Saturday, 19 February 2022

Case Studies for an Era of Anxiety - 2. The Disciple Jesus Loved - John 20:1-10



         •        Introduction

We have come today to the second in our mini series of case-studies for our Era of Anxiety … and today we are looking at the experience of John, who can help us a fair bit by showing us how he addressed things in the most anxious period of his life up until that point.

In fairness, he’d been dealing with a lot. 

Last time, with Mary, we looked at someone distressed because of a sense she had been left abandoned and alone.

The source of her anxiety was a sense she’d been left bereft by the One Who had been her all-sufficient Saviour.

With John, we meet an anxiety arising from the sense of being suddenly and traumatically unloved … but obviously it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

And yet in John we see that anxiety SUPREMELY overcome.

Firstly, let’s get a grip on who we’re meeting here, then a grasp on what brought him peace in the place of this anxiety and then let’s have a look at the huge impact that this had on the outcomes of his life. 

         •        Who is this John?

In John 20:1-2 Mary Magdalene (who we looked at last time) comes running to the secretly gathered disciples to tell them that she’s been to the Lord’s tomb and He’s missing.

“So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 

Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.”

So there are two guys amongst those gathered disciples who hear Mary’s breathless report, who are no doubt as shocked as the others but who (unlike the others) are immediately up and off on their toes to check it out.

Peter, we’d expect to be springing to his feet because that was his character, but then there’s this other one.

His name is not given throughout John’s Gospel … he is always ‘the beloved disciple’ or ‘the disciple Jesus loved’.

He’s identified in this way FIVE times in this Gospel.

Who IS he, then?

Well, pretty straightforwardly we can identify him by his regular name, so long as we’re prepared to wait until the last time he’s referred to this way in John 21:20-24.

“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 


When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”


Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 


Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”


Now here’s the important bit for us:


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

So what we have here is an explicit claim that ‘the disciple Jesus loved’ is the author of John’s Gospel.

That’s a great start as we try to work out who this disciple was, now let’s try to move in a bit closer and try to positively identify him.

            •          His identification

The thing is, it looks as if the positive identification of this person was obvious to everyone at the time, because until the end of the first century AD, no-one we know of explicitly says: ‘And his name was John, the Apostle of Jesus’.

So who IS he, then, this disciple Jesus loved?

Well, we know from the other Gospels that Peter, James and John were the closest companions of Jesus.

Luke 5:10 in fact describes James and John - on the day that Jesus called them - as the business associates of Peter.

Theirs was a close association that pre-dated their discipleship days that lasted on into their Jesus-following days.

So, for example, it is Peter, James and John who go up with Jesus onto the Mount of Transfiguration for that very special moment in Matthew 17:1-8.

Then, John’s Gospel shows us that this disciple had a pretty close relationship with the Apostle Peter.

·       For example, in John 13:23-24 at the Last Supper the beloved disciple who was lying beside Jesus at the meal got motioned to by Peter to ask Jesus who He was speaking about when Jesus mentioned His betrayer.

·       Then on the morning of the resurrection. Discovery Peter and John are the ones who run together to the tomb … and so on.

·       Again, in John 21:2-3 we’re told that the sons of Zebedee (who we know from Matthew 4:21 were James and John) went fishing together … these are the Galilean fishing folks being shown to us repeatedly in this close relationship amongst the Twelve.

Now, by the time this Gospel was written we know that the disciple Jesus loved was a son of Zebedee but James had already been killed for his faith (Acts 12:2).

You can see that we’re running out of people who this beloved disciple could be … he’s one of the sons of Zebedee (James and John) but James has already been killed.

It is therefore at least HIGHLY probable that this person is John, the author of John’s Gospel (which is what the early church fathers all said about it), one of the Twelve, an eye-witness of the resurrection and the one the Lord loved. 

            •          His identity

So if that’s who we’re talking about in terms of his identification, what do we know of his personal identity?

We’ve worked out what his NAME is, but who is he as a person?

Matthew 4 introduces us to this John as one of the very first followers of Jesus.

As soon as John the Baptist’s preparatory ministry is curtailed by his imprisonment, Jesus goes out into Galilee to preach and goes down to the lake, the Sea of Galilee.

“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 

At once they left their nets and followed him.


Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 

and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”


This John is right there from the start.

He has been entirely present for the whole Galilean ministry.

What has he been an eyewitness to?

He has been a wide-eyed, close up witness with a ringside seat as Jesus did the works of the prophesied Messiah:

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 

News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralysed; and he healed them. 

Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.”

