Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30, 31 ESV)
Do you remember the last time you did something really fun and couldn’t wait to get home and tell someone about it? When you tell the story you fill it up with every detail you can remember and even throw in commentary as to how it affected you. Sometimes there are so many details included in the telling of these stories that a listener has a hard time following. But then some time passes and the story drifts out of mind until you get into a conversation with someone that triggers your memory of that story. Only this time, your story has another context. You tell it this time because you want to show the similarity of your story with your friend’s story and make a point about something you learned from it. Some of the story you highlight and some you leave out, in order to make your point more clearly.
This is what John is doing as he writes his gospel. John says plainly why he wrote his gospel, “so that you may believe.” This statement comes after telling about the climactic event of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, which is wholly unexpected by his disciples. Even though he had told them time and time again that he must die and rise again, none of them had understood what he meant. Now that he has risen, they begin to believe in him as the Son of God in such a way that they have life in his name. When John says life he means eternal life with God. The resurrection helps them see that death is not the end, that Jesus conquers death for those who believe. When Thomas, one of the disciples, is told that Jesus was resurrected, he didn’t believe it until he saw for himself the holes in Jesus’ hands and feet. Then he confesses, “my Lord and my God!” Jesus responds, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
The question that keeps coming back to the reader of John’s gospel is this: Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead and so promises eternal life to those who believe in him?
If you have never done so, tell God that you believe in Jesus and ask him to forgive you for your sins. Tell him that you believe that Jesus died to pay the full penalty for your sins and that you believe that he could do this because he is the Christ, the Son of God.
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: 2 Sa 12, 2 Co 5, Ez 19, Jn 20