John is the last and most unique of the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the synoptic Gospels. They are called the “synoptic Gospels” because they follow similar stories, patterns, and rhythms. John concentrates on a few stories of Jesus’ life and develops them in detail. John writes to show that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” Most of this Gospel happens in and around Jerusalem and Judea (instead of Galilee and on the road to Jerusalem like the other three Gospels.) The Gospel according to John also focuses on Jesus’ activity around the Jewish festivals in Jerusalem. This Gospel was also the last of the gospels, written probably late in the first century (AD 90.)
The Gospel according to John assumes that the reader already knows something of the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Scholars differ on authorship (the book identifies no author) but oldest Christian tradition identifies John, son of Zebedee, as the author. John is often called the “spiritual” Gospel because of its attention to the spiritual importance of the events it reports. John refers to Jesus’ miracles as “signs.” These miracles/signs point to the truth of the nature of Jesus.
Key Learning: Every story in John makes the same point: Jesus is the Son of God.