If we describe a person, we can do so from different angles. For example, we can highlight someone as the father of a family. In addition, a description of the same person is possible as a colleague in a company or as a neighbor. In this way we see how four evangelists – under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – report the life of the Lord Jesus during His stay on earth. In the four biographies we have in the Bible, the Gospel according to Matthew declares the Lord Jesus as King, Mark presents Him as Servant, Luke describes Him as true Man and finally John writes about Him as the eternal Son of God.
The purpose of this Gospel is to look at the Lord Jesus as God the Son. For this reason, the call: “Behold your God” (Isa 40:9) has been chosen as the subtitle for this book. On the one hand we read that no one has ever seen or can see God (Jn 1:18a; 1Tim 6:16). On the other hand, of the Lord Jesus to be the only begotten Son Who is in the bosom of the Father is said that He has declared Him (Jn 1:18b; 14:9). That is magisterially described in this Gospel.
One of the correctors gave his impression of this Gospel as follows when he submitted his last corrections:
We are dealing with a limited bed of the stream, but the stream itself is not limited. And that is a happy thought. … It was a great privilege to be able to read and contemplate this Gospel so intensively. I just feel like I understand it even less now than I did before. For it is so wonderfully rich. “Thankfully, it’s enough to have a believing life in His Name.
Ger de Koning
Middelburg, November 2009, new version 2016, translation February 2021
The special character of the Gospel according to John
The Gospel according to John has a special character that has affected everyone who has paid some attention to it, even though it has not always been clearly understood why. It not only impresses the thoughts, but it attracts the heart in a unique way. The reason is that this Gospel presents the Person of the Son of God as having become so humble that He can say: “Give Me a drink” (Jn 4:7).
This Gospel is clearly distinguished from the other three Gospels. In the other Gospels we find valuable details of the Savior’s life on earth, such as His patience and His grace. He is the perfect expression of good amidst evil. His wonders are all but the curse of the fig tree, wonders of goodness, manifestations of divine power revealed in goodness. We also see more and more clearly how He Who in this impressive way reveals God in goodness and grace, is rejected.
John shows Him to us in a very different way. He introduces us to a Divine Person, God revealed in the world. That Divine Person is eternal life in Whom this becomes visible and with Whom the world and His own, i.e. Israel, have no connection from the beginning. This Gospel is not about the needs of the sinner, but about the desires of the heart of God as Father to have children with Him in the Father’s house.
In addition, except in a few places, this Gospel is not about heaven. It is nearly always about grace and truth in the Son here on earth. Therefore, in addition to the desire of the Father’s heart to have children with Him in the Father’s house, we can also notice in this Gospel His desire to share the blessing of the Father’s house with His children right now.
Purpose of the Gospel according to John
John writes his Gospel according to disprove the influence of the so-called ‘gnostics’ (literally ‘knowing ones’). These people deny all certain knowledge about God and Divine things. They also deny both the actual Divinity and the actual Humanity of the Son. The purpose of the Gospel is expressed by John in John 20 (Jn 20:30-31) and connects to that.
Because of the noticeably increasing influence of Islam on Christians, this Gospel is also relevant in that respect. I read the following in the monthly magazine ‘de Oogst’ of April 2008:
To sell out the divinity of Christ for the sake of a good relationship with Islam testifies to the erosion and decline of Christianity. … Recently, a Willow Creek researcher wrote that he expected a great deal of blessing from the increasing cooperation between the church and Islam; Christians and muslims should form an ever greater unity. After all, they are both people of the Book, they worship the same prophets together, they agree on many religious matters, such as prayer, sexuality, sin and family. And also on a social level there are many similarities between Christians and muslims. They will become allies in the cultural struggle of the coming years. [End quote]
Fortunately, this Gospel is still in God’s Word and we can still read it and arm ourselves against the devil’s wiles.
The writer John