And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (John 21: 25)
What an incredible verse – and one which I have never, ever heard in any sermon, or seen in any book or commentary . Yet it’s one that contains a truth so profound that it almost leaves one breathless when considering the scope of it. It’s also the very last verse of the Gospels, seemingly ‘tacked on’ between Jesus’ last fellowship beside the lake with His disciples and His ascension a few weeks prior to Pentecost and the beginning of the Christian church ‘proper.’
This truth encompasses the Old Testament and the New. It encompasses the entire history of mankind, past, present and future. It speaks of all of the people and places that don’t appear in the Bible, of those in the church of old and the church today, and those who will be saved in the future. It includes the creation of the world, and it includes the passing away of the world as we know it and the coming eternal Kingdom. It covers Genesis to Revelation, and beyond.
It is an absolute truth that the Bible is a ‘finite’ book in that nothing can be added and nothing taken away. God Himself has decreed that, and it has been inspired by the Holy Spirit for our edification, encouragement, exhortation and instruction. Within it’s pages, we can find the answers for every single human need, experience, emotion and necessity. It is therefore both perfect and complete, and we absolutely need nothing more in our Christian walk.
At the same time, it’s easy to lose sight of the totality of the Word, and the fact that there are many things ‘unrecorded’ in the Bible that did actually happen. What we have is what God knew we needed to know, but it does not exclude the reality of the other. I’m not talking of ‘new revelation’ because the Bible firmly tells us there is ‘nothing new under the sun’ or the propensity to ‘reinterpret’ Scripture to suit current trends or create some new hype for the deceived to follow. I’m talking the very real things alluded to here – healings, deliverances, resurrections, instruction, interaction, the people and places and individual, life-changing experiences that, together, complete the totality of all that Christ has done.
The verse reminds us that, when we read the Word, we should do so in the light of, firstly, who and what God is – the alpha and omega, beginning and end, the sum total of everything and everyone and so much more that we cannot even begin to conceive. Secondly, we should read it in the light of who and what Christ is, and from the perspective of the cross. We should remember that Christ is the Word, that He was there at the beginning, and will be at the end, and that He is, Himself, divine. His manifestation in the flesh and in the written Word was to reveal God to His people. It was by the living Word (spoken) that the world was created, and He continues the revelation in His people today in a personal, individual manifestation of His life within us – each individual a ‘new creation through the Word.’
We are each ‘the many other things that Jesus did.’ Our salvation, justification, redemption, restoration, glorification – each of these are ‘the many things.’ The saving, over and over, of God’s people throughout history, is part of that. The magnitude of it is humbling, the individuality of it is astonishing, and the reality of it is comforting. Imagine for a moment if each and every one of these instances were written down or recorded. It’s a task that will never be finished, and there would never be a way to store even a single copy anywhere.
That is why, I believe, that we read in Revelation that the saints ‘overcome by the word of their testimony and the blood of the Lamb.’ Our testimony is the only way that what Jesus has done can be recorded and disseminated. It is through our testimony of what He has done that the living Word continues it’s growth, that the full totality of what He has done can be revealed. What an awesome privilege, and what a mighty responsibility. As we testify, we overcome, because what Jesus has done is a living, powerful reality that exists in eternity. With Christ in us, together we become a living, breathing repository, one that constantly ‘updates’ with new testimony. That is the incredible power of the Word.
Lord Jesus, thank You for the revelation of who You are and all that You have done. Write it in our hearts, that we may continually testify to Your goodness, Your mercy and Your grace. Help us to speak it at every opportunity, that by our testimony we may make You known to others.