John, the disciple whom Jesus loved
One my Bible heroes is John the Apostle, I like him because as the Jewish leaders did, they took note that he had been with Jesus.
When we first meet John he is a disciple of John the Baptist, he seems to have learn’t from the harsher side of John’s ministry because he and his older brother James earn the title Sons of Thunder as they are seeking to call down fire from heaven on a unrepentant village. There seems to be nothing loving about this young man. He loves truth and being right but not people.
He also even after following Jesus for three years, responds to Jesus saying he has come to serve and give his life as a ransom for many by asking for the highest position of authority in the kingdom.
John comes across as an egotistical self centred, self serving fool, yet this isn’t the end of the story.
We find John is the only one of the 12 to stand in the shadow of the cross, here Jesus entrusts the care of his own mother to John’s care. I think the cross changed John for years he and expected the kingdom to come in power, for Jesus to overthrow Roman rule instead he sees a little lamb, wounded and dying to save sinners. Sinners like John, John sees this and is changed.
We find that John’s gospel written by this disciple looking for position doesn’t bear his name and when John appears he calls himself something else, the beloved disciple. For John he knows he is a sinner deserving of death and judgement and yet finds that Jesus pays that price for him in spite of knowing John’s sinners completely. John writes his gospel and hides himself away because he comes to the right conclusion its not about John its about Jesus. This very Jewish friend of Jesus writes his gospel and presents us with Jesus, the logos who was with God and is himself God who came and died on behalf of his people, his flock, his friends.
According to church tradition the elderly John would be brought in on a chair to speak to the church. John would often say, ‘love one another’ when asked why he always said this John replied, ‘because if we do this it is enough’. The elderly John still loves truth but he also loves God and loves people and he writes that you might believe in Jesus and that in believing you might have lift in His name.