John's Portrait of Jesus
The Blackwell Companion to Jesus
In John we have a visionarya theologian and poet, a mystic and a realist. Whatever we may discover about the identity of ‗John' he writes from his experience of the Jesus event. Only one who knows experientially could make the claims that he does: -we have beheld his glory‖ (1:14), -from his fullness we have all received‖ (1:16), -he who saw it has borne witness‖ (19:35). Writing from within the experience of Jesus, after decades of community living, oral story-telling, proclamation and
... amation and reflection, John's Gospel offers a distinctive portrait of Jesus. Where Mark's narrative begins with Jesus' adult baptism as the moment of his divine acknowledgement, -You are my beloved,‖ (Mark 1:11) and Matthew and Luke take that moment back to his conception (Matt (1:18; Luke(1:32), John places Jesus' divine origins, -in the beginning...‖ (John 1:1). Jesus, according to John, can only be fully understood from the perspective of God's own timelessness. The Prologue (John 1:1-18) is the first place to begin looking for clues to John's Christology. According to Carson, these verses function as a foyer in a building, -simultaneously drawing the reader in and introducing the major themes.‖ 1 The reader thus knows before the narrative begins essential information about Jesus' identity and mission, and this knowledge is meant to guide the reading process and add to its drama. The reader shares a certain omniscience that the characters in the narrative do not have. As readers, we watch the development of the traditional Jesus story, and observe the characters in the story as they struggle to understand who Jesus is, and what he is doing. 2 Our knowing, what the characters do not know, adds an ironical edge to the reading process. 1 Donald A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 249-77. 2 Morner Hooker comments, -those who have read the introductory verses understand what is obscure to many of the main actors in the drama.‖ See, M. Hooker, -The Johannine Prologue and the Messianic Secret,‖ NTS 21 (1974) 45.