The author of the Gospel of John was anonymous. An unnamed disciple whom Jesus loved was the most important source. Did this unnamed disciple actually write this gospel? Was this beloved disciple meant to be a symbol of all the followers of Jesus? Christian tradition has identified this unnamed disciple as the apostle John, since this gospel style and content seem to relate to the three other epistles referred to as the Johannine epistles. Thus, most scholars treat these four books, along with the Book of Revelation, as a single corpus of Johannine literature, even though not from the same author. This Johannine Christian group defined itself in contrast to Judaism, rather than as part of a wider Christian community. They were separating from Judaism and the Jewish community life, so that there was a lot of talk about synagogues. The Greek style in this gospel was similar to a Greco-Roman biography, with a focus on the main subject’s great words and deeds, his death, and the consequences. One third of the Gospel of John concerns the last week of Jesus’ life. The author or authors were followers of Jesus Christ in the first century of the common era, perhaps one to two generations removed from the time of Jesus. They wrote this book to help believe in Jesus Christ. Do you think that the Gospel of John helps you to believe in Jesus?
Jesus went out.
He saw a tax collector,
At the tax booth.
He said to him.
Καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα ἐξῆλθεν, καὶ ἐθεάσατο τελώνην ὀνόματι Λευεὶν καθήμενον ἐπὶ τὸ τελώνιον, καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἀκολούθει μοι.
The call of Levi or Matthew follows the story of the paralytic healing in all three synoptic gospels. Luke said that Jesus went out (Καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα ἐξῆλθεν), presumably in Capernaum. There he saw a tax collector (καὶ ἐθεάσατο τελώνην), named Levi (ὀνόματι Λευεὶν), sitting at the tax booth (καθήμενον ἐπὶ τὸ τελώνιον). He said to him (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) to follow him (Ἀκολούθει μοι). Mark, chapter 2:14, and Matthew, chapter 9:9, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this event. However, there are some significant differences. Matthew called this man Matthew instead of Levi, his Jewish name. Luke also followed Mark in calling him Levi. Matthew and Luke did not mention his father, but Mark did. It was strange that if this Matthew the apostle was the author of this gospel, why he did not mention the name of his father. Both Matthew and Mark said that Jesus was walking along, when he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, or Matthew, sitting in his tax office, toll booth, or tax booth. Jesus simply said to him to follow him.
“As Jesus was walking along,
He saw a man
He was sitting
At the tax booth.
Jesus said to him.
He got up.
He followed him.”
Καὶ παράγων ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐκεῖθεν εἶδεν ἄνθρωπον καθήμενον ἐπὶ τὸ τελώνιον, Μαθθαῖον λεγόμενον, καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ἀκολούθει μοι. καὶ ἀναστὰς ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ.
This saying about the call of Matthew is similar to Mark, chapter 2:14, and Luke, chapter 5:27-28, but there he was called Levi, his Jewish name, and not Matthew. Also, the other stories mention his father, but not here. It is strange that if this Matthew the apostle was the author of this gospel, why it was not mentioned here. Jesus was walking along (Καὶ παράγων ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐκεῖθεν), when he saw a man called Matthew sitting in his tax office, toll booth, or tax booth (εἶδεν ἄνθρωπον καθήμενον ἐπὶ τὸ τελώνιον, Μαθθαῖον λεγόμενον). Jesus simply said to him, “Follow me!” (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ἀκολούθει μοι). Then Matthew got up and followed him (καὶ ἀναστὰς ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ) without any need to explain why or how he was doing this. At this point in the Matthew gospel narrative, he is the 5th named apostle after Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John, the first individual without a brother follower.
“Jesus taught them,
As one who had authority,
Not as their scribes”
ἦν γὰρ διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων, καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν.
Matthew spoke about the authority of Jesus, that also was in Luke, chapter 4:32, as well as Mark, chapter 1:22. What was this authority that Jesus had? He was not like one of the scribes (καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν). The scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed. These scribes were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society. They might have been the forerunners of the rabbinic class that was developing at that time. Perhaps, the author of this gospel might have been a Jewish scribe himself because he was very familiar with Hebrew scriptures. Jesus taught on his own authority (ἦν γὰρ διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων) without referring to tradition.
“This book recounts
The Messiah Christ,
The son of David,
The son of Abraham.”
Βίβλος γενέσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ υἱοῦ Δαυεὶδ υἱοῦ Ἀβραάμ
This gospel is the only one of the four gospels that calls itself a book (Βίβλος). Thus, more contemporary translations have used the term ‘an account’ rather than a book, which appears 10 times in the New Testament. Clearly, this is about the genealogy of Jesus (γενέσεως Ἰησοῦ). The Greek word for genealogy means origins, like the Greek word for the origins of the world in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Then there is the Greek term that we all familiar with “Christ,” (Χριστοῦ), which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew “Messiah,” or “The Anointed One.” This author clearly states at the beginning of this book that it will be about Jesus the expected anointed Messiah, Christ. This Jesus was the son of David (υἱοῦ Δαυεὶδ) and the son of Abraham (υἱοῦ Ἀβραάμ). Jesus, the Christ, the anointed one, had Jewish ancestry as a son of Abraham. He also had a royal Hebrew lineage as a son of David. Unlike the Gospel of Luke, this genealogy does not start with the more universal Adam, but with the first Hebrew or Israelite, Abraham. Clearly, Jesus was Jewish.
The Writings, as they were referred to in the New Testament, were the poetic or wisdom books. They include the Psalms, some written by David, but mostly ranging from the 10th–4th century BCE, and the Proverbs, ascribed to Solomon, ranging from the 9th century–3rd century BCE, as well as the Book of Job, from the 6th century BCE. Both the Psalms and Proverbs were written over a period of time, but they each have an author attributed to them, King David to the Psalms, and King Solomon to the Proverbs. Job was not an Israelite, but his story was instructive to the Israelites.