As I prepared to study the Gospel of John I realized my approach has always been to use it as a tool for evangelism. So many verses from John’s gospel have been committed to memory, perhaps the best known being “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). What is the thrust of that verse? God’s character, His love. The world is secondary, though it is very important to know His love encompasses everyone – the whole world! Suddenly I am reading this well-known gospel with fresh eyes. Jesus, who is God incarnate [in the flesh] reveals to us the heart and mind of God, as John records His life and ministry, His prayers and His passion.
What does this mean for us 2,000 years later? God’s love forms the foundation for all that I am as a Christian. His love is supernatural, sacrificial, and strong. God’s love really defies description, so we needed the only begotten Son to demonstrate the purity, and purposefulness of Divine love. More than any other of the gospels this one reveals the deity of Christ; John’s starting point takes us back to before Creation! There was the WORD who is God, the Creator of all things, the giver of life, both physical and spiritual. Awesome!
Ryrie reminds us that Jesus’ deity is asserted “in the series of “I AM…” claims which Jesus made (6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5).[P. 1615 Ryrie Study Bible]. John’s purpose in writing as he did was “…these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). In his epistle John again refers to the importance of knowing that we have eternal life, because we trust God’s revelation through His Son (1 John 5:13).
“New birth” is one of John’s themes. John 3:6 is not as well known as verse 16, but clearly is key in Jesus’ teaching. John quotes Jesus “…no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (3:5-6). Prefaced by “I tell you the truth” Jesus thunders down through the ages this truth which still stands today “You must be born again” (3:7).
Babies who are born and neglected, sometimes die. John’s gospel perpetuates themes that nurture the growth of spiritual infants. For example we are completely dependant on the Holy Spirit. This member of the Trinity is often ignored. How is that possible when He is the source of all comfort, the One who guides us in our decision-making, and teaches us the meaning of all that scripture records?
Jesus’ dependency upon God His Father is an example to us. “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (5:19). Should you and I call ourselves children of God if we do not follow His example? At the end of the day will our Heavenly Father say “This is My son/daughter in whom I am well pleased”? (Matthew 17:5). John identifies sufficient of Jesus’ works for us to grasp the idea of what God reasonably expects. However, Paul expands that concept “ I urge you…..to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your reasonable service” (Romans 1:1-2).
John did not call Jesus the “Word” carelessly. Jesus said “Just as the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me….the words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6:57, 63). Nurturing babes in Christ was important to Jesus. Three times He told Peter to “Feed My sheep” (John 21:15,16,17).
Are we listening to the truth of scripture, of Jesus’ words?
Does it matter that our lives are pleasing to our Father in heaven?
What motivates us to feast on the Bread of Life? (John 6:35)
What happens to babies who are not fed?
by Marilyn Daniels