“This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things which 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.”
I have nothing against books. I like them. I have nothing against painting. I like painting. At the same time books and paintings, it seems to me, always want to go to how it was before the book was written and before the color was applied to canvas. Books and paintings reflect stories.
You know stories. You know more stories than you know facts. When you want to translate your life, your faith, your theology, what you believe, you tell stories. You tell your story.
This is how we hear the gospel writers. Before anything was ever written, something happened. The gospel writers did not set out to write theology, expecting dispassionate academics to parse out every jot and tittle ad nauseum. They wrote of what they had seen and heard. They had a story to tell. A story that was a written upon their experience with Jesus. They told the story before they wrote the story. What do you do with something when you know it and want to make it known?
So much more was said. So much more happened – to them, for them. Worlds of books could not report it all. How utterly inadequate writing it down must have seemed. John says as much. His life was so full of Jesus, he could not imagine a world big enough to contain all that could be said. What a picture John was imagining; books filling valleys, tumbling over mountain ranges, filling oceans, smothering continents, books piled so high they reach like skyscrapers into the clouds and beyond; a vast, library of grace consumed with a single, glorious theme: “the old, old, story of Jesus and His love.” It is a story mighty enough to consume worlds and tender enough to fill your heart.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep you hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”