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Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Homily – John 1:35 – 42 ©

The Gospel According to John – 2018.01.014

John and Jesus, and Peter Too

It is important to note that John’s Gospel, being the latest, and last to be written, coming nearly one-hundred and fifty years after the death of Jesus, takes a radical departure from any attempt to present the life of Jesus in a historical context.

The authors of John, only follow the timeline presented in the synoptic gospels; Mark, Matthew and Luke, because that narrative structure had successfully planted itself in the consciousness of the early church.

Nevertheless, John leaps away from the synoptic narrative at every opportunity that presents itself, to insert the “faith” constructions of the early church, “beliefs” about Jesus that had developed over the course of the first century that change the meaning of Jesus’ life and death, and his mission in significant ways.

By the time John’s Gospel is written, the Church is no longer concerned with courting the disciples of John the Baptist. The authors of John skip the baptism of Jesus completely. There is no passing of the torch from one to the other, there is only a statement of recognition from the Baptist, that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Lamb of God, and with that John’s followers pick up their things to follow him, leaving the Baptist altogether.

The authors of John are not concerned with the assimilation of John’s followers into the early church, they are concerned with the structure and hierarchy of the established church, and therefore they transform this scene into an explicit endorsement of the Petrine supremacy. In which Jesus recognizes Peter as the future leader of the church from the outset, giving him his new name, Cephas, or Rock at the beginning of the ministry.

This sets the tone for the kind of propaganda John’s gospel will be delivering from the outset.  

The Baptism of the Jesus

As John stood with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God.’ Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi,’ – which means Teacher – ‘where do you live?’ ‘Come and see’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.

  One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Early next morning, Andrew met his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ – which means the Christ – and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ – meaning Rock.

2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time