By Rev Dr Clive Chin
“Jesus performed many other 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 Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31).
Beginning in October, we will begin a new sermon series on the Gospel of John. Although the Gospel of John omits many of Jesus’ words, parables and works that are included in the synoptic gospels, many parallel accounts are included. Scholars insist that John’s gospel, when read in tandem with the synoptic gospels, offer us a “stereoscopic” perspective into the person, life, and teaching of Jesus Christ.
John 20:30-31 states the purpose of John’s gospel clearly. It is written to present specific “signs”—significant displays of power that point to Jesus as the Son of God. So, if we perceive Jesus with eyes of faith, we can see deeper spiritual realities concerning his identity and the eternal life which he offers.
Why does John refer to Jesus as the “Son of God?” Did Jesus ever explicitly claim to be God himself? The title “Son of God” refers to the functional aspect of Jesus’ ministry in that he was submissive to the Father and does and says only those things the Father gives him to do and say. However, when answering the question posed by Jewish authorities of how he could have seen Abraham, he says, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58). This is certainly an implicit claim to deity with reference to Yahweh who met Moses in the burning bush. When Roman soldiers searched for Jesus of Nazareth to arrest him, Jesus replied three times, “I am he” (John 18:5-7). Jesus did not say the words “I am God,” but everything he did and said pointed to this.
Why did John write this gospel? Based on what he says himself in this text, the purpose seems to be evangelistic. This impression is confirmed by the evidence that the first clause in John 20:31 can be rendered “that you may believe that the Messiah, the Son of God, is Jesus.” So, who is Jesus? Is he a good moral teacher? An enlightened man? No, John claims that Jesus is the Son of God. He is God incarnate. And by believing in him, you may have eternal abundant life.