Persuasion

Grace Claus

READ : John 20:30-31

But these are written so that you may believe. (v. 31)

In fifth grade, we learned to write persuasive essays. They were five paragraphs long, with an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introductory paragraph included our thesis statement, which laid out the argument we were attempting to make. Each body paragraph began with a topic sentence that explained what that paragraph would cover. And the conclusion always restated the thesis and began with some grandiose transition like, “To recapitulate . . .”

Articulating the purpose of an essay allows the reader to assimilate the information that the writer is providing, a skill that my fifth-grade self struggled to master. The Gospel of John, on the other hand, has no problem with it. Here we are, nearing the end, and John says in effect, “To recapitulate, Jesus performed countless signs, but these are the ones you should know in order to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and to have life.” The purpose is clear: belief and life. John has no other hopes for us except that we would believe Christ and live.

So that becomes the question for us: Is John’s purpose in writing fulfilled in us? Having read much of the book over the past two weeks, have we been persuaded of Jesus’ identity as the one who brings life? Has that life been fostered in us? If it has, let’s rejoice! If it hasn’t yet, let’s keep reading.

PRAYER

Jesus Christ, I believe that you are the Messiah. Thank you for the witness of John, so I might believe and have life in your name.