Who Killed Jesus? According to The Gospel of John
Cheryl Mason © April, 2016
I’ve completed a summary of the trial and subsequent crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth based on the readings of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Matthew, Mark and Luke devote a couple of chapters at the end of their Gospels to the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. I cannot apply the same arrangement I used for them with John’s Gospel, John’s Gospel is different. In John’s Gospel the Trial of Jesus begins at the very beginning and continues all the way to the end.
There are three main threads that run through the entire Gospel of John. The first thread is: The Witness (the declaration that Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah) from people, such as John the Baptist, Nicodemus, the woman at the well, etc. And, even from the Father Himself! The second thread is: The Trial, the tensions between the religious Jews and Jesus is evidence from the beginning and their plans to kill Him is obvious. It seems that as much as ‘The Witness’ runs in Jesus’s favour, the ‘Anti-Witness’, is challenging His Messiahship at every turn. The third thread is: The Sign (The Signs and Wonders that followed Jesus’s ministry, declaring Him to be the ‘Sent-One’ The Messiah).
I’m going to suggest a book written by Andrew T. Lincoln called Truth on Trial, The Lawsuit Motif of the Fourth Gospel. I found this book really helpful when trying to understand that the trial of Jesus was a proper trial, not just some bogus trial where things just escalated out of control and Jesus ended up losing His life.
The other thing about John’s Gospel is that most scholars agree that it was one of the last Gospels written. And, because of this, they doubt whether John the disciple of Jesus is the true author of the Gospel that bears his name. I’m reminded of a verse in John 21:21-22, where Peter asks Jesus, “What about this man?”, meaning John. Jesus answers, “If he were to remain until I come what is that to you?”. In other words, mind your own business, Peter. Did Jesus intend that John live a long time to complete The Revelation and The Gospel of John? I believe He did. The Gospel of John is in my opinion one of the most revealing Gospels of the Father/Son relationship and the Function and Messiahship of Jesus.
In the first few verses of John’s Gospel, we see that Jesus was with the Father at the very beginning. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made (John 1:3). In Him is Life and Light (John 1:4). In Proverbs we read similar verses written about Jesus (Proverbs 8:22-31) the Lord possessed me in the beginning of His way etc. And I (first-person singular) was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men (hence, Son of Man). It seems from the very beginning Jesus set His love on planet earth and humankind.
Also, at the very beginning of John’s Gospel we read that the Jewish authorities sent priests and Levites to ask John the Baptist if he was the Messiah. John the Baptist replied that he wasn’t the Messiah but was instead, one crying in the wilderness for people to repent. What better place to begin The Witness thread than right here with John the Baptist.
The Gospel of John – The Witness:
Chapter 1:29 — John the Baptist sees Jesus coming towards him and says … “Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”
Chapter 1:41 — Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter says … “We have found the Messiah.”
Chapter 1:45 — Philip found Nathanael and says to him … “We have found Him of whom Moses and the Law wrote about.”
Chapter 1:49 — Nathanael answered, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Chapter 3:2 — Nicodemus says … “You are a teacher come down from God, no one can do these signs except God is with him.”
Chapter 3:35 — John the Baptist testifies … “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.”
Chapter 4: 25 — The woman of Samaria says to Jesus … “I know the Messiah is coming etc.”, Jesus says to her … “I am He who is speaking with you.” Many of the Samaritans believed because of her testimony (verse 39).
Chapter 4:42 — The Samaritans who believed say … “They believed, not only because of her but because of the teachings of Jesus.”, “Indeed, He is the Messiah, the saviour of the world.”
Chapter 5:20 — Father/Son witness … “The Father loves the Son.”
Chapter 5:23 — Father/Son witness … “He who does not honour the Son, does not honour the Father who sent Him.”
Chapter 5:36 — Father/Son witness … “the Works that I do, bear witness of me that the Father has sent me.”
Chapter 10:25 — Father/Son witness … Jesus says, “The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness of me.”
Chapter 12:28 — Father/Son witness … Voice from Heaven, “I have glorified your name and will glorify it again.”
Chapter 14:10 — Father/Son witness … Philip asks Jesus, “Show us the Father?” Jesus replies, He who has seen the Father has seen me (verse 9) and “I am in the Father and the Father in me.”
Chapter 14:23 — Father/Son witness … Only those who love Jesus and keep His word is loved by the Father.
Chapter 15:23 — Father/Son witness … Jesus says, “He who hates me hates the Father.” And, “They hated Me without a cause.” (Verse 25).
Chapter 5: 39 — The Scriptures as Witness … “You search the Scriptures, because you think in them you have life ─ The Scriptures testify of me.”
Chapter 5:46 — Moses as Witness … “If you believe Moses, then you would believe me, because Moses wrote about me.”
Chapter 6:69 — Simon Peter’s witness … “We have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”
Chapter 7:41 — The crowds witness … “This is the Messiah, will the Messiah come out of Galilee?”
Chapter 8: 11 — Woman caught in adultery witness … She says, “No one, Lord.” Acknowledging Jesus as Lord.
Chapter 8: 58 — Jesus as witness … Jesus is in a discussion with Jewish people, and says … “Before Abraham was, I AM.”
Chapter 9:38 — Blind man as witness … The blind man who was healed at the pool of Siloam (Sent) confesses that Jesus is the Messiah, “Lord, I believe, and he worshipped Him.”
Chapter 10:25 — The Jews surrounded Jesus and asked Him, “Tell us if you are the Messiah?”
Jesus replies, “I told you and you do not believe me.”
Chapter 10:36 — Jesus chastises the Jewish leaders for calling someone whom the Father sanctified and ‘Sent’ a blasphemer. He says … “You call me this because I said, I am, the Son of God?”
Chapter 11:27 — Martha as witness … “Yes, Lord, I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
Chapter 12:13 — The witness of the Passover crowd … “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna! The King of Israel.”
Chapter 13:13 — Jesus confirms He is Teacher and Lord … “You call me Teacher and Lord etc. for so I am.”
Chapter 18:37 — Jesus confesses to Pilate He is a King (but only after telling Pilate His Kingdom is not of this world, but another world).
To be continued: