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 before 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.
The leading question in John is who Jesus is. In 1:19 the first question, directed at John the Baptist is about who he was, but he changes the meaning of the question to who is Jesus, and that’s where it stays for the rest of the Gospel.
The prologue (1: 1-19) gives us the big framework and headlines of who Jesus is. He who was the Word, is the Word and will always be the Word. Jesus is – There is nothing irrelevant about Jesus. 1:14 says, ‘The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.’ This verse also makes it clear that Jesus lived life in all its messiness. Jesus was and is completely involved with us.
Love is at the heart of who Jesus is. As it says in the prologue in 1:18, ‘and is in the closest relationship with the Father‘. In some translations it says in the bosom of the Father. This is a culmination of the prologue – the gospel invites us to trust that the deepest truth about reality is rooted in love.
In the rest of chapter one there ae a lot of words or statements about who Jesus is – lamb of God, Son of Man, the one whom the spirit descends and remains, rabbi, King of Israel etc. It is clear that the focus of this Gospel is all about who Jesus is.
In the next Chapters of John, Jesus describes Himself as many things using I am sayings. Notice how this mirrors Moses and the burning bush when he discovers the I am in t he burning bush (Exodus 3:14). Some examples are found in chapter 6 where Jesus describes himself saying, I am the bread of life (6:35). Another example is when Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd (10:11), or I am the resurrection and the life (11:25) or I am the way, the truth and the life (14:6).
The climatic statement about who Jesus is, according to John, is found when Jesus meets doubting Thomas after his resurrection, and his response is ‘My Lord and my God!’ (20:28) – compare this to Jesus’ trail and crucifixion where Pilate mocks Jesus and says to Jesus, ‘Here is the man’ (19:5).
The book of John is so important as it does try to answer the whole way through who Jesus is.