Over the coming months I will be preaching through John’s Gospel.
Traditionally the Church attributes the Gospel to John, ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ as it does the letters, First, Second, and Third John and the book of Revelation. He was a leader in the early church, and he probably wrote this Gospel along with other documents after most of the other New Testament books were already written.
Like the other Gospels, John’s is the story of Jesus but John’s Gospel is somewhat different from Matthew, Mark and Luke. Mark begins with Jesus’ adult ministry, and Matthew and Luke begin with His physical birth, but John’s narrative begins at the beginning of all creation: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John focuses on the deity of Christ; the Word of God, the Son of God, and God Himself coming to us as a man, and Jesus presenting Himself as such. It strongly argues that Jesus as the exclusive saviour, and the only way to know God (John 1:18; 14:6) and John challenges us to believe in Him.
John reinforces this by recording Jesus claiming the name of God revealed in Exodus in the famous “I am” statements:
- “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51)
- “I am from [God], and He sent Me” (John 7:29)
- “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5)
- “I am [God]” (John 8:58)
- “I am the door” (John 10:7, 9)
- “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14)
- “I am the Son of God” (John 10:36)
- “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)
- “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6)
- “I am the vine” (John 15:1, 5)
John also uses a series of ‘signs’ each one revealing a new depth to the person of Jesus so that people would be in no doubt about who he was, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30–31).
The seven signs are:
- Turning water to wine (John 2)
- Healing the nobleman’s son (John 4)
- Healing the sick man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5)
- Feeding 5,000 (John 6:1–14)
- Walking on water (John 6:15–21)
- Healing the blind man (John 9)
- Raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11)
- The Jews reject Jesus, and Jesus withdraws to his disciples (John 12)
John’s desire is that those who read his Gospel will believe in Jesus and find life in His name (John 20:30–31), and so, much of John’s material directly states who Jesus is, not just what He did or said.
I hope you can get excited at the prospect of working through this gospel together and hope that we will learn much more of Jesus and have our faith in him strengthened.