I have preached through the Gospel of John 1 and 1/2 times. If God doesn’t take me home first, I will preach through the Gospel of John two times by the end of next year. Each time has been entirely different than the other. I study afresh every passage for the week I will preach it, as if I have never seen it before.
John can be one of the greatest Gospels to preach, but it can also be one of the hardest. The author had hopes to supplement the synoptic Gospels that went before him—Matthew, Mark and Luke. He avoids certain stories that have already been told; tells stories that were not yet revealed and in all stories tried to make the point as clear as possible.
Through my time with John, journeying through ever Word, which has already taken nearly three years of my life (and will have take 4 and 1/2 by the time I am done), I have identified three clear aims of this Gospel. It is not just to provide a historical account to be pondered. John has a plan.
The Gospel writer, John, had the goal of explaining Christ’s divine revelation and showing the rejection or the reception of it. Three words sum up his plan:
In A Guide to the Gospels, W. Graham Scroggie explained the parts of the Gospel this way:
The prelude introduces the three-part plan by speaking of the revelation of Christ (vv. 1-5), the issue of reception (vv. 6-11) and the rejection of Him (vv. 12-18). Then five parts develop throughout the remainder of the Gospel:
PART 1: The first manifestation of the Word and the beginning of faith and unbelief (1:19-4:54)
PART 2: The “unbelief” is addressed by showing the unbelief of Israel at the time of Christ (Ch. 5-7)
PART 3: The “Belief” is addressed and we see the development of those in Israel who claim to believe (Ch. 8-17)
PART 4: The consumption of “Unbelief” (Ch. 18-19)
PART 5: The consummation of “Belief” (Ch. 20)
The Epilogue then is the wrap of the story, showing that “Belief” in Christ won out as the manifestation of Christ takes place, correcting unbelief and calling all to greater faith.
The Gospel of John was written to call the reader — original or contemporary — to belief. Through the revelation of Jesus as God, the audience is forced to make a decision: will you accept Jesus as God’s own Son and the giver of eternal life, or will you reject Him as such? The consequences of rejecting Him is death, but the acceptance of Christ promises life and life everlasting.