Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to nbsint.org.
The gospel of John is the most unique of the four gospels in the New Testament. John begins with a prologue to Jesus. He doesn't have the birth necessarily, but he actually goes to the beginning of time, and his words harken back to Genesis 1. In the beginning was the word, he says. And the word was with God and the word was God. And he goes through this prologue story and then he begins the story of Jesus' life. Jesus is baptized, and he begins calling disciples. And all throughout John's gospels there's two very unique features. One, when Jesus performs a miracle and is a total of seven, they are called signs. Not miracles because they point to who Jesus is. Each one of them. The other thing that is unique are the I am sayings of Jesus. ""I am the bread, I am the good shepherd, I am the light all the way through."" This is very unique because in all the other gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is somewhat quiet about who he ultimately is. In fact, in Mark, there's what called the Messianic Secret where he tells people, ""Don't tell anyone about this."" But in John, he's his own PR man. Going around saying, ""I am it. I am the resurrection and the life, even."" But, when we come to holy week, we find that the gospels start to come together. Some minor differences: John's last supper involves foot washing instead of the bread and the cup as we find in the other gospels. But ultimately, he is crucified. His last words from the cross are, ""It is finished, and into your hands I commit my spirit."" It's a wonderful story. Different from the others but truly the story of Jesus of Nazareth.