The book Signs of the Messiah provides a succinct introduction to the main emphasis in John’s Gospel, Jesus’ messianic signs. John features seven selected signs to show that Jesus is the promised Messiah.
Your latest publication, Signs of the Messiah with Lexham Press, is another title in a growing list of projects you’ve published on the Gospel of John. What unique contribution does this volume add to your previous publications and reflections on John’s Gospel?
The book started out as a series of messages I gave at Midwestern as part of For the Church workshops primarily intended for students and area pastors. In these messages, I cover the seven signs of Jesus, in particular, and walk through the Gospel with an emphasis on the major events and teachings in the Gospel. So, this is an introduction to John’s Gospel for pastors who are preaching through the Gospel or for serious students of Scripture who want to engage in a study of the whole Gospel, not only to understand it better, but also to let its message about Jesus, the signs-working Messiah, transform their lives.
How is the book’s content structured/presented and what audience will benefit most from reading this work?
The book gathers nine messages, starting with an in-depth treatment of authorship and the prologue. The remaining chapters cover the Cana Cycle (John 2-4), the Festival Cycle (John 5-10), the raising of Lazarus (John 11-12), the farewell discourse (John 13-17), and the passion narrative (John 18-21). Special emphasis is on the messianic signs of Jesus, three of which are in the Cana Cycle, three more in the Festival Cycle, and one in the final portion of the so-called Book of Signs. In keeping with John’s purpose statement, I show how the signs each in their own way attest Jesus to be the Messiah.
You’ve given much of your career to the study of the Gospel of John. Could you reflect briefly on what led you to study this book specifically and what continues to encourage you along the way?
I wrote my doctoral dissertation under D. A. Carson on John 20:21: “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” This project launched a lifelong fascination with John’s Gospel. I love the fact that the Gospel is so simple in its language and yet so profound in its theology. Also, I love that John was a member of Jesus’s inner circle, even the one closest to Jesus during his earthly ministry, and therefore in a position to write the most intimate account of Jesus’s messianic mission. Lord willing, I hope to contribute a major commentary on John’s Gospel as part of Lexham’s EEC series in the next few years.
FTC.co has a wide readership, comprised of local church pastors, staff members, and laymen. How could this volume best be used within local church contexts?
I think Signs of the Messiah could be an excellent companion for an 8-week study of John’s Gospel in a local church context. Also, pastors preparing to preach or teach on John’s Gospel would benefit from the material in this volume, as would students in college and seminary classes. The book could also serve as a spiritually nurturing introduction to John’s Gospel for prospective or new believers. I would be very glad if some of the readers of Signs of the Messiah were to find the Messiah through reading the book and put their trust in him!
Note: This Q&A was first posted on February 24, 2021 on the FTC.co website.