Humans seem to be somewhat unique in our fascination with writing things down. From the earliest records recorded in pictures on the walls of caves, to vast libraries full of ink on paper, to more recent trends in digital storage of information, we have more stuff written down than the fastest human reader could read in a hundred
lifetimes. I suspect the reason we write things down most often is because we either don’t want to forget or perhaps in some cases, don’t want to be forgotten.
In today’s reading the chapter closes with John declaring why he wrote his gospel record. In this case it is not just that the details of the life of Jesus are not forgotten, but that readers might be convinced of Jesus true identity.
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. (v. 31)
To the Apostle it was important not only that Jesus be remembered, but that we understand that by choosing to believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be, our lives will never be the same. The words on the pages of the scriptures are just words, but when we choose to believe prompting of the Holy Spirit urging us to believe that they are true, and that they are God’s revelation of Himself to us, something supernatural happens. The Apostle Paul describes it as our spirit being made alive to Christ.
I often hear the phrase “here it is in black and white” used as evidence that whatever it is someone was trying to prove is now validated by a written record of some kind. This is not to suggest that there are not written records that are false or misleading, one has only to browse the internet, or read some of the plethora of news media that is readily available to us. In our current age of information overload, the challenge is not finding information, as we are bombarded by it every day. The challenge is to be able to discern the difference between information that is true, and that which is not. The information in the Bible has remained a consistently reliable source of truth for nearly 2000 years; the Old Testament portion of it for much longer than that. John seems to summarize accurately the reason not only his gospel was written, but the entire Bible. It is right there, in black an white for anyone who dares to believe it.