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Commentary On The Apostle John.

September 15, 2016
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the writer.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1).

The Apostle John was the last apostle to die; one of the few to die a natural death. The basics of his life was that he was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee; the son of Zebedee and brother of James another future apostle. Tradition has his mother, Salome, the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. He was a fisherman by trade in Galilee with his father, brother and Simon Peter and his own brother Andrew. He was a disciple of John the Baptist. He certainly traveled with Jesus and others on His first tour of Galilee as recorded in John’s own Gospel. John was certainly at the wedding feast recorded in his written account of Jesus; he was also with Jesus during His first Judean ministry. He was with James and Peter at the raising of Jairus’s daughter, (Mark 5:37). He was present at the Transfiguration of Jesus along with again James and Peter, (Matthew 17:1-9). He and his brother, James, were called the Son of Thunder when they sought from the Lord that they should call down fire from heaven on a Samaritan village that rejected Jesus’s message. On another time in His public ministry, John showed his intolerance and exclusiveness when he rebuked those who didn’t follow Jesus as John thought they should, (Mark 9:38). His mother asked of the Lord that her two sons, John, James, be allowed to sit on His right hand during His kingdom, (Mark 10:35). At the last Passover meal that Jesus ate John sat at the privileged seat nearest to Jesus, (John 13:23). He quit possibly was known by the family of the High Priest and was present at the actual trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin. John was present at the cross, Jesus commended Mary His mother to John’s care and keep, (John 19:26). He was with the other apostles as Jesus lay in the tomb for three days. He was one of two of the first visitors to visit the empty tomb, along with Simon Peter, upon hearing the news of the resurrection by Mary Magdalen. His greatest and most profound moment up to that point in his life was when he entered the empty tomb and saw the empty grave clothes and uttered via his own Gospel, “He saw and believed.” (John 20:1-8). He was certainly with the other apostles when Jesus appeared before them in the upper room, certainly when Jesus appeared before the startled Thomas. He was with the others at the Sea of Galilee when Jesus again appeared before them, when Simon Peter also asked about what was to come of him, (John 21:20-25).

The Apostle John was certainly at the moment that the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, (Acts, 2:1-13). He was with Simon Peter at the Temple in Jerusalem at the healing of the lame man. He was with Simon Peter as they were brought before the ruling body of the Sanhedrin and made known where they stood, “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 3-4:1-20). Read the whole narrative and remember that the Apostle John was standing next to Simon Peter and probably also preached. John was with Simon Peter when it was heard that even those in Samaria heard the Gospel and believed under the preaching of the Apostle Philip. Read the narrative and understand that the other apostles were quit active and doing much for Christ, (Acts 8:5-25). He was in Jerusalem when Herod killed his brother, James, in 44 A. D., (Acts 12:1-2). The Apostle John was a pillar of the church with his brother James and Simon Peter. They were all at the First Jerusalem Council, (Acts 15:1-29). The Apostle John was there, did preach and speak. It is said in tradition, some historical facts, that the Apostle John mostly stayed in Jerusalem while the other apostles traveled; working with the other James, the Lord’s brother, ministering to the Jerusalem Church until the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D. by the Roman Army under Titus, (39-81 A. D.) ; future Emperor of Rome. It is said he travel to Ephesus with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with Timothy. He preached there and wrote his Gospel against the growing heresies and paganism; mostly against Gnosticism is the Gospel of John written. He wrote his three letters from Ephesus. He was eventually arrested under the orders of the Emperor Domitian, (51-96 A. D.) and exiled to the rocky barren island of Patmos; where he saw the vision and message of Jesus via the Book of Revelations. He was finally released upon the assassination of Domitian. He returned to Ephesus and preached until his death sometime around 100 A. D.

