Many of us will profess our love for Jesus freely, as did Peter. But we may have a little trouble professing that Jesus loves us. Chances are, we sang that song “Jesus Loves Me” in our childhood. But somehow in our adulthood, it sounds a little boastful to say out loud, “Yes, Jesus loves me!”
John, another of Jesus’ Disciples, was a bit hesitant to put his name with his proclamation of Jesus’ Love for him, but he had no trouble referring to himself in his writing as the “Disciple Whom Jesus loved.” When one comes to know Jesus and has felt the full impact of His Mercy, Grace and Love, it is nearly impossible not to gush, “He loves me! He knows all about me and yet He still loves me!”
John and his brother, James were called early by Jesus. It is likely they learned of Jesus from their fishing buddy, Peter. James and John became part of the inner circle, who saw Jesus‘ miracles up close.
Jesus was fond of calling people by names that expressed their true selves. Jesus knew Peter was The Rock upon which He would build His Church. And right away Jesus called James and John the “Sons of Thunder.” Their external behavior would seem to verify their names.
James and John were quick to defend Jesus, though their zeal was sometimes misplaced. When Jesus was rejected by the Samaritans, they wanted to call down “fire from heaven” and destroy them!
Boldness ran in the family. Their mother wanted her sons assured of a place in Jesus‘ Kingdom. She personally approached Jesus on their behalf.
Later, the boys went to Jesus themselves.
“Teacher,” they said, “We want You to do for us whatever we ask.”
“What do you want me to do for you?” He asked.
They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right
and the other at your left in Your Glory.”
Jesus told them frankly, “You don’t know what you are asking.”
He then went on to teach them about being a servant to others instead of demanding to be in first place.
Before we are too hard on James and John, take a moment and reflect. Do we ever say the same thing to Jesus … “We want You to do for us whatever we ask.” We believe we know what is best for us and we remember Jesus saying at another time, “Ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you!” (John 15:7)
Satan would like us to remember that verse. Satan does not care if we know the Word of God. Remember he quoted scripture to Jesus in the desert. However, satan wants us to have a selective memory and just remember the parts he wants us to remember.
If we only remember the above verse, satan has a powerful open door to operate in our hearts and minds. Whenever Jesus does not do exactly what we want, satan is quick to remind us that we cannot trust Jesus to come through for us.
However, the verse as quoted above is not all John wrote. No, by the time he transcribed the Words of Jesus, he remembered them all. This verse was an “if-then” teaching of Jesus.
If you remain in Me and My Words remain in you,
ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
This is to My Father’s Glory, that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be My Disciples.
Life was not about power and position for James and John or for us. It is about being in the right position to allow God’s Glory to shine through us.
Life is not about advancing. It is about remaining. It is not about our words. It is about Jesus‘ Words lived out through us. When we truly line up with Jesus, what we ask will be in line with His Will … and it shall be done to the Glory of God.
So how did James and John move from wanting whatever they asked of Jesus to just wanting Jesus? They spent their lives with Him. They followed Him. They watched Him. They listened to Him. They obeyed His Commands. Sometimes they messed up in trying to follow His Commands and they learned about being forgiven. They learned about second (and third … and ongoing) chances.
They learned to give forgiveness to others, even those they thought didn’t deserve it. In fact, in Acts, it is noted that they ministered to that same group of people to whom they once wanted to set fire!
The more they obeyed Jesus’ Commandments, the more they found they were being enfolded in His Love. They more they loved Him, the more of their old selves began to fall away to reveal Jesus Himself living through them. They realized with joy that not only did they love Him, but He also loved them!
Whoever has My Commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me.
The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father,
and I also will love them
and show Myself to them.
John followed Jesus everywhere. He even followed Him into the Garden of Gethsemane. He followed Him to the cross where he stood watching with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. And He heard the One He loved so much bestow on him the Blessing that spoke volumes about Jesus’ Trust in him.
From the cross, Jesus looked at Mary and John, two of the people He loved so much.
When Jesus saw His Mother and the Disciple whom He loved standing nearby,
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.
The two sons of thunder fell into a far greater Love than they could ever have imagined when they first met a man named Jesus. Thunder and Lightening come together. The thunder proclaims to our ears what we have seen in the light that pierces the darkness. And so it was with the Sons of Thunder. They gave joyful witness to the Great Light they had seen close up and personal.
James was the first disciple to die for the faith. John was the last disciple to die after a time of imprisonment for his faith.
Take a few moments to reflect on your Love Relationship with Jesus. Tell Him how you feel about Him. And let His Love spring up from deep inside of you. You may find yourself wanting to sing, “Yes, Jesus Loves Me!”
Excellent discusssion… I had not connected James and John the Sons of Thunder with John the Beloved….
I have read that some recommmend spending time daily reflecting love to Jesus and receiving it back… both current Prayer Leaders in Lexington to historial Mystics.