THE GOSPEL OF JOHN:
THE BOOK OF ETERNAL LIFE
BY DR. SURYA KUMAR DAIMARI
Traditionally the authorship of the Gospel of John has been credited to the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, whom Jesus loved. Although this view has been called in question to the apostolic authorship from the beginning of the 19th century specially by a group known as the 'Alogoi', it has been opposed by Hyppolytus who wrote for the defense of this Gospel.
"It still remains as good a probability as any other hypothesis that can be offered", says Dr. Tenny Merril. He further goes on to say,
"The theory that the fourth Gospel was the product of some unknown Presbyter by the name of John and not of John the Apostle cannot be regarded as established. All the testimony of the Fathers from the time of Irenaeus is overwhelmingly in favor of the Johanine authorship --- John the son of Zebedee is the best remaining possibility" #1
(#1 Dr. Merril Tenny
In the Gospel of John by Lewis J. Samraj
E. L.S. Press "Bangalore.)
A. External Evidence:
The external evidences for the support of the Johanine authorship are taken from the testimony of the early church Fathers such as
(a) Papias (c. 130-140 A.D.)
"The Gospel of John was published and given to the churches by John when he was still in the body "states Papias in his preface to "Five Books". He further states.
"---- I will not hesitate to set down for you alongside my interpretations all that I ever learned well from the Elders and remembered well, guaranteeing their truth. For I did not, like the majority, rejoice in those who say most, but in those who teach the truth: not in those whose relate the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and proceeding from the very truth, Also, if ever a person come my way who had been the companion of the Elders, I would inquire about the sayings of the Elders what was said by Andrew, or by Peter, or by Philip, or by Thomas or James Or by John or Mathew or any other of the Lord's disciples, and what the things Aristion and the Elder John, the disciples of the Lord, say For I did not suppose that what I could get from books was of such great value to me as the utterances of a living and abiding voice",
There has been a widely held theory regarding another John "The existence of John the Elder in Papias statement seems to have been some what ambiguous. But Papias makes no mention in any case of a Gospel being written by him. So far as the possibility of two Johns in the production of the Gospel, Dr. Graham Scroggie says.
"No writer for a hundred years after Papias supported the view that there were two Johns to be reckoned with, relative to the authorship of the fourth Gospel, and the existence of such a person as distinct from the Apostle, cannot be proved," #1
(b) Irenaeus (C. 135-200 A.D.)
In his book "against Heresies", Irenaeus gives a clear testimony about the authorship of the gospel in the following words,
"There after John, the disciple of the Lord who lay on his breast, he too gave forth the Gospel while he yet abode at Ephesus in Asia; and all the Elders, they of Asia who had conferred with John the disciple of the Lord, bear witness that their tradition had been delivered to them by John, for he remained on with them until the days of Trajan," #2
(#1 Dr. Graham Scroggie
In the Gospel of John by Lewis J. Samraj
EIS Press. Bangalore
#2 Irenaeus, in the Gospel of John by Lewis J. Samraj Ibid.)
Clement of Alexandria (C. 150-215 A.D.)
Quoted by Eusebius in his "History of the Church" Clement says,
"John, last of all, perceiving that what had reference to corporeal things was sufficiently related, encouraged by his friends and inspired by the spirit, wrote a "Spiritual Gospel,"
B. Internal Evidences
(a) The author was a Jew:
The author was familiar with the feast of Dedication (Jn 10:22); and the last day of the feast of Tabernacles being" the great day of feast" (Jn 7:37), with (Jn 19:39,40); the feeling of the Jews towards the Samaritans (4:9); the fear of defilement (Jn 18:28); expression like" Bethesda "Jn 5:2; "Gobbatha" Jn 14:15, Golgotha (Jn 19:17) etc.
(b) The author was Palestinian Jew:
He appears to have detailed knowledge of Palestine and of the Jewish customs: He describes the various geographical features of the country. He mentions places like Bethabara (Jn 1:28), Cana of Galilee (Jn 2:1), Ephrahim (9:42), He is familiar with Jerusalem and its surroundings (Jn 9:7; 11; 18;18:1). He is also familiar with the way to the garden where Jesus used to rest (Jn 18:1,2).
