“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31
In my final year of high school, our senior sports teams went on a playing tour of South America. For a group of kiwi guys who had barely left God’s Own country before then, this was an odyssey of epic proportions, taking in new places and people. I remember one night, in particular, in the hills behind Chile’s capital city, Santiago. A few of us were invited for dinner at our host’s house. Unknown to us, his father was a high-ranking government diplomat, a job that had fed his lifelong hobby as an explorer and collector of exotic artifacts. Walking through their front door was like entering a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. It took our breath away and the rest of the night was spent exploring this house full of mysteries, an experience that left an indelible mark in our memories.
The Fourth Gospel is described by observers in a similar light. It is one of the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life, written by the disciple Jesus loved. It may be the intimacy of this perspective which gives it both profound simplicity, as well as unique depth and mystery. It’s been famously described as safe enough for a child to bathe in, and deep enough for an elephant to swim in! Although we will take breaks along the way, today we’re embarking on a journey into John’s Gospel, this house full of mysteries. So, I encourage you to make this wonderful book your travelling companion over the coming months. To put it at the center of your times with God, your prayers, and your small group discussions.
John’s Gospel has a number of characteristics that are distinctive from the other three Gospels, both in its approach and ideas. For instance, Matthew, Mark and Luke (the Synoptic Gospels) develop the story of Jesus through “suspense storytelling”. The full revelation of who Jesus is slowly emerges as his disciples grapple with their mysterious and unpredictable leader. Who is this man who even the waves obey and who can raise a dead and decaying Lazarus? In contrast, John starts his Gospel with the knockout punch. In his opening poem, which we’re exploring today, John says the Creator, the Word who hovered over the deep in the beginning, has come to his creation in the person of Jesus. The rest of the Gospel leads us further into this unimaginable reality.
One author describes this opening poem as being like a long and elaborate driveway that prepares us for our arrival at a grand estate — a house that is both of epic proportions and full of mysteries. So, join us over the coming months as we enter into the Fourth Gospel according to John.

Rev Jonny Grant