The Gospel of John
About the Gospel of John
Animal Depiction: Eagle
Because it soars up high, the eagle is a symbol of the resurrection or ascension of Christ. Also, the eagle symbolizes baptized Christians, who have symbolically died and risen with Christ.
When the eagle has a halo (as in the image above), it is the symbol of John the Evangelist. The eagle represents John because of his highly and "soaring" gospel.
- John never calls any of Jesus' followers "apostles," but consistently refers to them only as "disciples."
- John does not contain a list of the twelve, nor even mention all their names individually
- He emphasizes in his gospel that being a disciple of Jesus means being with him, travel with him and do what He said, knowing and obeying him.
- He uses the "Beloved Disciple" as a model for how to be a good disciple of Christ.
The Beloved Disciple
The Beloved Disciple meaning "the one whom Jesus loved" appears for the first time in the Gospel of John at John 13:23. At the goodbye meal he sits nexts to Jesus and passes on Peter's question to Jesus. He is that 'other disciple' who joins Peter. He stood at the foot of the cross while Peter is absent. The Beloved Disciple reached the tomb before Peter. The Beloved Disciple is a witness to Jesus and source of the tradition behind the fourth Gospel and the occasion of its writing. He stands, in contrast to Peter, as the father-figure of the Johannine group. Whoever this Beloved Disciple was, we do not know. We continue this today to name him "John."
John's Portrayal of Jesus Christ
Christology:The Gospel of John is very different from the other synoptic gospels in terms of Christology. John portrays Jesus as the "Divine Revealer." Jesus speaks God's words and His actions. He reveals God's identity as well as his own. Even from the beginning of the Gospel, it hints that Jesus is high Christology when it reads, "In the beginning was the Word, The Word was with God, and the Word was God." In the prologue of the Gospel of John, Jesus is called the Word of God or Logos. This is the most unique way of describing Jesus in the New Testament. The Johannine Jesus is "from above." He came from above and his home is Heaven. He came to this world with a purpose to leave it, or he descends in order to ascend. The word Christ, meaning "anointed one" is mentioned in the The Gospel of John 19 times. The Christology in the Gospel of John goes from ascending Christology to descending Christology.
In the synoptic gospels, Jesus preachs about the Kingdom of God; his divine identity is uncertain. In John, Jesus is open about his divinity. He says that he is the way, the truth, and the life. He reflects Yahweh's own statements with several "I am" sayings that identify him with symbols of major significance He says, "I am":
- "the bread of life" (John 6:35)
- "the light of the world" (John 8:12)
- "the gate of the sheep" (John 10:7)
- "the good shepherd" (John 10:11)
- "the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25)
- "the way, the truth, and the life"(John 14:6) and
- "the true vine" (John 15:1)
Unique Themes and Stories
starts with a prologue stating many of the themes and motifs of the Gospel
7 allegorical signs
ends with an epilogue
light, life, truth, world, testimony, preexistence of Christ
alludes to Genesis
- post-resurrection accounts
- Raising of Lazarus
- Jesus washing the Disciples' feet
- Samaritan Woman at the Well
- Resurrection appearance to Thomas
Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet(John 13:1-17)
Jesus Talks with A Samaritan Woman
- John 1:1-18 The Prologue
- John 1:19-12:50 Public Ministry: Rejection (Book of Signs)
- John 13:1-20:31 The Book of Exaltation (Passion Narrative)
- John 21 The Epilogue
John leads his readers through a series of seven miracles performed by Jesus. John’s gospel is generally understood to have been directed towards an audience that already believed in Jesus Christ. Therefore, we can conclude that the purpose of the seven miracles is to deepen the faith in Christ. John’s gospel focuses on the divine power of Jesus Christ and is shown through parables and miracles. The Gospel of John unveils the majesty and power of Jesus Christ. The Word was made flesh, dwelt among us, and manifested His glory to the world. As we have just seen, the first half of John’s Gospel describes seven major miracles performed by Christ. These chapters are occasionally referred to as the Book of Signs. These miracles confirm that Jesus Christ is a God of power and that His ministry was complete, whole, and perfect. He can alter substance and has power over time. He is not limited by geographic distance, can terminate disease and dispel false tradition, multiply good things, control the elements of nature, re-create the body, and bring the dead back to life. This part of the Gospel of John clearly depicts the omnipotence of Jesus Christ, who is worthy of our explicit faith and trust.
Song: Siyahamba- We are walking in the Light of God
Harrington, Wilfred. John: Spiritual Theologian. Ireland: The Columba Press, 1999. Print.
Senior, Donald, ed. The Catholic Study Bible. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.