Summary: Intro sermon to John’s Gospel
Who and Why?
We begin a new sermon series today from the Gospel of John. I am very excited about preaching through this wonderful book. I have wanted to preach through John for some time, and I am glad that God allowing us to take this journey together. I pray that we will learn and grow together through our study of this amazing Gospel.
I have to confess that I am partial to John over the other Gospels. Perhaps it is b/c this gospel is written by the disciple closest to our Lord. When you read Matthew, you read thru the eyes of a devout disciple. When you read Mark & Luke, you read thru the eyes of dedicated believers who knew and loved the Lord but who gathered much of their information through the eyewitness testimony of others. But when you read John, you read the words of the disciple who reclined upon Jesus’ chest. He was one of that inner circle (James & Peter) who was with Jesus in his most intimate circumstances and moments.
John was one who heard more than the others. He was one who witnessed more. He was one of the Lord’s closest friends. Therefore when we open John’s Gospel, we do so in anticipation of what the disciple whom Jesus loved will say to us.
The Gospel of John was one of the last books of the NT to be written. It appears to have been written from the city of Ephesus, where the apostle served as pastor after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD. From all indications, he wrote this gospel toward the close of the 1st century. The Synoptics had already been written and circulated as well as the letters of Paul and Peter.
For this reason, John does not retrace many of the events already described in the other Gospels. He does not write a chronological biography of the life of Jesus. His purpose is not to detail the ministry of Jesus. John is selective in what he includes, and his selections point to a distinct purpose, one he provides for us in 20:30-31.
In this purpose statement, John offers two primary reasons for his writing:
1) that you might believe Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah) and the Son of God (a divine human person), and 2) that believing you may have life.
Thus, John’s purpose centers on telling us 1) who Jesus is and 2) why we should believe on Him. Who & Why. In essence, Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and we should believe on Him b/c of who He is and b/c He provides life to those who believe on Him. Who & Why.
From the opening section of the gospel, John addresses this question, “who is Jesus?” The first 18 vv., most often called the Prologue, contain a summary of John’s most reflective convictions about our Lord. In these verses, we find one of the most elevated (and complex) statements concerning Christ’s identity in all of Scripture.
John focuses upon the central fact of our Christian faith: Christianity is not a philosophy, it is about a Person, and that Person is fundamental to our faith. To remove Jesus from Christianity is like taking numbers out of math, the sun out of daylight. It is to strip Christianity of its most essential component.