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June 8, 2024 Lecture by N. T. Wright

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The Mission of God in the Gospel of John

John frames his gospel with deliberate echoes of the creation story in Genesis, all the way from ‘in the beginning’ at the very start to the ‘new Eden’ themes in chapter 20. In chapter 1 the focus is on Jesus as the ‘Word made Flesh’, uniquely revealing the glory of God to the world, but in chapter 20 the focus is on the disciples, who are equipped with the Spirit to be, for the world, what Jesus was for Israel (‘As the Father sent me, so I send you’). Picking up from the earlier hints about the Spirit in chapters 7 and 14-16, we glimpse the task of the Church in terms of the rivers of living water (ch. 7) and the holding of the world to account (ch 16). John 20 thus shows how Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, and the gift of his Spirit, launch God’s mission of new creation.

N. T. Wright is a New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian, author, and former Bishop of Durham. He is co-founder of N. T. Wright Online and Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University.