Advent-ure Day 21: John 21:25 – Ineffably sublime

Today’s reading: 

John 21:25:

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.


Our part in the story

I was surprised to find that today’s reading is one single verse! These are the very last words of the gospel of John. If he were writing now, he might have said (or blogged!) ‘the whole internet would not have room for the books that would be written – Amazon wouldn’t be able to sell them all!’


So why have we been given this verse as part of our Advent reading plan today?

I think there are two things here:


Firstly, it touches on the theme we’ve been looking at about the ‘otherness’ of God and the fact that He is ineffable – a funny word but useful – meaning: indescribable, incomprehensible, too sacred to be described. What we know of God from scripture is a tiny fraction of His actions in the world in the period in which the books of the bible were written.

Here is the video I shared yesterday again:



Remember the bit at the end with the drop of water on the leaf and all the complexity inside? What we comprehend of God is like what we know about that drop of water without knowing about the rest of the universe!

This still blows my mind. The incarnation is beyond understanding!


The second thing is that, at the end of his gospel, John is acknowledging that what he has written is hardly adequate to describe the acts of Jesus and also, I think, that the story is not over. Indeed it has just begun. God didn’t stop acting in the world when John the divine put his last full stop on the book of Revelation! We, living in 2010 – a future beyond imagining for those first disciples – have read the word andWe have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.’ (John 1: 14)

Not only are we welcomed into God’s family because of what Jesus has done for us, we are welcomed into God’s story as well. The bible describes how God interacts with his people.

What is your story like?

How is your journey with God going?

If there were a book of the bible with your name on it, what would it be like?

Would it be full of action like Joshua or Acts? Would it be full of praise and prayerful struggle like the Psalms? Would it be a love story, like Ruth? Would it be a letter of encouragement like 1 John? Would it be a book of pain and sadness but also of faith like Job?

Whatever, we are all caught up in the great story of God: the great narrative of the whole world. Our names are added to the credits of the film of the world’s story. Or, to put it the way the bible does: our names are in the book of life.

If we were all to write about what Jesus has done in our lives and those of even just one or two friends, the world indeed would not have room for all that would be written!


Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.



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