The author was an eye witness:
The way he describes the events, the way he explains the things is most natural and gives the evidence that the author was an eye witness. He knows that it was the sixth hour when Jesus sat by Jacobs well (Jn 4:6), that Jesus remained two days still when news came to him of Lazarus, that there were six water-pots in Cana Galilee, that the loaves that Jesus used to feed the five thousand were barely loaves (Jn 6:9).
The author himself says in Jn 19:35,
"The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe,"
(d)The author was an Apostle:
It is interesting to note that the author has named all the other disciples in this Gospel but he is very careful not to name himself. There are no less than thirteen references to an unnamed disciple simply calling him as the disciple, "other disciple", 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' (Jn 18:15,16:27;20:2,3,4,8; 21:7,20,23,24). Who could be this unnamed disciple other than John himself ? He was one of the inner circle of three (Peter, James himself) who had intimate relationship with the Lord and witnessed the raising of the ruler of the Synagogue's daughter (Mk 9:2), the Transfiguration of our Lord (Mt 17:1; MK 9:2) and had the experience in the garden of Gethsemane (Lt 26:36; Mk 14:33). There is a remarkable statement of the author himself in Jn 21:24,
"This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true".
2. DATE AND PLACE OF WRITING:
It has been generally accepted that the Gospel of John came after the Synoptic Gospels. Since three Gospels were written in around A.D. 70,
The date of writing this Gospel is generally preferred to be A.D. 90-95. According to Irenaeus, John produced his Gospel at Ephesus and lived there till the days of Trojan who reigned A.D. 98-17. Jerome also witnesses of John's stay at Ephesus in his extreme old age.
3. PURPOSE OF WRITING:
(a) Theological:-John's purpose of the Gospel was theological ie, Christological, This seems to have been the most significant characteristic feature of the Gospel. His main focus of attention was the presentation of Christ as the Son of God and his messiah-ship divulging the true nature of Jesus Christ Jn 2:11 cf Jn 20:31a.
(b) Evangelical John's statement of purpose has been clearly indicated in Jn 20:31. His aim was to produce faith in people in Jesus Christ as the Son of God resulting in eternal life. Jn 10:10b
(c) Ecclesiastical : John has given a very comprehensive description of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ for the ecclesiastical purpose. Jn 13:17
(d) Complemental:- According to Eusebius, it demonstrates the deficiencies of the Synoptic. John is giving here a record of a fuller detail and deeper knowledge of Christ and His word which we do not find in the synoptic. Mathew was written for the Jew, Mark for the Roman, Luke for the Greek and John's for the Christian church as a whole and the whole world at large. Clement of Alexandria has called it "A Spiritual Gospel "
4. DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERISTIC FEATURES:
"It is impossible to pass from the synoptic Gospel to that of St. John without feeling that the transition involves the passage from one world of thought to another --- the Synoptic Gospel contains the Gospel of the infant church: that of St. John, the Gospel of its maturity "The first combine to give the wide experience of the many" the last embraces the deep mysterious treasured up by one," says Dr. Westcott #1
1. The Gospel has been called by many as the deepest and most spiritual book in the Bible.
(#1 Dr. Westcott)
In "Gospel of John" by Lewis J. Samraj
E.L.S Press, Bangalore.
2. The Gospel gives a complete revelation of Christ and of God.
(a) Of the person of Christ and His attributes, His authority, viz, his recurrent use of "I", "I am" speaks of his authority and power.
"I am the way, the truth and the life," Jn 14:6
(b) Of his son-ship and his relationship with the father, (See Jn Ch. 17).
(c) Of his divinity, Jn Ch. 1:1; 10:; 30-38: 12:45: 14:7-9: 16:15
(d) Of the work of the Holy Spirit.
(i) The Holy Spirit as the comforter (counsel or, Helper) Jn 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7
(ii) The Holy Spirit as an Indwelling Spirit. JN 14:17
(iii) The Holy Spirit as a teacher Jn 14:26
(iv) The Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth. Jn 15:26;16:13
(v) The Holy Spirit as the Convicter, Jn 16:8,9,10
(vi) The Holy Spirit as the Glorifier. Jn 16:14
(vii) Of his divine commission.
Jesus declares that he is sent from God to fulfill his divine commission. Jn 5:23,24,30,36,37,38
(e) Of the Father:
Christ speaks of God as "The Father", "My Father" over one hundred times.