What was the personality and character of John the Apostle? One could start with the premise that John  was a seeker of truth, a high spiritual understanding of God and His Scripture. This is the man who was the beloved Apostle, who leaned on Jesus breast and asked the horrible question who would betray Him. He was the apostle of the resurrection of the actual flesh and blood G0d-Man Jesus Christ that shook the doubting Thomas to his core, (John 20:26-29). He proclaimed the seven “I Am’s” of Jesus the Messiah, “I Am the Bread of Life.” (John 6:35). “I Am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12). “I Am the Door. (John 10:9). “I Am the Good Shepherd.” (John 10:11). “I Am the Resurrection and the Life.” (John 11: 25-26). “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6). “I Am the Vine”. (John 15:5). John the Apostle preached Christ as God in Flesh, God in human form and fully human and fully God, (John 1:1-5). He proclaimed via the discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus the reason for Jesus the Messiah coming, (John 3:1-21). The very message of his Gospel of John was that God came in human flesh to redeem mankind from the penalty and cost of sin. John preached Jesus Christ and was condemned to the island of Patmos for his message. The idea that the Apostles and their message never spoke of Jesus as proclaiming Himself to be God and Man is written by those who simply do not want to see the message of this long-lived apostle. The entire Gospel of this Apostle of the Resurrection is that Jesus Christ the Messiah was born without sin, lived without sin, and was redeemed to save us from our sins. The idea that Jesus was bodily resurrected in His original earthly body is Gnostic in character and is why John wrote his account of the Life and Message of Jesus who he, John walked and heard for over three years. If John truly didn’t believe in the Godhood of Jesus Christ, didn’t believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ, and the very core message of Christ then why was he so willing to suffer for Christ? This Apostle John knew full well what Jesus was saying when Jesus said to the unbelieving Jewish leaders, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am.” (John 8:58). Read the whole account as well, see what John was recording, (John 8:39-59). The critics of the Bible, of the Gospel of John simply do not like the idea of Jesus claiming to be God in flesh and being the only God for which all are accountable to. John knew full well what he was writing, the Gospel he wrote has one central message, God came in the person and flesh of humanity and that person was Jesus Christ, Messiah of Israel. Read the account of that last Passover night, see and hear what John records Jesus saying, ((John 13-17). If Jesus was not the God-Man that the Apostle John preached then he suffered for nothing along with all the other apostles and those down through the ages who believed in his Gospel and it’s message. The point being the same John who stood at the cross and watched Jesus die on that cross would eventually become a preacher of the cross and it’s meaning for the whole world. The Gospel he wrote was for the defense of that moment on the cross. As he records by the words of John the Baptist, twice, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29, 34-37). The liberal critics of the Gospel simply do not like that Jesus said anything about anything at any time. They would prefer a Gnostic Jesus who says vague things and mysterious things that can be anything they want them to be. But the Jesus the Apostle John proclaimed was clear and too the point in His earthly ministry and message. The liberal critics want a Jesus who didn’t actually say any of things John recorded. They want a Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas; a very Gnostic work, a very strange and vague document that says nothing concrete or saving. The Gospel of John’s pen says clearly and to the point. He walked with Jesus, he heard Jesus speak, he saw the miracles; he went into the empty tomb of the crucified Jesus and it was empty. Why would anyone subject themselves to persecution and exile on Patmos for a lie? Why would John allow himself to be beaten by the Sanhedrin for a lie when he preached Jesus in the early days of the church for a lie? John was the Apostle of the Resurrection and Godhood of Jesus Christ, Messiah of Israel. He preached, traveled, and defended the Church and taught others to do the same; Polycarp being a chief disciple. He wrote epistles of God’s love and redemption in Jesus Christ. He warned and preached against Gnosticism; I mention Gnosticism as it still exists in many forms, aka, Mormon Church, Jehovah’s Witness’s have many similarities with this ancient cult of the Gnostics. John the Apostle preached the love of God so profoundly that it is still the most famous of verses, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have ever lasting life.” (John 3:16). He also wrote, “In this was minifested the love of God toward us, because God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins…..We love Him, because He first loved us.” (I John 4:9-10, 19).

As the Apostle John would state and the great English preacher Charles Spurgeon preached, “The great gulf of Jesus loving sacrifice can swallow up the mountain of our sins, all of them.” That was the point of the message of John the Baptist when he proclaimed Jesus to John, Andrew, and other future apostles who stood by him that day, behold the Lamb of God, who will sacrifice everything for our redemption. That was what John the Apostle wrote and preached and suffered and eventually died in the knowledge of. He preached love of God and His sacrifice because he walked with the one who had perfected it on the cross.

REFERENCES/RECOMMENDATIONS

The Bible. (KJV).

The Message Of Acts. By. John Stott.

The Search For The Twelve Apostles. By. William Steuart McBirnie.

The Twelve. By. Edgar Goodspeed.

The Acts Of The Apostles. By. G. Campbell Morgan.

The Training Of The Twelve. By. A. B. Bruce.

The Acts Of The Apostles. BY. William Barclay.

The Master’s Men. By. William Barclay.

Charles Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers. By. Lewis Drummond.

John, Son of Thunder. By. Ellen Gunderson Traylor. (Fictional novel).

 

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