As we get to know God better, our lives begin to change and be transformed. How we view God can affect every area of our lives. But God is divine and we’re only human, so how do we discover who He is?
This study is about John, one of Jesus 12 disciples:
Revelation 1:9 – I, John, both your brother and companion in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Verse 10) I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,
(Verse 11) saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” (Verse 12) Then I turned to see the voice that spoke to me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, (Verse 13) and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
(Verse 14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; (Verse 15) His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; (Verse 16) He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
(Verse 17) And when I saw Him I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and Last. (Verse 18) I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and Death.”
John had a revelation of Jesus.
This is a face to face encounter with the resurrected Christ. John was the only living, and original disciple at that time. John was the only one that was not martyred. Acts 12:1 – Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. (Verse 2) Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. (Years later, we don’t know for sure, but some think it was Nero that crucified Peter upside down.)
History tells us that they tried to kill John, but he wouldn’t die. One time they put him in boiling oil and then he preached to them. The hot oil didn’t burn his skin at all. The Emporer, maybe Nero, got so afraid of him that he banished John to the island of Patmos. He was on this island for one year and while there he writes the book of Revelation.
The gospel of John begins like no other book in the Bible. It begins with the very same words that Genesis begins with – In the beginning. John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John wrote the gospel of John to help people understand that Jesus is not only the Messiah but the Son of God and God Himself! John had a greater revelation of the divinity and humanity of Jesus probably more than any other disciple. He writes the gospel of John to prove the divinity of Jesus and then writes 1 John to prove the humanity of Jesus.
1 John 4:3 – and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.
1 John 1:1 – That which was from the beginning which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life –
We know that John was probably over 100 years old when he died and he sees things going on in the church, so he writes 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. Revelation is a direct commandment to write from Jesus Himself. He wrote the gospel of John much later in his life.
He wrote 1 John because in Ephesus there were false teachers saying that Jesus didn’t actually come in the flesh. So John tells them, “I was there! I touched Him. I saw HIm!” John was a first-hand witness to what he wrote.
John had a growing revelation of Jesus.
The gospel of John records more of what Jesus said about Himself than any other book in the Bible. The book of John has more “Red letters” than any other gospel. It also has more “I am” than any of the other gospels:
John 6:35 – “I am the bread.” John 8:12 – “I am the light.” John 10:7 – “I am the door.” John 10:11 – “I am the good shepherd.” John 11:25 – “I am the resurrection.” John 14:6 – “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 15:1 – “I am the vine.” John 10:36 – “I am the Son of God.”
John is also referred to as the “Love” disciple. He talked about how much he loved Jesus and Jesus loved him. John is the only one that recorded that Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another.” And then in 1 John, he backs this up by saying, “If anyone says they love God but doesn’t love his brother, he is a liar.”
It’s a growing revelation because John didn’t start out being the “Love disciple.” John was a Galilean, a little rough around the edges. Others said the Galileans were uneducated. James and John were called by Jesus, the “Sons of thunder.” In the original language, that’s not a compliment. It’s like saying they were a little wild and they needed help.
Luke 9:54 – And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” John was a long way from being the “Love disciple” at this point.
Mark 9:38 – Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”
John also wrote the book of Revelation, not Revelations. There is no “S.” Many think this book is the revelation of “end times.” It is not! This book is the revelation of Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:1 – The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants – If you try to figure out “what” this revelation is talking about instead of “whom” it’s talking about, you will never understand it. You have to see it all in the revelation of Jesus Christ.
John refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God, in the book of Revelation 27 times. The entire New Testament refers to Jesus as the Lamb only 31 times. And two of the four that are not in the book of Revelation, are in the gospel of John.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke are “synoptic” gospels, meaning the same. John is not a “synoptic” gospel. Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote their gospels way before John wrote his. They wrote about the last year of Jesus ministry, with the exception of His birth. They wrote about Jesus birth, then baptism, temptation in the wilderness and then immediately they say, “Afte the imprisonment of John the Baptist. John the Baptist was imprisoned after the first two years of Jesus ministry.
As a matter of fact, Matthew, Mark, and Luke only tell us of one Passover other than the Passover when Jesus died. John tells us of three Passovers. We might not have known that Jesus’ ministry was for three years if it had not been for John’s gospel.
John writes his gospel between 85 and 95 AD. That would be about 60 years after Jesus died. Wow! I believe John was inspired to write it because the only thing available about Jesus last year of His ministry was from the others and John felt we needed to know more. That’s why we’ll find things in John we won’t find in the other gospels. We wouldn’t have known about Jesus first recorded miracle if it weren’t for John’s gospel of turning water into wine.
We wouldn’t have known about Nicodemos and Jesus telling him, “You must be born again.” We wouldn’t have had John 3:16 if John had not written his gospel. and many more recordings would not have been if John had not written the gospel of John.
Do you, as a believer, know Jesus better today than when you were first saved? You should. All of us should know Him better today than years before. As long as we stay close to Him by reading and studying His Word, we should never stop growing in the revelation of Jesus Christ. It’s not a “one-time-encounter.” There’s a first time meeting of Jesus but then many encounters with Him as we grow.
John also had a revelation of himself in Jesus.
John saw himself as Jesus saw him. John 13:23 – Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.
John 20:2 – Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them,… John 21:7 – Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” (Notice that John does not refer to himself as John.)
John 21:20 – Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following who also had leaned on His breast at the supper… John 19:26, 27 – When Jesus, therefore, saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” (Verse 27) Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (That was John.)
John writes five times in the gospel of John, “The disciple whom Jesus loved.” John wasn’t saying that Jesus loved him and not the others. He was saying that he knows Jesus loves him! John has a revelation of Jesus that we all need to have, Jesus loves us! John saw Jesus as Lord and Lamb.
We also have in Chapters 14, 15, and 16, of John, the conversation that Jesus had at the last supper. If John hadn’t written it in his gospel, we wouldn’t have it. No one else recorded it. And Chapter 17, John records the prayer that Jesus prayed in the garden. While Peter and James fell asleep, John listened to Jesus prayer.
However, John didn’t write this in the gospel of John until 60 years later. How could he remember all of this after 60 years? I believe because John kept having encounters with Jesus. John ended up seeing himself the way Jesus saw him and that’s why he refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved.
A born again believer is a child of the Most High God who loves us more than we can imagine. We are not who we think we are in our own eyes. We are who Jesus says we are and we are loved!