John had also been an eye-witness of Peter’s confession of Christ as Messiah and of the Lord’s immediate prediction of His forthcoming death AND resurrection in Matthew 11:21

 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

And then later, after the Lord explained about taking up your cross to follow Jesus we read that Peter, James and John are taken up a high mountain by Jesus:

“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 


There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.


Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.


Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”


While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”


When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.


As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”


Matthew 17:1-9


Mark’s Gospel adds something to our picture of this John that we didn’t get from Matthew, and this becomes very relevant to what becomes of this John … what happens to his character … later.

“These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”) …”

Mark 3:16-17

Now, we need to be careful here with the use Jesus makes of nick-names.

In these very verses only two such nick-names, used from the start, get mentioned.

Peter … volatile and quick to speak (then regret it later) gets named Peter, ‘the Rock’.

And then James and John get called ‘Boanerges’ which means ‘sons of thunder’.

Now, Peter’s nick-name seems pretty obviously to be ironic.

It used to be quite common in English - before the age of political correctness - for short guys tomb called ‘Lofty’.

It was ironic, you see?

But, on the other hand, Thomas was called ‘Didymus’, meaning ‘the Doubter’, because that was a name he had done a little to earn!

It WASN’T an ironic nick-name.

It was serious.

So which is it with James and John, the sons of Zebedee?

We don’t know!

But what we do know is that EITHER Jesus loved a disciple who’d started off as a proper tear-away OR who was (ironically named) the very OPPOSITE of a tearaway, that is, a bit of a limp fish.

Here’s the thing.

Jesus loves to pick up and deal with people who are far from perfect, so it really doesn’t matter whether John was a tearaway or a limp fish.

Jesus loves imperfect people at both outrageous ends of that spectrum … and almost every other spectrum you might care to mention.

It wasn’t down to him or his personal characteristics.

He’s not the disciple who loved Jesus (although of course he did!)

He is the disciple JESUS loved … and THAT is his conscious identity.

We’re going to see what that identity and that consciousness did for him shortly … but not quite yet, because first we’ve got to see what GOT him there.

What was it that brought anxious John running to the (apparently) deserted tomb of the Saviour, to a place of peace, in place of his anxiety?

         •        What brought him peace?

Well, the second part of John 20:8 tells us the answer very succinctly: “He saw and believed.”

Mary had a very different personal path to tread to come to the peace Christ gave to her anxiety that same day.

We shall see that Thomas had a very different personal path to tread to get the peace for his anxiety that he needed from the same source.

But John, we’re told … not seeing Jesus but only the grave clothes Jesus had been put in three days before … saw and believed.


How did THAT work?

            •          Reasoning the sense of what he saw

The text here tells us that as John then Peter turned up at the tomb, John’s reasoning powers go into top gear.

When John 20:1 tells us that Mary turned up at the tomb and SAW the stone rolled away, the Greek text uses the word βλέπω 

Now this word is all about seeing with the eye, that is seeing with the senses.

But there is another way to ‘see’ than with the eye.

The Greek word used to describe how John ‘saw’ and believed is εἶδον

Now, of course, εἶδον does mean to see, that is, to perceive with the eyes. 

But it also covers ‘to perceive by any of the senses’.

And there’s the point.

It means to perceive, notice, discern, discover, to pay attention,  to know, that is to get knowledge of, to understand, to perceive the force and meaning of something which has definite significance.

John goes further than Mary in his thinking to understand and to grasp the SIGNIFICANCE of what he was seeing.

He didn’t just see the grave clothes lying there alone in an otherwise empty tomb.

He also saw the point, the significance of them.

            •          What did he see?

Firstly, John (and Peter) saw the grave clothes LYING.

The verb is κεῖμαι.

They were not cast aside.

They were arranged in an orderly way.

Those grave clothes had NOT been torn off or flung away in an unravelled heap.

They had been, and were still, arranged in an orderly fashion.

Secondly, they saw the head bindings placed on a body that had been given a decent Jewish burial in those times.

But it was not in some disorganised mess cast into a corner of that rock-hewn tomb.

Neither was it dumped in a pile with the rest.

The Greek is explicit: they saw the face covering rolled up in its own proper place.

And THAT is what made them really think and what led John to clearly perceive the significance of how they got to be like that.

Dead bodies according to the funeral customs of that day and culture were wrapped in tight grave clothes up to the arm pits (the bandaging packed with aromatic compounds of plant origin) and then the head binding went on separately, unconnected to the body wrapping.

Now remember, Peter and John had been there earlier when Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead to demonstrate that He - Jesus - was ‘the resurrection and the life’ (John 11:25-26).

But when Jesus raised Lazarus he came hobbling towards them still tightly wrapped in his grave clothes so Jesus had to tell the stunned crowd to get over there and unwrap him!

There was a huge contrast between what they saw Jesus do there and what Peter and John were now looking at here.

This was something else altogether, because now the grave clothes of Jesus lay as if His body came right through the and left them laying there.

·       More than that, if this were a case of enemies having stolen the body, why would they have removed the grave clothes?

That wouldn’t have been very sensible, because the body would have already started to decay.

·       And if friends had stolen the body, why would they have left the grave clothes behind and disrespected the Lord by carrying out His naked body?

·       If Jesus had not been quite killed on the Cross (despite all the evidence to the contrary) and somehow revived there in the cool of the tomb … surely the grace clothes would have been ripped off, shredded and discarded?

That’s really no explanation of what they were seeing though, because how would a dangerously wounded man ever manage to get them off at all … let alone neatly and painstakingly wound them up again like that?

Peter saw this.

John saw this.

But seeing this, John was the one who believed.

V. 8 “Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.”

We have to say that what we’re seeing on John at this point in his life - as he passes from anxiety to peace - is evidence-based faith.

            •          Evidence-based faith

Every natural explanation of what John was looking at was progressively eliminated from John’s now very fast-running mind.

He became the first eye-witness of the resurrection to believe.

In case we’re in any doubt here, by the way, the verb that is used of John’s action is πιστεύω.

It’s saving faith.

What was it that the beloved disciple believed (since v. 7 describes what he saw)? 

Sometimes it is suggested that what he believed was Mary Magdalene’s report that the body had been stolen. But this could hardly be the case; the way the entire scene is narrated such a trivial conclusion would amount to an anticlimax. 

It is true that the use of the plural “they” in the following verse applied to both Peter and the beloved disciple, and this appears to be a difficulty if one understands that the beloved disciple believed at this point in Jesus’ resurrection. 

But it is not an insuperable difficulty, since all it affirms is that at this time neither Peter nor the beloved disciple had understood the scripture concerning the resurrection. 

So, it appears the author intends his reader to understand that when the beloved disciple entered the tomb after Peter and saw the situation with the grave clothes, he believed in the resurrection, that is, that Jesus had risen from the dead.

Now look, contrast that with the experience of Mary in the verses that follow on from this passage.

Mary looks but doesn’t see, and it is simply - EVENTUALLY - hearing Jesus call her name that brings her to embrace the risen Lord.

But here John, a person with a different sort of personality … which shapes his relationship with the Lord … comes by very different means but by the same way of salvation to trust in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ.

He comes by rational, significance-seeing reasoning to personally commit his life to the risen Christ.

He was open to evidence.

He worked it out rationally … whereas Mary came relationally.

But that is NOT to say that John stopped at rational thinking.

As Keller puts it: “He did not just conclude that Jesus had risen. He was willing to base his life on it.”

(Keller, p. 90)

            •          The place of reason and experience in salvation

John reasoned his way to a rational faith in the risen Christ … but a genuine one that led to committing His life to follow Christ.

It is noteworthy that whilst the other disciples (and we’re looking at Thomas next time who is an absolute case in point here) needed to have an actual sighting of the Risen Lord to come to faith, John came to saving faith without actually seeing an actual, literal sight of the Risen Lord at all.

And it is really important to stress that you can come to a saving faith in Jesus without such an experience of seeing Him … as meeting with and walking with Jesus can follow on from that experience of first soul-saving faith.

John is the model of that.

He REASONED from the things that he saw to their significance, and then he believed savingly on the basis of that. 

How do we know John genuinely believed?

We know because of the impact of this realisation and faith on the future course of John’s life.

         •        What impact did this have on him?

That same anxious apostle we saw running to what he thought was the robbed-out tomb of the Saviour went on to live a life that was changed markedly, changed by that first Sunday realisation and commitment.

John may well have run to that tomb anxious about how he would explain it all to Mary the mother of Jesus, who Jesus gave the responsibility for now to John as the Lord had hung dying on the Cross.

But he certainly went away from the tomb that morning, confident in his new-found faith that Christ had truly risen from the dead.

Yes, v. 9 tells us in parenthesis “(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)” 

But now John believes the fact of the case, if not where it all fitted in with prophecy.

And as so often with a new convert, that will all come in due course.

What impact did this realisation have on the future course of John’s anxiety-freed life?

Well, John certainly became a man who didn’t duck the bouncing deliveries he faced from the antagonistic religious fast-bowlers of his day!

He doesn’t sound like the anxious type going forward!

In a world where this was the riskiest choice to make, John’s subsequent life was lived as the Apostle of Love.

