The Message Of Life In The Gospel Of John -- By: John H. Niemelä

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 07:3 (Jul 2001)
Article: The Message Of Life In The Gospel Of John
Author: John H. Niemelä


The Message Of Life In The Gospel Of John

John H. Niemelä*

[*Editor's note: John Niemelä received a B.A. (University of Minnesota), and earned the Th.M. and Ph.D. degrees in New Testament Literature and Exegesis from Dallas Theological Seminary. John is Professor of Hebrew and Greek at Chafer Theological Seminary. His email address is language@chafer.edu.]

Come and See

A most troubling feature of Christendom is that it lacks consensus in answering the question: “What must I do to go to heaven?” Ask this of any ten who call on the name of Christ and be prepared to hear at least eleven answers. Perhaps, Christendom is too broad a category, but Bible-believing evangelical Protestants evidence the same disparity. Few evangelicals are truly comfortable with the key passages defining the message of life:

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life (John 5:24).

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life (John 6:47).

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name (John 20:30–31).1

Do these passages lack anything? Does John seem to omit any content that one must believe in order to receive eternal life?

All too often Christians tend to avoid passages that make them uncomfortable. Thus, any sense that these key statements in John are not complete leads to shunning them, even though John’s Gospel presents itself as the message, which gives life. A safer course is to admit that John contains some surprises. Nathanael initially rejected Philip’s statement that the Messiah came from

Nazareth (John 1:45),2 so he challenged, Can any good thing come from Nazareth? Philip’s response is also appropriate for those who may wonder if John’s message needs more content: Come and see (John 1:46). Perhaps, contemporary evangelicals should come and see, before concluding that John’s message is incomplete.

The purpose statement in

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