As a girl I loved to visit my small local library. One day, looking at the bookshelves holding the young adult section, I reasoned I could probably read every book. In my enthusiasm I forgot one important fact—new books were regularly added to the shelves. Although I gave it a valiant effort, there were simply too many books.
New books continue to fill more and more bookshelves. The apostle John likely would be amazed with the availability of books today since his five New Testament books, the gospel of John; 1, 2, and 3 John; and Revelation, were handwritten on parchment scrolls.
John wrote those books because he felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to give Christians an eyewitness account of Jesus’s life and ministry (1 John 1:1–4). But John’s writings contained only a small fraction of all that Jesus did and taught during His ministry. In fact, John said if everything Jesus did were written down “the whole world could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25
John’s claim remains true today. Despite all the books that have been written about Jesus, the libraries of the world still cannot contain every story of His love and grace. We can also celebrate that we have our own personal stories to share and rejoice that we will be proclaiming them forever! (Psalm 89:1).
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky. F.M. Lehman
Let your life tell the story of Christ’s love and grace.
Although the Scriptures don’t contain every story about Jesus (in fact John twice admits that he has only recorded a portion of Jesus’s life and ministry—see John 20:30 and 21:25), we have the significant parts. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we have the whole story of Jesus that is necessary for our salvation.
But what about those things that aren’t written down in John’s gospel? There have been attempts to fill the holes. Should John’s admission that “Jesus performed many other miraculous signs” (20:30) make us insecure? Should we try to “fill in the blanks”? Not at all. When John first tells us that what he recorded is only a part of Jesus’s story, he gives us full confidence that what we have is enough: “These are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (20:31).
How can you thank God today that His story is even bigger than we know?
For more on who Jesus is, see Life of Christ at christianuniversity.org/NT111.