[For Part 1, please see previous article.]
Feeding the five thousand was a truly remarkable miracle, but He also brought people back to life. He raised Lazarus who had been in the tomb for four days (11:17, 39, 43, 44). He also raised to life the son of a widow who lived in Nain, (Luke 7:11-15) and Jairus’s daughter (Mark 5:35-43).
In Chapter 12, verses 1 to 7, there’s a very lovely account of Mary anointing Christ with costly oil of spikenard. It was a special act of adoration on Mary’s part, an anointing for the day of Jesus’ burial (v 7).
Jesus was not like any other king. When He entered Jerusalem (John 12:12-15) to claim his kingship He rode on a donkey in fulfilment of Isaiah 40:9 – ‘Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming sitting on a donkey’s colt.’ This was an act of great humility. The people proclaimed that He ‘came in the name of the Lord’, and He was the King of Israel (v 13).
The humility of Jesus is further seen when He washes the feet of His disciples (13:3-17). He assumes the role of a lowly servant and He said He did it as an example (v 15) of how His disciples were to serve one another.
I believe the most lovely command Jesus gave was for His disciples to love one another: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (13:34; 15:12)
Jesus made many promises, but one of the most comforting was when He told His disciples He was going to His Father’s house to prepare a place for them. In His house there are many mansions (14:1-4). They could be assured of getting there, because He was the Way to the Father. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (v 6).
Of enormous significance was His promise to ‘pray the Father’ (v 16) for Him to give the disciples another Helper, the Spirit of truth who would abide with them forever (vs 16, 17). Without the giving of the Spirit the Church would not have been born (Acts 2). The Spirit would ‘testify’ of Him’ (15:26), and He would guide them into all truth (16:12).
In the same Chapter 14 He promised them His peace which was unlike the peace of the world. With His peace they need not be troubled or afraid (v 27).
For me the next jewel is to be found in Christ’s priestly prayer of Chapter 17 to His Father. In it He prays for the unity of believers in Him and His Father. Of particular note is verse 20: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.” He prays that all of them will be given His glory’ (v 22) – that’s all believers!
Jesus is captured, then tried – first before Annas, then before Caiaphas, followed by Pilate and again by Pilate. All of these trials are recorded in Chapter 18. Pilate eventually gives in to the Jews’ request for His crucifixion (v 38; 19:15) although he knew He was not guilty (v 38). Barabbas goes free (vs 39, 40). The charge against Jesus displayed on the cross was, ‘JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS’ (19:19).
With great compassion as He hang there He gave His mother into the safe keeping of John. ‘He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” (19: 26, 27) Finally He said, “It is finished!” (v 30) He had accomplished all He had come to earth to do before His resurrection.
Mary Magdalene on the first day of the week visited His tomb and found the stone rolled away. She ran to Simon Peter who was with John and told them what she had seen. They in turn ran to the tomb where they discovered the burial cloths, and they returned home (20:1-10).
Mary went back to the tomb and she was spoken to by two angels. Turning around she saw the resurrected Jesus, but she did not at first recognise Him. When He spoke to her she realised who He was. Then she said,“Rabboni!” (v 16). He told her to tell his brethren, “I am ascending to My Father, and your Father, and to My God and your God.” (v 17)
Afterwards Christ appeared twice to His assembled disciples, first when Thomas was absent, and later when he was present.
John concludes Chapter 20 with an explanation for writing his Gospel, i.e., for people to, ‘believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing’ they ‘may have life in His name’ (v 31).
Finally, John ends his Gospel with Chapter 21 which describes a meeting of Jesus with some of His disciples who had gone fishing at night, but with nothing to show for it. Morning dawned and Jesus stood on the shore. He asked them if they had any food. ‘No’ was the answer, whereupon He said, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” (v 6) They were unable to draw in the net because of ‘the multitude of the fish.’ Immediately Peter twigged on that he had been speaking to Jesus. Impetuous as he was he plunged into the sea to get to Him.
Jesus then reinstated Peter and commissioned him for the task of preaching the Gospel. He forgave Peter for not owning up that he was one of His disciples during His trials before Annas and Caiaphas (18:17, 25-27). He told him to, ‘feed’ His sheep. (v 17) and He indicated that Peter would ‘stretch out’ his hands and be carried where he did ‘not wish’. Tradition has it that Peter was crucified upside down, as he was not worthy to be crucified in like manner to the Lord.
John ends his Gospel by saying there were many other things done by Jesus, and if they were all written down in books there would not be enough room in the whole world to contain them!
Well, there you have it. I wanted to select a few choice gems from John’s Gospel, but in the end, I could not bear to leave any out. I hope you love John’s Gospel as much as me.