John WHO?

Sunday, March 23, 2014
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Listen while you read: "Pass Me Not O Gentle Saviour"1 (Lyrics)

When I want to understand something, I use three questions to guide my inquiries: "What do you mean?" "How do you know?" and "So what?"

As I read the gospel of John in preparation for discussions at our adult Bible study group, because I knew so little about the writer of the gospel, I was aware of thinking, "How do you know?" Bothered by my question about the authority of the writer, I used my concordance to find biblical references, and I looked at the timeline information in my Chronological Life Application Study Bible NLT to learn more about the apostle John.

John, brother of the apostle James, son of the fisherman Zebedee, left everything and followed Jesus on the same day as Peter and Andrew. He witnessed Jesus' entire public ministry! He is mentioned in a list of Jesus' disciples:

Mark 3:17 – James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder). (NIV)

Yet, John is depicted as quiet. Luke tells us in Acts 3-4 that Peter and John were together in Jerusalem after the Day of Pentecost in 30 A.D., yet Luke quotes sermons preached to the crowd only by Peter.

John wrote his gospel and epistles around 85 A.D., fifteen to twenty years after the gospel books of Mark, Matthew, and Luke came out. He penned Revelation around 95 A.D. and died in Ephesus about 100 A.D. He was the longest-lived disciple and left us the last written accounts of Jesus from an eyewitness. Is John's "thunder" contained in those written messages that have survived through the ages?

John referred to himself several times in his gospel as "the disciple whom Jesus loved". The best example occurred when Jesus was hanging on the cross:

John 19:26-27 – When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (NIV)

As I examined other references in the gospel of John to "a" or "the" disciple, I began to comprehend John's familiarity with Jesus and to see them together in my mind's eye.

So what? As a result of my experience of Scripture coming to life because of heightened curiosity, I pray that a question will stir for you each time you open your Bible. The times when I watch for answers to questions as I read are the ones when I get the most out my Bible-reading time. Does that experience resonate with yours?

Prayer: Father, thank You for our Bibles! We ask, in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord, to "get" everything You have prepared and placed in them for us to find. Amen.

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About the author:

Pat Bell <>
Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the reminder Pat.

    It certainly does resonate with me Pat. In fact, for many years now I have been in the habit of praying before beginning my reading each morning. The results have been astounding to say the least. The Lord is able to respond to all my prayers in a very personal way, to the extent that I have that amazing feeling of His Presence and His Grace each morning as I pray and read, and then pray again. The sense of His personal involvement in even the smallest details of my life is so comforting and such a strong influence in my life that I can only stand back in awe and amazement as I consider the impact of knowing Him and being loved by Him.
    I love reading about other people’s experiences and interpretations and gain so much when they “resonate” with my own, as yours has today. I realize that my prayer connection is not quite a match with your research connection, but in fact they are a pair. One follows up the questions with searching the references to other verses and other study notes, and comes up with whole new worlds of understanding and help. Blessings on your day.

    My mother that is now 94, said to me while I was visiting with her. Son, what would we do without curiosity?
    The deep thoughts of the mind are satisfied by knowing the truth! And, as Jesus has said, ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Yes, He is the way, the truth and the life. The Father has drawn many to His Son, by curiosity that the Holy Spirit outwardly generates in man.

    Dear Pat,
    Your method for bible study is similar to mine. A few years ago, I wanted to dig deeper regarding the mystery of the beloved disciple. I found an intriguing study which I believe offers valuable insights that are totally based on the testimony of Scripture. I’m sending you the link in case you would like to check it out.
    If you’re interested, a free printable download is available also. If anything, I think you would find it very thought-provoking and informative.

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