The Relationship Between John And Jesus Christ: Celebration Of Uncommon Intimate Relationship 2
The Divinity Of Jesus Christ:
Jesus Christ is fully Divine. The incarnation was an act of God whereby Jesus took himself a human nature. The Scripture supported this divine claim of Jesus Christ in several passages:
The Direct Scriptural Claim
- The Greek word, Theos (God) as used for Christ means the creator of heaven and earth, the ruler over all – John 1:1; 1:18; 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1; Isaiah 9:6.
- The Greek word, Kyrios (Lord) as used for Christ was translated from the Hebrews’ YHWH’ “YAHWEH” or ‘JEHOVAH’ meaning the creator and sustainer of heaven and earth – Luke 2:11; 18; 1:43; Matthew 3:3
- John 8:58 – “I AM” claims deity for Christ. Jesus used the very words God used when he identified himself to Moses as “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3: 14) – Revelation 1:8; 22:13; Psalm 33:6; John 1: 14
- Also, the Son of Man (Matthew 16:13, Luke 9: 18 )– is a unique term that has its background in the vision of Daniel 7:1, the son of the man who came to the Ancient of Days. Daniel 7: 13 – 14 speaks of someone who had a heavenly origin and was given eternal rule over the whole world.
Pieces of Evidence and Attributes of Jesus’ Deity
- The demonstration of His Omnipotence is in Matt 8: 26-27 and John 2: 1-11
- The assertion of His eternity is in John 8:58 and Rev 22:13
- The demonstration of His Omniscience in knowing people’s thoughts is in Mark 2:8; John 6: 64; 2:25; 16:30
- Possession of divine Sovereignty is in Mk 2: 5 – 7; Matt. 5: 22, 28
- Possession of the attribute of immortality is in John 2:19; 10: 17-18; 1 Tim 6:16
Today’s world has become a global village, unlike the situation during Jesus’s time. With all the changes happening around us, relational changes are the most critical. Globalization is forcing us to think more about relationships (at least in economics) beyond our provincial boundaries and comfort zones. These relationships, however, focus only on an exchange process (e.g., of labor, goods, and services), not a relational process. This exchange process shows how many personal relationships are conducted, even with God. The cultures of Biblical times and Western culture today differ in many important ways. The individual is seen as independent today, with individualism the norm.
The individual was not so defined in the cultures of Christ’s period, and the individual was not seen apart from the family, kinship, network, or community in which one lived. Yet, the tensions involving the individual in one’s relationship functionally still work similarly to today, and that’s because the tensions are relational and not circumstantial or situational. Those issues back then are still the issues today, particularly involving how we define ourselves and examine relationships. As we examine the relationship between John and Jesus, we can put ourselves in John’s shoes and re-examine our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ chose John as one of His twelve disciples and began a closely knit relationship with a rare display of love and confidence in each other. In John, Jesus found an unusual eagerness of a disciple who trusted his Master very well but, at times, not wise in decisions. John is consistently named as one of the four, including Peter, James, and Andrew. In Christ’s ministry, he was one of the inner circle of three honored with special marks of confidence; the others are Simon Peter, and James. These three disciples were permitted to be present on:
- the raising of Jairus’ daughter, narrated in Mark 5:37, Luke 8:51,
- the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1, Mark 9:2, Luke 9:23) and
- the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37 and Mark 14:33.
The proof of Jesus’s relationship with John is in the usage of the term, the disciple whom Jesus loved. In John 13:23, the disciple whom Jesus loved is spoken of as reclining in Jesus’s bosom at the last supper. It indicates a close connection and implies that on the chief Couch at the meal, holding three persons, Jesus was in the middle and John on His right hand, thus being brought more directly face to face with the Master than Peter, who occupied the left-hand place. It explains the expression of v.25 “he, leaning back, as he was on Jesus’ breast.” Some of the most significant statements about God’s loving nature were written by John, who uniquely experienced God’s love. Although Jesus’s love is communicated in all the Gospels, it is a central theme in John’s Gospel. Jesus knew John fully and loved Him thoroughly.
