The Gospel of John and Its Relation to the Other Gospels. Lecture 10 of 14.
Rudolf Steiner, Kassel, July 3, 1909:
The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat the bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. Let me emphasize that it says here, the people who sought Jesus. The narrative continues: And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? That implies the same occurrence as in the case of the disciples. It does not say that every ordinary eye saw Him, but that He was seen by those who sought Him and who found Him, by virtue of an increase in their soul force. To say that someone saw another person does not imply that the person seen stood there in the flesh as a spatial figure visible to the physical eye. What in outer life is generally called "taking the Gospel literally" is really anything but that.
That is the point of departure of the Gospel according to St. John; and if you grasp it in conjunction with the mighty cosmic influence exercised in the event that occurred on the bank of the Jordan, then you will also understand that an accurate description of such an event — the first description of it — could only have been achieved by one whom Christ Himself had initiated, by the risen Lazarus “whom the Lord loved,” thenceforth always mentioned as the disciple whom the Lord loved. It was the risen Lazarus who bequeathed us the Gospel; and he alone was able so firmly to weld its every passage because he had received the mightiest impulse from the greatest initiator, from Christ. He alone could point to something that later Paul, through his initiation, comprehended in a certain sense: that at that moment the germ of victory over death had entered Earth evolution.