AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF JOHN
The Gospel of John stresses the deity of Jesus. It begins with: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (meaning, Jesus was divine)" (Jn.1v1) and, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (Jn.1v14). And the Gospel concludes with the author's purpose expressed: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name." (Jn.20v30-31).
This account of Jesus' life is very different from the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). It offers the very substantive, inside things which Jesus said more than the things that He did. Step by step, this Gospel unfolds its proofs until the reader must reach the inescapable conclusion that Jesus is indeed the Son of God!
The literary style is unique: the sentence structure is uncomplicated and easy to understand. Every step in a given narrative is presented as though it is an isolated event or statement, rather than attempting to merge it into an overall framework. The same majestic truths are repeated in intricate parallelisms. It is a book of striking contrasts: light and darkness; truth and falsehood; good and evil; life and death; God and Satan. Only in John's Gospel do we learn that the length of Jesus' public ministry was about 3 1/2 years (by counting the Passover feasts). The Book of John is saturated with symbolic representations from ordinary life. Jesus used common things (such as water, bread, light, a vine and its branches, a loving shepherd and his pet sheep) to teach profound spiritual truths. The Gospel of John was written not so much to retell the historical facts of Jesus' brief stay on earth, but to ask us the question: "What does His coming mean?"
The author merely identified himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (Jn.13v23; Jn.20v2). The writer was John the Apostle, one of the "sons of thunder" (Mk.3v17). John was very close to Jesus (Matt.17v1; Mk.5v37; Lk.8v51). It was young John who leaned against the bosom of Jesus (Jn.13v23), to whom Jesus entrusted His aged mother (Jn.19v26-27). John was the first male to believe that Jesus rose from death (Jn.20v1-10), the first to recognize Him on the shore of Lake Galilee (Jn.21v1-7), and probably the last Apostle to die (see Jn.21v23).
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