April 2018 - Pastor's Corner

   

Jesus … was deeply troubled and declared openly, “I AM telling you the hard truth: one of you is going to betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, completely puzzled about whom he meant. One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining closest to Jesus. Simon Peter motioned to him and said, “Ask him who he is talking about.” So that disciple moved even closer to Jesus’ side and asked, “Who is it, Lord?” Jesus answered, “I will dip some bread in the dish and give it to him; he is the man.” John 13:21-26a – adapted

 

We continue our 2018 newsletter series about Jesus’ twelve closest disciples by looking at John, son of Zebedee and brother of James, the fourth and last fisherman disciple that we know of. We know that John was a leader among the disciples; in Luke 22:8 he and Peter are instructed by our Lord to prepare for the Passover meal. John and his brother, James, were nicknamed “Boanerges” or “sons of thunder” by Jesus, possibly because of their fiery nature. (See Luke 9:54 when the brothers wanted to call down fire from heaven!) However, John is also thought likely to be the “beloved disciple” mentioned in John 13 above.

 

It’s hard to know these things for sure, because John was such a common name, even back then. There is considerable scholarly uncertainty therefore, about who wrote which of the four books of the New Testament bearing the name “John”, as well as the book of Revelation. This is also, in part, because it was common for early Christian apostles to have their own disciples, who often wrote in the name of their teacher.

 

Assuming John is the “beloved disciple” however, we see from all four Gospels how people can change when they are influenced by the divine love of Christ, and an ever closer walk with him. Some early Church traditions say that after Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension – and after the gift of the Holy Spirit – St. John became the most kind, gentle, and patient of all Jesus’ early followers. What we learn from this is that anyone – and any one of us – can change, and can become more like Jesus every day. All we need to do is lay our heads and hearts close to Christ, as his beloved disciples today … in every thought, word, and deed.

 

A John Prayer for Today: Lord Jesus, please change me. Not because you don’t already love me just the way I am – which you do. But, so that I may, like John, become united with you in your own kindness, patience, and gentleness. Amen.

 

                                                                                    Pastor John

 

April 20, 2018

 

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