The Gospel of John heralds a unique call to discipleship. Unlike any other Gospel, the Fourth Gospel offers a multitude of benefits for following Jesus. John promises that discipleship is rewarded with adoption by the Father, royal friendship with the Son, and abiding with the Father and the Son through the Spirit. Nearly two dozen additional benefits fall under these three main categories as John persuades his readers to continuous belief in Jesus. Follow Me: The Benefits of Discipleship in the Gospel of John traces these rewards as incentives for disciples to remain loyal to Jesus in the context of hostility and opposition, in all times and all places, no matter the cost.
Mark Zhakevich is the chair of the New Testament department at The Master’s Seminary in Los Angeles, CA.
Chapter 1: Membership in the Family of God—Divine Initiative and Corollary Benefits
Chapter 2: Membership in the Divine Family—Participation in Eternal Life
Chapter 3: Abiding with the Father, Son, and Spirit
Chapter 4: Royal Friendship with Jesus—The Politics of Friendship in the Ancient World
Chapter 5: Royal Friendship with Jesus—The King and his Subjects in the Gospel of John
Chapter 6: Answering the Question Why? The Gospel of John in Context
This doctoral dissertation mentored by the late Prof. Larry Hurtado of the University of Edinburgh, is an impressively detailed treatment of its topic. No stone is unturned; every claim is cogently defended, every possible query answered, and every conceivable objection forestalled. Copious endnotes to each chapter reassure the reader that this is a well-researched and reliable work of biblical scholarship.
In this thoroughly researched, artfully written book, Mark Zhakevich shows how the rhetoric of the Gospel of John incentivizes its readers to discipleship. The author proffers certain divine benefits to the readers—kinship with God, friendship with Jesus, and more—and bids them come and follow. Zhakevich further shows how this rhetorical strategy fits within the tense social situation in which the author wrote his Gospel.
Zhakevich gives readers of John’s Gospel a closer look at discipleship, focusing less on characterization and more on the promises these disciples receive for following Jesus. Instead of shying away from language of reward and benefits, he finds concrete payoffs for the disciples who continue following Jesus, even in difficult circumstances. Zhakevich’s work provides another avenue to reflect on the situation of the Johannine community and its unique take on Jesus’s gifts for those who remain with him.
Mark Zhakevich has identified a unique gap in the many studies on Johannine discipleship. No one has focused on the benefits of discipleship, addressing the issue of why one would want to pledge allegiance to Jesus and follow him. In an eloquent and competent manner, Zhakevich explains the major benefits of discipleship in the Gospel of John and situates his study in a plausible historical context of the late first century. This book is not only an important contribution to Johannine studies but will also benefit anyone who follows (or seeks to follow) Jesus.
Discipleship is a multifaceted reality in the Fourth Gospel. Mark Zhakevich’s study of it highlights the incentives for and benefits of continuous discipleship in the face of possible hostility—discipleship that is comprehensive and costly, but also richly relational and rewarding. Interacting with a wide range of recent scholarship, Zhakevich insightfully reveals interconnections among three major themes and numerous sub-themes that will stimulate all students of this Gospel, including contemporary disciples who might face opposition themselves.
At the heart of John's Gospel is the invitation to "come and see." But the call is costly—why would readers persist in abiding along with Peter and the rest of the Twelve? In this insightful study on Johannine discipleship, Mark Zhakevich examines the under-explored nature of the benefits of following Jesus. The costs are high; but so are the rewards.
Rarely does an author pull together seemingly unrelated themes in the Gospel of John and demonstrate their interrelationships as persuasively as Mark Zhakevich has in this volume. Situating his work at the intersection of literary analysis, rhetorical criticism, and the study of John’s historical setting, Zhakevich argues that the Gospel presents three benefits of discipleship to Jesus in response to the hostility toward Jesus' followers reflected in the Gospel: membership in the divine family, the abiding presence of the Father and the Son with the believer, and royal friendship with Jesus, with corollary benefits subsumed under each category. The result is a compelling synthesis of themes, argument, and setting.
A well-grounded study of the benefits of Johannine discipleship that will open new lines of inquiry into the purpose, impact, and enduring value of the Fourth Gospel.
What are the advantages of discipleship for John? In this well-written and compelling study, Mark Zhakevich argues that the Fourth Evangelist offers readers three key benefits that far outweigh the privileges formerly associated with participation in the Jewish community - membership of the divine family, the chance to abide in the Father and the Son through the Spirit, and royal friendship with Jesus. Zhakevich deftly situates the gospel in a plausible context of hostility and persecution, providing a fresh and stimulating reading of this fascinating text.