Summary: a look at John’s gospel and his special emphasis on the nature of Christ as one with the Father, come to give his abundant God Life to us, a life that begins now and doesn’t end in death.
In this series, we’ve been looking at all four biographies of Christ, but the one we look at today, John, is different from the other three. The other three are what we call the synoptic Gospels. The word synoptic means same sight - it means Matthew, Mark, and Luke they had roughly the same look at Jesus Life because they all used similar source material…
But John is not a synoptic gospel. That doesn’t mean his gospel is telling a different story, it just means he went with his own recollections instead of borrowing from the gospels that were already circulating. So his gospel has a really different look. Who wrote it? John was written by one of Jesus three inner-circle disciples, Peter, James and John. John wrote probably 60 years after Jesus death, while he was in exile or teaching near Ephesus as a 90 year old man.
Why did he write? Early Church tradition says that certain misunderstandings about Jesus were becoming popular in John’s day, so to refute those, John scanned his memory of periods of Jesus’ life that the other gospels don’t mention. John refers to himself in the story with the title “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. And the book has the feel of a man who has been changed by that love.
John is a reliable eye witness, as judged by archeology, but he was no unbiased observer of Jesus life. His gospel is an attempt to help us discover the LOVE he has known from his first hand, eye witness vantage point. He tells us plainly at the end:
John 20:30?31 - Jesus did many other miraculous 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 Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have Life in his name.
Later, when writing a letter to Jesus followers, he let’s them know again the unique vantage point he had:
1 John 1:1-3 The one who existed from the beginning is the one we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of life.
Now, one of common phrases in John, is this one: I AM. We use the phrase more than any other, every day. But “I AM” in the Bible is something more than just the simplest possible sentence in any language: subject, verb - it is also God’s own name for himself. In Exodus 3:14 God tells his name to Moses:
I am that I am.
Now when we read any name in the Bible, it has deep meaning. I like meaningful names. My wife likes unique names. So we named our boys Joren and Jadan, and our animals Yoda, Yikes, Tank, Dozer, Manitoba and Kokanee:
S Joren’s name means farmer because all my ancestors were farmers.
S Jadan’s name is a melding of two of his grandfather’s names
S Yoda was a cat with big ears that stick out to the side
S Yikes is a cat afraid of his own shadow
S Tank and Dozer are cat brothers, like the characters so named from the Matrix
S Manitoba is an Northern dog built for the snow
S Kokanee is a dog that likes beer.
So, what does this name of God mean? It communicates that God just IS. Other things “come to be”, but there never was a time when God wasn’t.
When dealing with the subject of creation, an objection often put forward by people ranging in age from 6 to 66 is: ok, so maybe a Cause was needed to launch the universe, but answer me this: who created God? Someone always supposes they’ve got you stumped with that one, because everything we know has a Source. They think, if you can pass off the riddles of our origins with the word ‘God’, they can pass of the riddle of God by saying,
‘we’ll how did GOD get here’.
The answer is, God has always been here. And that’s what his name means. His very name addresses the question of his origins: He doesn’t have any. The quality shared by everything that ever has been or ever was is that it emerged from something else. EVERYTHING that is, except God. Gathering scientific evidence is saying that such an uncaused Cause is exactly what the facts demand.
And God’s name has been saying it all along: I AM.
Tell this to your children when they ask you where God came from: God stands outside the universe, like a man stands outside the house he made. Time is a property of the universe he made, therefore it’s meaningless to talk about the beginning or end of God. There are no clocks in heaven. There are no suns to measure days, there is only the brilliant light of God’s amazing presence in the eternal NOW.