The New Testament starts with the three Gospel books of Matthew, Mark and Luke. These three are known as the Synoptic Gospels. Gospel means “Good News”, and Synoptic refers to the fact that all three give an account of the same general events from the same point of view. The fourth book, John, is distinctly different from the three Synoptic Gospels, and includes much information not in the other three Gospels.
The four gospel books differ in what stories they include and how the stories are told. None of the four Gospels are meant to be a complete, detailed life of Jesus. Rather, as John wrote, “Jesus truly did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that by believing you might have life through his name.” “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they should all be written, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”
Together, the four Gospels comprise the vast majority of the direct information we have about the life and teachings of Jesus.
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In the time of Jesus’ ministry, the Jews were hoping for the coming of a Messiah, though the precise meaning of that expectation varied from person to person. Some expected a prophet like Moses, some expected a king like David, some expected a military leader to free Israel from the domination of Rome. In the gospel of John, Jesus overturns all those expectations.
In Sychar, Jesus reveals himself as a savior of Samaritans, not just Jews. He portrays himself as the water of life and as a prophet who can reveal the meaning of all things. In the first big evangelical rally, many of the residents of Sychar became believers in Jesus.
The second miracle of Jesus was healing the official’s son from a long distance. This miracle revealed Jesus as a messiah who heals physically, and is not limited by space and time.
At the Pool of Bethesda, Jesus revealed himself as one who is the lord of the Sabbath, and the one who gives eternal life. Through discussions about the Sabbath, Jesus reveals himself as the Son and as the one that the Scriptures testify about.
With the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus is publicly shown to be kingly… someone who would fulfill the dreams of many people. With that, Jesus begins revealing himself to have characteristics that were entirely unpredictable.
Throughout the book of John, Jesus says many things about himself. Seven of his statements are known as the “I AM statements.” The form of these statements essentially equates Jesus with God, because God called himself, “I AM.” Jesus says he is the:
Modern Christians read these statements from a positive, reassuring viewpoint. Keep in mind that the Jewish leaders would have heard them as vicious blasphemy, each deserving death.
Luke – Troy Powell
John Mark – Wilbur Penn
Paul – Brian Shoop
Matthew – James Hansen Prince
Peter – Francis Fuselier
John the Apostle – John Ferguson
Lazarus – Ricco Fajardo
Philip the Apostle – Jordan Dragonking
Joseph of Arimathea – Gerardo Davila
Mary Magdalene – Trisha Zarate
Thomas – Brandon Potter
Most Thankful Angel – Carleen Huber