The love John received from the Lord made him loving in the face of fierce and sustained opposition from inside and outside the churches in living out his faith in His living Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ.

How do we know that?

John almost immediately alongside Peter went viral with the Gospel.

            •          Going viral with the Gospel

Within six weeks of his anxious experience at the Cross and empty tomb, John was living a very different sort of life

            •           The lame man in the Gate, Acts 3:1-26

Very soon after Pentecost, the day the Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus sent the Holy Spirit Who He’d promised to His Church, Peter and John were making their way up to the Temple at the time of the afternoon prayer-time … reckon it as about three o’clock one afternoon.

It was prime time for a lame man who couldn’t work to earn his living for being carried to die on the ground by the Beautiful Gate of the Temple to beg from the worshippers going through there.

The guy begged of Peter and John and Peter came straight up with something the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Messiah and His on-going presence by the Spirit in His people now made possible:

“Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.

In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!”

Acts 3:6

Up jumped that guy and walked off.

More than that, the healed man followed them dancing and leaping and praising God right up to the Temple and there - recognising the man who’d been lame but was healed - a crowd gathered to hear Peter preach … attributing the healing to Jesus, calling out the sin that had crucified Him and then saying:

“But this is how God fulfilled what He had foretold through all the prophets, saying that His Christ would suffer.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that He may send the Christ, Who has been appointed for you - even Jesus.”

Acts 3:18-20

THAT is an extremely plucky sermon.

It directly calls out as sin the killing of Jesus which everyone knew the high-priests and most powerful people had orchestrated.

They had killed Jesus and now they’re being called out for it.

More than that this sermon calls for exactly the sort of thing John the Baptist had called for three years earlier just before the start f Jesus’s Galilean ministry … and look where preaching THAT sort of message got John!

THAT is the guy that John became partnered with Jesus alongside Peter.

            •           Confronting the Sanhedrin, Acts 4:1-22

Of course the powerful of the land quickly seized these two old friends and put the squeeze on them to pack up what they were doing.

In chapter 4 verse 1 the priests and the captain of the Temple Guard rock up to Peter and John while they (THEY … Peter’s the big preacher but John’s doing this too) …

While they are still speaking to the people.


“They were greatly disturbed because the Apostles were teaching the people {which they felt was their job} and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.”

Acts 4:2

Well of COURSE they were doing that!

They’d viewed the empty tomb, they’d seen the significance of the set-apart grave clothes, they’d walked talked and eaten food with the resurrected Jesus.

They’d seen Him ascend back to Heaven as He‘d predicted and they’d received the Holy Spirit Who Jesus said He was going back to Heaven to send on back from there for them.

And because He’d done that and it was for real, the lame guy with them was now walking.

There stood the proof of the truth of it all DANCING before them!

So now, their having annoyed the authorities so much with the Gospel truth, Peter and John were first gaoled overnight, then hauled up before the highest Jewish court in the world the next day.

It has to be said, Peter gave them quite a sermon in court.

He called them over for arresting him and John for an act of kindness to a cripple.

He called them over for crucifying Jesus.

He told them that the cripple walked because of what they’d done in the Name of Jesus “Whom you crucified but God raised Him from the dead”

Acts 4:10

And yes, Peter gave them a verse from their Old Testament Scripture for it, then went on to say:

“Salvation is found in no-one else …”

(THAT was a bit of a punch in the ear for people who confidently asserted they were saved as the heirs and as sons of old Abraham!)

No-one else … for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

What was the effect of such BOLDNESS?

V. 13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that they had been with Jesus.”

What they SHOULD have seen was that Peter and John 100% DEFINITELY were with Jesus NOW, because THAT was the source of their boldness and the end of their anxiety!

The big religious leaders there DIDN’T see that, and tried to threaten these new preachers into silence.

But here’s the thing.

Fearful since the events at the Cross six weeks earlier, these guys Peter and John were so changed by the effects of the Resurrection and the hope that it put in their hearts that they did NOT kow-tow to the powerful Sanhedrin:

“But Peter and John replied, ‘Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard’.”

Acts 4:19-20

More threats from the murderous, powerful men followed but there was nothing they could do because everyone could see what had happened to this healed man.

Peter and John were marked men, but they had to be released for the time being at least.

            •           Relying faithfully on God, Acts 4:23-31

The preachers did not make off on their toes to do a runner.

Given what they’d seen happen earlier to Jesus make this remarkable.

They went back to their people and reported to the Church and then they all took the matter to the Sovereign Lord in prayer.

And THERE is the source of their new confidence.

