Search This Blog

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Gospel of John - Introduction - Chapters 1-7 Notes


John's Gospel seems to assume there is some familiarity with the other gospels as it does not narrate the Baptism of Christ, His temptation in the desert, His Transfiguration, the events of the Last Supper, and much of the time narrates in a fashion where it assumes that the reader knows the basic events. In 3.24 for example, John assumes people know John the Baptist was in prison. In 7.42 he assumes people know Christ was born in Bethlehem. In many places, John presupposes that his audience knows the basic Gospel narrative. In 20.30-31, John shows he has written this Gospel to confirm Christ's divinity. At least a generation of 20-40 years or more after the three gospels have already been written because his gospel is more of an argumentation than the others. 

St. Irenaeus confirms this St. John is St. John of Zebedee in Against Heresies and he clearly states that John wrote it at Ephesus (A.H. 3.1.1). Eusebius also records this was learned by St. Ireneus through St. Polycarp, who learned from St. John himself. 

St. John here is the bishop of Ephesus and is the same writer who wrote 1, 2, 3 John and the Revelation where he had authority over all these 7 Churches (Rev 1:7). This Gospel was likely written in 85 AD or later. Some believe it may have even been written after the Revelation during the reign of Domitian but this is speculative. John is also likely older because he consistently uses the term "Jew" far more to distinguish who the unbelievers are versus believing Christians. The Tradition says the Greek is written the way it is in the Gospel of John versus the Revelation's sloppier version of Greek because the Gospel is scribed by St. Prochorus. John is said to have written Revelation without the help of St. Prochorus and this is why their Greek is so differently written. In the Gospel of John, Jesus is not merely the Savior of Israel but also the world and cosmos itself.

John actually comes first in a lot of the earliest canons. This may be because as Genesis is the first book of the Pentateuch, John does similar (which I will explain later).

The gospel is a list/telling of all Christ has done until He returns. It is told so you, the reader can prepare. John, likely, when he wrote his gospel filled in gaps the other three missed or overlooked. John also likely had access to the other three gospels. If there were more gospels written we do not have them today but the surviving gospels we have access to, and what the Holy Spirit apparently wanted for us, are Matthew, Mark, and Luke. I say this because Luke says there were many people who recorded what Jesus did and said. John probably wrote his gospel in Ephesus as this became the base of the Early Church and Christianity after 70 AD. Pieces like Mary Magdalene and Christ's mother are mentioned here because St. John was there with them in Ephesus.

St. John's in-depth writing shows he had some time and luxuries for himself to be able to write it. 

120 AD is the earliest copy we have of St. John's. It is a copy from Egypt. John died in 100 AD in the reign of Trajan. Tradition is constantly proving to be true about all this.

St. Papias records through Eusebius relating it to us that the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are not written in purely chronological order whereas St. John does write chronologically. 

Chapter 1


John starts the Gospel by being poetic with Who Jesus is like Genesis 1:1-2 is (a poem). Genesis: In the beginning (v.1)

"was" - imperfect - something continuous. In the Beginning, the Word WAS, and already existed. 

"Word" - Logos - Christ is the Reason for Creation. The Logos is God and a Person. 

"The Word of the Lord came to [insert OT prophet]"

The Word and God are distinct here and the Word was God. 

Both in Greek and Latin, there is no "a" or "the" God. They just say "this" or "some" God. 

It just means "the Word was God" (v.2). It says "He!" He, the Logos, is a Person. This "He" was with God in the beginning and is God also. 

V. 3 - He was not created because everything was created by Him with the Father and Spirit.

V. 4 - "In Him was this Life". God is the living God.

v. 5 - "The Light came and the Darkness did not comprehend it". The evil forces in the dark did not understand because of their sinfulness. 


John the Baptist is the man sent by God. He was a witness to testify Who Jesus is. He is unique to the Prophets. He was sent to show the Messiah is God and came in a special way that John is pointing out. John was baptizing and preparing a New People for the Messiah. Andrew, Peter, Phillip, and others were John's disciples first. 

God came, Incarnate, and people did not recognize Him. God gave some who received Him power and authority to become sons of God. 

"Sons of God" - heirs. Everyone (Male and Female) becomes heirs. Who you believe is who you worship. Choose this day your God. 


