Bible Book Number 43—John
Writer: Apostle John
Place Written: Ephesus or near
Writing Completed: c. 98 C.E.
Time Covered: After prologue, 29–33 C.E.
1. What do the Scriptures show as to the closeness of John’s association with Jesus?
THE Gospel records of Matthew, Mark, and Luke had been circulating for over 30 years and had come to be treasured by first-century Christians as the works of men inspired by holy spirit. Now, as the close of the century neared and the number of those who had been with Jesus dwindled, the question may well have arisen, Was there still something to be told? Was there still someone who could, from personal memories, fill in precious details of the ministry of Jesus? Yes, there was. The aged John had been singularly blessed in his association with Jesus. He was apparently among the first of John the Baptizer’s disciples to be introduced to the Lamb of God and one of the first four to be invited by the Lord to join him full-time in the ministry. (John 1:35-39; Mark 1:16-20) He continued in intimate association with Jesus throughout his ministry and was the disciple “Jesus loved” who reclined in front of Jesus’ bosom at the last Passover. (John 13:23; Matt. 17:1; Mark 5:37; 14:33) He was present at the heartbreaking scene of execution, where Jesus entrusted to him the care of His fleshly mother, and it was he that outran Peter as they sped to the tomb to investigate the report that Jesus had risen.—John 19:26, 27; 20:2-4.
2. How was John equipped and energized to write his Gospel, and for what purpose?
2 Mellowed by almost 70 years in the active ministry and charged with the visions and meditations of his recent lonely imprisonment on the isle of Patmos, John was well equipped to write of things he had long treasured in his heart. Holy spirit now energized his mind to recall and set down in writing many of those precious, life-giving sayings so that each one reading ‘might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that, because of believing, he might have life by means of Jesus’ name.’—20:31.
3, 4. What is the external and internal evidence for (a) the Gospel’s canonicity, and (b) John’s writership?
3 Christians of the early second century accepted John as the writer of this account and also treated this writing as an unquestioned part of the canon of the inspired Scriptures. Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen, all of whom were of the late second and early third centuries, testify to John’s writership. Moreover, much internal evidence that John was the writer is to be found in the book itself. Obviously the writer was a Jew and was well acquainted with the Jews’ customs and their land. (2:6; 4:5; 5:2; 10:22, 23) The very intimacy of the account indicates that he was not only an apostle but one of the inner circle of three—Peter, James, and John—who accompanied Jesus on special occasions. (Matt. 17:1; Mark 5:37; 14:33) Of these, James (the son of Zebedee) is eliminated because he was martyred by Herod Agrippa I about 44 C.E., long before this book was written. (Acts 12:2) Peter is eliminated because he is mentioned along with the writer at John 21:20-24.
4 In these closing verses, the writer is referred to as the disciple “Jesus used to love,” this and similar expressions being used several times in the record, though the name of the apostle John is never mentioned. Jesus is here quoted as saying about him: “If it is my will for him to remain until I come, of what concern is that to you?” (John 21:20, 22) This suggests that the disciple referred to would long survive Peter and the other apostles. All of this fits the apostle John. It is of interest that John, after being given the Revelation vision of Jesus’ coming, concludes that remarkable prophecy with the words: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.”—Rev. 22:20.
5. When is John believed to have written his Gospel?
5 Although John’s writings themselves give no definite information on the matter, it is generally believed that John wrote his Gospel after his return from exile on the island of Patmos. (Rev. 1:9) The Roman emperor Nerva, 96-98 C.E., recalled many who had been exiled at the close of the reign of his predecessor, Domitian. After writing his Gospel, about 98 C.E., John is believed to have died peacefully at Ephesus in the third year of Emperor Trajan, 100 C.E.
