The Gospel According to John – 2017.05.07
Getting it Wrong
The writers of John’s gospel lived generations after Jesus. They lived in a period of time when the church itself was being persecuted. It was persecuted by the Roman State, it was in grave conflict with traditional Judaism, which stridently sought to differentiate itself from Christians, and deny they the historical protections that Rome had always afforded its Jewish citizens, which made up about ten percent of the population of free Romans.
The early Christians were also beset by the rise of various popular movements that sought to trade in on the spread of the Christianity.
The writers of John made every effort they could to stand against these types of persecutions, and corrupting influences, like that of the Gnostics, or the practitioners of the Qabalah, which was the foundation of Gnosticism.
They became protectionists, and their protectionists way had its own corrupting influence on their presentation of the ministry of Jesus.
Jesus gave to everyone, with the only qualification being that they trust in his vision of the way, which only means that they be as charitable, as merciful, as loving, as forgiving as he.
The authors of John get it wrong when the write about gates, and gatekeepers, thieves and brigands.
The table that Jesus set was open to everyone.
The Sheepfold and the Gate
‘I tell you most solemnly, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but gets in some other way is a thief and a brigand. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock; the gatekeeper lets him in, the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out. When he has brought out his flock, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice. They never follow a stranger but run away from him: they do not recognise the voice of strangers.’
Jesus told them this parable but they failed to understand what he meant by telling it to them.
So Jesus spoke to them again:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
I am the gate of the sheepfold.
All others who have come
are thieves and brigands;
but the sheep took no notice of them.
I am the gate.
Anyone who enters through me will be safe:
he will go freely in and out
and be sure of finding pasture.
The thief comes
only to steal and kill and destroy.
I have come
so that they may have life and have it to the full.’
4th Sunday of Easter