Mark Rathel is professor of theology at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville.
Latest Articles by MARK A. RATHEL
Dec 1, 2013
Beginning in chapter thirteen, John described the events of the last night of Jesus’ life. This chapter contains reminiscences of chapter one. Jesus came to His own people and they did not receive Him (John 1:11). The events of the last night occurred because of Jesus’ love for His own disciples (John 13:1), yet the disciples had difficulty receiving the ministry of Jesus. Furthermore, the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as “the Lamb of God (1: 29). The next day Jesus humbly died as the Passover Lamb to take away our sins.
Nov 24, 2013
John 12 marks a dramatic shift in the Fourth Gospel. New Testament scholars divide the Gospel into two sections. John 1-11 comprises the “Book of Signs” as these chapters detail seven signs Jesus performed pointing to His identity. The “Book of Signs” concludes with a plot of the Jewish leadership to kill Jesus in order that “one man should die for the people” (John 11:50). The plot signaled the end of Jesus’ public
Nov 17, 2013
At no point does our theology intersect with life in as unified a manner as at a funeral. The funeral of a family member expresses our theology either positively or negatively. Death reveals and tests our beliefs about God, salvation, life, and hope. Jesus performed his greatest miracle in the context of human heartache. He raised Lazarus (his name means “one God helps”) in the village of Bethany (a name meaning “house of suffering”). Out of the deepest grief, a sister proclaimed the greatest confession of faith in the New Testament.
Nov 10, 2013
John 9 concludes with an emphasis on the spiritual darkness of the religious leaders. The leaders remained in darkness (9:41) because they rejected the True Light of the world. John 10 continues the contrast between the religious leaders and Jesus. Because the religious leaders remained in spiritual darkness, they were incapable of understanding the truth or guiding people in the truth. In contrast to the religious leaders, Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
Nov 3, 2013
The miracle of bringing sight to a man born blind occurs between two important Jewish festivals celebrating light. In the context of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus proclaimed, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Jesus repeated the bold claim in John 9:5.
Oct 27, 2013
The Bible refers to Jesus as “Prince of Peace.” Yet, commenting on the nature of His ministry, Jesus highlighted His role as a divider.
Oct 20, 2013
The Bible refers to Jesus as “Prince of Peace.” Yet, in His day as well as our day, Jesus is a divisive figure allowing no neutrality in terms of His identity. Jesus was a polarizing person producing varied opinions regarding His identity and nature. So a division occurred among the crowd because of Him” (John 7:43). John 7 depicts the following opinions of Jesus offered by the Jewish population six months prior to the death of Jesus: good man, deceiver, great teacher, demon-possessed, Messiah, the prophet, and one worthy of death. These same opinions are the options people discuss today regarding Jesus’ identity.
Oct 13, 2013
The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand men plus women and children is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels. Obviously, the miracle conveys an important message. The miracle reveals Christ’s identity as well as power of Christ to meet the deepest needs of humanity.
Oct 6, 2013
Throughout church history, people nicknamed the Gospel of John—“The Spiritual Gospel.” Some favored this designation because they downplayed the historical worth of the “Fourth Gospel.” An example of this critical attitude toward the Fourth Gospel relates to the location of this miracle. Bible debunkers claimed that no ancient written or archaeological evidence supported the existence of the place described by John. Recent discoveries by means of archaeology and literary evidence support John’s description. The Fourth Gospel is a spiritual gospel, yet the Gospel of John also accurately describes historical places and events.
Sep 29, 2013
The noun “faith” occurs 552 times in The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB); the verb “believe” occurs 263 times in the same English translation. Obviously, faith/believe is a dominant concept in the New Testament. The frequency of the concept in the NT raises the question, “What is faith?” Cynics define faith as “belief without evidence in something said by one without knowledge of things without parallel.” All people, however, have faith in something. A naturalistic scientist, for example, makes certain faith untestable, unprovable faith assumptions prior to conducting scientific experiments.