Episode 18

April 12, 2024


B218 Easter 4

B218 Easter 4
By the Well
B218 Easter 4

Apr 12 2024 | 00:32:46


Show Notes

Robyn and Sean discuss Acts 4:5-12; 1 John 3:16-24; Psalm 23; and John 10:11-18.

We also answered your questions about preferred translations and mentioned the following specific translations:

NT Wright, Kingdom NT

David Bentley Hart, The New Testament

Robert Alter, The Hebrew Bible

and the New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition which can be found online at Bible Gateway.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:05] Speaker A: You're listening to by the well, a lectionary based podcast, preachers recorded on the land of the Wurundjeri. People. [00:00:17] Speaker B: Welcome to by the well. I'm Sean Winter. [00:00:19] Speaker A: And I'm Robyn Whittaker. [00:00:21] Speaker B: And today Robin and I are going to be looking at the text for the fourth Sunday in Easter, Easter four. So we're going to be looking, first of all at acts chapter four, and then move across to look at one John 316 to 24. We'll pause, actually, in the middle of the discussion just to answer a listener question about Bible translations and perhaps bounce off of that question into a consideration of all things to do with shepherds, psalm 23, and then John chapter ten, the Gospel reading for Easter four. But let's start with acts, Robin. Acts chapter four. We have Paul, Peter and John. Not Paul, Peter and John have been arrested and appearing before some jewish authorities. What do we have in those verses? Verses five to twelve? [00:01:11] Speaker A: Yeah, so as you said, the context is they've been arrested. So here again, we have the apostles kind of living out a mimicry of the life of Jesus. So they will be arrested and face trials at various points. And the charges that they're preaching the resurrection of the dead. So that's in verse two. So that the proclamation of the resurrection here is a point of offence. And so in verse five, we begin with. It's the next day, they've spent the night in prison, and they are sort of presented before the high priest and some other members of the sort of leadership or the high priestly family there. [00:01:47] Speaker B: Yeah, we think this is probably the Sanhedrin, which is the formal jewish council that is able to meet and reach kind of legislative decisions in Jerusalem. [00:01:57] Speaker A: Yep, exactly. [00:01:58] Speaker B: Robin, why do you think so resurrection from the dead as a kind of the kind of message that gets you thrown into prison or appearing before a court. What do you think's going on there? [00:02:09] Speaker A: That's a great question. I'm hoping you have an answer to your own question. I mean, it's. It is, as we were saying last week, Shaun. I mean, I think the resurrection of Jesus is the contentious and unusual point. Right, so they can all agree this man was crucified. You know, some of them might think rightly so. You know, that in itself is not unusual in the least. But resurrection is a claim, really, that God has vindicated him. So he is the Messiah. He is the sent one. So I suspect the resurrection of the dead is actually about Jesus identity then, as God's sent Messiah. [00:02:46] Speaker B: Yeah. So this thing about messianic expectation, I think, is something that, I mean, clearly our sources tell us that some people thought Jesus was the messiah prior to the crucifixion, but it's that sense of a heightened messianic expectation that comes in the light of the resurrection, that the resurrection makes it abundantly clear that Jesus is Lord or king or whatever language starts to become used about Jesus. And that's regarded both as a kind of public. It's a lovely word in verse two, a public annoyance the authorities are annoyed about. [00:03:21] Speaker A: Annoyed, yes. [00:03:22] Speaker B: Public disturbance, public disruption. But it's also a political claim, or a claim with political implications, that jewish leaders in Jerusalem, living under the. In the context of an overall roman system of governance, would be nervous about something that disrupted or disturbed the public in that kind of way, I suspect. [00:03:42] Speaker A: Yep. And I think the key question for me here, I don't know what you think is the kind of central thing, but if I was preaching on this passage, I'm just taken in this reread of acts this year by this emphasis on power and name. So in verse seven that, you know, the interrogation is, by what power did you do this? What name did you invoke? And their answer will be, it's the name of Jesus who is located very specifically as Jesus of Nazareth, the messiah, the one you crucified, which, again, I think, is to locate him. It's a bit of an accusation, but it's also being very clear about, you know, there's multiple claims laid in. Into that sort of location of the name of Jesus. [00:04:28] Speaker