Believe

The apostle John wants us to believe.  He wants us to believe that Jesus rose from the dead and that Jesus gave his Holy Spirit to his followers.  He lays out the evidence for the empty tomb, he had seen it empty.  He lays out the evidence for a bodily resurrection in an appearance to Mary and the disciples, particularly Thomas.  However, he knows that the blessing of truly believing in these facts will only come through a faithful acceptance. We don’t have the luxury that Thomas had of Jesus appearing to us in his bodily form.

What we have is the gift of Jesus’ Spirit.  Jesus leaves his Holy Spirit with his followers so that they may believe.  When we investigate Jesus we can do so in a skeptical and disrespectful way and Jesus is not duty-bound to cultivate belief.  However, to those who are truly seeking after Jesus and want to find him, the evidence of John’s gospel comes as truth.  We read the words about Jesus’ resurrection and we know that literally, historically this occurred.  Jesus’ Holy Spirit enters into our lives and we know him in the transformed way that the disciples began to experience him in John 20.

John 20: 1-31

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

 11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

 13They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

   “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

 15He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

   Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

 16Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

   She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

 17Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

 18Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

 24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

   But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

 28Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

 29Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The Purpose of John’s Gospel

 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Questions

  1. Why was John’s gospel written?
  2. What things would John have us believe about Jesus in this passage?
  3. What does Jesus give to his disciples?
  4. How does the Holy Spirit lead you into an intimate relationship with Jesus?
  5. How are knowing and believing connected in your life?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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15 Responses to Believe

  1. rebecca Langer says:

    1. John’s gospel was written so that believers could believe in Jesus Chist as the Messiah, and to give us life.
    2. John would haveus believe that Jesus is the Messiah, he rose from the dead, he forgave sins, the Holy Spirit was coming, and that he is in heaven right now.
    3. Jesus gives his disciples life and the Holy Spirit.
    4. The Holy Spirit lets us have Jesus with us at all times.
    5. Knowing and believing are connected because after you know something, there is an aspect of where you do not believe it unless you allow it to change you. You must risk something to believe in something, but you must risk if you are going to believe.

  2. aaron wright says:

    1. as evidence for Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
    2. that Jesus rose from the dead and that He gave the Holy Spirit to his followers.
    3. Holy Spirit.
    4. by conviction to accept Jesus and then to daily follow Him
    5. knowing is more of a thought process, and believing causes us to act on the knowledge in some kind of life altering way.

  3. HeeJin,Choi says:

    1.Why was John’s gospel written?

    – Just as the very first line of the devotion says, the only reason of book of the gospel is to proclaim Jesus’ beautiful death and resurrection which truly happened as a living witness. John wants us to engrave the gospel in midst of our hearts, experiencing Him.

    2.What things would John have us believe about Jesus in this passage?

    – Jesus is the Messian, Son of God

    3.What does Jesus give to his disciples?

    -Holy Spirit

    4.How does the Holy Spirit lead you into an intimate relationship with Jesus?
    -Holy Spirit diligently work reminding me of Him in this hectic life with songs, class mates and even beautiful sky. Holy Spirit ceaselessly helps me stay in Jesus.

    5.How are knowing and believing connected in your life?
    – From my perspective, believing in something brings about some changes in me while knowing ends up awaring.

  4. Sokloon Dy says:

    1. John’s purpose in writing his book is for people to know and believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
    2. John wants us to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. He is the Christ, Son of God.
    3. Jesus gives the Holy Spirit as a Helper to His disciples as He promised.
    4. The Holy Spirit convicts me of sins and guides me to repentance each day. He prays for me to Father because I don’t know what to pray for.
    5. Knowing and believing are the two ingredients that make for action. We know by reading and we believe by the Holy Spirit of God, which causes us to act on what we know and believe.

