But These are Written So That…

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written 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.

It’s not for the sake of the story John records all these different snapshots of Jesus’ ministry, but to inspire belief in those who read or hear it.  Let’s face it, some people are just good story tellers, so the only purpose of their writing is just to tell an entertaining story.  John makes it clear he’s not interested in just entertaining his readers because it’s more important to convince them of the truth about Jesus.

Yet even with this goal in mind, we can see he understands how hard it is to accept the truth of what he’s saying.  What John writes above in our key text comes in context with the story of Thomas’ reluctance to trust the testimony of the other disciples.  He’s making the point in order to encourage those who have not seen Jesus risen in the flesh to believe and trust the testimony of those who have.

It’s a tough sell, quite frankly.  Once the world was cut off from direct contact with the spiritual realm we became dependent on our senses to tell the difference between right and wrong, truth and lies, imagination versus reality.  We don’t know who to trust, really, for we search the spiritual dimension through all sorts of sources trying to penetrate the thick veil closing us off from it.  Some of us might be able to hear the voices and see flashes of the other side but generally we’re blind to it.

Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead claimed acid opened his mind up to alternate realities.  The first reaction from many of us is,  “Yeah, I’ll bet!”  But what if certain drugs do take down the inhibitions and normal walls God built into our psyche to keep us from contaminating the spiritual dimension?  What then?  It’s quite possible that a portion of those we call “insane” who suffer from schizophrenia (a state of being out of touch with corporeal reality) somehow tap into both dimensions to their own confusion.  Could it be that those who hear voices may be listening in on two different worlds at the same time and their inability to be in just one causes them to splinter?

I don’t know.  I do, however, believe in a multi-dimensional creation where what we call the “spiritual” realm is but one one dimension of many.  We do know from Scripture angels travel from their dimension to ours and remain solid here, which makes them pan-dimensional beings—able to exist in all dimensions as part of them.  Whatever the truth is about these things (and I’m just attempting to expand our thinking on what is possible) belief in anything outside of what we can see, hear, smell, taste, or touch is going to be a hard sell with anyone who’s lived on this planet for a while.  The charlatans selling everything from insights into the future to who we should marry abound—some are even good enough to be pretty accurate.  The ones to be wary of, though, are those who tap into that alternate reality and have somehow learned to navigate it without Biblical guidance or boundaries.

Why?  I mean why be wary of those without a Biblical basis for their information?  Character.  Jesus teaches character above information, contact with the alternate dimensions and humility over power.  Those who seek to contact or use the spiritual realm without a solid character will glory in the power they feel they’ve gained over it—a delusion by the way.  No one controls what they don’t have full knowledge of, therefore trusting what we have wisps of information about or mere phantoms of contact with is risky at best and downright foolish at worst.

John gives us some answers in his gospel which, if we trust his word, open up reasons to believe in Jesus.  He even quotes Jesus arguing with the Jews about these reasons and his quote of the Master has Him saying,  “Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does.  But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”  John 10:37, 38.  Jesus gives everyone plenty of reasons to believe but never forces such a thing down their throats.  He could, because He’s just that powerful, but He chooses not to in order to give people free will.

I’m sure the disciples had plenty of stuff to tell people about Jesus, though none of us know any of these stories outside of the gospels—unless we go to the Apocrypha.  I’m not a big fan of it myself because the books don’t jive in tone, subject matter or theme the way the canonical books do.  Even the Gospel of Thomas seems to be more of a fairytale about Jesus than a real gospel.  That’s just my take on it, however, you’ll have to decide for yourselves.

The point for me is:  Unless it gives life to the one who hears, it’s probably just a nice story.  The gospels record things Jesus did in story form, but every single thing carries the wait of convincing those who read them to believe that Jesus is the Christ and to give life to those who claim His name.

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