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(John 20:30–31) The Reason Why

(John 20:30–31) The Reason Why

by Stephen Davey
Series: Sermons in John
Ref: John 20:30–31

Believing in the work of Jesus is no harder for us today than it was for people in the first century. Judaism set people against Christ as much back then as secularism and humanism have set people against Him today. So belief has never been easy. But in this message Stephen challenges us to remember that Jesus never said faith would be easy . . . He just promised it would be worth it. What's holding you back form discipleship today?


The Reason Why

John 20:30-31

The words were splashed in bright colors across the cover of Time magazine  - "Can We Still Believe in Miracles".   This past weeks feature article asked the question - did the miracles of the Bible, and the miralces of Jesus really happen.


The article goes on to discuss, "The modern skeptic is still searching for evidence of a volcanic eruption that could have caused the Red Sea to part.  Perhaps a comet swept across the Bethlehem skies, disguised as the Star in the East.  The belief in Jesus as healer would have been enough to cure ailments that were psychosomatic to begin with."

Scholars qoted include the enfamous Jesus Seminar. . .

In fact, last month, just in time for Easter, the Jesus Seminar, a council of self-appointed Biblichal "scholars" met to take up the subject of the Resurrection . .  did Jesus really rise from the dead.   Different colored marbles are given to each council member.  Black if he or she is certain the even never happened but was made up; gray if the even might have been fabricated; pink if the event might actually have ocurred and red if it certainly occured.  The vote was unanimous - the cup was filled with black marbles.  Jesus was still dead. 

With clinical, scholarly typed words, they reported, "The Bible's account of the resurrection of Christ is a poetic rendering of a devout wish, but certainly not an authentic record."

One professor from our own Duke Divinity School - go Schevsheski...

 wrote, "The Gospels were talking not abou the resurrection of the flesh but about the resurrection of Christ's selfhood, his essence!"

Makes me want to break into a John Denver song and meditate under a sacred oak tree. . .we've got a few of them in Cary.

Jesus was a great moral leader and wilderness prophet; inspired but not divine!

I was glad the article ended with a quote from C.S.Lewis, who was blunt;

"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn't be a great moral teacher.  He'd either be a deranged lunatic...or else he'd be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is the Son of God, or else a madman."

Believing in the miracles of Jesus is not any easier today than in the first century.  With, not only secular society wrapped up in it's idolatry, but all of Judasim firmly entrenched and antagonistic against the claims of Christ - to say in that day, "I believe Jesus was the Messiah" would have been an invitation to ridicule and scorn.  "Oh?",  they would say,  "if He were our Messiah where is His kingdom; I still feel the yoke of Rome about my neck."  "Last time I saw Jesus, He was heading toward Golgatha . . . he was nearly half dead then." 

Let me say this. . .the issue has never been - "Can you still  believe in miracles?!"   but, do you believe in the Messiah.

This has been the passionate issue in the heart of the Apostle John as he, under the inspiring direction of the Holy Spirit penned His Gospel  account. 

And this morning we arrive at chapter 20 verse 30 to, once again be confronted with his passion.  Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;  31.  But these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

You ought to write into the margin of your Bibles the words, "Purpose Statement"  Verse 31 is the reason why John's Gospel was 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."

There have been countless books throughout countless ages written.  I asked my secretary to call the Library of Congress . .  she did and found out that 151,000  books were published last year - thats 400 new books published  every day in America.

Why are they written?!  What is their purpose?!

There are books that are written to enhance the reputation of the author.

One book I read about was intitled "Dear Me."  It was all about the author, and so he humbly entitled it, "Dear Me."

John is so immersed in his passionate theme that he forgets or refuses to talk about himself at all!

Listen, he was part of the inside circle - the intimate three who experienced things the other 12 didn't get in on.  Peter, James and John were the privileged minority who got closer to Jesus than any other human being.

John could give us the inside scoop . . . imagine the Book title, "My life with God on earth."   "I was God's closest friend"

But instead, John recedes in the background and focuses the spotlight on Jesus Christ - he wants people to be impressed with Him.

And so, John was one of the three disciples who saw Jesus raise Jairus' daughter from the dead - Jesus had asked all the family, relatives, mourners and disciples to leave but asked John to stay and watch - John never mentions the account.

One of the most incredible moments in John's life was when Jesus asked he along with Peter and James to go with him to a mountain top where he was transfigured before them - his fache shone like the sun and His garments became as white as light - Moses and Elijah appeared and talked to Jesus.  There's John, seeing the greastest Old Testament prophets - and Jesus shining as the sun. . .no mention of it in His Gospel.

