By the time the beloved disciple, John, wrote down his thoughts and ideas about Jesus, he had lived a long time. Scholars believe that he was close to 100 years old, so he had experienced many things in the years following Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension. All of the other disciples had been martyred in one way or another. The other Gospels had been written along with the letters from Paul and Peter. It is obvious, however, that the memories of the years with Jesus, as well as that final week in Jesus’ life were still very clear in his mind. There was information, however, that he wanted people to know and the Holy Spirit must have made it clear that in his final years writing was to be his passion, so we have 5 books in the New Testament that John wrote. He had one purpose in writing the gospel – “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (the Liberating King, the Messiah), the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
John clearly understood that people can know a great deal of information. They can talk about ideas, process possibilities, consider the realities, argue about their observations, think about the ramifications, and never come to a conclusion. They can hear the evidence, listen to the reasons, and even participate in the event, and still waiver and put off their response. Other people simply need or want to deny the truth and become confused by the many voices that would distract them from making a commitment to accept the evidence. Procrastination in making a decision to act upon truth and reality is a temptation for people, isn’t it?
So John wrote his book so that anyone who heard the evidence would choose to believe. For John, the outcome of believing was enormous. He explained it throughout his book. It is life, abundant life in the present, eternal life in the presence of Jesus. It is living with hope and peace and joy, even in the midst of suffering and pain temporarily, knowing that one day Jesus would return for those who have believed. What does it mean to believe? To put your full confidence and trust in the Risen Christ!