliar, was not common and marked a national renewal to faith. Clearly in the mind of John’s questioners the act of water baptism was signaling a change in national direction which they associated with the Messiah. That prophet. This is a reference to the promised coming prophet like unto Moses (Deut 18:15,18).  v26 I baptize with water. The synoptics add the Baptist’s words concerning Spirit baptism. The emphasis here, however, is water because John’s emphases is purification. There is a symbolic river of the Water of Life running through this Gospel, beginning at this verse (see ch 2:1-12; 3:3-5; 4:4-26; 5:1-19; 6:16-26: 7:37-39; 9:1-7: 13:4-17:19:31-37: ch 21).  v27 Whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.  Cf Matt 11:11. This task is fit only for a slave. The disciple may perform many tasks for his Rabbi, but this one was expressly excluded. On an entirely different level there may be a veiled hint to the law of inheritance: where if the one to inherit rejected the inheritance he was to remove his shoe and give it to the next person in the line of inheritance. In this sense the Baptist would be saying that Jesus was the true Son to inherit the Messianic Kingdom and he was not worthy to take His shoe, i.e. receive the inheritance himself. It is very likely that the Evangelist takes pain to record this saying of the Baptist because of the disciples of John who were going about proclaiming him to have been the Messiah. (See Ruth 4:7 cf Amos 2:6; 8:6.)  v28 Bethabara beyond Jordan. The exact site is unknown, but it is east of the Jordan River. Grk Bēthabara (St’s 962) means: “Ferry house.” We may assume from the name that it was an established place for crossing the Jordan River and was, therefore, very public; thus, it was an apt place for John to baptize.

Apostolically Speaking
☩ David Ignatius


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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Prologue To John's Gospel 1:1-18 (Part II)

