Intro to the Gospel of John:
Before we begin looking at the actual text of the Gospel of John, let us lay a foundation by looking at the background to this book of the Bible. In the New Testament there are four Gospels – four different stories written about the life of Jesus. If you read through the first three – Matthew, Mark and Luke – you will see that they have a lot of similarities. They are a systematic and orderly account of the life and teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus. They “agree extensively in language, in the material they include, and in the order in which events and sayings from the life of Christ are recorded. Because of this agreement, these three books are called the Synoptic Gospels.” (NASB Study Bible).
John’s Gospel however was written several years after the first three. He didn’t sit down to write a chronological account of the life of Jesus. He states his purpose for us here: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31). John wrote his book first of all so that we could get to know Jesus better. He wants us to discover Jesus as the Son of God, God Himself who existed before time, but came into the world to be our Saviour. But not only does John want us to learn facts about who Jesus is, he also wants us to experience Him personally, and the abundant life that He came to give. It’s not just about learning and having right theology. It’s about encountering Jesus personally as our Saviour, Healer, Deliverer, Provider – the one who gives us peace for our troubled hearts and minds, and the one who meets all of our needs. We want to encounter Him personally so that our lives are transformed.
When reading John’s Gospel, we quickly discover that he was an amazing writer. He was an artist. Where Luke was an intellectual thinker who presented all of the facts and figures about Jesus in an orderly account, John was more of an artist who painted a beautiful and majestic picture of Jesus. In the twenty one chapters of the Gospel of John, he shares exactly seven “I am” claims of Jesus, seven miracle signs, and seven sermons that Jesus preached. He chose certain things to highlight from the life of Jesus to paint a picture of Him for us.
I especially like the seven “I am” claims that Jesus makes about Himself. In Exodus chapter three in the Old Testament, there is a familiar story where God appears to Moses in the burning bush. In this passage, Moses asked the Lord what His name is, and He replied, “I AM.” Fast forward several thousand years to the time of Jesus. When Jesus arrived on the scene, He came to reveal God’s nature to us. Jesus fills in the blanks for us about who God is.
The Seven I Am Claims of Jesus:
- “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35).
- “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12).
- “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9).
- “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11).
- “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
- “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6).
- “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5).
Pastor Chris Jordan