Reflections: St. John, Apostle and Evangelist

Today’s Reading: John 21:19-24

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 51:17-52:12; Matthew 2:1-12

This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. (John 21:24)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. John wrote many things, including several letters and the book of Revelation. But many scholars of the Bible place John’s Gospel at the very end of the apostolic era, and consider it perhaps the last book of the New Testament to be written. In the final years of his life, John sets down the life of Jesus one final time. His Gospel is different from those of colleagues Matthew, Mark, and Luke. As an evangelist, John is depicted as an eagle because his Gospel soars with rich theology. 

The story of Jesus could have been written in many different ways. In fact, John himself testifies, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25). But why did John write these things? And how do we know that his testimony is true?

John wrote the things that he wrote for a reason. “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30–31). John writes for faith and life–faith that Jesus is the Christ and God’s Son, and the life that comes in His Name. 

And we know that his testimony is true because it’s not just his testimony. “He who saw it has borne witness–his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth–that you also may believe” (John 19:35). He writes this just after he reports the blood and water that flowed from Jesus’ side when He died. The water and the blood testify with the Spirit (1 John 5:7–8). The testimony of John is the testimony of God. For you. For faith. For life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Merciful Lord, cast the bright beams of Your light upon Your Church that we, being instructed in the doctrine of Your blessed apostle and evangelist John, may come to the light of everlasting life; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect for St. John, Apostle and Evangelist)

Rev. Jacob Ehrhard is pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church and School in Chicago, IL.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch