I recently listened again to someone explaining why they trusted the Bible: ‘I read it,’ the person explained ‘and I was bowled over by this very remarkable man [Jesus Christ], the most remarkable man who’s ever lived. It was as if he just walked off the pages and into my life.’ By God’s grace, we at All Saints have the opportunity to share that same life-changing experience as from September to April we will be walking through the Gospel according to John in our Sunday morning meetings and home groups. The apostle John wrote because he wanted to see people’s lives changed forever by Jesus Christ:
‘30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’ John 20:30-31 NIV84
These verses highlight that who Jesus Christ is and what He did is the bedrock upon which John’s Gospel is founded. They also teach that John our author was well qualified. He knew Jesus personally and wrote about the miraculous 1st century signs Jesus did ‘in the presence of his disciples’ (v30) – amongst whom John was numbered (see John 21:21-24). Secondly, therefore, John’s Gospel is composed of eyewitness testimony; this is the evidence that demonstrates Jesus is the Christ (the promised King) and the Son of God. Thirdly, according to v31, this testimony elicits a response: belief – a personal faith or trust in Jesus Christ. It is through belief, and only belief, in Jesus Christ that people can (fourthly) enjoy the wonderful eternal life that John writes of in v31. As we read through John’s Gospel together, it would be helpful to bear these things in mind. We could ask questions like these:
What eyewitness testimony does this passage provide about Jesus Christ?
How do the characters show me a response of belief (or not!) in Jesus Christ?
What does this teach me about eternal life with Jesus Christ?
John 20:30-31 highlights that John longs for unbelieving readers to put their faith in Christ on the basis of the solid evidence he presents that they might enjoy eternal life. Yet also, John’s Gospel is brimming with profound theological truths to nurture the believer in their ongoing faith and life with Jesus (just read what Jesus says to his disciples in John 13-17 for instance!). It has been said of John, indeed of all Scripture, that it is shallow enough for a child to paddle in and deep enough for an elephant to swim in. Praise the Lord, by God’s Spirit, John’s clear message about God’s glorious Son can be grasped by the newest believer and yet contains theological depths which even the oldest Christian has not plumbed!
If you have time, why not pray through John 20:30-31 now? We could thank the Lord for all of Jesus’ ‘miraculous signs’ which he performed ‘in the presence of his disciples’ that ‘are written’ in John’s Gospel (vv30-31). We could pray that as God’s word is proclaimed week by week all of us in All Saints would ‘believe’ and be encouraged go on believing ‘that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (v31) in order that we might enjoy ‘life in his name’ now and forever (v31).
If you have any questions or would like to know more please do get in touch with me (Chris Watson Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org).