In the gospel of John chapters 5 – 8 we see Jesus having less conversation with individuals than in chapters 1-4 and more conversations with large groups of people. These dialogues often taken on a questioning or debating tone as Jesus seeks to make the case that he really is the Messiah, sent by the God the Father in heaven, and that he is equal with the Father. These claims lead people to question the evidence for these claims, and for others to accuse him of blasphemy. Witnesses are called, evidence is presented, and judgment is made by either side. The consequences could not be greater – if Jesus is telling the truth, eternal life or eternal damnation rests on faith in him. If he is speaking falsehood, Jesus’ own life should be demanded of him.

While we have a new context and a different form to the discussions that Jesus is having with people in these chapters, the gospel author John’s main goal remains the same, to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ so that they might have eternal life. Consider the repetition of the message through these chapters.

John 6:28  – Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ 29 Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.

John 6:40 - For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.’

John 7:38 –  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.

John 8:12 - When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’

This repetition can do two things for us as believers. It can drive home what’s at stake as we present the gospel of life to friends, colleagues, classmates and family around us. It can also help us to reflect on how Jesus shares truth and offers evidence for the truthfulness of his claims, while also leaning into the fact that one must have faith to believe and then understanding follows. This will help us to think more clearly about what it is we do when we share the gospel with people around us.