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Lecture 1: Introduction

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John was one of Jesus' best friends. Before meeting Jesus, he and his brother James worked for their father Zebedee in the fishing business.

One day Jesus came by and called John to follow him. John left his nets and for the next three and a half years listened to all that Jesus taught.

He soon became convinced that Jesus was far more than just another man, that he was God himself. He wrote this story so that you and I would come to believe the same.

As the story begins you will meet another John, not the author. This is John the Baptist who came to prepare the way for Jesus.

John the disciple stayed with Jesus to the very end. When his master hung dying on the cross John was there. In that poignant moment it was John to whom Jesus assigned the care of his mother.

John lived a long and full life. Toward the end of his life he ran into trouble for preaching the message of his good friend Jesus.

The authorities banished him to Patmos, an island in the Aegean Sea, and it was there that he wrote Revelation, the last book in the New Testament.

Along with John's Gospel and his three additional letters (called Epistles), these books provide a unique insight into not only the story of Jesus but also God's eternal plan for mankind.

Let your imagination take you back to the first century world where the man Jesus, an apparently simple Galilean carpenter, moves into the religious setting of his day, teaches the way of love, challenges the practices of the religious leaders and raises such hostility that before long he is put to death as a blasphemer and rebel.

But the story does not end there. Three days later Jesus rose from the dead.

But let John be your narrator. He was there when it all happened and will tell you the story in his own words.

The original story was written in the Greek language. What you are about to read is the same story, but put into contemporary English and told as a first-person account. Where John uses the pronoun “we/us/our” he is referring to himself and the other disciples.

Before each new section there is a short introduction to the story that follows. These comments are in blue and are not part of the Bible. References, such as “(3:1-15)” refer to the chapter (3) and verses (1-15) of this passage in the Bible.

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