The Apostles – Becoming Unified Through Diversity

Lesson 3: “John - A Self-centered Man Who Learned To Love”


“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son…” John 3:16


A plan that backfired (Mark 9:38-41)

·        Chuck Colson is a good example of a man that was transformed by God. John is another.

·        John is usually mentioned with Jesus with other disciples. There are two exceptions, and this passage is one. John took it upon himself to inform Jesus about this man. (v. 38)

·        John was probably expecting praise for showing loyal behavior, but Jesus rebuked him. Do you think John's family background influenced this incident?

·        Just before this, the disciples had been squabbling about who was the greatest. (Mark 9:34) Jesus explained to them what true greatness is. (Mark 9:35-37)


Undeserved love (John 19:25-27)

·        For three years, Jesus prepared his disciples for the task ahead of leading the church. With John, Jesus showed him great love. The second occasion where John is mentioned alone is this passage

·        Think what about the change from when John was first called, to receiving this great honor, even though it was in the midst of a terrible scene

·        There are several unique friendships in the Bible; David & Jonathon, Paul & Timothy, & this one

·        John was next to Jesus at the Last Supper (John 13:23-25) Then, the disciples again began to argue about who was the greatest (Luke 22:24), apparently forgetting the lesson from before


Accepting second place (John 13:12-15)

·        We've seen John, along with James, ask for a special seat of prominence in heaven. We've seen that John had a special relationship with Jesus. Yet John put aside his ambitions and accepted second place. It's neat to see that Jesus prepared John for this secondary role (Luke 22:7-13)

·        Some other examples: John 20:1-2;Acts 3:1-4;4:3-12;8:14-17

·        Jesus washed the feet of the disciples to make a point, and told them what love was (John 13:34-35). Nearly 60 years later, John's first epistle mentioned love 40 times (e.g. I John 3:16)

·        Note also the example of II John 5,6


A literary masterpiece (John 20:30-31)

·        John told us why he wrote his book in this passage. What does this say about how John changed?

·        Note the miracles John chose to support his goal: John 2:1-11; 4:43-54; 5:1-15; 6:1-15; 6:16-21; 9:1-41; 11:1-44

·        Note how John alone recorded two times when Jesus showed unique love. John 3:1-21; 4:1-42


3 Principles


#1) Jesus loves all of us unconditionally, no matter what kind of person we are.

#2) Jesus wants to have a unique, ongoing, and reciprocal relationship with all of us.

#3) Jesus made it possible for us to be part of a community of love that reflects God's love.


For next week read John 1:35-42; Matt. 4:18-19, Mark 1:14-42; Matt. 10:2; John 6:7-9; John 12:20-22