But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.—We have here the writer’s own statement of his object in writing his narrative, and also the explanation of what seems an abrupt end. His object is that those for whom he writes may become believers, and read in these signs the spiritual truths which lay behind them. He has traced step by step the developments of faith in the Apostles themselves, and this has reached its highest stage in the confession of Thomas. He has recorded the blessedness of those who shall believe without sight, uttered in his Master’s words. In the confession of Thomas, and in the comment of our Lord, the object of the author finds its full expression, and with their words the Gospel finds its fitting close. “Become not faithless, but believing;” “My Lord and my God;” “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”—these are the words the author heard and records. “But these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” This is the object he had in recording them. On the special meaning of these words as connected with the Gnostic heresies of the time, comp. Introduction, p. 378.
That ye might believe ... - This is a clue to the design which John had in view in writing this gospel. The whole scope or end of the book is to accomplish two objects:
1. To prove that Jesus was the Messiah; and,
2. That they who looked at the proof might be convinced and have eternal life.
This design is kept in view throughout the book. The miracles, facts, arguments, instructions, and conversations of our Lord all tend to this. This point had not been kept in view so directly by either of the other evangelists, and it was reserved for the last of the apostles to collect those arguments, and make out a connected demonstration that Jesus was the Messiah. If this design of John is kept steadily in view, it will throw much light on the book, and the argument is unanswerable, framed after the strictest rules of reasoning, infinitely beyond the skill of man, and having throughout the clearest evidence of demonstration.
the Christ, the Son of God—the one His official, the other His personal, title.
believing … may have life—(See on Joh 6:51-54).Acts 4:12.
that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; that Jesus, who was diminutively called Jesus, the son of Mary, the son of Joseph, the carpenter's son, Jesus of Nazareth, and of Galilee, was the Christ, or true Messiah; which signifies anointed, and takes in all his offices of prophet, priest, and King, to which he was anointed; and is an article of faith of the greatest importance; and is to be believed through the signs proving his resurrection, who, according to the Scriptures, was to rise again; and which, by the signs here recorded, it appears he is risen indeed, and therefore must be the true Messiah of the prophets, and also "the Son of God"; which was a known title of the Messiah among the Jews; and is not a name of office, but of nature and relation to God, and designs Christ in his divine nature, or as a divine person; and is an article of great moment, and well attested, by God, by angels, and men; and receives a further confirmation by the resurrection of Christ, who is thereby declared to be the Son of God with power; and with this view did this evangelist write the signs, proving it, herein to be found. And his other end in recording them, is,
and that believing ye might have life through his name: believers have their spiritual and eternal life through Christ; their life of grace, of justification on him, of sanctification from him, and communion with him; the support and maintenance of their spiritual life, and all the comforts of it: and also their life of glory, or eternal life, they have through, or in his name; it lies in his person, it comes to them through him as the procuring cause of it; it is for his sake bestowed upon them, yea, it is in his hands to give it, and who does give it to all that believe: not that believing is the cause of their enjoyment of this life, or is their title to it, which is the name, person, blood, and righteousness of Christ; but faith is the way and means in which they enjoy it; and therefore these signs are written by the evangelist for the encouragement of this faith in Christ, which is of such use in the enjoyment of life, in, through, and from him. Beza's ancient copy, two of Stephens's, the Coptic, Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read, "eternal life".But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)31. but these are written] On the one hand there were many unrecorded; but on the other hand some have been recorded. Note in the Greek the men and the de and comp. John 19:23; John 19:25. It was not S. John’s purpose to write a complete ‘Life of Christ;’ it was not his purpose to write a ‘Life’ at all. Rather he would narrate just those facts respecting Jesus which would produce a saving faith in Him as the Messiah and the Son of God. S. John’s work is ‘a Gospel and not a biography.’
that ye might believe] That ye may believe.
that Jesus is the Christ, &c.] That those who read this record may be convinced of two things,—identical in the Divine counsels, identical in fact, but separate in the thoughts of men,—(1) that Jesus, the well-known Teacher and true man, is the Christ, the long looked for Messiah and Deliverer of Israel, the fulfiller of type and prophecy; (2) that He is also the Son of God, the Divine Word and true God. Were He not the latter He could not be the former, although men have failed to see this. Some had been looking for a mere Prophet and Wonder-worker,—a second Moses or a second Elijah; others had been looking for an earthly King and Conqueror,—a second David or a second Solomon. These views were all far short of the truth, and too often obscured and hindered the truth. Jesus, the Lord’s Anointed, must be and is not only very man but very God. Comp. 1 John 4:14-15.
ye might have life] Ye may have life. The truth is worth having for its own sake: but in this case to possess the truth is to possess eternal life. Comp. 1 John 5:13. Note once more that eternal life is not a prize to be won hereafter; in believing these great truths we have eternal life already (see on John 5:24).
through his name] Rather, in His name (see on John 1:12). Thus the conclusion of the Gospel is an echo of the beginning (John 1:4; John 1:12). Comp. Acts 4:10; 1 Corinthians 6:11.
