The Reason for a Fourth Gospel: John 20:24-31

Focus Passage: John 20:24-31 (CEV)

24 Although Thomas the Twin was one of the twelve disciples, he wasn’t with the others when Jesus appeared to them. 25 So they told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But Thomas said, “First, I must see the nail scars in his hands and touch them with my finger. I must put my hand where the spear went into his side. I won’t believe unless I do this!”

26 A week later the disciples were together again. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus came in while the doors were still locked and stood in the middle of the group. He greeted his disciples 27 and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands! Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and have faith!”

28 Thomas replied, “You are my Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said, “Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!”

30 Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life.

Read John 20:24-31 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

Of the four records of Jesus’ life that are included in the Bible, John’s gospel is the most unique. While the other gospel writers seem to follow a similar path through Jesus’ life, and while they share many similar events, John’s gospel paints a different picture of Jesus, and John gives us insight into many events that the other gospel writers either didn’t know about, or ones they chose not to include.

Near the end of his gospel, John tells us the reason for his unique record of Jesus’ life. At the end of the second-to-last chapter, John tells us what prompted him to write his gospel, and the filter he used for choosing what events to include. John tells us, “Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life.” (v. 30-31)

The filter John used when writing his gospel is that he chose events from Jesus’ life that help people see Jesus as Someone worthy of their faith. John’s goal was to paint a picture of Jesus, using events from Jesus’ ministry, where faith and belief are present, and it seems like the events John chose include both subtle examples of faith in among some not so subtle examples as well. John’s goal is helping his reader place his/her trust in Jesus because of what happened, and with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, John succeeds in this goal.

While the other gospels aim to preserve a record of Jesus’ life, John’s gospel aims to not only preserve a record, but John also wants to inspire the reader into making a decision for Jesus by the end of his book. Through his gospel, John has inspired more followers of Jesus than any other method throughout history. John’s impact on the Christian church really cannot be measured because most Christians who have lived since the first century have based their belief on at least one of the events in his gospel.

Reading John’s goal for his gospel also gives us the reason that most skeptics want to push John’s gospel aside. Skeptics really dislike John because through his testimony, we learn of a Jesus who is trustworthy, loving, and caring, and we see a picture of a God who is willing to move heaven and earth to restore a relationship with Him. John’s gospel, more than any of the other three, describes a God who desires a connection with us.

John’s gospel was written to help you and I place our faith and belief in Jesus. This means that when we read this gospel, we shouldn’t be surprised if we find examples we can use to strengthen our faith in Him!

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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