John - Life to the Full

John emphasizes “believing” (around 98 times), or faith is in order to attain “life” (around 36 times). He plays around these themes mentioning various dimensions of faith impacting life in different ways.

Event Timeline of the New Testament


  • Introduction
  • Seven Signs
  • Seven I Ams
  • Belief Criteria, Life
  • Summary
  • Discussion


  • John’s Gospel: “Believe” 98 times, “Life” 36 times. Christ portrayed as the Son of God
  • Other keywords: “love” and “unity” [1]


John’s emphasis on “believing, or faith is in order to attain “life”, abundant life.

  • John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (NKJV)
  • John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)


Unique in John’s gospel are:

  • Only 7 miracles called signs used to endorse key themes.
  • Memorable events[2]:
    • wedding feast at Cana (John 2:1-11)
    • woman at the well (4:1-42)
    • raising of Lazarus (11:1-12:11)
  • John’s interpretation of Jesus is deeper than other gospels

Seven Signs

The seven miracles recorded in John are:

  • Turning water into wine at Cana (ch 2)
  • Healing nobleman’s son at the point of death (ch 4)
  • Healing man at sheep-gate pool (ch 5)
  • Walking on water (ch 4)
  • Feeding five thousand (ch 6)
  • Healing man born blind (ch 8)
  • Raising Lazarus (ch 11)

Seven I ams

  • Bread of life  – John 6
  • Light of the world – John 8
  • Good shepherd – John 10
  • Gate – John 10
  • Resurrection and the life – John 11
  • Way the truth and the life – John 14
  • Vine – John 15

Belief Criteria, Life Impact

The stories and signs with the “I ams” project various aspects of key themes:

  • Believe
  • Life

What is required to truly experience “life to the full”?

Belief Criteria, Life Impact - I am The Bread of Life

Context: In feeding of the 5000 (John 6:1-21), Jesus talks of “Living Bread”. Also “Living Water” (John 4) to Samaritan Woman

  • Belief Criteria: Faith that multiplies – in feeding of 5000, bread multiplied. Samaritan woman brought her entire village.
  • Life Impact: Ever satisfying life – “Those who eat/ drink will never hunger/ thirst”

Belief Criteria, Life Impact I am The Light of the World

Christ gives sight to blind man (John 9), warns of worse illness – spiritual blindness.

  • Belief Criteria: The light of life” is spiritual light – our spiritual life
  • Life Impact: Faith should result in freedom from sin. Christ exhorts both the blind man and adulteress (same chapter) to “sin no more”.

Belief Criteria, Life Impact - I am The Light of the World (Cont’d.)

The adulteress who was forgiven (John 8):

  • Obeyed Jesus’ command to “sin no more”.
  • History records, she even started a church titled after the “forgiving” Saviour.
  • Was responsible to internationalize Damascus
  • Enabled Thomas to have safe passage to India. [1]

Belief Criteria, Life Impact - I am The Good Shepherd

  • Belief Criteria: The sheep must have a faith that obeys by hearing the shepherd’s voice.
  • Good Shepherd (John 10): Sacrificial life and death, to be emulated by disciples

Belief Criteria, Life Impact - I am The Gate

  • Belief Criteria: Jesus invites all to believe only in Him and receive abundant life
  • Life Impact: Promise ofabundant life or life to the full” to those who believe in Christ alone as “gate”. (John 10)

The Sheepgate

In John 5, Jesus heals a paralytic near the sheep gate –  gate where sheep enter for sacrifice never to return.

  • Same gate where the ill are cast off from society, most of whom never return.
  • Same gate where Christ gave the paralytic new life.[3]

Belief Criteria, Life Impact - I am The Resurrection and The Life

  • Belief Criteria: Jesus asks Martha and bystanders to believe, to “see God’s glory” (John 11) – Faith in death and distress.
  • Life Impact: He emphasizes the criticality of the spiritual life which never dies. In John 3 he talks to Nicodemus of being “born again” into this spiritual life.

Belief criteria: Faith should result in Christlike love. (John13) – greatest commandment.

Life Impact: an empowered life.

Belief Criteria, Life Impact - I am The Way, The Truth and The Life

Christ says (John 14) that those who believe in His absolute divinity can do greater works than Him in His name. Walking on water (ch 6) also illustrates this power.

Belief Criteria, Life Impact - I am The Vine

  • Belief criteria: “Apart from Christ, we can do nothing” (John 15) – Dependent Faith.
  • Life impact: Fruitful life, obtained by being connected to vine.

Christ’s first miracle in Cana (John 2) also shows that he can turn ordinary water into luscious wine.


I am

Miracles/ Incidents

Belief / Faith Criteria

Life Impact


Bread of Life

Feeding 5000, Woman at well

Faith that multiplies

Ever satisfying life

Ch 4,6

Light of the world

Blind man, adulteress

Faith resulting in freedom from Sin

Light of life

Ch 8

Good Shepherd


Faith that obeys

Sacrificial Life

Ch 10,20


Healing paralytic

Faith in Christ alone

Life to the Full/ abundant life

Ch 5,10

Resurrection and Life

Raising Lazarus, healing nobleman’s son from death, Nicodemus

Faith in distress and death

Spiritual Life which never dies

Ch 3,4,11

Way, Truth, Life

Walking on water

Faith in  Christ as God

Empowered Life

Ch 6,14


Water into wine

Dependent Faith

Fruitful Life

Ch 2,15


  • In the table above the life impact is often offered without truly explaining the faith criteria. What aspects of belief criteria are often overlooked?
  • Share what aspects of belief criteria you personally want to improve.
  • What steps will you take to achieve that belief criteria?
  • In John 17 Jesus prays that all his disciples have unity, which will alone impact the world. Where does the church stand with respect to this? How specifically can we stand in the gap?


3.Dr. Ron Charles

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