Those of us who have preached through the Gospel of John are keenly aware of its beauty and the unique way in which the “beloved disciple” crafted his narrative of Christ. This Fourth Gospel has been described as the most important document in all of literature. It is very likely the best known of the four Gospels and herein John presents Jesus as the Lamb of God, the only begotten Son of God, the Shepherd of His sheep, the Miracle Worker, the Divine Intercessor and the Great I Am.
Shuford Jones, pastor, seminary lecturer, denominational leader and author of six biblical commentaries has completed his most recent expositional commentary, this one on the Gospel of John. Called Maximum Love:! John: The Gospel, It is obviously wrought in prayer, carefully studied, beautifully explained and practically applied. Jones captures the incredible richness of John’s imagery wonderfully. The book is outlined and highlighted in such a way that it is easy to read and yet is comprehensive enough to serve as an exceptionally informative commentary.
Jones captures the sublimity of the Gospel, which reveals both the simplicity and profundity of the book. His treatment of the seven signs all the way from the miracle at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee to the raising of Lazarus in Bethany attests to the primary purpose of the Gospel delineated in John 20: 30-31 where John declares: “And Jesus truly performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Messiah (Christ), the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through His name.”
The author places an emphasis upon Jesus as the Son of God; and, of course, while the other Gospels describe Jesus’ life and ministry from an earthly perspective, John’s Gospel doesn’t start with his birth, His parents, John the Baptist or his ministry. He begins by focusing on Jesus’ eternal pre-existence, declaring “In the beginning was the Word” and includes information the other Gospels do not mention.
I believe that both the new Christian and the seasoned Bible scholar will have an appreciation for the way Shuford Jones has separated the Gospel of John into bite-sized morsels of truth. His “explanations” are also well conceived and effectively communicated to the reader. The author also highlights some of the fascinating features of the fourth Gospel and presents them in unique and attractive ways – features like the “I Am” sayings of Christ, all the encounters of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel, Jesus’ withdrawals from Jerusalem, and the New Testament references to Jesus as “God’s Son,” “Only Son,” “Son of Man,” and “Son of David”.
Jones’ main focus is on the theme of love. He turns the spotlight on God’s love for us (John 3:16), Jesus directing his disciples to love God and their neighbor, to love one another (John 15: 12), and He assures the reader that God loves those who keep His commandments (john 14:21, 23). John also points to Jesus’ death as an example of the kind of love that Jesus expects his disciples to have. The author explains, “Here we see the clear and definite focus of this Gospel” – Maximum Love!
I have known Shuford Jones for almost 60 years. He has always been thoroughly committed to Christ, completely devoted to His Word, and absolutely excited about God’s call to serve Him. His faith is strong. His surrender to Christ is unwavering. His intimacy to Jesus is personal and profound. His love for Christ and others is unconditional. This commentary on John is well researched and theologically enriching, but it primarily comes from the overflow of a heart that is thoroughly consecrated to God. Your life will be spiritually enhanced by reading this book and recommending it to others.