John 21:20-25 – The World Cannot Contain All the Books

[If you would like to watch video the sermon here is a link:  The World Itself Could Not Contain the Books…  (Scroll down past the overly large series title for audio or video.) Be warned: people tell me I have a face made for radio.You may prefer to listen to the audio instead!]

Jesus Beloved DiscipleHere is a summary: After the resurrection Jesus met some of his disciples by the Sea of Galilee. After providing a miraculous catch of fish, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loved him. This conversation was a public restoration of Peter, a confirmation that Jesus has forgiven him and that Peter’s denial will not define the rest of his life. Jesus then predicted that Peter would be faithful to the end; he would be crucified because of his testimony for Jesus.

But what about the Beloved Disciple? The final chapters of the Gospel of John have contrasted Peter’s actions with the belief of this disciple, who is likely John, the son of Zebedee. If Peter is to be executed, what will happen to John?

John does not want to focus the attention on himself or his book (“I could write more,”or “This book could be much longer….”) The story has been about who Jesus is from the very beginning! “The greatness of the revelation of God in the Logos-Son is vaster than the cosmos created through him.” John’s gospel is about the vastness of Jesus from the first line to the last.

It is remarkable that the final words of Jesus are “you follow me!” Jesus began his ministry asking people what they wanted of him. In John 1:38, Jesus’ first words are “what do you want?” and he command his disciples to follow even then (1:43). At the end of the book Jesus expects his two closest disciples to continue to follow him, one to his death, the other to a long life of ministry, both looking forward to the return of Jesus in glory.

7 thoughts on “John 21:20-25 – The World Cannot Contain All the Books

  1. This one verse always made my mind go wild!
    “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written,”(John. 21:25, NIV).
    I imagine that we will get up to heaven and hear all of these stories that Jesus did here on earth that will hopefully be similar to ours!
    “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing,
    and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father,”(John.14:12, NIV).
    My encouragement for all of us, is that we would walk in an even greater love, hope and faith in the Lord.
    That we would not settle for the things that we have seen, but that we will grow in deeper intimacy in the father than ever before!

  2. I have always really liked John 1:25. It is incredible to think about all of the amazing things that Jesus did on earth and that it is way too much to be written down. When I read this, it makes me want to know some of the other things that Jesus did and it makes me curious. It also makes me wonder why the Gospels repeat some of the same stories. I understand that some are very important and so they should be repeated, but for stories such as Jesus feeding the five thousand, as important and miraculous as that is, I wonder why some of the other things that Jesus did was not recorded instead since He did so many things that we don’t know about. I am excited to one day be able to hear about all of these things that Jesus did during His ministry on the earth. I wonder what other miracles He did and what other lessons He may have taught to people. I assume though that the lessons that we really need to know today are the ones written in the Gospels, but it would be cool to know what else He said.

  3. It is remarkable, in the little time Jesus spent here he done so many Miracles and signs that changed so many people lives. subsequently John making the statement “Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written (John 21:25 NIV).” Moreover, I think this just speak to how specular Jesus’ power is displayed throughout his life on earth. Most importantly it allows readers to see that what is given to us is just a fraction of what did on this earth. Sometimes it’s hard to even imagine God doing so much more despite it being seven miracles in John it is amazing what Jesus had done in the world.

  4. The act of Jesus asking Peter three times if he loved him mirrors Peter’s earlier threefold denial, which shows that God is merciful and forgiving. This question shows that supreme loyalty and love is expected when serving the Lord (Köstenberger, 1999, p. 184). Jesus restores Peter to his position and tells him that he will die in the same manner as Jesus. He would be crucified as a martyr because of His commitment to Christ. It is also interesting that when Peter mentions John, the Beloved Disciple, John is reluctant to put the focus on himself because his main focus is on revealing who Jesus is so that others may believe in Him.

    Furthermore, the final command of Jesus, “You follow me,” concludes the book of John in a powerful way (John 21:22) It was not only a command for the disciples who heard him but also to those who read the Gospel of John. It shows that those who believe in Him are called to follow and obey Him. This means acting in a Christ-like fashion and going where He leads.

    Lastly, the final thing that John writes in his gospel account is, “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). This was a very intriguing verse as it states that there are no amount of words or books that can capture all that Jesus said and did while He was on the earth. John expresses awe and humility about the perfect Messiah who came to bring life and guidance to His sheep.

  5. The repetition of the follow me phrase is significant. This is very stylistic of Jesus and likely serves as a reminder. Commitment is the story here. As you said they followed to their death or with their life. It isn’t any different for us. Kostenberger in his book, “Encountering John” brings up Mark 8:34-38 in reference to this chapter of John. We are to follow with all our beings. And yet we are still His children through ups and downs. Peter exemplifies this with his reinstatement by Jesus. His life, though, was not characterized by being ‘down’. And God built his church on Peter.

    John could indeed have made the book much longer. It is interesting to me that he didn’t. God in His providence must have included all that is needed. Also the phrase in John 21 about the world not being able to contain the books to be written has been interesting to me. I sometimes doubt, “Could the world really?” But I am confident that there is so much to say about our infinite God. Each miracle could be expanded into thousands of books. God has revealed Himself to us but I believe there is much to find out in eternity.

Leave a Reply