So @BoSanders has issued a great follow up to last year’s John 14:6 challenge over at Homebrewed http://homebrewedchristianity.com/2013/03/20/the-easter-call-in-challenge/. It basically goes like this;
We need to stop saying “God sent Jesus to die on the cross”. The only place the New Testament even talks about God sending Jesus is in John 3:17 – Jesus was sent into the world, not to condemn it but to save it.
The danger of saying any more than John 3:17 says itself is that it distorts our image of God and our understanding of the mission of Jesus…
What would you say to that? Agree, disagree? Comments, questions, concerns?
Now I’m not in the running for one of the cool book prizes as I’m sure there are going to be some cool attempts to weave some Girardian memetic theory and some Foucauldian power-discourse theory that will leave me in the shallow end with my NIV Study Bible, Warren Carter’s John commentary and Bob Jewett’s Romans. Heck I don’t even know the right way to say Zizek, let alone spin his take on Paul into a funny little joke about Seamus from Derry.
So what I thought I would do is lob my own little Johannine quote-bomb into the mix. Tripp started this one off with John 14:6 and I think we defused that one ok. Nobody got hurt, which in theology counts as a good day. Bo is now lobbing over John 3:17, which I heard he learned from reading some NFL player’s eye make-up, so I’m going to reach into the ammo box marked KATA IOANNHN and chuck one back. Duck and cover boys and remember there are no (a)theists in fox-hole, or a Vauxhall for that matter.
I understand Bo sojourned for a while in the lands of the Penties, which in my own experience were basically Fundamentalists with magical powers and Tripp knows an Evanjellyfish or two so they will both recognised the signifier “the completed work of Jeee-sus”. We used to hear it a lot, in songs, sermons, earnest (that means sweaty) prayers and passionate (that means angry) alter calls. We all know what people think they mean by that.
Ok hard hats on, here comes the quite bomb. John 17:4. Booooom.
I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given
Me to do. (John 17:4 NASB)
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest
me to do (John 17:4 Jesus’ own KJV)
So when does John’s character of Jesus speak this prayer, “referring to the completed work of Christ”? John 17. That’s after the foot-washing, after the least evening meal with his students, after all the teaching and wonder-working, and after promising the comforter. There.
He has completed the work the Father gave him. And after that? Well after he had completed the work the Father gave him, after the completed work of Christ… the powers killed him. So we have a great tragic ending, but not one of mission interrupted, nor even one of a divine mission-to-die fulfilled, but perhaps a vindictive, unjust execution that narratively takes place AFTER the “completed work”.
That’s my John 17:4 quote bomb, now I just need to work out how to make this speak-pipe gizmo work.