Why Read John’s Gospel?

Peter Barnes: John 20:30,31

(17 November 2019)


A. J. P. Taylor said he wrote history books simply to amuse. James Boswell in 1791 published his Life of Samuel Johnson to celebrate the one whom he saw as ‘the brightest ornament of the eighteenth century’. Richard Dawkins in 2006 published The God Delusion: ‘If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.’ He tells us why he wrote his Gospel – 20:30-31; see also 1 John 5:13.

1. The Bible is sufficient but not exhaustive.

– 20:30. John tells of seven signs: the turning of the water into wine (John 2); the healing of the official’s son (John 4); the healing of the lame man by a pool (John 5); the feeding of the five thousand (John 6); Jesus’ walking on water (John 6); the healing of the man born blind (John 9); and the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11). John knows that there were many more – John 12:37.

– Acts 1:3. John could have written of all the signs but instead wrote a relatively short biography of some 15,635 Greek words.

2. John’s Gospel tells us who Jesus is.

– John 5:36; 20:31a. First, the man Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Messiah, the anointed one. See Ps.110:1, 4; Ps.2:1-3, 8-9, 12; Dan.9:24-27. Note John 4:25-26, 39, 42.

– Secondly, Jesus is also the Son of God (John 5:18; 20:28; 11:27).

3. Faith in Jesus will give us life.

– 20:31b. Hence John 5:24. William Tyndale: ‘In the gospel, when we believe the promises, we receive the spirit of life; and are justified, in the blood of Christ, from all things whereof the law condemned us. And we receive love unto the law, and power to fulfill it, and grow therein daily.’