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The Gospel According to John

The Gospel According to John

I.       Overview

The gospel itself tells us its purpose: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (20:30-31). This purpose comprises three elements, namely 1) testimony, 2) faith, and 3) life.

The gospel’s intended audience was the growing Greek population. This explains the numerous Greek philosophical tones. The gospel was completed about A.D. 85-90. The following are the gospel’s characteristics:

1.       This gospel is different from the other Gospels in the following ways:

·         Regarding Jesus’ ministry: it focuses on Judea and Jerusalem

·         Regarding Jesus’ teachings and message: differs greatly from the parables common to the other gospels

·         Regarding the kingdom of God: it emphases this aspect more than the other gospels. It emphases Jesus’ identity, His relationship with God, and eternal life.

·         Regarding Jesus’ infancy: John does not record this phase of Jesus’ life. Instead, he begins this gospel from the perspective that the Christ is the eternal Word, stressing Christ’s divinity.

2.       It has a definite purpose: its main concern is not the recording of events, but in the receiving of a new, eternal, and abundant life.

3.       The significance of the historical Jesus: contrary to mysticism, the gospel shows that Christ’s relationship to us was based on His life on earth.

4.       Direct contradiction to Gnosticism: Gnosticism overemphasized Christ’s divinity, to the point that it denied the credibility of His life and death. But the Gospel of John emphases both Christ’s humanity and divinity.

5.       Christ is the Word: God Himself is the creator of this physical world. Contrary to the claim of the Gnostics, the physical world is not and cannot be inherently evil.

Name of Gospel: The Gospel according to John

Theme: Jesus Christ, the Son of God

Author: John

Date written: A.D. 85-90

Place written: Ephesus

Purpose: To show that Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world.

II.    Structure:

A.     The background of the Son of God (1:1-1:34)

1.        His eternity (1:1-5)

2.        His appearance (1:6-18)

3.        His forerunner (1:19-34)

B.     The works of the Son of God (1:35-11:57)

1.        The disciples of the Son of God (1:35-51)

2.        The preaching of the Son of God (2:1-11:57)

 a.      In Galilee (2:1-12)

 b.      In Judea (2:13-3:36)

 c.      In Galilee (4)

 d.      In Judea (5)

 e.      In Galilee (6)

 f.       In Judea (7-11)

C.     The passion of the Son of God

1.        Before the Passover (12)

2.        After the Passover (13-19)

D.     The resurrection of the Son of God

1.        The day of the resurrection (20:1-25)

2.        After the resurrection (20:26-21:25)

III. Synopsis

A.     The background of the Son of God (1:1-1:34)

1.        His eternity (1:1-5)

 a.      He was from the beginning (1:1)

 b.      He was with God (1:1)

 c.      He was God (1:1)

 d.      He was the Creator of all things (1:3)

 e.      He was the source and incarnation of eternity (1:4)

 f.       He was the light of the world (1:4)

2.        His appearance (1:6-18):

The Son of God was eternally existent, but He appeared in human history. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us… full of grace and truth.” (1:14). He was full of God’s glory and witnessed by men (1:14). He manifested the grace and glory of the Heavenly Father (1:17-18).

3.        His forerunner (1:19-34):

His ministry was advocated by a forerunner, who prepared the hearts of the people to receive Him as the Son of God.

B.     The works of the Son of God (1:35-11:57)

1.        The disciples of the Son of God (1:35-51): Through the disciples testimony, Jesus was identified as

 a.      The Lamb of God (1:36)

 b.      Rabbi (1:38)

 c.      Messiah (1:41)

 d.      Him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets wrote, i.e. the Messiah (1:45)

 e.      Son of God (1:49)

 f.       King of Israel (1:49)

2.        The preaching of the Son of God (2:1-11:57)

 a.      In Galilee (2:1-12)

(a)     At Nazareth (2:1-11): Turning water into wine, symbolizing that the Son of God gives an abundant life

(b)     In Capernaum (2:12): The recording is brief since the author’s focus is on the Judean ministry

 b.      In Judea (2:13-3:36)

(a)     At Jerusalem (2:13-3:21)

(i)       Cleansing the temple (2:13-22): manifests the relationship between the Son of God and God as well as His authority; first reference to speaking figuratively of the temple as His body.

