The Gospel of John
It has been called the most profound book in the world, the gospel of John is the last of the gospels and the 4th book of the New Testament.
Who was he?
John was a fisherman who worked alongside his brother on lake Galilee. He was originally a follower of the John the Baptist until encouraged by John and invited by Jesus to follow Him. He may well have been the youngest of the 12 disciples. He outlived the others, being exiled to Patmos in the latter part of the first century. He also wrote 3 New Testament epistles which bear his name and the final book of the Bible (Revelation).
What are his themes?
The great theme of the gospel of John is a presentation of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ as the eternal and only begotten Son of God. Jesus is the Word through Whom all things were created, the life giver, and the True Light of the World. The Lord Jesus Christ is identified as co-equal, co-eternal and yet personally distinct from the Father, the second member of the triune God. The main themes of John are found in the opening Prologue (chapter 1v1-18). John provides further eyewitness narrative of the life, teaching and miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially those teachings given in Jerusalem. His gospel is therefore complementary to the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Over half of the Gospel (from chapters 11 to 21) is taken up with the events leading up to and including the death, burial and resurrection the Lord Jesus Christ. Of all the 4 gospel writers John gives us the most comprehensive teaching about the Triune nature of God.
Why did he write?
John makes his evangelistic purpose clear in chapter 20 verse 31:
‘… but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life in His Name’
John writes in order that readers of the gospel become believers in Jesus Christ and enjoy the privileges and blessings of eternal life.
The most famous verse
Probably the most famous verse in the Bible is found in chapter 3 verse 16. Martin Luther said that John 3:16 was ‘ the heart of the Bible - the gospel in miniature’:
‘For GOD so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life’
The verse speaks of 7 of the greatest things:
the greatest Being (God),
the greatest love,
the greatest invitation (to the world),
the greatest gift (His only begotten Son),
the greatest offer (to whoever believes),
the greatest tragedy (perish eternally),
the greatest possession (eternal life). Christ is at the centre of this verse, of this Gospel and of God’s purposes for this world He created.