The Gospel of John is very different from the other three Gospels. It has no parables and no Sermon on the Mount or Plain as in Matthew or Luke. It gives no birth narrative or genealogy of Jesus. It is seemingly not concerned with showing Jesus as the fulfillment of ancient prophecy. It is not that these kinds of elements do not exist in this Gospel. They are just not, apparently, the author’s focus. Instead, John gives us a look at Jesus through the lens of his encounters with people.

After the introduction in chapter one, chapter two brings an encounter with his mother, leading to water turned to wine. Chapter three brings a conversation with Nicodemus and the instruction to be born again. Chapter four introduces the idea of living water through an encounter with a Samaritan woman. Chapter five shares the miraculous healing of a man who had been lame for 38 years. Prior to meeting Jesus, this man seems to have lost all hope for recovery. Chapter six is the feeding of the 5,000. Many fall away as Jesus claims to be the bread of life.  Chapter seven opens the door to conflict and misunderstanding in Jesus’ own family as his physical brothers do not believe in him. Chapter eight shows the wisdom of Jesus and the grace of God through an encounter with an adulterous woman. This chapter also brings us a deeper conflict with the Jewish leaders as Jesus claims to be the light of the world. In chapter nine this conflict grows due to the healing of a man born blind and the Pharisees’ inability to see or accept who Jesus was. Chapter ten proclaims Jesus as the Good Shepherd in contrast to the flawed Pharisees, these disgruntled shepherds of Israel. Chapter eleven is the last straw with the Pharisees. Jesus‘ encounter with the dead Lazarus results in Lazarus being raised back to life. and the leaders of the Jews convinced that Jesus must die.

The key to the power of this Gospel may just be in finding yourself in the midst of these encounters that John so poignantly shares. May we always seek to find ourselves in these stories. May we be blessed to see what many who met Jesus saw: He is the Messiah, the son of God, the Savior of the world.

Jack Williamson
Author: Jack Williamson