Quasimodogeniti Sunday

St. John 20:30-31

“Why Did God Write the Bible?”

April 15, 2012


And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. St. John 20:30-31



Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  As the Christ, he is the son of David and heir of his throne.  As the Son of God, he is begotten of the Father before all worlds.  To believe in Jesus is to believe that he is true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary.  To believe in Jesus is to believe in his true deity and his true humanity.  The true Jesus is the Jesus who is set before us in the inspired Gospels, written by men who were eyewitnesses of his life, miracles, suffering, death, and resurrection.


John was a witness of the signs Jesus did.  In the prologue to this Gospel John writes,


And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1, 14



John was there from the beginning to the end of Christ’s ministry.  He witnessed the very first miracle Jesus did.  After recounting how Jesus turned water in wine, he wrote:


This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.  John 2, 11


He watched Jesus die.  He described what he saw.  He saw proof of his death.  He wrote:


But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.  And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. John 19, 34-35


John saw Jesus risen from the dead.  He saw the wounds Jesus had suffered from the nails and the spear.  The same Jesus who suffered and died on Good Friday rose from the dead on Easter Sunday.  John was an eyewitness.  He saw him.  And John heard the risen Jesus speak words of peace as he gave to him and the other disciples the authority to forgive and to retain sins.


John was there.  In concluding this Gospel, he wrote:


This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.  John 21, 24


The true Jesus is the Jesus of the Bible.  There are many fake Jesuses invented by religious con artists who exploit the ignorance and gullibility of people to advance their own notions as if their thoughts are God’s thoughts.  They know that the name Jesus sells, so they attach Jesus’ name to whatever they want to sell.  This is why God gave us the Bible.  He gave us the Bible so that we would know the true Jesus and believing in him have life in his name.


To know the Jesus of the Bible, to believe in this Jesus, is to have life.  It is the abundant life.  It is eternal life.  It is life lived in fellowship with God himself.  It is a life of peace.  It is a life lived under the shelter of the forgiveness of sins.  It is really the only life worth living.  St. John wrote his Gospel so that we would have and enjoy this life.


Today’s Gospel Lesson describes for us the appearance of Jesus on the evening of the day he rose from the dead, conclusively demonstrating that he, who was crucified, was risen from the dead.  It contains the institution of the office of the keys and the sending out of the Church’s first ministers.  It recounts Thomas’s denial of the resurrection he had not seen and the comforting words of Jesus, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  And, at the very end of this pericope, we have the words of our text,


And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. St. John 20:30-31


John referred to what he had written.  He wrote about the signs that Jesus did.  He is the author of the Gospel attributed to him.  Not only did he rely on eyewitness testimony as Luke and Mark had done, but he himself was such an eyewitness.  John wrote the Gospel According to St. John.


But who chose the words?  Who directed the pen?  Who guided John in writing what he wrote?  Listen to what Jesus promised to the apostles, including John, as recorded in John 16, 12-13:


I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.


John was a witness of Jesus’ life, miracles, death, and resurrection.  John received personal instruction from Jesus for three years.  On that basis alone we can regard his Gospel as reliable testimony.  But in addition to what John saw and heard, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, guided John into all truth, speaking by the authority of the Father and the Son from whom he proceeds.


False claims to inspired books abound.  One thinks of the claims of Muhammad that the angel Gabriel dictated the Koran to him.  Look at what Muhammad did and what the Koran says to see that Muhammad invented large portions of the Koran simply to justify his own sins.  The Koran gets all sorts of facts wrong and repeatedly misstates what Christians supposedly believe.  The Koran itself is the chief witness against its inspiration by God.


Likewise, the Book of Mormon that was allegedly given to Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni is filled with historical errors and bogus claims.  It was supposedly written in Reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics, a language that has never existed.  It describes a civilization in America hundred of years ago for which there is not one shred of archeological evidence. 


