May 22, 2021
This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. – John 21:24-25
There are a lot of things I love about John’s gospel, but I especially love the comments aimed directly at readers near the end of John.
I love the idea that what this gospel tells us is true, but it is only part of the story. Jesus has done more for us than this book could contain. In fact, the author says, Jesus has done more than all the books of the world could contain.
There is another comment aimed at us readers near the end of John.
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. – John 20:30-31
The purpose of the gospel is clear: the Gospel of John has been written so that we might be inspired by what we read to believe. And through belief, we might attain eternal life in Christ.
We can learn so much from all this. Perhaps evangelism is less complicated than we sometimes make it. To invite others to believe, we might simply tell them what Jesus has done for the world and for us. In order words, we can follow the example of John’s gospel.
To believe isn’t just to assent to intellectual ideas, though that’s part of belief. To believe is to shape our lives around the love of Jesus as set forth in the scriptures. If we believe, we have begun to grasp the idea that Jesus died for us, to redeem us from sin. If we believe, we have begun to grasp the idea that Jesus was raised from the dead, showing that God’s grace, love, and mercy win in the end. Evil, death, and sin never have the last word.
Can you imagine better news? I can’t.
As we near the end of this Easter season, I hope we will all revisit not just the what of Easter but the why of Easter. I hope we will go forward confident in God’s love of us, eager to share the Good News with a world craving justice, hope, grace, and mercy. I hope we, like the author of John, will testify so that others may believe.