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Amine the Nature and Significance of the Discourses "I am the Light of the World" and "I am the Bread of Life".

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Introduction

Gabriela Belmar-Valencia 13CA 22nd October 2003 Examine the Nature and Significance of the Discourses "I am the Light of the World" and "I am the Bread of Life" The two discourses "I am the light of the world" and "I am the bread of life" in John's Gospel are both predicated discourses. This type of discourse was identified by the scholar Bultmann, who defined them as being figures of speech which reveal aspects of the person of Jesus and his role. In the case of the "I am the light of the world" discourse Jesus is revealed as having come with a divine light to reveal the truth to humanity. He is a guide that will bring people to God, giving them spiritual understanding and therefore eternal life to people. This links back to John's Prologue "In him was life, and that life was the light of men", "a light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it". ...read more.

Middle

Barrett maintains that "I am" is the divine word of self revelation. In Isaiah Yahweh repeatedly uses the "I am" formula "I am the Lord", "I am God". In this case Yahweh is declaring himself as being superior to false idols and pagan deities. The implication of this is that, in the discourses, Jesus is declaring his supremacy against the false claims of Judaism. The nature of the discourses is also characterised by their continuing theme of Replacement Theology. In the "I am the bread of life" discourse Jesus is portrayed as a new and greater Moses because he proclaims his spiritual bread to be greater than the physical manna from heaven in Exodus. In Exodus the heavenly bread fed only physical hunger. Jesus' bread feeds spiritual need as it gives them access to eternal life "My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the true bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." ...read more.

Conclusion

The discourses are also linked with signs. In the case of "The bread of life" discourse, it is linked quite obviously with the Feeding of the Five Thousand. The "I am the light of the world" discourse is linked with the Healing of the Man Born Blind. The Eucharistic connotations in the "Bread of Life" discourse are also very significant. Jesus tells his disciples that his "flesh is real food" and his "blood is real drink". When he says "whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life" he is simply referring to the unity shared between himself and his followers at the Eucharist. It also is linked to the Last Supper which has connotations of the Crucifixion . This is taken further in the "I am the light of the world" discourse where Jesus' time is emphasised "his time had not yet come". The significance of this is that the discourses are leading up to the final glorification of Jesus at his Crucifixion. ...read more.

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