Why should the book of John be included in the New Testament?
It is not surprising that each of the Gospels presents a different perspective of Jesus. They are written by four people who spent time with Jesus and were clearly moved by different aspects of His ministry, teaching, and life. (The same is true of any collection of people who witness or experience an event.) A good argument can be made, then, that all four of the Gospels are essential to a complete understanding of those three things about Jesus; however, John is particularly valuable because it presents Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior, in a way the other Gospels do not.
The book of John opens with these familiar and rather haunting words:
In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
While all four prepare to tell a story, and while the words "in the beginning" do seem more story-like than the others, this image and this language set the stage for something much more dramatic--and we get that in John's writing.
The only place we learn about Lazarus being raised from the dead is in the book of John. He is also the only writer to recount the story of Jesus turning water into wine. These are (arguably) two of the most powerful "Jesus stories" found in the Bible. The former demonstrates the miracle-working power of the Son of God, and the latter reveals the simple gesture of kindness of Jesus--as He again performs a miracle. Big or small, the miracles of Jesus are documented most powerfully in this book of the Bible.
This book also contains what have become some of the most quoted and referenced statements spoken by Jesus in the Gospels. Consider the following:
- John 14:6 -- Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
- John 14:14 -- When you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.
- John 14:15 -- If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
- John 15:13 -- No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends.
This book, then, is valuable because it contains elements of Jesus's ministry that are not contained elsewhere and thus helps give us a more complete and accurate picture of Jesus during His three years of ministry.
It is also valuable because John writes not in parables or stories, a common element in the other three Gospels, but more in philosophical and theological discussion form than in parable or narrative. The language is often more figurative than literal, again drawing us a different kind of picture about Jesus. The book of John is essential to the New Testament.
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