20:30 Now Jesus performed 1 many other miraculous signs in the presence of the 2 disciples, which are not recorded 3 in this book. 4 20:31 But these 5 are recorded 6 so that you may believe 7 that Jesus is the Christ, 8 the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. 9
1 tn Or “did.”
2 tc ‡ Although most
3 tn Grk “are not written.”
4 sn The author mentions many other miraculous signs performed by Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in the Gospel. What are these signs the author of the Gospel has in mind? One can only speculate. The author says they were performed in the presence of the disciples, which emphasizes again their role as witnesses (cf. 15:27). The point here is that the author has been selective in his use of material. He has chosen to record those incidents from the life and ministry of Jesus which supported his purpose in writing the Gospel. Much which might be of tremendous interest, but does not directly contribute to that purpose in writing, he has omitted. The author explains his purpose in writing in the following verse.
5 tn Grk “these things.”
6 tn Grk “are written.”
7 tc ‡ A difficult textual variant is present at this point in the Greek text. Some
8 tn Or “Jesus is the Messiah” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”).
sn See the note on Christ in 1:20.
9 sn John 20:31. A major question concerning this verse, the purpose statement of the Gospel of John, is whether the author is writing primarily for an audience of unbelievers, with purely evangelistic emphasis, or whether he envisions an audience of believers, whom he wants to strengthen in their faith. Several points are important in this discussion: (1) in the immediate context (20:30), the other signs spoken of by the author were performed in the presence of disciples; (2) in the case of the first of the signs, at Cana, the author makes a point of the effect the miracle had on the disciples (2:11); (3) if the primary thrust of the Gospel is toward unbelievers, it is difficult to see why so much material in chaps. 13-17 (the last meal and Farewell Discourse, concluding with Jesus’ prayer for the disciples), which deals almost exclusively with the disciples, is included; (4) the disciples themselves were repeatedly said to have believed in Jesus throughout the Gospel, beginning with 2:11, yet they still needed to believe after the resurrection (if Thomas’ experience in 20:27-28 is any indication); and (5) the Gospel appears to be written with the assumption that the readers are familiar with the basic story (or perhaps with one or more of the synoptic gospel accounts, although this is less clear). Thus no account of the birth of Jesus is given at all, and although he is identified as being from Nazareth, the words of the Pharisees and chief priests to Nicodemus (7:52) are almost certainly to be taken as ironic, assuming the reader knows where Jesus was really from. Likewise, when Mary is identified in 11:2 as the one who anointed Jesus’ feet with oil, it is apparently assumed that the readers are familiar with the story, since the incident involved is not mentioned in the Fourth Gospel until 12:3. These observations must be set over against the clear statement of purpose in the present verse, 20:31, which seems to have significant evangelistic emphasis. In addition to this there is the repeated emphasis on witness throughout the Fourth Gospel (cf. the witness of John the Baptist in 1:7, 8, 15, 32, and 34, along with 5:33; the Samaritan woman in 4:39; Jesus’ own witness, along with that of the Father who sent him, in 8:14, 18, and 18:37; the disciples themselves in 15:27; and finally the testimony of the author himself in 19:35 and 21:24). In light of all this evidence it seems best to say that the author wrote with a dual purpose: (1) to witness to unbelievers concerning Jesus, in order that they come to believe in him and have eternal life; and (2) to strengthen the faith of believers, by deepening and expanding their understanding of who Jesus is.