John: A quick introduction
The book of John is very different from Matthew, Mark and Luke. It doesn’t have as many miracles as the other three. And Jesus gives long speeches rather than short, snappy sayings.
John’s Gospel doesn’t attempt to tell all the details in the story of Jesus. Instead, the writer sat down and wrote in order to draw out the deep meaning of Jesus’s life. In contrast to Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus in John’s Gospel openly declares who he is. There are seven sayings of Jesus in the book that begin with the words: “I am”. Each of these sayings gives us a different picture of Jesus’s identity, and they help us to understand him. They are…
I am the bread that gives life! No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty. John 6:35
I am the light of the world! Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life. John 8:12
I am the gate for the sheep. John 10:7
I am the good shepherd, and the good shepherd gives up his life for his sheep. John 10:11
I am the one who raises the dead to life! Everyone who has faith in me will live, even if they die. And everyone who lives because of faith in me will never really die. John 11:25-26
I am the way and the truth and the life. John 14:6
I am the true vine and the father is my gardener. John 15:1
In John, Jesus gives the fullest teaching in any of the four Gospels about his relationship to God the Father. He says that he was sent by the Father, that he is the only way to the Father, and (most shocking of all to his listeners) that he and the Father are one. Theses passages in John were later crucial to the church in formulating belief in God as a trinity.
Why was John’s Gospel written? Towards the end of the book, the writer seems to answer this:
These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is Christ, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.