John 20:30-31 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But 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.
Every biographer has to decide various things. In the first place, is this person’s life worth recording and sharing with others? Second, what is it about this person’s life that will make a difference to those who read the book? Lastly, what elements of this person’s life will advance the purpose of communicating that life to others? John deals with all three of those issues here. In the first place, Jesus being the Son of God automatically makes His life worth sharing with everyone. That connects to the second point, that knowing about Jesus can lead people to faith that will bring them into eternal life. That leaves the last point, of just what about Jesus’ life should be recorded. John wrote his account after the other three Gospels, possibly while he was exiled on Patmos, so he didn’t see much point in repeating the story of the Nativity, for example. Luke in particular had researched that well, and John had no more personal experience with it than Luke did. (Actually, Mary the mother of Jesus was quite probably living with John when Luke interviewed her about her experience, so in a sense he had “signed off” on Luke’s account.) John chose rather to record those things the Holy Spirit brought to his recollection that hadn’t been included by the other biographers, and the world has been immensely enriched as a result.
I think John is my favorite of the Gospels. I could preach from just about anywhere in the book, and probably have! What I love about this particular snippet is that it expresses not only John’s reason for writing, but my reason for ministry. I can and do seek to express the love of God to those around me in many ways, but if I fail to do so with an eye to their gaining eternal life by faith in Jesus, there is very little if any long-term benefit. I am to manifest Jesus’ character in my daily interactions, but I need to seek God’s wisdom to make it clear it’s Jesus’ character, and not that I’m a really nice guy. Over the past 36 years of living in Omura we have made a lot of friends, and people obviously respect us a lot. However, few of those people have come to personal faith in Jesus, which means I’ve got a lot of room to grow! I am to live my life not so that people will believe in me, so to speak, but so that they will believe in Jesus. The goal of my life is the same as the goal of John’s book, and of his life as well.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Several people have encouraged me to write an autobiography, but that would have meaning only if it meets John’s criteria. If it is Your idea, help me follow through, but protect me from pride. I continue to ask You for harvest, in whatever form You want it to take, for the salvation of others and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!