L. The Pope provides some insight into the underlying structures of John’s Gospel – overarching themes that situate the particular episodes into a fluid and dynamic whole. For one, John shows how Jesus is the “prophet like Moses” whose words and deeds fulfill the Messianic promises of the Old Testament. For another, the Gospel is built around the Jewish liturgical calendar and its major feasts. Each of these feasts has a triple basis. First we find feasts reflective of nature religions known to the people around Israel, related to creation and the seasons. Second, these feasts are adopted and transformed in Israel’s faith as remembrances of God’s saving interventions in their history. And finally, this remembering becomes a grounded hope in some new and definitive intervention by God in history that will fulfill all the promises He has made.
Though not mentioned here, other consistent Johannine themes are evident to the reader of John: the seven Signs; seeing and believing; the legal terminology of judgment, trial, evidence, witnesses, accusation, verdict; the duality of light/darkness, above/beyond, spirit/flesh, etc. John’s Gospel is endlessly rich in its many-layered but clearly historical presentation of the saving mystery of God revealed in His Son.