The Author: John
One of the original 12 disciples, part of the Inner Circle w/ Peter & James.
Jesus nicknamed John and his brother James, Sons of Thunder. cf. Luke 9:54
John’s Gospel calls him, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” – John 20:2
Jesus entrusted his mother to John’s care. – John 19:26
The Early Church called him, “The Apostle of Love.” cf. I John 4
One of the “pillars” of the Early Church. cf. Galatians 2:9
Purpose of the Book
“But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31
John’s Gospel is Different
He doesn’t include Christmas, Jesus’ baptism & temptation, the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Ascension. And John’s Gospel has no parables!!!
The stories in the Synoptic Gospels (Matt., Mark, Luke) are largely set in Galilee.
John’s stories occur almost entirely in Jerusalem and the surrounding Judean area.
John’s Gospel alone tells us of the wedding at Cana, Nicodemus, the Samaritan Woman at the well, the raising of Lazarus, Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, and Doubting Thomas.
Characteristics of the Gospel of John
John records Jesus going to Jerusalem 3 times for Passover. This is why we believe Jesus’ public ministry lasted for 3 years.
Small little details suggest one who was there. Examples: the little boy had 6 barley loaves, there were 6 waterpots at the Wedding in Cana, they rowed on the lake for 3 or 4 miles, the smell of the perfume filled the house at the anointing in Bethany.
Most Significant Feature: The “I Am” Statements.
“I am the bread of life” John 6:35, 48, 51
“I am the light of the world” John 8:12
“I am the door of the sheep” John 10:7, 9
“I am the good shepherd” John 10:11, 14
“I am the resurrection, and the life” John 11:25
“I am the way, the truth, and the life” John 14:6
“I am the true vine” John 15:1, 5
Rylands Papyrus P52 – a portion of John 18, found in Egypt, dated 125-150 AD
The Brilliance of John Logos
1:1-14 – In the beginning was the Word (Logos)
To Greeks, Logos meant the Mind behind the Universe.
To Jews, it meant God in Action. The Word of the Lord went forth.
John explains the faith in ways both Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians could understand.
The Theology of John Incarnation
1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
10:30 – I and the Father are one.
14:8-10 – When you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.
God’s Message took on flesh and blood in Jesus!
Illustration. In the 16th-century there was a Belgian monarch who worried his security detail by donning a disguise and disappearing for the purpose of walking among his people. His supporters asked him to stop. “After all,” they said, “your life is at stake.” The king’s reply was memorable. He said, “I cannot rule my people unless I know how they live.”
Jesus came to earth so that God could see how we live and fully understand us. And perhaps more importantly, so that we might know that God understands us!
The Clarity of John The most famous verse in the Bible.
3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
The Spirit of John Love is the New Commandment
15:9-13 – As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.‘ This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
A Story about John.
John was the only disciple to live to be an old man. The others were all apparently martyred. This made John somewhat of a celebrity in his later years, as the only one of the original disciples left alive. John eventfully lost his ability to walk and had to be carried into the churches he visited. On those occasions, he usually gave a one sentence sermon. He said, “Little Children, Love one another.” When John was asked why he repeated that message so frequently, he replied, “It is the Lord’s command. It is enough.”
Pastor Rich Knight
Central Congregational Church, UCCC