John would have said, "He must increase, but I must decrease."

Shine the spotlight on the Messiah - I'm just His messenger."

Secondly, books are published every day that simply answer the curiosity of American public.

I'm guilty . . . show books. . .sounds interesting doesn't it?!  You can't borrow it until I'm finished.  

Here's John the Apostle - he knows things that we curious people would have liked to know. 

C'mon John, fill in the pages with interesting details about God in the flesh . . . what did he look like . . . how tall or strong . . . was his voice tenor or bass . . . what about his childhood - was he outgoing or quiet, artistic, was his hair long or short, did he have a sense of humor . . . and what happened inside the Sanhedrin after He arose - did heads roll? 

And John, what was life like for you - how did your father react when you left the family business; what did you and the other disciples do during the day . . . give us the inside scoop.

Can you imagine?!

There's a book entitled "I was President Eisenhower's Barbar". . .people bought it . . . so what, Eisehower had hair . . . big deal.    John, you were the King of King's closest confidant. . . what was that like?! 

This Gospel was not written to satisfy our curiosity, but to save our souls.

not to entertain but to evangelize and to edify.

You have to understand that while John didn't record everything we'd like to know, He included everything we needed to know to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, through whom we can have eternal life.

And we don't read John as historians, seeking information. . .  We read John as worshippers, seeking intimacy with God.

Notice verse 31. 

John referred to Him by all three titles:

1)  Jesus - this declares His humanity.  Yes, he was a human being - God in real flesh.

2) Jesus who is . . . the Christ - cristos - anointed one - this designates His office as Messiah.

3) then John defends Christ's deity by calling Him, the Son of  God. 

John declares near the end of his gospel - "In case you missed it - Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to give you eternal life."

I like the way Boice paraphrases these two verses  - It strikes at the heart of every Colonial attender over this past year & half study of John's Gospel: 

"Look, you have been reading and studying my Gospel for    some time now, and you have come to the end.  Have you grapsed my purpose?  Can it be that you have missed it after all this time?  In case you have missed it, let me spell it out; Jesus did many, many things, but I have not recorded all of             them.  I have recorded only a part.  But I have recorded that part so that you . . . you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life     through His name."

From the beginning of this gospel to the end - John's theme has been consistent. . .I've presented witness after witness; testimony after testimony; sign after sign . . .. 

The witnesses are lined up in this account:

go back ch. 1 -    John the Baptist sees Jesus and declares, (v.29) "Behold        

the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

Andrew in this same chapter says to his big brother    Peter, v.41  "We have found the Messiah, the Christ.

Nathanael, in verse 49 declared, "Rabbi, You are the             Son of God;  You are the King of Israel.

ch.  2     openes with miracles of Christ which impacted the

disciples so that they all in the last part of verse 11" they believed on Him."

ch.  3     gives us the most well known words of scripture v.16"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

ch. 4      shows us the startling conversion of an alley cat simply          known as "the woman of Samria".  After Jesus told her about her past and present, she went to her village and said,  "Come, and see a man who told me all the things            that I have done; this is not the Christ is it?"  The villagers flocked out to see Him. . .they probably wanted to hear the stories of everything she had done - there were probably a few nervous people in the crowd. . .but frankly, this woman had turned into an evangelist - Jesus must be the Messiah!  Something unusual had taken place - after meeting with Jesus they said to this        converted woman in v. 42, "It is not longer becuase of  what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world." 

ch.  5     Jesus lists the testimonies of John the Baptist; His own           miracles;  God the Father and the Scriptures which Christ said, "Testify of me" (v. 39)

ch.  6     Five thousand people are fed the best fish dinner they've ever had and in verse 14 they declare, "This is of a truth the Prophet

who is to come into the world." 

At the end of the chaptert in verse 69. Peter said to    Jesus, "And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."

ch.  7     The multitude engages in a debate over the origin and                        msision of Jesus and in verse 31 we read, "But many of  the multitude believed in Him; and they were saying, "When the Christ shall come, He will not perform             more signs that those which this man has, will He." In our vernacular that would be like saying,         "C'mon, what does He have to do next for us to believe. . .stand on His head?!"

ch. 8      In verse 30, we read that "as He spoke these things,              many came to believe in Him.

ch. 9      A blind man from birth is healed and he falls at Jesus' feet       and worships Him as Lord.

ch. 11    Contains the amazing story of the resurrection of

Lazerus.  v. 45 tells us that "Many therefore of the

Jews, who had come to Mary and beheld what He had

done, believed in Him."

ch.12     Jesus enters Jerusalem on the back of a donkey as the

crowds cheer (v.13) "Hosanna!  Blessed is He who

comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel

After the resurrection we have the witnesses of Peter, and John            ad Mary and the disciples as a whole and eventually the climax of this great confession by the Apostle Thomas, "My Lord and my God."

