Friday, January 22, 2010

Synoptics vs. John

In a subsection titled, "The Question of the Kingdom of God," R. Brown says:

"The omission in John of the formula basileia tou theou, "kingdom of God [or of heaven]," except for 3:3, 5, is a difficult problem, although not so formidable an obstacle to Johannine ecclesiology as it might first seem. The Synoptic emphasis on the basileia making itself felt in Jesus' activity seems to have become in John an emphasis on Jesus who is basileus ("king") and who reigns. John refers to Jesus as king fifteen times, almost double the number of times that this reference occurs in any of the other Gospels... If the Synoptic basileia is like leaven working in a mass of dough, the Johannine Jesus is the bread of life. If there is a Synoptic parable of the shepherd and the lost sheep, the Johannine Jesus is the model shepherd. If the Synoptics record a parable where the basileia is like the vineyard that shall be handed over to others (Matt 21:43), the Johannine Jesus is the vine. This change of emphasis means that in John there is less apparent reference to collectivity than there is in the Synoptic concept of basileia. But we must not exaggerate. If the Johannine Jesus is "the King of Israel" (1:49), he has an Israel of believers to rule over; if Jesus is the shepherd, he has a flock that has to be gathered; if Jesus is the vine, there are branches on the vine."

Raymond Brown, An Introduction to the Gospel of John, 229.

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