By Floyd Allen, Editor, GOD’S GOOD NEWS GAZETTE
As the Bible Guy I spend a lot of time reading the Word of God. Down through the years, nay decades!, I have come to realize that the Bible characters I find myself most drawn to is John. I have mentioned this on several occasions, and, as can be expected, people have asked me why.
Now, I can understand their intrigue regarding this. I mean, I could be a Paul-inian Theologian, or a Petra Theologian, or even a Luke-ian Theologian. But, as I studied the Word, there were some things that I learned about John that, well, made me a real fan.
First of all, John was actively looking for the Messiah – – something that cannot be said of most of the Religious Leaders of the time! John Chapter 1 tells us a lot about his quest. It opens by him pontificating on the Messiah: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
The next part of this first chapter introduces the Messiah’s cousin, the son of Elizabeth: 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
The author then returns to telling us more about the Messiah: 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Then we go back to learning about John the Baptist. 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. 19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. 24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
This is where it gets really exciting for the author, as he finally gets to see the Messiah!
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. … 35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? 39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
I think the thing that most impresses me here is that as soon as John realizes Jesus is the Messiah he stays with, and follows, him for the rest of His life!!! As you continue to read the Book of John, you discover that the author often refers to himself as, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Now, we know that Jesus loved all of His Disciples, but it was John who picked up on the fact that “Love” was the most important part of the Message of Jesus!
The next thing that really impresses me about John is the fact that he was the only one of the disciples that understood that the cross was the sign of victory, not defeat. I realize that you may be thinking, “Now, Floyder, how the smash do we know that John was the only disciple with that understanding?”
Well, we find the proof in John 19:26-27: 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. John identifies himself, again, as “the disciple whom He loved!”
While we can all agree that Jesus loved all of His disciples the same, we do know that John gets three very special Blessings … three that none of the others were Blessed with. These are, in no special order:
- He was chosen to watch over the Messiah’s mother.
- He was the one chosen to see, and share, the Revelation.
- He was the only disciple to live to old age and die a natural death.
To fully appreciate what a Blessing the first one was you need to understand a little bit about Jewish tradition. In that society, when a woman’s husband died it was the responsibility of the oldest son to care for her. Now, Jesus had brothers (James and Jude that we know by name, as they both wrote books of THE BIBLE), but when it came time to fulfill his duties as a son, Jesus left his mother to the care of John, not James or Jude!
So, the reasons I’m a Johannine Theologian: He was searching for the Messiah; he understood the mission Jesus was on and that His main message was Love, and he did have a truly special relationship with the Master. The GOOD NEWS is that today we can fulfill all three of those elements ourselves!