"Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name."
Imagine all that Jesus' disciples remembered and recalled about their time following Jesus. There had to be numerous stories and teachings, things that happened on their journey. John also tells us in the next chapter that if all which Jesus did were written in detail, the world itself could not contain the books (21:25).
But the holy Spirit has led them to record specific accounts and John tells us why: so that we may believe Jesus is the Christ and by believing we may have life. That is the purpose for the Gospels. They are not simply history lessons, or rule books. They are the Word of God that tell us about true events in order to reveal that Jesus is the Christ. That Jesus is the Savior of the world. This truth should drive us to follow Him and receive life that only He can give.
This also lets us know that what we have in Scripture is sufficient; it is enough! We don't need more signs, more words, or God would have included more. We don't need to add anything at all and we should not seek such things. He has given us everything we need to have life through His Word.
Does God still work today? Yes! Can we still see evidence of God working in the world and in people's lives? Absolutely. But we only know something is from God because of His Word. The only reason we know who God is, is because He loves us and has chosen to reveal Himself so we would seek Him. If it was His desire to be known by His creation, why would He withhold anything needed to do so? He hasn't! He has revealed Himself through His Son and through His Word.
We should never seek after more than what God has promised is enough. We should never seek after or follow those who tell us that more is necessary and that they can reveal it, or that God has only revealed it to them. And we should certainly never base our faith on someone's experience or revelation if it is at odds with Scripture. To do so disregards the authority of the true Word given by God and confirmed by the resurrection of His Son!
"You will follow later"
Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered, "Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later." -John 13:36
I have to imagine that these words stayed with Peter the rest of his life. After Christ had risen and then trials came, afflictions, persecutions, even martyrdom; How sweet it must have been for Peter to recall these words, "you will follow later." That assurance from the Lord, whom he had seen risen from the grave and taken into Heaven, must have drove him on to preach the Word in the face of danger.
The same words apply to those today who truly belong to Jesus. Those who have trusted Him as their savior and follow Him NOW, can face trials and temptations knowing we will follow LATER also. Those who just use the name of Jesus as a lucky charm will never know the joy of this assurance. Jesus said only His sheep hear His voice; and that voice tells us, "you will follow later."
"He who made me well . . ."
So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, "It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet." But he answered them, "He who made me well was the one who said to me, 'Pick up your pallet and walk." -John 5:10-11
This man, having been sick for 38 years, had been following Jewish custom and superstition in an attempt to be healed but it was not until Jesus entered his life that he could walk. At Jesus' command the lame man got up and walked. The Jews tried to accuse the man for not following their traditions and the man's simple answer was perfect: "He who made me well was the one who said to me, 'Pick up your pallet and walk." He had learned that Jesus could do what traditions could not. Therefore he disregarded the culture he was living in and followed the command of Jesus.
If we put our faith in anything or anyone other than Jesus, we will be waiting forever, just as this man would have. Our culture, our traditions, our superstitions, even our own attempts to be "good" can never heal us from broken lives. Only Jesus can do this. And once we acknowledge that He is Lord, there is nothing left to do but obey Him and pick up our pallets and walk. There will be those who call us crazy, those who condemn us for stepping outside of cultural norms, but when they accuse you, answer as this man did, "He who made me well said to me, "Pick up your pallet and walk."
Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the LORD our God.
It is so easy for us to put our hope and trust into things of this world. Just as an army builds up its supply of people, arms, tanks, ships, and planes, we also pour ourselves into manmade ideas and institutions that we believe will provide us security. Our jobs. Our homes. Our status. Yet, none of these can provide any real security and all can be lost. The LORD however, does provide real security. The name of the LORD must be the strength, defense, and salvation of which we boast.
Where is your boasting? Is it in yourself? Is it in the things you have accumulated? Is it in the temporal things of this world that have throughout history proven to fail? Or is it in the name of the LORD, God of all creation? The One who has proven through history that He will never fail.