Intro to the Gospel of John

The Gospel of John is like a family photo album, with clear unfiltered pictures of some big events in Jesus’ life. The stress and compulsion of John is to show that Jesus Christ is the very revelation of God Himself. 

You could call it the Gospel of Belief! John wants us to know, “Believing is seeing!”

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

The reason John wrote the book is so that you will believe in Jesus. He tells us in…

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 20:31

John wrote this Gospel so that the Holy Spirit could produce faith in the hearts of those who could not have an earthly, eyewitness experience like his own.

You can tell what John emphasizes by the uses of the following words:

  • Light is used 22 times
  • World is used 76 times
  • Life is used 38 times
  • Love is used 46 times
  • Witness is used 22 times
  • Believe is used 98 times!

The Gospel of John was written to:

  • Help you believe
  • Change what you believe
  • Strengthen your beliefs
  • Empower your belief

Outline of the Gospel of John

  1. In the Beginning – The Prelude (John 1:1-18)
  1. In the Crowds – Book of Signs (John 1:18-12:50)

The miracles of Jesus were not just demonstrations of power, but signs of Jesus’ person and authority. John chooses certain signs out of many to accomplish his purpose.

John records eight miracles of Jesus, six of which are given only by him. He chooses select examples that show that Jesus is the Son of God. John says that Jesus’ miracles were not done to amaze people. They were performed as signs of His deity and godly powers (John 2:23). These miracles are: the water turned into wine (2:1–11); the healing of the nobleman’s son (4:46–54); the healing of the man at the pool (5:1–9); the healing of the man born blind (9:1–7); the raising of Lazarus (11:1f); and the second miraculous catch of fish (21:1–6).

7 “I Am’s” – Jesus said, I Am…

  • The Bread of Life
  • The Light of the world
  • The Door or Gate
  • The Good Shepherd
  • The Resurrection and the Life
  • The Way, Truth, and the Life
  • The True Vine

John is The Gospel of ‘I Am,’ of God Himself. The words “I Am” are extremely important to Jewish history. It is the great name of God revealed to Moses at the burning bush (Ex. 3:13–15

3. In the Upper Room. (John 13-17)

Jesus’ ministry with his disciples.

4. In the Darkness (John 18-19)

Half of the Gospel is in the last week of Jesus’ life, the Passion week

5. Out of the Tomb (John 20-21)

John was one of Jesus’ disciples whose life was changed. Jesus called him a “Son of Thunder.” He was a fisherman. 

This is a personal book. John called himself, “the disciple Jesus loved.”

In the New Testament: Matthew and Mark are mentioned 5 times each, Luke is mentioned 3 times, and John is mentioned 35 times!

John was present when Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane and was probably the only disciple at the crucifixion.

He rushed to the tomb, even beating Peter there.

He wrote the Gospel of John, the letters of 1, 2, 3 John, and Revelation. Even though he was exiled to the Island of Patmos, John was also the only apostle who wasn’t killed for his faith. 

This Gospel was extremely personal for John, and it can be personal for you and me!

An important question to ask yourself is, “Do I believe?” Not simply to believe Jesus existed or exists. But have you trusted in Jesus for your forgiveness?

If John was the only book of the Bible you had, you would have enough. It is the simple Gospel. John used the simplest language and the purest Greek possible. The Gospel serves as a first reader for many students of Greek. 

Here is a Gospel so simple a child can understand and  even quote many of its verses. I remember as a boy in Vacation Bible School being expected to memorize verses from John. But it is also a Gospel so profound and mysterious that its hidden meanings challenge the sharpest students of Scripture.

The powerful message of the Good News of Jesus leads to either acceptance or rejection. John was written to introduce people to Jesus as 100% God and 100% man. 

It was written to Gentiles and to the Jewish community, for both believers and unbelievers.

An Atheist Says Keeping Your Beliefs to Yourself is Wrong

Atheist Angel Eduardo argues that keeping our beliefs to ourselves, while avoiding confrontation and promoting harmony, is actually harmful and immoral. Beliefs are the “engines of our actions. They’re foundational to how we think and behave, and they have consequences.” He admits when atheists tell Christians and people of other religions to keep their beliefs to themselves, they don’t truly grasp what they are asking:

We rarely think about this from the perspective of the believer. For them, every encounter is of paramount importance. They are truly convinced that you are in danger and that they possess the keys to salvation. … Their proselytizing is a moral act, even when we consider it a nuisance. However misguided or wrong they might be, their actions are motivated by a desire to make our lives (and afterlives) better. … It’s hard to imagine how the consciences of the ethically devout are burdened by every skeptic they’ve failed to convert. … How much worse would that guilt be if they’d instead been unwilling to try?

Eduardo wants atheists and skeptics to be more understanding:

Imagine us atheists indifferently watching the religious waste their lives believing nonsense. What would it say about us if we didn’t try to talk them out of it, to help them save what little time they have left on this mortal coil, because we’ve chosen to keep our beliefs—or unbelief—to ourselves? Sure, we’re being polite in the moment. We’re exercising tolerance, in our own myopic way. We are living and letting live, but at what cost? Not one I’m willing to pay.

Wherever you are, you can get closer to Jesus as you study the Gospel of John.