Gospel of John

"It is finished." (John 19:30)

Purpose of the Gospel of John

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:31)

The Question and the Answer

The Johannine community, John's audience, is asking "Where is the Risen Christ?"

The Answer: Open your eyes and see the Risen Christ in the Church and the Sacraments. He is here right now.

The Audience

A Jewish Christian Community called the Johannine Community founded by the apostle John

The community focused on the humanity of Jesus and not enough on His divinity. John concentrates on the divinity of Christ to suit his audience.


Jesus as the Pre-existent Word of God

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)

"The father and I are one." (John 10:30)

"For this reason the Jews tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God." (John 5:18)

Jesus is the Word that became flesh and dwells amongst us. John made sure to confirm and secure the Christians in their faith of Jesus as the Son of God. There are many examples in John's Gospel of the divinity of Jesus and his relationship with God.

Jesus usually showed his divinity through the words He said in Genesis: I AM. It is an allusion to Moses and the Burning Bush, when God appeared to Moses and told him that he is "I AM." This term means that Jesus is God.

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Dualism in the Gospel

Light and Darkness

Life and Death

From above and From below

Unjudged and condemned

A main theme in John is that people can either believe in Jesus' word and inherit the Kingdom of God or reject Jesus and are condemned by God. There is no middle ground between belief and unbelief. Believers are united with Jesus and the Father.

In the Gospel...


- Metaphors and symbols to describe a deeper meaning

- Allegory because John wants his audience to focus on metaphorical thinking versus literal thinking

- Jesus' Long Discourses: conversations start out as a dialogue and change into a long monologue by Jesus, Jesus explains what someone has not understood

- Reference to "the Jews": in John, it is not referring to the community of Jews but those who oppose Jesus


- Parables

- Exorcisms

- Miracles are not called miracles, they are called signs

Images for Jesus in John

The Two Parts

The Book of Signs

In the Gospel of John, miracles are called signs, also called semeion. There are seven signs in all the gospel.

The signs focus on the symbolic meaning rather than the actual concrete details. There are deeper truths. These miraculous acts are done only to prove that Jesus is the son of God.

In this part of the Gospel, Jesus confronts the world and shows them His glory. The world includes those who believe in Him and those who don't believe in His divine origin.

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The Wedding at Cana

Only in the Gospel of John

Jesus calls his own mother "woman", which is an allusion to Eve in the Creation story. Mary, Jesus' mother, is considered the New Eve, the mother of all the living in the new spiritual order. In this sign, she represents the Church as a whole. The empty jars represent the old way of living with God and when Jesus fills them with wine, He is initiating a new way to live with Him. The water and wine represent the Eucharist and Baptism.

The message from this sign is Jesus is present in the Church and the Sacraments.

The Book of Glory

The Book of Glory begins with Chapter 13 of John and ends with Chapter 20 verse 31. It includes Jesus' warning about His death, and then His trial, crucifixion, and resurrection. The beginning of the Book of Glory is a turning point in John. In the Book of Glory, Jesus brings light into a world of darkness. Jesus is seen as in control of everything that happens to Him including His life, passion, death, and resurrection. During His crucifixion, John writes about the glory of Jesus. He does not depict Jesus as suffering, but rather as being lifted up. In this part of the gospel, Jesus has finally arrived at the hour of His glorification and return to the Father.

The Beloved Disciple

The model of a disciple in the gospel is an actual person: the Beloved Disciple. The disciple goes unnamed throughout the entire gospel but he is believed to be John the Apostle. He is a symbol of love in the gospel of John. He is always placed with Peter, who represents authority. The beloved disciple is close to Jesus and always recognizes Jesus first. Love always gets people to Jesus first. Even when Jesus gives Peter authority, it's only after Peter declares his love three times. A true disciple of Jesus Christ in the gospel of John, which is symbolized by the beloved disciple, is someone who prioritizes love.

Differences between John and the Synoptic Gospels

The Synoptics

- The disciples don't know who Jesus is. The narrator and the audience are the only ones who know.

- Use parables to teach about the Kingdom of God

- Miracles are called miracles and they are done out of love

- Jesus suffers through His Passion

- Not as symbolic as John

- The Last Supper: the Eucharist, a Passover meal


- The disciples know the identity of Jesus

- Uses long discourses to teach when someone misunderstands His teachings

- Miracles are called signs and they are done to show that Jesus is the Son of God and demonstrate His power and control over everything

- Jesus has power over His Passion and Death

- Highly symbolic

- The Last Supper: occurs the day before the Passover, no Institution of the Eucharist, washing of the feet and the long "Last Supper Discourse"