FoundationsForGrowing

The Gospel of John: Part I

by Joanna Pierce on September 08, 2016

Unique Differences

The Gospel of John is quite different to the other Gospels of the New Testament—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Over 90% of the content in this Gospel is unique to John only. John takes a different approach in writing his Gospel. He doesn’t include Jesus’ birth, temptations, appointment of His disciples, ascension, great commission, or the like. The first three Gospel writers focused on the events of the life of Jesus, but John focused on the meaning of the life of Jesus.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke can be comprised of the “what” aspect of Jesus—what happened in His life, events, where Jesus went, etc. But, John is a Gospel of the who and why of Jesus. John explains the identity and purpose of Jesus.

The reason for these differences could be that John writes his Gospel approximately 50 years after Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He had been a member of the early church, and a Spirit-filled believer. He has the perspective of a wise spiritual elder, and therefore, writes more about the Holy Ghost and importance in our lives—why we walk in the Spirit.

The Beginning

John begins his Gospel right with the “who” aspect of Jesus:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1, KJV).

John takes a purposeful approach to align his Gospel with the book of Genesis. He compared how God brought the world into existence as well as how God brought salvation into existence. He shed light on the Word.

The Word

What did John mean by the Word? Word was a term used by theologians in both Jews and Greeks, and both were in the audience of John’s writing. In the Old Testament Scriptures, Word was an agent of creation (Psalms 33:6). There was creative power in the Word of God. Word was also a prophetic utterance through the man of God. Word represented God’s law and His standard of holiness (Psalms 119:1). And, Word was an expression for God Himself, and was a thought of a principle still in the mind.

Aside from its many meanings, John was speaking of Jesus. John described the Word as a human being that he knew and loved, Jesus Christ (John 1:14). John was telling the world—Jesus is God. We will have glimpses of God, but the Son (Jesus Christ) would declare ultimately who God really was (John 1:18).

Revelation of Jesus

John revealed Jesus in different aspect all throughout his Gospel. He revealed Jesus as the Creator in John 1:3, but also as life and light (John 1:4). John knew there were 4 essentials to human life—light, air, water, and food—and Jesus fulfills every role:

Jesus came to give us all life more abundantly (John 10:10).

John also revealed Jesus’s identity through John the Baptist. John the Baptist was come to prepare the way for Jesus (John 1:23). It was revealed to him before Jesus even arrived, how the Son of God would be identified (John 1:32).

Following Jesus

Through the works of John the Baptist, and the writings of John, we can see what following Jesus means in our life.

Following Jesus means believing on Him and releasing our pre-conceived notions. Two disciples of John the Baptist left following him to follow after Jesus (John 1:35–37). We have to see the truth in Jesus and seek Him regardless of what we think.

Following Jesus means getting a new identity. Jesus immediately gave Peter a new name (John 1:42). Jesus saw him not only for what he was today, but what he would be in the future. We all are called to do great works for God’s kingdom and with His Spirit working through us.

Following Jesus means coming out of our own prejudices. There was question as to whether anything good thing could come from Nazareth (John 1:43–46). But, the men believed in Scripture and became disciples of Christ. No matter what we have heard, we cannot allow stereotypes to cause us to miss out on what Jesus is all about.

Following Jesus means we discover God knows us before we know Him (John 1:47–51). People in Scripture followed Jesus just for this fact—that He knew them before they knew Him. But, Jesus told them that was just the beginning; they would see greater things if they believed on Him.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on September 08, 2016