The Fourth Gospel explains the mystery of the person of Jesus. Like other men, he is yet unlike them, standing above them in unique, solitary grandeur. Whence this uniqueness? The Synoptic Gospels present it, but do not account for it. John takes us behind the scenes of Jesus' earthly ministry, letting us see the eternal origin and divine nature of this Man who was more than man. He was eternally present with God, active in creating the world, the source of the moral and spiritual nature ("life," "light") of man. Hence, when he became Man, he "made … known" the eternal God, whom "no one has ever seen" (1.1 4,18).
As do the other Evangelists, John records real events, but goes beyond them in interpreting these events. He uses symbols from common experience - such as bread, water, life, shepherd, door - and contrasting images from the thought-world of the time – such as light/darkness, truth/lies, love/hatred - to make the meaning of Christ clear and gripping. After a magnificent prologue (1.1-18) he sets forth Jesus Christ as the object of faith (1,19-4.54), depicts his conflict with unbelievers (chapters 5-12), his fellowship with believers (chapters 13-17), his death and resurrection (chapters 18-20), and concludes with an epilogue (chapter 21).
Who is the author? Tradition says it was the apostle John. Many scholars, however suggests a disciple of John whorecordedhispreachingasMarkdidthatofPeter.In any case, the historic basis of the Gospel has become increasingly recognized. When it appeared whether aroundA.D.90-100 or much earlier as some now hold, it was accepted as an authentic and apostolic testimony to Jesus (21.24), written that men might "believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,” and thus “have life in his name” (20.31).