John Part One: Dive
NO ONE EVER MADE A DIFFERENCE BY BEING LIKE EVERYONE ELSE
God has created you unique. I love the quote from the movie The Greatest Showman with Hugh Jackman, ‘No-one ever made a difference by being like everyone else’. Today you are called to be you, uniquely you. Why am I saying this as I introduce the Book of John? Because that was John, uniquely him! He was the Son of Thunder that wanted to call down fire on those who didn’t believe, and in following Jesus he became the apostle of love, the prophetic, quirky, solid, loving, serious, apostle of God. Today, don’t be afraid of who you are, walk with Jesus and let Him change you and mould you but be you. Christianity isn’t about all becoming the same, it is about following Christ and giving glory to God as you are! Be proud of you and let Him use you.
Now, I understand that some scholars attribute this book to John the Elder but I, alongside the majority of scholars, believe it is the Apostle John that wrote all five books (John, 1-3 John and Revelation). I love the Book of John, I would have to say it is one of my favourite books, and John, one of my favourite authors. I had some feedback once from my New Testament class that said I was annoying because every book was my ‘favourite’ but I am really being honest here: the Book of John is one of my all-time favourite books, just behind Revelations!
So why do I love this book so much? Isn’t it the same as the other gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke? And to that question I would kindly, politely, with a smile on my face answer: no! John has a specific purpose, a unique way of writing and an incredible gift to be both logical and creative all at once. As an author, he is well versed in Old Testament scripture with a prophetic and creative twist. He is logical in his presentation and assured of his purpose with an amazing creativity that makes you feel like you have just jumped into an adventure. As he presents his purpose logically, he includes quirky little stories to make you laugh.
So as we venture through the Book of John together, you are in for a real treat. Watch how John unpackages the Old Testament and shows that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God. When John is writing this, he is an old man. And this incredible man who walked with Jesus writes this message as the last living apostle of the good news of Jesus Christ. Don’t forget, you are getting a glimpse into the incredible lives of not only Jesus but the author, John, as you read this gospel. Ever wanted to sit down with the disciples and ask them what it was like to follow Jesus? Well, here is your chance. As you read John, you are hearing the story from the man who walked with Jesus, wept with Him, watched Him heal the sick, was one of Jesus’ inner circle and saw Him in the resurrected form.
In this first Dive, I want to release you to be all you can be in God. For me, there are times when I feel like I just don’t fit. I am a female super-nerd that adores studying the Word, I have a passion for the Word of God and a creative flair for teaching. I’m an absolute introvert that would rather listen to a conversation than be a part of it. I didn’t grow up in the church so at times I feel like an outsider. But I’m me and I have learnt to be proud of who I am. As you read John, you are going to see that he is creatively him. Let’s not wait until we are old like John to celebrate our personality and how God created us. John is so cheeky and funny in his gospel but serious and intent on presenting the gospel message.
In his gospel, he interweaves the character called the 'Beloved Disciple’, or in some translations ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’. Let me show you; open up your Bible and read Chapters 13:22, 19:26-27, 21:7, 21:20-24. Highlight the terms ‘beloved disciple’ or ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’. And in one of the funniest moments of the Book of John, check out the big reveal in Chapter 21.
J 21:24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
This is one of those ‘surprise’ moments that I love about John. He must have been laughing writing ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ about himself the whole time and then doing the big reveal at the end. He is presenting the gospel of Christ in his own personality and I love that!
Remember, Jesus loves you as you are, so don’t try and fit in, you already fit with Him. Jesus had twelve disciples for a reason, He doesn’t just want one personality type, one set Christian mould–no! He loves your passion which sometimes overtakes you, He loves your sense of humour, He loves how you love to study or read books, He loves you as you are! He took twelve incredibly different men and discipled each of them into all they could be in Him–not the same, but uniquely called, uniquely gifted–and then He released them to change the world!
Before we finish, let me show you one more funny story in John. We see this beloved disciple even has a running race with Peter in Chapter 20:1-9 to the tomb of Jesus and just like a true boy, John had to specify who actually won the race even though Peter went into the tomb first. Read it, it is hysterical. Today as you read John, celebrate who you are. Be the cheeky, funny, creative, serious, logical, prophetic, amazing person God created you to be, no matter what anyone else thinks! John was! This Son of Thunder was himself, in love with Jesus, passionate about the gospel message and passionate about the church!
Perhaps you need to take heed to the anthem from The Greatest Showman: “Look out ‘cause here I come… I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies–this is me!” If, like me, you love the fact that John had the strength to be himself, the Son of Thunder that became the ‘Apostle of love’, celebrate who you are today and use it for God’s glory!
Stop trying to conform to the way you think you are supposed to be and be uniquely you! God will use your funny little quirks and your personality. After all, He gave it all to you for His glory. So venture into the Book of John and don’t only focus on the incredible gospel message it portrays but focus on the author, his eyewitness accounts of what he saw, what he felt and what he did as he walked with the Man that changed the world, and them, forever!