The Gospel of John and the Synoptics


Why is the Gospel of John so different from the Synoptic gospels? In the Synoptic gospels Jesus tends to preach in parables and similar techniques. In the Gospel of John, he teaches differently. How is this to be reconciled?


John had a different purpose. He wrote his gospel far later than the synoptics, and reportedly at the request of those around him. Since the testimony of two or three witnesses (synoptic Gospels) established the truth of the matter (Gospels) under Jewish law, John could elaborate on the finer details of his life with Christ. He was the beloved, and was allowed to accompany Jesus on those special occasions (transfiguration, raising of the daughter of Jairus, etc.). As well the passage of time allowed for the fuller understanding and development of doctrine. Thus, his theology soars above the other Gospels, and he is represented by the eagle.


It seems that one great difference between John and the other Gospels is that John wanted to provide information not in the other Gospels. And so for example he left out the Last Supper and included the account of Jesus calling his first disciples in John 1.
Why John left out the parables is something I have wondered about myself but not well considered. Perhaps he left out the parables because the other Gospels already provided them, and so he didn’t provide them again?
I like the immediately preceding post about this, which I feel gives some insight as it speaks of John’s elaboration on the story of Jesus.


Because John is born again and Mark is not, they focus differently.


I heard that the synoptic gospels all derive from one and the same source.


What? How is Mark the Apostle ‘not born again’?
And what of Luke and Matthew? Are they not born again?


Mark says the people and the Apostles didn’t understand Jesus. Obviously Mark himself didn’t understand Jesus. They all had the wrong picture and did not see the kingdom of God.

John 3:3 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God”


The difference between John’s and the synoptic Gospels lies in the difference in Christology; the synoptic Gospels are examples of low Christology, and John’s is an example of high Christology.


Well, of course. They have God as their source! :wink:

My memory isn’t so great but I recall that most scholars think Mark was written first, then Matthew and Luke used Mark and a now lost sayings gospel called Q to write their gospels. They also used other sources called M and L.


Here’s another theory


Well, if you think about how you feel when reading John or Matthew or the born again Mark (don’t be persuaded by those who say otherwise: no one can write as Mark wrote except that the Spirit of God, of Christ, of the Father, dwells in him with the infused light of Grace, received in Baptism, his new birth into the Kingdom of God) - if you think about what is going on inside you when your read these books, you feel like you are knowing Jesus personally when you read John. John is your friend and bishop, letting you know your friend Jesus.

The other writers are instead letting you look in on Jesus from the outside and letting you see as an outsider how Jesus acts and overhear him talking with his disciples.
When you are done reading them, your appetite is awakened to wish that you also could be walking with him like his disciples. You hear the parables because that is what outsiders hear; but you also are peeking in on Jesus explaining plainly to the twelve. After reading these gospels, you want to go and find Jesus to join him; you want to be with him and know all things plainly like the twelve… But where can you find him? Then you remember reading that he sent his disciples with authority and power to speak for him, to make disciples (authority and power to grant the Holy Spirit and citizenship in the Kingdom and new Birth by baptizing and by teaching all whom they baptize), so you seek these twelve apostles, or you seek one whom they have appointed before they died. That is why you come to the Church - the successors to the twelve are here to unite you to Jesus whom you want to be with after reading the other three gospels. [This is the work of Gratuitous Grace]

The Synoptic Gospels awaken your desire to be with Jesus, so you seek union with him. John, then, is teaching you all about the one you are united with, so you know him, where he is from (the Father), and so you know who you now are after you were baptized (in the world, but not of the world). [This is enlightening you with Sanctifying Grace to where you begin to know your new life and begin to live it - doing all your doings virtuously]


John wrote at a later date, when Christian theology was more developed, so there were some additional insights into the Gospel message.

Also, John spent more time with Mary than the other Evangelists. I think that the Gospel of John reflects her wisdom and insights.


I have read about a theory which proposes that Zebedee, John’s father, was a priest. Priests rotated their ministry twice a year, therefore giving Zebedee an opportunity to be a ‘fisherman’, one who employed laborers to do the fishing, giving John an opportunity to leave Zebedee and follow Jesus.

Therefore, John would have had access to a Hellenized Jewish upperclass, and the Gospel may have originated in the priestly aristocracy of Jerusalem within a Johannine school of sorts.

I read this theory in Pope Benedict’s book, “Jesus of Nazareth”.


Many top NT scholars (including prof of Religious Studies at Yale, Dale Martin) will tell you that the Gospel called John is more theological in nature and intent, while the others are trying to be more historical/biographical.

Case in point: The writer for John changed the date of Jesus crucifixion to the day*before *the passover meal instead of the day after, as Mark (the gospel considered most accurate and the one Matthew and Luke used as a base) has it written.
That’s two days difference.
This, it seems, was so that the writer of John could create the “lamb of God” description and compare Jesus to the lambs being slaughtered for the meal at the same time.
It was a clever, dramatic bit of writing and I tip my hat at the creativity of the author of John on that note, and others.

Also, in general, John as you know is estimated to have been written about 65 years after the crucifixion…so the many decades of time post-events and the evolution of Christianity and how Jesus’ followers were viewing him would also account for how different it is than the earlier ones.



I would even say Paul wrote some of his letters before he was born again. As born again yourself, you should be able to see this.


**No. **

John’s writing is at the end of his life, many years later, and is a summary, if you will of what was revealed.
It’s not a historical piece.

It encapsulates the ministry of Christ.


No, it’s because Mark didn’t see the “lamb of God” and wrote before the revelation of Jesus Christ, as the “lamb of God”


Got any scholarship or theological basis for this position?
He certainly did see “the Lamb of God”. He was WITH Jesus, physically present at the Last Supper, the Supper of the Lamb.


Well, he didn’t see him as the “Lamb of God”

They all thought he was supposed to be a king in Jerusalem, they all thought that was his mission. They even thought so after the resurrection.


The Apostles did not understand Jesus till they were born again, which is what happened at Pentecost. Acts 2: right after the tongues of fire, they went out and began preaching boldly. Three thousand converts that day.

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