B: That's right. As we saw last week when we looked at acts three, there's always this kind of double strategy going on in this speech. The first strategy is the attempt to kind of locate the story of Jesus into the broader story of God's purposes for his people, Israel. So verse ten, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel. That's who this message is kind of intentionally and originally for. And then in verse eleven, we have that citation from the psalm that means that Jesus is fulfilling the prophetic dimensions of that psalm and that material. So that's on the one hand, and then on the other hand, a kind of condemnation of the jewish leaders for not recognizing that this person has entered into Israel's story and is somehow the fulfillment and the outworking of God's purposes. So there's a kind of critique as well as an affirmation of the way in which the story of Jesus intersects with the story of Israel and God's saving purposes. But I think what's really interesting is something that you mentioned again last week, that on the one hand, this is Israel centric, Israel focused. It's an intra jewish debate. But then in verse twelve, it kind of expands out again to this universal perspective. The salvation that Jesus brings is there is no other name under heaven given among mortals. That's a pretty universal, huge kind of claim by which we must be saved. [00:06:00] Speaker A: Saved, yep. So salvation is framed here as a kind of a rescue. It's in cosmic terms, right under heaven. And as we said last week, these divine names, I think there's echoes here of cultural practices, of magic. So you can invoke a name in an incantation. So names have power. We see this in the gospels when demons say to Jesus, I know your name. Or Jesus asks, like the gerasene demoniac as we know him, the unclean spirit, what's your name? To know someone's name is to have a certain power, and names can then be used to invoke power. So, you know, there's also something cosmic going on there around. I mean, I think for years scholars thought Luke and acts were less apocalyptic and less eschatological. I think that's shifted pretty, you know, thoroughly, including by one of our co hosts, Kylie Crabbe, who did significant work on this. But we're in this world where the world has shifted because of the resurrection. We're, the holy spirit has entered. You know, things are changed and powers are all at play. [00:07:05] Speaker B: That's right. One of the things that this strikes me about this is it might be a good opportunity to get preachers to help congregations to think about actually some of the language of our own prayer practices, because we often pray in church or in personal or private prayer. We often pray with a concluding phrase that, you know, we ask these things in the name of Jesus and we use it as a kind of formula, as if it's just the kind of nothing. Yeah, it's like yours sincerely at the end of a letter. Right. It's the polite way to end a prayer. But the origins of that language come back to this worldview that to evoke the name is to evoke divine power, divine sovereignty, divine purpose. [00:07:44] Speaker A: Exactly. [00:07:45] Speaker B: In the lives of these disciples, who are currently under arrest, on trial, trying to defend themselves in a deeply hostile, deeply hostile environment. So, you know, that's what. [00:07:58] Speaker A: I love that idea. [00:07:59] Speaker B: That's what salvation starts to look like. So it's deeply connected with this salvation message that is so important in Luke acts, I think. [00:08:05] Speaker A: Yeah, but the way we've domesticated that phrase. And, you know, something that helps us reflect on what we're actually asking for when we pray in Jesus name. That's a powerful thing. [00:08:14] Speaker B: Yeah, right. Absolutely. [00:08:15] Speaker A: We should actually be quite careful. [00:08:17] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. [00:08:18] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:08:19] Speaker B: If anyone. The other thing to say about this text, I just love these kinds of details. If anyone wants a little historical conundrum to work through, verse six, it tells us that Annas was the high priest, and Caiaphas and John and Alexandra. At the time this happened, Annas was not the high priest. Caiaphas, who was Annas son in law, was the high priest. And that's why we get different textual variants to try and deal with the problem. At an early stage, people knew it was a problem. So this thing about how much does Luke actually know about the details of this history, or has he got bad information, or is he trying to make a point of some sort? It's one of those interesting little historical detail conundrums that we find fairly often in acts, if you look closely enough. [00:09:00] Speaker A: Yeah, we do. And it's a reminder, again, that this