John, written by “the disciple whom Jesus loved,”tells us who Jesus was and what He is; what He can always mean to those who love Him. This Gospel contains more than the other Gospels about the stories of Lazarus and Nicodemus and Jesus’ trial, crucifixion, and resurrection, and about the disciples Andrew, Philip, and Thomas.
Two passages to look at:
John 1:11-13 – “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God,
to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
John 20:30-31 – “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
Key chapter: John 3
John 3:16 is without doubt the most quoted and preached verse in all of Scripture.
Observations about John:
– While Luke presents Christ in His humanity as the Son of Man, John portrays Him in His deity as the Son of God.
— John’s gospel record is topical, not primarily chronological, and it revolves around seven miracles and seven “I am” statements.
— John’s purpose is crystal clear; to set forth Christ in His deity in order to spark believing faith in his readers.
— The book of John presents the most powerful case in all the Bible for the deity of the incarnate Son of God.
— The deity of Christ can be seen in the seven “I am” statements of Christ.
1. John 6:35, 48 – “I am the bread of life.”
2. John 8:12; 9:5 – “I am the light of the world.”
3. John 10:7, 9 – “I am the door.”
4. John 10:11, 14 – “I am the good shepherd.”
5. John 11:25 – “I am the resurrection and the life.”
6. John 14:6 – “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
7. John 15:1-5 – “I am the vine.”
– “The Word was God” (1:1), but the Word also became flesh (1:14)
– The humanity of Jesus can be seen in His weariness, (4:6) thirst, (4:7) dependence, (5:19) grief, (11:35) troubled soul, (12:27), and anguish (19).
– Jesus nicknamed John and his brother, James, “Sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17).
– Their father was Zebedee; and their mother Salome, served Jesus in Galilee and was present at His crucifixion (Mark 15:40-41).
– John was evidently among the Galileans who followed John the Baptist until they were called to follow Jesus at the outset of His public ministry (1:19-51).
– From among the Lord’s disciples, John was selected to become one of the twelve apostles Luke 6:12-16).
– After Christ’s ascension, John became one of the leaders (“pillars”” of the church in Jerusalem along with James and Peter (Galatians 2:9).
– He is mentioned three times by name in Acts (3:1; 4:13; 8:14), each time in association with Peter.
– Tradition says that John later went to Ephesus (perhaps just before the destruction of Jerusalem).
– He was eventually exiled by the Romans for a time to the island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9).
– The author of this gospel record (John) is identified as the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20).
– John authored five books of the New Testament. Second only to Paul in the number of New Testament books written.
b. 1 John
c. 2 John
d. 3 John
– From among the apostles and New Testament writers, John was probably the last surviving eyewitness of the Lord.
– John focuses on the theological meaning of Jesus’ actions, rather than on the actions themselves. He emphasizes who Jesus is rather than what He did.
– John’s purpose for writing is clearly stated in John 20:31 – “That ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
John is easily the simplest and yet the most profound of the four gospel records. Matthew wrote for a Jewish audience, Mark wrote for a Roman audience, Luke wrote for a Greek audience, while John wrote for everybody.
There are five major divisions in the book:
The first eighteen verses introduce the rest of the book and gives the background for the historical narrative that follows. The eternal nature of Jesus is established and the forerunner of Jesus is introduced.
Jesus’ mission is clarified and the rejection and acceptance Jesus will find in His ministry is noted.
In this section Christ is under careful consideration and scrutiny by Israel. He is introduced by John the Baptist who directs his own disciples to Christ.
Shortly, John begins listing the seven signs which continue through the third section of the book. John carefully selects seven miracles out of the many that Christ accomplished (John 21:25) in order to build a concise case for His deity. \ They are called signs because they symbolize the life-changing results of belief in Jesus.
The seven signs are:
1. Water to wine: the ritual of law is replaced by the reality of grace. (2:1-11)
2. Healing the nobleman’s son: the gospel brings spiritual restoration. (4:46-54)
3. Healing the paralytic: weakness is replaced by strength. (5:1-16)
4. Feeding the multitude: Christ satisfies spiritual hunger. (6:1-13)
5. Walking on water: the Lord transforms fear to faith. (6:16-21)
6. Sight to the man born blind: Jesus overcomes darkness and brings light. (9:1-7)
7. Raising of Lazarus: the gospel brings people from death to life. (11:1-44)
John’s unusual pattern in these chapters is to record the reactions of belief and disbelief after the performance of one miracle before moving to the next.
In a series of growing confrontations, John portrays the intense opposition that will culminate in the Lord’s final rejection and crucifixion. Even though many people received Him, the inevitable crucifixion is foreshadowed in several places (2:4, 21-22; 7:6, 39: 11:51-52; 12:16).
John surveys the incarnation and public ministry of Jesus in twelve chapters, but radically changes the pace in the next five chapters to give a detailed account of a few crucial hours. In this clear and vivid recollection of Jesus’ last discourse to His apostles, John captures the Lord’s words of comfort and assurance to a group of fearful and confused followers. Jesus knows that in less than twenty-four hours, He will be on the cross. Therefore, His last words speak of all the resources that will be at the disciple’s disposal after His departure. They will be indwelled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Upper Room Discourse contains the message of the epistles in capsule form as it reveals God’s pattern for Christian living.
Three key themes are developed:
b. The Holy Spirit (the “Comforter”).
c. Abiding in Christ.
After recording Christ’s great prayer for unity on behalf of His disciples and all who believe in Him “through their word” (17:20), John immediately launches into a dramatic description of Christ’s arrest and His trials before Annas, Caiphas, and Pilate. In His crucifixion, Jesus willingly fulfills John the Baptist’s prophetic words: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29.
John closes his profound gospel record with a particularly detailed account of the post-resurrection appearances of the Lord. The resurrection is the ultimate sign that points to Jesus as the Son of God.