John’s Purpose in Writing His Account of Jesus’ Life
Part 8 – March 28, 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 and to 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.”
As we close this study of “John’s Purpose in Writing His Account of Jesus’ Life” – let’s return to that moment onshore when The Lord Jesus Christ gave two personal commands to Peter: Then Jesus said to him, “Follow me!” 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 21:19-22 New International Reader’s Version)
Now pay close attention. Our Lord first commands Peter to follow Him, but the disciple’s response is not, “Yes, let’s go, Lord!” Instead, he starts to follow, then stops and turns around to look at John. This prompts Our Savior to have to repeat Himself. What happened? Peter was immediately distracted by what John was doing. Instead of following Our Lord’s personal command, he questioned Him as to what was going to happen to John.
Sadly, Peter responded like many believers do when it comes to following the commands in God’s Word. Instead of following what He says, they begin looking around at what other people are doing. Other believers’ relationships with God are none of your business. Their relationships are between them and God. More importantly, you would be wasting your time trying to try to follow Jesus Christ while comparing yourself to another believer. And worse than that, the distractions could be devastating to your Christian Walk. Think about a runner in a race taking his eyes off the finish line to look at the other runners. What happens? Comparing yourself to other believers will distract you from the goal of staying in God’s Pre-Designed Plan for your life and reaching Spiritual Maturity.
John quoted Jesus in JOH 14:6 (New International Reader’s Version) which explains why believers should follow Him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John knew the importance of following Him. The Lord Jesus Christ is The Way to The Father. He is The Way to Salvation. He lived on earth to show us the way. To follow Him means to walk as He walked – to follow in His footsteps, living as He lived.
Never forget how easy it is to get distracted and then find yourself off the narrow path which Our Lord taught on toward the end of His Sermon on the Mount: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (MATT 7:13-14) This scripture contains a command by Our Lord to “enter through the narrow gate.” In this lesson, He is using a specific definition of gate: “an opening permitting passage through an enclosure.” The idea here is that these gates are not shut – each of them is open for entry. This reflects the free will that God has given each of us to make the choice between His Son or Satan – Divine Good or Satan’s Way.
Now let us imagine, for a moment, what can be seen beyond each gate. The narrow path (which you can only get on by going through the narrow gate) has very few people on it. It appears to be rocky and difficult to navigate in some places, with very steep hills and slopes.
The wide gate leads out to a wider path that is smooth with gentle, sloping hills. The wide path is filled with huge crowds of people, traveling in smaller groups. The smaller groups developed near their own, different entry point along the wide path. These entry points were where these smaller groups of people had entered the wide gate. Some of these people are laughing and joking while others are serious and even crying. Some are singing and strolling along while others seem incredibly determined to get somewhere.
Although God has given every person on earth free will to make the choice between the two paths, distractions will stop you from making the correct one! And remember, this choice applies to every decision you make, throughout every day of your life.
Now bear in mind that Peter and John heard this message IN PERSON! Like Peter, some of us will get distracted and will get off the narrow road. It’s Satan’s goal to get you off. He has made the wide gate and the road beyond full of temptations which will be hard to pass up. He wants you to forget that at the end of the narrow road is your Savior, Jesus Christ!! So, when you do get distracted and get off the narrow road, rebound, and get back on.
Allowing yourself to continue to get distracted will result in your NEVER achieving the status of Invisible Hero. As believers who are blessed to live in the dispensation of the Church-Age, we have been graced with the opportunity to achieve this goal. An Invisible Hero is a believer who advances to Spiritual Maturity, executes the Pre-Designed Plan of God, and glorifies Him to the maximum. An invisible hero will have followed Jesus Christ without distraction! He will have stayed on the narrow road!
In JOH 21:23 (New International Reader’s Version), as his Gospel ends, John clears up a rumor that was started because of what Our Savior said to Peter: Because of what Jesus said, a false report spread among the believers. The story was told that the disciple Jesus loved wouldn’t die. But Jesus did not say he would not die. He only said, “Suppose I want him to remain alive until I return. What does that matter to you?” This passage illustrates just how often and easily people will misunderstand things. These misunderstandings can easily get you off the narrow path. Our Lord and Savior did not say that John would not die. So, John added this postscript to his Gospel to clarify what actually was said and to correct the rumor that The Lord had prophesied that “the disciple Jesus loved” would be alive when He came to rapture the Church. We know this is ludicrous because only God The Father knows when The Rapture will take place.
In JOH 21:24 (New International Reader’s Version), John “signs” his Gospel like this: This is the disciple who is a witness about these things. He also wrote them down. We know that what he says is true. This is John’s way of giving his solemn testimony to the truth of what he wrote.
John never intended to write a complete account of The Life of Jesus Christ: Jesus also did many other things. What if every one of them were written down? I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. (JOHN 21:25 New International Reader’s Version) He had already concluded that it was impossible for him or anyone else, for that matter, to write the whole story. There were so many things that Our Lord and Savior did and continues to do today, in our own lives, that John envisioned a book that continues to be written, with so many volumes that the world could not contain them all. Based on this JOHN 21:25, we can surmise that what John decided to include were the experiences he was inspired to share – the ones he thought were most important from his perspective. Like this one:
In the beginning, the Word was already there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through him. Nothing that has been made was made without him. Life was in him, and that life was the light for all people. The light shines in the darkness. But the darkness has not overcome the light. There was a man sent from God. His name was John. He came to be a witness about that light. He was a witness so that all people might believe. John himself was not the light. He came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. The Word was in the world. And the world was made through him. But the world did not recognize him. He came to what was his own. But his own people did not accept him. Some people did accept him and did believe in his name. He gave them the right to become children of God. To be a child of God has nothing to do with human parents. Children of God are not born because of human choice or because a husband wants them to be born. They are born because of what God does. The Word became a human being. He made his home with us. We have seen his glory. It is the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father. And the Word was full of grace and truth. (JOHN 1:1-14 The New International Reader’s Version)
But what did happen to John – “the disciple Jesus loved?” His unique contribution of writing came after he had settled in the pagan, cosmopolitan city of Ephesus where he was the leader of the church. He is said to have taken care of Mary, the mother of Jesus, there in his home. John was eventually exiled to the island of Patmos because of anti-Christian persecution under the Roman emperor Domitian. There he is credited with writing the last Book of the New Testament – The Revelation. John lived to be a very, old man. He was the last of the apostles to die and is the only one of the apostles generally thought to have died a natural death from old age.
1 John 1:1-4 – The Message
1-2 From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we are telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.
3-4 We saw it, we heard it, and now we are telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!
Paul might be the pioneer of Christ, Peter might be the shepherd of Christ, but John was the witness of Christ.