John was the last of the Apostles who made the final contributions to the NT revelation. His writings set forth Christ as the sufficiency for the church during the following centuries up until His return.

In the history of God’s people, the time came when it was announced, Moses my servant is dead [Josh.1:2]. Some years afterwards, Joshua and the elders who survived him had been gathered to their people. And then the people of God were tested as they had not been before.

The test was this: What is to be done in the absence of notable spiritual leaders? How will the kingdom of heaven advance in the hands of the average believer when they are gone?

The answer to those questions is little different for the church today as it was for Israel following Joshua’s departure. Like them, the church has recourse to the Lord Himself and the fellowship of like-minded brethren. These are the means for sustained victory in accomplishing the will of the Lord in our generation [Jud.1:1-4].

John is the bridge from apostolic beginnings, to a church that is completely dependent upon the Lord apart from her founding human leaders. His five writings set forth Christ in the glory of His perfect example and boundless supply. This is what will preserve the church; to be cast wholly upon Him as Support, Guide, and Pattern.

What shall we do when Peter is no more among us to feed [Jn.21:15-17] and guide the flock of God [I Pet.5:1-3]? We have the abiding presence of Jesus, the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls [I Pet.2:25].

How can the whole counsel of God be maintained when all have turned away from the Apostle [2 Tim.1:15] and Paul has departed to be with Christ? We are left with the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus [to] guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the good deposit which has been entrusted to [us] [2 Tim.1:13,14].

Before departing from this life, John left the church with an abiding legacy, sufficient for all time and effective in every situation. His Gospel summarizes the blessed portion of those who have not seen either Jesus or the Apostles, and yet believed [Jn.20:29]. Chapters are in [ ].

[1] Jesus is the Word, the full and final revelation of the unseen God. He is the Lamb, the one Sacrifice that has forever satisfied the righteous demands of the holy God against sinful men.

[2] Worship is in Christ, the true Temple, where the glory of God is fully revealed.

[3] If we look to Christ in simple trusting faith as Israel looked to the Serpent in the wilderness, salvation from sin’s deadly poison will cleanse the heart. The Lord Jesus is the church’s Bridegroom; loving, nourishing, and cherishing His devoted bride.

[4] Living Water springs up unto eternal life within the heart of even the most corrupt and destitute who drink from Him. Worship is universally accessible to all who approach the Father in Spirit and Truth.

[6] Those feeding upon Christ, the living Bread, will be filled and strengthened, never to hunger again.

[8] Revelation and guidance radiate upon the path of life from Jesus, the Light of the world. Jesus is the eternal and unchanging reference point, the everlasting God, the great I AM.

[10] The Good Shepherd leads, protects, and feeds His own sheep who hear and follow His voice. Jesus the Lord is the Door to salvation’s pastures and refreshing streams.

[11] Dead men in trespasses and sins and all who enter eternity after death of the body have but one hope, Jesus Christ, the Resurrection and the Life.

[13] Cleansing from defilement, washing from sin, is only performed by God’s lowly Servant, the Lord Jesus Christ.

[14] How shall we walk? Where shall we go? What is true and right? Where shall enablement come from? All direction, reality, and transforming power comes from Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

[15] Life-bearing sap courses in the fibers of every branch of the true Vine, bearing fruit unto the glory of God.

John’s Gospel contains seven miracles that he calls signs. A sign points to a reality beyond itself. It is not that reality, but indicates aspects about it while pointing the way to its realization.

These signs set forth the Lord Jesus Christ as the supernatural source of all spiritual blessing for His people. They show what He can and will do for His church though physically absent from their midst. The seven signs are these:

[2] Water to Wine. They have no wine. Empty stone waterpots bring no word of a ready supply, but rather only a message of discomfort and alarm. Jewish customs of purification are empty expectations. Nothing is there to gladden the guests awaiting to partake with joy.

Jesus Himself fills, transforms, and provides the joy of purification at the blessed wedding feast. Servants alone know the source of this best supply of New Covenant wine which cheers God and man [Jud.9:13].

[4] Nobleman’s Son. The Word of Jesus delivers from the cause of death and heals the sickness of our souls [Ps.41:4]. He does so from far distances apart from the agency of man while He Himself is physically absent.

