No Other First Love
No Other First Love
The beloved apostle John is the writer of one of the greatest prophetic books of the Bible, the Book of Revelation. This book was written about 95 AD in the island of Patmos where John was exiled under the Roman Emperor Domitian (AD 81-96). This tyrannical ruler insisted that he be worshipped as God and those who refused to do so were persecuted. This may have been the reason why John was exiled to the lonely, lifeless island of Patmos during the later part of Domitian reign.
John the Apostle is also popularly known as John the Beloved, and was once referred to as the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 21:20). He was also the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked,
"Lord who among us will betray you?" He is also the lone apostle who visited Jesus at the cross with Mary (Jesus' mother), Mary(the wife of Cleopas) and Mary Magdalene. He is the disciple whom Jesus entrusted his mother Mary. He was also with Peter and James during the transfiguration of Jesus.
The distinguished apostle is also the writer of the Gospel of John and the epistles of First, Second and Third John. The Gospel of John has a unique touch that draws someone into a closer walk with the living God, for it introduces the love of God and it introduces Jesus as the Son of God. As a living proof of it, one notable volunteer of Gideons Bible related to us the story of a prisoner who received the Gideons New Testament Bible. According to him, the prisoner who was a chain smoker was very happy upon receiving the Bible. Based on his own words, the papers are so nice, very good material to be burned to be used as an alternative for cigarette. After reading he was able to burn the first three gospels Matthew, Mark , Luke but when he arrived reading the Book of John, he started repenting. The Book of John created a deep impact upon his heart. It possesses something that will draw someone closer to His glory. It is indeed a ver powerful evangelistic tool.
John I may say has a unique anointing as a writer. What made John so special? We could say that John is one disciple who has a very deep, intimate love relationship with Jesus Christ. This one of a kind relationship started at the Sea of Galilee about 26 AD. John and his brother James were once robust men of youth who assisted their father Zebedee in his fishing industry. From the start, it seemed that the Carpenter from Nazareth has an irresistible attraction to the brothers, that when He called them to come, they immediately followed Him leaving their fishnets and their father behind, without further hesitation.
John left everything to follow Jesus. He left his comfort zone, his family, his prosperity. Records tell us that John was a man of means and was enjoying prosperity. He lived and worked in a family business established by his father Zebedee. They owned two homes, one in Galilee and the other in Jerusalem. This was a time very few had two homes and there was not much of a middle class. It can also be noted that whan John stayed in Jerusalem, he had access to stay at home of Caiphas, the high priest. In John 18:15-16 , it states that he was known personally by the high priest. The same record tells us that he had servants. In John 19:27 it says John owned his own home.
When Jesus said, " Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." John was willing to follow even though he did not fully understand and comprehend where this would lead him. For three years he had been with Jesus. He heard Him speak His great parables, His great promises about the mansions in heaven, about the Holy Spirit, about the loving Father in heaven and the coming Kingdom of God. He witnessed and experienced His glory, His grace, His truth, His unfailing love and faithfulness. As John has written in his gospel,
"The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
John 1:14 NIV
John loved Jesus that much that he risked his own life for Jesus. During the crucifixion, the only disciple who shew up were John and the women. All the men were afraid but John was there. He was brave enough to show up while Jesus hung on the cross bleeding and dying. He was not afraid to risk his own life and stayed at the base of the cross, watching his Savior and King die.
After the resurrection, John remained in loving, worshipping and serving Christ. He tirelessly and continuously testified about the Son of the Living God as the Eternal Life. As he has written in I John
"The one who was existed from the beginning is the one we have heard and seen. We saw Him with our own eyes and touched Him with our own hands. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of Life."
I John 1:1 NLB
Without retiring, without ceasing he preached the message of God's love in Jesus Christ until his old age until he was exiled at Patmos. John was probably a very old man when he was exilad at Patmos, maybe about late seventies to eighties. Try to imagine, a very old man in his eighties being thrown and tormented at the isolated, lonely, cruel prison island of Patmos. Despite the tremendous persecutions, he prevailed in preaching the Word of God and speaking about Jesus. Even in his old age, amidst harsh persecution, John could not be stopped from proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. The fire of his first love that once blossomed at the time of his youth at the Sea of Galilee remained burning till the eclipsing of his life at the lonely island of Patmos. For the great apostle John, no other first love, no other greater love, other than the man he first saw at the sea of Galilee, his master and king, Jesus.
John has indeed an awesome heart for God. Let us pray that we will have a heart as awesome as John's.
In God's mercy,