Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Humour of John

The Apostle John is believed to have authored (or had very close connection to authoring) the fourth Gospel. In it, he always references himself in the third person as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (itself a profound statement of his humility and his wonder).

He really seems to have enjoyed writing the account of the Resurrection.

And I don't mean strictly from a spiritual sense. I mean that, if you read it closely enough and remember that we're talking about a translation from a foreign language whose culture was 2000 years separated from our own, there seems to be a bit of a dig at the Apostle Peter.

Take a close look (emphasis added):

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.

Maybe I'm way off base on this, but it almost seems like John is sending a subtle jibe against Peter. It's like he's saying, "When we heard the tomb was empty, Peter and I ran towards it. I beat him there. Sure, he went in first, but I beat him there."

This is the type of friendly banter which two dear friends can engage in. Peter, being considered the first Pope, naturally commands the respect of John, but it's clear that their friendship transcended the hierarchical structure of the Church.

What do you think? Does anybody else see that joke in there?

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