“30. Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31. but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31
Today we will be starting a brief overview of the message and structure of the Gospel of John which was written “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ.” While this overview will not be exhaustive, it will help us to see how the whole of John teaches that Jesus is the Christ and why this is so important.
The Gospel opens up with a beautiful 18 verse prologue introducing Jesus Christ as “The Word” who “was with with God in the beginning” and “through whom all things were made (1:3).” “In Him”, Jesus, was life, and the life was the light of men (1:4). He, Jesus, the light comes into the world but is not received (1:11). But to those who do receive him, who believed his name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, he gives the right to become children of God (1:12-13). Thus from the very beginning Jesus is one who exists eternally with God the Father and who comes into the world, into the darkness so that his people, whom He created, and can have eternal life. Further, these people who will be receiving eternal life have it, not by their own will, but by the will and mercy of God as they are become children of God.
In the prologue, John the Baptist is introduced to us as “a man sent from God to bear witness to the light” that is to bear witness to Jesus (1:6-7). In verses 18-34 of chapter one John points to Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (1:29) and as “the Son of God who baptizes with the Holy Spirit (1:33 and 34).
In John 2 Jesus performs the first of his “signs” manifesting his glory as He turns water into wine (2:11). The effect is that “His disciples believed in him.” Immediately after, the account of Jesus cleansing the temple and testifying there that he is in his father’s house and that he would raise again from the dead – though he was not understood. In John 3 Jesus again makes it clear that He has come to save the world and that whoever believes in him should have eternal life (3:16). In John 4 Jesus reveals himself the Messiah and as the one who can give eternal life. Afterwards Jesus performs his second “sign” by healing an official’s son with the effect that the official, and all his household believed. (4:53).
In John 5 Jesus heals an invalid by a pool and intentionally stirs up trouble with the Pharisees by ordering the healed man to pick up his mat and carry it on the sabbath – violating rabbinical law. Jesus proceeds to utilize the resulting conflict to claim equality with God (5:17-18) and to inform everyone that “Just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will (5:21).” Jesus continues, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” Jesus does not allow, even for a minute, us to believe that he is merely a good teacher, a kind man, or a prophet. Jesus claims to be God’s Divine Son who has come so that we might believe in Him and have eternal life. He has come that we might believe that He is our Savior and that outside of him there is no salvation.