Thursday, November 17, 2016

Day 200: John 20:24-31 & Psalms 95-96 - What is the Real Value of John's Gospel?

Today's Reading: John 20:24-31 & Psalms 95-96

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What is the Real Value of John's Gospel? 

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 20:24-31, ESV

We have now spent 200 days together in the Gospels, almost 50 of those in the Gospel of John. By the time we finish in three more days, we will have spent over 50 days considering this Gospel. So, what is the real benefit we gain from this time? What is the real value of John's Gospel? 

Well, John tells us the benefit of his Gospel for us at the end of his book. Thomas (so-called "Doubting Thomas") makes the most powerful and clear profession of faith in Jesus Christ in the whole Gospel. Jesus answers Thomas' doubt by inviting Thomas to put his fingers in Jesus' scared hands and to place his hand in Jesus' pierced side. Thomas answers Jesus' invitation by proclaiming, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus then answers Thomas' proclamation of faith by saying, "“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. This is the blessing available to all who read John's Gospel. John knew he was the last living apostle and he knew he was writing the last Gospel. He wanted his readers, people who had never seen Jesus - including you and me - to receive this blessing promised by Jesus. And so he says, "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." 

None of us has ever seen the Lord. But we can receive an even greater blessing than those who did see Him, if we will believe that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and if we will trust and receive life in His name. The signs recorded in John's Gospel - turning water into wine, healing, feeding 5,000, raising the dead and rising from the dead Himself - all testify and bear witness to the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed Messiah, the Lord and the Savior of all who trust in Him. He is the Son of God, and He has the power of life in Himself. He showed this life-giving power when He raised Lazarus and then when He defeated death Himself.

John's whole purpose in writing this Gospel is to make the good news of Jesus Christ available and open to all who will believe. From beginning to end, he has had this one clear message. So, do you believe? Will you receive life in His name? 

If you have received life by faith in Him, will you share this Gospel with others? Maybe you could find someone in your life and invite them to go on a journey through John with you! 

Prayer Based on Psalms 95-96    

Oh, Lord, let all of Your people sing praises to You;
    let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation!
Let us come into Your presence with thanksgiving;
    let us make a joyful noise to You with songs of praise!
For You, Lord, are a great God,
    and a great King above all gods.
In Your hand are the depths of the earth;
    the heights of the mountains are Yours also.
The sea is Yours, for You made it,
    and Your hands formed the dry land.

Lord, let Your people worship and bow down;
    let us kneel before You, the Lord, our Maker!
For You are our God,
    and we are the people of Your pasture,
    and the sheep of Your hand.
Today, let us hear Your voice,
    and do not let us harden our hearts, as Your people did at Meribah,
    as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when our spiritual forefathers put You to the test
    and put You to the proof, though they had seen Your work.
For forty years You loathed that generation
    and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
    and they have not known my ways.”
Therefore You swore in Your wrath,
    “They shall not enter my rest.”

But, O Lord, let us sing to You a new song;
    sing to You in all the earth!
Sing to You, Lord, and bless Your name;
    tell of Your salvation from day to day.
Declare Your glory among the nations,
    Your marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great are You, Lord, and greatly to be praised;
    You are to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but You, Lord, made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before You;
    strength and beauty are in Your sanctuary.

Let all the families of the peoples,
    ascribe to You, Lord, glory and strength!
Let us ascribe to You the glory due Your name;
    let us bring an offering, and come into Your courts!
Let us worship You, Lord, in the splendor of holiness;
    let us tremble before You in all the earth!

Let Your people say among all the nations, “The Lord reigns!
    Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
    He will judge the peoples with equity.”
Let the heavens hear and be glad, and let the earth sing and rejoice;
    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
    before You, Lord, for You come,
    for You come to judge the earth.
You will judge the world in righteousness,
    and all the peoples in Your faithfulness.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Amen.

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