June 01, 2009

John 1.29-42

The next day, [John] saw Jesus coming toward him. "Look," he said, "There is the Lamb of God; it is he who takes away the sins of the world.

"This is he of whom I spoke when I said, 'After me a man is coming who takes rank before me;' for before I was born, he already was. I myself did not know who he was; but the very reason I came, baptizing in water, was that he might be revealed to Israel."

John testified further: "I was the Spirit coming down from Heaven like a dove and resting upon him. I didn't know him, but He who sent me to baptize in water told me, 'When you see the Spirit coming down upon someone and resting upon him, you will know that this is he who is to baptise in holy Spirit.' I saw it myself, and I have borne witness. This is God's chosen one."

The next day afterwards John was standing with two of his disciples when Jesus passed by. John looked toward him and said, 'There is the Lamb of God.'

The two disciples heard him say this, and followed Jesus. When he turned and saw them following him, he asked, "What are you looking for?"

They said, "Rabbi (which means a teacher), where are you staying?"

"Come and see," he replied.

So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent the rest of the day with him. It was then about four in the afternoon.

One of the two who followed Jesus after hearing what John said was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. The first thing he did was to find his brother Simon. He said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is the Hebrew for 'Christ'.) He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked him in the face and said, "You are Simon, son of John. You shall be called 'Cephas'" (that is, 'Peter', 'the Rock.')


At 3:42 p.m., Blogger Diane said...

This seems a nice screenplay, with strong and likable metaphor. I have read that the book of Matthew in particular draws parallels with Jewish history and Christ’s life and that the sacrificial lamb (Passover) has a role to play in that.

Seems like there are other parallels, such as Hermes of Greek mythology, which is also pictured as a shepherd, carrying a ram or sheep over his shoulders. Hermes was a mischievous messenger god. (I believe one his first day of life he stole a herd of cattle from Apollo! But the gods found him charming and let him live.)

Having taken not-so-well to the Great Commission (in Matt 28) that we all become disciples, I had started to think in terms of the shepherd as a better metaphor for me (in contrast to disciple, which seems a tad narrow). I thought I could sidestep the Great Commission issues, and tap down that desire to be a disciple. And the image of sheep goes well with blessed are the meek.

Is the verse that led George Fox to end water baptism rituals: 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' ?

At 5:08 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

Well, yeah, but it's the far end of a process of spiritualizing (or to my mind, covering up) what happened between John and Jesus in Mark. Which was muy political!

And as I wrote over on quakerquaker, "Christ" and "Messiah" may both mean "guy with oil poured over him", but the cultural meaning in the Hellenistic and Hebrew worlds was totally different, which this passage is either failing to recognize, or deliberately obscuring.

I guess I don't understand either your objection to a "disciple" role or your liking for a "sheep" one! I mean, Jesus sounds like an assertive kind of guy, but not, as this says elsewhere, one to "lord it over" people. You & I probably prefer to obey "wisdom", not because anyone claims to be holding some sort of spiritually-authoritarian gun to our heads, but because it's a whole lot better than once again finding ourselves like that (ethnicity deleted) wolf who's gnawed off three legs and is still in the trap! To have Wisdom for our guru, wow!

I don't know what George Fox said specifically about water baptism... but in one doctrinal debate, he said something he considered to be direct inspiration, which he had not gotten from the Bible, but ~"searching the Scriptures afterwards, I found it." The major issue of his time was: Whose church & practice did God want us to follow? He concluded, perhaps using the Bible and his experience of priests' conduct as evidence, that inserting professional intermediaries between God and people was indefensible, an effort to market what God gave freely. & since it was the externals of religion that were most susceptible to that sort of exploitation, he had strong reasons to consider them unnecessary... and often ineffective, counterfeit spiritual practices that deprived people of the reality.

At 2:34 p.m., Blogger Diane said...

Your response was good for me. I have a tendency toward discipleship that I don't entirely have in check. In my Bible reading I ran into a comment that said discipleship is doing (not talking), so I made a note. When I checked the chapter, it made me laugh: Matt 23 (in particular verse 14: "Woe to you, ... win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are."

At 9:55 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

I didn't understand what you meant, but perhaps I'm getting there. You have a tendency to be a 'disciple' in a traditional Oriental sense, inclined to give a teacher uncritical reverence?

Teachers don't always appreciate having students argue with them--but those students who do, learn the best!

At 8:44 a.m., Blogger Diane said...

How would you define disciple (for today)?

At 12:53 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

I would think it would be closer to the contemporary role of 'student' in a school where students were actually interested in learning some subject. So that a 'teacher' would be someone you respected who you knew had greater knowledge, wisdom, etc.--but catching him in an error would not be unthinkable, and if you disagreed on some matter--while you'd know it was likely you'd made a mistake--you would not be expected to abandon your position, but to work out how well it actually worked.

In some ways, we modern Westerners probably take being non-hierarchical to the point of it being a vice!-- being unwilling, unable to realize that someone else might actually know more, understand something better. But you find sages in various traditions (I think) taking the position that they'd teach an old man if he needed it, learn from a small child if that was where the wisdom happened to be.

A good learning model--is not 'the blind leading the blind,' but 'everyone using their own eyes.'

At 2:43 p.m., Blogger Diane said...

I very much like "every one using their own eyes." I've been associated with just a few groups that have "teachers" and one had people that considered themselves "disciples" of a doctrine (but they were careful not to call themselves teachers, just fellow students).

Since I have never found one "teacher," I have always considered that I learn from whomever I can and you never know what that may look like (a child or even a parent! etc.).

I agreed with a Buddhist who said it would take years to know if you found the "right teacher" in a solo sense. I guess the lineage of the Buddhist teachings, where they are passed ceremoniously down the generations is a discipleship to me. I respect it but not as end-all model for authority.

Still, false idols being what they are, however, makes me a little wary of hierarchies, it's true.

Though I think if someone who knows you well enough to know what you need to progress and is willing to help you (to the point of taking on your karma). Similar to a shepherd, I guess, who tends to and cares for....

I can see calling oneself a disciple as someone who acts on doctrine, or principle, or a leading. It takes the personal relationship out of it. Or a living example, which is what I'm getting from a Quakerly approach.


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