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.
While other world religions focus upon the teachings, ideas, philosophies of their founders and teachers, Christianity is about a personal relationship with a Person. That is why Jesus Christ is the most astonishing individual in human history. More books have been written, music composed, pictures painted, and drama performed about Jesus than any other person. Why?
Why did other great figures come and go? Why do others fade into the annals of history but Jesus Christ looms as large in modern society as he did 2000 years ago? Why is he the most powerful personality to ever appear on this planet? That is the question John answers in the prologue…Who is Jesus?
We are going to examine the first 5 verses of John’s Gospel this morning, and in so doing, we will answer the questions Who is Jesus (in these verses), and as we uncover who Jesus is, we will be challenged as to why we should believe on Him. Let’s examine 3 reasons why we should believe on Jesus.
I. Believe on Jesus because He is God (1:1-2).
John begins his Gospel in an unusual manner. Unlike the Synoptic writers who begin their account of Jesus in a historical context, John opens his Gospel in eternity. Under divine inspiration, John was not content to begin his story as Mark did with the story of John the Baptist. Nor was it enough as Luke did to go back to the birth narratives of John and Jesus. John did not even go back with Matthew to the genealogy of Abraham and the roots of Israel, or with Luke to the beginning of the human race in Adam.