Meanderings of a Minister


Change…Yes! We Can!
April 15, 2010, 11:46 pm
Filed under: Articles

Excellent Cry from the Heart of a Believer!

Some of you probably just rolled your eyes at the title of this article.  Others of you might be thinking that I am writing a political article.  No, this is not my intent, but I have spent some time this last week studying the life of the Apostle John.  In studying his life, I have found that his life shows us that change is possible, if led by Christ.  I have also seen that this change was not something just for John, but is possible for each and every follower of Jesus Christ.  Let me show you how I got there:

First, let’s look at John’s past.  You might want to have a Bible handy, so that you don’t just take my word for it.  Check it out for yourself.  John was a fisherman when first called by Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22).  Using a Bible Customs and Manners book, you can find that the job of a fisherman involved hard work, great risk, challenging smells, long hours and company with not the best of people.  Fisherman provided a necessary function as they provided fish to the market for people to eat, but it was not a job that many people wanted.  In addition to being a fisherman that would be around other stinky, hardened, probably foul-mouthed men, John was also described by Jesus as a Son of Thunder in Mark 3:13-19.  What did this mean?  Most commentaries agree that this means that James and John were loud, boisterous, quick-tempered and always ready for tumble.  Know anyone else like that?

In addition to being a fisherman and Son of Thunder, scripture also shows that John was a greedy opportunist, even after following Christ for some time (See Mark 10:35-40).  He was inconsiderate of others in Mark 10:41-45 and was both impatient and violent in Luke 9:51-56 when he asked permission from Jesus to call down fire from heaven on a town what would not receive Jesus.  Add all this up together and I think you would agree John started out pretty rough.

Next, let’s look at the John we are more familiar with.  John described himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (See John 13:23, 20:2, 21:7 and 21:20).  This was a description of someone close to Jesus’ heart.  In addition to being the disciple whom Jesus loved, we also see in John a tender-hearted leader and teacher in 1 John (See 2:12, 2:13, 2:18, 2:28, 3:7, 3:18, 4:4, 5:21) where he called his hearers dear, little children.  He uses a term that only he uses in the New Testament that is a term used by a Rabbi for his favorite students or of dear ones close to the heart of a parent.  Lastly, we see the humble servant of Revelation 1:9 that did not complain about being exiled to Patmos for the gospel. 

How did John get there?  How can we be changed?  Two questions, but they have the same answer.  First, He spent time with Jesus.  He did not only spend time with Jesus, but spent close, intimate time with Jesus where Jesus had his total attention.  According to Mark 9:1-13, he was part of the inner three that Jesus took with Him when He was going to perform some of the more important aspects of His ministry.  John was there when Jesus raised the dead, prayed and when He communed with the Father on the Mount of Transfiguration.  We, too, must connect with Jesus on a prioritized, intimate level, because, if you spend time with Jesus, you can’t help but change.  You might not want to repay anyone you have cheated out of taxes like Zaccheus in Luke 19, but you will be changed.  You cannot help but be changed when you are in an intimate relationship with the One that is Holy!

But he did more than spend intimate time with Jesus, He followed Jesus.  Like playing follow the leader when we were children, following Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22) involves following His example and doing the things you read about and see Him doing.  Are you following Jesus?  Are you striving to live like Him every day?  Are you constantly observing His life and seeking His will so that you show His example to a watching and wanting world that needs Him so bad that they don’t even know it?

He also served Jesus.  In John 19:25-30, he took on the mission of caring for Jesus’ mother, Mary.  As the only disciple at the foot of the cross, he was commissioned, by Jesus, to take Mary into his home and care for her as his own mother.  He did this.  This is far different than many of us.  We think Jesus exists to serve our needs.  We simply need to name what it is He is to do for us and He is obligated to spit it out.  Many of us, and even entire groups of people, teach that being a Christian is a sure way to riches and comfort when Jesus calls us to lay down our lives.  Are you serving Jesus?  Has your faith cost you anything?  A wise man once said, “If you are a Christian and you don’t have any problems, you either aren’t a Christian, or you have a problem.” 

As we have seen change is possible through Jesus Christ!  Yes, we can!  If…we surrender our lives to Him as Lord and Savior.  How about you?  Want some change?

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