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John: The Disciple Jesus Loved (Part 1)

“Following the Lamb” John 1:35-42


John: The Disciple Jesus Loved (Part 1) John’s gospel is filled with John’s own presence—yet he never calls himself by name. Mostly, however, John self-identifies as “the disciple Jesus loved”.

What John is expressing is a sense of wonder and gratitude that is so much a part of him that he has not, nor ever will get over it.


Who was this “John” that is so prominent in the New Testament? ■ ■

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Named in synoptics, but not in John Family: brother of James Hometown: Capernaum Temperament: Such extreme intensity of character

How do we first meet the disciple Jesus loved?


I. Arrival Of The Promise (John 1:29-34) Events captured during a series of three days: ■

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First day, John the Baptizer is questioned by religious leaders (John 1:19-28) about his role. Second day, Jesus is baptized (John 1:29-34). Third day, the first disciples.


II. Leaning Toward The Promise (vv.35-36) John the Baptizer announces that Jesus is “the Lamb of God.” For two of John’s disciples, this announcement was a trigger that would launch them into the rest of their lives. John the Baptizer is giving his two followers the cue that a greater One than he has arrived, and their allegiance must be to the Lamb, not the Baptizer.


III. Responding To The Promise (v.37) The two disciples of the Baptizer followed Jesus by becoming His very first disciples. This was a level of commitment that would radically change them from that moment on.

The decision to follow Jesus is filled with profound and expensive consequences—but with remarkable, untold possibilities.


IV. Following The Promise (vv.38-42) When these two disciples of John the Baptizer turn to follow Jesus, the resulting conversation would not only change their lives, it would be the first step toward changing the world. Jesus initiates the conversation with a question. Perhaps Jesus was also asking, “What are you seeking in life?�


IV. Following The Promise (vv.38-42) They ask where Jesus is staying. He invites them to “Come and see.” A person must first come to Him; then he will see. Follow. Come and see. Believe. It is the beginning of John’s story, but also the invitation for everyone everywhere to join in that journey of faith in Christ.


Conclusion From this small beginning would grow a force that, in God’s power would turn the world upside down—a force that continues to turn the world upside down today.

And that force is strengthened every time someone follows His call.


John: The Disciple Jesus Loved (Part 2)

“Missing the Point” Luke 9:51-56


John: The Disciple Jesus Loved (Part 2) After Jesus had accepted John and Andrew as disciples, Jesus went to the wilderness to be tempted and they went back to their lives as fishermen. But, at some point after that temptation, Jesus again called him (Luke 5:1-11) and John left all and permanently attached himself to the apostolic band.


I. The Time and Season (Luke 9:51) The three major feast times (Passover, Firstfruits, Tabernacles) were the high moments of the annual liturgical calendar—and deserved full observance. For Jesus, however, the stakes were infinitely higher. With a sense of determination and commitment to the Father’s purposes, Jesus begins the journey to Jerusalem and His coming death.


II. The Opportunity and Challenge (vv.52-53) Jesus and His men are passing through Samaria—and not for the first time. The age-old tension between Jew and Samaritan, Jerusalem and Gerizim, rears its ugly head and the Samaritans they encounter refuse to welcome them “because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.”


III. The Anger and Arrogance (v.54) Two unspoken questions they could be considering: ● “Who do they think they are?”—How dare they refuse to accept Jesus! ● “Who do we think we are?”—Elijah and Moses! The arrogance of James and John seems to completely miss the point of Jesus’ transfiguration and to miss the heart of God. Plus, it misses the role for which they are being trained—they are to be amabassadors of good news, not condemnation.


IV. The Passion and Mission (vv.55-56) Clearly, James and John are living up to their nickname as the Boanerges—“sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). But, that is not acceptable, either in terms of spirit or in terms of mission. While showing His love, concern, and compassion for the Samaritans, Jesus also displays His love, concern, and compassion for the Sons of Thunder!


IV. The Passion and Mission (vv.55-56) Rather than responding to them as they have responded to the Samaritans, Jesus shows James and John the same grace they wanted to deny others! John needed to be reminded of what he had already received from Jesus: “… for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”


Conclusion Like John, our hearts need to be recalibrated to alignment with His heart—a heart of rescue not retribution. A heart that looks with the eyes of Jesus.


John: The Disciple Jesus Loved (Part 3)

“Crossing the Line” Matthew 20:17-28


John: The Disciple Jesus Loved (Part 3) As we move into Matthew 20, this clear sense of timing is front and center as Jesus, now for at least the third time in Matthew, instructs His disciples about His coming passion (16:21; 17:22–23; here). The clear statement on what that suffering would entail is amazing!


