(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
I know I've been saying this as we've talked about Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but I think the uniqueness of each one of these Gospels is a beautiful gift from the Lord. You know, it's sort of like you're at an ancient building, it's part of what you want to see in your vacation, and you just don't stand in front of it and leave. You walk around it, and then you go inside of it, and you go up and down the steps into various rooms; that's what the gospel is doing for us. It's walking us around the person and work of Jesus Christ. They’re opening the door; they’re taking us up into the various rooms so we get all the different elements of who Jesus is and what God came to do.
Well, I would entitle the Gospel of John, “The Encounter.” You see, John is not writing an abstract theology of Jesus. John doesn't come across as distant and an intellectual discussion of who this person is. Now, don't get me wrong. There are loads of gospel theology in John, but John is doing something different. His gospel is an invitation to an encounter with Jesus. John is saying, “Come and see this One.”
It makes sense that there are these two moments early in John. In John 3, it's the story of Nicodemus’s encounter with Jesus because it's that kind of encounter that John wants us to have where we come, and we begin to understand the awesome new birth that can be found in Jesus and Jesus alone. In John 4, you have this, “Come and see a man who told me all that I ever did!” Could this be the Christ? Well, the answer is, “Yes, yes, and again yes!”
“Come and see,” that's what John is saying to us. And the reason that John is saying this to us is John recognizes that the greatest gift of grace God has given to us is not a thing, it's not a force, it's not an idea; it's a person! “For God so loved the world that He gave (He gave, He gave!) His only Son.” The ultimate generosity of grace is Jesus. Jesus is the grace of God; and without this gift, that is Jesus, there would be no grace, and there would be no hope. Because of that, about forty percent of John's writing is about the last week of the life of Jesus.
Why? Because the gift of grace required His suffering, the gift of grace required His death, the gift of grace required His resurrection because Jesus had to come and live the life we could not live, and die the death that we should have died, and rise again, conquering sin and death so that we would have life now and life forever. John is saying, “Won't you walk with me, won't you come and see this One who is life, who is peace, who is hope, who is redemption, who is our righteousness? Come and see!”