Today we are going to start looking at the Book of John. The Book of John is one of the four Gospels in the New Testament, the other three are the Book of Luke, the Book of Matthew, and the Book of Mark. Each of these books of the New Testament can also be called a letter, or an epistle, or a Gospel. For purposes of simplicity, they are referred to as books. There are 27 books in the New Testament, including the 4 Gospels.
John wrote the Book of John. He also wrote the Book of Revelation, and 3 other letters which are called the 1st Book of John, the 2nd Book of John, and the 3rd Books of John. Each of these other books are letters as well. The original letter or books did not have titles. The titles, like the Book of John, were added later so that it would be easier to tell the books apart.
John was also called the “beloved” disciple, which means Jesus cared for John a lot. He is also called “the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved”. Here is what we read about when Jesus was dying on the cross: “When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple, John, took Jesus’ mother into his own home.”
Each of the four Gospel letters has its own theme, or major focus. The Book of John focusses on the deity of Christ, spelt d-e-i-t-y. Deity mean God. John focusses on the fact that God became a man, and that man was named Jesus. Before God became a man, He was not called Jesus. Jesus is the name given the human part of God. Before Jesus appeared on earth He was called by many names: Son of God, Word of God, Wonderful Counsellor, and Healer, to name but a few. These names refer to the Spiritual part of Jesus.
One name that God is called by is the Word of God. Word of God is not just a name, it is who He is. God is the Word. The Word is God. In John chapter 1, verse 1 and verse 14, we read: “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God… So the Word became human and made his home among us”.
The Word of God is a Spiritual person. The Word of God is God. God is a Spirit. Some people call the Bible the Word of God. They call it the Word of God because the Bible has what God said in times past. But the real Word of God is Jesus. Jesus said elsewhere: ““You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life” (John 5:29-40).
There is another John written about in the Book of John. His name is John the Baptist. John the Baptist is the messenger who was prophesied to appear on earth to announce that the Saviour of the world had been born. John the Baptist announced that Jesus the Christ had been born.
We read in verse 23 where John the Baptist says: “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’” John the Baptist was announcing the appearance of the Lord on earth. John was called the Baptist because he baptized people with water after they had turned away from their sins. So, anyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour would be wise to be baptized.
In verse 29 we read: “The next day John (the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Why did John the Baptist call Jesus the Lamb of God? The Old Testament instructed the Jews to offer animal sacrifices to the Lord. They would have to sacrifice sheep and goats to God. Now, John is telling us that Jesus is the final sacrifice. His blood would once and for all take away the guilt of our sins, and forgive us of our sins. In this sense He is the last prophet of God on earth.
In verses 33-34 we read: “The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.” John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the water, but Jesus is the one who baptizes believers with the Holy Ghost, also called the Holy Spirit.
In verse 45 we read: “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”
Jesus is the person that Moses said who appear on earth. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away our sins. Jesus is God in the flesh who was worthy to die on the cross and give us eternal life. This is part of what we have learned in John chapter 1.