Day 1: John’s Gospel Introduction
Welcome to the John’s Gospel devotional, which will run for the next few weeks.
All the four Gospels are special, but John is without a doubt the most unique. Whilst the others share a lot of their source material, John reveals lots of stories and teaching which only appear in John’s Gospel.
To help us get started with John’s Gospel, we must recognise his purpose for writing. For that, let us go to John 20:30-31:
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John wrote his Gospel so that we would know who Jesus is, believe in him, and have life in his name. That is an awesome purpose for sure! So for John, knowing Jesus and his identity is key.
In broad terms it could be said that Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us what Jesus did and said, whereas John tells us who Jesus is. This means John dispenses with lots of details, to give him a greater focus on his purpose.
Whereas, Mark’s gospel has around 20 miracles, John’s gospel has just 7 main miracles, or ‘signs’ as John calls them:
1. Water into wine
2. Healing the official’s son
3. Healing the paralysed man in Bethsaida.
4. Feeding the 5000
5. Walking on water
6. Healing the blind man
7. Raising Lazarus from the dead.
As verse 20:30 says, others happened which weren’t recorded, but these ones appear specifically that we would believe Jesus is the Messiah. That’s why John calls them signs not miracles. And these signs specifically point to old testament prophecies about what the Messiah would do.
The other gospels include many parables, whereas John’s gospel has none. Instead, John gives us seven ‘I am’ sayings, again designed to tell us who Jesus is:
1. I am the bread of life
2. I am the light of the world
3. I am the gate for the sheep
4. I am the good shepherd
5. I am the way the truth and the life
6. I am the resurrection and the life
7. I am the true vine.
The imagery here conveys beautifully the nature of Jesus, but more importantly, the “I am” sends a really clear message that Jesus is God.
In addition to this, John gives us amazing insight into the Holy Spirit in chapters 14-16, but you’ll have to wait for more information on that.
As you embark on this journey through John’s gospel, my prayer is the same as Johns:
That as you dig deep into this Gospel, you will see who Jesus is, that you will believe in him, and ultimately find life and life to the full in his name.
Ps Dan Hoyle
Bishop Auckland Campus Pastor