Continues in this poetic introduction. The Word Incarnated and "dwelt" / "Tabernacled" with us. "We beheld His glory"...

God's tent is being referenced here from the OT. The people of Israel camped around the tent. Jesus is God, Messiah, and the Temple. God has returned to His people. He is Jesus Christ. 

Note: When the Temple was rededicated, the Light never returned. God did not return. Even in Herod's time, it had not so the Jews believed they were still in Exile until God returned, and until that time, there would be no Restoration of Israel. They were all expecting God to return and set things straight but the Jews like the Pharisees end up losing focus and missing when God (Jesus) really does return. They believe they have to follow the Torah and do it perfectly. Even Orthodox Jews today say that if all Jews for one day followed the Torah perfectly, the Messiah and God they expect would return. 

Jesus has a physical body with flesh but kept His Glory. He is fully Man. He is unique (only begotten). We become sons of God by adoption. Jesus is not adopted. John also does not want us to think Jesus is a created being from the Father. 

"Only-begotten" is a term to show us that Christ is Unique. That is a better word to use. 

"Filled with Grace and Truth" - Grace is the activity of God working on Creation. 

Doxa and Shekinah are terms for Glory and the Presence/Radiance of God.

v. 15 - John the Baptist bore witness of Jesus and He is the One you should follow because He was here before John. John the Baptist testifies to the fact that Jesus pre-existed and is God. He is not just the Messiah.

v. 18 - "No one has seen God at any time" - We have and can only see the essence of God, not God's nature. God the Holy Spirit has shown up like a dove before and at Pentecost as fire. 


John says that he is not the Messiah and not Elijah. He does say he is the fulfillment of Isaiah 40... (remember when you read this here that there were no chapters or verses. You gave one line for shorthand and you would read the whole passage - on the scroll usually). With the whole chapter in mind, John is saying that he is the beginning of the Exile from Babylon being over. It is finally coming to an end and John is the Forerunner of it who announces it. This Messiah God won't just get us out of Exile from Babylon, but also bring us a New Eden. 


The Pharisees ask "if you are not these people, why are you baptizing?" John responds that the Messiah is born already and is here. 


The purpose of John's baptism was to present Christ to the world, the Lamb of God Who takes sin away. He testifies of the Spirit descending upon Him (Jesus) and this would be a sign that Jesus is the Christ. John the Baptist gives a baptism of water while Jesus gives a baptism of fire. This Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit - immersed in the Holy Spirit - filled. 

As you are immersed in water, you are to be immersed in the Holy Spirit. 


Elijah when he left, passed the torch to Elisha who would go on to be even greater. In a similar fashion, John and Jesus are the typologies on a deeper level. As Jesus walks, John says: "Behold! The Lamb of God!" John tells his two disciples to follow Jesus. 

Jesus asks, "What are you looking for?" "What do you seek?" They answer with, "Teacher, where are you staying?" St. John explains, that "rabbi" means "teacher", obviously because he is in Ephesus because not everyone is a Jew. This also lends credence to this gospel being written after 70 AD.

The Disciples don't answer His question. Jesus says however to "Come and see" and they come and saw where He was and remained with Him that Day on. 

10th Hour - 10th hour after sunrise. 

[From the beginning, Christianity saw itself as the continuation of the OT religion. In Orthodox Judaism, there is a procession with the Torah. In our Christian Liturgy, we do the Gospel because the Torah has been fulfilled in Christ and we don't celebrate the Old Pascha. We celebrate the New Pascha]

St. Andrew is 1st called. Brother of Simon Peter, Jesus renames him Cephas or the Rock or Petros which means stone, much like the nickname, Rocky. He gives a new name to Simon like Abram becomes Abraham because He is God. It is also a way to be intimate. Being the Rock shows us Peter is a tough guy. Jesus gives them a new name and new meaning to their lives. 

Jesus found Philip and said to Follow Him. Phillip finds Nathaniel. Nathaniel and Phillip are in the city of Bethsaida. He finds Jesus is from Nazareth (a small town) and asks rhetorically "Can anything come from here that is good?" Philip says "Come and see!" He asks this because Nazareth essentially is a small pop-up town basically. 

