Tuesday, 8 December 2009
The Gospel according to whom?
Who wrote the fourth Gospel? We traditionally say John but is that right?
In the book, 'The many Gospels of Jesus' by Philip W. Comfort and Jason Driesbach it says;
"Though John's authorship is not explicitly stated anywhere in the Gospel, the text itself points to his authorship. The writer of this Gospel calls himself "the one whom Jesus loved"[Jn 20:2] and identifies himself at the end of the Gospel as a disciple who witnessed the events he wrote about, concluding with the personal "I" in the very last verse [Jn 21:24-25]."
As they say above the author isn't clear and we must deduce who it is. Their reasoning is sound however I must say that I disagree with the conclusion. Perhaps there is more to it then I have given credit and am, as always, up for being informed and corrected. Traditionally the beloved disciple is identified as John however I would like to suggest that it is actually Lazarus and therefore should be The Gospel according to Lazarus.
Here is my reasoning:
- It is mentioned that Jesus loved Lazarus 3 times in Ch 11: 3, 5, and 36. This was also by 3 different people: Mary and Martha, the author and the Jews. Seems rather emphatic to me.
- Mary and Martha tell Jesus that the 'one whom you love is sick' and Jesus knows that they are referring to Lazarus.
- Lazarus is mentioned to have been among those who reclined at the table when Mary anointed Jesus' feet (12:3). Later on in Ch 13 the one whom Jesus loved is mentioned to be reclining next to Jesus (V 23). This could very possibly be Lazarus therefore as we know that he ate with Jesus and the other disciples.
- In 21:22-23 it is mentioned that rumours were spread that the beloved disciple would never die. Now surely this only makes sense in light on Lazarus' resurrection from the dead in Ch 11. It seems a rather random comment on Peter and Jesus' part otherwise.
- It was the disciple who was rumoured to never die who was learning on Jesus' chest mentioned in Ch 13. (21:20)
It's not water tight but it seems to me that the author of the Gospel was the beloved disciple, who is in fact Lazarus.
Special thanks, as is becoming usual, to Simon Woodman who first suggested to me the true identity of the beloved disciple. Also to He Qi for the image.
Till Next Time!