Lessons from John: The Gospel of John
As I think about you, dear readers, I wonder where you have looked for significance and meaning in your life. Join me please for this new series on the book of John. We’ll start with the Gospel of John.
Searching for Significance
Have you, like me at one time, looked for love and significance in all the wrong places? Have you poured yourself into a relationship that turned sour and you were left abandoned and rejected by that person?
Or maybe you have sought things or people that satisfy you for the moment, but not for the long term. This has driven you to seek someone or something greater or something more risky or maybe even bizarre.
Maybe you flirted with sensual experiences or amused yourself with pornography, overeating, excessive drinking, or gambling and found that they didn’t satisfy either.
Maybe you have poured yourself into your work. You put in long hours, trying to climb the career ladder, only to find out that when the promotion came you were the one passed over. Or when the downsizing came, you were the one who was put out.
Maybe you have immersed yourself in the world of technology, spending way too much time spying on people on Facebook or Instagram. Perhaps it’s online shopping or watching television sitcoms that portray life at its worst.
Maybe you long for someone who really knows you and loves you. Someone who is really trustworthy.
God’s Love Letter
Well, if any of those questions are where you are, then John’s gospel is a message for you. It is a love letter from God to His people.
The Gospel of John is an expression of love that has gripped the hearts of men and women through the ages. It has impacted their lives perhaps more than any other book ever written.
It is a written account of the power and authority of Jesus of Nazareth. But it is also a book that presents Jesus as a man with personal warmth, intimacy, and human emotions, relating to people.
As we look at the Gospel of John we discover that Jesus of Nazareth is actually the divine Creator God who is intimately intertwined with His people.
And so the purpose of this new series is to give you an aerial view, a snap shot of the big picture of the Gospel of John, which we will dig deeper into with each post.
But for now, we are going to answer three big questions: What is the Gospel of John (the big picture)? Who (who wrote it)? And why (why did he write it and why should we study it)?
So let’s begin by answering the first question, “What is the Gospel of John?”
First of all, let’s define gospel. The word in the Greek means “good news.” In the 1st century the four gospels–Matthew, Mark, Luke and John–would not have been called the Gospel of Matthew or the Gospel of John. They would have been called the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
Or the Good News of Jesus Christ according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, or in this case, for this study, the Good News of Jesus Christ according to John.
The Gospel of John or the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to John is only one of 66 books in a larger book which we call the Bible. More than 40 men wrote these 66 books. Collectively, they are the Word of God because they are God’s special, unique revelation of Himself to us as human beings.
Listen to what the Bible says about itself in II Timothy 3:16,
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
God-breathed means that the Holy Spirit of God inspired the Bible. He inspired human men to write down the words that God breathed through His Holy Spirit.
Now consider II Peter 1:20-21:
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
So in some way, God the Holy Spirit caused the human writers to record the words using their own personality and gifts.
Because the Bible is God’s Word, it carries God’s characteristics. Just like when you and I speak, what we say reveals something about us. And because God cannot error or lie, God’s Word is without error. If it were not so we would not have a trustworthy God. God’s Word is consistent because God is consistent in His character.
The Bible tells one great story.
It tells the story of God’s redemption of a people for Himself. Because it is a reflection of God Himself it does not contradict itself. And God promises to work through His Word to accomplish His purposes in the lives of people. That includes saving those the Bible calls lost.
So as we look into the Gospel of John, let’s remember it in its greater context of the entire Word of God.