And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
~John 1:1, 14 (ESV)
There simply is no other document in all of human literature like the “Gospel According to John.” Compared to the rest of Scripture—even among the other Gospels—it stands apart in its own unique category.
This gospel gives us an account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, which on its face is a bundle of contradictions. The opening lines tell us that Jesus is the light of God that is both unstoppable and rejected (John 1:4-13). Jesus is presented most explicitly divine, and yet most obviously human. The Jesus of John explicitly claims equality with the Creator, while also explicitly suffering need and weakness. He thirsts and has to ask for water, but then in turn claims to be Living Water that satisfies our thirst eternally. He weeps at the death of a friend and then proceeds, by the power of His own command, to raise him from the dead. This is nothing, if it is not shockingly strange. Who is this man?
Perhaps, no one in recent memory has grasped the uniqueness of this gospel better than the late Reynolds Price (1933-2011). The professor at Duke and prolific man of letters points out:
“…if two thousand years of pious handling had not dimmed both John’s story and its demand, this gospel would still be seen as the burning outrage it continues to be, a work of madness or blinding revelation.”
“None of the other active world religions says anything remotely similar or comparable…. There is likewise no parallel in the theologies of John’s contemporaries – the dead myths of Greece or Rome, with their demigods and deified bureaucrats. …John hands us a brand-new thing.”
Jesus is, indeed, something brand-new, unlike anything we have seen before, and He has the power to make our lives new.
If you’ve missed any of the sermons in this series, you can find them here.
The Gospel of John Study Guide
If you would like to follow along with the sermon series using our Gospel you may access an electronic version below. Along with the study guide, you will find daily prompts for the 21 Days of Prayer (January 17th through February 6th)
Special thanks to Anna Kaye Schulte for the sermon series artwork!