THREADED DISCUSSION: MOTIFS OF LIFE AND DEATH

5.2 THREADED DISCUSSION: MOTIFS OF LIFE AND DEATH
Order Description
UNIT FIVE INTRODUCTION
Be sure to read each assignment in this unit.

In this section, a number of issues come to the forefront in John’s Gospel. Jesus’ identity continues to surface in a critical way as a lens for people to understand their own identity. In chapter 8, Jesus identifies himself as the good shepherd, the gate: the gatekeeper and protector of life. But Jesus goes beyond this to say that he is the kind of shepherd that is even willing to lay his life down for his sheep. Jesus acknowledges others are outside the fold, but demonstrates a concern for them as well. He says “I must bring them in also” (10:16). In interpreting his own pending death, Jesus declares that he is complete control, not only of his life, but of his death as well. John makes clear that Jesus’ death cannot be ultimately or even primarily the result of criminal actions of Jewish and Roman leaders. In the Gospel of Luke and Acts, that author often indicts Israelite leaders for their complicity in the death of the Messiah. John does not take this course. In the Fourth Gospel, Jesus declares that it is He who lays his death down and ‘no one takes it from me.’ He has the authority and power from God to participate in this most human predicament that is our destiny unless his return occurs.
Jesus declares that his power does not extend only to his volitional death, but that he possesses the power of resurrection, understood in the Fourth Gospel in terms of Life. This focus on life continues into Chapter 11 in the story of Lazarus. Arguably, this is the most important sign/miracle in the Fourth Gospel (except for the resurrection of Jesus himself). The story only appears in the Gospel of John. In it, Jesus is told of the terminal illness of his friend Lazarus. It is the only place in John’s Gospel where John names specific people that Jesus loved: Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. This is important information because only after these three are identified as loved does John begin to mention a disciple identified as “the Disciple whom Jesus Loved.” Many scholars identify Lazarus as that disciple, although this cannot be completely evidenced. In any event, although Jesus is told of his friend’s serious illness, Jesus does not hurry. In fact, he delays his arrival for two whole days! John’s Gospel does not identify Jesus as the giver of Life only as a metaphor. In this chapter, Jesus shows he provides not only spiritual life, but physical life–even beyond the grave and death! As the story unfolds, Jesus? love for Lazarus is underscored again. The frustration of Martha comes to a head when she grieves that this would not have happened if Jesus had been present. Although Martha has correctly identified Jesus as a great healer, she still has not identified him as the embodiment of Life itself! He has the power to lay life down and to take life up! In one of the strongest and most powerful “I am? sayings, Jesus declares himself to be “the Resurrection and the Life”! John demonstrates these are not mere words when Lazarus, even from his deathly decay and stench, arises to wholeness in life at the words and command of Jesus!
In Chapter 12, this climatic story of Jesus giving Life to his followers is followed by the author noting that Jesus has entered Jerusalem, where the countdown begins for Jesus to die. Thus the emphasis on life and death continues to its dramatic conclusion. In this chapter, Jesus strongly alludes to his death on the cross in his prediction of being “lifted up.” However, this verb in the context of the Fourth Gospel means more than being lifted on a cross. “Lifted up” carries the double meaning of being exalted in his death! Jesus brings the Devil into the picture here, emphasizing that the hour of Death will not be Jesus’ defeat. Instead, through this climactic event of action and identification–the Death and Resurrection of Jesus–the Messiah predicts the power of the Devil and his political kingdoms (“the ruler of this world”) will come to an end. The chapter closes with Jesus speaking once more to the subject of eternal life.
UNIT FIVE OUTCOMES
Upon completion of this unit you should be able to:
1. Identify examples of the life/death motif in John 10-12.
2. Articulate John?s presentation of the death of Jesus as the Good Shepherd and the one who will be ?lifted up.?
3. Explain the significance of Lazarus in the Gospel of John.
4. Define elements of Jesus? final week that are similar to and different from the presentations of the Synoptic Gospels.
5. Comprehend John?s ?Realized Eschatology.?

UNIT FIVE RESOURCES
? Textbook: The Gospels and Letters of John, Culpepper, R. A. (1998).
? Textbook: The Word of Life Koester, C. R. (2008). A theology of John’s Gospel.
? Bible

5.1 TEXT/MEDIA: TEXTBOOK; BIBLE
INTRODUCTION AND ALIGNMENT
A critical overview to the literary, historical, and theological features of John 10-12.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
None

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Read the second half of Ch. 7 (pp. 179-196) in The Gospel and Letters of John
2. Re-read Ch. 3 in The Word of Life.
3. Be prepared to comment and discuss in Threaded Discussion.
5.2 THREADED DISCUSSION: MOTIFS OF LIFE AND DEATH

INTRODUCTION AND ALIGNMENT
The purpose of threaded discussions is to reflect your engagement with the Gospel of John and the course textbooks.

Upon completion of this assignment you should be able to:
? Identify and examine examples of the life/death motif in John 10-12.
? Explain the significance of Lazarus in the Gospel of John.

RESOURCES
? Textbook: The Gospel and Letters of John
? Textbook: The Word of Life
? Bible

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
None
INSTRUCTIONS
1. For your initial post, based on your close reading and critical reflection of Ch. 7 (pp. 179- 196) in The Gospel and Letters of John and Ch. 3 in The Word of Life, discuss the following:
a. Focus on the motifs of Life and Death in John?s gospel, particularly in chapters 10-12.
b. What are the various metaphors taken up in John?s elaboration of the theological meaning of life and death?
c. What titles of Jesus underscore this connection?