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    18th February 2009

    In case you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to…

    I’ve decided to paste in the first page and a half that intruduces my thesis project. In addition to that, I’ll be taking comps on February 28, so I’m studying quite a bit for those. Ok, here are the rules: DO NOT COPY THIS AND PASTE IT ANYWHERE ELSE! Read it and enjoy what little I’m willing to put on here right now, and even discuss amonst yourselves – but don’t put it on your site or anything like that. I need for it to still be considered my own original material when I turn it in so I don’t want anyone else claiming it is theirs – you don’t want it anyway, it’s not that good. Ok, that said, read away:

    When I initially started researching John 11, the raising of Lazarus, my hypothesis was that this marvelous narrative had been composed in such a way as to be a physical picture of the spiritual reality represented by John 5:24: “Truly, truly, I say to you that the one hearing my word and believing him who sent me has eternal life and does not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” In this verse, John reveals a view of conversion that brings eschatological hopes into the present. Eternal life becomes a qualitative term for what begins as soon as a person believes and chooses the life that Jesus offers. The raising of Lazarus, without denying that it might have been an historic event, can then function as a story of conversion which believers can relate to: They were dead and in their own tombs, wrapped in the graveclothes of their sin when Jesus called them into life.

    However, in my studies it soon became apparent that there are more connections between John 5 and John 11 than I had initially thought. In response to his opponents’ accusation that he was making himself equal with God in 5:18, Jesus claims in 5:19-30 that he possesses (or, has been granted by the Father) several divine attributes and powers. *Throughout the raising of Lazarus in John 11:1-53, the text presents Jesus as both validating the divine attributes and demonstrating the divine powers that he claimed in John 5:19-30.* This is done in such a way that the text makes it clear to the careful reader that the two passages are connected both in content and meaning.

    The attributes and powers claimed by Jesus in 5:19-21 fall primarily under three categories. First, 5:21; 24, 25, 26, and 27-28 all refer to attributes and powers related to life and resurrection: The Son is able to raise the dead and give life to whomever he wishes (5:21); those who believe in the one who sent Jesus has eternal life and “passes from death to life” (5:24); the dead will hear the voice of the Son and live (5:25), and those in their tombs will come out (5:28-29); and the Son even has life in himself just as the Father has life in himself. Second, 5:22 and 27 have to do with judgment, assigning all judgment and the “authority to execute judgment” to the Son. Verses 24 and 29 also relate to judgment in that the one who has eternal life through belief in the one who sent Jesus “does not come into judgment” – but those who have done evil in v. 24 come out to a “resurrection of judgment”.

    Third, 5:19-30 functions in showing the Son’s equality with the Father by describing the relationship between Jesus, the Son, and God, the Father. While there is, in a sense, subordination in this relationship, it is still a unique relationship (unique in its strongest sense) because Jesus is The Son, not one of many sons. The likewise (o`moi,wj) of v. 19 implies that Jesus’ actions are not only done in the same manner, but are in fact identical and united with the actions of the Father. In v. 20, the Father shows the Son “all the things that he is doing – and greater works than these he will show him;” these greater works include using the powers mentioned above – giving life and judging – that are the powers of God alone. Additionally, the reason for the Father granting the Son these divine attributes and abilities is emphasized in 5:23: “So that all might honor the Son just as they honor the Father.” That the Son should be worthy of equal honor is another way of suggesting that he is equal rank to the Father – and that would require the Son to be none other than Godself.

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    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.