6. What evidence indicates that the Gospel of John was written outside Palestine, at or near Ephesus?
6 As to Ephesus or its vicinity as the place of writing, the historian Eusebius (c. 260-342 C.E.) quotes Irenaeus as saying: “John, the disciple of the Lord, who had even rested on his breast, himself also gave forth the gospel, while he was living at Ephesus in Asia.”a That the book was written outside Palestine is supported by its many references to Jesus’ opponents by the general term, “the Jews,” rather than “Pharisees,” “chief priests,” and so forth. (John 1:19; 12:9) Also, the Sea of Galilee is explained by its Roman name, Sea of Tiberias. (6:1; 21:1) For the sake of the non-Jews, John gives helpful explanations of the Jewish festivals. (6:4; 7:2; 11:55) The place of his exile, Patmos, was near Ephesus, and his acquaintance with Ephesus, as well as with the other congregations of Asia Minor, is indicated by Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
7. Of what importance is the Papyrus Rylands 457?
7 Bearing on the authenticity of John’s Gospel are important manuscript finds of the 20th century. One of these is a fragment of John’s Gospel found in Egypt, now known as the Papyrus Rylands 457 (P52), containing John 18:31-33, 37, 38, and preserved at the John Rylands Library, Manchester, England.b As to its bearing on the tradition of John’s writership at the end of the first century, the late Sir Frederic Kenyon said in his book The Bible and Modern Scholarship, 1949, page 21: “Small therefore as it is, it suffices to prove that a manuscript of this Gospel was circulating, presumably in provincial Egypt where it was found, about the period A.D. 130-150. Allowing even a minimum time for the circulation of the work from its place of origin, this would throw back the date of composition so near to the traditional date in the last decade of the first century that there is no longer any reason to question the validity of the tradition.”
8. (a) What is remarkable about the introduction of John’s Gospel? (b) What proof does it supply that Jesus’ ministry was three and a half years in duration?
8 John’s Gospel is remarkable for its introduction, which reveals the Word, who was “in the beginning with God,” as the One through whom all things came into existence. (1:2) After making known the precious relationship between Father and Son, John launches into a masterly portrayal of Jesus’ works and discourses, especially from the viewpoint of the intimate love that binds in union everything in God’s great arrangement. This account of Jesus’ life on earth covers the period 29-33 C.E., and it is careful to make mention of the four Passovers that Jesus attended during his ministry, thus providing one of the lines of proof that his ministry was three and a half years in duration. Three of these Passovers are mentioned as such. (2:13; 6:4; 12:1; 13:1) One of them is referred to as “a festival of the Jews,” but the context places it shortly after Jesus said there were “yet four months before the harvest,” thus indicating the festival to be the Passover, which took place about the beginning of the harvest.—4:35; 5:1.c
9. What shows John’s Gospel to be supplementary, and yet does it fill out all the details of Jesus’ ministry?
9 The good news “according to John” is largely supplementary; 92 percent is new material not covered in the other three Gospels. Even so, John concludes with the words: “There are, in fact, many other things also which Jesus did, which, if ever they were written in full detail, I suppose, the world itself could not contain the scrolls written.”—21:25.
CONTENTS OF JOHN
10. What does John say about “the Word”?
10 Prologue: Introducing “the Word” (1:1-18). With beauteous simplicity, John states that in the beginning “the Word was with God,” that life itself was by means of him, that he became “the light of men,” and that John (the Baptizer) bore witness about him. (1:1, 4) The light was in the world, but the world did not know him. Those who did receive him became God’s children, being born from God. Just as the Law was given through Moses, so “the undeserved kindness and the truth came to be through Jesus Christ.”—1:17.
11. As what does John the Baptizer identify Jesus, and as what do John’s disciples accept Jesus?
11 Presenting “the Lamb of God” to men (1:19-51). John the Baptizer confesses he is not the Christ but says there is one coming behind him, and the lace of that one’s sandal he is not worthy to untie. The next day, as Jesus comes toward him, John identifies him as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” (1:27, 29) Next, he introduces two of his disciples to Jesus, and one of these, Andrew, brings his brother Peter to Jesus. Philip and Nathanael also accept Jesus as ‘the Son of God, the King of Israel.’—1:49.
12. (a) What is Jesus’ first miracle? (b) What does he do when up at Jerusalem for the first Passover during his ministry?
12 Jesus’ miracles prove he is “the Holy One of God” (2:1–6:71). Jesus performs his first miracle in Cana of Galilee, turning water into the best of wine at a wedding feast. This is “the beginning of his signs, . . . and his disciples put their faith in him.” (2:11) Jesus goes up to Jerusalem for the Passover. Finding peddlers and money changers in the temple, he takes a whip and drives them out with such vigor that his disciples recognize the fulfillment of the prophecy: “The zeal for your house will eat me up.” (John 2:17; Ps. 69:9) He predicts that the temple of his own body will be broken down and raised up again in three days.
