St John’s Gospel

St John’s Gospel

Dear Daily Devotion

I hope found the Rev’d ‘frin Lewis Smith’s reflections on the Song of Songs both helpful and interesting.  It’s not a book we often hear read in church but ‘frin’s reflections bring it powerfully to life.

We turn now to St John’s Gospel which will be our reading through to late July.  

Scholars think that the work we know as St John’s Gospel has its origins in the 70s AD but reached its final form at some point between the years 90 and 110.  It differs from the other Gospel in the way it presents Jesus – through a series of seven “signs” starting with the Wedding at Cana and ending with the raising of Lazarus and a series of seven “I Am” speeches which reflect growing tension between the embryonic Church and the Synagogue.  Christianity soon separated itself from Judaism and St John is a record of the start of this separation.  Tragically, the way the writer portrays Jewish people were used by later commentators to justify murderous anti semitism and it is hard to hear phrases like “the Jews” in this Gospel without a shudder.  

Like the other Gospels it is anonymous but it does identify “the disciple whom Jesus loved” as a source.  Its similarities in style with the three Johannine Epistles lead modern scholars to treat them as coming, if not from the same author, but from a community of authors.  Of course, like many debates on Biblical authorship all this is speculation.

We’re not as familiar with St John as it is not read through the year like the other Gospels are.  Instead, large chunks are inserted into the Church year so we know some passages very well indeed and others not at all well.  Over the next few months we will read our way through this Gospel allowing ourselves to read the entire book not just selected passages chosen by the Church for Sunday after Sunday.  

I hope it will spark both your curiosity and your discipleship.

with every good wish

Andy

The Rev’d Andy Braunston
Minister for Digital Worship

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