- Religion and Philosophy»
- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
New Testament Gospel of John Chapter Summaries
Looking for a quick summary of the events in each chapter of the Gospel of John? If so, you have come to the right place.
(note: for ease of use quotes from scripture are bold).
The book of John starts with the words “In the beginning” the same as Genesis. In the first versus of John, Jesus is referred to as “the Word”, John says that Jesus was with God and that Jesus was God. He says that all things were created through Jesus. John continues on to tell us of John the Baptist, and how he came to show us the way to Jesus. Also in the early parts of this chapter, we get a promise. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name…” Continuing on in the chapter, we are told that Jesus came into the flesh. We are again told that John was sent to pave the way for Jesus. We are told that John sees the spirit of God descending on Jesus like a dove. Later, Jesus passes by and two of Johns’ disciples go and instead follow Jesus. The chapter ends with Jesus collecting quite a few early disciples.
Jesus performs his first miracle of the book in this chapter. Having been invited to a wedding in which they had run out of wine, and having been encouraged by his mother. Jesus miraculously changes water in to high quality wine. Later on in the chapter Jesus goes to Jerusalem for Passover. When he enters the temple and sees the people buying and selling inside. He makes a whip and clears their businesses form the temple. Seeing this, the disciples remember a verse from the Old Testament “Zeal For Your House Will Consume Me.” The Jews in the temple then ask for a sign of Jesus’ authority to do this. He responds by telling them that he can rebuild the temple in three days. It is revealed that the disciples remembered this after his death and resurrection and this was part of why they believed.
In chapter 3 Jesus meets a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus. Jesus tells Nicodemus that one must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Nicodemus does not understand. Jesus explains by saying that one must be born of water and the Holy Spirit in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Still no understanding, Nicodemus has Jesus explain further. Jesus continues by telling the Pharisee that the Messiah must be lifted up just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert. Jesus tells of God’s immense love for mankind and tells that he sent his only son as a sacrifice so that men might be saved from their sins. Jesus explains to Nicodemus that anyone who believes in the Son of God is not condemned.
Chapter 4 tells the story of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at a well. He tells her of wells of living water that Jesus will give upon asking. Jesus also reveals to the woman that she does not have a husband and that she has been divorced five times. She is amazed that he accurately tells her the history of her life. She goes back in to the town and tells them about Jesus. They are amazed and many believe because of her. He stays for two days and many more believe because of what he said. Later on, Jesus is approached by an official who asks him to heal his son. Jesus does so.
Jesus performs yet another great miracle in chapter 5. He sees a paralyzed man lying on the ground waiting to get into a healing pool. Jesus tells this man to pick up his mat and walk. This exasperates the Pharisees as it is the Sabbath. Jesus responds to them by saying that his father is working on the Sabbath and therefore he will work on the Sabbath. This is given as a reason that the Jews try to kill him. Because not only is he working on the Sabbath, he is also claiming to be one with the father. After this, Jesus goes into a long speech that I truly do not understand. I think he is talking about himself like a legal case. Calling witnesses to the fact that he is the son of God, but he seems to be saying that he does not trust human witnesses and that one who is greater than human serves as his witness. But then he goes back and calls John a witness. I really do not understand exactly what he is saying, but I’m pretty sure it is like a legal defense of his claim to be the Messiah.
Chapter six gives us the famous story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. With nothing more than five loaves of bread and two fish Jesus somehow manages to feed five thousand people. It is an incredible miracle. Jesus continues to amaze in this chapter by walking on water. Later, when the crowd that he had fed followed him to the other shore, Jesus calls them out saying that they are only following because he fed them. He then goes on to tell them that he is the bread of life and that the one that comes to him will not be hungry or thirsty. He also says that anyone who eats this bread of life will have eternal life and that the life of this world is his flesh. Jesus continues to teach his disciples. He tells them that these words do not benefit the flesh but instead the spirit, he also tells them that no one can come to him unless the God the Father has given it to them.
