This is the final session of this deep dive into the Gospel of John. This series is designed to encourage you to read the book of John as a group or individually. It uses the wonderful commentary from David Ford – The Gospel of John, to guide us through this Gospel of abundance. Each session is designed to generate discussion after a week of reading. There is also a video to watch each week recorded by David Ford to bring to life the main themes of the readings. As you read through the plan use the commentary from David Ford to assist deeper understanding.
The heart behind this course is that you would become habitual re-readers of John, so that you might more deeply have relationship with Jesus.
The first point and overarching theme of John is that it is a gospel of abundance, like the gift that keeps on giving. Each time you read and re-read the gospel it offers deeper and deeper revelation of who God is and His love for each of us. The abundance of the book of John is as John himself writes in 1:16 ‘Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.’
The second point is that this gospel is written in easy Greek which means it is accessible to the beginner, but it also has the capacity to go on to challenge the mature believer. John is a teaching gospel which wants us to meet Jesus but them also abide in Him. John teaches us to be learners, prayers and have a life of inspired loving.
The third point to understand is the structure of John . It starts with a prologue where it gives a big framework for God and all reality. It them moves onto the ongoing drama of Jesus, which is the central part of the book. Finally it move into the ongoing drama where we live now in the spirit and in community with each other.
When the risen Jesus appeared to his disciples to send them out into the world he said, ‘I will send you as the Father has sent me.’ Jesus was sent because of love. ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’ (3:16) The deepest desire of Jesus is for mutual love; he wants to love the world in such a way that people can entrust their lives to him and be part of communities of love. The many miracle and healings he performed throughout the Gospel of John (see chapters 5, 6, 8 and 9) are completed because of the great love Jesus had for the whole world around him. He was always moved by compassion to passion.
Jesus engaged with the world by gathering a community of learners (disciples). Throughout the gospel he teaches his disciples to be servants, prayers, lovers etc. Jesus also did signs and miracles in his public ministry; the signs brought abundant life to situations and circumstances of people’s everyday lives. (John 10:10). Jesus does the signs for all. See the example in Chapter 2, turning water into wine, this was for all consumption, not just for one person. Another example is the feeding of the 5000 – there was more than enough food for everyone. When everyone was satisfied, Jesus told the disciples, ‘Now go back and gather up the pieces so that nothing will be wasted.’ (6: 12)
Jesus is also about the deep engagement and one to one investment. He crossed all sorts of boundaries to meet the one who needed his touch. Remember the Samaritan woman at the well; Jesus crossed the gender and religious boundary to engage with her.
Overall, Jesus was sent to glorify the Father in the world. We are sent to go into our communities, our work places, our families to go more daringly and more deeply into relationship for the sake of the flourishing of the world, by the power of the Spirit.
Jesus has not stopped breathing his spirit into us – he continues to breathe minute by minute! ‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the spirit and life.’ (6:63) We have been given the bible and books like John, where we we read and re-read the words become more and more alive and our spirit and our life.