What Book Are You Writing With Your Life?

February 2, 2018

Why did John write his Gospel account? He tells us at the end of chapter 20:

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).

John did not write the definitive biography of Jesus. He did not write for the sake of history, or to satisfy anyone’s curiosity. He was not trying to write great literature or to tell a good story. He was not trying to gain accolades from critics or to gain status as one of the Four Evangelists.

Instead, what did he write?

Note first that he wrote what was true – most of which he had seen himself. As John states after recalling blood and water pouring out of Jesus’ side after His lung was pierced, showing that He really died on the cross:

He who saw it has borne witness – his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth – that you also may believe. (John 19:35)

Second, in selecting among the many true events he could have related about Jesus, John chose those that would show most clearly that Jesus is who He claimed to be: The One sent from the Father, who always did the will of the Father, who always spoke the Father’s words: that is, the Word made flesh, the Son of God, the long-promised Messiah on whom the Lord would lay the iniquities of us all.

Third, John is not writing as a neutral observer, relating what he has seen, leaving other neutral observers to draw their conclusions. For John heard Jesus Himself say that there are no neutral observers of Him: “Because I tell the truth, you do not believe me” (John 8:45). John instead writes as a recipient of God’s love, as one invited into friendship with the Son of God Himself (John 15:14), as one who is connected to Jesus the Vine, as one who can do nothing apart from Jesus’ life-giving power (John 15:4-5), as one who will spend eternity knowing Him and performing His work (John 12:50, 17:3). Therefore, John writes to show his readers what they most need to know:

Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:23b-24)

So John writes with the hope and expectation that his readers will honor the Son; that they will believe and so have eternal life.

That’s the book John wrote.

Shouldn’t we live our lives in the same way?

What book are you writing with your life? A book that leads to your fame and accomplishment? A book that leads to a relaxed, comfortable, easy life? Or are you, with John, writing a book that shows others what they most need to know: That Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; that no one comes to the Father, that no one has true life, abundant life, apart from Him? (John 10:10, 14:6)

That is what those around you most need to hear. That is their greatest need. Communicating that truth in word and in deed is the most effective way to love them.

As we choose how to live, what to speak, what to do, may we all with our lives write books like John’s Gospel, so that many will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and believing have life in His Name.

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