Of all of the Gospels, John’s is without a doubt my favorite, just as John is my favorite New Testament author. John just has a certain way with words. His language isn’t the best grammar, and sometimes he has a way of writing in circles, yet as he does so, he leads to major revelations in which he takes the complex and makes it so very simple that it’s not easy to miss the point. Of course, much of the theology written in the centuries that have passed has succeeded in doing so, but it usually takes an awful lot of education and training to miss John’s points!
His Gospel is unique in that it is not synoptic, which is to say that it is the only one of the four that is not always in chronological order. It is a biography of sorts, but it is not merely the story of the life of Jesus, it is a revelation of deeper significance than one would gain from a recitation of narratives as Mark’s contains, for instance. John relates Jesus’ life from a heavenly point of view, while Matthew relates it from a Jewish point of view, Luke from a Greek point of view, and Mark from a Roman viewpoint. As a consequence, John is the only Gospel author who wrote to a universal audience. Why did he write the book? Here is John’s answer to that question:
“These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
He wrote the book sometime between 85 and 95 AD, with a clear New Covenant orientation, and begins in a way that only John writes about; a deeper view of the birth of Christ. He introduces Jesus Christ to us in a way that is similar to Hebrews 1:1-4 and 1John 1:1-4 which provides us with a Heavenly overview of His nature, position, identity and purpose, beginning with the words, “In the beginning….” The “Christmas story” is usually told from Luke chapter 2, but in John chapter one you see the theology of that story. Thus we can easily say that Luke, the historian gave us the facts, but John the Apostle of love gave us the behind the scenes background that gives Luke’s account a significance that is the reason this birth is celebrated 2,000 years later.
We’ll get started in earnest next time, when we go back to the very beginning…