John's Gospel Notes
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John's Gospel Notes

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Material covered in class and on test outline.

Material covered in class and on test outline.

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  • 1. The Gospel of John
  • 2.  
  • 3. Background Info.
    • 180 AD: St. Irenaeus states that the fourth Gospel is written by “the beloved disciple” -- John, the son of Zebedee & brother of James
    • Irenaeus: believed Gospel written in Asia Minor (Turkey)
    • For centuries: this was common belief
  • 4. Today’s thinking…
    • Scholars believe that Irenaeus may have confused John the apostle with another John who was a church elder and disciple of the apostle.
    • Others: the Gospel is complex, and perhaps was written in stages by different people.
      • Eg: Material appears 2x - with slight variation: 6:35-50 and 6:51-58
    • John 21: for some is an appendix added on by a later editor
  • 5. Common theory today….
    • Catholic scholars: the experience of the apostle John, led to the foundation of the Gospel
      • Gathered in Ephesus (Turkey)
      • Had community of followers
      • These disciples took what the apostle had said and later compiled it into a form of ‘John’s Gospel’
      • This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and has written them down, and we know that this testimony is true”
  • 6.  
  • 7. When?
    • Between 90 - 100 AD
    • 130 AD: a fragment of John’s Gospel, written on papyrus, is found in Egypt
      • AKA: The John Rylands fragment
    • Earliest known fragment of any New Testament book
    • Proves that Gospel was wide spread through Mediterranean - only years after compilation
  • 8. What? Why?
    • Author: Probably knew about the Synoptics, but didn’t use them heavily (doesn’t follow the source criticism we have today)
    • Relies heavily on the words of the disciples of John
    • Diverse audience: Jewish-Christians who suffered at hands of Jews
      • (remember: Jewish-Christians expelled from Temple and Synagogues)
    • John’s community most likely left Palestine - came to Turkey
  • 9. Stylistic Components of John
    • 1.Poetic Form:
      • Clear: Prologue & John 17
      • The remainder of the text: at least semi-poetic --not necessarily the same type of rhythmic pattern found in the O.T., but a from that has lines that are the same length & each has a ‘closing’ clause
      • Some suggest, that because of this pattern, the text should be written in a poetic form…the fact is: Jesus speaks more solemnly than in the Synoptics
  • 10. 2. ‘Misunderstandings’
    • Although Jesus is from above (and speaks the truth), he uses language “from below” - the people’s language to speak to convey his message
    • Jesus - explains something, but its not understood right away…the people are left questioning, allowing his followers to question; thus allowing Jesus to explain his thought more thoroughly - Johannine theology comes out…
  • 11. 3. Twofold Meanings
    • Double meanings can be found as to what Jesus says
    • (a) There are plays on various meanings of given words Jesus uses - meanings based on either Greek / Hebrew. The dialogue partner may take up one meaning, while Jesus means something else.
      • ie: 4:10 - “Living water” [flowing water or life-giving water]
      • 11:50-52 - “die for” [instead” or “on behalf of”]
  • 12. 3. Continued
    • (b) John: intends the reader to see several layers of meaning in the same narrative / same metaphor
    • John’s authorship 2-fold: meaning for the historical context of Jesus & then what does it mean for the Christian community that John is writing to
  • 13. 3. Continued
    • (c) Duplicate speeches -- Jesus occasionally repeats himself
    • He says something that’s already been reported - almost to the point of a verse-for-verse comparison…though at times they have different tone to it
    • Possible an editor (redactor) added these, figuring they should not be lost / have importance
      • 3:31-36 to 3:7-18
      • 10:9 to 10:7-8
      • 16:4b-33 to Chapter 14
  • 14. 4. Irony
    • Combination of 2-fold meaning & misunderstanding - found when opponents make statements about Jesus that are degrading, sarcastic, or incredulous
    • Irony: these statements are often true / more meaningful in a sense that the speakers do not realize
      • 3:2
      • 7:35
      • 11:50
  • 15. 5. Inclusions and Transitions
    • Inclusion: meaning John mentions detail (or allusions) at the end of a section that matches similar detail @ the beginning…
      • It’s a way of packaging sections together
        • [1:28 & 10:40 or 11:4 & 11:40]
    • Transition: “swing” motif to switch from one subdivision of the Gospel to another -- it concludes what has happened before and introduces something else.
  • 16. 6. Parentheses or footnotes
    • John employs parentheses to explain the meaning of a Semitic terms / names
      • ie: “Messiah,” “Cephas,” or “Siloam”
    • Also, its used to explain geographical features
      • ie: 3:24, 4:8, 9:14,22-23 et al.
    • For theological perspectives (clarifying references or standpoint[s])
    • Some may reflect a situation where a tradition transmitted at first in one context (Palestinian or Jewish) is now being proclaimed in another context (diaspora or Gentile).
