THE UNIQUE GOSPEL
Leslie M. John
The Gospel according to John has excellent details for preaching to the world, the Gospel of Lord Jesus Christ. While the three synoptic Gospels, namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke pick up the details, as they finding it interesting them, of Lord Jesus Christ at certain points of His life, John goes beyond the description of synoptic Gospels unto the period even beyond the world began. (Synopsis means “a brief or condensed statement giving a general view of some subject” and synoptic Gospels are those which take a common view. This is especially in regard to the life of Jesus and His ministry recorded in the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke).
John may have had in front of him the details of synoptic Gospels; yet he omitted many of them in his Gospel, and accommodated many more interesting life-events of Lord Jesus Christ. That is the reason why John’s Gospel is distributed to the public, in a small booklet form, in preference to the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark and Luke.
Synoptic Gospels are as much relevant to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and yet inasmuch as John takes us back to the events even before the creation of the world, the Gospel of John is preferred more for proclaiming the Gospel Message. John’s Gospel convicts the reader or listener greatly and increases his/her faith in Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew chose to start his gospel with the lineage of Jesus, while Mark starts his Gospel with the life of John the Baptist, who was forerunner of Jesus. John the Baptist says Jesus, who comes after him, was preferred before him, because Jesus was and is the true light of the world. John the Baptist says he was not worthy to unloose the latchet of Lord Jesus Christ. He starts with the Baptism of Jesus. Luke starts his Gospel with the details of the birth of John the Baptist, and thereafter of the Lord Jesus and the beginning of Jesus’s ministry on this earth.
Unlike the three Gospel writers, John starts the Gospel with a grand statement as follows:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1)
Thus, he goes beyond creation narrative written in Genesis 1, which reads…
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”. (Genesis 1:1)
It is evident from the statement of John that Lord Jesus existed even before the creation, and He is the creator. The Lord has neither the beginning nor the end; He is always eternal and beyond time. He is everlasting and He is the Son of God and very God Himself. John goes further to state that the Word became flesh and He dwelt among men. He was the “Lamb of God”, and He was the one who was to come to save mankind from their sin.
The beginning of the Gospel according to John presents the deity of Lord Jesus Christ, and so does the ending of his book. Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus, confessed that Jesus was his Lord and his God.
John had ample material to write, and if he did, “the world itself could not contain the books that should be written”. Truly, it is so, inasmuch as we see the volumes of explanations of Lord Jesus Christ written by writers, from the limited details mentioned by John, and other Gospel writers, are so vast that the explanations, and expositions keep increasing rather than diminishing. The Word of God is ever fresh and never could it be archived. None of the books in the world can claim this kind achievement. As John puts it…”these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name”
“And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:26-31)
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” (John 21:25)
Some of the life events mentioned in synoptic Gospels is omitted by John. Those events are…
- The temptation of Jesus
- The transfiguration of Jesus
- Institution of Lord’ Supper
- Casting out demons from the afflicted
- The Sermon on the Mount
- Lord’s prayer (the sample)
Inclusion by John, of some material that was not found in synoptic Gospels is…
- Lord Jesus ministry in Galilee
- Resurrection of Lazarus
- Lord’s farewell speech found in John chapters 13-17
- One to one Ministry with Samaritan woman
- Usage of symbolism such as in John 2:25; 7:37-38; 12:32
- Emphasis more on eternal life rather than “Kingdom of God” or “Kingdom of heaven”
John uses the word “Life” 36 times, whereas Matthew, Mark and Luke use only 7 times, 4 times, and 5 times respectively, while John uses the “kingdom” only 5 times whereas Matthew, Mark and Luke use 55 times, 20 times and 46 times respectively.
[References: John 1:1-18; Genesis 1:1; John Chapters 2-4; John 2:17,22,25,; John Chapters 3,4 and 6; John 7:37-38; John 8:24,28,58; John chapters 11; John 12:16,32; John 1:4; 3:19; 8:12;11:9; 12:35,46; 8:44; 5:24; 11:25; 8:23,33,36; John Chapters 13-17; John 20:9; John 20:25; 21:25; 21:23-24]