Day 35: John


We know that John’s Gospel is different from the other gospels included in

the Bible. Written some 20-30 years later, there are far fewer miracles and

instead of parables, John presents Jesus’ teaching in "discourses". The

style is more intimate and as a whole, the Gospel is said to be more

"spiritual". But, why is it different, and what does that mean for us

reading it today?

It has some very distinctive features. The prologue presents Jesus as "The

Word" that is God, existing throughout eternity, emphasised further when

Jesus says "Before Abraham was, I am!" and there is, what has been said to

be, the one verse that sums up the whole Bible (3:16).

In the seven "I am" statements, John has Jesus using powerful metaphors

relating to basic sustenance, light and life to explain what He is about.

It has been said that through his use of these statements, John is wrestling

with his own understanding in response to many of the confused arguments of

the early church (Stephen Dawes in "The Reader" Vol 106:1 p5).

So while we might think of the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke providing a

more narrative account, the "What?" if you like, perhaps John challenges us

to consider the "So what?". "God so loved the world….", so what? Jesus

is "the bread of life", so what? Jesus is "the light of the world", so

what? Jesus is "The Word" existing throughout eternity, so what?

So what for a Christian struggling with life under the rule of Rome in the

late 1st Century, so what for each of us struggling with life in the 21st


Roger Hetherington

Read the Bible on line at Bible Study Tools. Today’s passage (NRSV) is here:


3 Responses

  1. Amazing to read the Gospels at such a gallop. It really did give a sense of their different ‘flavours’ . You can study this in textbooks or the ‘Harmonies’ but you cannot beat experiencing them alongside eachother in such rapid succession. This way of reading scripture has been a whole new dynamic for me – daily readings will seem more a snack and less a feast after Easter!

    • Well I guess we could all go round a second time……? Seriously, I agree Liz. It’s been an amazing experience.

  2. What? So what? Presumably leading, as we finish this challenge for ourselves to “Now what?”……

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