Study Guide

Gospel of John Language and Communication

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Language and Communication

The next day [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (NRSV 1:29)

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (KJV 1:29)

No, Jesus isn't woolly and walking on all fours. But he will offer himself up as a sacrifice, just like the lambs that were slaughtered at the first Passover. There the gospel goes, hitting us with metaphors from the very first chapter.

"Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (NRSV 4:13-14)

Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (KJV 4:13-14)

A never-ending supply of water? Sounds refreshing. And poetic.

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (NRSV 6:35)

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (KJV 6:35)

Jesus's words will never leave you hungry again, but how do they taste with turkey and Swiss? What's with all the food and drink metaphors anyway?

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." (NRSV 8:12)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (KJV 8:12)

Talk about seeing things in a new light. Like a little candle shining out in the darkness, Jesus has come to illuminate everything good and true.

Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. (NRSV 10:6)

This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. (KJV 10:6)

Classic not-getting-Jesus moment. It seems like all this figurative language is going right over the heads of the people in the crowds.

"I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd." (NRSV 10:14-16) 

 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (KJV 10:14-16)

Jesus leads his sheep like a pro, keeping them safe and guiding them on the right path. Not baaaaad. (We couldn't hold back.)

His disciples said, "Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God." (NRSV 16:29-30)

His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. (KJV 16:29-30)

Finally! The disciples get it. And how? Jesus drops all the metaphors and just spells it all out for them.

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