Sermon – August 5, 2018
Today we are beginning a new sermon series through the Gospel of John. John’s Gospel stands in startling contrast of style and, frankly, substance to the other three Gospels. What made John want to pen his gospel? Is the message he is trying to communicate that much different from the others? No, indeed, John understands well that no three writings could ever grasp the fullness of who Jesus was or what he did. Rather, John writes to make explicit themes left implied by the other three – specifically the deity of Christ. Today, we introduce the Gospel according to John.
1. What difference does John make?
Anyone who reads through the Gospels can tell, immediately, that John’s Gospel is different. What we need to have in mind is the reason for John to write another Gospel, especially if he knew of the other(s). It would appear, from John’s own writing, that he was specifically trying to supplement the others. Any book about who Jesus is and what he has accomplished must be incomplete, even if they are inspired by the Spirit. So much of what the other three imply, but perhaps do not state explicitly, is written with bold letters in John.
2. What direction does John take?
While all that might be true, what are the big things that John wants to make explicit? While many themes will be highlighted in the Gospel, the overarching theme is seen in the very first verse: the divine nature of the Word-become-flesh, Jesus Christ. This is a theme that marks nearly every miracle and sign in the Gospel: Jesus does the work that the Father shows him, for he and the Father are one.
3. What destination does John necessitate?
What is the purpose of stressing the divinity of Jesus? For many of us, the confession of God as a Trinity is necessary, but somewhat of an aside from the greater issue of understanding the gospel. It is much like knowing the password to get into a club, with the password having nothing to do with the goings-on inside. But the gospel is not like that; the gospel IS the Trinity, or to put it more precisely, the gospel is the revelation of the Trinity. We know that God is loving, just, wrathful, faithful, merciful, etc., not just because he has told us so, but because he has ultimately shown us so through the revelation of his Son who died for our sins. As God reveals himself as Father, Son, and Spirit, he demonstrates these qualities, giving us our salvation. The gospel is the revelation of the Trinity, bound together in glorious unity.