Summary: When John wrote his Gospel the other three were already written and well known. They are so negative on John that he probably thought there was little he could add, so he ignores himself all together in his own Gospel.

A farmer in Georgia was sitting on the porch of his

tumble-down shack. He was ragged and barefoot when a stranger

stopped for a drink of water. Wishing to be agreeable, the

stranger said, "How was your cotton coming on?" "Ain't got

none," replied the farmer. "Didn't you plant any?" asked the

stranger. "Nope, fraid of boll weevils." "Well," said the

stranger, "How is your corn?" "Didn't plant none. Fraid there

wa'nt going to be no rain," came the reply. The stranger confused

but persevering asked, "Well, how are your potatos?" "Ain't got

none, scart o' potato bugs." "Really, what did you plant," asked

the astonished visitor. "Nothin," said the farmer. "I just played it


Most people do not play it that safe, but most people are afraid

to take a chance, especially on people. We fear to risk putting our

trust in others because we know how weak and fallible people are.

Jesus knew this better than anyone, but He took great chances,

and put His trust in men who are very risky candidates for

Apostles. Jesus wanted to play it safe, He never would have

chosen John the younger son of Zebedee. John was not just

potential trouble, he was actual trouble. There are more negative

characteristics of John in the New Testament than any of the 12,

and yet he became the great Apostle of love.

John could be called the Apostle who experienced the greatest

change, for he went from the most proud, arrogant, intolerant,

and narrow-minded of the 12, to the most loving man whose

writings have done more to spread love than any other man in

history. John is a good example of the fact that Jesus did not

choose men for what they were, but for what they could become.

Before we see what John became by the grace of God, let's look at

the negatives we have on him in the synoptic Gospels. There are

no negative facts about John in his own Gospel, for John, though

he was a partner with Peter all his life almost, was a different

character from Peter. John did not bring out his errors like Peter

did. Peter told of his blunders, but John would rather forget


When John wrote his Gospel the other three were already

written and well known. They are so negative on John that he

probably thought there was little he could add, so he ignores

himself all together in his own Gospel. He never even mentions his

own name. In only 6 places is he even referred to. In three of the

six he is called, "This man," "That disciple," and "The disciple

who testified these things." In the other three he is "The disciple

whom Jesus loved." He has that very positive distinction, but

let's look at him in the other Gospels.

In Luke 9, for example, we get quite a glimpse into John. In

verse 46 he and the others are arguing as to who is the greatest.

We know John thought he was the best of all, or at least second

best, for as we shall see later, he had the audacity to ask Jesus for

a place at his right or left in the kingdom. In verse 49 we see John

demonstrating his intolerance. He said to Jesus that he saw a man

casting out demons in his name, and he forbid him to do so

because he did not follow with them. John cannot take all the

blame, for the others, no doubt, felt the same. The point is, we see

John as ideal material for becoming a zealous bigot. He would

have made Christianity so exclusive and narrow that it would have

been horrible to disagree with him. He would be

excommunicating or executing all over the place.

The proof of this in the next paragraph. The Samaritans did

not like the Jews, and when they knew Jesus was heading for

Jerusalem they refused to give He and His disciples any

hospitality. This burned John and his brother James, and his

tornado like temper wanted to blow. John is a victim of prejudice,

and he wanted to burn the place down. He said to Jesus, "Do you

want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?"

This was John's solution to the problem of prejudice and social

injustice at this stage of his life. Later in the book of Acts we see

him with Peter going to the Samaritans and laying hands on them,

and seeing them filled with the Holy Spirit. John praying down

the fire from heaven to bless the very people he first longed to see

consumed by the fire of wrath.

Some ancient authorities add, "As Elijah did," in verse 54.

John thought he had a Biblical basis for his bad temper. Just

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