I. The Time Has Come (Matthew 20:17-19) Yet, in spite of that precision of detail, the disciples seem to have never seen it coming!

It is in this moment, in this context, in this setting, we see just how far the disciple Jesus loved (and his brother and mother) are from the self-sacrificial spirit of Jesus.


II. The Timing Is Off (vv.20-23) In Mark 10, we have James and John themselves approaching Jesus with the request for the chief seats—but in Matthew, they are fronted by their Mom.

The request of the mother of Zebedee’s sons (James and John) is extraordinary. Was she still thinking of an earthly kingdom, or was she looking forward to the future glory (and conveniently forgetting what must precede that glory)?


III. The Time for Indignation (v.24) How could the disciple Jesus loved so brashly and selfishly participate in such a blatant self-promotion? They are succumbing to the same desire for place and recognition that characterized the pharisees! And, they had ignored the very clear warning that Jesus had given about this very kind of self-promotion.


IV. The Time for a Reminder (vv.25-28) Here, we get the supreme example of humility in Jesus Himself - the King, Creator, Lord, and Master, yet also the One who did not come to be served but to serve.

But, even more, He was so committed to such service that He would die to accomplish its ultimate, eternal goals. He makes it clear that His death is the ultimate sacrifice.


IV. The Time for a Reminder (vv.25-28) Not only are the disciples failing to embrace the humility of Christ’s heart example, they are also missing the teaching He was trying to give them about His suffering that approaches in Jerusalem!


Conclusion This is a cautionary tale, warning about the impact and strife caused by self-promotion at the expense of others. It ignores the example and model of the Savior—who truly is the greatest in the kingdom!


John: The Disciple Jesus Loved (Part 4)

“Passion Witness” John 19:23-30


John: The Disciple Jesus Loved (Part 4) Our look at John brings us to what are sometimes considered some of the last words of Jesus of Nazareth. John is a more consistent witness to the events of Jesus’ passion than any other person. Yet, of all the scenes John winessed, the one that was the most heartwrenching had to have been the scene at the cross.


I. The Scene at the Cross (John 19:23-24) The goal of crucifixion was not only to inflict intense physical pain. It was also necessary to impose as much public humiliation as possible as well.

Isaiah had been right: “He was despised and forsaken of men . . . He was despised, and we did not esteem Him� (Isaiah 53:3).


I. The Scene at the Cross (John 19:23-24) The four soldiers divide Jesus’ garments as their spoils for performing the task. Each takes a portion of clothing, but one is left, the tunic.

It is implied that even the loincloth had been taken—and the crucified’s last shred of human dignity with it.


II. The Sadness of the Cross (v.25) In contrast to the four soldiers who were coldly gambling for Jesus’ clothes and watching His suffering, we now see four women. These women watch with love and grief—not duty and greed.

When all His disciples forsook Him and fled; and none of them came to the cross, except John (not even Peter, who boasted of his love to Christ) these women were standing by the cross of Christ.


III. The Sons at the Cross (vv.26-27) The anguish and terror of Jesus’ mother at His crucifixion must have been indescribable. But His tender concern for her in the hour of His deepest agony shows His selfless compassion. In his suffering, Jesus does not forget his bereaved mother, but commits her to the care of John, the beloved disciple. His love shines forth in the sufferings on the cross.


III. The Sons at the Cross (vv.26-27) The only reason John was there is love for Jesus. He was the disciple that the Lord loved, and He loved Christ as well. John’s response was to do what he could. He could not stop the suffering of the Cross, or ease the pain in Mary’s heart, but he could take care of her, and provide for her, as if she was his own mother. His doing this shows his great love for Christ.


IV. The Scriptures at the Cross (vv.28-30) As Christ hung on the Cross paying sin’s price, He declared, “It is finished” (tetelestai). The word means, “It is finished, it stands finished, and it will always be finished.”

Jesus knew the relation of his death to redemption for us and He overcame everything as He fully completed His saving work, and everything else the Father had given Him to do.


Conclusion See the dignity with which Christ loves His own. “Having loved His own He loved them all the way to the end” (John 13:1). What did He express? SELFLESSNESS! Of all the gospel writers, John alone was eyewitness to the event and, in a very particular way, a recipient of Christ’s dying concern. As John modeled, may our hearts also find comfort in the shadow of the cross.

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