Summary: The Apostle John provides for us a witness encouraging belief in Christ.
A Witness to Be Believed John 20:30-31
Easter Sunday Sermon by Don Emmitte, Grace Restoration Ministries
Almost everyone has heard of Mr. Heinz whose US7 varieties" of pickles have distinguished his name. One day after an evangelistic service the speaker turned to him and said, "You are a believer, but with all your energy why aren't you up and at it for the Lord?" Heinz went home in anger. That night he couldn't sleep, however, and at 4 o'clock in the morning he prayed that God would use him to lead others to the Savior. A day or so later at a meeting of bank presidents, he turned to the man next to him and told him of his joy in knowing Jesus. His friend looked at him in surprise and said, "Because I knew you were a Christian, I've wondered many times why you never spoke to me about salvation. That gentleman became the first of 267 converts, people of different varieties, from all walks of life, that Mr. Heinz eventually saw won to Christ!
There may have been many people who have wondered the same of us. People will always listen to a man with the facts. This is especially true in the spiritual realm. A man with the facts is a better witness than a man with a theory. The Apostle John was such a man. He gave a witness to the identity of Jesus of Nazareth in the twenty-one chapters of the gospel that bears his name.
Take Your Bibles, Please…
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31 ESV).
John was uniquely in a position to be acquainted with the facts. He was one of the first to become a follower of Jesus Christ. He had first been a disciple of John the Baptist, but responded to the proclamation of John concerning Jesus. He had committed his life to the one the Baptist declared to be "the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world" (cf. John 1:29). This had finally resulted in his leaving his fishing business which he shared with his father Zebedee and his brother James. For more than three years he had been constantly beside the lord Jesus. He had listened to all of His lessons and watched with wonder at His mighty deeds.
Years had passed since these wonderful events in his life and John is led by the Holy Spirit to write these things as a witness to that life. It is surely a witness to be believed. If you are considering the place Jesus Christ should have in your life, you should give careful attention to the witness of this man who knew Jesus more than any other human being. We can see three distinct truths revealed about this witness of the apostle.
First, this witness to Christ was a selective witness.
The heart of John was literally full of the memories of his experiences with Jesus during those three years of life and work with Him. That which he shares with his readers, by his own acknowledgment is a selective witness. Just the sheer number of experiences made this a necessity. This is at the heart of John's declaration: Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25 ESV).
No one witness could ever write all of their experiences with Christ. This is true of all of the Gospel records. When we combine what all four of the Gospels tell us about Jesus, we still have a very selective witness. There are actually only a few days of His more than thirty years of life covered! There is not a word about more than eighteen years of His life. A major part of the Gospel record is concerned with the last week of His life. To record the teachings and the deeds of the whole life of Jesus would fill the world with books. This selectivity is indicative of several things.
First, it indicates that John's purpose was not to detail a history of Jesus' life. With this in mind, John selects seven miracles performed by the Lord before His death. He adds some of the more significant discourses which grew out of these miracles and calls the miracles “signs.” In fact, to John, everything Jesus did was a sign. It was a sign pointing to something more significant about the Lord. The seven John chose set forth what he felt we needed to know about the identity of Jesus Christ. But there are other reasons for this selectivity.