The Relationship Between John And Jesus Christ: Celebration Of Uncommon Intimate Relationship 3
There are no narratives in the Bible about John’s transformation. John’s writings give us an insight into the transformation as one in whom grace prevailed and from whom love emerged. God fulfilled his desires for John’s life – John 21: 21- 22; and John served and glorified God. He must have made every effort in the relational work facing him. The imperative Jesus gave to Peter, “Follow me” (Jn.21:19,22), was for John and us. We are to concentrate on being with him and devote our total person to that relationship.
In John 6:14-27, When the “followers” inquired how they could essentially be worthy of God in their works (v.28), Jesus told them that only one thing is important to God: the relational work of intimate trust (v.29). Later, he told them that his flesh was the bread of life. They had to eat it and drink his blood to be his disciple (vv.48-58). After hearing this, many of his disciples no longer followed him (vv.60,66). The metaphor of bread involves an intimate relational connection with God, a connection modeled from the relationship between the Father and Son (v.57), the exact relationship between John and Jesus that transformed him. Jesus’s flesh, and blood were harsh words to swallow (v.60) because to “eat” them meant transformation. They might have been willing to make outer changes to follow Jesus but changing from the inside out was another issue. Jesus confronted them in their comfort zone and stipulated the need for transformation to follow him. To be his follower is a relationship that necessitates involvement in this relational process on his terms. Much of transformation has to do with this relational work.
John As The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved!
We find the references to “the disciple whom Jesus loved” in the book of John (John 13:23, John 19:26, John 20:2, John 21:7, John 21:20). While the Gospel of John does not specifically identify its author. The disciple whom Jesus loved is nowhere explicitly named in the Scripture; the early Christians universally recognize John as the author of the Gospel and the disciple whom Jesus loved. It is consistent with internal evidence in the Gospel of John. James, John, and Peter seemed to be the most intimate of Jesus’s apostles accompanying Jesus on special occasions. Matthew 17:1 says, After six days, Jesus took Peter, James, and John, the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. Because of their favored relationship with Jesus, James and John sought a unique position in what they erroneously assumed to be Jesus’s earthly kingdom. In Mark 10:37-38 “They replied, ‘Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.’ ‘You don’t know what you are asking,’ Jesus said. ‘Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
Jesus’s answer to them was meant to show them that they had the wrong idea of what His kingdom would be. And to point out to them that they might want honored places with Him, they needed to understand that following Him meant signing up to suffer or endure trials in service to Him and others. James eventually died as a martyr for Christ, and John died a natural death after living in exile on the Isle of Patmos.
The form of John – Jesus’s relationship is known as Koinonia. Koinonia is the complete expression of a love (agape) relationship. Koinonia is the most exclusive possible partnership and fellowship with God and others. Koinonia includes:
- Loving with total being (Jesus’ example);
- Submitting to Sovereign rule (John’s example);
- Trusting entirely in the Master, the Lord Jesus Christ (John’s example)
- Revealing everything (Jesus’ example)
- Obeying everything and obedience to the Commands (John’s example)
John had a Real, Personal, and Practical Relationship with Jesus Christ. The outward evidence of this relationship occurred on the island of Patmos. John was spending the Lord’s Day in fellowship with God in the Spirit; the revelation of Jesus Christ came to him to show his servants what must soon take place (Rev. 1:1). This message has been a genuine challenge and encouragement to the Churches from John’s day till now. John indicated this closeness to Jesus Christ in words in 1 John 1: 1-7. The passage exposes John’s experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps one of the most reflective statements of the closeness of the relationship between Jesus and John was in the last moments of Jesus’s life when Jesus asked John to care for His mother after His death. John, as an apostle of Jesus, not only wrote his eyewitness account of experiences with Christ which were recorded in his Gospel but also wrote the books of 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and the book of Revelation – John’s vision of justice for the wicked and hope for the future of believers. These books provide a unique insight into the kind of person his Master, Friend, and Lord was and is and not only the story of Jesus but also God’s eternal plan for humankind.
Love was a recurring theme in much of John’s writings, indicating a man who had learned about love from the master teacher of love. In John’s letters (1, 2, and 3 John), he made more than twenty-five references to love. 1 John 4:7-10 says, Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God because God is Love. That is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. That is Love: We did not love God, but he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
In obedience to his Master, John took Mary to his home after the crucifixion. Then Jesus said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own home – John 19:27. A new relationship grew between the disciple and the mother in the following days. The forty days after the resurrection must have been filled with one-on-one time between John and Mary. That being the case, the new mother and Son must have been pondering these events and meetings, resulting in John getting to know Jesus better through Mary. Mary’s memories must have fascinated John and instructed all the others gathered in that upper room, preparing them for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as had previously occurred some thirty-three years earlier in her life.
