Date: Sun Feb 27 2000 - 17:17:43 EST
In a message dated 2/27/2000 5:57:20 AM Central Daylight Time,
Now, it is commonly held by commentators that the Jews of verse 31, who are
said in this verse to have believed in him, had only a superficial belief,
and so in verse 32 Jesus is telling them that to be true, genuine disciples
(MAQHTAI) they need to keep going (EAN hUMEIS MEINHTE ...) - they aren't
there yet. But (from verse 33 onwards) they start dissenting from his
comments and then strongly disagreeing with him, wanting to kill him,
accusing him of demon possession, and finally taking up stones to stone him.
I would think that it is necessary to go all the way back to 7.40-44 to pick
up the thread. There are two groups envisioned there. This creates a
problem of reference for the pronouns. Sometimes one group is addressed and
sometimes the other. A small part of the problem is the interpolation of the
story of the woman taken in adultery. The impression is given that Jesus'
opposition departs at that point. Once the interpolation is removed, there
are still the two groups (less the temple police) -- those who believe in him
and those who don't. Unfortunately there is no "them (1)" and "them (2)."
It is simply necessary to realize that the author has set up two groups which
are being spoken to somewhat alternately. The only way to distinguish which
group is being addressed is by the content and tone of the speech.
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