PORTRAIT OF JESUS ACCORDING TO THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
Prologue: The Gospel according to John presents Jesus as the eternal Word of God who 'became a human being and lived among us'. John has portrayed Jesus as the promised Saviour, the Son of God and that those who believe in him and have faith in him will have life (20:31). John's Gospel and the Book of Genesis both begin with the words 'in the beginning'. The Word is said to be God and with God. The existence of the Word precedes creation and through the Word, creation is accomplished (1:2-3). The Word is life and light of humanity, the source of authentic and meaningful existence. Through the Word, God restores the divine-human relationship, empowering human beings in becoming children of God.
The Gospel of John differs much from the Synoptic Gospels especially with regard to the spiritual and theological visions of the person, life and teachings of Jesus. John's Gospel has been called the 'Gospel of the eagle's eye' as its thoughts soar like an eagle to the heights of heavenly mysteries and simultaneously penetrates the depths of Christ's mystery. The Gospel appears about 100 AD several decades after the appearance of the Synoptic Gospels; it naturally contains more developed thoughts concerning the Christ-mystery and it originated in the Johanine community. Throughout this Gospel, we are called to commit ourselves to Christ. John is the eye-witness to Jesus Christ 'who saw it and has borne witness' (19:35). He is the beloved disciple who stands at the foot of the cross. He lives to a ripe old age and writes this Gospel out of his own experience. The Gospel of John transmits the power of the Word of God in its highest degree because of the close bonding and deep love that existed between Jesus and him. Titles: The Gospel explores a variety of images as a means of expressing the relationship between Jesus and God and between Jesus and humanity. There are bold affirmations that Jesus is God and the confession of Thomas makes a universal claim for the divinity of Jesus. 1)
One of the unique features of the Gospel is the frequent appearance of the emphatic 'I AM' on the lips of Jesus which reveals his divine authority. •
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life (14:6)
I am the true Vine (15)
I am the Light of the World (8:12)
I am the Good Shepherd (10:11)
I am the Son of God (10:36)
I am the Resurrection and the Life (11:25)
I am the Bread of Life (6:35)
I am the Living Bread come down from Heaven (6:51)
There is a vital distinction between ordinary bread which sustains daily life and the bread from Heaven which gives eternal life. The Word of God which one eats in faith sustains and nourishes our spirits for 'man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'.
'My flesh for the life of the world has the Eucharistic perspective' (6:51). 2)
Another title frequently used in the Gospel of John is 'SON'. The title 'Son' is used in various combinations such as 'Son of Man' and 'Son of God' more than forty times. The 'Son' title suggests an intimate relationship between God and Jesus. It is said that the Father loves the Son (3:5) and gives Him authority (17:2). While the Father and Son are one (10:30), the Son is dependent on the Father (5:30-36) and obeys Him (8:25). The Divine function assigned to the Son is to bestow eternal life (6:44). Jesus is the 'Sent One' on a divine mission and stands in a special relationship with the 'Sender' and therefore, our response to Christ constitutes our response to God the Father.
The central message in this Gospel is God's self-revelation in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is God's loving 'Word' to each one of us and by the exercise of our free will, we must respond positively which is very challenging in today's world. We have to respond with either 'yes' or 'no'. No compromise is possible between light and darkness, life and death, truth and falsehood. Hence, we have to make a...
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