  5. Sandra Tindle says:

    1. John’s Gospel was written so that the readers of it may believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God, and that by believing we may have life in His name.
    2. In this passage, John would have us believe that Jesus rose from the dead, that He appeared to His apostles, and that the Holy Spirit was given.
    3. Jesus gives his disciples the Holy Spirit, so that they could forgive sins and withhold forgiveness in His name.
    4. The Holy Spirit leads me into an intimate relationship with Jesus by revealing the truth of Scriptures, surrounding me with encouraging and spiritually challenging people, giving me a desire to read and learn about God.
    5. Knowing and believing are connected in my life because, I already believe, but the more I know and learn, the more I believe and the more confident I become in my faith and strength in my relationship with God.

  6. Jessica Gentry says:

    1.) John’s gospel was written so that people may come to a believing faith in the Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of man, and through this belief one may live an eternal life with the Lord.

    2.) John wants us to believe that Jesus is not only a gracious man who died out of kindness, but also that He is a powerful God who can overcome death in order that we may have life abundantly. John wants the reader to understand that this resurrection was an actual and bodily resurrection and that there were eye witnesses to confirm it.

    3.) Jesus gives his disciples the presence of the Holy Spirit.

    4.) The Holy Spirit leads me into relationship with Jesus by illuminating the truth of God’s word to me, and by being the voice beneath my own that guides me back to the cross, and reminds me of whom I serve and whom I belong to.

    5.) Knowing and believing are connected in my life as I know that God is real and I can learn and therefore know what is taught to be true about Jesus, but I then have to believe in its truth and decide in my heart to trust in what I know, to the point that my life looks different becuase of what I believe. For example I can know that Jesus died for my sin and that because of His love I am forgiven but if I truly believe that then I should be moved to forgive others as He has forgiven me.

  7. Kristin Goffinet says:

    1) His gospel was written so that people would believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and have eternal life!
    2) John would want us to know without a doubt that Jesus did, in fact, rise from the dead and appear to his disciples and many others.
    3) He gave them the Holy Spirit.
    4) The Holy Spirit reveals truths from the Bible that I would not otherwise understand, and He also prays on our behalf when we don’t know what to pray, and He guides me.
    5) Based on what I know to be true about the Bible, like the undeniably fact that Jesus did in fact exist, I have choosen to believe all of Scripture even the concepts and theological truths about God that no one will ever fully be able to grasp.

  8. Melisa Guiles says:

    1. John’s Gospel was written so that people would believe that Jesus was the Son of God and receive the gift of life.

    2. John would want us to know that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead and then appeared to his disciples.

    3. He gave them the Holy Spirit

    4. The Holy Spirit illuminates Scripture as I read it and also reminds me of what is the right choice when I am tempted to sin. He also prays on my behalf when I don’t know what to pray for.

    5. I know that Jesus died for my sins on the cross and that God is faithful, holy, loving, and true. I then choose to believe that these things are true even when it doesn’t necessarily feel like it in my life. I know that I truly believe this if my life is changed by it.

  9. spiritandtruth1128 says:

    1. Why was John’s gospel written? The Gospel of John was written because it provides evidence of Jesus being the Son of God.

    2. What things would John have us believe about Jesus in this passage? That Jesus rose from the dead and that Jesus desired more people to realize that he was the Messiah, however he doesn’t turn His back on us only because we may doubt.

    3. What does Jesus give to his disciples? He gives them the Holy Spirit

    4. How does the Holy Spirit lead you into an intimate relationship with Jesus? I feel like the Holy Spirit is around to help me keep my eyes on Jesus. I could easily go astray but the Holy Spirit helps me stay focused and convicts me when something is going wrong.

    5.How are knowing and believing connected in your life? I believe even though I don’t know the exact answers to everything, and I know I believe in the right thing because I have felt and seen the power of God working in my life.

