TEEN TREE           OF LIFE

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

Part 6 – March 14, 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 delved into why, throughout his writing, John calls himself “the disciple Jesus loved.” In turn, we learned this “name” came out of the wonderful relationship that had developed between him and Jesus Christ. We noted that, not only did Our Lord have agape (unconditional, impersonal) love for John, but He also had phileo love for him. Phileo love means that Our Lord personally loved John because of something He saw in him and because he was deserving of His Love and Attention. We also learned that out of all of the disciples, John loved Jesus more than his own life and that his actions proved it.

 

As an example of this, look at how John reacted when Our Lord told Peter to follow Him: Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?” Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You—follow me.” That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you?” (JOH 21:20-23 The Message Bible) Remember – Our Lord and Savior had gotten up to leave the spot onshore where He had just cooked the disciples breakfast. He had finished setting Peter straight and had helped him get over his guilt about denying Him on the night He was betrayed. He guided Peter back into His Father’s Plan for his life, commanding him to feed His Sheep and then told Peter to follow Him. But John followed Him, too. Do you see John’s devotion to Our Lord? John did not need to be told; he saw Him leaving and followed Him. Do you see his Occupation with Christ?

 

Occupation with Christ is the tenth Problem-Solving Device (tool). It is the ultimate problem-solving tool. It prevents the outside pressures of adversity from being converted into the inside pressure of stress in the soul. The idea here is that when you find yourself in tough times, put your focus on Jesus Christ and you will not become stressed!  Imagine the pressures of adversity the disciples were under, at this point in time. Jesus Christ had been crucified and resurrected and was appearing to them in His Resurrected Body. He was also preparing to leave them permanently to return to His Father in Heaven. But John did not lose focus. He remembered what he had been taught. He focused on Him. And by doing these things he stayed in God’s Plan for his life. This is how all Christians should live.

Peter, on the other hand, started to follow Our Lord but, as they were both leaving, he got distracted by John following them. Our Lord had already told Peter to follow Him in verse JOH 21:19 but had to repeat it a second time. Do you see what’s going on here? Peter’s focus changed! His focus went from following Jesus Christ to John following them. Then, Peter asked what would happen to John. Not only did he lose focus – he was not minding his own business! So, Our Lord scolds Peter and essentially tells him that John’s future was up to Him and none of his business.

 

Then Our Lord commands Peter a second time: “You must follow Me.” Notice that this time He adds the word “you” to His Command. He was pointing out that Peter needed to focus on his own life, not John’s. The lesson here is that your Christian Walk is your business and no one else’s. And by the same token, it’s not your place to question someone else’s Christian Walk or relationship with God.

 

Another important lesson, in John’s account, is that it’s easy to get your eyes on other people and then fall into the trap of comparing yourself to them. Instead of looking ahead at The Lord Jesus Christ and following Him, something motivates us to start looking around us to see what other people are doing. Sometimes, what motivates us is not even because we are nosy. It might be because we are genuinely concerned about them. Or it might be because we are jealous of what we perceive to be blessings they’re receiving.

 

But notice that John’s account of what happened does not include what motivated Peter’s interest in John’s future. Why? Because it does not matter what the motive is. It might have been because Peter truly cared about John’s future. It might have been because he was jealous of John’s close relationship with Our Lord. But what motivated you is not the point when you lose focus in your Christian Walk. That’s why John didn’t write about it. What is important is learning that as soon as you put your eyes on others, you are no longer properly following Jesus Christ. John is warning us not to lose our focus on Him. This is important because losing focus might be a distraction from what you should be doing; or worse, it might be a complete disruption to your Christian Walk. (When you are distracted, you can get back in God’s Plan; when you’re disrupted, you’ll completely stop dead in your tracks, making it difficult to get back in His Plan.) The lesson is to follow Him and keep your focus on Him.

 

Now, we are going to look at what it actually means to follow Jesus Christ. In doing this, you will better understand the foolishness of looking at what other people are doing. The word “follow”, actually has many meanings which apply to this doctrine. These are taken from Wordsmyth.com:

 

  • To proceed after someone else.
  • To act at the direction of a leader.
  • To come or go after or behind.
  • To move forward on or along.
  • To comprehend or understand.
  • To copy or conform to.
  • To pay attention to regularly.
  • To accept and obey as an authority, guide, or leader.

 

Now add the Name (above all names) “Jesus Christ” to each definition (along with a few other words to help it make sense):

 

  • To proceed after Jesus Christ.
  • To act at the direction of Jesus Christ.
  • To come or go after or behind Jesus Christ.
  • To move forward on or along the path set before us by Jesus Christ.
  • To comprehend or understand the teachings of Jesus Christ.
  • To copy or conform to Jesus Christ.
  • To pay attention to Jesus Christ regularly.

 

In JOH 12:26 (The Message Bible), Jesus said: “If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.” We learn from this verse that in order to follow Jesus Christ, we have to place ourselves in the position of being His Servant – of being of service to Him. Jesus plainly states that you must follow Him, in order to serve Him and if you serve Him, God the Father will honor and reward you. It could not be said any simpler. Our Lord had explained this concept many times before, so Peter would have understood what Jesus meant when He asked him to follow Him.

 

But it is important here to ask ourselves: how do we serve? What does it mean to us as Christians in the Church-Age? Paul writes about serving God in ROMANS 1. He starts the chapter like this: Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God(ROM 1:1) In Greek, the word for “bond-servant” is latreuo (pronounced lat-ryoo-o.) Translated, it means “a hired servant who serves, to minister, to offer, and to worship.” As hired servants, we have been purchased through The Blood of Christ in order to serve the living God: But Christ offered himself to God without any flaw. He did this through the power of the eternal Holy Spirit. So how much cleaner will the blood of Christ make us! It washes away our feelings of guilt for committing sin. Sin always leads to death. But now we can serve the living God. (HEB 9:14 New International Reader’s VersionThat makes you look at service altogether differently, doesn’t it?

 

Further on in ROMANS 1, Paul writes: I thank God through Jesus for every one of you. That’s first. People everywhere keep telling me about your lives of faith, and every time I hear them, I thank him. And God, whom I so love to worship and serve by spreading the good news of his Son—the Message!—knows that every time I think of you in my prayers, which is practically all the time, I ask him to clear the way for me to come and see you. The longer this waiting goes on, the deeper the ache. I so want to be there to deliver God’s gift in person and watch you grow stronger right before my eyes! But don’t think I’m not expecting to get something out of this, too! You have as much to give me as I do to you. (ROM 1:9-12 The Message Bible) In these verses, Paul is telling us how he serves God, which is by “spreading the good news of his Son.” This is his personal service, but we know through Scripture, that we all do not have the same ministry or spiritual gifts. Paul had the gift of apostle. We have our own gifts to use in order to serve God: helps, mercy, encouragement, administration, evangelism, teaching, and more!

{to be continued}

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