A South Asian professor’s view on John’s Gospel

Michael Bird has interviewed a South Asian, Jeyaseelan Kanagaraj, regarding his view on John’s Gospel. (Here is Bird’s blog post.) Professor Kanagaraj is author of a new commentary on John’s Gospel (NCCS series, 2013). I find the following really interesting.

“The South Indian culture, more particularly the Tamil culture, is shaped by the family concept. People are knit together as families, kin and clans, and they realize the need for one another in our society. This helped me naturally to trace out in the Gospel of John the family concept and the love relationship that should shape our life as God’s community.

There is a real search for God in our culture and religions. People are longing to see the one Ultimate Reality. This cultural background led me, when I approached the text, to find out that John’s Gospel addresses this longing by stating that the one true God can be seen not primarily in any places of worship or in rituals and festivals, but in a Person, Jesus, God’s only Son, sent by the Father from heaven.”

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“The important criterion for the renewal of the church today, as John portrays, is that each believer needs to die for himself/herself daily so that the believing community may bear fruit in this corrupt world for the glory of the Father. The renewal of the churches involves suffering and facing the hatred of the world… The other side of Christian life is to undergo suffering. John’s Gospel brings out this truth along with the assurance that the presence of Jesus is always with his people even when they undergo persecution. It is actually Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion, in John’s Gospel, which is the point of revealing His/God’s glory.”

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