Jesus tells Nathaniel that before he was called, He knew Nathaniel. Nathaniel is now sold and declares Jesus is the Son of God, King of Israel. Jesus tells them they will see "heaven open, and angels ascend and descend" - a reference to Jacob's Ladder - saying that they will see heaven and earth will be connected through Him, the "Son of Man". 

Chapter 2


Cana is a small town in Galilee. Jesus' mother Mary attends it. Mary asks Jesus to help this couple who have run out of wine. His response is that "it is of minor concern and it is not yet time for me to reveal Myself". 

Mary is just called "woman" here and this is done on purpose to show Mary is the New Eve by St. John. Eve was not first called Eve. She was called "woman". After the Fall and giving birth to Cain, she is called Eve, the mother of all living.

There are waterpots there that are used for Jews to wash their hands before they eat so Jesus has them fill these back up. When they give it out, it is wine. They all say this is the best wine they have ever drank. 


At Passover, Jesus finds money changers selling animals for sacrifice. They were exchanging Roman money for Jewish money, like a cryptocurrency. Jesus drives them out and calls out the Jews and tells them to "Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up" talking about Himself while the Jews misunderstand but the disciples remember Jesus telling them this. The Jews are confused by this and ask Him for a sign when Jesus says this. The sign will be His death and His resurrection. 

The Temple was unfinished. The Jews had been working on it for 46 years so this to them was seen as a threat (they think in earthly terms still instead of the heavenly). 

Chapter 3


A Pharisee named Nicodemus comes to see Jesus at night and tells Jesus that the Jews know He is from God and God is with Him. Jesus' active ministry was only 3 years. Nicodemus is part of the Sanhedrin so he comes at night to stay secretive and be in hiding. He calls Jesus a teacher and acknowledges Him. Jesus answers, "Truly unless one is born again, he cannot see God's Kingdom". Jesus doesn't answer direct questions here. 

The Pharisees want to see a literal kingdom that rises up and overthrows the Roman Empire. Nicodemus is an old man so he asks, "do I need to go back to my mother's womb to be born again?" Jesus then says you must be born of water and the Spirit to enter God's Kingdom. 

He is referring to Baptism and Chrismation. The Kingdom already exists. The question is though, will Nicodemus do what he needs to do to enter it? 

"Spirit" and "spiritual" in the Bible is ALWAYS CONNECTED and LINKED INTIMATELY with the Spirit of God. 

-born of the Spirit - means you will have properties of the Holy Spirit like a wind. It has direction but you cannot see it and find where it has a beginning or an end. Nicodemus needs to be born again to know who Jesus is. Nicodemus here is as of now confused. 

Jesus refers to Numbers when Moses lifts up the serpent in the wilderness to be saved from snake bites. Why did Moses get told by God to build a snake statue? They even had to destroy it later because people began to idolize it. Jesus predicts like the snake He will be put on a Cross. The bronze snake was there and crafted to let Israel see what was afflicting them. The Snake was seen as repulsive. Likewise, the Cross was repulsive to everyone but through it, Christ will cure the people of their sin which is like a poison to them. 

God so loved the world that He offered the Son to save everyone. The Son and Father desire this (as well as the Spirit). The word for "world" here is not just His people but ALL people. Adam was not a Jew. He is the ancestor of ALL humanity and no human is really our enemy, that human has just fallen to the enemy. 


St. John the Baptist is baptizing as is Jesus. There is a debate going on about purification so people come to John and tell him that Jesus is also baptizing. John responds that Jesus has been called to do it and He is Messiah and I (John) am the Forerunner. So be it". Jesus is the Bridegroom and John is the Best Man in this marriage analogy. John rejoices and is happy about this. The Bride is the New People of God. He is happy because they are "marrying" Jesus. John says "I come from the earth like Adam. Jesus is from above and God". When John speaks about God it is secondhand because he is a prophet. Jesus is primary because He has been with God and is God Incarnate. 


To reject Jesus is to not believe God. When God sends someone, the Spirit sends them. 


You're truly alive when connected with the Son who is God. Cutting yourself from God is not life even if you are biologically alive now. 

