That ye might believe - What is here recorded is to give a full proof of the Divinity of Christ; that he is the promised Messiah; that he really suffered and rose again from the dead; and that through him every believer might have eternal life.
Life - Several MSS., versions, and fathers read eternal life, and this is undoubtedly the meaning of the word, whether the various reading be admitted or not.
Grotius has conjectured that the Gospel, as written by St. John, ended with this chapter, and that the following chapter was added by the Church of Ephesus. This conjecture is supported by nothing in antiquity. It is possible that these two last verses might have formerly been at the conclusion of the last chapter, as they bear a very great similarity to those that are found there; and it is likely that their true place is between the 24th and 25th verses of the succeeding chapter; with the latter of which they in every respect correspond, and with it form a proper conclusion to the book. Except this correspondence, there is no authority for changing their present position.
After reading the Gospel of John, his first Epistle should be next taken up: it is written exactly in the same spirit, and keeps the same object steadily in view. As John's Gospel may be considered a supplement to the other evangelists, so his first Epistle may be considered a supplement and continuation to his own Gospel. In some MSS. the epistles follow this Gospel, not merely because the transcribers wished to have all the works of the same writer together, but because there was such an evident connection between them. The first Epistle is to the Gospel as a pointed and forcible application is to an interesting and impressive sermon.
These are written - Those recorded in this gospel.
That ye might believe - This is a clue to the design which John had in view in writing this gospel. The whole scope or end of the book is to accomplish two objects:
1.To prove that Jesus was the Messiah; and,
2.That they who looked at the proof might be convinced and have eternal life.
This design is kept in view throughout the book. The miracles, facts, arguments, instructions, and conversations of our Lord all tend to this. This point had not been kept in view so directly by either of the other evangelists, and it was reserved for the last of the apostles to collect those arguments, and make out a connected demonstration that Jesus was the Messiah. If this design of John is kept steadily in view, it will throw much light on the book, and the argument is unanswerable, framed after the strictest rules of reasoning, infinitely beyond the skill of man, and having throughout the clearest evidence of demonstration.
The Saviour's visit to Phoenicia and the miracle there performed had a yet wider purpose. Not alone for the afflicted woman, nor even for His disciples and those who received their labors, was the work accomplished; but also “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.” John 20:31. The same agencies that barred men away from Christ eighteen hundred years ago are at work today. The spirit which built up the partition wall between Jew and Gentile is still active. Pride and prejudice have built strong walls of separation between different classes of men. Christ and His mission have been misrepresented, and multitudes feel that they are virtually shut away from the ministry of the gospel. But let them not feel that they are shut away from Christ. There are no barriers which man or Satan can erect but that faith can penetrate. DA 403.1
In faith the woman of Phoenicia flung herself against the barriers that had been piled up between Jew and Gentile. Against discouragement, regardless of appearances that might have led her to doubt, she trusted the Saviour's love. It is thus that Christ desires us to trust in Him. The blessings of salvation are for every soul. Nothing but his own choice can prevent any man from becoming a partaker of the promise in Christ by the gospel. DA 403.2
Caste is hateful to God. He ignores everything of this character. In His sight the souls of all men are of equal value. He “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us.” Without distinction of age, or rank, or nationality, or religious privilege, all are invited to come unto Him and live. “Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference.” “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free.” “The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the Maker of them all.” “The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 17:26, 27; Galatians 3:28; Proverbs 22:2; Romans 10:11-13. DA 403.3Read in context »
The great error of the Romish Church is found in the fact that the Bible is interpreted in the light of the opinions of the “fathers.” Their opinions are regarded as infallible, and the dignitaries of the church assume that it is their prerogative to make others believe as they do, and to use force to compel the conscience. Those who do not agree with them are pronounced heretics. But the word of God is not thus to be interpreted. It is to stand on its own eternal merits, to be read as the word of God, to be obeyed as the voice of God, which declares His will to the people. The will and voice of finite man are not to be interpreted as the voice of God. FE 308.1
The blessed Bible gives us a knowledge of the great plan of salvation, and shows us how every individual may have eternal life. Who is the author of the book?—Jesus Christ. He is the True Witness, and He says to His own, “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” The Bible is to show us the way to Christ, and in Christ eternal life is revealed. Jesus said to the Jews and to those who pressed about Him in great multitudes, “Search the Scriptures.” The Jews had the word in the Old Testament, but they had so mingled it with human opinions, that its truths were mystified, and the will of God to man was covered up. The religious teachers of the people are following their example in this age. FE 308.2
Though the Jews had the Scriptures which testified of Christ, they were not able to discern Christ in the Scriptures; and although we have the Old and the New Testament, men wrest the Scriptures to evade their truths; and in their interpretations of the Scriptures, they teach, as did the Pharisees, the maxims and traditions of men for the commandments of God. In Christ's day the religious leaders had so long presented human ideas before the people, that the teaching of Christ was in every way opposed to their theories and practice. His sermon on the mount virtually contradicted the doctrines of the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees. They had so misrepresented God that He was looked upon as a stern judge, incapable of compassion, mercy, and love. They presented to the people endless maxims and traditions as proceeding from God, when they had no “Thus saith the Lord” for their authority. Though they professed to know and to worship the true and living God, they wholly misrepresented Him; and the character of God, as represented by His Son, was as an original subject, a new gift to the world. Christ made every effort so to sweep away the misrepresentations of Satan, that the confidence of man in the love of God might be restored. He taught man to address the Supreme Ruler of the universe by the new name—“Our Father.” This name signifies His true relation to us, and when spoken in sincerity by human lips, it is music in the ears of God. Christ leads us to the throne of God by a new and living way, to present Him to us in His paternal love.—The Review and Herald, September 11, 1894. FE 309.1Read in context »
Satan Attempts to Drown Conscience—Satan uses his influence to drown the voice of God and the voice of conscience, and the world acts as if under his control. Men have chosen him as their leader. They stand under his banner. They will not come to Christ that they might have life. Infatuated with schemes for pleasure and amusement, they are striving for that which will perish with the using.—Manuscript 161, 1897. 1MCP 320.3Read in context »
From the simple Bible account of how Jesus healed the sick, we may learn something about how to believe in Him for the forgiveness of sins. Let us turn to the story of the paralytic at Bethesda. The poor sufferer was helpless; he had not used his limbs for thirty-eight years. Yet Jesus bade him, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” The sick man might have said, “Lord, if Thou wilt make me whole, I will obey Thy word.” But, no, he believed Christ's word, believed that he was made whole, and he made the effort at once; he willed to walk, and he did walk. He acted on the word of Christ, and God gave the power. He was made whole. SC 50.1
In like manner you are a sinner. You cannot atone for your past sins; you cannot change your heart and make yourself holy. But God promises to do all this for you through Christ. You believe that promise. You confess your sins and give yourself to God. You will to serve Him. Just as surely as you do this, God will fulfill His word to you. If you believe the promise,—believe that you are forgiven and cleansed,—God supplies the fact; you are made whole, just as Christ gave the paralytic power to walk when the man believed that he was healed. It is so if you believe it. SC 51.1
Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, “I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised.” SC 51.2Read in context »