The Beloved Disciple’s Testimony and Your Testimony

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I would like to look at John, the beloved disciple, and reflect on a few seasons of his life.  I would like to connect them with your life, so that you can identify where you are in relation to his path.

Should we start at the end of his life or the beginning?  Let’s mention the end, so we know where we are going, but quickly return to the beginning, so we can walk with one foot in front of the other.

THE END:

Towards the end of John’s life, the skies opened up and he received THE revelation of Heaven’s glory.  That’s what happened towards the end of John’s life, and I want to connect it with your life.  OBJECTION NUMERO UNO: “That’s never gonna happen to me.”  With that kind of attitude, you are right!  Christians don’t seem to be receiving revelations of Heaven all that often.  One important impediment: the attitude of “not for me.”  I am here to tell you that it IS for you.  And we are going to look at John’s life to see how we can be ready to receive this kind of gift from God.  This revelation/ecstatic/rapturous state of John wasn’t only for him.  His was particular, in that it was designed by God to become one of the 27 New Testament letters, but that doesn’t mean that others don’t get to be in this kind of deep relationship.  One of the reasons given why John omits his name from the Gospel he wrote, replacing his name with “the beloved disciple,” is that you can insert your name into the story, that is, so that you can see that these things aren’t just for him, but for the many.  So, let’s go back to the beginning for John, and find there your beginning.

TRUTH SEEKER

John was a disciple of John the Baptist.  John was looking for truth.  You are looking for truth.  John was lucky enough to have a humble teacher, one who knew that he was not the fullest expression of the truth.  Is the truth you are seeking a humble teacher?  Will your teacher bow if a fuller expression of the truth comes forward?  Some people look to science.  Some people look to a political party or ideology.  Some people look to a philosophy.  Lots of people are looking to vague quasi-religious self-help principles that seem humble, but actually lead to a claim of superiority.  Some people only look to themselves, which is the most dangerous thing you can do.  John was seeking truth.  The Baptist was a great teacher of truth.  And the Baptist was humble, bowing when the Truth came along.  “Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:29ff.)  So John left his teacher to follow The Teacher.

GETTING TO KNOW JESUS

John spent three years getting to know Jesus.  He was witness to many things.  You have witnessed Jesus working in your life as well.  Let’s fast forward a bit.

RETURNING TO WHAT I KNOW

After seeing so many things, and most recently, the Death, Resurrection and appearance of Jesus, John (and company) go to Galilee according to the Lord’s command.  What do they do when they arrive there as they wait for Jesus?  Peter says “I am going fishing.”  And the disciples go fishing.  SCREECH TO A HALT… They just witnessed their leader rise from the dead, and they go fishing?!  WHAT?! And you have done that as well.  Having witnessed so many things of the Lord, on retreat, in prayer, in worship, through a bible study or a book, in peoples’ lives, you have often returned to what you know.  It is sometimes a straight-up backslide (bad deal). Other times it has been an “I didn’t know what to do, so I just did what I knew” kind of thing.  Other times it has been simply laziness (ouch).  Jesus showed up to John and He wants to show up to you:
‘I have come and have found you.
You returned to what you knew.
I want to show you something new.’

‘I have come and have found you. 
You returned to what you knew. 
I want to show you something new.’

BEARING WITNESS

Having moved on from witnessing so many things, and having been called out from what he knew to something new, John and company receive the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  NOTE HERE: If John didn’t first seek truth, he wouldn’t have followed Jesus.  If he wouldn’t have followed Jesus, we wouldn’t have witnessed so many things.  If he didn’t witness so many things, he wouldn’t have been ready to cry out that day on the water “It is the LORD!” (John 21)  If he didn’t get called of that water, he wouldn’t have been ready for the Pentecostal Fire.  He was ready for the Pentecostal Fire because of all the steps already taken.  (Cough, cough)  Getting the drift?  For your life?  The end will come, but only by way of the beginning.  BEGIN!

John receives ‘power from on high’ with the brothers, and they go and preach in the name of Jesus.  They get in big trouble, and get told “Don’t preach in this name any longer.”  And they were glad to suffer abuse “for the sake of the Name” (Acts 5: 17ff).  Here comes the ever familiar excuse: “I don’t know how to speak of Jesus.  That’s not my gift.”  Have you not received the Holy Spirit?  Does not God call you His temple, a dwelling place of His Holy Spirit?  Is not the Holy Spirit the One who will do these things in you?  So what are you worried about you.  It’s not up to you to do great things.  It’s up to you to let the Lord do great things with you.  True humility isn’t me saying I can’t do it.  True humility let’s God do what He wants to do with me.

RAPTUROUS ECSTASY

Truth seeker.  Getting to know Jesus.  Returning to what I know.  Bearing witness.  All these steps are steps John took and steps you’ve taken, or are taking, or are looking to take, or are learning now that they are the steps of Christians, and you are a Christian.  This leads John to be in a place of preparedness for something outstanding.  John got exiled to an island called Patmos, which is between Greece and Turkey.  He was dwelling in a cave, having lived a faithful and persevering life.  God brought John into a vision that altered, I’m sure, everything for him once again.  Heaven opened up.  John saw God seated on a throne.  John saw the angels.  John saw the redeemed.  John saw the cosmic battles.  John saw it all.  What do you think he thought about after that vision?   Fishing???  The desire for total communion with those in Heaven and total union with God in Heaven must have been all that remained for him.  And this is for you.  Consumed longing is for you.  It REALLY is for you.  Maybe not today.
Maybe today you need to decide to seek truth.
Maybe today you need to get to know Jesus more.
Maybe today you need to realize that you have returned to what you know.
Maybe today you need to receive the Pentecostal Fire.
Maybe today you need to bear witness.
Maybe today you need to decide to be faithful each day.
Maybe today is your day for rapture.

CHRONOS AND KAIROS

A very dear friend and mentor of mine speaks of ‘chronos’ and ‘kairos’.  Chronos is chronological time.  Kairos is anointed time.  We’ve looked at John’s life in chronos.  You don’t have to live a long life and wait for rapture.  John followed the Baptist for a while in chronos.  John followed Jesus for 3 years in chronos.  John went and preached in chronos.  And in chronos, kairos happened, late in his life.  Chronos is no longer an impediment.  Jesus can work wonders in you in no time at all.  You can live the devoted life now.  You can live the Pentecostal life now.  You can live in deep union now.  Kairos doesn’t have to be in your future; it can be in your now.  You are the limiter, not time.  Let’s learn from the path of John, the beloved disciple.  TODAY IS THE DAY.

MORE PROOF

Still don’t believe me that this is for you, but was only for John… search some of these names.  A bunch of normal people who gave themselves over to Jesus and were invited into this kind of reality.  Gemma Galgani, Consolata Bertrone, Therese Neumann, Pere Lamy, Gabrielle Bossis, Josefa Menendez, Mary of the Holy Trinity, Padre Pio, Paul of the Cross, Bernard of Clairvaux, Hildegard of Bingen, Hugh of St. Victor, Bonaventure, Angela of Foligno, Gertrude of Saxony, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Margaret Mary Alocoque, Faustina Kowalska.