The Gospel according to St. John, the fourth Gospel, opens with a prologue (1.1-18) which introduces the “eternal word of God,” present with God at the beginning of creation. This “word” (logos in Greek), John says, is Jesus the Christ who “was made flesh, and dwelt among us … full of grace and truth” (1.14). This profoundly theological prologue signals readers that this fourth Gospel will take a unique approach in relating the purpose and ministry of Jesus. All throughout the book, the author seeks to show the eternal significance of Jesus, and to contrast the “light” Jesus brings from the heavenly realm with the “darkness” of the world he has come to save from the power of sin and death.
In the book's mid-section there is a series of seven “I am” sayings that reveal important dimensions of Jesus' significance, for example, “I am the light of the world” in 8.12 (for the others, see 6.35; 10.7,11; 11.25; 14.6; 15.1). John also reports seven “miracles” or signs worked by Jesus, for example, changing water into wine in 2.11. Each of these signs points to Jesus' glory. But for the author of John the greatest sign and glory is Jesus lifted up on the cross for the salvation of all the world's people (12.32,33).
A late second century tradition claimed Ephesus as this Gospel's place of origin, but this is difficult to confirm. Textual evidence, however, suggests it was written in the final decade of the first century. Although the unnamed author was anciently thought to be Jesus' disciple John, the son of Zebedee, this was questioned by Origen and others as early as the third century. More likely, it was written by disciples of John living in a community he founded.
Jesus the Eternal Word of God (1.1-51)
Jesus' Seven Miracles (Signs) (2.1—11.44)
Jesus' Final Days (11.45—19.42)
The Risen Jesus Appears to His Followers (20.1—21.25)
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