A Different Gospel
Matthew, Mark and Luke, the other three Gospels in the New Testament, are filled with similarities: shared stories and parables. John's Gospel does not sing in the same key. Over 90% of John's Gospel is not found in the other three.
In the other Gospels, the parables and stories of Jesus are the emphasis of His teaching; in John, the emphasis was His discourses. There are no parables in John. The closest John gets to recording a parable is Jesus teaching on shepherding, which is more like an allegory.
The other three Gospels focus on Jesus' ministry in Galilee; John's focus is on the five trips Jesus made back and forth to Jerusalem.
First Passover Trip (2:23)
An Unnamed Feast He Attended (5:1)
Feast of Tabernacles (7:2)
Feast of Dedication (10:22)
Last Passover (13:1)
Without John, we would imagine Jesus' trips to Jerusalem to have been quite few.
John records eight miracles, only two of which are mentioned in the other Gospels.
Turning water into wine (2:2–11)
Healing the nobleman’s son (4:46–54)
Healing the paralytic man (5:1–15)
Feeding the five thousand (6:1–14, mentioned in other Gospels)
Walking on the water (6:15–21, mentioned in other Gospels)
Healing the blind man (9:1–41)
Raising Lazarus from the dead (11:1–44)
Providing the catch of fish (21:6–11, a post-resurrection miracle)
John carefully chooses these miracles in order to use them to fulfill the purpose of His Gospel. Around these miracles he places Jesus' interviews and sermons.
John records some twenty-seven interviews, and the majority of them are only found in his Gospel. John is obviously not seeking to be comprehensive in his presentation of Jesus' life, ministry, death, and resurrection. He is being specific to suit the purpose of the Gospel he is inspired to author.
The Greatest Distinction of John's Gospel
John, more than any other Gospel, made it clear who Christ was. He quoted Jesus saying; “I and my Father are one” (10:30) and “the one who has seen me hath seen the Father” (14:9). John builds his argument concerning who Jesus is by quoting Jesus, saying; “Before Abraham was, I AM” (8:58). God had defined His name "Yahweh" to Moses by declaring "I AM Who I AM" (Exodus 3:14). When Jesus said, "before Abraham was, I AM," He was claiming to be God. John developed this idea throughout his Gospel by listing out the times Jesus used Yahweh's name with different metaphors to explain just how present He was.
I AM the bread of life (6:35).
I AM the light of the world (8:12; 9:5).
I AM the door (10:7).
I AM the good Shepherd (10:11, 14).
I AM the resurrection and the life (11:25).
I AM the way, the truth, and the life (14:6).
I AM the true vine (15:1).
The Purpose of the Gospel
John does not hide the purpose of his Gospel within the text for his readers to figure out. John places his purpose toward the end of the book.
"Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name." John 20:30–31
John was seeking with great evidence to overthrow two false notions. First, the notion was that Jesus just appeared as God; the second was the notion that He was a man upon Whom the Holy Spirit rested.
John's goal was clear from the beginning and the end of the Gospel: to communicate that God and man dwelt within the single Person of Jesus Christ—both natures joined perfectly together. John wanted the readers to be convinced that Jesus was the promised King and He was the Son of God.
John wanted them convinced not just merely to be without doubts but so they would believe or devote their entire allegiance to Christ as God's King of the entire cosmos.
Lastly, John made it clear that when a person gave Christ their complete allegiance they encountered and began to experience eternal life.
The Date of Writing
There is controversy over when John did write his Gospel, but it is likely that John's Gospel is the final book written in the New Testament, written just before the turn of the first century in 90-100 A.D.
John was most likely living in Ephesus and was compiling a Gospel unlike anything written. In the Gospel, he is reaching out to those who do not know Christ or those who have heard of Him but have distorted views. He is no doubt largely reaching out to the Gentile world providing a Gospel relevant to the questions they would have needed answered.
Chapter Emphasis Outline
Christ, the Word (ch. 1)
Christ, the Transformer (ch. 2)
Christ, the Savior (ch. 3)
Christ, our Eternal Life (ch. 4)
Christ, our Healer (ch. 5)
Christ, our Mana [Bread of life] (ch. 6)
Christ, the Controversial (ch. 7)
Christ, the Light of the world (ch. 8)
Christ, our Sight (ch. 9)
Christ, the Good Shepherd (ch. 10)
Christ, the Resurrection and the Life (ch. 11)
Christ, the anointed and triumphant King (ch. 12)
Christ, our Servant (ch. 13)
Christ, our Peace (ch. 14)
Christ, the Vine (ch. 15)
Christ, our Comforter (ch. 16)
Christ, the Intercessor (ch. 17)
Christ, the Rejected (ch. 18)
Christ, our Sacrifice (ch. 19)
Christ, our Victory (ch. 20)
Christ Appears (ch. 21)