John is winding down his story of Jesus. He wants to make sure his reader understands why he wrote this account. He is believed to be the latest to pen his account of the four gospels. So why didn’t he just let the others speak for Jesus? Why did he think it important to throw his two cents in?
The first reason John wrote was because the Holy Spirit prompted him to. I believe he had the same burning that Jeremiah refers to: “But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9). John can’t hold it in. He HAS to write.
John doesn’t only use the same stories that Matthew, Mark and Luke did. John wasn’t ignoring or discounting any of the stories shared by the other writers, he was adding to them stories he felt were critical to Jesus’ message. He brings us a lot of new stories but even he doesn’t share EVERYTHING that Jesus did. In his final closing he gives a brief explanation as to why and when we get there I’m certain you would agree with his reasons.
He tells us today why he chose to share the specific stories contained here. “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” (verse 31). THAT is John’s reason for writing. John highlighted Jesus’ acts of power, deity, and Lordship. He also made certain to include Jesus’ invitation to each of us to a personal relationship with Him. I believe that John’s gospel can best be summed up by one of the most well-known bible verses; “For God so loved the world, that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV).
I think there is another reason the Holy Spirit chose John to write Jesus’ story. John was one of Jesus’ closest disciples. He got to go places Matthew didn’t. He was there on the mountain top with Jesus during His transfiguration. He was the only disciple reported to have been at the foot of the cross. He had a special bond with Jesus. His firsthand account would carry a LOT of weight.
It is thought (by theologians MUCH more educated in biblical matters than I) that Peter gave Mark the stories found in his account. This would make a lot of sense as Mark wasn’t one of the disciples who actually walked the dusty roads with Jesus. He didn’t have the firsthand knowledge displayed in his writings. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit could and certainly did direct Mark’s writing, but without putting Peter’s name to it, the firsthand accounts might have carried less weight than John’s account would.
Luke’s writing was done as a logical argument to lay out the facts for his intended reader. I’m certain the Holy Spirit guided his research and writings. His account is by NO MEANS dry intellectual writing but it doesn’t bring the intimacy that John’s does. We are transported to the very feet of Jesus when we read His account penned by “the disciple Jesus loved.”
What better way to step into the new beginning that Jesus purchased for us through His blood than pondering the stories of one of His closest friends. John has a few more tales to share with us before we move on though. We will get to share those in the next few days. John’s PS to us. The stories to leave us smiling.
Holy Spirit, thank You for impressing on John the need to set his story to paper. I love reading ALL the accounts of Jesus’ days here on earth, but John’s is a little special. Thank You for pointing out exactly who Jesus was, is, and always will be. I long for that deep friendship John shared with Jesus. I’m looking forward to spending eternity deepening our relationship.