Read John 1:1-14
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.
3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV)
As we read the Gospel of John, we will see that it is very different than the other three Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke. The Gospel of John is a very late writing. Some put it near the end of the first Century while others say it could even be very early 2nd Century. This tells us a couple of things. When John writes, he has had lots of time to not only think about what Jesus said, but what he meant by what he said. We can remember that when Jesus was with the Disciples at the last supper, John records these words in the 16th chapter of his Gospel, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” John has allowed years of the Spirit to work on him in understanding what Jesus was about.
We also see that much of what is in the three Synoptic Gospels (called this because of their similarity), John does not have many of the things they contain. John gives us no birth narrative, no baptism of Jesus, and nothing of Jesus’ temptation. While it contains the night of the last supper, it tells us nothing of the last supper details the other Gospels give us including Holy Communion. There is not Garden of Gethsemane nor is there an ascension. There are no healings, no people possessed by demons, and no parables. When Jesus speaks in the Gospel of John, they are long soliloquys. We get the longest prayer by Jesus in John’s Gospel. And John sticks to Jesus’ ministry in Judea around Jerusalem. There is only the occasional time in Galilee.
John does not see a need to repeat what has already been said. But in his Gospel, he will include much that hadn’t been said. It is only here that we get the wedding feast at Cana, or the discussion with Nicodemus, or the woman of Samaria at the well, or Jesus raising Lazarus. And it is only in John that some of the other disciples come alive and we hear from them. So this is why the Gospel is called the precious Gospel by some.
The Gospel is said to be written in or near Ephesus. It is here that we find another John who many believe wrote the Gospel as it was dictated to him. Paul dictated many of his letters. This person was known as John the Elder and one of the early second century leaders of the church near Ephesus says there were two very holy graves, there, John the Disciple and John the Elder. This is the title we see being used two of the letters written that are near the end of the Bible (2 John and 3 John)
We will also see that John uses a lot of imagery. He starts with that from the very beginning which we just read. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John in this wonderful image of Jesus was the Word takes us back to the creation story and begins there.
He moves to his second image of light and darkness. John then goes immediately to John the Baptist which is the time of Jesus’ beginning of his ministry on earth. And he closes this short introduction with the profound statement, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John in this one statement speaks to who Jesus is and that he is an eye witness to what has happened.
I hope this will be a wonderful study for us.
Blessings and Peace