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Up Close and Personal

by Esther Griggs

Within the Gospel of John, we encounter Jesus, the Living Word. In the first statement of his gospel he writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.” In John’s telling of the Easter story, he tells who he is, the reason he writes and expounds on Peter’s commissioning.

Who He Is

John believed he needed to record his experiences. As a disciple, he claimed to have been up close and personal with Jesus.”The disciple whom Jesus loved.” is the way he describes himself. He tells how he leaned on Jesus at the last supper when Jesus talked about His betrayer. It was to John that Jesus spoke to from the cross, when He transferred the care of His mother to John. He was with Peter at the tomb and looked inside saying, “he saw and believed.” These were not fables, nor idle gossip, they were an intimate part of his story. 

The Reason He Writes

It was not only a recording of his experience. John, convinced Jesus was the living word, the Son of God, needed to share. His greatest desire was for others to believe. Believing in the name of Jesus would bring eternal life. There were so many things that Jesus did he didn’t record. The world couldn’t contain all the books written of Him. But “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” Here is enough for the reader to grasp hold and find life. “He who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.”

Peter’s Commissioning

John was in the inner circle with Peter. They shared life in those years when they walked with Jesus. John tells the reader that because the high priest knew him, he gained access into the courtyard after Jesus’ betrayal. This is how Peter came to be in the courtyard. He records Peter’s denial but sees the story through to its completion. After the resurrection, Peter went back fishing, to the life he had known before Jesus. He took several of the disciples with him. John states it was he who recognized Jesus on the shore announcing to Peter, “it is the Lord.” After feeding him a substantial breakfast, Jesus pulled Peter aside to ask the hard questions necessary to re-establish him. He enabled him to affirm again his love for and commitment to Him. Then Jesus prophesies to Peter about his end, John’s nearness distracts Peter. “What about him?” he asked to which Jesus answered, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” John explains they misunderstood the comment. He clarifies. Jesus was dealing with Peter. The restoring of the relationship between Jesus and Peter was paramount to John. The conversation had nothing to do with him. It was between Peter and his Lord. “This is the disciple who testifies of these things and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.”

In John’s telling of the Easter story, he tells who he is, the reason he writes and expounds on Peter’s commissioning

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