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 ~

2 – The Woman at the Well

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Last week, we began the story of the “woman at the well.” (1 – We’re Going Where?) Let’s give her the name Didomi (dee-doh-mee) We left her bragging about her Samaritan well, dug by none other than Jacob himself!

Jesus reminds her that when they drink from this well, they are thirsty again. But the water he gives will spring up into eternal life. They will will never be thirty again. Of course, we realize that Jesus is talking about spiritual water, but she is stuck on physical water.

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to to draw water.” John 4:15

It’s not just the labor of walking to the well that bothers Didomi. Jesus is going to get to the source of her problem, the reason she comes by herself rather than with the other women—shame.  He tells her,

“Go, call your husband and come back.” 

“I have no husband,” she replied. 

All-knowing Jesus pops right back at her,

“You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” John 4:15-18

Didomi is quite astonished that he knows this about her. So what does this sinful woman do? She compliments and changes the subject. Didomi says,

Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place we must worship is Jerusalem.”

Jesus does respond to her comment, but soon turns to a deep truth that spans the ages right down to our very lives.

“Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

This moves Didomi to think of the Promised One to come, not realizing that he stands right before her. She says,

“I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.” John 4:19-26

Wow, this is significant! Jesus has avoided a direct mention of his Messiahship with others, but to this sinful Samaritan woman, he has openly declared that he is the Christ.

This is one thing that makes this woman special. Next week—another thing that defines her.

~ Joyce ~