was a man passionately committed to his mission: the kingdom of God could be
himself was an individual who concentrated his life’s energies into
realizing God’s kingdom in his life and activities within his geographical
sphere of circumscribed activity.
attests to Jesus’ being right: his example founded an entirely new
religion… at its best, universal in scope, exclusive to no age, no people,
and no place. His proclamation of the kingdom of God has been taken up and
recounted in the lives of people everywhere.
Lord’s Prayer clearly identifies Jesus’ mission: “Thy kingdom come;
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
kingdom can be entered by divine activity; it is not limited to any
temporality; it is dynamic and unfolding process.
content with status quo, Jesus of Galilee brought a revelation of what
Judaism could be.
his personal life, Jesus embodies fulfillment of the Old Testament in
commits fully to Isaiah’s vision, believing himself possessed of the
spirit of the Lord God, being anointed by God to bring the good news to the
oppressed, to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the
captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s
taught two greatest commandments—love God and your neighbor as
yourself—this is divine activity, recognized as divine in whatever person,
time, or place, its action is achieved.
Gospel writer presents Jesus somewhat differently, but each is adamant in
presenting him as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
Mark, Jesus is presented by John the Baptist as one who will draw
people into communion with God through a spiritual baptism.
directly declares Jesus to be the Messiah expected by Jews.
Luke, Jesus is the historically expected Messiah. Jesus is the anointed
one, the Christ in Greek. Luke
knits together the two accounts: Jesus as the one to bring humankind into
communion with God is introduced as a baby born to Mary and Joseph.
alone introduces Jesus as God.
begins his mission in Galilee but ends in Jerusalem; his mission is
proclaims human beings have a spiritual obligation for accepting
responsibility in the evolving kingdom.
activities of Jesus set him apart from the religious establishment.
teaches spiritual life demands more than superficial observance and ritual;
God demands a living sacrifice.
mediates between the two great extremes of human life: inactivity and
activity, reflection and action, thinking and doing; this must be, among
other arguments, why Jesus continues to be par exempla the ideal human being
at the same time he must be seen as God’s revelation, God incarnate.
teaches his disciples will be
accepted no better than he himself has been.
points to the truth that the temple, foretold by Jeremiah, is not the seat
of God; rather than ritual sacrifice, God demands mercy and forgiveness.
encourages the rewarding of faith wherever it is found.
teaches the desire of God is that no
one be lost.
focuses on Jesus’ universal mission, his ministry and passion.
sole purpose is to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God.
kingdom of God now is entirely about matching sayings with actions.
Mark, and Luke remembered and passed on the identity of
Jesus, what he said and did. This
explanation is enhanced by the far richer theological explanations in the
Gospel of John.
- John’s Gospel
explains the mystery of the person of Jesus. The Evangelist takes us behind
the scenes of Jesus’ ministry, giving us a glimpse into his eternal origin
and divine nature. He was unique because “he was in the beginning with
God,” active in creation, the source of light and life (John 1.2–4).
Hence, when he became incarnate in human flesh, he made known the eternal
God, whom “no one has ever seen” (John 1.14; John 1.18).
the Synoptic Gospels preserve the sayings of Jesus in words closer to
their original form, the fourth Evangelist employs more freely his own modes
of thought and language in reporting and interpreting the teaching of Jesus.
fourth gospel became, not the supplement, but the complement of the other
is no other gospel more Palestinian than John in
its mode of expression, allusions, and references. Yet we must all feel how
thoroughly Hellenistic it also is in its cast.
Gospel of John is an interpretation of the acts and sayings of Jesus.
as God in action, creating, revealing, redeeming, the agent of creation, the
personal word of God. Jesus is divine light coming into a world primarily
existing in darkness; Jesus not only is light in contrast to darkness but is the
author of life itself.
John clearly, Jesus is the Galilean who embodies God’s kingdom and a new
Judaism focused upon John the Baptist’s repentance and baptism, but the
change demanded is now internal and spiritual; life, light, God himself,
indwells within the human being who has recognized and confessed that
God’s kingdom is spiritual and not physical; nonetheless, those focused on
the kingdom will become enactors of the Word. They will become agents
effecting God’s kingdom, and that effecting will impact and change the
Jesus, Paul, and Christianity introduce a new universalism and new Judaism
(some would say, paganism) is clear.
structurally teaches the culmination of the Old and the initiation
of the New.
more completely than the Synoptics parallels the material/physical and
ideal/spiritual worlds mediated only by rebirth.
John, Jesus of Galilee is uniquely God manifest, the divine embodied.
wonder Jesus was misunderstood and resisted: he is both traditionalist and
new age, and he is misunderstood: paradoxically, old and new have become the
one evolving, unfolding will of God for the salvation of humankind.
death and resurrection of Lazarus is the culminating action of Jesus prior
to the passion.
complete purpose for the Gospel is finally clearly summarized in 20.30, 31:
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not
written in this book;
but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the
Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.
about the negative thirteen makes it easy for readers to remember that John
13 contains Jesus’ farewell supper, farewell discourse and prayer; to
note, however, that these are the prelude for coming events bringing the
Kingdom of God to humankind universally is to turn tragedy into glorious
models for his disciples what the service of love in the Kingdom of God
in modern existential literature, even without a God, what more noble
calling for humanity than commitment to, and carrying through on the one
real choice—to complete the life-work given to us, perhaps unasked for, in
some cases, unwanted.
Jesus, then, in some way, as the Greeks suggested, the ideal human being,
and in being ideal, does he in some way then escape and become more than
human—in some way both God and human?
is, indeed, the paschal lamb.
John, Thomas’ confession is the climax of the book: “My Lord and
John twenty, the law is perfected in the death and resurrection of
Jesus in the revelation of Christ, Lord and God. The way, the truth, and the
light come through obedience and submission to the complete will of God.
This obedience becomes more than ritual and outward purification; the heart
of the individual is changed. Jesus of Nazareth is the Word of God. The
Gospel in a nutshell becomes John 3.16.
selectively told not the entire set of stories surrounding Jesus’ life,
death, and resurrection, but those stories revealing Jesus’ own
Jesus is the founder of Christianity, John is the first great theologian of