Miraculous Signs And Literary Structure In John’s Gospel -- By: Zane C. Hodges
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Miraculous Signs And Literary
Structure In John’s Gospel
President, Kerugma Ministries
This article, based on Zane’s second conference message at the 2008 GES national conference, was completed before he went to be with the Lord on November 23rd, 2008.
In the first article we examined the literary purpose of the Last Discourse, found in John 13–17. We proposed that the Discourse should be viewed as an encomium whose aim is evangelistic. The closest analogue that I know about in Greek literature is the Platonic dialogue called the Phaedo.
But we have not yet said enough about the literary milieu into which John sent his Gospel. We want to try to do that today. In order to do this, we first need to think a little bit about the author.
II. The Son of Zebedee
I accept the ancient tradition that John the son of Zebedee was the author of the Fourth Gospel. The author was also one and the same as the disciple who leaned on Jesus’ breast in the Upper Room.1 Let’s think about him for a moment.
According to Matt 4:21–22, Jesus called James and John while they were “in the boat with Zebedee their father,” and they promptly “left the boat and their father” to follow Jesus. Now some might think that these two boys ran out on their dear old Dad!
Dry your tears. Mark 1:20 informs us that they “left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants.” The Greek word for hired
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servants is the plural of misthōtos. It the equivalent of our word “employees.” Zebedee didn’t really need the boys, since he had employees.
When we come to the Gospel of John, we are told a most interesting fact. When Jesus was arrested, we read this in John 18:15–16:
And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did [the other] disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. [NKJV, except bracketed words.]
In all probability, “the other disciple” is the author. But what is this? The son of an obscure Gali...
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