Listen Now
Listen to Life-study of the Bible with Witness Lee
Standing Firm in One Spirit Striving Together with One Soul
from Life-study of the Bible (Philippians 1:27-30)
Amana Trust Newsletter

Why is the Gospel of John so different from the other Gospels?

Chapter 1 begins in a unique way and is followed by chapters that contain stories and accounts found in none of the other Gospels. John does not describe or record as many events and noticeably omits seemingly important records of the Lord’s life that are found in the other Gospels. John was very purposeful in his writing and specifically stated, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they were written one by one, I suppose that not even the world itself could contain the books written” (John 21:25). But why did John record only the select things mentioned in this book?

Chapter 2 of this gospel offers much insight into this question. John opens this chapter with an account found in no other Gospel: changing water into wine at a wedding feast. In the Life-study of John, Brother Witness Lee states, “This was not simply a story but an event accomplished by the Lord Jesus to establish the principle of life. What is the principle of life? The principle of life is to change death into life” (Life-study of John, p. 68). There are many details to enjoy from this story of changing water into wine, but the fundamental significance is the fact and experience that the Lord wants to change our death into life.

“It is quite interesting to see that in John chapter two we firstly have the case of changing water into wine (2:1-11) and then, following that, the case of dealing with the temple (2:12-22). We must believe that both of these cases were recorded for the purpose of signifying something beyond the mere account of historical events. Why does the dealing with the temple follow the changing of death into life? It shows that life is for God’s temple. In other words, life is for God’s building. In the incident of the Lord’s changing water into wine, we saw the principle of life, that is, to change death into life. Now, in the case of the dealing with the temple, we see the goal, the purpose of life, that is, to build the house of God” (Life-study of John, p. 79). The Bible is very purposeful, and the Gospel of John demonstrates that the order in which events are recorded are very significant. The mention of the temple immediately after the story of changing water into wine strengthens the truth established in chapter 1—that life is for building.

“In the changing of water into wine, the principle of life was set forth. Now, in the dealing with the temple, the purpose of life is shown. The principle of life is to change death into life. The purpose of life is to build the house of God. The principle of life is for the purpose of life. The changing of death into life is for life’s building, the building of God’s house. These two points govern the whole of the Gospel of John. This is why after the introduction in the first chapter, the second chapter follows to show these two points by two events. Then from chapter 3 through chapter 11 is the record of the nine cases proving how the Lord came into all kinds of human situations and changed death into life…In chapter 17 the Lord offered a prayer to the Father about oneness. This prayer for oneness was simply a prayer for the building. If we are not built together, we can never be one. For example, a heap of materials is not one, because the materials are not built together. A house is composed of many materials, and these materials are one because they are built together. Only when the materials are built up together as one building is there oneness. Oneness means to be built up together. Therefore, the purpose of life is to build up God’s house, God’s temple, for God’s habitation. The purpose of the Lord being life to us is to build the church as God’s dwelling place. Life is for the building. Life is for the church. It is for the building of the church, His Body and God’s house, that the Lord has come to be our life” (Life-study of John, p. 88-89). How amazing it is to see that life and building are the constituents of this Gospel. As we read from the beginning to the end, we see life and building over and over again.

John 20:31 states, “But these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His name.” “These” have been written. The Gospel of John, divinely inspired, masterfully presents twenty-one chapters not only that we would see life but, even more, have life that would issue in God’s building. Life is for building.

All verses and excerpts © 2017 Living Stream Ministry.
Used by permission. Reproduction is prohibited.

Click here for previous newsletters