  10. Amy Kringle says:

    1. So that we might believe
    2. He would want us to believe that Jesus really did rise from the dead and that he is always living.
    3. He gives the Holy Spirit to his disciples.
    4. The Holy Spirit stays with us while Christ is not on earth, praying for us and convicting us to repentance.
    5. We have to know about something before we can believe. When we learn about God from truthful sources, the knowledge should lead to belief.

  11. Cassie Clark says:

    1.John’s gospel was written in order that we may believe that Jesus is the Son of God and have eternal life.
    2.That He is God and that He has power over sin and death.
    3.He leaves them with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    4.The Holy Spirit directs my life so that I live in holiness. Without Him, I could not attempt to live like Jesus Christ did on this earth. Also, He intercedes for me. He is my seal guaranteeing that I am saved, and gives me assurance of that.
    5.Knowledge is a necessary requirement for belief. I must belief that Jesus is the Son of God, but with that belief comes action. If I believe He is the Son of God, then I also revere Him as such, living my life in ways that show reverence to Him.

  12. Moon [ED 2203;6:00pm class] says:

    1. Why was John’s gospel written?
    John’s gospel written so that we(believers) might know Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah and have eternal life.

    2. What things would John have us believe about Jesus in this passage?
    Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah who was promised by God and He is the way to get to the eternal life.

    3. What does Jesus give to his disciples?
    He sent the Holy Spirit

    4. How does the Holy Spirit lead you into an intimate relationship with Jesus?
    The Holy Spirit leads me to know Jesus Christ as my Savior. Without the Holy Spirit, i would not understand Jesus Christ as my Savior and His Word.
    He dwells in my heart so when I am weak He works strong so that i can continue to be strengthened to live a Christian life.

    5.How are knowing and believing connected in your life?
    I think the answer could be very abstract in this question. Through my experience, or even in present, I know and believe He has been faithfully working in my life..Even though I cannot see Him with my eyes, I can see His faithful Work in my life in every moment.

  13. [ED2203-01] HyeJin Lee says:

    Why was John’s gospel written?
    – It is written so that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing we may have life in his name.
    What things would John have us believe about Jesus in this passage?
    – The resurrection of Jesus
    What does Jesus give to his disciples?
    – Holy Spirit
    How does the Holy Spirit lead you into an intimate relationship with Jesus?
    – Holy Spirit
    How are knowing and believing connected in your life?
    – Having knowledge on God does not necessarily means believing Him because one may not believe God even though he or she knows about Him. However, knowledge about Him is necessary to believe Him because if one has not heard about Him he or she wouldn’t have been able to believe God. By getting knowledge, you get a chance to believe Him, the savior our Lord.

  14. Kristen Patush says:

    1. Why was John’s gospel written?
    So that we (Christians) may believe.
    2. What things would John have us believe about Jesus in this passage?
    John would have us believe that Jesus is risen and alive.
    3. What does Jesus give to his disciples?
    Jesus gives his disciples the holy spirit.
    4. How does the Holy Spirit lead you into an intimate relationship with Jesus?
    The Holy Spirit convicts you. He brings light to the darkness; he shows you what you have done wrong and your need for a saviour.
    5. How are knowing and believing connected in your life?
    Knowing is all in the head, while believing involves the heart as well as the head. If you know something, that doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with it. Believing is the act of putting your knowledge into practice.

  15. trishaindonesia says:

    -John wrote it because he wants us to know and believe in the Lord Jesus. That He died for our sins and rose from the dead. That there is hope in life because of Him.
    -That the Great Story of Jesus giving His life as a perfect sacrifice isn’t a myth, but it IS true and it DID happen. It’s written in history and it’s a factual event.
    -Jesus leaves and gives the gift of Jesus’ spirit to them and us believers.
    -The Holy Spirit connects me with God. It helps me understand the word of God and makes me stronger when temptation and sin comes my way. It convicts me and helps me keep my focus on my Creator.
    -Knowing is the knowledge in life. You may not agree to it, but you know about it. Believing is really acting on it and living it because you agree.

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