St. John gives a key to unlock in his gospel the message of hope for us right now: evidence leads to belief leads to real life now and full life one day.

Photo: “Waiting while grilling” – Lens Distortion app, favorite right now for adding hints

First evidence, then belief, and then life – the Apostle John’s theme that is seen throughout his gospel.

There are two verses at the end of John’s gospel that are pivotal to understanding the whole book and each story included. They are in chapter 20:

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;

31 but 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. – John 20:30-31

“When you look at these two verses (20:30-31), the simple order is as follows: first evidence, then belief, and then life. So, life is the ultimate goal; John’s is a Gospel of life. But the only road to this life eternal is through faith in Jesus as God’s only Son. And the only way to genuine Christian belief is through the first hand testimony of the apostles to their Lord and Saviour recorded in the sacred writings, the Scriptures” P12.

What is meant by “life” if faith is the road to life? It is “eschatological life [life to come], eternal life, the life of the new age, the life of the world to come, yet anticipated now by life in the Spirit, a theme that John expounds so fully in his book” P17.

Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus illustrates this three-fold theme woven together: evidence, then belief, and then life.

“What we discover is that part one (vs3-8) majors almost exclusively on life, part two (vs9-15) on testimony and part three (vs16-20) on belief” P34. Why are they in a different order, and what does that say?

In part one’s big idea is that “life has come in Jesus, and must be entered into now… 1. The kingdom has come; 2. Eternal life therefore begins now; 3. But God alone can regenerate; 4. This is the gospel of the Old Testament… Did not the prophets of old repeatedly speak of a fundamental inner change (Ezekiel 36:25-27); 5. Jesus is the only way” P37-40.

Jesus confronts the great teacher in Israel with the fact that the kingdom has already arrived in himself. That eternal kingdom is to be entered and enjoyed now by the work of God’s Spirit, prophesied in the very Scriptrures Nicodemus treasured and taught: ‘Iwill sprinkled clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.’ It is as though Jesus is saying, ‘Nicodemus, do you know this for yourself – not just in your head, but in your mind, and heart and souls? Nicodemus, the promised time has come. That life, the new covenant life, has come in me and must be entered into now’” P41.

Source: Teaching John: Unlocking the Gospel of John for the Bible Teacher, Dick Lucas & William Philip

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