TEEN TREE        OF LIFE

John’s Purpose in Writing His Account of Jesus’ Life

Part 5  –  March 7, 2021

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

In last week’s Teen Tree, we focused on John’s account of Jesus Christ’s important conversation with Peter, along with the story of the Miracle of the Many Fish. We learned that on that morning, Peter was being changed into a man whose actions would eventually prove his love for The Lord Jesus Christ. But after Peter’s conversation with Our Lord, John’s account tells us that he still had more to learn.

 

In JOH 21:19, Jesus Christ tells Peter to follow Him. After He makes this command, John tells us what happened next: Peter turned around. He saw that the disciple Jesus loved was following them. He was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper. He had said, “Lord, who is going to hand you over to your enemies?” When Peter saw that disciple, he asked, “Lord, what will happen to him?” Jesus answered, “Suppose I want him to remain alive until I return. What does that matter to you? You must follow me.” (JOH 21:20-22 New International Reader’s Version) There are some interesting and important doctrinal lessons here. John repeats some of the interactions he had with Peter at the last supper that Jesus had with His disciples in the Upper Room. He essentially pens a brief autobiography in these verses and refers to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved.” It is interesting to note that if you search the four Gospels, Matthew refers to John by name three times; Mark ten times; Luke seven times, and John not at all. Instead, he calls himself “the disciple Jesus loved.” Did you ever wonder why??? Let us delve into this and we’ll learn a great deal about this amazing disciple of Jesus Christ.

 

Now, we know for a fact that Jesus Christ loves everyone in the world, impersonally and unconditionally. But He only selected twelve men to be His disciples. The Bible also teaches us that among those twelve men, Jesus spent more time with just three of them: John, Peter, and James.

 

These three men were the ones He chose to witness His Transfiguration: After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John the brother of James with him. He led them up a high mountain. They were all alone. There in front of them his appearance was changed. His face shone like the sun. His clothes became as white as the light. Just then Moses and Elijah appeared in front of them. Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters. One will be for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them. A voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, and I love him. I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they were terrified. They fell with their faces to the ground. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. They came down the mountain. On the way down, Jesus told them what to do. “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen,” he said. “Wait until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (MATT 17:1-9 New International Reader’s Version) How would you have reacted to witnessing that? Wouldn’t it have been difficult to keep this incredible experience a secret?? Imagine what was going through their minds!!! These verses teach us what great trust Our Lord and Savior had in these three men. It says so much about each of them.

 

John, Peter, and James were also the only disciples Jesus asked to go with Him to heal a child: While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.” But when Jesus heard this, He responded to him, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.” When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him except Peter, John, and James, and the girl’s father and mother. Now they were all weeping and mourning for her; but He said, “Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.” And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. He, however, took her by the hand and spoke forcefully, saying, “Child, arise!” And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He ordered that something be given her to eat. Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened. (LUKE 8:49-56) Again, we see the great trust Jesus Christ placed in the three of them.

 

And John, Peter, and James were singled out by Jesus to pray with Him in the garden of Gethsemane: They [the twelve disciples] went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James, and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” (Mark 14:32-34 New International Reader’s Version) He didn’t select three other men out of the twelve disciples. He picked Peter, the one who would deny Him; James who was John’s brother, and John who would write JOHN 1, 2 and 3, as well as The Revelation to John which he wrote when he was exiled to the island of Patmos. John’s imprisonment in Patmos was the last one he would endure. According to reliable historical sources, he lived there in a cave, cut off from those he loved, and was treated with severe cruelty. Yet, He used the time to focus on his writing and feeding God’s sheep! The lesson here is that you will find yourself in difficult times – like he did. But like John, you should use the time to mature by sticking to God’s Plan for your life.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ loved each of His disciples. John himself wrote that in JOH 13:1(The Message Bible): Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. But He was closer to John. It might be because this disciple worked at being closer to Him. Out of the three favored disciples, it seems that John was the one who understood Him best. There was a closer relationship between him and Our Lord. There are references to Our Savior’s love for John throughout The Book of John.

 

As you read these verses, don’t forget that God The Holy Spirit guided the writers of the Bible in the choice of the words they used. Paul wrote about this in 1 COR 2:13 (New International Reader’s Version): We do not use words taught to us by people. We use words taught to us by the Holy Spirit. So, because John did not use his name when he wrote about himself, it was The Holy Spirit Who inspired his decision. Each of the following verses (in chronological order) teaches us that Jesus loved John.

 

  1. The disciple Jesus loved was next to him at the table. (JOHN 13:23 New International Reader’s Version)

 

  1. Jesus’ mother stood near his cross. So did his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Jesus saw his mother there. He also saw the disciple he loved standing nearby. Jesus said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son.” He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, the disciple took her into his home. (JOH 19:25-27 New International Reader’s Version):

 

  1. Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, gasping for breath. “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.” (JOH 20:2 The Message Bible)

 

  1. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Simon Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Peter heard that, he put his coat on. He had taken it off earlier. Then he jumped into the water. (JOH 21:7 New International Reader’s Version)

 

  1. Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” (JOH 21:20)

 

These five references totally corroborate the incredibly special, intimate relationship and love between John and The Lord Jesus Christ. John sat by His side at supper on the night He was betrayed. John was the only disciple who stood at the foot of The Cross when Jesus was dying. (All of the others had deserted Him). Jesus trusted this man enough to ask him to take care of His mother. It was John who was the most eager to get to Jesus’ empty tomb.

 

Now, remember the two Greek words for love which we looked at in part 3 of this study? We learned agape love emphasizes the character of the subject (the one doing the loving) rather than the object (the one being loved); agape is impersonal, unconditional love.  Phileo, on the other hand, is a personal type of love that somebody has toward someone who is deserving of love and attention; it is the type of love that we have for others we admire personally, because of something we see in them. In JOH 20:2 (above), it states that Jesus loved John and the word phileo was used in the original Greek. Jesus Christ admired John personally because of something He saw in him!! And John knew that and wrote about it in His account of Jesus’ Life.

 

Of all the disciples, John loved Jesus more than his own life – more than anything. It should not be a surprise, then, that Jesus felt closer to him because John loved Our Lord the most. His actions proved it.

{to be continued}

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