The fourth gospel unequivocally states the purpose of the book: "Jesus ... worked also ... many other signs ... these were written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, And that believing you may have life in his name "(29:30, 31).

From the prologue (1: 1-18) with its climactic phrase, "and we have seen his glory" (verse 14), to the confession of Thomas at the end, "My Lord and my God!" (20:28), the reader is constantly being pushed to his knees. The Lord Jesus stands out as something more than mere man; In fact, even more so than a supernatural envoy or representative of the Deity. He is the true God who came in the flesh.

However, the Hebrew people, who awaited their future redeemer, needed proof of Jesus' assertions that he was the promised Messiah of the Old Testament. John presents these verifications. Miracles and speeches chosen from a twenty-day period in the public ministry of Jesus, a ministry that lasted three years, dramatically confirm it as the Christ, the Son of God. Eight signs or wonders reveal not only his power, but attest his glory as the divine bearer of redeeming grace. Jesus is the great "I am", the only hope of a race that would otherwise have no hope. Water turns into wine; The merchants and the animals destined for the sacrifices are expelled from the temple; The nobleman's son is healed at a distance; The paralytic receives healing on the day of rest; The multiplication of the loaves; Jesus walks on the sea; The blind from birth receives the sight; Lazarus is resurrected. These miracles reveal who Jesus Christ is and what he does. Progressively, John presents it as the Source of new life, the Water of life and the Bread of life. Finally, his own enemies receded and fell to the ground before the "I am," who voluntarily surrendered to suffer on the cross (18: 5, 6).

Seeking to redeem man from sin and judgment, and to restore him to divine and holy communion, the eternal Logos makes this world his transient residence (1:14). By virtue of his grace fallen man is able to dwell in God (14:20) and finally in the eternal mansions (14: 2, 3). In his own person Jesus fulfills the meaning of the prophecies and feasts of the Old Testament. Finally, he triumphs over his own death and the grave, and leaves his followers an extraordinary legacy to carry forward this mission of mercy, unique in history.

Shifting from one eternity to another, the fourth gospel links the fate of Jews and Gentiles as part of the whole creation to the resurrection of the incarnate and crucified Logos.



Even though the fourth gospel does not definitively mention its author, there is no doubt that it was John the Beloved who wrote it. Only an eyewitness, from the inner circle of the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ (compare 12:16; 13:29), could give us certain particulars of the book. In addition, the special and sometimes indirect account of John's participation would confirm his literary paternity (1: 37-40, 19:26, 20: 2, 4, 8, 21:20, 23, 24). Conservative exegetes put their date after the other Gospels were written, hence, between the year 69 of our era (before the fall of Jerusalem) and the year 90.




Carl F. H. Henry