John's Gospel - Summary of Chapters


John was a witness that Jesus was Gods own Son

John reveals the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

One of the most profound versus in the text is:

He [the Lord Jesus Christ] was in the beginning with God. John 1:2 (NKJV)

John shows Christ was more then a mere man, grown up, who was sacrificed on the cross, He was with God, and indeed was God. We learn from Philippians 27 that he emptied himself out or made Himself of no reputation.

.but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (NIV)

emptied himself, taking a bondman's form, taking his place in [the] likeness of men; (DNT)

but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. (NKJV)

Figuratively Christ is clearly the antitype of Moses. Moses also considered it more important to be nothing than to be a prince, for we read:

24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. Hebrews 11:24-25 (NIV)

Christ chose to leave glory, for which we cannot even begin to comprehend, to become man, to demonstrate what love is. Moses could have had a carefree life, with complete security, in the richness of the palace where he was brought up. However, hardship was to be more important to Moses for the sake of God's elect than his own comfort. Clearly this Christ did for us. Love extends beyond ones own comfort.

John deals with life and death

Death is for all who do not have life. Life is in Christ, for Christ is life:

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:4 (NKJV)

To have life, the old nature must die, and the new has to be born:

esus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3 (NKJV)

The old nature is done away with, indeed it must be crucified:

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with. Romans 6:6

One in Christ has "put away" the old self, with its practices and filthiness, and has put on the new self" (Col 3:9). The old nature cannot enter the kingdom of God. It has to done away with. This is accomplished at the cross.

Our entire life needs to reflect this, which is also the symbol of baptism.

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4 (NKJV)

We see that there is a resurrection: We remember chapter 11, the death of Lazarus, the ultimate proof that resurrection could occur, even though corruption of the body was evident. Christ rose from the dead without seeing corruption as Psalm 1610 tells us, and the Gospel demonstrates was true.

It was in chapter 11 we see the convincing words along with its evidence that Christ is the life:

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. John 11:25 (NKJV)

Here we connect the life through resurrection to our life, although we may die. Death is only a passage from this life to eternity. To one who has life, death has not power:

56The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ 1 Corinthians 15:56 (NKJV)

We also see him handle as a human his friend Lazarus, and see the pouring out of grief, due his clear understanding of the causes of his death - the ravages of sin that marks us all. Christ as man was indeed humanity in perfection.

John contrasts light and dark

The Gospel begins with the words light and life.

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. John 1:4 (NIV)

He also takes the words from Genesis to demonstrate that life is connected with light - for without light, the world would be un-inhabitable.

Nicodemus came in the dark - John 32 - to learn that he had to be reborn

Nicodemus came in the light to demand the body of Christ (Chapter 19).

John contrasts belief with unbelief

It was after the miracle at Cana that: "He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith [belief] in him" (Chapter 2).

It was after feeding the 5000 that "many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more" when they heard that they had to trust Jesus entirely - mind, body and soul (Chapter 6).

After the raising of Lazarus that "[t]hen many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him" (Chapter 11).

Some thought that Jesus was indeed the Truth but the worry of the world put them off from confessing it: "many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue" (Chapter 12).

Some did not believe and one betrayed Him: "For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him" (Chapter 6).

And even His closest family did not believe at first: "For even His brothers did not believe in Him" (Chapter 7).

But some did believe, but still had a lot to learn: "But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Chapter 6).

The leaders could not even believe the obvious - the man who had received sight: "The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight" (Chapter 9).

And nor did Thomas and until he saw: ""Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

In the end, if you do not believe you will not be saved:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)

Chapter by chapter summary: Some key verses for each

Chapter 1

We see that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, the Light of the World, come to save His own, but was rejected; indeed, come to save the world, not condemn it. He made it possible to become a child of God:

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: John 1:12 (NKJV)

Chapter 2

The first sign is performed demonstrating although he was born of a woman he was the Son of God.

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. John 2:11 (NIV)

He afterward threw the thieves and robbers out from the temple.

Chapter 3

The essence of salvation is in new birth, and the old has to be done away with; the corrupt is to be replaced by the incorruptible, not by the hands of man, but by the resurrection of the Son of Man. If you believe you will be saved. Christ came to save, He will come to condemn.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17 (NKJV)

Chapter 4

Christ also revealed he was far greater than the Jew's forefathers - for Christ was come to give a spring of living water, which if drunk will render a person thirstless. Eventually both Jew and Gentile will worship the Lord, not in a temple made of earthly hands but in the Spirit and truth.

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. John 4:23 (NKJV)

Chapter 5

The wickedness of the Jews is exposed, for although outwardly pure, their hearts were corrupt. Jesus also presents abundant evidence - a four fold testimony - when three would have sufficed - that he was the Son of God. Jesus came to do His fathers will.

