The Infinite Gospel
“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”- John 21:25
We have reached the end of our study of John’s gospel, as today’s passage records the evangelist’s concluding comments on the life and ministry of Jesus. John notes that Jesus did many other things that he did not include in his narrative (see also 20:30–31). In fact, if anyone were to write them down, even the whole world could not contain the number of books it would require to provide such an account (21:25).
How could John write this statement? After all, Jesus’ earthly ministry—His time teaching throughout Palestine and doing miracles—lasted approximately three years. Furthermore, He lived only about thirty-three years before going to the cross. Surely, a record could have been made of everything He said and did in His life and ministry, since it was a relatively short period. Certainly, the world could contain the number of books it would require, for it was not an earthly life and ministry of infinite length.
Yet, while Jesus’ earthly life and ministry were not of infinite length, they were of infinite significance. We have spent a year looking only at Jesus’ life and teaching as recorded in John’s gospel, and we have not even scratched the surface regarding what Jesus said and did during His earthly life. How could we ever begin to examine and apply all of who Jesus is as the Son of Man (3:1–15); the One with life in Himself (5:26); the Bread of Life (6:35); the Living Water (7:38); the Light of the world (8:12); the Good Shepherd (10:11); the Resurrection and the Life (11:25); the Savior of the world (12:47); the Way, the Truth, and the Life (14:6); the Giver of the Holy Spirit (v. 16); the True Vine (15:1); the Great Intercessor (chap. 17); and the King of the Jews (19:19)? Furthermore, Jesus is the Word of God, the Son of the Father—the Creator Himself incarnate (1:1–18; 8:58). He has always been and always will be, so to record every act and teaching of our Lord would mean including everything He has done, is doing, and will do from eternity past to eternity future.
John Calvin comments that while more could have been written about Jesus, “the summary which the Evangelists have committed to writing, is sufficient both for regulating faith and for obtaining salvation.” We have enough now to know and trust our Savior. And we who trust in Him will dwell with Him forever, learning more and more from Him throughout eternity. Whoever believes in God’s only begotten Son will not perish but will have eternal life (John 3:16).
Dr. R.C. Sproul comments on today’s passage in his commentary John, “The record [of Jesus’ life] that we have is enough to sate our appetites and call us back to this testimony again and again and again.” Our duty as Christ’s disciples is to return to His Word regularly to learn from Him and to increase our affection for Him. Let us continue to study John’s gospel—and all of Scripture—for the rest of our lives.
Passages for Further Study
John 3:16–21; 5:17