The gospel of John was written towards the end of the first century. This was about seventy years after the death of Jesus. So many things had happened in between times. In 70 AD (40 years after the death of Jesus) the Jerusalem Temple and Jerusalem itself had been destroyed by the Romans. Therefore much of what the gospel talks about no longer existed. The temple itself as also the High priesthood as also the sacrificial rituals etc were all gone. In fact the writer of the gospel was recalling times that by now were long past.
Also, after the death of Jesus and the mission of St Paul (around the AD 50's), the tiny group of followers of Jesus had grown rapidly. Paul had set up churches through the thoroughfares of Asia. It is true that “churches” of the followers of Jesus (who still met in houses) did not compare in size with the massive temples of pagan gods and these were still flourishing in places such as Corinth. But the churches of the followers of Jesus were continuing to grow and develop their understanding of who He was (and is). It is not surprising then that identity is a central theme for the gospel.
The Realitysearch analysis is based on a semiotic analysis of the gospels, that is,
it has a focus on the way that words are used by the text to set up an internal structure that follows a line of logic within the text. The analysis not only applies to John’s gospel but the preceding gospels as well. It appears from this analysis that Mark provides an introduction to a society based upon law (c/f Judaism) and also order (c/f the Hellenism of Greek philosophy). Then Matthew sets out the best attributes of a society based upon law. He also warns against its weakness which is to be narrow.
According to the analysis Luke sets out a gospel that shows the best attributes of a society based on order (or place). This society would be an ‘idealised’ projection of an Hellenistic democracy. But Luke also shows the weaknesses of such a society in caving way to the ‘loud voice and over-stress on idealism (‘political correctness’?). According to the Reality Search analysis it is in the gospel of John that these two types of society are pulled together. Already in Luke’s book of acts we have
found emerging the sense of a ‘living word’. Thus John’s gospel is able to portray Jesus as a “living authority” (c/f Judaism) and a “living word” (c/f Hellenism). In the text of John we also find that Jesus is highly critical of “the Jews”. One observation here is that early ‘Christians” still thought of themselves as “Jews” who followed a so-called Nazarene sect (c/f Jesus). But these people placed priority on a ritualistic following of Judaism rather than belief in an attitudinal following of the law as emphasised by Jesus and in the gospels. John, the writer, was critical of people who were supposed to be in the community but who were driving a wedge between of either Jewish or Gentile backgrounds. Thus the “railings” of Jesus against “the Jews” could also be understood as John’s complaints at the end of the century against people who continued to label themselves as ‘Jews” but who also claimed to be followers of Jesus.
By the end of the first century, early theologians had been able to draw on Greek philosophy to develop a more abstract understanding of who Jesus was (and is) and so the text has a mystic dimension.