13. (a) What does Jesus show to be necessary for gaining life? (b) How does John the Baptizer speak of himself in relation to Jesus?
13 The fearful Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night. He confesses that Jesus is sent from God, and Jesus tells him that one must be born from water and spirit to enter the Kingdom of God. Believing in the Son of man from heaven is necessary for life. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) The light that has come into the world is in conflict with darkness, “but he that does what is true comes to the light,” concludes Jesus. John the Baptizer then learns of Jesus’ activity in Judea and declares that while he himself is not the Christ, yet “the friend of the bridegroom . . . has a great deal of joy on account of the voice of the bridegroom.” (3:21, 29) Jesus must now increase, and John decrease.
14. What does Jesus explain to the Samaritan woman at Sychar, and what results from his preaching there?
14 Jesus sets out again for Galilee. On the way, dust-laden and “tired out from the journey,” he sits down to rest at Jacob’s fountain in Sychar, while his disciples are off buying food in the city. (4:6) It is midday, the sixth hour. A Samaritan woman approaches to draw water, and Jesus asks for a drink. Then, weary though he is, he begins to speak to her about the real “water” that truly refreshes, imparting everlasting life to those who worship God “with spirit and truth.” The disciples return and urge him to eat, and he declares: “My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.” He spends two more days in the area, so that many of the Samaritans come to believe that “this man is for a certainty the savior of the world.” (4:24, 34, 42) On reaching Cana of Galilee, Jesus heals a nobleman’s son without even going near his bedside.
15. What charges are made against Jesus in Jerusalem, but how does he answer his critics?
15 Jesus goes up again to Jerusalem for the Jews’ festival. He heals a sick man on the Sabbath, and this raises a great storm of criticism. Jesus counters: “My Father has kept working until now, and I keep working.” (5:17) The Jewish leaders now claim that Jesus has added blasphemy, that of making himself equal to God, to the crime of Sabbath-breaking. Jesus answers that the Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative but is entirely dependent on the Father. He makes the marvelous statement that “all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out” to a resurrection. But to his faithless audience, Jesus says: “How can you believe, when you are accepting glory from one another and you are not seeking the glory that is from the only God?”—5:28, 29, 44.
16. (a) What does Jesus teach concerning food and life? (b) How does Peter express the conviction of the apostles?
16 When Jesus miraculously feeds 5,000 men with five loaves and two small fishes, the crowd consider seizing him and making him king, but he withdraws into a mountain. Later, he reproves them for going after “the food that perishes.” Rather, they should work “for the food that remains for life everlasting.” He points out that exercising faith in him as the Son is the partaking of the bread of life, and he adds: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves.” Many of his disciples are offended at this and leave him. Jesus asks the 12: “You do not want to go also, do you?” and Peter replies: “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life; and we have believed and come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (6:27, 53, 67-69) However, Jesus, knowing that Judas will betray him, says that one of them is a slanderer.
17. What effect does Jesus’ teaching in the temple at the Festival of Tabernacles have?
17 “The light” conflicts with darkness (7:1–12:50). Jesus goes up secretly to Jerusalem and appears halfway through the Festival of Tabernacles, teaching openly in the temple. The people argue about whether he is really the Christ. Jesus tells them: “I have not come of my own initiative, but he that sent me is real, . . . and that One sent me forth.” On another occasion he cries out to the crowd: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” Officers who are sent to arrest Jesus return empty-handed and report to the priests: “Never has another man spoken like this.” Infuriated, the Pharisees answer that none of the rulers have believed, nor is any prophet to be raised up out of Galilee.—7:28, 29, 37, 46.
18. What opposition do the Jews bring against Jesus, and how does he reply?
18 In a further speech, Jesus says: “I am the light of the world.” To the malicious charges that he is a false witness, that he has been born out of wedlock, and that he is a Samaritan and demon-possessed, Jesus forcefully replies: “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifies me.” When he declares, “Before Abraham came into existence, I have been,” the Jews make another abortive attempt on his life. (8:12, 54, 58) Frustrated, they later question a man whose sight Jesus has miraculously restored, and they throw the man out.
