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The Apostle John Got It - Do You Get It?

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After living every day with Jesus for three years, the apostle John finally got it! Do you get it yet?

John sees a busy crowd, pushing and shoving, shouting and laughing. Jesus sees a man alone in the midst of the crowd, isolated from society, cut off and lonely amid the busyness of life. He can't hear, he can't speak. Jesus takes him to one side, away from the hustle and bustle of the crowd.

Speaks to him one to one. A personal contact.

John sees a whole group of people waiting by a poolside. They look a motley bunch, lying out here just waiting, waiting. Jesus sees one man, and start asking questions about him. Jesus finds out that this man has laid by a poolside for thirty-eight years, waiting for his moment to come when he would be healed. Jesus picks him out of the crowd, and heals him there and then. He's waited so long, but Jesus can still work in him.

John sees a man, who has been blind from birth. Actually, he's a theological puzzle - John doesn't understand whether it is his own or the sin of his parents that caused this. Jesus sees a man in need of sight, a man who has suffered, stumbled, and wandered through life dependent on others for charity. And he heals him there and then.

John sees a group of mourners, their friends have lost a brother, there is a deep sadness about the whole place. Jesus holds some hands, he exchanges hugs with some of his friends, and he's crying too. And then Jesus restores Lazarus back to life, to the astonishment of everyone.

John 19: 26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

John sees a man on a cross, racked in pain, shamed before the crowd. He hears the crowds laughter, the soldiers taunts. He's stood alongside Mary, who is just beside herself with anguish. This horrible obscene drama acted out against the backdrop of carelessness and mockery. And then the man on the cross turns his head towards Mary, and John, and quite deliberately, in the gentlest way, instructs them to look after each other.

John has learned so much from Jesus, the pattern of his priorities, a picture of his purity, but more than anything else, he has received a Revelation of Love.

This Jesus, every day, every hour of his ministry, has taught, explained, and demonstrated the individual love of God. And that Revelation of Love is about to change John's life. As John opens himself up to Jesus love, he describes himself, as 'the disciple whom Jesus loved'.

Now what do you mean by that John? You mean, Jesus didn't love any of the other disciples?

Well no ...

Oh, do you mean that he loved you more than any of the others, so he didn't love Thomas or Peter as much as he loved you?

Well .... no ...

So what do you mean John, by calling yourself 'the disciple whom Jesus loved'?

You see John has had a revelation of the love of Jesus. He has had Jesus pick him out of the crowd, Jesus has spoken to him quietly, one to one. Jesus has made him see, and hear, and know. Jesus has assured John that he is special.

And Jesus says the same thing to you. You are special. He delights in you. He watches you. He points you out to the angels - 'look, there's one of my lovely children'. He thinks about you all the time. He wants to put his arms around you. He never leaves you.

You may think - Not me - if you knew me, you would know that can't be true. You may feel you're not worth that much to Jesus. Other people, better people, but not me. You're wrong. John grasped it good and proper.

'Look, he says, at the kind of love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called sons of God - and that is what we are!

And pretty soon this Revelation of Love, becomes a Revolution of Love.

John along with Peter begin to heal beggars, to come alongside down and outs, to care for any and every sinner that crosses their path. John devotes his life to living in the love of Jesus, to living out the love of Jesus, to passing on the love of Jesus.

He comes to understand the love of Jesus to the extent that it has transformed his life. So much so, he is nicknamed, the Apostle of Love! Later in a letter, he writes,

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

How about you? Do you find it difficult to love others, is it a trial to you to love those on the margins of society. Do you find it takes so much energy and effort to be nice to others.

Let me ask you - how does Jesus Christ fundamentally affect the life of a Christian?

Some would say - by his teaching? We read his teaching, the most enlightened moral guidance, and it is his teaching that affects our lives.

No. That is the way Plato affects the lives of his disciples. Through his teaching. But its not how Jesus fundamentally affects our lives.

Others would say - by his example? He lived a perfect life, and left a wonderful example of how to live. By following his example! This must be right - its even in a hymn - 'we trust in his redeeming love and try his works to do'.

No. That may be the way a parent affects most the life of a child. By example. But its not how Jesus fundamentally affects our lives.

So how will Jesus enable you to live that glorious life of love, poured out in service to him and others?

How about this:

The only recorded time when Jesus prayed directly for you and me,

John 17
"The glory which you have given me, I have given to them, so that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me...."

In Corinthians, we read:

Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you?

In Ephesians, we read:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

This is how Jesus Christ affects our lives - he lives in them! He really, actively, presently, constantly, reliably, lives inside you.

Don't think - its hard to understand. Don't think - its an analogy. Don't think - its mystical. Instead, look at your own body and think - Jesus Christ is in here!

Jesus Christ wants hands and feet and emotions and smiles and eyes and ears. He doesn't want inner mystic selves. The bible is practical. You may not understand it, but he lives in your body.

It is only as you experience his love for yourself, that you can even begin to share his love with others.

Let me give you one more verse that you may not have read.

Psalm 56:8 TLB
You, Heavenly Father, have collected all my tears and preserved them in your bottle.

What does that mean? Let me tell you? Archeologists have discovered that when someone died back in ancient days, the mourners would collect their tears in small bottles, and bury the bottles with the body. It was a symbol of how much the individual was loved. God not only sees your tears, but he collects and keeps them - a symbol of how much he loves you.

And through you, and in you, loves others the same.

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