The Gospel of John

Volumes 194 and 195 of The Golden Candlestick contain a series of what the author himself, T. Austin-Sparks, calls a meditation on the Gospel of John and is probably not a transcription of spoken messages, but a written Bible study. It is not an exegetical study and not meant to be one either. Instead, an effort is made to capture and communicate an overall message of this Gospel, which T. Austin-Sparks summarizes as sonship. The author sees sonship as God's purpose for every believer, which is spiritual maturity or fitness for a responsibility in the Kingdom of God. The believer has, in Christ, received all the grace, “grace upon grace”, that is needed for such a call, such kind of life, character, position and such a task. The apostle Paul however, does not present sonship as a quality or qualification, but as the right of every believer, that gives him or her access to all it contains, the ability to live according to the Spirit, the hope and the power to endure to the end. What matters most is the result, which is the Lord Jesus glorified in and through God’s children.

Going through a whole Bible book trying to capture the main message of that book is, in itself, an excellent spiritual exercise. Why did the author write this Bible book? What did he, inspired by the Holy Spirit, have in mind? These are questions every believer should ask himself, if he wants to understand the true meaning of Scripture.

In the case of John’s Gospel it is rather easy, because John himself gives the answer in chapter 20 verse 31. The miracles Jesus did were not just miracles, but signs. They had a spiritual meaning, showing the various aspects of eternal life, the life of Christ, the Son of God Himself. That is the life that we, believing, receive and in which we, empowered by the Holy Spirit, live. That will take us through and make our lives bear fruit for God the Father. In this way Christ will be glorified, not only by His own obedience to the Father, but even more glorified by the effect of that obedience in all who believe in Him.

August 2017,
On behalf of The Golden Candlestick team,
Hugo de Jong, Twello, the Netherlands