The gospel of John


The Gospel of John begins with a prologue or introduction, the introduction in John locates the beginning of the story of Jesus in timeless eternity, before the dawn of creation. John's account of Jesus` public ministry is often called "the book of signs," because John had a special interest in the role that the signs played in revealing Jesus` relationship with the Father. Interspersed among the seven miracles are statements that Jesus performed many other signs (John 2:23, 3:2). The Gospel of John was written around seven signs. John wrote the Gospel following the purpose of Jesus` ministry and teaching. When we study the Gospel of John we can see that one sign leads to or develops out of one of the other signs. In this essay I am going to explain the importance of these signs and why they are vital for understanding the Gospel of John.


In English we call them "Signs", while in the Greek language singular word for signs is "Semeion" and in the Hebrew the word signs is called. The word sign is used by John intentionally to make known the power in Christ and His authority over the basic things of life that make man vulnerable. The things that make man vulnerable are misfortune, time, space, quality and death. The day to day forces of limitations that cause struggles in the lives of man are defeated or outrun by Christ`s omnipotence and His power is made known by these signs as proof of His divinity.[1] Even though John used these particular signs out of many other signs, it does not mean that he overlooked the other signs or spoke more on one sign then the other. Some of the signs that Jesus did were so extraordinary that the needed special attention, and to be deeply explained. [2]


John was not writing about Jesus as someone with magical powers, but he was simply using these signs to reveal the reality of who Jesus really was. John was not merely writing to please any man, but to make known the power that is in Christ and the authority He has over the things that man is limited to. These signs were just an outward eyewitness for the hidden eternal spiritual truth and power that is in Jesus. John wrote to state that even though Jesus was manifested in the form of human flesh, but that in reality He is divine.[3] These signs done by Jesus were as signposts to prove beyond any doubt of Christ divine nature. John 20:30-3 says, `And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written down, but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the God.[4]

Tenney, said that the healing of the blind man and the raising of Lazarus happened during the conflict, the feeding of the five thousand happened in the period of controversy and lastly the turning of water into wine and the healing of the nobleman's son happened in the period of consideration. [5] John selected seven important signs which are written below in their chronological sequences. The person and the power of Jesus are revealed in these signs.


In this chapter we read that Jesus and His followers or disciples were invited to a wedding in place called Cana of Galilee, even Jesus` mother was present at the same wedding celebration. While wedding celebrations continued it was brought to Jesus` attention that the wine was finished.

Because of the shame and embarrassment that the young would face if the people knew that the wine was finished, Mary simply said to Jesus that the wine had finished, this shows the testimony to her personal confidence in His power. If the guests and all the people who were present at the wedding discovered that the wine was finished, this issue was going to cause tension and the host and hostess of the wedding would be put into practical segregation.'[6]

Mary went to Jesus and said, 'they have no more wine. Jesus answered her saying, dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come. His mother then said to the servants, "Do whatever He tells you." Jesus then called the servants to bring the six water-jars of stone and He told them to fill them with water and told them to draw out some and take to the master of the feast. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that had been turned into wine, and did not know where it came from, said that every man sets at the beginning good wine, but you have saved the best for last.

This sign reveals the supernatural power that Jesus has over nature and to show that He was really the Son of God. In this sign we can see that He was truly God made manifest in the flesh in order to reveal His glory. The faith of the disciples was strengthened through this miracle. This sign reveal Jesus as the master of quality and that the grapes that were used for making wine would take a while to grow and then be processed into wine, but Jesus in a no time turned water into good quality wine. Through this miracle the disciples put their faith in Him. [7]


When Jesus arrived in Galilee after spending two days in Samaria, He went to Cana the place where He had turned the water into wine; this fulfilled what was said that a prophet would not be welcomed in his own country. The people in Galilee welcomed Him not because they saw Him as the Son of God, but rather because of the miracles they had seen Him do and also because they wanted to see more miracles. There was a certain official who's son lay sick and he heard that Jesus had returned to Galilee from Judea and he went to Jesus and begged him to come and heal his son. This official would have not asked Jesus to come and heal his son unless he had heard of the miracles Jesus did or was present when Jesus did them. Because of what he had heard or seen about Jesus he believed that Jesus not an ordinary man.[8]

The official had to have believed in the power and authority that Jesus is the life giver and the healer. Jesus in this verse revealed Himself as master over time and space and just by speaking and not going to were the official man's house, this reveals that time nor space cannot stop Jesus.


