Book of Signs (John 1:19-12:50)
Book of Glory (John 13:1- 20:31)
Background on the Gospel of John
The Gospel of John is a unique and profound book in the New Testament, written by the apostle John, who was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. It is often referred to as the “spiritual gospel” because of its emphasis on the spiritual aspects of Jesus’ life and teachings. As a Catholic, it is important to understand the theology presented in this gospel and how it applies to our faith.
One of the key themes in the Gospel of John is the divinity of Jesus. John begins his gospel by stating, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). This statement affirms the eternal nature and divinity of Jesus, who is identified as the Word made flesh (John 1:14). This truth is fundamental to Catholic theology, which teaches that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine.
Another important theme in the Gospel of John is the idea of eternal life. John emphasizes that belief in Jesus is the key to eternal life. In John 3:16, we read, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” This message is consistent with Catholic theology, which teaches that salvation is found through faith in Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of John also emphasizes the importance of the Eucharist, which is central to Catholic worship. In John 6, Jesus declares that he is the bread of life and that whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood will have eternal life. This teaching was difficult for some of Jesus’ followers to accept, but it remains a central teaching of the Catholic Church.
In addition to these themes, the Gospel of John also emphasizes the importance of love. In John 13:34-35, Jesus tells his disciples, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This message is consistent with Catholic theology, which teaches that love is the foundation of all Christian morality.
Overall, the Gospel of John presents a powerful message about the divinity of Jesus, the importance of belief in him for eternal life, the centrality of the Eucharist in Catholic worship, and the importance of love in Christian morality. As Catholics, we should strive to understand and embrace these teachings in our own lives, so that we may grow closer to God and share his love with others.
Below you will find more details on each section of of the Gospel of John, along with links to additional resources.
Sections of the Gospel of John
The Gospel of John differs from the synoptic gospels in its theological and reflective tone, focus on Jesus’ teachings rather than his miracles, and unique division into the Book of Signs and the Book of Glory. There are no parables in the Gospel of John.
- Prologue (John 1:1-18) – The introduction of the Gospel of John, emphasizing the Word made flesh, who is Jesus Christ.
- Book of Signs (John 1:19-12:50) – The Book of Signs is a section of the Gospel of John that focuses on seven key miracles performed by Jesus, or “signs,” that reveal his divinity and identity as the Son of God. These signs include turning water into wine, healing a royal official’s son, feeding the five thousand, and raising Lazarus from the dead.
- Book of Glory (John 13:1- 20:31) – The Book of Glory is a section of the Gospel of John that covers the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection, as well as his post-resurrection appearances to his disciples. This section emphasizes Jesus’ glorification as the Son of God and his commissioning of his disciples to continue his work after his departure.
- Epilogue (John 21:1-25) – The final chapter of the Gospel of John, including Jesus’ appearance to his disciples after his resurrection, and the commissioning of Peter to lead the Church.
Section 1: Prologue (Gospel of John 1:1-18)
The Prologue is the opening section of the Gospel of John, consisting of the first 18 verses. It introduces the themes and main ideas of the gospel, emphasizing the divine nature and eternal existence of Jesus Christ, who is referred to as the “Word.” The Prologue lays the foundation for the rest of the gospel of John, presenting Jesus as the source of all life and light, and affirming his unique role as the Son of God and the true savior of the world.
Resources for the Gospel of John 1:1-18
- Wreath Prayer Service (John 1:1-3)
- Who Are You? (John 1:6-8, 19-28)
Section 2: Book of Signs (Gospel of John 1:19-12:50)
The Gospel of John presents a series of miracles performed by Jesus, known as the “signs,” which reveal his divinity and identity as the Son of God. These signs include turning water into wine, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and raising the dead. Each sign serves as a powerful testament to Jesus’ power and authority, and offers valuable insights into his teachings and mission.
The Bread of Life discourse in the Gospel of John (John 6:22-71) is a central and significant passage that underscores many of the key themes and ideas of the gospel. The discourse takes place shortly after Jesus miraculously feeds the five thousand, and it revolves around Jesus’ teachings about his true identity and the meaning of his ministry. The Bread of Life discourse is closely linked to the Catholic theology of the Eucharist, as Jesus’ declaration that “whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54) is seen as a reference to the sacramental nature of the Eucharist, in which Catholics believe they partake of the true body and blood of Christ.
- The first sign: Turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11) This sign is the first miracle performed by Jesus in the Gospel of John, and it takes place at a wedding in Cana. Jesus is asked to help when the wine runs out, and he turns water into wine, revealing his power and identity as the Son of God. This sign also emphasizes the importance of Mary, Jesus’ mother, who encourages Jesus to perform the miracle and shows her faith in him.
- The healing of a royal official’s son (John 4:46-54) This sign takes place in Capernaum, where a royal official pleads with Jesus to heal his son who is near death. Jesus tells the man that his son will live, and the man believes him and returns home to find that his son has indeed been healed. This sign emphasizes the power of Jesus’ words and the importance of faith in his ability to heal.
- Healing of a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years (John 5:1-15) This sign takes place at the pool of Bethesda, where Jesus encounters a man who has been an invalid for thirty-eight years. Jesus tells the man to get up and walk, and he is instantly healed. This sign emphasizes Jesus’ power over sickness and disability, as well as his compassion for those in need.
- Feeding the five thousand (John 6:1-15) This sign in the Gospel of John takes place after Jesus crosses the Sea of Galilee and encounters a large crowd of people who are hungry. Jesus miraculously multiplies five loaves of bread and two fish, feeding the entire crowd. This sign emphasizes Jesus’ power over nature and his ability to provide for the needs of his followers.
- Walking on water (John 6:16-24) This sign takes place after Jesus feeds the five thousand and his disciples set out in a boat across the Sea of Galilee. Jesus walks out to meet them on the water, calming their fears and revealing his power over the elements. This sign emphasizes Jesus’ divinity and his ability to overcome all obstacles.
- Healing a man born blind (John 9:1-12) This sign takes place when Jesus encounters a man who was born blind. Jesus spits on the ground, makes mud with his saliva, and puts it on the man’s eyes, telling him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. The man does so and is healed of his blindness. This sign emphasizes Jesus’ power to bring light to those who are spiritually blind, as well as his unique approach to healing.
- Raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44) This sign is perhaps the most dramatic and powerful in the Gospel of John. Jesus raises his friend Lazarus from the dead, four days after his death, revealing his power over death itself. This sign emphasizes Jesus’ divinity and his role as the source of eternal life for all who believe in him.
Resources for the Gospel of John 1:19-12:50
- Who Are You? (John 1:6-8, 19-28)
- What Are You Looking For? (John 1:35-42)
- Mother Mary (John 2:1-11)
- Why Do Catholics Pray to Mary? (John 2:3-5)
- What Is in Your Church? (John 2:13-25)
- Nicodemus: A Journey of Faith (John 3:1-21)
- The Holy Spirit Is Like the Wind (John 3:8)
- A Holy Spirit Coloring Page (John 3:8)
- Paper Toss Game (John 3:8)
- Illuminate My World Jesus (John 3:14-21)
- Why Do We Consume But Are Not Satisfied? (John 4:5-42)
- Reflection Questions for the Story of the Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4:5-42)
- Loaves and Fishes (John 6:1-15)
- Does It Last? (John 6:24-35)
- Taught by God (John 6:41-51)
- Where Should We Go? (John 6:60-69)
- Nicodemus: A Journey of Faith (John 7:47-52)
- Inconsistent Imposter (John 8:1-11)
- Go See a Christmas Light Display (John 8:12)
- What Is Love? (John 10:11-18)
- Good Shepherd Maze Puzzle (John 10:14)
- I Hear My Shepherd (John 10:27-30)
- Toilet Paper Lazarus Game (John 11:1-45)
- Dying to Live (John 12:20-33)
Section 3: Book of Glory (Gospel of John 13:1- 20:31)
The Book of Glory in the Gospel of John covers the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection, and emphasizes his glorification as the Son of God. This section includes some of the most profound and impactful events in the life of Jesus, including the Last Supper discourse, his arrest and trial, his crucifixion and death, and his resurrection and appearance to his disciples.
