The Gospel of John: Revealing the Invisible God
A Bible Study by Fred Kenison
When John set out to write his gospel of the deeds and words of Jesus, he simply was not as concerned about providing an historical account as were the writers of the synoptic gospels. In his gospel, John gave only a minimal account of many deeds, while the other synoptic writers went into great detail about the deeds which John barely mentioned, or did not mention at all. The sermon on the mount is a good example of this.
The gospel of John is not primarily about Jesus, certainly not the historical Jesus, although it may appear to be so at first glance. John wrote about Jesus and his life because it revealed the Father. To know Jesus, was to know something of the Father. The gospel of John might even be considered as the first revelation given to John, and the book of Revelation as the second revelation given to John.
Jehovah, the word of the Old Testament, became flesh in the person of Jesus. However, his office was the same as it was in the Old Testament, namely to give an exact account of what the invisible, unknown, creator god, his heavenly father, told him to say and to do. The purpose of Jesus being on this earth was to reveal the existence of this invisible god, and to glorify him by his words and deeds. That is why we say that John's gospel could be considered the first revelation given to John.
Most of what Jesus taught about this invisible god was not understood at the time, not even by his closest disciples. Yet, he persisted in his ministry. He was aware that when holy spirit dwelt upon each person, his disciples would then understand the mysteries he had been divulging to them. These were mysteries to them because they had no conception of any god other than Jehovah, the god of Israel. Therefore, when Jesus spoke of his heavenly father, they assumed that Jehovah was the one of whom he spoke. Later, after the coming of holy spirit, they realized that Jesus was not only the messiah, but also Jehovah, himself, the god of Israel.
By his death on the cross, his final act as a natural human being on this earth, Jesus opened the way into the presence of the heavenly father, the invisible god, for every human being then living, or any who would live later. Now, by the grace of the invisible god, and the obedience of his son, Jesus, the Christ, we can know of his existence, and we may now have fellowship both with the Father and with his son.
Please keep in mind while studying the Gospel of John, that John's primary thrust was to reveal the Father, the invisible creator god, not to provide an historical account of Jesus. Remembering this will allow the reader to more easily reap the truth of what John had to say.