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Understanding More than the Disciples

When studying the Gospels, it is a valid interpretative principle that we can, nay, we must understand more than the disciples did. If we were to only understand Jesus and his words based on what they understood at that time, then we would be radically misreading the Gospels.

In my study of Luke thus far, there seems to be a tendency among commentators to limit the meaning to what was understandable as the events were taking place, the result being a considerable detheologizing of these events. Yet, consider John 2:19-22:

Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

It was not until after the resurrection that they fully understood what Jesus had spoken during his life. I assume that this applies not only for this one event, but for many others as well. I think this will result in a more theological reading of Jesus' words / actions in the Gospels, and I think this is intended.

Seeing as we live on this side of the cross and the resurrection, we must not limit our understanding of the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels to a pre-cross understanding. Jesus intended more than this. John realized it later. So ought we. 

Now, the question becomes, does this apply to the Old Testament as well? That is a question for another day... [Though, I am initially inclined to cautiously answer in the negative. I would point out that John did not take Jesus' words out of context, but explained an enigmatic saying. I would point out he did not add an extra meaning, but explained the true textual meaning.]


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Matt Hauck (郝柏昇)

A once enemy now son, forgiven and freed by Jesus' blood, adopted and called by grace for glory.   (more...)

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