My favorite Book of the Bible!
Did you know that John records exactly 8 miracles performed by the Lord? I think there is significance in this. The 8 souls who were saved by the ark represent a new beginning. John notes that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week (or the 8th day), also signifying renewal. John's gospel is incredibly deep!
The Gospel according to Saint John
Writing on the Gospel of John, Martin Luther said,” “This is the unique, tender, genuine chief Gospel,…. Should a tyrant succeed in destroying the Holy Scriptures and only a single copy of the Epistle to the Romans and the Gospel according to John escape him, Christianity would be saved”.
I know that when I talk to sinners about God, John’s Gospel is one of my chief foundations and in it is found the basic simple Gospel of God’s redemptive love.
It is probably the portion of Scripture that more people have come to know Christ through, than any other section of the Bible.
Saint Jerome said, “John excels in the depths of divine mysteries”.
This Gospel touches the very heart and nature of Christ to a greater extent than the other three Gospels. Its special emphasis is on the deity of Christ.
That’s why in reference to John’s Gospel, Saint Augustine says, “Saint John not undeservedly with reference to his spiritual understanding compared to an eagle, has lifted higher, and far more sublimely that the other three.”
In the medieval world, Saint John was symbolized by the eagle, due to his grand views of Christ in his writings. In medieval art, frequently when we see an eagle, it is a symbolic reference to John.
The Gospel of John is strikingly different than the other three and was the last one to be written, probably sometime between 85-95 A.D. To a large extent it focuses more on the things Jesus said, rather than what He did, and is a more reflective work than the others which are more in a narrative style.
Many Christian scholars believe that it is the most important book ever written. Often when people first come to Christ, they are given one book to read first, and it often is the Book of John.
The purpose of the Gospel was spelled out by John when in chapter twenty he says, “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name”
John weaves together the sayings, statements, miracles and events of his Gospel to build a case for the deity of Christ. That is his chief focus, Christ’s divinity.
He wrote this work long after the other Gospel writers had passed away. He was alone left of all the Apostles, and knowing that he must also go home soon, left the world with a final glimpse beyond the veil of glory.
In his work, John takes us down the labyrinthine halls of eternity long gone by, across immeasurable time, beyond the incomprehensible vastness of space, beyond anything the mind of man can conceive, and out of these mists of untold ages steps the living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, God eternal, the Alpha and Omega.
Go back in time as far as your mind can conceive, and out from beyond the conceivable steps the inconceivable , the man of no origin, no beginning, no end, the living Word, the Lord of Glory.
This Gospel of John is in essence the upper room for believers, where Christ takes us aside and reveals things to us that the world may not know.
It can be a difficult work to study in depth, yet God has not called us to be geniuses of God, but rather children of God. Jesus didn’t say that we had to be seminary graduates to serve and understand Him, He merely asked, “Do you love me?”
Paul in writing to the Philippians said:
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death
Knowing Him is what it’s all about. Knowing Him is not the same as knowing doctrines about Him. It says know Him , not speculate about Him.
Paul at the end of His life and work stated that his purpose was to know Him. Our salvation is based upon our relationship with Christ, not on our relationship with any other organization.
The Gospel of John is all about knowing Him. Let us focus our study and lives on knowing Him more and more. And with that let’s begin.