Introduction to the Gospel of John
Gospel of John – Lesson 1
Introduction to the Gospel of John
The word “Gospel” means “good news”, and the good news is about Jesus Christ dying on the cross and then 3 days later conquering death and rising from the dead, offering salvation to all mankind. John is sometimes called the “Gospel of belief,” or the holy of holies of the 4 gospels.
Simple in language but profound in meaning.
Author: John the apostle is the writer of the book. John 13:23 describes John “as the Disciple that Jesus loved.” John knew Jewish life well and he was an eyewitness of the Gospel. John was the son of Zebedee and Salome (sister of Mary, Jesus’ mother, which would make John and Jesus cousins). John had a brother, James. Jesus nicknamed John the son of thunder, showing his temper. John was one of the three inner circle of Jesus’ disciples. Jesus left his mother Mary in John’s care, having spoken the words from the cross.
When: The Gospel of John was written between 85-90 A.D.
It is also important to consider John 5:2 when it mentions “Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep [market] a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.” This verse would indicate that this existed at the current time the Gospel of John was written. This would place the written work before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Overview/What: In the NT, there are 4 gospels. Three are called the synoptic gospels. They are Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
Matthew was written for the Jews
Mark was written for the Romans
Luke was written for the Greeks
And John was written for the wretched or needy
The synoptic gospels provide a chronology of Jesus’ life. John contains 93% original material compared to the synoptic gospels.
John begins with the profound announcement that Jesus was “in the beginning” the creative Word of God who had become incarnate (became flesh) as a human being to be the light of life for the world.
John begins with a plain statement of the full deity of the Word made flesh (1:1, 14). And the Gospel nearly ends with Thomas’ confession, “My Lord and my God” (20:28)
John emphasizes the Jerusalem ministry. The synoptic gospels emphasize the Galilean ministry.
After this comes the proclamation that this Jesus is the Son of God sent from the Father to finish the Father’s work in the world. John records Jesus saying, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” 14:9. In him, the full grace and truth of God, has shown itself. A series of 7 “I am” statements from Jesus further strengthens the link between the Father and the Son. John also records 7 miracles of Jesus, all of which point to Him as the son of God.
Jesus came to His home, Israel, and He was rejected. He came to this world, and the world rejected Him, but anyone who would believe in Him would have life through His name, and be given authority to call themselves a “son of God.”
John does not include Jesus’ genealogy, birth, baptism, temptation, casting out of demons, parables, transfiguration, instituting of the Lord’s Supper, His agony in Gethsemane, or His Ascension.
Purpose of the writing: We find in John 20:31 “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.”
John sought to lead men to eternal life by first convincing them of His deity, the miracles were actually recorded as “signs” to confirm His deity, that He was Jehovah God, the incarnate Word made flesh.
John called Jesus the bread of life, the light of the world, the good shepherd, the way the truth and the life, the true vine, all clearly pointing to the deity of Jesus.
In fact, John points to everything in His life and teachings as a sign that Jesus of Nazareth was truly the Eternal Word of God who “became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Jesus offers spiritual life, not physical life, through His name.
Theme: Write this in your notes or Bible: Jesus is God
He was fully 100% man AND fully 100% God.
Where: The book was written in Asia Minor traditionally at Ephesus.
Believe, a verb, the noun belief (Gk. pistis) is not in the book. There is not a concept of “I had faith and I no longer have it.”
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . .. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14)
“For God so loved the world, that He [gave] His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have [eternal] life.” (John 3:16 NASB)
- Turning Water into Wine – Chapter 2
- Healing the Nobleman’s Son – Chapter 4
- Healing the Infirmed Man – Chapter 5
- Feeding the 5000+ – Chapter 6
- Walking on the Water – Chapter 6
- Giving Sight to the Blind Man – Chapter 9
- Raising Lazarus from the Dead – Chapter 11
7 Messianic Claims: aka the “I am” statements.
- I Am the Bread of Life – Chapter 6
- I Am the Light of the World – Chapter 8
- I Am the Door of the Sheep – Chapter 10
- I Am the Good Shepherd – Chapter 10
- I Am the Resurrection & Life – Chapter 11
- I Am the Way, Truth, & Life – Chapter 14
- I Am the True Vine – Chapter 15
5 Main sections of John: The Book of John is divided into several major sections, each with a distinct purpose.
- Prologue (fancy way to say introduction) – 1:1-18 Jesus was sent from God as the light and life for man. The prologue was written to lay a theological foundation for the rest of the book, to describe who Jesus Christ is and what He did. The Word (Jesus) was with God the Father in eternity past and is Himself, God.
- Revelation to Israel 1:19–12:50
- Private section – 1:19-2:11
- Public section –
- 7 signs –
- Revelation to Disciples 13:1–17:26 – Core of the Gospel, Most of Jesus’ teaching,
- Instruction – Chapters 13-15
- Intercession – chapter 17
- Upper Room –
- Redemption for the World 18:1–20:31
- Death –
- Resurrection –
- Final Sign – which is the sign of Jonah
- Epilogue – 21:1-25