The night of his arrest, all of Jesus’ disciples fled in fear. Jesus, quoting Zechariah, had told them, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” (Zechariah 13:7, Matthew 26:31, Mark 14:27) Even Peter, who boldly said he would never leave Jesus, denied his Savior three times. (Luke 22:31-34) Of the twelve disciples, men that had been night and day with Jesus, only one was an eyewitness of the crucifixion – the one whom Jesus loved.

What gave John* the courage to stand at the foot of the cross? Why was he not afraid of the Roman soldiers or the religious leaders who were determined to destroy Jesus? It was a dangerous time to be a follower of Jesus. Satan had stirred up the crowd demanding his death. They had accused Jesus of blasphemy, and leading a rebellion against Rome. As followers, the disciples could have been rounded up as accomplices. Only the intercession of Jesus had preserved them on the night of his arrest. (John 18:3-9)

As Jesus spoke his final words from the cross, there was John, standing with Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. He witnessed everything that happened without any fear. What was the difference? John got acquainted with Love Himself. And this revelation would transform his life.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18 <KJV>

As Seen From The Cross

What Jesus Saw from the Cross.

Later in life, John would write three of the most powerful words ever written – God Is Love. (1 John 4:7-13) God is not some angry deity looking to knock you down, but Love Himself, always faithful, always expecting and desiring the very best for you. That was what John witnessed firsthand with Jesus, and shared by revelation of the Spirit in his writing. Fear is a paralyzing spiritual force. It is believing the words of darkness will prevail in your life. Faith is the opposite. It is trusting God to do what He says. Being fully persuaded of God’s character, that He IS Love, makes it much easier to trust Him. A mature relationship built on Love Himself leaves no room for fear. This only comes from being rooted and grounded in Love, and completely filled with Love Himself. (Ephesians 3:16-21)

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1 John 4:15-16 <KJV>

The fact that God loved you so much that He gave Himself to save you, should be evidence enough of God’s Eternal Love. (John 3:14-17) But there is so much more, an entire Bible full of promises of protection and provision. God set you free from the bondage of sin, adopting you into the royal family and making you a joint-heir with Jesus. He recreated you and filled you with His Spirit. And if all that wasn’t enough, He promises that nothing in all creation will ever separate you from His love. (Romans 8:10-17, 8:35-39)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Romans 8:14-16 <KJV>

Paul points out that fear is bondage. It is one of the tools the enemy uses to undermine your faith in God. Because if Satan can sow seeds of distrust, make you question God’s love, he has you trapped. There is no way your faith can be effective if you doubt the Love of God. But if you believe that God Is Love, and that He loves You, every promise of God is yours. You will have freedom, peace, and joy knowing how much your Father loves you. (Nehemiah 8:10, Isaiah 26:3-4, John 10:26-30, 14:23-27, 15:5-12, Philippians 4:4-7, Colossians 3:14-17)

But wait, there’s more! You were recreated by Jesus, and are now a citizen of Heaven. You are part of the Body of Christ with Jesus as the Head. Do you think Jesus desires even a hangnail on the pinky toe of his body? You are not a servant, or even a friend of God. You are so much more. You are His very own child. Can you imagine Love Himself ignoring His children, or allowing anyone to hurt His kids? (Psalm 23:1-6, 91:1-16, John 10:7-11, 1 Corinthians 12:27, Philippians 3:20)

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
1 John 4:17 <KJV>  

Note the phrase – boldness in the day of judgment. Those that believe God’s Word have passed from death to life. There is now no condemnation to those who have Eternal Life. The Greek word used for judgment, is where we get the English word, crisis – a time of intense difficulty, calamity, catastrophe, trouble, or danger. When a crisis hits your life, such as witnessing your friend being crucified, you can have confidence, boldness, and no fear. Jesus continually faced calamity – food shortages, enraged mobs, demons, sickness, storms, death, and even a crazy naked man. None of those things moved him. Why? He is Love. And, there is no fear in Love. In a similar way, John was further along in his love walk than the other disciples. He was prepared when the crisis came. As Jesus IS, you can be too in this world if you learn to walk in Love. Whether a crisis hits here on Earth, or you stand before Jesus, you will have no fear.  (John 5:24, Romans 8:1-2, 1 Thessalonians 5:8-10, 1 John 3:14)

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Mark 11:23 <KJV>

Several times in his Gospel, John refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. (John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20) It seems almost arrogant at first glance. Readers may infer that Jesus may not have loved the other disciples as much as he did John. That certainly is not the case. God is Love, and He does not show favoritism. (Acts 10:34) So there is another explanation for this phrase. John was declaring his faith in Jesus’ love. Faith comes from hearing the Word. (Romans 10:17) And the Law of Confession (Mark 11:23), explains the process – what you say shall come to pass if you do not doubt in your heart. Note also that some form of speaking is mentioned three times in this passage. What you say is what you believe. What you believe comes from what you have stored in your heart. (Matthew 12:34-37, Luke 6:43-45) John continually confessed God’s Love, and Believers everywhere agree with him whenever they read his Gospel. (Matthew 18:19-20)

