Gabriel Nieto

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SAINT JOHN EVANGELIST. THEOLOGY OF THE SON OF GOD.

LIFE OF SAINT JOHN, HE OF ZEBEDEE

John and James worked with Zebedee his father in the lake of Galilee as fishermen, in the village of Capernaum. Zebedee had some hired laborers (Mk 1,16-20). It can be seen in the datum a sign of the moderate economy of John’s family since, despite of employing laborers, the remains of marble, arches or walls wide enough to sustain a second storey, decorates and other structures within the reach of wealthy people, have not appeared in the archaeological stratum of the I century AD in Capernaum. The same can be said about the house of Peter there (Mk 1:29), where most likely the episode of the healing of the paralitic took place (Mk 2:1-12) and that seems to be described by a direct witness. The fellows of the paralitic made a hole in the roof (Mk 2:4) to download the paralitic in a mat, something impossible to do if the house would not had been humble and had a second floor. Capernaun, the village of John, James his brother and Peter, was located on the northwestern shore of the lake, with some 600-1500 people. It was larger than Nazareth, whose stimated population is 400 people, but quite smaller than the capital of Galilee, Sepphoris, with 8000-12000 people to the north of Nazareth, or Tiberias, the largest town in the western shore of the lake, similar in size to Sepphoris.
 

The temperament of John was energetic, deserving the nickname of son of the thunder (Mk 3:17). Privileged witness of Jesus, was with Peter and James one of the columns of the Church (Mk 5:37; 9:2-6; 13:3-37; 14:32-34; Ga 2:9). Notwithstanding, it is discussed if this James is the Great, brother of John, or James the Just, the first bishop of Jerusalem, whose martyrdom is narrated by Flavius Josephus (Antiquitatum XX.9). According to the end of the gospel which bears his name, John would see the second coming of the Lord (Jn 21:21-23). It can be a reference to the formidable age he reached, to the point that the rumor that he was immortal was spread. John was indeed the youngest of the apostles, surviving the martyrdom of them. An old tradition in Irenaeus (Adv. Haereses III 1.1; 3.4) and Clement Alexandrine, quoted in Eusebius (Historia III 23.1-8), tell us that John ended his days in Ephesus on the Aegean Sea during the reign of Trajan (AD 98-117).


 

JESUS, MESSIAH AND SON OF GOD

The theology of John is difficult to summarize doing justice to the texts. The deepness of his sight approaches him to the relationship of Christ with God. Hence that the Church attributed him the eagle as symbol of his theological height (Re 4:6-7). The relationship of Jesus with God is unique in the history of religions. John discovers that Jesus not only transmitted the word of God but is his Word. The identity of Jesus is God. In the beginning, the Word existed and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Jn 1:1). All the things were created by the Word (Jn 1:2). The Word became flesh (Jn 1:14). From the Word we have received help over help, grace over grace (Jn 1:16).

The Father lives in Jesus and Jesus is completely referred to the Father (Jn 14-17). The gift of the Spirit, that Christ bestowed on the apostles when he was risen (Jn 20:21-22), is the relationship that Jesus has with the Father, which is communicated to the believers by the faith in Jesus (1 Jn 4:15). God is love, internal communion between the Father and the Son in the Spirit (1 Jn 4:8.16). The communion in the Son is the eternal life, the inner essence of Jesus (Jn 1:3; 1 Jn 1:1-3). The reference of Jesus to the Father makes the Christian to love God in the brothers who share the Spirit (Jn 14:23; 17:23; 1 Jn 4:6). The Spirit is the truth (Jn 16:7-15), who reveals the existence of another spirit opposed to God which operates in the world, the devil, characterized by the material love, the hate and the lie (1 Jn 2:15-16; 3:10-15; 4:1-6). 
 


 

SAINT JOHN EVANGELIST. THEOLOGY OF THE SON OF GOD.


 

THE CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER

God is light and there is not in Him any darkness (1 Jn 1:5). He who loves his brother is in the light and nothing will make him stumble (1 Jn 2:10). To see God in others is impossible without having seen Him before in oneself. As God enters by the prayer in someone, the initial combat that sprouts from the sins that refuse the presence of God in the soul ceases; and due to the love to the neighbor, the time stops in the moment of praying. Then, the action of God begins to be seen in the life of others, who one loves for the interest of God in them, not for our. Undoubtedly, thanks to the prayer saint John deepened in the innermost being of Jesus and in the presence of God in the community. Praying with the same Spirit as Jesus, John also became internally referred to the Father and to the brothers as Jesus is. In no way the access to this sight must be limited. The first letter of John, that can be considered a summary of the teachings of the fourth gospel, is precisely aimed to the family parents and to the young (1 Jn 2:12-14).


 

Picture: The Trinity of Arre (Spain), an art work which expresses the innermost being of Jesus.

Bibliography: Biblia de Jerusalén, Descleé de Brouwer, Bilbao, 1998; Iréneé De Lyon, Contre les Hérésies. Livre III/2, Les Éditions Du Cerf, Paris, 2002; Josephus, F., The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus, New Leaf Publishing, Green Forest, 2008; Reed, J.L., Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus, Trinity Press, Harrisburg, 2000; The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Oxford University Press, Oxford-New York, 2010; Velasco-Delgado, A. (Tra.), Eusebio de Cesarea. Historia Eclesiástica, BAC, Madrid, 2001.


 

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