Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him…Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John thebrother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder.”
Mark 3:14, 17
Jesus had two disciples which many are particularly drawn towards. One is Peter, who authored the two letters we just concluded study of. The second is John, whose letter we today open. Though both fishermen, teamed with their brothers, the two are quite different from each other in character and personality. Both so very close to Jesus Christ. Peter was erratic, impulsive and brash. He is often like a bull-in-a-china-closet. Yet, spending time with the Lord mad him steady, stable, loving and a “rock” (which is what his name, Peter literally means).
John, like Peter, was radically changed because of his time with Jesus. We often know him as “the apostle of love.” We at times forget he was not naturally inclined towards gentleness (see Luke 9:51-54). The gospels show he was a hot-headed man, he was given to sharp and impulsive speech and a tendency toward blowing-off-steam– hence the nickname for him, “Son of Thunder.” His lightning responses may have been a family tendency as Jesus called John and his brother James “Sons of Thunder.”
But time with Jesus transformed one of “thunder” to the “Apostle of Love.” This letter of First John is filled with a theme of love in the life of the believer. Love from God, for God and for one another. It is in this letter that we read: We love Him because He first loved us (4:19).
Some words of wisdom from this letter of I John–
On believer’s sins– If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1:9)
On knowing God– He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in Him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. (2:4-5)
On the impact of salvation– Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. (3:9)
On the nature of love– By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (3:16)
On the assurance of salvation– Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him (5:1). And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life (5:11-12).
God transform us as we study this letter for us today. Maranatha!