Chapter 4


The Jews see Jesus and His disciples baptizing more than John does. All apostles were baptized including Judas Iscariot. Jesus left Judaea and on His way to Galilee, He passed through Samaria and in a town called Sychar. Jacob's Well is there. Jesus was tired from His journey and so He sat at the well. It was six hours since sunrise. The well is where Jacob put 12 stones that became one stone, that sunk into the ground and drew water for 7 days (The Targum tells this legend). A Samarian woman comes to this well Jesus is at. He said to her "Give me a drink". Disciples were away. The woman asks, "You're a Jew. Why would you want a drink from me?" She is alienated because she is coming to the well for water at a time when it is hot. You would normally draw water in the morning. 

v. 11-14 - She references Jacob's Well legend here. Jesus says He would give her running fresh water; not stagnant water like this that is in the well. 

v. 15-20 - Give me this water she says! Jesus tells her to call her husband and I will give it to you. She says she has no husband. True. You have had five in the past and are not married to the 6th one that you have been living with. She was sent away 5x and this 6th one will not even marry her to give her dignity and is just using her. She says "I see you are a Prophet" and says "Our ancestors worshipped here while you Jews say otherwise. Which is true?"

v. 21-26 - An hour is coming when this question will be irrelevant. The Jews are right that they are worshipping in the right spot but they will worship in Spirit and Truth for God is Spirit. She says, "I know Messiah is coming" and Jesus tells her He is the Messiah. She says he will "tell them all things". The Samaritan Torah and Messiah weren't based on King David but on Prophet Moses instead, so Jesus shows her "I AM He". This woman will become known as St. Photini. 


The disciples show up and marvel that He is talking to a half-breed Samaritan woman. To top that off, he is talking to an unmarried woman in a public area. They say nothing. Photini tells others in her village to come and see this man who could be the Messiah. They come. The disciples tell Jesus to eat and call Him Rabbi, not Messiah like this Samaritan has. Jesus tells them He has food they don't have. He gives them another lesson like He did with the woman. He is saying, what is their concern? Eating? It should be to do the will of His Father who will and does nourish Him. He also says that He is finishing His Father's work. 

He is talking to the disciples about a harvest. They are being called to go and participate with Him to reap the reward and rejoice. 

The Samaritans believe Christ is the Messiah and He and the disciples stay in Samaria for two days. They call Him "Savior of the World" - a title for Ceasar, but specifically the title Augustus took. 

Jesus goes to Galilee and they accept because they have heard signs that He has done. These three regions are all filled with people who consider themselves all to be of Jewish descent. Many are half-breed or are even just Gentiles. Andrew and Phillip for example are Jews with Greek names, not Hebrew ones. 


Jesus is in Cana again (Galilean town) and heals a man's son who was sick in Capernaum. He says to everyone: Unless you all see Me do things you won't accept Me. This John says was the 2nd sign that Jesus did when He came out of Judaea into Galilee. This man does not need a sign and just asks Jesus for help and trusts that He will. 

Chapter 5


Another feast in Jerusalem happens. Sheep Gate - in Jerusalem is mentioned. There was a pool here called Bethesda which meant "sheep house". The pool was originally for sheep but is used now for other things and is now a hub for healing. An angel apparently had touched it and so the first person who would get in would be healed. A man who had been with an infirmity for 38 years is there.

Jesus asks this paralytic man if he would like to be made well. If Jesus heals him, this will be a new life for him. Can he handle it? Does he really want to transform his life? It will require sacrifices that he has never done before and require work. Jesus did this miracle on the Sabbath and it freaks the Pharisees out because they consider it to be a "work". At the Temple, Jesus also says, "sin no more". 


The Jews begin to persecute Jesus and seek to kill Him after this because He did this on the Sabbath. The Jews get mad for stupid and hypocritical reasons. The ex-paralytic went to the Temple to give thanks to God. He told the Jews Jesus had healed him. The Pharisees thought this man may have been healed by a demon. They think this because of their distorted reasoning on the Torah. They think Jesus is a false prophet. Jesus approaches them and says "My Father has been working until now". He has not just been resting, And I, the Son, am working.

These Jews do not understand the Sabbath. They have turned it into a rule and missed the point of why it is there. The Jews want to kill Him because He made Himself equal with God by saying God was His Father. Now it is them calling Him a false prophet and a blasphemer. They would be right if Jesus was not God Incarnate but He is God Incarnate. 

