Monday, April 29, 2019

Will You Believe?

Part 4 of No Greater Love

Text: John 20:30-31




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 (vv. 30-31). 


John's Purpose Statement

In verses 31, John reveals the reason why he wrote the Gospel of John: “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.” So John’s purpose statement includes two goals:

  1. That people “may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” 
  2. That “by believing [people] may have life in his name.” 
We need to make sure we understand correctly what John meant when he wrote the words “believe” and “life.”


Signs

John writes, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book” (v. 30). In the Gospel of John, the “signs” of Jesus are his “miracles.” The miracles Jesus did were signs. They showed that he was the Christ. (We say, “Give me a sign.”) In John 2, Jesus performed “the first of his signs”—turning water into wine—and “his disciples believed in him” (v. 11).

In his Gospel, John didn’t include everything Jesus ever said and did. If John had done that, the Gospel of John would have been a much bigger book! But John did include the miracle that—more than any other miracle—shows that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God”: the resurrection.

John’s account of the resurrection ends with Thomas seeing the risen Jesus and confessing that Jesus is his “Lord” and his “God” (“My Lord and my God!,” v. 28; cf. 1:1, 14). Have we heard this so often that it’s lost its impact?


Believe

The first part of John’s purpose statement is that people “may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” What does it mean to “believe” in Jesus? Is John talking about a belief that is intellectual? Or is he talking about a belief that is life-changing? It’s both. What you believe about Jesus will affect the course of your life.

To “believe” in Jesus is more than believing the truth about him; it also means having enough belief (i.e., confidence) in him to entrust him with our lives. 


Life

The second part of John’s purpose statement is that people “may have life in [Jesus’] name.” What kind of “life” is John talking about?

Is he talking about an easy life? Your best life now?

We should go back to 3:16, where belief in Jesus and life are also mentioned: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The life that John wants us to have is eternal life.

But we should also take a look at what Jesus says in the prayer found in John 17: “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (v. 3). Eternal life is more than a quantity of life (i.e., life without end); it’s also a quality of life.


What Kind of Belief?

Does “believe” in 20:31 mean “come to believe” or “continue to believe”? The Gospel of John encourages both kinds of belief—initial belief and persevering belief.

John’s Gospel shows us that there’s no greater love than the love of Jesus.

Believe in him.

Continue to believe in him.

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