  • 17. …background continued…
    • Samaritan Converts (Jn 4:4-42)
    • No doubt that Asia Minor would have provided an audience of Gentile Christians
  • 18. Why did John write this Gospel?
    • 1. Maybe he was correcting heretical ideas that denied Jesus’ divinity
      • Remember John’s focus: spirituality
    • 2. Maybe trying to correct the still present followers of John the Baptist (whom they believed to be the Messiah)
      • John: JBap is subordinate to Jesus
  • 19.
    • 3. Strengthen Christians & their belief in Jesus as God’s Son
      • As a result: Gospel gained converts
    • 4. John: stressing the importance of Jesusas the “revealer of God,” unique Son of the Father, & Savior of the world. Emphasis on theology
      • Storytelling (Mark)
      • Teaching (Matthew)
      • History (Luke
  • 20.
    • Eternal Life: ever-present theme in John
    • Jesus is God & lives forever -- He’s eternal life
    • Through faith in Jesus - God offers us eternal life -- right now
      • Eternal life/relationship with Jesus “so that our joy may be complete” (1 Jn 1:4).
  • 21. How was John written?
    • Similar to Synoptics, because he uses a secondary sources. 2 Major Sources:
    • 1. Collections of miracles [“signs source”]
      • 7 miracle signs = same in synoptics
      • Unique to John: changing of water to wine at Cana
      • Unique to John: raising of Lazarus
    • 2. A version of the passion / resurrection narratives -- would have been in circulation many years before any of the gospels were written
  • 22. Comparison to Synoptics:
    • John 17:5 - Jesus’ recognition that he was present/existing w/God prior to coming into the world.
    • Public ministry: set in Jerusalem, rather than Galilee
    • Absence of the Kingdom of God motif
    • Long discourses/dialogues rather than parables (though some stories may be similar)
    • No diabolic possessions (& therefore exorcisms)
    • Very restricted # of miracles (7?) - including the ‘unique ones.’
  • 23. Random fact:
    • B. de Solages (French):
      • 15.5% of John’s death and resurrection, parallels that of Mark
      • The parallels to Mark in the Matthean and Lucan passion narratives would be four times higher
  • 24. Similarities to Synoptics:
    • 1st: Similarity of John the Baptist & concluding with the passion & empty tomb
    • Mark
      • Sequence of events in John 6 and Mark 6:30-54; 8:11-33
    • Luke
      • More in terms of wording/figures: Martha, Mary, Lazarus, & Annas
      • Lack of the ‘night trial before Caiaphas
      • 3 “not guilty” statements in the Pilate trial
      • Post-resurrection appearances in Jerusalem to male disc.
      • Draught of fishes (Jn. 21)
    • Matthew
      • Jn. 13:16 with Matt. 10:24
      • Jn. 15:18-27 with Matt. 10:18-25
  • 25. The Prologue [Theme 1]
    • The words: different than any other Gospel account
    • John shows Jesus’ identity: as the “Word” which has existed forever
    • Term “Word” appeals to both Gentile-Christian and Jewish-Christian
      • O.T.: “the Word of God” = referred to God’s activity in creation [when God speaks, things come alive] -- also symbol of God’s wisdom [shown through prophets]
      • Grk. Philosophy: ‘Logos’ was the spiritual principle that holds the world together. Others: Logos had knowledge of salvation
  • 26. Theme 2: The Incarnation
    • Chap. 1 Verse 1: Identifies Jesus as God’s pre-existing Word (who is God)
      • Verse 14: God became human
    • Doctrine of the Incarnation - mystery of God’s only son becoming truly human in Jesus. Jesus is “God-in-the-flesh”
    • God: seen in Jesus’ love, power, & ‘radiance’
    • “ Christ comes to us from above; he reveals the Father to us and takes us to him.
      • Main premise of Theme 2
  • 27. Theme 3: Testimony
    • Prologue: John the Baptist is put into place
    • JBap is to proclaim Jesus as forthcoming and ‘testify to his pre-existence’
    • JBap comes before the others who will proclaim who Jesus is in the remainder of the Gospel
      • The Samaritan woman
      • Martha & the crowd at Lazarus’ raising
      • The 12
      • The ‘beloved disciple’
      • Jesus himself
      • The Father & the Holy Spirit
      • The 7 Miracles / Signs
  • 28. Theme 4: Major Contrasts
    • Presentation of contrasts found within the prologue:
      • Light of Christ vs. the darkness (which refuses to acknowledge Jesus)
      • Unbelief vs. faith in Jesus (which makes us the children of God)
      • Truth vs. untruth
  • 29. Book of Signs
    • Synoptics: view miracles as God’s coming presence into the world.
