Research Paper: John 5:13-21 Passage -- John 5:13-21 "Closing

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John 5:13-21

Passage -- John 5:13-21 "Closing Exhortations"

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 and if we know that he hears us -- whatever we ask -- we know that we have what we asked of him.

If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols (New International Version).

Part 2 -- Main Idea and Outline - for many religious scholars, John is a difficult book to interpret. There are seeming contradictions between John 5 and James 2, but upon careful analysis, the contradictions are really just different interpretations of the same general idea. That idea, of course, is that "we know that we are children of God" (John 5:19). John's major point is that although there is evil in the world, we must go back to the basic teachings of scripture to understand that the dichotomy of God (good and evil, heaven and hell, salvation and damnation) are but opposing forces that one chooses based on the acceptance of faith and that of salvation.

The actual authorship of John is still debated by Biblical scholarship. In Chapter 21 it states that it is part of the testimony of the discipline whom Jesus loved, but has a number of stylistic and content similarities to three surviving Epistles of John, but may have been an amalgamation of a number of texts that provide the appropriate tradition for the material; including some Gnostic elements.

In essence, then, the lesson from John 5 is that although there is clearly evil in the world, there is also confidence. There is confidence in eternal life; if you believe in Jesus you shall have eternal life (John 5:13). Using the power and gift of prayer, God will hear your prayers; you may not receive everything you ask for, just as wise parents do not give children free reign, but you may be confident that in the large plan of life, God will hear and answer the faithful (John 5: 14-15). and, you may also be confident that there is continual spiritual warfare in the world, part of the balance of nature. That warfare is part of the beauty of free will and choice. We can sin, but there are consequences, we can refrain from sin, or repent from past sins, and be confident that God will forgive a pure heart and mind, and allow us to move forward (John 5: 18-19). Indeed, it is this path towards free will that is the greatest of gifts, for it ensures that those who come to know God, truly believe.

Part C -- Introduction - the traditional, or Orthodox view, is that the church is a necessary medium between the laity and God, and that without the church and the hierarchy of clergy, the congregation would be unable to attain the wisdom of God. They saw the coming of god's kingdom as a literal event. They also saw it preposterous thought to separate the body from human life. That is, they saw Jesus as both flesh and spirit that were inseparable. The Orthodox considered the crucifixion of Jesus as a historical account. They viewed Jesus as a martyr that sacrificed his life so that we may live. It was believed that the martyrdom of Jesus allows for the forgiveness of sins and ensures resurrection and our life everlasting; this sacrifice allowed us to release our guilt and receive forgiveness for our sins. Indeed, the tradition of Jesus as God formed not only the basis of the trinity, but the longitudinal continuation of the conception of God from the Abrahamic tradition onward -- more of a cosmological approach to the idea of a "Supreme Being," power or source of all.

In essence, John explains this to us as the way to sacrifice through prayer and love, and the rewards that are promised should we follow the right path.

John actually presents a higher level of Christology that the synoptic Gospels, typically describing Jesus as the complete incantation of the divine Logos through which the universe was created and an expression of God's love and power; sometimes even as God incarnate.

Despite the authorship issue and the Gnostic influences, most scholarship indicates that the differences between the teaching in John and the more traditional Synoptic accounts diverges enough that only one can really be historical and many in the early Church (circa 200-500 AD) chose the Synoptic interpretation. Thus, modern debate still has not proven the historical accuracy of John, although from a spiritual point, the material is considered quite valid and appropriate for the modern reader.

Part D- Context and Historical Discussion -- We must remember that to interpret scripture, we must also look at the historical and social dimensions of the time in which the particular passage was written. The overall paradigm in John is, of course, that Jesus is the way to eternal life. The entire Book of John is an account of the public ministry of Jesus, from the time of John the Baptist to his death, burial, Resurrection, and appearance to the faithful. The traditions, in which John was written are practical, concerned with actual issues of the young Church-Synagogue debates around 90 AD. There is definition of the early Christians against Judaism, rather than as a part of the wider Christian church, and there are even some passages that are concerned with Gnosticism as was practiced in the time.

On the matter of what Jesus was, the Gnostics vehemently disagreed with the Orthodox Church. Gnostics believed that Jesus was more than a human martyr; Gnostics believed that the Holy Spirit (Christ) and Jesus of Nazareth were two separate entities. They felt that Jesus was a man of flesh who, at baptism, received the Holy Spirit and became Christ. Gnostics felt that Christ only appeared to suffer and die, it was the body that suffered and when Jesus passed, the spirit was transfigured and released (Clark, 1967). Gnostics and the Orthodox also disagreed on the point of the existence of God. The Gnostics rationalized that the god of the Old Testament -- a god of creation and punishment was clearly a separate entity from the god of Jesus, who was a loving and forgiving god. How could such a loving god reach out to us with salvation and forgiveness be the same god who created pain, punishment and suffering? the

Orthodox believed in "one god, the father almighty creator of heaven and earth." In fact this was the major claim of the creed that the orthodox Christians proclaimed as part of their faith.

Another point of argument was how to attain salvation. Orthodox Christians felt it was necessary to proclaim, out loud, their belief in one god. This was the discerning factor that allowed them to separate themselves from the Gnostics-who were now considered heretics and a threat to the church. Gnostics believed that as long as one lived in faith and held good conduct throughout their entire life they would achieve salvation. Gnostics felt their approach was superior to that of the Orthodox Christians because even hypocrites could proclaim the creed, not believe in it and still reach life eternal and salvation.

After Jesus died, both Orthodox Christians and Gnostics claimed to witness the resurrection of Christ. The orthodox claimed that they saw the physical reappearance of Jesus Christ and expressed the importance of this type of sighting as the truth. Gnostics had the belief that the relationship between salvation and themselves was on a more personal level. Gnostics insisted that it was merely an encounter between the witness and the spirit of Christ that had been transformed. This follows the Gnostics belief that religious enlightenment came from introspect and self-knowledge. Once one had achieved this gnosis they were considered to be of mature knowledge and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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