What does John 20:31 really mean?

31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.


Setting the Scene for John 20:31

The scene in John chapter 20 takes place in a room where the disciples are gathered together. The atmosphere is heavy with a mix of fear, confusion, and grief following the crucifixion of Jesus. The disciples, including Thomas who was not present when Jesus first appeared to them, are discussing the reports of Jesus being alive. They are grappling with the news and trying to make sense of the miraculous events that have unfolded.

Suddenly, Jesus appears in their midst, despite the doors being locked. His presence brings a sense of peace and awe to the room. He shows them his hands and side, bearing the marks of his crucifixion, to prove that he is indeed the resurrected Jesus. The disciples are filled with joy and amazement at seeing their beloved teacher alive again. Thomas, who had doubted the reports, is invited by Jesus to touch his wounds and believe. In this powerful moment, Thomas declares, “My Lord and my God!” solidifying his faith in the risen Christ.

What is John 20:31 about?

The author in John 20:31 explains the purpose of the written accounts in the Gospel of John – to inspire belief in Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. This verse serves as a reminder of the central message of the Gospel – to proclaim Jesus as the promised savior and the divine Son of God. It invites readers to reflect on the contents of the writings and encourages them to strengthen their faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

Think about what it means to believe in Jesus as the Son of God. Reflect on the impact of such a belief on your life and the lives of others around you. Let us consider how the message of the Gospel aligns with our own beliefs and actions as we ponder on this verse. How can we deepen our understanding and conviction in Jesus as the Messiah in our daily lives? Let us reaffirm our faith and reflect on the significance of Jesus’ identity as the Son of God.

Understanding what John 20:31 really means

Let’s delve into the rich layers of John 20:31. This verse serves as a cornerstone for understanding the purpose of the entire Gospel of John. To fully appreciate its depth and relevance, we’ll break this commentary into several key sections: Context, Purpose, Key Phrases, Cross-References, Relevance Today, and Personal Reflection.

The Gospel of John is unique among the four Gospels. Written with a clear intent to reveal the divine nature of Jesus, John emphasizes belief and the life that comes through faith. John has recounted numerous signs and teachings of Jesus by the time we reach chapter 20, culminating in His resurrection. This verse acts almost as a thesis statement for the entire book, encapsulating why John wrote it.

John explicitly states the purpose of his Gospel: to encourage belief in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. This belief is not merely intellectual assent but a transformative trust that leads to eternal life. The Gospel is written “so that you may believe,” highlighting that faith is both the goal and the means of experiencing the fullness of life that Jesus offers.

Key Phrases
The phrase “that Jesus is the Christ” carries profound meaning. “Christ” is the Greek equivalent of “Messiah,” the anointed one promised throughout the Old Testament. Recognizing Jesus as the Christ aligns Him with the fulfillment of God’s promises.

The term “Son of God” emphasizes Jesus’ divine nature, not just His role as Messiah but as God incarnate. This dual recognition is crucial for understanding the full scope of who Jesus is.

“That by believing you may have life in His name” encapsulates the transformative power of faith. This is not just biological life, but ‘zoe,’ the abundant, eternal life that starts now and extends into eternity.

To deepen our understanding, we can look at John 3:16, which echoes the same themes of belief and eternal life. Additionally, 1 John 5:13 reiterates the assurance of eternal life to those who believe in Jesus. These passages collectively highlight the consistency and importance of faith in Jesus throughout John’s writings. This verse offers a foundation of hope and assurance in a world filled with uncertainty and transient promises. Belief in Jesus provides a stable anchor amidst life’s storms and a promise of life that transcends our current circumstances. For instance, consider someone facing a severe illness. While medical prognosis may be grim, the promise of life in Jesus offers a hope that goes beyond physical health, providing peace and assurance of eternal life.

Personal Reflection
Reflect on your own journey of faith. Have you experienced the transformative power of believing in Jesus? How has it changed your perspective on life and eternity? This verse invites each of us to a deeper, more profound relationship with Jesus, urging us to trust in Him more fully. John 20:31 is a powerful reminder of the purpose of the Gospel: to lead us to belief in Jesus, the Christ and Son of God, and to offer us life in His name. It calls us to reflect on our faith and its impact on our lives today. May this verse encourage you to seek a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Jesus, experiencing the fullness of life He promises.

What evidence do we need to believe in Jesus?

The evidence we need to believe in Jesus is found in the signs that He performed. These signs are not just miracles meant to astonish people, but they serve a deeper purpose of revealing Jesus’ true identity and helping people come to faith in Him. We can see the power of God working through Jesus by witnessing these signs, confirming that He is indeed the Son of God.

These signs are recorded in the Gospels to provide us with the evidence we need to believe in Jesus. Encountering these miraculous works opens our hearts and minds to the truth of who Jesus is and the significance of His message. Through these signs, we can come to a firm conviction in our faith, knowing that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The signs that Jesus performed ultimately lead us to a deeper relationship with Him. They are not just displays of power, but they are invitations for us to come to know Him and place our trust in Him. We can experience the transformative power of Jesus in our lives and come to know Him as our savior and Lord by believing in the evidence presented in these signs.


Think of this like teamwork at your job or supporting your family. Just as you share important news with colleagues or help loved ones through tough times, share the story of Jesus with those around you. Your words can be the light someone needs to see the path of faith. Will you take the leap and spread hope and love to others, just as you do in your everyday life?