An in-depth look at John’s first-century biography about Jesus
Sundays 11am | 8 May-24 Jul, 18 Sep-24 Oct, 20 Nov-4 Dec 2022
This Sunday we’re starting an exciting series on one of the most historically verifiable biographies about Jesus: John’s gospel.
John was one of Jesus’ closest followers, an eyewitness, supported in his writing no doubt with insights from Mary, Jesus’ mother (who he was privileged to care for after Jesus’ death).
The earliest fragmentary copy of the original (known as the John Rylands fragment) is dated (on average) to about 125AD. This is a very close date to when the original would have been written, especially given it’s a copy, and it was found in Egypt, some distance away from where John composed his gospel (Ephesus, Turkey). So, not sufficient time for claims of ‘Chinese whispers’ (Americans: think of the game ‘telephone’) – legendary embellishment in subsequent decades and centuries to occur.
It’s credible, that’s the point. But throughout this series you’re going to be less convinced by the gospel’s historical pedigree than by its power – it’s ability (through the Holy Spirit) to make Jesus, the person of God, real to you.
This series is an invitation to know and be known by God. It’s about encountering God in the person of Jesus – experiencing him minister to you as he’s recorded caring for the people he encounters in the gospel. You are invited to enjoy the most sublime friendship with the most loving and powerful being in the world. You’re invited to know Jesus like John, who called himself ‘the disciple Jesus loved’ and laid his head on Jesus’ chest at the Last Supper. He heard the beating heart of God’s love for himself. He heard the heart of God’s love for the world. You can too!
If you feel distant from God, this series is for you. If you feel confused about life this series is for you. If you’re in need of real refreshment – living water – this series is for you. If you want to know God more, this series is for you.
To help you get the most out of this series, we’d encourage you to:
1. Pick up a free John’s gospel journal from Chapel this Sunday; there’s space in it for you to make lots of notes and annotate.
2. Read the whole gospel in a day or over a few days, then read it again more slowly over a couple of months.
If you want to go deeper still, read one or both of these books:
Called to be Friends: Unlocking the Heart of John’s Gospel by Ian Galloway
The Gospel According to John by DA Carson
And, for those who were keen enough to read to the bottom of this blog post, check out this conversation I was privileged to have with Ian Galloway, author of an exciting, ground-breaking new book on John’s gospel. Enjoy!