text was possibly written down, you know, 60 or 70 years after the events it's describing. [00:09:09] Speaker B: Absolutely. [00:09:09] Speaker A: If not longer. Well, shall we move on to one John? [00:09:12] Speaker B: That sounds good. [00:09:13] Speaker A: So the lectionary gives us one John, chapter three, verses 16 to 24. So following on a bit further from last week's passage, and we're sort of in the second half of one John, we do sort of move from a bit of a focus on light is a dominant theme, and in the second half, it sort of shifts more to a focus on love, although that language is there throughout. And really this equation of love and life are going to be deeply intertwined. What do you notice here, Sean, or what should we. [00:09:48] Speaker B: Well, I think so. The connection between love and life is absolutely a part of what's going on here. But I also know the way in which these verses in particular seem to move quite seamlessly between the language of love and, for example, the language of truth. [00:10:04] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:10:06] Speaker B: And quite often, of course, we place love and truth in separate compartments, as if they're kind of opposite ends of the spectrum. That if you're going to be genuinely loving to someone, then perhaps you're going to need to compromise on what the truth is. Or if you want to hold on to truth, then what that means is you're going to need to be, you know, pretty mean about other people who disagree with you, for example. Or so I think this interesting connection, and then the other connection is between love and truth. And then the question of faith and what faith looks like and what it means to believe. Believing in the name of his son. [00:10:43] Speaker A: Yeah, we've got that name again. [00:10:45] Speaker B: Yeah. So these are all. These are all forms of language that try to articulate, I think, what. What christian community is based upon and what needs to be constantly negotiated in the formation and the development of a christian community. So love has this kind of very clear priority. But it's not in the neglect of thinking about questions of truth. [00:11:08] Speaker A: No. [00:11:08] Speaker B: In fact, this is a community that's been divided over those questions. And the author is trying to hold a particular line in relation to what's true about Jesus Christ, for example. So, but it gives us a window into the way in which some of the ways that these things intersect, I think, in a first century community or maybe early second century community, which is a reminder that they intersect in our communities all the time. And we need to work out how we relate the one to the other. [00:11:36] Speaker A: And I was struck by just how practical this love is. You know, love, I think, in the modern world, is so often equated with a feeling, you know, or romantic love or something about being in love. Here. It's. You know, I'm looking at verse 18. Let us not love in word or in speech, but in deed and in truth. So there's that truth. Now, we might say truth is not to be a mutually exclusive thing from word and speech, but the deed there, right. In our works, our love is only known in what we do, in the way we embody it. And so he goes on to some quite practical things here about caring for one another, not hating the other, seeing. [00:12:18] Speaker B: A brother or sister in need. [00:12:19] Speaker A: Exactly. [00:12:20] Speaker B: And not refusing help to them. Yeah. And I think that's. That's really important. So. So how do you know that you're holding the line in relation to questions of truth? Well, the answer here is, it actually looks like something concrete. It looks like love. [00:12:35] Speaker A: Yeah, that's right. [00:12:36] Speaker B: So working out what that means is a constant process, I think, of negotiation and conversation. [00:12:41] Speaker A: And, of course, all this here, the emphasis, it's not unrelated to resurrection because we've got that in a few verses above. But death, you know, how do we know he loved us? Well, he laid in his life for us. And there's also a challenge here that we would therefore do that for others, which, you know, depending where you are in ancient Christianity. But this is a minority group at this stage. It's not that there was necessarily widespread or systematic persecution, but it was a possibility that you could die for your faith. [00:13:09] Speaker B: I think that's right. And I think the possibility of losing one's life clearly lends a kind of sharp edge to these kinds of ethical imperatives. But just because we're not under such a threat doesn't mean that the edge disappears. Like, the challenge is still there, even though we're not under the threat of persecution. I think, and I think. I mean, famously, of course, what Jesus says in Mark's gospel about taking up your cross, in