¶1:6-18 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John (Mal 3:1; Matt 3:1; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:2-3; ch 1:33). The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe (ch 1:13,34; 5:33; Acts 19:4). He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light (ch 5:35). That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (Isa 49:6; ch 1:4; 3:19; 8:12; 9:39; 12:46; 1 John 2:8). 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not (ch 3:1; Heb 1:2; 11:3). 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not (Luke 19:14; ch 6:41; Acts 3:26). 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (Isa 56:5; Acts 16:31; 20:16; Rom 8:15; 10:13; Gal 3:26; 2 Pet 1:4; 1 John 3:1.) 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (ch 3:3-6; Jas 1:18; 1 Pet 1:23.) 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (Ex 16:10; 24:17; 25:8-9; 33:22; 34:6; Isa 40:54; 60:1; Ezek 43:7; Joel 4:17; Hab 2:4; Matt 1:16, 20; 17:2; Luke 1:31, 35; 2:7; ch 2:11; 11:40; Rom 1:3; Gal 4:4; Col 1:19; 2: 3, 9; Heb 2:11, 14; 16:17; 2 Pet 1:17;  1 John 1:2; 4:2; 2 John 1:7.) 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. (ch 1:30;3:27-32. / Matt 3:11; Mark 1:7; ch 3:16. / Col 1:17.) 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (Ex 20:1; 31:18; 34:28; ch 7:19; 8:32.) 18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son [or: “the only (uniquely) begotten God:” NKJVmg; RSVmg; NREV; ESV; NSAB; NIV (TNIV); NEBmg; NJBmg; NAB; NLT; HCSBmg;], which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.  (Ex 33:20; Judg 13:21-22; ch 5:37; 6:46; 1 Tim 6:16; 1 John 4:9, 12.)
v6 A man sent from God. Compare Mal 4:5. The prophet Malachi promised the Coming of Elijah to prepare the way for the Messiah (see Luke 1:41, 76). Jesus said this one was John the Baptist (Matt 11:14; Mark 1:2). John. In the Fourth Gospel the name “John” always references John the Baptist. v7 for a witness, to bear witness. John’s only mission was to testify to Jesus (ch 10:41). “Witness” is an important element of the Gospel. The Grk noun for “witness” or “testimony” i.e. marturia (St’s #G3141) is used 14 times by the Evangelist ( ch 1:7, 19; 3:11, 32, 33; 5:31, 32, 34, 36; 8:13, 14, 17; 19:35; 21:24.), in Matt not at all, in Mark 3 times (Mark 14:55, 56, 59), in Luke once (Luke 22:71); the verb “testify” John uses 33 times: it is found only in Matthew and Luke and not at all in Mark. Through this emphasis the Apostle John declares that the information about Jesus is amply attested to. (See v31 and note.)  Of the Light. The author has introduced the logos (word) in verse 1, and here the phōs (light). He introduces Jesus as the desired goal of both the Western and Eastern thought; namely, the West sought for the logos while the East sought for phōs. The Fourth Gospel presents Jesus as the fulfillment of both longings. That men through him might believe. God’s people were not to believe IN John the Baptist (see Acts 18:26-28 and 19:1-7 and note there concerning the disciples of John the Baptist), but THROUGH him. Similarly the Evangelist’s purpose is to draw men and women to Christ (ch 20:31). John uses the Grk pisteuō (believe) 98 times. v9 The true Light. Yahweh is the Light (Ps 27:1; 1 John 1:5) which became Jesus (Isa 42:6; ch 8:12). The Evangelist is speaking of the Incarnation of Christ, which is the Light of every man. An inner light to discern right from wrong–beauty from ugly (Rom 2:14-16). This “Light” is the image that judges all men who come into the world, even those who have never heard the gospel. One should see Rom 2:14 where the Gentiles that have not the written moral law yet have the natural law (light) that has come from God to all men. It is this light that will judge all. World. Grk kosmos (St’s #2889), is an important word for the Apostle John: he uses it 78 times in this Gospel alone and 24 times in his letters (only 47 times and all of Paul’s writings). The word kosmos can mean universe, earth, the people on earth, most people, people opposed to God, or the human system opposed to God. John emphasizes the word by repetition, and moves from one meaning to another without explanation (see ch 17:5, 14, 15 and notes there).  v11 His own ... his own. The rejected Messiah. Cf Isa 53:3ff). The word “own” is the Grk idios (St’s #G2398); it is used twice in this verse with a somewhat different meaning each time. E.g. the first (idia) is neuter and means the nation of Israel (as to the “things” of the nation: Judaism, temple, the culture, the city of Jerusalem, etc.); the second (idioi) is masculine and means the people. He was their King - what He came to belonged to Him - but the people of His Kingdom rejected Him, He came to His own things and His iwn people rejected Him. (See Matt 11:38//Mark 12:7//Luke 20:14.)  