(ii)     Performing miracles widely (2:23-25): leads people to faith in Him through miracles.

(b)     At Aenon (2:22-36): points out that the forerunner was for the preparation of the coming of the Son of God, and the proper attitude toward the Son of God

 c.      In Galilee (4)

(a)     In Samaria (4:1-42): It becomes apparent from Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman that the Son of God was not only the King of Israel (1:49) but also the Savior of the world (4:42).

(b)     At Cana (4:43-54): A continuation of the previous passage; this event demonstrates the universality of the Son of God; it shows that signs and miracles serve as evidence for the Son of God and that faith is a condition for witnessing signs and miracles.

 d.      In Judea (5)

(a)     Healing the sick (5:1-18): this miracle identifies the Son of God as the Lord of the Sabbath.

(b)     Self-defense (5:19-47):

(c)     Reasons for which the Jews wanted to kill the Son of God

(i)       He healed on the Sabbath (5:18)

(ii)     He made Himself equal with God (5:18)

(d)     Proving His identity as the Son of God

(i)       The work of the Son of God (5:19-23): God has given Him the authority to do all these things

(ii)     The grace of the Son of God (5:24-29): The One who has received this authority has unbounded grace

(iii)    The evidence of the Son of God (5:30-47):

·         His own testimony (5:30-31)

·         The heavenly Father’s testimony (5:32); “Another” is a reference to God.

·         The testimony of John the Baptist (5:33-35)

·         The testimony of His works (5:36)

·         The testimony of the Scriptures (5:37-47)

C.     The rejection of the Son of God (6-11)

1.        In Galilee (6:1-71)

 a.      On a mountain in Galilee (6:1-14): He feeds 5,000 with five loaves and two fish. The crowd forces Him to be king and relinquish His identity as Son of God (6:15)

 b.      On the sea of Galilee (5:16-21): He walks on water. But the disciples are afraid, rejecting the power of the Son of God.

 c.      By the sea in Bethsaida (6:22-40): He teaches that the bread from God (5:33) is the true bread from heaven (5:32) and the bread of life (5:35). But the people only seek to be fed, rejecting the life of the Son of God.

 d.      In the synagogue of Capernaum (6:41-59): The Jews complain that Jesus calls Himself the bread from God, thereby rejecting the salvation of the Son of God.

 e.      Outside the synagogue of Capernaum (6:60-71): Many disciples leave the Son of God because of His words, rejecting the grace of the Son of God.

2.        In Judea (7-11)

 a.      In Jerusalem (7:1-10:39)

(a)     First debate with the Jews in the temple (7:1-52): At the Feast of Tabernacles

·         At the beginning of the feast (7:14-36): debates the purpose of the Sabbath (7:22-23); accused as demon-possessed

·         At the end of the feast (7:37-52): quotes the OT prophesy about Himself; results in the people’s displeasure and rejection

(b)     Second debate with the Jews in the temple (8:1-11): The Jews use the adulterous woman to find fault with the Lord. They hope to test the attitude of the Son of God toward the law and accuse Him of sin. But the Son of God shrewdly demonstrates His compassion, forgiveness, and wisdom.

(c)     Third debate with the Jews in the temple (8:12-57): The self-declarations of the Son of God

·         He is from above (8:23)

·         He is not of this world (8:23)

·         He has received God’s direct revelation (8:26)

·         He is the Son of God (8:36)

·         He is God (8:42)

·         He is without sin (8:46)

·         He is the “I AM” (8:58)

(d)     Fourth debate with the Jews (9:1-41): The Son of Man heals a man born blind on the Sabbath. The healed man is cast out. This incident demonstrates the identity of the Son of God

·         He is the light of the world (9:5)

·         He is a real person (9:11)

·         He is a prophet (9:17)

·         He is from God (9:33)

·         He is the Son of God (9:35)

·         He is the Judge (9:39)

(e)     Fifth debate with the Jews (10:1-21): He speaks of His difference from them by means of a parable

