St. John modeled his Gospel on the first five books of the Bible.

Sunday, 1/20/13

Our Gospel today is from Chapter 2 of the Gospel according to John. Now, it will enriche our appreciation of John’s Gospel if we notice how it is subtly modeled on the first five books of the Old Testament. Those books told the story of how the Father led the Israelites to their Promised Land, while John’s Gospel describes the way the Son leads us to the true Promised Land. Just as the Father helped the people with manna from heaven, with water from a rock, and with a cloud that led them in darkness; so in his Gospel John recalls Jesus saying, “I am the Bread come down from heave,” and  “If anyone thirsts let him come to me to drink,” and “I am the light of the world, anyone who follows me will not walk in darkness.”

As well, John delighted in following the outline of the first two chapters of Genesis. The first chapter of Genesis told how the Father created our physical world in six days, while John’s first chapter follows Jesus through six days during which he prepared the way for our spiritual world. (Scholars call the first chapter of John’s Gospel the account of the “New Creation.) Then, where Chapter Two of Genesis opens with the Father resting on the seventh day, Chapter Two of John’s Gospel opens with the Son on the seventh day resting at a wedding banquet which is the Bible’s symbol for heaven.

In the story of the Marriage Feast at Cana John made subtle allusions to three major themes of his Gospel.

First, Jesus changing water into wine alluded to the richness of the New Testament replacing the blandness of the Old Testament. (John had already alluded to that in his Chapter one where he wrote, “While the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”)
A second them of his Gospel that John introduced here is his portraying Mary as the person who looks out for people’s needs, making request that her dutiful Son always hears.

A third theme John alluded to here is that of the Epiphany. Whereas the adoration of the Magi recognized Jesus as God in a human form; and that theme was struck again at the baptism of Jesus where the Father said, “This is my beloved Son. ” So, here we bring the Epiphany season to an end with the miracle by which Jesus, “Manifested his glory.”

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