And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were recorded one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
I find it very interesting that so many of both historical and contemporary commentaries wish to label this verse a hyperbole. Why is it so difficult to assume that this statement by the Apostle John is literal and true, rather than an exaggeration or embellishment? There was no need for John to further magnify the things Jesus did... John had already testified to Jesus being Deity; turning water into wine; healing the man at the Pool of Bethsaida; the resurrection of Lazarus; and the Empty Tomb, among many other miracles. These all established John's claim that Jesus was who He said He was: the Son of God, and the Messiah.
And it is the point that this verse refers to the Lord's miracles that I want to address in today's blog. John is not talking about Jesus's doctrines and discourses, His sermons and prayers, His parables, or all the conversations He had with His disciples. John is specifically referring to the signs, and wonders, and attesting miracles done by Jesus that have not been recorded in the writings of the Apostles or by any other witnesses of Jesus's works.
I can say that because John 21:25 is affirming what John said in the last verses of Chapter 20: There are also many other signs (attesting miracles) that Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book... John then gives the purpose for why he wrote this Gospel: but these have been written so that you may believe [with a deep, abiding trust] that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of God; and that by believing [and trusting in and relying on Him] you may have life in His name.
I understand the point John wanted to make; the signs, wonders, and miracles that were written were proof enough that Jesus was who He said He was. The prophets had long ago prophesied that the Messiah "would open the eyes of the blind; that the ears of the deaf would be unstopped; the lame would leap like deer; and the tongue of the mute would shout for joy" (Isaiah 35:5-6). Jesus's miracles mentioned in the Bible fulfill those promises.
But John is going even further than that! He is stating that there were so many MORE miracles that Jesus did, that the world couldn't take them all in. Have you considered that John was also implying that there would not be enough Scribes in the world to write them? Or that there would be so many miracles to be written that the world would be overloaded with them, and men could never read them all? Instead, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God has decided to reveal enough of these miracles to certify Jesus's Incarnation, His obedience as the Son of God, His suffering, death and resurrection, followed by His ascension to sit at the right hand of God, the Father.
So, let me present the quandary I find myself in .... the Western Church accepts that Jesus came as God in the flesh, suffered and died on the Cross, rose and ascended to Heaven as our Mediator, right? And they believe the Bible when it says that Abraham's descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seashore; but they are not willing to accept that He performed so many miracles every day that it would be impossible to record them all.
Not only does the cynical 21st Century Western mind find it difficult to embrace so many miracles, they are unable to see the bigger Truth: the amount of miracles that were recorded should be sufficient enough to direct our faith, and regulate our practice of them, ourselves. How can we ignore Jesus telling us to "believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do."
His doctrines, prayers, and suffering do not qualify as His "works". Jesus is talking about the miracles of laying hands on people and healing them; using the power of God through the Holy Spirit to cast out demons; and He is even talking about raising the dead, just as He did!
The modern world discounts these miracles as being for today. They reject them, and despise them as the foolishness and deception of false teachers, Jesus did so many of them that we can't even imagine the number. Then He told us to do them for the same reason He did; to attest to the power of God [in the Believer] to affect this world for the Kingdom. Why is the Church so willing to accept that everything else is possible that Jesus commanded us to do ... love God with all our heart; love our neighbor as ourself; feed the poor; etc ... but think that His commandments to heal and deliver people from bondage is impossible? Everything that Jesus did should embody our belief system! His life is the perfect model for our theology!
It's really very simple ... each member of the Body of Christ needs to determine [for themselves] whether they are going to completely believe Him and follow Him. God's Word is His Truth. You either believe it or you don't ... and that means all of it. It is not necessary to know of the multitudes of miracles Jesus performed. The Bible makes it very clear what He did and that He commanded us to do the same. Now all we have to do is rid ourselves of our sacred cows, our false theology, our doctrinal biases, the misguidance of the Church .... seek the Lord and His Kingdom and obey Him.