In the first three Gospels, the Lord Jesus is presented as king, servant, and man. The incidents, words, and works are selected in each Gospel which supports their emphasis. Matthew, Mark, and Luke present the Lord on the side of His perfect humanity. That is the reason for their being what is called “synoptic” (i.e., the same view) and for the marked difference between them and the fourth Gospel in which the presentation is on the side of His Deity. John does not record the genealogy, birth, temptation, or agony of Christ in Gethsemane.
The four Gospels do not contradict but rather complement each other as they present one portrait of our Lord. It should be obvious why John would be so distinct since he emphasizes Christ as God. Of course, Christ is seen as king, servant, man, and God in all four Gospels.
John was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, and was the younger brother of James. The brothers worked with their father until Christ called them to follow Him.
They were two of the twelve apostles that Christ chose on earth and sent to Israel with the gospel of the kingdom (Matt 19:28). Peter, James, and John are sometimes referred to as the “inner circle” because Christ seemed to set them apart from the twelve (e.g., the mount of transfiguration). He is known as the beloved disciple because in his Gospel he referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” He never refers to himself by name because he was writing to glorify Christ.
Although the Gospel of John seems more compatible with Paul’s epistles than the other three Gospels, there is nothing in the Scripture to suggest that he later became an apostle to the Gentiles or to the Body of Christ (Gal 2:9). John wrote his three epistles after his Gospel. Much of what he wrote in his epistles is based on what he wrote in his Gospel. There is doctrine in his epistles that does not match the doctrine in Paul’s epistles (1 Jn 2:24). The Gospel of John is a record of the earthly ministry of Christ, and so regardless of when it was written we know it does not reveal the mysteries that Christ later revealed through Paul from heaven.
The traditional view is that John wrote his Gospel, epistles, and the book of Revelation in the 90’s AD. However, that is tradition and cannot be proven from the Scripture. For example, most think he was exiled on the Isle of Patmos in 95 AD, but he said that the Lord sent him there to receive the book of Revelation (Rev 1:9). We know from internal evidence that he wrote his Gospel before Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD (Jn 5:2, the pool was still there when he wrote).
The Gospel according to John presents Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. There is a clear emphasis on the deity of Christ throughout the book. The apostle John calls Christ the Word seven times (Jn 1:1, 14; 1 Jn 1:1, 5:7; Rev 19:13). Christ is the Word because He reveals and declares the invisible God to man (Jn 1:18).
John plainly stated why he wrote the book (Jn 20:30-31). Many think that John is written primarily to the Gentiles, but signs are for the Jews (1 Cor 1:22).
The profession of faith required to enter the kingdom is to believe that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of God (Matt 16:16-19; Jn 1:49; 6:69; 11:27; Acts 8:35-37). That is not a sufficient profession to be saved in this age. Yes, we need to know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, but specifically that He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again for our justification (1 Cor 15:3-4, Rom 4:25). Also, the gospel of the kingdom requires works to prove faith (Mk 16:15-16; 1 Jn 2:4; 5:13).
The keywords in John are “believe” (101 times) and “world” (80 times). The kingdom program of Israel has a world-wide scope (Ps 22:27-28). Repentance is emphasized in the other Gospel records, but not mentioned in John. This is not contradictory because those who believed on Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, also repented.
I. I am come forth from the Father (1:1-14)
II. …and am come into the world (1:15-12:50)
III. I leave the world, and go to the Father (13:1-21:25)
I. Prologue (1:1-14)
II. Witness of John the Baptist (1:15-34)
III. Public Ministry of Christ (1:35-12:50)
IV. Private Ministry of Christ to His Own (13-17)
V. Sacrifice of Christ (18:1-19:42)
VI. Manifestation of Christ in Resurrection (20)
VII. Epilogue (21)
The Gospel according to John is marked by sevens. Christ did many signs, but God inspired John to record seven (Jn 21:25). There was an eighth miracle after His resurrection.
Water into wine (2:1-11)
Healing of nobleman’s son (4:46-54)
Healing of the paralytic man (5:1-9)
Feeding of the 5000 (6:1-14) — recorded in all 4
Calming the storm (6:15-21)
Healing the blind man (9:1-7)
Raising Lazarus (11:38-45)
The seven “I am” statements of Christ (Ex 3:14; Jn 8:58) demonstrate that He is the answer for Israel’s needs:
Bread of life (6:35)
Light of the world (8:12)
Door of the sheep (10:7)
Good shepherd (10:11)
Resurrection and the life (11:25)
Way, truth, life (14:6)
True vine (15:1)