“That We May Believe: One Year in The Gospel According to John”
by Nathan Parker, Senior Pastor
(December 2 - November, 2019)
November's Sermon Series: "The Resurrection & The Life: The Conclusion of John's Gospel"
November 3 – “It is Finished” (John 19:17-42)
November 10 – “So That You May Believe” (John 20:1-31)
November 17 – “They Knew It Was the Lord” (John 21:1-14)
November 24 – “Feed My Sheep” (John 21:15-25)
I remember running past my wife and two young children at the conclusion of my first (and only) full marathon. They were standing behind the barricades along with hundreds of other supporters, yelling and holding up homemade signs that said something like, “Go, Daddy, go!” I knew I was close to the 26-mile marker, and I felt a renewed rush of energy, so I picked up the pace, smiling and waving back. I think I managed a faint, “Woo hoo!” or something. We were running west down Woodland Street towards the Titans stadium where I knew the finish line was located. I was determined to finish strong, and the road went slightly downhill to the river, so I gave it all I had for one last kick to the stadium. I didn’t realize, however, that we were just then approaching the 26-mile mark. We would have to finish the crucial two-tenths of a mile around the stadium before entering from the south side. I groaned as I slowed down, desperately trying to keep my legs moving.
As we conclude our 12-month series in the Gospel of John, it’s important that we finish strong. Everything we have been engaging with in worship over the past year has been building up to this critical juncture, the Passion narrative - the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. The entire Christian faith is built on these central truths of John chapters 19 and 20. When Paul writes to the church in Corinth, he tells them, "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Yes, we celebrate the resurrection during each Easter holiday, but we would do well each and every day to remember the centrality of the resurrection to every other aspect of our faith (and our lives!). The Bible says that if Christ has not been raised from the dead then our faith is futile and in vain (1 Corinthians 15:13). If Christ has not conquered sin and death forever, then we are just wasting our time with this whole Christianity business. But as we read John 19-21 this month, we may boldly proclaim that "He has risen, He has risen indeed!”
So let’s finish strong. Thank you all for going on this journey with me and with each other. I pray you have grown in your faith as you have traveled through this amazing Gospel together. I know I have, by God’s grace and for His glory.
Grace and peace,