6. John believed that becoming a Christian was only the beginning

Only God could dream this up: The words, “It is finished” are actually the very beginning of an opportunity to live a whole new life. Jesus died on the cross, but he didn’t stay dead.

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!”

John 20:18

The Gospel of John is full of some truly incredible good news. We’ve been visited by the God who created us. He took the punishment of death that we deserved when he died on the cross. And he proves that we are no longer subject to the law of death by overcoming death and rising on the third day. Mary is the first witness and Jesus’ disciples, including John, would soon see the resurrected Jesus with their own eyes as well. But these were just the first witnesses, not the last. People have born witness to Jesus’ resurrection generation after generation for the last 2,000 years. Unlike Mary and John, these generations did not physically see and interact with Jesus. And this makes their testimony even more amazing. We believe in Jesus’ resurrection because of a 2,000 year chain of lives that have been changed by the living Jesus.

Jesus was the firstborn from the dead, not the last

Paul tells the Colossian church that Jesus is “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.” Being first born implies that others will be born as well. And here we are! When we are reborn in Christ we have the same hope and expectation that the empty tomb provided the earliest believers. Death will not be the end.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10:10

The thief sounds a lot like life under the law of sin. Jesus ultimately overcomes death but there’s even more! He came not just to give us eternal life but to give us resurrected lives, abundant lives, as we live out the rest of our lives with him.

We see this in the resurrection accounts at the end of John. They give us a glimpse of what life with a living Jesus is like. Jesus is intimately with them, helping them through their doubts, restoring their faith, letting them know they are forgiven and need not feel ashamed, and getting them back on the mission to care for people like a shepherd. This is life to the full!

The endings of each of the four gospels are all a little different and wonderful in their own way. Matthew and Mark end with Jesus’ great commission that we “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…” Luke ends with the story of Jesus walking with two of his disciples just like how we walk together with Jesus today. And John ends like this:

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

John ends his gospel by making it clear that his good news is only the beginning. Jesus did so much more than John could write. And, perhaps more importantly, Jesus’ true disciples have gone on to do so much more than could ever be written. Every new life in Christ is its own new chapter in the adventure that God has planned for those who believe. So we’ve reached the end of John’s gospel but only the very beginning of abundant life and it all starts by answering a simple question: Do you agree with John?