(f)      Sixth debate with the Jews (10:22-39): He points out that the Son of God is

·         The Christ (10:24-25)

·         The one who gives eternal life (10:28)

·         One with God (10:30,38)

·         The Son of God (10:36)

 b.      At Bethany (10:40-11:53)

(a)     Many believe in Him (1:40-42): He leads people to believe in Him through miracles

(b)     The Jewish leaders plot to kill Jesus (11:1-53). Many are turning to Jesus because of the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. The high priest plots to kill Jesus, using an OT prophesy as an excuse (11:50). Their conviction that their plot is legal, reasonable, and a fulfillment of prophecy shows their utmost wickedness.

3.        At Ephraim (11:54-57): while avoiding the plot of the Jews, Jesus spends more time with His disciples before His passion in order to strengthen them

D.     The passion of the Son of God (12-19)

1.        Before the Passover (12)

 a.      At Bethany: He is anointed with perfume (12:1-11). Mary anoints the Lord with an expensive perfume, an action resulting in two reactions among those present:

(a)     Son of God: prefiguring a greater sacrifice (12:7)

(b)     Judas: a waste (stemming from greed)

 b.      At Jerusalem (12:12-50): He enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey. He also speaks to the multitude, predicting drawing all men unto Himself

2.        The Passover (13-19)

 a.      Washing the disciples’ feet: having a part with the Lord; imitating the Lord’s humility; serving one another (13:1-20)

 b.      Giving a new commandment (13:21-38): Loving one anther

 c.      Comforting the disciples (14:1-31)

(a)     He is coming back again (14:1-4)

(b)     He and the Father are one (14:5-14)

(c)     He promises the Holy Spirit (14:15-26)

(d)     He leaves them peace (14:27-31)

 d.      Explaining relationships (15:1-27): The Son of Man points out three types of relationships

(a)     The relationship between the believers and the Lord is like that between the vine and the branches (15:1-11)

(b)     The relationship between believers should be one in which they love one another as the Lord loves them

(c)     The relationship between the believers and the world is one that transcends the world (15:18-27)

 e.      Revealing the future (16:1-33)

(a)     Suffering for the Lord (16:1-16)

(b)     The work of the Holy Spirit (16:7-15)

(c)     The resurrection (16:16-24)

(d)     The mission (16:28,25-33)

 f.       Praying for the believers (17:1-26): The prayer of the High Priests—prayer over three aspects

(a)     Praying for Himself and His mission: that He may receive glory with the Father (17:1-5)

(b)     Praying for the disciples then: to keep them as one, just as the Holy Father and the Son are one (17:6-19)

(c)     Praying for the disciples in the future: that they may be one (17:21), believe in God, and enjoy God’s love (17:23)

 g.      Being arrested in the garden (18:1-11): the Son of God rejected

 h.      Being tried all night (18:12-19:16)

(a)     Before Annas the high priest (18:12-23)

(b)     Before Caiaphas the high priest (18:24-27)

(c)     Before Pilate (18:28-19:16)

·         They find the Son of God guilty even though they cannot find any guilt in Him.

 i.        Being crucified (19:17-29): completing the work entrusted by the heavenly Father

 j.        Being laid in the tomb (19:31-42)

E.     The resurrection of the Son of God (20:1-21:25)

1.        The day of the resurrection (20:1-25)

 a.      Morning (20:1-18)

(a)     The stone rolled away (20:1). (Not for the Son of Man, but to allow the disciples to enter the tomb to see)

(b)     The linen placed neatly (20:3-5)

(c)     The testimony of the author, i.e. the disciple who enters the tomb first (20:8)

(d)     The Son of God Himself (20:11-18)

 b.      Evening (20:19-25)

(a)     Testifying His resurrection (20:20)

(b)     Sending them to proclaim His resurrection (20:21)

(c)     Signifying to them the coming of the Holy Spirit (20:22)

(d)     Granting them the authority to pronounce judgment (20:23)

2.        After the resurrection (20:26-21:25)

 a.      Eight days later (20:26-31): appears to Thomas

 b.      Another day (21:1-25): appears to the disciples and gives them the commission to feed His sheep