Mark's gospel, that's a quite literal thing about the possibility of martyrdom in discipleship. By the time you get to Luke, Luke says you have to do it every day, take up your cross daily. So it's become a kind of metaphor for the urgency, the centrality, the nature of the cost of discipleship, and here the nature of the commitment that we need to make to community and to loving our brother and sister. [00:13:59] Speaker A: Did you know you could join our Facebook group by the well for extra content and discussion? So, speaking of Facebook groups, we've been getting listener questions from you. And one of those, and there was quite a long thread of people all answering the question, which is great, was which translations of the Bible we recommend? Shaun, do you have a go to translation? [00:14:23] Speaker B: I do. I mean, I have a history. This has changed over time, but I'm pretty much settled now. My early experience was a good news Bible that I underlined over and over. And then in a slightly conservative phase, I looked at the. I had a new american standard Bible in brown leather, which I still have on my shelves and never, ever look at these days. But my volume of choice now is just the new revised standard version for several reasons. First of all, it's a genuinely ecumenical translation. And insofar as it's possible, I think people are genuine about the attempt to translate in ways that. That really doesn't reflect prior theological commitments and the need to conform the translation to predetermined doctrinal opinions. You can't ever do that completely, purely or perfectly, but there's an intention to do so. I also personally find it quite readable. I think it works in a church and liturgical context as well as it does in a classroom context as we teach. It also tries to do work that keeps up to date with modern scholarship. There's actually a new version, the NRSV, called the NRS. NRS view. Is that what it's called? [00:15:38] Speaker A: Yeah, it's got ue updated edition. [00:15:41] Speaker B: Okay. [00:15:41] Speaker A: Is that what it's vue. [00:15:44] Speaker B: I'm learning things. The NRs view v U e. Look out for that. And there are translation decisions there that actually reflect, I think they've picked up on translation decisions around whether Jesus stayed in an inn, for example, in the birth narrative. [00:16:02] Speaker A: They have. They've changed that based on the scholarship of mostly someone called Stephen Carlton, but who pointed out that this word catalouuma word is not no room in the inn, but that there's no room in the guest room. [00:16:16] Speaker B: That's right. [00:16:17] Speaker A: And they've changed that. If so, you can find versions of that online for free. And I think it's worth encouraging people to have a look at that because there are a few key things that have been updated. I'm like you, Sean. I mean, I grew up on the good news as a kid, and my evangelical Bible was a leather bound Niv. [00:16:37] Speaker B: There you go. [00:16:39] Speaker A: I think Jesus words might have been in red, but I'm now, too. The NRSV is my go to. But having said that, we have on the table in front of us, while we're recording this for the psalm, we have Robert Alter's. Robert Alter is an Old Testament scholar, Hebrew Bible scholar, who did his own translation of the entire Hebrew Bible. It's in three volumes. That reflects the jewish tradition of Tanakh, so Torah, the Pentateuch, the writings, the prophets. And when we get to the New Testament, we've also got some Nt rights, kingdom translation, and David Bentley Hart. I have some niggles about both of those. [00:17:19] Speaker B: Yeah, and they have niggles about each other. If you didn't know, there is a famous Internet spat between them about different translations, which, if you wanted to go and read it, is good fun to read. I think the alter translation is fascinating on the whole. I think translations by individuals, it's very hard for them not to fall into the trap of conforming the translation to the person's particular theological predispositions. But Aalter is such a good and careful scholar that I think the work that's been done here is enormously interesting, even if you disagree with it. And, you know, for me, if you have, you have a standard translation, the reason for picking an alternative one or reading another one alongside it would be that it's sufficiently distinct to make you actually think about what the hell the text says or what the original actually is. And the alter translation does that time and time and time again, partly because of translation decisions that he's made about, you know, how to render hebrew poetry, how to render hebrew prose syntax and those kinds of things. So I'm a great fan of it. The only problem with it is it's massive. It's in hardback and it's pretty expensive. It's pretty