No. 13

Two ministries since Acts 28

The Gospel of John differs from the Synoptic Gospels in that it was written after Acts 28 and in full consciousness of Israel's rejection; "He came to His own, and His own received Him not; but as many as received Him to them ...." (John 1:11,12).

If we examine the parable of the marriage of the King's Son, in Matt. 22, we find that it deals with three invitations to the marriage. First during the earthly ministry of the Lord, then again to the same people during the Acts, and a third time after the rejection of Israel and the burning up of their city in A.D. 70. It is in connection with this third invitation to the wedding that John's Gospel has its place.

At the present time there is a small inner circle who respond to the prison ministry of the apostle Paul, and a large world-wide company who find their gospel and hope in that according to John. The one ministry is building up the perfect man, the other is gathering the guests for the marriage, while during the Acts the company that constitute the Bride was in formation.

That John's Gospel was not written for Jewish readers is manifest. No Jew needed to be told that the Passover was a "Feast of the Jews." No Jew was ignorant of the feud that existed between them and the Samaritans; no Jew needed the interpolation of the meaning of "Rabboni" in the record of the resurrection.

While the dispensational position of the two companies differs as the Body differs from the Guests, and there is no idea that John taught anything concerning the mystery; yet seeing that he wrote after Paul's message had been given to the church, he was obliged, in the nature of the case, to minister the same aspect of the offices and glory of Christ that now fills our vision, rather than the Christ of the early Acts. This is clear from the comparison suggested between Paul's revelation of Christ as the "Image," and John's revelation of Christ as the "Word." These would run together, whereas Christ as the "King of the Jews" would not. So also the other items which are set out for comparison. John is the only other writer to mention the period "Before the foundation of the world," and he more than the other evangelists stresses the ascension. The other sheep are clearly not of Israel, and provide a sphere for the "Pastors" who have a place in the church of the One Body.

The full force of the relations of these two ministries will only be felt by those who make the subject their own. The Chart and these notes are but suggestions for those who have ears to hear.


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