Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31; There are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. John 21:25.
Jesus did a lot! As the gospel of John proclaims, we could get lost forever in the pursuit of cataloging the actions of Christ, and be at the risk of missing the will of God. Order is a good thing, it helps us get along and move along, but order is not the highest good. That is why John makes a point of telling us that believing in Jesus the Messiah and Son of God leads to enlightened hope and joy in this time and for all times. Believing is much more than giving verbal assent, literally to believe is “to live as if it is so.” The faith of the church is not a mere collection of opinions on how God can make my life or my community better, rather it is the assurance that God has a will and a plan which is good. So, Jesus is Messiah, Son of God and believers do have life in his name, but what does it really mean to live as if “that” is so.
Jesus healed! We receive promises that the Holy Spirit empowers us to do what Jesus did and thus we also are called to pray for healing in Jesus’ name. This is a manifestation of God’s coming Kingdom in which all sickness and sorrow, even and especially death is swallowed up in life. When we claim and live in expectation of God’s healing power we proclaim the Kingdom’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This is important, but healing is not the only or even best description of what Jesus did, nor is it the primary calling of Jesus’ church.
Jesus taught! We receive stories of Jesus enlightening crowds as to how all things work together for good. Jesus encourages those who doubt the possibility of their own right living, and challenges those who exalt themselves for behavior they judge to prove superiority. Jesus teaches directly, “turn the other cheek” and indirectly “There was a certain man traveling…” Jesus also teaches through what he does as an example for those with ears to hear and eyes to see. It is important for us to read the scriptures and become familiar with Jesus’ teaching, but becoming as expert of the teaching and even teaching on the teaching is not the primary calling of Jesus’ church.
Jesus loves! This is it! The healing and teaching are all witnesses to the love of Christ. He gives his life as a ransom for us and for all, seeking out the lost. As Paul proclaims, even the best of sermons, the wisest of teachings, the most splendid of services is nothing without love. Jesus calls us not to love as we like, but to love as Jesus does.
The obstacle for Christians and the church is we too often and too easily separate out the words Jesus said and the things Jesus did from why he spoke and acted. We are to love, period! “Do nothing from selfish ambition.” Love your neighbors, love your enemies, love those who persecute us, love those who love us. This supernatural gift does not come easy and in fact requires a new kind of birth. Jesus Messiah and Son of God came to give us this new birth so that living as if it is so, we might not only have life, but point others to the miraculous influx of the Kingdom of God. Grace and works in love, now that’s the ticket.