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John 20:30-31 Study Guide: So That You May Believe

Community Group Study Guide — So That You May Believe
John 20:30-31

Study Information:
Not every book of the Bible gives us their main idea as clearly as John did. John tells us his purpose statement plainly in John 20:30-31 where he wrote “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (ESV)” John wrote his gospel so that people who had not heard about Jesus would believe and for struggling Christians to be built up in their faith and find assurance. It is not an accident that this purpose statement comes right after Jesus met with his fearful and doubting disciples meaning that John desired for us to know the power and love of Christ, specifically that Jesus is the son of God and that there is life through faith. 

Who is Jesus?
John 20:30
First, John wrote this gospel so we’d trust the signs that Jesus had done that pointed to his power and glory so that we’d know Jesus is the Christ, the son of God. 

This gospel was not just a history of Jesus’ life but rather an argument about who Jesus is and what he came to do. If it was just straight biography we’d get more info about his childhood, family and teenage years. Rather, John crafted this message for us to have certainty and life in Christ through faith and he filled his gospel with two groups of “7” the 7 signs and the 7 “I Am” statements to point to the person and work of Jesus. What did Jesus do and what did Jesus claim about himself? 

The 7 signs were 7 miracles that Jesus did to display the glory and power of God. Among these miracles were acts like turning water into wine, healing an official’s son, healing a man paralyzed for 38 years, feeding 5,000, walking on water, healing a man born blind and raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus did many more things than this, but these miracles were listed to show us a variety of Jesus’ acts and so that we’d see that he can and will undo the effects of sin, death and the devil (John 21:25). One other thing to note, is that the 7th sign came in John 11, why did John stop listing miracles at that point? Likely because the 8th sign was Jesus’ own death and resurrection, which occupies the focus of the John chapters 12-21. The miracles of miracles was Jesus’s own resurrection from the dead so we can have eternal life and not fear separation from God that comes from death. 

The 7 “I Am” statements were teachings from Jesus about his own divine identity and what kind of king and savior he’d be. Jesus used the words “I Am” with each statement to connect us to God’s own divine name, which is Yahweh or “I am who I am.” Jesus taught that he was the bread of life, the light of the world, the door, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the way, the truth and the life and the true vine. Each title of identity communicated his role to reveal God, sacrificially lay down his life and connect us to God so we may have life. Jesus was not just a good teacher or a prophet, he claimed to be God himself and the one who came to lead his people to life (John 1:4). 

What Does God Want For You?
John 20:31
If you were to ask random people on the street “if there was a God, what would he want for you?” Likely you’d get responses like he wants us to live a good life, to go to heaven, to be happy, or to be successful or he wants us to follow the rules he laid out. Some may have a positive view and others a negative view. But, how you answer this question is important to help you to assess what you think being a follower of Jesus is all about. Is it about your obedience, happiness, getting to heaven or something else? John does not leave us wondering, what does God want for us? God wants us to believe and this believing leads us to life. 

Notice John did not say that God wants our “belief;” God wants us to believe. John used this word for faith, the greek word pistis 98 times in 21 chapters, and not a single time is it used as a noun. Faith is true knowledge, and warmed affections for God but John wants us to understand that faith is active trust. John wrote his gospel so that we’d know Jesus and follow him with our whole lives. 

What Does Life In Christ Look Like?
John 20:31
John used the word life 42 times in his gospel, which is way more than any of the other gospel writers; the next closest was Matthew with 7 occurrences. Readers are meant to know that Jesus came to undo the curse of sin and death and so that we would have the life we were meant to have. What is this life look like?

First, it is “in Christ.” John wrote that we may have life “in his name.” This is language of union with Christ and that faith unites us to Christ in a personal and intimate way. Likewise, every spiritual blessing we receive, we receive because we are counted in Christ. John 1:4 told us that “in him was the life and the life was the light of men.” Faith joins us to this life and brings us into close relationship with God

Second, this life is abundant (John 10:11). God does not need anything from us and he is the Lord the giver of life. God is not stingy, needy or trying to minimize our enjoyment (John 15:11). 

Third, this life is relational. When Jesus talked about eternal life he said that it was knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ whom he sent (John 17:3). Likewise, since Jesus is the way, the truth and the Life to experience “life” is to know a person, it is to know Jesus more and more (John 14:6). 

Finally, this life is eternal. Once you’re united to Jesus by faith, not even death can separate you from life. His resurrection is a promise of our future resurrection to everlasting life to be in his presence forever. 

Summary: John desired for you to wholeheartedly give Jesus your active trust so that you could be reconciled to God, free from sin and death and experience this kind of life. His hope was that as you read this gospel you’d grow in greater knowledge and assurance of who Jesus is and what God desires for you and that you’d experience this growing sense of life in Christ. 

At your community group:

Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.

How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week? 

Discussion Questions:
Read John 20:30-31

What are some reasons that John told us his purpose so clearly in John 20:30-31 and why do you think other biblical authors don’t do that as clearly?

How do you think you would have answered the question “what does God want for you?” before you were a Christian?

What does John mean by life in Christ?

What are a few things you learned about Jesus through this series in the gospel of John and how has that challenged the way you follow Jesus?