An Introduction and Overview of The Gospel of JOHN
Welcome to Our January Journey with John!
During January 2021 we read through the Gospel of John. We begin with the material below to introduce the Gospel. Much of this material (and more!) can be found in the incredible Lutheran Bible Companion, 2014: Edward A. Engelbrecht, General Editor. CPH. Vol. 2.
After this introduction, we will then dive into just one chapter a day - first the 21 chapters in John’s Gospel. Then later in January we will study each chapter of the brief epistles (letters) of 1st, 2nd, & 3rd John.
For each chapter from John, I will provide daily highlights, insights, points to ponder, background information and personal application. Pray God strengthens our faith in Jesus during this spiritual journey in His Holy Word.
Basic Introductory Info on the Gospel of JOHN:
- The term Gospel is translated: “Good News.” Gospel in Greek is spelled euangelion (eu= “good” & angelion=”message”; note the similarity to the name “angel,” God’s messengers.)
The Gospels communicate the Good News of the perfect life, teachings, miracles, suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Gospel is sometimes translated as “Evangel.” An evangelist engages in evangel-ism to share the Evangel (or Gospel=the Good News of Jesus).
- Matthew, Mark and Luke are known as the 3 Synoptic Gospels. The first three (Synoptic) Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) provide a summary or synopsis of the life, teachings and ministry of Jesus in mostly chronological order. They each provide a basic biography of the life of Jesus and a summary/synopsis of His sayings and actions.
- The Gospel of John is unique. John’s Gospel is written in a different style than the first three. Compared to the other Gospels, John has unique material, deep doctrinal content, and thematic teachings. John also records the most details about the final Passion week of Jesus. John does not repeat most of the parables and other material from the 3 Synoptic Gospels.
- John lived much longer than the other Apostles. The other 3 Gospels were written decades earlier (likely in the 40s or 50s). Scripture and tradition inform us that John is the only Disciple who died a natural death--NOT as a martyr. John was likely in his 90s when he died.
- Apostolic Authority and Authorship of John: The Apostle John is viewed as the author of the Gospel of John by the internal witness of Scripture and multiple sources from early Church history. John’s Gospel was was universally accepted as part of the canon (“norm” or collection) of Scripture. John is recognized as one of the four Gospels already in AD170 by early Church Fathers Tatian and Theophilus of Antioch and in AD180 Irenaeus testifies to the Johannine authorship of the Gospel. (Lutheran Bible Companion, CPH Vol. 2, p. 322.)
The Gospel of John is the inspired Word of God revealed by the Holy Spirit to John. As a disciple of Jesus, John was also an ear and eyewitness to most of what he records in his Gospel. Obviously, he is not John the Baptist.
John NEVER refers to himself by name in the Gospel of John. Instead, he describes himself as “the disciple Jesus loved” 5 times (in John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20-23).
John was part of the “inner circle” of disciples along with Peter and James. Jesus invites these three to go with Him to the Mount of Transfiguration (this event is NOT included in John, but is recorded in Mt. 17:1; Mk. 9:2; Lk. 9:28).
At the Last Supper (1st Holy Communion) John sat closest to Jesus (John 13:23).
While hanging on the Cross of Calvary, Jesus commended the care of His mother Mary, to John. The early Church historian Eusebius indicates John cared for Mary for 15 years.
On Easter Sunday John is the first of the Disciples to reach the empty tomb of Jesus (John 20:1-9).
- Timeline and Historical Perspective:36 to 1BC (some say 37-4 BC) Herod the Great, King of the Jews, ruled Israel for over 30 years.
Herod conducted many impressive building projects, most notable was his rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem (John 2:20).
Herod’s sons and other descendants ruled throughout the various regions of Israel during most of the First century.
AD 26-36 Pontius Pilate served as Roman procurator (Governor) in Judea (John 18-19)
AD 33 The Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus and Pentecost
AD 41 Martyrdom of James, the brother of John (Acts 12:1-2)
AD 68 Martyrdom of Peter and Paul
AD 70 Destruction of Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans
AD 90s Gospel of John written; John dies a natural death
- Here is the most basic, simple outline:John 1 - 11 The Book of the Signs of our Savior
John 12 - 20 The Book of the Passion
The Gospel of John includes (by far and away) the MOST detail of any of the other Gospels about the events (arrest, trial, suffering, and death) of the Passion of Christ.
- Some Major Themes and Content in JohnJohn highlights SEVEN Signs (or miracles) Jesus did which magnify Jesus is the promised One of God, our Messiah, Lord, and Savior:
John 2:1-11 Changing water into wine
John 4:46-54 Healing the nobleman’s son
John 5:1-15 Healing the lame man
John 6:1-15 Feeding the 5,000+
John 6:16-22 Stilling the storm
John 9:1-41 Healing the man born blind
John 11:1-45 Raising Lazarus from the dead
The final seventh sign, raising Lazarus from the dead, prompts the fierce opposition to Jesus which ultimately leads to Christ’s arrest, suffering and death and His greatest sign--His bodily RESURRECTION from the dead (John 20).
John quotes SEVEN powerful “I Am” statements of Jesus. In Exodus 3:14 God appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush, and said: “I AM Who I AM.” Jesus connects Himself to this name by using familiar images or metaphors in SEVEN “I AM” statements which all highlight Jesus is God Himself, the Great I Am. For example, Jesus says, “I AM the bread of life”(Jn. 6:35); “I AM the light of the world”(Jn. 8:12); I AM the Good Shepherd” (Jn. 10:11,14), etc.
- The PURPOSE of the Gospel of John is summed up in John 20: Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
We PRAY: Dear God, thank You for giving us Your Good News of salvation through the Gospel of John. You sent Jesus to be the perfect Lamb to save sinners--like us. During our January journey through John, help our faith in Jesus to grow. In Your love and mercy, please keep us healthy and give us Christ’s hope, help, peace, and joy throughout this New Year 2021. Amen.
Pastor Scott Schmieding