As much as we learn about Jesus life and ministry in the first three gospels, we depend on the fourth gospel to help us understand who Jesus really is. Most scholars believe that John’s gospel is the last one written which means that the author and in fact the whole Christian movement has had more time to ponder the question of who Jesus really is. So we get a much broader and deeper sense of who the Christ is throughout this gospel.
From the beginning of the gospel, we learn that Jesus is with God the Father from the beginning of creation. In fact, Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. As much as we love the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke’s gospel, it means little without John’s gospel which proclaims that Jesus is actually the logos, or word, of God.
Throughout this gospel, we hear a myriad of images for who Jesus really is. He is the Lamb of God according to John the Baptist. He is also called the Son of God and the Messiah at various times in John. He is the giver of living water. He identifies himself with God- YHWH (name of God in Hebrew scriptures) when he uses the “I am” statements. YHWH means “I AM.” These statements also tell us much about who he is. Jesus is the bread of life, the gate, the good shepherd, the light of the world, the true vine, the way, the truth, and the life, and the resurrection and the life. These are all very deep images of who Jesus really is.
We not only hear that Jesus is the Christ, we learn what that means because of John’s gospel. We hear that Jesus feeds us not just physically, but spiritually. We learn that he is the way to knowing and being in communion with God the Father. He is our good shepherd who leads us and cares for us in our needs. He is the light that shines in the darkness. Jesus is the vine that connects us to our very Creator. He is the way to everlasting life. Jesus is the one who brings light and life into the whole world. He is also the one who sends the Holy Spirit to continue to advocate for us and guide us in God’s ways today.
When you meet someone who is searching for who Jesus is, direct them to John’s gospel. They will soon see that Jesus is our source of hope and light!