John Lesson 54 - John's Final Words
John was an eyewitness of Jesus' miracles, life and resurrection. If you don't yet believe the Gospel, John's record will challenge you to cast your vote now. If you already believe the Gospel, John's record will encourage you in your walk.
Gospel of John Conclusion
I will never forget reading, several years ago in a monthly publication I subrscribe to, the story of Butch O'Hare. He was a brave fighter pilot in the second world war. The first naval aviator of the war to be personally awarded the Medal of Honor by the President of the United States. His story was allowed to be heard, and his bravery seen, becuase of his father's life changing decision.
The time was Chicago; the roaring twenties. A man named Artful Eddie was the personal associate of the enfamous gangster Al Capone. Artful Eddie was so nicknamed becuase of his fast tricks in the courtroom that kept him out of prison. Suddenly, to the amazement of the underworld and society, Artful Eddie turned informant on Al Capone. Why? Becuase Eddie had a son born, and he wanted his son to have a name cleaned from the underworld stain. So he ratted on the mob - the mob remembered and two shotgun blasts ended Artful Eddies life. But his decision paid off. . .he had cleansed the family name and years later his son was accepted in the U.S. Naval Academy and went on to win the medal of honor. Next time you fly into busy Ohare International, you can remember the war hero Butch Ohare, but more importantly, Artful Eddie Ohare, who died to give his son a chance at life.
Although the analogy is far from perfect, as we've studied the Gospel of John, the themes are somewhat familiar. . .choosing death over life; dying to give someone a chance at life. . .removing the stain of the underworld by means of sacrifice and death. . .and so on.
For the last time, I invite you to open your Bibles to the Gospel by John. How I have come to love the the simplicity of John's record and the Savior that John record has revealed to me. This is a bitter sweet moment - for I now come to some final thoughts from this inspired, encouraging, challenging text of Scripture.
Would you open to John chapter 21 and look with me at the last few verses of John's Gospel. 21:24. This is the disciple who bears witness of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his witness is true.
Stop here for a moment. John, the inspired writer has put you and me in an unusual position. In his mind, he has placed us in the jury box - we're all jurors - and John places before us testimony after testimony. What's John trying to prove? Well, look back one more time just one page at chapter 20:30.
Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, whicha re 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.
In other words, the trial revovles around Jesus Christ - is he the Messiah (the Christ); is He deity (the Son of God).
Now in any courtroom proceding, some of the most important people are the witnesses. They approach the stand, turn and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
And of all the witnesses, the most important witness is the "Eye witness". And the evidence they provide is the most determinative, convincing evidence in any trial proceding.
Notice 20:30 John says, all that I've testified before you are things that notice - ". . .Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples."
John declares - "I'm an eyewitness - I was there!"
Go back to 21:24 again and notice the courtroom lingo John employs:
21:24"This is the disciple who bears witness of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his witness is true.
Your honor. . .all of humanity. . .I, John, approach the stand as an eyewitness - and my eyewitness accounts are the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
To the mind of John, what was at stake? The profession of faith of everyone who hears the truth. John the great evangelist had a passion that everyone who heard the gospel would believe!
John was an author with a mission. And he has testified before the world as an eyewitness.
Now notice one of the most profound verses in John's Gospel - the very last verse. 25. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written."
John says, "You think I've presented some hard things to believe; you think I've recorded some amazing miracles; some wonderful teaching - I haven't given you hardly anything - but you, the jurors have been given enough to make your decision. . . will you believe?
You need to remember that John was particularly concerned with the written record of Christ's claim. Why? Becuase, as one of the last survivors of the original 12 Apostles, he was writing to a generation that was unfamiliar with the eyewitnesses to Christ's life.
When Paul the Apostel wrote, back earlier in the first century, he could refer almost in passing to the "five hundred" witnesses who had seen the resurrected Christ. . ."Of whom the greater part are still living today." I Cor. 15:6.
But that was a generation ago - and already, a new generation of believers were being threatened by a false beleif that was infiltrating the New Testament church - a popluar teaching called gnosticim - it denied the reality of a divine Jesus - it denied the belief in a literal God come in the flesh Messiah.
John declares - here's the testimony - I'm an eyewitness.
To those of you who don't believe - this record demands you cast your vote now. To those of you who believe - this record develops your faith and encourages your walk.
And John concludes by saying, "I didn't write the exhaustive biography!
You can't imagine how much I left out . . . but I had no choice - look again, 25. "If they were (all - implied) written, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books which were written"!
The point is, John didn't include everything we would have liked to have known, but He, under the inspiring direction of the Holy Spirit wrote everything we needed to know - to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the physical form of almighty God.
And in believing the record, come to the point where we recognize he died for us on that rugged cross. . .died to wipe away the stain of the underworld that was permanently attatched to you and to me - died so that our sins, which were permanently stained scarlet red, could be washed as white as snow.
Marco Polo was the great 3rd century Italian explorer to the far east, Central Asia and China. After living in the far east for 17 years, Marco Polo returned to his native Italy where he spent the rest of his life writing articles and speaking to anyone who would listen about the wonders he had seen and the mangifiecnt cities and empires he had visited. He was publicly denounced for lying, of course, since what he described lay so far beyond the imagination of his readers and hearers. Disbelief turned to ridicule - even the organized church denounced his claims as imaginary, mythical. Polo died in disgrace. When he lay dying at the age of 70, priests came and asked him to confess his lies and recieve the last rites. They did not wish him to face God with these "wild tales on his conscience." He refused them, and his last words recorded to them were, "I never told the half of it."
So John, the aged apostle, puts down his pen. . .and sighs perhaps - "Oh the things I could have told, the eye witness accounts I could have given...oh the things I heard Him teach. . .the things I saw Him do; why if I had all the books in all the world to fill, it wouldn't be enough. . .this will have to do."
So . . . cast your vote now! And believe.
Read the verses from "The Love of God"
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