When someone visits my Facebook page, they get a glimpse of who I am. Posts are intentionally shared for the world to see and know of me. However, for those people I know who invite me to be their “friend,” they discover more of my identity. Some posts are intentionally withheld from the world, but readily available for those who call me friend.
That’s similar to what occurred when I read John’s gospel. The first time I read it, I was a curious teenager and I was introduced to the identity and heart of Jesus. Knowledge pushed me to read the gospel (and reread it) as an inquiring disciple and I was rewarded with redemption, transformation and purpose. I know God uses many ways to draw people to Him but for me, it was His Scripture. It is my great treasure.
John had seen it all. He did life beside Jesus. He was part of Jesus’ inner circle of three. He learned from Jesus and he learned to trust Jesus as his hope, his Savior. But above all, he recognized that he was loved beyond measure by Jesus and he loved Jesus in return.
John’s gospel is available for the world to read. And the words beautifully reveal the life and heart of Jesus. It is written in such a simple way that I could grasp its truth the first time I read it. But I have discovered that it is profound, rich in truth and challenges me to transform what I know into action.
John began his gospel by revealing the identity and accomplishments of Christ. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” Throughout the gospel, John continued to reveal and provide evidence of Jesus as fully God and fully man.
But the revelation of Jesus’ multifaceted identity didn’t stop with these first three verses. Throughout this gospel, Jesus revealed Himself in “I am…” statements in a visual context to help us understand. Jesus revealed His authority through His miracles and profound teaching. He revealed His power and mission through the cross and defeat of death.
It’s as though God inspired John to write about Jesus’ character and heart as an invitation to those who wanted His incomparable friendship. And those who invite Him into relationship uncover more of His character and mission.
John ended his gospel by writing, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (vs 25).
John professes that there is so much more he could have written. He was very selective. Why? In his own words, “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (20:31).
John wasn’t writing to fill our minds with information about Jesus. He wrote so our hearts would be filled with love for our Christ. He wrote so we would believe, know Jesus intimately and readily choose to place our trust in Him. And that choice will always result in joining Jesus in His mission to save the world.
I had two desires when I began writing on my journey through the gospel of John. The first was to explain why certain Bible verses meant so much to me that I underlined them and wrote messages beside them. The second was for those who want more than just knowledge. I wanted you to know my passion for Jesus. I wanted you to know why I choose Him time and time again and why I try to follow His ways. I wanted you to know why He’s worth it all.
John’s inspired choice of what to include in his gospel accomplished its goal. I saw truth through the lens of his writings and I believe.
Question to ponder: