John, the Apostle of Love

Searching His Word
 Seeking His Heart

And now we look at James’ brother, John. Early on, John is every bit as much of a rugged fisherman with a hot temper and lack of love. He is ready, along with James, to “call down fire from heaven” on some disagreeable Samaritans.

The one time we hear a quote by John is in the gospel of Mark and Luke. Jesus has healed a mute boy with seizures. Later, some of the disciples discuss who is greater among them. Jesus gives another lesson in servitude and humility. It doesn’t seem to compute. John says,

“Teacher, we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” Mark 9:38

Jesus explains to him that believing in Him and doing something in His name is a good thing. Jesus continually works with the disciples to overcome their intolerant, elitist attitudes. By the time John writes his own gospel, he has been humbled. In fact, he is the only one who relates the incident of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.

John is enamored with truth. He speaks of it 25 times in his gospel and another 20 times in his three epistles. Things are very cut and dried, black and white for John.  He writes about: light and dark, life and death, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan, fruit and fruitlessness, love and hate, obedience and disobedience, and on goes the list. John takes in Jesus’ words—

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

But John learns to balance truth with love.

           

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

God loved. God gave. If we believe, we receive.

John alone quotes Jesus’ words—

“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34

In his first letter, John says,

We love because he first loved us. I John 4:19

It is John who follows Jesus from his arrest in the garden to the trial at Caiaphas’ house. While the other disciples flee, it is John who stands by Mary at the cross and it is John whom Jesus asks to care for his mother.

In his later years, John is banned to the isle of Patmos where he receives the vision of latter times on earth and in heaven. He writes the Revelation we have in our Bibles. Aside from Luke and Paul, John wrote more of the New Testament than any other. He is the last of the twelve apostles to die.

Let us say and live, along with John, “We love because he first loved us.” I John 4:19

~ Joyce ~

Easter – I Have Seen the Lord!

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

After the confusion of the trial, the persecution, the cross, and fearing for their own lives, I picture the disciples huddled together in the upper room with the doors locked.

But the women were faithful to stay with Jesus, perhaps feeling less threatened. As one compares the four accounts, a slew of “Mary’s” beside Mary the mother of Jesus plus other women followers stood or knelt at the cross or nearby.

What gets a bit complicated are the comings and goings of these women according to the four Gospel accounts. The best I can sort it out:

Joseph [of Arimathea] took down Jesus’ body and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone across the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, saw where he was laid. Mark 15:46-47

Since they know where Jesus is buried, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome go to the tomb early the next morning with their prepared spices. They discuss how they are going to be able to move that huge stone. 

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side and they were alarmed. Mark 16:4-6

Alarmed? That’s putting it mildly. It’s scary enough just going into a tomb, much less seeing a being whose clothes “gleamed like lightning.” (Luke 24:4) I envision these women gasping, grabbing each other, and falling down on their knees with their chins tucked into their chests. The angel tells them not to be afraid.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here: he has risen! Remember how he told you: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Luke 24:5-7

Ah, there it is again. Remember how we have commented about the fact that Jesus told them this several times and it just didn’t seem to sink in? BUT:

Then they remembered his words. Luke 24:8

At last, they finally remember. We have to admit, however, that sometimes WE read a warning or a promise or an encouragement from Scripture, then turn around and completely forget it or ignore it. 

Well, nervous and excited, they run back to tell the disciples the good news. 

But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Luke 24:11

Bummer! However, Peter and John do go to the tomb to check it out. Peter goes into the empty tomb, sees the linen strips, but goes away “wondering what has happened.” (Luke 24:12) Thankfully, at least John went inside. He saw and believed. (John 20:8) But they still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead. (John 20:9)

Evidently, Mary Magdalene trailed along behind them and lingered at the tomb after Peter and John left. She asks a question through tearful eyes to someone who is there near the tomb. When the stranger speaks her name, she realizes it is the risen Jesus. I picture her walking back with dignity and speaking with assurance as she jubilantly tells the disciples.

“I have seen the Lord!” John 20:18  

A blessed Resurrection Day to you all.

~ Joyce ~