A Change of Heart and Mind

John 21

Whatever happened to the “Son of Thunder”?

John 21:24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

The disciple John had been favored to share private moments with Jesus. As part of an inner circle of three, he saw Jesus transfigured, watched him bring Jairus’s daughter back to life and waited for him in the Garden of Gethsemane.

After Jesus was arrested, John witnessed the sequence of his trials. He was the only disciple mentioned as being near the cross at Jesus’ death and one of the very first to learn of Christ’s resurrection. Somehow, this process changed John.

From Thunder to Love

John bore an amusing nickname, “son of thunder” (see Mark 3:17), and several incidents in the Gospels hint that this name reflected his stormy personality. John jealously resented competition from rival miracle workers (see Mark 9:38), and he insisted on the best seat in the kingdom of heaven for himself. Once, he wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy a hostile town (see Luke 9:54).

Somewhere in his life, the thunderclouds broke apart. Eventually he got a new nickname: “the apostle of love.” John’s books—this Gospel and the letters John wrote later—are marked by a recurring emphasis on love.

Naturally, John’s spiritual pilgrimage influenced his written record of Jesus’ life. His changed personality may provide a clue to his unique style of telling Jesus’ story through a handful of poignant episodes. Perhaps these few scenes are the memories of Jesus that finally convinced John himself that Jesus was, indeed, the Son of God.

Life Questions

Getting to know Jesus changes a person. How have you been changed?

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