At this the Jews exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon possessed!” Abraham died, and so did the Prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your Word, he will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the Prophets. Who do you think you are?”
James T. Dennison in his article “The Gospel of John: An Introduction” (www.kerux.com/doc/0801A3.asp) writes this comment on the purpose behind the Gospel of John. “John asks his readers to continually reflect on the question, “Who is Jesus?” This Christological question is answered from the Prologue to the Epilogue – He is the Word/Logos, the son of God, who is God Himself.” (P.1) Ever since I began my walk with the LORD Jesus Christ I have encouraged those who are seeking to know the LORD Jesus to begin by reading John’s Gospel. This has been partly because that is where I began. More importantly however I encourage this because John presents us with such a Glorious view of our living redeemer that this book is a nature and extremely helpful place to begin.
In John 8:53 the Apostle leads us to ask a key question of Jesus. Worded literally the question is, “Who do you make yourself out to be?” Who does Jesus claim to be? John gives us an abundance of material to help us answer the question. The question is not asked for Jesus’ benefit. He knows who He is. It is asked for our benefit. We must wrestle with the question, “Who is Jesus? Dennison points out that John’s Gospel seems to have been written in order to bring the answer to this question to our minds and hearts. John does not do this as a random bit of conversation in this Gospel which is quickly passed over as we read. John is presenting a view of Jesus which reveals Him in all of His awesome glory. This is a glory which is entirely consistent with the revelation given to us in Scripture. Recently I have been reading with considerable agreement the arguments of a number of scholars who point out that when we drift away from the Word of God we inevitably fall into dangerous error. John does not make this mistake. Everything He tells us is firmly anchored in the revelation given to us in Scripture. The LORD Jesus Christ is the Redeemer promised in Scripture. He has come and reconciled us to God through His cross. It is on this solid ground that we stand.
John confronts us with the question of Jesus’ identity. He then gives us abundant material with which to come to a conclusion about Jesus. His whole purpose is summed up in the words of John 20:30-31, “Jesus did many other miraculous 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 Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name.” John’s Gospel is a selective account, as is our reflections upon it today. The purpose of the Gospel and our study today is the same. This is to lead us into a life of faith in Him.
Who Is Jesus? John describes Him in the following incomplete list as the One who is.
1) The Incarnate Word/Logos who redeems us through the cross. (1:14)
2) As God – “It is I” (6:20)
3) As the Bread of Life (6:35)
4) As the Light of the World (8:12)
5) As Eternal God (8:58)
6) As the Gate for the Sheep (10:7)
7) As the Good Shepherd (10:11)
8) As the Resurrection and the Life (11:25)
9) As the True Vine (15:1, 5)
Every one of these statements is a reference to a Biblical metaphor which leads us into an understanding of part of the Scriptural revelation of the character and mission of our redeemer. As we reflect on these incomplete descriptions of all that John tells us may we come into an ever deepening faith in Him. For John has pointed us to a vision of the Glory of the Lord in the face of Christ.