A New Beginning

Day 30


In the first twenty-nine days of our sixty-one day odyssey we journeyed through Matthew, Mark and Luke — the synoptic gospels (so called because they are “similar”). The synoptics cover roughly the same events, only from slightly different perspectives. The Gospel of John is altogether different. John wrote his gospel as much as forty years after the other gospels. By this time there was no need for John to cover the same material as the other three gospel writers. John’s gospel is much loftier. It contains the profound insights of a man who was the most intimate of Jesus’ disciples. Matthew, Mark and Luke wrote their Gospels during the heady days of the first two decades following the Resurrection. By the time John pens his gospel, the mood is different. John’s gospel doesn’t have the same sense of rush and breathless excitement as the Synoptics (especially Mark — the first gospel written); instead John’s gospel has a depth and maturity that makes you want to read it very slow and meditatively. John is not particularly concerned with the chronological order of his gospel and at times it’s hard to distinguish from Jesus’ words and John’s commentary. But since it is all the inspired word of God, it doesn’t really matter.

I love the Gospel of John. It is definitely my favorite gospel. I can’t wait to get started!

Picture yourself sitting with the aged Apostle John; maybe by a fireside with a cup of tea. His hair is white and his face is marked by time, but his eyes are bright and his mind is sharp. He is talking to us about Jesus. Sometimes he is telling about Jesus, sometimes he is quoting Jesus, sometimes he is commenting on deep spiritual truths, and they are all mixed together so you are not always sure what parts are the “words in red.” It doesn’t matter. You know the Spirit of God is speaking through this lone survivor of the original Twelve. He has outlived the rest by decades and you get the distinct impression that God has allowed it to be so in order that we might receive treasures of immeasurable worth from this venerable man of God.


The Gospel of John begins with a grand introduction,

“In the beginning was the Word.”

This is an intentional echo of Genesis 1:1. The message is simple: Jesus brings a new beginning. The first chapter of John is primarily about introductions. John introduces Jesus as the Logos, the Word, the express image of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Eternal Son.

John introduces the prophetic forerunner, John the Baptist.

We are introduced to half of the disciples: four by name (Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathanael) and two implicitly (James and John).

We have John the Baptist’s formal introduction of Jesus as the Messiah to the Jewish nation,

“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

This was the answer to a two thousand year old question. When Abraham and Isaac were walking up the Moriah ridge to offer the sacrifice (presumably at the highest point, which is now known as Skull Hill or Golgotha),

Isaac said to his father, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb?”

Abraham answered, “God will provide for Himself the lamb.” (See Genesis 22)

For two thousand years Israel waited for the fulfillment of Abraham’s prophecy. John the Baptist identified Jesus at the very beginning of His ministry as the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world.

The next day John the Baptist gave a very clear testimony to the identity of Jesus,

“I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

This will be the Jesus that John focuses on in his gospel — Jesus the Divine Son.

Each of the four gospels presents Jesus in a particular light,

Matthew gives us Jesus the King.

Mark gives us Jesus the Servant.

Luke gives us Jesus the Man.

John gives us Jesus the Son of God.

John 1:19 through John 2:11 covers five consecutive days.

Day 1 (Friday) John 1:19-28 “I am not the Christ.”

Day 2 (Saturday) John 1:29-34 “Behold, the Lamb of God.”

Day 3 (Sunday) John 1:35-42 Andrew and John begin to follow Jesus.

Day 4 (Monday) John 1:43-51 Philip and Nathanael meet Jesus.

Day 5 (Tuesday) John 2:1-11 The Wedding in Cana and Jesus’ first miracle.*

* John 2:1 “On the third day.” The “third day” means Tuesday. This is how we identify the previous four days. Tuesday was always the day for weddings in Israel. In the six days of creation the third day is the only day in which it is recorded, “Good saw that it was good”, twice (see Genesis 1:10, 12) Since the third day, or Tuesday, is the “doubly good” day, it was the day for weddings. This is true in Israel even today. Our Israel tours always arrive in Israel on a Tuesday and we usually go from the Tel Aviv airport to a park in old Jaffa (Joppa) overlooking the Mediterranean, and there are always weddings taking place in the park.

John chapter 2 is centered around two divergent events: The turning of water to wine at the wedding in Cana and the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem. In one Jesus makes wine from water and the other Jesus makes a whip from cords. In these two events we see the full spectrum of Christ: The compassionate Christ and the confrontational Christ. To discover the Unvarnished Jesus, we must see Him in both aspects.


My good friend Dmitri (Paul) Polikoff from St. Petersburg, Russia will be spending the next couple of days at our house. Paul will be with us in church Friday night.


(He’s 14)