Part 6—John: The Incarnation of the Wisdom of God

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When we get to the Gospel of John, we enter into an entirely different world from Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John’s world is informed by the Great Hellenistic ideals. Beginning with the very first verse we are introduced to the Logos, understood as the mediator between the divine and the creation. It also draws from the Wisdom tradition of the Hebrews in which the Logos is closely identified with Sophia/Wisdom.  Proverbs 8 is a commentary on 1:1, where Wisdom is with God at the creation and is self-described as a “master worker.” Jesus, for John, is the incarnation of Logos/Wisdom. Consequently, the emphasis is on believing in Jesus which will bring eternal life now. How? Because Jesus mediates the wisdom of God to humanity. There are no apostles in John, only disciples; no institution of the Lord’s Supper, but several eucharistic moments; no parables, just extended speeches that impart wisdom from above. The Holy Spirit becomes the presence of Jesus in his absence, but he never leaves (is ascended). Love is held up as the highest of virtues and Christians will be characterized by their love of one another. The movement of this Gospel slowly discloses what a life characterized by wisdom looks like and achieves.

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