In Romans 1, Paul wrote of all those who had lived since the beginning of time and before the cross. He made a very profound argument that John also used when he inscribed his historical record of Jesus. Paul’s argument was that God will be just in final judgment when His wrath “is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness” (Rm 1:18). God will be proved just “because that which is known about God is manifest within them” (Rm 1:19). God is the Father of our spirits, and thus being the Father of that part of us that is created after His image, “they [the ungodly] should seek the Lord, if perhaps they might grope after Him and find Him, though He is not far from every one of us” (At 17:27).
From the beginning of time, God revealed “the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world,” which things, “are clearly seen” in that which has been created (Rm 1:20). But because the ungodly refused to follow their instinctive inclinations to reach out for a moral guide that is above man, they will be “without excuse” when condemned in final judgment (Rm 1:20). The evidence of God that was revealed through the physical world was sufficient to relieve God from any accountability for judging fairly those who refused to have Him in their minds.
This brings us to the time when God in eternity revealed Himself through the incarnate Son of God in the first century. The God who revealed Himself, both in nature and through the natural instinct of the human being to seek for a Higher Power, was manifested in the likeness of men (Jn 1:1,14; see Ph 2:5-9). This brings us to the purpose for which John wrote the gospel of John. At the conclusion of John’s document on Deity, he identified both the audience to whom he wrote, and the reason for recording the advent of the incarnational God the Son into the material world He created (Cl 1:16).
And Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life through His name (Jn 20:30,31).
We would assume that John wrote an apologetical document concerning who the man Jesus was in order to give all information necessary for all who hear of Jesus to respond to Him. We would not assume that John’s audience was composed of all those who already believed. He wrote “that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” His defense document was written, not for the purpose of keeping believers faithful, but to bring unbelievers into the family of believers.
We thus have an inspired platform of signs upon which to interpret the nature of the content of John. It is a platform of evidence upon which we would conclude that this Jesus of Nazareth was the incarnate Word who was formerly with the Father, but then came into flesh of man (Jn 1:1,14). We would thus view the book of John as a book of Christian evidences that are presented for the purpose of creating belief in the minds of those who do not know who Jesus is. It is for this reason that this book has been commonly referred to as the “Gospel of Belief.”
In the preceding statement of John 20:30,31, John said that “Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples.” We thus deduct two conclusions concerning his purpose for writing. First, his purpose was not as Matthew, Mark and Luke. John had a concise purpose. He sought to write an apologetic that Jesus was the incarnate Son of God.
Second, John used only seven of the signs of Jesus to lead us to the conclusion that Jesus was the Son of God. We thus come to a marvelous conclusion: It does not take a multitude of miracles to prove that Jesus is the Son of God. And possibly, and more important, it does not take a continuation of miracles throughout history in order to maintain one’s faith that Jesus is the Son of God. In fact, the very nature of John’s recording only seven miracles (signs) of Jesus assumes that if one has the document of John, he would never again need any confirming miracles to prove that Jesus was the Son of God. If by chance a particular religious group did seek to depend on a supposed continual miraculous confirmation that Jesus was the Son of God, then this would be a denial of the purpose for which John wrote. It would marginalize the very book of John, and witness to the fact that those who continue to need miracles for faith have a difficult time with their faith.
If John recorded signs that Jesus worked in order to produce faith in Jesus, then we must assume that the Holy Spirit presents the book of John to us as sufficient to produce faith. If we need more miracles to believe, then we are saying that the book of John is insufficient to produce the faith that is pleasing to God.
We conclude that the seven miraculous signs that were recorded by John are sufficient to produce a faith that is adequate for salvation. We will not, therefore, call on God for more confirming miracles, though God continues to work in our lives. But working in our lives within the natural order of things was not the confirming signs that John provided in his document. John focused on those miraculous events that were already perceived by the people to be God working outside the natural order of the physical world.
The fact that the seven signs of Jesus that John recorded were out of the ordinary occurrence of natural laws is what classifies them as “signs.” They were signals of Someone who was beyond this world. We would not, therefore, nullify the seven signs of John by saying that such signs were only the natural occurrence of the physical laws of nature. The fact that John records these particular signs as evidence that Jesus was the Son of God validates the fact that what Jesus did through these signs was out of the ordinary, and thus, He was no ordinary man.
God expects of us, as He did of those before the coming of Jesus, to accept these seven miracles as sufficient proof to conclude “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (Jn 20:31). We conclude as Nicodemus when he came to Jesus in the night: “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (Jn 3:2).
[Point ! tomorrow.]