Michael Labahn, «Between Tradition and Literary. Art. The Use of the Miracle Tradition in the Fourth Gospel», Vol. 80 (1999) 178-203
An examination of the miracle stories in the context of the fourth gospel shows that the Evangelist, using different literary techniques, presents his tradition as an important part of his narrative. The Johannine signs are closely linked to the context and by no means subordinate to the other literary genres. By means of the signs basic reactions to the eschatological event of the coming of the Son of God are pointed out. Through the encounter with the revealer represented in the text possible readers are invited to accept him as a pledge for eternal life.
exemplary answer to the question of Jesus in 6,5 with which the implied reader should agree.
This conflict connects the first part of the gospel with the passion and the resurrection narrative. The Jews, some of them or their religious leaders who are identified with the unbelieving world and who are stigmatized as the opponents of Gods will, seek to kill Jesus (in connection with the miracles cf. 5,18; 11,47-53). Therefore, this conflict belongs for the Fourth Evangelist so deeply to the nature of the revelation of the Son of God that finally the last miracle, the raising of Lazarus, leads to the formal decision to kill the revealer (11,47-53). The legal decision to kill Jesus underlines the connection between the miracles and the passion and resurrection of Jesus6. On one hand, this decision is based on all the miracles of Jesus: sunh/gagon ou]n oi( a)rxierei=j kai_ oi( Farisai=oi sune/drion kai_ e!legon, Ti/ poiou=men o#ti ou|toj o( a!nqrwpoj polla_ poiei= shmei=a (11,47). So this decision binds up all seven miracle stories as the revelation from which emerges a thorough conflict between the revealer and the world. On the other hand, the narrative flow connects this decision directly with the raising of Lazarus: the report of some of the Jews (11,46) to the Pharisees gives reason for the gathering of the Sanhedrin (11,47). In the light of John 12,911, the significance of the last miracle for the decision to kill Jesus is evident. Although all the miracles (except John 2,1-117; 4,46-54) performed by Jesus lead to conflict between the revealer and the world, the last miracle, the raising of Lazarus by Jesus, is the most important reason for killing Jesus and therefore is the immediate cause of the passion and resurrection of Jesus. On the other hand, the raising of Lazarus is an anticipation of the resurrection of Jesus (cf. the parallels between both accounts: the pictures of both tombs, that of Lazarus and that of Jesus, are significantly similar)8. With