LORD’S DAY MORNING SERVICE, 3 May 2020
Sermon Text: John 20:30-31
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I. A true testimony given by the Son of God
II. Glaring evidence of Jesus’ works
III. Trustworthy testifiers
Having told us about who Jesus is and what He has done, the apostle John says here in 20:30-31, that is, about the end of his Gospel, the intention of this account of Jesus. His desire is to make certain of the things about Jesus. More importantly, he desires all readers of this account may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and, by believing, be saved and have life in Jesus’ name. A preacher pointed this purpose out as more than ‘informative,’ it is a ‘transformative’ purpose.
If a man introduces himself to a stranger, that’s simply informative – it’s nothing but information. If a professor lectures his class, that’s informative. But when a father tells his life story to his child, that’s more than simply informative, it’s transformative as that story intends a certain change in the child’s life. If a preacher delivers a sermon and expounds God’s word, transformation is intended for his congregants.
John testifies to Jesus’ life and ministry, intending to see a change in his reader’s life. And it’s a good timing for us, as readers of John’s testimony, to consider what John has been telling us in these 20 chapters. In doing so, my prayer is that if anyone hasn’t seen a transformation taken place in his/her life despite John’s testimony, that person may hear John again and believe in Jesus and have life through faith in Him, Jesus Christ. For all who have believed and received life in Jesus’ name may again appreciate God for being gracious to us and telling us this true account of Jesus Christ. Moreover, all who believe may be encouraged to follow John and many others in witnessing and sharing Jesus with all people we know and encounter.
So, let us focus on John’s testimony to Jesus’ life and ministry, expecting to see more and deeper transformation taking place in our soul.
I. A TRUE TESTIMONY GIVEN BY THE SON OF GOD
John’s witness to Jesus begins with Jesus’ self-introduction, His first-person testimony which is the most important testament in John.
Jesus said in Jn. 5:25, having healed a man who had been invalid for 38 years, “as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself.” In Jn. 10:36, responding to the Jew’s false accusation of blasphemy, the Lord said, “do you say of Him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” Also, in Jn. 11:4, talking about Lazarus’ illness, our Saviour said, “This illness … is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Jesus also introduced Himself as the ‘Son of Man.’ And this title, ‘Son of Man,’ is an OT term for Messiah as such prophets like Ezekiel and Daniel used. So, He taught His disciples in places like Jn. 3:13, 5:27 and 6:62 about His authority as the Saviour, the Son of God, and places like 3:14; 8:28 and 12:23 that, as the Son of Man, He must be lifted up and die on behalf of sinners.
There are numerous places in John that Jesus explicitly and implicitly revealed His sonship. A liberal scholar of the past century argued that Jesus had never claimed to be the Son of God, but no one sees the basis of that argument unless anyone is either blind or illiterate. There are overflowing proofs in John – almost in every verse of its 21 chapters – that clearly speak about Jesus as the Son of God and the Saviour.
It would be an absolute blessing for all in this world, if people hear Jesus’ introduction and, like children do, accept His testimony! The world would be a paradise if all people on earth simply say, ‘Yes, He is Jesus, the Son of God; He tells us so,’ and call Him, ‘Lord,’ and believe and worship Him as God! Only if all people listen to Him and, in awe, give Him the glory due His name! That’s exactly what the apostle John says in 20:31, “[Listen, you all for] these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”
II. GLARING EVIDENCE OF JESUS’ WORKS
Unfortunately, however, none in the world listens to Jesus’ introduction. Although His testimony is loud and clear like a thunder that blasts right above everyone, people completely disregard His saying and not listen to Him. The OT Israel was a typical example. In fact, they were the worst among peoples because God spoke to them directly time and again, but they refused and would not listen.
The Jews of Jesus’ time were the same as their forefathers. The Son of God appeared to them, but they disbelieved Him. So, out of pity, Jesus told them as recorded in Jn. 10:38, “If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father.” He simply means something like, ‘If you don’t believe what I say to you who I am, then, just look at the works I have done and believe.’ Jesus pointed out His works as the undeniable evidence of the truth He spoke and delivered to them.
In fact, the works He did are glaring and dazzling evidence of His identity. What did Jesus do? Numerous things, numerous miracles, numerous acts of mercy, of righteousness, that proved Him as their true Saviour and Shepherd. The apostle John mentions in 20:30 that Jesus did ‘many other signs which were not written in this book.’ He says the same again at the very last verse of John’s Gospel, that is, 21:25. Please listen to him saying, “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.” It’s definitely a hyperbole here, emphasising that Jesus did uncountable works which all point out Jesus’ lordship.
But things that aren’t written down we cannot know. So, let us briefly consider what is recorded as Jesus’ work. It begins from His turning water to wine in Cana in ch. 2. Then, in a town called Capernaum, Jesus healed an official’s son – this is recorded in 4:46-54. Healing that child, He didn’t even see that dying boy. He was not even close to that official’s house. But He said to this desperate father, “Go; your son will live.” And the boy became well immediately. In Jn. 5, Jesus healed a lame man at the Pool of Bethesda who had been in such an awful condition for 38 years. Jesus simply spoke to him and said, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”
Hearing it, I guess some might think and say, ‘Oh, I know, I know; I’ve heard of this thousand times.’ I guess, many unbelievers might also say the same. But, the question that arises from the apostle’s testimony is, ‘Do you believe in Jesus by hearing of these miracles He surely performed?’ In other words, ‘Hearing these works of Jesus, would you believe Him as the Son of God?’ If anyone doesn’t believe in Jesus regardless of hearing of and knowing all miracles He did perform, there’s nothing that could turn his mind around and help him to believe in Jesus.
