AN OVERVIEW OF JOHN’S GOSPEL

Bible Reading: John 20:24-31

Several years ago a young man who had been on a church staff for more than three years confessed to me that he knew some of the promises in the book of Isaiah but did not really understand how Isaiah fitted into the Bible. I bought the young man a copy of Henrietta Mears’ What the Bible is all About. A few days later the young man excitedly said to me, “I see where it fits now!”

It is one thing to know a few Bible verses, but entirely different to have a panoramic view of the Bible. With a wider view we see not only the context of individual verses but also how each book of the Bible is set in place. This is why it is important that we have a general overview of John’s Gospel before we begin to look at its contents more closely.

John’s Gospel is very different from the other three Gospels. Matthew, Mark and Luke were written for specific audiences, but John was written for everyone, but with a specific purpose. Here is the key to John’s Gospel:

“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 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 20:30-31]. John limited his purpose to show that Jesus was the promised Messiah – the Son of God. The key word in John’s Gospel is the word “believe” – it occurs 98 times.

John’s material is very different from the other gospels. He does not give Jesus’ human genealogy because John’s emphasis is Jesus’ deity. John includes nothing about Jesus’ birth, boyhood, temptation in the wilderness, the transfiguration, or the calling of the disciples. There are no parables in John’s Gospel and no Great Commission. John speaks uniquely of Jesus as the “Logos” and Creator of all things [John 1:1-18].

Only in John’s Gospel do we find Jesus’ High Priestly prayer [John 17] There are various stories unique to John – The wedding in Cana [John 2:1-11]; The story of Nicodemus [John 3]; The woman at the well [John 4:1-38]; The healing of a nobleman’s son [John 4:46-54]; The infirmed man at Bethesda [John 5:1-19]; The woman caught in the act of adultery [John 8]; The resurrection of Lazarus from the dead [John 11]; The restoration of Peter after his denial of Jesus [John 21].

Tomorrow we will continue with an overview of John’s Gospel.

Questions:

Some people might think that we should get straight into the text of John’s Gospel and not take the time for a panoramic view of this Gospel. Why do you think a broad view of the Gospel is important?

Would you take time today to memorize John 20:30-31, so that as we read through John’s Gospel you will be able to continually remind yourself of the purpose for which this Gospel was written?

Why do you think that John emphasizes the word “believe” so many times?