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Summary: The Apostle John’s emphasis concerning love.

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The 12 Apostles

Week 5 – John

Dr. Rik B. Wadge, Ph.D.

"The Apostle of Love"

Illustration:

William Gladstone Prime Minister of Britain, stood before the House of Commons one day and began to tell a touching story about their Princess... Alice. You see Alice had a daughter that was extremely ill with diphtheria. Each day as her little daughter grew progressively worse she would struggle to breathe. Alice knew that within just days her daughter’s pain would end. The personal physicians to the crown explicitly instructed the princess to not sit close to the child, in fear that she too would contract the fatal disease.

But, one day when her daughter’s breathing was so restricted, Princess Alice chose to pick her daughter up into her arms and hold her close. Her daughter said faintly, “Momma, kiss me” without even considering herself the Princess snuggled close to her daughter and gave her the most heartfelt kiss a mother has ever offered a child.... Within days both mother and daughter went to be with the Lord.

Real love forgets one’s self, denies one’s self. Real love knows no danger. Real love acts beyond one’s own best interests. The Bible says, Song of Solomon 8:7

7 Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away...

Jesus did the same for you. You had a deadly disease, He left his throne in glory, was brutally tortured, and died to bring you the cure.

The Bible has a lot say about love. But if we were going to select an apostle which exemplified love... it would absolutely be John.

Of course John wasn’t always an example of love.

Remember we discussed last week that James and John were the “Sons of Thunder” the “Sons of Anger”

In Luke 9:54 John was quick to pronounce judgment upon the people of Samaria.

In Mark 9, John forbid a man from casting out demons in Jesus’ name because the man wasn’t one of the 12.

He earned the title “son of thunder” which came from Jesus’ own mouth in Mark 3. ... John was a hot-head! Until Jesus got hold of him!

When we examine the Apostle John we see a man who was transformed from a man of anger into a man of love. There are many verses we could look at to see how this took place but suffice it to say.... spending time with Jesus changed John’s life!

The beloved Apostle uses the term “love” some 110 times.

It’s John who captures Jesus saying in John 3:16 “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son...”

Aren’t you glad the verse does not read:

"For God so loved the rich..."?

Or, "For God so loved the famous..."?

Or, "for God so loved the thin..."?

Or, the muscular?

The sober, the successful, the young, the old... the Americans, the Europeans.

But it doesn’t. John included every person everywhere, in every century, every nation, with every tongue... God loves us!

It’s nice to be included. You aren’t always. Universities exclude you if you aren’t smart enough. Businesses exclude you if your not qualified enough, and, sadly, some careers exclude you if you’re not old enough, not young enough.

But though they may exclude you, Christ includes you.

When asked to describe the width of his love, he stretched one hand to the right and the other to the left and had them nailed in position so you would know that he loved you.

But isn’t there a limit? Surely there has to be an end to this love.

You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

But David the adulterer never found it.

Paul the murderer never found it.

Peter the liar never found it.

It’s John who recalls Jesus’ love for Lazarus, “see how He loved him!”

It’s John who recalls Jesus’ words to “love one another”

John 15:12-13 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

The story of John’s last days in Ephesus.

(last apostle; couldn’t walk; big crowds, “little children, love one another.”)

John is the gospel writer who personalized Jesus’ love.

And it’s John’s understanding of Christ’s love that prompts him to call himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

How do you define or describe love?

An Eight year old wrote about regular old love and God’s kind of love.

Regular old love is when daddy reads me a bedtime story.

God’s kind of love is when daddy doesn’t skip any of the pages.

I think we’d all agree that the bible gives us the greatest of love’s descriptions in 1 Corinthians 13.

But today I’d like to read it a bit differently. You to read it with me, and we’ll put our church as it’s focus.

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