God, the Father is a Spiritual Father Jn 4:23
He is the life giving Father 5:21
The Father is greater than all 10:29
God is the indwelling father 14:23
He is the Eternal Father 17:5
He is the Holy Father 17:11
He is the Righteous Father 17:25
3. The Discourses and Conversations of Christ with specific individuals :eg.
Conversations with Peter 1:4
Woman of Samaria 4:7-26
Nobleman whose son was sick. 4:47-50
The adulteress 8:10-11
The Blind man 9:6-7;35-38
Martha and Mary Ch. 11
Judas Iscariot 12:4-6
Mary Magdalene 20:11-17
Discourses on spiritual regeneration. 3:1-21
Discourses to the Jews 7:14-39; 8:3-58
Discourses on eternal life 4:4-21
The parable of the Good Shepherd. Ch. 10
The series of his instruction to the disciples etc. ch. 14-17
It seems surprising that nearly
Half of John's Gospel contains the word of our Lord.
Out of 879 verses in John's Gospel, 419 verses are found to be the words of our Lord.
4. Another most notable feature of the Gospel is that over one half of the space in the book is given to the events of Christ's life, and his sayings during his last days.
5. One most notable feature is of its omissions --- which seems to be intentional (Jn 20:10). Some of the important events which Mathew, mark and Luke have recorded in full details are not found in John's Gospel, such as , his Birth, his Baptism, his temptation, his transfiguration, the Lord's supper, the Agony in Gethsemane, the kiss of Betrayed and his Ascension, John has also omitted many more of Christ's miracles, except that of Good shepherd in Jn 10:11. These omissions were purposeful and can be understood in the light of author's words,
"That ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God," Jn 20:31
His purpose was not in fact to describe in full details all the historical events but those details he felt would suffice his purpose prove Christ as the Son of God.
6. The author's use of the word "Now"
The author has used the word 'Now' in a number of explanatory statements in a most exclusive way, eg
Now Philip was from Bethsaida 1:44
Now there is at Jerusalem 5:2
Now on the same day was the Sabbath 5:9
Now there was much grass 6:10
Now about the midst of the feast 7:14
Now there was the Sabbath 9:14
Now Jesus loved Martha and Mary 11:5
Now this he said not of Himself 11:51
Now the Passover of the Jews -- 11:55
Now it was the preparation 19:14
7. Two great current of thought:
There are two great flow of thoughts which are given prime concern.
(a) Faith: Jn 3:16-18; 5:24;6:29, 40;7:38; 10:37,8;11:25-27
(b) Eternal life : Jn 3:15,16,36,4:14;5:24; 6:27,51;11:26,12:50;17:3;20:31
8. Choice of words:
This very peculiar to John's Gospel. John uses fewer selective words which are very significant and profound in meaning eg. Word, light, believe, witness, life, bread, everlasting, world, truth, know etc.
"Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing ye may have life in His name, "Jn 20:30
There are three important words in this verse. They are "signs", "believe" and "live" which give a logical organization to the whole Gospel.
5. THE MAIN THEME:
"Eternal life in Christ Jesus, The Son of God," The theme explains Jesus as the only begotten Son of God and that Jesus is the only author of eternal life. He is the Savior of a dying WORLD. Whoever believes in him will inherit eternal life.
6. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE THEME:
The theme is very significant because it brings the message of God's salvation to whole mankind irrespective of the Jews and gentiles, "whoever believes should not perish but have everlasting life, "Jn 3:16 Though the appeal of the book is mainly to Jewish Diaspora, the message is universal inviting all people
"For God so loved the "WORLD ---" John declares a God who is impartial in imparting his love. The theme is therefore "EVANGELICAL" at the first place because it reaches the whole world (see 1:9,303:16), to every individual whoever believes in him (1:12;3:16;5:24;11:25;20:31)
Secondly, the theme is "THEOLOGICAL", indeed "CHRISTOLOGICAL" in its presentation particularly the presentation of the person of Christ and his ministry, This is the most significant feature of Gospel. John very exclusively introduces the person and works of Jesus Christ. The prologue of the Gospel introduces Jesus as the Eternal Wordwho is Co-equal with God and who himself is God. The essential deity of our Lord has been profoundly manifested in the prologue eg.
