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The Gospel according to John Signs & Believing Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D. Loyola Institute for Spirituality, Orange, CA

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Presentation on theme: "The Gospel according to John Signs & Believing Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D. Loyola Institute for Spirituality, Orange, CA"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Gospel according to John Signs & Believing Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D. Loyola Institute for Spirituality, Orange, CA

2 “SIGNS” in the Fourth Gospel  There are NO “Miracles” in John! Word dynamis (”miracle”) is never used!  Jesus only does “Works” & “Signs” Works: what the Father gives Jesus to do Signs: point the way to something  Purpose of “Signs”? Get you to DO something! Consider modern “Street Signs”  Not art-works to be admired  But instructions to be obeyed!

3 What are “Signs”?


5 “Signs” vs. “Miracles”?  Synoptic Miracles Dozens, of four different types Emphasize the “extraordinary”: Wow! Jesus’ Authority over Satan Prerequisite: Some people have faith  Johannine Signs Few healings; no exorcisms Downplay the “miraculous”: Huh!? Jesus’ Relationship with God Result: Some people come to believe

6 PURPOSE of “Signs” in John  Intended Result: To bring people to BELIVE in Jesus See his identity thru his words & works  But do they actually “work”? Do people heed the signs, or not? People must freely decide: how to respond: obey? ignore? reject? Various reactions: positive, negative, or in between?

7 “Signs” in John: Exactly SEVEN?  2:1-11Water into wine at Cana  4:46-54Official’s son at Capernaum  ?? 5:1-9ffSick man at pool of Bethesda ??  6:1-14ffFeeding of 5000  ?? 6:16-21Walking on water ??  9:1-7ffGiving sight to man born blind  11:1-45Lazarus raised from the dead  ? 19:17-37Crucifixion/Exaltation of Jesus  ? 21:1-14Appearance at Sea of Tiberias  “Many other signs”: 2:23; 3:2; 6:2; 7:31; 9:16; 11:47; 12:37; 20:30-31; cf. 4:45

8 SIGNS: Water into Wine at Cana

9 SIGNS: Official’s Son at Capernaum

10 SIGNS: At Pool of Bethesda???

11 SIGNS: Feeding of 5000

12 SIGNS: Walking on Water???

13 SIGNS: Sight for Man Born Blind Also Manuscrit Grec 74, Bibl. Nationale, Paris – 5 ScenesManuscrit Grec 74

14 SIGNS: Raising Lazarus to Life

15 Last Sign? Appearance at Tiberias

16 Greatest Sign? Crucifixion of Jesus!

17 Last/Greatest Sign: The CROSS! a) Last mention of “signs” comes after the passion narrative (20:30-31). b) In 2:18-22, “sign” refers to death and resurrection of Jesus. c) Verb semaino (“to indicate, signify, show by sign”) refers to his death (12:31-33; 18:32; cf. Exod 4:8-9; Num 14:11, 22). d) Verb “lifted up” implies crucifixion (3:13-15; 8:28-30; cf. Num 21:8-9; Isa 43:10-13; etc.) e) Cross functions to bring people to believe (19:35-37; cf. Zech 12:10—13:1) f) Jesus’ death is “completion” of his “work” (cf. 4:34; 5:36; 17:4, 23; 19:28, 30)

18 Discipleship in John: “Believing”  Biblical Vocabulary “Faith” (; noun) – esp. in Paul  “Have Faith” sounds like possessing an object “Believe” (; verb) – esp. in John  Action: to trust, entrust oneself to, believe in

19 “Believing” in the Fourth Gospel  John never uses the noun (“faith, belief”), but always/only the verb (“to believe”) Believing is an action one does Not an object one possesses (not “having faith”)  Believing involves relationship Even better translation: “trusting someone” or “entrusting oneself to someone”  Synonyms for “believing”: knowing, seeing, receiving, coming to, accepting, remaining, etc.  Opposites of “believing” “not believing, rejecting, denying, not receiving, going away, etc.”

20 Possible Reactions to Jesus in FG 1. Refusing to believe, despite seeing/hearing  Ex.: “world”; “chief priests”; most “Jews” 2. Beginning to believe, but not fully knowing  Ex.: “crowds”; some early “disciples”; some “Jews” 3. Believing, but being afraid to profess publicly  Ex.: Nicodemus, Joseph Arimathea; some “Jews” 4. Seeing and believing; becoming a disciple  Ex.: “disciples”; Samaritans; blind man; Thomas 5. Believing even without seeing, just hearing  Ex.: royal official; Martha; readers of Gosp.John

21 Dynamics of Believing (John 9) Increasing Faith  Man Born Blind:  9: “the man called Jesus…”  12: “I do not know”  17: “He is a prophet”  27: “Do you also want to become his disciples?”  30: “He opened my eyes”  33: “If this man [Jesus] were not from God, he could do nothing”  38: “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him. Decreasing Faith  Pharisees/Jews:  12: Ask where Jesus is.  16: Jesus is “not from God”; he breaks the Sabbath.  22: Anyone who confesses Jesus as Messiah is put out of the synagogue.  24: Jesus is a sinner.  29: They are disciples of Moses; don’t where Jesus comes from  34: Formerly blind man is a sinner; they throw him out

22 Results/Effects of Believing  Becoming "children of God" (1:12)  Having "eternal life" (3:15-16, 36; 5:24; 6:40, 47)  Not "perishing" (3:16); not "being condemned" (3:18)  Not "coming under judgment" (5:24); never being "hungry/thirsty" (6:35)  "Knowing" Jesus and the Father (4:42; 6:64, 69; 10:38)  Passing from death to life (5:24); living and never dying (11:25-26)  Having "living water" flow out of one's heart (7:38)  Receiving the Spirit (7:39)  Being "disciples" of Jesus (8:31); being Jesus' "friends" (15:14-15)  Seeing the "glory of God" (11:40); seeing "greater things" (1:50)  Becoming "children of light" (12:36); not "remaining in darkness" (12:46)  Doing the works that Jesus does, or even greater works (14:12)  Having "life in his name" (20:31)

23 Texts with “Believe” in John  Believe! w/o direct object; “You just gotta trust”!  Believe IN God / IN me / IN… NT Greek lit. says “believe INTO…” “put your trust in/into God & Jesus” “entrust yourself to God & Jesus”  Believe ME/HIM/… Trust God/Jesus; believe what he says  Believe THAT… Doctrines/beliefs about God & Jesus

24 More on “Signs” & “Believe”  “Signs” in the Fourth Gospel  “Believe” in the Fourth Gospel

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