Preaching through a book of the Bible is a milestone for any preacher. It takes planning and perseverance to work through sequential passages from the same context in an engaging way. It’s a good and rewarding challenge for a pastor on any level.
I just finished presenting the Gospel of John to the church I have the privilege of serving and I wanted to share three takeaways from my time in the text. This wasn’t my first time preaching through the Gospel of John, but it was the most meaningful.
Takeaway #1: The Gospel of John is memorable. It contains quotable verses like John 1:1-4, 1:12, 2:15, 3:16, 4:34, 12;16, 14:6, 15:13-15, 19:26-27, 20:30-31, and 21:15-17, just to list a few. It also contains the seven visually striking “I Am” Statements. It’s hard to forget the images of Jesus as “the bread of life,” or “the true vine.” The book is also memorable because John uses such consistent vocabulary, using and reusing the same terms and concepts throughout the whole book. The English terms, “believe” “world,” and “know” all appear close to or more than 100 times. These factors make it easier to hold on to the teaching of this Gospel.
Takeaway #2: The Gospel of John is personal. The writer refers to himself several times as “The disciple whom Jesus loved” (19:26, 20:2, 21;7, 21:20). This wasn’t a prideful label. It was a subtle way of including himself in the story, without overshadowing Jesus. John was an eyewitness to everything that happened, but he was also profoundly impacted by his interactions with Jesus Christ. In addition, John includes Christ’s touching interactions with Nicodemus, the woman at the well, and Lazarus and his sisters, plus many more. In my view, John does a wonderful job of developing the theme found in chapter 1, verse 14: “And the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us” (NASB).
Takeaway #3: The Gospel of John is powerful. Jesus is presented as the most powerful force mankind has ever known. He turns water into wine, heals a long list of people including bringing Lazarus back from the dead, and walks on water. John inserts an editorial note in chapter 20:30 that states that Jesus did even more miraculous things than he has room to record. But the power of John’s gospel extends beyond the document’s portrayal of Jesus. The message of the Gospel is powerful too. Readers are pushed to consider their own faith and relationship with God in a powerful and undeniable way. It’s hard to walk away from the Gospel of John without thinking about how you should respond for yourself.
A seasoned preacher will experience many sermon series in their ministry. But this sermon series in the Gospel of John has been very meaningful for me. I encourage you to spend as much time as you can reading and studying it for yourself.