19. (a) How does Jesus speak of his relationship with his Father and his care for his sheep? (b) How does he answer the Jews when they threaten him?
19 Again Jesus speaks to the Jews, this time concerning the fine shepherd, who calls his sheep by name and who surrenders his soul in behalf of the sheep ‘that they might have life in abundance.’ He says: “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” (10:10, 16) He tells the Jews that no one can snatch the sheep out of the hand of his Father, and he says that he and his Father are one. Again they seek to stone him to death. In answer to their charge of blasphemy, he reminds them that in the book of Psalms, certain mighty ones of earth are referred to as “gods,” whereas he has referred to himself as God’s Son. (Ps. 82:6) He urges them at least to believe his works.—John 10:34.
20. (a) What outstanding miracle does Jesus next perform? (b) To what does this lead?
20 From Bethany near Jerusalem comes news that Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha, is ill. By the time Jesus arrives there, Lazarus is dead and already four days in the tomb. Jesus performs the stupendous miracle of recalling Lazarus to life, causing many to put faith in Jesus. This precipitates a special meeting of the Sanhedrin, where the high priest, Caiaphas, is compelled to prophesy that Jesus is destined to die for the nation. As the chief priests and Pharisees take counsel to kill him, Jesus retires temporarily from the public scene.
21. (a) How do the people and the Pharisees respond to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem? (b) What illustration does Jesus give regarding his death and its purpose, and what does he urge upon his hearers?
21 Six days before the Passover, Jesus comes again to Bethany on his way to Jerusalem, and he is entertained by Lazarus’ household. Then, the day after the Sabbath, on Nisan 9, seated upon a young ass, he makes an entry into Jerusalem amid the acclamations of a great crowd; and the Pharisees say to one another: “You are getting absolutely nowhere. See! The world has gone after him.” By the illustration of a grain of wheat, Jesus intimates that he must be planted in death in order for fruitage to be produced for everlasting life. He calls on his Father to glorify His name, and a voice is heard from heaven: “I both glorified it and will glorify it again.” Jesus urges his hearers to avoid the darkness and to walk in the light, yes, to become “sons of light.” As the forces of darkness close in on him, he makes a strong public appeal for the people to put faith in him ‘as a light that has come into the world.’—12:19, 28, 36, 46.
22. What pattern does Jesus provide at the Passover meal, and what new commandment does he give?
22 Jesus’ parting counsel to the faithful apostles (13:1–16:33). While the evening meal of the Passover with the 12 is in progress, Jesus rises and, removing his outer garments, takes a towel and foot basin and proceeds to wash the feet of his disciples. Peter protests, but Jesus tells him he too must have his feet washed. Jesus admonishes the disciples to follow his pattern of humility, for “a slave is not greater than his master.” He speaks of the betrayer and then dismisses Judas. After Judas goes out, Jesus begins to speak intimately with the others. “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”—13:16, 34, 35.
23. As comfort, what hope and what promised helper does Jesus discuss?
23 Jesus speaks wonderful words of comfort for his followers in this critical hour. They must exercise faith in God and also in him. In his Father’s house, there are many abodes, and he will come again and receive them home to himself. “I am the way and the truth and the life,” says Jesus. “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Comfortingly he tells his followers that by exercising faith, they will do greater works than he and that he will grant whatever they ask in his name, in order that his Father may be glorified. He promises them another helper, “the spirit of the truth,” which will teach them all things and bring back to their minds all that he has told them. They should rejoice that he is going away to his Father, for, says Jesus, “the Father is greater than I am.”—14:6, 17, 28.
24. How does Jesus discuss the relationship of the apostles with himself and the Father, with what blessings for them?
24 Jesus speaks of himself as the true vine and his Father as the cultivator. He urges them to remain in union with him, saying: “My Father is glorified in this, that you keep bearing much fruit and prove yourselves my disciples.” (15:8) And how may their joy become full? By loving one another just as he has loved them. He calls them friends. What a precious relationship! The world will hate them as it has hated him, and it will persecute them, but Jesus will send the helper to bear witness about him and to guide his disciples into all truth. Their present grief will give way to rejoicing when he sees them again, and no one will take their joy from them. Consoling are his words: “The Father himself has affection for you, because you have had affection for me and have believed that I came out as the Father’s representative.” Yes, they will be scattered, but, says Jesus, “I have said these things to you that by means of me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage! I have conquered the world.”—16:27, 33.
