Sunday January 1, 2023 The Gospel of John Week 1 – John 24:24-30 “Introduction to John”

Sunday – January 1, 2023

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Word On Worship – Sunday – January 1, 2023

John 20:30-31
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But 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.

Maybe you’ve wondered why we have four gospels rather than one. None of the four are what we would call biographies of Jesus in the sense of covering all of His life from birth to death. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the synoptic gospels because they have much that is similar, although each has a different slant. Matthew, one of the twelve, wrote primarily to Jews, emphasizing that Jesus Christ is the King of Israel. Mark, the shortest gospel, probably wrote under Peter’s influence. He emphasizes Jesus as the Son of Man who came to serve and give His life a ransom for many. Luke was written by a physician and a co-worker with the apostle Paul. His gospel is aimed at Gentiles and emphasizes Jesus Christ’s humanity.

John begins in eternity, identifying Jesus as God and Creator (1:1-3) but omits many important things that the other gospels contain. There is no mention of Jesus’ birth, His baptism, or His temptation. There is no list of the twelve disciples. There are no stories of Jesus casting out demons and no parables. John tells us that he saw Jesus’ glory (1:14), but he doesn’t mention the transfiguration, even though he was one of the three eyewitnesses. He includes Jesus’ promise that He will return for us (14:1-3), but he omits Jesus’ lengthy prophetic discourses. John gives us the longest and most detailed account of events in the Upper Room, but he never mentions the Lord’s Supper. He doesn’t tell us about Jesus’ agony in the garden, although from John we learn that it was Peter who whacked off Malchus’ ear. And, although John records the risen Jesus telling Mary to tell the disciples that He will ascend to the Father (20:17), there is no account of Jesus’ ascension.

So why is John’s Gospel so important to study? John wants you to believe, not in generalities, but in specific, true content: that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God so that you will have eternal life. But John makes it clear that the proper response to the truth about Jesus is not automatic. In spite of the strong evidence, people divide over Jesus. For John belief in Jesus is both initial and ongoing as a person learns more about who Jesus is. The disciples initially believed in Jesus when they first met Him based on the testimony of John the Baptist. But they believed further when they saw Jesus perform His first miracle, turning the water into wine. But they still needed to believe more before they saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. Yet John reports that when he went into the empty tomb and saw Jesus’ grave clothes, then he believed.

So, the first crucial question is, “Who do you say that Jesus is?” After you’ve answered it, the second crucial question is, “Have you believed in Him so that you have eternal life?” If not, why not? If so, you still need to believe further in Him as you get to know more of who He is. Ask God to reveal more of Jesus to your heart as we study the Gospel of John.

What do you think?