Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Chronolgy of the Gospel of John

I have read or listened to the Gospel of John well over 300 times, and in my studies, I discovered that John follows a specific chronological order, I believe, based on the Passover. After doing some research, I found one source on some similar data. Below is a link to Andreas Köstenberger’s Johannine Chronology.

Köstenberger reveals a chronology of John’s Gospel with the telos of a specific crucifixion year, as well as insight on the events of the earthly ministry of Christ.
I, however, am more interested in how John built his Gospel around the three mentioned Passovers. John 2:23; 6:4; and 12:1 mark the three different Passovers, showing three different years. I have placed below, verses after the Passover references which reveal them to be chronological and ultimately sequential.
The Gospel of John was built around seven miracles and the seven I AM statements, theologically speaking, but it seems that many are not aware that chronologically, it is also written around three Passovers, indicating concentrated areas of Jesus’ three year ministry. This is important because we can get a more accurate date of the crucifixion, as Köstenberger’s article suggests, but also because we can better understand the concentrations of and significance to the miracles of Jesus according to John’s historical biography.
John writes: “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (21:25). Knowing the expanse of time between the Passovers, we can see where many of these “other things” that aren’t listed may have occurred.

The three different Passovers recorded in John's Gospel:

John 2:23, "Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing."
  • John 3:22, “After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing.”

John 6:4, "Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand."

  • John 7:2, “Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand.”
  • John 7:37, “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.”
  • John 10:22, “At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter…”

John 12:1, “Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.”

This information seeks to help illuminate one’s understanding of John (Ephesians 1:18), and also further acknowledge historical events recorded in the beloved disciples’ eye-witness account. 

Written by Nace Howell through the grace of the Lord Jesus.