25. (a) What does Jesus acknowledge in prayer to his Father? (b) What does he request with regard to himself, his disciples, and those who will exercise faith through their word?
25 Jesus’ prayer in behalf of his disciples (17:1-26). In prayer Jesus acknowledges to his Father: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” Having finished his assigned work on earth, Jesus now asks to be glorified alongside his Father with the glory he had before the world was. He has made the Father’s name manifest to his disciples and asks the Father to watch over them ‘on account of His own name.’ He requests the Father, not that they be taken out of the world, but to keep them from the wicked one and to sanctify them by His word of truth. Jesus broadens out his prayer to embrace all those who will yet exercise faith through hearing the word of these disciples, “in order that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union with us, in order that the world may believe that you sent me forth.” He asks that these also may share with him in his heavenly glory, for he has made the Father’s name known to them, that His love may abide in them.—17:3, 11, 21.
26. What does the account say concerning Jesus’ arrest and trial?
26 Christ tried and impaled (18:1–19:42). Jesus and his disciples go now to a garden across the Kidron Valley. It is here that Judas appears with a soldier band and betrays Jesus, who mildly submits. However, Peter defends him with a sword and is reproved: “The cup that the Father has given me, should I not by all means drink it?” (18:11) Jesus is then led away bound to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest. John and Peter follow closely, and John gets them access to the courtyard of the high priest, where Peter three times denies knowing Christ. Jesus is first questioned by Annas and then brought before Caiaphas. Afterward, Jesus is brought before Roman governor Pilate, with the Jews clamoring for the death sentence.
27. (a) What questions as to kingship and authority are raised by Pilate, and how does Jesus comment? (b) What stand on kingship do the Jews take?
27 To Pilate’s question, “Are you a king?” Jesus replies: “You yourself are saying that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” (18:37) Pilate, finding no real evidence against Jesus, offers to release him, as it was the custom to free some prisoner at the Passover, but the Jews call for the robber Barabbas instead. Pilate has Jesus scourged, and again he tries to release him, but the Jews cry: “Impale him! Impale him! . . . because he made himself God’s son.” When Pilate tells Jesus he has authority to impale him, Jesus answers: “You would have no authority at all against me unless it had been granted to you from above.” Again the Jews cry out: “Take him away! Take him away! Impale him! . . . We have no king but Caesar.” At this, Pilate hands him over to be impaled.—19:6, 7, 11, 15.
28. What takes place at Golgotha, and what prophecies are there fulfilled?
28 Jesus is taken away “to the so-called Skull Place, which is called Golgotha in Hebrew,” and is impaled between two others. Above him Pilate fastens the title “Jesus the Nazarene the King of the Jews,” written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, for all to see and understand. (19:17, 19) Jesus entrusts his mother to the care of John and, after receiving some sour wine, exclaims: “It has been accomplished!” Then he bows his head and expires. (19:30) In fulfillment of the prophecies, the executional squad casts lots for his garments, refrains from breaking his legs, and jabs his side with a spear. (John 19:24, 32-37; Ps. 22:18; 34:20; 22:17; Zech. 12:10) Afterward, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus prepare the body for burial and place it in a new memorial tomb located nearby.
29. (a) What appearances does the resurrected Jesus make to his disciples? (b) What points does Jesus make in his final remarks to Peter?
29 Appearances of the resurrected Christ (20:1–21:25). John’s array of evidence as to the Christ concludes on the happy note of the resurrection. Mary Magdalene finds the tomb empty, and Peter and another disciple (John) run there but see only the bandages and headcloth remaining. Mary, who has remained near the tomb, speaks with two angels and finally, as she thinks, with the gardener. When he answers, “Mary!” she immediately recognizes him to be Jesus. Next, Jesus manifests himself to his disciples behind locked doors, and he tells them of the power they will receive through holy spirit. Afterward, Thomas, who was not present, refuses to believe, but eight days later Jesus again appears and gives him the proof, at which Thomas exclaims: “My Lord and my God!” (20:16, 28) Days later Jesus again meets his disciples, at the Sea of Tiberias; he provides them a miraculous catch of fish and then breakfasts with them. Three times he asks Peter whether he loves him. As Peter insists that he does, Jesus says pointedly: “Feed my lambs,” “Shepherd my little sheep,” “Feed my little sheep.” Then he foretells by what sort of death Peter will glorify God. Peter asks about John, and Jesus says: “If it is my will for him to remain until I come, of what concern is that to you?”—21:15-17, 22.
