To begin our study of John, I present to you Eugene Peterson’s introduction to the book of John as written in his Message Bible. Keep this explanation in mind whenever you read the book of John. This is how the Kingdom of God works.
“In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God is presented as speaking the creation into existence. God speaks the word and it happens: heaven and earth, ocean and stream, trees and grass, birds and fish, animals and humans. Everything, seen and unseen, called into being by God’s spoken word.
“In deliberate parallel to the opening words of Genesis, John presents God as speaking salvation into existence. This time God’s word takes on human form and enters history in the person of Jesus. Jesus speaks the word and it happens: forgiveness and judgment, healing and illumination, mercy and grace, joy and love, freedom and resurrection. Everything broken and fallen, sinful and diseased, called into salvation by God’s spoken word.
“For, somewhere along the line, things went wrong (Genesis tells that story, too) and are in desperate need of fixing. The fixing is all accomplished by speaking – God speaking salvation into being in the person of Jesus. Jesus, in this account, not only speaks the word of God; he is the Word of God.
“Keeping company with these words, we begin to realize that our words are more important than we ever supposed. Saying ‘I believe,’ for instance, marks the difference between life and death. Our words accrue dignity and gravity in conversations with Jesus. For Jesus doesn’t impose salvation as a solution; he narrates salvation into being through leisurely conversation, intimate personal relationships, compassionate responses, passionate prayer, and – putting it all together – a sacrificial death. We don’t casually walk away from words like that.”
The Word cuts. That’s why we use it against the enemy, never against our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Word is always balanced, in other words, we have, and are, a cutting edge ministry. What God wants to do on the earth, at this minute, is what we discover and what we do. We don’t fear the Beast! We preach Jesus Christ, the Destroyer of the beast! To tell everyone within our reach the reality of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and what He has done for us is not a drudgery; it is not an embarrassment; it is a singular and satisfying honor.
And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
"But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
For those who will hear us, we exercise our faith that they will be fully formed into the image of Jesus Christ and do far greater exploits for Him even than we do. Each one of us, in our sphere of influence, is called to evangelize the world. He thrusts us among sinners, and plants us in His church, and we operate with His Holy Spirit in both places. We, whom God has called into His Kingdom, are gifts unto men. Remember that. Every day remind yourself of who you really are: a gift from God! Then ask the Lord how He would like to give His gift that very day! Be His gift!
Our biggest barrier is deception, lies, the one weapon that Satan has to use against us. Watch out for it and overcome it! Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. Speak the truth against all the works of the enemy. If you won’t, who will?
12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:12, 13).
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:1–4).
The good news that we preach is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As we preach Jesus, the Holy Spirit can work. If we try to do the work, we hinder God. We can do nothing in ourselves. Everything begins with Jesus and ends with Jesus. It’s not even our faith that counts. All the glory goes to Jesus. Our job is simple: preach Jesus.
The first three gospels are called synoptic, which means to see together, or have a common view of Jesus. All four gospels are centered around the life of Christ. Mark was written first; Matthew and Luke flow with Mark as these three emphasize Jesus the Son of Man. John was written after the other three, and his emphasis is Jesus the Son of God.
I recommend you download a little study I did on the book of John called “Who Is Jesus?” It will enlarge this current study for you. You’ll find it in the “Store.”
John has 21 chapters. In order to complete our study in one year I will ask you to read two chapters a month, except for chapters 14–17 as we will take each one of these separately. They contain what Jesus wanted His disciples to comprehend, and therefore we must comprehend this information as well.
In your notebooks, write out the two chapters, and then put them into your own words. Start a list of Scriptures that express the work of Jesus Christ for our salvation.