These words are written in the front of a Bible given to me by my parents on my confirmation. No, not all of them, but the final two verses of our reading from John’s gospel. I didn’t realize it at the time, but they would become a centerpiece of my life as an adult, a husband and father, as a teacher, and especially as a pastor.
At first, I didn’t give them much thought, I’m afraid. I was too busy with school, and other things (like hunting and fishing). In fact, it wasn’t until I sat in a fishing boat with me best friend that the reality of these words came to me. He had been drafted into the army and was scheduled to leave for basic training and them probably the Vietnam conflict. He wasn’t sure what his future would be. As we discussed some of the weightier aspects of our futures, he asked be what I would like to do with my life. In all candor, I admitted that I would like to be involved in helping someone learn about Jesus. The next morning, I told my father the pastor about that conversation, and the following Monday he had me walking the campus of Concordia College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
And the rest is history. Almost. Although I am no longer a full-time pastor, I still enjoy doing what I have always enjoyed doing. I still like to tell people about Jesus.
That was also, I believe, the motivation behind John the evangelist’s writing of the Gospel according to St. John. He wanted nothing more or less than to have people hear about and come to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and worship Him as God. His words (Jn 20:30-31): “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.”
As we struggle past the last of the Easter left-overs and put away the baskets that once were filled with goodies I pray that we will remember with thanksgiving and give a word of praise to God for the wondrous blessing we have! Jesus Christ conquered sin, death, and Satan for us! He brings to us God’s sure promise that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life! After the candy wrappers and left-overs we have this truth!
We pray: Heavenly Father, you gave your Son over to death for us sinners. Thank you for raising Him to life again so that we could receive the salvation from sins that only he provides. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.