30. How does John give special emphasis to the quality of love?
30 Powerful in its directness and convincing in its intimate, heartwarming portrayal of the Word, who became Christ, the good news “according to John” gives us a close-up view of this anointed Son of God in word and in action. Though John’s style and vocabulary are simple, marking him as an “unlettered and ordinary” man, there is tremendous power in his expression. (Acts 4:13) His Gospel soars to its greatest heights in making known the intimate love between Father and Son, as well as the blessed, loving relationship to be found by being in union with them. John uses the words “love” and “loved” more often than the other three Gospels combined.
31. What relationship is stressed throughout the Gospel of John, and how does it reach its climactic expression?
31 In the beginning what a glorious relationship existed between the Word and God the Father! In God’s providence “the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father; and he was full of undeserved kindness and truth.” (John 1:14) Then, throughout John’s account, Jesus emphasizes his relationship to be one of subjection in unquestioning obedience to the will of the Father. (4:34; 5:19, 30; 7:16; 10:29, 30; 11:41, 42; 12:27, 49, 50; 14:10) His expression of this intimate relationship reaches its glorious climax in the moving prayer recorded in John chapter 17, where Jesus reports to his Father that he has finished the work He gave him to do in the earth and adds: “So now you, Father, glorify me alongside yourself with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was.”—17:5.
32. By what expressions does Jesus show his own relationship with his disciples and that he is the sole channel through which blessings of life come to mankind?
32 What of Jesus’ relationship with his disciples? Jesus’ role as the sole channel through which God’s blessings are extended to these and to all mankind is continually kept to the fore. (14:13, 14; 15:16; 16:23, 24) He is referred to as “the Lamb of God,” “the bread of life,” “the light of the world,” “the fine shepherd,” “the resurrection and the life,” “the way and the truth and the life,” and “the true vine.” (1:29; 6:35; 8:12; 10:11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1) It is under this illustration of “the true vine” that Jesus makes known the marvelous unity that exists not only between his true followers and himself but also with the Father. By bearing much fruit, they will glorify his Father. “Just as the Father has loved me and I have loved you, remain in my love,” counsels Jesus.—15:9.
33. What purpose of his ministry does Jesus express in prayer?
33 Then how fervently he prays to Jehovah that all these loved ones, and also ‘those putting faith in him through their word,’ may be one with his Father and himself, sanctified by the word of truth! Indeed, the entire purpose of Jesus’ ministry is wonderfully expressed in the final words of his prayer to his Father: “I have made your name known to them and will make it known, in order that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them.”—17:20, 26.
34. What beneficial counsel did Jesus give on how to overcome the world?
34 Though Jesus was leaving his disciples in the world, he was not going to leave them without a helper, “the spirit of the truth.” Moreover, he gave them timely counsel on their relationship with the world, showing them how to overcome as “sons of light.” (14:16, 17; 3:19-21; 12:36) “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples,” said Jesus, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” In contrast, he said to the sons of darkness: “You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. . . . He did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him.” Let us be determined, then, always to stand fast in the truth, yes, to “worship the Father with spirit and truth,” and to draw strength from Jesus’ words: “Take courage! I have conquered the world.”—8:31, 32, 44; 4:23; 16:33.
35. (a) What testimony does Jesus give concerning God’s Kingdom? (b) Why does John’s Gospel give cause for happiness and gratitude?
35 All of this has a relation, also, to God’s Kingdom. Jesus testified when on trial: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” Then, in answer to Pilate’s question, he said: “You yourself are saying that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.” (18:36, 37) Happy indeed are those who listen and who are “born again” to “enter into the kingdom of God” in union with the King. Happy are the “other sheep” who listen to the voice of this Shepherd-King and gain life. There is, indeed, cause for gratitude for the provision of John’s Gospel, for it was written “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that, because of believing, you may have life by means of his name.”—3:3, 5; 10:16; 20:31.
a The Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius, V, VIII, 4.