“But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25
This is the very last verse in John’s gospel, the book that has been our companion since Advent began late last year. Because we have relied on the Narrative Lectionary for four consecutive years, we’ve had the rare opportunity this year to dwell deeply with John’s gospel and, as a community, allowing it to shape our life together. We’ve been absorbing it chronologically and been subject to its recurring themes and patterns. I hope you have enjoyed hearing Jesus’ story through John’s voice in at least some measure of how much I have.
For me, it always feels a little bittersweet to arrive at the end of a good book. I’m sad to know that the delights have concluded, and that the surprises are (mostly) resolved. But a good ending can also set up the next story, sparking the imagination for what might follow. John’s final verse certainly suggests that there is a whole lot more to know about Jesus’ story and, clearly, it is not finished.
John’s gospel isn’t just a good book of course. Though it has elements of them, it’s not a novel or even a biography. The gospel is a witness, “written so that you may come to believe…” (John 20:31) As such, this is a work that seeks to do something to its readers – to move them somewhere, to transform them. When we say about the Bible that we’re engaging “the living word,” that the story is intended to create change is a part of what we mean.
Today, let’s give thanks for the work that was done almost 2000 years ago to compile this story in the way that this beloved disciple has. Let’s give thanks for the witness John has provided as a result. And let’s give thanks for all the lives that have been changed as a result.
May God’s peace come to you this day. -Pastor Peter
Let us pray…
As your beloved disciple compiled and crafted your story, may we be changed by this living word today. We give thanks for the witness this story has provided, and we rest in hope for the story that is to come. Amen.