Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Introduction to John's Gospel

Happy New Year! I’m so excited to start this new study in the Gospel of John! I love the fact that John tells us exactly why he felt compelled to write a fourth gospel, and specifically why he chose to include the particular details that he did:

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 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 20:30-31)

The Apostle John wrote this gospel so that its readers might BELIEVE! And he is not just talking about giving mental assent to some facts about the historicity of Christ. James tells us in his letter that just agreeing that Jesus is God is not enough: You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. (James 2:19). Both James and John are speaking of a belief or faith that completely changes your life and your actions.

In this gospel, John is unapologetic in his desire to encourage his readers to commit themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. Commentators believe it was written primarily to Gentile followers of Jesus, especially (as my intro to John is my Bible states) “those who were struggling with the predominant Greek philosophies of the day. . .” Some gnostics of the day spiritualized Jesus to the point of denying his humanity. John wants to make it clear that Jesus is not only fully God, but fully man. This seems evident from the very first verse, especially as it ties to verse 14:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (vs.14)

Tomorrow we will examine these first verses more closely, but John is making it very clear from the beginning of this gospel that Jesus is the unique Son of God and Son of Man. And he wants all who read this book to BELIEVE and be changed! How appropriate that we begin a new year with that resolution in mind - may WE be changed completely as we go through this book in 2012.

Can’t wait to jump in!


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