17 Jan Things about Jesus No One Else Says: How to Read John’s Gospel Day 3
Among the four Gospels that tell the story of Jesus’ life and ministry, the most unique was written by Jesus’ best friend, John. Some Bible scholars think that John was in his early to mid-20s when he began serving in Jesus’ ministry and perhaps 90 years old when he wrote the Gospel of John. By that time, all of the other disciples were dead, and John was the longest living and last standing Christian leader. He also held the highest authority and esteem of any Christian leader on the earth at that time.
It seems likely that when he sat down to pen his Gospel, the other Gospels had been written and circulated for Christians to read. Reflecting back on his amazing life journey with his friend and Lord, Jesus Christ, John seemed to want to fill in anything that was not included in the other Gospels. For this reason, his contribution to the world’s understanding of Jesus Christ is unique and invaluable.
John’s Gospel is perhaps the only one without any parables. Although the door of the sheep (John 10:1–10), the good shepherd (John 10:11–18, 25–30), and the vine and branches (John 15:1–6) are usually regarded as allegories, at first glance they are often thought to be parables. Also absent in John’s Gospel are the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth to Mary, Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom of God, favorites such as the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist, the institution of the Lord’s Supper, the Transfiguration, Jesus’ temptation by Satan, the account of Jesus’ suffering agony in the garden of Gethsemane, and the casting out of any demons.
There are 35 miracles in the Gospels (unless Matthew 12:22 and Luke 11:14 are regarded as separate, as some scholars say) and 3 of these miracles are found only in John’s Gospel. They are: turning water into wine (John 2:1–11), the healing of the nobleman’s son (John 4:46–54), and the crippled man being healed at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1–9). Of course, all of Jesus’ miracles were bracketed by history’s greatest miracles of His virgin birth and resurrection from death.
John contains a number of discourses that are unique to his Gospel, which we would not know about had he not recorded them. They include the new birth (John 3:1–21), water of life (John 4:4–26), sowing and reaping (John 4:31–38), source of life (John 5:19–47), the bread of life (John 6:26–59), fountain of truth (John 7:14–29), light of the world (John 8:12–20), the true object of faith (John 8:21–30), spiritual freedom (John 8:31–59), the door and shepherd (John 10:1–21), Christ’s oneness with the Father (John 10:22–38), the redeemer of the world (John 12:20–36), Jesus’ departure from earth (John 13:31–14:31), union with Christ (John 15), and the Holy Spirit (John 16).
As you read John, it is helpful to see the unique contributions that he makes to our understanding of Jesus. Without those contributions, there would be a lot of things that the world would not know about Jesus Christ, which should make us grateful to John for his scholarly work.
I will spend roughly an entire year preaching verse-by-verse through the entire Gospel of John, and those sermons can be found for free each week after they are preached at MarkDriscoll.org.