The Word Made Flesh As Mystery Incarnate: Revealing And Concealing Dramatized By Jesus As Portrayed In John’s Gospel -- By: Ardel Caneday

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 60:4 (Dec 2017)
Article: The Word Made Flesh As Mystery Incarnate: Revealing And Concealing Dramatized By Jesus As Portrayed In John’s Gospel
Author: Ardel Caneday


The Word Made Flesh As Mystery Incarnate:
Revealing And Concealing Dramatized By Jesus
As Portrayed In John’s Gospel

Ardel Caneday*

* Ardel Caneday is professor of NT and Greek at University of Northwestern-St. Paul, 3003 Snelling Avenue North, St. Paul, MN 55113. He may be contacted at abcaneday@unwsp.edu.

Abstract: D. A. Carson has lamented that no one has followed up on his engaging essay to explore the phenomena concerning “how the first disciples came to ‘read’ Scripture in a different way, a Christian way. For on the one hand, the evangelist insists that the crucial events in Jesus’s life and passion and resurrection fulfill Scripture, and on the other hand he acknowledges—indeed, insists—that the disciples themselves did not read Scripture this way until after the events.”1 Like Carson, I have also found within John’s Gospel a theme “analogous to the dominant notion of μυστήριον in the Pauline corpus: the gospel is simultaneously said to be hidden in times past but now disclosed, and prophesied in times past and now fulfilled.” My essay contends that without using μυστήριον, John’s Gospel expresses the concept. Thus, throughout the evangelist’s narrative he unfolds in literary form how Jesus replicates the pattern of the OT Scriptures wherein the mystery of the gospel for long ages lay hidden and is now brought to light by those same Scriptures. Likewise, the incarnate Word reveals and conceals his glory in his signs, teachings, and prophetic acts, even actually hiding himself, dramatizing divine judgment by concealment (12:36). Yet, now the light of his resurrection discloses the revelation he concealed in his words and actions.

Key words: disclose, conceal, misunderstanding motif, mystery, reveal, revelation, riddle, sign

I. Introduction

Three decades ago D. A. Carson explored the role of misunderstandings in John’s Gospel.1 His essay features sixteen occasions when Jesus’s disciples failed to understand about him prior to the cross and resurrection and their coming to understand

after his resurrection.2 Consider a few examples. John insists that Jesus’s disciples did not understand until after the resurrection that by saying, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (2:19), he was speaking of his body (2:21–22...

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