Jesus answers them back, despite their slander, calling them to repentance and trying to reason with them: The Son does what the Father does. 

[Through Jesus, we can know who God is because One is the Image of the other. They work continuously. They are not separate gods. There is no separation. The Father raises the dead (He will raise the Son) and in doing this, the Son will give Life. 

We all have sinned, so the wages of sin is death. The one who hears Me will live. God will return as Christ and raise all the dead. Some will have Life. Others will face condemnation (5:24-29). Jesus says He will be the one to judge. 

"The hour is coming and now is". Jesus is saying it is the Hour NOW.


Resurrection of the just and the unjust.


He is going back to the Torah here. It is not just Him as a witness. John has testified and witnessed. Also, the Father is having him finish His work.

For a while, he's saying, you, the Jews, liked St John the Baptist. Now He brings even greater. He calls God Himself as His witness. The Pharisees haven't heard from God on Mount Sinai. He has because He is God the Son. They spend all of their time reading and studying Scripture (OT) but they do not live like they are told to do because if they did, they would recognize Who Jesus is: God Incarnate. They are also unwilling. 

If they do not believe Jesus, they do not believe Moses. They will believe anyone else versus believing Jesus sadly, and this will be made in great display unfortunately in 70 AD and the Bar Kochba Rebellion. 

Chapter 6


Jesus goes through the Sea of Galilee/Tiberius. He heals and people follow Him. He goes to a hill/mountain and sits there with the Disciples. It is almost Passover and Jesus sees people coming and asks St. Phillip where they will buy bread to feed all these people. Phillip says they would not have enough even with 200 denari of bread. They don't have any money. Andrew says a man has 5 loaves and 2 small fish but that won't be enough. 5000 men (plus families) which could mean 10-12,000 people. Jesus gave thanks (eucharisto) and then had the Disciples distribute. Everyone gets fed and filled. Jesus then has them gather the leftovers and there are 12 bread baskets now, more than they had before. 


They try to make Him King so He departs from them. The disciples try to get where they need to be and Jesus is now seen by them to be walking on water. It was dark at this time. Water was seen as being awful and large quantities of it in particular often freaked Jewish people out. Boats and sailing were still largely in their infancy, so the Apostles obviously saw Jesus out here in the sea and freaked out over it. Jesus says to them, "It is I; do not fear".  


The people start following Him to go to Capernaum. When they found Him, they asked, "When did you come here?" Jesus responds, "You did not understand why I fed you but you're here for more food now. Labor for God instead of bread". They ask what they should do and Jesus says believe in Him and that He was sent by God. 


They ask what sign and work He will do. They just saw Him feed 5000 people. They say their ancestors fed them manna from heaven. Jesus responds that the Father gives the bread, not Moses. He says He is the Bread of Life; He is offering Himself and they're choosing worldly matters. The same applies to us as believers. He is talking about Himself as the Bread. He will nourish His believers. The people who have trusted in God, He will not be cast out because when they encounter God they recognize Him (Jesus). All believers He promises will be raised "up at the last day" (v. 39). Everyone who believes in Christ will have eternal life and He will raise him up at the last day (v. 40). 

Then they complain about Him because they don't like what he's said (not a free meal ticket). They ask "Is this not Jesus, son of Joseph, whose mom and dad we know?" They go how come is Jesus saying He is from heaven. They don't believe and don't recognize that Jesus is God Incarnate. 


The reason you don't recognize Me is you have no connection to God. If you were really listening to the Prophets, you'd know Me. Your ancestors are dead and got bread every day (that generation all died in the wilderness due to rebellion). Rejecting Christ has consequences. Accepting Christ brings us eternal life. Christ predicts His own death here (He will give His flesh for them and His blood; be a sin offering). 

v. 55-56 - Eucharist here. Whoever eats and drinks His Body and Blood will have eternal life and be raised on the Last Day. The Jews think "cannibalism"? They don't understand. 

It is His real Body and Blood. The Early Church accepts that and John would have also specified if this was supposed to be a metaphor or etc. to Christians of the 2nd CE. John wants us to think it is literal here. Jesus also taught this in the synagogue in Capernaum. 


