The phrase “the Johannine Jesus” can connote, and effectively create, a Jesus who is inferior to the Synoptic or historical Jesus, charged with lacking compassion, having no interest in the physical realm, and/or lacking the Spirit. This “narrow” Johannine Jesus leads to a “narrow” Johannine Christian. This article posits that such an understanding of Jesus is both theologically problematic and exegetically incorrect. As an investigation of John’s “Spirit Christology,” it argues that the Spirit is powerfully present with Jesus in John, as in the Synoptics—and even in ways not explored in the Synoptics. Four main claims are made. First, as several texts in John indicate explicitly or implicitly, the Spirit remains with Jesus throughout his ministry, from baptism to glorification. Second, the Spirit who is upon/with Jesus is the Spirit promised by the prophets. John contains echoes of Isa 61:1–3, and depicts Jesus the Good Shepherd as fulfilling the spiritual and material promises of Ezek 34. Third, John’s emphasis on the spiritual/metaphorical is not a minimizing or negating of the physical. Rather, as in the prophets and the Synoptics, the spiritual and the physical hang together, implicitly or explicitly as the work of the Spirit. Fourth, at his glorification, Jesus hands over the Spirit to his disciples (19:30) and breathes the Spirit into them (20:22) to continue his Spirit-filled spiritual and material/physical mission. Without ignoring different emphases among the Gospels, we should therefore speak of their unified portrait of the prophetic or Spirit-endued Jesus—or simply Jesus.

You do not currently have access to this content.