Easter Sunday – So That You Might Believe – John 20
This message is a part of our series on the Gospel of John.
Find the rest of the messages in this series here.
How many of you have a relative or a friend that when they tell a story, they have a hard time sticking to the point. They chase rabbit trails, give way too many details that don’t really have anything to do with the story, remember the main point of the story and go back to it, Then say, oh and that reminds me about, Tell you a semi related story, Maybe they even say, so why was I telling you this or Wait, what were we originally talking about?
Then they realize they’ve been talking for a long time so they wrap it up quickly, so quickly in fact that you miss some key element and you end up saying something like, so that’s it? And they say, yeah I guess you had to be there… (by the way, I’ve heard some sermons like this…)
When John wrote his gospel, his historic account of his best friend’s life, death, and resurrection, he knew he had more material than he could ever fit into a book. In fact, the final verse of John’s gospel says,
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.
John knew that he’d have to stay focused on his main point. He couldn’t tell every story and give every detail, because he knew a lot. John knew more details about Jesus’ life than just about anyone else, because he was Jesus best friend. Because the book was about Jesus and not about him,
(this wasn’t a story he told to make himself look good- it would end up making his life harder)
Because it was about Jesus and not him, he shies away from from using his own name, so instead he refers to himself as a disciple Jesus loved or one of the disciples, but based on the other gospel writers, we know that these instances refer to John.
They were so close, that when Jesus was dying on the Cross,
Jesus looked down and saw his mother and John and he said John is now your son- he will take care of you…
So John was the closest to Jesus and he took Jesus’ mother in as his own mother and if anyone knew more about Jesus, especially his early years, it was Mary, Jesus’ mom.
So when John puts the life of Jesus to paper, he’s got plenty of material to draw from, but he keeps it concise with one overarching idea- one main goal or purpose that will determine what he will include, and what he will have to lay aside.
John gives us this purpose statement in John 20:30-31
30And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Over the years we’ve been blessed to put together a few testimony videos with the stories of how God has worked in people’s lives.
It’s a tough process because you have an hour long conversation that sums up the work of God in a persons life over decades, then I try to edit that down into a digestible length of 5-8 minutes.
The hardest thing to do is decide what to leave in and what to leave out… John had the task of narrowing the life of Jesus down and it must have been difficult, but as the Spirit led him he wrote the key moments of Jesus life and events that would give us the best perspective on who Jesus is…
How does he do this? He shows us the SIGNS.
John focused on the SIGNS that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
v.30 Many other signs did Jesus…
v. 31 These are written… These what, these signs.
“Sign” indicates how the purpose of the book is accomplished. How does a sign work? It points you in the right direction.
A sign isn’t the destination, it provides direction to the destination.
And verse 31 says, “These signs which have been written by John in this gospel have been 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.”
When I travel to see my family in VA Beach, I literally take Interstate 64 the whole way. My parents live just one mile off of I64.
When I get on the road in VA Beach to head home, the sign doesn’t say Daniel’s House or Home.
The signs reads I64 West and I know that’s the way home, it will lead me home.
Where John wants to get us to is believing and that by believing you might have life through his name.
The signs and wonders of Jesus were markers pointing at Faith and faith is the path that takes us home.
FAITH leads to LIFE.
The path to life, the road to life is through Jesus the Christ.
John says that you might believe that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;
The path that John takes his readers on throughout the book is one of pointing out that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God…
Guys meeting to read the New Testament…
I think this Jesus guy thinks he’s God….
I think this Jesus guy’s friends think he’s God…
I think this Jesus guy is God…
Jesus is the Christ.
Christ is not Jesus’ last name.
Christ is a designation, label, rank, status, office, position…
Christ is the greek form of Messiah.
They mean the same thing…
The root of the word comes from to spread out and comes from the idea of the oil that would be poured on the head of the one who was anointed.
“Christ” or “Messiah” means anointed one.
The Christ or Messiah is one who has been appointed by God.
In the Old Testament there were 3 types of people who were anointed: Prophets, Priests, and Kings…
Kings were to lead the people to victory over enemies and bring stability to the land.
Prophets brought the revelation and truth of God to the people.
Priests worked to bring the people into a close relationship with God.
Christ is the final and ultimate prophet, priest, and king.
Jesus is THE Christ or THE Messiah.
Jesus is the King of Kings, the Prophet of Prophets, the Priest of Priests.
Jesus demonstrated this through the signs of directly fulfilling prophecies which from the very beginning foretold of His arrival, His life, and even His death.
Jesus directly fulfilled many prophecies. It depends on how you break down the individual prophecies- some scholars break down multiple pieces of the prophecy into individual prophecies, they come up with 300 prophecies.
I see 65 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled demonstrating the He was the messiah…
I remember when I went to the License Branch to move my license to Indiana and we had to have 4 proofs of identity…
One of them had to be a piece of junk mail!
Timothy Pitzen… went missing 8 years ago at the age of 6…
Jesus lives out 65 signs or prophecies that He’s the Christ!
