The Gospel of John stands, along with Paul’s letter to the Roman church, as one of the two twin towers of the New Testament. There may be no more beloved book in the Bible than John’s Gospel with its magisterial theology, lengthy excerpts of Jesus’ teaching, gospel clarity, and evangelistic power. Indeed, by any measure, the Gospel of John is one of the most beautifully composed and important documents ever committed to writing. Few documents ever penned have had the world-wide impact of the fourth gospel.
John’s Gospel is often considered separately from Matthew, Mark, and Luke which are designated as the Synoptic Gospels. Being “synoptic” means that the first three gospels have a similar viewpoint in that they share in common so many of the same events from Jesus’ life and ministry. On the other hand, John includes very little of what is contained in the first three gospels and instead offers material unique to his account.
Ultimately we do not have to wonder about the purpose of the Gospel of John. It stated clearly near the end:
“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” (20:30-31).
The biblical accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry are never merely bare facts, though they are certainly factual. But those facts are marshalled for the purpose of calling sinners to faith.
As we walk together through the Gospel of John it will be our privilege to learn from the longest surviving Apostle of the Lord Jesus. We will hear his eye witness testimony to the truth and The Truth. And as we learn we will have our faith strengthened and that by believing, we will have life in his name.