We’re starting a journey through the Gospel of John. John was a follower of Jesus who was so impacted by simple facts that he belonged to God and that Jesus came for him that he identifies himself only as “the disciple Jesus loved”. By looking at the story and teachings of Jesus through the experience of John, I’m convinced that you can start seeing the good news in a new light – one that will help you to start to live a more fulfilled, more abundant life (John 10:10) and that as we look at Jesus, you will see greater things than you can imagine (John 1:50) in ways that will motivate you to love people profoundly (John 21:17).
– Pastor Sam
The Purpose of this Book:
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. -John 20:30–31 (NIV)
The purpose statement in 20:30–31 makes it appear that John wrote with an evangelistic intent. However, his depth of teaching shows that he wanted readers not only to come to initial saving faith in Jesus but also to grow into a rich, well-informed faith. John’s central contention is that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah and Son of God, and that by believing in him people may have eternal life. To this end, he marshals the evidence of several selected messianic signs performed by Jesus and of a series of witnesses to Jesus—including the Scriptures, John the Baptist, Jesus himself, God the Father, Jesus’ works, the Spirit, and John himself. It is also likely that John sought to present Jesus as the new temple and center of worship for God’s people, a concept that would be especially forceful if the date of composition (as seems likely) was subsequent to A.D. 70 (the time of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple).
– ESV Study Bible
It is customary in New Testament studies to distinguish between the Gospel of John and the other three Gospels. The books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels for the simple reason that they give us synopses of the life of Jesus overviews of His ministry on this earth. It’s not as if John was not interested in giving us biographical details about the life of Jesus and samples of His teaching, but he proceeded in quite a different style. His is the most theological of the four Gospels in the New Testament, and he devoted almost two-thirds of his written account to the last week of Jesus’ life. John, as it were, wanted to put a spotlight on the critically important redemptive-historical activity that Jesus performed during His stay on earth. This means we find many unique features in John’s Gospel that do not appear in the other records of Jesus’ life. For instance, John’s Gospel gives us the most extensive revelation from the lips of Jesus of the person and work of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, information that is found in the upper room discourse that took place on Maundy Thursday, the day before Jesus’ crucifixion. –R. C. Sproul
There is only one hope, and it is God in Christ. In this incarnation God has exhibited the glory and grace that is native to his selfhood; and through this incarnation, humankind can regain the glory and grace it once had when it was created. The natural eye cannot see the glory of God since it is dimmed by sin. Instead, it is necessary for God to work, to self-disclose, to send his Son, who alone has exposed God’s heart (1:18). When God takes this initiative, new possibilities are born. Divine power is released into the broken world and its broken lives so that new life is possible. The theological key that the world finds so foreign lies here: Transformation and hope cannot be the fruit of some human endeavor. Only God can take the initiative, and men and women must see, receive, and believe the work he desires to do. And when they do, they are reborn to become God’s children. The pitfall of the pagan world is to find hope in its own canons of thought and behavior. But history has proven the futility of this dream. The pitfall of the religious person is to think that human spiritual proclivities can bring God into reality through religious devotion and practice. John says that God takes the initiative, for God becomes flesh. God discloses himself. God enters our world bearing truth and grace in order to transform whoever will receive him. Transformation is not an inspired human work; it is a divine work through and through. -Gary M. Burge