From what we read about the gospel is that there is an extremely interest in the great man who has left this world: an interested in what he did, in what he said and in what or who he was. It is clear that Johns interested in the third area. He was interested in who Jesus was, he is looking at Jesus from the inside and asking: Who was he?
John writes what a special viewpoint on Jesus, but he omits a number of areas considered significant by the other Gospel writers. It is quite interesting that there is no mention of the following in Johns Gospel:
- The conception and birth of Jesus
- His baptism
- His temptations
- The casting out of demons
- The transfiguration
- The Last Supper
- Jesus struggle in prayer in Gethesmane
- The ascension
He set out to tell something quite different from the other gospels and there was no point in including what he regarded as unnecessary material. There are quite a few miracles in the other gospels but in John there are just seven. Out of the seven he mentions five are completely new.
- The water into wine
- The man by the poor at Bethesda
- The healing of the nobleman son
- Healing the blind from birth
- The raising of Lazarus
Furthermore, john uses a different word for miracles, referring to them a ‘signs’. A sign always points to something beyond itself. So he does not record fewer miracles because he believes them to be less important, but in order to highlight the way in which the miracle or sign points to Jesus.
There are also seven big statements about Jesus himself which appear in John, known as the “I Am’ saying.
- I am the living bread
- I am the light of the world
- I am the door
- I am the good shepherd
- I am he resurrection and life
- I am the way, the truth and the life
- I am the true vine
These statements only occur in Johns Gospel and they serve to emphasize his purpose as he give us an insight into how Jesus viewed himself.
Understanding Johns Gospel, having considered the ways in which Johns Gospel stand apart from the other three, we should take a closer look at John himself. Who was John? Before being called to follow Jesus, John was a fisherman involved in both side of business, both catching and retailing. We know he had connections in Jerusalem and it is likely that these included a retail business for selling the fish which had been caught in Galilee. So he was a man of two worlds the rural north and the urban city of Jerusalem in the south.
John was Jesus cousin and the brother of James, Not only was John the closest to Jesus but he was also the last surviving apostle, He writes his Gospel as an old man, reflecting on Jesus with unique insight.
What exactly was John’s purpose in writing? Looking at the question will really open up our understanding of the book. We have already seen that John was concerned about the inside of Jesus and who He was.
He tell us that he selected the material So that readers might believe that Jesus in the Christ, The Son of the living God, and that by believing this they might have life in his name.