I read this during Lent and never got around to blogging about it until now. Did you ever notice that the Gospel of John not only has different stories and takes on stories as the other three Synoptic Gospels…but it actually hates on them too (in a mean way)?
I’m reading through This Tragic Gospel by Louis Ruprecht and he outlines the ways how the Gospel according to John subverts the other Gospels…especially the Gospel of Mark. The key point of difference comes in the Lenten story of the prayer at Gethsemane. You know, where Jesus prays to God? Check out what Jesus says in Matthew, Mark, Luke:
“Father, if you will, take this cup away from me. Still, let not my will bed one, but yours.”– Luke 22
“My Father, if it is possible, then let this cup pass me by. Still, not how I want it, but how you do.”– Matthew 26
“Abba, the Father, all things are possible through you. Take this cup away from me. Still, not what I want, but what you do.”– Mark 14
Now check it out in John.
Oh, that’s right. There is no prayer at Gethsemane. Hmm. In fact, Jesus seeks out the arresting party and confronts them, terrifies them to their knees, and practically makes them arrest him. Very different from the others.
Why is this important? Look at what Jesus says to the arresting party:
The cup that the Father has given me–shall I not drink it?– John 18
And consider what Jesus said previously in his parables:
“Now my soul is troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour‘? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.– John 12:27
Yup, that’s right. Jesus in John directly quotes and ridicules the Prayer of Gethsemane found in the other three gospels. Think about that for a minute…what Jesus says in John directly quotes and refutes all three of the other Gospels…and not just a line, but the heart-wrenching, soul-searing prayer in Gethsemane!
What does this mean? According to Ruprecht’s This Tragic Gospel:
- Jesus in John replaces the doubt and wrestling found in the other Gospels with a cold certainty and a scary intensity.
- Instead of a very human Jesus who doubts and wrestles with God found in the Synoptics, in John we have a Jesus who lacks doubt and fear and scares the arresting party to their knees.
- There is no collision of wills between Jesus and God in Gethsemane that the other gospels report on; in John, Jesus never doubts or is self-wondering or is otherwise…..human. [I would point to Lazarus’s death, though, as a story when Jesus wept]
Very weird. Thoughts? Anyone else troubled by this?