Jesus has physically gone away but He is now even more powerfully with them all the time and He is STILL doing the things He did throughout His ministry on earth but now He is doing those things through THEM!

So when they were facing serious threats that would strike fear into anyone, they all got together and appealed to a higher court.

Yes of course they were in a tricky spot … but they were putting their trust FIRMLY in the Risen, reigning Lord.

Being able to do THAT was what made all the difference.

All anxiety was banished from their hearts.

So Acts 4:31 ends the episode like this:

“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

And spoke the Word of God boldly.”

All possibility of lingering anxiety at the very deep trouble they appeared to be in was precluded.

Filled with the Holy Spirit as they trusted the Risen Lord they went out and spoke the Word of God BOLDLY. 

            John’s new found confidence and courage is not only what you might call ‘hot courage’ for experiences like that.

You also find him demonstrating ‘cool courage’ later on in his life both in dealing with dodgy doctrine that was threatening the faith and confidence of the churches, but also in inspiring vision for suffering Christians when he had enough to be going on with himself.


            •          Fire-fighting for the faith

So John’s new confidence in God’s faith and service showed up not only in dealing with hostile and dangerous outsiders but also in defending this liberating truth from encroachment by hostiles within the ranks.

            •           1-3 John

In the letters of John we see the Apostle (no longer in a double-act with Peter) upholding the truth of the bodily resurrection against people that had worked their way into the Church who - influenced by secular culture and thought - denied the importance of the body and what you did with yours.

They saw the soul or spirit as separated from the body, which was actually something it didn’t matter what you did with (So, ‘if it feels good, do it baby!’) and as something you wanted to cast off to live a much higher life.

So 1 John emphasises the importance of obedience to God’s Word in wha we do with our bodies, love for one another in real physical action and SOUND doctrine … faith in the resurrected Christ Who liberates His people through the truth, and whose Word is truth.

I’m summarising horribly, but you get the idea?

Against all that was popular and looked very powerful, John stood out for the resurrection faith.

He safeguarded what would safeguard and save many souls … and he did it against powerful opponents.

It was a fruitful thing to do with his life.

We again find him doing something similar, not anxiously but very courageously, as an exiled old man on Patmos in the first three chapters of the book of Revelation.

Look into those three chapters and see if you can find cowering anxiety there … it is BOLD stuff!

            •           Revelation 1-3

You get similar confidence in John’s writing as he addresses the errors that had arisen in the seven churches in Asia Minor listed out in Revelation 1-3.

            •          Inspiring God’s people 

Then in Revelation 1 and in chs. 4 to the end we see John setting out a vision of Heaven and its triumph for the encouragement and the emboldening of a large group of persecuted and suffering people.

There are plenty of things there to annoy the people who had put him into exile on Patmos … but John writes boldly for the encouragement of God’s people and thinks little of the threat to himself.

It is HUGELY encouraging to think of …

There’s this little old guy, languishing in exile on a bare, rocky island in the middle of the sea with a great big vision of the victory of God, setting that vision out for a bunch of people who themselves - for their faith in the Resurrected Lord - were under the powerful people’s heel.

It’s a vastly heartening and encouraging situation.

         •        Conclusion

Well then, whatever he was before, whatever he was at the Cross watching his great friend and Messiah die, whatever he was as he ran towards the empty tomb … by the time he’d seen the empty grave clothes John’s anxiety and the whole direction of his life were (frankly) on a different route.

Here’s a powerfully impressive case study for our Era of Anxiety.

How did he come to this assured, clear-sighted, purposeful and USEFUL vision for and accomplishment in life?

Bear in mind, now, it’s not just one sort of accomplishment and fruitfulness.

At first it was INITIATING the Church, starting in Jerusalem.

Then it was protecting the growing churches through his writing ministry.

Then in the later years of his life it was giving future hope and VISION (such a crucial thing) to the churches of Asia Minor for their future to ease them through their hard times.

Doing it all gladly, joyfully and lovingly under such pressure from powerful people inside the churches and at the very highest levels of authority in the Empire …

That powerfully anxiety-beating and uplifting vision setting book of Revelation came out of exile - banishment - to the wind-blasted rock of an island where John was to be found in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day … faithful to the end of his long life and exiled to a very bleak and Spartan life.


Where did it all have its root?

It all arose because having bowled his anxieties with him along to the empty tomb that resurrection morning he saw the grave clothes arranged as they were and on the evidence of what he looked at John ‘saw and believed’.

It arose from the certain hope of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead according to the Scriptures.

Christ is raised from the dead and that changes everything.

How very instructive his example should be to our era of anxiety ... to you and to me.

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