    • John: different concept. Reports 7 ‘signs’ (Grk: semeia )
      • “ marvelous events that reveal Jesus and his Father.”
    • We can’t fully understand the ‘signs,’ only partially grasp what they are.
    • Long discourse usually follows the ‘sign’ so the reader understands.
  • 30. Sign One: Water to Wine
    • Wedding: symbol of life
    • Jesus: brings us new life (purpose of miracle to show this)
    • Water: represents the old covenant & wine represents the new (St. Paul)
  • 31. Key Discourse : Jesus & Samaritan Woman
    • Between first and second ‘sign’
    • Jesus: ignoring 1st century Jewish norms…
      • Woman is a Samaritan
      • Woman is a sinner
    • Jesus: speaks of ‘living water’ - new life; where the woman is. Woman wonders how Jesus could provide that, and Jesus explains…
    • Jesus: reveals he’s the Messiah - source of eternal life.
  • 32. Sign Two: Cure of Official’s Son
    • Jesus’ word: enough to heal an official’s son from the town of Capernaum
    • The boy’s father - his faith - made the miracle possible
    • Intercessory Prayer : the Lord will notice and respond to our concern for others
  • 33. Sign Three: Cure of the Paralytic
    • Curing a man who’s been “lame” for 38 yrs.
    • Association w/sin - Jesus is forgiving the ‘sinful’
    • Healing: Takes place on the Sabbath.
    • Jesus: claiming to be equal to God.
    • The point: Jesus is the source of life, must turn to him…
    • (Jn. 5:1-47) -- We see John use the term “the Jews” almost to the point of anti-Semitism. Rather, it’s an expression John uses to clarify those who don’t wish to follow Jesus & give him a hard time along the way.
  • 34. Signs 4 & 5: 5000 & walking on water
    • Jesus feeds the crowd, but needs to escape - before they “make him king”
    • “ Bread of Life” discourse - explaining Jesus as this…
      • “ I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever hunger; no one who believes in me will ever thirst” (6:34-35)
    • Clear reference to the Eucharist.
    • Father: source of Jesus’ life; Jesus: the source of our life (bread of life)
    • Many abandoned Jesus - Peter and the 12 stay & trust him…
    • Jesus walking on water: reveals, he is the Holy One of God
  • 35. Sign 6: The Blind Man
    • He obeys Jesus - washes in the Pool of Siloam and receives his sight
      • Begins to believe in Jesus as the Son of God
      • Does not criticize Jesus, despite he’s kicked out of the synagogue
    • Message: Jesus is the light that has come into the world
      • Some, like the Pharisees remain in the dark; unwilling to take and follow Jesus
      • Jesus: ‘spiritual blindness is worse than physical bindness’
  • 36. Sign 7: Raising of Lazarus
    • It’s a foretelling of Jesus’ own death and resurrection
    • On his way to Jerusalem: Jesus learns of his friend’s death. He’s waiting for a sign from his Father. He tells Martha that he is “the resurrection.”
      • We see also: Jesus has emotions, is a human.
      • He cries, prays in remorse and thanks God for answering his prayer
    • Finally: Calls Lazarus out of the tomb
    • “ The Jews” response: Caiaphas - says that it is better for one man to die so that the nation will survive. Irony used…Jesus’ death: has indeed saved the people
  • 37.
    • The seventh miracle: ties the others together…
    • Jesus is the way to life
    • Jesus is the Resurrection
    • Jesus is God
    • Then, we must have faith if we want to gain eternal life.
  • 38. Book of Glory
    • 2nd Part of John’s Gospel
    • 2 Major Sections:
      • The Last Supper discourses (13:1 - 17:26)
      • Jesus’ death & resurrection (18:1 - 20:31)
  • 39. The Last Supper discourses
    • Three words summarize this section:
      • Service (13)
      • Love (14:1 - 16:4)
      • Unity (17:1-26)
    • John: The Last Supper , occurs on the day when the lambs are slaughtered for the Passover
      • Lambs: sacrificed to recall Yahweh releasing Israelites from slavery in Egypt
    • Jesus: the Lamb of God whose sacrifice frees all people from the slavery of sin
  • 40. Continued
    • Meal begins: Jesus washes the feet of the disciples -- a slave would not even have done this…
      • Jesus is an example: we must serve others as he serves -- Jesus attends to the needs of others…
    • Jesus: asks for belief in him: promising that if we ask for anything in his name, he will do it -- and gives us the H.S. as ‘security’
    • Above all: Jesus asks we keep the commandments: especially to love
  • 41. John 15
    • Jesus: telling of his great love for us
    • As the Father loves him, so he loves us
    • Read John 15:13-14, 16-17
      • This is the heart of the Gospel
      • We’re not slaves of God - we’re the people who are asked to continue God’s work & God’s Love
  • 42. Continued
    • Read page 142 - 2nd half…