The Bible, on the other hand, was written by men here on earth.  It wasn’t lost and buried somewhere or dictated by an angel.  The Bible didn’t fall down from heaven.  It was produced by God here on earth and confirmed to be true by eyewitness testimony, the fulfillment of prophecy, the evidence of archeology, and the refutation of countless efforts to find errors in it.  The Bible withstands all attacks against its veracity.  That’s because it was written by God.  The human authors of the Bible were guided by the Holy Spirit who saw to it that the whole truth would be recorded for us in written form.  God is the true author of every word of the Bible.


The Bible has enemies, to be sure.  Even people who claim to be Christians deny its divine authorship.  They assume that the Bible was written by fallible men who brought into the Bible their own prejudices and erroneous opinions.  They disallow the possibility that God himself wrote the Bible.  They claim that the Bible contains contradictions and errors of fact, though they cannot show you one.  They reject the Bible because they don’t like what it says about them and their lives.


It is the height of naïveté to think that people reject the Bible as God’s word for intellectual reasons.  People reject the Bible as God’s word for personal reasons that have to do with sin and guilt and accountability.  If the God of the Bible speaks authoritatively on what is right and what is wrong, then you had better do as he says or face the consequences.  That is the main reason why people reject the Bible and deny that it is God’s word.  They don’t reject the Bible as God’s word because they’ve seen evidence that the Bible has erred on any matter.  They reject the Bible as God’s word because the law contained in the Bible condemns them for their disobedience and they want to shut God up.  Rather than repenting of their sin, they deny that it is sin and the easiest way to define away sin is by silencing God.  You can deny he exists or you can deny that he says what he says.  Since what God says is in the Bible, you simply deny that the Bible is God’s word.  Then you can ignore what it says.


But God won’t be ignored.  What Jesus teaches about right and wrong is the purest and holiest teaching on morality ever taught.  Jesus teaches us, not only to love our friends, neighbors, and families, but to love our enemies.  He teaches us to bless those who curse us.  Whereas other teachers of morality tell us to look within ourselves for true light, Jesus teaches us to look outside of ourselves.  He teaches us the law, not as a means of gaining something for ourselves, but always as instructions on how to help our neighbor and see to his needs.  Jesus teaches us not to seek revenge.  If you are taken advantage of, put up with it.  If someone hits you on your right cheek, turn to him the other cheek.  He gets to the very heart of the divine law, making it crystal clear that coveting your neighbor’s property is theft and lusting after your neighbor’s spouse is adultery.


A generation of self-centered hedonists would like to toss aside such instructions.  They think they’ve done right because they’ve obeyed the civil law, a law that is written so that it is doable by sinful people.  But God’s law requires more than an outward obedience.  It demands the full devotion of the heart, soul, strength, and mind.


Furthermore, this moral teaching of Jesus is not intended for a select few who will hide away in monasteries and save their souls by putting his teaching into practice.  The moral teaching of Jesus is intended for all of his disciples.  If you are a disciple of Christ – if you are a Christian – God is telling you that he wants you to do what Jesus says.  Do you love Jesus?  Jesus says that if you love him you will obey his commandments.  The life that Jesus calls you to live is a life lived in conformity with his commandments.  If you do not so live, you do not live as a Christian, and how then can you call yourself a Christian if you don’t live like one?


Thank God for the Bible!  Thank God for the teaching of the Bible!  For in the Bible we find the answer to the judgment of the law and our own consciences.  “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”  The Bible was written for faith, that we may obtain the faith through which we receive Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and our Savior from sin and death. 


Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands

For our offences given

But now at God’s right hand he stands

And brings us life from heaven


When he suffered for our offences, he died.  That’s because the wages of sin is death.  He paid our debt.  He died.  He who never coveted anything but God’s will, who never lusted for anything but the truth, who never sinned in thought, word, or deed, died for our sin and paid the debt we owed.  This means that we no longer have the obligation to pay that debt.  We no longer have to die.  He died our death for us.  Where there is forgiveness of sins there is life and salvation. 


We read our Bibles in search of Jesus and there we find him.  We come to church in search of Jesus and here he is, forgiving us our sins and giving us peace.  We live in dying bodies but we are not dying.  We are living.  We confess our sins to God.  We believe what the Bible says about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  We trust in him who bore our sins and died our death.  And we have life in his name.  It is the abundant life Jesus alone can give.  Amen.