July 14, 2017
This week I am away for a much needed week of investing in my own heart, mind, body and soul. It’s a recovery week of sorts. I will treasure your prayers. My good friend, Omar Al-Rikabi, will be taking the helm for this final week of John’s Gospel. Omar pastors the First United Methodist Church in Heath, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. You will love him.
24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
The Gospel of John ends with this anti-climactic statement that at first glance sounds like a throwaway line: “And Jesus did a lot of other really cool things that we just didn’t have space for.”
I used to think of it like the deleted scenes in the bonus features of a movie: those parts of the story that were cut out because they didn’t fit with the larger narrative, were redundant, or the movie was getting too long. Some scenes make sense as to why the director cut them out, and others you wish had been left in because they made more sense to the story.
But a call to worship I once learned helps bring this final verse into focus: “The spirit of Jesus in me greats the spirit of Jesus in you, and bids us to come and worship together.”
Why could the whole world not have room for all the books that could be written about what Jesus did? Because he’s still doing it… in and through the lives of his Church from Pentecost till today.
John drops the easter eggs for this earlier in his gospel, first in John 14:12-13
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.”
And again with Jesus’s prayer in John 17:18-20
“Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.”
In fact, John’s gospel begins with, “In the beginning was the Word…” And now that Word, who is Jesus Christ, continues to write the story of salvation in and through your life and my life.
There is a lot of talk these days about “story” and knowing your story, owning your story, or even re-writing your story. But all of our stories are incomplete unless they are found in the story of the God who loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
In my closet I have a card I see every morning with the words, “What story are you telling your daughters today about them and Jesus.” Each day, in every choice we make to give up our lives as Jesus gave up his, we continue to contribute chapters and verses to this ongoing story.
The Gospel of John did not end with a collection of “deleted scenes,” but with a two-thousand year “to be continued.” So go tell the story, and tell it well.
Heavenly Father, you are the master storyteller, and you love us so much you promised to be with us always by the power of your Holy Spirit and your word. May the Holy Spirit empower our lives to tell your story of salvation, and may Scripture be our vocabulary. In Jesus name we pray, amen.
1. What’s your story?
2. What’s your favorite Bible story?
3. How do the two stories meet to help tell THE story?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. email@example.com.