[5] Lame Man. Sin has left us enfeebled and helpless for so long a time. No man can help. No angel can strengthen and raise up. Pharisees’ only concerns are arresting violators of their laws. Only Jesus can make a man walk with power on the straight path and narrow way.

[6] 5,000 Fed. Meager substance placed in the hands of Christ becomes sufficient provision for weary thousands. Taken, blessed, broken, and given is the spiritual sequence for multitudes’ blessing [Mt.14:19]. Jesus’ abundance is not dependent upon the disciples’ purse or village stores.

[6] Stilling the Storm. Storms and darkness descend upon disciples’ struggle against tempest’s blast. And Jesus has not come to them. Seemingly abandoned to the threatening waves with no light to guide, He yet sees them from upon the mount. The Lord Jesus is sovereign over darkness, storms, and disaster and will come to guide our craft safely to harbors of rest on heavenly shores [Ps.107:29,30].

[9] Blind Man. From birth, all has been darkness. Not one glimmer of hope had ever penetrated the gross blackness. Stumbling beggars and groping for mercy are we, one and all. These are the ones that the works of God can be displayed in; possessing no insight, wisdom, or vision of their own. Sight is received by washing according to the Word of Christ.

The one who has seen the Light can never be convinced that he is yet in darkness, or that religious darkness is Light. Only those who imagine that they see apart from the touch of Christ will insist that it is so. Their darkness remains, as they abide in wilful blindness as strangers to the Light of day, though they vainly protest that they see.

[11] Lazarus Raised. By this time he stinks. Death’s corrupting odor of decaying flesh repulses one and all. Hear them hopelessly wail in the finality of death’s despair. Both the living and the dead are helpless in death’s wake. The living weep and the dead rot; both impotent to reverse the stroke of this final enemy.

Jesus but speaks the Word and the spirit returns, the soul awakes, and the body pulses revitalized. Death to life abundant is the portion of all the dead who hear the voice of the Son of God.

Jesus assured us, It is to your advantage that I go away [Jn.16:7].

We have Christ and He is sufficient for all things needful for the life and maintenance of His people. He is our Pattern; every other standard and system only obscures or corrupts His own.

His Word is our portion and possession, what then might councils and codes add to that? This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, not the priestly rulers and ceremonies of Christendom.

Cathedrals and sanctuaries are empty buildings of men, but not the true Temple of God which is Christ Himself. Forgiveness and cleansing, healing and restoration come by simple faith in Christ alone, the true lifted Serpent in religious wastelands.

Affection poured upon any other than the Bridegroom of the church becomes spiritual harlotry. Ceremonies can never open a springing fount of Living Water. Worship is no more defined by sacred places, priestly sacrifice, feasts and fasts, or holy days and seasons. The heavens are open to the simplest believer through the Spirit and Truth as it is in Christ.

Souls are fed, strengthened, and blessed by partaking directly of Christ, the Living Bread, apart from priestly mediators. Decrees, councils, traditions, and pronouncements of men provide no light for the pathway; Jesus is the Light of the World.

Sovereign and all-sufficient is the great I AM who needs nothing aside from His own limitless self-existence to supply everything necessary for life and godliness in His church.

Doors to the Father, ways to forgiveness, and means to eternal life are not many and varied, but only one. Christ is the Door. Through Him alone we must enter to partake of His Shepherd care that no man, organization, or system can provide.

What possible benefit can ceremonies provide for a dead man? Will they raise him to life again? Are they not shown to be meaningless religious traditions in the presence of the Resurrection and the Life?

Which of the religious rulers of men will set aside his honor and position, appear as a lowly servant, and do the work of a slave in behalf of the brethren? Even if they would, who can cleanse from the defilement of sin? None but Christ, the true Servant.

Any man, ministry, or denomination claiming that spiritual progress will be hindered or impossible apart from themselves, is a false and wicked perversion of the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Brethren, apart from Christ, the true Vine, we can do nothing.

This is what we must do since Christ is not physically present with us and the Apostles are no more: [Look] unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith [Heb.12:2]. The promise of His Word abides. He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, How shall He not also with Him freely give us all things? [Rom.8:32].

This is the sufficiency for the church throughout all generations, despite the departure from the Pattern of Christ all around. He is yet present to all who will draw near to Him by faith.

Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age [Mt.28:20]. He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.� [Heb.13:5].