Hosea 1-4, Revelation 1 • Key Verse: Revelation 1:5
The apostle John knew Jesus. He walked with Him, heard Him teach and joined with Him in ministry. When Jesus died on the cross, John was there and was given a special responsibility, that of caring for Mary, the mother of Jesus. He is remembered as the Apostle of Love—but he was not always known by that name.
In the list of disciples in Mark 3, John and his brother James are called the “Sons of Thunder” (v. 17). When the Samaritans would not receive Jesus, John and James were ready to command fire from heaven to destroy the place (Luke 9:54)! John not only was with Jesus, but he also was changed by Jesus. He went from one who would react with a call for judgment to being characterized as a man of love. John knew the reality of being loved and became one who loved.
In the opening chapter of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, John gave greetings and a doxology.
Doxologies are words of praise. His praise of Jesus includes this phrase: “to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” (v. 5). John had experienced both the love of Jesus and the cleansing that can be received from Him.
John may not have been the most lovable of individuals. Typically, someone described as a “son of thunder” does not invoke images of relational warmth! Yet there is no more tender picture of closeness and purity in relationship as that of John at the table during the Last Supper, leaning on Jesus. He knew love and was changed by the love of Jesus.
We are loved and it should show. How do others see you? If you are more like a son of thunder than an apostle of love, ask Jesus to help change you like He changed John.
Woodrow Kroll & Tony beckett