(Yesterday we looked at the Apostle John and saw that there were numerous examples of his lack of love towards others seen in the Gospels. And yet John is paramountly known as “The Apostle of Love.”
How could that be, or more to the point, “how do we go from insensitive, petty John, to John “the disciple of love”? The transformation seems almost as great as the transformation of Peter from denier of Christ to the bold proclaimer of Christ we see in the early chapters of Acts.”) (Find that post here).
I believe a big part of it was teachableness on the part of John (just as it was in the life of Peter). John was willing to be taught—through several means.
In the Gospels we certainly have a mixed view of John. But in John’s Gospel of Jesus, (which he wrote decades after Christ’s resurrection and ascension), he recalls clearly that Jesus was trying to teach them of love throughout his ministry:
John 14.26-Jesus assure them that the HS, would teach them all things.
John 14.21- Jesus reminded them that “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
John 13:34-35; Jesus gave them a new command: to love one another.
John 14:15, 21,23,24,31-they were to demonstrate their love for Christ by keeping his commandments.
John 15:9,10,12,13,17,19; Christ has loved them as the Father has loved Him. He exhorts them to “remain” in his love. They do that by obeying his commandments, just as Jesus has obeyed His Father’s’ commands. The (primary) command that Jesus wants them to keep is that they love one another as Christ has loved them.
John 16:27-theFather loves them because they love Jesus and believe that he came from the Father.
John 17:23, 24, 26- In his great high priestly prayer in Gethsemane, Jesus wants them to know that he has loved them just as the father has loved Him. He desires to continue to make the Father known to them so that the love the Father has for him can be shown in them.
A quick look at John’s first and second epistles and the Revelation which Christ gave to John have a steady drumbeat of lessons learned of his belief in the importance of being taught, particularly about love:
I John 1.1-God presented evidence to them (physically) about the Word of Life so they could learn
I John 1:5- We have heard a message from God and declare a message to you.
I John 2,7-8ff- The message of love isn’t a new message; it was included in the Old Covenant, but it came to have new meaning in the person of Jesus Christ and in John’s love for the readers of this epistle.
I John 2.26-27- The anointing they have received has resulted in them coming to new knowledge which John affirms they already know.
I John 3.12- An appeal for them to be teachable based on the (negative) example of Cain killing his brother Abel.
I John 3.16 & 4.9- We learn about love from seeing it demonstrated, particularly in the life of Jesus.
I John 4.1- Do not be gullible. Learn but be wise in your learning.
I John 5.6ff- We learn from the testimony of the Spirit, water and the blood about the identity of Jesus. But more than that we learn from the testimony of God.If you are going to be a Son of God, you must learn from God about Jesus.
I John 5.20- The Son of God has taught us understanding so that we know him who is true.
II John 5- This command to love is one that John has learned from the beginning, but he knows the need to pass it on to others.
Rev 3.18-the glorified Christ counsels the angel of Laodicea (through John) to buy from Him the things that are of ultimate value.
Rev.17.1; 21:9- The angel will teach John about the sin of the great prostitute and the kings who had adultery with her, and her punishment.
Rev 21;9-The angel will teach John about the bride of the Lamb
Rev 22.6 –the angel taught John what words were trustworthy and true.
This drumbeat of scripture may be a bit of overkill, but I think it supports my conclusion: whatever hesitancies toward showing love that was in John was taken away (we don’t know if it was all at once or bit by bit) by the demonstration of Christ’s love through His crucifixion and resurrection as well as through the Holy Spirit’s teaching after Pentecost.
He continued to be teachable and through that he became the one we know today as “The Apostle of Love.”
By what moniker could you be known if you set yourself to learn the lessons that God is trying to teach you?
A profitable place to start is the Group Coaching Program beginning in April on Being Teachable that is based on my book, “TheTeachable Journey.” Space is limited. For more information, click here.