In chapter seven, Jesus’ brothers try to convince him to go publicly to the feast in Jerusalem. He tells them that it is not yet his time. After they leave, Jesus goes up to Jerusalem in private for the feast. Later, he goes to the temple and begins to teach. The people are amazed by his teaching because he had received no training. He then tells the people that he is going to a place where they cannot go, and they are puzzled by this. Later on some of the Jews were thinking that he is the Messiah and some were thinking that he was not. Some of them wanted to kill him.
This is one of the most vivid scenes in the Bible to me. In this chapter the Pharisees bring Jesus a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. They ask Jesus if they ought to stone her according to the Law of Moses. Jesus says “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one everyone leaves the room, convicted of their own sin. Jesus tells the women that he will not convict her either and to go and not sin. Jesus goes on to preach to them that he is the light of the world. The Jews say that he is testifying about himself and that therefore the testimony cannot be believed. But Jesus says that the testimony of two men is true and that He and his father both testify on his behalf. Then Jesus gets in a long debate with the Pharisees, he tells them that they are of their father the Devil and that he is of his father God. Finally, the biggest claim of the chapter comes when Jesus says “Truly , truly, I say to you before Abraham was born, I am.” This was a big deal, as essentially Jesus was claiming to be God.
Chapter nine begins with healing a blind man. This creates some controversy in the local synagogue, as the Pharisees cannot agree on whether Jesus is from God or not. They say that the signs could only be performed by one from God, but since he did it on the Sabbath he must not be from God. They spend much time questioning the man who was healed before reaching the decision that Jesus must not be from God because he healed on the Sabbath. They then throw the healed man out of the Synagogue. Jesus hears about this and comes to talk to the man he healed. He asks him if he believes in the Son of Man and when the man says he would if he knew who it was. Jesus tells them that He is the Son of Man. So Jesus again claims to be divine.
In chapter ten, Jesus gives us a parable. He tells about the door into a sheep pen. He says that anyone who doesn’t go through the door is a thief. He then says that he is the door and he says that he is the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. Then he talks about having other sheep, and how he will unite them with his current flock as one flock. The people either think that he is crazy or brilliant. The Pharisees then surround him in the temple and ask him to tell them if he is the Christ. He tells them that he already told them. Then he again claims to be equal with God. This incites the Pharisees to attempt to stone him. They try and kill him but he gets away.
Jesus friend Lazarus dies in this chapter. Jesus hears that he is sick, but instead of rushing there he takes his time, saying that the sickness will not end in death but the glory of the lord. Later, Jesus goes to the home of Lazarus and they tell him that he is dead. He goes to the tomb and tells Lazarus to come out. And he does! Seeing that Jesus is performing lots of miracles, the Pharisees hold a meeting and try and decide what to do. They are afraid that everyone n Israel will get behind him and cause the Romans to come in and defeat them. To they begin to form a plan to kill Jesus.
Chapter twelve begins with Mary’s anointing of Jesus. She breaks open an expensive jar of perfume, pours it over him and wipes his feet with her hair. Judas asks if that perfume should have been sold to raise money for the poor. Jesus, knowing that Judas’ intent was to steal. Said that the poor they would always have, but he would not be around much longer. The chapter continues with Jesus’ triumphant and glorified entry into Jerusalem. People gathered in the streets and laid palm fronds on the ground on which the donkey he rode walked. The cheered and yelled “save us!” Some Greeks look for him, he talks to them and tells them that he who loses his life will gain it. Than Jesus says that his “soul is troubled” and the crowd hears a voice from heaven like thunder or an angel, but it is the voice of God speaking to Jesus. Jesus than in essence says that he is going to die and then he tells them to listen to him again.
This is the chapter in which Jesus washes the feet of the disciples. He tells them that he is setting an example that they should follow. He says that if he the teacher is doing it, than they should also do it. Later in the chapter, Jesus predicts that Judas will betray him. Interestingly, Judas still betrays him. It says that Satan entered Judas. Did Judas have a choice as to whether he would betray Jesus or not? Also in this chapter Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him.
