Summary: John understood that the most important thing for the children of God, with a feeble breath and the few words he could say, that they were supposed to love each other.
Next week we begin the Gospel of John. I just finished the book of Exodus. And so what I wanted to do by way of transition this week was to introduce you to John – not just the things that he has to say, not just his ideas and his concepts and his theology, as wonderful as that is, but to introduce you to John as a human being, as a person.
My hope would be that he would become for you a friend. And so, what I’m gonna ask you to do tonight is to really use your imagination. As you study John’s works, Gospel of John; I, II, and III John, and the book of Revelation, what you find is that John is a great wordsmith, and he paints pictures with words that sort of get your imagination captive.
And he uses phenomenal imagery like vine and branches and light and darkness. And as you read some of the book of Revelation, you see that he uses a lot of color and shape and hue. And he just births these brilliant pictures in your mind.
And so what I’m gonna ask you to do tonight is just to use your imagination. And as we walk through a number of stories of John’s life, to just kind of place yourself in each of those moments – almost like you’re watching a film of the life of John, and just seeing his relationship with Jesus and his life with Jesus.
Because it’s interesting, what I usually do before I begin studying and preaching for a book of the Bible is I’ll read a great number of commentaries. And there’s probably more commentaries written on John’s Gospel than any other Gospel.
But I think the most important thing before we start to look at all that he believes and all that he says is to see what kind of relationship he had with Christ, and how he knew Jesus, and what that meant to him in a very practical and a very real way.
And their relationship is one of student and teacher. And what I think I want to do is preface our talk so that you understand that their understanding of student and teacher is probably a lot different than we would understand it in our present day.
How many of you, for example, went to college, or something of that nature. You got an education. See, in our world, what you do is you go to a school. You go to the University of Washington, you go to UCLA, you go to a particular place.
In John’s day, whether you were a Christian or a non-Christian, the way that teaching was set up is that you would go to a teacher. And that teacher, then, would instruct you. But there wouldn’t necessarily be a school around that teacher. Some teachers did have schools, but some teachers were like Jesus, just traveling teachers.
And so, their relationship is one of student and teacher. But in that, there’s great affection and love between a student and a teacher, and as they came together in a relationship, it was very common for the teacher and the student to end up with a very loving and intimate friendship. That sometimes they would live together. They would journey together, and they would eat together, and they would share common life experience in such a way that there was really deep affection and then a lifelong commitment between the student and the teacher.
And John had this wonderful experience, this wonderful opportunity as a very young man to become a student of Jesus. Jesus, as he refers to, is his rabbi, his teacher. And so, as we get into John tonight, I want you to come at this recognizing the relationship that they had.
And John was – I don’t know how old John was – it doesn’t tell us specifically. We know he was likely younger than Jesus. He was the youngest of all the disciples – probably early to mid to late 20s, something in there. John was probably right around the age of most of the people that are sitting in this room tonight.
John was pretty young, the youngest of the disciples. And Jesus was just a little bit older than him. We’re told that Jesus was probably right around the age of 30 when he began his public ministry. And so, as you look at Jesus and John, my encouragement to you would be this, to view them in a relationship whereby it’s almost like Jesus is a big brother. And I hope you’ll get that picture of their relationship tonight.
It’s as if Jesus really loves John, and loves John in such a way that he almost seems like a kid brother who’s tagging around with Jesus Christ. And John has this mutual respect and affection for Jesus. And I wonder if that wasn’t the way that John throughout the course of his life in a lot of his writings thought of Jesus. He may have. I’m sure he did love his teaching and love his power and his miracles, and all the things that Jesus did.