John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, introduces us to the first John in Jesus’ earthly life. This man was on a mission straight from God. We know him as John the Baptist, the Forerunner for Jesus. Our John weaves John the Baptist’s story into his introduction of Jesus. I want to pause as we go through Jesus’ amazing introduction to honor the man God honored.
We met John the Baptist in all three of the previous gospels we have studied. Some more in depth than others. Our John shares John the Baptist’s story as well. Our John makes sure we do not confuse John the Baptist with Jesus the Messiah.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light” (verses 6-8).
Our John’s story and purpose is nearly identical to John the Baptist’s here. I believe our John would disagree with me though. I think he would see himself as less worthy of this sort of mention. The next verse though distinguishes the two.
“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (verse 9). This verse puts the John in this story in advance of the True Light.
Another reason our John would bow out of this comparison is his statement that John the Baptist “was sent from God.” God made special arrangements to get the attention of the people of Israel just before He sent Jesus onto the scene. John the Baptist’s job was to revive the spirit of the people. They had been waiting for their Messiah but had grown weary of the wait.
It reminds me of going on a LONG car ride with children. Right after starting out you hear, “Are we there yet” repeated so often you want to scream! But after a while that question stops. Most likely it is because the children fall asleep or finally find something else to do. Sometimes you simply pull into the driveway without them even realizing they have arrived for a few moments, but if you REALLY want them to feel the excitement and be prepared for arrival, you cue them into the fact of imminent arrival just prior to getting there. Now grandma and grandpa meet children jumping out of the car to greet them with joy instead of sleepy, half-awake kids stumbling out of the car.
God wanted His people excited to meet their Messiah. That is why He sent John the Baptist. To wake up those sleepy heads!
I would like to take a moment and tell you why I think our John fits the first part of this description too. You may not agree with me, but that is ok. I have the “pen” and I feel like using it to say thank you to our John for sharing Jesus’ story.
Jesus told His disciples, near the end of His earthly ministry, that God had given them to Him. God touched these men’s hearts to draw them to Jesus. I believe He handpicked the men who would support His Son during His earthly journey. He knew their frailties. He knew they would fail Him in the end, but He chose them anyway. He knew the love they would offer His Son during their time together. He knew it would be a comfort to His Son. He knew Jesus’ need to care for His mother after His death too. So He picked John and brought him to Jesus. Or more accurately, brought Jesus to him.
John’s main job would be to learn from Jesus and be a witness about His life and words that others might believe in Him. John wasn’t “the Light” but he got to see Him up close and personal, like few others did. John will point to Jesus in every way possible to ensure that we see Jesus, the Man John loved more than life itself. The Man who was his Lord and Savior. Our Messiah. The Son of God.
I am going to take this one step further and apply it to each of us too. God gives each of us this same job and the distinction of being sent or called by Him. We will see that a little better in tomorrow’s story, but for now, get excited and rest content in the knowledge that God has a job for each of us to do too. Like our John, we are to be His witness. And we may witness to some our John and John the Baptist never could.
Father God, thank You for placing in our John the heart of a storyteller. Thank You that he shares Jesus’ life is such a unique way. Thank You for my Aunt Vicky who shared that picture with me in a comment on yesterday’s story. Thank You that You call each and every one of us to share that same story with those You bring across our path. May my recounting of the times I have spent with Your Son be as life changing to someone as our John’s has been. I know I will never have the reach he has, but to the ones who I do reach, let them see You and Your Son clearly in all I share and do. Let me be a witness for You in word AND deed. I’m looking forward to seeing where You take me (us) in this story! Lead on Father! I’ll follow You and Your Son, Jesus, wherever we go. Please don’t let me run off on my own though. Always bring me back if/when I wander off track. Thank You that I can trust You with that too.