You could summarize the theme of John’s gospel with one word: believe.
From chapter one to twenty-one, the aim of John’s account of Jesus’ life and teaching is to call people to believe in the Son of God. The stories and the order in which John shares them are designed to call non-believers to trust in the Messiah. The teaching which John records is intended to demonstrate the authority of Jesus.
The Gospel of John is the fourth gospel. His aim is to reach a broad and universal audience. While Matthew wrote for Jews, Mark for Romans, and Luke for Greeks, John is calling “the world” to believe.
“Believe” is woven through the entire book. It’s everywhere. It’s central.
With that in mind, it could be helpful to see the various ways that John uses the word believe. Here’s my top ten list:
1. “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (Jn 20:30–31)
2. ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16)
3. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (Jn 1:12)
4. ““Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” (Jn 14:1)
5. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (Jn 5:24)
6. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (Jn 3:14–15)
7. “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” (Jn 11:25)
8. ““I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (Jn 17:20–21)
9. “Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”” (Jn 20:27)
10. “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (Jn 14:11–12)
My prayer for this series is simple: “God, help people believe.”