So That You May Believe (Advent 2012 – Day 22)

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Today’s scripture Reads:

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

—John 20:30–31

Today is the second to last day of my advent countdown to Christmas Day! It’s been a great month and I hope you have enjoyed this Advent season as much as I have. Today’s scripture was originally going to be saved for tomorrow since it makes for such a nice bookend. It would have been a great bookend to the advent season. I made a last-minute switch because I can think of no better verse to lead into Christmas day than the passage I have picked out for tomorrow, but enough about that, let’s focus on today’s passage.

The Gospel of John (and the other Gospels for that matter) were written to be a means for people to come to faith in Jesus Christ. They were written accounts for the purpose of bearing testimony to the truth that comes in and through Jesus. John mentions that these accounts are not all-encompassing. It would be impossible for the Gospel authors to recall every word, action, and teaching of Christ’s entire three-year ministry. They did, however record much of the important details so that future generations would know who Christ was, what he taught, and why we continue to worship him today.

I’ve expounded upon the radical change brought about by Christ and the significance of the truth he preached. I’ve spent all month writing about how glorious amazing the gift of Christ was, and if I had a million years to keep writing I don’t think I could ever say enough about the wonderful name above all names. But how do we know this good news is true?

To this I point to the early church. After the death of Christ we see the disciples in shambles. Judas is dead, Peter has denied his lord, and everyone is in hiding unsure of what to do next. Then shortly after that there is an explosion of Christianity. Each one of the Disciples would go on to suffer a terrible martyr’s death. Peter, the man who had denied Christ three times during his trial, would be crucified upside down on a cross because he would not deny that Christ was the Son of God, and did not consider himself worthy to die on the cross as his messiah had. In the first 300 years over a million Christians would be brutally murdered for refusing to deny that Christ was the risen Son of God… So what happened?

The Resurrection happened. Christ defeated death and that handful of men who were so afraid lost their fear of death. They no longer feared what man could do to them because they knew without a shadow of doubt that Jesus Christ was who he said he was. Christianity, by all accounts should not have flourished. When one considers the immense persecution Christians suffered for their faith from day one it is nothing short of a miracle that he faith made it past its first generation. Yet in spite of all of this Christianity grew and continued to grow so that now there is hardly any corner of the globe where a follower of Christ can not be found. People all across the world and throughout history have found life in his name and no force on earth could stop them from proclaiming the truth. Jesus Christ offers real life change, and for those who have felt the redeeming power of Christ there is no turning back. The only reason any of us are believers and followers of Christ today is because a handful of men, who at first ran and hid, saw the risen Christ and knew without a shadow of a doubt that they were given a job by the God of Heaven to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to the nations.

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