ACCORDING TO SAINT JOHN
                            A Commentary by H.H. Pope Shenouda III
                          Pope and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark



Before speaking about this subject, I wish to say that the three other gospels
by St. Matthew, St. Mark,  and St. Luke are called  the synoptic gospels. This
means gospels of one vision and similarity. But St. John's  gospel is a unique

The first gospel which was written, was the gospel of St. mark. It was written
in Rome or in Alexandria for the people of Rome. All  the scholars of Biblical
studies say that  it was written about the  year 56. The second written gospel
is  the gospel of   St. Matthew. It   was  written before  the  destruction of
Jerusalem  which took place  in the year  70 AD, because  this gospel has many
prophecies about  that destruction.  Scholars   agree that  it was written  in
Jerusalem between 56 and 58 AD. The gospel of St. Luke is  the third gospel to
be written.  Scholars  believe  that  it was written  in  Caesarea  during the
captivity of  St. Paul and it was  written around the years 59  or 60  AD. The
last gospel is  the gospel  of St. John.   Scholars believe it was written  in
Ephesos  in the  year 95  AD.   The other  gospels  being widely  distributed,
St.  John (of course) did not  want  to repeat what was  written  in the other
gospels, so he elected some of the miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ which are
were not mentioned by the  other evangelists (except  the miracle of  blessing
the five loaves and the two fish which is the only miracle written in the four
gospels, and the miracle of walking on the water).

What was the key of St. John's  gospel? Why did  he write the gospel? What was
his goal? This is found in the last chapters of his gospel in chapters 19, 20,
and 21. After mentioning  (or recording)  all the miracles,  he said  and many
others are  not written in  this book, but these were   written that you might
believe  that  Jesus Christ is the  Son  of God  and that you  might have life
through Him. These [miracles] were written in  order for the reader to believe
that Jesus was the Christ Son of God, and to believe that  through Him we will
have life. This is  the purpose of the gospel.  To prove that Jesus is Christ,
the Son of God, is a theological purpose.   And, in believing  in Him you will
have life, is a spiritual purpose.

So we have   two purposes for this gospel:   Theological and Spiritual.   This
gospel was written by St.  John, who is called the  beloved, and sometimes the
theologian.  God teaches  everyone that spirituality   may be also  the way of
theology. Theology is not  the word of mine only,  but theology is how to know
God, how to live in Him, and how to believe in Him. This is the true theology,
not only philosophy.  Theology is to  know God and  to love Him. How did  John
prove this?

First, the  gospel according to  St. John is talking about  Christ, the Son of
God. The word Son is repeated so many times. St. Peter said that Christ is teh
Son of God: `And Simon Peter  answered and said,  "You are the Christ, the Son
of the living  God."'  [Matthew 16:16]. And many  others said that our Lord is
the Son of God. But Sy. John in his gospel was the only one  who seemed to say
that Christ was  the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON. This  proclamation is not found in the
other gospels.

I will give you some examples. St John Says: "For God so  loved the world that
He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in  Him should not perish
but have everlasting life."  [John 3:16] and one verse later  he says: "He who
believes in  Him is not  condemned; but he  who does  not believe is condemned
already, because he has not believed  in the name of the  only begotten Son of
God." [John 3:18]. A person may say aren't we all  "sons of God"? Don't we all
pray saying "Our Father  who  art in  heaven"? Sure, we   all are children  of
God. But, Jesus is the Only  Begotten Son. Why?  We are sons through love, and
through faith. We are "considered" sons and daughters, but Jesus Christ is the
only Son of God of His Divinity, of His Nature, and of His Essence. No one can
be son of God in this way other than  Jesus. No one can be  of the same nature
or divinity of  God. We are sons and  at the same  time we are servants of God
and  are creatures, created  by God.  Jesus Christ  is  the Only  Begotten Son
before all generations, before the whole world was created.

"No one has seen God at any time.  The only begotten  Son, who is in the bosom
of the Father, He has  declared Him." [John  1:18]. "And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten
of the Father, full  of grace  and truth." [John  1:14]. These  are quotations
from the first chapter of St. John's gospel. We can read the same in the first
epistle of John: "In this the love of  God was manifested  toward us, that God
has sent His only begotten   Son into the  world, that  we might live  through
Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His
Son to be the propitiation for our sins." [1 John 4:9-10].

When we read about the miracle of the blind man, we read the following: `Jesus
heard that they had cast him out; and  when He had found him,  He said to him,
"Do you  believe in the Son of  God?" He answered  and said, "Who is He, Lord,
that I may believe in Him?" And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and
it is  He who is talking with  you." Then he  said, "Lord,  I believe!" And he
worshiped  Him.' [John 9:35-38].  The disciples are  (of course) extraordinary
sons  of God, but when this  man asked who   is HE the  Son of  God,  it had a
special meaning, namely, who is   He the divine Son of   God. This man   said:
"Lord, I believe"  and he "worshipped"  Him. In his  gospel,  St. John repeats
this word "Son of God" to imply the divine Only Begotten Son of the Father.