Listen to this devotional:
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.