Have you ever felt like the world was coming apart at the seams? Conflicts, factions and in-fighting seem to erupt with almost predictable regularity these days. Love, generosity, patience, and civility seem to wither while the seeds of outrage, distrust and suspicion find fertile ground to thrive.
Sharply contrast that with the words of John that close out his gospel letter. “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.”
Most see John’s words as a simple salutation that brings his letter to a close in hyperbolic fashion, but rather than being a clever quip, maybe he was trying to point us to a deeper truth. John pushes us to look beyond the tangible manifestations of Jesus’s earthly miracles to see the more magnificent spiritual weight of His sacrifice and behold the enormous scope of what Christ accomplished on the cross on our behalf. So superb is His triumph that it cannot be fully grasped or contained by human understanding.
Consider these questions for a moment:
- Can we ever comprehend the full glory of God, of His transcendence and supremacy?
- Do we really plunge the depth of our own corruption and brokenness that causes us to mount treason against our King?
- Are we able to absorb the vastness of love that motivated Christ to reach out to such an ungrateful, self-absorbed and hostile people?
- Even while we war within our own hearts and act in antagonism, are we not yet extended abundant grace, mercy and restoration?
How is it that these lofty contemplations no longer move us? Have God’s people been so captured by our worldly condition that the simple truth of the gospel story no longer touches our affections… no longer spurs us to change… no longer challenges us to move beyond ourselves?
Perhaps real alteration for our lives… and our surroundings… comes as believers embrace the un-containable reality that John provides… Were the whole world filled with books, they could not adequately convey the magnitude of the grace, mercy and forgiveness that is ours in Christ Jesus.