Prologue in John's Gospel

The main themes of John's Gospel with particular emphasis on the prologue.

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  • Created by: Bex94
  • Created on: 15-12-11 09:50

The word becoming flesh

The word becoming flesh simply means that Jesus was sent down to earth in human form to teach the word of God which is why Jesus’ disciples call him ‘Rabbi’ as it is translated to ‘teacher’. When Jesus teaches Nicodemus, he comes to Jesus at night suggesting that he does not wish to be seen with Him because Nicodemus is a ‘member of the Jewish ruling council’ and at this time, the Jews were not followers of Jesus. In vs. 19-20 it shows the contrast between light and darkness and Jesus explains how men preferred darkness ‘because their deeds were evil’. He is essentially saying to Nicodemus that He is here on earth to change the ways of mankind and to forgive the sins of those who follow him. In John 3, John testifies again about Jesus being the messiah but although Jesus is in human form, he is still higher in authority than everybody else as stated in vs. 31, “The one who comes from heaven is above all”.  In John 5, Jesus is confronted by the Jewish leaders because he has performed a miracle on their day of rest. John refers to Jesus as the word becoming flesh, “because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (5 vs. 19).

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Not understood by mankind

Jesus seems to have understandably, came as a shock to these people, and therefore He is not understood by mankind. The first example of this is in John 2 vs. 20 when Jesus clears the temple, “The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six year to build this temple, and you going to raise it in three days?’”. As this is early on in the gospel, the people have still not had a chance to understand Jesus fully. Not only do the people/Jews not understand Jesus but his disciples also ask him many questions showing their confusion towards Him. At the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus asks his disciples where they were going to get the bread for all the hungry followers and Peter explained how “it would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6 vs. 7) showing his lack of knowledge and understanding of Jesus and his capability of feeding everybody.

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When John talks about ‘witnesses’ in the gospel, he is mainly referring to the disciples of Jesus. Jesus picks Simon as his first disciple but then renamed him Cephas, translating to Peter, both meaning rock. This not only shows that people are only willing to follow him but also that he has the power to rename a man without any question. Jesus’ picked twelve disciples to follow him and they are with him at almost every miracle he does therefore are the witnesses to his supernatural powers and control of mankind.

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Becoming children of God

The term ‘becoming children of God’ can only happen by following Jesus and by doing so, the term could then be understood as receiving eternal life. At the wedding at Cana, Jesus gives instructions to the people. This is significant because children are supposed to obey instructions from their parents and off those who are in charge; teacher for example. Therefore, by Jesus giving out instructions and the people obeying him, this shows the authority he has over mankind. Samaritan’s were enemy’s of the Jews and women were degraded in society so when Jesus spoke with a Samaritan Woman, it was very unusual. The woman herself even found it nonstandard and strange but when Jesus showed his divinity to her, she was so amazed; she did not hesitate to proclaim in the word of Christ in front of Jewish men, never would she have done this due to social standards.  In John 4 when the disciples return to Jesus after he had spoke with the Samaritan woman, they did not question him although they “were surprised to find him talking with a woman”. Children tend not to question their parents because of the authority and influence they have over their children. This mirrors Jesus’ disciple’s actions towards him.

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One blessing after another

In the prologue, ‘one blessing after another’ is explained as Moses being the first blessing followed by Jesus, however, this could also interpreted as the miracles that Jesus performs throughout the gospel. There are a total of seven miracles in the Gospel of John, each having its own purpose and significance. The first of Jesus’ miracles is turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana and is the first time he reveals his divinity to Gods people.

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The true life and light of the world

Jesus speaks many times of being the true life and light of the world. This theme is very common and is mentioned straightaway in John chapter 1, ‘John the Baptist denies being the Christ’. The followers of John would be obliged to believe him when he declares, “I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God” and that Jesus is ‘the lamb of God’. Truth is a word that Jesus often uses and always puts into practice. By saying, “I tell you the truth” or “very truly I tell you”, emphasises Jesus being the true life of the world.

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