This gospel is so clearly John’s personal story of his relationship with Jesus. Speaking of himself in the third person, John said that he “testifies to these things and …wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.” (Because John was there. Duh.) John 21: 24 NIV
John also selected which events to include in his story, those that would best help people come to faith:
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20: 30
In fact, the word “believe” is mentioned 83 times in John’s Gospel (NIV version)!
The last chapter of John (21) includes more personal stories –
- Jesus helps Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, and John, plus two other disciples catch a huge number of fish – and Jesus cooks a meal for the guys. This miracle is the bookend of the miraculous catch of fish Jesus gave Peter et al before calling them to follow him (Luke 5:1-11)
- Peter (ever impetuous) recognizes Jesus on land, puts his clothes ON, then jumps out of the boat into the water so he can reach Jesus first (I presume Peter didn’t walk on the water this time).
- Jesus appears three times to his disciples after His resurrection three days following the Cross.
- Jesus restores Peter by asking three times if he loves Jesus to symbolically counteract the three denials. What an interesting conversation:
— “Peter, do you love me unconditionally (agape), even more than the others?” “Jesus, I love you like a brother (phileos).” Jesus responds, “Then feed my baby lambs.”
— “Peter, do you love me unconditionally?” “Jesus, You know that I love you like a brother.” Jesus responds, “Then shepherd my sheep.”
— “Peter, do you love me like a brother?” [Now, Peter gets his feelings hurt here (a great detail!). You’d think Jesus would be the one hurt, since Peter can’t use the stronger agape to describe his love for Jesus, so Jesus rachets the question down. Maybe Peter is hurt by his own inability. Or just hurt by the continued questions, not realizing their import.] “Jesus, You know all things. Of course, I love you like a brother.” Jesus responds, “Then feed my sheep.” [I like that caring for Jesus’ sheep is how Peter will show his love for Jesus… hint hint!]
- Jesus indicates that Peter may die a martyr’s death as he cares for the sheep. And then tells Peter to mind his own business when he asks about John’s fate (Is that not typical of us? and another great personal detail). Jesus says “just follow me” (good advice for me too, especially when I am tempted to compare). Perhaps Peter remembered the last miraculous catch of fish when Jesus first said “follow me.”
- Once more, John refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Wow. John must have felt so loved by Jesus to continually refer to himself that way.
That’s all. I hope that one day while still on this earth, I will have as close a relationship with Jesus as John (and Peter) did.
It’s nearly 6 months into this blogging project and now on to Acts. I never realized before that the Gospels are just about 1/2 of the New Testament!
Today’s Readings: 2 Kings 15:1-16:20, Psalm 73:21-28, Proverbs 18:20-21, John 21:1-25. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).