“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. We every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could no contain the books that would be written” John 21:25
This is the very last verse in John’s Gospel. Part of John’s purpose in writing a Gospel after the somewhat parallel synoptic Gospels was to produce another look at Jesus’s life and Ministry. He chose different accounts and teachings than the synoptic to produce a harmonious yet unparalleled account.
This passage also points to a deeper biblical truth: Jesus is bigger than He is portrayed in Scripture. He is more interesting, more amazing, and more fascinating than any work of writing can adequately portray. On the one hand, this amuses me because the Bible is rightfully exalted above all other writings in regards to how it portrays Jesus. Yet it still has this self-proclaimed limitation, which is purposeful. In light of the limitations of the writing itself and the fact that God is meant to be experienced relationally and not merely read about; a limited, essential account of Jesus’s earthly ministry makes perfect sense.
When speaking to the Jews, Jesus said “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is that that bear witness about me. Yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life”. (John 5:39-40). The dichotomy of engaging with Scripture and relating to Jesus when that is who the Scriptures point to is directly addressed here by Jesus. The Bible is an invaluable component of the Christian faith but only so much that it brings us to an engaging relationship with Jesus Christ, the resurrected King. When it does not do that, it does not serve its purpose and becomes something else entirely.
This purpose of witnessing to who Jesus is while simultaneously drawing us closer in relationship with Him confirms the limited scope in content comprehensiveness that John alluded to in our starting verse. The limitation is neither bad nor unfortunate. It is intentional. Instead of attempting to document each and every thing that Jesus did while on earth to give future generations all possible information to benefit their Christian walk, the Gospel chose to write selective, targeted works that conveyed the essential aspects of Jesus earthly ministry in such a way that we would be drawn towards knowing Him personally and engage with Him in our own lives. A relationship with Jesus is the essential part, the Scriptures serve that by their witness.
By this, we know that the Bible serves its purpose when it communicates who Jesus is in such a way that we are drawn into a closer relationship with him.
This is the witness of Scripture.