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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Day 203: John 21:20-25 & Psalm 110 - Don't You Wish We Knew Even More About Jesus?

Today's Reading: John 21:20-25 & Psalm 110

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Don't You Wish We Knew Even More About Jesus?

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. - John 21:25, ESV

And so we come to the end of the Gospels. It is clear from the ending of John's Gospel that his is the last Gospel written. He is clearly the last living Apostle. Rumors had been circulating in the church that John would remain alive until Jesus returned; so as the other Apostles had died and John alone remained alive, ministering in Ephesus, people began to expect that Jesus would return very soon. 

John includes the details of this fireside chat with Jesus beside the Sea of Galilee to clarify the truth behind these rumors. Jesus did not day that John would remain alive until He returned; He was just rebuking Peter's curiosity. As Aslan the Lion says in Narnia, "No one is told any story but their own."

John closes his Gospel with a kind of finality that resembles in some ways the finality of the Book of Revelation, the last book John wrote and the final book in the New Testament. John is explaining that his testimony, as an eye-witness, is reliable. Other people would later write "Gospels," of course. But as they would be written more than 100 years after Jesus' life, none of them were written by eye-witnesses, though they claimed to be based on oral Gospels by people who had been with Jesus. 

A Gospel written by a man who had himself been with Jesus is vastly different from a Gospel written 100 year later and claiming to be based on the teachings of a disciple long dead. The bottom line: John's Gospel is the final reliable Gospel. Later so-called Gospels are mythological fabrications with some truth and much error mixed together.  

John acknowledged in his closing that more could be written about Jesus, of course. In fact, he says that the whole world would not be able to hold the books that could be written about all of the deeds of Jesus. Sometimes as believers, we do wish we had more information, don't we? Sometimes we wish we knew more of Jesus' teachings and miracles, His personality and conversations. Such desires can keep us longing for the time when we will be face-to-face with Jesus forever, when faith will no longer be our guide but will finally give way to sight! 

In the meantime, we do have four Gospels. They are different from each other and yet in complete harmony in their picture of Jesus. We see so much of Him in these four Gospels that we can read them again and again, digging deeper each time and seeing more than we saw before. Having spent 203 days together in these four Gospels, I feel like we've barely scratched the surface. Every day, things were left unexplored that could be probed for deeper truth and a fuller picture of our Savior. 

So, as we close this time together in the Gospels, may it not be the end but an invitation to go back and read more and more. If we wish we knew more about Jesus, a lifetime of study awaits us as we read slowly, carefully and lovingly, seeing more of Jesus every time! 

Prayer Based on Psalm 110:

Father in Heaven, You have said to my Lord Jesus,
    “Sit at My right hand,
until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”

Lord, You extend the scepter of Jesus from Zion
    over all of Your enemies, saying to Jesus,
    "Rule in the midst of Your enemies!"
Lord Jesus, Your people will offer themselves freely
    on the day of Your power,
    when You return to judge the nations,
    clothing us in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning,
    the dew of Your youth will be Yours.
Your people will be gathered in from the ends of the earth,
   as thick as dew on the ground, shining in the splendor of holiness.

Lord Jesus, Your Father has sworn
    and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
    after the order of Melchizedek.”
You are our King and our High Priest forever!

Lord Jesus, You sit at the right hand of the Father;
    You will shatter kings on the day of Your wrath.
You will execute judgment among the nations,
    filling them with corpses;
You will shatter chiefs
    over the wide earth.
You will drink from the brook by the way,
    refreshed and renewed in the pursuit of Your enemies;
    therefore God will exalt You as head over all.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Amen.

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