Even the disciples find this to be tough to grasp. This sacrificial image bothers them. Jesus shows: if you have problems with this, you'll really have issues when I die, resurrect, and Ascend. After this, some wanted to betray Him and some of His disciples actually did leave (not the 12). Simon Peter tells Jesus he is in this for the long haul and John refers to Judas here as a devil. 

Chapter 7


Jesus was in Galilee, for the Jews wanted him dead, Judeans. The Feast of Tabernacles was taking place. His step-brothers (family) want Him to just go to Jerusalem and show He is really the Messiah. They aren't sure either about this. He tells them His time has not come yet. He has more to do. Their time to accept it is and can be NOW. He tells His own brothers they aren't hated by the world like He is because He testifies against the world while they are still yet like the world. He tells them to go ahead to the feast and He stays behind for a bit. He goes but goes undercover. The Pharisees are looking for him there based on a rumor. Some say Jesus is good and some say He is a deceiver but they didn't say it openly to the Jews. They are not ready. Even those who think He is good are not willing to publicly say it yet.


Jesus in the middle of the feast teaches at the Temple. They ask how this peasant is literate and can teach. Jesus says, "I am not making it up. I know God". There is a big difference between knowing God and knowing about God. Jesus says He is bringing glory to God, not Himself doing it out of pride. 

He calls them out. Did Moses who you respect and say knows God not give you the Torah? Why are you breaking the Torah? Calls them out for trying to kill him. They accuse him of having a demon and then ask "Who is trying to kill you?" It is a fact that they believe in angels and demons. Jesus says He did one thing (healed the paralytic) and you freak out (on the Sabbath). You circumcise on the 8th Day and if it falls on Sabbath and you still do it, is that not work? But now you're angry because I healed a whole person! You're being superficial! Think about what you're saying. he says to the Jews. He says don't judge based on appearance alone. 

The onlookers see this and see and think Jesus is winning instead of them and that maybe the Pharisees actually do believe what He says and simply just don't want to admit it. They begin asking why this guy is a homeless peasant from Nazareth. Shouldn't He be like a King? 

They wanted to get and kill Him but they can't because Jesus is in control of the situation and has the authority. They cannot kill Jesus. If He dies, it is because He will willingly lay down His life. Some believe. The Pharisees send the Temple Guards to try to seize Jesus and He says to them (a reference to Ascension). They won't find Him because of where He's going back to. John refers to this in Revelation with the Dragon and warrior-child. The crowd takes Jesus real literally here, asking, "Is He going to hide?" They also talk about the Diaspora. Will He preach to Greek Jews too? They completely misunderstand. 


On the last day of the feast, Jesus cries out, prophesying of the Holy Spirit, who will show up at Pentecost. Jesus was not yet glorified at this time. Those with the Spirit will have a heart that flows rivers of living water, a way of saying with the Holy Spirit they will exhibit a life-giving life and it will affect people and even Creation. 

Glorified - Ascension. 

When Christ departs He leaves the Spirit who is in the Church. Christ is present with us now through the Spirit. 


Reaction is first, the crowd saying He is definitely THE prophet. Others say that He is THE Messiah. Some try to ask where Jesus was born. The Pharisees ask the guards why they haven't snatched Jesus and they answer that "no man ever spoke like this Man". The Pharisees then ask if they are deceived. Then ask if any of them believe in Jesus. Nicodemus responds and asks: "Does our Torah judge a man before it hears him and knows what he's doing?" 

According to the Law in Exodus 23 and Deuteronomy 1:15-17, you were to be given a hearing before you can be judged. 

They answer Nicodemus and ask if he is (Nicodemus) from Galilee also and then tell him to go look at Scripture (OT) and wrongly claim that no prophet has ever come from Galilee. Prophet Jonah came from Galilee, 3 miles from Nazareth (4 Kings 14:25). Then everyone left and went home. 

Note: The Temple Guards are commoners and recognize Jesus is special while the rulers and Pharisees don't. The Pharisees say the crowd believes Jesus is cursed but the truth is that they are just cursing themselves and putting themselves under God's condemnation. 



No comments:

Post a Comment

Gospel of John - Chapters 16-21 Notes

Chapter 16 16:1-4 [Scripture and Tradition go hand in hand and agree with one another saying the same thing] The Church will be persecuted. ...