John - A selfless life of dedication, an example to us all
The Apostle John mirrored the teaching, life and desires of His Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Everything that John wrote seems to echo what Jesus spoke of. It’s as though John is taking over the personal responsibility of ensuring that the testimony of Jesus’ life is prolonged. There is something about the relationship between the two which shows how deeply John understood Jesus more than any other person living. You only have to read John’s gospels and epistles to see that he wrote some unique teachings which could only have arisen from his close relationship with Jesus.
John differs in his writing from Matthew, Mark and Luke (known as the Synoptics) in many different ways...
John writes from a greater personal perspective, compared to the third person view of the synoptics.
He wrote of many face-to-face encounters which could only have been relayed to him by Jesus. They became life changing events to the individual but, subsequently, had significant effects on a much wider audience. From only a few examples, take a look at the conversation with Nicodemus in Chapter 3. Nicodemus was a major leader within the Pharisees and he came to be very influential in the Jesus’ Trial and the period after the crucifixion. The Samaritan woman in Chapter 4 is highly relevant to the DO NOT DO’S of the day. She was a woman, whom He talked to alone, she was a Samaritan who were enemies of the Jews but, the love and compassion shown by Jesus changed the lives of her entire village. There are many more examples.
The 7 I AM’s...
John wrote of the 7 I AM’s - declarations that Jesus was showing His genealogy and DNA were exactly the same as His Father. Referring to God’s own words to Moses in Exodus chapter 3. Jesus spoke 7 I AM statements - The Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Door of the Sheep, the Good Shepherd, The Resurrection and the Life, the way the Truth and the Life and the True Vine. Each of those statements would take hours of deep understanding of who Jesus was. No-one else wrote about them.
There are many more events which John spoke about which can be written about at a later date but one which has great significance is that he only referred to only 7 miracles or signs. Jesus performed many untold miracles but John had a specific purpose in only relating to 7.
His account of the events of the, so called, Last Supper and the teaching on their last night together which has been so transforming to us through the centuries. The washing of feet, the communion meal, the betrayal of a friend, the promise of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus was about to leave them but do not be troubled - and many more.
Words from a man who got to know his greatest friend and was given extra special duties to fulfill His Lord’s mission. Writing Revelation wasn’t given to anyone, it was to a man who proved his dedication, his devotion and his later detention was the least John could serve His Lord with.
John’s dedication to Jesus...
What point am I trying to make by covering John’s closer relationship with Jesus? - John’s determination to show that Jesus was the Son of God and at the same time truly the man of love, compassion and humility. He was showing Jesus as exactly who He was said He was. The God-man, fully God and fully man. John followed the same purpose and everything he wrote was to exalt the name of His Saviour. However, John took a more personal connection with Jesus. He was commissioned by Jesus and He took that seriously.
One reference that I love about John and one which shows his nature was his references to people as his children. Written especially in his Epistles - 1 John 3 v 4 I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth. He was taking personal responsibility for his mission.
We should do the same. Jesus has called us, He has commissioned us, He has challenged us to go and do whatever He has recognized that we are gifted by Him to do. That is what we are directed to do in After-Care Ministries Society…
There is no greater joy - relating to John’s comment - than to see the inmates or offenders having a revelation of the love and purpose of God. We had an experience in our Wednesday visit with one inmate who was being treated really badly, abusively, by other inmates towards his family. It was near the end of our visit when I spoke of the relevance of one specific scripture. The inmate’s face changed and relief came over him. It was a truth that pierced his heart and he went out of our Bible Study a different than he came in. Hallelujah! The power of God works when we believe His Word, when we speak His Word and when we allow His word to penetrate our being. He is able to reveal our anxieties, those concerns we never make known.
John is the finest example I know towards understanding the heart and mind of Jesus. Let me challenge you to read through his writing him again. Is it no wonder that Jesus rebuked Peter about whether John would live or die (John 21). John became the only disciple to die a natural death at the age of 90 years or more. If we, who represent ACMS, as volunteers and the called of God in this ministry are able to glean something of the way John got to know Jesus, we will never have to concern ourselves with whether we are honouring Him. I would be my desire that a close, intimate relationship forged 2000+years ago can be translated into our support and encouragement of those in need today. John is still an example to us all. Amen?