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Apr 19

Come & See: A Seeker’s Guide to the Gospel of John

Introduction: Jesus on Trial

What if Jesus was put on trial for claiming to be the Son of God? What evidence would the prosecution bring to support their charge that Jesus, and later his followers, lied about Jesus’ true identity? What evidence would the defence team put forward to support their claim that Jesus is indeed exactly who he claimed to be?

Most don’t realize it, but the gospel of John can be viewed as exactly that – Jesus on trial for claiming to be the Son of God. John can be seen as the lead attorney for the defense and the Jewish leaders as the prosecuting team. The gospel begins with the defense attorney’s opening statement (John 1:1-18), in which he very clearly states that while many do not believe Jesus’ claim, there are those who do and there are reasons for their belief.

Over the next twenty chapters, John presents his own evidence and counters the objections raised by the Jewish leaders. He carefully explains the reasons why many chose not to believe and he even puts his “client” on the stand so that Jesus can defend himself and thoroughly explain his claims in his own words.

If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, do you know why you do? Can you give reasons to those who are seeking answers as to why they should believe Jesus’ claims? If you do not believe that Jesus is God’s only Son, is your unbelief based on ignorance or on an honest, personal evaluation of the evidence, both for and against?

I am inviting you to be part of the jury in the most important trial in the history of humanity. I would ask that you put aside all preconceived ideas, to the best of your ability, and strive to listen without prejudice to the evidence that John presents as well as to the claims made by Jesus’ detractors. Then, on the basis of an honest evaluation, make your decision. Come with a desire to really listen. Leave with a confidence that you’ve examined the evidence and have made a decision that you are prepared to live with.

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Over the next few weeks, I will post the text of the gospel of John in sections or episodes, plus some commentary and some questions for the readers’ consideration. ¬†Whether you are a follower of Jesus or not, I hope you find these posts to be encouraging, thought-provoking, illuminating and/or challenging. ¬†Whether you agree with John’s conclusion (John 20:30-31), or not, I hope you at least come away with an understanding of, and appreciation for, John’s thoughtful and creative apologia.

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