Forming essential part of our theme for this year, 2018 which is knowing Jesus and making him known, today’s bible study begins our studies on the Gospel of John. It is to say that we are seeking and desiring to know Christ better by our journey through the gospel of John. This lesson thus purposes to give a brief overview of the Gospel of John.
The Essential core message of the Gospel of John
God spoke and the heavens and the earth were created. He spoke again and the water and lands were filled with plants and creatures that were growing and multiplying. He spoke again, and man and woman were formed. The man and woman were thinking and speaking.
Eternal, infinite, unlimited—He was, is and always will be the Maker and Lord of all that exists. Then He came in the flesh to the Earth. The mighty Creator became part of His creation. He was limited by time and space and susceptible to age, sickness and death. Controlled by love, He came to rescue and save, offering forgiveness and life.
He is the Word — He is Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ. It is this truth that the apostle John presents in this book. It is not the life of Jesus. It is the powerful argument for the incarnation—God becoming human flesh. Jesus was, and is, the very heaven-sent Son of God and the only source of eternal life.
The Theme and Purpose of the Gospel of John (John 20:30-31)
John’s theme is Jesus the Messiah, the prophesied one, the only source of salvation, the divine Son of God. His book deals with the seven signs that illustrate and prove Jesus’ true identity as God’s Son. These signs were seen by dependable witnesses (His disciples and others) and therefore are trustworthy. John wants men to believe in Jesus the Messiah as Lord and receive new life through His name.
Comparing the four Gospels
The first three Gospels are called “The Synoptic Gospels” from a Greek word that means “to see together.” Matthew, Mark and Luke all view the life of the Messiah in a similar way, each with his own emphasis.
– Matthew pictures the Messiah as the King of the Jews.
– Mark shows the Messiah as the Servant and writes to the Romans.
– Luke views the Messiah as the Son of Man, writing to the Greeks.
– John presents the Messiah as the Son of God, and writes to the whole world.
While the first three Gospels deal primarily with the events in the life of Christ, John deals with the spiritual meanings of these events. He goes deeper and presents truths that are not emphasized in the other Gospels. For example, all four Gospels record the feeding of the 5,000, but only John gives the great sermon on the Bread of Life (chapter 6) that explains the meaning of the miracle. This is why John uses the word “sign” instead of “miracle,” for a “sign” is a miracle that carries a message with it.
The Messiah in John’s Gospel
John emphasizes the Person of Christ as well as His work. He reports several sermons in which the Messiah talks about Himself and explains His mission. John speaks of Jesus’ true identity through the titles he is given — Word, the One and Only, Lamb of God, Son of God, true bread, life, resurrection and vine. Jesus affirmed his pre-existence and eternal deity with the following statements, which are the seven “I AM” statements of the Messiah, the Christ.
– I AM the Bread of life – 6:35, 41, 48, 51
– I AM the Light of the world—8:12; 9:5
– I AM the Door of the sheep—10:7, 9
– I AM the Good Shepherd—10:11, 14
– I AM the Resurrection and the Life—11:25
– I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life—14:6
– I AM the True Vine—15:1, 5
These names, of course, speak of His deity, for God’s name is I AM (see Exodus 3:14). Note these other occasions when the Messiah uses the I AM to speak of Himself: 4:26; 8:28, 58; 13:19; 18:5-6, 8. As you read this Gospel, you come to realize that Jesus is the very Son of God!
Because Jesus is God, He has the nature, ability and right to offer eternal life. When He died on the cross, He was the perfect sacrifice and the only mediator between God and people (14:6). Because Jesus became a man, He identified fully with us–enduring temptation, persecution, hardship and suffering. And when He died on the cross, He really died— He was not pretending. An all-powerful God demonstrated His love for us— “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son” (3:16). As believers in Jesus Christ, we must affirm both sides of His nature and not exclude or diminish one side in favor of the other. Jesus is fully God and fully man.
The Signs in John’s Gospel
Out of the many miracles that the Messiah performed, John selected seven to prove His deity. These seven signs are given in a specific order (note 4:54– “This was the second miraculous sign”) and form a picture of salvation.
The first three signs show how salvation comes to the sinner:
1. Water into wine (2:1-11) – salvation is through the Word
2. Healing the nobleman’s son (4:46-54) – salvation is through faith
3. Healing the paralytic (5:1-9) – salvation is by grace
The last four signs show the results of salvation in the believer:
4. Feeding the 5,000 (6:1-14) – salvation brings satisfaction
5. Jesus walks on the water (6:16-21) – salvation brings peace
6. Healing the blind man (9:1-7) – salvation brings light
7. Raising of Lazarus (11:38-45) – salvation brings life
Because of the resurrection of Jesus (20:1-29), He proved beyond all doubt that He is the Son of God and conquered death. As a result, our sins can be forgiven, and we can have eternal life. Of course, each of the seven signs reveals the deity of Jesus the Messiah (see 5:20, 36).
Today’s study has sought to briefly give an overview of John’s Gospel. Essentially, the core message of John is his teaching that Jesus is the divine Son of God. Moreover, by looking at the I AM statements of Jesus in John’s Gospel, the person and work of Jesus have been briefly surveyed. Importantly, what brings out the deity of Jesus Christ into clarity is John’s records of seven signs in his Gospel. It is important to know how Jesus is presented especially in the Gospel of John for developing our intimate relationship with him.
1. What is the essential truth that Apostle John presents in his Gospel with reference to John 20:30-31?
2. How is John’s Gospel different from the other three Gospels?
3. State any three IAM Statements in the Gospel of John. What do they mean to you personally?
4. Identify three signs in John’s Gospel that show how salvation comes to the believer.