expensive. Yep. [00:18:25] Speaker A: Yep. The last thing I'd say about this, I love that emphasis on community, because you're right. I mean, people just need to be aware. There's things like good news in the message that have their place for children or for accessibility. But they are really paraphrases more than translations. They're not particularly faithful to the Greek. Lots of decisions have been made to make it readable rather than literally. [00:18:46] Speaker B: Technically, we call them dynamic equivalents rather than formal equivalent translations. But, you know, the good news Bible falls over at the point where it translates the beatitudes. Happy are those who. Just dreadful. [00:18:59] Speaker A: Yeah. So I'm on a mission here to remove all good news when I find them in churches. But that's just me. [00:19:05] Speaker B: We better move on. [00:19:06] Speaker A: Yes. So, psalm 23. We're gonna read bits of the Robert alter translation, which does start, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. In grass meadows, he makes me lie down by quiet waters. He guides me. My life he brings back. So there already he's made a decision we might be more familiar with. My soul is restored or something like that, but it's this hebrew word nephesh, which means life or life breath. This is not, you know, soul has its own complicated history, but this is a fuller and a more jewish understanding of the body. We don't. In Judaism, there is not a separate soul. There is a life force that's part of your body. And the breath that God breathes into you. [00:19:49] Speaker B: That's right. And the hebrew word nephesh actually is the word for the throat. So what we have is a particular part of the body then taken to stand in for a particular aspect of existence. So I think this is a really lovely translation. And the sense that it evokes notions. I mean, let's not say that it's a resurrection text, because it isn't. But let's say that at least what you have here is a translation that gets you to think about, well, how does this notion about God's life giving, life restoring power relate to the story that we then know of God raising a dead Jesus from the tomb? I think it's suggestive in that way. And the next phrase, actually, then picks up another interesting translation decision. He leads me on pathways not of righteousness, but of justice. That's right. So that hebrew word siddhakah, which very easily translates as justice, we tend to think of righteousness as a moral category. [00:20:50] Speaker A: Yeah. Bit of piety. [00:20:52] Speaker B: We quite often individualize it. But once we translate these words as justice, then it immediately takes on a broader connotation and a wider perspective as to what those pathways might look like and where they might lead us. [00:21:05] Speaker A: Well, that's right. And then for his name's sake. And the moving into the veil of death's shadow takes on, I think, a different resonance, which is, you know, in pursuit of pathways of justice for God, we might actually, you know, it takes a us in one way back to the martyrdom that's in the one John text might actually take us into dangerous places. [00:21:28] Speaker B: Right, absolutely. [00:21:29] Speaker A: In pursuit of your faith. I mean, I think there's a big question in the interpretation of this about what's being imagined here. You can read it at quite a human level, that this is a kind of metaphor for life. At times, our life takes us to the edge of danger. We might get sick and be on the cusp of death. We find revival. So it's a bit of a metaphor for the journey of life that takes us to these different places. There's also a christian tradition as reading it quite sort of eschatologically. So in terms of the end times, there's a vision of when we walk through the shadow of death, kind of almost through death. This is what awaits this scene at the end of a table that's full and ahead for anointing with oil. I don't know if you have a. Yeah, a preference. [00:22:18] Speaker B: Well, so my own view is that we should locate it primarily in its ancient context, and it's effectively the image of God as a ruler or a shepherd is a very common image that we find. And effectively, what the psalm does is, as many psalms do, is it provides a narrative of the way in which God accompanies us through the various kinds of darkness that life might bring to us. And I think you were pointing out that the kind of central line. What's the central line of the psalm? [00:22:46] Speaker A: The central line is there in sort of verse four and a bit, for you are with me. So, in Hebrew, there are 26 words before that and 26 words after that. So assuming there's some literary intention, I think if we read this as a kind of metaphor for life, you know, whether we're by the quiet waters in peaceful moments, or whether we're on the cusp of death, or whether we're