“And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” -1 John 3: 23
The lives of the original Disciples were filled with wonderful adventure. The first Disciples followed Jesus and witnessed, first hand, the teachings and the miracles. They helped to spread the good news about Jesus all over the world. Not long ago, I read a wonderful book about these early Christians. The book is The Thirteen Apostles by J. Ellsworth Kalas. This book explores the life of each of the men who were close to Jesus and discusses their ministry beyond their three short years with Christ, our Lord. It was exciting to read about Matthew, James, Phillip and all of the disciples who were willing to leave behind their lives to follow and serve Jesus.
The chapter that most caught my attention was the chapter on John. John is thought to have been the youngest of the Disciples. Early in his ministry, John was brash and somewhat arrogant. Later, as he grew in his faith and relationship with Jesus. John changed. He became a leader and teacher of the faith. He is thought to have written much of our Holy Bible. John led the early church to deeper faith in Christ Jesus.
Some of John’s later story was told by the historian Jerome in the early 300’s. Jerome recalls that in John’s old age he would be brought into gatherings. Barely able to stand and speak, John would be helped to his feet to teach the church. With their attention focused on this disciple who walked with Jesus, those gathered would hear John say, “Love one another.”
It was a shorter sermon than we are used to hearing. John would then sit down as if all that was needed to be said had been spoken. Jerome goes on to tell that one of the leaders of the church in Ephesus asked John, “Master, why dost thou always say this?” To which John replied, “It is the Lord’s command, and, if this alone be done, it is enough.”
In all that John saw and experienced during his long life, he truly understood, the most important thing we could do is, “Love one another.” John received wonderful dreams and visions from God, but he also realized that we needed to be reminded to, “Love one another” from time to time. I hope today we are all reminded of the ancient commandment that is as true for us today as it was for John: we are called to love one another.
Rev. Keith King, Online Campus Pastor