v12 But as many as receive him.  He was not rejected by all: “A remnant according to the election of grace” received Him as their Messiah. (See Rom 1:5, 7.) Power to become the sons of God.  “Power” is the Grk exousian (St’s #G1849), means authority.  Receiving Christ as the Messiah does not make one a son of God in and of itself. Such a one has earned the “right” or “privilege” to continue on to become a son of God. See Chapter 3:1-8  and notes, where the new birth process is investigated. (See on chapter 12:42-43.)  v13 Born, not of blood. Not a physical, but spiritual birth. (See Chapter 3:1-8; 1 Peter 1:23.)  v14 The Word was made flesh. See Luke 1:26-38 where Mary is impregnated by the Word (spoken, the rhēma) of God (v38) brought by the angel Gabriel. Mary conceived AFTER her consent to the announcement of the messenger of God.  There is not a second god becoming flesh here, but a creative act of Yahweh speaking His Word, (the rhēma) which is His own essence, into the womb of a woman so that “it” (see ch 1:2-3 and note there) was “made” Grk egeneto (St’s #G1096 from ginimai, to cause to be gen-erate) - the Word of God underwent generation; the Word of God became married (wedded) to flesh. The Word for flesh (sarx, St’s #G4561) is an almost crude word (the flesh having the skin removed) used to emphasize the humanity of Christ. And dwelt among us. Dwelt: Grk eskēnōsen (St’s #G4637) means “to tent,”  or to “encamp” – as Yahweh did in the Tabernacle in the wilderness, which itself was a type of Jesus (See Hebrews ch 9 and Ex ch’s 25-40. See especially Ex 25:8 compared to here.). The Incarnation is taught here. We beheld his glory. John is recalling Moses’ Tabernacle in this verse with the “tabernacling” of the previous phrase. The “glory” manifested in Jesus (the miracles, the illuminating teachings, most in John’s mind here is the transfiguration on the Mount—see like statement from 2 Pet 1:16) recalls the glory as the light that dwelt over the Mercyseat above the Ark of the Covenant (Ex 25: 22). Grace and truth. Corresponding Heb terms are (unfailing) love and faithfulness (Ps 26:3; Prov 16:6). Grace is a significant Christian concept (Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2), though John does not use the word after the prologue (vv1-18). Truth. Grk alatheia (St’s #G225) is used in this gospel 25 times relating closely to Jesus who is the Truth (14:6). The word “Truth” continues the recalling of the Tabernacle of Moses where the curtain upon entering the Holy Place is called “Truth” by the Rabbis. v15 Cried. Grk legōn (St’s #G3004) extended harangue - ranting. For he was before me. The preexistence of Jesus before John the Baptist was not as a created or begotten being (see note on Col 1:15), but as Yahweh Himself (see Phil 2:5 ff; ch 1:1; 8:58; 10: 10; 14: 8-9). Cf Micah 5:2, i.e. the Messiah was to be the Eternal One. v16 His fulness. Jesus had come to fulfill all the shadows and figures of the Hebrew Scriptures. Have all we receive. The Christian has received the benefit of the fulfillment of the Old Testament types and shadows in Christ. The person of Jesus brought the blessings of covenant relationship from misty figures to living reality. Grace for Grace.  καὶ χάριν ἀντὶ χάριτος· (kai charin anti charitos); English: “and grace for grace.” Notice the word “anti.” Here, “anti” does not refer to a replacement but to an accompaniment.  Therefore, “anti” is a word of COMPARISON. In Ephesians 5 Paul uses “anti” to teach how a man and wife are TYPED to Christ and the Church. One grace, then, does not replace another grace. The graces (gifts) of God compliment and compound one another. See the book of Hebrews where the graces of the New Covenant are contrast with the graces of the Old Covenant. The key word in Hebrews is “better” (Heb 1:4; 6:9; 7:7, 19, 22; 8:6; 9:23; 10:34; 11:16, 35, 40; 12:24). v17 Law: Produces knowledge of sin (cf Rom 2:12; 7:7ff); Truth: Necessitated the cross (cf 1 John 3:5 and note); Grace: Produced forgiveness (cf Eph  2:8-9). v18 No man hath seen God at anytime. God is an invisible Spirit (see Col 1:15; John 4:24). He has appeared in the Old Testament through theophanies (Ex 3:2 the burning bush; the angel of the LORD, Gen 16:7, 9; 18:1-33; 32:24-30; Etc.). In the New Testament, God is visible in Christ. The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. This verse reveals an important theme of John’s Gospel, namely, the manifestation of the Mighty God in Christ. The best early manuscripts read: “θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε: μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο. Here John calls Jesus “monogenēs theos” English: “only (uniquely) begotten God.” Thereby, declaring that in the process of the Incarnation, Yahweh underwent generation, thus becoming His own Son.