Snake Crusher of Genesis 3
Blessing of Abraham in Genesis 12
Covenant of Isaac in Genesis 17
Offspring of Jacob in Genesis 28
Unending Reign of Judah in Genesis 49
Spotless Lamb of Exodus 12
The Ultimate Blood Atonement of Leviticus 17
Voice of God in Deuteronomy 18
Faithful Priest of 1 Samuel 2
Eternal King of David’s Line in 2 Samuel 7
Living Redeemer of Job 19
Humble Servant of Psalm 8
Stronghold for the Troubled in Psalm 9
Thirsty Sacrifice, AND
Pierced Savior of Psalm 22
Yielded Spirit AND
Abandoned Friend of Psalm 31
Quiet Defendant of Psalm 38
Righteous Preacher of Psalm 40
Parable Giver of Psalm 78
Life Proclaimer of Psalm 118
Ignored Preacher of Isaiah 6
Virgin’s Son in Isaiah 7
The Stumblingblock made Cornerstone of Isaiah 8
The Backwoods Preacher in Isaiah 9
Hope of Nations in Isaiah 11
Final Authority of Isaiah 22
Death Conqueror of Isaiah 25
Miracle Worker of Isaiah 35
Closing Act of Isaiah 40
Justice for All in Isaiah 42
Spirit Pourer of Isaiah 44
Mocked and Beaten Face of Isaiah 50
Captive Freer of Isaiah 61
Indestructible King of Daniel 7
End of Sin in Daniel 9
Refugee of Egypt in Hosea 11
Bethlehem Baby in Micah 5
Donkey-Riding King of Zechariah 9
The Betrayed Friend of Zechariah 11
He is the Messiah. He is the Christ.
To who else would we go, for He ALONE has the words of Life!
John not only writes so the we might believe Jesus is the Christ, but also that we might believe Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
John didn’t want anyone to have the idea that Jesus was a good man who God had prepared to fulfill all of these prophecies and demonstrate God’s power-
John wanted everyone to know that this was God in the flesh.
So at the very beginning of the book John makes is clear that Jesus is eternal, that was in the beginning with God.
Jesus’ arrival on earth was not the beginning of His existence. He didn’t come into being when He was born in Bethlehem, He came as a man in Bethlehem.
Jesus is not a man of God, He is God as a man.
John would demonstrate this truth with 7 signs of Jesus’ own words about himself and 7 signs of Jesus power.
1. I am the bread of life. – John 6:35
2. I am the light of the world. – John 8:12
3. I am the gate for the sheep. – John 10:7
4. I am the good shepherd. – John 10:11
5. I am the resurrection and the life. – John 11:25
6. I am the way, the truth and the life. – John 14:6
7. I am the true vine. – John 15:1
Jesus says “I am” throughout His life, and there’s this sense of he’s not telling us the state he is currently in-
My kids often telling their current status…
When Jesus tells us “I AM” He using a phrase God used of Himself in the very beginning. He’s telling us that He always is…
He’s not telling us how He’s doing in that moment, He’s telling us what He’s always been doing.
1. Jesus turns water into wine – John 2
2. Jesus heals a sick child – John 4
3. Jesus heals a paralyzed man – John 5
4. Jesus feeds 5,000 – John 6
5. Jesus heals a blind man – John 9
6. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead – John 11
7. Jesus resurrects from the grave – John 20
In all of these signs and miracles, Jesus has shown He has power to work in the individual situations and problems in life, in our need, in our sickness, in our inability, in our life, and even in our death….
When I was a kid, I had a friend who lied all the time.
He would lie about the silliest of things… He lied just to lie.
I finally just started to ask him to show me whatever claims he made. He claimed he had a friend in the next neighborhood who had a racing go kart that was faster than mine,
awesome! Let’s go see it….
He told me that he had gotten the new Sega Genesis before it had been released because his mom ordered it from Japan. Awesome. Let’s go play it…
John shows us all these signs and says, go look for yourself.
He gives us names constantly because these were people you could go and ask. Jesus demonstrated that He is the Son of God.
BUT THESE WERE ALL SIGNS….
They weren’t the destination, they were pointing the way.
In Jesus greatest miracle and greatest sign, John finally sees it all. It all comes together.
In John 20 we are told of Peter and John running to the tomb.
4So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
John didn’t yet fully understand, but he believed.
You don’t have to know everything, to believe in something.
That belief led to life…
John has written these signs that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing that we might have life in his name.
John didn’t mean that we would have life in the sense that our hearts are beating and our lungs are breathing, but that we might know why.
Every one of us has a sense that we are not fully living…
Every one of us knows we are here, but we aren’t sure why…
John is speaking of life as we speak of it when we ask what is the meaning of life, when we say life’s not fair, when things are good and we say, now this is living, or this is the life…
This is a moment where Jesus takes the focus of the gospel off of Jesus and pivots to putting the focus on you, the reader. He’s telling you that he wrote this for you so that you would believe.
This connection is even more obvious when you see where this purpose statement falls in the story.
Your life depends upon believing in Jesus.
John 20 gives the account of Jesus’ resurrection. John gives us the details about the disciples finding the tomb empty and then Jesus visiting them in the upper room for them to see him.
John then says in verse 8 that when he saw, he believed. Then he says in verse 9 that as of yet they did not understand, but they believed.
You don’t have to understand it all to believe in Jesus. You don’t have to know or understand everything to believe in Jesus.
Then John tells us the story of Jesus appearing to the disciples. The first occasion was only to 10 disciples.
After telling of his visit to the 10 disciples on one evening, he appears to all of them including Thomas.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Then John gives us the purpose statement for this book.
John wrote His gospel so we could believe without seeing.
That we might believe, Jesus is The Christ, the Son of God.
So that by believing we might have life.