Liturgy in John’s Gospel

In reading the the Gospel of John, I find that several interactions between Christ and the other people in the story can easily be seen as liturgical – a sort of call and response. I might actually get around to posting a few of those instances – chapter 6 is a pretty good one to start with – as a series, but for now, consider this example:

Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”

“Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.”

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” (John 11.23-27 NLT)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” (NASB)

Around the time John was written, the belief of the Resurrection was becoming solidly codified in developing Judaism. I am not at home, or I would pull out the name of the ‘creed’ which Jews had to affirm in order to be counted among the synogogue. (William Wright wrote the book to which I am referring too, and i reviewed it.) Here, John has Christ (perhaps the elder of the Congregation) ask Martha (the catechumen or maybe the congregation?) about the Resurrection. The response is given –

“I believe”

There are more examples in John’s Gospel of a call and response pattern developing in the early Church. Maybe I will get around to them later.

What do you think?

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4 Replies to “Liturgy in John’s Gospel”

  1. I came across these posts by chance – a couple of years after the event !

    St John’s Gospel is certainly a liturgical text, although there is not much coverage of this in the literature.

    I wrote a dissertation on the subject a few years ago and a summary of this has recently been published in the Expository Times, if anyone is still interested.

    To find it just do a search of ‘The Liturgy of the Last Gospel’.

    Good wishes etc

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