"In the beginning was the WORD" His eternity
"the WORD WAS WITH GOD" ----- His co-existence
"the WORD was God" ------ His essential Deity
"All things were made by him" --- His creatorship.
"In him was life," ---His self existence
"He hath declared him" ---- His manifestation of the invisible God
John also demonstrates the Messiah-ship and Son-ship of Jesus all throughout the Gospel. John carefully records the living words of our Lord which declare the deity or the power of deity of our Lord.
eg. Jesus said,
"I am the living bread"
"I am the way, the truth and the life,"
"I am the life and the resurrection,"
"I am the light of the world",
I and my Father are one,"
The works and miracles of Jesus give the testimony that he is the Christ, the Messiah (Jn 10:25), 5:36
The Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and God the Father give the same testimony (5:39; 5:37). John very conclusively declares that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God (3:16), and the only Savior of a dying world, "---- that taketh away the sin of the world "1:29, He is the Sustainer of life (10:10), the Giver of eternal life (10:28) "Whoever believers in him will have eternal life (3:16;5:24). So, the theme of John's Gospel is very significant and it has a life giving and a life transforming effect in it. It thus becomes a "Living Gospel", a "Spiritual Gospel" which has the power to make a person born a new and give a life eternal.
7. CHRISTOLOGY IN JOHN'S GOSPEL.
In one word, it is Christology that John tried to establish through his theme in his Gospel. Let us examine how precisely John establishes his theology in the person of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
(1) His deity:
The Prologue of the Gospel itself introduces the deity of Christ. The very first sentence of the Prologue,
"In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God (1:1) "declares some profound truths which relate to the essential deity of the Lord. For example, "In the beginning was the Word" ---- His eternity (In the beginning was the Christ the living Bible)
"And the word was with God", His co-existence
(And the Christ was with God ---LB)
"And the word was God" 1 ---- His essential Deity.
(And the Christ was God --- LB)
"All things were made by him" 2 --- His creatorship
"In him was life" 3 ---- His self existence
"He hath declared him "4 --- His manifestation of the invisible God.
The above statements in the Prologue can be attributed only to God. But John being inspired by the Holy spirit gives these divine attributes to Jesus proving has deity. "The word became flesh" (1:14) (The Christ became man) denotes the divine incarnation of God himself.
John's use of the word 'WORD' is very precise. It is 'LOGOS' in Gr. The LOGOS was not only with God but God Himself who became man (flesh) and is identified with Christ. The term 'LOGOS' has been generally used among the Stoics to describe the principle of divine reason (Logos spermatikso). This idea bears a distinct entity with the writings of Philo. There is a crucial deference between Philo's 'LOGOS' and John's 'LOGOS'. While Philo conceived of the 'LOGOS' only as a principle of divine reason, John conceived of LOGOS explicitly as a person with his pre- existence. Philo denies the incarnation of the 'LOGOS' but John asserts that the WORD (LOGOS) became flesh (human) and tabernacled among us (Jn 1:14). John's opening of the Prologue has a surprising similarity with that of the opening of the Book of Genesis. John's conviction of the concept of incarnation of the 'LOGOS' is a unique phenomenon and shows how integral it is with the recurrent thought of the Gospel.
John also demonstration the deity of the Lord Jesus by describing seven miracles performed by him besides his resurrection story- They are,
1. Turning of water into wine 2;11
2. The healing of the nobleman's son. 4:46-54
3. The cure of the important man. 5:1-9
4. The feeding of the 500 6:1-54
5. The healing of the man born blind 9:1-41
6. The raising of Lazarus 11:1-44
Each of these signs approves the sovereign power of Christ and his deity. Each of these miracles was of course a response to the faith of the person or persons that came to Jesus. John has selected these signs of miracles in a very specific way, ie, to promote belief in men that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah (20:30-31).
Another mark of deity of Jesus is his Omniscience.
1. Jesus knew the condition or state of men even before meeting them. Jn 1:47,48; 4:16 etc.
2. He knew the thoughts and intents of people's heart. Jn 4:1;5:6;6:15;16:9 etc.
(2) His preexistence:
It has been said that the manger is not the beginning, the cross not the end. The manger is the manifestation of the old and everlasting , the cross the gate way to eternity. It means that Christ existed before the manger.
Our Lord always loved to refer himself as the one coming from or sent by the Father.
