Book Overview - John
by Rhoderick D. Ice
John was the son of Zebedee and Salome; brother of James; in early life a fisherman on Lake Galilee. He was an apostle of Christ, one of the Twelve, and also one of the inner circle [along with Peter and James]. He was an “ordinary man of no education” (Acts 4:13), which means he did not have a “theological education” in the rabbinical schools. Yet we can be sure he had the kind of education all respectable Jewish families gave their children. Every synagogue was a school in which children were taught to read and write, and were given fundamentals not greatly different from the basic skills today. The children of the ordinary Jewish people were better educated than those of any other country in the world.
John was a disciple of John the Baptist when Jesus found him. We see him next at Lake Galilee when Jesus gives the official call to be an apostle. Along with Peter and James, he was a constant companion with Jesus. These three, only, see the raising of Jairus’ daughter; see the glory of the Transfiguration; and witness the anguish of the garden. John and Peter follow Jesus after the arrest, and John goes right into the house of Caiaphas; to the trial before Pilate; and to the cross. When news of the Resurrection came, John and Peter were the first to reach the grave. Jesus placed his human mother in John’s care. John alone of the Twelve lived beyond the destruction of Jerusalem [all the others were dead before it happened]. From that event, he lived in Ephesus, and died about 100 A.D. It was probably in the last ten years of his life that he wrote the Gospel of John 1, 2, 3 John; and Revelation.
John writes to show Jesus as the WORD [Eternal Logos] who comes to earth in human form. He shows the special personality and mission of the Savior. He opens up and explains the doctrine of THE HELPER – the Holy Spirit. John explains the purpose of his Gospel in these words: “These have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this faith you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
the Second Week of Lent