In the Gospel of John, John makes it clear that Jesus is not just a man; he is the eternal Son of God. He is the light of the world because he offers this gift of eternal life to all mankind. How blind and foolish to call Jesus nothing more than an unusually good man or moral teacher. Yet we sometimes act as if this were true when we casually toss around his words and go about living our own way. If Jesus is the eternal Son of God, we should pay attention to his divine identity and life-giving message.
Jesus meets with individuals, preaches to great crowds, trains his disciples, and debates with the religious leaders. The message that he is the Son of God receives a mixed reaction. Some worship him, some are puzzled, some shrink back, and some move to silence him. We see the same varied reactions today. Times have changed, but people’s hearts remain hard. May we see ourselves in these encounters Jesus had with people, and may our response be to worship and follow him.
Jesus carefully instructed the disciples how to continue to believe even after his death, yet they could not take it in. After he died and the first reports came back that Jesus was alive, the disciples could not believe it. Thomas is especially remembered as one who refused to believe even when he heard the eyewitness accounts from other disciples. May we not be like Thomas, demanding a physical face-to-face encounter, but may we accept the eyewitness testimony of the disciples that John has recorded in this Gospel.
Written by John, brother of the apostle James who was martyred about A. D. 42 by Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:2), having been commissioned of God with an apostleship (job) in the dispensation of grace to write a book.
During the two years that Paul was in his own hired house in Rome (A. D. 61-63), continuing to preach the kingdom of God (Acts 28:31). John probably wrote his gospel very soon after the dispensational change and just prior to his martyrdom, which occurred during this time frame (Acts 28:30), along with many others of the twelve. This gospel was written from an unspecified location.
To Whom Written:
To the people of all nations without distinction (John 1:6-7) to whom the salvation bringing message had been apostled (Acts 28:28).
The purpose of the Gospel of John was to present the Lord Jesus Christ as God, the Savior of the world. It was written so that people might believe that Jesus is the Christ and have life through His name (reputation for Who and What He is). The purpose of the book was stated in John 20:30-31:
“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
The fullness of the right message (gospel) of Who Jesus is and what he had accomplished was now written down for all to believe. The salvation-bringing message itself had been “apostled” to all nations without distinction, in contrast to the God-commissioned men who, during the Acts period, were sent with a spoken message that was to reach every Jew – a great commission that was fully accomplished by the apostles (Mark 16:15,20; Colossians 1:6, 23).
While the other three Gospels (“Godspells” – narratives about God) set forth the life of Christ from different perspectives (Matthew – as Israel’s rightful king; Mark – as God’s servant; Luke – as God’s perfect Man), John was a treatise on the life of Jesus Christ that concluded that He is the Christ, the Son (representative) of the living God. Christ was set forth as the Word Who “was” in the beginning (the creation of the heavens and the earth). Signs (miracles) proving that Jesus is God were recorded in the book for Jews, and the very wisdom of God was set forth for Greeks (here, a reference to followers of the Greek culture, regardless of ancestry). The characters in this book were witnesses to the truth about Jesus as God.
To download a PDF outline of Gospel of John click here.
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