In John’s Gospel and letters, we see the great God of love while the thunder of God’s justice bursts from the pages of Revelation. The intimate relationship between John and Jesus is evidenced in John’s writings. In the Synoptic, except for the last week, Jesus’ ministry is primarily devoted to Galilee, while in John, his ministry centers around several visits to Jerusalem. John’s style can be said to be assimilated to Jesus’s style, and he wrote his Epistles in the idiom he learned from Jesus due to closeness and intimacy.
John encapsulates the essence of Christ’s coming in his emphasis upon eternal life as a presently realized blessing (John 3:36). John was one of the best friends of Jesus apart from being Jesus’s disciple. One day Jesus came by and called John to follow him. John left his fishing nets and, for the next three and a half years, listened to all that Jesus taught. He soon became convinced that Jesus was far more than just another man; he was God himself. He wrote this story so that you and I would come to believe the same. John, the disciple, stayed with Jesus to the very end. When his Master hung dying on the cross, John was there. In that poignant moment, it was John to whom Jesus assigned the care of his mother.
John lived an entire long life. He also faced trials and persecutions as a witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Toward the end of his life, John ran into trouble for preaching the message of his mentor, good friend, Lord, and Messiah. The authorities banished him to Patmos, an island in the Aegean Sea, where John wrote Revelation, the last book in the New Testament; for John to have Jesus Christ as his teacher meant that he was more than a student or learner as a disciple.
The Greek word –mathetes means disciple, an adherent, who is involved in a more profound attachment to the teacher known in Greek as didaskolos. A glimpse of this relationship is seen in John 15: 5 – 15. Jesus is the Vine, and John, as his disciple, is a branch of the Vine that abides. Verse 9 opens our eyes to the love between them. As God, the Father has loved Jesus and the disciples, including John. He remained in Jesus’s love by his obedience to the commands of Jesus.
True friendship emanates from serving each other honestly. In vv14, 15, Jesus called the disciples His friends, for he told them everything he learned from his Father. John and other disciples knew absolutely everything about Jesus and acquired the wisdom and knowledge bestowed in Jesus. This love made Jesus lay down his life; v.13 says Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. Jesus assured the disciples that as they truly follow him, they will involve themselves with him intimately; they will be transformed as new creations and satisfied as never before (a hundredfold). Jesus’s followers will be satisfied not by quantity but by the quality of life in eternity.
To follow Jesus (Greek word for ‘Follow’ is akoloutheo; acolyte – I follow), which means to accompany, go with Him. To follow Christ involves ongoing fellowship (intimate connection) with him, not occasional and temporary following. It is more than selective or passive involvement and beyond situational but engages in an intimate relationship. The relational process of Jesus-John fellowship is characterized by intimate trust. That is the fundamental way Jesus wants us to relate to him and the working paradigm involved with him.
Disciple to Friend to Family:
The progression of following Jesus for John involves the process of the intimate relationship, which develops from being a disciple to a friend to a family member. As the disciples’ intimacy with Jesus grows, a change occurs in the relationship’s status, becoming a relationship between friends (John 15:15). There are different types of friends. Still, in the world of biblical times, the main ideas of friendship included:
- Honesty of purpose
- Mutual sharing of all possessions,
- Confidentially and ability to share everything with a friend in confidence.
Jesus fulfills these ideals (Jn.15:13, Jn.15:9,11; 16:14-15, Jn.15:15; 16:12-13). He calls his disciples friends instead of treating them like servants. A servant might be loyal but would never experience intimate sharing. Love comes with a relational responsibility to respond as one can and should. That was the type of relationship between John and Jesus Christ. The one Jesus loved is called a friend of Jesus in Scripture, and he was given a one-of-a-kind gift from God that uniquely set him apart from the rest of Jesus’s followers.