Thursday, November 22, 2012

Seeing and Believing

Our Sunday School class is in Chapter 11 of John.  This is the chapter where we read of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

In the following verse, John describes the response of some of the onlookers:

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. 

The Greek word for "had seen" that John chooses is theaomai.  This is one of the "forms from five verbs used in John to express sight," according to Fr. Brown in Appendix I, pages 501 through 503, The Gospel According to John I-XII (Anchor Bible Series, Volume 29).

Here are those five verbs, with the fifth one below showing the verb John uses in verse 45:

1. Blepein. βλέπειν. Material sight or ocular vision.

2. Theoreo. θεωρέω. To look on with concentration. To behold.

3 and 4. Horen, ὁράω, together with idein, οἶδα. Sight accompanied by real understanding. To perceive – where intuitive intelligence is involved.

5. Theaomai, θεάομαι. "The root meaning of this verb suggests connection with the theater  .  .  .  Phillips [G.L., "Faith and Vision in the Fourth Gospel" in Studies in the Fourth Gospel] thinks that it means to look at some dramatic spectacle and in a measure to become a part of it."  REB at p. 502.

The sight of a believer, therefore, is such that he or she becomes part of Jesus' story.  I think that is perfect. 

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