The Disciple John: “Becoming Balanced”
A person out of balance is unsteady. It is a very dangerous thing to push any point of truth or any character quality to an unhealthy extreme. This is what we see in the life of the younger disciple John. In his early years he was the most unlikely candidate to be remembered as the apostle of love. But three years with Jesus began to transform a self-centered man into a mature man of balance. At the very point where he was most imbalanced, Christ gave him equilibrium, and in the process John was transformed from an aggressive hothead into a loving patriarch for the early church.
1.) Read Mark 9:35-37 out loud. When John is old and writing epistles, his favorite term for his readers is ‘my little children.” Was this an indication that he finally caught on to what Jesus was trying to get across? Why or why not?
2.) Which of the following indicators of John’s growth in humility strikes you as being the most amazing? Why? Circle one and explain your answer
- In his Gospel, he never once mentions his own name.
- He never paints himself in the foreground as a hero.
- John’s Gospel is the only one of the four that details the scene in which Jesus demonstrates humble servanthood by washing His disciples feet.
- In his epistles, in addition to calling his readers “little children,” he also refers to them as “beloved” and calls himself a brother and a fellow child of God.
3.) What suffering, in addition to bearing the grief of his older brother James martyrdom, did John have to endure?
4.) The young John is remarkably different from the one we meet at the end of our Bibles. He is truly an example of what happens when believers grow in Christ and allow His strength to be made perfect in their weaknesses. What kinds of qualities do you ordinarily associate with someone who is spiritually mature?
5.) Read Mark 9:38-41 out loud. What did John confess that he had done? How did Jesus respond?
6.) Read Revelation 1:9 out loud. What two words does John use to describe himself to his readers? Why is this so significant?
7.) With John’s self-description in mind, how would those who know you best describe your view of yourself?