The Berean Expositor
Volume 11 - Page 105 of 161
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The Eight Signs of John's Gospel.
The Purpose of their Selection.
pp. 1 - 5
We have recently concluded a short series of articles on the Miracles of the Gospel of
Matthew, and at this point it might be useful to examine the "signs" of John's Gospel
before taking up a fresh theme.
John never employs the word dunamis = "mighty work", and only once uses the word
Teras = "wonder" or "miracle" (John 4: 48), where it is linked with "signs". Semeion
(sign) is the word which John uses in his Gospel, and which again in another form meets
us in the opening words of the Apocalypse--"He sent and SIGNified it". We are not to
look at the signs recorded by John as exhibitions of power, but rather to seek to discover
what they signify. That there is a designed selection is evident, for the six of the eight are
not recorded by Matthew, Mark or Luke. Further, while eight are recorded, John bears
testimony that "many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which
are not written in this book" (20: 30, 21: 25). We are not left in doubt as to the inspired
purpose for which these eight signs recorded, for John himself gives the fullest
"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that believing ye might have life through His name" (20: 31).
The eight signs recorded, therefore, are set before us with this twofold object, and not
these signs only but practically every sentence in the narrative is written either to give
some further detail concerning the person of Christ as the Son of God, or to show the
nature of believing and receiving life or rejecting and passing into condemnation. The
Companion Bible in Appendix 176 sets out in very full detail the correspondence which
exists between these different signs. The reader is referred to that for details; a mere
summary of the structure must suffice us here:--
The Eight Signs.
A | 2: 1-11. THE MARRIAGE IN CANA.--The third day. No wine. Glory manifested.
B | 4: 46-50. THE RULER'S SON.--After two days. At the point of death.
C | 5: 1-47. THE IMPOTENT MAN.--Pool Bethesda. 38 years. Sabbath. Sin.
D | 6: 1-14. THE FEEDING OF THE FIVE THOUSAND.--Many went back.
D | 6: 15-21. THE WALKING ON THE SEA.--Many of the people believed.
C | 9: 1-44. THE MAN BORN BLIND.--Pool Siloam. From birth. Sabbath. Sin.
B | 11: 1.44. THE SISTERS' BROTHER.--Two days. Lazarus is dead.
A | 21: 1-14. THE DRAUGHT OF FISHES.--The third time. No meat. Lord magnified.
It is important to remember that the Gospel of John is divided into two sections, each
commencing with a reference to "His own":--
1. "He came to His own, and His own received Him not" (1: 11).
2. "Jesus having loved His own.....loved them unto the end" (13: 1).