Each gospel has a specific reason it was written. John states his reason in 20:31, that readers would “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you would have life in his name.” Thus the overall theme of John’s gospel is who Jesus is. True faith has biblical knowledge that must be understood, welcomed, and completely relied on (this is what faith is). John accomplishes his purpose by pointing to Jesus’ public ministry over three years (chapters 1-12), his private ministry to the disciples on one night (chapters 13-17), and his suffering, death, resurrection, and ministry to his followers (chapters 18-22).
John begins by declaring that Jesus is the Word made flesh (vv. 1-18). The eternal Son created everything and everyone. Though when he became a man very few believed in him, whoever did became God’s child. John then told of John the Baptist’s ministry (vv. 19-34), how he faithfully testified that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God (vv. 29, 34). The last part of this introduction to Jesus focuses on early followers of Jesus who believed him to be the Christ, the Son of God, the King of Israel (vv. 35-51).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Only those who believe, welcome, and receive Jesus as the promised Messiah, the eternal Son of God made flesh, become children of God (v. 12). Many say that “all are God’s children” and then conclude that everyone will go to heaven, but this is a lie.
- The only way the Father can truly be known is through Jesus Christ (v. 18). Only the eternal Son has been with the Father forever (v. 1). Only the Son is of the same essence as God the Father (v. 1). Thus only the Son can make the Father truly known (v. 18).
- Jesus’ identity is firmly based in the Old Testament. The OT said a descendant of David would come and rule Israel, a King (2 Sam 7:16). This is what Nathaniel was thinking of when he said, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:49).