Wordworks Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Today’s Reading — John 20:30,31— Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, you may have Life in His name.
John has left us in this verse the statement of purpose for his entire account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He tells us that there are many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book. It would have been a much more human concept to include every detail of every sign so that people could be convinced by the preponderance of the evidence. But the Holy Spirit, who knew exactly what to include, inspires the words in our bibles. He didn’t write this account to get on a best sellers list, to win acclaim for himself, to impress his family and friends, or for any purpose of personal gain.
…but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; John wrote with the purpose of an evangelist. Every person presented with Jesus has to decide what he or she believes about who He is. John expects that if we read his account, we will believe that Jesus is the Christ (Anointed One), the Son of God. John openly says that Jesus is the Christ, the long prophesied Messiah. First century readers would have known about the Messiah, His attributes, and many specific prophesies about events of His life so they could compare the life of Jesus to that detailed in the scriptures.
…and that believing you may have life in His name. John had many duties. Jesus had assigned him20as the keeper of His mother, Mary. I am sure that was a burden when they lived in a society that wanted to immediately and completely blot out the name and memory of Jesus. Tradition has it that John took Mary to Ephesus to live. A small first century dwelling is maintained there to this day that is alleged to have been where Mary lived out her days safely hidden from the Romans and the Jews who had partnered in their efforts to remove all traces of Jesus. Wikipedia has this photo of the house —
View full sizeArcheologists actually date the stonework to the sixth or seventh century, but have found below it a foundation, charcoal, and some other items that are accurately dated to the first century. Although all of that is intriguing, no real proof exists. John is known to have evangelized in Ephesus, seven miles away. This location today is in Turkey, and is considered a holy place by both the Catholic church and by Muslims. Many Christians aren’t aware that in Islam, Mary is venerated. She is the only woman mentioned by name in the Qu’ran, which contains an entire book named after her that includes an account of her life that parallels Luke’s very closely.
John was primarily an evangelist after Jesus’ ascension. In today’s verse, he proclaims the Gospel, saying – that believing, you may have life in His name. John was imprisoned with Peter and the other Apostles by the Sanhedrin, and while in jail an angel came and instructed them — Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life. (Acts 5:20) John is exhorting us as the angel instructed him, speaking the message of Life in Christ, both here and now and then forever. Becoming a Christian requires that we lengthen our life view from temporal to eternal. But it seems that the great discovery of Jesus’ gift of eternity at peace with God is so captivating that we can overlook the Truth that our eternal life begins the moment Jesus saves us. When we get an accurate revelation of His saving Grace, we’ll be saturated with the knowledge that our eternity in Christ has begun, and we will immediately begin believing and living life in His name. Even Peter, who denied even knowing Jesus, was immediately transformed and boldly walked out a life in His name. The bible tells us that so many healing miracles happened at the hands of the Apostles as they lived life in His name, that the sick were laid on stretchers along Peter’s route to the Temple so that His shadow might fall on them and they’d be healed.
Have you been convinced of the truth that Jesus is the Christ? Are you living a life that reveals that you have life in His name? Compare the evidence of your life change to that of the angel’s jailhouse instruction. Go, stand and speak to the people…the whole message of Life. The power of Christ to change lives cannot be hoarded and kept. The abundance of the Life multiplies as it is given away. Many Christians plateau early in their faith walk because they try to hoard the salvation they say they have received. Salvation is the work of God; the gift of God, and no man can snatch it from the hands of Jesus and hold it in a greedy heart, intent only on its own preservation. True possessors of salvation are also distributors. The Holy Spirit draws souls as the Gospel is proclaimed and the Word of God is declared over broken lives — as w e speak to the people…. the whole message of this Life. Ask God to sift your heart and shift your heart from selfish to selfless. You’ll know when He is done. You will have a irrepressible desire to speak to the people…the whole message of this Life.
In His Mighty Grip,
Copyright 2008 © Stephen P. Faulkner and Mission of the Master Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Articles may be reproduced in whole or in part under the following provisions: A proper credit must be given.