St. John’s Gospel Essay, Research Paper
The Gospel according to John presents Jesus as the eternal Word of God, who “became a human being and lived among us.” This Gospel was written so that its readers might believe that Jesus is the promised Saviour, the Son of God, and that through their faith in him, they may have life. John emphasizes the gift of eternal life through Christ, a gift which comes to those who respond to Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. A striking feature of John is the symbolic use of common things from everyday life to point to spiritual realities, such as water, bread, light, the shepherd and his sheep, and the grapevine and its fruit.
In the book, Roots: Finding Strength in Biblical Tradition, Father Michael Mulhall observes that, “John’s Gospel addresses people in the Jewish community who cannot be reached through the normal channels of grace.” That is, those who are sick and need to be healed, and those who need to find and turn to God’s spirit to experience rebirth. Jesus, who in this Gospel is stressed as the being the promised Saviour, Son of God, allows these events of healing and rebirth to occur through the miracles that he performs. Some of the miracles he performs include: turning the water into wine, feeding 50,000 people from five loaves and two fish, healing the blind, the sick and the paralyzed, and raising Lazarus from the dead. All these miracles are referred to as ’signs’ in John’s Gospel. The signs performed clearly show that Jesus is the Messiah and that he comes from God. For example, Jesus says to the blind man he has just healed, “Do you believe in the Son of God? …He is the one speaking with you.” (9:35,37).
In the passage, Healing the Paralytic (5:1-9), Jesus went to Jerusalem for a religious festival. There he found a pool with five porches where a large crowd of sick people lay — the blind, the lame and the paralyzed. One man, who had been sick for many years, had been laying there. Jesus approached the man and asked him if wanted to get well. Jesus then told him to get up, pick up his mat, and walk. The man immediately did and was well again.
Another example of Jesus healing the sick is told in the passage, Healing the Royal Official’s Son (4:43-54). We see an example of how Jesus heals the sick. Jesus had gone back to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. A government official, whose son was sick in Capernaum, asked Jesus to go there and heal his son who was about to die. After speaking to him, Jesus said, “Go; your son will live!” On his way home, the official’s servants approached him with the good news, “Your boy is going to live!” This was the second miracle that Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee. From this passage and many others that explain the incidents where Jesus healed, we notice that Jesus did not only heal, but at the same time he taught and proclaimed the the Words of God. Proof of this is shown when He says, “None of you will ever believe unless you see miracles and wonders,” when asked to heal the official’s son.
Not only did Jesus heal the sick, but he allowed sinners to be reborn. This is evident within the passage, The Woman Caught in Adultery (8:1-11). Jesus was at the Temple, when the teachers of Law and the Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery. They told Jesus what she had done and said, “In our Law Moses commanded that such a woman must be stoned to death. Now, what do you say?” They said this to trap Jesus so that they could accuse him. Jesus then said, “Whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her.” When they heard this, they all left, one by one, the older ones first. Then Jesus said to the woman, “Where are they? Is there no one left to condemn you?” She answered, “No one, sir.” “Well then,” Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, but so not sin again.” Jesus allowed this sinner to repent and start fresh, just as God allows us to do. Nobody is perfect and everyone has sinned before in their lives. As long as we can learn to forgive those around us, God will always forgive us and forgive our sins, just as Jesus forgave those in the name if His Father.
In the book, Roots: Finding Strength in Biblical Tradition, Father Michael Mulhall also mentions that “…Life on earth is supposed to be a celebration of God’s presence and therefore a rejoicing of God’s blessings. Our faith is not deep enough.” He goes on to give examples of how we don’t look deep into the context of these stories of Jesus and find the true meaning of what God wants us to understand. One thing that Mulhall stated that I liked was when he said, “We allow a stone temple and all that is associated with it to have more place in our lives that the living temple of God’s spirit.” To me, this means that church should not matter half as much as having God’s spirit within you and your religious faith being strong. Church is merely a building. Although it is important, it should not have more symbolism or importance than your faith. He also says, “…We restrict God’s grace to what we already understand, and we judge Jesus’ message according to our understanding.” We should go deeper into the context and realize there is much more to God and His Son than its literal sense. God wants us to be cleared from our sins and stay away from any sinning. In order to do so, we must open our faith and hearts and follow God to the fullest extent until the end. There are many ways we can start doing this — attending church, trying not to sin, following God’s commandments, helping others as much as possible through service work or random acts of kindness, and many other ways.
Therefore, John’s gospel is different than the three others, spending more time on details of conversations, looking in depth at a few selected encounters of people with the Lord Jesus. John uses these episodes as ’signs’ to show Jesus’ power as the Son of God and to point people to the truth and reality of His claims, rather than seeking to put forward an argument that everything can be neatly tied together and boxed.