In the first half of this study, we learned that Jesus is the bread of heaven who gives everlasting life to everyone who believes in Him. But believing in Him involves more than knowing where He came from. It also means responding positively to the second vital question posed by the gospel of John –
2) Why Did Jesus Come? John gives two life-giving answers to this question. The first is found in the verse that changed my life. I was sitting in confirmation class at age 14, preparing to the join my church. But a more pressing question kept haunting me. How can I be sure I’ll go to heaven when I die? Thankfully, the minister had the answer for us. He quoted John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” So I had my answer. The reason Jesus came was to save sinners by dying for our sins, and all I need do to receive His pardon and the life He promises is to believe in Him. Some rebel at this idea. “Rely on someone else for my salvation? No! That contradicts everything I believe in. I’ve always prided myself in the fact that I’m a self-made man!” But a drowning person has no such qualms. He simply wants to live and is willing to accept help from anyone who can rescue him. Nor does John leave us wondering why Jesus can save us. The reason He can do so is because Jesus is the Lord!
To help us believe this, John offers us two proofs. First, the miracles of Christ. Compared to the other gospels, John contains very few miracles – 8 to be exact! But that doesn’t make them unimportant. On the contrary, each one is given for a specific purpose. John 2:11 is a good example. Here Jesus performs His first public miracle by turning water into wine. What is this intended to prove? Jesus is the Creator with all the elements of nature under His control. Or what about the healing of the man born blind in John 9:12? What does this picture about Jesus? Jesus is the Light of the World and whoever follows Him will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life. And one more example – John 11:44 where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. What does this prove? Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life and that whoever believes in Him shall live even if he dies. So it is throughout this gospel. The miracles are meant to lead us to one undeniable conclusion. John 20:31 is the key verse: “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
The second way John helps us believe is by the titles he gives Jesus. Some argue that Jesus never claimed to be God, but that’s refuted by the “I AM” statements He makes in this book – “I am the Bread of Life,” “I am the Light of the World,” “I am the Good Shepherd,” “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Each of these statements proves that He was more than a prophet, for each statement is a title God gave to Himself in the Old Testament and which Jesus now applies to Himself. The clearest example is John 8:58 where Jesus claims to have known Abraham. The religious rulers counter, “You are not yet 50 years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus boldly answers, “Truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM,” the name God told Moses to use when explaining who sent him. Nor were the religious rulers confused as to what Jesus meant, for John says they picked up stones at this point to kill Him because He, being a mere man, made Himself equal with God. Consequently, how important is it for you to believe this about Jesus?” It is all important! For, as Jesus warned the religious rulers in John 8:24, “Unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.”
Finally, question 3) Where Did Jesus Go? 15 times in John’s gospel, Jesus warned that He was going away, and that bothers people. It bothered the Jews because they couldn’t figure out where He was going. It bothered the disciples because they knew they couldn’t get along without Him. And it bothered me because I wondered, “If there’s a God who loves me, then why doesn’t He reveal Himself to me?” But Jesus comforts us with these words of assurance in John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God. Believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” So we needn’t be confused. Jesus is where He was in the beginning – with His Father in Heaven, ruling His creation, preparing a place for us, and about to return and receive us to Himself. What a great note on which to end this study! Our hope is not in what we can achieve one day or anything this world offers. Our blessed hope is “the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” who may return before this day is over. Even so, come quickly, Lord!