About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Apostle John had a special relationship with Jesus.
In John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, and 21:20 we read that John was the
disciple whom Jesus loved. I do
not think that Jesus favoured one person over another, but it appears that
John and Jesus did have character traits that created a special bond of
friendship. Most of us have that
special friend and it looks like Jesus was no exception.
was the last of the original apostles to die.
He penned his gospel account, three letters, and the book of
Revelation somewhere between 85 and 95 A. D..
We learn from Christian literature written in the second century that
John was either the lead elder or one of the elders of the community of
believers in Ephesus.
John wrote in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, records seven messages from
Jesus directed to seven churches in seven cities.
The first message must have severely impacted John since it was
directed to those he cared for in Ephesus. He must have felt good after
hearing Jesus' encouraging words. Revelation
2:2 and 3 says:
"I know your deeds, your hard work
and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that
you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found
them false. You
have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown
warm-hearted encouraged feelings probably quickly dissipated because of what
Jesus said next. Revelation 2:4
and 5 state:
"Consider how far you have fallen!
Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come
to you and remove your lampstand from its place."
I have often wondered how John felt after
hearing Jesus criticise those he led. John,
the disciple whom He loved, was warned that those he cared for would lose
their lampstand if they did not repent of lost love for Jesus and then
rekindle their first love for Him. According
to Revelation 1:20 the word "lampstand" is in reference to church.
I think that the thought of the potential loss of the church in Ephesus
would have devastated John.
Today's ecclesiastical world is dotted
with churches that have lost their first love for Jesus.
What remains is just a shell of a church, and a shell of a church is
not a church. It's just our
fallen human nature. Whether in
marriage or any other relationship, we tend to lose our first love.
We drift into routine, boredom, and a yawning indifference.
When church becomes routine, it loses its reason to exist.
When church becomes steeped in humanistic tradition, it loses its
Holy Spirit lit lampstand and ceases to be.
Jesus' message to those John cared for
must have disturbed John immensely, as it would for any pastor today who
cares for God's people. For this
reason, the warning to the church at