pursuing danger or wherever we are, you are with me. So that this central affirmation of God's presence in all of those places, which, of course, is a theme we see throughout the hebrew scriptures, that people find God in the wilderness and up the mountains and in dangerous places all over the place. [00:23:31] Speaker B: That's really helpful. [00:23:34] Speaker A: So, I mean, I think in the sense that you and I are saying too, shaun, the I will dwell in the house of the Lord for many long days is Ulta's translation, not forevermore is, again, I would say, in its original context, most likely about finding a place of dwelling in this life. [00:23:52] Speaker B: Yeah, I think that's right. All the days of my life is the previous. [00:23:55] Speaker A: Yes. [00:23:55] Speaker B: So this notion of hebrew parallelism in poetry means that we should read that for many long days pretty much as the saying the same thing as all the days of my life. So this isn't about the afterlife, this is actually about an assurance of God's presence for a person through the duration of their human life, I think. [00:24:12] Speaker A: Yeah. Now, of course, this is going to get picked up in all sorts of different ways in the New Testament, so it could be time to turn to the gospel for the day. [00:24:20] Speaker B: Let's look at John Ten. So John chapter ten, we're in the middle of the good shepherd discourse, and the lectionary loves to steer us back to John Ten at various points on multiple occasions. And so you end up having to kind of preach on it every year, one way or another, if you take the lecture seriously. I mean, it's a fascinating text. It's one of the. I mean, John's gospel, of course, has scattered through it these so called I am sayings of Jesus. And those I am sayings take very different forms and have slightly different functions. But John Ten is one of the most extended of them. And it begins with an affirmation that Jesus is the gateway, and then it switches the gate for the sheep, and then it switches the metaphor at verse eleven, where we start to Jesus being the shepherd. So that language, as all the I am sayings do, very clearly picks up on all those hebrew Bible traditions about God's provision, God's care, God's rule. But it also picks up other traditions about Israel's leaders, doesn't it? [00:25:33] Speaker A: I think, yeah, it does. So King David was called the good shepherd in Ezekiel 34. And this is a way shepherds, good and bad shepherds is a way of talking about good and bad leaders throughout. So you can see that in Jeremiah 23, Zephaniah three. So this is a very familiar image for jewish hearers of this text. It's also pretty familiar to greek and roman hearers, because in greek mythology we equally get Pan, Apollo, Hermes is the ranbear, we get other images of kind of godlike leaders who are depicted with a sheep over their shoulder, kind of. [00:26:13] Speaker B: And my memory is that some of the earliest christian iconography we have has Jesus as the good shepherd precisely in the form of a Hermes, you know, beardless young man, young man with a sheep on his back. [00:26:25] Speaker A: So if that's what you're visualizing when you hear good shepherd, that image has actually come to us from greco roman iconography and then being taken up into the christian tradition later. The juxtaposition here I find interesting in terms of one of the dynamics, at least, of this good shepherd, is that he's distinguished from the hired hand. So, right. That there's a relationship that's deeper than being hired help, who basically our text says, doesn't really care about the sheep because they don't belong to each other. So there's something about the investment of a good shepherd and that kind of relationship that is being played on here, again, in very practical terms. [00:27:05] Speaker B: So one of the things that means is that this is another way. There are many ways in the fourth gospel of describing what we might call the kind of relational intimacy between Jesus and his followers. If you think of the language of the vine or Jesus sending the paraclete, or the language of mutual abiding, or the beloved disciple who, you know, leans on Jesus, on Jesus chest, there are lots of images of relational intimacy in the fourth gospel between Jesus and his disciples. And this is a part of that, I think. [00:27:38] Speaker A: Yep. And part of that commitment then, is the laying down of life. So we get this repeated in a couple of different ways in verse 15. Just as my father knows me and I know my father, I lay down my life for my sheep. You know, they hear my voice, and it's repeated in verse 17. I lay down my life so that I can take it up again. [00:27:58] Speaker B: So this is the great juxtaposition of this passage, which I think all preachers should focus on. [00:28:03] Speaker A: Okay. [00:28:06] Speaker B: Because