Introduction to John – The Pattern Revealed

Well…if we make it through these floods, this Sunday we’ll be introducing a new study which will take up our Sundays for many weeks to come. We’ll be embarking on an exploration of the Gospel of John.

I struggled a lot with how to introduce this study. We can’t read John like the other three, synoptic gospels. I thought about just posting a poem…but that seemed a little too ambiguous and maybe even pretentious. However, it is vital that we not approach the Gospel of John like a textbook or a documentary. John’s gospel isn’t intended to educate us as it is to introduce us to….well, to God.

John is basically saying through his account – “If you want to know who God is, or what He is like, take a long look at Jesus.”

That’s what we will set out to do. Through John’s selected vignettes, we will get a different view of Jesus than we find in Matthew, Mark or Luke. John wrote his gospel much later than the other three (which had been circulated for years by the time John’s writing), and it’s clear that he had had a lot of time to think over and draw some conclusions about the things he witnessed and experienced.

This Sunday we’ll be reading John 1:1-5, the prologue.

What other famous passage of Scripture starts with “In the beginning…”? What does that tell us about John’s account of Jesus?

John begins by talking about the Word – eternal, creator, light and life. He will later identify the Word as Jesus. The Greek word for…well, word, is Logos. If you feel like it, you might want to read an interesting Wikipedia entry on the very complex ideas that word carried in the 1st Century Greco-Roman world, as well as in Israel.

What significance to you find in  John using a word that was this meaningful in the ancient world to describe Jesus?

If you were to describe the opening of this gospel, would you say it was a) a curtain rising on an epic drama;  b) walking in on a movie that’s already started;  c) hearing a familiar song sung in a foreign language?

That’s enough stuff to think over for now. Hope to see you Sunday.

2 comments

  1. Our house got water in it, but it looks like no permanent damage.

    Rather than a,b,or c (epic, movie, song), I’m going to go with d, literature. You know how an author will sometimes come full circle at the end? So we have “in the beginning” in Genesis and now “in the beginning” in John – the story comes full circle. And through it all, God has been in charge.

    And one more full circle is coming, when the earth becomes Eden, again (talked about somewhere in Revelations). Not sure how to word any of this, it seems too big and significant and significant to put into words.

  2. For many years I led a Bible study for older teens and college age youth. For years I watched people including many of those young people meet Jesus and dedicate there life to Christ. I remember meeting Him and since have had the deepest desire for others to meet Him and know the Grace that changed me and my life. I wrote a three week study I named ‘What do you think’, ‘What do you feel’, ‘What do you know’ that had a lot of participation with a profound impact on the kids and me.

    This morning I was reminded of that time and wondered what some will ‘think’ and ‘feel’ in the study of our saviors introduction by John. What I am so excited about is who will come to ‘know’ salvation. To ‘know’ Grace is real. To meet Jesus…to ‘know’ Him. Thoughts are subject to doubt. Feelings are emotions that can fluctuate. When you know what you know it doesn’t change and no one can take it from you. Every worship service I pray that someone will look up and see Jesus with His arms stretched out to them…to listen to what He has to say to them…to see His face as they say to Him they want to know Him and desire Him not just need Him. I know then they will want this world to hear that they know He is alive.

    ‘Victory in Jesus’ is my favorite old time gospel hymn. I love these precious words….

    He loved me
    Ere I knew him
    And all my love
    Is due him
    He plunged me to victory
    Beneath the
    Cleansing flood

    Like the words say that He loved us before we ‘knew’ Him so what could be more wonderful than to ‘know’ Jesus?

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