Bible Society of South Africa

The nativity according to John – 18 December 2020

By Hennie Symington

Bible text(s)

31But these have been written in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through your faith in him you may have life.

John 20:31GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Gospel of John stands out as an extraordinary book of such complexity yet clarity of thought that it is in a category of its own. It is nothing like the three synoptic Gospels, which can be compared side by side. John cuts to the bone in his Gospel. He skips the parables of Jesus and keeps the reportage on the miracles to a minimum (he mentions only seven). Why? Perhaps because he had read the other three Gospels as it circulated in the Christian world of that time. In fact he says it in so many words: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25). His only purpose it would seem is to prove the deity of God. He bypasses Bethlehem and goes right back to creation placing Jesus there. Also he includes long discussions on why Christ came to earth.

Yet, John adds some of the most famous stories and teachings in the entire Bible. What would our faith have been without the following: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John. 3:16) Isn’t that the heart of our faith?

A certain theologian once said, “Jesus loves me, this I know,” are probably the most profound words every penned. (Reference: The Complete Guide to the Bible, Stephen M Miller, Barbour Publishing, Inc., Uhrichsville, Ohio.)

PS John is the only disciple not mentioned by name in the book – perhaps an act of humility?

Prayer: God, we thank you for great men (and women) who made sure that we have a firsthand account and witness of the great things you’ve done. We stand in awe when we read that your Word came to us through the guiding hand of your Spirit. Amen

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