it's where the metaphor breaks down. [00:28:08] Speaker A: Yeah, it does. [00:28:09] Speaker B: A dead shepherd is not a good shepherd. [00:28:12] Speaker A: Yeah. It's a useless. [00:28:13] Speaker B: A dead shepherd is profoundly useless to the sheep. And therefore, I think it's really interesting to unpack how this kind of relational intimacy, the idea that Jesus comes to be close to the disciples, to gather them in, to protect them and care for them in the face of hostility, and then leaves and then dies. This notion of Jesus coming and then leaving and then returning again is absolutely intrinsic to the way that the kind of narrative structure of the fourth gospel works. And one of the ways of thinking about the fourth gospel is it is a way of reflecting on what the hell do you do with the fact that Jesus isn't with us anymore? Like, it's about thinking about the implications of Jesus departure, which is why we get those long discourses in chapters 14 to 17, the farewell discourses, where Jesus leaves all these instructions. I'm going now. I'm leaving now. I'm not coming back. [00:29:11] Speaker A: But this is how I'll look after you. I'll send the paraclete. [00:29:14] Speaker B: Exactly right. Yes. So the other thing it does is it reminds us that pretty much at every point in the fourth gospel, the narrative is pointing us towards the cross. There's a strong theology of the cross here, and it's considered. We were talking last week, I think, about the question of, you know, who's responsible for the crucifixion? Does Jesus choose it? Do other people do it to Jesus? Does God approve of it? How does that work here? The language of laying down gives Jesus agency, primary agency in relation to that death. And that's very consistent with John's portrayal of the crucifixion. Jesus is in control. It's all part of the plan. The final words are, you know, it's completed, it's finished. [00:29:58] Speaker A: I've done it, I've done it. [00:30:00] Speaker B: So what we have here is an image of divine power that is less obviously refracted through the notion of human weakness and frailness, frailty as it is in somewhere like Mark, which, of course, is very bleak in the way it understands the crucifixion and the tragedy of it. [00:30:16] Speaker A: And it's a reminder that, you know, the different gospel. And, in fact, New Testament writers will all think about that in slightly different terms, in terms of the way they put the emphasis around the agency and who's responsible. I think verse 18 here is striking. So I'm reading the Nt Wright translation has it quite starkly. So. Nt Wright translation. The kingdom tends to sometimes, I don't know, it's disruptive. He has this as I have the right to lay it down. This is his life and I have the right to receive it back again. Now, language of rights is probably foreign to this context, but it is very much giving Jesus that agency. [00:30:57] Speaker B: Yeah. The greek word's exhusia. [00:30:58] Speaker A: So it's power, the authority. Yeah, absolutely. [00:31:02] Speaker B: And that's exactly how John conceives of Jesus at the point of crucifixion, that the reason this is happening is because I now have. The hour has come. [00:31:12] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:31:13] Speaker B: That I can actually lay this down. [00:31:15] Speaker A: Yes. So the David Bentley heart has the power word. I lay it down and I have the power to take it back up again. Which is also actually giving Jesus some agency for his resurrection. [00:31:24] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. [00:31:25] Speaker A: Which is quite different, again, to Luke's gospel and others, where God does the raising. [00:31:29] Speaker B: That's right. And is consistent with, for example, John two, where Jesus in the temple says, you know, destroy this temple in three days, I will raise it up. And then John has that narrative aside. He was talking about the temple of his own body. So, absolutely right. Jesus is in full control. The question that runs on from that is basically that this gets the gospel of John in all sorts of trouble later on, because it becomes the source of those versions of Christianity that tend to dehumanize Jesus, that de emphasize the humanity of Jesus, Jesus potential for suffering. The fourth gospel becomes a kind of key text for some of those second and third century groups. But at the beginning of this gospel, we have an emphatic statement. The word became flesh and dwelt among us. And I don't think there's any denial here that in the end, what happens to Jesus in the crucifixion is a political act of vengeance. And execution. [00:32:33] Speaker A: By the well is brought to you by pilgrim Theological College and the Uniting Church in Australia. It's produced by Adrian Jackson. Thanks for listening.

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