Sent me/him --- Jn 4:34; 5:23,24,30,37;6:38,39,40,44:7:16,18,28,33
Came town from heaven ---- Jn 3:13; 6:33,38,41,42,50,58 Come forth --- Jn 16:28,30
John the Baptist also testified of him
In Jn 3:31, "He that cometh from above -----
He that cometh from heaven is above all."
In his high priestly prayer with God, the Father, Jesus shows his pre-existence, "Which I had with thee before the world was, "Jn 17:5
"Before the foundation of the world," Jn 17:24
John the Baptist also bears the testimony to his preexistence,
"--- After me cometh a man which preferred before me; for he was before me."
Jesus himself has claimed his preexistence in Jn 8:56,58 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad" v56
"Jesus said unto them, verily, Verity, I say unto you,
Before Abraham was. I am" V58
(3) His Son-ship
Jesus as the son of God is the most characteristic feature of the John's Gospel. At many places, Jesus himself has brought out his final relationship with the father. In ch. 17
In his prayer to God he claims his son-ship in the following manner,
"--- Father, the hour is com; glorify thy son" v1
"And now, O Father, glorify thou me ----" V5
"---Holy Father, Keep through ----- that they be one, as we are," V11
"--- that they all may be one; as thou,
Father art in me, and I in thee, -----V21
"Father --- for thou lovest me before the foundation of the world," V24
"O righteous Father ------" V25
While talking to the Pharisees and his disciples he referred to God as "My Father".
Jn 5:17,43;8:19;10:29, 32; 14:2,7,21;15:1
The relationship between the Father and the son has been deepened in the following words of the Lord.
"Believed thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me ? -------- " 14:10
See Jn 14:20; 10:38; 17:5,11,22
Jesus is called, "the only begotten of the Father", 1;14 "only begotten son" 3:16
Jesus himself said, "I am the son of God, " 10:36 cf 19:7 The frequent occurrence of the Father Son relationship is most noteworthy in John's Gospel because the plan of God's Salvation is revealed through the son, God showed his love for the whole world by sending his only begotten son (316)
(4) His Messiah-ship:
The word "Messiah" is the translation of the Heb, word "Mashiach". And Aram. "Mashicha" the Gr. Word in N.T. is "messias". The word "Chritos" in Gr. Imparts the meaning of "anointed one" as does the Heb, "mashiach". The messianic status of Jesus was the main topic of discussion among the Jews (7:26;10:24). John in his Gospel gives us the divine viewpoint of our Lord Jesus as the fulfiller of all the Messianic hopes of the Jewish people as prophesied in the O.T. Jesus himself referred to the O.T. Scripture a number of times and identified himself with the Messiah. The woman at the Jacob's well said to Jesus. "I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ. When he is came, he will tell us all things." Jn 4:25
Then Jesus answered to her,
"----- I that speak unto thee am he V26
Jesus said to the Jews,
"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life" and they are they which testify of me." Jn 5:39
John has made a number of references to the O.T. passages. Eg.
See, Jn 12:13-14 cf Zech 9:9
12:37 to Is 53:1
12:40 to Is 6:9,10
19:24 to Ps 22:18
19:28 to Ps 69:2
19:36,37 to Ps 34:20; 22:16,17; Zech 12:10
Confessions of various persons regarding the Messiah-ship of Jesus are recorded in the Gospel.
Andrew the brother of Simon Peter said,"--- We have found the Messiah which is being interpreted the Christ." Jn 1:4, The Samaritan woman near the Jacob's well said," come, see a man --- Is not this Christ?" 4:29
"----- yea, Lord! I believe that thou art the Christ, the son of God, which should come into the world", 11:27
(5) His sinlessness:
John's purpose in the Gospel is to show that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who is sinless. Our Lord threw out a challenge to the Pharisees if they could point out sin in his life.
"Which of you convinceth me of sin?" Jn 8:46
"Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? (NIV)
He also refers to his sinlessness by saying that satan did not find any occasion for accusation in his life.
