“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31). This verse is critical to our understanding John and the focus of his Gospel.
John wrote so that we may know two things about Jesus: (A) That He is the Christ [promised Messiah] and (B) That He is the Son of God (eternal, holy deity). John wrote this for one purpose – that we would believe; with one result – that we would have (eternal) life by His authority. John wrote so that Christians, from all cultures, could have confidence in the person and work of Christ!
The Gospel of John is one of four broader records of the life of Christ, but why four Gospels? Why the overlap and apparent (and sometimes confusing) gaps in the different accounts? It’s all about perspective. Culture, education, and life experience all influence how we look at things. They have an impact on our perspective. At the time of Christ there were 3 distinct cultures overlapping Jerusalem:
Jewish = cultural focus on spiritual/religious identity, heritage, independence
Roman = cultural focus on power, influence, economy,
Greek = cultural focus on art, science, philosophy
Each Gospel author was “targeting” a specific audience through its presentation of the person and work of Christ:
Matthew presents Christ as the Prophesied King to the Jewish nation. The Jewish nation was looking forward (and still is) to the reinstatement of their Kingdom
Mark presents Christ as the Obedient Servant to the Roman world. The Romans understood use of servants to accomplish great things
Luke presents Christ as the Perfect Man to the Greek perspective. The Greeks appreciated excellence and perfection in all things
John presents Christ as the Son of God to humanity at large. The world needs to see the universal truths of the person and work of Christ.
Each Gospel author presented specific things about Christ that were of particular interest to their target audience:
Matthew includes the genealogy of Christ through David to confirm His right to the throne.
Mark includes the actions of Christ, rather than a family history, to confirm His power and ability.
Luke includes the genealogy of Christ back to Adam to confirm His humanity.
John includes the relationship of Christ with the Father to confirm His deity.
Each Gospel author makes their presentation from a unique perspective:
Matthew is a teacher presenting the sermons of Christ.
Mark is a preacher proclaiming the miracles of Christ.
Luke is an author recording the parables of Christ.
John is a theologian declaring the doctrines of Christ.
As we work through our study remember John wrote so that we may know two things about Jesus: (A) That He is the Christ [promised Messiah] and (B) That He is the Son of God (eternal, holy deity). John wrote this for one purpose – that we would believe; with one result – that we would have (eternal) life by His authority. John wrote so that Christians, from all cultures, could have confidence in the person and work of Christ!