John (the Disciple)

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Along with his brother James, and Peter, they were the three disciples closest to Jesus. John sometimes referred to himself as “the disciple who Jesus loved” as he desired a close relationship with his Master (Jn 13:23, 20:2, 21:7,20).  When hanging on the cross Jesus instructed John to care for His mother Mary (Jn 19:25-27). It is believed Joseph (the earthly father of Jesus) had died so Jesus committed her to John, the one he loved.  More than any other disciple, John grasped the love that emanated from Jesus. As a result, in all his writings love is the main central theme. Even in Revelation, which he also wrote, are these words, “unto Him who loved us and washed us by His blood” (Rev 1:5). His story is told throughout the Gospels and Acts. He authored the gospel of John, the 3 epistles of John and Revelation. John was the only one of the original 12 disciples of Jesus who was not maytred for his faith; he was exiled to and later died on the island of Patmos in 99 AD.

Lessons from his life: * John asked Jesus if he should call fire down from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village that refused to welcome them (Lk 9:51-55).  In contrast, later on Peter and John go and minister to the Samaritans who had since turned to Christ (Act 8:14-17).  He now had a mature and loving response.  We often react too quickly, especially when snubbed or rejected; instead, we should pray and deal with our ungodly actions, allowing the Holy Spirit to convict people without putting an obstacle of unchristian-like attitudes or actions in their path.

* “…they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Act 4:13). The transformed lives of John and Peter were evidence of Jesus’ power, and it manifest itself in the miracles of faith recorded. Are others convinced that Jesus’ power has affected my attitudes, actions and speech in a lasting, positive way?

* He declared, “God is love”, He has shown us great love (1 Jn 3:1, 4:16). Have we allowed the love of Jesus to affect us in such a deep way that it is a key issue in our lives, influencing how we live, our words and total lifestyle? This transforming love is available to each of us. Love is the motivation for change. The love God has blessed us with should be freely shared with others so they also receive divine grace (1 Jn 3:23, 4:11).

* John tells us not to love the world, or even ourselves (1 Jn 2:15-17; Rev 12:11). Preoccupation with self and its desires is contrary to the command to love God first and foremost; if we love something more than God it becomes an idol (Ex 20:3-6; Deut 6:5; Mk 12:30,31). As love for God is outworked by obeying Him, what is my level of love for Him? (1 Jn 5:3).

* John wrote Revelation probably not understanding the full significance of what He was recording as some of it is being outworked in our own generation. However, he was faithful to the task given. The message gives us hope as we see Christ finally and everlastingly destroy Satan and all that which is opposed to God. In faith, we should do what is clearly revealed to us even though, to our mind, we may not comprehend its impact.     

See also: apostle, disciples of Jesus, John (Jn), 1 John (1 Jn), 2 John (2 Jn), 3 John (3 Jn), revelation, Revelation (Rev).