“This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.” John 21:24–25
John’s gospel is a memoir written to answer a certain set of questions about who Jesus is and what it was that he came to earth to do. The apostle, however, doesn’t tell us what those questions are so we’re left to speculate about them by considering the events of Christ’s life that he did included.
When making a record of a life authors are always given the task of deciding what ought to be included and what can be left out of the account. This isn’t to say that those events and actions left unrecorded weren’t important or significant to the life of the person who lived them, or to the people they shared that life with, it’s just that there’s always limitations to what you can and can’t include and somethings have to be left out because they’re not necessary for meeting your objectives for the record you’re compiling.
John readily admits that great amounts of the events of Christ’s life have been left out of the record. A cursory glance tells us that at least three entire decades have been almost completely left out of any of the Bible’s four gospel accounts. We know next to nothing about Jesus childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. What was he like? Did he have many friends? How did he get along with his father, Joseph? Did he suffer from bullying? What was his devotional life like?
The questions could go on and on. Perhaps in heaven we’ll be able to get more of the answers. For now we have to trust that everything necessary for the gospel writers to include was included so that their witness would accomplish the Holy Spirit’s purpose for each one of us who has been touched by their testimony down through the ages.
John seeks to reassure us of this fact when he writes, “This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.” It’s like he saying, “You can trust me. I was there. I knew Jesus. I heard his teaching and I saw the works that he did. I’ve had many more decades to think about Christ’s words and the wonder of his life. What I’ve told you is the essence of what I learned about who Jesus is and about his purpose for coming to the earth. You know I would never lie to you or try to deceive you. My witness is trust worthy.”
The prophet Isaiah, hundreds of years before Christ was born, asked this question regarding his own prophetic witness of the life of Christ, “Who has believe our message?” Friends we can believe all the gospel writers accounts. What’s more we need to believe. John, back in the beginning of his gospel, defines exactly how important Christ is to us with these words, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
Jesus is life and light to us. To accept him is to step into the light and accept life. To reject him is to choose to stay in the darkness and die.
Believe what Christ’s witnesses have told you. Believe and live.