The Wine, The Vine, and Covenant Renewal in John 2 and 15

The “I Am” sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of John, alongside the Evangelist’s rich symbolism, have considerably occupied Johannine thought as scholars have engaged with the imagery and implications for the identity of Jesus. In this paper, I argue a relationship between John 2 and John 15 rooted in imagery that reveals a covenant renewal motif in the Gospel of John. The Evangelist describes Jesus’s first sign at Cana in John 2, where he turns water into wine, and subsequently in John 15, Jesus articulates his final “I Am” as the true Vine and then expands upon this metaphor. The similarities between the pericopes suggest deeper connections than have been previously recognized: both passages speak of wine and its source, cleansing is incorporated within both accounts, familial particulars are identified, and strong scriptural allusions and imagery permeate the particulars. Building upon Christopher M. Blumhofer’s argument regarding Israel’s future in the Gospel of John alongside Sherri Brown’s engagement with covenant in the Gospel, I contend that the Evangelist draws upon Jewish scripture and literature to develop his imagery with covenant renewal as his framework. Through both intertextuality and narrative analysis, the implications for the Evangelist regarding God’s relationship with Israel emerge and are demonstrated in John 2 and 15.

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