A fisherman turned apostle has penned a book that will endure for all time. It is perhaps the best known of the four gospels, for it reveals the Father’s love and Jesus’s miracle power. Reading the gospel of John is like passing through the torn veil and coming into the Holy of Holies! Where would we be without the gospel of John. The New Testament would be somewhat limited without the fresh, vibrant message John brings to the world.
The Gospel of John is all about this beautiful Christ. John tells us why he wrote this amazing book:
Jesus went on to do many more miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not even included in this book. But all that is written here is given to you so that you will fully believe that Jesus is the Anointed One, the Son of God, and through faith in him you will experience eternal life by the power of his name!John 20:30–31 TPT
A miracle is a supernatural work of God, birthed with divine power, carrying a divine purpose.
Miracles are everywhere in the gospel of John! Water became wine. Blind eyes were blessed with sight. Even the dead rose to walk again when Jesus lived among men. Every miracle is a sign that makes us wonder about who this man truly is. The book of John brings us a heavenly perspective filled with such wonderful revelation in every verse. Nothing in the Bible can be compared to the writings of John. He was a prophet, a seer, a lover, an evangelist, an author, an apostle, and a son of thunder. The other three gospels give us the history of Christ, but John writes to unveil the mystery of Christ. Jesus is seen as the Lamb of God, the Good Shepherd, the Kind Forgiver, the Tender Healer, the Compassionate Intercessor, and the Great I Am. Who can resist this man when he tugs on your heart to come to him? To read John’s gospel is to encounter Jesus. Make this your goal as you read.
Most scholars believe that John penned this gospel about AD 85–90; however, the Dead Sea Scrolls hint at an earlier date, as early as AD 50–55, since some of the verses found in the Dead Sea Scrolls are nearly identical to verses found in John’s gospel. The earlier date, though contested by some, seems to be more likely. Why would John wait to write and share the good news of Jesus? It seems obvious that John wrote his gospel prior to AD 66 when the Roman war with the Jews began, for he mentions the Temple as still standing and the pool, which “has” (not “had”) five porticos. All of this was destroyed during the Roman war of AD 67–70.
John was called to follow Jesus while he was mending a net, which seems to point to the focus of his ministry. John’s message “mends” the hearts of men and brings healing to the Body of Christ through the revelation he brings us.
There is an interesting possibility that both James and John (sons of Zebedee) were actually cousins of Jesus. By comparing Matthew 27:56 to Mark 15:40, we learn that Zebedee’s wife was Salome. And Salome was believed to be the younger sister of Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus, which would make her sons, James and John, cousins of Jesus.
Twelve Reasons Why John’s Gospel Is Unique:
- John has a Prologue (1:1–18) and an Epilogue (21:1–25).
The prologue was written to lay a theological foundation for the rest of the book, to describe who Jesus Christ is and what he did. The prologue takes us back into eternity and highlights all the major themes you’ll encounter reading through John. The epilogue reveals that the gospel of John is not inclusive of everything Jesus did or taught.
- John reveals the heavenly nature and glory of Jesus Christ like no other gospel. Jesus is the explanation of God. He is the Living Expression of God (Logos).
- John’s gospel is quite simple in its language but very profound in its meaning.
- John highlights seven miracle signs. Christ’s resurrection would be the eighth.
- There are miracles which are unique to John (turning water into wine, healing the nobleman’s son, healing the man at Bethesda, opening the eyes of the blind man, raising Lazarus from the dead, Peter’s second miracle catch of fish).
- John never describes faith as a noun. He never uses the words “faith” or “belief,” it is always a verb, “believe/believing.” Not a concept, but an action. “Believe” is found one hundred times in John. “See” is also found one hundred times in John.
- John alternates describing Jesus’s ministry in public and in private. In his public ministry, you see him at three feasts: Passover, Tabernacles, Feast of Lights/Dedication, then back to Passover. The other three gospels emphasize the Galilean ministry, John emphasizes his Judean ministry.
- The fourth gospel corresponds to the fourth living creature—the flying eagle! And to the fourth man in the fire (Daniel 3:25). It was on the fourth day that God made the sun and said it would rule the heaven and give forth light (Genesis 1:17).
- The synoptic gospels give us the history of Jesus Christ, the fourth gospel gives us the mystery of Jesus Christ.
- John records the cleansing of the Temple at the beginning, the other three gospels have it at the end. The break between Jesus and the Jewish leaders is at the beginning of John’s gospel, the other three have it at the end.
- John omits certain details that are mentioned in the synoptic gospels: Jesus’s prayer in Gethsemane, the Transfiguration, and the Ascension.
- John uses the word “love” fifty-six times!
Seven Miracle Signs Highlighted in John:
These are not all of the miracles of Jesus, nor are they all of the miracles in John’s gospel, but these are seven miracle signs that were meant to persuade the readers that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that they must believe in him to be saved.
- Water turned into wine (2:1–11)
- Healing of the royal official’s son (4:46–54)
- Healing the paralytic at Bethesda (5:1–15)
- Feeding the multitudes (6:5–14)
- Walking on water (6:16–24)
- Healing the man blind from birth (9:1–7)
- Raising Lazarus from the dead (11:1–45)
The resurrection of Jesus would be the eighth sign, showing us that the New Covenant has begun. John’s seven miracles would complete the seven days of the old creation and the resurrection of Jesus brings us into a new beginning.
Seven Messianic Claims (“I AM”) in John:
- I AM the Bread of Life
- I AM the Light of the World (spoken at the Feast of Lights when he heals the blind man)
- I AM the Gate (Door)
- I AM the Good Shepherd
- I AM the Resurrection and the Life
- I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life
- I AM the True Vine
Seven Names for Christ in Chapter 1, spoken by his disciples:
- Lamb of God
- Rabbi (master teacher)
- Messiah (Anointed One)
- Jesus of Nazareth
- Son of God
- King of Israel
- Son of Man
For 2,000 years, John’s gospel has brought life, love, and faith to the world. Billions of people worldwide have heard of John 3:16. It is perhaps the clearest presentation of the Good News of Jesus Christ found in all the Bible.
For this is how much God loved the world— he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.John 3:16 TPT
John was the first book of the Bible that I ever read. I devoured it in one day. I found myself weeping by the time I got to Chapter 19. That was a good day. You might want to take a few minutes now and read through John 19. I know God will touch your heart.
May God bless you as you read the Word of God, and don’t forget to spend some time in the gospel of love — John!
The Passion Translation of John’s gospel will help you encounter the heart of God through Jesus as the loving God in flesh and blood. Meet the beautiful Christ in the book of John: Eternal Love – 2nd Edition. Also available in the Spanish edition, El Libro De Juan: Amor Eterno.