"---- the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me," 14:30
Pilate, the Roman Governor also admitted his faultlessness, "----- I find no fault in him." 19:4,6
(6) His Humanity:
While the establishment of his deity is one of the main purpose of John, His true humanity, on the other hand, is no less important and John has clearly and forcefully demonstrated it in the person of Jesus Christ. It is true that John omits the birth of our Lord, but there are enough evidences to establish the historical reality of Jesus Christ. John's conception of incarnation is one the most valid proof of it for he says, "And the word became flesh and dwelt among us" Jn 1:14
John further demonstrates the humanity of our Lord by speaking of his bodily parts and activities, such as,
Eyes ------ Jn 6:5;11:41; 17:1
Feet ----- 11:2,31; 12:3; 20:12
Hand ---- 10:28,29; 20:20.27
Head ---- 19:2,30;20:7
He also speaks of his physical infirmities
1. He was weary ---- Jn 4:6
2. He was thirsty ----- 19:38
He speaks of his emotions ---
1. Gratitude ----- 6:11,23;11:41
2. Anxiety ----- 12:37; 13:21; 11:33
3. Weeping ----- 11:35
4. Joy ------ 15:11
5. Sympathy --- 11:35
John has clearly recorded the physical sufferings and death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Jn 19
These evidences show that John establishes not merely the deity of Jesus, but also his true humanity. Jesus is not only a PERFECT GOD but also a PERFECT MAN. What is true is that he is the GOD MAN.
(7) HIS AUTHORITY:
His claims of his authority is another important mark of His deity. The frequent occurrences of Jesus 'I' and 'I am' explain his deity and authority over all things and prove that he is LORD. The following words of Jesus in John's Gospel will show the different aspects of his life and his purpose for the whole world.
1. "I am the way, the truth and the life: No man cometh unto the Father but by me." Jn 14:6
2. "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger" and he that believeth me shall never thirst" 6:35
3. "I am the true vine," 15:1,5
4. "I am the resurrection, and the life" he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." 11:25
5. "I am the door of the sheep." 10:7
6. "I am the door : by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture," 10:9
7. "I am the good shepherd" 10:11
8. "I lay down my life, that might take it again.
No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father". 10:17-18 cf 5:21
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never parish, neither shall there any man them out of my hand" 10:28
When Jesus speaks, he speaks with power and authority, his words possess the life giving effect.
"The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." Jn 6:63
His recurrent use of "verily I say unto thee", (3:3;6:53; 8:35, 58;10:1,12:24, 21:18) gives forces to his words and exemplifies to his supreme authority over all things which has been delegated to him by the Father (17:2; 10:18), No man in this world spoke like him. His words were oracles and his deeds miracles because he was truly the "Son of God."
(B) His Death and Resurrection:
There are at least 39 references (apart from chapter 19) either direct intimations or indirect allusions to his death. Of these 26 are spoken by our Lord himself. There are at least five portraits under which his death is implied.
Lamb ---- Jn 1:29
Temple ----- 2:19:21
Bread ------ 6:51
Corn of wheat --- 12:24
Good shepherd ---- 10:11,15
The substitutionary character of his death is brought out clearly in the following verses ---- Jn 1:29; 6:51; 11:50, 51; 15:13.
It was the Caiaphas the High Priest who prophesied of Christ, "------------- Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he shall gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad". Jn 11:51-52
The death and resurrection of our Lord are like the two sides of the Same coin. They are always complementary to each other. They can no way be divorced. Though Christ's death was substitutionary and at the same time expiatory, without resurrection, his exaltation and glorification are impossible. John shows the importance of his resurrection by recording about thirty references to it. John has given the full proof of the resurrection of the Lord by recording the post resurrection events.
1. Simon Peter and John himself examined the empty tomb. Jn 20:1-10
2. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene. 20:11-18
3. Jesus appears to his ten disciples. 20:19-23
4. Jesus again appears to eleven disciples where Thomas was present. Jesus shows him the print of nails in his hands. Jn 20:25-26-28
5. Jesus appears to his disciples by the sea of Galilee. Jn 21.
The book itself can be termed as the "Book of Eternal Life" so far as the 'Theme' itself is concerned. Clement of Alexandria has called it "A spiritual Gospel". And it is indeed "Spiritual" in character. John, inspired by the Holy Spirit did not simply record the events of Jesus' life here on earth but also makes records of his life in heaven with the Father (Jn 17). The book is indeed a spiritual pilgrimage of John the apostle with Jesus from heaven down to earth. Through the description of incarnation, John reveals that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, the only Heir of the eternal Father, the only Savior and Lord. John's high emphasis on the words like "whosoever believes, "He that believes" --- are very significant which he speaks with authority and warranty.
"whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life," Jn 3:16
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die ----" Jn 11:25
"He that believeth on him is not condemned "Jn 3:18
"An Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that beliveth on me shall never thirst," Jn 6:35
The book is very central to the Christian theology. It is very central to the whole Bible. We can see here God's love manifested in real history. We see God coming down from heaven and live with us, walk with us and talk with us.
The book is full of the records of original discourses and conversation of Jesus Christ which gives authority to the Gospel. Jesus Himself said.
"------- the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life," Jn 6:63
It means that whoever listens to and believes in the words of Jesus will have life which is eternal. John's prime concern is to prove that Jesus is the only Son of God, the only Way, the only Truth, the only Life and the only Savior of mankind. See how precisely John records the words of Jesus,
"Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me," Jn 14:6
The book co-ordinates all the major prophets and books of the Old Testament and inter-links with the future. It is indeed the consummation of the Old Testament. prophecies concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, And thus says John,
"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name," Jn 20:31.
AN OUT LINE
1. The Prologue 1:1-18
(i) The word eternal 1-5
(ii) The word witnessed by John 6-8
(iii) The life as the Light of man 9-13
(iv) The word incarnated 14-18
2. The Manifestation of Jesus' deity and his Ministry 1:19-12;50
A. The Testimony of John the Baptist, 1:19-39
B. Beginnings of the apostolic Band, 40:51
C. The Ministry and Discourses 2:1-12:50
(i) The first miracle water into wine at Capernaum 2:1-11
(ii) Cleansing of the Temple at Jerusalem 2:12-25
(iii) Discourse on New Birth 3:1-21
(iv) The testimony of John the Baptist and his relation to Christ 3:22-36
(v) Discourse on living water at Samaria 4:1-42
(vi) Miracle- Healing the Noble man's son 4:43-54
(vii) Miracle-Healing the important man 5:1-18
(viii) Discourse on Deity of Christ 5:19-47
(ix) Miracle- feeding of 5000 6:1-14
(x) Miracle- walking on the sea 6:15-21
(xi) Discourse on the Bread of life 6:22-71
(xii) Jesus and his Brethren 7:1-13
(xiii) Discourse on the Doctrine of Christ 7:14-31
(xiv) The Feast of Tabernacle and warrant of Jesus arrest 7:32-52
(xv) The woman taken in adultery 7:53-8:11
(xvi) Jesus the Light of the world 8:12-59
(xvii) Miracle-Blind man healed 9:1-41
(xviii) Jesus as the true shepherd 10:1-21
(xix) Discourse on oneness with God 10:22-42
(xx) Miracle raising of Lazarus 11:1-46
(xxi) The effects of Jesus miracles 11:48-57
D. Close of Jesus public ministry in Jerusalem 12:1-50
(i) Devoting of Mary 12:1-8
(ii) Results of Jesus' Presence at Bethany 12:9-11
(iii) The triumphal entry of Jesus in to Jerusalem 12:12-19
(iv) Discourse on his death 12:23-36
(v) Unbelief of the Jews 12:37-50
3. Edification of his own 13:1-17
(i) The humility of Jesus, the feet-washing of his disciples 13:1-17
(ii) Jesus and his betrayal 13:18-30
(iii) Discourse to His disciples 14:1-16:33
(a) His departure announced 14:1-14
(b) His promise of another comforter 14:15-31
(c) The true vine and the fruits 15:1-27
(d) Discourse on the Holy Spirit 16:1-33
4. Intercession of Christ 17:1-20
(i) For himself 17:1-5
(ii) For his own 17:6-26
5. Trial and Glorification of Christ 18:1-20:31
(i) His arrest 18:1-11
(ii) His trial 18:11-19:16
(iii) His crucifixion and burial 19:17-42
(iv) His resurrection 20:1-31
6. The Epilogue 21:1-25
(i) Miracle-Draught of fishes 21:1-14
(ii) Peter's Commission 21:15-23
(iii) The Author's conclusion
A true testimony 21:24-25
Name of the Author of this article: Dr. Surya Kumar Daimari, MA,M.Ed, PGDTE,D.Min.(Doctor of Ministry)
The author is a freelance writer.