The following is an excerpt from Love in the Gospel of John, by Francis Moloney.
It has been claimed that so much happens in the Johannine passion account that there is little need for a story of the resurrection. Jesus has been exalted as universal king by means of his being “lifted up” (esp. 18:28–19:16a); the community has been founded (18:1–11; 18:12–27; 19:25–27); the Scriptures have been fulfilled; Jesus has perfected his task and poured down the Spirit (19:28–30); the ongoing presence of the crucified Jesus in baptism and Eucharist have been granted so that later generations might also believe, even in his absence (19:31–37); the nascent community exits bravely from its former obscurity (19:38–42); and all who accept the revelation of a God of love in this man who laid down his life because of his love for his friends will gaze upon the pierced one (19:37; see 15:13).
As Jesus stated in his final prayer: “This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (17:3). The crucified Jesus Christ has made God known. What more is needed?
Charles H. Dodd, Rudolf Bultmann, and others are correct in seeing the Johannine Passion Narrative as the culmination of the Gospel’s Christology. Jesus has made known a God who loves the world by loving his own to the end (13:1; 17:4; 19:30). He has now made possible eternal life for all who believe in him by making known a God who loves by means of his own singular gesture of incredible love (13:18–20; 17:2–3). But this is not the end of the story. Early readers of the Gospel of John would have been well aware of the message that Jesus had been raised from the dead, and they wanted to hear that ending.
However, as with the Passion Narrative, John tells that part of the Jesus story in his own way. As we will see below, the major concern of John 20:1–31 is the disciples and all those who will believe in Jesus even though they have never seen him. This Gospel has been written for them (v. 29; vv. 30–31). They are the recipients of Jesus’ love command: “Love one another as I have loved you.” The story of Jesus’ revealing presence among them has ended, but the story of the disciples’ response to the love command is just beginning.
©2013 by Francis J. Moloney SDB. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.
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