Jesus did greater miracles than these. Jesus fed five thousand men with five barley loaves and two fish (Jn. 6:1-14) and that’s only counting men, not women or children. So, the number could’ve easily been 6 or 7 thousand. Then, Jesus walked on the sea (6:16-21), and healed the man who was born blind (9:1-7). And one more great miracle He did was raising Lazarus from the tomb (11:1-44)! These miracles altogether or even any of these miracles should blow one’s mind away because each one clearly and unfailingly indicate Jesus’ power and authority over all things of the created world, even over death!
So, on the one hand, if anyone cannot believe what Jesus has said about Himself, he/she should and must believe Him because of any and all of the miracles He did. On the other hand, if anyone believes in Jesus as the Saviour and Lord, then, this Christian must stop believing Christ superficially but move on to trust Him wholeheartedly. So, every Christian’s life’s focus should be seeking first God’s kingdom and His righteousness rather than remaining anxious about what to drink, what to eat, or what to wear today, then, again anxious about tomorrow. Thanks to God as He simplifies what seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness first means in 1 Thess. 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
If the Lord Jesus fed and satisfied five thousand from such a small lunch box of a boy, if He raised Lazarus from the tomb who had been dead for four days, there’s more than sufficient reason for all people to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing, have life in His name!
III. TRUSTWORTHY TESTIFIERS
People still reject, however, what all these miracles and works of Jesus present to their ears and hearts. Dismissing the message of Jesus’ words and works altogether, some people speak about difficulty their minds experience. Simply put, they cannot believe what they hear or read from the Bible. They argue that it’s a book thousands of years old and about that much primitive compared to their ‘modern’ mind.
To their heart of stone, John’s Gospel brings voices of people who made their confession and profession, saying that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, Saviour and Lord. People exactly like them come to them and speak to their ears and hearts that Jesus is the One from above, sent by God the Father with a mission, that is, to save all who come to Him through repentance and faith. They tell the stone-hearted people that they used to be like them but, seeing and hearing and meeting Jesus, they’ve changed their mind and altogether in one voice admitted Jesus’ lordship and submitted their life to Him.
Those who speak to the unbelievers are trustworthy testifiers. John the Baptist is the very first person who testifies and says, “Behold, the Lamb of God,” in other words, the Saviour from God of heaven and earth, and he continues, “who takes away the sin of the world!” He again testifies and says in Jn. 1:34, “I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” Not too long after John the Baptist, Nathanael almost exclaimed, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Hearing of these witnesses, if anyone raises his eyebrow and shows his doubt, saying, ‘Aren’t those true and religious Jews?’ Then, he should hear the voices of Samaritans who were regarded by the Jews as Gentiles or, in contempt, even ‘dogs.’ They say in one voice in Jn. 4:42, “we know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world”! Moreover, the man in Jn. 9 who was born blind but later opened his eyes by Jesus speaks to the unbelieving Jewish leaders, saying, “If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” Then, meeting Jesus later, he says, “Lord, I believe”!
Martha, one of Lazarus’ sisters, also joined this group of trustworthy testifiers and says in Jn. 11:27, “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” Jesus’ disciples are, of course, in this group and they say in Jn. 16:30, “we believe that You came from God.” Although John doesn’t mention, we know Peter’s well-known profession in Mt. 16:16, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
If anyone still doubts and questions about these testifiers’ qualification, then, they should hear one last testimony made by Thomas who is often called as ‘doubting Thomas.’ He didn’t believe all the others’ testimony to the resurrected Jesus. But seeing Him with his own eyes and hearing His voice with his own ears, he finally bowed to Him and said, “My Lord and my God!” It seems true to say that the whole Gospel of John points in the direction of doubting Thomas’ confession, “My Lord and my God!”
In addition to these trustworthy testifiers, we have more witnesses who are trustworthy to our own eyes and hearts, that is, our fellow Christian brothers and siters, even our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents. These altogether testify that Jesus is the Lord and Saviour who came to save us, lived a perfect life to be the sacrifice for our sins, then, died on the cross to nail our sins and its curse there with Him so that we may have His everlasting life! These trustworthy witnesses also tell us that Jesus rose again from the dead. And that is to be the firstfruits of all who have Jesus’ life through faith!
So, the apostle John speaks to us and all his readers, saying, “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”! Will you believe this Jesus testified by His word of truth, then, by all works and miracles He did? Moreover, testified by all trustworthy witnesses? Will you submit your life to Him in faith? If you have by believing in Him, then, will you trust Him to the end, with all your heart and mind and soul?
This is what the author of Hebrews urges, saying in Heb. 12:1 and 2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, … let us run … the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith.”
Amen, may God lead us all to the Lord Jesus to find our eternal refuge in Him! ***