Friday, 18 October 2013

Introducing John

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The next post will start us on our journey through John, but first, here's some background about the book and its author.

The book - John's purpose is to show that Jesus is the promised Messiah (Yahshua ha Maschiah) and that as the Son of Elohim he has all authority in heaven and on earth. To demonstrate these facts clearly he highlights some messianic signs performed by Jesus and calls on a number of witnesses.

He's writing sometime in the thirty year period between the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD, and his death in or around 100 AD. And his readers would have been Jews in the Graeco-Roman world as well as people of other nations who were interested in Judaism and the new teaching about Yahshua. John emphasises that Jesus came not just for the Jews but for the whole world.

The author - Traditional research suggests there is little or no doubt that the writer of John's Gospel is the same John who was one of the twelve disciples. He is John the fisherman, brother of James, both of them sons of Zebedee. He probably also wrote the letters 1, 2 and 3 John as well as the Book of Revelation. Others (especially more recent scholars) consider John's gospel to have been compiled in a series of stages by several writers.

John is sometimes referred to as "the disciple Jesus loved" and with Peter and James he was one of the three closest friends of Jesus. This gospel, then, may have been written by an eye-witness of the events described. If so, he really is someone we can rely on. He was there and he knew Jesus personally as well as anyone ever could. Not only that, some of his readers would also have been eye-witnesses so he couldn't have got away with wild exaggeration or flights of fancy.

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