What is the Book?
The book is an eye witness testimony about Jesus written by the disciple whom Jesus loved. Church tradition names the apostle John as the author. There are many arguments for this, but I think the most compelling is found within the text of the book itself. Let us look at it through deductive logic. The authorship is obviously an eye witness to the events written, and declares himself to be an eye witness (21:24), therefore, the author must be a disciple. The author never refers to himself by name, but only as “The disciple whom Jesus loved” (13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, and 21:20). The author is precise in naming the other disciples, but John who is mentioned throughout the synoptic Gospels is never named here, therefore, the author must be the apostle John.
What is the Theme?
The theme is that Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee is the Christ (the promised Messiah of Israel), the Son of God (God incarnate), and everyone who believes in Him has eternal life. The book centers around seven miraculous signs; turning water into wine (2:1-11), healing a Nobleman’s son from a great distance (4:46-54), healing a lame man (5:2-9), feeding five thousand men (6:1-14), walking across the sea of Galilee (6:16-21), giving sight to a man born blind (9:1-12), calling a dead man out of the tomb alive (11:30-44). Seven Predicate Emphatic I AM statements; the Bread of Life (6:35), the Light of the World (8:12), the Door (10:9), the Good Shepherd (10:11), the Resurrection and the Life (11:25-26), the Way and the Truth and the Life (14:6-7), the Vine (15:5). And seven Absolute Emphatic I AM statements; 4:26, 6:20, 8:24, 8:28, 8:58, 13:19, 18:5. Lastly the book concludes with the greatest sign of all; Jesus death, burial, and resurrection. He then presented Himself alive, after His suffering, to His disciples on three occasions in the book. It seems that both the numbers seven and three play an important role in the theme of the book.
What is the Purpose?
The purpose is so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name (20:30-31). There is debate on who the “you” is in the purpose statement. Some have said that the “you” refers to every person. This cannot be since some will live and die and never hear this Gospel. However Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (10:27-28). The book is evangelistic, therefore, I use it for that purpose. I recite it publicly and hand out copies of the Gospel while availing myself to talk with people about the Lord in faith that the sheep will hear His voice and follow Him.
In Christ alone,
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