CHAPTER II - THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF THE FOURTH GOSPEL
BY CANON G. OSBORNE TROOP, M. A., MONTREAL, CANADA
The whole Bible is stamped with the Divine “Hall-Mark”; but the Gospel according to St. John is primes inter pares. Through it, as through a transparency, we gaze entranced into the very holy of holies, where shines in unearthly glory “the great vision of the face of Christ”. Yet man’s perversity has made it the “storm center” of New Testament criticism, doubtless for the very reason that it bears such unwavering testimony both to the deity of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to His perfect humanity. The Christ of the Fourth Gospel is no unhistoric, idealized vision of the later, dreaming church, but is, as it practically claims to be, the picture drawn by “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, an eye-witness of the blood and water that flowed from His pierced side. These may appear to be mere unsupported statements, and as such will at once be dismissed by a scientific reader. Nevertheless the appeal of this article is to the instinct of the “one flock” of the “one Shepherd”. “They know His voice” … “a stranger will they not follow.”
A New Testament midrash is a Jewish explanation, teaching, interpretation, or application of an Old Testament text. When Jesus talks about how He will be lifted just as the serpent in the wilderness was lifted up (John 3:13-17), I consider His words a midrash on Numbers 21:8-10. My book, The Midrash Key, demonstrates how we can better understand New Testament texts when we couple them with their Old Testament source texts. I could only include a few of Jesus’ many midrashim (plural) in a single book, so I have decided to supplement my book with brief articles—like this one.
Sometimes a midrash is not merely a midrash on a single Old Testament text, but, rather, on a series of scattered verses. Such is the case with John’s assertion about the pre-existence of the Messiah as the Eternal Word of God and as God Himself.
Note the background to the Concept of God’s Creative Word in John 1:1-3. The NIV reads,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
We can see that the Word was always with God (1). This takes us back to Genesis 1, where we repeatedly read, “And God said…” Most readers with any fluency in the Old Testament would make this connection.