Jesus then basically tells the disciples that everything is going to be ok. But I don’t think that they understand. Thomas tells Jesus that they do not know where he is going. Jesus again says that he is the Messiah. He tells them that if they ask anything in his name they will receive it. He then tells them about the Holy Spirit, he tells them that the Spirit will come to them and help them. He says that the Holy Spirit will help them to remember everything that he said, and that the spirit will always be with them.
He then goes on to use the analogy of a vine and branches. He says that he is the vine and that his disciples are branches. He says that if someone wants to bear fruit, like the fruit of the spirit, he will abide in Jesus. Just as a branch that produces fruit abides in the vine. He goes on to tell the disciples that they must love each other just like he loves them. Then he tells them that the world might hate them but that that will be ok. Because the world hated him first and so they should not be surprised. He says that this is done to fulfill scripture “They hated me without a cause.”
Jesus also tells them that they will be kicked out of the synagogue and that people will try and kill them. Then Jesus again tells them about the Holy Spirit. He calls him the Helper. He than once again predicts his death and predicts that he will be raised from the dead. He then tells them that he told them this stuff so that they will be at peace. He says that even though they struggle in the world, they will have peace in him.
Jesus prays a prayer before his death. He asks that God would glorify him and glorify himself through him. Then he prays for the disciples, asking God to give them Jesus’ joy. He asks that God would keep them from Satan and not only his twelve disciples, but everyone who believe in him through what his twelve disciples say. He also says that he has given the disciples glory and that they will one day be one in the same way that Jesus and God are one. He then asks that they may be in the same place as him so that they can see the glory that God has given Jesus.
This is the chapter in which Judas betrays Jesus. Judas comes with a group of men carrying weapons. Jesus asks who they are looking for and they tell him they are looking for him. Jesus says that he is here. Peter takes out his sword and cuts one of their ears off. Jesus tells him to put it away and heals the man’s ear. Jesus goes with them. They take Jesus before the priests to be tried and he questions him. Jesus answers by saying question those I spoke too. It is at this time that Peter denies he knows Jesus. They then take Jesus before Pilate. Pilate see’s no fault in him and offers to release him. But the crowd insists that he release Barabbas.
So they take Jesus and beat him and make him wear a crown of thorns. They mock him by calling him the King of the Jews and continue to hit him and beat him. Then the priests begin to yell “crucify him!” And they convince Pilate to crucify him because Jesus claimed to be their king. They make him carry his own cross to a hill where they do crucifixions and they write a sign that says “Jesus the Nazarene, The King of the Jews”. He was crucified between to others. The soldiers took his clothes and divided them up. Jesus dies on the cross. To make sure that he was dead, one of the soldiers stabs his side with a spear, blood and water come out and this means that he is dead. Then one of the disciples, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus come and prepare his body for burial and then they bury him.
Mary Magdalene comes early to the tomb on the first day of the week and discovers that it is empty! She runs to tell Peter and “the disciple Jesus loved” which is John. They run to the tomb to see for themselves and they don’t know what to think because they do not understand that he is supposed to rise from the dead. Then Mary, who is standing outside the tomb, sees two angels who ask why she is crying. Then she turns around and see’s Jesus. She doesn’t recognize him at first. But then he speaks to her and she recognizes it is him. Then Jesus appears to many of his disciples who are meeting together in a shut up room. He shows them his hands and his side so that they may see that it is him. Thomas was not with them and did not believe them. But later Jesus appears to them again, this time Thomas is there and Jesus allows him to put his fingers into the imprints of the nails and to put his hand inside the hole in his side. Then Jesus says “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
In this chapter, Peter and some of the other disciples go fishing. They don’t catch anything all night. But then Jesus appears on the shore and tells them to try fishing on the other side. They don’t recognize him but they try it anyway and their nets become so full that they aren’t able to bring them in because of all the fish. Then they realize it is Jesus. Peter is so excited he jumps in the water and swims to shore. John brings the boat back. Then they eat together. Jesus tells Peter to shepherd his sheep and John writes “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.”