Year 2 Day 164
Read - John 21v20-25
Message - Scott Woodburn
John and his brother James would receive the nickname “Boanerges” from Jesus, which means “sons of thunder”. In their lives they would show a thunderous side with behaviour that could be described as hasty or reckless. But Jesus did not give them this title because of their negative attributes. Instead he knew their hearts and how these two impulsive young brothers would go on to be thunderous in their defence of the Gospel.
John isn’t just remembered as one of the sons of thunder. He is the author of five New Testament books, he was the youngest disciple and it is believed he lived the longest. Indeed it appears that John was the only Apostle who wasn’t murdered for his faith. With that said, tradition suggests that John knew great hardship in his life, including being thrown into boiling oil which likely scarred him horrendously.
John is remembered too for being called “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. Throughout the Gospel of John, John is given this title multiple times. If we are in any doubt as to who the beloved disciple is, the final verses of John tell us. We read that Peter is with Jesus and sees the beloved disciple following them. This beloved disciple is the one who had been beside Jesus at the supper (John 13v23) and enquired about his betrayal (v20). This beloved disciple is the same one who wrote the Gospel of John (v24).
So John is the disciple whom Jesus loved, but doesn’t that mean that the Lord played favourites? Did he love John but not the other disciples? And if this is the case does he love me more than you? Brothers and sisters, these questions are not worth our time.
There is no doubt that the friendship between Christ and John was deeper than His friendship with the other eleven. John sat next to Jesus at the last supper and he was entrusted with the care of Mary after the Lord’s death (John 19v26-27). But equally we must declare that the Lord Jesus loves every member of His church. He intercedes for every member of His bride. He died for every sin of everyone of His elect children.
John’s phrase isn’t from a place of arrogance. He doesn’t say “I’m the one who loved Jesus the best. Look at me!” Nor does he shout “I knew Him better than everyone else!” Instead as we read John’s description of himself, he focuses our attention on the extraordinary fact that he was loved by Christ. He doesn’t write boastfully, instead as we read this self-description we realise it comes from a place of awe. It should be the attitude of every sinner who understands the extraordinary grace of God.
As you read this I’m certain that you are well aware of your failures. Your Christian life hasn’t been a glorious adventure. Your children anger you. Your spouse doesn’t understand you. You don’t pray the way you once did. You get bored quickly in church. You don’t evangelise. You don’t love your neighbour. You get excited by gossip. You say things in WhatsApp groups that you really shouldn’t. What a wretch you are! Me too! Who will rescue us from this body of death? Jesus Christ is the one, the friend and Saviour of sinners.
Brothers and sisters, let us turn in repentance to the Lord today. May He warm our cold hearts and forgive us our wretchedness. He is the one who while we were still sinners died for the ungodly. Regardless of what others call you and what you call yourself, by faith in Jesus, you are loved.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2v4-5)
Q50 What is required in the second commandment? The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his Word.