The prologue has prepared us to see nothing less than the coming of the divine light, the Son of God, revealing the glory of God, full of grace and truth. The Son comes on the scene in the context of the ministry of John the Baptist. Jesus' first followers come from among the Baptist's disciples, and then several others are gathered together. All of this is preparation for the revelation of the glory beginning in chapter 2. With a core of disciples in place from the beginning who will be able to witness to everything (15:27), Jesus is ready to reveal God to them. In 2:1—4:54 the glory is revealed with increasing intensity with each story, for God's grace is evident in each of these opening stories. Finally, after one more climactic revelation of the glory (5:1-15), the light is shining so brightly that the darkness responds and the conflict begins (5:16-18). At this point Jesus gives his first major public teaching, a keynote address (5:19-30), which is followed by a series of confirming witnesses (5:31-40) and concludes with Jesus' condemning accusation against his opponents (5:41-47). In this way chapter 5 is a transitional text, rounding off this opening section and beginning the next. The conflict that starts at that point will continue throughout the story as the light continues to shine in the darkness and the darkness fails to grasp it.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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