15 October, 2016
Search The Scriptures —Study 0— Introduction
Study 0 From the Book of John is: The Introduction of the book of John
The author of this Gospel claims to have been an eye-witness of the scenes that he records (1: 14; 19:35; cf. 1 Jn. 1:1-3), and in 21:24 his identity with 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' is asserted. Among the many reasons for identifying this disciple with John the son of Zebedee, one of the most striking is the Evangelist's habit of referring to the Baptist as 'John' only, and never mentioning the son of Zebedee by name.
The other three Gospels are chiefly concerned with our Lord's ministry in Galilee; a bare hint is all that they give us that He so much as visited Jerusalem between His baptism and the final Passover (Mt. 23:37; Lk.13:34; and Lk. 4:44). John, on the other hand, has little to say about our Lord's work in Galilee (2:1-12; 4:43-54:6); for the most part the scene of his narrative is Judaea, and especially Jerusalem, where almost from the first the Lord was rejected (1:11; 4:43, 44;5; etc.).
It is important to observe that in the record of Jesus's ministry up to His death, seven miracles are recorded in this Gospel. These are (1) the turning of water into wine (2:1-11); (2)the healing of the nobleman's son (4:46-54); (3) the healing of the impotent man (5); (4) the feeding of the five thousand (6:4-13) (5) the walking on the water (6:16-21); (6) the healing of the man born blind (9: 1-7); (7) the raising of Lazarus from the dead (11:1-44). John calls these miracles 'signs', by which he means that they have a meaning beyond themselves, and point to the identity of Jesus as the Christ, and to His corresponding works in the spiritual realm, such as the raising of the spiritually dead, the opening of the eyes of the spiritually blind, etc.
The purpose of the Gospel, and particularly of the signs recorded in it, is clearly stated, 'that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name (20:31). It shows the divine Word coming to His own people, revealing the Father to them both by teaching and by 'signs', and yet rejected and persecuted to the death. To the world this Gospel reveals the tremendous claims of the Lord Jesus and the awfulness of rejecting Him. To the disciple it reveals the implications of accepting Him, showing the interdependence of love and obedience, of life and feeding upon the Lord, of fruit-bearing and abiding in Him.
The section 7:53-8:11 is omitted by all the oldest Greek manuscripts now existing, with one exception, and its style and vocabulary are more like those of Luke (in whose Gospel four manuscripts insert it) than those of John. But though this section was probably not written by John, it bears every evidence of truth, and we may thankfully accept it as part of the inspired Word of God.