The Relationship Between John, the Apostle, And Jesus Christ: Celebration Of Uncommon Intimate Relationship (1)
I set out to examine the various relational connection between Saint John, the Apostle, and our Lord Jesus Christ in lively discourse. In the New Testament Canon, the name John is credited to the fourth Gospel, 1, 2, and 3 John, and an apocalyptic book (Revelation). Among the apostles, John is next to Paul in prominence. Therefore I shall attempt to look beyond ordinary involvement to the Nature and Extent of John’s relationship with Jesus Christ.
A relationship is described as a connection between people or the state of being of the same family. A relationship, when used by people, suggests a close connection with strong feelings. Here I am looking at that close connection between John the Apostle, a disciple of Jesus Christ, and his Master, Jesus Christ. It takes two persons to form an interpersonal relationship. Still, it takes two cooperating persons to make a relational connection with deep love in their hearts, like John and Jesus Christ. Intimacy can be elusive, but here we witness optimal intimacy between John and Jesus. Intimacy is a relational experience that includes our senses but, more importantly, must involve our total person. I will be considering:
- The close connection between John the disciple and Jesus Christ, his Master, and LORD. That is close intimacy.
- The state of being the same family of God. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God – John 1: 12 – 13. Also, Romans 8: 16 – 17 says, The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now, if we are children, then we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ if indeed we share in His sufferings so that we may also share in His glory.
- The strong feelings between John and Jesus Christ that was responsible for the term beloved disciple and accounted for the trustworthiness of John to be in charge of Mary after Jesus’s death. When Jesus saw his mother there and the disciple he loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son, and to the disciple, Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. – John 19: 26. This same disciple was identified in John 21:20; Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”)
In appreciating this close relationship, it is pertinent to understand the profile, personality, character, attributes, and nature of the two people; John and Jesus Christ. We need to focus intensely on their persons and activities. Examining the person of Jesus Christ and His words is the key to understanding His interpersonal relations with the disciples, especially John. Relationships are exciting not only because God created relationships in general and created us for an intimate relationship with Himself specifically; relationships are exciting because of their dynamic nature.
Profile Of John
John was a son of Zebedee, a master fisherman in a good position, plying his craft in one of the towns on the lake of Galilee, possibly Bethsaida. His mother was Salome, one of the women who ‘ministered’ to Christ in Galilee – (Mark 15: 41), a sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus (inferred from a comparison of Matthew 27:56 and Mark 15:40; 16:1; John 19:25). His brother was James, also a disciple of Jesus. While engaged in his craft, John was summoned to leave his occupation and become a ‘fisher of men .’This call was immediately obeyed and constituted an intermediate link between the initial stage of discipleship and the appointment to be one of the twelve ‘apostles .’John expressed his relationship to the Son of God by calling himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” – John 21:20.
Irenaeus identified Apostle John as the Lord’s disciple. He had oral information about John in his youth in Asia Minor via the ‘elders,’, especially Polycarp. For him, this John is one of the Twelve, the Apostle, and son of Zebedee, and in his eyes, this John is in some ways the most important disciple of Jesus. John was nicknamed Son of Thunder along with his brother James. It may be because the brothers asked Jesus for permission to call fire down from heaven – Luke 9:54 on a village that had refused to welcome Jesus and the disciples.
John was one of the inner three closest to Jesus; the others were Peter and James. John is the only writer who gives a new beginner in Christ an understandable portrait of Jesus Christ. The fourth Gospel written by John explains profoundly who Jesus Christ is and is a must-read and study for New and Growing Christians. John’s Gospel help to answer the essential question: Who is Jesus Christ?. John alone brings us to a crucial decision regarding history’s most influential figure, just as he decided to become Jesus’ disciple over Two Thousand years ago. John wrote five New Testament books: the Gospel of John, 1, 2, and 3 John and Revelation.
Along with James, his brother, John, shared a tendency to outbursts, selfishness, and anger. They asked for a unique position in Jesus’ kingdom with their mother. John’s story is told throughout the Gospels, Acts of the apostles, and Revelation. Some positive traits demonstrated the commitment to Jesus in John:
- Reverential trust in Jesus and God the Father,
- Dread of Evil
- Respect for God the Father and
- Total devotion and worship of God (awareness of God’s presence at all times and in all places. Rev. 14:7; Rev. 15:4)
Jesus As Logos And The Power Of The Logos:
God spoke, galaxies whirled into place, Stars shone in the heavens, and planets came into being orbiting their suns. In the same Word, the waters and lands were filled with plants and creatures growing and multiplying. Again God Spoke, let us make man in our image, in our likeness – Genesis 1:26a, and man and woman were formed. Jesus the Word, the Logos was, is, and always will be the Maker and Lord of all that exists. Jesus came in the flesh to a speck in the Universe called Earth. The mighty Creator became a part of the creation, limited by time and space and susceptible to aging, sickness, and death. Love propelled Him, so He came to rescue and save those who were lost and give them the gift of eternity. Jesus is history’s most influential figure. Time and history measure events by His birth. Christians proclaim Him as the Incarnation of God; adherents of other religions see Him as a great Teacher, a Prophet, or simply an excellent moral Man. The fact is that Jesus Christ is both human and Divine.
The Humanity of Christ:
The Virgin Birth
Scientifically at conception, man and God came together. Scripture clearly states that Jesus was conceived in the womb of his mother, Mary, by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit and without a human father. (Luke 1: 34-35, Matthew 1: 18-20, 24-25). The morally pure Mary was further purified to bring a pure Child to the world, which makes Jesus Christ fully man but without inherited sin.
Human Weakness and Limitations
Jesus Christ was born like any Child and grew up like any Child in terms of Physical, Mental, Social and Spiritual growth. He had a human body, a human mind, a human soul, and human emotions. Jesus became tired just as we do (John 4:6). He became thirsty (John 19: 28). He was hungry (Matthew 4: 2) and physically weak (Matthew 4: 11; Luke 23: 26, 46). As part of His genuine humanity, Jesus Christ learned a trade – carpentry and learned the normal process of how to eat, talk, read, write and make friends. Jesus Christ identified with other human beings. His brothers and sisters that grew up in the same household never realized that he was anything more than them until His death and when He arose on the third day.
He Was Without Sin
The New Testament affirms that Jesus was fully human but differed in one crucial aspect: He was without sin and never sinned throughout his lifetime.
Reasons for being Human
Jesus had to be fully man if he was going to be the Messiah and earn humanity the needed Salvation. Jesus Christ complied with these necessities as follows:
- being a ‘Representative Obedience’ – Jesus obeyed for us where Adam failed and disobeyed God (Lk. 4: 1-13, Gen. 2: 15-13:7, Rom. 5: 18-19).
- being a ‘Substitute Sacrifice’ – Jesus had to be a man to die in our place and pay the penalty that was due to us. (Hebrews 2: 16-17).
- becoming a Mediator between God and Man.
- showing examples and patterns of living, Jesus had to become a man to live as an example and pattern in life. (1 Jn. 2:6; 3: 2-3; 2 Cor. 3: 18, Rom. 8: 29; 1 Peter 2: 21, Heb. 12: 2, 30).
- becoming Pattern for our Redeemed Bodies; Jesus had to be raised as a man to be the first born from the dead (Colossians 1:18), the pattern for the bodies that we would have in eternity (1 Corinthians 15:42 – 44, 49).
- becoming our High Priest; Jesus was tempted like us, yet he did not sin. Through his temptations and struggles as a man, he can sympathize with us more in our experiences, thereby advocating for us with God the father.