- The Last Supper discourse (John 13-17) The Last Supper discourse in the Gospel of John is a long and profound teaching given by Jesus to his disciples just before his arrest and crucifixion. This discourse covers many important topics, including Jesus’ imminent departure, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the need for his disciples to love one another. It also includes Jesus’ famous prayer for unity among his followers, as well as his declaration that he is the way, the truth, and the life. The Last Supper discourse offers important insights into the nature of Jesus’ mission and the importance of his teachings for all who follow him.
- Jesus’ arrest and trial (John 18) The account of Jesus’ arrest and trial in the Gospel of John is a powerful and dramatic depiction of his passion and suffering. After the Last Supper, Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested by the authorities. He is taken before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, and accused of sedition and blasphemy. Despite his innocence, Jesus is sentenced to death and crucified. This section of the gospel emphasizes Jesus’ willingness to suffer and die for the sake of humanity, as well as his faithfulness to God even in the face of persecution and death.
- Crucifixion and death of Jesus (John 19) The crucifixion and death of Jesus is one of the most significant events in Christian theology, and the Gospel of John presents a powerful and moving account of this event. Jesus is crucified along with two other criminals, and he speaks several important words from the cross, including “Woman, here is your son” (referring to his mother Mary) and “It is finished.” His death is accompanied by supernatural signs, including an earthquake and the tearing of the temple veil. This section of the gospel emphasizes the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ death, as well as its redemptive power for all who believe in him.
- Resurrection and appearance of Jesus to his disciples (John 20-21) The resurrection of Jesus is the most important event in Christian theology, and the Gospel of John offers a detailed and profound account of this miraculous event. After his death and burial, Jesus rises from the dead on the third day, and appears to his disciples, proving that he has conquered death and is indeed the Son of God. This section of the gospel includes several powerful encounters between Jesus and his disciples, including his appearance to Mary Magdalene and his restoration of Peter. It also includes Jesus’ commissioning of his disciples to continue his work and spread his message throughout the world. The resurrection and appearance of Jesus offer the ultimate hope and promise of salvation to all who believe in him.
Resources for the Gospel of John 13:1- 20:31
- Trust in Jesus (John 14:1-12)
- The Way, the Truth, and the Life Coloring Page (John 14:6)
- Rooted in the Vine: Finding Support in Jesus (John 15:1-8)
- What Is Joy? (John 15:9-17)
- Who Do You Belong To? (John 17:11B-19)
- Knight Me (John 18:33B-37)
- Nicodemus: A Journey of Faith (John 19:38-42)
- What Moves You? (John 20:19-23)
- All Things Visible and Invisible (John 20:19-31)
- Litany of Belief (John 20:28)
Section 4: Epilogue (Gospel of John 21:1-25)
The Epilogue of the Gospel of John (John 21:1-25) serves as a final chapter that offers closure and perspective on the entire gospel. The Epilogue begins with Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance to his disciples on the shores of the Sea of Tiberias, where he performs a miraculous catch of fish and shares breakfast with his followers. This encounter is followed by a dialogue between Jesus and Peter, in which Jesus commissions Peter to feed his sheep and take care of his followers.
The Epilogue of the Gospel of John also includes a statement from the author of the gospel, identifying himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved and affirming the authenticity of his testimony. This section of the gospel concludes with a reflection on the significance of Jesus’ ministry and teachings, emphasizing that the world itself could not contain all the books that could be written about his life and work.
The Epilogue of the Gospel of John offers a reflective conclusion to the gospel, emphasizing Jesus’ continued presence and authority even after his resurrection, and affirming the importance of his teachings for all who seek to follow him. It also serves as a reminder of the profound impact that Jesus’ life and teachings have had on the world, and invites us to continue to explore and learn from his example in our own lives.
Resources for the Gospel of John 21:1-25
Feed My Sheep (John 21:1-19)
About St. John
St. John the Evangelist is traditionally believed to be the author of the Gospel of John, one of the four canonical Gospels in the New Testament. He is also known as the beloved disciple and was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. As an apostle who was particularly close to Jesus, St. John’s personal experiences and perspectives likely played a significant role in shaping the content and message of the Gospel of John. He frequently refers to the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” which is widely believed to be a reference to John himself.
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