So what has John written in order to convince you that Jesus is the Son of God?
John’s prologue (1:1-18) reveals facts about Jesus that the participants in the narrative flow of the gospel do not know. Facts, such as the following, that orient us as we then read John’s narrative: The Word has existed from all eternity. He was with God for all eternity past, and He is God. As the Creator of everything, He gave life to all things. The life He gave humanity had light (light and darkness are major themes in John). The Word took on humanity as Jesus Christ, leaving the “bosom” of the Father so that He could reveal the Father to mankind.
All the gospels record miracles Jesus did. John identifies these miracles as signs. Turning water to wine (2:11), healing the Capernaum official’s son (4:54), feeding the five thousand (6:14), giving sight to the man born blind (9:16), and raising Lazarus from the dead (11:47, 12:18)—all these were indicators of Jesus’ identity as the promised Messiah, the Son of God. These were just a few of the signs Jesus did (20:30), and the purpose of these signs was to bring people to belief in Him.
Jesus’ I am statements
In addition, John reveals who Jesus is through various I am statements. I am . . . the Bread of Life (6:48), the Light of the World (8:12), the Door (10:9-10), the Good Shepherd (10:11, 14), the Son of God (10:36), the Resurrection and the Life (11:25), the Way, the Truth, and the Life (14:6), and the Vine (15:1). How can Jesus be all of these things? The answer is what He told the Jews on one occasion that so raised their ire: “before Abraham was, I am” (8:58). Jesus takes to Himself the very name of Yahweh (Exod. 3:14).
Jesus as God
John’s gospel presses upon his readers Jesus’ claim to be God. This should be no surprise since John’s purpose in writing is for a person to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. By saying Jesus is the Son of God, John is affirming the deity of Jesus. He is not a son of God, like we become through faith in Him (1:12), but rather He is the “one of a kind” Son (John 3:16). We and Christ both have the same Father but our relationship to that Father is different than His, as Jesus clearly implies in His words to Mary Magdalene (20:17). Jesus shares the same essence with the Father (10:30). He shares the Father’s glory (17:3). He is to be honored just as the Father is honored (5:23). To know and see Him is to know and see the Father (14:7, 9).
Jesus’ submission to the Father
At the same time, John emphasizes Jesus’ submission to His Father. Over 30 times, Jesus speaks of the Father as the One who sent Him (4:34; 5:24, 30). His food is to do the Father’s will (4:34). He came to do the work His Father sent Him to do, and He exults because He has finished it (17:4). Jesus’ submission is not a contradiction to His deity but rather the real-time outworking of what John said in the prologue (1:18): Jesus divulged the Father by saying what the Father told Him to say and doing what the Father told Him to do. As He told the Jews after healing a sick man on the Sabbath, My Father is working until now and so am I (5:17). Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath was a revelation to the Jews of what His Father was doing on the Sabbath. His subordination to the Father is what made possible His unequaled revelation of the will, words, and actions of the Father. And His full subordination to the Father was only possible because He shared the same nature as the Father.
Jesus sends a Comforter like Himself
John 14-16 says more about the Spirit’s role in the disciples’ lives (and ours) than any other gospel. Naturally, Jesus’ disciples were disappointed as He taught them of His imminent departure and return to His Father. Jesus comforted them by promising to send them the Holy Spirit, who would be a Comforter to them just as He had been. In fact, to have the Comforter was tantamount to having Christ Himself.
Jesus, the Son of God, is also the Lamb of God
A full third or more of John’s gospel focuses on one week in the life of Christ—the week of His Passion (chs. 12-19). Jesus is going back to His Father but He is going by way of the cross. Why? If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all peoples to myself (12:32). Jesus’ being lifted up will become the remedy for those who are perishing much as the serpent in the wilderness became the cure for those dying from fiery serpents (3:14-16). Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (1:29, 36).
John’s testimony to be believed
Ever so often in his gospel, John gives us a glimpse of himself in the narrative (13:23; 18:15-16; 19:35; 21:24). His presence at key points in his narrative brings a feeling of surety about what he writes. He writes as someone who was there and someone whose testimony we can trust.
This puts the ball in the lap of anyone who reads his gospel. John has borne witness to Jesus as the Son of God. His witness is sure. He testifies to what he knows. To believe his witness about Jesus is to have eternal life. To not believe is to perish. What will your decision be?