Apostolically Speaking
☩ Mar David Ignatius



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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

John And The Logos

Prologue To John's Gospel 1:1-18 (Part I)
vv1-18 These verses make up the Prologue of John’s Gospel. Here, all of the main themes of the Gospel are introduced: life, truth and the pre-existence of Christ—the incarnate Yahweh. The core of these verses take the form of an early Christian hymn. This core consist of verses 1-5, 10-11 and 14. Similar Christian hymns may be found at: Col 1:15-20 and Phil 2:6-11. All three of these hymns are Christological in nature. To those who would object to these verses being Johannine, because of the form, we would point to 1 John 1:1-4 where the same style is evident and the theme much the same. In his prologue John demonstrates the evangelistic aspect of his gospel by appealing to the Western thought of logos (word) and Eastern thought of phōs (light) and focusing both philosophical thoughts as being fulfilled in the Incarnation. A stroke of evangelistic genius! 

1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (ch 1:14; 10:30; 17:5; Gen 1:1-5; Prov 8:22-23, 30; Phil 2:6; 1 John 1:1-3; 5:7). The same was in the beginning with God (Gen 1:1). All things were made by him [Grk “autou:” him, her, he, she, it]; and without him [Grk “autou:” him, her, he, she, it] was not any thing made that was made (Ps 33:6-9; ch 1:10;12;35-36; 1 Cor 8:6; Eph 3:9; Heb 1:2; Rev 4:11). In him [Grk “autou:” him, her, he, she, it] was life; and the life was the light of men. (ch 5:26; 8:12; 12:35-36; 1 John 1:2; 5:11). And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended [Grk “ou katelaben:’ apprehended, or extinguished, it not] it not (ch 3:19; 8:12; 9:5-12; 12:35; 1 Thess 5:4; 1 John 2:8).



v1 Word. Grk logos (Strong’s #G3056). Pros ton theon is here translated “with God.” However, in 1 John 1:2 pros ton pater translated “with the Father” is universally understood to mean “pertains to the Father.” Just as Eternal Life pertains to the Father, so here: the Word pertains to God. See Deut 32:39 — Yahweh states that there were no other gods “with” Him. Thus, Deut 32:39 prohibits “with God” in our text from being understood as “alongside” or “face-to-face.” The Word was God. Grk: Theos ēn hō logos“God was the word.” John is writing to refute the logos Christology entering the apostolic Church from the platonic philosophers such as Philo of Alexandria and one Cerinthus. Plato taught that God, strictly speaking, was the First Principle who was too pure to personally create the material universe which is basically evil. This First Principle solved this dilemma by bringing into existence the second god whom Plato called the Second Principle, or Logos. In Plato’s view the Logos created all things in behalf, and at the behest of, the First Principle. Later, the Christian apologist Justin Martyr, seeing Jesus as Plato’s Second Principle, call Christ the “Second God.” From the opening lines of the Fourth Gospel, John is attacking the logos view of the Greek philosopher (see Col 2:8-10). The logos, according to John,  was in the beginning, but not as the Second God, as the Christian Platonic philosophers declared. The logos was God Himself – not another God apart from Him. v2-3 Him.  This pronoun references the logos (Word) of verse 1.  Grk autou (Strong’s # G846), stands for the English pronouns: him, her, he, she, it (third person pronouns). English translators before 1611 KJV did, in fact, translate autou, in this particular passage, as “it.” (See Tyndale.) All things were made by him.  Grk autou (Strong’s #G846) third person pronoun better translated as “it.” (See above). This statement must be understood in the light of Psalms 33:6 “By the word of the Lord where the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” (See Gen 1:3, 6, 9,  11, 14, 20, 24, 26, “And God said.”) The Almighty spoke (the logos, the Word) and His creation leapt into existence. v5 Comprehended it not. Grk ou katelaben. (Strong’s #G2638): apprehended (or extinguished) it not. The same verb is used in ch 12:35; and 1 Thess 5:4.) The light and the darkness are ongoing themes in this Gospel. The “Night”  of ch 9:4, and the “darkness” of Luke 22:53 refer to Calvary. So here: the darkness of the cross (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44) did not extinguish the Light of the World (ch 9:5). The cross is seen as bringing salvation to the whole man: body and soul. Salvation was brought to the body through his physical passion (1 Peter 2:24); salvation is brought to the soul (which is the domain of the mind) through His blood (Matt 26:28); moreover, salvation is brought to the mind through His victory over the darkness (John 1:5 and see Matt 27:45-46).

Apostolically Speaking
☩ Mar David Ignatius


If the ministry of the Bishop is a blessing to you, please consider leaving a monetary gift of any amount at the link provided here: