Summary: Why John wrote his account of the Gospel
John 20:30-31 The Gospel according to John.
Introduction: This is the beginning of about a 3 year journey through the book of John. I expect to bring some 150 sermons from this Gospel. In this sermon we shall examine the book as a whole, its title, its author, its uniqueness, and its purpose. Normally one would expect that to begin a study of this kind you would begin with the first words of the book. I believe that the best start is to examine the purpose of the book. This purpose is clearly stated by John himself in our text.
“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.”
Let us learn from this text:
I. About the title of this book. Vs. 30 “this book”
The book bears the title “The Gospel according to John”. We shall now undertake to understand this title. We learn from this title that what we are about to read is good news for the word Gospel indicates good news. The apostle Paul by inspiration of God defined for us the Gospel. It is how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that he was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures. This book then is about the Christ. We may expect, based upon this title, that he will tell us who the Christ is and about what he came to do. The title also informs us as to who wrote this book.
II. About the author of this book. Vs. 30 “in the presence of His disciples”
The author of this book is John the son of Zebedee. He is one of the original 12 disciples of Jesus. His mother’s name was Salome. Salome is believed to be the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus. This would make John a first cousin to Jesus and also kin to John the Baptist. He is referred to as the disciple whom Jesus loved. This title indicates his very close personal relationship with Jesus. It was John whom Jesus asked to take care of his mother. John out lived the other 12 disciples and his book was the last of the Gospels to be written. John was most likely in Ephesus when he wrote this book. John wrote this book by the inspiration of God. This book then has not only the personal perspective of John but also that of the Holy Spirit of God. John was raised in Jerusalem and his family was close friends to the High priest. Later they moved to Capernaum where they ran a fishing business. His close ties with the family of the High priest allowed him and Peter access to the court yard when Jesus was tried before the High priest and the counsel. Peter and his brother Andrew were business partners with John and his brother James. John along with James and Peter were allowed to see and experience things which the other disciples were not. They saw Jesus transfigured and they saw His travail in Gethsemane. Based upon these facts this Gospel is worthy of the time we shall invest in its study.
III. About the uniqueness of this book Vs. 30 “not written in this book”
Our text indicates that John did not write all the things he had seen. He ended his book with this statement “the world itself could not contain the books”. John wrote only those things which he needed to report in order to accomplish his purpose, which we shall examine in some detail in a moment. John’s Gospel contains no parables and only seven miracles five of which are not recorded in the other Gospels. His book is unique in the fact that there are a number of personal interviews recorded. Jesus spoke with Nathanael, Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the nobleman of Capernaum, the man born blind, Mary and Martha, and doubting Thomas. The account of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples and the Olivet discourse are recorded only in the book of John.
IV. About the purpose of this book. Vs. 31 “ye might believe”? John’s purpose of writing this book is stated simply and briefly. He wrote it that those who read it might believe. John wanted, more than anything, for all people to believe in Jesus. He does not concern himself with the parables which teach us about the Kingdom of God but instead emphasizes the need for each individual to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
John wanted those who read this book to believe that Jesus is the Christ. The word Christ means “anointed”. The prophets of the old testament foretold the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah they said would come and suffer and die for our sins and would be raised again from the dead. Jesus fulfilled these prophecies. John does not focus on the miracles as proof for as I have said before he only recorded seven. He does not focus on the prophecies which Jesus fulfilled. His focus as proof is the personal conversations Jesus had with certain men and women. He relies on the witness of men and women who met Jesus and were changed. These people such as Nicodemus met Jesus and believed in Him. Today we rely on personal experiences with Jesus to help persuade men to believe in Jesus as the Christ the savior of men.