A Life Worthy of the Gospel
John and his brother James were offspring of Zebedee & Salome. Both made their living as fishermen in the regions of Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Jerusalem. They must have been rugged men until Jesus began to transform them. There must have been something bombastic or at least energetic about the two of them for early on Jesus gave them the nickname Boanerges which means “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17).
When some Samaritans refused to welcome Jesus and his disciples John and James seem a bit vindictive: “Do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” they asked Jesus — a query that met his rebuke. (Luke 9:54). It was John who reported to Jesus “We saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” Again a rebuke from our Lord. (Mark 9:38).
Then, just after Christ confided in his disciples for the third time regarding his coming crucifixion it was James and John who earned the ire of the other disciples by asking Jesus for favoured seats in the kingdom of Heaven (Mark 10:35-37).
Yet John became known as “the beloved disciple” His heart and ambition mellowed and in the end it was John to whom Jesus entrusted from the cross the care of His mother Mary (John 19:26). John’s attitude so transformed that he became the most loving disciple of all. As a matured believer he wrote… no, crafted, the most unique gospel of all in which in each ‘chapter’ portrays Christ in some new way. He wrote three epistles also in which he references love some 25 times.
John labored among churches of Asia Minor, and in particular Ephesus. Banished for a time to the isle of Patmos John’s love and fervor for His Lord did not diminish. It was there that, continuing diligent in devotion to Christ, the Lord revealed to him the mysteries of events to come as he recorded what we now name the book of Revelation. John was later freed from his isolation and eventually died a natural death.
Paul writing from his isolation in prison urged, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Phil. 1:27). Peter wrote…“In all this you greatly rejoice… ” (1 Pet. 1:6, 9).
God used all sorts of circumstances and difficulties to shape these men and many others who comprised the early church. He does no less for you and I.
During this current crisis, let us conduct ourselves “in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Consider what transformation John experienced… Christ will do the same in you. Grasp hold of the challenges of this day and as James wrote “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete…” (James 1:4). He is making of the rawest materials of all things glorious and eternal!