From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us. We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!
1 John 1:1-4 (MSG)
The paraphrase “The Message” does a great job of capturing the excitement of St. John as he begins the first of his letters to the church. He witnessed miracles of healing. He was there when the crowds pressed in for more. He saw Peter jump out of the boat and take a few tenuous steps on the water. He witnessed Jesus command over creation in the calming of a storm. He was there when Jesus crashed the funerals and raised the dead. He reclined by Jesus at the Passover celebration. He was also there as the sky grew dark and his Lord died. Best of all he embraced Jesus after he had Risen from the dead.
With boundless excitement and joy over all that he had seen, heard, touched he writes so that others might know that Joy. For many years I was jealous of Him. I was jealous of all of the disciples. I felt like my faith would be so much stronger if I had been there face to face with Jesus. I have even thought about traveling to the Holy Lands, to walk where he walked. To think that I missed it all but a mere few thousand miles, and a couple thousand years, “Drat!”
However, I have discovered why John might be jealous of me. I don’t think he would be all that jealous of; my computer, my car, my iPad, my job, my home, my microwave, or my ice cream… well maybe the ice cream. In fact I have a relationship with Jesus that is similar,yet different from John. As the days for Jesus death came closer, Jesus shared his heart with His Disciples. He wanted to prepare them for what was coming. They just didn’t get it.
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
John 16:7-15 (NIV)
Jesus tries to explain to the disciples about the new relationship he will have with his them after he leaves. It will not be like it was, walking and talking with him physically present. There would be no more questions about “Where did Jesus go now?” when he went off by himself to pray. They would not have to argue about who gets to sit closer to Him. He would be with them, living in them through His Spirit.
For 50 years I too have had Jesus with me 24 x 7. He has lived inside me through his Spirit. He speaks to me whenever I am willing to listen. (He’s also been known to speak to me when I’m not willing to listen – I don’t recommend this type of relationship) You can’t get much closer to Christ that have him living inside! The Disciples did not have that, until after Pentecost. They had lived many years away from that relationship. I imagine they are jealous of my relationship with Him.
You see, I too am a disciple of Jesus. I have been called by the Gospel, enlightened with the Gifts of God, sanctified and kept in the one true faith. We all can be Disciples of Jesus in a relationship sure to make the 12 jealous of us.
Join us for the next three parts of this series as we look at what it means to be a Disciple of Jesus in 2013.
For the record John, “You are not the only disciple Jesus loved!”