In John 20:3, John accompanies Peter to the tomb of Jesus; and while he reached the Sepulchre first, he allowed Peter to be the first to enter. But John was the first to believe. In chapter 21, John was among the group of seven disciples to whom our Lord appeared at the sea of Tiberias. John was the first one to discern the risen Lord upon the shore. In Revelation 1:4, John mentioned writing to the Seven Churches in Asia from the Island of Patmos, having been kept alive to outlive the other disciples. John never regretted his association and relational connection with Jesus Christ. The relationship made John a complete and fulfilled man. The relationship also developed through John’s positive character traits.
Overview Of John The Apostle:
- Becomes one of Jesus’s First Disciples – Matthew 4: 21– 22
- A member of the Three Inner Circle of Disciples- Mark 9: 2
- Present At Jesus’ Transfiguration – Luke 9: 29
- His Mother asks Jesus a Favour – Matthew 20: 20
- Later Suffered for Jesus Christ – Mark 10: 38 – 39; Matthew 20: 22
- Jesus asked him to care for his mother – John 19: 25 – 27
- He Was an Eyewitness to Jesus; his letters are reliable 1-John1: 3
- Wrote Revelation from Patmos Rev. 1: 1
- Called ‘Beloved Disciple’ -John 13:23;19:26; 21:
As Jesus was preparing to complete his earthly ministry, he openly shared vital words with his disciples, particularly for their lives (John 13-17). Since they had been with Jesus intensely for three years, certain assumptions could reasonably be made about these disciples: their faith in Jesus and their commitment and sacrifice to follow him. For the most part, they seemed to demonstrate these. And it would be reasonable to think that they also knew Jesus well by this time. But is it correct to say that the disciples knew Jesus at this point? The answer is revealed in their interaction (John 14:1-11) when Jesus clarified and challenged their faith. Let’s examine this interaction.
Jesus: Do not let your hearts be troubled; you know the way to where I am going (14:1-4).
When Jesus said you know the way, he used the word “know” (Greek oida), which means to know, to be acquainted intuitively or familiar with, based on one’s intimate knowledge of the subject. It gives us an insight into the intimacy of John and Jesus. John, the beloved of Jesus Christ, experienced a beautiful transformation from catching fish in the sea to become a fisher of men. He transformed from the tendency to outbursts, selfishness, and anger to humility and servanthood.
Lessons from John’s life include:
- Those who realize how much they are loved can love much.
- When God changes a life, He does not take away personality and characteristics but puts them to practical use in his service.
John’s commitment to the Lord, Jesus Christ, was seen in Jesus bequeathing his mother as he died. Jesus found him worthy of this great responsibility. John, on his part, was the only one who chose to present Jesus as Wisdom Incarnate discoursing on earth as Personified Wisdom does, in Proverbs 8-9 and Sources like the Wisdom of Solomon. John’s intimate relationship with Jesus was reflected in his in-depth knowledge of who Jesus Christ is, as shown in his Gospel and Epistles.
As we examine the relationship between John and Jesus Christ, we must know that the relationship is based on love (Koinonia; agape). Jesus is a loving and serving God. As Jesus’ disciple, John walked in his footsteps by loving others and serving his generation, our generation, and those unborn through Johannine Literatures (the Gospels, Epistles, and Apocalypse). John was indeed a faithful servant of God. An English dictionary defines a servant as one who exerts himself to benefit another, specifically his Master. One who performs labor for the benefit of another or at another’s command. One who serves by obedience, good works, and love is the servant of God.
In Greek, there are two words for the word “Servant.”
- Diakonos – Deacon; a minister (This is the higher form of the word translated as “Servant” in English) and
- Doulos – A bond slave; one whose will and capacities are wholly at the service of another.
When Jesus came, He did not come as the Diakonos but in the lowly form of the Doulos. During one of the last times when Jesus was personally with His disciples, He showed what He meant by being a servant. Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, the Messiah, rose from dinner, wrapped Himself with a towel, and began washing His disciples’ feet. He said to them after he finished, as recorded in John 13: 12b – 17,
Do you understand what I have done for you? He asked them, You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should wash one another’s feet; I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his Master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
John imbibed these biblical qualities of a servant from his Master and Lord. Jesus came to the world as the Doulos of God. The simple lesson this relational connection teaches us is to love one another, serve one another, obey God, and do His Will and Commands at all times. There is one amazing thing; two things that I genuinely understand, three things that are convincing and true; Four undisputed things. I was made to worship Jesus; you were made to worship Jesus; we were all created to worship and Honour Him – The Christ of God; He is the Ruler of all God’s Creations’; Our LORD and SAVIOUR – The MESSIAH of the World, JESUS CHRIST.
Jesus Christ is the Epitome of LOVE. John knew Him and served Him. How about you? Are you ready to start that intimacy with Christ? Today is D-day, don’t procrastinate. Stand up and become blessed. Love God with all your mind, heart, and strength is truly the greatest Commandment.