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1 John 4:16 <KJV>

Do you know and believe in Love? Does God dwell in your heart? Do you continually renew your mind with God’s Living Word? Do you want to imitate Jesus? Learn to Love. Because God IS Love. (Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 11:1, Ephesians 5:1-2, 5:25-27)

By the time John penned his Gospel, he definitely knew and believed in God’s Love**. This profound revelation of Love flows throughout his writing. It was written for you, so that you will believe in Jesus, and most importantly, in God’s Love towards you. (John 20:30-31) Declare this Truth often, and believe in His Love.

Jesus Loves Me.

*Tradition says that John, son of Zebedee and one of Jesus’ 12 Apostles, was the author of the Gospel of John, and the disciple whom Jesus loved standing at the foot of the cross. For years I have accepted this as truth, but often wondered about a few inconsistencies. Now after more study, I lean towards another possibility that makes far more sense – Lazarus. He lived in Bethany near Jerusalem and was from a prosperous family. It is far more likely that he would have an established relationship with the High Priest than a Galilean fisherman. (John 18:15, Acts 4:5-13) The first mention of someone that “Jesus loved” was referring to him. (John 11:1-3) Jesus often stayed at his home when in the area. Having experienced death and his own resurrection, it is likely Lazarus would not be afraid of death, or even the cross as “all” the apostles who fled. (John 11:38-44, Mark 14:27, 14:48-52) His home’s proximity to Jerusalem would make logical sense as a temporary place to care for Mary, the mother of Jesus, until Jesus’ resurrection three days later. And finally, Peter’s questions about the beloved disciple, and the rumors of him never dying, posed at the end of the book make little sense in regard to John the Apostle. However, having been resurrected once, it does make sense concerning Lazarus. (John 21:20-24)

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
Psalm 138:2 <KJV>

For now, I have left it as John, as the deeper truth remains and I prayerfully study the God’s Word. This is not the first time I have had my traditional beliefs disrupted by God’s Truth. And I am sure it will not be the last. It is every Believer’s responsibility to not cling to the traditions of men when they contradict The Living Word. His Word is Truth. You cannot separate Jesus from The Word, and the integrity of both is without question. However, the reasoning and traditions of men should always be questioned, especially when they conflict with God’s Word.

For more information, see the following. I may not agree with every single point, but there is plenty of compelling Biblical evidence for Lazarus being the author of the Fourth Gospel, and the disciple whom Jesus loved.

The Bible Versus Tradition – The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved
The Authorship Of The Fourth Gospel
Was Lazarus The Beloved Disciple?
Was Lazarus The Beloved Disciple? – Different Site, Same Title

**Tradition says that Roman authorities attempted to kill John by boiling him in oil. When this failed to take his life, he was banished to the island of Patmos, where he wrote The Revelation Of Jesus Christ. Jesus walked continually in Love and the evil one could not touch him. (John 14:30) No doubt this revelation kept John safe.

 

Faith Building Exercise

Say these out loud every day until you believe them in your spirit. They will build your faith. Look up these verses and read them as they appear in your Bible. You can always trust God’s Word because He cannot lie.

I give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love and kindness continues forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34)

Because I love God, He will rescue me. He will make me great because I trust in His name. When I call on Him, He will answer. He is with me in trouble and will rescue me. He honors me. He satisfies me with a full life and His Salvation.
(Psalm 91:1-16)

Sparrows have little value to man, but not one is forgotten by God. I am worth far more to God than a flock of sparrows. He has even numbered the very hairs on my head. I openly confess Jesus before men, and he confesses me before the angels of God.
(Matthew 10:29-31, Luke 12:6-8)

I love Jesus and keep his Word. And my Heavenly Father loves me. They both dwell in me.
(John 14:23)

I thank God that I am strengthened by His Holy Spirit. Christ is at home in my heart and I trust him. My roots go down deep into God’s marvelous Love. I continually expand my knowledge of how wide and deep God’s Love really is, and I am filled with God Himself. I give glory to God, who by his mighty power at work within me is able to do far more than I would ever dare to ask or even dream—infinitely beyond my highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.
(Ephesians 3:14-21)

I know and believe the love that God has for me. God is Love. I dwell in love, so God dwells in me. My love is made perfect and I have boldness in the day of judgment. As Jesus is, so am I in this world.
(1 John 4:16-17)

 

Some Reading Suggestions For Easter and Love:
Do You Believe In Love – A blog post on finding Love that is worthy of your faith.

For additional Easter resources

Search for Other Christian Web Sites.

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