Part 2 – An Introduction to the Gospels of Luke and John: The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ (Luke 1; John 1)

Daily reading assignment: Luke 1; John 1

The following devotional commentary serves as part 2 of my two-part introduction to the Gospels of Luke and John.

John 1The Gospel of John is the fourth Gospel of the New Testament and was penned by the beloved apostle John.

John was Jewish by birth, and a fisherman by trade (Mark 1:20). We first meet John as a follower of John the Baptist (John 1:35-40); however, he departed and followed Jesus when the Baptist declared Jesus to be the “Lamb of God” (John 1:36).

John was an eyewitness of the events recorded in his Gospel.  He was a disciple of Jesus Christ from the beginning of His earthly ministry, and a member of His inner circle, along with Peter and James, his brother. He was privileged to see Christ cloaked in His heavenly glory on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:2). When Jesus was crucified, John stood beside Mary, the mother of Jesus (John 19:26), at the foot of the cross.

John is believed to have been the last of the apostles, all of whom were martyred according to tradition, and penned the Book of Revelations when he was banished to the isle of Patmos near the end of his life (Revelation 1:1-2).

The opening verses of John’s Gospel are some of the best known of the New Testament and need little exposition for the readers of this devotional blog.  Unlike the Gospels of Matthew and Luke that give rich historical details of the incarnation and birth of Jesus, John’s Gospel opens with a beautiful declaration of the divinity and eternality of Jesus.

Jesus Christ is introduced as Eternal God (1:1-2), Creator (1:3), the Life (1:4), the Light (1:5, 9), the Word of God “made flesh” (1:14a), the Son of God, “the only begotten of the Father” (1:14b). Declaring Jesus to be the long-awaited Messiah whom the Jews rejected, John writes “He came unto his own [the Jews; descendants of Abraham], and his own received him not” (1:11).

Fulfilling the prophecies that a forerunner of the Messiah would come (Isaiah 40:3), we are introduced to the man we know as “John the Baptist” (1:15). While John the Baptist enjoyed a great following, he made it clear that he was not the Messiah (1:15-20); but the one sent before Christ to call the people to repent, and prepare their hearts for His coming (1:21-27).

John 1 records for us the dramatic moment that Jesus identified Himself with the ministry of John the Baptist by baptism (1:28-34), and John declared the purpose of Christ’s coming saying, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (1:29).

John continued, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him… And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (1:32, 34); “Behold the Lamb of God!” (1:36)

I close, drawing your attention to John 1:37-51 where we find the account of Jesus calling the first of disciples: Andrew (1:40), Simon Peter (1:41), Philip (1:43-44), Nathanael (1:45-49).

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith