John 1: 19-51 – Setting the Stage for Jesus’ Ministry


In this passage we move a step closer to the preparations for the narration of Jesus’ ministry. The stage is set for the action of Jesus with the witness given by John the Baptist and the call of the first disciples (Jn 1: 19-34, 35-51). The witness of John the Baptist is completed in John 3: 22-30 (So this text also will be interpreted in this passage). We shall interpret this passage in two parts on the basis of the theme:

1. Witness of John the Baptist (Jn 1: 19-35; 3: 22-30).

2. Call of the first disciples (Jn 1: 35-51).

The ‘call’ is the result of witness and every call leads to further witness. It moves forward as witness call witness. So for the evangelist of the Gospel of John the call and witness are inseparable. They are not understood as two separate moments as in the synoptic Gospels (Mk 1: 16-20; 3: 13-19; 6: 7-13) but as two aspects of the same reality. The call is for a mission of witness.

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