John's Gospel opened in chapter one:  In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. . . it climaxes with the testimony of Thomas declaring to Jesus, "My Lord and my God."

It's as if John is hoping that all who read this Gospel will come to that same conclusion and bow before Jesus Christ and declare, "My Lord and my God."

May I ask you a question?  Has the purpose of John failed where you are concerned?!  Or has he suceeded?!

Dr. Harry Ironside, a beloved Bible teacher of a generation ago used to tell a story, I'd like to tell you.

Many years ago, Czar Nicholas I of Russia knew a young man for whom he cared a great deal.  He was the son of a good friend of his.  Becuase of his interest in this young man, Nicholas had him assigned to a border fortress of teh Russian army and appointed him to be given charge of the money used for paying the soldiers.  The young man started well.  But he fell into bad company and began gambling; eventually he gambled away not only his own wealth but also a great amount of money taken from government funds.  he had taken just a few rubles at a time, but these had mounted up and eventually became an enormous debt.  One day he received notice that on the following day an official would be coming to inspect the books.  The young man knew he was in trouble.   So he took out the records to find out how much money had been given to his payroll accounts.  He totaled the amount.  Then he went to the safe, took out the money and counted it carefully.   He subtracted the money he had in hand against the money the books revelaed he should have on hand.  The difference was astronomical.  As he sat looking at the final figure, the young officer picked up his pen and wrote in large letters, "A great debt; who can pay?"  Then, becuase he did not see how he could face his father, the Czar, the terrible dishonor the next day held, he determined to take his life with his own revolver at the stroke of midnight.  The night was warm and he was drowsy. . .as he waited for the midnight hour, in spite of himself the young man's head dropped lower and lower and he fell asleep - his head resting next to the ledger on one side - his pistol, still in his hand on the other side.  It happened that Nicholas himself, who was in the habit of sometimes putting on the uniform of a common soldier and visiting the troops to see how they were getting on, did so this night, coming around to the halls fo the very fortress in which the young officer was sleeping.  Most of the lights were out, as they should have been.  But when Nicholas got to the door of this one room he noticed the flickering light from under it.  He knocked.  No answer!  He tried the latch and opened the door.  There was the young officer, whom he recognized, asleep.  He walked over to the desk and saw the books and the money stacked in rows on the desk.  He read the totals and the whole thing became clear in a moment.  His first thought was to awaken his young soldier and place him under arrest.  But he read a little further and noticed the young man's note written in the bottom of the ledger, "A great debt, who can pay?"  Moved at that moment by mercy and grace,  Czar Nicholas I leaned over, picked up the pen that had fallen from the hand of the sleeping officer, wrote just one word, and tiptoed out.  For an hour or so the young man slept.  Then he suddenly awoke and, seeing that it was long past midnight, reached for the revolver.  As he did so his eye caught sight of his note, and someone else's writing underneath his.  His note read, "A great debt, who can pay?"  Underneath was one word, "Nicholas".  He was astonished.  Dropping his gun, he raced to the files where the signature of the Czar was available.  he pulled this out and carefully compared it with the signature on his ledger.  It was the same.  He thought to himself, "The Czar has been here tonight and knows all my guilt; yet he has undertaken to pay the debt;  I need not die."  So instead of taking his life, he rested upon the signature of  Czar Nicholas I and was not surprised when, early the next morning, a messenger came from the palace bearing precisely the amount of money needed to satisfy the debt.  A few hours later, the inspector arrived, everything was found to be in order.

Some story huh . . . for every one of us, we are headeed to eternal death becuase of our debt of sin  - written across the ledgers of our lives are the words, "A gread debt, who can pay?" 

John spent more time than any other gospel wrtier declaring the message of the cross - which was God's way of settling the debt. 

Jesus Paid it all, all to Him I owe;

Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it, white as snow.

At the bottom of that ledger sheet is one name - Jesus.

This is John's Gospel - that everyone who will trust in His signature, His name will be forgiven and recieve the gift of mercy and grace - the gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

John said, "This is why I wrote the gospel to you - that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing in His name you might have eternal life."

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