Sunday, October 29, 2006

A New Name

John 21:20 “The disciple whom Jesus loved....”

Six times in the Gospel According to John, the author refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Near as I can tell, John never once identifies himself by name in the gospel. In a very real way John had given up his own life, as John, a fisherman, a son of Zebedee; to live as the beloved disciple. His earthly identity, the person he was before he met Jesus, no longer described and defined him. John chose to be known not for who he was nor what he did, but for Who loved Him. The fact that Jesus loved him came to be the totality of his identification. It was his new identity in Christ. This may be what Jesus had in mind when He spoke about losing one’s life - ....(Matthew 10:39) He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.
John was a fisherman, in business with his brother and father. When he became a disciple of Jesus, he went on to record the gospel account with his name and author four other books in the New Testament. The last of these books was the result of the vision, given John, of the time of Jesus’ return to earth as conquering king. He went from one of a thousand working men, living in a corner of the globe, to a man who served and taught millions of the love which he experienced himself.
His life, which he lost for the sake of Jesus, was like a million other lives lived out every year on this earth. The life he gained as the disciple whom Jesus loved, was one only the Lord of all life could envision and provide.
John did not hold onto the designation and role given him by the world. His time with Jesus so changed him that the only appropriate name he could use was a description of the relationship God had with him.
He was the disciple whom Jesus loved. That was enough for John.

A Lesson in Love

John 14:13 ‘For the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”

In the midst of His discourse at the Last Supper, Jesus says the world must learn is that He loves the Father. The lesson to be learned from what went before and what is soon to come on Calvary, is all about love. But this lesson in love does not involve humans at all; it involves the Triune God. The whole world has to, must, needs to - see and understand that Jesus’ life and death, lived out before their eyes is a demonstration of love within the Godhead. This love, that is in the trinity, must have and outlet, as all love must. Because of that, Jesus brings action to demonstrate His love. Marvelous in is power and creativity is this love that, through Jesus’s redeeming death, it brings children to life.
We are born into God’s family because of the redeeming love of God the Son for God the Father. As with natural birth, the new child has no part in the giving of life. Life is given to the child; so with the new life, we are all born of love without any action or instigation from us. Because Jesus loved the Father, He went through with the planned sacrifice that would give new life to all who were dead in sin. We were born anew, because of love. Jesus wants us to learn how great the love is in the Godhead, how He loves the Father. It is a creative, redeeming love and we are the recipients of the overflow of this love, but the primary object of the love is the Father.
We are a gift of love from the Son to the Father.

Those in the know

John 2:1,7-10 "On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galille...Jesus said to them 'Fill the waterpots with water.' So they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, 'Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter." So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the head waiter called the bridergroom and said to him, 'Every man serves the good wine first...but you have kept the good wine until now.' "

The servants were the first to know of the mysterious happenings. There were even used in the working of this, the first of Jesus' miracles. Obedience, availability and willingness all came together - not money, status, opinion for these who were eyewitnesses to a great event. Servants of God are there for His bidding and these ones got a close view of the Lord at work. What great leader of our time would chose household slaves to be co-workers with him? Generally, we all look for ambitious, motivated, well-dressed, self assured people to carry out plans. Someone who looks like us, who thinks like us, who reflects our views and status. But those who stand afar, looking to have the world notice them are not the type chosen by Jesus. He simply asked the servants, those quiet people waiting to do the service required of them, for help. They were not looking to be in on something big. They were simply doing the job they had been given. They were not the beautiful people of the day. They would never be the beautiful people. However, they were known to the Creator of the Universe and Saviour of Humanity. Fame or service; If the world acclaims you as important, but you miss the miracle of God, what have you really gained? Fifteen minutes of fame in exchange for the price of working with God?