Course Hero. "New Testament Study Guide." Course Hero. 27 Apr. 2018. Web. 21 June 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/New-Testament/>.
Course Hero. (2018, April 27). New Testament Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 21, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/New-Testament/
(Course Hero, 2018)
Course Hero. "New Testament Study Guide." April 27, 2018. Accessed June 21, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/New-Testament/.
Course Hero, "New Testament Study Guide," April 27, 2018, accessed June 21, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/New-Testament/.
The Prologue describes the relationship between God and Jesus, the Word of God, as a creation narrative.
Jesus performs a series of miraculous signs designed to bring people to faith in his identity as the Son of God.
Jesus is betrayed, arrested, and crucified, but after his resurrection he appears to his followers to explain their ongoing mission.
From the prologue forward the Gospel of John depicts an extremely exalted and divine Jesus. The Johannine Jesus is a man "from above," and this repeated description describes his heavenly origin and destination. This elevated view of what it means for Jesus to be the Christ or Messiah, the "anointed one," is what scholars call a "high" Christology.
John's high Christology is reflected in the "I am ..." sayings throughout the Gospel of John. Jesus uses these statements to refer to different aspects of his identity. He says, "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35), "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12), and "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11), among other statements.
These statements also echo the language of the self-revelation of "I am who I am," or "Yahweh"—God's name in the sacred texts of Israel—to Moses at the burning bush: "I am who I am" (Exodus 3:14). Some people do not speak or write the name "Yahweh" out of respect. The connection to Exodus is most obvious in the scene of Jesus's arrest, when Jesus answers the guards who are looking for him with the sentence "I am" (John 18:5) and they fall to the ground in awe. Even the miracles that appear only in John's Gospel seem to emphasize Jesus's divine power, such as Jesus transforming water into wine (John 2) and raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11).
This divine Jesus performs what John calls "signs," which are related to the evangelist's project of helping readers come to believe Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God the Father. The question of belief is especially important in the story of "doubting" Thomas in John 20. The apostle refuses to believe in Jesus's resurrection unless he sees physical proofs, and John's Jesus makes a special point of saying that those who can believe without seeing are more blessed than those who rely on signs. This teaching probably reflects the evangelist's concern for those who read and hear the Gospel of John at the end of the 1st century CE and beyond: although they did not meet Jesus during his earthly lifetime, they can read about the signs others witnessed and still come to believe.
The evangelist organizes his account differently from the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), and its sequence provides some insight into his theological message about Jesus's divine knowledge. The cleansing of the temple, an event that makes the Jewish authorities seek to kill Jesus, takes place not during Jesus's final visit to Jerusalem, but right away at the beginning of his ministry, so that the death of Jesus seems inevitable early on in the Gospel of John.
In John's account the timing of the Passion and crucifixion are also distinct. In the other gospels, Jesus celebrates the Passover meal with his disciples the night before his death. But in John, they gather one night earlier, so that Jesus dies on the cross at the time when the lamb for the Passover feast was traditionally sacrificed (see information on the Passover feast in the book of Exodus, especially Exodus 12). This change in the timeline reinforces Jesus's identity as the "Lamb of God," announced by John the Baptist (John 1). Jesus seems to be in control of events and their timing.
The apostles in this gospel are also different from their synoptic counterparts. In particular, the figure of the Beloved Disciple changes The Twelve from a group mostly led by Simon Peter to a group with multiple key figures. It is the Beloved Disciple who is credited with testifying to the events recorded in the narrative, and he is called a reliable witness.
There even appears to be some form of competition between Simon Peter and the Beloved Disciple. When they race to the empty tomb, John makes a point of reporting, "the two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first" (John 20:4), although he steps back to let Peter enter the tomb first. The competitive dynamic between Peter and the Beloved Disciple comes to a head during the final resurrection appearance of Jesus in John 21. Jesus has just predicted Peter's death, and Peter tries to get Jesus to tell him when the Beloved Disciple will die, but Jesus tells Peter to mind his own business, again displacing him from the lead role he enjoys in the Synoptic Gospels.