John, an Introduction
Almost without exception the Fourth Gospel has, been known as the Gospel According to John. The name John means, “The Lord is Gracious.”
What is unique among the gospel writers, the gospel of John is anonymous to the extent that for reasons best known only to the author, he deliberately avoids naming himself. When necessary he modestly refers to himself simply as “that disciple.” “The disciple whom Jesus loved,” or “the disciple which testified of these things and wrote these things.” But the earliest Christian tradition has given credit to John the Beloved as the only source of the things written in the gospel that bears his name.
John is distinguished above the rest of the Twelve as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” In Johns heart the flame of personal loyalty and ardent devotion to his Master seemed to burn brighter and purer. Between Jesus and John there developed a more intimate friendship than the other disciples knew.
As Christ alone could perfectly reveal the Father, being the only one who knew Him perfectly, so John was eminently qualified to present, in his Gospel, the sublime truth concerning Christ. Yet when he and his brother James first came to Christ, they were nicknamed the “sons of thunder.” They were proud, self-assertive, ambitious for honor, impetuous, resentful under injury. He and his brother often harbored the desire for revenge and took it when opportunity offered. These were serious defects of character, yet Christ more fully loved John above the rest, because John’s heart was more respective to His teachings. Yet at first, John was a dull pupil in whom the Master Teacher envisioned a dynamic apostle. In time, John took upon himself the yoke of Christ, and as a result his entire life and character were transformed.
Our life should be like John’s in so that as John beheld Jesus he felt a supreme longing to become like Him. Perhaps this came from the fact that John was the youngest of the 12 and therefore with the trusting heart of youth, he more fully opened his heart to Jesus. Of all twelve, he was ever close by the side of His Master, and therefore yielded himself more fully to the influence of that perfect life and so began to more fully reflect the character of Christ. Christ revealed to him one by one his defects of character, and John humbled himself and accepted reproof implicit in Christ’s perfect life and explicit in His words of counsel and reproof. Divine love and grace transformed him as he yielded his life to the Saviour’s influence.
John came from a fairly wealthy and influential family that lived in Bethsaida, a fishing community on the northern shore of Lake of Galilee. He, his brother, along with Peter and Andrew appear to have been in the fishing business together. John’s mother was a member of the group that often traveled with Jesus to give aid and support were necessary and supported the ministry with additional funds.
John, along with his brother James, and Peter made up the inner circle of disciples. Of the disciples, John was the first to the tomb on resurrection morning and more than any others devoted his all to the proclamation of the crucified, risen, and returning Saviour, bearing witness to what he had heard, seen and experienced “of the Word of Life,” Jesus Christ.
When I did the series on the “Character of God” the posts were quite long and so if possible, I will try to keep these posts more in the 700 to 1000 word range. Hopefully closer to 700.
It is my desire that you will prayerfully read these posts on the gospel of John.
PS Hope to start this series for real on April 30 or May 7th and as usual it will be on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I’m guessing it will be on the May 7th.