The Gospel of John
John, the Fourth Gospel describes the mystery of the identity of Jesus. The Gospel According to John develops a Christology. An explanation of Christ’s nature and origin. While leaving out much of the familiar material that runs through the synoptic Gospels. Including Jesus’s short aphorisms and parables, references to Jesus’s background, and proclamations about the kingdom of God. Whereas Mark’s Gospel brings us the texture of first-century Palestine. With a vivid, concrete, and earthy Jesus, John’s Gospel is filled with long discourses describing Jesus’s divinity.
John takes us behind Jesus’s ministry, where we get a glimpse of what it means to believe in Jesus as flesh of the eternal and living God, as the source of light and life, and for a believer to be a “Son of God.” Though John’s narrative diverges from the synoptic Gospels, it is indeed a Gospel, or a telling of good news. It includes the basics of Jesus’s ministry—his preaching, miracles, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection. It is likely that John heard the details about these events from a very early oral source common to all the Gospels, but the freedom he uses to interpret these events helps us see clearly that all accounts of Jesus have come to us through the filter of interpretation. John may have been written a bit later than the synoptic Gospels, likely around 90 a.d.
The actual author of John’s Gospel was probably an interpreter of John, who was one of Jesus’s original disciples.
John can be divided thematically into halves, preceded by a prologue and followed by an epilogue. The prologue is a poetic introduction that presents the outline of the narrative and the essence of John’s theology. The first half of the Gospel can be characterized as a “Book of Signs.” It tells of Jesus’s ministry. Focusing on seven major miracles worked by Jesus and the meaning and significance of those miracles. The second half of John has been called the “Book of Glory.” In it, the narrative moves toward Jesus’s glorification through crucifixion and resurrection. Finally, the book ends with an epilogue. Most likely added to the Gospel by a later redactor, which tells of Jesus’s appearance to the disciples after his resurrection.