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24 (NKJV)

A person believing the words of Jesus will pass from death into life.

Chapter 6

Only by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus will you have life. That is, only by believing the words of Jesus and obeying his precepts will you know Jesus. Only through the Holy Spirit will you be sustained.

As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. John 6:57 (NKJV)

Chapter 7

The words of Jesus are of the Father. If you believe in Jesus, out of His heart will flow rivers of living water.

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." John 7:38 (NKJV)

Chapter 8

The wages of sin is death - and every one deserves death, for all have sinned. We are a slave to sin for: Jesus answered them:

"Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. John 8:34 (NKJV).

BUT Jesus states "I am the light of the world" and darkness is in every one's heart, until he or she has been reborn. Christ is able to free us from slavery of sin, and bring us into the light:

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:36 (NKJV)

Chapter 8 also tells us emphatically that before Abraham was, I AM meaning that Jesus was indeed God.

Chapter 9

A theme in the gospel is light and darkness, epitomised by blindness and sightedness. In this chapter we have a man born blind. The narrative demonstrates we are sinners from birth, for it was neither this man nor his parents sin that had caused blindness but the fact he was a son of Adam, as we all are. The miracle demonstrates that darkness blinds us all, and only by coming into His light - by believing on Jesus Christ, can be see:

He [the blind man] answered and said, "One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see." John 9:25 (NKJV).

His sightedness allowed him to utter:

Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him. John 9:38 (NKJV).

The sighted blind man was contrasted with the blind Pharisees, who could not see they required salvation, and hence was metaphorically as blind as this man was when he was born.

Chapter 10

Chapter 10 introduces us to Christ the Good Shepherd and to the concept that there is one way to heaven. There is no use trying any other route except through the Father, for all else will fail. This Shepherd loves his flock so much that he is willing to lay his life for them.

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. John 10:11 (NKJV)

Furthermore, His sheep know his voice - the hallmark of a Christian is the knowledge of His voice: My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27 (NKJV)

This chapter also emphatically states that Christ and God are one!

I and My Father are one." John 10:30 (NKJV)

Chapter 11

Introduces us to two themes:

(1) Christ was truly man with all human emotions - he had friends who he grieved when they suffered - to a depth greater than you or I, as He had a true perspective as to the cause of the suffering - the ravages of Sin.

Jesus wept John 11:36.

(2) Christ was truly the resurrection:

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. John 11:25 (NKJV)

Chapter 12

Jesus triumphantly rides into Jerusalem:

But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. John 12:23 (NKJV)

All in all, Christ came to glorify His father - this should be our chief end: to bring glory to the Father.

Chapter 13

A new command is given, demonstrated amply by Jesus who washes the feet of his disciples - the master is the servant of all:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34 (NKJV)

Chapter 14

The discourse of Jesus continues with a new theme:

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6 (NKJV)

There is only one right path; there is only one path to eternity; there is only one path that pleases the Father; there is only one path that satisfies the soul - "the way, the truth and the life" which is the Lord Jesus Christ.

This chapter details again the fact that we have the Holy Spirit as our Counsellor, our Helper, and our Friend - listen to Him.

Chapter 15

We are introduced to the fact we are grafted onto a new vine. The mystery of the Church is not yet revealed, but this is the core essence of this chapter. Abide in Christ and he will abide in you. The testimony of Jesus is to us by the Holy Spirit. In essence it fulfils the prophecy:

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Jeremiah 31:33 (NKJV)

Chapter 16

Jesus came forth from the Father to over-come the world - that is death. This he did.

"Oh Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" 1 Corinthians 15:55 (NKJV)

Jesus also gave hope to us all - He is gone for a little while, he will be back:

He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:20 (NKJV)

Chapter 17

Surely Christ glorified God, and the Father glorified the Son, for we see Stephen observing Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father.

The Chapter reveals a little more of the mystery of the church - the unity that epitomises the bride waiting for her bridegroom and the fact there is no Jew or Gentile, servant or free in the Church - we are all one in Christ.

Chapter 18

Scripture was fulfilled to the letter - all was done according to a plan - it followed exactly the wicked ways of man - Christ was falsely accused, arrested and handed over to he crucified. He was truly a bond-servant, for there was no legion of angels called to save Him (Matthew 26:53).

Chapter 19

Christ became sin for our sake. He came to his own, but his own knew him not. Mankind crucified the king. Christ finished the work that His father had sent him to do. He was crucified.

Chapter 20

Christ arose. Death could not hold him down. The tomb was empty. Christ bodily rose from the dead and appeared to many.

We need to believe this because:

Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:29 (NKJV)

Chapter 21

Not only did Christ arise as a man, truly the Son of Man, he ensured that we would know.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-2the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us-3that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. 1 John 1:1 - 4 (NKJV)


David L Simon (Dec 2004, Edited 21 Nov 2008)
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