There is in Jerusalem near the sheep gate a pool named Bethesda, which means 'house of mercy'. This place was known as a place where miracles took place. People with different sicknesses where found at this pool and Jesus specifically went to one man who the world had given up on and who gave up on himself as well. Thirty eight years had gone and this man laid there paralysed. He waited for almost all his life for a miracle to happen.

In verse 6 Jesus stood before him and said to him. "Do you want to be healed?" The man replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me. Jesus said to him "Get up, pick up your mat and walk." The paralysed man got up at once on the faith that had come to him in Jesus. The man picked up his mat and walked. The man's faith to act upon what Jesus told him to do brought renewal and healing for his physical body. This sign reveals something new about the power that Jesus has over sickness. Jesus can heal weather a person has a sickness for a lifetime or for a few years Jesus is not limited by years or sickness. In this verse we learn that Jesus has power and authority over time and that when we do what he commands us to do we receive the power to do what He did.[9] We should not think that our problems are too complicated. When we obey Christ these problems are dealt with.


A great multitude of people followed Jesus, not because they believed in Him but because of the miracles He did. Jesus then asked Phillip where he could buy bread to feed the multitude. But he said two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough to feed all these people. To discover the truth and meaning of this miracle we must consider the teaching of Jesus surrounding the miracle. Remember that John has a specific purpose in his recording of each and all of the seven miracles which he calls "signs" in John 20:30, 31. Andrew suggested that the only food available was a lad's lunch of five small loaves and two small fish. He said it was not enough for all these. Then Jesus ordered the crowd to seat down and He took the loaves and fishes and gave thanks, and then distributed them to the crowd through the hands of His disciples. This sign of feeding the five thousand with five loaves and two fish was a creative act by Jesus. By multiplying the five loaves and two small fish into enough food to feed the multitude of people, Jesus showed Himself to be the master of quantity. In explaining the significance of the fourth sign Jesus said in verse 35 "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not go hungry, and he who believes in me shall never be thirsty." As "the bread of life" we find that Jesus is and has all that we desire and need "for life and godliness." Physical bread will not satisfy our hunger, no matter how much bread we may have we will never get satisfied, unless we eat it and digest it.[10]


The disciples got into the boat and crossed over the sea toward Capernaum, it was already dark and Jesus was not with them. Later the disciples saw something walking on water, the disciples were afraid because they did not fully realize who this person was. The significance of this fifth sign is that it demonstrated Jesus' mastery over natural law. They were in greatly troubled and Jesus came to them. In this sign we discover that Jesus is our friend and helper and in His presence we feel secure and this is what believer's should know and understand.


A man blind from birth sat at the temple gates and was he was seen by Jesus and His disciples as they were passing by. Some wondered whether his blindness was caused by his parent's sin or his own, but that the work of God might be displayed in his life. So, in verses 4 and 5 Jesus said "I must work the works of Him that sent me." "I am the light of the world." He spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay, saying to him, 'Go, and wash in the pool of Siloam'. So he went and washed and came back seeing." Jesus did not explain why He made clay. The point is that the blind man obeyed. He went to the pool of Siloam and washed and returned seeing. Jesus summed up the significance of the sixth sign by saying, "For judgement I came into this world, that those who do not see might see, and that those who see may become blind." Some of the Pharisees near Him heard this, and they said to Him, "Are we also blind?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt, but now you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains."[11]

In this passage of scripture we see Jesus being revealed as the master over misfortune and that Jesus did not respond to this man's serious disease but to his affliction.


Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus to tell Him that their brother Lazarus is sick. The reaction of Jesus` response to Martha and Mary request is so unexpected. It was expected that Jesus would hurry immediately to Lazarus' bedside. But Jesus didn't say "We will come at once," but waited two days. Martha and Mary in loving anxiety watched and waited until their brother died and Jesus did not come. When finally Jesus arrived, He requested that they remove the stone from the grave. Jesus prayed audibly so that the people might believe that the Father had sent Him. He called Lazarus to come out and Lazarus came out.

This seventh sign has a very vital meaning which is to show that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. The miracle indicates that Jesus was truly the master death. This means that His life giving power is greater than death. In this sign every Christian finds comfort. The power of death is very real to us, our loved ones and friends are taken from us and we come to look on death as something inevitable which puts a limit to human existence. But against the grim of the fact of death, Christians put their trust in this seventh sign of Jesus' raising Lazarus, and then we know that the life-giving power of Jesus is stronger than death. This sign tells believers that death is not the full-stop marking the end of the sentence of existence but only a comma, that death is not the end of life, but only a junction between the visible and the invisible.[12]

The seven signs help us to understand the importance of the Gospel of John. Three main words are used in this book, signs, belief and life. These words show the purpose of the whole gospel of John and have great theological significance.

Tenney says that:

'That the signs are filled with the teachings that interpret these phenomena in expressions of spiritual truth. In belief and unbelief, are seen as the actions and reactions within the narration. Through life and death, the expressed outcome of destiny is determined through belief and unbelief. These three words, signs, belief, life, provide logical organization of the Forth Gospel. In the signs appear the revelations of God; in belief, the reaction that they ought to evoke; in life, the result that belief brings.'[13]


The Gospel of John is an important book to study. The seven signs that I have looked at in this assignment have revealed the different facets of the supernatural power which we find in Christ Jesus. The resources I used for this essay are very informative and have helped me to uncover some other meanings of the different seven signs written in the Gospel of John. The Gospel of John reveals many functions and roles that the Son of God or Jesus fills or does. I have learnt that Jesus is not limited to anything be it time, space, nature or sickness, that He has power over everything. To understand the Gospel of John one must not read it with a preconceived mindset but with a mind that is willing to get revelation and true meaning.


  • Wenham, D, Walton, S. Exploring the New Testament: The Gospels and Acts. London, UK: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2001.
  • McKay, John. The Call and the Cross: The Way of the Spirit. Horsham, UK: Kingdom Faith Ministries, 1999.
  • McClaflin, Mike. MDL403- Synoptic Gospels and Acts: Part 1. Springfield, MO: ICI University, 1992.
  • Gundry, Robert, H. A Survey of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003
  • MacDonald, William. Believer's Bible Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985.
  • Abraham, A Kenneth. The Matthew Henry Study Bible. USA: World Bible Publishers, 1994.
  • Kuzmie, Peter. The Gospel of John. Springfield, MO: ICI Global University, 2003.
  • Tenney, C Merrill. The Gospel of Belief. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976.
  1. Merrill C. Tenney, The Gospel of Belief (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976), 83. It is called: John: The Gospel of Belief
  2. Peter Kuzmie, The Gospel of John: A study Guide (Springfield MO: ICI University, 2003), 43-44. Capital S
  3. John McKay, The Call and the Cross: The Way of the Spirit (Horsham, UK: Kingdom Faith Ministries, 1999), 149.
  4. David Wenham and Steve Walton, The New Testament: The Gospels and Acts (London, UK: Bath Press, 2001), 247-248.
  5. Tenney, The Gospel of Belief, 311
  6. Tenney, The Gospel of Belief, 31.
  7. Robert, H Gundry, A Survey of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 268, 269.
  8. William, MacDonald, Believer's Bible Commentary (Nashville TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985), 1488, 1489.
  9. A, Kenneth Abraham, The Matthew Henry Study Bible (USA: World Bible Publishers, 1994), 2084 - 2085. A. Kenneth , not A, Kenneth.
  10. Abraham, The Matthew Henry Study Bible. 2090.
  11. Gundry, A Survey of the New Testament. 273.
  12. Kuzmie, The Gospel of John, 166. Kuzmic
  13. Kuzmie, The Gospel of John, 41-42.

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