A bend in the road is not the end of the road-- unless you fail to make the turn.
As I put pen to parchment once again, the memories flood my mind. How does a man explain the transformation that took him from a self-absorbed dreamer to an apostle of the most beloved Lord Jesus Christ, Messiah of our people?
I am John, though I rarely use my given name, as I am unworthy to bear the title of the Forerunner of our glorious Messiah.
I have just been released from that most blessed exile where Jesus Himself revealed to me things present and things to come. I was as though dead for days after such an encounter. How can a man see God and live?
But live I did, so that those things I've seen can be written down and preserved for generations to come. And to my dying breath, I will continue to proclaim the things I have seen and known of Him, to whom all glory and honor belong forever.
I am now old, but once I was young and foolish and dreaming of things that have no value. I'm from a family of strong wills and personal ambition and I say with no arrogance, that I had very little of either. James took care of that for both of us. Our father, Zebedee, is the only other like me and we were always close. Close, that is, until the Lord found me.
My father never understood, even after all we told him. He clung to the old ways, wanting no part of this new covenant our Lord ushered in. My father considered it blasphemy and we spent many long evenings arguing about it. It was hard for me, harder than it was for James, to disappoint our father. But it was never a choice.
From the moment Jesus called my name, I was his. We became instant friends, and I can say the word "friend" with no superiority because that's what he called me. We were closer than brothers. Tears cloud my eyes even now as I recall his tortured voice, calling down to me from that wretched cross. "John," he gasped. "Take my mother as your own. Take care of her...brother."
That said more to me than a thousand words. His own brothers were nowhere to be found, but he showed no bitterness about that, only concern for his mother. I wanted to be angry with them, but how could I, if he wasn't?
I had my own sin to wrestle with. I had deserted him like all the rest that night. The memory still brings a rush of shame, even though he never mentioned it later. But that's how he was. Is. He still is. I've just seen him again and the thrill of it pours through me many times a day.
He took me, a starry-eyed dreamer, and taught me what life is all about. He then commissioned me and the others to take that knowledge to the world. I felt so inadequate when he told us that. Who am I to preach His message? I've never been good at speaking. Peter, yes. James, of course. But me? Then Paul came along and you've never seen such boldness.
But I wasn't counting on the Holy Spirit. We should have known. The Lord had told us what was coming, but words fail me still to describe that day at Pentecost. How can words express the power that fell on us? Such power that should kill a man, yet it only made us mighty.
It was as though the Lord Himself had invaded our very beings. His goodness, His strength, His passion for the world. It fell on us, consumed us, transformed us in one glorious hour and we were never the same. None of us. My writing took on new life. The dreamy sonnets and dry historical documents I'd toyed with were forsaken as my pen could write only His words from then on. And to this day.
Yes, I was the disciple Jesus loved. And I loved him. Love him still. Would die for him. The others have. I'm the last and He hasn't seen fit to allow me the privilege of dying for his Name. So I will live on for his Name. From the moment he called my name, it no longer defined me. It is his name that matters. His only. Until I see him again.
If you are His, if your life has been transformed by the overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit, if you live for His glory alone and long to see Him again, then you are one of us. And I know just what He would call you--Friend.
See you in the Kingdom of Heaven! John, Friend of the Most High