This gospel was written by the disciple of whom it was said, "Jesus loved him."
John was the closest intimate of our Lord during the days of his ministry, so this constitutes a very important gospel.
A devotion introduction for January
We are beginning studies in the Gospel according to John. This gospel was written by the disciple of whom it was said,
Jesus loved him. John was the closest intimate of our Lord during the days of his ministry, so this constitutes a very important gospel.
Inestimable is the tremendous impact made on the Apostle John by three-and-a-half years of close companionship with Jesus of Nazareth. John was an old man when he wrote this gospel. As best we can tell, he wrote it from the city of Ephesus, where he settled after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D., in order to guide and direct the Christian community in that great Roman center. He wrote this, probably, toward the close of the first century. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke had already been written and widely circulated among the early Christians. All the letters of Paul had been written, as had all the letters of Peter.
This gospel was one of the last books of the New Testament to be written. Because it came so late, many have felt that John had perhaps forgotten some of the details of the things that had happened to him. He does not retrace many of the events recorded in the so-called synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John's gospel is different. John himself told us why he wrote this gospel:
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)
It is clear that John's method is selection, and his purpose is regeneration: life in the name of Jesus; real vital, exciting, compelling, fulfilling, satisfying life, what Jesus meant when he said,
I have come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.
Although John has allowed perhaps forty or fifty years to go by since the events he records here, nevertheless we must remember that he has been retelling this story almost every day for all those years. He was, of course, helped by the promise of Jesus that when the Spirit came, He
will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26). The apostles not only had their vivid memories, but they had the help of the Spirit to recall what Jesus had said on specific occasions, and they meditated many long hours over those events. Perhaps that is why John could add insights and interpretations to his accounts that the others do not include. All this was burned into the apostles' memories by this constant recitation of what had happened. Through the course of the years they never forgot what Jesus said and did. We can be certain that this is an authentic witness from an authentic disciple, who recalls clearly and vividly everything that Jesus said and did in those three-and-a-half marvelous years.