By Gary Olson — retired pastor
At the conclusion of the Gospel of John are the words, "This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true" (21:24). "but there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." (John 21:25).
Those words at the close of the Gospel also elicit the comments of another commentator.
"Whatever we know of Christ, we have only grasped a fragment of him Whatever the wonders we have experienced, they are as nothing compared with the wonders we will experience."
The question has been raised, then why wasn't the Gospel longer if all the books in the world couldn't contain all that could be written?
Interesting question. one answer has been that the Gospel writer John gives us the central truths of the Gospel. That's one reason the Gospel need not be any longer.
What a great joy it is to read the Gospel of John. One author has named it the Spiritual Gospel.
In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, we read of issues caused by John the Baptist because he was baptizing. he answered his questioners with these words, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and it remained on him (Jesus). I myself did not know him but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit." (John 1:33).
The Holy Spirit makes the wisdom of the almighty accessible to each one of us who were baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and live by faith.
How fortunate we are to have the Gospel of John and all of God's word in the Bible. Jesus did many other things not written in this Gospel. We can trust that John with the guidance of the Holy Spirit has given us the best of what we need to know to be faithful disciples.
Faithful discipleship of Jesus the Christ has changed the world in many wonderful way. Faithful discipleship of Jesus Christ has given us the Salvation Army, YMCA, YWAM and many additional denominational organizations which day by day reach out to the poor and suffering people of all races.
There are many other things that Jesus did, so many that "I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." To us today, that sounds like hyperbole, but it underlines the Gospel writer's point that there's much more that Jesus did and said that has not been written down.
Thanks be to God.