All five chapters today challenge us, as indeed reading God’s word should. Moses’ final exhortation is dynamic but only if we read it in the right frame of mind. It includes the words Jesus quoted when he was tested in the wilderness, “… that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD … Know then in your heart that …” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Moses counsels that when they have settled in the promised land they must “beware lest you say in your heart, ‘my power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth’. You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth … if you forget the LORD your God … I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish” (verses 17-19).
It is essential that we all reflect on our situation; and that all our trials and our blessings have – and will – come from God, recognising that He (and His Son) oversee our lives as He did the lives of Israel as they travelled through the wilderness.
The final chapter in John includes Jesus’ words to Peter “to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God” (verse 19). Peter now had a strong mind and was ready to “be faithful unto death”. In chapter 20 we have Jesus’ words to Thomas who had been absent when the risen Lord appeared to the other disciples and is often called ‘doubting Thomas’ because he would not believe the excited testimony of his fellow disciples that “we have seen the Lord” (verse 25).
Jesus tells Thomas to “put your finger here, and see my hands; and put your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe” (verse 27). “Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” (verse 29).
This 20th chapter ends with some telling verses, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written so that you may believe … and that by believing you may have life in his name”. This gives us a purposeful and meaningful life and will, when Jesus returns, lead to an existence for eternity in his kingdom, which is far beyond our ability at present to comprehend.