Blogged Bible Study–Are You Loved?

Jn 13:1
having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
Jn 13:23
Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.
Jn 13:34-35
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (all from the NKJV)

Polycarp, one of the early Church fathers after the original apostles, was acquainted with John. Some say he was one of John’s disciples. Polycarp has left us a story concerning the beloved apostle:

After John returned from his exile on the Isle of Patmos (90-95AD), he was too weak to get around by himself. He had to be carried about on a stretcher. When he would go to church, as he was being carried up toward the front, he would lean up on one elbow and say, “Little children, love one another.” He would say this repeatedly as he was being moved up the aisle.

It has long been acknowledged that John is the apostle of love. All his writings are filled with the theme. And here, in this gospel we have an exquisite look into why this is so.

No other gospel writer has these words–only John. John is focused on the love that Jesus had for His disciples who were with Him. We see that plainly in verse one.

Jesus wants us to continue to show that special kind of love with each other, and He gives a command to that effect in verses 34-35. We are to love in the same manner that the Lord loved His disciples. We also know that it is the same love that He has toward us.

The pivotal verse, however, is not the commandment, but the picture that is painted for us in verse 23. Pay close attention to the words of that verse: …one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.

Just considering the plain English that is used here, it is possible to read “whom” as referring to “disciples.” That is, Jesus loved His disciples, which is consistent with the opening of the scene in verse 1.

However, most people have taken this to refer to the “one,” being John. He was leaning on Jesus’ chest, giving us a picture of intimacy. As a result, we have been taught that Jesus had a special love for John.

John was probably the youngest of the 12, possibly only 19 or 20 years of age at this particular event. That is sometimes held up as the reason for this special love.

There is, however, something lurking here beneath the surface that begs our attention.

John is loved.

John writes this as one who is very much aware of being loved by the Master.

Are you one who is very much aware of His love for you? Is your awareness so rich that others might think that you are ‘specially’ loved by Him? Are you loved?

NOTE: The invitation to write for the Blogged Bible Study is an honor. I trust that my thoughts and insights are as much a blessing to you as the other writers are to me.

EVERY Word From God

Mt 4:4
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.    KJV

Satan tried to tempt Jesus with His apparent need for food and the lack of any sustenance out in the desert.

Had that been me, I would probably have looked at the rocks, seen that they were shaped like loaves of bread, and fell for the temptation.

But Jesus saw much deeper than His immediate need. He saw His need to only do what He saw the Father do; to only say what He heard the Father say. That was an overriding principle in His entire life:

Jn 5:19
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
Jn 12:50
…whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.      KJV

Notice the detail of what He said. It is not enough that we live by the word of God. We must live by EVERY word that comes from God.

There are at least three ways that I need to be able to hear from God so that I get every word.

The first place we begin, of course, is the Bible–also known as the Word of God.

I am constantly amazed by the number of church-going, bible-believing Christians who do not know the Bible. I am not talking about knowing, or believing my particular position on a subject. I’m speaking of the basics. People do not know the books of the Bible. They do not know who wrote the Gospels. They don’t know how many gospel accounts there are. They do not know the story of Paul’s conversion.

Basic stuff!!!

This only tells me that they are not spending time in the Word.

We begin to hear from the Lord as we spend time in His Word.

The second place we get every word that comes from God is in our personal prayer time with the Lord.

In order to do this, prayer must not be something like we run into the room, say “Hi,” spout off our requests, say “Bye” and leave.

No.

We must take time to listen. That seems to be a major challenge for the wired generation.

Thirdly, we hear from God through others.

I thank God for the fellowship of believers. I love the church. But, often, others are not aware that they have heard from the Lord on something, and I need to hear those words, too. (I know that this is often the failure of the local church itself as the pastor does not make room for others, but that is for a different topic of discussion.)

Blogging has increased our ability to hear from the Lord. I get to hear what God is saying to others, and my faith is built up, my desire is increased, my awareness is heightened.

Blogging will not replace nor supplant the need for the local church, but it certainly is providing a means for many who do not yet have a church where they feel at home.

How has blogging–whether you write or just read–affected your walk with the Lord?