It is quite manifest that this was in the first instance intended as the end of the Gospel. The conflict between belief and unbelief recorded in it reach a climax in the confession of S. Thomas and the Beatitude which follows: the work appears to be complete; and the Evangelist abruptly but deliberately brings it to a close. What follows is an afterthought, added by S. John’s own hand, as the style and language sufficiently indicate, but not part of the original plan. There is nothing to shew how long an interval elapsed before the addition was made, nor whether the Gospel was ever published without it. The absence of evidence as to this latter point favours the view that the Gospel was not given to the world until after the appendix was written.
Sixteen distinct marks tending to shew that chap. 21 is by S. John are pointed out in the notes and counted up by figures in square brackets, thus . Besides these points it should be noticed that S. John’s characteristic ‘therefore’ occurs seven times (John 20:5-7; John 20:9; John 20:15; John 20:21; John 20:23) in twenty-three verses.John 20:31. Ἵνα, that) The scope of the Gospel. These signs, which have been written, when we join to them those also which Matthew, Mark, and Luke, have written, demonstrate, indeed abundantly, the glory of Christ. Look at the synopsis of the miracles which exhibit the omniscience and omnipotence of Jesus Christ in the Harmony of the Gospels, p. 381, 383 (ed. ii., p. 605, 609). [I propose to give here, as I have done heretofore, the following twofold synopsis, for the sake of some readers. I reserve the proofs of His omniscience to ch. John 21:17. He gave proofs of His omnipotence when He converted the water into wine, John 2:6, etc.: Purified the temple, ch. John 2:13, etc.; Mark 11:15, etc.: Removed fever, ch. John 4:47, with which comp John 4:52; Matthew 8:14-15 : Cleansed the leper (Matthew 8:2-3), nay, even ten lepers at the same time, Luke 17:12, etc.: Healed those sick of the palsy, Matthew 8:5, etc., Matthew 9:2, etc.: Restrained and cast out demons, Mark 1:23-24; Matthew 8:28-29; Matthew 9:32-33; Matthew 12:22; Matthew 15:22, etc.; Mark 9:17, etc.; Luke 11:14 : Applied His healing power to diseases of years’ continuance, John 12:18; John 12:38; Matthew 9:20, etc.; Luke 13:11, etc.; John 5:5, etc.: Bestowed sight on the blind (Matthew 9:27-28; Mark 8:22-23; Matthew 20:30-31), nay, even on one born blind (John 9:1, etc.): Restored the withered hand, Matthew 12:10-11 : Commanded the wind and sea (Matthew 8:26; Mark 6:51), also the fishes, Luke 5:4-5; Matthew 17:27; John 21:6 : Fed abundantly at one time five, at another time four, thousand with a few loaves, Matthew 14:18-21; Matthew 15:34-38 : Raised the dead, Matthew 9:18, etc.; Luke 7:11, etc.: John 11:1, etc.: Gave to the disciples also power to perform miracles, Matthew 10:1; Matthew 14:28-29; Luke 10:9; Luke 10:17; Luke 10:19; Mark 16:20. To these are to be added, the cursing of the fig-tree, Matthew 21:18 : The efficacy of His word, I am He—let these go their way (His enemies fell to the ground, John 20:6), John 18:4, etc.: The healing of Malchus, Luke 22:51 : The miraculous feast, John 21:9. Very often crowds of sick persons were healed, Matthew 4:23; Luke 5:17; Matthew 9:35; Matthew 12:15; Mark 6:5 : Verse 31. - But, says he, these are written with a special purpose. The author did not intend to write a full history or a detailed biography; he avowed having made a unique and well-considered selection of "signs," which formed the theme of great discourse, of "words" which revealed the inner depths of that wondrous nature, and which, far from exhausting the theme, only touched its fringes; and he did this with a distinct aim, in order that ye (he here addresses the Churches already founded and waiting for his legacy) might believe. Believe what? Simply in the fact of the Resurrection? Certainly not; but that Jesus, the Man whose life has been enacted on this human stage, is the Christ, has fulfilled the entire idea of the Messiah and is now the realization of the grandest theocratic hope; and further, that he is the" Christ," because he is none other than the Son of God, the Revelation of the Divine nature, the Image of the Father's substance, the Effluence of his glory, seeing that his is the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father. Nor is this all. He adds, And that believing in this glory, in this reality, in this Christhood, in this Sonship, ye might have life, the blessedness of true being, the sacred fellowship with the Eternal, the hold upon FOREVER, the sanctity of "the life" that is "light," the everlasting life of the sons of God. The prologue here finds its true and efficient complement. The purpose now betrayed expounds the structure of the Gospel as a whole. The apostle claims kinship with the central apostolate. The Hebrew prophet does not disdain his true kindred. The evangelist does not disclaim his predecessors. The lover of souls discloses his lofty passion.
Have been or stand written. The perfect tense. John's intent was to write a gospel rather than a biography.
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