THE UNITY OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
II Cor. 10.4; Col. 1-16
TEXTUAL EVIDENCE OF THE STRUCTURE (Compare the Prologue of John 1; Luke 1.1-4; John 1.1-4; Acts 1.1-5; Romans 1.1-32; I Cor. 1.18-32; Eph. 1.1-10; Phil. 1.2-11)
“All things hold together” Heb. 1.1-14; I John 1.1-4
PROLOGUE: 1.1-18 (Jesus, Israel, Kingdom of God, The Church)
Period of Consideration - 1.19 - 4.54 (Beyond the Jordan)
Period of Controversy - 5.1 - 6.71 (Jerusalem)
Period of Conflict - 7.1 - 11. 53 (Galilee)
Period of Crisis - 11.54 - 12.36a (Ephraim, Bethany, Jerusalem)
Period of Conference - 12.36b - 17.2 (Room in the City)
Period of Consummation - 18.1 - 20; 21 (Crossing the brook Kidron, the Garden, the House of Annas, the Court of Caiaphas)
Period of Passion - 11.54 - 20.29
Epilogue - 21. 1-28 (“All these things” - The Sea of Tiberias
Begins with 1.19 - From the ministry of John The Baptist to the close of the marriage at Cana (e.g. text begins with phrase “on the morrow” - separate acts or successive days?
2.1-11 - Opens on the third day; five units totalling three to five days includes presentation of His disciples plus their reaction.
2.12 - “After this” introduces a new chronological division similar phrases 3.22, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 and
22.1: content is transitional between introduction of Jesus to the disciples and larger Judaean ministry which commences with 2.13.
THREE PASSOVER OBSERVANCES GIVEN IN JOHN:
2.13, 6.4 AND 11.55; UNNAMED FEAST OF 5.1 MAY HAVE BEEN PASSOVER. If so, it constitutes a fourth and fixed the length of Jesus’ ministry at three and one half years.
IN ADDITION TO PASSOVER - two other feasts are mentioned:
1. Feast of Tabernacles which was celebrated in the last week of September (see Edersheim’s work, Life of Christ.
2. Feast of Dedication - which came in the winter in the later part of December. Around these feasts Jesus’ ministry was carried on (e.g. Acts 2, Day of Pentecost). John devotes the largest section of his narrative to the events of the Passion (see my papers, “See You At The Cross” and “The Resurrection for the Post Modern Culture”)
3. The Final period of Jesus’ life begins just before the last Passover and extended a week beyond it. It opens in 11.54,55 - “Passover is at hand” closes at 20. 26, 29 (ca. eight days subsequent to the Crucifixion).
The three major geographical division in John are the three major units in Palestine in the time of Jesus: GALILEE, SAMARIA AND JUDEA.
1. Unit one centers in Galilee around Capernaum and Cana. John gives less data than do the Synoptics. Cana was located near Nazareth, about four and one half miles to the northwest. Three blocks of texts belong to this geographical unit: 2.1-12; 4.43-54; 6.1 to 7.13. In Galilee Jesus’ popularity reached its greatest heights, culminating in the attempt to make Him king; and in Galilee also the final defection began.
2. Relates to Samaria and comprises only one block of John’s text in 4.1-32. Its sole content is in the interview with the woman of Samaria. Jesus was passing through enroute from Jerusalem to Galilee.
3. This section deals with Jerusalem and Judea. John is more prominent with Jerusalem than the cities of Galilee. No less than four visits to Jerusalem are recorded - 2.13-3.21; 5.1-47, 7.14 - 10.39 including the visit of the Passion Week, 12.2 - 20.29. His appearance there was usually the occasion for a disturbance or a plot of some land. The two signs that took place in Jerusalem were the healing of the man at the pool and the blind man and the great discourses that followed them were important in the history of the controversy concerning Jesus’ person. The raising of Lazarus took place in Bethany less than two miles from the city; the concluding miracle of Jesus’ earthy ministry was also there.
The Resurrection - Four events separate Christianity from all other religions: Creation, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.
James Strauss, Lincoln, IL 62656