While believing in Jesus gives hope, Christianity is not based on hope or blind faith. It's based on evidence. As an eyewitness to many of Jesus' miracles, the apostle John reminds us that the supernatural feats of Jesus are not just random acts of kindness meant to help and inspire people. They are signs that give evidence for who Jesus is.
Bystander, Part 1: Momma Says (Andy Stanley)
Beginning with first-century followers of Jesus, trusting in Jesus has been a response to evidence—not simply in hoping something is true. The gospel writer John referred to the miracles of Jesus as signs that give evidence of who Jesus was. The first sign John documents is when Jesus—with a nudge from his mother—attended a wedding and turned water into wine.
Bystander, Part 2: Living As If (Andy Stanley)
In order to demonstrate who he was, Jesus performed a number of miracles—which the apostle John referred to as “signs.” The first of those signs was at a joyous occasion where Jesus turned water into wine. The second sign was in the midst of a heartbreaking circumstance in which a father desperately asks Jesus to heal his dying son.
Jesus recognized there would be people who would believe in him who were not eyewitnesses to his miracles, and he looked into the future and calls us blessed—in other words, happy, joyful, and peaceful.
Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. —John 20:29
John 20:29; John 4:46–54
Bystander, Part 3: Carry On! (Andy Stanley)
Just outside of Jerusalem, Jesus performed a miracle that changed a man’s life forever. For 38 years, this man was unable to walk. But when Jesus said, “Get up,” the man was healed. However, it’s what Jesus said next that made this miracle a clear sign of who Jesus really was.
When your version of religion gets in the way of love, you have the wrong version. The person beside you must take priority over the potentially flawed religious view you have.
John 5:1–21; John 5:39–40
Bystander, Part 4: Lunch and Learn (Andy Stanley)
Perhaps one of the most famous signs performed by Jesus is feeding over 5000+ people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Those that followed Jesus thought he was finally getting to the point of what he could do for them. They were more enamored with the signs instead of what the signs were pointing to.
Let’s not be consumers. Let’s be followers. His followers changed the world once. Perhaps we can do that again.
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval. —John 6:27
John 6:1–14; John 6:25–27
Bystander, Part 5: Open Eyes (Andy Stanley)
There are many products we buy, use, and put our confidence in without having all the information or fully understanding how they work. In the Gospel of John, we see a man begin to follow Jesus based on limited information. This man, who was born blind, said he only knew one main thing—and that one thing was enough to make him curious about who Jesus really was.
It’s okay to be wrong. It’s okay not to know. But it’s not okay not to look if there’s something to be seen.
John 9:1–20; John 9:24–25
Bystander, Part 6: Coexistence (Andy Stanley)
At different points in our lives, many of us wonder why a good God would allow bad things to happen. And without a clear response, that dilemma could cause us to question God’s existence altogether. The Gospel writer John documented an occasion where Jesus not only brought his friend Lazarus back to life, but demonstrated how God can exist in the midst of a world of evil and suffering.
God not only exists in the midst of a world that has evil and suffering. He chose to engage with it. God didn’t eliminate the evil; he placed it on Jesus so that we would not perish but have eternal life.
John 11:17–45; John 11:4
Bystander, Part 7: Easter 2019, Invitation to Believe (Andy Stanley)
Following Jesus’ crucifixion, his followers expected what anyone expects after someone dies: that they would remain that way. But one of Jesus’s followers, John, gave an eyewitness account that summarized the main event surrounding Christianity: Jesus rose from the dead. In this seventh and final sign that John documents, he makes the case that Jesus is exactly who he claimed to be.
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. —John 20:30–31
John 19:16–42; John 20:1–8, John 24–28; John 20:29