Summary: John gives a perfect ending in chapter 20, but then he goes and gives us chapter 21. After saying in chapter 20, "these things are written that you might believe, and in believing have life," what could possibly be important enough to add to that?
Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
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.
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way:
Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.
"I’m going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We’ll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, "Friends, haven’t you any fish?" "No," they answered. He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Pick up a children’s book and often times it will begin with these words… “Once upon a time…”
Flip the pages over to the end of the book, and you will find often find these words… “And they lived happily ever after.”
And in between those two phrases, there will be a wonderful story of a prince or a princess, or dragons, or whatever.
And as children, we were always satisfied with that last line at the end of the book, “and they lived happily ever after.”
And that’s final!
That’s the end of the book.
We love satisfying endings – be it a book, a movie, or a Gospel.
We have been working through the Gospel of John for several weeks and now we come to today – our last look at John’s Gospel in this study.
John comes to a wonderfully satisfying ending.
He closes chapter 20 with these words…
29 Then Jesus told (Thomas), "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
31 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.
The last word.
The perfect ending.
The Gospel has been told, and it was 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.”
What a perfect ending! What else could John possibly say that could be more important than this?
John gives us that ending in chapter 20.
There are 21 chapters in this Gospel.
John gives us a wonderful ending in chapter 20, but something compels him to add one more chapter.
So perfect is the ending in chapter 20 that some scholars want to believe that chapter 21 is a sequel that John added later. They think of chapter 21 as part of the 2nd edition of the book, the revised version, or as a sequel.
I guess this is the mindset we have in the 21st Century culture -- we love sequels.
We don’t like to see a book that ends, “And they lived happily ever after.”