By Chaplain (Col) Stephen W. Leonard, USA, Ret.

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25

John makes a supposition, which many would think is exaggeration. He is seeking to make a point which fair-minded people understand, namely, that Jesus did many, many other things which are not recorded in these four gospels. Still, John calls his comment a “supposition,” not a necessarily known fact, that the whole world could not contain the books of all that Jesus did on our behalf. 

John’s comment is also one which understands books are not easily written and not easily distributed, that is, prior to the invention of or any pre-knowledge of the printing press. 

The voluminous amount of books in the public and private libraries of the world are today more than can even be imagined by the minds of men. 

I have seen some of the world’s great libraries holding countless numbers of books in multi-stories of book shelves. 

For a book lover, it is a beautiful sight, even if truly daunting! Multiplied exponentially, you are talking about myriads of books in the world; millions, billions, I dare say, trillions. 

But then we are talking of the age beyond the invention of the printing press. After that invention, books literally exploded in number on the earth. 

Books in John’s time were “written,” as he pointedly describes; “written” fully by hand, of course. And with ink wells and quills, not fountain or ballpoint pens. Such is quite painstaking work. The making of copies is resigned to writing every single copy also by hand while not making mistakes, which was in most cases impossible. 

The libraries then did not compare to the libraries today. They were quite rare in John’s day. 

But John is saying Jesus did many other things which were not recorded, or even fully known by His disciples. We have no idea of Jesus’ specific knowledge of “all the sins of the world” placed upon Him as He hung on Calvary’s cross to pardon us from our sins through His death. 

Not many knew that He promised the criminal on the cross next to him that He would be with Him in paradise the moment he died. Every thought and prayer of the Savior was truly significant, as He agonized on that cross for our salvation. 

If that is the story of only hours in the life of the Savior, how much more when He was doing ministry publicly and privately for years? He went out early every day to pray by Himself with the Father. We know little of all his 40 days activity post-resurrection. We also know little of His life in his pre-public ministry days. 

I only know that if John said it, he knew what he was talking about. I have no doubt as to the truth of John’s words. 

We need not quibble about all the other things the LORD accomplished in his life on earth on man’s behalf, we can only be very thankful He accomplished it all as our Savior. Nothing was left undone. Nothing at all. 

This last verse of the Book of John may seem to you extraneous, but none of God’s Word is extraneous. 

It says that Jesus did much more on our behalf than we can imagine. Everything He did for man shows the value God placed on His children. Jesus, the perfect Savior, willingly did all God purposed for Him to do on our behalf; much more than we can even imagine.


“O glorious Bridegroom of our hearts, your present smile a heaven imparts! O lift the veil, if veil there be, let every saint Your glory see!”
(4th verse of Charles Spurgeon’s hymn, “Amidst Us Our Beloved Stands,” 1866)

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